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She made an ende: and at hir tale all wondred: some denide
Hir saying to be possible: and other some replide
That such as are in deede true Gods may all things worke at will:
But Bacchus is not any such. Thys arguing once made still,
To tell hir tale as others had Alcithoes turne was come.
Who with hir shettle shooting through hir web within the Loome,
Said: Of the shepeheird Daphnyes love of Ida whom erewhile
A jealouse Nymph (bicause he did with Lemans hir beguile)
For anger turned to a stone (such furie love doth sende: )
I will not speake: it is to knowe: ne yet I doe entende
To tell how Scython variably digressing from his kinde,
Was sometime woman, sometime man, as liked best his minde.
And Celmus also wyll I passe, who for bicause he cloong
Most faithfully to Jupiter when Jupiter was yoong,
Is now become an Adamant. So will I passe this howre
To shew you how the Curets were engendred of a showre:
Or how that Crocus and his love faire Smylax turned were
To little flowres. With pleasant newes your mindes now will I chere.
Learne why the fountaine Salmacis diffamed is of yore,
Why with his waters overstrong it weakeneth men so sore
That whoso bathes him there commes thence a perfect man no more.
The operation of this Well is knowne to every wight.
But few can tell the cause thereof, the which I will recite.
The waternymphes did nurce a sonne of Mercuries in Ide
Begot on Venus, in whose face such beautie did abide,
As well therein his father both and mother might be knowne,
Of whome he also tooke his name. As soone as he was growne
To fiftene yeares of age, he left the Countrie where he dwelt
And Ida that had fostered him. The pleasure that he felt
To travell Countries, and to see straunge rivers with the state
Of forren landes, all painfulnesse of travell did abate.
He travelde through the lande of Lycie to Carie that doth bound
Next unto Lycia. There he saw a Poole which to the ground
Was Christall cleare. No fennie sedge, no barren reeke, no reede
Nor rush with pricking poynt was there, nor other moorish weede.
The water was so pure and shere a man might well have seene
And numbred all the gravell stones that in the bottome beene.
The utmost borders from the brim environd were with clowres
Beclad with herbes ay fresh and greene and pleasant smelling flowres.
A Nymph did haunt this goodly Poole: but such a Nymph as neyther
To hunt, to run, nor yet to shoote, had any kinde of pleasure.
Of all the Waterfairies she alonly was unknowne
To swift Diana. As the bruit of fame abrode hath blowne,
Hir sisters oftentimes would say: take lightsome Dart or bow,
And in some painefull exercise thine ydle time bestow.
But never could they hir persuade to runne, to shoote or hunt,
Or any other exercise as Phebes knightes are wont.
Sometime hir faire welformed limbes she batheth in hir spring:
Sometime she downe hir golden haire with Boxen combe doth bring.
And at the water as a glasse she taketh counsell ay
How every thing becommeth hir. Erewhile in fine aray
On soft sweete hearbes or soft greene leaves hir selfe she nicely layes:
Erewhile againe a gathering flowres from place to place she strayes.
And (as it chaunst) the selfesame time she was a sorting gayes
To make a Poisie, when she first the yongman did espie,
And in beholding him desirde to have his companie.
But though she thought she stoode on thornes untill she went to him:
Yet went she not before she had bedect hir neat and trim,
And pride and peerd upon hir clothes that nothing sat awrie,
And framde hir countnance as might seeme most amrous to the eie.
Which done she thus begon: O childe most worthie for to bee
Estemde and taken for a God, if (as thou seemste to mee)
Thou be a God, to Cupids name thy beautie doth agree.
Or if thou be a mortall wight, right happie folke are they,
By whome thou camste into this worlde, right happy is (I say)
Thy mother and thy sister too (if any bee): good hap
That woman had that was thy Nurce and gave thy mouth hir pap.
But farre above all other, far more blist than these is shee
Whome thou vouchsafest for thy wife and bedfellow for to bee.
Now if thou have alredy one, let me by stelth obtaine
That which shall pleasure both of us. Or if thou doe remaine
A Maiden free from wedlocke bonde, let me then be thy spouse,
And let us in the bridelie bed our selves togither rouse.
This sed, the Nymph did hold hir peace, and therewithall the boy
Waxt red: he wist not what love was: and sure it was a joy
To see it how exceeding well his blushing him became.
For in his face the colour fresh appeared like the same
That is in Apples which doe hang upon the Sunnie side:
Or Ivorie shadowed with a red: or such as is espide
Of white and scarlet colours mixt appearing in the Moone
When folke in vaine with sounding brasse would ease unto hir done.
When at the last the Nymph desirde most instantly but this,
As to his sister brotherly to give hir there a kisse,
And therewithall was clasping him about the Ivorie necke:
Leave off (quoth he) or I am gone and leave thee at a becke
With all thy trickes. Then Salmacis began to be afraide,
And, To your pleasure leave I free this place, my friend, she sayde.
Wyth that she turnes hir backe as though she would have gone hir way:
But evermore she looketh backe, and (closely as she may)
She hides hir in a bushie queach, where kneeling on hir knee
She alwayes hath hir eye on him. He as a childe and free,
And thinking not that any wight had watched what he did
Romes up and downe the pleasant Mede: and by and by amid
The flattring waves he dippes his feete, no more but first the sole
And to the ancles afterward both feete he plungeth whole.
And for to make the matter short, he tooke so great delight
In coolenesse of the pleasant spring, that streight he stripped quight
His garments from his tender skin. When Salmacis behilde
His naked beautie, such strong pangs so ardently hir hilde,
That utterly she was astraught. And even as Phebus beames
Against a myrrour pure and clere rebound with broken gleames:
Even so hir eys did sparcle fire. Scarce could she tarience make:
Scarce could she any time delay hir pleasure for to take:
She wolde have run, and in hir armes embraced him streight way:
She was so far beside hir selfe, that scarsly could she stay.
He clapping with his hollow hands against his naked sides,
Into the water lithe and baine with armes displayed glydes.
And rowing with his hands and legges swimmes in the water cleare:
Through which his bodie faire and white doth glistringly appeare,
As if a man an Ivorie Image or a Lillie white
Should overlay or close with glasse that were most pure and bright.
The prize is won (cride Salmacis aloud) he is mine owne.
And therewithall in all post hast she having lightly throwne
Hir garments off, flew to the Poole and cast hir thereinto
And caught him fast between hir armes, for ought that he could doe:
Yea maugre all his wrestling and his struggling to and fro,
She held him still, and kissed him a hundred times and mo.
And willde he nillde he with hir handes she toucht his naked brest:
And now on this side now on that (for all he did resist
And strive to wrest him from hir gripes) she clung unto him fast:
And wound about him like a Snake which snatched up in hast
And being by the Prince of Birdes borne lightly up aloft,
Doth writhe hir selfe about his necke and griping talants oft:
And cast hir taile about his wings displayed in the winde:
Or like as Ivie runnes on trees about the utter rinde:
Or as the Crabfish having caught his enmy in the Seas,
Doth claspe him in on every side with all his crooked cleas.
But Atlas Nephew still persistes, and utterly denies
The Nymph to have hir hoped sport: she urges him likewise.
And pressing him with all hir weight, fast cleaving to him still,
Strive, struggle, wrest and writhe (she said) thou froward boy thy fill:
Doe what thou canst thou shalt not scape. Ye Goddes of Heaven agree
That this same wilfull boy and I may never parted bee.
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