Michael Tarchaniota Marullus (1458-1500): Hymn to Hermes

Marullus wrote his hymn to Hermes in the Latin exile, after his fatherland, Constantinople, fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Marullus was a poet and stratioti-soldier who fought in the Crimea against the Ottoman Turks. Many members of his family died in the battle field fighting for the freedom of the Peloponnes. He is the author of two important works: the «Hymni naturales,» a collection of hymns to the Hellenic Gods unter their Latin names, and «Institutiones principales,» about the education of princes. Bartolomeo Scala, his father-in-law, was a member of the Platonic Academy in Florence, Italy.

So, my good king of the gods,
the gloomy fate, unfortunately, I could not escape,
to practice as a Hellene
the cult of my fathers
in a non-Hellenic language, (5)
me, who first roused the silent tripod,
after so many centuries, with an Orphic hymn,
as an exile,
makes the valleys of the Etruscan Arno resound with my loud song.
And yet I must be grateful to my Delphi (10)
and the son of the blessed Maia,
for he never permitted exile
to bring me to my knees and discourage me.
He has been my guide through many lands and over rough seas,
as I was tossed about here and there by the fates, (15)
and the benevolent gave me the gift
of writing poems in Scythian and Latin.
Perhaps, if I am not a false oracle, as time passes,
he will also grant honor to the exile, which one day great kings will envy.
In the meantime, I shall sing of you, (20)
if not in the blessed language of my country,
then in the language that is allowed to me,
at the pleasent hour of sunset, and I will whsiper to you
at the break of day, oh lord of poets and both worlds,
Hermes, messenger, father … (25)
Khaire, true adornment and consolation that provides happines ! (70)