Translated by Catherine Proppe, May 7, 2015
Hymn to Adonis
Divine connection: aromatics
Hear my plea,
Many-realmed, noble divinity
Arise! delicate foliage, kiss the barren land.
Swelling seeds give birth dearly longed for
Purely resolved in many forms
Nutrients for all, for all to see
Daughters and sons
As one, all-blooming, eternal Adoni.
Extinguished lamp called forth
By the cycling Horais.
Grow, Sprout! Dike’s rose, of many prayers
Honored with tears,
Glorious-formed leader of the chase.
Yearning Cyprian’s sweet blooming
Sprout of passion,
Phersephone’s lovely-tressed marriage bed teems with childbirth divine
When after dwelling below in Tartarian air
Arising again before Olympos
Raising a body of fruit in season
Come! Blessed, mysterious,
Bearing fruit of Gaia.
 Adonis is the immortal God of the short-lived, abundant foliage of spring rebirth, literally “Arising (Ἄ) + direction (δ) + brings-forth (ω) + prevailing (ν) + divine power (ι).”
The God of the afterlife, Aidees (Ἅιδης), is also called Aidoneus (Αιδωνευς). In this respect, the Goddess Persephone and the God Adonis play parallel roles presiding over the afterlife and new life in Spring.
Adonis is famously loved by Aphrodite, the immortal Goddess of sexual attraction. A Greek poem by Bion depicts Aphrodite mourning when Adonis is gored by the war God, Ares, disguised as a wild boar. This poem would have particular poignancy for women mourning the loss of their beloved in battle.
“(Aphrodite) saw, she marked his irresistible wound, she saw his thigh fading in a welter of blood, she lift her hands and put up the voice of lamentation saying ‘Stay, Adonis mine, stay . . .
“‘Awake Adonis, awake for a little while, and give me one latest kiss; kiss me all so long as ever the kiss be alive, till thou give up thy breath into my mouth and thy spirit pass into my heart, till I have . . . drunk up all thy love . . .
“’O Persephone, take thou my husband, take him if thou wilt; for thou art far stronger than I . . .’
“The Paphian weeps and Adonis bleeds, drop for drop, and the blood and tears become flowers upon the ground . . .”
(Theocritus. The Greek Bucolic Poets, “The Poems and Fragments of Bion: I. The Lament for Adonis,” translated by J.M. Edmonds, Loeb Classical Library (London: William Heinemann; New York: MacMillan Co, 1912) 389-391. http://books.google.com/books?id=IMrCpKxmgCUC&q=adonis#v=snippet&q=adonis&f=false )
 The Horai are the immortal Goddesses who determine the hour when natural events occur, also called the Goddesses of the Seasons.
 Dike is the immortal Goddess of justice, suggesting that spring renewal is an embodiment of divine justice.
 Spring is a hunting and mating season, preceded by the emergence of spring foliage.
 Aphrodite, the immortal Goddess of sexual attraction, is called the Cyprian because of her temple on the island of Cyprus.
 Phersephone is another name for Persephone, the immortal Goddess of the afterlife and spring renewal.
 Tartaros is the deepest realm beneath the earth, the cosmic inverse of heaven, whereas the Olympic deities reside on Olympos, the highest known point on earth. Hesiod (Theogony 715).
 Gaia is the immortal Goddess of generative earth.
56. Ἀδώνιδος, θυμίαμα ἀρώματα.
Κλῦθί μου εὐχομένου, πολυώνυμε, δαῖμον ἄριστε,
ἁβροκόμη, φιλέρημε, βρύων ὠιδαῖσι ποθειναῖς,
Εὐβουλεῦ, πολύμορφε, τροφεῦ πάντων ἀρίδηλε,
κούρη καὶ κόρε, σὺ πᾶσιν θάλος αἰέν, Ἄδωνι,
σβεννύμενε λάμπων τε καλαῖς ἐν κυκλάσιν ὥραις,
αὐξιθαλής, δίκερως, πολυήρατε, δακρυότιμε,
ἀγλαόμορφε, κυναγεσίοις χαίρων, βαθυχαῖτα,
ἱμερόνους, Κύπριδος γλυκερὸν θάλος, ἔρνος Ἔρωτος,
Φερσεφόνης ἐρασιπλοκάμου λέκτροισι λοχευθεῖς,
ὃς ποτὲ μὲν ναίεις ὑπὸ Τάρταρον ἠερόεντα,
ἠδὲ πάλιν πρὸς Ὄλυμπον ἄγεις δέμας ὡριόκαρπον·
ἐλθέ, μάκαρ, μύσταισι φέρων καρποὺς ἀπὸ γαίης.
Thomas Taylor's translation:
56. TO ADONIS
The Fumigation from Aromatics.
Much-nam'd, and best of dæmons, hear my pray'r,
The desart-loving, deck'd with tender hair;
Joy to diffuse, by all desir'd is thine,
Much form'd, Eubulus; aliment divine:
Female and Male, all charming to the sight,
Adonis ever flourishing and bright;
At stated periods doom'd to set and rise,
With splendid lamp, the glory of the skies.
Two-horn'd and lovely, reverenc'd with tears,
Of beauteous form, adorn'd with copious hairs.
Rejoicing in the chace, all-graceful pow'r,
Sweet plant of Venus, Love's delightful flow'r:
Descended from the secret bed divine,
Of lovely-hair'd, infernal Proserpine.
'Tis thine to sink in Tartarus profound,
And shine again thro' heav'ns illustrious round,
With beauteous temp'ral orb restor'd to sight;
Come, with earth's fruits, and in these flames delight.