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There is a certaine place in which the hidious Scorpion throwes
His armes in compasse far abrode, much like a couple of bowes,
With writhen tayle and clasping cles, whose poyson limmes doe stretch
On every side, that of two signes they full the roume doe retch,
Whome when the Lad beheld all moyst with blacke and lothly swet,
With sharpe and nedlepointed sting as though he seemde to thret,
He was so sore astraught for feare, he let the bridels slacke,
Which when the horses felt lie lose upon their sweating backe,
At rovers straight throughout the Ayre by wayes unknowne they ran
Whereas they never came before since that the worlde began.
For looke what way their lawlesse rage by chaunce and fortune drue
Without controlment or restraint that way they freely flue
Among the starres that fixed are within the firmament
They snatcht the Chariot here and there. One while they coursing went
Upon the top of all the skie: anon againe full round
They troll me downe to lower wayes and nearer to the ground,
So that the Moone was in a Maze to see hir brothers Waine
Run under hirs: the singed cloudes began to smoke amaine.
Eche ground the higher that it was and nearer to the Skie
The sooner was it set on fire, and made therewith so drie
That every where it gan to chinke. The Medes and Pastures greene
Did seare away: and with the leaves, the trees were burned cleene.
The parched corne did yeelde wherewith to worke his owne decaie.
Tushe, these are trifles. Mightie townes did perish that same daie.
Whose countries with their folke were burnt: and forests ful of wood
Were turnde to ashes with the rocks and mountains where they stood.
Then Athe, Cilician, Taure and Tmole and Oeta flamed hie,
And Ide erst full of flowing springs was then made utter drie.
The learned virgins daily haunt, the sacred Helicon,
And Thracian Hemus (not as yet surnamde Oeagrion,)
Did smoke both twaine: and Aetna hote of nature aye before,
Encreast by force of Phebus flame now raged ten times more.
The forkt Parnasus, Eryx, Cynth, and Othrys then did swelt
And all the snow of Rhodope did at that present melt.
The like outrage Mount Dindymus, and Mime and Micale felt.
Cytheron borne to sacred use with Osse, and Pindus hie
And Olymp greater than them both did burne excessively.
The passing colde that Scithie had defended not the same
But that the barren Caucasus was partner of this flame.
And so were eke the Airie Alpes and Appennyne beside,
For all the Cloudes continually their snowie tops doe hide.
Then wheresoever Phaeton did chaunce to cast his vew,
The world was all on flaming fire. The breath the which he drew,
Came smoking from his scalding mouth as from a seething pot.
His Chariot also under him began to waxe red hot.
He could no lenger dure the sparkes and cinder flyeng out,
Againe the culme and smouldring smoke did wrap him round about,
The pitchie darkenesse of the which so wholy had him hent
As that he wist not where he was nor yet which way he went.
The winged horses forcibly did draw him where they wolde.
The Aethiopians at that time (as men for truth upholde)
(The bloud by force of that same heate drawne to the outer part
And there adust from that time forth) became so blacke and swart.
The moysture was so dried up in Lybie land that time
That altogither drie and scorcht continueth yet that Clyme.
The Nymphes with haire about their eares bewayld their springs and lakes.
Beotia for hir Dyrces losse great lamentation makes.
For Amimone Argos wept, and Corinth for the spring
Pyrene, at whose sacred streame the Muses usde to sing.
The Rivers further from the place were not in better case,
For Tanais in his deepest streame did boyle and steme apace,
Old Penew and Caycus of the countrie Teuthranie,
And swift Ismenos in their bankes by like misfortune frie.
Then burnde the Psophian Erymanth: and (which should burne ageine)
The Trojan Xanthus and Lycormas with his yellow veine,
Meander playing in his bankes aye winding to and fro,
Migdonian Melas with his waves as blacke as any slo.
Eurotas running by the foote of Tenare boyled tho.
Then sod Euphrates cutting through the middes of Babilon.
Then sod Orontes, and the Scithian swift Thermodoon.
Then Ganges, Colchian Phasis, and the noble Istre
Alpheus and Sperchius bankes with flaming fire did glistre.
The golde that Tagus streame did beare did in the chanell melt.
Amid Cayster of this fire the raging heat was felt
Among the quieres of singing Swannes that with their pleasant lay
Along the bankes of Lidian brakes from place to place did stray.
And Nyle for feare did run away into the furthest Clyme
Of all the world, and hid his heade, which to this present tyme
Is yet unfound: his mouthes all seven cleane voyde of water beene,
Like seven great valleys where (save dust) could nothing else be seene.
By like misfortune Hebrus dride and Strymon, both of Thrace.
The Westerne Rivers Rhine and Rhone and Po were in like case:
And Tyber unto whome the Goddes a faithfull promise gave
Of all the world the Monarchie and soveraigne state to have.
The ground did cranie everie where and light did pierce to hell
And made afraide the King and Queene that in that Realme doe dwell.
The Sea did shrinke and where as waves did late before remaine,
Became a Champion field of dust and even a sandy plaine.
The hilles erst hid farre under waves like Ilelandes did appeare
So that the scattred Cyclades for the time augmented were.
The fishes drew them to the deepes: the Dolphines durst not play
Above the water as before, the Seales and Porkpis lay
With bellies upward on the waves starke dead: and fame doth go
That Nereus with his wife and daughters all were faine as tho
To dive within the scalding waves. Thrise Neptune did advaunce
His armes above the scalding Sea with sturdy countenaunce:
And thrise for hotenesse of the Ayre, was faine himselfe to hide.
But yet the Earth the Nurce of things enclosde on every side
(Betweene the waters of the Sea and Springs that now had hidden
Themselves within their Mothers wombe) for all the paine abidden,
Up to the necke put forth hir head and casting up hir hand,
Betweene hir forehead and the sunne as panting she did stand
With dreadfull quaking, all that was she fearfully did shake,
And shrinking somewhat lower downe with sacred voyce thus spake:
O king of Gods and if this be thy will and my desart,
Why doste thou stay with deadly dint thy thunder downe to dart?
And if that needes I perish must through force of firie flame,
Let thy celestiall fire O God I pray thee doe the same.
A comfort shall it be to have thee Author of my death.
I scarce have powre to speak these words (the smoke had stopt hir breath).
Behold my singed haire: behold my dim and bleared eye,
See how about my scorched face the scalding embers flie.
Is this the guerdon wherewithall ye quite my fruitfulnesse?
Is this the honor that ye gave me for my plenteousnesse
And dutie done with true intent? for suffring of the plough
To draw deepe woundes upon my backe and rakes to rend me through?
For that I over all the yeare continually am wrought?
For giving foder to the beasts and cattell all for nought?
For yeelding corne and other foode wherewith to keepe mankinde?
And that to honor you withall sweete frankinsence I finde?
But put the case that my desert destruction duely crave,
What hath thy brother? what the Seas deserved for to have?
Why doe the Seas, his lotted part, thus ebbe and fall so low,
Withdrawing from thy Skie to which it ought most neare to grow?
But if thou neyther doste regarde thy brother, neyther mee,
At least have mercy on thy heaven, looke round about and see
How both the Poles begin to smoke which if the fire appall
To utter ruine (be thou sure) thy pallace needes must fall.
Behold how Atlas ginnes to faint. His shoulders though full strong,
Unneth are able to uphold the sparkling Extree long.
If Sea and Land doe go to wrecke, and heaven it selfe doe burne
To olde confused Chaos then of force we must returne.
Put to thy helping hand therfore to save the little left
If ought remaine before that all be quite and cleane bereft.
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