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Laden with languishment and grief, he flies.

And to those stern nymphs humbly made request,

Both might enjoy each other, and be blest. 3S0

But with a ghastly dreadful countenance,

Threatening a thousand deaths at every glance,

They answer'd Love, nor would vouchsafe so much

As one poor word, their hate to him was such :

1 So the old eds. — Dyce reads " about."

20 He7''o and Leander.

Hearken awhile, 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 ; 390

Her 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 tower'd 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, 400

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 410

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.

First Sestiad. 21

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, let off her running

(Maids are not won by brutish force and might,

But speeches full of pleasures and delight) ; 420

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 ; 430

A draught of flowing nectar she requested,

Wherewith the king of gods and men is feasted. ^^ "1

He, ready to accomplish what she will'd,

Stole some from Hebe (Hebe Jove's cup fiU'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 thrusts him down from heaven. He, wandering here.

In mournful terms, with sad and heavy cheer, 440

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,

2 2 Hero and Leander.

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. 450

These he regarded not ; but did entreat

That Jove, usurper of his father's seat,

Might presently be banish'd into hell,

And aged 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, 460

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 ; 470

1 We are reminded of Lycidas : —

" Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears
And shts the thin-spun life."
' Omitted in ed. 1600 and later 4tos.

First Sestiad. 23

And to this day is every scholar 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, 4S0

And still enrich the lofty servile clown,

Who with encroaching guile keeps learning down.

Then muse not Cupid's suit no better sped.

Seeing in their loves the Fates were injured.

1 This word cannot be right. Query, ' ' high-aspiring ? "

( 24 )


The Argiunent of the Second Sestiad.

Hero 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 unacquamted,
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,

1 Cf. Rom. and Jul., v. i —

" I dreamed my lady came and found me dead,
Strange dream that gives a dead man leave to think !-
And breathed such life with kisses in ?)iy lips,
That I revived and was an emperor. "

Second Sestiad. 25

Her painted fan of curled 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 answer'd in such sort.

As he had hope to scale the beauteous fort

Wherein the liberal Graces locked 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, 20

Had spread the board, with roses strew'd the room,

And oft looked out, and mused he did not come.

At last he came : O, who can tell the greeting

These greedy lovers had at their first meeting ?

He asked ; she gave ; and nothing was denied ;

Both to each other quickly were affied :

Look how their hands, so were their hearts

And what he did, she willingly requited.
(Sweet are the kisses, the embracements sweet.
When like desires and like ^ affections meet ; 30

For from the earth to heaven is Cupid raised.
Where fancy is in equal balance paised.-)
Yet she this rashness suddenly repented.
And turn'd aside, and to herself lamented,
As if her name and honour had been wronged
By being possessed of him for whom she longed ;

1 Omitted in eds. 1600, 1606, 1613, and 1637.
• Peised, weighed.

26 Hero and Leander.

Ay, and she wished, albeit not from her heart,
That he would leave her turret and depart.
\ \The mirthful god of amorous pleasure smiled
'• iTo see how he this captive nymph beguiled ; 40

For hitherto he did but fan the fire,
And kept it down, that it might mount the

Now wax'd she jealous lest his love abated,
Fearing her own thoughts made her to be

Therefore unto him hastily she goes,
And, like light Salmacis, her body throws
Upon his bosom, where with yielding eyes
She offers up herself a sacrifice
To slake his anger, if he were displeased :
O, what god would not therewith be appeased ? 50

Like ^sop's cock, this jewel he enjoyed.
And as a brother with his sister toyed.
Supposing nothing else was to be done,
Now he her favour and goodwill had won.
But know you not that creatures wanting sense,
By nature have a mutual appetence.
And, wanting organs to advance a step,

Mov'd by love's force, unto each other lep ? M

Much more in subjects having intellect ■

Some hidden influence breeds like effect. 60

Albeit Leander, rude in love and raw,
Long dallying with Hero, nothing saw
That might delight him more, yet he suspected
Some amorous rites or other were neglected.

Second Sesiiad. 2 7

Therefore unto his body hers he clung :

She, fearing on the rushes ^ to be flung,

Strived with redoubled strength ; the more she strived,

The more a gentle pleasing heat revived,

Which taught him all that elder lovers know ;

And now the same gan so to scorch and glow, 70

As in plain terms, yet cunningly, he crave- it :

Love always makes those eloquent that have it.

She, with a kind of granting, put him by it.

And ever, as he thought himself most nigh it,

Like to the tree of Tantalus, she fled,

And, seeming lavish, saved her maidenhead.

