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"Shield of Heracles"

And he didn’t stir himself to go unto his war-won slaves and his rustic shepherds
Until after he mounted the bed of his lawful spouse:
For such desire took hold of the heart of the shepherd of the nation.
And like a well-pleased man who escaped by furtive flight the evils
Of sickness and from under troublesome and mighty bonds,
So then Amphitryon, bringing his hard task to an end,
Gladly and welcomely came to his own house.
And all night long he lay together with his spouse – who deserves reverence –
Delighting themselves with the gifts of gold-rich Aphrodite.
And she, since she was overpowered by a god and by a very excellent man
In Thebes of the seven gates she brought forth twin children,
Who weren’t of the same spirit, although they were brothers:
One was a weaker, and one a greatly stronger man,
Powerful and mighty, the strength of Herakles:
One she bore after having been overpowered by the cloud-dark son of Kronos;
The other, Iphikles, [she bore after having been overpowered] by lance-brandishing Amphitryon:
Divided by descent: the one [she bore] after having intercourse with a mortal man,
The other [she bore after having intercourse] with Zeus son of Kronos, commander of all the gods.

And he [Herakles] slew Kyknos, the great-spirited descendent of Ares.
For he [Herakles] found him in the sanctuary of far-shooting Apollo,
Him and his father Ares, whom battle cannot sate,
With tools of war shining like a blazing fire that was kindled,
Standing in their war-chariot: and their fleet horses made the earth resound
As they pierced it with their hooves, and their dust burned,
Hammered in twisted wreaths beneath the chariots and the horses’ feet.
And the well-wrought chariots and chariot-rails rattled when the horses set themselves in motion. Noble Kyknos rejoiced,
For he hoped to cut down the son of Zeus and the Ares-devoted charioteer
With bronze weapons, and to strip off from [them their] famous tools of war.
But Phoibos Apollo did not hear his vows,
For he himself had roused up the strength of Herakles and set it against him.
And all the grove and the altar of Apollos Pagasaios
Rang to the sound of the terrible god [Ares] and his tools of war:
And fire reflected from his eyes. What mortal man
Would dare to put himself in motion against [him],
Except Herakles and glorious Iolaos?
For great strength was theirs, and invincible hands,
And out from their shoulders they put forth shoots in sturdy limbs.
And he [Herakles] addressed his charioteer, mighty Iolaos:
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Shield of Heracles

Or she of such a kind who, forsaking the house and land of her fathers,
Went to Thebes after Ares-devoted Amphitryon:
Alkmene, the daughter of nation-stirring Elektryon.
She who among women surpassed the female tribe
In form and in stature: and no one of those who
Mortals bore, after lying with mortals, matched her in wit.
And from her head and from her blue-black eyes
Such stuff wafted as that which [comes] from gold-rich Aphrodite.
And she also paid honour to her husband according to her own spirit
That no one among mortal women paid yet.
Now he killed her brave father by violence, overpowering [him],
For he was angry on account of the oxen: and leaving the land of his fathers
For Thebes, he approached the shield-bearing Kadmeians as a supplicant.
There he dwelled in a house together with his spouse – who deserves reverence –
Very far apart from delightful love: nor was it [permitted] for him
To mount upon the bed of the beautiful-ankled daughter of Elektryon until
He should revenge the murder of his spouse’s great-spirited siblings,
And [until] he should burn up in raging fire the unwalled villages
Of those hero-men, the Taphians and the Teleboans.
So it was ordered for him, and the gods were witnesses upon it:
And he regarded their wrath with awe and dread, and he was driven on
To swiftly bring to completion the great deed, which was a decree for him from Zeus.
With him, longing for the battle-din of war, followed
Horse-driving Boiotians who draw breath for the sake of [their] shields,
Lokrians who fight closely hand-to-hand, and great-spirited Phokaians:
The noble child of Alkaios went with these,
Bearing himself proudly among the army. But the father of men and gods
Wove between his breasts another plan, to beget for gods
And for labouring men, a defender against ruin.
He arose from Olympos, brooding over cunning in his breasts,
Desiring the love of a well-girdled woman
In the night: And quickly he went to Typhaonion. From there
Counselor Zeus ascended to highest Phikion.
Sitting there, he plotted a god-wrought deed:
That night he would bed the wife of Elektryon – with her tapered ankles –
And join with her in desire, and accomplish his wish.
In that same night, nation-stirring Amphitryon, shining hero,
Having fulfilled his great deed, arrived at his own house.
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To Aphrodite


