The Homeric Hymns eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 121 pages of information about The Homeric Hymns.

Hail to thee thus, Son of Zeus and Maia, of thee shall I be mindful and of another lay.

III.  APHRODITE

Tell me, Muse, of the deeds of golden Aphrodite, the Cyprian, who rouses sweet desire among the Immortals, and vanquishes the tribes of deathly men, and birds that wanton in the air, and all beasts, even all the clans that earth nurtures, and all in the sea.  To all are dear the deeds of the garlanded Cyprian.

[Aphrodite.  Marble statue in the Louvre:  lang166.jpg]

Yet three hearts there be that she cannot persuade or beguile:  the daughter of Zeus of the AEgis, grey-eyed Athene:  not to her are dear the deeds of golden Aphrodite, but war and the work of Ares, battle and broil, and the mastery of noble arts.  First was she to teach earthly men the fashioning of war chariots and cars fair-wrought with bronze.  And she teaches to tender maidens in the halls all goodly arts, breathing skill into their minds.  Nor ever doth laughter-loving Aphrodite conquer in desire Artemis of the Golden Distaff, rejoicing in the sound of the chase, for the bow and arrow are her delight, and slaughter of the wild beasts on the hills:  the lyre, the dance, the clear hunting halloo, and shadowy glens, and cities of righteous men.

Nor to the revered maiden Hestia are the feats of Aphrodite a joy, eldest daughter of crooked-counselled Cronos [youngest, too, by the design of Zeus of the AEgis], that lady whom both Poseidon and Apollo sought to win.  But she would not, nay stubbornly she refused; and she swore a great oath fulfilled, with her hand on the head of Father Zeus of the AEgis, to be a maiden for ever, that lady Goddess.  And to her Father Zeus gave a goodly meed of honour, in lieu of wedlock; and in mid-hall she sat her down choosing the best portion:  and in all temples of the Gods is she honoured, and among all mortals is chief of Gods. {168}

Of these she cannot win or beguile the hearts.  But of all others there is none, of blessed Gods or mortal men, that hath escaped Aphrodite.  Yea, even the heart of Zeus the Thunderer she led astray; of him that is greatest of all, and hath the highest lot of honour.  Even his wise wit she hath beguiled at her will, and lightly laid him in the arms of mortal women; Hera not wotting of it, his sister and his wife, the fairest in goodliness of beauty among the deathless Goddesses.  To highest honour did they beget her, crooked-counselled Cronos and Mother Rheia; and Zeus of imperishable counsel made her his chaste and duteous wife.

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The Homeric Hymns from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.