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And into Thracia beeing called by Orphy did repayre.
He came in deede at Orphyes call: but neyther did he sing
The woordes of that solemnitie, nor merry countnance bring,
Nor any handsell of good lucke. His torch with drizling smoke
Was dim: the same to burne out cleere, no stirring could provoke.
The end was woorser than the signe. For as the Bryde did rome
Abrode accompanyde with a trayne of Nymphes to bring her home,
A serpent lurking in the grasse did sting her in the ancle:
Whereof shee dyde incontinent, so swift the bane did rancle.
Whom when the Thracian Poet had bewayld sufficiently
On earth, the Ghostes departed hence he minding for to trie,
Downe at the gate of Taenarus did go to Limbo lake.
And thence by gastly folk and soules late buried he did take
His journey to Persephonee and to the king of Ghosts
That like a Lordly tyran reignes in those unpleasant coasts.
And playing on his tuned harp he thus began to sound:
O you, the Sovereines of the world set underneath the ground,
To whome wee all (what ever thing is made of mortall kynd)
Repayre, if by your leave I now may freely speake my mynd,
I come not hither as a spye the shady Hell to see:
Nor yet the foule three headed Curre whose heares all Adders bee
To tye in cheynes. The cause of this my vyage is my wyfe
Whose foote a Viper stinging did abridge her youthfull lyfe.
I would have borne it paciently: and so to doo I strave,
But Love surmounted powre. This God is knowen great force to have
Above on earth. And whether he reigne heere or no I dowt.
But I beleeve hee reignes heere too. If fame that flies abowt
Of former rape report not wrong, Love coupled also yow.
By theis same places full of feare: by this huge Chaos now,
And by the stilnesse of this waste and emptye Kingdome, I
Beseech yee of Eurydicee unreele the destinye
That was so swiftly reeled up. All things to you belong.
And though wee lingring for a whyle our pageants do prolong,
Yit soone or late wee all to one abyding place doo rome:
Wee haste us hither all: this place becomes our latest home:
And you doo over humaine kynd reigne longest tyme. Now when
This woman shall have lived full her tyme, shee shall agen
Become your owne. The use of her but for a whyle I crave.
And if the Destnyes for my wyfe denye mee for to have
Releace, I fully am resolvd for ever heere to dwell.
Rejoyce you in the death of both. As he this tale did tell,
And played on his instrument, the bloodlesse ghostes shed teares:
To tyre on Titius growing hart the greedy Grype forbeares:
The shunning water Tantalus endevereth not to drink:
And Danaus daughters ceast to fill theyr tubbes that have no brink.
Ixions wheele stood still: and downe sate Sisyphus uppon
His rolling stone. Then first of all (so fame for truth hath gone)
The Furies beeing striken there with pitie at his song
Did weepe. And neyther Pluto nor his Ladie were so strong
And hard of stomacke to withhold his just petition long.
They called foorth Eurydicee who was as yit among
The newcome Ghosts, and limped of her wound. Her husband tooke
Her with condicion that he should not backe uppon her looke,
Untill the tyme that hee were past the bounds of Limbo quyght:
Or else to lose his gyft. They tooke a path that steepe upryght
Rose darke and full of foggye mist. And now they were within
A kenning of the upper earth, when Orphye did begin
To dowt him lest shee followed not, and through an eager love
Desyrous for to see her he his eyes did backward move.
Immediatly shee slipped backe. He retching out his hands,
Desyrous to bee caught and for to ketch her grasping stands.
But nothing save the slippry aire (unhappy man) he caught.
Shee dying now the second tyme complaynd of Orphye naught.
For why what had shee to complayne, onlesse it were of love
Which made her husband backe agen his eyes uppon her move?
Her last farewell shee spake so soft, that scarce he heard the sound,
And then revolted to the place in which he had her found.
This double dying of his wife set Orphye in a stound,
No lesse than him who at the syght of Plutos dreadfull Hound
That on the middle necke of three dooth beare an iron cheyne,
Was striken in a sodein feare and could it not restreyne,
Untill the tyme his former shape and nature beeing gone,
His body quyght was overgrowne, and turned into stone.
Or than the foolish Olenus, who on himself did take
Anothers fault, and giltlesse needes himself would giltie make,
Togither with his wretched wyfe Lethaea, for whose pryde
They both becomming stones, doo stand even yit on watry Ide.
He would have gone to Hell ageine, and earnest sute did make:
But Charon would not suffer him to passe the Stygian lake.
Seven dayes he sate forlorne uppon the bank and never eate
A bit of bread. Care, teares, and thought, and sorrow were his meate
And crying out uppon the Gods of Hell as cruell, hee
Withdrew to lofty Rhodopee and Heme which beaten bee
With Northern wynds. Three tymes the Sunne had passed through the sheere
And watry signe of Pisces and had finisht full the yeere,
And Orphye (were it that his ill successe hee still did rew,
Or that he vowed so to doo) did utterly eschew
The womankynd. Yit many a one desyrous were to match
With him, but he them with repulse did all alike dispatch.
He also taught the Thracian folke a stewes of Males to make
And of the flowring pryme of boayes the pleasure for to take.
There was a hyll, and on the hyll a verie levell plot,
Fayre greene with grasse. But as for shade or covert was there not.
As soone as that this Poet borne of Goddes, in that same place
Sate downe and toucht his tuned strings, a shadow came apace.
There wanted neyther Chaons tree, nor yit the trees to which
Fresh Phaetons susters turned were, nor Beeche, nor Holme, nor Wich,
Nor gentle Asp, nor wyvelesse Bay, nor lofty Chestnuttree.
Nor Hazle spalt, nor Ash wherof the shafts of speares made bee.
Nor knotlesse Firre, nor cheerfull Plane, nor Maple flecked grayne.
Nor Lote, nor Sallow which delights by waters to remayne.
Nor slender twigged Tamarisk, nor Box ay greene of hew.
Nor Figtrees loden with theyr frute of colours browne and blew.
