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And for to dense the droupie Skie from darkenesse of the night,
The Easterne wind went downe and flakes of foggie Clouds gan show,
And from the South a merrie gale on Cephals sayles did blow.
The which did hold so fresh and large, that he and all his men
Before that he was looked for arrived safe agen
In wished Haven. In that while King Minos with his fleete
Did waste the cost of Megara. And first he thought it meete
To make a triall of the force and courage of his men
Against the towne Alcathoe where Nisus reigned then.
Among whose honorable haire that was of colour gray,
One scarlet haire did grow upon his crowne, whereon the stay
Of all his Kingdome did depende. Sixe times did Phoebe fill
Hir homes with borrowed light, and yet the warre hung wavering still
In fickle fortunes doubtfull scaales: and long with fleeting wings
Betwene them both flew victorie. A Turret of the Kings
Stood hard adjoyning to the Wall which being touched rings,
For Phoebus (so men say) did lay his golden Violl there,
And so the stones the sound thereof did ever after beare.
King Nisus daughter oftentimes resorted to this Wall
And strake it with a little stone to raise the sound withall,
In time of peace. And in the warre she many a time and oft
Behelde the sturdie stormes of Mars from that same place aloft.
And by continuance of the siege the Captaines names she knew,
Their armes, horse, armor and aray in everie band and crew.
Bit specially above the rest she noted Minos face.
She knew inough and more than was inough as stoode the case.
For were it that he hid his head in Helme with fethered crest,
To hir opinion in his Helme he stayned all the rest.
Or were it that he tooke in hand of steele his target bright,
She thought in weelding of his shielde he was a comly Knight.
Or were it that he raisde his arme to throw the piercing Dart,
The Ladie did commend his force and manhode joynde with Art.
Or drew he with his arrow nockt his bended Bow in hand
She sware that so in all respectes was Phoebus wont to stand.
But when he shewde his visage bare, his Helmet laid aside,
And on a Milke white Steede brave trapt, in Purple Robe did ride,
She scarce was Mistresse of hir selfe, hir wits were almost straught.
A happie Dart she thought it was that he in fingars caught,
And happie called she those reynes that he in hand had raught.
And if she might have had hir will, she could have founde in hart,
Among the enmies to have gone. She could have found in hart,
From downe the highest Turret there hir bodie to have throwne,
Among the thickest of the Tents of Gnossus to have flowne,
Or for to ope the brazen gates and let the enmie in,
Or whatsoever else she thought might Minos favor win.
And as she sate beholding still the King of Candies tent,
She said: I doubt me whether that I rather may lament
Or of this wofull warre be glad. It grieves me at the hart
That thou O Minos unto me thy Lover enmie art.
But had not this same warfare bene, I never had him knowne.
Yet might he leave this cruell warre, and take me as his owne.
A wife, a feere, a pledge for peace he might receive of me.
O flowre of beautie, O thou Prince most pearlesse: if that she
That bare thee in hir wombe were like in beautie unto thee,
A right good cause had Jove on hir enamored for to bee.
Oh happie were I if with wings I through the Aire might glide
And safely to King Minos Tent from this same Turret slide.
Then would I utter who I am, and how the firie flame
Of Cupid burned in my brest, desiring him to name
What dowrie he would aske with me in loan of his love,
Save only of my Fathers Realme no question he should move.
For rather than by traitrous meanes my purpose should take place,
Adue, desire of hoped Love. Yet oftentimes such grace
Hath from the gentle Conqueror proceeded erst, that they
Which tooke the foyle have found the same their profit and their stay.
Assuredly the warre is just that Minos takes in hand,
As in revengement of his sonne late murthered in this land.
And as his quarrell seemeth just, even so it cannot faile,
But rightfull warre against the wrong must (I beleve) prevaile.
Now if this Citie in the ende must needes be taken, why
Should his owne sworde and not my Love be meanes to win it by?
It were yet better he should speede by gentle meanes without
The slaughter of his people, yea and (as it may fall out)
With spending of his owne bloud too. For sure I have a care
O Minos lest some Souldier wound thee ere he be aware.
For who is he in all the world that hath so hard a hart
That wittingly against thy head would aime his cruell Dart?
I like well this devise, and on this purpose will I stand:
To yeelde my selfe endowed with this Citie to the hand
Of Minos: and in doing so to bring this warre to ende.
But smally it availeth me the matter to intende.
The gates and yssues of this towne are kept with watch and warde,
And of the Keyes continually my Father hath the garde.
My Father only is the man of whome I stand in dreede,
My Father only hindreth me of my desired speede.
Would God that I were Fatherlesse. Tush, everie Wight may bee
A God as in their owne behalfe, and if their hearts be free
From fearefulnesse. For fortune works against the fond desire
Of such as through faint heartednesse attempt not to aspire.
Some other feeling in hir heart such flames of Cupids fire
Already would have put in proofe some practise to destroy
What thing so ever of hir Love the furtherance might anoy
And why should any woman have a bolder heart than I?
Through fire and sword I boldly durst adventure for to flie.
And yet in this behalfe at all there needes no sword nor fire,
There needeth but my fathers haire to accomplish my desire. I
That Purple haire of his to me more precious were than golde:
That Purple haire of his would make me blest a thousand folde:
That haire would compasse my desire and set my heart at rest.
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