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Of Fawne and nymph Simethis borne was Acis, whoo became
A joy to bothe his parents, but to mee the greater joy.
For being but a sixteene yeeres of age, this fayre sweete boy
Did take mee to his love, what tyme about his chyldish chin
The tender heare like mossy downe to sprowt did first begin.
I loved him beyond all Goddes forbod, and likewyse mee
The Giant Cyclops. Neyther (if demaunded it should bee)
I well were able for to tell you whither that the love
Of Acis, or the Cyclops hate did more my stomacke move.
There was no oddes betweene them. Oh deere Goddesse Venus, what
A powre haste thou? Behold how even this owgly Giant that
No sparke of meekenesse in him hath, whoo is a terrour to
The verrye woodes, whom never guest nor straunger came unto
Without displeasure, whoo the heavens and all the Goddes despyseth,
Dooth feele what thing is love. The love of mee him so surpryseth,
That Polypheme regarding not his sheepe and hollowe Cave,
And having care to please dooth go about to make him brave.
His sturre stiffe heare he kembeth nowe with strong and sturdy rakes,
And with a sythe dooth marcussotte his bristled berd: and takes
Delyght to looke uppon himself in waters, and to frame
His countnance. Of his murtherous hart the wyldnesse wexeth tame.
His unastaunched thyrst of blood is quenched: shippes may passe
And repasse saufly. In the whyle that he in love thus was,
One Telemus, Ewrymeds sonne, a man of passing skill
In birdflyght, taking land that tyme in Sicill, went untill
The orped Gyant Polypheme, and sayd: This one round eye
That now amid thy forehead stands shall one day ere thou dye
By sly Ulysses blinded bee. The Gyant laught therat,
And sayd: O foolish soothsayre, thou deceyved art in that.
For why another (even a wench) already hathe it blynded.
Thus skorning him that told him truthe bycause he was hygh mynded,
He eyther made the ground to shake in walking on the shore,
Or rowzd him in his shadye Cave. With wedged poynt before
There shoots a hill into the Sea: whereof the sea dooth beate
On eyther syde. The one eyd feend came up and made his seate
Theron, and after came his sheepe undriven. As soone as hee
Had at his foote layd downe his staffe which was a whole Pyne tree
Well able for to bee a maast to any shippe, he takes
His pype compact of fyvescore reedes, and therwithall he makes
So loud a noyse that all the hilles and waters therabout
Myght easly heere the shirlnesse of the shepeherds whistling out.
I lying underneathe the rocke, and leaning in the lappe
Of Acis markt theis woordes of his which farre I heard by happe:
More whyght thou art then Primrose leaf, my Lady Galatee.
More fresh than meade, more tall and streyght than lofty Aldertree.
More bright than glasse, more wanton than the tender kid forsooth.
Than Cockleshelles continually with water worne, more smoothe.
More cheerefull than the winters Sun, or Sommers shadowe cold,
More seemely and more comly than the Planetree to behold,
Of valew more than Apples bee although they were of gold.
More cleere than frozen yce, more sweete than Grape through rype ywis,
More soft than butter newly made, or downe of Cygnet is.
And much more fayre and beawtyfull than gardein to myne eye,
But that thou from my companye continually doost flye.
And thou the selfsame Galate art more tettish for to frame
Than Oxen of the wildernesse whom never wyght did tame.
More fleeting than the waves, more hard than warryed Oke to twyne,
More tough than willow twiggs, more lyth than is the wyld whyght vyne.
More than this rocke unmovable, more violent than a streame.
More prowd than Peacocke praysd, more feerce than fyre and more extreeme.
More rough than Breers, more cruell than the new delivered Beare,
More mercilesse than troden snake, than sea more deafe of eare.
And which (and if it lay in mee I cheefly would restrayne)
Not only swifter paced than the stag in chace on playne,
But also swifter than the wynd and flyghtfull ayre. But if
Thou knew me well, it would thee irke to flye and bee a greef
To tarrye from mee. Yea thou wouldst endeavour all thy powre
To keepe mee wholly to thy self. The Quarry is my bowre
Heawen out of whole mayne stone. No Sun in sommer there can swelt.
No nipping cold in wintertyme within the same is felt.
Gay Apples weying downe the boughes have I, and Grapes like gold,
And purple Grapes on spreaded Vynes as many as can hold.
Bothe which I doo reserve for thee. Thyself shalt with thy hand
The soft sweete strawbryes gather, which in wooddy shadowe stand.
The Cornell berryes also from the tree thy self shall pull:
And pleasant plommes, sum yellow lyke new wax, sum blew, sum full
Of ruddy jewce. Of Chestnutts eeke (if my wyfe thou wilt bee)
Thou shalt have store: and frutes all sortes: all trees shall serve for thee.
This Cattell heere is all myne owne. And many mo besyde
Doo eyther in the bottoms feede, or in the woodes them hyde,
And many standing at theyr stalles doo in my Cave abyde.
The number of them (if a man should ask) I cannot showe.
