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Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica

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Fragment #2 --
Scholiast on Homer, Odyssey, iv. 232:
`Unless Phoebus Apollo should save him from death, or Paean
himself who knows the remedies for all things.'

Fragment #3 --
Clement of Alexandria, Protrept, c. vii. p. 21:
`For he alone is king and lord of all the undying gods, and no
other vies with him in power.'

Fragment #4 --
Anecd. Oxon (Cramer), i. p. 148:
`(To cause?) the gifts of the blessed gods to come near to

Fragment #5 --
Clement of Alexandria, Strom. i. p. 123:
`Of the Muses who make a man very wise, marvellous in utterance.'

Fragment #6 --
Strabo, x. p. 471:
`But of them (sc. the daughters of Hecaterus) were born the
divine mountain Nymphs and the tribe of worthless, helpless
Satyrs, and the divine Curetes, sportive dancers.'

Fragment #7 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 824:
`Beseeching the offspring of glorious Cleodaeus.'

Fragment #8 --
Suidas, s.v.:
`For the Olympian gave might to the sons of Aeacus, and wisdom to
the sons of Amythaon, and wealth to the sons of Atreus.'

Fragment #9 --
Scholiast on Homer, Iliad, xiii. 155:
`For through his lack of wood the timber of the ships rotted.'

Fragment #10 --
Etymologicum Magnum:
`No longer do they walk with delicate feet.'

Fragment #11 --
Scholiast on Homer, Iliad, xxiv. 624:
`First of all they roasted (pieces of meat), and drew them
carefully off the spits.'

Fragment #12 --
Chrysippus, Fragg. ii. 254. 11:
`For his spirit increased in his dear breast.'

Fragment #13 --
Chrysippus, Fragg. ii. 254. 15:
`With such heart grieving anger in her breast.'

Fragment #14 --
Strabo, vii. p. 327:
`He went to Dodona and the oak-grove, the dwelling place of the

Fragment #15 --
Anecd. Oxon (Cramer), iii. p. 318. not.:
`With the pitiless smoke of black pitch and of cedar.'

Fragment #16 --
Schliast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 757:
`But he himself in the swelling tide of the rain-swollen river.'

Fragment #17 --
Stephanus of Byzantium:
(The river) Parthenius, `Flowing as softly as a dainty maiden

Fragment #18 --
Scholiast on Theocritus, xi. 75:
`Foolish the man who leaves what he has, and follows after what
he has not.'

Fragment #19 --
`The deeds of the young, the counsels of the middle-aged, and the
prayers of the aged.'

Fragment #20 --
Porphyr, On Abstinence, ii. 18. p. 134:
`Howsoever the city does sacrifice, the ancient custom is best.'

Fragment #21 --
Scholiast on Nicander, Theriaca, 452:
`But you should be gentle towards your father.'

Fragment #22 --
Plato, Epist. xi. 358:
`And if I said this, it would seem a poor thing and hard to

Fragment #23 --
Bacchylides, v. 191-3:
Thus spake the Boeotian, even Hesiod (2), servant of the sweet
Muses: `whomsoever the immortals honour, the good report of
mortals also followeth him.'


(1) This and the following fragment are meant to be read
together. -- DBK
(2) cp. Hesiod "Theogony" 81 ff. But Theognis 169, `Whomso the
god honour, even a man inclined to blame praiseth him', is
much nearer.


Fragment #1 --
Galen, de plac. Hipp. et Plat. i. 266:
`And then it was Zeus took away sense from the heart of Athamas.'

Fragment #2 --
Scholiast on Homer, Od. vii. 104:
`They grind the yellow grain at the mill.'

Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. ii. 1:
`Then first in Delos did I and Homer, singers both, raise our
strain -- stitching song in new hymns -- Phoebus Apollo with the
golden sword, whom Leto bare.'

Fragment #4 --
Julian, Misopogon, p. 369:
`But starvation on a handful is a cruel thing.'

Fragment #5 --
Servius on Vergil, Aen. iv. 484:
Hesiod says that these Hesperides.... ....daughters of Night,
guarded the golden apples beyond Ocean: `Aegle and Erythea and
ox-eyed Hesperethusa.' (1)

Fragment #6 --
Plato, Republic, iii. 390 E:
`Gifts move the gods, gifts move worshipful princes.'

Fragment #7 -- (2)
Clement of Alexandria, Strom. v. p. 256:
`On the seventh day again the bright light of the sun....'

Fragment #8 --
Apollonius, Lex. Hom.:
`He brought pure water and mixed it with Ocean's streams.'

Fragment #9 --
Stephanus of Byzantium:
`Aspledon and Clymenus and god-like Amphidocus.' (sons of

Fragment #10 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. iii. 64:
`Telemon never sated with battle first brought light to our
comrades by slaying blameless Melanippe, destroyer of men, own
sister of the golden-girdled queen.'

(1) Cf. Scholion on Clement, "Protrept." i. p. 302.
(2) This line may once have been read in the text of "Works and
Days" after l. 771.



I. TO DIONYSUS (21 lines) (1)


(ll. 1-9) For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus;
and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn (2); and others by the
deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus
the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in
Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you
birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There
is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with
woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus.


(ll. 10-12) `...and men will lay up for her (3) many offerings in
her shrines. And as these things are three (4), so shall mortals
ever sacrifice perfect hecatombs to you at your feasts each three

(ll. 13-16) The Son of Cronos spoke and nodded with his dark
brows. And the divine locks of the king flowed forward from his
immortal head, and he made great Olympus reel. So spake wise
Zeus and ordained it with a nod.

(ll. 17-21) Be favourable, O Insewn, Inspirer of frenzied women!
we singers sing of you as we begin and as we end a strain, and
none forgetting you may call holy song to mind. And so,
farewell, Dionysus, Insewn, with your mother Semele whom men call

II. TO DEMETER (495 lines)

(ll. 1-3) I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful goddess
-- of her and her trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus rapt away,
given to him by all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer.

(ll. 4-18) Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and
glorious fruits, she was playing with the deep-bosomed daughters
of Oceanus and gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and
crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the
narcissus, which Earth made to grow at the will of Zeus and to
please the Host of Many, to be a snare for the bloom-like girl --
a marvellous, radiant flower. It was a thing of awe whether for
deathless gods or mortal men to see: from its root grew a hundred
blooms and is smelled most sweetly, so that all wide heaven above
and the whole earth and the sea's salt swell laughed for joy.
And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take
the lovely toy; but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the
plain of Nysa, and the lord, Host of Many, with his immortal
horses sprang out upon her -- the Son of Cronos, He who has many
names (5).

(ll. 19-32) He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bare
her away lamenting. Then she cried out shrilly with her voice,
calling upon her father, the Son of Cronos, who is most high and
excellent. But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal
men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit:
only tender-hearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of
Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave, and the lord Helios,
Hyperion's bright son, as she cried to her father, the Son of
Cronos. But he was sitting aloof, apart from the gods, in his
temple where many pray, and receiving sweet offerings from mortal
men. So he, that Son of Cronos, of many names, who is Ruler of
Many and Host of Many, was bearing her away by leave of Zeus on
his immortal chariot -- his own brother's child and all

(ll. 33-39) And so long as she, the goddess, yet beheld earth and
starry heaven and the strong-flowing sea where fishes shoal, and
the rays of the sun, and still hoped to see her dear mother and
the tribes of the eternal gods, so long hope calmed her great
heart for all her trouble....
....and the heights of the mountains and the depths of the sea
rang with her immortal voice: and her queenly mother heard her.

(ll. 40-53) Bitter pain seized her heart, and she rent the
covering upon her divine hair with her dear hands: her dark cloak
she cast down from both her shoulders and sped, like a wild-bird,
over the firm land and yielding sea, seeking her child. But no
one would tell her the truth, neither god nor mortal men; and of
the birds of omen none came with true news for her. Then for
nine days queenly Deo wandered over the earth with flaming
torches in her hands, so grieved that she never tasted ambrosia
and the sweet draught of nectar, nor sprinkled her body with
water. But when the tenth enlightening dawn had come, Hecate,
with a torch in her hands, met her, and spoke to her and told her

(ll. 54-58) `Queenly Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of
good gifts, what god of heaven or what mortal man has rapt away
Persephone and pierced with sorrow your dear heart? For I heard
her voice, yet saw not with my eyes who it was. But I tell you
truly and shortly all I know.'

(ll. 59-73) So, then, said Hecate. And the daughter of rich-
haired Rhea answered her not, but sped swiftly with her, holding
flaming torches in her hands. So they came to Helios, who is
watchman of both gods and men, and stood in front of his horses:
and the bright goddess enquired of him: `Helios, do you at least
regard me, goddess as I am, if ever by word or deed of mine I
have cheered your heart and spirit. Through the fruitless air I
heard the thrilling cry of my daughter whom I bare, sweet scion
of my body and lovely in form, as of one seized violently; though
with my eyes I saw nothing. But you -- for with your beams you
look down from the bright upper air Over all the earth and sea --
tell me truly of my dear child, if you have seen her anywhere,
what god or mortal man has violently seized her against her will
and mine, and so made off.'

(ll. 74-87) So said she. And the Son of Hyperion answered her:
`Queen Demeter, daughter of rich-haired Rhea, I will tell you the
truth; for I greatly reverence and pity you in your grief for
your trim-ankled daughter. None other of the deathless gods is
to blame, but only cloud-gathering Zeus who gave her to Hades,
her father's brother, to be called his buxom wife. And Hades
seized her and took her loudly crying in his chariot down to his
realm of mist and gloom. Yet, goddess, cease your loud lament
and keep not vain anger unrelentingly: Aidoneus, the Ruler of
Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your
child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also,
for honour, he has that third share which he received when
division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those
among whom he dwells.'

(ll. 88-89) So he spake, and called to his horses: and at his
chiding they quickly whirled the swift chariot along, like long-
winged birds.

(ll. 90-112) But grief yet more terrible and savage came into the
heart of Demeter, and thereafter she was so angered with the
dark-clouded Son of Cronos that she avoided the gathering of the
gods and high Olympus, and went to the towns and rich fields of
men, disfiguring her form a long while. And no one of men or
deep-bosomed women knew her when they saw her, until she came to
the house of wise Celeus who then was lord of fragrant Eleusis.
Vexed in her dear heart, she sat near the wayside by the Maiden
Well, from which the women of the place were used to draw water,
in a shady place over which grew an olive shrub. And she was
like an ancient woman who is cut off from childbearing and the
gifts of garland-loving Aphrodite, like the nurses of king's
children who deal justice, or like the house-keepers in their
echoing halls. There the daughters of Celeus, son of Eleusis,
saw her, as they were coming for easy-drawn water, to carry it in
pitchers of bronze to their dear father's house: four were they
and like goddesses in the flower of their girlhood, Callidice and
Cleisidice and lovely Demo and Callithoe who was the eldest of
them all. They knew her not, -- for the gods are not easily
discerned by mortals -- but standing near by her spoke winged

(ll. 113-117) `Old mother, whence and who are you of folk born
long ago? Why are you gone away from the city and do not draw
near the houses? For there in the shady halls are women of just
such age as you, and others younger; and they would welcome you
both by word and by deed.'

