Omnia Vincit Amor Ovid Illustrated: The Renaissance Reception
of Ovid in Image and Text

George Sandys, Ovid's Metamorphosis (1632)

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The Ninth Booke.

A Serpent Achelous: now a Bull:
His seuered Horne with plenty euer full.
Lichas a Rock. Alcides sunke in flame,
Ascends a God. The labour-helping Dame
A Weesel. Lotis, flying lust, becomes
A tree: the like sad Dryope intombs.
Old Iolaus waxeth young agen.
Callirrho'es Infants sodenly grow Men.
Byblis a weeping Fountaine. Iphis, now
A Boy, to Isis paies his maiden Vow.

Hee,1 who his high descent from Neptune drawes,
Of his so sad a sigh demands the cause,
And maimed brow. When thus the God2 proceeds:
His dangling curles impal'd with quiuering reeds.
    A heauie taske you impose: his owne disgrace
Who would reuiue? Yet was it not so base  ACHELOVS AND HERCVLES  
To be subdude, as noble to contend:
And such a Victor doth my foyle defend.
Haue you not heard of faire-cheekt Deianire?
The enui'd hope of many: the desire
Of all that knew her. Wee, with others, went
To Oeneus Court, to purchace his consent.
Parthaons son,3 make me thy sonne in law;
I, and Alcides4 said: the rest with-draw.
He, with his father Ioue, his Labours fame,
And Step-dames6 Mantle sink;
My armes oppose, my hands for seasure prest;
And euery fitted part for fight addrest.
He throwes dust7 on me with his hollow hand:
And I againe besprinkle him with sand.
Now catches at my neck, now at my thighes;
Or proffer makes: and euery lim applies.
But me my weight defends; in vaine he striues.
Much like as when a roring billow driues
Against a rock: the rock repels his pride;
By his owne poisure firmely fortifi'd.
Both for a while with-drew: againe we meete,
And strongly keepe our stands; feete ioyne to feete.
With that I rusht vpon him with my brest.
My fingers, his; my brow his fore-head prest.
So haue I seene two Buls with horrid might
Together close; the motiue of their fight
The fairest Cow in all those feilds: the Heard
With feare expecting which should bee preferr'd.
Thrice Hercules did all his force incline
(As oft in vaine) to free his brest from mine.
The fourth assay my strong imbrace vnbound:
And from my grasping armes his body wound.
Then turning me about (truth guides my tongue)
Vpon my back with all his burden hung.
If I haue faith (this ly can find no way
To praise) on me, me thought a mountaine lay.
Scarce could I clasp my armes, all frotht with sweat:
Scarce from his gripes could I my body get
Still pressing on, he giues nor time to breathe
Nor gather strength: my powers my trust deceaue.
At last, his yoking armes my neck command:
When, puld vpon my knees, I bit the sand.
My natiue slight my weaker force supply'd:
I from him like a lengthfull Serpent glide.
Now in contracted folds I forward sprung:
Horridly hissing with my forked tongue.
He laughs; and flouts my cunning in this sort:
    To strangle Serpents was my cradles sport.8
Though other dragons to thy conquest bow:
To dire Lernean Hydra9 what art thou?
Her wounds were fruitfull: from each seuer'd head;
Each of her hundred necks two fiercer bred:
More strong by twining heires. These thus renu'd
And multiply'd by death, I twice subdu'd.
What hope hast thou, a forged Snake, to scape?
That fight'st with others armes; and begst thy shape:
    This said; my neck his grasping fingers clincht;
And scruz'd my throate; as if with pincers wrincht:
While from his gripes I stroue my iawes to pull.
Twice ouer-come; now, like a furious Bull,
Once more his terrible assaults oppose.
His armes about my swelling chest he throwes,
And following, hales: my horne (my head turn'd round)
Fixt on the earth; and threw me on the ground.
My brow (that not sufficing) disadornes:
By breaking one of my ingaged hornes.
The Naiades10 with fruits and flowres this fill:
Wherein abundant plenty11 riots still.
    Here Achelöus ends. One louely-faire,
Girt like Diana's Nymph, with flowing haire,
Came in; and brought the wealthy Horne; repleat
With Autumnes store, and fruit seru'd after meat.
    Day sprung; and mountaine shone with early beames.
His Guests depart: nor stay till peacefull streames
Glyde gently downe, and keepe their bounded race.
Sad Achelous now his rustick face
And maymed head within the current shrowds.
This blemish much his former beautie clouds:
All else compleat. The dammage of his browes
He shades with flaggie wreathes, and sallow boughes.
    But Deianira, Nessus, was thy wrack:
A deadly arrow piercing through thy back.
Ioues son,12 with his new wife; to Thebes his course
Directing; came t' Euenus rapid sourse.
The big-swolne Streames increast with winters raine,
And whurling round, their passage now restraine.
For her he feares: feare for himselfe abhor'd.
