Men, Dragons teeth produce. Wing'd Snakes their yeares|
By odors cast. A seire branch Oliues beares.
Drops sprout to Flowres. Old Aeson young became.
So Libers Nurses. An old Sheepe a Lambe.
Cerambus flies. A Snake, a snake-like Stone.
An Oxe, a Stag. Sad Mera barkes vnknowne.
Hornes front the Coan dames. The Telchines
All change. A Doue-turn'd Maid. The hard to please,
Becomes a Swan. His mother Hyrie weepes
Into a Lake. High-mounting Combe keepes
Her son-sought Life. A King and Queene estrang'd
To flightfull Foule. Cephisus Nephew chang'd
Into a Seale. Eumelus daughter flies,
Through tracelesse regions. Men from Mushrumps rise.
Phinius and Periphas light wings assume.
So Polyphemons neece. From Cerberus spume
Springs Aconite. Iust Earth a graue denies
To Scyrons bones; which now in rocks arise.
Arne, a Chough. Stout Myrmidons are borne
Of toyling Ants. The late rejected Morne
Masks Cephalus. The Dog, that did pursue,
And Beast pursu'de; two marble Statues grew.
With Pagasaean keele1 the Minyae2 plow
The curling waues: and Phineus3 see; who now
In endlesse night his needy age consumes.
The youthfull sonnes of Boreas,4 rais'd with plumes,
Those greedy Harpyes, with the virgin face,
Far-off from his polluted table chace.
They, vnder Iason, hauing suffer'd much;
At length the banks of slimy Phasis5 touch.
Now Phryxus fleece6 the hardy Minyae aske:
And from the King receiue a dreadfull taske.
Meane while Aeëtias7 fries in secret fires:
Who strughng long with ouer strong desires,
When reason could not such a rage restraine;
She said: Medea, thou resists in vaine.
Some God, vnknowne, with-stands. What will this proue!
Or is it such as others fancie loue?
Why seeme the Kings commands so too seuere?
And so, in truth they be. Why should I feare
A strangers ruine, neuer seene before?
Whence spring these cares? Why feare I more and more?
These furies from thy virgin brest repell,
Wretch, if thou canst. Could I, I should be well.
A new-felt force my striuing powres inuades:
Affection this, discretion that, perswades.
I see the better, I approue it too:
The worse I follow. Why shouldst thou pursue
A husband of another world; that art
Of royall birth? Our country may impart
A choice as worthy. If this forrein mate;
Or liue, or dye; 'tis in the hands of fate.
Yet, may he liue! I such a sute might moue
To equall Gods, although I did not loue.
For what hath Iason done? his hopefull Youth
Would moue all hearts, that were not hard, to ruth;
His birth, his valour. Set all these apart;
His person would: I feele it moues my heart.
Yet should not I assist, the flaming breath
Of Bulls8 would blast him; or, assaults of death
Spring vp in armes from Tellus9 hostill womb:
Or else the greedy Dragon proues his tomb.
This suffer, and thou hast a heart of stone;
Borne of a Tygresse, and more saluage growne.
Alt why stand I not by? behold him slaine?
And so my accessary eyes profane?
Adde fury to the Bulls? to th' Earth-borne10 ire?
And sleeplesse Dragon with more spleene inspire?
The Gods forbid! yet rather helpe, then pray.
My fathers kingdome shall I then betray?
And saue this stranger, whom I hardly know,
That sau'd by me, he should without me goe,
Marry another, and leaue me behind
To punishment? could he proue so vnkinde,
Or for another my deserts neglect;
Then should he dye. Such is not his aspect;
The clearenesse of his minde; his euery grace;
That I should fraud suspect, or thinke him base.
Besides, before hand he shall plight his troth:
And bind the contract by a solemne oath.
What need thou doubt? goe on; delay decline:
Obliged Iason will be euer thine.
Hymen11 shall crowne, and mothers celebrate
Their sonnes Protectresse through th' Achaian State.12
My sister, brother, father, country, Gods,
Shall I abandon for vnknowne abodes?
Fierce is my Father, barbarous my land,
My brother,13 a child, my sisters14 wishes stand
With my desires; the greatest God of all15
My brest inshrines. What I forsake, is small;
Great hopes I follow. To receaue the grace
For Argo's safety:16 know a better place
And Cities, which, in these far-distant parts,
Are famous; with ciuilitie, and arts:
And Aesons sonne, whom I more dearely prize
Then wealthy Earth and all her Monarchies.
In him most happy, and affected by
The bounteous Gods, my crowne shall reach the sky.
They tell of Rocks that justle in the maine:17
Charybdis,18 that sucks in, and casts againe
The wrackfull waues: how in Sicilian straights,
Girt round with barking dogs, fierce Scylla18 waites.
My loue possest; in Iasons bosome laid;
Let seas swell high: I cannot be dismaid
While I infold my husband in my armes.
Or should I feare; I should but feare his harmes.
Callst thou him husband? wilt thou then thy blame
Medea, varnish with an honest name?
Consider well what thou intendst to doe
And, while thou maist: so foule a crime eschue.
Thus she. When Honour, Piety, and Right,
Before her stood; and Cupid put to flight.
Then goes where Hecates19 old Altar stood;
O're-shadowed by a darke and secret wood.
Her broken ardor she had now reclaim'd:
Which Iasons presence forth-with re-inflam'd.
Her cheeks blush fire: her face with feruor flashes.
