Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
The portreiture, that was upon the wal
Withinne the temple of myghty Mars the rede?
Al peynted was the wal in lengthe and brede
Lyk to the estres of the grisly place
That highte the grete temple of Mars in Trace,
In thilke colde frosty regioun
Ther as Mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.
First on the wal was peynted a forest
In which ther dwelleth neither man ne best,
With knotty, knarry, bareyne trees olde,
Of stubbes sharpe and hidouse to biholde,
In which ther ran a rumbel and a swough
As though a storm sholde bresten every bough.
And dounward from an hille, under a bente,
Ther stood the temple of Mars Armypotente,
Wroght al of burned steel, of which the entree
Was long and streit, and gastly for to see,
And therout came a rage and suche a veze,
That it made al the gate for to rese.
The northren lyght in at the dores shoon,
For wyndowe on the wal ne was ther noon,
Thurgh which men myghten any light discerne.
The dore was al of adamant eterne,
Yclenched overthwart and endelong
With iren tough, and for to make it strong
Every pyler, the temple to sustene,
Was tonne-greet of iren bright and shene.
Ther saugh I first the dirke ymaginyng
Of Felonye, and al the compassyng,
The crueel Ire, reed as any gleede,
The pykepurs, and eek the pale Drede,
The smylere with the knyf under the cloke,
The shepne brennynge with the blake smoke,
The tresoun of the mordrynge in the bedde,
The open werre, with woundes al bibledde;
Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace,
Al ful of chirkyng was that sory place.
The sleere of hymself yet saugh I ther,
His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer;
The nayl ydryven in the shode anyght,
The colde deeth, with mouth gapyng upright.
Amyddes of the temple sat Meschaunce,
With Disconfort and Sory Contenaunce.
Yet saugh I Woodnesse laughynge in his rage,
Armed Compleint, Outhees, and fiers Outrage;
The careyne in the busk with throte ycorve,
A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm ystorve,
The tiraunt with the pray by force yraft,
The toun destroyed, ther was nothyng laft.
Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres,
The hunte strangled with the wilde beres,
The sowe freten the child right in the cradel,
The cook yscalded, for al his longe ladel.
Noght was foryeten by the infortune of Marte,
The cartere overryden with his carte,
Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
Ther were also, of Martes divisioun,
The barbour, and the bocher, and the smyth
That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his styth.
And al above, depeynted in a tour,
Saugh I Conquest sittynge in greet honour,
With the sharpe swerd over his heed
Hangynge by a soutil twyned threed.
Depeynted was the slaughtre of Julius,
Of grete Nero, and of Antonius;
Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
Yet was hir deth depeynted ther-biforn
By manasynge of Mars, right by figure;
So was it shewed in that portreiture,
As is depeynted in the sterres above
Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.
Suffiseth oon ensample in stories olde,
I may nat rekene hem alle though I wolde.
The statue of Mars upon a carte stood
Armed, and looked grym as he were wood,
And over his heed ther shynen two figures
Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures
That oon Puella, that oother Rubeus.
This god of armes was arrayed thus:
A wolf ther stood biforn hym at his feet,
With eyen rede, and of a man he eet.
With soutil pencel was depeynt this storie,
In redoutynge of Mars and of his glorie.
Geoffrey Chaucer. The Tales of Caunterbury. The Knightes Tale.
Went Hero thorow Sestos, from her tower
To Venus temple, where unhappilye,
As after chaunc'd, they did each other spye.
So faire a church as this, had Venus none,
The wals were of discoloured Jasper stone,
Wherein was Proteus carved, and o'rehead,
A livelie vine of greene sea agget spread;
Where by one hand, light headed Bacchus hoong,
And with the other, wine from grapes Out wroong.
Of Christall shining faire, the pavement was,
The towne of Sestos cal'd it Venus glasse.
There might you see the gods in sundrie shapes,
Committing headdie ryots, incest, rapes:
For know, that underneath this radiant floure,
Was Danaes statue in a brazen tower,
Jove, slylie stealing from his sisters bed,
To dallie with Idalian Ganimed:
And for his love Europa, bellowing loud,
And tumbling with the Rainbow in a cloud:
Blood-quaffing Mars, heaving the yron net,
Which limping Vulcan and his Cyclops set:
Love kindling fire, to burne such townes as Troy,
Sylvanus weeping for the lovely boy
That now is turn'd into a Cypres tree,
Under whose shade the Wood-gods love to bee.
Christopher Marlowe. Hero and Leander. 121-256