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

Page: 33

So spake he, and put courage in their breasts, and the leader of the Cretans answered him, saying:

“Stranger, behold thou art no whit like p. 129unto mortal men in shape or growth, but art a peer of the Immortals, wherefore all hail, and grace be thine, and all good things at the hands of the Gods. Tell me then truly that I may know indeed, what people is this, what land, what mortals dwell here? Surely with our thoughts set on another goal we sailed the great sea to Pylos from Crete, whence we boast our lineage; but now it is hither that we have come, maugre our wills, with our galley—another path and other ways—we longing to return, but some God has led us all unwilling to this place.”

Then the far-darting Apollo answered them:

“Strangers, who dwelt aforetime round wooded Cnossus, never again shall ye return each to his pleasant city and his own house, and his wife, but here shall ye hold my rich temple, honoured by multitudes of men. Lo! I am the son of Zeus, and name myself Apollo, and hither have I brought you over the great gulf of the sea, with no evil intent. Nay, here shall ye possess my rich temple, p. 130held highest in honour among all men, and ye shall know the counsels of the Immortals, by whose will ye shall ever be held in renown. But now come, and instantly obey my word. First lower the sails, and loose the sheets, and then beach the black ship on the land, taking forth the wares and gear of the trim galley, and build ye an altar on the strand of the sea. Thereon kindle fire, and sprinkle above in sacrifice the white barley-flour, and thereafter pray, standing around the altar. And whereas I first, in the misty sea, sprang aboard the swift ship in the guise of a dolphin, therefore pray to me as Apollo Delphinius, while mine shall ever be the Delphian altar seen from afar. Then take ye supper beside the swift black ship, and pour libations to the blessed Gods who hold Olympus. But when ye have dismissed the desire of sweet food then with me do ye come, singing the Pæan, till ye win that place where ye shall possess the rich temple.”

So spake he, while they heard and obeyed p. 131eagerly. First they lowered the sails, loosing the sheets, and lowering the mast by the forestays, they laid it in the mast-stead, and themselves went forth on the strand of the sea. Then forth from the salt sea to the mainland they dragged the fleet ship high up on the sands, laying long sleepers thereunder, and they builded an altar on the sea-strand, and lit fire thereon, scattering above white barley-flour in sacrifice, and, standing around the altar, they prayed as the God commanded. Anon they took supper beside the fleet black ship, and poured forth libations to the blessed Gods who hold Olympus.


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