Hero Poems: Hero And Leander. The Fifth Sestiad - Poem by George Chapman

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Hero And Leander. The Fifth Sestiad - Poem by George Chapman

Now was bright Hero weary of the day,
Thought an Olympiad in Leander's stay.
Sol and the soft-foot Hours hung on his arms,
And would not let him swim, foreseeing his harms:
That day Aurora double grace obtain'd
Of her love Phoebus; she his horses reign'd,
Set on his golden knee, and, as she list,
She pull'd him back; and as she pull'd she kiss'd,
To have him turn to bed: he lov'd her more,
To see the love Leander Hero bore:
Examples profit much; ten times in one,
In persons full of note, good deeds are done.
Day was so long, men walking fell asleep;
The heavy humours that their eyes did steep
Made them fear mischiefs. The hard streets were beds
For covetous churls and for ambitious heads,
That, spite of Nature, would their business ply:
All thought they had the falling epilepsy,
Men grovell'd so upon the smother'd ground;
And pity did the heart of Heaven confound.
The Gods, the Graces, and the Muses came
Down to the Destinies, to stay the frame
Of the true lovers' deaths, and all world's tears:
But Death before had stopp'd their cruel ears.
All the celestials parted mourning then,
Pierc'd with our human miseries more than men:
Ah, nothing doth the world with mischief fill,
But want of feeling one another's ill!
With their descent the day grew something fair,
And cast a brighter robe upon the air.
Hero, to shorten time with merriment,
For young Alcmane and bright Mya sent,
Two lovers that had long crav'd marriage-dues
At Hero's hands: but she did still refuse;
For lovely Mya was her consort vow'd
In her maid state, and therefore not allow'd
To amorous nuptials: yet fair Hero now
Intended to dispense with her cold vow,
Since hers was broken, and to marry her:
The rites would pleasing matter minister
To her conceits, and shorten tedious day.
They came; sweet Music usher'd th' odorous way,
And wanton Air in twenty sweet forms danced
After her fingers; Beauty and Love advanced
Their ensigns in the downless rosy faces
Of youths and maids led after by the Graces.
For all these Hero made a friendly feast,
Welcom'd them kindly, did much love protest,
Winning their hearts with all the means she might.
That, when her fault should chance t' abide the light
Their loves might cover or extenuate it,
And high in her worst fate make pity sit.
She married them; and in the banquet came,
Borne by the virgins. Hero striv'd to frame
Her thoughts to mirth: ay me! but hard it is
To imitate a false and forced bliss;
Ill may a sad mind forge a merry face,
Nor hath constrained laughter any grace.
Then laid she wine on cares to make them sink:
Who fears the threats of Fortune, let him drink.
To these quick nuptials enter'd suddenly
Admired Teras with the ebon thigh;
A nymph that haunted the green Sestian groves,
And would consort soft virgins in their loves,
At gaysome triumphs and on solemn days,
Singing prophetic elegies and lays,
And fingering of a silver lute she tied
With black and purple scarfs by her left side.
Apollo gave it, and her skill withal,
And she was term'd his dwarf, she was so small:
Yet great in virtue, for his beams enclosed
His virtues in her; never was proposed
Riddle to her, or augury, strange or new,
But she resolv'd it; never slight tale flew
From her charm'd lips without important sense,
Shown in some grave succeeding consequence.
This little sylvan, with her songs and tales,
Gave such estate to feasts and nuptials,
That though ofttimes she forewent tragedies,
Yet for her strangeness still she pleas'd their eyes;
And for her smallness they admir'd her so,
They thought her perfect born, and could not grow.
All eyes were on her. Hero did command
An altar decked with sacred state should stand
At the feast's upper end, close by the bride,
On which the pretty nymph might sit espied.
Then all were silent; every one so hears,
As all their senses climb'd into their ears:
And first this amorous tale, that fitted well
Fair Hero and the nuptials, she did tell.

