Tessera caerulea — commentariolum. Tessera rubicunda — nota textualis. . Tessera viridis — translatio.
Others describe the fall of Ilium, the Dircaean deaths, Argo passing through the straits in search of the golden fleece of Phryxus, and kindred battle-lines rushing at each other in civil war, or shipwrecked limbs cast up on the shore of Sestus, the savage loves of the king of the Styx, and bodies transformed into the shapes of various things. These are a topic for bards, but a happy one of a prior age. My mind bears me to new things, to sing of marriage-torches, of a wedding so often prayed for, that of Carolides, who has wed the British Augusta, of festive cheers, and the nation’s happy honors. Grant me the strength for this song, great Philip, to whom heaven has contrived to grant the citadel of Jerusalem and the conquered Idumaean, to whom will accrue unstinting glory for the conquest of Libya and Asia. Be the trusty cynosure for my speeding barque, help my endeavors, and serenely favor my undertakings.
Troublesome Mars was brandishing his bloody spear, terrible for his helmet and the boss of his gleaming shield, while Megaera, armed with the hissing of her split torch, bloodthirsty Bellona, wielding her twisty flail, mad Fury, and Discord, the mother of war, were wretchedly vexing the world with their raging weapons, while Saturn, that father of dissent, mighty with his sickle and the author of irreparable harm, eagerly joined in, involving peoples in the whirlwind of savage warfare, while the drunken Mede drinks Smyrnaean blood with his scimitar and the oriental bird feeds on the guts of the Turks, while the fierce Belgian and the savage French join together with deadly hatred, wielding their weapons, and while mighty Tuscany vexes turreted Siena and evilly despoils the ill-named fortunate lands, alas, and while you are ravaging your own bowels with raging war, Englishman, as internal hatreds continue to swell.
But Jupiter, having pity on mankind’s adversities, disgusted with witnessing the martial hearts of heroes so often losing their restless souls to cruel death, so many cottages consumed by fire and their consoling help against winter cold snatched away, mothers grieving when their children had been abducted, and rivers of blood flowing through the fields everywhere, convoked a counsel of the gods, explained the chain of causes, and pronounced his sentence of doom. And beginning thus, he spoke, sitting high on his lofty throne:
“Once upon a time, gods, with a wrathful mind I wreaked vengeance on mankind’s unlawful passions with standing waters, and repented my anger. But the forgotten fear of God has enveloped their minds in such darkness that chaste virtue has become accustomed to crimes and dares to rage in a new way, so that it would be reasonable for me to rise up in just anger. But how? By consuming flame? The Fates do not allow. By the vortex of deadly warfare? But right and law would be violated by arms. They would slaughter with impunity and leave a legacy of mutual harms. Let this be their just punishment. The intolerable power of the Turk has grown immense, soon destined to collapse under its own weight. Let the Parthian harry it, shooting his arrows in his flight, and let Siena with its turreted hilltop yield to Cosimo, that rare ornament of yours, wealthy Tuscany. And the harsh Parca threatens that the double-beaked bird dear to Jove should trample on Juno’s flowers (such as lilies) bound by treaty to a league of moons. For twice three years now, raging madness has been pulling apart the Britons, separated from the world, into a variety of sects, while now this man, and now that, has boldly seized power by his crime, playing dire games on the necks of great men with his bloodstained axe. And now crazed ambition and an abominable lust for power is acting upon Dudley’s mind, making him imagine he can climb to the pinnacle of affairs and establish his government, bloody with deadly slaughter (and Edward, that unworthy boy whom a pallid wasting-disease had destroyed, has just lately succumbed to the cruel shades), and now he ponders this deadly deed, and has marked down Mary, that immortal glory of Britain’s scepter, to be feloniously sacrificed on her paternal altars. The traitor is mustering dust-stained battalions, gathering arms, and demanding death for a woman born to be his mistress, a harsh decision concerning my devotee. But he is rushing headlong to his destruction: thus the order of things takes a turn and chains are being fashioned for the neck of their own maker. For Mary will set her fearless heart against the enterprises of that savage tyrant, she will victoriously endure these perils, and as a man-like champion she will give us incense, loading down our altars with prayers of atonement. I swear by the deep Styx, I have thus pondered the chain of events that will happen henceforth. We must exert ourselves, lest the royal line perish with the destruction of this virgin. You must turn your minds to this, you heavenly gods, nor condemn my wholesome counsel, whereby this mutual butchery may cease, and Faith and fostering Peace may be revive and recover their strength, and runaway Astraea may resume her abandoned home. Thus far this maiden has steadfastly adhered to the camp of unmarried Pallas, but this hour requires that she cheat her nature and loosen her girdle in a marriage. And no fitter husband in the world can be found for this marriage than Carolides, Caesar’s single hope. Let my daughter Uranian Venus undertake this responsible. She will bestow the marriage-girdle, bind together the lovers, and conjoin these two peoples in a fixed league. And let the winged god of Cyllene contribute his effort by revealing to Philip his hope for marriage and his destiny.”
