Perseus:bib:oclc,24965574, Ovid. Metamorphoses. Brookes More. Boston. Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922.

  1. Veiled in a saffron mantle, through the air
  2. unmeasured, after the strange wedding, Hymen
  3. departed swiftly for Ciconian land;
  4. regardless and not listening to the voice
  5. of tuneful Orpheus. Truly Hymen there
  6. was present during the festivities
  7. of Orpheus and Eurydice, but gave
  8. no happy omen, neither hallowed words
  9. nor joyful glances; and the torch he held
  10. would only sputter, fill the eyes with smoke,
  11. and cause no blaze while waving. The result
  12. of that sad wedding, proved more terrible
  13. than such foreboding fates.
  14. While through the grass
  15. delighted Naiads wandered with the bride,
  16. a serpent struck its venomed tooth in her
  17. soft ankle— and she died.—After the bard
  18. of Rhodope had mourned, and filled the highs
  19. of heaven with the moans of his lament,
  20. determined also the dark underworld
  21. should recognize the misery of death,
  22. he dared descend by the Taenarian gate
  23. down to the gloomy Styx. And there passed through
  24. pale-glimmering phantoms, and the ghosts
  25. escaped from sepulchres, until he found
  26. Persephone and Pluto, master-king
  27. of shadow realms below: and then began
  28. to strike his tuneful lyre, to which he sang:—
  29. “O deities of this dark world beneath
  30. the earth! this shadowy underworld, to which
  31. all mortals must descend! If it can be
  32. called lawful, and if you will suffer speech
  33. of strict truth (all the winding ways
  34. of Falsity forbidden) I come not
  35. down here because of curiosity
  36. to see the glooms of Tartarus and have
  37. no thought to bind or strangle the three necks
  38. of the Medusan Monster, vile with snakes.
  39. But I have come, because my darling wife
  40. stepped on a viper that sent through her veins
  41. death-poison, cutting off her coming years.
  42. “If able, I would bear it, I do not
  43. deny my effort—but the god of Love
  44. has conquered me—a god so kindly known
  45. in all the upper world. We are not sure
  46. he can be known so well in this deep world,
  47. but have good reason to conjecture he
  48. is not unknown here, and if old report
  49. almost forgotten, that you stole your wife
  50. is not a fiction, Love united you
  51. the same as others. By this Place of Fear
  52. this huge void and these vast and silent realms,
  53. renew the life-thread of Eurydice.
  54. “All things are due to you, and though on earth
  55. it happens we may tarry a short while,
  56. slowly or swiftly we must go to one
  57. abode; and it will be our final home.
  58. Long and tenaciously you will possess
  59. unquestioned mastery of the human race.
  60. She also shall be yours to rule, when full
  61. of age she shall have lived the days of her
  62. allotted years. So I ask of you
  63. possession of her few days as a boon.
  64. But if the fates deny to me this prayer
  65. for my true wife, my constant mind must hold
  66. me always so that I can not return—
  67. and you may triumph in the death of two!”
  68. While he sang all his heart said to the sound
  69. of his sweet lyre, the bloodless ghosts themselves
  70. were weeping, and the anxious Tantalus
  71. stopped clutching at return-flow of the wave,
  72. Ixion's twisting wheel stood wonder-bound;
  73. and Tityus' liver for a while escaped
  74. the vultures, and the listening Belides
  75. forgot their sieve-like bowls and even you,
  76. O Sisyphus! sat idly on your rock!
  77. Then Fame declared that conquered by the song
  78. of Orpheus, for the first and only time
  79. the hard cheeks of the fierce Eumenides
  80. were wet with tears: nor could the royal queen,
  81. nor he who rules the lower world deny
  82. the prayer of Orpheus; so they called to them
  83. Eurydice, who still was held among
  84. the new-arriving shades, and she obeyed
  85. the call by walking to them with slow steps,
  86. yet halting from her wound. So Orpheus then
  87. received his wife; and Pluto told him he
  88. might now ascend from these Avernian vales
  89. up to the light, with his Eurydice;
  90. but, if he turned his eyes to look at her,
  91. the gift of her delivery would be lost.
  92. They picked their way in silence up a steep
  93. and gloomy path of darkness. There remained
  94. but little more to climb till they would touch
  95. earth's surface, when in fear he might again
  96. lose her, and anxious for another look
  97. at her, he turned his eyes so he could gaze
  98. upon her. Instantly she slipped away.
  99. He stretched out to her his despairing arms,
  100. eager to rescue her, or feel her form,
  101. but could hold nothing save the yielding air.
  102. Dying the second time, she could not say
  103. a word of censure of her husband's fault;
  104. what had she to complain of — his great love?
  105. Her last word spoken was, “Farewell!” which he
  106. could barely hear, and with no further sound
  107. she fell from him again to Hades.—Struck
  108. quite senseless by this double death of his
  109. dear wife, he was as fixed from motion as
  110. the frightened one who saw the triple necks
  111. of Cerberus, that dog whose middle neck
  112. was chained. The sight filled him with terror he
  113. had no escape from, until petrified
  114. to stone; or like Olenos, changed to stone,
  115. because he fastened on himself the guilt
  116. of his wife. O unfortunate Lethaea!
  117. Too boastful of your beauty, you and he,
  118. united once in love, are now two stones
  119. upon the mountain Ida, moist with springs.
  120. Orpheus implored in vain the ferryman
  121. to help him cross the River Styx again,
  122. but was denied the very hope of death.
  123. Seven days he sat upon Death's river bank,
  124. in squalid misery and without all food—
  125. nourished by grief, anxiety, and tears—
  126. complaining that the Gods of Erebus
  127. were pitiless, at last he wandered back,
  128. until he came to lofty Rhodope
  129. and Haemus, beaten by the strong north wind.
  130. Three times the Sun completed his full course
  131. to watery Pisces, and in all that time,
  132. shunning all women, Orpheus still believed
  133. his love-pledge was forever. So he kept
  134. away from women, though so many grieved,
  135. because he took no notice of their love.
  136. The only friendship he enjoyed was given
  137. to the young men of Thrace.
  1. There was a hill
  2. which rose up to a level plateau, high
  3. and beautiful with green grass; and there was
  4. not any shade for comfort on the top
  5. and there on that luxuriant grass the bard,
  6. while heaven-inspired reclined, and struck
  7. such harmonies on his sweet lyre that shade
  8. most grateful to the hill was spread around.
