Christopher Marlowe.

The works of Christoher Marlowe; (Volume 3) online

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parts as if they came perfumed and charmed with golden incite-
ments. And this most sweet inclination, that flows from the truth
and eternity of Nobles[se], assure your Ladyship doth more suit your
other ornaments, and makes more to the advancement of your name
and happiness of your proceedings, than if like others you dis-
played ensigns of state and sourness in your forehead, made smooth
with nothing but sensuality and presents.

This poor Dedication (in figure of the other unity betwixt Sir
Thomas and yourself) hath rejoined you with him, my honoured
best friend ; whose continuance of ancient kindness to my still-
obscured estate, though it cannot increase my love to him which
hath been entirely circular ; yet shall it encourage my deserts to
their utmost requital, and make my hearty gratitude speak ; to
which the unhappiness of my life hath hitherto been uncomfortable
and painful dumbness.

By your Ladyship's vowed in

most wished service,


( 40 )


The Argument of the Third Sestiad.

Leander to the envious light
Resigns his night-sports with the night,
And swims the Hellespont again.
Thesme, the deity sovereign
Of customs and religious rites,
Appears, reproving/ his delights,
Since nuptial honours he neglected ;
Which straight he vows shall be effected.
Fair Hero, left devirginate,
Weighs, and with fury wails her state ;
But with her love and woman's wit
She argues and approveth it.

New light gives new directions, fortunes new.
To fashion our endeavours that ensue.
More harsh, at least more hard, more grave and high
Our subject runs, and our stern Muse must fly.
Love's edge is taken off, and that light flame,
Those thoughts, joys, longings, that before became
High unexperienc'd blood, and maids' sharp plights,
Must now grow staid, and censure the delights,
That, being enjoy'd, ask judgment ; now we praise.
As having parted : evenings crown the days.

1 Old eds, "improving."

Third Sestiad. 4 1

And now, ye wanton Loves, and young Desires,
Pied Vanity, the mint of strange attires.
Ye lisping Flatteries, and obsequious Glances,
Relentful Musics, and attractive Dances,
And you detested Charms constraining love !
Shun love's stoln sports by that these lovers

By this, the sovereign of heaven's golden fires,
And young Leander, lord of his desires,
Together from their lovers' arms arose :
Leander into Hellespontus throws 20

His Hero-handled body, whose delight

Made him disdain each other epithite. _-^ -^

And as amidst th' enamour'd waves he swims, )
The god o f gold ^ of purpose gilt his limbs.
That, this word gilt'^- including double sense,
The double guilt of his incontinence
Might be express'd, that had no stay t' employ
The treasure which the love-god let him joy
In his dear Hero, with such sacred thrift
As had beseem'd so sanctified a gift ; \ 30

But, like a greedy vulgar prodigal.
Would on the stock dispend, and rudely fall.
Before his time, to that unblessed blessing
Which, for lust's plague, doth perish with possessing :

i " He calls Phoebus the god of gold, since the virtue of his beams
creates it." — Marginal note in the Isham copy.

- The reader will remember how grimly Lady Macbeth plays upon
this word : —

" VWgild the faces of the grooms withal :
For it must seem their .f «///." — ii. 2.

42 Hero and Leander.

Joy graven in sense, like snow ^ in water, wasts :

Without preserve of virtue, nothing lasts.

What man is he, that with a wealthy eye

Enjoys a beauty richer than the sky.

Through whose white skin, softer than soundest sleep,

With damask eyes the ruby blood doth peep, 40

And runs in branches through her azure veins,

Whose mixture and first fire his love attains ;

Whose both hands limit both love's deities.

And sweeten human thoughts like Paradise ;

Whose disposition silken is and kind,

Directed with an earth-exempted mind ; —

Who thinks not heaven with such a love is given ?

And who, like earth, would spend that dower of heaven/)

With rank desire to joy it all at first? /

What simply kills our hunger, quencheth thirst, 50

Clothes but our nakedness, and makes us live.

Praise doth not any of her favours give :

But what doth plentifully minister

Beauteous apparel and delicious cheer.

So order'd that it still excites desire,

And still gives pleasure freeness to aspire,

The palm of Bounty ever moist preserving ;

To Love's sweet life this is the courtly carving.

^ " It is not likely that Burns had ever read Hero and Leander, but
compare Tarn d Shanter —

' But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed,
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white— then melts for ever ! ' "

— Cunningham.

Third Sestiad. 43


Thus Time and all-states-ordering Ceremony
Had banish'd all offence : Time's golden thigh 60

Upholds the flowery body of the earth
In sacred harmony, and every birth
Of men and actions ' makes legitimate ;
Being us'd aright, the use of time is fate. - /

y Yet did the gentle flood transfer once more \^
This prize of love home to his father's shore ;
Where he unlades himself of that false wealth
That makes few rich, — treasures compos'd by stealth :
And to his sister, kind Hermione

(Who on the shore kneel'd, praying to the sea 70

For his return), he all love's goods did show,
In Hero seis'd for him, in him for Hero.

