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The complaynt of Philomene


In sweet April, the messenger to May,
When hoonie drops, do melt in golden showres,
When euery byrde, records hir louers lay,
And westerne windes, do foster forth our floures,
Late in an euen, I walked out alone,
To heare the descant of the Nightingale,
And as I stoode, I heard hir make great moane,
Waymenting much, And thus she tolde hir tale.
These thriftles birds (quoth she) which spend the day,
Are costly kept, and finely fedde alway
With daintie foode, whereof they feede their fil.
But I which spend, the darke and dreadful night,
In watch and ward, when those birds take their rest,
Forpine my selfe, that Louers might delight,
To heare the notes, which breake out of my breste.
I leade a life, to please the Louers minde,
(And though god wot, my foode be light of charge,
Yet seely soule, that can no fauour finde)
I begge my breade, and seke for seedes at large.
The Throstle she, which makes the wood to ring
With shryching lowde, that lothsome is to heare,
Is costly kept, in cage: (O wondrous thing
The Mauis eke, whose notes are nothing cleare,
Now in good sooth (quoth she) sometimes I wepe
To see Tom Tyttimouse, so much set by.
The Finche, which singeth neuer a note but peepe,
Is fedde aswel, nay better farre than I.
The Lennet and the Larke, they singe alofte,
And coumpted are, as Lordes in high degree.
The Brandlet saith, for singing sweete and softe,
(In hir conceit) there is none such as she.
Canara byrds, come in to beare the bell,
And Goldfinches, do hope to get the gole:
The tatling Awbe doth please some fancie wel,
And some like best, the byrde as Black as cole.
And yet could I, if so it were my minde,
For harmony, set al these babes to schole,
And sing such notes, as might in euery kinde
Disgrace them quight, and make their corage coole
But should I so? non no wil I not.
Let brutish beasts, heare such brute birds as those.
(for like to like, the prouerbe saith I wot)
And should I then, my cunning skil disclose?
For such vnkinde, as let the cuckowe flye,
To sucke mine egges, whiles I sit in the thicke?
And rather praise, the chattring of a pye,
Than hir that sings, with brest against a pricke?
Nay let them go, to marke the cuckowes talke,
The iangling Iay, for that becomes them wel.
And I the silent night then let them walke,
To heare the Owle, how she doth shryche and yel.
And from henceforth, I wil no more constraine
My pleasant voice, to sounde, at their request.
But shrowd my selfe, in darkesome night and raine,
And learne to cowche, ful close vpon my neast.
Yet if I chaunce, at any time (percase)
To sing a note, or twaine for my disporte,
It shalbe done, in some such secret place,
That fewe or none, may thervnto resorte.
These flatterers, (in loue) which falshood meane,
Not once aproch, to heare my pleasant song.
But such as true, and stedfast louers bene,
Let them come neare, for else they do me wrong.
And as I gesse, not many miles from hence,
There stands a squire, with pangs of sorrow prest,
For whom I dare, auowe (in his defence)
He is as true, (in Loue) as is the best.
Him wil I cheare, with chaunting al this night:
And with that word, she gan to cleare hir throate.
Yet never hearde I such another note.
It was (thought me) so pleasant and so plaine,
Orphæus harpe, was neuer halfe so sweete,
Tereu, Tereu, and thus she gan to plaine,
Most piteously, which made my hart to greeue,
Hir second note, was fy, fy, fy, fy, fy,
And that she did, in pleasant wise repeate,
With sweete reports, of heauenly harmonie,
But yet it seemd, hir gripes of griefe were greate.
For when she had, so soong and taken breath,
Then should you heare, hir heauy hart so throbbe,
As though it had bene, ouercome with death,
And yet alwayes, in euery sigh and sobbe,
She shewed great skil, for tunes of vnisone,
Hir Iug, Iug, Iug, (in griefe) had such a grace.
Then stinted she, as if hir song were done.
And ere that past, not ful a furlong space,
She gan againe, in melodie to melt,
And many a note, she warbled wondrous wel.
