Table of Contents:
With that shee syghes to think uppon her servants hap, and then
Her daughtrinlaw immediatly replied thus agen:
But mother, shee whose altred shape dooth move your hart so sore,
Was neyther kith nor kin to you. What will you say therefore,
If of myne owne deere suster I the woondrous fortune show,
Although my sorrow and the teares that from myne eyes doo flow,
Doo hinder mee, and stop my speeche? Her mother (you must know
My father by another wyfe had mee) bare never mo
But this same Ladie Dryopee, the fayrest Ladye tho
In all the land of Oechalye. Whom beeing then no mayd
(For why the God of Delos and of Delphos had her frayd)
Andraemon taketh to hys wyfe, and thinkes him well apayd.
There is a certaine leaning Lake whose bowing banks doo show
A likenesse of the salt sea shore. Uppon the brim doo grow
All round about it Mirtletrees. My suster thither goes
Unwares what was her destinie, and (which you may suppose
Was more to bee disdeyned at) the cause of comming there
Was to the fayries of the Lake fresh garlonds for to beare.
And in her armes a babye her sweete burthen shee did hold.
Who sucking on her brest was yit not full a twelvemoonth old.
Not farre from this same pond did grow a Lote tree florisht gay
With purple flowres and beries sweete, and leaves as greene as Bay.
Of theis same flowres to please her boy my suster gathered sum,
And I had thought to doo so too, for I was thither cum.
I saw how from the slivered flowres red drops of blood did fall,
And how that shuddring horribly the braunches quaakt withall.
You must perceyve that (as too late the Countryfolk declare)
A Nymph cald Lotos flying from fowle Pryaps filthy ware,
Was turned into this same tree reserving still her name.
My suster did not know so much, who when shee backward came
Afrayd at that that shee had seene, and having sadly prayd
The Nymphes of pardon, to have gone her way agen assayd:
Her feete were fastned downe with rootes. Shee stryved all she myght
To plucke them up, but they so sure within the earth were pyght,
That nothing save her upper partes shee could that present move.
A tender barke growes from beneath up leysurly above,
And softly overspreddes her loynes, which when shee saw, shee went
About to teare her heare, and full of leaves her hand shee hent.
Her head was overgrowen with leaves. And little Amphise (so
Had Eurytus his Graundsyre naamd her sonne not long ago)
Did feele his mothers dugges wex hard. And as he still them drew
In sucking, not a whit of milke nor moysture did ensew.
I standing by thee did behold thy cruell chaunce: but nought
I could releeve thee, suster myne. Yit to my powre I wrought
To stay the growing of thy trunk and of thy braunches by
Embracing thee. Yea I protest I would ryght willingly
Have in the selfesame barke with thee bene closed up. Behold,
Her husband, good Andraemon, and her wretched father, old
Sir Eurytus came thither and enquyrd for Dryopee.
And as they askt for Dryopee, I shewd them Lote the tree.
They kist the wood which yit was warme, and falling downe bylow,
Did hug the rootes of that their tree. My suster now could show
No part which was not wood except her face. A deawe of teares
Did stand uppon the wretched leaves late formed of her heares.
And whyle she might, and whyle her mouth did give her way to speake,
With such complaynt as this, her mynd shee last or all did breake:
If credit may bee given to such as are in wretchednesse,
I sweare by God I never yit deserved this distresse.
I suffer peyne without desert. My lyfe hath guiltlesse beene.
And if I lye, I would theis boughes of mine which now are greene,
Myght withered bee, and I heawen downe and burned in the fyre.
This infant from his mothers wombe remove you I desyre:
And put him forth to nurce, and cause him underneath my tree
Oft tymes to sucke, and oftentymes to play. And when that hee
Is able for to speake I pray you let him greete mee heere,
And sadly say: in this same trunk is hid my mother deere.
But lerne him for to shun all ponds and pulling flowres from trees,
And let him in his heart beleeve that all the shrubs he sees,
Are bodyes of the Goddesses. Adew deere husband now,
Adew deere father, and adew deere suster. And in yow
If any love of mee remayne, defend my boughes I pray
From wound of cutting hooke and ax, and bite of beast for ay.
And for I cannot stoope to you, rayse you yourselves to mee,
And come and kisse mee whyle I may yit toucht and kissed bee.
And lift mee up my little boy. I can no lenger talke, ^
For now about my lillye necke as if it were a stalke
The tender rynd beginnes to creepe, and overgrowes my top.
Remove your fingars from my face. The spreading barke dooth stop
My dying eyes without your help. Shee had no sooner left
Her talking, but her lyfe therewith togither was bereft.
But yit a goodwhyle after that her native shape did fade,
Her newmade boughes continewed warme. Now whyle that Iole made
Report of this same woondrous tale, and whyle Alcmena (who
Did weepe) was drying up the teares of Iole weeping too,
By putting to her thomb: there hapt a sodeine thing so straunge,
That unto mirth from heavinesse theyr harts it streight did chaunge.
For at the doore in manner even a very boy as then
With short soft Downe about his chin, revoked backe agen
To youthfull yeares, stood Iolay with countnance smooth and trim.
Dame Hebee, Junos daughter, had bestowde this gift on him,
Entreated at his earnest sute. Whom mynding fully there
The giving of like gift ageine to any to forsweare,
Dame Themis would not suffer. For (quoth shee) this present howre
Is cruell warre in Thebee towne, and none but Jove hath powre
To vanquish stately Canapey. The brothers shall alike
Wound eyther other. And alyve a Prophet shall go seeke
His owne quicke ghoste among the dead, the earth him swallowing in.
The sonne by taking vengeance for his fathers death shall win
The name of kynd and wicked man, in one and selfsame cace.
And flayght with mischeefes, from his wits and from his native place
The furies and his mothers ghoste shall restlessely him chace,
Untill his wyfe demaund of him the fatall gold for meede,
And that his cousin Phegies swoord doo make his sydes to bleede.
Then shall the fayre Callirrhoee, Achelous daughter, pray
The myghty Jove in humble wyse to graunt her children may
Retyre ageine to youthfull yeeres, and that he will not see
The death of him that did revenge unvenged for to bee.
Jove moved at her sute shall cause his daughtrinlaw to give
Like gift, and backe from age to youth Callirrhoes children drive.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.