  9. Strong trees came up there—the Chaonian oak
  10. the Heliads' poplar, and the lofty-branched
  11. deep mast-tree, the soft linden and the beech,
  12. the brittle hazel, and the virgin laurel-tree,
  13. the ash for strong spears, the smooth silver-fir,
  14. the flex bent with acorns and the plane,
  15. the various tinted maple and with those,
  16. the lotus and green willows from their streams,
  17. evergreen box and slender tamarisks,
  18. rich myrtles of two colors and the tine,
  19. bending with green-blue berries: and you, too,
  20. the pliant-footed ivy, came along
  21. with tendril-branching grape-vines, and the elm
  22. all covered with twist-vines, the mountain-ash,
  23. pitch-trees and arbute-trees of blushing fruit,
  24. the bending-palm prized after victories,
  25. the bare-trunk pine of tufted foliage,
  26. bristled upon the top, a pleasant sight
  27. delightful to the Mother of the Gods;
  28. since Attis dear to Cybele, exchanged
  29. his human form which hardened in that tree.
  30. In all the throng the cone-shaped cypress came;
  31. a tree now, it was changed from a dear youth
  32. loved by the god who strings the lyre and bow.
  33. For there was at one time, a mighty stag
  34. held sacred by those nymphs who haunt the fields
  35. Carthaean. His great antlers spread so wide,
  36. they gave an ample shade to his own head.
  37. Those antlers shone with gold: from his smooth throat
  38. a necklace, studded with a wealth of gems,
  39. hung down to his strong shoulders—beautiful.
  40. A silver boss, fastened with little thongs,
  41. played on his forehead, worn there from his birth;
  42. and pendants from both ears, of gleaming pearls,
  43. adorned his hollow temples. Free of fear,
  44. and now no longer shy, frequenting homes
  45. of men he knew, he offered his soft neck
  46. even to strangers for their petting hands.
  47. But more than by all others, he was loved
  48. by you, O Cyparissus, fairest youth
  49. of all the lads of Cea. It was you
  50. who led the pet stag to fresh pasturage,
  51. and to the waters of the clearest spring.
  52. Sometimes you wove bright garlands for his horns,
  53. and sometimes, like a horseman on his back,
  54. now here now there, you guided his soft mouth
  55. with purple reins. It was upon a summer day,
  56. at high noon when the Crab, of spreading claws,
  57. loving the sea-shore, almost burnt beneath
  58. the sun's hot burning rays; and the pet stag
  59. was then reclining on the grassy earth
  60. and, wearied of all action, found relief
  61. under the cool shade of the forest trees;
  62. that as he lay there Cyparissus pierced
  63. him with a javelin: and although it was
  64. quite accidental, when the shocked youth saw
  65. his loved stag dying from the cruel wound
  66. he could not bear it, and resolved on death.
  67. What did not Phoebus say to comfort him?
  68. He cautioned him to hold his grief in check,
  69. consistent with the cause. But still the lad
  70. lamented, and with groans implored the Gods
  71. that he might mourn forever. His life force
  72. exhausted by long weeping, now his limbs
  73. began to take a green tint, and his hair,
  74. which overhung his snow-white brow, turned up
  75. into a bristling crest; and he became
  76. a stiff tree with a slender top and pointed
  77. up to the starry heavens. And the God,
  78. groaning with sorrow, said; “You shall be mourned
  79. sincerely by me, surely as you mourn
  80. for others, and forever you shall stand
  81. in grief, where others grieve.”
  1. Such was the grove
  2. by Orpheus drawn together; and he sat
  3. surrounded by assembled animals,
  4. and many strange Birds. When he tried the chords
  5. by touching with his thumb, and was convinced
  6. the notes were all in harmony, although
  7. attuned to various melody, he raised
  8. his voice and sang:
  9. “Oh my loved mother, Muse,
  10. from Jove inspire my song—for all things yield,
  11. to the unequalled sway of Jove—oh, I
  12. have sung so often Jupiter's great power
  13. before this day, and in a wilder strain,
  14. I've sung the giants and victorious bolts
  15. hurled on Phlegraean plains. But now I need
  16. the gentler touch; for I would sing of boys,
  17. the favorites of Gods, and even of maids
  18. who had to pay the penalty of wrong.”
  19. The king of all the Gods once burned with love
  20. for Ganymede of Phrygia. He found
  21. a shape more pleasing even than his own.
  22. Jove would not take the form of any bird,
  23. except the eagle's, able to sustain
  24. the weight of his own thunderbolts. Without
  25. delay, Jove on fictitious eagle wings,
  26. stole and flew off with that loved Trojan boy:
  27. who even to this day, against the will
  28. of Juno, mingles nectar in the cups
  29. of his protector, mighty Jupiter.
  30. You also, Hyacinthus, would have been
  31. set in the sky! if Phoebus had been given
  32. time which the cruel fates denied for you.
  33. But in a way you are immortal too.
  34. Though you have died. Always when warm spring
  35. drives winter out, and Aries (the Ram)
  36. succeeds to Pisces (watery Fish), you rise
  37. and blossom on the green turf. And the love
  38. my father had for you was deeper than he felt
  39. for others. Delphi center of the world,
  40. had no presiding guardian, while the God
  41. frequented the Eurotas and the land
  42. of Sparta, never fortified with walls.
  43. His zither and his bow no longer fill
  44. his eager mind and now without a thought
  45. of dignity, he carried nets and held
  46. the dogs in leash, and did not hesitate
  47. to go with Hyacinthus on the rough,
  48. steep mountain ridges; and by all of such
  49. associations, his love was increased.
  50. Now Titan was about midway, betwixt
  51. the coming and the banished night, and stood
  52. at equal distance from those two extremes.
  53. Then, when the youth and Phoebus were well stripped,
  54. and gleaming with rich olive oil, they tried
  55. a friendly contest with the discus. First
  56. Phoebus, well-poised, sent it awhirl through air,
  57. and cleft the clouds beyond with its broad weight;
  58. from which at length it fell down to the earth,
  59. a certain evidence of strength and skill.
  60. Heedless of danger Hyacinthus rushed
  61. for eager glory of the game, resolved
  62. to get the discus. But it bounded back
  63. from off the hard earth, and struck full against
  64. your face, O Hyacinthus! Deadly pale
  65. the God's face went — as pallid as the boy's.
  66. With care he lifted the sad huddled form.
  67. The kind god tries to warm you back to life,
  68. and next endeavors to attend your wound,
  69. and stay your parting soul with healing herbs.
