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HERO AND LEANDER.
The Sixth SESTY A.D.
No longer could the Day nor Destinies
Praising with open throat, and oaths as foul
First to black Eurus flies the white Leucote, (Born 'mongst the negroes in the Levant sea, On whose curl’d head the glowing sun doth rise) And shows the sovereign will of Destinies, To have him cease his blasts, and down he lies. Next, to the fenny Notus course she holds, And found him leaning with his arms in folds Upon a rock, his white hair full of showers, And him she chargeth by the fatal powers, To hold in his wet cheeks his cloudy voice. To Zephyr then that doth in flowers rejoice: To snake-foot Boreas next she did remove, And found him tossing of his ravish'd love, To heat his frosty bosom hid in snow; Who with Leucote's sight did cease to blow.— Thus all were still to Hero's heart's desire, Who with all speed did consecrate a fire
Of flaming gums, and comfortable spice, To light her torch, which in such curious price She held, being object to Leander's sight, That nought but fires perfum’d must give it light. She lov’d it so, she griev'd to see it burn, Since it would waste and soon to ashes turn : Yet if it burn’d not, 'twere not worth her eyes, What made it nothing, gave it all the prize. Sweet torch true glass of our society; What man does good, but he consumes thereby ? But thou wert lov'd for good, held high, given show: Poor virtue loath'd for good, obscur'd, held low. Do good, be pined, be deedless good, disgrac'd: Unless we feed on men, we let them fast. Yet Hero with these thoughts her torch did spend; When bees make wax, Nature doth not intend It shall be made a torch ; but we that know The proper virtue of it, make it so, And when 'tis made, we light it: nor did Nature Propose one life to maids, but each such creature Makes by her soul the best of her true state, Which without love is rude, disconsolate, And wants Love's fire to make it mild and bright, Till when, maids are but torches wanting light. Thus 'gainst our grief, not cause of grief we fight; The right of nought is glean'd, but the delight. Up went she, but to tell how she descended, Would God she were not dead, or my verse ended. She was the rule of wishes, sum and end, For all the parts that did on love depend:
Yet cast the torch his brightness further forth;
Now at opposed Abydos nought was heard But bleating flocks, and many a bellowing herd, Slain for the nuptials; cracks of falling woods; Blows of broad axes; pourings out of floods. The guilty Hellespont was mix'd and stain'd With bloody torrents, that the shambles rain'd; Not arguments of feast, but shows that bled, Foretelling that red night that followed. More blood was spilt, more honours were address'd, Than could have graced any happy feast; Rich banquets, triumphs, every pomp employs His sumptuous hand: no miser's nuptial joys. Air felt continual thunder with the noise Made in the general marriage violence: And no man knew the cause of this expense, But the two hapless lords, Leander's sire, And poor Leander, poorest where the fire Of credulous love made him most rich surmis'd: As short was he of that himself so priz'd, As is an empty gallant full of form, That thinks each look an act, each drop a storm,
That falls from his brave breathings; most brought up
O sweet Leander Thy large worth I hide