_The Tale of Teras._

Hymen, that now is god of nuptial rites,
And crowns with honour Love and his delights,
Of Athens was a youth, so sweet of face,
That many thought him of the female race;
Such quickening brightness did his clear eyes dart,
Warm went their beams to his beholder's heart,
In such pure leagues his beauties were combin'd,
That there your nuptial contracts first were signed;
For as proportion, white and crimson, meet
In beauty's mixture, all right clear and sweet,
The eye responsible, the golden hair,
And none is held, without the other, fair;
All spring together, all together fade;
Such intermix'd affections should invade
Two perfect lovers; which being yet unseen,
Their virtues and their comforts copied been
In beauty's concord, subject to the eye;
And that, in Hymen, pleased so matchlessly,
That lovers were esteemed in their full grace,
Like form and colour mixed in Hymen's face;
And such sweet concord was thought worthy then
Of torches, music, feasts, and greatest men:
So Hymen look'd that even the chastest mind
He mov'd to join in joys of sacred kind;
For only now his chin's first down consorted
His head's rich fleece in golden curls contorted;
And as he was so loved, he loved so too:
So should best beauties bound by nuptials, do.
Bright Eucharis, who was by all men said
The noblest, fairest, and the richest maid
Of all th' Athenian damsels, Hymen lov'd
With such transmission, that his heart remov'd
From his white breast to hers: but her estate,
In passing his, was so interminate
For wealth and honour, that his love durst feed
On naught but sight and hearing, nor could breed
Hope of requital, the grand prize of love;
Nor could he hear or see, but he must prove
How his rare beauty's music would agree
With maids in consort; therefore robbed he
His chin of those same few first fruits it bore,
And, clad in such attire as virgins wore,
He kept them company, and might right well,
For he did all but Eucharis excel
In all the fair of beauty! yet he wanted
Virtue to make his own desires implanted
In his dear Eucharis; for women never
Love beauty in their sex, but envy ever.
His judgment yet, that durst not suit address,
Nor, past due means, presume of due success,
Reason gat Fortune in the end to speed
To his best prayers: but strange it seemed, indeed,
That Fortune should a chaste affection bless:
Preferment seldom graceth bashfulness.
Nor grac'd it Hymen yet; but many a dart,
And many an amorous thought, enthralled his heart,
Ere he obtained her; and he sick became,
Forced to abstain her sight; and then the flame
Raged in his bosom. O, what grief did fill him!
Sight made him sick, and want of sight did kill him.
The virgins wonder'd where Diaetia stay'd,
For so did Hymen term himself, a maid.
At length with sickly looks he greeted them:
Tis strange to see 'gainst what an extreme stream
A lover strives; poor Hymen look'd so ill,
That as in merit he increased still
By suffering much, so he in grace decreas'd:
Women are most won, when men merit least:
If Merit look not well, Love bids stand by;
Love's special lesson is to please the eye.
And Hymen soon recovering all he lost,
Deceiving still these maids, but himself most,
His love and he with many virgin dames,
Noble by birth, noble by beauty's flames,
Leaving the town with songs and hallow'd lights
To do great Ceres Eleusina rites
Of zealous sacrifice, were made a prey
To barbarous rovers, that in ambush lay,
And with rude hands enforc'd their shining spoil,
Far from the darkened city, tired with toil:
And when the yellow issue of the sky
Came trooping forth, jealous of cruelty
To their bright fellows of this under-heaven,
Into a double night they saw them driven,--
A horrid cave, the thieves' black mansion;
Where, weary of the journey they had gone,
Their last night's watch, and drunk with their sweet gains,
Dull Morpheus enter'd, laden with silken chains,
Stronger than iron, and bound the swelling veins
And tired senses of these lawless swains.
But when the virgin lights thus dimly burn'd,
O, what a hell was heaven in! how they mourn'd
And wrung their hands, and wound their gentle forms
Into the shapes of sorrow! golden storms
Fell from their eyes; as when the sun appears,
And yet it rains, so show'd their eyes their tears:
And, as when funeral dames watch a dead corse,
Weeping about it, telling with remorse
What pains he felt, how long in pain he lay,
How little food he ate, what he would say;
And then mix mournful tales of other's deaths,
Smothering themselves in clouds of their own breaths;
At length, one cheering other, call for wine;
The golden bowl drinks tears out of their eyne,
As they drink wine from it; and round it goes,
Each helping other to relieve their woes;
So cast these virgins' beauties mutual rays,
One lights another, face the face displays;
Lips by reflection kissed, and hands hands shook,
Even by the whiteness each of other took.
But Hymen now used friendly Morpheus' aid,
Slew every thief, and rescued every maid:
And now did his enamour'd passion take
Heart from his hearty deed, whose worth did make
His hope of bounteous Eucharis more strong;
And now came Love with Proteus, who had long
Juggled the little god with prayers and gifts,
Ran through all shapes and varied all his shifts,
To win Love's stay with him, and make him love him.
And when he saw no strength of sleight could move him,
To make him love or stay, he nimbly turned
Into Love's self, he so extremely burned.
And thus came Love, with Proteus and his power,
T' encounter Eucharis: first, like the flower
That Juno's milk did spring, the silver lily,
He fell on Hymen's hand, who straight did spy
The bounteous godhead, and with wondrous joy
Offer'd it Eucharis. She, wonderous coy,
Drew back her hand: the subtle flower did woo it,
And, drawing it near, mixed so you could not know it:
As two clear tapers mix in one their light,
So did the lily and the hand their white.
She viewed it; and her view the form bestows
Amongst her spirits; for, as colour flows
From superficies of each thing we see,
Even so with colours forms emitted be;
And where Love's form is, Love is; Love is form:
He entered at the eye; his sacred storm
Rose from the hand, Love's sweetest instrument:
It stirred her blood's sea so, that high it went,
And beat in bashful waves 'gainst the white shore
Of her divided cheeks; it raged the more,
Because the tide went 'gainst the haughty wind
Of her estate and birth: and, as we find,
In fainting ebbs, the flowery Zephyr hurls
The green-haired Hellespont, broke in silver curls,
'Gainst Hero's tower; but in his blast's retreat,
The waves obeying him, they after beat,
Leaving the chalky shore a great way pale,
Then moist it freshly with another gale;
So ebbed and flowed the blood in Eucharis' face,
Coyness and Love strived which had greatest grace;
Virginity did fight on Coyness' side,
Fear of her parent's frowns and female pride
Loathing the lower place, more than it loves
The high contents desert and virtue moves.
With Love fought Hymen's beauty and his valure,
Which scarce could so much favour yet allure
To come to strike, but fameless idle stood:
Action is fiery valour's sovereign good.
But Love, once entered, wished no greater aid
Than he could find within; thought thought betray'd;
The bribed, but incorrupted, garrison
Sung 'Io Hymen;' there those songs begun,
And Love was grown so rich with such a gain,
And wanton with the ease of his free reign,
