Metamorphoses (tr. Golding)/Book 8
¶ THE EIGHT BOOKE
of Ouids Metamorphosis.
he day starre now beginning to disclose the Morning bright
And for to dense the droupie Skie from darkenesse of the night,
The Easterne wind went downe and flakes of foggie Clouds gan show,
And from the South a merrie gale on Cephals sayles did blow.
The which did hold so fresh and large, that he and all his men
Before that he was looked for arrived safe agen
In wished Haven. In that while King Minos with his fleete
Did waste the cost of Megara. And first he thought it meete
To make a triall of the force and courage of his men
Against the towne Alcathoe where Nisus reigned then.
Among whose honorable haire that was of colour gray,
One scarlet haire did grow upon his crowne, whereon the stay
Of all his Kingdome did depende. Sixe times did Phoebe fill
Hir homes with borrowed light, and yet the warre hung wavering still
In fickle fortunes doubtfull scaales: and long with fleeting wings
Betwene them both flew victorie. A Turret of the Kings
Stood hard adjoyning to the Wall which being touched rings,
For Phoebus (so men say) did lay his golden Violl there,
And so the stones the sound thereof did ever after beare.
King Nisus daughter oftentimes resorted to this Wall
And strake it with a little stone to raise the sound withall,
In time of peace. And in the warre she many a time and oft
Behelde the sturdie stormes of Mars from that same place aloft.
And by continuance of the siege the Captaines names she knew,
Their armes, horse, armor and aray in everie band and crew.
Bit specially above the rest she noted Minos face.
She knew inough and more than was inough as stoode the case.
For were it that he hid his head in Helme with fethered crest,
To hir opinion in his Helme he stayned all the rest.
Or were it that he tooke in hand of steele his target bright,
She thought in weelding of his shielde he was a comly Knight.
Or were it that he raisde his arme to throw the piercing Dart,
The Ladie did commend his force and manhode joynde with Art.
Or drew he with his arrow nockt his bended Bow in hand
She sware that so in all respectes was Phoebus wont to stand.
But when he shewde his visage bare, his Helmet laid aside,
And on a Milke white Steede brave trapt, in Purple Robe did ride,
She scarce was Mistresse of hir selfe, hir wits were almost straught.
A happie Dart she thought it was that he in fingars caught,
And happie called she those reynes that he in hand had raught.
And if she might have had hir will, she could have founde in hart,
Among the enmies to have gone. She could have found in hart,
From downe the highest Turret there hir bodie to have throwne,
Among the thickest of the Tents of Gnossus to have flowne,
Or for to ope the brazen gates and let the enmie in,
Or whatsoever else she thought might Minos favor win.
And as she sate beholding still the King of Candies tent,
She said: I doubt me whether that I rather may lament
Or of this wofull warre be glad. It grieves me at the hart
That thou O Minos unto me thy Lover enmie art.
But had not this same warfare bene, I never had him knowne.
Yet might he leave this cruell warre, and take me as his owne.
A wife, a feere, a pledge for peace he might receive of me.
O flowre of beautie, O thou Prince most pearlesse: if that she
That bare thee in hir wombe were like in beautie unto thee,
A right good cause had Jove on hir enamored for to bee.
Oh happie were I if with wings I through the Aire might glide
And safely to King Minos Tent from this same Turret slide.
Then would I utter who I am, and how the firie flame
Of Cupid burned in my brest, desiring him to name
What dowrie he would aske with me in loan of his love,
Save only of my Fathers Realme no question he should move.
For rather than by traitrous meanes my purpose should take place,
Adue, desire of hoped Love. Yet oftentimes such grace
Hath from the gentle Conqueror proceeded erst, that they
Which tooke the foyle have found the same their profit and their stay.
Assuredly the warre is just that Minos takes in hand,
As in revengement of his sonne late murthered in this land.
And as his quarrell seemeth just, even so it cannot faile,
But rightfull warre against the wrong must (I beleve) prevaile.
Now if this Citie in the ende must needes be taken, why
Should his owne sworde and not my Love be meanes to win it by?
It were yet better he should speede by gentle meanes without
The slaughter of his people, yea and (as it may fall out)
With spending of his owne bloud too. For sure I have a care
O Minos lest some Souldier wound thee ere he be aware.
For who is he in all the world that hath so hard a hart
That wittingly against thy head would aime his cruell Dart?
I like well this devise, and on this purpose will I stand:
To yeelde my selfe endowed with this Citie to the hand
Of Minos: and in doing so to bring this warre to ende.
But smally it availeth me the matter to intende.
The gates and yssues of this towne are kept with watch and warde,
And of the Keyes continually my Father hath the garde.
My Father only is the man of whome I stand in dreede,
My Father only hindreth me of my desired speede.
Would God that I were Fatherlesse. Tush, everie Wight may bee
A God as in their owne behalfe, and if their hearts be free
From fearefulnesse. For fortune works against the fond desire
Of such as through faint heartednesse attempt not to aspire.
Some other feeling in hir heart such flames of Cupids fire
Already would have put in proofe some practise to destroy
What thing so ever of hir Love the furtherance might anoy
And why should any woman have a bolder heart than I?
Through fire and sword I boldly durst adventure for to flie.
And yet in this behalfe at all there needes no sword nor fire,
There needeth but my fathers haire to accomplish my desire. I
That Purple haire of his to me more precious were than golde:
That Purple haire of his would make me blest a thousand folde:
That haire would compasse my desire and set my heart at rest.
Night (chiefest Nurce of thoughts to such as are with care opprest)
Approched while she spake these words, and darknesse did encrease
Hir boldnesse. At such time as folke are wont to finde release
Of cares that all the day before were working in their heds,
By sleepe which falleth first of all upon them in their beds,
Hir fathers chamber secretly she entered: where (alasse
That ever Maiden should so farre the bounds of Nature passe)
She robde hir Father of the haire upon the which the fate
Depended both of life and death and of his royall state.
And joying in hir wicked prey, she beares it with hir so
As if it were some lawfull spoyle acquired of the fo.
And passing through a posterne gate she marched through the mid
Of all hir enmies (such a trust she had in that she did)
Untill she came before the King, whom troubled with the sight
She thus bespake: Enforst, O King, by love against all right
I Scylla, Nisus daughter, doe present unto thee heere
My native soyle, my household Gods, and all that else is deere
For this my gift none other thing in recompence I crave
Than of thy person which I love, fruition for to have.
And in assurance of my love receyve thou here of mee
My fathers Purple haire: and thinke I give not unto thee
A haire but even my fathers head. And as these words she spake,
The cursed gift with wicked hand she profered him to take.
But Minos did abhorre hir gift: and troubled in his minde
With straungenesse of the heynous act so sore against hir kinde,
He aunswerde: O thou slaunder of our age, the Gods expell
Thee out of all this world of theirs and let thee no where dwell.
Let rest on neither Sea nor Land be graunted unto thee.
Assure thy selfe that as for me I never will agree
That Candie, Joves owne foster place (as long as I there raigne),
Shall unto such a monstruous Wight a Harbrow place remaine.
This said, he like a righteous Judge among his vanquisht foes
Set order under paine of death. Which done he willed those
That served him to go aboorde and Anchors up to wey.
When Scylla saw the Candian fleete aflote to go away,
And that the Captaine yeelded not so good reward as shee
Had for hir lewdnesse looked for: and when in fine she see
That no entreatance could prevaile, then bursting out in ire
With stretched hands and scattred haire, as furious as the fire
She shraming cryed out aloud: And whither doste thou flie
Rejecting me, the only meanes that thou hast conquerde by?
