Page images
PDF
EPUB

2

And love himselfe to shoulder from his right.
And first, she past the region of the ayre
And of the fire, whose substance thin and slight

Made no resistance, ne could her contraire,
But ready passage to her pleasure did prepaire.

VIII. Thence to the circle of the Moone she clambe, Where Cynthia raignes in everlasting glory, To whose bright shining palace straight she came, All fairely deckt with heavens goodly story; Whose silver gates (by which there sat an hory Old aged Sire, with hower-glasse in hand, Hight? Tyme,) she entred, were he liefe or sory 3 ;

Ne staide till she the highest stage had scand, Where Cynthia did sit, that never still did stand.

IX. Her sitting on an ivory throne shee found, Drawne of two steeds, th' one black, the other white, Environd with tenne thousand starres around, That duly her attended day and night; And by her side there ran her Page, that hight Vesper, whom we the evening-starre intend 5; That with his torche, still twinkling like twylight,

Her lightened all the way where she should wend, And ioy to weary wandring travailers did lend:

X.
That when the hardy Titanesse beheld

Contraire, withstand. 3 Liefe or sory, willing or unwilling.

5 Intend, understand to be.

Hight, called. 4 Scand, climbed up to.

6 Wend, go.

VIII. 9. That never still did stand.] “ Alluding to the continual increase and decrease of the moon.” -- Church.

The goodly building of her palace bright,
Made of the heavens substance, and up-held
With thousand crystall pillors of huge hight;
Shee gan to burne in her ambitious spright,
And t'envie her that in such glorie raigned.
Eftsoones? she cast by force and tortious ? might

Her to displace, and to herselfe t' have gained
The kingdome of the Night, and waters by her wained.

XI.
Boldly she bid the goddesse downe descend,
And let herselfe into that ivory throne;
For she herselfe more worthy thereof wend,
And better able it to guide alone;
Whether to men whose fall she did bemone,
Or unto gods whose state she did maligne,
Or to th' infernall powers her need give lone

Of her faire light and bounty most benigne, Herselfe of all that rule shee deemed most condigne.

XII. But shee that had to her that soveraigne seat By highest love assign'd, therein to beare Nights burning lamp, regarded not her threat, Ne yielded ought for favour or for feare; But, with sterne countenaunce and disdainfull cheare Bending her horned browes, did put her back; And, boldly blaming her for coming there,

Bade her attonce from heavens coast to pack, Or at her perill bide the wrathfull thunders wrack.

Eftsoones, immediately.
2 Tortious, wrongful.
3 Wend, weened, supposed.

Condigne, (condignus, Lat.,)

worthy.
5 Pack, depart.

X. 9. Wained.] Diminished, decreased; alluding to the influence of the moon in producing the tides.

XIII. Yet nathëmore the Giantesse forbare; But, boldly preacing 2 on, raught 3 forth her hand To pluck her downe perforce from off her chaire; And, there with lifting up her golden wand, Threatned to strike her if she did with-stand: Whereat the Starres, which round about her blazed, And eke the Moones bright wagon still did stand,

All beeing with so bold attempt amazed, And on her uncouth 4 habit and sterne looke still gazed.

XIV. Mean while the lower World, which nothing knew Of all that chaunced here, was darkned quite ; And eke the Heavens, and all the heavenly crew Of happy wights, now unpurvaide of light, Were much afraid and wondred at that sight; Fearing least Chaos broken had his chaine, And brought againe on them eternall night;

But chiefely Mercury, that next doth raigne,
Ran forth in haste unto the King of gods to plaine.

XV.
All ran together with a great out-cry
To loves faire palace fixt in heavens hight;

| Nathë more, none the more.
? Preacing, pressing.
3 Raught, reached.

4 Uncouth, strange.
Unpurcaide of, unprovided

with.

XIV. 8. But chiefely Mercury, &c.] “Spenser, when speaking of the heavenly bodies, always follows Ptolemy's system, which here luckily suits with his design. According to that system, Mercury was the planet nearest to the moon, and therefore might be supposed first to have discovered this disturbance in that region; and he was the most proper person (as messenger of the gods) to carry the intelligence to Jupiter."— Church.

And, beating at his gates full earnestly,
Gan call to him aloud with all their might
To know what meant that suddaine lack of light.
The Father of the gods, when this he heard,
Was troubled much at their so strange affright,

Doubting least Typhon were againe upreard,
Or other bis old foes that once him sorely fear’d.

XVI. Eftsoones 2 the Sonne of Maia forth he sent Downe to the circle of the Moone, to knowe The cause of this so strange astonishment, And why shee did her wonted course forslowe 3 ; And, if that any were on earth belowe That did with charmes or magick her molest, Him to attache, and downe to hell to throwe;

But if from heaven it were, then to arrest The author, and him bring before his presence prest."

XVII. The wingd-foot god so fast his plumes did beat, That soone he came whereas the Titanesse Was striving with faire Cynthia for her seat; At whose strange sight and haughty hardinesse 5 He wondred much, and feared her no lesse: Yet, laying feare aside to doe his charge, At last he bade her, with bold stedfastnesse,

Ceasse to molest the Moone to walke at large,
Or come before high love her dooings to discharge.

XVIII.
And therewithall he on her shoulder laid

1 Doubting, fearing.
2 Eftsoones, immediately.
3 Forslove, neglect, omit.

4 Prest, immediately.
5 Hardinesse, boldness
6 Discharge, justify, maintain.

His snaky-wreathed mace, whose awfull power
Doth make both gods and hellish fiends affraid :
Whereat the Titanesse did sternely lower,
And stoutly answer’d; That in evill hower
He from his love such message to her brought,
To bid her leave faire Cynthias silver bower;

Sith shee his love and him esteemed nought,
No more then ? Cynthias selfe; but all their kingdoms sought.

XIX.
The heavens Herald staid not to reply,
But past away, his doings to relate
Unto his Lord; who now, in th' highest sky,
Was placed in his principall estate,
With all the gods about him congregate:
To whom when Hermes had his message told,
It did them all exceedingly amate,

Save love; who, changing nought his count'nance bold, Did unto them at length these speeches wise unfold;

XX.
“ Harken to mee awhile, ye heavenly Powers:
Ye may remember since th’ Earths cursed seed
Sought to assaile the heavens eternall towers,
And to us all exceeding feare did breed;
But, how we then defeated all their deed,
Ye all doe knowe, and them destroyed quite;
Yet not so quite, but that there did succeed

An off-spring of their bloud, which did alite
Upon the fruitfull earth, which doth us yet despite.

XXI. “Of that bad seed is this bold Woman bred, That now with bold presumption doth aspire

3

| Sith, since.

1

? Then, than.

3 Amate, terrify.

« PreviousContinue »