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Amid a throng of Cepheys Lordes, through al the Pallace rings
A noyse of people nothing like the sound of such as sing
At wedding feastes, but like the rore of such as tidings bring
Of cruell warre. This sodaine chaunge from feasting unto fray
Might well be likened to the Sea: whych standing at a stay
The woodnesse of the windes makes rough by raising of the wave.
King Cepheys brother Phyney was the man that rashly gave
The first occasion of this fray. Who shaking in hys hand
A Dart of Ash with head of steele, sayd: Loe: loe here I stand
To chalenge thee that wrongfully my ravisht spouse doste holde.
Thy wings nor yet thy forged Dad in shape of feyned golde
Shall now not save thee from my handes. As with that word he bent
His arme aloft, the foresaid Dart at Persey to have sent,
What doste thou brother (Cephey cride) what madnesse moves thy minde
To doe so foule a deede? is this the friendship he shall finde
Among us for his good deserts? And wilt thou needes requite
The saving of thy Neeces life with such a foule despight?
Whome Persey hath not from thee tane: but (if thou be advisde)
But Neptunes heavie wrath bicause his Sea nymphes were despisde:
But horned Hammon: but the beast which from the Sea arrived
On my deare bowels for to feede. That time wert thou deprived
Of thy betroothed, when hir life upon the losing stoode:
Onlesse perchaunce to see hir lost it woulde have done thee good,
And easde thy heart to see me sad. And may it not suffice
That thou didst see hir to the rocke fast bound before thine eyes
And didst not helpe hir beyng both hir husband and hir Eame?
Onlesse thou grudge that any man should come within my Realme
To save hir life, and seeke to rob him of his just rewarde?
Which if thou thinke to be so great, thou shouldst have had regarde
Before, to fetch it from the rocke to which thou sawste it bound.
I pray thee, brother, seeing that by him the meanes is found
That in mine age without my childe I go not to the grounde,
Permit him to enjoy the price for which we did compounde,
And which he hath by due desert of purchace deerely bought.
For brother, let it never sinke nor enter in thy thought
That I set more by him than thee: but this may well be sed
I rather had to give hir him than see my daughter dead.
He gave him not a worde againe: but looked eft on him,
And eft on Persey irefully with countnance stoure and grim,
Not knowing which were best to hit: and after little stay
He shooke his Dart, and flung it forth with all the powre and sway
That Anger gave at Perseys head. But harme it did him none,
It sticked in the Bedsteddes head that Persey sate upon.
Then Persey sternely starting up and pulling out the Dart
Did throw it at his foe agayne, and therewithall his hart
Had cliven asunder, had he not behinde an Altar start.
The Altar (more the pitie was) did save the wicked wight.
Yet threw he not the Dart in vaine: it hit one Rhetus right
Amid the foreheade: who therewith sanke downe, and when the steele
Was plucked out, he sprawlde about and spurned with his heele,
And all berayd the boorde with bloud. Then all the other rout
As fierce as fire flang Dartes: and some there were that cried out
That Cephey with his sonne in lawe was worthy for to die.
But he had wound him out of doores protesting solemly
As he was just and faithfull Prince, and swearing eke by all
The Gods of Hospitalitie, that that same broyle did fall
Full sore against his will. At hand was warlie Pallas streight
And shadowed Persey with hir shielde, and gave him heart in feight.
There was one Atys borne in Inde, (of faire Lymniace
The River Ganges daughter thought the issue for to be),
Of passing beautie which with rich aray he did augment.
He ware that day a scarlet Cloke, about the which there went
A garde of golde: a cheyne of golde he ware about his necke:
And eke his haire perfumde with Myrrhe a costly crowne did decke.
Full sixtene yeares he was of age: such cunning skill he coulde
In darting, as to hit his marke farre distant when he would.
Yet how to handle Bow and shaftes much better did he know.
Now as he was about that time to bende his horned Bowe,
A firebrand Persey raught that did upon the Aultar smoke,
And dasht him overtwhart the face with such a violent stroke,
That all bebattred was his head, the bones asunder broke.
When Lycabas of Assur lande, his moste assured friend
And deare companion, being no dissembler of his miend,
Which most entierly did him love, behelde him on the ground
Lie weltring with disfigurde face, and through that grievous wound
Now gasping out his parting ghost, his death he did lament,
And taking hastly up the Bow that Atys erst had bent:
Encounter thou with me (he saide) thou shalt not long enjoy
Thy triumphing in braverie thus, for killing of this boy,
By which thou getst more spight than praise. All this was scarsly sed,
But that the arrow from the string went streyned to the head.
Howbeit Persey (as it hapt) so warely did it shunne,
As that it in his coteplights hung. Then to him did he runne
With Harpe in his hand bestaind with grim Medusas blood,
And thrust him through the brest therwith. He quothing as he stood
Did looke about where Atys lay with dim and dazeling eyes,
Now waving under endlesse night: and downe by him he lies,
And for to comfort him withall togither with him dies.
Behold through gredie haste to feight one Phorbas, Methions son,
A Swevite: and of Lybie lande one callde Amphimedon
By fortune sliding in the blood with which the ground was wet,
Fell downe: and as they woulde have rose, Perseus fauchon met
With both of them. Amphimedon upon the ribbes he smote,
And with the like celeritie he cut me Phorbas throte.
But unto Erith, Actors sonne, that in his hand did holde
A brode browne Bill, with his short sword he durst not be too bolde
To make approch. With both his handes a great and massie cup
Embost with cunning portrayture aloft he taketh up,
And sendes it at him. He spewes up red bloud: and falling downe o
Upon his backe, against the ground doth knocke his dying crowne.
