The Great Roman Astrologer, Marcus Manlius,
on the 12 Zodiacal Signs

Libra   Scorpio   Sagittarius   Capricorn   Aquarius   Pisces
Aries   Taurus   Gemini   Cancer   Leo   Virgo

Libra, whose Scales, when Autumn turns the Signs,
And ruddy Bacchus treads the juicy Vines;
In equal Balance, poize the Night and Day,
Teach how to measure, and instruct to weigh:
And Rival Palamed (who Numbers found,
And into Letters fram'd unpolisht sound;
To Him the Art of Words, and Speech we owe,
Till then Men only Spoak, but knew not how),
Besides, He'll know the Niceties of Law;
What guard the Good, and what the Guilty Awe,
What Vengeance wait on Crimes, with Skill declare,
His Private Chamber, still shall be the Bar.
What He determines, that for Right shall stand,
As Justice weigh'd her Balance in his Hand.
This Ruled at Servius's Birth, who first did give
Our Law a Being, rather than Revive;
The Tables seem'd Old, Reverend Senseless Lines,
Meer waxen Things, and sit to serve Designs,
As Fools mistook, or Crafty Knaves would draw;
Till He infus'd a Soul, and made them Law.

But when Autumnal Scales do first appear
Happy the Birth, he shall be known from far,
The Glory of the Bench, and of the Bar;
He justest Laws shall make, and Life and Death
Depend upon the Issues of his Breath;
Him Towns shall fear, the Earth observe his Nod,
And after Earth the Heaven enjoys a God.

Bright Scorpio Arm'd, with poys'nous Tail prepares,
Mens Martial Minds, for violence and Wars;
His Venom heats, and boyls their Bloods to Rage,
And Rapine spreads o're the unlucky Age.
Yet 'tis not Prey they seek, as much as Blood,
For e'en in Peace they fiercely trace the Wood,
O're Forest range, and every Plain infest,
Now Fight with Man, and now Engage with Beast.
To please the Crowd, they unprovok'd engage,
And sell their Lives, to the dishonest Stage;
And when calm Peace doth Publick Rest bestow,
Yet still to Fight, each seeks himself a Foe.
They spend their leisure Hours in fierce Alarms,
And all their Recreation is in Arms.

Thus Act these Signs, but Scorpio's Tayl displays
A Double Influence from his Forked Rays;
For when that first appears, the Peaceful Chyild
Shall Cities Raise, and be inclin'd to build;
The world shall see him with his Plow surround
The place design'd, and mark the fatal Bound;
Or he shall Wast what others Pains did raise,
Where Populous Cities stood, there Beasts shall graze
Or Harvest grow; He leads to these Extreams,
And Power, agreeing waits upon his Beams.

The double Centaur different Tempers breeds,
They break the Horse, and tame the fiery Steeds;
They love the sounding Whip, the Race, the Rein,
And whirl the Chariot o're the duty Plain;
Nor is their Humor to the Fields confin'd,
They range the Woods, and tame the Savage Kind;
Young Bears they break, and Tygers heats asswage,
And hear Young Lions roaring without Rage,
Discourse the Elephant, and Teach the Mass
A mimick Action, and a decent Grace;
To Act in Plays, or raise th'unwieldly load,
To Dance, and be the Darling of the Crowd.
For in the Frame, in double forms exprest,
The Man is uppermost, and rules the Beast;
His Bow full drawn implies, his Rays impart,
Strength to the Limbs, and Vigor to the Heart.
Quick active Motions, full of warmth and heat,
Still pressing on, unknowing to retreat.

Bold Sagittarius, when he first appears,
Heats the gay Birth, and makes him fam'd for Wars;
In Triumphs great, the Wonder of the Crowed,
By Captives carry'd, he almost a God
Shall climb the Capitol, bright Fame pursue,
Old Cities raze, or grace the Earth with New:
But ill success (his Forehead's wreath'd with Frowns)
Shall wast his Fame, and blast his gather'd Crowns.
Thus Conquering Hannibal, by this Sign betray'd
Before his flight perceiv'd his Wreaths to fade,
He paid for Trebia's and for Cannae's fame,
And recompenc'd our Losses by his shame.

