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Of all the race of silver-winged Flies
Which doo possesse the empire of the aire,
Betwixt the centred earth, and azure skies,
Was none more favourable, nor more faire,
Whilst Heaven did favour his felicities,
Then Clarion, the eldest sonne and heire
Of Muscaroll, and in his fathers sight
Of all alive did seeme the fairest wight.
With fruitfull hope his aged breast he fed
Of future good, which his young toward yeares,
Full of brave courage and bold hardyhed
Above th' ensample of his equall Peares,
Did largely promise, and to him fore-red,
(Whilst oft his heart did melt in tender teares,)
That he in time would sure prove such an one,
As should be worthie of his fathers throne.
The fresh young Flie, in whom the kindly fire
Of lustfull yongth 1 began to kindle fast,
Did much disdaine to subiect his desire
To loathsome sloth, or houres in ease to wast;
But ioy'd to range abroad in fresh attire,
Through the wide compas of the ayrie coast;
And, with unwearied wings, each part t'inquire
Of the wide rule of his renowmed sire.
For he so swift and nimble was of flight,
That from this lower tract he dar'd to stie 2
Up to the clowdes, and thence with pineons light
To mount aloft unto the cristall skie,
To view the workmanship of heavens hight:
Whence down descending he along would flie
Upon the streaming rivers, sport to finde;
And oft would dare to tempt the troublous winde.
So on a summers day, when season milde
With gentle calme the world had quieted,
And high in heaven Hyperion's fierie childe
Ascending did his beames abroad dispred,
Whiles all the heavens on lower creatures smilde;
Young Clarion, with vauntfull lustiehed,
After his guize 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 firmely bound,
That mought his life from yron death assure,
And ward bis gentle corps from cruell wound:
For it by arte was framed, to endure
The bit of balefull steele and bitter stownd,
No lesse then that which Vulcane nade to shield
Achilles life from fate of Troyan field.
And then about his shoulders broad he threw 65
An hairie hide of some wild beast, whom hee
In salvage forrest by adventure slew,
And reft the spoyle his ornament to bee;
Which, spredding all his backe with dreadfull view,
Made all, that him so horrible did see,
70 Thinke him Alcides with the Lyons skin, When the Næméan conquest he did win.
Upon his head, his glistering burganet,'
The which was wrought by wonderous device,
And curiously engraven, he did set:
The metall was of rare and passing price;
Not Bilbo steele, nor brasse from Corinth fet,
Nor costly oricalche from strange Phænice;
But such as could both Phæbus arrowes ward,
And th' hayling darts of heaven beating hard.
Therein two deadly weapons fixt he bore,
Strongly outlaunced towards either side,
Like two sharpe speares, his enemies to gore:
Like as a warlike brigandine, applyde
To fight, layes forth her threatfull pikes afore,
The engines which in them sad death doo hyde:
So did this Flie outstretch his fearefull hornes,
Yet so as him their terrour more adornes.
Lastly his shinie wings as silver bright,
Painted with thousand colours passing farre
All painters skill, he did about him dight:
Not halfe so manie sundrie colours arre
In Iris bowe; ne heaven doth shine so bright,
Distinguished with manie a twinckling starte;
Nor lunoes bird, in her ey-spotted traine,
So many goodly colours doth containe.
Ne (may it be withouten perill spoken)
The Archer god, the sonne of Cytheree,
? Brigandine, a light vessel.
Ver. 77.— Bilbo steele.] “ Bilbo ; from Bilboa, a city of Biscay, where the best blades are made." — STEEVENS.
Ver. 78. — Oricalche.] A kind of brass.
That ioyes on wretched lovers to be wroken,
And heaped spoyles of bleeding harts to see,
Beares in his wings so manie a changefull token.
Ah! my liege Lord, forgive it unto mee,
If ought against thine honour I have tolde;
Yet sure those wings were fairer manifolde.
Full many a Ladie faire, in Court full oft
Beholding them, him secretly envide,
And wisht that two such fannes, so silken soft,
And golden faire, her Love would her provide;
Or that, when them the gorgeous Flie had doft,2
Some one, that would with grace be gratifide,
From him would steale them privily away,
And bring to her so precious a pray.
Report is that dame Venus on a day,
In spring when flowres doo clothe the fruitfull ground,
Walking abroad with all her nymphes to play,
Bad her faire damizels flocking her arownd
To gather flowres, her forhead to array:
Emongst the rest a gentle Nymph was found,
Hight 3 Astery, excelling all the crewe
In curteous usage and unstained hewe.
Who beeing nimbler ioynted then the rest,
And more industrious, gathered more store
Of the fields honour, than the others best;
Which they in secret harts envying sore,
Tolde Venus, when her as the worthiest
She praisd, that Cupide (as they heard before)
Did lend her secret aide, in gathering
Into her lap the children of the Spring.
Whereof the goddesse gathering iealous feare,
Not yet unmindfull, how not long agoe
Her sonne to Psyche secrete love did beare,
And long it close conceal'd, till mickle woe
Thereof arose, and manie a rufull teare;
Reason with sudden rage did overgoe;
And, giving hastie credit to th' accuser,
Was led away of them that did abuse her.
Eftsoones ? that Damzell, by her heavenly might,
She turn'd into a winged Butterflie,
In the wide aire to make her wandring flight;
And all those flowres, with which so plenteouslie 140
Her lap she filled had, that bred her spight,
She placed in her wings, for memorie
Of her pretended crime, though crime none were:
Since which that Flie them in her wings doth beare.
Thus the fresh Clarion, being readie dight,
Unto his iourney did himselfe addresse,
And with good speed began to take his flight:
Over the fields, in his franke lustinesse,
And all the champaine o're he soared light;
And all the countrey wide he did possesse,
Feeding upon their pleasures bounteouslie,
That none gainsaid, nor none did him envie.
The woods, the rivers, and the medowes greene,
With his aire-cutting wings he measured wide,
? Eftsoones, immediately.