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

Page: 55

[But Persephone on the other side rejoiced to see her mother dear, and leaped to meet her; but the mother said, “Child, in Hades hast thou eaten any food? for if thou hast not] then with me and thy father the son of Cronos, who has dark clouds for his tabernacle, shalt thou ever dwell honoured among all the Immortals. But if thou hast tasted food, thou must return again, and beneath the hollows of the earth must dwell in Hades a third portion of the year; yet two parts of the year thou shalt abide with me and the other Immortals. When the earth blossoms with all manner of fragrant flowers, then from beneath the murky gloom shalt thou come again, a mighty marvel to p. 206Gods and to mortal men. Now tell me by what wile the strong host of many guests deceived thee? . . . ”

Then fair Persephone answered her august mother: “Behold, I shall tell thee all the truth without fail. I leaped up for joy when boon Hermes, the swift messenger, came from my father Cronides and the other heavenly Gods, with the message that I was to return out of Erebus, that so thou mightest behold me, and cease thine anger and dread wrath against the Immortals. Thereon Hades himself compelled me to taste of a sweet pomegranate seed against my will. And now I will tell thee how, through the crafty device of Cronides my father, he ravished me, and bore me away beneath the hollows of the earth. All that thou askest I will tell thee. We were all playing in the lovely meadows, Leucippe and Phaino, and Electra, and Ianthe, and Melitê, and Iachê, and Rhodeia, and Callirhoe, and Melobosis, and Tuchê, and flower-faced Ocyroe, and Chræsis, and Ianeira, and Acastê, and Admetê, and Rhodope, p. 207and Plouto, and winsome Calypso, and Styx, and Urania, and beautiful Galaxaurê. We were playing there, and plucking beautiful blossoms with our hands; crocuses mingled, and iris, and hyacinth, and roses, and lilies, a marvel to behold, and narcissus, that the wide earth bare, a wile for my undoing. Gladly was I gathering them when the earth gaped beneath, and therefrom leaped the mighty Prince, the host of many guests, and he bare me against my will despite my grief beneath the earth, in his golden chariot; and shrilly did I cry. This all is true that I tell thee.”

So the livelong day in oneness of heart did they cheer each other with love, and their minds ceased from sorrow, and great gladness did either win from other. Then came to them Hekatê of the fair wimple, and often did she kiss the holy daughter of Demeter, and from that day was her queenly comrade and handmaiden; but to them for a messenger did far-seeing Zeus of the loud thunder-peal send fair-tressed Rhea to bring p. 208dark-mantled Demeter among the Gods, with pledge of what honour she might choose among the Immortals. He vowed that her daughter, for the third part of the revolving year, should dwell beneath the murky gloom, but for the other two parts she should abide with her mother and the other gods.


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