1Sad, sick, and lame, as in my bed I lay,
2Lest pain and
bear all the sway,
3My thoughts being free, I bid them take their flight
4Above the gloomy shades of death and night.
5They, overjoyed with such a large commission,
6Flew instantly, without all intermission,
7Up to that sphere where
night’s pale queen doth run
8Round the circumference of the
globious body spacious was, and bright;
10That half alone that from
Sol’s beams had light;
11The other was
immured in shades of night.
12Nor did she seem to me as poets
13Guiding her chariot with a silver rein,
14Attired like some fair
nymph or virgin queen,
15With naked neck and arms and robes of green.
Endymion oft hath thus her seen;
17But as my thoughts about her orb was hurled,
18I did perceive she was another world.
19Thus being in my fancy raised so far,
20This world appeared to me another star;
21And as the moon a shadow casts and light,
22So is our Earth the empress of their night.
Venus, usher to the night and day,
full-faced beauty to me did display;
25Sometimes she wanéd, then again
26Which in our
or war or peace.
27My fancy next to Mercury would run,
28But craftily he popped behind the sun.
29A wonder ’tis, the medium being so bright,
splendency should be obscured by light.
31Nor could I Sol’s
32His radiant beams dazzled my tender eye;
33And now my wonder is again renewed,
34That he, enlightening all, could not be viewed.
35Yet to my reason this appeared the best:
36That he the center was of all the rest
37The planets, all like
bowls still trundling round
38The vast circumference of his glorious mound;
quickens all with heat and light,
40And by the Earth’s motion makes our day or night.
Next Jupiter, that mild auspicious star:
42I did perceive about his blazing
Four bright attendants always hurried round;
flagrant Mars, where no such moons are found;
Then Saturn (whose aspects so sads my soul)
46About whose orb two sickly
47Then on the
fixed stars I would have gazed,
48But their vast brightness so my mind amazed
49That my affrighted fancy downward flew
the Hours Aurora’s curtain drew,
51At which the ugly
wife of Acheron
52Bid drive, and slashed her drowsy monsters on;
53With her there went her firstborn brat, old Error,
Eumenides, poor mortals’ terror,
55Who with their snakes, and whips, and brands, were hurled
amazement to the lower world;
57Being scared themselves at the approach of light,
antipodes they took their flight.
59Sin’s curséd offspring with their
prodigious, incestuous race:
61Pale, ghastly, shuddering Horror, lost Despair,
62And sobbing Sorrow, tearing off her hair:
her sable womb were born and bred,
64And from the light with her now frighted fled;
65And then my maids my window curtains drew,
66And, as my pain, so comforts did renew.
67Unto the God of truth, light, life, and love,
here begin shall end above.