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Tritonia unto all these wordes attentive hearing bendes,
And both the Muses learned song and rightfull wrath commendes.
And thereupon within hir selfe this fancie did arise:
It is no matter for to prayse: but let our selfe devise
Some thing to be commended for: and let us not permit
Our Majestie to be despisde without revenging it.
And therewithall she purposed to put the Lydian Maide
Arachne to hir neckeverse who (as had to hir bene saide)
Presumed to prefer hir selfe before hir noble grace
In making cloth. This Damsell was not famous for the place
In which she dwelt, nor for hir stocke, but for hir Arte. Hir Sier
Was Idmon, one of Colophon, a pelting Purple Dier.
Hir mother was deceast: but she was of the baser sort,
And egall to hir Make in birth, in living, and in port.
But though this Maide were meanly borne, and dwelt but in a shed
At little Hypep: yet hir trade hir fame abrode did spred
Even all the Lydian Cities through. To see hir wondrous worke
The Nymphes that underneath the Vines of shadie Tmolus lurke
Their Vineyards oftentimes forsooke. So did the Nymphes also
About Pactolus oftentimes their golden streames forgo.
And evermore it did them good not only for to see
Hir clothes already made, but while they eke a making bee
Such grace was in hir workmanship. For were it so that shee
The newshorne fleeces from the sheepe in bundels deftly makes,
Or afterward doth kemb the same, and drawes it out in flakes
Along like cloudes, or on the Rocke doth spinne the handwarpe woofe,
Or else embroydreth, certenly ye might perceive by proofe
She was of Pallas bringing up, which thing she nathelesse
Denyeth, and disdaining such a Mistresse to confesse,
Let hir contend with me, she saide: and if she me amend
I will refuse no punishment the which she shall extend.
Minerva tooke an olde wives shape and made hir haire seeme gray,
And with a staffe hir febled limmes pretended for to stay.
Which done, she thus began to speake: Not all that age doth bring
We ought to shonne. Experience doth of long continuance spring.
Despise not mine admonishment. Seeke fame and chiefe report
For making cloth, and Arras worke, among the mortall sort.
But humbly give the Goddesse place: and pardon of hir crave
For these thine unadvised wordes. I warrant thou shalt have
Forgivenesse, if thou aske it hir. Arachne bent hir brewes
And lowring on hir, left hir worke: and hardly she eschewes
From flying in the Ladies face. Hir countnance did bewray
Hir moodie minde: which bursting forth in words she thus did say:
Thou commest like a doting foole: thy wit is spent with yeares:
Thy life hath lasted over long as by thy talke appeares.
And if thou any daughter have, or any daughtrinlawe,
I would she heard these wordes of mine: I am not such a Daw,
But that without thy teaching I can well ynough advise
My selfe. And lest thou shouldest thinke thy words in any wise
Availe, the selfesame minde I keepe with which I first begonne.
Why commes she not hirselfe I say? this matche why doth she shonne?
Then said the Goddesse: Here she is. And therewithall she cast
Hir oldewives riveled shape away, and shewde hir selfe at last
Minerva like. The Nymphes did streight adore hir Majestie.
So did the yong newmaried wives that were of Migdonie.
The Maiden only unabasht woulde nought at all relent.
But yet she blusht and sodenly a ruddynesse besprent
Hir cheekes which wanzd away againe, even like as doth the Skie
Looke sanguine at the breake of day, and turneth by and by
To white at rising of the Sunne. As hote as any fire
She sticketh to hir tackling still. And through a fond desire
Of glorie, to hir owne decay all headlong forth she runnes.
For Pallas now no lenger warnes, ne now no lenger shunnes
Ne seekes the chalenge to delay. Immediatly they came
And tooke their places severally, and in a severall frame
Eche streynde a web, the warpe whereof was fine. The web was tide
Upon a Beame. Betweene the warpe a stay of reede did slide.
The woofe on sharpened pinnes was put betwixt the warp, and wrought
With fingars. And as oft as they had through the warpe it brought,
They strake it with a Boxen combe. Both twayne of them made hast:
And girding close for handsomnesse their garments to their wast
Bestirde their cunning handes apace. Their earnestnesse was such
As made them never thinke of paine. They weaved verie much
Fine Purple that was dide in Tyre, and colours set so trim
That eche in shadowing other seemde the very same with him.
Even like as after showres of raine when Phebus broken beames
Doe strike upon the Cloudes, appeares a compast bow of gleames
Which bendeth over all the Heaven: wherein although there shine
A thousand sundry colours, yet the shadowing is so fine,
That looke men nere so wistly, yet beguileth it their eyes:
So like and even the selfsame thing eche colour seemes to rise
Whereas they meete, which further off doe differ more and more.
Of glittring golde with silken threede was weaved there good store.
And stories put in portrayture of things done long afore.
Minerva painted Athens towne and Marsis rocke therein,
And all the strife betweene hirselfe and Neptune, who should win
The honor for to give the name to that same noble towne.
In loftie thrones on eyther side of Jove were settled downe
Six Peeres of Heaven with countnance grave and full of Majestie,
And every of them by his face discerned well might be.
The Image of the mightie Jove was Kinglike. She had made
Neptunus standing striking with his long thre tyned blade
Upon the ragged Rocke: and from the middle of the clift
She portrayd issuing out a horse, which was the noble gift
For which he chalengde to himselfe the naming of the towne.
She picturde out hirselfe with shielde and Morion on hir crowne
With Curet on hir brest, and Speare in hand with sharpened ende.
She makes the Earth (the which hir Speare doth seeme to strike) to sende
An Olyf tree with fruite thereon: and that the Gods thereat
Did wonder: and with victorie she finisht up that plat.
Yet to th'intent examples olde might make it to be knowne
To hir that for desire of praise so stoutly helde hir owne,
What guerdon she shoulde hope to have for hir attempt so madde,
Foure like contentions in the foure last corners she did adde.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TELA
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