  70. His skill is no advantage, for the wound
  71. is past all art of cure. As if someone,
  72. when in a garden, breaks off violets,
  73. poppies, or lilies hung from golden stems,
  74. then drooping they must hang their withered heads,
  75. and gaze down towards the earth beneath them; so,
  76. the dying boy's face droops, and his bent neck,
  77. a burden to itself, falls back upon
  78. his shoulder: “You are fallen in your prime
  79. defrauded of your youth, O Hyacinthus!”
  80. Moaned Apollo. “I can see in your sad wound
  81. my own guilt, and you are my cause of grief
  82. and self-reproach. My own hand gave you death
  83. unmerited — I only can be charged
  84. with your destruction.—What have I done wrong?
  85. Can it be called a fault to play with you?
  86. Should loving you be called a fault? And oh,
  87. that I might now give up my life for you!
  88. Or die with you! But since our destinies
  89. prevent us you shall always be with me,
  90. and you shall dwell upon my care-filled lips.
  91. The lyre struck by my hand, and my true songs
  92. will always celebrate you. A new flower
  93. you shall arise, with markings on your petals,
  94. close imitation of my constant moans:
  95. and there shall come another to be linked
  96. with this new flower, a valiant hero shall
  97. be known by the same marks upon its petals.”
  98. And while Phoebus, Apollo, sang these words
  99. with his truth-telling lips, behold the blood
  100. of Hyacinthus, which had poured out on
  101. the ground beside him and there stained the grass,
  102. was changed from blood; and in its place a flower,
  103. more beautiful than Tyrian dye, sprang up.
  104. It almost seemed a lily, were it not
  105. that one was purple and the other white.
  106. But Phoebus was not satisfied with this.
  107. For it was he who worked the miracle
  108. of his sad words inscribed on flower leaves.
  109. These letters AI, AI, are inscribed
  110. on them. And Sparta certainly is proud
  111. to honor Hyacinthus as her son;
  112. and his loved fame endures; and every year
  113. they celebrate his solemn festival.
  1. If you should ask Amathus, which is rich
  2. in metals, how can she rejoice and take
  3. a pride in deeds of her Propoetides;
  4. she would disclaim it and repudiate
  5. them all, as well as those of transformed men,
  6. whose foreheads were deformed by two rough horns,
  7. from which their name Cerastae. By their gates
  8. an altar unto Jove stood. If by chance
  9. a stranger, not informed of their dark crimes,
  10. had seen the horrid altar smeared with blood,
  11. he would suppose that suckling calves and sheep
  12. of Amathus, were sacrificed thereon—
  13. it was in fact the blood of slaughtered guests!
  14. Kind-hearted Venus, outraged by such deeds
  15. of sacrifice, was ready to desert
  16. her cities and her snake-infested plains;
  17. “But how,” said she, “have their delightful lands
  18. together with my well built cities sinned?
  19. What crime have they done?—Those inhabitants
  20. should pay the penalty of their own crimes
  21. by exile or by death; or it may be
  22. a middle course, between exile and death;
  23. and what can that be, but the punishment
  24. of a changed form?” And while she hesitates,
  25. in various thoughts of what form they should take,
  26. her eyes by chance, observed their horns,
  27. and that decided her; such horns could well
  28. be on them after any change occurred,
  29. and she transformed their big and brutal bodies
  30. to savage bulls.
  31. But even after that,
  32. the obscene Propoetides dared to deny
  33. divinity of Venus, for which fault,
  34. (and it is common fame) they were the first
  35. to criminate their bodies, through the wrath
  36. of Venus; and so blushing shame was lost,
  37. white blood, in their bad faces grew so fast,
  38. so hard, it was no wonder they were turned
  39. with small change into hard and lifeless stones.
  1. Pygmalion saw these women waste their lives
  2. in wretched shame, and critical of faults
  3. which nature had so deeply planted through
  4. their female hearts, he lived in preference,
  5. for many years unmarried.—But while he
  6. was single, with consummate skill, he carved
  7. a statue out of snow-white ivory,
  8. and gave to it exquisite beauty, which
  9. no woman of the world has ever equalled:
  10. she was so beautiful, he fell in love
  11. with his creation. It appeared in truth
  12. a perfect virgin with the grace of life,
  13. but in the expression of such modesty
  14. all motion was restrained—and so his art
  15. concealed his art. Pygmalion gazed, inflamed
  16. with love and admiration for the form,
  17. in semblance of a woman, he had carved.
  18. He lifts up both his hands to feel the work,
  19. and wonders if it can be ivory,
  20. because it seems to him more truly flesh. —
  21. his mind refusing to conceive of it
  22. as ivory, he kisses it and feels
  23. his kisses are returned. And speaking love,
  24. caresses it with loving hands that seem
  25. to make an impress, on the parts they touch,
  26. so real that he fears he then may bruise
  27. her by his eager pressing. Softest tones
  28. are used each time he speaks to her. He brings
  29. to her such presents as are surely prized
  30. by sweet girls; such as smooth round pebbles, shells,
  31. and birds, and fragrant flowers of thousand tints,
  32. lilies, and painted balls, and amber tears
  33. of Heliads, which distill from far off trees.—
  34. he drapes her in rich clothing and in gems:
  35. rings on her fingers, a rich necklace round
  36. her neck, pearl pendants on her graceful ears;
  37. and golden ornaments adorn her breast.
  38. All these are beautiful—and she appears
  39. most lovable, if carefully attired,—
  40. or perfect as a statue, unadorned.
  41. He lays her on a bed luxurious, spread
  42. with coverlets of Tyrian purple dye,
  43. and naming her the consort of his couch,
  44. lays her reclining head on the most soft
  45. and downy pillows, trusting she could feel.
  46. The festal day of Venus, known throughout
  47. all Cyprus, now had come, and throngs were there
  48. to celebrate. Heifers with spreading horns,
  49. all gold-tipped, fell when given the stroke of death
  50. upon their snow-white necks; and frankincense
  51. was smoking on the altars. There, intent,
  52. Pygmalion stood before an altar, when
  53. his offering had been made; and although he
  54. feared the result, he prayed: “If it is true,
  55. O Gods, that you can give all things, I pray
  56. to have as my wife—” but, he did not dare
  57. to add “my ivory statue-maid,” and said,
  58. “One like my ivory—.” Golden Venus heard,
  59. for she was present at her festival,
  60. and she knew clearly what the prayer had meant.
  61. She gave a sign that her Divinity
  62. favored his plea: three times the flame leaped high
  63. and brightly in the air.
