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And Jove almighty went about the walles of heaven to trie
If ought were perisht with the fire, which when he did espie
Continuing in their former state, all strong and safe and sound,
He went to vew the workes of men, and things upon the ground.
Yet for his land of Arcadie he tooke most care and charge.
The Springs and streames that durst not run he set againe at large.
He clad the earth with grasse, the trees with leaves both fresh and greene
Commaunding woods to spring againe that erst had burned bene.
Now as he often went and came it was his chaunce to light
Upon a Nymph of Nonacris whose forme and beautie bright
Did set his heart on flaming fire. She used not to spinne
Nor yet to curle hir frisled haire with bodkin or with pinne.
A garment with a buckled belt fast girded did she weare
And in a white and slender Call slight trussed was hir heare.
Sometimes a dart sometime a bow she used for to beare.
She was a knight of Phebes troope. There came not at the mount
Of Menalus of whome Diana made so great account.
But favor never lasteth long. The Sunne had gone that day
A good way past the poynt of Noone: when werie of hir way
She drue to shadowe in a wood that never had bene cut.
Here off hir shoulder by and by hir quiver did she put,
And hung hir bow unbent aside, and coucht hir on the ground,
Hir quiver underneth hir head. Whom when that Jove had found
Alone and wearie: Sure (he said) my wife shall never know
Of this escape, and if she do, I know the worst I trow.
She can but chide, shall feare of chiding make me to forslow?
He counterfeiteth Phebe streight in countnance and aray.
And says: O virgine of my troope, where didst thou hunt to day?
The Damsell started from the ground and said: Hayle Goddesse deare,
Of greater worth than Jove (I thinke) though Jove himselfe did heare.
Jove heard hir well and smylde thereat, it made his heart rejoyce
To heare the Nymph preferre him thus before himselfe in choyce.
He fell to kissing: which was such as out of square might seeme,
And in such sort as that a mayde coulde nothing lesse beseeme.
And as she would have told what woods she ranged had for game,
He tooke hir fast betweene his armes, and not without his shame,
Bewrayed plainly what he was and wherefore that he came.
The wench against him strove as much as any woman could:
I would that Juno had it seene. For then I know thou would
Not take the deede so heynously: with all hir might she strove.
But what poore wench or who alive could vanquish mighty Jove?
Jove having sped flue straight to heaven. She hateth in hir hart
The guiltlesse fields and wood where Jove had playd that naughty part,
Alwaye she goes in such a griefe as that she had welnie
Forgot hir quiver with hir shaftes and bow that hanged by.
Dictynna, garded with hir traine and proude of killing Deere,
In raunging over Menalus, espying, cald hir neere.
The Damsell hearing Phebe call did run away amaine,
She feared lest in Phebes shape that Jove had come againe,
But when she saw the troope of Nymphes that garded hir about,
She thought there was no more deceyt, and came among the rout.
Oh Lord how hard a matter ist for guiltie hearts to shift
And kepe their countnance? from the ground hir eyes scarce durst she lift.
She prankes not by hir mistresse side, she preases not to bee
The foremost of the companie, as when she erst was free.
She standeth muet: and by chaunging of hir colour ay
The treading of hir shooe awrie she plainely doth bewray,
Diana might have founde the fault but that she was a May.
A thousand tokens did appeare apparant to the eye,
By which the Nymphes themselves (they say) hir fault did well espie.
Nine times the Moone full to the worlde had shewde hir horned face
When fainting through hir brothers flames and hunting in the chace.
She found a coole and shadie lawnde through midst whereof she spide
A shallow brooke with trickling streame on gravell bottom glide.
And liking well the pleasant place, upon the upper brim
She dipt hir foote, and finding there the water coole and trim,
Away (she sayd) with standers by: and let us bath us here.
Then Parrhasis cast downe hir head with sad and bashfull chere.
The rest did strip them to their skinnes. She only sought delay,
Untill that would or would she not hir clothes were pluckt away.
Then with hir naked body straight hir crime was brought to light.
Which yll ashamde as with hir hands she would have hid from sight,
Fie beast (quoth Cynthia) get thee hence, thou shalt not here defile
This sacred Spring, and from hir traine she did hir quite exile.

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    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 66
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