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The Choral Dance

With claspèd hands, devoutly circling round
An altar garlanded with myrtle green.
Fair maids in honor of the Cyprian Queen
Weave festal dance, their brows with myrtle crowned;
Their feet unsandalled beat the grassy ground
To music made by rustic Pan, unseen.
Piping two scraggy olive trees between
While lithe limbs register the mystic sound.

Slowly the marble crumbles into dust,
The chiselled lines—so delicate—grow dim,
And flush of joy from maiden cheeks is gone;
But yet those lifelike, graceful figures must
Repeat the modulation of the hymn
As here the happy choral dance goes on.
Isaac Bassett Choate [1833–1917]