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The Homeric Hymns of Hesiod 1 страница  Просмотрен 132


Hesiod was a Greek epic poet who flourished in Boeotia in the 8th century B.C. He was alongside Homer the most respected of the old Greek poets.

His works included a poem titled 'the Theogony',

a cosmological work describing the origins and genealogy of the gods,

'Works and Days',

on the subjects of farming, morality and country life,

and a large number of lost or now fragmentary poems,

including 'the Catalogues of Women', 'Eoiae', and 'Astronomy'.


Most surviving Byzantine manuscripts begin with the third Hymn. A chance discovery in Moscow in 1777 recovered the two hymns that open the collection, the fragmentary To Dionysus and To Demeter (complete save some lacunose lines), in a single fifteenth-century manuscript. Some at least of the shorter ones may be excerpts that have omitted the narrative central section, preserving only the useful invocation and introduction,which a rhapsode could employ in the manner of a prelude.

The hymns, which must be the remains of a once more strongly represented genre, vary widely in length, some being as brief as three or four lines, while others are in excess of five hundred lines. The long ones comprise an invocation, praise, and narrative, sometimes quite extended. In the briefest ones, the narrative element is lacking. The longer ones show signs of having been assembled from pre-existing disparate materials.



Translated by H. G. Evelyn-White 1914


the 35 known Homeric hymns



"To Dionysus" 21 lines [80 lines] [60]

"To Demeter" 495 lines 145

"To Apollo" 546 lines (2 hymns) 45 & 110


"To Hermes" 580 lines 150

"To Aphrodite" 293 lines 90

"To Aphrodite" 21 lines 10

"To Dionysus" 59 lines 25

"To Ares" 17 lines 10


"To Artemis" 9 lines 5

"To Aphrodite" 6 lines 5

"To Athena" 5 lines 5

"To Hera" 5 lines 4

"To Demeter" 3 lines 3

"To the mother of the gods" 6 lines 5

"To Heracles with the heart of a lion" 9 lines 5

"To Asclepius" 5 lines 3

"To the Dioscuri" 5 lines 3

"To Hermes" 12 lines 5

"To Pan" 49 lines 15

"To Hephaestus" 8 lines 4

"To Apollo" 5 lines 3

"To Poseidon" 7 lines 4

"To Zeus" 4 lines 3

"To Hestia" 5 lines 3


"To the Muses and Apollo" 7 lines 5

"To Dionysus" 13 lines 5

"To Artemis" 22 lines 10

"To Athena" 18 lines 10

"To Hestia"(and Hermes) 13 lines 5

"To Gaia, the Earth Mother of all" 19 lines 10

"To Helios" 20 lines 10

"To Selene" 20 lines 8

"To the Dioscuri" 19 lines 10



A thirty-fourth, “To Hosts” is not a hymn. It is a reminder that hospitality is a sacred duty enjoined by the gods, a pointed reminder when coming from a professional poem.



[the exact order of the hymns is in question]




Homeric Hymn 1. CHAPTER ONE

Divisions 1-25

To Dionysus (incomplete)



[ . . .





...For some say, at Dracanum;

and some, on windy Icarus;

and some, in Naxos,

O Heaven-born, Insewn;


and others by the deep-eddying river Alpheus

that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus the thunder-lover.


And others yet, lord, say you were born in Thebes;

yet all these lie.



The Father of men and gods gave you birth remote from men

and secretly from white-armed Hera.


There is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with woods,

far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus, . . .


[ . . . ]



Homeric Hymn 1. CHAPTER TWO

Divisions 26-60

To Dionysus




[ . . . ]


(Zeus speaking)

" . . . and men will lay up for her many offerings in her shrines.


And as these things are three,

so shall mortals ever sacrifice perfect hecatombs to you

at your feasts each three years."



The Son of Cronos spoke and nodded with his dark brows.


And the divine locks of the king flowed forward from his immortal head,

and he made great Olympus reel.


So spake wise Zeus and ordained it with a nod.



Be favourable, O Insewn, Inspirer of frenzied women!


