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The River ceast and all men there did woonder much thereat.
Pirithous being over hault of mynde and such a one
As did despyse bothe God and man, did laugh them everychone
To scorne for giving credit, and sayd thus: The woords thou spaakst
Are feyned fancies, Acheloy: and overstrong thou maakst
The Gods: to say that they can give and take way shapes. This scoffe
Did make the heerers all amazde, for none did like thereof.
And Lelex of them all the man most rype in yeeres and wit,
Sayd thus: Unmeasurable is the powre of heaven, and it
Can have none end. And looke what God dooth mynd to bring about,
Must take effect. And in this case to put yee out of dout,
Upon the hilles of Phrygie neere a Teyle there stands a tree
Of Oke enclosed with a wall. Myself the place did see.
For Pithey untoo Pelops feelds did send mee where his father
Did sumtyme reigne. Not farre fro thence there is a poole which rather
Had bene dry ground inhabited. But now it is a meare
And Moorecocks, Cootes, and Cormorants doo breede and nestle there.
The mightie Jove and Mercurie his sonne in shape of men
Resorted thither on a tyme. A thousand houses when
For roome to lodge in they had sought, a thousand houses bard
Theyr doores against them. Nerethelesse one Cotage afterward
Receyved them, and that was but a pelting one in deede.
The roofe therof was thatched all with straw and fennish reede.
Howbee't two honest auncient folke, (of whom she Baucis hight
And he Philemon) in that Cote theyr fayth in youth had plight:
And in that Cote had spent theyr age. And for they paciently
Did beare theyr simple povertie, they made it light thereby,
And shewed it no thing to bee repyned at at all.
It skilles not whether there for Hyndes or Maister you doo call,
For all the houshold were but two: and both of them obeyde,
And both commaunded. When the Gods at this same Cotage staid,
And ducking downe their heads, within the low made Wicket came,
Philemon bringing ech a stoole, bade rest upon the same
Their limmes: and busie Baucis brought them cuishons homely geere.
ihich done, the embers on the harth she gan abrode to steere,
And laid the coales togither that were raakt up over night,
And with the brands and dried leaves did make them gather might,
And with the blowing of hir mouth did make them kindle bright.
Then from an inner house she fetcht seare sticks and clifted brands,
And put them broken underneath a Skillet with hir hands.
Hir Husband from their Gardenplot fetcht Coleworts. Of the which
She shreaded small the leaves, and with a Forke tooke downe a flitch
Of restie Bacon from the Balke made blacke with smoke, and cut
A peece thereof, and in the pan to boyling did it put.
And while this meate a seething was, the time in talke they spent,
By meanes whereof away without much tedousnesse it went.
There hung a Boawle of Beeche upon a spirget by a ring.
The same with warmed water filld the two old folke did bring
To bathe their guests foule feete therein. Amid the house there stood
A Couch whose bottom sides and feete were all of Sallow wood,
And on the same a Mat of Sedge. They cast upon this bed
A covering which was never wont upon it to be spred
Except it were at solemne feastes: and yet the same was olde
And of the coursest, with a bed of sallow meete to holde.
The Gods sate downe. The aged wife right chare and busie as
A Bee, set out a table, of the which the thirde foote was
A little shorter than the rest. A tylesherd made it even
And tooke away the shoringnesse: and when they had it driven
To stand up levell, with greene Mintes they by and by it wipte.
Then set they on it Pallas fruite with double colour stripte.
And Cornels kept in pickle moyst, and Endive, and a roote
Of Radish, and a jolly lump of Butter fresh and soote,
And Egges reare rosted. All these Cates in earthen dishes came.
Then set they downe a graven cup made also of the same
Selfe kinde of Plate, and Mazers made of Beech whose inner syde
Was rubd with yellow wax. And when they pawsed had a tyde,
Hot meate came pyping from the fyre. And shortly thereupon
A cup of greene hedg wyne was brought. This tane away, anon
Came in the latter course, which was of Nuts, Dates, dryed figges,
Sweete smelling Apples in a Mawnd made flat of Osier twigges,
And Prunes and Plums and Purple grapes cut newly from the tree,
And in the middes a honnycomb new taken from the Bee.
Besydes all this there did ensew good countnance overmore,
With will not poore nor nigardly. Now all the whyle before,
As ofen as Philemon and Dame Baucis did perceyve
The emptie Cup to fill alone, and wyne to still receyve,
Amazed at the straungenesse of the thing, they gan streyght way
With fearfull harts and hands hilld up to frame themselves to pray.
Desyring for theyr slender cheere and fare to pardoned bee.
They had but one poore Goose which kept theyr little Tennantree,
And this to offer to the Gods theyr guestes they did intend.
The Gander wyght of wing did make the slow old folke to spend
Theyr paynes in vayne, and mokt them long. At length he seemd to flye
For succor to the Gods themselves, who bade he should not dye.
For wee bee Gods (quoth they) and all this wicked towneship shall
Abye their gylt. On you alone this mischeef shall not fall.
No more but give you up your house, and follow up this hill
Togither, and upon the top therof abyde our will.
They bothe obeyd. And as the Gods did lead the way before,
They lagged slowly after with theyr staves, and labored sore
Ageinst the rysing of the hill. They were not mickle more
Than full a flyghtshot from the top, when looking backe they saw
How all the towne was drowned save their lyttle shed of straw.
And as they wondred at the thing and did bewayle the case
Of those that had theyr neyghbours beene, the old poore Cote so base
Whereof they had beene owners erst, became a Church. The proppes
Were turned into pillars huge. The straw uppon the toppes
Was yellow, so that all the roof did seeme of burnisht gold:
The floore with Marble paved was. The doores on eyther fold
Were graven. At the sight hereof Philemon and his make
Began to pray in feare. Then Jove thus gently them bespake:
Declare thou ryghtuowse man, and thou woman meete to have
A ryghtuowse howsband, what yee would most cheefly wish or crave.
Philemon taking conference a little with his wyfe,
Declared bothe theyr meenings thus: We covet during lyfe,
Your Chapleynes for to bee to keepe your Temple. And bycause
Our yeeres in concord wee have spent, I pray when death neere drawes,
Let bothe of us togither leave our lives: that neyther I
Behold my wyves deceace, nor shee see myne when I doo dye.
Theyr wish had sequele to theyr will. As long as lyfe did last,
They kept the Church. And beeing spent with age of yeares forepast,
By chaunce as standing on a tyme without the Temple doore
They told the fortune of the place, Philemon old and poore
Saw Baucis floorish greene with leaves, and Baucis saw likewyse
Philemon braunching out in boughes and twigs before hir eyes.
And as the Bark did overgrow the heades of both, eche spake
To other whyle they myght. At last they eche of them did take
Theyr leave of other bothe at once, and therewithall the bark
Did hyde theyr faces both at once. The Phrygians in that park
Doo at this present day still shew the trees that shaped were
Of theyr two bodies, growing yit togither joyntly there.
Theis things did auncient men report of credit verie good.
For why there was no cause why they should lye. As I there stood
I saw the garlands hanging on the boughes, and adding new
I sayd: Let them whom God dooth love be Gods, and honor dew
Bee given to such as honor him with feare and reverence trew.
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