The rape of Proserpine. Translated out of Claudian in Latine, into English verse: by Leonard Digges, Gent
Claudianus, Claudius., Digges, Leonard, 1588-1635.
Page  [unnumbered]


The Argument of the First Booke
Pluto e〈…〉 would ma••y, threatens warre
Gainst Iupiter, the Fates preuent their iarre:
Swift Mercury Ambassador is sent
To heaun, to tell the gods of this euent.
Ioue, Ceres daughter doth resolue to giue
His brother, and the meanes doth thus contriue;
Whilst Ceres absent is in Phrygia,
Venus must egge abroad Proserpina:
Downe she descends the Virgin chaste to see,
Diana, Pallas, beare her companie.
MY loftie Muse is full, and bids me sing
The robbery of Hell's infernall king,
Grimme Pluto; and the Carre of Taenarus,
That whilome with portentionsominous
And giddie hurrie, through the blasted ayre,
Presagd the Rape of Proserpine the fayre,
Ioues daughter, and the marriges euent:
Profaner eares be you from hence exempt.
Page  2 And now the furie of a Spirit Diuine,
Expell's all humane feare from this of mine:
Apollo breathes in me, Phoebus inspires
My braine, my quill with his most sacred fires.
Now, now (me thinkes) I on a suddaine see,
The Shrine of each immortall deitie,
Shake in it's quiu'ring seate (vnus'd to moue)
And the Coelestiall rayes (that from aboue
Disperse their glim'ring light) forerunners are,
Of Pluto's iourny and sad Ceres care.
The noyse (that in the earth's deepe wombe doth sound)
I heare, and Athens Temple so renown'd,
For her King Cecraps painfully doth grone,
(Doubling shrill Eccho's to the Cities mone:)
And Ceres lou'd Eleusis tapers blaze
With flaring lights which to the skies they raise:
Triptolem's snakes their bloudie crests aloft
Vpstretch, and with confused murmur soft,
Glide their spot-painted bodies here and there,
At which Spectators tremble, themselues feare:
They hisse, and with strange accent to my Verse
Hasten the Tragicke song that I rehearse.
The three-folde Hecate appear's in sight,
And lazy Bacchus (madding) doth affright
The eyes of mortals with his shiu'ring lance
Of wreathed Vines, and in a drunken dance
(Loading his Temples with an Yuie crowne,
Whose weight keepes his vnweldy body downe)
Knits to his necke a Parthian Tyger's pawes,
And skinne (that from his shoulder downe he drawes)
You gods (on whom Auernus wandring soules,
And multitudes of wights blacke Styx enroules)
Page  3 Attend, and such as of their worldly crimes,
In burning Phlegeton bewaile the times.
You gods, you fathers, shew; declare to me
The secrets of earths vaste concauity;
Your gouernments reueale, and mysteries
Of all those great and powerfull deities.
Tell me, since Loue so lowe would neuer bend
His shafts, what fire could Pluto thus incend?
As snatching off from earth this Proserpine,
He makes her his eternall Concubine:
Yet comforts her (that in the Tyrants pow'r,
Laments) by giuing Lethe for her dow'r.
Tell me, did Ceres her grieu'd mother know
Before, what should succeed? or if not so,
When she was lost, in her distracted minde,
Where could she hope her Proserpine to finde?
That (longing for good newes) shee makes a vowe,
The barren earth with fairest wheate to sowe.
Long since, the dismall Prince of Erebus
(Through wrath and fury growne outragious)
To see that he (a god) and young, alone,
Must leade a solitary life in mone,
Wanting a mate, that dayes, moneths, yeeres retire
And passe (regardlesse of his quenchlesse fire)
Impatient of delaies and full of iarre,
He summons all the supreme gods to warre;
Disdaining they aboue should note his want,
Of happy marriage to be ignorant.