O cankerde Churle preferde before my native soyle, preferd
Before my father, whither flyste, O Carle of heart most hard?
Whose conquest as it is my sinne, so doth it well deserve
Reward of thee, for that my fault so well thy turne did serve.
Doth neither thee the gift I gave, nor yet my faithfull love,
Nor yet that all my hope on thee alonly rested, move?
For whither shall I now resort forsaken thus of thee?
To Megara the wretched soyle of my nativitie?
Behold it lieth vanquished and troden under foote.
But put the case it flourisht still: yet could it nothing boote.
I have foreclosde it to my selfe through treason when I gave
My fathers head to thee. Whereby my countriefolke I drave
To hate me justly for my crime. And all the Realmes about
My lewde example doe abhorre. Thus have I shet me out
Of all the world that only Crete might take me in, which if
Thou like a Churle denie, and cast me up without relief,
The Ladie Europ surely was not mother unto thee:
But one of Affricke Sirts where none but Serpents fostred bee,
But even some cruell Tiger bred in Armen or in Inde,
Or else the Gulfe Charybdis raisde with rage of Southerne winde.
Thou wert not got by Jove: ne yet thy mother was beguilde
In shape of Bull: of this thy birth the tale is false compilde.
But rather some unwieldie Bull even altogither wilde
That never lowed after Cow was out of doubt thy Sire.
O father Nisus, put thou me to penance for my hire.
Rejoyce thou in my punishment, thou towne by me betrayd.
I have deserved (I confesse) most justly to be payd
With death. But let some one of them that through my lewdnesse smart
Destroy me, why doste thou that by my crime a gainer art,
Commit like crime thy selfe? Admit this wicked act of me
As to my land and Fatherward in deede most hainous be.
Yet oughtest thou to take it as a friendship unto thee.
But she was meete to be thy wife, that in a Cow of tree
Could play the Harlot with a Bull, and in hir wombe could beare
A Barne, in whome the shapes of man and beasts confounded were.
How sayst thou, Carle? compell not these my words thine eares to glow?
Or doe the windes that drive thy shyps, in vaine my sayings blow?
In faith it is no wonder though thy wife Pasiphae
Preferrde a Bull to thee, for thou more cruell wert than he.
Now wo is me. To make more hast it standeth me in hand.
The water sounds with Ores, and hales from me and from my land.
In vaine thou striveth, O thou Churle, forgetfull quight of my
Desertes: for even in spight of thee pursue thee still will I.
Upon thy courbed Keele will I take holde: and hanging so
Be drawen along the Sea with thee where ever thou do go.
She scarce had said these words, but that she leaped on the wave
And getting to the ships by force of strength that Love hir gave
Upon the King of Candies Keele in spight of him she clave.
Whome when hir father spide (for now he hovered in the aire,
And being made a Hobby Hauke did soare between a paire
Of nimble wings of yron Mayle) he soused downe amaine
To seaze upon hir as she hung, and would have tome hir faine
With bowing Beake. But she for feare did let the Caricke go:
And as she was about to fall, the lightsome Aire did so
Uphold hir that she could not touch the Sea as seemed tho.
Anon all fethers she became, and forth away did flie
Transformed to a pretie Bird that stieth to the Skie.
And for bicause like clipped haire hir head doth beare a marke,
The Greekes it Cyris call, and we doe name the same a Larke.
As soone as Minos came aland in Crete, he by and by
Performde his vowes to Jupiter in causing for to die
A hundred Bulles for sacrifice. And then he did adorne
His Pallace with the enmies spoyles by conquest wonne beforne.
The slaunder of his house encreast: and now appeared more
The mothers filthie whoredome by the monster that she bore
Of double shape, an ugly thing. This shamefull infamie,
This monster borne him by his wife he mindes by pollicie
To put away, and in a house with many nookes and krinks
From all mens sights and speach of folke to shet it up he thinks.
Immediatly one Daedalus renowmed in that lande
For fine devise and workmanship in building, went in hand
To make it. He confounds his worke with sodaine stops and stayes,
And with the great uncertaintie of sundrie winding wayes
Leades in and out, and to and fro, at divers doores astray.
And as with trickling streame the Brooke Maeander seemes to play
In Phrygia, and with doubtfull race runnes counter to and fro,
And meeting with himselfe doth looke if all his streame or no
Come after, and retiring eft cleane backward to his spring
And marching eft to open Sea as streight as any string,
Indenteth with reversed streame: even so of winding wayes
Unnumerable Daedalus within his worke convayes.
Yea scarce himselfe could find the meanes to winde himselfe well out:
So busie and so intricate the house was all about.
Within this Maze did Minos shet the Monster that did beare
The shape of man and Bull. And when he twise had fed him there
With bloud of Atticke Princes sonnes that given for tribute were,
The third time at the ninth yeares end the lot did chaunce to light
On Theseus, King Aegaeus sonne: who like a valiant Knight
Did overcome the Minotaur: and by the pollicie
Of Minos eldest daughter (who had taught him for to tie
A clew of Linnen at the doore to guide himselfe thereby)
As busie as the turnings were, his way he out did finde,
Which never man had done before. And streight he having winde,
With Minos daughter sailde away to Dia: where (unkinde
And cruell creature that he was) he left hir post alone
Upon the shore. Thus desolate and making dolefull mone
God Bacchus did both comfort hir and take hir to his bed.
And with an everlasting starre the more hir fame to spred,
He tooke the Chaplet from hir head, and up to Heaven it threw.
The Chaplet thirled through the Aire: and as it gliding flew,
The precious stones were turnd to starres which biased cleare and bright,
And tooke their place (continuing like a Chaplet still to sight)
Amid betweene the Kneeler Downe and him that gripes the Snake.
Now in this while gan Daedalus a wearinesse to take
Of living like a banisht man and prisoner such a time
In Crete, and longed in his heart to see his native Clime.
But Seas enclosed him as if he had in prison be.
Then thought he: though both Sea and Land King Minos stop fro me,
I am assurde he cannot stop the Aire and open Skie.
To make my passage that way then my cunning will I trie.
Although that Minos like a Lord held all the world beside:
Yet doth the Aire from Minos yoke for all men free abide.
This sed: to uncoth Arts he bent the force of all his wits
To alter natures course by craft. And orderly he knits
A rowe of fethers one by one, beginning with the short,
And overmatching still eche quill with one of longer sort,
That on the shoring of a hill a man would thinke them grow.
Even so the countrie Organpipes of Oten reedes ir row
Ech higher than another rise. Then fastned he with Flax
The middle quilles, and joyned in the lowest sort with Wax.
And when he thus had finisht them, a little he them bent
In compasse, that the verie Birdes they full might represent.
There stoode me by him Icarus, his sonne, a pretie Lad.
Who knowing not that he in handes his owne destruction had,
With smiling mouth did one while blow the fethers to and fro
Which in the Aire on wings of Birds did flask not long ago:
And with his thumbes another while he chafes the yelow Wax
And lets his fathers wondrous worke with childish toyes and knacks.
As soon as that the worke was done, the workman by and by
Did peyse his bodie on his wings, and in the Aire on hie
Hung wavering: and did teach his sonne how he should also flie.
I warne thee (quoth he), Icarus, a middle race to keepe.
For if thou hold too low a gate, the dankenesse of the deepe
Will overlade thy wings with wet. And if thou mount too hie,
The Sunne will sindge them. Therfore see betweene them both thou flie.
I bid thee not behold the Starre Bootes in the Skie.
