Primordial Phanes, of golden wings,
Egg-born, from whom all of creation springs,
Radiant one, the first-born begetter,
Of all things the very first creator.
Time and Necessity did Bring to Light
Whatever is to be into the sight.
In serpent form, they squeezed the egg and crushed
It: broken, Protogonus from it rushed.
Heaven’s Houses by you were first ordained;
You hand drew all, and they were thus constrained.
Matchless vigour, eternal, ever new,
Whose works are always beautiful and true,
So clear the mist of darkness from the eyes,
That wisdom may within ourselves arise.
The Lord of the Waters whose plumes are all green,
Enduring forever, the one never seen
Descending into the dark realm of the night,
Like Ra who ensures that the order is right
Within the Two Lands, but Sobek produces
The seeds from which all spring forth, and the sluices
Can never impede; he takes what he wishes:
Men’s wives, for to him they all are small fishes.
The two hands of Horus that Isis had cast
Down into the Nile were made nets to hold fast
The fishes, which caught have no hope of release,
Unless from themselves they are able to cease:
Transforming into great Sobek, creating,
With vigour eternal, never abating.
Titan Ocean, obscure and churning deep,
Across whose face men’s ships do swiftly sweep.
Encircling all the earth with your embrace,
The source of life to all in every place.
Three thousand daughters, young and beautiful,
Whose springs are pure, clear fountains, bountiful,
Are yours. Beloved, they satisfy the thirst
Of mortals; through the whole world they’re dispersed.
The lakes, your liquid daughters, cut away
From you, abound with fish who swim and play;
If caught and pulled from out their watery ponds,
They thrash and strive to break free from their bonds.
With roars you crash against the land; the rocks
Cannot withstand for long your awful shocks:
They wear away, and sink beneath your waves.
Your swirling depths to many are their graves.
Abounding, full of riches, who can beat
Your strength; for you alone make your retreat,
Whose tides come in, then flow back to their source,
Retaining your magnificence and force.
Necessity, whose being all commands,
And firmly holds the gods themselves in bands,
Like oxen under yoke you move us all,
And make the world itself your faithful thrall.
The mother of the Fates, who sets the course
Of all of heaven on its way by force.
Though one resist, he’ll surely learn with dread
He can but acquiesce and bow his head;
And who would search, he will find respite;
With you the gods refuse to make a fight.
Suffused through all the world unto its bound,
The paths that all must tread in you are found;
And stronger far than iron is your will:
What you decree must every one fulfill.
To Earth, the fruitful mother, ever young,
To whom we owe our birth, our praise is sung.
The Titans, gods, the monsters, mortals, call
You by the name of mother one and all.
From you the Titans sprang; the gods you nursed,
Great monsters rose from you, though they were cursed;
Of mortals every kind came from your womb,
And whatsoever plant does sprout and bloom;
And every skill to raise them you employ,
Their flourishing is all your care and joy.
All parent of your children’s life the source,
The moon around you runs her nightly course;
As gifts the sun sends you his beaming rays.
Your spinning dance marks all our life our days.
Your inner reaches, hidden depths profound,
Whom Heaven loves, encircling all around.
Let all your children reverence you and show
Great honour for those gifts which you bestow.
What ghostly spectres, shades of midnight pale
Cross o’er the sky and raise a frightening wail!
The sound of hounds, more than the winter frost,
It chills the spine. Alas, all hope is lost!
For who can stand and boast to Woden’s face,
Who sees the train he leads in fearful chase?
To him mere mortals are but prey; who flees
Shall find his feet too slow – that king shall seize
Him when he wills. The huntsman to the skies
Shall rise and take with him the soul as prize.
The echo of his steps shall herald war,
When weak and wicked souls he vexes sore.
By the darts of Apollo disease is conveyed,
For the smitten are vexed and their hearts are dismayed.
When he looses a shaft, with perfection it flies,
And the soul that is stricken can no more arise.
But the beautiful flourishes free from the blight,
And takes comfort in health, and a life of delight,
While the pious is helped, and his health is restored
By the healer, the Pythian god who’s adored.
Erichthonios, first to yoke a horse
Unto a chariot and steer its course
Amongst mankind, and lead them in parade
That honour to Athena might be paid;
And Zeus beheld his skill and was impressed,
Convinced that he should be forever blessed,
He placed him in the sky. As for his birth,
It was the product of both strife and earth.
Hephaistos loved Athena, but she would not
Consent, and hid her in a certain spot
In Attica: but he thought to force his will,
But failed, and on the ground his seed did spill.
Athena struck him with her spear, that naught
Did he receive of all that he had sought.
After this she kicked dust over his seed,
But yet from this a son sprang up with speed.
‘Twas Erichthonios, and like his sire,
He forged a chariot within the fire.
And so he got his name from earth and strife,
For these two things were what brought him to life.
But others say that he was born a snake,
A form most terrible to make one quake
With fear. But who can know the mystery
Except perhaps for a divinity?
To the daughters of Darkness, what plea can be made?
For their fury is awful: their rage is not stayed.
The false swearers of oaths shall be chased, and they’ll bind
Up the wicked: their torments shall reach to the mind,
And insanity gripping their hearts shall consume
All their joy, with their health, and they’ll wallow in gloom,
‘Til at last they are swallowed by grief and their fate
Is their utter destruction. Devouring hate
From the Furies shall mark them, and hounded they’ll go
To the depths of the earth, and Tartarus below.
For the goddesses suffer that nothing should live
If it’s guilty; their vengeance will never forgive;
For the soul that is wicked, the three will repay,
And escape he will not, to his dread and dismay.
Ixion for crimes against the gods is chained –
Throughout the ages is his life sustained –
And he is bound unto a four-spoked wheel,
Exiled without the hope of a repeal
From high Olympus for the crime he wrought,
For Zeus deceived him, and the fool was caught.
Amongst mankind, he lived for a season,
And joined the gods by the strength of reason;
For when he took his bride he did not pay
The promised price, but still took her away,
And Deioneus repaid him with theft,
For the reward of which he was bereft.
But Ixion conceived within his breast
A plan, and a great feast by him was dressed.
He called the father of his wife to eat,
But when he’d come and sat down in his seat,
Then Ixion took hold of him and cast
Him on the coals – revenge was his repast;
And all his neighbors shunned him for this deed:
But he from mortal bonds by Zeus was freed
And rose to dwell amongst the gods, at ease;
Like them to live and do as they so please.
But having risen to this fabled height,
Against his host, he showed an awful spite.
For he desired Hera, the wife of Zeus,
And sought to rape her; but this foul abuse,
She made it known to Zeus. The crime avowed,
He sought the proof and fashioned him a cloud
Like her in form, where Ixion would find
The thing, that he might know the mortal’s mind.
And Ixion lay with the cloud, and Zeus
Beheld the deed, and did the truth deduce.
He raised his arm, and with one deadly throw,
Blasted Ixion, hurling him below.
He bound him to the fiery wheel which turns
About, and with each revolution burns.
This torment for his crime did he receive,
Olympus was but just a short reprieve;
The mystery in myth to show how far
From peace does Zeus the wicked man debar.