The Roman Goddess Venus: Principally associated with love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and military victory. She played a key role in many Roman religious festivals. From the third century BC, the increasing Hellenization of Roman upper classes identified her as the equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite.
Titus Lucretius Carus (ca. 99 BC – ca. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is an epic philosophical poem laying out his beliefs on: De rerum natura, translated into English as On the Nature of Things or “On the Nature of the Universe”. The below poem is an excerpt from this work. Written in 50 B.C.E Translated by William Ellery Leonard
Painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) The Birth of Venus (1879)
Mother of Rome, delight of Gods and men, Dear Venus that beneath the gliding stars Makest to teem the many-voyaged main And fruitful lands- for all of living things Through thee alone are evermore conceived, Through thee are risen to visit the great sun- Before thee, Goddess, and thy coming on, Flee stormy wind and massy cloud away, For thee the daedal Earth bears scented flowers, For thee waters of the unvexed deep Smile, and the hollows of the serene sky Glow with diffused radiance for thee!
For soon as comes the springtime face of day, And procreant gales blow from the West unbarred, First fowls of air, smit to the heart by thee, Foretoken thy approach, O thou Divine, And leap the wild herds round the happy fields Or swim the bounding torrents.
Thus amain, Seized with the spell, all creatures follow thee Whithersoever thou walkest forth to lead, And thence through seas and mountains and swift streams, Through leafy homes of birds and greening plains, Kindling the lure of love in every breast, Thou bringest the eternal generations forth, Kind after kind.
And since ’tis thou alone Guidest the Cosmos, and without thee naught Is risen to reach the shining shores of light, Nor aught of joyful or of lovely born, Thee do I crave co-partner in that verse Which I presume on Nature to compose For Memmius mine, whom thou hast willed to be Peerless in every grace at every hour- Wherefore indeed, Divine one, give my words Immortal charm.
Lull to a timely rest O’er sea and land the savage works of war, For thou alone hast power with public peace To aid mortality; since he who rules The savage works of battle, puissant Mars, How often to thy bosom flings his strength O’ermastered by the eternal wound of love- And there, with eyes and full throat backward thrown, Gazing, my Goddess, open-mouthed at thee, Pastures on love his greedy sight, his breath Hanging upon thy lips. Him thus reclined Fill with thy holy body, round, above! Pour from those lips soft syllables to win Peace for the Romans, glorious Lady, peace!