(ll. 118-144) Thus they said. And she, that queen among
goddesses answered them saying: `Hail, dear children, whosoever
you are of woman-kind. I will tell you my story; for it is not
unseemly that I should tell you truly what you ask. Doso is my
name, for my stately mother gave it me. And now I am come from
Crete over the sea's wide back, -- not willingly; but pirates
brought be thence by force of strength against my liking.
Afterwards they put in with their swift craft to Thoricus, and
there the women landed on the shore in full throng and the men
likewise, and they began to make ready a meal by the stern-cables
of the ship. But my heart craved not pleasant food, and I fled
secretly across the dark country and escaped by masters, that
they should not take me unpurchased across the sea, there to win
a price for me. And so I wandered and am come here: and I know
not at all what land this is or what people are in it. But may
all those who dwell on Olympus give you husbands and birth of
children as parents desire, so you take pity on me, maidens, and
show me this clearly that I may learn, dear children, to the
house of what man and woman I may go, to work for them cheerfully
at such tasks as belong to a woman of my age. Well could I nurse
a new born child, holding him in my arms, or keep house, or
spread my masters' bed in a recess of the well-built chamber, or
teach the women their work.'

(ll. 145-146) So said the goddess. And straightway the unwed
maiden Callidice, goodliest in form of the daughters of Celeus,
answered her and said:

(ll. 147-168) `Mother, what the gods send us, we mortals bear
perforce, although we suffer; for they are much stronger than we.

But now I will teach you clearly, telling you the names of men
who have great power and honour here and are chief among the
people, guarding our city's coif of towers by their wisdom and
true judgements: there is wise Triptolemus and Dioclus and
Polyxeinus and blameless Eumolpus and Dolichus and our own brave
father. All these have wives who manage in the house, and no one
of them, so soon as she has seen you, would dishonour you and
turn you from the house, but they will welcome you; for indeed
you are godlike. But if you will, stay here; and we will go to
our father's house and tell Metaneira, our deep-bosomed mother,
all this matter fully, that she may bid you rather come to our
home than search after the houses of others. She has an only
son, late-born, who is being nursed in our well-built house, a
child of many prayers and welcome: if you could bring him up
until he reached the full measure of youth, any one of womankind
who should see you would straightway envy you, such gifts would
our mother give for his upbringing.'

(ll. 169-183) So she spake: and the goddess bowed her head in
assent. And they filled their shining vessels with water and
carried them off rejoicing. Quickly they came to their father's
great house and straightway told their mother according as they
had heard and seen. Then she bade them go with all speed and
invite the stranger to come for a measureless hire. As hinds or
heifers in spring time, when sated with pasture, bound about a
meadow, so they, holding up the folds of their lovely garments,
darted down the hollow path, and their hair like a crocus flower
streamed about their shoulders. And they found the good goddess
near the wayside where they had left her before, and led her to
the house of their dear father. And she walked behind,
distressed in her dear heart, with her head veiled and wearing a
dark cloak which waved about the slender feet of the goddess.

(ll. 184-211) Soon they came to the house of heaven-nurtured
Celeus and went through the portico to where their queenly mother
sat by a pillar of the close-fitted roof, holding her son, a
tender scion, in her bosom. And the girls ran to her. But the
goddess walked to the threshold: and her head reached the roof
and she filled the doorway with a heavenly radiance. Then awe
and reverence and pale fear took hold of Metaneira, and she rose
up from her couch before Demeter, and bade her be seated. But
Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of perfect gifts, would not
sit upon the bright couch, but stayed silent with lovely eyes
cast down until careful Iambe placed a jointed seat for her and
threw over it a silvery fleece. Then she sat down and held her
veil in her hands before her face. A long time she sat upon the
stool (6) without speaking because of her sorrow, and greeted no
one by word or by sign, but rested, never smiling, and tasting
neither food nor drink, because she pined with longing for her
deep-bosomed daughter, until careful Iambe -- who pleased her
moods in aftertime also -- moved the holy lady with many a quip
and jest to smile and laugh and cheer her heart. Then Metaneira
filled a cup with sweet wine and offered it to her; but she
refused it, for she said it was not lawful for her to drink red
wine, but bade them mix meal and water with soft mint and give
her to drink. And Metaneira mixed the draught and gave it to the
goddess as she bade. So the great queen Deo received it to
observe the sacrament.... (7)


(ll. 212-223) And of them all, well-girded Metaneira first began
to speak: `Hail, lady! For I think you are not meanly but nobly
born; truly dignity and grace are conspicuous upon your eyes as
in the eyes of kings that deal justice. Yet we mortals bear
perforce what the gods send us, though we be grieved; for a yoke
is set upon our necks. But now, since you are come here, you
shall have what I can bestow: and nurse me this child whom the
gods gave me in my old age and beyond my hope, a son much prayed
for. If you should bring him up until he reach the full measure
of youth, any one of womankind that sees you will straightway
envy you, so great reward would I give for his upbringing.'

(ll. 224-230) Then rich-haired Demeter answered her: `And to you,
also, lady, all hail, and may the gods give you good! Gladly
will I take the boy to my breast, as you bid me, and will nurse
him. Never, I ween, through any heedlessness of his nurse shall
witchcraft hurt him nor yet the Undercutter (8): for I know a
charm far stronger than the Woodcutter, and I know an excellent
safeguard against woeful witchcraft.'

(ll. 231-247) When she had so spoken, she took the child in her
fragrant bosom with her divine hands: and his mother was glad in
her heart. So the goddess nursed in the palace Demophoon, wise
Celeus' goodly son whom well-girded Metaneira bare. And the
child grew like some immortal being, not fed with food nor
nourished at the breast: for by day rich-crowned Demeter would
anoint him with ambrosia as if he were the offspring of a god and
breathe sweetly upon him as she held him in her bosom. But at
night she would hide him like a brand in the heard of the fire,
unknown to his dear parents. And it wrought great wonder in
these that he grew beyond his age; for he was like the gods face
to face. And she would have made him deathless and unageing, had
not well-girded Metaneira in her heedlessness kept watch by night
from her sweet-smelling chamber and spied. But she wailed and
smote her two hips, because she feared for her son and was
greatly distraught in her heart; so she lamented and uttered
winged words:

(ll. 248-249) `Demophoon, my son, the strange woman buries you
deep in fire and works grief and bitter sorrow for me.'

(ll. 250-255) Thus she spoke, mourning. And the bright goddess,
lovely-crowned Demeter, heard her, and was wroth with her. So
with her divine hands she snatched from the fire the dear son
whom Metaneira had born unhoped-for in the palace, and cast him
from her to the ground; for she was terribly angry in her heart.
Forthwith she said to well-girded Metaneira:

(ll. 256-274) `Witless are you mortals and dull to foresee your
lot, whether of good or evil, that comes upon you. For now in
your heedlessness you have wrought folly past healing; for -- be
witness the oath of the gods, the relentless water of Styx -- I
would have made your dear son deathless and unaging all his days
and would have bestowed on him everlasting honour, but now he can
in no way escape death and the fates. Yet shall unfailing honour
always rest upon him, because he lay upon my knees and slept in
my arms. But, as the years move round and when he is in his
prime, the sons of the Eleusinians shall ever wage war and dread
strife with one another continually. Lo! I am that Demeter who
has share of honour and is the greatest help and cause of joy to
the undying gods and mortal men. But now, let all the people
build be a great temple and an altar below it and beneath the
city and its sheer wall upon a rising hillock above Callichorus.
And I myself will teach my rites, that hereafter you may
reverently perform them and so win the favour of my heart.'

(ll. 275-281) When she had so said, the goddess changed her
stature and her looks, thrusting old age away from her: beauty
spread round about her and a lovely fragrance was wafted from her
sweet-smelling robes, and from the divine body of the goddess a
light shone afar, while golden tresses spread down over her
shoulders, so that the strong house was filled with brightness as
with lightning. And so she went out from the palace.

(ll. 281-291) And straightway Metaneira's knees were loosed and
she remained speechless for a long while and did not remember to
take up her late-born son from the ground. But his sisters heard
his pitiful wailing and sprang down from their well-spread beds:
one of them took up the child in her arms and laid him in her
bosom, while another revived the fire, and a third rushed with
soft feet to bring their mother from her fragrant chamber. And
they gathered about the struggling child and washed him,
embracing him lovingly; but he was not comforted, because nurses
and handmaids much less skilful were holding him now.

(ll. 292-300) All night long they sought to appease the glorious
goddess, quaking with fear. But, as soon as dawn began to show,
they told powerful Celeus all things without fail, as the lovely-
crowned goddess Demeter charged them. So Celeus called the
countless people to an assembly and bade them make a goodly
temple for rich-haired Demeter and an altar upon the rising
hillock. And they obeyed him right speedily and harkened to his
voice, doing as he commanded. As for the child, he grew like an
immortal being.

(ll. 301-320) Now when they had finished building and had drawn
back from their toil, they went every man to his house. But
golden-haired Demeter sat there apart from all the blessed gods
and stayed, wasting with yearning for her deep-bosomed daughter.
Then she caused a most dreadful and cruel year for mankind over
the all-nourishing earth: the ground would not make the seed
sprout, for rich-crowned Demeter kept it hid. In the fields the
oxen drew many a curved plough in vain, and much white barley was
cast upon the land without avail. So she would have destroyed
the whole race of man with cruel famine and have robbed them who
dwell on Olympus of their glorious right of gifts and sacrifices,
had not Zeus perceived and marked this in his heart. First he
sent golden-winged Iris to call rich-haired Demeter, lovely in
form. So he commanded. And she obeyed the dark-clouded Son of
Cronos, and sped with swift feet across the space between. She
came to the stronghold of fragrant Eleusis, and there finding
dark-cloaked Demeter in her temple, spake to her and uttered
winged words:

(ll. 321-323) `Demeter, father Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting,
calls you to come join the tribes of the eternal gods: come
therefore, and let not the message I bring from Zeus pass

(ll. 324-333) Thus said Iris imploring her. But Demeter's heart
was not moved. Then again the father sent forth all the blessed
and eternal gods besides: and they came, one after the other, and
kept calling her and offering many very beautiful gifts and
whatever right she might be pleased to choose among the deathless
gods. Yet no one was able to persuade her mind and will, so
wrath was she in her heart; but she stubbornly rejected all their
words: for she vowed that she would never set foot on fragrant
Olympus nor let fruit spring out of the ground, until she beheld
with her eyes her own fair-faced daughter.

(ll. 334-346) Now when all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer heard
this, he sent the Slayer of Argus whose wand is of gold to
Erebus, so that having won over Hades with soft words, he might
lead forth chaste Persephone to the light from the misty gloom to
join the gods, and that her mother might see her with her eyes
and cease from her anger. And Hermes obeyed, and leaving the
house of Olympus, straightway sprang down with speed to the
hidden places of the earth. And he found the lord Hades in his
house seated upon a couch, and his shy mate with him, much
reluctant, because she yearned for her mother. But she was afar
off, brooding on her fell design because of the deeds of the
blessed gods. And the strong Slayer of Argus drew near and said:

(ll. 347-356) `Dark-haired Hades, ruler over the departed, father
Zeus bids me bring noble Persephone forth from Erebus unto the
gods, that her mother may see her with her eyes and cease from
her dread anger with the immortals; for now she plans an awful
deed, to destroy the weakly tribes of earthborn men by keeping
seed hidden beneath the earth, and so she makes an end of the
honours of the undying gods. For she keeps fearful anger and
does not consort with the gods, but sits aloof in her fragrant
temple, dwelling in the rocky hold of Eleusis.'

