OEDIPVS: THREE CANTOES.

Wherein is contained:

  • 1 His vnfortunate Infancy.
  • 2 His execrable Actions.
  • 3 His lamentable End.

By T.E. Bach: Art. Cantab.

Oedipus sum, non Davus.

LONDON, Printed by NICHOLAS OKES. 1615.

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVL THE PATRON AND PATERNE OF GOOD ARTS, Mr. IOHN CLAPHAM, Esquire, one of the sixe Clarkes of the Chauncerie. D. D.

SIR, the multitude of Writers in our age hath begotten a scarcitie of Pa­trons. And Poësie is growne so fre­quent, that it may say with Niobe, inopemse copia fecit: when it owne communitie hath brought it into contempt. Insomuch that being about to publish these slight Com­posures, which haue so far ore-leaven'd my disposition, addicted to nothing lesse then popularitie; that notwithstanding my desire to suppresse it, yet rupto iecore exire caprificus, I was compelled with Catullus, Quoi do [...] no­vum [Page]at illepidum libellum, when I could not thinke of any that would be so partiall as to think has nugas esse aliquid: seeing that now­adaies Thespis cannot act without the repre­hension of Solon: And most men, like super­cilious Cato's, ever censure verse to be loose, though it be never so strictly restrain'd with­in the limits of vntainted numbers: Till at last, through the happy knowledge of your selfe, I resolu'd to make intrusion ambitious to you, from whom I could not choose but conceiue encouragement, when your ela­borate lines doe promise you to fauour that in others, which others admire in you. I could here enter into a discourse of your de­serued praises, but that I know it cannot bee acceptable to an ingenuous disposition; and I finde it a burthen intolerable for an vnable quill. Neither can Alexander disgest the soo­things of Aristobulus, neither will he suffer a­ny to portray out his stature but Policletus. Sith then I cannot like Protogenes, iudge tru­ly de lineis Apellaeis, I wil passe ouer that in si­lence which wold surpasse all my indevours. It is all I seeke, if the aboundance of your [Page]worth may take away any thing from the vn­worthinesse of my imperfect labors. And if that laurell, doctae frontis praemia, which sha­dowes your temples, shall proue to me as Naturalists report to all, [...], I will not feare the tyrannies of our censuring times; but whilest other Nightingales boast the sufficiency of their Musick to coment it selfe; this onely shall excuse her scritching by being the bird of Pallas. To whose prote­ction in you, I commit both it and my selfe.

THO. EVANS.

To the Ingenious and Ingenu­ous Readers.

GEntlemen, for the best of you I desire to be no more, and the worst, I hope, will prone no lesse, To you onely I offer the perusing of my labours. If any immo­dest Thalassius require mouing Epigrams, and lascivious Odes, able to corrupt a Vestall, and make Priapus blush at his owne rites, I pray him to abstaine his frustrated expectation. I loue not to set before my Reader, the head of Polypus, Nor do I account it a sufficient ex­cuse for Poets to say; Lasciua est nobis pagi­na, vita proba. I would haue Carmina Ithi­phallica, and Fescinina banisht from their Writings, and not onely themselues to liue well, but their lines to bee drawne out by their liues. I cannot satisfie neither those greedy pursuers of humours, that would haue Iests broken against Gentlemen Vshers little legs, euery Che­nalieres [Page]bald pate vncouered, and the deformi­ties of a hooded dame deelpher'd through her Maske. Nothing but Satyrs, Whips, and Scour­ges, to such, I say: I will not defile my selfe with others pitch, iudging him alwaies a noto­rious corrupted person, that best expresses the guilt in others, which hee findes liueliest cha­ractered in himselfe. Yet if any of them shall tempt me, they shall finde me an Archilochus, whose Standish can swarm with wasps as well as his Sepulcher. I request also those, that come as Cato into the Theater, tantum vt exirent, who seeing the Title of my booke take it vp, where

Lectis vix paginis duabus
Spectant descatholicon seuere;

Either not to begin to reade, or not to shew their dislike in their discontinuance. But as for you, whose squeamish nicenesse condemnes Poe­sy, because it is so, be as far from me, as I ende­uour to be from your ignorance. 'Tis not to you, But, Ad sacra vatum carmen affero nostrum. Now a greater scarcity then you haue of wit befall you What meane you to moue in a Spheare aboue your knowledge, and censure exquisite [Page]numbers, which your capacity cannot reach to? Know Poesy is Diuine: no maruaile if it sute not the humor of earthly clods; Grouell with your deiected cogitations, while they breath heauenly raptures.

—Quos Cantor Apollo
Non patitur versare lutum.

'Tis not your scandalous imputations can sully the lustre of a Poet: the Arch-builder of this Vniuerse is so stiled; whom therefore they call [...]. No lesse are those, whom that Diuinity with Coelestiall inspirati­ons abstracts from the society of men. As for my selfe so far am I from the slighted opinion of such, that it is my wish

—Me primùm ante omnia Musae.
Quarum sacra fero, ardenti perculsus amore
Accipiant, coeli (que) vias, & sidera monstrent.

And (oh you) that are Castalidum decus sororum, That haue beene rockt in the laps of the Nursing Muses, suffer me to tast of your Milke; as for your Hony I will not presume to touch. Though my want of industry denies mee your Crownes of Iuy, yet, Non sum adeo de­formis, but that I deeme my selfe worthy of a [Page]sprig of Laurell. But I feare my iust spleene, and zealous affection hath transported mee too far. I will therefore returne to you (ingenious Readers) whom I earnestly request, that it may be lawfull for me to liue, Occipiti coeco, se­cur'd in your approbations from all the dislikes which I almost desire may be sprinkled vpon me to kindle my more earnest flame. As for the Story I treate of, I will not vrge your faith, nei­ther in the thing it selfe, nor the relation: for being a matter so diuersly spoken of amongst diuers Writers, I was vtterly ignorant, as Sa­bellicus saith vpon the same, In re tam anti­qua, & fabulosa, quid certi dicerem. I thought it as good therefore to follow my owne fancy, as the vncertainty of others: hoping my authority will passe currant; when Omnibus hoc licitum est Poetis. If at any time, the frequency of reading about the History hath be­got imitation, impute it to the obaious aptnesse of the Authour; so copious, that scarce no in­uention liues from his lines, that another can imagine fit for the same matter. Howsoeuer community may excuse a bad custome. Few there are which are onely supposititij to themselues: [Page]and for my selfe I am not often faulty in that kind. For I protest I haue many times tooke paines to shun his almost ineuitable sentences: But I will not make a fault by excusing. Accept it as it is; it is my first child, but not the heyre of all the fathers wit. There is some laid vp to inrich a second brother, to keepe it from ac­customed dishonesty, when I shall put it to shift into the world: yet if this proue a griefe to the parent, I will instantly be diuorc't from Tha­lia, and make my selfe happy in the progeny from a better stocke: Farewell.

Thine: T. E.

OEDIPVS.
CANTO. I.