Yet can I not (although my hart should swelt)
Remember al, which hir sweet tong did tel.
But one strange note, I noted with the rest
And that saide thus: Nêmesis, Nêmesis,
The which me thought, came bldly from hir brest,
As though she blamde, (therby) some thing amisse.
Short tale to make, hir singing sounded so,
And pleasde mine eares, with such varietie,
That (quite forgetting all the wearie wo,
Which I my selfe felt in my fantasie)
I stoode astoynde, and yet therwith content,
Wishing in hart that (since I might aduant,
Of al hir speech to knowe the plaine entent,
Which grace hirselfe, or else the Gods did graunt)
I might therwith, one furder fauor craue,
To vnderstand, what hir swete notes might meane.
And in that thought, (my whole desire to haue)
I fell on sleepe, as I on staffe did leane.
And in my slomber, had I such a sight,
As yet to thinke theron doth glad my minde.
Me thought I sawe a derling of delight,
A stately Nimph, a dame of heauenly kinde.
Whose glittring gite, so glimsed in mine eyes,
As (yet) I not, what proper hew it bare,
Ne therewithal, my wits can wel deuise,
To whom I might hir louely lookes compare.
But trueth to tel, (for al hir smyling cheere)
She cast sometimes, a grieuous frowning glance,
As who would say: by this it may appeare,
That Iust reuenge, is Prest for euery chance,
In hir right hand, (which to and fro did shake)
She bare a skourge, with many a knottie string,
And in hir left, a snaffle Bit or brake,
Bebost with gold, and many a gingling ring:
She came apace, and stately did she stay,
And whiles I seemd, amazed very much,
The courteous dame, these words to me did say:
Sir Squire (quoth she) since thy desire is such,
To vnderstande, the notes of Phylomene,
(For so she hight, whom thou calst Nightingale)
And what the sounde, of euery note might meane,
Giue eare a while, and hearken to my tale.
The Gods are good, they heare the harty prayers,
Of such as craue without a craftie wil,
With fauour eke, they furder such affaires
As tende to good, and meane to do none il.
And since thy words, were grounded on desire,
Wherby much good, and little harm can growe,
They graunted haue, the thing thou didst require,
And louingly, haue sent me here bylowe,
To paraphrase, the piteous pleasant notes,
Which Phylomene, doth darkely spend in spring,
For he that wel, Dan Nasoes verses notes,
Shall finde my words to be no fained thing.
Giue eare (sir Squire quith she) and I wil, tel
Both what she was, and how hir fortunes fel.

The fable of Philomela.
In Athens reignde somtimes,
A king of worthy fame,
Who kept in courte a stately traine,
Pandyon was his name.
And had the Gods him giuen,
No holly breade of happe,
(I meane such fruts as make men thinke
They sit in fortunes lappe).
Then had his golden giftes,
Lyen dead with him in toombe.
Ne but himselfe had none endurde,
The daunger of his doome.
But smyling lucke, bewitcht,
This peerelesse Prince to thinke,
That poyson cannot be conueyde
In draughts of pleasant drinke.
And kinde became so kind,
That he two daughters had,
Of bewtie such and so wel giuen,
As made their father glad.
See: see: how highest harmes,
Do lurke in ripest Ioyes,
How couertly doth sorow shrowde,
In trymmest worldely toyes.
These iewels of his ioy,
Became his cause of care,
And bewtie was the guileful bayte,
Which caught their liues in Snare.
For Tereus lord of Thrace,
Bycause he came of kings,
(So weddings made for worldly welth
Do seme triumphant things)
Was thought a worthy matche,
Pandyons heire to wedde:
Whose eldest daughter chosen was,
To serue this king in bedde.
That virgine Progne hight,
And she by whom I meane,
To tell this woful Tragedie,
Was called Phylomene.
The wedding rytes performde,
The feasting done and past,
To Thrace with his new wedded spouse
He turneth at the last.
Where many dayes in mirth,
And iolytie they spent,
Both satisfied with deepe delight,
And cloyde with al content.
At last the dame desirde
Hir sister for to see,
Such coles of kindely loue did seme
Within hir brest to be.
