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On that day there is a great assembly of knights and ladies. Hero, at the Duke's command, is brought forth from her dungeon; and her beauty excites much admiration among the crowd.
Yet, since her lord Leander was not nie,
She was resolu'd eyther to liue or die.
But her Leander, carefull of his loue,
Intending loue's firme constancie to proue,
(Yf to his lot the honour did befall,)
Withdrew himselfe into the pallaice-hall,
Where he was armed to his soules content,
And priuily conducted to a tent,
From whence he issu'd foorth at trumpet's sound;
Who, at the first encounter, on the ground
Forced the mazed Duke sore panting lie,
Drown'd in the ryuer of sad extacie.
At length reuiuing, he doth mount againe;
Whome young Leander in short time had slaine.
The Duke quite dead, this all-vnknowne young
Was foorthwith made the heire of Sestos' right;
The princesse Hero set at libertie,
Kept by the late dead Duke in miserie;
Whose constancie Leander gan to proue,
And now anew begins to court his loue."
"Though by the sterne Duke she was dishonored,
Yet of the people she was honored;
Mongst whome exil'd Leander, all vnseene
And all vnknowne, attended on his queene.
When to the neere-adioyning pallaice-gate,
The place appointed for the princely combate,
They did approch, there might all eies behold
The Duke in armour of pure beaten gold,
Mounted vpon a steed as white as snow,
The proud Duke Euristippus, Hero's foe.
Hero being seated in rich maiestie,
A seruile hand-mayd to captiuitie,
From whence she might behold that gentle knight,
That for her sake durst hazard life in fight;
For this was all the comfort Hero had,
So many eyes shed teares to see her sad;
Her hand-maide Hope perswaded her, some one
Vndaunted knight would be her champion;
Hero, having no idea who he is, concludes an answer to his addresses by saying,
"This backe-retired pilgrime liu'd secure,
And in vnknowen disguise he did indure
Full two moneths' space, vntill the time drew nie 'Praysing thy all-admired chastitie:
To free faire Hero or inforce her die."
"But rest content and satisfied with this, Whilst true Leander liues, true Hero's his.''And thy Leander liues, sweete soule,' sayde he,
Though thus disguis'd, I am that banisht knight
That for affecting thee was put to flight;
Hero, I am Leander, thy true phere,*
As true to thee as life to me is deere.'
When Hero all-amazed gan reuiue,
And she that then seem'd dead was now aliue,
With kinde imbracements, kissing at each straine,
She welcoms him and kisses him againe :
'By thee my ioyes haue shaken of dispaire,
All stormes be past, and weather waxeth faire;
By thy returne Hero receaues more ioye
Then Paris did when Hellen was in Troy;
By thee my heauy doubts and thoughts are fled,
And now my wits with pleasant thoughts are
'Feed, sacred sainct, on nectar all diuine, While these my eyes,' quoth he, gaze on thy
And ever after may these eyes beware
That they on strangers' beautie neuer stare:
My wits I charme henceforth they take such
They frame no toyes, my fancies new to feede;
*phere] See note ¶, p. 197.
Deafe be my eares to heare another voice,
To force me smile or make my soule reioyce;
Lame be my feete when they presume to moue,
To force Leander seeke another loue;
And when thy faire,* sweet faire, I gin disgrace,
Heanen to my soule afford no resting-place!'
What he to her, she vow'd the like to him;
All sorrowes fled, their ioyes anew begin.
Full many yeares those louers liu'd in fame,
That all the world did much admire the same.
Their liues' spent date, and vnresisted death
At hand to set a period to their breath,
They were transform'd by all-diuine decrees
Into the forme and shape of two pine-trees,
Whose nature's such, the female pine will die,
Vnles the male be euer planted by;
A map for all succeeding times to come,
To view true loue, which in their loues begun."
And so the poem concludes.