Redde lips, faire eyes, sweet lookes, soft cherishing
Confus'd embraces, limbes proportioning,
To their proportion all strange delight,
Two soules combin'd in one, which make one white:
Page  [unnumbered] Like yuie (twining) yuorie necke, that one,
One body, which one common breath alone,
Giues life vnto: this one, and yet not one
For (louers) each hath a Companion:
So two, when as two bodies striuing moue
In Cuptds lists (made one by mutuall loue.)
These two, that one and all as motiues are,
Egging sterne Pluto to ambitious warre:
The name of father, and proud hope of sonnes,
(Each) a fore-runner of new strife becomes:
Forth-with the Monsters of infemall deepe,
Ranke out their squadrons, and good order keepe.
The vgly Fiends coniur'd by Plutos wroth,
Gainst highest Iupiter take solemne oath;
And menacing the gods in sad array
Of battell, hels blacke banners they display
Before heauens walls, and discord first appeares
(Cladde all in ruth:) in armes of steele she beares
The portraict of her name, and next to her
Imperious Famine rageth, and base feare
(Plac't as a Scout, or as a Runnagate,
Against the foe to annoy them, cankred hate,
Despairefull sorrow, rashnesse out of breath
March last (led in the rere by conqu'ring death.
Gainst thundring Ioue, the pallid Furies three
Combine themselues, and bold Tisiphone
That bout her head those curled Snakes doth twine
With spinie fist, that of combustions pine
A fire-brand brandisheth, whose boading light
Compassion moues, and megar lookes affright
Of her, the sad beholder: 'gins to sound
Through all the Campe, and mongst the hel-hounds round,
Page  [unnumbered] A soft retreat (at whose well-knowne voyce)
The pale fac't Monsters couch, and hush their noyse.
The Elements, whose equall qualities
For many an Age in peace could simpathize,
Scarce now containe, but into discord turne,
And faine to their olde Chaos would returne:
Proud Titans off-spring hope at length to see
Their gyues knockt off, and former libertie:
That (breaking vp hels dung'ons) once againe,
Punish they may the Author of their shame.
Pluto, Aegaeons fancie now can please,
That long hath layne cubb'd vp in little ease,
And losing straight the Gyants hundred hands,
(Arm'd to obey the threatning Gods commands)
He musters vp his seu'nteene brothers more
Vnto a second Combate (for before
They plotted had gainst heau'n) and now they long
Ioues thunder to retort the gods among.
VVhen soone the reu'rend Destinies that see
Sterne warres approach, and hels infantery
Range into battaile, with stout puissance,
And fearefull march 'gainst heauens gates aduance:
So many horrid fiends that likely were
To put the gods, and all Ioues hoast in feare:
And (doubting lest the terror of this fight,
The Orbes Celestiall endanger might)
Eu'n in the heate and danger of the rowt
They gently tread, and pace the Campe throughout;
And prouidently thus themselues intrude
With modest threats, to tame the multitude:
Then prostrate 'fore the valiant General,
With bended knees and humble lookes they fall;
Page  [unnumbered] (Spreading their aged Cheekes and frontes seuere,
With dangling tresses of their snowie haire.)
Their hands they ioyne, those hands that spun the thred
Of many liuing, many thousans dead;
Those hands they ioyne, to whose high soueraign'ty,
The World, and all things breathing Vassals be:
First, Lachesis, the eldest of the three,
And most austere, diuides in modestie
The hoary threds, which (for she nastie keepes)
Vncomb'd, they thwart and hide her wrinkled cheekes:
In her owne name, and sisters both, she greets
Blacke Pluto, and to mitigate his threats
'Gainst Ioue, first weepes: then wiping her sad eyes,
With fainting voice she to him gently cries,
And thus begins. Thou mighty king (saith she)
Great Ruler of our vaste obscuritie,
Thou (to whose sacred iudgement) the least wight
That groanes in darkenesse, and hels horrid night
Is subiect; thou, whom loyall Fates haue seru'd
So long and from thy precepts neuer sweru'd,
With web and spindle; thou that first giu'st breath
To all things liuing, thou, whom life and death,
Equally waite on; thou, to whom the sage
Fleet time, what ruines he in euery age
Collects, doth giue; and vnto thee the state
Of present things doth likewise consecrate:
And lastly thou, by whom, the Soules condemn'd
Haue second being, torture without end.
