Venus Transiens

The Birth of Venus. Sandro Botticelli. 1485.


Venus Transiens

Amy Lowell


Tell me,

Was Venus more beautiful

Than you are,

When she topped

The crinkled waves,

Drifting shoreward

On her plaited shell?

Was Botticelli’s vision

Fairer than mine;

And were the painted rosebuds

He tossed his lady

Of better worth

Than the words I blow about you

To cover your too great loveliness

As with a gauze

Of misted silver?


For me,

You stand poised

On the blue and buoyant air,

Cinctured by bright winds,

Treading the sunlight.

And the waves which precede you

Ripple and stir

The sands at my feet.

2 thoughts on “Venus Transiens”

  1. I am a great admirer of Botticelli, and of course Birth of Venus is one of my favorites! I was most disturbed to learn that the patron of this painting, the Medici Family, were notorious for having commisioned the first work in Italy which depicted a wholly pagan theme and a scandalously nude womn. Their excuse when society condemned them? – They said the Birth of Venus was actually the Baptism of Christ! I am so shocked at this blasphemous neo-platonism and am surprised that the Medicis got away with it! :D
    Oh, the poem is just lovely… I love poems that mention a painting I know! ;)

    1. Thanks for sharing the interesting story behind this famous painting! I’d never heard it before.

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