But Sacred Vesta guards thy fatal Fire,
And thence 'tis guess'd, what Minds thy Rays inspire,
Contracted Goat; by thee that Art's infus'd,
Which Fire assists, and where a Flame is us'd;
By thee the Miners burn the Womb of Earth,
And see the place of Metals fatal Birth:
By thee they melt; by thee they work the Mould,
Refine, and Stamp it into a mighty Gold:
By thee, the Silver, Iron, Gold, and Brass,
The Forge dissolves, and forms the easie Mass:
By thee, the Ovens heat, and Baths acquire,
And Happy Chymists blow enriching Fire:
Thy Cold (for tho o're Winder Signs does reign,
Pull'st back the Sun, and send'st Us Day again)
Makes Brokers Rich, for whilst you spraed your Ice,
Their Wares go off, and they enhance the Price:
From thee our Youth unconstant Tempers prove,
And eagerly pursue unlawful Love,
'Cause Goat above; but these the Fish behind
Corrects in Age, and fixes the soft Mind.

But when the narrow Goat erects his Tayl
He drives to Sea, and much inclines to Sail,
Ignoble Trade when Ploughs the dangerous Main,
And precious Life is meanly stak'd for Gain.

Aquarius pouring out his Urn, imparts
An useful Knowledge in resembling Arts,
To find out Springs, and with new Streams supply
The Barren Countries, and refresh the dry;
To raise in Pipes, or to extend in Beams,
And in high Rooms imprison Foreign Streams;
Affront the Sea, for State, not use, restrain
The Waves with Moles, and curb the raging Main:
Or Engine raise, whence Waters mount above,
And mix the lower, with the higher Jove,
A thousand other Arts, which Waters sway,
As Channels lead, or else as Pipes convey,
Depend upon the Influence of his Ray.
And to his Births the World oblig'd shall owe
Spheres, Cycles, Orns, and turn New Skies below,
Soft, easy Tempers, loving Coin for use,
Not sordid, but inclin'd to be profuse;
Not pincht, nor yet too swelling in Estate;
Thus flows the Urn, and fixes this for Fate.

The Good, the Pious, and the Just are born
When first Aquarius pours out his Urn.

Last Double Pisces, from their shining scale
Spread watry influences, and incline to Sail;
To trust their Lives to Seas, to plow the Deep,
To make fit Rigging, or to build a Ship.
In short, what e're can for a Fleed be fram'd,
A thousand Arts, too numerous to be nam'd.
Beside to steer, observe the Stars, and guide
As they direct, and never lose the Tide;
To know the Coasts, the Winds, the Ports, and Shores
To turn the Helm, or ply the bending oars;
To sweep smooth Seas with Nets, to drag the Sand
And draw the leaping Captives to the Land,
Lay cheating Wires, or with unfaithful bait
The Hook conceal, and get by the deceit:
To fight at Sea, to stain the Waves with blood,
Whilst War lies floating on th' unstable flood:
Fruitful their Births, of Pleasure fond, engage
In Love, are quick, but changing with their Age.

But could I rule, could I the Fates design,
The rising Fishes ne're should govern mine;
The give a Hateful, Pratling, Railing Tongue,
Still full of Venom, always in the wrong;
That Blows up Jealousies, and heightens Fears,
By muttering Poys'nous Whispers in Mens Ears.
Faithless the Births, and full of Wild desire;
Their faith is Treachery, and their Love is Fire.
For when the skies grew weak, when Giants strove,
And snaky Typhon shook the Throne of Jove,
Fair Venus fled, an in a Fish's shape
(This Syria knows) secur'd her mean escape;
Then did she through the Scaly Kind inspire
New Heats, and with the Ocean mixt her Fire.
No Single Births, for which this Sign begins,
Twins shall be born, or those that shall have Twins.

