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On whose bright top Peristera did stand, 20

Who was a nymph, but now transformed a dove.

And in her life was dear in Venus' love ;

And for her sake she ever since that time

Choosed doves to draw her coach through heaven's blue

Her plenteous hair in curled billows swims
On her bright shoulder : her harmonious limbs
Sustained no more but a most subtile veil,
That hung on them, as it durst not assail
Their different concord ; for the weakest air
Could raise it swelling from her beauties fair ; 30

Nor did it cover, but adumbrate only
Her most heart-piercing parts, that a blest eye
Might see, as it did shadow, fearfully,


Fourth Sestiad. 59

All that all-love-desemng paradise :

It was as blue as the most freezing skies ;

Near the sea's hue, for thence her goddess came :

On it a scarf she wore of wondrous frame ;

In midst whereof she wrought a virgin's face,

From whose each cheek a fiery blush did chase

Two crimson flames, that did two ways extend, 40

Spreading the ample scarf to either end ;

Which figur'd the division of her mind.

Whiles yet she rested bashfully inclin'd,

And stood not resolute to wed Leander ;

This serv'd her white neck for a purple sphere,

And cast itself at full breadth down her back :

There, since the first breath that begun the wrack

Of her free quiet from Leander's lips,

She wrought a sea, in one flame, full of ships ;

But that one ship where all her wealth did pass, 50

Like simple merchants' goods, Leander was \

For in that sea she naked figured him ;

Her diving needle taught him how to swim.

And to each thread did such resemblance give,

For joy to be so like him it did live :

Things senseless live by art, and rational die

By rude contempt of art and industry.

Scarce could she work, but, in her strength of thought,

She fear'd she prick'd Leander as she wrought,^

1 "This conceit was suggested to Chapman by a passage in Skelton's
Phyllyp Sparowe :

' But whan I was sowing his beke,
Methought, my sparow did speke,

6o Hero and Leandej".

And oft would shriek so, that her guardian, frighted, 60

Would startling haste, as with some mischief cited :

They double life that dead things' griefs sustain ;

They kill that feel not their friends' living pain.

Sometimes she fear'd he sought her infamy 3

And then, as she was working of his eye,

She thought to prick it out to quench her ill ;

But, as she prick'd, it grew more perfect still :

Trifling attempts no serious acts advance ;

The fire of love is blown by dalliance.

In working his fair neck she did so grace it, 70

She still was working her own arms t' embrace it :

That, and his shoulders, and his hands were seen

Above the stream ; and with a pure sea-green

She did so quaintly shadow every limb.

All might be seen beneath the waves to swim.

In this conceited scarf she wrought beside
A moon in change, and shooting stars did glide
In number after her with bloody beams ;
Which figur'd her affects ^ in their extremes,
Pursuing nature in her Cynthian body. So

And did her thoughts running on change imply ;
For maids take more delight, when they prepare,
And think of wives' states, than when wives they are.

And opened his prety byll,
Saynge, Mayd, ye are in wyll
Agayne me for to kyll,
Ye prycke me in the head.'

— Works, I, 57, ed. Dyce." — Dyce,
1 Affections.

Fourth Sestiad. 6i

Beneath all these she wrought a fisherman,^

Drawing his nets from forth the ocean ;

Who drew so hard, ye might discover well

The toughen'd sinews in his neck did swell :

His inward strains drave out his blood-shot eyes,

And springs of sweat did in his forehead rise ;

Yet was of naught but of a serpent sped, 90

That in his bosom flew and stung him dead :

And this by Fate into her mind was sent,

Not wrought by mere instinct of her intent.

At the scarfs other end her hand did frame,

Near the fork'd point of the divided flame,

A country virgin keeping of a vine,

Who did of hollow bulrushes combine

Snares for the stubble-loving grasshopper,

And by her lay her scrip that nourish'd her.