(ll. 357-359) So he said. And Aidoneus, ruler over the dead,
smiled grimly and obeyed the behest of Zeus the king. For he
straightway urged wise Persephone, saying:

(ll. 360-369) `Go now, Persephone, to your dark-robed mother, go,
and feel kindly in your heart towards me: be not so exceedingly
cast down; for I shall be no unfitting husband for you among the
deathless gods, that am own brother to father Zeus. And while
you are here, you shall rule all that lives and moves and shall
have the greatest rights among the deathless gods: those who
defraud you and do not appease your power with offerings,
reverently performing rites and paying fit gifts, shall be
punished for evermore.'

(ll. 370-383) When he said this, wise Persephone was filled with
joy and hastily sprang up for gladness. But he on his part
secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for
himself that she might not remain continually with grave, dark-
robed Demeter. Then Aidoneus the Ruler of Many openly got ready
his deathless horses beneath the golden chariot. And she mounted
on the chariot, and the strong Slayer of Argos took reins and
whip in his dear hands and drove forth from the hall, the horses
speeding readily. Swiftly they traversed their long course, and
neither the sea nor river-waters nor grassy glens nor mountain-
peaks checked the career of the immortal horses, but they clave
the deep air above them as they went. And Hermes brought them to
the place where rich-crowned Demeter was staying and checked them
before her fragrant temple.

(ll. 384-404) And when Demeter saw them, she rushed forth as does
a Maenad down some thick-wooded mountain, while Persephone on the
other side, when she saw her mother's sweet eyes, left the
chariot and horses, and leaped down to run to her, and falling
upon her neck, embraced her. But while Demeter was still holding
her dear child in her arms, her heart suddenly misgave her for
some snare, so that she feared greatly and ceased fondling her
daughter and asked of her at once: `My child, tell me, surely
you have not tasted any food while you were below? Speak out and
hide nothing, but let us both know. For if you have not, you
shall come back from loathly Hades and live with me and your
father, the dark-clouded Son of Cronos and be honoured by all the
deathless gods; but if you have tasted food, you must go back
again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a
third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you
shall be with me and the other deathless gods. But when the
earth shall bloom with the fragrant flowers of spring in every
kind, then from the realm of darkness and gloom thou shalt come
up once more to be a wonder for gods and mortal men. And now
tell me how he rapt you away to the realm of darkness and gloom,
and by what trick did the strong Host of Many beguile you?'

(ll. 405-433) Then beautiful Persephone answered her thus:
'Mother, I will tell you all without error. When luck-bringing
Hermes came, swift messenger from my father the Son of Cronos and
the other Sons of Heaven, bidding me come back from Erebus that
you might see me with your eyes and so cease from your anger and
fearful wrath against the gods, I sprang up at once for joy; but
he secretly put in my mouth sweet food, a pomegranate seed, and
forced me to taste against my will. Also I will tell how he rapt
me away by the deep plan of my father the Son of Cronos and
carried me off beneath the depths of the earth, and will relate
the whole matter as you ask. All we were playing in a lovely
meadow, Leucippe (9) and Phaeno and Electra and Ianthe, Melita
also and Iache with Rhodea and Callirhoe and Melobosis and Tyche
and Ocyrhoe, fair as a flower, Chryseis, Ianeira, Acaste and
Admete and Rhodope and Pluto and charming Calypso; Styx too was
there and Urania and lovely Galaxaura with Pallas who rouses
battles and Artemis delighting in arrows: we were playing and
gathering sweet flowers in our hands, soft crocuses mingled with
irises and hyacinths, and rose-blooms and lilies, marvellous to
see, and the narcissus which the wide earth caused to grow yellow
as a crocus. That I plucked in my joy; but the earth parted
beneath, and there the strong lord, the Host of Many, sprang
forth and in his golden chariot he bore me away, all unwilling,
beneath the earth: then I cried with a shrill cry. All this is
true, sore though it grieves me to tell the tale.'

(ll. 434-437) So did they turn, with hearts at one, greatly cheer
each the other's soul and spirit with many an embrace: their
heart had relief from their griefs while each took and gave back

(ll. 438-440) Then bright-coiffed Hecate came near to them, and
often did she embrace the daughter of holy Demeter: and from that
time the lady Hecate was minister and companion to Persephone.

(ll. 441-459) And all-seeing Zeus sent a messenger to them, rich-
haired Rhea, to bring dark-cloaked Demeter to join the families
of the gods: and he promised to give her what right she should
choose among the deathless gods and agreed that her daughter
should go down for the third part of the circling year to
darkness and gloom, but for the two parts should live with her
mother and the other deathless gods. Thus he commanded. And the
goddess did not disobey the message of Zeus; swiftly she rushed
down from the peaks of Olympus and came to the plain of Rharus,
rich, fertile corn-land once, but then in nowise fruitful, for it
lay idle and utterly leafless, because the white grains was
hidden by design of trim-ankled Demeter. But afterwards, as
springtime waxed, it was soon to be waving with long ears of
corn, and its rich furrows to be loaded with grain upon the
ground, while others would already be bound in sheaves. There
first she landed from the fruitless upper air: and glad were the
goddesses to see each other and cheered in heart. Then bright-
coiffed Rhea said to Demeter:

(ll. 460-469) `Come, my daughter; for far-seeing Zeus the loud-
thunderer calls you to join the families of the gods, and has
promised to give you what rights you please among the deathless
gods, and has agreed that for a third part of the circling year
your daughter shall go down to darkness and gloom, but for the
two parts shall be with you and the other deathless gods: so has
he declared it shall be and has bowed his head in token. But
come, my child, obey, and be not too angry unrelentingly with the
dark-clouded Son of Cronos; but rather increase forthwith for men
the fruit that gives them life.'

(ll. 470-482) So spake Rhea. And rich-crowned Demeter did not
refuse but straightway made fruit to spring up from the rich
lands, so that the whole wide earth was laden with leaves and
flowers. Then she went, and to the kings who deal justice,
Triptolemus and Diocles, the horse-driver, and to doughty
Eumolpus and Celeus, leader of the people, she showed the conduct
of her rites and taught them all her mysteries, to Triptolemus
and Polyxeinus and Diocles also, -- awful mysteries which no one
may in any way transgress or pry into or utter, for deep awe of
the gods checks the voice. Happy is he among men upon earth who
has seen these mysteries; but he who is uninitiate and who has no
part in them, never has lot of like good things once he is dead,
down in the darkness and gloom.

(ll. 483-489) But when the bright goddess had taught them all,
they went to Olympus to the gathering of the other gods. And
there they dwell beside Zeus who delights in thunder, awful and
reverend goddesses. Right blessed is he among men on earth whom
they freely love: soon they do send Plutus as guest to his great
house, Plutus who gives wealth to mortal men.

(ll. 490-495) And now, queen of the land of sweet Eleusis and
sea-girt Paros and rocky Antron, lady, giver of good gifts,
bringer of seasons, queen Deo, be gracious, you and your daughter
all beauteous Persephone, and for my song grant me heart-cheering
substance. And now I will remember you and another song also.

III. TO APOLLO (546 lines)


(ll. 1-18) I will remember and not be unmindful of Apollo who
shoots afar. As he goes through the house of Zeus, the gods
tremble before him and all spring up from their seats when he
draws near, as he bends his bright bow. But Leto alone stays by
the side of Zeus who delights in thunder; and then she unstrings
his bow, and closes his quiver, and takes his archery from his
strong shoulders in her hands and hangs them on a golden peg
against a pillar of his father's house. Then she leads him to a
seat and makes him sit: and the Father gives him nectar in a
golden cup welcoming his dear son, while the other gods make him
sit down there, and queenly Leto rejoices because she bare a
mighty son and an archer. Rejoice, blessed Leto, for you bare
glorious children, the lord Apollo and Artemis who delights in
arrows; her in Ortygia, and him in rocky Delos, as you rested
against the great mass of the Cynthian hill hard by a palm-tree
by the streams of Inopus.

(ll. 19-29) How, then, shall I sing of you who in all ways are a
worthy theme of song? For everywhere, O Phoebus, the whole range
of song is fallen to you, both over the mainland that rears
heifers and over the isles. All mountain-peaks and high
headlands of lofty hills and rivers flowing out to the deep and
beaches sloping seawards and havens of the sea are your delight.
Shall I sing how at the first Leto bare you to be the joy of men,
as she rested against Mount Cynthus in that rocky isle, in sea-
girt Delos -- while on either hand a dark wave rolled on
landwards driven by shrill winds -- whence arising you rule over
all mortal men?

(ll. 30-50) Among those who are in Crete, and in the township of
Athens, and in the isle of Aegina and Euboea, famous for ships,
in Aegae and Eiresiae and Peparethus near the sea, in Thracian
Athos and Pelion's towering heights and Thracian Samos and the
shady hills of Ida, in Scyros and Phocaea and the high hill of
Autocane and fair-lying Imbros and smouldering Lemnos and rich
Lesbos, home of Macar, the son of Aeolus, and Chios, brightest of
all the isles that lie in the sea, and craggy Mimas and the
heights of Corycus and gleaming Claros and the sheer hill of
Aesagea and watered Samos and the steep heights of Mycale, in
Miletus and Cos, the city of Meropian men, and steep Cnidos and
windy Carpathos, in Naxos and Paros and rocky Rhenaea -- so far
roamed Leto in travail with the god who shoots afar, to see if
any land would be willing to make a dwelling for her son. But
they greatly trembled and feared, and none, not even the richest
of them, dared receive Phoebus, until queenly Leto set foot on
Delos and uttered winged words and asked her:

(ll. 51-61) `Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my
son "Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple --; for no other
will touch you, as you will find: and I think you will never be
rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants
abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo,
all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant
savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed
those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers; for truly your
own soil is not rich.'

(ll. 62-82) So spake Leto. And Delos rejoiced and answered and
said: `Leto, most glorious daughter of great Coeus, joyfully
would I receive your child the far-shooting lord; for it is all
too true that I am ill-spoken of among men, whereas thus I should
become very greatly honoured. But this saying I fear, and I will
not hide it from you, Leto. They say that Apollo will be one
that is very haughty and will greatly lord it among gods and men
all over the fruitful earth. Therefore, I greatly fear in heart
and spirit that as soon as he sets the light of the sun, he will
scorn this island -- for truly I have but a hard, rocky soil --
and overturn me and thrust me down with his feet in the depths of
the sea; then will the great ocean wash deep above my head for
ever, and he will go to another land such as will please him,
there to make his temple and wooded groves. So, many-footed
creatures of the sea will make their lairs in me and black seals
their dwellings undisturbed, because I lack people. Yet if you
will but dare to sware a great oath, goddess, that here first he
will build a glorious temple to be an oracle for men, then let
him afterwards make temples and wooded groves amongst all men;
for surely he will be greatly renowned.

(ll. 83-88) So said Delos. And Leto sware the great oath of the
gods: `Now hear this, Earth and wide Heaven above, and dropping
water of Styx (this is the strongest and most awful oath for the
blessed gods), surely Phoebus shall have here his fragrant altar
and precinct, and you he shall honour above all.'

