Hymn Hom. Merc.

Abbreviated Work Title: 

Hymn Hom. Merc.


Hymni Homerici, In Mercurium


ll. 87-93; 184-203


τὸν δὲ γέρων ἐνόησε δέμων ἀνθοῦσαν ἀλωὴν
ἱέμενον πεδίονδε δι᾽ Ὀγχηστὸν λεχεποίην
τὸν πρότερος προσέφη Μαίης ἐρικυδέος υἱός:
ὦ γέρον, ὅστε φυτὰ σκάπτεις ἐπικαμπύλος ὤμους,
ἦ πολυοινήσεις, εὖτ᾽ ἂν τάδε πάντα φέρῃσι,
[εἴ κε πίθῃ, μάλα περ μεμνημένος ἐν φρεσὶ σῇσι]
καί τε ἰδὼν μὴ ἰδὼν εἶναι καὶ κωφὸς ἀκούσας,
καὶ σιγᾶν ὅτε μή τι καταβλάπτῃ τὸ σὸν αὐτοῦ.
... Ἠὼς δ᾽ ἠριγένεια φόως θνητοῖσι φέρουσα
ὤρνυτ᾽ ἀπ᾽ Ὠκεανοῖο βαθυρρόου: αὐτὰρ Ἀπόλλων
Ὀγχηστόνδ᾽ ἀφίκανε κιών, πολυήρατον ἄλσος
ἁγνὸν ἐρισφαράγου Γαιηόχου: ἔνθα γέροντα
κνώδαλον εὗρε νέμοντα παρ᾽ ἔξοδον ἕρκεος αὐλῆς.
τὸν πρότερος προσέφη Λητοῦς ἐρικυδέος υἱός:
ὦ γέρον, Ὀγχηστοῖο βατοδρόπε ποιήεντος,
βοῦς ἀπὸ Πιερίης διζήμενος ἐνθάδ᾽ ἱκάνω,
πάσας θηλείας, πάσας κεράεσσιν ἑλικτάς,
ἐξ ἀγέλης: ὁ δὲ ταῦρος ἐβόσκετο μοῦνος ἀπ᾽ ἄλλων
κυάνεος: χαροποὶ δὲ κύνες κατόπισθεν ἕποντο
τέσσαρες, ἠύτε φῶτες, ὁμόφρονες: οἳ μὲν ἔλειφθεν,
οἵ τε κύνες ὅ τε ταῦρος: ὃ δὴ περὶ θαῦμα τέτυκται:
ταὶ δ᾽ ἔβαν ἠελίοιο νέον καταδυομένοιο
ἐκ μαλακοῦ λειμῶνος ἀπὸ γλυκεροῖο νομοῖο.
ταῦτά μοι εἰπέ, γεραιὲ παλαιγενές, εἴ που ὄπωπας
ἀνέρα ταῖσδ᾽ ἐπὶ βουσὶ διαπρήσσοντα κέλευθον.
τὸν δ᾽ ὁ γέρων μύθοισιν ἀμειβόμενος προσέειπεν:
ὦ φίλος, ἀργαλέον μέν, ὅσ᾽ ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ἴδοιτο,
πάντα λέγειν...


But an old man tilling his flowering vineyard saw him as he was hurrying down the plain through grassy Onchestus. So the Son of Maia began and said to him:

 “Old man, digging about your vines with bowed shoulders, surely you shall have much wine when all these bear fruit, [91a] if you obey me and strictly remember not to have seen what you have seen, and not to have heard what you have heard, and to keep silent when nothing of your own is harmed.”

When he had said this much, he hurried the strong cattle on together: [95] through many shadowy mountains and echoing gorges and flowery plains glorious Hermes drove them.


Now Eos the early born, bringing light to men, [185] was rising from deep-flowing Ocean, when Apollo, as he went, came to Onchestus, the lovely grove and sacred place of the loud-roaring Holder of the Earth. There he found an old man grazing his beast along the pathway from his court-yard fence, and the all-glorious Son of Leto began and said to him.

[190] “Old man, weeder8 of grassy Onchestus, I am come here from Pieria seeking cattle, cows all of them, all with curving horns, from my herd. The black bull was grazing alone away from the rest, but fierce-eyed hounds followed the cows, [195] four of them, all of one mind, like men. These were left behind, the dogs and the bull —which is a great marvel; but the cows strayed out of the soft meadow, away from the pasture when the sun was just going down. Now tell me this, old man born long ago: have you seen [200] one passing along behind those cows?”

Translated By: 

H.G. Evelyn-White (1914)