Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HISTORY OF ARCADIUS AND SEPHA: BOOK 1, by WILLIAM BOSWORTH



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THE HISTORY OF ARCADIUS AND SEPHA: BOOK 1, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Amidst campania fields, near sabine bowers
Last Line: May gather strength to end her tragedy.'
Alternate Author Name(s): William Boxworth


AMIDST Campania fields, near Sabine bowers,
Plain to each view there stood two stately towers,
Mounting aloft the skies their cloudy heads,
As proud as high, disdaining their first beds;
So curious was their building, and their stone,
That both alike, they both were took for one,
Showing by th' type of their conjoining arts,
The true conjunction of each other's hearts.
Two stately towers for their buildings fam'd,
One Arathea, th' other Talmos nam'd;
In Talmos, Sepha dwelt, whose heav'nly face
Gave to each quill a line, each line a grace,
In whisp'ring forth her praise; whose radiant eyes,
Like starry lamps that emulate the skies,
In height and beauty with their glittering light,
Shone like the clearest stars i' th' darkest night.
Upon her head she wore a laurel crown
Knit up with sundry flowers, on which Renown,
As chiefest Empress of her fate and beauty,
Did sympathize with a religious duty:
Hesperides, in whose calm heart did rest
No sullen strains, but Lyric, and a nest
Of heav'nly raptures, perfum'd odours sweet,
Which Nectar and Nepenthe breathings, meet
For Heavn'n's great Queen: such was her virtue given,
That where she was, there was a second Heav'n.
Her face so sweet as Nature can devise,
Was drest with sparkling diamonds of her eyes,
The sweet composure of whose beauty yields
A medal of the true Elysian fields;
Her forehead, fittest place to go before,
(Since whoso speaks of beauty treads it o'er)
Was justly call'd a path, whereon did pass
A way that leads you where all beauty was.
Close by that path, two radiant lamps did rise,
Which some abruptly did entitle eyes;
Too mean a name for two such heav'nly lights,
As far beyond all eyes, as days from nights:
To whom was added that celestial grace
Of perfect pureness to adorn the face,
That whensoe'er these seeing lamps did move,
They'd light spectators on their way to love;
Between which eyes (if eyes they may be nam'd)
A pillar (as of purest marble fram'd)
Then call'd her nose, did lead you to two plains,
Pure white and red, like milk which claret stains;
Two flow'ry fields where Flora seem'd to dwell,
Where white and red were striving to excel,
Whose raptures seem'd like a celestial nest,
Whereon distressed lovers seem'd to rest,
Which Paradise if any lover seeks,
It was presented in fair Sepha's cheeks.
Two pearls of that inestimable price,
So far beyond th' perfection of her eyes,
Impall'd with that excessive form of bliss,
Smiling, you'd think th' invited you to kiss.
What name or title fits fair Sepha's lips?
Shall some Ambrosian cup, where great Jove sips
Nectar from Ganimede? too mean it is
To bear their form, it is too mean by this,
Jove out of them Nepenthe us'd to sip,
But that Nepenthe grew on Sepha's lip.
Then gan her teeth in a most perfect line,
Plac't each by other through her lips to shine,
More white, more true, than Nature could prefer
To any other was it not to her.
Those that ne'er saw, might judge what they had been,
Like picture pearl, through crimson shadows seen;
So was her chin like crystal over red,
So was her hair in decent manner spread;
Which she all careless down her back did wear,
As a fit object for the wanton air,
Careless to sport with. Next to them was prais'd
Her neck, as of a marble pillar rais'd,
Proud to support the weight of such a face,
In whom three Graces seem'd to be one grace.
Then might you see her amber breasts, more white
Than Scythian snow, and yielding more delight
Than silly quill is able to report.
They were the hills where Cupid us'd to sport.
Between which hills there lay a pleasant alley,
Whose milky paths did lead into the valley.
This was that Sepha who unhappy died,
This was that Sepha for whose hap I cried;
This was that Sepha whom the valleys miss,
And this was her whose tragic story's this.
Sepha, the glory of the scorned earth,
In Talmos dwelt, sometimes a place of mirth,
The ground whereon it stood was deck't with flowers,
Here lay a meadow, there were Sabine bowers.
The house was with a grove of trees enclos'd,
Proud of the beauty that therein repos'd:
Only a glead there lay, the trees between,
Where Arathea was of Talmos seen.
In Arathea young Arcadius dwelt,
A man where Nature had so freely dealt
Her chiefest art, and artificial skill,
Pleasing each eye, but most to Sepha's will.
Oft by her window did Arcadius ride,
Sometimes to hunt, and sometimes to divide
The air with riding swift Italian horses,
Here making stops, there running at full courses,
When she (unknown to him) with watchful eye,
Oft saw his going, and his coming by,
So that of fire which lovers sometimes find,
A spark began to kindle in her mind.
Once did she blame unkindly Cupid much;
'Darling,' said she, 'and is thy power such?
Unkindly thus pure streams to overcome,
And force a heart to love she knows not whom?
Is he too good that thus thou dost deny
Me to receive one courting from his eye?
Cupid, scorn'st thou my prayers? or dost thou shame?
Is he so mean to let me know his name?
Yet let me live, let me his feature see,
If he's but virtuous, 'tis enough for me.'
This said, her eyes, drawn by a heavy sound,
Saw young Arcadius grovelling on the ground,
Whose too too nimble horse, in striving most
To please his master, his blest burthen lost.
Once did she speak, once did she move her tongue,
'What sad mishap,' said she, 'did thee that wrong?
How didst thou of thy wonted favours miss?
Was the ground greedy thy fair limbs to kiss?'
At whose celestial voice, like a sweet charm,
He started up, and said, 'I had no harm;
Thanks for your love,' and with a decent grace,
Stoops down his hat, by which she saw his face.
'Sepha (said she), be glad for thou hast found,
And seen the arrow that thy heart did wound.'
Well, young Arcadius gets him to his steed,
Who guilty of the last unhappy deed,
With nimble strokes his master to delight,
Slips o'er the plain from fairest Sepha's sight.
'Go then,' said she, 'the height of beauty's pride,
And world's chief mirror; if thy heart is tied
To any lady whom thou call'st thy own,
As sure it is, or else thou wouldst have shown
Some more respects to me; but if thou art,
If to another thou hast linkt thy heart,
Twice happy thou, thrice she, that shall embrace
Thy slender body, and enjoy thy face.'
This said, she to a silent chamber goes,
Weary of love, but more of mind, and throws
Sometimes her restless body on a bed,
Where love is with imaginations fed;
Then to the window would she take her way,
And view the place where young Arcadius lay,
Thence would she to her closet, where alone,
Alone she sat her sorrow to bemoan;
If such was Isis' love to Lignus' son,
Then ignorant why he her love had won,
And Iphis had in his Ianthe got,
Not yet a man, yet more than one man's lot?
If such was Philoclea's ardent love,
From her own sex, such free desires to move?
When Zelmane's eyes such direful vapours threw,
And to her own, prodigious accents drew?
If Isis was of Iphis' change most glad,
And Philoclea her own wishes had,
Why may not Sepha be possest of hers,
Not half so far impossible as theirs?
But Heav'n conspir'd with an impatient eye,
And all the powers to act her tragedy.
Not that injustice with the Gods did dwell,
For how could they 'gainst that sweet face rebel,
Nor enmity against such beauty bred,
Whose double portion with amazement led
Each greedy eye into a field of roses
And lilies which a theatre encloses.
But Love, whose passions with impartial flames,
Now whisper'd 'mongst the Gods, aloud proclaims,
By Jove's consent to dispossess us here
Of our fair Heav'n, for they did want her there:
Conspicuous fate, her heart already feels
Cupid's dire bolt, and at first arrow yields;
No warrior she, nor striv'd with struggling hand
The dart to break, nor would she it withstand,
But gently stepping t'wards his bow did hie,
And Phoenix-like into the flames did fly;
So Philomel doth willingly depose
Her tender breast against the thorn, so those
Who (bleeding eas'ly) meet death void of pain,
Phasiphae so in Ida woods did reign.
Twice did the honour of Latona move
A scorn'd defiance to Arcadius' love,
But twice by Ericina 'twas defac't,
And twice more love into her heart was plac't;
Wherefore unwilling to omit the art,
The salve she thought would mollify her smart,
Half doubting Cupid who such change had wrought,
Gave speech the leave to ease her of her thought.