She praies hir Lorde, of grace,
He graunts to hir request,
And hoist vp saile, to seke the coaste,
Where Phylomene doth rest.
He past the foming seas,
And findes the pleasant porte,
Of Athens towne, which guided him
To King Pandyons court.
There: (louingly receivde,
And) welcomde by the king,
He shewde the cause, which thither then
Did his ambassade bring.
His father him embrast,
His sister kist his cheeke,
In al the court his comming was
Reioyst of euerie Greeke.
O see the sweete deceit,
Which blindeth worldly wits,
How common peoples loue by lumpes,
And fancie comes by fits.
The foe in friendly wise,
Is many times embraste,
And he which meanes most faith and troth
By grudging is disgrast.
Faire Phylomene came forth
In comely garments cladde,
As one whom newes of sisters helth
Had moued to be gladde,
Or womans wil (perhappes)
Enflamde hir haughtie harte,
To get more grace by crummes of cost,
And princke it out hir parte.
Whom he no sooner sawe
(I meane this Thracian prince)
But streight therwith his fancies fume
All reason did conuince.
And as the blazing bronde,
Might kindle rotten reeds:
Euen so hir looke a secret flame,
Within his bosome breedes.
He thinks al leysure long
Til he (with hir) were gone,
And hir he makes to moue the mirth,
Which after made hir mone.
Loue made him eloquent
And if he cravde too much,
He then excusde him selfe, and saide
That Prognes words were such.
His teares confirmed all
Teares: like to sisters teares,
As who shuld say by these fewe drops
Thy sisters griefe appeares.
So finely could he faine,
That wickednesse seemde wit,
And by the lawde of his pretence,
His lewdnesse was acquit.
Yea Philomene set forth
The force of his request,
And cravde (with sighes) hir fathers leaue
To be hir sisters guest.
And hoong about his necke
And collingly him kist,
And for hir welth did seke the woe
Wherof she little wist.
Meane while stoode Tereus,
Beholding their affectes
And made those pricks (for his desire[)]
A spurre in al respects.
And wisht himselfe hir sire,
When she hir sire embrast,
For neither kith nor kin could then
Haue made his meaning chast.
The Grecian king had not
The powre for to denay,
His own deare child, and sonne in lawe
The thing that both did pray.
And downe his daughter falles,
To thanke him on hir knee,
Supposing that for good successe,
Which hardest happe must be.
But (least my tale seeme long)
Their shipping is preparde:
And to the shore this aged Greeke,
Ful princely did them guard.
There (melting into mone)
He vsde this parting speech:
Daughter (quoth he) you haue desire
Your sister court to seech.
Your sister seemes likewise,
Your companie to craue,
That craue you both, and Tereus here
The selfe same thing would haue.
Ne coulde I more withstande
So many deepe desires,
But this (quoth he) remember al
Your father you requires,
And thee (my sonne of Thrace,)
I constantly coniure,
By faith, by kin, by men, by gods,
And al that seemeth sure,
That father like, thou fende
My daughter deare from scathe,
And (since I count al leasure long)
Returne hir to me rathe.
And thou my Philomene,
(Quoth he) come soone againe,
Thy sisters absence puts thy syre,
To too much priuie paine.
Herewith he kist hir cheeke,
And sent a second kisse
For Prognes part, and (bathde with teares)
His daughter doth he blisse.
And tooke the Thracyans hand
For token of his truth,
Who rather laught his teares to scorn,
Than wept with him for ruth.
The sayles are fully spredde,
And winds do serue at will,
And forth this traitour king conueies
His praie in prison still.
Ne could the Barbrous bloud,
Conceale his filthy fyre,
Hey: Victorie (quoth he) my shippe
Is fraught with my desire.
Wherewith he fixt his eyes,
Vppon hir fearefull face,
And stil behelde hir gestures all,
And all hir gleames of grace.
Ne could he loke a side,
But like the cruel catte
Which gloating casteth many a glance
Vpon the selly ratte.
Why hold I long discourse?
