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Muse, tell me the deeds of golden Aphrodite the Cyprian, who stirs up sweet passion in the gods and subdues the tribes of mortal men and birds that fly in air and all the many creatures
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that the dry land rears, and all that the sea: all these love the deeds of rich-crowned Cytherea. Yet there are three hearts that she cannot bend nor yet ensnare. First is the daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis, bright-eyed Athena; for she has no pleasure in the deeds of golden Aphrodite,
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but delights in wars and in the work of Ares, in strifes and battles and in preparing famous crafts. She first taught earthly craftsmen to make chariots of war and cars variously wrought with bronze, and she, too, teaches tender maidens in the house
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and puts knowledge of goodly arts in each one's mind. Nor does laughter-loving Aphrodite ever tame in love Artemis, the huntress with shafts of gold; for she loves archery and the slaying of wild beasts in the mountains, the lyre also and dancing and thrilling cries
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and shady woods and the cities of upright men. Nor yet does the pure maiden Hestia love Aphrodite's works. She was the first-born child of wily Cronos and youngest too, Cronos swallowed each of his children the moment that they were born, but ultimately was forced to disgorge them. Hestia, being the first to be swallowed, was the last to be disgorged, and so was at once the first and latest born of the children of Cronos. Cp. Hesiod Theogony, ll. 495-7. by will of Zeus who holds the aegis, —a queenly maid whom both Poseidon and Apollo sought to wed.
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But she was wholly unwilling, nay, stubbornly refused; and touching the head of father Zeus who holds the aegis, she, that fair goddess, swear a great oath which has in truth been fulfilled, that she would be a maiden all her days. So Zeus the Father gave her an high honor instead of marriage,
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and she has her place in the midst of the house and has the richest portion. In all the temples of the gods she has a share of honor, and among all mortal men she is chief of the goddesses. Of these three Aphrodite cannot bend or ensnare the hearts. But of all others there is nothing
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among the blessed gods or among mortal men that has escaped Aphrodite. Even the heart of Zeus, who delights in thunder, is led astray by her; though he is greatest of all and has the lot of highest majesty, she beguiles even his wise heart whensoever she pleases, and mates him with mortal women,
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unknown to Hera, his sister and his wife, the grandest far in beauty among the deathless goddesses —most glorious is she whom wily Cronos with her mother Rhea did beget: and Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, made her his chaste and careful wife.
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But upon Aphrodite herself Zeus cast sweet desire to be joined in love with a mortal man, to the end that, very soon, not even she should be innocent of a mortal's love; lest laughter-loving Aphrodite should one day softly smile and say mockingly among all the gods
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that she had joined the gods in love with mortal women who bare sons of death to the deathless gods, and had mated the goddesses with mortal men. And so he put in her heart sweet desire for Anchises who at that time among the steep hills of many-fountained Ida
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was tending cattle, and in shape was like the immortal gods. Therefore, when laughter-loving Aphrodite saw him, she loved him, and terribly desire seized her in her heart. She went to Cyprus , to Paphos , where her precinct is and fragrant altar, and passed into her sweet-smelling temple.
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There she went in and put to the glittering doors, and there the Graces bathed her with heavenly oil such as blooms upon the bodies of the eternal gods —oil divinely sweet, which she had by her, filled with fragrance. And laughter-loving Aphrodite put on all her rich clothes,
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and when she had decked herself with gold, she left sweet-smelling Cyprus and went in haste towards Troy , swiftly travelling high up among the clouds. So she came to many-fountained Ida, the mother of wild creatures and went straight to the homestead across the mountains. After her
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came grey wolves, fawning on her, and grim-eyed lions, and bears, and fleet leopards, ravenous for deer: and she was glad in heart to see them, and put desire in their breasts, so that they all mated, two together, about the shadowy coombes.
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But she herself came to the neat-built shelters, and him she found left quite alone in the homestead —the hero Anchises who was comely as the gods. All the others were following the herds over the grassy pastures, and he, left quite alone in the homestead,
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was roaming hither and thither and playing thrillingly upon the lyre. And Aphrodite, the daughter of Zeus stood before him, being like a pure maiden in height and mien, that he should not be frightened when he took heed of her with his eyes. Now when Anchises saw her, he marked her well and wondered at
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her mien and height and shining garments. For she was clad in a robe out-shining the brightness of fire,
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a splendid robe of gold, enriched with all manner of needlework, which shimmered like the moon
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over her tender breasts, a marvel to see. Also she wore twisted brooches and shining earrings in the form of flowers;
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and round her soft throat were lovely necklaces.
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And Anchises was seized with love, and said to her:
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“Hail, lady, whoever of the blessed ones you are that are come to this house, whether Artemis, or Leto, or golden Aphrodite, or high-born Themis, or bright-eyed Athena.
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Or, maybe, you are one of the Graces come hither, who bear the gods company and are called immortal, or else one of the Nymphs who haunt the pleasant woods, or of those who inhabit this lovely mountain and the springs of rivers and grassy meads.
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I will make you an altar upon a high peak in a far seen place, and will sacrifice rich offerings to you at all seasons. And do you feel kindly towards me and grant that I may become a man very eminent among the Trojans, and give me strong offspring for the time to come. As for my own self,
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let me live long and happily, seeing the light of the sun, and come to the threshold of old age, a man prosperous among the people.” Thereupon Aphrodite the daughter of Zeus answered him: “Anchises, most glorious of all men born on earth, know that I am no goddess: why do you liken me to the deathless ones?
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Nay, I am but a mortal, and a woman was the mother that bare me. Otreus of famous name is my father, if so be you have heard of him, and he reigns over all Phrygia rich in fortresses. But I know your speech well beside my own, for a Trojan nurse brought me up at home:
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she took me from my dear mother and reared me thenceforth when I was a little child. So comes it, then, that I well know your tongue also. And now the Slayer of Argus with the golden wand has caught me up from the dance of huntress Artemis, her with the golden arrows. For there were many of us, nymphs and marriageable “Cattle-earning,” because an accepted suitor paid for his bride in cattle. maidens,
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playing together; and an innumerable company encircled us: from these the Slayer of Argus with the golden wand rapt me away. He carried me over many fields of mortal men and over much land untilled and unpossessed, where savage wild-beasts roam through shady coombes,
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until I thought never again to touch the life-giving earth with my feet. And he said that I should be called the wedded wife of Anchises, and should bear you goodly children. But when he had told and advised me, he, the strong Slayer of Argos , went back to the families of the deathless gods,