Then fruitfull Ceres voide of care in that she did recover
Hir daughter, prayde thee, Arethuse, the storie to discover,
What caused thee to fleete so farre and wherefore thou became
A sacred spring? The waters whist. The Goddesse of the same
Did from the bottome of the Well hir goodly head up reare.
And having dried with hir hand hir faire greene hanging heare,
The River Alpheys auncient loves she thus began to tell.
I was (quoth she) a Nymph of them that in Achaia dwell.
There was not one that earnester the Lawndes and forests sought
Or pitcht hir toyles more handsomly. And though that of my thought
It was no part, to seeke the fame of beautie: though I were
All courage: yet the pricke and prise of beautie I did beare.
My overmuch commended face was unto me a spight.
This gift of bodie in the which another would delight,
I, rudesbye, was ashamed of: me thought it was a crime
To be belikte. I beare it well in minde that on a time
In comming wearie from the chase of Stymphalus, the heate
Was fervent, and my traveling had made it twice as great.
I founde a water neyther deepe nor shallow which did glide
Without all noyse, so calme that scarce the moving might be spide.
And throughly to the very ground it was so crispe and cleare,
That every little stone therein did plaine aloft appeare.
The horie Sallowes and the Poplars growing on the brim
Unset, upon the shoring bankes did cast a shadow trim.
I entred in, and first of all I deeped but my feete:
And after to my knees. And not content to wade so fleete,
I put off all my clothes, and hung them on a Sallow by
And threw my selfe amid the streame, which as I dallyingly
Did beate and draw, and with my selfe a thousand maistries trie,
In casting of mine armes abrode and swimming wantonly:
I felt a bubling in the streame I wist not how nor what,
And on the Rivers nearest brim I stept for feare. With that,
O Arethusa, whither runst? and whither runst thou, cride
Floud Alphey from his waves againe with hollow voyce. I hide
Away unclothed as I was. For on the further side
My clothes hung still. So much more hote and eger then was he,
And for I naked was, I seemde the readier for to be.
My running and his fierce pursuite was like as when ye se
The sillie Doves with quivering wings before the Gossehauke stie,
The Gossehauke sweeping after them as fast as he can flie.
To Orchomen, and Psophy land, and Cyllen I did holde
Out well, and thence to Menalus and Erymanth the colde,
And so to Ely. All this way no ground of me he wonne.
But being not so strong as he, this restlesse race to runne
I could not long endure, and he could hold it out at length.
Yet over plaines and wooddie hilles (as long as lasted strength)
And stones, and rockes, and desert groundes I still maintaind my race.
The Sunne was full upon my backe. I saw before my face
A lazie shadow: were it not that feare did make me see't.
But certenly he feared me with trampling of his feete:
And of his mouth the boystous breath upon my hairlace blew.
Forwearied with the toyle of flight: Helpe, Diane, I thy true
And trustie Squire (I said) who oft have caried after thee
Thy bow and arrowes, now am like attached for to bee.
The Goddesse moved, tooke a cloude of such as scattred were
And cast upon me. Hidden thus in mistie darkenesse there
The River poard upon me still and hunted round about
The hollow cloude, for feare perchaunce I should have scaped out.
And twice not knowing what to doe he stalkt about the cloude
Where Diane had me hid, and twice he called out aloude:
Hoe Arethuse, hoe Arethuse. What heart had I poore wretch then?
Even such as hath the sillie Lambe that dares not stirre nor quetch when
He heares the howling of the Wolfe about or neare the foldes,
Or such as hath the squatted Hare that in hir foorme beholdes
The hunting houndes on every side, and dares not move a whit,
He would not thence, for why he saw no footing out as yit.
And therefore watcht he narrowly the cloud and eke the place.
A chill colde sweat my sieged limmes opprest, and downe apace
From all my bodie steaming drops did fall of watrie hew.
Which way so ere I stird my foote the place was like a stew.
The deaw ran trickling from my haire. In halfe the while I then
Was turnde to water, that I now have tolde the tale agen.
His loved waters Alphey knew, and putting off the shape
Of man the which he tooke before bicause I should not scape,
Returned to his proper shape of water by and by
Of purpose for to joyne with me and have my companie.
But Delia brake the ground, at which I sinking into blinde
Bycorners, up againe my selfe at Ortigie doe winde,
Right deare to me bicause it doth Dianas surname beare,
And for bicause to light againe I first was raysed there.
Thus far did Arethusa speake: and then the fruitfull Dame
Two Dragons to hir Chariot put, and reyning hard the same,
Midway beweene the Heaven and Earth she in the Ayer went,
And unto Prince Triptolemus hir lightsome Chariot sent
To Pallas Citie lode with come, commaunding him to sowe
Some part in ground new broken up, and some thereof to strow
In ground long tillde before. Anon the yong man up did stie
And flying over Europe and the Realme of Asias hie,
Alighted in the Scithian land. There reyned in that coast
A King callde Lyncus, to whose house he entred for to host.
And being there demaunded how and why he thither came,
And also of his native soyle and of his proper name,
I hight (quoth he) Triptolemus and borne was in the towne
Of Athens in the land of Greece, that place of high renowne.
I neyther came by Sea nor Lande, but through the open Aire
I bring with me Dame Ceres giftes which being sowne in faire
And fertile fields may fruitfull Harvests yeelde and finer fare.
The savage King had spight, and to th'intent that of so rare
And gracious gifts himselfe might seeme first founder for to be,
He entertainde him in his house, and when asleepe was he,
He came upon him with a sword: but as he would have killde him,
Dame Ceres turnde him to a Lynx, and waking tother willde him
His sacred Teemeware through the Ayre to drive abrode agen.
The chiefe of us had ended this hir learned song, and then
The Nymphes with one consent did judge that we the Goddesses
Of Helicon had wonne the day. But when I sawe that these
Unnurtred Damsels overcome began to fall a scolding,
I sayd: so little sith to us you thinke your selves beholding,
For bearing with your malapertnesse in making chalenge, that
Besides your former fault, ye eke doe fall to rayling flat,
Abusing thus our gentlenesse: we will from hence proceede
The punishment, and of our wrath the rightfull humor feede.
Euippyes daughters grinnd and jeerde and set our threatnings light.
But as they were about to prate, and bent their fistes to smight
Theyr wicked handes with hideous noyse, they saw the stumps of quilles
New budding at their nayles, and how their armes soft feather hilles.
Eche saw how others mouth did purse and harden into Bill,
And so becomming uncouth Birdes to haunt the woods at will.
For as they would have clapt their handes their wings did up them heave,
And hanging in the Ayre the scoldes of woods did Pies them leave.
Now also being turnde to Birdes they are as eloquent
As ere they were, as chattring still, as much to babling bent.
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