Table of Contents:
An auncient father seeing them aabout the brode sea fly,
Did prayse theyr love for lasting to the end so stedfastly.
His neyghbour or the selfsame man made answer (such is chaunce):
Even this fowle also whom thou seest uppon the surges glaunce
With spindle shanks, (he poynted to the wydegoawld Cormorant)
Before that he became a bird, of royall race might vaunt.
And if thou covet lineally his pedegree to seeke,
His Auncetors were Ilus, and Assaracus, and eeke
Fayre Ganymed who Jupiter did ravish as his joy,
Laomedon and Priamus the last that reygnd in Troy.
Stout Hectors brother was this man. And had he not in pryme
Of lusty youth beene tane away, his deedes perchaunce in tyme
Had purchaast him as great a name as Hector, though that hee
Of Dymants daughter Hecuba had fortune borne to bee.
For Aesacus reported is begotten to have beene
By scape, in shady Ida on a mayden fayre and sheene
Whose name was Alyxothoe, a poore mans daughter that
With spade and mattocke for himselfe and his a living gat.
This Aesacus the Citie hates, and gorgious Court dooth shonne,
And in the unambicious feeldes and woods alone dooth wonne.
He seeldoom haunts the towne of Troy, yit having not a rude
And blockish wit, nor such a hart as could not be subdewd
By love, he spyde Eperie (whom oft he had pursewd
Through all the woodes) then sitting on her father Cebrius brim
A drying of her heare ageinst the sonne, which hanged trim
Uppon her back. As soone as that the Nymph was ware of him,
She fled as when the grisild woolf dooth scare the fearefull hynd
Or when the Fawcon farre from brookes a Mallard happes to fynd.
The Trojane knyght ronnes after her, and beeing swift through love,
Purseweth her whom feare dooth force apace her feete to move.
Behold an Adder lurking in the grasse there as shee fled,
Did byght her foote with hooked tooth, and in her bodye spred
His venim. Shee did cease her flyght and soodein fell downe dead.
Her lover being past his witts her carkesse did embrace,
And cryde: Alas it irketh mee, it irkes mee of this chace.
But this I feard not. Neyther was the gaine of that I willd
Woorth halfe so much. Now two of us thee (wretched soule) have killd.
The wound was given thee by the snake, the cause was given by mee.
The wickedder of both am I: who for to comfort thee
Will make thee satisfaction with my death. With that at last
Downe from a rocke (the which the waves had undermynde) he cast
Himself into the sea. Howbee't dame Tethys pitying him,
Receyvd him softly, and as he uppon the waves did swim,
Shee covered him with fethers. And though fayne he would have dyde,
Shee would not let him. Wroth was he that death was him denyde,
And that his soule compelld should bee ageinst his will to byde
Within his wretched body still, from which it would depart,
And that he was constreynd to live perforce ageinst his hart.
And as he on his shoulders now had newly taken wings,
He mounted up, and downe uppon the sea his boddye dings.
His fethers would not let him sinke. In rage he dyveth downe,
And despratly he strives himself continually to drowne.
His love did make him leane, long leggs: long neck dooth still remayne.
His head is from his shoulders farre: of Sea he is most fayne.
And for he underneath the waves delyghteth for to drive
A name according thereunto the Latins doo him give.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.