When strong-lim'd Nessus came, who knew the Ford;
And said; I safely will transport thy Bride:
Meane-while swim thou vnto the other side.
To him Alcides13 his pale wife betakes:
Who, fearing both the flood, and Nessus, quakes.
Charg'd with his quiuer, and his Lyons skin
(His club and bow before throwne ouer) in
The Heros leapes, and said; How'euer vast,
These waues, since vndertaken, shall be past.
And confident, nor seekes the smoothest wayes:
Nor by declining entertaines delayes.
Now ouer; stooping for his bow, he heard
His wiues shrill shreekes; and Nessus saw, prepard
To violate his trust. Thou rauisher,
What hope said he, can thy vaine speed confer?
Holla, thou halfe a beast;14 with-hold thy flight:
I wish thee heare; nor intercept my right:
If no respect of me can fix thy trust:
Yet, let thy Fathers wheele15 restraine thy lust.
Nor shalt thou scape reuenge; how euer fleete,
Wounds shall or'e-take thy speed, though not my feete.
The last, his deeds confirme; for as he fled,
An arrow struck his back: the barbed head
Past through his brest. Tug'd out, a crimson flood
Spouts both waies; mixt with Hydras16 poys'nous blood.
This Nessus tooke; and softly said: yet I,
Alcides,17 will not vnreuenged dy.
And gaue his Rape18 a robe, dipt in that gore:
This will (said he) the heat of loue restore.
    Long after (all the ample world possest
With his great acts, and Iunos hate increast)
From raz'd Oechalia19 hasting his remoue,
To sacrifice vnto Cenaean Ioue:20
Fames bablings Deianira's eares surprise
(Who falsehood adds to truth, and growes by lies)
How Iole, Amphitryoniades21
With loue inthraul'd. Stung with this strong disease
The troubled louer credits what she feares.
At first she nourisheth her griefe with teares:
Which weeping eyes diffuse. Then said; But why
Weepe we? the Strumpet in these teares will ioy.
Since she will come, some change attempt I must;
Before my bed be stained with her lust.
Shall I complaine? be mute? shift houses? stay?
Returne to Calydon, and giue her way?
Or call to mind that I am sister to
Great Meleager, and some mischiefe doe?
What injur'd woman; what the spleenefull woe
Of iealousie; by harlots death, can show?
Her thoughts, long toyld with change, now fixed stood
To send the garment dipt in Nessus blood;
To quicken fainting loue. The Present she
To Lycas gaue (as ignorant as he)
And her owne sorrow. Who with good intent
And kind respects, the robe t' her husband sent.
Which now the vnsuspecting Heroe wore:
Wrapt in the poyson of Echidna's22 gore.
Who praying, new-borne flames with incense fed:
And bowles of wine on marble altars shed.
The spreading mischiefe works: with heat dissolu'd,
The manly limmes of Hercules inuolu'd.
Who, whilst he could, with vsuall fortitude
His grones supprest. All patience now subdu'd
With such extreames; the altar downe he flings:
And shady Oeta23 with his clamor rings.
Forth-with, to teare the torture off, he striues.
The riuen robe, his skin that lines it, riues;
Or to his limmes vnseparably cleaues;
Or his huge bones and sinewes naked leaues.
As fire-red steele in water drencht; so toyles
His hissing blood, and with hot poyson boyles.
No meane! the greedy flames his entralls eat;
And all his body flowes with purple sweat:
His scorched sinewes crack, his marrow fries.
Then, to the starres his hands aduancing, cries.
    Feast, Iuno, on our harmes. O, from on high
Behold this plague! thy cruell stomack cloy.
If foes may pitty purchase (such are we;)
This life, with torments vext; long sought by thee;
And borne to toyle, receiue. For death would proue
To me a blessing: and a Step-dames loue
May such a blessing giue. Haue I this gain'd,
For slaine Busiris;24 who Ioues temple stain'd
With strangers blood? That from the earth earth-bred
Antaeus held? Whom Geryons triple head
Nor thine, ô Cerberus, could once dismay?
These hands, these made the Cretan Bull obay
Your labours, Elis; smooth Stymphalian floods,
Confesse with praises; and Parthenian woods.
You got the golden belt of Thermodon:
And apples from the sleeplesse Dragon won:
Nor cloud-borne Centaures, nor th' Arcadian Bore,
Could me resist: nor Hydra with her store
Of frightfull heads; which by their losse increast.
I, when I saw the Thracian Horses feast
With humane flesh, their mangers ouer-threw
And with his steeds, their wicked Master slew.
These hands the Nemean Lyon chokt: these queld
Huge Cacus, and these shoulders heauen vp-held.
Ioues cruell wife grew weary to impose:
I neuer to performe. But ô, these woes,
This new found plague, no vertue can repell;
Nor armes, nor weapons! Hungry flames of hell
Shoote through my veines; and on my liuer prey.
