This is a translation and rearrangement of some of the Chorus sections from The Clouds, a play by the ancient Athenian satirist Aristophanes. What is interesting about this translation is that it was written by Oscar Wilde in 1874, when he was a 20-year-old student at Oxford. As such, it is more representative of Wilde's 'art-for-art's sake' stance than of Aristophanes' sophist-mocking intentions.


   Cloud-maidens that float on for ever,
      Dew-sprinkled, fleet bodies, and fair,
   Let us rise from our Sire's loud river,
      Great Ocean, and soar through the air
To the peaks of the pine-covered mountains where the pines hang as tresses of hair.
   Let us seek the watchtowers undaunted,
      Where the well-watered cornfields abound,
   And through murmurs of rivers nymph-haunted
      The songs of the sea-waves resound;
And the sun in the sky never wearies of spreading his radiance around.

Let us cast off the haze
Of the mists from our band,
Till with far-seeing gaze
We may look on the land...

   Cloud-maidens that bring the rain-shower,
      To the Pallas-loved land let us wing,
   To the land of stout heroes and Power,
      Where Kekrops was hero and king,
   Where honour and silence is given
      To the mysteries that none may declare,
   Where are gifts to the high gods in heaven
      When the house of the gods is laid bare,
   Where are lofty roofed temples, and statues well carven and fair;
      Where are feasts to the happy immortals
   When the sacred procession draws near,
      Where garlands make bright the bright portals
   At all seasons and months in the year;

And when spring days are here,
Then we tread to the wine-god a measure,
In Bacchanal dance and in pleasure,
'Mid the contests of sweet singing choirs,
And the crash of loud lyres.

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