Hymn to Proserpine
Caves are essential to the survival of bats, and caves that are ideal for hibernation or raising young bats can sometimes contain roosts of millions of individual bats. During the warmer months, these bats fly out of their cave roosts each evening to forage. Hymn to Proserpine visualizes the experience of bats rising from beneath the earth to fly out under the stars, symbolized by the Roman myth of Dis and Proserpina.
According to the myth, Proserpina spends half of the year in the underworld with Dis, her husband, and half above ground with her mother, Ceres. She symbolizes the seasons and the harvest, with plants growing and bearing fruit in spring and summer, when she rises, and lying fallow in fall and winter, when she returns to her home with Dis. Proserpina is the queen of the underworld, and was also revered as the goddess of death.
Hymn to Proserpine is one of three based on Eddie Vedder's song Rise. It contains some of Vedder's lyrics, along with excerpts from the poem Hymn to Proserpine by Algernon Charles Swinburne. Swinburne's poem is a dedication to the goddess Proserpina.
Excerpts from Hymn to Proserpine
By Algernon Charles Swinburne
In the night where thine eyes are as moons are in heaven, the night where thou art,
Where the silence is more than all tunes, where sleep overflows from the heart,
Where the poppies are sweet as the rose in our world, and the red rose is white,
And the wind falls faint as it blows with the fume of the flowers of the night,
And the murmur of spirits that sleep in the shadow of Gods from afar,
Grows dim in thine ears and deep, as the deep dim soul of a star,
In the sweet low light of thy face, under heavens untrod by the sun,
Let my soul with their souls find place, and forget what is done and undone.
All ye as a wind shall go by, as a fire shall ye pass and be past;
Ye are Gods, and behold, ye shall die, and the waves be upon you at last.
And the wonderful waters knew her, the winds and the viewless ways,
And the roses grew rosier, and bluer the sea-blue stream of the bays.
Lyrics to Rise
Painting of Proserpina and Dis - Walter Crane