(ll. 89-101) Now when Leto had sworn and ended her oath, Delos
was very glad at the birth of the far-shooting lord. But Leto
was racked nine days and nine nights with pangs beyond wont. And
there were with her all the chiefest of the goddesses, Dione and
Rhea and Ichnaea and Themis and loud-moaning Amphitrite and the
other deathless goddesses save white-armed Hera, who sat in the
halls of cloud-gathering Zeus. Only Eilithyia, goddess of sore
travail, had not heard of Leto's trouble, for she sat on the top
of Olympus beneath golden clouds by white-armed Hera's
contriving, who kept her close through envy, because Leto with
the lovely tresses was soon to bear a son faultless and strong.

(ll. 102-114) But the goddesses sent out Iris from the well-set
isle to bring Eilithyia, promising her a great necklace strung
with golden threads, nine cubits long. And they bade Iris call
her aside from white-armed Hera, lest she might afterwards turn
her from coming with her words. When swift Iris, fleet of foot
as the wind, had heard all this, she set to run; and quickly
finishing all the distance she came to the home of the gods,
sheer Olympus, and forthwith called Eilithyia out from the hall
to the door and spoke winged words to her, telling her all as the
goddesses who dwell on Olympus had bidden her. So she moved the
heart of Eilithyia in her dear breast; and they went their way,
like shy wild-doves in their going.

(ll. 115-122) And as soon as Eilithyia the goddess of sore
travail set foot on Delos, the pains of birth seized Leto, and
she longed to bring forth; so she cast her arms about a palm tree
and kneeled on the soft meadow while the earth laughed for joy
beneath. Then the child leaped forth to the light, and all the
goddesses washed you purely and cleanly with sweet water, and
swathed you in a white garment of fine texture, new-woven, and
fastened a golden band about you.

(ll. 123-130) Now Leto did not give Apollo, bearer of the golden
blade, her breast; but Themis duly poured nectar and ambrosia
with her divine hands: and Leto was glad because she had borne a
strong son and an archer. But as soon as you had tasted that
divine heavenly food, O Phoebus, you could no longer then be held
by golden cords nor confined with bands, but all their ends were
undone. Forthwith Phoebus Apollo spoke out among the deathless

(ll. 131-132) `The lyre and the curved bow shall ever be dear to
me, and I will declare to men the unfailing will of Zeus.'

(ll. 133-139) So said Phoebus, the long-haired god who shoots
afar and began to walk upon the wide-pathed earth; and all
goddesses were amazed at him. Then with gold all Delos was
laden, beholding the child of Zeus and Leto, for joy because the
god chose her above the islands and shore to make his dwelling in
her: and she loved him yet more in her heart, and blossomed as
does a mountain-top with woodland flowers.

(ll. 140-164) And you, O lord Apollo, god of the silver bow,
shooting afar, now walked on craggy Cynthus, and now kept
wandering about the island and the people in them. Many are your
temples and wooded groves, and all peaks and towering bluffs of
lofty mountains and rivers flowing to the sea are dear to you,
Phoebus, yet in Delos do you most delight your heart; for there
the long robed Ionians gather in your honour with their children
and shy wives: mindful, they delight you with boxing and dancing
and song, so often as they hold their gathering. A man would say
that they were deathless and unageing if he should then come upon
the Ionians so met together. For he would see the graces of them
all, and would be pleased in heart gazing at the men and well-
girded women with their swift ships and great wealth. And there
is this great wonder besides -- and its renown shall never perish
-- the girls of Delos, hand-maidens of the Far-shooter; for when
they have praised Apollo first, and also Leto and Artemis who
delights in arrows, they sing a strain-telling of men and women
of past days, and charm the tribes of men. Also they can imitate
the tongues of all men and their clattering speech: each would
say that he himself were singing, so close to truth is their
sweet song.

(ll. 165-178) And now may Apollo be favourable and Artemis; and
farewell all you maidens. Remember me in after time whenever any
one of men on earth, a stranger who has seen and suffered much,
comes here and asks of you: `Whom think ye, girls, is the
sweetest singer that comes here, and in whom do you most
delight?' Then answer, each and all, with one voice: `He is a
blind man, and dwells in rocky Chios: his lays are evermore
supreme.' As for me, I will carry your renown as far as I roam
over the earth to the well-placed this thing is true. And I will
never cease to praise far-shooting Apollo, god of the silver bow,
whom rich-haired Leto bare.


(ll. 179-181) O Lord, Lycia is yours and lovely Maeonia and
Miletus, charming city by the sea, but over wave-girt Delos you
greatly reign your own self.

(ll. 182-206) Leto's all-glorious son goes to rocky Pytho,
playing upon his hollow lyre, clad in divine, perfumed garments;
and at the touch of the golden key his lyre sings sweet. Thence,
swift as thought, he speeds from earth to Olympus, to the house
of Zeus, to join the gathering of the other gods: then
straightway the undying gods think only of the lyre and song, and
all the Muses together, voice sweetly answering voice, hymn the
unending gifts the gods enjoy and the sufferings of men, all that
they endure at the hands of the deathless gods, and how they live
witless and helpless and cannot find healing for death or defence
against old age. Meanwhile the rich-tressed Graces and cheerful
Seasons dance with Harmonia and Hebe and Aphrodite, daughter of
Zeus, holding each other by the wrist. And among them sings one,
not mean nor puny, but tall to look upon and enviable in mien,
Artemis who delights in arrows, sister of Apollo. Among them
sport Ares and the keen-eyed Slayer of Argus, while Apollo plays
his lyre stepping high and featly and a radiance shines around
him, the gleaming of his feet and close-woven vest. And they,
even gold-tressed Leto and wise Zeus, rejoice in their great
hearts as they watch their dear son playing among the undying

(ll. 207-228) How then shall I sing of you -- though in all ways
you are a worthy theme for song? Shall I sing of you as wooer
and in the fields of love, how you went wooing the daughter of
Azan along with god-like Ischys the son of well-horsed Elatius,
or with Phorbas sprung from Triops, or with Ereutheus, or with
Leucippus and the wife of Leucippus....
....you on foot, he with his chariot, yet he fell not short of
Triops. Or shall I sing how at the first you went about the
earth seeking a place of oracle for men, O far-shooting Apollo?
To Pieria first you went down from Olympus and passed by sandy
Lectus and Enienae and through the land of the Perrhaebi. Soon
you came to Iolcus and set foot on Cenaeum in Euboea, famed for
ships: you stood in the Lelantine plain, but it pleased not your
heart to make a temple there and wooded groves. From there you
crossed the Euripus, far-shooting Apollo, and went up the green,
holy hills, going on to Mycalessus and grassy-bedded Teumessus,
and so came to the wood-clad abode of Thebe; for as yet no man
lived in holy Thebe, nor were there tracks or ways about Thebe's
wheat-bearing plain as yet.

(ll. 229-238) And further still you went, O far-shooting Apollo,
and came to Onchestus, Poseidon's bright grove: there the new-
broken cold distressed with drawing the trim chariot gets spirit
again, and the skilled driver springs from his car and goes on
his way. Then the horses for a while rattle the empty car, being
rid of guidance; and if they break the chariot in the woody
grove, men look after the horses, but tilt the chariot and leave
it there; for this was the rite from the very first. And the
drivers pray to the lord of the shrine; but the chariot falls to
the lot of the god.

(ll. 239-243) Further yet you went, O far-shooting Apollo, and
reached next Cephissus' sweet stream which pours forth its sweet-
flowing water from Lilaea, and crossing over it, O worker from
afar, you passed many-towered Ocalea and reached grassy

(ll. 244-253) Then you went towards Telphusa: and there the
pleasant place seemed fit for making a temple and wooded grove.
You came very near and spoke to her: `Telphusa, here I am minded
to make a glorious temple, an oracle for men, and hither they
will always bring perfect hecatombs, both those who live in rich
Peloponnesus and those of Europe and all the wave-washed isles,
coming to seek oracles. And I will deliver to them all counsel
that cannot fail, giving answer in my rich temple.'

(ll. 254-276) So said Phoebus Apollo, and laid out all the
foundations throughout, wide and very long. But when Telphusa
saw this, she was angry in heart and spoke, saying: `Lord
Phoebus, worker from afar, I will speak a word of counsel to your
heart, since you are minded to make here a glorious temple to be
an oracle for men who will always bring hither perfect hecatombs
for you; yet I will speak out, and do you lay up my words in your
heart. The trampling of swift horses and the sound of mules
watering at my sacred springs will always irk you, and men will
like better to gaze at the well-made chariots and stamping,
swift-footed horses than at your great temple and the many
treasures that are within. But if you will be moved by me -- for
you, lord, are stronger and mightier than I, and your strength is
very great -- build at Crisa below the glades of Parnassus: there
no bright chariot will clash, and there will be no noise of
swift-footed horses near your well-built altar. But so the
glorious tribes of men will bring gifts to you as Iepaeon (`Hail-
Healer'), and you will receive with delight rich sacrifices from
the people dwelling round about.' So said Telphusa, that she
alone, and not the Far-Shooter, should have renown there; and she
persuaded the Far-Shooter.

(ll. 277-286) Further yet you went, far-shooting Apollo, until
you came to the town of the presumptuous Phlegyae who dwell on
this earth in a lovely glade near the Cephisian lake, caring not
for Zeus. And thence you went speeding swiftly to the mountain
ridge, and came to Crisa beneath snowy Parnassus, a foothill
turned towards the west: a cliff hangs over if from above, and a
hollow, rugged glade runs under. There the lord Phoebus Apollo
resolved to make his lovely temple, and thus he said:

(ll. 287-293) `In this place I am minded to build a glorious
temple to be an oracle for men, and here they will always bring
perfect hecatombs, both they who dwell in rich Peloponnesus and
the men of Europe and from all the wave-washed isles, coming to
question me. And I will deliver to them all counsel that cannot
fail, answering them in my rich temple.'

(ll. 294-299) When he had said this, Phoebus Apollo laid out all
the foundations throughout, wide and very long; and upon these
the sons of Erginus, Trophonius and Agamedes, dear to the
deathless gods, laid a footing of stone. And the countless
tribes of men built the whole temple of wrought stones, to be
sung of for ever.

(ll. 300-310) But near by was a sweet flowing spring, and there
with his strong bow the lord, the son of Zeus, killed the
bloated, great she-dragon, a fierce monster wont to do great
mischief to men upon earth, to men themselves and to their thin-
shanked sheep; for she was a very bloody plague. She it was who
once received from gold-throned Hera and brought up fell, cruel
Typhaon to be a plague to men. Once on a time Hera bare him
because she was angry with father Zeus, when the Son of Cronos
bare all-glorious Athena in his head. Thereupon queenly Hera was
angry and spoke thus among the assembled gods:

(ll. 311-330) `Hear from me, all gods and goddesses, how cloud-
gathering Zeus begins to dishonour me wantonly, when he has made
me his true-hearted wife. See now, apart from me he has given
birth to bright-eyed Athena who is foremost among all the blessed
gods. But my son Hephaestus whom I bare was weakly among all the
blessed gods and shrivelled of foot, a shame and disgrace to me
in heaven, whom I myself took in my hands and cast out so that he
fell in the great sea. But silver-shod Thetis the daughter of
Nereus took and cared for him with her sisters: would that she
had done other service to the blessed gods! O wicked one and
crafty! What else will you now devise? How dared you by
yourself give birth to bright-eyed Athena? Would not I have
borne you a child -- I, who was at least called your wife among
the undying gods who hold wide heaven. Beware now lest I devise
some evil thing for you hereafter: yes, now I will contrive that
a son be born me to be foremost among the undying gods -- and
that without casting shame on the holy bond of wedlock between
you and me. And I will not come to your bed, but will consort
with the blessed gods far off from you.'

