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Among the darke Cimmerians is a hollow mountaine found
And in the hill a Cave that farre dooth ronne within the ground,
The Chamber and the dwelling place where slouthfull sleepe dooth cowch.
The lyght of Phebus golden beames this place can never towch.
A foggye mist with dimnesse mixt streames upwarde from the ground,
And glimmering twylyght evermore within the same is found.
No watchfull bird with barbed bill, and combed crowne dooth call
The morning foorth with crowing out. There is no noyse at all
Of waking dogge, nor gagling goose more waker than the hound
To hinder sleepe. Of beast ne wyld ne tame there is no sound.
No bowghes are stird with blastes of wynd, no noyse of tatling toong
Of man or woman ever yit within that bower roong.
Dumb quiet dwelleth there. Yit from the Roches foote dooth go
The ryver of forgetfulnesse, which ronneth trickling so
Uppon the little pebble stones which in the channell lye,
That unto sleepe a great deale more it dooth provoke thereby.
Before the entry of the Cave, there growes of Poppye store,
With seeded heades, and other weedes innumerable more,
Out of the milkye jewce of which the night dooth gather sleepes,
And over all the shadowed earth with dankish deawe them dreepes.
Bycause the craking hindges of the doore no noyse should make,
There is no doore in all the house, nor porter at the gate.
Amid the Cave, of Ebonye a bedsted standeth hye,
And on the same a bed of downe with keeverings blacke dooth lye:
In which the drowzye God of sleepe his lither limbes dooth rest.
About him, forging sundrye shapes as many dreames lye prest
As eares of come doo stand in feeldes in harvest tyme, or leaves
Doo grow on trees, or sea to shore of sandye cinder heaves.
As soone as Iris came within this house, and with her hand
Had put asyde the dazeling dreames that in her way did stand,
The brightnesse of her robe through all the sacred house did shine.
The God of sleepe scarce able for to rayse his heavy eyen,
A three or fowre tymes at the least did fall ageine to rest,
And with his nodding head did knocke his chinne ageinst his brest.
At length he shaking of himselfe, uppon his elbowe leande.
And though he knew for what shee came: he askt her what shee meand.
O sleepe (quoth shee,) the rest of things, O gentlest of the Goddes,
Sweete sleepe, the peace of mynd, with whom crookt care is aye at oddes:
Which cherrishest mennes weery limbes appalld with toling sore,
And makest them as fresh to woork and lustye as beefore,
Commaund a dreame that in theyr kyndes can every thing expresse,
To Trachine, Hercles towne, himself this instant to addresse.
And let him lively counterfet to Queene Alcyonea
The image of her husband who is drowned in the sea
By shipwrecke. Juno willeth so. Her message beeing told,
Dame Iris went her way. Shee could her eyes no longer hold
From sleepe. But when shee felt it come shee fled that instant tyme,
And by the boawe that brought her downe to heaven ageine did clyme.
Among a thousand sonnes and mo that father slomber had
He calld up Morph, the feyner of mannes shape, a craftye lad.
None other could so conningly expresse mans verrye face,
His gesture and his sound of voyce, and manner of his pace,
Togither with his woonted weede, and woonted phrase of talk.
But this same Morphye onely in the shape of man dooth walk.
There is another who the shapes of beast or bird dooth take,
Or else appeereth unto men in likenesse of a snake.
The Goddes doo call him Icilos, and mortall folke him name
Phobetor. There is also yit a third who from theis same
Woorkes diversly, and Phantasos he highteth. Into streames
This turnes himself, and into stones, and earth, and timber beames,
And into every other thing that wanteth life. Theis three,
Great kings and Capteines in the night are woonted for to see.
The meaner and inferiour sort of others haunted bee.
Sir Slomber overpast the rest, and of the brothers all
To doo dame Iris message he did only Morphye call.
Which doone he waxing luskish, streyght layd downe his drowzy head
And softly shroonk his layzye limbes within his sluggish bed.
Away flew Morphye through the aire: no flickring made his wings:
And came anon to Trachine. There his fethers off he flings,
And in the shape of Ceyx standes before Alcyones bed,
Pale, wan, stark naakt, and like a man that was but lately deade.
His berde seemd wet, and of his head the heare was dropping drye,
And leaning on her bed, with teares he seemed thus to cry:
Most wretched woman, knowest thou thy loving Ceyx now
Or is my face by death disformd? behold mee well, and thow
Shalt know mee. For thy husband, thou thy husbandes Ghost shalt see.
No good thy prayers and thy vowes have done at all to mee.
For I am dead. In vayne of my returne no reckning make.
The dowdy sowth amid the sea our shippe did tardy take,
And tossing it with violent blastes asunder did it shake.
And floodes have filld my mouth which calld in vayne uppon thy name.
No persone whom thou mayst misdeeme brings tydings of the same.
Thou hearest not thereof by false report of flying fame.
But I myself: I presently my shipwrecke to thee showe.
Aryse therefore and wofull teares uppon thy spouse bestowe.
