The Triumph Of Love.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca


Nel tempo che rinova i miei sospiri.

It was the time when I do sadly pay
My sighs, in tribute to that sweet-sour day,
Which first gave being to my tedious woes;
The sun now o'er the Bull's horns proudly goes,
And Phaëton had renew'd his wonted race;
When Love, the season, and my own ill case,
Drew me that solitary place to find,
In which I oft unload my chargèd mind:
There, tired with raving thoughts and helpless moan,
Sleep seal'd my eyes up, and, my senses gone,
My waking fancy spied a shining light,
In which appear'd long pain, and short delight.
A mighty General I then did see,
Like one, who, for some glorious victory,
Should to the Capitol in triumph go:
I (who had not been used to such a show
In this soft age, where we no valour have,
But pride) admired his habit, strange and brave,
And having raised mine eyes, which wearied were,
To understand this sight was all my care.
Four snowy steeds a fiery chariot drew;
There sat the cruel boy; a threatening yew
His right hand bore, his quiver arrows held,
Against whose force no helm or shield prevail'd.
Two party-colour'd wings his shoulders ware;
All naked else; and round about his chair
Were thousand mortals: some in battle ta'en,
Many were hurt with darts, and many slain.
Glad to learn news, I rose, and forward press'd
So far, that I was one amongst the rest;
As if I had been kill'd with loving pain
Before my time; and looking through the train
Of this tear-thirsty king, I would have spied
Some of my old acquaintance, but descried
No face I knew: if any such there were,
They were transform'd with prison, death, and care.
At last one ghost, less sad than th' others, came,
Who, near approaching, call'd me by my name,
And said: "This comes of Love." "What may you be,"
I answer'd, wondering much, "that thus know me?
For I remember not t' have seen your face."
He thus replied: "It is the dusky place
That dulls thy sight, and this hard yoke I bear:
Else I a Tuscan am; thy friend, and dear
To thy remembrance." His wonted phrase
And voice did then discover what he was.
So we retired aside, and left the throng,
When thus he spake: "I have expected long
To see you here with us; your face did seem
To threaten you no less. I do esteem
Your prophesies; but I have seen what care
Attends a lover's life; and must beware."
"Yet have I oft been beaten in the field,
And sometimes hurt," said I, "but scorn'd to yield."
He smiled and said: "Alas! thou dost not see,
My son, how great a flame's prepared for thee."
I knew not then what by his words he meant:
But since I find it by the dire event;
And in my memory 'tis fix'd so fast,
That marble gravings cannot firmer last.
Meanwhile my forward youth did thus inquire:
"What may these people be? I much desire
To know their names; pray, give me leave to ask."
"I think ere long 'twill be a needless task,"
Replied my friend; "thou shalt be of the train,
And know them all; this captivating chain
Thy neck must bear, (though thou dost little fear,)
And sooner change thy comely form and hair,
Than be unfetter'd from the cruel tie,
Howe'er thou struggle for thy liberty;
Yet to fulfil thy wish, I will relate
What I have learn'd. The first that keeps such state,
By whom our lives and freedoms we forego,
The world hath call'd him Love; and he (you know,
But shall know better when he comes to be
A lord to you, as now he is to me)
Is in his childhood mild, fierce in his age;
'Tis best believed of those that feel his rage.
The truth of this thou in thyself shalt find,
I warn thee now, pray keep it in thy mind.
Of idle looseness he is oft the child;
With pleasant fancies nourish'd, and is styled
Or made a god by vain and foolish men:
And for a recompense, some meet their bane;
Others, a harder slavery must endure
Than many thousand chains and bolts procure.
That other gallant lord is conqueror
Of conquering Rome, led captive by the fair
Egyptian queen, with her persuasive art,
Who in his honours claims the greatest part;
For binding the world's victor with her charms,
His trophies are all hers by right of arms.
The next is his adoptive son, whose love
May seem more just, but doth no better prove;
For though he did his lovèd Livia wed,
She was seducèd from her husband's bed.
Nero is third, disdainful, wicked, fierce,
And yet a woman found a way to pierce
His angry soul. Behold, Marcus, the grave
Wise emperor, is fair Faustina's slave.