(ll. 331-333) When she had so spoken, she went apart from the
gods, being very angry. Then straightway large-eyed queenly Hera
prayed, striking the ground flatwise with her hand, and speaking

(ll. 334-362) `Hear now, I pray, Earth and wide Heaven above, and
you Titan gods who dwell beneath the earth about great Tartarus,
and from whom are sprung both gods and men! Harken you now to
me, one and all, and grant that I may bear a child apart from
Zeus, no wit lesser than him in strength -- nay, let him be as
much stronger than Zeus as all-seeing Zeus than Cronos.' Thus
she cried and lashed the earth with her strong hand. Then the
life-giving earth was moved: and when Hera saw it she was glad in
heart, for she thought her prayer would be fulfilled. And
thereafter she never came to the bed of wise Zeus for a full
year, not to sit in her carved chair as aforetime to plan wise
counsel for him, but stayed in her temples where many pray, and
delighted in her offerings, large-eyed queenly Hera. But when
the months and days were fulfilled and the seasons duly came on
as the earth moved round, she bare one neither like the gods nor
mortal men, fell, cruel Typhaon, to be a plague to men.
Straightway large-eyed queenly Hera took him and bringing one
evil thing to another such, gave him to the dragoness; and she
received him. And this Typhaon used to work great mischief among
the famous tribes of men. Whosoever met the dragoness, the day
of doom would sweep him away, until the lord Apollo, who deals
death from afar, shot a strong arrow at her. Then she, rent with
bitter pangs, lay drawing great gasps for breath and rolling
about that place. An awful noise swelled up unspeakable as she
writhed continually this way and that amid the wood: and so she
left her life, breathing it forth in blood. Then Phoebus Apollo
boasted over her:

(ll. 363-369) `Now rot here upon the soil that feeds man! You at
least shall live no more to be a fell bane to men who eat the
fruit of the all-nourishing earth, and who will bring hither
perfect hecatombs. Against cruel death neither Typhoeus shall
avail you nor ill-famed Chimera, but here shall the Earth and
shining Hyperion make you rot.'

(ll. 370-374) Thus said Phoebus, exulting over her: and darkness
covered her eyes. And the holy strength of Helios made her rot
away there; wherefore the place is now called Pytho, and men call
the lord Apollo by another name, Pythian; because on that spot
the power of piercing Helios made the monster rot away.

(ll. 375-378) Then Phoebus Apollo saw that the sweet-flowing
spring had beguiled him, and he started out in anger against
Telphusa; and soon coming to her, he stood close by and spoke to

(ll. 379-381) `Telphusa, you were not, after all, to keep to
yourself this lovely place by deceiving my mind, and pour forth
your clear flowing water: here my renown shall also be and not
yours alone?'

(ll. 382-387) Thus spoke the lord, far-working Apollo, and pushed
over upon her a crag with a shower of rocks, hiding her streams:
and he made himself an altar in a wooded grove very near the
clear-flowing stream. In that place all men pray to the great
one by the name Telphusian, because he humbled the stream of holy

(ll. 388-439) Then Phoebus Apollo pondered in his heart what men
he should bring in to be his ministers in sacrifice and to serve
him in rocky Pytho. And while he considered this, he became
aware of a swift ship upon the wine-like sea in which were many
men and goodly, Cretans from Cnossos (10), the city of Minos,
they who do sacrifice to the prince and announce his decrees,
whatsoever Phoebus Apollo, bearer of the golden blade, speaks in
answer from his laurel tree below the dells of Parnassus. These
men were sailing in their black ship for traffic and for profit
to sandy Pylos and to the men of Pylos. But Phoebus Apollo met
them: in the open sea he sprang upon their swift ship, like a
dolphin in shape, and lay there, a great and awesome monster, and
none of them gave heed so as to understand (11); but they sought
to cast the dolphin overboard. But he kept shaking the black
ship every way and make the timbers quiver. So they sat silent
in their craft for fear, and did not loose the sheets throughout
the black, hollow ship, nor lowered the sail of their dark-prowed
vessel, but as they had set it first of all with oxhide ropes, so
they kept sailing on; for a rushing south wind hurried on the
swift ship from behind. First they passed by Malea, and then
along the Laconian coast they came to Taenarum, sea-garlanded
town and country of Helios who gladdens men, where the thick-
fleeced sheep of the lord Helios feed continually and occupy a
glad-some country. There they wished to put their ship to shore,
and land and comprehend the great marvel and see with their eyes
whether the monster would remain upon the deck of the hollow
ship, or spring back into the briny deep where fishes shoal. But
the well-built ship would not obey the helm, but went on its way
all along Peloponnesus: and the lord, far-working Apollo, guided
it easily with the breath of the breeze. So the ship ran on its
course and came to Arena and lovely Argyphea and Thryon, the ford
of Alpheus, and well-placed Aepy and sandy Pylos and the men of
Pylos; past Cruni it went and Chalcis and past Dyme and fair
Elis, where the Epei rule. And at the time when she was making
for Pherae, exulting in the breeze from Zeus, there appeared to
them below the clouds the steep mountain of Ithaca, and Dulichium
and Same and wooded Zacynthus. But when they were passed by all
the coast of Peloponnesus, then, towards Crisa, that vast gulf
began to heave in sight which through all its length cuts off the
rich isle of Pelops. There came on them a strong, clear west-
wind by ordinance of Zeus and blew from heaven vehemently, that
with all speed the ship might finish coursing over the briny
water of the sea. So they began again to voyage back towards the
dawn and the sun: and the lord Apollo, son of Zeus, led them on
until they reached far-seen Crisa, land of vines, and into haven:
there the sea-coursing ship grounded on the sands.

(ll. 440-451) Then, like a star at noonday, the lord, far-working
Apollo, leaped from the ship: flashes of fire flew from him thick
and their brightness reached to heaven. He entered into his
shrine between priceless tripods, and there made a flame to flare
up bright, showing forth the splendour of his shafts, so that
their radiance filled all Crisa, and the wives and well-girded
daughters of the Crisaeans raised a cry at that outburst of
Phoebus; for he cast great fear upon them all. From his shrine
he sprang forth again, swift as a thought, to speed again to the
ship, bearing the form of a man, brisk and sturdy, in the prime
of his youth, while his broad shoulders were covered with his
hair: and he spoke to the Cretans, uttering winged words:

(ll. 452-461) `Strangers, who are you? Whence come you sailing
along the paths of the sea? Are you for traffic, or do you
wander at random over the sea as pirates do who put their own
lives to hazard and bring mischief to men of foreign parts as
they roam? Why rest you so and are afraid, and do not go ashore
nor stow the gear of your black ship? For that is the custom of
men who live by bread, whenever they come to land in their dark
ships from the main, spent with toil; at once desire for sweet
food catches them about the heart.'

(ll. 462-473) So speaking, he put courage in their hearts, and
the master of the Cretans answered him and said: `Stranger --
though you are nothing like mortal men in shape or stature, but
are as the deathless gods -- hail and all happiness to you, and
may the gods give you good. Now tell me truly that I may surely
know it: what country is this, and what land, and what men live
herein? As for us, with thoughts set otherwards, we were sailing
over the great sea to Pylos from Crete (for from there we declare
that we are sprung), but now are come on shipboard to this place
by no means willingly -- another way and other paths -- and
gladly would we return. But one of the deathless gods brought us
here against our will.'

(ll. 474-501) Then far-working Apollo answered then and said:
`Strangers who once dwelt about wooded Cnossos but now shall
return no more each to his loved city and fair house and dear
wife; here shall you keep my rich temple that is honoured by many
men. I am the son of Zeus; Apollo is my name: but you I brought
here over the wide gulf of the sea, meaning you no hurt; nay,
here you shall keep my rich temple that is greatly honoured among
men, and you shall know the plans of the deathless gods, and by
their will you shall be honoured continually for all time. And
now come, make haste and do as I say. First loose the sheets and
lower the sail, and then draw the swift ship up upon the land.
Take out your goods and the gear of the straight ship, and make
an altar upon the beach of the sea: light fire upon it and make
an offering of white meal. Next, stand side by side around the
altar and pray: and in as much as at the first on the hazy sea I
sprang upon the swift ship in the form of a dolphin, pray to me
as Apollo Delphinius; also the altar itself shall be called
Delphinius and overlooking (12) for ever. Afterwards, sup beside
your dark ship and pour an offering to the blessed gods who dwell
on Olympus. But when you have put away craving for sweet food,
come with me singing the hymn Ie Paean (Hail, Healer!), until you
come to the place where you shall keep my rich temple.'

(ll. 502-523) So said Apollo. And they readily harkened to him
and obeyed him. First they unfastened the sheets and let down
the sail and lowered the mast by the forestays upon the mast-
rest. Then, landing upon the beach of the sea, they hauled up
the ship from the water to dry land and fixed long stays under
it. Also they made an altar upon the beach of the sea, and when
they had lit a fire, made an offering of white meal, and prayed
standing around the altar as Apollo had bidden them. Then they
took their meal by the swift, black ship, and poured an offering
to the blessed gods who dwell on Olympus. And when they had put
away craving for drink and food, they started out with the lord
Apollo, the son of Zeus, to lead them, holding a lyre in his
hands, and playing sweetly as he stepped high and featly. So the
Cretans followed him to Pytho, marching in time as they chanted
the Ie Paean after the manner of the Cretan paean-singers and of
those in whose hearts the heavenly Muse has put sweet-voiced
song. With tireless feet they approached the ridge and
straightway came to Parnassus and the lovely place where they
were to dwell honoured by many men. There Apollo brought them
and showed them his most holy sanctuary and rich temple.

(ll. 524-525) But their spirit was stirred in their dear breasts,
and the master of the Cretans asked him, saying:

(ll. 526-530) `Lord, since you have brought us here far from our
dear ones and our fatherland, -- for so it seemed good to your
heart, -- tell us now how we shall live. That we would know of
you. This land is not to be desired either for vineyards or for
pastures so that we can live well thereon and also minister to

(ll. 531-544) Then Apollo, the son of Zeus, smiled upon them and
said: `Foolish mortals and poor drudges are you, that you seek
cares and hard toils and straits! Easily will I tell you a word
and set it in your hearts. Though each one of you with knife in
hand should slaughter sheep continually, yet would you always
have abundant store, even all that the glorious tribes of men
bring here for me. But guard you my temple and receive the
tribes of men that gather to this place, and especially show
mortal men my will, and do you keep righteousness in your heart.
But if any shall be disobedient and pay no heed to my warning, of
if there shall be any idle word or deed and outrage as is common
among mortal men, then other men shall be your masters and with a
strong hand shall make you subject for ever. All has been told
you: do you keep it in your heart.'

(ll. 545-546) And so, farewell, son of Zeus and Leto; but I will
remember you and another hymn also.

