Table of Contents:
The Orgies of this newfound God in conscience to allow
But still she stiffly doth denie that Bacchus is the sonne
Of Jove: and in this heresie hir sisters with hir runne.
The Priest had bidden holiday, and that as well the Maide
As Mistresse (for the time aside all other businesse layde)
In Buckskin cotes, with tresses loose, and garlondes on their heare,
Should in their hands the leavie speares (surnamed Thyrsis) beare,
Foretelling them that if they did the Goddes commaundement breake,
He would with sore and grievous plagues his wrath upon them wreake.
The women straight both yong and olde doe thereunto obay.
Their yarne, their baskets, and their flax unsponne aside they lay,
And burne to Bacchus frankinsence. Whome solemly they call
By all the names and titles high that may to him befall:
As Bromius, and Lyeus eke, begotten of the flame,
Twice borne, the sole and only childe that of two mothers came,
Unshorne Thyoney, Niseus, Leneus, and the setter
Of Wines, whose pleasant liquor makes all tables fare the better,
Nyctileus and th'Elelean Sire, Iacchus, Evan eke,
With divers other glorious names that through the land of Greke
To thee O Liber wonted are to attributed bee.
Thy youthfull yeares can never wast: there dwelleth ay in thee
A childhod tender, fresh and faire: in Heaven we doe thee see
Surmounting every other thing in beautie and in grace
And when thou standste without thy homes thou hast a Maidens face.
To thee obeyeth all the East as far as Ganges goes,
Which doth the scorched land of Inde with tawnie folke enclose.
Lycurgus with his twibill sharpe, and Penthey who of pride
Thy Godhead and thy mightie power rebelliously denide,
Thou right redowted didst confounde: thou into Sea didst send
The Tyrrhene shipmen. Thou with bittes the sturdy neckes doste bend
Of spotted Lynxes: throngs of Frowes and Satyres on thee tend,
And that olde Hag that with a staffe his staggering limmes doth stay
Scarce able on his Asse to sit for reeling every way.
Thou commest not in any place but that is hearde the noyse
Of gagling womens tatling tongues and showting out of boyes,
With sound of Timbrels, Tabors, Pipes, and Brazen pannes and pots
Confusedly among the rout that in thine Orgies trots.
The Thebane women for thy grace and favour humbly sue,
And (as the Priest did bid) frequent thy rites with reverence due.
Alonly Mineus daughters bent of wilfulnesse, with working
Quite out of time to breake the feast, are in their houses lurking:
And there doe fall to spinning yarne, or weaving in the frame,
And kepe their maidens to their worke. Of which one pleasant dame
As she with nimble hand did draw hir slender threede and fine,
Said: Whyle that others idelly doe serve the God of wine,
Let us that serve a better Sainct Minerva, finde some talke
To ease our labor while our handes about our profite walke.
And for to make the time seeme shorte, let eche of us recite,
(As every bodies turne shall come) some tale that may delight.
Hir saying likte the rest so well that all consent therein,
And thereupon they pray that first the eldest would begin.
She had such store and choyce of tales she wist not which to tell.
She doubted if she might declare the fortune that befell
To Dircetes of Babilon whome now with scaly hide
In altred shape the Philistine beleveth to abide
In watrie Pooles: or rather how hir daughter taking wings
In shape of Dove on toppes of towres in age now sadly sings:
Or how a certaine water Nymph by witchcraft and by charmes
Converted into fishes dumbe of yongmen many swarmes,
Untill that of the selfesame sauce hir selfe did tast at last:
Or how the tree that usde to beare fruite white in ages past,
Doth now beare fruite in manner blacke, by sprincling up of blood.
This tale (bicause it was not stale nor common) seemed good
To hir to tell: and thereupon she in this wise begun,
Hir busie hand still drawing out the flaxen threede she spun:
Within the towne (of whose huge walles so monstrous high and thicke
The fame is given Semyramis for making them of bricke)
Dwelt hard together two yong folke in houses joynde so nere
That under all one roofe well nie both twaine conveyed were.
The name of him was Pyramus, and Thisbe calde was she.
So faire a man in all the East was none alive as he,
Nor nere a woman, maide nor wife in beautie like to hir.
This neighbrod bred acquaintance first, this neyghbrod first did stirre
The secret sparkes, this neighbrod first an entrance in did showe,
For love to come to that to which it afterward did growe.
And if that right had taken place they had bene man and wife,
But still their Parents went about to let which (for their life)
They could not let. For both their heartes with equall flame did burne.
No man was privie to their thoughts. And for to serve their turne
In steade of talke they used signes. The closelier they supprest -
The fire of love, the fiercer still it raged in their brest.
The wall that parted house from house had riven therein a crany
Which shronke at making of the wall. This fault not markt of any
Of many hundred yeares before (what doth not love espie)
These lovers first of all found out, and made a way whereby
To talke togither secretly, and through the same did goe
Their loving whisprings verie light and safely to and fro.
Now as at one side Pyramus and Thisbe on the tother
Stoode often drawing one of them the pleasant breath from other:
O thou envious wall (they sayd) why letst thou lovers thus?
What matter were it if that thou permitted both of us
In armes eche other to embrace? Or if thou thinke that this
Were overmuch, yet mightest thou at least make roume to kisse.
And yet thou shalt not finde us churles: we thinke our selves in det
For this same piece of courtesie, in vouching safe to let
Our sayings to our friendly eares thus freely come and goe.
Thus having where they stoode in vaine complayned of their woe,
When night drew nere, they bade adew and eche gave kisses sweete
Unto the parget on their side, the which did never meete.
Next morning with hir cherefull light had driven the starres aside
And Phebus with his burning beames the dewie grasse had dride.
These lovers at their wonted place by foreappointment met.
Where after much complaint and mone they covenanted to get
Away from such as watched them and in the Evening late
To steale out of their fathers house and eke the Citie gate.
And to th'intent that in the fieldes they strayde not up and downe
They did agree at Ninus Tumb to meete without the towne,
And tarie underneath a tree that by the same did grow
Which was a faire high Mulberie with fruite as white as snow,
Hard by a coole and trickling spring. This bargaine pleasde them both
And so daylight (which to their thought away but slowly goth)
Did in the Ocean fall to rest, and night from thence doth rise.
As soone as darkenesse once was come, straight Thisbe did devise
A shift to wind hir out of doores, that none that were within
Perceyved hir: and muffling hir with clothes about hir chin,
That no man might discerne hir face, to Ninus Tumb she came
Unto the tree, and sat hir downe there underneath the same.
Love made hir bold. But see the chaunce, there comes besmerde with blood
About the chappes a Lionesse all foming from the wood
From slaughter lately made of kine to staunch hir bloudie thurst
With water of the foresaid spring. Whome Thisbe spying furst,
Afarre by moonelight, thereupon with fearfull steppes gan flie,
And in a darke and yrkesome cave did hide hirselfe thereby.
