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To view the workmanship of heaven's hight,
Whence down descending, he along would fly
Upon the streaming rivers, sport to find,
And oft would dare to tempt the troublous wind.
So on a summer's day when season mild
With gentle calm the world hath quieted,
And high in heaven Hyperion's fiery child
Ascending, did his beams abroad disspred,
Whiles all the heavens on lower creatures smil'd,
Young Clarion with vauntful lustyhed
After his guise did cast abroad to fare,
And thereto 'gan his furnitures prepare.
His breast-plate first, that was of substance pure,
Before his noble heart he firmly bound,
That mought his life from iron death assure,
And ward his gentle corps from cruel wound,
For it by art was framed to endure
The bit of baleful steel and bitter stound,
No less than that which Vulcane made to shield
Achilles' life from fate of Trojan field.
And then about his shoulders broad he threw
An hairy hide of some wild beast, whom he
In salvage forest by adventure slew,
And reft the spoil, his ornament to be;
Which spreading all his back with dreadful view,
Made all that him so horrible did see,
Think him Alcides with the lyon's skin,
When the Næmean conquest he did win.
Upon his head his glistering burganet,
The which was wrought by wonderous device,
And curiously engraven, he did set:
The metal was of rare and passing price;
Not Bilbo steel, nor brass from Corinth fet,
Nor costly Oricalch from strange Phoenice,
But such as could both Phoebus' arrows ward,
And th' hailing darts of heaven beating hard.
Therein two deadly weapons fixt he bore,
Strongly outlanced towards either side,
Like two sharp spears, his enemies to gore:
Like as a warlike brigandine applide
The engines which her threatful pikes afore,
in them sad death do hide; So did this Fly outstretch his fearful horns, Yet so as him their terrour more adorns.
Lastly, his shiny wings, as silver bright,
Painted with thousand colours, passing far
All painters' skill, he did about him dight:
Not half so many sundry colours are
In Iris' bow, ne heaven doth shine so bright,
Distinguished with many a twinkling star,
Nor Juno's bird, in her eye-spotted train,
So many goodly colours doth contain."
Ne (may it be withouten peril spoken)
The archer god the son of Cytheree,
That joys on wretched lovers to be wroken,
And heaped spoils of bleeding hearts to see,
Bears in his wings so many a changeful token.
Ah! my liege Lord, forgive it unto me,
If ought against thine honour I have told;
Yet sure those wings were fairer manifold.
Full many a lady fair, in court full oft
Beholding them, him secretly envide,
And wisht that two such fans, so silken soft,
And golden fair, her love would her provide ;
Or that when them the gorgeous Fly had doft,
Some one that would with grace be gratifide,
From him would steal them privily away,
And bring to her so precious a prey.
Report is that Dame Venus, on a day
In spring, when flowres do cloath the fruitful ground,
Walking abroad with all her nymphs to play,
Bade her fair damsels, flocking her around,
To gather flowres, her forehead to array;
Emongst the rest a gentle nymph was found,
Hight Astery, excelling all the crew
In courteous usage and unstained hue;
Who being nimbler-jointed than the rest,
And more industrious, gathered more store
Of the field's honour than the others best,
Which they in secret hearts envying sore,
Told Venus, when her as the worthiest
She prais'd, that Cupid (as they heard before)
Did lend her secret aid in gathering
Into her lap the children of the Spring.
Whereof the goddess gathering jealous fear,
Not yet unmindful how not long ago
Her son to Psyche secret love did bear,
And long it close conceal'd, till mickle wo
Thereof arose, and many a rueful tear,
Reason with sudden rage did overgo,
And giving hasty credit to th' accuser,
Was led away of them that did abuse her.
Eftsoons that damsel by her heavenly might
She turn'd into a winged Butterfly,
In the wide air to make her wandering flight;
And all those flowres with which so plenteously
Her lap she filled had, that bred her spight,
She placed in her wings, for memory
Of her pretended crime, though crime none were;
Since which that Fly them in her wings doth bear.
Thus the fresh Clarion being ready dight,
Unto his journey did himself address,
And with good speed began to take his flight:
Over the fields in his frank lustiness,
And all the champain o'er he soared light,
And all the country wide he did possess,
Feeding upon their pleasures bounteously,
That none gainsaid, nor none did him envy.
The woods, the rivers, and the meadows green,
With his air-cutting wings he measured wide,
Ne did he leave the mountains bare unseen,
Nor the rank grassie fens' delights untride:
But none of these, however sweet they been,
Mote please his fancy, nor him cause t' abide :
His choiceful sense with every change doth flit;
No common things may please a wavering wit.
To the gay gardens his unstaid desire
Him wholly carried, to refresh his sprights;
There lavish Nature, in her best attire,
Pours forth sweet odors and alluring sights;
And Art, with her contending, doth aspire
T excel the natural with made delights;
And all that fair or pleasant may be found
In riotous excess doth there abound.
There he arriving, round about doth fly
From bed to bed, from one to other border,
And takes survey, with curious busie eye,
Of every flower and herb there set in order;
Now this, now that, he tasteth tenderly,
Yet none of them he rudely doth disorder,
Ne with his feet their silken leaves deface,
But pastures on the pleasures of each place.
And evermore, with most variety,
And change of sweetness (for all change is sweet)
He casts his glutton sense to satisfie,
Now sucking of the sap of herbs most meet,
Or of the dew which yet on them does lie,
Now in the same bathing his tender feet;
And then he pearcheth on some branch thereby,
To weather him, and his moist wings to dry.
And then again he turneth to his play,
To spoil the pleasures of that paradise:
The wholesom sage, and lavender still gray,
Rank-smelling rue, and cummin, good for eyes,
The roses reigning in the pride of May,
Sharp isop, good for green wounds, remedies,sto
Fair marigolds, and bees alluring thime, söyled
Sweet marjoram, and daisies decking prime: 967
Cool violets, and orpine growing still,
Embathed balm, and cheerful galingale,
Fresh costmary, and breathful camomil,
Dull popy, and drink-quickning setuale,
Vein-healing verven, and head-purging dill,
Sound savory, and bazil, harty-hale,
Fat colworts, and comforting perseline,
Cold lettice, and refreshing rosmarine;
And whatso else of vertue good or ill
Grew in this garden, fetch'd from far away,
Of every one he takes, and tastes at will,
And on their pleasures greedily doth prey;
Then when he hath both plaid and fed his fill,
In the warm sun he doth himself embay,
And there him rests in riotous suffisance
Of all his gladfulness and kingly joyance.
What more felicity can fall to creature
Than to enjoy delight with liberty,
And to be lord of all the works of Nature,
To reign in th' air from earth to highest sky;
To feed on flowres, and weeds of glorious feature,
To take whatever thing doth please the eye ? »
Who rests not pleased with such happiness,
Well worthy he to taste of wretchedness.
But what on earth can long abide in state?
Or who can him assure of happy day?
Sith morning fair may bring foul evening late,
And least mishap the most bless alter may ?
For thousand perils lie in close await
About us daily, to work our decay,
That none, except a god, or God him guide,
May them avoid, or remedy provide.