The Hymn is doubtless a very ancient form; but if no example of extreme antiquity survive this must be put down to the fact that until the age of literary consciousness, such things are not preserved.
First, apparently, in the collection stood the "Hymn to Dionysus", of which only two fragments now survive.
but that must be what it means in the hymn
we sang, when it talked about the sweet perfume that rises with every morning sacrifice.
Whenever I have heard the hymn
since, it has made me remember that white waste and the little group of people; and the bluish air, full of fine, eddying snow, like long veils flying:
* the chorus to the hymns
of those venerable persons when
He closed his eyes, and, from all sides as if from a distance, sounds fluttered, grew into harmonies, separated, blended, and again all mingled into the same sweet and solemn hymn
. "Oh, this is delightful!
"We'll sing the last hymn
; 'Sweet, sweet good-by' you all know that, so do it nicely, and then we will go and have luncheon."
And Kay and Gerda looked in each other's eyes, and all at once they understood the old hymn
Hard and reprobate as the godless man seemed now, there had been a time when he had been rocked on the bosom of a mother,--cradled with prayers and pious hymns
,--his now seared brow bedewed with the waters of holy baptism.
These Marseillaises make Marseillaise hymns
and Marseilles vests and Marseilles soap for all the world, but they never sing their hymns
or wear their vests or wash with their soap themselves.
It was far down the afternoon; and when all the spearings of the crimson fight were done: and floating in the lovely sunset sea and sky, sun and whale both stilly died together; then, such a sweetness and such plaintiveness, such inwreathing orisons curled up in that rosy air, that it almost seemed as if far over from the deep green convent valleys of the Manilla isles, the Spanish land-breeze, wantonly turned sailor, had gone to sea, freighted with these vesper hymns
. Soothed again, but only soothed to deeper gloom, Ahab, who had sterned off from the whale, sat intently watching his final wanings from the now tranquil boat.
Then they would go and eat themselves sick, and dance, and sing hymns