Homeric Hymn 7. To Dionysos
ἀμφὶ Διώνυσον, Σεμέλης ἐρικυδέος υἱόν,
μνήσομαι, ὡς ἐφάνη παρὰ θῖν᾽ ἁλὸς ἀτρυγέτοιο
ἀκτῇ ἔπι προβλῆτι νεηνίῃ ἀνδρὶ ἐοικώς,
πρωθήβῃ: καλαὶ δὲ περισσείοντο ἔθειραι,
κυάνεαι, φᾶρος δὲ περὶ στιβαροῖς ἔχεν ὤμοις
πορφύρεον: τάχα δ᾽ ἄνδρες ἐυσσέλμου ἀπὸ νηὸς
ληισταὶ προγένοντο θοῶς ἐπὶ οἴνοπα πόντον,
Τυρσηνοί: τοὺς δ᾽ ἦγε κακὸς μόρος: οἳ δὲ ἰδόντες
νεῦσαν ἐς ἀλλήλους, τάχα δ᾽ ἔκθορον. αἶψα δ᾽ ἑλόντες
εἷσαν ἐπὶ σφετέρης νηὸς κεχαρημένοι ἦτορ.
υἱὸν γάρ μιν ἔφαντο διοτρεφέων βασιλήων
εἶναι καὶ δεσμοῖς ἔθελον δεῖν ἀργαλέοισι.
τὸν δ᾽ οὐκ ἴσχανε δεσμά, λύγοι δ᾽ ἀπὸ τηλόσε πῖπτον
χειρῶν ἠδὲ ποδῶν: ὃ δὲ μειδιάων ἐκάθητο
ὄμμασι κυανέοισι: κυβερνήτης δὲ νοήσας
αὐτίκα οἷς ἑτάροισιν ἐκέκλετο φώνησέν τε:
δαιμόνιοι, τίνα τόνδε θεὸν δεσμεύεθ᾽ ἑλόντες,
καρτερόν; οὐδὲ φέρειν δύναταί μιν νηῦς εὐεργής.
ἢ γὰρ Ζεὺς ὅδε γ᾽ ἐστὶν ἢ ἀργυρότοξος Ἀπόλλων
ἠὲ Ποσειδάων: ἐπεὶ οὐ θνητοῖσι βροτοῖσιν
εἴκελος, ἀλλὰ θεοῖς, οἳ Ὀλύμπια δώματ᾽ ἔχουσιν.
ἀλλ᾽ ἄγετ᾽, αὐτὸν ἀφῶμεν ἐπ᾽ ἠπείροιο μελαίνης
αὐτίκα: μηδ᾽ ἐπὶ χεῖρας ἰάλλετε, μή τι χολωθεὶς
ὄρσῃ ἔπ᾽ ἀργαλέους τ᾽ ἀνέμους καὶ λαίλαπα πολλήν.
Ὣς φάτο: τὸν δ᾽ ἀρχὸς στυγερῷ ἠνίπαπε μύθῳ:
δαιμόνι᾽, οὖρον ὅρα, ἅμα δ᾽ ἱστίον ἕλκεο νηὸς
σύμπανθ᾽ ὅπλα λαβών: ὅδε δ᾽ αὖτ᾽ ἄνδρεσσι μελήσει.
ἔλπομαι, ἢ Αἴγυπτον ἀφίξεται ἢ ὅ γε Κύπρον
ἢ ἐς Ὑπερβορέους ἢ ἑκαστέρω: ἐς δὲ τελευτὴν
ἔκ ποτ᾽ ἐρεῖ αὐτοῦ τε φίλους καὶ κτήματα πάντα
οὕς τε κασιγνήτους, ἐπεὶ ἡμῖν ἔμβαλε δαίμων.
ὣς εἰπὼν ἱστόν τε καὶ ἱστίον ἕλκετο νηός.
ἔμπνευσεν δ᾽ ἄνεμος μέσον ἱστίον: ἀμφὶ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὅπλα
καττάνυσαν: τάχα δέ σφιν ἐφαίνετο θαυματὰ ἔργα.
οἶνος μὲν πρώτιστα θοὴν ἀνὰ νῆα μέλαιναν
ἡδύποτος κελάρυζ᾽ εὐώδης, ὤρνυτο δ᾽ ὀδμὴ
ἀμβροσίη: ναύτας δὲ τάφος λάβε πάντας ἰδόντας.