Like a child, Lady Dawn did not think in her heart
To ask for youth to scrape off terrible age
So while he [Tithonos] had for himself much-desired youth,
Enjoying himself with golden-throned Dawn, the early-born,
He dwelt beside the streams of Ocean at the limits of the Earth:
But when the first grey poured itself down in his hair
And out from his fair head and well-born chin,
Lady Dawn kept away from his bed,
Yet still she cherished him, having him in her halls
With grain and ambrosia, and giving him fine garments.
But when wretched age wholly weighed him down,
And he wasn’t able to set any of his limbs in motion or lift them up,
This seemed to her in her spirit the best plan:
She laid him up in an inner chamber, and shut the shining doors.
And his voice flows incessantly, but it has no strength
Of the kind which there was formerly in his supple limbs.
But I would not take you so away among the immortals
To be undying and to live for all days.
But if you were to live like this in form and body
And if you were to be called our spouse,
Then grief would not enfold my close-kept heart.
Now swiftly pitiless age, common to all, will overwhelm you,
Which is set out for mortals,
Accursed, wearisome, which all gods abhor.
But for me there will be great disgrace among the deathless gods
Endlessly forever, on your account.
Before, they [the gods] dreaded my utterances and my crafts,
With which at one time I joined together all the deathless ones with death-doomed women,
For my purpose brought them all low.
Now no longer will my mouth be able to speak of this
By name among the deathless ones, since I have been very much infatuated,
Wretched, not to be most blamed, I was led astray from my mind,
And having lain with a mortal I have planted a child beneath my girdle.
When first he should see the light of the sun
Mountain-bred deep-bosomed Nymphs will rear him,
They who dwell on this mighty and very divine mountain:
They obey neither mortals nor immortals,
Long do they live and eat immortal food,
And rush in a fair dance among the deathless ones.
With them, Seilenos and the keen-sighted Argus-slayer
Joined together in affection in the inmost part of charming caverns.
When they are being born, at the same time high-topped trees and silver firs
Put forth shoots upon the man-feeding fair flourishing earth,
In the lofty hills.
They call the steep places [which are] established sacred precincts
Of the deathless ones: and no mortal ravages them [the trees] with iron:
But when fate of death should draw near,
Fair trees dry up upon the earth,
And tree-bark dies all around, and from [them] branches fall,
And alike their life leaves the light of the sun.
They will rear my son, having him with them.
And when first much-desired youth should seize him,
They will lead him to you here, and they’ll show the child to [your] sight.
But I, in order that I might recount for you all these things in my guts,
I will come back in the fifth year, bringing my son.
And when first you should behold him with your eyes, your scion,
You’ll rejoice, seeing [him]: for he will be very like a god:
And immediately you will bring him to wind-rushing Ilion.
And if anyone among the death-doomed mortals should ask you
What mother laid up your beloved son under her girdle,
To him you, reminding yourself, are to speak as I command:
To declare him to be offspring of a Nymph – her face like a budding flower –
One of the ones who dwell here on the mountain and are clothed in forest-trees.
If you should declare and boast that, in senseless spirit, you
United in affection with well-crowned Kythereia,
Zeus, being angered, will smite you with a smouldering thunderbolt.
All is said for you: and you in your guts understand,
keep quiet and don’t name me, but do reverence for the wrath of the gods.”