Then downe he Polydemon throwes, extract of royall race,
And Abaris the Scithian, and Clytus in like case,
And Elice with his unshorne lockes, and also Phlegias,
And Lycet, olde Sperchesies sonne, with divers other mo,
That on the heapes of corses slaine he treades as he doth go.
And Phyney daring not presume to meet his foe at hand,
Did cast a Dart: which hapt to light on Idas who did stand
Aloofe as neuter (though in vaine) not medling with the Fray.
Who casting backe a frowning looke at Phyney, thus did say:
Sith whether that I will or no compeld I am perforce
To take a part, have Phyney here him whome thou doste enforce
To be thy foe, and with this wound my wrongfull wound requite.
But as he from his body pullde the Dart, with all his might
To throw it at his foe againe, his limmes so feebled were
With losse of bloud, that downe he fell and could not after steare.
There also lay Odites slaine the chiefe in all the land
Next to King Cephey, put to death by force of Clymens hand.
Protenor was by Hypsey killde, and Lyncide did as much
For Hypsey. In the throng there was an auncient man and such
A one as loved righteousnesse and greatly feared God:
Emathion called was his name: whome sith his yeares forbad
To put on armes, he feights with tongue, inveying earnestly
Against that wicked war the which he banned bitterly.
As on the Altar he himselfe with quivering handes did stay,
One Cromis tipped off his head: his head cut off streight way
Upon the Altar fell, and there his tongue not fully dead
Did bable still the banning wordes the which it erst had sed,
And breathed forth his fainting ghost among the burning brandes.
Then Brote and Hammon brothers, twins, stout champions of their hands
In wrestling Pierlesse (if so be that wrestling could sustaine
The furious force of slicing swordes) were both by Phyney slaine.
And so was Alphit, Ceres Priest, that ware upon his crowne
A stately Miter faire and white with Tables hanging downe.
Thou also Japets sonne for such affaires as these unmeete
But meete to tune thine instrument with voyce and Ditie sweete,
The worke of peace, wert thither callde th'assemblie to rejoyce
And for to set the mariage forth with pleasant singing voyce.
As with his Violl in his hand he stoode a good way off,
There commeth to him Petalus and sayes in way of scoffe:
Go sing the resdue to the ghostes about the Stygian Lake,
And in the left side of his heade his dagger poynt he strake.
He sanke downe deade with fingers still yet warbling on the string
And so mischaunce knit up with wo the song that he did sing.
But fierce Lycormas could not beare to see him murdred so
Without revengement. Up he caught a mightie Leaver tho
That wonted was to barre the doore a right side of the house
And therewithall to Petalus he lendeth such a souse
Full in the noddle of the necke, that like a snetched Oxe
Streight tumbling downe, against the ground his groveling face he knox.
And Pelates, a Garamant, attempted to have caught
The left doore barre: but as thereat with stretched hand he raught,
One Coryt, sonne of Marmarus did with a Javelin stricke
Him through the hand, that to the wood fast nayled did it sticke.
As Pelates stoode fastned thus, one Abas goard his side:
He could not fall, but hanging still upon the poste there dide
Fast nayled by the hand. And there was overthrowne a Knight
Of Perseyes band callde Melaney, and one that Dorill hight,
A man of greatest landes in all the Realme of Nasamone.
That occupide so large a grounde as Dorill was there none,
' Nor none that had such store of come. There came a Dart askew
And lighted in his Coddes, the place where present death doth sew.
When Alcion of Barcey, he that gave this deadly wound,
Beheld him yesking forth his ghost and falling to the ground
With watrie eyes the white turnde up: Content thy selfe, he said,
With that same litle plot of grounde whereon thy corse is layde,
In steade of all the large fat fieldes which late thou didst possesse.
And with that word he left him dead. Perseus to redresse
This slaughter and this spightfull taunt, streight snatched out the Dart
That sticked in the fresh warme wound, and with an angrie hart
Did send it at the throwers head: the Dart did split his nose
Even in the middes, and at his necke againe the head out goes:
So that it peered both the wayes. Whiles fortune doth support
And further Persey thus, he killes (but yet in sundrie sort)
Two brothers by the mother: t'one callde Clytie, tother Dane.
For on a Dart through both his thighes did Clytie take his bane:
And Danus with another Dart was striken in the mouth.
There died also Celadon, a Gypsie of the South:
And so did bastard Astrey too, whose mother was a Jew:
And sage Ethion well foreseene in things that should ensew,
But utterly beguilde as then by Birdes that aukly flew.
King Cepheyes harnessebearer callde Thoactes lost his life,
And Agyrt whom for murdring late his father with a knife
The worlde spake shame of. Nathelesse much more remainde behinde
Than was dispatched out of hand: for all were full in minde
To murder one. The wicked throng had sworne to spend their blood
Against the right, and such a man as had deserved good.
A tother side (although in vaine) of mere affection stood
The Father and the Motherinlaw, and eke the heavie bride,
Who filled with their piteous playnt the Court on everie side.
But now the clattring of the swordes and harnesse at that tide
With grievous grones and sighes of such as wounded were or dide,
Did raise up such a cruell rore that nothing could be heard.
For fierce Bellona so renewde the battell afterward,
That all the house did swim in blood. Duke Phyney with a rout
Of moe than of a thousand men environd round about
The valiant Persey all alone. The Dartes of Phyneys bande
Came thicker than the Winters hayle doth fall upon the lande,
By both his sides, his eyes and eares. He warely thereupon
Withdrawes, and leanes his backe against a huge great arche of stone:
And being safe behind, he settes his face against his foe
Withstanding all their fierce assaultes. There did assaile him thoe
Upon the left side Molpheus, a Prince of Choanie.
And on the right Ethemon, borne hard by in Arabie.