Eurystheus25 yet tryumphs: and some will say
That there be Gods! Here his complaints he ends;
And high-raisd steps or'e lofty Oeta bends,
Hurried with anguish: like a Bull, that beares
A wounding iauelin; whom the wounder feares.
Oft should you see him quake, oft grone, oft striuing
To teare his garments; solid trees vp-riuing,
Inraged with the mountaines, and then reares
His scorched armes vnto his fathers spheares.
Hid in a hollow rock, he Lycas spies:
When torture had possest his faculties
With all her furies. Lycas didst thou giue
This horrid gift, said he? Think'st thou to liue;
I dying by thy treason? While he quakes,
Lookes gastly pale, vnheard excuses makes;
While yet he spake, while to his knees he clung;
Caught by the heeles, about his head thrice swong,
Him into deepe Eubaean surges threw;26
(As engines stones) who hardned as he flew.
As falling shoures congeal'd with frezing winds
Conuert to snow; as snow together binds,
And rouling round in solid haile descends:
So while the aire his forced body rends,
Bloodlesse with terror, all his moisture gone;
That Age reports him chang'd to rugged stone:
And still within Euboeas gulphy deepes:
A smale rocke lies, which mans proportion keepes:
Whereon the mariners forbeare to fall,
As if 't had sence. And this they Lycas call.  LYCAS  
    But thou, Ioues God-like son27 (a Pyle with store
Of trees aduanc't, which lofty Oeta bore)
Thy Bow and ample Quiuer (wherein ly
Those arrowes,28 that againe must visit Troy)
Bequeath'st to Peans Heire:29 who catching fire
Puts to the Pyle. While greedy flames aspire;
Thou on the top thy Lyons spoyle didst spread:
And layst thereon (thy club beneath thy head)
With such a looke; as if a crowned Guest
Amidst full goblets, at a mirthfull feast.
Now all imbracing flames a crackling made:
And their Contemners patient limmes inuade.
The Gods much thought for Earths Defender tooke:
When thus Saturnius,30 with a cheerefull looke:
    This griefe, you Gods, is our delight: with all
Our soule we ioy, that such a people call
Vs King and Father; who so gratefull are,
And of our progeny expresse such care:
For though his noble acts deserue as much;
You vs oblige. But least vaine terrors touch
Your loyall hearts; let not these flames displease:
Who conquered all, shall also conquer these.
Vulcan31 shall but his mothers part subdue:
For that's immortall which from vs he drew;
And can nor taste of death, nor stoope to fire:
Which, freed from earth, shall to our ioyes aspire.
This all your Deities I thinke will please.
If any grudge such grace to Hercules,
Nor would his honour; let them enuy still:
They shall confirme our act against their will.
    The Gods assent. And Iuno's selfe accords;
At least in show: yet Iupiters last words
Vnsmooth her forehead with obseru'd distaste.
What flame could vanquish, Mulciber32 doth waste.
And Hercules, not knowne by face, remaines;
Who nothing of his mothers forme retaines:
Now only Ioue-like. As a snake his yeares
Casts with his skin, and sprightly young appeares
With glittering scales: so, the Tiryntian,33
Hauing put off the habit of fraile man;
Shines in his better part, and seemes more great:
With awe-infusing majesty repleat.
Rapt in a charriot by almighty Ioue,
Through hollow clouds, vnto the starres aboue.
    Prest Atlas34 feeles his waight. Eurystheus ire
Ends not in death: his hatred to the Sire
Pursues his race. Alcmena, worne with care;
Had Iole35 to whom she might declare
Her old-wiues plaints, her Sons hard labours (knowne
Through broad-spred Earth) his fortunes, and her owne.
Her Hyllas,36 by Alcides testament,
Tooke to his bed, with loues vnforc't consent;
And fild her womb with generous seede: when thus
Alcmena: Be the Gods propitious,
And quick in working, when shy time drawes neare
To call Ilithyia,37 whom sad mothers feare:
To me made difficult by Iunos spight.
For ten accomplisht signes did now excite
My trauell to Alcides birth; whose waight
My belly stretcht: which bare so great a fraight,
That you might sweare it was begot by Ioue:
When with intollerable paines I stroue.
Now also, speaking, horror chils my heart:
And griefes remembred adds to griefe a part.
Seauen nights, seauen dayes, thus rackt; with anguish tir'd,
My hands vpheld, with out-cries, I desir'd
Lucina's38 aid, my burden to vnty.
She came indeede, but pre-corrupted by
Ioues wife, to execute her deadly hate.
Hearing my grones, she sate before the gate
On yonder Altar: her right knee vpholds
Her crosse left ham; whose fingers knit in folds
Delai'd deliuery: and with mutter'd spels
Of secret powre, the pressing birth repels.
I striue: and rauing, task vngratefull Ioue:
Desire to die; and breath complaints might moue
Relentlesse flints. The Cadmean39 Dames were there;
Who pray for me, and comfort my despaire.
