And though it had, yet in thy state as then thou did not rest.
In Messene lande.
It was the time when under shape of shepehierde with a wande
Of Olyve and a pipe of reedes thou kept Admetus sheepe.
Now in this time that (save of Love) thou tooke none other keepe,
And madste thee merrie with thy pipe, the glistring Maias sonne
By chaunce abrode the fields of Pyle spide certaine cattle runne
Without a hierde, the which he stole and closely did them hide
Among the woods. This pretie slight no earthly creature spide,
Save one old churle that Battus hight. This Battus had the charge
Of welthie Neleus feeding groundes, and all his pastures large,
And kept a race of goodly Mares. Of him he was afraide.
And lest by him his privie theft should chaunce to be bewraide,
He tooke a bribe to stop his mouth, and thus unto him saide:
My friend I pray thee if perchaunce that any man enquire
This cattell say thou saw them not. And take thou for thy hire
This faire yong Bullocke. Tother tooke the Bullocke at his hand,
And shewing him a certaine stone that lay upon the lande,
Sayd, go thy way: Assoone this stone thy doings shall bewray,
As I shall doe. So Mercurie did seeme to go his way.
Annon he commes me backe againe, and altred both in speche
And outward shape, saide: Countrieman Ich heartely bezeche,
And if thou zawest any kie come royling through this grounde,
Or driven away, tell what he was and where they may be vownde.
And I chill gethee vor thy paine an Hecfar and hir match.
The Carle perceyving double gaine, and greedy for to catch,
Sayde: Under yon same hill they were, and under yon same hillCham zure they are, and with his hand he poynted thereuntill.
At that Mercurius laughing saide: False knave: and doste bewray
Me to my selfe? doste thou bewray me to my selfe I say?
And with that word strayt to a stone he turnde his double heart,
In which the slaunder yet remaines without the stones desart.
The Bearer of the charmed Rod, the suttle Mercurie,
This done, arose with waving wings and from that place did flie.
And as he hovered in the Ayre he viewde the fieldes bylow
Of Atticke and the towne it selfe with all the trees that grow
In Lycey where the learned Clarkes did wholsome preceptes show.