Within a myrtle shade she sate and sung ; 100

And tufts of waving reeds above her sprung,

Where lurked two foxes, that, while she applied

Her trifling snares, their thieveries did divide,

One to the vine, another to her scrip,

That she did negligently overslip ;

By which her fruitful vine and wholesome fare

She suff'ered spoiled to make a childish snare.

These ominous fancies did her soul express,

And every finger made a prophetess.

1 "This description of the fisherman, as well as the picture which
follows it, are borrowed (with alterations) from the first Idyl of
Theocritus. ""—Dyce.

62 Hero and Leander.

To show what death was hid in love's disguise, no

And make her judgment conquer Destinies.

O, what sweet forms fair ladies' souls do shroud,

Were they made seen and forced through their blood ;

If through their beauties, like rich work through lawn,

They would set forth their minds with virtues drawn,

In letting graces from their fingers fly,

To still their eyas ^ thoughts with industry ;

That their plied wits in numbered silks might sing

Passion's huge conquest, and their needles ^ leading

Affection prisoner through their own-built cities, 120

Pinioned with stories and Arachnean ditties.

Proceed we now with Hero's sacrifice :
She odours burned, and from their smoke did rise
Unsavoury fumes, that air with plagues inspired ;
And then the consecrated sticks she fired,
On whose pale flames an angry spirit flew.
And beat it down still as it upward grew ;
The virgin tapers that on th' altar stood.
When she inflam'd them, burned as red as blood ;^
All sad ostents of that too near success,'* 130

That made such moving beauties motionless.
Then Hero wept ; but her affrighted eyes
She quickly wrested from the sacrifice.

1 "Eyas" is the name for an unfledged hawk. " Eyas thoughts "
would mean "thoughts not yet full-grown,— immature." Dyce thinks
the meaning of "eyas" here may be " restless." (Old eds. "yas.")

2 A monosyllable.

3 Some eds. give " them, then they burned as blood."
■* Approaching catastrophe.

Fourth Sestiad. 63

Shut them, and inwards for Leander looked,

Search'd her soft bosom, and from thence she plucked

His lovely picture ; which when she had viewed,

Her beauties were with all love's joys renewed ;

The odours sweeten'd, and the fires burned clear,

Leander's form left no ill object there :

Such was his beauty, that the force of light, 140

Whose knowledge teacheth wonders infinite.

The strength of number and proportion,

Nature had placed in it to make it known.

Art was her daughter, and what human wits

For study lost, entombed in drossy spirits.

After this accident (which for her glory

Hero could not but make a history),

Th' inhabitants of Sestos and Abydos

Did every year, with feasts propitious,

To fair Leander's picture sacrifice : 15b

And they were persons of especial price

That were allowed it, as an ornament

T' enrich their houses, for the continent

Of the strange virtues all approved it held ;

For even the very look of it repelled

All blastings, witchcrafts, and the strifes of nature

In those diseases that no herbs could cure ;

The wolfy sting of avarice it would pull.

And make the rankest miser bountiful ;

It kill'd the fear of thunder and of death ; 160

The discords that conceit engendereth

'Twixt man and wife, it for the time would cease ;

The flames of love it quench'd, and would increase ;

64 Hero and Leander.

Held in a prince's hand, it would put out

The dreadful'st comet ; it would ease ^ all doubt

Of threaten'd mischiefs ■ it would bring asleep

Such as were mad ; it would enforce to weep

jSIost barbarous eyes ; and many more effects

This picture wrought, and sprung - Leandrian ^ sects ;

Of which was Hero first ; for he whose form, 170

Held in her hand, clear'd such a fatal storm,

From hell she thought his person would defend her,

Which night and Hellespont would quickly send her.

With this confirm'd, she vovv'd to banish quite

All thought of any check to her delight ;

And, in contempt of silly bashfulness.

She would the faith of her desires profess.

