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

Page: 56

Thus he spake, and the Goddess disobeyed not the commands of Zeus. Swiftly she sped down from the peaks of Olympus, and came to fertile Rarion; fertile of old, but now no longer fruitful; for fallow and leafless it lay, and hidden was the white barley grain by the device of fair-ankled Demeter. None the less with the growing of the Spring the land was to teem with tall ears of corn, and the rich furrows were to be heavy with corn, and the corn to be bound in sheaves. There first did she land from the unharvested ether, and gladly the Goddesses looked on each other, and rejoiced in heart, and thus first did Rhea of the fair wimple speak to Demeter:

“Hither, child; for he calleth thee, far-seeing p. 209Zeus, the lord of the deep thunder, to come among the Gods, and has promised thee such honours as thou wilt, and hath decreed that thy child, for the third of the rolling year, shall dwell beneath the murky gloom, but the other two parts with her mother and the rest of the Immortals. So doth he promise that it shall be and thereto nods his head; but come, my child, obey, and be not too unrelenting against the Son of Cronos, the lord of the dark cloud. And anon do thou increase the grain that bringeth life to men.”

So spake she, and Demeter of the fair garland obeyed. Speedily she sent up the grain from the rich glebe, and the wide earth was heavy with leaves and flowers: and she hastened, and showed the thing to the kings, the dealers of doom; to Triptolemus and Diocles the charioteer, and mighty Eumolpus, and Celeus the leader of the people; she showed them the manner of her rites, and taught them her goodly mysteries, holy mysteries which none may p. 210violate, or search into, or noise abroad, for the great curse from the Gods restrains the voice. Happy is he among deathly men who hath beheld these things! and he that is uninitiate, and hath no lot in them, hath never equal lot in death beneath the murky gloom.

Now when the Goddess had given instruction in all her rites, they went to Olympus, to the gathering of the other Gods. There the Goddesses dwell beside Zeus the lord of the thunder, holy and revered are they. Right happy is he among mortal men whom they dearly love; speedily do they send as a guest to his lofty hall Plutus, who giveth wealth to mortal men. But come thou that holdest the land of fragrant Eleusis, and sea-girt Paros, and rocky Antron, come, Lady Deo! Queen and giver of goodly gifts, and bringer of the Seasons; come thou and thy daughter, beautiful Persephone, and of your grace grant me goodly substance in requital of my song; but I will mind me of thee, and of other minstrelsy. p. 211


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