IV. TO HERMES (582 lines)

(ll. 1-29) Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia, lord
of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in flocks, the luck-bringing
messenger of the immortals whom Maia bare, the rich-tressed
nymph, when she was joined in love with Zeus, -- a shy goddess,
for she avoided the company of the blessed gods, and lived within
a deep, shady cave. There the son of Cronos used to lie with the
rich-tressed nymph, unseen by deathless gods and mortal men, at
dead of night while sweet sleep should hold white-armed Hera
fast. And when the purpose of great Zeus was fixed in heaven,
she was delivered and a notable thing was come to pass. For then
she bare a son, of many shifts, blandly cunning, a robber, a
cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief
at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds
among the deathless gods. Born with the dawning, at mid-day he
played on the lyre, and in the evening he stole the cattle of
far-shooting Apollo on the fourth day of the month; for on that
day queenly Maia bare him. So soon as he had leaped from his
mother's heavenly womb, he lay not long waiting in his holy
cradle, but he sprang up and sought the oxen of Apollo. But as
he stepped over the threshold of the high-roofed cave, he found a
tortoise there and gained endless delight. For it was Hermes who
first made the tortoise a singer. The creature fell in his way
at the courtyard gate, where it was feeding on the rich grass
before the dwelling, waddling along. When be saw it, the luck-
bringing son of Zeus laughed and said:

(ll. 30-38) `An omen of great luck for me so soon! I do not
slight it. Hail, comrade of the feast, lovely in shape, sounding
at the dance! With joy I meet you! Where got you that rich gaud
for covering, that spangled shell -- a tortoise living in the
mountains? But I will take and carry you within: you shall help
me and I will do you no disgrace, though first of all you must
profit me. It is better to be at home: harm may come out of
doors. Living, you shall be a spell against mischievous
witchcraft (13); but if you die, then you shall make sweetest

(ll. 39-61) Thus speaking, he took up the tortoise in both hands
and went back into the house carrying his charming toy. Then he
cut off its limbs and scooped out the marrow of the mountain-
tortoise with a scoop of grey iron. As a swift thought darts
through the heart of a man when thronging cares haunt him, or as
bright glances flash from the eye, so glorious Hermes planned
both thought and deed at once. He cut stalks of reed to measure
and fixed them, fastening their ends across the back and through
the shell of the tortoise, and then stretched ox hide all over it
by his skill. Also he put in the horns and fitted a cross-piece
upon the two of them, and stretched seven strings of sheep-gut.
But when he had made it he proved each string in turn with the
key, as he held the lovely thing. At the touch of his hand it
sounded marvellously; and, as he tried it, the god sang sweet
random snatches, even as youths bandy taunts at festivals. He
sang of Zeus the son of Cronos and neat-shod Maia, the converse
which they had before in the comradeship of love, telling all the
glorious tale of his own begetting. He celebrated, too, the
handmaids of the nymph, and her bright home, and the tripods all
about the house, and the abundant cauldrons.

(ll. 62-67) But while he was singing of all these, his heart was
bent on other matters. And he took the hollow lyre and laid it
in his sacred cradle, and sprang from the sweet-smelling hall to
a watch-place, pondering sheet trickery in his heart -- deeds
such as knavish folk pursue in the dark night-time; for he longed
to taste flesh.

(ll. 68-86) The Sun was going down beneath the earth towards
Ocean with his horses and chariot when Hermes came hurrying to
the shadowy mountains of Pieria, where the divine cattle of the
blessed gods had their steads and grazed the pleasant, unmown
meadows. Of these the Son of Maia, the sharp-eyed slayer of
Argus then cut off from the herd fifty loud-lowing kine, and
drove them straggling-wise across a sandy place, turning their
hoof-prints aside. Also, he bethought him of a crafty ruse and
reversed the marks of their hoofs, making the front behind and
the hind before, while he himself walked the other way (14).
Then he wove sandals with wicker-work by the sand of the sea,
wonderful things, unthought of, unimagined; for he mixed together
tamarisk and myrtle-twigs, fastening together an armful of their
fresh, young wood, and tied them, leaves and all securely under
his feet as light sandals. The brushwood the glorious Slayer of
Argus plucked in Pieria as he was preparing for his journey,
making shift (15) as one making haste for a long journey.

(ll. 87-89) But an old man tilling his flowering vineyard saw him
as he was hurrying down the plain through grassy Onchestus. So
the Son of Maia began and said to him:

(ll. 90-93) `Old man, digging about your vines with bowed
shoulders, surely you shall have much wine when all these bear
fruit, if you obey me and strictly remember not to have seen what
you have seen, and not to have heard what you have heard, and to
keep silent when nothing of your own is harmed.'

(ll. 94-114) When he had said this much, he hurried the strong
cattle on together: through many shadowy mountains and echoing
gorges and flowery plains glorious Hermes drove them. And now
the divine night, his dark ally, was mostly passed, and dawn that
sets folk to work was quickly coming on, while bright Selene,
daughter of the lord Pallas, Megamedes' son, had just climbed her
watch-post, when the strong Son of Zeus drove the wide-browed
cattle of Phoebus Apollo to the river Alpheus. And they came
unwearied to the high-roofed byres and the drinking-troughs that
were before the noble meadow. Then, after he had well-fed the
loud-bellowing cattle with fodder and driven them into the byre,
close-packed and chewing lotus and began to seek the art of fire.

He chose a stout laurel branch and trimmed it with the knife....
((LACUNA)) (16)
....held firmly in his hand: and the hot smoke rose up. For it
was Hermes who first invented fire-sticks and fire. Next he took
many dried sticks and piled them thick and plenty in a sunken
trench: and flame began to glow, spreading afar the blast of
fierce-burning fire.

(ll. 115-137) And while the strength of glorious Hephaestus was
beginning to kindle the fire, he dragged out two lowing, horned
cows close to the fire; for great strength was with him. He
threw them both panting upon their backs on the ground, and
rolled them on their sides, bending their necks over (17), and
pierced their vital chord. Then he went on from task to task:
first he cut up the rich, fatted meat, and pierced it with wooden
spits, and roasted flesh and the honourable chine and the paunch
full of dark blood all together. He laid them there upon the
ground, and spread out the hides on a rugged rock: and so they
are still there many ages afterwards, a long, long time after all
this, and are continually (18). Next glad-hearted Hermes dragged
the rich meats he had prepared and put them on a smooth, flat
stone, and divided them into twelve portions distributed by lot,
making each portion wholly honourable. Then glorious Hermes
longed for the sacrificial meat, for the sweet savour wearied
him, god though he was; nevertheless his proud heart was not
prevailed upon to devour the flesh, although he greatly desired
(19). But he put away the fat and all the flesh in the high-
roofed byre, placing them high up to be a token of his youthful
theft. And after that he gathered dry sticks and utterly
destroyed with fire all the hoofs and all the heads.

(ll. 138-154) And when the god had duly finished all, he threw
his sandals into deep-eddying Alpheus, and quenched the embers,
covering the black ashes with sand, and so spent the night while
Selene's soft light shone down. Then the god went straight back
again at dawn to the bright crests of Cyllene, and no one met him
on the long journey either of the blessed gods or mortal men, nor
did any dog bark. And luck-bringing Hermes, the son of Zeus,
passed edgeways through the key-hole of the hall like the autumn
breeze, even as mist: straight through the cave he went and came
to the rich inner chamber, walking softly, and making no noise as
one might upon the floor. Then glorious Hermes went hurriedly to
his cradle, wrapping his swaddling clothes about his shoulders as
though he were a feeble babe, and lay playing with the covering
about his knees; but at his left hand he kept close his sweet

(ll. 155-161) But the god did not pass unseen by the goddess his
mother; but she said to him: `How now, you rogue! Whence come
you back so at night-time, you that wear shamelessness as a
garment? And now I surely believe the son of Leto will soon have
you forth out of doors with unbreakable cords about your ribs, or
you will live a rogue's life in the glens robbing by whiles. Go
to, then; your father got you to be a great worry to mortal men
and deathless gods.'

(ll. 162-181) Then Hermes answered her with crafty words:
`Mother, why do you seek to frighten me like a feeble child whose
heart knows few words of blame, a fearful babe that fears its
mother's scolding? Nay, but I will try whatever plan is best,
and so feed myself and you continually. We will not be content
to remain here, as you bid, alone of all the gods unfee'd with
offerings and prayers. Better to live in fellowship with the
deathless gods continually, rich, wealthy, and enjoying stories
of grain, than to sit always in a gloomy cave: and, as regards
honour, I too will enter upon the rite that Apollo has. If my
father will not give it to me, I will seek -- and I am able -- to
be a prince of robbers. And if Leto's most glorious son shall
seek me out, I think another and a greater loss will befall him.
For I will go to Pytho to break into his great house, and will
plunder therefrom splendid tripods, and cauldrons, and gold, and
plenty of bright iron, and much apparel; and you shall see it if
you will.'

(ll. 182-189) With such words they spoke together, the son of
Zeus who holds the aegis, and the lady Maia. Now Eros the early
born was rising from deep-flowing Ocean, bringing light to men,
when Apollo, as he went, came to Onchestus, the lovely grove and
sacred place of the loud-roaring Holder of the Earth. There he
found an old man grazing his beast along the pathway from his
court-yard fence, and the all-glorious Son of Leto began and said
to him.

(ll. 190-200) `Old man, weeder (20) of grassy Onchestus, I am
come here from Pieria seeking cattle, cows all of them, all with
curving horns, from my herd. The black bull was grazing alone
away from the rest, but fierce-eyed hounds followed the cows,
four of them, all of one mind, like men. These were left behind,
the dogs and the bull -- which is great marvel; but the cows
strayed out of the soft meadow, away from the pasture when the
sun was just going down. Now tell me this, old man born long
ago: have you seen one passing along behind those cows?'

(ll. 201-211) Then the old man answered him and said: `My son, it
is hard to tell all that one's eyes see; for many wayfarers pass
to and fro this way, some bent on much evil, and some on good: it
is difficult to know each one. However, I was digging about my
plot of vineyard all day long until the sun went down, and I
thought, good sir, but I do not know for certain, that I marked a
child, whoever the child was, that followed long-horned cattle --
an infant who had a staff and kept walking from side to side: he
was driving them backwards way, with their heads toward him.'

(ll. 212-218) So said the old man. And when Apollo heard this
report, he went yet more quickly on his way, and presently,
seeing a long-winged bird, he knew at once by that omen that
thief was the child of Zeus the son of Cronos. So the lord
Apollo, son of Zeus, hurried on to goodly Pylos seeking his
shambling oxen, and he had his broad shoulders covered with a
dark cloud. But when the Far-Shooter perceived the tracks, he

(ll. 219-226) `Oh, oh! Truly this is a great marvel that my eyes
behold! These are indeed the tracks of straight-horned oxen, but
they are turned backwards towards the flowery meadow. But these
others are not the footprints of man or woman or grey wolves or
bears or lions, nor do I think they are the tracks of a rough-
maned Centaur -- whoever it be that with swift feet makes such
monstrous footprints; wonderful are the tracks on this side of
the way, but yet more wonderfully are those on that.'

(ll. 227-234) When he had so said, the lord Apollo, the Son of
Zeus hastened on and came to the forest-clad mountain of Cyllene
and the deep-shadowed cave in the rock where the divine nymph
brought forth the child of Zeus who is the son of Cronos. A
sweet odour spread over the lovely hill, and many thin-shanked
sheep were grazing on the grass. Then far-shooting Apollo
himself stepped down in haste over the stone threshold into the
dusky cave.

