The Homeric Hymns

Part 1

A New Prose Translation; and Essays, Literary and Mythological

Author: Andrew Lang



"The existing collection of the Hymns is of unknown editorship, unknown
date, and unknown purpose," says Baumeister. Why any man should have
collected the little preludes of five or six lines in length, and of
purely conventional character, while he did not copy out the longer poems
to which they probably served as preludes, is a mystery. The celebrated
Wolf, who opened the path which leads modern Homerologists to such an
extraordinary number of divergent theories, thought rightly that the
great Alexandrian critics before the Christian Era, did not recognise the
Hymns as "Homeric." They did not employ the Hymns as illustrations of
Homeric problems; though it is certain that they knew the Hymns, for one
collection did exist in the third century B.C. {4} Diodorus and
Pausanias, later, also cite "the poet in the Hymns," "Homer in the
Hymns"; and the pseudo-Herodotus ascribes the Hymns to Homer in his Life
of that author. Thucydides, in the Periclean age, regards Homer as the
blind Chian minstrel who composed the Hymn to the Delian Apollo: a good
proof of the relative antiquity of that piece, but not evidence, of
course, that our whole collection was then regarded as Homeric.
Baumeister agrees with Wolf that the brief Hymns were recited by
rhapsodists as preludes to the recitation of Homeric or other cantos.
Thus, in Hymn xxxi. 18, the poet says that he is going on to chant "the
renowns of men half divine." Other preludes end with a prayer to the God
for luck in the competition of reciters.

This, then, is the plausible explanation of most of the brief Hymns--they
were preludes to epic recitations--but the question as to the long
narrative Hymns with which the collection opens is different. These were
themselves rhapsodies recited at Delphi, at Delos, perhaps in Cyprus (the
long Hymn to Aphrodite), in Athens (as the Hymn to Pan, who was friendly
in the Persian invasion), and so forth. That the Pisistratidae organised
Homeric recitations at Athens is certain enough, and Baumeister suspects,
in xiv., xxiii., xxx., xxxi., xxxii., the hand of Onomacritus, the forger
of Oracles, that strange accomplice of the Pisistratidae. The Hymn to
Aphrodite is just such a lay as the Phaeacian minstrel sang at the feast
of Alcinous, in the hearing of Odysseus. Finally Baumeister supposes our
collection not to have been made by learned editors, like Aristarchus and
Zenodotus, but committed confusedly from memory to papyrus by some
amateur. The conventional attribution of the Hymns to Homer, in spite of
linguistic objections, and of many allusions to things unknown or
unfamiliar in the Epics, is merely the result of the tendency to set down
"masterless" compositions to a well-known name. Anything of epic
characteristics was allotted to the master of Epic. In the same way an
unfathered joke of Lockhart's was attributed to Sydney Smith, and the
process is constantly illustrated in daily conversation. The word [Greek
text], hymn, had not originally a religious sense: it merely meant a lay.
Nobody calls the Theocritean idylls on Heracles and the Dioscuri "hymns,"
but they are quite as much "hymns" (in our sense) as the "hymn" on
Aphrodite, or on Hermes.

To the English reader familiar with the Iliad and Odyssey the Hymns must
appear disappointing, if he come to them with an expectation of
discovering merits like those of the immortal epics. He will not find
that they stand to the Iliad as Milton's "Ode to the Nativity" stands to
"Paradise Lost." There is in the Hymns, in fact, no scope for the epic
knowledge of human nature in every mood and aspect. We are not so much
interested in the Homeric Gods as in the Homeric mortals, yet the Hymns
are chiefly concerned not with men, but with Gods and their mythical
adventures. However, the interest of the Hymn to Demeter is perfectly
human, for the Goddess is in sorrow, and is mingling with men. The Hymn
to Aphrodite, too, is Homeric in its grace, and charm, and divine sense
of human limitations, of old age that comes on the fairest, as Tithonus
and Anchises; of death and disease that wait for all. The life of the
Gods is one long holiday; the end of our holiday is always near at hand.
The Hymn to Dionysus, representing him as a youth in the fulness of
beauty, is of a charm which was not attainable, while early art
represented the God as a mature man; but literary art, in the Homeric
age, was in advance of sculpture and painting. The chief merit of the
Delian Hymn is in the concluding description of the assembled Ionians,
happy seafarers like the Phaeacians in the morning of the world. The
confusions of the Pythian Hymn to Apollo make it less agreeable; and the
humour of the Hymn to Hermes is archaic. All those pieces, however, have
delightfully fresh descriptions of sea and land, of shadowy dells,
flowering meadows, dusky, fragrant caves; of the mountain glades where
the wild beasts fawn in the train of the winsome Goddess; and the high
still peaks where Pan wanders among the nymphs, and the glens where
Artemis drives the deer, and the spacious halls and airy palaces of the
Immortals. The Hymns are fragments of the work of a school which had a
great Master and great traditions: they also illustrate many aspects of
Greek religion.

In the essays which follow, the religious aspect of the Hymns is chiefly
dwelt upon: I endeavour to bring out what Greek religion had of human and
sacred, while I try to explain its less majestic features as no less
human: as derived from the earliest attempts at speculation and at
mastering the secrets of the world. In these chapters regions are
visited which scholars have usually neglected or ignored. It may seem
strange to seek the origins of Apollo, and of the renowned Eleusinian
Mysteries, in the tales and rites of the Bora and the Nanga; in the
beliefs and practices of Pawnees and Larrakeah, Yao and Khond. But these
tribes, too, are human, and what they now or lately were, the remote
ancestors of the Greeks must once have been. All races have sought
explanations of their own ritual in the adventures of the Dream Time, the
_Alcheringa_, when beings of a more potent race, Gods or Heroes, were on
earth, and achieved and endured such things as the rites commemorate. And
the things thus endured and achieved, as I try to show, are everywhere of
much the same nature; whether they are now commemorated by painted
savages in the Bora or the Medicine Dance, or whether they were exhibited
and proclaimed by the Eumolpidae in a splendid hall, to the pious of
Hellas and of Rome. My attempt may seem audacious, and to many scholars
may even be repugnant; but it is on these lines, I venture to think, that
the darker problems of Greek religion and rite must be approached. They
are all survivals, however fairly draped and adorned by the unique genius
of the most divinely gifted race of mankind.

The method of translation is that adopted by Professor Butcher and myself
in the Odyssey, and by me in a version of Theocritus, as well as by Mr.
Ernest Myers, who preceded us, in his Pindar. That method has lately
been censured and, like all methods, is open to objection. But I confess
that neither criticism nor example has converted me to the use of modern
colloquial English, and I trust that my persistence in using poetical
English words in the translation of Greek poetry will not greatly offend.
I cannot render a speech of Anchises thus:--

"If you really are merely a mortal, and if a woman of the normal kind
was your mother, while your father (as you lay it down) was the well-
known Otreus, and if you come here all through an undying person,
Hermes; and if you are to be known henceforward as my wife,--why, then
nobody, mortal or immortal, shall interfere with my intention to take
instant advantage of the situation."

That kind of speech, though certainly long-winded, may be the manner in
which a contemporary pastoralist would address a Goddess "in a coming on
humour." But the situation does not occur in the prose of our existence,
and I must prefer to translate the poet in a manner more congenial, if
less up to date. For one rare word "Etin" ([Greek text]) I must
apologise: it seems to me to express the vagueness of the unfamiliar
monster, and is old Scots, as in the tale of "The Red Etin of Ireland."


The Hymn to Apollo presents innumerable difficulties, both of text, which
is very corrupt, and as to the whole nature and aim of the composition.
In this version it is divided into two portions, the first dealing with
the birth of Apollo, and the foundation of his shrine in the isle of
Delos; the second concerned with the establishment of his Oracle and fane
at Delphi. The division is made merely to lighten the considerable
strain on the attention of the English reader. I have no pretensions to
decide whether the second portion was by the author of the first, or is
an imitation by another hand, or is contemporary, or a later addition, or
a mere compilation from several sources. The first part seems to find a
natural conclusion, about lines 176-181. The blind singer (who is quoted
here by Thucydides) appears at that point to say farewell to his
cherished Ionian audience. What follows, in our second part, appeals to
hearers interested in the Apollo of Crisa, and of the Delphian temple:
the _Pythian_ Apollo.

According to a highly ingenious, but scarcely persuasive theory of Mr.
Verrall's, this interest is unfriendly. {13} Our second part is no hymn
at all, but a sequel tacked on for political purposes only: and valuable
for these purposes because so tacked on.

From line 207 to the end we have this sequel, the story of Apollo's
dealings as Delphinian, and as Pythian; all this following on detached
fragments of enigmatic character, and containing also (305-355) the
intercalated myth about the birth of Typhaon from Hera's anger. In the
politically inspired sequel there is, according to Mr. Verrall, no living
zeal for the honour of Pytho (Delphi). The threat of the God to his
Cretan ministers,--"Beware of arrogance, or . . . "--must be a prophecy
after the event. Now such an event occurred, early in the sixth century,
when the Crisaeans were supplanted by the people of the town that had
grown up round the Oracle at Delphi. In them, and in the Oracle under
their management, the poet shows no interest (Mr. Verrall thinks), none
in the many mystic peculiarities of the shrine. It is quite in
contradiction with Delphian tradition to represent, as the Hymn does,
Trophonius and Agamedes as the _original_ builders.

Many other points are noted--such as the derivation of "Pytho" from a
word meaning _rot_,--to show that the hymnist was rather disparaging than
celebrating the Delphian sanctuary. Taking the Hymn as a whole, more is
done for Delos in three lines, says Mr. Verrall, than for Pytho or Delphi
in three hundred. As a whole, the spirit of the piece is much more
Delian (Ionian) than Delphic. So Mr. Verrall regards the _Cento_ as "a
religious pasquinade against the sanctuary on Parnassus," a pasquinade
emanating from Athens, under the Pisistratidae, who, being Ionian
leaders, had a grudge against "the Dorian Delphi," "a comparatively
modern, unlucky, and from the first unsatisfactory" institution.
Athenians are interested in the "far-seen" altar of the seaman's Dolphin
God on the shore, rather than in his inland Pythian habitation.

All this, with much more, is decidedly ingenious. If accepted it might
lead the way to a general attack on the epics, as _tendenz_ pieces, works
with a political purpose, or doctored for a political purpose. But how
are we to understand the uses of the pasquinade Hymn? Was it published,
so to speak, to amuse and aid the Pisistratidae? Does such remote
antiquity show us any examples of such handling of sacred things in
poetry? Might we not argue that Apollo's threat to the Crisaeans was
meant by the poet as a friendly warning, and is prior to the fall of
Crisa? One is reminded of the futile ingenuity with which German
critics, following their favourite method, have analysed the fatal Casket
Letters of Mary Stuart into letters to her husband, Darnley; or to
Murray; or by Darnley to Mary, with scraps of her diary, and false
interpolations. The enemies of the Queen, coming into possession of her
papers after the affair of Carberry Hill, falsified the Casket Letters
into their present appearance of unity. Of course historical facts make
this ingenuity unavailing. We regret the circumstance in the interest of
the Queen's reputation, but welcome these illustrative examples of what
can be done in Germany. {16a}

Fortunately all Teutons are not so ingenious. Baumeister has fallen on
those who, in place of two hymns, Delian and Pythian, to Apollo, offer us
half-a-dozen fragments. By presenting an array of discordant conjectures
as to the number and nature of these scraps, he demonstrates the purely
wilful and arbitrary nature of the critical method employed. {16b} Thus
one learned person believes in (1) two perfect little poems; (2) two
larger hymns; (3) three lacerated fragments of hymns, one lacking its
beginning, the other wofully deprived of its end. Another _savant_
detects no less than eight fragments, with interpolations; though perhaps
no biblical critic _ejusdem farinae_ has yet detected eight Isaiahs.
There are about ten other theories of similar plausibility and value.
Meanwhile Baumeister argues that the Pythian Hymn (our second part) is an
imitation of the Delian; by a follower, not of Homer, but of Hesiod.
Thus, the Hesiodic school was closely connected with Delphi; the Homeric
with Ionia, so that Delphi rarely occurs in the Epics; in fact only
thrice (I. 405, [Greek text]. 80, [Greek text]. 581). The local
knowledge is accurate (Pythian Hymn, 103 _sqq_.). These are local
legends, and knowledge of the curious chariot ritual of Onchestus. The
Muses are united with the Graces as in a work of art in the Delphian
temple. The poet chooses the Hesiodic and un-Homeric myth of Heaven and
Earth, and their progeny: a myth current also in Polynesia, Australia,
and New Zealand. The poet is full of inquiry as to origins, even
etymological, as is Hesiod. Like Hesiod (and Mr. Max Muller), _origines
rerum ex nominibus explicat_. Finally, the second poet (and here every
one must agree) is a much worse poet than the first. As for the
prophetic word of warning to the Crisaeans and its fulfilment, Baumeister
urges that the people of Cirrha, the seaport, not of Crisa, were
punished, in Olympiad 47 (Grote, ii. 374).

Turning to Gemoll, we find him maintaining that the two parts were in
ancient times regarded as one hymn in the age of Aristophanes. {18} If
so, we can only reply, if we agree with Baumeister, that in the age of
Aristophanes, or earlier, there was a plentiful lack of critical
discrimination. As to Baumeister's theory that the second part is
Hesiodic, Gemoll finds a Hesiodic reminiscence in the first part (line
121), while there are Homeric reminiscences in the second part.

