Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
Extracts from Sixe Idillia: The Prayer of Theocritus for Syracuse
By Sir Edward Dyer (1543–1607)
(Idyll 16)

O JUPITER, and thou Minerva fierce in fight,
And thou Proserpina, who with thy mother hast renown
By Lysimelia streams, in Ephyra that wealthy town,
Out of our island drive our enemies, our bitter fate,
Along the Sardine sea, that death of friends they may relate        5
Unto their children and their wives, and that the towns opprest
By enemies, of th’ old inhabitants may be possest:
That they may till the fields, and sheep upon the downs may bleat
By thousands infinite and fat, and that the herd of neat
As to their stalls they go may press the lingering traveller.        10
Let grounds be broken up for seed, what time the grasshopper
Watching the shepherds by their flocks, in boughs close singing lies,
And let the spiders spread their slender webs in armories,
So that of war the very name may not be heard again.
But let the Poets strive, King Hiero’s glory for to strain        15
Beyond the Scythian sea, and far beyond those places where
Semiramis did build those stately walls and rule did bear.
’Mongst whom I will be one: for many other men beside
Jove’s daughters love, whose study still shall be both far and wide,
Sicilian Arethusa with the people to advance        20
And warlike Hiero. Ye Graces who keep resiance
In the Thessalian mount Orchomenus, to Thebes of old
So hateful, though of you beloved, to stay I will be bold
Where I am bid to come, and I with them will still remain,
That shall invite me to their house with all my Muses’ train.        25
Nor you will I forsake: for what to men can lovely be
Without your company? The Graces always be with me.

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