Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, URANIA; THE WOMAN IN THE MOON: THE FIRST CANTO, OR NEW MOON, by WILLIAM BASSE



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URANIA; THE WOMAN IN THE MOON: THE FIRST CANTO, OR NEW MOON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: How apt the slanderous and unciuill tongues
Last Line: Favour, a while, thy tender sarcells too.
Subject(s): Goddesses & Gods; Mythology; Sex Role


ARGUMENT.

From Heauen, with Earth offended,
Two Gods (as Spies) descended.

1.
HOW apt the slanderous and unciuill tongues
Of wicked men (vpon presumption small)
To rayse foule scandalls are, and jmpious wrongs
On Ladyes honours, neuer stayn'd at all,
Is manifested in bright Cynthia's case
To her extreame (but vndeseru'd) disgrace.

2.
For when Endymion once in Latmos slept
The Moone (some say) came downe and kis'd him there,
Erronious Fame reports that she hath kept
Him euer since within her spotlesse Sphere.
And of this falshood, so profusely blowne,
The generall tale of Man i' th' Moone is growne.

3.
But findeing no memoriall that jntends
A mans preferment to that pitch of grace,
My winged Muse vnsatisfyed ascends
Her glistring Orbe, In which Celestiall place
She findes no Man (as these old sots vs tell)
But that a Woman in the Moone doth dwell.

4.
And how that Woman there became confin'd
Vrania knowes: who now descended thence
Shall (as she hath thereof enform'd my minde)
Impart you her divine jntelligence
By patience of the Gods that authors were,
And her fayre sex, whereto I honour beare.

5.
Some ages since Deucalions deluge past
In peopling of the empty world agen,
When as the seede of Sin began as fast
To propagate anew, as seede of men,
And wretched worldlings almost in profund
Obliuion had the generall drowning drownd.

6.
Jove waxing old resolued was to set
His sacred foot in sinfull mold no more,
Or at the least although the cause were great
He in his prudence thought it fit, before
He went himselfe in person, first to try
What good there might be done by Ambassie.

7.
And for this action, he selects among
Th' Olimpique Race (if I may terme them so)
Two handsome youthfull Gods, and light, & strong,
This paynfull pilgrimage to vndergoe;
But I conceale their names. Great minds defam'd
In their attempts, desire to passe vnnam'd.

8.
And what the tenour of their charge should be
Though my playne pen, unexercis'd in state,
Can hardly reach a stile of such degree,
Neare as I can, I shall it yet relate,
As great Saturnides himselfe it spake
Whose thundring voyce makes all y@5e Center shake.

9.
My Sonnes (sayth he) you shall from hence repaire
Downe to yon lowe and wretched vale of Man,
The care wherof hath turn'd mine aubron haire
Thus gray, and made my nectar'd cheeke thus wan,
And yet with litle jncense gratifyes
Mine open hands, and rest refuseing eyes.

10.
Wherefore descend, and first take view of those
To whom Bootes curled face is shewne,
Then with those fixed lights that him oppose
Survay the more remote and hardlyer knowne:
From Nabathæan bounds to Phœbus fall,
From the hot Zone to the Septentrionall.

11.
Be as your fathers All-beholding eyes:
See where my name is honour'd, where despis'd,
Where peace, where war, where want, where plenty lyes,
Where Vertue rules, where vice is exercis'd:
Where Right prevayles, where wretched wrong takes place,
And let me know the whole worlds generall case.

12.
That I as well may furnish good mens needs
With blessings, as detrench th'abused store
Of thankles caytiffes; crowne true vertues deeds
With honour, and on vice my vengeance poure.
This sayd, his brow against his breast he strooke:
The brazen bases of Olympus shooke.

13.
And thus instructed, at the azure knee
Of armed Iove these Legates tooke their leaue,
And of the whole Celestiall familie
Congeys at heauens christall ports receiue:
And so descend the Axletree, betwixt
The radiant Poles on either side vs fixt.

14.
And when their ayrie feete felt earthly clay,
They jnstantly in Man-like habits drest
Their beautyous Godheads; and so tooke the way
That to their owne best wisdomes seemed best:
Resoluing not to leaue a Land vnspied,
Empire vnseene, or Island vndescried.

15.
What euer people, civill or prophane,
Or continent, vnknowne or knowne, may lye,
Succinct or spacious, Mountagnous or playne,
In all the Orbes foure fold Cosmographye,
They visit would, and this our British land
That by it selfe from all the World doth stand.

16.
Sometimes they walke, and sometimes they assume,
To ease their weary nerues, their nimble wings,
And sometimes, to refresh both foote and plume,
They voyage vnder pitchey tackleings
Of swelling Sayle, fullfilling th'awfull word
Of Iupiter, on foote, on wing, on board.

17.
Obseruing seriously in every place
The manners, customes, and estates of men,
The Gods, Lawes, Liues, Religions, they embrace,
And Sacrifices, that they used then:
Ioyes, woes, wants, wealthes, sinnes, service; and of all
Kept just record, and sure memoriall.

18.
But in these travells, such mischance befell
These heau'enly youths, as not alone for theirs
But for fayre Womens sakes, I greiue to tell:
But since th'vnhappy Causer of such teares
They in our world of Brittaine did not finde,
Ladyes vntouch'd neede not to be vnkinde.

19.
For in the heate of middle-aged yeare
They chanc'd in Ethiopia to arriue
Where double flames, of time & Clymat, there
Perswaded rest, jn bathes of ease reviue
Their toyled limmes: where they an obiect found
That their delay in double fetters bound.

20.
The tale wherof, Since now it seemes to aske
The spirit-full flight of an vntoyled Muse,
End here (Vrania) thy precedent taske:
And to beget new breath for what ensues,
(As those of thy Celestiall kindred doe)
Favour, a while, thy tender sarcells too.





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