(ll. 235-253) Now when the Son of Zeus and Maia saw Apollo in a
rage about his cattle, he snuggled down in his fragrant
swaddling-clothes; and as wood-ash covers over the deep embers of
tree-stumps, so Hermes cuddled himself up when he saw the Far-
Shooter. He squeezed head and hands and feet together in a small
space, like a new born child seeking sweet sleep, though in truth
he was wide awake, and he kept his lyre under his armpit. But
the Son of Leto was aware and failed not to perceive the
beautiful mountain-nymph and her dear son, albeit a little child
and swathed so craftily. He peered in ever corner of the great
dwelling and, taking a bright key, he opened three closets full
of nectar and lovely ambrosia. And much gold and silver was
stored in them, and many garments of the nymph, some purple and
some silvery white, such as are kept in the sacred houses of the
blessed gods. Then, after the Son of Leto had searched out the
recesses of the great house, he spake to glorious Hermes:

(ll. 254-259) `Child, lying in the cradle, make haste and tell me
of my cattle, or we two will soon fall out angrily. For I will
take and cast you into dusty Tartarus and awful hopeless
darkness, and neither your mother nor your father shall free you
or bring you up again to the light, but you will wander under the
earth and be the leader amongst little folk.' (21)

(ll. 260-277) Then Hermes answered him with crafty words: `Son of
Leto, what harsh words are these you have spoken? And is it
cattle of the field you are come here to seek? I have not seen
them: I have not heard of them: no one has told me of them. I
cannot give news of them, nor win the reward for news. Am I like
a cattle-liter, a stalwart person? This is no task for me:
rather I care for other things: I care for sleep, and milk of my
mother's breast, and wrappings round my shoulders, and warm
baths. Let no one hear the cause of this dispute; for this would
be a great marvel indeed among the deathless gods, that a child
newly born should pass in through the forepart of the house with
cattle of the field: herein you speak extravagantly. I was born
yesterday, and my feet are soft and the ground beneath is rough;
nevertheless, if you will have it so, I will swear a great oath
by my father's head and vow that neither am I guilty myself,
neither have I seen any other who stole your cows -- whatever
cows may be; for I know them only by hearsay.'

(ll. 278-280) So, then, said Hermes, shooting quick glances from
his eyes: and he kept raising his brows and looking this way and
that, whistling long and listening to Apollo's story as to an
idle tale.

(ll. 281-292) But far-working Apollo laughed softly and said to
him: `O rogue, deceiver, crafty in heart, you talk so innocently
that I most surely believe that you have broken into many a well-
built house and stripped more than one poor wretch bare this
night (22), gathering his goods together all over the house
without noise. You will plague many a lonely herdsman in
mountain glades, when you come on herds and thick-fleeced sheep,
and have a hankering after flesh. But come now, if you would not
sleep your last and latest sleep, get out of your cradle, you
comrade of dark night. Surely hereafter this shall be your title
amongst the deathless gods, to be called the prince of robbers

(ll. 293-300) So said Phoebus Apollo, and took the child and
began to carry him. But at that moment the strong Slayer of
Argus had his plan, and, while Apollo held him in his hands, sent
forth an omen, a hard-worked belly-serf, a rude messenger, and
sneezed directly after. And when Apollo heard it, he dropped
glorious Hermes out of his hands on the ground: then sitting down
before him, though he was eager to go on his way, he spoke
mockingly to Hermes:

(ll. 301-303) `Fear not, little swaddling baby, son of Zeus and
Maia. I shall find the strong cattle presently by these omens,
and you shall lead the way.'

(ll. 304-306) When Apollo had so said, Cyllenian Hermes sprang up
quickly, starting in haste. With both hands he pushed up to his
ears the covering that he had wrapped about his shoulders, and

(ll. 307-312) `Where are you carrying me, Far-Worker, hastiest of
all the gods? Is it because of your cattle that you are so angry
and harass me? O dear, would that all the sort of oxen might
perish; for it is not I who stole your cows, nor did I see
another steal them -- whatever cows may be, and of that I have
only heard report. Nay, give right and take it before Zeus, the
Son of Cronos.'

(ll. 313-326) So Hermes the shepherd and Leto's glorious son kept
stubbornly disputing each article of their quarrel: Apollo,
speaking truly....
....not fairly sought to seize glorious Hermes because of the
cows; but he, the Cyllenian, tried to deceive the God of the
Silver Bow with tricks and cunning words. But when, though he
had many wiles, he found the other had as many shifts, he began
to walk across the sand, himself in front, while the Son of Zeus
and Leto came behind. Soon they came, these lovely children of
Zeus, to the top of fragrant Olympus, to their father, the Son of
Cronos; for there were the scales of judgement set for them both.

There was an assembly on snowy Olympus, and the immortals who
perish not were gathering after the hour of gold-throned Dawn.

(ll. 327-329) Then Hermes and Apollo of the Silver Bow stood at
the knees of Zeus: and Zeus who thunders on high spoke to his
glorious son and asked him:

(ll. 330-332) `Phoebus, whence come you driving this great spoil,
a child new born that has the look of a herald? This is a
weighty matter that is come before the council of the gods.'

(ll. 333-364) Then the lord, far-working Apollo, answered him: `O
my father, you shall soon hear no triffling tale though you
reproach me that I alone am fond of spoil. Here is a child, a
burgling robber, whom I found after a long journey in the hills
of Cyllene: for my part I have never seen one so pert either
among the gods or all men that catch folk unawares throughout the
world. He strole away my cows from their meadow and drove them
off in the evening along the shore of the loud-roaring sea,
making straight for Pylos. There were double tracks, and
wonderful they were, such as one might marvel at, the doing of a
clever sprite; for as for the cows, the dark dust kept and showed
their footprints leading towards the flowery meadow; but he
himself -- bewildering creature -- crossed the sandy ground
outside the path, not on his feet nor yet on his hands; but,
furnished with some other means he trudged his way -- wonder of
wonders! -- as though one walked on slender oak-trees. Now while
he followed the cattle across sandy ground, all the tracks showed
quite clearly in the dust; but when he had finished the long way
across the sand, presently the cows' track and his own could not
be traced over the hard ground. But a mortal man noticed him as
he drove the wide-browed kine straight towards Pylos. And as
soon as he had shut them up quietly, and had gone home by crafty
turns and twists, he lay down in his cradle in the gloom of a dim
cave, as still as dark night, so that not even an eagle keenly
gazing would have spied him. Much he rubbed his eyes with his
hands as he prepared falsehood, and himself straightway said
roundly: "I have not seen them: I have not heard of them: no man
has told me of them. I could not tell you of them, nor win the
reward of telling."'

(ll. 365-367) When he had so spoken, Phoebus Apollo sat down.
But Hermes on his part answered and said, pointing at the Son of
Cronos, the lord of all the gods:

(ll. 368-386) `Zeus, my father, indeed I will speak truth to you;
for I am truthful and I cannot tell a lie. He came to our house
to-day looking for his shambling cows, as the sun was newly
rising. He brought no witnesses with him nor any of the blessed
gods who had seen the theft, but with great violence ordered me
to confess, threatening much to throw me into wide Tartarus. For
he has the rich bloom of glorious youth, while I was born but
yesterday -- as he too knows -- nor am I like a cattle-lifter, a
sturdy fellow. Believe my tale (for you claim to be my own
father), that I did not drive his cows to my house -- so may I
prosper -- nor crossed the threshold: this I say truly. I
reverence Helios greatly and the other gods, and you I love and
him I dread. You yourself know that I am not guilty: and I will
swear a great oath upon it: -- No! by these rich-decked porticoes
of the gods. And some day I will punish him, strong as he is,
for this pitiless inquisition; but now do you help the younger.'

(ll. 387-396) So spake the Cyllenian, the Slayer of Argus, while
he kept shooting sidelong glances and kept his swaddling-clothes
upon his arm, and did not cast them away. But Zeus laughed out
loud to see his evil-plotting child well and cunningly denying
guilt about the cattle. And he bade them both to be of one mind
and search for the cattle, and guiding Hermes to lead the way
and, without mischievousness of heart, to show the place where
now he had hidden the strong cattle. Then the Son of Cronos
bowed his head: and goodly Hermes obeyed him; for the will of
Zeus who holds the aegis easily prevailed with him.

(ll. 397-404) Then the two all-glorious children of Zeus hastened
both to sandy Pylos, and reached the ford of Alpheus, and came to
the fields and the high-roofed byre where the beasts were
cherished at night-time. Now while Hermes went to the cave in
the rock and began to drive out the strong cattle, the son of
Leto, looking aside, saw the cowhides on the sheer rock. And he
asked glorious Hermes at once:

(ll. 405-408) `How were you able, you crafty rogue, to flay two
cows, new-born and babyish as you are? For my part, I dread the
strength that will be yours: there is no need you should keep
growing long, Cyllenian, son of Maia!'

(ll. 409-414) So saying, Apollo twisted strong withes with his
hands meaning to bind Hermes with firm bands; but the bands would
not hold him, and the withes of osier fell far from him and began
to grow at once from the ground beneath their feet in that very
place. And intertwining with one another, they quickly grew and
covered all the wild-roving cattle by the will of thievish
Hermes, so that Apollo was astonished as he gazed.

(ll. 414-435) Then the strong slayer of Argus looked furtively
upon the ground with eyes flashing fire.... desiring to hide....
....Very easily he softened the son of all-glorious Leto as he
would, stern though the Far-shooter was. He took the lyre upon
his left arm and tried each string in turn with the key, so that
it sounded awesomely at his touch. And Phoebus Apollo laughed
for joy; for the sweet throb of the marvellous music went to his
heart, and a soft longing took hold on his soul as he listened.
Then the son of Maia, harping sweetly upon his lyre, took courage
and stood at the left hand of Phoebus Apollo; and soon, while he
played shrilly on his lyre, he lifted up his voice and sang, and
lovely was the sound of his voice that followed. He sang the
story of the deathless gods and of the dark earth, how at the
first they came to be, and how each one received his portion.
First among the gods he honoured Mnemosyne, mother of the Muses,
in his song; for the son of Maia was of her following. And next
the goodly son of Zeus hymned the rest of the immortals according
to their order in age, and told how each was born, mentioning all
in order as he struck the lyre upon his arm. But Apollo was
seized with a longing not to be allayed, and he opened his mouth
and spoke winged words to Hermes:

(ll. 436-462) `Slayer of oxen, trickster, busy one, comrade of
the feast, this song of yours is worth fifty cows, and I believe
that presently we shall settle our quarrel peacefully. But come
now, tell me this, resourceful son of Maia: has this marvellous
thing been with you from your birth, or did some god or mortal
man give it you -- a noble gift -- and teach you heavenly song?
For wonderful is this new-uttered sound I hear, the like of which
I vow that no man nor god dwelling on Olympus ever yet has known
but you, O thievish son of Maia. What skill is this? What song
for desperate cares? What way of song? For verily here are
three things to hand all at once from which to choose, -- mirth,
and love, and sweet sleep. And though I am a follower of the
Olympian Muses who love dances and the bright path of song -- the
full-toned chant and ravishing thrill of flutes -- yet I never
cared for any of those feats of skill at young men's revels, as I
do now for this: I am filled with wonder, O son of Zeus, at your
sweet playing. But now, since you, though little, have such
glorious skill, sit down, dear boy, and respect the words of your
elders. For now you shall have renown among the deathless gods,
you and your mother also. This I will declare to you exactly: by
this shaft of cornel wood I will surely make you a leader
renowned among the deathless gods, and fortunate, and will give
you glorious gifts and will not deceive you from first to last.'

