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.

The Great Bear

Callisto, daughter of Lycaon, born
To revel in the hunt, to Artemis sworn:
But Zeus looked down from heaven and beheld,
And saw your beauty, and his desire swelled,
And in his cunning, he took a disguise,
Appearing as the goddess in your eyes.
By force he took you, but you did not blame,
Till the day when you couldn’t hide your shame;
For when your belly was heavy with child,
Artemis beheld, and with fury wild,
Demanded why you turned from devotion,
But you replied, heavy with emotion,
That the goddess was guilty of the deed;
From her you had received the shameful seed.
The goddess, then, was filled with awful rage,
Which none could turn, to cause her to assuage
Her wrath; so she turned you into a bear,
And suffered not a mortal soul to dare
To speak a lie, and the divine defame,
Lest evil souls presume to do the same.
And, after this you bore Arcas, a son,
And he grew up, and after you did run;
And both of you were taken in a wood
By the Aetolians, who thought it good
To offer you up as a gift to Zeus;
Their intention you quickly did deduce.
The temple of Lycaean Zeus was near;
To it you fled for refuge in your fear,
And Arcas came behind you in your flight:
Zeus, who sat above, looked down from his height,
And knew himself of this to be the cause;
Then, since he’s just and right in all his laws,
He snatched you up and placed you in the sky,
And then he took your son and set him by,
To follow you among the stars each night,
And never from the heavens to alight.
For, Tethys, wife of Ocean, will not let
You enter in, and so you never set;
For Hera, in her wrath, was filled with hate,
So Tethys would not let you cross her gate;
For, she was Hera’s nurse, and loves her so:
She will not suffer you to sink below.
You wander nightly in your northern home,
Above, in heaven’s starry nighttime dome.


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.

The Cerynitian Hind or the Third Labour of Heracles

A crash in brambles, and the hind is caught;
Now worn down, Heracles has what he sought.
Through forests, valleys, over mountain tops,
Through fields that yielded a bounty of crops,
The warrior chased her: but she was swift,
And northwards she tended always to drift;
For though in the south the chase had begun,
To Hyperborea did the doe run;
And Heracles laboured through cold and snow,
Where winds that are bitter bluster and blow.
The hind would have left Heracles behind,
But great strength within himself did he find:
His father was Zeus, from him he received
Such might as the mind has barely conceived;
He lost the deer not, but southward again
He followed to where, reared up o’er the plain
The Artemision, the mount of old,
Where the goddess herself her hunts did hold.
The hind yet pressed on, with horns like the stags;
She leaped and she bounded over the crags;
Then onward she pressed, and came through the wood,
Which by the river known as Ladon stood:
A bush snagged her horns; she shook with her might,
To free herself, that she could resume flight;
She freed herself, but the warrior’s ambit
Is such that a shot is surely to hit
(At least for a son born to the god Zeus:
For others to try would be of no use).
Now Heracles sees; he notches his bow,
Then pulls the string back, and last, marks the doe.
He looses his shaft; the arrow flies straight,
The reindeer is struck by the hand of Fate:
But he was careful, that only the haunch
Was struck by the missile that he did launch;
He knew that the deer was sacred to she
Who rules the woodlands, the goddess, the free;
Had he killed the hind, the goddess, engaged,
Might have killed him, when in anger she raged.
But such as it was, the doe was alive,
And Heracles, too, would also survive.
He carried the hind, and went on his way;
Across his shoulders, his catch did he lay;
With speed he we went, with this labour employed,
But yet Artemis he couldn’t avoid:
Apollo was with her, crossing the land;
Before Heracles revealed did she stand.
Accused she the hero of trying to kill,
And thus, of defying her sacred will,
The hallowed hind: but Heracles pleaded,
And said the deed was desperately needed;
Eurystheus required him: he was bound
To bring him the hind, when it had been found.
When Artemis heard, then she let him go,
And onward he went, still bearing the doe.
The warrior returned to Mycenae,
And the labour the king could not deny;
The deer that he had was surely the one,
By which the damage before had been done.
Eurystheus hoped the hero would fail;
And, deep in his soul, he gave a great wail;
The strength of the lion could not succeed,
Neither the hydra could finish the deed:
The might of Heracles overcame these,
And, now, the hind, he had captured with ease.
Eurystheus feared, and sent him away,
To call for a labour another day.