Metamorphoses (tr. Golding)/Book 7
¶ THE SEVENTH BOOKE
of Ouids Metamorphosis.
nd now in ship of Pagasa the Mynies cut the seas.
And leading under endlesse night his age in great disease
Of scarcitie was Phiney seene, and Boreas sonnes had chaste
Away the Maidenfaced foules that did his victels waste.
And after suffring many things in noble Jasons band,
In muddie Phasis gushing streame at last they went aland.
There while they going to the King demaund the golden fleece
Brought thither certaine yeares before by Phryxus out of Greece,
And of their dreadfull labors wait an answere to receive:
Aeëtas daughter in hir heart doth mightie flames conceyve.
And after strugling verie long, when reason could not win
The upper hand of rage: she thus did in hir selfe begin:
In vaine, Medea, doste thou strive: some God what ere he is
Against thee bendes his force. For what a wondrous thing is this?
Is any thing like this which men doe terme by name of Love?
For why should I my fathers hestes esteeme so hard above
All measure? sure in very deede they are too hard and sore.
Why feare I lest yon straunger whome I never saw before
Should perish? what should be the cause of this my feare so great?
Unhappie wench (and if thou canst) suppresse this uncouth heat
That burneth in thy tender brest: and if so be I coulde,
A happie turne it were, and more at ease then be I shoulde.
But now an uncouth maladie perforce against my will
Doth hale me. Love persuades me one, another thing my skill.
The best I see and like: the worst I follow headlong still.
Why being of the royall bloud so fondly doste thou rave,
Upon a straunger thus to dote, desiring for to have
An husband of another world? at home thou mightest finde
A lover meete for thine estate on whome to set thy minde.
And yet it is but even a chaunce if he shall live or no:
God graunt him for to live. I may without offence pray so,
Although I lovde him not: for what hath Jason trespast me?
Who woulde not pitie Jasons youth onlesse they cruell be?
What creature is there but his birth and prowesse might him move?
And setting all the rest asyde, who woulde not be in love
With Jasons goodlie personage? my heart assuredly
Is toucht therewith. But if that I provide not remedie,
With burning breath of blasting Bulles needes sindged must he bee.
Of seedes that he himselfe must sow a harvest shall he see
Of armed men in battell ray upon the ground up grow
Against the which it hoveth him his manhode for to show.
And as a pray he must be set against the Dragon fell.
If I these things let come to passe, I may confesse right well
That of a Tyger I was bred: and that within my brest
A heart more harde than any steele or stonie rocke doth rest.
Why rather doe I not his death with wrathfull eyes beholde?
And joy with others seeing him to utter perill solde?
Why doe I not enforce the Bulles against him? Why, I say,
Exhort I not the cruell men which shall in battell ray
Arise against him from the ground? and that same Dragon too
Within whose eyes came never sleepe? God shield I so should doo.
But prayer smally bootes, except I put to helping hand.
And shall I like a Caytife then betray my fathers land?
Shall I a straunger save whome we nor none of ours doth know?
That he by me preserved may without me homeward row?
And take another to his wife, and leave me, wretched wight,
To torments? If I wist that he coulde worke me such a spight,
Or could in any others love than only mine delight,
The Churle should die for me. But sure he beareth not the face
Like one that wold doe so. His birth, his courage, and his grace
Doe put me clearly out of doubt he will not me deceyve,
No nor forget the great good turnes he shall by me receyve.
Yet shall he to me first his faith for more assurance plight
And solemly he shall be sworne to keepe the covenant right.
Why fearste thou now without a cause? step to it out of hand:
And doe not any lenger time thus lingring fondly stand.
For ay shall Jason thinke himselfe beholding unto thee:
And shall thee marrie solemly: yea honored shalt thou bee
Of all the Mothers great and small throughout the townes of Greece
For saving of their sonnes that come to fetch the golden fleece.
And shall I then leave brother, sister, father, kith and kin?
And household Gods, and native soyle, and all that is therein?
And saile I know not whither with a straunger? Yea: why not?
My father surely cruell is, my Countrie rude God wot:
My brother yet a verie babe: my sister I dare say
Contented is with all hir heart that I should go away:
The greatest God is in my selfe: the things I doe forsake
Are trifles in comparison of those that I shall take.
For saving of the Greekish ship renoumed shall I bee.
A better place I shall enjoy with Cities riche and free,
Whose fame doth florish fresh even here, and people that excell
In civill life and all good Artes: and whome I would not sell
For all the goods within the worlde, Duke Aesons noble sonne.
Whome had I to my lawfull Feere assuredly once wonne,
Most happie yea and blest of God I might my selfe account,
And with my head above the starres to heaven I should surmount.
But men report that certaine rockes (I know not what) doe meete
Amid the waves, and monstrously againe asunder fleete:
And how Charybdis, utter foe to ships that passe thereby,
Now sowpeth in, now speweth out the Sea incessantly:
And ravening Scylla being hemde with cruell dogs about,
Amids the gulfe of Sicilie doth make a barking out.
What skilleth that? As long as I enjoy the thing I love,
And hang about my Jasons necke, it shall no whit me move
To saile the daungerous Seas: as long as him I may embrace
I cannot surely be afraide in any kinde of case.
Or if I chaunce to be afraide, my feare shall only tende
But for my husband. Callste thou him thy husband? Doste pretende
Gay titles to thy foule offence, Medea? nay not so:
But rather looke about how great a lewdnesse thou doste go,
And shun the mischiefe while thou mayst. She had no sooner said
These wordes, but right and godlinesse and shamefastnesse were staid
Before hir eyes, and frantick love did flie away dismaid.
She went me to an Altar that was dedicate of olde
To Perseys daughter Hecate (of whome the witches holde
As of their Goddesse) standing in a thicke and secrete wood
So close it coulde not well be spide: and now the raging mood
Of furious love was well alaide and clearely put to flight:
When spying Aesons sonne, the flame that seemed quenched quight
Did kindle out of hand againe. Hir cheekes began to glowe,
And flushing over all hir face the scarlet bloud did flowe.
And even as when a little sparke that was in ashes hid,
Uncovered with the whisking windes is from the ashes rid,
Eftsoones it taketh nourishment and kindleth in such wise,
That to his former strength againe and flaming it doth rise:
Even so hir quailed love which late ye would have thought had quight
Bene vanisht out of minde, as soone as Jason came in sight
Did kindle to his former force in vewing of the grace
With which he did avaunce himselfe then comming there in place.
And (as it chaunced) farre more faire and beautifull of face
She thought him then than ever erst, but sure it doth behove
Hir judgement should be borne withall bicause she was in love.
She gapte and gazed in his face with fixed staring eyen
As though she never had him seene before that instant time.
So farre she was beside hir selfe she thought it should not bee
The face of any worldly wight the which she then did see.
She was not able for hir life to turne hir eyes away,
But when he tooke hir by the hand and speaking gan to pray
Hir softly for to succor him, and promisde faithfully
To take hir to his wedded wife, she falling by and by
A weeping, said: Sir, what I doe I see apparantly.
Not want of knowledge of the truth but love shall me deceive.
You shalbe saved by my meanes. And now I must receive
A faithfull promise at your hand for saving of your life.
He made a solemne vow, and sware to take hir to his wife,
By triple Hecates holie rites, and by what other power
So ever else had residence within that secret bower,
And by the Sire of him that should his Fathrinlaw become
Who all things doth behold, and as he hopte to overcome
The dreadfull daungers which he had soone after to assay.
Duke Jason being credited receivde of hir streight way
Enchaunted herbes: and having learnde the usage of the same,
Departed thence with merrie heart, and to his lodging came.
