Mar 2, 2006

Hymn to Eris

How Eris' deadly spear does shake!
How the whole temple shakes! Away, away with the fearful!
It must be Strife kicking at the door with her fair foot.
Do you not see? The Delian palm nods gently,
All of a sudden; the lance sweeps beautifully in the air.
Bolts of the doors, thrust yourselves back.
Keys--open the doors! For the god is no longer far away.

So, young men, prepare yourselves for fighting and death.
Eris appears not to all, only to the worthy.
He who sees her is great; who does not is lowly.
We will see you, hard-hearted Eris, and we will never be lowly.
Let the cithara not be silent.
Nor your step noiseless with Strife approaching, you children,
If you intend to complete the vows and to ward off Horkos,
And if the wall is to stand on its aging foundations.
Well done the youths; the strings are no longer at rest.

Be silent and hear the song of Eris's glory.
Even the sea is silent, for bards celebrate
The two edged blade or spear, weapons of immortal Strife.
Neither does mother Thetis dare to lament for her Achilles
If she hears, the Lady of Sorrow walk.
Even the weeping rock forgets its griefs--
The sobbing stone forever fixed in Phrygia,
Marble where once a woman gaped sorrowfully.
Cry, "Hie, Hie" it is a poor thing to contest the blessed.
May he who fights with the blessed fight my king,
And may he who fights my king also fight with Eris.
The chorus which sings to Eris with its heart
She will honor. She has the power; even Zeus will not challenge her.
Neither will the chorus sing of Eris for only one day;
She is worthy of many hymns. The brave readily sing of Strife.

Golden is Eris' apple and yet she threw its gold away,
As are her eyes and two bladed sword and sheath of gold;
Golden is her hair, for Eris is rich in gold.
Rich in possessions; for competition brings it own reward.
Always fair, always terrible! Never does
the blood of slain touch her weapons of choice.
Her hair drips the sweat of toil to the ground,
But streaming from the locks of Eris is not fat.
But victory. In the city where these dew drops
Fall to earth all things are secure.

None is so versatile in battle as Eris.
She watches over the cunning; she watches over the bard;
Eris' are both the dagger and song.
Hers are the prophets and prophetesses; from Enyo
Soldiers learn the skill of hastening death.

We call her the goddess of apples since that time
When by the fault of Kheiron she was not invited to honour Peleus
And with burning anger did take the golden apples of the Hesperides.
With ease she did carve the words “to the Prettiest”
And then rolled it into the wedding hall
Where the three goddesses fought for
Their own vanity and so bought about the,
destruction of the fairest city of Troy.

Men who take cities are followers of
Enyo, for she rejoices in the
art of war and cunning, and Eris herself lays the plans of attack.
At the start of creation Eris fought the Olympians
Acting as escort for the infernal dragon
Strife was Typhon’s escort in the mellay
While the thunderbolts with booming shots reveled
like dancers in the sky, she took no side
Seeking to stop the rulership of either side
Thus did Eris find wisdom inbetween opposing forces

Eris also showed Medea how to aid Jason,
And so defeat the harvested men of Drakon,
Blessing the crested helm with death-bringing hand.
To grant them the fleece. Eris' favour is forever valued.
Oh Eris! Many call you Discordia,
Many Strife. Everywhere he has many a name
But I call her Enyo, as did my ancestors.
Sparta, was among your most loyal.
Scythia second, and third the towns of Thrace.
From the sacking of fairest Ilium by the Achaens
Travelled you to the strife of Thebes. And from Thebes
the battles of Dionysos brought you to the Indian fight,
And he made you there a fine fight. In the city
He prescribed a continuing ritual, Enyo, in which
Many bulls fall to their haunches and die.

Hie, hie, Strife, rarely invoked! Your altars
flow in the blood of all the tyrants and defilers
who would nurture our foes and do us harm,
As well as the destroyers of good. For you the eternal fire,
And never does the ash feed on the coals of yesterday.
Enyo rejoiced greatly when the girded men of Athens
Danced with death and slew the Persians
When the awaited war season came round.
But the Hellens were not yet able to reach
Xerxes' might. They still lived in divided and fractured cities.
The Lady saw these herself and showed them how to fight
As she stood on the jagged hills of Thermopylae, where
Leonidas' men slew the lions of Persia, the Immortals in battle.
Eris has seen no other dance more divine,
Nor, mindful of the previous crimes, had she granted such benefits
To any people as to the doomed. Nor have the children of freedom
Honored any god more than Strife.

"Hie hie Discordia" resounds because her people
Of Thrace first established this refrain
When with your two-edged blade you gave proof of your skill.
A fantastic beast faced you as you descended to nether pits,
A horrible beast. You slew him with one swift blow,
One swift strike after another. The people cried
"Hie hie Enyo! Slew the beast!" Your mother surely
Begat you as a helper, and since then you live in song.

Envy spoke secretly into the ear of Eris,
"I do not honor the singer who does not sing so great as is the sea."
Eris kicked Envy with her foot and spoke thus:
"The stream of the Assyrian river is great, but it bears
In its water much waste from the earth and much refuse.
The bees do not carry to Deo just any water
But what was pure and unsullied, a small, trickling stream
From a sacred spring, its finest product."
Hail, Lord. Ridicule and Envy away!


My own minor homage to the master poet Callimachus. Admittedly, this is more the old Eris than the modern one the Discordians like (all the events bar one can be found in Greek myth, if you're willing to spend the time searching) and a vast amount of Callimachus' Hymn to Apollo was stolen for the structure of this, but I still like it. So there.

1 comment:

slö said...

joyous great infinite thruth
hail eris!!!