'Love, who the greatest potentates can tame,
(Ruin of zeal) at whose majestic name,
(Blind wicked boy) disguis'd with all untruth,
The Gods have yielded honour to his youth,
Sprung first from Venus, Goddess of his art,
If blind, as some suppose, how can he dart
Show'rs of such wrongs on silly woman's heart?

Thou Goddess of the valleys and the plains,
See how the wag thy sacred rites disdains,
Thou, thou, Latona's daughter, whose delights
I vow to perfect, and maintain thy rites,
In spite of Cupid, see how he deposes
Thy holy laws, see how he plucks thy roses,
And crops the fairest lilies of thy closes.

Into my heart some heavy thought is stray'd,
But there it shall not, nor long hath it stay'd,
Some muddy cloud hath overwhelm'd my face,
And left behind it shadows of disgrace:
Thus when the heav'ns thy mighty father low'rs,
His anger is some bitter tasted show'rs,
To perish quite the odours of thy flowers.

Thus hath he given power to the Boy,
Who strives thy virgin odours to destroy,
Urg'd by the daughter of Oceanus
His frothy mother, enemy to us.
And she doth practise his deceitful smiles,
The fittest motions with which he beguiles,
And with a touch thy vestal lamps defiles.

Up (thou Alphea) show thy pow'r and skill,
Reserve thy virgins wholly to thee still,
Lend us the swiftest Arethusa's feet,
To fly Alpheus, make our prayers fleet:
And that we may do honour to thy name,
Do thou in Ephesus thy will proclaim,
That we with nettles may defy his flame.'
Thus did she feed her thoughts on weak despair,
Sighing her sorrows to the empty air,
Repining only that her heavy fate
Prest down so hard to make her derogate.

'Might I (said she) Idalia's garments wear,
I would be glad, would she but hear my prayer;
Or Dian, thou to whom I am devoted,
Admit not my true zeal to be remoted
From service thine, if still thy power thou hast;
If Citherea hath it not defac't,
Say whether yet he any hath embrac't.

Say whether yet he any hath embrac't,
If yet to thee his service be ally'd,
Let not his cheeks of any sorrows taste,
'Tis pity such pure streams with worse be dyed;
But howsoe'er if happy him be tied,
And Hymen link him to some other bride,
Let not his name nor kindred be denied.'

And thus she discontinuing Dian's fires,
Vext with excess of heat and love, retires
Into the garden, where she takes free scope
To vent her plaints, but all deny her hope.
Each flow'r she sees gives a fresh appetite
To that sweet flow'r she wants; there's no delight,
But dreams and visions haunt her in her sleep;
The birds that us'd to sing, now seem'd to weep,
And all with heavy voice did seem to move
Complaints, and wail for her unhappy love.
Nor could she say 'twas love did her oppress,
Since she was ignorant of what fair guess
She was enamoured; she saw his face,
And knew he was a man, but of what race
And name she knew not, nor knew where he dwelt;
(Oft so, for unknown cause, strange pains are felt)
Oft from the garden would she send her eyes,
Love's faint Embassadors, into the skies,
For help, and oft with shrill complaining sounds,
Would weep forth prayers, with which the air abounds.
Thence would she unto Venus' altar haste,
Where when the myrrh and odours she had plac't,
And mixing plaints with the perfuming flame,
'Grant me, great Queen of Love, to know his name.'
Thence would she unto Dian's altar hie,
And do the like, and thence to Cupid fly,
But still return'd enrag'd, amaz'd, unblest,
Till fairest Hecate heard her request.
Not far from Talmos there a city was,
Casperia nam'd, Delia's devoted place,
Where she a temple had sacred to her,
Where oft unmarried people did prefer
Their pray'rs, remoted only for the same,
No Hymeneal servants thither came.
Now was the time, when cloth'd in Scythian whites
Her Priests were ready to perform her rites;
Her cups were with Castalian liquors fill'd,
Her altar with pale sacrifices hill'd,
That all her virgins came to wait upon her
Bearing their vestal lamps, Diana's honour.
When Sepha t'wards her temple did repair,
Cloth'd all in yellow, whose dishevell'd hair,
Stirr'd with the wind, gave a reflective shine,
As Jove had tow'd her in a golden shrine.
Down to Gargaphia did she take her way,
Fear lending wings, since Love had caus'd her stay
Too long, and as she tript o'er those fair lawns,
Rough-footed satyrs, satyrs, nymphs and fauns,
With various colour'd flowers which they had set,
Made for her feet a pleasant carquenet.
Her eyes when first they glanc't towards the place,
Whither she would, 'O more than human race,'
Said she, 'be thou propitious to me still;
Impute not this delay, want of good will
Towards thy holy laws,' and as she pray'd,
The more she run, the more she thought she stay'd;
Chiefly for this, when first her tender feet,
With gentle motions brought her to those sweet,
Those diap'red, those rape enamour'd dales,
First mother to those cool perfumed gales,
Which Zephyrus from flow'ry meadows sends
To court Aurora, whose beauty extends
(Like blushing sighs with which women beguile)
Back to the same to grace them with a smile.
She heard shrill voices, shrill complaining cries,
The hasty messengers of some dull eyes,
Call her to witness with lamenting verse,
Like those that use to howl over the herse
Of their dead friends, to which as women use,
She gives a skreek, women can seldom chuse;
Which skreek, whether it were for strangeness rather,
That all the silvan dwellers 'bout her gather,
Or whether 'twas the rareness of her voice,
As sure it was, for that O heav'nly noise,
Hath power to lead the wildest rudest ear,
Which once those heav'nly raptures doth but hear,
From uncivility, to deep amaze;
But be it what it will, they all did gaze
And flock about her, silent, pale, and wan,
Till one (it seems the chiefest of them all) began,
'Hence, ugly grief,' to which they all agree,
'Though our King's gone, we'll make a Queen of thee;'
Then gan they leap and dance, with such delight,
Which put fair Sepha into such a fright,
That from her eyes she let fall such a frown,
That seen of them, they all fell trembling down:
Yet such was Sepha's virtue and good nature,
That she would not permit the smallest creature
Through her to perish; if from her there came
Aught did extinguish the desired flame
Of life, the same to her own heart return'd;
For with the like desire of Love she burn'd:
She would have gone and left them, but compassion
Of their then grief caus'd a deliberation;
Half gone she turn'd again, and with her hand
Helping them up, saith, 'Let me understand
The cause you weep; if it require my art
With you to grieve, with you I'll bear a part.'
When one awakened with excess of bliss,
Rose up, and gan to kiss her ears with this.

