Adonis River

A river in Phoenicia, which always runs red at the season of the year when the feast of Adonis is held. The legend ascribes this redness to sympathy with the young hunter; others ascribe it to a sort of minium, or red earth, which mixes with the water.

Thammuz came next behind,
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
In amorous ditties all a summer's day,
While smooth Adonis from his native rock
Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood
Of Thammuz yearly wounded.

Milton: Paradise Lost, Book 1, line 445, etc.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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