Next Morne had chaste the streaming stars: and folke by heapes did flocke
To Marsis sacred field, and there stoode thronging in a shocke,
To see the straunge pastimes. The King most stately to beholde
With yvorie Mace above them all did sit in throne of golde.
Anon the brazenhoved Bulles from stonie nostrils cast
Out flakes of fire: their scalding breath the growing grasse did blast.
And looke what noise a chimney full of burning fewell makes,
Or Flint in softning in the Kell when first the fire it takes
By sprincling water thereupon: such noyse their boyling brests
Turmoyling with the firie flames enclosed in their chests,
Such noise their scorched throtebolles make. Yet stoutly Jason went
To meete them. They their dreadfull eyes against him grimly bent, '
And eke their homes with yron tipt: and strake the dust about
In stamping with their cloven clees: and with their belowing out
Set all the fielde upon a smoke. The Mynies seeing that
Were past their wits with sodaine feare, but Jason feeled nat
So much as any breath of theirs: such strength hath sorcerie.
Their dangling Dewlaps with his hand he coyd unfearfully.
And putting yokes upon their neckes he forced them to draw
The heavie burthen of the plough which erst they never saw,
And for to breake the fielde which erst had never felt the share.
The men of Colchos seeing this, like men amazed fare.
The Mynies with their shouting out their mazednesse augment,
And unto Jason therewithall give more encouragement.
Then in a souldiers cap of steele a Vipers teeth he takes,
And sowes them in the new plowde fielde. The ground then soking makes
The seede foresteepte in poyson strong, both supple lithe and soft,
And of these teeth a right straunge graine there growes anon aloft.
For even as in the mothers wombe an infant doth begin
To take the lively shape of man, and formed is within
To due proportion piece by piece in every limme, and when
Full ripe he is, he takes the use of Aire with other men:
So when that of the Vipers teeth the perfect shape of man
Within the bowels of the earth was formed, they began
To rise togither orderly upon the fruitefull fielde:
And (which a greater wonder is) immediatly they wielde
Their weapons growing up with them, whom when the Greekes behilde
Preparing for to push their Pikes (which sharply headed were)
In Jasons face, downe went their heades, their heartes did faint for feare:
And also she that made him safe began abasht to bee.
For when against one naked man so huge an armie shee
Beheld of armed enmies bent, hir colour did abate
And sodainly both voyd of bloud and livelie heate she sate.
And lest the chaunted weedes the which she had him given before
Should faile at neede, a helping charme she whispred overmore,
And practisde other secret Artes the which she kept in store.
He casting streight a mightie stone amid his thickest foes,
Doth voyde the battell from him selfe and turnes it unto those.
These earthbred brothers by and by did one another wound
And never ceased till that all lay dead upon the ground.
The Greekes were glad, and in their armes did clasp their Champion stout,
And clinging to him earnestly embraced him about.
And thou fond Medea too couldst well have found in hart
The Champion for to have embraste, but that withheld thou wart
By shamefastnesse, and yet thou hadst embraced him, if dread
Of stayning of thine honor had not staid thee in that stead.
But yet as far forth as thou maist, thou doste in heart rejoyce,
And secretly (although without expressing it in voyce)
Doste thanke thy charmes and eke the Gods as Authors of the same.
Now was remaining as the last conclusion of this game,
By force of chaunted herbes to make the watchfull Dragon sleepe
Within whose eyes came never winke: who had in charge to keepe
The goodly tree upon the which the golden fleeces hung.
With crested head, and hooked pawes, and triple spirting tung,
Right ougly was he to beholde. When Jason had besprent
Him with the juice of certaine herbes from Lethey River sent,
And thrice had mumbled certaine wordes which are of force to cast
So sound a sleepe on things that even as dead a time they last,
Which make the raging surges calme and flowing Rivers stay,
The dreadfull Dragon by and by (whose eyes before that day
Wist never erst what sleeping ment) did fall so fast asleepe
That Jason safely tooke the fleece of golde that he did keepe.
Of which his bootie being proud, he led with him away
The Author of his good successe another fairer pray:
And so with conquest and a wife he loosde from Colchos strand,
And in Larissa haven safe did go againe aland.
The auncient men of Thessalie togither with their wives
To Church with offrings gone for saving of their childrens lives.
Great heapes of fuming frankincense were fryed in the flame
And vowed Bulles to sacrifice with homes faire gilded came.
But from this great solemnitie Duke Aeson was away,
Now at deathes door and spent with yeares. Then Jason thus gan say:
O wife to whome I doe confesse I owe my life in deede,
Though al things thou to me hast given, and thy deserts exceede
Beleife: yet if enchauntment can, (for what so hard appeares
Which strong enchauntment can not doe?) abate thou from my yeares,
And add them to my fathers life. As he these wordes did speake,
The teares were standing in his eyes. His godly sute did breake
Medeas heart: who therewithall bethought hir of hir Sire
In leaving whome she had exprest a far unlike desire.
But yet bewraying not hir thoughts, she said: O Husband fie,
What wickednesse hath scapt your mouth? Suppose you then that I
Am able of your life the terme where I will to bestow?
Let Hecat never suffer that. Your sute (as well you know)
Against all right and reason is. But I will put in proofe
A greater gift than you require and more for your behoofe.
I will assay your father's life by cunning to prolong,
And not with your yeares for to make him yong againe and strong:
So our threeformed Goddesse graunt with present helpe to stand
A furthrer of the great attempt the which I take in hand.
Before the Moone should circlewise close both hir homes in one
Three nightes were yet as then to come. As soon as that she shone
Most full of light, and did behold the earth with fulsome face,
Medea with hir haire not trust so much as in a lace,
But flaring on hir shoulders twaine, and barefoote, with hir gowne
Ungirded, gate hir out of doores and wandred up and downe
Alone the dead time of the night. Both Man, and Beast, and Bird
Were fast asleepe: the Serpents slie in trayling forward stird
So softly as ye would have thought they still asleepe had bene.
The moysting Ayre was whist. No leafe ye could have moving sene.
The starres alonly faire and bright did in the welkin shine
To which she lifting up hir handes did thrise hirselfe encline:
And thrice with water of the brooke hir haire besprincled shee:
And gasping thrise she opte hir mouth: and bowing downe hir knee
Upon the bare hard ground, she said: O trustie time of night
Most faithfull unto privities, O golden starres whose light
Doth jointly with the Moone succeede the beames that blaze by day
And thou three headed Hecate who knowest best the way
To compasse this our great attempt and art our chiefest stay:
Ye Charmes and Witchcrafts, and thou Earth which both with herbe and weed
Of mightie working furnishest the Wizardes at their neede:
Ye Ayres and windes: ye Elves of Hilles, of Brookes, of Woods alone,
Of standing Lakes, and of the Night approche ye everychone.
Through helpe of whom (the crooked bankes much wondring at the thing)
I have compelled streames to run cleane backward to their spring.
By charmes I make the calme Seas rough, and make the rough Seas plaine,
And cover all the Skie with Cloudes and chase them thence againe.
By charmes I raise and lay the windes, and burst the Vipers jaw.
And from the bowels of the Earth both stones and trees doe draw.
Whole woods and Forestes I remove: I make the Mountaines shake,
And even the Earth it selfe to grone and fearfully to quake.
I call up dead men from their graves: and thee lightsome Moone
I darken oft, though beaten brasse abate thy perill soone.
Our Sorcerie dimmes the Morning faire, and darkes the Sun at Noone.
The flaming breath of firie Bulles ye quenched for my sake
And caused their unwieldie neckes the bended yoke to take.
Among the Earthbred brothers you a mortall war did set
And brought asleepe the Dragon fell whose eyes were never shet.
