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One Iphis borne of lowe degree by fortune had behild
The Ladye Anaxarete descended of the race
Of Tewcer, and in vewwing her the fyre of love apace
Did spred it self through all his bones. With which he stryving long,
When reason could not conquer rage bycause it was too strong,
Came humbly to the Ladyes house: and one whyle laying ope
His wretched love before her nurce, besought her by the hope
Of Lady Anaxarete her nurcechylds good successe,
Shee would not bee ageinst him in that cace of his distresse.
Another whyle entreating fayre sum freend of hers, he prayd
Him earnestly with carefull voyce, of furthrance and of ayd.
Oftymes he did preferre his sute by gentle letters sent.
Oft garlonds moysted with the deawe of teares that from him went
He hanged on her postes. Oft tymes his tender sydes he layd
Ageinst the threshold hard, and oft in sadnesse did upbrayd
The locke with much ungentlenesse. The Lady crueller
Than are the rysing narrowe seas, or falling Kiddes, and farre
More hard than steele of Noricum, and than the stonny rocke
That in the quarrye hath his roote, did him despyse and mock.
Besyde her dooings mercylesse, of statelynesse and spyght
Shee adding prowd and skornefull woordes, defrauds the wretched wyght
Of verry hope. But Iphis now unable any more
To beare the torment of his greef, still standing there before
Her gate, spake theis his latest woordes: Well, Anaxarete,
Thou hast the upper hand. Hencefoorth thou shalt not neede to bee
Agreeved any more with mee. Go tryumph hardely:
Go vaunt thy self with joy: go sing the song of victorye:
Go put a crowne of glittring bay uppon thy cruell head.
For why thou hast the upper hand, and I am gladly dead.
Well, steely harted, well: rejoyce. Compeld yit shalt thou bee
Of sumwhat in mee for to have a lyking. Thou shalt see
A poynt wherein thou mayst mee deeme most thankfull unto thee,
And in the end thou shalt confesse the great desert of mee.
But yit remember that as long as lyfe in mee dooth last,
The care of thee shall never from this hart of myne be cast.
For bothe the lyfe that I doo live in hope of thee, and tother
Which nature giveth, shall have end and passe away toogither.
The tydings neyther of my death shall come to thee by fame.
Myself (I doo assure thee) will bee bringer of the same.
Myself (I say) will present bee that those same cruell eyen
Of thyne may feede themselves uppon this livelesse corce of myne.
But yit, O Goddes, (if you behold mennes deedes) remember mee.
(My toong will serve to pray no more) and cause that I may bee
Longtyme heerafter spoken of: and length the lyfe by fame
The which yee have abridgd in yeeres. In saying of this same
He lifted up his watrye eyes and armes that wexed wan
To those same stulpes which oft he had with garlondes deckt ere than,
And fastning on the topps therof a halter thus did say:
Thou cruell and ungodly wyght, theis are the wreathes that may
Most pleasure thee. And with that woord he thrusting in his head,
Even then did turne him towards her as good as being dead,
And wretchedly did totter on the poste with strangled throte.
The wicket which his feerefull feete in sprawling maynely smote,
Did make a noyse: and flying ope bewrayd his dooing playne.
The servants shreekt, and lifting up his bodye, but in vayne,
Conveyd him to his moothers house, his father erst was slayne.
His moother layd him in her lappe, and cleeping in her armes
Her sonnes cold bodye, after that shee had bewayld her harmes
With woordes and dooings mootherlyke, the corce with moorning cheere
To buryall sadly through the towne was borne uppon a beere.
The house of Anaxarete by chaunce was neere the way
By which this piteous pomp did passe. And of the doolefull lay
The sound came to the eares of her, whom God alreadye gan
To strike. Yit let us see (quoth shee) the buryall of this man.
And up the hygh wyde windowde house in saying so, shee ran.
Scarce had shee well on Iphis lookt that on the beere did lye,
But that her eyes wext stark: and from her limbes the blood gan flye.
In stead therof came palenesse in. And as shee backeward was
In mynd to go, her feete stacke fast and could not stirre. And as
Shee would have cast her countnance backe, shee could not doo it. And
The stonny hardnesse which alate did in her stomacke stand,
Within a whyle did overgrow her whole from sole to crowne.
And lest you think this geere surmysde, even yit in Salamin towne
Of Lady Anaxarete the image standeth playne.
The temple also in the which the image dooth remayne,
Is unto Venus consecrate by name of Looker Out.
And therfore weying well theis things, I prey thee looke about
Good Lady, and away with pryde: and be content to frame
Thy self to him that loveth thee and cannot quench his flame.
So neyther may the Lentons cold thy budding frutetrees kill
Nor yit the sharp and boystous wyndes thy flowring Gardynes spill.
The God that can uppon him take what kynd of shape he list
Now having sayd thus much in vayne, omitted to persist
In beldames shape, and shewde himself a lusty gentleman,
Appeering to her cheerefully, even like as Phebus whan
Hee having overcomme the clowdes that did withstand his myght,
Dooth blaze his brightsum beames agein with fuller heate and lyght.
He offred force, but now no force was needfull in the cace.
For why shee beeing caught in love with beawty of his face,
Was wounded then as well as hee, and gan to yeeld apace.

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    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 63
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