THE ARGVMENT.
ORacles counceld to preserue, a sonne
Exposed is to death, reseru'd by chance
Doth all that to him's destin'd to be done.
In Fathers bloud be sleepes his impious lance,
Partakes incestuous sweetes through ignorance:
Vntill truth knowne, he teares out both his eyes,
So killes his mother, and by lightning dyes.
[...]Re gloomy Cinthya pallid queene of night,
Had seuen times pac'd through each coele­stial Signe,
Somtimes a niggard, shutting vp her light,
Sometimes more free bestowing all her shine,
Since Thebes, the stage of fearefull Tragedies,
With wanton Odes, Rites that vnholy are,
And ceremonious vse did solomnize
The royall nuptials of a royall paire,
Loue was not barren: but locasta's wombe
Gaue certaine notice of ensuing fruits,
That not a graue all Laius might intombe,
Issue so well obliuions force confutes.
Wherefore the hopefull father strait decrees
To search the fate of yet his vnborne heire:
For man, vnpatient of vncertainties,
Loues to know truths, though known they grieuous are.
To Delphos then his brother Creon hyes,
Where great Apollo from his secret Cell
Declares events in mystick prophesies,
Answeres darke questions, and mens fate foretelles.
Here all obsequious duties done and past,
His prayers intreating what his gifts enforc't:
The Heauenly Priest this answere made at last,
And for their best indeauours told the worst,
The Child that but an Embrio is as yet
By Nature rarely good, by Fortune bad,
Shall wed his mother, brothers shall beget,
And worke his death, of whom his life he had.
No sooner ended was the dire presage,
But as a man transform'd poore Creon stood:
Feare such a warre with hosts of doubts did wage,
That teares supply'd the office of his blood.
Not any tincture of Vermilion red,
Did keepe possession on his liuelesse cheeke,
But leauing that with salt deaw coloured
The fainting heart to cherish out did seeke.
A sudden palsie quiver'd euery lim,
So great an earth-quake shooke that little world;
His tongue grew infant, and his sight waxt dim:
His haire (by nature soft) distraction curl'd:
Great signes of griefe did shew a griefe too great
To bound it selfe, or be exprest in fignes;
As little Tablets do in briefe repeat
The ample summe contain'd in larger lines.
No sooner reason was recouered,
But finding griefe should not be long prolong'd,
Ere more made light, what one ore-burthened,
He parts the weight to whō the weight belong'd.
For time not many wasted sands had spent,
Ere Hast, the Herald of too ill successe,
Inforc'd Suspition doubt some ill event:
That knew delay still vsher'd happinesse.
The longing King ficke in this short returne,
Feeles many fits of cold despairing fires,
As often freezing as he oft doth burne,
Desires to know, yet feares what he desires.
Tell me (quoth he) yet prethee do not tell:
If cloudes foretell a tempests violence,
If lookes not right cote something that's not well,
Keep sorrow there, which hurts proceeding thence.
If thy tongues language harshly iarres on chance,
Conceale the Story of vnhappy newes,
I can endure a patient ignorance,
And rather this, then to repent, do chuse.
Farre better is't for me to liue in hope,
Then knowing truths, to haue my hopes despaire:
Expected mischiefes haue an endlesse scope,
And still are present, ere they present are.
But if that Fortune will so much forget,
To be herselfe, as to be fortunate,
Bet not vnwilling to discharge the debt
That may inrich all my ensuing state.
Here did he stay, though still he might haue spoke,
Had not Suspence, too covetous of reply,
Longing to be resolu'd, more speeches broke,
When Silence yet gaue words more libertie.
But speechlesse Creon prisons vp his tongue,
And will not take occasion to reueale;
But with fixt eye-balles, and a head downe hung,
Declares the message which he would conceale.
By this the King coniectures, that 'tis ill,
Yet could not gather what that ill should be:
He saw too much a fainting heart to kill,
But not enough to cleare vncertaintie.
Therefore afresh he doth renew his suite,
More earnest now to haue him tell the worst,
Then earst desirous that he should be mute;
Intreating now, what he refusd at first.
Although (quoth he) by this I know too much
To make me wretched, though the rest vnknown;
Yet loe, the fondnesse of our nature's such,
As much to grieue at doubted ills, as showne.
Suspition euer doth farre more torment,
Then can the mischiefe that we doe suspect,
When neuer certaine of the hid event,
After one ill, we still a worse expect.
The ominous blaze of heauens fantastick fire,
That never shines, but for prodigious end,
Affrights th'vnskilfull gazets that admire,
When knowing not what, they know they do por­tend.
Hadst thou with offrings nere solicited
The D [...]lian Altars, for vnhappy truth,
With hope my selfe I might haue flattered:
Mine age should nere haue envy'd at my youth.
But sith the Gods do otherwise consent,
Adde not more mischiefe to the sacred doome,
Tel what thou know'st, that told, we may prevent,
Or arm'd with patience, beare what ere shal come.
Here rests againe the yet vncertaine king,
And here againe doth Croon hold his peace,
A while deferring what his hast did bring;
That griefe late told, might somwhat griefe release.
Fain would he speak some cōfort that was faign'd,
Faine would he place the words in other sence:
But feare of what might happen, him constrain'd,
To be offensiue, for to shun offence:
Who being heard, looke how — alasse I erre,
If I compare what is beyond compare;
Too flight are words, too weake are Characters
T'expresse the passions that vn-vttred are.
Well may we draw soft-natur'd men that melt
At others sorrowes with drownd cheekes & eyes
But as for him that hath the sorrow felt,
The cunning'st pensill, with a vaile descries.
Suffice it that he grieues, and spends his houres
In solitary lonenesse; casts what must be done,
Whether to yeeld vnto the higher powers,
Or by preuention their intents to shun.
When through times swiftnesse now the time w [...] come,
That this vnhappy issue must be borne,
The secret sorrowes of a labouring wombe
Seises the queene, of all saue griefe forlorne.
Vnto whose succour people more deuout,
Inuoke P [...]l [...] for an easie birth:
Saturnia' [...] Al [...] decked all about,
Inuite their goddesse to behold the earth.
And oh Lupine thou their prayers heard'st,
Though th'other office of thy Deitie
Had better shewne, how much that thou regard'st
The sacred vowes that then were made to thee,
When with thy nymphs thou rangest in the wood,
In steady hand clasping an I [...]ory how,
The N [...] monsters, and the Tygers blood
Make thy darts blush to soe thee murther so.
And do'st thou now to pitie here begin?
Or want'st thou Arrowes for to tyra [...]ni [...]e?
Loe [...] a Monster nere before hath bin,
Prey to thy force, grace to thy victories.
But now I see, what the eternall Fate
Decrees, shall happen, all you rest decree:
Your heauenly willes differ from ours estate,
Which through our weaknesse still contrary be.
But, you do all conspire in one consent,
To make vnhappy that which must be so:
More cruell, when your crueltie might preuent,
What mischiefes fall after you pitie show.
Wherefore a safe deliuerance thou gau'st
And now a goodly issue springs at last.
Hadst thou destroy'd what thou vnkindly sau'dst,
My present quill had not told sorrowes past.
For now no sooner was the tidings brought
To Laius hearing of what's come to passe,
But that fresh cares, and contradicting thoughts
Arise to trouble what not setled was.
But taking truce a while, he goes to see
After what sort a child so ill might looke,
Whether not monstrous as his manners bee,
Seeing the face is the soules reckoning booke.
Yet he not found what reason thought he should,
A swarthy visage, clouded vp in frownes,
Sunke eies, that buried in their houses stood,
Or torted shadowe which his temples crowne;
But there as in a glasse himselfe he saw,
And in his cheek markt how his cheeke was dy'd,
Where cunning Nature beds of flowers did draw,
Whose head to crop, hard harts wold haue deny'd.
Long in this mirror he himselfe beheld,
Till like Narciss [...] selfe-enamored,
He seem'd transform'd; & when his peace he held,
His owne perfections he in silence read,
In those faire eyes, that seem'd to mocke his eyes,
Imagination from her duty sweru'd,
Attentiue wondring, a selfe-loue descries,
Being not himselfe, when he himselfe obseru'd.
Pigmalion-like, with many a melting kisse,
He dotes vpon this picture he had made,
Onely desire in him contraried, his,
Who for his liuelesse Image motion pray'd:
This grieving, that his workemanship exprest
Vnto the life, a creature so divine;
Wisht those pure beauties were in Iuory drest,
Whose white, nor sin might spot, nor time decline.
What reason is't, that reason should collect
(Sayes he, when wonder to his words gaue place)
Our disposition in our eyes aspect,
Reading our mindes imprinted in our face?
Were that an axiome: who'st that should admire
This apt proportion of well-orderd parts?
This breath perfum'd to kindle Cupids fire,
These precious chaines to prison captiu'd hearts:
And would not grant this were the decent bower,
Where comely Graces had set downe to dwell,
Where Vertue, of her selfe an ample dower,
Wedded her selfe, diuorc'd from other Cell.
If glorious Temples with their pride declare
Th'inhabited greatnesse of the Deity:
Oh then what precious Iewels lodged are
In such a gorgeous well built Treasury!
Surely at least it can but empty be
Of the expected riches, and not fraught
With the suspected masse of iniu [...]y:
Nought sure can heere be harbor'd that is naught,
Sin would haue [...]ose a more vnpolish't den
Whose vgly building it could not defile,
More barbarous lookes for direfull agents, when
These seeme not rude, and steed of frowning smile.
Vnlesse, perchance, Vice, weary of contempt,
Would borrow count'nance of this countenance,
Hauing no other beauty, but what's lent
It's owne vnseene misfeature to aduance:
For had it beene truely apparelled
In't owne natiue garments, as soone I should
Haue loath'd the forme, as that it harboured;
As soone haue hated, as now lou'd it good.
Oh could our eyes carry a stronger sight
Then mans compacted out-side could reflect;
Or were his brest transparant as the light,
To let weake beames his inward parts detect.
This gay attire of beauty would no more
Bewitch our fancies, then a golden chaine
Worne from it's place, or Th [...]tis Paramour [...]
Divining blush before a showre of raine.
But when the face, is all we can perceiue,
And as that pleases we affected are,
How easie is't for beauty to deceiue,
When sinne still hides it selfe by seeming faire?
And it may be, 'twas for some greater end,
That subtil Nature fram'd this feature thus,
Namely, to further what the Gods pretend,
Which nere she could, were this not glorious.
Now such a precious sanguine keepes his tide
In th'azure conduits of well-branched vaines,
As to let out were worse then pa [...]ricide,
In other vessell, then what it containes.
So rare this forme, as sure 'tis worser farre
For me to offer violence, then for it
T'attempt the crimes that to it destin'd are,
When It of force, I a free fault commit.
I loue thee, sonne, too well those powers know
The hearts of parents, and how much a child
In barren'st pit [...]e makes affection grow.
Oh that thou wer't lesse comely, or lesse vild.
Yet how soere; shall my kinde fondnesse adde
More power to Fortune, ouer subiect man?
Who well may triumph if we warning had,
Yet doe not shunne her frailtie when we can.
Shall I, to saue thy life, go loose mine owne?
Procure the name of Incest to my bed?
And what [...] in ages past beene knowne,
Suffer a brother in a Fathers stead.
First, let me better manifest my loue
To thee my sonne, first let this beautie dye
Vnspotted, as such beautie doth behooue:
Flowers are ph [...]ch't, when fresh, not being drye.
Neuer shall Writers blot thy memorie,
Or from thy life fetch argument to their song;
But for thee bl [...]ne deaths hasty crueltie,
Deem'd vertues hope, hadst thou not dy'd so yong.
Oh you depriued fathers, that with teares,
Behold your childrens time lesse Funerall,
Dry, dry your eyes, with them are fled your feares,
In their deepe graues your cares lye tombed all.
Call not to minde their forme, their wantonnesse
They wearied time with; neuer (alas) recount
The hopes you had, that they your age shold blesse:
Such reckonings oft fall short of our account.
Oft haue I seene a curious Gardiner
Cherish an imp with the kind start [...]e had,
Whose youth gay flowers & goodly bloomes did beare;
But the best fruit his age could shew was bad:
Then he repents his [...]ares, and labours lost,
Wishing it then had perisht when it pleasd,
Or that he nere had hop'd, since hopes are crost,
