Paul preaching at Athens
Greece! hear that joyful sound,
A stranger's voice upon thy sacred hill;
Whose tones shall bid the slumbering nations round,
Wake with convulsive thrill.
Athenians! gather there; he brings you words
Brighter than all your boasted lore affords.
He brings you news of One,
Above Olympian Jove. One, in whose light
Your gods shall fade like stars before the sun.
On your bewildered night,
That UNKNOWN GOD of whom ye darkly dream,
In all his burning radiance shall beam.
Behold, he bids you rise
From your dark worship of that idol shrine;
He points to Him who reared your starry skies,
And bade your Phoebus shine.
Lift up your souls, from where in dust ye bow;
That God of gods commands your homage now.
But brighter tidings still!
He tells of One whose precious blood was spilt,
In lavish streams upon Judea's hill,
A ransom for your guilt, --
Who triumphed o'er the grave, and broke its chain;
Who conquered Death and Hell, and rose again.
Sages of Greece! come near --
Spirits of daring thought and giant mould.
Ye questioners of Time and Nature, hear
Mysteries before untold!
Immortal life revealed! light for which ye
Have tasked in vain your proud philosophy.
Searchers for some first cause,
'Midst doubt and darkness -- lo! he points to One,
Where all your vaunted reason, lost, must pause,
And faint to think upon, --
That was from everlasting, that shall be
To everlasting still, eternally.
Ye followers of him
Who deemed his soul a spark of Deity!
Your fancies fade, -- your master's dreams grow dim
To this reality.
Stoic! unbend that brow, drink in that sound!
Skeptic! dispel those doubts, the Truth is found.
Greece! though thy sculptured walls
Have with thy triumphs and thy glories rung,
And, through thy temples and thy pillared halls,
Immortal poets sung, --
No sounds like these have rent your startled air,
They open realms of light, and bid you enter there.