So he spoke and laughter arose among the immortal gods. Yet Poseidon laughed not, but ever besought
Hephaestus, the famous craftsman, to set Ares free; and he spoke, and addressed him with winged words:
“Loose him, and I promise, as thou biddest me, that he shall himself pay thee all that is right in the presence of the immortal gods.”
Then the famous god of the two strong arms answered him:
“Ask not this of me, Poseidon, thou earth-enfolder. A sorry thing to be sure of is the surety for a sorry knave. How could I put thee in bonds among the immortal gods, if Ares should avoid both the debt and the bonds and depart?”
Then again Poseidon, the earth-shaker, answered him:
“Hephaestus, even if Ares shall avoid the debt and flee away, I will myself pay thee this.”
Then the famous god of the two strong arms answered him: “It may not be that I should say thee nay, nor were it seemly.”
So saying the mighty Hephaestus loosed the bonds
and the two, when they were freed from that bond so strong, sprang up straightway. And Ares departed to Thrace
, but she, the laughter-loving Aphrodite, went to Cyprus
, to Paphos
, where is her demesne and fragrant altar. There the Graces bathed her and anointed her with
immortal oil, such as gleams1
upon the gods that are forever. And they clothed her in lovely raiment, a wonder to behold.
This song the famous minstrel sang; and Odysseus was glad at heart as he listened, and so too were the Phaeacians of the long oars, men famed for their ships.
Then Alcinous bade Halius and Laodamas dance alone, for no one could vie with them. And when they had taken in their hands the beautiful ball of purple, which wise Polybus had made for them, the one
would lean backward and toss it toward the shadowy clouds, and the other would leap up from the earth and skilfully catch it before his feet touched the ground again. But when they had tried their skill in throwing the ball straight up, the two fell to dancing on the bounteous earth, ever tossing the ball to and fro, and the other youths
stood in the lists and beat time, and thereat a great din arose.
Then to Alcinous spoke goodly Odysseus: “Lord Alcinous, renowned above all men,2
thou didst boast that thy dancers were the best, and lo, thy words are made good; amazement holds me as I look on them.”