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Unformatted text preview: HOMERIC HYMN TO DEMETER TRANSLATED BY GREGORY NAGY 1 I begin to sing of Demeter, the holy goddess with the beautiful hair. And her daughter [Persephone] too. The one with the delicate ankles, whom Hads  seized. She was given away by Zeus, the loud-thunderer, the one who sees far and wide. Demeter did not take part in this, she of the golden double-axe, she who glories in the harvest. 5 She [Persephone] was having a good time, along with the daughters of Okeanos, who wear their girdles slung low. She was picking flowers: roses, crocus, and beautiful violets. Up and down the soft meadow. Iris blossoms too she picked, and hyacinth. And the narcissus, which was grown as a lure for the flower-faced girl by Gaia [Earth]. All according to the plans of Zeus . She [Gaia] was doing a favor for the one who receives many guests [Hads]. 10 It [the narcissus] was a wondrous thing in its splendor. To look at it gives a sense of holy awe to the immortal gods as well as mortal humans. It has a hundred heads growing from the root up. Its sweet fragrance spread over the wide skies up above. And the earth below smiled back in all its radiance. So too the churning mass of the salty sea. 15 She [Persephone] was filled with a sense of wonder, and she reached out with both hands to take hold of the pretty plaything.  And the earth, full of roads leading every which way, opened up under her. It happened on the Plain of Nysa. There it was that the Lord who receives many guests made his lunge. He was riding on a chariot drawn by immortal horses. The son of Kronos. The one known by many names. He seized her against her will, put her on his golden chariot, 20 And drove away as she wept. She cried with a piercing voice, calling upon her father [Zeus], the son of Kronos, the highest and the best. But not one of the immortal ones, or of human mortals, heard her voice. Not even the olive trees which bear their splendid harvest. Except for the daughter of Persaios, the one who keeps in mind the vigor of nature. 25 She heard it from her cave. She is Hekat, with the splendid headband. And the Lord Helios [Sun] heard it too, the magnificent son of Hyperion. They heard the daughter calling upon her father, the son of Kronos. But he, all by himself, was seated far apart from the gods, inside a temple, the precinct of many prayers. He was receiving beautiful sacrificial rites from mortal humans. 30 She was being taken, against her will, at the behest of Zeus, by her fathers brother, the one who makes many smata , the one who receives many guests, the son of Kronos, the one with many names. On the chariot drawn by immortal horses....
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- Spring '11