August 14, 2004

One for luck, please read it carefully

(The following is the Homeric Hymn to Ares, Greek god of war. The ancients had a form of ritual, called "apothropaic", in which you called by good names gods and godesses that were to fear. Ares is one case. It comes from circa 485 A. D., and the translation is Charles Boer´s, considered by many as the best in English. Please read it carefully, specially the final lines. Let the gods and godesses and every possible force bless us!)

Ares, superior force,
Ares, chariot rider,
Ares, wears gold helmet,
Ares has mighty heart,
Ares, shield-bearer,
Ares, guardian of city,
Ares has armor of bronze,
Ares has powerful arms,
Ares never gets tired,
Ares, hard with spear,
Ares, rampart of Olympus,
Ares, father of Victory
who herself delights in war,
Ares, helper of Justice,
Ares overcomes other side,
Ares leader of most just men,
Ares carries staff of manhood,
Ares turns his fiery bright cycle
among the seven-signed tracks
of the aether, where flaming chargers
bear him forever
over the third orbit!
Hear me,
helper of mankind,
dispenser of youth's sweet courage,
beam down from up there
your gentle light
on our lives,
and your martial power,
so that I can shake off
cruel cowardice
from my head,
and diminish that deceptive rush
of my spirit, and restrain
that shrill voice in my heart
that provokes me
to enter the chilling din of battle.
You, happy god,
give me courage,
let me linger
in the safe laws of peace,
and thus escape
from battles with enemies
and the fate of a violent death.