And as a dying cinder, rak't in ashes,
Fed by reuiuing windes, augmenting, glowes:
And tossed, to accustom'd fury growes
So sickly Loue, which late appear'd to dye;
New life assum'd from his inflaming eye.
Whose lookes by chance more beauty now discouer
Then heretofore: you might forgiue the louer.
Her eager eyes she riuets on his face;
And, frantick, thinkes him of no humane race:
Nor could diuert her lookes. As he his tongue
Began t' vnloose, her faire hand softly wrung,
Implor'd her aide, and promis'd her his bed:
She answere made, with teares profusely shed.
I see to what euents m' intentions moue
Nor ignorance deceiues me thus; but loue.
I by my cunning will preserue your life:
But sweare, that done, to take me to your wife
He, by the Altar of the Triple Powre,20
The groues which that great Deity imbowre,
Her fathers Sire,21 to whom the hid appeares,
His owne successe, and so great danger, sweares
Beleeu'd: from her th' inchanted hearbs receiues;
With them, their vse: and his Protectresse leaues.
The Morrow had the sparkling starres defac't:
When all in Marse's field assemble; plac't
On circling ridges. Seated on a throne,
The iuory-scepter'd King in scarlet shone.
From adamant nostrils bras-hoou'd Bulls now cast
Fierce Vulcan,22 and the grasse with vapors blast.
And as full forges, blowne by art, resound;
As lime of flints, infurnest vnder ground,
By sprinkled water fire conceaue: so they
Pent flames, inuolu'd in noysefull brests, display,
So rore their scorched throtes. Yet Aesons Haire23
Came brauely on: on whom they turne, and stare
With terrible aspects; his ruine threat
With steele-tipt hornes. Inrag'd, their cleft hooues beat
The thundring ground; whence clouds of dust arise;
And with their smoky bellowings rend the skyes.
The Minyae24 feare congeales, but he remaines
Vntoucht: such vertue Sorcerie containes.
Their dew-laps boldly with his hand he strokes.
Inforc't to draw the plough with vnknowne yokes.
The Colchians at so strange a sight admire:
The Minyae shout, and set his thoughts on fire.
Then, in his caske, the Vipers teeth assumes:
Those in the turn'd-vp furrowes he inhumes.
Earth mollifies the poys'nous seeds, which spring;
And forth a haruest of new People bring.
And as an Embrion, in the womb inclos'd,
Assumes the forme of man; within compos'd
Through all accomplisht numbers; nor comes forth
To breathe in ayre, till his maturer growth:
So when the bowels of the teeming Earth
Grew great, she gaue mens perfect shapes their birth.
And, what's more strange; with them, their armes ascend:
Who at th' Aemonian Youth25 their lances bend.
When this th' Achaians26 saw, they hung the head:
And all their courages for terror fled.
Euen she, who had secur'd him was afraid,
When she beheld so many one inuade.
A chill cold checkes her blood; death lookes lesse pale.
And least the hearbs she gaue should chance to faile;
Vnheard auxiliarie charmes imparts:
And calls th' assistance of her secret Arts.
He hurles a massie stone among his foes.
Who on themselues convert their deadly blowes.
The Earth-borne brothers mutuall wounds destroy,
And ciuill war. The Grecians skip for joy,
And throng t'imbrace the Victor. Her the same
Affection spurd, but was with-held by shame.
Yet that too weake if none had lookt vpon her:
Not virtue checkt her, but the wrack of honour.
Now, in conceit, shee hugs him in her armes:
And thanks the Gods, the authors of her charmes.27
To make the Dragon sleepe that neuer slept,
Remaines; whose care the golden purchase kept.
Bright crested, triple tongu'd; his cruell jawes
Arm'd with sharpe phangs; his feet with dreadfull clawes.
When once besprinkled with Lethaean28 juice,
And words repeated thrice; which sleepe produce,
Calme the rough seas, and make swift riuers stand;
His eye-lids vail'd to sleepes vnknowne command.
The Heroe,29 of the Golden Fleece possest,
Proud of the spoyle, with her whose fauour blest
His enterprize, another Spoile, now bore
To sea; and lands on safe Iolcian shore.30
Aemonian parents, for their sonnes returne,
Bring gratefull gifts, congested incense burne;
And chearefully with horne-gilt offrings pay
Religious vowes. But Aeson was away;
Opprest with tedious age, now neere his tomb.
When thus Aesonides:31 O wife, to whom
My life I owe: though all I hold in chiefe
From thy deserts, which far surpasse beliefe;
If magick can (what cannot magick doe?)
Take yeares from me; and his with mine renue.
Then wept. His pietie her passion stirs:
Who sighs to thinke how she had vsed hers.32
Yet this concealing, answers: What a crime
Hath slipt thy tongue? thinkst thou, that with thy time
I can, or will, anothers life inuest?
Hecat33 fore-fend! nor is't a just request.
Yet Iason, we a greater gift will giue:
Thy father, by our art renew'd, shall liue,
With-out thy losse; if so the triple Powre34
Assist me with her presence in that howre.
Three nights yet wanted, ere the Moone could joyne
Her growing hornes. When with replenisht shine
She view'd the earth; the Court she leaues; her haire
Vntrest, her garments loose, her ankles bare:
And wanders through the dead of drowsie Night
With vnseene steps. Men, beasts, and birds of flight,
Deepe Rest had bound in humid gyiues; she crept
So silently, as if her selfe had slept.