First Aries shines, and as he ofte doth lose
His Fleece, and then as frequently renews,
'Twixt sudden Ruin, and a fair Estate
He fixes the variety of Fate;
He gets,then loseth, then returns to Gain,
Then Loss steals in, and empties all his pain;
He rears new Lambs, he doth encrease the Fold,
And make the Rams to shine in native Gold;
Betters the Wool, and whilst the Subject grows
He forms Mens Minds to use what he bestows;
To pick, to card, to spin, and weave, to deal
In Cloath with gain; to Buy, Exchange, and sell:
All useful Arts, whose constant Works supply
Mens real Want, not only Luxury;
This Pallas owns, nor doth disdain to claim
Arachne's conquest as her greatest Fame.
There are the manners, these the various Arts
Which Aries Rays, and secret force imparts;
To anxious fears he troubled Minds betrays
And strong Desires to venture all for Praise.

Thus when the Ram ascends, and proudly turns
His bending backward Neck before his Horns
To Mortal Eyes, the wretched Births are Curst
With Ravenous Tempers, and inflam'd with Lust;
All Modesty shall be to Gold betray'd,
Nor Parents Care secure the easie Maid:
These Tempers are his Own; as Fancy leads
He roves, and wantons o're the flowry Meads:
Forward to push, and as the Grass renews
His wasted Strength, he Courts the willing Ewes.
To Travel he inclines through Lands unknown,
He Ploughs new Seas, and makes the World his own;
This he prefigur'd when his Back convey'd
Young Phryxus sage, and lost the Falling Maid.

Dull Honest Plowmen to manure the Field
Strong Taurus bears, by him the Grounds are till'd:
No gaudy things he breeds, no Prize for worth,
But Blesseth Earth, and brings her Labour forth:
He takes the Yoke, nor doth the Plough disdain,
And teacheth Farmers to manure the Plain:
He's their Example, when he bears the Sun
In his bright Horns, the noble toyl's begun:
The useful Plowshare he retrieves from Rust,
Nor liest at ease, and wants his strength in Dust
To him the Curij, and to him we owe
The brave Serrani, he i'the'Fields did Rods bestow,
And sent a Dictator from his Plow.
Reserv'd, aspiring Minds, Limbs slow to move
But strong in Bulk his powerful Rays improve,
And on his Curled Front fits wanton Love.

The Bull's bright part that first appears, creates
Vile Pathicks scandals to the other Fates.
The Cause, if it be fit to search for one]
When Nature works, may easily be shewn;
His Back-Part first appears, in that he bears
The Cloudy Train of Female stars:
And thus the Posture, and the Sex combine
To show the Influence of the rising Sign:
He bends to Plow, and o're the Fruitful Plains
The Laboring Ox grows Fat upon his Pains.

Soft Gemini to easier Arts incline
For softer Studies fit an Infant Sign.
They tune rough Words, or they incline to Sing,
To stop the Pipe, or strike the speaking String;
Through Reeds they blow the Natural Sound in Measure,
Gay their delight, and e'en their Pains are Pleasure;
Wars they avoid, Old Age they chace with Song,
And when Late Death o'retakes them they are Young.
Sometimes to Heaven they mount, and trace the Stars,
Then fix in Globes, or turn the Signs in Spheres;
Their Wit reigns o're their Nature, and refines
Its Powers; This is the influence of the Twins.

But when their Feet the rising Twins do shew
And half appear Above, half lye Below,
The Births are happy, all their Parts refind,
And Arts enrich the Treasures of the Mind;
Ready their Wit, persuasive is their Tongue,
In Musick skill'd, and excellent in Song;
These are the Powers their rising Rays dispense,
They Wit bestow, and fix that Wit with Sense.

