Prayers to Di inferi

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Some odds and ends, prayers to some of the lesser gods.



Horace Carmen 3.8.1-8

Amorous Faunus, from whom the Nymphs flee, step lightly across my boundaries and sunny fields, and soon depart, leaving your blessing on my young lambs and kids, and leveled tender shoots.

If gentle, at year's end a plumb kid I'll offer, with wine libations liberally poured from the cups of Venus' devotees, and many sweet, fragrant herbs I'll burn on your ancient altar.

Virgil Aeneid 12.777-9

Faunus, have pity, I pray, and you, opulent Earth, hold fast this weapon, if always I have honored your worship in good faith.


Virgil Aeneid 4.609-12

Nocturnal Hecate, who is called at the crossroads throughout the City, and Avenging Dirae, and Elissa's gods of the dying, hear our prayers, heed them, and direct your awful powers against those who deserve it.


Ovid Fasti 4.747

Pray to Pales with warm milk, say: Be equally mindful of sheep and their masters, Pales. May my stables escape from harm. If I have grazed my flock in sacred pastures, or sat beneath a sacred tree, if unknowingly my sheep plunked their fodder from gravesites, if I have entered a sacred grove forbidden to men, and the nymphs and the half goat gods fled in fear at the sight of me, if my knife has pruned a shady bough to give a basket of leaves to an ailing sheep, grant indulgence of my offenses. Do not fault me for sheltering my herd in your sacred shrines when it was hailing heavily. Do not harm me for disturbing your pools; O Nymphs, pardon me for stirring up the riverbeds, the hooves of my flock turning your clear waters muddy. Goddess, may you placate for us the spirits of springs and fountains, and placate the freckles gods of every grove. Keep us from seeing the Dryads and Diana at Her bath, and the Fauns lying out in pastures at midday. Repel illness far away from us. Grant health to herds and men, and to the vigilant pack of guard dogs. May I never herd home less than were counted in the morning. May I never bewail the torn fleece of my sheep carried off by a wolf. May unjust famine remain.

Virgil Georgics 3.1-2

Also you, great Pales, in memory of you we sing, shepherd of Amphrysis, and all of you who come from forests and streams on mount Lycaeus in Arcadia.


Petronius Satyricon 133

Companion of Nymphs, companion of Bacchus, Priapus, Whom Dione appointed God of lush forests, honored in Lesbos and verdant Thasos, worshipped by the Lydians whose land is crossed by seven rivers and who built a temple to You in Your Hypaepan homeland, come to me, protector of Bacchus, beloved of Dryads, and hear my humble prayers. +++ My prayer is this: Relieve me of a guilty conscious, forgive my venial offense and when Fortuna next smiles on me, praises and thanksgiving I shall offer You. A goat with gilt horns, the finest of his herd, I shall bring to Your altars. The suckling piglet of a sow I shall bring to Your altars. Foaming new wine, borne by young men I shall bring to Your altars. All these offering in procession shall I order to pass three times around Your shrine.

Tibullus 1.1.17-18

Red guardian, Priapus, placed within this fruitful garden, with your fierce scythe frighten off the birds from this crop.

Tibullus 1.4.1-6

May leafy shade shelter you, Priapus, and neither the hot sun nor snowy storms bring you harm. By what ingenuity or skill do you seize beauties? Certainly not by gleaming beard, nor with stylish hair, as naked you pass through the icy winds of winter, and naked still beneath the Dogstar you remain through the parching sun of summer.

Virgil Eclogues 7.33-36

Priapus, a large cup of milk and this libum bread is all you can expect each year, guardian of a pauper's garden. For a while yet your image is carved in stone, but if at breeding time you make good the herds, then of gold your image we shall make.


Ovid Fasti 4.911-32

Spare Ceres' grain, O scabby Robigo, let the tips of sprouting shoots gently quiver above rich soil. Let the crops grow, nurtured in turn as each star passes through the heavens, until full and ripe they are readied for the scythe. Your power is not light. What grain You touch, the farmer notes as lost. Wind and rain damage Ceres' grain enough, And by glistening white snow is burnt. Worst still if the stalks are damp when the Titan sears them, Your season of anger, fearful Goddess, when Sirius rises with the sun, Spare them, I pray. Away with scabrous hands from the harvest Do not harm the cultivated fields. The power to harm is enough. May You not grasp the crops, but embrace hard iron. Destroy first whatever else is able to destroy. Better to seize the destructive spear and sword, for they have no use, when the world puts forth quiet peace. Now may glimmer the light hoes and rough two-pronged hoes and let the arcing plow shine, polished from rural work. Corrupt iron weapons instead with Your rust And may any impulse to draw sword be thwarted by sheaths rusted from long neglect. Do not violate Ceres, but allow the farmer time to fulfill his vows for Your absence.


Ovid Fasti 2.658-62; 2.673-8

Holy Terminus, You define people and cities and nations within their boundaries. All land would be in dispute if without You. You seek no offices or anyone's favour; no amount of gold can corrupt Your judgement. In good faith You preserve the legitimate claims to rural lands.

Terminus, You have lost Your freedom to move about, remain on guard, positioned where You were stationed, never to concede whatever claims a neighbor may make, lest You would appear to give an upper hand to men over vows witnessed by Jupiter, and whether ploughshares or mattocks give You a beating, proclaim, "Yours is this land, that is his.

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