And so saying, she darted speedily towards the sky.
Hail, goddess, ruler of well-built Cyprus!
Having started with you, I’ll pass on to another in song.
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To Aphrodite

Then she answered him, Aphrodite daughter of Zeus:

“Anchises, noblest of death-doomed mortals,
Be of good courage and fear nothing much in your guts,
For you have no reason to fear to suffer anything evil from me,
Nor from the other blessed ones: since you’re loved by the gods.
You will have a beloved son, who will be lord among the Trojans,
And children with be born to his children forever:
And his name will be Aineias, on account of the dread anguish I bore myself,
Because I fell down upon the bed of a mortal man.
Those from your stock/kindred/race [will be/were] always
Among death-doomed mortals, most like the gods in form and stature.
Indeed, all-wise Zeus carried off fair-haired Ganymede,
For the sake of his beauty, so that he might be among the deathless ones
And so that he might pour out wine for the gods all through the house of Zeus,
Wondrous to see, honoured by all the deathless ones
As he draws red nectar from out of the golden mixing-bowl.
But unceasing grief possessed Tros in his guts, for he did not know
To where the god-inspired whirlwind had carried off his beloved son:
And afterwards [after Ganymede was carried off] he lamented him unceasingly every day,
And Zeus pitied him, and give him compensation for his son –
High-stepping horses, [the ones that] bear the deathless ones,
He gave these, a gift, to him: and the Argus-slayer, guide [Hermes],
Told him everything in exact detail, by Zeus’s command,
How he [Ganymede] would be immortal and undecaying, equal to the gods.
And so when he heard all the tidings from Zeus,
Then he [Tros] no longer wept, but he rejoiced in his spirits within,
And joyfully he mounted the storm-footed horses.
And in this way again golden-throned Dawn carried off Tithonos,
Of your lineage, similar to the undying ones.
She went down, begging the cloud-dark son of Kronos
[That he might] be undying and [that he might] live forever.
For her, Zeus nodded assent, and ordained her desire.
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To Aphrodite

And so then they mounted on the well-wrought couches,
And first he tore away the brilliant ornaments from her skin,
Curved brooches and arm-rings and flower-cup earrings and chains,
And he unfastened her girdle and stripped off her splendid garment
And Anchises lay down upon the silver-ornamented bench:
And he, though a mortal, by the will of the gods and
By immortal decree, lay with a goddess all unknowing.

And in the hour when herdsmen drive their cattle
Back to the place of rest, and fat sheep from pasturages adorned with flowers:
[Aphrodite] let sweet-tasting balmy sleep fall on Anchises,
And she clothed her skin in fine garments,
And when she’d clothed herself all well close about her skin in a state suited to goddesses,
She stood beside the bed, and her head reached to the
well-wrought roof: and divine beauty shone from her cheeks,
of the kind that is [the beauty] of well-crowned Kythereia,
and forth from sleep she roused him, and she spoke speech and from it she named him:

“Arise, descendent of Dardanos! Why now do you pass the night in sleep without waking?
Consider if I seem to be of the same station as that person
which you first saw with your eyes?”

So she spoke: and he from sleep heard instantly.
And so he beheld the neck and the fair eyes of Aphrodite,
And he dreaded her warning and turning aside he looked in another place.
And he covered his fair face again with his cloak,
And entreating her he spoke winged words:

“As soon as I first saw you, goddess, with my eyes,
I understood you were like a god: though you did not speak real truths.
But I beg you by aegis-bearing Zeus,
Don’t let me abide among men who live fleeting [lives]
But pity me: he’s not a strong man afterwards,
The man who lies with deathless goddesses.”
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To Aphrodite