He spoke, Olympus quaked, suddenly stricken by this great weight, and the gods were in full agreement as their common assent was heard. “Quickly do my bidding, my daughter, my strength,” said the king of gods and men. “Fly without delay to Mary, for whom the British scepter is being readied by destiny, and impress on her the will of the gods and myself. Make her imbibe unwonted fires in her marrow (and this will be your concern), make her grow tender with love for thrice-great Philip. Add hope for offspring, of a little heir springing into his mother’s embrace. And you too, god born of Maia, should not long delay your journey. Seeking the gentlest time for conversation with the son of Caesar, use desire to divert him from his widowed bedchamber, and tell him of the continuation of his destiny.” Here he made an end and fell silent.
Without delay the son of Maia undertook his father’s bidding and sped through the air on his swift feet. For he armed his head with a cap and his feet with ankle-wings, holding in his hand a light rod around which were gently entwined two snakes, their tails knotted together and hissing with their tongues. And now he marveled at the Scottish Sea outstretched beneath him, the ebbing and flowing Channel, and the fields of Kent. He caught sight of the swan-bearing Thames mingling its waters with briny Doris, and of London, crammed with its houses and its wealth, and (if I may say so) haughty for its large population, where it poured forth a lavish cornucopia of wares, and of you, Winchester, overjoyed by the auspices of such a great marriage, and of the outspread Isle of Wight. Then, borne above the wrath of the foaming sea, on one side he looked down on the lands of the British, and on the other the shores of wooded Ierna. Swiftly flying, at length he set down on the shores of Iberia. Hence, assuming another man’s appearance, he wholly became Lord Egmont in face, dress, and the decent carriage of his excellent body. Soon he entered Carolides’ long palace. He chanced to be privately lamenting his love, cut short in the first flower of youth, and was sadly drawing sighs from deep within his breast, and with a peaceful face the Cyllenian god addressed him thus.
“Ruler of Hesperia’s affairs, thrice-great prince, why does anxious care consume you? Why unhappily chafe your mind’s raw wound? Are you going to mourn your widowed bedchamber with everlasting sorrow? Set aside this mood, consign your grief to ashes and shadows, and preserve yourself for better things. Behold, the Fates will freely open you a way. In the western sea there lies a wealthy island, not undeserving of poet’s praises, once not called England, but rather Britain by the ancients. A maiden has succeeded to her ancestral government, a woman such as would be able even to handle the chaste mysteries of Eleusinian Ceres, and is worthy of having you for a husband. This virgin is a zealous devotee of weapon-clashing Minerva, a noble descendant of kings, and destined to give birth to kings. She is being reserved by the Fates as your most faithful consort. I speak of things that are beyond doubt: you are certain to gain your wish and capture a quarry sought by many, and at once you will bless two realms with the heavenly gift of tranquil peace. This is the sum of it, take care not to go against it. My father forbids me to say more.” Having thus spoken, he disappeared into thin air, just as wisps of smoke are wont to do. Swiftly Philip cast his eyes in all directions. “Am I mistaken?” he said. “Have vain dreams deceived my mind, or has somebody cheated my eyesight with impunity? Have I not seen these things here in my presence? Was that not he? But the apparition has departed. Whoever you are, you inhabitant of the ethereal sky and the shining heaven, I comply, your commands deserve my obedience.”