Thus do the learned differ among themselves, and an ordinary reader feels
tempted to rely on his own literary taste.

According to that criterion, I think we probably have in the Hymn the
work of a good poet, in the early part; and in the latter part, or second
Hymn, the work of a bad poet, selecting unmanageable passages of myth,
and handling them pedantically and ill. At all events we have here work
visibly third rate, which cannot be said, in my poor opinion, about the
immense mass of the Iliad and Odyssey. The great Alexandrian critics did
not use the Hymns as illustrative material in their discussion of Homer.
Their instinct was correct, and we must not start the consideration of
the Homeric question from these much neglected pieces. We must not study
_obscurum per obscurius_. The genius of the Epic soars high above such
myths as those about Pytho, Typhaon, and the Apollo who is alternately a
dolphin and a meteor: soars high above pedantry and bad etymology. In
the Epics we breathe a purer air.

Descending, as it did, from the mythology of savages, the mythic store of
Greece was rich in legends such as we find among the lowest races. Homer
usually ignores them: Hesiod and the authors of the Hymns are less noble
in their selections.

For this reason and for many others, we regard the Hymns, on the whole,
as post-Homeric, while their collector, by inserting the Hymn to Ares,
shows little proof of discrimination. Only the methods of modern German
scholars, such as Wilamowitz Mollendorf, and of Englishmen like Mr.
Walter Leaf, can find in the Epics marks of such confusion, dislocation,
and interpolations as confront us in the Hymn to Apollo. (I may refer to
my work, "Homer and the Epic," for a defence of the unity of Iliad and
Odyssey.) For example, Mr. Verrall certainly makes it highly probable
that the Pythian Hymn, at least in its concluding words of the God, is
not earlier than the sixth century. But no proof of anything like this
force is brought against the antiquity of the Iliad or Odyssey.

As to the myths in the Hymns, I would naturally study them from the
standpoint of anthropology, and in the light of comparison of the legends
of much more backward peoples than the Greeks. But that light at present
is for me broken and confused.

I have been led to conclusions varying from those of such students as Mr.
Tylor and Mr. Spencer, and these conclusions should be stated, before
they are applied to the Myth of Apollo. I am not inclined, like them, to
accept "Animism," or "The Ghost Theory," as the master-key to the
_origin_ of religion, though Animism is a great tributary stream. To
myself it now appears that among the lowest known races we find present a
fluid mass of beliefs both high and low, from the belief in a moral
creative being, a judge of men, to the pettiest fable which envisages him
as a medicine-man, or even as a beast or bird. In my opinion the higher
belief may very well be the earlier. While I can discern the processes
by which the lower myths were evolved, and were attached to a worthier
pre-existing creed, I cannot see how, if the lower faiths came first, the
higher faith was ever evolved out of _them_ by very backward savages.

On the other side, in the case of Australia, Mr. Tylor writes: "For a
long time after Captain Cook's visit, the information as to native
religious ideas is of the scantiest." This was inevitable, for our
information has only been obtained with the utmost difficulty, and under
promises of secrecy, by later inquirers who had entirely won the
confidence of the natives, and had been initiated into their Mysteries.
Mr. Tylor goes on in the same sentence: "But, since the period of
European colonists and missionaries, a crowd of alleged native names for
the Supreme Deity and a great Evil Deity have been recorded, which, if
really of native origin, would show the despised black fellow as in
possession of theological generalisations as to the formation and
conservation of the universe, and the nature of good and evil, comparable
with those of his white supplanter in the land." {23a} Mr. Tylor then
proceeds to argue that these ideas have been borrowed from missionaries.
I have tried to reply to this argument by proving, for example, that the
name of Baiame, one of these deities, could not have been borrowed (as
Mr. Tylor seems inclined to hold) from a missionary tract published
sixteen years after we first hear of Baiame, who, again, was certainly
dominant before the arrival of missionaries. I have adduced other
arguments of the same tendency, and I will add that the earliest English
explorers and missionaries in Virginia and New England (1586-1622) report
from America beliefs absolutely parallel in many ways to the creeds now
reported from Australia. Among these notions are "ideas of moral
judgment and retribution after death," which in Australia Mr. Tylor marks
as "imported." {23b} In my opinion the certainty that the beliefs in
America were not imported, is another strong argument for their native
character, when they are found with such striking resemblances among the
very undeveloped savages of Australia.

Savages, Mr. Hartland says in a censure of my theory, are "guiltless" of
Christian teaching. {24} If Mr. Hartland is right, Mr. Tylor is wrong;
the ideas, whatever else they are, are unimported, yet, _teste_ Mr.
Tylor, the ideas are comparable with those of the black man's white
supplanters. I would scarcely go so far. If we take, however, the best
ideas attributed to the blacks, and hold them disengaged from the
accretion of puerile fables with which they are overrun, then there are
discovered notions of high religious value, undeniably analogous to some
Christian dogmas. But the sanction of the Australian gods is as
powerfully lent to silly, or cruel, or needless ritual, as to some moral
ideas of weight and merit. In brief, as far as I am able to see, all
sorts of ideas, the lowest and the highest, are held at once confusedly
by savages, and the same confusion survives in ancient Greek belief. As
far back as we can trace him, man had a wealth of religious and mythical
conceptions to choose from, and different peoples, as they advanced in
civilisation, gave special prominence to different elements in the primal
stock of beliefs. The choice of Israel was unique: Greece retained far
more of the lower ancient ideas, but gave to them a beauty of grace and
form which is found among no other race.

If this view be admitted for the moment, and for the argument's sake, we
may ask how it applies to the myths of Apollo. Among the ideas which
even now prevail among the backward peoples still in the neolithic stage
of culture, we may select a few conceptions. There is the conception of
a great primal anthropomorphic Being, who was in the beginning, or, at
least, about whose beginning legend is silent. He made all things, he
existed on earth (in some cases), teaching men the arts of life and rules
of conduct, social and moral. In those instances he retired from earth,
and now dwells on high, still concerned with the behaviour of the tribes.

This is a lofty conception, but it is entangled with a different set of
legends. This primal Being is mixed up with strange persons of a race
earlier than man, half human, half bestial. Many things, in some cases
almost all things, are mythically regarded, not as created, but as the
results of adventures and metamorphoses among the members of this
original race. Now in New Zealand, Polynesia, Greece, and elsewhere, but
not, to my knowledge, in the very most backward peoples, the place of
this original race, "Old, old Ones," is filled by great natural objects,
Earth, Sky, Sea, Forests, regarded as beings of human parts and passions.

The present universe is mythically arranged in regard to their early
adventures: the separation of sky and earth, and so forth. Where this
belief prevails we find little or no trace of the primal maker and
master, though we do find strange early metaphysics of curiously abstract
quality (Maoris, Zunis, Polynesians). As far as our knowledge goes,
Greek mythology springs partly from this stratum of barbaric as opposed
to strictly savage thought. Ouranos and Gaea, Cronos, and the Titans
represent the primal beings who have their counterpart in Maori and Wintu
legend. But these, in the Greece of the Epics and Hesiod, have long been
subordinated to Zeus and the Olympians, who are envisaged as triumphant
gods of a younger generation. There is no Creator; but Zeus--how, we do
not know--has come to be regarded as a Being relatively Supreme, and as,
on occasion, the guardian of morality. Of course his conduct, in myth,
is represented as a constant violation of the very rules of life which he
expects mankind to observe. I am disposed to look on this essential
contradiction as the result of a series of mythical accretions on an
original conception of Zeus in his higher capacity. We can see how the
accretions arose. Man never lived consistently on the level of his best
original ideas: savages also have endless myths of Baiame or Daramulun,
or Bunjil, in which these personages, though interested in human
behaviour, are puerile, cruel, absurd, lustful, and so on. Man will
sport thus with his noblest intuitions.

In the same way, in Christian Europe, we may contrast Dunbar's pious
"Ballat of Our Lady" with his "Kynd Kittok," in which God has his eye on
the soul of an intemperate ale-wife who has crept into Paradise. "God
lukit, and saw her lattin in, and leugh His heart sair." Examples of
this kind of sportive irreverence are common enough; their root is in
human nature: and they could not be absent in the mythology of savage or
of ancient peoples. To Zeus the myths of this kind would come to be
attached in several ways.

As a nature-god of the Heaven he marries the Earth. The tendency of men
being to claim descent from a God, for each family with this claim a myth
of a separate divine amour was needed. Where there had existed Totemism,
or belief in kinship with beasts, the myth of the amour of a wolf, bull,
serpent, swan, and so forth, was attached to the legend of Zeus. Zeus
had been that swan, serpent, wolf, or bull. Once more, ritual arose, in
great part, from the rites of sympathetic magic.

This or that mummery was enacted by men for a magical purpose, to secure
success in the chase, agriculture, or war. When the performers asked,
"Why do we do thus and thus?" the answer was, "Zeus first did so," or
Demeter, or Apollo did so, on a certain occasion. About that occasion a
myth was framed, and finally there was no profligacy, cruelty, or
absurdity of which the God was not guilty. Yet, all the time, he
punished adultery, inhospitality, perjury, incest, cannibalism, and other
excesses, of which, in legend, he was always setting the example. We
know from Xenophanes, Plato, and St. Augustine how men's consciences were
tormented by this unceasing contradiction: this overgrowth of myth on the
stock of an idea originally noble. It is thus that I would attempt to
account for the contradictory conceptions of Zeus, for example.

As to Apollo, I do not think that mythologists determined to find, in
Apollo, some deified aspect of Nature, have laid stress enough on his
counterparts in savage myth. We constantly find, in America, in the
Andaman Isles, and in Australia, that, subordinate to the primal Being,
there exists another who enters into much closer relations with mankind.
He is often concerned with healing and with prophecy, or with the
inspiration of conjurers or shamans. Sometimes he is merely an
underling, as in the case of the Massachusetts Kiehtan, and his more
familiar subordinate, Hobamoc. {30} But frequently this go-between of
God and Man is (like Apollo) the _Son_ of the primal Being (often an
unbegotten Son) or his Messenger (Andaman, Noongaburrah, Kurnai,
Kamilaroi, and other Australian tribes). He reports to the somewhat
otiose primal Being about men's conduct, and he sometimes superintends
the Mysteries. I am disposed to regard the prophetic and oracular Apollo
(who, as the Hymn to Hermes tells us, alone knows the will of Father
Zeus) as the Greek modification of this personage in savage theology.
Where this Son is found in Australia, I by no means regard him as a
savage refraction from Christian teaching about a mediator, for Christian
teaching, in fact, has not been accepted, least of all by the highly
conservative sorcerers, or shamans, or wirreenuns of the tribes. European
observers, of course, have been struck by (and have probably exaggerated
in some instances) the Christian analogy. But if they had been as well
acquainted with ancient Greek as with Christian theology they would have
remarked that the Andaman, American, and Australian "mediators" are
infinitely more akin to Apollo, in his relations with Zeus and with men,
than to any Person about whom missionaries can preach. But the most
devoted believer in borrowing will not say that, when the Australian
mediator, Tundun, son of Mungun-gnaur, turns into a porpoise, the Kurnai
have borrowed from our Hymn of the Dolphin Apollo. It is absurd to
maintain that the Son of the God, the go-between of God and men, in
savage theology, is borrowed from missionaries, while this being has so
much more in common with Apollo (from whom he cannot conceivably be
borrowed) than with Christ. The Tundun-porpoise story seems to have
arisen in gratitude to the porpoise, which drives fishes inshore, for the
natives to catch. Neither Tharamulun nor Hobamoc (Australian and
American Gods of healing and soothsaying), who appear to men as serpents,
are borrowed from Asclepius, or from the Python of Apollo. The processes
have been quite different, and in Apollo, the oracular son of Zeus, who
declares his counsel to men, I am apt to see a beautiful Greek
modification of the type of the mediating Son of the primal Being of
savage belief, adorned with many of the attributes of the Sun God, from
whom, however, he is fundamentally distinct. Apollo, I think, is an
adorned survival of the Son of the God of savage theology. He was not,
at first, a Nature God, solar or not. This opinion, if it seems valid,
helps to account, in part, for the animal metamorphoses of Apollo, a
survival from the mental confusion of savagery. Such a confusion, in
Greece, makes it necessary for the wise son of Zeus to seek information,
as in the Hymn to Hermes, from an old clown. This medley of ideas, in
the mind of a civilised poet, who believes that Apollo is all-knowing in
the counsels of eternity, is as truly mythological as Dunbar's God who
laughs his heart sore at an ale-house jest. Dunbar, and the author of
the Hymn, and the savage with his tale of Tundun or Daramulun, have all
quite contradictory sets of ideas alternately present to their minds; the
mediaeval poet, of course, being conscious of the contradiction, which
makes the essence of his humour, such as it is. To Greece, in its
loftier moods, Apollo was, despite his myth, a noble source of
inspiration, of art, and of conduct. But the contradiction in the low
myth and high doctrine of Apollo, could never be eradicated under any
influence less potent than that of Christianity. {34} If this theory of
Apollo's origin be correct, many pages of learned works on Mythology need
to be rewritten.