They now are come on lande,
And forth of ship the feareful wenche
He leadeth by the hande.
Vnto a selly shrowde,
A sheepecote closely builte
Amid the woodds, where many a lamb
Their guiltlesse bloud had spilte,
There (like a lambe,) she stoode,
And askte with trimbling voice,
Where Progne was, whose only sight
Might make hir to reioyce.
Wherewith this caytife king
His lust in lewdnesse lapt,
And with his filthy fraude ful fast
This simple mayde entrapt.
And forth he floong the raines,
Vnbridling blinde desire,
And ment of hir chast minde to make
A fewel for his fire.
And al alone (alone)
With force he hir supprest,
And made hir yelde the wicked weede
Whose flowre he liked best.
What could the virgine doe?
She could not runne away,
Whose forward feete, his harmfull hands
With furious force did stay.
Ahlas what should she fight?
Fewe women win by fight:
Hir weapons were but weake (god knows)
And he was much of might.
It booted not to crie,
Since help was not at hande,
And stil before hir fearful face,
Hir cruel foe did stande.
And yet she (weeping cride)
Vppon hir sisters name,
Hir fathers, and hir brothers (oh)
Whose facte did foyle hir fame.
And on the Gods she calde,
For helpe in hir distresse,
But al in vaine he wrought his wil
Whose lust was not the lesse.
The filthie fact once done,
He gaue hir leaue to geete,
And there she sat much like a birde
New scapte from falcons feete.
Whose blood embrues hir selfe,
And sitts in Sorie plight,
Ne dare she proine hir plumes again,
But feares a second flight.
At last when hart came home,
Discheveld as she sate,
With hands vphelde, she tried hir tongue,
To wreake hir woful state.
O Barbrous blood (quoth she)
By Barbrous deeds disgrast,
Coulde no kinde coale, nor pities sparke,
Within thy brest be plaste?
Could not my fathers hests,
Nor my most ruthful teares,
My maydenhoode, not thine own yoke,
Affright thy minde with feares?
Could not my sisters loue
Once quench thy filthy lust?
Thou foilst vs al, and eke thy selfe,
We griev’d and thou unuist.
By thee I haue defilde
My dearest sisters bedde
By thee I compt the life but lost,
Which too too long I ledde.
By thee (thou Bigamus)
Our fathers griefe must growe,
Who daughters twain, (and two too much)
Vppon thee did bestowe.
But since my faulte, thy facte,
My fathers iust offence,
My sisters wrong, with my reproche,
I cannot so dipence.
If any Gods be good
If right in heauen do raigne,
If right or wrong may make reuenge,
Thou shalt be paide againe.
And (wicked) do thy wurst,
Thou canst no more but kil:
And oh that death (before this gilte)
Had ouercome my will.
Then might my soule beneath,
Haue triumpht yet and saide,
That though I died discontent,
I livde and dide a mayde.
Herewith hir swelling sobbes,
Did tie hir tong from talke,
Whiles yet the Thracian tyrant (there)
To heare these words did walke.
And skornefully he cast
At hir a frowning glaunce,
Which made the mayde to striue for spech,
And stertling from hir traunce,
I wil reuenge (quoth she)
For here I shake off shame,
And wil (my selfe) bewray this facte
Therby to foile thy fame.
Amidde the thickest throngs
(If I haue leaue to go)
I will pronounce this bloudie deede,
And blotte thine honour so.
If I in deserts dwel,
The woods, my words shal heare,
The holts, the hilles, the craggie rocks,
Shall witnesse with me beare.
I will so fil the ayre
With noyse of this thine acte,
That gods and men in heauen and earth
Shal note the naughtie facte.
These words amazde the king,
Conscience with choller straue,
But rage so racte his restles thought,
That now he gan to raue.
And from his sheath a knife
Ful despratly he drawes,
Wherwith he cut the guiltlesse tong
Out of hir tender iawes.
The tong that rubde his gall,
The tong that tolde but truthe,
The tong that movde him to be mad,
And should haue moued ruth.
