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Where young Adonis oft
Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits the Assyrian queen :1
But far above in spangled sheen
Celestial Cupid, her fam'd son, advanc'd
Holds his dear Psyche2 sweet entranc'd,
After her wandering labours long,
Till free consent the Gods among
Make her his eternal bride,
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy: so Jove hath sworn.
But now my task is smoothly done,
I can fly, or I can run,
Quickly to the green earth's end,
Where the bow'd welkin slow doth bend ;
And from thence can soar as soon
To the corners of the moon.
Mortals, that would follow me,
Love Virtue; she alone is free:
She can teach ye how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;8
Or if Virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her.
"" Assyrian queen:' Venus.—2 «Cupid' and 'Psyche :' see Emerson's · Essay on Love.'_3 Sphery chime:' music of spheres.
PRESENTED AT HAREFIELD, BEFORE THE COUNTESS-DOWAGER
Look, Nymphs and Shepherds, look,
What sudden blaze of majesty
Is that which we from hence descry,
Too divine to be mistook :
This, this is she 2
To whom our vows and wishes bend;
Here our solemn search hath end.
I Arcades :' the fragment of a larger performance, the rest of which was probably in prose. It was performed at Harefield before the Countess of Derby, its heroine, not later than 1636. She was married at the time to Lord Chancellor Egerton, and died in 1635–6. She was related to Edmund Spenser, who celebrated her, when a widow, in his 'Colin Clout's come home again,' as Amaryllis.--* * This is she :' namely, the Countess of Derby.
Mark, what radiant state she spreads,
In circle round her shining throne,
Shooting her beams like silver threads ;
This, this is she alone,
Sitting, like a goddess bright,
In the center of her light.
Might she the wise Latonal be,
Or the tower'd Cybele,2
Mother of a hundred gods?
Juno dares not give her odds :
Who had thought this clime had held
A deity so unparalleld?
As they come forward, the Genius of the Wood appears,
and turning towards them, speaks.
Gen. Stay, gentle Swains ; for, though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes ;
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung
Of that renowned flood, so often sung,
Divine Alphéus, who by secret sluice
Stole under seas, to meet his Arethuse;
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskin’d Nymphs, as great and good ;
I know, this quest of yours, and free intent,
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine ;
And, with all helpful service, will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
Latona:' Diana. — ? Cybele : ' mother of the gods.
And lead ye, where ye may more near behold
What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold ;
Which I full oft, amidst these shades alone,
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon :
For know, by lot from Jove I am the Power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove.
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill :
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When evening gray doth rise, I fetch my ground
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd round ;
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tassel'd horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless.
But else in deep of night, when drowsiness
Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial Syrens'l harmony,
That sit upon nine infolded spheres,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the adamantine spindle round,
On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
1 'Syrens :' this is an apt allusion to Plato's notion of Fate or Necessity holding a spindle of adamant, while, with her three daughters, Lachesis, Clotho, and Atropos, she conducts a ravishing musical harmony. Nine Syrens or Muses sit on the summit of the spheres, and produce a music, in barmony with which the spindle revolves, and the three daughters of Fate for ever sing -a notion involving many and mysterious lessons.
Such sweet compulsion doth in musick lie
To lull the daughters of Necessity,
And keep unsteady Nature to her law,
And the low world in measured motion draw
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear
Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear;
And yet such musick worthiest were to blaze
The peerless highth of her immortal praise,
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
If my inferiour hand or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds : yet, as we go,
Whate'er the skill of lesser god can show,
I will assay, her worth to celebrate,
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all, that are of noble stem,
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem.
O’er the smooth enamelld green Where no print of step hath been,
Follow me, as I sing
And touch the warbled string,
Under the shady roof
Of branching elm star-proof.
I will bring you where she sits,
Clad in splendour as befits
Such a rural Queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.