By meanes whereof deceiving him that had the golden fleece
In charge to keepe, you sent it thence by Jason into Greece.
Now have I neede of herbes that can by vertue of their juice
To flowring prime of lustie youth old withred age reduce.
I am assurde ye will it graunt. For not in vaine have shone
These twincling starres, ne yet in vaine this Chariot all alone
By drought of Dragons hither comes. With that was fro the Skie
A Chariot softly glaunced downe, and stayed hard thereby.
As soone as she had gotten up, and with hir hand had coyd
The Dragons reined neckes, and with their bridles somewhat toyd,
They mounted with hir in the Ayre, whence looking downe she saw
The pleasant Temp of Thessalie, and made hir Dragons draw
To places further from resort: and there she tooke the view
What herbes on high mount Pelion, and what on Ossa grew,
And what on mountaine Othris and on Pyndus growing were,
And what Olympus (greater than mount Pyndus far) did beare.
Such herbes of them as liked hir she pullde up roote and rinde
Or cropt them with a hooked knife. And many she did finde
Upon the bankes of Apidane agreeing to hir minde:
And many at Amphrisus foords: and thou Enipeus eke
Didst yeelde hir many pretie weedes of which she well did like.
Peneus and Sperchius streames contributarie were,
And so were Boebes rushie bankes of such as growed there.
About Anthedon which against the Ile Euboea standes,
A certaine kind of lively grasse she gathered with her handes,
The name whereof was scarsly knowen or what the herbe could doe
Untill that Glaucus afterward was chaunged thereinto.
Nine dayes with winged Dragons drawen, nine nights in Chariot swift
She searching everie field and frith from place to place did shift.
She was no sooner home returnde but that the Dragons fell
Which lightly of hir gathered herbes had taken but the smell,
Did cast their sloughes and with their sloughes their riveled age forgo.
She would none other house than heaven to hide hir head as tho:
But kept hir still without the doores: and as for man was none
That once might touch hir. Altars twayne of Turfe she builded: one
Upon hir left hand unto Youth, another on the right
To tryple Hecat. Both the which as soone as she had dight
With Vervain and with other shrubbes that on the fieldes doe rise,
Not farre from thence she digde two pits: and making sacrifice
Did cut a couple of blacke Rams throtes and filled with their blood
The open pits, on which she pourde of warme milke pure and good
A boll full, and another boll of honie clarifide.
And babling to hir selfe therewith full bitterly she cride
On Pluto and his ravisht wife the sovereigne states of Hell,
And all the Elves and Gods that on or in the Earth doe dwell,
To spare olde Aesons life a while, and not in hast deprive
His limmes of that same aged soule which kept them yet alive.
Whome when she had sufficiently with mumbling long besought,
She bade that Aesons feebled corse should out of doores be brought
Before the Altars. Then with charmes she cast him in so deepe
A slumber, that upon the herbes he lay for dead asleepe.
Which done she willed Jason thence a great way off to go
And likewise all the Ministers that served hir as tho:
And not presume those secretes with unhallowed eyes to see.
They did as she commaunded them. When all were voyded, shee
With scattred haire about hir eares like one of Bacchus froes
Devoutly by and by about the burning Altars goes:
And dipping in the pits of bloud a sort of clifted brandes
Upon the Altars kindled them that were on both hir handes.
And thrise with brimstone, thrise with fire, and thrise with water pure
She purged Aesons aged corse that slept and slumbred sure.
The medicine seething all the while a wallop in a pan
Of brasse, to spirt and leape aloft and gather froth began.
There boyled she the rootes, seedes, flowres, leaves, stalkes and juice togither
Which from the fieldes of Thessalie she late had gathered thither.
She cast in also precious stones fetcht from the furthest East
And, which the ebbing Ocean washt, fine gravell from the West.
She put thereto the deaw that fell upon a Monday night:
And flesh and feathers of a Witch, a cursed odious wight
Which in the likenesse of an Owle abrode a nightes did flie,
And Infants in their cradels chaunge or sucke them that they die.
The singles also of a Wolfe which when he list could take
The shape of man, and when he list the same againe forsake.
And from the River Cyniphis which is in Lybie lande
She had the fine sheere scaled filmes of water snayles at hand.
And of an endlesselived hart the liver had she got,
To which she added of a Crowe that then had lived not
So little as nine hundred yeares the head and Bill also.
Now when Medea had with these and with a thousand mo
Such other kinde of namelesse things bestead hir purpose through
For lengthning of the old mans life, she tooke a withered bough
Cut lately from an Olyf tree, and jumbling all togither
Did raise the bottome to the brim: and as she stirred hither
And thither with the withered sticke, behold it waxed greene.
Anon the leaves came budding out: and sodenly were seene
As many berries dangling downe as well the bough could beare.
And where the fire had from the pan the scumming cast, or where
The scalding drops did fall, the ground did springlike florish there,
And flowres with fodder fine and soft immediatly arose.
Which when Medea did behold, with naked knife she goes
And cuttes the olde mans throte: and letting all his old bloud go
Supplies it with the boyled juice: the which when Aeson tho
Had at his mouth or at his wounde receyved in, his heare
As well of head as beard from gray to coleblacke turned were.
His leane, pale, hore, and withered corse grew fulsome, faire and fresh:
His furrowed wrincles were fulfilde with yong and lustie flesh.
His limmes waxt frolicke, baine and lithe: at which he wondring much,
Remembred that at fortie yeares he was the same or such.
And as from dull unwieldsome age to youth he backward drew:
Even so a lively youthfull spright did in his heart renew.
The wonder of this monstrous act had Bacchus seene from hie,
And finding that to youthfull yeares his Nurses might thereby
Restored bee, did at hir hand receive it as a gift.
And lest deceitfull guile should cease, Medea found a shift
To feyne that Jason and hir selfe were falne at oddes in wroth:
And thereupon in humble wise to Pelias Court she goth.
Where forbicause the King himselfe was feebled sore with age,
His daughters entertainde hir, whome Medea, being sage,
Within a while through false pretence of feyned friendship brought
To take hir baite. For as she tolde what pleasures she had wrought
For Jason, and among the rest as greatest sadly tolde
How she had made his father yong that withred was and olde,
And taried long upon that point: they hoped glad and faine
That their olde father might likewise his youthful yeares regaine.
And this they craving instantly did proffer for hir paine
What recompence she would desire. She helde hir peace a while
As though she doubted what to doe: and with hir suttle guile
Of counterfetted gravitie more eger did them make.
As soone as she had promisde them to doe it for their sake,
For more assurance of my graunt, your selves (quoth she) shall see
The oldest Ram in all your flocke a Lambe streight made to bee
By force of my confections strong. Immediatly a Ram
So olde that no man thereabouts remembred him a Lam
Was thither by his warped homes which turned inward to
His hollow Temples, drawne: whose withred throte she slit in two.
And when she cleane had drayned out that little bloud that was,
Upon the fire with herbes of strength she set a pan of brasse,
And cast his carcasse thereinto. The Medcine did abate
The largenesse of his limmes and seard his dossers from his pate,
And with his homes abridgde his yeares. Anon was plainly heard
The bleating of a new yeand Lambe from mid the Ketleward.
And as they wondred for to heare the bleating, streight the Lam
Leapt out, and frisking ran to seeke the udder of some Dam.
King Pelias daughters were amazde. And when they did beholde
Hir promise come to such effect, they were a thousand folde
More earnest at hir than before. Thrise Phoebus having pluckt
The Collars from his horses neckes, in Iber had them duckt.