  64. When he returned,
  65. he went directly to his image-maid,
  66. bent over her, and kissed her many times,
  67. while she was on her couch; and as he kissed,
  68. she seemed to gather some warmth from his lips.
  69. Again he kissed her; and he felt her breast;
  70. the ivory seemed to soften at the touch,
  71. and its firm texture yielded to his hand,
  72. as honey-wax of Mount Hymettus turns
  73. to many shapes when handled in the sun,
  74. and surely softens from each gentle touch.
  75. He is amazed; but stands rejoicing in his doubt;
  76. while fearful there is some mistake, again
  77. and yet again, gives trial to his hopes
  78. by touching with his hand. It must be flesh!
  79. The veins pulsate beneath the careful test
  80. of his directed finger. Then, indeed,
  81. the astonished hero poured out lavish thanks
  82. to Venus; pressing with his raptured lips
  83. his statue's lips. Now real, true to life—
  84. the maiden felt the kisses given to her,
  85. and blushing, lifted up her timid eyes,
  86. so that she saw the light and sky above,
  87. as well as her rapt lover while he leaned
  88. gazing beside her—and all this at once—
  89. the goddess graced the marriage she had willed,
  90. and when nine times a crescent moon had changed,
  91. increasing to the full, the statue-bride
  92. gave birth to her dear daughter Paphos. From
  93. which famed event the island takes its name.
  1. The royal Cinyras was sprung from her;
  2. and if he had been father of no child,
  3. might well have been accounted fortunate—
  4. but I must sing of horrible events—
  5. avoid it daughters! Parents! shun this tale!
  6. But if my verse has charmed your thought,
  7. do not give me such credit in this part;
  8. convince yourself it cannot be true life;
  9. or, if against my wish you hear and must
  10. believe it, then be sure to notice how
  11. such wickedness gets certain punishment.
  12. And yet, if Nature could permit such crimes
  13. as this to happen, I congratulate
  14. Ismarian people and all Thrace as well,
  15. and I congratulate this nation, which
  16. we know is far away from the land where
  17. this vile abomination did occur.
  18. The land we call Panchaia may be rich
  19. in balsam, cinnamon, and costum sweet
  20. for ointment, frankincense distilled from trees,
  21. with many flowers besides. All this large wealth
  22. combined could never compensate the land
  23. for this detestable, one crime: even though
  24. the new Myrrh-Tree advanced on that rich soil.
  25. Cupid declares his weapons never caused
  26. an injury to Myrrha, and denies
  27. his torches ever could have urged her crime.—
  28. one of the three bad sisters kindled this,
  29. with fire brand from the Styx, and poisoned you
  30. with swollen vipers.—It is criminal
  31. to hate a parent, but love such as hers
  32. is certainly more criminal than hate.
  33. The chosen princes of all lands desire
  34. you now in marriage, and young men throughout
  35. the Orient are vying for your hand.
  36. Choose, Myrrha one from all of these for your
  37. good husband; but exclude from such a thought
  38. your father only. She indeed is quite
  39. aware, and struggles bitterly against
  40. her vile desires, and argues in her heart:—
  41. “What am I tending to? O listening Gods
  42. I pray for aid, I pray to Natural Love!
  43. Ah, may the sacred rights of parents keep
  44. this vile desire from me, defend me from
  45. a crime so great—If it indeed is crime.
  46. I am not sure it is—I have not heard
  47. that any god or written law condemns
  48. the union of a parent and his child.
  49. All animals will mate as they desire—
  50. a heifer may endure her sire, and who
  51. condemns it? And the happy stud is not
  52. refused by his mare-daughters: the he-goat
  53. consorts unthought-of with the flock of which
  54. he is the father; and the birds conceive
  55. of those from whom they were themselves begot.
  56. Happy are they who have such privilege!
  57. Malignant men have given spiteful laws;
  58. and what is right to Nature is decreed
  59. unnatural, by jealous laws of men.
  60. “But it is said there are some tribes today,
  61. in which the mother marries her own son;
  62. the daughter takes her father; and by this,
  63. the love kind Nature gives them is increased
  64. into a double bond.—Ah wretched me!
  65. Why was it not my fortune to be born
  66. in that love-blessed land? I must abide,
  67. depressed by my misfortunes, in this place.
  68. “Why do I dwell on these forbidden hopes?
  69. Let me forget to think of lawless flame.
  70. My father is most worthy of my love,
  71. but only as a father.—If I were
  72. not born the daughter of great Cinyras,
  73. I might be joined to him; but, as it stands,
  74. because he is mine he is never mine;
  75. because near to me he is far from me.
  76. “It would be better for me, if we were
  77. but strangers to each other; for I then,
  78. could wish to go, and leave my native land,
  79. and so escape temptation to this crime:
  80. but my unhappy passion holds me here,
  81. that I may see Cinyras face to face,
  82. and touch him, talk with him and even kiss him—
  83. the best, if nothing else can be allowed.
  84. “But what more could be asked for, by the most
  85. depraved? Think of the many sacred ties
  86. and loved names, you are dragging to the mire:
  87. the rival of your mother, will you be
  88. the mistress of your father, and be named
  89. the sister of your son, and make yourself
  90. the mother of your brother? And will you
  91. not dread the sisters with black snakes for hair.
  92. Whom guilty creatures, such as you, can see
  93. brandish relentless flames before their eyes
  94. and faces? While your body has not sinned
  95. you must not let sin creep into your heart,
  96. and violate great Nature's law with your
  97. unlawful rovings. If you had the right
  98. to long for his endearment, it could not
  99. be possible. He is a virtuous man
  100. and is regardful of the moral law—
  101. oh how I wish my passion could be his!”
  102. And so she argued and declared her love:
  103. but Cinyras, her father, who was urged
  104. by such a throng of suitors for her hand,
  105. that he could make no choice, at last inquired
  106. of her, so she might make her heart's wish known.
  107. And as he named them over, asked her which
  108. she fixed her gaze upon her father's face,
  109. in doubtful agony what she could say,
  110. while hot tears filled her eyes. Her father, sure
  111. it all was of a virginal alarm,
  112. as he is telling her she need not weep
  113. dries her wet cheeks and kisses her sweet lips.
  114. Too much delighted with his gentle words
  115. and kind endearments, Myrrha, when he asked
  116. again, which one might be her husband, said,
  117. “The one just like yourself.”, And he replied
  118. not understanding what her heart would say,
  119. “You answer as a loving-daughter should.”
  120. When she heard “loving-daughter” said, the girl
  121. too conscious of her guilt, looked on the ground.
