Table of Contents:
He hath them left, and for to moppe and mowe, but not to speake.
Aenaeas having past this Ile, and on his ryght hand left
The towne of Naples, and the tumb of Mysen on his left,
Toogither with the fenny grounds: at Cumye landed, and
Went unto longlyvde Sybills house, with whom he went in hand
That he to see his fathers ghoste myght go by Averne deepe.
Shee long uppon the earth in stownd her eyes did fixed keepe,
And at the length as soone as that the spryght of prophesye
Was entred her, shee raysing them did thus ageine reply:
O most renowmed wyght, of whom the godlynesse by fyre
And valeantnesse is tryde by swoord, great things thou doost requyre.
But feare not, Trojane: for thou shalt bee lord of thy desyre.
To see the reverend image of thy deerebeeloved syre,
Among the fayre Elysian feeldes where godly folke abyde,
And all the lowest kingdoomes of the world I will thee guyde.
No way to vertue is restreynd. This spoken, shee did showe
A golden bowgh that in the wood of Proserpine did growe,
And willed him to pull it from the tree. He did obey:
And sawe the powre of dreadfull hell, and where his graundsyres lay
And eeke the aged Ghost of stowt Anchises. Furthermore
He lernd the customes of the land arryvd at late before,
And what adventures should by warre betyde him in that place.
From thence retyring up ageine a slow and weery pace,
He did asswage the tediousnesse by talking with his guyde.
For as he in the twylyght dim this dreadfui way did ryde,
He sayed: Whither present thou thyself a Goddesse bee,
Or such a one as God dooth love most dearly, I will thee
For ever as a Goddesse take, and will acknowledge mee
Thy servant, for saufguyding mee the place of death to see,
And for thou from the place of death hast brought me sauf and free.
For which desert, what tyme I shall atteyne to open ayre,
I will a temple to thee buyld ryght sumptuous, large, and fayre,
And honour thee with frankincence. The prophetisse did cast
Her eye uppon Aenaeas backe, and syghing sayd at last:
I am no Goddesse. Neyther think thou canst with conscience ryght,
With holy incence honour give to any mortall wyght.
But to th'entent through ignorance thou erre not, I had beene
Eternall and of worldly lyfe I should none end have seene,
If that I would my maydenhod on Phebus have bestowde.
Howbeeit whyle he stood in hope to have the same, and trowde
To overcome mee with his gifts: Thou mayd of Cumes (quoth he)
Choose what thou wilt, and of thy wish the owner thou shalt bee.
I taking full my hand of dust, and shewing it him there,
Desyred like a foole to live as many yeeres as were
Small graynes of cinder in that heape. I quight forgot to crave
Immediately, the race of all those yeeres in youth to have.
Yit did he graunt mee also that, uppon condicion I
Would let him have my maydenhod, which thing I did denye.
And so rejecting Phebus gift a single lyfe I led.
But now the blessefull tyme of youth is altogither fled,
And irksome age with trembling pace is stolne uppon my head,
Which long I must endure. For now already as you see
Seven hundred yeares are come and gone and that the number bee
Full matched of the granes of dust, three hundred harvestes mo,
I must three hundred vintages see more before I go.
The day will come that length of tyme shall make my body small,
And little of my withered limbes shall leave or naught at all.
And none shall think that ever God was tane in love with mee.
Even out of Phebus knowledge then perchaunce I growen shall bee,
Or at the least that ever he mee lovde he shall denye,
So sore I shall be altered. And then shall no mannes eye
Discerne mee. Only by my voyce I shall bee knowen. For why
The fates shall leave mee still my voyce for folke to know mee by.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.