Where her religion should be policy,

To follow love with zeal her piety ;

Her chamber her cathedral-church should be, iSo

And her Leander her chief deity ;

For in her love these did the gods forego ;

And though her knowledge did not teach her so,

Yet did it teach her this, that what her heart

Did greatest hold in her self-greatest part.

That she did make her god ; and 'twas less naught

To leave gods in profession and in thought,

Than in her love and life ; for therein lies

Most of her duties and their dignities ;

1 Some eds. " end."
- Used transitively.

2 Some eds. "Leanders."

Fourth Sestiad. 65

And, rail the brain-bald world at what it will, 190

That's the grand atheism that reigns in it still.

Yet singularity she would use no more,

For she was singular too much before ;

But she would please the world with fair pretext :

Love would not leave her conscience perplext :

Great men that will have less do for them, still

Must bear them out, though th' acts be ne'er so ill ;

Meanness must pander be to Excellence ;

Pleasure atones Falsehood and Conscience :

Dissembling was the worst, thought Hero then, 200

And that was best, now she must live with men.

O virtuous love, that taught her to do best

When she did worst, and when she thought it least !

Thus would she still proceed in works divine.

And in her sacred state of priesthood shine,

Handling the holy rites with hands as bold.

As if therein she did Jove's thunder hold,

And need not fear those menaces of error,

Which she at others threw with greatest terror.

O lovely Hero, nothing is thy sin, 210

Weigh'd with those foul faults other priests are in !

That having neither faiths, nor works, nor beauties,

T' engender any 'scuse for slubbered ^ duties,

With as much countenance fill their holy chairs.

And sweat denouncements 'gainst profane affairs,

' Shakespeare uses the verb " slubber" in the sense of " perform in
a slovenly manner" {^Merchant of Venice, ii. 8, " Slubber not business
for my sake ").


66 Hero and Leander.

As if their lives were cut out by their places,
And they the only fathers of the graces.

Now, as with settled mind she did repair
Her thoughts to sacrifice her ravished hair
And her torn robe, which on the altar lay, 220

And only for religion's fire did stay.
She heard a thunder by the Cyclops beaten,
In such a volley as the world did threaten,
Given Venus as she parted th' airy sphere.
Descending now to chide with Hero here :
When suddenly the goddess' waggoners.
The swans and turtles that, in coupled pheres,^
Through all worlds' bosoms draw her influence,
Lighted in Hero's window, and from thence
To her fair shoulders flew the gentle doves, — 230

Graceful ^done- that sweet pleasure loves.
And ruff-foot Chreste ^ with the tufted crown ;
Both which did kiss her, though their goddess frown.
The swans did in the solid flood, her glass,
Proin ^ their fair plumes ; of which the fairest was
Jove-lov'd Leucote,^ that pure brightness is ;
The other bounty-loving Dapsilis.^
All were in heaven, now they with Hero were :
But Venus' looks brought wrath, and urged fear.

1 Companions, yoke-mates.

2 Gr. i]Zovr\.

3 From Lat. crista f
■* Prune.

* Gr. XtvKiiTT^'s.
« Gr. da^piXrjs.

Fourth Sestiad. 67

Her robe was scarlet ; black her head's attire : 240

And through her naked breast shin'd streams of fire,

As when the rarified air is driven

In flashing streams, and opes the darken'd heaven.

In her white hand a wreath of yew she bore ;

And, breaking th' icy wreath sweet Hero wore,

She forc'd about her brows her wreath of yew.

And said, " Now, minion, to thy fate be true.

Though not to me ; endure what this portends :

Begin where lightness will, in shame it ends.

Love makes thee cunning ; thou art current now, 250

By being counterfeit : thy broken vow

Deceit with her pied garters must rejoin,

And with her stamp thou countenances must coin ;

Coyness, and pure ^ deceits, for purities,

And still a maid wilt seem in cozen'd eyes.

And have an antic face to laugh within.

While thy smooth looks make men digest thy sin.

But since thy lips (least thought forsworn) forswore.