Nor double colourd Myrtletrees. Moreover thither came
The wrything Ivye, and the Vyne that runnes uppon a frame,
Elmes clad with Vynes, and Ashes wyld and Pitchtrees blacke as cole,
And full of trees with goodly frute red stryped, Ortyards whole.
And Palmetrees lythe which in reward of conquest men doo beare,
And Pynapple with tufted top and harsh and prickling heare,
The tree to Cybele, mother of the Goddes, most deere. For why?
Her minion Atys putting off the shape of man, did dye,
And hardened into this same tree. Among this companee
Was present with a pyked top the Cypresse, now a tree,
Sumtime a boay beloved of the God that with a string
Dooth arme his bow, and with a string in tune his Violl bring.
For hallowed to the Nymphes that in the feeldes of Carthye were
There was a goodly myghty Stag whose homes such bredth did beare,
As that they shadowed all his head. His homes of gold did shyne,
And downe his brest hung from his necke, a cheyne with jewels fyne.
Amid his frunt with prettie strings a tablet beeing tyde,
Did waver as he went: and from his eares on eyther syde
Hung perles of all one growth about his hollow temples bryght.
This goodly Spitter beeing voyd of dread, as having quyght
Forgot his native fearefulnesse, did haunt mens houses, and
Would suffer folk (yea though unknowen) to coy him with theyr hand.
But more than unto all folke else he deerer was to thee
O Cyparisse, the fayrest Wyght that ever man did see
In Coea. Thou to pastures, thou to water springs him led,
Thou wreathedst sundry flowres betweene his homes uppon his hed.
Sumtyme a horsman thou his backe for pleasure didst bestryde,
And haltring him with silken bit from place to place didst ryde.
In summer tyme about hygh noone when Titan with his heate
Did make the hollow crabbed cleas of Cancer for to sweate,
Unweeting Cyparissus with a Dart did strike this Hart
Quyght through. And when that of the wound he saw he must depart,
He purposd for to die himself. What woords of comfort spake
Not Phoebus to him? willing him the matter lyght to take
And not more sorrow for it than was requisite to make.
But still the Lad did sygh and sob, and as his last request
Desyred God he myght thenceforth from moorning never rest.
Anon through weeping overmuch his blood was drayned quyght:
His limbes wext greene: his heare which hung upon his forehead whyght
Began to bee a bristled bush: and taking by and by
A stiffnesse, with a sharpened top did face the starrie skye.
The God did sigh, and sadly sayd: Myselfe shall moorne for thee,
And thou for others: and ay one in moorning thou shalt bee.
Such wood as this had Orphye drawen about him as among
The herdes of beasts, and flocks of Birds he sate amyds the throng.
And when his thumbe sufficiently had tryed every string,
And found that though they severally in sundry sounds did ring,
Yit made they all one Harmonie, he thus began to sing:
O Muse my mother, frame my song of Jove, for every thing
Is subject unto royall Jove. Of Jove the heavenly King
I oft have shewed the glorious power. I erst in graver verse
The Gyants slayne in Phlaegra feeldes with thunder, did reherse.
But now I neede a meelder style to tell of prettie boyes
That were the derlings of the Gods: and of unlawfull joyes
That burned in the brests of Girles, who for theyr wicked lust
According as they did deserve, receyved penance just.
The King of Goddes did burne erewhyle in love of Ganymed
The Phrygian and the thing was found which Jupiter that sted
Had rather bee than that he was. Yit could he not beteeme
The shape of any other Bird than Aegle for to seeme
And so he soring in the ayre with borrowed wings trust up
The Trojane boay who still in heaven even yit dooth beare his cup,
And brings him Nectar though against Dame Junos will it bee.
And thou Amyclys sonne (had not thy heavy destinee
Abridged thee before thy tyme) hadst also placed beene
By Phoebus in the firmament. How bee it (as is seene)
Thou art eternall so farre forth as may bee. For as oft
As watrie Piscis giveth place to Aries that the soft
And gentle springtyde dooth succeede the winter sharp and stowre:
So often thou renewest thyself, and on the fayre greene clowre
Doost shoote out flowres. My father bare a speciall love to thee
Above all others. So that whyle the God went oft to see
Eurotas and unwalled Spart, he left his noble towne
Of Delphos (which amid the world is situate in renowne)
Without a sovereigne. Neyther Harp nor Bow regarded were.
Unmyndfull of his Godhead he refused not to beare
The nets, nor for to hold the hounds, nor as a peynfull mate
To travell over cragged hilles, through which continuall gate
His flames augmented more and more. And now the sunne did stand
Well neere midway beetweene the nyghts last past and next at hand.
They stript themselves and noynted them with oyle of Olyfe fat.
And fell to throwing of a Sledge that was ryght huge and flat.
Fyrst Phoebus peysing it did throw it from him with such strength,
As that the weyght drave downe the clouds in flying. And at length
It fell upon substantiall ground, where plainly it did show
As well the cunning as the force of him that did it throw.
Immediatly upon desyre himself the sport to trie,
The Spartane lad made haste to take up unadvisedly
The Sledge before it still did lye. But as he was in hand
To catch it, it rebounding up ageinst the hardened land,
Did hit him full upon the face. The God himselfe did looke
As pale as did the lad, and up his swounding body tooke.
Now culles he him, now wypes he from the wound the blood away,
Anotherwhyle his fading lyfe he stryves with herbes to stay.
Nought booted Leechcraft. Helplesse was the wound. And like as one
Broosd violet stalkes or Poppie stalkes or Lillies growing on
Browne spindles, streight they withering droope with heavy heads and are
Not able for to hold them up, but with their tops doo stare
Uppon the ground, so Hyacinth in yeelding of his breath
Chopt downe his head. His necke bereft of strength by meanes of death
Was even a burthen to itself, and downe did loosely wrythe
On both his shoulders, now a t'one and now a toother lythe.
Thou faadst away, my Hyacinth, defrauded of the pryme
Of youth (quoth Phoebus) and I see thy wound my heynous cryme.
