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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,
Spy, if you can, his footsteps on this green;
*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
To her that brings him in. Speak to be heard.
1 Grace. Beauties, have ye seen this toy,
Almost naked, wanton, blind;
If he be amongst ye, say?
3 Gra. Nor I.
2 Grace. She that will but now discover
How, or where herself would wish :
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,
1 Grace. At his sight, the sun hath turn'd,*
2 Grace. Wings he hath, which though ye clip,
3 Grace. He doth bear a golden bow,
1 Grace. Still the fairest are his fuel.
*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,
2 Grace. Trust him not; his words, though sweet,
3 Grace. Idle minutes are his reign;
Then, the straggler makes his gain,
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,
Cup. Come, my little jocund Sports,
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,
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,
Ven. Yes, sir, she.
What might your glorious cause of triumph be!
* 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.