Like as the Tyger when he heares the lowing out of Neate
In sundrie Medes, enforced sore through abstinence from meate,
Would faine be doing with them both, and can not tell at which
Were best to give adventure first: so Persey who did itch
To be at host with both of them, and doubtfull whether side
To turne him on, the right or left, upon advantage spide
Did wound me Molphey on the leg, and from him quight him drave.
He was contented with his flight: for why Ethemon gave
No respite to him to pursue: but like a franticke man
Through egernesse to wounde his necke, without regarding whan
Or how to strike for haste, he burst his brittle sworde in twaine
Against the Arche: the poynt whereof rebounding backe againe,
Did hit himselfe upon the throte. Howbeit that same wound
Was unsufficient for to sende Ethemon to the ground.
He trembled holding up his handes for mercie, but in vaine,
For Persey thrust him through the heart with Hermes hooked skaine.
But when he saw that valiantnesse no lenger could avayle,
By reason of the multitude that did him still assayle:
Sith you your selves me force to call mine enmie to mine ayde,
I will do so: if any friend of mine be here (he sayd)
Sirs, turne your faces all away: and therewithall he drew
Out Gorgons head. One Thessalus streight raging to him flew,
And sayd: Go seeke some other man whome thou mayst make abasht
With these thy foolish juggling toyes. And as he would have dasht
His Javeling in him with that worde to kill him out of hand,
With gesture throwing forth his Dart all Marble did he stand.
His sworde through Lyncids noble heart had Amphix thought to shove:
His hand was stone, and neyther one nor other way could move:
But Niley who did vaunt himselfe to be the Rivers sonne
That through the boundes of Aegypt land in channels seven doth runne,
And in his shielde had graven part of silver, part of golde
The said seven channels of the Nile, sayd: Persey here beholde
From whence we fetch our piedegree: it may rejoyce thy hart
To die of such a noble hand as mine. The latter part
Of these his words could scarce be heard: the dint therof was drownde:
Ye would have thought him speaking still with open mouth: but sound
Did none forth passe: there was for speache no passage to be found.
Rebuking them cries Eryx: Sirs, it is not Gorgons face,
It is your owne faint heartes that make you stonie in this case.
Come let us on this fellow run and to the ground him beare
That feightes by witchcraft: as with that his feete forth stepping were,
They stacke still fastened to the floore: he could not move aside,
An armed image all of stone he speachlesse did abide.
All these were justly punished. But one there was a knight
Of Perseys band, in whose defence as Acont stoode to feight,
He waxed overgrowne with stone at ugly Gorgons sight.
Whome still as yet Astyages supposing for to live,
Did with a long sharpe arming sworde a washing blow him give.
The sword did clinke against the stone and out the sparcles drive.
While all amazde Astyages stoode wondring at the thing,
The selfesame nature on himselfe the Gorgons head did bring.
And in his visage which was stone a countnance did remaine
Of wondring still. A wearie worke it were to tell you plaine
The names of all the common sort. Two hundred from that fray
Did scape unslaine: but none of them did go alive away.
The whole two hundred every one at sight of Gorgons heare
Were turned into stockes of stone. Then at the length for feare
Did Phyney of his wrongfull war forthinke himselfe full sore.
But now (alas) what remedie? he saw there stand before
His face, his men like Images in sundrie shapes all stone.
He knew them well, and by their names did call them everychone:
Desiring them to succor him: and trusting not his sight
He feeles the bodies that were next, and all were Marble quight.
He turnes himselfe from Persey ward and humbly as he standes
He wries his armes behind his backe: and holding up his handes,
O noble Persey, thou hast got the upper hand, he sed.
Put up that monstruous shield of thine: put up that Gorgons head
That into stones transformeth men: put up, I thee desire.
Not hatred, nor bicause to reigne as King I did aspire,
Have moved me to make this fray. The only force of love
In seeking my betrothed spouse, did hereunto me move.
The better title seemeth thine bicause of thy desert:
And mine by former promise made. It irkes me at the heart
In that I did not give the place. None other thing I crave
O worthie knight, but that thou graunt this life of mine to save.
Let all things else beside be thine. As he thus humbly spake
Nor daring looke at him to whome he did entreatance make,
The thing (quoth Persey) which to graunt both I can finde in heart,
And is no little courtesie to shewe without desert
Upon a Coward, I will graunt, O fearfull Duke, to thee.
Set feare aside: thou shalt not hurt with any weapon bee.
I will moreover so provide as thai thou shalt remaine
An everlasting monument of this dayes toyle and paine.
The pallace of my Fathrinlaw shall henceforth be thy shrine
Where thou shalt stand continually before my spouses eyen,
That of hir husband having ay the Image in hir sight,
She may from time to time receyve some comfort and delight.
He had no sooner sayd these wordes but that he turnde his shielde
With Gorgons heade to that same part where Phyney with a mielde
And fearfull countnance set his face. Then also as he wride
His eyes away, his necke waxt stiffe, his teares to stone were dride.
A countnance in the stonie stocke of feare did still appeare
With humble looke and yeelding handes and gastly ruthfull cheare.
With conquest and a noble wife doth Persey home repaire
And in revengement of the right against the wrongfull heyre,
As in his Graundsires just defence, he falles in hand with Prete
Who like no brother but a foe did late before defeate
King Acrise of his townes by warre and of his royall seate.
But neyther could his men of warre nor fortresse won by wrong
Defend him from the griesly looke of grim Medusa long.
And yet thee, foolish Polydect of little Seriph King,
Such rooted rancor inwardly continually did sting,
That neyther Perseys prowesse tride in such a sort of broyles
Nor yet the perils he endurde, nor all his troublous toyles
Could cause thy stomacke to relent. Within thy stonie brest
Workes such a kinde of festred hate as cannot be represt.