Thou art my sorrow and my fault: this hand of myne hath wrought
Thy death: I like a murtherer have to thy grave thee brought.
But what have I offended thow? onlesse that to have playd,
Or if that to have loved, an offence it may be sayd.
Would God I render myght my lyfe with and instead of thee.
To which syth fatall destinee denyeth to agree,
Both in my mynd and in my mouth thou evermore shalt bee.
My Violl striken with my hand, my songs shall sound of thee,
And in a newmade flowre thou shalt with letters represent
Our syghings. And the tyme shall come ere many yeeres bee spent,
That in thy flowre a valeant Prince shall joyne himself with thee,
And leave his name uppon the leaves for men to reede and see.
Whyle Phoebus thus did prophesie, behold the blood of him
Which dyde the grasse, ceast blood to bee, and up there sprang a trim
And goodly flowre, more orient than the Purple cloth ingrayne,
In shape a Lillye, were it not that Lillyes doo remayne
Of sylver colour, whereas theis of purple hew are seene.
Although that Phoebus had the cause of this greate honor beene,
Yit thought he not the same ynough. And therfore did he wryght
His syghes uppon the leaves thereof: and so in colour bryght
The flowre hath a writ theron, which letters are of greef.
So small the Spartanes thought the birth of Hyacinth repreef
Unto them, that they woorship him from that day unto this.
And as their fathers did before, so they doe never misse
With solemne pomp to celebrate his feast from yeere to yeere.
But if perchaunce that Amathus the rich in mettals, weere
Demaunded if it would have bred the Propets it would sweare,
Yea even as gladly as the folke whose brewes sumtyme did beare
A payre of welked homes: whereof they Cerastes named are.
Before theyr doore an Altar stood of Jove that takes the care
Of alyents and of travellers, which lothsome was to see,
For lewdnesse wrought theron. If one that had a straunger bee
Had lookt thereon, he would have thought there had on it beene killd
Sum sucking calves or lambes. The blood of straungers there was spilld.
Dame Venus sore offended at this wicked sacrifyse,
To leave her Cities and the land of Cyprus did devyse.
But then bethinking her, shee sayd: What hath my pleasant ground,
What have my Cities trespassed? what fault in them is found?
Nay rather let this wicked race by exyle punnisht beene,
Or death, or by sum other thing that is a meane betweene
Both death and exyle. What is that? save only for to chaunge
Theyr shape. In musing with herself what figure were most straunge,
Shee cast her eye uppon a home. And therewithall shee thought
The same to bee a shape ryght meete uppon them to bee brought:
And so shee from theyr myghty limbes theyr native figure tooke,
And turnd them into boystous Bulles with grim and cruell looke.
Yit durst the filthy Propets stand in stiffe opinion that
Dame Venus was no Goddesse till shee beeing wroth thereat,
To make theyr bodies common first compelld them everychone
And after chaungd theyr former kynd. For when that shame was gone,
And that they wexed brazen faast, shee turned them to stone,
In which betweene their former shape was diffrence small or none.
Whom forbycause Pygmalion saw to leade theyr lyfe in sin
Offended with the vice whereof greate store is packt within
The nature of the womankynd, he led a single lyfe.
And long it was ere he could fynd in hart to take a wyfe.
Now in the whyle by wondrous Art an image he did grave
Of such proportion, shape, and grace as nature never gave
Nor can to any woman give. In this his worke he tooke
A certaine love. The looke of it was ryght a Maydens looke,
And such a one as that yee would beleeve had lyfe, and that
Would moved bee, if womanhod and reverence letted not:
So artificiall was the work. He woondreth at his Art
And of his counterfetted corse conceyveth love in hart.
He often toucht it, feeling if the woork that he had made
Were verie flesh or Ivorye still. Yit could he not perswade
Himself to think it Ivory, for he oftentymes it kist
And thought it kissed him ageine. He hild it by the fist,
And talked to it. He beleeved his fingars made a dint
Uppon her flesh, and feared lest sum blacke or broosed print
Should come by touching over hard. Sumtyme with pleasant boords
And wanton toyes he dalyingly dooth cast foorth amorous woords.
Sumtime (the giftes wherein yong Maydes are wonted to delyght)
He brought her owches, fyne round stones, and Lillyes fayre and whyght,
And pretie singing birds, and flowres of thousand sorts and hew,
In gorgeous garments furthermore he did her also decke,
And peynted balles, and Amber from the tree distilled new.
And on her fingars put me rings, and cheynes about her necke.
Riche perles were hanging at her eares, and tablets at her brest.
All kynd of things became her well. And when she was undrest,
She seemed not lesse beawtifull. He layd her in a bed
The which with scarlet dyde in Tyre was richly overspred,
And terming her his bedfellow, he couched downe hir head
Uppon a pillow soft, as though shee could have felt the same.
The feast of Venus hallowed through the Ile of Cyprus, came
And Bullocks whyght with gilden homes were slayne for sacrifyse,
And up to heaven of frankincence the smoky fume did ryse.
When as Pygmalion having doone his dutye that same day,
Before the altar standing, thus with fearefull hart did say:
If that you Goddes can all things give, then let my wife (I pray)
(He durst not say bee yoon same wench of Ivory, but) bee leeke
My wench of Ivory. Venus (who was nought at all to seeke
What such a wish as that did meene) then present at her feast,
For handsell of her freendly helpe did cause three tymes at least
The fyre to kindle and to spyre thryse upward in the ayre.
As soone as he came home, streyghtway Pygmalion did repayre
Unto the Image of his wench, and leaning on the bed,
Did kisse hir. In her body streyght a warmenesse seemd to spred.
He put his mouth againe to hers, and on her brest did lay
His hand. The Ivory wexed soft: and putting quyght away
All hardnesse, yeelded underneathe his fingars, as wee see
A peece of wax made soft ageinst the Sunne, or drawen to bee
In divers shapes by chaufing it betweene ones handes, and so
To serve to uses. He amazde stood wavering to and fro
Tweene joy, and feare to be beeguyld, ageine he burnt in love,
Ageine with feeling he began his wished hope to prove.