We singers sing of you as we begin and as we end a strain,

and none forgetting you may call holy song to mind.


And so, farewell, Dionysus,

Insewn, with your mother Semele whom men call Thyone.


Homeric Hymn 2. CHAPTER ONE

Divisions 1-30

To Demeter




I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful [and beautiful] goddess

-- of her and her trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus rapt away,

given to him by all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer.


Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and glorious fruits,

she [Persephone] was playing with the deep-bosomed daughters of Oceanus

and gathering flowers over a soft meadow,


roses and crocuses and beautiful violets,

irises also and hyacinths and the narcissus,

which Earth made to grow at the will of Zeus and to please the Host of Many,

to be a snare for the bloom-like girl.


A marvellous, radiant flower,

it was a thing of awe whether for deathless gods or mortal men to see,


from its root grew 100 blooms and is smelled most sweetly,

so that all wide heaven above and the whole earth and the sea's salt swell laughed for joy.


And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy;

yet the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa,

and the lord, Host of Many, with his immortal horses sprang out upon her

[Hades] -- the Son of Cronos, He who has many names.


He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting.



Then she cried out shrilly with her voice,

calling upon her father, the Son of Cronos, who is most high and excellent.


Yet no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice,

nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit,


only tender-hearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus,

heard the girl from her cave,

and the lord Helios, Hyperion's bright son,

as she cried to her father, [Zeus] the Son of Cronos.


Yet he was sitting aloof, apart from the gods,

in his temple where many pray, and receiving sweet offerings from mortal men.


So he [Zeus], that Son of Cronos, of many names, who is Ruler of Many and Host of Many,

was bearing her away by leave of Zeus on his immortal chariot,

his own brother's child and all unwilling.



And so long as she, the goddess [Persephone], yet beheld earth and starry heaven,

and the strong-flowing sea where fishes shoal, and the rays of the sun,

and still hoped to see her dear mother and the tribes of the eternal gods,

so long hope calmed her great heart for all her trouble



...and the heights of the mountains and the depths of the sea rang with her immortal voice,

and her queenly mother heard her.


Bitter pain seized her heart, and she rent the covering upon her divine hair with her dear hands,

her dark cloak she cast down from both her shoulders and sped, like a wild bird,

over the firm land and yielding sea, seeking her child.




Yet no one would tell her the truth, neither god nor mortal men;

and of the birds of omen none came with true news for her.


Then for nine days queenly Deo wandered over the earth with flaming torches in her hands,

so grieved that she never tasted ambrosia and the sweet draught of nectar,

nor sprinkled her body with water.


Yet when the tenth enlightening dawn had come, Hecate, with a torch in her hands,

met her, and spoke to her and told her news:


"Queenly Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of good gifts,

what god of heaven or what mortal man has rapt away Persephone

and pierced with sorrow your dear heart?


For I heard her voice, yet saw not with my eyes who it was.

Yet I tell you truly and shortly all I know."



So, then, spoke Hecate,

and the daughter of rich-haired Rhea answered her not,

yet sped swiftly with her, holding flaming torches in her hands.


So they came to Helios, who is watchman of both gods and men,

and stood in front of his horses:

and the bright goddess enquired of him:


"Helios, do you at least regard me, goddess as I am,

if ever by word or deed of mine I have cheered your heart and spirit.


Through the fruitless air I heard the thrilling cry of my daughter whom I bare,

sweet scion of my body and lovely in form,

as of one seized violently;

though with my eyes I saw nothing.


Yet you,--for with your beams you look down from the bright upper air over all the earth and sea--

tell me truly of my dear child, if you have seen her anywhere,

what god or mortal man has violently seized her against her will and mine, and so made off."



So said she,

and the Son of Hyperion answered her:


"Queen Demeter, daughter of rich-haired Rhea, I will tell you the truth;

for I greatly reverence and pity you in your grief for your trim-ankled daughter.


None other of the deathless gods is to blame, yet only cloud-gathering Zeus

who gave her to Hades, her father's brother, to be called his buxom wife,

and Hades seized her and took her loudly crying in his chariot down to his realm of mist and gloom.



