Theocritus

The Psalm Of Adonis - from Fifteenth Idyll

O Queen that loves Golgi, and Idalium,
And the steep of Eryx,
O Aphrodite, that playes with gold,
Lo, from the stream eternal of Acheron
They have brought back to you Adonis---
Even in the twelfth month they have brought him,
The dainty-footed Hours.
Tardiest of the Immortals are the beloved Hours,
But dear and desired they come,
For always, to all mortals,
They bring some gift with them.
O Cypris, daughter of Dione,
From mortal to immortal, so men tell,
You have changed Berenice, dropping softly in
The woman's breast the stuff of immortality.
Therefore, for your delight,
O you of many names and many temples,
Does the daughter of Berenice, even Arsinoƫ,
Lovely as Helen, cherish Adonis with all things beautiful.
Before him lie all ripe fruits that the tall trees' branches bear,
And the delicate gardens, arrayed in baskets of silver,
And the golden vessels are full of incense of Syria.
And all the dainty cakes that women fashion in the kneading tray,
Mingling blossoms manifold with the white wheaten flour,
All that is wrought of honey sweet, and in soft olive oil,
All cakes fashioned in the semblance of things that fly,
And of things that creep, lo, here they are set before him.
Here are built for him shadowy bowers of green,
All laden with tender anise, and children flit overhead---
The little loves---
As the young nightingales perched upon
The trees fly forth and try their wings
From bough to bough.
O! the ebony, O! the gold, O! the twin eagles of white
Ivory that carry to Zeus, the son of Cronos,
His darling, his cupbearer!
O! the purple coverlet strewn above,
More soft than sleep!
So Miletus will say,
And whoso feeds sheep in Samos.
Another bed is strewn for beautiful Adonis,
One bed Cypris keeps, and one the rosy-armed Adonis.
A bride-groom of eighteen or nineteen years is he,
His kisses are not rough, the golden down being yet upon his lips!
And now, good-night to Cypris, in the arms of her lover!
But lo, in the morning we will all of us gather with the dew,
And carry him forth among the waves that break upon the beach,
And with locks unloosed, and ungirt raiment falling to the ankles,
And bosom bare, will we begin our shrill, sweet song.
You only, dear Adonis, so men tell,
You only of the demi-gods,
Do visit both this world and the stream of Acheron.
For Agamemnon had no such lot, nor Aias,
That mighty lord of the terrible anger, nor Hector,
The eldest born of the twenty sons of Hecuba, nor Patroclus,
Nor Pyrrhus, that returned out of Troy land,
Nor the heroes of yet more ancient days,
The Lapithai and Deucalion's sons,
Nor the sons of Pelops, and the chiefs of Pelasgian Argos.
Be gracious now, dear Adonis, and propitious
Even in the coming year.
Dear to us has your advent been, Adonis,
And dear shall it be when you come again.



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