  122. It was now midnight, peaceful sleep dissolved
  123. the world-care of all mortals, but of her
  124. who, sleepless through the night, burnt in the flame
  125. of her misplaced affection. First despair
  126. compels her to abandon every hope,
  127. and then she changes and resolves to try;
  128. and so she wavers from desire to shame,
  129. for she could not adhere to any plan.
  130. As a great tree, cut by the swinging axe
  131. is chopped until the last blow has been struck,
  132. then sways and threatens danger to all sides;
  133. so does her weak mind, cut with many blows,
  134. waver unsteadily—this way and that—
  135. and turning back and forth it finds no rest
  136. from passion, save the rest that lies in death.
  137. The thought of death gave comfort to her heart.
  138. Resolved to hang herself, she sat upright;
  139. then, as she tied her girdle to a beam,
  140. she said, “Farewell, beloved Cinyras,
  141. and may you know the cause of my sad death.”
  142. And while she spoke those words, her fingers fixed
  143. the noosed rope close around her death-pale neck.
  144. They say the murmur of despairing words
  145. was heard by her attentive nurse who watched
  146. outside the room. And, faithful as of old,
  147. she opened the shut door. But, when she saw
  148. the frightful preparations made for death,
  149. the odd nurse screamed and beat and tore her breast,
  150. then seized and snatched the rope from Myrrha's neck;
  151. and after she had torn the noose apart,
  152. at last she had the time to weep and time,
  153. while she embraced the girl, to ask her why
  154. the halter had been fastened round her neck.
  155. The girl in stubborn silence only fixed
  156. her eyes upon the ground—sad that her first
  157. attempt at death, because too slow, was foiled.
  158. The old nurse-woman urged and urged, and showed
  159. her gray hair and her withered breasts, and begged
  160. her by the memory of her cradle days,
  161. and baby nourishment, to hide no more
  162. from her long-trusted nurse what caused her grief.
  163. The girl turned from her questions with a sigh.
  164. The nurse, still more determined to know all,
  165. promised fidelity and her best aid—
  166. “Tell me,” she said, “and let me give you help;
  167. my old age offers means for your relief:
  168. if it be frantic passion, I have charms
  169. and healing herbs; or, if an evil spell
  170. was worked on you by someone, you shall be
  171. cured to your perfect self by magic rites;
  172. or, if your actions have enraged the Gods,
  173. a sacrifice will satisfy their wrath.
  174. What else could be the cause? Your family
  175. and you are prosperous—your mother dear,
  176. and your loved father are alive and well.”
  177. And, when she heard her say the name of father,
  178. a sigh heaved up from her distracted heart.
  179. But even after that the nurse could not
  180. conceive such evil in the girl's sick heart;
  181. and yet she had a feeling it must be
  182. only a love affair could cause the crime:
  183. and with persistent purpose begged the cause.
  184. She pressed the weeping girl against her breast;
  185. and as she held her in her feeble arms,
  186. she said, “Sweet heart, I know you are in love:
  187. in this affair I am entirely yours
  188. for your good service, you must have no fear,
  189. your father cannot learn of it from me.,”
  190. just like a mad girl, Myrrha sprang away,
  191. and with her face deep-buried in a couch,
  192. sobbed out, “Go from me or stop asking me
  193. my cause of grief—it is a crime of shame—
  194. I cannot tell it!” Horrified the nurse
  195. stretched forth her trembling hands, palsied
  196. with age and fear. She fell down at the feet
  197. of her loved foster-child, and coaxing her
  198. and frightening her, she threatened to disclose
  199. her knowledge of the halter and of what
  200. she knew of her attempted suicide;
  201. and after all was said, she gave her word
  202. to help the girl, when she had given to her
  203. a true confession of her sad heart-love.
  204. The girl just lifted up her face, and laid
  205. it, weeping, on the bosom of her nurse.
  206. She tried so often to confess, and just
  207. as often checked her words, her shamed face hid
  208. deep in her garment: “Oh”, at last she groans,
  209. “O mother blessed in your husband—oh!”
  210. Only that much she said and groaned. The nurse
  211. felt a cold horror stealing through her heart
  212. and frame, for she now understood it all.
  213. And her white hair stood bristling on her head,
  214. while with the utmost care of love and art
  215. she strove to use appropriate words and deeds,
  216. to banish the mad passion of the girl.
  217. Though Myrrha knew that she was truly warned,
  218. she was resolved to die, unless she could
  219. obtain the object of her wicked love.
  220. The nurse gave way at last as in defeat,
  221. and said, “Live and enjoy—” but did not dare
  222. to say, “your father”, did not finish, though,
  223. she promised and confirmed it with an oath.
  224. It was the time when matrons celebrate
  225. the annual festival of Ceres. Then,
  226. all robed in decent garments of snow-white,
  227. they bring garlands of precious wheat, which are
  228. first fruits of worship; and for nine nights they
  229. must count forbidden every act of love,
  230. and shun the touch of man. And in that throng,
  231. Cenchreis, the king's wife, with constant care
  232. attended every secret rite: and so
  233. while the king's bed was lacking his true wife,
  234. one of those nights,—King Cinyras was drunk
  235. with too much wine,—the scheming nurse informed
  236. him of a girl most beautiful, whose love
  237. for him was passionate; in a false tale
  238. she pictured a true passion. — When he asked
  239. the maiden's age, she answered, “Just the same
  240. as Myrrha's.” Bidden by the king to go
  241. and fetch her, the officious old nurse, when
  242. she found the girl, cried out; “Rejoice, my dear,
  243. we have contrived it!” The unhappy girl
  244. could not feel genuine joy in her amazed
  245. and startled body. Her dazed mind was filled
  246. with strange forebodings; but she did believe
  247. her heart was joyful.—Great excitement filled
  248. her wrecked heart with such inconsistencies.
  249. Now was the time when nature is at rest;
  250. between the Bears, Bootes turned his wain
  251. down to the west, and the guilty Myrrha turns
  252. to her enormity. The golden moon
  253. flies from the heaven, and black clouds cover
  254. the hiding stars and Night has lost her fires.
  255. The first to hide were stars of Icarus
  256. and of Erigone, in hallowed love
  257. devoted to her father. Myrrha thrice
  258. was warned by omen of her stumbling foot;
  259. the funeral screech-owl also warned her thrice,
  260. with dismal cry; yet Myrrha onward goes.
  261. It seems to her the black night lessens shame.
  262. She holds fast to her nurse with her left hand,
  263. and with the other hand gropes through the dark.