That he would turn into her roughest frowns
To turn them out; and thus he Hymen crowns
King of his thoughts, man's greatest empery:
This was his first brave step to deity.
Home to the mourning city they repair,
With news as wholesome as the morning air,
To the sad parents of each saved maid:
But Hymen and his Eucharis had laid
This plat to make the flame of their delight
Round as the moon at full, and full as bright.
Because the parents of chaste Eucharis
Exceeding Hymen's so, might cross their bliss;
And as the world rewards deserts, that law
Cannot assist with force; so when they saw
Their daughter safe, take vantage of their own,
Praise Hymen's valour much, nothing bestown;
Hymen must leave the virgins in a grove
Far off from Athens, and go first to prove,
If to restore them all with fame and life,
He should enjoy his dearest as his wife.
This told to all the maids, the most agree:
The riper sort, knowing what 'tis to be
The first mouth of a news so far derived,
And that to hear and bear news brave folks lived.
As being a carriage special hard to bear
Occurrents, these occurrents being so dear,
They did with grace protest, they were content
T' accost their friends with all their compliment,
For Hymen's good; but to incur their harm,
There he must pardon them. This wit went warm
To Adolesche's brain, a nymph born high,
Made all of voice and fire, that upwards fly:
Her heart and all her forces' nether train
Climb'd to her tongue, and thither fell her brain,
Since it could go no higher; and it must go;
All powers she had, even her tongue, did so:
In spirit and quickness she much joy did take,
And loved her tongue, only for quickness' sake;
And she would haste and tell. The rest all stay:
Hymen goes one, the nymph another way;
And what became of her I'll tell at last:
Yet take her visage now;--moist-lipped, long-faced,
Thin like an iron wedge, so sharp and tart,
As 'twere of purpose made to cleave Love's heart:
Well were this lovely beauty rid of her.
And Hymen did at Athens now prefer
His welcome suit, which he with joy aspired:
A hundred princely youths with him retired
To fetch the nymphs; chariots and music went;
And home they came: heaven with applauses rent.
The nuptials straight proceed, whiles all the town,
Fresh in their joys, might do them most renown.
First, gold-locked Hymen did to church repair,
Like a quick offering burned in flames of hair;
And after, with a virgin firmament
The godhead-proving bride attended went
Before them all: she looked in her command,
As if form-giving Cypria's silver hand
Gripped all their beauties, and crushed out one flame;
She blushed to see how beauty overcame
The thoughts of all men. Next, before her went
Five lovely children, decked with ornament
Of her sweet colours, bearing torches by;
For light was held a happy augury
Of generation, whose efficient right
Is nothing else but to produce to light.
The odd disparent number they did choose,
To show the union married loves should use,
Since in two equal parts it will not sever,
But the midst holds one to rejoin it ever,
As common to both parts: men therefore deem
That equal number gods do not esteem,
Being authors of sweet peace and unity,
But pleasing to th' infernal empery,
Under whose ensigns Wars and Discords fight,
Since an even number you may disunite
In two parts equal, naught in middle left
To reunite each part from other reft;
And five they hold in most especial prize,
Since 'tis the first odd number that doth rise
From the two foremost numbers' unity,
That odd and even are; which are two and three;
For one no number is; but thence doth flow
The powerful race of number. Next, did go
A noble matron, that did spinning bear
A huswife's rock and spindle, and did wear
A wether's skin, with all the snowy fleece,
To intimate that even the daintiest piece
And noblest-born dame should industrious be:
That which does good disgraceth no degree.
And now to Juno's temple they are come,
Where her grave priest stood in the marriage-room:
On his right arm did hang a scarlet veil,
And from his shoulders to the ground did trail,
On either side, ribands of white and blue:
With the red veil he hid the bashful hue
Of the chaste bride, to show the modest shame,
In coupling with a man, should grace a dame.
Then took he the disparent silks, and tied
The lovers by the waists, and side to side,
In token that thereafter they must bind
In one self-sacred knot each other's mind.
Before them on an altar he presented
Both fire and water, which was first invented,
Since to ingenerate every human creature
And every other birth produc'd by Nature,
Moisture and heat must mix; so man and wife
For human race must join in nuptial life.
Then one of Juno's birds, the painted jay,
He sacrific'd and took the gall away;
All which he did behind the altar throw,
In sign no bitterness of hate should grow,
'Twixt married loves, nor any least disdain.
Nothing they spake, for 'twas esteem'd too plain
For the most silken mildness of a maid,
To let a public audience hear it said,
She boldly took the man; and so respected
Was bashfulness in Athens, it erected
To chaste Agneia, which is Shamefacedness,
A sacred temple, holding her a goddess.
And now to feasts, masks, and triumphant shows,
The shining troops returned, even till earth-throes
Brought forth with joy the thickest part of night,
When the sweet nuptial song, that used to cite
All to their rest, was by Phemonoee sung,
First Delphian prophetess, whose graces sprung
Out of the Muses' well: she sung before
The bride into her chamber; at which door
A matron and a torch-bearer did stand:
A painted box of confits in her hand
The matron held, and so did other some
That compassed round the honour'd nuptial room.
The custom was, that every maid did wear,
During her maidenhead, a silken sphere
About her waist, above her inmost weed,
Knit with Minerva's knot, and that was freed
By the fair bridegroom on the marriage-night,
With many ceremonies of delight:
And yet eternized Hymen's tender bride,
To suffer it dissolved so, sweetly cried.
The maids that heard, so loved and did adore her,
They wished with all their hearts to suffer for her.
So had the matrons, that with confits stood
About the chamber, such affectionate blood,
And so true feeling of her harmless pains,
That every one a shower of confits rains;
For which the bride-youths scrambling on the ground,
In noise of that sweet hail her cries were drown'd.
And thus blest Hymen joyed his gracious bride,
And for his joy was after deified.
The saffron mirror by which Phoebus' love,
Green Tellus, decks her, now he held above
The cloudy mountains: and the noble maid,
Sharp-visaged Adolesche, that was stray'd
Out of her way, in hasting with her news,
Not till this hour th' Athenian turrets views;
And now brought home by guides, she heard by all,
That her long kept occurrents would be stale,
And how fair Hymen's honours did excel
For those rare news which she came short to tell.
To hear her dear tongue robbed of such a joy,
Made the well-spoken nymph take such a toy,
That down she sunk: when lightning from above
Shrunk her lean body, and, for mere free love,
Turn'd her into the pied-plum'd Psittacus,
That now the Parrot is surnam'd by us,
Who still with counterfeit confusion prates
Naught but news common to the common'st mates.--
This told, strange Teras touch'd her lute, and sung
This ditty, that the torchy evening sprung.

