Desmata

Ἥφαιστος δ’ ὡς οὖν θυμαλγέα μῦθον ἄκουσε,
βῆ ῥ’ ἴμεν ἐς χαλκεῶνα κακὰ φρεσὶ βυσσοδομεύων,
ἐν δ’ ἔθετ’ ἀκμοθέτῳ μέγαν ἄκμονα, κόπτε δὲ δεσμοὺς
ἀρρήκτους ἀλύτους, ὄφρ’ ἔμπεδον αὖθι μένοιεν.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δὴ τεῦξε δόλον κεχολωμένος Ἄρει,
βῆ ῥ’ ἴμεν ἐς θάλαμον, ὅθι οἱ φίλα δέμνι’ ἔκειτο,
ἀμφὶ δ’ ἄρ’ ἑρμῖσιν χέε δέσματα κύκλῳ ἁπάντῃ·
πολλὰ δὲ καὶ καθύπερθε μελαθρόφιν ἐξεκέχυντο,
ἠύτ’ ἀράχνια λεπτά, τά γ’ οὔ κέ τις οὐδὲ ἴδοιτο,
οὐδὲ θεῶν μακάρων; πέρι γὰρ δολόεντα τέτυκτο.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δὴ πάντα δόλον περὶ δέμνια χεῦεν,
εἴσατ’ ἴμεν ἐς Λῆμνον, ἐυκτίμενου πτολίεθρον,
ἥ οἱ γαιάων πολὺ φιλτάτη ἐστιν ἁπασέων.
(Homer, Od. 8.272-284)

And when Hephaestus heard the grievous tale*, he went his way to his smithy, pondering evil in the deep of his heart, and set on the anvil block the great anvil and forged bonds which might not be broken or loosed, that the lovers might bide fast where they were. But when he had fashioned the snare in his wrath against Ares, he went to his chamber where lay his bed, and everywhere round about the bed-posts he spread the bonds, and many too were hung from above, from the roof-beams, fine as spiders’ webs, so that no one even of the blessed gods could see them, so exceeding craftily were they fashioned. But when he had spread all his snare about the couch, he made as though he would go to Lemnos, that well-built citadel, which is in his eyes far the dearest of all lands.

* of the minstrel Demodocus, who sang how Aphrodite cheated on Hephaestus with Ares.

(tr. Augustus Taber Murray)

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