He felt it verrye flesh in deede. By laying on his thumb,
He felt her pulses beating. Then he stood no longer dumb
But thanked Venus with his hart, and at the length he layd
His mouth to hers who was as then become a perfect mayd.
Shee felt the kisse, and blusht therat: and lifting fearefully
Hir eyelidds up, hir Lover and the light at once did spye.
The mariage that her selfe had made the Goddesse blessed so,
That when the Moone with fulsum lyght nyne tymes her course had go,
This Ladye was delivered of a Sun that Paphus hyght,
Of whom the Iland takes that name. < part=f>Of him was borne a knyght
Calld Cinyras who (had he had none issue) surely myght
Of all men underneathe the sun beene thought the happyest wyght.
Of wicked and most cursed things to speake I now commence.
Yee daughters and yee parents all go get yee farre from hence.
Or if yee mynded bee to heere my tale, beleeve mee nought
In this beehalfe: ne think that such a thing was ever wrought.
Or if yee will beeleeve the deede, beleeve the vengeance too
Which lyghted on the partye that the wicked act did doo.
But if that it be possible that any wyght so much
From nature should degenerate, as for to fall to such
A heynous cryme as this is, I am glad for Thracia, I
Am glad for this same world of ours, yea glad exceedingly
I am for this my native soyle, for that there is such space
Betweene it and the land that bred a chyld so voyd of grace.
I would the land Panchaya should of Amomie be rich,
And Cinnamom, and Costus sweete, and Incence also which
Dooth issue largely out of trees, and other flowers straunge,
As long as that it beareth Myrrhe: not woorth it was the chaunge,
Newe trees to have of such a pryce. The God of love denyes
His weapons to have hurted thee, O Myrrha, and he tryes
Himselfe ungiltie by thy fault. One of the Furies three
With poysonde Snakes and hellish brands hath rather blasted thee.
To hate ones father is a cryme as heynous as may bee,
But yit more wicked is this love of thine than any hate.
The youthfull Lordes of all the East and Peeres of cheef estate
Desyre to have thee to their wyfe, and earnest sute doo make.
Of all (excepting onely one) thy choyce, O Myrrha, take.
Shee feeles her filthye love, and stryves ageinst it, and within
Herself sayd: Whither roonnes my mynd? what thinke I to begin?
Yee Gods (I pray) and godlynesse, yee holy rites and awe
Of parents, from this heynous cryme my vicious mynd withdrawe,
And disappoynt my wickednesse. At leastwyse if it bee
A wickednesse that I intend. As farre as I can see,
This love infrindgeth not the bondes of godlynesse a whit.
For every other living wyght dame nature dooth permit
To match without offence of sin. The Heifer thinkes no shame
To beare her father on her backe: the horse bestrydes the same
Of whom he is the syre: the Gote dooth bucke the kid that hee
Himself begate: and birdes doo tread the selfsame birdes wee see
Of whom they hatched were before. In happye cace they are
That may doo so without offence. But mans malicious care
Hath made a brydle for it self, and spyghtfull lawes restreyne
The things that nature setteth free. Yit are their Realmes (men sayne)
In which the moother with the sonne, and daughter with the father
Doo match, wherethrough of godlynesse the bond augments the rather
With doubled love. Now wo is mee it had not beene my lot
In that same countrie to bee borne. And that this lucklesse plot
Should hinder mee. Why thinke I thus? Avaunt, unlawfull love.
I ought to love him, I confesse: but so as dooth behove
His daughter: were not Cinyras my father than, Iwis
I myght obtaine to lye with him. But now bycause he is
Myne owne, he cannot bee myne owne. The neerenesse of our kin
Dooth hurt me. Were I further off perchaunce I more myght win.
And if I wist that I therby this wickednesse myght shunne,
I would forsake my native soyle and farre from Cyprus runne.
This evill heate dooth hold mee backe, that beeing present still
I may but talke with Cinyras and looke on him my fill,
And touch, and kisse him, if no more may further graunted bee.
Why wicked wench, and canst thou hope for further? doost not see
How by thy fault thou doost confound the ryghts of name and kin?
And wilt thou make thy mother bee a Cucqueane by thy sin?
Wilt thou thy fathers leman bee? wilt thou bee both the moother
And suster of thy chyld? shall he bee both thy sonne and brother?
And standst thou not in feare at all of those same susters three
Whose heads with crawling snakes in stead of heare bematted bee?
Which pushing with theyr cruell bronds folks eyes and mouthes, doo see
Theyr sinfull harts? but thou now whyle thy body yit is free,
Let never such a wickednesse once enter in thy mynd.
Defyle not myghtye natures hest by lust ageinst thy kynd.
What though thy will were fully bent? yit even the very thing
Is such as will not suffer thee the same to end to bring.
For why he beeing well disposde and godly, myndeth ay
So much his dewtye that from ryght and truth he will not stray.
Would Godlyke furie were in him as is in mee this day.
This sayd, her father Cinyras (who dowted what to doo
By reason of the worthy store of suters which did woo
His daughter,) bringing all theyr names did will her for to show
On which of them shee had herself most fancie to bestow.
At first shee hild her peace a whyle, and looking wistly on
Her fathers face, did boyle within: and scalding teares anon
Ran downe her visage. Cyniras, (who thought them to proceede
Of tender harted shamefastnesse) did say there was no neede
Of teares, and dryed her cheekes, and kist her. Myrrha tooke of it
Exceeding pleasure in her selfe: and when that he did wit
What husband shee did wish to have, shee sayd: One like to yow.
He undertanding not hir thought, did well her woordes allow,
And sayd: In this thy godly mynd continew. At the name
Of godlynesse, shee cast mee downe her looke for very shame.
For why her giltie hart did knowe shee well deserved blame.
Hygh mydnight came, and sleepe bothe care and carkesses opprest.
But Myrrha lying brode awake could neyther sleepe nor rest.
