[Parts of this have been edited for readability with a bit added.]
Metamorphoses 10 closes with the pathos of the immortal goddess, Venus, losing her beloved Adonis. Thus end the tales of Orpheus, with the death of Venus's young lover mirroring the singer's loss of Eurydice at the beginning of this book.
Orpheus's Venus creates the anemone from Adonis's blood with nectar - from the Greek, nektar, said to derive from "overcoming death." The mention of the pomegranate - punica granatum - recalls the seeds eaten by Proserpina, whose tale, sung by Calliope, closed the first five books of the poem.
The linking of Orpheus, Venus, Adonis, and Proserpina is probably quite intentional.
The myth of Proserpina, the most extensive Latin version of which is by Claudian (4th century AD), is closely connected with that of Orpheus and Eurydice. In Virgil's writings; it is Proserpina, as Queen of Hades, who allows Orpheus to enter and bring back to life his wife Eurydice after she is killed by a venomous snake. Proserpina played her cetra to quiet Cerberus, but Orpheus did not respect her order never to look back, and Eurydice was lost.See also the Orphic Hymn to Adonis:
Rejoicing in the chace, all-graceful pow'r,Here's the ending of Book 10:
Sweet plant of Venus, Love's delightful flow'r:
Descended from the secret bed divine,
Of lovely-hair'd, infernal Proserpine.
questaque cum fatis "at non tamen omnia vestri
iuris erunt" dixit. "luctus monimenta manebunt
semper, Adoni, mei, repetitaque mortis imago
annua plangoris peraget simulamina nostri;
at cruor in florem mutabitur. an tibi quondam
femineos artus in olentes vertere mentas,
Persephone, licuit: nobis Cinyreius heros
invidiae mutatus erit?" sic fata cruorem
nectare odorato sparsit, qui tinctus ab illo
intumuit sic, ut fulvo perlucida caeno
surgere bulla solet, nec plena longior hora
facta mora est, cum flos de sanguine concolor ortus,
qualem, quae lento celant sub cortice granum,
punica ferre solent; brevis est tamen usus in illo;
namque male haerentem et nimia levitate caducum
excutiunt idem, qui praestant nomina, venti.'