Be never virgin's vow worth trusting more ! "

When Beauty's dearest did her goddess hear 260

Breathe such rebukes 'gainst that she could not clear,
Dumb sorrow spake aloud in tears and blood.
That from her grief-burst veins, in piteous flood,
From the sweet conduits of her favour fell.
The gentle turtles did with moans make swell
Their shining gorges ; the white black-ey'd swans
Did sing as woful epicedians,

J Some eds. read " Coyne and impure."

68 Hero and Leande7\

As they would straightways die : when Pity's queen,

The goddess Ecte,^ that had ever been

Hid in a watery cloud near Hero's cries, 270

Since the first instant of her broken eyes,

Gave bright Leucote voice, and made her speak.

To ease her anguish, whose swoln breast did break

With anger at her goddess, that did touch

Hero so near for that she us'd so much ;

And, thrusting her white neck at Venus, said :

" Why may not amorous Hero seem a maid.

Though she be none, as well as you suppress

In modest cheeks your inward wantonness ?

How often have we drawn you from above, 280

T' exchange with mortals rites for rites in love !

Why in your priest, then, call you that offence,

That shines in you, and is"^ your influence?"

With this, the Furies stopp'd Leucote's lips,

Enjoin'd by Venus; who with rosy whips

Beat the kind bird. Fierce lightning from her

Did set on fire fair Hero's sacrifice.
Which was her torn robe and enforced hair;
And the bright flame became a maid most fair
For her aspect : her tresses were of wire, 290

Knit like a net, where hearts set all on fire,
Struggled in pants, and could not get releast ;
Her arms were all with golden pincers drest,

1 From Gr. or/cros ?
-' Some eds. " in."

Fourth Sestiad. 69

And twenty-fashioned knots, pulleys, and brakes,

And all her body girt with painted snakes ;

Her down-parts in a scorpion's tail combined,

Freckled with twenty colours ; pied wings shined

Out of her shoulders ; cloth had never dye.

Nor sweeter colours never viewed eye,

In scorching Turkey, Cares, Tartary, 300

Than shined about this spirit notorious ;

Nor was Arachne's web so glorious.

Of lightning and of shreds she was begot ;

More hold in base dissemblers is there not.

Her name was Eronusis.^ Venus flew

From Hero's sight, and at her chariot drew

This wondrous creature to so steep a height,

That all the world she might command with sleight

Of her gay wings ; and then she bade her haste, —

Since Hero had dissembled, and disgraced 310

Her rites so much, — and every breast infect

With her deceits : she made her architect

Of all dissimulations; and since then

Never was any trust in maids or men.

O, it spited
Fair Venus' heart to see her most delighted.
And one she choos'd, for temper of her mind
To be the only ruler of her kind,
So soon to let her virgin race be ended !
Not simply for the fault a whit offended, -20

' "A compound, probably, from ?pus and v!iao% or voZao% lonice."
Ed. 1821.

yo Hero and Leande7'.

But that in strife for chasteness with the Moon,

Spiteful Diana bade her show but one

That was her servant vow'd, and liv'd a maid ;

And, now she thought to answer that upbraid,

Hero had lost her answer : who knows not

Venus would seem as far from any spot

Of light demeanour, as the very skin

'Twixt Cynthia's brows ? sin is asham'd of sin.

Up Venus flew, and scarce durst up for fear

Of Phoebe's laughter, when she pass'd her sphere : 330

And so most ugly-clouded was the light,

That day was hid in day ; night came ere night ;

And Venus could not through the thick air pierce,

Till the day's king, god of undaunted verse,

Because she was so plentiful a theme

To such as wore his laurel anademe.

Like to a fiery bullet made descent,

And from her passage those fat vapours rent,

That being not throughly ratified to rain,

Melted like pitch, as blue as any vein ; 340

And scalding tempests made the earth to shrink

Under their fervour, and the world did think

In every drop a torturing spirit flew,

It pierc'd so deeply, and it burn'd so blue.

