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Came lovers home from this great festival ;
For every street, like to a firmament,
Glister'd with breathing stars, who, where they went,
Frighted the melancholy earth, which deem'd
Eternal heaven to burn, for so it seem'd,
As if another Phaëton had got
The guidance of the sun's rich chariot.
But, far above the loveliest, Hero shin'd,
And stole away th' enchanted gazer's mind;
For like sea-nymphs' inveigling harmony,
So was her beauty to the standers by ;
Nor that night-wandering, pale, and watery star
(When yawning dragons draw her thirling car
From Latmus' mount up to the gloomy sky,
Where, crown'd with blazing light and majesty
She proudly sits) more overrules the flood
Than she the hearts of those that near her stood.
Even as when gaudy nymphs pursue the chase,
Wretched Ixion's shaggy-footed race,
Incens'd with savage heat, gallop amain
From steep pine-bearing mountains to the plain,
So ran the people forth to gaze upon her,
And all that view'd her were enamour'd on her :
And as in fury of a dreadful fight,
Their fellows being slain or put to flight,
Poor soldiers stand with fear of death dead-strooken,
So at her presence all surpris'd and tooken,
Await the sentence of her scornful eyes ;
He whom she favours lives; the other dies :
There might you see one sigh ; another rage ;
And some, their violent passions to assuage,
Compile sharp satires; but, alas, too late !
For faithful love will never turn to hate ;
And many, seeing great princes were denied,
Pin'd as they went, and thinking on her died.
On this feast-day-Oh, cursèd day and hour !
Went Hero thorough Sestos, from her tower
To Venus' temple, where unhappily,
As after chanc'd, they did each other spy.
So fair a church as this had Venus none :
The walls were of discolour'd jasper-stone,
Wherein was Proteus carv'd ; and overhead
A lively vine of green sea-agate spread,
Where by one hand light-headed Bacchus hung,
And with the other wine from grapes outwrung.
Of crystal shiving fair the pavement was ;
The town of Sestos call'd it Venus' glass :
There might you see the gods, in sundry shapes,
Committing heady riots, incest, rapes ;
For know, that underneath this radiant flour
Was Danäe's statue in a brazen tower;
Jove slily stealing from his sister's bed,
To dally with Idalian Ganymed,
And for his love Europa bellowing loud,
And tumbling with the Rainbow in a cloud;
Blood-quafling Mars heaving the iron net
Which limping Vulcan and his Cyclops set ;
Love kindling fire, to burn such towns as Troy;
Silvanus weeping for the lovely boy
That now is turn'd into a cypress-tree,
Under whose shade the wood-gods love to be.
And in the midst a silver altar stood :
There Hero, sacrificing turtles' blood,
Vail'd to the ground, veiling her eyelids close ;
And modestly they open'd as she rose :
Thence flew Love's arrow with the golden head ;
And thus Leander was enamoured.
Stone-still he stoud, and evermore he gaz'd,
Till with the fire, that from his countenance blaz'd,
Relenting Hero's gentle heart was strook :
Such force and virtue hath an amorous look.
It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overrul'd by fate.
When two are stript long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should lose, the other win ;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect :
The reason no man knows ; let it suffice,
What we behold is censur'd by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight?
He kneel'd; but unto her devoutly pray'd :
Chaste Hero to herself thus softly said,
“Were I the saint he worships, I would hear him;"
And, as she spake those words, came somewhat near
him. He started up; she blush'd as one asham'd;
Wherewith Leander much more was inflam'd.
He touch'd her hand ; in touching it she trembled :
Love deeply grounded, hardly is dissembled,
These lovers parled by the touch of hands :
True love is mute, and oft amazed stands.
Thus while dumb signs their yielding hearts entangled,
The air with sparks of living fire was spangled :
And Night, deep-drench'd in misty Acheron,
Heav'd up her head, and half the world upon
Breath'd darkness forth (dark night is Cupid's day):
And now begins Leander to display
Love's holy fire, with words, with sighs, and tears ;
Which, like sweet music, enter'd Hero's ears ;
And yet at every word she turn'd aside,
And always cut him off, as he replied.
At last, like to a bold sharp sophister,
With cheerful hope thus he accosted her :
“Fair creature, let me speak without offence :
I would my rude words had the influence
To lead thy thoughts as thy fair looks do mine!
Then shouldst thou be his prisoner, who is thine.
Be not unkind and fair ; misshapen stuff
Are of behaviour boisterous and rough.
Oh, shun me not, but hear me ere you go!
God knows, I cannot force love as you do :
My words shall be as spotless as my youth,
Full of simplicity and naked truth.
This sacrifice, whose sweet perfume descending
From Venus' altar, to your footsteps bending,
Doth testify that you exceed her far,
To whom you offer, and whose nun you are.
Why should you worship her ? her you surpass
As much as sparkling diamonds flaring glass.
A diamond set in lead his worth retains ;
A heavenly nymph, belov'd of human swains,
Receives no blemish, but oftimes more grace ;
Which makes me hope, although I am but base,
Base in respect of thee divine and pure,
Dutiful service may thy love procure ;
And I in duty will excel all other,
As thou in beauty dost exceed Love's mother.
Nor heaven nor thou were made to gaze upon :
As heaven preserves all things, so save thou one.
A stately-builded ship, well rigg'd and tall,
The ocean maketh more majestical :
Why vow'st thou, then, to live in Sestos here,
Who on Love's seas more glorious wouldst appear ?
Like untun'd golden strings all women are,
Which long time lie untouch'd, will harshly jar.
Vessels of brass, oft handled, brightly shine :
What difference betwixt the richest mine
And basest mould, but use ? for both, not us'd,
Are of like worth. Then treasure is abus'd,
When misers keep it: being put to loan,
In time it will return us two for one.
Rich robes themselves and others do adorn;
Neither themselves nor others, if not worn.
Who builds a palace, and rams up the gate,