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The Lament for Adonis.


I wail for 1 Adonis; beauteous Adonis is dead.

Dead is beauteous Adonis; the Loves join in the wail. 2 Sleep no more, Venus, in purple vestments; rise, wretched goddess, in thy robes of woe, and beat thy bosom, and say to all, “Beauteous Adonis hath perished.”

I wail for Adonis ; the Loves join in the wail.

Low lies beauteous Adonis on the mountains, having his white thigh smitten by a tusk, a white tusk, and he inflicts pain on Venus, as he breathes out his life 10 faintly; but adown his white skin trickles the black blood; and his eyes are glazed 'neath the lids, and the rose Aies from his lip; and round about it dies also the kiss which Venus will never relinquish. To Venus, indeed, his kiss, even though he lives not, is pleasant, yet Adonis knew not that she kissed him as he died.

I wail for Adonis; the Loves wail in concert.

A cruel, cruel wound hath Adonis in his thigh, but a greater wound doth 3 Cytherea bear at her heart. Around that youth indeed faithful hounds whined, and 20 4 Oread Nymphs wept; but Aphrodite, having let fall her braided hair, wanders up and down the glades, sad,


unkempt, unsandalled, and the brambles tear her as she goes, and cull her sacred blood : then wailing piercingly, she is borne through long valleys, crying for her

Assyrian spouse, and calling on her youth. But around him dark blood was gushing, and his breasts were empurpled from his thighs, and the parts of the body white before, became now deep red.

Alas, alas for Cytherea ; the Loves join in the wail.

She hath lost her beauteous spouse, she hath lost with 10 him her divine beauty. Fair beauty had Venus when

Adonis was living; but with Adonis perished the fair form of Venus, alas, alas! All mountains and the oaks say, “Alas for Adonis !” And 6 rivers sorrow for the woes of Aphrodite, and springs on the mountains weep for her Adonis, and flowers redden from grief; whilst Cytherea sings mournfully along all woody mountain passes, and through cities. Alas, alas for Cytherea, beauteous Adonis hath perished! And Echo cried in

response, “Beauteous Adonis hath perished !” Who 20 would not have lamented the dire love of Venus ?

Alas! alas! when she saw, when she perceived the wound of Adonis, which none might stay, when she saw gory blood about his wan thigh, unfolding wide her arms, she sadly cried, “Stay, ill-fated Adonis ! Adonis, stay, that I may find thee for the last time, that I may enfold thee around, and mingle kisses with kisses. Rouse thee a little, Adonis, and again this last time kiss me; kiss me just so far as there is life in thy kiss, till

from thy heart thy spirit shall have ebbed into my lips 30 and soul, and I shall have drained thy sweet love-potion,

and have drunk out thy love; and I will treasure this kiss, even as Adonis himself, since thou, ill-fated one,

dost flee from me. Thou fliest afar, O Adonis, and comest unto 8 Acheron, and its gloomy, cruel king; but wretched I live, and am a goddess, and cannot follow thee. Take, 9 Proserpine, my spouse: for thou art thyself far more powerful than I, and the whole of what is beautiful falls to thy share ; yet I am all-hapless, and feel insatiate grief, and mourn for Adonis, since to my sorrow he is dead, and I am afraid of thee! Art thou dying, O thrice-regretted? Then 10 my longing is fled as a dream; and widowed is Cytherea, and idle are 10 the Loves along my halls; and with thee has my 11 charmed girdle been undone; nay, why, rash one, didst thou hunt? Beauteous as thou wert, wast thou mad enough to contend with wild beasts?”


Thus lamented Venus; the Loves join in the wail.

Alas, alas, for Cytherea, beauteous Adonis has perished! The 13 Paphian goddess sheds as many tears as Adonis pours forth blood; and these all on the ground become flowers : 14 the blood begets a rose, and the tears the anemone. Lament no more, Venus, thy wooer in 20 the glades: there is a goodly couch, there is a bed of leaves ready for Adonis ; this bed of thine, Cytherea, dead Adonis occupies; and though a corpse, he is beautiful, - a beautiful corpse, as it were sleeping.

Lay him down on the soft vestments in which he was wont to pass the night; in which with thee along the night he would take his holy sleep on a couch all of gold; yearn thou for Adonis, sad-visaged though he be now; and 15 lay him amid chaplets and flowers; all with him, since he is dead, ay, 16 all flowers have become 30 withered; but sprinkle him with myrtles, sprinkle him with unguents, with perfumes : perish all perfumes, thy perfume, Adonis, hath perished. Delicate Adonis

reclines in purple vestments; and about him weeping Loves set up the wail, having their 17 locks shorn for Adonis ; — and one was trampling on his arrows, another on his bow, and another was 18 breaking his wellfeathered quiver; and one has loosed the sandal of Adonis, while another is carrying water in golden ewers, and a third is bathing his thighs; and another behind him is fanning Adonis with his wings.

The Loves join in the wail for Cytherea herself : 10 Hymenæus has quenched every torch at the door-posts,

and shredded the nuptial wreath; and no more is 19 Hymen, no more Hymen the song that is sung, alas ! alas! is chanted. Alas, alas for Adonis! wail the Graces, far more than Hymenæus, for the son of 20 Cinyras, saying one with another, “Beauteous Adonis hath perished !” and far more piercingly speak they than thou,

Dione. The Muses, too, strike up the lament for Adonis, and invoke him by song, but he heeds them

not; not indeed that he is unwilling, but Proserpine 20 does not release him. Cease, Cytherea, thy laments;

refrain this day from thy dirges. 22 Thou must wail again and weep again another year.


The Lament for Adonis.


I mourn for 1 Adonis -- Adonis is dead;

Fair Adonis is dead, and the Loves are lamenting. 2 Sleep, Cypris, no more on thy purple-strewed bed; Arise, wretch stoled in black, beat thy breast unre

lenting, And shriek to the worlds, “Fair Adonis is dead !”

I mourn for Adonis - the Loves are lamenting.

He lies on the hills in his beauty and death; The white tusk of a boar has transpierced his white

thigh. 3 Cytherea grows mad at his thin, gasping breath, While the black blood drips down on the pale ivory, And his eyeballs lie quenched with the weight of his

brows; The rose fades from his lips, and upon them just parted

The kiss dies the goddess consents not to lose, Though the kiss of the dead cannot make her light

hearted; He knows not who kisses him dead in the dews.


I mourn for Adonis the Loves are lamenting.

Deep, deep in the thigh is Adonis's wound; But a deeper, is Cypris's bosom presenting.

The youth lieth dead while his dogs howl around, And the 4 nymphs weep aloud from the mists of the

hill, And the poor Aphrodite, with tresses unbound, All dishevelled, unsanda Hed, shrieks mournful and shrill Through the dusk of the groves. The thorns, tearing

her feet, Gather up the red flower of her blood which is holy,

Each footstep she takes; and the valleys repeat The sharp cry she utters, and draw it out slowly.

She calls on her spouse, her 5 Assyrian, on him Her own youth, while the dark blood spreads over his

body, The chest taking hue from the gash in the limb, And the bosom once ivory turning to ruddy.


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