And he cast desire – sweet to the taste – for Anchises into her heart,
Anchises who then in the high hills of many-fountained Ida
Was grazing his cattle, his living body like the immortals.
When she saw him, laughter-loving Aphrodite
Passionately desired him, and terrible yearning seized her in her guts.
And thereupon she went to Kypros, to Paphos, she plunged into her incense-fragrant temple:
There where her sacred precinct and her incense-fragrant altar are.
And going in there, she shut the shining doors,
And there the Graces bathed her and anointed her with ambrosial oil,
Such [oil] as dews the gods, who exist eternally, sweet immortal [oil],
Filled with sweet smells, it belonged to her.
And when she had clothed her skin well with all her fine garments,
And adorned herself with gold, laughter-loving Aphrodite
Forsook fragrant Kypros and made haste to Troy,
Swiftly passing along a road aloft among the clouds.
She came to many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts,
And she went straight to the farmstead across the hill. And after her, paying court,
Went grizzled wolves and fierce lions,
Nimble bears and leopards that deer cannot sate.
When she saw them her spirit delighted within her,
And she put desire into their breasts, and at once
They all lay down in pairs upon shady dens.
And she arrived at the well-wrought dwellings,
And she found him, after he’d remained behind alone at farmsteads far from other [people],
The hero Anchises, who had beauty from the gods.
The [others] were all following cattle across the grassy pastures,
And since he was left alone in the lodgings far from others,
He rambled here and there, playing loudly on the kithara.
She stood before him, Aphrodite daughter of Zeus,
With her shape and form like an unmarried [mortal] girl,
Lest he, when he beheld her with his eyes, be afraid.
And Anchises when he saw her, observed and admired
Her form and shape and her glittering garments,
For she wore a most radiant robe like fiery sunlight,
Fine and golden and embroidered all over: and as the moon
Shone on her breasts – soft to the touch – [she was] a wonder to behold.
And she had winding twisted ornaments, shining ones,
And very fine chains wound around her tender throat.
Eros seized Anchises, and facing her he gave voice to speech:


“Hail, Queen, whichever you may be of the blessed ones who’s come to these houses,
Artemis or Leto or golden Aphrodite,
Or noble-minded Themis, or gleaming-eyed Athena,
Or maybe you come here as one of the Graces, those who
Are companions to all the gods, and who are called deathless,
Or one of the Nymphs who dwell in fair groves,
Or one of the Nymphs who dwell about this fine hill
And its river-streams and grassy meadows.
I’ll make you an altar on the highest place,
Visible in the country for miles around,
And I’ll perform fine sacrifices in every season.
Since you have a gracious spirit,
Grant [that I may] be a very distinguished man among the Trojans,
And grant [that I may] make hereafter strong seed,
And that [I may] myself live long and well to see the light of the sun,
And [to be] blessed with riches among people, and [that I may] come to the threshold of old age.”

Then Aphrodite daughter of Zeus answered him:

“Anchises, noblest of earth-born mortals,
Mark you I’m no god: why do you compare me to the deathless ones?
I’m mortal, and a mortal woman mother bore me.
Otreus of famous name is my father – perhaps you know him by repute –
Who’s lord over all well-walled Phrygia,
And I know well your tongue and ours,
For a nurse from Troy’s halls reared me:
She tended me right from when I was a small child,
Taking me by the hand with a mother’s love.
So indeed I know your tongue well.
But now the Argus-slayer, golden-wanded, carried me off
From the dance of golden-distaffed loud-sounding Artemis,
And the many maidens and girls – whose parents are courted with oxen –
I danced with, and the boundless crowd [that was] all around:
From there the gold-wanded slayer of Argus carried me off:
And he carried me over many fields of death-doomed mortals,
And much [that was] ownerless and untilled, where creatures
That eat raw flesh roam about down shaded streambeds,
And I did not expect to touch the life-giving earth with my feet [again].
He promised that I would be called a lawful spouse
In Anchises’ marriage-bed, and that I would bear you splendid children,
And when he told [me this] and pointed [you] out, the mighty Argus-slayer
Went away again in search of the tribe of the undying ones,
But I came to you as a suppliant, for it is a strong compulsion for me.
I implore you, by Zeus and by [your] noble ancestors –
For no ignoble ones would bring forth any one like you –
When you take me, an unwedded girl with no experience of [the act of love],
Show me to your mother who has known [you] well,
And to your kindred brothers, full-brothers of the same parents.
I won’t be a shameful marriage-relative to them, but a befitting one.
Send a messenger quickly into Phrygia of swift steeds,
To tell my father and my grieving mother:
They’ll send [back] an abundance of gold and woven cloth,
And you’ll receive many and splendid ransoms.
And after you do these things, give a feast for a passionate wedding,
Paying honour to mortals and to the deathless gods.”

