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

Page: 54

But when far-seeing Zeus, the lord of the thunder-peal, had heard the thing, he sent to Erebus the slayer of Argos, the God of the golden wand, to win over Hades with soft words, and persuade him to bring up holy Persephone into the light, and among the Gods, from forth the murky gloom, that so her mother might behold her, and that her anger might relent. And Hermes disobeyed not, but straightway and speedily went forth beneath the hollow places of the earth, leaving the home of Olympus. That King he found within his dwelling, sitting on a couch with his chaste bedfellow, who sorely grieved for desire of her mother, that still was cherishing a fell design against the ill deeds of the Gods. Then the strong slayer p. 203of Argos drew near and spoke: “Hades of the dark locks, thou Prince of men out-worn, Father Zeus bade me bring the dread Persephone forth from Erebus among the Gods, that her mother may behold her, and relent from her anger and terrible wrath against the Immortals, for now she contrives a mighty deed, to destroy the feeble tribes of earth-born men by withholding the seed under the earth. Thereby the honours of the Gods are minished, and fierce is her wrath, nor mingles she with the Gods, but sits apart within the fragrant temple in the steep citadel of Eleusis.”

So spake he, and smiling were the brows of Aidoneus, Prince of the dead, nor did he disobey the commands of King Zeus, as speedily he bade the wise Persephone: “Go, Persephone, to thy dark-mantled mother, go with a gentle spirit in thy breast, nor be thou beyond all other folk disconsolate. Verily I shall be no unseemly lord of thine among the Immortals, I that am the brother of Father Zeus, and whilst p. 204thou art here shalt thou be mistress over all that lives and moves, but among the Immortals shalt thou have the greatest renown. Upon them that wrong thee shall vengeance be unceasing, upon them that solicit not thy power with sacrifice, and pious deeds, and every acceptable gift.”

So spake he, and wise Persephone was glad; and joyously and swiftly she arose, but the God himself, stealthily looking around her, gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, and this he did that she might not abide for ever beside revered Demeter of the dark mantle. {204} Then openly did Aidoneus, the Prince of all, get ready the steeds beneath the golden chariot, and she climbed up into the golden chariot, and beside her the strong Slayer of Argos took reins and whip in hand, and drove forth from the halls, and gladly sped the horses twain. Speedily they devoured the long way; nor sea, nor rivers, nor grassy glades, nor cliffs, could stay the rush of the deathless horses; nay, far above p. 205them they cleft the deep air in their course. Before the fragrant temple he drove them, and checked them where dwelt Demeter of the goodly garland, who, when she beheld them, rushed forth like a Mænad down a dark mountain woodland. {205}


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