The Hill of Dionysus

Clark Ashton Smith

This is enchanted ground
Whereto the nymphs are bound;
Where the hoar oaks maintain,
While seasons mount or wane,
Their ghostly satyrs, dim and undispelled.
It is a place fulfilled and circled round
With fabled years and presences of Eld.

These things have been before,
And these are things forevermore to be;
And he and I and she,
Inseparate as of yore,
Are celebrants of some old mystery.

Under the warm blue skies
The flickering butterflies,
Dancing with their frail shadows, poise and pass.
Now, with the earth for board,
The bread is eaten and the wine is poured;
While she, the twice-adored,
Between us lies on the pale autumn grass.

Thus has she lain before,
And thus we two have watched her reverently;
More beautiful, and more
Mysterious for her body's nudity.

Full-burdened with the culminating year,
The heavens and earth are mute;
Till on a fitful wind we seem to hear
Some fainting murmur of a broken flute.
Adown the hillside steep and sere
The laurels bear their ancient leaves and fruit.

These things have happened even thus of yore,
These things are part of all futurity;
And she and I and he,
Returning as before,
Participate in some unfinished mystery.

Her hair, between my shoulder and the sun,
Is turned to iridescent fire and gold:
A witch's web, whereon
Wild memories are spun,
And magical delight and sleep unfold
Beyond the world where Anteros is lord.

It is the hour of mystical accord,
Of respite, and release
From all that hampers us, from all that frets,
And from the vanity of all regrets.
where grape and laurel twine,
One more we drink the Dionysian wine,
Ringed with the last horizon that is Greece.

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