_Epithalamion Teratos._

Come, come, dear Night! Love's mart of kisses,
Sweet close to his ambitious line,
The fruitful summer of his blisses!
Love's glory doth in darkness shine.
O come, soft rest of cares! come, Night!
Come, naked Virtue's only tire,
The reaped harvest of the light,
Bound up in sheaves of sacred fire!
Love calls to war;
Sighs his alarms,
Lips his swords are,
The field his arms.

Come, Night, and lay thy velvet hand
On glorious Day's outfacing face;
And all thy crowned flames command,
For torches to our nuptial grace!
Love calls to war;
Sighs his alarms,
Lips his swords are,
The field his arms.

No need have we of factious Day,
To cast, in envy of thy peace,
Her balls of discord in thy way:
Here Beauty's day doth never cease;
Day is abstracted here,
And varied in a triple sphere.
Hero, Alcmane, Mya, so outshine thee,
Ere thou come here, let Thetis thrice refine thee.
Love calls to war;
Sighs his alarms,
Lips his swords are,
The field his arms.

The evening star I see:
Rise, youths! the evening star
Helps Love to summon war;
Both now embracing be.
Rise, youths! Love's rite claims more than banquets; rise!
Now the bright marigolds, that deck the skies,
Phoebus' celestial flowers, that, contrary
To his flowers here, ope when he shuts his eye,
And shuts when he doth open, crown your sports:
Now Love in Night, and Night in Love exhorts
Courtship and dances: all your parts employ,
And suit Night's rich expansure with your joy.
Love paints his longings in sweet virgins' eyes:
Rise, youths! Love's rite claims more than banquets; rise!

Rise, virgins! let fair nuptial loves enfold
Your fruitless breasts: the maidenheads ye hold
Are not your own alone, but parted are;
Part in disposing them your parents share,
And that a third part is; so must ye save
Your loves a third, and you your thirds must have.
Love paints his longings in sweet virgins' eyes:
Rise, youths! Love's rite claims more than banquets; rise!

Herewith the amorous spirit, that was so kind
To Teras' hair, and comb'd it down with wind,
Still as it, comet-like, brake from her brain,
Would needs have Teras gone, and did refrain
To blow it down: which, staring up, dismay'd
The timorous feast; and she no longer stay'd;
But, bowing to the bridegroom and the bride,
Did, like a shooting exhalation, glide
Out of their sights: the turning of her back
Made them all shriek, it look'd so ghastly black.
O hapless Hero! that most hapless cloud
Thy soon-succeeding tragedy foreshow'd.
Thus all the nuptial crew to joys depart;
But much-wronged Hero stood Hell's blackest dart:
Whose wound because I grieve so to display,
I use digressions thus t' increase the day.

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Hero Poems
  1. 1. A Hero
    Robert William Service
  2. 2. Hero And Leander
    Christopher Marlowe
  3. 3. He Is More Than A Hero
  4. 4. Hero
    Siegfried Sassoon
  5. 5. Hero And Leander: The First Sestiad
    Christopher Marlowe
  6. 6. The Hero
    Rabindranath Tagore
  7. 7. My Hero Bares His Nerves
    Dylan Thomas
  8. 8. The Last Hero
    Gilbert Keith Chesterton
  9. 9. Hero And Leander
    John Donne
  10. 10. The Poet As Hero
    Siegfried Sassoon
  11. 11. My Hero
    Nathan Kraft
  12. 12. 05 - A Hero
    nicola burkett
  13. 13. "Mom's My Hero&Quot;
    Beau Burkett
  14. 14. Hero And Leander
    Friedrich Schiller
  15. 15. Hero-Worship
    Amy Lowell
  16. 16. The Hero
    Siegfried Sassoon
  17. 17. My Hero
    Tim Meister
  18. 18. A Hero
    Katharine Tynan
  19. 19. Hero And Leander: The Second Sestiad
    Christopher Marlowe
  20. 20. The Hero Of Rorke's Drift
    William Topaz McGonagall
  21. 21. My Hero
    salsabila alkhatiry
  22. 22. He Died A Hero?
    Cynthia BuhainBaello
  23. 23. Superman My Hero
    Aldo Kraas
  24. 24. A Hero Is One Who Falls Asleep With His ..
    Wes Thompson
  25. 25. Soldiers Who Wish To Be A Hero
  26. 26. Hero In The Classroom
    Susan T. Aparejo
  27. 27. The Mind Inside My Hero
    Ana Lia Zaldivar
  28. 28. General Grant -- The Hero Of The War
    George Moses Horton
  29. 29. Jackie Robinson…an American Hero
    Stanley Cooper
  30. 30. The Hero Of Kalapore
    William Topaz McGonagall
  31. 31. My Husband, My Soldier, My Hero, My Friend
    Courtney Lane
  32. 32. A True Hero
    Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
  33. 33. The Alcoholic Family Hero
    A. Albert Aguero
  34. 34. Hero Worship
    Robert William Service
  35. 35. The Hero And The Villain
    Noel Lopez
  36. 36. General Gordon, The Hero Of Khartoum
    William Topaz McGonagall
  37. 37. Soldiers Who Wish To Be A Hero
    Anonymous Americas
  38. 38. My Hero (Dad)
    Scarred Unknown
  39. 39. Hero
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  40. 40. To Hermann Stoffkraft, Ph.D., The Hero O..
    James Clerk Maxwell
  41. 41. A Hero
    Josh Carew
  42. 42. Hero?
    Mark R Slaughter
  43. 43. Her Hero
  44. 44. Hero And Leander. The Fifth Sestiad
    George Chapman
  45. 45. My Hero
    Ernestine Northover
  46. 46. Your Hero
    Francis Duggan
  47. 47. Healfast, Healfast, Ye Hero Wounds
    Louisa May Alcott
  48. 48. Our Hero
    Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
  49. 49. Hero Stuff
    Lonnie Hicks
  50. 50. Hero And Leander. The Sixth Sestiad
    George Chapman

