About the Work
The Homeric Hymns are thirty-three short poetic invocations of the gods, tradionally attributed to Homer, although modern scholars believe that they were composed after his time.
The hymns are of various authorship and were composed over the period between 800 and 600 B.C. One of the things to look for when reading the hymns is an increasing attribution of abstract qualities and virtues to the gods, compared to the more primitive deities we find in Homer.
Read the following hymns:
Dionysius (1, 7, 26)
Aphrodite (5, 6, 10)
Selecting an Edition
Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica, translated by H. G. Evelyn-White (Loeb Library - now OP but available used)
This is the edition that I have (a prose translation from 1914), and I'm fond of it. As an added bonus (if you're interested in more early Greek poetry) it includes Hesiod's Works and Days and also a number of shorter poems and fragments dealing with the events of the Trojan War. However, it is now sadly out of print, though still often available used. From what I've read, however, it is mainly the breadth of other material in this volume that recommends it. It does not sound like the quality of its translations exceed the others.
The Homeric Hymns translated by M. L. West (Loeb Library - New)
This new edition with prose translations of the Homeric Hymns by M. L. West from the Loeb Library replaced the Evelyn-White translation (which dated from 1914). I have not read it, but it has received good reviews in the Classic community and remains in print. Sadly, it does not include Hesiod.
The Homeric Hymns, translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis
Publication quote: "The translations present clear, smooth, and occasionally stately narrative. The translator displays a knack for selecting colorful and appropriate English words to match the Greek." -- Classical Outlook, reviewing a previous edition or volume
The Homeric Hymns, translated by Sarah Ruden and Sheila Murnaghan
Publication quote: Pamela Gordon, Department of Classics, University of Kansas: "Sarah Ruden’s translation is clear, lean, intelligent, and delightfully readable. . . . This will be marvelous for classroom use."
This new verse translation appears to be the least expensive one currently available.