previous next

Then all both men and women fearde Latonas open ire I
And far with greater sumptuousnesse and earnester desire
Did worship the great majestie of this their Goddesse who
Did beare at once both Phebus and his sister Phebe too.
And through occasion of this chaunce, (as men are wont to do
In cases like) the people fell to telling things of old
Of whome a man among the rest this tale ensuing told.
The auncient folke that in the fieldes of fruitfull Lycia dwelt
Due penance also for their spight to this same Goddesse felt.
The basenesse of the parties makes the thing it selfe obscure.
Yet is the matter wonderfull. My selfe I you assure
Did presently beholde the Pond, and saw the very place
In which this wondrous thing was done. My father then in case,
Not able for to travell well by reason of his age,
To fetch home certaine Oxen thence made me to be his page,
Appointing me a countryman of Lycia to my guide.
With whome as I went plodding in the pasture groundes, I spide
Amids a certaine Pond an olde square Aultar colourd blacke
With cinder of the sacrifice that still upon it stacke.
About it round grew wavering Reedes. My guide anon did stay:
And softly, O be good to me, he in himselfe did say.
And I with like soft whispering did say, Be good to mee.
And then I askt him whether that the Altar wee did see
Belonged to the Waternymphes, or Faunes or other God
Peculiar to the place it selfe upon the which we yod.
He made me aunswere thus: My guest, no God of countrie race
Is in this Altar worshipped. That Goddesse claymes this place,
From whome the wife of mightie Jove did all the world forfend:
When wandring restlesse here and there full hardly in the end
Unsetled Delos did receyve then floting on the wave,
As tide and weather to and fro the swimming Iland drave.
There maugre Juno (who with might and main against hir strave)
Latona staying by a Date and Olyf tree that sted
In travail, of a paire of twinnes was safely brought abed.
And after hir delivrance folke report that she for feare
Of Junos wrath did flie from hence, and in hir armes did beare
Hir babes which afterwarde became two Gods. In which hir travell
In Sommer when the scorching Sunne is wont to burne the gravell
Of Lycie countrie where the fell Chymera hath his place,
The Goddesse wearie with the long continuance of hir race,
Waxt thirstie by the meanes of drought with going in the Sunne.
Hir babes had also suckt hir brestes as long as milke wold runne.
By chaunce she spide this little Pond of water here bylow.
And countrie Carles were gathering there these Osier twigs that grow
So thicke upon a shrubbie stalke: and of these rushes greene:
And flags that in these moorish plots so rife of growing beene.
She comming hither kneeled downe the water up to take
To coole hir thirst. The churlish cloynes forfended hir the Lake.
Then gently said the Goddesse: Sirs, why doe you me forfend
The water? Nature doth to all in common water send.
For neither Sunne, nor Ayre, nor yet the Water private bee,
I seeke but that which natures gift hath made to all things free.
And yet I humbly crave of you to graunt it unto mee.
I did not go about to wash my werie limmes and skin,
I would but only quench my thirst. My throte is scalt within
For want of moysture: and my chappes and lippes are parching drie:
And scarsly is there way for wordes to issue out thereby.
A draught of water will to me be heavenly Nectar now.
And sure I will confesse I have received life of you.
Yea in your giving of a drop of water unto mee,
The case so standeth as you shall preserve the lives of three.
Alas let these same sillie soules that in my bosome stretch
Their little armes (by chaunce hir babes their pretie dolles did retch)
To pitie move you. What is he so hard that would not yeeld
To this the gentle Goddesses entreatance meeke and meeld?
Yet they for all the humble wordes she could devise to say,
Continued in their willfull moode of churlish saying nay,
And threatned for to sende hir thence onlesse she went away,
Reviling hir most spightfully. And not contented so,
With handes and feete the standing Poole they troubled to and fro,
Until with trampling up and downe maliciously, the soft
And slimie mud that lay beneath was raised up aloft.
With that the Goddesse was so wroth that thirst was quight forgot.
And unto such unworthie Carles hirselfe she humbleth not:
Ne speaketh meaner wordes than might beseeme a Goddesse well.
But holding up hir handes to heaven: For ever mought you dwell
In this same Pond, she said: hir wish did take effect with speede.
For underneath the water they delight to be in deede.
Now dive they to the bottome downe, now up their heades they pop,
Another while with sprawling legs they swim upon the top.
And oftentimes upon the bankes they have a minde to stond,
And oftentimes from thence againe to leape into the Pond.
And there they now doe practise still their filthy tongues to scold
And shamelessely (though underneath the water) they doe hold
Their former wont of brawling still amid the water cold.
Their voices stil are hoarse and harsh, their throtes have puffed goles,
Their chappes with brawling widened are, their hammer headed Jowls
Are joyned to their shoulders just, the neckes of them doe seeme
Cut off, the ridgebone of their backe stickes up of colour greene.
Their paunch which is the greatest part of all their trunck is gray,
And so they up and downe the Pond made newly Frogges doe play.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 34
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 10.3
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: