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From thence in saffron colourd robe flew Hymen through the ayre,
And into Thracia beeing called by Orphy did repayre.
He came in deede at Orphyes call: but neyther did he sing
The woordes of that solemnitie, nor merry countnance bring,
Nor any handsell of good lucke. His torch with drizling smoke
Was dim: the same to burne out cleere, no stirring could provoke.
The end was woorser than the signe. For as the Bryde did rome
Abrode accompanyde with a trayne of Nymphes to bring her home,
A serpent lurking in the grasse did sting her in the ancle:
Whereof shee dyde incontinent, so swift the bane did rancle.
Whom when the Thracian Poet had bewayld sufficiently
On earth, the Ghostes departed hence he minding for to trie,
Downe at the gate of Taenarus did go to Limbo lake.
And thence by gastly folk and soules late buried he did take
His journey to Persephonee and to the king of Ghosts
That like a Lordly tyran reignes in those unpleasant coasts.
And playing on his tuned harp he thus began to sound:
O you, the Sovereines of the world set underneath the ground,
To whome wee all (what ever thing is made of mortall kynd)
Repayre, if by your leave I now may freely speake my mynd,
I come not hither as a spye the shady Hell to see:
Nor yet the foule three headed Curre whose heares all Adders bee
To tye in cheynes. The cause of this my vyage is my wyfe
Whose foote a Viper stinging did abridge her youthfull lyfe.
I would have borne it paciently: and so to doo I strave,
But Love surmounted powre. This God is knowen great force to have
Above on earth. And whether he reigne heere or no I dowt.
But I beleeve hee reignes heere too. If fame that flies abowt
Of former rape report not wrong, Love coupled also yow.
By theis same places full of feare: by this huge Chaos now,
And by the stilnesse of this waste and emptye Kingdome, I
Beseech yee of Eurydicee unreele the destinye
That was so swiftly reeled up. All things to you belong.
And though wee lingring for a whyle our pageants do prolong,
Yit soone or late wee all to one abyding place doo rome:
Wee haste us hither all: this place becomes our latest home:
And you doo over humaine kynd reigne longest tyme. Now when
This woman shall have lived full her tyme, shee shall agen
Become your owne. The use of her but for a whyle I crave.
And if the Destnyes for my wyfe denye mee for to have
Releace, I fully am resolvd for ever heere to dwell.
Rejoyce you in the death of both. As he this tale did tell,
And played on his instrument, the bloodlesse ghostes shed teares:
To tyre on Titius growing hart the greedy Grype forbeares:
The shunning water Tantalus endevereth not to drink:
And Danaus daughters ceast to fill theyr tubbes that have no brink.
Ixions wheele stood still: and downe sate Sisyphus uppon
His rolling stone. Then first of all (so fame for truth hath gone)
The Furies beeing striken there with pitie at his song
Did weepe. And neyther Pluto nor his Ladie were so strong
And hard of stomacke to withhold his just petition long.
They called foorth Eurydicee who was as yit among
The newcome Ghosts, and limped of her wound. Her husband tooke
Her with condicion that he should not backe uppon her looke,
Untill the tyme that hee were past the bounds of Limbo quyght:
Or else to lose his gyft. They tooke a path that steepe upryght
Rose darke and full of foggye mist. And now they were within
A kenning of the upper earth, when Orphye did begin
To dowt him lest shee followed not, and through an eager love
Desyrous for to see her he his eyes did backward move.
Immediatly shee slipped backe. He retching out his hands,
Desyrous to bee caught and for to ketch her grasping stands.
But nothing save the slippry aire (unhappy man) he caught.
Shee dying now the second tyme complaynd of Orphye naught.
For why what had shee to complayne, onlesse it were of love
Which made her husband backe agen his eyes uppon her move?
Her last farewell shee spake so soft, that scarce he heard the sound,
And then revolted to the place in which he had her found.
This double dying of his wife set Orphye in a stound,
No lesse than him who at the syght of Plutos dreadfull Hound
That on the middle necke of three dooth beare an iron cheyne,
Was striken in a sodein feare and could it not restreyne,
Untill the tyme his former shape and nature beeing gone,
His body quyght was overgrowne, and turned into stone.
Or than the foolish Olenus, who on himself did take
Anothers fault, and giltlesse needes himself would giltie make,
Togither with his wretched wyfe Lethaea, for whose pryde
They both becomming stones, doo stand even yit on watry Ide.
He would have gone to Hell ageine, and earnest sute did make:
But Charon would not suffer him to passe the Stygian lake.
Seven dayes he sate forlorne uppon the bank and never eate
A bit of bread. Care, teares, and thought, and sorrow were his meate
And crying out uppon the Gods of Hell as cruell, hee
Withdrew to lofty Rhodopee and Heme which beaten bee
With Northern wynds. Three tymes the Sunne had passed through the sheere
And watry signe of Pisces and had finisht full the yeere,
And Orphye (were it that his ill successe hee still did rew,
Or that he vowed so to doo) did utterly eschew
The womankynd. Yit many a one desyrous were to match
With him, but he them with repulse did all alike dispatch.
He also taught the Thracian folke a stewes of Males to make
And of the flowring pryme of boayes the pleasure for to take.

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    • R. G. Bury, The Symposium of Plato, 179D
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