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

The Cloud Chorus

By Aristophanes (c. 448–c. 388 B.C.)

From ‘The Clouds’: Translation of Andrew Lang

HITHER, come hither, ye Clouds renowned, and unveil yourselves here;

Come, though ye dwell on the sacred crests of Olympian snow,

Or whether ye dance with the Nereid Choir in the gardens clear,

Or whether your golden urns are dipped in Nile’s overflow,

Or whether you dwell by Mæotis mere

Or the snows of Mimas, arise! appear!

And hearken to us, and accept our gifts ere ye rise and go.

Immortal Clouds from the echoing shore

Of the father of streams from the sounding sea,

Dewy and fleet, let us rise and soar;

Dewy and gleaming and fleet are we!

Let us look on the tree-clad mountain-crest,

On the sacred earth where the fruits rejoice,

On the waters that murmur east and west,

On the tumbling sea with his moaning voice.

For unwearied glitters the Eye of the Air,

And the bright rays gleam;

Then cast we our shadows of mist, and fare

In our deathless shapes to glance everywhere

From the height of the heaven, on the land and air,

And the Ocean Stream.

Let us on, ye Maidens that bring the Rain,

Let us gaze on Pallas’s citadel,

In the country of Cecrops fair and dear,

The mystic land of the holy cell,

Where the Rites unspoken securely dwell,

And the gifts of the gods that know not stain,

And a people of mortals that know not fear.

For the temples tall and the statues fair,

And the feasts of the gods are holiest there;

The feasts of Immortals, the chaplets of flowers,

And the Bromian mirth at the coming of spring,

And the musical voices that fill the hours,

And the dancing feet of the maids that sing!