Nor looke upon the bigger Beare to make thy course thereby,
Nor yet on Orions naked sword. But ever have an eie
To keepe the race that I doe keepe, and I will guide thee right.
In giving counsell to his sonne to order well his flight,
He fastned to his shoulders twaine a paire of uncoth wings.
And as he was in doing it and warning him of things,
His aged cheekes were wet, his hands did quake, in fine he gave
His sonne a kisse the last that he alive should ever have.
And then he mounting up aloft before him tooke his way
Right fearfull for his followers sake: as is the Bird the day
That first she tolleth from hir nest among the braunches hie
Hir tender yong ones in the Aire to teach them for to flie.
So heartens he his little sonne to follow teaching him
A hurtfull Art. His owne two wings he waveth verie trim,
And looketh backward still upon his sonnes. The fishermen
Then standing angling by the Sea, and shepeherdes leaning then
On sheepehookes, and the Ploughmen on the handles of their Plough,
Beholding them, amazed were: and thought that they that through
The Aire could flie were Gods. And now did on their left side stand
The Iles of Samos, Junos land:
And on their right, Lebinthos and the faire Calydna fraught
With store of honie: when the Boy a frolicke courage caught
To flie at randon. Whereupon forsaking quight his guide,
Of fond desire to flie to Heaven, above his boundes he stide.
And there the nerenesse of the Sunne which burnd more hote aloft,
Did make the Wax (with which his wings were glewed) lithe and soft.
As soone as that the Wax was molt, his naked armes he shakes,
And wanting wherewithall to wave no helpe of Aire he takes.
But calling on his father loud he drowned in the wave:
And by this chaunce of his those Seas his name for ever have.
His wretched Father (but as then no father) cride in feare:
O Icarus, O Icarus, where art thou? tell me where
That I may finde thee, Icarus. He saw the fethers swim
Upon the waves, and curst his Art that so had spighted him.
At last he tooke his bodie up and laid it in a grave,
And to the Ile the name of him then buried in it gave.
And as he of his wretched sonne the corse in ground did hide,
The cackling Partrich from a thicke and leavie thorne him spide,
And clapping with his wings for joy aloud to call began.
There was of that same kinde of Birde no mo but he as than.
In times forepast had none bene seene. It was but late anew
Since he was made a bird: and that thou, Daedalus, mayst rew:
For whyle the world doth last thy shame shall thereupon ensew.
For why thy sister, ignorant of that which after hapt,
Did put him to thee to be taught full twelve yeares old and apt
To take instruction. He did marke the middle bone that goes
Through fishes, and according to the paterne tane of those
He filed teeth upon a piece of yron one by one
And so devised first the Saw where erst was never none.
Moreover he two yron shankes so joynde in one round head,
That opening an indifferent space, the one point downe shall tread,
And tother draw a circle round. The finding of these things,
The spightfull heart of Daedalus with such a m lice stings,
That headlong from the holy towre of Pallas downe he thrue
His Nephew, feyning him to fall by chaunce, which was not true.
But Pallas (who doth favour wits) did stay him in his fall
And chaunging him into a Bird did clad him over all
With fethers soft amid the Aire. The quicknesse of his wit
(Which erst was swift) did shed it selfe among his wings and feete.
And as he Partrich hight before, so hights he Partrich still.
Yet mounteth not this Bird aloft ne seemes to have a will
To build hir nest in tops of trees among the boughes on hie
But flecketh nere the ground and layes hir egges in hedges drie.
And forbicause hir former fall she ay in minde doth beare,
She ever since all lofty things doth warely shun for feare.
And now forwearied Daedalus alighted in the land
Within the which the burning hilles of firie Aetna stand.
To save whose life King Cocalus did weapon take in hand,
For which men thought him merciful. And now with high renowne
Had Theseus ceast the wofull pay of tribute in the towne
Of Athens. Temples decked were with garlands every where,
And supplications made to Jove and warlicke Pallas were,
And all the other Gods, to whome more honor for to show,
Gifts, blud of beasts, and frankincense the people did bestow
As in performance of their vowes. The right redoubted name
Of Theseus through the lande of Greece was spred by flying fame.
And now the folke that in the land of rich Achaia dwelt,
Praid him of succor in the harmes and perils that they felt.
Although the land of Calydon had then Meleager:
Yet was it faine in humble wise to Theseus to prefer
A supplication for the aide of him. The cause wherfore
They made such humble suit to him was this. There was a Bore
The which Diana for to wreake hir wrath conceyvde before
Had thither as hir servant sent the countrie for to waast.
For men report that Oenie when he had in storehouse plaast
The full encrease of former yeare, to Ceres did assigne
The firstlings of his corne and fruits: to Bacchus, of the Wine:
And unto Pallas Olife oyle. This honoring of the Gods
Of graine and fruits who put their help to toyling in the clods,
Ambitiously to all, even those that dwell in heaven did clime.
Dianas Altars (as it hapt) alonly at that time
Without reward of Frankincense were overskipt (they say).
Even Gods are subject unto wrath. He shall not scape away
Unpunisht, though unworshipped he passed me wyth spight:
He shall not make his vaunt he scapt me unrevenged quight,
Quoth Phoebe. And anon she sent a Bore to Oenies ground
Of such a hugenesse as no Bull could ever yet be found,
In Epyre: but in Sicilie are Bulles much lesse than hee.
His eies did glister blud and fire: right dreadfull was to see
His brawned necke, right dredfull was his haire which grew as thicke
With pricking points as one of them could well by other sticke.
And like a front of armed Pikes set close in battell ray
The sturdie bristles on his back stoode staring up alway.
The scalding fome with gnashing hoarse which he did cast aside,
Upon his large and brawned shield did white as Curdes abide.
Among the greatest Oliphants in all the land of Inde,
A greater tush than had this Boare, ye shall not lightly finde.
Such lightning flashed from his chappes, as seared up the grasse.
Now trampled he the spindling come to ground where he did passe,
Now ramping up their riped hope he made the Plowmen weepe.
And chankt the kernell in the eare. In vaine their floores they sweepe:
In vaine their Barnes for Harvest long, the likely store they keepe.
The spreaded Vines with clustred Grapes to ground he rudely sent,
And full of Berries loden boughes from Olife trees he rent.
On cattell also did he rage. The shepeherd nor his dog,
Nor yet the Bulles could save the herdes from outrage of this Hog.
The folke themselves were faine to flie. And yet they thought them not
In safetie when they had themselves within the Citie got.
Untill their Prince Meleager, and with their Prince a knot
Of Lords and lustie gentlemen of hand and courage stout,
With chosen fellowes for the nonce of all the Lands about,
Inflamed were to win renowne. The chiefe that thither came
Were both the twinnes of Tyndarus of great renowne and fame,
The one in all activitie of manhode, strength and force,
The other for his cunning skill in handling of a horse.
And Jason he that first of all the Gallie did invent:
And Theseus with Pirithous betwene which two there went
A happie leage of amitie: And two of Thesties race:
And Lynce, the sonne of Apharie and Idas, swift of pace.
And fierce Leucyppus and the brave Acastus with his Dart
In handling of the which he had the perfect skill and Art.
And Caeny who by birth a wench, the shape of man had wonne
And Drias and Hippothous: and Phoenix eke the sonne
Of olde Amyntor: and a paire of Actors ympes: and Phyle
Who came from Elis. Telamon was also there that while:
And so was also Peleus, the great Achilles Sire:
And Pherets sonne: and Iolay, the Thebane who with fire
Helpt Hercules the monstruous heades of Hydra off to seare.
