Hymn to Apollon and Daphne

Miguel Oliveira

Muses of the divine Olympus, Goddess whose braids are crowned with violets and whose lyres and thousand arts mesmerize the Gods and inspire the mortals, daughters of Mnemosine, I beg you inspire me to sing of the golden archer who strikes form afar, Lord of Delphi and Delos, Apollo of the lyre.

Great is his power, when he shines like the day in the house of the immortals and plays his magical lyre, entrancing the Gods like no other, inspiring them the sweet sleep and heavy reflection. But he can also excite the heart and electrify the soul with his tunes, inspiring movement and dynamic to the Gods who soon rise from their seats to enjoy the dances of Artemis and the Kharites.

And when the feasts are over is power does not end. Then he descends to the earth and cleans all that is too much, the great Alexikakos, purifying us from our core so that we may be pure and thus may worship the Gods not fearing they won’t respond for repugnance of our miasma.

It was on one of these days, when he walked in the earth, a laugh like the song of a thousand birds, a freshness of the chastest spring radiating from his golden hair, the splendour of his being astonishing all creatures, that he was seen by the young Eros, the trickster, who soon armed himself.

He watched the God and the nymph who sang in the woods hugging the trees and worshiping Ge, our Great mother, and soon his heart filled with dark plans, for Apollo had won him in competition. Eros grabbed his feared and loved quiver and from it took two arrows: with one, golden and lilac, fair as the flowers, he shot the God who instantly fell in love for Daphne; the other, dark as Tartarus, he aimed without failing to the innocent nymph, whose heart filled with disgust for the one who now loved her.

Apollo immediately ran chasing the nymph, like hunter and prey, unwearyingly trying to gain her affection, but the nymph always repudiated him and ran away. Until one day, desperate with the strength of Apollo’s love, she asked the Great Mother for help. And thus from her fingers spring perfumed leaves, thus reaching her arms towards the skies branches they become, with her feet set in the earth they pierce it and her eyes become beautiful berries.

Greatly Apollo grieved in his heart, for love did not abandon his heart, like hate did from Daphne’s, for it is not correct that a tree hates. And so the God gently picked a few branches from the mighty tree and with them made a crown which now graces his hair. And ever since he declared the bay, Daphne’s tree, his most sacred plant, and instituted that it shall represent him on earth.

And hence we use laurel leaves to purify and sweep the temples, and hence we grace our winners with bay branches and offer the perfumed leaves to the great Golden God.

May you be favourable towards us, Apollo, and may we please you with simple rites and words. Ie, Apollon!



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