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THE ARGUMENT OF THE FOURTH SESTYAD

Hero, in sacred habit deckt,
Doth private sacrifice effect.
Her Skarfs description wrought byfate,
Ostents, that threaten her estate.
The strange, yet Phisicall events,
Leanders counterfeit presents.
In thunder, Ciprides descends,
Presaging both the lovers ends.
Ecte the Goddesse of remorce,
With vocall and articulate force
Inspires Leucote, Venus swan,
T'excuse the beautious Sestian.
Venus, to wreake her rites abuses,
Creates the monster Eronusis;
Enflaming Heros Sacrifice,
With lightning darted from her eyes:
And thereof springs the painted beast,
That ever since taints every breast.

Now from Leanders place she rose, and found
Her haire and rent robe scattred on the ground:
Which taking up, she every peece did lay
Upon an Altar; where in youth of day
She usde t'exhibite private Sacrifice:
Those would she offer to the Deities
Of her faire Goddesse, and her powerfull son,
As relicks of her late-felt passion:
And in that holy sort she vowd to end them,
In hope her violent fancies that did rend them,
Would as quite fade in her loves holy fire,
As they should in the flames she ment t'inspire.
Then put she on all her religious weedes,
That deckt her in her secret sacred deedes:
A crowne of Isickles, that sunne nor fire
Could ever melt, and figur'd chast desire.
A golden star shinde in her naked breast,
In honour of the Queene-light of the East.
In her right hand she held a silver wand,
On whose bright top Peristera did stand,
Who was a Nymph, but now transformd a Dove,
And in her life was deare in Venus love:
And for her sake she ever since that time,
Chusde Doves to draw her Coach through heavens blew clime.
Her plentious haire in curled billowes swims
On her bright shoulder: her harmonious lims
Sustainde no more but a most subtile vaile
That hung on them, as it durst not assaile
Their different concord: for the weakest ayre
Could raise it swelling from her bewties fayre:
Nor did it cover, but adumbrate onelie
Her most heart-piercing parts, that a blest eie
Might see (as it did shadow) fearfullie,
All that all-love-deserving Paradise:
It was as blew as the most freezing skies,
Neere the Seas hew, for thence her Goddesse came:
On it a skarfe she wore of wondrous frame;
In midst whereof she wrought a virgins face,
From whose each cheeke a fine blush did chace
Two crimson flames, that did two waies extend,
Spreading the ample skarfe to either end,
Which figur'd the division of her minde,
Whiles yet she rested bashfully inclinde,
And stood not resolute to wed Leander.
This serv'd her white neck for a purple sphere,
And cast it selfe at full breadth downe her back.
There (since the first breath that begun the wrack
of her free quiet from Leanders lips)
She wrought a Sea in one flame full of ships:
But that one ship where all her wealth did passe
(Like simple marchants goods) Leander was:
For in that Sea she naked figured him;
Her diving needle taught him how to swim,
And to each thred did such resemblance give,
For joy to be so like him, it did live.
“Things senceles live by art, and rationall die,”
“By rude contempt of art and industrie.”
Scarce could she work, but in her strength of thought
She feard she prickt Leander as she wrought:
And oft would shrieke so, that her Guardian frighted,
Would staring haste, as with some mischiefe cited.
“They double life that dead things griefs sustayne:”
“They kill that feele not their friends living payne.”
Sometimes she feard he sought her infamie,
And then as she was working of his eie,
She thought to pricke it out to quench her ill:
But as she prickt, it grew more perfect still.
“Trifling attempts no serious acts advance;”
“The fire of love is blowne by dalliance.”
In working his fayre neck she did so grace it,
She still was working her owne armes t'imbrace it:
That, and his shoulders, and his hands were seene
Above the streame, and with a pure Sea greene
She did so queintly shadow every lim,
All might be seene beneath the waves to swim.

In this conceited skarfe she wrought beside
A Moone in change, and shooting stars did glide
In number after her with bloodie beames,
Which figur'd her affects in their extreames,
Pursiung Nature in her Cynthian bodie,
And did her thoughts running on change implie:
For maids take more delights when they prepare
And thinke of wives states, than when wives they are.
Beneath all these she wrought a Fisherman,
Drawing his nets from forth that Ocean;
Who drew so hard ye might discover well,
The toughned sinewes in his neck did swell:
His inward straines drave out his blood-shot eyes,
And springs of sweat did in his forehead rise:
Yet was of nought but of a Serpent sped,
That in his bosome flew and stung him dead.
And this by fate into her minde was sent,
Not wrought by meere instinct of her intent.
At the skarfs other end her hand did frame,
Neere the forkt point of the devided flame,
A countrie virgin keeping of a Vine,
Who did of hollow bulrushes combine
Snares for the stubble-loving Grashopper,
And by her lay her skrip that nourisht her.
Within a myrtle shade she sate and sung,
And tufts of waving reedes about her sprung:
Where lurkt two Foxes, that while she applide
Her trifling snares, their theeveries did devide:
One to the vine, another to her skrip,
That she did negligently overslip:
By which her fruitfull vine and holesome fare,
She suffred spoyld to make a childish snare.
These omenous fancies did her soule expresse,
And every finger made a Prophetesse,
To shew what death was hid in loves disguise,
And make her judgement conquer destinies.
O what sweet formes fayre Ladies soules doe shrowd,
Were they made seene and forced through their blood,
If through their beauties like rich work through lawn,
They would set forth their minds with vertues drawn,
In letting graces from their fingers flie,
To still their yas thoughts with industrie:
That their plied wits in numbred silks might sing
Passions huge conquest, and their needels leading
Affection prisoner through their own-built citties,
Pinniond with stories and Arachnean ditties.