And now in Heaven the streaming starres the fourth night shined cleare:
When false Medea on the fire had hanged water shere,
With herbes that had no powre at all. The King and all his garde
Which had the charge that night about his person for to warde
Were through hir nightspels and hir charmes in deadly sleepe all cast.
And Pelias daughters with the Witch which eggde them forward, past
Into his chamber by the watch, and compast in his bed.
Then: Wherefore stand ye doubting thus like fooles, Medea sed.
On: draw your swordes: and let ye out his old bloud, that I may
Fill up his emptie veynes againe with youthfull bloud streight way.
Your fathers life is in your handes: it lieth now in you
To have him olde and withred still or yong and lustie. Now
If any nature in ye be, and that ye doe not feede
A fruitelesse hope, your dutie to your father doe with speede.
Expulse his age by sword, and let the filthy matter out.
Through these persuasions which of them so ever went about
To shewe hirselfe most naturall, became the first that wrought
Against all nature: and for feare she should be wicked thought,
She executes the wickednesse which most to shun she sought.
Yet was not any one of them so bolde that durst abide
To looke upon their father when she strake, but wride aside
Hir eyes: and so their cruell handes not marking where they hit
With faces turnde another way at all aventure smit.
He all beweltred in his bloud awaked with the smart,
And maimde and mangled as he was did give a sodeyne start
Endevoring to have risen up. But when he did beholde
Himselfe among so many swordes, he lifting up his olde
Pale waryish armes, said: Daughters mine what doe ye? who hath put
These wicked weapons in your hands your fathers throte to cut?
With that their heartes and handes did faint. And as he talked yet,
Medea breaking off his wordes, his windpipe quickly slit,
And in the scalding liquor torne did drowne him by and by.
But had she not with winged wormes streight mounted in the skie
She had not scaped punishment, but stying up on hie
She over shadie Pelion flew where Chyron erst did dwell,
And over Othrys and the grounds renoumde for that befell
To auncient Ceramb: who such time as old Deucalions flood
Upon the face of all the Earth like one maine water stood,
By helpe of Nymphes with fethered wings was in the Ayer lift,
And so escaped from the floud undrowned by the shift.
She left Aeolian Pytanie upon hir left hand: and
The Serpent that became a stone upon the Lesbian sand.
And Ida woods where Bacchus hid a Bullocke (as is sayd)
In shape of Stag the which his sonne had theevishly convayde.
And where the Sire of Corytus lies buried in the dust.
The fieldes which Meras (when he first did into barking brust)
Affraide with straungenesse of the noyse. And eke Eurypils towne
In which the wives of Cos had homes like Oxen on their crowne
Such time as Hercles with his hoste departed from the Ile,
And Rhodes to Phoebus consecrate: and Ialyse where ere while
The Telchines with their noysome sight did every thing bewitch.
At which their hainous wickednesse Jove taking rightfull pritch,
Did drowne them in his brothers waves. Moreover she did passe
By Ceos and olde Carthey walles where Sir Alcidamas
Did wonder how his daughter should be turned to a Dove.
The Swannie Temp and Hyries Poole she viewed from above,
The which a sodeine Swan did haunt. For Phyllie there for love
Of Hyries sonne did at his bidding Birdes and Lions tame,
And being willde to breake a Bull performed streight the same:
Till wrothfull that his love so oft so streightly should him use,
When for his last reward he askt the Bull, he did refuse
To give it him. The boy displeasde, said: Well: thou wilt anon
Repent thou gave it not: and leapt downe headlong from a stone.
They all supposde he had bene falne: but being made a Swan
With snowie feathers in the Ayre to flacker he began.
His mother Hyrie knowing not he was preserved so,
Resolved into melting teares for pensivenesse and wo,
And made the Poole that beares hir name. Not far from hence doth stand
The Citie Brauron, where sometime by mounting from the land
With waving pinions Ophyes ympe, dame Combe, did eschue
Hir children which with naked swordes to slea hir did pursue.
Anon she kend Calaurie fieldes which did sometime pertaine
To chast Diana where a King and eke his wife both twaine
Were turnde to Birdes. Cyllene hill upon hir right hand stood,
In which Menephron like a beast of wilde and savage moode
To force his mother did attempt. Far thence she spide where sad
Cephisus mourned for his Neece whome Phebus turned had
To ugly shape of swelling Seale: and Eumelles pallace faire
Lamenting for his sonnes mischaunce with whewling in the Aire.
At Corinth with hir winged Snakes at length she did arrive.
Here men (so auncient fathers said that were as then alive)
Did breede of deawie Mushrommes. But after that hir teene
With burning of hir husbands bride by witchcraft wreakt had beene
And that King Creons pallace she on blasing fire had seene,
And in hir owne deare childrens bloud had bathde hir wicked knife
Not like a mother but a beast bereving them of life:
Lest Jason should have punisht hir she tooke hir winged Snakes,
And flying thence againe in haste to Pallas Citie makes,
Which saw the auncient Periphas and rightuous Phiney too
Togither flying, and the Neece of Polypemon who
Was fastened to a paire of wings as well as t'other two.
Aegeus enterteined hir wherein he was to blame
Although he had no further gone but staid upon the same.
He thought it not to be inough to use hir as his guest
Onlesse he tooke hir to his wife.
And now was Thesey prest,
Unknowne unto his father yet, who by his knightly force
Had set from robbers cleare the balke that makes the streight divorce
Betweene the seas Ionian and Aegean. To have killde
This worthie knight, Medea had a Goblet readie fillde
With juice of Flintwoort venemous the which she long ago
Had out of Scythie with hir brought. The common bruit is so
That of the teeth of Cerberus this Flintwoort first did grow.
There is a cave that gapeth wide with darksome entrie low,
There goes a way slope downe by which with triple cheyne made new
Of strong and sturdie Adamant the valiant Hercle drew
The currish Helhounde Cerberus: who dragging arsward still
And writhing backe his scowling eyes bicause he had no skill
To see the Sunne and open day, for verie moodie wroth
Three barkings yelled out at once, and spit his slavering froth
Upon the greenish grasse. This froth (as men suppose) tooke roote
And thriving in the batling soyle in burgeons forth did shoote,
To bane and mischiefe men withall: and forbicause the same
Did grow upon the bare hard Flints, folke gave the foresaid name
Of Flintwoort thereunto. The King by egging of his Queene
Did reach his sonne this bane as if he had his enmie beene.
And Thesey of this treason wrought not knowing ought had tane
The Goblet at his fathers hand which helde his deadly bane:
When sodenly by the Ivorie hilts that were upon his sword
Aegeus knew he was his sonne: and rising from the borde
Did strike the mischiefe from his mouth. Medea with a charme
Did cast a mist and so scapte death deserved for the harme
Entended. Now albeit that Aegeus were right glad
That in the saving of his sonne so happy chaunce he had,
Yet grieved it his heart full sore that such a wicked wight
With treason wrought against his sonne should scape so cleare and quight.
Then fell he unto kindling fire on Altars everie where
And glutted all the Gods with gifts. The thicke neckt Oxen were
With garlands wreathd about their homes knockt downe for sacrifice.
A day of more solemnitie than this did never rise
Before on Athens (by report). The auncients of the Towne
Made feastes: so did the meaner sort, and every common clowne.
And as the wine did sharpe their wits, they sung this song: O knight
Of peerlesse prowesse Theseus, thy manhod and thy might
Through all the coast of Marathon with worthie honor soundes,
For killing of the Cretish Bull that wasted those same groundes.
The folke of Cremyon thinke themselves beholden unto thee.
For that without disquieting their fieldes may tilled be.
By thee the land of Epidaure behelde the clubbish sonne
Of Vulcane dead. By thee likewise the countrie that doth runne
Along Cephisus bankes behelde the fell Procrustes slaine.