Then a sau'd labour might haue sorrow ea [...]d.
Many faire Sun-shines doe our youth adorne:
But when as age giues libertie to sinne,
A cloudy euening doth eclipse our morne,
Weedes ouergrow the hearbes before hath bin.
And far more pleasing do we find it then,
If being vertuous we had perished
That our kind parents might larnent vs, when
Liuing we wring more teares then being dead,
Here forcing pitty somewhat to retire
A yet-ne're-guilty weapon forth he drawes,
Which lifting vp t'accomplish his defire
Affection staies his hand, and makes him pause.
The child, with apprehension, innocent
Smiles at his image in his fathers eyes:
The soone-m [...]'d father herewithall relents
And in distracted passion thus he cryes.
Can nature be so farre vn [...]aturall,
As that a father should a Butcher bee?
Can the least drop, that a childs eye lets fall
Passe vnregarded without efficacy?
Or if there could; can heauen forget to speake,
In the loud language of confused Thunder?
Can such an act be, and the clouds not breake?
Not Ioues artillery cleaue the earth in sunder?
Or if example might the fact admit,
And heauen not punish vs for doing ill:
Can I, whose heart was ne're so brazen yet,
As the mean'st bloudlesse creatures bloud to spill,
First on my sonne my cruelty expresse?
A father more inhumane then a man,
To others kind, to mine owne pittilesse,
The sangu [...] spill, that with my sanguine ran.
Rather it should be one, thine enemy
Fram'd of a harder [...]ould, then could be found
Amongst [...] tyranny,
One that would ground a [...]ischiefe on no ground.
I neuer should thy Funerals bewaile
In the [...] habite of a weeping blacke,
Thy p [...]rple still would make my sable pale,
Mourning my fault, thy death would mourning lacke,
Those hands must be more irreligious far
Then mine, and challenge a lesse interest
In this same life, that must this life debar.
A heart that's prison'd in an iron brest.
Hereafter when thy Epitaph worne out
In letters old, reuiues thy story new,
The weeping readers, that do stand about
And throgh their tears the crime do greater view,
Will wrong my softnesse thus, and thus exclaime [...]
What flinty matter did the man compose?
How rocky was the womb from whence he came?
That could relentlesse a sonnes life depose?
When we, that but spectators, absent bee
And no beholders of what we behold,
Thaw into water, when we thinke we see
The mercilesse murder which he did of old.
The stone that now weepes ore this Monument
Was for compassionate teares first made a stone:
If Pitty then attir'd in marble went,
What garment did such Cruelty put [...]
Our Writers surely do past times belye,
And tell but tales for vs to [...].
Where in our age can we such acts espye?
Such deeds beyond our reach to [...].
The seasons are but nick-nam'd, and we trye
Theirs were the Iron, ours the golden times:
Onely we want their plenty, the reason why,
Our age is punisht for their ages crimes.
Ere thus a scandall do preuent my death,
Thy hand, oh child, my scandall shall preuent,
Finish thy mischiefes with vnworthy breath.
Be worse then thou art able to repent,
Before that I, in whom compassion fits,
My vnstain'd hands in guiltlesse bloud pollutes
Some wretch for such a villanie's more fit,
I cannot heare thy cries and persecute.
Here tears from their stopt fountains gan to break,
Whereat he houses vp the [...]atall lenife:
And hauing nothing more that he could speake,
Seekes 'mongst his Swains one to attempt his life.
Poore men, alas, they all were pittifull,
Whose onely practise euer was to saue:
Yet one there was amongst the rest more [...],
Whose lookes of crabbed members notice gaue.
This from his fellowes being eal'd apart,
The King thinkes [...]
To him he opes the h [...]d griefes of his heart,
And st [...]ictly charges that his sonne do die.
Do not I pray (quoth he) expostulate,
Or blame me being thus vunaturall;
Know onely this, Repentance comes too late,
When either this, or a worse ill must fall.
And oh deere child, when thy pure soule is freed
From this corpe prison, let it rest in peace
In pleasant fields, and on Ambrosia feede;
Let not my act thy happinesse decrease.
'Tis not the base defire I haue to liue
Makes me thus cruell: by my cleere thoughts I'd [...] first
My second breath, that fame affoords me, giue,
Dye twise, then by thy death once liue accurst.
Could Destinies but alter their intent,
Or Delphes contradict it owne presage,
I'de let an immortality be spent,
Ere thou shouldst perish in vnripen'd age.
Now for thy selfe 'tis, that thy selfe must die:
Who else must liue the monster of the earth:
No offring else the Gods can pacifie,
Dye then new borne, ere liue to curse thy birth.
Eu'n as a froward child affected stands,
Playing the wanton, with some sha [...]pe delight,
Whose sport though pleasing; yet will hurt his hand,
Cries being had, or taken from his sights
The like inconstant passions hold this King,
Grieung to loose what grieues him [...],
And more, alas he sorrowes in this thing,
That that shold grieue him which shold make him glad.
Now doth he print his last departing kisse
When now affection coines some new delay:
Onely (quoth he) I will but vtter this,
Then striues to speake when he had nought to say.
The mother, not so manly in her woe,
Speakes all her sorrowes in a female eye;
Like weeping Rhea, when she should forgoe
Her first borne sonne, through Saturnes crueltie.
After her griefe struggling for greater vent,
Had sigh'd a fare-well from her big-swoln heart,
With briny Mirrh, that stead of Odors went,
She balmes the Hearse, & now the Hearse departs.
Now had the Sunne, with blushing modesty
Tooke his vnwilling leaue on Thetis cheeke,
And other Tapers of the golden sky
Put out their lights, elsewhere the night to seeke;
When earely riser Phorb [...], iolliest swaine
That on Cith [...]ron tunes an oaten quill,
Display'd his siluer-flockes vpon the plaine,
Himselfe to be inspir'd, sate on the Hill.
Where many morning Madrigals he sang
In praise of Pan, with many amorous laies
Of Shepheards loues, that all the Medowes rang,
And Ph [...] seem'd attentiue with his raies.
There fell he to compassion Maiesty
And great mens cares in such a bli [...]some straine
As well his Musicke did his minde descry
His song, & thoughts did the same notes cōtaine.
When on the suddē some n [...]r neighboring shrinks
Not strong enough to sillable it's woes,
Breakes off his pastime, and doth wonder strike
In him a stranger to such cries an those.
And listning still, hee heard a second voyce
That breath'd together Pitty, Cruelty:
Both life and death in one confused noyse
Relenting, that it must persisting be.
You Powers, said it, that guid these things below,
Vnman me quite from this same shape of man:
Let all my limbes to Oaken branches grow,
Obdure my heart, e'ne harder, if you can:
That as I am, I don't so much digresse
From being my selfe, as yet alas I must
Be too disloyall, or too pittilesse,
Hazard my vertues, or deceiue my trust.
Authority commands, I do obey,
And reason 'tis command should be respected:
And yet remorse Authority gaine-saies;
Either do threat, if either be neglected.
Whither, oh then, shall I my selfe conuert,
On either side I am attacht with guilt,
Shunning a fault, I can't a fault diuert,
But sinne as much in bloud, that's sau'd, as spilt.
Oh [...], and in him you earthly Kings,
That print your wa [...]en Vassails as you list,
Obserue in me what your iniustice brings,
How much our [...] do oft your wils resist.
Thinke you, that you can ere your selues acquit,
In the assistant doers of your plots?
The [...]'s more hainous sure you do commit,
Doubled dishonour doth your honour blot.
When not content, with your owne vertues wast,
To the foule acts you might haue done alone,
More are corrupted, more in mischiefe plac't,
By others crimes to amplysie your owne.
That we beholding in your vices face
Looks so deform'd, deeme that our faults are faire:
And if a King, no dire attempts disgrace,
Surely in vs they but beseeming are.
Yet, why do I moue in too high a Spheare?
Censure Kings actions? they haue Eagles eyes,
And in their matters further insight beare
Then the misconstruing common search descryes.
They weigh not Rumours breath, but still direct
Their not rash doings to some second end:
Which 'tis not for the vulgar to detect,
Sith Kings endenour's oft their sight offend.
Well, howsoere, I know there nothing is,
From good, though falsely stiled, so remote,
Which circumstance, yea in an act as this,
Cannot of vertue giue some seeming note.
Yet greatnesse know, though fortune blinde hath put
In our estates some inequality,
Our minds yet Nature in one mould hath shut,
And meannesse cannot alter quality.
The same affections that do moue in you,
As well in vs, do claime their interest,
We do not blushlesse, what you blush to doe.
Our crimes accuse vs in like guilty brest.
Then to discharge me of so bad a charge
Yet keepe a conscience free, immaculate,
Il'e not performe, what I'le performe at large,
Taught to vse others, vsd for others hate.
You goodly Poplars, that do frindge this Brooke
With a faire bordure of an euen greene,
To you the guilt I leaue, which I forsooke,
You shall be faultlesse, when no fault you weene.
You hearing want, by which should be conuai'd
Feeling relentance at an infants moane,
Vnlesse your griefes in amber wet array'd
Seeme to weepe others sorrowes in your owne.
Take you the businesse of this Tragicke deed,
Forget your Female passions were of yore,
Let not, ahlas see you of this take heed,
New griefes the forme, your old griefs chang'd, re­store:
For so your female softnesse may forbeare
To worke a story, which when one shall tell,
Renues your late left shape in them that heare:
Be then still secret, senselesse, and farewell.
Here ends the voyce, and here fresh cries begin,
When the vncertaine Swaine to be resolu'd
Pryes throgh the glade, where he obscur'd had bin,
And veiw'd a sight that all his ioints dissolu'd.
A childe earst vnacquainted with the Aire,
Till now brought forth to bid the Aire adeiw,
Whose feete with plyant osiers peirced were,
Hung vp as fruit, that on the Poplar grew,
Not far his fellow keeper of the folds,
Pursu'd with his owne guilty steps did run,
Whose flight, with his retired neerenesse told
His eyes abhor'd the fact his hands had done.
A while conceal'd he staid, till he espied
By his sights failing, all discouery
Absent, and vanisht, then eft-soones him he hyed
T'expresse his goodnes, there, wher none could see.
Soone from the willing branches he vnloads
The harmelesse burthen, which retiring backe,
A quiuering Ditty with their leaues bestow'd
For the deliuerance from a sin so blacke.
Th'amazed Shepheard ouer-gone with wonder,
Coniectures first, then doubts to gather more.
Yet the King's vertues keepes suspicion vnder,
But still the fact approues his thoughts before.
When, now ahlas! the Swaine is more perplext,
Because he sau'd, then earst he was to saue;
Compassion now Repentance had annext:
Thus second thoughts not the first motions haue.
Feare forc'd him somwhat from his vertues shrink.
So much doth danger goodnesse violate.
That now he makes a question, and bethinkes
How ill it was to be compassionate.
Not long in these contrary fits he stood,
E're looking vp, he chanc'd to spy not farre
A man, whose age gaue notice he was good,
Sith liuers ill, seldome, long liuers are.
To him drawne neere, this spectacle he shewes,
And all the manner, how the child was found,
Onely keepes in, what he still doubts he knowes,
Mistrusting mischiefe that might once redound.
The easy natur'd old man, that had now
Almost forgot, vnpractis'd, how to weepe,
Let's fall a showre, a watring to bestow
On his parch'd beauties, buried in wrinckles deep.
Who so had seene those luke-warme drops distill,
For euer would the prodigy remember,
That tepid Springs should rise from frozen Hill
Or Aprill raine in midst of cold December.
Teares soone dissolu'd, he fals into complaints;
But with slow speech, and a dull tardy tongue:
His breath he spent, although for breath he faiuts,
As well you'd iudge it was a swan that sung.
At last, as poore in words, as in his wer,
His mourning ceast, when through compassion,
That in his bosome limitlesse was set,
He begs the child of Phorbas for his owne.
He yeelds as willing, as the other askes.
So after some inquiring chat, they part:
The [...]n [...]to tend his Flockes, his daily taske,
The other home, burthen'd, but light in heart.
Where come; To Corinths childlesse king & queen
He giues the infant, which Polybius
With care brought vp, as it his owne had been,
And from his swolne feete nam'd him Oedipus.
His after fortunes, and finister fate
That mischiefes, that vnknowne to him befell,
It skils not with continuance to relate
Another Canto shall it plainely tell.