His most kind sister all his secrets knew,
And to her, singing, like a shower, he flew,
Sprinkling the earth, that to their tombs took in
Streams dead for love, to leave his ivory skin,
Which yet a snowy foam did leave above,
As soul to the dead water that did love ;
And from hence did the first white roses spring
(For love is sweet and fair in everything), go

And all the sweeten'd shore, as he did go,
Was crown'd with odorous roses, white as snow.
Love-blest Leander was with love so fiU'd,
That love to all that touch'd him he instill'd ;
And as the colours of all things we see,
To our sight's powers communicated be,

1 In England's Parnassus the reading is " of men audacious."

44 Hero and Lemider.

So to all objects that in compass came

Of any sense he had, his senses' flame

Flow'd from his parts with force so virtual,

It fir'd with sense things mere ^ insensual. 90

Now, with warm baths and odours comforted,
When he lay down, he kindly kiss'd his bed,
As consecrating it to Hero's right,
And vow'd thereafter, that whatever sight
Put him in mind of Hero or her bliss,
Should be her altar to prefer a kiss.

Then laid he forth his late-enriched arms,
In whose white circle Love writ all his charms,
And made his characters sweet Hero's limbs,
"When on his breast's warm sea she sideling swims ; 100
And as those arms, held up in circle, met,
He said, " See, sister, Hero's carquenet !
Which she had rather wear about her neck,
Than all the jewels that do Juno deck."

But, as he shook with passionate desire \ .

To put in flame his other secret fire,
A music so divine did pierce his ear,
As never yet his ravish'd sense did hear ;
When suddenly a light of twenty hues
Brake through the roof, and, like the rainbow, views, no
Amaz'd Leander : in whose beams came down
The goddess Ceremony, with a crown
Of all the stars ; and Heaven with her descended :
Her flaming hair to her bright feet extended,

' Wholly.

Third Sestiad. 45

By which hung all the bench of deities ;

And in a chain, compact of ears and eyes,

She led Religion : all her body was

Clear and transparent as the purest glass,

For she was all ^ presented to the sense :

Devoiion, Order, State, and Reverence, 120

Her shadows were ; Society, Memory ;

All which her sight made live, her absence die.

A rich disparent pentacle - she wears,

Drawn full of circles and strange characters.

Her face was changeable to every eye ;

One way look'd ill, another graciously ;

Which while men view'd, they cheerful were and

But looking off, vicious and melancholy.
The snaky paths to each observed law
Did Policy in her broad bosom draw. 130

One hand a mathematic crystal sways.
Which, gathering in one line a thousand rays
From her bright eyes, Confusion burns to death,
And all estates of men distinguisheth :
By it Morality and Comeliness
Themselves in all their sightly figures dress.
Her other hand a laurel rod applies,
To beat back Barbarism and Avarice,

^ Some eds. give " For as she was."

2 A magical figure formed of intersected triangles. It was supposed
to preserve the wearer from the assaults of demons. " Disparent would
seem to mean that the five points of the ornaments radiated distinctly
one from the other." — Cunningham.

46 Hero and Leander.

That follow'd, eating earth and excrement
And human limbs ; and would make proud ascent 140
To seats of gods, were Ceremony slain.
The Hours and Graces bore her glorious train ;
And all the sweets of our society-
Were spher'd and treasur'd in her bounteous eye.
Thus she appear'd, and sharply did reprove
Leander's bluntness in his violent love ;
Told him how poor was substance without rites,
Like bills unsign'd ; desires without delights ;
Like meats unseason'd ; like rank corn that

On cottages, that none or reaps or sows ; 150

Not being with civil forms confirm'd and bounded,
For human dignities and comforts founded ;
But loose and secret all their glories hide ;
Fear fills the chamber, Darkness decks the

She vanish'd, leaving pierc'd Leander's heart
With sense of his unceremonious part,
In which, with plain neglect of nuptial rites,
He close and flatly fell to his delights :
And instantly he vow'd to celebrate
All rites pertaining to his married state. 160

So up he gets, and to his father goes.
To whose glad ears he doth his vows disclose.
The nuptials are resolv'd with utmost power ;
And he at night would swim to Hero's tower,
From whence he meant to Sestos' forked bay
To bring her covertly, where ships must stay,

Third Sestiad. 47

Sent by his^ father, throughly ligg'd and mann'd,

To waft her safely to Abydos' strand.

There leave we him ; and with fresh wing pursue

Astonish'd Hero, whose most wished view 170

I thus long have foreborne, because I left her

So out of countenance, and her spirits bereft her :

To look on one abash'd is impudence,

When of slight faults he hath too deep a sense.

