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Ah, ah, Cytherea — the loves are lamenting.
She lost her fair spouse, and so lost her fair, smile: When he lived she was 'fair, by the whole world's con
senting, Whose fairness is dead with him : woe worth the
while! All the mountains above, and the oaklands below,
Murmur, ah, ah, Adonis! the streams overflow Aphrodite's deep wail; 6 river-fountains in pity
Weep soft in the hills; and the flowers as they blow Redden outward with sorrow, while all hear her go With the song of her sadness through mountain and
Ah, ah, Cytherea! Adonis is dead.
Fair Adonis is dead Echo answers Adonis ! Who weeps not for Cypris, when, bowing her head,
She stares at the wound where it gapes and astonies? When — ah, ah — she saw how the blood ran away And empurpled the thigh, and with wild hands flung
out, Said with sobs, “Stay, Adonis! unhappy one, stay.
Let me feel thee once more; let me ring thee about With the clasp of my arms, and press kiss into kiss !
Wait a little, Adonis, and kiss me again, For the last time, beloved; and but so much of this That the kiss may learn life from the warmth of the
strain ! Till thy breath shall exude from thy soul to my mouth, To my heart, and, the love-charm I once more receiv
ing, May drink thy love in it, and keep of a truth
That one kiss in the place of Adonis the living.
Thou fliest me, mournful one, fliest me far,
My Adonis, and seekest the 8 Acheron portal; To Hell's cruel king goest down with a scar,
While I weep and live on like a wretched immortal,
My husband! thou’rt better and brighter than I,
Look up at my grief: there's despair in my cry,
Then, I fear thee! Art thou dead, my adored ? Passion 10 ends like a dream in the sleep that's denied
Cypris is widowed; the Loves seek their lord All the house through in vain. Charm of 11 cestus has
ceased With thy clasp! Oh, too bold in the hunt past pre
venting, Ay, 12 mad, thou so fair, to have strife with a beast!” Thus the goddess wailed on; and the Loves are lament
Ah, ah, Cytherea, Adonis is dead! Adonis is dead.
She wept tear after tear with the blood which was shed, And both turned into flowers for the earth's garden
close, 14 Her tear to the wind-flower; his blood to the rose.
I mourn for Adonis Adonis is dead.
Weep no more in the woods, Cytherea, thy lover! So, well : make a place for his corse in thy bed,
With the purples thou sleepest in, under and over ; He's fair, though a corse, -- a fair corse, like a sleeper.
Lay him soft in the silks he had pleasure to fold
When, beside thee at night, holy dreams deep and deeper
Enclosed his young life on the couch made of gold. Love him still, poor Adonis; cast on him together The crowns and the flowers : since he died from the
place, Why, let all die with him ; let the blossoms go wither;
Rain myrtles and olive-buds down on his face. Rain the myrrh down, let all that is best fall a-pining, le
Since the myrrh of his life from thy keeping is swept. Pale he lay, thine Adonis, in purples reclining:
The Loves raised their voices around him and wept. They have 17 shorn their bright curls off to cast on
Bent low at a sandal, untying the strings;
brother Fans down on the body sweet air with his wings.
Cytherea herself now the Loves are lamenting.
Each torch at the door Hymenæus blew out; 20 And, the marriage-wreath dropping its leaves as repent
ing, No more 19 “ Hymen, Hymen," is chanted about; But the ai, ai, instead -- "ai alas " is begun
For Adonis, and then follows “ai Hymenæus!' The Graces are weeping for 20 Cinyras' son,
Sobbing low, each to each, “His fair eyes cannot see
Their wail strikes more thrill than the sadder 21 Dione's.
The Fates mourn aloud for Adonis, Adonis,
Deep chanting : he hears not a word that they say;
He would hear, but Persephone has him in keeping. Cease moan, Cytherea! leave pomps for to-day,
weep new, when a new year refits thee for weeping
Of the life of Bion we know nothing save that which we gather from the Elegy which was written in his honor by his friend and pupil, Moschus (see page 43). There is, it is true, a tradition that he was born at Phlossa, on the river Meles, near Smyrna, and to this Moschus alludes. He also tells us that Bion died of poison, and that his murderers were punished for their crime. Other expressions in his poem lead us to suppose that Theocritus was still living at the time of Bion's death, which, in such case could hardly have been later than 260 B.C.
It is the first of the six Idyls usually ascribed to Bion, and was probably intended to be sung at one of the spring celebrations of the festival of Adonis. Theocritus, in his fifteenth Idyl, gives us another example of the songs used on these occasions.
1. Adonis. The myth of Venus and Adonis probably originated in the poetic idea of the union of the Sun and the Earth, as narrated in the introductory paragraph (page 20, above). Adonis was the son of Myrrha. Even when an infant, his beauty was so wonderful that Aphrodite (Venus) conceived a passion for him, and, unknown to all the gods, she put him into a coffer, and gave him to Persephone to keep. But the queen of the shadow-land refused to give him back. The matter was referred to Zeus, and he decreed that during one-third of each year the boy should stay with Aphrodite, during another third he should be given to Persephone, and during the remaining third he should be his own master. Adonis, however, chose to remain with Aphrodite for eight months at a time and this he continued to do until one day, when engaged in the chase, he was attacked and slain by a furious wild boar. The goddess, when she found him dead in the forest, was overwhelmed with grief:
“She looks upon his lips, and they are pale;
She takes him by the hand, and that is cold;
Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, The Adonis of the Norse mythology is called Balder, and he is the type of the good, the true, and the beautiful. In a more material sense he is also the sun,
the revivifying, life-giving sunlight. Through the treachery of the evil one, he is slain by blind Hoder, who shoots him with a sprig of mistletoe. Forthwith the world is draped in mourning for the death of Balder the good; the birds stop singing, and fly to the far-away Southland; the beasts hide themselves in their lairs; the trees shiver, and sigh, and drop their withered leaves upon the ground; all Nature weeps. Then Friga, Balder's mother, sends a messenger to Hela, the goddess of the dead, to pray for the return of the bright one to those who love him. And the Death-queen consents on condition that everything on earth shall weep for him. But Thok, a giantess, refuses to join in the universal mourning, and so Hela keeps the hero in her halls. Yet during the half of each year he is permitted to visit the earth and to gladden all living beings with his smile.
The worship of Adonis dates from a very early period, and originated probably in Assyria. In Phænicia, in the ancient city of Byblos, a festival of two days was held every year in his honor. The first day was observed as a day of mourning for the unhappy death of Adonis, or Tammuz, as he was known by the Phænicians; the second was a day of triumph and rejoicing because of his return to the earth. The principal participants in these festivals were the young women. The prophet Ezekiel alludes to them thus :
"And he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz." Ezekiel viii. 14. Milton says of the same :
“Thammuz came next behind,
Of Thammuz yearly wounded." — Par. Lost, i. The “smooth Adonis,” thus referred to is the river Adonis, which takes its rise in the Lebanon mountains, and during the spring freshets turns