great gods the crown of old; The crocus glitters, robed in gold. Here restless fountains ever murmuring glide, And as their crisped streamlets play, To feed, Cephisus, thine unfailing tide, Fresh verdure marks their winding way. Here oft to raise the tuneful song The virgin band of Muses deigns, And car-borne Aphrodite guides her golden reins.
Then they go on, this band of village elders, to praise the gods for their special gifts to that small Athenian land. They praise Pallas Athene, who gave their forefathers the olive; then Poseidon--Neptune, as the Romans call him--who gave their forefathers the horse; and something more--the ship--the horse of the sea, as they, like the old Norse Vikings after them, delighted to call it
Our highest vaunt is this--Thy grace, Poseidon, we behold, The ruling curb, embossed with gold, Controls the courser's managed pace, Though loud, oh king, thy billows roar, Our strong hands grasp the labouring oar, And while the Nereids round it play, Light cut
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