OEDIPVS.
CANTO. II.

COthurnall Writers as a rule propose,
Th'vnhappy issue of a Tragedy
Proceeds from mischiefes not so great, and those
Haue blith beginnings in their Infancy.
Oh then! how blacke may we expect the scoene
Arising from a protasy so sad,
Sorrow that welcomes, is an vnwelcome meanes
To Horrors Cell in frightfull darkenesse clad.
Mischiefe before was yong, and could not go
But as a learner practis'd how she might,
As in her age, so in perfection grow,
At last to powre downe all her ripend spight:
Whom therefore late we as an infant left,
Now thinke him fully come to mans estate,
Enioying friends, although of friends bereft,
On whom to all mens thinking fortune waites.
Inricht with gifts of Nature, gifts of Art,
Happy in his supposed parents loue:
The hope of Cori [...]th, and the very heart
Which Greece defir'd, once by the same to moue,
In midst of all this earthly iollity,
Knowledge which he through industry had go [...]
More then was trite, prou'd curiosity,
And 'tis more dangerous so to know, then not,
For hauing now attain'd to all he could
By vse or precept: as mans nature is
Insatiate, resolu'd that 'tis more good
Rather then to reserue, to search and misse,
So in th'aboundance of quick sight he winkes,
And wanton'd with too much, himselfe perswades
He yet wants somewhat, and still of that he thinks
But finds, that it from finding, vp was laid,
Namely, his comming sortune, good, or ill,
Conceal'd within the God of Natures brest,
In vaine for man, t'attempt to know, or will,
Till Times commission be too manifest.
But no impossibility withstands
Desire, as earnest, as ambitious.
Sith then his owne search not so much commands
Delphos be hopes, will proue propitious.
Thither he hasts: What fondnesse is't that man
Should burne in so inquisitiue a fire
To know what is Predestinate, and whan,
Enquiring what's most hurtfull to enquire.
For say the Augurs do fore-tell content,
[...]ho alwaies presuppose our industry,
We in predictions euer consident,
Neglectfull proue, to proue at last they lye.
If ill, Misfortune is no Cockatrice,
Whose sight infections, if first seene, is shun.
Bad lucke admits no counsell, no advice,
We fall into it by prevention:
Witnesse these rash proceedings: for now come
To Pholus Temple, he with suppliant vowes
Implores the Deities determin'd doome,
Who with prophetick fires his Priests endowes.
Soone the Castalian Nymph inspir'd, replies,
Dare Mortals dally with Immortalitie?
Thinke they the Delian Oracle telles lies?,
That for ones fate, they twise solicit me?
Do I ere vse my selfe to contradict?
Or am I not [...]t euery time the same?
Am I benigne sometimes, and sometimes strict?
Change I decrees, as you do change your flame?
If not: why then, what diffidence is this
In our truths power, that what once answer'd was,
As 'twere to pose vs, now propounded is?
Hope you for better things to come to passe?
Know, thou that hadst thy sentence yet vnborne,
Which heretofore thy haplesse Sire receiu'd,
Though now what wee foretold, thou laughst to scorn,
That our prophetick laurel's not decein'd.
Quickly begone, our doome to verifie,
That by thy fate our credit may bee wonne;
Yet liues thy father, by thy hand to dye.
Thy mother yet, to beare her sonne a sonne.
Furie and madnesse now possesse him first,
That superstition should inforce beliefe,
Gainst all assurance in his bosome nurst,
Which in our iudgment shold perswade vs chiefe.
Anon with Phoebus he the cause debates,
I wonder not (saies he) that thou dost erre,
Nor do I credit what thou dost relate,
Thy licence's knowne, thou art a traveller.
Tell me, Apollo, if thou canst me tell,
To whom is mans corrupted inside knowne?
Doth not himselfe, himselfe perceiue, as well
As you, and best determines of his owne?
If not: how vaine is't that thy Temple doore
Commands selfe-knowledge, when doe all hee can
To know himselfe, man knowes himselfe no more,
Then I beleeue thou know'st thy selfe of man?
And if we doe, oh why shouldst thou perswade
Vs to be such, whereof we nothing know,
But that 'tis false? Never is that gain-said,
Which in our selues we are assur'd is so.
See, if coelestiall eyes, that power haue
To view our intrailes, ransacke every nooke,
Where cogitation wanders in her caue,
Obserue me throghly with one searching looke,
Marke strictly, and declare if thou canst finde
One thought, one little motion, whereby
To be confirm'd, nay if thou scan'st my minde,
There nothing dwels, which giues thee not the lie.
I know thus much, I am not ignorant,
So farre in my soft-natur'd disposition,
Though to diseases apt it health may want,
Yet I presume Im'e still mine owne Physition.
And but I finde mine innocence gainsayes,
Eu'n with my life Id'e finish that intent.
And yet there are evasions many wayes,
Death set apart, to hinder the event,
Before those rayes, wherewith thou seest me now,
Twise maske their glories in the clouded West,
Ere twise Aurora with a bashfull brow,
Asham'd of Tithon, blvshes in the East,
Il'e ease this ground whereon I now do tread,
Of my loath'd burthen: all the world Il'e range,
Whersoere I am by fame or fancy led,
That changing climates, I my fate may change.
Corinth fare-wel, and all my houshold Lares,
Thy pleasures, your protection I forsake,
For sorrow, dangers, povertie and cares:
'Tis vertue onely me an exile makes.
Nere will I take repentant step to turne,
Where my mischance is natiue as my soile:
And first Il'e see thy loved buildings burne,
Before thy smoke shall tempt me from my toyle.
Parents fare-well. Thus I, your haplesse sonne,
Turne hence m'vnwilling lights: for why I feare
I am t [...]n'd [...] like, whose infection
[...] in the eye-b [...]lles; else I know not where.
Inhospitable, regions stay for me,
Wildes vnfrequented, shores v [...]'d vnknowne,
Nights pitchy birth-right, where no Sun they see,
Each countrey's mine to breath in, same mine own.
Thus in distemper'd bloud he D [...]ph [...]s leaues,
With some few private friends, and as a man
Desperate, himselfe of all forecast bereaues,
Dares all the worst that now misfortune can:
Eu'n as a Pinnace by a Pirat chac'd,
Steeres her indifferent keele for any coast,
Harbors with any danger met in hast,
Rather then try the danger feared most:
So he, vntra [...]eld in the seas of chance,
To S [...]ill [...] from supposd Cha [...]y [...]is hies:
Mischiefe once known, and shun'd, with ignorance
Is m [...]t: the same he followes, which he flyes.
Turne, [...]e to Corinth, fond misdeeming youth,
Keepe thy selfe there, and keepe thy selfe secure,
Our fortune, vs, as we the world pursueth;
And sure she is; but in a place vnsure.
Then be not thou degenerate from good,
So farre, as to take paines in doing ill,
If thou must quench thy Eagles thirst wth blood,
Shun tediousnesse, and drinke with ease thy fill.
Change the white liuery of Polybius head
With his effused gore; and that being done,
Deface the print of M [...]r [...]pes chast bed:
Think thou dost all, that now this thinkst to shun,
And so perchance thou mayst prevent with doing
What thou must do in seeking to prevent.
Thy warinesse workes now thine owne vndoing,
And by resisting, furthers Fates intent.
But thou must on to act, and I to [...]ell
Thy deeds of horror, that without thine ayd,
Learnings great armed Goddesse on me dwell,
I shall [...] lesse heynous being afraid.
From Th [...]b [...]s there lies a narrow beaten way,
Made rudely pleasant with vneven thorne,
Which wandring long through coole Castalia,
Looses it selfe vpon a plaine vnworne.
There Nature portraid Flora's counterfet
In youthfulst beauties, on a ground of greene,
Which she with such skild workmanship had se [...],
As well how much she scorned Art was seene.
Neere whose embroydred margent El [...] glides,
With crooked turnings winding in and out,
That she might longer in the meade abide,
And finde the readiest way in going about.
Hitherest L [...]i [...] came, as was his vse,
With soluce to spurre on the tardy time,
Reposing his wilde thoughts, and taking truce
With conscience, still accusing him of crime.
And now (alas) 'twas his vnhappy hap,
As he from Th [...]b [...]s to Ph [...]s io [...]ied,
A litle towne, within whose purple lap
Tipsie Lyaus layes his drowsie head.
Here on this greene to meet his thought-dead son
Posting to Thebes, whose indigested rage,
In him had all humanitie vndone,
Left no respect, neither of state nor age:
For growne to choser, after melancholly,
Hee rudely rushes through the peacefull traine,
And passing forth with more irreverent folly,
Ore-turnes his fathers Chariot on the plaine.
The Kingly old man all possest with spleene,
Thirsts after a revengefull recompence:
And as the flies haue stings, the Ant her teene,
He drawes the sword he wore for shew, not sense.
His readinesse doth prompt his company
