Homeric Hymn to Apollo

I shall remember and not forget Apollo Far-Darter,
before whom the gods tremble as he enters Zeus's house.
They rise up, all of them, from their seats,
as he draws near, when he bends his shining bow.
Leto alone remains beside Zeus who delights in thunder.
She loosens his bow and closes his quiver, and
removing them from his stalwart shoulders,
hangs the bow upon her father's pillar
from a golden peg.  Then she leads him to a chair and
seats him.  His father gives him nectar in a golden cup
in welcome for his son.  Next, the other divinities sit down.
And lady Leto rejoices because she bore a mighty son,
bearer of the bow.  Rejoice, blessed Leto, since you bore glorious
children, lord Apollo and Artemis who showers arrows.
Her in Ortygia, and him in rugged Delos,
as you leaned against the great mountain
of the Kynthian hill close by a palm tree beside Inopos' streams.

How shall I remember you in all ways worthy of song?
Everywhere, Phoebus, the range of song has been set down
for you, up along both  the calf-nourishing mainland and the islands.  All the peaks delight you and high headlands
of lofty mountains as well as rivers flowing seaward, and
shores lying near the sea, and the sea's harbors.
Or shall I sing how Leto bore you, a joy to mortals,
leaning against Mount Kynthos on a rugged island
in sea-girt Delos?  From each side, a black wave
went forth onto the land with whistling winds.
Rising up from there, you are lord for all mortals.
As many as Crete holds within and the countryside of Athens,
the island of Aigina and Euboia, famed for ships,
Aegai and Eiresiai and Peparethos near the sea,
Thracian Athos and the high peaks of Pelion,
Thracian Samos and Ida's shadowy mountains,
Skyros and Phokaia and Autokane's sheer mountain,
well-built Imbros and inaccessible Lemnos,
hallowed Lesbos, home of Makar, son of Aiolos,
Chios, that lies the brightest of islands on the sea,
craggy Mimas and Korukos' high peaks,
gleaming Klaros and Aisage's sheer mountain,
watery Samos and Mykale's high peaks,
Miletos and Koos, city of Meropian men,
steep Knidos and windy Karpathos,
Naxos and Paros and rocks Rhenaia,
to so many men did Leto come in labor with Far Darter,
if any land would be willing to found a house for her son.
They trembled and were afraid, and no one dared
to receive Phoebus, even one that was fatter,
until lady Leto walked on Delos.

Leto spoke winged words, asking her:
"Delos, if you are willing to be the home of my son,
Phoebus Apollo, and to found a fat temple,
no other will ever touch you nor forget you.
I do not think you will become fat in cattle and sheep,
neither will you bear ripe fruits or produce abundant
plants.  But if you have the temple of Apollo Far Darter,
all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here
and the insatiable savor of fat will always rise upwards.
You will feed those from another's hand those who inhabit you, since your soil is not fat."  Thus she spoke.
And Delos rejoiced and spoke in reply.

"Most noble Leto, daughter of great Koios,
gladly would I receive your child, the lord Far Darter,
for truly I am terribly ill-spoken of
among men, and so I would be very honored.
But I tremble before this word, Leto, and I will not hide it.
`Too much,' they say, will the overbearing Apollo be,
and he will greatly hold sway over immortals
and mortal men upon the grain-giving fields.
Him I fear terribly in my mind and spirit,
that, when he first looks upon the light of the sun,
despising my island, since I am rugged ground,
he would capsize me and push me with his feet
on the sea's broad expanse.  There a great wave will ever
wash over my head in abundance, and he will arrive at
another land who would please him to found a temple and wooded
groves.  The polyps and black seals will man their
homes on me without cares in the absence of people.
Yet, if you would dare, goddess, to swear a great oath,
that he will build a very beautiful temple here,
first to be an oracle for men, then
among all men, since he will be many-named."
Thus she spoke, and Leto swore a great oath of the gods.

"Let the earth now know and wide heaven above and
Styx's flowing waters, which is the greatest
oath and most dreadful for blessed gods.
Truly, here will be always Phoebus' fragrant
altar and precinct, and he will honor you above all."

