The birth of faire Belphoebe and
Of Amoret is told.
The Gardins of Adonis fraught
With pleasures manifold.
VV Ell may I weene, faire Ladies, all this while
Ye wonder, how this noble Damozell
So great perfections did in her compile,
Sith that in saluagesalvage forests she did dwell,
So farre from court and royall Citadell,
The great schoolmistresse of all curtesy:
Seemeth that such wild woods should far expell
All ciuillcivill vsageusage and gentility,
And gentle sprite deforme with rude rusticity.
But to this faire Belphoebe in her berth
The heauensheavens so fauourable were and free,
Looking with myld aspect vponupon the earth,
In th’Horoscope of her natiuiteenativitee,
That all the gifts of grace and chastitee
On her they poured forth of plenteous horne;
IoueJove laught on Venus from his soueraigne see,
And Phoebus with faire beames did her adorne,
And all the Graces rockt her cradle being borne.
Her berth was of the wombe of Morning dew,
And her conception of the ioyousjoyous Prime,
And all her whole creation did her shew
Pure and vnspottedunspotted from all loathly crime,
That is ingenerate in fleshly slime.
So was this virgin borne, so was she bred,
So was she trayned vpup from time to time,
In all chast vertue, and true bounti-hed
Till to her dew perfection she was ripened.
Her mother was the faire Chrysogonee,
The daughter of Amphisa, who by race
A Faerie was, yborne of high degree,
She bore Belphoebe, she bore in like cace
Faire Amoretta in the second place:
These two were twinnes, & twixt them two did share
The heritage of all celestiall grace.
That all the rest it seem’d they robbed bare
Of bountie, and of beautie, and all vertues rare.
It were a goodly storie, to declare,
By what straunge accident faire Chrysogone
Conceiu’dConceiv’d these infants, and how them she bare,
In this wild forrest wandring all alone,
After she had nine moneths fulfild and gone:
For not as other wemens commune brood,
They were enwombed in the sacred throne
Of her chaste bodie, nor with commune food,
As other wemens babes, they sucked vitall blood.
But wondrously they were begot, and bred
Through influence of th’heauens fruitfull ray,
As it in antique bookes is mentioned.
It was vponupon a Sommers shynie day,
When Titan faire his beames did display,
In a fresh fountaine, farre from all mens vew,
She bath’d her brest, the boyling heat t’allay;
She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.
Till faint through irkesome wearinesse, adowne
VponUpon the grassie ground her selfe she layd
To sleepe, the whiles a gentle slombring swowne
VponUpon her fell all naked bare displayd;
The sunne-beames bright vponupon her body playd,
Being through former bathing mollifide,
And pierst into her wombe, where they embayd
With so sweet sence and secret power vnspideunspide,
That in her pregnant flesh they shortly fructifide.
Miraculous may seeme to him, that reades
So straunge ensample of conception;
But reason teacheth that the fruitfull seades
Of all things liuingliving, through impression
Of the sunbeames in moyst complexion,
Doe life conceiueconceive and quickned are by kynd:
So after Nilus invndationinundation,
Infinite shapes of creature men do fynd,
Informed in the mud, on which the Sunne hath shynd.
Great father he of generation
Is rightly cald, th’author of life and light;
And his faire sister for creation
Ministreth matter fit, which tempred right
With heate and humour, breedes the liuingliving wight.
So sprong these twinnes in wombe of Chrysogone,
Yet wist she nought thereof, but sore affright,
Wondred to see her belly so vpbloneupblone,
Which still increast, till she her terme had full outgone.
Whereof conceiuingconceiving shame and foule disgrace,
Albe her guiltlesse conscience her cleard,
She fled into the wildernesse a space,
Till that vnweeldyunweeldy burden she had reard,
And shund dishonor, which as death she feard:
Where wearie of long trauelltravell, downe to rest
Her selfe she set, and comfortably cheard;
There a sad cloud of sleepe her ouerkestoverkest,
And seized eueryevery sense with sorrow sore opprest.
It fortuned, faire Venus hauinghaving lost
Her little sonne, the winged god of louelove,
Who for some light displeasure, which him crost,
Was from her fled, as flit as ayerie DoueDove,
And left her blisfull bowre of ioyjoy aboueabove,
(So from her often he had fled away,
When she for ought him sharpely did reprouereprove,
And wandred in the world in strange aray,
Disguiz’d in thousand shapes, that none might him be-wray.)