And so saying, the goddess cast sweet yearning into his spirit,
And Eros seized Anchises, and he spoke speech and uttered words:

“If you are a mortal, and a mortal woman mother bore you,
And Otreus is your father – of famous name – as you proclaim,
And you have come to this place here by the aid of Hermes, undying minister,
You will be called my bedfellow for all days:
And in that case no god nor any death-doomed mortal
Will hold me back in this place until I’m united with you in desire
Right away now: not if the far-darter Apollo himself
Were to let loose a dreadful arrow from his silver bow.
I would wish then, woman befitting a goddess,
After I mounted your marriage bed, that I’d sink into Hades’ house.”

And so saying, he took her hand: and laughter-loving Aphrodite
Stirred, and turning around under [his] fair eyes,
Cast [herself] on the bed well-spread with cloths,
Where she was helpless for the lord in soft mantles, being spread out.
There in the upper parts the skins of bears and loud-roaring lions were laid,
The ones he’d slain in the lofty hills.
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To Aphrodite

And whenever he wishes – for [Aphrodite] easily beguiles even his shrewd wits –
He has intercourse with mortal women doomed to death,
Out of sight of Hera, his sister and his spouse –
Her great form is best among the undying gods.
Crooked-counselling Kronos brought her, a most honoured woman, forth,
And so did mother Rheia: Zeus who’s versed in immortal counsels
Made her his spouse, since she knows diligence.
And to her [Aphrodite] Zeus gave in her heart sweet-tasting desire
To be joined in intercourse with a death-doomed mortal man, in order that swiftly
She herself might not be kept from a mortal marriage-bed,
And whenever laughter-loving Aphrodite, sweetly laughing,
Would say, boasting among all the gods,
how the gods mixed with mortal women,
And [mortal women] with immortals brought forth mortal sons,
Thus a goddess had intercourse with death-doomed mortals.
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To Aphrodite

Nor are the works of Aphrodite pleasing to Hestia,
A modest girl, the one crooked-counselling Kronos brought forth
As firstborn and lastborn both: by the will of aegis-bearing Zeus
A queen that both Poseidon and Apollo wooed.
But she really didn’t want them. Instead she firmly denied them,
And, grasping the head of her father, aegis-bearing Zeus,
She swore a great oath – which has been fulfilled! –
To be a maiden among the goddesses for all her days.
Instead of a wedding, Father Zeus gave her noble gifts
And she took her seat in the middle of the household – having won the best part.
She has honour in all the temples of the gods,
And in the households of all mortals – the ones who bleed from their wounds –
She was made the most important of gods.
Aphrodite cannot persuade or deceive the hearts of these.
But there is no other who’s escaped her,
Not among the blessed gods, nor among death-doomed mortals.
She even makes thunder-delighting Zeus senseless,
Who’s mightiest of the mighty and who claims honour as his due.
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To Aphrodite

lines 7-20:

But three hearts she can’t persuade, or deceive:
The daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus, Athena of the steel-blue-gleaming eyes,
For the deeds of gold-rich Aphrodite do not please her.
Instead battles delight her, and the business of Ares,
Combat and struggle and to partake of glorious deeds.
She first taught men upon the dark earth – craftsmen –
To make chariot-cars and bright-painted war-chariots with bronze.
Neither, ever, does laughter-loving Aphrodite overpower
In love loud-sounding Artemis, who bears a golden distaff.
The bow delights her, and to kill wild beasts in the hills,
And the lyre and the dance, and the far-reaching glad cries in women’s voices
And shady groves, and to chastise the cities of men.
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This is more than two hundred lines long, so I'll be taking it in slow stages.

To Aphrodite

Tell me, Muses, of the works of Aphrodite rich in gold,
The Cyprian, who calls forth for the gods sweet-tasting desire
And overpowers the tribes of death-doomed mortals,
And heaven-fallen birds of prey, and all the beasts,
All those the land breeds and the sea contains:
For the deeds of well-crowned Kythereia concern all.
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To Aphrodite

I will sing of honoured Aphrodite, noble and gold-crowned,
Who claims as her own the veiled battlements of all sea-girt Cyprus,
Where the rainy might of blowing Zephyr
Bore her in fresh-ploughed foam across the swells
Of the loud-resounding sea: there the Hours, with their fillets of gold,
Received her in glad welcome, and settled god-befitting garments round her,
And on her immortal head they placed a well-wrought
Noble golden crown: and on her pierced ears,
Flowers of orichalcum and of costly gold,
And her tender throat and silver-shining breasts
They adorned with golden chains, the ones with which
The gold-filleted Hours adorn themselves, when they go
To the gods’ passionate dance, and to the halls of their father.

