Ovid - The Metamorphoses of Ovid, Book X (Fable. 10)

Song Rating: 7.31/10

Song lyrics:

Adonis being too ardent in the pursuit of a wild boar, the beast k**s him, on which Venus changes his blood into a flower of crimson colour.

“She, indeed, thus warned him; and, harnessing her swans, winged her way through the air; but his courage stood in opposition to her advice. By chance, his dogs having followed its sure track, roused a boar, and the son of Cinyras pierced him, endeavouring to escape from the wood, with a wound from the side. Immediately the fierce boar, with his crooked snout, struck out the hunting-spear, stained with his blood, and then pursued him, trembling and seeking a safe retreat, and lodged his entire tusks in his groin, and stretched him expiring on the yellow sand.

“Cytherea, borne in her light chariot64 through the middle of the air, had not yet arrived at Cyprus upon the wings of her swans. She recognized afar his groans, as he was dying, and turned her white birds in that direction. And when, from the lofty sky, she beheld him half dead, and bathing his body in his own blood, she rapidly descended, and rent both her garments and her hair, and she smote her breast with her distracted hands. And complaining of the Fates, she says, ‘But, however, all things shall not be in your power; the memorials of my sorrow, Adonis, shall ever remain; and the representation of thy d**h, repeated yearly, shall exhibit an imitation of my mourning. But thy blood shall be changed into a flower. Was it formerly allowed thee, Persephone, to change the limbs65 of a female into fragrant mint; and shall the hero, the son of Cinyras, if changed, be a cause of displeasure against me? Having thus said, she sprinkles his blood with odoriferous nectar, which, touched by it, effervesces, just as the transparent bubbles are wont to rise in rainy weather. Nor was there a pause longer than a full hour, when a flower sprang up from the blood, of the same colour with it, such as the pomegranates are wont to bear, which conceal their seeds beneath their tough rind. Yet the enjoyment of it is but short-lived; for the same winds66 which give it a name, beat it down, as it has but a slender hold, and is apt to fall by reason of its extreme slenderness.”


64. In her light chariot.]—Ver. 717. ‘Vecta levi curru Cytherea, Clarke quaintly renders, ‘The Cytherean Goddess riding in her light chair.

65. To change the limbs.]—Ver. 729. Proserpine was said to have changed the Nymph, ‘Mentha, into a plant of that name, which we call ‘mint. Some writers say that she found her intriguing with Pluto while, according to other writers, she was the mistress of Pollux.

66. The same winds.]—Ver. 739. The flower which sprang from the blood of Adonis was the anemone, or wind-flower, of which Pliny the Elder says— ‘This flower never opens but when the wind is blowing, from which too, it receives its name, as ἄνεμος means the wind. —(Book i. c. 23).

Date of text publication: 16.01.2021 at 11:01