Table of Contents:
A God of sea to dwell in sea for ay,) alreadye swomme
Past Aetna which uppon the face of Giant Typho lyes,
Toogither with the pasture of the Cyclops which defyes
Both Plough and harrowe, and by teemes of Oxen sets no store:
And Zancle, and crackt Rhegion which stands a tother shore:
And eeke the rough and shipwrecke sea which being hemmed in
With two mayne landes on eyther syde, is as a bound betwin
The frutefull Realmes of Italy and Sicill. From that place
He cutting through the Tyrrhene sea with both his armes apace,
Arryved at the grassye hilles and at the Palace hye
Of Circe, Phoebus imp, which full of sundry beastes did lye.
When Glaucus in her presence came, and had her greeted, and
Receyved freendly welcomming and greeting at her hand,
He sayd: O Goddesse, pitie mee a God, I thee desyre.
Thou only (if at least thou think mee woorthy so great hyre)
Canst ease this love of myne. No wyght dooth better know than I
The powre of herbes, whoo late ago transformed was therby.
And now to open unto thee of this my greef the ground,
Uppon th'Italyan shore ageinst Messene walls I found
Fayre Scylla. Shame it is to tell how scornfull shee did take
The gentle woordes and promises and sute that I did make.
But if that any powre at all consist in charmes, then let
That sacret mouth of thyne cast charmes: or if more force bee set
In herbes to compasse things withall, then use the herbes that have
Most strength in woorking. Neyther think, I hither come to crave
A medcine for to heale myself and cure my wounded hart:
I force no end. I would have her bee partener of my smart.
But Circe (for no natures are more lyghtly set on fyre
Than such as shee is) (whither that the cause of this desyre
Were only in herself, or that Dame Venus bearing ay
In mynd her fathers deede in once disclosing of her play,
Did stirre her heereunto) sayd thus: It were a better way
For thee to fancye such a one whoose will and whole desyre
Is bent to thine, and whoo is sindgd with selfsame kynd of fyre.
Thou woorthye art of sute to thee. And (credit mee) thou shouldst
Bee woode in deede, if any hope of speeding give thou wouldst.
And therefore dowt not. Only of thy beawtye lyking have.
Lo, I whoo am a Goddesse and the imp of Phoebus brave,
Whoo can so much by charmes, whoo can so much by herbes, doo vow
My self to thee. If I disdeine, disdeine mee also thow.
And if I yeeld, yeeld thou likewyse: and in one only deede
Avenge thy self of twayne. To her intreating thus to speede,
First trees shall grow (quoth Glaucus) in the sea, and reeke shall thryve
In toppes of hilles, ere I (as long as Scylla is alyve)
Doo chaunge my love. The Goddesse wext ryght wroth: and sith she could
Not hurt his persone beeing falne in love with him, ne would:
Shee spyghted her that was preferd before her. And uppon
Displeasure tane of this repulse, shee went her way anon.
And wicked weedes of grisly jewce toogither shee did bray,
And in the braying, witching charmes shee over them did say.
And putting on a russet cloke, shee passed through the rowt
Of savage beastes that in her court came fawning round abowt,
And going unto Rhegion cliffe which standes ageinst the shore
Of Zancle, entred by and by the waters that doo rore
With violent tydes, uppon the which shee stood as on firme land,
And ran and never wet her feete a whit. There was at hand
A little plash that bowwed like a bowe that standeth bent,
Where Scylla woonted was to rest herself, and thither went
From rage of sea and ayre, what tyme the sonne amid the skye
Is hotest making shadowes short by mounting up on hye.
This plash did Circe then infect ageinst that Scylla came,
And with her poysons which had powre most monstrous shapes to frame
Defyled it. Shee sprincled there the jewce of venymd weedes,
And thryce nyne tymes with witching mouth shee softly mumbling, reedes
A charme ryght darke of uncouth woordes. No sooner Scylla came
Within this plash, and to the waast had waded in the same,
But that shee sawe her hinderloynes with barking buggs atteint.
And at the first, not thinking with her body they were meynt
As parts therof, shee started back, and rated them. And sore
Shee was afrayd the eager curres should byght her. But the more
Shee shonned them, the surer still shee was to have them there.
In seeking where her loynes, and thyghes, and feet and ancles were,
Chappes like the chappes of Cerberus in stead of them shee found.
Nought else was there than cruell curres from belly downe to ground.
So underneathe misshaped loynes and womb remayning sound,
Her mannish mastyes backes were ay within the water drownd.
Her lover Glaucus wept therat, and Circes bed refusde
That had so passing cruelly her herbes on Scylla usde.
But Scylla in that place abode. And for the hate shee bore
To Circeward, (assoone as meete occasion servde therfore)
Shee spoyld Ulysses of his mates. And shortly after, shee
Had also drownd the Trojane fleete, but that (as yit wee see)
Shee was transformd to rock of stone, which shipmen warely shonne.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.