Thy wrongfull malice hath none ende. Moreover thou of spite
Repining at his worthy praise, his doings doste backbite:
Upholding that Medusas death was but a forged lie:
So long till Persey for to shewe the truth apparantly,
Desiring such as were his friendes to turne away their eye,
Drue out Medusas ougly head. At sight whereof anon
The hatefull Tyran Polydect was turned to a stone.
The Goddesse Pallas all this while did keepe continually
Hir brother Persey companie, till now that she did stie
From Seriph in a hollow cloud, and leaving on the right
The Iles of Scyre and Gyaros, she made from thence hir flight
Directly over that same Sea as neare as eye could ame
To Thebe and Mount Helicon, and when she thither came,
She stayde hir selfe, and thus bespake the learned sisters nine:
A rumor of an uncouth spring did pierce these eares of mine
The which the winged stede shouldmake by stamping with his hoofe.
This is the cause of my repaire: I would for certaine proofe
Be glad to see the wondrous thing. For present there I stoode
And saw the selfesame Pegasus spring of his mothers blood.
Dame Uranie did entertaine and aunswere Pallas thus:
What cause so ever moves your grace to come and visit us,
Most heartely you welcome are: and certaine is the fame
Of this our Spring, that Pegasus was causer of the same.
And with that worde she led hir forth to see the sacred spring.
Who musing greatly with hir selfe at straungenesse of the thing,
Surveyde the Woodes and groves about of auncient stately port.
And when she saw the Bowres to which the Muses did resort,
And pleasant fields beclad with herbes of sundrie hew and sort,
She said that for their studies sake they were in happie cace
And also that to serve their turne they had so trim a place.
Then one of them replied thus: O noble Ladie who
(But that your vertue greater workes than these are calles you to)
Should else have bene of this our troupe, your saying is full true.
To this our trade of life and place is commendation due.
And sure we have a luckie lot and if the world were such
As that we might in safetie live, but lewdnesse reignes so much
That all things make us Maides afraide. Me thinkes I yet do see
The wicked Tyran Pyren still: my heart is yet scarce free
From that same feare with which it hapt us flighted for to bee.
This cruell Pyren was of Thrace and with his men of war
The land of Phocis had subdude, and from this place not far
Within the Citie Dawlis reignde by force of wrongfull hand,
One day to Phebus Temples warde that on Parnasus stand
As we were going, in our way he met us courteously,
And by the name of Goddesses saluting reverently
Said: O ye Dames of Meonie (for why he knew us well)
I pray you stay and take my hou.e untill this storme (there fell
That time a tempest and a showre) be past: the Gods aloft
Have entred smaller sheddes than mine full many a time and oft.
The rainie wether and hys wordes so moved us, that wee
To go into an outer house of his did all agree.
As soone as that the showre was past and heaven was voyded cleare
Of all the Cloudes which late before did every where appeare,
Until that Boreas had subdude the rainie Southerne winde,
We woulde have by and by bene gone. He shet the doores in minde
To ravish us: but we with wings escaped from his hands.
He purposing to follow us, upon a Turret stands,
And sayth he needes will after us the same way we did flie.
And with that worde full frantickly he leapeth downe from hie,
And pitching evelong on his face the bones asunder crasht,
And dying, all abrode the ground his wicked bloud bedasht.
Now as the Muse was telling this, they heard a noyse of wings
And from the leavie boughes aloft a sound of greeting rings.
Minerva looking up thereat demaunded whence the sounde
Of tongues that so distinctly spake did come so plaine and rounde?
She thought some woman or some man had greeted hir that stounde.
It was a flight of Birdes. Nyne Pies bewailing their mischaunce
In counterfetting everie thing from bough to bough did daunce.
As Pallas wondred at the sight, the Muse spake thus in summe:
These also being late ago in chalenge overcome,
Made one kinde more of Birdes than was of auncient time beforne.
In Macedone they were about the Citie Pella borne
Of Pierus, a great riche Chuffe, and Euip, who by ayde
Of strong Lucina travailing nine times, nine times was laide
Of daughters in hir childbed safe. This fond and foolish rout
Of doltish sisters taking pride and waxing verie stout,
Bicause they were in number nine came flocking all togither
Through all the townes of Thessalie and all Achaia hither,
And us with these or such like wordes to combate did provoke.
Cease off, ye Thespian Goddesses, to mocke the simple folke
With fondnesse of your Melodie. And if ye thinke in deede
Ye can doe ought, contend with us and see how you shall speede.
I warrant you ye passe us not in cunning nor in voyce.
Ye are here nine, and so are we. We put you to the choyce,
That eyther we will vanquish you and set you quight beside
Your fountaine made by Pegasus which is your chiefest pride,
And Aganippe too: or else confounde you us, and we
Of all the woods of Macedone will dispossessed be
As farre as snowie Peonie: and let the Nymphes be Judges.
Now in good sooth it was a shame to cope with suchie Drudges,
But yet more shame it was to yeeld. The chosen Nymphes did sweare
By Styx, and sate them downe on seates of stone that growed there.
Then streight without commission or election of the rest,
The formost of them preasing forth undecently, profest
The chalenge to performe: and song the battels of the Goddes.
She gave the Giants all the praise, the honor and the oddes,
Abasing sore the worthie deedes of all the Gods. She telles
How Typhon issuing from the earth and from the deepest helles,
Made all the Gods above afraide, so greatly that they fled
And never staide till Aegypt land and Nile whose streame is shed
In channels seven, received them forwearied all togither:
And how the Helhound Typhon did pursue them also thither.
By meanes wherof the Gods eche one were faine themselves to hide
In forged shapes. She saide that Jove the Prince of Gods was wride
In shape of Ram: which is the cause that at this present tide
Joves ymage which the Lybian folke by name of Hammon serve,
Is made with crooked welked homes that inward still doe terve:
That Phebus in a Raven lurkt, and Bacchus in a Geate,
And Phebus sister in a Cat, and Juno in a Neate,
And Venus in the shape of Fish, and how that last of all
Mercurius hid him in a Bird which Ibis men doe call.