The lively Lad Eurytion and Echion who did beare
The pricke and prise for footemanship, were present also there.
And Lelex of Narytium too. And Panopie beside:
And Hyle: and cruell Hippasus: and Naestor who that tide
Was in the Prime of lustie youth: moreover thither went
Three children of Hippocoon from old Amicle sent.
And he that of Penelope the fathrinlaw became.
And eke the sonne of Parrhasus, Ancaeus cald by name.
There was the sonne of Ampycus of great forecasting wit:
And Oeclies sonne who of his wife was unbetrayed yit.
And from the Citie Tegea there came the Paragone
Of Lycey forrest, Atalant, a goodly Ladie, one
Of Schoenyes daughters, then a Maide. The garment she did weare
A brayded button fastned at hir gorget. All hir heare
Untrimmed in one only knot was trussed. From hir left
Side hanging on hir shoulder was an Ivorie quiver deft:
Which being full of arrowes, made a clattring as she went.
And in hir right hand she did beare a Bow already bent.
Hir furniture was such as this. Hir countnance and hir grace
Was such as in a Boy might well be cald a Wenches face,
And in a Wench be cald a Boyes. The Prince of Calydon
No sooner cast his eie on hir, but being caught anon
In love, he wisht hir to his wife. But unto this desire
God Cupid gave not his consent. The secret flames of fire
He haling inward still did say: O happy man is he
Whom this same Ladie shall vouchsave hir Husband for to be.
The shortnesse of the time and shame would give him leave to say
No more: a worke of greater weight did draw him then away.
A wood thick growen with trees which stoode unfelled to that day
Beginning from a plaine, had thence a large prospect throughout
The falling grounds that every way did muster round about.
As soone as that the men came there, some pitched up the toyles,
Some tooke the couples from the Dogs, and some pursude the foyles
In places where the Swine had tract: desiring for to spie
Their owne destruction. Now there was a hollow bottom by,
To which the watershots of raine from all the high grounds drew.
Within the compasse of this pond great store of Osiers grew:
And Sallowes lithe, and flackring Flags, and moorish Rushes eke,
And lazie Reedes on little shankes, and other baggage like.
From hence the Bore was rowzed out, and fiersly forth he flies
Among the thickest of his foes like thunder from the Skies,
When Clouds in meeting force the fire to burst by violence out.
He beares the trees before him downe, and all the wood about
Doth sound of crashing. All the youth with hideous noyse and shout
Against him bend their Boarspeare points with hand and courage stout.
He rushes forth among the Dogs that held him at a bay,
And now on this side now on that, as any come in way,
He rippes their skinnes and splitteth them, and chaseth them away,
Echion first of all the rout a Dart at him did throw,
Which mist and in a Maple tree did give a little blow.
The next (if he that threw the same had used lesser might),
The backe at which he aimed it was likely for to smight.
It overflew him. Jason was the man that cast the Dart.
With that the sonne of Ampycus sayd: Phoebus (if with hart
I have and still doe worship thee) now graunt me for to hit
The thing that I doe levell at. Apollo graunts him it
As much as lay in him to graunt. He hit the Swine in deede.
But neyther entred he his hide nor caused him to bleede.
For why Diana (as the Dart was flying) tooke away
The head of it: and so the Dart could headlesse beare no sway.
But yet the moodie beast thereby was set the more on fire
And chafing like the lightning swift he uttreth forth his ire.
The fire did sparkle from his eyes: and from his boyling brest
He breathed flaming flakes of fire conceyved in his chest.
And looke with what a violent brunt a mightie Bullet goes
From engines bent against a wall, or bulwarks full of foes:
With even such violence rusht the Swine among the Hunts amayne,
And overthrew Eupalamon and Pelagon both twaine
That in the right wing placed were. Their fellowes stepping to
And drawing them away, did save their lives with much ado.
But as for poore Enesimus, Hippocoons sonne had not
The lucke to scape the deadly dint. He would away have got,
And trembling turnde his backe for feare. The Swine him overtooke,
And cut his hamstrings, so that streight his going him forsooke.
And Naestor to have lost his life was like by fortune ere
The siege of Troie, but that he tooke his rist upon his speare:
And leaping quickly up upon a tree that stoode hard by,
Did safely from the place behold his foe whome he did flie.
The Boare then whetting sharpe his tuskes against the Oken wood
To mischiefe did prepare himselfe with fierce and cruell mood.
And trusting to his weapons which he sharpened had anew,
In great Orithyas thigh a wound with hooked groyne he drew.
The valiant brothers, those same twinnes of Tyndarus (not yet
Celestiall signes), did both of them on goodly coursers sit
As white as snow: and ech of them had shaking in his fist
A lightsome Dart with head of steele to throw it where he lyst.
And for to wound the bristled Bore they surely had not mist
But that he still recovered so the coverts of the wood,
That neyther horse could follow him, nor Dart doe any good.
Still after followed Telamon, whom taking to his feete
No heede at all for egernesse, a Maple roote did meete,
Which tripped up his heeles, and flat against the ground him laid.
And while his brother Peleus relieved him, the Maid
Of Tegea tooke an arrow swift, and shot it from hir bow.
The arrow lighting underneath the havers eare bylow,
And somewhat rasing of the skin, did make the bloud to show.
The Maid hirselfe not gladder was to see that luckie blow,
Than was the Prince Meleager. He was the first that saw,
And first that shewed to his Mates the blud that she did draw:
And said: For this thy valiant act due honor shalt thou have.
The men did blush, and chearing up ech other courage gave
With shouting, and disorderly their Darts by heaps they threw.
The number of them hindred them, not suffring to ensew
That any lighted on the marke at which they all did ame.
Behold, enragde against his ende the hardie Knight that came
From Arcadie, rusht rashly with a Pollax in his fist
And said: You yonglings learne of me what difference is betwist
A wenches weapons and a mans: and all of you give place
To my redoubted force. For though Diana in this chase
Should with hir owne shield him defend, yet should this hand of mine
Even maugre Dame Dianas heart confound this orped Swine.
Such boasting words as these through pride presumptuously he crakes:
And streyning out himselfe upon his tiptoes streight he takes
His Pollax up with both his hands. But as this bragger ment
To fetch his blow, the cruell beast his malice did prevent:
And in his coddes (the speeding place of death) his tusshes puts,
And rippeth up his paunche. Downe falles Ancaeus and his guts
Come tumbling out besmearde with bloud, and foyled all the plot.
Pirithous, Ixions sonne, at that abashed not:
But shaking in his valiant hand his hunting staffe did goe
Still stoutly forward face to face t'encounter with his foe
To whome Duke Theseus cride afarre: O dearer unto mee
Than is my selfe, my soule I say, stay: lawfull we it see
For valiant men to keepe aloofe. The over hardie hart
In rash adventring of him selfe hath made Ancaeus smart.
This sed, he threw a weightie Dart of Cornell with a head
Of brasse: which being leveld well was likely to have sped,
But that a bough of Chestnut tree thick leaved by the way
Did latch it, and by meanes therof the dint of it did stay.
Another Dart that Jason threw, by fortune mist the Bore,
And light betwene a Mastifes chaps, and through his guts did gore,
And naild him to the earth. The hand of Prince Meleager
Plaid hittymissie. Of two Darts his first did flie too far,
And lighted in the ground: the next amid his backe stickt fast.
And while the Bore did play the fiend and turned round agast,
And grunting flang his fome about togither mixt with blood,
The giver of the wound (the more to stirre his enmies mood,)
Stept in, and underneath the shield did thrust his Boarspeare through.