The dwelling place of Ceres, our Eleusis glad and faine,
Beheld the death of Cercyon. That orpid Sinis who
Abusde his strength in bending trees and tying folke thereto,
Their limmes asunder for to teare when loosened from the stops
The trees unto their proper place did trice their streyned tops,
Was killde by thee. Thou made the way that leadeth to the towne
Alcathoe in Beotia cleare by putting Scyron downe.
To this same outlawes scattred bones the land denied rest,
And likewise did the Sea refuse to harbrough such a guest:
Till after floting to and fro long while as men doe say
At length they hardened into stones: and at this present day
The stones are called Scyrons cliffes. Now if we should account
Thy deedes togither with thy yeares, thy deedes would far surmount
Thy yeares. For thee, most valiant Prince, these publike vowes we keepe
For thee with cherefull heartes we quaffe these bolles of wine so deepe.
The Pallace also of the noyse and shouting did resounde
The which the people made for joy. There was not to be founde
In all the Citie any place of sadnesse.
(So hard it is of perfect joy to find so great excesse,
But that some sorrow therewithall is medled more or lesse),
Aegeus had not in his sonnes recoverie such delight,
But that there followed in the necke a piece of fortunes spight.
King Minos was preparing war, who though he had great store
Of ships and souldiers yet the wrath the which he had before
Conceyved in his fathers brest for murthring of his sonne
Androgeus made him farre more strong and fiercer for to ronne
To rightfull battell to revenge the great displeasure donne.
Howbeit he thought it best ere he his warfare did begin
To finde the meanes of forreine aides some friendship for to win.
And thereupon with flying fleete where passage did permit
He went to visit all the Iles that in those seas doe sit.
Anon the Iles Astypaley and Anaphey both twaine
The first constreynde for feare of war, the last in hope of gaine,
Tooke part with him. Low Myconey did also with him hold
So did the chalkie Cymoley, and Syphney which of olde
Was verie riche with veynes of golde, and Scyros full of bolde
And valiant men, and Seryphey the smooth or rather fell,
And Parey which for Marblestone doth beare away the bell.
And Sythney which a wicked wench callde Arne did betray
For mony: who upon receit thereof without delay
Was turned to a birde which yet of golde is gripple still,
And is as blacke as any cole, both fethers, feete and bill.
A Cadowe is the name of hir. But yet Olyarey,
And Didymey, and Andrey eke, and Tene, and Gyarey,
And Pepareth where Olive trees most plenteously doe grow,
In no wise would agree their helpe on Minos to bestow.
Then Minos turning lefthandwise did sayle to Oenope
Where reignde that time King Aeacus. This Ile had called be
Of old by name of Oenope: but Aeacus turnde the name
And after of his mothers name Aegina callde the same.
The common folke ran out by heapes desirous for to see
A man of such renowne as Minos bruited was to bee.
The Kings three sonnes Duke Telamon, Duke Peley, and the yong
Duke Phocus went to meete with him. Old Aeacus also clung
With age, came after leysurely, and asked him the cause
Of his repaire. The ruler of the hundred Shires gan pause:
And musing on the inward griefe that nipt him at the hart,
Did shape him aunswere thus: O Prince vouchsafe to take my part
In this same godly warre of mine: assist me in the just
Revengement of my murthred sonne that sleepeth in the dust.
I crave your comfort for his death. Aeginas sonne replide:
Thy suite is vaine: and of my Realme perforce must be denide.
For unto Athens is no lande more sure than this alide:
Such leagues betweene us are which shall infringde for me abide.
Away went Minos sad: and said: full dearly shalt thou bie
Thy leagues. He thought it for to be a better pollicie
To threaten war than war to make, and there to spend his store
And strength which in his other needes might much availe him more.
As yet might from Oenopia walles the Cretish fleete be kend.
When thitherward with puffed sayles and wind at will did tend
A ship from Athens, which anon arriving at the strand
Set Cephal with Ambassade from his Countrimen aland.
The Kings three sonnes though long it were since last they had him seene,
Yet knew they him. And after olde acquaintance eft had beene
Renewde by shaking hands, to Court they did him streight convay.
This Prince which did allure the eyes of all men by the way,
As in whose stately person still remained to be seene
The markes of beautie which in flowre of former yeares had beene,
Went holding out an Olife braunch that grew in Atticke lande
And for the reverence of his age there went on eyther hand
A Nobleman of yonger yeares. Sir Clytus on the right
And Butes on the left, the sonnes of one that Pallas hight.
When greeting first had past betweene these Nobles and the King,
Then Cephal setting streight abroche the message he did bring,
Desired aide: and shewde what leagues stoode then in force betweene
His countrie and the Aeginites, and also what had beene
Decreed betwixt their aunceters, concluding in the ende
That under colour of this war which Minos did pretende
To only Athens, he in deede the conquest did intende
Of all Achaia. When he thus by helpe of learned skill
His countrie message furthred had, King Aeacus leaning still
His left hand on his scepter, saide: My Lordes, I would not have
Your state of Athens seeme so straunge as succor here to crave.
I pray commaund. For be ye sure that what this Ile can make
Is yours. Yea all that ere I have shall hazard for your sake.
I want no strength. I have such store of souldiers, that I may
Both vex my foes and also keepe my Realme in quiet stay.
And now I thinke me blest of God that time doth serve to showe
Without excuse the great good will that I to Athens owe.
God holde it sir (quoth Cephalus) God make the number grow
Of people in this towne of yours: it did me good alate
When such a goodly sort of youth of all one age and rate
Did meete me in the streete. But yet me thinkes that many misse
Which at my former being here I have beheld ere this.
At that the King did sigh, and thus with plaintfull voice did say:
A sad beginning afterward in better lucke did stay.
I would I plainly could the same before your faces lay.
Howbeit I will disorderly repeate it as I may.
And lest I seeme to wearie you with overlong delay,
The men that you so mindefully enquire for lie in ground
And nought of them save bones and dust remayneth to be found.
But as it hapt what losse thereby did unto me redound?
A cruell plague through Junos wrath who dreadfully did hate
This Land that of hir husbands Love did take the name alate,
Upon my people fell: as long as that the maladie
None other seemde than such as haunts mans nature usually,
And of so great mortalitie the hurtfull cause was hid,
We strove by Phisicke of the same the Pacients for to rid.
The mischief overmaistred Art: yea Phisick was to seeke
To doe it selfe good. First the Aire with foggie stinking reeke
Did daily overdreepe the earth: and close culme Clouds did make
The wether faint: and while the Moone foure times hir light did take
And fillde hir emptie homes therewith, and did as often slake:
The warme South windes with deadly heate continually did blow.
Infected were the Springs, and Ponds, and streames that ebbe and flow.
And swarmes of Serpents crawld about the fieldes that lay untillde
Which with their poison even the brookes and running water fillde.
In sodaine dropping downe of Dogs, of Horses, Sheepe and Kine,
Of Birds and Beasts both wild and tame as Oxen, Wolves, and Swine,
The mischiefe of this secret sore first outwardly appeeres.
The wretched Plowman was amazde to see his sturdie Steeres
Amid the furrow sinking downe ere halfe his worke was donne.
Whole flocks of sheepe did faintly bleate, and therewithall begonne
Their fleeces for to fall away and leave the naked skin,
And all their bodies with the rot attainted were within.
The lustie Horse that erst was fierce in field renowne to win
Against his kinde grew cowardly: and now forgetting quight
The auncient honor which he preast so oft to get in fight,
Stoode sighing sadly at the Racke as wayting for to yeelde
His wearie life without renowne of combat in the fielde.