Betwixt all this and Hero, Hero held
Leander's picture, as a Persian shield ;
And she was free from fear of worst success :
The more ill threats us, we suspect the less :
As we grow hapless, violence subtle grows, 349

Dumb, deaf, and blind, and comes when no man knows.


The Argument of the Fifth Sestiad.

Day doubles his accustom'd date,
As loath the Night, incens'd by Fate,
Should wreck our lovers. Hero's plight ;
Longs for Leander and the night :
Which ere her thirsty wish recovers,
She sends for two betrothed lovers,
And marries them, that, with their crew,
Their sports, and ceremonies due,
She covertly might celebrate,
With secret joy her own estate.
She makes a feast, at which appears
The wild nymph Teras, that still bears
An ivory lute, tells ominous tales.
And sings at solemn festivals.

Now was bright Hero weary of the day,

Thought an Olympiad in Leander's stay.

Sol and the soft-foot Hours hung on his arms,

And would not let him swim, foreseeing his harms :

That day Aurora double grace obtain'd

Of her love Phoebus ; she his horses rein'd,

Set 1 on his golden knee, and, as she list.

She puU'd him back ; and as she puU'd she kiss'd,

1 Some modern editors read " sat."

'J 2 Hero and Lean der.

To have him turn to bed : he lov'd her more,

To see the love Leander Hero bore : lo

Examples profit much ; ten times in one,

In persons full of note, good deeds are done.

Day was so long, men walking fell asleep ;
The heavy humours that their eyes did steep
Made them fear mischiefs. The hard streets were beds
For covetous churls and for ambitious heads.
That, spite of Nature, would their business ply :
All thought they had the falling epilepsy,
Men grovell'd so upon the smother'd ground;
And pity did the heart of Heaven confound. 20

The Gods, the Graces^ and the Muses came
Down to the Destinies, to stay the frame
Of the true lovers' deaths, and all world's tears :
But Death before had stopp'd their cruel ears.
All the celestials parted mourning then,
Pierc'd with our human miseries more than men :
Ah, nothing doth the world with mischief fill,
But want of feeling one another's ill !

With their descent the day grew something fair,
And cast a brighter robe upon the air. 30

Hero, to shorten time with merriment.
For young Alcmane^ and bright Mya sent.
Two lovers that had long crav'd marriage-dues
At Hero's hands : but she did still refuse ;
For lovely Mya was her consort vow'd
In her maid state, and therefore not allow'd

1 Singer suggested "Akmaeon."

Fifth Sestiad. 73

To amorous nuptials : yet fair Hero now

Intended to dispense with her cold vow,

Since hers was broken, and to marry her :

The rites would pleasing matter minister 40

To her conceits, and shorten tedious day.

They came ; sweet Music usher'd th' odorous way,

And wanton Air in twenty sweet forms danced

After her fingers ; Beauty and Love advanced

Their ensigns in the downless rosy faces

Of youths and maids led after by the Graces.

For all these Hero made a friendly feast,

Welcom'd them kindly, did much love protest,

Winning their hearts with all the means she might,

That, when her fault should chance t' abide the light, 50

Their loves might cover or extenuate it,

And high in her worst fate make pity sit.

She married them; and in the banquet came,
Borne by the virgins. Hero striv'd to frame
Her thoughts to mirth : ay me ! but hard it is
To imitate a false and forced bliss ;
111 may a sad mind forge a merry face,
Nor hath constrained laughter any grace.
Then laid she wine on cares to make them sink :
Who fears the threats of Fortune, let him drink. ^ 60

To these quick nuptials enter'd suddenly
Admired Teras with the ebon thigh ;

^ " Chapman has a passage very similar to this in his Widorui's Tears,
Act iv. : —

' Wine is ordained to raise such hearts as sink :
Whom woful stars distemper let him drink.' " — Broughton.

