And the winner will be desire,
Shining in the eyes of a bride,
An invitation to bed,
A power to sweep across the bounds of what is Right.
For we are only toys in your hands,
Divine, unbeatable Aphrodite.

[νικᾷ δ᾽ ἐναργὴς βλεφάρων ἵμερος εὐλέκτρου
νύμφας, τῶν μεγάλων πάρεδρος ἐν ἀρχαῖς
θεσμῶν. ἄμαχος γὰρ ἐμπαίζει θεὸς, Ἀφροδίτα.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 795ff [Chorus, Antistrophe] (441 BC) [tr. Woodruff (2001)]

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Triumphantly prevails
The heart-compelling eye of winsome bride,
Compeer of mighty Law
Thronèd, commanding.
Madly thou mockest men, dread Aphrodite.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

But victory belongs to radiant Desire swelling from the eyes of the sweet-bedded bride. Desire sits enthroned in power beside the mighty laws. For in all this divine Aphrodite plays her irresistible game.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Victorious is the love-kindling light from the eyes of the fair bride; it is a power enthroned in sway beside the eternal laws; for there the goddess Aphrodite is working her unconquerable will.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

And none has conquered but Love!
A girl’s glance working the will of heaven:
Pleasure to her alone who mock us,
Merciless Aphrodite.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 653ff]

For the light that burns in the eyes of a bride of desire
Is a fire that consumes.
At the side of the great gods
Aphrodite immortal
Works her will upon all.
[tr. Watling (1947), l. 687ff]

Desire looks clear from the eyes of a lovely bride:
power as strong as the founded world.
For there is the goddess at play whom no man can fight.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

The kindling light of Love in the soft
Eye of a bride conquers, for Love sits on his
throne, one of the great Powers;
Nought else can prevail against
Invincible Aphrodite.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Love alone the victor --
warm glance of the bride triumphant, burning with desire!
Throned in power, side-by-side with the mighty laws!
Irresistible Aphrodite, never conquered --
Love, you mock us for your sport.
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 890ff]

Desire radiant from the eyelids
of a well-bedded bride prevails,
companion in rule with the gods’ great
ordinances. She against whom none may battle,
the goddess Aphrodite, plays her games.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

You, Love!
Through the lashes of a lusty bride, Passion, you win the day, scorning the great laws which hold sway over the whole world.
Because Aphrodite is invincible!
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

The bride’s desire seen glittering in her eyes --
that conquers everything, its power
enthroned beside eternal laws, for there
the goddess Aphrodite works her will,
whose ways are irresistible.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 905ff]

Added on 18-Feb-21 | Last updated 9-May-21
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