The wedding of Peleus and Thetis

Poem by Euripides
MERRILY rose the bridal strain,
With the pipe of reed and the wild harp ringing,
With the Libyan flute, and the dancers' train,
And the bright-haired Muses singing.

On the turf elastic treading,
Up Pelion's steep with an airy bound
Their golden sandals they struck on the ground,
While the mighty gods were feasting round,
As they sped to Peleus' wedding.
They left Pierea's fountain,
On the leaf-crowned hill they stood,
They breathed their softest, sweetest lays
In the bride's and bridegroom's praise.
Reëchoed the Centaur's mountain,
Reëchoed Pelion's wood.

The golden goblets crowned the Page,
The Thunderer's darling boy,
In childhood's rosy age
Snatched from the plains of Troy.
Where on the silvery sand
The noontide sun was glancing,
The fifty Nereids, hand in hand,
Were in giddy circles dancing.

The Centaur's tramp rang up the hill,
To feast with the gods they trooped in haste,
And at the board by Bacchus graced,
The purpling bowl to fill.
Grassy wreath and larch's bough
Twined around each shaggy brow.
Daughter of Nereus, loud to thee
Chaunted the maids of Thessaly.
Their song was of a child unborn,
Whose light should beam like summer morn,
Whose praise by the Delian seer was sung,
And hymned by Chiron's tuneful tongue.

"Thetis, mark thy warrior son,
Gift with many a Myrmidon,
Armed with spear and flaming brand,
Wasting Priam's ancient land.
He shall ne'er to foeman quail;
He shall case his limbs in mail,
Casque, and greaves, and breastplate's fold,
All by Vulcan wrought of gold,
Moulded in the forge of heaven,
By his goddess-mother given.
He shall be a hero's name,
Godlike might, and deathless fame."

Thus the gods propitious smiled
On Peleus and the ocean child;
Lady! not such nuptial wreath
Shall Argives bid thee wear,
But with the flowers of death
Entwine thy clustering hair.

Translated by Joseph Anstice
(Contributed by ivan on Friday, February 4th, 2011)
 
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