Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEATH OF ADONIS, by THEOCRITUS



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THE DEATH OF ADONIS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When venus her adonis found
Last Line: His am'rous tusks sing'd in the flame.
Alternate Author Name(s): Theckritos
Subject(s): Adonis; Mythology - Classical


WHEN VENUS her ADONIS found,
Just slain, and welt'ring on the ground,
With hair disorder'd, ghastly look,
And cheeks their roses had forsook;
She bad the Cupids fetch with speed,
The Boar that did this horrid deed:
They, to revenge Adonis' blood,
As quick as birds search'd all the wood,
And straight the murd'rous creature found,
Whom they, with chains, securely bound;
And whilst his net one o'er him flung,
To drag the captive Boar along;
Another follow'd with his bow,
Pushing to make him faster go;
Who most unwillingly obey'd,
For he of VENUS was afraid.
No sooner she the Boar espied,
but, 'Oh! Thou cruel beast,' she cried,
'That hadst the heart to wound this thigh,
How couldst thou kill so sweet a boy?'
'Great Goddess' (said the Boar, and stood
Trembling), 'I swear by all that's good,
By thy fair Self, by Him I've slain,
These pretty hunters, and this chain;
I did no harm this youth intend,
Much less had thought to kill your friend:
I gaz'd, and with my passion strove,
For with his charms I fell in love:
At last that naked thigh of his,
With lover's heat I ran to kiss;
Oh fatal cause of all my woe!
'Twas then I gave the heedless blow.
These tusks with utmost rigour draw,
Cut, break, or tear them from my jaw,
'Tis just I should these teeth remove,
Teeth that can have a sense of Love;
Or, this revenge if yet too small,
Cut off the kissing lips and all.'
When Venus heard this humble tale,
Pity did o'er her rage prevail,
She bad them straight his chains untie,
And set the Boar at liberty;
Who ne'er to wood return'd again,
But follow'd Venus in her train,
And when by chance to fire he came,
His am'rous tusks sing'd in the flame.





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