And as she fled away for hast she let hir mantle fall
The whych for feare she left behind not looking backe at all.
Now when the cruell Lionesse hir thurst had stanched well,
In going to the Wood she found the slender weede that fell
From Thisbe, which with bloudie teeth in pieces she did teare.
The night was somewhat further spent ere Pyramus came there
Who seeing in the suttle sande the print of Lions paw,
Waxt pale for feare. But when also the bloudie cloke he saw
All rent and tome: One night (he sayd) shall lovers two confounde,
Of which long life deserved she of all that live on ground.
My soule deserves of this mischaunce the perill for to beare.
I, wretch, have bene the death of thee, which to this place of feare
Did cause thee in the night to come, and came not here before.
My wicked limmes and wretched guttes with cruell teeth therfore
Devour ye, O ye Lions all that in this rocke doe dwell.
But Cowardes use to wish for death. The slender weede that fell
From Thisbe up he takes, and streight doth beare it to the tree,
Which was appointed erst the place of meeting for to bee.
And when he had bewept and kist the garment which he knew,
Receyve thou my bloud too (quoth he) and therewithall he drew
His sworde, the which among his guttes he thrust, and by and by
Did draw it from the bleeding wound beginning for to die,
And cast himselfe upon his backe, the bloud did spin on hie
As when a Conduite pipe is crackt, the water bursting out
Doth shote it selfe a great way off and pierce the Ayre about.
The leaves that were upon the tree besprincled with his blood
Were died blacke. The roote also bestained as it stoode,
A deepe darke purple colour straight upon the Berries cast.
Anon scarce ridded of hir feare with which she was agast,
For doubt of disapointing him commes Thisbe forth in hast,
And for hir lover lookes about, rejoycing for to tell
How hardly she had scapt that night the daunger that befell.
And as she knew right well the place and facion of the tree
(As whych she saw so late before): even so when she did see
The colour of the Berries turnde, she was uncertaine whither
It were the tree at which they both agreed to meete togither.
While in this doubtfull stounde she stoode, she cast hir eye aside
And there beweltred in his bloud hir lover she espide
Lie sprawling with his dying limmes: at which she started backe,
And looked pale as any Box, a shuddring through hir stracke,
Even like the Sea which sodenly with whissing noyse doth move,
When with a little blast of winde it is but toucht above.
But when approching nearer him she knew it was hir love,
She beate hir brest, she shricked out, she tare hir golden heares,
And taking him betweene hir armes did wash his wounds with teares,
She meynt hir weeping with his bloud, and kissing all his face
(Which now became as colde as yse) she cride in wofull case:
Alas what chaunce, my Pyramus, hath parted thee and mee?
Make aunswere O my Pyramus: it is thy Thisb', even shee
Whome thou doste love most heartely, that speaketh unto thee.
Give eare and rayse thy heavie heade. He hearing Thisbes name,
Lift up his dying eyes and having seene hir closde the same.
But when she knew hir mantle there and saw his scabberd lie
Without the swoorde: Unhappy man thy love hath made thee die:
Thy love (she said) hath made thee sley thy selfe. This hand of mine
Is strong inough to doe the like. My love no lesse than thine
Shall give me force to worke my wound. I will pursue the dead.
And wretched woman as I am, it shall of me be sed
That like as of thy death I was the only cause and blame,
So am I thy companion eke and partner in the same,
For death which only coulde alas asunder part us twaine,
Shall never so dissever us but we will meete againe.
And you the Parentes of us both, most wretched folke alyve,
Let this request that I shall make in both our names bylive
Entreate you to permit that we whome chaste and stedfast love
And whome even death hath joynde in one, may as it doth behove
In one grave be together layd. And thou unhappie tree
Which shroudest now the corse of one, and shalt anon through mee
Shroude two, of this same slaughter holde the sicker signes for ay,
Blacke be the colour of thy fruite and mourning like alway,
Such as the murder of us twaine may evermore bewray.
This said, she tooke the sword yet warme with slaughter of hir love
And setting it beneath hir brest, did to hir heart it shove.
Hir prayer with the Gods and with their Parentes tooke effect.
For when the frute is throughly ripe, the Berrie is bespect
With colour tending to a blacke. And that which after fire
Remained, rested in one Tumbe as Thisbe did desire.
This tale thus tolde a little space of pawsing was betwist,
And then began Leucothoe thus, hir sisters being whist:
This Sunne that with his streaming light al worldly things doth cheare
Was tane in love. Of Phebus loves now list and you shall heare.
It is reported that this God did first of all espie,
(For everie thing in Heaven and Earth is open to his eie)
How Venus with the warlike Mars advoutrie did commit.
It grieved him to see the fact and so discovered it,
He shewed hir husband Junos sonne th'advoutrie and the place
In which this privie scape was done. Who was in such a case
That heart and hand and all did faile in working for a space.
Anon he featly forgde a net of Wire so fine and slight,
That neyther knot nor nooze therein apparant was to sight.
This piece of worke was much more fine than any handwarpe oofe
Or that whereby the Spider hanges in sliding from the roofe.
And furthermore the suttlenesse and slight thereof was such,
It followed every little pull and closde with every touch,
And so he set it handsomly about the haunted couch.
Now when that Venus and hir mate were met in bed togither
Hir husband by his newfound snare before convayed thither
Did snarle them both togither fast in middes of all theyr play
And setting ope the Ivorie doores, callde all the Gods streight way
To see them: they with shame inough fast lockt togither lay.
A certaine God among the rest disposed for to sport
Did wish that he himselfe also were shamed in that sort.
The resdue laught and so in heaven there was no talke a while,
But of this Pageant how the Smith the lovers did beguile.
Dame Venus highly stomacking this great displeasure, thought
To be revenged on the part by whome the spight was wrought.
And like as he hir secret loves and meetings had bewrayd,
So she with wound of raging love his guerdon to him payd.
What now avayles (Hyperions sonne) thy forme and beautie bright?
What now avayle thy glistring eyes with cleare and piercing sight?
For thou that with thy gleames art wont all countries for to burne,
Art burnt thy selfe with other gleames that serve not for thy turne.
And thou that oughtst thy cherefull looke on all things for to shew
Alonly on Leucothoe doste now the same bestow.
Thou fastnest on that Maide alone the eyes that thou doste owe
To all the worlde. Sometime more rathe thou risest in the East,
Sometime againe thou makste it late before thou fall to reast.
And for desire to looke on hir, thou often doste prolong
Our winter nightes. And in thy light thou faylest eke among.
