Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite (#55)
Heavenly, smiling Aphrodite, praised in many hymns,
sea-born, revered goddess of generation, you like the nightlong revel
and you couple lovers at night, O scheming mother of Necessity.
Everything comes from you; you have yoked the world,
and you control all three realms. You give birth to all,
to everything in heaven, upon the fruitful earth
and in the depths of the sea, O venerable companion of Bacchos.
You delight in festivities, O bridelike mother of the Erotes,
O Persuasion whose joy is in the bed of love, secretive, giver of grace,
visible and invisible, lovely-tressed daughter of a noble father,
bridal feast companion of the gods, sceptered she-wolf,
beloved and man-loving giver of birth and of life,
with your maddening love-charms you yoke mortals
and the many races of beasts to unbridled passion.
Come, O goddess born in Cyprus, whether you are on Olympos,
O queen, exulting in the beauty of your face,
or you wander in Syria, country of fine frankincense,
or, yet, driving your golden chariot in the plain,
you lord it over Egypt’s fertile river bed.
Come, whether you ride your swan-drawn chariot over the sea’s billows,
joying in the creatures of the deep as they dance in circles,
or you delight in the company of the dark-faced nymphs on land,
(as, light-footed, they frisk over the sandy beaches).
Come, lady, even if you are in Cyprus that cherishes you,
where fair maidens and chaste nymphs throughout the year
sing of you, O blessed one, and of immortal, pure Adonis.
Come, O beautiful and comely goddess;
I summon you with holy words and pious soul.
Translation by A. Athanassakis