Ancient Hymns and Poetry for Semele

Orphic Hymn 44. To Semele
Incense: Storax

I call upon the daughter of Kadmos, queen of all,
Fair Semele of the lovely tresses and the full bosom,
Mother of thyrsus-bearing and joyous Dionysos.
She was driven to great pain by the blazing thunderbolt,
Which, through the counsels of immortal Kronian Zeus, burned her,
And by noble Persephone she was granted honors among mortal men,
Honors given every third year.
Then they reenact the travail for your son Bacchos,
The sacred ritual of the table, and the holy mysteries.
Now you, goddess, do I beseech, daughter of Kadmos, queen,
Always to be gentle-minded towards the initiates.

Pindar, Pythian Ode 11.1

Daughters of Kadmos,
Semele from your high place amidst the queens of heaven,
and Ino Leukothea, you who dwell by the immortal sea-nymphai, Nereus’ daughters,
come with the noble mother of Herakles to the shrine of Melia,
to the treasure-house of golden tripods,
the temple that above all others Apollon holds in honour,
the seat of prophecy that known no lie.
Daughters of Harmonia, the god now summons your band of heroine women
who dwelt within this land, that you may sing in praise of holy Themis and Pytho,
and the navel-stone of earth, whose word is justice
– here as evening’s shadows fall.

Pindar, Dithyrambs Fragment 75

Clearly seen are the bright symbols of sacred rites,
whensoever, at the opening of the chamber of the purple-robed Horai,
the fragrant spring bringeth the nectar-breathing plants.
Then, oh then, are flung on the immortal earth the lovely tresses of violets,
and roses are entwined in the hair;
then ring the voices of songs to the sound of flutes;
then ring the dances in honour of diadem-wreathed Semele.