|Aphrodite/Venus and Adonis|
Adonis is one of the many men who captured Aphrodite's attention and affection. Adonis is, of course, the son of Myrrha/Smyrna by her father, who, discovering it was his daughter coming to him in the night as a lover, would have killed her if she hadn't fled. Ovid tells us (in the Metamorphoses book X) that Myrrha begged the gods to transform her, and she was turned into a tree, from which Adonis was birthed later and described as:
The lovely babe was born with ev'ry grace,and then later:
Ev'n envy must have prais'd so fair a face:
A babe, a boy, a beauteous youth appears,
And lovelier than himself at riper years.
Now to the queen of love he gave desires,
And, with her pains, reveng'd his mother's fires.
The queen of love obviously meaning Aphrodite/Venus, who is described thusly, after falling in love with Adonis:
Ev'n Heav'n itself with all its sweets unsought,And for a change, we get a romantic, even tender, view of the love between these two, when Ovid goes on to describe one of their particular moments together. Maybe because Aphrodite is a woman, and so it isn't all about the sex, though there is certainly the impression of desire, but this is a far cry from the down and dirty they-got-it-on that we usually get with Zeus and Poseidon:
Adonis far a sweeter Heav'n is thought.
On him she hangs, and fonds with ev'ry art,
And never, never knows from him to part.
We may secure delightfully repose.Of course, Adonis manages to get himself gored to death in spite of the fact that Aphrodite warns him EXPLICITLY to be careful of boars and other beasts while hunting. (Apollodorus says Artemis had him killed out of anger, but not what in particular infuriated her about him. Probably something to do with how he hunted, considering the rest of the story.) In any event, Adonis was doomed, and Aphrodite was heartbroken.
With her Adonis here be Venus blest;
And swift at once the grass and him she prest.
Then sweetly smiling, with a raptur'd mind,
On his lov'd bosom she her head reclin'd,
And thus began; but mindful still of bliss,
Seal'd the soft accents with a softer kiss.
I imagine however that Adonis didn't have it all that bad in the Underworld since Persephone was in love with him, too. Poor, poor boy, how he suffers!