  264. And now they go until she finds the door.
  265. Now at the threshold of her father's room,
  266. she softly pushes back the door, her nurse
  267. takes her within. The girl's knees trembling sink
  268. beneath her. Her drawn bloodless face has lost
  269. its color, and while she moves to the crime,
  270. bad courage goes from her until afraid
  271. of her bold effort, she would gladly turn
  272. unrecognized. But as she hesitates,
  273. the aged crone still holds her by the hand;
  274. and leading her up to the high bed there
  275. delivering Myrrha, says, “Now Cinyras,
  276. you take her, she is yours;” and leaves the pair
  277. doomed in their crime — the father to pollute
  278. his own flesh in his own bed; where he tries
  279. first to encourage her from maiden fears,
  280. by gently talking to the timid girl.
  281. He chanced to call her “daughter,” as a name
  282. best suited to her age; and she in turn,
  283. endearing, called him “father”, so no names
  284. might be omitted to complete their guilt.
  285. She staggered from his chamber with the crime
  286. of her own father hidden in her womb,
  287. and their guilt was repeated many nights;
  288. till Cinyras — determined he must know
  289. his mistress, after many meetings, brought
  290. a light and knew his crime had harmed his daughter.
  291. Speechless in shame he drew forth his bright sword
  292. out from the scabbard where it hung near by.—
  293. but frightened Myrrha fled, and so escaped
  294. death in the shadows of dark night. Groping
  295. her pathless way at random through the fields,
  296. she left Arabia, famed for spreading palms,
  297. and wandered through Panchaean lands. Until
  298. after nine months of aimless wandering days,
  299. she rested in Sabaea, for she could
  300. not hold the burden she had borne so long.
  301. Not knowing what to pray for, moved alike
  302. by fear of death and weariness of life,
  303. her wishes were expressed in prayer: “O Gods,
  304. if you will listen to my prayer, I do
  305. not shun a dreadful punishment deserved;
  306. but now because my life offends the living,
  307. and dying I offend the dead, drive me
  308. from both conditions; change me, and refuse
  309. my flesh both life and death!”
  310. Some god did listen
  311. to her unnatural prayer; her last petition
  312. had answering gods. For even as she prayed,
  313. the earth closed over her legs; roots grew out
  314. and, stretching forth obliquely from her nails,
  315. gave strong support to her up-growing trunk;
  316. her bones got harder, and her marrow still
  317. unchanged, kept to the center, as her blood
  318. was changed to sap, as her outstretching arms
  319. became long branches and her fingers twigs;
  320. and as her soft skin hardened into bark:
  321. and the fast-growing tree had closely bound
  322. her womb, still heavy, and had covered her
  323. soft bosom; and was spreading quickly up
  324. to her neck.—She can not endure the strain,
  325. and sinking down into the rising wood,
  326. her whole face soon was hidden in the bark.
  327. Although all sense of human life was gone,
  328. as quickly as she lost her human form,
  329. her weeping was continued, and warm drops
  330. distilled from her (the tree) cease not to fall.
  331. There is a virtue even in her tears—
  332. the valued myrrh distilling from the trunk,
  333. keeps to her name, by which she still is known,
  334. and cannot be forgot of aging time.
  335. The guilt-begotten child had growth while wood
  336. was growing, and endeavored now to find
  337. a way of safe birth. The tree-trunk was swelling
  338. and tightened against Myrrha, who, unable
  339. to express her torture, could not call upon
  340. Lucina in the usual words of travail.
  341. But then just like a woman in great pain,
  342. the tree bends down and, while it groans, bedews
  343. itself with falling tears. Lucina stood
  344. in pity near the groaning branches, laid
  345. her hands on them, and uttered charms to aid
  346. the hindered birth. The tree cracked open then,
  347. the bark was rent asunder, and it gave forth
  348. its living weight, a wailing baby-boy.
  349. The Naiads laid him on soft leaves, and they
  350. anointed him with his own mother's tears.
  351. Even Envy would not fail to praise the child,
  352. as beautiful as naked cupids seen
  353. in chosen paintings. Only give to him
  354. a polished quiver, or take theirs from them,
  355. and no keen eye could choose him from their midst.
  1. Time gliding by without our knowledge cheats us,
  2. and nothing can be swifter than the years.
  3. That son of sister and grandfather, who
  4. was lately hidden in his parent tree,
  5. just lately born, a lovely baby-boy
  6. is now a youth, now man more beautiful
  7. than during growth. He wins the love of Venus
  8. and so avenges his own mother's passion.
  9. For while the goddess' son with quiver held
  10. on shoulder, once was kissing his loved mother,
  11. it chanced unwittingly he grazed her breast
  12. with a projecting arrow. Instantly
  13. the wounded goddess pushed her son away;
  14. but the scratch had pierced her deeper than she thought
  15. and even Venus was at first deceived.
  16. Delighted with the beauty of the youth,
  17. she does not think of her Cytherian shores
  18. and does not care for Paphos, which is girt
  19. by the deep sea, nor Cnidos, haunts of fish,
  20. nor Amathus far-famed for precious ores.
  21. Venus, neglecting heaven, prefers Adonis
  22. to heaven, and so she holds close to his ways
  23. as his companion, and forgets to rest
  24. at noon-day in the shade, neglecting care
  25. of her sweet beauty. She goes through the woods,
  26. and over mountain ridges and wild fields,
  27. rocky and thorn-set, bare to her white knees
  28. after Diana's manner. And she cheers
  29. the hounds, intent to hunt for harmless prey,
  30. such as the leaping hare, or the wild stag,
  31. high-crowned with branching antlers, or the doe.—
  32. she keeps away from fierce wild boars, away
  33. from ravenous wolves; and she avoids the bears
  34. of frightful claws, and lions glutted with
  35. the blood of slaughtered cattle.
  36. She warns you,
  37. Adonis, to beware and fear them. If her fears
  38. for you were only heeded! “Oh be brave,”
  39. she says, “against those timid animals
  40. which fly from you; but courage is not safe
  41. against the bold. Dear boy, do not be rash,
  42. do not attack the wild beasts which are armed
  43. by nature, lest your glory may cost me
  44. great sorrow. Neither youth nor beauty nor
  45. the deeds which have moved Venus have effect
  46. on lions, bristling boars, and on the eyes
  47. and tempers of wild beasts. Boars have the force
  48. of lightning in their curved tusks, and the rage
  49. of tawny lions is unlimited.
