Demeter 5

But when the tenth bright dawn came upon her,

Hekatê came to her, holding a light ablaze in her hands.

She came with a message, and she spoke up, saying to her:

“Lady Demeter, bringer of seasons, giver of splendid gifts,

which one of the gods who dwell in the sky or which one of mortal humans

seized Persephone and brought grief to your dear heart?

I heard the sounds, but I did not see with my eyes

who it was. So I quickly came to tell you everything, without error.”

So spoke Hekatê. But she was not answered

by the Demeter daughter of Rhea with the beautiful hair. Instead, she joined Hekatê and quickly

set out with her, holding torches ablaze in her hands.

They came to Hêlios, the seeing-eye of gods and men.

They stood in front of his chariot-team, and the resplendent goddess asked this question:

“Helios! Show me respect, god to goddess, if ever

I have pleased your heart and spirit in word or deed.

It is about the girl born to me, a sweet young seedling, renowned for her beauty,

whose piercing cry I heard resounding through the boundless aether,

as if she were being forced, though I did not see it with my eyes.

I turn to you as one who ranges over all the earth and sea

as you look down from the bright aether with your sunbeams:

tell me without error whether you have by any chance seen my dear child,

and who has taken her away from me by force, against her will,

and then gone away? Tell me which one of the gods or mortal humans did it.”

So she spoke. And the son of Hyperion answered her with these words:

“Daughter of Rhea with the beautiful hair, Queen Demeter!

You shall know the answer, for I greatly respect you and feel sorry for you

as you grieve over your child, the one with the delicate ankles. No one else

among all the immortals is responsible except the cloud-gatherer Zeus himself,

who gave her to Hadês as his beautiful wife.

So he gave her to his own brother. And Hadês, heading for the misty realms of darkness,

seized her as he drove his chariot and as she screamed out loud.

But I urge you, goddess: stop your loud cry of lamentation: you should not

have an anger without bounds, all in vain. It is not unseemly

to have, of all the immortals, such a son-in-law as Hadês, the one who makes many monuments.

He is the brother of Zeus, whose seed is from the same place. And as for honor,

he has his share, going back to the very beginning, when the three-way division of inheritance was made.

He dwells with those whose king he was destined by lot to be.”

So saying, he shouted to his horses, and they responded to his command

as they swiftly drew the speeding chariot, like long-winged birds.

And Demeter was visited by grief that was even more terrible than before: it makes you think of the Hound of Hadês.

In her anger at the one who is known for his dark clouds, the son of Kronos,

she shunned the company of gods and lofty Olympus.

She went away, visiting the cities of humans, with all their fertile landholdings,

shading over her appearance, for a long time. And not one of men,

looking at her, could recognize her. Not one of women, either, who are accustomed to wear their girdles low-slung.

[51-96]


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