Demeter 7

Swiftly they came to the great palace of their father, and quickly they told their mother

what they saw and heard. And she told them

quickly to go and invite her Demeter for whatever wages, no limits,

and they, much as deer or heifers in the time of spring

prance along the meadow, satiating their dispositions as they graze on the grass,

so also they, hitching up the folds of their lovely dresses,

dashed along the rutted roadway, their hair flowing

over their shoulders, looking like crocus blossoms.

They found the illustrious goddess sitting near the road, just the way

they had left her. Then they led her to the beloved palace of their father.

She was walking behind them, sad in her dear heart.

She was wearing a veil on her head, and a long dark robe

trailed around the delicate feet of the goddess.

Straightaway they came to the palace of sky-nurtured Keleos.

They went through the hall, heading for the place where their mistress, their mother,

was sitting near the threshold of a well-built chamber,

holding in her lap her son, a young seedling. And they ran over

to her side. Demeter in the meantime went over to the threshold and stood on it, with feet firmly planted, and her head

reached all the way to the ceiling. And she filled the whole indoors with a divine light.

Metaneira was seized by a sense of awe, by a holy wonder, by a blanching fear.

She yielded to Demeter the chair on which she was sitting, and she told her to sit down.

But Demeter, the bringer of seasons, the giver of splendid gifts,

refused to sit down on the splendid chair,

but she stood there silent, with her beautiful eyes downcast,

until Iambê, the one who knows what is worth caring about and what is not, set down for her

a well-built stool, on top of which she threw a splendid fleece.

On this Demeter sat down, holding with her hands a veil before her face.

For a long time she sat on the stool, without uttering a sound, in her sadness.

And she made no approach, either by word or by gesture, to anyone.

Unsmiling, not partaking of food or drink,

she sat there, wasting away with yearning for her daughter with the low-slung girdle,

until Iambê, the one who knows what is dear and what is not, started making fun.

[171-202]


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