Him for to seeke, she left her heauenlyheavenly hous,
The house of goodly formes and faire aspects,
Whence all the world deriuesderives the glorious
Features of beautie, and all shapes select,
With which high God his workmanship hath deckt;
And searched eueryevery way, through which his wings
Had borne him, or his tract she mote detect:
She promist kisses sweet, and sweeter things
VntoUnto the man, that of him tydings to her brings.
First she him sought in Court, where most he vsedused
Whylome to haunt, but there she found him not;
But many there she found, which sore accused
His falsehood, and with foule infamous blot
His cruell deedes and wicked wyles did spot:
Ladies and Lords she eueryevery where mote heare
Complayning, how with his empoysned shot
Their wofull harts he wounded had whyleare,
And so had left them languishing twixt hope and feare.
She 14.1. then: thanthenthan the Citties sought from gate to gate,
And eueryevery one did aske, did he him see;
And eueryevery one her answerd, that too late
He had him seene, and felt the crueltie
Of his sharpe darts and whot artillerie;
And eueryevery one threw forth reproches rife
Of his mischieuousmischievous deedes, and said, That hee
Was the disturber of all ciuillcivill life,
The enimy of peace, and author of all strife.
Then in the countrey she abroad him sought,
And in the rurall cottages inquired,
Where also many plaints to her were brought,
How he their heedlesse harts with louelove had fyred,
And his false venim through their veines inspyred;
And eke the gentle shepheard swaynes, which sat
Keeping their fleecie flockes, as they were hyred,
She sweetly heard complaine, both how and what
Her sonne had to them doen; yet she did smile thereat.
But when in none of all these she him got,
She gan auizeavize, where else he mote him hyde:
At last she her bethought, that she had not
Yet sought the saluagesalvage woods and forrests wyde,
In which full many louelylovely Nymphes abyde,
Mongst whom might be, that he did closely lye,
Or that the louelove of some of them him tyde:
For thy she thither cast her course t’apply,
To search the secret haunts of Dianes company.
Shortly vntounto the wastefull woods she came,
Whereas she found the Goddesse with her crew,
After late chace of their embrewed game,
Sitting beside a fountaine in a rew,
Some of them washing with the liquid dew
From off their dainty limbes the dustie sweat,
And soyle which did deforme their liuelylively hew;
Others lay shaded from the scorching heat;
The rest vponupon her person gauegave attendance great.
She hauinghaving hong vponupon a bough on high
Her bow and painted quiuerquiver, had vnlasteunlaste
Her siluersilver buskins from her nimble thigh,
And her lancke loynes vngirtungirt, and brests vnbrasteunbraste,
After her heat the breathing cold to taste;
Her golden lockes, that late in tresses bright
Embreaded were for hindring of her haste,
Now loose about her shoulders hong vndightundight,
And were with sweet Ambrosia all besprinckled light.
Soone as she Venus saw behind her backe,
She was asham’d to be so loose surprized
And woxe halfe wroth against her damzels slacke,
That had not her thereof before auized,
But suffred her so carelesly disguized
Be ouertakenovertaken. Soone her garments loose
Vpgath’ringUpgath’ring, in her bosome she comprized,
Well as she might, and to the Goddesse rose,
Whiles all her Nymphes did like a girlond her enclose.
Goodly she gan faire Cytherea greet,
And shortly asked her, what cause her brought
Into that wildernesse for her vnmeetunmeet,
From her sweet bowres, and beds with pleasures fraught:
That suddein change she strange aduentureadventure thought.
To whom halfe weeping, she thus answered,
That she her dearest sonne Cupido sought,
Who in his frowardnesse from her was fled;
That she repented sore, to hauehave him angered.
Thereat Diana gan to smile, in scorne
Of her vaine plaint, and to her scoffing sayd;
Great pittie sure, that ye be so forlorne
Of your gay sonne, that giuesgives ye so good ayd
To your disports: ill mote ye bene apayd.
But she was more engrieuedengrieved, and replide;
Faire sister, ill beseemes it to vpbraydupbrayd
A dolefull heart with so disdainfull pride;
The like that mine, may be your paine another tide.