Yet, goddess, cease your loud lament and keep not vain anger unrelentingly,

for Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child,

being your own brother and born of the same stock:


also, for honour, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first,

and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells."


So he spake, and called to his horses,

and at his chiding they quickly whirled the swift chariot along, like long-winged birds.



Homeric Hymn 2. CHAPTER TWO

Divisions 31-55

To Demeter




Yet grief yet more terrible and savage came into the heart of Demeter,

and thereafter she was so angered with the dark-clouded Son of Cronos

that she avoided the gathering of the gods and high Olympus,

and went to the towns and rich fields of men, disfiguring her form a long while.


And no one of men or deep-bosomed women knew her when they saw her,

until she came to the house of wise Celeus who then was lord of fragrant Eleusis.


Vexed in her dear heart, she sat near the wayside by the Maiden Well,

from which the women of the place were used to draw water,

in a shady place over which grew an olive shrub.


And she was like an ancient woman

who is cut off from childbearing and the gifts of garland-loving Aphrodite,

like the nurses of king's children who deal justice, or like the house-keepers in their echoing halls.



There the daughters of Celeus, son of Eleusis, saw her,

as they were coming for easy-drawn water,

to carry it in pitchers of bronze to their dear father's house.


Four were they, and like goddesses in the flower of their girlhood,

Callidice, and Cleisidice, and lovely Demo, and Callithoe who was the eldest of them all.


They knew her not, -- for the gods are not easily discerned by mortals --

yet standing near by her spoke winged words:


"Old mother,

whence and who are you of folk born long ago?


Why are you gone away from the city and do not draw near the houses?


For there in the shady halls are women of just such age as you, and others younger;

and they would welcome you both by word and by deed."



Thus they said, and she, that queen among goddesses answered them saying,


"Hail, dear children, whosoever you are of woman-kind.


I will tell you my story;

for it is not unseemly that I should tell you truly what you ask.


Doso is my name, for my stately mother gave it me.



And now I am come from Crete over the sea's wide back,

--not willingly;

yet pirates brought be thence by force of strength against my liking.


Afterwards they put in with their swift craft to Thoricus,

and there the women landed on the shore in full throng and the men likewise,

and they began to make ready a meal by the stern-cables of the ship.


Yet my heart craved not pleasant food,

and I fled secretly across the dark country and escaped by masters,

that they should not take me unpurchased across the sea, there to win a price for me.



And so I wandered and am come here,

and I know not at all what land this is or what people are in it.


Yet may all those who dwell on Olympus give you husbands and birth of children as parents desire, so you take pity on me, maidens,


and show me this clearly that I may learn, dear children,

to the house of what man and woman I may go,

to work for them cheerfully at such tasks as belong to a woman of my age.


Well could I nurse a new born child, holding him in my arms, or keep house,

or spread my masters' bed in a recess of the well-built chamber, or teach the women their work."



So said the goddess, and straightway the unwed maiden Callidice,

goodliest in form of the daughters of Celeus, answered her and said:


"Mother, what the gods send us, we mortals bear perforce, although we suffer;

for they are much stronger than we.


Yet now I will teach you clearly,

telling you the names of men who have great power and honour here and are chief among the people,

guarding our city's coif of towers by their wisdom and true judgements:


there is wise Triptolemus, and Dioclus, and Polyxeinus,

and blameless Eumolpus, and Dolichus, and our own brave father.


All these have wives who manage in the house, and no one of them,

so soon as she has seen you, would dishonour you and turn you from the house,

yet they will welcome you; for indeed you are godlike.



Yet if you will, stay here;

and we will go to our father's house and tell Metaneira, our deep-bosomed mother, all this matter fully,

that she may bid you rather come to our home than search after the houses of others.


She has an only son, late-born, who is being nursed in our well-built house,

a child of many prayers and welcome.


If you could bring him up until he reached the full measure of youth,

any one of womankind who should see you would straightway envy you,

such gifts would our mother give for his upbringing."