As Mercury was saying such things, he was overtaken by heaven-born Eros with his golden horn. For as he sought his mother’s threshold, flying through the lofty regions of heaven’s expanse, he encountered the wing-foot god and, divining the reason for his haste, followed him at a distance, following the god’s footsteps as he went on before, and furtively stole into the same palace and stood hidden behind a shaggy hanging tapestry. From him came sparks whereby Philip’s mind was set afire, his attention was turned to her snow-white countenance and milky neck and hands, and he tested the sound of her happy name on his lips, or wrote it on sheets of paper destined to endure. And now bashfulness (that betrayer of a secret) tinted his cheek, and often his dreams set his bride before him. Now he prepared the rarest gifts for his intended, fetching Attalid garments of cloth-of-gold, pearl necklaces, and gems from the Indies or the shores of the Red Sea (also a source of great envy), a diamond of great brilliance, surpassing the moon and the Titanian star, and tapestries, embroidered and bright with Tyrian purple, evidence of conquered Tunis and high Carthage, assuredly noble monuments of Caesar’s triumph. Often he complained that the slow days were passing too sluggishly, and he yearned for his consort’s eager embraces. But the weight of affairs prevented him, as he strove to set his kingdom in due order and establish a good example by completing his worthy undertakings and performing a king’s sacred duty.
Meanwhile golden Venus commanded that the absent Eros should be sought for — not that one to whom wanton Dione had given birth, not the one whom vain Greece had despoiled of his shining eyes, but her son, mighty with his bright light, who wore a golden quiver at his back, not filled with arrows of blue-grey lead but rather of the tawny metal — without whom she thought it would be a disgraceful sin, needing to be atoned by dire death, to make her journey, to such a degree did this heavenly Venus have nothing in common with the frivolous one from Cyprus. At length the chubby one was was seen as he flew back from the Spanish Bight, and, clasping him to her bosom, his mother said, “What do this happy face and this laughter mean? Where did you stray from my sight?” Kissing her, her winged son answered, “I have achieved great glory. I have set up a noble victory-monument on Spanish soil. Philip, that thrice-great Prince of the Hesperian shore, has felt my bow, and now he is hot with the virginal fire of the British queen, whom the Cyllenian god has persuaded him to wed. Hasten, mother, grant my prayers and join them in marriage.” Her face shining, his mother said, “This I am doing, and you must not slip away anywhere.” Straightway she balanced herself on no slothful wing and swooped down from the sky on the road the Milky Way shines with its snow-white expanse, seeking the royal palace at London. She arrived at the gardens which the Thames washes with its current, which surpass the orchards of the king of Corcyra. Accompanied by her son, she entered the private bedchamber, stuffed with royal luxury, adorned by tawny gilding of Dalmatian ore and fine tapestries, where the royal virgin was offering up thanks to the Thunderer for condescending to have broken the tyrant, swollen with his Arsaces-like pride, and placing her on the throne of which she would have been cheated. And beginning thus, Venus uttered such heartfelt words as these.
“Greetings, virgin, most assuredly the concern of the gods, rare for your chastity and the glory of your steadfast mind. Why do your timid bashfulness and the integrity of your single bedchamber persist so long? Will your heart never be bound by the ties of marriage, and will you condemn the idea of a wedded partner with bitter hatred, alas, so unfair to yourself? Will you allow the powerful fortunes of your realm to go to ruin by your own doing, and Henry’s line to perish root and branch? Oh let such a savage, damning reproach be far from you! Rather, you must endeavor to return the hope of your family and make good the loss of that failed youth, soon old age will be lying heavier upon you. I did not bestow such grace and comely beauty upon your, nor did Pallas give you gifts of rare learning, nor did the Muses grant you eloquence so that you might waste away living a celibate life. The Fates are preparing something else, and with these very ears I have myself heard the will of Jove, and you should not remain unmoved and resist the Fates. In the Hesperian world Philip Carolides rules far and wide, a kinsman to you in his royal pedigree, the honor and hope of his nation and the unique answer to Olympus’ prayer. Now he who dwells by the rich Ebro, the placid Guadalquivir, the two-horned Rhine, the Ticino with its bright waters, and the twisting Scheldt look up to his government. I myself cherished him at my bosom when he was a baby, the Grace was his wet-nurse, and the daughters of the Helicon gave him his schooling. The quick intellect, the wise prudence, the old-fashioned nobility, the affable grace possessed by Titus, that darling of the world, and Pyrrhus, that thunderbolt in war, these are all combined in this one man. His eyes gleam sweetly, he has a lofty brow, able to bear the weight of affairs, and a soft down shadows his cheeks. Heaven bestows him upon you; I, mother Venus, consign him. He will make good the blight on your family, and before Phoebe has restored her horns ten times, a little Henry will assault his mother’s ears as he plays in her arms, and will bestow tender smiles and sweet kisses. Oh happy virgin, when you burn with requited love, you will fix your eyes on this one man, deservedly possessing a husband. And as for me (let me say this) am returning to my temple in heaven, the place of my birth. I shall leave my son, a friend of tranquil peace, here in my place. He will instruct you, unschooled in this first heat, and will plant his flame deep in your veins. And when the day comes on which the wedding-torch will kindle its odors (the Parca will endite this on her record-tablet), I myself shall be present in the company of Hymen, that son of the Muse.”
