The golden goddess of the wooded hills,
Whose arrow strikes your prey and swiftly kills.
Where birdsong fills the air with joyful sound,
There lies your prey, struck bleeding on the ground.
Her hounds she looses, and they chase the prey,
And she herself joins with the hunting fray.
The wild is hers, and there the regal deer
Flies both from arrows and the pointed spear;
Six pull her chariot, and each is crowned
With golden horns and with stateliness abound.
She slew the daughters of the boastful queen,
Niobe, slaying them while young and green,
and with Apollo put that line to end;
One fell each time that she her bow did bend.
Actaeon thought to force her in the spring,
But on himself instead brought suffering;
One instant man, the next he was a stag,
And his hunting hounds did their master drag:
With biting teeth they drug him to the ground;
Snarling, howling, they made a dreadful sound:
So he that thinks to force the untamed wild,
Shall find himself a small and helpless child;
In gardens, courtyards, safety can be found,
But woods and mountains, fierce and rocky ground,
Make sport of chase, and kill for need and play,
Who there would live must strive to last the day.
So Leto’s golden child upholds the free
And untamed places where wild creatures be.

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