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The neyghbor Princes thither came, and all the Cities round
About besought their Kings to go and comfort Thebe: as Arge
And Sparta, and Mycene which was under Pelops charge,
And Calydon unhated of the frowning Phebe yit,
The welthie towne Orchomenos, and Corinth which in it
Had famous men for workmanship in mettals: and the stout
Messene which full twentie yeares did hold besiegers out.
And Patre, and the lowly towne Cleona, Nelies Pyle,
And Troyzen not surnamed yet Pittheia for a while.
And all the other Borough townes and Cities which doe stand
Within the narrow balke at which two Seas doe meete at hand,
Or which do bound upon the balke without in maine firme land.
Alonly Athens (who would thinke?) did neither come nor send.
Warre barred them from courtesie the which they did entend.
The King of Pontus with an host of savage people lay
In siege before their famous waHes and curstly did them fray.
Untill that Tereus, King of Thrace, approching to their ayde,
Did vanquish him, and with renowne was for his labor payde.
And sith he was so puissant in men and ready coyne,
And came of mightie Marsis race, Pandion sought to joyne
Aliance with him by and by, and gave him to his Feere
His daughter Progne. At this match (as after will appeare)
Was neyther Juno, President of mariage wont to bee,
Nor Hymen, no nor any one of all the graces three.
The Furies snatching Tapers up that on some Herce did stande
Did light them, and before the Bride did beare them in their hande.
The Furies made the Bridegroomes bed. And on the house did rucke
A cursed Owle the messenger of yll successe and lucke.
And all the night time while that they were lying in their beds,
She sate upon the bedsteds top right over both their heds.
Such handsell Progne had the day that Tereus did hir wed.
Such handsell had they when that she was brought of childe abed.
All Thracia did rejoyce at them, and thankt their Gods, and willd
That both the day of Prognes match with Tereus should be hild
For feastfull, and the day likewise that Itys first was borne:
So little know we what behoves. The Sunne had now outworne
Five Harvests, and by course five times had run his yearly race,
When Progne flattring Tereus saide: If any love or grace
Betweene us be, send eyther me my sister for to see,
Or finde the meanes that hither she may come to visit mee.
You may assure your Fathrinlaw she shall againe returne
Within a while. Ye doe to me the highest great good turne
That can be, if you bring to passe I may my sister see.
Immediatly the King commaundes his shippes aflote to bee.
And shortly after, what with sayle and what with force of Ores,
In Athens haven he arrives and landes at Pyrey shores.
As soone as of his fathrinlaw the presence he obtainde,
And had of him bene courteously and friendly entertainde,
Unhappie handsell entred with their talking first togither.
The errandes of his wife, the cause of his then comming thither,
He had but new begon to tell, and promised that when
She had hir sister seene, she should with speede be sent agen:
When (see the chaunce) came Philomele in raiment very rich,
And yet in beautie farre more rich, even like the Fairies which
Reported are the pleasant woods and water springs to haunt,
So that the like apparell and attire to them you graunt.
King Tereus at the sight of hir did burne in his desire,
As if a man should chaunce to set a gulfe of come on fire,
Or burne a stacke of hay. Hir face in deede deserved love.
But as for him, to fleshly lust even nature did him move.
For of those countries commonly the people are above
All measure prone to lecherie. And therefore both by kinde
His flame encreast, and by his owne default of vicious minde.
He purposde fully to corrupt hir servants with reward:
Or for to bribe hir Nurce, that she should slenderly regarde
Hir dutie to hir mistresseward. And rather than to fayle,
The Ladie even hirselfe with gifts he minded to assayle,
And all his kingdome for to spend, or else by force of hand
To take hir, and in maintenance thereof by sword to stand.
There was not under heaven the thing but that he durst it prove,
So far unable was he now to stay his lawlesse love.
Delay was deadly. Backe againe with greedie minde he came
Of Prognes errands for to talke: and underneath the same
He workes his owne ungraciousnesse. Love gave him power to frame
His talke at will. As oft as he demaunded out of square,
Upon his wives importunate desire himselfe he bare.
He also wept: as though his wife had willed that likewise.
O God, what blindnesse doth the heartes of mortall men disguise?
By working mischiefe Tereus gets him credit for to seeme
A loving man, and winneth praise by wickednesse extreeme.
Yea and the foolish Philomele the selfesame thing desires.
Who hanging on hir fathers necke with flattring armes, requires
Against hir life and for hir life his licence for to go
To see hir sister. Tereus beholdes hir wistly tho,
And in beholding handles hir with heart. For when he saw
Hir kisse hir father, and about his necke hir armes to draw,
They all were spurres to pricke him forth, and wood to feede his fire,
And foode of forcing nourishment to further his desire.
As oft as she hir father did betweene hir armes embrace,
So often wished he himselfe hir father in that case.
For nought at all should that in him have wrought the greater grace.
Hir father could not say them nay, they lay at him so sore.
Right glad thereof was Philomele and thanked him therefore.
And wretched wench she thinkes she had obtained such a thing,
As both to Progne and hir selfe should joy and comfort bring,
When both of them in verie deede should afterward it rew.
To endward of his daily race and travell Phebus drew,
And on the shoring side of Heaven his horses downeward flew.
A princely supper was prepaarde, and wine in golde was set:
And after meate to take their rest the Princes did them get.
But though the King of Thrace that while were absent from hir sight,
Yet swelted he: and in his minde revolving all the night
Hir face, hir gesture, and hir hands, imaginde all the rest
(The which as yet he had not seene) as likte his fancie best.
He feedes his flames himselfe. No winke could come within his eyes,
For thinking ay on hir. As soone as day was in the skies,
Pandion holding in his hand the hand of Tereus prest
To go his way, and sheading teares betooke him thus his guest:
Deare sonneinlaw I give thee here (sith godly cause constraines)
This Damsell. By the faith that in thy Princely heart remaines,
And for our late aliance sake, and by the Gods above,
I humbly thee beseche that as a Father thou doe love
And maintaine hir, and that as soone as may be (all delay
Will unto me seeme over long) thou let hir come away,
The comfort of my carefull age on whome my life doth stay.
And thou my daughter Philomele (it is inough ywis
That from hir father set so farre thy sister Progne is)
If any sparke of nature doe within thy heart remayne,
With all the haaste and speede thou canst returne to me againe.
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