Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Which like a cherubim above them hover'd:
Who, young and simple, would not be so lover'd ?

Ah, me! I fell : and yet do question make,

What I should do again for such a sake.
Oh! that infected moisture of his eye !
Oh! that false fire which in his cheek so glow'd !
Oh! that forc'd thunder from his heart did fly!
Oh! that sad breath his spungy lungs bestow'd !
Oh ! all that borrow'd motion, seeming ow'd !

Would yet again betray the fore-betray'd,
And new pervert a reconciled maid.

THE AMOROUS EPISTLE OF PARIS TO HELEN.
Health unto Leda's daughter, Priam's son
Sends in these lines, whose health cannot be won
But by your gift, in whose power it may lie
To make me whole or sick; to live or die.
Shall I then speak? or doth my flame appear
Plain without index? Oh; 'tis that I fear!
My love without discovering smile takes place,
And more than I could wish, shines in my face ;
When I could rather in my thoughts desire
To hide the smoke, 'till time display the fire :
Time, that can make the fire of love shine clear,
Untroubled with the misty smoke of fear.
But I dissemble it; for who, I pray,
Can fire conceal? that will itself betray.
Yet if you look I should affirm that plain
In words, which in my count'nance I maintain,
I'burn, I burn, my faults I have confess'd,
My words bear witness how my looks transgress'd.
Oh! pardon me, that have confess'd my error,
Cast not upon my lines a look of terror;
But as your beauty is beyond compare,
Suit unto that your looks (oh! you most fair!)
That you my letter have receiv'd by this,
The supposition glads me, and I wish
By hope encourag'd, hope that makes me strong,
You will receive me in some sort ere long.
I ask no more, than what the queen of beauty
Hath promis'd me,

for you are mine by duty. By her I claim you, you for me were made, And she it was my journey did persuade.

Nor, lady, think your beauty vainly sought ;
I by divine instinct was hither brought :
And to this enterprize the heav'nly powers
Had given consent; the gods proclaim me yours.
I aim at wonders, for I covet you;
Yet pardon me, I ask but what's my due :
Venus herself my journey hither led,
And gives you freely to my promis'd bed.
Under her conduct safe the seas I past,
Till I arriv'd upon these coasts at last ;
Shipping myself from the Sygean shore,
Whence unto these confines my course I bore.
She made the surges gentle, the winds fair;
Nor marvel whence these calms proceeded are ;
Needs must she power upon the salt seas have,
That was sea-born, created from a wave.
Still may she stand in her ability,
And as she made the seas with much facility,
To be thro’ sail'd; so may she calm iny heat,
And bear my thoughts to their desired seat.
My flames I found not here ; no, I protest,
I brought them with me closed in my breast;
Myself transported them without attorney ;
Love was the motive to my tedious journey.
Not blust'ring winter when he triumph'd most,
Nor any error, drove me to this coast;
Not led by fortune where the rough winds please,
Nor merchant-like for gain cross'd I the seas.
Fulness of wealth in all my fleet I see,
I'm rich in all things, save in wanting thee.
No spoil of petty nations my ship seeks,
Nor land I as a spy among the Greeks.
What need we? See of all things we have store !
Compar'd with Troy, alas' your Greece is poor.
For thee I come, thy fame hath thus far driven me,
Whom golden Venus hath by promise given me.
I wish'd thee ere I knew thee, long ago,
Before these eyes dwelt on this glorious show.
I saw thee in my thoughts; know, beauteous dame,
I first beheld you with the eyes of fame.
Nor marvel, lady, I was stroke so far,
Thus darts or arrows sent from bows of war,
Wound a great distance off ; so was I hit
With a deep smarting wound, that rankles yet.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

For so it pleas'd the fates, whom lest you blame,
I'll tell a true tale to confirm the same.
When in my mother's womb full ripe I lay,
Ready the first hour to behold the day,
And she at point to be deliver'd straight,
And to unlade her of her royal freight,
My birth-hour was delay'd, and that sad night
A fearful vision did the queen affright.
In a son's stead, to please the aged sire,
She dreamt she had brought forth a brand of fire.
Frighted she rises and to Priam goes ;
To the old king this ominous dream she shows ;
He to the priest ; the priest doth this return,
That the child born shall stately Ilium burn.
Better than he was ’ware the prophet guess’d,
For lo! a kindled brand flames in my breast.
To prevent fate, a peasant I was held,
Till my fair shape all other swains excell'd,
And gave the doubtful world assurance good,
Your Paris was deriv'd from royal blood.
Amid the Idean fields, there is a place
Remote, full of high trees, which hide the face
Of the green-mantled earth, where in thick rows,
The oak, the elm, the pine, the pitch-tree grows.
Here never yet did browse the wanton ewe,
Nor from his plot the slow ox lick the dew.
The savage goat, that feeds among the rocks,
Hath not graz'd here, nor any of their flocks.
Hence the Dardanian walls I might espy,
The lofty towers of llium reared high.
Hence I the seas might from the firm land see,
Which to behold, I lean'd me on a tree.
Believe me, for I speak but what is true,
Down from the sky, with feather'd pinions, flew
The nephew to great Atlas, and doth stand,
With golden Caduceus in his hand.
This, as the gods to me thought good to show,
I hold it good that you the same should know.
Three goddesses behind young Hermes move :
Great Juno, Pallas, and the queen of love ;
Who as in pomp and pride of gait they pass,
Scarce with their weight they bend the tops of grass.
Amaz'd I start, and endlong stands my hair,