The Boare to chafe, the Hinde to runne, the cruell Beare to fall
Upon the herdes of Rother beastes had now no lust at all.
A languishing was falne on all. In wayes, in woods, in plaines,
The filthie carions lay, whose stinche, the Ayre it selfe distaines.
(A wondrous thing to tell) not Dogges, not ravening Foules, nor yit
Horecoted Wolves would once attempt to tast of them a bit.
Looke, where they fell, there rotted they: and with their savor bred
More harme, and further still abrode the foule infection spred.
With losse that touched yet more nere, on Husbandmen it crept,
And ragingly within the walles of this great Citie stept.
It tooke men first with swelting heate that scalt their guts within:
The signes whereof were steaming breath and firie colourde skin.
The tongue was harsh and swolne, the mouth through drought of burning veines
Lay gaping up to hale in breath, and as the pacient streines
To draw it in, he suckes therewith corrupted Aire beside.
No bed, no clothes though nere so thinne the pacients could abide.
But laide their hardened stomackes flat against the bare colde ground
Yet no abatement of the heate therein their bodies found:
But het the earth, and as for Leache was none that helpe could hight.
The Surgians and Phisitions too were in the selfesame plight.
Their curelesse cunning hurt themselves. The nerer any man
Approcheth his diseased friend, and doth the best he can
To succor him most faithfully, the sooner did he catch
His bane. All hope of health was gone. No easment nor dispatch
Of this disease except in death and buriall did they finde.
Looke, whereunto that eche mans minde and fancie was enclinde,
That followed he. He never past what was for his behoofe.
For why? that nought could doe them good was felt too much by proofe.
In everie place without respect of shame or honestie
At Wels, at brookes, at ponds, at pits, by swarmes they thronging lie:
But sooner might they quench their life than staunch their thirst thereby.
And therewithall so heavie and unwieldie they become,
That wanting power to rise againe, they died there. Yet some
The selfesame waters guzled still without regard of feare,
So weary of their lothsome beds the wretched people were,
That out they lept: or if to stand their feeble force denide,
They wallowed downe and out of doores immediatly them hide:
It was a death to every man his owne house to abide.
And for they did not know the cause whereof the sicknesse came,
The place (bicause they did it know) was blamed for the same.
Ye should have seene some halfe fordead go plundring here and there
By highways sides while that their legges were able them to beare.
And some lie weeping on the ground or rolling piteously
Their wearie eyes which afterwards should never see the Skie:
Or stretching out their limmes to Heaven that overhangs on hie,
Some here, some there, and yonder some, in what so ever coste
Death finding them enforced them to yeelde their fainting Ghoste.
What heart had I, suppose you, then, or ought I then to have?
In faith I might have lothde my life, and wisht me in my grave
As other of my people were. I could not cast mine eie
In any place, but that dead folke there strowed I did spie
Even like as from a shaken twig when rotten Apples drop,
Or Mast from Beches, Holmes or Okes when Poales doe scare their top.
Yon stately Church with greeces long against our Court you see:
It is the shrine of Jupiter. What Wight was he or shee
That on those Altars burned not their frankincense in vaine?
How oft, yet even with Frankincense that partly did remaine
Still unconsumed in their hands, did die both man and wife,
As ech of them with mutuall care did pray for others life?
How often dyde the mother there in suing for hir sonne,
Unheard upon the Altarstone, hir prayer scarce begonne?
How often at the Temple doore even while the Priest did bid
His Beades, and poure pure wine betwene their homes, at sodaine slid
The Oxen downe without stroke given? Yea once when I had thought
My selfe by offring sacrifice Joves favor to have sought,
For me, my Realme, and these three ymps, the Oxe with grievous grone
Upon the sodaine sunke me downe: and little bloud or none
Did issue scarce to staine the knife with which they slit his throte.
The sickly inwardes eke had lost the signes whereby we note
What things the Gods for certaintie would warne us of before:
For even the verie bowels were attainted with the sore.
Before the holie Temple doores, and (that the death might bee
The more dispitefull) even before the Altars did I see
The stinking corses scattred. Some with haltars stopt their winde,
By death expulsing feare of death: and of a wilfull minde
Did haste their ende, which of it selfe was coming on apace.
The bodies which the plague had slaine were (O most wretched case)
Not caried forth to buriall now. For why such store there was
That scarce the gates were wyde inough for Coffins forth to passe.
So eyther lothly on the ground unburied did they lie,
Or else without solemnitie were burnt in bonfires hie.
No reverence nor regard was had. Men fell togither by
The eares for firing. In the fire that was prepared for one
Another straungers corse was burnt. And lastly few or none
Were left to mourne. The sillie soules of Mothers with their small
And tender babes, and age with youth as Fortune did befall
Went wandring gastly up and downe unmourned for at all.
In fine so farre outrageously this helpelesse Murren raves,
There was not wood inough for fire, nor ground inough for graves.
Astonied at the stourenesse of so stout a storme of ills
I said: O father Jupiter whose mightie power fulfills
Both Heaven and Earth, if flying fame report thee not amisse
In vouching that thou didst embrace in way of Love ere this
The River Asops daughter, faire Aegina even by name,
And that to take me for thy sonne thou count it not a shame:
Restore thou me my folke againe, or kill thou me likewise.
He gave a signe by sodaine flash of lightning from the Skies,
And double peale of Thundercracks. I take this same (quoth I)
And as I take it for a true and certaine signe whereby
Thou doest confirme me for thy sonne: so also let it be
A hansell of some happie lucke thou mindest unto me.
Hard by us as it hapt that time, there was an Oken tree
With spreaded armes as bare of boughes as lightly one shall see.
This tree (as all the rest of Okes) was sacred unto Jove
And sprouted of an Acorne which was fet from Dodon grove.
Here markt we how the pretie Ants, the gatherers up of graine,
One following other all along in order of a traine,
Great burthens in their little mouthes did painfully sustaine:
And nimbly up the rugged barke their beaten path maintaine.
As wondring at the swarme I stoode, I said: O father deere
As many people give thou me, as Ants are creeping heere.
And fill mine empty walles againe. Anon the Oke did quake,
And unconstreynde of any blast, his loftie braunches shake,
The which did yeeld a certaine sound. With that for dreadfull feare
A shuddring through my bodie strake and up stoode stiffe my heare.
But yet I kissed reverently the ground and eke the tree.
Howbeit I durst not be so bolde of hope acknowne to bee.
Yet hoped I: and in my heart did shroude my secret hope.
Anon came night: and sleepe upon my carefull carcasse crope.
Me thought I saw the selfesame Oke with all his boughes and twigs,
And all the Pismeres creeping still upon his tawnts and sprigs,
Which trembling with a sodaine brayd these Harvest folke off threw
And shed them on the ground about, who on the sodaine grew
In bignesse more and more, and from the earth themselves did lift:
And stoode upright against the tree: and therewithall did shift
Their maygernesse, and coleblacke hue, and number of their feete:
And clad their limmes with shape of man. Away my sleepe did fleete.
And when I wooke, misliking of my dreame I made my mone
That in the Gods I did perceive but slender helpe or none.
But straight much trampling up and downe and shuffling did I heare,
And (which to me that present time did verie straunge appeare)
Of people talking in my house me thought I heard the reare.
Now while I musing on the same supposde it to have been
Some fancie of the foolish dreame which lately I had seen,
Behold, in comes me Telamon in hast, and thrusting ope
My Chamber doore, said: Sir, a sight of things surmounting hope
And credit shall you have: come forth. Forth came I by and by
And even such men for all the world there standing did I spie
As in my sleepe I dreamed of, and knew them for the same.
They comming to me greeted me, their sovereigne Lord, by name.