These two are tyrants: Dionysius,
And Alexander, both suspicious,
And yet both loved: the last a just reward
Found of his causeless fear. I know y' have heard
Of him, who for Creüsa on the rock
Antandrus mourn'd so long; whose warlike stroke
At once revenged his friend and won his love:
And of the youth whom Phædra could not move
T' abuse his father's bed; he left the place,
And by his virtue lost his life (for base
Unworthy loves to rage do quickly change).
It kill'd her too; perhaps in just revenge
Of wrong'd Theseus, slain Hippolytus,
And poor forsaken Ariadne: thus
It often proves that they who falsely blame
Another, in one breath themselves condemn:
And who have guilty been of treachery,
Need not complain, if they deceivèd be.
Behold the brave hero a captive made
With all his fame, and twixt these sisters led:
Who, as he joy'd the death of th' one to see,
His death did ease the other's misery.
The next that followeth, though the world admire
His strength, Love bound him. Th' other full of ire
Is great Achilles, he whose pitied fate
Was caused by Love. Demophoon did not hate
Impatient Phyllis, yet procured her death.
This Jason is, he whom Medea hath
Obliged by mischief; she to her father proved
False, to her brother cruel; t' him she loved
Grew furious, by her merit over-prized.
Hypsipyle comes next, mournful, despised,
Wounded to see a stranger's love prevail
More than her own, a Greek. Here is the frail
Fair Helena, with her the shepherd boy,
Whose gazing looks hurt Greece, and ruin'd Troy.
'Mongst other weeping souls, you hear the moan
Oenone makes, her Paris being gone;
And Menelaus, for the woe he had
To lose his wife. Hermione is sad,
And calls her dear Orestes to her aid.
And Laodamia, that hapless maid,
Bewails Protesilaus. Argia proved
To Polynice more faithful than the loved
(But false and covetous) Amphiaraus' wife.
The groans and sighs of those who lose their life
By this kind lord, in unrelenting flames
You hear: I cannot tell you half their names.
For they appear not only men that love,
The gods themselves do fill this myrtle grove:
You see fair Venus caught by Vulcan's art
With angry Mars; Proserpina apart
From Pluto, jealous Juno, yellow-hair'd
Apollo, who the young god's courage dared:
And of his trophies proud, laugh'd at the bow
Which in Thessalia gave him such a blow.
What shall I say?--here, in a word, are all
The gods that Varro mentions, great and small;
Each with innumerable bonds detain'd,
And Jupiter before the chariot chain'd."



Stanci già di mirar, non sazio ancora.

Wearied, not satisfied, with much delight,
Now here, now there, I turn'd my greedy sight,
And many things I view'd: to write were long,
The time is short, great store of passions throng
Within my breast; when lo, a lovely pair,
Join'd hand in hand, who kindly talking were,
Drew my attention that way: their attire
And foreign language quicken'd my desire
Of further knowledge, which I soon might gain.
My kind interpreter did all explain.
When both I knew, I boldly then drew near;
He loved our country, though she made it fear.
"O Masinissa! I adjure thee by
Great Scipio, and her who from thine eye
Drew manly tears," said I; "let it not be
A trouble, what I must demand of thee."
He look'd, and said: "I first desire to know
Your name and quality; for well you show
Y' have heard the combat in my wounded soul,
When Love did Friendship, Friendship Love control."
"I am not worth your knowledge, my poor flame
Gives little light," said I: "your royal fame
Sets hearts on fire, that never see your face:
But, pray you, say; are you two led in peace
By him?"--(I show'd their guide)--"Your history
Deserves record: it seemeth strange to me,
That faith and cruelty should come so near."
He said: "Thine own expressions witness bear,
Thou know'st enough, yet I will all relate
To thee; 't will somewhat ease my heavy state.
On that brave man my heart was fix'd so much,
That Lælius' love to him could be but such;
Where'er his colours marchèd, I was nigh,
And Fortune did attend with victory:
Yet still his merit call'd for more than she
Could give, or any else deserve but he.