(ll. 463-495) Then Hermes answered him with artful words: `You
question me carefully, O Far-worker; yet I am not jealous that
you should enter upon my art: this day you shall know it. For I
seek to be friendly with you both in thought and word. Now you
well know all things in your heart, since you sit foremost among
the deathless gods, O son of Zeus, and are goodly and strong.
And wise Zeus loves you as all right is, and has given you
splendid gifts. And they say that from the utterance of Zeus you
have learned both the honours due to the gods, O Far-worker, and
oracles from Zeus, even all his ordinances. Of all these I
myself have already learned that you have great wealth. Now, you
are free to learn whatever you please; but since, as it seems,
your heart is so strongly set on playing the lyre, chant, and
play upon it, and give yourself to merriment, taking this as a
gift from me, and do you, my friend, bestow glory on me. Sing
well with this clear-voiced companion in your hands; for you are
skilled in good, well-ordered utterance. From now on bring it
confidently to the rich feast and lovely dance and glorious
revel, a joy by night and by day. Whoso with wit and wisdom
enquires of it cunningly, him it teaches through its sound all
manner of things that delight the mind, being easily played with
gentle familiarities, for it abhors toilsome drudgery; but whoso
in ignorance enquires of it violently, to him it chatters mere
vanity and foolishness. But you are able to learn whatever you
please. So then, I will give you this lyre, glorious son of
Zeus, while I for my part will graze down with wild-roving cattle
the pastures on hill and horse-feeding plain: so shall the cows
covered by the bulls calve abundantly both males and females.
And now there is no need for you, bargainer though you are, to be
furiously angry.'

(ll. 496-502) When Hermes had said this, he held out the lyre:
and Phoebus Apollo took it, and readily put his shining whip in
Hermes' hand, and ordained him keeper of herds. The son of Maia
received it joyfully, while the glorious son of Leto, the lord
far-working Apollo, took the lyre upon his left arm and tried
each string with the key. Awesomely it sounded at the touch of
the god, while he sang sweetly to its note.

(ll. 503-512) Afterwards they two, the all-glorious sons of Zeus
turned the cows back towards the sacred meadow, but themselves
hastened back to snowy Olympus, delighting in the lyre. Then
wise Zeus was glad and made them both friends. And Hermes loved
the son of Leto continually, even as he does now, when he had
given the lyre as token to the Far-shooter, who played it
skilfully, holding it upon his arm. But for himself Hermes found
out another cunning art and made himself the pipes whose sound is
heard afar.

(ll. 513-520) Then the son of Leto said to Hermes: `Son of Maia,
guide and cunning one, I fear you may steal form me the lyre and
my curved bow together; for you have an office from Zeus, to
establish deeds of barter amongst men throughout the fruitful
earth. Now if you would only swear me the great oath of the
gods, either by nodding your head, or by the potent water of
Styx, you would do all that can please and ease my heart.'

(ll. 521-549) Then Maia's son nodded his head and promised that
he would never steal anything of all the Far-shooter possessed,
and would never go near his strong house; but Apollo, son of
Leto, swore to be fellow and friend to Hermes, vowing that he
would love no other among the immortals, neither god nor man
sprung from Zeus, better than Hermes: and the Father sent forth
an eagle in confirmation. And Apollo sware also: `Verily I will
make you only to be an omen for the immortals and all alike,
trusted and honoured by my heart. Moreover, I will give you a
splendid staff of riches and wealth: it is of gold, with three
branches, and will keep you scatheless, accomplishing every task,
whether of words or deeds that are good, which I claim to know
through the utterance of Zeus. But as for sooth-saying, noble,
heaven-born child, of which you ask, it is not lawful for you to
learn it, nor for any other of the deathless gods: only the mind
of Zeus knows that. I am pledged and have vowed and sworn a
strong oath that no other of the eternal gods save I should know
the wise-hearted counsel of Zeus. And do not you, my brother,
bearer of the golden wand, bid me tell those decrees which all-
seeing Zeus intends. As for men, I will harm one and profit
another, sorely perplexing the tribes of unenviable men.
Whosoever shall come guided by the call and flight of birds of
sure omen, that man shall have advantage through my voice, and I
will not deceive him. But whoso shall trust to idly-chattering
birds and shall seek to invoke my prophetic art contrary to my
will, and to understand more than the eternal gods, I declare
that he shall come on an idle journey; yet his gifts I would

(ll. 550-568) `But I will tell you another thing, Son of all-
glorious Maia and Zeus who holds the aegis, luck-bringing genius
of the gods. There are certain holy ones, sisters born -- three
virgins (23) gifted with wings: their heads are besprinkled with
white meal, and they dwell under a ridge of Parnassus. These are
teachers of divination apart from me, the art which I practised
while yet a boy following herds, though my father paid no heed to
it. From their home they fly now here, now there, feeding on
honey-comb and bringing all things to pass. And when they are
inspired through eating yellow honey, they are willing to speak
truth; but if they be deprived of the gods' sweet food, then they
speak falsely, as they swarm in and out together. These, then, I
give you; enquire of them strictly and delight your heart: and if
you should teach any mortal so to do, often will he hear your
response -- if he have good fortune. Take these, Son of Maia,
and tend the wild roving, horned oxen and horses and patient

(ll. 568a-573) So he spake. And from heaven father Zeus himself
gave confirmation to his words, and commanded that glorious
Hermes should be lord over all birds of omen and grim-eyed lions,
and boars with gleaming tusks, and over dogs and all flocks that
the wide earth nourishes, and over all sheep; also that he only
should be the appointed messenger to Hades, who, though he takes
no gift, shall give him no mean prize.

(ll. 574-578) Thus the lord Apollo showed his kindness for the
Son of Maia by all manner of friendship: and the Son of Cronos
gave him grace besides. He consorts with all mortals and
immortals: a little he profits, but continually throughout the
dark night he cozens the tribes of mortal men.

(ll. 579-580) And so, farewell, Son of Zeus and Maia; but I will
remember you and another song also.

V. TO APHRODITE (293 lines)

(ll. 1-6) Muse, tell me the deeds of golden Aphrodite the
Cyprian, who stirs up sweet passion in the gods and subdues the
tribes of mortal men and birds that fly in air and all the many
creatures that the dry land rears, and all the sea: all these
love the deeds of rich-crowned Cytherea.

(ll. 7-32) Yet there are three hearts that she cannot bend nor
yet ensnare. First is the daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis,
bright-eyed Athene; for she has no pleasure in the deeds of
golden Aphrodite, but delights in wars and in the work of Ares,
in strifes and battles and in preparing famous crafts. She first
taught earthly craftsmen to make chariots of war and cars
variously wrought with bronze, and she, too, teaches tender
maidens in the house and puts knowledge of goodly arts in each
one's mind. Nor does laughter-loving Aphrodite ever tame in love
Artemis, the huntress with shafts of gold; for she loves archery
and the slaying of wild beasts in the mountains, the lyre also
and dancing and thrilling cries and shady woods and the cities of
upright men. Nor yet does the pure maiden Hestia love
Aphrodite's works. She was the first-born child of wily Cronos
and youngest too (24), by will of Zeus who holds the aegis, -- a
queenly maid whom both Poseidon and Apollo sought to wed. But
she was wholly unwilling, nay, stubbornly refused; and touching
the head of father Zeus who holds the aegis, she, that fair
goddess, sware a great oath which has in truth been fulfilled,
that she would be a maiden all her days. So Zeus the Father gave
her an high honour instead of marriage, and she has her place in
the midst of the house and has the richest portion. In all the
temples of the gods she has a share of honour, and among all
mortal men she is chief of the goddesses.

(ll. 33-44) Of these three Aphrodite cannot bend or ensnare the
hearts. But of all others there is nothing among the blessed
gods or among mortal men that has escaped Aphrodite. Even the
heart of Zeus, who delights in thunder, is led astray by her;
though he is greatest of all and has the lot of highest majesty,
she beguiles even his wise heart whensoever she pleases, and
mates him with mortal women, unknown to Hera, his sister and his
wife, the grandest far in beauty among the deathless goddesses --
most glorious is she whom wily Cronos with her mother Rhea did
beget: and Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, made her his chaste
and careful wife.

(ll. 45-52) But upon Aphrodite herself Zeus cast sweet desire to
be joined in love with a mortal man, to the end that, very soon,
not even she should be innocent of a mortal's love; lest
laughter-loving Aphrodite should one day softly smile and say
mockingly among all the gods that she had joined the gods in love
with mortal women who bare sons of death to the deathless gods,
and had mated the goddesses with mortal men.

(ll. 53-74) And so he put in her heart sweet desire for Anchises
who was tending cattle at that time among the steep hills of
many-fountained Ida, and in shape was like the immortal gods.
Therefore, when laughter-loving Aphrodite saw him, she loved him,
and terribly desire seized her in her heart. She went to Cyprus,
to Paphos, where her precinct is and fragrant altar, and passed
into her sweet-smelling temple. There she went in and put to the
glittering doors, and there the Graces bathed her with heavenly
oil such as blooms upon the bodies of the eternal gods -- oil
divinely sweet, which she had by her, filled with fragrance. And
laughter-loving Aphrodite put on all her rich clothes, and when
she had decked herself with gold, she left sweet-smelling Cyprus
and went in haste towards Troy, swiftly travelling high up among
the clouds. So she came to many-fountained Ida, the mother of
wild creatures and went straight to the homestead across the
mountains. After her came grey wolves, fawning on her, and grim-
eyed lions, and bears, and fleet leopards, ravenous for deer: and
she was glad in heart to see them, and put desire in their
breasts, so that they all mated, two together, about the shadowy

(ll. 75-88) (25) But she herself came to the neat-built shelters,
and him she found left quite alone in the homestead -- the hero
Anchises who was comely as the gods. All the others were
following the herds over the grassy pastures, and he, left quite
alone in the homestead, was roaming hither and thither and
playing thrillingly upon the lyre. And Aphrodite, the daughter
of Zeus stood before him, being like a pure maiden in height and
mien, that he should not be frightened when he took heed of her
with his eyes. Now when Anchises saw her, he marked her well and
wondered at her mien and height and shining garments. For she
was clad in a robe out-shining the brightness of fire, a splendid
robe of gold, enriched with all manner of needlework, which
shimmered like the moon over her tender breasts, a marvel to see.

Also she wore twisted brooches and shining earrings in the form
of flowers; and round her soft throat were lovely necklaces.

(ll. 91-105) And Anchises was seized with love, and said to her:
`Hail, lady, whoever of the blessed ones you are that are come to
this house, whether Artemis, or Leto, or golden Aphrodite, or
high-born Themis, or bright-eyed Athene. Or, maybe, you are one
of the Graces come hither, who bear the gods company and are
called immortal, or else one of those who inhabit this lovely
mountain and the springs of rivers and grassy meads. I will make
you an altar upon a high peak in a far seen place, and will

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