Red-hair'd Galanthis, one of meane descent;  GALANTHIS  
In all employments stoutly diligent,
Beloued for her duetie; doth misdoubt
Malitious Iuno. Passing in and out,
She saw the Goddesse on the altar sit;
Her armes about her knees her fingers knit.
What ere you be, rejoyce with vs, she sayd;
Ioyfull Alcmena hath her belly layd.
The Goddesse,40 ruling child-birth, starting, rose:
And parting her linckt fingers, eas'd my Throwes.
    They say Galanthis laught at this deceit:
Whom straight the flouted Goddesse, in a fret,
Drags by the haire; nor suffers her to rise:
Forth-with her armes convert to leggs and thighes:
Agility and colour still abide:
Her shape transform'd. In that her mouth supply'd
Help to that child-birth, at her mouth she beares.
Nor now our still-frequented houses feares.
This said, she sighes for her old seruants sake:
To whome her daughter,41 likewise sighing, spake.  DRYOPE  
    You, Mother, sorrow for no kinreds fate.
But what if I the wondrous change relate
Of my poore Sister? Teares, and sorrow seaze
My troubled speech. Of all th' Oechalides 42
For forme few might with Dryope compare;
The onely child her dying mother bare:
I borne by a second wife. Her virgin flowre
Being gathered by that ouer-mastring powre,43
Who in Delos, and in Delphos doth reside;
Andraemon weds her: happy in his Bride.
A Lake there is, which sheluing borders bound,
Much like a shore; with fragrant myrtles crownd.
Hither came simple Dryope (what more
Afflicts me) to those Nymphs she garlands bore.
Her armes her child, a pleasing burden, hold;
Who suckt her brests: not yet a twelue-month old:
Hard by the lake a flowry Lotus grew,
(Expecting berryes) of a crimson hew.
Thence pulling flowres, she gaue them to her son
To play with all; so was I like t' haue done:
For I was there. I saw the blood descend
From dropping twigs: the boughs with horror bend.
And heard, too late; how that a Nymph, who fled
From lustfull Priapus;44 to quit her dread,
Assum'd this shape: the name of Lotus kept.
My Sister, this not knowing backward stept;
And would depart, as soone as she had prayd:
But rootes her feete, for all her strugling, stayd.
Who only moues aboue. The bark increast:
Ascending from the bottome to her brest.
This seene; she thought t' haue torne her haire: but teares
Leaues from their twigs; her head greene branches beares.
The child Amphisus (for his grand-father
Eurytus, did that name on him confer)
Now finds his mothers brests both stiffe and dry:
I, a spectator of thy tragedy,
Deare sister, had in me no powre of aid.
Yet, as I could, thy growing trunk I stayd,
Clung to thy spredding boughs; and wisht that I
Intomb'd with thee, might in thy Lotus ly.
Behold, Andraemon comes; with him, her Sire;
(Both wretched!) and for Dryope inquire:
When I for Dryope the Lotus show'd.
They kisses on the yet warme wood bestow'd
And, groueling on the ground, her roots imbrace:
Now all of thee, deare Sister, but thy face
Th' incroaching habit of a tree receiues.
With teares she bathes her new created leaues.
Who, while she might, while yet a way remain'd
For speaking passion; in this sort complain'd.
    If Credit to the wretched may be giuen;
I sweare by all the Powres inbowr'd in Heauen,
I neuer this deseru'd. Without a sin
I suffer: innocent my life hath bin.
Or if I lie, may my greene branches fade:
And, feld with axes, on the fire be layd.
This Infant from his dying mother beare
To some kind Nurse: and often let him here
Be fed with milke; oft in my shaddow play.
Let him salute my tree; and sadly say.
(When he can speake) This Lotus doth containe
My dearest mother. Let him yet refraine
All lakes; nor euer dare to touch a flowre:
But thinke that euery tree inshrines a Powre.
Deare Husband, Sister, Father, all farewell.
If in your gentle hearts compassion dwell,
Suffer no axe to wound my tender boughes;
Nor on my leaues let hungry cattaile brouse.
And since I cannot vnto you decline,
Ascend to me; and ioyne your lips to mine.
My little son, while I can kisse, aduance.
But fate cuts off my failing vtterance.
For now the softer rine my neck ascends:
And round about my leauy top extends.
Remoue your hands:45 without the helpe of those,
The wrapping bark my dying eyes will close.
So left to speake, and be. Yet humane heat
In her chang'd body long retain'd a seat.
    While Iöle this story told; her eyes,  IOLAVS  
Fill'd with her teares, the kind Alcmena dryes;
And weeps her selfe. Behold, a better change
With ioy defers their sorrow: nor lesse strange.
For Iolaus,46 twice a youth, came in:
The doubtfull downe now budding on his chin.