She spoke, and, disappearing into the breezes, hid herself on Olympus. Meanwhile love gathered new powers on both sides, as a flower gradually grows in a garden, fostered by tending, strengthened by the sun, nourished by the rain. Antiquity marveled at the love of the boy from Abydus, his arms, which surpassed swift oars, and the blazing fires set by the girl of Sestos, but their mutual warmth transcended those old loves.
Meanwhile a fleet was prepared with great industry, destined to bear Philip over the ship-bearing sea with its happy sails, which the Guadalquivir would garland with its olive branches and Spanish Guadalavir would outfit for the waters. This Dutch fleet, scorning the threats of the ocean and equaling great churches in the sizes of its great ships, set sail. On the one side Zeelandish anchors held firm with their biting teeth, thanks to their sturdy iron. On the other an English ship thundered with its hellish guns, imitating the celestial wrath of Jove when he waxes angry. And now it wearies Neptune’s acres with its gentle rowing, now its outspread sails bore it on the deep. Ah, how often the sailor fruitlessly prayed to the west wind and the south wind to fill his sails, and was obliged to linger in his unwanted station!
It was the season when the blazing Titan mounted the back of the Nemean Lion, when Sirius scorched his home with his ravening fire, when Callecia, vainly resisting, was compelled to let go its son, the delight of tranquil Peace and gentle Quiet, the single care of thrice-great Caesar. O happy day, a day to be marked in the Thracian manner! The sons of Romulus say this day was pleasing to Vitula, the goddess of sweet happiness, so that it is not lacking in its omen. Having adorned the reeking altars with pious gifts, Philip boarded ship with fair auspices, cramming his ships with a great amount of silver, attended by a great throng, and sailed on the deep in the company of his leading gentlemen. The breeze blew with the fruitful airs of the sweet westerlies. For Father Hippotades had locked his blustery winds in a dark prison, and Neptune’s trident had calmed the angry sea. Here shaggy Triton, borne before the ships on a sea monster, had roused all the Nereids with the sound of his watery conch. Anthedonian Glaucus with his life-giving herb, and Nereus, his brows garlanded with seaweed, raised their heads above the water, as did Ino’s Palaemon. Neptune’s consort stood forth wholeheartedly, and likewise greeny Glauco, sweet Panopaea, and Euploia, a trusty divinity for curved ships, and also lighthearted Cymothoe, milk-white Galatea, and fair Leucothea, the daughter of Grecian Athamas, damp Cymodoce, and a numerous chorus of Phorcus’ children, sporting in the deep water, offered their congratulations to the friendly ships. A capacious port offered a calm harbor for those ships, carried over a tranquil ocean, where wooded Wight fends off the attacks of the surging sea, where Thetis with her winding waves chews at the walls and grim battlements of Antona.
You sailors who have suffered hardships may now free your hearts of cares, and happily drink the foaming gifts of Bacchus from full casks. Joyously set your tables with the fruits of Ceres, and offer them rewards for their valor, you citizens. Throughout the streets let public bonfires waft all manner of odors through the regions of the sky, and incense must be burned on the holy altars. Let the priest beseech the saints by singing many a hymn of praise. Nor let lavish banquets be absent from genial tables, bearing witness to such great rejoicing. Let happy servants pour out Bacchus’ gifts with an unstinting hand, and let every street abound with sugar loaves. Let a maiden, her head bound by woven garlands, inspire her bevies of friends to sing songs in quivering measures. Play on Thracian zithers, Phoenician nablas, Pierian lyres, and raucous cymbals, and let Berecynthian drums add their excitement to the short night, and the hollowed boxwood with its seven holes satisfy our ears. For greathearted Philip and his fleet have safely come to Caledonian harbors and hospitality. No brighter victory-signal came to report that Nysaean Liber had been overcome by the swarthy Indians.