To the like valorous opposition:
But Oedipus as ready as was he,
Askes pardon with maintaining, not contrition.
Now the inconstant Goddesse 'gins to smile,
Triumphing in her selfe-lou'd policie,
How queintly she can mans intents beguile,
And blinder then herselfe make those that see.
You Furies too, th'obseruant slaues of chance,
Though discords nurses, yet you now conspire,
Where Death sounds Iron harmony, to dance,
To crowne Erin [...]is with your brands of [...].
But Nature, where art thou? Where Sympa [...]hy
That Elmes and Vines espouseth? vanishe gone?
'Twixt whom, or where should Inclination be,
If here abandon'd in the Sire and Sonne?
Or you neglectfull Ge [...]ij, that attend
On our directed actions, where are you,
That now you loyter? Is't to be contemn'd
We are indulgent, or a debt we owe?
Me thinkes the liberall expence bestow'd
On your vnnecessary feasts, might charme
From you some succour, that some power bestow'd
To hinder purposes that tend to harme.
But you oft-blamed sistes in my verse,
That do determine mans vncertaine yeares,
'Tis you: but thou of all the three most fierce,
That a so [...]nes sword mistakest for thy sheares,
By which poore Laius threed being cut, he falles.
Eu'n as an antique edifice of stone,
Struck with a thundring peale of shot, whose wals
If not by force, would haue decay'd alone.
No sooner fell he; but the Thebans fled,
Some for assistant succor, some for feare.
Some washt their bloudy cheeks in tears they shed
Others with out-cries forced others teare.
The murderers, not knowing whom th'had slaine,
Howseuer would not trust their innocence,
Their guilt assures them that they shall be tane,
If long they stay: so they depart from thence,
Leaving the busie multitude imploy'd
In vaine enquiry of they know not whom,
All the whole cheerefulnesse of Thebes destroyd,
And Cadmus race quite sorrow ouercome:
Amongst the rest, the but halfe-living queene
Comes where her other best-lou'd halfe lay dead:
Whose mangled body, when she once had seene,
Her heart his wounds receiu'd, but faster bled.
Anone herselfe on his stiffe trunke she throwes,
Kisses his bloud-left cheekes: oh thus (quoth she)
The all she hath of thine, thy wife bestowes,
Eu'n till she hath no breath, shee'l breath on thee.
And being dead, thus on thy graue Il'e lye,
Tombing thee in an Alablaster shrine,
With open bosome, that the passer by
May see what thy heart was, by seeing mine.
And now I thinke thee happy Niobe,
Whose marble breast yeeld to no sence of woes,
After thou twise seven funerals didst see,
Twise didst thy children in thy wombe inclose.
Oh wold my fortune now like thine might proue,
Im'e sure the griefe is greatest I abide.
Thou but for children mourned'st, I for a Loue
Might haue made me a mother ere I dy'd.
Remembrance now at this sad name of Mother,
Doth old mishaps to be wept ore, bring out.
A greene wounds anguish oft vnskinnes another,
Sorrow's a circle, and still turnes about.
Now comes to minde her child-births bitternesse,
Made heavier with the burden that she bore,
Which had he liu'd yet, wold haue grieu'd her lesse
Though he had triumph'd in his fathers gore.
In vaine, oh Laius, didst thou kill thy sonne,
When from a stranger thou hast death receau'd:
If needs thy threed must haue bin cut, ere spunne,
Would he had liu'd, thy life to haue bereau'd.
He might haue best bin authour of thy death,
In whom thou liu'dst: through him perpetuall
Succession might haue lengthend thy short breath,
Built from these ruins towers that nere should fall,
Now both are perisht with your memory,
Of whom no age-withstanding record's left;
Onely my breast retaines what none can see,
What soone will faile, so soone of you bereft.
Oh ill betide thee cruell hearted man,
If man thou be'st, that had a heart so cruell,
Vncivill monster I thinke rather, than
Composd of heauenly fire, and earthly fuell.
The sauage tyrant of the forrest would
Haue loath'd the fact to do; and being done,
Flints wold haue wept, & rocks, if here they stood,
Would melt as wax at presence of the sunne.
Oh rockes, and snaggy flints, when we compare
Hard men with you, we do you iniury:
Men are themselues, I most like men they are,
When they are furthest from humanitie.
Here from the bounds of charitie transported,
She on the murdrer bitterly exclaimes,
Wishing him woes not to be comforted,
To proue his fathers ruines, mothers shame.
Till what her sad attendants could affoord,
She tastes of comfort, if there comfort liue
'Mongst those that in one miserie accord,
Wanting that most, which they desire to giue.
Reason at last establisht patience;
So taking vp the reliques of their King,
With slow procession they depart from thence
Towards Thebes, & with thē their sad load do bring
Where long it was not, ere with Funerall Rites,
The corpes were brought vnto the Funerall pile.
Musick sounds harsh, though it elsewhere delights
What mirth did vse; now vsd, doth mirth exile.
Performed are the Obsequies at last,
The people cloath'd in customary black,
To giue more state vnto their sorrow past,
Mould to present it by their looking back.
Scarce were their Cypresse garlands withered,
Scarce of their spent tears had they took their leaue
Ere Mischiefe, Hydra-like, exalts her head,
Which by the formers losse she doth receiue.
For angry Iuno, neuer reconcil'd,
To her corriuals brothers progeny,
Burning in rage, so oft to be beguil'd,
Thus wreakes her selfe on them with tyranny,
Hard by the Citie in Crenaa's sight,
A hill there is, whose spired top commands
A spacious prospect, which Phycaeos hight,
Washing his graueld feet in Duces sands.
Here the too much inraged Goddesse plac'd
Echidna's daughter, triple featur'd Sphinx,
Of rare composure 'boue the doubtfull wast,
Which baser growes, as neerer earth it sinkes.
A virgins face she had, where might be read
Perfection printed in each gracefull part:
And from her head a golden curtaine spread,
Hangs as the couer to some curious Art.
As for her voyce, no Princes wronged Lad,
No Syren sweeter, or more cunning sings,
Plump moving breast, smooth skin, white arms she had,
Fanning a feather' paire of painted wings.
But as an Artist leanes his carved worke
On formes deform'd: or as each wise man telles,
Worst Serpents vnder gayest flowers lurke,
Or pleasures welcomes haue but harsh farewelles:
So Nature in a Lyons halfe had put,
That other halfe; but totally Divine;
Whose meaning, sith from most it vp be shut,
Disdaine not this moralitie of mine.
Learning & Knowledge by our Sphinx is meant,
As hid, as her Aenigma's, posing wits
In Hierogliphicks, and to this intent
On armed Pallas helmets top she sits.
On hill shee keepes, and so the Muses doe,
Hard are the numbers of a Poets rime,
Nature, Art, Vse, are the thr [...] steps thereto:
Care must be had, that we directly clime.
Nature doth rudely our dull masse prepare,
And if not helpt, contemplates but with sence,
Her groueling lookes downwards deiected are,
And can deriue but earthly knowledge thence.
But Art erects it selfe with Reason; scans
Things aboue reach: then taking Vses wings,
Mans spirit soares vp higher then a mans,
Houering aboue heauens Christall Orbe, he sings.
Beast, Maid, and Bird, is Nature, Art, and Vse,
Ioyn'd in one knowledge, as those three in one,
If you admit not this, admit excuse.
Learning's a Sphinx, her riddles are vnknowne:
Well, here she held long her dominion,
Propounding questions vnto passers by,
Given by the Muses to her, on condition,
If answer'd, she; else, the not-answerers dye.
To many loe, her riddles she propounds,
Whose hidden meaning was so intricate,
That to her none the mystery expounds,
So all by her tooke the last stroke of Fate.
Thebes long with these iniurious wrongs was vext
Almost vnpeopled: the remainder mewd
Vp in the Citie walles, that all perplext,
They fall to counsell, where they thus conclude;
That forthwith it abroad be published,
That who the question of darke Sphinx vnfolds,
Shall to the widow [...] Queene be maried,
And th'vnswaid Scepter of the Kingdome hold,
Soone the shrill Trumpet of dispersed Fame,
Reported the adventure farre and neare:
Amongst the rest to Oedipus it came,
Pursuing Rumors with an open eare.
Retiring straight himselfe into his minde,
He weighes the prize, casts what the dangers be:
Then vrg'd with exile, and his fate assign'd,
Resolues to go; if not to speed, to dye.
With winged hast to Theban gates he hies,
Craues his admittance to the Gouernor:
Obtain'd, he manifests his enterprise,
So he may haue what he adventures for.
Confirm'd more fully, he is welcom'd thither,
Fairely intreated, with the best obseruance,
Anon with Creon he goes forth together
To shew Iocasta his allegeance.
Her Maiesty deiects him on his knee,
So much of mother-ignorance perceiu'd,
