BETA

A person shown from the torso-up and looking towards the left of the illustration. They are holding a quill and a book. Their hair is braided and wrapped in a cloth. There is a butterfly near their hand. Full-page illustration.

Bion’s Lament for Adonis.

Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis !He is lost to us, lovely Adonis !1
Lost is lovely Adonis !  The Loves respond with lamenting.2
Nay, no longer in robes of purple recline, Aphrodite :3
Wake from thy sleep, sad queen, black-stoled, rain blows
on thy bosom ;
4
Cry to the listening world, He is lost to us, lovely Adonis !5
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis !The Loves respond with
lamenting
.
6
Lovely Adonis is lying, sore hurt in his thigh, on the moun-
tains,
7
Hurt in his thigh with the tusk, while grief consumes
Aphrodite :
8
Slowly he droops toward death, and the black blood drips
from his fair flesh,
9
Down from his snow-white skin ; his eyes wax dull ’ neath
the eyelids,
10
Yea and the rose hath failed his lips, and around them the
kisses
11
Die and wither, the kisses that Kupris will not relinquish :12
Still, though he lives no longer, a kiss consoles Aphrodite ;13
But he knows not, Adonis, she kissed him while he was dying.14
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis !The Loves respond with
lamenting
.
15
Cruel, cruel the wound in the thigh that preys on Adonis :16
But in her heart Cytherea hath yet worse wounds to afflict her.17
Round him his dear hounds bay, they howl in their grief to
the heavens ;
18
Nymphs of the woodlands wail : but she, the Queen
Aphrodite,
19
Loosing her locks to the air, roams far and wide through the
forest,
20
Drowned in grief, dishevelled, unsandalled, and as she flies
onward,
21
Briars stab at her feet and cull the blood of the goddess.22
She with shrill lamentation thro’ glen and thro’ glade is
carried,
23
Calling her Syrian lord, demanding him back, and demanding.24
But where he lies, dark blood wells up and encircles the navel ;25
Blood from the gushing thighs empurples the breast ; and
the snow-white
26
Flank that was once so fair, is now dyed red for Adonis.27
Wail, wail, Ah, Cytherea !The Loves respond with
lamenting
.
28
She then hath lost her lord, and with him hath lost her
celestial
29
Beauty ; for fair was he, and fair, while he lived, Aphrodite :30
Now in his death her beauty hath died. Ah, Ah, Cytherea !31
All the mountains lament, and the oaks moan, Ah for Adonis !32
Streams as they murmur and flow complain of thy griefs,
Aphrodite :
33
Yea and the springs on the hills, in the woods, weep tears for
Adonis :
34
Flowers of the field for woe flush crimson red ; and Cythêra,35
Thorough the dells and the glens, shrills loud the dirge of her
anguish :
36
Woe, woe, Ah, Cytherea !  He is lost to us, lovely Adonis !37
Echo repeats the groan : Lost, lost, is lovely Adonis !38
Kupris, who but bewailed thy pangs of a love overwhelming ?39
She, when she saw, when she knew the unstanchable wound
of Adonis,
40
When she beheld the red blood on his pale thigh’s withering
blossom,
41
Spreading her arms full wide, she moaned out : “ Stay, my
Adonis !
42
Stay, ill-fated Adonis ! that I once more may approach thee !43
Clasp thee close to my breast, and these lips mingle with
thy lips !
44
Rouse for a moment, Adonis, and kiss me again for the last
time ;
45
Kiss me as long as the kiss can live on the lips of a lover ;46
Till from thy inmost soul to my mouth and down to my marrow47
Thy life-breath shall run, and I quaff the wine of thy philtre,48
Draining the draught of thy love : that kiss will I treasure,
Adonis,
49
E’en as it were thyself ; since thou, ill-starred, art departing,50
Fleeing me far, O Adonis, to Acheron faring, the sad realm51
Ruled by a stern savage king : while I, the unhappy, the
luckless,
52
I live ; goddess am I, and I may not follow or find thee.53
Persephone, take thou my lord, my lover ; I know thee54
Stronger far than myself : all fair things drift to thy dwelling.55
I meanwhile am accursed, possessed with insatiable sorrow,56
Weeping my dead, my Adonis who died, and am shaken and
shattered.
57
Diest thou then, my desired ? and desire like a dream hath
escaped me.
58
Widowed is now Cytherea ; the Loves in her halls are
abandoned ;
59
Perished with thee is my girdle. Ah, why wouldst thou
hunt, over-bold one ?
60
Being so beautiful, why wast thou mad to fight with a wild
beast ? ”
61
Thus then Kupris mourned ; and the Loves respond with
lamenting
:
62
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis !He is lost to us, lovely Adonis !63
Tears the Paphian shed, drop by drop for the drops of Adonis’64
Blood ; and on earth each drop, as it fell, grew into a blossom :65
Roses sprang from the blood, and the tears gave birth to the
wind-flower.
66
Wail, wail, Ah, Cytherea !He is lost to us, lovely Adonis !67
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis !He is lost to us, lovely Adonis !68
Now in the oak-woods cease to lament for thy lord,
Aphrodite.
69
No proper couch is this which the wild leaves strew for Adonis.70
Let him thy own bed share, Cytherea, the corpse of Adonis ;71
E’en as a corpse he is fair, fair corpse as fallen aslumber.72
Now lay him soft to sleep, sleep well in the wool of the bed-
clothes,
73
Where with thee through the night in holy dreams he
commingled,
74
Stretched on a couch all gold, that yearns for him stark
though he now be.
75
Shower on him garlands, flowers : all fair things died in his
dying ;
76
Yea, as he faded away, so shrivel and wither the blossoms.77
Syrian spikenard scatter, anoint him with myrrh and with
unguents :
78
Perish perfumes all, since he, thy perfume, is perished.79
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis !The Loves respond with
lamenting
.
80
Lapped in his purple robes is the delicate form of Adonis.81
Round him weeping Loves complainand moan in their anguish,82
Clipping their locks for Adonis : and one of them treads on
his arrows,
83
One of them breaks his bow, and one sets heel on the quiver ;84
One hath loosed for Adonis the latchet of sandals, and some
bring
85
Water to pour in an urn; one laves the wound in his white
thigh ;
86
One from behind with his wings keeps fanning dainty Adonis.87
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis !The Loves respond with
lamenting
.
88
Wail, wail, Ah, Cytherea !The Loves respond with
lamenting
.
89
Every torch at the doors hath been quenched by thy hand,
Hymenaeus ;
90
Every bridal wreath hath been torn to shreds ; and no longer,91
Hymen, Hymen no more is the song, but a new song of sorrow,92
Woe, woe ! and Ah for Adonis ! resounds in lieu of the
bridesong.
93
This the Graces are shrilling, the son of Cinyras hymning,94
Lost is lovely Adonis ! in loud antiphonal accents.95
Woe, woe ! sharply repeat, far more than the praises of Paiôn,96
Woe ! and Ah for Adonis ! the Muses who wail for Adonis,97
Chaunt their charms to Adonis.—But he lists not to their
singing ;
98
Not that he wills not to hear, but the Maiden doth not release him.99
Cease from moans, Cytherea, to-day refrain from the death-
songs :
100
Thou must lament him again, and again shed tears in a new
year.
101