So she spake, and the goddess nodded her head in assent,

and they filled their shining vessels with water and carried them off rejoicing.



Homeric Hymn 2. CHAPTER THREE

Divisions 56-90

To Demeter



Quickly they came to their father's great house

and straightway told their mother according as they had heard and seen,

then she bade them go with all speed and invite the stranger to come for a measureless hire.


As hinds or heifers in spring time, when sated with pasture, bound about a meadow,

so they, holding up the folds of their lovely garments, darted down the hollow path,

and their hair like a crocus flower streamed about their shoulders.


And they found the good goddess near the wayside where they had left her before,

and led her to the house of their dear father.



And she walked behind, distressed in her dear heart,

with her head veiled and wearing a dark cloak which waved about the slender feet of the goddess.



Soon they came to the house of heaven-nurtured Celeus

and went through the portico to where their queenly mother sat by a pillar of the close-fitted roof,

holding her son, a tender scion (a family descendant), in her bosom.



And the girls ran to her, yet the goddess walked to the threshold,

and her head reached the roof and she filled the doorway with a heavenly radiance.


Then awe and reverence and pale fear took hold of Metaneira,

and she rose up from her couch before Demeter, and bade her be seated.


Yet Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of perfect gifts, would not sit upon the bright couch,

yet stayed silent with lovely eyes cast down

until careful Iambe placed a jointed seat for her and threw over it a silvery fleece.



Then she sat down and held her veil in her hands before her face.


A long time she sat upon the stool without speaking because of her sorrow,

and greeted no one by word or by sign, yet rested, never smiling, and tasting neither food nor drink, because she pined with longing for her deep-bosomed daughter,


until careful Iambe

-- who pleased her moods in aftertime also --

moved the holy lady with many a quip and jest to smile and laugh and cheer her heart.



Then Metaneira filled a cup with sweet wine and offered it to her; yet she refused it,

for she said it was not lawful for her to drink red wine,

yet bade them mix meal and water with soft mint and give her to drink.


And Metaneira mixed the draught and gave it to the goddess as she bade,

so the great queen Deo received it to observe the sacrament [of drink among friends]








And of them all, well-girded Metaneira first began to speak:


"Hail, lady! For I think you are not meanly yet nobly born;

truly dignity and grace are conspicuous upon your eyes as in the eyes of kings that deal justice.


Yet we mortals bear perforce what the gods send us, though we be grieved;

for a yoke is set upon our necks.



Yet now, since you are come here, you shall have what I can bestow:

and nurse me this child whom the gods gave me in my old age and beyond my hope,

a son much prayed for.

If you should bring him up until he reach the full measure of youth,

any one of womankind that sees you will straightway envy you,

so great reward would I give for his upbringing."



Then rich-haired Demeter answered her:


"And to you, also, lady, all hail, and may the gods give you good!

Gladly will I take the boy to my breast, as you bid me, and will nurse him.



Never, I ween, through any heedlessness of his nurse shall witchcraft hurt him nor yet the Undercutter,

for I know a charm far stronger than the Woodcutter,

and I know an excellent safeguard against woeful witchcraft."


When she had so spoken, she took the child in her fragrant bosom with her divine hands,

and his mother was glad in her heart.


So the goddess nursed in the palace Demophoon,

wise Celeus' goodly son whom well-girded Metaneira bare.



And the child grew like some immortal being, not fed with food nor nourished at the breast,

for by day rich-crowned Demeter would anoint him with ambrosia as if he were the offspring of a god

and breathe sweetly upon him as she held him in her bosom.


Yet at night she would hide him like a brand in the hearth of the fire,

unknown to his dear parents.


And it wrought great wonder in these that he grew beyond his age;

for he was like the gods face to face.


And she would have made him deathless and unageing, had not well-girded Metaneira in her heedlessness kept watch by night from her sweet-smelling chamber and spied.


Yet she wailed and smote her two hips, because she feared for her son and was greatly distraught in her heart; so she lamented and uttered winged words:


"Demophoon, my son,

the strange woman buries you deep in fire, and works grief and bitter sorrow for me."



