'Wherefore the "city of the violet crown"?'
One asked me, as the April sun went down
Behind the shadows of the Persian's mound,
The fretted crags of Salamis.
And see the question answered!'
For we were
Upon the summit of that battled square,
The rock of ruin, in whose fallen shrine
The world still worships what man made divine,
The maiden fane, that yet may boast the birth
Of half the immortalities of earth.
The last rays light the portal, a gold wave
Runs up the columns to the architrave,
Lingers about the gable and is gone:—
Parnes, Hymettus, and Pentelicon
Show shadowy violet in the after-rose,
Cithaeron's ridge and all the islands close
The mountain ring, like sapphires o'er the sea,
And from this circle's heart aetherially
Springs the white altar of the land's renown,
A marble lily in a violet crown.
And fairer crown had never queen than this
That girds thee round, far-famed Acropolis!
So of these isles, these mountains, and this sea,
I wove a crown of song to dedicate to thee.