This was the summe of all the tale which she with rolling tung
And yelling throteboll to hir harpe before us rudely sung.
Our turne is also come to speake, but that perchaunce your grace
To give the hearing to our song hath now no time nor space.
Yes yes (quoth Pallas) tell on forth in order all your tale:
And downe she sate among the trees which gave a pleasant swale.
The Muse made aunswere thus: To one Calliope here by name
This chalenge we committed have and ordring of the same.
Then rose up faire Calliope with goodly bush of heare
Trim wreathed up with yvie leaves, and with hir thumbe gan steare
The quivering strings, to trie them if they were in tune or no.
Which done, she playde upon hir Lute and song hir Ditie so:
Dame Ceres first to breake the Earth with plough the maner found,
She first made come and stover soft to grow upon the ground,
She first made lawes: for all these things we are to Ceres bound.
Of hir must I as now intreate: would God I could resound
Hir worthie laude: she doubtlesse is a Goddesse worthie praise.
Bicause the Giant Typhon gave presumptuously assayes
To conquer Heaven, the howgie Ile of Trinacris is layd
Upon his limmes, by weight whereof perforce he downe is weyde.
He strives and strugles for to rise full many a time and oft.
But on his right hand toward Rome Pelorus standes aloft:
Pachynnus standes upon his left: his legs with Lilybie
Are pressed downe: his monstrous head doth under Aetna lie.
From whence he lying bolt upright with wrathfull mouth doth spit
Out flames of fire. He wrestleth oft and walloweth for to wit
And if he can remove the weight of all that mightie land
Or tumble downe the townes and hilles that on his bodie stand.
By meanes whereof it commes to passe that oft the Earth doth shake:
And even the King of Ghostes himselfe for verie feare doth quake,
Misdoubting lest the Earth should clive so wide that light of day
Might by the same pierce downe to Hell and there the Ghostes affray.
Forecasting this, the Prince of Fiendes forsooke his darksome hole,
And in a Chariot drawen with Steedes as blacke as any cole
The whole foundation of the Ile of Sicill warely vewde.
When throughly he had sercht eche place that harme had none ensewde,
As carelessly he raungde abrode, he chaunced to be seene
Of Venus sitting on hir hill: who taking streight betweene
Hir armes hir winged Cupid, said: My sonne, mine only stay,
My hand, mine honor and my might, go take without delay
Those tooles which all wightes do subdue, and strike them in the hart
Of that same God that of the world enjoyes the lowest part.
The Gods of Heaven, and Jove himselfe, the powre of Sea and Land
And he that rules the powres on Earth obey thy mightie hand:
And wherefore then should only Hell still unsubdued stand?
Thy mothers Empire and thine own why doste thou not advaunce?
The third part of al the world now hangs in doubtful chaunce.
And yet in heaven too now, their deedes thou seest me faine to beare.
We are despisde: the strength of love with me away doth weare.
Seeste not the Darter Diane and dame Pallas have already
Exempted them from my behestes? and now of late so heady
Is Ceres daughter too, that if we let hir have hir will,
She will continue all hir life a Maid unwedded still.
For that is all hir hope, and marke whereat she mindes to shoote.
But thou (if ought this gracious turne our honor may promote,
Or ought our Empire beautifie which joyntly we doe holde,)
This Damsell to hir uncle joyne. No sooner had she tolde
These wordes, but Cupid opening streight his quiver chose therefro
One arrow (as his mother bade) among a thousand mo.
But such a one it was, as none more sharper was than it,
Nor none went streighter from the Bow the amed marke to hit.
He set his knee against his Bow and bent it out of hande,
And made his forked arrowes steale in Plutos heart to stande.
Neare Enna walles there standes a Lake: Pergusa is the name.
Cayster heareth not mo songs of Swannes than doth the same.
A wood environs everie side the water round about,
And with his leaves as with a veyle doth keepe the Sunne heate out.
The boughes doe yeelde a coole fresh Ayre: the moystnesse of the grounde
Yeeldes sundrie flowres: continuall spring is all the yeare there founde.
While in this garden Proserpine was taking hir pastime,
In gathering eyther Violets blew, or Lillies white as Lime,
And while of Maidenly desire she fillde hir Maund and Lap,
Endevoring to outgather hir companions there, by hap
Dis spide hir: lovde hir: caught hir up: and all at once well nere,
So hastie, hote, and swift a thing is Love as may appeare.
The Ladie with a wailing voyce afright did often call
Hir Mother and hir waiting Maides, but Mother most of all.
And as she from the upper part hir garment would have rent,
By chaunce she let hir lap slip downe, and out hir flowres went.
And such a sillie simplenesse hir childish age yet beares,
That even the verie losse of them did move hir more to teares.
The Catcher drives his Chariot forth, and calling every horse
By name, to make away apace he doth them still enforce:
And shakes about their neckes and Manes their rustie bridle reynes
And through the deepest of the Lake perforce he them constreynes.
And through the Palik pooles, the which from broken ground doe boyle
And smell of Brimstone verie ranke: and also by the soyle
Where as the Bacchies, folke of Corinth with the double Seas,
Betweene unequall Havons twaine did reere a towne for ease.
Betweene the fountaines of Cyane and Arethuse of Pise
An arme of Sea that meetes enclosde with narrow homes there lies.
Of this the Poole callde Cyane which beareth greatest fame
Among the Nymphes of Sicilie did algates take the name.
Who vauncing hir unto the waste amid hir Poole did know
Dame Proserpine, and said to Dis: Ye shall no further go:
You cannot Ceres sonneinlawe be, will she so or no.