Hero Poems

  1. He Is More Than A Hero

    He is more than a hero he is a god in my eyes-- the man who is allowed to sit beside you -- he who listens intimately to the sweet murmur of your voice, the enticing laughter that makes my own heart beat fast. If I meet you suddenly, I can' speak -- my tongue is broken; a thin flame runs under my skin; seeing nothing, hearing only my own ears drumming, I drip with sweat; trembling shakes my body and I turn paler than dry grass. At such times death isn't far from me

  2. Hero And Leander: The First Sestiad

    On Hellespont, guilty of true-love's blood, In view and opposite two cities stood, Sea-borderers, disjoined by Neptune's might; The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight. At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair, Whom young Apollo courted for her hair, And offered as a dower his burning throne, Where she should sit for men to gaze upon. The outside of her garments were of lawn, The lining purple silk, with gilt stars drawn; Her wide sleeves green, and bordered with a grove, Where Venus in her naked glory strove To please the careless and disdainful eyes Of proud Adonis, that before her lies. Her kirtle blue, whereon was many a stain, Made with the blood of wretched lovers slain. Upon her head she ware a myrtle wreath, From whence her veil reached to the ground beneath. Her veil was artificial flowers and leaves Whose workmanship both man and beast deceives. Many would praise the sweet smell as she passed, When 'twas the odour which her breath forth cast; And there for honey bees have sought in vain, And, beat from thence, have lighted there again. About her neck hung chains of pebblestone, Which, lightened by her neck, like diamonds shone. She ware no gloves; for neither sun nor wind Would burn or parch her hands, but to her mind, Or warm or cool them, for they took delight To play upon those hands, they were so white. Buskins of shells, all silvered used she, And branched with blushing coral to the knee; Where sparrows perched of hollow pearl and gold, Such as the world would wonder to behold. Those with sweet water oft her handmaid fills, Which, as she went, would chirrup through the bills. Some say for her the fairest Cupid pined And looking in her face was strooken blind. But this is true: so like was one the other, As he imagined Hero was his mother. And oftentimes into her bosom flew, About her naked neck his bare arms threw, And laid his childish head upon her breast, And, with still panting rocked, there took his rest. So lovely fair was Hero, Venus' nun, As Nature wept, thinking she was undone, Because she took more from her than she left, And of such wondrous beauty her bereft. Therefore, in sign her treasure suffered wrack, Since Hero's time hath half the world been black. Amorous Leander, beautiful and young, (whose tragedy divine Musaeus sung,) Dwelt at Abydos; since him dwelt there none For whom succeeding times make greater moan. His dangling tresses, that were never shorn, Had they been cut, and unto Colchos borne, Would have allured the vent'rous youth of Greece To hazard more than for the golden fleece. Fair Cynthia wished his arms might be her sphere; Grief makes her pale, because she moves not there. His body was as straight as Circe's wand; Jove might have sipped out nectar from his hand. Even as delicious meat is to the taste, So was his neck in touching, and surpassed The white of Pelop's shoulder. I could tell ye How smooth his breast was and how white his belly; And whose immortal fingers did imprint That heavenly path with many a curious dint That runs along his back, but my rude pen Can hardly blazon forth the loves of men, Much less of powerful gods. Let it suffice That my slack Muse sings of Leander's eyes, Those orient cheeks and lips, exceeding his That leaped into the water for a kiss Of his own shadow and, despising many, Died ere he could enjoy the love of any. Had wild Hippolytus Leander seen Enamoured of his beauty had he been. His presence made the rudest peasant melt That in the vast uplandish country dwelt. The barbarous Thracian soldier, moved with nought, Was moved with him and for his favour sought. Some swore he was a maid in man's attire, For in his looks were all that men desire, A pleasant smiling cheek, a speaking eye, A brow for love to banquet royally; And such as knew he was a man, would say, 'Leander, thou art made for amorous play. Why art thou not in love, and loved of all? Though thou be fair, yet be not thine own thrall.' The men of wealthy Sestos every year, (For his sake whom their goddess held so dear, Rose-cheeked Adonis) kept a solemn feast. Thither resorted many a wandering guest To meet their loves. Such as had none at all, Came lovers home from this great festival. For every street like to a firmament Glistered with breathing stars who, where they went, Frighted the melancholy earth which deemed Eternal heaven to burn, for so it seemed, As if another Phaeton had got The guidance of the sun's rich chariot. But far above the loveliest Hero shined And stole away th' enchanted gazer's mind, For like sea nymphs' enveigling Harmony, So was her beauty to the standers by. Nor that night-wandering, pale, and wat'ry star (When yawning dragons draw her thirling car From Latmus' mount up to the gloomy sky Where, crowned with blazing light and majesty, She proudly sits) more overrules the flood Than she the hearts of those that near her stood. Even as, when gaudy nymphs pursue the chase, Wretched Ixion's shaggy footed race, Incensed with savage heat, gallop amain From steep pine-bearing mountains to the plain. So ran the people forth to gaze upon her, And all that viewed her were enamoured on her. And as in fury of a dreadful fight, Their fellows being slain or put to flight, Poor soldiers stand with fear of death dead strooken, So at her presence all surprised and tooken, Await the sentence of her scornful eyes. He whom she favours lives, the other dies. There might you see one sigh, another rage; And some, (their violent passions to assuage) Compile sharp satires, but alas too late, For faithful love will never turn to hate. And many seeing great princes were denied Pin'd as they went, and thinking on her died. On this feast day, O cursed day and hour, Went Hero thorough Sestos from her tower To Venus' temple, where unhappily As after chanced, they did each other spy. So fair a church as this had Venus none. The walls were of discoloured jasper stone Wherein was Proteus carved, and o'erhead A lively vine of green sea agate spread, Where by one hand lightheaded Bacchus hung, And, with the other, wine from grapes out wrung. Of crystal shining fair the pavement was. The town of Sestos called it Venus' glass. There might you see the gods in sundry shapes Committing heady riots, incest, rapes. For know, that underneath this radiant floor Was Danae's statue in a brazen tower, Jove slyly stealing from his sister's bed, To dally with Idalian Ganymede, And for his love Europa bellowing loud, And tumbling with the Rainbow in a cloud; Blood quaffing