Table of Contents:
By meanes whereof within a while in Citie, fielde, and towne
Through all the coast of Aony was bruited his renowne.
And folke to have their fortunes read that dayly did resorte
Were aunswerde so as none of them could give him misreporte.
The first that of his soothfast wordes had proufe in all the Realme
Was freckled Lyriop, whom sometime surprised in his streame
The floud Cephisus did enforce. This Lady bare a sonne
Whose beautie at his verie birth might justly love have wonne.
-Narcissus did she call his name. Of whome the Prophet sage,
-Demaunded if the childe should live to many yeares of age,
Made aunswere: Yea full long, so that him selfe he doe not know.
The Soothsayers wordes seemde long but vaine, untill the end did show
His saying to be true in deede by straungenesse of the rage,
And straungenesse of the kinde of death that did abridge his age.
For when yeares three times five and one he fully lyved had,
So that he seemde to stande beetwene the state of man and Lad,
The hearts of dyvers trim yong men his beautie gan to move
And many a Ladie fresh and faire was taken in his love.
But in that grace of Natures gift such passing pride did raigne,
That to be toucht of man or Mayde he wholy did disdaine.
A babling Nymph that Echo hight, who hearing others talke,
By no meanes can restraine hir tongue but that it needes must walke,
Nor of hir selfe hath powre to ginne to speake to any wight,
Espyde him dryving into toyles the fearefull stagges of flight.
This Echo was a body then and not an onely voyce.
Yet of hir speach she had that time no more than now the choyce,
That is to say, of many wordes the latter to repeate.
The cause thereof was Junos wrath. For when that with the feate
She might have often taken Jove in daliance with his Dames,
And that by stealth and unbewares in middes of all his games,
This elfe would with hir tatling talke deteine hir by the way,
Untill that Jove had wrought his will and they were fled away.
The which when Juno did perceyve, she said with wrathfull mood:
This tongue that hath deluded me shall doe thee little good,
For of thy speach but simple use hereafter shalt thou have.
The deede it selfe did straight confirme the threatnings that she gave.
Yet Echo of the former talke doth double oft the ende
And backe againe with just report the wordes earst spoken sende.
Now when she sawe Narcissus stray about the Forrest wyde,
She waxed warme and step for step fast after him she hyde.
The more she followed after him and neerer that she came,
The hoter ever did she waxe as neerer to hir flame.
Lyke as the lively Brimstone doth which dipt about a match,
And put but softly to the fire, the flame doth lightly catch.
O Lord how often woulde she faine (if nature would have let)
Entreated him with gentle wordes some favour for to get?
But nature would not suffer hir nor give hir leave to ginne.
Yet (so farre forth as she by graunt at natures hande could winne)
As readie with attentive eare she harkens for some sounde,
Whereto she might replie hir wordes, from which she is not bounde.
By chaunce the stripling being strayde from all his companie,
Sayde: Is there any body nie? Straight Echo answerde: I.
Amazde he castes his eye aside, and looketh round about,
And Come (that all the Forrest roong) aloud he calleth out.
And Come (sayth she:) he looketh backe, and seeing no man followe,
Why fliste, he cryeth once againe: and she the same doth hallowe.
He still persistes and wondring much what kinde of thing it was
From which that answering voyce by turne so duely seemde to passe,
Said: Let us joyne. She (by hir will desirous to have said
In fayth with none more willingly at any time or stead)
Said: Let us joyne. And standing somewhat in hir owne conceit,
Upon these wordes she left the Wood, and forth she yeedeth streit,
To coll the lovely necke for which she longed had so much,
He runnes his way and will not be imbraced of no such,
And sayth: I first will die ere thou shalt take of me thy pleasure.
She aunswerde nothing else thereto, but Take of me thy pleasure.
Now when she saw hir selfe thus mockt, she gate hir to the Woods,
And hid hir head for verie shame among the leaves and buddes.
And ever sence she lyves alone in dennes and hollow Caves,
Yet stacke hir love still to hir heart, through which she dayly raves
The more for sorrowe of repulse. Through restlesse carke and care
Hir bodie pynes to skinne and bone, and waxeth wonderous bare.
The bloud doth vanish into ayre from out of all hir veynes,
And nought is left but voyce and bones: the voyce yet still remaynes:
Hir bones they say were turnde to stones. From thence she lurking still
In Woods, will never shewe hir head in field nor yet on hill.
Yet is she heard of every man: it is hir onely sound,
And nothing else that doth remayne alive above the ground.
Thus had he mockt this wretched Nymph and many mo beside,
That in the waters, Woods and groves, or Mountaynes did abyde.
Thus had he mocked many men. Of which one miscontent
To see himselfe deluded so, his handes to Heaven up bent,
And sayd: I pray to God he may once feele fierce Cupids fire
As I doe now, and yet not joy the things he doth desire.
The Goddesse Ramnuse (who doth wreake on wicked people take)
Assented to his just request for ruth and pities sake.
There was a spring withouten mudde as silver cleare and still,
Which neyther sheepeheirds, nor the Goates that fed upon the hill,
Nor other cattell troubled had, nor savage beast had styrd,
Nor braunch nor sticke, nor leafe of tree, nor any soule nor byrd.
The moysture fed and kept aye fresh the grasse that grew about,
And with their leaves the trees did keepe the heate of Phoebus out.
The stripling wearie with the heate and hunting in the chace,
And much delighted with the spring and coolenesse of the place,
Did lay him downe upon the brim: and as he stooped lowe
To staunche his thurst, another thurst of worse effect did growe.
For as he dranke, he chaunst to spie the Image of his face,
The which he did immediately with fervent love embrace.
He feedes a hope without cause why. For like a foolishe noddie
He thinkes the shadow that he sees, to be a lively boddie.
Astraughted like an ymage made of Marble stone he lyes,
There gazing on his shadowe still with fixed staring eyes.
Stretcht all along upon the ground, it doth him good to see
His ardant eyes which like two starres full bright and shyning bee,
And eke his fingars, fingars such as Bacchus might beseeme,
And haire that one might worthely Apollos haire it deeme,
His beardlesse chinne and yvorie necke, and eke the perfect grace
Of white and red indifferently bepainted in his face.
All these he woondreth to beholde, for which (as I doe gather)
Himselfe was to be woondred at, or to be pitied rather.
He is enamored of himselfe for want of taking heede,
And where he lykes another thing, he lykes himselfe in deede.
He is the partie whome he wooes, and suter that doth wooe,
He is the flame that settes on fire, and thing that burneth tooe.
O Lord how often did he kisse that false deceitfull thing?
How often did he thrust his armes midway into the spring
To have embraste the necke he saw and could not catch himselfe?
He knowes not what it was he sawe. And yet the foolish elfe
Doth burne in ardent love thereof. The verie selfsame thing
That doth bewitch and blinde his eyes, encreaseth all his sting.
Thou fondling thou, why doest thou raught the fickle image so?
The thing thou seekest is not there. And if aside thou go,
The thing thou lovest straight is gone. It is none other matter
That thou doest see, than of thy selfe the shadow in the water.
The thing is nothing of it selfe: with thee it doth abide,
With thee it would departe if thou withdrew thy selfe aside.
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.