[Hermes with the boy Dionysos. Statue by Praxiteles, found at Olympia:

The Hymn to Hermes is remarkable for the corruption of the text, which
appears even to present _lacunae_. The English reader will naturally
prefer the lively and charming version of Shelley to any other. The poet
can tell and adorn the story without visibly floundering in the pitfalls
of a dislocated text. If we may judge by line 51, and if Greek musical
tradition be correct, the date of the Hymn cannot be earlier than the
fortieth Olympiad. About that period Terpander is said to have given the
lyre seven strings (as Mercury does in the poem), in place of the
previous four strings. The date of Terpander is dubious, but probably
the seven-stringed lyre had long been in common use before the poet
attributed the invention to Hermes. The same argument applies to the
antiquity of writing, assigned by poets as the invention of various
mythical and prehistoric heroes. But the poets were not careful
archaeologists, and regarded anachronisms as genially as did Shakespeare
or Scott. Moreover, the fact that Terpander did invent the seven chords
is not beyond dispute historically, while, mythically, Apollo and Amphion
are credited with the idea. That Hermes invented fire-sticks seems a
fable which robs Prometheus of the honour. We must not look for any kind
of consistency in myth.

The learned differ as to the precise purpose of the Hymn, and some even
exclude the invention of the _cithara_. To myself it seems that the poet
chiefly revels in a very familiar subject of savage humour (notably among
the Zulus), the extraordinary feats and tricks of a tiny and apparently
feeble and helpless person or animal, such as Brer Rabbit. The triumph
of astuteness over strength (a triumph here assigned to the infancy of a
God) is the theme. Hermes is here a rustic _doublure_ of Apollo, as he
was, in fact, mainly a rural deity, though he became the Messenger of the
Gods, and the Guide of Souls outworn. In these respects he answers to
the Australian Grogoragally, in his double relation to the Father, Boyma,
and to men living and dead. {37a}

As a go-between of Gods and men, Hermes may be a _doublure_ of Apollo,
but, as the Hymn shows, he aspired in vain to Apollo's oracular function.
In one respect his behaviour has a singular savage parallel. His shoes
woven of twigs, so as not to show the direction in which he is
proceeding, answer to the equally shapeless feather sandals of the blacks
who "go _Kurdaitcha_," that is, as avengers of blood. I have nowhere
else found this practice as to the shoes, which, after all, cannot
conceal the direction of the spoor from a native tracker. {37b} The
trick of driving the cattle backwards answers to the old legend that
Bruce reversed the shoes of his horse when he fled from the court of
Edward I.

The humour of the Hymn is rather rustic: cattle theft is the chief joke,
cattle theft by a baby. The God, divine as he is, feels his mouth water
for roast beef, a primitive conception. In fact, throughout this Hymn we
are far from the solemn regard paid to Apollo, from the wistful beauty of
the Hymn to Demeter, and from the gladness and melancholy of the Hymn to
Aphrodite. Sportive myths are treated sportively, as in the story of
Ares and Aphrodite in the Odyssey. Myths contained all conceivable
elements, among others that of humour, to which the poet here abandons
himself. The statues and symbols of Hermes were inviolably sacred; as
Guide of Souls he played the part of comforter and friend: he brought men
all things lucky and fortunate: he made the cattle bring forth
abundantly: he had the golden wand of wealth. But he was also tricksy as
a Brownie or as Puck; and that fairy aspect of his character and legend,
he being the midnight thief whose maraudings account for the unexplained
disappearances of things, is the chief topic of the gay and reckless
hymn. Even the Gods, even angry Apollo, are moved to laughter, for over
sport and playfulness, too, Greek religion throws her sanction. At the
dishonesties of commerce (clearly regarded as a form of theft) Hermes
winks his laughing eyes (line 516). This is not an early Socialistic
protest against "Commercialism." The early traders, like the Vikings,
were alternately pirates and hucksters, as opportunity served. Every
occupation must have its heavenly patron, its departmental deity, and
Hermes protects thieves and raiders, "minions of the moon," "clerks of
St. Nicholas." His very birth is a stolen thing, the darkling fruit of a
divine amour in a dusky cavern. _Il chasse de race_. {39}


The Hymn to Aphrodite is, in a literary sense, one of the most beautiful
and quite the most Homeric in the collection. By "Homeric" I mean that
if we found the adventure of Anchises occurring at length in the Iliad,
by way of an episode, perhaps in a speech of AEneas, it would not strike
us as inconsistent in tone, though occasionally in phrase. Indeed the
germ of the Hymn occurs in Iliad, B. 820: "AEneas, whom holy Aphrodite
bore to the embraces of Anchises on the knowes of Ida, a Goddess couching
with a mortal." Again, in E. 313, AEneas is spoken of as the son of
Aphrodite and the neat-herd, Anchises. The celebrated prophecy of the
future rule of the children of AEneas over the Trojans (Y. 307), probably
made, like many prophecies, after the event, appears to indicate the
claim of a Royal House at Ilios, and is regarded as of later date than
the general context of the epic. The AEneid is constructed on this hint;
the Romans claiming to be of Trojan descent through AEneas. The date of
the composition cannot be fixed from considerations of the Homeric tone;
thus lines 238-239 may be a reminiscence of Odyssey, [Greek text]. 394,
and other like suggestions are offered. {41} The conjectures as to date
vary from the time of Homer to that of the _Cypria_, of Mimnermus (the
references to the bitterness of loveless old age are in his vein) of
Anacreon, or even of Herodotus and the Tragedians. The words [Greek
text], [Greek text], and other indications are relied on for a late date:
and there are obvious coincidences with the Hymn to Demeter, as in line
174, _Demeter_ 109, f. Gemoll, however, takes this hymn to be the

About the place of composition, Cyprus or Asia Minor, the learned are no
less divided than about the date. Many of the grounds on which their
opinions rest appear unstable. The relations of Aphrodite to the wild
beasts under her wondrous spell, for instance, need not be borrowed from
Circe with her attendant beasts. If not of Homer's age, the Hymn is
markedly successful as a continuation of the Homeric tone and manner.

Modern Puritanism naturally "condemns" Aphrodite, as it "condemns" Helen.
But Homer is lenient; Helen is under the spell of the Gods, an unwilling
and repentant tool of Destiny; and Aphrodite, too, is driven by Zeus into
the arms of a mortal. She is [Greek text], shamefast; and her adventure
is to her a bitter sorrow (199, 200). The dread of Anchises--a man is
not long of life who lies with a Goddess--refers to a belief found from
Glenfinlas to Samoa and New Caledonia, that the embraces of the spiritual
ladies of the woodlands are fatal to men. The legend has been told to me
in the Highlands, and to Mr. Stevenson in Samoa, while my cousin, Mr. J.
J. Atkinson, actually knew a Kaneka who died in three days after an amour
like that of Anchises. The Breton ballad, _Le Sieur Nan_, turns on the
same opinion. The amour of Thomas the Rhymer is a mediaeval analogue of
the Idaean legend.

Aphrodite has better claims than most Greek Gods to Oriental elements.
Herodotus and Pausanias (i. xiv. 6, iii. 23, I) look on her as a being
first worshipped by the Assyrians, then by the Paphians of Cyprus, and
Phoenicians at Askelon, who communicated the cult to the Cythereans.
Cyprus is one of her most ancient sites, and Ishtar and Ashtoreth are
among her Oriental analogues. She springs from the sea--

"The wandering waters knew her, the winds and the viewless ways,
And the roses grew rosier, and bluer the sea-blue streams of the

But the charm of Aphrodite is Greek. Even without foreign influence,
Greek polytheism would have developed a Goddess of Love, as did the
polytheism of the North (Frigga) and of the Aztecs. The rites of Adonis,
the vernal year, are, even in the name of the hero, Oriental. "The name
Adonis is the Phoenician _Adon_, 'Lord.'" {44} "The decay and revival of
vegetation" inspires the Adonis rite, which is un-Homeric; and was
superfluous, where the descent and return of Persephone typified the same
class of ideas. To whatever extent contaminated by Phoenician influence,
Aphrodite in Homer is purely Greek, in grace and happy humanity.

The origins of Aphrodite, unlike the origins of Apollo, cannot be found
in a state of low savagery. She is a departmental Goddess, and as such,
as ruling a province of human passion, she belongs to a late development
of religion. To Christianity she was a scandal, one of the scandals
which are absent from the most primitive of surviving creeds. Polytheism,
as if of set purpose, puts every conceivable aspect of life, good or bad,
under divine sanction. This is much less the case in the religion of the
very backward races. We do not know historically, what the germs of
religion were; if we look at the most archaic examples, for instance in
Australia or the Andaman Islands, we find neither sacrifice nor
departmental deities.

Religion there is mainly a belief in a primal Being, not necessarily
conceived as spiritual, but rather as an undying magnified Man, of
indefinitely extensive powers. He dwells above "the vaulted sky beyond
which lies the mysterious home of that great and powerful Being, who is
Bunjil, Baiame, or Daramulun in different tribal languages, but who in
all is known by a name the equivalent of the only one used by the Kurnai,
which is Mungan-ngaur, or 'Our Father.'" {45} This Father is conceived
of in some places as "a very great old man with a long beard," enthroned
on, or growing into, a crystal throne. Often he is served by a son or
sons (Apollo, Hermes), frequently regarded as spiritually begotten;
elsewhere, looked on as the son of the wife of the deity, and as father
of the tribe. {46a} Scandals connected with fatherhood, amorous
intrigues so abundant in Greek mythology, are usually not reported among
the lowest races. In one known case, the deity, Pundjel or Bunjil, takes
the wives of Karween, who is changed into a crane. {46b} This is one of
the many savage aetiological myths which account for the peculiarities of
animals as a result of metamorphosis, in the manner of Ovid. It has been
connected with the legend of Bunjil, who is thus envisaged, not as "Our
Father" beyond the vault of heaven, who still inspires poets, {46c} but
as a wandering, shape-shifting medicine-man. Zeus, the Heavenly Father,
of course appears times without number in the same contradictory aspect.

But such anecdotes are either not common, or are not frequently reported,
in the faiths of the most archaic of known races. Much more frequently
we find the totemistic conception. All the kindreds with animal names
(why adopted we do not know) are apt to explain these designations by
descent from the animals selected, or by metamorphosis of the primal
beasts into men. This collides with the other notions of descent from,
or creation or manufacture out of clay, by the primal Being, "Father
Ours." Such contradictions are nothing to the savage theologian, who is
no reconciler or apologist. But when reconciliation and apology are
later found to be desirable, as in Greece, it is easy to explain that we
are descended _both_ from Our Father, and from a swan, cow, ant, serpent,
dog, wolf, or what you will. That beast was Our Father, say Father Zeus,
in animal disguise. Thus Greek legends of bestial amours of a God are
probably, in origin, not primitive, but scandals produced in the effort
to reconcile contradictory myths. The result is a worse scandal, an
accretion of more low myths about a conception of the primal Being which
was, relatively, lofty and pure.

Again, as aristocracies arose, the chief families desired to be sons of
the Father in a special sense: not as common men are. Her Majesty's
lineage may thus be traced to Woden! Now each such descent required a
separate divine amour, and a new scandalous story of Zeus or Apollo,
though Zeus may originally have been as celibate as the Australian Baiame
or Noorele are, in some legends. Once more, syncretism came in as a
mythopoeic influence. Say that several Australian nations, becoming more
polite, amalgamated into a settled people. Then we should have several
Gods, the chief Beings of various tribes, say Noorele, Bunjil, Mungan-
ngaur, Baiame, Daramulun, Mangarrah, Mulkari, Pinmeheal. The most
imposing God of the dominant tribe might be elevated to the sovereignty
of Zeus. But, in the new administration, places must be found for the
other old tribal Gods. They are, therefore, set over various
departments: Love, War, Agriculture, Medicine, Poetry, Commerce, while
one or more of the sons take the places of Apollo and Hermes. There
appears to be a very early example of syncretism in Australia. Daramulun
(Papang, Our Father) is "Master of All," on the coast, near Shoalhaven
River. Baiame is "Master of All," far north, on the Barwan. But the
locally intermediate tribe of the Wiraijuri, or Wiradthuri, have adopted
Baiame, and reduced Daramulun to an exploded bugbear, a merely nominal
superintendent of the Mysteries; and the southern Coast Murring have
rejected Baiame altogether, or never knew him, while making Daramulun

One obvious method of reconciling various tribal Gods in a syncretic
Olympus, is the genealogical. All are children of Zeus, for example, or
grandchildren, or brothers and sisters. Fancy then provides an amour to
account for each relationship. Zeus loved Leto, Leda, Europa, and so
forth. Thus a God, originally innocent and even moral, becomes a perfect
pattern of vice; and the eternal contradiction vexes the souls of
Xenophanes, Plato, and St. Augustine. Sacrifices, even human sacrifices,
wholly unknown to the most archaic faiths, were made to ghosts of men:
and especially of kings, in the case of human sacrifice. Thence they
were transferred to Gods, and behold a new scandal, when men began to
reflect under more civilised conditions. Thus all these legends of
divine amours and sins, or most of them, including the wanton legend of
Aphrodite, and all the human sacrifices which survived to the disgrace of
Greek religion, are really degrading accessories to the most archaic
beliefs. They are products, not of the most rudimentary savage
existence, but of the evolution through the lower and higher barbarism.
The worst features of savage ritual are different--taking the lines of
sorcery, of cruel initiations, and, perhaps, of revival of the licence of
promiscuity, or of Group Marriage. Of these things the traces are not
absent from Greek faith, but they are comparatively inconspicuous.

