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He voyd of feare made aunswere thus: Acetis is my name:
Of Parentes but of lowe degree in Lidy land I came.
No ground for painfull Oxe to till, no sheepe to beare me wooll
My father left me: no nor horse, nor Asse, nor Cow nor Booll.
God wote he was but poore himselfe. With line and bayted hooke
The frisking fishes in the pooles upon his Reede he tooke.
His handes did serve in steade of landes, his substance was his craft.
Nowe have I made you true accompt of all that he me laft,
As well of ryches as of trades, in which I was his heire
And successour. For when that death bereft him use of aire,
Save water he me nothing left. It is the thing alone
Which for my lawfull heritage I clayme, and other none.
Soone after I (bicause that loth I was to ay abide
In that poore state) did learne a ship by cunning hande to guide,
And for to know the raynie signe, that hight th'Olenien Gote
Which with hir milke did nourish Jove. And also I did note
The Pleiads and the Hiads moyst, and eke the siely Plough
With all the dwellings of the winds that make the Seas so rough.
And eke such Havens as are meete to harbrough vessels in:
With everie starre and heavenly signe that guides to shipmen bin.
Now as by chaunce I late ago did toward Dilos sayle,
I came on coast of Scios Ile, and seeing day to fayle,
Tooke harbrough there and went alande. As soone as that the night
Was spent, and morning gan to peere with ruddie glaring light,
I rose and bad my companie fresh water fetch aboord.
And pointing them the way that led directly to the foorde,
I went me to a little hill, and viewed round about
To see what weather we were lyke to have ere setting out.
Which done, I cald my watermen and all my Mates togither,
And willde them all to go aboord my selfe first going thither.
Loe here we are (Opheltes sayd) (he was the Maysters Mate)
And (as he thought) a bootie found in desert fields alate,
He dragd a boy upon his hande that for his beautie sheene
A mayden rather than a boy appeared for to beene.
This childe, as one forelade with wine, and dreint with drousie sleepe
Did reele, as though he scarcely coulde himselfe from falling keepe.
I markt his countnance, weede and pace, no inckling could I see,
By which I might conjecture him a mortall wight to bee.
I thought, and to my fellowes sayd: What God I can not tell
But in this bodie that we see some Godhead sure doth dwell.
What God so ever that thou art, thy favour to us showe,
And in our labours us assist, and pardone these also.
Pray for thy selfe and not for us (quoth Dictys by and by).
A nimbler fellow for to climbe upon the Mast on hie
And by the Cable downe to slide, there was not in our keele.
Swart Melanth patrone of the shippe did like his saying weele.
So also did Alcimedon: and so did Libys too,
And blacke Epopeus eke whose charge it did belong unto
To see the Rowers at their tymes their dueties duely do.
And so did all the rest of them: so sore mennes eyes were blinded
Where covetousenesse of filthie gaine is more than reason minded.
Well sirs (quoth I) but by your leave ye shall not have it so,
I will not suffer sacriledge within this shippe to go.
For I have here the most to doe. And with that worde I stept
Uppon the Hatches, all the rest from entrance to have kept.
The rankest Ruffian of the rout that Lycab had to name,
(Who for a murder being late driven out of Tuscane came
To me for succor) waxed woode, and with his sturdie fist
Did give me such a churlish blow bycause I did resist,
That over boord he had me sent, but that with much ado
I caught the tackling in my hand and helde me fast thereto:
The wicked Varlets had a sport to see me handled so.
Then Bacchus (for it Bacchus was) as though he had but tho
Bene waked with their noyse from sleepe, and that his drousie braine
Discharged of the wine, begon to gather sence againe,
Said: What adoe? what noyse is this? how came I here I pray?
Sirs tell me whether you doe meane to carie me away.
Feare not my boy (the Patrone sayd) no more but tell me where
Thou doest desire to go alande, and we will set thee there.
To Naxus ward (quoth Bacchus tho) set ship upon the fome.
There would I have yow harbrough take, for Naxus is my home.
Like perjurde Caitifs by the Sea and all the Gods thereof,
They falsly sware it should be so, and therewithall in scoffe
They bade me hoyse up saile and go. Upon the righter hand
I cast about to fetch the winde, for so did Naxus stand.
What meanst? art mad? Opheltes cride, and therewithall begun
A feare of loosing of their pray through every man to run.
The greater part with head and hand a signe did to me make,
And some did whisper in mine eare the left hand way to take.
I was amazde and said: Take charge henceforth who will for me:
For of your craft and wickednesse I will no furthrer be.
Then fell they to reviling me, and all the rout gan grudge:
Of which Ethalion said in scorne: By like in you Sir snudge
Consistes the savegard of us all. And wyth that word he takes
My roume, and leaving Naxus quite to other countries makes.
The God then dalying with these mates, as though he had at last
Begon to smell their suttle craft, out of the foredecke cast
His eye upon the Sea: and then as though he seemde to weepe,
Sayd: Sirs, to bring me on this coast ye doe not promise keepe.
I see that this is not the land the which I did request.
For what occasion in this sort deserve I to be drest?
What commendation can you win, or praise thereby receyve,
If men a Lad, if many one ye compasse to deceyve?
I wept and sobbed all this while, the wicked villaines laught,
And rowed forth with might and maine, as though they had bene straught.
Now even by him (for sure than he in all the worlde so wide
There is no God more neare at hand at every time and tide)
I sweare unto you that the things the which I shall declare,
Like as they seeme incredible, even so most true they are.
The ship stoode still amid the Sea as in a dustie docke.
They wondring at this miracle, and making but a mocke,
Persist in beating with their Ores, and on with all their sayles.
To make their Galley to remove, no Art nor labor fayles.
But Ivie troubled so their Ores that forth they could not row:
And both with Beries and with leaves their sailes did overgrow.
And he himselfe with clustred grapes about his temples round,
Did shake a Javeling in his hand that round about was bound
With leaves of Vines: and at his feete there seemed for to couch
Of Tygers, Lynx, and Panthers shapes most ougly for to touch.
I cannot tell you whether feare or woodnesse were the cause,
But every person leapeth up and from his labor drawes.
And there one Medon first of all began to waxen blacke,
And having lost his former shape did take a courbed backe.
What Monster shall we have of thee (quoth Licab) and with that
This Licabs chappes did waxen wide, his nosetrils waxed flat,
His skin waxt tough, and scales thereon began anon to grow.
And Libis as he went about the Ores away to throw,
Perceived how his hands did shrinke and were become so short,
That now for finnes and not for hands he might them well report.
Another as he would have claspt his arme about the corde:
Had nere an arme, and so bemaimd in bodie, over boord
He leapeth downe among the waves, and forked is his tayle
As are the homes of Phebes face when halfe hir light doth fayle.
They leape about and sprinkle up much water on the ship,
One while they swim above, and downe againe anon they slip.
They fetch their friskes as in a daunce, and wantonly they writhe
Now here now there among the waves their bodies bane and lithe.
And with their wide and hollow nose the water in they snuffe,
And by their noses out againe as fast they doe it puffe.
Of twentie persons (for our ship so many men did beare)
I only did remaine nigh straught and trembling still for feare.
The God could scarce recomfort me, and yet he said: Go too,
Feare not but saile to Dia ward. His will I gladly doe.
And so as soone as I came there with right devout intent,
His Chaplaine I became. And thus his Orgies I frequent.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CAL´AMUS
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