No Aspen wags, moyst ayre no sound receiues;
Starres only twinkle: who to those vp-heaues
Her armes: thrice turnes about; thrice wets her crowne
With gathered deaw; thrice yawnes: and kneeling downe:
O Night thou friend to Secrets; you cleare fires,
That, with the Moone, succeed when Day retires:
Great Hecate, that know'st, and aid imparts
To our designes: you Charmes, and magick Arts:
And thou, o Earth, that to Magicians yeelds
Thy powrefull simples: aires, winds, mountaines, fields;
Soft murmuring springs, still lakes, and riuers cleare:
You Gods of woods; you Gods of night, appeare!
By you, at will, I make swift streames retire
To their first fountaines, whilst their banks admire;
Seas tosse, and smooth; cleare clouds, with clouds deforme;
Stormes turne to calmes, and make a calme a Storme.
With spels and charmes I break the Vipers jaw,
Cleaue solid rocks, oakes from their seasures draw,
Whole woods remoue, the ayrie mountaines shake;
Earth force to grone, and ghosts from graues awake.
And thee, Titania,35 from thy spheare I hale:
Though brasse resounding,36 thy extreames auaile.
Our charmes thy charriot pale; our poys'nous weeds,
That blushing Goddesse37 which the night succeeds.
Flame-breathing bulls you tam'd; you made them bow
Their stubborne necks vnto the seruill plow;
The Serpents brood by you selfe-slaughtred lyes;
Your slumbers closd the wakefull Dragons eyes;
At our command: and sent the Golden Fleece
(The guard deluded) to the towres of Greece.
Now need I drugs, that may old age indue
With vigour, and the flowre of youth renue.
Which you shall giue. Nor blaze these starres in vaine:
Nor Dragons vainely through the ayrie maine
This Charriot draw.38 Hard by the charriot rests.
Mounting, she strokes the bridled Dragons crests;
And shakes the raignes. Rapt vp, beneath her spies
Thessalian Tempe; and her snakes applies
To parts remote. The hearbs that Ossa beare,
Steepe Pelion, Othrys, Pindus; euer-cleare
Olympus,39 who the lofty Pindus tops;
Vp-roots, or with her brazen Cycle crops.
Much gathers on the bank of Apidan;
By Amphrysus much; and where Enipeus ran.
Nor Sperchius, nor Peneus, barren found:
Nor thee smooth Boebes with sharp rushes crown'd.
And rauisht from Euboian Anthedon,
That hearb, as yet by Glaucus change vnknowne.40
By winged Dragons drawne, nine nights, nine dayes,
About she romes; and euery field suruayes.
Return'd: her Snakes, that did but only smell
The Odors, cast their skins, and age expell.
Her feet to enter her owne roofe refuse
Rooft by the sky: she touch of man eschues.
Two Altars builds of liuing turfe: the right
To Hecate, the left to Youth.41 These dight
With Veruin and greene boughs; hard by, two pits
She forthwith digs: and sacrificing, slits
The throtes of black-fleec't Rams. With reaking blood
The ditches fils; and powres thereon a flood
Of hony, and new milke, from turn'd-up bowles;
Repeating powerfull words. The King of Soules,42
His rauisht Queene,43 inuokes; and Powers beneath,
Not to preuent her by old Aesons death.
They with long murmurings and prayers appeas'd:
She bids them to produce the age-diseas'd.
Her sleepe-producing charme his spirits deads:
Who on the grasse his senselesse body spreads.
Charg'd Iason, and the rest, far-off with-drew
Vnhallowed eyes might not such secrets view.
Furious Medea, with her haire vnbound,
About the flagrant Altar trots a Round.
The brands dips in the ditches, black with blood;
And on the Altars fires th' infected wood
Thrice purges him with waters, thrice with flames,
And thrice with sulphur; muttering horrid names.
Meane while, in hollow brasse the med'cine boyles:
And swelling high, in fomy bubbles toyles.
There seethes she what th' Aemonian vales produce;
Roots, juyces, flowres, and seeds of soueraigne vse.
Addes stones, from Orientall rocks bereft:
And others by the ebbing Ocean left.
The dew collected ere the Dawning springs:
A Screech-owles flesh, with her ill-boading wings.
The entrailes of ambiguous Wolues; that can
Take, and forsake the figure of a man.
The liuer of a long-liu'd Hart: then takes
The scaly skins of small Cinyphean44 snakes.
A Crowes old head, and pointed beake, was cast
Among the rest; which had nine ages past.
These, and a thousand more, without a name,
Were thus prepared by the barbarous Dame
For humane benefit. Th' ingredients now
She mingles with a withered Oliue bough.
Lo! from the caldron the dry stick receaues
First virdure; and a little after, leaues;
Forth-with, with ouer-burd'ning Oliues deckt.
The skipping froth which vnder flames eject,
Upon the ground descended in a dew:
Whence vernall flowres, and springing pasture grew.
This seene, she cuts the old mans throte; out-scrus'd
His scarce-warme blood, and her receipt (infus'd)
His mouth or wound suckt in. His beard and head
Black haire forth-with adornes, the hoary shed.
Pale colour, morphue, meager looks remoue:
And vnder-rising flesh his wrinkles smoothe.
His limbs wax strong and lustie. Aeson much
Admires his change: himselfe remembers such
Twice twenty summers past. With all, indu'd
A youthfull minde: and both at once renew'd.
This wonder from on high Lyaeus45 views
By Colchis46 gift his nurses47 dates renewes.
Least fraud should cease, she, with her bed's Consort
Dissention faines, and flies to Pelias48 Court.
His daughters (for sad Age the King arrests)
Her entertaine. Who soone with sly protests
Of forged loue allures their quick beliefe.