Buffoonery, as we have seen, exists in all grades of civilised or savage
rites, and was not absent from the popular festivals of the mediaeval
Church: religion throwing her mantle over every human field of action, as
over Folk Medicine. On these lines I venture to explain what seem to me
the strange and repugnant elements of the religion of a people so
refined, and so capable of high moral ideas, as the Greeks. Aphrodite is
personified desire, but religion did not throw her mantle over desire
alone; the cloistered life, the frank charm of maidenhood, were as dear
to the Greek genius, and were consecrated by the examples of Athene,
Artemis, and Hestia. She presides over the pure element of the fire of
the hearth, just as in the household did the daughter of the king or
chief. Hers are the first libations at feasts (xxviii. 5), though in
Homer they are poured forth to Hermes.

We may explain the Gods of the minor hymns in the same way. Pan, for
instance, as the son of Hermes, inherits the wild, frolicsome, rural
aspect of his character. The Dioscuri answer to the Vedic Asvins, twin
rescuers of men in danger on land or sea: perhaps the Evening and Morning
Star. Dionysus is another aspect of the joy of life and of the world and
the vintaging. Moon and Sun, Selene and Helios, appear as quite distinct
from Artemis and Apollo; Gaea, the Earth, is equally distinct from
Demeter. The Hymn to Ares is quite un-Homeric in character, and is oddly
conceived in the spirit of the Scottish poltroon, who cries to his
friend, "Haud me, haud me, or I'll fecht!" The war-god is implored to
moderate the martial eagerness of the poet. The original collector here
showed lack of discrimination. At no time, however, was Ares a popular
God in Greece; in Homer he is a braggart and coward.


The beautiful Hymn to Demeter, an example of Greek religious faith in its
most pensive and most romantic aspects, was found in the last century
(1780), in Moscow. _Inter pullos et porcos latitabat_: the song of the
rural deity had found its way into the haunts of the humble creatures
whom she protected. A discovery even more fortunate, in 1857, led Sir
Charles Newton to a little _sacellum_, or family chapel, near Cnidos. On
a platform of rock, beneath a cliff, and looking to the Mediterranean,
were the ruins of the ancient shrine: the votive offerings; the lamps
long without oil or flame; the Curses, or Dirae, inscribed on thin sheets
of lead, and directed against thieves or rivals. The head of the statue,
itself already known, was also discovered. Votive offerings, cheap
curses, objects of folk-lore rite and of sympathetic magic,--these are
connected with the popular, the peasant aspect of the religion of
Demeter. She it is to whom pigs are sacrificed: who makes the fields
fertile with scattered fragments of their flesh; and her rustic effigy,
at Theocritus's feast of the harvest home, stands smiling, with corn and
poppies in her hands.

[Mourning Demeter. Marble statue from Knidos. In the British Museum:

But the Cnidian shrine had once another treasure, the beautiful
melancholy statue of the seated Demeter of the uplifted eyes; the
mourning mother: the weary seeker for the lost maiden: her child
Persephone. Far from the ruins above the sea, beneath the scorched
seaward wall of rock: far from the aromatic fragrance of the
rock-nourished flowers, from the bees, and the playful lizards, Demeter
now occupies her place in the great halls of the British Museum. Like
the Hymn, this melancholy and tender work of art is imperfect, but the
sentiment is thereby rather increased than impaired. The ancients buried
things broken with the dead, that the shadows of tool, or weapon, or vase
might be set free, to serve the shadows of their masters in the land of
the souls. Broken as they, too, are, the Hymn and the statue are "free
among the dead," and eloquent of the higher religion that, in Greece,
attached itself to the lost Maiden and the sorrowing Mother. Demeter, in
religion, was more than a fertiliser of the fields: Kore, the Maiden, was
more than the buried pig, or the seed sown to await its resurrection; or
the harvest idol, fashioned of corn-stalks: more even than a symbol of
the winter sleep and vernal awakening of the year and the life of nature.
She became the "dread Persephone" of the Odyssey,

"A Queen over death and the dead."

In her winter retreat below the earth she was the bride of the Lord of
Many Guests, and the ruler "of the souls of men outworn." In this office
Odysseus in Homer knows her, though neither Iliad nor Odyssey recognises
_Kore_ as the maiden Spring, the daughter and companion of Demeter as
Goddess of Grain. Christianity, even, did not quite dethrone Persephone.
She lives in two forms: first, as the harvest effigy made of corn-stalks
bound together, the last gleanings; secondly, as "the Fairy Queen
Proserpina," who carried Thomas the Rhymer from beneath the Eildon Tree
to that land which lies beyond the stream of slain men's blood.

"For a' the bluid that's shed on earth
Flows through the streams of that countrie."

[Silver denarius of C. Vibius Pansa (about 90 B.C.). Obv. Head of
Apollo. Rev. Demeter searching for Persephone: lang56.jpg]

Thus tenacious of life has been the myth of Mother and Maiden, a natural
flower of the human heart, found, unborrowed, by the Spaniards in the
maize-fields of Peru. Clearly the myth is a thing composed of many
elements, glad and sad as the waving fields of yellow grain, or as the
Chthonian darkness under earth where the seed awaits new life in the new
year. The creed is practical as the folk-lore of sympathetic magic,
which half expects to bring good harvest luck by various mummeries; and
the creed is mystical as the hidden things and words unknown which
assured Pindar and Sophocles of secure felicity in this and in the future

The creed is beautiful as the exquisite profile of the corn-tressed head
of Persephone on Syracusan coins: and it is grotesque as the custom which
bade the pilgrims to Eleusis bathe in the sea, each with the pig which he
was about to sacrifice. The highest religious hopes, the meanest magical
mummeries are blended in this religion. That one element is earlier than
the other we cannot say with much certainty. The ritual aspect, as
concerned with the happy future of the soul, does not appear in Iliad or
Odyssey, where the Mysteries are not named. But the silence of Homer is
never a safe argument in favour of his ignorance, any more than the
absence of allusion to tobacco in Shakspeare is a proof that tobacco was,
in his age, unknown.

We shall find that a barbaric people, the Pawnees, hold a mystery
precisely parallel to the Demeter legend: a Mystery necessarily
unborrowed from Greece. The Greeks, therefore, may have evolved the
legend long before Homer's day, and he may have known the story which he
does not find occasion to tell. As to what was said, shown, and done in
the Eleusinia, we only gather that there was a kind of Mystery Play on
the sacred legend; that there were fastings, vigils, sacrifices, secret
objects displayed, sacred words uttered; and that thence such men as
Pindar and Sophocles received the impression that for them, in this and
the future life, all was well, was well for those of pure hearts and
hands. The "purity" may partly have been ritual, but was certainly
understood, also, as relating to excellence of life. Than such a faith
(for faith it is) religion has nothing better to give. But the extreme
diligence of scholars and archaeologists can tell us nothing more
definite. The impressions on the souls of the initiated may have been
caused merely by that dim or splendid religious light of the vigils, and
by association with sacred things usually kept in solemn sanctuaries.
Again, mere buffoonery (as is common in savage Mysteries) brought the
pilgrims back to common life when they crossed the bridge on their return
to Athens; just as the buffooneries of Baubo brought a smile to the sad
lips of Demeter. Beyond this all is conjecture, and the secret may have
been so well kept just because, in fact, there was no secret to keep.

Till the end of the present century, mythologists did not usually employ
the method of comparing Greek rites and legends with, first, the
sympathetic magic and the fables of peasant folk-lore; second, with the
Mysteries and myths of contemporary savage races, of which European folk-
lore is mainly a survival. For a study of Demeter from these sides (a
study still too much neglected in Germany) readers may consult
Mannhardt's works, Mr. Frazer's "Golden Bough," and the present
translator's "Custom and Myth," and "Myth, Ritual, and Religion." Mr.
Frazer, especially, has enabled the English reader to understand the
savage and rural element of sympathetic magic as a factor in the Demeter
myth. Meanwhile Mr. Pater has dealt with the higher sentiment, the more
religious aspect, of the myth and the rites. I am not inclined to go all
lengths with Mr. Frazer's ingenious and learned system, as will be seen,
while regretting that the new edition of his "Golden Bough" is not yet

If we accept (which I do not entirely) Mr. Frazer's theory of the origin
of the Demeter myth, there is no finer example of the Greek power of
transforming into beauty the superstitions of Barbarism. The explanation
to which I refer is contained in Mr. J. G. Frazer's learned and ingenious
work, "The Golden Bough." While mythologists of the schools of Mr. Max
Muller and Kuhn have usually resolved most Gods and heroes into Sun, Sky,
Dawn, Twilight; or, again, into elemental powers of Thunder, Tempest,
Lightning, and Night, Mr. Frazer is apt to see in them the Spirit of
Vegetation. Osiris is a Tree Spirit or a Corn Spirit (Mannhardt, the
founder of the system, however, took Osiris to be the Sun). Balder is
the Spirit of the Oak. The oak, "we may certainly conclude, was one of
the chief, if not the very chief divinity of the Aryans before the
dispersion." {61} If so, the Aryans before the dispersion were on an
infinitely lower religious level than those Australian tribes, whose
chief divinity is not a gum-tree, but a being named "Our Father,"
dwelling beyond the visible heavens. When we remember the vast numbers
of gods of sky or heaven among many scattered races, and the obvious
connection of Zeus with the sky (_sub Jove frigido_), and the usually
assigned sense of the name of Zeus, it is not easy to suppose that he was
originally an oak. But Mr. Frazer considers the etymological connection
of Zeus with the Sanscrit word for sky, an insufficient reason for
regarding Zeus as, in origin, a sky-god. He prefers, it seems, to
believe that, as being the wood out of which fire was kindled by some
Aryan-speaking peoples, the oak may have come to be called "The Bright or
Shining One" (Zeus, Jove), by the ancient Greeks and Italians. {62} The
Greeks, in fact, used the laurel (_daphne_) for making fire, not, as far
as I am aware, the oak. Though the oak was the tree of Zeus, the heavens
were certainly his province, and, despite the oak of Dodona, and the oak
on the Capitol, he is much more generally connected with the sky than
with the tree. In fact this reduction of Zeus, in origin, to an oak,
rather suggests that the spirit of system is too powerful with Mr.

He makes, perhaps, a more plausible case for his reduction of dread
Persephone to a Pig. The process is curious. Early agricultural man
believed in a Corn Spirit, a spiritual essence animating the grain (in
itself no very unworthy conception). But because, as the field is mown,
animals in the corn are driven into the last unshorn nook, and then into
the open, the beast which rushed out of the last patch was identified
with the Corn Spirit in some animal shape, perhaps that of a pig; many
other animals occur. The pig has a great part in the ritual of Demeter.
Pigs of pottery were found by Sir Charles Newton on her sacred ground.
The initiate in the Mysteries brought pigs to Eleusis, and bathed with
them in the sea. The pig was sacrificed to her; in fact (though not in
our Hymn) she was closely associated with pigs. "We may now ask . . .
may not the pig be nothing but the Goddess herself in animal form?" {64a}
She would later become anthropomorphic: a lovely Goddess, whose hair, as
in the Hymn, is "yellow as ripe corn." But the prior pig could not be
shaken off. At the Attic Thesmophoria the women celebrated the Descent
and Ascent of Persephone,--a "double" of Demeter. In this rite pigs and
other things were thrown into certain caverns. Later, the cold remains
of pig were recovered and placed on the altar. Fragments were scattered
for luck on the fields with the seed-corn. A myth explained that a flock
of pigs were swallowed by Earth when Persephone was ravished by Hades to
the lower world, of which matter the Hymn says nothing. "In short, the
pigs were Proserpine." {64b} The eating of pigs at the Thesmophoria was
"a partaking of the body of the God," though the partakers, one thinks,
must have been totally unconscious of the circumstance. We must presume
that (if this theory be correct) a very considerable time was needed for
the evolution of a pig into the Demeter of the Hymn, and the change is
quite successfully complete; a testimony to the transfiguring power of
the Greek genius.

We may be inclined to doubt, however, whether the task before the genius
of Greece, the task of making Proserpine out of a porker, was really so
colossal. The primitive mind is notoriously capable of entertaining,
simultaneously, the most contradictory notions. Thus, in the Australian
"Legend of Eerin," the mourners implore Byamee to accept the soul of the
faithful Eerin into his Paradise, Bullimah. No doubt Byamee heard, yet
Eerin is now a little owl of plaintive voice, which ratters warning cries
in time of peril. {65} No incongruity of this kind is felt to be a
difficulty by the childlike narrators. Now I conceive that, starting
with the relatively high idea of a Spirit of the Grain, early man was
quite capable of envisaging it both spiritually and in zoomorphic form
(accidentally conditioned here into horse, there into goat, pig, or what
not). But these views of his need not exclude his simultaneous belief in
the Corn Spirit as a being anthropomorphic, "Mother Earth," or "Mother
Grain," as we follow the common etymology; or that of Mannhardt ([Greek
text]) [Greek text]="barley-mother"). If I am right, poetry and the
higher religion moved from the first on the line of the anthropomorphic
Lady of the Harvest and the Corn, Mother Barley: while the popular folk-
lore of the Corn Spirit (which found utterance in the mirth of
harvesting, and in the magic ritual for ensuring fertility), followed on
the line of the pig. At some seasons, and in some ceremonies, the pig
represented the genius of the corn: in general, the Lady of the Corn
was--Demeter. We really need not believe that the two forms of the
genius of the corn were ever _consciously_ identified. Demeter never was
a Pig! {66}

"The Peruvians, we are told, believed all useful plants to be animated by
a divine being who causes their growth," says Mr. Frazer. {67} The
genealogical table, then, in my opinion, is:--

Divine Being of the Grain.
| |
(_Anthropomorphized_). (_Zoomorphised_).
Mother of Corn. Pig, Horse,
Demeter. and so on.