Then all the Hunters shouting out demeaned joy inough.
And glad was he that first might come to take him by the hand.
About the ugly beast they all with gladnesse gazing stand
And wondring what a field of ground his carcasse did possesse,
There durst not any be so bolde to touch him. Nerethelesse,
They every of them with his bloud their hunting staves made red.
Then stepped forth Meleager, and treading on his hed
Said thus: O Ladie Atalant, receive thou here my fee,
And of my glorie vouch thou safe partaker for to bee.
Immediatly the ugly head with both the tusshes brave
And eke the skin with bristles stur right griesly, he hir gave.
The Ladie for the givers sake, was in hir heart as glad
As for the gift. The rest repinde that she such honor had.
Through all the rout was murmuring. Of whom with roring reare
And armes displayd that all the field might easly see and heare,
The Thesties cried: Dame, come off and lay us downe this geare.
And thou a woman offer not us men so great a shame,
As we to toyle and thou to take the honor of our game.
Ne let that faire smooth face of thine beguile thee, lest that hee
That being doted in thy love did give thee this our fee,
Be over farre to rescow thee. And with that word they tooke
The gift from hir, and right of gift from him. He could not brooke
This wrong: but gnashing with his teeth for anger that did boyle
Within, said fiersly: learne ye you that other folkes dispoyle
Of honor given, what diffrence is betweene your threats, and deedes.
And therewithall Plexippus brest (who no such matter dreedes)
With wicked weapon he did pierce. As Toxey doubting stood
What way to take, desiring both t'advenge his brothers blood,
And fearing to be murthered as his brother was before,
Meleager (to dispatch all doubts of musing any more)
Did heate his sword for companie in bloud of him againe,
Before Plexippus bloud was cold that did thereon remaine.
Althaea going toward Church with presents for to yild
Due thankes and worship to the Gods that for hir sonne had kild
The Boare, beheld hir brothers brought home dead: and by and by
She beate hir brest, and filde the towne with shrieking piteously,
And shifting all hir rich aray, did put on mourning weede
But when she understoode what man was doer of the deede,
She left all mourning, and from teares to vengeance did proceede.
There was a certaine firebrand which when Oenies wife did lie
In childebed of Meleager, she chaunced to espie
The Destnies putting in the fire: and in the putting in,
She heard them speake these words, as they his fatall threede did spin:
O lately borne, like time we give to thee and to this brand.
And when they so had spoken, they departed out of hand.
Immediatly the mother caught the blazing bough away,
And quenched it. This bough she kept full charely many a day:
And in the keeping of the same she kept hir sonne alive.
But now intending of his life him clearly to deprive,
She brought it forth, and causing all the coales and shivers to
Be layed by, she like a foe did kindle fire thereto.
Fowre times she was about to cast the firebrand in the flame:
Fowre times she pulled backe hir hand from doing of the same.
As mother and as sister both she strove what way to go:
The divers names drew diversly hir stomacke to and fro.
Hir face waxt often pale for feare of mischiefe to ensue:
And often red about the eies through heate of ire she grew.
One while hir looke resembled one that threatned cruelnesse:
Another while ye would have thought she minded pitiousnesse.
And though the cruell burning of hir heart did drie hir teares,
Yet burst out some. And as a Boate which tide contrarie beares
Against the winde, feeles double force, and is compeld to yeelde
To both, so Thesties daughter now unable for to weelde
Hir doubtful passions, diversly is caried off and on,
And chaungeably she waxes calme, and stormes againe anon.
But better sister ginneth she than mother for to be.
And to th'intent hir brothers ghostes with bloud to honor, she
In meaning to be one way kinde, doth worke another way
Against kinde. When the plagie fire waxt strong she thus did say:
Let this same fire my bowels burne. And as in cursed hands
The fatall wood she holding at the Hellish Altar stands:
She said: Ye triple Goddesses of wreake, ye Helhounds three
Beholde ye all this furious fact and sacrifice of mee.
I wreake, and do against all right: with death must death be payde:
In mischiefe mischiefe must be heapt: on corse must corse be laide.
Confounded let this wicked house with heaped sorrowes bee.
Shall Oenie joy his happy sonne in honor for to see
And Thestie mourne bereft of his? Nay: better yet it were,
That eche with other companie in mourning you should beare.
Ye brothers Ghostes and soules new dead I wish no more, but you
To feele the solemne obsequies which I prepare as now:
And that mine offring you accept, which dearly I have bought
The yssue of my wretched wombe. Alas, alas what thought
I for to doe? O brothers, I besech you beare with me.
I am his mother: so to doe my hands unable be.
His trespasse I confesse deserves the stopping of his breath:
But yet I doe not like that I be Author of his death.
And shall he then with life and limme, and honor too, scape free?
And vaunting in his good successe the King of Calidon bee?
And you deare soules lie raked up but in a little dust?
I will not surely suffer it. But let the villaine trust
That he shall die, and draw with him to ruine and decay
His Kingdome, Countrie and his Sire that doth upon him stay.
Why where is now the mothers heart and pitie that should raigne
In Parents? and the ten Monthes paines that once I did sustaine?
O would to God thou burned had a babie in this brand,
And that I had not tane it out and quencht it with my hand.
That all this while thou lived hast, my goodnesse is the cause.
And now most justly unto death thine owne desert thee drawes.
Receive the guerdon of thy deede: and render thou agen
Thy twice given life, by bearing first, and secondarly when
I caught this firebrand from the flame: or else come deale with me
As with my brothers, and with them let me entumbed be.
I would, and cannot. What then shall I stand to in this case?
One while my brothers corses seeme to prease before my face
With lively Image of their deaths. Another while my minde
Doth yeelde to pitie, and the name of mother doth me blinde.
Now wo is me. To let you have the upper hand is sinne:
But nerethelesse the upper hand O brothers doe you win.
Condicionly that when that I to comfort you withall
Have wrought this feate, my selfe to you resort in person shall.
This sed, she turnde away hir face, and with a trembling hand
Did cast the deathfull brand amid the burning fire. The brand
Did eyther sigh, or seeme to sigh in burning in the flame,
Which sorie and unwilling was to fasten on the same.
Meleager being absent and not knowing ought at all
Was burned with this flame: and felt his bowels to appall
With secret fire. He bare out long the paine with courage stout.
But yet it grieved him to die so cowardly without
The shedding of his bloud. He thought Anceus for to be
A happie man that dide of wound. With sighing called he
Upon his aged father, and his sisters, and his brother,
And lastly on his wife too, and by chaunce upon his mother.
His paine encreased with the fire, and fell therewith againe:
And at the selfe same instant quight extinguisht were both twaine.
And as the ashes soft and hore by leysure overgrew
The glowing coales: so leysurly his spirit from him drew.
Then drouped stately Calydon. Both yong and olde did mourne,
The Lords and Commons did lament, and maried wives with tome
And tattred haire did crie alas. His father did beray
His horie head and face with dust, and on the earth flat lay,
Lamenting that he lived had to see that wofull day
For now his mothers giltie hand had for that cursed crime
Done execution on hir selfe by sword before hir time.
If God to me a hundred mouthes with sounding tongues should send,
And reason able to conceyve, and thereunto should lend
Me all the grace of eloquence that ere the Muses had,
I could not shew the wo wherewith his sisters were bestad.
Unmindfull of their high estate, their naked brests they smit,
Untill they made them blacke and blew. And while his bodie yit
Remained, they did cherish it, and cherish it againe.