Faire Hebe47 at her Husbands sute, on thee
This gift bestow'd. About to sweare that she
Would neuer giue the like; wise Themis 48 said,
    Forbeare; Warre49 raues in Thebes by discord swayd:  CALLIRHOES CHILDREN   
And Capaneus50 but by Ioue alone
Can be subdu'd. The brothers51 then shall grone
With mutuall wounds. The sacred Prophet,52 lost
In swallowing earth, aliue shall see his Ghost.
His Sons53 red hands his mothers54 life extract
T' appease his Sire: a iust yet wicked fact.
Rapt from his home and senses, with th' affright:
Of staring furies, and his mothers Sprite,
Vntill his wife55 the fatall gold demands:
Her husband murder'd by Phegides56 hands.
Then Acheloïan Callirrhoa
Shall Ioue importune, that her infants may
Be turn'd to men: and due reuenge require
(As he,57 for his) of those who slew ther sire;
Her prayers shall win consent from Ioue: who then
Will bid thee make Callirrhoe's children men.
    This, Themis with prophetick rapture sung.
Among the Gods a grudging murmur sprung,
Why she this gift should not to others giue.
Aurora for her husbands age58 doth grieue;
Ceres complaines of Iasius59 hoary haire;
Vulcan would Erichthonius60 youth repaire;
And cares of time to come in Venus raigne,
That her Anchises61 might wax young againe.
All sue for some: seditious fauor stroue
In hight of tumult; thus supprest by Ioue.
    What mutter you? Or where is your respect?
Thinke you, you can the powre of Fate subject?
Old Iolaus was by fate renew'd:
By fate Callirrhoe's babes shall be indew'd
With youth: not by ambition, nor by warre.
Euen we, that you may better brooke it, are
Prescrib'd by Fate. Which could we change; not thus
Should time suppresse our God-like Aeacus:62
Eternall youth should Rhadamanthus62 crowne:
Nor should our Minos62 loose his old renowne;
Despised now through age: who heretofore,
With such a braue command his scepter bore.
    These words of Ioues the yeelding Gods asswage;
Sith Rhadamanth' and Aeacus, with age
Decline: and Minos, whose youths actiue flame
Made mighty nations tremble at his name.
But now in mind and body impotent,
Deionides63 Miletus fear'd ascent
T' his throne suspects; adorn'd with youth, and stile
Of Phoebus son: nor durst his feares exile.
But thou, Miletus, of thy owne accord
Forsook'st thy natiue home: and now abord,
Through deepe Aegaean seas to Asia came:
Erecting there a citty64 of thy name.
He, as the Nymph Cyanee (excellent
For beauty) daughter to Meander, went
Along his winding banks, comprest her there:
Who Byblis at one birth with Caunus bare.
    Byblis example lawlesse loue reproues:  BYBLIS  
Byblis Apollineian65 Caunus loues,
Not as sister should a brother doe:
Nor at the first her owne affections knew.
Nor thought it sinne so eagerly to kisse:
Nor by imbracing to haue done amisse.
Whom shadow of false piety beguiles;
Loue by degrees corrupts. Her dresse, and smiles,
She frames t' attract; to seeme too faire desires:
And enuies whom so euer he admires.
Yet knows not her disease: nor wishes rise
In sighes as yet; and yet within she fries.
Now calls him Lord; the due of blood disclaim'd:
Who would be Byblis, and not sister nam'd.
Nor waking durst she harbor in her brest
A wanton hope: but in dissoluing rest
Her louer oft enjoyes; her senses keepe
A festiuall; yet blushes in her sleepe.
Sleepe fled; long mute; her dreame againe renues
By repetition: which she thus pursues.
    Woe's me! what bode these fantasies of night!
If true, how wretched! who should such delight?
His heauenly forme by enuy is approu'd:
Who might, if not a brother, be belou'd;
And merits my affections (ô too well)
If I were not his sister: there's my hell!
While waking, I indeauour no such ill,
May these bewitching dreames inchant me still:
No Spie could blab that imitated ioy.
O Venus, and with thee, thou winged Boy!66
What pleasure, what content, had I that night!
How lay I all dissolued in delight!
With how much ioy remembred! short those ioyes;
And hastie Night our happinesse enuies.
Would I could change this wretched name of mine!
Or he the intrest in his blood resigne!
How well, ô Caunus, might our father be
A father in law, or to thy selfe, or me!
O would to Ioue we all in common held,
Except our birth! though mine his birth exceld!
Who then (ô fairest!) wilt thou make a mother?
How ill hath Nature linkt vs to each other!
Still must thou be my brother: what I hate,
I onely haue. What then prognosticate
These flattering visions? What in these extreames,
Can dreames auaile? or is there waight in dreames?
The Gods forbid! Yet Gods their Sisters wed.
Saturne and Ops had both one womb and bed.
So Tethys with Oceanus; so Ioue
Combines with Iuno in eternall loue.
Gods haue peculiar lawes: how dare I draw
From them examples, bound t' another law?
Die, die forbidden flames; or let me die.