And from his hand with spight
This trustie tongue he cast,
Whose roote, and it (to wreake this wrong)
Did wagge yet wondrous fast. So stirres the serpents taile
When it is cut in twaine,
And so it seemes that weakest willes,
(By words) would ease their paine.
I blush to tell this tale,
But sure best books say this:
That yet the butcher did not blush
Hir bloudy mouth to kisse.
And ofte hir bulke embrast,
And ofter quencht the fire,
Which kindled had the furnace first,
Within his foule desire.
Not herewithal content,
To Progne home he came,
Who askt him streight of Philomene:
He fayning grife of game,)
Burst out in bitter teares,
And sayde the dame was dead,
And falsly tolde, what wery life
Hir father (for hir) ledde.
The Thracian Queene cast off
Hir gold, and gorgeous weede,
And drest in dole, bewailde hir death
Whom she thought dead in deede.
A sepulchre she builds,
(But for a living corse,)
And praide the gods on sisters soule
To take a iust remorse:
And offred sacrifice,
To all the powers aboue.
Ah traiterous Thracian Tereus,
This was true force of loue.
The heauens had whirld aboute
Twelue yeeres in order due
And twelue times euery flowre and plant,
Their liueries did renew,
Whiles Philomene full close
In shepcote stil was clapt,
Enforst to bide by stonie walles
Which fast (in hold) hir hapt.
And as those walles forbadde
Hir feete by flight to scale,
So was hir tong (by knife) restrainde,
For to reueale this rape
No remedie remaynde
But onely womans witte,
Which sodainly in queintest chance,
Can best it selfe acquit.
And Miserie (amongst)
Tenne thousand mischieues moe,
Learnes pollicie in practises,
As proofe makes men to knowe.
With curious needle worke,
A garment gan she make,
Wherin she wrote what bale she bode,
And al for bewties sake.
This garment gan she giue
To trustie Seruants hande,
Who streight conueid it to the queen
Of Thracian Tirants lande.
When Progne red the writ,
(A wondrous tale to tell)
She kept it close: though malice made
Hir venging hart to swell.
And did deferre the deede,
Til time and place might serue,
But in hir minde a sharpe reuenge,
She fully did reserue.
O silence seldome seene,
That women counsell keepe,
The cause was this, she wakt hir wits
And lullde hir tong on sleepe.
I speake against my sex,
So haue I done before,
But truth is truth, and muste be tolde
Though daunger keepe the dore.
The thirde yeres rytes renewed,
Which Bacchus to belong,
And in that night the queene prepares
Reuenge for al hir wrongs.
She (girt in Bacchus gite)
With sworde hir selfe doth arme,
With wreathes of vines about hir browes
And many a needles charme.
And forth in furie flings,
Hir handmaides following fast,
Vntil with hastie steppes she founde
The shepecote at the last.
There howling out aloude,
As Bacchus priests do crie,
She brake the dores, and found the place
Where Philomene did lye.
And toke hir out by force,
And drest hir Bacchus like,
And hid hir face with boughes and leaues
(For being knowen by like.)
And brought hir to hir house,
But when the wretch it knewe,
That now againe she was so neere
To Tereus vntrue.
She trembled oft for dread,
And lookt like ashes pale.
But Progne (now in priuie place)
Set silence al to sale,
And tooke the garments off,
Discouering first hir face,
And sister like did louingly
Faire Phylomene embrace.
There she (by shame abasht)
Held downe hir weeping eyes,
As who should say: Thy right (by me)
Is refte in wrongful wise.
And down on the ground she falles,
Which ground she kist hir fill,
As witnesse that the filthie facte
Was done against hir wil.
And cast hir hands to heauen,
In steede of tong to tell,
What violence the lecher vsde,
And how hee did her quell.
Wherewith the Queene brake off
Hir piteous pearcing plainte,
And sware with sworde (no teares) to venge
The crafte of this constrainte.
Or if (quoth she) there bee
Some other meane more sure,
More stearne, more stoute, then naked sword
Some mischiefe to procure,
I sweare by al the Gods,
I shall the same embrace,
To wreake this wrong with bloudie hande
Vppon the king of Thrace.
