Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IDYLL 1. LAMENT FOR ADONIS, by BION



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IDYLL 1. LAMENT FOR ADONIS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Wail, wail, ah for adonis! He is lost to us, lovely
Last Line: Thou must lament him again, and again shed tears in a new year.
Subject(s): Aphrodite; Cythera (Greek Island); Grief; Love - Loss Of; Mythology - Classical; Sorrow; Sadness


WAIL, wail, Ah for Adonis! He is lost to us, lovely Adonis!
Lost is lovely Adonis! The Loves respond with lamenting.

Nay, no longer in robes of purple recline, Aphrodite:
Wake from thy sleep, sad queen, black-stoled, rain blows on thy bosom;
Cry to the listening world, He is lost to us, lovely Adonis!
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis! The Loves respond with lamenting.

Lovely Adonis is lying, sore hurt in his thigh, on the mountains,
Hurt in his thigh with the tusk, while grief consumes Aphrodite:
Slowly he drops toward death, and the black blood drips from his fair flesh,
Down from his snow-white skin; his eyes wax dull 'neath the eyelids,
Yea and the, rose hath failed his lips, and around them the kisses

Die and wither, the kisses that Kupris will not relinquish:
Still, though he lives no longer, a kiss consoles Aphrodite;
But he knows not, Adonis, she kissed him while he was dying.
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis! The Loves respond with lamenting.

Cruel, cruel the wound in the thigh that preys on Adonis;
But in her heart Cytherea hath yet worse wounds to afflict her.
Round him his dear hounds bay, they howl in their grief to the heavens;
Nymphs of the woodlands wail: but she, the Queen Aphrodite,
Loosing her locks to the air, roams far and wide through the forest,
Drowned in grief, disheveled, unsandaled, and as she flies onward,
Briars stab at her feet and cull the blood of the goddess.
She with shrill lamentation thro' glen and thro' glade is carried,
Calling her Syrian lord, demanding him back, and demanding.
But where he lies, dark blood wells up and encircles the navel;
Blood from the gushing thighs empurples the breast; and the snow-white
Flank that was once so fair, is now dyed red for Adonis.
Wail, wail, Ah, Cytherea! The Loves respond with lamenting.

She then hath lost her lord, and with him hath lost her celestial
Beauty; for fair was he, and fair, while he lived, Aphrodite
Now in his death her beauty hath died. Ah, Ah, Cytherea!
All the mountains lament, and the oaks moan, Ah for Adonis!
Streams as they murmur and flow complain of thy griefs, Aphrodite:
Yea and the springs on the hills, in the woods, weep tears for Adonis:
Flowers of the field for woe flush crimson red; and Cythêra,
Through the dells and the glens, shrills loud the dirge of her anguish:
Woe, woe, Ah, Cytherea! He is lost to us, lovely Adonis!
Echo repeats the groan: Lost, lost, is lovely Adonis!
Kupris, who but bewailed thy pangs of a love overwhelming?

Lapped in his purple robes is the delicate form of Adonis.
Round him weeping Loves complain and moan in their anguish,
Clipping their locks for Adonis: and one of them treads on his arrows,
One of them breaks his bow, and one sets heel on the quiver;
One hath loosed for Adonis the latchet of sandals, and some bring
Water to pour in an urn; one laves the wound in his white thigh;
One from behind with his wings keeps fanning dainty Adonis.
Wail, wail, Ah for Adonis! The Loves respond with lamenting.

Wail, wail, Ah, Cytherea! The Loves respond with lamenting.
Every torch at the doors hath been quenched by thy hand, Hymenædus;
Every bridal wreath has been torn to shreds and no longer,
Hymen, Hymen no more is the song, but a new song of sorrow,
Woe, woe! and Ah for Adonis! resounds in lieu of the bridesong.
This the Graces are shrilling, the son of Cinyras hymning,
Lost is lovely Adonis! in loud antiphonal accents.
Woe, woe! sharply repeat, far more than the praises of Paiôn,
Woe! and Ah for Adonis! the Muses who wail for Adonis,
Chaunt their charms to Adonis.—But he lists not to their singing;
Not that he wills not to hear, but the Maiden doth not release him.
Cease from moans, Cytherea, to-day refrain from the death-songs:
Thou must lament him again, and again shed tears in a new year.





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