  50. I fear and hate them all.”
  51. When he inquires
  52. the reason, she says: “I will tell it; you
  53. will be surprised to learn the bad result
  54. caused by an ancient crime.—But I am weary
  55. with unaccustomed toil; and see! a poplar
  56. convenient, offers a delightful shade
  57. and this lawn gives a good couch. Let us rest
  58. ourselves here on the grass.” So saying, she
  59. reclined upon the turf and, pillowing
  60. her head against his breast and mingling kisses
  61. with her words, she told him the following tale:
  1. Perhaps you may have heard of a swift maid,
  2. who ran much faster than swift-footed men
  3. contesting in the race. What they have told
  4. is not an idle tale.—She did excel
  5. them all—and you could not have said
  6. whether her swift speed or her beauty was
  7. more worthy of your praise. When this maid once
  8. consulted with an oracle, of her
  9. fate after marriage, the god answered her:
  10. “You, Atalanta, never will have need
  11. of husband, who will only be your harm.
  12. For your best good you should avoid the tie;
  13. but surely you will not avoid your harm;
  14. and while yet living you will lose yourself.”
  15. She was so frightened by the oracle,
  16. she lived unwedded in far shaded woods;
  17. and with harsh terms repulsed insistent throngs
  18. of suitors. “I will not be won,” she said,
  19. “Till I am conquered first in speed. Contest
  20. the race with me. A wife and couch shall both
  21. be given to reward the swift, but death
  22. must recompense the one who lags behind.
  23. This must be the condition of a race.”
  24. Indeed she was that pitiless, but such
  25. the power of beauty, a rash multitude
  26. agreed to her harsh terms.
  27. Hippomenes
  28. had come, a stranger, to the cruel race,
  29. with condemnation in his heart against
  30. the racing young men for their headstrong love;
  31. and said, “Why seek a wife at such a risk?”
  32. But when he saw her face, and perfect form
  33. disrobed for perfect running, such a form
  34. as mine, Adonis, or as yours—if you
  35. were woman—he was so astonished he
  36. raised up his hands and said, “Oh pardon me
  37. brave men whom I was blaming, I could not
  38. then realize the value of the prize
  39. you strove for.” And as he is praising her,
  40. his own heart leaping with love's fire, he hopes
  41. no young man may outstrip her in the race;
  42. and, full of envy, fears for the result.
  43. “But why,” he cries, “is my chance in the race
  44. untried? Divinity helps those who dare.”
  45. But while the hero weighed it in his mind
  46. the virgin flew as if her feet had wings.
  47. Although she seemed to him in flight as swift
  48. as any Scythian arrow, he admired
  49. her beauty more; and her swift speed appeared
  50. in her most beautiful. The breeze bore back
  51. the streamers on her flying ankles, while
  52. her hair was tossed back over her white shoulders;
  53. the bright trimmed ribbons at her knees were fluttering,
  54. and over her white girlish body came
  55. a pink flush, just as when a purple awning
  56. across a marble hall gives it a wealth
  57. of borrowed hues. And while Hippomenes
  58. in wonder gazed at her, the goal was reached;
  59. and Atalanta crowned victorious
  60. with festal wreath.—But all the vanquished youths
  61. paid the death-penalty with sighs and groans,
  62. according to the stipulated bond.
  63. Not frightened by the fate of those young men,
  64. he stood up boldly in the midst of all;
  65. and fixing his strong eyes upon the maiden, said:
  66. “Where is the glory in an easy victory
  67. over such weaklings? Try your fate with me!
  68. If fortune fail to favor you, how could
  69. it shame you to be conquered by a man?
  70. Megareus of Onchestus is my father,
  71. his grandsire, Neptune, god of all the seas.
  72. I am descendant of the King of Waves:
  73. and add to this, my name for manly worth
  74. has not disgraced the fame of my descent.
  75. If you should prove victorious against
  76. this combination, you will have achieved
  77. a great enduring name—the only one
  78. who ever bested great Hippomenes.”
  79. While he was speaking, Atalanta's gaze
  80. grew softer, in her vacillating hopes
  81. to conquer and be conquered; till at last,
  82. her heart, unbalanced, argued in this way:
  83. “It must be some god envious of youth,
  84. wishing to spoil this one prompts him to seek
  85. wedlock with me and risk his own dear life.
  86. I am not worth the price, if I may judge.
  87. His beauty does not touch me—but I could
  88. be moved by it—I must consider he
  89. is but a boy. It is not he himself
  90. who moves me, but his youth. Sufficient cause
  91. for thought are his great courage and his soul
  92. fearless of death. What of his high descent;—
  93. great grandson of the King of all the seas?
  94. What of his love for me that has such great
  95. importance, he would perish if his fate
  96. denied my marriage to him? O strange boy,
  97. go from me while you can; abandon hope
  98. of this alliance stained with blood—A match
  99. with me is fatal. Other maids will not
  100. refuse to wed you, and a wiser girl
  101. will gladly seek your love.—But what concern
  102. is it of mine, when I but think of those
  103. who have already perished! Let him look
  104. to it himself; and let him die. Since he
  105. is not warned by his knowledge of the fate
  106. of many other suitors, he declares
  107. quite plainly, he is weary of his life.—
  108. “Shall he then die, because it must be his
  109. one hope to live with me? And suffer death
  110. though undeserved, for me because he loves?
  111. My victory will not ward off the hate,
  112. the odium of the deed! But it is not
  113. a fault of mine.—Oh fond, fond man, I would
  114. that you had never seen me! But you are
  115. so madly set upon it, I could wish
  116. you may prove much the swifter! Oh how dear
  117. how lovable is his young girlish face!—
  118. ah, doomed Hippomenes, I only wish
  119. mischance had never let you see me! You
  120. are truly worthy of a life on earth.
  121. If I had been more fortunate, and not
  122. denied a happy marriage day; I would
  123. not share my bed with any man but you.”
  124. All this the virgin Atalanta said;
  125. and knowing nothing of the power of love,
  126. she is so ignorant of what she does,
  127. she loves and does not know she is in love.
  128. Meanwhile her father and the people, all
  129. loudly demanded the accustomed race.
  130. A suppliant, the young Hippomenes
  131. invoked me with his anxious voice, “I pray
  132. to you, O Venus, Queen of Love, be near
  133. and help my daring—smile upon the love
  134. you have inspired!” The breeze, not envious,
  135. wafted this prayer to me; and I confess,
  136. it was so tender it did move my heart—
  137. I had but little time to give him aid.
  138. There is a field there which the natives call
  139. the Field Tamasus—the most prized of all
  140. the fertile lands of Cyprus. This rich field,
  141. in ancient days, was set apart for me,
  142. by chosen elders who decreed it should
  143. enrich my temples yearly. In this field
  144. there grows a tree, with gleaming golden leaves,
  145. and all its branches crackle with bright gold.
