Christopher Marlowe.

The works of Christoher Marlowe; (Volume 3) online

. (page 5 of 18)
Online LibraryChristopher MarloweThe works of Christoher Marlowe; (Volume 3) → online text (page 5 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Sight made him sick, and want of sight did kill
him. 150

The virgins wonder'd where Dioetia stay'd.
For so did Hymen term himself, a maid.
At length with sickly looks he greeted them :
Tis strange to see 'gainst what an extreme stream
A lover strives ; poor Hymen look'd so ill,
That as in merit he increased still
By suffering much, so he in grace decreas'd :
Women are most won, when men merit least :
If Merit look not well, Love bids stand by ;
Love's special lesson is to please the eye. 160

And Hymen soon recovering all he lost,
Deceiving still these maids, but himself most,
His love and he with many virgin dames,
Noble by birth, noble by beauty's flames.
Leaving the town with songs and hallow'd lights
To do great Ceres Eleusina rites
Of zealous sacrifice, were made a prey
To barbarous rovers, that in ambush lay,
And with rude hands enforc'd their shining spoil,
Far from the darkened city, tired with toil : 170

1 Dyce reads " enthriU'd.

yS Hero and Leander.

And when the yellow issue of the sky

Came trooping forth, jealous of cruelty

To their bright fellows of this under-heaven,

Into a double night they saw them driven, —

A horrid cave, the thieves' black mansion ;

Where, weary of the journey they had gone.

Their last night's watch, and drunk with their sweet gains,

Dull Morpheus enter'd, laden with silken chains,

Stronger than iron, and bound the swelling veins

And tired senses of these lawless swains. i8o

But when the virgin lights thus dimly burn'd,

O, what a hell was heaven in ! how they mourn'd

And wrung their hands, and wound their gentle forms

Into the shapes of sorrow ! golden storms

Fell from their eyes ; as when the sun appears,

And yet it rains, so show'd their eyes their tears :

And, as when funeral dames watch a dead corse,

Weeping about it, telling with remorse

What pains he felt, how long in pain he lay,

How little food he ate, what he would say ; 190

And then mix mournful tales of others' deaths,

Smothering themselves in clouds of their own breaths ;

At length, one cheering other, call for wine ;

The golden bowl drinks tears out of their eyne.

As they drink wine from it ; and round it goes,

Each helping other to relieve their woes ;

So cast these virgins' beauties mutual rays,

One lights another, face the face displays ;

Lips by reflection kissed, and hands hands shook,

Even by the whiteness each of other took. 200

Fifth Sestiad. 79

But Hymen now used friendly Morpheus' aid,
Slew every thief, and rescued every maid :
And now did his enamourd passion take
Heart from his hearty deed, whose worth did make
His hope of bounteous Eucharis more strong ;
And now came Love with Proteus, who had long
Juggled the little god with prayers and gifts,
Ran through all shapes and varied all his shifts.
To win Love's stay with him, and make him love him.
And when he saw no strength of sleight could move him.
To make him love or stay, he nimbly turned 211

Into Love's self, he so extremely burned.
And thus came Love, with Proteus and his power,
T' encounter Eucharis : first, like the flower
That Juno's milk did spring,^ the silver lily,
He fell on Hymen's hand, who straight did spy
The bounteous godhead, and with wondrous joy
Offer'd it Eucharis. She, wondrous coy,
Drew back her hand : the subtle flower did woo it,
And, drawing it near, mixed so you could not know it : 220
As two clear tapers mix in one their light,
So did the lily and the hand their white.
She viewed it ; and her view the form bestows
Amongst her spirits ; for, as colour flows
From superficies of each thing we see,
Even so vvith colours forms emitted be ;
And where Love's form is, Love is ; Love is form ;
He entered at the eye ; his sacred storm

1 Did make to spring. Cf. Fourth Sestiad, 1. 169.

8o Hero and Leander.