The fancie of thy faultie minde infectes thy feeble sight,
And so thou makste mens hearts afrayde by daunting of thy light,
Thou looxte not pale bycause the globe of Phebe is betweene
The Earth and thee: but love doth cause this colour to be seene.
Thou lovest this Leucothoe so far above all other,
That neyther now for Clymene, for Rhodos, nor the mother
Of Circe, nor for Clytie (who at that present tyde
Rejected from thy companie did for thy love abide
Most grievous torments in hir heart) thou seemest for to care.
Thou mindest hir so much that all the rest forgotten are.
Hir mother was Eurynome of all the fragrant clime
Of Arabie esteemde the flowre of beautie in hir time.
But when hir daughter came to age the daughter past the mother
As far in beautie, as before the mother past all other.
Hir father was king Orchamus and rulde the publike weale
Of Persey, counted by descent the seventh from auncient Bele.
Far underneath the Westerne clyme of Hesperus doe runne
The pastures of the firie steedes that draw the golden Sunne.
There are they fed with Ambrosie in stead of grasse all night
Which doth refresh their werie limmes and keepeth them in plight
To beare their dailie labor out: now while the steedes there take
Their heavenly foode and night by turne his timely course doth make,
The God disguised in the shape of Queene Eurynome
Doth prease within the chamber doore of faire Leucothoe
His lover, whome amid twelve Maides he found by candlelight
Yet spinning on hir little Rocke, and went me to hir right.
And kissing hir as mothers use to kisse their daughters deare,
Saide: Maydes, withdraw your selves a while and sit not listning here.
I have a secret thing to talke. The Maides avoyde eche one,
The God then being with his love in chamber all alone,
Said: I am he that metes the yeare, that all things doe beholde,
By whome the Earth doth all things see, the Eye of all the worlde.
Trust me I am in love with thee. The Ladie was so nipt
With sodaine feare that from hir hands both rocke and spindle slipt.
Hir feare became hir wondrous well. He made no mo delayes,
But turned to his proper shape and tooke hys glistring rayes.
The damsell being sore abasht at this so straunge a sight,
And overcome with sodaine feare to see the God so bright,
Did make no outcrie nor no noyse, but helde hir pacience still,
And suffred him by forced powre his pleasure to fulfill.
Hereat did Clytie sore repine. For she beyond all measure
Was then enamoured of the Sunne: and stung with this displeasure
That he another Leman had, for verie spight and yre
She playes the blab, and doth defame Leucothoe to hir Syre.
He cruell and unmercifull would no excuse accept,
But holding up hir handes to heaven when tenderly she wept,
And said it was the Sunne that did the deede against hir will:
Yet like a savage beast full bent his daughter for to spill,
He put hir deepe in delved ground, and on hir bodie laide
A huge great heape of heavie sand. The Sunne full yll appaide
Did with his beames disperse the sand and made an open way
To bring thy buried face to light, but such a weight there lay
Upon thee, that thou couldst not raise thine hand aloft againe,
And so a corse both voide of bloud and life thou didst remaine.
There never chaunst since Phaetons fire a thing that grievde so sore
The ruler of the winged steedes as this did. And therfore
He did attempt if by the force and vertue of his ray
He might againe to lively heate hir frozen limmes convay.
But forasmuch as destenie so great attempts denies,
He sprincles both the corse it selfe and place wherein it lyes
With fragrant Nectar. And therewith bewayling much his chaunce
Sayd: Yet above the starrie skie thou shalt thy selfe advaunce.
Anon the body in this heavenly liquor steeped well
Did melt, and moisted all the earth with sweete and pleasant smell.
And by and by first taking roote among the cloddes within
By little and by little did with growing top begin
A pretie spirke of Frankinsence above the Tumbe to win.
Although that Clytie might excuse hir sorrow by hir love
And seeme that so to play the blab hir sorrow did hir move,
Yet would the Author of the light resort to hir no more
But did withholde the pleasant sportes of Venus usde before.
The Nymph not able of hir selfe the franticke fume to stay,
With restlesse care and pensivenesse did pine hir selfe away.
Bareheaded on the bare cold ground with flaring haire unkempt
She sate abrode both night and day: and clearly did exempt
Hirselfe by space of thrise three dayes from sustnance and repast
Save only dewe and save hir teares with which she brake hir fast.
And in that while she never rose but stared on the Sunne
And ever turnde hir face to his as he his corse did runne.
Hir limmes stacke fast within the ground, and all hir upper part
Did to a pale ashcolourd herbe cleane voyde of bloud convart.
The floure whereof part red part white beshadowed with a blew
Most like a Violet in the shape hir countnance overgrew.
And now (though fastned with a roote) she turnes hir to the Sunne
And keepes (in shape of herbe) the love with which she first begunne.
She made an ende: and at hir tale all wondred: some denide
Hir saying to be possible: and other some replide
That such as are in deede true Gods may all things worke at will:
But Bacchus is not any such. Thys arguing once made still,
To tell hir tale as others had Alcithoes turne was come.
Who with hir shettle shooting through hir web within the Loome,
Said: Of the shepeheird Daphnyes love of Ida whom erewhile
A jealouse Nymph (bicause he did with Lemans hir beguile)
For anger turned to a stone (such furie love doth sende: )
I will not speake: it is to knowe: ne yet I doe entende
To tell how Scython variably digressing from his kinde,
Was sometime woman, sometime man, as liked best his minde.
And Celmus also wyll I passe, who for bicause he cloong
Most faithfully to Jupiter when Jupiter was yoong,
Is now become an Adamant. So will I passe this howre
To shew you how the Curets were engendred of a showre:
Or how that Crocus and his love faire Smylax turned were
To little flowres. With pleasant newes your mindes now will I chere.
Learne why the fountaine Salmacis diffamed is of yore,
Why with his waters overstrong it weakeneth men so sore
That whoso bathes him there commes thence a perfect man no more.
The operation of this Well is knowne to every wight.
But few can tell the cause thereof, the which I will recite.
The waternymphes did nurce a sonne of Mercuries in Ide
Begot on Venus, in whose face such beautie did abide,
As well therein his father both and mother might be knowne,
Of whome he also tooke his name. As soone as he was growne
To fiftene yeares of age, he left the Countrie where he dwelt
And Ida that had fostered him. The pleasure that he felt
To travell Countries, and to see straunge rivers with the state
Of forren landes, all painfulnesse of travell did abate.
He travelde through the lande of Lycie to Carie that doth bound
Next unto Lycia. There he saw a Poole which to the ground
Was Christall cleare. No fennie sedge, no barren reeke, no reede
Nor rush with pricking poynt was there, nor other moorish weede.
The water was so pure and shere a man might well have seene
And numbred all the gravell stones that in the bottome beene.
The utmost borders from the brim environd were with clowres
Beclad with herbes ay fresh and greene and pleasant smelling flowres.
