Herakles I sing,
lion-hearted son of Zeus and Alkmene,
strongest of men, who ascended to heaven by his own might and virtue,
perfect protector of those who kindly beseech him.
Grant me courage to stand up for the things I believe are just,
fierceness in the face of adversity,
and the means necessary to protect those who cannot defend themselves.
May you stand at my side and shield me from those who would do me harm.
When I grow too attached to something,
and do not even realize that I am smothering my soul
in addiction, comfortable complacency, and stagnant stasis,
tear me apart and destroy whatever is holding me back,
as you once tore those twin serpents sent to kill you when just a babe,
that I might be reborn into freedom
as you became a God from a mortal
on the blazing pyre of Mount Oeta.
by Andrew Bayless
Sing, O Muse, of Omphale: the daughter of the river Iardanos who was once wedded to King Tmolus of Lydia. The river-sired queen reigned alongside her great husband until he came to his end at the tusks of a raging boar. Her husband having descended to the world below, Omphale continued her husband’s reign over the land that bears the name of Lydus. As Fate would decree, another broad-shouldered man would enter the life of the river-sired queen and so it was one day that speedy Hermes took on the guise of a slave trader and sold to Omphale the mighty Herakles for servitude was the only way for the lion-hearted son of Zeus to atone for the murder of Iphitus of Oechalia and to be cured of the plague that racked his body as a result of the crime. While lion-hearted Herakles is known for taming foul beasts, the Muses and poets will forever sing of how the Lion of Zeus was tamed by the river-sired queen of Lydia. Donning each other’s clothes to bring humiliation to her new pet, Herakles was forced to wear women’s clothes and assist in the spinning of threads while Omphale adorned herself with the invincible hide that Herakles made after he conquered the voracious lion of Nemea and wielded the strong club of olive wood that has vanquished many foes. In bonds Herakles remained and did not go on glorious quests for quite some time but inspiration recalls a delightful occurrence which transpired in this time. River-sired Omphale once took her leonine slave to a sacred grove of Dionysos where they enjoyed in the gifts of the Liberator until sweet sleep overcame them. During the night, they were spied upon by pug-nosed Phaunos who lusted for the Lydian Queen and desired to be betwixt her lovely legs. The satyr placed himself next to the queen and felt under her elegant clothes to grab handfuls of her plump bottom. His member engorged with desire, Phaunos fondled the reposing Omphale but was surprised to discover that the river-sired queen had such hairy buttocks. It was at this moment that lion-hearted Herakles woke up to find himself being caressed by a satyr. With a great push, Phaunos was knocked off of the son of Zeus and was left motionless for quite some time; a sight that brought hearty laughter to Herakles and Omphale. After some time, the river-sired queen sent her captive lion on various quests and Herakles did brave deeds: capturing the city of Itoni, capturing the dwarfish Cercopes at Ephesus, slaying the villains Syleus and Xenodice who forced others to hoe their vineyard, and ridding the Sagaris River of a mighty serpent that terrorized the Lydians. After three years in bonds, the Lydian Queen freed the lion-hearted son of Zeus. The two were wed and a son was born from their loving union from whom Lydian kings would forever claim to be the descendant of the Heraclid. Herakles may have thought he had conquered the Lydian Queen, but it was she who had conquered him. Like a Goddess who charms even the wildest beasts, Omphale had the lion in bonds. The mighty man who conquered monstrous beasts, vile villains, and mighty armies found himself in the servitude of a woman. The Leonine Man may have had mastery over this world but Omphale had mastery over him. And so farewell to you, river-sired Omphale, conqueror of Herakles, I honor you in song! But I shall call to my mind both you and another song.