Rose from the hand, Love's sweetest instrument:

It stirred her blood's sea so, that high it went, 230

And beat in bashful waves 'gainst the white shore

Of her divided cheeks; it raged the more,

Because the tide went 'gainst the haughty wind

Of her estate and birth : and, as we find.

In fainting ebbs, the flowery Zephyr hurls

The green-haired Hellespont, broke in silver curls,

'Gainst Hero's tower ; but in his blast's retreat,

The waves obeying him, they after beat,

Leaving the chalky shore a great way pale,

Then moist it freshly with another gale ; 240

So ebbed and flowed the blood ^ in Eucharis' face.

Coyness and Love strived which had greatest grace ;

Virginity did fight on Coyness' side.

Fear of her parents' frowns and female pride

Loathing the lower place, more than it loves

The high contents desert and virtue moves.

With Love fought Hymen's beauty and his valure,^

Which scarce could so much favour yet allure

To come to strike, but fameless idle stood :

Action is fiery valour's sovereign good. 250

But Love, once entered, wished no greater aid

Than he could find within ; thought thought betray'd ;

The bribed, but incorrupted, garrison

Sung " lo Hymen ; " there those songs begun,

1 So the Isham copy. All other editions omit the words ' ' the blood. "
* " Valure " is frequently found as a form of " value ; " but I suspect,
with Dyce, that it is here put {metri causa) for '' valour."

Fifth Scstiad. 8i

And Love was grown so rich with such a gain,

And wanton with the ease of his free reign,

That he would turn into her roughest frowns

To turn them out ; and thus he Hymen crowns

King of his thoughts, man's greatest empery :

This was his first brave step to deity. 260

Home to the mourning city they repair,
With news as wholesome as the morning air.
To the sad parents of each savbd maid :
But Hymen and his Eucharis had laid
This plat ^ to make the flame of their delight
Round as the moon at full, and full as bright.

Because the parents of chaste Eucharis
Exceeding Hymen's so, might cross their bliss ;
And as the world rewards deserts, that law
Cannot assist with force ; so when they saw 270

Their daughter safe, take vantage of their own,
Praise Hymen's valour much, nothing bestown ;
Hymen must leave the virgins in a grove
Far off from Athens, and go first to prove,
If to restore them all with fame and life.
He should enjoy his dearest as his wife.
This told to all the maids, the most agree :
The riper sort, knowing what 'tis to be
The first mouth of a news so far derived.
And that to hear and bear news brave folks lived. 2S0
As being a carriage special hard to bear
Occurrents, these occurrents being so dear,

1 Plot.
VOL. in.

82 Hero and Lea7ider.

They did with grace protest, they were content

T' accost their friends with all their compUment,

For Hymen's good ; but to incur their harm,

There he must pardon them. This wit went warm

To Adolesche's ^ brain, a nymph born high.

Made all of voice and fire, that upwards fly :

Her heart and all her forces' nether train

Climb'd to her tongue, and thither fell her brain, 290

Since it could go no higher ; and it must go ;

All powers she had, even her tongue, did so :

In spirit and quickness she much joy did take.

And loved her tongue, only for quickness' sake ;

And she would haste and tell. The rest all stay :

Hymen goes one, the nymph another way;

And what became of her I'll tell at last :

Yet take her visage now ; — moist-lipped, long-faced.

Thin like an iron wedge, so sharp and tart.

As 'twere of purpose made to cleave Love's heart : 300

Well were this lovely beauty rid of her.

And Hymen did at Athens now prefer

His welcome suit, which he with joy aspired:

A hundred princely youths with him retired

To fetch the nymphs 3 chariots and music went ;

And home they came : heaven with applauses rent.

The nuptials straight proceed, whiles all the town,

Fresh in their joys, might do them most renown.

First, gold-locked Hymen did to church repair,

Like a quick offering burned in flames of hair; 310

1 Gr. ddoXiaxV^'

Fifth Sestiad, 83

And after, with a virgin firmament

The godhead-proving bride attended went

Before them all : she looked in her command,

As if form-giving Cypria's silver hand

Gripped all their beauties, and crushed out one flame ;

She blushed to see how beauty overcame

The thoughts of all men. Next, before her went

Five lovely children, decked with ornament

Of her sweet colours, bearing torches by ;

For light was held a happy augury 320

Of generation, whose efficient right

Is nothing else but to produce to light.

