rings on her fingers, a rich necklace round
her neck, pearl pendants on her graceful ears;
and golden ornaments adorn her breast.
All these are beautiful—and she appears
most lovable, if carefully attired,—
or perfect as a statue, unadorned.
He lays her on a bed luxurious, spread
with coverlets of Tyrian purple dye,
and naming her the consort of his couch,
lays her reclining head on the most soft
and downy pillows, trusting she could feel.
The festal day of Venus, known throughout
all Cyprus, now had come, and throngs were there
to celebrate. Heifers with spreading horns,
all gold-tipped, fell when given the stroke of death
upon their snow-white necks; and frankincense
was smoking on the altars. There, intent,
Pygmalion stood before an altar, when
his offering had been made; and although he
feared the result, he prayed: “If it is true,
O Gods, that you can give all things, I pray
to have as my wife—” but, he did not dare
to add “my ivory statue-maid,” and said,
s in love.
Meanwhile her father and the people, all
loudly demanded the accustomed race.
A suppliant, the young Hippomenes
invoked me with his anxious voice, “I pray
to you, O Venus, Queen of Love, be near
and help my daring—smile upon the love
you have inspired!” The breeze, not envious,
wafted this prayer to me; and I confess,
it was so tender it did move my heart—
I had but little time to give him aid.
There is a field there which the natives call
the Field Tamasus—the most prized of all
the fertile lands of Cyprus. This rich field,
in ancient days, was set apart for me,
by chosen elders who decreed it should
enrich my temples yearly. In this field
there grows a tree, with gleaming golden leaves,
and all its branches crackle with bright gold.
Since I was coming from there, by some chance,
I had three golden apples in my hand,
which I had plucked. With them I planned to aid
Hippomenes. While quite invisible
to all but him, I taught him how to use
those golden apples for his
and, as he rushed out from his forest lair,
Adonis pierced him with a glancing stroke.
Infuriate, the fierce boar's curved snout
first struck the spear-shaft from his bleeding side;
and, while the trembling youth was seeking where
to find a safe retreat, the savage beast
raced after him, until at last he sank
his deadly tusk deep in Adonis' groin;
and stretched him dying on the yellow sand.
And now sweet Aphrodite, borne through air
in her light chariot, had not yet arrived
at Cyprus, on the wings of her white swans.
Afar she recognized his dying groans,
and turned her white birds towards the sound. And when
down looking from the lofty sky, she saw
him nearly dead, his body bathed in blood,
she leaped down—tore her garment—tore her hair —
and beat her bosom with distracted hands.
And blaming Fate said, “But not everything
is at the mercy of your cruel power.
My sorrow for Adonis will remain,
enduring as a lasting monument.
Each passing year the memory of his death
e is young and has a natural gift
of grace, so that he can most readily
transform himself to any wanted shape,
and will become whatever you may wish—
even though you ask him things unseen before.
“And only think, have you not the same tastes?
Will he not be the first to welcome fruits
which are your great delight? And does he not
hold your gifts safely in his glad right hand?
But now he does not long for any fruit
plucked from the tree, and has no thought of herbs
with pleasant juices that the garden gives;
he cannot think of anything but you.
Have pity on his passion, and believe
that he who woos you is here and he pleads
with my lips.
“You should not forget to fear
avenging deities, and the Idalian,
who hate all cruel hearts, and also dread
the fierce revenge of her of Rhamnus-Land.
And that you may stand more in awe of them,
(old age has given me opportunities
of knowing many things) I will relate
some happenings known in Cyprus, by which you
may be persuaded and relent with e