THE ARGUMENT OF THE SIXT SESTYAD.Leucote flyes to all the windes,
And from the fates their outrage bindes,
That Hero and her love may meete.
Leander (with Loves compleate Fleete
Mand in himselfe) puts forth to Seas,
When straight the ruthles Destinies,
With Ate stirre the windes to warre
Upon the Hellespont: Their jarre
Drownes poore Leander. Heros eyes
Wet witnesses of his surprise,
Her Torch blowne out. Griefe casts her downe
Upon her love, and both doth drowne.
In whose just ruth the God of Seas
Transformes 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 brests,
Visions and Dreames lay sucking: all mens rests
Fell like the mists of death upon their eyes,
Dayes too long darts so kild their faculties.
The windes yet, like the flowrs to cease began:
For bright Leucote, Venus whitest Swan,
That held sweet Hero deare, spread her fayre wings,
Like to a field of snow, and message brings
From Venus to the Fates, t'entreate them lay
Their charge upon the windes their rage to stay,
That the sterne battaile of the Seas might cease,
And guard Leander to his love in peace.
The Fates consent, (aye me dissembling Fates)
They shewd their favours to conceale their hates,
And draw Leander on, least Seas too hie
Should stay his too obsequious destinie:
Who like a fleering slavish Parasite,
In warping profit or a traiterous sleight,
Hoopes round his rotten bodie with devotes,
And pricks his descant face full of false notes,
Praysing with open throte (and othes as fowle
As his false heart) the beautie of an Owle,
Kissing his skipping hand with charmed skips,
That cannot leave, but leapes upon his lips
Like a cock-sparrow, or a shameles queane
Sharpe at a red-lipt youth, and nought doth meane
Of all his antick shewes, but doth repayre
More tender fawnes, and takes a scattred hayre
From his tame subjects shoulder; whips, and cals
For every thing he lacks; creepes gainst the wals
With backward humblesse, to give needles way:
Thus his false fate did with Leander play.
First to black Eurus flies the white Leucote,
Borne mongst the Negros in the Levant Sea,
On whose curld head the glowing Sun doth rise,
And shewes the soveraigne will of Destinies,
To have him cease his blasts, and downe he lies.
Next, to the fennie Notus, course she holds,
And found him leaning with his armes in folds
Upon a rock, his white hayre full of showres,
And him she chargeth by the fatall powres,
To hold in his wet cheekes his clowdie voyce.
To Zephire then that doth in flowres rejoyce.
To snake-foote Boreas next she did remove,
And found him tossing of his ravisht love,
To heate his frostie bosome hid in snow,
Who with Leucotes sight did cease to blow.
Thus all were still to Heros harts desire,
Who with all speede did consecrate a fire
Of flaming Gummes, and comfortable Spice,
To light her Torch, which in such curious price
She held, being object to Leanders sight,
That nought but fires perfilm'd must give it light.
She lov'd it so, she griev'd to see it burne,
Since it would waste and soone to ashes turne:
Yet if it burnd not, twere not worth her eyes,
What made it nothing, gave it all the prize.
Sweet Torch, true Glasse of our societie;
What man does good, but he consumes thereby?
But thou wert lov'd for good, held high, given show:
Poore vertue loth'd for good, obscur'd, held low.
Doe good, be pinde; be deedles good, disgrast:
Unles we feede on men, we let them fast.
Yet Hero with these thoughts her Torch did spend.
When Bees makes waxe, Nature doth not intend
It shall be made a Torch: but we that know
The proper vertue of it make it so,
And when t'is made we light it: nor did Nature
Propose one life to maids, but each such creature
Makes by her soule the best of her free state,
Which without love is rude, disconsolate,
And wants Loves fire to make it milde and bright,
Till when, maids are but Torches wanting light.
Thus gainst our griefe, not cause of griefe we fight,
The right of nought is gleande, but the delight.
Up went she, but to tell how she descended,
Would God she were not dead, or my verse ended.
She was the rule of wishes, summe and end
For all the parts that did on love depend:
Yet cast the Torch his brightues further forth;
But what shines neerest best, holds truest worth.
Leander did not through such tempests swim
To kisse the Torch, although it lighted him:
But all his powres in her desires awaked,
Her love and vertues cloth'd him richly naked.
Men kisse but fire that only shewes pursue,
Her Torch and Hero, figure shew, and vertue.
