O Spirit, / spark by spark

O Spirit,
spark by spark,
you instil tire
through the sight:
to hearts you attack
you grant rare happiness!
Do not front me with grief,
yourself discord manifest!

For neither lightning-shaft
nor yet stars shot
from a distant place
can equal the love-dart,
sped from your hands,
child of God, Eros.

In vain along Alpheos,
in vain (if we defy Eros)
are the Greek altars
bright with blood,
and the Pythian rocks
with beasts slain
for Helios:
Aphrodite's child
is man's chief absolute:
he protects love's portal
and love's rite,
or ruthlessly betrays men,
destroying them
in his flight.

So at Oechalie,
that girl, chaste—
a wild colt,
mateless, uncaught
was betrayed by Kupris:
Heracles dragged her,
a bacchante, hell-loosed,
from her palace
to his ship:
there was flame and blood spilt
for the bride-chant,
for rapture, unhappiness
O Thebes,
high-built and chaste,
O Dirke's river-bank
you can tell how Kupris strikes:
for with thunder-bolt,
alight at both points,
she slew the mother of Bacchus,
child of Zeus!
Ah evil wedlock! Ah fate!
she incites all to evil,
she flutters over all things,
like a bee in flight.
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