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The Goddesse Pallas all this while did keepe continually
Hir brother Persey companie, till now that she did stie
From Seriph in a hollow cloud, and leaving on the right
The Iles of Scyre and Gyaros, she made from thence hir flight
Directly over that same Sea as neare as eye could ame
To Thebe and Mount Helicon, and when she thither came,
She stayde hir selfe, and thus bespake the learned sisters nine:
A rumor of an uncouth spring did pierce these eares of mine
The which the winged stede shouldmake by stamping with his hoofe.
This is the cause of my repaire: I would for certaine proofe
Be glad to see the wondrous thing. For present there I stoode
And saw the selfesame Pegasus spring of his mothers blood.
Dame Uranie did entertaine and aunswere Pallas thus:
What cause so ever moves your grace to come and visit us,
Most heartely you welcome are: and certaine is the fame
Of this our Spring, that Pegasus was causer of the same.
And with that worde she led hir forth to see the sacred spring.
Who musing greatly with hir selfe at straungenesse of the thing,
Surveyde the Woodes and groves about of auncient stately port.
And when she saw the Bowres to which the Muses did resort,
And pleasant fields beclad with herbes of sundrie hew and sort,
She said that for their studies sake they were in happie cace
And also that to serve their turne they had so trim a place.
Then one of them replied thus: O noble Ladie who
(But that your vertue greater workes than these are calles you to)
Should else have bene of this our troupe, your saying is full true.
To this our trade of life and place is commendation due.
And sure we have a luckie lot and if the world were such
As that we might in safetie live, but lewdnesse reignes so much
That all things make us Maides afraide. Me thinkes I yet do see
The wicked Tyran Pyren still: my heart is yet scarce free
From that same feare with which it hapt us flighted for to bee.
This cruell Pyren was of Thrace and with his men of war
The land of Phocis had subdude, and from this place not far
Within the Citie Dawlis reignde by force of wrongfull hand,
One day to Phebus Temples warde that on Parnasus stand
As we were going, in our way he met us courteously,
And by the name of Goddesses saluting reverently
Said: O ye Dames of Meonie (for why he knew us well)
I pray you stay and take my hou.e untill this storme (there fell
That time a tempest and a showre) be past: the Gods aloft
Have entred smaller sheddes than mine full many a time and oft.
The rainie wether and hys wordes so moved us, that wee
To go into an outer house of his did all agree.
As soone as that the showre was past and heaven was voyded cleare
Of all the Cloudes which late before did every where appeare,
Until that Boreas had subdude the rainie Southerne winde,
We woulde have by and by bene gone. He shet the doores in minde
To ravish us: but we with wings escaped from his hands.
He purposing to follow us, upon a Turret stands,
And sayth he needes will after us the same way we did flie.
And with that worde full frantickly he leapeth downe from hie,
And pitching evelong on his face the bones asunder crasht,
And dying, all abrode the ground his wicked bloud bedasht.
Now as the Muse was telling this, they heard a noyse of wings
And from the leavie boughes aloft a sound of greeting rings.
Minerva looking up thereat demaunded whence the sounde
Of tongues that so distinctly spake did come so plaine and rounde?
She thought some woman or some man had greeted hir that stounde.
It was a flight of Birdes. Nyne Pies bewailing their mischaunce
In counterfetting everie thing from bough to bough did daunce.
As Pallas wondred at the sight, the Muse spake thus in summe:
These also being late ago in chalenge overcome,
Made one kinde more of Birdes than was of auncient time beforne.
In Macedone they were about the Citie Pella borne
Of Pierus, a great riche Chuffe, and Euip, who by ayde
Of strong Lucina travailing nine times, nine times was laide
Of daughters in hir childbed safe. This fond and foolish rout
Of doltish sisters taking pride and waxing verie stout,
Bicause they were in number nine came flocking all togither
Through all the townes of Thessalie and all Achaia hither,
And us with these or such like wordes to combate did provoke.
Cease off, ye Thespian Goddesses, to mocke the simple folke
With fondnesse of your Melodie. And if ye thinke in deede
Ye can doe ought, contend with us and see how you shall speede.
I warrant you ye passe us not in cunning nor in voyce.
Ye are here nine, and so are we. We put you to the choyce,
That eyther we will vanquish you and set you quight beside
Your fountaine made by Pegasus which is your chiefest pride,
And Aganippe too: or else confounde you us, and we
Of all the woods of Macedone will dispossessed be
As farre as snowie Peonie: and let the Nymphes be Judges.
Now in good sooth it was a shame to cope with suchie Drudges,
But yet more shame it was to yeeld. The chosen Nymphes did sweare
By Styx, and sate them downe on seates of stone that growed there.
Then streight without commission or election of the rest,
The formost of them preasing forth undecently, profest
The chalenge to performe: and song the battels of the Goddes.
She gave the Giants all the praise, the honor and the oddes,
Abasing sore the worthie deedes of all the Gods. She telles
How Typhon issuing from the earth and from the deepest helles,
Made all the Gods above afraide, so greatly that they fled
And never staide till Aegypt land and Nile whose streame is shed
In channels seven, received them forwearied all togither:
And how the Helhound Typhon did pursue them also thither.
By meanes wherof the Gods eche one were faine themselves to hide
In forged shapes. She saide that Jove the Prince of Gods was wride
In shape of Ram: which is the cause that at this present tide
Joves ymage which the Lybian folke by name of Hammon serve,
Is made with crooked welked homes that inward still doe terve:
That Phebus in a Raven lurkt, and Bacchus in a Geate,
And Phebus sister in a Cat, and Juno in a Neate,
And Venus in the shape of Fish, and how that last of all
Mercurius hid him in a Bird which Ibis men doe call.
This was the summe of all the tale which she with rolling tung
And yelling throteboll to hir harpe before us rudely sung.
Our turne is also come to speake, but that perchaunce your grace
To give the hearing to our song hath now no time nor space.
Yes yes (quoth Pallas) tell on forth in order all your tale:
And downe she sate among the trees which gave a pleasant swale.
The Muse made aunswere thus: To one Calliope here by name
This chalenge we committed have and ordring of the same.
Then rose up faire Calliope with goodly bush of heare
Trim wreathed up with yvie leaves, and with hir thumbe gan steare
The quivering strings, to trie them if they were in tune or no.
Which done, she playde upon hir Lute and song hir Ditie so:
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