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

Page: 64


Sing, fair-glancing Muses, of the sons of Zeus, the Tyndaridæ, glorious children of fair-ankled Leda, Castor the tamer of steeds and faultless Polydeuces. These, after wedlock with Cronion of the dark clouds, she bore beneath the crests of Taygetus, that mighty hill, to be the saviours of earthly men, and of swift ships when the wintry breezes rush along the pitiless sea. Then men from their ships call in prayer with sacrifice of white lambs when they mount the vessel’s deck. But the strong wind and the wave of the sea drive down their ship beneath the water; when suddenly appear the sons of Zeus rushing through the air with tawny wings, and straightway have they stilled the tempests of p. 253evil winds, and have lulled the waves in the gulfs of the white salt sea: glad signs are they to mariners, an ending of their labour: and men see it and are glad, and cease from weary toil. Hail ye, Tyndaridæ, ye knights of swift steeds, anon will I be mindful of you and of another lay. p. 254

The <strong><a href=Dioscuri coming to the feast of the Theoxenia. From a Vase in the British Museum (Sixth Century B.C.)" src="images/lang252s.jpg" />


Some say that Semele bare thee to Zeus the lord of thunder in Dracanon, and some in windy Icarus, and some in Naxos, thou seed of Zeus, Eiraphiotes; and others by the deep-swelling river Alpheius, and others, O Prince, say that thou wert born in Thebes. Falsely speak they all: for the Father of Gods and men begat thee far away from men, while white-armed Hera knew it not. There is a hill called Nysê, a lofty hill, flowering into woodland, far away from Phœnicia, near the streams of Ægyptus. . . .

“And to thee will they raise many statues in the temples: as these thy deeds are three, so men will sacrifice to thee hecatombs every three years.” {254} p. 255

So spake Zeus the counsellor, and nodded with his head. Be gracious, Eiraphiotes, thou wild lover, from thee, beginning and ending with thee, we minstrels sing: in nowise is it possible for him who forgets thee to be mindful of sacred song. Hail to thee, Dionysus Eiraphiotes, with thy mother Semele, whom men call Thyone.