The Tale of Bacchus and Diana

'Nisean Silenus, born of Indian race,
Once kept yon hill, yon Gaurus was his place,
His palace was with palest marble rais'd,
Embrac't with blushing grapes, and often prais'd
By those, which never yet the reason knew,
For those sweet smelling flowers about it grew.
The way that leads you to this more than blest
Elysium, was bord'red with a nest
Of Hyacinths, which now began to spread
Their Amiclean flowers into a bed;
Like that of lilies, which our poets say
Leads now to him, instyl'd the Milky Way;
There was no path went creeping through the same,
Which might delude the most opprobrious name
With fallacies, for so they might suppose
The way that leads to honour doth enclose
A world of bliss; when each eye hath his charm,
The way to honour hath a world of harm.
I speak not this to disallow the rites
Honoria claims: the self-same way invites
As well to honour, as well not to honour,
For she hath equal balance cast upon her;
But to uphold the best Silenian way,
Whose smooth egressions will admit no stay,
To those who t'wards Brisean altars hie,
Till they enjoy th' Nisean Canopy:
A vale there is, which from a low descent
Of a late hill, did somewhat represent
Phlegrean plains, nurst by Meander's waves,
Which cut their bed, and furrow their own graves.
This was Nemea call'd, a fertile plain,
Bedew'd with blood of Misian cattle, slain
For sacrifice, brought by th' Ismenides,
The wrath of just Silenus to appease,
Whose angry frowns fright you from that blest vale;
But till you to a far more pleasant dale,
Which mounted by two steps doth yield a sight
More smooth than glass, more glorious than delight.
A heap of pines there are, which equal range
On either side, a pleasant sight but strange,
To those ne'er saw't, through which there lies a glede,
Smooth-bladed grass, which shows you the abode
Of Bacchus' guide; then come you to a court,
Where all the crew of satyrs do resort;
And with shrill cries do make his palace ring,
And, Io, Io, Bacchanalia sing.
No wall there is that doth enclose the same,
'Tis hem'd with laurel trees of the big'st frame,
And under them there is a bushy hedge
Of rosemary, which cut ev'n make a ledge.
For various colour'd flowers his clients bring,
They are the courteous off'rings of the spring.
In midst of which fair court there is a font,
Of crystal streams, where oft a goddess wont,
With diverse damsels, goddesses I think,
Because their beauty hath such power to link
Men to their love, for sure such heav'nly faces
Ne'er sprung from mortal; ne'er from human races.
But be they as they are, in that same well
They us'd to bathe, the statues there can tell,
Chlamidia's shrines th' are call'd, and strong defence
That were erected at her going thence.
Which story, if you'll please but to admit
And bless the ground so much as here to sit,
Fair Lady, -- 'tis not tedious, -- we'll relate
The tragic ends, and tell the heavy fate
There lies intomb'd; we will in ev'rything
Present to you the figure of the spring.'
'Time slips too fast (said Sepha) and my way
Is long, I cannot well admit the stay
To hear it told, but since you say 'tis short,
I'll linger time to hear out your report.'
Then thus, 'Our God, hearing what heav'nly shapes
Haunted those groves, and with what store of grapes
It did abound, said, "Rise and let's go see,
Perhaps it is a dwelling fit for me."
Whither being come, and having took a view
Of each delight, what pleasure might accrue
By dwelling there, said, "Let's begin to build;
The ground is fragrant, 'tis a pleasant field
With odours drest, marble shall be our stone,
Cedar our timber, the foundation
On youder hill, yon hill that will be proud
To be instil'd the pow'rful Bacchus' shroud."
At this the Goddess laught, and in a scorn,
More sham'd and ruddy than the blushing morn,
Escap't from Titan's arms, doth nimbly rise,
While pale revenge sits trembling in her eyes,
Ready to ruin those that dare presume
To view, much less to touch her hallow'd room;
She girts her armour on, and to her side
Her quiver, full of bloody arrows tied,
In her left hand her bow, and with the other
Tearing the grapes from their beloved mother;
Tramples them on the ground, and in a rage,
(For so it seems no treaties could assuage
Her furious wrath) "Bacchus," said she, "thou clown,
So shall I trample thy imperial crown.
How durst thou, villain, dare to touch this isle?
And with thy nasty carcass to defile
My holy place, egregious drunkard! how
Durst thou presume t' offend my virgin brow?
What recompense art able to bestow?
Or how wilt thou my pow'rful wrath o'er-go?
How wilt thou my destroying anger miss?
Or what requital shall I have for this?
Thy death I will not work lest it be known
I so much goodness to thee should have shown
In slaying thee, twould be as bad disgrace
Should it be known that thou hast seen my face.
Thou happy of this favour mayst rejoice,
My damsels scorn that thou shouldst hear my voice.
What a vile stain, what laughing there would be,
Should the world know I deign to speak to thee!
How shall I combat then? or thee expel
From the society of this blest well?
See how these roses at thy boldness blush,
Those flowers die which thy proud feet do crush.
See how the trembling lilies stoop alow,
Grow pale and droop, for fear thou wilt not go.
The birds no more will sing while thou art here,
These silver streams do murmur plaints for fear:
Thou wilt their drops defile; the very skies,
Since thou cam'st hither, have withdrawn their eyes.
And since thou hast this flow'ry place defac't,
No more we shall of their sweet favour taste
To cherish us. Here is a spacious way:
Be packing then, or at thy peril stay."
Vile words against a God, who smiling said:
"Here will I live, and thou shalt be my maid."
"Thy maid," said she, "to do thee service then
With this weak arm, and these shall be thy men,"
Sending him show'rs of arrows, which invade
His nurses' hearts and there a tavern made.
Bacchus at this grew wroth, his ruddy face,
Where the best beauty us'd to have a place,
Grew pale, and pale: "Bellona now," said he,
"Be thou propitious to my sov'reignty.
What spiteful God has sent these mortal shapes?
Wicked devourers of my sacred grapes!
Nor enmity alone against the fruit,
Will them suffice, who seek to spoil the root.
Fair girl," he said; "think'st thou I dread thy power?
Dare mickle Fortune on my pleasure lower?
My father guides the motion of the year,
His dwelling is beyond the middle sphere.
Heav'n is his palace, where his power's known;
Power waits on him, Elysium is his own:
My mother's of no base nor mean descent,
With whom all Graces had their complement.
And though she's mortal, yet her pedigree
Portrays in brazen lines her memory;
From worthy Cadmus, whose descent doth spring
From old Agenor, the Phoenician King.
How dar'st thou then revile my holy fire?
I am a God, and can withstand thine ire:
Can these thy threat'nings then make me the worse?
Or dost thou think thy arrows can have force
To pierce my pow'rful skin? Fond foe, forbear,
Th'are fit'st for Cupid's use; by Styx I swear,
A secret influence hath my honour sav'd,
I have in Lethe lake my body lav'd."
This said, his leavy javelin up he takes,
At sight of which the fearful Goddess quakes;
He turns him back to his devoted train,
In whose each hand a Thirsis did remain,
Whose fiery valour never was withstood,
Good was their courage, and their valour good.
"Forbear," said he, "let not your anger light
On these, so far unworthy for your sight,
What stain shall we endure? when it be said,
So many Hecatompilons have made
War with a silly maid? what though she strive
Through haughty pride our honour to survive?
Urge not her fight who cannot manage it.
Fie, are these subjects for your valour fit?
Forbear, I say, and let your wrath be kept,
For those who have our ancient honours swept
Into a dirty lake; let it suffice
This mountain shall our orgies memorize."
With that another show'r of darts she sends
From nimble arms, whose multitude extends
All o'er the army which our God had there,
Enough to move a valiant god with fear;
So thick they came, that like the ev'ning cloud,
Or like an arbour or a leafy shroud
Remaining long, they might have caus'd a dearth,
They kept the courteous sun from the dark earth.
"Go to," said Bacchus, "let all pity fade,
And fight on now, we now shall fight i' th' shade;"
Then 'gan a desp'rate war, but being divine,
No harm was done, the greatest harm was mine,
Till fair Antigone, alas! too rare,
Too young, alas! alas! too heav'nly fair
To leave this haven, exchang'd her mortal hue
And leapt to Heav'n; I saw her as she flew.
A wound she had, nor was there any place
But that alone, but that which could deface
Her ruddy cheeks, her lips that oft did shove
Life to the hearts of those that saw them move.

