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“The lyre and the curved bow shall ever be dear to me, and I will declare to men the unfailing will of Zeus.”

So said Phoebus, the long-haired god who shoots afar and began to walk upon the wide-pathed earth; [135] and all the goddesses were amazed at him. Then with gold all Delos [was laden, beholding the child of Zeus and Leto, for joy because the god chose her above the islands and shore to make his dwelling in her: and she loved him yet more in her heart.] blossomed as does a mountain-top with woodland flowers.

[140] And you, O lord Apollo, god of the silver bow, shooting afar, now walked on craggy Cynthus, and now kept wandering about the islands and the people in them. Many are your temples and wooded groves, and all peaks and towering bluffs [145] of lofty mountains and rivers flowing to the sea are dear to you, Phoebus, yet in Delos do you most delight your heart; for there the long robed Ionians gather in your honor with their children and shy wives: with boxing and dancing and song, [150] mindful, they delight you so often as they hold their gathering. A man would say that they were deathless and unageing if he should then come upon the Ionians so met together. For he would see the graces of them all, and would be pleased in heart gazing at the men and well-girded women [155] with their swift ships and great wealth. And there is this great wonder besides —and its renown shall never perish —, the girls of Delos, hand-maidens of the Far-shooter; for when they have praised Apollo first, and also Leto and Artemis who delights in arrows, [160] they sing a strain telling of men and women of past days, and charm the tribes of men. Also they can imitate the tongues of all men and their clattering speech: each would say that he himself were singing, so close to truth is their sweet song.

[165] And now may Apollo be favorable and Artemis; and farewell all you maidens. Remember me in after time whenever any one of men on earth, a stranger who has seen and suffered much, comes here and asks of you: “Whom think ye, girls, is the sweetest singer that comes here, and in whom do you most delight?” [170] Then answer, each and all, with one voice: “He is a blind man, and dwells in rocky Chios: his lays are evermore supreme.” As for me, I will carry your renown as far as I roam over the earth [175] to the well-placed cities of man, and they will believe also; for indeed this thing is true. And I will never cease to praise far-shooting Apollo, god of the silver bow, whom rich-haired Leto bare.

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    • Thomas W. Allen, E. E. Sikes, Commentary on the Homeric Hymns, HYMN TO DEMETER
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