Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LAMENT FOR ADONIS, by BION



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LAMENT FOR ADONIS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: For adonis I am crying, for adonis' beauty dead
Last Line: Woe for cytherea, for adonis' beauty dead!'
Subject(s): Adonis; Mythology - Classical


FOR Adonis I am crying, for Adonis' beauty dead.
'Adonis' beauty dead' -- the Loves return my cry.
Sleep no more, Cypris, on couch of purple spread;
Wake you, unhappy; put on you the dark panoply,
Beating your breasts, and cry 'Adonis' beauty dead.'
For Adonis I am crying: the Loves return my cry.
Beautiful Adonis on the hills is lying gashed,
White the tusk and white his flank. For Cypris to lament
Faintly ebbs the breath, and dark the blood is splashed
Down his skin of snow, and his eyes are browed in mist.
The roses vanish from his lips, the kiss is lent
And dies; no more from Cypris may lips their debt recover.
For Cypris there is kissing comfort, dead though her lover,
But little knows Adonis that dying he was kissed.
For Adonis I am crying: the Loves return my cry.
Bitter bitter wound in Adonis' thigh driven!
But to Cytherea's heart a greater wound is given.
And now all around the lad his dearest hounds went whining,
And mountain nymphs are mourning him; and unconfining
All her tresses, through the oak shaws Aphrodite rushes
Distraught, with streaming hair, unshod, and the bramble bushes
Graze her in her going and pluck her holy blood.
But lifting up her wailing far through the mountain wood
She hurries, crying to her darling, calling her Assyrian lord.
The dark blood spirts round him, is past the navel poured
Crimson up from thigh, and discolours from below
The breasts of Adonis that once were white as snow.
'Woe for Cytherea!' The Loves return my cry.
She has lost her lord, the beautiful, and lost are her looks,
For beautiful was Cypris while Adonis had breath;
But dead is Adonis, and her beauty suffers death.
The hills mourn for Cypris, 'woe for Adonis' cry the oaks,
Rivers run sobbing for Aphrodite in her woe.
In tears for Adonis the upland fountains flow,
Flowers redden sorrowful, and Cythera sends her keening
High in the hillside valleys and the ridges intervening, --
'Woe for Cytherea, for Adonis' beauty dead!'
And Echo sounded answer 'Adonis' beauty dead.'
Who would not weep for Cypris, too passionate in love?
When she found, when she marked Adonis wounded sore,
When scarlet she found the blood upon his wasting hip,
She cried 'O wait, Adonis,' with her arms outstretched above,
'O wait ill-starred Adonis, that now though nevermore
I may have thee and enfold thee, and lip wed with lip.
Wake a little, kiss me for the last time, Adonis,
Kiss me no longer than the lifetime of a kiss,
That ebbed from thy soul thy breath upon my lips may light,
From lip to heart, sweet potion, thy love will I drain deep
And drink in thy love, thy kiss for me to keep
As though it were Adonis: for from me is thy flight.
Thou dost flee far, Adonis, -- away to Acheron,
To a rude king relentless. But I forlorn live on,
I who am a goddess and cannot follow thee.
(She invokes the goddess of the dead.)
Then, Queen, receive my lord. For thou, Persephone,
Art stronger far: to thee sink all things beautiful.
I am utterly cast down, my sorrow shall not dull,
I mourn Adonis dead to me -- and for thy thought fear I.
O thrice desired, thou diest, my desire is dreamlike flown;
Bereft is Cytherea, and her Loves keep house alone.
Now is dissolved my magic girdle: tell me, madman, why
Have beauty and go hunting, to beastly grapple fled?'
Thus lamented Cypris, and the Loves return her cry,
'Woe for Cytherea, for Adonis' beauty dead!'





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