Demeter 16

Zeus assented that her daughter, every time the season came round,

would spend a third portion of the year in the realms of dark mist underneath,

and the other two thirds in the company of her mother and the other immortals.

So he spoke, and the goddess Rhea did not disobey the messages of Zeus.

Swiftly she darted off from the peaks of Olympus

and arrived at the Rarian Field, the life-bringing fertile spot of land,

in former times, at least. But, at this time, it was no longer life-bringing, but it stood idle

and completely without green growth. The bright grain of wheat had stayed hidden underneath,

through the mental power of Demeter, the one with the beautiful ankles. But, from this point on,

it began straightaway to flourish with long ears of grain

as the springtime was increasing its power. On the field, the fertile furrows

began to be overflow with cut-down ears of grain lying on the ground, while the rest of what was cut down was already bound into sheaves.

This happened the moment Rhea arrived from the boundless aether.

Demeter and Rhea were glad to see each other, and they rejoiced.

Then Rhea, the one with the splendid headband, addressed Demeter:

“Come, child, Zeus the loud-thunderer, the one who sees far and wide, is summoning you

to come to the company of that special group of gods. And he promised honor

that he would give you, which you could receive in the company of the immortal gods.

Zeus assented that your daughter, every time the season comes round,

would spend a third portion of the year in the realms of dark mist underneath,

and the other two thirds in your company and that of the other immortals.

He has assented to all this with the nod of his head.

So come, my child! Obey! Do not be too

stubborn in your anger at the dark-clouded son of Kronos.

Straightaway make the harvest grow, that life-bringer for humans.”

So she spoke, and Demeter, she with the beautiful garlands in her hair, did not disobey.

Straightaway she sent up the harvest from the land with its rich clods of earth.

And all the wide earth with leaves and blossoms

was laden. Then she went to the kings, administrators of justice,

and she showed them—to Triptolemos, to Diokles, driver of horses,

to powerful Eumolpos and to Keleos, leader of the people—

she revealed to them the way to perform the sacred rites, and she pointed out the ritual to all of them

—the holy ritual, which it is not at all possible to ignore, to find out about,

or to speak out. The great awe of the gods holds back any speaking out.

Olbios among earth-bound mortals is he who has seen these things.

But whoever is uninitiated in the rites, whoever takes no part in them, will never get a share of those sorts of things that the initiated get,

once they die, down below in the dank realms of mist.

But when the resplendent goddess finished all her instructions,

Demeter and Persephone went to Olympus, to join the company of the other gods.

And there they abide at the side of Zeus, who delights in the thunderbolt.

Holy they are, and revered. Olbios is he whom they,

being kind, decide to love among earth-bound mortals.

Straightaway they send to such a man, to reside at his hearth, in his great palace,

Ploutos [Wealth personified], who gives riches to mortal humans.

But come, you goddesses, who have charge of the city of Eleusis, fragrant with incense.

and of Paros the island and rocky Antron.

Come, O lady resplendent with gifts, queen Demeter, bringer of seasons,

both you and your daughter, the most beautiful Persephone.

Think kindly and grant, in return for this song, a rich means of livelihood that suits the spirit.

And I will keep you in mind throughout the rest of my song.

[445-495]


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