Well did that formall reverence agree,
Had not obedience bin therein deceiu'd.
She takes him vp soone from the humble ground,
When each of other taking stricter view,
Their harts gan throb, portētuous fires they found
Blaze in their brests, threatning what wold ensue.
She loues, she likes, both doting on their owne,
Such correspondence had affection bred.
Hadst thou, ô Nature, earst thy selfe thus showne,
The sonne had nere the father butchered.
The modest queene cald by the instant night,
Commits them to a wisht vntroubled rest,
Herselfe with-drawing from attendant sight,
Enters the privy chamber of her breast.
Where with a troop of traitrous thoughts surpriz'd
She findes herselfe tane prisoner by desire,
With Protean variety so disguiz'd,
That she at first could not detect the fire:
Till scorcht, she both found out, & lou'd the flame,
Grew iealous of it, whisper'd by het feare,
The meanes to get, was but to loose the same,
But shame commands prevention to forbeare.
Loue against shame disputes, and bashfull lawes,
Shame 'gainst the lawlesse libertie of loue:
Both do obiect, both answere in their cause,
Till sleep breaks vp the Court, and cause remoues,
Early when Phoebe couch't her siluer horne,
Drowsie Endimion with a kisse to wake,
The Rosie horses of the red-cheek't Morne
To their fresh iourney do themselues betake.
The longing multitude betimes await
Their Champions comming, who when hee arose,
Condemn'd himselfe for sleeping over-late,
Deferring blisse, or adding time to woes.
Hee's ready, and of all things furnisht is,
Onely he stayes to bid the queene fare-well,
When he bestowd [...] first incestuous kisse,
That after opned the black way to Hell.
Away he goes, and after him she sent
Her earnest lookes: oft did she goe about
To call him back; but ever that intent
Was crost with blushing, nor could words come out.
So with her praiers for him, she retires:
When now the Monster, as her manner was,
Vnto her mountaines narrow top aspires,
Watching for strangers, which that way should passe.
Anon she sees one comming all alone,
Saue that with cries he was accompanied
Of those, which further off did make their moane,
Lamenting for his death ere he was dead.
Approach't within the limits of their words,
Vaine man, said she, what rashnesse bids thee come
Hither too me, thus of thine owne accord,
Whither with paines I scarce can hale in some?
Thinkst to prevaile? or seek'st thou death out here?
Attend me then: What is't, I faine would know,
Which in the morne it selfe on foure doth beare,
At noone on two, at night on three feete goes?
Now all his wits together he collects,
Thinkes of a thousand species of things,
Of Sun-obseruing plants, and those insects,
To whom one day, life and corruption brings.
But he whose starres malitiously reseru'd
For firmer fastning, their slow influence,
Must from this little danger b [...]preseru'd,
That it not lessen Ruines eminence.
Therefore with too quicke readinesse inspir'd,
That helpt but for advantage, he replies;
If this be all, strict poser, that's requir'd:
Danger doth easly teach me to be wise.
The creature thou inquirest for, is Man,
Who from the mansion where he dwels, doth bor­row
His mutability: who nothing can
But by degrees, never the same to morrow.
View first his child-hood, when his heauenly fire
Proportion'd to his stature, scarcely warmes
The earthen house, where Nature it inspires,
He puts no diffrence 'twixt his legges and armes,
But as a sluggard, looking vp espies
The mornings cleerenesse, and againe doth sleepe:
So hee new-borne, falles whence hee first did rise,
Still his acquaintance with the earth to keepe.
When grown to man, with countnance more erect
Having his weary pilgrimage halfe spent,
He viewes his iourneys end with strict aspect,
Contemplats heauen, frō whence his soule was lent
As for the earth, with a disdainfull heele
He treades vpon't, and makes this orbed base
The weight of two faire sinewy columnes feele.
And of what else leanes on their arched space.
At last, though as a building he still weares
The same first strengthning, the same timber, wals,
Yet craz'd with batteries of tempestuous yeares
His weakenesse craues more props, more pedestals.
For after Sunne-set, when the spotted night
Puts on a roabe of Starres, though now we see
More Tapers burning, yet if we'd haue more light grow,
An artificiall noone must added bee.
Thus men growne old, perchance they wise may
Yet if their age put one foote in the graue,
Necessity inforces when he goes
That he another to supply it haue;
And that's a staffe, to free his wither'd hand
From th'vnsteddy Palsie: Behold him than
He as Apollos tripos right doth stand,
And thus what thou inquirest for is man.
At this such anger, as a man inflames
E'ne to the height of madnesse, and transports
Consideratiue reuenge, from whence wrong came,
Thither where felt, selfe hindred to retort,
Possesses Typhons of-spring, who beholding
Her date expir'd, flutters her balefull wings,
Beares talents 'gainst her selfe, her haire infolding
To comb the curl'd locks, frō their rooted springs.
Anon she digs wels on her cheeks which bleed
Torrents of gore: when now this prologue past
The act insues, in which as 'twas decreed
From her steepe hill, her selfe she head-long casts.
Against whose flinty bottome she beates out
Her subtle braines, being so of breath bereau'd,
Which apprehended by the distant rout,
Was with no common shouts, and claps receau'd:
Some flung their caps vp, others cheerely sung
Peans of triumph; others strew'd the waies,
Whilst some depart from the confused thrung
To gather Garlands of victorious Bayes.
In briefe, themselues they carefully employ
To gratulate their Countries greed Redeemer:
The Queene expresses in her lookes such ioy
As modesty doth counsell best beseemes her.
There with a publicke, but discreet embrace,
Her armes do take possession of their owne,
And hauing giu'n all the respectfull grace,
That with so short acquaintance could be shew'n,
Backe they returne, vsher'd with musickes voyce,
Whose curious running descant, and choice strain
Would haue mou'd Marble, & made Hints reioice,
Able t'haue built Thebes Towers once again.
The monster laid vpon a silly Asse,
Is by each fearelesse vulgar eye discern'd,
Her talents toutcht, as she along doth passe,
For Learning's knot's vndone, who is not learn'd?
Come to Amphio [...]s wondrous architect,
Whose Waste a seuen-claspt girdle doth containe;
The Conquerour, in conscience yet vncheckt,
Claimes his reward, Danger requires gaine.
The honest State denies not, but inuests
His Temples in the Theban Royalty:
The Queene and he soone tooke their interests
The each of other, whereto all agree.
Appointed is the Nuptiall day, and come
Whisper'd for fatall by the mourning Doues,
Nor was the Scritch-owle, nor the Rauen dumbe,
In signes preposterous of preposterous loue.
Hymens vncheerely flame doth sadly burne
And sparely drinkes the sullen wax that fryes
Lesse then giues food, not surfets; hid powers turne
Thalassios Ballads into Elegies.
O Midwife-Goddesse, Loue-betrothing Queene
Shew some misliking wonder to forbid:
Thou frown'st when harlots in thy porch are seen:
Can incest then be in thy Temple hid?
Borrow some fury of thy brother fell
And riue thy guilty Mansion, sane profane.
Better haue no place where thy Rites may dwell,
Then haue it blemisht with so foule a staine:
'Tis no dismembred sacrifice of beasts
Can an incenst Diuinity appease.
Gods trafique not with men, nor to our feasts
Bring guest-like palats, for a meale to please.
They laugh our scorn'd endeuors, and though now
These from permission gather thy consent,
Yet shall they find, that a long wrinckled brow
Is neuer leuel'd with fond blandishment.
In vaine exempt they from thy hostiall flame
To teach the Paphian Turtles loue, the gall,
When in their kisses they shall finde the same,
And bitternesse e'ne from their sweetes shall fall.
For take imaginations wings, and flye,
Ouer ten Summers crown'd with ripen'd corne,
Let ruddy grapes, ten luscious Autumnes die,
And from their surfets see an issue borne:
Two manly Twinnes, to call their father, brother,
This Eteocles, Polynices hee,
Antigone the sister to her mother,
Too faire a blossome from so foule a Tree.
Mischiefe is come to age, and pleasure must
Resigne here birthright, what's supposed cleere
Vnknown, with knowledge manifests the rust.
Bad men are guiltlesse, till their guilt appeare.
Vnyoake thy Teame yet, weary Waggoner,
Phoebus hath tane his horses from the Car.
Rough are the waies throgh which thou hast to er,
And daylight askes no Pilots Arctick Star.
The Milch-cow with full Vdder bellows home,
And rich Menalchas folds his fleecy Sheepe:
When Pyrois next, on champed bit doth fome,
Forwards proceed, Night cals thee now to sleepe.

