Table of Contents:
And lest deceitfull guile should cease, Medea found a shift
To feyne that Jason and hir selfe were falne at oddes in wroth:
And thereupon in humble wise to Pelias Court she goth.
Where forbicause the King himselfe was feebled sore with age,
His daughters entertainde hir, whome Medea, being sage,
Within a while through false pretence of feyned friendship brought
To take hir baite. For as she tolde what pleasures she had wrought
For Jason, and among the rest as greatest sadly tolde
How she had made his father yong that withred was and olde,
And taried long upon that point: they hoped glad and faine
That their olde father might likewise his youthful yeares regaine.
And this they craving instantly did proffer for hir paine
What recompence she would desire. She helde hir peace a while
As though she doubted what to doe: and with hir suttle guile
Of counterfetted gravitie more eger did them make.
As soone as she had promisde them to doe it for their sake,
For more assurance of my graunt, your selves (quoth she) shall see
The oldest Ram in all your flocke a Lambe streight made to bee
By force of my confections strong. Immediatly a Ram
So olde that no man thereabouts remembred him a Lam
Was thither by his warped homes which turned inward to
His hollow Temples, drawne: whose withred throte she slit in two.
And when she cleane had drayned out that little bloud that was,
Upon the fire with herbes of strength she set a pan of brasse,
And cast his carcasse thereinto. The Medcine did abate
The largenesse of his limmes and seard his dossers from his pate,
And with his homes abridgde his yeares. Anon was plainly heard
The bleating of a new yeand Lambe from mid the Ketleward.
And as they wondred for to heare the bleating, streight the Lam
Leapt out, and frisking ran to seeke the udder of some Dam.
King Pelias daughters were amazde. And when they did beholde
Hir promise come to such effect, they were a thousand folde
More earnest at hir than before. Thrise Phoebus having pluckt
The Collars from his horses neckes, in Iber had them duckt.
And now in Heaven the streaming starres the fourth night shined cleare:
When false Medea on the fire had hanged water shere,
With herbes that had no powre at all. The King and all his garde
Which had the charge that night about his person for to warde
Were through hir nightspels and hir charmes in deadly sleepe all cast.
And Pelias daughters with the Witch which eggde them forward, past
Into his chamber by the watch, and compast in his bed.
Then: Wherefore stand ye doubting thus like fooles, Medea sed.
On: draw your swordes: and let ye out his old bloud, that I may
Fill up his emptie veynes againe with youthfull bloud streight way.
Your fathers life is in your handes: it lieth now in you
To have him olde and withred still or yong and lustie. Now
If any nature in ye be, and that ye doe not feede
A fruitelesse hope, your dutie to your father doe with speede.
Expulse his age by sword, and let the filthy matter out.
Through these persuasions which of them so ever went about
To shewe hirselfe most naturall, became the first that wrought
Against all nature: and for feare she should be wicked thought,
She executes the wickednesse which most to shun she sought.
Yet was not any one of them so bolde that durst abide
To looke upon their father when she strake, but wride aside
Hir eyes: and so their cruell handes not marking where they hit
With faces turnde another way at all aventure smit.
He all beweltred in his bloud awaked with the smart,
And maimde and mangled as he was did give a sodeyne start
Endevoring to have risen up. But when he did beholde
Himselfe among so many swordes, he lifting up his olde
Pale waryish armes, said: Daughters mine what doe ye? who hath put
These wicked weapons in your hands your fathers throte to cut?
With that their heartes and handes did faint. And as he talked yet,
Medea breaking off his wordes, his windpipe quickly slit,
And in the scalding liquor torne did drowne him by and by.
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.