Table of Contents:
For unto watry Thetis thus old Protew did foretell:
Go marry: thou shalt beare a sonne whose dooings shall excell
His fathers farre in feates of armes, and greater he shall bee
In honour, high renowme, and fame, than ever erst was hee.
This caused Jove the watry bed of Thetis to forbeare
Although his hart were more than warme with love of her, for feare
The world sum other greater thing than Jove himself should breede,
And willd the sonne of Aeacus this Peleus to succeede
In that which he himself would faine have done, and for to take
The Lady of the sea in armes a mother her to make.
There is a bay of Thessaly that bendeth lyke a boawe.
The sydes shoote foorth, where if the sea of any depth did flowe
It were a haven. Scarcely dooth the water hyde the sand.
It hath a shore so firme, that if a man theron doo stand,
No print of foote remaynes behynd: it hindreth not ones pace,
Ne covered is with hovering reeke. Adjoyning to this place,
There is a grove of Myrtletrees with frute of dowle colour,
And in the midds thereof a Cave. I can not tell you whither
That nature or the art of man were maker of the same.
It seemed rather made by arte. Oft Thetis hither came
Starke naked, ryding bravely on a brydled Dolphins backe.
There Peleus as shee lay asleepe uppon her often bracke.
And forbycause that at her handes entreatance nothing winnes,
He folding her about the necke with both his armes, beginnes
To offer force. And surely if shee had not falne to wyles
And shifted oftentymes her shape, he had obteind erewhyles.
But shee became sumtymes a bird: he hilld her like a bird.
Anon shee was a massye log: but Peleus never stird
A whit for that. Then thirdly shee of speckled Tyger tooke
The ugly shape: for feare of whose most feerce and cruell looke,
His armes he from her body twicht. And at his going thence,
In honour of the watry Goddes he burned frankincence,
And powred wyne uppon the sea, with fat of neate and sheepe:
Untill the prophet that dooth dwell within Carpathian deepe,
Sayd thus: Thou sonne of Aeacus, thy wish thou sure shalt have
Alonely when shee lyes asleepe within her pleasant Cave,
Cast grinnes to trappe her unbewares: hold fast with snarling knot:
And though shee fayne a hundreth shapes, deceyve thee let her not.
But sticke unto't what ere it bee, untill the tyme that shee
Returneth to the native shape shee erst was woont to bee.
When Protew thus had sed, within the sea he duckt his head,
And suffred on his latter woordes the water for to spred.
The lyghtsum Titan downeward drew, and with declyning chayre
Approched to the westerne sea, when Neryes daughter fayre
Returning from the sea, resorts to her accustomd cowch.
And Peleus scarcely had begon hir naked limbes to towch,
But that shee chaungd from shape to shape, untill at length shee found
Herself surprysd. Then stretching out her armes with sighes profound,
She sayd: Thou overcommest mee, and not without the ayd
Of God. And then she, Thetis like, appeerd in shape of mayd.
The noble prince imbracing her obteynd her at his will,
To both theyr joyes, and with the great Achylles did her fill.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.