Apollo Musagetes

Original Text: 
Matthew Arnold, Empedocles on Etna (London: B. Fellowes, 1852). B-11 2384 (Fisher Library).
2Thick breaks the red flame;
3All Etna heaves fiercely
4Her forest-clothed frame.
5Not here, O Apollo!
6Are haunts meet for thee.
7But, where Helicon breaks down
8In cliff to the sea,
9Where the moon-silver'd inlets
10Send far their light voice
11Up the still vale of Thisbe,
12O speed, and rejoice!
13On the sward at the cliff-top
14Lie strewn the white flocks,
15On the cliff-side the pigeons
16Roost deep in the rocks.
17In the moonlight the shepherds,
18Soft lull'd by the rills,
19Lie wrapped in their blankets
20Asleep on the hills.
21--What forms are these coming
22So white through the gloom?
23What garments out-glistening
24The gold-flower'd broom?
25What sweet-breathing presence
26Out-perfumes the thyme?
27What voices enrapture
28The night's balmy prime?
29'Tis Apollo comes leading
30His choir, the Nine.
31--The leader is fairest,
32But all are divine.
33They are lost in the hollows!
34They stream up again!
35What seeks on this mountain
36The glorified train?--
37They bathe on this mountain,
38In the spring by their road;
39Then on to Olympus,
40Their endless abode.
41--Whose proase do they mention?
42Of what is it told?--
43What will be for ever;
44What was from of old.
45First hymn they the Father
46Of all things; and then,
47The rest of immortals,
48The action of men.
49The day in his hotness,
50The strife with the palm;
51The night in her silence,
52The stars in their calm.


1] This song is put in the mouth of Callicles, a youthful player on the harp in Arnold's dramatic poem, "Empedocles in Etna" (1852). The title (which is given to the poem in the volume of selections edited by himself) means 'Apollo, the leader of the Muses.' Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
W. J. Alexander; William Hall Clawson
RPO Edition: 
RP (1916), ed. W. J. Alexander and W. H. Clawson, p. 391; RPO 1997.