Immortal Venus, to whose Name


A Hymn to Venus, from the Greek of Sapho

Primary Texts:

No MS; 1714 Steele, pp. 299-30.

Immortal Venus, to whose Name
Millions of Altars daily flame;
Daughter of Jove, whos flatt'ring Art
Knows well to wound a Wretch'd Heart;
Sapho to you directs her Prayers:
Afflict not thus my Soul with Cares;
But ah! expel this raging Pain,
Nor let my Wishes prove in vain.


If Miseries your Pity move,
If Sapho has deserv'd your Love,
Hear me, and ease a tortur'd Mind,
And still, as you were once, be kind;
When Pity sway'd your gentle Breast,
And me above my Hopes you blest.


Hither from Heav'n you took your Way,
For ever Sacred be that Day;
Your wanton Birds the Chariot drew,
Like Lightning thro' the Clouds they flew,
With opening Wings they cut the Air,
And left on Earth their Heav'nly Care;
Then swiftly back your Sparrows flie,
And waft the Chariot to the skie.


A pleasing Smile your Face adorn'd:
You ask'd the Cause for which I mourn'd;
'Twas then those joyful Words you said,
Why does my Sapho seek my Aid?
If Love distress'd has caus'd your Pain,
You shall not sue to me in vain.
The Youth whose Graces you admire,
Shall burn again with equal Fire;
Doom'd, tho' he now your Passion flies,
A certain Victim to your Eyes.


O Venus, with propitious Care,
Indulge my Flame, receive my Prayer;
The Torments of uncertain Love,
From my soft bleeding Heart remove;
Ah! with your own resistless Fire,
Your dying Votary inspire;
Do thou, bright Goddess, grant Success,
My Numbers shall thy Power confess.


1696 Dacier, "Les Poesies d'Anacreon and de Sapho", 408-10.


This may be by Anne Finch. It's in Steele, from Dacier, and has some of the characteristics of her imitations. However, it does lack a personal note and serious gravity, a kind of undercurrent of intensity which, while for some readers it may spoil a light poem, is characteristic of Finch's "light" sexy and social verse. If the poem is not by Fich, it , could profitably be studied as a source or influence on her. The title is A Hymn to Venus, from the Greek of Sapho in 1714 Steele's Poetical Miscellanies, where it occurs, pp 299-30 ("Immortal Venus, to whose Name"). See Texts, 1714 Steele, "Grown old in Rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard" and compare with Finch's adaptations and imitations from Dacier's other translations from Sappho, viz., A Sigh: "Gentlest Air thou breath of Lovers", The First Edilium of Bion English'd by the Right Honourable the Earl of Winchilsea, "Mourn all ye Loves the fair Adonis dyes," and Anne's two anacreontics, "The Muses frolicksom and gay"; "When Mars the Lemnian Darts survey'd" , and the erotic songs and verse from Finch's two plays (e.g, Marina's pastoral eroticism in The Triumphs of Love and Innocence, Act II, scene i; from Aristomenes, "Love's soft bands,/His gentle cords of Hyacinths and Roses,/Wove in the dewy spring when storms are silent").
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