Ne'er king more sought to keep his diadem,

Than Hero this inestimable gem :

Above our life we love a steadfast friend ;

Yet when a token of great worth we send, 80

We often kiss it, often look thereon,

And stay the messenger that would be gone ;

No marvel, then, though Hero would not yield

So soon to part from that she dearly held :

Jewels being lost are found again ; this never ;

'Tis lost but once, and once lost, lost for ever.

Now had the Morn espied her lover's steeds ;
Whereat she starts, puts on her purple weeds,

1 Rooms were strewed with rushes before the introduction of carpets.
Shakespeare, like Marlowe, attributed the customs of his own day to
ancient times. Cf. Cymb., ii. 2 —

" Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes ere he wakened
The chastity he wounded."
3 Old eds. *'crau'd."

28 Hero and Lea7ider.

And, red for anger that he stayed so long,

All headlong throws herself the clouds among. 90

And now Leander, fearing to be missed,

Embraced her suddenly, took leave, and kissed :

Long was he taking leave, and loath to go,

And kissed again, as lovers use to do.

Sad Hero wrung him by the hand, and wept.

Saying, " Let your vows and promises be kept : "

Then standing at the door, she turned about,

As loath to see Leander going out.

And now the sun, that through th' horizon peeps.

As pitying these lovers, downward creeps ; 100

So that in silence of the cloudy night.

Though it was morning, did he take his flight.

But what the secret trusty night concealed,

Leander's amorous habit soon revealed :

With Cupid's myrtle was his bonnet crowned.

About his arms the purple riband wound.

Wherewith she wreath'd her largely-spreading hair ;

Nor could the youth abstain, but he must wear

The sacred ring wherewith she was endowed.

When first religious chastity she vowed ; no

Which made his love through Sestos to be known,

And thence unto Abydos sooner blown

Than he could sail ; for incorporeal Fame,

Whose weight consists in nothing but her name.

Is swifter than the wind, whose tardy plumes

Are reeking water and dull earthly fumes.

Home when he came, he seemed not to be there,
But, like exiled air thrust from his sphere.

Second Sestiad. 29

Set in a foreign place ; and straight from thence,

Alcides-hke, by mighty violence, 120

He would have chas'd away the swelling main.

That him from her unjustly did detain.

Like as the sun in a diameter

Fires and inflames objects removed far,

And heateth kindly, shining laterally;

So beauty sweetly quickens when 'tis nigh,

But being separated and removed,

Burns where it cherished, murders where it loved.

Therefore even as an index to a book,

So to his mind was young Leander's look. 130

O, none but gods have power ^ their love to hide !

Affection by the countenance is descried ;

The light of hidden fire itself discovers,

And love that is concealed betrays poor lovers.

His secret flame apparently was seen :

Leander's father knew where he had been,

And for the same mildly rebuk'd his son.

Thinking to quench the sparkles new-begun.

But love, resisted once, grows passionate.

And nothing more than counsel lovers hate ; 140

For as a hot proud horse highly disdains

To have his head controlled, but breaks the reins,

Spits forth the ringled ^ bit, and with his hoves

Checks the submissive ground ; so he that loves,

1 Some eds. give " O, none have power but gods."

* " In ages and countries where mechanical ingenuity has but few out-
lets it exhausts itself in the constructions of bits, each more peculiar in
form or more torturing in effect than that which has preceded it. I have

30 Hero and Leande7'.

The more he is restrain'd, the worse he fares :

What is it now but mad Leander dares ?

" O Hero, Hero ! " thus he cried full oft ;

And then he got him to a rock aloft,

Where having spied her tower, long star'd he on't,

And pray'd the narrow toiling Hellespont 150

To part in twain, that he might come and go ;

But still the rising billows answer'd, "No."

With that, he stripp'd him to the ivory skin,

And, crying, "Love, I come," leap'd lively in :

Whereat the sapphire-visaged god grew proud,

And made his capering Triton sound aloud,

Imagining that Ganymed, displeas'd,

Had left the heavens ; therefore on him he seiz'd.

Leander strived ; the waves about him wound.

And pull'd him to the bottom, where the ground 160

Was strewed with pearl, and in low coral groves

Sweet-singing mermaids sported with their loves

On heaps of heavy gold, and took great pleasure

To spurn in careless sort the shipwreck treasure ;

For here the stately azure palace stood,

Where kingly Neptune and his train abode.

The lusty god embrac'd him, called him " Love,"

And swore he never should return to Jove :

But M'hen he knew it was not Ganymed,

For under water he was almost dead, 170

seen collections of these instruments of torments, and among them some
of which Marlowe's curious adjective would have been liighly descriptive.
It may be, however, that the word is ' ring-led,' in which shape it would
mean guided by the ring on each side like a snafBe." — Cunningham,

Second Sestiad. 3 r

He heav'd him up, and, looking on his face,

Beat down the bold waves with his triple mace,

Which mounted up, intending to have kiss'd him,

And fell in drops like tears because they miss'd him.