Thus the Greek genius had other and better materials to work on, in
evolving Demeter, than the rather lowly animal which is associated with
her rites. If any one objects that animal gods always precede
anthropomorphic gods in evolution, we reply that, in the most archaic of
known races, the deities are represented in human guise at the Mysteries,
though there are animal Totems, and though, in myth, the deity may, and
often does, assume shapes of bird or beast. {68}

Among rites of the backward races, none, perhaps, so closely resembles
the Eleusinian Mysteries as the tradition of the Pawnees. In Attica,
Hades, Lord of the Dead, ravishes away Persephone, the vernal daughter of
Demeter. Demeter then wanders among men, and is hospitably received by
Celeus, King of Eleusis. Baffled in her endeavour to make his son
immortal, she demands a temple, where she sits in wrath, blighting the
grain. She is reconciled by the restoration of her daughter, at the
command of Zeus. But for a third of the year Persephone, having tasted a
pomegranate seed in Hades, has to reign as Queen of the Dead, beneath the
earth. Scenes from this tale were, no doubt, enacted at the Mysteries,
with interludes of buffoonery, such as relieved most ancient and all
savage Mysteries. The allegory of the year's death and renewal probably
afforded a text for some discourse, or spectacle, concerned with the
future life.

Among the Pawnees, not a mother and daughter, but two primal beings,
brothers, named Manabozho and Chibiabos, are the chief characters. The
Manitos (spirits or gods) drown Chibiabos. Manabozho mourns and smears
his face with black, as Demeter wears black raiment. He laments
Chibiabos ceaselessly till the Manitos propitiate him with gifts and
ceremonies. They offer to him a cup, like the beverage prepared for
Demeter, in the Hymn, by Iambe. He drinks it, is glad, washes off the
black stain of mourning, and is himself again, while Earth again is
joyous. The Manitos restore Chibiabos to life; but, having once died, he
may not enter the temple, or "Medicine Lodge." He is sent to reign over
the souls of the departed as does Persephone. Manabozho makes offerings
to Mesukkumikokwi, the "Earth Mother" of the Pawnees. The story is
enacted in the sacred dances of the Pawnees. {69}

The Pawnee ideas have fallen, with singularly accurate coincidence, into
the same lines as those of early Greece. Some moderns, such as M.
Foucart, have revived the opinion of Herodotus, that the Mysteries were
brought from Greece to Egypt. But, as the Pawnee example shows, similar
natural phenomena may anywhere beget similar myths and rites. In Greece
the _donnee_ was a nature myth, and a ritual in which it was enacted.
That ritual was a form of sympathetic magic, and the myth explained the
performances. The refinement and charm of the legend (on which Homer, as
we saw, does not touch) is due to the unique genius of Greece. Demeter
became the deity most familiar to the people, nearest to their hearts and
endowed with most temples; every farm possessing her rural shrine. But
the Chthonian, or funereal, aspect of Chibiabos, or of Persephone, is due
to a mood very distinct from that which sacrifices pigs as embodiments of
the Corn Spirit, if that be the real origin of the practice.

We should much misconceive the religious spirit of the Greek rite if we
undertook to develop it all out an origin in sympathetic magic: which, of
course, I do not understand Mr. Frazer to do. Greek scholars, again, are
apt to view these researches into savage or barbaric origins with great
distaste and disfavour. This is not a scientific frame of mind. In the
absence of such researches other purely fanciful origins have been
invented by scholars, ancient or modern. It is necessary to return to
the pedestrian facts, if merely in order to demonstrate the futility of
the fancies. The result is in no way discreditable to Greece. Beginning,
like other peoples, with the vague unrealised conception of the Corn
Mother (an idea which could not occur before the agricultural stage of
civilisation), the Greeks refined and elevated the idea into the Demeter
of the Hymn, and of the Cnidian statue. To do this was the result of
their unique gifts as a race. Meanwhile the other notion of a Ruler of
Souls, in Greece attached to Persephone, is found among peoples not yet
agricultural: nomads living on grubs, roots, seeds of wild grasses, and
the products of the chase. Almost all men's ideas are as old as mankind,
so far as we know mankind.

Conceptions originally "half-conscious," and purely popular, as of a
Spirit of Vegetation, incarnate, as it were, in each year's growth, were
next handled by conscious poets, like the author of our Hymn, and then
are "realised as abstract symbols, because intensely characteristic
examples of moral, or spiritual conditions." {72} Thus Demeter and
Persephone, no longer pigs or Grain-Mothers, "lend themselves to the
elevation and the correction of the sentiments of sorrow and awe, by the
presentment to the senses and imagination of an ideal expression of them.
Demeter cannot but seem the type of divine grief. Persephone is the
Goddess of Death, yet with a promise of life to come."

That the Eleusinia included an ethical element seems undeniable. This
one would think probable, _a priori_, on the ground that Greek Mysteries
are an embellished survival of the initiatory rites of savages, which do
contain elements of morality. This I have argued at some length in
"Myth, Ritual, and Religion." Many strange customs in some Greek
Mysteries, such as the daubing of the initiate with clay, the use of the
[Greek text] (the Australian _Tundun_, a small piece of wood whirled
noisily by a string), the general suggestion of _a new life_, the
flogging of boys at Sparta, their retreat, each with his instructor
(Australian _kabbo_, Greek [Greek text]) to the forests, are precisely
analogous to things found in Australia, America, and Africa. Now savage
rites are often associated with what we think gross cruelty, and, as in
Fiji, with abandoned license, of which the Fathers also accuse the
Greeks. But, among the Yao of Central Africa, the initiator, observes
Mr. Macdonald, "is said to give much good advice. His lectures condemn
selfishness, and a selfish person is called _mwisichana_, that is,
'uninitiated.'" {74a}

Among the Australians, Dampier, in 1688, observed the singular unselfish
generosity of distribution of food to the old, the weak, and the sick.
According to Mr. Howitt, the boys of the Coast Murring tribe are taught
in the Mysteries "to speak the straightforward truth while being
initiated, and are warned to avoid various offences against propriety and
morality." The method of instruction is bad, a pantomimic representation
of the sin to be avoided, but the intention is excellent. {74b} Among
the Kurnai respect for the old, for unprotected women, the duty of
unselfishness, and other ethical ideas are inculcated, {74c} while
certain food taboos prevail during the rite, as was also the case in the
Eleusinia. That this moral idea of "sharing what they have with their
friends" is not confined merely to the tribe, is proved by the experience
of John Finnegan, a white man lost near Moreton Bay early in this
century. "At all times, whether they had much or little, fish or
kangaroo, they always gave me as much as I could eat." Even when the
whites stole the fish of the natives, and were detected, "instead of
attempting to repossess themselves of the fish, they instantly set at
work to procure more for us, and one or two fetched us as much _dingowa_
as they could carry." {75} The first English settlers in Virginia, on
the other hand, when some native stole a cup, burned down the whole town.

Thus the morality of the savage is not merely tribal (as is often
alleged), and is carried into practice, as well as inculcated, in some
regions, not in all, during the Mysteries.

For these reasons, if the Greek Mysteries be survivals of savage
ceremonies (as there is no reason to doubt that they are), the savage
association of moral instruction with mummeries might survive as easily
as anything else. That it did survive is plain from numerous passages in
classical authors. {76a} The initiate "live a pious life in regard to
strangers and citizens." They are to be "conscious of no evil": they are
to "protect such as have wrought no unrighteousness." Such precepts
"have their root in the ethico-religious consciousness." {76b} It is not
mere ritual purity that the Mysteries demand, either among naked
Australians, or Yao, or in Greece. Lobeck did his best to minimise the
testimony to the higher element in the Eleusinia, but without avail. The
study of early, barbaric, savage, classical, Egyptian, or Indian
religions should not be one-sided. Men have always been men, for good as
well as for evil; and religion, almost everywhere, is allied with ethics
no less than it is overrun by the parasite of myth, and the survival of
magic in ritual. The Mother and the Maid were "Saviours" ([Greek text]),
"holy" and "pure," despite contradictory legends. {77} The tales of
incest, as between Zeus and Persephone, are the result of the
genealogical mania. The Gods were grouped in family-relationships, to
account for their companionship in ritual, and each birth postulated an
amour. None the less the same deities offered "salvation," of a sort,
and were patrons of conduct.

Greek religion was thus not destitute of certain chief elements in our
own. But these were held in solution, with a host of other warring
elements, lustful, cruel, or buffooning. These elements Greece was
powerless to shake off; philosophers, by various expedients, might
explain away the contradictory myths which overgrew the religion, but
ritual, the luck of the State, and popular credulity, were tenacious of
the whole strange mingling of beliefs and practices.

* * * * *

The view taken of the Eleusinia in this note is hardly so exalted as that
of Dr. Hatch. "The main underlying conception of initiation was that
there were elements in human life from which the candidate must purify
himself before he could be fit to approach God." The need of
purification, ritual and moral, is certain, but one is not aware of
anything in the purely popular or priestly religion of Greece which
exactly answers to our word "God" as used in the passage cited.
Individuals, by dint of piety or of speculation, might approach the
conception, and probably many did, both in and out of the philosophic
schools. But traditional ritual and myth could scarcely rise to this
ideal; and it seems exaggerated to say of the crowded Eleusinian throng
of pilgrims that "the race of mankind was lifted on to a higher plane
when it came to be taught that only the pure in heart can see God." {78}
The black native boys in Australia pass through a purgative ceremony to
cure them of selfishness, and afterwards the initiator points to the blue
vault of sky, bidding them behold "Our Father, Mungan-ngaur." This is
very well meant, and very creditable to untutored savages: and creditable
ideas were not absent from the Eleusinia. But when we use the quotation,
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," our meaning,
though not very definite, is a meaning which it would be hazardous to
attribute to a black boy,--or to Sophocles. The idea of the New Life
appears to occur in Australian Mysteries: a tribesman is buried, and
rises at a given signal. But here the New Life is rather that of the lad
admitted to full tribal privileges (including moral precepts) than that
of a converted character. Confirmation, rather than conversion, is the
analogy. The number of those analogies of ancient and savage with
Christian religion is remarkable. But even in Greek Mysteries the
conceptions are necessarily not so purely spiritual as in the Christian
creed, of which they seem half-conscious and fragmentary anticipations.
Or we may regard them as suggestions, which Christianity selected,
accepted, and purified.



In what has been said as to the Greek Mysteries, I have regarded them as
of native origin. I have exhibited rites of analogous kinds in the germ,
as it were, among savage and barbaric communities. In Peru, under the
Incas, we actually find Mama and Cora (Demeter and Kore) as Goddesses of
the maize (Acosta), and for rites of sympathetic magic connected with the
production of fertile harvests (as in the Thesmophoria at Athens) it is
enough to refer to the vast collection in Mr. Frazer's "Golden Bough." I
have also indicated the closest of all known parallels to the Eleusinian
in a medicine-dance and legend of the Pawnees. For other savage
Mysteries in which a moral element occurs, I have quoted Australian and
African examples. Thence I have inferred that the early Greeks might,
and probably did, evolve their multiform mystic rites out of germs of
such things inherited from their own prehistoric ancestors. No process,
on the other hand, of borrowing from Greece can conceivably account for
the Pawnee and Peruvian rites, so closely analogous to those of Hellas.
Therefore I see no reason why, if Egypt, for instance, presents parallels
to the Eleusinia, we should suppose that the prehistoric Greeks borrowed
the Eleusinia from Egypt. These things can grow up, autochthonous and
underived, out of the soil of human nature anywhere, granting certain
social conditions. Monsieur Foucart, however, has lately argued in
favour of an Egyptian origin of the Eleusinia. {82}

The Greeks naturally identified Demeter and Dionysus with Isis and
Osiris. There were analogies in the figures and the legends, and that
was enough. So, had the Greeks visited America, they would have
recognised Demeter in the Pawnee Earth Mother, and Persephone or
Eubouleus in Chibiabos. To account for the similarities they would
probably have invented a fable of Pawnee visitors to Greece, or of Greek
missionaries among the Pawnees. So they were apt to form a theory of an
Egyptian origin of Dionysus and Demeter.

M. Foucart, however, argues that agriculture, corn-growing at least, came
into Greece at one stride, barley and wheat not being indigenous in a
wild state. The Greeks, however, may have brought grain in their
original national migration (the Greek words for grain and ploughing are
common to other families of Aryan speech) or obtained it from Phoenician
settlements. Demeter, however, in M. Foucart's theory, would be the
Goddess of the foreigners who carried the grain first to Hellas. Now
both the Homeric epics and the Egyptian monuments show us Egypt and
Greece in contact in the Greek prehistoric period. But it does not
exactly follow that the prehistoric Greeks would adopt Egyptian gods; or
that the Thesmophoria, an Athenian harvest-rite of Demeter, was founded
by colonists from Egypt, answering to the daughters of Danaus. {84}
Egyptians certainly did not introduce the similar rite among the Khonds,
or the Incas. The rites _could_ grow up without importation, as the
result of the similarities of primitive fancy everywhere. If Isis is
Lady of the Grain in Egypt, so is Mama in Peru, and Demeter need no more
have been imported from Egypt than Mama. If Osiris taught the arts of
life and the laws of society in Egypt, so did Daramulun in Australia, and
Yehl in British Columbia. All the gods and culture heroes everywhere
play this _role_--in regions where importation of the idea from Egypt is
utterly out of the question. Even in minute details, legends recur
everywhere; the _phallus_ of a mutilated Australian being of the fabulous
"Alcheringa time," is hunted for by his wives; exactly as Isis wanders in
search of the _phallus_ of the mutilated Osiris. {85a} Is anything in
the Demeter legend so like the Isis legend as this Australian
coincidence? Yet the Arunta did not borrow it from Egypt. {85b} The
mere fact, again, that there were Mysteries both in Egypt and Greece
proves nothing. There is a river in Monmouth, and a river in Macedon;
there are Mysteries in almost all religions.