Ne will I spare to spende
My life in sisters cause,
In sisters? ah what saide I wretch?
My wrong shall lende me lawes.
I wil the pallace burne,
With al the princes pelfe,
And in the midst of flaming fire,
Wil caste the knig him selfe.
I wil scrat out those eyes,
that taught him first to lust,
Or teare his tong from traitors throte,
Oh that reuenge were iust.
Or let me carue with knife,
the wicked Instrument,
Wherewith he, thee, and me abusde
(I am to mischiefe bent.)
Or sleeping let me seeke
To sende the soule to hel,
Whose barbarous bones for this filthy force,
Did seeme to beare the bel.
These words and more in rage
Pronounced by this dame,
Hir little sonne came leaping in
Which Itis had to name.
Whose presence, could not please
For (vewing well his face,)
Ah wretch (quoth she) how like he groweth
Vnto his fathers grace.
And therwithal resolvde
A rare reuenge in deede
Wheron to thinke (withouten words)
My woful hart doth bleede.
But when the lad lokt vp,
And cheerefully did smile,
And hung about his mothers necke
With easie weight therewhile,
And kist (as children vse)
His angrie mothers cheeke,
Her minde was movde to much remorce
And mad became full meeke.
Ne could she teares refrayne,
But wept against hir will,
Such tender rewth of innocence,
Hir cruell moode did kill.
At last (so furie wrought)
Within hir brest she felt,
That too much pitie made hir minde
Too womanlike to melt,
And saw hir sister sit,
With heauy harte and cheere,
And now on hir, and then on him,
Full lowringly did leare,
Into these words she brust
(Quoth she) why flatters he?
And why againe (with tong cut out)
So sadly sitteth shee?
He, mother, mother calles,
She sister cannot say,
That one in earnest doth lament
That other whines in plaie.
Pandions line (quoth she)
Remember stil your race,
And neuer marke the subtil shewes
Of any Soule in Thrace.
You should degenerate,
If right reuenge you slake,
More right reuenge can neuer bee,
Than this reuenge to make.
Al il that may be thought,
Al mischiefe vnder skies,
Were pietie compard to that
Which Tereus did deuise.
She holds no longer hande,
but (Tygerlike) she toke
The little boy ful boistrously
Who now for terror quooke
And (crauing mothers helpe,)
She (mother) toke a blade,
And in hir sonnes smal tender hart
And open wound she made.
The cruel dede dispatcht,
Betwene the sisters twaine
They tore in pieces quarterly
The corps which they had slaine.
Some part, they hoong on hooks,
The rest they laide to fire,
And on the table caused it,
Be set before they fire.
And counterfaite a cause
(as Grecians order then)
That at such feasts; (but onely one)
They might abide no men.
He knowing not their crafte,
Sat downe alone to eat,
And hungerly his owne warme bloud
Deuoured then for meate.
His ouersight was such,
That he for Itis sent,
W[h]ose murdered members in his mawe,
He priuily had pent.
No longer Progne then,
Hir ioy of griefe could hide,
The thing thou seekst (o wretch quoth she)
Within thee doth abide.
Wherwith (he waxing wroth)
And searching for his sonne)
Came forth at length, faire Philomene
By whom the griefe begonne,
And clokt in Bacchus copes,
Wherwith she then was cladde,)
In fathers bosom cast the head
Of Itis selly ladde:
Nor euer in hir life
Had more desire to speake,
Than now: wherby hir madding mood
Might al hir malice wreake.
The Thracian prince stert vp,
Whose hart did boyle in brest,
To feele the food, and see the sawce,
Which he could not digest.
And armed (as he was)
He followed both the Greekes,
On whom (by smarte of sword, and flame)
A sharpe reuenge he sekes.
But when the heauenly benche,
These bloudie deedes did see,
And found that bloud stil couits bloud
And so none ende could be.
They then by their forsight
Thought meete to stinte the strife,
And so restraind the murdring king,
From sister and from wife.
