Homeric Hymns: A Light Exercise in Translation

Homeric Hymns: A Light Exercise in Translation

By Maggie Danaher


Hymn to Aphrodite 184-190

καί μιν λισσόμενος ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα:

αὐτίκα σ᾽ ὡς τὰ πρῶτα, θεά, ἴδον ὀφθαλμοῖσιν, 185

ἔγνων ὡς θεὸς ἦσθα: σὺ δ᾽ οὐ νημερτὲς ἔειπες. 

ἀλλά σε πρὸς Ζηνὸς γουνάζομαι αἰγιόχοιο, 

μή με ζῶντ᾽ ἀμενηνὸν ἐν ἀνθρώποισιν ἐάσῃς 

ναίειν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐλέαιρ᾽: ἐπεὶ οὐ βιοθάλμιος ἀνὴρ 

γίγνεται, ὅς τε θεαῖς εὐνάζεται ἀθανάτῃσι.         190


The words flew out of his mouth as desperate Anchises begged her: “Okay, the first second I saw you, I totally knew that you were a goddess—Everything you said was a lie! But, seriously, just leave me alone and let me stay down here with my friends. Oh God! Please! Guys like me always get screwed over after sleeping with goddesses!”


Hymn to Hermes 260-266

Τὸν δ᾽ Ἑρμῆς μύθοισιν ἀμείβετο κερδαλέοισι: 260

Λητοΐδη, τίνα τοῦτον ἀπηνέα μῦθον ἔειπας;

καὶ βοῦς ἀγραύλους διζήμενος ἐνθάδ᾽ ἱκάνεις;

οὐκ ἴδον, οὐ πυθόμην, οὐκ ἄλλου μῦθον ἄκουσα:

οὐκ ἂν μηνύσαιμ᾽, οὐκ ἂν μήνυτρον ἀροίμην:

οὐδὲ βοῶν ἐλατῆρι, κραταιῷ φωτί, ἔοικα.         265

οὐκ ἐμὸν ἔργον τοῦτο, πάρος δέ μοι ἄλλα μέμηλεν:


Then, crafty little Hermes answered him: Yikes! Why are you being so harsh? Ohhhh, did you come here looking for those cows of yours?  Me? I didn’t see or hear a thing!  I’m no cow-driver—not like those older guys…I’ve got kid things to worry about.