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Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica

Page: 137

(ll. 272-276) 'Dear, dear, how fearful a deed do my eyes behold! Slice-snatcher makes no small panic rushing to and fro among the Frogs by the lake. Let us then make all haste and send warlike Pallas or even Ares, for they will stop his fighting, strong though he is.'

(ll. 277-284) So said the Son of Cronos; but Hera answered him: 'Son of Cronos, neither the might of Athena nor of Ares can avail to deliver the Frogs from utter destruction. Rather, come and let us all go to help them, or else let loose your weapon, the great and formidable Titan-killer with which you killed Capaneus, that doughty man, and great Enceladus and the wild tribes of Giants; ay, let it loose, for so the most valiant will be slain.'

(ll. 285-293) So said Hera: and the Son of Cronos cast a lurid thunderbolt: first he thundered and made great Olympus shake, and the cast the thunderbolt, the awful weapon of Zeus, tossing it lightly forth. Thus he frightened them all, Frogs and Mice alike, hurling his bolt upon them. Yet even so the army of the Mice did not relax, but hoped still more to destroy the brood of warrior Frogs. Only, the Son of Cronos, on Olympus, pitied the Frogs and then straightway sent them helpers.

(ll. 294-303) So there came suddenly warriors with mailed backs and curving claws, crooked beasts that walked sideways, nut-cracker-jawed, shell-hided: bony they were, flat-backed, with glistening shoulders and bandy legs and stretching arms and eyes that looked behind them. They had also eight legs and two feelers—persistent creatures who are called crabs. These nipped off the tails and paws and feet of the Mice with their jaws, while spears only beat on them. Of these the Mice were all afraid and no longer stood up to them, but turned and fled. Already the sun was set, and so came the end of the one-day war.





OF THE ORIGIN OF HOMER AND HESIOD, AND OF THEIR CONTEST

(aka "The Contest of Homer and Hesiod")

Everyone boasts that the most divine of poets, Homer and Hesiod, are said to be his particular countrymen. Hesiod, indeed, has put a name to his native place and so prevented any rivalry, for he said that his father 'settled near Helicon in a wretched hamlet, Ascra, which is miserable in winter, sultry in summer, and good at no season.' But, as for Homer, you might almost say that every city with its inhabitants claims him as her son. Foremost are the men of Smyrna who say that he was the Son of Meles, the river of their town, by a nymph Cretheis, and that he was at first called Melesigenes. He was named Homer later, when he became blind, this being their usual epithet for such people. The Chians, on the other hand, bring forward evidence to show that he was their countryman, saying that there actually remain some of his descendants among them who are called Homeridae. The Colophonians even show the place where they declare that he began to compose when a schoolmaster, and say that his first work was the "Margites".


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