Page images

This MINOTAUR, when he came to growth, was inclosed in the Labyrinth, which was made by the curious Arts-master DedaLUS, whose tale likewise we thus pursue.

When Dedalus the labyrinth had built, In which t include the queen Pasiphae's guilt, And that the time was now expired full, T'inclose the Minotaur, half man, half bull; Kneeling, he says, just Minos, end my moans, And let my native soil entomb my bones : Or if, dread sovereign, I deserve no grace, Look with a piteous eye on my son's face ; And grant me leave, from whence we are exil'd, Or pity me, if you deny my child. This, and much more, he speaks, but all in vain ; The king both son and father will detain : Which he perceiving says ; Now, now, 'tis fit, To give the world cause to admire my wit : Both land and sea are watch'd by day and night'; Nor land nor sea lies open to our flight, Only the air remains ; then let us try To cut a passage thro' the air, and fly. Jove be auspicious in my enterprize : I covet not to mount above the skies ; But make this refuge, since I can prepare No means to fly, my lord, but thro' the air. Make me immortal, bring me to the brim Of the black Stygian water Styx, I'll swim. O! human wit, thou canst invent much ill, Thou searchest strange arts, who would think, by skill, A heavy man, like a light bird, should stray, And thro' the empty heavens find a way ? He placeth in just order all his quills, Whose bottoms with resolved wax he fills; Then binds them with a line, and being fast ty’d, He placeth them like oars on either side. The tender lad the downy feathers blew, And what his father meant, he nothing knew. The wax he fasten'd, with the strings he play'd, Nor thinking for his shoulders they were made ; To whom his father spake (and then look'd pale) With these swift ships, we to our land must sail. All passages doth cruel Minos stop, Only the empty air he still leaves ope. 'That way must we; the land and the rough deep Doth Minos bar, the air he cannot keep, But in the way, beware thou set no eye On the sign Virgo, nor Bootes high :

Look not the black Orion in the face,
That shakes his sword, but just with me keep pace.
Thy wings are now in fast’ning ; follow me,
I will before thee fly ; as thou shalt see
Thy father mount, or stoop, so I aread thee ;
Make me thy guard, and safely I will lead thee.
If we should soar too near great Phæbus' seat,
The melting wax will not endure the heat ;
Or if we fly too near the humid seas,
Our moisten’d wings we cannot shake with ease.
Fly between both, and with the gusts that rise,
Let thy light body sail amidst the skies.
And ever as his little son he charms,
He fits the feathers to his tender arms :
And shows him how to move his body light,
As birds first teach their little young ones flight.
By this he calls to counsel all his wits,
And his own wings unto his shoulders fits :
Being about to rise, he fearful quakes,
And in this new way his faint body shakes.
First, ere he took his flight, he kiss'd his son,
Whilst by his cheeks the brinish waters run.
There was a hillock, not so tow'ring tall
As lofty mountains be, nor yet so small
To be with valleys even, and yet a hill ;
From this, thus both attempt their uncouth skill.
The father moves his wings, and with respect
His eyes upon his wandering son reflect.
They bear a spacious course, and the apt boy,
Fearless of harm, in his new tract doth joy,
And flies more boldly. Now upon them look
The fishermen, that angle in the brook ;
And with their eyes cast upwards, frighted stand.
By this, is Samos isle on their left hand ;
Upon the right, Lebinthos they forsake,
Astypale and the fishy lake ;
Shady Pachine full of woods and groves;
When the rash youth, too bold and vent'ring roves ;
Loseth his guide, and takes his flight so high,
That the soft wax against the sun doth fry,
And the cords slip that kept the feathers fast,
So that his arms have power upon no blast.
He fearfully from the high clouds looks down
Upon the lower heavens, whose curl'd waves frown
At his ambitious height, and from the skies
He sees black night and death before his eyes.

Still melts the wax ; his naked arms he shakes;
And thinking to catch hold no hold he takes ;
But now the naked lad down headlong falls,
And by the way he, Father, father, calls ;
Help, father, help, I die : and as he speaks,
A violent surge his course of language breaks.
Th' unhappy father (but no father now)
Cries out aloud, son Ic'rus, where art thou ?
Where art thou, Icarus, where dost thou fly?
Ic'rus, where art? when lo, he may espy,
The feathers swim ; aloud he doth exclaim;
The earth his bones, the sea still bears his name.




