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The Sea-shore.


And now the glory of the rising sun,
Poured forth upon the city marble-built;
And all the crowd of worshippers was come
Unto the temple of the Goddess Queen.
And there they hymn her with resounding songs,
Which rise and fall like thunders, or the noise
Of mighty waters rolling on the shore.
And so the day goes on in worshipping,
Until the sun has hid himself behind
The purple hills that compass Athens round.
And the moon glitters in the pale blue sky
Upon the pilgrims, who have laid their limbs
Weary, but glad at heart, upon the beds
Of herbs, which all the city strews for them.
Such was the ending of the opening day.


NOW to the sea the mystai bend their steps,
To purge all stain of guilt from off their souls;
And as they go, in pure white vestments clad,
Each one and all implore the goddess queen
To pardon all the sins of the past life,
And wash them pure, and free from every fault.
Down from the temple through the narrow streets,
And gardens smelling sweet, and cool with leaves,
Till they have passed out of the city gates,
And come unto the plain beyond the town.
All through its levels in a mighty band,
Singing in praise of Demeter the Queen.
And then the shore—for every one must wash
His limbs therein, and have it for a sign,
That, as the flesh is pure and free from stain,
The soul within is in like manner cleansed.
So the cool water sweeps away the stain,
And all have been absolved—the priest has said.