Ancient Hymns and Poetry for Persephone

Orphic Hymn 18. To Plouton

Subterranean is your dwelling place, O strong-spirited one,
A meadow in Tartaros, thick-shaded and dark.
Chthonic Zeus, sceptered one, kindly accept this sacrifice,
Plouton, holder of the keys to the whole earth.
You give the wealth of the year’s fruits to mankind,
And to your lot fell the third portion, earth, queen of all,
Seat of the gods, mighty lap of mortals.
Your throne rests on a tenebrous realm,
The distant, untiring, windless and impassive Hades,
And on dark Acheron that encompasses the roots of the earth.
All-Receiver, with death at your command,
you are the master of mortals.
Euboulos, you once took pure Demeter’s daughter as your bride,
When you tore her away from the meadow and through the sea.
Upon your steeds you carried her to an Attic cave,
in the district of Eleusis,
Where the gates to Hades are.
You alone were born to judge deeds obscure and conspicuous.
Holiest and illustrious ruler of all, frenzied god,
You delight in the worshiper’s respect and reverence.
Come with favor and joy to the initiates. I summon you.

Orphic Hymn 29. To Persephone

Persephone, blessed daughter of great Zeus, sole offspring of Demeter,
Come and accept this gracious sacrifice.
Much-honored spouse of Plouton, discreet and life-giving,
You command the gates of Hades in the bowels of the earth,
Lovely-tressed, Praxidike, pure bloom of Deo, mother of the Furies,
Queen of the netherworld whom Zeus sired in clandestine union.
Mother of loud-roaring and many shaped Eubouleus,
Radiant and luminous playmate of the Seasons, august, almighty,
Maiden rich in fruits, you alone are beloved of mortals.
In spring you rejoice in the meadow breezes,
And you show your holy figure in shoots and green fruits.
You were made a kidnapper’s bride in the fall,
And you alone are life and death to toiling mortals,
O Persephone, for you always nourish all and kill them too.
Hearken, O blessed goddess, and send forth the earth’s fruits.
You who blossom in peace, in soft-handed health,
And in a life of plenty that ferries old age in comfort to your realm,
O queen, and to that of mighty Plouton.