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

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Sing, shrill Muse, of Hephæstus renowned in craft, who with grey-eyed Athene taught goodly works to men on earth, even to men that before were wont to dwell in mountain caves like beasts; but now, being instructed in craft by the renowned craftsman Hephæstus, lightly the whole year through they dwell happily in their own homes. Be gracious, Hephæstus, and grant me valour and fortune. p. 234


Phœbus, to thee the swan sings shrill to the beating of his wings, as he lights on the bank of the whirling pools of the river Peneus; and to thee with his shrill lyre does the sweet-voiced minstrel sing ever, both first and last. Even so hail thou, Prince, I beseech thee in my song. p. 235


Concerning Poseidon, a great God, I begin to sing: the shaker of the land and of the sea unharvested; God of the deep who holdeth Helicon and wide Ægæ. A double meed of honour have the Gods given thee, O Shaker of the Earth, to be tamer of horses and saviour of ships. Hail Prince, thou Girdler of the Earth, thou dark-haired God, and with kindly heart, O blessed one, do thou befriend the mariners. p. 236


To Zeus the best of Gods will I sing; the best and the greatest, the far-beholding lord who bringeth all to an end, who holdeth constant counsel with Themis as she reclines on her couch. Be gracious, far-beholding son of Cronos, thou most glorious and greatest. p. 237


Hestia, that guardest the sacred house of the Prince, Apollo the Far-darter, in goodly Pytho, ever doth the oil drop dank from thy locks. Come thou to this house with a gracious heart, come with counselling Zeus, and lend grace to my song. p. 238


From the Muse I shall begin and from Apollo and Zeus. For it is from the Muses and far-darting Apollo that minstrels and harpers are upon the earth, but from Zeus come kings. Fortunate is he whomsoever the Muses love, and sweet flows his voice from his lips. Hail, ye children of Zeus, honour ye my lay, and anon I shall be mindful of you and of another hymn. p. 239


Of ivy-tressed uproarious Dionysus I begin to sing, the splendid son of Zeus and renowned Semele. Him did the fair-tressed nymphs foster, receiving him from the king and father in their bosoms, and needfully they nurtured him in the glens of Nysê. By his father’s will he waxed strong in the fragrant cavern, being numbered among the Immortals. Anon when the Goddesses had bred him up to be the god of many a hymn, then went he wandering in the woodland glades, draped with ivy and laurel, and the nymphs followed with him where he led, and loud rang the wild woodland. Hail to thee, then, Dionysus of the clustered vine, and grant to us to come gladly again to the season of vintaging, yea, and afterwards for many a year to come. p. 240