Greek and Roman Mythology > Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis

Venus, playing one day with her boy Cupid, wounded her bosom with
one of his arrows. She pushed him away, but the wound was deeper
than she thought. Before it healed she beheld Adonis, and was
captivated with him. She no longer took any interest in her
favorite resorts, Paphos, and Cnidos, and Amathos, rich in
metals. She absented herself even from Olympus, for Adonis was
dearer to her than heaven. Him she followed and bore him
company. She who used to love to recline in the shade, with no
care but to cultivate her charms, now rambled through the woods
and over the hills, dressed like the huntress Diana. She called
her dogs, and chased hares and stags, or other game that it is
safe to hunt, but kept clear of the wolves and bears, reeking
with the slaughter of the herd. She charged Adonis, too, to
beware of such dangerous animals. "Be brave towards the timid,"
said she; "courage against the courageous is not safe. Beware
how you expose yourself to danger, and put my happiness to risk.
Attack not the beasts that Nature has armed with weapons. I do
not value your glory so highly as to consent to purchase it by
such exposure. Your youth, and the beauty that charms Venus,
will not touch the hearts of lions and bristly boars. Think of
their terrible claws and prodigious strength! I hate the whole
race of them. Do you ask why?" Then she told him the story of
Atalanta and Hippomenes, who were changed into lions for their
ingratitude to her.

Having given him this warning, she mounted her chariot drawn by
swans, and drove away through the air. But Adonis was too noble
to heed such counsels. The dogs had roused a wild boar from his
lair, and the youth threw his spear and wounded the animal with a
sidelong stroke. The beast drew out the weapon with his jaws,
and rushed after Adonis, who turned and ran; but the boar
overtook him, and buried his tusks in his side, and stretched him
dying upon the plain.

Venus, in her swan-drawn chariot, had not yet reached Cyprus,
when she heard coming up through mid air the groans of her
beloved, and turned her white-winged coursers back to earth. As
she drew near and saw from on high his lifeless body bathed in
blood, she alighted, and bending over it beat her breast and tore
her hair. Reproaching the Fates, she said, "Yet theirs shall be
but a partial triumph; memorials of my grief shall endure, and
the spectacle of your death, my Adonis, and of my lamentation
shall be annually renewed. Your blood shall be changed into a
flower; that consolation none can envy me." Thus speaking, she
sprinkled nectar on the blood; and as they mingled, bubbles rose
as in a pool on which raindrops fall, and in an hour's time there
sprang up a flower of bloody hue like that of a pomegranate. But
it is short-lived. It is said the wind blows the blossoms open,
and afterwards blows the petals away; so it is called Anemone, or
wind Flower, from the cause which assists equally in its
production and its decay.

Milton alludes to the story of Venus and Adonis in his Comus:

"Beds of hyacinth and roses
Where young Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits th'Assyrian queen."

And Morris also in Atalanta's Race:

"There by his horn the Dryads well might know
His thrust against the bear's heart had been true,
And there Adonis bane his javelin slew"



Myth Collection


Achelous and HerculesAcis and GalateaAdmetus and Alcestis
Agamemnon, Orestes, and ElectraAmphionAmphitrite
AntigoneApollo and DaphneApollo and Hyacinthus
AriadneArionAristaeus
Aurora and TithonusBacchusBaucis and Philemon
CadmusCastor and PolluxCephalus and Procris
Ceyx and HalcyoneClytieCupid and Psyche
DaedalusDiana and ActaeonDryope
Echo and NarcissusEndymionErisichthon
Glaucus and ScyllaHebe and GanymedeHercules
IbycusIo and CallistoLeucothea dnd Palaemon
LinusMarsyasMedea and Aeson
MelampusMenelaus and HelenMidas
Minerva and ArachneMonstersMusaeus
NeptuneNereus and DorisNiobe
Nisus and ScyllaOrionOrpheus and Eurydice
Pegasus and the ChimaeraPenelopePerseus and Medusa
PhaetonPluto and ProsperinePrometheus and Pandora
PygmalionPyramus and ThisbePython
RhoecusSapphoSimonides
ThamyrisThe Calydonian HuntThe Camenae
The CentaursThe Golden FleeceThe Graeae and Gorgons
The Griffin, or GryphonThe IliadThe Myrmidons
The PygmiesThe Rural DeitiesThe Sphinx
The Trojan WarThe Water DeitiesThe Winds
TheseusThetisVenus and Adonis
Vertumnus and Pomona

 
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