Aph. Eros, dear, you have had your victories over most of the Gods--Zeus, Posidon, Rhea, Apollo, nay, your own mother; how is it you make an exception for Athene? against her your torch has no fire, your quiver no arrows, your right hand no cunning.
Eros. I am afraid of her, mother; those awful flashing eyes! she is like a man, only worse. When I go against her with my arrow on the string, a toss of her plume frightens me; my hand shakes so that it drops the bow.
Aph. I should have thought Ares was more terrible still; but you disarmed and conquered him.
Eros. Ah, he is only too glad to have me; he calls me to him. Athene always eyes me so! once when I flew close past her, quite by accident, with my torch, 'If you come near me,' she called out, 'I swear by my father, I will run you through with my spear, or take you by the foot and drop you into Tartarus, or tear you in pieces with my own hands'--and more such dreadful things. And she has such a sour look; and then on her breast she wears that horrid face with the snaky hair; that frightens me worst of all; the nasty bogy--I run away directly I see it.
Aph. Well, well, you are afraid of Athene and the Gorgon; at least so you say, though you do not mind Zeus's thunderbolt
a bit. But why do you let the Muses go scot free? do they toss their plumes and hold out Gorgons' heads?
Eros. Ah, mother, they make me bashful; they are so grand, always studying and composing; I love to stand there listening to their music.
Aph. Let them pass too, because they are grand. And why do you never take a shot at Artemis?
Eros. Why, the great thing is that I cannot catch her; she is always over the hills and far away. But besides that, her heart is engaged already.
Aph. Where, child?
Eros. In hunting stags and fawns; she is so fleet, she catches them up, or else shoots them; she can think of nothing else. Her brother, now, though he is an archer too, and draws a good arrow--
Aph. I know, child, you have hit him often enough.