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.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.