Table of Contents:
Heere dwelt a man of Samos Ile, who for the hate he had
To Lordlynesse and Tyranny, though unconstreynd was glad
To make himself a bannisht man. And though this persone weere
Farre distant from the Goddes by site of heaven: yit came he neere
To them in mynd. And he by syght of soule and reason cleere
Behild the things which nature dooth to fleshly eyes denye.
And when with care most vigilant he had assuredly
Imprinted all things in his hart, he set them openly
Abroade for other folk to lerne. He taught his silent sort
(Which woondred at the heavenly woordes theyr mayster did report)
The first foundation of the world: the cause of every thing:
What nature was: and what was God: whence snow and lyghtning spring:
And whither Jove or else the wynds in breaking clowdes doo thunder:
What shakes the earth: what law the starres doo keepe theyr courses under:
And what soever other thing is hid from common sence.
He also is the first that did injoyne an abstinence
To feede of any lyving thing. He also first of all
Spake thus: although ryght lernedly, yit to effect but small:
Yee mortall men, forbeare to frank your flesh with wicked foode.
Yee have both come and frutes of trees and grapes and herbes right good.
And though that sum bee harsh and hard: yit fyre may make them well
Both soft and sweete. Yee may have milk, and honny which dooth smell
Of flowres of tyme. The lavish earth dooth yeeld you plentiously
Most gentle foode, and riches to content bothe mynd and eye.
There needes no slaughter nor no blood to get your living by.
The beastes do breake theyr fast with flesh: and yit not all beastes neyther.
For horses, sheepe, and Rotherbeastes to live by grasse had lever.
The nature of the beast that dooth delyght in bloody foode,
Is cruell and unmercifull. As Lyons feerce of moode,
Armenian Tigers, Beares, and Woolves. Oh, what a wickednesse
It is to cram the mawe with mawe, and frank up flesh with flesh,
And for one living thing to live by killing of another:
As whoo should say, that of so great abundance which our moother
The earth dooth yeeld most bountuously, none other myght delyght
Thy cruell teethe to chawe uppon, than grisly woundes that myght
Expresse the Cyclops guyse? or else as if thou could not stawnche
The hunger of thy greedye gut and evill mannerd pawnche,
Onlesse thou stroyd sum other wyght. But that same auncient age
Which wee have naamd the golden world, cleene voyd of all such rage,
Livd blessedly by frute of trees and herbes that grow on ground,
And stayned not their mouthes with blood. Then birds might safe and sound
Fly where they listed in the ayre. The hare unscaard of hound
Went pricking over all the feeldes. No angling hooke with bayt
Did hang the seely fish that bote mistrusting no deceyt.
All things were voyd of guylefulnesse: no treason was in trust:
But all was freendshippe, love and peace. But after that the lust
Of one (what God so ere he was) disdeyning former fare,
To cram that cruell croppe of his with fleshmeate did not spare,
He made a way for wickednesse. And first of all the knyfe
Was staynd with blood of savage beastes in ridding them of lyfe.
And that had nothing beene amisse, if there had beene the stay.
For why wee graunt, without the breach of godlynesse wee may
By death confound the things that seeke to take our lyves away.
But as to kill them reason was: even so agein theyr was
No reason why to eate theyr flesh. This leawdnesse thence did passe
On further still. Wheras there was no sacrifyse beforne,
The Swyne (bycause with hoked groyne he rooted up the come,
And did deceyve the tillmen of theyr hope next yeere thereby)
Was deemed woorthy by desert in sacrifyse to dye.
The Goate for byghting vynes was slayne at Bacchus altar whoo
Wreakes such misdeedes. Theyr owne offence was hurtful to theis two.
But what have you poore sheepe misdoone, a cattell meeke and meeld,
Created for to maynteine man, whoose fulsomme duggs doo yeeld
Sweete Nectar, whoo dooth clothe us with your wooll in soft aray?
Whoose lyfe dooth more us benefite than dooth your death farreway?
What trespasse have the Oxen doone, a beast without all guyle
Or craft, unhurtfull, simple, borne to labour every whyle?
In fayth he is unmyndfull and unwoorthy of increace
Of come, that in his hart can fynd his tilman to releace
From plowgh, to cut his throte: that in his hart can fynde (I say)
Those neckes with hatchets off to strike, whoose skinne is worne away
With labring ay for him: whoo turnd so oft his land most tough,
Whoo brought so many harvestes home. Yit is it not ynough
That such a great outrageousenesse committed is. They father
Theyr wickednesse uppon the Goddes. And falsly they doo gather
That in the death of peynfull Ox the Hyghest dooth delyght.
A sacrifyse unblemished and fayrest unto syght,
(For beawtye woorketh them theyr bane) adornd with garlonds, and
With glittring gold, is cyted at the altar for to stand.
There heeres he woordes (he wotes not what) the which the preest dooth pray,
And on his forehead suffereth him betweene his homes to lay
The eares of come that he himself hath wrought for in the clay,
And stayneth with his blood the knyfe that he himself perchaunce
Hathe in the water sheere ere then behild by soodein glaunce.
Immediatly they haling out his hartstrings still alive,
And poring on them, seeke therein Goddes secrets to retryve.
Whence commes so greedy appetyte in men, of wicked meate?
And dare yee, O yee mortall men, adventure thus to eate?
Nay doo not (I beseeche yee) so. But give good eare and heede
To that that I shall warne you of, and trust it as your creede,
That whensoever you doo eate your Oxen, you devowre
Your husbandmen. And forasmuch as God this instant howre
Dooth move my toong to speake, I will obey his heavenly powre.
My God Apollos temple I will set you open, and
Disclose the woondrous heavens themselves, and make you understand
The Oracles and secrets of the Godly majestye.
Greate things, and such as wit of man could never yit espye,
And such as have beene hidden long, I purpose to descrye.
I mynd to leave the earth, and up among the starres to stye.
I mynd to leave this grosser place, and in the clowdes to flye,
And on stowt Atlas shoulders strong to rest my self on hye,
And looking downe from heaven on men that wander heere and there
In dreadfull feare of death as though they voyd of reason were,
To give them exhortation thus: and playnely to unwynd
The whole discourse of destinie as nature hath assignd.
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