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Next came the aged Ocean and his Dame
Old Tethys, th' 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; then which none more upright,
Ne more sincere in word and deed profest;
Most voide of guile, most free from fowle despight, Doing himselfe and teaching others to doe right:
Thereto he was expert in prophecies,
And could the ledden of the gods unfold;
Through which, when Paris brought his famous prise,
The faire Tindarid Lasse, he him foretold
That her all Greece with many a champion bold
Should fetch againe, and finally destroy
Proud Priams towne: So wise is Nereus old,
And so well skild ; nathlesse he takes great ioy
Oft-times amongst the wanton nymphs to sport and toy.
And after him the famous Rivers came,
Which doe the earth enrich and beautifie:
The fertile Nile, which creatures new doth frame;
Long Rhodanus, whose sourse springs from the skie;
Faire Ister, flowing from the mountaines hie;
Divine Scamander, purpled yet with blood
Of Greeks and Troians, which therein did die;
Pactolus glistring with his golden flood;
And Tygris fierce, whose streames of none may be with-
Great Ganges; and immortall Eúphrates;
Deepe Indus; and Mæander intricate;
Slow Peneus; and tempestuous Phasides;
Swift Rhene; and Alpheus still immaculate;
Ooraxes, feared for great Cyrus fate;
Tybris, renowmed for the Romaines fame;
Rich Oranochy, though but knowen late;
And that huge River, which doth beare his name Of warlike Amazons which doe
loy on those warlike Women, which so long
Can from all Men so rich a kingdome hold !
And shame on you, O Men, which boast your strong
And valiant hearts, in thoughts lesse hard and bold,
Yet quaile in conquest of that Land of Gold !
But this to you, O Britons, most pertaines,
To whom the right hereof itselfe hath sold;
The which, for sparing litle cost or paines,
Loose so immortall glory, and so endlesse gaines.
Then was there heard a most celestiall sound
Of dainty musicke, which did next ensew
Before the Spouse: that was Arion crownd;
Who, playing on his harpe, unto him drew
The eares and hearts of all that goodly crew;
That even yet the dolphin, which him bore
Through the Ægean seas from pirates vew,
Stood still by him astonisht at his lore,
And all the raging seas for ioy forgot to rore.
So went he playing on the watery plaine :
Soone after whom the lovely Bridegroome came,
The noble Thames, with all his goodly traine.
But him before there went, as best became,
His auncient parents, namely th’auncient Thame;
But much more aged was his wife then he,
The Ouze, whom men doe Isis rightly name;
Full weake and crooked creature seemed shee, (see. And almost blind through eld, that scarce
Therefore on either side she was sustained
Of two smal grooms, which by their names were hight The Churne and Charwell, two small streames, which
pained Themselves her footing to direct aright, Which fayled oft through faint and feeble plight: But Thame was stronger, and of better stay; Yet seem'd full aged by his outward sight, With head all hoary, and his beard all gray, Deawed with silver drops that trickled downe alway:
And eke he somewhat seem'd to stoupe afore
With bowed backe, by reason of the lode
And auncient heavy burden which he bore
Of that faire City, wherein make abode
So many learned impes, that shoote abrode,
And with their braunches spred all Britany,
No lesse then do her elder Sisters broode.
Ioy to you Both, ye double Noursery
Of Arts! but, Oxford, thine doth Thame most glorify.
But he their Sonne full fresh and iolly was,
All decked in a robe of watchet hew,
On which the waves, glittering like christall glas,
So cunningly enwoven were, that few
Could weenen whether they were false or trew:
And on his head like to a coronet
He wore, that seemed strange to common vew,
In which were many towres and castels set,
That it encompast round as with a golden fret.
Like as the Mother of the gods, they say,
In her great iron charet wonts to ride,
When to loves pallace she doth take her way,
Old Cybelè, arayd with pompous pride,
Wearing a diademe embattild wide
With hundred turrets, like a turribant.
With such an one was Thamis beautifide;
That was to weet the famous Troynovant,
In which her kingdomes throne is chiefly resiant.
And round about him many a pretty Page
Attended duely, ready to obay;
All little Rivers which owe vassallage
To him, as to their Lord, and tribute pay:
The chaulky Kenet; and the Thetis gray;
The morish Cole; and the soft-sliding Breane;
The wanton Lee, that oft doth loose his way;
And the still Darent, in whose waters cleane
Ten thousand fishes play and decke his pleasant streame.
Then came his neighbour Flouds which nigh him dwe.
And water all the English soile throughout;
They all on him this day attended well,
And with meet service waited him about;
Ne none disdained low to him to lout:
No not the stately Severne grudg’d at all,
Ne storming Humber, though he looked stout;
But both him honor'd as their principall,
And let their swelling waters low before him fall.
There was the speedy Tamar, which divides
The Cornish and the Devonish confines;
Through both whose borders swiftly downe it glides,
And, meeting Plim, to Plimmouth thence declines:
And Dart, nigh chockt with sands of tinny mines :
But Avon marched in more stately path,
Proud of his adamants with which he shines
And glisters wide, as als of wondrous Bath,
And Bristow faire, which on his waves he builded hath,
And there came Stoure with terrible aspect,
Bearing his sixe deformed heads on hye,
That doth his course through Blandford plains direct,
And washeth Winborne meades in season drye.
Next him went Wylibourne with passage slye,
That of his wylinesse his name doth take,
And of himselfe doth name the shire thereby:
And Mole, that like a nousling mole doth make
His way still under ground till Thames he overtake.