And when they’d set every adornment close about her,
They guided her to the undying ones, and [the gods], when they saw her, saluted her
With their hands, and they paid honour to her, and each of them prayed,
Marvelling at the form of violet-crowned Kythereia,
That she would be their lawful bed-partner, and that they might carry her away to their households.

Hail, swift-eyed one, sweetly kind: grant victory in the contests
To this one here who is borne away by you, and urge on my song.
And I will recall you, and another also, in song.
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To Dionysos


I will call to mind Dionysos, son of Semele of great renown,
How he appeared beside the shore of the barren sea,
On an out-thrust headland, like young mortal man
In youthful prime. Round [his head] his long fine dark-glossy hair
Stood in disarray, and around his sturdy shoulders he bore a wide red
Cloak. Then soon swift plunderers, men, Tyrsenians, from
A well-benched ship came into sight upon the wine-dark sea:
An ill doom led them on. Seeing him [Dionysos]
They signalled to one another, and they leapt upon [him] hastily.
And as soon as they had seized him,
They [re-embarked] on their own ship, glad at heart,
For they thought he was the son of Zeus-fostered kings,
And they meant to hold him fast in painful imprisonment.
But the bonds did not hold him, and the withies fell away
From his hands and his feet: and with his steel-blue-dark eyes
He sat grinning. And the helmsman, when he noticed [this],
Immediately called to his companions and exclaimed:
“God-maddened ones! What mighty god here did you, seizing [him],
Put in chains? Not even [our] well-wrought ship can carry him off as plunder.
Is this Zeus or Apollo of the silver bow,
or Poseidon? For [he is] not like death-doomed mortals who bleed from their wounds
but [rather like] gods, they who have Olympian halls.
But come! We should set him free on the black plain
At once. Don’t lay hands on [him], lest he, being angered
Might call forth against [us] grievous winds and mighty tempests.”
So he spoke. But [his] leader rebuked him with a loathesome word:

“God-maddened one, look to the fair wind, and hoist the ship’s sails,
When you take hold of all the rigging: the men will take care of this one here.
I suppose he means to reach Egypt or Cyprus,
Or the North-Beyond-the-North, or even farther off: but ultimately
He will speak of his friends and all his property
And his own brothers, since a god let him fall to us.”

Speaking thus, he hoisted the ship’s mast and sail,
And the wind swelled the sail’s centre, and they drew tight
The rigging. But soon marvelous-strange works appeared to them.
First of all, fragrant wine, sweet to drink, gushed out alongside the swift black ship,
And a divine odour stirred,
And astonishment took hold of every sailor who saw.
And presently at the highest point across the sail
A wild vine spread out - now here, now there - and many grapes hung suspended.
And black ivy wound itself round the mast,
Blooming with flowers, and on it awakened fine fruit.
And all the oar-pins bore crowns. And when they [the sailors] saw [this],
They ordered the helmsman – right then! – to bring the ship
To land, but he [Dionysos] became a terrible lion right there in the ship,
On the foremost part of the bow, and he roared loudly, and in the [ship’s] waist
Making portents appear, he produced a shaggy-rough-necked bear,
And he made it stand in fury, all the while in the bow
The terrible lion looked grimly on: and they [the sailors] were put to flight into the stern,
And they stopped the helmsman – a man who had a spirit with self-control –
For they were driven from their senses. Suddenly springing
At the leader, he [Dionysos] killed him, and they [the sailors] all together
Leapt overboard, escaping an ill doom. And when they looked in the divine salt sea
They became dolphins. But he [Dionysos] kept back the helmsman,
Showing mercy to him, and he made for him every blessing, and he spoke a word:

“Be of good courage, heavenly [leader?], since you are pleasing to my spirit.
I am loud-roaring Dionysos, who a mother bore –
[She was] Kadmeian Semele – after having sexual intercourse in affection with Zeus.”