They kist his bodie: yea they kist the chist that did containe
His corse. And after that the corse was burnt to ashes, they
Did presse his ashes with their brests: and downe along they lay
Upon his tumb, and there embraste his name upon the stone,
And filde the letters of the same with teares that from them gone.
At length Diana satisfide with slaughter brought upon
The house of Oenie, lifts them up with fethers everichone,
(Save Gorgee and the daughtrinlaw of noble Alcmene) and
Makes wings to stretch along their sides, and horned nebs to stand
Upon their mouthes. And finally she altring quight their faire
And native shape, in shape of Birds dooth sent them through the Aire.
The noble Theseus in this while with others having donne
His part in killing of the Boare, to Athens ward begonne
To take his way. But Acheloy then being swolne with raine
Did stay him of his journey, and from passage him restraine.
Of Athens valiant knight (quoth he) come underneath my roofe,
And for to passe my raging streame as yet attempt no proofe.
This brooke is wont whole trees to beare and evelong stones to carry
With hideous roring down his streame. I oft have seene him harry
Whole Shepcotes standing nere his banks, with flocks of sheepe therin.
Nought booted buls their strength: nought steedes by swiftnes there could win.
Yea many lustie men this brooke hath swallowed, when the snow
From mountaines molten, caused him his banks to overflow.
i The best is for you for to rest untill the River fall
Within his boundes: and runne ageine within his chanell small.
Content (quoth Theseus): Acheloy, I will not sure refuse
Thy counsell nor thy house. And so he both of them did use.
Of Pommy hollowed diversly and ragged Pebble stone
The walles were made. The floore with Mosse was soft to tread upon.
The roofe thereof was checkerwise with shelles of Purple wrought
And Perle. The Sunne then full two parts of day to end had brought,
And Theseus downe to table sate with such as late before
Had friendly borne him companie at killing of the Bore.
At one side sate Ixions sonne, and on the other sate
The Prince of Troyzen, Lelex, with a thin hearde horie pate.
And then such other as the brooke of Acarnania did
Vouchsafe the honor to his boord and table for to bid,
Who was right glad of such a guest. Immediatly there came
Barefooted Nymphes who brought in meate. And when that of the same
The Lords had taken their repast, the meate away they tooke,
And set downe wine in precious stones. Then Theseus who did looke
Upon the Sea that underneath did lie within their sight,
Said: tell us what is yon same place, (and with his fingar right
Hee poynted thereunto) I pray, and what that Iland hight,
Although it seemeth mo than one. The River answerd thus,
It is not one mayne land alone that kenned is of us.
There are uppon a fyve of them. The distaunce of the place,
Dooth hinder to discerne betweene eche Ile the perfect space.
And that the lesse yee woonder may at Phoebees act alate,
To such as had neglected her uppon contempt or hate,
Theis Iles were sumtyme Waternimphes: who having killed Neate,
Twyce fyve, and called to theyr feast the Country Gods to eate,
Forgetting mee kept frolicke cheere. At that gan I to swell,
And ran more large than ever erst, and being over fell
In stomacke and in streame, I rent the wood from wood, and feeld
From feeld, and with the ground the Nymphes as then with stomacks meeld
Remembring mee, I tumbled to the Sea. The waves of mee
And of the sea the ground that erst all whole was woont to bee
Did rend asunder into all the Iles you yonder see,
And made a way for waters now to passe betweene them free.
They now of Urchins have theyr name. But of theis Ilands, one
A great way off (behold yee) stands a great way off alone,
As you may see. The Mariners doo call it Perimell.
With her (shee was as then a Nymph) so farre in love I fell,
That of her maydenhod I her spoyld: which thing displeasd so sore
Her father Sir Hippodamas, that from the craggy shore
He threw her headlong downe to drowne her in the sea. But I
Did latch her streight, and bearing her aflote did lowd thus crie:
O Neptune with thy threetynde Mace who hast by lot the charge
Of all the waters wylde that bound uppon the earth at large,
To whom wee holy streames doo runne, in whome wee take our end,
Draw neere, and gently to my boone effectually attend.
This Ladie whome I beare aflote myselfe hath hurt. Bee meeke
And upright. If Hippodamas perchaunce were fatherleeke,
Or if that he extremitie through outrage did not secke,
He oughted to have pitied her and for to beare with mee.
Now help us Neptune, I thee pray, and condescend that shee
Whom from the land her fathers wrath and cruelnesse dooth chace
Who through her fathers cruelnesse is drownd: may find the grace
To have a place: or rather let hirselfe become a place.
And I will still embrace the same. The King of Seas did move
His head, and as a token that he did my sute approve,
He made his surges all to shake. The Nymph was sore afrayd.
Howbee't shee swam, and as she swam, my hand I softly layd
Upon her brest which quivered still. And whyle I toucht the same,
I sensibly did feele how all her body hard became:
And how the earth did overgrow her bulk. And as I spake,
New earth enclosde hir swimming limbes, which by and by did take
Another shape, and grew into a mighty Ile.
With thatThe River ceast and all men there did woonder much thereat.
Pirithous being over hault of mynde and such a one
As did despyse bothe God and man, did laugh them everychone
To scorne for giving credit, and sayd thus: The woords thou spaakst
Are feyned fancies, Acheloy: and overstrong thou maakst
The Gods: to say that they can give and take way shapes. This scoffe
Did make the heerers all amazde, for none did like thereof.
And Lelex of them all the man most rype in yeeres and wit,
Sayd thus: Unmeasurable is the powre of heaven, and it
Can have none end. And looke what God dooth mynd to bring about,
Must take effect. And in this case to put yee out of dout,
Upon the hilles of Phrygie neere a Teyle there stands a tree
Of Oke enclosed with a wall. Myself the place did see.
For Pithey untoo Pelops feelds did send mee where his father
Did sumtyme reigne. Not farre fro thence there is a poole which rather
Had bene dry ground inhabited. But now it is a meare
And Moorecocks, Cootes, and Cormorants doo breede and nestle there.
The mightie Jove and Mercurie his sonne in shape of men
Resorted thither on a tyme. A thousand houses when
For roome to lodge in they had sought, a thousand houses bard
Theyr doores against them. Nerethelesse one Cotage afterward
Receyved them, and that was but a pelting one in deede.
The roofe therof was thatched all with straw and fennish reede.
Howbee't two honest auncient folke, (of whom she Baucis hight
And he Philemon) in that Cote theyr fayth in youth had plight:
And in that Cote had spent theyr age. And for they paciently
Did beare theyr simple povertie, they made it light thereby,
And shewed it no thing to bee repyned at at all.
It skilles not whether there for Hyndes or Maister you doo call,
For all the houshold were but two: and both of them obeyde,
And both commaunded. When the Gods at this same Cotage staid,
And ducking downe their heads, within the low made Wicket came,
Philemon bringing ech a stoole, bade rest upon the same
Their limmes: and busie Baucis brought them cuishons homely geere.
ihich done, the embers on the harth she gan abrode to steere,
And laid the coales togither that were raakt up over night,
And with the brands and dried leaves did make them gather might,
And with the blowing of hir mouth did make them kindle bright.
Then from an inner house she fetcht seare sticks and clifted brands,
And put them broken underneath a Skillet with hir hands.
Hir Husband from their Gardenplot fetcht Coleworts. Of the which
She shreaded small the leaves, and with a Forke tooke downe a flitch
Of restie Bacon from the Balke made blacke with smoke, and cut
A peece thereof, and in the pan to boyling did it put.
