But thou, Adonis, my delightful care,
Of these, and beasts, as fierce as these, beware!
The savage, which not shuns thee, timely shun,
For by rash prowess should'st thou be undone,
A double ruin is contain'd in one.
Thus cautious Venus school'd her fav'rite boy;
But youthful heat all cautions will destroy.
His sprightly soul beyond grave counsels flies,
While with yok'd swans the Goddess cuts the skies.
His faithful hounds, led by the tainted wind,
Lodg'd in thick coverts chanc'd a boar to find.
The callow hero show'd a manly heart,
And pierc'd the savage with a side-long dart.
The flying savage, wounded, turn'd again,
Wrench'd out the gory dart, and foam'd with pain.
The trembling boy by flight his safety sought,
And now recall'd the lore, which Venus taught;
But now too late to fly the boar he strove,
Who in the groin his tusks impetuous drove,
On the discolour'd grass Adonis lay,
The monster trampling o'er his beauteous prey.
Fair Cytherea, Cyprus scarce in view,
Heard from afar his groans, and own'd them true,
And turn'd her snowy swans, and backward flew.
But as she saw him gasp his latest breath,
And quiv'ring agonize in pangs of death,
Down with swift flight she plung'd, nor rage forbore,
At once her garments, and her hair she tore.
With cruel blows she beat her guiltless breast,
The Fates upbraided, and her love confest.
Nor shall they yet (she cry'd) the whole devour
With uncontroul'd, inexorable pow'r:
For thee, lost youth, my tears, and restless pain
Shall in immortal monuments remain,
With solemn pomp in annual rites return'd,
Be thou for ever, my Adonis, mourn'd,
Could Pluto's queen with jealous fury storm,
And Menthe to a fragrant herb transform?
Yet dares not Venus with a change surprise,
And in a flow'r bid her fall'n heroe rise?
Then on the blood sweet nectar she bestows,
The scented blood in little bubbles rose:
Little as rainy drops, which flutt'ring fly,
Born by the winds, along a low'ring sky.
Short time ensu'd, 'till where the blood was shed,
A flow'r began to rear its purple head:
Such, as on Punick apples is reveal'd,
Or in the filmy rind but half conceal'd.
Still here the Fate of lovely forms we see,
So sudden fades the sweet Anemonie.
The feeble stems, to stormy blasts a prey,
Their sickly beauties droop, and pine away.
The winds forbid the flow'rs to flourish long,
Which owe to winds their names in Grecian song.