Then may my brother kisse me when I ly
On sable herse. Besides, the ioynt consent
This craues of two. Say it should me content:
He may abhorre it. Yet Aeolides67
Imbraced his. Whence spring such proofes as these!
O whether rapt! you wicked flames, remoue:
A brother, as befits a sister, loue.
Yet should he first affect, perhaps I then
His loue might cherish, and affect again.
Then shall I, who would not his sute reject,
Sue first? What, canst thou speak? thy thoughts detect?
I can: Loue prompts. If shame my speech suppresse;
Yet letters may my hidden flames confesse.
    This pleas'd her; and a little satisfi'de
Her doubtful mind. When rais'd on her left side,
And leaning on her elbow; Hap what may,
We will (said she) our frantick loue display.
O, whether slide I! ô what flames excite
These thoughts? then sits her trembling hands to write:
One holds the wax, the style68 the other guides.
Begins, doubts, writes, and at the tables chides;
Notes, razes, changes oft, dislikes, approues,
Throwes all aside, resumes what she remoues;
Her will she knowes not; no composure brookes:
Soft shame and impudence striue in her lookes.
She had writ Sister: that, as most vnfit,
Defacing; tooke the tables, and thus writ.
    Health to her only Loue that Louer sends;
Whose health alone vpon your loue depends.
To tell you who I am; alas, I shame.
If you would know my sute; without a name
O let me plead, nor be for Byblis knowne,
Vntill my hopes to be assurance growne.
Pale colour, leannesse, ruthfull lookes, wet eyes,
Long sighes which from concealed passion rise,
Frequent imbracements, and (if you so much
Obserued) kisses of too hot a touch
To sute a sisters coldness: these exprest
The deepe distemper of my wounded brest.
And yet, although my soule the wound sustain'd,
Although in me a firy fury raign'd;
Heauens witnesse, that I might at length be well,
I try'd the vtmost; striuing to repell
The violent darts of Cupid: and farre more
Then you would thinke a woman could, I bore
Against my will, I now become your slaue:
And with afflicted language pitty craue.
You may preserue; you onely can vndoe:
Choose which you will. Nor sues a foe to you;
But who, too neere ally'd, would neerer ioyne:
And in a strickter league of loue combine.
Let old men know what's lawfull, good, or ill:
And to their frosty rules subject their will.
Rash Venus fits our yeares. Yet knowe not we
Intangling laues: let vs thinke all things free,
And imitate the Gods. Paternall awe,
Respect of fame, nor fears can vs with-draw:
Alone all diffidencie lay aside.
Our easie stealths a brothers name will hide.
We may in priuat talk; converse, and kiss,
Who euer by. What wants to crowns our blisse?
O pitty me, who haue my loue confest;
Nor would, had not my vtmost ardor prest:
Least thy remorseless cruelty be read
Vpon my monument, when I am dead.
    The wax thus fild with her successelesse wit;
She verses in the vtmost margent writ.
Then seales her shame: her parched tongue deny'd
To wet her gemme; which weeping eyes supply'd.
She, blushing, calls a seruant of knowne trust
And flattering him a while; My friend, thou must
See these with care, and secrecie, conuaid
To my (there paus'd, and after) brother, said.
In their deliuery the tables fell:
She, at that Omen, starts; yet bids farewell.
The wary messenger attends his time:
And giues to Caunus her infolded crime.
Amaz'd Maeandrius69 high in choller grew:
And on the ground the halfe-read tables threw.
About to strike; Thou wicked instrument
Of horrid lust, said he, by flight preuent
My swords reuenge: but that our infamy
Thy death would publish; villain, thou shouldst dy.
He, frighted, flies; and to his mistresse beares
The wrath of Caunus. Byblis quaking heares
Her sad repulse: a death-resembling cold
Beseig'd her heart, and vitall heat controld.
Yet, with her soule, her frantick loue returnes:
Who, with scarce moouing lips, thus softly mournes.
    And worthily. Why, ô too rash! haue I
Disclos'd this wound? affections secrecie.
Who would so soone to headdy lines commit?
First, with ambiguous words it had beene fit
T' haue felt his thoughts; and train'd him to pursue.
I should haue noted how the weather grew;
And chosen a safe Sea: but now my sailes
Swell desperatly with vnexpected gales.
Now borne on crushing rocks, the floods or'e-beare
My sinking bark; nor can I back-ward steere.
Could not that Omen check the cherisht scope
Of my desires; when, with our blasted hope,
The tables fell? should I not haue assign'd
Another day; or wholy changd my mind?
O no, the day. This, Heauen fore-shew'd by sad
And sure presages; had not I beene mad.
My selfe, before my letters, should haue su'd;
And liuely loue exprest: he should haue viewd
My moouing teares; a Louers pleading eyes:
More could I haue spoke then letters can comprise.
About his neck my armes I might haue wound;
And, had he cast me off, appeare to sound;
Clung to his feet, and groueling, life implore.