Mars heaving the iron net Which limping Vulcan and his Cyclops set; Love kindling fire to burn such towns as Troy; Sylvanus weeping for the lovely boy That now is turned into a cypress tree, Under whose shade the wood gods love to be. And in the midst a silver altar stood. There Hero, sacrificing turtle's blood, Vailed to the ground, vailing her eyelids close, And modestly they opened as she rose. Thence flew Love's arrow with the golden head, And thus Leander was enamoured. Stone still he stood, and evermore he gazed Till with the fire that from his countenance blazed Relenting Hero's gentle heart was strook. Such force and virtue hath an amorous look. It lies not in our power to love or hate, For will in us is overruled by fate. When two are stripped, long ere the course begin We wish that one should lose, the other win. And one especially do we affect Of two gold ingots like in each respect. The reason no man knows; let it suffice What we behold is censured by our eyes. Where both deliberate, the love is slight: Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight? He kneeled, but unto her devoutly prayed. Chaste Hero to herself thus softly said, 'Were I the saint he worships, I would hear him; ' And, as she spake those words, came somewhat near him. He started up, she blushed as one ashamed, Wherewith Leander much more was inflamed. He touched her hand; in touching it she trembled. Love deeply grounded, hardly is dissembled. These lovers parleyed by the touch of hands; True love is mute, and oft amazed stands. Thus while dumb signs their yielding hearts entangled, The air with sparks of living fire was spangled, And night, deep drenched in misty Acheron, Heaved up her head, and half the world upon Breathed darkness forth (dark night is Cupid's day) . And now begins Leander to display Love's holy fire, with words, with sighs, and tears, Which like sweet music entered Hero's ears, And yet at every word she turned aside, And always cut him off as he replied. At last, like to a bold sharp sophister, With cheerful hope thus he accosted her. 'Fair creature, let me speak without offence. I would my rude words had the influence To lead thy thoughts as thy fair looks do mine, Then shouldst thou be his prisoner, who is thine. Be not unkind and fair; misshapen stuff Are of behaviour boisterous and rough. O shun me not, but hear me ere you go. God knows I cannot force love as you do. My words shall be as spotless as my youth, Full of simplicity and naked truth. This sacrifice, (whose sweet perfume descending From Venus' altar, to your footsteps bending) Doth testify that you exceed her far, To whom you offer, and whose nun you are. Why should you worship her? Her you surpass As much as sparkling diamonds flaring glass. A diamond set in lead his worth retains; A heavenly nymph, beloved of human swains, Receives no blemish, but ofttimes more grace; Which makes me hope, although I am but base: Base in respect of thee, divine and pure, Dutiful service may thy love procure. And I in duty will excel all other, As thou in beauty dost exceed Love's mother. Nor heaven, nor thou, were made to gaze upon, As heaven preserves all things, so save thou one. A stately builded ship, well rigged and tall, The ocean maketh more majestical. Why vowest thou then to live in Sestos here Who on Love's seas more glorious wouldst appear? Like untuned golden strings all women are, Which long time lie untouched, will harshly jar. Vessels of brass, oft handled, brightly shine. What difference betwixt the richest mine And basest mould, but use? For both, not used, Are of like worth. Then treasure is abused When misers keep it; being put to loan, In time it will return us two for one. Rich robes themselves and others do adorn; Neither themselves nor others, if not worn. Who builds a palace and rams up the gate Shall see it ruinous and desolate. Ah, simple Hero, learn thyself to cherish. Lone women like to empty houses perish. Less sins the poor rich man that starves himself In heaping up a mass of drossy pelf, Than such as you. His golden earth remains Which, after his decease, some other gains. But this fair gem, sweet in the loss alone, When you fleet hence, can be bequeathed to none. Or, if it could, down from th'enameled sky All heaven would come to claim this legacy, And with intestine broils the world destroy, And quite confound nature's sweet harmony. Well therefore by the gods decreed it is We human creatures should enjoy that bliss. One is no number; maids are nothing then Without the sweet society of men. Wilt thou live single still? One shalt thou be, Though never singling Hymen couple thee. Wild savages, that drink of running springs, Think water far excels all earthly things, But they that daily taste neat wine despise it. Virginity, albeit some highly prize it, Compared with marriage, had you tried them both, Differs as much as wine and water doth. Base bullion for the stamp's sake we allow; Even so for men's impression do we you, By which alone, our reverend fathers say, Women receive perfection every way. This idol which you term virginity Is neither essence subject to the eye No, nor to any one exterior sense, Nor hath it any place of residence, Nor is't of earth or mould celestial, Or capable of any form at all. Of that which hath no being do not boast; Things that are not at all are never lost. Men foolishly do call it virtuous; What virtue is it that is born with us? Much less can honour be ascribed thereto; Honour is purchased by the deeds we do. Believe me, Hero, honour is not won Until some honourable deed be done. Seek you for chastity, immortal fame, And know that some have wronged Diana's name? Whose name is it, if she be false or not So she be fair, but some vile tongues will blot? But you are fair, (ay me) so wondrous fair, So young, so gentle, and so debonair, As Greece will think if thus you live alone Some one or other keeps you as his own. Then, Hero, hate me not nor from me fly To follow swiftly blasting infamy. Perhaps thy sacred priesthood makes thee loath. Tell me, to whom mad'st thou that heedless oath? ' 'To Venus,' answered she and, as she spake, Forth from those two tralucent cisterns brake A stream of liquid pearl, which down her face Made milk-white paths, whereon the gods might trace To Jove's high court. He thus replied: 'The rites In which love's beauteous empress most delights Are banquets, Doric music, midnight revel, Plays, masks, and all that stern age counteth evil. Thee as a holy idiot doth she scorn For thou in vowing chastity hast sworn To rob her name and honour, and thereby Committ'st a sin far worse than perjury, Even sacrilege against her deity, Through regular and formal purity. To expiate which sin, kiss and shake hands. Such sacrifice as this Venus demands.' Thereat she smiled and did deny him so, As put thereby, yet might he hope for moe. Which makes him quickly re-enforce his speech, And her in humble manner thus beseech. 