Now from another world doth sail with joy
A welcome daughter to the king of Troy.
The whilst the Grecians are already come,
(Mov'd with that general wrong 'gainst Ilium)
Achilles in a smock his sex doth smother,
And lays the blame upon his careful mother.
What mak’st thou, great Achilles, teazing wool,
When Pallas in a helm should clasp thy scull?
What do these fingers with fine threads of gold,
Which were more fit a warlike shield to hold ?
Why should that right hand rock or tow contain,
By which the Trojan Hector must be slain ?
Cast off thy loose veils, and thy armour take,
And in thy hand the spear of Pallas shake,
Thus lady-like he with a lady lay,
Till what he was her belly must bewray ;
Yet was she forc'd (so should we all believe)
Not to be forc'd so, now her heart would grieve.
When he should rise from her, still would she cry,
(For he had arm’d him, and his rock laid by)
And with a soft voice speak : Achilles stay,
It is too soon to rise, lie down, I pray :
And then the man that forc'd her she would kiss :
What force (Deidæmea) call you this?

From off a hill whose concave womb re-worded
A plaintive story from a sist'ring vale,
My spirits t' attend this double voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sad-tun'd tale ;
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,

Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,

Storming her words with sorrow's wind and rain :
Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortify'd her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcase of a beauty spent and done.
Time had not scythed all that youth begun,

Nor youth all quit ; but spite of heaven's fell rage,

Some beauty peep'd thro' lattice of sear'd age.
Oft did she heave her napkin to'her eyne,
Which on it had conceited characters;
Laundring the silken figures in the brine, 6
That season'd woe had pelleted in tears ;
And often reading what contents it bears :

As often shrieking undistinguish'd woe,

In clamours of all size, both high and low. Sometimes her levell'd eyes their carriage ride, As they did battery to the spheres intend; Sometimes diverted, their poor balls are ty'd To th’orbed earth ; sometimes they do extend Their view right on ; anon their gazes lend

To every place at once, and no where fix'd,

The mind and sight distractedly commix'd. Her hair, nor loose nor tyd in formal plat, Proclaim'd in her a careless hand of pride ; For some untuck's descended her shav'd hat,? Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside ; Some in her threaden fillet did still bide,

And true to bondage, would not break from thence,

Tho' slackly braided in loose negligene.
A thousand favours from a maund 8 she drew
Of amber, crystal, and of beaded jet ;9

(5] I wonder this poem has not attracted the attention of some English painter, the opening being ur.commonly picturesque. MALONE.

[6] Laundering. wetting. The verb is now obsolete. MALONE. (7) Read-Sheau'd hat, i.e. straw. [8] A maund is a hand basket. The word is still used in Somersetshire. to) Beaded jet, is jet formed into beads. Baskets made of beads were comes mon since the time of our author. STEEVENS.

Which one by one she in a river threw,
Upon whose weeping margent she was set,
Like usury applying wet to wet ;

Or monarch's hands, that let no bounty fall,

Where want cries some, but where excess begs all, Of folded schedules had she many a one, Which she perus’d, sigh’d, tore, and gave the flood ; Crack'd many a ring of posied gold and bone, Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud : Found yet more letters sadly penn'd in blood,

With sleided silk, 9 feat and affectedly Enswath'd and seal'd to curious secrecy. These often bath'd she in her Auxive eyes, And often kiss'd, and often gave a tear ; Cry'd, O false blood ! thou register of lies, What unapproved witness dost him bear ! Ink would have seem'd more black and damned here !

This said, in top of rage the lines she rents,

Big discontent so breaking their contents.
A reverend man, that graz'd his cattle nigh,
Sometime a blusterer, that the ruffle knew
Of court, of city, and had let go by
The swiftest hours observed as they flew ;
Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew :

And, privileg'd by age, desires to know,

In brief, the grounds and motives of her woe.
So slides he down upon his grained bat,'
And comely distant sits he by her side ;
When he again desires her, being sat,
Her grievance with his hearing to divide ;
If that from him there may be ought apply'd,

Which may her suffering ecstacy assuage :

'Tis promis'd in the charity of age. Father, she says, tho'in me you behold

The injury of many a blasting hour,
Let it not tell your judgment I am old ;
Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power :
I might as yet have been a spreading flower,

Fresh to myself, if I had self-apply'd
Love to myself, and to no love beside.

(9) Sleided silk is untwisted silk, prepared to be used in the weavers slay Fiat, is cunningly, nicely.

MALONE. [1] The staff on which che grain of the wood was visible. STEEVENS:

« PreviousContinue »