I. TO DIONYSUS (21 lines) (1)
(ll. 1-9) For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus;
and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn (2); and others by the
deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus
the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in
Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you
birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There
is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with
woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus.
(ll. 10-12) `...and men will lay up for her (3) many offerings in
her shrines. And as these things are three (4), so shall mortals
ever sacrifice perfect hecatombs to you at your feasts each three
(ll. 13-16) The Son of Cronos spoke and nodded with his dark
brows. And the divine locks of the king flowed forward from his
immortal head, and he made great Olympus reel. So spake wise
Zeus and ordained it with a nod.
(ll. 17-21) Be favourable, O Insewn, Inspirer of frenzied women!
we singers sing of you as we begin and as we end a strain, and
none forgetting you may call holy song to mind. And so,
farewell, Dionysus, Insewn, with your mother Semele whom men call
VII. TO DIONYSUS (59 lines)
(ll. 1-16) I will tell of Dionysus, the son of glorious Semele,
how he appeared on a jutting headland by the shore of the
fruitless sea, seeming like a stripling in the first flush of
manhood: his rich, dark hair was waving about him, and on his
strong shoulders he wore a purple robe. Presently there came
swiftly over the sparkling sea Tyrsenian (30) pirates on a well-
decked ship -- a miserable doom led them on. When they saw him
they made signs to one another and sprang out quickly, and
seizing him straightway, put him on board their ship exultingly;
for they thought him the son of heaven-nurtured kings. They
sought to bind him with rude bonds, but the bonds would not hold
him, and the withes fell far away from his hands and feet: and he
sat with a smile in his dark eyes. Then the helmsman understood
all and cried out at once to his fellows and said:
(ll. 17-24) `Madmen! What god is this whom you have taken and
bind, strong that he is? Not even the well-built ship can carry
him. Surely this is either Zeus or Apollo who has the silver
bow, or Poseidon, for he looks not like mortal men but like the
gods who dwell on Olympus. Come, then, let us set him free upon
the dark shore at once: do not lay hands on him, lest he grow
angry and stir up dangerous winds and heavy squalls.'
(ll. 25-31) So said he: but the master chid him with taunting
words: `Madman, mark the wind and help hoist sail on the ship:
catch all the sheets. As for this fellow we men will see to him:
I reckon he is bound for Egypt or for Cyprus or to the
Hyperboreans or further still. But in the end he will speak out
and tell us his friends and all his wealth and his brothers, now
that providence has thrown him in our way.'
(ll. 32-54) When he had said this, he had mast and sail hoisted
on the ship, and the wind filled the sail and the crew hauled
taut the sheets on either side. But soon strange things were
seen among them. First of all sweet, fragrant wine ran streaming
throughout all the black ship and a heavenly smell arose, so that
all the seamen were seized with amazement when they saw it. And
all at once a vine spread out both ways along the top of the sail
with many clusters hanging down from it, and a dark ivy-plant
twined about the mast, blossoming with flowers, and with rich
berries growing on it; and all the thole-pins were covered with
garlands. When the pirates saw all this, then at last they bade
the helmsman to put the ship to land. But the god changed into a
dreadful lion there on the ship, in the bows, and roared loudly:
amidships also he showed his wonders and created a shaggy bear
which stood up ravening, while on the forepeak was the lion
glaring fiercely with scowling brows. And so the sailors fled
into the stern and crowded bemused about the right-minded
helmsman, until suddenly the lion sprang upon the master and
seized him; and when the sailors saw it they leapt out overboard
one and all into the bright sea, escaping from a miserable fate,
and were changed into dolphins. But on the helmsman Dionysus had
mercy and held him back and made him altogether happy, saying to
(ll. 55-57) `Take courage, good...; you have found favour with my
heart. I am loud-crying Dionysus whom Cadmus' daughter Semele
bare of union with Zeus.'
(ll. 58-59) Hail, child of fair-faced Semele! He who forgets you
can in no wise order sweet song.
XXVI. TO DIONYSUS (13 lines)
(ll. 1-9) I begin to sing of ivy-crowned Dionysus, the loud-
crying god, splendid son of Zeus and glorious Semele. The rich-
haired Nymphs received him in their bosoms from the lord his
father and fostered and nurtured him carefully in the dells of
Nysa, where by the will of his father he grew up in a sweet-
smelling cave, being reckoned among the immortals. But when the
goddesses had brought him up, a god oft hymned, then began he to
wander continually through the woody coombes, thickly wreathed
with ivy and laurel. And the Nymphs followed in his train with
him for their leader; and the boundless forest was filled with
(ll. 10-13) And so hail to you, Dionysus, god of abundant
clusters! Grant that we may come again rejoicing to this season,
and from that season onwards for many a year.
