Ancient Hymns and Poetry for Herakles

Homeric Hymn 15. To Herakles the Lion-hearted

I will sing of Herakles, the son of Zeus and much the mightiest of men on earth. Alcmena bare him in Thebes, the city of lovely dances, when the dark-clouded Son of Kronos had lain with her. Once he used to wander over unmeasured tracts of land and sea at the bidding of King Eurystheus, and himself did many deeds of violence and endured many; but now he lives happily in the glorious home of snowy Olympos, and has neat-ankled Hebe for his wife. Hail, Lord, son of Zeus! Give me success and prosperity.

Orphic Hymn 12. To Herakles
Incense: Frankincense

Herakles, stout-hearted and mighty, powerful Titan,
Strong-handed, indomitable, author of valiant deeds,
You change your form, O everlasting and kindly father of time.
Ineffable, wild, lord of all to whom many pray,
All-conquering and meddlesome, archer and seer,
Omnivorous begetter of all, and most sublime helper,
Who, for the sake of men, subdued and tamed savages races,
Because you desired peace, which brings dazzling honors and nurtures youths.
Self-grown, unwearying, bravest child of earth.
You hurled your primeval thunderbolts, O illustrious Paian.
Round your head dawn and dark night cling,
And your twelve deeds of valor stretch from east to west.
Immortal, world-wise, boundless and irrepressible,
Come, O blessed, bringing all charms against disease;
With club in hand, drive evil bane away,
And with your poisonous darts ward off cruel death.