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Yet would not stout Alcithoe, Duke Mineus daughter, bow
The Orgies of this newfound God in conscience to allow
But still she stiffly doth denie that Bacchus is the sonne
Of Jove: and in this heresie hir sisters with hir runne.
The Priest had bidden holiday, and that as well the Maide
As Mistresse (for the time aside all other businesse layde)
In Buckskin cotes, with tresses loose, and garlondes on their heare,
Should in their hands the leavie speares (surnamed Thyrsis) beare,
Foretelling them that if they did the Goddes commaundement breake,
He would with sore and grievous plagues his wrath upon them wreake.
The women straight both yong and olde doe thereunto obay.
Their yarne, their baskets, and their flax unsponne aside they lay,
And burne to Bacchus frankinsence. Whome solemly they call
By all the names and titles high that may to him befall:
As Bromius, and Lyeus eke, begotten of the flame,
Twice borne, the sole and only childe that of two mothers came,
Unshorne Thyoney, Niseus, Leneus, and the setter
Of Wines, whose pleasant liquor makes all tables fare the better,
Nyctileus and th'Elelean Sire, Iacchus, Evan eke,
With divers other glorious names that through the land of Greke
To thee O Liber wonted are to attributed bee.
Thy youthfull yeares can never wast: there dwelleth ay in thee
A childhod tender, fresh and faire: in Heaven we doe thee see
Surmounting every other thing in beautie and in grace
And when thou standste without thy homes thou hast a Maidens face.
To thee obeyeth all the East as far as Ganges goes,
Which doth the scorched land of Inde with tawnie folke enclose.
Lycurgus with his twibill sharpe, and Penthey who of pride
Thy Godhead and thy mightie power rebelliously denide,
Thou right redowted didst confounde: thou into Sea didst send
The Tyrrhene shipmen. Thou with bittes the sturdy neckes doste bend
Of spotted Lynxes: throngs of Frowes and Satyres on thee tend,
And that olde Hag that with a staffe his staggering limmes doth stay
Scarce able on his Asse to sit for reeling every way.
Thou commest not in any place but that is hearde the noyse
Of gagling womens tatling tongues and showting out of boyes,
With sound of Timbrels, Tabors, Pipes, and Brazen pannes and pots
Confusedly among the rout that in thine Orgies trots.
The Thebane women for thy grace and favour humbly sue,
And (as the Priest did bid) frequent thy rites with reverence due.
Alonly Mineus daughters bent of wilfulnesse, with working
Quite out of time to breake the feast, are in their houses lurking:
And there doe fall to spinning yarne, or weaving in the frame,
And kepe their maidens to their worke. Of which one pleasant dame
As she with nimble hand did draw hir slender threede and fine,
Said: Whyle that others idelly doe serve the God of wine,
Let us that serve a better Sainct Minerva, finde some talke
To ease our labor while our handes about our profite walke.
And for to make the time seeme shorte, let eche of us recite,
(As every bodies turne shall come) some tale that may delight.
Hir saying likte the rest so well that all consent therein,
And thereupon they pray that first the eldest would begin.
She had such store and choyce of tales she wist not which to tell.
She doubted if she might declare the fortune that befell
To Dircetes of Babilon whome now with scaly hide
In altred shape the Philistine beleveth to abide
In watrie Pooles: or rather how hir daughter taking wings
In shape of Dove on toppes of towres in age now sadly sings:
Or how a certaine water Nymph by witchcraft and by charmes
Converted into fishes dumbe of yongmen many swarmes,
Untill that of the selfesame sauce hir selfe did tast at last:
Or how the tree that usde to beare fruite white in ages past,
Doth now beare fruite in manner blacke, by sprincling up of blood.
This tale (bicause it was not stale nor common) seemed good
To hir to tell: and thereupon she in this wise begun,
Hir busie hand still drawing out the flaxen threede she spun:

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