This passion might haue acted, and much more:
Whereof, though each particular had fail'd;
Yet altogether ioyn.'d might haue preuail'd.
Perhaps the blame-deseruing messenger
In choice of time, or circumstance, did erre:
Nor tooke him, when his mind was pleas'd and free.
This wrackt my hopes. For of no Tygresse he,
Nor Lyonesse, was borne: his gentle brest
Rough flint, hard steele, nor adamant inuest.
He must be won: no sowre repulse shall make
My sute surcease, till life my brest forsake.
The best if what is done were to begin,
Is not t' attempt: next, what w' attempt, to win.
For neuer would he, though I should ore-sway
My strong desires, forget this lewd assay.
Desisting, would condemne my loue for light;
Or that I tri'd to intrap him by this slight:
Or may conceaue that brutish lust did moue
These extasies; and not the God of loue.
Nor can I but haue had a wicked mind;
My will polluted; which my hand hath sign'd.
No giuing back can make me innocent:
Nought can I adde to sinne, Much to content.
    This said; one thought another doth controule:
So great a discord wracks her wauering soule!
Dislikes; yet acts: who neuer satisfi'd;
(Accurst) attempteth, to be oft deni'd.
This seene, he flies his country for her crime:
And builds a Citty70 in a forraine clime.
When wofull Byblis, rauing through despaire,
Her garments, from her brused bosome tare;
Striking her armes through fury, and proclames
In high distraction, her incestuous flames.
Hopelesse, her hated mansion she eschues:
And frantickly, her brothers flight pursues.
And as Ismarian Bacchanals71 (great son72
Of Semele) struck with thy Thyrsus,73 run
In thy Triennialls:74 so Bubasian75 Dames
Saw howling Byblis hurrying o're their plaines.
From these she wanders through the Carian bounds,
The warlike Lelages, and Lycian grounds:
Cragus, Lymira's streames, the siluer waues
Of Xanthus76 past; and where Chimaera77 raues
On craggy rocks; with Lyons face and mane,
A Gotes rough body, and a Serpents traine.
The woods were past: when thou, ô Byblis, faint
With long pursuit, and passions strong constraint,
Sunk'st downe; thy rufled haire on earth displaid:
Thy face vpon the withered leaues low-layd.
The kind Lelegian Nymphs oft in their armes
Attempt to raise her: and with powrefull charmes
Of counsell, striue to cure her loue-sicke mind.
Which at her deafned heart no entrance find.
Shee, grasping the greene rushes, silent lyes:
And bathes them in the riuers of her eyes.
The Naiades78 thrust vnder these a spring:
Their bountie could not giue a greater thing.
As pitch distilleth from the barks black wound,
As stiffe Bitumen79 issues from the ground;
As floods, which frosts in icie fetters bind,
Thaw with th' approching Sun, and Southerne wind;
Euen so Phoebeian80 Byblis, spent in teares,
Becomes a liuing fountaine, which yet beares
Her name: and vnder a black Holme that growes
In those rank vallies, plentifully flowes.
    The fame of this so wonderfull a fate
Had fil'd Creets81 hundred Cities; if of late
The change of Iphis, generally knowne,  IPHIS  
Had not produc't a wonder of their owne.
For Phaestus, neere to Gnossus, fostered
One, Lygdus, of vn-noted parents bred:
How'euer, free. Nor did his wealth exceed
His parentage: yet both in word and deed
Sincerely iust, and of a blameless life.
Who thus bespake his now downe-lying wife.
Two things I wish: that you your belly lay
With little paine; and that it proue a boy.
A daughter is too chargeable, and we
Too poore to match her. If a girle it be,
I charge, what I abhorre (ô Pietie
Forgiue me!) that, as soone as borne, it die.82
This hauing vtter'd; the Commanded wept
And the Commander; teares no measure kept.
Yet Telethusa still with fruitless praire,
Desires he would not in the Gods despaire.
But he too constant. Now her time was come,
And the ripe burden stretcht her heauie womb:
When Inachis,83 with all her sacred band;
In dead of night, or stood, or seem'd to stand
Besides her bed. Her browes a crowne adornes,
With eares of shining corne, and Cynthian hornes.84
Barking Anubis,85 and Bubastis86 bright,
Black Apis87 spotted variously with white,
He88 whose mouth-sealing finger silence taught,
Tymbrells,89 Osiris 90 neuer enough sought,
And forreine serpents,91 whose dire touch constraine
A deadly slumber, consummate her traine.
Then (as if seene awake) the Goddesse said:
My Telethusa, be not thus dismaid;
Reject these cares, thy husband disobay:
And when Lucina92 shall thy belly lay,
Foster what ere it be. A Deity
Auxiliary to Distresse am I;
Ready to helpe, and easily implor'd:
Nor shall it grieue thee that thou hast ador'd
Vngratefull Isis. This admonished,
Shee leaues the roome. When, rising in her bed,
Her hands to heauen glad Telethusa threw
And humbly prayes her vision may proue true.
