Abbildungen der Seite

The Argument of the Fifth Sestiad.

Day doubles her accustomed date,
As loath the Night, incens'd by Fate,
Should wreck our lovers. 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.


Now was bright Hero weary of the day,
Thought an Olympiad in Leander's stay.
Sol and the soft-foot Hours hung on his arms,
And would not let him swim, foreseeing his harms:
That day Aurora double grace obtain'd

Of her love Phoebus; she his horses rein'd,
Set on his golden knee, and, as she list,

She pull'd him back; and, as she pull'd, she kiss'd,
To have him turn to bed; he lov'd her more,
To see the love Leander Hero bore:
Examples profit much, ten times in one,
In persons full of note, good deeds are done.
Day was so long, men walking fell asleep,
The heavy humours that their eyes did steep

Made them fear mischiefs. The hard streets were beds
For covetous churls and for ambitious heads,
That, spite of Nature, would their business ply.
All thought they had the falling epilepsy,
Men grovell'd so upon the smother'd ground;
And pity did the heart of Heaven confound.
The Gods, the Graces, and the Muses came
Down to the Destinies, to stay the frame
Of the true lovers' deaths, and all world's tears:
But Death before had stopp'd their cruel ears.
All the celestials parted mourning then,
Pierc'd with our human miseries more than men.
Ah, nothing doth the world with mischief fill,
But want of feeling one another's ill!

With their descent the day grew something fair,
And cast a brighter robe upon the air.
Hero, to shorten time with merriment,
For young Alcmane and bright Mya sent,

Two lovers that had long crav'd marriage-dues
At Hero's hands: but she did still refuse,
For lovely Mya was her consort vow'd
In her maid's state, and therefore not allow'd
To amorous nuptials: yet fair Hero now
Intended to dispense with her cold vow,
Since hers was broken, and to marry her:
The rites would pleasing matter minister
To her conceits, and shorten tedious day.
They came: sweet Music usher'd th' odorous way,
And wanton Air in twenty sweet forms danc'd
After her fingers; Beauty and Love advanc'd
Their ensigns in the downless rosy faces
Of youths and maids, led after by the Graces.
For all these Hero made a friendly feast,

Welcom'd them kindly, did much love protest,
Winning their hearts with all the means she might,
That, when her fault should chance t' abide the light,
Their loves might cover or extenuate it,

And high in her worst fate make pity sit.

She married them; and in the banquet came,
Borne by the virgins. Hero striv'd to frame
Her thoughts to mirth: ay me! but hard it is
To imitate a false and forced bliss.

Ill may a sad mind forge a merry face,
Nor hath constrained laughter any grace.
Then laid she wine on cares to make them sink;
Who fears the threats of Fortune, let him drink.
To these quick nuptials enter'd suddenly
Admired Teras with the ebon thigh;

A nymph that haunted the green Sestian groves,
And would consort soft virgins in their loves,
At gaysome triumphs and on solemn days,
Singing prophetic Elegies and Lays,

And fingering of a silver lute she tied

With black and purple scarfs by her left side.
Apollo gave it, and her skill withal,

And she was term'd his Dwarf, she was so small:
Yet great in virtue, for his beams enclos'd
His virtues in her; never was propos'd
Riddle to her, or Augury, strange or new,
But she resolv'd it; never slight tale flew
From her charm'd lips without important sense,
Shown in some grave succeeding consequence.
This little Sylvan, with her songs and tales,
Gave such estate to feasts and nuptials,
That though ofttimes she forewent Tragedies,
Yet for her strangeness still she pleas'd their eyes,
And for her smallness they admir'd her so,
They thought her perfect born, and could not grow.
All eyes were on her. Hero did command

An Altar deck'd with sacred state should stand
At the Feast's upper end, close by the Bride,
On which the pretty nymph might sit espied.
Then all were silent; every one so hears,
As all their senses climb'd into their ears:
And first this amorous tale, that fitted well
Fair Hero and the nuptials, she did tell.

The Tale of Teras.

Hymen, that now is god of nuptial rites, And crowns with honour love and his delights, Of Athens was a youth, so sweet of face, That many thought him of the female race; Such quickening brightness did his clear eyes dart, Warm went their beams to his beholder's heart. In such pure leagues his beauties were combin'd, That there your nuptial contracts first were sign'd; For as proportion, white and crimson, meet In beauty's mixture, all right clear and sweet;

The eye responsible, the golden hair,
And none is held, without the other, fair;
All spring together, all together fade;
Such intermix'd affections should invade
Two perfect lovers; which being yet unseen,
Their virtues and their comforts copied been
In Beauty's concord, subject to the eye;
And that, in Hymen, pleas'd so matchlessly,
That lovers were esteem'd in their full grace,
Like form and colour mix'd in Hymen's face;
And such sweet concord was thought worthy then
Of torches, music, feasts, and greatest men:
So Hymen look'd, that even the chastest mind
He mov'd to join in joys of sacred kind;
For only now his chin's first down consorted
His head's rich fleece, in golden curls contorted;
And as he was so lov'd, he lov'd so too:
So should best beauties, bound by nuptials, do.
Bright Eucharis, who was by all men said
The noblest, fairest, and the richest maid
Of all th' Athenian damsels, Hymen lov'd
With such transmission, that his heart remov'd
From his white breast to hers, but her estate,
In passing his, was so interminate

For wealth and honour, that his love durst feed
On naught but sight and hearing, nor could breed
Hope of requital, the grand prize of love;
Nor could he hear or see, but he must prove
How his rare beauty's music would agree
With maids in consort; therefore robbed he
His chin of those same few first fruits it bore,
And, clad in such attire as Virgins wore,
He kept them company, and might right well,
For he did all but Eucharis excel

In all the fair of Beauty: yet he wanted

« ZurückWeiter »