Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Prayer to Isis

Apuleius, Metamorphoses 11.2 (tr. J. Arthur Hanson):
O queen of heaven—whether you are bountiful Ceres, the primal mother of crops, who in joy at the recovery of your daughter took away from men their primeval animal fodder of acorns and showed them gentler nourishment, and now dwell in the land of Eleusis; or heavenly Venus, who at the first foundation of the universe united the diversity of the sexes by creating Love and propagated the human race through ever-recurring progeny, and now are worshipped in the island sanctuary of Paphos; or Phoebus' sister, who brought forth populous multitudes by relieving the delivery of offspring with your soothing remedies, and now are venerated at the illustrious shrine of Ephesus; or dreaded Proserpina of the nocturnal howls, who in triple form repress the attacks of ghosts and keep the gates to earth closed fast, roam through widely scattered groves and are propitiated by diverse rites—you who illumine every city with your womanly light, nourish the joyous seeds with your moist fires, and dispense beams of fluctuating radiance according to the convolutions of the Sun—by whatever name, with whatever rite, in whatever image it is meet to invoke you: defend me now in the uttermost extremes of tribulation, strengthen my fallen fortune, grant me rest and peace from the cruel mischances I have endured. Let this be enough toil, enough danger. Rid me of this dreadful four-footed form, restore me to the sight of my own people, restore me to the Lucius I was. But if some divine power that I have offended is harassing me with inexorable savagery, at least let me die, if I may not live.

Regina caeli—sive tu Ceres alma frugum parens originalis, quae, repertu laetata filiae, vetustae glandis ferino remoto pabulo, miti commonstrato cibo, nunc Eleusiniam glebam percolis; seu tu caelestis Venus, quae primis rerum exordiis sexuum diversitatem generato Amore sociasti et aeterna subole humano genere propagato nunc circumfluo Paphi sacrario coleris; seu Phoebi soror, quae partu fetarum medelis lenientibus recreato populos tantos educasti praeclarisque nunc veneraris delubris Ephesi; seu nocturnis ululatibus horrenda Proserpina, triformi facie larvales impetus comprimens, terraeque claustra cohibens, lucos diversos inerrans vario cultu propitiaris—ista luce feminea collustrans cuncta moenia, et udis ignibus nutriens laeta semina, et Solis ambagibus dispensans incerta lumina; quoquo nomine, quoquo ritu, quaqua facie te fas est invocare: tu meis iam nunc extremis aerumnis subsiste, tu fortunam collapsam affirma, tu saevis exanclatis casibus pausam pacemque tribue. Sit satis laborum, sit satis periculorum. Depelle quadripedis diram faciem, redde me conspectui meorum, redde me meo Lucio. Ac si quod offensum numen inexorabili me saevitia premit, mori saltem liceat, si non licet vivere.
Apuleius of Madauros, The Isis-Book (Metamorphoses, Book XI). Edited with an Introduction, Translation and Commentary by J. Gwyn Griffiths (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975), pp. 120-121:

The reference is to Joseph Berreth, Studien zum Isisbuch in Apuleius' Metamorphosen (Ellwangen, 1931), which I haven't seen. Should there be more numbers than 1 under K?

Update from Ian Jackson:
I checked Berreth today at the library. K1 is correct: there is no K2. But as you may have noted, Gwyn Griffiths lists a second series of Ds, which should be Fs...
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