The odd disparent number they did choose,

To show the union married loves should use,

Since in two equal parts it will not sever.

But the midst holds one to rejoin it ever,

As common to both parts : men therefore deem

That equal number gods do not esteem,

Being authors of sweet peace and unity.

But pleasing to th' infernal empery, 330

Under whose ensigns Wars and Discords fight,

Since an even number you may disunite

In two parts equal, naught in middle left

To reunite each part from other reft ;

And five they hold in most especial prize,^

Since 'tis the first odd number that doth rise

From the two foremost numbers' unity,

That odd and even are ; which are two and three ;

1 Some eds. " price."

84 Hero and Leander.

For one no number is ; but thence doth flow
The powerful race of number. Next, did go 340

A noble matron, that did spinning bear
A huswife's rock and spindle, and did wear
A wether's skin, with all the snowy fleece,
To intimate that even the daintiest piece
And noblest-born dame should industrious be :
That which does good disgraceth no degree.
And now to Juno's temple they are come.
Where her grave priest stood in the marriage-room :
On his right arm did hang a scarlet veil,
And from his shoulders to the ground did trail, 350

On either side, ribands of white and blue :
With the red veil he hid the bashful hue
Of the chaste bride, to show the modest shame.
In coupling with a man, should grace a dame.
Then took he the disparent silks, and tied
The lovers by the waists, and side to side.
In token that thereafter they must bind
In one self-sacred knot each other's mind.
Before them on an altar he presented
Both fire and water, which was first invented, 360

Since to ingenerate every human creature
And every other birth produc'd by Nature,
Moisture and heat must mix ; so man and wife
For human race must join in nuptial life.
Then one of Juno's birds, the painted jay,
He sacrific'd and took the gall away ;
All which he did behind the altar throw,
In sign no bitterness of hate should grow,

Fifth Sestiad. 85

'Twixt married loves, nor any least disdain.

Nothing they spake, for 'twas esteem'd too plain 370

For the most silken mildness of a maid.

To let a public audience hear it said,

She boldly took the man ; and so respected

Was bashfulness in Athens, it erected

To chaste Agneia,^ which is Shamefacedness,

A sacred temple, holding her a goddess.

And now to feasts, masks, and triumphant shows,

The shining troops returned, even till earth-throes

Brought forth with joy the thickest part of night.

When the sweet nuptial song, that used to cite 380

All to their rest, was by Phemonoe - sung.

First Delphian prophetess, whose graces sprung

Out of the Muses' well : she sung before

The bride into her chamber ; at which door

A matron and a torch-bearer did stand :

A painted box of confits ^ in her hand

The matron held, and so did other some ^

That compassed round the honour'd nuptial room.

The custom was, that every maid did wear,

During her maidenhead, a silken sphere 390

About her waist, above her inmost weed,

Knit with Minerva's knot, and that was freed

^ Gr. d^Vei'a.

2 Singer gives a reference to Pausan, X. 5. — Oldeds. " Phemonor " and
" Phemoner."

3 Comfits,

* " Other some " is a not uncommon form of expression. See Halli-
well's Diet, of Archaic and Provincial Words,

86 Hero and Leandej'.

By the fair bridegroom on the marriage-night,

With many ceremonies of delight :

And yet eternized Hymen's tender bride,

To suffer it dissolved so, sweetly cried.

The maids that heard, so loved and did adore her,

They wished with all their hearts to suffer for her.

So had the matrons, that with confits stood

About the chamber, such affectionate blood, 400

And so true feeling of her harmless pains,

That every one a shower of confits rains ;

For which the bride-youths scrambling on the ground,

In noise of that sweet hail her ^ cries were drown'd.

And thus blest Hymen joyed his gracious bride,

And for his joy was after deified.

