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The Gods did graunt hir hir request: and straight to heaven she flue,
In handsome Chariot through the Ayre, which painted peacocks drue
As well beset with blasing eyes late tane from Argus hed,
As thou thou prating Raven white by nature being bred,
Hadst on thy fethers justly late a coly colour spred.
For this same birde in auncient time had fethers faire and whight
As ever was the driven snow, or silver cleare and bright.
He might have well comparde himself in beautie with the Doves
That have no blemish, or the Swan that running water loves:
Or with the Geese that afterward should with their gagling out
Preserve the Romaine Capitoll beset with foes about.
His tongue was cause of all his harme, his tatling tongue did make
His colour which before was white, become so foule and blake.
Coronis of Larissa was the fairest maide of face,
In all the land of Thessalie. Shee stoode in Phebus grace
As long as that she kept hir chast, or at the least as long
As that she scaped unespide in doing Phebus wrong.
But at the last Apollos birde hir privie packing spide,
Whome no entreatance could persuade but that he swiftly hide
Him to his maister, to bewray the doings of his love.
Now as he flue, the pratling Crow hir wings apace did move:
And overtaking fell in talke and was inquisitive
For what intent and to what place he did so swiftly drive.
And when she heard the cause thereof, she said: Now trust me sure,
This message on the whiche thou goste no goodnesse will procure.
And therefore hearken what I say: disdaine thou not at all,
To take some warning by thy friende in things that may befall.
Consider what I erst have bene and what thou seest me now:
And what hath bene the ground hereof. I boldly dare avow,
That thou shalt finde my faithfulnesse imputed for a crime.
For Pallas in a wicker chest had hid upon a time
A childe calde Ericthonius, whome never woman bare,
And tooke it unto Maidens three that Cecrops daughters were,
Not telling them what was within, but gave them charge to keepe
The Casket shut, and for no cause within the same to peepe.
I standing close among the leaves upon an Elme on hie,
Did marke their doings and their wordes, and there I did espie
How Pandrosos and Herse kept their promise faithfully.
Aglauros calles them Cowardes both, and makes no more adoe,
But takes the Casket in hir hand and doth the knots undooe.
And there they saw a childe whose partes beneath were like a snake.
Straight to the Goddesse of this deede a just report I make.
For which she gave me this reward that never might I more
Accompt hir for my Lady and my Mistresse as before.
And in my roume she put the fowle that flies not but by night,
A warning unto other birdes my lucke should be of right
To holde their tongues for being shent. But you will say perchaunce
I came unsentfor of my selfe, she did me not advaunce.
I dare well say though Pallas now my heavie Mistresse stand
Yet if perhaps ye should demaund the question at hir hand,
As sore displeased as she is, she would not this denie:
But that she chose me first hir selfe to beare hir companie.
For (well I know) my father was a Prince of noble fame,
Of Phocis King by long discent, Coronew was his name:
I was his darling and his joy, and many a welthie Piere
(I would not have you thinke disdaine) did seeke me for their Fere.
My forme and beautie did me hurt. For as I leysurely
Went jetting up and downe the shore upon the gravell drie,
As yet I customably doe, the God that rules the Seas
Espying me fell straight in love. And when he saw none ease
In sute, but losse of wordes and time, he offred violence,
And after me he runnes apace. I skudde as fast fro thence,
From sand to shore from shore to sand, still playing Foxe to hole,
Untill I was so tirde that he had almost got the gole.
Then cald I out on God and man. But (as it did appeare)
There was no man so neare at hand that could my crying heare.
A Virgin Goddesse pitied me bicause I was a mayde:
And at the utter plunge and pinche did send me present ayde.
I cast mine armes to heaven, mine armes waxt light with fethers black,
I went about to cast in hast my garments from my back,
And all was fethers. In my skinne the rooted fethers stack.
I was about with violent hand to strike my naked breast,
But nether had I hand nor breast that naked more did reast.
I ran, but of my feete as erst remained not the print.
Me thought I glided on the ground. Anon with sodaine dint,
I rose and hovered in the Ayre. And from that instant time
Did wait on Pallas faithfully without offence or crime.
But what availes all this to me, and if that in my place
The wicked wretch Nyctyminee (who late for lacke of grace
Was turned to an odious birde) to honor called bee?
I pray thee didst thou never heare how false Nyctyminee
(A thing all over Lesbos knowne) defilde hir fathers couch?
The beast is now become a birde, whose lewdnesse doth so touch
And pricke hir guiltie conscience that she dares not come in sight,
Nor shewe hirselfe abrode a dayes, but fleeteth in the night
For shame lest folke should see hir fault: and every other birde
Doth in the Ayre and Ivie toddes with wondring at hir girde.
A mischiefe take thy tatling tongue, the Raven answerde tho.
Thy vaine forspeaking moves me not. And so he forth did go
And tels his Lorde Apollo how he saw Coronis lie
Wyth Isthyis, a Gentleman that dwelt in Thessalie.
When Phebus heard his lovers fault, he fiersly gan to frowne,
And cast his garlond from his head, and threw his violl downe.
His colour chaungde, his face lookt pale, and as the rage of yre
That boyled in his belking breast had set his heart on fyre,
He caught me up his wonted tooles, and bent his golden bow
And by and by with deadly stripe of unavoyded blow
Strake through the breast the which his owne had toucht so oft afore.
She wounded gave a piteous shrike, and (drawing from the sore
The deadly Dart the which the bloud pursuing after fast
Upon hir white and tender limmes a scarlet colour cast)
Saide: Phebus, well, thou might have wreakt this trespasse on my head
And yet forborne me till the time I had bene brought abed.
Now in one body by thy meanes a couple shall be dead.
Thus muche she saide: and with the bloud hir life did fade away.
The bodie being voyde of soule became as colde as clay.
Than all too late, alas too late gan Phebus to repent
That of his lover he had tane so cruell punishment.
He blames himselfe for giving eare so unadvisedly.
He blames himselfe in that he tooke it so outragiously.
He hates and bannes his faithfull birde bicause he did enforme
Him of his lovers naughtinesse that made him so to storme.
He hates his bow, he hates his shaft that rashly from it went:
And eke he hates his hasty hands by whom the bow was bent.
He takes hir up betweene his armes endevoring all too late
By plaister made of precious herbes to stay hir helplesse fate.
But when he saw there was no shift: but that she needes must burne,
And that the solemne sacred fire was prest to serve the turne,
Then from the bottome of his heart full sorie sighes he fet,
(For heavenly powres with watrie teares their cheekes may never wet)
In case as when a Cow beholdes the cruell butcher stand
With launching Axe embrewd with bloud and lifting up his hand
Aloft to snatch hir sucking Calfe that hangeth by the heeles
And of the Axe the deadly dint upon his forehead feeles.
Howbeit after sweete perfumes bestowde upon hir corse
And much embracing, having sore bewailde hir wrong divorse,
He followed to the place assignde hir bodie for to burne.
There coulde he not abide to see his seede to ashes turne.
But tooke the baby from hir wombe and from the firie flame,
And unto double Chyrons den conveyed straight the same.
The Raven hoping for his truth to be rewarded well,
He maketh blacke, forbidding him with whiter birdes to dwell.
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