Shee fryes in Cupids flames, and woorkes continewally uppon
Her furious love. One while shee sinkes in deepe despayre. Anon
Shee fully myndes to give attempt, but shame doth hold her in.
Shee wishes and shee wotes not what to doo, nor how to gin.
And like as when a mightye tree with axes heawed rownd,
Now redy with a strype or twaine to lye uppon the grownd,
Uncerteine is which way to fall and tottreth every way:
Even so her mynd with dowtfull wound effeebled then did stray
Now heere now there uncerteinely, and tooke of bothe encreace.
No measure of her love was found, no rest, nor yit releace,
Save only death. Death likes her best. Shee ryseth, full in mynd
To hang herself. About a post her girdle she doth bynd,
And sayd: Farewell deere Cinyras, and understand the cause
Of this my death. And with that woord about her necke shee drawes
The nooze. Her trustye nurce that in another Chamber lay
By fortune heard the whispring sound of theis her woordes (folk say).
The aged woman rysing up unboltes the doore. And whan
Shee saw her in that plyght of death, shee shreeking out began
To smyght her self, and scratcht her brest, and quickly to her ran
And rent the girdle from her necke. Then weeping bitterly
And holding her betweene her armes, shee askt the question why
Shee went about to hang her self so unadvisedly.
The Lady hilld her peace as dumb, and looking on the ground
Unmovably, was sorye in her hart for beeing found
Before shee had dispatcht herself. Her nurce still at her lay,
And shewing her her emptie dugges and naked head all gray,
Besought her for the paynes shee tooke with her both night and day
In rocking and in feeding her, shee would vouchsafe to say
What ere it were that greeved her. The Ladye turnd away
Displeasde and fetcht a sygh. The nurce was fully bent in mynd
To bowlt the matter out: for which not onely shee did bynd
Her fayth, in secret things to keepe: but also sayd, put mee
In truth to fynd a remedye. I am not (thou shalt see)
Yit altogither dulld by age. If furiousenesse it bee,
I have bothe charmes and chaunted herbes to help. If any wyght
Bewitcheth thee, by witchcraft I will purge and set thee quyght.
Or if it bee the wrath of God, we shall with sacrifyse
Appease the wrath of God right well. What may I more surmyse?
No theeves have broken in uppon this house and spoyld the welth.
Thy mother and thy father bothe are living and in helth.
When Myrrha heard her father naamd, a greevous sygh she fet
Even from the bottom of her hart. Howbee't the nurce as yet
Misdeemd not any wickednesse. But nerethelesse shee gest
There was some love: and standing in one purpose made request
To breake her mynd unto her, and shee set her tenderly
Uppon her lappe. The Ladye wept and sobbed bitterly.
Then culling her in feeble armes, shee sayd: I well espye
Thou art in love. My diligence in this behalf I sweare
Shall servisable to thee bee. Thou shalt not neede to feare
That ere thy father shall it knowe. At that same woord shee lept
From nurces lappe like one that had beene past her witts, and stept
With fury to her bed. At which shee leaning downe hir face
Sayd: Hence I pray thee: force mee not to shewe my shamefull cace.
And when the nurce did urge her still, shee answered eyther: Get
Thee hence, or ceace to aske mee why myself I thus doo fret.
The thing that thou desyrste to knowe is wickednesse. The old
Poore nurce gan quake, and trembling both for age and feare did hold
Her handes to her. And kneeling downe right humbly at her feete,
One whyle shee fayre intreated her with gentle woordes and sweete.
Another whyle (onlesse shee made her privie of her sorrow)
Shee threatned her, and put her in a feare shee would next morrow
Bewray her how shee went about to hang herself. But if
Shee told her, shee did plyght her fayth and help to her releef.
Shee lifted up her head, and then with teares fast gushing out
Beesloobered all her nurces brest: and going oft about
To speake, shee often stayd: and with her garments hid her face
For shame, and lastly sayd: O happye is my moothers cace
That such a husband hath. With that a greevous sygh shee gave,
And hilld her peace. Theis woordes of hers a trembling chilnesse drave
In nurcis limbes, which perst her bones: (for now shee understood
The cace) and all her horye heare up stiffly staring stood
And many things she talkt to put away her cursed love,
If that it had beene possible the madnesse to remove.
The Mayd herself to be full trew the councell dooth espye:
Yit if shee may not have her love shee fully myndes to dye.
Live still (quoth nurce) thou shalt obteine (shee durst not say thy father,
But stayd at that). And forbycause that Myrrha should the rather
Beleeve her, shee confirmd her woordes by othe. The yeerely feast
Of gentle Ceres came, in which the wyves bothe moste and least
Appareld all in whyght are woont the firstlings of the feeld,
Fyne garlonds made of eares of come, to Ceres for to yeeld.
And for the space of thryce three nyghts they counted it a sin
To have the use of any man, or once to towche his skin.
Among theis women did the Queene freequent the secret rites.
Now whyle that of his lawfull wyfe his bed was voyd a nightes,
The nurce was dooble diligent: and fynding Cinyras
Well washt with wyne, shee did surmyse there was a pretye lasse
In love with him. And hyghly shee her beawty setteth out.
And beeing asked of her yeeres, she sayd shee was about
The age of Myrrha. Well (quoth he) then bring her to my bed.
Returning home she sayd: bee glad my nurcechilde: we have sped.
Not all so wholly in her hart was wretched Myrrha glad,
But that her fore misgiving mynd did also make her sad.
Howbee't shee also did rejoyce as in a certaine kynd,
Such discord of affections was within her combred mynd.
It was the tyme that all things rest. And now Bootes bryght,
The driver of the Oxen seven, about the northpole pyght
Had sumwhat turnd his wayne asyde, when wicked Myrrha sped
About her buysnesse. Out of heaven the golden Phoebee fled.
With clowds more black than any pitch the starres did hyde their hed.
The nyght beecommeth utter voyd of all her woonted lyght.
