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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

On an Antique Medal

By José-Maria de Heredia (1842–1905)

Translation of Maurice Francis Egan

THE WINE which gave the antique ecstasy

To great Theocritus, in purple gold

Still ripens on Mount Ætna;—none can hold

The gracious girls he sang in Sicily!

Greek Arethusa, slave or mistress free,

Lost the pure profile of ancestral mold,

Mixed in her veins of Angevin, proud and bold,

And Saracenic, burning furiously.

Time goes; all dies; marble itself decays;

A shadow Agrigentum! Syracuse

Sleeps, still in death, beneath her kind sky’s shades;—

But the hard metal guards through all the days—

Silver grown docile unto love’s own use—

The immortal beauty of Sicilian maids.