- Fumigation from Storax -
Dionysus I call, Divine and Thunderous, God of Ecstasy, a two-fold shape is Thine.
I celebrate Thy names, First-Born, Thrice-Begotten, Bacchic King,
Rural, Pure, Ineffable, Obscure, Two-Horned, Ivy-Crowned,
Bull-Faced and Martial, Bearer of the Vine,
Wise Counselor, Triennial,
Whom the leaves of vines adorn, divinely dorn of the Underworld's Queen,
Immortal Dionysus, hear the voice of Thy supplicants,
Give us joy and blameless plenty,
And with Thy court of wild Maenads, graciously listen to our mystic prayer.
Hymn to Dionysus Bassareus Triennalis
Come, Blessed Dionysus, Many-Named Bull-Headed God, son of Thunder, Dionysus!
Bassarian God, mighty and universal,
Who delights in swords and blood and sacred rage,
In heaven rejoicing, mad resounding God, Furious Inspiration, Bearer of the Thrysis,
Revered by Gods, though You dwell with humans, come to us with jubilation.
To Dionysus Pericionius
- Fumigation from Aromatics -
Dionysus Pericionuis, hear my prayer.
You who cast His might upon the house of Cadmus, with matchless force and twined round the pillars of the palace with Your indissoluble grasp.
Strong and burning thunders shook the ground, and flaming, booming torrents flowed.
Come, mighty Dionysus, to these rites incline, and bless Your supplicants with joyful souls.
To Liknitus Dionysus
- Fumigation from Manna -
I invoke Dionysus Liknitus, Vine Bearer, to bless these sacred rites.
Florid, bright blossom of the Nymphs, and of fair Aphrodite, Goddess of Love,
With lightly leaping feet, leading the Maenads in the mad dance through the groves,
Son of Persephone, dreaded by all the Gods,
Come, Dionysus Liknitus, and regard Your supplicants' prayers,
Blessed God of Abandon, come rejoicing to these rites.
Hymn to Lysius Lenaeus - Dionysus
Hear me, Son of Two Mothers, Blessed Dionysus, God of Wine,
Lysian, Evion Bacchus, Many-named, secret and holy, fertile and nourishing,
Who brings the spark of life and makes the fruits to flourish and increase,
Resounding, Magnanimous Power, Many-Formed God of Health, Holy Flower,
Mortals find repose from labor in Your magic, and You are desired by all.
Fair, Bromian, Joyful God who bears the vined wand,
Incline to these rites, Whether You favor Gods or mortals,
Be present and listen when Your mystics pray,
And come rejoicing, bearing abundant fruits.
To Silenus, Satyrus, and the Priestesses of Dionysus
- Fumigation from Manna -
Selenus, great Nurturer of Dionysus, honored by the Gods, Incline to my prayers.
By mortals at the triennial feast,
Thou art reverenced as the best, Holy and August,
Source of lawful rites, powerful and vigilant,
With Sylvans dancing ever young and fair, leading ivy crowned Bacchic Nymphs,
With all Thy Satyrs infuse the incense.
Wild formed Spirits, bless the divine rites,
Come, rouse to sacred ecstasy Thy student who is King, inspire our orgiastic love through all the night,
And fill the sacred choir with triumphant power.
To Trieterieus - Dionysus
- Fumigation form Aromatics -
Ecstatic Dionysus, Divine and Many-Named, Bull Faced Lenaean,Bearer of the Vine, Descended from Fire, raging Nysian King, Creator of Initiations,
Liknitan Dionysus, pure and prudent crown-bearer, wandering in the Night,
Student of Persephone, Mysterious Power, Triple Ineffable Secret,
Ericapaeus, First-Begotten, Father and Son of the Immortal Ones,
Bearing the Scepter, leading the choir of dancing Maenads,
Inspiring the Furies with triennial rites, thundering Tages filled with burning light,
Born of Two Mothers,Amphietus wanders over the mountains clothed all in deerskin.
Golden-rayed, All-Revered God of the Grape crowned in leaves of ivy,
Bassiarian, beautiful and innocent,
Come, Blessed Power, hear the call of Your mystics, and in these rites rejoice.