When to the West the Roman eagles came
Myself was also there, and caught a flame,
A purer never burnt in lover's breast:
But such a joy could not be long possess'd!
Our nuptial knot, alas! he soon untied,
Who had more power than all the world beside.
He cared not for our sighs; and though 't be true
That he divided us, his worth I knew:
He must be blind that cannot see the sun,
But by strict justice Love is quite undone:
Counsel from such a friend gave such a stroke
To love, it almost split, as on a rock:
For as my father I his wrath did fear,
And as a son he in my love was dear;
Brothers in age we were, him I obey'd,
But with a troubled soul and look dismay'd:
Thus my dear half had an untimely death,
She prized her freedom far above her breath;
And I th' unhappy instrument was made;
Such force th' intreaty and intreater had!
I rather chose myself than him t' offend,
And sent the poison brought her to her end:
With what sad thoughts I know, and she'll confess
And you, if you have sense of love, may guess;
No heir she left me, but my tedious moan;
And though in her my hopes and joys were gone,
She was of lower value than my faith!
But now farewell, and try if this troop hath
Another wonder; for the time is less
Than is the task." I pitied their distress,
Whose short joy ended in so sharp a woe:
My soft heart melted. As they onward go,
"This youth for his part, I perhaps could love,"
She said; "but nothing can my mind remove
From hatred of the nation." He replied,
"Good Sophonisba, you may leave this pride;
Your city hath by us been three times beat,
The last of which, you know, we laid it flat."
"Pray use these words t' another, not to me,"
Said she; "if Africk mournèd, Italy
Needs not rejoice; search your records, and there
See what you gainèd by the Punic war."
He that was friend to both, without reply
A little smiling, vanish'd from mine eye
Amongst the crowd. As one in doubtful way
At every step looks round, and fears to stray
(Care stops his journey), so the varied store
Of lovers stay'd me, to examine more,
And try what kind of fire burnt every breast:
When on my left hand strayèd from the rest
Was one, whose look express'd a ready mind
In seeking what he joy'd, yet shamed to find;
He freely gave away his dearest wife
(A new-found way to save a lover's life);
She, though she joy'd, yet blushèd at the change.
As they recounted their affections strange,
And for their Syria mourn'd; I took the way
Of these three ghosts, who seem'd their course to stay
And take another path: the first I held
And bid him turn; he started, and beheld
Me with a troubled look, hearing my tongue
Was Roman, such a pause he made as sprung
From some deep thought; then spake as if inspired,
For to my wish, he told what I desired
To know: "Seleucus is," said he, "my name,
This is Antiochus my son, whose fame
Hath reach'd your ear; he warrèd much with Rome,
But reason oft by power is overcome.
This woman, once my wife, doth now belong
To him; I gave her, and it was no wrong
In our religion; it stay'd his death,
Threaten'd by Love; Stratonica she hath
To name: so now we may enjoy one state,
And our fast friendship shall outlast all date.
She from her height was willing to descend;
I quit my joy; he rather chose his end
Than our offence; and in his prime had died,
Had not the wise Physician been our guide;
Silence in love o'ercame his vital part;
His love was force, his silence virtuous art.
A father's tender care made me agree
To this strange change." This said, he turn'd from me,
As changing his design, with such a pace,
Ere I could take my leave, he had quit the place
After the ghost was carried from mine eye,
Amazedly I walk'd; nor could untie
My mind from his sad story; till my friend
Admonish'd me, and said, "You must not lend
Attention thus to everything you meet;
You know the number's great, and time is fleet."
More naked prisoners this triumph had
Than Xerxes soldiers in his army led:
And stretchèd further than my sight could reach;
Of several countries, and of differing speech.
One of a thousand were not known to me,
Yet might those few make a large history.
Perseus was one; and well you know the way
How he was catchèd by Andromeda:
She was a lovely brownet, black her hair
And eyes. Narcissus, too, the foolish fair,
Who for his own love did himself destroy;
He had so much, he nothing could enjoy.
And she, who for his loss, deep sorrow's slave.
Changed to a voice, dwells in a hollow cave.
Iphis was there, who hasted his own fate,
He loved another, but himself did hate;
And many more condemn'd like woes to prove,
Whose life was made a curse by hapless love.
