SAY, which Immortal Merits the highest reward? With none contend I, But I will give it To the aye-changing, Ever-moving Wondrous daughter of Jove. His best-beloved offspring. Sweet Phantasy.
For unto her Hath he granted All the fancies which erst To none allow'd he Saving himself; Now he takes his pleasure In the mad one.
She may, crowned with roses, With staff twined round with lilies, Roam thro' flow'ry valleys, Rule the butterfly-people, And soft-nourishing dew With bee-like lips Drink from the blossom:
Or else she may With fluttering hair And gloomy looks Sigh in the wind Round rocky cliffs, And thousand-hued. Like morn and even. Ever changing, Like moonbeam's light, To mortals appear.
Let us all, then, Adore the Father! The old, the mighty, Who such a beauteous Ne'er-fading spouse Deigns to accord To perishing mortals!
To us alone Doth he unite her, With heavenly bonds, While he commands her, in joy and sorrow, As a true spouse Never to fly us.
All the remaining Races so poor Of life-teeming earth. In children so rich. Wander and feed In vacant enjoyment, And 'mid the dark sorrows Of evanescent Restricted life,-- Bow'd by the heavy Yoke of Necessity.
But unto us he Hath his most versatile, Most cherished daughter Granted,--what joy!
Lovingly greet her As a beloved one! Give her the woman's Place in our home!
And oh, may the aged Stepmother Wisdom Her gentle spirit Ne'er seek to harm!
Yet know I her sister, The older, sedater, Mine own silent friend; Oh, may she never, Till life's lamp is quench'd, Turn away from me,-- That noble inciter, Comforter,--Hope!