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

Page: 57

V. TO APHRODITÉ

I shall sing of the revered Aphrodité, the golden-crowned, the beautiful, who hath for her portion the mountain crests of sea-girt Cyprus. Thither the strength of the west wind moistly blowing carried her amid soft foam over the wave of the resounding sea. Her did the golden-snooded Hours gladly welcome, and clad her about in immortal raiment, and on her deathless head set a well-wrought crown, fair and golden, and in her ears put earrings of orichalcum and of precious gold. Her delicate neck and white bosom they adorned with chains of gold, wherewith are bedecked the golden-snooded Hours themselves, when they come to the glad dance of the Gods in the dwelling of the Father. Anon when they had thus p. 212adorned her in all goodliness they led her to the Immortals, who gave her greeting when they beheld her, and welcomed her with their hands; and each God prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so much they marvelled at the beauty of the fair-garlanded Cytherean. Hail, thou of the glancing eyes, thou sweet winsome Goddess, and grant that I bear off the victory in this contest, and lend thou grace to my song, while I shall both remember thee and another singing. p. 213

VI. TO DIONYSUS

Dionysus sailing in his sacred ship.  (Interior Design on a Kylix by Exekias in Munich.)

Concerning Dionysus the son of renowned Semele shall I sing; how once he appeared upon the shore of the sea unharvested, on a jutting headland, in form p. 214like a man in the bloom of youth, with his beautiful dark hair waving around him, and on his strong shoulders a purple robe. Anon came in sight certain men that were pirates; in a well-wrought ship sailing swiftly on the dark seas: Tyrsenians were they, and Ill Fate was their leader, for they beholding him nodded each to other, and swiftly leaped forth, and hastily seized him, and set him aboard their ship rejoicing in heart, for they deemed that he was the son of kings, the fosterlings of Zeus, and they were minded to bind him with grievous bonds. But him the fetters held not, and the withes fell far from his hands and feet. {214} There sat he smiling with his dark eyes, but the steersman saw it, and spake aloud to his companions: “Fools, what God have ye taken and bound? a strong God is he, our trim ship may not contain him. Surely this is Zeus, or Apollo p. 215of the Silver Bow, or Poseidon; for he is nowise like mortal man, but like the Gods who have mansions in Olympus. Nay, come let us instantly release him upon the dark mainland, nor lay ye your hands upon him, lest, being wroth, he rouse against us masterful winds and rushing storm.”


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