Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg , at sacred-texts.com
1. He who is inflamed after the primitive ordinances, is anointed with ointments 1, the giver of all treasures, he whose hair is flame, whose stately robe is ghee, the purifier, skilled in sacrifice, Agni—that he may sacrifice to the gods.
2. As thou hast performed, O Agni, the Hotri's duty for the Earth, as thou hast done it for Heaven, O Gâtavedas, full of intelligence, in the same way sacrifice with this offering to the gods. Prosper this sacrifice to-day as thou hast done for Manus.
3. Thou hast three lives, O Gâtavedas, and three births from the Dawn 1, O Agni! Being wise, sacrifice with these to the favour of the gods, and bring luck and welfare to the sacrificer.
4. Praising Agni full of splendour, full of beauty, we adore thee, O Gâtavedas, deserving to be magnified. Thee the gods have made their messenger, their steward 1, and carrier of offerings, the navel of immortality.
5. O Agni, the Hotri who before thee was an excellent sacrificer, who verily 1 sat down and brought luck by himself 2 sacrifice according to his rules, O intelligent one, and set down our sacrifice at the feast of the gods.
The Rishi is Kata Vaisvâmitra, the metre Trishtubh.—Verse 1 = TB. I, 2, 1, 10. Verse 3 = TB. III, 2, 11, 2;
[paragraph continues] MS. IV, 11, 1; 12, 5. Verse 4 = TB. III, 6, 9, 1; MS. IV, 13, 5.
Note 1. Possibly the poet intended to allude also to the other meaning of aktúbhih, which means both 'ointments' and 'nights.' The nights render Agni conspicuous and anoint (añg) him as it were with beauty. I do not believe that the existence of a Vedic word aktú, 'ointment,' should be denied; cf. Bechtel, Nachrichten d. Göttinger Ges. d. Wiss. 1894, p. 398.
Note 1. See Bergaigne, Religion Védique, II, 14. Prof. Max Müller translates: Three lives are thine, the dawns are thy three birthplaces, or three dawns are thy birthplaces.
Note 1. See above, I, 58, 7, note 1.
Note 1. Literally, 'doubly.' Grassmann is right in observing that the Vedic poets show a certain predilection for the word dvitâ´ when speaking of Agni's being established and doing his work at the sacrifice. Prof. Max Muller thinks of Agni's two homes, earth and heaven.
Note 2. On the Hotri more ancient than Agni, comp. Bergaigne, Religion Védique, I, 109. Probably this simply refers to the Agni or the fire used at former sacrifices.