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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,        5
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        10
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],        15
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,        20
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        25
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.        30
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.
 
 
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