Anna Kingsford-‘Hymn To Hermes’
Engraving by Hendrick Goltzius, (artist), Dutch, 1558 – 1617.
After a painting by Polidoro da Caravaggio, Lombard, c. 1499 – 1543.
(This print is part of a series of eight prints of classical gods, based on paintings by Polidoro da Caravaggio on the facade of a Roman house, seen and copied by Goltzius in Rome.)
- ‘A moving light between heaven and earth; as a white cloud assuming many shapes;
- He descends and rises, he guides and illumines, he transmutes himself from small to great, from bright to shadowy, from the opaque image to the diaphanous mist.
- Star of the East conducting the Magi; cloud from whose midst the holy voice speaketh; by day a pillar of vapour, by night a shining flame.
- I behold thee, Hermes, Son of God, slayer of Argus, archangel, who bearest the rod of knowledge, by which all things in heaven or on earth are measured.
- Double serpents entwine it, because as serpents they must be wise who desire God.
- And upon thy feet are living wings, bearing thee feerless through space and over the abyss of darkness; because they must be without dread to dare the void and the deep, who desire to attain and to achieve.
- Upon thy side thou wearest a sword of a single stone, two edged, whose temper resisteth all things.
- For they who would slay or save must be armed with a strong and perfect will, defying and penetrating with no uncertain force.
- This is Herpe, the sword which destroyeth demons; by whose aid the hero overcometh, and the saviour is able to deliver.
- Except thou bind it upon thy thigh thou shalt be overborne, and blades of mortal making shall vail against thee.
- Nor this all thine equipment, Son of God; the covering of darkness is upon thine head, and none is able to strike thee.
- This is the magic hat, brought from Hades, the region of silence, where they are who speak not.
- He who bears the world on his shoulders shall give it to thee, lest the world fall on thee, and thou be ground into powder.
- For he who has perfect wisdom and knowledge, he whose steps are without fear, and whose will is single and all pervading;
- Even he must also know how to keep the divine secrets, and not to expose the holy mysteries of God to the senses of the wicked.
- Keep a bridle upon thy lips, and cover thys head in the way of battle.
- These are the four excellent things,-the rod, the wings, the sword, and the hat.
- Knowledge, with thou must gain with labour: the spirit of holy boldness, which cometh by faith in God; a mighty will, and a complete discretion.
- He who discovers (uncover, discloses) the holy mysteries is lost.
- Go thy way in silence, and see thou tell no man.’
From Anna Kingsford‘s
‘Clothed with the Sun’,
page 236 / 237