As you in woods and wanton wildernesse
Your glory set, to chace the saluagesalvage beasts,
So my delight is all in ioyfulnessejoyfulnesse,
In beds, in bowres, in banckets, and in feasts:
And ill becomes you with your loftie creasts,
To scorne the ioyjoy, that IoueJove is glad to seeke;
We both are bound to follow heauensheavens beheasts,
And tend our charges with obeisance meeke:
Spare, gentle sister, with reproch my paine to eeke.
And tell me, if that ye my sonne hauehave heard,
To lurke emongst your Nymphes in secret wize;
Or keepe their cabins: much I am affeard,
Least he like one of them him selfe disguize,
And turne his arrowes to their exercize:
So may he long himselfe full easie hide:
For he is faire and fresh in face and guize,
As any Nymph (let not it be enuydeenvyde.)
So saying eueryevery Nymph full narrowly she eyde.
But Phoebe therewith sore was angered,
And sharply said; Goe Dame, goe seeke your boy,
Where you him lately left, in Mars his bed;
He comes not here, we scorne his foolish ioyjoy,
Ne lend we leisure to his idle toy:
But if I catch him in this company,
By Stygian lake I vow, whose sad annoy
The Gods doe dread, he dearely shall abye:
Ile clip his wanton wings, that he no more shall fly.
Whom when as Venus saw so sore displeased,
She inly sory was, and gan relent,
What she had said: so her she soone appeased,
With sugred words and gentle blandishment,
From which a fountaine from her sweet lips went,
And welled goodly forth, that in short space
She was well pleasd, and forth her damzels sent,
Through all the woods, to search from place to place,
If any tract of him or tydings they mote trace.
To search the God of louelove, her Nymphes she sent
Throughout the wandring forrest eueryevery where:
And after them her selfe eke with her went
To seeke the fugitiuefugitive, both farre and nere,
So long they sought, till they arriuedarrived were
In that same shadie couertcovert, whereas lay
Faire Crysogone in slombry traunce whilere:
Who in her sleepe (a wondrous thing to say)
VnwaresUnwares had borne two babes, as faire as springing day.
VnwaresUnwares she them conceiu’dconceiv’d, vnwaresunwares she bore:
She bore withouten paine, that she conceiuedconceived
Withouten pleasure: ne her need implore
Lucinaes aide: which when they both perceiuedperceived,
They were through wonder nigh of sense bereaued,
And gazing each on other, nought bespake:
At last they both agreed, her seeming grieuedgrieved
Out of her heauyheavy swowne not to awake,
But from her louingloving side the tender babes to take.
VpUp they them tooke, each one a babe vptookeuptooke,
And with them carried, to be fostered;
Dame Phoebe to a Nymph her babe betooke,
To be vpbroughtupbrought in perfect Maydenhed,
And of her selfe her name Belphoebe red:
But Venus hers hence farre away conuaydconvayd,
To be vpbroughtupbrought in goodly womanhed,
And in her litle louesloves stead, which was strayd,
Her Amoretta cald, to comfort her dismayd.
She brought her to her ioyousjoyous Paradize,
Where most she wonnes, whe[n] she on earth does dwel.
So faire a place, as Nature can deuizedevize:
Whether in Paphos, or Cytheron hill,
Or it in Gnidus be, I wote not well;
But well I wote by tryall, that this same
All other pleasant places doth excell,
And called is by her lost louerslovers name,
The Gardin of Adonis, farre renowmd by fame.
In that same Gardin all the goodly flowres,
Wherewith dame Nature doth her beautifie,
And decks the girlonds of her paramoures,
Are fetcht: there is the first seminarie
Of all things, that are borne to liuelive and die,
According to their kindes. Long worke it were,
Here to account the endlesse progenie
Of all the weedes, that bud and blossome there;
But so much as doth need, must needs be counted here.
It sited was in fruitfull soyle of old,
And girt in with two walles on either side;
The one of yron, the other of bright gold,
That none might thorough breake, nor ouer-stride:
And double gates it had, which opened wide,
By which both in and out men moten pas;
Th’one faire and fresh, the other old and dride:
Old Genius the porter of them was,
Old Genius, the which a double nature has.
He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
All that to come into the world desire;
A thousand thousand naked babes attend
About him day and night, which doe require,
That he with fleshly weedes would them attire:
Such as him list, such as eternall fate
Ordained hath, he clothes with sinfull mire,
And sendeth forth to liuelive in mortall state,
Till they againe returne backe by the hinder gate.