A Nymph did haunt this goodly Poole: but such a Nymph as neyther
To hunt, to run, nor yet to shoote, had any kinde of pleasure.
Of all the Waterfairies she alonly was unknowne
To swift Diana. As the bruit of fame abrode hath blowne,
Hir sisters oftentimes would say: take lightsome Dart or bow,
And in some painefull exercise thine ydle time bestow.
But never could they hir persuade to runne, to shoote or hunt,
Or any other exercise as Phebes knightes are wont.
Sometime hir faire welformed limbes she batheth in hir spring:
Sometime she downe hir golden haire with Boxen combe doth bring.
And at the water as a glasse she taketh counsell ay
How every thing becommeth hir. Erewhile in fine aray
On soft sweete hearbes or soft greene leaves hir selfe she nicely layes:
Erewhile againe a gathering flowres from place to place she strayes.
And (as it chaunst) the selfesame time she was a sorting gayes
To make a Poisie, when she first the yongman did espie,
And in beholding him desirde to have his companie.
But though she thought she stoode on thornes untill she went to him:
Yet went she not before she had bedect hir neat and trim,
And pride and peerd upon hir clothes that nothing sat awrie,
And framde hir countnance as might seeme most amrous to the eie.
Which done she thus begon: O childe most worthie for to bee
Estemde and taken for a God, if (as thou seemste to mee)
Thou be a God, to Cupids name thy beautie doth agree.
Or if thou be a mortall wight, right happie folke are they,
By whome thou camste into this worlde, right happy is (I say)
Thy mother and thy sister too (if any bee): good hap
That woman had that was thy Nurce and gave thy mouth hir pap.
But farre above all other, far more blist than these is shee
Whome thou vouchsafest for thy wife and bedfellow for to bee.
Now if thou have alredy one, let me by stelth obtaine
That which shall pleasure both of us. Or if thou doe remaine
A Maiden free from wedlocke bonde, let me then be thy spouse,
And let us in the bridelie bed our selves togither rouse.
This sed, the Nymph did hold hir peace, and therewithall the boy
Waxt red: he wist not what love was: and sure it was a joy
To see it how exceeding well his blushing him became.
For in his face the colour fresh appeared like the same
That is in Apples which doe hang upon the Sunnie side:
Or Ivorie shadowed with a red: or such as is espide
Of white and scarlet colours mixt appearing in the Moone
When folke in vaine with sounding brasse would ease unto hir done.
When at the last the Nymph desirde most instantly but this,
As to his sister brotherly to give hir there a kisse,
And therewithall was clasping him about the Ivorie necke:
Leave off (quoth he) or I am gone and leave thee at a becke
With all thy trickes. Then Salmacis began to be afraide,
And, To your pleasure leave I free this place, my friend, she sayde.
Wyth that she turnes hir backe as though she would have gone hir way:
But evermore she looketh backe, and (closely as she may)
She hides hir in a bushie queach, where kneeling on hir knee
She alwayes hath hir eye on him. He as a childe and free,
And thinking not that any wight had watched what he did
Romes up and downe the pleasant Mede: and by and by amid
The flattring waves he dippes his feete, no more but first the sole
And to the ancles afterward both feete he plungeth whole.
And for to make the matter short, he tooke so great delight
In coolenesse of the pleasant spring, that streight he stripped quight
His garments from his tender skin. When Salmacis behilde
His naked beautie, such strong pangs so ardently hir hilde,
That utterly she was astraught. And even as Phebus beames
Against a myrrour pure and clere rebound with broken gleames:
Even so hir eys did sparcle fire. Scarce could she tarience make:
Scarce could she any time delay hir pleasure for to take:
She wolde have run, and in hir armes embraced him streight way:
She was so far beside hir selfe, that scarsly could she stay.
He clapping with his hollow hands against his naked sides,
Into the water lithe and baine with armes displayed glydes.
And rowing with his hands and legges swimmes in the water cleare:
Through which his bodie faire and white doth glistringly appeare,
As if a man an Ivorie Image or a Lillie white
Should overlay or close with glasse that were most pure and bright.
The prize is won (cride Salmacis aloud) he is mine owne.
And therewithall in all post hast she having lightly throwne
Hir garments off, flew to the Poole and cast hir thereinto
And caught him fast between hir armes, for ought that he could doe:
Yea maugre all his wrestling and his struggling to and fro,
She held him still, and kissed him a hundred times and mo.
And willde he nillde he with hir handes she toucht his naked brest:
And now on this side now on that (for all he did resist
And strive to wrest him from hir gripes) she clung unto him fast:
And wound about him like a Snake which snatched up in hast
And being by the Prince of Birdes borne lightly up aloft,
Doth writhe hir selfe about his necke and griping talants oft:
And cast hir taile about his wings displayed in the winde:
Or like as Ivie runnes on trees about the utter rinde:
Or as the Crabfish having caught his enmy in the Seas,
Doth claspe him in on every side with all his crooked cleas.
But Atlas Nephew still persistes, and utterly denies
The Nymph to have hir hoped sport: she urges him likewise.
And pressing him with all hir weight, fast cleaving to him still,
Strive, struggle, wrest and writhe (she said) thou froward boy thy fill:
Doe what thou canst thou shalt not scape. Ye Goddes of Heaven agree
That this same wilfull boy and I may never parted bee.
The Gods were pliant to hir boone. The bodies of them twaine
Were mixt and joyned both in one. To both them did remaine
One countnance: like as if a man should in one barke beholde
Two twigges both growing into one and still togither holde.
Even so when through hir hugging and hir grasping of the tother
The members of them mingled were and fastned both togither,
They were not any lenger two: but (as it were) a toy
Of double shape. Ye could not say it was a perfect boy
Nor perfect wench: it seemed both and none of both to beene.
Now when Hermaphroditus saw how in the water sheene
To which he entred in a man, his limmes were weakened so
That out fro thence but halfe a man he was compelde to go,
He lifteth up his hands and said (but not with manly reere):
O noble father Mercurie, and Venus mother deere,
This one petition graunt your son which both your names doth beare,
That whoso commes within this Well may so be weakened there,
That of a man but halfe a man he may fro thence retire.
Both Parentes moved with the chaunce did stablish this desire
The which their doubleshaped sonne had made: and thereupon
Infected with an unknowne strength the sacred spring anon.
Their tales did ende and Mineus daughters still their businesse plie
In spight of Bacchus whose high feast they breake contemptuously.
When on the sodaine (seeing nought) they heard about them round
Of tubbish Timbrels perfectly a hoarse and jarring sound,
With shraming shalmes and gingling belles, and furthermore they felt
A cent of Saffron and of Myrrhe that verie hotly smelt.