'Though neither gods nor men may thee deserve, Yet for her sake, whom you have vowed to serve, Abandon fruitless cold virginity, The gentle queen of love's sole enemy. Then shall you most resemble Venus' nun, When Venus' sweet rites are performed and done. Flint-breasted Pallas joys in single life, But Pallas and your mistress are at strife. Love, Hero, then, and be not tyrannous, But heal the heart that thou hast wounded thus, Nor stain thy youthful years with avarice. Fair fools delight to be accounted nice. The richest corn dies, if it be not reaped; Beauty alone is lost, too warily kept.' These arguments he used, and many more, Wherewith she yielded, that was won before. Hero's looks yielded but her words made war. Women are won when they begin to jar. Thus, having swallowed Cupid's golden hook, The more she strived, the deeper was she strook. Yet, evilly feigning anger, strove she still And would be thought to grant against her will. So having paused a while at last she said, 'Who taught thee rhetoric to deceive a maid? Ay me, such words as these should I abhor And yet I like them for the orator.' With that Leander stooped to have embraced her But from his spreading arms away she cast her, And thus bespake him: 'Gentle youth, forbear To touch the sacred garments which I wear. Upon a rock and underneath a hill Far from the town (where all is whist and still, Save that the sea, playing on yellow sand, Sends forth a rattling murmur to the land, Whose sound allures the golden Morpheus In silence of the night to visit us) My turret stands and there, God knows, I play. With Venus' swans and sparrows all the day. A dwarfish beldam bears me company, That hops about the chamber where I lie, And spends the night (that might be better spent) In vain discourse and apish merriment. Come thither.' As she spake this, her tongue tripped, For unawares 'come thither' from her slipped. And suddenly her former colour changed, And here and there her eyes through anger ranged. And like a planet, moving several ways, At one self instant she, poor soul, assays, Loving, not to love at all, and every part Strove to resist the motions of her heart. And hands so pure, so innocent, nay, such As might have made heaven stoop to have a touch, Did she uphold to Venus, and again Vowed spotless chastity, but all in vain. Cupid beats down her prayers with his wings, Her vows above the empty air he flings, All deep enraged, his sinewy bow he bent, And shot a shaft that burning from him went, Wherewith she strooken, looked so dolefully, As made love sigh to see his tyranny. And as she wept her tears to pearl he turned, And wound them on his arm and for her mourned. Then towards the palace of the destinies Laden with languishment and grief he flies, And to those stern nymphs humbly made request Both might enjoy each other, and be blest. But with a ghastly dreadful countenance, Threatening a thousand deaths at every glance, They answered Love, nor would vouchsafe so much As one poor word, their hate to him was such. Hearken a while and I will tell you why. Heaven's winged herald, Jove-borne Mercury, The selfsame day that he asleep had laid Enchanted Argus, spied a country maid Whose careless hair instead of pearl t'adorn it Glistered with dew, as one that seemed to scorn it; Her breath as fragrant as the morning rose, Her mind pure, and her tongue untaught to gloze. Yet proud she was (for lofty pride that dwells In towered courts is oft in shepherds' cells.) And too too well the fair vermilion knew, And silver tincture of her cheeks, that drew The love of every swain. On her this god Enamoured was, and with his snaky rod Did charm her nimble feet, and made her stay, The while upon a hillock down he lay And sweetly on his pipe began to play, And with smooth speech her fancy to assay, Till in his twining arms he locked her fast And then he wooed with kisses; and at last, As shepherds do, her on the ground he laid And, tumbling in the grass, he often strayed Beyond the bounds of shame, in being bold To eye those parts which no eye should behold. And, like an insolent commanding lover Boasting his parentage, would needs discover The way to new Elysium, but she, Whose only dower was her chastity, Having striv'n in vain was now about to cry And crave the help of shepherds that were nigh. Herewith he stayed his fury, and began To give her leave to rise. Away she ran; After went Mercury who used such cunning As she, to hear his tale, left off her running. Maids are not won by brutish force and might, But speeches full of pleasure, and delight. And, knowing Hermes courted her, was glad That she such loveliness and beauty had As could provoke his liking, yet was mute And neither would deny nor grant his suit. Still vowed he love. She, wanting no excuse To feed him with delays, as women use, Or thirsting after immortality, - All women are ambitious naturally - Imposed upon her lover such a task As he ought not perform nor yet she ask. A draught of flowing nectar she requested, Wherewith the king of gods and men is feasted. He, ready to accomplish what she willed, Stole some from Hebe (Hebe Jove's cup filled) And gave it to his simple rustic love. Which being known (as what is hid from Jove?) He inly stormed and waxed more furious Than for the fire filched by Prometheus, And thrusts him down from heaven. He, wandering here, In mournful terms, with sad and heavy cheer, Complained to Cupid. Cupid for his sake, To be revenged on Jove did undertake. And those on whom heaven, earth, and hell relies, I mean the adamantine Destinies, He wounds with love, and forced them equally To dote upon deceitful Mercury. They offered him the deadly fatal knife That shears the slender threads of human life. At his fair feathered feet the engines laid Which th' earth from ugly Chaos' den upweighed. These he regarded not but did entreat That Jove, usurper of his father's seat, Might presently be banished into hell, And aged Saturn in Olympus dwell. They granted what he craved, and once again Saturn and Ops began their golden reign. Murder, rape, war, lust, and treachery, Were with Jove closed in Stygian empery. But long this blessed time continued not. As soon as he his wished purpose got He reckless of his promise did despise The love of th' everlasting Destinies. They seeing it both love and him abhorred And Jupiter unto his place restored. And but that Learning in despite of Fate Will mount aloft and enter heaven gate And to the seat of Jove itself advance, Hermes had slept in hell with Ignorance. Yet as a punishment they added this, That he and Poverty should always kiss. And to this day is every scholar poor; Gross gold from them runs headlong to the boor. Likewise the angry Sisters thus deluded, To venge themselves on Hermes, have concluded That Midas' brood shall sit in honour's chair, To which the Muses' sons are only heir; And fruitful wits, that in aspiring are, Shall discontent run into regions far; And few great lords in virtuous deeds shall joy But be surprised with every garish toy, And still enrich the lofty servile clown, Who with encroaching guile keeps learning down. Then Muse not Cupid's suit no better sped, Seeing in their loves the Fates were injured.