Some modern lovers in my mind remain,
But those to reckon here were needless pain:
The two, whose constant loves for ever last,
On whom the winds wait while they build their nest;
For halcyon days poor labouring sailors please.
And in rough winter calm the boisterous seas.
Far off the thoughtful Æsacus, in quest
Of his Hesperia, finds a rocky rest,
Then diveth in the floods, then mounts i' th' air;
And she who stole old Nisus' purple hair
His cruel daughter, I observed to fly:
Swift Atalanta ran for victory,
But three gold apples, and a lovely face,
Slack'd her quick paces, till she lost the race;
She brought Hippomanes along, and joy'd
That he, as others, had not been destroyed,
But of the victory could singly boast.
I saw amidst the vain and fabulous host,
Fair Galatea lean'd on Acis' breast;
Rude Polyphemus' noise disturbs their rest.
Glaucus alone swims through the dangerous seas,
And missing her who should his fancy please,
Curseth the cruel's Love transform'd her shape.
Canens laments that Picus could not 'scape
The dire enchantress; he in Italy
Was once a king, now a pied bird; for she
Who made him such, changed not his clothes nor name,
His princely habit still appears the same.
Egeria, while she wept, became a well:
Scylla (a horrid rock by Circe's spell)
Hath made infamous the Sicilian strand.
Next, she who holdeth in her trembling hand
A guilty knife, her right hand writ her name.
Pygmalion next, with his live mistress came.
Sweet Aganippe, and Castalia have
A thousand more; all there sung by the brave
And deathless poets, on their fair banks placed;
Cydippe by an apple fool'd at last.



Era sì pieno il cor di maraviglie.

My heart was fill'd with wonder and amaze,
As one struck dumb, in silence stands at gaze
Expecting counsel, when my friend drew near,
And said: "What do you look? why stay you here?
What mean you? know you not that I am one
Of these, and must attend? pray, let's be gone."
"Dear friend," said I, "consider what desire
To learn the rest hath set my heart on fire;
My own haste stops me." "I believe 't," said he,
"And I will help; 'tis not forbidden me.
This noble man, on whom the others wait
(You see) is Pompey, justly call'd The Great:
Cornelia followeth, weeping his hard fate,
And Ptolemy's unworthy causeless hate.
You see far off the Grecian general;
His base wife, with Ægisthus wrought his fall:
Behold them there, and judge if Love be blind.
But here are lovers of another kind,
And other faith they kept. Lynceus was saved
By Hypermnestra: Pyramus bereaved
Himself of life, thinking his mistress slain:
Thisbe's like end shorten'd her mourning pain.
Leander, swimming often, drown'd at last;
Hero her fair self from her window cast.
Courteous Ulysses his long stay doth mourn;
His chaste wife prayeth for his safe return;
While Circe's amorous charms her prayers control,
And rather vex than please his virtuous soul.
Hamilcar's son, who made great Rome afraid,
By a mean wench of Spain is captive led.
This Hypsicratea is, the virtuous fair,
Who for her husband's dear love cut her hair,
And served in all his wars: this is the wife
Of Brutus, Portia, constant in her life
And death: this Julia is, who seems to moan,
That Pompey lovèd best, when she was gone.
Look here and see the Patriarch much abused
Who twice seven years for his fair Rachel choosed
To serve: O powerful love increased by woe!
His father this: now see his grandsire go
With Sarah from his home. This cruel Love
O'ercame good David; so it had power to move
His righteous heart to that abhorrèd crime,
For which he sorrow'd all his following time;
Just such like error soil'd his wise son's fame,
For whose idolatry God's anger came:
Here's he who in one hour could love and hate:
Here Tamar, full of anguish, wails her state;
Her brother Absalom attempts t' appease
Her grievèd soul. Samson takes care to please
His fancy; and appears more strong than wise,
Who in a traitress' bosom sleeping lies.
Amongst those pikes and spears which guard the place,
Love, wine, and sleep, a beauteous widow's face
And pleasing art hath Holophernes ta'en;
She back again retires, who hath him slain,
With her one maid, bearing the horrid head
In haste, and thanks God that so well she sped.