And while this meate a seething was, the time in talke they spent,
By meanes whereof away without much tedousnesse it went.
There hung a Boawle of Beeche upon a spirget by a ring.
The same with warmed water filld the two old folke did bring
To bathe their guests foule feete therein. Amid the house there stood
A Couch whose bottom sides and feete were all of Sallow wood,
And on the same a Mat of Sedge. They cast upon this bed
A covering which was never wont upon it to be spred
Except it were at solemne feastes: and yet the same was olde
And of the coursest, with a bed of sallow meete to holde.
The Gods sate downe. The aged wife right chare and busie as
A Bee, set out a table, of the which the thirde foote was
A little shorter than the rest. A tylesherd made it even
And tooke away the shoringnesse: and when they had it driven
To stand up levell, with greene Mintes they by and by it wipte.
Then set they on it Pallas fruite with double colour stripte.
And Cornels kept in pickle moyst, and Endive, and a roote
Of Radish, and a jolly lump of Butter fresh and soote,
And Egges reare rosted. All these Cates in earthen dishes came.
Then set they downe a graven cup made also of the same
Selfe kinde of Plate, and Mazers made of Beech whose inner syde
Was rubd with yellow wax. And when they pawsed had a tyde,
Hot meate came pyping from the fyre. And shortly thereupon
A cup of greene hedg wyne was brought. This tane away, anon
Came in the latter course, which was of Nuts, Dates, dryed figges,
Sweete smelling Apples in a Mawnd made flat of Osier twigges,
And Prunes and Plums and Purple grapes cut newly from the tree,
And in the middes a honnycomb new taken from the Bee.
Besydes all this there did ensew good countnance overmore,
With will not poore nor nigardly. Now all the whyle before,
As ofen as Philemon and Dame Baucis did perceyve
The emptie Cup to fill alone, and wyne to still receyve,
Amazed at the straungenesse of the thing, they gan streyght way
With fearfull harts and hands hilld up to frame themselves to pray.
Desyring for theyr slender cheere and fare to pardoned bee.
They had but one poore Goose which kept theyr little Tennantree,
And this to offer to the Gods theyr guestes they did intend.
The Gander wyght of wing did make the slow old folke to spend
Theyr paynes in vayne, and mokt them long. At length he seemd to flye
For succor to the Gods themselves, who bade he should not dye.
For wee bee Gods (quoth they) and all this wicked towneship shall
Abye their gylt. On you alone this mischeef shall not fall.
No more but give you up your house, and follow up this hill
Togither, and upon the top therof abyde our will.
They bothe obeyd. And as the Gods did lead the way before,
They lagged slowly after with theyr staves, and labored sore
Ageinst the rysing of the hill. They were not mickle more
Than full a flyghtshot from the top, when looking backe they saw
How all the towne was drowned save their lyttle shed of straw.
And as they wondred at the thing and did bewayle the case
Of those that had theyr neyghbours beene, the old poore Cote so base
Whereof they had beene owners erst, became a Church. The proppes
Were turned into pillars huge. The straw uppon the toppes
Was yellow, so that all the roof did seeme of burnisht gold:
The floore with Marble paved was. The doores on eyther fold
Were graven. At the sight hereof Philemon and his make
Began to pray in feare. Then Jove thus gently them bespake:
Declare thou ryghtuowse man, and thou woman meete to have
A ryghtuowse howsband, what yee would most cheefly wish or crave.
Philemon taking conference a little with his wyfe,
Declared bothe theyr meenings thus: We covet during lyfe,
Your Chapleynes for to bee to keepe your Temple. And bycause
Our yeeres in concord wee have spent, I pray when death neere drawes,
Let bothe of us togither leave our lives: that neyther I
Behold my wyves deceace, nor shee see myne when I doo dye.
Theyr wish had sequele to theyr will. As long as lyfe did last,
They kept the Church. And beeing spent with age of yeares forepast,
By chaunce as standing on a tyme without the Temple doore
They told the fortune of the place, Philemon old and poore
Saw Baucis floorish greene with leaves, and Baucis saw likewyse
Philemon braunching out in boughes and twigs before hir eyes.
And as the Bark did overgrow the heades of both, eche spake
To other whyle they myght. At last they eche of them did take
Theyr leave of other bothe at once, and therewithall the bark
Did hyde theyr faces both at once. The Phrygians in that park
Doo at this present day still shew the trees that shaped were
Of theyr two bodies, growing yit togither joyntly there.
Theis things did auncient men report of credit verie good.
For why there was no cause why they should lye. As I there stood
I saw the garlands hanging on the boughes, and adding new
I sayd: Let them whom God dooth love be Gods, and honor dew
Bee given to such as honor him with feare and reverence trew.
He hilld his peace, and bothe the thing and he that did it tell
Did move them all, but Theseus most. Whom being mynded well
To heere of woondrous things, the brooke of Calydon thus bespake:
There are, O valiant knyght, sum folke that had the powre to take
Straunge shape for once, and all their lyves continewed in the same.
And other sum to sundrie shapes have power themselves to frame,
As thou, O Protew, dwelling in the sea that cleepes the land.
For now a yoonker, now a boare, anon a Lyon, and
Streyght way thou didst become a Snake, and by and by a Bull
That people were afrayd of thee to see thy horned skull.
And oftentymes thou seemde a stone, and now and then a tree,
And counterfetting water sheere thou seemedst oft to bee
A River: and another whyle contrarie thereunto
Thou wart a fyre. No lesser power than also thus to doo
Had Erisicthons daughter whom Awtolychus tooke to wyfe.
Her father was a person that despysed all his lyfe
The powre of Gods, and never did vouchsauf them sacrifyse.
He also is reported to have heawen in wicked wyse
The grove of Ceres, and to fell her holy woods which ay
Had undiminisht and unhackt continewed to that day.
There stood in it a warrie Oke which was a wood alone.
Uppon it round hung fillets, crownes, and tables, many one,
The vowes of such as had obteynd theyr hearts desyre. Full oft
The Woodnymphes underneath this tree did fetch theyr frisks aloft
And oftentymes with hand in hand they daunced in a round
About the Trunk, whose bignesse was of timber good and sound
Full fifteene fadom. All the trees within the wood besyde,
Were unto this, as weedes to them: so farre it did them hyde.
Yit could not this move Triops sonne his axe therefro to hold,
But bade his servants cut it downe. And when he did behold
Them stunting at his hest, he snatcht an axe with furious mood
From one of them, and wickedly sayd thus: Although thys wood
Not only were the derling of the Goddesse, but also
The Goddesse even herself: yet would I make it ere I go
To kisse the clowers with her top that pranks with braunches so.
This spoken, as he sweakt his axe asyde to fetch his blow,
The manast Oke did quake and sygh, the Acornes that did grow
Thereon togither with the leaves to wex full pale began,
And shrinking in for feare the boughes and braunches looked wan.
As soone as that his cursed hand had wounded once the tree,
The blood came spinning from the carf, as freshly as yee see
It issue from a Bullocks necke whose throte is newly cut
Before the Altar, when his flesh to sacrifyse is put.
They were amazed everychone. And one among them all
To let the wicked act, durst from the tree his hatchet call.
The lewd Thessalian facing him sayd: Take thou heere to thee
The guerdon of thy godlynesse, and turning from the tree,
He chopped off the fellowes head. Which done, he went agen
And heawed on the Oke. Streight from amid the tree as then
There issued such a sound as this: Within this tree dwell I
A Nymph to Ceres very deere, who now before I dye
In comfort of my death doo give thee warning thou shalt bye
Thy dooing deere within a whyle. He goeth wilfully
Still thorrough with his wickednesse, untill at length the Oke
Pulld partly by the force of ropes, and cut with axis stroke,
Did fall, and with his weyght bare downe of under wood great store.