  146. Since I was coming from there, by some chance,
  147. I had three golden apples in my hand,
  148. which I had plucked. With them I planned to aid
  149. Hippomenes. While quite invisible
  150. to all but him, I taught him how to use
  151. those golden apples for his benefit.
  1. The trumpet soon gave signal for the race
  2. and both of them crouching flashed quickly forth
  3. and skimmed the surface of the sandy course
  4. with flying feet. You might even think those two
  5. could graze the sea with unwet feet and pass
  6. over the ripened heads of standing grain.
  7. Shouts of applause gave courage to the youth:
  8. the cheering multitude cried out to him:—
  9. “Now is the time to use your strength. Go on!
  10. Hippomenes! Bend to the work! You're sure
  11. to win!” It must be doubted who was most
  12. rejoiced by those brave words, Megareus' son,
  13. or Schoeneus' daughter. Oh, how often, when
  14. she could have passed him, she delayed her speed;
  15. and after gazing long upon his face
  16. reluctantly again would pass him! Now
  17. dry panting breath came from his weary throat—
  18. the goal still far away.—Then Neptune's scion
  19. threw one of three gold apples. Atalanta
  20. with wonder saw it—eager to possess
  21. the shining fruit, she turned out of her course,
  22. picked up the rolling gold. Hippomenes
  23. passed by her, while spectators roared applause.
  24. Increasing speed, she overcame delay,
  25. made up for time lost, and again she left
  26. the youth behind. She was delayed again
  27. because he tossed another golden apple.
  28. She followed him, and passed him in the race.
  29. The last part of the course remained. He cried
  30. “Be near me, goddess, while I use your gift.”
  31. With youthful might he threw the shining gold,
  32. in an oblique direction to the side,
  33. so that pursuit would mean a slow return.
  34. The virgin seemed to hesitate, in doubt
  35. whether to follow after this third prize.
  36. I forced her to turn for it; take it up;
  37. and, adding weight to the gold fruit, she held,
  38. impeded her with weight and loss of time.
  39. For fear my narrative may stretch beyond
  40. the race itself,—the maiden was outstripped;
  41. Hippomenes then led his prize away.
  42. Adonis, did I not deserve his thanks
  43. with tribute of sweet incense? But he was
  44. ungrateful, and, forgetful of my help,
  45. he gave me neither frankincense nor thanks.
  46. Such conduct threw me into sudden wrath,
  47. and, fretting at the slight, I felt I must
  48. not be despised at any future time.
  49. I told myself 'twas only right to make
  50. a just example of them. They were near
  51. a temple, hidden in the forest, which
  52. glorious Echion in remembered time
  53. had built to Rhea, Mother of the gods,
  54. in payment of a vow. So, wearied from
  55. the distance traveled, they were glad to have
  56. a needed rest. Hippomenes while there,
  57. was seized with love his heart could not control.—
  58. a passion caused by my divinity.
  59. Quite near the temple was a cave-like place,
  60. covered with pumice. It was hallowed by
  61. religious veneration of the past.
  62. Within the shadows of that place, a priest
  63. had stationed many wooden images
  64. of olden gods. The lovers entered there
  65. and desecrated it. The images
  66. were scandalized, and turned their eyes away.
  67. The tower-crowned Mother, Cybele, at first
  68. prepared to plunge the guilty pair beneath
  69. the waves of Styx, but such a punishment
  70. seemed light. And so their necks, that had been smooth.
  71. Were covered instantly with tawny manes;
  72. their fingers bent to claws; their arms were changed
  73. to fore-legs; and their bosoms held their weight;
  74. and with their tails they swept the sandy ground.
  75. Their casual glance is anger, and instead
  76. of words they utter growls. They haunt the woods,
  77. a bridal-room to their ferocious taste.
  78. And now fierce lions they are terrible
  79. to all of life; except to Cybele;
  80. whose harness has subdued their champing jaws.
  81. My dear Adonis keep away from all
  82. such savage animals; avoid all those
  83. which do not turn their fearful backs in flight
  84. but offer their bold breasts to your attack,
  85. lest courage should be fatal to us both.
  86. Indeed she warned him. — Harnessing her swans,
  87. she traveled swiftly through the yielding air;
  88. but his rash courage would not heed advice.
  89. By chance his dogs, which followed a sure track,
  90. aroused a wild boar from his hiding place;
  91. and, as he rushed out from his forest lair,
  92. Adonis pierced him with a glancing stroke.
  93. Infuriate, the fierce boar's curved snout
  94. first struck the spear-shaft from his bleeding side;
  95. and, while the trembling youth was seeking where
  96. to find a safe retreat, the savage beast
  97. raced after him, until at last he sank
  98. his deadly tusk deep in Adonis' groin;
  99. and stretched him dying on the yellow sand.
  100. And now sweet Aphrodite, borne through air
  101. in her light chariot, had not yet arrived
  102. at Cyprus, on the wings of her white swans.
  103. Afar she recognized his dying groans,
  104. and turned her white birds towards the sound. And when
  105. down looking from the lofty sky, she saw
  106. him nearly dead, his body bathed in blood,
  107. she leaped down—tore her garment—tore her hair —
  108. and beat her bosom with distracted hands.
  109. And blaming Fate said, “But not everything
  110. is at the mercy of your cruel power.
  111. My sorrow for Adonis will remain,
  112. enduring as a lasting monument.
  113. Each passing year the memory of his death
  114. shall cause an imitation of my grief.
  115. “Your blood, Adonis, will become a flower
  116. perennial. Was it not allowed to you
  117. Persephone, to transform Menthe's limbs
  118. into sweet fragrant mint? And can this change
  119. of my loved hero be denied to me?”
  120. Her grief declared, she sprinkled his blood with
  121. sweet-smelling nectar, and his blood as soon
  122. as touched by it began to effervesce,
  123. just as transparent bubbles always rise
  124. in rainy weather. Nor was there a pause
  125. more than an hour, when from Adonis, blood,
  126. exactly of its color, a loved flower
  127. sprang up, such as pomegranates give to us,
  128. small trees which later hide their seeds beneath
  129. a tough rind. But the joy it gives to man
  130. is short-lived, for the winds which give the flower
  131. its name, Anemone, shake it right down,
  132. because its slender hold, always so weak,
  133. lets it fall to the ground from its frail stem.