Fragment of the Elegy on the Death of Adonis
Prom the Greek of Bion
Published by Forman, "Poetical Works of P. B. S.", 1876.
I mourn Adonis dead—loveliest Adonis—
Dead, dead Adonis—and the Loves lament.
Sleep no more, Venus, wrapped in purple woof—
Wake violet-stoled queen, and weave the crown
Of Death,—'tis Misery calls,—for he is dead.
The lovely one lies wounded in the mountains,
His white thigh struck with the white tooth; he scarce
Yet breathes; and Venus hangs in agony there.
The dark blood wanders o'er his snowy limbs,
His eyes beneath their lids are lustreless,
The rose has fled from his wan lips, and there
That kiss is dead, which Venus gathers yet.
A deep, deep wound Adonis...
A deeper Venus bears upon her heart.
See, his beloved dogs are gathering round—
The Oread nymphs are weeping—Aphrodite
With hair unbound is wandering through the woods,
'Wildered, ungirt, unsandalled—the thorns pierce
Her hastening feet and drink her sacred blood.
Bitterly screaming out, she is driven on
Through the long vales; and her Assyrian boy,
Her love, her husband, calls—the purple blood
From his struck thigh stains her white navel now,
Her bosom, and her neck before like snow.
Alas for Cytherea—the Loves mourn—
The lovely, the beloved is gone!—and now
Her sacred beauty vanishes away.
For Venus whilst Adonis lived was fair—
Alas! her loveliness is dead with him.
The oaks and mountains cry, Ai! ai! Adonis!
The springs their waters change to tears and weep—
The flowers are withered up with grief...
Ai! ai! ... Adonis is dead
Echo resounds ... Adonis dead.
Who will weep not thy dreadful woe. O Venus?
Soon as she saw and knew the mortal wound
Of her Adonis—saw the life-blood flow
From his fair thigh, now wasting,—wailing loud
She clasped him, and cried ... 'Stay, Adonis!
Stay, dearest one,...
and mix my lips with thine—
Wake yet a while, Adonis—oh, but once,
That I may kiss thee now for the last time—
But for as long as one short kiss may live—
Oh, let thy breath flow from thy dying soul
Even to my mouth and heart, that I may suck
_23 his Rossetti, Dowden, Woodberry; her Boscombe manuscript, Forman.