The Wood nymphes with the losses of the woods and theyrs ryght sore
Amazed, gathered on a knot, and all in mourning weede
Went sad to Ceres, praying her to wreake that wicked deede
Of Erisicthons. Ceres was content it should bee so.
And with the moving of her head in nodding to and fro,
Shee shooke the feeldes which laden were with frutefull Harvest tho,
And therewithall a punishment most piteous shee proceedes
To put in practyse: were it not that his most heynous deedes
No pitie did deserve to have at any bodies hand.
With helpelesse hungar him to pyne, in purpose shee did stand.
And forasmuch as shee herself and Famin myght not meete
(For fate forbiddeth Famin to abyde within the leete
Where plentie is) shee thus bespake a fayrie of the hill:
There lyeth in the utmost bounds of Tartarie the chill
A Dreerie place, a wretched soyle, a barreine plot: no grayne,
No frute, no tree, is growing there: but there dooth ay remayne
Unweeldsome cold, with trembling feare, and palenesse white as clowt,
And foodlesse Famin. Will thou her immediatly withowt
Delay to shed herself into the stomacke of the wretch,
And let no plentie staunch her force but let her working stretch
Above the powre of mee. And lest the longnesse of the way
May make thee wearie, take thou heere my charyot: take I say
My draggons for to beare thee through the aire.
In saving so
She gave hir them. The Nymph mounts up, and flying thence as tho
Alyghts in Scythy land, and up the cragged top of hye
Mount Caucasus did cause hir Snakes with much adoo to stye.
Where seeking long for Famin, shee the gaptoothd elfe did spye
Amid a barreine stony feeld a ramping up the grasse
With ougly nayles and chanking it. Her face pale colourd was.
Hir heare was harsh and shirle, her eyes were sunken in her head.
Her lyppes were hore with filth, her teeth were furd and rusty red.
Her skinne was starched, and so sheere a man myght well espye
The verie bowels in her bulk how every one did lye.
And eke above her courbed loynes her withered hippes were seene.
In stead of belly was a space where belly should have beene.
Her brest did hang so sagging downe as that a man would weene
That scarcely to her ridgebone had hir ribbes beene fastened well.
Her leannesse made her joynts bolne big, and kneepannes for to swell.
And with exceeding mighty knubs her heeles behynd boynd out.
Now when the Nymph behild this elfe afarre, (she was in dout
To come too neere her:) shee declarde her Ladies message. And
In that same little whyle although the Nymph aloof did stand,
And though shee were but newly come, yit seemed shee to feele
The force of Famin. Wheruppon shee turning backe her wheele
Did reyne her dragons up aloft: who streyght with courage free
Conveyd her into Thessaly. Although that Famin bee
Ay contrarye to Ceres woork, yit did shee then agree
To do her will and glyding through the Ayre supported by
The wynd, she found th'appoynted house: and entring by and by
The caytifs chamber where he slept (it was in tyme of nyght)
Shee hugged him betweene her armes there snorting bolt upryght,
And breathing her into him, blew uppon his face and brest,
That hungar in his emptie veynes myght woorke as hee did rest.
And when she had accomplished her charge, shee then forsooke
The frutefull Clymates of the world, and home ageine betooke
Herself untoo her frutelesse feeldes and former dwelling place.
The gentle sleepe did all this whyle with fethers soft embrace
The wretched Erisicthons corse. Who dreaming streight of meate
Did stirre his hungry jawes in vayne as though he had to eate
And chanking tooth on tooth apace he gryndes them in his head,
And occupies his emptie throte with swallowing, and in stead
Of food devoures the lither ayre. But when that sleepe with nyght
Was shaken off, immediatly a furious appetite
Of feeding gan to rage in him, which in his greedy gummes
And in his meatlesse maw dooth reigne unstauncht. Anon there cummes
Before him whatsoever lives on sea, in aire or land:
And yit he crieth still for more. And though the platters stand
Before his face full furnished, yit dooth he still complayne
Of hungar, craving meate at meale. The food that would susteine
Whole householdes, Towneships, Shyres and Realmes suffyce not him alone.
The more his pampred paunch consumes, the more it maketh mone
And as the sea receyves the brookes of all the worldly Realmes,
And yit is never satisfyde for all the forreine streames,
And as the fell and ravening fyre refuseth never wood,
But burneth faggots numberlesse, and with a furious mood
The more it hath, the more it still desyreth evermore,
Encreacing in devouring through encreasement of the store:
So wicked Erisicthons mouth in swallowing of his meate
Was ever hungry more and more, and longed ay to eate.
Meate tolld in meate: and as he ate the place was empty still.
The hungar of his brinklesse Maw, the gulf that nowght might fill,
Had brought his fathers goods to nowght. But yit continewed ay
His cursed hungar unappeasd: and nothing could alay I
The flaming of his starved throte. At length when all was spent,
And into his unfilled Maw bothe goods and lands were sent,
An only daughter did remayne unworthy to have had
So lewd a father. Hir he sold, so hard he was bestad.
But shee of gentle courage could no bondage well abyde.
And therfore stretching out her hands to seaward there besyde,
Now save mee, quoth shee, from the yoke of bondage I thee pray,
O thou that my virginitie enjoyest as a pray.
Neptunus had it. Who to this her prayer did consent.
And though her maister looking backe (for after him shee went)
Had newly seene her: yit he turnd hir shape and made hir man,
And gave her looke of fisherman. Her mayster looking than
Upon her, sayd: Good fellow, thou that on the shore doost stand
With angling rod and bayted hooke and hanging lyne in hand,
I pray thee as thou doost desyre the Sea ay calme to thee,
And fishes for to byght thy bayt, and striken still to bee,
Tell where the frizzletopped wench in course and sluttish geere
That stoode right now uppon this shore (for well I wote that heere
I saw her standing) is become. For further than this place
No footestep is appeering. Shee perceyving by the cace
That Neptunes gift made well with her, and beeing glad to see
Herself enquyrd for of herself, sayd thus: Who ere you bee
I pray you for to pardon mee. I turned not myne eye
A t'one syde ne a toother from this place, but did apply
My labor hard. And that you may the lesser stand in dowt,
So Neptune further still the Art and craft I go abowt,
As now a whyle no living Wyght uppon this levell sand
(Myself excepted) neyther man nor woman heere did stand.
Her maister did beleeve her words: and turning backward went
His way beguyld: and streight to her her native shape was sent.
But when her father did perceyve his daughter for to have
A bodye so transformable, he oftentymes her gave
For monny. But the damzell still escaped, now a Mare
And now a Cow, and now a Bird, a Hart, a Hynd, or Hare,
And ever fed her hungry Syre with undeserved fare.
But after that the maladie had wasted all the meates
As well of store as that which shee had purchast by her feates:
Most cursed keytife as he was, with bighting hee did rend
His flesh, and by diminishing his bodye did intend
To feede his bodye, till that death did speede his fatall end.
But what meene I to busye mee in forreine matters thus?
To alter shapes within precinct is lawfull even to us,
My Lords. For sumtime I am such as you do now mee see,
Sumtyme I wynd mee in a Snake: and oft I seeme to bee
A Capteine of the herd with homes. For taking homes on mee
I lost a tyne which heeretofore did arme mee as the print
Dooth playnly shew. With that same word he syghed and did stint.
Finis octaui Libri.