Hail, child of well-regarded Semele! He who
Forgets you is in no way able to adorn sweet song.
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To the Dioskouroi

Speak, lively-eyed Muses, concerning the sons of Zeus,
The sons of Tyndareus, splendid children of fine-ankled Leda,
Kastor tamer of horses and Polydeukes without fault.
[Leda] bore them below the peak of great Mount Taygetos,
Having had intercourse in affection with the cloud-dark son of Kronos,
Children, saviours of mortals of the earth and
Of swift-sailing ships, when wintry storm-winds
Hasten over the relentless sea, and from ships,
While mounted on the highest part of the stern
And vowing white sheep they call upon the sons of great Zeus,
And the great wind and the sea-swells lays the stern
below the surface [of the waves]. And they suddenly appear,
Darting through the upper air on swift-moving wings
And immediately they put an end to the grievous squalling winds
And they lay to rest the sea’s swells of white salt,
Good signs, relief from distress. And they [mortals] rejoice, seeing
[them], and cease from wretched labours.
Hail, sons of Tyndareus, riders of swift horses.
I for my part will remember you and another also by song.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
To Selene

Tell [me] to sing of the broad-winged moon, sweet-speaking Muses,
Daughters of Kronos’s son Zeus, right judges of song:
Far from earth the heaven-shown radiance of her head – sprung from an immortal –
Circles, and great ornament awakens beneath her
Shining lustre: and the unlit haze glistens
Under a golden crown, and brightness lingers
Whenever far-shining Selene, divine like Zeus,
Having bathed her noble skin in Ocean and having wrapped herself in garments
And having harnessed resplendent young horses with proud-arched necks
Should drive the fine-maned horses eagerly forward,
west, at the full moon. And her vast furrow swells,
And the brightest light then comes into being, down from heaven
While she rises high. And she is ordained as a fixed mark for mortals (who bleed from their wounds), a sign.
With her once in affection – and also the marriage-bed – the son of Kronos had sexual intercourse,
And she, after she conceived, brought forth the girl Pandeia,
Who among the deathless gods stood out as having great beauty.
Hail, lady, white-armed goddess, Selene divine like Zeus,
Gracious and fine of hair: and now I’ve begun with the fame of your light,
I will sing of the demigods, whose deeds singers – the Muses’ loyal comrades –
Will make famous from their desire-filled mouths.




A bit complex, that one.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
To Earth


I will sing of Earth, Mother of All, brave-wishing*
And most august, who nourishes all upon the dark earth in their multitudes,
Those who traverse the godly dark earth and those who traverse the sea,
And those as well who fly about [in the air], they are fed from your prosperity.
And out from you people rich in children – and fruitful too – come to be,
And it is your lot to grant life to mortals doomed to death
And to rescind [your gift] again: he’s fortunate, that one who you with all your heart
Honour of your own free will: for him all bounteous things are near at hand.
For him tilled land is laden, life-bearing, and throughout the fields
He flourishes in flocks and herds, and his house is filled full with prosperity.
And in accordance with good law they rule over the city, by the favour of the noble woman,**
And great happiness and wealth attends them:
And boys exult in newborn mirth,
And girls dance, making merry with all their heart in the blooming dancing-places
Over the meadows’ soft bright flowers,
These ones who you honour, you revered goddess and unmalicious power.
Hail, Mother of the Gods, the ploughed furrow [wife, concubine, bed-partner] of star-filled Sky,
Grant in return for this song a pleasing life,
And I will remember both you and another [god] also by song.



*ἠυθέμεθλον occurs only here, so this is my best guess from what I can make out of the roots.