After she swore and put end to her oath,
Delos rejoiced at the birth of the lord Far Darter.
Leto for nine days and nine nights was racked
with pangs unexpected.  All the goddesses attended,
those who were the best, Dione and Rhea,
Ichaie and Themis and loud-wailing Amphitrite, and
other immortal goddesses, apart from white-armed Hera.
for she sat in the halls of cloud-gathering Zeus.
Eileithuia, easer of childbirth, alone had not heard.
She was sitting on the top of Olympos beneath golden clouds
in accord with the councils of white-armed Hera, who held her
back out of envy  that a blameless, might
son Leto of the beautiful hair was about to birth.
The goddesses sent forth Iris from the well-built island
to bring Eileithyia, promising her a great necklace,
nine cubits long and bound together with golden thread.
They bid her to call Eileithyia apart from white-armed Hera
so that she not dissuade her from going.
But when swift Iris, wind-footed, heard this,
she went and quickly traversed all the midspace.
When she arrived at Olympos, steep seat of the gods,
immediately she called forth Eileithyia from the hall
to the door and spoke winged words,
all that the goddess who hold Olympian homes enjoined.
She persuaded the spirit in her breast,
and they went like shy doves in their steps.
When Eileithyia, easer of childbirth, came to Delos,
then childbirth seized Leto, and she longed to give birth.
She threw her arms around a palm tree and braced
her knees on the soft meadow, and the earth smiled from below.
He leapt forth into the light, and all the goddesses cried out.
There Ios the goddesses bathed you, Apollo,
with sweet water, purely and cleanly, and swathed you
in white clothe, fine and newly woven.  They put about you
a golden belt.  But his mother did not nurse Apollo
of the golden sword.  Thetis poured him nectar and lovely
ambrosia from her immortal hands, and Leto rejoiced
because she bore a mighty son, bearer of the bow.

But when you devoured ambrosial food,
Phoebus, belts of gold no longer restrained you
in your struggles, neither did the bands hold you.  All
their ends loosened.  Immediately, Phoebus Apollo
addressed the immortals:

"May the lyre be mine, and drawn bows, and I shall
foretell to men the unerring will of Zeus."

Thus he spoke and went from the broad-wayed earth,
did Phoebus, long-haired Far Shooter.
All the goddesses were amazed, and all Delos was laden
with gold at seeing the child of Zeus and Leto, with joy because the god chose her to found his house among islands and mainland, and he loved her in his earth more and blossomed
as when the peaks of a mountain burgeon with woodland flowers.
The silver-bowed, lord Far Shooter Apollo himself,
sometimes you walked on craggy Kynthos,
sometimes you kept wandering among the islands and men.
Many islands and wooded groves,
many peaks and high crags of lofty
mountains are dear to you, and rivers flowing seaward.
But you, Phoebus, delight especially in your heart
for Delos, where Ionians of trailing robes gather
with their children and modest wives.
They remember you and delight you with boxing,
dancing and singing whenever they institute a contest.
He would declare that the gods are immortal and ever
ageless, that one who comes upon Ionians when they gather.
He would see everyone's gaiety, and be delighted
in his spirit at seeing the men and beautifully girded women,
swift ships and their many possessions.
Further, a great wonder, one whose fame will never perish,
is the maidens of Delos, servants of Far Darter.
After they first hymn Apollo,
and then Leto and arrow-showering Artemis,
remembering men and women of old,
they sing a hymn and charm the tribes of mortals.
They know how to imitate the voices of all men and
their noisy chattering.  Each one would say he himself
was speaking, so is their beautiful song fit together.
But come graciously Apollo and Artemis together,
and all you rejoice.  In the after time, remember me,
whenever someone of men on the earth,
a wretched stranger comes here and asks:

"O maidens, what man in your opinion is the sweetest
singer who frequents these places and delights you most?"
All of you answer well of us:
"A blind man, he lives in rugged Chios,
whose songs all are best in the after time."
As for us, we will carry your fame as far as over land
we roam to well-placed cities.
the maidens believe me, since it is also true.
But I shall not cease hymning far-darting
Apollo of the silver bow whom lovely-haired Leto bore.

