Hymn to Dionysus

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Hymn to Dionysus
by Homer, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White
1914 Loeb translation of an incomplete text, ascribed (wrongly) to Homer

I

TO DIONYSUS

* * * *

For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus; and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn[1]; and others by the deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus

* * * *

"and men will lay up for her[2] many offerings in her shrines. And as these things are three,[3] so shall mortals ever sacrifice perfect hecatombs to you at your feasts each three years."

The Son of Cronos spoke and nodded with his dark brows. And the divine locks of the king flowed forward from his immortal head, and he made great

Olympus reel. So spake wise Zeus and ordained it with a nod.

Be favourable, O Insewn, Inspirer of frenzied women! we singers sing of you as we begin and as we end a strain, and none forgetting you may call holy song to mind. And so, farewell, Dionysus, Insewn, with your mother Semele whom men call Thyone.

  1. Dionysus, after his untimely birth from Semele, was sewn into the thigh of Zeus.
  2. sc. Semele. Zeus is here speaking.
  3. The reference is apparently to something in the body of the hymn, now lost.