Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FOURE MONARCHIES: ASSYRIAN. SEMIRAMIS, by ANNE BRADSTREET



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THE FOURE MONARCHIES: ASSYRIAN. SEMIRAMIS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: This great oppressing ninus dead, and gone
Last Line: But by what means, we are not certifi'd.
Subject(s): Children; Courts & Courtiers; Death; Home; Marriage; Puritans; Sickness; War; Childhood; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens; Dead, The; Weddings; Husbands; Wives; Illness


This great oppressing Ninus dead, and gone,
His wife, Semiramis, usurp'd the throne,
She like a brave Virago, play'd the rex,
And was both shame, and glory of her sex;
Her birth-place was Philistrius Ascalon,
Her Mother Docreta, a Curtezan;
Others report, she was a vestal Nun,
Adjudged to be drown'd, for what she'd done;
Transform'd into a fish, by Venus will,
Her beautious face (they feign) retaining still.
Sure from this fiction, Dagon first began,
Changing his womans face, into a man.
But all agree, that from no lawfull bed;
This great renowned Empresse, issued.
For which, she was obscurely nourished.
Whence rose that fable, she by birds was fed.
This gallant dame, unto the Bactrian war;
Accompaning her husband Menon far,
Taking a towne, such valour she did show,
That Ninus of her, amorous soon did grow;
And thought her fit, to make a Monarch's wife,
Which was the cause, poor Menon lost his life,
She flourishing with Ninus, long did reigne;
Till her ambition, caus'd him to be slaine:
That having no compeer, she might rule all,
Or else she sought, revenge for Menons fall:
Some think the Greeks, this slander on her cast,
As of her life, licentious, and unchast.
And that her worth, deserved no such blame,
As their aspersions, cast upon the same.
But were her vertues, more, or lesse, or none,
She for her potency, must go alone.
Her wealth she shew'd, in building Babylon;
Admir'd of all, but equaliz'd of none.
The walls so strong, and curiously were wrought;
That after ages, skil, by them were taught.
With Towers, and Bulwarks made of costly stone
Quadrangle was the forme, it stood upon:
Each Square, was fifteen thousand paces long,
An hundred gates, it had, of mettall strong;
Three hundred sixty foot, the walls in heighth:
Almost incredible, they were in breadth.
Most writers say, six chariots might a front,
With great facility, march safe upon't.
About the wall, a ditch so deep and wide,
That like a river, long it did abide.
Three hundred thousand men, here day, by day;
Bestow'd their labour, and receiv'd their pay,
But that which did, all cost, and art excell,
The wondrous Temple was, she rear'd to Bell;
Which in the midst, of this brave Town was plac'd,
(Continuing, till Xerxes it defac'd)
Whose stately top, beyond the clouds did rise;
From whence, Astrologers, oft view'd the skies.
This to discribe, in each particular,
A structure rare, I should but rudely marre,
Her gardens, bridges, arches, mounts, and spires;
All eyes that saw, or ears that hears, admires.
On Shinar plain, by the Euphratan flood,
This wonder of the world, this Babell stood.
An expedition to the East she made.
Great King Staurobates, for to invade.
Her Army of four Millions did consist,
(Each man believe it, as his fancy list)
Her Camells, Chariots, Gallyes in such number,
As puzzells best hystorians to remember:
But this is marvelous, of all those men,
(They say) but twenty, ere came back agen.
The River Indus swept them half away,
The rest Staurobates in fight did slay.
This was last progresse of this mighty Queen,
Who in her Country never more was seen.
The Poets feign her turn'd into a Dove,
Leaving the world, to Venus, soar'd above,
Which made the Assyrians many a day,
A Dove within their Ensigne to display.
Forty two years she reign'd, and then she dy'd,
But by what means, we are not certifi'd.





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