O lord, Lykia and lovely Meonia and
Meletos, enchanting city by the sea, you hold,
and you yourself lord greatly over sea-girt Delos.
The son of much-renowned Leto goes, playing
upon his hollow lyre, to rocky Pytho,
clad in ambrosial, fragrant dress.  His lyre
has an enchanting sound beneath the golden pick.
From there, from the earth like a thought, he goes
to Olympos and the home of Zeus and company of the other
gods.  Straightway, his lyre and song interest the immortals.
All the Muses, in response with their lovely
voices, hymn to ambrosial gifts of gods and
the miseries of men, all that they have beneath the power
of the immortal gods.  Men live foolishly and helplessly,
unable to discover a remedy for death and
defense against old age.  But the fair-haired Graces,
kindly Seasons, Harmonia, Hebe and Zeus's daughter
Aphrodite dance, holding  one another's wrist.
Among them dances no one either ugly or short
but only the tall to look upon and wondrous in beauty,
arrow-showering Artemis, sister of Apollo.
Among them, Ares and keen-sighted Arge´phontes
sport, but Phoebus Apollo plays his lyre
beautifully, stepping high, and a gleam surrounds him,
the glittering of his flute and close-woven tunic.
Golden-haired Leto and counselor Zeus
delight greatly in their spirits as they gaze
upon their son playing among the immortal gods.

How shall I hymn you who are in every way worthy of song?
Do I sing of you in wooing and loving,
how, in wooing, you came to the maiden daughter of Azas
with godlike Ischos, son of Elation fat in horses?
Or with Phorbas, son of Triops, or with Ereutheus?
Or with Leukippos and Leukippos' wife,
on foot, and he with horses, and he did not fall short of Triops?  Or how when first seeking an oracle for men
you went across the earth, far-darting Apollo?
First you came to Pieria from Olympos.
You passed beyond sandy Lektos and Ainienai
and through Perraikoi.  Quickly you arrived at Iolkos.
You walked upon Kenaios in Euboia, famous for ships.
You stood on the Lelantine plain, but it did not please
your spirit for building a temple and wooded grove.
From there crossing Euripos, far-darting Apollo,
you came to a sacred green mountain.  Quickly,
you arrived from there to Mykalessos and grass-bedded Teumessos.  You reached the seat of Thebes clothed in trees.
For no one of mortals yet lived in holy Thebes,
nor were there yet any tracks or roads
up along the grain-bearing plain of Thebes, but woods held it.
From there, you went forward, far-darting Apollo,
and arrived at Onchestos, Poseidon's wondrous grove.
There the newly-broken colt, when tired of drawing
the beautiful chariot, pauses for breath, and the driver,
though skilled, leaps from the chariot and goes his way.
The horses rattle the empty chariot, freed from control.
If they break the chariot in the woody grove,
they tend to the horses but tip over the chariot and leave it.
Thus it becomes holy, and they pray to the lord,
and the lot of god watches over the chariot.
From there you went forth, far-darting Apollo.
Then you reached Kephisos' beautiful stream,
which pours forth from Lilaie beautiful water.
You crossed it, Far-Darter, and came to
Okalee of many towers and grassy Haliartos.
You walked on Telphousa, and there the pain-free
place pleased you to build a temple and wooded grove.
You stood near her and addressed this word:
"Telphousa, I am thinking of building here
a very beautiful temple to be an oracle for men
who always will bring perfect hecatombs here,
both those who inhabit the wealthy Peloponnesos
and those who inhabit Europe and the islands, girded
with water, to consult it.  To them, I shall reveal
unerring counsel, prophesying in the fat temple."

Thus Phoebus Apollo spoke and laid out the foundations,
broad and very long and continuous.  But Telphousa
saw this and was enraged in her heart and said:

"Phoebus, lord Far-Darter, I shall place this word
in your mind, since you are thinking of building
a very beautiful temple to be an oracle for men,
who will always bring perfect hecatombs.
Well, I say to you, and you throw it into your breast.
The pounding of swift horses will always vex you
as well as the mules watering from my sacred springs.
Here some man will prefer to look at
well-built chariots and the pound of swift horses
than at a great temple and its many possessions therein.
But if you listen to me, you are lord stronger and
better than I, and your strength is the greatest.
Build at Krise beneath of fold of Paranassos.
There chariots will not whirl about,
neither will there be pounding of swift horses
around your well-built alar.  But to you as Iepaieon (Hail-Healer)
the renowned tribes of men shall bring gifts, and you,
rejoicing in your breast, shall receive the beautiful sacrifices from the men dwelling around there."

