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nothing but clouds, thick and obscure; till on the sudden, with a solemn music, a bright sky breaking forth, there were discovered first two doves, then two Swans * with silver geers, drawing forth a triumphant chariot; in which Venus sat, crowned with her star, and beneath her the three Graces, or Charites, Aglaia, Thalia, Euphrosyne, all attired according to their antique figures. These, from their chariot, alighted on the top of the cliff, and descending by certain abrupt and winding passages, Venus having left her star only flaming in her seat, came to the earth, the Graces throwing garlands all the way, and began to speak.

Ven. It is no common cause, ye will conceive,
My lovely Graces, makes your goddess leave
Her state in heaven, to-night, to visit earth.
Love late is fled away, my eldest birth,
Cupid, whom I did joy to call my son ;
And whom long absent, Venus is undone.

Spy, if you can, his footsteps on this green;
For here, as I am told, he late hath been,
With divers of his brethren, + lending light
From their best flames, to gild a glorious night;
Which I not grudge at, being done for her,
Whose honours, to my own, I still prefer.
But he not yet returning, I'm in fear,
Some gentle Grace, or innocent Beauty here,
Be taken with him or he hath surprised
A second Psyche, and lives here disguised.
Find ye no track of his stray'd feet?

*Both doves and swans were sacred to this goddess, and as well with the one as the other, her chariot is induced by Ovid. lib. 10 and 11 Metamor.

Alluding to the Loves (the torch-bearers) in the Queen's Masque before.

Gra. Not I.

2 Gra. Nor I.

Ven. Stay, nymphs, we then will try
A nearer way. Look all these ladies' eyes,
And see if there he not concealed lies;
Or in their bosoms, 'twixt their swelling breasts;
The wag affects to make himself such nests:
Perchance he hath got some simple heart, to hide
His subtle shape in; I will have him cry'd,
And all his virtues told! that, when they'd know
What sprite he is, she soon may let him go,
That guards him now; and think herself right blest,
To be so timely rid of such a guest.
Begin, soft GRACES, and proclaim reward

To her that brings him in. Speak to be heard.

1 Grace. Beauties, have ye seen this toy,
Called Love, a little boy,*

Almost naked, wanton, blind;
Cruel now, and then as kind }

If he be amongst ye, say?
He is Venus' runaway.

3 Gra. Nor I.

2 Grace. She that will but now discover
Where the winged wag doth hover,
Shall to-night receive a kiss,

How, or where herself would wish :
But, who brings him to his mother,
Shall have that kiss, and another.

3 Grace. He hath marks about him plenty : You shall know him among twenty.

* In this Love, I express Cupid, as he is Veneris filius, and owner of the following qualities, ascribed him by the antique and later poets.

All his body is a fire,
And his breath a flame entire,
That being shot, like lightning, in,
Wounds the heart, but not the skin.

1 Grace. At his sight, the sun hath turn'd,*
Neptune in the waters burn'd;
Hell hath felt a greater heat; t
Jove himself forsook his seat:
From the centre to the sky,
Are his trophies reared high.+

2 Grace. Wings he hath, which though ye clip,
He will leap from lip to lip,
Over liver, lights, and heart,
But not stay in any part;
And, if chance his arrow misses,
He will shoot himself, in kisses.

3 Grace. He doth bear a golden bow,
And a quiver, hanging low,
Full of arrows, that ontbrave
Dian's shafts; where, if he have
Any head more sharp than other,
With that first he strikes his mother.

1 Grace. Still the fairest are his fuel.
When his days are to be cruel,
Lovers' hearts are all his food;
And his baths their warmest blood:

*See Lucian, Dial. Deor.

† And Claud. in raptu Proserp.

Such was the power ascrib'd him, by all the ancients: whereof there is extant an elegant Greek epigram. Phil. Poe, wherein he makes all the other deities despoiled by him, of their ensigns; Jove of his thunder, Phoebus of his arrows, Hercules of his club, etc.

Nought but wounds his hand doth season,
And he hates none like to Reason.

2 Grace. Trust him not; his words, though sweet,
Seldom with his heart do meet.
All his practice is deceit ;
Every gift it is a bait ;
Not a kiss but poison bears;
And most treason in his tears.

3 Grace. Idle minutes are his reign;

Then, the straggler makes his gain,
By presenting maids with toys,
And would have ye think them joys;
'Tis the ambition of the elf,
To have all childish as himself.

1 Grace. If by these ye please to know him, Beauties, be not nice, but show him.

2 Grace. Though ye had a will to hide him, Now, we hope, ye'll not abide him.

3 Grace. Since you hear his falser play; And that he's Venus' runaway.

At this, from behind the trophies, CUPID discovered himself, and came forth armed; attended with twelve boys, most antickly attired, that represented the Sports, and pretty Lightnesses that accompany Love, under the titles of Joci and Risus; and are said to wait on Venus as she is Præfect of Marriage.*

* Which Horat. consents to, Car. lib. 1. ode 2,

-Erycina ridens,
Quam Jocus circum volat, et Cupido.

Cup. Come, my little jocund Sports,
Come away; the time now sorts
With your pastime: this same night
Is Cupid's day. Advance your light.
With your revel fill the room,
That our triumphs be not dumb.

Wherewith they fell into a subtle capricious dance, to as odd a music, each of them bearing two torches, and nodding with their antic faces, with other variety of ridiculous gesture, which gave much occasion of mirth and delight to the spectators. The dance ended, Cupid went forward.

Cup. Well done, anticks! now my bow,
And my quiver bear to show;
That these beauties, here, may know,
By what arms this feat was done,
That hath so much honour won
Unto Venus and her son.

At which, his mother apprehended him: and circling him in, with the Graces, began to demand.

Ven. What feat, what honour is it that you boast,
My little straggler? I had given you lost,
With all your games, here.

Cup. Mother!

Ven. Yes, sir, she.

What might your glorious cause of triumph be!
Have you shot Minerva* or the Thespian dames ?
Heat aged Ops again,† with youthful flames?

* She urges these as miracles, becauses Pallas, and the Muses, are most contrary to Cupid. See Luc. Dial. Ven. et Cupid.

Rhea, the mother of the gods, whom Lucian, in that place, makes to have fallen franticly in love by Cupid's means, with Atys. So of the Moon, with Endymion, Hercules, etc.

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