Seeke not (great Prince) to haue thine honor stain'd
(By breach of sacred lawes wee first ordain'd:)
Cause thy robustious troopes retire, and cease
T'incense them further 'gainst high heauens peace
Page  [unnumbered] Desist from hostile armes (impietie)
Of making brother gods thine enemy;
But if thou needs wilt venter, be no more
A pow'r Diuine, but some wilde sauage Bore:
Must Gyant race enioy a second light,
And once againe outbraue in Martiall fight
Th'vnconquer'd gods? Fye Pluto: do not thus
Attempt a Warre so sacrilegious,
And headlong cast thy Maiestie, forbeare;
(If Marri'ge be the cause; or if thou feare
Lest Ioue deny thee issue) mildly proue
Great Iupiter: first let him heare thy loue.
Pluto heares Lachesis: and though his rage
Were such, as her faire speech could scarce asswage;
Yet when the loftie loue strooke god, might see,
The Sisters both to her soft prayers agree;
The bloud that riseth in each blacke swolne vaine,
He tempereth: the Furies straight proclaime
His alter'd purpose, cu'ry Fiend that droopes
To see this change, they lash, and force hels troopes
Retire, thus was this fatall enterprise,
Dismist, and Pluto calm'd by Destinies.
So blust'ring Boreas (when with roaring gust,
And whirle-winde arm'd) he first doth lay the dust,
Then with a suddaine and tempestuous blast,
(Enrag'd) he faine vpon earth's face would cast;
Thicke stormes of hayle eu'n at the instant, when
With full swolne cheekes he breakes his loathed denne,
And (scowring the vaste Seas) would cause their flouds
Arise (to drowne the fields and neighb'ring woods:)
Eu'n then the milder Aeolus restraines
His force, and keepes him fetter'd in strong chaines.
Page  [unnumbered]Pluto commands that subtill Mercury
Ioue's sonne (being summon'd to appeare from high)
Approach his presence, and from thence be sent
To tell the gods his Vncles discontent:
The winged messenger without delay
(Swifter then thought) through the dull ayre makes way,
And with his colour'd hat, and charming rod
Forth-with appeares before th'infernall god;
Who, in the darkest Vault of all, sate (plac't
Vpon a blacke rude throne:) so meanly grac't
VVith scepter course; only his visage stout,
The horrour of his Maiestie set out:
Ouer his head hangs vp a dismall Cloud,
Which serues for cloth of state, and now aloud
'Twixt rage and griefe he groans, and faine would speak,
When, at first accent of his words (that breake
Through hearers eares) at their first hideous sound,
The royall palace and moyst chambers round
All shake againe; and at the fearefull note
The triple Porter stops his howling throat:
The three sad riuers at th'vnusuall voyce
Affrighted stand, and stop their murm'ring noise,
All hell was silent; but their king exceeds,
And to his yelling Embassie proceeds.
Ioues high-borne brood, Cylenian Mercurie:
Olde Atlas Nephew, common deity
To heauen and hell: thou, that hast passage free
Through both the Poles, and equall liberty;
Thou, that of all the gods both high and low,
The mysteries and strict comerce dost know:
Fly hence, with speedy wing cut through the winde,
To thy vngratefull Sirethus speake our minde,
Page  [unnumbered] What right hast thou, or what prioritie,
(Cruel'st of all thy brothers) ouer me?
Say, Fortune blind with an vnequall hand,
(To me denying) gaue thee heau'ns command?
Yet are these temples honour'd with a crowne,
As well as thine, nor can thy pride beate downe
Our glory; though we want the light, thou shalt
Perceiue our strength, when I thy walls assault:
Think'st thou the Cyclop's handy-worke I feare;
Or those vaine claps that mocke the yeelding ayre?