Now at opposde Abydus nought was heard,
But bleating flocks, and many a bellowing herd,
Slaine for the Nuptials, cracks of falling woods,
Blowes of broad axes, powrings out of floods.
The guiltie Hellespont was mixt and stainde
With bloodie Torrents, that the shambles raind;
Not arguments of feast, but shewes that bled,
Foretelling that red night that followed.
More blood was spilt, more honors were addrest,
Then could have graced any happie feast.
Rich banquets, triumphs, every pomp employes
His sumptuous hand: no misers nuptiall joyes.
Ayre felt continuall thunder with the noyse,
Made in the generall manage violence.
And no man knew the cause of this expence,
But the two haples Lords, Leanders Sire,
And poore Leander, poorest where the fire
Of credulous love made him most rich surmisde.
As short was he of that himselfe he prisde,
As is an emptie Gallant full of forme,
That thinks each looke an act, each drop a storme,
That fals from his brave breathings; most brought up
In our Metropolis, and hath his cup
Brought after him to feasts; and much Palme beares,
For his rare judgement in th'attire he weares;
Hath seene the hot Low Countries, not their heat,
Observes their rampires and their buildings yet.
And for your sweet discourse with mouthes is heard
Giving instructions with his very beard.
Hath gone with an Ambassadour, and been
A great mans mate in travailing, even to Rhene,
And then puts all his worth in such a face,
As he saw brave men make, and strives for grace
To get his newes forth; as when you descrie
A ship with all her sayle contends to flie
Out of the narrow Thames with windes unapt,
Now crosseth here, then there, then this way rapt,
And then hath one point reacht; then alters all,
And to another crooked reach doth fall
Of halfe a burdbolts shoote; keeping more coyle,
Then if she danst upon the Oceans toyle:
So serious is his trifling companie,
In all his swelling ship of vacantrie.
And so short of himselfe in his high thought,
Was our Leander in his fortunes brought,
And in his fort of love that he thought won.
But otherwise he skornes comparison.
O sweet Leander, thy large worth I hide
In a short grave; ill favourd stormes must chide
Thy sacred favour; I, in floods of inck
Must drowne thy graces, which white papers drink,
Even as thy beauties did the foule black Seas:
I must describe the hell of thy disease,
That heaven did merit: yet I needes must see
Our painted fooles and cockhorse Pessantrie
Still still usurp, with long lives, loves, and lust,
The seates of vertue, cutting short as dust
Her deare bought issue; ill, to worse converts,
And tramples in the blood of all deserts.
Night close and silent now goes fast before
The Captaines and their souldiers to the shore,
On whom attended the appointed Fleete
At Sestus Bay, that should Leander meete.
Who fainde he in another ship would passe:
Which must not be, for no one meane there was
To get his love home, but the course he tooke.
Forth did his beautie for his beautie looke,
And saw her through her Torch, as you beholde
Sometimes within the Sunne, a face of golde,
Form'd in strong thoughts, by that traditions force,
That saies a God sits there and guides his course.
His sister was with him, to whom he shewd
His guide by Sea: and sayd; Oft have you viewd
In one heaven many starres, but never yet
In one starre many heavens till now were met.
See lovely sister, see, now Hero shines
No heaven but her appeares: each star repines,
And all are clad in clowdes, as if they mournd,
To be by influence of Earth out-burnd.
Yet doth she shine, and teacheth vertues traine,
Still to be constant in Hels blackest raigne:
Though even the gods themselves do so entreat them
As they did hate, and Earth as she would eate them.
Off went his silken robe, and in he leapt;
Whom the kinde waves so licorously cleapt,
Thickning for haste one in another so,
To kisse his skin, that he might almost go
To Heros Towre, had that kind minuit lasted.
But now the cruell fates with Ate hasted
To all the windes, and made them battaile fight
Upon the Hellespont, for eithers right
Pretended to the windie monarchie.
And forth they brake, the Seas mixt with the side,
And tost distrest Leander, being in hell,
As high as heaven; Blisse not in height doth dwell.
The Destinies sate dancing on the waves,
To see the glorious windes with mutuall braves
Consume each other: O true glasse to see,
How ruinous ambitious Statists bee
To their owne glories! Poore Leander cried
For help to Sea-borne Venus; she denied:
To Boreas, that for his Atthoeas sake,
He would some pittie on his Hero take,
And for his owne loves sake, on his desires:
But Glorie never blowes cold Pitties fires.
