Table of Contents:
He told him how that Aeolus, the sonne of Hippot, he
That keepes the wyndes in pryson cloce did reigne in Tuskane sea.
And how Ulysses having at his hand a noble gift,
The wynd enclosde in leather bagges, did sayle with prosperous drift
Nyne dayes toogither: insomuch they came within the syght
Of home: but on the tenth day when the morning gan give lyght,
His fellowes being somewhat toucht with covetousenesse and spyght,
Supposing that it had beene gold, did let the wyndes out quyght.
The which returning whence they came, did drive them backe amayne
That in the Realme of Aeolus they went aland agayne.
From thence (quoth he) we came unto the auncient Lamyes towne
Of which the feerce Antiphates that season ware the crowne.
A cowple of my mates and I were sent unto him: and
A mate of myne and I could scarce by flyght escape his hand.
The third of us did with his blood embrew the wicked face
Of leawd Antiphate, whoo with swoord us flying thence did chace,
And following after with a rowt threw stones and loggs which drownd
Both men and shippes. Howbeeit one by chaunce escaped sound,
Which bare Ulysses and my self. So having lost most part
Of all our deare companions, we with sad and sory hart
And much complayning, did arryve at yoonder coast which yow
May ken farre hence. A great way hence (I say) wee see it now
But trust mee truly over neere I saw it once. And thow
Aenaeas, Goddesse Venus sonne, the justest knight of all
The Trojane race (for sith the warre is doone, I can not call
Thee fo) I warne thee get thee farre from Circes dwelling place.
For when our shippes arryved there, remembring eft the cace
Of cruell king Antiphates, and of that hellish wyght
The round eyed gyant Polypheme, wee had so small delyght
To visit uncowth places, that wee sayd wee would not go.
Then cast we lotts. The lot fell out uppon myself as tho,
And Polyte, and Eurylocus, and on Elpenor who
Delyghted too too much in wyne, and eyghteene other mo.
All wee did go to Circes houses. As soone as wee came thither,
And in the portall of the Hall had set our feete toogither,
A thousand Lyons, wolves and beares did put us in a feare
By meeting us. But none of them was to bee feared there.
For none of them could doo us harme: but with a gentle looke
And following us with fawning feete theyr wanton tayles they shooke.
Anon did Damzells welcome us and led us through the hall
(The which was made of marble stone, floore, arches, roof, and wall)
To Circe. Shee sate underneathe a traverse in a chayre
Aloft ryght rich and stately, in a chamber large and fayre.
Shee ware a goodly longtreynd gowne: and all her rest attyre
Was every whit of goldsmithes woork. There sate mee also by her
The Sea nymphes and her Ladyes whoose fyne fingers never knew
What toozing wooll did meene, nor threede from whorled spindle drew.
They sorted herbes, and picking out the flowers that were mixt,
Did put them into mawnds, and with indifferent space betwixt
Did lay the leaves and stalks on heapes according to theyr hew,
And shee herself the woork of them did oversee and vew.
The vertue and the use of them ryght perfectly shee knew,
And in what leaf it lay, and which in mixture would agree.
And so perusing every herb by good advysement, shee
Did wey them out. Assoone as shee us entring in did see,
And greeting had bothe given and tane, shee looked cheerefully,
And graunting all that we desyrde, commaunded by and by
A certeine potion to bee made of barly parched drye
And wyne and hony mixt with cheese. And with the same shee slye
Had meynt the jewce of certeine herbes which unespyde did lye
By reason of the sweetenesse of the drink. Wee tooke the cup
Delivered by her wicked hand, and quaft it cleerely up
With thirstye throtes. Which doone, and that the cursed witch had smit
Our highest heare tippes with her wand, (it is a shame, but yit
I will declare the truth) I wext all rough with bristled heare,
And could not make complaint with woordes. In stead of speech I there
Did make a rawghtish grunting, and with groveling face gan beare
My visage downeward to the ground. I felt a hooked groyne
To wexen hard uppon my mouth, and brawned neck to joyne
My head and shoulders. And the handes with which I late ago
Had taken up the charmed cup, were turnd to feete as tho.
Such force there is in Sorcerie. In fyne wyth other mo
That tasted of the selfsame sawce, they shet mee in a Stye.
From this missehappe Eurilochus alonly scapte. For why
He only would not taste the cup, which had he not fled fro,
He should have beene a bristled beast as well as we. And so
Should none have borne Ulysses woorde of our mischaunce, nor hee
Have come to Circe to revenge our harmes and set us free.
The peaceprocurer Mercurie had given to him a whyght
Fayre flowre whoose roote is black, and of the Goddes it Moly hyght
Assurde by this and heavenly hestes, he entred Circes bowre.
And beeing bidden for to drink the cup of baleful powre,
As Circe was about to stroke her wand uppon his heare,
He thrust her backe, and put her with his naked swoord in feare.
Then fell they to agreement streyght, and fayth in hand was plyght.
And beeing made her bedfellowe, he claymed as in ryght
Of dowrye, for to have his men ageine in perfect plyght.
Shee sprincled us with better jewce of uncowth herbes, and strake
The awk end of her charmed rod uppon our heades, and spake
Woordes to the former contrarie. The more shee charmd, the more
Arose wee upward from the ground on which wee daarde before.
Our bristles fell away, the clift our cloven clees forsooke.
Our shoulders did returne agein: and next our elbowes tooke
Our armes and handes theyr former place. Then weeping wee enbrace
Our Lord, and hing about his necke whoo also wept apace.
And not a woord wee rather spake than such as myght appeere
From harts most thankfull to proceede. Wee taryed theyr a yeere.
I in that whyle sawe many things, and many things did heere.
I marked also this one thing with store of other geere
Which one of Circes fowre cheef maydes (whoose office was alway
Uppon such hallowes to attend) did secretly bewray
To mee. For in the whyle my Lord with Circe kept alone,
This mayd a yoongmannes image sheawd of fayre whyght marble stone
Within a Chauncell. On the head therof were garlonds store
And eeke a woodspecke. And as I demaunded her wherfore
And whoo it was they honord so in holy Church, and why
He bare that bird uppon his head: shee answeering by and by
Sayd: Lerne hereby, sir Macare, to understand the powre
My lady hathe, and marke thou well what I shall say this howre.
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.