The next is Sichem, he who found his death
In circumcision; his father hath
Like mischief felt; the city all did prove
The same effect of his rash violent love.
You see Ahasuerus how well he bears
His loss; a new love soon expels his cares;
This cure in this disease doth seldom fail,
One nail best driveth out another nail.
If you would see love mingled oft with hate,
Bitter with sweet, behold fierce Herod's state,
Beset with love and cruelty at once:
Enraged at first, then late his fault bemoans,
And Mariamne calls; those three fair dames
(Who in the list of captives write their names)
Procris, Deidamia, Artemisia were
All good, the other three as wicked are--
Semiramis, Byblis, and Myrrha named,
Who of their crooked ways are now ashamed
Here be the erring knights in ancient scrolls,
Lancelot, Tristram, and the vulgar souls
That wait on these; Guenever, and the fair
Isond, with other lovers; and the pair
Who, as they walk together, seem to plain,
Their just, but cruel fate, by one hand slain."
Thus he discoursed: and as a man that fears
Approaching harm, when he a trumpet hears,
Starts at the blow ere touch'd, my frighted blood
Retired: as one raised from his tomb I stood;
When by my side I spied a lovely maid,
(No turtle ever purer whiteness had!)
And straight was caught (who lately swore I would
Defend me from a man at arms), nor could
Resist the wounds of words with motion graced:
The image yet is in my fancy placed.
My friend was willing to increase my woe,
And smiling whisper'd,--"You alone may go
Confer with whom you please, for now we are
All stained with one crime." My sullen care
Was like to theirs, who are more grieved to know
Another's happiness than their own woe;
For seeing her, who had enthrall'd my mind,
Live free in peace, and no disturbance find:
And seeing that I knew my hurt too late.
And that her beauty was my dying fate:
Love, jealousy, and envy held my sight
So fix'd on that fair face, no other light
I could behold; like one who in the rage
Of sickness greedily his thirst would 'suage
With hurtful drink, which doth his palate please,
Thus (blind and deaf t' all other joys are ease)
So many doubtful ways I follow'd her,
The memory still shakes my soul with fear.
Since when mine eyes are moist, and view the ground,
My heart is heavy, and my steps have found
A solitary dwelling 'mongst the woods,
I stray o'er rocks and fountains, hills and floods:
Since when such store my scatter'd papers hold
Of thoughts, of tears, of ink; which oft I fold,
Unfold, and tear: since when I know the scope
Of Love, and what they fear, and what they hope;
And how they live that in his cloister dwell,
The skilful in their face may read it well.
Meanwhile I see, how fierce and gallant she
Cares not for me, nor for my misery,
Proud of her virtue, and my overthrow:
And on the other side (if aught I know),
This lord, who hath the world in triumph led,
She keeps in fear; thus all my hopes are dead,
No strength nor courage left, nor can I be
Revenged, as I expected once; for he,
Who tortures me and others, is abused
By her; she'll not be caught, and long hath used
(Rebellious as she is!) to shun his wars,
And is a sun amidst the lesser stars.
Her grace, smiles, slights, her words in order set;
Her hair dispersed or in a golden net;
Her eyes inflaming with a light divine
So burn my heart, I dare no more repine.
Ah, who is able fully to express
Her pleasing ways, her merit? No excess,
No bold hyperboles I need to fear,
My humble style cannot enough come near
The truth; my words are like a little stream
Compared with th' ocean, so large a theme
Is that high praise; new worth, not seen before,
Is seen in her, and can be seen no more;
Therefore all tongues are silenced; and I,
Her prisoner now, see her at liberty:
And night and day implore (O unjust fate!)
She neither hears nor pities my estate:
Hard laws of Love! But though a partial lot
I plainly see in this, yet must I not
Refuse to serve: the gods, as well as men,
With like reward of old have felt like pain.
Now know I how the mind itself doth part
(Now making peace, now war, now truce)--what art
Poor lovers use to hide their stinging woe:
And how their blood now comes, and now doth go
Betwixt their heart and cheeks, by shame or fear:
How they be eloquent, yet speechless are;
And how they both ways lean, they watch and sleep,
Languish to death, yet life and vigour keep:
I trod the paths made happy by her feet,
And search the foe I am afraid to meet.