Put moorning rayment on, and let mee not to Limbo go
Unmoorned for. In shewing of this shipwrecke Morphye so
Did feyne the voyce of Ceyx, that shee could none other deeme,
But that it should bee his in deede. Moreover he did seeme
To weepe in earnest: and his handes the verry gesture had
Of Ceyx. Queene Alcyone did grone, and beeing sad
Did stirre her armes, and thrust them foorth his body to embrace.
In stead whereof shee caught but ayre. The teares ran downe her face.
Shee cryed, Tarry: whither flyste? togither let us go.
And all this whyle she was asleepe. Both with her crying so,
And flayghted with the image of her husbands gastly spryght,
She started up: and sought about if fynd him there shee myght.
(For why her Groomes awaking with the shreeke had brought a light.)
And when shee no where could him fynd, shee gan her face to smyght,
And tare her nyghtclothes from her brest, and strake it feercely, and
Not passing to unty her heare shee rent it with her hand.
And when her nurce of this her greef desyrde to understand
The cause: Alcyone is undoone, undoone and cast away
With Ceyx her deare spouse (shee sayd). Leave comforting I pray.
By shipwrecke he is perrisht: I have seene him: and I knew
His handes. When in departing I to hold him did pursew
I caught a Ghost: but such a Ghost as well discerne I myght
To bee my husbands. Nathelesse he had not to my syght
His woonted countenance, neyther did his visage shyne so bryght,
As heeretofore it had beene woont. I saw him, wretched wyght,
Starke naked, pale, and with his heare still wet: even verry heere
I saw him stand. With that shee lookes if any print appeere
Of footing where as he did stand uppon the floore behynd.
This this is it that I did feare in farre forecasting mynd,
When flying mee I thee desyrde thou shouldst not trust the wynd.
But syth thou wentest to thy death, I would that I had gone
With thee. Ah meete, it meete had beene thou shouldst not go alone
Without mee. So it should have come to passe that neyther I
Had overlived thee, nor yit beene forced twice to dye.
Already, absent in the waves now tossed have I bee.
Already have I perrished. And yit the sea hath thee
Without mee. But the cruelnesse were greater farre of mee
Than of the sea, if after thy decease I still would strive
In sorrow and in anguish still to pyne away alive.
But neyther will I strive in care to lengthen still my lyfe,
Nor (wretched wyght) abandon thee: but like a faythfull wyfe
At leastwyse now will come as thy companion. And the herse
Shall joyne us, though not in the selfsame coffin: yit in verse.
Although in tumb the bones of us togither may not couch,
Yit in a graven Epitaph my name thy name shall touch.
Her sorrow would not suffer her to utter any more.
Shee sobd and syghde at every woord, untill her hart was sore.
The morning came, and out shee went ryght pensif to the shore
To that same place in which shee tooke her leave of him before.
Whyle there shee musing stood, and sayd: He kissed mee even heere,
Heere weyed hee his Anchors up, heere loosd he from the peere.
And whyle shee calld to mynd the things there marked with her eyes:
In looking on the open sea, a great way off shee spyes
A certaine thing much like a corse come hovering on the wave.
At first shee dowted what it was. As tyde it neerer drave,
Although it were a good way off, yit did it plainely showe
To bee a corce. And though that whose it was shee did not knowe,
Yit forbycause it seemd a wrecke, her hart therat did ryse:
And as it had sum straunger beene, with water in her eyes
She sayd: Alas poore wretch who ere thou art, alas for her
That is thy wyfe, if any bee. And as the waves did stirre,
The body floted neerer land: the which the more that shee
Behilld, the lesse began in her of stayed wit to bee.
Anon it did arrive on shore. Then plainely shee did see
And know it, that it was her feere. Shee shreeked, It is hee.
And therewithall her face, her heare, and garments shee did teare,
And unto Ceyx stretching out her trembling handes with feare,
Sayd: cumst thou home in such a plyght to mee, O husband deere?
Returnst in such a wretched plyght? There was a certeine peere
That buylded was by hand, of waves the first assaults to breake,
And at the havons mouth to cause the tyde to enter weake.
Shee lept thereon. (A wonder sure it was shee could doo so)
Shee flew, and with her newgrowen winges did beate the ayre as tho.
And on the waves a wretched bird shee whisked to and fro.
And with her crocking neb then growen to slender bill and round,
Like one that wayld and moorned still shee made a moaning sound.
Howbee't as soone as she did touch his dumb and bloodlesse flesh,
And had embraast his loved limbes with winges made new and fresh,
And with her hardened neb had kist him coldly, though in vayne,
Folk dowt if Ceyx feeling it to rayse his head did strayne,
Or whither that the waves did lift it up. But surely hee
It felt: and through compassion of the Goddes both hee and shee
Were turnd to birdes. The love of them eeke subject to their fate,
Continued after: neyther did the faythfull bond abate
Of wedlocke in them beeing birdes: but standes in stedfast state.
They treade, and lay, and bring foorth yoong and now the Alcyon sitts
In wintertime uppon her nest, which on the water flitts
A sevennyght. During all which tyme the sea is calme and still,
And every man may to and fro sayle saufly at his will,
For Aeolus for his offsprings sake the windes at home dooth keepe,
And will not let them go abroade for troubling of the deepe.
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