Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Lang on Herodotus

Andrew Lang, Herodotus in Egypt:
He left the land of youth, he left the young,
The smiling gods of Greece; he passed the isle
Where Jason loitered, and where Sappho sung,
He sought the secret-founted wave of Nile,
And of their old world, dead a weary while,
Heard the priests murmur in their mystic tongue,
And through the fanes went voyaging, among
Dark tribes that worshipped Cat and Crocodile.

He learned the tales of death Divine and birth,
Strange loves of Hawk and Serpent, Sky and Earth,
The marriage, and the slaying of the Sun.
The shrines of gods and beasts he wandered through,
And mocked not at their godhead, for he knew
Behind all creeds the Spirit that is One.
The second book of Herodotus' histories is devoted to Egypt, which Herodotus visited in person. The "isle where Jason loitered, and where Sappho sung" is Lesbos.

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