And (which a man would ill beleve) the web they had begun
Immediatly waxt fresh and greene, the flaxe the which they spun
Did flourish full of Ivie leaves. And part thereof did run
Abrode in Vines. The threede it selfe in braunches forth did spring.
Yong burgeons full of clustred grapes their Distaves forth did bring.
And as the web they wrought was dide a deepe darke purple hew,
Even so upon the painted grapes the selfesame colour grew.
The day was spent, and now was come the time which neyther night
Nor day, but even the bound of both a man may terme of right.
The house at sodaine seemde to shake, and all about it shine
With burning lampes, and glittering fires to flash before their eyen,
And Likenesses of ougly beastes with gastfull noyses yeld.
For feare whereof in smokie holes the sisters were compeld
To hide their heades, one here and there another, for to shun
The glistring light. And while they thus in corners blindly run,
Upon their little pretie limmes a fine crispe filme there goes,
And slender finnes in stead of handes their shortned armes enclose.
But how they lost their former shape of certaintie to know
The darknesse would not suffer them. No feathers on them grow,
And yet with shere and velume wings they hover from the ground
And when they goe about to speake they make but little sound,
According as their bodies give, bewayling their despight
By chirping shirlly to themselves. In houses they delight
And not in woods: detesting day they flitter towards night:
Wherethrough they of the Evening late in Latin take their name,
And we in English language Backes or Reermice call the same.
Then Bacchus name was reverenced through all the Theban coast,
And Ino of hir Nephewes powre made every where great boast.
Of Cadmus daughters she alone no sorowes tasted had,
Save only that hir sisters haps perchaunce had made hir sad.
Now Juno noting how she waxt both proud and full of scorne,
As well by reason of the sonnes and daughters she had borne,
As also that she was advaunst by mariage in that towne
To Athamas, King Aeolus sonne, a Prince of great renowne,
But chiefly that hir sisters sonne who nourced was by hir
Was then exalted for a God: began thereat to stir,
And freating at it in hirselfe said: Coulde this harlots burd
Transforme the Lydian watermen, and drowne them in the foord?
And make the mother teare the guttes in pieces of hir sonne?
And Mineus al three daughters clad with wings, bicause they sponne
Whiles others howling up and down like frantick folke did ronne?
And can I Juno nothing else save sundrie woes bewaile?
Is that sufficient? can my powre no more than so availe?
He teaches me what way to worke. A man may take (I see)
Example at his enmies hand the wiser for to bee.
He shewes inough and overmuch the force of furious wrath
By Pentheys death: why should not Ine be taught to tread the path
The which hir sisters heretofore and kinred troden hath?
There is a steepe and irksome way obscure with shadow fell
Of balefull yewgh, all sad and still, that leadeth downe to hell.
The foggie Styx doth breath up mistes: and downe this way doe wave
The ghostes of persons lately dead and buried in the grave.
Continuall colde and gastly feare possesse this queachie plot
On eyther side: the siely Ghost new parted knoweth not
The way that doth directly leade him to the Stygian Citie
Or where blacke Pluto keepes his Court that never sheweth pitie.
A thousand wayes, a thousand gates that alwayes open stand,
This Citie hath: and as the Sea the streames of all the lande
Doth swallow in his gredie gulfe, and yet is never full:
Even so that place devoureth still and hideth in his gull
The soules and ghostes of all the world: and though that nere so many
Come thither, yet the place is voyd as if there were not any.
The ghostes without flesh, bloud, or bones, there wander to and fro,
Of which some haunt the judgement place: and other come and go
To Plutos Court: and some frequent the former trades and Artes
The which they used in their life: and some abide the smartes
And torments for their wickednesse and other yll desartes.
So cruell hate and spightfull wrath did boyle in Junos brest,
That in the high and noble Court of Heaven she coulde not rest:
But that she needes must hither come: whose feet no sooner toucht
The thresholde, but it gan to quake. And Cerberus erst coucht
Start sternely up with three fell heades which barked all togither.
She callde the daughters of the night, the cruell furies, thither:
They sate a kembing foule blacke Snakes from off their filthie heare
Before the dungeon doore, the place where Caitives punisht were,
The which was made of Adamant. When in the darke in part
They knew Queene Juno, by and by upon their feete they start.
There Titius stretched out (at least) nine acres full in length,
Did with his bowels feede a Grype that tare them out by strength.
The water fled from Tantalus that toucht his neather lip,
And Apples hanging over him did ever from him slip.
There also laborde Sisyphus that drave against the hill
A rolling stone that from the top came tumbling downeward still.
Ixion on his restlesse wheele to which his limmes were bound
Did flie and follow both at once in turning ever round.
And Danaus daughters forbicause they did their cousins kill,
Drew water into running tubbes which evermore did spill.
When Juno with a louring looke had vewde them all through- out,
And on Ixion specially before the other rout,
She turnes from him to Sisyphus, and with an angry cheere
Sayes: Wherefore should this man endure continuall penance here,
And Athamas his brother reigne in welth and pleasure free
Who through his pride hath ay disdainde my husband Jove and mee?
And therewithall she poured out th'occasion of hir hate,
And why she came and what she would. She would that Cadmus state
Should with the ruine of his house be brought to swyft decay,
And that to mischiefe Athamas the Fiendes should force some way.
She biddes, she prayes, she promises, and all is with a breth,
And moves the furies earnestly: and as these things she seth,
The hatefull Hag Tisiphone with horie ruffled heare,
Removing from hir face the Snakes that loosely dangled there,
Sayd thus: Madame there is no neede long circumstance to make.
Suppose your will already done. This lothsome place forsake,
And to the holsome Ayre of heaven your selfe agayne retire.
Queene Juno went right glad away with graunt of hir desire.
And as she woulde have entred heaven, the Ladie Iris came
And purged hir with streaming drops.
Anon upon the same
The furious Fiende Tisiphone doth cloth hir out of hand
In garment streaming gorie bloud, and taketh in hir hand
A burning Cresset steepte in bloud, and girdeth hir about
With wreathed Snakes and so goes forth. And at hir going out,
Feare, terror, grief and pensivenesse for companie she tooke,
And also madnesse with his flaight, and gastly staring looke.
Within the house of Athamas no sooner foote she set,
But that the postes began to quake and doores looke blacke as Jet.
The sonne withdrew him, Athamas and eke his wife were cast
With ougly sightes in such a feare, that out of doores agast
They would have fled. There stoode the Fiend, and stopt their passage out,
And splaying forth hir filthie armes beknit with Snakes about,
Did tosse and wave hir hatefull head. The swarme of scaled snakes
Did make an irksome noyse to heare as she hir tresses shakes.
About hir shoulders some did craule: some trayling downe hir brest
Did hisse and spit out poyson greene, and spirt with tongues infest.
Then from amyd hir haire two snakes with venymd hand she drew
Of which shee one at Athamas and one at Ino threw.
