|artwork by Nguyen Thi Hoai Tho (woman)|
In the island of Cyprus, after saying goodbye to the friendly shepherd, Clizio, Adonis looks for a fresh place where to spend the hottest hours of the day. He finds a small valley and a spring whose features can easily be termed as Freudian. The landscape reveals the events in advance. In fact, Venus, who is 'older' than Adonis, will behave as both a lover and a mother with him, that's quite different from her relationship with the phallocratic Mars, not to speak of her despised husband, Vulcan. -- Adonis' biological mother is Myrrha; she appears seldom in the poem, but in some key episodes. See here for Marino's rehabilitation of this usually infamous character.
There spurts a spring, all around which
a she-poplar spreads protective shades; dead Phaethon's sisters
where Nature, the lavish nurturer, fills
a marble cup with a lively liquid.
Fresh, sweet milk are those pure waves,
the breast a cave, a canal the nipple.
On the edge, to drink the distilled fluid
the grass and flowers open thirsty lips.