And first before all other hid their faces out of syght
Good Icar and Erigonee, his daughter, who for love
Most vertuous to her fatherward, was taken up above
And made a starre in heaven. Three tymes had Myrrha warning given
By stumbling, to retyre. Three tymes the deathfull Owle that eeven
With doolefull noyse prognosticates unhappie lucke. Yet came
Shee forward still: the darknesse of the nyght abated shame.
Her left hand held her nurce, her right the darke blynd way did grope.
Anon shee to the chamber came: anon the doore was ope:
Anon she entred in. With that her foltring hammes did quake:
Her colour dyde: her blood and hart did cleerly her forsake.
The neerer shee approched to her wickednesse, the more
She trembled: of her enterpryse it irked her full sore:
And fayne shee would shee might unknowen have turned back. Nurce led
Her pawsing forward by the hand: and putting her to bed,
Heere, take this Damzell, Cinyras, shee is thine owne, shee sed.
And so shee layd them brest to brest. The wicked father takes
His bowelles into filthy bed, and there with wordes asslakes
The maydens feare, and cheeres her up. And lest this cryme of theyres
Myght want the ryghtfull termes, by chaunce as in respect of yeeres
He daughter did hir call, and shee him father. Beeing sped
With cursed seede in wicked womb, shee left her fathers bed,
Of which soone after shee became greate bagged with her shame.
Next night the lewdnesse doubled. And no end was of the same,
Untill at length that Cinyras desyrous for to knowe
His lover that so many nyghts uppon him did bestowe,
Did fetch a light: by which he sawe his owne most heynous cryme,
And eeke his daughter. Nathelesse, his sorrow at that time
Represt his speeche. Then hanging by he drew a Rapier bryght.
Away ran Myrrha, and by meanes of darknesse of the nyght
Shee was delivered from the death: and straying in the broade
Datebearing feeldes of Arabye, shee through Panchaya yode,
And wandring full nyne moonethes at length shee rested beeing tyrde
In Saba land. And when the tyme was neere at hand expyrde,
And that uneath the burthen of her womb shee well could beare,
Not knowing what she might desyre, distrest betweene the feare
Of death, and tediousnesse of lyfe, this prayer shee did make:
O Goddes, if of repentant folk you any mercye take,
Sharpe vengeance I confesse I have deserved, and content
I am to take it paciently. How bee it to th'entent
That neyther with my lyfe the quick, nor with my death the dead
Anoyed bee, from both of them exempt mee this same sted,
And altring mee, deny to mee both lyfe and death. We see
To such as doo confesse theyr faults sum mercy shewd to bee.
The Goddes did graunt her this request, the last that she should make.
The ground did overgrow hir feete, and ancles as she spake.
And from her bursten toes went rootes, which wrything heere and there
Did fasten so the trunk within the ground shee could not steare.
Her bones did into timber turne, whereof the marie was
The pith, and into watrish sappe the blood of her did passe.
Her armes were turnd to greater boughes, her fingars into twig,
Her skin was hardned into bark. And now her belly big
The eatching tree had overgrowen, and overtane her brest,
And hasted for to win her neck, and hyde it with the rest.
Shee made no taryence nor delay, but met the comming tree,
And shroonk her face within the barke therof. Although that shee
Togither with her former shape her senses all did loose,
Yit weepeth shee, and from her tree warme droppes doo softly woose.
The which her teares are had in pryce and honour. And the Myrrhe
That issueth from her gummy bark dooth beare the name of her,
And shall doo whyle the world dooth last. The misbegotten chyld
Grew still within the tree, and from his mothers womb defyld
Sought meanes to bee delyvered. Her burthende womb did swell
Amid the tree, and stretcht her out. But woordes wherwith to tell
And utter foorth her greef did want. She had no use of speech
With which Lucina in her throwes shee might of help beseech.
Yit like a woman labring was the tree, and bowwing downe
Gave often sighes, and shed foorth teares as though shee there should drowne.
Lucina to this wofull tree came gently downe, and layd
Her hand theron, and speaking woordes of ease the midwife playd.
The tree did cranye, and the barke deviding made away,
And yeelded out the chyld alyve, which cryde and wayld streyght way.
The waternymphes uppon the soft sweete hearbes the chyld did lay,
And bathde him with his mothers teares. His face was such as spyght
Must needes have praysd. For such he was in all condicions right,
As are the naked Cupids that in tables picturde bee.
But to th'entent he may with them in every poynt agree,
Let eyther him bee furnisshed with wings and quiver light,
Or from the Cupids take theyr wings and bowes and arrowes quight.
Away slippes fleeting tyme unspyde and mocks us to our face,
And nothing may compare with yeares in swiftnesse of theyr pace.
That wretched imp whom wickedly his graundfather begate,
And whom his cursed suster bare, who hidden was alate
Within the tree, and lately borne, became immediatly
The beawtyfullyst babe on whom man ever set his eye.
Anon a stripling hee became, and by and by a man,
And every day more beawtifull than other he becam,
That in the end Dame Venus fell in love with him: wherby
He did revenge the outrage of his mothers villanye.
For as the armed Cupid kist Dame Venus, unbeware
An arrow sticking out did raze hir brest uppon the bare.
The Goddesse being wounded, thrust away her sonne. The wound
Appeered not to bee so deepe as afterward was found.
It did deceyve her at the first. The beawty of the lad
Nor unto Paphos where the sea beats round about the shore,
Inflaamd her. To Cythera Ile no mynd at all shee had.
Nor fisshy Gnyde, nor Amathus that hath of metalls store.
Yea even from heaven shee did absteyne. Shee lovd Adonis more
Than heaven. To him shee clinged ay, and bare him companye.