Cast downe thy darts of thunder, let them strike
Affrighted mortals, we are farte vnlike
To such; Know, Iupiter, I keepe my vowe,
And to reuenge my griefes, am sure (though slowe)
VVas't not enough? I then repined not
At Fates, that first to my accursed lot
Gaue this third kingdome, and depriued quite,
(Though satisfied) I neuer sought for light:
Nor wisht bright Phoebus might descend so farre
As my sad palace, or the morning starre
Lighten these vaults; when vnto thee the seau'n,
(That make Charles-wayne twinkle in spangled heau'n)
And millions more thy glorious state adorne:
Poore I, that all in darknesse sit forlorne
(Discomfortably mournfull) no glad sight
Enioy, but waste in a perpetuall night,
VVhere are no comforts to the eye or eare,
Nothing but noyse, and notes of ghastly feare,
For what harmonious musicke hath hells king?
Where ghosts keep howling time, whil'st scriech-owles sing:
Yet thou that see'st me bare of all reliefe,
(The more to aggrauate my sullen griefe)
Page  [unnumbered] Forbidd'st me Nuptiall rites; thus Ioue repines
At Pluto's wishes, when his Concubines
Are numberlesse; the Sea-god happier is,
(Though lesse in power then I) and hath more blisse,
That when the raging billowes he allayes,
Faire Amphitrite with her Neptune playes
And he (intangled in her soft embrace)
Forgets the vse of his three-forked mace.
When thou in midst of Tytans scorching heate,
With labour of thy thunder-claps dost sweate
To coole the partch't earth, with moist drops of raine,
And (weary of thy toyle turn'st backe againe)
Incestuous Iuno sits in longing state
VVith open lap her Lord to recreate:
Latona, Ceres, Themis: (each of which
Sufficient were) but all of these, enrich
Thee, with the name of father, and thy seate
Keepe still with hopefull successors repleace:
Thus thou, in lustfull ryot (varying)
Liu'st at thine ease, whil'st I (thy brother king)
In darkest dungeon (like a slane) am voyde
Of those delights, with which thou most art cloid:
And thus my prime of youth doth fade, and pride
Of issue, failes; (by wanting alov'd Bride)
But come reuenge, awake dull patience,
(Suffice long pardon for so iust offence)
By all the shades of night, by all the Ghosts
That houer o're blacke Styx, by all the hosts
Of dreadfull horror, mischiefe vengeance dire,
If Iupiter denie this last desire;
The walls of Tartarus shall open wide
(Thorough whose breach) the soules that there abide
Page  [unnumbered] (Condemn'd to endlesse ruth) shall sally out,
And hast thy downfall with confused rowt:
(Mongst whom) old Saturne once againe shall free
The golden age from her captiuitie.
(This sayd) the Tyrant ceast, and to his ire
Gaue respit. Mercury (like nimble fire)
Meane while ascends vp to the highest Spheare,
And tells his message to great Iupiter.
The god, vnto this vnexpected newes
Gaue strict attention, and forth-with' gins muse
In his diuine brest, what would be th' euent
Of such a marri'ge, who would be content
(Of all the goddesses) to lose the light
In lieu she may be queene of lasting night,
And (like a Iudge reuoluing many a doubt,
At length resolu'd) his sentence thus breakes out,
One only child the goddesse Ceres had
One daughter, which doth make her mother glad:
For though Lucina blest her with no more,
Yet is she happy in this first she bore.
This serues for many, and the want supplies,
That second birth her barren wombe denies.
This (as her dearest darling and delight)
She often hugges, still tends, and from her sight
She neuer let's her part; so Heifer young
Or first yeeres Calfe, (that other beasts among
Scarce presseth the soft grasse with wanton tread,
Nor horned Moones, yet peepe from curled head:)
The lowing Damme (that it by chance doth misse)
(Finding) doth giue it many a licking kisse.