And I (my vowes to Jove performde) my Citie did devide
Among my new inhabiters: and gave them land beside
Which by decease of such as were late owners of the same
Lay wast. And in remembrance of the race whereof they came,
The name of Emets I them gave. Their persons you have seen:
Their disposition is the same that erst in them hath been.
They are a sparing kinde of folke, on labor wholy set,
A gatherer, and a hoorder up of such as they doe get.
These fellowes being like in yeares and courage of the minde,
Shall go a warfare ny as soone as that the Easterne winde
Which brought you hither luckely, (the Easterne winde was it
That brought them thither) turning, to the Southerne coast doe flit.
With this and other such like talke they brought the day to ende.
The Even in feasting, and the night in sleeping they did spende.
The Sunne next Morrow in the heaven with golden beames did burne,
And still the Easterne winde did blow and hold them from returne.
Sir Pallas sonnes to Cephal came (for he their elder was)
And he and they to Aeacus Court togither forth did passe.
The King as yet was fast asleepe. Duke Phocus at the gate
Did meete them, and receyved them according to their state.
For Telamon and Peleus alreadie forth were gone,
To muster Souldiers for the warres. So Phocus all alone
Did leade them to an inner roume, where goodly Parlours were,
And caused them to sit them downe. As he was also there
Now sitting with them, he beheld a Dart in Cephals hand
With golden head, the stele whereof he well might understand
Was of some straunge and unknowne tree. When certain talke had past
A while of other matters there, I am (quoth he) at last
A man that hath delight in woods and loves to follow game
And yet I am not able sure by any meanes to ame
What wood your Javeling stele is of. Of Ash it can not bee.
For then the colour should be browne. And if of Cornell tree,
It would be full of knubbed knots. I know not what it is:
But sure mine eies did never see a fairer Dart than this.
The one of those same brethren twaine replying to him said:
Nay then the speciall propertie will make you more dismaid,
Than doth the beautie of this Dart. It hitteth whatsoever
He throwes it at. The stroke thereof by Chaunce is ruled never.
For having done his feate, it flies all bloudie backe agen
Without the helpe of any hand. The Prince was earnest then
To know the truth of all: as whence so riche a present came,
Who gave it him, and whereupon the partie gave the same.
Duke Cephal answerde his demaund in all points (one except)
The which (as knowne apparantly) for shame he overlept:
His beautie namely, for the which he did receive the Dart.
And for the losse of his deare wife right pensive at the hart,
He thus began with weeping eies: This Dart, O Goddesse sonne,
(Ye ill would thinke it) makes me yirne, and long shall make me donne,
If long the Gods doe give me life. This weapon hath undonne
My deare beloved wife and me. O would to God this same
Had never unto me bene given. There was a noble Dame
That Procris hight (but you perchaunce have oftner heard the name
Of great Orythia whose renowne was bruited so by fame,
That blustring Boreas ravisht hir.) To this Orythia shee
Was sister. If a bodie should compare in ech degree
The face and natures of them both, he could none other deeme
But Procris worthier of the twaine of ravishment should seeme.
Hir father and our mutuall love did make us man and wife.
Men said I had (and so I had in deede) a happie life.
Howbeit Gods will was otherwise, for had it pleased him
Of all this while, and even still yet in pleasure should I swim.
The second Month that she and I by band of lawfull bed
Had joynde togither bene, as I my masking Toyles did spred,
To overthrow the horned Stags, the early Morning gray
Then newly having chased night and gun to breake the day,
From Mount Hymettus highest tops that freshly flourish ay,
Espide me, and against my will conveyde me quight away.
I trust the Goddesse will not be offended that I say
The troth of hir. Although it would delight one to beholde
Hir ruddie cheekes: although of day and night the bounds she holde:
Although on juice of Ambrosie continually she feede:
Yet Procris was the only Wight that I did love in deede.
On Procris only was my heart: none other word had I
But Procris only in my mouth: still Procris did I crie.
I upned what a holy thing was wedlocke: and how late
It was ago since she and I were coupled in that state.
Which band (and specially so soone) it were a shame to breake.
The Goddesse being moved at the words that I did speake,
Said: Cease thy plaint, thou Carle, and keepe thy Procris still for me.
But (if my minde deceyve me not) the time will shortly be
That wish thou wilt thou had hir not. And so in anger she
To Procris sent me backe againe. In going homeward as
Upon the Goddesse sayings with my selfe I musing was,
I gan to dreade bad measures lest my wife had made some scape.
Hir youthfull yeares begarnished with beautie, grace and shape,
In maner made me to beleve the deede already done.
Againe hir maners did forbid mistrusting over soone.
But I had bene away: but even the same from whom I came
A shrewde example gave how lightly wives doe run in blame:
But we poore Lovers are afraide of all things. Hereupon
I thought to practise feates: which thing repented me anon:
And shall repent me while I live. The purpose of my drifts
Was for t'assault hir honestie with great rewards and gifts.
The Morning fooding this my feare, to further my device,
My shape (which thing me thought I felt) had altered with a trice.
By meanes whereof anon unknowne to Pallas towne I came,
And entred so my house: the house was clearely voide of blame:
And shewed signes of chastitie in mourning ever sith
Their maister had bene rapt away. A thousand meanes wherewith
To come to Procris speach had I devisde: and scarce at last
Obteinde I it. As soone as I mine eie upon hir cast,
My wits were ravisht in such wise that nigh I had forgot
The purposde triall of hir troth. Right much adoe God wot
I had to holde mine owne that I the truth bewrayed not.
To keepe my selfe from kissing hir full much adoe I had
As reason was I should have done. She looked verie sad.
And yet as sadly as she lookte, no Wight alive can show
A better countenance than did she. Hir heart did inward glow
In longing for hir absent spouse. How beautifull a face
Thinke you, Sir Phocus, was in hir whome sorrow so did grace?
What should I make report how oft hir chast behaviour strave
And overcame most constantly the great assaults I gave?
Or tell how oft she shet me up with these same words? To one
(Where ere he is) I keepe my selfe, and none but he alone
Shall sure enjoy the use of me. What creature having his
Wits perfect would not be content with such a proofe as this
Of hir most stedfast chastitie? I could not be content:
But still to purchase to my selfe more wo I further went.
At last by profering endlesse welth, and heaping gifts on gifts,
In overlading hir with wordes I drave hir to hir shifts.
Then cride I out: Thine evill heart my selfe I tardie take.
Where of a straunge advouterer the countenance I did make,
I am in deede thy husband. O unfaithfull woman thou,
Even I my selfe can testifie thy lewde behavior now.
She made none answere to my words, but being stricken dum
And with the sorrow of hir heart alonly overcum,
Forsaketh hir entangling house, and naughtie husband quight:
And hating all the sort of men by reason of the spight
That I had wrought hir, straide abrode among the Mountaines hie,
And exercisde Dianas feates. Then kindled by and by
A fiercer fire within my bones than ever was before,
When she had thus forsaken me by whome I set such store.
I prayde hir she woulde pardon me, and did confesse my fault.
Affirming that my selfe likewise with such a great assault
Of richesse might right well have bene enforst to yeelde to blame,
The rather if performance had ensewed of the same.
When I had this submission made, and she sufficiently
Revengde hir wronged chastitie, she then immediatly
Was reconcilde: and afterward we lived many a yeare
In joy and never any jarre betweene us did appeare.
Besides all this (as though hir love had bene too small a gift)
She gave me eke a goodly Grewnd which was of foote so swift,
That when Diana gave him hir, she said he should outgo
All others, and with this same Grewnd she gave this Dart also
The which you see I hold in hand. Perchaunce ye faine would know
What fortune to the Grewnd befell. I will unto you show
A wondrous case. The straungenesse of the matter will you move.
