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

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So spake she, and withdrew from among the Gods with angered heart. Right so she made her prayer, the ox-eyed lady Hera, striking the earth with her hand flatlings, {121} and spake her word: p. 122

“Listen to me now, Earth, and wide Heavens above, and ye Gods called Titans, dwelling beneath earth in great Tartarus, ye from whom spring Gods and men! List to me now, all of you, and give me a child apart from Zeus, yet nothing inferior to him in might, nay, stronger than he, as much as far-seeing Zeus is mightier than Cronus!”

So spake she, and smote the ground with her firm hand. Then Earth, the nurse of life, was stirred, and Hera, beholding it, was glad at heart, for she deemed that her prayer would be accomplished. From that hour for a full year she never came to the bed of wise Zeus, nor to her throne adorned, whereon she was wont to sit, planning deep counsel, but dwelling in her temples, the homes of Prayers, she took joy in her sacrifices, the ox-eyed lady Hera.

Now when her months and days were fulfilled, the year revolving, and the seasons in their course coming round, she bare a birth like neither Gods nor mortals, the dread Typhaon, not to be dealt with, a bane of men. p. 123 Him now she took, the ox-eyed lady Hera, and carried and gave to the Dragoness, to bitter nurse a bitter fosterling, who received him, that ever wrought many wrongs among the renowned tribes of men.]

Whosoever met the Dragoness, on him would she bring the day of destiny, before the Prince, far-darting Apollo, loosed at her the destroying shaft; then writhing in strong anguish, and mightily panting she lay, rolling about the land. Dread and dire was the din, as she writhed hither and thither through the wood, and gave up the ghost, and Phœbus spoke his malison:

“There do thou rot upon the fruitful earth; no longer shalt thou, at least, live to be the evil bane of mortals that eat the fruit of the fertile soil, and hither shall bring perfect hecatombs. Surely from thee neither shall Typhœus, nay, nor Chimæra of the evil name, shield death that layeth low, but here shall black earth and bright Hyperion make thee waste away.”

So he spake in malison, and darkness p. 124veiled her eyes, and there the sacred strength of the sun did waste her quite away. Whence now the place is named Pytho, and men call the Prince “Pythian” for that deed, for even there the might of the swift sun made corrupt the monster. {124}

Then Phœbus Apollo was ware in his heart that the fair-flowing spring, Telphusa, had beguiled him, and in wrath he went to her, and swiftly came, and standing close by her, spoke his word:

“Telphusa, thou wert not destined to beguile my mind, nor keep the winsome lands and pour forth thy fair waters. Nay, here shall my honour also dwell, not thine alone.” So he spoke, and overset a rock, with a shower of stones, and hid her streams, the Prince, far-darting Apollo. And he made an altar in a grove of trees, hard by the fair-flowing stream, where all men name him in prayer, “the Prince Telphusian,” for that he shamed the streams of sacred Telphusa. Then Phœbus Apollo considered in his p. 125heart what men he should bring in to be his ministers, and to serve him in rocky Pytho. While he was pondering on this, he beheld a swift ship on the wine-dark sea, and aboard her many men and good, Cretans from Minoan Cnossus, such as do sacrifice to the God, and speak the doom of Phœbus Apollo of the Golden Sword, what word soever he utters of sooth from the daphne in the dells of Parnassus. For barter and wealth they were sailing in the black ship to sandy Pylos, and the Pylian men. Anon Phœbus Apollo set forth to meet them, leaping into the sea upon the swift ship in the guise of a dolphin, and there he lay, a portent great and terrible.