Home  »  library  »  poem  »  Power of Aphrodite

C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Power of Aphrodite

By The Homeric Hymns

Hymn to Venus

Paraphrase by Percy Bysshe Shelley

MUSE, sing the deeds of golden Aphrodite,

Who wakens with her smile the lulled delight

Of sweet desire, taming the eternal kings

Of Heaven, and men, and all the living things

That fleet along the air, or whom the sea,

Or earth with her maternal ministry,

Nourish innumerable; thy delight

All seek. O crownèd Aphrodite!

Three spirits canst thou not deceive or quell.

Minerva, child of Jove, who loves too well

Fierce war and mingling combat, and the fame

Of glorious deeds, to heed thy gentle flame.

Diana, [clear-voiced] golden-shafted queen,

Is tamed not by thy smiles; the shadows green

Of the wild woods, the bow, the … [lyre and dance],

And piercing cries amid the swift pursuit

Of beasts among waste mountains,—such delight

Is hers, and men who know and do the right.

Nor Saturn’s first-born daughter, Vesta chaste,

Whom Neptune and Apollo wooed the last,

Such was the will of ægis-bearing Jove;

But sternly she refused the ills of Love,

And by her mighty father’s head she swore

An oath not unperformed, that evermore

A virgin she would live ’mid deities

Divine: her father, for such gentle ties

Renounced, gave glorious gifts; thus in his hall

She sits and feeds luxuriously. O’er all

In every fane, her honors first arise

From men—the eldest of Divinities.

These spirits she persuades not, nor deceives,

But none beside escape, so well she weaves

Her unseen toils; nor mortal men, nor gods

Who live secure in their unseen abodes.