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of lofty mountains and rivers flowing to the sea are dear to you, Phoebus, yet in Delos do you most delight your heart; for there the long robed Ionians gather in your honor with their children and shy wives: with boxing and dancing and song,
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mindful, they delight you so often as they hold their gathering. A man would say that they were deathless and unageing if he should then come upon the Ionians so met together. For he would see the graces of them all, and would be pleased in heart gazing at the men and well-girded women
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with their swift ships and great wealth. And there is this great wonder besides —and its renown shall never perish —, the girls of Delos , hand-maidens of the Far-shooter; for when they have praised Apollo first, and also Leto and Artemis who delights in arrows,
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they sing a strain telling of men and women of past days, and charm the tribes of men. Also they can imitate the tongues of all men and their clattering speech: each would say that he himself were singing, so close to truth is their sweet song.
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And now may Apollo be favorable and Artemis; and farewell all you maidens. Remember me in after time whenever any one of men on earth, a stranger who has seen and suffered much, comes here and asks of you: “Whom think ye, girls, is the sweetest singer that comes here, and in whom do you most delight?”
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Then answer, each and all, with one voice: “He is a blind man, and dwells in rocky Chios : his lays are evermore supreme.” As for me, I will carry your renown as far as I roam over the earth
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to the well-placed cities of man, and they will believe also; for indeed this thing is true. And I will never cease to praise far-shooting Apollo, god of the silver bow, whom rich-haired Leto bare.
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O Lord, Lycia is yours and lovely Maeonia
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and Miletus , charming city by the sea, but over wave-girt Delos you greatly reign your own self. Leto's all-glorious son goes to rocky Pytho , playing upon his hollow lyre, clad in divine, perfumed garments; and his lyre,
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at the touch of the golden key, sings sweet. Thence, swift as thought, he speeds from earth to Olympus , to the house of Zeus, to join the gathering of the other gods: then straightway the undying gods think only of the lyre and song, and all the Muses together, voice sweetly answering voice,
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hymn the unending gifts the gods enjoy and the sufferings of men, all that they endure at the hands of the deathless gods, and how they live witless and helpless and cannot find healing for death or defence against old age. Meanwhile the rich-tressed Graces and cheerful Seasons dance with
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Harmonia and Hebe and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, holding each other by the wrist. And among them sings one, not mean nor puny, but tall to look upon and enviable in mien, Artemis who delights in arrows, sister of Apollo.
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Among them sport Ares and the keen-eyed Slayer of Argus, while Apollo plays his lyre stepping high and featly and a radiance shines around him, the gleaming of his feet and close-woven vest. And they,
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even gold-tressed Leto and wise Zeus, rejoice in their great hearts as they watch their dear son playing among the undying gods. How then shall I sing of you —though in all ways you are a worthy theme for song? Shall I sing of you as wooer and in the fields of love, how you went wooing the daughter of Azan
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along with god-like Ischys the son of well-horsed Elatius, or with Phorbas sprung from Triops, or with Ereutheus, or with Leucippus and the wife of Leucippus you on foot, he with his chariot, yet he fell not short of Triops. Or shall I sing how at the first
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you went about the earth seeking a place of oracle for men, O far-shooting Apollo? To Pieria first you went down from Olympus and passed by sandy Lectus and Enienae and through the land of the Perrhaebi. Soon you came to Iolcus and set foot on Cenaeum in Euboea , famed for ships:
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you stood in the Lelantine plain, but it pleased not your heart to make a temple there and wooded groves. From there you crossed the Euripus, far-shooting Apollo, and went up the green, holy hills, going on to Mycalessus and grassy-bedded Teumessus,
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and so came to the wood-clad abode of Thebe; for as yet no man lived in holy Thebe, nor were there tracks or ways about Thebe's wheat-bearing plain as yet. And further still you went, O far-shooting Apollo,
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and came to Onchestus, Poseidon's bright grove: there the new-broken colt distressed with drawing the trim chariot gets spirit again, and the skilled driver springs from his car and goes on his way. Then the horses for a while rattle the empty car, being rid of guidance;
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and if they break the chariot in the woody grove, men look after the horses, but tilt the chariot and leave it there; for this was the rite from the very first. And the drivers pray to the lord of the shrine; but the chariot falls to the lot of the god. Further yet you went, O far-shooting Apollo,
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and reached next Cephissus' sweet stream which pours forth its sweet-flowing water from Lilaea, and crossing over it, O worker from afar, you passed many-towered Ocalea and reached grassy Haliartus. Then you went towards Telphusa: and there the pleasant place seemed fit for
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making a temple and wooded grove. You came very near and spoke to her: “Telphusa, here I am minded to make a glorious temple, an oracle for men, and hither they will always bring perfect hecatombs,
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both those who live in rich Peloponnesus and those of Europe and all the wave-washed isles, coming to seek oracles. And I will deliver to them all counsel that cannot fail, giving answer in my rich temple.” So said Phoebus Apollo, and laid out all the foundations
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throughout, wide and very long. But when Telphusa saw this, she was angry in heart and spoke, saying: “Lord Phoebus, worker from afar, I will speak a word of counsel to your heart, since you are minded to make here a glorious temple to be an oracle for men who will always
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bring hither perfect hecatombs for you; yet I will speak out, and do you lay up my words in your heart. The trampling of swift horses and the sound of mules watering at my sacred springs will always irk you, and men will like better to gaze at
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the well-made chariots and stamping, swift-footed horses than at your great temple and the many treasures that are within. But if you will be moved by me —for you, lord, are stronger and mightier than I, and your strength is very great —build at Crisa below the glades of Parnassus :
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there no bright chariot will clash, and there will be no noise of swift-footed horses near your well-built altar. But so the glorious tribes of men will bring gifts to you as Iepaeon (‘Hail-Healer’), and you will receive with delight rich sacrifices from the people dwelling round about.”
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So said Telphusa, that she alone, and not the Far-Shooter, should have renown there; and she persuaded the Far-Shooter. Further yet you went, far-shooting Apollo, until you came to the town of the presumptuous Phlegyae who dwell on this earth
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in a lovely glade near the Cephisian lake, caring not for Zeus. And thence you went speeding swiftly to the mountain ridge, and came to Crisa beneath snowy Parnassus , a foothill turned towards the west: a cliff hangs over it from above, and a hollow, rugged glade runs under.
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There the lord Phoebus Apollo resolved to make his lovely temple, and thus he said: “In this place I am minded to build a glorious temple to be an oracle for men, and here they will always bring perfect hecatombs,