Three Hymns

Isidorus

I.
O wealth-giver, Queen of the gods, Hermouthis, Lady, omnipotent Agathe Tyche, greatly
renowned Isis, Deo, highest Discoverer of all life,
Manifold miracles were your care that you might bring
Livelihood to mankind and mortality to all;
And you have taught customs that justice might in some measure prevail;
You gave skills that men’s life might be comfortable,
And you discovered the blossoms that produce edible vegetation.
Because of you heaven and the whole earth have their being;
And the gusts of the winds and the sun with its sweet light.
By your power the channels of the Nile are filled, every one,
And the harvest season and its most turbulent water is poured
On the whole landthat produce may be unfailing.
All mortals who live on the boundless earth,
Thracians, Greeks, and Barbarians,
Express your fair name, a name greatly honored among all!
But each speaks his own language in his own land.
The Syrians call you Astarte, Artemis, Nanaia,
The Lycian tribes call you Leto, the Lady,
The Thracians also name you as Mother of the gods,
And the Greeks Hera of the Great Throne, Aphrodite,
Hestia the goodly, Rheia and Demeter.
But the Egyptians call you ‘Thiousis’ (becausee they know) that you, being One, are all
Other goddesses invoked by the race of men.
Mighty one, I shall not cease to sing your great Power,
Deathless Savior, many-named, mightiest Isis,
Saving from war cities and all their citizens,
Men, their wives, possessions, and children.
As many as are bound fast in prison, in the power of death,
As many as are in pain through long, anguished, sleepless nights,
All who are wanderers in a foreign land,
And as many as sail pm the Great Sea in winter,
When men may be destroyed and their ships wrecked and sunk ….
All these are saved if they pray that you are present to help.
Hear my prayers, O One Whose Name has Great Power;
Prove yourself merciful to me and free me from all distress.
Isidoros wrote it.

 

II.
Hail Agathetyche, greatly renowned Isis, mightiest Hermouthis,
In you every city rejoices!
O Discoverer of life and cereal food wherein all mortals delight,
Because of your great blessings.
All who pray to you to assist their commerce,
Prosper in their piety forever;
All who are bound in mortal illnesses in the grip of death,
If they but pray to you, quickly attain your renewal of life.
How truly the Agathosdaimon, mighty Soknopis,
Dwells as your temple mate, that goodly bestower of wealth,
Creator of both earth and the starry heaven,
And of all the rivers, and very swift streams;
And Anchoes your son, who inhabits the height of heaven,
Is the rising Sun who shows forth the light.
All indeed who wish to beget offspring,
If they but pray to you, attain fruitfulness.
Persuading the gold-flowing Nile,
you lead it in season over the land of Egypt as a blessing for men.
Then all vegetation flourishes and you apportion to all
Whom you favor, a life of unspeakable blessing.
Remembering your gifts, men to whom you have granted wealth and great blessings,
All duly set aside for you one tenth of these blessings
rejoicing each year at the time of your Panegyrie.
Thereafter you allow them, as the year rolls round again,
Everyone to rejoice in the month of Pakhons.
Joyful after your festival, they return home
Reverently and are filled with the sense of blessedness
That comes only from you.
Grant a share of your gifts also to me, Lady Hermouthis,
Your suppliant, happiness and especially the blessing of children.
Isidoros wrote it.
Hearing my prayers and hymns, the gods
Have rewarded me with the blessing of great happiness.

 

III.
O Ruler of the Highest Gods, Hermouthis, Lady,
Isis, pure, most sacred, mighty of mighty name, Deo,
O most hallowed Bestower of good things,
To all men who are righteous, you grant great blessings:
To possess wealth, a life that is pleasant, and most serene happiness:
Material gain, good fortune, and happy soundness of understanding.
All who live lives of greatest bliss, the best of men:
Sceptre-bearing kings and rulers,
If they depend on you, rule until old age,
Leaving shining and splendid wealth in abundance to their sons
And sons’ sons, and men who come after.
But the one whom the Heavenly Queen has held most dear of princes,
Rules both Asia and Europe, keeping the peace;
The harvests grow heavy for him with all kinds of good things, bearing fruit …
And where indeed there are wars and slaughter of countless throngs,
Your strength and godly power annihilates the multitude against him;
But to the few with him it gives courage.
Hear me, Agathetyche, when I pray to you, Lady,
Whether you have journeyed into Libya or to the South Wind,
Or whether you are dwelling in the outermost regions of the North Wind
Ever sweetly blowing,
Or whether you dwell in the East Wind where are the risings of the Sun,
Or whether you have gone to Olympos where the Olympian gods dwell,
Or whether you are in heaven above, a judge with the immortal gods,
You are directing the world of men, looking down on the manifold deeds of the wicked
And gazing down on those of the just.
If you are present here too, you witness men’s individual virtue,
Delighting in the sacrifices, libations, and offerings,
Of the men who dwell in the Nome of Soukhos, the Arsinoites,
Men of mixed races who all, yearly, are present
On the twentieth of the month of Pakhons and of Thoth,
Bringing a tenth for you and for Ankhoes, and Soknopis, most sacred of gods,
at your feast.
O hearer of prayers, black-robed Isis, the Merciful,
And you Great Gods who share the temple with her,
Send Paian to me, healer of all ills!
Isidoros wrote it.

 

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