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The Homeric Hymns A New Prose translation and Essays, Literary and Mythological

Page: 45

Then Aphrodite the daughter of Zeus answered him:

Anchises, most renowned of men on earth, behold no Goddess am I,—why likenest thou me to the Immortals?—Nay, mortal am I, and a mortal mother bare me, and my father is famous Otreus, if thou perchance hast heard of him, who reigns over strong-warded Phrygia. Now I well know both your tongue and our own, for a Trojan nurse reared me in the hall, and nurtured me ever, from the day when she took me at my mother’s hands, and while I was but a little child. Thus it is, thou seest, that I well know thy tongue as well as my own. But even now the Argus-slayer of the Golden Wand hath ravished me away from the choir of Artemis, the Goddess of the Golden p. 173Distaff, who loves the noise of the chase. Many nymphs, and maids beloved of many wooers, were we there at play, and a great circle of people was about us withal. But thence did he bear me away, the Argus-slayer, he of the Golden Wand, and bore me over much tilled land of mortal men, and many wastes unfilled and uninhabited, where wild beasts roam through the shadowy dells. So fleet we passed that I seemed not to touch the fertile earth with my feet. Now Hermes said that I was bidden to be the bride of Anchises, and mother of thy goodly children. But when he had spoken and shown the thing, lo, instantly he went back among the immortal Gods,—the renowned Slayer of Argus. But I come to thee, strong necessity being laid upon me, and by Zeus I beseech thee and thy good parents,—for none ill folk may get such a son as thee,—by them I implore thee to take me, a maiden as I am and untried in love, and show me to thy father and thy discreet mother, and to thy brothers of one lineage with thee. No p. 174unseemly daughter to these, and sister to those will I be, but well worthy; and do thou send a messenger swiftly to the Phrygians of the dappled steeds, to tell my father of my fortunes, and my sorrowing mother; gold enough and woven raiment will they send, and many and goodly gifts shall be thy meed. Do thou all this, and then busk the winsome wedding-feast, that is honourable among both men and immortal Gods.”

So speaking, the Goddess brought sweet desire into his heart, and love came upon Anchises, and he spake, and said:

“If indeed thou art mortal and a mortal mother bore thee, and if renowned Otreus is thy father, and if thou art come hither by the will of Hermes, the immortal Guide, and art to be called my wife for ever, then neither mortal man nor immortal God shall hold me from my desire before I lie with thee in love, now and anon; nay, not even if Apollo the Far-darter himself were to send the shafts of sorrow from the silver bow! Nay, thou lady like the Goddesses, willing p. 175were I to go down within the house of Hades, if but first I had climbed into thy bed.”


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