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Thy sacred favour; I, in floods of ink
Must drown thy graces, which white papers drink,
E’en as thy beauties did the foul black seas.
I must describe the hell of thy decease,
That heaven did merit: yet I needs must see
Our painted fools and cockhorse peasantry
Still, still usurp, with long lives, loves, and lust,
The seats of virtue; cutting short as dust
Her dear bought issue; ill, to worse converts,
And tramples in the blood of all deserts.
Night close and silent now goes fast before The captains and the soldiers to the shore, On whom attended the appointed fleet At Sestos' bay, that should Leander meet, Who feign'd he in another ship would pass: Which must not be, for no one mean there was To get his love home, but the eourse he took. Forth did his beauty for his beauty look, And saw her through her torch, as you behold Sometimes within the sun a face of gold, Form'd in strong thoughts, by that tradition's force, That says a god sits there and guides his course. His sister was with him, to whom he shew'd His guide by sea: and said, “Oft have you view'd In one heaven many stars, but never yet In one star many heavens till now were met. See, lovely sister see, now Hero shines, No heaven but her appears: each star repines,
And all are clad in clouds, as if they mourn'd,
To be by influence of earth out-burn'd.
Yet doth she shine, and teacheth virtue's train,
Still to be constant in hell's blackest reign:
Though even the gods themselves do so entreat them
As they did hate, and earth, as she would eat them.”
Off went his silken robe, and in he leap'd, Whom the kind waves so licorously cleap'd, Thick'ning for haste, one in another so, To kiss his skin, that he might almost go To Hero's tower, had that kind minute lasted. But now the cruel Fates with Até hasted To all the winds, and made them battle fight Upon the Hellespont, for either's right Pretended to the windy monarchy. And forth they brake, the seas mix'd with the sky, And toss'd distress'd Leander, being in hell, As high as heaven: bliss not in height doth dwell. The Destinies sate dancing on the waves, To see the glorious winds with mutual braves Consume each other. O true glass, to see How ruinous ambitious statists be To their own glories 1 Poor Leander cried For help to sea-born Venus; she denied,— To Boreas, that for his Attheia's sake, He would some pity on his Hero take, And for his own love's sake, on his desires: But Glory never blows cold Pity's fires.
Then call'd he Neptune, who through all the noise,
Knew with affright his wrack'd Leander's voice,
And up he rose; for haste his forehead hit
'Gainst Heaven's hard crystal; his proud waves he
With his fork'd sceptre, that could not obey;
Much greater powers than Neptune's gave them sway.
They lov'd Leander so, in groans they brake
When they came near him; and such space did take
"Twixt one another, loath to issue on,
That in their shallow furrows earth was shown,
And the poor lover took a little breath:
But the curst Fates sat spinning of his death
On every wave, and with the servile winds
Tumbled them on him. And now Hero finds,
By that she felt, her dear Leander's state,
She wept and pray'd for him to every Fate;
And every wind that whipp'd her with her hair
About the face, she kiss'd and spake it fair,
Kneel'd to it, gave it drink out of her eyes
To quench his thirst: but still their cruelties
E'en her poor torch envied, and rudely beat
The 'bating flame from that dear food it eat :
Dear, for it nourish'd her Leander's life,
Which, with her robe she rescued from their strife:
But silk too soft was, such hard hearts to break;
And she, dear soul, e'en as her silk, faint, weak,
Could not preserve it: out, O out it went.
Leander still call'd Neptune, that now rent
His brackish curls, and tore his wrinkled face,
Where tears in billows did each other chase,
And burst with ruth ;-he hurl’d his marble mace
At the stern Fates; it wounded Lachesis
That drew Leander's thread, and could not miss
The thread itself, as it her hand did hit,
But smote it full, and quite did sunder it.
The more kind Neptune rag'd, the more he rased
His love's life's fort, and kill'd as he embrac'd.
Anger doth still his own mishap increase;
If any comfort live, it is in peace.
O thievish Fates, to let blood, flesh, and sense,
Build two fair temples for their excellence,
To rob it with a poison'd influence.
Though souls' gifts starve, the bodies are held dear
In ugliest things; sense-sport preserves a bear,
But here nought serves our turns: O Heaven and earth,
How most most wretched is our human birth !—
And now did all the tyrannous crew depart,
Knowing there was a storm in Hero's heart,
Greater than they could make, and scorn'd their smart.
She bow'd herself so low out of her tower,
That wonder ’twas she fell not ere her hour,
With searching the lamenting waves for him;
Like a poor snail, her gentle supple limb
Hung on her turret's top, so most downright,
As she would dive beneath the darkness quite,
To find her jewel:—jewel !—her Leander,
A name of all earth's jewels pleas'd not her
Like his dear name; “Leander, still my choice,
Come nought but my Leander O, my voice,
Turn to Leander! Henceforth be all sounds,
Accents, and phrases, that show all griefs' wounds,
Analyz'd in Leander. O black change
Trumpets, do you with thunder of your clange,
Drive out this change's horror—my voice faints:
Where all joy was, now shriek out all complaints.”
Thus cried she; for her mix’d soul could tell
Her love was dead: and when the morning fell
Prostrate upon the weeping earth for woe,
Blushes, that bled out of her cheeks, did show,
Leander brought by Neptune, bruis'd and torn,
With cities' ruins he to rocks had worn ;
To filthy usuring rocks, that would have blood,
Though they could get of him no other good.
She saw him, and the sight was much, much more
Than might have serv'd to kill her; should her store
Of giant sorrows speak —Burst,-die-bleed,
And leave poor plaints to us that shall succeed.
She fell on her Love's bosom, hugg'd it fast,
And with Leander's name she breath'd her last !
Neptune for pity in his arms did take them,
Flung them into the air, and did awake them
Like two sweet birds, surnam'd th' Acanthides,
Which we call Thistle-warps, that near no seas
Dare ever come, but still in couples fly,
And feed on thistle tops, to testify
The hardness of their first life in their last;
The first, in thorns of love, that sorrows past:
And so most beautiful their colours show,
As none (so little) like them; her sad brow