The Virgin faire was growne now ripe and neare
To Hymens rites, a chaste and shamefast feare
Page  [unnumbered] Breeds in her brest new flames: now she desires
(One while) to marrie; then againe loues fires
Despitefully she quencheth; thus, her mind
Eu'n in a moment, makes her curst and kinde;
To loue, and not to like; which mysterie
Is caus'd by feare, that beares the mastery
Ouer her will (her will that oft doth call
Her passions vp) but feare straight layes them all:
Now store of suters throng and each 'gins ply
Old Ceres, for her daughter (cunningly)
Two great Competitors, with equall strife
Contend, to haue the louely Mayd to wife:
Mars with his shield, Apollo with his bowe
And shafts, their greatnesses alike both shewe.
Both offer a round earnest for their loues;
Yet neithers suite the yellow Ceres moues:
Nor though proud Iuno and Latona too
Speake for their sonnes and (seuerally woo)
VVould she consent: but (as a mother kind
In her owne thoughts) and with fond passion blind:
(Vnwitting future rape) her too too deare,
She sought to hide from those she least might feare.
And thus (descending from Olympus high,
With her faire Proserpine) both secretly
At fruitfull Scicile arriue; and there,
The carefull mother in a iealous feare,
Viewes the rich Island, and the Sea that round
Doth ring-like compasse, and its fertile ground,
Sprinkle; th'vnknowing goddesse straight conceiues
The place for purpose fitting, and so leaues
Her daughter to it's charge: thus neither she,
Nor it, soresawe th'ensuiug prodigie.
Page  [unnumbered]Sicilia once the Continent did touch,
And made a part of Italy, till, such
Was the Seas rage, and Nereus swelling pride,
As did the firme land seuer and diuide:
He with his subtill art, and puissance stout
The confines broke, and cut those mountaines out,
Which, to the little land did there remaine,
Contiguous were; now (parted from the maine)
He bathes them with his waues, yet men may see
'Twixt both the Lands a knowne affinitie.
The Promontories that are seene from farre,
Pachinus high, and Lilibeum are
On which the waues that (brauing play) let flee
Their force, and make continuall batterie:
Pachinus shewes vnto th' Ionian Sea
His lofty head; the top of Lylibe
Lookes to the Libian Coast, from whence (in vaine)
The waues driues through his armes, which (as a reine
And bridle serue t'abate and curbe their pride
And roaring noyse;) when Thetis to abide
Disdaineth there, and from the Thuscane shore,
Her waues vpon Pelorus beate much more.
These Promontories three, at first the Ile
(Sicilia now) Trinacria did stile:
In midst of which Aetna of old renowne
(For burning rockes) so high his flaming crowne
Lifts; that the Promontories (which before
Did Gyants seeme) like Dwarfes his height adore:
Aetna, true witnesse of Briareus
His folly, and of bold Enceladus
The Tombe and bonefire; where, he liues in death,
And spits forth fire with brimstone-pois'ning breath:
Page  [unnumbered] The Mountaines load, there, keeps him prisoner fast,
That when the weighty burden off to cast
He (groaning) striues, and to his vtmost straines
To quit his rebell necke from yoke and paines:
The poore Inhabitants he maketh feare
(By often shaking) lest some Earth-quake there
Should roote the Islands vp, and so, her towrs,
And walles, the violence of Seas deuours:
This Mountaines top, is only to the eye
Of mortals subiect; so you may descrie
The smoke and flames, but neuer hath it yet
Been trampled on by any humane feet:
With stately Groues and Trees, the lower part
Is deckt, that ne're were planted there by Art;
The vpper, commonly with misty fogge
Staines the Sun-beams, and dayes cleere light doth clog
With pitchy Clouds, which (lasting vntill night)
Ascend the Firmament, and dayes cleere light
Conuert to darknesse; still the flames increase
Is nourisht (though the mountaines selfe decrease.)
