Demeter 11

And when the bright dawn came,

they told Keleos, who rules far and wide, exactly what happened,

and what the goddess Demeter, the one with the beautiful garlands in the hair, instructed them to do.

Then Keleos assembled the masses of the people, from this end of the public place to the other,

and he gave out the order to build, for Demeter with the beautiful hair, a splendid temple,

and an altar too, on top of the prominent hill.

And they obeyed straightaway, hearing his voice.

They built it as he ordered. And the temple grew bigger and bigger, taking shape through the dispensation of the goddess.

When the people had finished their work and paused from their labor,

they all went home. But blond-haired Demeter

sat down and stayed in the temple, shunning the company of all the blessed gods.

She was wasting away with yearning for her daughter with the low-slung girdle.

She made that year the most terrible one for mortals, all over the Earth, the nurturer of many.

It was so terrible, it makes you think of the Hound of Hadês. The Earth did not send up

any seed. Demeter, she with the beautiful garlands in her hair, kept the seeds covered underground.

Many a curved plough was dragged along the fields by many an ox—all in vain.

Many a bright grain of wheat fell into the earth—all for naught.

At this moment, Demeter could have destroyed the entire race of humans

with harsh hunger, thus depriving of their honor

the dwellers of Olympus—sacrificial portions of meat for eating or for burning,

if Zeus had not noticed with his mind, taking note in his spirit.

[293-313]


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