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The Homeric Hymns A New Prose translation and Essays, Literary and Mythological

Page: 28

How shall I hymn thee aright, howbeit p. 115thou art, in sooth, not hard to hymn? Shall I sing of thee in love and dalliance; how thou wentest forth to woo the maiden Azanian, with Ischys, peer of Gods, and Elation’s son of the goodly steeds, or with Phorbas, son of Triopes, or Amarynthus, or how with Leucippus and Leucippus’ wife, thyself on foot, he in the chariot . . .? {115} Or how first, seeking a place of oracle for men, thou camest down to earth, far-darting Apollo?

On Pieria first didst thou descend from Olympus, and pass by Lacmus, and Emathia, and Enienæ, and through Perrhæbia, and speedily camest to Iolcus, and alight on Cenæum in Eubœa, renowned for galleys. On the Lelantian plain thou stoodest, but it pleased thee not there to stablish a temple and a grove. Thence thou didst cross Euripus, far-darting Apollo, and fare up the green hill divine, and thence camest speedily to Mycalessus and Teumesos of the bedded meadow grass, and thence to the place of woodclad Thebe, for as yet no mortals dwelt p. 116in Holy Thebe, nor yet were paths nor ways along Thebe’s wheat-bearing plain, but all was wild wood.

Thence forward journeying, Apollo, thou camest to Onchestus, the bright grove of Poseidon. There the new-broken colt takes breath again, weary though he be with dragging the goodly chariot; and to earth, skilled though he be, leaps down the charioteer, and fares on foot, while the horses for a while rattle along the empty car, with the reins on their necks, and if the car be broken in the grove of trees, their masters tend them there, and tilt the car and let it lie. Such is the rite from of old, and they pray to the King Poseidon, while the chariot is the God’s portion to keep.

Thence faring forward, far-darting Apollo, thou didst win to Cephisus of the fair streams, that from Lilæa pours down his beautiful waters, which crossing, Far-darter, and passing Ocalea of the towers, thou camest thereafter to grassy Haliartus. Then didst thou set foot on Telphusa, and to thee the land seemed p. 117exceeding good wherein to stablish a temple and a grove.

Beside Telphusa didst thou stand, and spake to her: “Telphusa, here methinketh to stablish a fair temple, an oracle for men, who, ever seeking for the word of sooth, will bring me hither perfect hecatombs, even they that dwell in the rich isle of Pelops, and all they of the mainland and sea-girt islands. To them all shall I speak the decree unerring, rendering oracles within my rich temple.”

So spake Phœbus, and thoroughly marked out the foundations, right long and wide. But at the sight the heart of Telphusa waxed wroth, and she spake her word:

“Phœbus, far-darting Prince, a word shall I set in thy heart. Here thinkest thou to stablish a goodly temple, to be a place of oracle for men, that ever will bring thee hither perfect hecatombs—nay, but this will I tell thee, and do thou lay it up in thine heart. The never-ending din of swift steeds will be a weariness to thee, and the p. 118watering of mules from my sacred springs. There men will choose rather to regard the well-wrought chariots, and the stamping of the swift-footed steeds, than thy great temple and much wealth therein. But an if thou—that art greater and better than I, O Prince, and thy strength is most of might—if thou wilt listen to me, in Crisa build thy fane beneath a glade of Parnassus. There neither will goodly chariots ring, nor wilt thou be vexed with stamping of swift steeds about thy well-builded altar, but none the less shall the renowned tribes of men bring their gifts to Iepæon, and delighted shalt thou gather the sacrifices of them who dwell around.”


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