The Story of Haemon and Antigone

AND thus it chanc'd, Haemon, the fairest boy
Of Thebes' city, would go sport and toy
With Cupid's darts, and Cupid being blind,
(And Love, you know when vext is oft unkind)
Pull'd them away; Haemon would him withstand,
And as he held, he chanc't to race his hand.
This being slighted 'gan to fester in,
And having got a newly welcom'd skin,
Began to fester more; it being small,
And of small pain, was pitied not at all,
By him, I mean, who as it seems delighted
In this new pain; and that's the cause 'twas slighted:
Now was it grown unto a doubled height
His breast within, and with a nimble sleight
Began his heart to bore, when he o'ercharged,
Could not suppress that fire which now enlarg'd
Itself with larger flames; it kist his heart,
And he kist it, like one loath to impart
Some serious thought, from his o'erburthened breast,
And yet detaining it can find no rest.
Have you not seen the Heliconian spring
Send her beloved streams a-wandering
The vale below, who ready to fulfil
(Though murmuring for grief) their mother's will,
Glide on apace, yet oft with wat'ry eyes
Look t'wards the place where their blest mother lies;
While she with crooked bubblings doth complain,
Now calls them in, then thrusts them forth again?
So was't with Haemon, loath to lose the bliss,
The pleasing joys he hop't to reap from this
His new intended life, also unwilling
To dispossess himself of those distilling
And grateful honours, from Diana came,
Due only to the lovers of her name.
In both perplext alike he sits amaz'd,
(Symptoms of love) and o'er the valleys gaz'd,
Starts up, sits down, admires with foolish joy
The fruits thereof, detests as much th' annoy
The same engenders, having 'fore his eyes
The sad examples of the miseries
It hath produc't; Leander's heavy fate
Makes him eschew it now as much with hate,
As e'er before he to it zealous was,
Whose tragedies are unto him a glass.
In this extreme, what will not Venus do?
He studies how, and can already woo.
"Admit," said he, "the winged boy would send
Into this place the picture of that friend
I best could honour, should I be approv'd
Or no?" for yet he knew not whom he lov'd;
"Or should I chance of that fair chance to chance:
Could I in lover's phrase my love advance?
Say, Cupid, or if yet thou think'st I cannot,
Make trial, and if too much she disdain not,
Thy book I'll quickly learn, before the morn
Descry our blots: there's none a workman born;
And at our next encounter I'll so gain
Thy approbation, there shall not a stain
Deface my quill to make my study falter,
Whole show'rs of myrrh I'll pour upon thy altar.
Thy altar shall with saffron streams appear,
And I with yellow garments will be there;
There will I be to see thy service done,
The oaths betroth'd by thy beloved son,
On high Hymerus' hill." And ere the same
Had flown from Haemon's sacred breath, there came
A Lady by, nor only one there was,
Yet had there been no more, she did surpass
All beauties could have come -- Antigone,
Whose face from sable night did snatch the day,
And made it day; what need I show the same?
I know't's enough, if you but know her name.
Antigone came thither, thither came
Blind Cupid's love, and there the goodly frame
Of Nature's pride, whose beauty can procure
Each wink to make each love spectators sure.
Three sisters they, but one of all the rest
More fair and lovely was, and far more blest
With Nature's gifts, and that was only she
Whom men alone did call Antigone.
Her cheeks, bedeckt with lines of crystal veins,
Were like that ruddy blush Aurora gains
From Tellus' breath; whose odours do encroach
O'er flow'ry fields to welcome her approach.
She came with such a majesty and grace,
As if the Gods in her all-conquering face
Had kept their Parliament, the Milky Way,
Running Meander-like with crooked stray
From her white chin, lead to that hill which yields
A prospect o'er the fair Elysian fields.
Her upper garments were of milky hue,
And under them a coat of azure blue;
Some stars of gold there were, and those but small,
Were like the show'r Phoebus let on her fall.
The blue seen through the white, with that fair show'r
Seem'd like a cloud that did enshrine a power;
Her hair not loose, as some do use to wear,
Ribands of gold were proud to tie her hair,
And so delighting held it up so hard,
Lovers from favours of it were debarr'd.
Each step she took was like a virtuous way,
Or path where her distressed lovers lay:
For as she went casting her eyes aside,
Many admiring at her beauty died.
Of all the gestures that her body had,
With one especial gesture she was clad;
And that was this, oft as thou us'd to walk
Into the groves to hear the small birds talk,
Antigone, thy praise, thou oft was us'd,
(I think by some diviner power infus'd)
To ravish men, often was thou indu'd
With that sweet grace which each spectator ru'd.
A careless winding of thy body 'twas,
Reeling and nodding as thou by didst pass,
Like frisking kids upon the mountains seen,
Or wanton lambs that play upon the green.
Then wouldst thou leap from bank to bank, and rise
Th' Jocastaean body into the skies,
While Zephyrus, better to help thee flee,
Would fly beneath, but 'twas thy Heav'n to see.
Then wouldst thou swing abroad thy tender hands,
At whose pure shine each eye amazed stands,
And with thy finger beck, which gave excuse
To lovers, saying thou call'dst, but 'twas thy use.
This Haemon saw, ev'n as the smiling ground
With various-colour'd flowers her temples crown'd;
She crops a rose, and why so did she seek?
There was a purer rosie in her cheek;
But (Lord to see!) putting it to her nose,
What purer beauty could there be than those?
Like coral held in her most most pure hands,
Or blood and sickly milk that mingled stands,
The pale-fac'd lily from the stalk she tears;
Ev'n as the lily, so Narcissus fares,
Sweet Crocus from his weeping root she twinds
And him with his beloved Smilax binds.
Nor Hyacinthus must this favour[s] fly,
Who with the Cyprian Anemony.
After she had retir'd into a shade,
Of these discolour'd flowers a posy made,
Then lying down, (for sleep began to play
The wanton with her eyelids as she lay)
She slept, not seeing Haemon, who still kept
Out of her sight, or else she had not slept.
Then 'gan the silvan warblers to renew
Their pleasant notes, with all the merry crew
Kind Spring affords, each striving best to keep
Their untaught quaver, lulling her asleep.
Her posy to her left had she convey'd,
And on that hand her weary head she laid;
Her right hand had the office to employ
A safeguard to her breast, where Haemon's eye
Stood ready fix't; softly he would have stole
The posy thence, but each wink did control
His bold attempt. At last with ravish'd joy,
That Fortune op't to him so fair a way
To so divine a mark, he gently laid
His trembling lips to hers, and softly said,
"Ye Powers be thank't, and if such power ye have,
As there's no power but what is yours, O save
Your servant, O permit not her disdain
T' acquaint my heart with just cause to complain.
Still let her sleep, rob me not of this bliss,
Still let her sleep, ere I this favour miss;
Camelion-like I'll live upon her breath,
It nectar is, and will preserve from death."
With that she wak'd, and seeing there so nigh
An unknown guest, she rose and 'gan to fly.
Abash'd she would have spoke, but too much fear
