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Hymn to Artemis

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"Hymn to Artemis" – in ancient Greek literature, there is a surviving “Homeric Hymn to Artemis”; the beautiful and chaste ancient Greek goddess of the hunt who was also the sister of Apollo, the ancient Greek god of music:

“O pale, cool goddess, proud and free
Roaming through woods and skies
I call upon you to bless me
With your great gift of freedom
I wish no heat of human passion
Envy, lust, or desperation
Nor the crowded streets and archways
Full of sweat and stinking masses
What I wish is virgin silence
Quiet glades and rushing water
To hunt and fish with none to follow
To breathe the cool of evening air
You have untied the knots
Which bind the stale hordes of men together
You have escaped the net
Of clubs, arenas, and crowded tables
Hear me and breathe fresh air to me
New springtime, and cool, clear winds
Heal my tired lust and send
New and chaste strength into me
Give me courage and independence
That I may break free of all my bonds
That I may follow in temple or hunt
The path you have blessed
May all my needs and desires be drowned
In your cool and running streams
I offer to you this bowl of water
Shining with the moon's reflection
I offer you incense and night-blooming flowers
White ones, delicate yet strong
Growing where no other was able
Independent, proud and free
Like you, o goddess
Heal and help me!”

This piece is an evocation of how a suitable melody may once have been used during a recitation of the poem. I use the ancient Greek Hypolydian mode (misnamed the ‘Lydian’ mode in the Middle Ages) as this mode is distinctively soft and feminine in nature, sensual and dreamy; qualities which best reflect the nature of this distinctively beautiful female goddess. I include a rapid finger-style passage towards the middle of the piece in an attempt to evoke the feeling of the movement of the hunt.