Her many merits mentions, but in chiefe
Of Aesons cure; insisting on that part.
This hope ingenders, that her able Art
Might so their father's vanisht youth restore:
Whom they, with infinite rewards implore.
She, musing, seemes to doubt: and, with pretence
Of difficulty, holds them in suspence.
But when she had a tardy promise made;
To winne your stedfast confidence (she said)
Take from your flocks the most age-shaken Ram;
And suddenly he shall become a Lamb.
Straight thither by the wreathed hornes they drew
A sunk-ey'd Ram; whose youth none liuing knew.
Now, at his riueled throte, out-lanching life
(Whose little blood could hardly staine her knife)
His carkasse she into a caldron throwes:
With it, her drugs. Each limb more slender growes;
He casts his hornes, and with his hornes his yeares:
Anon a tender bleating strikes their eares.
While they admire, out skips a frisking Lamb;
That sports, and seekes the vdder of his dam.
Fixt with amaze: they, strongly now possest,
Her promise more importunately prest.
Thrice Phoebus had vnyok't his panting Steeds,
Drencht in Iberian Seas;49 whilst Night succeeds,
Studded with starres: when false Medea tooke,
With vselesse hearbs, meere water of the brooke.
On Pelias, and his drowsie Guard, she hung
A death-like sleepe with her inchanting tongue.
Whom now the so-instructed sisters led
Into his chamber; and besiege his bed.
Why pause you thus, said she, o slow to good!
Vnsheath your swords, and shed his aged blood;
That I his veines with sprightly juyce may fill:
His life and youth depend vpon your will.
If you haue any virtue, nor pursue
Vnfruitfull hopes, performe this filiall due.
With steele your fathers age expulse, and purge
His dregs through wounds. Their zeale her speeches vrge.
Who were most pious, impious first became:
And, by auoiding, perpetrate the same.
Yet hearts they had not to behold the blow:
But, with auerted lookes, blind wounds bestow.
He, blood-imbrew'd, his hoary head aduanc't:
Halfe-mangled, stroue to rise. Who now intranc't
Amidst so many swords, his armes vp-held;
And, Daughters, cry'd, what doe you! what compel'd
Those cruell hands t' inuade your fathers life!
Downe sunke their handes and hearts. Medea's knife,
His following speech and throte asunder cuts:
And his hackt limbs in seething liquor puts.
And had not Dragons wrapt her through the skies,
Reuenge had tortur'd her. Aloft she flies
Ore shady Pelion. God-like Chirons50 Den,
Aspiring Othrys, hils renoun'd by men
For old Cerambus51 safety: who, by aide
Of fauouring Nymphs, reliefefull wings displaide;
While swallowing waues the waightie earth confound:
And swolne Deucalions surges scap't vndrown'd.
Aeolian Pitane on her left hand leaues;
That marble which the Serpents52 shape receaues;
Idaean groues, where Liber turn'd a Steere
(To cloake his sonnes sly theft) into a Deere;53
The sand-heap which Corytus Sire54 containes;
And where new-barking Mera55 frights the plaines:
Euryphilus towne,56 where hornes the Matrons sham'd57
Of Co, when Hercules the Coans tam'd;
Phoebeian Rhodes,58 Ialysian Telchines,59
Drencht by Ioues vengeance in his brothers seas,
For all transforming with their vitious eyes:
By Caea's60 old Cartheian turrets flyes,
Where fates Alcidamas with wonder moue,
To think his daughter could become a Doue.
Then Hyries lake, Cycneian Tempe61 view'd,
Grac't by a Swan with sudden plumes indu'd.
For Phyllius there, had, at a Boyes command,
Wild birds, and saluage Lyons, brought to hand.
Who bid to tame a Bull, his will perform'd;
Yet at so sterne a loue not seldome storm'd,
And his last purchase to the Boy deny'd.
Pouting, You'1 wish yo' had giu'n him me, he cry'd;
And jumpt from downe-right cliffs. All held him slaine;
When spredding wings a siluer Swan sustaine.
His mother (ignorant thereof) became
A Lake with weeping: which they Hyrie name.
Next Pleuron62 lies; where Ophian Combe63 shuns,
With trembling wings, her life pursuing sonnes.
Then neere Latona-lou'd Calaurea64 rang'd;
In which the King and Queene to birds were chang'd.65
Cyllene66 on the right hand (where that beast
Menephron would his mother67 haue comprest)
Cephisus68 spies (who for his nephew mournd;
Into a Sea-calfe by Apollo turn'd).
Eumelus Court,69 whose daughter sads her Sire,70
With mounting wings. Her Snakes at length retire.
To Piren Ephyr:71 men, if Fame say true,
Here at the first from shower-raysd mushrumps grew,72
But after Colchis73 had the new-wed Dame,74
And Creons Pallace, wraps in Magick flame;
When impious steele her childrens75 blood had shed,
The ill-reueng'd from Iasons fury fled.
Whom now the swift Titanian76 Dragons draw
To Pallas towres.77 Those thee,78 just Phineus, saw;
And thee, old Periphas, together fly:
Where Polyphemons Neece new wings supply.
Aegaeus entertaines her (of his life
The onely staine) and tooke her for his wife.
And now arriues vnknowne Aegaeus seede:
Who great in name had two-sea'd Isthmos79 freed.
Whose vndeserued ruin Phasias80 sought
By mortall Aconite, from Scythia brought.
This from th' Echidnean Dog81 dire essence drawes.
There is a blinde steepe caue82 with foggy jawes,
Through which the bold Tirynthian Heroe83 straind
Drag'd Cerberus, with adamant inchain'd.
