The God of the Desert, where the sun blasts,
Is Set, and the patron of all outcasts.
As God of the foreigner, barren earth
Is yours, with all that suffers from great dearth.
The storm that chokes the lungs, and burns the eyes,
No water to the dry land it supplies;
The only souls that in this place survive,
Are they that in the harshness still can thrive.
Those fattened by the black and fertile soil,
That yields abundantly with little toil,
They cannot bear the burning desert heat,
Nor live unless with feasts they are replete.
So, whom you favour is austere and bears
Much difficulty, many woeful cares.
With Ra who drives the boat, you sail and slay
The serpent Apep, enemy of day;
Each night the threatening chaos, by your spear,
Is overthrown, and night must disappear.
May he who’s foreign to what’s weak and base,
So likewise yield to darkness not his place,
But with much courage, and with strength, repel
The serpents, fiends, and demons dread and fell.
Boreas, most adverse, whose breath is frost,
Who catches all abroad and does accost
Them; bitter cold you bring upon the air,
And woodland creatures you won’t deign to spare.
Whoe’er would face you meets a biting foe,
Who ceases not to hinder and to blow.
But yet, like all the gods, your harshest face
Through trials strengthens all the human race.
What’s more you break the summer’s burning heat,
And send the former warmth into retreat,
And thus, auspicious, grant a sweet respite,
On ether taking as you will your flight.
Hephaistos, god investing nature’s frame
With energies residing in the flame,
And fashioning with Aphrodite’s aid
Forms fit for use, on gods and men arrayed;
You fitted Eros with his deadly darts,
Zeus’ mighty aegis was forged by your arts,
You built the chariot driven by the Sun,
And Venus’ girdle by your hands was spun.
The sandals Hermes wears upon his feet,
The arms with which Achilles was replete,
By cunning craft, you made within the fire.
Automatons that work and never tire
You placed within Olympus. All whose hands
Are masterful both here, and in foreign lands,
These have their gifts from you; their minds are dressed
With needfulness, by which men’s souls are blest.
Hermes, cunning, the trickster god supreme,
Making suppositions, serpentine, to seem
As truth, and traveling to the underworld,
The knowledge cloaked in darkness is unfurled.
You pierce illusions, friend to man, and guide
To esoteric secrets, which you hide
From souls unworthy of the sacred arts,
But showering guile on deserving hearts.
By this are riches, seen and unseen, won.
Your skill with words sees stories charming spun.
Your sandals speeding through the Aether bright,
To Earth descending from Olympus’ height,
You herald all that Zeus would bid you say,
But many secrets still you store away.
Through traps guide all suppliants who embark
Into the underworld: steer them through the dark.
The queen of riches, bounteous in gifts,
Whose kindness quickens, beautifies, and lifts,
Is Health, the goddess, who gives life its charm –
Else all is evil, bitterness, and harm.
Who lacks your favour, soon makes friends with Death,
And flies to him with their last rattling breath:
But whom you bless has strength in all his limbs,
And vigour touching all his hopes and whims.
With shining skin and sparkling eyes he goes;
His active mind like water smoothly flows.
On paths uneven, yet his feet are sure;
He runs and swims, and faints not. To endure
Whatever trial taxes not his frame;
He stands upright and stoops not, nor is lame.
No better wealth in all the world is found:
Whom you forsake to wretchedness is bound
But let it not be such with us, but bless
Our lives, and free our minds from all distress.
Eros, king of tyrants, destroying one,
Who’er you touch is weakened and undone.
Your poison tortures more than deadly force,
And yet you laugh, and never feel remorse;
And those you strike, you torment and destroy,
And their destruction fills your heart with joy.
Who’d rise from Chaos, you bring down again,
Whether they be gods or merely mortal men.
By cheating wiles and lies you trick your foes,
And make them love your softly killing blows.
Devouring fire, and all-consuming lust
That brings men down, like Troy, into the dust.
The king of archers, terrible to see,
You cut men down, even as they try to flee.
Unconquered, conquering all your enemies;
Your fire spreading through them like a disease.
Undoing order, everywhere you spread,
If body live, the soul you leave for dead.
Be merciful and stay your killing hand,
That some might be still left alive to stand.
To Luna, ruler of the nightime skies,
Whose shining orb the midnight light supplies.
The silver goddess, each attending star
Surrounds you as you drive your shining car.
Now waxing great and shining to the full,
The ocean tides and all earth feel your pull;
And now declining, vanishing from sight,
Once more to rise and set the dark alight.
Two horned, Diana, watching o’er the chase,
In heaven’s dome, you run your nightly race.
Obscurity is banished by your light,
When once you rise and put the dark to flight.
Saturn, father of he who fathered all
The gods and men, on whom the righteous call.
Those born in matter, to their height you raise,
Then bring them down; in time to end their days.
From starry Heaven’s union with the Earth,
You, Titan king, were brought to perfect birth.
Divine, infused in all, etherial,
All spirit, wholly immaterial,
Presiding over all the blessed you reign,
And Goodness flourishes in your domain.
Intellect supreme, guiding light of mind,
Most propitious to all of humankind.
The swan of heaven, we could but call it Zeus,
For in this form, he acted out a ruse;
And Nemesis was fooled, and thought to save
Him from the eagle’s grasp, and thus, the grave.
But, the bird of prey was the goddess of
Tyranny itself, that is to say, of Love:
Aphrodite chased the king of heaven,
And in her lap Nemesis made a haven,
And Zeus as Cygnus settled there, until
She fell asleep, and then he took his fill;
The rape accomplished, he flew to the sky;
And so that none might say it was a lie,
He placed a swan of stars to fly at night,
Eternally to show itself in flight.
But Nemesis brought forth an egg, whose yolk
In time grew up, and by her beauty broke
That city, which was most renowned in fame,
But luxury had made it weak and tame;
For Helen brought about the fall of Troy
(How often Venus’ charms weaken and destroy!).
By Zeus, in eastern skies the Bird remains,
A nightly sight to all the rustic swains.
Night, mother goddess of both Space and Day,
And birthed from Chaos, first that e’er held sway.
You hound the dusk and banish Day below,
Until the Dawn returns with rosy glow.
Your reign is greatest in the winter time;
You conquer and your triumph is sublime.
The scorching heat of summer you relieve;
In your embrace the weary find reprieve.
Your children, Sleep and Death, are comfort to
The soul whose work, whose day, whose life is through.
The horses of your chariot are black,
And darkness is your shield from all attack.
In you the truth is hidden from the sight,
And none can wrest it from you by their might.
Though many fear, in you no fright is found
But quiet, peace, and wisdom all abound.