OEDIPVS.
CANTO. III.

VP sluggish fury, see thy Muses friend
Solicites matter for thy numerous verse:
With morn begin, thou, that thy work woldst end,
Though night were thy fit'st hearer, yet rehearse.
Hereto with hasty steps, thou hast orerun
An Infants fate, by whom a Sire did die,
A mothers chang'd relation with her sonne,
And riddles made in consanguinity.
Now with as much celerity set downe
The iustice of reuengefull Nemesis,
The sicknesses of an abused Crowne,
How sin is punisht, though vnknowne it is.
Oh! saddest sister of the sacred nine,
That shroud'st thy selfe in cabin hung with black,
Lend me thy Ebon quill, or guide thou mine:
Endow me now, with what I most would lacke.
Time wearing out, which ignorance made sweete
With execrable pleasures vertuous thought
New ills Pandoras box, new open'd Fleete
By whō worse things, thē by the first are wrought.
No soft Etesiae, with coole blasts doth fan
The sweaty drops from the least labouring brow,
And frustrate is the vse of breathing, whan
The Aire is suckt, as from a scalding stow.
Phoebus bestriding the fierce Lyons backe
Stirs vp the fury of th'vnloosed Dog,
Drinkes vp the Brookes, burnes the Earths vesture blacke,
Wants diving vapours from the fenny Bog.
Dirce commands no further then her head,
No watry reliques shew the stranger proofe
How far Ismenos liquid greatnesse spread;
The Oxen passe the Foord with vnwasht hoofe.
Sickely Diana keepes her Cloudy Chamber,
Lookes not abroad, but with a Countenance pale,
No healthfull Planet spreds his lockes of amber,
But from the carth a counterfet exhales.
Abortiue Ceres doth her fruit deny
Addes fuell to her selfe-consuming fire,
Which when the patient Husbandman doth see
He weeps perhaps to quench his scorch'd desire.
There is no place in Thebes stretcht Territories
Free from some plague or other, no age, no sex:
Here paraleld, were all examples, Stories
That euer did this Vniuerse perplex.
Both old and yong, fathers and children fall,
Wiues with their husbands, & what's most vnkind
Friends are not left to weepe friends funerals,
Death, iust in this, lets none to stay behind.
Ere scarce the son be rakt vp in the pyre,
The flame's againe renewed by the mother,
Oft are they burned in the selfe-same fire
Which earst they kindled to consume another.
No Art preuailes: Physitions cannot giue
Themselues assurance, shewing their skill they die,
Promising life to others, they not liue:
The earth more Toombes, the woods more piles denie.
In these afflictions, the sad King distrest
Powres out himselfe in prayer, but vnheard,
He doth intreate to haue those ills redrest,
Or that death onely ben't from him debar'd.
Ione had his Offrings burnt to him with Oake
Iuno her Lambe, Isis her Calfe did smell:
The Hyacinth Apollo did inuoke,
Poppy on Ceres safforn'd Altars fell.
Pan knew his Pine-tree, & the Lars their whelps,
Ʋenus her Pigeons, deckt with crimson Roses,
But none are willing to employ their helpes.
No God of Thebes yet otherwise disposes,
Therefore to neighbouring Delphos they repaire,
Where they do supplyant aske what must be done
For Thebos deliuerance, what offring, pray'r,
The Gods require for satisfaction.
To them an answere vsher'd was with Thunder,
No Star shall looke on Thebes but with a frowne:
No plague vnheard of, till 'tis felt with wonder,
Shall cease it's fiege 'gainst your vnpeopled Town,
Till he that was the murdrer of your King
Be from the Aire you breath in banished,
His wretched presence doth these mischiefes bring
Which liue in him, and shall pursue him fled.
The King, great thankes vpon the Gods bestowes,
Commanding that which to performe behoues,
The same which iustice to oppression owes,
No more they may establish Subiects loues.
Soone shall my Countries plague be cured now;
Oh easy Gods, that with compassionate eyes
Behold Thebes desolate buildings, marke my vow,
And be auspicious to my enterprise.
Be present too oh daylights greater guide,
Empal'd with Crownets of Maiesticke rayes,
That in twelue Empires dost thy Orbe diuide,
Variously treading heauens distinguisht maze.
Night-wandring Goddesse be not absent neither,
Nor thou that dost in iron fetters bind
Blasting Praenester, that with a word canst either
Call home, or send abroad thy struggling winde.
And thou lasciuious Neptune that dost cast
Thy amorous armes, thy Trident laid aside,
Almost about my Monarchies small Waste
As thou by both her water'd sides dost ride.
Attend me all: By whose hand Laius fell
Let him no harbour, no aboad enioy,
No not himselfe, wherein himselfe may dwell,
But when none else, let he himselfe annoy.
May his owne houshold Gods vnfaithfull proue,
And the vnnaturall Lart in exile worse,
Reap he most shame, from what he most doth loue,
And may his wife an impious off-spring nurse.
Kill he his father, as he kild his King,
And let his acts my wishes power out-goe,
If a worse fate then mine can torment bring
Heap't vp, yet doe he, what I shun to doe.
And for my selfe, as I with prayers desire
My vntoucht parents may proclaime me good,
No cooling intermission shall retire,
Reuenge, till bloud be washt away with blo [...]d.
But play not with vs, true Propheticke spirit,
Thus by denyed grants to make vs long:
Search is ambitious, and would all inherit,
Secrets with-held make inquisition strong.
A taste but whets the li [...]ish appetite
For satisfactions earnester p [...]it.
Vnto a prisoner, the sp [...]e-scanted light
A bondage is, to want it, and to view't.
Then do thou (heauenly good [...]s) whom it pleas'd
To shew the meanes, further the meanes vnfold:
Point forth the man, that soone we may be eas'd,
Or teach vs to forget what thou hast [...]old.
Else as impatient patients we fare,
To whom the Ch [...]k hath prescrib'd receits
Of such ingredients as so hidden are,
That they are doubted to be skild deceits.
Vrge Gods no more, replyes the sacred Priest:
Man must worke somewhat for his better being,
Yet if with this thou not contented bee'st,
Blinded Tiresias eyes must helpe thy seeing.
Forthwith the faithfull Creon is dismist
To Phoebus second Oracle, who late
Lost sight, yet gain'd a better then he mist,
As he Coelestiall matters did debate.
Far from the Citty lies a nighted Groue
Downe in the Valley where fleete Dirce glides,
Where th'vntoucht Cipresse spreads his boughs a­boue
And frō the Sun the subiect Bramble hides.
The aged Oake his rotten branches tends,
From whose corrupted side thicke ielly drops,
And stooping vnder many yeares he bends
To rest his crippled truncke on yonger props:
There bitter-berried Daphne, Mirrha stood,
The trembling Apse, the Birch, with smooth thin rine:
Th'eternall Cedar for my lines too good,
The vpright Alder, and Sunne-guilded Pine.
In midst of this is situate a Tree
Of wondrous greatnesse, whose extended armes
Mete the large confines of it's Empery,
And fense the weake inhabitants from harmes.
Within the hollow compasse of whose trunke
Nature had cut out an vnciuill den,
Which a cold fountaine, without ceasing drunke
Vp of the earth, moats with a miry fen.
Heere, by his daughter Manto led he meets,
Reuerenc'd Tiresias, And from the King
Him, all humanity obseru'd, he greets;
And further vtters what him thither brings.
Then as the neuer-erring Prophet wild,
A hostiall fire vpon the Altar's made
Which they before of Turffs of earth did build,
And there two cole-blacke Heifers on were laid.
The sacred Ʋates standing by the fire
In direfull roabs yclad, with box-tree crown'd,
Oft waues his powerfull wand, and then enquires
What Omens in the beasts or flames are found.
Anon he sings the hideous magicke verse,
Cals on the names of dutious Spirits thrice,
Thrice doth he smite the shooke earth, thrice re­hearse,
What deuils may compell, or deuils tice.
A bloudy shower from his right hand fals,
And from his left drops bloud with Bacchus mixt:
Then with more earnest voice againe he cals
With steady countenance, on the center fixt.
Now dismall Hecats Dogs began to barke,
Which to repeat, the wood by Eccho's taught
A night comes now there answering day so darke.
A blinder Chaos seene, then th'old was thought.
Vp rise the subiects of infernall Dis,
At which each Tree his frighted branches heaues,
Many an Oake in splinters shiuer'd is,
Many an Elme shrinkes vp his blasted leaues.
Earth suffers violence, and open rends
Her seal'd vp wombe, to shew her tombed dead,
The subtile spirits, penetrating fiends
Out of her cauernes lift their crisped heads:
There might one see the griesly God of Hell
Put his num hand out of his frozen Lake;
Nights very selfe, three sister'd furies fell,
Picking queint morsels, on a speckled snake.
The viperous brood of strange produced brothers.
Blinde Fury running carelesse of a guide,
Horror with vpright haire, And all the others
Eternall Darkenesse doth create or hide.
Griefe 'gainst it selfe that exercises rage,
Sickenesse that droopes a lither-head down hung,
Feare neuer certaine, selfe-despising age,
Detraction last with her backe-biting tong,
That euen Manto custom'd to these Rites
Astonisht stood: onely her vnmou'd Sire
Doth more the ghosts, thē ghosts can mē affright,
That trembling Fiends closely themselues retire.
When he afresh effectuall charmes infers
Graue-bedrid corps out of Deaths sleepe to wake,
Who breaking ope their Marble Sepulchers,
Their liuing formes vnto their soules retake.
So many leaues doth not Oeta shed,
So many Swallowes doth not Winter chace,
So many Bees are not in Hybla fed,
So many billowes wash not Neptunes face,
As there of sundry Nations ghosts appear'd,
Some with dismembred bodies, some with scarres
Doubly disfigur'd, and were doubly sear'd:
Others vntoucht, slaine by loues stroke, not wars.
Amongst the rest, Laiu [...] his head erects
With meager lookes, gor'd through with ghastly wounds,
That almost none him by his forme detects,
While thus he speakes, while he in teares abounds.
Oh house of Cadmus neuer satisfied
With bloud of kindred, once my Country deare,
Whose first bad off-spring by each other dyed,
And still that enmity the last doth beare:
'Tis not heauens anger, but thy wickednes
Thou labour'st with, no South-wind pestilence brings.
The thirsty earth vnquencht with rain, hurts lesse,
Then th'abhominable action of thy Kings.
'Tis he not yet corrected paricide
My murderer, that for satisfaction
Of a Sires death, a Mother makes his Bride,
A worser father, though too bad a son.
'Tis he, to one wombe twise a diuers load,
Curst with prodigious issue, who, ahlas!
Vpon himselfe two brothers hath bestow'd:
Darker Aenig [...]aes, then ere Sphinxes was.
He, He, it is, that now my Scepter swayes:
Whom I, with all your Citty prosecute,
Onely his exile misery allaies,
And till reueng'd I still will persecute.
He gone, the painted spring shall soone repaire
Your wither'd Arbors with their wonted greene;
No poisonous vapour shall infect your Aire,
But all shall be, as it before hath beene.
This done, and the infernall crew dismist,
Cre [...] departs with sundry thoughts perplext,
Who in no steady counsell can persist,
Approuing what's disproued by the next.
Anon the King is instant for the newes,
And after wanton preparation ended,
The messenger would faine himselfe excuse
From telling it, by telling where it tended.
But he more earnest through denyall, threats
By torment to extort it from his tong,
And mixes with his anger faire entreates,
Till both preuail'd: he heares it, and was stung.
A while with cogitations much distract,
He pauses on it, and begins to doubt
Some subtle stratageme, contriu'd compact,
Which Creon forg'd his Crowne to go about.
This he augments by his vnwillingnesse
And pollitick deferrings, common trickes
In those neare Crownes to tempt Kings easinesse,
When in the State, themselues, they'd surer fix.
And so concludes of this, for he that knowes
His innocence, cen't without preiudice
Of Reason, credit such reports as those:
The Gods perswade not what's known otherwise.
Polybius that yet liues, and yet enioyes
Meropes kisses, which I neuer tride
But as a sonne, all argument destroyes
Either of incest, or of paricide.
And as for Laius death, you Gods can tell
I'me ignorant of 't, my memory
Records but one that ere by my hand fell:
Hard is my fortune if that one were he.
Yet to be further satisfied, he hies,
Coniures a true narration from his wife
Of Laius fortunes; she with teares descries
Each circumstance both of his death, and life.
The persons age, the manner, time, and place,
How, when, and where, he slaughterd was, agree,
Proue him an homicide vnto his face,
By demonstration, not by fallacy.
Long he debates the matter in his mind,
Wherein no resolution can be found;
Kings wreaths about their heads are faster twin'd
Then slightly may be from their heads vnbound.
He ballances in euen poized scales
