View Full Version : To Hercules

March 29th, 2008, 07:37 AM


HEAR, pow'rful, Hercules untam'd and strong,
To whom vast hands, and mighty works belong,
Almighty Titan, prudent and benign,
Of various forms, eternal and divine,
Father of Time, the theme of gen'ral praise, 5
Ineffable, ador'd in various ways.
Magnanimous, in divination skill'd
And in the athletic labours of the field.
'Tis thine strong archer, all things to devour,
Supreme, all-helping, all-producing pow'r; 10
To thee mankind as their deliv'rer pray,
Whose arm can chase the savage tribes away:

Uweary'd, earth's best blossom, offspring fair,
To whom calm peace, and peaceful works are dear. 13

Self-born, with primogenial fires you shine, 15 15
And various names and strength of heart are thine.
Thy mighty head supports the morning light,
And bears untam'd, the silent gloomy night;
From east to west endu'd with strength divine,
Twelve glorious labours to absolve is thine; 20

Supremely skill'd, thou reign'st in heav'n's abodes,
Thyself a God amid'st th' immortal Gods.
With arms unshaken, infinite, divine,
Come, blessed pow'r, and to our rites incline;
The mitigations of disease convey, 25
And drive disasterous maladies away.
Come, shake the branch with thy almighty arm,
Dismiss thy darts and noxious fate disarm.


134:13 Ver. 13] Earth's best blossom. Since, according to the Orphic theology, there are two worlds, the intelligible and the sensible, the former of which is the source of the latter; so, according to the same theology, the first contains in a primary, causal, and intellectual manner, what the second comprehends secondarily and sensibly. Hence it contains an intellectual heaven and earth, not like the material, existing in place, and affected with the circulations of Time; but subsisting immaterially in the stable essence of eternity. In this divine world, another sun, and moon, and stars shine with intellectual light; for every thing there is perfectly lucid, light continually mingling with light. There, as Plotinus divinely observes, every star is a sun: and though all things are beheld in every thing, yet some things are more excellent than others. Now from this intellectual heaven and earth, resident in Phanes, the king and father of the universe, Orpheus, according to Proclus, derives the orders of the Gods, subordinate to this sensible heaven and earth: and among these he relates the following progeny of the intellectual earth, as preserved by Proclus in his excellent Commentary on the TimŠus, p. 295, and by Athenagoras in Apol. "She produced seven beautiful pure virgins with voluble eyes, and seven sons, all of them kings, and covered with downy hair; the daughters are Themis and prudent Tethys, and fair-haired Mnemosyne, and blessed Thea; together with Dione, having an illustrious form, and Phťbe and Rhea the mother of king Jupiter. But this illustrious earth generated celestial sons, which are also sirnamed Titans, because they took revenge on the great starry heaven; and these are CŠus and great CrŠus, and robust Phorcys, and Saturn, and Ocean, and Hyperion, and Iapetus." Now Hercules is celebrated in this Hymn as the Sun, as the nineteenth and twentieth lines particularly evince; and the Sun is the same with Hyperion; hence the reason is obvious why Hercules is called "earth's best blossom." And we shall find that Saturn in the following hymn is called "blossom of the earth;" and Themis, in Hymn 78, "young blossom of the earth;" and the Titans, in Hymn 36, "the illustrious progeny of heaven and earth."

135:15 Ver. 15.] With primogenial fires you shine. Since the intelligible world, which, as we have already observed, was produced from Ăther and Chaos, is nothing else than the comprehension of all the demiurgic ideas in the divine mind, which is, according to Orpheus, the God Phanes; it remains that the sensible world, which is but the image τυ Νοζτυ Παραδείγματοσ of an intelligible paradigm, should be produced according to its similitude, and filled with its proper divinities. Now Phanes, the author of the sensible world, is represented by Orpheus (for the purpose of symbolically representing the causal production of the universe) as adorned with the heads of various animals. According to Athenagoras, with the head of a dragon, of a lion, and the countenance of the God himself; but according to Proclus and others, in the words of Orpheus, with the countenance of a ram, a bull, a serpent and a lion. And this Phanes Athenagoras informs us is denominated by Orpheus, Hercules, and Time. Hence we see the reason why Hercules is said to shine with primogenial fires; since he is no other than Protogonos in the intelligible, and the Sun in the sensible world. Hence too the reason is apparent why Saturn who is the same with Time, is called in the following Hymn, τιτὰν i.e. Titan, or the Sun.