Her blushing het^ her chamber ; she look'd out,

And all the air she purpled round about ;

And after it a foul black day befell,

Which ever since a red morn doth foretell,

And still renews our woes for Hero's woe ;

And foul it prov'd because it figur'd so 180

The next night's horror ; which prepare to hear ;

I fail, if it profane your daintiest ear.

Then, ho,^ most strangely intellectual fire,
That, proper to my soul, hast power t' inspire
Her burning faculties, and with the wings
Of thy unsphered flame visit'st the springs
Of spirits immortal ! Now (as swift as Time
Doth follow Motion) find th' eternal clime
Of his free soul, whose living subject ■* stood
Up to the chin in the Pierian flood, i^o

And drunk to me half this Musaean story,
Inscribinsf it to deathless memorv :

1 Oldeds. "her."

2 Heated.

■' Old eds. " how."

■• Substance, as opposed to spirit. Cf. note, vol. i., 203.

48 Hero and Leander.

Confer with it, and make my pledge as deep,
That neither's draught be consecrate to sleep ;
Tell it how much his late desires I tender
(If yet it know not), and to light surrender
My soul's dark offspring, willing it should die
To loves, to passions, and society.

Sweet Hero, left upon her bed alone,
Her maidenhead, her vows, Leander gone,
And nothing with her but a violent crew
Of new-come thoughts, that yet she never knew,
Even to herself a stranger, was much like
Th' Iberian city ^ that War's hand did strike
By English force in princely Essex' guide,
When Peace assur'd her towers had fortified,
And golden-finger'd India had bestow'd
Such wealth on her, that strength and empire flow'd
Into her turrets, and her virgin waist
The wealthy girdle of the sea embraced ;
Till our Leander, that made Mars his Cupid,
For soft love-suits, with iron thunders chid ;
Swum to her towers,- dissolv'd her virgin zone ;
Led in his power, and made Confusion
Run through her streets amaz'd, that she suppos'd
She had not been in her own walls enclos'd,
But rapt by wonder to some foreign state,
Seeing all her issue so disconsolate,

1 Cadiz, which was taken in June 2:, 1596, by the force under the
joint command of Essex and Howard of Effingham.

- So the Isham copy. — The other old eds. read " townes," for which
Dyce gives " town."

Third Sestiad. 49

And all her peaceful mansions possess'd

With war's just spoil, and many a foreign guest 220

From every corner driving an enjoyer,

Supplying it with power of a destroyer.

So far'd fair Hero in th' expugned fort

Of her chaste bosom \ and of every sort

Strange thoughts possess'd her, ransacking her breast

For that that was not there, her wonted rest.

She was a mother straight, and bore with pain

Thoughts that spake straight, and wish'd their mother

slain ;
She hates their lives, and they their own and hers :
Such strife still grows where sin the race prefers : 230
Love is a golden bubble, full of dreams,
That waking breaks, and fills us with extremes.
She mus'd how she could look upon her sire,
And not shew that without, that was intire ; ^
For as a glass is an inanimate eye.
And outward forms embraceth inwardly.
So is the eye an animate glass, that shows
In-forms without us ; and as Phoebus throws
His beams abroad, though he in clouds be clos'd,
Sdll glancing by them till he find oppos'd 240

A loose and rorid vapour that is fit
T' event ^ his searching beams, and useth it
To form a tender twenty-colour'd eye.
Cast in a circle round about the sky \

1 Within. 2 Vent forth.


50 Hero and Leander.

So when our fiery soul, our body's star,

(That ever is in motion circular,)

Conceives a form, in seeking to display it

Through all our cloudy parts, it doth convey it

Forth at the eye, as the most pregnant place.

And that reflects it round about the face, 250

And this event, uncourtly Hero thought,

Her inward guilt would in her looks have wrought ;

For yet the world's stale cunning she resisted.

To bear foul thoughts, yet forge what looks she listed,

And held it for a very silly sleight,

To make a perfect metal counterfeit.

Glad to disclaim herself, proud of an art

That makes the face a pandar to the heart.

Those be the painted moons, whose lights profane

Beauty's true Heaven, at full still in their wane ; 260

Those be the lapwing-faces that still cry,

" Here 'tis ! " when that they vow is nothing nigh :

Base fools ! when every moorish fool ^ can teach

That which men think the height of human reach.

But custom, that the apoplexy is

Of bed-rid nature and lives led amiss.

1 " Fowl "and "fool" had the same pronunciation. Cf. 3 Henry
VI., V. 6 :—

" Why, what a peevish y^o/ was he of Crete,
That taught liis son the office of a. fowl /
And yet for all his wings i\\efool was drowned,"

The "moorish fool" is explained by the allusion to the lapwing, two
lines above. (The lapwing was supposed to draw the searcher from her
nest by crying in other places. " The lapwing cries most furthest from
her nest."— /?

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Online LibraryChristopher MarloweThe works of Christoher Marlowe; (Volume 3) → online text (page 3 of 18)