Then people with long memories happened to recall the calendars, for this was the day on which the queen, wounded by her cares yet filled with God and certain of the destined outcome (her great trust in heaven sustained her mind, which relied on God and did not know how to be overwhelmed), and happy because of the tyrant’s downfall, had been proclaimed queen and heir to the throne to the blare of trumpets, and with a shout all men had adhered to her as queen, since every order of society had submitted its fasces to her.
Now the month named after Phrygian Iulus had seen twice twelve risings of the shining sun, when Aurora, borne on her crocus-colored chariot had seen scarlet-clad Peers flocking to both sides of the palace in great numbers ready with to pay their homage. They were all resplendent with their jewelry, their gold braid, and their embroidered cloaks as art strove to surpass nature and whatever the flowery meadows and flourishing gardens painted in springtime with their crimson display. Here you could see whatever stones were harvested by the inhabitant by the Red Sea or the swarthy Indian on their separate shores. Here you could examine the riches of the Arabs, of gold-bearing Mexico, the gifts sent by the far-distant Chinese, and gowns double-dyed in African purple.
And now the Titan had almost attained the mid-point of Olympus when the sacred ceremony was performed and the presiding priest finished his prayers and gave votive offerings to God, he whose miter bit into his temples with its gleaming jewels, a bishop possessing a name worthy of being the Greek word for a garland, a name useful for the realm’s happy omens. Doing obeisance to the holy symbols of the Old Religion, he prayed that God would bind together Carolides, that glory of the Hesperian world, and Mary, she of the British, in enduring matrimony. Who can recount the joys of the leading citizens, and the happy cheers of the throng of all manner of men and the vulgar Commons? Had I a tongue of brass and a hundred voices resounding in my mouth, and an iron-bound breast, I could not sing it all.
Meanwhile a quartet of nymphs came gliding through the empty midst of the cathedral and stood around the holy altar, clad in garments of particolored needlework, all of them tall. Muse, tell your bard the words which they used and the prosperous things they prayed for. It is permitted you to reveal these things to your initiate.
Before the lingering assembly a girl, on whose blue dress were embroidered three yellow lilies with three golden lions interspersed, delivered an address such as this.
“You are here in answer to your prayers, you guest from distant shores (the prophetic oak sang of this, as did the Sibyls), you prince in whom nature’s miracles vie with each other. Now you are our son-in-law and the greatest hope of your realm. I am she who once was very remarkable for my blue hair and skin tattooed with many a mark, although now second to none in my civil appearance and manners. The story goes that formerly those lofty cliffs visible for their whiteness gave me a memorable name. I am by far the foremost queen of the lands which surging Oceanus and his salty Doris encircle, and I yield to none in the goodness of my climate and soil, being greatly endowed in wool-bearing flocks, rich in the fertility of my fields, and most fierce in the pursuits of war. Until now I have gone about, most wan with dire wasting, since Dudley’s madness has consumed my life’s blood, sucking dry my veins and the marrow of my realm. Until now I have groaned, ruining my eyes with weeping, while I unhappily complained that I have been bereft of my menfolk. But (and I shall conceal nothing) my erstwhile strength has returned to my bones, my Lancaster-born child, after I beheld you, having been carried far over the waters, cherishing a desire for my daughter and being conjoined to her with a marriage-torch upon which all the hope of my bereft self depends. The Babylonian page promises that the stars will shower down supreme good fortune on this man then, when the sky-roaming stars wheel on their pivot and strike us with their undoubted keenness and direct light. Then I shall call myself happy, when as master you hold the weight of affairs, occupying the highest position. Congratulations on your spirit, young man, congratulations on your virtue, Philip. As I totter, grant me your protection with your allied powers and spirit, increase me and my daughter, made happy with fertile childbearing before Cynthia completes her tenth cycle. Live in harmony for the crow’s long years. This is my hope, let the gods endorse these prayers, not made in vain.”
The next girl, who was thumbing a pomegranate, an image of turreted Cybele clad in a particolored dress, thus opened her tranquil mouth.