Who backward hung, and scouling, lookt a skew
On glorious Day; with anger rabid grew:
Thrice howles, thrice barks at once, with his three heads;
And on the grasse his fomy poyson sheds.
This sprung; attracting from the fruitfull soyle
Dire nourishment, and powre of deathfull spoyle.
The rurall Swaines, because it takes delight
In barren rocks, surnam'd it Aconite.84
Aegaeus, by her sly perswasions wonne;
As to a foe, presents it to his sonne.
He took the cup: when by his iuory hilt85
He both his sonne discouered, and her guilt;
And struck the potion from his lips. With charmes
Ingendring clouds, she scapes his lengthlesse armes.
Though glad of his sonnes safetie, a chill feare
Shooke all his powres, that danger was so neare.
With fire he feed's the Altars, richly feasts
The Gods with gifts. Whole Hecatombs86 of beasts
(Their hornes with ribands wreathed) imbrew the ground.
No day, they say, was euer so renoun'd
Amongst th' Athenians. Noble, vulgar, all,
Together celebrate that Festiuall.
Thus singing, when full bowles their spirits raise:
Great Theseus,87 Marathon resounds thy praise
For slaughter of the Cretan Bull. Secure
They liue, who Cremyons wasted fields manure,
By thy exploit and bounty. Vulcans Seed88
By thee glad Epidaure beheld to bleed.
Saluage Procrustes death Cephisia viewd:
Elusis, Cercyon's. Scinis ill indued
With strength so much abus'd; who beeches bent,
And tortur'd bodies twixt their branches rent,
Thou slew'st. The way which to Alcathoë led
Is now secure, inhumane Scyron dead.
The Earth his scatter'd bones a graue deny'd;
Nor would the Sea his hated reliques hide
Which tossed to and fro, in time became
A solid rock: the rock wee Scyron name.
If wee thy yeares should number with thy acts;
Thy yeares would proue a cypher to thy facts.
Great soule! for thee, as for our publique wealth,
We pray; and quaffe Lyaeus89 to thy health.
The Pallace with the peoples praises rings:
And sacred ioy in euery bosome springs.
Aegaeus yet (no pleasure is compleat:
Griefe twines with ioy.) for Theseus safe receit
Reapes little comfort. Minos threatens war:
Though strong in men and ships, yet stronger far
Through vengeance of a father: who, his harmes
In slaine Androgeus, scourgeth with just armes.
Yet wisely first indeauours forraine aid:
And all the Ilands of that Sea suruaid.
Who Anaphe and Astipalea gaind;
The one by gifts, the other war constraind:
Low Mycone, Cimolus chalkie fields,
High Scyros, Siphnus, which rich metalls yeelds,
Champian Seriphos, Paros far displayd
With marble browes, and Cythnos il-betrayd
By impious Arne90 for yet-loued gold,
Turn'd to a Chough, whom sable plumes infold.
Oliaros, Didymae, the Sea-lou'd soyle
Of Tenos, Peparethos fat with oyle,
Andros, and Gyaros; these their aid deny'd.
The Gnossian fleet from thence their sailes apply'd
Vnto Oenopia, for her children fam'd.
Oenopia by the ancient dwellers nam'd:
But Aeacus, there raigning, call'd the same
Aegina, of his honour'd mothers name.
All throng to see a Prince of so great worth.
Straight Telamon and Peleus, issuing forth,
With Phocus,91 youngest of that royall race,
Make hast to meet him. With a tardie pace
Came aged Aeacus, and askt the cause
Of his repaire. When after some short pause,
With sighs, which his imbosom'd griefe displaid;
The Ruler of the hundred Cities92 said.
Assist our armes, borne for my murdred son;
And in this pious war our fortunes run:
Giue comfort to his graue. The King reply'd:
In vaine you aske what needs must be deny'd.
No Citty is in stricter league then ours
Conjoynd to Athens: mutuall are our powres.
He, parting, said: Your league shall cost you deare.
And held it better far to threat, then beare
An accidentall warre; whereby he might
Consume his force before he came to fight.
Yet might they see the Cretans vnder saile
From high built walls: when, with a leading gale,
The Attick93 ship attain'd their friendly shore:
Which Cephalus, and his embassage, bore.
Th' Aeacides94 him knew (though many a day
Unseene) imbrace, and to the Court conuay.
The goodly Prince, who yet th' impression held
Of those perfections, which in youth excel'd,
Enters the Pallace; bearing in his hand
A branch of Attick Oliue.95 By him stand
Clytus and Butes; valorous and young:
Who from the loynes of high-borne Pallas96 sprung.
First Cephalus his full oration made;
Which shew'd his message, and demanded aid:
Their leagues, and ancient loues to mind recalls;
And how all Greece was threatned in their falls:
With eloquence inforc't his embassie.
When God-like Aeacus made this replie
(His royall scepter shining in his hand)
Athenians, craue not succour, but command:
This Ilands forces yours vouchsafe to call;
For in your ayde I will aduenture all.
Souldiers I haue enough, at once t' oppose
My enimies, and to repell your foes.
The Gods be prais'd and happy times, that will
Beare no excuses. May your Citie still
Increase with people; Cephalus reply'd.
At my approach I not a little joy'd
To meet so many youths of equall yeares,
So fresh and lustie. Yet not one appeares
Of those who heretofore your towne possest;
When first you entertain'd me for a Guest.
Then Aeacus, (in sighs his words ascend)
A sad beginning had a better end.