Caus'd it so softly that one could not hear
Whether she chid or no. "Great Queen," said she,
"Who art rewarder of integrity,
Let me not be defil'd;" this Haemon heard,
And would have answer'd, but he was debarr'd
By her ensuing voice, which might inflame
Cold Neptune's bosom, if but heard the same.
She views him well, surveys with curious eye
His face, who with like language doth reply:
A face she saw, the face she sure had known
But that she did compare't with was her own,
Of beauty pure, too pure she thought it was
To be the picture of a human face;
Those speaking looks, that grace and majesty,
Far better would befit a Deity.
To whom she said, -- but what I must omit,
Since I am ignorant, nor is it fit
To let my thoughts into those secrets pry,
which they deny,
For had she not been curious of her will
She ne'er had whisper'd, ne'er had been so still.
But Haemon thus,
"Lady, your looks a tragic tale unfold,
I fear the end before I hear it told;
Why should you tremble so? or be afraid
Of him in whom your power is display'd?
Remit this boldness that I did intrude
Into your sacred grove, O fair, exclude
Not my complaints from your still honour'd praise,
Lest sable night give period to my days."
"Peace," said Antigone, "shall ev'ry grove
Where babbling echoes dwell, witness your love?"
So much I heard, and saw her pretty look
Show him her face in which there lay a book
By Cupid's finger wrote, while he, o'erjoy'd,
Kist as she spake, and with her ribands toy'd:
He took her by the hand and softly crush't
Sweet balm from thence, at sight of which she blusht:
He would have sav'd the same, but of it mist;
She would have spake, but as she spake he kist.
Then met his hands about her tender waist;
So Jupiter when Danae he embrac't,
And such like toys they us'd as lovers use,
While a pure kiss (as if they would infuse
Into each other's breast by their souls) was given;
For Haemon vow'd by all the Powers of Heaven,
No impious thought that honour should molest
Which was engraven in his loyal breast,
And that he was from all deceit as free
As he desir'd to find Antigone.
"Go, then," said she, "'tis but one ling'ring night
Our bodies part." But ah, they parted quite.
For she towards Diana took her way;
Where then in camp Diana's virgins lay,
Ready to give our God their strong assault,
Where she was slain. Oh, 'twas her Haemon's fault,
For he belike that Cupid had implor'd
Which some call God, that favour to afford,
Through his beloved's breast with his keen dart,
To make an easy passage to her heart.
Which Cupid to fulfil did open lay
A hole through which a javelin took his way.
At this she starts, "Revenge my death," she cried,
"Haemon, my love, Haemon, farewell," and died.
At this disaster Dian did repine,
"Hold, hold," said she, "Bacchus, the battle's thine.
The hill I'll leave, yet ere I take my way,
Permit that I by yonder spring do lay
My virgin dead." Which yielded, there she laid
Her corpse, and over them a statue made;
It stood upright, and looking t'wards the East,
The blood ran trickling down her wounded breast,
And on each side her sisters' statue stood,
With weeping clothes wiping away the blood.
This being done Diana left the place,
Fears making furrows in her virgin face,
Her sisters left to let her body lie,
But since their statues did accompany
Her tomb, they took their way, having done this,
To yon Casperia where her temple is.
Now Titan weary of that sable bed
Night did him lend, towards Aurora fled,
When Haemon, weary of slow-footed hours,
Oft wisht the morning, which come, each cloud low'rs.
The winds spake loud, and little birds were mute,
For Sol had cloth'd him in a mourning suit;
The morning wept, but what it might foreshow
Haemon suspected not, sweet winds did blow
No more: the Powers themselves with heavy eyes
Gave a consent to weep her tragedies.
Straight to the place appointed there to meet,
He hied, time lending wings unto his feet;
He calls his love, "Antigone," he cries,
"Why art so slow to meet him who relies
Upon thy faith more than upon his own?"
Then speaks unto the Trees, "Have you not known
Which way she went? or hath she not been here?
Is she too slow?" "She is too slow, I fear,"
Himself replies, and like a tiger flees,
With raving eyes, inquires of all he sees.
"The fairest rosie that the garden bred,"
Saith he, "hath now forgot the mother bed
Of its first birth; I fear it hath been pull'd
By some unlucky hand, whose drops have lull'd
It in a bath of mildew, or hath been
Cause of mishap, cause of some deadly sin,
Else why should Phoebus shame to show his face?
And creep behind a cloud, lest some disgrace
Should taint him of conspiracy? or why
Should Coelum's vesture yield a sympathy
Of grief? or why should shrill complaining cries
Of echoes strive to pierce the azure skies?
Wherefore do little birds forbear to sing
To Amphiluche, and her praises ring
Along the valleys? Why do lilies fade?
Or why do roses yield a ruddy shade
For their late sickly leaves? there's some mishap
Hath sure enforc't the fatal Nymphs to crap
Their still still brittle threads, the virgin sign;
No more I see's belov'd, but doth repine
The custody thereof for thrice five years,
And that's the infant's time; the cypress fears
To bud, lest in pale hours it should be torn,
And cropt lamented hearses to adorn.
What this eclipse, what this cloud might presage,
This blushing earth presenting now a stage,
I can't conjecture, unless it should be
A theatre to act a tragedy."
With these, and such like words, he vents his soul,
Of those o'erburth'ning maladies and foul
Conjectures, which such torments did inflict
Upon his heart, enough even to convict
Him of a sincere love, which like a wind
Hurries him to the spring, there there to find
His mistress' statue. "O unhappy eyes
Of mine," said he, "that view the obsequies
Of my dear love"; what did not Haemon say?
He beats his breast, endeavours to allay
His scorned life, and from his head he tears
Whole handfuls of his hairs.
"Ye sullen Gods, what mov'd you to divide
Her soul from hence?" distracted Haemon cried.
"Seek'd ye for some revenge? tis true, alas!
Because her virtues did your virtues pass.
Ye Fatal Nymphs, that hurry on the threads
Of our weak lives, and cut it in the mids
Of our best time, what moved you to be
So envious against Antigone?
But since your pow'rs have made me so accurst
By her sad death, ye pow'rs, now do your worst;
Yet help me first to weep, before I die,
For my Antigone an elegy."
With that he took his pen, and having wrote
Her heavy dirge with a lamenting note,
He laid him down upon her tomb, and pray'd,
Then with a spear a speedy passage made
Towards his love, ev'n to whose throne he cried,
"Make room for me, my love," so sigh'd and died.
At this mischance the Fatals did repine,
And turn'd his blood into a columbine,
Which still retains his nature; in three days
It gains its prime, and in its prime decays.
His body then reposing on her urn,
The Gods did to a marble statue turn,
Whose head upon his weary hand doth rest,
And looking steadfast on her wounded breast,
Surveys the blood, that blood with wat'ry eye
Which leaves her breast to turn t'a tulippy.
So Haemon t'wards Elysium did fly,
But ere he went he left this elegy
Under her feet engraven, on which be
The lively praise of dead Antigone.

