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

Page: 58

So spake he, but their captain rebuked him with a hateful word: “Fool, look thou to the wind, and haul up the sail, and grip to all the gear, but this fellow will be for men to meddle with. Methinks he will come to Egypt, or to Cyprus, or to the Hyperboreans, or further far; and at the last he will tell us who his friends are, and concerning his wealth, and his brethren, for the God has delivered him into our hands.”

So spake he, and let raise the mast and hoist the mainsail, and the wind filled the sail, and they made taut the ropes all round. But anon strange matters appeared to them: first there flowed through all the swift black ship a sweet and fragrant wine, and the p. 216ambrosial fragrance arose, and fear fell upon all the mariners that beheld it. And straightway a vine stretched hither and thither along the sail, hanging with many a cluster, and dark ivy twined round the mast blossoming with flowers, and gracious fruit and garlands grew on all the thole-pins; and they that saw it bade the steersman drive straight to land. Meanwhile within the ship the God changed into the shape of a lion at the bow; and loudly he roared, and in midship he made a shaggy bear: such marvels he showed forth: there stood it raging, and on the deck glared the lion terribly. Then the men fled in terror to the stern, and there stood in fear round the honest pilot. But suddenly sprang forth the lion and seized the captain, and the men all at once leaped overboard into the strong sea, shunning dread doom, and there were changed into dolphins. But the God took pity upon the steersman, and kept him, and gave him all good fortune, and spake, saying, “Be of good courage, p. 217Sir, dear art thou to me, and I am Dionysus of the noisy rites whom Cadmeian Semele bare to the love of Zeus.” Hail, thou child of beautiful Semele, none that is mindless of thee can fashion sweet minstrelsy. p. 218

VII. TO ARES

Ares, thou that excellest in might, thou lord of the chariot of war, God of the golden helm, thou mighty of heart, thou shield-bearer, thou safety of cities, thou that smitest in mail; strong of hand and unwearied valiant spearman, bulwark of Olympus, father of victory, champion of Themis; thou tyrannous to them that oppose thee with force; thou leader of just men, thou master of manlihood, thou that whirlest thy flaming sphere among the courses of the seven stars of the sky, where thy fiery steeds ever bear thee above the third orbit of heaven; do thou listen to me, helper of mortals, Giver of the bright bloom of youth. Shed thou down a mild light from above upon this life of mine, and my p. 219martial strength, so that I may be of avail to drive away bitter cowardice from my head, and to curb the deceitful rush of my soul, and to restrain the sharp stress of anger which spurs me on to take part in the dread din of battle. But give me heart, O blessed one, to abide in the painless measures of peace, avoiding the battle-cry of foes and the compelling fates of death. p. 220

VIII. TO ARTEMIS

Sing thou of Artemis, Muse, the sister of the Far-darter; the archer Maid, fellow-nursling with Apollo, who waters her steeds in the reedy wells of Meles, then swiftly drives her golden chariot through Smyrna to Claros of the many-clustered vines, where sits Apollo of the Silver Bow awaiting the far-darting archer maid. And hail thou thus, and hail to all Goddesses in my song, but to thee first, and beginning from thee, will I sing, and so shall pass on to another lay. p. 221


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