Then calde he Neptune, who through all the noise,
Knew with affright his wrackt Leanders voice:
And up he rose, for haste his forehead hit
Gainst heavens hard Christall; his proud waves he smit
With his forkt scepter, that could not obay,
Much greater powers then Neptunes gave them sway.
They lov'd Leander so, in groanes they brake
When they came neere him; and such space did take
Twixt one another, loth to issue on,
That in their shallow furrowes earth was shone,
And the poore lover tooke a little breath:
But the curst Fates sate spinning of his death
On every wave, and with the servile windes
Tumbled them on him: And now Hero findes
By that she felt, her deare Leanders state.
She wept and prayed for him to every fate,
And every winde that whipt her with her haire
About the face, she kist and spake it faire,
Kneeld to it, gave it drinke out of her eyes
To quench his thirst: but still their cruelties
Even her poore Torch envied, and rudely beate
The bating flame from that deare foode it eate:
Deare, for it nourisht her Leanders life,
Which with her robe she rescude from their strife:
But silke too soft was, such hard hearts to breake,
And she deare soule, even as her silke, faint, weake,
Could not preserve it: out, O out it went.
Leander still cald Neptune, that now rent
His brackish curles, and tore his wrinckled face
Where teares in billowes did each other chace,
And (burst with ruth) he hurld his marble Mace
At the sterne Fates: it wounded Lachesis
That drew Leanders thread, and could not misse
The thread it selfe, as it her hand did hit,
But smote it full and quite did sunder it.
The more kinde Neptune rag'd, the more he raste
His loves lives fort, and kild as he embraste.
Anger doth still his owne mishap encrease;
If any comfort live, it is in peace.
O theevish Fates, to let Blood, Flesh, and Sence
Build two fayre Temples for their Excellence,
To rob it with a poysoned influence.
Though soules gifts starve, the bodies are held dear
In ugliest things; Sence-sport preserves a Beare.
But here nought serves our turnes; O heaven and earth,
How most most wretched is our humane birth?
And now did all the tyrannous crew depart,
Knowing there was a storme in Heros hart,
Greater then they could make, and skornd their smart.
She bowd her selfe so low out of her Towre,
That wonder twas she fell not ere her howre,
With searching the lamenting waves for him;
Like a poore Snayle, her gentle supple lim
Hung on her Turrets top so most downe right,
As she would dive beneath the darknes quite,
To finde her Jewell; Jewell, her Leander,
A name of all earths Jewels pleasde not her,
Like his deare name: Leander, still my choice,
Come nought but my Leander; O my voice
Turne to Leander: hence-forth be all sounds,
Accents, and phrases that shew all griefes wounds,
Analisde in Leander. O black change!
Trumpets doe you with thunder of your clange,
Drive out this changes horror, my voyce faints:
Where all joy was, now shrieke out all complaints.
Thus cryed she, for her mixed soule could tell
Her love was dead: And when the morning fell
Prostrate upon the weeping earth for woe,
Blushes that bled out of her cheekes did show,
Leander brought by Neptune, brusde and torne
With Citties ruines he to Rocks had worne,
To filthie usering Rocks that would have blood,
Though they could get of him no other good.
She saw him, and the sight was much much more,
Then might have serv'd to kill her; should her store
Of giant sorrowes speake? Burst, dye, bleede,
And leave poore plaints to us that shall succeede.
She fell on her loves bosome, hugg'd it fast,
And with Leanders name she breath'd her last.
Neptune for pittie in his armes did take them,
Flung them into the ayre, and did awake them
Like two sweet birds surnam'd th'Acanthides,
Which we call Thistle-warps, that neere no Seas
Dare ever come, but still in couples flie,
And feede on Thistle tops, to testifie
The hardnes of their first life in their last:
The first in thornes of love, and sorrowes past.
And so most beautifull their colours show,
As none (so little) like them: her sad brow
A sable velvet feather covers quite,
Even like the forehead cloths that in the night,
Or when they sorrow, Ladies use to weare:
Their wings blew, red and yellow mixt appeare,
Colours, that as we construe colours paint
Their states to life; the yellow shewes their saint,
The devill Venus, left them; blew their truth,
The red and black, ensignes of death and ruth.
And this true honor from their love-deaths sprung,
They were the first that ever Poet sung.