Prayers to Diana
Apuleius Metamorphosis XI.2: Lucius' Prayer for the Assistance of Isis
Diana, who are the sister of the God Phoebus, who nourishes so many people by the generation of beasts, and are now adored at the sacred places of Ephesus, … You who is worshipped in divers manners, and does illuminate all the borders of the earth by Your feminine shape, You which nourishes all the fruits of the world by Your vigor and force; with whatsoever name or fashion it is lawful to call upon You, I pray You end my great travail and misery, and deliver me from the wretched fortune, which has for so long a time pursued me. Grant peace and rest if it please You to reply to my entreaties, for I have endured too much labor and peril.
Diana, in faith, we are pure girls and boys, allow us to sing to You. Diana, magnificent child of still greater Jove, whose mother Latona gave You birth in an olive grove on Delos. Lady of the Mountains who runs over hills and through dark forests, over the wild rough hill country and through the tall grass of hidden valleys, in mountain pastures cut by roaring streams. Women in the pain of childbirth call you Lucina. You are Trivia, goddess of witches. You are Luna, the luminous moon. Monthly is measured the progress of Your journey through the year while You fill the rustic homes of good farmers with the fruits of the earth. By whatsoever holy name it pleases You, from antiquity have You accepted our customary offerings, preserve in good faith the children of Romulus as ever You graced our ancestors.
Corpus Inscriptiones Latinae III suppl. 8298
Virgin Goddess of Delia, known for Your favoring grace, what offerings You demand I happily give.
Corpus Inscriptiones Latinae X.3796
Resident of Tifata, Glorious Virgin of hunters, in this place, Daughter of Latona, was Your temple established, renowned by the whole of mankind, Dweller of the Forest, and here as well, an unending praise of life for You who preserves honor. …Before were born the hills or the forests, She unfolds so much from the clouds of the mind.
Grattius Faliscus Cynegetica 1-2
I sing in thanks for the gifts of the Gods, and for those gifts, O Diana, which are under Your auspices, for those skills in which hunters delight.
Horace Carmina I.21.1; 5-8
Tender virgins recite their prayers to You, Diana, You who delight in dark rivers and quivering forest foliage, wherever You may be, atop the chilly height of Algidus, or in the Erymanthic woods, or verdant Cragus.
Horace Carmina III.22.1-8
Guardian of hills and forest groves, Virgin, whom young mothers thrice invoke at childbirth, listen and deliver them from death. Triple goddess, to You I dedicate this pine tree that now overhangs my villa and each year the blood of a wild boar, who ponders an oblique thrust, I will gladly give to its roots as drink.
Horace Carmen Saeculares lines 1-4; 13-16; 69-72
O shining Phoebe and forest Diana, Lucidum, shining ornaments of the sky, ever gentle and refined, O sacred brows, give us what we pray for now.
Gentle Moon, Ilithyia, Lucina, by whatever name you wish to be called, Gentalis, watch over mothers, may You give them gentle deliveries.
Diana, who dwells on the Aventine and Algidus hilltops, graciously lend Your ears to the prayers of virile men and young boys.
Laevius FPR fr. 26; p. 292:
Therefore adoring You as though You were nurturing Venus Herself, whether You are female, or whether You are male, even so, Illuminating the Night, You are a nurturing Moon.
Livius Andronicus Equos Troianos:
Grant me the strength, Goddess, to whom I ask, to whom I pray; extend Your assistance to me.
Ovid Amores II 14.19-24
Ilithyia, You who are compassionate towards women in labor, who suffer with great pains in their womb, their bodies strained in slow birth of the hidden child, gently attend to her, Ilithyia, and favor my prayers. She is worthy of Your aid, reward her with life, I will myself, dressed in pure white robes offer frankincense upon Your altar, I will myself carry votive gifts to lay at Your feet. And to Your altar's inscription I shall add, "By Naso, for Corinna saved." Act in this manner, and receive the legend inscribed and the gifts in Your sanctuary.
Ovid Fasti II 449-52
Thanks be to You, Lucina, who are named for this sacred grove, or else because it is You, Goddess, who brings life into the light of day. Kind Lucina, I pray that You spare pregnant girls from labor's hardship, and gently birth ripened infants from their wombs.
Ovid Fasti III 255-6
(Diana) Lucina, You have given us light, attend our birthing prayers.
Ovid Metamorphoses I.487-9
Daphne, daughter of Peneus pleaded, Father, grant me what Diana's father has granted Her; let me remain, as I am, a woman, virgin and free.
Ovid Metamorphoses V.618-20
Help me, Diana, for I am overwhelmed. Diana, I am Your servant, Your arms-bearer, to whom You have often given Your bow to carry, and who filled Your quiver with arrows.
Ovid Metamorphoses VI.327-8
Favour me, Goddess, lead me, and lend me your support.
Servius Honoratus Ad Aeneis 1.330
Whoever you may be, whether Diana or a Nymph, may You favor us and lighten our labors.
Silius Italicus Punica Liber XIII. 13.137:
Come favorably, Diana, daughter of Latona, onto our undertaking.