Again, it is argued, the Gods of the Mysteries in Egypt and Greece had
secret names, only revealed to the initiated. So, too, in Australia,
women (never initiated) and boys before initiation, know Daramulun only
as Papang (Father). {85c} The uninitiated among the Kurnai do not know
the sacred name, Mungan-ngaur. {85d} The Australian did not borrow this
secrecy from Egypt. Everywhere a mystery is kept up about proper names.
M. Foucart seems to think that what is practically universal, a taboo on
names, can only have reached Greece by transplantation from Egypt. {86a}
To the anthropologist it seems that scholars, in ignoring the universal
ideas of the lower races, run the risk of venturing on theories at once
superficial and untenable.

M. Foucart has another argument, which does not seem more convincing,
though it probably lights up the humorous or indecent side of the
Eleusinia. Isocrates speaks of "good offices" rendered to Demeter by
"our ancestors," which "can only be told to the initiate." {86b} Now
these cannot be the kindly deeds reported in the Hymn, for these were
publicly proclaimed. What, then, were the _secret_ good offices? In one
version of the legend the hosts of Demeter were not Celeus and Metaneira,
but Dusaules and Baubo. The part of Baubo was to relieve the gloom of
the Goddess, not by the harmless pleasantries of Iambe, in the Hymn, but
by obscene gestures. The Christian Fathers, Clemens of Alexandria at
least, make this a part of their attack on the Mysteries; but it may be
said that they were prejudiced or misinformed. {87a} But, says M.
Foucart, an inscription has been found in Paros, wherein there is a
dedication to Hera, Demeter Thesmophoros, Kore, and _Babo_, or Baubo.
Again, two authors of the fourth century, Palaephatus and Asclepiades,
cite the Dusaules and Baubo legend. {87b}

Now the indecent gesture of Baubo was part of the comic or obscene folk-
lore of contempt in Egypt, and so M. Foucart thinks that it was borrowed
from Egypt with the Demeter legend. {87c} Can Isocrates have referred to
_this_ good office?--the amusing of Demeter by an obscene gesture? If he
did, such gestures as Baubo's are as widely diffused as any other piece
of folk-lore. In the centre of the Australian desert Mr. Carnegie saw a
native make a derisive gesture which he thought had only been known to
English schoolboys. {88a} Again, indecent pantomimic dances, said to be
intended to act as "object lessons" in things _not_ to be done, are
common in Australian Mysteries. Further, we do not know Baubo, or a
counterpart of her, in the ritual of Isis, and the clay figurines of such
a figure, in Egypt, are of the Greek, the Ptolemaic period. Thus the
evidence comes to this: an indecent gesture of contempt, known in Egypt,
is, at Eleusis, attributed to Baubo. This does not prove that Baubo was
originally Egyptian. {88b} Certain traditions make Demeter the mistress
of Celeus. {88c} Traces of a "mystic marriage," which also occur, are
not necessarily Egyptian: the idea and rite are common.

There remains the question of the sacred objects displayed (possibly
statues, probably very ancient "medicine" things, as among the Pawnees)
and sacred words spoken. These are said by many authors to confirm the
initiate in their security of hope as to a future life. Now similar
instruction, as to the details of the soul's voyage, the dangers to
avoid, the precautions to be taken, notoriously occur in the Egyptian
"Book of the Dead." But very similar fancies are reported from the
Ojibbeways (Kohl), the Polynesians and Maoris (Taylor, Turner, Gill,
Thomson), the early peoples of Virginia, {89a} the modern Arapaho and
Sioux of the Ghost Dance rite, the Aztecs, and so forth. In all
countries these details are said to have been revealed by men or women
who died, but did not (like Persephone) taste the food of the dead; and
so were enabled to return to earth. The initiate, at Eleusis, were
guided along a theatrically arranged pathway of the dead, into a
theatrical Elysium. {89b} Now as such ideas as these occur among races
utterly removed from contact with Egypt, as they are part of the European
folk-lore of the visits of mortals to fairyland (in which it is fatal to
taste fairy food), I do not see that Eleusis need have borrowed such
common elements of early belief from the Egyptians in the seventh century
B.C. {90} One might as well attribute to Egypt the Finnish legend of the
descent of Wainamoinen into Tuonela; or the experience of the aunt of
Montezuma just before the arrival of Cortes; or the expedition to
fairyland of Thomas the Rhymer. It is not pretended by M. Foucart that
the _details_ of the "Book of the Dead" were copied in Greek ritual; and
the general idea of a river to cross, of dangerous monsters to avoid, of
perils to encounter, of precautions to be taken by the wandering soul, is
nearly universal, where it must be unborrowed from Egypt, in Polynesian
and Red Indian belief. As at Eleusis, in these remote tribes formulas of
a preservative character are inculcated.

The "Book of the Dead" was a guidebook of the itinerary of Egyptian
souls. Very probably similar instruction was given to the initiate at
Eleusis. But the Fijians also have a regular theory of what is to be
done and avoided on "The Path of the Shades." The shade is ferried by
Ceba (Charon) over Wainiyalo (Lethe); he reaches the mystic pandanus tree
(here occurs a rite); he meets, and dodges, Drodroyalo and the two
devouring Goddesses; he comes to a spring, and drinks, and forgets sorrow
at Wai-na-dula, the "Water of Solace." After half-a-dozen other
probations and terrors, he reaches the Gods, "the dancing-ground and the
white quicksand; and then the young Gods dance before them and sing. . . . "

Now turn to Plutarch. {91b} Plutarch compares the soul's mortal
experience with that of the initiate in the Mysteries. "There are
wanderings, darkness, fear, trembling, shuddering, horror, then a
marvellous light: pure places and meadows, dances, songs, and holy
apparitions." Plutarch might be summarising the Fijian belief. Again,
take the mystic golden scroll, found in a Greek grave at Petilia. It
describes in hexameters the Path of the Shade: the spring and the white
cypress on the left: "Do not approach it. Go to the other stream from
the Lake of Memory; tell the Guardians that you are the child of Earth
and of the starry sky, but that yours is a heavenly lineage; and they
will give you to drink of that water, and you shall reign with the other

Tree, and spring, and peaceful place with dance, song, and divine
apparitions, all are Fijian, all are Greek, yet nothing is borrowed by
Fiji from Greece. Many other Greek inscriptions cited by M. Foucart
attest similar beliefs. Very probably such precepts as those of the
Petilia scroll were among the secret instructions of Eleusis. But they
are not so much Egyptian as human. Chibiabos is assuredly not borrowed
from Osiris, nor the Fijian faith from the "Book of the Dead." "Sacred
things," not to be shown to man, still less to woman, date from the
"medicine bag" of the Red Indian, the mystic tribal bundles of the
Pawnees, and the _churinga_, and bark "native portmanteaux," of which Mr.
Carnegie brought several from the Australian desert.

[Demeter and Persephone sending Triptolemos on his mission. Marble
relief found at Eleusis--now in Athens: lang92.jpg]

For all Greek Mysteries a satisfactory savage analogy can be found. These
spring straight from human nature: from the desire to place customs, and
duties, and taboos under divine protection; from the need of
strengthening them, and the influence of the elders, by mystic sanctions;
from the need of fortifying and trying the young by probations of
strength, secrecy, and fortitude; from the magical expulsion of hostile
influences; from the sympathetic magic of early agriculture; from study
of the processes of nature regarded as personal; and from guesses,
surmises, visions, and dreams as to the fortunes of the wandering soul on
its way to its final home. I have shown all these things to be human,
universal, not sprung from one race in one region. Greek Mysteries are
based on all these natural early conceptions of life and death. The
early Greeks, like other races, entertained these primitive, or very
archaic ideas. Greece had no need to borrow from Egypt; and, though
Egypt was within reach, Greece probably developed freely her original
stock of ideas in her own fashion, just as did the Incas, Aztecs,
Australians, Ojibbeways, and the other remote peoples whom I have
selected. The argument of M. Foucart, I think, is only good as long as
we are ignorant of the universally diffused forms of religious belief
which correspond to the creeds of Eleusis or of Egypt. In the Greek
Mysteries we have the Greek guise,--solemn, wistful, hopeful, holy, and
pure, yet not uncontaminated with archaic buffoonery,--of notions and
rites, hopes and fears, common to all mankind. There is no other secret.

The same arguments as I have advanced against Greek borrowing from Egypt,
apply to Greek borrowing from Asia. Mr. Ramsay, following Mr. Robertson
Smith, suggests that Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, may be "the
old Semitic Al-lat." {95a} Then we have Leto and Artemis, as the Mother
and the Maid (Kore) with their mystery play. "Clement describes them"
(the details) as "Eleusinian, for they had spread to Eleusis as the rites
of Demeter and Kore _crossing from Asia to Crete, and from Crete to the
European_ peninsula." The ritual "remained everywhere fundamentally the
same." Obviously if the Eleusinian Mysteries are of Phrygian origin
(Ramsay), they cannot also be of Egyptian origin (Foucart). In truth
they are no more specially of Phrygian or Egyptian than of Pawnee or
Peruvian origin. Mankind can and does evolve such ideas and rites in any
region of the world. {95b}


"What has all this farrago about savages to do with Dionysus?" I conceive
some scholar, or literary critic asking, if such an one looks into this
book. Certainly it would have been easier for me to abound in aesthetic
criticism of the Hymns, and on the aspect of Greek literary art which
they illustrate. But the Hymns, if read even through the pale medium of
a translation, speak for themselves. Their beauties and defects as
poetry are patent: patent, too, are the charm and geniality of the
national character which they express. The glad Ionian gatherings; the
archaic humour; the delight in life, and love, and nature; the pious
domesticities of the sacred Hearth; the peopling of woods, hills, and
streams with exquisite fairy forms; all these make the poetic delight of
the Hymns. But all these need no pointing out to any reader. The poets
can speak for themselves.

On the other hand the confusions of sacred and profane; the origins of
the Mysteries; the beginnings of the Gods in a mental condition long left
behind by Greece when the Hymns were composed; all these matters need
elucidation. I have tried to elucidate them as results of evolution from
the remote prehistoric past of Greece, which, as it seems, must in many
points have been identical with the historic present of the lowest
contemporary races. In the same way, if dealing with ornament, I would
derive the spirals, volutes, and concentric circles of Mycenaean gold
work, from the identical motives, on the oldest incised rocks and kists
of our Islands, of North and South America, and of the tribes of Central
Australia, recently described by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, and Mr.
Carnegie. The material of the Mycenaean artist may be gold, his work may
be elegant and firm, but he traces the selfsame ornament as the naked
Arunta, with feebler hand, paints on sacred rocks or on the bodies of his
tribesmen. What is true of ornament is true of myth, rite, and belief.
Greece only offers a gracious modification of the beliefs, rites, and
myths of the races who now are "nearest the beginning," however remote
from that unknown beginning they may be. To understand this is to come
closer to a true conception of the evolution of Greek faith and art than
we can reach by any other path. Yet to insist on this is not to ignore
the unmeasured advance of the Greeks in development of society and art.
On that head the Hymns, like all Greek poetry, bear their own free
testimony. But, none the less, Greek religion and myth present features
repellent to us, which derive their origin, not from savagery, but from
the more crude horrors of the lower and higher barbarisms.

Greek religion, Greek myth, are vast conglomerates. We find a savage
origin for Apollo, and savage origins for many of the Mysteries. But the
cruelty of savage initiations has been purified away. On the other hand,
we find a barbaric origin for departmental gods, such as Aphrodite, and
for Greek human sacrifices, unknown to the lowest savagery. From
savagery Zeus is probably derived; from savagery come the germs of the
legends of divine amours in animal forms. But from barbarism arises the
sympathetic magic of agriculture, which the lowest races do not practise.
From the barbaric condition, not from savagery, comes Greek hero-worship,
for the lowest races do not worship ancestral spirits. Such is the
medley of prehistoric ideas in Greece, while the charm and poetry of the
Hymns are due mainly to the unique genius of the fully developed Hellenic
race. The combination of good and bad, of ancestral rites and ideas, of
native taste, of philosophical refinement on inherited theology, could
not last; the elements were too discordant. And yet it could not pass
naturally away. The Greece of A.D. 300

"Wandered between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born,"

without external assistance. That help was brought by the Christian
creed, and, officially, Gods, rites, and myths vanished, while,
unofficially, they partially endure, even to this day, in Romaic folk-



[Silver stater of Croton (about 400 B.C.). Obv. Hercules, the Founder.
Rev. Apollo shooting the Python by the Delphic Tripod ]

Mindful, ever mindful, will I be of Apollo the Far-darter. Before him,
as he fares through the hall of Zeus, the Gods tremble, yea, rise up all
from their thrones as he draws near with his shining bended bow. But
Leto alone abides by Zeus, the Lord of Lightning, till Apollo hath
slackened his bow and closed his quiver. Then, taking with her hands
from his mighty shoulders the bow and quiver, she hangs them against the
pillar beside his father's seat from a pin of gold, and leads him to his
place and seats him there, while the father welcomes his dear son, giving
him nectar in a golden cup; then do the other Gods welcome him; then they
make him sit, and Lady Leto rejoices, in that she bore the Lord of the
Bow, her mighty son.

