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Theog.(1-115)
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Olympians Titans Other Gods Myths Online Books

Theogony

By Hesiod

Translated by H.G. Eveyln-White

Part 5 (404-506)

(ll. 404-452) Again, Phoebe came to the desired embrace of Coeus.

Then the goddess through the love of the god conceived and
brought forth dark-gowned Leto, always mild, kind to men and to
the deathless gods, mild from the beginning, gentlest in all
Olympus. Also she bare Asteria of happy name, whom Perses once
led to his great house to be called his dear wife. And she
conceived and bare Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honoured
above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the
earth and the unfruitful sea.  She received honour also in starry
heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods. For
to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich
sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom, he calls
upon Hecate. Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers
the goddess receives favourably, and she bestows wealth upon him;
for the power surely is with her.  For as many as were born of
Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion. The
son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that
was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as
the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both
in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an
only child, the goddess receives not less honour, but much more
still, for Zeus honours her. Whom she will she greatly aids and
advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the
assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people.  And
when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then
the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to
whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games,
for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he
who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize
easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents.  And she is
good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose
business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to
Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious
goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon
as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to
increase the stock.  The droves of kine and wide herds of goats
and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a
few, or makes many to be less. So, then. albeit her mother's
only child (17), she is honoured amongst all the deathless gods.
And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after
that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So
from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her
honours.

(ll. 453-491) But Rhea was subject in love to Cronos and bare
splendid children, Hestia (18), Demeter, and gold-shod Hera and
strong Hades, pitiless in heart, who dwells under the earth, and
the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, and wise Zeus, father of gods and
men, by whose thunder the wide earth is shaken.  These great
Cronos swallowed as each came forth from the womb to his mother's
knees with this intent, that no other of the proud sons of Heaven
should hold the kingly office amongst the deathless gods.  For he
learned from Earth and starry Heaven that he was destined to be
overcome by his own son, strong though he was, through the
contriving of great Zeus (19). Therefore he kept no blind
outlook, but watched and swallowed down his children: and
unceasing grief seized Rhea. But when she was about to bear
Zeus, the father of gods and men, then she besought her own dear
parents, Earth and starry Heaven, to devise some plan with her
that the birth of her dear child might be concealed, and that
retribution might overtake great, crafty Cronos for his own
father and also for the children whom he had swallowed down. And
they readily heard and obeyed their dear daughter, and told her
all that was destined to happen touching Cronos the king and his
stout-hearted son. So they sent her to Lyetus, to the rich land
of Crete, when she was ready to bear great Zeus, the youngest of
her children.  Him did vast Earth receive from Rhea in wide Crete
to nourish and to bring up.  Thither came Earth carrying him
swiftly through the black night to Lyctus first, and took him in
her arms and hid him in a remote cave beneath the secret places
of the holy earth on thick-wooded Mount Aegeum; but to the
mightily ruling son of Heaven, the earlier king of the gods, she
gave a great stone wrapped in swaddling clothes. Then he took it
in his hands and thrust it down into his belly: wretch!  he knew
not in his heart that in place of the stone his son was left
behind, unconquered and untroubled, and that he was soon to
overcome him by force and might and drive him from his honours,
himself to reign over the deathless gods.

(ll. 492-506) After that, the strength and glorious limbs of the
prince increased quickly, and as the years rolled on, great
Cronos the wily was beguiled by the deep suggestions of Earth,
and brought up again his offspring, vanquished by the arts and
might of his own son, and he vomited up first the stone which he
had swallowed last.  And Zeus set it fast in the wide-pathed
earth at goodly Pytho under the glens of Parnassus, to be a sign
thenceforth and a marvel to mortal men (20). And he set free
from their deadly bonds the brothers of his father, sons of
Heaven whom his father in his foolishness had bound. And they
remembered to be grateful to him for his kindness, and gave him
thunder and the glowing thunderbolt and lightening: for before
that, huge Earth had hidden these. In them he trusts and rules
over mortals and immortals.

Hesiod - Theogony Table of Contents



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