Orphic Hymn 61: Hymn to Nemesis

There is a Hymn to Goddess Nemesis, known as Orphic Hymn 61 from a collection of Greek hymns from 3rd century B.C. to 2nd century A.D.

Thee, Nemesis, I call, almighty queen, by whom the deeds of mortal life are seen;

eternal, much revered, of boundless sight, alone rejoicing in the just and right;

changing the counsels of the human breast for ever various, roiling without rest.

To every mortal is thy influence known, and men beneath thy righteous bondage groan;

for every thought within the mind concealed is to thy sight perspicuously revealed.

The soul unwilling reason to obey, by lawless passion rule, thine eyes survey.

All to see, hear and rule, O power divine, whose nature equity contains, is thine.

Come, blessed, holy Goddess, hear my prayer, and make thy mystics’ life thy constant care;

give aid benignant in the needful hour, and strength abundant to the reasoning power;

and far avert the dire, unfriendly race of counsels impious, arrogant, and base.

Hymn to Nemesis – Mesomedes

Mesomedes of Crete, a Greek lyric poet wrote a ‘Hymn to Nemesis’.  He lived during the 2nd century and was a freedman and court musician to the emperor Hadrian (117-138).  The hymn to Nemesis is one of only four which preserve the ancient notation written over the text.  Prior to the discovery of the Seikilos epitaph in the late 19th century the hymns of Mesomedes were the only surviving written music from the ancient world.

Winged Nemesis, turner of the scales of life,

blue-eyed goddess, daughter of justice,

who, with your unbending bridle,

dominate the vain arrogance of men and,

loathing man’s fatal vanity, obliterate black envy;

beneath your wheel unstable and leaving no imprint,

the fate of men is tossed; you who come unnoticed,

in an instant, to subdue the insolent head.

You measure life with your hand,

and with frowning brow, hold the yoke.

We glorify you, Nemesis, immortal goddess,

Victory of the unfurled wings, powerful, infallible,

who shares the altar of justice and, furious at human pride,

casts man into the abyss of Tarturus