**πόλιν κάτα καλλιγύναικα κοιρανέουσ᾽ - I'm not at all sure which of the ways I could read this is correct. ETA: Thanks to the good offices of [personal profile] fadeaccompli I am convinced now this should read "over the city abounding in noble women."
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
To Hestia

Hestia, you have as your portion an eternal place
August in honour in the high halls of all the immortals and the gods
And the mortals who come and go upon the ground,
And you possess fine privilege and worthy honour:
For without you there are no feasts for death-doomed mortals,
Where [someone] pours a libation of honey-sweet wine to Hestia
In the first place and in the last.
And you also, Argus-killer, son of Zeus and Maia,
Herald of the blessed ones, gold-wanded granter of good fortune,
As you are gracious, succour me together with your modest friend.
Dwell in fine halls, since you know friendship in your hearts for one another
For you both, since you have known the fair deeds of mortals on the dark earth,
Follow [them] with purpose and with vigour.
Hail, daughter of Kronos, and you also, gold-wanded Hermes:
I for my part will remember you both and also another [god] in song.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
To Athena

I start to sing of Pallas Athena, gleaming-eyed glorious god,
Shrewd in craft, who has a relentless spirit,
Honoured and unwed, valiant redeemer/plunderer of cities,
Third-born: wise-counselling Zeus himself brought her forth
From his hallowed head, she who has bright-shining
Golden implements of war: and reverential awe
Held fast all the immortals as they saw. In front of aegis-bearing Zeus, she
Rushed out eagerly from his immortal head,
Brandishing her keen-edged javelin, and great Olympos trembled
Fearfully from her might – she with blue-grey-gleaming eyes.
And the earth all about cried direly out, and the sea was set in motion,
Seething with purple swells: and sudden sea-water streamed out.
And Hyperion’s bright-gleaming son stayed his swift-footed horses
For too long a time, until Pallas Athena – a girl – seized for herself
Godlike arms of war from the shoulders of the immortals: and wise-counselling Zeus rejoiced.
So hail to you, child of aegis-bearing Zeus!
I will remember both you and another god also in song.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
To Artemis


I sing Artemis, her spindle gold, fearful-exhorting,
Honoured and unwed, who hunts the deer and pours out arrows like rain,
Full-sister to Apollo of the golden blade:
She who down wooded hill-slope and over wind-stirred mountain peaks
Delighting in the hunt, draws her all-golden bow to full stretch,
and sends forth grievous arrows: the peaks
Of lofty mountains tremble, and the thick-shaded woodland resounds in dread
with the clamour of wild beasts, and the earth
And the fish-abounding sea both shiver in a holy awe.
She, possessed of a valiant heart,
Goes back and forth on all sides killing the offspring of beasts,
And when she has had her fill, the beast-scouter, arrow-pourer,
Glad at heart, slackening her well-bent bow,
She comes to the great hall of her well-loved true brother,
Phoibos Apollo, in the abundant land of Delphi,
Where she will set in order his noble chorus of Muses and Graces.
There, hanging up her back-bent bow and her arrows,
Since she has good order, she leads the graceful [ones], close-arrayed,
And begins the dances. And they, uttering divine voice
Celebrate fine-ankled Leto in hymn, how she brought forth children
Outstanding and noble among the immortals in deed and counsel.
Hail, children of Zeus and fine-haired Leto!
I for my part will remember both of you and another also in song.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
To Dionysos


I begin to sing of ivy-haired Dionysos, load-roaring,
Shining son of Zeus and of glorious Semele,
He whom the fine-haired Nymphs reared, when they took him
From his lord father into their bosoms,
And [whom] they tended steadfastly
In the vales of Nysa: there by his father’s grace he grew to adulthood
In a sweet-smelling cave, counted among the undying.
And when the goddesses had reared him – much-hymned – in full,
Then, garlanded with ivy and laurel, he went roaming through wooded mountain-steams,
And the Nymphs went in his train, and he led them,
And a great sound possessed the endless woods.
And so hail to you, grape-rich Dionysos:
Grant that we may come suppliant, rejoicing in fitting season,
And for fitting seasons in turn, for many years [ahead].
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
To the Muses and to Apollo

I'll begin with the Muses, with Apollo and with Zeus:
For thanks to the Muses and far-shooting Apollo
Men may be singers on the earth, and kithara-players,
And thanks to Zeus they may be kings: he’s lucky, he whom the Muses
Cherish: sweet-tasting speech flows from his mouth.
Hail, children of Zeus! Honour my song,
And I in turn will remember you, and another also by song.

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