When Maia's son thus says: Abandon fear,
Thou courteous swain, that to these groves repairest,
And freely judge which of these three is fairest.
And lest I should this curious sentence shun,
He tells me by Jove's sentence all is done ;
And to be judge, I no way can eschew,
This having said, up thro’ the air he flew.
I straight took heart-a-grace, and grew more bold;
And there their beauties one by one behold.
Why am I made the judge to give this doom?
Methinks all three are worthy to o'ercome.
To injure two such beauties what tongue dare?
Or prefer one, where they be all so fair?
Now this seems fairest, now again that other;
Now would I speak, and now my thoughts I smother:
And yet at length the praise of one most sounded,
And from that one my present love is grounded.
The goddesses, out of their earnest care,
And pride of beauty to be held most fair,
Seek, with large alms, and gifts of wond'rous price,
To their own thoughts my censure to entice.
Juno the wife of Jove, doth first inchant me;
To judge her fáirest, she a crown will grant me.
Pallas, her daughter, next doth undertake me ;
Give her the prize, and valiant she will make me.
I straight devise which can most pleasure bring,
To be a valiant soldier, or a king.
Last Venus smiling, came with such a grace.
As if she sway'd an empire in her face :
Let not (said she) these gifts the conquest bear,
Combats and kingdoms are both fraught with fear.
I'll give thee what thou lov'st best (lovely swain ;)
The fairest saint that doth on earth remain,
Shall be thine own: make thou the conquest mine,
Fair Læda's fairest daughter shall be thine.
This said, when with myself I had devised,
And her rich gift and beauty jointly prized,
Venus the victor, o'er the rest is plac'd;
Juno and Pallas leave the mount disgrac'd.
Mean time my fate a prosperous course had run,
And by known signs king Priam call'd me son,
The day of my restoring is kept holy
Among the saints' days consecrated solely
To my remembrance, being a day of joy

For ever in the calendars of Troy.
As I wish you, I had been wish'd by others;
The fairest maids by me would have been mothers :
Of all my favours, I bestow'd not any,
You only may enjoy the loves of many.
Nor by the daughters of great dukes and kings,
Have I alone been sought, whose marriage rings
I have turn'd back; but by a strain more high,
By nymphs and fairies, such as never die.
No sooner were you promis'd as my due,
But I all hated, to remeinber you;
Waking, I saw your image ; if I dreamt,
Your beauteous figure still appear'd to tempt,
And urge this voyage ;

still
your

face excelling,
These eyes beheld my dreams were all of Helen.
Imagine how your face should now incite me,
Being seen, that unseen did so much delight me.
If I was scorch'd so far off from the fire,
How am I burnt to cinders thus much nigher!
Nor could I longer owe myself this treasure,
But through the ocean I must search my pleasure.
The Phrygian hatchets to the roots are put
Of the Idean pines ; asunder cut,
The woodland mountain yielded me large fees,
Being despoil'd of all her tallest trees.
From whence we have squar'd out unnumber'd beams,
That must be wash'd within the marine streams.
The grounded oaks are bow'd, tho' stiff as steel,
And to the tough ribs in the bending keel
Woven by shipwright's craft ; then the main-mast,
Across whose middle is the sail yard plac'd,
Tackles and sails; and next you may discern
Our painted gods upon the hooked stern :
The god that bears me on my happy way,
And is my guide, is Cupid. Now the day
In which the last stroke of the hammer's heard
Within our navy, in the east appear'd:
And I must now launch forth (so the fates please)
To seek adventures in the Ægean seas.
My father and my mother move delay,
And by intreaties would inforce my stay :
They hang about my neck, and with their tears
Woo me, defer my journey ; but their fears
Can have no power to keep me from thy sight:

« VorigeDoorgaan »