In midst of boiling heate, the snow doth fall
Vpon the top, and neuer melts at all:
It snowes vpon the Mountaine, and that heate
Which burneth there (albeit ne're so great)
The snow it ne're offends, whose inward cold
Condenseth it, and if dissolue some should,
(By reason of hot vapors that arise)
Yet most vpon the top congealed is,
Or neuer lower falls: but that which breeds
The greatest admiration, and exceeds
All common wonder, is the noyse within
The hollow Cliftes, that doth neuer linne
Page  [unnumbered] It's raging, whether caused by the wind,
That stopt in Aetnas bowels faine would find
A passage out, and cannot, till it breake
With speedy motion through some open creake
Of the torne rockes, till when, it rumbles there;
Or else the greedy Sea, whose armes doe teare
The Mountaines bosome, and the brackish waues
Mingling with fires in those hot sulf'rous caues
Within, and wanting meanes to sally thence,
Adde matter to the broiling violence
And noyse; vncertaine whether of the twaine
It is, but one may be the reason plaine.
Diuinest Ceres now most confident
Of the sure Island (to whose charge she lent
And left her dearest pledge) without all feare
Or least suspicion of her danger neere,
To Phrigia posteth, and amaine doth hie
To her torne foundresse mother Cybele.
By sixe fierce Dragons, that (taile wheeling round
With writhed limbes) her chariot lift from ground,
She carri'd is, and snatcht into the ayre,
From whence her speedy flight (they swift) prepare,
And, breaking through the clouds, that giue them way,
Them leaue behind; and (posting) lead away
With giddy gallop, the free raines they beare
Vpon their lofty crests (bemoistned were
With foamie froth) which on their golden scales
They cast, and doubly spot their winged sailes:
One while the middle Region they diuide,
And soare aloft; then suddainly they slide
Downe to the earth, and slacking of their flight,
The Chariots golden wheeles they couer (white)
Page  [unnumbered] With hoarie dust: their Mistris (as she goes)
Her bountie casts, and plenteously bestowes
O're all the fields: the very tract and path
(Made by her wheeles) sufficient plentie hath
Of rip'ned eares; which (as she passeth on)
Cloath all the fields and wayes they run vpon
VVith golden habit. Thus behind her quite
Aetna she leaues, and th'Island out of sight,
Till (looking backe with her presaging eies,
And moist'ned cheekes) the palace she espies
VVhere she her daughter left; then with fresh teares
She doubles her prognosticating feares
(As doubtfull of the fatall accident)
And thus the hard mishap would faine preuent
(By courting the faire Island) Dearest Earth,
Blest Soyle (saith she) farwell: my first, last birth,
I leaue vnto thy charge; looke well to her,
Be thou her guardian safe, since I preferre
Thee before other places: as thy care
Shall speed, the mindfull Ceres will not spare
For thy reward: be sure of this before,
The cruell Spade shall neuer wound thee more;
Nor rugged Clowne (when he thy fields will sowe)
Shall once, with crooked tooth of deluing plow,
Teare vp thy fruitfull entrailes; thou shalt make
Glad husbandmen to wonder, and forsake
The vse of toyling Oxen, and sharpe Goad,
VVhen (of their owne accord) thy fields shall load
Their Barnes; and (for thy seasonable fruit)
Their store-house, neighb'ring lands shall thee salute.
This said, her Dragons haste, and she arriues
Vpon Mount Ida, where Cybete liues:
Page  [unnumbered] Her Temple, there, with marble statue stands,
(That worshipt is by many vprear'd hands,
Couer'd with thickest boughes of blazing Pine)
That seldome subiect is to stormes or winde:
The furious Ayre doth seldome lash, or beate
This consecrated Tree to goddesse great;
But (gently whistling 'mongst the leaues) it beares
And formes soft musicke to the hearers eares:
VVithin the Temple, nought but dancing is
To Bacchus, and confused melodies
Of men, that (with their howling consorts round
Of squeaking Pipes and rusticke Tabors sound)
Shake Idas top; the holy shrines within
The Temple groane (mou'd with the noyse and dinne:)
At sight of Ceres all growes husht and still,
The balling Quire, the Drumme and Trumpets shrill
Desist; the Corybantes cease to waue
Their glitt'ring blades, the Lions fierce and braue
Are tamed, and their gentlenesse is such,
As they their shaggy maines to euery touch
Submit; the longing Ceres enters in,
And by the mother of the gods within
She welcom'd is, that at first entring place
Bowes downe her Towr's to do the goddesse grace.