The saffron mirror by which Phoebus' love.

Green Tellus, decks her, now he held above

The cloudy mountains : and the noble maid,

Sharp-visaged Adolesche, that was stray'd 410

Out of her way, in hasting with her news,

Not till this^ hour th' Athenian turrets views;

And now brought home by guides, she heard by all.

That her long kept occurrents would be stale.

And how fair Hymen's honours did excel

For those rare news which she came short to tell.

To hear her dear tongue robbed of such a joy.

Made the well-spoken nymph take such a toy,^

1 Old eds. "their." 2 old eds. " his."

* A sudden pettishness or freak of fancy. Cf. Two Noble Kinsmen :-
' ' The hot horse hot as fire
Took toy at this."

Fifth Sestiad. 87

That down she sunk : when lightning from above
Shrunk her lean body, and, for mere free love, 420

Turn'd her into the pied-plum'd Psittacus,
That now the Parrot is surnam'd by us,
Who still with counterfeit confusion prates
Naught but news common to the comraon'st mates. —
This told, strange Teras touch'd her lute, and sung
This ditty, that the torchy evening sprung.

Epithala77iio7i Teratos.

Come, come, dear Night ! Love's mart of kisses,

Sweet close to his ambitious line,
The fruitful summer of his blisses !

Love's glory doth in darkness shine. 430

O come, soft rest of cares ! come. Night !

Come, naked Virtue's only tire,
The reaped harvest of the light,

Bound up in sheaves of sacred fire !
Love calls to war ;
Sighs his alarms,
Lips his swords are,
The field his arms.

Come, Night, and lay thy velvet hand

On glorious Day's outfacing face ; 440

And all thy crowned flames command,
For torches to our nuptial grace !
Love calls to war ;
Sighs his alarms,

88 He7'o and Leander.

Lips his swords are,
The field his arms.

No need have we of factious Day,

To cast, in envy of thy peace,
Her balls of discord in thy way :

Here Beauty's day doth never cease ; 450

Day is abstracted here,
And varied in a triple sphere.
Hero, Alcmane, Mya, so outshine thee,
Ere thou come here, let Thetis thrice refine thee.
Love calls to war ;
Sighs his alarms.
Lips his swords are.
The field his arms.

The evening star I see :

Rise, youths ! the evening star 460

Helps Love to summon war ;

Both now embracing be.
Rise, youths ! Love's rite claims more than banquets ;

rise !
Now the bright marigolds, that deck the skies,
Phcebus' celestial flowers, that, contrary
To his flowers here, ope when he shuts his eye,
And shuts when he doth open, crown your sports :
Now Love in Night, and Night in Love exhorts
Courtship and dances : all your parts employ,
And suit Night's rich expansure with your joy. 470

Love paints his longings in sweet virgins' eyes :
Rise, youths! Love's rite claims more than banquets; rise!

Fifth Scstiad. 89

Rise, virgins ! let fair nuptial loves enfold
Your fruitless breasts : the maidenheads ^ ye hold
Are not your own alone, but parted are ;
Part in disposing them your parents share.
And that a third part is ; so must ye save
Your loves a third, and you your thirds must have.
Love paints his longings in sweet virgins' eyes :
Rise, youths ! Love's rite claims more than banquets ;
rise ! 4S0

Herewith the amorous spirit, that was so kind
To Teras' hair, and comb'd it down with wind,
Still as it, comet-like, brake from her brain.
Would needs have Teras gone, and did refrain
To blow it down : which, staring - up, dismay'd
The timorous feast ; and she no longer stay'd ;
But, bowing to the bridegroom and the bride,
Did, like a shooting exhalation, glide
Out of their sights : the turning of her back
Made them all shriek, it look'd so ghastly black. 490
O hapless Hero ! that most hapless cloud
Thy soon-succeeding tragedy foreshow'd.