The krinkes of certaine Prophesies surmounting farre above
The reach of auncient wits to read, the Brookenymphes did expound:
And mindlesse of hir owne darke doubts Dame Themis being found,
Was as a rechelesse Prophetisse throwne flat against the ground.
For which presumptuous deede of theirs she tooke just punishment.
To Thebes in Baeotia streight a cruell beast she sent,
Which wrought the bane of many a Wight. The countryfolk did feed
Him with their cattell and themselves, untill (as was agreed)
That all we youthfull Gentlemen that dwelled there about
Assembling pitcht our corded toyles the champion fields throughout.
But Net ne toyle was none so hie that could his wightnesse stop,
He mounted over at his ease the highest of the top.
Then everie man let slip their Grewnds, but he them all outstript
And even as nimbly as a birde in daliance from them whipt.
Then all the field desired me to let my Laelaps go:
(The Grewnd that Procris unto me did give was named so)
Who strugling for to wrest his necke already from the band
Did stretch his collar. Scarsly had we let him off of hand
But that where Laelaps was become we could not understand.
The print remained of his feete upon the parched sand,
But he was clearly out of sight. Was never Dart I trow,
Nor Pellet from enforced Sling, nor shaft from Cretish bow,
That flew more swift than he did runne. There was not farre fro thence
About the middle of the Laund a rising ground, from whence
A man might overlooke the fieldes. I gate me to the knap
Of this same hill, and there beheld of this straunge course the hap
In which the beast seemes one while caught, and ere a man would think,
Doth quickly give the Grewnd the slip, and from his bighting shrink:
And like a wilie Foxe he runnes not forth directly out,
Nor makes a windlasse over all the champion fieldes about,
But doubling and indenting still avoydes his enmies lips,
And turning short, as swift about as spinning wheele he whips,
To disapoint the snatch. The Grewnd pursuing at an inch
Doth cote him, never losing ground: but likely still to pinch
Is at the sodaine shifted off. Continually he snatches
In vaine: for nothing in his mouth save only Aire he latches.
Then thought I for to trie what helpe my Dart at neede could show.
Which as I charged in my hand by levell aime to throw,
And set my fingars to the thongs, I lifting from bylow
Mine eies, did looke right forth againe, and straight amids the field
(A wondrous thing) two Images of Marble I beheld:
Of which ye would have thought the t'one had fled on still apace
And that with open barking mouth the tother did him chase.
In faith it was the will of God (at least if any Goddes
Had care of them) that in their pace there should be found none oddes.
Thus farre: and then he held his peace. But tell us ere we part
(Quoth Phocus) what offence or fault committed hath your Dart?
His Darts offence he thus declarde: My Lorde, the ground of all
My grief was joy. Those joyes of mine remember first I shall.
It doth me good even yet to thinke upon that blissfull time
( meane the fresh and lustie yeares of pleasant youthfull Prime)
When I a happie man enjoyde so faire and good a wife,
And she with such a loving make did lead a happie life.
The care was like of both of us, the mutuall love all one.
She would not to have line with Jove my presence have forgone.
Ne was there any Wight that could of me have wonne the love,
No though Dame Venus had hir selfe descended from above.
The glowing brands of love did burne in both our brests alike.
Such time as first with crased beames the Sunne is wont to strike
The tops of Towres and mountaines high, according to the wont
Of youthfull men, in woodie Parkes I went abrode to hunt.
But neither horse nor Hounds to make pursuit upon the scent.
Nor Servingman, nor knottie toyle before or after went,
For I was safe with this same Dart. When wearie waxt mine arme
With striking Deere, and that the day did make me somewhat warme,
Withdrawing for to coole my selfe I sought among the shades
For Aire that from the valleyes colde came breathing in at glades.
The more excessive was my heate the more for Aire I sought.
I waited for the gentle Aire: the Aire was that that brought
Refreshing to my wearie limmes. And (well I bear't in thought)
Come Aire I wonted was to sing, come ease the paine of me
Within my bosom lodge thy selfe most welcome unto me,
And as thou heretofore art wont abate my burning heate.
By chaunce (such was my destinie) proceeding to repeate
Mo words of daliance like to these, I used for to say
Great pleasure doe I take in thee: for thou from day to day
Doste both refresh and nourish me. Thou makest me delight
In woods and solitarie grounds. Now would to God I might
Receive continuall at my mouth this pleasant breath of thine.
Some man (I wote not who) did heare these doubtfull words of mine,
And taking them amisse supposde that this same name of Aire
The which I callde so oft upon, had bene some Ladie faire:
He thought that I had lovde some Nymph. And thereupon streight way
He runnes me like a Harebrainde blab to Procris, to bewray
This fault as he surmised it: and there with lavish tung
Reported all the wanton words that he had heard me sung.
A thing of light beliefe is love. She (as I since have harde)
For sodeine sorrow swounded downe: and when long afterwarde
She came againe unto hir selfe, she said she was accurst
And borne to cruell destinie: and me she blamed wurst
For breaking faith: and freating at a vaine surmised shame
She dreaded that which nothing was: she fearde a headlesse name.
She wist not what to say or thinke. The wretch did greatly feare
Deceit: yet could she not beleve the tales that talked were.
Onlesse she saw hir husbands fault apparant to hir eie,
She thought she would not him condemne of any villanie.
Next day as soone as Morning light had driven the night away,
I went abrode to hunt againe: and speeding, as I lay
Upon the grasse, I said: Come, Aire, and ease my painfull heate.
And on the sodaine as I spake there seemed for to beate
A certaine sighing in mine eares of what I could not gesse.
But ceasing not for that I still proceeded nathelesse:
And said, O come, most pleasant Aire. With that I heard a sound
Of russling softly in the leaves that lay upon the ground.
And thinking it had bene some beast I threw my flying Dart.
It was my wife. Who being now sore wounded at the hart,
Cride out, Alas. As soone as I perceyved by the shrieke
It was my faithfull spouse, I ran me to the voiceward lieke
A madman that had lost his wits. There found I hir halfe dead,
Hir scattred garments staining in the bloud that she had bled,
And (wretched creature as I am) yet drawing from the wound
The gift that she hir selfe had given. Then softly from the ground
I lifted up that bodie of hirs of which I was more chare
Than of mine owne, and from hir brest hir clothes in hast I tare.
And binding up hir cruell wound I strived for to stay
The bloud, and prayd she would not thus by passing so away
Forsake me as a murtherer: she waxing weake at length
And drawing to hir death apace, enforced all hir strength
To utter these few wordes at last: I pray thee humbly by
Our bond of wedlocke, by the Gods as well above the Skie
As those to whome I now must passe, as ever I have ought
Deserved well by thee, and by the Love which having brought
Me to my death doth even in death unfaded still remaine,
To nestle in thy bed and mine let never Aire obtaine.
This sed, she held hir peace, and I perceyved by the same
And tolde hir also how she was beguiled in the name.
But what avayled telling then? she quoathde: and with hir bloud
Hir little strength did fade. Howbeit as long as that she coud
See ought, she stared in my face and gasping still on me
Even in my mouth she breathed forth hir wretched ghost. But she
Did seeme with better cheare to die for that hir conscience was
Discharged quight and cleare of doubtes. Now in conclusion as
Duke Cephal weeping told this tale to Phocus and the rest
Whose eyes were also moyst with teares to heare the pitious gest,
Behold King Aeacus and with him his eldest sonnes both twaine
Did enter in and after them there followed in a traine
Of well appointed men of warre new levied: which the King
Delivered unto Cephalus to Athens towne to bring.
Finis septimi Libri.