Thus speaking, she persuaded the Far-Darter's breast
so that hers, Telephousa's, would be the glory in the land
and not Far-Darter's.  You went from there, far-darting Apollo,
and came to the city of the Phlegyes, haughty men
who dwelled on the earth not caring for Zeus
in a beautiful glen near lake Kephisis.
You went swiftly from there, speeding to a mountain ridge
and came to Krises beneath snowy Parnassos,
a slope turned westward, but from above
rock hangs, and a hollow, rough glen
runs below.  There lord Phoebus Apollo
resolved to make a lovely temple, and he spoke:

"Here I am thinking of building a very beautiful temple
to be an oracle for men who always will bring
perfect hecatombs here, both those
who inhabit the wealthy Peloponnesos
and those who inhabit Europe and the islands, girded
with water, to consult it.  To them, I shall reveal
unerring counsel, prophesying in the fat temple."
Thus Phoebus Apollo spoke and laid out the foundations,
broad and very long and continuous.  And on these
Trophonios, Agamedes and the sons of Erginos,
friendly to the immortal gods, placed a stone
threshold.  The numberless tribes of men built
a temple of hewn stones, a thing to be ever hymned in song.
A beautiful stream was nearby where the lord son of Zeus
slew with his bow a dragon, a huge great and savage monster
who wrought many evils for men on earth, and
for their long-shanked flocks since she was a bloody bane.
She received Typhaon from golden-throned
Hera, a dreadful, painful bane for mortals,
whom Hera bore while enraged at father Zeus.
The son of Kronos bore much-renowned Athena
at his head.  Lady Hera was quickly enraged,
and she spoke among the assembled immortals:
"Hear me, all you gods and all you goddesses,
how Zeus Cloud-Gatherer begins to dishonor me,
first when he made me his wife who knows trusty things.
And now, apart from me, he bore gray-eyed Athena
who is conspicuous among the blessed immortals.
But my own son Hephaestos whom I bore myself
has become lame and weak of foot among all the gods.
I seized him up in my hands and hurled him on the wide sea.
But the daughter of Nereus, Thetis of the silver foot,
received him and cared from him among her sisters.
O that she had pleased the blessed gods in some other way.
Stubborn thing, what other crafty design have you devised now?
How did you dare to give birth to gray-eyed Athena alone?
Would I not have borne her?  I who am called yours
among the immortals who hold wide heaven.
Take thought lest I devise something evil in the future.
Now I will contrive that my son be born
who will be conspicuous among immortal gods.
I'll not shame your sacred bed nor my own,
neither will I visit your bed, but apart from you,
far apart, I'll stay among the immortal gods."

Thus speaking, she went apart from the gods, still enraged.
Immediately, cow-eyed lady Hera prayed
and struck the earth with the flat of her hand, saying:

"Hear me, Earth and wide Heaven from above,
and Titan gods dwelling below the earth
in great Tartaros from whom are men and gods.
All you hear me now, and give me a son apart from Zeus
who in no way lacks violence but is mightier than Zeus
by as much as far-seeing Zeus is mightier than Kronos.
Thus she spoke and smote the earth with her broad hand.
The life-bearing earth was moved, and Hera saw it and
was pleased in her spirit, for she though it was being
accomplished.  From then on for a year working to its end,
she never went to the bed of counselor Zeus,
not even to the embroidered chair as before
she would sit beside him and contrive wise plans.
But she remained in temples, places of many prayers,
in which cow-eyed lady Hera delighted.
But when the months and days were completed
in the revolving year, and the seasons came on again,
she bore someone who resembled neither gods nor mortals,
a dreadful, fearful bane for mortals, Typhaon.
Straightway, cow-eyed lady Hera took him and
bringing evil to evil, gave him to a dragon, and she
accepted him.  Typhaon worked many evils throughout the
renowned tribes of men.  Whoever fell in with the dragon,
his fated day took him until lord far-darter Apollo shot her
with an arrow, a powerful one.  Rent by harsh pains,
she lay, panting deeply and writhing on the ground.
The sound was unearthly, unspeakable, but throughout the wood
she coiled here and there, and breathing forth her bloody
spirit, she succumbed.  Phoebus Apollo boasted:

"Here now rot on the earth that feeds men.
You will not be an evil destruction for the living
men who eat the fruits of the fertile earth
and bring perfect hecatombs here.
Neither shall Typhoeus nor ill-named Chimaira
ward off the death of the hard bed for you, but
the black earth and beaming Hyperion shall rot you here."

