Chiron

Half-man, half-beast, yet learned in every art,
From each compounded, each its proper part:
Chiron, centaur, most noble, just, and wise;
Though Philyra, that bare you, did despise
Your form; for Kronos sired you as a horse,
So nature took its right and proper course;
And Apollon looked down, from where on high
He sat, and he beheld you, helpless, lie;
He took you up, and taught you prophecy,
And music, medicine, and archery.
So, learned in arts of war, your inner beast
Took joy in hunting, and the killer’s feast:
But having knowledge, too, of peace, what joy
In sacred arts and song did you employ.
He, whoever, was wounded to the quick
Found you a skilled purveyor of physic;
And watching movements of the stars that guide
Mankind, the workings on the Earth were spied,
And portents known, you spoke the truth to all,
Though good or evil from the gods should fall.
Achilles was your pupil, whom you taught:
From you he got the wisdom that was sought
By Peleus, who brought to you the lad,
And you received him, and in heart were glad.
For, every man that tames the inner beast
Is, like you, his own effectual priest;
He nurtures all that’s beautiful in life,
Unconquered by the chaos of mad strife.
And, though you dropped the shaft of Heracles,
Which pierced your foot and spread a foul disease
(The hydra’s blood was poison, and it spread
Through all your veins, to bring you to the dead),
But Zeus refused to give you to the deep,
Preferring that a better boon you’d reap,
He placed you with the stars that nightly vie
For place, and reign o’er all, both low and high.
So, those divine you watched on Earth with love,
With them you live and move each night above.

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