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Now whyle the Thracian Poet with this song delyghts the mynds
Of savage beastes, and drawes both stones and trees ageynst their kynds,
Behold the wyves of Ciconie with red deer skinnes about
Their furious brists as in the feeld they gadded on a rout,
Espyde him from a hillocks toppe still singing to his harp.
Of whom one shooke her head at him, and thus began to carp:
Behold (sayes shee) behold yoon same is he that doth disdeine
Us women. And with that same woord shee sent her lawnce amayne
At Orphyes singing mouth. The Lawnce armd round about with leaves,
Did hit him, and without a wound a marke behynd it leaves.
' Another threw a stone at him, which vanquisht with his sweete
And most melodius harmonye, fell humbly at his feete
As sorye for the furious act it purposed. But rash
And heady ryot out of frame all reason now did dash,
And frantik outrage reigned. Yit had the sweetenesse of his song
Appeasd all weapons, saving that the noyse now growing strong
With blowing shalmes, and beating drummes, and bedlem howling out,
And clapping hands on every syde by Bacchus drunken rout,
Did drowne the sownd of Orphyes harp. Then first of all stones were
Made ruddy with the prophets blood, and could not give him eare.
And first the flocke of Bacchus froes by violence brake the ring
Of Serpents, birds, and savage beastes that for to heere him sing
Sate gazing round about him there. And then with bluddy hands
They ran uppon the prophet who among them singing stands.
They flockt about him like as when a sort of birds have found
An Owle a daytymes in a tod: and hem him in full round,
As when a Stag by hungrye hownds is in a morning found,
The which forestall him round about and pull him to the ground.
Even so the prophet they assayle, and throwe their Thyrses greene
At him, which for another use than that invented beene.
Sum cast mee clods, sum boughes of trees, and sum threw stones. And lest
That weapons wherwithall to wreake theyr woodnesse which increast
Should want, it chaunst that Oxen by were tilling of the ground
And labring men with brawned armes not farre fro thence were found
A digging of the hardned earth, and earning of theyr food,
With sweating browes. They seeing this same rout, no longer stood,
But ran away and left theyr tooles behynd them. Every where
Through all the feeld theyr mattocks, rakes, and shovells scattred were.
Which when the cruell feends had caught, and had asunder rent
The horned Oxen, backe ageine to Orphy ward they went,
And (wicked wights) they murthred him, who never till that howre
Did utter woordes in vaine, nor sing without effectuall powre.
And through that mouth of his (oh lord) which even the stones had heard,
And unto which the witlesse beastes had often given regard,
His ghost then breathing into aire, departed. Even the fowles
Were sad for Orphye, and the beast with sorye syghing howles:
The rugged stones did moorne for him, the woods which many a tyme
Had followed him to heere him sing, bewayled this same cryme.
Yea even the trees lamenting him did cast theyr leavy heare.
The rivers also with theyr teares (men say) encreased were.
Yea and the Nymphes of brookes and woods uppon theyr streames did sayle
With scattred heare about theyr eares, in boats with sable sayle.
His members lay in sundrie steds. His head and harp both cam
To Hebrus, and (a woondrous thing) as downe the streame they swam,
His Harp did yeeld a moorning sound: his livelesse toong did make
A certeine lamentable noyse as though it still yit spake,
And bothe the banks in moorning wyse made answer to the same.
At length adowne theyr country streame to open sea they came,
And lyghted on Methymnye shore in Lesbos land. And there
No sooner on the forreine coast now cast aland they were,
But that a cruell naturde Snake did streyght uppon them fly,
And licking on his ruffled heare the which was dropping drye,
Did gape to tyre uppon those lippes that had beene woont to sing
Most heavenly hymnes. But Phebus streyght preventing that same thins,
Dispoynts the Serpent of his bit, and turnes him into stone
With gaping chappes. Already was the Ghost of Orphye gone
To Plutos realme, and there he all the places eft beehild
The which he heretofore had seene. And as he sought the feeld
Of fayre Elysion (where the soules of godly folk doo woonne,)
He found his wyfe Eurydicee, to whom he streyght did roonne,
And hilld her in imbracing armes. There now he one while walks
Togither with hir cheeke by cheeke: another while he stalks
Before her, and another whyle he followeth her. And now
Without all kinde of forfeyture he saufly myght avow
His looking backward at his wyfe. But Bacchus greeved at
The murther of the Chapleine of his Orgies, suffred not
The mischeef unrevengd to bee. For by and by he bound
The Thracian women by the feete with writhen roote in ground,
As many as consenting to this wicked act were found.
And looke how much that eche of them the prophet did pursew,
So much he sharpening of their toes, within the ground them drew.
And as the bird that fynds her legs besnarled in the net
The which the fowlers suttletye hathe clocely for her set,
And feeles shee cannot get away, stands flickering with her wings,
And with her fearefull leaping up drawes clocer still the strings:
So eche of theis when in the ground they fastned were, assayd
Aflayghted for to fly away. But every one was stayd
With winding roote which hilld her downe. Her frisking could not boote.
And whyle she lookte what was become of Toe, of nayle, and foote,
Shee sawe her leggs growe round in one, and turning into woode.
And as her thyghes with violent hand shee sadly striking stoode,
Shee felt them tree: her brest was tree: her shoulders eeke were tree.
Her armes long boughes yee myght have thought, and not deceyved bee.

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