“Lo, I am present, called Spain because of my rare endowments, but known to poets by the epithet of distant Hesperia. Once I was a region sung of because of Hercules’ trophies, no less famed for the garden of those sisters, the Hesperides. I am near to the setting sun, happy with my fertile soil, wealthy in fields, wealthy in flocks, tawny gold, and veins of iron and lead. I am a mother of apples, deservedly called golden, and noble for my vines, with which not even beakers of Maeotis, nor those of Chios or the Falernian hills can compete, which the Tajo divides with its gold-bearing sands, and the Ebro, fated to create a famous name for my nation. Embraced in my bosom I maintain the weight and scepter of a populous realm. Having ventured from the shores of pine-bearing Atlas (where Hercules once established the symbols of our rule, monuments of his handiwork), and having traversed the western waters and those of the Indian gulf, I have moved my victorious eagles and emblems to peoples on the opposite side of the world under the Wain and to diverse shores, and I have been the first to visit the Chinese. who pluck silk from trees and are the first to see the fires of Hyperion a-borning, and have been the noble discoverer of the gold of Peru. I deem it worthy to embrace such a woman as this, together with my son, in my bosom. Now, too, this Augusta, this blessed wielder of the British scepter, is destined to come into a large part of myself by marital right (and I do not begrudge this). Together with your husband, Naples will deservedly fall to you, virgin, under title of a dowry. Soon I shall assign you triangular Sicily, (I tell you no lie, it was the granary of ancient Rome). No stepmother of a day, no cloud will disturb your marriage-torches. Rather, live happily: let him surpass in life the years of Arganthon, and you must outlive the centuries of the Sibyl of Cumae. And may Lucina open your womb in blessed childbearing before the moon has completed its tenth cycle.”
After them came the third, whose dress was adorned by an embroidered harp, who spoke thus with a friendly voice.
“I am she who was once called icy Ierna by the Greeks, well known to the sailors of Jason’s ship. Being nearby, I see suns bathing themselves in the Tartessian river, and am subject to the wanton northwesterlies. To me, in common with Crete, that mother of the Thunderer, God and a better origin for things a-growing have given the right not to have snakes, terrible for their Medusa-like venom, hiss on my shores, and to have men who chance to be clamped in their dark jaws lose their lives along with their poisoned blood. Lo, together with the scepter of my kingdom, dedicate to you the horrible appearance of my men (I am inventing nothing) and their hearts, martial in battle, my fish-filled lakes and my bogs that teem with all manner of birds, my tin-minds and veins of pure silver, which the earth discloses as comes close to seeing the shades buried deep in its excavated bowels. All these things I give over to your common faith and hand. And I hope that you, Philip, will long live in harmony with your beloved wife, and anticipate the tenth month with a royal birth.”
After all the others came a girl trailing a long gown, covered with all manner of lions of a distinct color, a nymph thriving with the sturdy build of her body and a modest curve of her leg, and began with words such as these.
“Although I am the last province to appear, I am not unequal to a kingdom (although fortune has denied me the title of a realm), Gaul, the third to be called a province by the Roman Senate. I am bounded by the two-horned stream of the Rhine, and you can cut me off with the winding flow of the Scheldt, and I am famous throughout the world for my fine wares. At your father’s behest I worship your divinity, I give and consign myself to you, noble Philip, and to your consort’s unanimous will. If the Scots and the Picts offer any threat with their united arms, or France, rightfully yielding to the English (albeit against its will), stirs up the savage wrath of arms, I shall be present, mighty with my fleet and my soldiery, to repel whatever is hostile, and offer my ready help. May you surpass Penelope in your chastity, Alcestis in your love, and Niobe in your childbearing, blessed queen, and equal your famed grandmother with your immortal deeds. And, Philip, I hope you might surpass Augustus in your good fortune, Marcus Aurelius in your piety, and Trajan in your virtues, and put your father’s fame in the shade with your victorious arms. And let mutual love tie your hearts together like a Vulcan-forged knot, may it bind them like magnetism binds rocks together and is wont to hold iron in its tenacious grip, and, indomitably adamant, never lets it go. Thus may the allure of love bind and tie together lover’s hearts with its enduring knot, and (since the queen is something beyond all your hope), before Delia completes her tenth cycle with her brother’s fires, may a little boy begin to cry on his mother’s lap, and to resemble his father with his serene countenance.”
