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Till faint through yrkesome wearines, adowne
Upon the grassy ground her selfe she layd
To sleepe, the whiles a gentle slombring swowne
Upon her fell, all naked bare displayd.
The sunbeames bright upon her body playd,
Being through former bathing mollifide,
And pierst into her wombe; where they embayd
With so sweet sence and secret powre unspide,
That in her pregnant flesh they shortly fructifide.
Miraculous may seeme to him that reades
So straunge ensample of conception;
But reason teacheth that the fruitfull seades
Of all things living, through impression
Of the sunbeames in moyst complexion,
Doe life conceive and quickned are by kynd:
So, after Nilus inundation,
Infinite shapes of creatures men doe fynd
Informed in the mud on which the Sunne hath shynd.
Great father he of generation
Is rightly cald, th' authour of life and light;
And his faire sister for creation
Ministreth matter fit, which, tempred right
With heate and humour, breedes the living wight.
So sprong these twinnes in womb of Chrysogone;
Yet wist she nought thereof, but sore affright,
Wondred to see her belly so upblone,
Which still increast till she her terme had full outgone.
Whereof conceiving shame and foule disgrace,
Albe her guiltlesse conscience her cleard,
She fled into the wildernesse a space,
Till that unweeldy burden she had reard,
And shund dishonor which as death she feard:
Where, wearie of long traveill, downe to rest
Her selfe she set, and comfortably cheard:
There a sad cloud of sleepe her overkest,
And seized every sence with sorrow sore opprest.
It fortuned, faire Venus having lost
Her little sonne, the winged god of love,
Who, for some light displeasure which him crost,
Was from her fled as flit as ayery Dove,
And left her blisfull bowre of joy above:
(So from her often he had fled away,
When she for ought him sharpely did reprove,
And wandred in the world in straunge aray,
Disguiz'd in thousand shapes, that none might him
Him for to seeke, she left her heavenly hous,
The house of goodly formes and faire aspects,
Whence all the world derives the glorious
Features of beautie, and all shapes select,
With which high God his workmanship hath deckt;
And searched everie way through which his wings
Had borne him, or his tract she mote detect:
She promist kisses sweet, and sweeter things,
Unto the man that of him tydings to her brings
First she him sought in Court, where most he us'd 13
Whylome to haunt, but there she found him not;
But many there she found which sore accus'd
His falshood, and with fowle infamous blot
His cruell deedes and wicked wyles did spot:
Ladies and Lordes she every where mote heare
Complayning, how with his empoysned shot
Their wofull harts he wounded had whyleare,
And so had left them languishing twixt hope and feare.
She then the Cities sought from gate to gate,
And everie one did aske, did he him see?
And everie one her answerd, that too late
He had him seene, and felt the crueltee
Of his sharpe dartes and whot artilleree:
And every one threw forth reproches rife
Of his mischievous deedes, and sayd, That hee
Was the disturber of all civill life,
The enimy of peace, and authour of all strife.
Then in the countrey she abroad him sought,
And in the rurall cottages inquir'd;
Where also many plaintes to her were brought, How he their heedelesse harts with love had fir'd, And his false venim through their veines inspir'd: And eke the gentle Shepheard swaynes, which sat Keeping their fleecy flockes as they were hyr'd, She sweetly heard complaine, both how and what Her sonne had to them doen; yet she did smile thereat. But when in none of all these she him got,
She gan avize where els he mote him hyde:
At last she her bethought that she had not
Yet sought the salvage woods and forests wyde,
In which full many lovely Nymphes abyde;
Mongst whom might be that he did closely lye,
Or that the love of some of them him tyde:
For thy she thether cast her course t' apply,
To search the secret haunts of Dianes company.
Shortly unto the wastefull woods she came,
Whereas she found the Goddesse with her crew,
After late chace of their embrewed game,
Sitting beside a fountaine in a rew;
Some of them washing with the liquid dew
From of their dainty limbs the dusty sweat
And soyle, which did deforme their lively hew;
Others lay shaded from the scorching heat;
The rest upon her person gave attendance great.
She, having hong upon a bough on high
Her bow and painted quiver, had unlaste Her silver buskins from her nimble thigh, And her lanck loynes ungirt, and brests unbraste, After her heat the breathing cold to taste : · Her golden lockes, that late in tresses bright Embreaded were for hindring of her haste, Now loose about her shoulders hong undight, And were with sweet Ambrosia all besprinckled light.
Soone as she Venus saw behinde her backe,
She was asham'd to be so loose surpriz'd;
And woxe halfe wroth against her damzels slacke,
That had not her thereof before aviz'd,
But suffred her so carelesly disguiz'd
Be overtaken. Soone her garments loose
Upgath'ring, in her bosome she compriz'd
Well as she might, and to the Goddesse rose;
Whiles all her Nymphes did like a girlond her enclose
Goodly she gan faire Cytherea greet,
And shortly asked her, what cause her brought Into that wildernesse for her unmeet, [fraught? From her sweete bowres, and beds with pleasures That suddein chaung she straung adventure thought. To whom halfe weeping she thus answered; That she her dearest sonne Cupido sought, Who in his frowardnes from her was fled, That she repented sore to have him angered.
Thereat Diana gan to smile, in scorne
Of her vaine playnt, and to her scoffing sayd: "Great pitty sure that ye be so forlorne Of your gay sonne, that gives ye so good ayd To your disports: ill mote ye bene apayd." But she was more engrieved, and replide; "Faire sister, ill beseemes it to upbrayd A dolefull heart with so disdainfull pride: The like that mine may be your paine another tide.
"As you in woods and wanton wildernesse
Your glory sett to chace the salvage beasts,
So my delight is all in joyfulnesse,
In beds, in bowres, in banckets, and in feasts: And ill becomes you, with your lofty creasts, To scorne the joy that Jove is glad to seeke: We both are bownd to follow heavens beheasts, And tend our charges with obeisaunce meeke. Spare, gentle sister, with reproch my paine to eeke;
"And tell me, if that ye my sonne have heard
To lurke emongst your Nimphes in secret wize, Or keepe their cabins ? much I am affeard Least he like one of them him selfe disguize, And turne his arrowes to their exercize. So may he long him selfe full easie hide; For he is faire and fresh in face and guize As any Nimphe; (let not it be envide.") So saying, every Nimph full narrowly she eide.
But Phœbe therewith sore was angered,
And sharply saide: "Goe, Dame; goe, seeke your
Where you him lately lefte, in Mars his bed: [boy,
He comes not here; we scorne his foolish joy,
Ne lend we leisure to his idle toy :
But if I catch him in this company,
By Stygian lake I vow, whose sad annoy
The Gods doe dread, he dearly shall abye:
Ile clip his wanton wings, that he no more shall flye."
Whom whenas Venus saw so sore displeasd,
Shee inly sory was, and gan relent
What shee had said: so her shee soone appeasd
With sugred words and gentle blandishment,
From which a fountaine from her sweete lips went.
And welled goodly forth, that in short space
She was well pleasd, and forth her damzells sent
Through all the woods, to search from place to place,
If any tract of him or tidings they mote trace.
To search the God of love her Nimphes she sent 26
Throughout the wandring forest every where:
And after them her selfe eke with her went
To seeke the fugitive both farre and nere.
So long they sought, till they arrived were
In that same shady covert whereas lay
Faire Crysogone in slombry traunce whilere;
Who in her sleepe (a wondrous thing to say)
Unwares had borne two babes, as faire as springing day