You should have sought hir courteously and not enforst hir so.
And if I may with great estates my simple things compare,
Anapus was in love with me: but yet he did not fare
As you doe now with Proserpine. He was content to woo
And I unforst and unconstreind consented him untoo.
This said, she spreaded forth hir armes and stopt him of his way.
His hastie wrath Saturnus sonne no lenger then could stay.
But chearing up his dreadfull Steedes did smight his royall mace
With violence in the bottome of the Poole in that same place.
The ground streight yeelded to his stroke and made him way to Hell,
And downe the open gap both horse and Chariot headlong fell.
Dame Cyan taking sore to heart as well the ravishment
Of Proserpine against hir will, as also the contempt
Against hir fountaines priviledge, did shrowde in secret hart
An inward corsie comfortlesse, which never did depart
Untill she melting into teares consumde away with smart.
The selfesame waters of the which she was but late ago
The mighty Goddesse, now she pines and wastes hirselfe into.
Ye might have seene hir limmes wex lithe, ye might have bent hir bones.
Hir nayles wext soft: and first of all did melt the smallest ones:
As haire and fingars, legges and feete: for these same slender parts
Doe quickly into water turne, and afterward converts
To water, shoulder, backe, brest, side: and finally in stead
Of lively bloud, within hir veynes corrupted there was spred
Thinne water: so that nothing now remained whereupon
Ye might take holde, to water all consumed was anon.
The carefull mother in the while did seeke hir daughter deare
Through all the world both Sea and Land, and yet was nere the neare.
The Morning with hir deawy haire hir slugging never found,
Nor yet the Evening star that brings the night upon the ground.
Two seasoned Pynetrees at the mount of Aetna did she light
And bare them restlesse in hir handes through all the dankish night.
Againe as soone as chierfull day did dim the starres, she sought
Hir daughter still from East to West. And being overwrought
She caught a thirst: no liquor yet had come within hir throte.
By chaunce she spied nere at hand a pelting thatched Cote
Wyth peevish doores: she knockt thereat, and out there commes a trot.
The Goddesse asked hir some drinke and she denide it not:
But out she brought hir by and by a draught of merrie go downe
And therewithall a Hotchpotch made of steeped Barlie browne
And Flaxe and Coriander seede and other simples more
The which she in an Earthen pot together sod before.
While Ceres was a eating this, before hir gazing stood
A hard faaste boy, a shrewde pert wag, that could no maners good:
He laughed at hir and in scorne did call hir greedie gut.
The Goddesse being wroth therewith, did on the Hotchpotch put
The liquor ere that all was eate, and in his face it threw.
Immediatly the skinne thereof became of speckled hew,
And into legs his armes did turne: and in his altred hide
A wrigling tayle streight to his limmes was added more beside.
And to th'intent he should not have much powre to worken scathe,
His bodie in a little roume togither knit she hathe.
For as with pretie Lucerts he in facion doth agree:
So than the Lucert somewhat lesse in every poynt is he.
The poore old woman was amazde: and bitterly she wept:
She durst not touche the uncouth worme, who into corners crept.
And of the flecked spottes like starres that on his hide are set
A name agreeing thereunto in Latine doth he get.
It is our Swift whose skinne with gray and yellow specks is fret.
What Lands and Seas the Goddesse sought it were too long to saine.
The worlde did want. And so she went to Sicill backe againe.
And as in going every where she serched busily,
She also came to Cyane: who would assuredly
Have tolde hir all things, had she not transformed bene before.
But mouth and tongue for uttrance now would serve hir turne no more.
Howbeit a token manifest she gave hir for to know
What was become of Proserpine. Her girdle she did show
Still hovering on hir holie poole, which slightly from hir fell
As she that way did passe: and that hir mother knew too well.
For when she saw it, by and by as though she had but than
Bene new advertisde of hir chaunce, she piteously began
To rend hir ruffled haire, and beate hir handes against hir brest.
As yet she knew not where she was. But yet with rage opprest,
She curst all landes, and said they were unthankfull everychone,
Yea and unworthy of the fruites bestowed them upon.
But bitterly above the rest she banned Sicilie,
In which the mention of hir losse she plainely did espie.
And therefore there with cruell hand the earing ploughes she brake,
And man and beast that tilde the grounde to death in anger strake.
She marrde the seede, and eke forbade the fieldes to yeelde their frute.
The plenteousnesse of that same lie of which there went suche bruit
Through all the world, lay dead: the come was killed in the blade:
Now too much drought, now too much wet did make it for to fade.
The starres and blasting windes did hurt, the hungry foules did eate
The come in ground: the Tines and Briars did overgow the Wheate.
And other wicked weedes the corne continually annoy,
Which neyther tylth nor toyle of man was able to destroy.
Then Arethuse, floud Alpheys love, lifts from hir Elean waves
Hir head, and shedding to hir eares hir deawy haire that waves
About hir foreheade sayde: O thou that art the mother deare
Both of the Maiden sought through all the world both far and neare,
And eke of all the earthly fruites, forbeare thine endlesse toyle,
And be not wroth without a cause with this thy faithfull soyle:
The Lande deserves no punishment. Unwillingly, God wote,
She opened to the Ravisher that violently hir smote.
It is not sure my native soyle for which I thus entreate.
I am but here a sojourner, my native soyle and seate
Is Pisa and from Ely towne I fetch my first discent.
I dwell but as a straunger here: but sure to my intent
This Countrie likes me better farre than any other land.
Here now I Arethusa dwell: here am I setled: and
I humbly you beseche extend your favour to the same.
A time will one day come when you to mirth may better frame,
And have your heart more free from care, which better serve me may
To tell you why I from my place so great a space doe stray,
And unto Ortygie am brought through so great Seas and waves.
