Table of Contents:
This matter all Achaia through did spreade the Prophets fame:
That every where of just desert renowned was his name.
But Penthey, olde Echions sonne (who proudely did disdaine
Both God and man) did laughe to scorne the Prophets words as vaine,
Upbrading him most spitefully with loosing of his sight,
And with the fact for which he lost fruition of this light.
The good olde father (for these wordes his pacience much did move)
Saide: how happie shouldest thou be and blessed from above,
If thou wert blinde as well as I, so that thou might not see
The sacred rytes of Bacchus band. For sure the time will bee,
And that full shortely (as I gesse) that hither shall resort
Another Bacchus, Semelles sonne, whome if thou not support
With pompe and honour like a God, thy carcasse shall be tattred,
And in a thousand places eke about the Woods be scattred.
And for to reade thee what they are that shall perfourme the deede,
It is thy mother and thine Auntes that thus shall make thee bleede.
I know it shall so come to passe, for why thou shalt disdaine,
To honour Bacchus as a God: and then thou shalt with paine
Feele how that blinded as I am I sawe for thee too much.
As olde Tiresias did pronounce these wordes and other such,
Echions sonne did trouble him. His wordes prove true in deede,
For as the Prophet did forespeake so fell it out with speede.
Anon this newefound Bacchus commes: the woods and fieldes rebound
With noyse of shouts and howling out, and such confused sound.
The folke runne flocking out by heapes, men, Mayds and wives togither
The noble men and rascall sorte ran gadding also thither,
The Orgies of this unknowne God full fondely to performe,
The which when Penthey did perceyve, he gan to rage and storme.
And sayde unto them: O ye ympes of Mars his snake by kinde
What ayleth you? what fiend of hell doth thus enrage your minde?
Hath tinking sound of pottes and pannes, hath noyse of crooked home,
Have fonde illusions such a force that them whome heretoforne
No arming sworde, no bloudie trumpe, no men in battail ray
Could cause to shrinke, no sheepish shriekes of simple women fray,
And dronken woodnesse wrought by wine and roughts of filthie freakes
And sound of toying timpanes dauntes, and quite their courage breakes?
Shall I at you, yee auncient men which from the towne of Tyre
To bring your housholde Gods by Sea, in safetie did aspyre,
And setled*hem within this place the which ye nowe doe yeelde
In bondage quite without all force and fighting in the fielde,
Or woonder at you yonger sorte approching unto mee
More neare in courage and in yeares? whome meete it were to see
With speare and not with thirse in hande, with glittring helme on hed,
And not with leaves. Now call to minde of whome ye all are bred,
And take the stomackes of that Snake, which being one alone,
Right stoutly in his owne defence confounded many one.
He for his harbrough and his spring his lyfe did nobly spend.
Doe you no more but take a heart your Countrie to defende.
He put to death right valeant knightes. Your battaile is with such
As are but Meicocks in effect: and yet ye doe so much
In conquering them, that by the deede the olde renowne ye save,
Which from your fathers by discent this present time ye have.
If fatall destnies doe forbid that Thebae long shall stande,
Would God that men with Canon shot might raze it out of hande.
Would God the noyse of fire and sworde did in our hearing sound.
For then in this our wretchednesse there could no fault be found.
Then might we justly waile our case that all the world might see
We should not neede of sheading teares ashamed for to bee.
But now our towne is taken by a naked beardelesse boy,
Who doth not in the feates of armes nor horse nor armour joy,
But for to moyste his haire with Mirrhe, and put on garlands gay,
And in soft Purple silke and golde his bodie to aray.
But put to you your helping hand and straight without delay
I will compell him poynt by poynt his lewdnesse to bewray,
Both in usurping Joves high name in making him his sonne
And forging of these Ceremonies lately now begonne.
Hath King Atrisius heart inough this fondling for to hate
That makes himselfe to be a God? and for to shut the gate
Of Argus at his comming there? and shall this rover make
King Penthey and the noble towne of Thebae thus to quake?
Go quickly sirs (these wordes he spake unto his servaunts) go
And bring the Captaine hither bound with speede. Why stay ye so?
His Grandsire Cadmus, Athamas and others of his kinne
Reproved him by gentle meanes but nothing could they winne:
The more intreatance that they made the fiercer was he still:
The more his friendes did go about to breake him of his will,
The more they did provoke his wrath, and set his rage on fire:
They made him worse in that they sought to bridle his desire.
So have I seene a brooke ere this, where nothing let the streame,
Runne smooth with little noyse or none, but where as any beame
Or cragged stones did let his course, and make him for to stay:
It went more fiercely from the stoppe with fomie wroth away.
Beholde all bloudie come his men, and straight he them demaunded
Where Bacchus was, and why they had not done as he commaunded.
Sir (aunswerde they) we saw him not, but this same fellow heere
A chiefe companion in his traine and worker in this geere,
Wee tooke by force: and therewithall presented to their Lord
A certaine man of Tirrhene lande, his handes fast bound with cord,
Whome they, frequenting Bacchus rites had found but late before.
A grim and cruell looke which yre did make to seeme more sore,
Did Penthey cast upon the man. And though he scarcely stayd
From putting him to tormentes strait, O wretched man (he sayde)
Who by thy worthie death shalt be a sample unto other,
Declare to me the names of thee, thy father and thy mother,
And in what Countrie thou wert borne, and what hath caused thee,
Of these straunge rites and sacrifice, a follower for to bee.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.