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Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 3, by G.R.S. Mead, [1906], at

p. 91



(Text: Stob., Phys., v. 14, under the simple heading: “Of Hermes”; G. p. 65 M. i. 45; W. i. 77. The same verses are read in the appendix to the Anthologia Palatina, p. 768, n. 40.)

Seven Stars far varied in their course revolved upon the [wide] Olympian plain; with them for ever will Eternity 1 spin [fate] 2:—Mēnē that shines by night, [and] gloomy Kronos, [and] sweet Hēlios, and Paphiē who’s carried in the shrine, 3 courageous Arēs, fair-wingèd Hermēs, and Zeus the primal source 4 from whom Nature doth come.

Now they themselves have had the race of

p. 92

men entrusted to their care; so that in us there is a Mēnē, Zeus, an Arēs, Paphiē, a Kronos, Hēlios and Hermēs.

Wherefore we are divided up [so as] to draw from the ætherial spirit, 1 tears, laughter, anger, birth, reason, sleep, desire.

Tears are Kronos, birth Zeus, reason [is] Hermēs, courage Mars, and Mēnē sleep, in sooth, and Cytherēa desire, and Hēlios [is] laughter—for ’tis because of him that justly every mortal thinking thing doth laugh and the immortal world.


This is the only known specimen of verses attributed to the Trismegistic tradition. Liddell and Scott, however, under “νυκτιφανής,” do not question this attribution, while Clement of Alexandria (Strom., vi. p. 633 [this is a reference of Wachsmuth’s which I cannot verify]) praises the “Hymns of the Gods” of Hermes. On the contrary, in Anthol. Palat., p. 442, n. 491, the seventh verse is ascribed to Theon of Alexandria.


91:1 Or Æon.

91:2 ἐπινήσεται. But the Anthology reads “καὶ τοῖσιν ἀεὶ κανονίζεται”—that is to say, Eternity or Æon is for ever regulated or measured by the Seven; which seems to have no sense unless it means that the Seven are the instruments, whereby Eternity is divided into time.

91:3 That is, Venus, the image of whom was, presumably, carried in a small shrine in processions.

91:4 ἀρχιγένεθλος.

92:1 Meaning the one element or ether simply.

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