A Kingdomes glories, with a Kingdomes woes:
Feare holds when one, loue when the other, failes,
The eye both heauiest, both doth light'st suppose.
Pils wrapt in sugar, hounyed bitternesse,
The licorish tast perswasiuely disswades,
Infected beauty, gorgeous wretchednesse
With tempting frights, emboldning makes afraid,
Ene as the Loadstones Northerne Pole doth hold
Th'attracted Iron, with an amorous kisse:
But turning thence her wanton lips, behold
Strange loue for stranger hatred changed is.
Such is the nature of a Crowne distrest,
Veiw onely outside, and we're captiues tane:
But if we turne our eyes, to see the rest,
It frights more powrfully, then it can detaine.
Faine would the King, our subiect, still command,
And would as faine his Country had reliefe.
Thoughts vndetermin'd, yet are at a stand,
Whether to keepe with care, or leaue with griefe.
Fixt thus in wauering, loe a gray-hair'd man
Feebled with age and wearinesse, who first
Ere Oedipus was a Corinthian,
Out of Cithaeron brought him to be nurst,
From Corinths Coufines to Boe [...]tia comes,
With newes of craz'd Polybius mellow'd fall
Also from forraine rule to fetch him home
To order his Sires Crowne, and Funerall.
His message done, still Oedipus enquires
About his death: and much distempered,
Was it not I (saies he) that built the fire
That was ordain'd to be his funerall bed?
Marke if thou know'st me, prethee, don't I looke
Like to a paricide, surfeited with death?
Say, was he patient when he life forsooke?
Breath'd he not Oedipus when he scarse had breath?
What disease had he? was't not some vnkind thoght
Of my misconster'd disobedience?
Which, whilst within to smother it he sought,
Festerd and burst like to an vlcer thence.
I, I, 'tis so, the wily Gods beguile
Me in my fortunes, when their dread intent
Could haue no way bin brought about, but while
My nicenesse was too wary to prevent:
Il'e try your cunning further: you that made
My power aboue it selfe, ther's yet another,
And a worse mischiefe you to me haue layd,
See if my absence can defile my mother.
Never will I her lou'd loath'd presence grant
To my witcht eyes, I must I know not whither,
Corinth and Thebes liue happy in my want,
Sith without mischiefe I can liue in neither.
Dis-ioynted words end their distracted sound
In as discordant gesture, giuing note
What troubled dregges did in his braine abound
When on his lookes Frenzy herselfe did quote.
Compassion, with patheticke letters prints
A feeling seeing in spectators by:
No shame of womanish imputation stints
The helplesse fluxure of th'affected eye.
Mou'd with the rest, the aged messenger,
Learn'd in the grounds from whence his griefe did rise,
Shewes him how farre his woes & feares did erre,
And cleares his doubts with worse vncertainties.
Feare not (sayes he) Meropes wrongfull bed,
She's but a fostring stranger to thy bloud,
These hands to her first thee delivered;
But to supply defects in woman-hood.
Polybius claim'd no interest of a sonne
In thee; but of what he bestow'd on thee,
Being his by nothing but adoption:
Thou nothing owd'st but thankes for charitie.
As a mistrustfull patient long diseasd,
His med'cines doubts, mislikes his vncoth drinkes,
Wherewith his queazie stomacke is displeasd,
His sicknesse better then his potion thinkes:
So fares the King, who in this remedy
Collects more dangerous plots to be included,
Feares that this knowledge will worse ills descry,
Wishes he still were, as at first, deluded.
But sith begun, hee's minded to goe on,
Fall out what will, he all will haue reveal'd,
Charging a true and full narration
Of all his fortunes hitherto conceal'd;
Which thus the old man vtter'd. At what time
The Sunne attended by the heavenly Twinnes,
Smil'd on the wanton Springs enamel'd prime,
Look't on cleere Strymons fishes guilded finnes:
When first the daizies op't their painted lids,
To wait on Tytan without slumbring home:
I followed my lascivious wandring kids,
Whither Cithaeron swels her fertile wombe.
There of a Theban Shepheard I receiu'd
Thy selfe a child, bor'd throgh the feet with plants,
Almost of life, through cruelty bereau'd.
By what chance done, to tel my knowledge wants,
Your Parents likewise are vnknowne to me:
Nor can I tell what of the Swaine became,
And if my sight helps not my memory,
Describe I cannot, nor vnfold his name.
Herewith the king, eager to sift out all,
Himselfe will wretched absolutely make;
And Phorbas with his fellow swaines home calles,
Of whom the old man new acquaintance takes.
The rest dismist, of him it is demanded,
What child it was, that he away did giue:
At which he blushes; and againe commanded,
A poore found child, he saies, that could not liue.
That answere though will not enough suffise,
The infants parents, and mischance are vrg'd
On him, which he with timorousnesse denies,
And oft himselfe with protestations purg'd.
Till wrinch't awhile vpon the torturing racke,
His constancy turnes coward, and bewrayes
Collected secrets, that no proofe did lacke:
Thy wife was mother to that childe he sayes.
Eu'n as a Lyon on the Lybian plaine,
Struck with an Arrow from the hunters Bow,
Shakes the shag'd order of his golden maine,
Doth wrathfull fires from his nostrils blow,
Spits seas of foame from his incensed iawes,
Shoots sparkles from his ruddy eye-balles, rends
The earths greene mantle with revengeful clawes;
And gainst himselfe lastly his fury bends:
So rages Oedipus, and spurnes the ground,
To call vp Furies; lifts his eyes to heaven,
To see if bright Astraea there sate crown'd
With wreathes of stars aboue the wandring seve [...].
Oft doth he shake his head, as if he meant
Againe to settle his distracted braines,
Many a groane from his grip't heart is sent,
Many a trembling Earth-quake he sustaines.
Till (as extremities never long endure)
Sleepe bindes his senses in a gaole of iet:
Yet horror here is not enough secure,
Dreames catch his swimming fancies in a net.
His slumbers broken with illusiue sights,
Raise sudden starts, mutter out words abrupt,
His haire on tip-toe, heaues with vaine affrights:
Rest do minds troubled, rest doth interrupt.
Anon he wakes, calles for his horse to flye.
He is pursu'd: 'tis true, but whither wilt?
Thou hear'st about thee thine owne enemy,
And flye thy countrey mayst, but not thy guilt.
Perceiving then how he did erre, he smiles
Eu'n out of griefes Antiperistasie.
Alas thou er'st not, nor thy dreame beguiles,
Pursu'd thou art, Crimes the pursuers be.
But Griefe and he growne more familiar,
Strange welcomes, Artfull gratulations ceast,
Which more in Innes then Mansions vsed are,
Not to a daily, but a seldome guest.
Yet when acquaintance would vn-nurtur'd grow,
And too much on a wearied friend relye,
Vnmannerly, till it be bidden goe,
He lookes vpon it with disliking eye.
And to be rid of cumbersome intrusion,
Cuts kindnesse shorter, and directly chides
His trouble from him; when ingrate confusion
Claimes it as due, and curtesie derides:
And hauing got the vpper hand, insults
Ore his deiected owner, rebell-like:
As when Ambition gathring head, revolts,
And at a crownes forbidden lustre strikes.
When as the King sees that submit he must,
Impatience thus in sillables breakes out.
Blast me some powerfull vapour into dust,
Circle me Furies with your brands about.
Oh let the weight of my impietie
Presse downe the center, dig it selfe a graue,
Or from two poles crack the warpt Axletree,
That Nature may a second labour haue.
Earth shrinke thou vnder me: and thou to whom
Divided Chaos pitchy darknesse sent,
Let me inhabit in some vaulted roome
Where no light is through guiltie crannies lent.
You Citizens of Thebes, for me distrest,
Tombe me aliue with stones: you childlesse mo­thers,
Striping the milke out from your vnsuckt breasts,
You that haue lost the names of sons & brothers:
You widowed Matrons, loue-deprived Maids,
Pierce me at once with clamors loud and thick:
'Tis I whom Gods do hate, and Man vpbraids,
The very But where Fate her Arrowes stick.
Why doe I stay? why doth not heauen ordaine
Some punishing Iron? or some strangling rope?
Or why descends not some consuming raine?
Is vengeance layd vp for a further scope?
I haue sin'd all I can; but I mistake,
A punishment cannot be thought on fit:
There's some vnheard-of creature yet to make,
That ioyn'd to cruelty, may haue Art and wit.
Me thinkes I feele a Vulture peck my liver,
My intrailes by some Tyger eaten vp,
Or in the muddy bottome of a river,
The nibbling Fry vpon my carcasse sup.
Oh my sad soule, do not looke pale on death,
Feare not thy period vnto all thy feares:
Delights but Comma's are to gather breath,
Lest we should tire ere the full poynts appeares.
See heere (for now he had vnsheath'd his sword)
How easie is it for a man to dye?
One little touch, yea oftentimes a word,
Mans great bulk falles, eu'n conquer'd with a flye.
There is but one, and that a narrow way
To enter life; but if we would go out,
Of many thousand beaten paths we may
Take our owne choyce, we need not goe about.
And this is all that man can call his owne,
What else he hath, Nature or Fortune lends:
Many can life deny, but death can none.
Onely to dye, vpon mans will depends.
Dye then: so setting to his naked breast
His weapons poynt, ready thereon to fall,
Somewhat detaines him to performe the rest;
Not that he thought death grievous, but too small.
Death is a Felons sentence: and shall I
For parricide and incest feele no more?
Some men do count it happinesse to dye,
A cure esteeme it rather then a sore.
Yet say, the violent separation
Of the acquainted body from the soule,
Chiefly to such, who no relation
Haue but to earth, doth manlinesse controule;
What then? thy Fathers death, thy death requires:
Thy death for incest must the God appease:
Thy death must quench thy countries funeral fires:
And with one death can'st satisfie all these?
Couldst thou dye often, could thy corpes renewd
Change tenants oft, couldst thou be borne againe,
Dye againe faultlesse, could vicissitude
Of life and death draw out an endlesse paine,
Revenge might somewhat be suffisd; but now
Life is thy greatest torment, death espying
As more remote, so with more frightful brow,
Sith thou but once, oh bee thou long in dying,
'Tis now growne vulgar to be Stoicall,
Peasants redeeme with easie deaths their feares:
Who would be manly, or heroicall,
What Cowards thinke intolerable, beares.
Linger my hasty soule, be not bankerous
Meerely in policie, breake not so soone,
Some sighes thou still hast left to furnish out
Thy trade with breath; hold out till they be done.
A sudden shower from his eyes doth raine,
Haue I teares yet? saies he: alas vaine wet,
Thou canst not wash away one spot, one staine
That my least guilt vpon my fame hath set.
'Tis not enough to weepe, I oft haue vsd
Teares in my mirth; let them not looke out heere,
Yet powre it downe, if there be bloud infusd,
And see the eye drop after it's shed teare;
You shal weep bloud (mine eyes:) & sets his nailes
Where sight had built her azure monument:
Thus shed your selues, no moisture else prevailes.
Then from their crakt strings he his eye-bals rent.
Now, now 'tis finisht: I am cleare, no light
Betrayes me to my selfe, I'me living dead,
Exempt from those that liue, by wanting sight;
From those are dead, because vnburied.
So having all the office of his eye
Discharg'd by th'other foure, his guidlesse feet
Are vsher'd by his hands, when suddenly
His wife, his mother, both in one him meets.
Son, husband (cries she) would not both, or neither,
My wombes Primitiae, my beds second Lord!
Why turnst thou hence thy hollow circles? whither
Those rings without their iewels? hold this sword,
Looke on my bosome with the eyes of thought,
Lend thou the hand, and I will lend the sight:
My death thou mayst, that hast a fathers wrought.
Strike thou but home, thou canst not but strike right
Why dost thou stay? Am I not guilty too?
Then beare not all the punishment alone,
Some of't is mine; on me mine owne bestow:
A heavy burthen parted seemeth none.
Oh I coniure thee by these lampes extinguisht,
By all the wrongs and rights that we haue done,
By this wombe lastly that hath not distinguisht
Her loue betwixt a husband, and a sonne.
Ore-come at length, he strikes with one full blow [...]
Her life it selfe to a long flight betakes:
He wanders thence, secur'd in dangers now,
Made lesse already, then fate lesse can make.
Long liu'd he so, till heaven compassion tooke:
Reuenge herselfe saw too much satisfied,
Ione with vnwonted thunder-bolt him strooke
Into a heape of peacefull ashes dryed.
His sonnes both killing warres, his daughters fate,
To following buskind Writers I commit:
My Popiniay is lesson'd not to prate,
Where many words may argue little wit.
FINIS.

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