Leander, being up, began to swim,

And, looking back, saw Neptune follow him :

Whereat aghast, the poor soul gan to cry,

"O, let me visit Hero ere I die ! "

The god put Helle's bracelet on his arm,

And swore the sea should never do him harm. 180

He clapped his plump cheeks, with his tresses played.

And, smiling wantonly, his love bewrayed ;

He watched his arms, and, as they open'd wide

At every stroke, betwixt them would he slide.

And steal a kiss, and then run out and dance.

And, as he turn'd, cast many a lustful glance,

And throw ^ him gaudy toys to please his eye.

And dive into the water, and there pry

Upon his breast, his thighs, and every limb,

And up again, and close beside him swim, 190

And talk of love. Leander made reply,

" You are deceiv'd ; I am no woman, I."

Thereat smil'd Neptune, and then told a tale,

How that a shepherd, sitting in a vale,

Play'd with a boy so lovely-fair ^ and kind,

As for his love both earth and heaven pin'd ;

That of the cooling river durst not drink,

1 Old eds. " threw."

- Some eds. give "so faire and kind." Cf. Othello, iv. 2 —
" O thou weed,
Who art so lovely-fair and smell'st so sweet. "

32 Hero and Leander.

Lest water-nymphs should pull him from the brink ;

And when he sported in the fragrant lawns,

Goat-footed Satyrs and up-staring ^ Fauns 200

Would steal him thence. Ere half this tale was done,

"Ay me," Leander cried, "th' enamoured sun,

That now should shine on Thetis' glassy bower.

Descends upon my radiant Hero's tower :

O, that these tardy arms of mine were wings ! "

And, as he spake, upon the waves he springs.

Neptune was angry that he gave no ear.

And in his heart revenging malice bare :

He flung at him his mace ; but, as it went,

He call'd it in, for love made him repent : 210

The mace, returning back, his own hand hit.

As meaning to be venged for darting it.

When this fresh-bleeding wound Leander viewed,

His colour went and came, as if he rued

The grief which Neptune felt : in gentle breasts

Relenting thoughts, remorse, and pity rests ;

And who have hard hearts and obdurate minds.

But vicious, hare-brained, and illiterate hinds ?

The god, seeing him with pity to be moved.

Thereon concluded that he was beloved. 220

(Love is too full of faith, too credulous,

With folly and false hope deluding us ;)

Wherefore, Leander's fancy to surprise,

To the rich ocean for gifts he flies :

'Tis wisdom to give much ; a gift prevails

When deep persuading oratory fails.

1 Ed. 1613 and later eds. "upstarting."

Second Sesiiad. 33

By this, Leander, being near the land,
Cast down his weary feet, and felt the sand.
Breathless albeit he were, he rested not
Till to the solitary tower he got ; 230

And knocked and called : at which celestial noise
The longing heart of Hero much more joys,
Than nymphs and shepherds when the timbrel

Or crooked dolphin when the sailor sings.
She stayed not for her robes, but straight arose,
And, drunk with gladness, to the door she goes ;
Where seeing a naked man, she screeched for fear
(Such sights as this to tender maids are rare),
And ran into the dark herself to hide
(Rich jewels in the dark are soonest spied). 240

Unto hex wasTie led, or rather drawn,
By those white limbs which sparkled through the.

The nearer that he came, the more she fled,
And, seeking refuge, slipt into her bed ;
Whereon Leander sitting, thus began.
Through numbing cold, all feeble, faint, and wan.
"If not for love, yet, love, for pity-sake.
Me in thy bed and maiden bosom take ;
At least vouchsafe these arms some little room,
Who, hoping to embrace thee, cheerly swoom : 250

This head was beat with many a churlish billow,
And therefore let it rest upon thy pillow."
Herewith affrighted, Hero shrunk away,
And in her lukewarm place Leander lay ;


34 Hero and Leander.

Whose lively heat, like fire from heaven fet/

Would animate gross clay, and higher set

The drooping thoughts of base-declining souls,

Than dreary-Mars-carousing nectar bowls.

His hands he cast upon her like a snare :

She, overcome with shame and sallow - fear, 260

Like chaste Diana when Actaeon spied her,

Being suddenly betray'd, div'd down to hide her :

And, as her silver body downward went,

With both her hands she made the bed a tent.

And in her own mind thought herself secure.

O'ercast with dim and darksome coverture.

And now she lets him whisper in her ear,

Flatter, entreat, promise, protest, and swear :

Yet ever, as he greedily assay'd

To touch those dainties, she the harpy play'd, 270

And every limb did, as a soldier stout.