"Ravisht with nectar breathing from those dales
Where Zephyrus in all his worth remains,
I past th' Arabian deserts, and the vales,
And thence I journey'd o'er the Scythian plains,
I journey'd thence, and in Diana's bowers
My eyes bedew'd me with distilling showers.

I sat me down to think upon my loves,
The thought of which proceedings made me weep,
Until the warbling chanters of the groves
Lull'd me into a sweet and pleasant sleep.
Methought I sported on th' Arcadian mountains,
And then I sat me by Minerva's fountains.

Sitting and musing by those silver streams,
Where babbling echoes whisper'd forth my moan,
As if awakened from some glorious dream,
The Muses show'd me, on a marble stone
Character'd, lines of gold, whose triple lays
I copied out to prattle forth their praise.

Aspire to honour her whose glories such,
Nature hath given that artificial face,
No Muse nor Goddess can delight so much,
Excepting her who is her chiefest grace;
Oft so the dove a whiter turtle brings,
And, from the selfsame root, a fairer flower springs.

Some say the fairest Cupid being mov'd,
Mourn'd as he went, and thinking on her pin'd,
Entirely seeking, seeking her he lov'd,
Till too much gazing on her made him blind:
He call'd her Vesta, and to prove the same,
Erected up a trophy to her name.

Durst I but tell the world how much I love her,
Omitting nothing that I could express,
Rapt in those Heav'nly joys that seem'd to hover,
Only to crown her with their sacred bliss,
Too long I should upon her praises dwell;
Hymns are unworthy of her worth to tell.

Symethis shows how far her voice exceeds
Musical charms, whose sacred breath doth sink
Enchanted hearts, and where it stays it breeds
The sweet Nepenthe which the Gods to drink.
Having their love, they make her what they can,
Equal to them, too heav'nly for a man.

Many that view her sweet Elysian face
Admiring stand, as if some silver hook
Ran from her eyes to tie them to the place,
Tempting the Gods to read the am'rous book
Her cheeks enclose, and every wanton air,
As proud to kiss her, sporteth with her hair.

Sestos enjoy'd so beautiful a lass,
Methought her equal could not eas'ly be,
If yet with Hero she compared was
'Twas not fair Hero that's so fair as she;
Her face bedeckt with beauty's sweet adorning,
Exceedeth far the blushing of the morning.

Yet see how Fate hath stole her soul away,
And wrapt it in the fair Elysian rest:
Slow time, admit me here no longer stay,
Till blest with her, I never can be blest;
Receive, dear Love, into those azure skies,
This soul who whilome to thy bosom flies."

So much for this: now for the cause we weep,
Fair Lady, know Bacchus is fall'n asleep.
The nature of the Spring we have declar'd,
So have you of Diana's battle heard.
At this she sigh'd, and as she gently pray'd
For some revenge, the satyrs grew afraid:
The winds spoke loud, Dian in choler burn'd,
And each of them cleaving to trees, she turn'd
To Ivy, whence it still is twinding found,
And Bacchus' nurses are with Ivy crown'd.
Thus Fortune, (whose continual wheely force
Keeps constant course, still keeps unconstant course)
Bequeath'd her harm; and Sepha with amaze
Trip o'er the plains towards that sacred place,
Casperia nam'd, and as she thus did hie,
Trust me Arcadius came riding by;
He look't on Sepha, oh, what good it wrought
To her, who with her earnest eyes besought
One ravisht word to ope those lips, but they
Lurkt still in glory's garden as they lay.
At this she sigh'd, O how she sigh'd at this:
'Farewell,' said she, 'and if I needs must miss
Of these fair hopes, yet shall my tender mind
Accuse thee not thy horse did prove unkind
To carry thee so fast.' Thus with this thought,
And suchlike meditations, she was brought
Unto the temple, now with roses strew'd,
Then to the altar with sweet balm bedew'd;
Where when the rites and ceremonies done,
She read this superscription was thereon.

'Those that Idalia's wanton garments wear,
No Sacrifices for me must prepare;
To me no quav'ring string they move
Nor yet Alphaean music love,
There's no perfume
Delights the room,
From sacred hands
My altar stands
Void and defac't,
While I disgrac't
With angry eyes
Revenge the cries
Of you who to my altar haste,
And in my laws take your repast:
Pursue it still, the chief of my pretence
And happiness shall be your innocence.'

After sh' had read what vile reproach and stain
Her Queen endur'd, what just cause to complain
Hung on her breast, by an aspersion thrown
Upon her damsels' glories, and her own,
She sights, and through enough and too much sorrow,
Disdains to live, for true love hates to borrow
Art to bewail mishap, and as she fainted,
Alas, too much unfit and unacquainted
With grief! she sighing said with swelling eye,
'The root depriv'd of heat, the branches die.'
Then 'gan her sense to play the tragic part
Of Fate, and Atropos joy'd in her art.
Each thing she saw (as all were proud t' advance
Themselves to her fair eyes) now seem'd to dance,
And turning round, the temple where she stood,
To her wet eyes presented a pale flood.
While she with scrambling hands seeking to take
Hold lest she fell, fell down into that lake,
Where struggling still, with many pretty dint
Her curious hand did give the earth a print
For Sepha's sake, which print the earth still keeps,
Of which we'll speak awhile, while Sepha sleeps.

The Story of Eramio and Amissa

'A FOOLISH Prince, notwise because he vow'd
Virginity to dwell within a cloud,
And so much honour to her did ascribe,
Many had thought he had receiv'd a bribe
To vaunt her praise, and laurellize her name,
His mouth and he were trumpets to her fame.
I say a maiden Prince was lately there,
Whose custom was twice five times ev'ry year,
Cloth'd all in white, and stain'd with spots of black,
A yellow riband tied along his back,
To offer turtle doves with silver plumes,
And strew the place with aromatic fumes.
He was a Prince, born of a royal blood,
And being nobly born, was nobly good;
Nor only good he was, but stout and wise,
(Save that this fond opinion veil'd his eyes,)
Else he in ev'ry action was upright,
And free from vice, as sorrow from delight;
Of courage good, for valour oft had bound
His temples up, and them with laurel crown'd.
Beauty lay lurking in his magic face,
Worthy of praise since it chose such a place;
Those ruddy lips, those cheeks so heav'nly fair,
Where Love did play the wanton with his hair,
Did witness it, and witness this his line
I found engraven o'er his golden shrine,
By some beloved hand, whose pen doth speak
(Though willingly) his praise, alas! too weak:

Lo! here he lies, enshrin'd with his own fame,
Whose virtue's gone abroad to tell his name.

This Prince returning home by those dim lights,
After he had perform'd the sacred rites
Of his pure zeal, for night came peeping on,
Whose sable face had thrust the weary Sun
Beyond the Northern Pole; whether it was
To hide her fault, and bring his end to pass,
Or whether 'twas to view his sacrifice,
She stealing came, or t' keep him from the eyes
Of those destroyers that about did gather
To steal his life, or haste destruction rather,
To me 'tis not reveal'd, but sure it is,
Too sure, alas! conspicuous fate was his.
Could Heaven permit the deed? or give consent,
(Who should be just) to the accomplishment
Of this nefarious act? could Phoebus' eye
Be dazzled so, or yield a sympathy
To this rebellious inhumanity?
Better had he renounc't the vows he made,
And spent his days under some gloomy shade;
Better had he in flow'ry fields abide,
And lead his flock by purling river's side;
Better had he bestrid the foamy waves,
Where Pactolus his weary body laves;
Yea, better far he ne'er had been allied
To Dian's laws, far better had he died.
And die he did, did death commit a sin?
No, yet when first his arrows do begin
Untimely death to force, 'tis often said,
His sulphur breath hath the sweet spring decay'd.
He was but young; the gridle of the year,
By which our human actions do appear,
And so we live and die, had ne'er embrac't
Thrice three times twice his young and tender waist;
Scarce could he stand upon the joyful ground,
And crop those blushing cherries which he found
Upon their infant trees, yet envious eye
Conspir'd to end his perpetuity.
And thus it was, as young Eramio came
From Dian's temple (for so was his name)
Amissa, who had oft desir'd to free
Her breast of that hell-knawing jealousy
By her conceiv'd, for this Amissa had
Been with the beauty of Eramio clad;
In a supreme desire towards his love,
Oft with her letters did she strive to move
With Cupid's laws him to retain alliance,
Till he, who scorn'd obedience gave defiance.
This could not cool that heat which had inspir'd
A longing hope[s] to that which he desir'd:
She sighs and weeps; she sighs and laughs, she cries,
And in a rage doth heave towards the skies
Her feeble hands; she studies how to tempt
Him to her lure, (lovers are oft exempt
Of modesty) and in a rage doth go
Towards her ink, (as lovers use to do)
And frames this letter, which I chanc'd to meet:
Ah me, 'twas young Eramio's winding-sheet.