Proceed we now with Heros sacrifice;
She odours burnd, and from their smoke did rise
Unsavorie fumes, that ayre with plagues inspired,
And then the consecrated sticks she fired.
On whose pale flame an angrie spirit flew,
And beate it downe still as it upward grew.
The virgin Tapers that on th'altar stood,
When she inflam'd them burnd as red as blood:
All sad ostents of that too neere successe,
That made such moving beauties motionlesse.
Then Hero wept; but her affrighted eyes
She quickly wrested from the sacrifice:
Shut them, and inwards for Leander lookt,
Searcht her soft bosome, and from thence she pluckt
His lovely picture: which when she had viewd,
Her beauties were with all loves joyes renewd.
The odors sweetned, and the fires burnd deere,
Leanders forme left no ill object there.
Such was his beautie that the force of light,
Whose knowledge teacheth wonders infinite,
The strength of number and proportion,
Nature had plaste in it to make it knowne
Art was her daughter, and what humane wits
For studie lost, intombd in drossie spirits.
After this accident (which for her glorie
Hero could not but make a historie)
Th'inhabitants of Sestus, and Abydus,
Did every yeare with feasts propitious,
To faire Leanders picture sacrifice,
And they were persons of especiall prize
That were allowd it, as an Ornament
T'inrich their houses; for the continent
of the strange vertues all approv'd it held:
For even the very looke of it repeld
All blastings, witchcrafts, and the strifes of nature
In those diseases that no hearbs could cure.
The woolfie sting of Avarice it would pull,
And make the rankest miser bountifull.
It kild the feare of thunder and of death;
The discords that conceits ingendereth
Twixt man and wife, it for the time would cease:
The flames of love it quencht, and would increase:
Held in a princes hand it would put out
The dreadfulst Comet: it would ease all doubt
of threatned mischiefes: it would bring asleepe
Such as were mad: it would enforce to weepe
Most barbarous eyes: and many more effects
This picture wrought, and sprung Leandrian sects,
Of which was Hero first: For he whose forme
(Held in her hand) cleerd such a fatall storme,
From hell she thought his person would defend her,
Which night and Hellespont would quickly send her.
With this confirmd, she vowd to banish quite
All thought of any check to her delite:
And in contempt of sillie bashfulnes,
She would the faith of her desires professe:
Where her Religion should be Policie,
To follow love with zeale her pietie:
Her chamber her Cathedrall Church should be,
And her Leander her chiefe Deitie.
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 hart
Did greatest hold in her selfe greatest part,
That she did make her god; and t'was lesse nought
To leave gods in profession and in thought,
Than in her love and life: for therein lies
Most of her duties, and their dignities.
And raile the brain-bald world at what it will;
Thats the grand Atheisme that raignes in it still.
Yet singularitie she would use no more,
For she was singular too much before:
But she would please the world with fayre pretext;
Love would not leave her conscience perplext.
Great men that will have lesse doe for them, still
Must beare them out though th'acts be nere so ill.
Meannes must Pandar be to Excellence,
Pleasure attones Falshood and Conscience:
Dissembling was the worst (thought Hero then)
And that was best now she must live with men.
O vertuous love that taught her to doe best,
When she did worst, and when she thought it lest.
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 Joves thunder hold;
And need not feare those menaces of error,
Which she at others threw with greatest terror.
O lovely Hero, nothing is thy sin,
Wayd with those foule faults other Priests are in;
That having neither faiths, nor works, nor bewties,
T'engender any scuse for slubberd duties;
With as much countnance fill their holie chayres,
And sweat denouncements gainst prophane affayres,
As if their lives were cut out by their places,
And they the only fathers of the Graces.