Defend the fort, and keep the foeman out ;

For though the rising ivory mount he scal'd,

Which is with azure circling lines empal'd.

Much like a globe (a globe may I term this,

By which Love sails to regions full of bliss),

Yet there with Sisyphus he toil'd in vain,

Till gentle parley did the truce obtain.

Even ^ as a bird, which in our hands we wring,

Forth plungeth, and oft flutters with her wing, 280

1 Fetched.

2 Some eds. give "shallow."

■'■ In the old eds. this line and the next stood after 1. 300, Tiie trans-
position was made by iSinger in the edition of 1821.

Second Sestiad. 35

She trembling strove : this strife of hers, like that

Which made the world, another world begat

Of unknown joy. Treason was in her thought,

And cunningly to yield herself she sought.

Seeming not won, yet won she was at length :

In such wars women use but half their strength.

Leander now, like Theban Hercules,

Enter'd the orchard of th' Hesperides ;

Whose fruit none rightly can describe, but he

That pulls or shakes it from the golden tree. 290

Wherein Leander, on her quivering breast,

Breathless spoke something, and sigh'd out the

rest ;
Which so prevail'd, as he with small ado,
Enclos'd her in his arms, and kiss'd her too :
And every kiss to her was as a charm.
And to Leander as a fresh alarm :
So that the truce was broke, and she, alas,
Poor silly maiden, at his mercy was.
Love is not full of pity, as men say,
But deaf and cruel where he means to prey. 300

And now she wish'd this night were never done.
And sigh'd to think upon th' approaching sun ;
For much it griev'd her that the bright day-light
Should know the pleasure of this blessed night.
And them, like Mars and Erycine, display ^
Both in each other's arms chain'd as they lay.

' Old eds. — " then . . . displaid," and in the ne.Tt line "liud."

36 Hero and Leander.

Again, she knew not how to frame her look,

Or speak to him, who in a moment took

That which so long, so charily she kept ;

And fain by stealth away she would have crept, 310

And to some corner secretly have gone.

Leaving Leander in the bed alone.

But as her naked feet were whipping out,

He on the sudden cling'd her so about,

That, mermaid-like, unto the floor she slid ;

One half appear'd, the other half was hid.

Thus near the bed she blushing stood upright,

And from her countenance behold ye might

A kind of twilight break, which through the air,^

As from an orient cloud, glimps'd ^ here and

there ; 320

And round about the chamber this false morn
Brought forth the day before the day was born.
So Hero's ruddy cheek Hero betray 'd.
And her all naked to his sight display'd :
Whence his admiring eyes more pleasure took
Than Dis,^ on heaps of gold fixing his look.
By this, Apollo's golden harp began
To sound forth music to the ocean •
Which watchful Hesperus no sooner heard,
But he the bright Day-bearing car* prepar'd, 330

1 Old eds. " heare " and " haire."

■■* Old eds. " glympse."

^ Pluto was frequently identified by the Greeks with Flutus.

■* Old eds. "day bright-bearing car."


Second Sestiad. 37

And ran before, as harbinger of light,
And with his flaring beams mock'd ugly Night,
Till she, o'ercome with anguish, shame, and rage,
Dansr'd ^ down to hell her loathsome carriasfe.

1 Dinged, dashed. Some eds. give "hurled." — Here Marlowe's
share ends.





I PRESENT your ladyship with the last affections of the first two
Lovers that ever Muse shrined in the Temple of Memory; being
drawn by strange instigation to employ some of my serious time in
so trifling a subject, which yet made the first Author, divine Musaeus,
eternal. And were it not that we must subject our accounts of these
common received conceits to servile custom, it goes much against
my hand to sign that for a trifling subject on which more worthiness
of soul hath been shewed, and weight of divine wit, than can vouch-
safe residence in the leaden gravity of any money-monger ; in whose
profession all serious subjects are concluded. But he that shuns
trifles must shun the world ; out of whose reverend heaps of sub-
stance and austerity I can and will ere long single or tumble out as
brainless and passionate fooleries as ever panted in the bosom of
the most ridiculous lover. Accept it, therefore, good Madam, though
as a trifle, yet as a serious argument of my affection ; for to be
thought thankful for all free and honourable favours is a great sum
of that riches my whole thrift intendeth.

•• This Epistle is only found in the Isham copy, 1598.

Hero and Leander. 39

Such uncourtly and silly dispositions as mine, whose contentment
hath other objects than profit or glory, are as glad, simply for the
naked merit of virtue, to honour such as advance her, as others that
are hard to commend with deepliest politique bounty.

It hath therefore adjoined much contentment to my desire of your
true honour to hear men of desert in court add to mine own know-
ledge of your noble disjiosition how gladly you do your best to
prefer their desires, and have as absolute respect to their mere gocid

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