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Help, therefore, 0 thou sacred imp of Jove,
The nursling of Dame Memory his dear,
To whom those rolls, laid up in heaven above,
And records of antiquity appear,
To which no wit of man can comen near ;
Help me to tell the names of all those floods
And all those nymphs, which then assembled were

To that great banquet of the watery gods,
And all their sundry kinds, and all their hid abodes.


First came great Neptune, with his three-forked mace,
That rules the seas and makes them rise or fall;
His dewy locks did drop with brine apace
Under his diadem imperial :
And by his side his Queen with coronal,
Fair Amphitrite, most divinely fair,
Whose ivory shoulders weren covered all,

As with a robe, with her own silver hair,
And decked with pearls which the Indian seas for her


These marched far afore the other crew :
And all the way before them, as they went,
Triton his trumpet shrill before them blew,
For goodly triumph and great jolliment,
That made the rocks to roar as they were rent.
And after them the royal issue came,
Which of them sprung by lineal descent :

First the Sea-gods, which to themselves do claim The power to rule the billows, and the waves to tame.


But what do I their names seek to rehearse,
Which all the world have with their issue filled ?
How can they all in this so narrow verse
Contained be, and in small compass hild ?
Let them record them that are better skilled,
And know the moniments of passed age:
Only what needeth shall be here fulfilled,

T express some part of their great equipage
Which from great Neptune do derive their parentage.


Next came the aged Ocean, and his dame
Old Tethys, the oldest two of all the rest;
For all the rest of those two parents came,
Which afterward both sea and land possest;
Of all which Nereus, th' eldest and the best
Did first proceed, than which none more upright,
Nor more sincere in word and deed profest;

Most void of guile most free from foul despite,
Doing himself, and teaching others to do right.


Thereto he was expert in prophecies,
And could the ledden of the Gods unfold;
Through which, when Paris brought his famous

The fair Tyndarid lass, he him foretold
That her all Greece with many a champion bold
Should fetch again, and finally destroy
Proud Priam's town. So wise is Nereus old,

And so well skilled ; nathless he takes great joy Ofttimes amongst the wanton Nymphs to sport and toy.


And after him the famous rivers came,
Which do the earth enrich and beautify:
The fertile Nile, which creatures new doth frame ;
Long Rhodanus, whose source springs from the sky;
Fair Ister, flowing from the mountains high ;
Divine Scamander, purpled yet with blood
Of Greeks and Trojans which therein did die;

Pactolus glistering with his golden flood :
And Tigris fierce, whose streams of none may be with-



Great Ganges, and immortal Euphrates,
Deep Indus, and Mæander intricate,
Slow Peneus, and tempestuous Phasides,
Swift Rhone, and Alpheus still immaculate,
Oraxes feared for great Cyrus' fate,
Tibris, renowned for the Romans' fame,
Rich Oronocky, though but knowen late,

And that huge river, which doth bear his name
Of warlike Amazons, who do possess the same.


Joy on those warlike women, which so long
Can from all men so rich a kingdom hold !
And shame on you, O men! which boast your strong
And valiant hearts, in thoughts less hard and bold,
Yet quail in conquest of that land of gold.
But this to you, O Britons ! most pertains,
To whom the right hereof itself hath sold,

The which, for sparing little cost or pains,
Lose so immortal glory, and so endless gains.


Then was there heard a most celestial sound
Of dainty music, which did next ensue
Before the spouse : that was Arion crowned,
Who playing on his harp, unto him drew
The ears and hearts of all that goodly crew,
That even get the dolphin, which him bore
Through the Ægean seas from pirates' view,

Stood still by him astonished at his lore,
And all the raging seas for joy forgot to roar.


So went he playing on the watery plain ;
Soon after whom the lovely Bridegroom came,
The noble Thames, with all his goodly train :
But him before there went, as best became,
His ancient parents, namely th' ancient Thame.
But much more aged was his wife than he,
The Ouse, whom men do Isis rightly name;

Full weak and crooked creature seemed she,
And almost blind through eld, that scarce her way

could see.


Then came the Bride, the lovely Medua came,
Clad in a vesture of unknowen gear
And uncouth fashion, yet her well became,
That seemed like silver, sprinkled here and there
With glittering spangs that did like stars appear,
And waved upon, like water camelot,
To hide the metal, which yet everywhere

Bewrayed itself to let men plainly wot
It was no mortal work, that seemed and yet was not.

Her goodly locks adown her back did flow
Unto her waist, with flowers bescattered,
The which ambrosial odours forth did throw
To all about, and all her shoulders spread
As a new spring; and likewise on her head
A chapelet of sundry flowers she wore,
From under which the dewy humour shed,

Did trickle down her hair, like to the hoar
Congealed little drops which do the morn adore.

XLVII On her two pretty handmaids did attend, One called the Theise, the other called the Crane, Which on her waited things amiss to mend, And both behind upheld her spreading train; Under the which her feet appeared plain, Her silver feet, fair washed against this day : And her before there paced pages twain,

Both clad in colours like, and like array, The Don and eke the Frith, both which prepared her


And after these the Sea-Nymphs marched all,
All goodly damsels, decked with long green hair,
Whom of their sire Nereïdes men call,
All which the Ocean's daughter to him bare,
The gray-eyed Doris; all which fifty are,
All which she there on her attending had :
Swift Proto, mild Eucratè, Thetis fair,

Soft Spio, wanton Endorè, Sao sad,
Light Doto, wanton Glaucè, and Galenè glad.

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