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There is a lande in Thessalie enclosd on every syde
With wooddie hilles, that Timpe hight, through mid whereof doth glide
Penaeus gushing full of froth from foote of Pindus hye,
Which with his headlong falling downe doth cast up violently
A mistie streame lyke flakes of smoke, besprinckling all about
The toppes of trees on eyther side, and makes a roaring out
That may be heard a great way off. This is the fixed seate,
This is the house and dwelling place and chamber of the greate
And mightie Ryver: Here he sittes in Court of Peeble stone,
And ministers justice to the waves and to the Nymphes eche one,
That in the Brookes and waters dwell. Now hither did resorte
(Not knowing if they might rejoyce and unto mirth exhort
Or comfort him) his Countrie Brookes, Sperchius well beseene
With sedgie heade and shadie bankes of Poplars fresh and greene,
Enipeus restlesse, swift and quicke, olde father Apidane,
Amphrisus with his gentle streame, and Aeas clad with cane:
With dyvers other Ryvers moe, which having runne their race,
Into the Sea their wearie waves doe lead with restlesse pace.
From hence the carefull Inachus absentes him selfe alone,
Who in a corner of his cave with doolefull teares and mone,
Augments the waters of his streame, bewayling piteously
His daughter Io lately lost. He knewe not certainly
And if she were alive or deade. But for he had hir sought
And coulde not finde hir any where, assuredly he thought
She did not live above the molde, ne drewe the vitall breath:
Misgiving worser in his minde, if ought be worse than death.
It fortunde on a certaine day that Jove espide this Mayde
Come running from hir fathers streame alone: to whome he sayde:
O Damsell worthie Jove himselfe, like one day for to make
Some happie person whome thou list unto thy bed to take,
I pray thee let us shroude our selves in shadowe here togither,
Of this or that (he poynted both) it makes no matter whither,
Untill the hotest of the day and Noone be overpast.
And if for feare of savage beastes perchaunce thou be agast
To wander in the Woods alone, thou shalt not neede to feare,
A God shall bee thy guide to save thee harmelesse every where.
And not a God of meaner sort, but even the same that hath
The heavenly scepter in his hande, who in my dreadfull wrath,
Do dart downe thunder wandringly: and therefore make no hast
To runne away. She ranne apace, and had alreadie past
The Fen of Lerna and the field of Lincey set with trees:
When Jove intending now in vaine no lenger tyme to leese,
Upon the Countrie all about did bring a foggie mist,
And caught the Mayden whome poore foole he used as he list.
Queene Juno looking downe that while upon the open field,
When in so fayre a day such mistes and darkenesse she behelde,
Dyd marvell much, for well she knewe those mistes ascended not
From any Ryver, moorishe ground, or other dankishe plot.
She lookt about hir for hir Jove as one that was acquainted
With such escapes and with the deede had often him attainted.
Whome when she founde not in the heaven: Onlesse I gesse amisse,
Some wrong agaynst me (quoth she) now my husbande working is.
And with that worde she left the Heaven, and downe to earth shee came,
Commaunding all the mistes away. But Jove foresees the same,
And to a Cow as white as milke his Leman he convayes.
She was a goodly Heifer sure: and Juno did hir prayse,
Although (God wot) she thought it not, and curiously she sought,
Where she was bred, whose Cow she was, who had hir thither broughte
As though she had not knowne the truth. Hir husband by and by
(Bycause she should not search too neare) devisde a cleanly lie,
And tolde hir that the Cow was bred even nowe out of the grounde.
Then Juno who hir husbands shift at fingers endes had founde,
Desirde to have the Cow of gift. What should he doe as tho?
Great cruelnesse it were to yeelde his Lover to hir so.
And not to give would breede mistrust. As fast as shame provoked,
So fast agayne a tother side his Love his minde revoked.
So much that Love was at the poynt to put all shame to flight.
But that he feared if he should denie a gift so light
As was a Cowe to hir that was his sister and his wyfe,
Might make hir thinke it was no Cow, and breede perchaunce some strife.
Now when that Juno had by gift hir husbands Leman got,
Yet altogether out of feare and carelesse was she not.
She had him in a jelousie and thoughtfull was she still
For doubt he should invent some meanes to steale hir from hir: till
To Argus, olde Aristors sonne, she put hir for to keepe.
This Argus had an hundreth eyes: of which by turne did sleepe
Alwayes a couple, and the rest did duely watch and warde,
And of the charge they tooke in hande had ever good regarde,
What way so ever Argus stood with face, with backe, or side,
To Io warde, before his eyes did lo still abide.
All day he let hir graze abroade, the Sunne once under ground
He shut hir up and by the necke with wrythen Withe hir bound.
With croppes of trees and bitter weedes now was she dayly fed,
And in the stead of costly couch and good soft featherbed,
She sate a nightes upon the ground, and on such ground whereas
Was not sometime so much as grasse: and oftentymes she was
Compeld to drinke of muddie pittes: and when she did devise
To Argus for to lift hir handes in meeke and humble wise,
She sawe she had no handes at all: and when she did assay
To make complaint, she lowed out, which did hir so affray,
That oft she started at the noyse, and would have runne away.
Unto hir father Inachs banckes she also did resorte,
Where many a tyme and oft before she had beene wont to sporte.
Now when she looked in the streame, and sawe hir horned hed,
She was agast and from hir selfe would all in hast have fled.
The Nymphes hir sisters knewe hir not nor yet hir owne deare father,
Yet followed she both him and them, and suffred them the rather
To touch and stroke hir where they list, as one that preaced still
To set hir selfe to wonder at and gaze upon their fill.
The good old Inach puls up grasse and to hir straight it beares.
She as she kyst and lickt his handes did shed forth dreerie teares.
And had she had hir speach at will to utter forth hir thought,
She would have tolde hir name and chaunce and him of helpe besought.
But for bicause she could not speake, she printed in the sande,
Two letters with hir foote, whereby was given to understande
The sorrowfull chaunging of hir shape.
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