74 Hero and Leander.

A nymph that haunted the green Sestian groves,

And would consort soft virgins in their loves,

At gaysome triumphs and on solemn days,

Singing prophetic elegies and lays,

And fingering of a silver lute she tied

With black and purple scarfs by her left side.

Apollo gave it, and her skill withal,

And she was term'd his dwarf, she was so small : 70

Yet great in virtue, for his beams enclosed

His virtues in her ; never was proposed

Riddle to her, or augury, strange or new.

But she resolv'd it ; never slight tale flew

From her charm'd lips without important sense.

Shown in some grave succeeding consequence.

This little sylvan, with her songs and tales, ;
Gave such estate to feasts and nuptials,
That though ofttimes she forewent tragedies,
Yet for her strangeness still she pleas'd their eyes ; %o
And for her smallness they admir'd her so,
They thought her perfect born, and could not grow.

All eyes were on her. Hero did command
An altar decked with sacred state should stand
At the feast's upper end, close by the bride.
On which the pretty nymph might sit espied.
Then all were silent ; every one so hears,
As all their senses climb'd into their ears :
And first this amorous tale, that fitted well
Fair Hero and the nuptials, she did tell. 90

Fifth Sestiad. 75

The Tale of Teras.

Hymen, that now is god of nuptial rites,
And crowns with honour Love and his delights,
Of Athens was a youth, so sweet of face,
That many thought him of the female race ;
Such quickening brightness did his clear eyes dart.
Warm went their beams to his beholder's heart,
In such pure leagues his beauties were combin'd,
That there your nuptial contracts first were signed ;
For as proportion, white and crimson, meet
In beauty's mixture, all right clear and sweet, 100

The eye responsible, the golden hair,
And none is held, without the other, fair ;
All spring together, all together fade ;
Such intermix'd affections should invade
Two perfect lovers; which being yet unseen.
Their virtues and their comforts copied been
In beauty's concord, subject to the eye ;
And that, in Hymen, pleased so matchlessly,
That lovers were esteemed in their full grace,
Like form and colour mixed in Hymen's face ; no

And such sweet concord was thought worthy then
Of torches, music, feasts, and greatest men :
So Hymen look'd that even the chastest mind
He mov'd to join in joys of sacred kind ;
For only now his chin's first down consorted
His head's rich fleece in golden curls contorted :
And as he was so loved, he loved so too :
So should best beauties bound by nuptials, do.

76 Hero and Leander.

Bright Eucharis, who was by all men said

The noblest, fairest, and the richest maid 120

Of all th' Athenian damsels. Hymen lov'd

With such transmission, that his heart remov'd

From his white breast to hers : but her estate.

In passing his, was so interminate

For wealth and honour, that his love durst feed

On naught but sight and hearing, nor could

Hope of requital, the grand prize of love ;

Nor could he hear or see, but he must prove

How his rare beauty's music would agree

With maids in consort ; therefore robbed he 130

His chin of those same few first fruits it bore.

And, clad in such attire as virgins wore.

He kept them company, and might right well.

For he did all but Eucharis excel

In all the fair of beauty ! yet he wanted

Virtue to make his own desires implanted

In his dear Eucharis ; for women never

Love beauty in their sex, but envy ever.

His judgment yet, that durst not suit address.

Nor, past due means, presume of due success, 140

Reason gat Fortune in the end to speed

To his best prayers : ^ but strange it seemed, in-

That Fortune should a chaste affection bless :

Preferment seldom graceth bashfulness.

i "Oldeds. 'prayes,' 'praies,' 'preies,' and 'pryes.'" — Dyce.

FiftJi Sestiad. "jj

Nor grac'd it Hymen yet ; but many a dart,
And many an amorous thought, enthralled ' liis heart,
Ere he obtained her ; and he sick became.
Forced to abstain her sight ; and then the flame
Raged in his bosom. O, what grief did fill him !

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