And he cast desire – sweet to the taste – for Anchises into her heart,
Anchises who then in the high hills of many-fountained Ida
Was grazing his cattle, his living body like the immortals.
When she saw him, laughter-loving Aphrodite
Passionately desired him, and terrible yearning seized her in her guts.
And thereupon she went to Kypros, to Paphos, she plunged into her incense-fragrant temple:
There where her sacred precinct and her incense-fragrant altar are.
And going in there, she shut the shining doors,
And there the Graces bathed her and anointed her with ambrosial oil,
Such [oil] as dews the gods, who exist eternally, sweet immortal [oil],
Filled with sweet smells, it belonged to her.
And when she had clothed her skin well with all her fine garments,
And adorned herself with gold, laughter-loving Aphrodite
Forsook fragrant Kypros and made haste to Troy,
Swiftly passing along a road aloft among the clouds.
She came to many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts,
And she went straight to the farmstead across the hill. And after her, paying court,
Went grizzled wolves and fierce lions,
Nimble bears and leopards that deer cannot sate.
When she saw them her spirit delighted within her,
And she put desire into their breasts, and at once
They all lay down in pairs upon shady dens.
And she arrived at the well-wrought dwellings,
And she found him, after he’d remained behind alone at farmsteads far from other [people],
The hero Anchises, who had beauty from the gods.
The [others] were all following cattle across the grassy pastures,
And since he was left alone in the lodgings far from others,
He rambled here and there, playing loudly on the kithara.
She stood before him, Aphrodite daughter of Zeus,
With her shape and form like an unmarried [mortal] girl,
Lest he, when he beheld her with his eyes, be afraid.
And Anchises when he saw her, observed and admired
Her form and shape and her glittering garments,
For she wore a most radiant robe like fiery sunlight,
Fine and golden and embroidered all over: and as the moon
Shone on her breasts – soft to the touch – [she was] a wonder to behold.
And she had winding twisted ornaments, shining ones,
And very fine chains wound around her tender throat.
Eros seized Anchises, and facing her he gave voice to speech:
“Hail, Queen, whichever you may be of the blessed ones who’s come to these houses,
Artemis or Leto or golden Aphrodite,
Or noble-minded Themis, or gleaming-eyed Athena,
Or maybe you come here as one of the Graces, those who
Are companions to all the gods, and who are called deathless,
Or one of the Nymphs who dwell in fair groves,
Or one of the Nymphs who dwell about this fine hill
And its river-streams and grassy meadows.
I’ll make you an altar on the highest place,
Visible in the country for miles around,
And I’ll perform fine sacrifices in every season.
Since you have a gracious spirit,
Grant [that I may] be a very distinguished man among the Trojans,
And grant [that I may] make hereafter strong seed,
And that [I may] myself live long and well to see the light of the sun,
And [to be] blessed with riches among people, and [that I may] come to the threshold of old age.”
Then Aphrodite daughter of Zeus answered him:
“Anchises, noblest of earth-born mortals,
Mark you I’m no god: why do you compare me to the deathless ones?
I’m mortal, and a mortal woman mother bore me.
Otreus of famous name is my father – perhaps you know him by repute –
Who’s lord over all well-walled Phrygia,
And I know well your tongue and ours,
For a nurse from Troy’s halls reared me:
She tended me right from when I was a small child,
Taking me by the hand with a mother’s love.
So indeed I know your tongue well.
But now the Argus-slayer, golden-wanded, carried me off
From the dance of golden-distaffed loud-sounding Artemis,
And the many maidens and girls – whose parents are courted with oxen –
I danced with, and the boundless crowd [that was] all around:
From there the gold-wanded slayer of Argus carried me off:
And he carried me over many fields of death-doomed mortals,
And much [that was] ownerless and untilled, where creatures
That eat raw flesh roam about down shaded streambeds,
And I did not expect to touch the life-giving earth with my feet [again].
He promised that I would be called a lawful spouse
In Anchises’ marriage-bed, and that I would bear you splendid children,
And when he told [me this] and pointed [you] out, the mighty Argus-slayer
Went away again in search of the tribe of the undying ones,
But I came to you as a suppliant, for it is a strong compulsion for me.
I implore you, by Zeus and by [your] noble ancestors –
For no ignoble ones would bring forth any one like you –
When you take me, an unwedded girl with no experience of [the act of love],
Show me to your mother who has known [you] well,
And to your kindred brothers, full-brothers of the same parents.
I won’t be a shameful marriage-relative to them, but a befitting one.
Send a messenger quickly into Phrygia of swift steeds,
To tell my father and my grieving mother:
They’ll send [back] an abundance of gold and woven cloth,
And you’ll receive many and splendid ransoms.
And after you do these things, give a feast for a passionate wedding,
Paying honour to mortals and to the deathless gods.”
And so saying, the goddess cast sweet yearning into his spirit,
And Eros seized Anchises, and he spoke speech and uttered words:
“If you are a mortal, and a mortal woman mother bore you,
And Otreus is your father – of famous name – as you proclaim,
And you have come to this place here by the aid of Hermes, undying minister,
You will be called my bedfellow for all days:
And in that case no god nor any death-doomed mortal
Will hold me back in this place until I’m united with you in desire
Right away now: not if the far-darter Apollo himself
Were to let loose a dreadful arrow from his silver bow.
I would wish then, woman befitting a goddess,
After I mounted your marriage bed, that I’d sink into Hades’ house.”
And so saying, he took her hand: and laughter-loving Aphrodite
Stirred, and turning around under [his] fair eyes,
Cast [herself] on the bed well-spread with cloths,
Where she was helpless for the lord in soft mantles, being spread out.
There in the upper parts the skins of bears and loud-roaring lions were laid,
The ones he’d slain in the lofty hills.