Table of Contents:
The Thracians Heme and Rodope the formost corner hadde:
Who being sometime mortall folke usurpt to them the name
Of Jove and Juno, and were turnde to mountaines for the same.
A Pigmie womans piteous chaunce the second corner shewde,
Whome Juno turned to a Crane (bicause she was so lewde
As for to stand at strife with hir for beautie) charging hir
Against hir native countriefolke continuall war to stir.
The thirde had proude Antigone, who durst of pride contende
In beautie with the wife of Jove: by whome she in the ende
Was turned to a Storke. No whit availed hir the towne
Of Troy, or that Laomedon hir father ware a crowne,
But that she, clad in feathers white, hir lazie wings must flap.
And with a bobbed Bill bewayle the cause of hir missehap.
The last had chyldelesse Cinyras: who being turnde to stone,
Was picturde prostrate on the grounde, and weeping all alone,
And culling fast betweene his armes a Temples greeces fine
To which his daughters bodies were transformde by wrath divine.
The utmost borders had a wreath of Olyf round about,
And this is all the worke the which Minerva portrayd out.
For with the tree that she hirselfe had made but late afore
She bounded in hir Arras cloth, and then did worke no more.
The Lydian maiden in hir web did portray to the full
How Europe was by royall Jove beguilde in shape of Bull.
A swimming Bull, a swelling Sea, so lively had she wrought,
That Bull and Sea in very deede ye might them well have thought.
The Ladie seemed looking backe to landwarde and to crie
Upon hir women, and to feare the water sprinkling hie,
And shrinking up hir fearfull feete. She portrayd also there
Asteriee struggling with an Erne which did away hir beare.
And over Leda she had made a Swan his wings to splay.
She added also how by Jove in shape of Satyr gaye
The faire Antiope with a paire of children was besped:
And how he tooke Amphitrios shape when in Alcmenas bed
He gate the worthie Hercules: and how he also came
To Danae like a shoure of golde, to Aegine like a flame,
A sheepeherd to Mnemosyne, and like a Serpent sly
To Proserpine. She also made Neptunus leaping by
Upon a Maide of Aeolus race in likenesse of a Bull,
And in the streame Enipeus shape begetting on a trull
The Giants Othe and Ephialt, and in the shape of Ram
Begetting one Theophane Bisalties ympe with Lam,
And in a lustie Stalions shape she made him covering there
Dame Ceres with the yellow lockes, and hir whose golden heare
Was turnde to crawling Snakes: on whome he gate the winged horse.
She made him in a Dolphins shape Melantho to enforce.
Of all these things she missed not their proper shapes, nor yit
The full and just resemblance of their places for to hit.
In likenesse of a Countrie cloyne was Phebus picturde there,
And how he now ware Gossehaukes wings, and now a Lions heare.
And how he in a shepeherdes shape was practising a wile
The daughter of one Macarie, dame Issa, to beguile.
And how the faire Erygone by chaunce did suffer rape
By Bacchus who deceyved hir in likenesse of a grape.
And how that Saturne in the shape of Genet did beget
The double Chiron. Round about the utmost Verdge was set
A narrow Traile of pretie floures with leaves of Ivie fret.
Not Pallas, no, nor spight it selfe could any quarrell picke
To this hir worke: and that did touch Minerva to the quicke.
Who thereupon did rende the cloth in pieces every whit,
Bicause the lewdnesse of the Gods was biased so in it.
And with an Arras weavers combe of Box she fiercely smit
Arachne on the forehead full a dozen times and more.
The Maide impacient in hir heart, did stomacke this so sore,
That by and by she hung hirselfe. Howbeit as she hing,
Dame Pallas pitying hir estate, did stay hir in the string
From death, and said: Lewde Callet live: but hang thou still for mee.
And lest hereafter from this curse that time may set thee free,
I will that this same punishment enacted firmely bee,
As well on thy posteritie for ever as on thee.
And after when she should depart, with juice of Hecats flowre
She sprinkled hir: and by and by the poyson had such powre,
That with the touch thereof hir haire, hir eares, and nose did fade:
And verie small it both hir heade and all hir bodie made.
In steade of legs, to both hir sides sticke fingars long and fine:
The rest is bellie. From the which she nerethelesse doth twine
A slender threede, and practiseth in shape of Spider still
The Spinners and the Websters crafts of which she erst had skill.
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