How Apollo’s laurel sapling shakes!
How the whole temple shakes! Away, away with the wicked!
It must be Phoebus kicking at the door with his fair foot
Do you not see? The Delian palm nods gently,
All of a sudden; the swan sings beautifully in the air.
Bolts of the doors, thrust yourselves back.
Keys–open the doors! For the god is no longer far away.
So, young men, prepare yourselves for singing and dancing.
Apollo appears not to all, only to the good.
He who sees him is great; who does not is lowly.
We will see you, Worker from Afar, and we will never be lowly.
Let the cithara not be silent.
Nor your step noiseless with Apollo approaching, you children,
If you intend to complete the marriage vows and to cut your hair,
And if the wall is to stand on its aging foundations.
Well done the youths; the strings are no longer at rest.
Be silent and hear the song of Apollo’s glory.
Even the sea is silent, for bards celebrate
The cithara or bow, weapons of Lycoreian Phoebus.
Neither does mother Thetis mournfully lament for her Achilles
If she hears, “Hie Paian, Hie Paian.”
Even the weeping rock forgets its griefs–
The sobbing stone forever fixed in Phrygia,
Marble where once a woman gaped sorrowfully.
Cry, “Hie, Hie” it is a poor thing to contest the blessed.
May he who fights with the blessed fight my king,
And may he who fights my king also fight with Apollo.
The chorus which sings to Apollo with his heart
He will honor. He has the power; he sits on the right hand of Zeus.
Neither will the chorus sing of Apollo for only one day;
He is worthy of many hymns. Who would not readily sing of Apollo?
Golden is Apollo’s mantle and golden its clasp,
As are his lyre and Lyctian bow and quiver;
Golden are his sandals, for Apollo is rich in gold.
Rich in possessions; you might have proof of this at Delphi.
Always fair, always young! Never do
Traces of down touch his blooming cheeks.
His hair drips fragrant oils to the ground,
But streaming from the locks of Apollo is not fat.
But Panacaea. In the city where these dew drops
Fall to earth all things are secure.
None is so versatile in skill as Apollo.
He watches over the archer; he watches over the bard;
Phoebus’s are both the bow and song.
His are the prophets and prophetesses; from Phoebus
Physicians learn the skill of postponing death.
We call him the gods of herds since that time
When by the Amphryssus he tended the yoked pair of horses
And was burning with love for the unmarried Admetus.
With ease would the herd of cattle grow larger, nor would
The feeding goats lack young in pasture if Apollo
Casts his eye on them. Nor will
Ewes be without milk or lambs. All will bear young,
And not single offspring, but twins.
Men who plan cities are followers of
Phoebus, for Phoebus rejoices in the
Founding of cities, and Phoebus himself lays the foundations.
At four years Phoebus created his first foundation
Near the round lake in fair Ortgia.
Artemis hunted and continually brought the heads
Of Cynthian goats, and Apollo built the altar.
Below he laid the foundation of horn and created the altar
Of horns, and he built the surrounding walls of horn.
Thus did Phoebus learn to construct his first foundation.
Phoebus also showed my fertile city to Battus,
And a raven led the people in Libya,
Flying on their right, and he swore to our king
To grant them walls. Apollo’s oath is forever valued.
Oh Apollo! Many call you Boedromius,
Many Clarius. Everywhere he has many a name
But I call him Carneius, as did my ancestors.
Sparta, Carneius, was your first foundation.
Thera second, and third the town of Cyrene.
From Sparta the sixth generation after Oedipus
Conveyed you to the Theraian colony. And from Thera
Stout Aristoteles brought you to the Asbystian earth,
And he built you there a fine palace. In the city
He prescribed a continuing ritual, Phoebus, in which
Many bulls fall to their haunches and die.
Hie, hie, Carneius, often invoked! Your altars
Bear in the spring all the flowers which the Horai
Nurture in all their colors as the West breathes its dew,
As well as the sweet crocus in winter. For you the eternal fire,
And never does the ash feed on the coals of yesterday.
Phoebus rejoiced greatly when the girded men of Enyo
Danced with the fair-haired Libyan ladies
When the awaited Carneian season came round.
But the Dorians were not yet able to reach
Cyre’s springs. They still lived in thickly wooded Azilis.
The Lord saw these himself and showed them to his bride
As he stood on the jagged hill of Myrtussa, where
Hypsellus’ daughter slew the lion, destroyer of Eurypylus’ cattle.
Apollo has seen no other dance more divine,
Nor, mindful of the previous rape, has he granted such benefits
To any city as to Cyrene. Nor have the children of Battus
Honored any god more than Apollo.
“Hie hie Paian” resounds because the people
Of Delphi first established this refrain
When with your golden bow you gave proof of your skill from afar.
A fantastic beast faced you as you descended to Delphi,
A horrible serpent. You slew him shooting
One swift arrow after another. The people cried
“Hie hie Paian! Shoot the arrow!” Your mother surely
Begat you as a helper, and since then you live in song.
Envy spoke secretly into the ear of Apollo,
“I do not honor the singer who does not sing so great as is the sea.”
Apollo kicked Envy with his foot and spoke thus:
“The stream of the Assyrian river is great, but it bears
In its water much waste from the earth and much refuse.
The bees do not carry to Deo just any water
But what was pure and unsullied, a small, trickling stream
From a sacred spring, its finest product.”
Hail, Lord. Ridicule and Envy away!