Would I could vtter all: Day would expire
Ere all were told, and t'would your patience tire.
Their bones, and ashes, silent graues inclose:
And what a treasure perished with those!
By Iuno's wrath, a dreadfull pestilence
Deuour'd our liues: who tooke vnjust offence,
In that this Ile her Riualls97 name profest.
While it seem'd humane, and the cause vnguest;
So long we death-repelling Physick try'd:
But those diseases vanquisht art deride.
Heauen first, the earth with thickned vapors shrouds;
And lazie heat inuolues in sullen clouds.
Foure pallid moones their growing hornes vnite,
And had as oft with-drawne their feeble light;
Yet still the death-producing Auster98 blew.
Sunke springs, and standing lakes infected grew:
Serpents in vntild fields by millions creepe;
And in the streames their tainting poysons steepe.
Doggs, oxen, sheepe, and saluage beasts first dy:
Nor birds can from the swift infection fly.
Sad Swaines, amazed, see their oxen shrink
Beneath the yoke, and in the furrowes sink.
The fleecie flocks with anguish faintly bleat;
Let fall their wooll, and pine away with heat.
The generous Horse that from the Race of late
Return'd with honour, now degenerate,
Vnmindfull of the glory of his prize;
Grones at his manger and there deedlesse dyes.
The Bore forgets his rage: swift feete now faile
The Hart: nor Beares the horned Heard assaile.
All languish. Woods, fields, paths (no longer beare)
Are fild with carkasses, that stench the aire.
Which neither dogs, nor greedy fowle (how much
To be admir'd!) nor hoary wolues would touch.
Falling consume: which deadly Odors bred,
That round about their dire contagion spred.
Now raues among the wretched country Swaines
Now in our large and populous Citty raignes.
At first, their bowels broyle, with feruor stretcht:
The symptomes; rednesse, hot wind hardly fetcht.
Their fur'd tongues swell; their drie jawes gasp for breath;
And with the aire inhale a swifter death.
None could indure or couerture, or bed:
But on the stones their panting bodies spred.
Cold stones could no way mitigate that heat:
Euen they beneath those burning burdens sweat.
None cure attempt: the sterne disease inuades
The heartlesse Leech; nor art her author aids.
The neere ally'd, whose care the sick attends,
Sicken themselues, and dye before their friends.
Of remedy they see no hope at all,
But onely in approching funerall:
All their desires obey: for helpe none care
Help was there none. In shamelesse throngs repaire
To springs and wels: there cleaue in bitter strife
T'extinguish thirst; but first extinguish life.
Nor could th' or'e-charg'd arise; but dying, sink:
And of those tainted waters, others drink.
The wretches lothe their tedious beds; thence breake
With giddy steps. Or, if now growne too weake,
Roule on the floore: there quitted houses hate,
As guilty of their miserable fate;
And, ignorant of the cause, the place accuse
Halfe-Ghosts, they walke, while they their leggs could vse.
You might see others on the earth ly mourning;
Their heauy eyes with dying motion turning:
Stretching their armes to heauen, where euer death
Surpris'd them, parting with their sigh't-out breath.
O what a heart had I ! or ought to haue!
I loth'd my life, and wisht with them a graue.
Which way soeuer I convert my eye,
The breathlesse multitude dispersed lye.
Like perisht apples, dropping with the strokes
Of rocking windes; or acornes from broad okes.
See you yon' Temple, mounted on high staires?
'Tis Iupiters. Who hath not offerd praiers,
And slighted incense there! husbands for wiues;
Fathers for sons: and while they pray, their liues
Before th' inexorable altars vent;
With incense in their hands, halfe yet vnspent!
How oft the oxe, vnto the temple brought,
While yet the Priest the angry Powers besought,
And powr'd pure wine betweene his hornes;99 fell downe
Before the axe had toucht his curled crowne!
To Iupiter about to sacrifice,
For me, my country, sons; with horrid noyse
Th' vnwounded Offring fell; and now the wound
Scarce blood, to wet the knife, that made it, found.
The Inwards100 lost their signes of heauens presage;
Out-razed by the sterne Diseases rage.
The dead before the sacred doores were laid:
Before the Altars too; the Gods t'vpbraid.
Some choke themselues with cords: by death eschue
The feare of death; and instant Fates pursue:
Dead courses without Dues of funerall,
They weakly beare: the ports are now too small.
Or vn-interrd they ly: or else are throwne
On wealthlesse pyles.101 Respect these giue to none.
For Pyles they striue: on those their kinsfolke burne,
That flame for others. None are left to mourne.
Ghosts wander vndeplor'd by sonns or sires:
Nor is there rooms for tombs, or wood for fires.
Astonisht with these tempests of extreames:
O Ioue: said I, if they be more then dreames
That laid thee by Aegina; nor thy ire
Incensed be, that I should call thee sire;
Render me mine, or me afford a graue!
With prosperous102 thunder-claps a signe he gaue.
I take it, said I; let this Omen be
A happy pledge of thy intents to me!
Hard by, a goodly Oake, by fortune, stood,
Sacred to Ioue; of Dodoneian103 wood:
Graine-gathering Ants there, in long files I saw,
Whose little mouthes selfe-greater burthens draw;
Keeping their paths along the rugged rine.
While I admire their number: O diuine,
And euer helpfull! giue to me, said I,
As many men; who may the dead supply.
The trembling oke his lofty top declin'd:
And murmured without a breath of wind.
I shooke with feare: my tresses stood an end:
Yet on the earth and oake I kisses spend.
