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Dumb sorrow spake aloud in tears and blood,
That from her grief-burst veins, in piteous flood,
From the sweet conduits of her favor fell.
The gentle turtles did with moans make swell
Their shining gorges: the white black-ey'd swans
Did sing as woful Epicedians,
As they would straightways die: when Pity's queen,
The goddess Ecte, that had ever been
Hid in a wat'ry cloud near Hero's cries,
Since the first instant of her broken eyes,
Gave bright Leucote voice, and made her speak,
To ease her anguish, whose swoln breast did break
With anger at her Goddess, that did touch
Hero so near for that she us’d so much.
And thrusting her white neck at Venus, said—
“Why may not amorous Hero seem a maid
Though she be none, as well as you suppress
In modest cheeks your inward wantonness?
How often have we drawn you from above,
To exchange with mortals rites for rites in love?
Why in your priest then call you that offence,
That shines in you, and is your influence?”
With this the Furies stopp'd Leucote's lips,
Enjoin'd by Venus; who with rosy whips
Beat the kind bird. Fierce lightning from her eyes
Did set on fire fair Hero's sacrifice,
(Which was her torn robe, and inforced hair;)
And the bright flame became a maid most fair
For her aspéct: her tresses were of wire,
Knit like a net, where hearts, set all on fire,
Struggled in pants, and could not get releas'd :
Her arms were all with golden pincers dress'd,
And twenty fashion'd knots, pullies, and brakes,
And all her body girt with painted snakes.
Her down parts in a scorpion's tail combin'd,
Freckled with twenty colours; pied wings shin'd
Out of her shoulders; cloth had never dye,
Nor sweeter colours never viewed eye,
In scorching Turkey, Cares", Tartary,
Than shin'd about this sp'rit notorious;
Nor was Arachne's web so glorious.
Of lightning and of shreds she was begot;
More hold in base dissemblers is there not.
Her name was Eronusus. Venus flew
From Hero's sight, and at her chariot drew
This wondrous creature to so steep a height,
That all the world she might command with sleight
Of her gay wings: and then she bade her haste,
Since Hero had dissembled, and disgrac'd
Her rites so much,-and every breast infect
With her deceits; she made her architect
Of all dissimulation, and since then
Never was any trust in maids nor men.
O it spighted
Fair Venus' heart to see her-most-delighted,
And one she choos'd for temper of her mind,
To be the only ruler of her kind,
So soon to let her virgin race be ended.
Not simply for the fault a whit offended,
But that in strife for chasteness with the Moon,
Spiteful Diana bade her show but one
That was her servant vow'd, and liv'd a maid;
And now she thought to answer that upbraid,
Hero had lost her answer: who knows not
Venus would seem as far from any spot
Of light demeanour, as the very skin
"Twixt Cynthia's brows 2 Sin is asham'd of Sin.
Up Venus flew, and scarce durst up for fear
Of Phoebe's laughter, when she pass'd her sphere:
And so most ugly clouded was the light,
That day was hid in day; night came ere night,
And Venus could not through the thick air pierce,
Till the day's king, God of undaunted verse,
Because she was so plentiful a theme,
To such as wore his laurel anademe:
Like to a fiery bullet made descent,
And from her passage those fat vapours rent,
That being not thoroughly rarified to rain,
Melted like pitch as blue as any vein;
And scalding tempests made the earth to shrink
Under their fervor, and the world did think
In every drop a torturing spirit flew,
It pierc'd so deeply, and it burn'd so blue.
Betwixt all this and Hero, Hero held
Leander's picture, as a Persian shield:
And she was free from fear of worst success; —
The more ill threats us, we suspect the less :
As we grow hapless, violence subtle grows,
Dumb, deaf, and blind, and comes when no man knows
HERO AND LEANDER.
THE ARGUMENT of THE FIFTH sesTYAD.
Day doubles her accustom'd date,
As loth the night, incens'd by fate,
Should wrack our lover; Hero's plight,
Longs for Leander, and the night:
Which, ere her thirsty wish recovers,
She sends for two betrothed lovers,
And marries them, that, with their crew
Their sports and ceremonies due,
She covertly might celebrate,
With secret joy, her own estate.
She makes a feast, at which appears
The wild nymph Teras, that still bears
An ivory lute, tells ominous tales,
And sings at solemn festivals.