Tush, beggars of theyr Cattell use the number for to knowe.
And for the goodnesse of the same, no whit beleeve thou mee.
But come thyself (and if thou wilt) the truth therof to see.
See how theyr udders full doo make them straddle. Lesser ware
Shet up at home in cloce warme peends, are Lambes. There also are
In other pinfolds Kidds of selfsame yeaning tyme. Thus have
I alwayes mylke as whyte as snow. Wherof I sum doo save
To drink, and of the rest is made good cheese. And furthermore
Not only stale and common gifts and pleasures wherof store
Is to bee had at eche mannes hand, (as Leverets, Kidds, and Does,
A payre of pigeons, or a nest of birds new found, or Roes,)
Shall unto thee presented bee. I found this tother day
A payre of Bearewhelpes, eche so lyke the other as they lay
Uppon a hill, that scarce yee eche discerne from other may.
And when that I did fynd them I did take them up, and say
Theis will I for my Lady keepe for her therwith to play.
Now put thou up thy fayre bryght head, good Galat, I thee pray,
Above the greenish waves: now come my Galat, come away.
And of my present take no scorne. I know my selfe to bee
A jollye fellow. For even now I did behold and see
Myne image in the water sheere, and sure mee thought I tooke
Delyght to see my goodly shape, and favor in the brooke.
Behold how big I am: not Jove in heaven (for so you men
Report one Jove to reigne, of whom I passe not for to ken)
Is huger than this doughty corce of myne. A bush of heare
Dooth overdreepe my visage grim, and shadowes as it were
A grove uppon my shoulders twayne. And think it not to bee
A shame for that with bristled heare my body rough yee see.
A fowle ilfavored syght it is to see a leavelesse tree.
A lothely thing it is, a horse without a mane to keepe.
As fethers doo become the birdes, and wooll becommeth sheepe,
Even so a beard and bristled skin becommeth also men.
I have but one eye, which dooth stand amid my frunt. What then?
This one round eye of myne is lyke a myghty target. Why?
Vewes not the Sun all things from heaven? Yit but one only eye
Hath hee. Moreover in your Seas my father beares the sway.
Him will I make thy fathrinlaw. Have mercy I thee pray,
And harken to myne humble sute. For only unto thee
Yeeld I. Even I of whom bothe heaven and Jove despysed bee
And eeke the percing thunderbolt, doo stand in awe and feare
Of thee, O Nerye. Thyne ill will is greevouser to beare
Than is the deadly Thunderclappe. Yit could I better fynd
In hart to suffer this contempt of thyne with pacient mynd
If thou didst shonne all other folk as well as mee. But why
Rejecting Cyclops doost thou love dwarf Acis? Why say I
Preferst thou Acis unto mee? Well, let him liked bee
Both of himself, and also (which I would be lothe) of thee.
And if I catch him he shall feele that in my body is
The force that should bee. I shall paunch him quicke. Those limbes of his
I will in peeces teare, and strew them in the feeldes, and in
Thy waters, if he doo thee haunt. For I doo swelt within.
And being chaafte the flame dooth burne more feerce to my unrest.
Mee thinks mount Aetna with his force is closed in my brest.
And yit it nothing moveth thee. As soone as he had talkt
Thus much in vayne, (I sawe well all) he rose: and fuming stalkt
Among his woodes and woonted Lawndes, as dooth a Bulchin, when
The Cow is from him tane. He could him no where rest as then.
Anon the feend espyed mee and Acis where wee lay,
Before wee wist or feared it: and crying out gan say:
I see yee. And confounded myght I bee with endlesse shame,
But if I make this day the last agreement of your game.
Theis woordes were spoke with such a reere as verry well became
An angry Giant. Aetna shooke with lowdnesse of the same.
I scaard therwith dopt underneathe the water, and the knyght
Simethus turning streyght his backe, did give himself to flyght,
And cryed: Help mee Galate, help parents I you pray,
And in your kingdome mee receyve whoo perrish must streyghtway.
The roundeyd devill made pursewt: and rending up a fleece
Of Aetna Rocke, threw after him: of which a little peece
Did Acis overtake. And yit as little as it was,
It overwhelmed Acis whole. I wretched wyght (alas)
Did that which destnyes would permit. Foorthwith I brought to passe
That Acis should receyve the force his father had before.
His scarlet blood did issue from the lump, and more and more
Within a whyle the rednesse gan to vannish: and the hew
Resembled at the first a brooke with rayne distroubled new,
Which wexeth cleere by length of tyme. Anon the lump did clyve,
And from the hollow cliffe therof hygh reedes sprang up alyve.
And at the hollow issue of the stone the bubling water
Came trickling out. And by and by (which is a woondrous matter)
The stripling with a wreath of reede about his horned head
Avaunst his body to the waste. Whoo (save he was that stead
Much biggar than he erst had beene, and altogither gray)
Was Acis still. And being turnd to water, at this day
In shape of river still he beares his former name away.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SYRINX
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