Vale of Asclepius

Nicholas Michell

Southward of Corinth, girt by many a steep,
Where olives wave, and mountain larches weep,
Walls of old shrines, and pillars frequent seen,
All bare and gray, o'ertopping groves of green,
Lo! Epidaurus spreads his velvet vale,
Sacred to health, renowned in classic tale.
Here sprang that sage a precious balm who drew
From every sweet-lipped flower which drinks the dew:
Ay, doubt not — symbols, scattered stones remain —
Rose in this glen the healer's worshipped fane.

Author's note: The temple dedicated to Asclepius the Physician, in a valley about five miles from the ancient city of Epidaurus, was one of the most renowned of antiquity. Few traces of this Temple of Health now meet the eye of the traveller, but the vale retains if not all its original, very considerable beauty.