I know how lovers metamorphosed are
To that they love: I know what tedious care
I feel; how vain my joy, how oft I change
Design and countenance; and (which is strange)
I live without a soul: I know the way
To cheat myself a thousand times a day:
I know to follow while I flee my fire
I freeze when present; absent, my desire
Is hot: I know what cruel rigour Love
Practiseth on the mind, and doth remove
All reason thence, and how he racks the heart:
And how a soul hath neither strength nor art
Without a helper to resist his blows:
And how he flees, and how his darts he throws:
And how his threats the fearful lover feels:
And how he robs by force, and how he steals:
How oft his wheels turn round (now high, now low)
With how uncertain hope, how certain woe:
How all his promises be void of faith,
And how a fire hid in our bones he hath:
How in our veins he makes a secret wound,
Whence open flames and death do soon abound.
In sum, I know how giddy and how vain
Be lovers' lives; what fear and boldness reign
In all their ways; how every sweet is paid.
And with a double weight of sour allay'd:
I also know their customs, sighs, and songs;
Their sudden muteness, and their stammering tongues:
How short their joy, how long their pain doth last,
How wormwood spoileth all their honey's taste.



Poscia che mia fortuna in forza altrui.

When once my will was captive by my fate,
And I had lost the liberty, which late
Made my life happy; I, who used before
To flee from Love (as fearful deer abhor
The following huntsman), suddenly became
(Like all my fellow-servants) calm and tame;
And view'd the travails, wrestlings, and the smart,
The crooked by-paths, and the cozening art
That guides the amorous flock: then whilst mine eye
I cast in every corner, to espy
Some ancient or modern who had proved
Famous, I saw him, who had only loved
Eurydice, and found out hell, to call
Her dear ghost back; he named her in his fall
For whom he died. Aleæus there was known,
Skilful in love and verse: Anacreon,
Whose muse sung nought but love: Pindarus, he
Was also there: there I might Virgil see:
Many brave wits I found, some looser rhymes,
By others writ, hath pleased the ancient times:
Ovid was one: after Catullus came:
Propertius next, his elegies the name
Of Cynthia bear: Tibullus, and the young
Greek poetess, who is received among
The noble troop for her rare Sapphic muse.
Thus looking here and there (as oft I use),
I spied much people on a flowery plain,
Amongst themselves disputes of love maintain.
Behold Beatrice with Dante; Selvaggia, she
Brought her Pistoian Cino; Guitton may be
Offended that he is the latter named:
Behold both Guidos for their learning famed:
Th' honest Bolognian: the Sicilians first
Wrote love in rhymes, but wrote their rhymes the worst.
Franceschin and Sennuccio (whom all know)
Were worthy and humane: after did go
A squadron of another garb and phrase,
Of whom Arnaldo Daniel hath most praise,
Great master in Love's art, his style, as new
As sweet, honours his country: next, a few
Whom Love did lightly wound: both Peters made
Two: one, the less Arnaldo: some have had
A harder war; both the Rimbaldos, th' one
Sung Beatrice, though her quality was known
Too much above his reach in Montferrat.
Alvernia's old Piero, and Girault:
Folchetto, who from Genoa was estranged
And call'd Marsilian, he wisely changed
His name, his state, his country, and did gain
In all: Jeffray made haste to catch his bane
With sails and oars: Guilliam, too, sweetly sung
That pleasing art, was cause he died so young.
Amarig, Bernard, Hugo, and Anselm
Were there, with thousands more, whose tongues were helm,
Shield, sword, and spear, all their offensive arms,
And their defensive to prevent their harms.
From those I turn'd, comparing my own woe,
To view my country-folks; and there might know
The good Tomasso, who did once adorn
Bologna, now Messina holds his urn.
Ah, vanish'd joys! Ah, life too full of bane!
How wert thou from mine eyes so quickly ta'en!
Since without thee nothing is in my power
To do, where art thou from me at this hour?
