I’ve been saying the orphic hymns as translated by Thomas Taylor on a weekly cycle now for a few months. And I’ve decided that part of my work this April will be to write new hymns for the days of the week. Today is Friday, dedicated to Venus — so here’s that hymn.
Venus, illustrious queen of heaven
Lady of love and radiant beauty:
Crafty, artful, necessity’s mother,
Whose jewels with words of love are graven,
To whom pleasures’ acts are happy duty,
At whose banquets we feed one another:
You join all life in harmony divine,
And even savage powers bend the knee
And pour rich libations of hearty wine
In praise of your renowned divinity.
All forms of desire, beneath your eye,
Flourish and prosper like laughing ladies
Dancing as sea-foam curls around their toes.
Tears of parting lovers, an infant’s cry
For mother, food the happy cook readies —
These are love’s emblems, as everyone knows;
And whether at home or in foreign lands,
In candlelit bedrooms or public shrines,
Both married and lonely raise praying hands
In praise or your grace and grand designs.
For nowhere on Earth can be found a clan
That does not hope for solemn connection;,
Though rarely do you dole out love by plan,
And neither, quite, by random selection,
That union of hearts and minds and kisses.
Venus draw near, and to my prayer incline:
Send honest love, and familial prize,
Nature’s fertility, and such blisses.
Thus exalted as heaven’s queen you shine,
And in the temples of all lovers’ eyes.
8/30 for April.