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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 rein'd,
Sat 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 danc'd After her fingers; beauty and love advanc'd 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 strove to frame
Her thoughts to mirth. Aye 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 Sestian groves,
And would consort soft virgins in their loves,
At gaysome triumphs, and on solemn days
Singing prophetic elegies and lays :
And fing'ring 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 inclos'd
His virtues in her: never was propos'd
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 deck'd 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 :
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 quick'ning 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 sign'd. 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 affection 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, pleas'd so matchlessly,
That lovers were esteem'd in their full grace,
Like form and colour mix'd in Hymen's face;
And such sweet concord was thought worthy then
Of torches, music, feasts, and greatest men:
So Hymen look'd, that e'en 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 lov'd, he lov'd 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 nought 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