ΜΟΥΣΑΙΟΥ ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΙΚΟΥ ΤΑ ΚΑΘ᾿ ἩΡΩ ΚΑΙ ΛΕΑΝΔΡΟΝ
Εἰπέ, θεά, κρυφίων ἐπιμάρτυρα λύχνον ἐρώτων καὶ νύχιον πλωτῆρα θαλασσοπόρων ὑμεναίων καὶ γάμον ἀχλυόεντα, τὸν οὐκ ἴδεν ἄφθιτος Ἠώς, καὶ Σηστὸν καὶ Ἄβυδον, ὅπῃ γάμον ἔννυχον1 Ἡροῦς νηχόμενόν τε Λέανδρον ὁμοῦ καὶ λύχνον ἀκούω,5 λύχνον ἀπαγγέλλοντα διακτορίην Ἀφροδίτης, Ἡροῦς νυκτιγάμοιο γαμοστόλον ἀγγελιώτην, λύχνον, Ἔρωτος ἄγαλμα, τὸν ὤφελεν αἰθέριος Ζεὺς
- 1γάμον ἔννυχον Ludwich, constr., cp. 75 and pap. Oxy. 2. 214 r. 10 s.: -ος -ος mss. (with full stop after Ἡροῦς).
Musaeus Hero and Leander
Tell of the lamp, O goddess,a the witness of hidden loves,b And of the one who swam by night, to sea-borne spousals, And the darkling marriage-bond, unseen by deathless Dawn. And Sestos and Abydos,c where I hear of the midnight bridals Of Hero, of Leander swimming, and thereto of the lamp5 The lamp that beaconed forth Aphrodite’s ministry, Courier of night-wed Hero, furnisher-forth of wedding, The lamp, love’s glory; would Zeus of the aether had brought it,
- a“Goddess”=the Muse (cf. Nonn. D. 1. 1~Il. 1. 1).
- bThe lamp as witness of secret love is a long-standing motif in love-stories; cf., e.g., Aristoph. Eccl. 1 sq.; A. P. 5. 4 sq.
- cSestos, a town on the Thracian Chersonese (the Gallipoli peninsula) and Abydos in Mysia, Asia Minor, both lie near the entrance to the Hellespont (the present-day Dardanelles), Sestos a little nearer to the Sea of Marmara. Both towns are already mentioned together in the Iliad (2. 836). The distance across at the narrowest point is today 1350 metres. The currents out of the Sea of Marmara are very rapid, and soon made a sorry sight of Xerxes’ bridge structures (Hdt. 7. 36). One did not, therefore, in practice strike directly across. The crossing-points are a little outside the towns; from Abydos one crossed from a point eight stades N.E. above the town in the direction of the Sea of Marmara (Polyb. 16. 29. 13 sq.). From Sestos one went to Hero’s tower, S.W. of the town, and let oneself be carried by the current from there. From Abydos the swim was more difficult because one had to cross the currents (Strabo 13. 1. 22 C. 590 sq.); cf. Malten, op, cit. (in note a, page 302), pp. 71 sq. According to Antipater of Thessalonica (A.P. 7. 666. 3), in Augustan times only ruins of Hero’s tower were left. A corresponding tower on the other shore near Abydos is mentioned by Horace (Epist. 1. 3. 4; cp. Strabo, loc. cit.).