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Ariphron's Hymn to Hygieia

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Ariphron's Hymn to Hygieia

Post  J_Agathokles on Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:45 am

Ὑγίεια, πρεσβίστα μακάρων, μετὰ σεῦ ναίοιμι τὸ λειπόμενον
βιοτᾶς, σὺ δέ μοι πρόφρων σύνοικος εἴης·
εἰ γάρ τις ἢ πλούτου χάρις ἢ τεκέων,
ἢ τᾶς ἰσοδαίμονος ἀνθρώποις βασιληΐδος ἀρχᾶς, ἢ πόθων,
οὓς κρυφίοις Ἀφροδίτας ἕρκυσιν θηρεύομεν,
ἢ εἴ τις ἄλλα θεόθεν ἀνθρώποισι τέρψις ἢ πόνων ἀμπνοὰ πέφανται,
μετὰ σεῖο, μάκαιρ' Ὑγίεια,
τέθαλε πάντα καὶ λάμπει Χαρίτων ὄαρος.
σέθεν δὲ χωρὶς οὔτις εὐδαίμων ἔφυ.
- Ἀρίφρων ὁ Σικυώνιος, 5ος αι. π.Κ.Ε.

Eldest born of powers divine!
Blest Hygeia! be it mine
To enjoy what thou canst give,
And henceforth with thee to live:
For in power if pleasure be,
Wealth or numerous progeny,
Or in amorous embrace
Where no spy infests the place;
Or in aught that Heaven bestows
To alleviate human woes
When the wearied heart despairs
Of a respite from its cares;
These and every true delight
Flourish only in thy sight;
And the sister Graces three
Owe, themselves, their youth to thee,
Without whom we may possess
Much, but never happiness.
- William Cowper.

Holiest and first of all the happy powers,
Sacred Hygeia! let me dwell with thee—
For all the remnant of my living hours,
Come thou, benign, and share my home with me;
For if there be or good or grace
In riches, offering, or high place
Of godlike empery or delight,
Which, in the hidden nets of Aphrodite,
We would inveigle—aught at all
That from the gods poor man obtains
To soothe him in his toils and pains,—
Blest Hygeia! at thy call
Blossoms every pleasant thing:
With thee the Graces spend their spring;
But without thee
No living thing can happy be.
- Hartley Coleridge

Health, eldest of Gods, with thee may I dwell for the rest of my life
and find thee a gracious house-mate.
If there be any joy in wealth or in children,
or in that kingly rule that maketh men like to Gods,
or in the desires we hunt with the secret nets of Aphrodite,
or if there be any other delight or diversion sent of Heaven unto man,
'tis with thy aid, blessed Health,
that they all do thrive and shine in the converse of the Graces;
and without thee no man alive is happy.
- J.M. Edmonds


Hygeia (Health), most revered of the blessed ones among mortals, may I dwell with you
for what is left of my life, and may you graciously keep company with me:
for any joy in wealth or in children
or in a king's godlike rule over men
or in the desires which we hunt with the hidden nets of Aphrodite,
any other delight or respite from toils
that has been revealed by the gods to men,
with you, blessed Hygeia,
it flourishes and shines in the converse of the Kharites (Charites, Graces);
and without you no man is happy.
- David Campbell, Greek Lyric V, 135-136 (Loeb)

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Re: Ariphron's Hymn to Hygieia

Post  Erodius on Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:57 pm

The hymn from Ariphron certainly echoes the Hymn to Health [Ὑγίεια/Salus] from the Orphic Teletæ:

68. Ὑγείας
Ἱμερόεσσ’, ἐρατή, πολυθάλμιε, παμβασίλεια,
κλῦθι, μάκαιρ’ Ὑγίεια, φερόλβιε, μῆτερ ἁπάντων·
ἐκ σέο γὰρ νοῦσοι μὲν ἀποφθινύθουσι βροτοῖσι,
πᾶς δὲ δόμος θάλλει πολυγηθὴς εἵνεκα σεῖο,
καὶ τέχναι βρίθουσι· ποθεῖ δέ σε κόσμος, ἄνασσα,
μοῦνος δὲ στυγέει σ’ Ἀίδης ψυχοφθόρος αἰεί,
ἀιθαλής, εὐκταιοτάτη, θνητῶν ἀνάπαυμα·
σοῦ γὰρ ἄτερ πάντ’ ἐστὶν ἀνωφελῆ ἀνθρώποισιν·
οὔτε γὰρ ὀλβοδότης πλοῦτος γλυκερὸς θαλίηισιν,
οὔτε γέρων πολύμοχθος ἄτερ σέο γίγνεται ἀνήρ·
πάντων γὰρ κρατέεις μούνη καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνάσσεις.
ἀλλά, θεά, μόλε μυστιπόλοις ἐπιτάρροθος αἰεὶ
ῥυομένη νούσων χαλεπῶν κακόποτμον ἀνίην.

68. To Health
Charming, lovely, nourishing, queen of all,
Hear, blessed Health, joy-bringing, mother of all,
For by you the ills for mortals utterly perish indeed,
And every home flourishes gladsome on account of you,
And skills prosper. And the cosmos desires you, dame,
And deadly Aidēs alone ever hates you,
O ever-flourishing, prayed-for, repose of mortals.
For without you, all things are useless for people.
For neither gift-giving wealth, sweet in festivities,
Nor old age much-suffering, without you, does anyone achieve.
For you alone rule all and oversee everything.
But, O goddess, come ever as an aid unto the initiates,
Dispelling ill-fortuned diseases’ harsh pain.
(Translation by Erodius, Feb. 2013)
______

Though cosmologically not a major deity, it is clear, and logically understandable, that Health should be named among the most sovereign and important deities from the perspective of mortal beings. Truly, without Health "all things are useless for people". Without Health, what is achievable? What can be a blessing?

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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