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Where, set in arbors made of myrtle and gold,
Which now expect to see, great Neptune's son,
Here a curtain was drawn, in which the Night was
painted, and the scene discovered, which (because the former was marine, and these, yet of necessity, to come from the sea) I devised, should be an island floating on a calm water. In the midst thereof was a seat of state, called the Throne of Beauty, erected: divided into eight squares, and distinguished by so many Ionic pilasters. In these squares, the sixteen masquers were placed by couples : behind them in the centre of the throne was a tralucent pillar, shining with several coloured lights, that reflected on their backs. From the top of which pillar went several arches to the pilasters, that sustained the roof of the throne, which was likewise adorned with lights and garlands: and between the pilasters, in front little Cupids in flying posture, waving of wreaths and lights, bore up the cornice: over which were placed eight figures, representing the elements of beauty ; which advanced upon the Ionic, and being females had the Corinthian order.
. The first was
SPLENDOR, in a robe of flame colour, naked breasted; her bright hair loose flowing: she was drawn in a circle of clouds, her face and body breaking through : and in her hand a branch, with two roses, a white, and a red. The next to her was
SERENITAS, in a garment of bright sky-colour, a long tress, and waved with a veil of divers colours, such as the golden sky sometimes shews : upon her head a clear and fair sun shining, with rays of gold striking down to the feet of the figure. In her hand a crystal, o cut with several angles, and shadowed with divers colours, as caused by refraction. The third,
GERMINATIO, in green, with a zone of gold about her waste, crowned with myrtle, her hair likewise flowing, but not of so bright a colour : in her hand, a branch of myrtle.' Her socks of green and gold. The fourth,
LÆTITIA, in a vesture of divers colours, and all sorts of flowers embroidered thereon: her socks so fitted. A gar
p The rose is called elegantly, by Achil. Tat. lib. i. purūv åydáïoua, the splendor of plants, and is everywhere taken for the hieroglyphic of splendor.
9 As this of serenity, applying to the optics reason of the rainbow, and the mythologists making her the daughter of Electra.
So Hor. lib. i. od. 4. makes it the ensign of the Spring. Nunc decet aut viridi nitidum caput impedire myrto, Aut flore, terre quem ferunt soluta, &c.
land of flowers in her hand; her eyes turning up, and smiling : her hair flowing, and stuck with flowers. The fifth,
TEMPERIES, in a garment of gold, silver, and colours, weaved ; in one hand she held a burning steel,' in the other an urn with water. On her head a garland of flowers, corn, vine-leaves, and olive-branches, interwoven. Her socks, as her garment. The sixth,
VENUSTAS, in a silver robe, with a thin subtile veil over her hair, and it : pearl about her neck," and forehead. Her socks wrought with pearl. In her hand she bore several coloured lilies. The seventh was
DIGNITAS, in a dressing of state, the hair bound up with fillets of gold, the garments rich, and set with jewels and gold ; likewise her buskins; and in her hand a golden rod. The eighth,
PERFECTIO, in a vesture of pure gold, a wreath of gold upon her head. About her body the zodiac, with the signs : in her hand a compass of gold, drawing a circle.
They are everywhere the tokens of gladness, at all feasts and sports.
+ The sign of temperature, as also her garland mixed of the four seasons.
u Pearls with the ancients, were the special hieroglyphics of loveliness ; in quibus nitor tantum et lavor expetebantur.
* So was the lily, of which the most delicate city of the Persians was called Susæ : signifying that kind of flower, in their tongue.
ị The sign of honour and dignity. z Both that, and the compass, are known ensigns of perfection.
On the top of all the throne (as being made out of all these) stood
HARMONIA, a personage, whose dressing had something of all the others, and had her robe painted full of figures. Her head was compass'd with a crown of gold, having in it seven jewels equally set.In her hand a lyra, whereon she rested.
This was the ornament of the throne. The ascent to which consisting of six steps, was covered with a multitude of Cupidsb (chosen out of the best, and most ingenious youth of the kingdom, noble, and others) that were the torch-bearers; and all armed with bows, quivers, wings, and other ensigns of love. On the sides of the throne were curious and elegant arbors appointed; and behind, in the back-part of the isle, a grove of grown trees laden with golden fruit,' which other little Cupids plucked, and threw at each other, whilst on the ground leverets picked up the bruised apples, and left them half eaten. The ground-plat of the whole was a subtle indented maze: and in the two foremost angles were two fountains that ran continually, the one Hebe's, the other Hedone's :e in the arbors were placed the musicians, who represented the shades of the old poets, and were attired in a priest-like habit of crimson and purple, with laurel garlands.
* She is so described in Iconolog. di Cesare Ripa; his reason of seven jewels, in the crown, alludes to Pythagoras's comment, with Macr. lib. ii. Som. Scip. of the seven planets and their spheres.
b The inducing of many Cupids wants not defence, with the best and most received of the ancients, besides Prop. Stat. Claud. Sido. Apoll. especially Phil. in Icon. Amor, whom I have particularly followed in this description.
They were the notes of loveliness, and sacred to Venus. See Phil. in that place mentioned. d Of Youth.
The colours of the masquers were varied; the one half in orange-tawny, and silver : the other in seagreen and silver.
The bodies and short skirts on white and gold to both.
The habit and dressing for the fashion was most curious, and so exceeding in riches, as the throne whereon they sat seem'd to be a mine of light, struck from their jewels and their garments.
This throne, as the whole island moved forward on the water, had a circular motion of its own, imitating that which we call motum mundi, from the east to the west, or the right to the left side. For so Hom. Ilia. M, understands by segía, Orientalia Mundi : by aportepa, Occidentalia. The steps whereon the Cupids sat had a motion contrary, with analogy ad motum planetarum, from the west to the east : both which turned with their several lights. And with these three varied motions, at once, the whole scene shot itself to the land.
Above which, the moon was seen in a silver chariot, drawn by virgins, to ride in the clouds, and hold them greater light: with the sign Scorpio, and the character, placed before her.
The order of the scene was carefully and ingeniously disposed; and as happily put in act (for the motions) by the king's master carpenter. The painters, I must needs say, (not to belie them,) lent small colour to any, to attribute much of the spirit of these things to their pencils. But that must not be imputed a crime, either to the invention or design.
Here the loud music ceased; and the musicians, which were placed in the arbors, came forth through the mazes to the other land : singing this full song, iterated in the closes by two Echoes, rising out of the fountains.