[Hail! O blessed Leto; mother of glorious children, Prince Apollo and
Artemis the Archer; her in Ortygia, him in rocky Delos didst thou bear,
couching against the long sweep of the Cynthian Hill, beside a palm tree,
by the streams of Inopus.]

[Leto. With her infants, Apollo and Artemis. From a Vase in the British
Museum. (Sixth Century B.C.): ]

How shall I hymn thee aright, howbeit thou art, in sooth, not hard to
hymn? {104} for to thee, Phoebus, everywhere have fallen all the ranges
of song, both on the mainland, nurse of young kine, and among the isles;
to thee all the cliffs are dear, and the steep mountain crests and rivers
running onward to the salt sea, and beaches sloping to the foam, and
havens of the deep? Shall I tell how Leto bore thee first, a delight of
men, couched by the Cynthian Hill in the rocky island, in sea-girt
Delos--on either hand the black wave drives landward at the word of the
shrill winds--whence arising thou art Lord over all mortals?

Among them that dwell in Crete, and the people of Athens, and isle AEgina,
and Euboea famed for fleets, and AEgae and Peiresiae, and Peparethus by
the sea-strand, and Thracian Athos, and the tall crests of Pelion, and
Thracian Samos, and the shadowy mountains of Ida, Scyros, and Phocaea,
and the mountain wall of Aigocane, and stablished Imbros, and
inhospitable Lemnos, and goodly Lesbos, the seat of Makar son of AEolus,
and Chios, brightest of all islands of the deep, and craggy Mimas, and
the steep crests of Mykale, and gleaming Claros, and the high hills of
AEsagee, and watery Samos, and tall ridges of Mycale, and Miletus, and
Cos, a city of Meropian men, and steep Cnidos, and windy Carpathus, Naxos
and Paros, and rocky Rheneia--so far in travail with the Archer God went
Leto, seeking if perchance any land would build a house for her son.

But the lands trembled sore, and were adread, and none, nay not the
richest, dared to welcome Phoebus, not till Lady Leto set foot on Delos,
and speaking winged words besought her:

"Delos, would that thou wert minded to be the seat of my Son, Phoebus
Apollo, and to let build him therein a rich temple! No other God will
touch thee, nor none will honour thee, for methinks thou art not to be
well seen in cattle or in sheep, in fruit or grain, nor wilt thou grow
plants unnumbered. But wert thou to possess a temple of Apollo the Far-
darter; then would all men bring thee hecatombs, gathering to thee, and
ever wilt thou have savour of sacrifice . . . from others' hands, albeit
thy soil is poor."

Thus spoke she, and Delos was glad and answered her saying:

"Leto, daughter most renowned of mighty Coeus, right gladly would I
welcome the birth of the Archer Prince, for verily of me there goes an
evil report among men, and thus would I wax mightiest of renown. But at
this Word, Leto, I tremble, nor will I hide it from thee, for the saying
is that Apollo will be mighty of mood, and mightily will lord it over
mortals and immortals far and wide over the earth, the grain-giver.
Therefore, I deeply dread in heart and soul lest, when first he looks
upon the sunlight, he disdain my island, for rocky of soil am I, and
spurn me with his feet and drive me down in the gulfs of the salt sea.
Then should a great sea-wave wash mightily above my head for ever, but he
will fare to another land, which so pleases him, to fashion him a temple
and groves of trees. But in me would many-footed sea-beasts and black
seals make their chambers securely, no men dwelling by me. Nay, still,
if thou hast the heart, Goddess, to swear a great oath that here first he
will build a beautiful temple, to be the shrine oracular of
men--thereafter among all men let him raise him shrines, since his renown
shall be the widest."

So spake she, but Leto swore the great oath of the Gods:

"Bear witness, Earth, and the wide heaven above, and dropping water of
Styx--the greatest oath and the most dread among the blessed Gods--that
verily here shall ever be the fragrant altar and the portion of Apollo,
and thee will he honour above all."

When she had sworn and done that oath, then Delos was glad in the birth
of the Archer Prince. But Leto, for nine days and nine nights
continually was pierced with pangs of child-birth beyond all hope. With
her were all the Goddesses, the goodliest, Dione and Rheia, and Ichnaean
Themis, and Amphitrite of the moaning sea, and the other deathless
ones--save white-armed Hera. Alone she wotted not of it, Eilithyia, the
helper in difficult travail. For she sat on the crest of Olympus beneath
the golden clouds, by the wile of white-armed Hera, who held her afar in
jealous grudge, because even then fair-tressed Leto was about bearing her
strong and noble son.

But the Goddesses sent forth Iris from the fair-stablished isle, to bring
Eilithyia, promising her a great necklet, golden with amber studs, nine
cubits long. Iris they bade to call Eilithyia apart from white-armed
Hera, lest even then the words of Hera might turn her from her going. But
wind-footed swift Iris heard, and fleeted forth, and swiftly she devoured
the space between. So soon as she came to steep Olympus, the dwelling of
the Gods, she called forth Eilithyia from hall to door, and spake winged
words, even all that the Goddesses of Olympian mansions had bidden her.
Thereby she won the heart in Eilithyia's breast, and forth they fared,
like timid wild doves in their going.

Even when Eilithyia, the helper in sore travailing, set foot in Delos,
then labour took hold on Leto, and a passion to bring to the birth.
Around a palm tree she cast her arms, and set her knees on the soft
meadow, while earth beneath smiled, and forth leaped the babe to light,
and all the Goddesses raised a cry. Then, great Phoebus, the Goddesses
washed thee in fair water, holy and purely, and wound thee in white
swaddling bands, delicate, new woven, with a golden girdle round thee.
Nor did his mother suckle Apollo the golden-sworded, but Themis with
immortal hands first touched his lips with nectar and sweet ambrosia,
while Leto rejoiced, in that she had borne her strong son, the bearer of
the bow.

Then Phoebus, as soon as thou hadst tasted the food of Paradise, the
golden bands were not proof against thy pantings, nor bonds could bind
thee, but all their ends were loosened. Straightway among the Goddesses
spoke Phoebus Apollo: "Mine be the dear lyre and bended bow, and I will
utter to men the unerring counsel of Zeus."

So speaking, he began to fare over the wide ways of earth, Phoebus of the
locks unshorn, Phoebus the Far-darter. Thereon all the Goddesses were in
amaze, and all Delos blossomed with gold, as when a hilltop is heavy with
woodland flowers, beholding the child of Zeus and Leto, and glad because
the God had chosen her wherein to set his home, beyond mainland and
isles, and loved her most at heart.

But thyself, O Prince of the Silver Bow, far-darting Apollo, didst now
pass over rocky Cynthus, now wander among temples and men. Many are thy
fanes and groves, and dear are all the headlands, and high peaks of lofty
hills, and rivers flowing onward to the sea; but with Delos, Phoebus, art
thou most delighted at heart, where the long-robed Ionians gather in
thine honour, with children and shame-fast wives. Mindful of thee they
delight thee with boxing, and dances, and minstrelsy in their games. Who
so then encountered them at the gathering of the Ionians, would say that
they are exempt from eld and death, beholding them so gracious, and would
be glad at heart, looking on the men and fair-girdled women, and their
much wealth, and their swift galleys. Moreover, there is this great
marvel of renown imperishable, the Delian damsels, hand-maidens of the
Far-darter. They, when first they have hymned Apollo, and next Leto and
Artemis the Archer, then sing in memory of the men and women of old time,
enchanting the tribes of mortals. And they are skilled to mimic the
notes and dance music of all men, so that each would say himself were
singing, so well woven is their fair chant.

But now come, be gracious, Apollo, be gracious, Artemis; and ye maidens
all, farewell, but remember me even in time to come, when any of earthly
men, yea, any stranger that much hath seen and much endured, comes hither
and asks:

"Maidens, who is the sweetest to you of singers here conversant, and in
whose song are ye most glad?"

Then do you all with one voice make answer:

"A blind man is he, and he dwells in rocky Chios; his songs will ever
have the mastery, ay, in all time to come."

But I shall bear my renown of you as far as I wander over earth to the
fairest cities of men, and they will believe my report, for my word is
true. But, for me, never shall I cease singing of Apollo of the Silver
Bow, the Far-darter, whom fair-tressed Leto bore.

O Prince, Lycia is thine, and pleasant Maeonia, and Miletus, a winsome
city by the sea, and thou, too, art the mighty lord of sea-washed Delos.


The son of glorious Leto fares harping on his hollow harp to rocky Pytho,
clad in his fragrant raiment that waxes not old, and beneath the golden
plectrum winsomely sounds his lyre. Thence from earth to Olympus, fleet
as thought, he goes to the House of Zeus, into the Consistory of the
other Gods, and anon the Immortals bethink them of harp and minstrelsy.
And all the Muses together with sweet voice in antiphonal chant replying,
sing of the imperishable gifts of the Gods, and the sufferings of men,
all that they endure from the hands of the undying Gods, lives witless
and helpless, men unavailing to find remede for death or buckler against
old age. Then the fair-tressed Graces and boon Hours, and Harmonia, and
Hebe, and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, dance, holding each by the wrist
the other's hand, while among them sings one neither unlovely, nor of
body contemptible, but divinely tall and fair, Artemis the Archer,
nurtured with Apollo. Among them sport Ares, and the keen-eyed Bane of
Argos, while Phoebus Apollo steps high and disposedly, playing the lyre,
and the light issues round him from twinkling feet and fair-woven
raiment. But all they are glad, seeing him so high of heart, Leto of the
golden tresses, and Zeus the Counsellor, beholding their dear son as he
takes his pastime among the deathless Gods.

How shall I hymn thee aright, howbeit thou art, in sooth, not hard to
hymn? Shall I sing of thee in love and dalliance; how thou wentest forth
to woo the maiden Azanian, with Ischys, peer of Gods, and Elation's son
of the goodly steeds, or with Phorbas, son of Triopes, or Amarynthus, or
how with Leucippus and Leucippus' wife, thyself on foot, he in the
chariot . . .? {115} Or how first, seeking a place of oracle for men,
thou camest down to earth, far-darting Apollo?

On Pieria first didst thou descend from Olympus, and pass by Lacmus, and
Emathia, and Enienae, and through Perrhaebia, and speedily camest to
Iolcus, and alight on Cenaeum in Euboea, renowned for galleys. On the
Lelantian plain thou stoodest, but it pleased thee not there to stablish
a temple and a grove. Thence thou didst cross Euripus, far-darting
Apollo, and fare up the green hill divine, and thence camest speedily to
Mycalessus and Teumesos of the bedded meadow grass, and thence to the
place of woodclad Thebe, for as yet no mortals dwelt in Holy Thebe, nor
yet were paths nor ways along Thebe's wheat-bearing plain, but all was
wild wood.

Thence forward journeying, Apollo, thou camest to Onchestus, the bright
grove of Poseidon. There the new-broken colt takes breath again, weary
though he be with dragging the goodly chariot; and to earth, skilled
though he be, leaps down the charioteer, and fares on foot, while the
horses for a while rattle along the empty car, with the reins on their
necks, and if the car be broken in the grove of trees, their masters tend
them there, and tilt the car and let it lie. Such is the rite from of
old, and they pray to the King Poseidon, while the chariot is the God's
portion to keep.

Thence faring forward, far-darting Apollo, thou didst win to Cephisus of
the fair streams, that from Lilaea pours down his beautiful waters, which
crossing, Far-darter, and passing Ocalea of the towers, thou camest
thereafter to grassy Haliartus. Then didst thou set foot on Telphusa,
and to thee the land seemed exceeding good wherein to stablish a temple
and a grove.

Beside Telphusa didst thou stand, and spake to her: "Telphusa, here
methinketh to stablish a fair temple, an oracle for men, who, ever
seeking for the word of sooth, will bring me hither perfect hecatombs,
even they that dwell in the rich isle of Pelops, and all they of the
mainland and sea-girt islands. To them all shall I speak the decree
unerring, rendering oracles within my rich temple."

So spake Phoebus, and thoroughly marked out the foundations, right long
and wide. But at the sight the heart of Telphusa waxed wroth, and she
spake her word:

"Phoebus, far-darting Prince, a word shall I set in thy heart. Here
thinkest thou to stablish a goodly temple, to be a place of oracle for
men, that ever will bring thee hither perfect hecatombs--nay, but this
will I tell thee, and do thou lay it up in thine heart. The never-ending
din of swift steeds will be a weariness to thee, and the watering of
mules from my sacred springs. There men will choose rather to regard the
well-wrought chariots, and the stamping of the swift-footed steeds, than
thy great temple and much wealth therein. But an if thou--that art
greater and better than I, O Prince, and thy strength is most of might--if
thou wilt listen to me, in Crisa build thy fane beneath a glade of
Parnassus. There neither will goodly chariots ring, nor wilt thou be
vexed with stamping of swift steeds about thy well-builded altar, but
none the less shall the renowned tribes of men bring their gifts to
Iepaeon, and delighted shalt thou gather the sacrifices of them who dwell

Therewith she won over the heart of the Far-darter, even that to Telphusa
herself should be honour in that land, and not to the Far-darter.

