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“Sole heir of virtue and of beauty both,
Whence cometh it,” Antinous replies,
“ That your imperious virtue is so loth
To grant your beauty her chief exercise ?
Or from what spring doth your opinion rise,
That dancing is a frenzy and a rage,
First known and us’d in this new-fangled age?
“ Dancing* (bright lady) then began to be,
When the first seeds whereof the world did spring,
The fire, air, earth, and water did agree,
By Love's persuasion, Nature's mighty king,
To leave their first disorder'd combating ;
And in a dance such measure to observe,
As all the world their motion should preserve.
“ Since when they still are carried in a round,
And changing come one in another's place,
Yet do they neither mingle nor confound,
But ev'ry one doth keep the bounded space
Wherein the dance doth bid it turn or trace :
This wondrous miracle did Love devise,
For dancing is Love's proper exercise,
“Like this, he fram'd the gods' eternal bow'r,
And of a shapeless and confused mass,
By his through piercing and digesting pow'r,
The turning vault of Heaven formed was:
Whose starry wheels he hath so made to pass,
As that their movings do a music frame,
And they themselves still dance unto the same.
The antiquity of dancing.
“ Or if this (all) which round about we see, (As idle Morpheus some sick brains have taught) Of undivided motes compacted be, How was this goodly architecture wrought ? Or by what means were they together brought ? They err, that say they did concur by chance, Love made them meet in a well order'd dance.
“ As when Amphion with his charming lyre Begot so sweet a syren of the air, That with her rhetoric made the stones conspire The ruin of a city to repair, (A work of wit and reason's wise affair :) So love's smooth tongue, the motes such measure
taught That they join'd hands, and so the world was
“ How justly then is dancing termed new,
Which with the world in point of time begun;
Yea Time itself, (whose birth Jove never knew,
And which indeed is elder than the Sun)
Had not one moment of his age outrun,
When out leap'd Dancing from the heap of things,
And lightly rode upon his nimble wings.
“ Reason hath both her pictures in her treasure,
Where time the measure of all moving is;
And dancing is a moving all in measure ;
Now if you do resemble that to this,
And think both one, I think you think amiss :
But if you judge them twins, together got,
And Time first born, your judgment erreth not.
“ Thus doth it equal age with age enjoy,
And yet in lusty youth for ever flow’rs,
Like Love his sire, whom painters make a boy,
Yet is he eldest of the heav'nly pow'rs;
Or like his brother Time, whose winged hours
Going and coming will not let him die,
But still preserve him in his infancy."
This said ; the queen with her sweet lips, divine,
Gently began to move the subtle air,
Which gladly yielding, did itself incline
To take a shape between those rubies fair ;
And being formed, softly did repair
With twenty doublings in the empty way,
Unto Antinous' ears, and thus did say:
“ What eye doth see the Heav'n but doth admire
When it the movings of the Heav'ns doth see?
Myself, if I to Heav'n may once aspire,
If that be dancing, will a dancer be:
But as for this your frantic jollity,
How it began, or whence you did it learn,
I never could with reason's eye discern."
Antinous answer'd: “Jewel of the Earth,
Worthy you are that heav'nly dance to lead;
But for you think our Dancing base of birth,
And newly born but of a brain-sick head,
I will forthwith his antique gentry read;
And, for I love him, will his herald be,
And blaze his arms, and draw his pedigree.
“When Love had shap'd this world, this great fa
wight, That all wights else in this wide womb contains,
And had instructed it to dance aright, *
A thousand measures with a thousand strains,
Which it should practise with delightful pains,
Until that fatal instant should revolve,
When all to nothing should again resolve.
“The comely order and proportion fair
On ev'ry side, did please his wand'ring eye,
Till glancing through the thin transparent air,
A rude disorder'd rout he did espy
Of men and women, that most spitefully
Did one another throng, and crowd so sore,
That his kind eye in pity wept therefore.
“ And swifter than the lightning down he came, Another shapeless chaos to digest, He will begin another world to frame, (For Love till all be well will never rest) Then with such words as cannot be expressid, He cuts the troops, that all asunder fling, And ere they wist, he casts them in a ring.
“ Then did he rarefy the element,
And in the centre of the ring appear,
The beams that from his forehead spreading went,
Begot an horror and religious fear
In all the souls that round about him were;
Which in their ears attentiveness procures,
While he, with such like sounds, their minds allures,
“How doth Confusion's mother, headlong Chance," Put Reason's noble squadron to the rout?
• The original of dancing.
+ The speech of Love, persuading men to learu danoivg.
Or how should you that have the governance
Of Nature's children, Heav'n and Earth through-
Prescribe them rules, and live yourselves without ?
Why should your fellowship a trouble be,
Since man's chief pleasure is society?
“ ' If sense hath not yet taught you, learn of me
A comely moderation and discreet,
That your assemblies may well order'd be:
When my uniting pow'r shall make you meet,
With heav'nly tunes it shall be temper'd sweet;
And be the model of the world's great frame,
And you Earth's children, Dancing shall it name.
Behold the world how it is whirled round,
And for it is so whirld, is named so;
In whose large volume many rules are found
Of this new art, which it doth fairly show:
For your quick eyes in wand'ring to and fro
From east to west, on no one thing can glance,
But if you mark it well, it seems to dance.
« « First you see fix'd in this huge mirror blue
Of trembling lights,* a number numberless ;
Fix'd they are nam’d, but with a name untrue,
For they all move, and in a dance express
That great long year that doth contain no less
Than threescore hundreds of those years in all,
Which the Sun makes with his course natural.
* By the orderly motion of the fixed stars.