  3. Hero And Leander

    It lies not in our power to love or hate, For will in us is over-rul'd by fate. hen two are stript long ere the course begin, We wish that one should lose, the other win; And one especially do we affect Of two gold ingots, like in each respect: The reason no man knows; let it suffice, What we behold is censur'd by our eyes. Where both deliberate, the love is slight: Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight.

  4. Hero

    'Jack fell as he'd have wished,' the Mother said, And folded up the letter that she'd read. 'The Colonel writes so nicely.' Something broke In the tired voice that quavered to a choke. She half looked up. 'We mothers are so proud Of our dead soldiers.' Then her face was bowed. Quietly the Brother Officer went out. He'd told the poor old dear some gallant lies That she would nourish all her days, no doubt. For while he coughed and mumbled, her weak eyes Had shone with gentle triumph, brimmed with joy, Because he'd been so brave, her glorious boy. He thought how 'Jack', cold-footed, useless swine, Had panicked down the trench that night the mine Went up at Wicked Corner; how he'd tried To get sent home, and how, at last, he died, Blown to small bits. And no one seemed to care Except that lonely woman with white hair.

  5. A Hero

    Three times I had the lust to kill, To clutch a throat so young and fair, And squeeze with all my might until No breath of being lingered there. Three times I drove the demon out, Though on my brow was evil sweat. . . . And yet I know beyond a doubt He'll get me yet, he'll get me yet. I know I'm mad, I ought to tell The doctors, let them care for me, Confine me in a padded cell And never, never set me free; But Oh how cruel that would be! For I am young - and comely too . . . Yet dim my demon I can see, And there is but one thing to do. Three times I beat the foul fiend back; The fourth, I know he will prevail, And so I'll seek the railway track And lay my head upon the rail, And sight the dark and distant train, And hear its thunder louder roll, Coming to crush my cursed brain . . . Oh God, have mercy on my soul!

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