1 Former editors have not noticed that Chapman is here closely
imitating Catullus' Carmen Nuptiale —

" Virginitas non tota tua est : ex parte parentum est :
Tertia pars patri data, pars data tertia matri,
Tertia sola tua est : noli pugnare duobus,
Qui genero sua jura simul cum dote dederunt."
- Some eds. "starting." Cf. Julius CcEsar, iv. 3, 11. 276-9 —
"Art thou some god, some angel, or some devil,
That makest my blood cold and my hair to stare ?"

90 Hero and Leander.

Thus all the nuptial crew to joys depart ;

But much-wronged ^ Hero stood Hell's blackest dart :

Whose wound because I grieve so to display,

I use digressions thus t' increase the day.

1 "Old eds. 'much-rong,' 'much rongd,' and ' much- wrong 'd.
— Dyce (who reads " much-wrung ").

( 91 )


The Argmnent of the Sixth Sestiad.

Leucote flies to all the Winds,

And from the Fates their outrage blinds/

That Hero and her love may meet.

Leander, with Love's complete fleet

Manned in himself, puts forth to seas ;

When straight the ruthless Destinies,

With Ate, stir the winds to war

Upon the Hellespont : their jar

Drowns poor Leander. Hero's eyes,

Wet witnesses of his surprise, lO

Her torch blown out, grief casts her down

Upon her love, and both doth drown :

In whose just ruth the god of seas

Transforms them to th' Acanthides.

No longer could the Day nor Destinies
Delay the Night, who now did frowning rise
Into her throne ; and at her humorous breasts
Visions and Dreams lay sucking : all men's rests
Fell like the mists of death upon their eyes,
Day's too-long darts so kill'd their faculties.

1 " It should be binds : i.e., Leucote flies to the several winds, and,
commissioned by the Fates, commands them to restrain their violence."

— Brouqhton.

92 Hero and Leander.

The Winds yet, like the flowers, to cease began ;

For bright Leucote, Venus' whitest swan,

That held sweet Hero dear, spread her fair wings,

Like to a field of snow, and message brings

From Venus to the Fates, t' entreat them lay

Their charge upon the Winds their rage to stay,

That the stern battle of the seas might cease.

And guard Leander to his love in peace.

The Fates consent ; — ay me, dissembUng Fates !

They showed their favours to conceal their hates.

And draw Leander on, lest seas too high

Should stay his too obsequious destiny :

Who ^ like a fleering slavish parasite.

In warping profit or a traitorous sleight.

Hoops round his rotten body with devotes.

And pricks his descant face full of false notes ;

Praising with open throat, and oaths as foul

As his false heart, the beauty of an owl ;

Kissing his skipping hand with charmed skips,

That cannot leave, but leaps upon his lips

Like a cock-sparrow, or a shameless quean

Sharp at a red-lipp'd youth, and naught doth mean

Of all his antic shows, but doth repair

More tender fawns,^ and takes a scatter'd hair

1 The next'few lines are in Chapman's obscurest manner. "Devotes,"
in 1. 21, means, I suppose, " tokens of devotion to his patron."

2 Cunningham says, " I cannot perceive the meaning of 'doth repair
more tender fawns." " " Fawns " is equivalent to " fawnings ; " and the
meaning seems to be, "applies himself to softer blandishments."

Sixth Sestiad. 93

From his tame subject's shoulder ; whips and calls
For everything he lacks ; creeps 'gainst the walls
With backward humbless, to give needless way :
Thus his false fate did with Leander play.

First to black Eurus flies the white Leucote
(Born 'mongst the negroes in the Levant sea,
On whose curl'd head[s] the glowing sun doth rise),
And shows the sovereign will of Destinies,
To have him cease his blasts ; and down he lies.
Next, to the fenny Notus course she holds, 40

And found him leaning, with his arms in folds,
Upon a rock, his white hair full of showers ;
And him she chargeth by the fatal powers.
To hold in his wet cheeks his cloudy voice.
To Zephyr then that doth in flowers rejoice :
To snake-foot Boreas next she did remove,
And found him tossing of his ravished love,^
To heat his frosty bosom hid in snow ;
Who with Leucote's sight did cease to blow.
Thus all were still to Hero's heart's desire ; 50

Who with all speed did consecrate a fire
Of flaming gums and comfortable spice.
To light her torch, which in such curious price
She held, being object to Leander's sight.
That naught but fires perfumed must give it light.
She loved it so, she griev'd to see it burn.
Since it would waste, and soon to ashes turn :

1 Orithyia.— The story of the rape of Orithyia is told in a magnificent
passage of Mr. Swinburne's Erectheus.

94 Hero and Leander.

Yet, if it burned not, 'twere not worth her eyes \

What made it nothing, gave it all the prize.