AMISSA TO ERAMIO.

I HEARD how elder times enjoy'd the bliss
Of uncouth love, Fame the historian is;
Men whose heroic spirits scorn to bend
Their gallant necks to any servile hand,
Whose beauty could command as noble eyes,
I, and as many as these azure skies,
E'er show'd thy face, to view with a desire
Their glorious parts, and viewing to admire;
Yet these in whom each God have plac'd an eye,
To make a shrill and pleasant harmony
Of all their glories in one sound alone,
Yet these so far have their affection shown,
With sword and lance to make their faith approv'd,
Though as thyself not half so well belov'd.
How canst thou then disdain this humble suit
Of a pure love? how can thy pen be mute?
Many detesting love, and scorn his name,
Yet with their pens will certify the same
By answer, that they may that harm prevent
Of future hopes, for Silence gives consent.
Shall still unkindness overflow the brim?
Leander did to fairest Hero swim,
But I must come myself, and void of good
To strengthen me, must make my tears the flood,
And when I come, thy tower so fast is barr'd,
Thy suppliant's weak complaint will not be heard;
What is the cause thou dost affection scorn?
Shall base contempt those lovely brows adorn?
Am I too mean? look what I want of it,
So much my loyal love shall make me fit.
Let not thy thoughts accuse me, 'cause I sue,
For true love clad with virtue needs must woo;
Nor let thy answer show I am refus'd,
But use me now ev'n as thou wouldst be us'd.
Amissa.
This mov'd Eramio much, who (worthy knight,)
As ignorant as free from Love's delight,
Like purling quails, who ev'n now are secure,
With pleasant tunes are train'd unto the lure
Of the deceitful fowler, so was he,
As this his answer will a witness be.

ERAMIO TO AMISSA.

FAIR Queen, that favour which you please to give
To my unworthiness, shall make me live
Renown'd, when so much love you do bequeath,
Blown by the bellows of your flow'ry breath,
Shall fold me in your arms; do not conceive
'Twas scorn, or want of love, that made me leave
My answer until now, Amissa, no,
And 'mongst your other virtues please to know,
'Twas that excessive humble love I had,
That would not link your honour to so bad,
As your Eramio.
This fair Amissa saw; what sweet content
To her it brought, let those whose time is spent
On Cupid's study know, the same I leave
To them alone, let them alone conceive.
It was not long (though lovers think it long)
Ere young Eramio went (new love is strong)
To see Amissa, where ('tis open said)
There was a private contract 'twixt them made;
This being nois'd (as Fame will quickly spread)
Amongst his friends, how fondly he was led
By Love's alarms, with letters they did strive
Diana's holy fires to revive
Within his breast, and that to love alone,
From Venus free, whereof this letter's one.

FLUENTUS TO ERAMIO.

BE not so serious, striving to commend
The blaze of beauty; sometimes let a friend
Partake of your well-tuned notes of worth
Which solely to yourself you warble forth
In some retired shade; do not adore
A boy for God; let others' harms before,
By his deceit, make you at last be wise:
It was for something Cupid lost his eyes.
Love is a thing deceitful, and will charm
The wounded heart unto a further harm;
Such are th' allurements of the boy, to stain
The virtuous mind and make destruction plain.
What desp'rate ends to many do ensue,
And in their blood their guilty hands imbrue,
To thee 'tis known; let them a warning move,
If thou desir'st continuance of our love.
Fluentus.
Even this Eramio read, and being mov'd,
In that his friends despise him 'cause he lov'd,
In Love's excuse whose arrows he did kiss,
He sat awhile, and then returned this.

ERAMIO TO FLUENTUS.

RAPT with ambrosian favours of her love
I well may serious strive, when Tempe grove
Delights so much to whisper forth the praise,
Of my sweet love, with Heliconian lays.
How can my Muse be dumb? or cease to sing
Of fair Amissa? when each silver spring
And cooling arbour to report her fame,
Dictates my Muse in echoing back her name;
If she but deigns to beautify the air
With her sweet breath, her golden-knotted hair
Receives a thousand compliments of love
From wanton Zephyrus, enough to move
Conceiv'd delights; so joys he when he finds
How much her nectar-breath perfumes the winds.
If she but coverts in Pathimne bow'rs,
To hide her from those sweet distilling show'rs
That come to kiss her from their cloudy throne
Of vapour'd mists, those pearls finding her gone
Lament and die, when they have lost the sweet
They misst, yet some will stay to kiss her feet.
Why will you then dissuade me from that chase
I have begun, when ev'ry private place
Records her praise? nor think I am so stupid
Instead of higher powers to honour Cupid.
In all things there's a mean; I will be warn'd
By others' harms, for since I have been scorn'd
By some, the next shall teach me to be wise,
And shame mishap; poor Cupid lost his eyes
By gazing so much on the love I honour,
That all the eyes he had he spent upon her.
Glad is Amissa when my Muse repeats
Her friendly looks, and then again her threats
'Gainst those that bid me cease to tell her blisses,
Sweeter than life, and half so sweet as kisses.
If therefore serious friendship may advise you,
On still, for if you cease, your love denies you;
And if another chance to see her face,
Take heed, 'twill draw him on to win the race.
Eramio.
Which when Fluentus read, and fully found
The depth of his affection, and his wound,
This he return'd.

FLUENTUS TO ERAMIO.

RECEIVE with this my thanks, and prosp'rous fate
To your proceedings, love instead of hate,
Kindness for coyness, Venus' sweet embrace,
And Juno's kiss, with all the pomp and grace
That Hymen can afford; then joyful I
Will come and sing your Epithalamy.
Thus far my wishes, but if counsel may
Be took as kindly, boldly then I say,
Trust not the winds, they are as false as fleet;
As fleet as am'rous, kissing all they meet,
Without exception. Be not credulous,
What groves do whisper is suspicious;
Ask but Narcissus, and he will declare
Echo's a wanton, only empty air,
That doth but mock; the mists you say that meet
To court your love, do but bemire her feet,
And not adorn them; Tempe and the groves
Are now forsook of shady leaves, and loves;
Flora for shame resideth in the earth,
Until the Spring do give her a new birth.
In speculation of your mistress' eyes,
If Cupid lost his sight in any wise,
Beware of yours, for so it well befits,
Lest with your eyes you also lose your wits.
Cupid they say's a God, and dares commence
A suit with Jove: Apollo had no fence
Against his weapon; thus conclude I then,
If Gods do fail, there are no hopes in men.
Reflect on this: you say you have been scorn'd
By some, therefore take heed you be not horn'd
By others, for this proverb is both known
And true, an evil seldom comes alone.
Run not too fast, although you see her face,
(Love will beguile, Jove did a cloud embrace,)
Lest when with pain you traverst have the ground,
You win a prize is better lost than found.
Fluentus.
Eramio stood amaz'd, so quick a change
Should hurl about occasions to so strange
An intercepted plot: "O Heav'ns," said he,
"Can this delusion spring from amity?
From enmity it comes; Fluentus knows
A true affected heart admits no shows
Of wav'ring thoughts, to cloak a real sign
Of occult things, of harmonies divine:
The world I know, ev'n as the dwellers use it,
Is pregnant-full of sinners that abuse it.
But let them live, while I in faith involv'd,
Fluentus, do by this make thee resolv'd."

ERAMIO TO FLUENTUS.