They had all finished, when lo! the blare of trumpets and the sound of those curved horns rang to the cathedral ceiling resound, Echo, that image of sound, redoubled it and the valleys replied with the sovereigns’ happy names. Oh if the Fates granted me the power to match Homer’s divine efforts, or allowed me to sing Andean songs! Then what a worthy history of these things I could compose! I’d tell how the Lord Pembroke and the Earl of Derby bore the double-edged sword of justice before the sovereigns in solemn procession, both born of royal stock and both noble for their service in the field, and how you were decorated, Carolides, with the collar and garter that took vengeance on treason even when just entertained by the mind, which Edward had established as tokens of proven loyalty; or the banquet and the dishes which luxury (ruinous to wealth) and the dainty palates of the chefs had prepared to your royal taste. But I am bound by my limitations, and others will describe these things better, they who have a particular concern for them.
After hunger was dispelled by the feast and the tables had been cleared, and the Evening Star, sacred to Venus, had displayed its brief fires, bright candles lit up the dark night. Terpsichore joined together nymphs and bevies of virgins, and they made the earth resound with their dancing: they plied their feet in alternate measures, retreated and came back together in a new formation, and joined in crisscross patterns. Ear-soothing Terpsis was present, and bewitching Thymele and fresh young Thalia, as well as Erato, that first teacher of proper dancing. Phemius was there, mighty at singing to his fiddles and swaying all things with the modulation of his voice. He recounted the pedigrees of both sovereigns, taking his beginning from Edward, the third of that name, where their two lines combined in one, just like Father Ocean is the source and likewise the origin of rivers, which all have their beginning in him, and to which all return.
Urania read the broadsheet which the Parca affixed to Jove’s throne, spelling out each day’s events, and entered Mary’s bedchamber. Together with her came easy Joking and Thalassio, born to the Pierian Muse, he whom the Greeks called Hymenaeus. Mother Venus appointed him commander-in-chief of the marriage chamber with friendly auspices, and without him it is forbidden for any man to touch the well-fueled marriage torch. Wherever they entered, the whole house was fragrant with the incense of Syria and the spice of Cilicia in ambrosial clouds, and a sprinkling of Alexandrian perfume. Amiable Concord was also numbered among her companions, and likewise Juno, that patroness of marriage, also called Cinxia, and the three goddesses the Graces, and Juno’s Hebe (whom antiquity called fresh Youth). They all were quick in doing their duties, when behold, the queen entered her marriage chamber, like the star of Dionean Venus which follows the Titan as he falls into the sea, a right pretty light, or like the purple amaranth with its soft leaves which stands out among the red violets and marigolds.
Urania gave her congratulations at their first friendly meeting, and began to renew the bride’s steadfast trust in her words. She recognized the goddess and by the rosy blush of her cheeks attested to the honor of virginity she well remembered, with her comely face bashfully showing that it had been set aside. Although a virginal sense of shame offered resistance, Cinxia destroyed her girdle and loosened its binding, and Hebe inspired her with the vigor of a Hercules. And eager Joking and Hymenaeus kept out Fescennine sallies and wanton ditties, by invoking the law of complete sanctity and forbidding whatever was satirical or naughty. Mother Venus herself consecrated the marriage-bed using ritual formulae and invoked all the friendly gods of heaven to second her wishes, and in her prayers she expressed the hope that Lucina would give Mary easy labors when wandering Phoebe had nine times completed her circuit. Concord confirmed her prayer, and the Muses breathed their expiatory words with gentle harmony, praying for a happy and blessed union.
Meanwhile sleepless labor and tireless concern busied the workmen days and nights as the populous City of London strove with much zeal and great expense to receive your august personage and accord you festival honors. The work was a-boil, as when the brothers of Etna are forging Jove’s brass in their murky cave. Everywhere arose scaffolding constructed with royal estate, reaching up to the sky. Here a high-spirited steed seemed to be snorting through his nostrils, rearing up with its bosses and gold, indignant that it lacked the wings of Bellerophon’s horse and grieving that it could not fly beneath the stars with the art of a Daedalus. It rejoiced to have Philip painted as his rider, and flourished its mane, boldly waxing fierce. On the one side, Victory was weaving you the laurels of peace. Roman generals were rightly deferring to you and sheathing their swords, Philip: Caesar with his Trojan origin, the Scipios, Pompey the Great and the champion Camillus. On the other, four Philips displayed their fates: the Macedonian showed off his virtue, Philip the Arab, famed for receiving the first seeds of baptism, the Burgundian known as the Philip the Good for his treasures, and a second Burgundian called the Bold. Here with his seductive measures and tunes Orpheus was drawing along bands of beasts and oak-trees from the mountains. In another place a tree with its spreading branches took its deep roots from Edward the Third, and in its ramifications it showed the illustrious lineage and noble ancestry of Mary and great Philip. Here a Spaniard risked imitating Icarus’ downfall, balancing himself on a taut rope, and in another quarter a tall machine let down a nymph who fit garlands on the necks of the sovereigns. Nor shall I remain silent about you, Edmund, with your reverend countenance, your hair bound with a bejeweled miter, consecrating the sovereigns with the honor of Panchaean incense and receiving them within the holy doors of the cathedral, praying with words such as these and regarding them with tranquility.
