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The auncient men of Thessalie togither with their wives
To Church with offrings gone for saving of their childrens lives.
Great heapes of fuming frankincense were fryed in the flame
And vowed Bulles to sacrifice with homes faire gilded came.
But from this great solemnitie Duke Aeson was away,
Now at deathes door and spent with yeares. Then Jason thus gan say:
O wife to whome I doe confesse I owe my life in deede,
Though al things thou to me hast given, and thy deserts exceede
Beleife: yet if enchauntment can, (for what so hard appeares
Which strong enchauntment can not doe?) abate thou from my yeares,
And add them to my fathers life. As he these wordes did speake,
The teares were standing in his eyes. His godly sute did breake
Medeas heart: who therewithall bethought hir of hir Sire
In leaving whome she had exprest a far unlike desire.
But yet bewraying not hir thoughts, she said: O Husband fie,
What wickednesse hath scapt your mouth? Suppose you then that I
Am able of your life the terme where I will to bestow?
Let Hecat never suffer that. Your sute (as well you know)
Against all right and reason is. But I will put in proofe
A greater gift than you require and more for your behoofe.
I will assay your father's life by cunning to prolong,
And not with your yeares for to make him yong againe and strong:
So our threeformed Goddesse graunt with present helpe to stand
A furthrer of the great attempt the which I take in hand.
Before the Moone should circlewise close both hir homes in one
Three nightes were yet as then to come. As soon as that she shone
Most full of light, and did behold the earth with fulsome face,
Medea with hir haire not trust so much as in a lace,
But flaring on hir shoulders twaine, and barefoote, with hir gowne
Ungirded, gate hir out of doores and wandred up and downe
Alone the dead time of the night. Both Man, and Beast, and Bird
Were fast asleepe: the Serpents slie in trayling forward stird
So softly as ye would have thought they still asleepe had bene.
The moysting Ayre was whist. No leafe ye could have moving sene.
The starres alonly faire and bright did in the welkin shine
To which she lifting up hir handes did thrise hirselfe encline:
And thrice with water of the brooke hir haire besprincled shee:
And gasping thrise she opte hir mouth: and bowing downe hir knee
Upon the bare hard ground, she said: O trustie time of night
Most faithfull unto privities, O golden starres whose light
Doth jointly with the Moone succeede the beames that blaze by day
And thou three headed Hecate who knowest best the way
To compasse this our great attempt and art our chiefest stay:
Ye Charmes and Witchcrafts, and thou Earth which both with herbe and weed
Of mightie working furnishest the Wizardes at their neede:
Ye Ayres and windes: ye Elves of Hilles, of Brookes, of Woods alone,
Of standing Lakes, and of the Night approche ye everychone.
Through helpe of whom (the crooked bankes much wondring at the thing)
I have compelled streames to run cleane backward to their spring.
By charmes I make the calme Seas rough, and make the rough Seas plaine,
And cover all the Skie with Cloudes and chase them thence againe.
By charmes I raise and lay the windes, and burst the Vipers jaw.
And from the bowels of the Earth both stones and trees doe draw.
Whole woods and Forestes I remove: I make the Mountaines shake,
And even the Earth it selfe to grone and fearfully to quake.
I call up dead men from their graves: and thee lightsome Moone
I darken oft, though beaten brasse abate thy perill soone.
Our Sorcerie dimmes the Morning faire, and darkes the Sun at Noone.
The flaming breath of firie Bulles ye quenched for my sake
And caused their unwieldie neckes the bended yoke to take.
Among the Earthbred brothers you a mortall war did set
And brought asleepe the Dragon fell whose eyes were never shet.
By meanes whereof deceiving him that had the golden fleece
In charge to keepe, you sent it thence by Jason into Greece.
Now have I neede of herbes that can by vertue of their juice
To flowring prime of lustie youth old withred age reduce.
I am assurde ye will it graunt. For not in vaine have shone
These twincling starres, ne yet in vaine this Chariot all alone
By drought of Dragons hither comes. With that was fro the Skie
A Chariot softly glaunced downe, and stayed hard thereby.
As soone as she had gotten up, and with hir hand had coyd
The Dragons reined neckes, and with their bridles somewhat toyd,
They mounted with hir in the Ayre, whence looking downe she saw
The pleasant Temp of Thessalie, and made hir Dragons draw
To places further from resort: and there she tooke the view
What herbes on high mount Pelion, and what on Ossa grew,
And what on mountaine Othris and on Pyndus growing were,
And what Olympus (greater than mount Pyndus far) did beare.
Such herbes of them as liked hir she pullde up roote and rinde
Or cropt them with a hooked knife. And many she did finde
Upon the bankes of Apidane agreeing to hir minde:
And many at Amphrisus foords: and thou Enipeus eke
Didst yeelde hir many pretie weedes of which she well did like.
Peneus and Sperchius streames contributarie were,
And so were Boebes rushie bankes of such as growed there.
About Anthedon which against the Ile Euboea standes,
A certaine kind of lively grasse she gathered with her handes,
The name whereof was scarsly knowen or what the herbe could doe
Untill that Glaucus afterward was chaunged thereinto.
Nine dayes with winged Dragons drawen, nine nights in Chariot swift
She searching everie field and frith from place to place did shift.
She was no sooner home returnde but that the Dragons fell
Which lightly of hir gathered herbes had taken but the smell,
Did cast their sloughes and with their sloughes their riveled age forgo.

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load focus English (Brookes More, 1922)
load focus Latin (Hugo Magnus, 1892)
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Thessaly (Greece) (2)
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    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 54
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