Table of Contents:
In giving charge he kissed hir: and downe his cheekes did raine
The tender teares, and as a pledge of faith he tooke the right
Handes of them both, and joyning them did eche to other plight,
Desiring them to beare in minde his commendations to
His daughter and hir little sonne. And then with much adoe
For sobbing, at the last he bad adew as one dismaid.
The foremisgiving of his minde did make him sore afraid.
As soone as Tereus and the Maide togither were aboord,
And that their ship from land with Ores was haled on the foord,
The fielde is ours, he cride aloude, I have the thing I sought
And up he skipt, so barbrous and so beastly was his thought,
That scarce even there he could forbeare his pleasure to have wrought.
His eye went never off of hir: as when the scarefull Erne
With hooked talants trussing up a Hare among the Ferne,
Hath laid hir in his nest, from whence the prisoner can not scape,
The ravening fowle with greedie eyes upon his pray doth gape.
Now was their journey come to ende: now were they gone aland
In Thracia, when that Tereus tooke the Ladie by the hand,
And led hir to a pelting graunge that peakishly did stand
In woods forgrowen. There waxing pale and trembling sore for feare,
And dreading all things, and with teares demaunding sadly where
Hir sister was, he shet hir up: and therewithall bewraide
His wicked lust, and so by force bicause she was a Maide
And all alone he vanquisht hir. It booted nought at all
That she on sister, or on Sire, or on the Gods did call.
She quaketh like the wounded Lambe which from the Wolves hore teeth
New shaken thinkes hir selfe not safe: or as the Dove that seeth
Hir fethers with hir owne bloud staynde, who shuddring still doth feare
The greedie Hauke that did hir late with griping talants teare.
Anon when that this mazednesse was somewhat overpast,
She rent hir haire, and beate hir brest, and up to heavenward cast
Hir hands in mourningwise, and said: O cankerd Carle, O fell
And cruell Tyrant, neyther could the godly teares that fell
Adowne my fathers cheekes when he did give thee charge of mee,
Ne of my sister that regarde that ought to be in thee,
Nor yet my chaaste virginitie, nor conscience of the lawe
Of wedlocke, from this villanie thy barbrous heart withdraw?
Is made a Cucqueane: and thy selfe through this offence of thee
Art made a husband to us both, and unto me a foe,
Behold thou hast confounded all. My sister thorough mee
A just deserved punishment for lewdly doing so.
But to th'intent, O perjurde wretch, no mischiefe may remaine
Unwrought by thee, why doest thou from murdring me refraine?
Would God thou had it done before this wicked rape. From hence
Then should my soule most blessedly have gone without offence.
But if the Gods doe see this deede, and if the Gods, I say,
Be ought, and in this wicked worlde beare any kinde of sway
And if with me all other things decay not, sure the day
Will come that for this wickednesse full dearly thou shalt pay.
Yea I my selfe rejecting shame thy doings will bewray.
And if I may have power to come abrode, them blase I will
In open face of all the world. Or if thou keepe me still
As prisoner in these woods, my voyce the verie woods shall fill,
And make the stones to understand. Let Heaven to this give care
And all the Gods and powers therein if any God be there.
The cruell tyrant being chaaft and also put in feare
With these and other such hir wordes, both causes so him stung,
That drawing out his naked sworde that at his girdle hung,
He tooke hir rudely by the haire, and wrung hir hands behind hir,
Compelling hir to holde them there while he himselfe did bind hir.
When Philomela sawe the sworde, she hoapt she should have dide,
And for the same hir naked throte she gladly did provide.
But as she yirnde and called ay upon hir fathers name,
And strived to have spoken still, the cruell tyrant came
And with a paire of pinsons fast did catch hir by the tung,
And with his sword did cut it off. The stumpe whereon it hung
Did patter still. The tip fell downe and quivering on the ground
As though that it had murmured it made a certaine sound.
And as an Adders tayle cut off doth skip a while: even so
The tip of Philomelaas tongue did wriggle to and fro,
And nearer to hir mistresseward in dying still did go.
And after this most cruell act, for certaine men report
That he (I scarcely dare beleve) did oftentimes resort
To maymed Philomela and abusde hir at his will:
Yet after all this wickednesse he keeping countnance still,
Durst unto Progne home repaire. And she immediatly
Demaunded where hir sister was. He sighing feynedly
Did tell hir falsly she was dead: and with his suttle teares
He maketh all his tale to seeme of credit in hir eares.
Hir garments glittring all with golde she from hir shoulders teares
And puts on blacke, and setteth up an emptie Herce, and keepes
A solemne obite for hir soule, and piteously she weepes
And waileth for hir sisters fate who was not in such wise
As that was, for to be bewailde. The Sunne had in the Skies
Past through the twelve celestiall signes, and finisht full a yeare.
But what should Philomela doe? She watched was so neare
That start she could not for hir life. The walles of that same graunge
Were made so high of maine hard stone, that out she could not raunge.
Againe hir tunglesse mouth did want the utterance of the fact.
Great is the wit of pensivenesse, and when the head is rakt
With hard misfortune, sharpe forecast of practise entereth in.
A warpe of white upon a frame of Thracia she did pin,
And weaved purple letters in betweene it, which bewraide
The wicked deede of Tereus. And having done, she praide
A certaine woman by hir signes to beare them to hir mistresse.
She bare them and deliverde them not knowing nerethelesse
What was in them. The Tyrants wife unfolded all the clout,
And of hir wretched fortune red the processe whole throughout.
She held hir peace (a wondrous thing it is she should so doe)
But sorrow tide hir tongue, and wordes agreeable unto
Hir great displeasure were not at commaundment at that stound.
And weepe she could not. Ryght and wrong she reckeneth to confound,
And on revengement of the deede hir heart doth wholy ground.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.