Thenceforward didst thou fare, far-darting Apollo, and camest to the city
of the overweening Phlegyae, that reckless of Zeus dwelt there in a
goodly glade by the Cephisian mere. Thence fleetly didst thou speed to
the ridge of the hills, and camest to Crisa beneath snowy Parnassus, to a
knoll that faced westward, but above it hangs a cliff, and a hollow dell
runs under, rough with wood, and even there Prince Phoebus Apollo deemed
well to build a goodly temple, and spake, saying: "Here methinketh to
stablish a right fair temple, to be a place oracular to men, that shall
ever bring me hither goodly hecatombs, both they that dwell in rich
Peloponnesus, and they of the mainland and sea-girt isles, seeking here
the word of sooth; to them all shall I speak the decree unerring,
rendering oracles within my wealthy shrine."

So speaking, Phoebus Apollo marked out the foundations, right long and
wide, and thereon Trophonius and Agamedes laid the threshold of stone,
the sons of Erginus, dear to the deathless Gods. But round all the
countless tribes of men built a temple with wrought stones to be famous
for ever in song.

Hard by is a fair-flowing stream, and there, with an arrow from his
strong bow, did the Prince, the son of Zeus, slay the Dragoness, mighty
and huge, a wild Etin, that was wont to wreak many woes on earthly men,
on themselves, and their straight-stepping flocks, so dread a bane was

[This Dragoness it was that took from golden-throned Hera and reared the
dread Typhaon, not to be dealt with, a bane to mortals. Him did Hera
bear, upon a time, in wrath with father Zeus, whenas Cronides brought
forth from his head renowned Athene. Straightway lady Hera was angered,
and spake among the assembled Gods:

"Listen to me, ye Gods, and Goddesses all, how cloud-collecting Zeus is
first to begin the dishonouring of me, though he made me his wife in
honour. And now, apart from me, he has brought forth grey-eyed Athene
who excels among all the blessed Immortals. But he was feeble from the
birth, among all the Gods, my son Hephaestos, lame and withered of foot,
whom I myself lifted in my hands, and cast into the wide sea. But the
daughter of Nereus, Thetis of the silver feet, received him and nurtured
him among her sisters. Would that she had done other grace to the
blessed Immortals!

"Thou evil one of many wiles, what other wile devisest thou? How hadst
thou the heart now alone to bear grey-eyed Athene? Could I not have
borne her? But none the less would she have been called thine among the
Immortals, who hold the wide heaven. Take heed now, that I devise not
for thee some evil to come. Yea, now shall I use arts whereby a child of
mine shall be born, excelling among the immortal Gods, without
dishonouring thy sacred bed or mine, for verily to thy bed I will not
come, but far from thee will nurse my grudge against the Immortal Gods."

So spake she, and withdrew from among the Gods with angered heart. Right
so she made her prayer, the ox-eyed lady Hera, striking the earth with
her hand flatlings, {121} and spake her word:

"Listen to me now, Earth, and wide Heavens above, and ye Gods called
Titans, dwelling beneath earth in great Tartarus, ye from whom spring
Gods and men! List to me now, all of you, and give me a child apart from
Zeus, yet nothing inferior to him in might, nay, stronger than he, as
much as far-seeing Zeus is mightier than Cronus!"

So spake she, and smote the ground with her firm hand. Then Earth, the
nurse of life, was stirred, and Hera, beholding it, was glad at heart,
for she deemed that her prayer would be accomplished. From that hour for
a full year she never came to the bed of wise Zeus, nor to her throne
adorned, whereon she was wont to sit, planning deep counsel, but dwelling
in her temples, the homes of Prayers, she took joy in her sacrifices, the
ox-eyed lady Hera.

Now when her months and days were fulfilled, the year revolving, and the
seasons in their course coming round, she bare a birth like neither Gods
nor mortals, the dread Typhaon, not to be dealt with, a bane of men. Him
now she took, the ox-eyed lady Hera, and carried and gave to the
Dragoness, to bitter nurse a bitter fosterling, who received him, that
ever wrought many wrongs among the renowned tribes of men.]

Whosoever met the Dragoness, on him would she bring the day of destiny,
before the Prince, far-darting Apollo, loosed at her the destroying
shaft; then writhing in strong anguish, and mightily panting she lay,
rolling about the land. Dread and dire was the din, as she writhed
hither and thither through the wood, and gave up the ghost, and Phoebus
spoke his malison:

"There do thou rot upon the fruitful earth; no longer shalt thou, at
least, live to be the evil bane of mortals that eat the fruit of the
fertile soil, and hither shall bring perfect hecatombs. Surely from thee
neither shall Typhoeus, nay, nor Chimaera of the evil name, shield death
that layeth low, but here shall black earth and bright Hyperion make thee
waste away."

So he spake in malison, and darkness veiled her eyes, and there the
sacred strength of the sun did waste her quite away. Whence now the
place is named Pytho, and men call the Prince "Pythian" for that deed,
for even there the might of the swift sun made corrupt the monster. {124}

Then Phoebus Apollo was ware in his heart that the fair-flowing spring,
Telphusa, had beguiled him, and in wrath he went to her, and swiftly
came, and standing close by her, spoke his word:

"Telphusa, thou wert not destined to beguile my mind, nor keep the
winsome lands and pour forth thy fair waters. Nay, here shall my honour
also dwell, not thine alone." So he spoke, and overset a rock, with a
shower of stones, and hid her streams, the Prince, far-darting Apollo.
And he made an altar in a grove of trees, hard by the fair-flowing
stream, where all men name him in prayer, "the Prince Telphusian," for
that he shamed the streams of sacred Telphusa. Then Phoebus Apollo
considered in his heart what men he should bring in to be his ministers,
and to serve him in rocky Pytho. While he was pondering on this, he
beheld a swift ship on the wine-dark sea, and aboard her many men and
good, Cretans from Minoan Cnossus, such as do sacrifice to the God, and
speak the doom of Phoebus Apollo of the Golden Sword, what word soever he
utters of sooth from the daphne in the dells of Parnassus. For barter
and wealth they were sailing in the black ship to sandy Pylos, and the
Pylian men. Anon Phoebus Apollo set forth to meet them, leaping into the
sea upon the swift ship in the guise of a dolphin, and there he lay, a
portent great and terrible.

[Of the crew, whosoever sought in heart to comprehend what he was . . .
On all sides he kept swaying to and fro, and shaking the timbers of the
galley.] But all they sat silent and in fear aboard the ship, nor loosed
the sheets, nor the sail of the black-prowed galley; nay, even as they
had first set the sails so they voyaged onward, the strong south-wind
speeding on the vessel from behind. First they rounded Malea, and passed
the Laconian land and came to Helos, a citadel by the sea, and Taenarus,
the land of Helios, that is the joy of mortals, where ever feed the deep-
fleeced flocks of Prince Helios, and there hath he his glad demesne.
There the crew thought to stay the galley, and land and consider of the
marvel, and see whether that strange thing will abide on the deck of the
hollow ship or leap again into the swell of the fishes' home. But the
well-wrought ship did not obey the rudder, but kept ever on her way
beyond rich Peloponnesus, Prince Apollo lightly guiding it by the gale.
So accomplishing her course she came to Arene, and pleasant Arguphea, and
Thryon, the ford of Alpheius, and well-builded Aepu, and sandy Pylos, and
the Pylian men, and ran by Crounoi, and Chalcis, and Dyme, and holy Elis,
where the Epeians bear sway. Then rejoicing in the breeze of Zeus, she
was making for Pherae, when to them out of the clouds showed forth the
steep ridge of Ithaca, and Dulichium, and Same, and wooded Zacynthus.
Anon when she had passed beyond all Peloponnesus, there straightway, off
Crisa, appeared the wide sound, that bounds rich Peloponnesus. Then came
on the west wind, clear and strong, by the counsel of Zeus, blowing hard
out of heaven, that the running ship might swiftest accomplish her course
over the salt water of the sea.

Backward then they sailed towards the Dawn and the sun, and the Prince
was their guide, Apollo, son of Zeus. Then came they to far-seen Crisa,
the land of vines, into the haven, while the sea-faring ship beached
herself on the shingle. Then from the ship leaped the Prince,
far-darting Apollo, like a star at high noon, while the gledes of fire
flew from him, and the splendour flashed to the heavens. Into his inmost
Holy Place he went through the precious tripods, and in the midst he
kindled a flame showering forth his shafts, and the splendour filled all
Crisa, {127} and the wives of the Crisaeans, and their fair-girdled
daughters raised a wail at the rushing flight of Phoebus, for great fear
fell upon all. Thence again to the galley he set forth and flew, fleet
as a thought, in shape a man lusty and strong, in his first youth, his
locks swathing his wide shoulders. Anon he spake to the seamen winged

"Strangers, who are ye, whence sail ye the wet ways? Is it after
merchandise, or do ye wander at adventure, over the salt sea, as
sea-robbers use, that roam staking their own lives, and bearing bane to
men of strange speech? Why sit ye thus adread, not faring forth on the
land, nor slackening the gear of your black ship? Sure this is the wont
of toilsome mariners, when they come from the deep to the land in their
black ship, foredone with labour, and anon a longing for sweet food
seizes their hearts."

So spake he, and put courage in their breasts, and the leader of the
Cretans answered him, saying:

"Stranger, behold thou art no whit like unto mortal men in shape or
growth, but art a peer of the Immortals, wherefore all hail, and grace be
thine, and all good things at the hands of the Gods. Tell me then truly
that I may know indeed, what people is this, what land, what mortals
dwell here? Surely with our thoughts set on another goal we sailed the
great sea to Pylos from Crete, whence we boast our lineage; but now it is
hither that we have come, maugre our wills, with our galley--another path
and other ways--we longing to return, but some God has led us all
unwilling to this place."

Then the far-darting Apollo answered them:

"Strangers, who dwelt aforetime round wooded Cnossus, never again shall
ye return each to his pleasant city and his own house, and his wife, but
here shall ye hold my rich temple, honoured by multitudes of men. Lo! I
am the son of Zeus, and name myself Apollo, and hither have I brought you
over the great gulf of the sea, with no evil intent. Nay, here shall ye
possess my rich temple, held highest in honour among all men, and ye
shall know the counsels of the Immortals, by whose will ye shall ever be
held in renown. But now come, and instantly obey my word. First lower
the sails, and loose the sheets, and then beach the black ship on the
land, taking forth the wares and gear of the trim galley, and build ye an
altar on the strand of the sea. Thereon kindle fire, and sprinkle above
in sacrifice the white barley-flour, and thereafter pray, standing around
the altar. And whereas I first, in the misty sea, sprang aboard the
swift ship in the guise of a dolphin, therefore pray to me as Apollo
Delphinius, while mine shall ever be the Delphian altar seen from afar.
Then take ye supper beside the swift black ship, and pour libations to
the blessed Gods who hold Olympus. But when ye have dismissed the desire
of sweet food then with me do ye come, singing the Paean, till ye win
that place where ye shall possess the rich temple."

So spake he, while they heard and obeyed eagerly. First they lowered the
sails, loosing the sheets, and lowering the mast by the forestays, they
laid it in the mast-stead, and themselves went forth on the strand of the
sea. Then forth from the salt sea to the mainland they dragged the fleet
ship high up on the sands, laying long sleepers thereunder, and they
builded an altar on the sea-strand, and lit fire thereon, scattering
above white barley-flour in sacrifice, and, standing around the altar,
they prayed as the God commanded. Anon they took supper beside the fleet
black ship, and poured forth libations to the blessed Gods who hold
Olympus. But when they had dismissed the desire of meat and drink they
set forth on their way, and the Prince Apollo guided them, harp in hand,
and sweetly he harped, faring with high and goodly strides. Dancing in
his train the Cretans followed to Pytho, and the Paean they were
chanting, the paeans of the Cretans in whose breasts the Muse hath put
honey-sweet song. All unwearied they strode to the hill, and swiftly
were got to Parnassus and a winsome land, where they were to dwell,
honoured of many among men.

Apollo guided them, and showed his holy shrine and rich temple, and the
spirit was moved in their breasts, and the captain of the Cretans spake,
and asked the God, saying:

"Prince, since thou hast led us far from friends and our own country, for
so it pleases thee, how now shall we live, we pray thee tell us. This
fair land bears not vines, nor is rich in meadows, wherefrom we might
live well, and minister to men."

Then, smiling, Apollo, the son of Zeus, spoke to them:

"Foolish ones, enduring hearts, who desire cares, and sore toil, and all
straits! A light word will I speak to you, do ye consider it. Let each
one of you, knife in right hand, be ever slaughtering sheep that in
abundance shall ever be yours, all the flocks that the renowned tribes of
men bring hither to me. Yours it is to guard my temple, and receive the
tribes of men that gather hither, doing, above all, as my will enjoins.
But if any vain word be spoken, or vain deed wrought, or violence after
the manner of mortal men, then shall others be your masters, and hold you
in thraldom for ever. {133} I have spoken all, do thou keep it in thy

Even so, fare thou well, son of Zeus and Leto, but I shall remember both
thee and another song.