What is our life? If aught it bring of ease,
A sick man's dream, a fable told to please.
Some few there from the common road did stray;
Lælius and Socrates, with whom I may
A longer progress take: Oh, what a pair
Of dear esteemèd friends to me they were!
'Tis not my verse, nor prose, may reach thieir praise;
Neither of these can naked virtue raise
Above her own true place: with them I have
Reach'd many heights; one yoke of learning gave
Laws to our steps, to them my fester'd wound
I oft have show'd; no time or place I found
To part from them; and hope, and wish we may
Be undivided till my breath decay:
With them I used (too early) to adorn
My head with th' honour'd branches, only worn
For her dear sake I did so deeply love,
Who fill'd my thoughts; but ah! I daily prove,
No fruit nor leaves from thence can gather'd be:
The root hath sharp and bitter been to me.
For this I was accustomed much to vex,
But I have seen that which my anger checks:
(A theme for buskins, not a comic stage)
She took the God, adored by the rage
Of such dull fools as he had captive led:
But first, I'll tell you what of us he made;
Then, from her hand what was his own sad fate,
Which Orpheus or Homer might relate.
His winged coursers o'er the ditches leapt,
And we their way as desperately kept,
Till he had reached where his mother reigns,
Nor would he ever pull or turn the reins;
But scour'd o'er woods and mountains; none did care
Nor could discern in what strange world they were.
Beyond the place, where old Ægeus mourns,
An island lies, Phoebus none sweeter burns,
Nor Neptune ever bathed a better shore:
About the midst a beauteous hill, with store
Of shades and pleasing smells, so fresh a spring
As drowns all manly thoughts: this place doth bring
Venus much joy; 't was given her deity,
Ere blind man knew a truer god than she:
Of which original it yet retains
Too much, so little goodness there remains,
That it the vicious doth only please,
Is by the virtuous shunn'd as a disease.
Here this fine Lord insulteth o'er us all
Tied in a chain, from Thule to Ganges' fall.
Griefs in our breasts, vanity in our arms;
Fleeting delights are there, and weighty harms:
Repentance swiftly following to annoy:
(Such Tarquin found it, and the bane of Troy)
All that whole valley with the echoes rung
Of running brooks, and birds that gently sung:
The banks were clothed in yellow, purple, green,
Scarlet and white, their pleasing springs were seen;
And gliding streams amongst the tender grass,
Thickets and soft winds to refresh the place.
After when winter maketh sharp the air,
Warm leaves, and leisure, sports, and gallant cheer
Enthrall low minds. Now th' equinox hath made
The day t' equal the night; and Progne had
With her sweet sister, each their old task ta'en:
(Ah! how the faith in fortune placed is vain!)
Just in the time, and place, and in the hour
When humble tears should earthly joys devour,
It pleased him, whom th' vulgar honour so,
To triumph over me; and now I know
What miserable servitude they prove,
What ruin, and what death, that fall in love.
Errors, dreams, paleness waiteth on his chair,
False fancies o'er the door, and on the stair
Are slippery hopes, unprofitable gain,
And gainful loss; such steps it doth contain,
As who descend, may boast their fortune best;
Who most ascend, most fall: a wearied rest,
And resting trouble, glorious disgrace;
A duskish and obscure illustriousness;
Unfaithful loyalty, and cozening faith,
That nimble fury, lazy reason hath:
A prison, whose wide ways do all receive,
Whose narrow paths a hard retiring leave:
A steep descent, by which we slide with ease,
But find no hold our crawling steps to raise:
Within confusion, turbulence, annoy
Are mix'd; undoubted woe, and doubtful joy:
Vulcano, where the sooty Cyclops dwell;
Liparis, Stromboli, nor Mongibel,
Nor Ischia, have more horrid noise and smoke:
He hates himself that stoops to such a yoke.
Thus were we all throng'd in so strait a cage,
I changed my looks and hair, before my age,
Dreaming on liberty (by strong desire
My soul made apt to hope), and did admire
Those gallant minds, enslaved to such a woe
(My heart within my breast dissolved like snow
Before the sun), as one would side-ways cast
His eye on pictures, which his feet hath pass'd.


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