I durst not seeme to hope, yet hope I did:
And in my brest my cherisht wishes hid.
Night came; and Sleepe care-wasted bodies cheard:
Before my eyes the selfe-same Oke appeard;
So many branches, as before, there were;
So many busie Ants those branches beare;
So shooke the Oke, and with that motion threw
To vnder-earth the graine supporting crue.
Greater and greater straight they seeme to sight:
To raise themselues from earth, and stand vp-right.
Whom numerous feet, black colour, lanknesse leaue:
And instantly a humane shape receiue.
Now sleepe with-drew. My dreame I waking blame:
And on the small-performing Gods exclaime:
Yet heard a mighty noyse; and seem'd t' haue heard
Almost forgotten voyces: yet I feard
That this a dreame was also. Where vpon,
The doore thrust open, in rusht Telamon:
Come forth, said he, O father; and behold
What hope transcends; nor can with faith be told!
Forth went I; and beheld the men which late
My dreame presented: such in euery state
I saw; and knew them. They salute their King.
Ioue prais'd: a party to the towne I bring;
Leaue to the rest the empty fields: and call
Them Myrmidons104 of their originall.
You see their persons: such their manners are
As formerly. A people giuen to spare,
Patient of labour; what they get, preserue.
They, like in yeares and minds, these wars shall serue,
And follow your conduct; when first this wind
(The wind blew Easterly) that was so kind
To bring you hither, will to your auaile
Conuert it selfe into a Southerne gale.
Discourse thus entertain'd the day; with feasts
They crowne the Euening: Sleepe the night possest.
The morning Sun projects his golden rayes:
Still Eurus105 blew; and their departure stayes.
Now Pallas sons106 to Cephalus resort,
And Cephalus, with Pallas sons, to Court,
With early visits: (sleepe the King inchaines.)
Whom Phocus at the entrance entertaines.
For Peleus, with his brother Telamon,
To raise an army were already gone.
Phocus meanewhile into an inward roome,
Of faire receipt, th' Athenians led: with whom
They seated first, he sits: His fancy fed
Vpon the Iauelin with the Golden head
Held by Aeolides:107 of what tree made
Being ignorant; some speeches past, he said:
I haunt the desart woods; delight in blood
Of saluage beasts; yet know not of what wood
Your dart consists: For if of Ash it were
'Twould looke more browne; if Cornel, 'twould appeare
More knotty: on what tree so 'ere it grew,
My eyes so faire a dart did neuer view.
One of th' Actaean brethren108 made reply:
You would more wonder at the quality.
It hits the aim'd at not by fortune led;
And of it selfe returnes with slaughter red.
Phocus the cause desireth much to know:
From whence it came; and who did it bestow.
He yeelds to his request; yet things well knowne,
Restrain'd by modesty, he lets alone.
Who toucht with sorrow for his wife, that bleeds
In his remembrance; thus with teares proceeds.
This Dart, o Goddes-borne,109 prouokes these teares:
And euer would, if endlesse were my yeares.
This me, in my vnhappy wife, destroyd:
This gift I would I neuer had inioyd!
Procris Orithya's sister was; if Fame
Haue more inform'd you of Orithya's name.
Yet she (should you their mindes and formes confer)
More worth the rape.110 Erechtheus,111 mee to her,
And loue, vnite. Then happy! happy, I
Might yet haue beene. But o, the Gods enuy!
Two months were now consum'd in chast delight:
When gray Aurora, hauing vanquisht Night,
Beheld me on the euer-fragrant hill
Of steepe Hymettus:112 and, against my will,
As I my toyles extended, bare me thence.
I may the truth declare without offence:
Though rosie be her cheeks; although she sway
The deawy Confines of the night and Day,
And Nectar drinke; my Procris all possest:
My heart was hers; my tongue her praise profest.
I told her of our holy nuptiall ties;
Of wedlocks breach; and yet scarce tasted joyes.
Fire-red, she said; thy harsh complaints forbeare
Possesse thy Procris. Though so faire, so deare;
Thou'lt wish th' hadst neuer knowne her, if I know
Insuing fate: and angry, lets me goe.
Her words I ponderd as I went along:
Began to doubt she might my honour wrong.
Her youth and beauty tempt me to distrust:
Her vertue checks those feares, as most vnjust.
But I was absent: but example113 fed
My jealousie: but louers all things dread.
I seeke my sorrowes; and with gifts intend
To tempt the chaste. Aurora proues a friend
To this suspition; and my forme translates.
Vnknowne, I enter the Athenian gates;
And then my owne. The house from blame was free:
In decent order, and perplext for me.
Scarce with a thousand sleights I gaind a view:
Viewd with astonishment, I scarce pursue
My first intent: scarce could I then forbeare
Due kisses; scarce not what I was appeare.
She still was sad: yet louelier none then she,
Euen in that sadness: sorrowfull for me.
How excellent, ô Phocus, was that face,
Which could in griefe retaine so sweete a grace?
What need I tell how often I assaild
Her vexed chastity! how often faild!
How often said she! One I only serue:
For him, where euer, I my bed preserue.
What mad man would such faith haue farther prest,
But I? industrious to my owne vnrest.
With feruent vows, and gifts still multiply'd,
At length she wauers. False of faith, I cry'd,
Thou art disclos'd: I, no adulterer,
But thy wrong'd spouse: nor can this tryall erre.
She made no answer, press with silent shame.
Th' vnhappy house, and me, far more in blame,
Forsaking; man-kind for my sake eschewes:
And Dian-like the mountayne chace pursues.