After that they againe returned beene,
They in that Gardin planted be againe;
And grow a fresh, as they had neuernever seene
Fleshly corruption, nor mortall paine.
Some thousand yeares so doen they there remaire;
And 33.6. then: thanthenthan of him are clad with other hew,
Or sent into the chaungefull world againe,
Till thither they returne, where first they grew:
So like a wheele around they runne from old to new.
Ne needs there Gardiner to set, or sow,
To plant of prune: for of their owne accord
All things, as they created were, doe grow,
And yet remember well the mightie word,
Which first was spoken by th’Almightie lord,
That bad them to increase and multiply:
Ne doe they need with water of the ford,
Or of the clouds to moysten their roots dry;
For in themseluesthemselves eternall moisture they imply.
Infinite shapes of creatures there are bred,
And vncouthuncouth formes, which none yet euerever knew,
And eueryevery sort is in a sundry bed
Set by it selfe, and ranckt in comely rew:
Some fit for reasonable soules t’indew,
Some made for beasts, some made for birds to weare,
And all the fruitfull spawne of fishes hew
In endlesse rancks along enraunged were,
That seem’d the Ocean could not containe them there.
Daily they grow, and daily forth are sent
Into the world, it to replenish more;
Yet is the stocke not lessened, nor spent,
But still remaines in euerlastingeverlasting store,
As it at first created was of yore.
For in the wide wombe of the world there lyes,
In hatefull darkenesse and in deepe horrore,
An huge eternall Chaos, which supplyes
The substances of natures fruitfull progenyes.
All things from thence doe their first being fetch,
And borrow matter, whereof they are made,
Which when as forme and feature it does ketch,
Becomes a bodie, and doth 37.4. then: thanthenthan inuadeinvade
The state of life, out of the griesly shade.
That substance is eterne, and bideth so,
Ne when the life decayes, and forme does fade,
Doth it consume, and into nothing go,
But chaunged is, and often altred to and fro.
The substance is not chaunged, nor altered,
But th’only forme and outward fashion;
For eueryevery substance is conditioned
To change her hew, and sundry formes to don,
Meet for her temper and complexion:
For formes are variable and decay,
By course of kind, and by occasion;
And that faire flowre of beautie fades away,
As doth the lilly fresh before the sunny ray.
Great enimy to it, and to all the rest,
That in the Gardin of Adonis springs,
Is wicked Time, who with his scyth addrest,
Does mow the flowring herbes and goodly things,
And all their glory to the ground downe flings,
Where they doe wither, and are fowly mard:
He flyes about, and with his flaggy wings
Beates downe both leauesleaves and buds without regard,
Ne euerever pittie may relent his malice hard.
Yet pittie often did the gods relent,
To see so faire things mard, and spoyled quight:
And their great mother Venus did lament
The losse of her deare brood, her deare delight:
Her hart was pierst with pittie at the sight,
When walking through the Gardin, them she spyde,
Yet no’te she find redresse for such despight.
For all that liueslives, is subiectsubject to that law:
All things decay in time, and to their end do draw.
But were it not, that Time their troubler is,
All that in this delightfull Gardin growes,
Should happie be, and hauehave immortall blis:
For here all plentie, and all pleasure flowes,
And sweet louelove gentle fits emongst them throwes,
Without fell rancor, or fond gealosie;
Franckly each paramour his leman knowes,
Each bird his mate, ne any does enuieenvie
Their goodly meriment, and gay felicitie.
There is continuall spring, and haruestharvest there
Continuall, both meeting at one time:
For both the boughes doe laughing blossomes beare,
And with fresh colours decke the wanton Prime,
And eke attonce the heauyheavy trees they clime,
Which seeme to labour vnderunder their fruits lode:
The whiles the ioyousjoyous birdes make their pastime
Emongst the shadie leauesleaves, their sweet abode,
And their true louesloves without suspition tell abrode.
Right in the middest of that Paradise,
There stood a stately Mount, on whose round top
A gloomy grouegrove of mirtle trees did rise,
Whose shadie boughes sharpe steele did neuernever lop,
Nor wicked beasts their tender buds did crop,
But like a girlond compassed the hight,
And from their fruitfull sides sweet gum did drop,
That all the ground with precious deaw bedight,
Threw forth most dainty odours, & most sweet delight.
