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Medieval and Classical Library

Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica


Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #8

I. (5 lines)
(ll. 1-5) Have reverence for him who needs a home and stranger's
dole, all ye who dwell in the high city of Cyme, the lovely
maiden, hard by the foothills of lofty Sardene, ye who drink the
heavenly water of the divine stream, eddying Hermus, whom
deathless Zeus begot.

II. (2 lines)
(ll. 1-2) Speedily may my feet bear me to some town of righteous
men; for their hearts are generous and their wit is best.

III. (6 lines)
(ll. 1-6) I am a maiden of bronze and am set upon the tomb of
Midas.  While the waters flow and tall trees flourish, and the
sun rises and shines and the bright moon also; while rivers run
and the sea breaks on the shore, ever remaining on this mournful
tomb, I tell the passer-by that Midas here lies buried.

IV. (17 lines)
(ll. 1-17) To what a fate did Zeus the Father give me a prey even
while he made me to grow, a babe at my mother's knee!  By the
will of Zeus who holds the aegis the people of Phricon, riders on
wanton horses, more active than raging fire in the test of war,
once built the towers of Aeolian Smyrna, wave-shaken neighbour to
the sea, through which glides the pleasant stream of sacred
Meles; thence (2) arose the daughters of Zeus, glorious children,
and would fain have made famous that fair country and the city of
its people.  But in their folly those men scorned the divine
voice and renown of song, and in trouble shall one of them
remember this hereafter -- he who with scornful words to them (3)
contrived my fate.  Yet I will endure the lot which heaven gave
me even at my birth, bearing my disappointment with a patient
heart.  My dear limbs yearn not to stay in the sacred streets of
Cyme, but rather my great heart urges me to go unto another
country, small though I am.

V. (2 lines)
(ll. 1-2) Thestorides, full many things there are that mortals
cannot sound; but there is nothing more unfathomable than the
heart of man.

VI. (8 lines)
(ll. 1-8) Hear me, Poseidon, strong shaker of the earth, ruler of
wide-spread, tawny Helicon!  Give a fair wind and sight of safe
return to the shipmen who speed and govern this ship.  And grant
that when I come to the nether slopes of towering Mimas I may
find honourable, god-fearing men.  Also may I avenge me on the
wretch who deceived me and grieved Zeus the lord of guests and
his own guest-table.

VII. (3 lines)
(ll. 1-3) Queen Earth, all bounteous giver of honey-hearted
wealth, how kindly, it seems, you are to some, and how
intractable and rough for those with whom you are angry.

VIII. (4 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Sailors, who rove the seas and whom a hateful fate has
made as the shy sea-fowl, living an unenviable life, observe the
reverence due to Zeus who rules on high, the god of strangers;
for terrible is the vengeance of this god afterwards for
whosoever has sinned.

IX. (2 lines)
(ll. 1-2) Strangers, a contrary wind has caught you: but even now
take me aboard and you shall make your voyage.

X. (4 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Another sort of pine shall bear a better fruit (4) than
you upon the heights of furrowed, windy Ida.  For there shall
mortal men get the iron that Ares loves so soon as the Cebrenians
shall hold the land.

XI. (4 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Glaucus, watchman of flocks, a word will I put in your
heart.  First give the dogs their dinner at the courtyard gate,
for this is well.  The dog first hears a man approaching and the
wild-beast coming to the fence.

XII. (4 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Goddess-nurse of the young (5), give ear to my prayer,
and grant that this woman may reject the love-embraces of youth
and dote on grey-haired old men whose powers are dulled, but
whose hearts still desire.

XIII. (6 lines)
(ll. 1-6) Children are a man's crown, towers of a city; horses
are the glory of a plain, and so are ships of the sea; wealth
will make a house great, and reverend princes seated in assembly
are a goodly sight for the folk to see.  But a blazing fire makes
a house look more comely upon a winter's day, when the Son of
Cronos sends down snow.

XIV. (23 lines)
(ll. 1-23) Potters, if you will give me a reward, I will sing for
you.  Come, then, Athena, with hand upraised (6) over the kiln. 
Let the pots and all the dishes turn out well and be well fired:
let them fetch good prices and be sold in plenty in the market,
and plenty in the streets.  Grant that the potters may get great
gain and grant me so to sing to them.  But if you turn shameless
and make false promises, then I call together the destroyers of
kilns, Shatter and Smash and Charr and Crash and Crudebake who
can work this craft much mischief.  Come all of you and sack the
kiln-yard and the buildings: let the whole kiln be shaken up to
the potter's loud lament.  As a horse's jaw grinds, so let the
kiln grind to powder all the pots inside.  And you, too, daughter
of the Sun, Circe the witch, come and cast cruel spells; hurt
both these men and their handiwork.  Let Chiron also come and
bring many Centaurs -- all that escaped the hands of Heracles and
all that were destroyed: let them make sad havoc of the pots and
overthrow the kiln, and let the potters see the mischief and be
grieved; but I will gloat as I behold their luckless craft.  And
if anyone of them stoops to peer in, let all his face be burned
up, that all men may learn to deal honestly.

XV. (13 lines) (7)
(ll. 1-7) Let us betake us to the house fo some man of great
power, -- one who bears great power and is greatly prosperous
always.  Open of yourselves, you doors, for mighty Wealth will
enter in, and with Wealth comes jolly Mirth and gentle Peace. 
May all the corn-bins be full and the mass of dough always
overflow the kneading-trough.  Now (set before us) cheerful
barley-pottage, full of sesame....


(ll. 8-10) Your son's wife, driving to this house with strong-
hoofed mules, shall dismount from her carriage to greet you; may
she be shod with golden shoes as she stands weaving at the loom.

(ll. 11-13) I come, and I come yearly, like the swallow that
perches light-footed in the fore-part of your house.  But quickly

XVI. (2 lines)
(ll. 1-2) If you will give us anything (well).  But if not, we
will not wait, for we are not come here to dwell with you.

HOMER: Hunters of deep sea prey, have we caught anything?

FISHERMAN: All that we caught we left behind, and all that we did
not catch we carry home. (8)

HOMER: Ay, for of such fathers you are sprung as neither hold
rich lands nor tend countless sheep.


(1)  "The Epigrams" are preserved in the pseudo-Herodotean "Life
     of Homer".  Nos. III, XIII, and XVII are also found in the
     "Contest of Homer and Hesiod", and No. I is also extant at
     the end of some MSS. of the "Homeric Hymns".
(2)  sc. from Smyrna, Homer's reputed birth-place.
(3)  The councillors at Cyme who refused to support Homer at the
     public expense.
(4)  The `better fruit' is apparently the iron smelted out in
     fires of pine-wood.
(5)  Hecate: cp. Hesiod, "Theogony", l. 450.
(6)  i.e. in protection.
(7)  This song is called by pseudo-Herodotus EIRESIONE.  The word
     properly indicates a garland wound with wool which was worn
     at harvest-festivals, but came to be applied first to the
     harvest song and then to any begging song.  The present is
     akin the Swallow-Song (XELIDONISMA), sung at the beginning
     of spring, and answered to the still surviving English May-
     Day songs.  Cp. Athenaeus, viii. 360 B.
(8)  The lice which they caught in their clothes they left
     behind, but carried home in their clothes those which they
     could not catch.