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Soon after that into a golden showre,
Himself he chang'd, fair Danaë to view,
And through the roof of her strong brasen towre
Did rain into her lap an hony dew,
The whiles her foolish guard, that litcle knew
Of such deceipt, kept th' iron dore fast bard,
And watcht, that none should enter, nor issue,
Vain was the watch, and bootless all the ward, Whenas the God to golden hue himself transfer'd.
Then was he turn'd into a snowy Swan,
To win fair Leda to his lovely trade :
O wondrous skill, and sweet wit of the man,
That her in Daffadillies Neeping made,
From scorching heat her dainty limbs to shade:
Whiles the proud Bird ruffing his feathers wide,
And brushing his fair breaft, did her invade ;
She Nept, yet 'twixt her eye-lids closely spide,
How towards her he rusht, and smiled at his pride.
Then shew'd it, how the Theban Semelee,
Deceiv'd of jealous Juno did require
To see him in his loveraine majesty,
Arm'd with his thunder-bolts and lightning fire,
Whence dearly she with death bought her defire.
But fair Alcmena better match did make,
Joying his love in likeness more entire ;
Three nights in one, they say, that for her fake
He then did put, her pleasures longer to partake.
Twice was he seen in soaring Eagles shape,
And with wide wings to beat the buxom air :
Once when he with Afterie did scape ;
Again, whenas the Trojan boy so fair
He snatch from Ide hill, and with him bare :
Wondrous delight it was, there to behold,
How the rude Shepherds after him did ftare,
Trembling through fear left down he fallen should, And often to him calling, to take surer hold.
In Satyr's shape, Antiopa he snatcht:
And like a fire, when he Ægin' assay'd :
A shepherd, when Mnemosyne he catcht:
And like a Serpent to the Thracian maid.
Whiles thús on earth great Jove these pageants playd,
The winged boy did thrust into his throne,
And scoffing thus unto his mother said,
Lo, now the heavens obey to me alone,
And take me for their Jove, whiles Jove to earth is gone,
And thou, fair Phæbus, in thy colours bright
Waft there enwoven, and the fad distress
In which that boy chee plunged, for despight
That thou bewraydst his mothers wantonness,
When she with Mars was meynt in joyfulness :
Forthy he thrild thee with a leaden dart,
To love fair Daphne, which thee loved less :
Less the chee lov’d, than was thy just desart;
Yet was thy love her death, and her death was thy smart.
So lovedst thou the lufty Hyacinet,
So lovedst thou the fair Coronis dear:
Yet both are of thy hapless hand extinct,
Yet both in flowres do live, and love thee bear,
The one a Paunce, the other a sweer breare ;
For grief whereof, ye mote have lively seen
The God himself rending his golden hair,
And breaking quite his girlond ever green,
With other signs of sorrow, and impatient teen.
Both for those two, and for his own dear son,
The son of Clymene he did repent,
Who bold to guide the charet of the sun,
Himself in thousand pieces fondly rent,
And all the world with flashing fiere brent,
So like, that all the walls did seem to flame.
Yet cruel Cupid, not herewith content,
Forc'd him eftsoons to follow other game,
And love a Shepherds daughter for his deareft Daime.
He loved ifë for his dearest Dame,
And for her sake her cattle fed awhile,
And for her fake a cow-herd vile became,
The servant of Admetus, cow-herd vile,
Whiles that from heaven he suffered exile.
Long were to tell each other lovely fit,
Now like a Lyon, hunting after spoil,
Now like a Stag, now like a Falcon Ait :
All which in that fair arras was most lively writ.
Next unto him was Neptune pictured,
In his divine resemblance wondrous like:
His face was rugged, and his hoary head
Dropped with brackish dew; his three-forkt pike
He sternly shook, and therewith fierce did strike
T'he raging billows, that on every side
They trembling stood, and made a long broad dike,
That his swift charet might have passage wide, Which four great Hippodames did draw in team-wife tide.
His sea-horses did seem to fuort amain,
And from their nosethrills blow the briny stream,
That made the sparkling waves to smoke again,
And fame with gold: but the white foamy cream
Did shine with silver, and shoot forth his beam.,
The God himself did pensive seem and sad,
And hung adown his head, as he did dream :
For privy love his breait empierced had ;
Ne ought, but dear Bifaltis, ay could make him glad.
He loved eke Iphimedia dear,
And Æolus fair daughter Arne hight;
For whom he turn'd himself into a Stear,
And fed on fodder, to beguile her sight.
Also to win Deucalions daughter bright,
He turn’d himself into a Dolphin fair ;
And like a winged horse he took his flight,
To snaky-lock Medusa tỏ repair,
On whom he got fair Pegasus, that fitteth in the air.
Next Saturn was, (but who would ever ween,
That fullen Saturn ever ween'd to love ?
Yet Love is fullen, and Saturn-like feen,
As he did for Erigone it prove )
That to a Centaur did himself tranimove.
So prov'd it eke that gracious God of wine,
When for to compass Philliras hard love,
He turn'd himself into a fruitful vine,
And into her fair bosom made his grapes decline.
Long were to tell the amorous assays,
And gentle pangs, with which he maked meek
The mighty Mars, to learn his wanton plays :
How oft for Venus, and how often eke
For many other nymphs he sore did shriek ;
With womanish tears, and with unwarlike smarts,
Privily moistening his horrid cheek.
There was he painted full of burning darts,
And many wide wounds lanced through his inner parts,
Ne did he spare (so cruel was the Elf).
His own dear mother (ah why should he so!)
Ne did he spare fometime to prick himself,
That he might taste the sweet-consuming woe,
Which he had wrought, to many others moe,
But to declare the mournful tragedies,
And spoil's, wherewith he all the ground did Itrow,
More eath to number with how many eyes
High heaven beholds sad Lovers nightly thieveries.
Kings, Queens, Lords, Ladies, Knights, and Damzels
Were heapt together with the vulgar fort, (genta
And mingled with the rascal rablement,
Without respect of person or of port,
To shew Dan Cupids powre and great
And round about, a border was entrail'd
Of broken bows and arrows shiver'd short,
And a long bloody river through them rail'd,
So lively and to like, that living Tense it faild.
And at the upper end of that fair room,
There was an altar built of precious stone,
Of passing value, and of great renown,
On which there stood an Image all alone,
Of massy gold, which with his own light shone;
And wings it had with sundry colours dight,
More sundry colours, than the proud Pavone,
Bears in his boasted fan, or Iris bright, (bright. When her discolour'd bow she spreads through heaven
Blindfold he was, and in his cruel fift
A mortal bow and arrows keen did hold,
With which he shot at random, when him list,
Some headed with sad, lead, some with pure gold;
(Ah man beware, how thou those darts behold.)
A wounded Dragon under him did lie,
Whose hideous tail his left foot did enfold,
And with a shaft was shot through either eye,
That no man forth might draw, ne no man remedy.
And underneath his feet was written thus, ,
Unto the Victor of the Gods this be :
And all the people in that ample house
Did to that image bow their humble knee,
And oft committed foul idolatry.
That wondrous sight fair Britomart amaz'd,
Ne seeing could her wonder satisfy,
But ever more and more upon it gaz'd,
The whiles the passing brightness her frail senses daz'd.
Tho as she backward cast her busie eye,
To search each secret of that goodly sted,
Over the door thus written she did spy,
Be bold : she oft and oft it over-read,
Yet could not find what sence it figured :
But what so were therein or writ or meant,
She was no whit thereby discouraged
From prosecuting of her first intent,
But forward with bold steps into the next room went.