And in the shadowe woont shee was to rest continually,
And for to set her beawtye out most seemely to the eye
By trimly decking of her self. Through bushy grounds and groves,
And over Hills and Dales, and Lawnds and stony rocks shee roves,
Bare kneed with garment tucked up according to the woont
Of Phebe, and shee cheerd the hounds with hallowing like a hunt,
Pursewing game of hurtlesse sort, as Hares made lowe before,
Or stagges with loftye heades, or bucks. But with the sturdy Boare
And ravening woolf, and Bearewhelpes armd with ugly pawes, and eeke
The cruell Lyons which delyght in blood, and slaughter seeke,
Shee meddled not. And of theis same shee warned also thee,
Adonis, for to shoonne them, if thou wooldst have warned bee.
Bee bold on cowards (Venus sayd) for whoso dooth advaunce
Himselfe against the bold, may hap to meete with sum mischaunce.
Wherfore I pray thee, my sweete boy, forbeare too bold to bee.
For feare thy rashnesse hurt thy self and woork the wo of me
Encounter not the kynd of beastes whom nature armed hath,
For dowt thou buy thy prayse too deere procuring thee sum scath.
Thy tender youth, thy beawty bryght, thy countnance fayre and brave
Although they had the force to win the hart of Venus, have
No powre ageinst the Lyons, nor ageinst the bristled swyne.
The eyes and harts of savage beasts doo nought to theis inclyne.
The cruell Boares beare thunder in theyr hooked tushes, and
Exceeding force and feercenesse is in Lyons to withstand.
And sure I hate them at my hart. To him demaunding why,
A monstrous chaunce (quoth Venus) I will tell thee by and by,
That hapned for a fault. But now unwoonted toyle hath made
Mee weerye: and beholde, in tyme this Poplar with his shade
Allureth, and the ground for cowch dooth serve to rest uppon.
I prey thee let us rest us here. They sate them downe anon.
And lying upward with her head uppon his lappe along,
Shee thus began, and in her tale shee bussed him among:
Perchaunce thou hast or this tyme heard of one that overcame
The swiftest men in footemanshippe. No fable was that fame.
She overcame them out of dowt. And hard it is to tell
Thee whither she did in footemanshippe or beawty more excell.
Uppon a season as she askt of Phebus, what he was
That should her husband bee, he sayd: For husband doo not passe,
O Atalanta, thou at all of husband hast no neede.
Shonne husbanding. But yit thou canst not shonne it, I thee reede.
Alyve thou shalt not be thy self. Shee being sore afrayd
Of this Apollos Oracle, did keepe herself a mayd,
And lived in the shady woodes. When wooers to her came,
And were of her importunate, shee drave away the same
With boystous woordes, and with the sore condition of the game.
I am not to be had (quoth shee) onlesse yee able bee
In ronning for to vanquish mee. Yee must contend with mee
In footemanshippe. And who so winnes the wager, I agree
To bee his wife. But if that he bee found too slowe, then hee
Shall lose his head. This of your game the verrye law shall bee.
Shee was in deede unmercifull. But such is beawties powre,
That though the sayd condition were extreme and over sowre,
Yit many suters were so rash to undertake the same.
Hippomenes as a looker on of this uncurteous game,
Sate by, and sayd: Is any man so mad to seeke a wyfe
With such apparant perill and the hazard of his lyfe?
And utterly he did condemne the yongmens love. But when
He saw her face and bodye bare, (for why the Lady then
Did strippe her to her naked skin) the which was like to myne,
Or rather (if that thou wert made a woman) like to thyne:
He was amazde. And holding up his hands to heaven, he sayth:
Forgive mee you with whom I found such fault even now: in fayth
I did not know the wager that yee ran for. As hee prayseth
The beawty of her, in himselfe the fyre of love he rayseth.
And through an envy fearing lest shee should away be woonne,
He wisht that nere a one of them so swift as shee might roonne.
And wherfore (quoth hee) put not I myself in preace to trye
The fortune of this wager? God himself continually
Dooth help the bold and hardye sort. Now whyle Hippomenes
Debates theis things within himselfe and other like to these,
The Damzell ronnes as if her feete were wings. And though that shee
Did fly as swift as arrow from a Turkye bowe: yit hee
More woondred at her beawtye than at swiftnesse of her pace.
Her ronning greatly did augment her beawtye and her grace.
The wynd ay whisking from her feete the labells of her socks
Uppon her back as whyght as snowe did tosse her golden locks,
And eeke th'embroydred garters that were tyde beneathe her ham.
A rednesse mixt with whyght uppon her tender bodye cam,
As when a scarlet curtaine streynd ageinst a playstred wall
Dooth cast like shadowe, making it seeme ruddye therwithall.
Now whyle he straunger noted this, the race was fully ronne,
And Atalant (as shee that had the wager cleerely wonne)
Was crowned with a garlond brave. The vanquisht sighing sore,
Did lose theyr lyves according to agreement made before.
Howbeeit nought at all dismayd with theis mennes lucklesse cace
He stepped foorth, and looking full uppon the maydens face,
Sayd: Wherfore doost thou seeke renowne in vanquisshing of such
As were but dastards? Cope with mee. If fortune bee so much
My freend to give mee victorie, thou needest not hold scorne
To yeeld to such a noble man as I am. I am borne
The sonne of noble Megaree, Onchestyes sonne, and hee
Was sonne to Neptune. Thus am I great graundchyld by degree
In ryght descent, of him that rules the waters. Neyther doo
I out of kynd degenerate from vertue meete therto,
Or if my fortune bee so hard as vanquisht for to bee,
Thou shalt obteine a famous name by overcomming mee.
In saying thus, Atlanta cast a gentle looke on him:
And dowting whither shee rather had to lose the day or win,
Sayd thus: What God, an enmy to the beawtyfull, is bent
To bring this person to his end, and therefore hath him sent
To seeke a wyfe with hazard of his lyfe? If I should bee
Myselfe the judge in this behalfe, there is not sure in mee
That dooth deserve so deerely to bee earned. Neyther dooth
His beawty moove my hart at all. Yit is it such in sooth
As well might moove mee. But bycause as yit a chyld he is,
His person mooves mee not so much as dooth his age Iwis.
