Definitions

lamenting

Hymn to Proserpine

"Hymn to Proserpine" is a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, published in 1866. The poem is addressed to the goddess Proserpina, the Roman equivalent of Persephone.

The poem opens with the words Vicisti, Galilæe, Latin for "You have conquered, O Galilean," the apocryphal Last words of the Emperor Julian. He had tried to reverse the official endorsement of Christianity by the Roman Empire. The poem is cast in the form of a lament by a person professing the paganism of classical antiquity and lamenting its passing, and expresses regret at the rise of Christianity. Lines 35 and 36 express this best:

Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath;
We have drunken of things Lethean, and fed on the fullness of death.

The line "Time and the Gods are at strife" inspired the title of Lord Dunsany's Time and the Gods.

The poem is quoted by Sue Bridehead in Thomas Hardy's 1895 novel, Jude the Obscure and also by Edward Ashburnham in Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier.

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