Thus he spoke his boast, and darkness covered her eyes.
The sacred might of Helios rotted her.
From this the place is called Pytho, and
they call the lord Pythian because here
the might of piercing Helios rotted the monster.
Then Phoebus Apollo realized in his breast
why the beautiful-flowing stream deceived him.
He went to Telphousa, enraged, and arrived quickly.
He stood near her and spoke to her:
"Telphousa, you were not going to keep this lovely
place and pour for your beautiful water by deceiving my mind.
Here will also be my renown, not yours alone."

He spoke, and the lord far-darter Apollo pushed a crag
with rocks pouring forth and hid her streams.
He made an altar in the wooded grove
near the beautifully flowing stream.  Here everyone
prays to the lord in the name Telphousion
because he shamed the streams of holy Telphousa.
Then Phoebus Apollo pondered in his spirit
what men he would lead in as ministers
who would serve in rocky Pytho.
Stirring up these thoughts, he noticed on the wine-dark sea
a swift ship.  In it were many brave men,
Cretans from Minoan Knossos, who
conduct sacrifices for the lord and announce the ordinances of Phoebus Apollo of the golden sword, whatever he spoke
in prophesying from the laurel beneath the hollows of Parnassos.  They were sailing in a black ship into sandy Pylos
and to the men born on Pylos for business and goods.
But Phoebus Apollo met them.  On the sea he likened
his body to a dolphin and rushed upon the their swift ship
and lay upon it, a huge and dreadful beast.
Whoever of them thought in his spirit to return home,
[the beast] would shake all over and rattle the ship's timbers.
They sat on the ship in silence and fear, and did not loosen
the sheets throughout the hollow black ship
or the sail of ship with a black prow.
But as they had first set it up with ox-hide ropes,
so they kept sailing.  A rushing south wind drove
the swift ship from the stern.  First they passed by Maleia
and Lakonia and reached the sea-garlanded city
and land of Helios who delights the hearts of men,
Tainaros, where always graze
the deep-fleeced sheep of lord Helios, and he has
this pleasant land.  They wanted to beach the ship and
disembark and think over the great wonder and see
with their eyes whether the monster would remain on the deck
of the hollow ship or leap into the briny swell teeming with fish.  But the well-build ship did not obey the rudder,
but past wealthy Peloponnesos, it held its course.
With a breeze lord far-darting Apollo
easily directed it.  It made its way,
arriving at Arene and lovely Argyphea,
Thryos, the crossing of Alpheios, and well-founded Apus,
sandy Pylos and men born on Pylos.
The ship went past Krounoi and Chalkis and Dyme,
past shining Elis where Epeians have power.
When it was making for Pherai, exulting in Zeus's breeze,
Ithaka's steep mountain appeared from out the clouds,
Doulichion, Same, and woody Zakynthos as well.
But when they had passed by the Peloponessos,
then Krise's boundless gulf came into sight.
A wind came up, a strong and clear west wind at Zeus's
decree that cuts off the fat Peloponnesos,
a powerful wind, rushing from the upper air, so that
quickly the running ship might make end to the sea's salty
water.  Then they sailed back toward dawn and sun,
and their pilot was the lord, son of Zeus Apollo.
They reached Krisa, visible from afar and covered with vines,
and its harbor.  Here the sea-faring ship slid up the sand.
Tnen there leaped from the ship, lord far-darting Apollo,
like a star at mid-day.  Sparks flew from him,
and then brilliance mounted to the heavens.
He entered his shrine between priceless tripods.
Then he kindled a flame, revealing his shafts
and their brilliance gripped all Krisa.
The wives of Krisians and beautiful-girded daughters cried out
at Phoebus' rushing, for he instilled in each a great fear.
He sprang up like a thought to fly to the sky,
likened to a vigorously strong man
in the prime of life, hair covering his broad shoulders.
Then he spoke and addressed them with winged words:

"O strangers, who are you?  Where do you sail the watery ways from?  On what business do you roam aimlessly
like pirates over the sea who wander,
staking their lives and bringing evil to foreigners.
Why ever do you sit there in terror and not go out
onto the land and stow your black ship's gear?
This is the way of sea-faring men
that whenever they come from the sea to land
in a black ship, having their fill of weariness, at once
the desire for sweet food seizes them about the heart."

