Table of Contents:
Much muttring was upon this fact. Some thought there was extended
A great deale more extremitie than neded. Some commended
Dianas doing: saying that it was but worthely
For safegarde of hir womanhod. Eche partie did applie
Good reasons to defende their case. Alone the wife ofJe,
Of lyking or misliking it not all so greatly strove,
As secretly rejoyst in heart that such a plague was light
On Cadmus linage: turning all the malice and the spight
Conceyved earst against the wench that Jove had fet fro Tyre,
Upon the kinred of the wench, and for to fierce hir ire,
Another thing cleane overthwart there commeth in the nicke:
The Ladie Semell great with childe by Jove as then was quicke.
Hereat she gan to fret and fume, and for to ease hir heart,
Which else would burst, she fell in hande with scolding out hir part:
And what a goodyeare have I woon by scolding erst? (she sed)
It is that arrant queane hir selfe, against whose wicked hed
I must assay to give assault: and if (as men me call)
I be that Juno who in heaven beare greatest swing of all,
If in my hande I worthie bee to holde the royall Mace,
And if I be the Queene of heaven and soveraigne of this place,
Or wife and sister unto Jove, (his sister well I know:
But as for wife that name is vayne, I serve but for a show,
To cover other privie skapes) I will confound that Whore.
Now (with a mischiefe) is she bagd and beareth out before
Hir open shame to all the world, and shortly hopes to bee
The mother of a sonne by Jove, the which hath hapt to mee
Not passing once in all my time, so sore she doth presume
Upon hir beautie. But I trowe hir hope shall soone consume.
For never let me counted be for Saturns daughter more,
If by hir owne deare darling Jove on whome she trustes so sore,
I sende hir not to Styxes streame. This ended up she rose
And covered in golden cloud to Semelles house she goes.
And ere she sent away the cloud, she takes an olde wyves shape
With hoarie haire and riveled skinne, with slow and crooked gate.
As though she had the Palsey had, hir feeble limmes did shake,
And eke she foltred in the mouth as often as she spake.
She seemde olde Beldame Beroe of Epidaure to bee,
This Ladie Semelles Nourse as right as though it had beene shee.
So when that after mickle talke of purpose ministred
Joves name was upned: by and by she gave a sigh and sed:
I wish with all my heart that Jove bee cause to thee of this.
But daughter deare I dreade the worst, I feare it be amisse.
For manie Varlets under name of Gods to serve their lust,
Have into undefiled beddes themselves full often thrust;
And though it bene the mightie Jove yet doth not that suffise,
Onlesse he also make the same apparant to our eyes.
And if it be even verie hee, I say it doth behove,
He prove it by some open signe and token of his love.
And therefore pray him for to graunt that, looke, in what degree,
What order, fashion, sort and state he use to companie
With mightie Juno, in the same in everie poynt and cace,
To all intents and purposes he thee likewise embrace,
And that he also bring with him his bright threeforked Mace.
With such instructions Juno had enformed Cadmus Neece:
And she poore sielie simple soule immediately on this
Requested Jove to graunt a boone the which she did not name.
Aske what thou wilt sweete heart (quoth he) thou shalt not misse the same,
And for to make thee sure hereof, the grisely Stygian Lake,
Which is the feare and God of Gods beare witnesse for thy sake.
She joying in hir owne mischaunce, not having any powre
To rule hir selfe, but making speede to hast hir fatall howre,
In which she through hir Lovers helpe should worke hir owne decay,
Sayd: Such as Juno findeth you when you and she doe play
The games of Venus, such I pray thee shew thy selfe to mee
In everie case. The God would faine have stopt hir mouth. But shee
Had made such hast that out it was. Which made him sigh full sore,
For neyther she could then unwish the thing she wisht before,
Nor he revoke his solemne oth. Wherefore with sorie heart
And heavie countnance by and by to Heaven he doth depart,
And makes to follow after him with looke full grim and stoure
The flakie clouds all grisly blacke, as when they threat a shoure.
To which he added mixt with winde a fierce and flashing flame,
With drie and dreadfull thunderclaps and lightning to the same
Of deadly unavoyded dynt. And yet as much as may
He goes about his vehement force and fiercenesse to allay.
He doth not arme him with the fire with which he did remove
The Giant with the hundreth handes, Typhoeus, from above:
It was too cruell and too sore to use against his Love.
The Cyclops made an other kinde of lightning farre more light,
Wherein they put much lesse of fire, lesse fierceness, lesser might.
It hight in Heaven the seconde Mace. Jove armes himselfe with this
And enters into Cadmus house where Semelles chamber is.
She being mortall was too weake and feeble to withstande
Such troublous tumultes of the Heavens: and therefore out of hande
Was burned in hir Lovers armes. But yet he tooke away
His infant from the mothers wombe unperfect as it lay,
And (if a man may credit it) did in his thigh it sowe,
Where byding out the mothers tyme it did to ripenesse growe.
And when the time of birth was come his Aunt the Ladie Ine
Did nourse him for a while by stealth and kept him trym and fine.
The Nymphes of Nysa afterwarde did in their bowres him hide,
And brought him up with Milke till tyme he might abrode be spyde.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.