And in the thickest couertcovert of that shade,
There was a pleasant arbour, not by art,
But of the trees owne inclination made,
Which knitting their rancke braunches part to part,
With wanton yuieyvie twyne entrayld athwart,
And Eglantine, and Caprifole emong,
Fashiond aboueabove within their inmost part,
That nether Phoebus beams could through the[m] throng,
Nor Aeolus sharp blast could worke them any wrong.
And all about grew eueryevery sort of flowre,
To which sad louerslovers were transformd of yore;
Fresh Hyacinthus, Phoebus paramoure,
And dearest louelove,
Foolish Narcisse, that likes the watry shore,
Sad Amaranthus, made a flowre but late,
Sad Amaranthus, in whose purple gore
Me seemes I see Amintas wretched fate,
To whom sweet Poets verse hath giuengiven endlesse date.
There wont faire Venus often to enioyenjoy
Her deare Adonis ioyousjoyous company,
And reape sweet pleasure of the wanton boy;
There yet, some say, in secret he does ly,
Lapped in flowres and pretious spycery,
By her hid from the world, and from the skill
Of Stygian Gods, which doe her louelove enuyenvy;
But she her selfe, when euerever that she will,
Possesseth him, and of his sweetnesse takes her fill.
And sooth it seemes they say: for he may not
For euerever die, and euerever buried bee
In balefull night, where all things are forgot;
All be he subiectsubject to mortalitie,
Yet is eterne in mutabilitie,
And by succession made perpetuall,
Transformed oft, and chaunged diuersliediverslie:
For him the Father of all formes they call;
Therefore needs mote he liuelive, that liuingliving giuesgives to all.
There now he liuethliveth in eternall blis,
IoyingJoying his goddesse, and of her enioydenjoyd:
Ne feareth he henceforth that foe of his,
Which with his cruell tuske him deadly cloyd:
For that wilde Bore, the which him once annoyd,
She firmely hath emprisoned for ay,
That her sweet louelove his malice mote auoydavoyd,
In a strong rocky CaueCave, which is they say,
Hewen vnderneathunderneath that Mount, that none him losen may.
There now he liueslives in euerlastingeverlasting ioyjoy,
With many of the Gods in company,
Which thither haunt, and with the winged boy
Sporting himselfe in safe felicity:
Who when he hath with spoiles and cruelty
Ransackt the world, and in the wofull harts
Of many wretches set his triumphes hye,
Thither resorts, and laying his sad darts
Aside, with faire Adonis playes his wanton parts.
And his true louelove faire Psyche with him playes,
Faire Psyche to him lately reconcyld,
After long troubles and vnmeetunmeet vpbrayesupbrayes,
With which his mother Venus her reuyldrevyld,
And eke himselfe her cruelly exyld:
But now in stedfast louelove and happy state
She with him liueslives, and hath him borne a chyld,
Pleasure, that doth both gods and men aggrate,
Pleasure, the daughter of Cupid and Psyche late.
Hither great Venus brought this infant faire,
The younger daughter of Chrysogonee,
And vntounto Psyche with great trust and care
Committed her, yfostered to bee,
And trained vpup in true feminitee:
Who no lesse carefully her tendered,
Then her owne daughter Pleasure, to whom shee
Made her companion, and her lessoned
In all the lore of louelove, and goodly womanhead.
In which when she to perfect ripenesse grew,
Of grace and beautie noble Paragone,
She brought her forth into the worldes vew,
To be th’ensample of true louelove alone,
And Lodestarre of all chaste affectione,
To all faire Ladies, that doe liuelive on ground.
To Faery court she came, where many one
Admyrd her goodly haueourhaveour, and found
His feeble hart wide launched with louesloves cruell wound.
But she to none of them her louelove did cast,
SaueSave to the noble knight Sir Scudamore,
To whom her louingloving hart she linked fast
In faithfull louelove, t’abide for euerever more,
And for his dearest sake endured sore,
Sore trouble of an hainous enimy;
Who her would forced hauehave to hauehave forlore
Her former louelove, and stedfast loialty,
As ye may elsewhere read that ruefull history.
But well I weene, ye first desire to learne,
What end vntounto that fearefull Damozell,
Which fled so fast from that same foster stearne,
Whom with his brethren Timias slew, befell:
That was to weet, the goodly Florimell;
Who wandring for to seeke her louerlover deare,
Her louerlover deare, her dearest Marinell,
Into misfortune fell, as ye did heare,
And from Prince Arthur fled with wings of idle feare.