Statius Thebaid IV 746-64;
Potent Goddess of sacred groves - for by your noble appearance and modesty I think You are not born of mortals - beneath a starry sky delighting, no need have you to search for water; come quickly then to help your neighbors. Whether Diana, who is mighty with the bow and Latona's daughter, has sent you from Her chaste company to the bridal chamber, or whether a lapse for humble love has drawn you from the stars above to make you fertile, for the Arbiter among the Gods is Himself not new to Argive wedding beds, look with favor upon a tired army on the march. We determined that Thebes deserves to be destroyed with the sword brought forward, but now severe drought makes us no longer war-like, it bends our hearts, ands weakens us into idleness. Grant drink to those who are weary, whether you hold a babbling brook or stagnant pool. This will bring no shame or desecration to your place. Winds, you now are asked along with Jove for rain, may you refresh our virile and bellicose hearts and replenish our lifeless spirits. Thus with favoring skies may this burden to you thrive with rain laden clouds. Only Jupiter may grant that we will return with plunder, but if so, O Goddess, war gained riches we will pile as offerings of thanks to you. For your sanctuary, Goddess, a great altar we will build, and wash it in the blood of numerous Boeotian cattle to repay your kindness.
Statius Thebaid VI 633-37
Goddess, divine power of woodland groves, to You and to Your honour, these locks of my hair are owed, and by the vow made to You also comes this wrong. If my mother or I merited your good assistance in the hunt, I ask You not allow me to go to Thebes under foreboding signs, nor allow Arcadia to plunge into so much shame.
Statius Thebaid IX 608-35
Virgin Goddess of the sacred groves, whose unkind banners and fierce battle cries I follow, scorning my sex in a manner unlike the Greeks. Not the throngs in Colchis or the assembled Amazons cherish Your sacred rites more than I. If ever did I not boldly enter Bacchic revelries of the night and, although disgraced unseen in the bedroom, nevertheless I did not bear with joy the smooth shaft of the thyrsus or the soft sacks, and even after I married, though my virgin purity was soiled, in my heart of hearts I remained a virgin huntress. I took no care to hide my fault from You in some secret cave, but held out my son to You, confessed my shame and trembling laid him at Your feet. He was not of degenerate blood, not weak or mild, but straightaway he crawled to my bow and as a babe cried for my arrow. For him I pray – whose fate causes me these restless nights and threatening dreams – for him, who now audaciously goes too boldly off to war, I pray to You that I may see him victorious, or, if I pray for too much, grant at least that I may see him once more. In this let him perspire and bear Your arms. Suppress the ill-boding omens. What foreign Maenades, what Theban gods, I ask You, Diana of the sacred Delian grove, hold power in our forest? Leave me! Deep within my heart – may the augury be in vain – why, deep within my heart, do I see such dire omens in this mighty oak? If what worrisome dreams are sent me in my sleep truly presage the future, I pray, merciful Dictynna, by Your mother's labors and Your brother's glory, with all Your arrows pierce deeply this unhappy womb, and let him first hear of his wretched mother's death.
Statius Thebaid X 360-70
By these wandering stars I swear, by the shade of my leader, who is to me a divine power, that like the depth of my grief so is my deep resolve. Once my mind was downcast in mournful search of my friend, but now I shall lead the way, Cynthia, mistress of arcane mysteries of the night. If Your divine power, as they assert, is threefold and You descend into the forest each time with a different appearance, it was he who recently was Your companion, and whose honor was nurtured in Your sacred grove. At least consider now to lend me Your aid, for it is this boy, Diana, for whom I search.
Terentius Andria 232
I pray, You Gods, grant an easy delivery to this girl, and assign to someone else the ill fate that awaits the day when the midwife makes her mistakes.
Tibullus IV.iv.1 sqq.
Come, Phoebus, with Your golden hair loosely floating, soothe her torture, restore her fair complexion. Come quickly, we pray, we implore, use Your happy skills, such charms as You never spared before. Grant that her frail fame shall not waste away with consumption, or her eyes grow languid, and her bloom fade. Come now with Your favoring aid.
Tibullus IV.vi.1 sqq
Come, most chaste Queen of Heaven, appear in royal robes and nod Your assent to the wine that is poured and the cakes piled high to await You. With You bring every herb for ending pain, and soothing songs to sing; across the ocean from distant shores bear such herbs as will cure our most severe ills, or whatever else we most fear. Rack this girl no more with pain, or cruelly delay her birthing.
Valerius Cato Lydia 41-44
Your love, O Moon, is with You; why then am I not also with mine? O Moon, You know what grief is; pity one who grieves. (Endymion) who caresses You, O Phoebus, celebrates love with a laurel, and what procession has not told the story to the Gods, or when has fame not told it to the forest?
Virgil Aeneid IX.404-5
You, O divine daughter of Latona, Glory of the Stars and Guardian of the Sacred Groves, be present, Diana, that You may succor us who labor.
Virgil Aeneid XI.583-85
(Diana), skillful in arms, leader in battle and guardian of soldiers, with Your hand, Tritonian Virgin, shatter the spear of this Phrygian pirate; throw him to the ground and stretch him out prostrate beneath our high gate.
Virgil Aeneid XI.557-60
Gracious (Diana), virgin daughter of Latona, who inhabits sacred groves and nurtures woodlands, I, her father, vow this child into service as Your handmaiden. Holding Your weapons before all others, Your suppliant flees on the wind from the enemy. Bear witness to my vow, I pray, O Goddess, and accept her as Your own, whom I now commit to a precarious breeze.
Virgil Eclogues 4.8-10
Only do You, at the boy's birth, in whom a golden race now arises the world over, and the men of iron first begin to pass away, You alone favor him, chaste Lucina; indeed Your own Apollo reigns.