Beesydes that manhod is in him, and mynd unfrayd of death:
Beesydes that of the watrye race from Neptune as he seth
He is the fowrth: beesydes that he dooth love mee, and dooth make
So great accompt to win mee to his wyfe, that for my sake
He is contented for to dye, if fortune bee so sore
Ageinst him to denye him mee. Thou straunger hence therfore.
Away, I say, now whyle thou mayst, and shonne my bloody bed.
My mariage cruell is, and craves the losing of thy hed.
There is no wench but that would such a husband gladly catch.
And shee that wyse were myght desyre to meete with such a match.
But why now after heading of so many, doo I care
For thee? Looke thou to that. For sith so many men as are
Alreadye put to slawghter can not warne thee to beeware,
But that thou wilt bee weerye of thy lyfe, dye: doo not spare.
And shall he perrish then bycause he sought to live with mee?
And for his love unwoorthely wvith death rewarded bee?
All men of such a victory will speake too foule a shame.
But all the world can testifye that I am not to blame.
Would God thou wouldst desist. Or else bycause thou are so mad,
I would to God a little more thy feete of swiftnesse had.
Ah what a maydens countenance is in this chyldish face.
Ah, foolish boy Hippomenes, how wretched is thy cace.
I would thou never hadst mee seene. Thou woorthy art of lyfe.
And if so bee I happy were, and that to bee a wyfe
The cruell destnyes had not mee forbidden, sure thou art
The onely wyght with whom I would bee matcht with all my hart.
This spoken: shee yit rawe and but new striken with the dart
Of Cupid, beeing ignorant, did love and knew it nat.
Anon her father and the folk assembled, willed that
They should begin theyr woonted race. Then Neptunes issue prayd
With carefull hart and voyce to mee, and thus devoutly sayd:
O Venus, favour myne attempt, and send mee downe thyne ayd
To compasse my desyred love which thou hast on mee layd.
His prayer movd mee (I confesse,) and long I not delayd
Before I helpt him. Now there is a certaine feeld the which
The Cyprian folk call Damasene, most fertile and most rich
Of all the Cyprian feelds: the same was consecrate to mee
In auncient tyme, and of my Church the glebland woont to bee.
Amid this feeld, with golden leaves there growes a goodly tree
The crackling boughes whereof are all of yellew gold. I came
And gathered golden Apples three: and bearing thence the same
Within my hand, immediatly to Hippomen I gat
Invisible to all wyghts else save him and taught him what
To doo with them.
The Trumpets blew: and girding forward, both
Set foorth, and on the hovering dust with nimble feete eche goth.
A man would think they able were uppon the Sea to go
And never wet theyr feete, and on the ayles of come also
That still is growing in the feeld, and never downe them tread.
The man tooke courage at the showt and woordes of them that sed:
Now, now is tyme, Hippomenes, to ply it, hye apace:
Enforce thyself with all thy strength: lag not in any cace:
Thou shalt obteine. It is a thing ryght dowtfull whither hee
At theis well willing woordes of theyrs rejoysed more, or shee.
For old religion, not unlike a cave: wher priests of yore
Bestowed had of Images of wooden Goddes good store.
Hippomenes entring herinto defyld the holy place,
With his unlawfull lust: from which the Idolls turnd theyr face.
And Cybell with the towred toppes disdeyning, dowted whither
Shee in the lake of Styx might drowne the wicked folk togither.
The pennance seemed over lyght. And therefore shee did cawse
Thinne yellow manes to growe uppon theyr necks: and hooked pawes
In stead of fingars to succeede. Theyr shoulders were the same
They were before: with woondrous force deepe brested they became.
Theyr looke beecame feerce, cruell, grim, and sowre: a tufted tayle
Stretcht out in length farre after them upon the ground dooth trayle.
In stead of speech they rore: in stead of bed they haunt the wood:
And dreadful unto others they for all theyr cruell moode
With tamed teeth chank Cybells bitts in shape of Lyons. Shonne
Theis beastes deere hart: and not from theis alonely see thou ronne,
But also from eche other beast that turnes not backe to flight
But offreth with his boystows brest to try the chaunce of fyght:
Lest that thyne overhardinesse bee hurtfull to us both.
This warning given, with yoked swannes away through aire she goth.
But manhod by admonishment restreyned could not bee.
By chaunce his hounds in following of the tracke, a Boare did see,
And rowsed him. And as the swyne was comming from the wood,
Adonis hit him with a dart askew, and drew the blood.
The Boare streyght with his hooked groyne the hunting staffe out drew
Bestayned with his blood, and on Adonis did pursew.
Who trembling and retyring back, to place of refuge drew.
And hyding in his codds his tuskes as farre as he could thrust
He layd him all along for dead uppon the yellow dust.
Dame Venus in her chariot drawen with swannes was scarce arrived
At Cyprus, when shee knew afarre the sygh of him depryved
Of lyfe. Shee turnd her Cygnets backe and when shee from the skye
Beehilld him dead, and in his blood beweltred for to lye:
Shee leaped downe, and tare at once hir garments from her brist,
And rent her heare, and beate upon her stomack with her fist,
And blaming sore the destnyes, sayd: Yit shall they not obteine
Their will in all things. Of my greefe remembrance shall remayne
(Adonis) whyle the world doth last. From yeere to yeere shall growe
A thing that of my heavinesse and of thy death shall showe
The lively likenesse. In a flowre thy blood I will bestowe.
Hadst thou the powre, Persephonee, rank sented Mints to make
Of womens limbes? and may not I lyke powre upon mee take
Without disdeine and spyght, to turne Adonis to a flowre?
This sed, shee sprinckled Nectar on the blood, which through the powre
Therof did swell like bubbles sheere that ryse in weather cleere
On water. And before that full an howre expyred weere,
Of all one colour with the blood a flowre she there did fynd
Even like the flowre of that same tree whose frute in tender rynde
Have pleasant graynes inclosde. Howbee't the use of them is short.
For why the leaves do hang so looce through lightnesse in such sort,
As that the windes that all things perce, with every little blast
Doo shake them off and shed them so as that they cannot last.
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