Thus she spoke, lamenting,

and the bright goddess, lovely-crowned Demeter, heard her, and was wroth with her.


So with her divine hands she snatched from the fire the dear son whom Metaneira had born unhoped-for in the palace, and [with appropriate manner] cast him from her to the ground;

for she was terribly angry in her heart.


Forthwith she said to well-girded Metaneira:

"Witless are you mortals and dull to foresee your lot, whether of good or evil, that comes upon you.



For now in your heedlessness you have wrought folly past healing; for

-- be witness the oath of the gods, the relentless water of Styx --

I would have made your dear son deathless and unaging all his days and would have bestowed on him everlasting honour, yet now he can in no way escape death and the fates.


Yet shall unfailing honour always rest upon him, because he lay upon my knees and slept in my arms.


Yet, as the years move round and when he is in his prime,

the sons of the Eleusinians shall ever wage war and dread strife with one another continually.



Lo! I am that Demeter who has share of honour

and is the greatest help and cause of joy to the undying gods and mortal men.


Yet now, let all the people build be a great temple and an altar below it

and beneath the city and its sheer wall upon a rising hillock above Callichorus.


And I myself will teach my rites,

that hereafter you may reverently perform them and so win the favour of my heart."



Homeric Hymn 2. CHAPTER FOUR

Divisions 91-115

To Demeter




When she had so said, the goddess changed her stature and her looks,

thrusting old age away from her,

beauty spread round about her and a lovely fragrance was wafted from her sweet-smelling robes,

and from the divine body of the goddess a light shone afar,

while golden tresses spread down over her shoulders,

so that the strong house was filled with brightness as with lightning.


And so she went out from the palace.


And straightway Metaneira's knees were loosed and she remained speechless for a long while

and did not remember to take up her late-born son from the ground.


Yet his sisters heard his pitiful wailing and sprang down from their well-spread beds:

one of them took up the child in her arms and laid him in her bosom,

while another revived the fire,

and a third rushed with soft feet to bring their mother from her fragrant chamber.


And they gathered about the struggling child and washed him, embracing him lovingly;

yet he was not comforted,

because nurses and handmaids much less skilful were holding him now.


All night long they sought to appease the glorious goddess, quaking with fear,


yet, when dawn began to show, they told powerful Celeus all things without fail,

as the lovely-crowned goddess Demeter charged them.



So Celeus called the countless people to an assembly

and bade them make a goodly temple for rich-haired Demeter and an altar upon the rising hillock,


And they obeyed him right speedily and harkened to his voice, doing as he commanded.


As for the child, he grew like an immortal being.



Now when they had finished building and had drawn back from their toil,

they went every man to his house.


Yet golden-haired Demeter sat there apart from all the blessed gods and stayed,

wasting with yearning for her deep-bosomed daughter.


Then she caused a most dreadful and cruel year for mankind over the all-nourishing earth,

the ground would not make the seed sprout, for rich-crowned Demeter kept it hid.


In the fields the oxen drew many a curved plough in vain,

and much white barley was cast upon the land without avail.


So she would have destroyed the whole race of man with cruel famine

and have robbed them who dwell on Olympus of their glorious right of gifts and sacrifices,

had not Zeus perceived and marked this in his heart.


First he sent golden-winged Iris to call rich-haired Demeter, lovely in form.


So he commanded, and she obeyed the dark-clouded Son of Cronos, and sped with swift feet across the space between.



She came to the stronghold of fragrant Eleusis, and there finding dark-cloaked Demeter in her temple,

spake to her and uttered winged words:


"Demeter, father Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting,

calls you to come join the tribes of the eternal gods:


Come therefore, and let not the message I bring from Zeus pass unobeyed."


Thus said Iris imploring her, yet Demeter's heart was not moved.


Then again the father sent forth all the blessed and eternal gods besides,

and they came, one after the other, and kept calling her and offering many very beautiful gifts

and whatever right she might be pleased to choose among the deathless gods.

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