“Enter, o prince we have so often hoped for, you who remove our evils, whom we should deservedly call by the name of a Hercules, enter our shrine and enjoy our rites. I congratulate you on your spirit, by your help our reborn piety increases. Thus one travels to the stars above, in this way you will bring us back the age of Saturn. Thus the beech-tree will produce honeydew, rivers will be awash with milk, grain will grow in untilled fields, wounding thorns will begin to produce heavy clusters of grapes, and the lamb will not fear the grin of the wolf. As long as good hope and wakeful care fires our lovers, and Amphitrite receives the Thames in its capacious bosom, our shrines will speak of you as invincible, Philip, these stones will learn to resound with the name of Carolides.”
Meanwhile many a copper device (Pyracmon was the first to forge it with his hellish art), its gaping mouths stuffed with gunpowder, belched forth fireballs, and the iron balls that sat hidden within them imitated heavenly fires with their threatening thunder (a horrible thing), Olympus resounded with this noise, and the earth wholly trembled. Baleful Hyas does not drench the land with such dense rain, nor does the fierce Pleiad rage with gathered clouds, so much as this brass contrivance thundered harshly with its frequent blasts.
And now a line of horse proceeded. Peers distinguished by their titles, the sacred Senate, and famed lords ennobled by the reputation of their ancient families or the praised honor of their lives, and men who were ornaments of the Faith with an abiding concern for pure religion rode in a long processional line. After them there moved forward, in royal estate and proud pomp, the golden king on a spirited steed and the queen, joined to his side. The Titan shed brighter beams than was usual and with a gentle breeze the west wind blew away the darkening clouds. The murmurs of the raging sea grew silent and the Thames, his brows garlanded with greeny reed, now most elegant and leaving Nereus’ receding waves, raised his head above the riverbank and marveled at the sovereigns as they passed along. A numerous crowd of guild members thronged the streets, either men whose wealth had made them powerful, or whose deserved honors had made preeminent among the Commons. And there came flocking to the festive spectacles curly-haired apprentices and good-natured girls. All greeted the Augustus with a happy outcry, and somebody standing amidst the crowd thus prayed for prosperous things.
“Hail, king, by divine intervention added to us with a happy omen, deservedly destined to wield the scepter of the British world with wholesome justice, mercifully spare your subjects, bridle the haughty with your harsh government, and cultivate the leisure of happy peace. For with you their king, England, mighty for its arrows, will thrive, and the age of that ancient metal will be returned. Thanks to you arms will yield to the gown, men will sweat at their hot ovens, turning swords into hoes, and the leafy grapevine will hide spears beneath its shade-giving clusters. For fostering Peace, which rejoices in the olive branch, will shatter the impious enterprises of dire Bellona, and will bar the doors for two-faced Janus. And now, whether you are Jupiter and you delight in deceiving mortal senses and in being borne by your arms-bearing bird, or whether I should call you some other god, your appearance transformed, govern forever all of us peoples who live in the northern world, govern them with counsel and just laws. Nor let some dire zeal cheat our progeny of your divinity and your later descendants. And may you be late in attaining heaven, which will bow under your weight: the palace of the domed sky will receive your welcome greatness soon enough, if it does so when the Gemini, who embrace each other by turns, change their life and come back to this light.”
And so, just as the man who sails the blue rejoices in attaining his longed-for harbor, the sovereigns entered their royal Whitehall (men once gave it this memorable name, since it shown with white marble), which the Thames, whose first glory is to feed Leda’s swans, passes by with his noisy current.
Thus far the Muse has granted me to sing of the beginnings of these affairs, the prince’s happy reception, the bonds of Hymen duly accomplished, and the triumph of its hero at London. Now she is weary, and she has withdrawn from the arena, yielding space for bards to sing of greater things, those whose hearts unshorn Phoebus has kindled, and whose talents he has blessed.
HADRIANUS JUNIUS SANG ME