But glowing Cancer (where the Summer Sun
With fiery Chariots bounds the Torrid Zone,
Drives fiercely up, then with a bending Rein
Sinks down, and runs the lower Rounds again.)
As close in's Shell he lies, affords his Aid
To greedy Merchants, and inclines to Trade;
His Births shall sail, through Seas and Dangers tost
To reap the Riches of a Foreign Coast.
What thrifty Nature hath but thinly sown
In Many Countries, they shall bring to One;
Intent on gain ne're heed the Poors Complaint
But thrive on Scarcity, and live on Want;
For Wealth undaunted gather every Wind,
Out-sail good Fame, and leave Repute behind,
And when their greedy Hands have seiz'd tjhe Store
Of this, search other Worlds, and seek for more.
Complaining at the slowness of the Years,
With swifter Suns, and set too vast a rate
On Time it self, to raise a quick Estate;
Their Bodies shall be Strong, inur'd to Pain,
Their Wits Contriving, and intent on gain.

When rouling Cancer riseth veild in Clouds,
I'th' Skies as deeply hid as in the Floods,
The Moon resembling when depriv'd of Light;
The Births are Blind, and wish in vain for sight:
By Fates a Verse condem'd to Double Death,
Dead whilst Alive, and Buryed whilst they breath.

What Inclinations Leo's Rays dispense
Is quickly known, 'tis plain to Common Sense,
He gives his Own; for he the Woods infests
The mighty Terror of the meaner Beasts:
He lives on Rapine, ranges all the Day,
And sullenly at Night groans o're his Prey.
Hence he inclines Mens Minds to Hunt, and fills
Our Nobles spacious Halls with grinning spoyls;
There Skins and Horns do spread a dismal grace,
And stand as certain Heralds of their Race;
This Beast was mine, and that my Father's game,
They cry, these are the Annals of their Fame:
That generous Youth which France and Spain did fear
Now prove the Humble Terror of a Deer.
Nay some in Towns pursue this wild delight.
Their barbarous grow, and breed up Beasts to fight;
Then bring them out for fight in Theaters,
And feast their Luxury with Bruitish Wars;
Cruel in Sport: Their Posts are grac't with Spoyl,
And they get shameful Honour without Toyl:
He makes Men Warm, their Passions quickly rais'd,
Like Boys soon angry, and as soon appeas'd:
But Plain and Honest all their Thoughts sincere;
Pure as the Sun, and like the Water clear.

But when the Lion shews his ravenous Jaws
Prepared for Rapine, and unsheats his Paws,
A Spendthrift's born, who minds himself alone,
He wrongs his Father, and he cheats his Son:
His Race in vain with expectation wait,
For in himself he buries his Estate;
So fast his Gluttony, his Lust so wild
That he devours himself, yet is not fill'd:
And whlst his Appetite proceeds to crave
He eats his Funeral, and he spends his Grave.

But modest Virgo's Rays give polisht parts,
And fill Mens Breasts with Honesty and Arts;
No tricks for Gain, nor love of Wealth dispense,
But piercing Thoughts, and winning Eloquence;
With words persuasive, and with Rhetorick strong
They rule, and are e'en Monarchs by their Tongue.
Through Nature's Secrets too, they coldly press,
Tho' deeply hid, and meet a just success.
In Short-Hand skill'd, where little Marks comprise,
Whole words, a Sentence in a Letter lies;
And whilst Obedient hands their Aid afford,
Prevent the Tongue and Fix the falling Word.
But bashful Modesty, casts down their Eyes,
The best of Vices, yet 'tis still a Vice,
Because it stifles, checks or nips like Frost,
A blooming Verture, and the Fruit is lost.
Besides, though strange such Influence should come
From Virgo's Rays, she gives a fruitful womb.

When Virgo rises (who whilst Right Prevail'd
Rul'd here below, retreating when it fail'd),
To awful Honors all the Births must rise
Profoundly skill'd in Sacred Mysteries;
Good, Pious, Just, Devout, unus'd to Rage
And great Examples to the looser Age.

This page last updated 14 Apr 2011 E.V.