BY OVID (ADAPTED)
ONCE when the golden-beamed Apollo roamed the earth, he made
a companion of Hyacinthus, the son of King Amyclas of
Lacedæmon; and him he loved with an exceeding great love,
for the lad was beautiful beyond compare.
The sun-god threw aside his lyre, and became the daily
comrade of Hyacinthus. Often they played games, or climbed
the rugged mountain ridges. Together they followed the chase
or fished in the quiet and shadowy pools; and the sun-god,
unmindful of his dignity, carried the lad's nets and held
It happened on a day that the two friends stripped off their
garments, rubbed the juice of the olive upon their bodies,
and engaged in throwing the quoit. First Apollo poised it
and tossed it far. It cleaved the air with its weight and
fell heavily to earth. At that moment Hyacinthus ran
forwards and hastened to take up the disc, but the hard
earth sent it rebounding straight into his face, so that he
fell wounded to the ground.
 Ah! then, pale and fearful, the sun-god hastened to the side
of his fallen friend. He bore up the lad's sinking limbs and
strove to stanch his wound with healing herbs. All in vain!
Alas! the wound would not close. And as violets and lilies,
when their stems are crushed, hang their languid blossoms on
their stalks and wither away, so did Hyacinthus droop his
beautiful head and die.
Then the sun-god, full of grief, cried aloud in his anguish:
"O Beloved! thou fallest in thy early youth, and I alone am
the cause of thy destruction! Oh, that I could give my life
for thee or with thee! but since Fate will not permit this,
thou shalt ever be with me, and thy praise shall dwell on my
lips. My lyre struck with my hand, my songs, too, shall
celebrate thee! And thou, dear lad, shalt become a new
flower, and on thy leaves will I write my lamentations."
And even as the sun-god spoke, behold! the blood that had
flowed from Hyacinthus's wound stained the grass, and a
flower, like a lily in shape, sprang up, more bright than
Tyrian purple. On its leaves did Apollo inscribe the
mournful characters: "ai, ai," which mean "alas! alas!"
And as oft as the spring drives away the winter, so oft does
Hyacinthus blossom in the fresh, green grass.
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