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THE shorter hymn to Hermes is merely an abstract from the longer, as is the case with the preceding hymn to the Dioscuri. Gemoll notices that the subject of both these abbreviated versions is confined to the birth of the gods. Further, as the hymn to Asclepius (xvi), which also stops at his birth, must be old (see Introd.), Gemoll concludes that xvii and xviii belong to the same age as xvi. This reasoning seems to be sound, and we may therefore reject Baumeister's theory that the present hymn was compiled a grammatico nescio quo ingenioli ostentandi causa.

The three hymns are to be considered as equally genuine products of antiquity, although their precise date cannot be decided. But the reason for the existence of the two abbreviations (xvii and xviii) is not obvious. The original hymn to Hermes (iv) is of course far too long to have served as a prelude to an ordinary recitation of epic poetry; it would therefore be natural to suppose that xviii was an abstraction for the use of rhapsodists. But the original hymn to the Dioscuri (xxxiii) hardly exceeds the limits of the usual preludes, and it is hard to see why it should have been further shortened. Perhaps even a hymn of moderate compass came to be thought excessive by rhapsodists who were anxious to begin the actual recitation. The prelude had become a mere convention, just as a few bars of God save the King are now taken to represent the entire national anthem at the conclusion of a play.

2-9=h. Herm. 2-9, with a few variations: 4 “Ἄτλαντος θυγάτηρ”=“νύμφη ἐϋπλόκαμος, 5 ἀλέεινεν”=“ἠλεύαθ̓, 6 ἄντρῳ ναιετάουσα παλισκίῳ” = “ἄντρον ἔσω ναίουσα παλίσκιον, 8 εὖτε”=“ὄφρα, 9 λάνθανε δ̓” = “λήθων”.

10=h. Herm. 579.

[12] χαριδῶτα: for these words see on h. i.2, and add “ολβιοτα ζευJ. H. S. xxiii. p. 243. The line is a curious addition to 11, which in h. Aphr. and h. ix is the formula of transition at the end of a prelude. It has been thought an alternative to 11, or an interpolation; but there is no reason for demanding complete uniformity in these endings.

δῶτορ ἐάων=xxix. 8, Callim. h. Zeus 91, Od. 8.335.

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