Abandon'd hotter flames my blood incense.
I pardon beg'd, confessing my offence:
And said, Aurora might haue me subdu'd
With such inticements) had but she so wood.
My fault confest, her wrong reuenged, wee
Grow reconcil'd; and happily agree.
Besides her selfe, as though that gift were small,
A Dog shee gaue: which Cynthia114 giuing; All,
Said she, surpasse in swiftness: and this Speare
You so commend, which in my hand I beare.
Doe you the fortune of the first inquire?
Receiue a wonder: and the fact admire.
Dark prophesies, not vnderstood of old,
The Naiades115 with searching wits vnfold.
When sacred Themis,116 in that so obscure,
Neglected grew. Nor could she this indure.
A cruell Beast infests th' Aonian plaines;117
To many fatall: fear'd by country Swaines,
Both for their cattle, and themselues. I met
The neighbouring youth, our toyles the fields beset.
He nimbly skips aboue the vpper lines
And mounting ouer, frustrats our designes.
The dogs vncouple, from them all he springs
With no lesse speed, then if supply'd by wings
All bid me let my Laelaps slip (for so
My dog was called) who strugling long agoe,
Halfe-throtled, straind the leash. No sooner gone,
Then out of sight; his foot-steps left vpon
The burning sand: who vanisht from our eyes
As swiftly as a well-driu'n jauelin flyes;
Or as a singing pellet from a sling;
Or as an arrow from a Cretan string.118
I mount a hill which ouer-topt the place,
From thence beholding this admired chace.
The beast now pincht appeares, now shuns by slight
His catching jawes. Nor (crafty) runs out-right;
Nor trusts his heeles: with nimble turnings shunning
His vrgent foe; cast back by ouer-running.
Who prest, what only might in speed compare;
Appeares to catch th' vncaught; and mouthes the aire.
My dart I take to aid: which, while I shooke,
And on the thong direct my hastie looke
To fit my fingers: looking vp againe,
I saw two marble statues on the plaine.
Had you these seene, you could not choose but say
That this appeard to run, and that to bay.
That neither should each other ouer-goe
The Gods decree'd: if Gods descend so low.
Thus he: here paus'd. Then Phocus; Pray' vnfold
Your darts offence. Which Cephalus thus told.
Ioy griefe fore-runs: that joy we first recite.
For ô, those times I mention with delight,
When youth and Hymen119 crown'd our happy life:
She, in her husband blest; I in my wife.
In both one care, and one affection moues.
She would not haue, exchang'd my bed for Ioues;
Nor Venus could haue tempted my desire:
Our bosomes flam'd with such an equall fire.
When Sol120 had rais'd his beames aboue the floods;
My custome was to trace the leauy woods.
Arm'd with this dart, I solitary went,
Without horse, huntsmen, toyles, or dogs of sent.
Much kild; I to the cooler shades repaire
And where the vallie breathes a fresher aire.
Coole aire I seeke, while all with feruor gloes:
Coole aire expect, the cause of my repose.
Come aire, I vse to sing, relieue th' opprest;
Come, ô most welcome, glide into my brest:
Now quench, as erst, in me this scalding heat.
By chance I other blandishments repeat;
(So Fates inforce) as, ô my soules delight!
By thee I am fed and chear'd: thy sweets excite
My affections to these woods: so may thy breath
Still mix with mine, and so preserue from death!
A busie eare these doubtfull speeches caught:
Who oft-nam'd aire some much-lou'd Dryad121 thought:
And told to Procris, with a leuder tongue,
His false surmises; with the song I sung.
Loue is too credulous. With griefe she faints;
And scarce reuiuing, bursts into complaints:
My spotlesse faith with furie execrates:
Woe's me, she cryes, produc't to cruell fates!
Transported with imaginary blame,
What is not, feares: an vnsubstantiall name.
Yet grieues (poore soule!) as if in truth abus'd:
Yet often doubts; and her distrust accus'd.
Now holds the information for a lye
Nor will trust other witnesse then her eye.
Aurora re-inthron'd th' insuing Day:
I hunt, and speede. As on the grasse I lay,
Come Aire, sayd I, my tyred spirits cheare.
At this an vnknowne sigh inuades my eare.
Yet I; O come, before all joyes preferd.
I then among the leaues a rustling heard,
And threw my dart; supposing it some beast:
But ô, 'twas Procris! wounded on the brest,
She shreekt, ay me! Her voyce to well I knew:
And thither, with my griefe distracted, flew.
Halfe dead, all blood-imbru'd, my wife I found:
Her gift (alas!) extracting from her wound.
I rais'd her body, then my owne more deare:
To bind her wounds my lighter garment teare;
And striue to stench the blood. O pitty take,
Said I, nor thus a guilty soule forsake!
She, weake, and now a dying, thus replies
(Her last of speech) By all our nuptiall ties;
By heauen-imbowred Gods; by those belowe,
To whose infernall monarchy I goe:
By that, if euer I deserued well;
By this ill-fated loue, for which I fell,
Yet now in death most constantly retaine;
O, let not Ayre our chaster bed prophane.
This said; I show'd, and she perceiued how
That error grew: but what auail'd it now?
She sinks; her blood along her spirits tooke:
Who lookes on me as long as shee could looke.
My lips her soule receiue, with her last breath:
Who, now resolued, sweetly smiles in death.
The weeping Heroe told this tragedy
To those that wept as fast. The King122 drew nye
And his two sons,123 with well-arm'd Regiments,
New-rais'd; which he to Cephalus presents.