REPORTS of gratulations to retain
Me for your vowed servant are but vain,
For prosperous gales may drive me more your debtor
Through Neptune's foamy floods, to love you better
For this pretext, Epithalamium-like,
The mirror of which influence doth strike
That epithesis to my humid sense,
That young Leander-like, I banish hence
Foolish despair, when such an easy price,
Favour'd by love, may win a merchandise
Richer than Colchos' pride; such power and force
Have your Platonic lines to make a course,
That once seem'd tedious, when it was begun,
Pleasant and short to those that needs must run.
Thus far my thanks, your counsel being had
Kindly, and seriously, of one as glad
As may be, when he finds a friend will say,
And botch his lines, to make an hour a day;
Trust me the winds are not so false as fleet,
Nor amorous, nor kiss they all they meet.
Without exception, those be foolish winds
Which Boreas-like blusters on all it finds.
There is indeed a breath that takes delight
With his obdurate busses to affright
Chaldei met, come from Lavinium dales
In love's disgrace: but these are not the gales
My Muse reports of; 'tis a pleasing air,
Which only sits and nestles in the hair
Of my dear love, which like a feath'red rain,
Circuits the globe and thither comes again:
Witness the heads of those Aeolian streams,
Whose bubbling currents murmur forth the dreams
Of nymphs, and satyrs, which account the groves
The ardent Salopia for their loves.
Ardent Narcissus miss'd the love he sought,
Yet, foolish boy, whate'er he wisht he caught;
He lov'd himself, and when himself he misses,
The echoes mock him for his foolish wishes,
(Amidst such Hero and such Thisban choices)
Thrusting him farther with their wanton voices
To deeper griefs, mounted on th' highest tops
Despair could grant; those clear and silver drops,
Which only ling'red time to kiss the sweet,
The innocent, the pure, and heavenly feet
Of my fair love, amaz'd him to behold,
For what they toucht they straightway turn'd to gold;
For shame Queen Flora deigns not to appear,
Abash't to see a fairer Flora here;
Nor Cynthia did more chastity embrace
Than she, nor Venus a more lovely face,
Whose radiant eyes, that kindle Cupid's fire,
Are Cos amoris, whetstones of desire.
Then strive not this entire knot to undo,
For I can love thee and Amissa too.
Eramio.

This by the one wrote, by the other read,
Stopt letters' mouths, and sudden parly bred,
In which dispute Eramio did haste
To publish proofs, but in his proofs was cast.
"O dear Fluentus," said Eramio,
"In whom my soul revives, by this I know
Thou art upright; so will I be upright:
No more the wicked boy shall taint my sight
With his deluding parables; I hate
His idle laws, and at as high a rate
Esteem Diana's worship, as before
I ever did, and her alone adore."
"And will you then neglect that lovely chase,"
Fluentus said, "you so much did embrace?"
"I will," said he, "and if Eramio live,
No more I will my youth and honour give
To foolish love; Idalia's son, I bid
Thy laws adieu"; and so indeed he did.
Which when his love, the fair Amissa, knew,
How all her wished joys abortive grew,
She watch't a time, even as Eramio came
From sweet Casperia, Dian's sacred flame,
And there by force, love conquering did move her,
By force to make Eramio her lover.
Eramio starts, mistrusting even as reason
Herself would do some new intended treason.
"What cause," said he, "hath urg'd you to this plot,
Against my life, (ye men) I know ye not?"
About to strike, the fair Amissa cries,
"O hold thy blow, for if thou strik'st she dies
Whose death thou seek'st." "And came the cause from thee?"
Eramio said; "let this thy glory be,
Thou worst of women, that thou hast receiv'd
Thy death from him, whose hand hath thee bereav'd
Of a polluted soul; when thou shalt come
'Fore Rhadamanth there to receive thy doom
For this last act, lament thyself, and howl,
In that thou hast been tainted with so foul
An ignominious stain; could thy base heart
Permit fruition to this dev'lish art
Of base conspiracy? O hell-bred evil!
Hatch'd by infernal potions of that Devil,
Father to thee, and thine; had I suppos'd
So fair a frame as thine could have inclos'd
Such hateful gues[t]s within, or had I thought
Thy often flatt'ring messages had wrought
By that black art, from which this harm proceeds,
Or such fair beauty could have mask'd such deeds,
Long since thy soul to that black cave had fled
Of envious night, and I snatch'd from thy head
Those glorious anadems thou us'd to wear,
Chaplets of curious flowers I did prepare
For thy bewitching brows; O how I hate
My wicked star, my too too envious fate;
I hate the time that did induce desire
Of love, I hate the fuel caus'd the fire,
I hate my eyes, too credulous and kind
To thy false heart, that strikes thy beauty blind,
And which more honour from thy breast discovers,
To give example to young foolish lovers;
I vow by heaven, and all the powers there be
Therein, I hate myself for loving thee."
His words half spoke, Cyandus' daughter cries,
"Is this the meed of zealous love?" and dies.
For young Eramio in this plot deceiv'd,
Up from the ground the massy stone had heav'd,
Borne by the fury of a tyrannous spite,
And as his present anger did invite,
Hurl'd it amongst them. Heard you not the sounds
Of struggling vial pouring from their wounds
Consumed oil? Amissa's feeble heart
Paying untimely death for his wisht dart
Its purest streams. But lo, a sudden change,
Wrought by inspired miracles doth range
Their deep amazed ears; amidst the throngs
Of their shrill cries were heard Elysian songs,
Like those when Jove his Ganimed had stole,
Granting a pleasant convoy to her soul.
Her soul and body gone those Heav'ns to grace,
As too too worthy for this sordid place;
Her heart to manifest the clear complexion
Of her upright, of her unstain'd affection,
Was metamorphos'd to a diamont,
Which so th' afflicted lover did affront
With visions, dreams, and such-like signs, to move
A good conceit of her unspotted love.
"Hold, hold," said he, "let my revenge alone,
The Gods have ways enow, if once but shown;
The time will come when Venus will inspire
Into each scornful breast tormenting fire,
By nought to be extinguisht, for I know,
If poets can divine, it must be so;
It must be so, and those who now deride
Her holy laws, and have too much relied
Upon the foolish worships of the Queen
Of Chastity, whose power is still unseen,
Ev'n as I am, so will I always pray,
Shall be perplext a thousand times a day;
This hand, (curst be this hand, and every hand
That rescu'd me, and helpt me to withstand
That glorious yoke my neck should daily move
Under Amissa's too respective love),
This hand no more shall sprinkle the perfume
Of frankincense, in Dian's hallowed room,
But if it ever an oblation make,
To any Altar, or do e'er partake
In any solemn sacrificer's vow,

More zeal and honour shall appear in mine,
Amissa, it shall be upon thy shrine."
These words were stopt by Menothantes' father,
Who to revenge his sister's death, but rather
To quit his stock of an abusive crime
Was laid upon the worthies of the time,
Suppos'd, though false, by him, (whereof you have
In this portrait a copy, which I leave
To your chaste eyes, in hope you will permit
A charitable censure over it,
For sweet Eramio's sake) old Paean's son,
Striving to perfect what he had begun,
(To which his bloody heart had been inur'd)
With his envenom'd dart a death procur'd
To young Eramio, who sighing said,
"See, see, unhappy fate hath me betray'd."
But while he speaks, he to Amissa goes,
Invokes the powers to pardon him, and throws
His body on the blood-besprinkled ground,
Where, when distilling tears had washt her wound,
"Ay me," said he, "that this doth us betide,"
So kist into her lips his soul, and died.'

So much the Cretan lad, with weeping voice
Had told, and was about to tell the rest;
'But lest,' said he, 'ladies, the heavy noise
Of her mishap should your chaste ears molest,
Awhile give respite to my tongue, that I
May gather strength to end her tragedy.'





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