αὐτίκα δ᾽ ἀκρότατον παρὰ ἱστίον ἐξετανύσθη
ἄμπελος ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα, κατεκρημνῶντο δὲ πολλοὶ
βότρυες: ἀμφ᾽ ἱστὸν δὲ μέλας εἱλίσσετο κισσός,
ἄνθεσι τηλεθάων, χαρίεις δ᾽ ἐπὶ καρπὸς ὀρώρει:
πάντες δὲ σκαλμοὶ στεφάνους ἔχον: οἳ δὲ ἰδόντες,
νῆ᾽ ἤδη τότ᾽ ἔπειτα κυβερνήτην ἐκέλευον
γῇ πελάαν: ὃ δ᾽ ἄρα σφι λέων γένετ᾽ ἔνδοθι νηὸς
δεινὸς ἐπ᾽ ἀκροτάτης, μέγα δ᾽ ἔβραχεν, ἐν δ᾽ ἄρα μέσσῃ
ἄρκτον ἐποίησεν λασιαύχενα, σήματα φαίνων:
ἂν δ᾽ ἔστη μεμαυῖα: λέων δ᾽ ἐπὶ σέλματος ἄκρου
δεινὸν ὑπόδρα ἰδών: οἳ δ᾽ ἐς πρύμνην ἐφόβηθεν,
ἀμφὶ κυβερνήτην δὲ σαόφρονα θυμὸν ἔχοντα
ἔσταν ἄρ᾽ ἐκπληγέντες: ὃ δ᾽ ἐξαπίνης ἐπορούσας
ἀρχὸν ἕλ᾽, οἳ δὲ θύραζε κακὸν μόρον ἐξαλύοντες
πάντες ὁμῶς πήδησαν, ἐπεὶ ἴδον, εἰς ἅλα δῖαν,
δελφῖνες δ᾽ ἐγένοντο: κυβερνήτην δ᾽ ἐλεήσας
ἔσχεθε καί μιν ἔθηκε πανόλβιον εἶπέ τε μῦθον:
θάρσει, †δῖε κάτωρ†, τῷ ἐμῷ κεχαρισμένε θυμῷ:
εἰμὶ δ᾽ ἐγὼ Διόνυσος ἐρίβρομος, ὃν τέκε μήτηρ
Καδμηὶς Σεμέλη Διὸς ἐν φιλότητι μιγεῖσα.
χαῖρε, τέκος Σεμέλης εὐώπιδος: οὐδέ πη ἔστι
σεῖό γε ληθόμενον γλυκερὴν κοσμῆσαι ἀοιδήν.
I will tell of Dionysos, the son of glorious Semele, how he appeared on a jutting headland by the shore of the fruitless sea, seeming like a stripling in the first flush of manhood: his rich, dark hair was waving about him, and on his strong shoulders he wore a purple robe. Presently there came swiftly over the sparkling sea Tyrsenian pirates on a well-decked ship —a miserable doom led them on. When they saw him they made signs to one another and sprang out quickly, and seizing him straightway put him on board their ship exultingly; for they thought him the son of heaven-nurtured kings. They sought to bind him with rude bonds, but the bonds would not hold him, and the withes fell far away from his hands and feet: and he sat with a smile in his dark eyes. Then the helmsman understood all and cried out at once to his fellows and said:
“Madmen! what God is this whom you have taken and bind, strong that he is? Not even the well-built ship can carry him. Surely this is either Zeus or Apollo who has the silver bow, or Poseidon, for he looks not like mortal men but like the Gods who dwell on Olympus. Come, then, let us set him free upon the dark shore at once: do not lay hands on him, lest he grow angry and stir up dangerous winds and heavy squalls.”
So said he: but the master chid him with taunting words: “Madman, mark the wind and help hoist sail on the ship: catch all the sheets. As for this fellow we men will see to him: I reckon he is bound for Egypt or for Cyprus or to the Hyperboreans or further still. But in the end he will speak out and tell us his friends and all his wealth and his brothers, now that providence has thrown him in our way.”
When he had said this, he had mast and sail hoisted on the ship, and the wind filled the sail and the crew hauled taut the sheets on either side. But soon strange things were seen among them. First of all sweet, fragrant wine ran streaming throughout all the black ship and a heavenly smell arose, so that all the seamen were seized with amazement when they saw it. And all at once a vine spread out both ways along the top of the sail with many clusters hanging down from it, and a dark ivy-plant twined about the mast, blossoming with flowers, and with rich berries growing on it; and all the thole-pins were covered with garlands. When the pirates saw all this, then at last they bade the helmsman to put the ship to land. But the God changed into a dreadful lion there on the ship, in the bows, and roared loudly: amidships also he showed his wonders and created a shaggy bear which stood up ravening, while on the forepeak was the lion glaring fiercely with scowling brows. And so the sailors fled into the stern and crowded bemused about the right-minded helmsman, until suddenly the lion sprang upon the master and seized him; and when the sailors saw it they leapt out overboard one and all into the bright sea, escaping from a miserable fate, and were changed into dolphins. But on the helmsman Dionysos had mercy and held him back and made him altogether happy, saying to him:
“Take courage, good…; you have found favour with my heart. I am loud-crying Dionysos whom Cadmus’ daughter Semele bare of union with Zeus.”
Hail, child of fair-faced Semele! He who forgets you can in no wise order sweet song.