Ioue from his supreme throne of maiestie
This passage viewes, and his most strict decree
To Venus lou'd reueales, to thee, I will,
(Saith he) ô Cytherea shew my will
And heauenly pleasure: know, I am resolu'd
That my firme purpose long agoe reuolu'd
In hidden thoughts, doe now it selfe declare,
Be now fulfill'd, that Ceres daughter faire
Page  [unnumbered] Be giuen to hels blacke king; for Destinies
Do so command, and Themis prophecies
Haue thus foretold: the time inuites to this,
Her carelesse mother farre off wandring is;
Goe then, and to Sicilia take thy flight,
That (when bright Sol, the mournfull robe of night
Displayes, and clads the fields in gorgeous ray)
Entice thou maist the mayd, to sport and play
In Floras walkes; that (when thy skill is tri'd,
Pluto may seyze vpon his louely Bride:
Vnfitting 'twere (since all the gods, and me
Thou burn'st) the lowerkingdomes should be free.
No, no; let fell Erynnis feele thy flame,
And Acheron acknowledge the great name
Of Venus; she gaue eare, and (hauing heard
Her fathers mind) to iourney straight prepar'd:
Pallas and she (that with the horne-bent bowe,
Arcadian Maenalus affrights) both goe
(Together) with their sister, for so Ioue
Commanded had; they out of filiall loue
Their Sire obey, and (taking solemne leaue
Of all the gods) them of their sight bereaue.
Looke how a Comet (seldome seene) appeares
To vulgar eyes, and fils men with strange feares:
When (streaming o're the world with bloudy light)
It boades vnto the peoples gazing sight
Some rare euent: (as death of Monarke great,
Or rage of sicknes sprung from Dog-dayes heate:)
That, to the trembling Mariner (at hand)
Threatens huge stormes, plagues, famine to the land;
So shew'd the ayry tracke this troope diuine
Had made (amazing with it's glorious shine.)
Page  [unnumbered] At length, they Ceres palace had espy'd
And glorious lust're of it's top descride,
And pinacles; that (as they neerer drew)
The goodly frame they might at leisure view:
(A wondrous worke) erected first of all
By the blacke lab'ring Cyclop's; the high wall
Of hard and strongest Thracian Ir'n was made,
The massy posts that sustain'd and stai'd
The weightie building vp, of steele: and wrought
The rest was, with the Metall thither brought
By those industrious Chalybes; who found
The first vse of it vnderneath the ground.
Neuer was great Pyracmon busied more,
Or toyling Sterops sweate so much before,
As ('bout this curious worke:) neuer (till then)
So (puffing, breathlesse) Vulcans iourny-men
Knocke on their batter'd Anuiles sparkling steele,
(Held by the crooked biting tongs) that feele
Their hammers loade: neuer was huger flame
Rais'd from the weary Fornace, then that same
Which, from the softned masse of metall thence
Arose; nor bellowes, with more violence
Breath'd on the burning Forge. Behold you might
From far, the gates (shining with yu'ry) white,
The top and battlements that outwardly
Appear'd, with siluer and blacke Ebonie
Checkr'd; the sollid beames the roofe vphold
VVithin, of brasse; and pillars of pure gold?