Sweet torch, true glass of our society ! 60

What man does good, but he consumes thereby ?

But thou wert loved for good, held high, given show ;

Poor virtue loathed for good, obscured, held low :

Do good, be pined, — be deedless good, disgraced ;

Unless we feed on men, we let them fast.

Yet Hero with these thoughts her torch did spend :

When bees make wax. Nature doth not intend

It should be made a torch ; but we, that know

The proper virtue of it, make it so,

And, when 'tis made, we light it : nor did Nature 70

Propose one life to maids ; but each such creature

Makes by her soul the best of her free ^ state,

Which without love is rude, disconsolate.

And wants love's fire to make it mild and bright,

Till when, maids are but torches wanting light.

Thus 'gainst our grief, not cause of grief, we fight :

The right of naught is glean'd, but the delight.

Up went she : but to tell how she descended.

Would God she were dead, or my verse ended !

She was the rule of wishes, sum, and end, 80

For all the parts that did on love depend :

Yet cast the torch his brightness further forth ;

But what shines nearest best, holds truest worth.

Leander did not through such tempests swim

To kiss the torch, although it lighted him :

1 So the Isham copy. Later eds. "true."

Sixth Sestiad. 95

But all his powers in her desires awaked,
Her love and virtues clothed him richly naked.
Men kiss but fire that only shows pursue ;
Her torch and Hero, figure show and virtue.

Now at opposed Abydos naught was heard 90

But bleating flocks, and many a bellowing herd,
Slain fiDrthe nuptials ; cracks of falling woods ;
Blows of broad axes ; pourings out of floods.
The guilty Hellespont was mix'd and stained
With bloody torrents ^ that the shambles rained ;
Not arguments of feast, but shows that bled,
Foretelling that red night that followed.
More blood was spilt, more honours were addrest,
Than could have graced any happy feast ;
Rich banquets, triumphs, every pomp employs 100

His sumptuous hand ; no miser's nuptial joys.
Air felt continual thunder with the noise
Made in the general marriage-violence ;
And no man knew the cause of this expense.
But the two hapless lords, Leander's sire,
And poor Leander, poorest where the fire
Of credulous love made him most rich surmis'd :
As short was he of that himself ^ he prized.
As is an empty gallant full of form.
That thinks each look an act, each drop a storm, 1 10
That falls from his brave breathings ; most brought up
In our metropolis, and hath his cup

1 So the Isham copy, Later eds. "torrent."

2 Some eds. "himselfe surpris'd." Dyce gives " himself so priz'd.

96 Hero and Leander.

Brought after him to feasts; and much palm

For his rare judgment in th' attire he wears ;
Hath seen the hot Low-Countries, not their heat,
Observes their rampires and their buildings yet ;
And, for your sweet discourse with mouths, is

Giving instructions with his very beard ;
Hath gone with an ambassador, and been
A great man's mate in travelling, even to Rhene ; 120
And then puts all his worth in such a face
As he saw brave men make, and strives for grace
To get his news forth : as when you descry
A ship, with all her sail contends to fly
Out of the narrow Thames with winds unapt,
Now crosseth here, then there, then this way

And then hath one point reach'd, then alters all,
And to another crooked reach doth fall
Of half a bird-bolt's ^ shoot, keeping more coil
Than if she danc'd upon the ocean's toil ; 130

1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryChristopher MarloweThe works of Christoher Marlowe; (Volume 3) → online text (page 5 of 18)