The snakes did craule about their breasts, inspiring in their heart
Most grievous motions of the minde: the bodie had no smart
Of any wound: it was the minde that felt the cruell stings.
A poyson made in Syrup wise, shee also with hir brings.
The filthie fome of Cerberus, the casting of the Snake
Echidna, bred among the Fennes about the Stygian Lake:
Desire of gadding foorth abroad: forgetfulnesse of minde:
Delight in mischiefe: woodnesse: teares: and purpose whole inclinde
To cruell murther: all the which shee did together grinde:
And mingling them with new shed bloud had boyled them in brasse,
And stird them with a Hemblock stalke. Now whyle that Athamas
And Ino stood and quakte for feare, this poyson ranke and fell
Shee tourned into both their breastes and made their heartes to swell.
Then whisking often round about hir head hir balefull brand,
She made it soone by gathering winde to kindle in hir hand.
Thus as it were in triumph wise accomplishing hir hest,
To Duskie Plutos emptie Realme shee gettes hir home to rest,
And putteth off the snarled Snakes that girded in hir brest.
Immediatly King Aeolus sonne starke madde comes crying out
Through all the court: What meane yee Sirs? why go yee not about
To pitch our toyles within this chace? I saw even nowe here ran
A Lyon with hir two yong whelpes. And there withall he gan
To chase his wyfe as if in deede shee had a Lyon beene
And lyke a Bedlem boystouslie he snatcheth from betweene
The mothers armes h's little babe Loearchus smyling on him
And reaching foorth his preatie armes, and floong him fiercely from him
A twice or thrice as from a slyng: and dasht his tender head
Against a hard and rugged stone until he sawe him dead.
The wretched mother (whither griefe did move hir thereunto
Or that the poyson spred within did force hir so to doe)
Howld out and frantikly with scattered haire about hir eares
And with hir little Melicert whome hastely shee beares
In naked armes she cryeth out, Hoe Bacchus. At the name
Of Bacchus Juno gan to laugh and scorning sayde in game:
This guerden loe thy foster child requiteth for the same.
There hangs a rocke about the Sea the foote whereof is eate
So hollow with the saltish waves which on the same doe beate,
That like a house it keepeth off the moysting showers of rayne.
The toppe is rough and shootes his front amiddes the open mayne.
Dame Ino (madnesse made hir strong) did climb this cliffe anon
And headlong downe (without regarde of hurt that hoong thereon)
Did throwe hir burden and hir selfe, the water where shee dasht
In sprincling upwarde glisterd red. But Venus sore abasht
At this hir Neeces great mischaunce without offence or fault,
Hir Uncle gently thus bespake: O ruler of the hault
And swelling Seas, O noble Neptune whose dominion large
Extendeth to the Heaven, whereof the mightie Jove hath charge,
The thing is great for which I sue. But shewe thou for my sake
Some mercie on my wretched friends whome in thine endlesse lake
Thou seest tossed to and fro. Admit thou them among
The Goddes. Of right even here to mee some favour doth belong
At least wise if amid the Sea engendred erst I were
Of Froth, as of the which yet still my pleasaunt name I beare.
Neptunus graunted hir request, and by and by bereft them
Of all that ever mortall was. Insted wherof he left them
A hault and stately majestie: and altring them in hew
With shape and names most meete for Goddes he did them both endew.
Leucothoe was the mothers name, Palemon was the sonne.
The Thebane Ladies following hir as fast as they could runne,
Did of hir feete perceive the print upon the utter stone.
And taking it for certaine signe that both were dead and gone,
In making mone for Cadmus house, they wrang their hands and tare
Their haire, and rent their clothes, and railde on Juno out of square,
As nothing just, but more outragious farre than did behove
In so revenging of hir selfe upon hir husbands love.
The Goddesse Juno could not beare their railing. And in faith:
You also will I make to be as witnesses (she sayth)
Of my outragious crueltie. And so shee did in deede.
For shee that loved Ino best was following hir with speede
Into the Sea. But as shee would hir selfe have downeward cast,
She could not stirre, but to the rock as nailed sticked fast.
The second as shee knockt hir breast, did feele hir armes wax stiffe.
Another as shee stretched out hir hands upon the cliffe,
Was made a stone, and there stoode still ay stretching forth hir hands
Into the water as before. And as an other standes
A tearing of hir ruffled lockes, hir fingers hardened were
And fastned to hir frisled toppe still tearing of hir heare,
And looke what gesture eche of them was taken in that tide,
Even in the same transformde to stones, they fastned did abide.
And some were altered into birds which Cadmies called bee
And in that goolfe with flittering wings still to and fro doe flee.
Nought knoweth Cadmus that his daughter and hir little childe
Admitted were among the Goddes that rule the surges wilde.
Compellde with griefe and great mishappes that had ensewd togither,
And straunge foretokens often seene since first his comming thither,
He utterly forsakes his towne the which he builded had,
As though the fortune of the place so hardly him bestad,
And not his owne. And fleeting long like pilgrims, at the last
Upon the coast of Illirie his wife and he were cast.
Where ny forpind with cares and yeares, while of the chaunces past
Upon their house, and of their toyles and former travails tane
They sadly talkt betweene themselves: Was my speare head the bane
Of that same ougly Snake of Mars (quoth Cadmus) when I fled
From Sidon? or did I his teeth in ploughed pasture spred?
If for the death of him the Goddes so cruell vengeaunce take,
Drawen out in length upon my wombe then traile I like a snake.
He had no sooner sayde the worde but that he gan to glide
Upon his belly like a Snake. And on his hardened side
He felt the scales new budding out, the which was wholy fret
With speccled droppes of blacke and gray as thicke as could be set.
He falleth groveling on his breast, and both his shankes doe growe
In one round spindle Bodkinwise with sharpned point below.
His armes as yet remayned still: his armes that did remayne,
He stretched out, and sayde with teares that plentuously did raine
Adowne his face, which yet did keepe the native fashion sownd:
Come hither wyfe, come hither wight most wretched on the ground,
And whyle that ought of mee remaynes vouchsafe to touche the same.
Come take mee by the hand as long as hand may have his name,
Before this snakish shape doe whole my body over runne.
He would have spoken more when sodainely his tongue begunne
To split in two and speache did fayle: and as he did attempt
To make his mone, he hist: for nature now had cleane exempt
All other speach. His wretched wyfe hir naked stomack beete
And cryde: What meaneth this? deare Cadmus, where are now thy feete?
Where are thy shoulders and thy handes? thy hew and manly face?
With all the other things that did thy princely person grace
Which nowe I overpasse? But why yee Goddes doe you delay
My bodie into lyke misshape of Serpent to convay?