The ground doth give me passage free, and by the lowest caves
Of all the Earth I make my way, and here I raise my heade,
And looke upon the starres agayne neare out of knowledge fled.
Now while I underneath the Earth the Lake of Styx did passe,
I saw your daughter Proserpine with these same eyes. She was
Not merrie, neyther rid of feare as seemed by hir cheere.
But yet a Queene, but yet of great God Dis the stately Feere:
But yet of that same droupie Realme the chiefe and sovereigne Peere.
Hir mother stoode as starke as stone, when she these newes did heare,
And long she was like one that in another worlde had beene.
But when hir great amazednesse by greatnesse of hir teene
Was put aside, she gettes hir to hir Chariot by and by
And up to heaven in all post haste immediately doth stie.
And there beslowbred all hir face: hir haire about hir eares,
To royall Jove in way of plaint this spightfull tale she beares:
As well for thy bloud as for mine a suter unto thee
I hither come. If no regard may of the mother bee
Yet let the childe hir father move, and have not lesser care
Of hir (I pray) bicause that I hir in my bodie bare.
Behold our daughter whome I sought so long is found at last:
If finding you it terme, when of recoverie meanes is past.
Or if you finding do it call to have a knowledge where
She is become. Hir ravishment we might consent to beare,
So restitution might be made. And though there were to me
No interest in hir at all, yet forasmuche as she
Is yours, it is unmeete she be bestowde upon a theefe.
Jove aunswerde thus: My daughter is a Jewell deare and leefe:
A collup of mine owne flesh cut as well as out of thine.
But if we in our heartes can finde things rightly to define,
This is not spight but love. And yet Madame in faith I see
No cause of such a sonne in law ashamed for to bee,
So you contented were therewith. For put the case that hee
Were destitute of all things else, how greate a matter ist
Joves brother for to be? but sure in him is nothing mist.
Nor he inferior is to me save only that by lot
The Heavens to me, the Helles to him the destnies did allot.
But if you have so sore desire your daughter to divorce,
Though she againe to Heaven repayre I doe not greatly force.
But yet conditionly that she have tasted there no foode:
For so the destnies have decreed. He ceaste: and Ceres stoode
Full bent to fetch hir daughter out: but destnies hir withstoode,
Bicause the Maide had broke hir fast. For as she hapt one day
In Plutos Ortyard rechlessely from place to place to stray,
She gathering from a bowing tree a ripe Pownegarnet, tooke
Seven kernels out and sucked them. None chaunst hereon to looke,
Save onely one Ascalaphus whome Orphne, erst a Dame
Among the other Elves of Hell not of the basest fame,
Bare to hir husbande Acheron within hir duskie den.
He sawe it, and by blabbing it ungraciously as then,
Did let hir from returning thence. A grievous sigh the Queene
Of Hell did fetch, and of that wight that had a witnesse beene
Against hir made a cursed Birde. Upon his face she shead
The water of the Phlegeton: and by and by his head
Was nothing else but Beake and Downe, and mightie glaring eyes.
Quight altred from himselfe betweene two yellow wings he flies.
He groweth chiefly into head and hooked talants long
And much adoe he hath to flaske his lazie wings among.
The messenger of Morning was he made, a filthie fowle,
A signe of mischiefe unto men, the sluggish skreching Owle.
This person for his lavish tongue and telling tales might seeme
To have deserved punishment. But what should men esteeme
To be the verie cause why you, Acheloes daughters, weare
Both feete and feathers like to Birdes, considering that you beare
The upper partes of Maidens still? And commes it so to passe
Bicause when Ladie Proserpine a gathering flowers was,
Ye Meremaides kept hir companie? Whome after you had sought
Through all the Earth in vaine, anon of purpose that your thought
Might also to the Seas be knowen, ye wished that ye might
Upon the waves with hovering wings at pleasure rule your flight,
And had the Goddes to your request so pliant, that ye found
With yellow feathers out of hand your bodies clothed round:
Yet lest that pleasant tune of yours ordeyned to delight
The hearing, and so high a gift of Musicke perish might
For want of uttrance, humaine voyce to utter things at will
And countnance of virginitie remained to you still.
But meane betweene his brother and his heavie sister goth
God Jove, and parteth equally the yeare betweene them both.
And now the Goddesse Proserpine indifferently doth reigne
Above and underneath the Earth, and so doth she remaine
One halfe yeare with hir mother and the resdue with hir Feere.
Immediatly she altred is as well in outwarde cheere
As inwarde minde. For where hir looke might late before appeere
Sad even to Dis, hir countnance now is full of mirth and grace
Even like as Phebus having put the watrie cloudes to chace,
Doth shew himselfe a Conqueror with bright and shining face.
Then fruitfull Ceres voide of care in that she did recover
Hir daughter, prayde thee, Arethuse, the storie to discover,
What caused thee to fleete so farre and wherefore thou became
A sacred spring? The waters whist. The Goddesse of the same
Did from the bottome of the Well hir goodly head up reare.
And having dried with hir hand hir faire greene hanging heare,
The River Alpheys auncient loves she thus began to tell.
I was (quoth she) a Nymph of them that in Achaia dwell.
There was not one that earnester the Lawndes and forests sought
Or pitcht hir toyles more handsomly. And though that of my thought
It was no part, to seeke the fame of beautie: though I were
All courage: yet the pricke and prise of beautie I did beare.
My overmuch commended face was unto me a spight.
This gift of bodie in the which another would delight,
I, rudesbye, was ashamed of: me thought it was a crime
To be belikte. I beare it well in minde that on a time
In comming wearie from the chase of Stymphalus, the heate
Was fervent, and my traveling had made it twice as great.
