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He hilld his peace, and bothe the thing and he that did it tell
Did move them all, but Theseus most. Whom being mynded well
To heere of woondrous things, the brooke of Calydon thus bespake:
There are, O valiant knyght, sum folke that had the powre to take
Straunge shape for once, and all their lyves continewed in the same.
And other sum to sundrie shapes have power themselves to frame,
As thou, O Protew, dwelling in the sea that cleepes the land.
For now a yoonker, now a boare, anon a Lyon, and
Streyght way thou didst become a Snake, and by and by a Bull
That people were afrayd of thee to see thy horned skull.
And oftentymes thou seemde a stone, and now and then a tree,
And counterfetting water sheere thou seemedst oft to bee
A River: and another whyle contrarie thereunto
Thou wart a fyre. No lesser power than also thus to doo
Had Erisicthons daughter whom Awtolychus tooke to wyfe.
Her father was a person that despysed all his lyfe
The powre of Gods, and never did vouchsauf them sacrifyse.
He also is reported to have heawen in wicked wyse
The grove of Ceres, and to fell her holy woods which ay
Had undiminisht and unhackt continewed to that day.
There stood in it a warrie Oke which was a wood alone.
Uppon it round hung fillets, crownes, and tables, many one,
The vowes of such as had obteynd theyr hearts desyre. Full oft
The Woodnymphes underneath this tree did fetch theyr frisks aloft
And oftentymes with hand in hand they daunced in a round
About the Trunk, whose bignesse was of timber good and sound
Full fifteene fadom. All the trees within the wood besyde,
Were unto this, as weedes to them: so farre it did them hyde.
Yit could not this move Triops sonne his axe therefro to hold,
But bade his servants cut it downe. And when he did behold
Them stunting at his hest, he snatcht an axe with furious mood
From one of them, and wickedly sayd thus: Although thys wood
Not only were the derling of the Goddesse, but also
The Goddesse even herself: yet would I make it ere I go
To kisse the clowers with her top that pranks with braunches so.
This spoken, as he sweakt his axe asyde to fetch his blow,
The manast Oke did quake and sygh, the Acornes that did grow
Thereon togither with the leaves to wex full pale began,
And shrinking in for feare the boughes and braunches looked wan.
As soone as that his cursed hand had wounded once the tree,
The blood came spinning from the carf, as freshly as yee see
It issue from a Bullocks necke whose throte is newly cut
Before the Altar, when his flesh to sacrifyse is put.
They were amazed everychone. And one among them all
To let the wicked act, durst from the tree his hatchet call.
The lewd Thessalian facing him sayd: Take thou heere to thee
The guerdon of thy godlynesse, and turning from the tree,
He chopped off the fellowes head. Which done, he went agen
And heawed on the Oke. Streight from amid the tree as then
There issued such a sound as this: Within this tree dwell I
A Nymph to Ceres very deere, who now before I dye
In comfort of my death doo give thee warning thou shalt bye
Thy dooing deere within a whyle. He goeth wilfully
Still thorrough with his wickednesse, untill at length the Oke
Pulld partly by the force of ropes, and cut with axis stroke,
Did fall, and with his weyght bare downe of under wood great store.
The Wood nymphes with the losses of the woods and theyrs ryght sore
Amazed, gathered on a knot, and all in mourning weede
Went sad to Ceres, praying her to wreake that wicked deede
Of Erisicthons. Ceres was content it should bee so.
And with the moving of her head in nodding to and fro,
Shee shooke the feeldes which laden were with frutefull Harvest tho,
And therewithall a punishment most piteous shee proceedes
To put in practyse: were it not that his most heynous deedes
No pitie did deserve to have at any bodies hand.
With helpelesse hungar him to pyne, in purpose shee did stand.
And forasmuch as shee herself and Famin myght not meete
(For fate forbiddeth Famin to abyde within the leete
Where plentie is) shee thus bespake a fayrie of the hill:
There lyeth in the utmost bounds of Tartarie the chill
A Dreerie place, a wretched soyle, a barreine plot: no grayne,
No frute, no tree, is growing there: but there dooth ay remayne
Unweeldsome cold, with trembling feare, and palenesse white as clowt,
And foodlesse Famin. Will thou her immediatly withowt
Delay to shed herself into the stomacke of the wretch,
And let no plentie staunch her force but let her working stretch
Above the powre of mee. And lest the longnesse of the way
May make thee wearie, take thou heere my charyot: take I say
My draggons for to beare thee through the aire.
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