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Rich Priam with a pious haste,
(Whilst you did guide his trembling feet;)
The camp, and proud Atrides' haughty fleet.
You gently guide the pious souls
O loved above, below, by every god.
Ode x. book 1.
Jove spoke: the god who mounts the winged winds,
That high thro' fields of air his flight sustain,
Odyssey, book 5.
I VENUS AND CUPID.
Venus was goddess of beauty, laughter, love, and marriage; she is said by some mythologists to have been the daughter of Jupiter and Dione, but others contend that she sprang from the froth of the sea near the island of Cytherea, and was thence carried to Olympus by the Seasons, where she captivated all the gods by her excessive loveliness; but treating them with scorn, Jupiter bestowed her hand upon Vulcan, a strange union, and frequently disturbed by her intrigues; her intimacy with the god of war is noticed by all the poets. The worship of Venus was universal in the then known world,
but her chosen abodes were Paphos, Cytherea, and Cyprus; she favoured the Trojans in their famous contest with the Greeks, on account of Paris, the son of Priam, king of Troy, having decreed the prize of beauty to her, in preference to Minerva and Juno. She is frequently styled in the writings of the ancients, Paphia, Cypria, and Cytherea, from the celebrated spots so named; Anadyomene, from her rising from the sea; Aphrodite, Exopolis, Myrtea, and Basilea. The plants and birds sacred to Venus were, the myrtle, the rose, and the apple; the sparrow, the dove, and the swan: she is generally represented as a beautiful woman, adorned with the cestus, or girdle of love, and attended by Cupid; her most famous statues were those of Phidias in the temple of Jupiter, Olympus, of Praxiteles, in Cuedos, and of Elephantis; there is also a statue of her (one of the most perfect and beautiful relics of antiquity,) in Rome, at the present time; it is said to have been the production of Alcamenes, a pupil of the sculptor Phidias. The children of Venus were, Cupid, Hermione, and Anteros, by Mars; Æneas is also said to have been her son by Anchises.
The rising of Venus from the sea is thus given by Hesiod :
The wafting waves
First bore her to Cythera's heavenly coast:
Then reached she Cyprus, girt with flowing seas,
And forth emerged a goddess, in the charms
Had pressed the sands, green herbage flowering sprang.
The foam-born goddess: and her name is known,
As Cytherea, with the blooming wreath,
If Jove would give the leafy bowers
Cupid, the god of love, and often on that account styled Love, was said to have been the son of Mars and Venus; he is sometimes represented as a winged child playing at the feet of his mother, a torch in his hand, and a quiver full of arrows, with which he wounds the heart at pleasure, and is thence considered the presiding deity of lovers; at other times he appears in all the panoply of the god of war, intimating that even Mars owns the superiority of love; or he is seen riding on a lion or a dolphin, or playing with the thunderbolts of Jove. Although figured as a child, he is considered by some mythologists as one of the most ancient of the gods.
To Love, the soft and blooming child,
Anacreon, ode 63.