When this was spoken, Cadmus lickt his wyfe about the lippes:
And (as a place with which he was acquaynted well) he slippes
Into hir boosome, lovingly embracing hir, and cast
Himselfe about hir necke, as oft he had in tyme forepast.
Such as were there (their folke were there) were flaighted at the sight,
For by and by they sawe their neckes did glister slicke and bright.
And on their snakish heades grew crests: and finally they both
Were into verie Dragons tournd, and foorth together goth
T'one trayling by the tothers side, untill they gaynd a wood,
The which direct against the place where as they were then stood.
And now remembring what they were themselves in tymes forepast,
They neyther shonne nor hurten men with stinging nor with blast.
But yet a comfort to them both in this their altred hew
Became that noble impe of theirs that Indie did subdew,
Whom al Achaia worshipped with temples builded new.
All only Acrise, Abas sonne, (though of the selfesame stocke)
Remaind, who out of Argos walles unkindly did him locke,
And moved wilfull warre against his Godhead: thinking that
There was not any race of Goddes, for he beleved not
That Persey was the sonne of Jove: or that he was conceyved
By Danae of golden shower through which shee was deceived.
But yet ere long (such present force hath truth) he doth repent
As well his great impietie against God Bacchus meant,
As also that he did disdaine his Nephew for to knowe.
But Bacchus now full gloriously himselfe in Heaven doth showe.
And Persey bearing in his hand the monster Gorgons head,
That famous spoyle which here and there with snakish haire was spread,
Doth beat the ayre with wavyng wings. And as he overflew
The Lybicke sandes, the droppes of bloud that from the head did sew
Of Gorgon being new cut off, upon the ground did fal.
Which taking them (and as it were conceyving therwithall)
Engendred sundrie Snakes and wormes: by meanes wherof that clyme
Did swarme with Serpents ever since, even to this present tyme.
From thence he lyke a watrie cloud was caried with the weather,
Through all the heaven, now here, now there as light as any feather.
And from aloft he viewes the earth that underneath doth lie,
And swiftly over all the worlde doth in conclusion flie,
Three times the chilling Beares, three times the Crabbes fel cleas he saw:
Oft times to Weast, oftimes to East did drive him many a flaw.
Now at such time as unto rest the sonne began to drawe,
Bicause he did not thinke it good to be abroad all night,
Within King Atlas western Realme he ceased from his flight,
Requesting that a little space of rest enjoy he might,
Untill such tyme as Lucifer should bring the morning gray,
And morning bring the lightsome Sunne that guides the cherefull day.
This Atlas, Japets Nephewe, was a man that did excell
In stature everie other wight that in the worlde did dwell.
The utmost coast of all the earth and all that Sea wherein
The tyred steedes and wearied Wayne of Phoebus dived bin,
Were in subjection to this King. A thousande flockes of sheepe,
A thousand heirdes of Rother beastes he in his fields did keepe:
And not a neighbor did anoy his ground by dwelling nie.
To him the wandring Persey thus his language did applie:
If high renowne of royall race thy noble heart may move,
I am the sonne of Jove himselfe: or if thou more approve
The valiant deedes and hault exploytes, thou shalt perceive in mee
Such doings as deserve with prayse extolled for to bee.
I pray thee of thy courtesie receive mee as thy guest,
And let mee only for this night within thy palace rest.
King Atlas called straight to minde an auncient prophesie
Made by Parnassian Themys, which this sentence did implie:
The time shall one day, Atlas, come in which thy golden tree
Shall of hir fayre and precious fruite dispoyld and robbed bee.
And he shall be the sonne of Jove that shall enjoy the pray.
For feare hereof he did enclose his Orchard everie way
With mightie hilles, and put an ougly Dragon in the same
To keepe it. Further he forbad that any straunger came
Within his Realme, and to this knight he sayde presumtuouslie:
Avoyd my land, onlesse thou wilt by utter perill trie
That all thy glorious actes whereof thou doest so loudly lie
And Jove thy father be too farre to helpe thee at thy neede.
To these his wordes he added force, and went about in deede
To drive him out by strength of hand. To speake was losse of winde
For neyther could intreating faire nor stoutnesse tourne his minde.
Well then (quoth Persey) sith thou doest mine honour set so light,
Take here a present: and with that he turnes away his sight,
And from his left side drewe mee out Medusas lothly head.
As huge and big as Atlas was he tourned in that stead
Into a mountaine: into trees his beard and locks did passe:
His hands and shoulders made the ridge: that part which lately was
His head, became the highest top of all the hill: his bones
Were turnd to stones: and therewithall he grew mee all at once
Beyond all measure up in heighth (for so God thought it best)
So farre that Heaven with all the starres did on his shoulders rest.
In endlesse prison by that time had Aeolus lockt the wind
And now the cheerely morning starre that putteth folke in mind
To rise about their daylie worke shone brightly in the skie.
Then Persey unto both his feete did streight his feathers tie
And girt his Woodknife to his side, and from the earth did stie.
And leaving nations nomberlesse beneath him everie way
At last upon King Cepheyes fields in Aethiop did he stay.
Where cleane against all right and law by Joves commaundement
Andromad for hir mothers tongue did suffer punishment.
Whome to a rocke by both the armes when fastned hee had seene,
He would have thought of Marble stone shee had some image beene,
But that hir tresses to and fro the whisking winde did blowe,
And trickling teares warme from hir eyes adowne hir cheeks did flow,
Unwares hereat gan secret sparkes within his breast to glow.
His wits were straught at sight thereof and ravisht in such wise,
That how to hover with his wings he scarsly could devise.
As soone as he had stayd himselfe: O Ladie faire (quoth hee)
Not worthie of such bands as these, but such wherewith we see
Togither knit in lawfull bed the earnest lovers bee,
I pray thee tell mee what thy selfe and what this lande is named
And wherefore thou dost weare these Chains. The Ladie ill ashamed
Was at the sodaine striken domb: and lyke a fearfull maid
Shee durst not speake unto a man. Had not hir handes beene staid
She would have hid hir bashfull face. Howbeit as she might
With great abundance of hir teares shee stopped up hir sight
But when that Persey oftentimes was earnestly in hand
To learne this matter, for bicause shee would not seeme to stand
In stubborne silence of hir faultes, shee tolde him what the land
And what she hight: and how hir mother for hir beauties sake
Through pride did unadvisedly too much upon hir take.
And ere shee full had made an ende, the water gan to rore:
An ougly monster from the deepe was making to the shore
Which bare the Sea before his breast. The Virgin shrieked out.
Hir father and hir mother both stood mourning thereabout,
In wretched ease both twaine, but not so wretched as the maid
Who wrongly for hir mothers fault the bitter raunsome paid.