Now as with setled minde she did repaire,
Her thoughts to sacrifice her ravisht haire,
And her torne robe which on the altar lay,
And only for Religions 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'ayrie Sphere,
Discending now to chide with Hero here:
When suddenly the Goddesse waggoners,
The Swans and Turtles that in coupled pheres,
Through all worlds bosoms draw her influence,
Lighted in Heros window, and from thence
To her fayre shoulders flew the gentle Doves,
Gracefull Aedone that sweet pleasure loves,
And ruffoot Chreste with the tufted crowne,
Both which did kisse her, though their Goddes frowne.
The Swans did in the solid flood, her glasse,
Proyne their fayre plumes; of which the fairest was
Jove- lov'd Leucote, thatpure brightnes is;
The other bountie-loving Dapsilis.
All were in heaven, now they with Hero were:
But Venus lookes brought wrath, and urged feare.
Her robe was skarlet, black her heads attire,
And through her naked breast shinde streames of fire,
As when the rarefied ayre is driven
In flashing streames, and opes the darkned heaven.
In her white hand a wreath of yew she bore,
And breaking th'icie wreath sweet Hero wore,
She forst about her browes her wreath of yew,
And sayd; now minion to thy fate be trew,
Though not to me, indure what this portends;
Begin where lightnes will, in shame it ends.
Love makes thee cunning; thou art currant now,
By being counterfeit: thy broken vow,
Deceit with her pide garters must rejoyne,
And with her stampe thou countnances must coyne,
Coynes, and pure deceits for purities:
And still a mayd wilt seeme in cosoned eies,
And have an antike face to laugh within,
While thy smooth lookes make men digest thy sin.
But since thy lips (lest thought forsworne) forswore,
Be never virgins vow worth trusting more.

When Beauties dearest did her Goddesse heare
Breathe such rebukes gainst that she could not cleare;
Dumbe sorrow spake alowd in teares, and blood
That from her griefe-burst vaines in piteous flood,
From the sweet conduits of her favor fell:
The gentle Turtles did with moanes make swell
Their shining gorges: the white black-eyde Swans
Did sing as woflill Epicedians,
As they would straightwaies dye: when pities Queene
The Goddesse Ecte, that had ever beene
Hid in a watrie clowde neere Heros cries,
Since the first instant of her broken eies,
Gave bright Leucote voyce, and made her speake,
To ease her anguish, whose swolne breast did breake
With anger at her Goddesse, that did touch
Hero so neere for that she usde so much.
And thrusting her white neck at Venus, sayd;
Why may not amorous Hero seeme a mayd,
Though she be none, as well as you suppresse
In modest cheekes your inward wantonnesse?
How often have wee drawne you from above,
T'exchange with mortals, rites for rites in love?
Why in your preist then call you that offence
That shines in you, and is your influence?
With this the furies stopt Leucotes lips,
Enjoynd by Venus; who with Rosie whips
Beate the kind Bird. Fierce lightning from her eyes
Did set on fire faire Heros sacrifice,
Which was her torne robe, and inforced hayre;
And the bright flame became a mayd most faire
For her aspect: her tresses were of wire,
Knit like a net, where harts all set on fire,
Strugled in pants and could not get releast:
Her armes were all with golden pincers drest,
And twentie fashiond knots, pullies, and brakes,
And all her bodie girdled with painted Snakes.
Her doune parts in a Scorpions taile combinde,
Freckled with twentie colours; pyed wings shinde
Out of her shoulders; Cloth had never die,
Nor sweeter colours never viewed eie,
In scorching Turkie, Cares, Tartarie,
Than shinde about this spirit notorious;
Nor was Arachnes 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 Heros sight, and at her Chariot drew
This wondrous creature to so steepe a height,
That all the world she might command with sleight
of her gay wings: and then she bad her hast,
Since Hero had dissembled, and disgrast
Her rites so much, and every breast infect
With her deceits; she made her Architect
Of all dissimulation, and since then
Never was any trust in maides nor men.

O it spighted,
Fayre Venus hart to see her most delighted,
And one she chusde for temper of her minde,
To be the only ruler of her kinde,
So soone to let her virgin race be ended:
Not simply for the fault a whit offended;
But that in strife for chastnes with the Moone,
Spitefull Diana bad her shew but one,
That was her servant vowd, and liv'd a mayd,
And now she thought to answer that upbrayd,
Hero had lost her answer; who knowes not
Venus would seeme as farre from any spot
Of light demeanour, as the very skin
Twixt Cynthias browes; Sin is asham'd of Sin.
Up Venus flew, and scarce durst up for feare
Of Phoebes laughter, when she past her Sphere:
And so most ugly clowded was the light,
That day was hid in day; night came ere night,
And Venus could not through the thick ayre pierce,
Till the dales king, god of undanted verse,
Because she was so plentifull a theame,
To such as wore his Lawrell Anademe:
Like to a fine bullet made descent,
And from her passage those fat vapours rent,
That being not throughly rarefide to raine,
Melted like pitch as blew as any vaine,
And scalding tempests made the earth to shrinke
Under their fervor, and the world did thinke
In every drop a torturing Spirit flew,
It pierst so deeply, and it burnd so blew.

Betwixt all this and Hero, Hero held
Leanders picture as a Persean shield:
And she was free from feare of worst successe;
The more ill threats us, we suspect the lesse;
As we grow haples, violence subtle growes,
Dumb, deafe, and blind, and comes when no man knowes.
The end of the fourth Sestyad.


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