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Next unto him was Neptune pictured,
In his divine resemblance wondrous lyke:
His face was rugged, and his hoarie hed
Dropped with brackish deaw; his threeforkt Pyke
He stearnly shooke, and therewith fierce did stryke
The raging billowes, that on every syde
They trembling stood, and made a long broad dyke,
That his swift charet might have passage wyde,
Which foure great Hippodames did draw in teme-wise tyde.
His seahorses did seeme to snort amayne,
And from their nosethrilles blow the brynie streame, That made the sparckling waves to smoke agayne And flame with gold; but the white fomy creame Did shine with silver, and shoot forth his beame: The god himselfe did pensive seeme and sad, And hong adowne his head as he did dreame; For privy love his brest empierced had, Ne ought but deare Bisaltis ay could make him glad
Next Saturne was, (but who would ever weene
That sullein Saturne ever weend to love?
Yet love is sullein, and Satúrn-like seene,
As he did for Erigone it prove,)
That to a Centaure did himselfe transmove.
So proov'd it eke that gratious god of wine,
When, for to compasse Philliras hard love,
He turnd himselfe into a fruitfull vine,
And into her faire bosome made his grapes decline.
He loved eke Iphimedia deare,
And Aeolus faire daughter, Arnè hight, For whom he turnd himselfe into a Steare, And fedd on fodder to beguile her sight. Also, to win Deucalions daughter bright, He turnd himself into a Dolphin fayre; And, like a winged horse, he tooke his flight To snaky-locke Medusa to repayre, On whom he got faire Pegasus that flitteth in the ayre.
Long were to tell the amorous assayes,
And gentle pangues, with which he maked meeke
The mightie Mars, to learne his wanton playes;
How oft for Venus, and how often eek
For many other Nymphes, he sore did shreek;
With womanish teares, and with unwarlike smarts,
Privily moystening his horrid cheeke:
There was he painted full of burning dartes, And many wide woundes launched through his inner partes.
Ne did he spare (so cruell was the Elfe)
His owne deare mother, (ah! why should he so!)
Ne did he spare sometime to pricke himselfe,
That he might taste the sweet consuming woe,
Which he had wrought to many others moe.
But, to declare the mournfull Tragedyes
And spoiles wherewith he all the ground did strow,
More eath to number with how many eyes
High heven beholdes sad lovers nightly theeveryes.
Of broken bowes and arrowes shivered short; And a long bloody river through them rayld, So lively, and so like, that living sence it fayld.
Kings, Queenes, Lords, Ladies, Knights, and Damsels gent,
Were heap'd together with the vulgar sort,
And mingled with the raskall rablement,
Without respect of person or of port,
To shew Dan Cupids powre and great effort:
And round about a border was entrayld
And at the upper end of that faire rowme
There was an Altar built of pretious stone
Of passing valew and of great renowme,
On which there stood an Image all alone
Of massy gold, which with his owne light shone;
And winges it had with sondry colours dight,
More sondry colours then the proud Pavone
Beares in his boasted fan, or Iris bright,
When her discolourd bow she spreds through heven bright.
Blyndfold he was; and in his cruell fist
A mortall bow and arrowes keene did hold,
With which he shot at randon when him list,
Some headed with sad lead, some with pure gold;
(Ah! man, beware how thou those dartes behold!)
A wounded dragon under him did ly,
Whose hideous tayle his lefte foot did enfold,
And with a shaft was shot through either eye,
That no man forth might draw, ne no man remedye.
And underneath his feet was written thus,
Unto the Victor of the gods this bee :
And all the people in that ample hous
Did to that image bowe their humble knee,
And oft committed fowle idolatree.
That wondrous sight faire Britomart amazd,
Ne seeing could her wonder satisfie,
But ever more and more upon it gazd,
The whiles the passing brightnes her fraile sences dazd.
Tho, as she backward cast her busie eye
To search each secrete of that goodly sted, Over the dore thus written she did spye, Bee bold: She oft and oft it over-red, Yet could not find what sence it figured: But whatso were therein or writ or ment, She was no whit thereby discouraged From prosecuting of her first intent, But forward with bold steps into the next roome went.
Much fayrer then the former was that roome,
And richlier, by many partes, arayd;
For not with arras made in painefull loome,
But with pure gold it all was overlayd,
Wrought with wilde Antickes which their follies playd
In the rich metall, as they living were :
A thousand monstrous formes therein were made,
Such as false Love doth oft upon him weare;
For Love in thousand monstrous formes doth oft appeare.
And, all about, the glistring walles were hong
With warlike spoiles and with victorious prayes
Of mightie Conquerours and Captaines strong,
Which were whilóme captíved in their dayes
To cruell Love, and wrought their owne decayes:
Their swerds and speres were broke, and hauberques
And their proud girlonds of tryumphant bayes [rent,
Troden in dust with fury insolent,
To shew the Victors might and merciless intent.
The warlike Mayd, beholding earnestly
The goodly ordinaunce of this rich place, Did greatly wonder; ne could satisfy Her greedy eyes with gazing a long space : But more she mervaild that no footings trace Nor wight appeard, but wastefull emptiness And solemne silence over all that place: Straunge thing it seem'd, that none was to possesse So rich purveyaunce, ne them keepe with carefulnesse.
And, as she lookt about, she did behold
How over that same dore was likewise writ,
Be bolde, Be bolde, and every where, Be bold;
That much she muz'd, yet could not construe it
By any ridling skill or commune wit.
At last she spyde at that rowmes upper end
Another yron dore, on which was writ,
Be not too bold; whereto though she did bend
Her earnest minde, yet wist not what it might intend.
Thus she there wayted untill eventyde,
Yet living creature none she saw appeare.
And now sad shadowes gan the world to hide
From mortall vew, and wrap in darkenes dreare;
Yet nould she d'off her weary armes, for feare
Of secret daunger, ne let sleepe oppresse
Her heavy eyes with Natures burdein deare,
But drew herselfe aside in sickernesse,
And her welpointed wepons did about her dresse.
The Maske of Cupid, and th' enchaun-
ted Chamber are displayd;
Whence Britomart redeemes faire A-
moret through charmes decayd.
HO, whenas chearelesse Night ycovered had
Fayre heaven with an universall clowd,
That every wight dismayd with darkenes sad
In silence and in sleepe themselves did shrowd,
She heard a shrilling trompet sound alowd,
Signe of nigh battaill, or got victory :
Nought therewith daunted was her courage prowd,
But rather stird to cruell enmity,
Expecting ever when some foe she might descry.
With that, an hideous storme of winde arose,
With dreadfull thunder and lightning atwixt,
And an earthquake, as if it streight would lose
The worlds foundations from his centre fixt:
A direfull stench of smoke and sulphure mixt
Ensewd, whose noyaunce fild the fearefull sted
From the fourth howre of night untill the sixt;
Yet the bold Britonesse was nought ydred,
Though much emmov'd, but stedfast still persévered.
All suddeinly a stormy whirlwind blew
Throughout the house, that clapped every dore,
With which that yron wicket open flew,
As it with mighty levers had bene tore;
And forth yssewd, as on the readie flore
Of some theatre, a grave personage
That in his hand a braunch of laurell bore,
With comely haveour and count'nance sage,
Yclad in costly garments fit for tragicke stage.