Increasing throwes at length a girle disclos'd.
Both by the father and the world suppos'd
To be a boy; so closely hid: and knowne
But to the mother, and the nurse alone.
He93 paies his vowes, and of his Fathers name
It Iphis calls; which much rejoyc't the dame,
To each sex common; nor deceaues thereby:
Who still with pious fraud conceales her lie.
A boy in show; whose lookes should you assigne
To boy or girle, loue would in either shine.
At thirteene yeares her Father her affide
To yellow-trest Ianthe: she the pride
Of Phaestian virgins for vnequald faire:
Telestes daughter, and his onely heire,
Like young, like beautifull, together bred,
Inform'd alike, alike accomplished:
Like darts at once their simple bosoms strike;
Alike their wounds; their hopes, ô far vnlike!
The day they expect. Ianthe thought time ran
Too slow; and takes her Iphis for a man.
Poore Iphis loues, despaires; despaire ejects
Farre fiercer flames: a maid, a maid affects.
    What will become of me (she weeping said)
Whom new, vnknowne, prodigious loues inuade!
If pittifull, the Gods should haue destroy'd
Or else haue giuen what might haue beene injoy'd.
No Cow a Cow, no Mare a Mare pursues:
But Harts their gentle Hindes, and Rammes their Ewes.
So Birds together paire. Of all that moue,
No Female suffers for a Female loue.
O would I had no being! Yet, that all
Abhord by Nature should in Creet befall;
Sol's lust-incensed daughter94 lou'd a Bull:
They male and female. Mine, ô farre more full
Of vncouth fury! for she pleas'd her blood;
And stood his errour in a Cow of wood
Shee, for her craft, had an adulterer.
Should all the world their daring wits confer:
Should Daedalus his waxen wings renue,
And hither fly; what could his cunning doe!
Can art convert a virgin to a boy?
Or fit Ianthe for a maidens ioy?
No, fixe thy minde; compose thy vast desires:
O quench these ill aduis'd and foolish fires!
Thinke of thy sex, or euen thy selfe abuse:95
What may be, seeke; and loue as femals vse.
Hope wings desire; hope Cupids flight sustaines:
In thee thy Sexe this deads. No watch restraines
Our deare imbrace, nor husbands iealousies,
Nor rigorous Sires; nor she her selfe denies:
Yet not to be injoy'd. Nor canst thou bee
Happy in her; though men and Gods agree!
Now also all to my desires accord:
What they can giue, the easie Gods afford;
What me, my father, hers, her selfe, would please,
Displeaseth Nature; stronger then all these.
Shee, shee forbids. That day begins to shine;
Long wisht! wherein Ianthe must be mine:
And yet not mine. Of mortalls most accurst!
I starue at feasts, and in the riuer thirst.
Iuno, ô Hymen,96 wherefore are you come?
We both are Brides: but where is the Bride-groome?
    Here ended. Nor lesse burnes the other Maid;
Who, Hymen, for thy swift apparance pray'd.
Yet Telethusa feares what she affects;
Protracting time: oft want of health objects;
Ill-boading dreames, and auguries oft faines:
But now no colour for excuse remaines.
Their nuptiall rites, put off with such delay;
Were to be solemniz'd the following day.
When she vnbinds, hers, and her daughters haire;
And holding by the Altar form'd this praire:
Isis; who Paraetonium,97 Pharos Ile,98
Smooth Mareotis,99 and seuen-channeld Nile,100
Chear'st with thy presence: thy poore suppliants heare:
O helpe in these extreames, and cure our feare!
Thee Goddesse, thee of old; these ensignes, I
Haue seene, and know: thy lamps, attendancie,
And sounding Timbrells:101 and haue thee obayd.
To me, impunitie; life, to this maid,
Thy sauing counsell gaue: to both renue
Thy timely pitty. Teares her words pursue.
The Goddesse shakes her Altar; when the gate
Shooke on the hinges: hornes that imitate
The waxing Moones, through all the Temple flung
A sacred splendor: noyse-full Timbrells rung.
The Mother, glad of this successefull signe,
Though not secure, returnes from Isis shrine.
Whom Iphis followes with a larger pace
Then vsuall; nor had so white a face.
Her strength augments; her looke more bold appeares;
Her shortning curles scarce hang beneath her eares;
By farre more full of courage, rapt with ioy:
For thou, of late a Wench, art now a Boy.
Gifts to the Temple beare, and 102 sing!
Sing Ioy! Their gifts they to the Temple bring;
And adde a title; in one verse display'd:
What Iphis vow'd a Wench, a Boy he pay'd.
The Morning Night dismasks with welcome flame:
When Iuno,103 Venus, and free Hymen came
To grace their marriage; who, with gifts diuine,
Iphis the Boy, to his Ianthe ioyne.

On to Book X