Ode to Maia

Seven are the daughters of Pleione,
whose stars bedazzle the winter sky—
      most beautiful of all the seven
      is Maia, daughter of Atlas.
She it is who rejoices in May flowers’ bloom,
the lengthening days, and the growing warmth.
      She makes the heart to quicken
      as desire swells in mortals’ souls—
and not in mortals’ alone, but you too,
thundering father Jove, could not resist her.

How did Jove effect his tryst with modest Maia,
dwelling in her cave in wind-swept Arcady?
      Let none divulge what passed therein;
      let none undo her wise discretion.
But all may know and celebrate her offspring,
glorious child of Maia, swift-footed messenger,
      clever in his charming words,
      subtle in his wily deeds—
for you, august Mercury, were born on Mount Cyllene,
born to gentle Maia, bedecked with flowers.

She it was first took you in her arms and nursed you:
nourishment from the most nurturing of goddesses.
      From her the mischievous babe
      learned wisdom as well as wit,
for on your first day, O Mercury, you stole the cattle
of your proud brother, brilliant Apollo of the fearsome darts.
      Maia drew you back;
      gently she rebuked you,
teaching you justice and reconciliation: and the lyre,
seven-stringed, you made a peace offering to Apollo.

The nurturing mother of that godly nuncio
took Arcas in to foster—glory of Arcadia,
      resistless huntsman
      now translated to the stars.
A grandson of blessèd Maia, the wandering Evander,
first planted her worship in the western lands
      upon the sainted hill
      above the rolling Tiber.
More grandsons of yours, O Maia, the twin Lares
were rightly honoured at every Roman hearth.

Glory of spring, fosterer of growing things,
most exalted of the sister Pleiades,
      you I praise:
      to you I offer this hymn.
Mountain-dwelling Maia whom Jove adored,
daughter of the strong-shouldered titan,
      hail to you in Arcady
      and in every land.
Let all who love the god of travellers, Argus’ bane,
rejoice in you and offer pleasing gifts.

About DeoMercurio

I’m a Gaulish polytheist, now back living in lands ceded by the Council of Three Fires after several years’ sojourn in Anatolia and in the land of the Senecas, with frequent travels to Gaul along the way. My grandfather’s family came from the area around Trier, and I identify closely with the Treveri in my religious practice.
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5 Responses to Ode to Maia

  1. ganglerisgrove says:

    Reblogged this on Gangleri's Grove and commented:
    Here is the next submission to the Maia agon, courtesy of Deo Mercurio, who emailed me with this link today.

  2. Beautiful! I love it! Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

    • DeoMercurio says:

      Thanks so much! I hope you’ve been well. I’m travelling around Ireland now, so communications are sporadic and my mind is scattered. But I was glad to get this posted before my departure…

      • Wonderful! I hope to hear of your Irish adventures when you return from them/as you are able to post about them! It was great to get back there–even if only briefly–in March of 2016 (and would have been even better to get out to some sites, but I made the most of it all the same with the conference and with book-buying!).

  3. DanielJM says:

    Oho! I did not know you had a WordPress site. I must now spend sometime going back through your posts.

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