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The Centaure Chyron in the while was glad of Phebus boy,
And as the burthen brought some care the honor brought him joy.
Upon a time with golden lockes about hir shoulders spread,
A daughter of the Centaurs (whome a certaine Nymph had bred
About the brooke Caycus bankes) that hight Ocyroe
Came thither. This same fayre yong Nymph could not contented be
To learne the craft of Surgerie as perfect as hir Sire,
But that to learne the secret doomes of Fate she must aspire.
And therfore when the furious rage of frenzie had hir cought,
And that the spright of Prophecie enflamed had hir thought,
She lookt upon the childe and saide: Sweete babe the Gods thee make
A man. For all the world shall fare the better for thy sake.
All sores and sicknesse shalt thou cure: thy powre shall eke be syche,
To make the dead alive again. For doing of the whiche
Against the pleasure of the Gods, thy Graundsire shall thee strike
So with his fire, that never more thou shalt performe the like.
And of a God a bludlesse corse, and of a corse (full straunge)
Thou shalt become a God againe, and twice thy nature chaunge.
And thou my father liefe and deare, who now by destinie,
Art borne to live for evermore and never for to die,
Shalt suffer such outragious paine throughout thy members all,
By wounding of a venimde dart that on thy foote shall fall,
That oft thou shalt desire to die, and in the latter end
The fatall dames shall breake thy threede and thy desire thee send.
There was yet more behinde to tell, when sodenly she fet
A sore deepe sigh, and downe hir cheekes the teares did trickle wet.
Mine owne misfortune (quoth she) now hath overtake me sure.
I cannot utter any more, for words waxe out of ure.
My cunning was not worth so much as that it should procure
The wrath of God. I feele by proufe far better had it bene:
If that the chaunce of things to come I never had foreseene.
For now my native shape withdrawes. Me thinkes I have delight
To feede on grasse and fling in fieldes: I feele my selfe so light.
I am transformed to a Mare like other of my kinne.
But wherfore should this brutish shape all over wholy winne?
Considering that although both horse and man my father bee:
Yet is his better part a man as plainly is to see.
The latter ende of this complaint was fumbled in such wise,
As what she meant the standers by could scarcely well devise.
Anon she neyther semde to speake nor fully for to ney,
But like to one that counterfeites in sport the Mare to play.
Within a while she neyed plaine, and downe hir armes were pight
Upon the ground all clad with haire, and bare hir bodie right.
Hir fingers joyned all in one, at ende wherof did grow
In stede of nayles a round tough hoofe of welked horne bylow.
Hir head and necke shot forth in length, hir kirtle trayne became
A faire long taile. Hir flaring haire was made a hanging Mane.
And as hir native shape and voyce most monstrously did passe,
So by the uncoth name of Mare she after termed was.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 559
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