Here louely Proserpine, with melting tone,
Sat, to her dying honour (all alone)
VVarbling a swan-like farewell: for, she meant
VVith worke in hand, and needle, to present
Page  [unnumbered] Vnto her Mother (whom she longs to see
And still expects) her painefull industrie
Drawne out in curious sampler; and so thought,
(In vaine) to frame a robe of it (being wrought:)
There she her fathers kingdome first began
In liuely colours to paint out; and than
Foure Elements (each in their order plac't)
With cunning hand she flourisht, and so grac't
The patterne with her skill, you could not know
Whether the fire were burning there or no:
Somewhat beneath (in region cleere and faire)
She figur'd had the fresh and liuely aire,
And next, the water, where she often makes
A period to her handy-worke; and takes
Fresh silke to thred her needle, for she here
Had much adoe to make the Sea appeare
In all his formes; the waues she to the life
Describes, and set out their tumultuous strife:
The waters were with purple wrought, the shore
With Emeralds and Pearles all shadow'd o're;
Behold you might the sedge and greenish weed
Flote from the Rockes (as if they there did breed
Where she had plac't them) with such Art conceiu'd,
That warie Pilots well might be deceiu'd
In viewing them; then forth a different skeine
Of silke she sorts, and fresh to worke againe
Begins, those sands, the brackish waters drinke:
Those sands, so like; that lookers on would thinke
They heard the Seas hoarse murmure: last of all,
To th' earth she comes, yet (for th' originall
Was but a dull piece, and grosse element)
Lesse labour in describing that she spent:
Page  [unnumbered] Only some greene and yellow would bestow
Vpon the fields and flowr's that in them grow:
And (for vartety) amongst the rest,
That of Narcissus story she exprest;
Where (opposite) the new transformed Rose,
The thorne-prick't goddesse loue to Adon showes.
(These Elements thus finisht to her mind)
Fiue diff'rent Zones, each in a seu'rall kinde
And quality she notes, a crimson thred
The middle woue (flaming all fiery redde
Inhabitable) on both sides of that
She plac't the other two, more temperate:
The two most cold (as needlesse to be drawne)
She prettily thus figur'd in the Lawne
Wherein she work't; (a space there left) and so
The Samplers white alone exprest their snow.
Next to her Vncles palace she descends,
(Proportioning his Furies, Fates and Fiends;
But here she stopp't: for (looking on her worke,
As if some ominous euent did lurke
Vnder these dismall Pictures) from her eyes
Teares (forming pearles) dropt on the Destinies:
And (weary of that sad taske) she began
To sort new colours to the Ocean;
VVhose Crystall winding streames, she there drew out
Vpon the vtmost border of her clowt.
But suddainely the hinges of her dore,
With creaking noyse were turn'd, and her before
The goddesses she spies, so all in haste
Th' imperfect worke and robe shee from her cast;
With maiden blush and fearefull modestie,
Vpon her siluer cheekes a skarlet dye
Page  [unnumbered] She spradde; vnlike to this, the Lydian Dame
With Tyrian purple spots her yu'rie frame;
Now Phaebus diu'd into the west, and night
With lazie Carre, and dulnesse doth inuite
The world to rest; whil'st Pluto warn'd by Ioue
His iourney plot's, and conquest of his loue.
And loe, th'vnseene Commandresse, secretly,
Of fearefull wagon; to her axletree,
The harnest thongs, and coupled horses ties
Horses, that, on the filth and scumme which rise
From bottome of Cocytus, feede: that graze
In fields of Erebus and hels blacke laies,
When (drunke with Let he) vp into the world
Obliuion from their frothy mouthes is hurl'd.
Orphnaeus (shaking his vnruly head)
And Aethon (swift as flight) together tread
And (trampling in th'infernall entrie) beate
Each fire strucke flint from it's vnpaued seare:
Nicteus, with his staring maine, the best
Of Stygian brood, with braue Alaster drest
And ready harnest; both together stand
And (rear'd on end) Alectos sterne command.
With scornefull neighing mocke: (full of disdaine)
The cole black foure, scarcely themselues containe
Within hell gates (madde) on their masters prize
VVhich he expects, vpon the mornes vprise.
Finis Libri Primi.