I founde a water neyther deepe nor shallow which did glide
Without all noyse, so calme that scarce the moving might be spide.
And throughly to the very ground it was so crispe and cleare,
That every little stone therein did plaine aloft appeare.
The horie Sallowes and the Poplars growing on the brim
Unset, upon the shoring bankes did cast a shadow trim.
I entred in, and first of all I deeped but my feete:
And after to my knees. And not content to wade so fleete,
I put off all my clothes, and hung them on a Sallow by
And threw my selfe amid the streame, which as I dallyingly
Did beate and draw, and with my selfe a thousand maistries trie,
In casting of mine armes abrode and swimming wantonly:
I felt a bubling in the streame I wist not how nor what,
And on the Rivers nearest brim I stept for feare. With that,
O Arethusa, whither runst? and whither runst thou, cride
Floud Alphey from his waves againe with hollow voyce. I hide
Away unclothed as I was. For on the further side
My clothes hung still. So much more hote and eger then was he,
And for I naked was, I seemde the readier for to be.
My running and his fierce pursuite was like as when ye se
The sillie Doves with quivering wings before the Gossehauke stie,
The Gossehauke sweeping after them as fast as he can flie.
To Orchomen, and Psophy land, and Cyllen I did holde
Out well, and thence to Menalus and Erymanth the colde,
And so to Ely. All this way no ground of me he wonne.
But being not so strong as he, this restlesse race to runne
I could not long endure, and he could hold it out at length.
Yet over plaines and wooddie hilles (as long as lasted strength)
And stones, and rockes, and desert groundes I still maintaind my race.
The Sunne was full upon my backe. I saw before my face
A lazie shadow: were it not that feare did make me see't.
But certenly he feared me with trampling of his feete:
And of his mouth the boystous breath upon my hairlace blew.
Forwearied with the toyle of flight: Helpe, Diane, I thy true
And trustie Squire (I said) who oft have caried after thee
Thy bow and arrowes, now am like attached for to bee.
The Goddesse moved, tooke a cloude of such as scattred were
And cast upon me. Hidden thus in mistie darkenesse there
The River poard upon me still and hunted round about
The hollow cloude, for feare perchaunce I should have scaped out.
And twice not knowing what to doe he stalkt about the cloude
Where Diane had me hid, and twice he called out aloude:
Hoe Arethuse, hoe Arethuse. What heart had I poore wretch then?
Even such as hath the sillie Lambe that dares not stirre nor quetch when
He heares the howling of the Wolfe about or neare the foldes,
Or such as hath the squatted Hare that in hir foorme beholdes
The hunting houndes on every side, and dares not move a whit,
He would not thence, for why he saw no footing out as yit.
And therefore watcht he narrowly the cloud and eke the place.
A chill colde sweat my sieged limmes opprest, and downe apace
From all my bodie steaming drops did fall of watrie hew.
Which way so ere I stird my foote the place was like a stew.
The deaw ran trickling from my haire. In halfe the while I then
Was turnde to water, that I now have tolde the tale agen.
His loved waters Alphey knew, and putting off the shape
Of man the which he tooke before bicause I should not scape,
Returned to his proper shape of water by and by
Of purpose for to joyne with me and have my companie.
But Delia brake the ground, at which I sinking into blinde
Bycorners, up againe my selfe at Ortigie doe winde,
Right deare to me bicause it doth Dianas surname beare,
And for bicause to light againe I first was raysed there.
Thus far did Arethusa speake: and then the fruitfull Dame
Two Dragons to hir Chariot put, and reyning hard the same,
Midway beweene the Heaven and Earth she in the Ayer went,
And unto Prince Triptolemus hir lightsome Chariot sent
To Pallas Citie lode with come, commaunding him to sowe
Some part in ground new broken up, and some thereof to strow
In ground long tillde before. Anon the yong man up did stie
And flying over Europe and the Realme of Asias hie,
Alighted in the Scithian land. There reyned in that coast
A King callde Lyncus, to whose house he entred for to host.
And being there demaunded how and why he thither came,
And also of his native soyle and of his proper name,
I hight (quoth he) Triptolemus and borne was in the towne
Of Athens in the land of Greece, that place of high renowne.
I neyther came by Sea nor Lande, but through the open Aire
I bring with me Dame Ceres giftes which being sowne in faire
And fertile fields may fruitfull Harvests yeelde and finer fare.
The savage King had spight, and to th'intent that of so rare
And gracious gifts himselfe might seeme first founder for to be,
He entertainde him in his house, and when asleepe was he,
He came upon him with a sword: but as he would have killde him,
Dame Ceres turnde him to a Lynx, and waking tother willde him
His sacred Teemeware through the Ayre to drive abrode agen.
The chiefe of us had ended this hir learned song, and then
The Nymphes with one consent did judge that we the Goddesses
Of Helicon had wonne the day. But when I sawe that these
Unnurtred Damsels overcome began to fall a scolding,
I sayd: so little sith to us you thinke your selves beholding,
For bearing with your malapertnesse in making chalenge, that
Besides your former fault, ye eke doe fall to rayling flat,
Abusing thus our gentlenesse: we will from hence proceede
The punishment, and of our wrath the rightfull humor feede.
Euippyes daughters grinnd and jeerde and set our threatnings light.
But as they were about to prate, and bent their fistes to smight
Theyr wicked handes with hideous noyse, they saw the stumps of quilles
New budding at their nayles, and how their armes soft feather hilles.
Eche saw how others mouth did purse and harden into Bill,
And so becomming uncouth Birdes to haunt the woods at will.
For as they would have clapt their handes their wings did up them heave,
And hanging in the Ayre the scoldes of woods did Pies them leave.
Now also being turnde to Birdes they are as eloquent
As ere they were, as chattring still, as much to babling bent.
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