They brought not with them any help: but (as the time and cace
Requird) they wept and wrang their hands, and streightly did embrace
Hir bodie fastened to the rock. Then Persey them bespake,
And sayde: The time may serve too long this sorrow for to make:
But time of helpe must eyther now or never else be take.
Now if I, Persey, sonne of hir whome in hir fathers towre
The mightie Jove begat with childe in shape of golden showre,
Who cut off ougly Gorgons head bespred with snakish heare,
And in the ayre durst trust these winges my body for to beare,
perchaunce should save your daughters life, I think ye should as then
Accept mee for your sonne in lawe before all other men.
To these great thewes (by the help of God) I purpose for to adde
A just desert in helping hir that is so hard bestadde.
I covenaunt with you by my force and manhod for to save hir,
Conditionly that to my wife in recompence I have hir.
Hir parents tooke his offer streight: for who would sticke thereat?
And praid him faire, and promisde him that for performing that
They would endow him with the ryght of al their Realme beeside.
Like as a Gally with hir nose doth cut the waters wide,
Enforced by the sweating armes of Rowers wyth the tide
Even so the monster with his brest did beare the waves aside,
And was now come as neere the rocke as well a man myght fling
Amid the pure and vacant aire a pellet from a sling.
When on the sodaine Persey pusht his foote against the ground,
And stied upward to the clouds his shadow did rebound
Upon the sea: the beast ran fierce upon the passing shade.
And as an Egle when he sees a Dragon in a glade
Lie beaking of his blewish backe against the sunnie rayes,
Doth seize upon him unbeware, and with his talants layes
Sure holde upon his scalie necke lest writhing back his head
His cruell teeth might doe him harme: so Persey in that stead
Discending downe the ayre amaine with all his force and might
Did seize upon the monsters backe: and underneath the right
Finne hard unto the verie hilt his hooked sworde did smight.
The monster being wounded sore did sometime leape aloft,
And sometime under water dive, bestirring him full oft
As doth a chaufed Boare beset with barking Dogges about.
But Persey with his lightsome wings still keeping him without
The monsters reach, with hooked sword doth sometime hew his back
Where as the hollow scales give way: and sometime he doth hacke
The ribbes on both his maled sides: and sometime he doth wound
His spindle tayle where into fish it growes most smal and round.
The Whale at Persey from his mouth such waves of water cast,
Bemixed with the purple bloud, that all bedreint at last
His feathers verie heavie were: and doubting any more
To trust his wings now waxing wet, he straight began to sore
Up to a rocke which in the calme above the water stood:
But in the tempest evermore was hidden with the flood.
And leaning thereunto and with his left hand holding just
The top thereof a dozen times his weapon he did thrust
Among his guttes. The joyfull noyse and clapping of their hands
The which were made for loosening of Andromad from hir bands,
Filde all the coast and heaven it selfe. The parents of the Maide
Cassiope and Cepheus were glad and well appayde:
And calling him their sonne in law confessed him to bee
The helpe and savegarde of their house. Andromade the fee
And cause of Perseys enterprise from bondes now beyng free,
He washed his victorious hands. And lest the Snakie heade
With lying on the gravell hard should catch some harme, he spred
Soft leaves and certaine tender twigs that in the water grew,
And laid Medusas head thereon: the twigs yet being new
And quicke and full of juicie pith full lightly to them drew
The nature of this monstrous head. For both the leafe and bough
Full straungely at the touch thereof became both hard and tough.
The Sea nymphes tride this wondrous fact in divers other roddes
And were full glad to see the chaunge, bicause there was no oddes
Of leaves or twigs or of the seedes new shaken from the coddes.
For still like nature ever since is in our Corall founde:
That looke how soone it toucheth Ayre it waxeth hard and sounde,
And that which under water was a sticke, above is stone.
Three altars to as many Gods he makes of Turfe anon:
Upon the left hand Mercuries: Minervas on the right:
And in the middle Jupiters: to Pallas he did dight
A Cow: a Calfe to Mercurie: a Bull to royall Jove.
Forthwith he tooke Andromade the price for which he strove
Endowed with hir fathers Realme. For now the God of Love
And Hymen unto mariage his minde in hast did move.
Great fires were made of sweete perfumes, and curious garlandes hung
About the house, which every where of mirthful musicke rung
The gladsome signe of merie mindes. The Pallace gates were set
Wide open. None from comming in were by the Porters let.
All Noblemen and Gentlemen that were of any port
To this same great and royall feast of Cephey did resort.
When having taken their repast as well of meate as wine
Their hearts began to pleasant mirth by leysure to encline,
The valiant Persey of the folke and facions of the land
Began to be inquisitive. One Lincide out of hand
The rites and manners of the folke did doe him t'understand.
Which done he sayd: O worthie knight I pray thee tell us by
What force or wile thou gotst the head with haires of Adders slie.
Then Persey tolde how underneath colde Atlas lay a plaine
So fenced in on every side with mountaines high, that vaine
Were any force to win the same. In entrance of the which
Two daughters of King Phorcis dwelt whose chaunce and hap was such
That one eye served both their turnes: whereof by wilie slight
And stealth in putting forth his hand he did bereve them quight,
As they from t'one to tother were delivering of the same.
From whence by long blind crooked wayes unhandsomly he came
Through gastly groves by ragged cliffes unto the drerie place
Whereas the Gorgons dwelt: and there he saw (a wretched case)
The shapes as well of men as beasts lie scattered everie where
In open fields and common wayes, the which transformed were
From living things to stones at sight of foule Medusas heare,
But yet that he through brightnesse of his monstrous brazen shield
The which he in his left hand bare, Medusas face beheld.
And while that in a sound dead sleepe were all hir Snakes and she,
He softly pared off hir head: and how that he did see
Swift Pegasus the winged horse and eke his brother grow
Out of their mothers new shed bloud. Moreover he did show
A long discourse of all his happes and not so long as trew:
As namely of what Seas and landes the coasts he overflew,
And eke what starres with stying wings he in the while did vew.
But yet his tale was at an ende ere any lookt therefore.
Upon occasion by and by of wordes reherst before
There was a certaine noble man demaunded him wherefore
Shee only of the sisters three haire mixt with Adders bore.
Sir (aunswerde Persey) sith you aske a matter worth report
I graunt to tell you your demaunde. She both in comly port
And beautie, every other wight surmounted in such sort,
That many suters unto hir did earnestly resort.
And though that whole from top to toe most bewtifull she were,
In all hir bodie was no part more goodly than hir heare.
I know some parties yet alive, that say they did hir see.
It is reported how she should abusde by Neptune bee
In Pallas Church: from which fowle facte Joves daughter turnde hir eye,
And with hir Target hid hir face from such a villanie.
And lest it should unpunisht be, she turnde hir seemely heare
To lothly Snakes: the which (the more to put hir foes in feare)
Before hir brest continually she in her shield doth beare.
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