Thus he spoke and instilled courage in their breasts.
The captain of the Cretans answered him and said:

"Stranger, since you are not at all like mortals,
not in body and not in stature, but like immortal gods,
hail to you, and may the gods give you happiness.
Tell me this truly so I may know.
What country is this?  What land?  What mortals live here?
We were sailing the main with another purpose,
bound to Pylos from Crete, where we boast to be from.
Now we have come here by ship, not at all willingly
but wanting our homecoming by another voyage and other ways.
Someone of the immortals brought us here against our will."

Then answering thus spoke far-darting Apollo:
"Strangers, who haunted wooded Knossos before,
now you shall no longer be returning,
each one, to your lovely city and beautiful homes
and wife, but here you will hold
my fat temple that is honored by many men.
I am the son of Zeus.  I boast to be Apollo.
I brought you here over the great main of the sea,
not in ill intent toward you, but you will hold
my fat temple that is honored by all men.
You shall know the plans of the immortals, by whose pleasure
you shall always be honored continually all your days.
Well, then, do as I say and obey me forthwith.
Loosen the sheets, and lower the sail.
Drag your swift ship up onto the land.
Remove your possessions and the ship's tackle.
Build an altar on the breakers of the sea,
light a fire, and offer white barley.
Stand around the altar and pray.
Since I first leaped on your swift ship
likened to a dolphin on the dark sea,
pray to me as Delphinios.  The altar itself
will always be Delphinios and Visible From Afar.
Then take your dinner beside the swift black ship,
and pour libations for the blessed gods who hold Olympos.
But after you have put away your desire for sweet food,
pray to me, and hymn me as Iepaieon
until you come to where you will hold my fat temple."

Thus he spoke, and they heard and obeyed.
First, they lowered the sail and loosened the sheets.
They drew the mast near its slot by its forestays.
They went out on the breakers of the sea
and dragged the swift ship from the sea onto land,
high up on the sand, and fixed long stays under it.
They built an altar on the breakers of the sea.
Lighting a fire, they offered white barley and,
standing around the altar, they prayed as he ordered.
Then they took dinner beside the swift black ship and
poured libations for the blessed gods who hold Olympos.
But after they had put aside their desire for drink and food,
they set out.  And their leader was the lord son of Zeus Apollo,
who held in his hand a lyre and played it beautifully1
as he stepped high and grandly.  They followed in rhythmic
beat to Pytho, the Cretans, and say of Iepaieon
like the festive singers of Crete in whose breasts
the goddess Muse placed honeyed-voiced song.
Tireless in foot, they approached the ridge and came
straightway to Paranassos and the lovely place
where he was going to dwell, honored by many men.
He led the way and showed them his holiest shrine and fat temple.  The spirit welled up in their breasts,
and the captain of the Cretans asked him, saying:

"O lord, since you have brought us far from
kinsmen and our father land-it suited your spirit--
how will we live now?  We bid you tell us.
This lively land does not bear vines or meadows
that we may live well and serve men.
He smiled and spoke, did Zeus' son Apollo"
"Foolish men and poor wretches, you who wish for
painful anxieties and toil and hard straits.
Easily, will I say a word to you and you lay it to heart.
Although each one of you with a knife in his right hand
slaughter sheep constantly, there will always be
an unbegrudging supply that the renowned tribes of men
shall bring me.  Guard my temple, and welcome the tribes of men
who gather here and especially in my direction
.......................lacuna of one line....................
Your word or deed shall be vain
and outrage, as is the custom of mortal men,
other men will be your bosses
beneath whose necessity you will cower every day.
All has been said, you guard it in your hearts."

And so farewell, son of Zeus and Leto.
I will remember you in another song.