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As one poor word, their hate to him was such :
Hearken a while, and I will tell you why.
Heaven's winged herald, Jove-born Mercury,
The self-same day that he asleep had laid
Enchanted Argus, spied a country maid,
Whose careless hair, instead of pearl t'adorn it,
Glister'd with dew, as one that seemed to scorn it;
Hei breath as fragrant as the morning rose ;
Her mind pure, and her tongue untaught to glose ;
Yet proud she was (for lofty Pride that dwells
In towered courts, is oft in shepherds' cells),
And too-too well the fair vermilion knew
And silver tincture of her cheeks, that drew
The love of every swain. On her this god
Enamour'd was, and with his snaky rod
Did charm her nimble feet, and made her stay,
The while upon a hillock down he lay,
And sweetly on his pipe began to play,
And with smooth speech her fancy to assay,
Till in his twining arms he lock'd her fast,
And then he woo'd with kisses ; and at last,
As shepherds do, her on the ground he laid,
And, tumbling in the grass, he often stray'd
Beyond the bounds of shame, in being bold
To eye those parts which no eye should behold;
And, like an insolent commanding lover,
Boasting his parentage, would needs discover
The way to new Elysium. But she,
Whose only dower was her chastity,
Having striven in vain, was now about to cry,
And crave the help of shepherds that were nigh.
Herewith he stay'd his fury, and began
To give her leave to rise : away she ran ;
After went Mercury, who used such cunning,
As she, to hear his tale, left off her running
(Maids are not won by brutish force and might,
But speeches full of pleasure and delight);
And, knowing Hermes courted her, was glad
That she such loveliness and beauty had
As could provoke his liking ; yet was mute,
And neither would deny nor grant his suit.
Still vow'd he love : she, wanting no excuse
To feed him with delays, as women use,
Or thirsting after immortality
(All women are ambitious naturally),
Impos'd upon her lover such a task,
As he ought not perform, nor yet she ask:
A draught of flowing nectar she requested
Wherewith the king of gods and men is feasted :
He, ready to accomplish what she will’d,
Stole some from Hebe (Hebe Jove's cup fill’d),
And gave it to his simple rustic love :
Which being known—as what is hid from Jove ?-
He inly storm'd, and wax'd more furious
Than for the fire filch'd by Prometheus ;
And thrust him down from heaven. He, wandering
In mournful terms, with sad and heavy cheer,
Complain'd to Cupid : Cupid, for his sake,
To be reveng'd on Jove did undertake ;
And those on whom heaven, earth, and hell relies,
I mean the adamantine Destinies,
He wounds with love, and forc'd them equally
To dote upon deceitful Mercury.
They offer'd him the deadly fatal knife
That shears the slender threads of human life ;
At his fair-feather'd feet the engines laid,
Which th' earth from ugly Chaos' den upweigh'd.
These he regarded not; but did entreat
That Jove, usurper of his father's seat,
Might presently be banish'd into hell,
And agéd Saturn in Olympus dwell.
They granted what he crav'd; and once again
Saturn and Ops began their golden reign :
Murder, rape, war, and lust, and treachery,
Were with Jove clos'd in Stygian empery.
But long this blessed time continu'd not:
As soon as he his wished purpose got,
He, reckless of his promise, did despise
The love of th' everlasting Destinies.
They, seeing it, both Love and him abhorr'd,
And Jupiter unto his place restor’d :
And, but that Learning, in despite of Fate,
Will mount aloft, and enter heaven-gate,
And to the seat of Jove itself advance,
Hermes had slept in hell with Ignorance.
Yet, as a punishment, they added this,
That he and Poverty should always kiss ;
And to this day is every
poor : Gross gold from them runs headlong to the boor. Likewise the angry Sisters, thus deluded, To venge themselves on Hermes, have concluded That Midas' brood shall sit in Honour's chair, To which the Muses' sons are only heir ; And fruitful wits, that inaspiring are, Shall discontent run into regions far; And few great lords in virtuous deeds shall joy, But be surpris'd with every garish toy, And still enrich the lofty servile clown, Who with encroaching guile keeps learning down. Then muse not Cupid's suit no better sped, Secing in their loves the Fates were injured.
The Argument of the Second Sestiad.
Ilero of love takes deeper sense,
And doth her love more recompense :
Their first night's meeting, where sweet kisses
Are th' only crowns of both their blisses :
He swims t' Abydos, and returns :
Cold Neptune with his beauty burns ;
Whose suit he shuns, and doth aspire
Hero's fair tower and his desire.
By this, sad Hero, with love unacquainted,
Viewing Leander's face, fell down and fainted.
He kiss'd her, and breath'd life into her lips ;
Wherewith, as one displeas'd, away she trips ;
Yet, as she went, full often look'd behind,
And many poor excuses did she find
To linger by the way, and once she stay'd,
And would have turn'd again, but was afraid,
In offering parley, to be counted light :
So on she goes, and, in her idle flight,
Her painted fan of curlêd plumes let fall,
Thinking to train Leander therewithal.
He, being a novice, knew not what she meant,
But stay'd, and after her a letter sent;
Which joyful Hero answerd in such sort,
As he had hope to scale the beauteous fort
Wherein the liberal Graces lock'd their wealth ;
And therefore to her tower he got by stealth.
Wide-open stood the door ; he need not climb;
And she herself, before the 'pointed time,
Had spread the board, with roses strew'd the room,
And oft look'd out, and mus'd he did not come.
At last he came : 0, who can tell the greeting
These greedy lovers had at their first meeting?
He ask'd ; she gave; and nothing was denied ;
Both to each other quickly were affied :
Look how their hands, so were their hearts united,
And what he did, she willingly requited.
(Sweet are the kisses, the embracements sweet,
When like desires and like affections meet;
For from the earth to heaven is Cupid rais'd,
When fancy is in equal balance pais’d.)