So that by their decree
The yougest daughter fledde
Into the thicks, where couertly,
A cloister life she ledde.
And yet to ease hir woe,
She worthily can sing,
And as thou hearst, can please the eares
of many men in spring.
The eldest dame and wife
A Swallowe was assignde,
And builds in smoky chimney toppes
And flies against the winde.
The king him selfe condemnde,
A Lapwing for to be,
Who for his yong ones cries alwais,
Yet neuer can them see.
The lad a Pheasant cocke
For his degree hath gaind,
Whose blouddie plumes declare the bloud
Wherwith his face was staind.
But there to turne my tale,
The which I came to tell,
The yongest dame to forrests fled,
And there is dampnde to dwell.
And Nightingale now namde
Which (Philomela hight)
Delights for (feare of force againe)
To sing alwayes by night.
But when the sunne to west,
Doth bende his weerie course,
Then Phylomene records the rewth,
Which craueth iust remorse.
And for hir foremost note,
Tereu Tereu, doth sing,
Complaining stil vppon the name
Of that false Thracian king.
Much like the childe at schole
With byrchen rodds sore beaten,
If when he go to bed at night
His maister chaunce to threaten,
In euery dreame he starts,
And (ô good maister) cries,
Euen so this byrde vppon that name,
hir foremost note replies.
Or as the red breast byrds,
Whome prettie Merlynes hold,
Ful fast in foote, by winters night
To fende themselues from colde:
Though afterwards the hauke,
For pitie let them scape,
Yet al that day, they fede in feare,
And doubte a second rape.
And in the nexter night,
Ful many times do crie,
Remembring yet the ruthful plight
Wherein they late did lye.
Euen so this selly byrde,
Though now transformde in kinde,
Yet euermore hir pangs forepast,
She beareth stil in minde.
And in hir foremost note,
She notes that cruel name,
By whom she lost hir pleasant speech
And soiled was in fame.
Hir second note is fye,
In Greeke and latine phy,
In english fy, and euery tong
That euer yet read I.
Which word declares disdaine,
Or lothsome leying by
Of any thing we tast, heare touche,
Smel, or behold with eye.
In tast, phy sheweth some sowre.
In hearing, some discorde,
In touch, some foule or filthy toye,
In smel, some sent abhorde.
In sight, some lothsome loke,
And euery kind of waie,
This byword phy betokneth bad,
And to cast things away.
So that it seemes hir well,
Phy, phy, phy, phy, to sing,
Since phy befytteth him so well
In euery kind of thing.
Phy filthy lecher lewde,
Phy false vnto thy wife,
Phy coward phy, (on womankinde)
To vse thy cruel knife.
Phy for thou wert vnkinde,
Fye fierce, and foule forsworne,
Phy monster made of murdring mould
Whose like was neuer borne.
Phy agony of age,
Phy ouerthrowe of youth,
Phy mirrour of mischeuousnesse,
Phy, tipe of al vntruth.
Phy fayning forced teares,
Phy forging fyne excuse,
Phy periury, fy blasphemy,
Phy bed of al abuse.
These phyes, and many moe,
Pore Philomene may meane,
And in hir selfe she findes percase,
Some phy that was vncleane.
For though his fowle offence,
May not defended bee,
Hir sister yet, and she transgrest,
Though not so deepe as he.
His doome came by deserte.
Their deedes grewe by disdaine,
But men must leaue reuenge to Gods.
What wrong soeuer raigne.
Then Progne phy for thee,
Which kildst thine only child,
Phy on the cruel crabbed heart
Which was not movde with milde.
Phy phy, thou close conveydst
A secret il vnsene,
Where (good to kepe in councel close)
Had putrifide thy splene.
Phy on thy sisters facte,
And phy hir selfe doth sing,
Whose lack of tong nere toucht hir so
As when it could not sting.
Phy on vs both saith she,
The father onely faulted,
And we (the father free therewhile)
The selly sonne assalted.
The next note to hir phy
is Iug, Iug, Iug, I gesse,
That might I leaue, to latynists,
By learning to expresse.
Come commentaries make
About it much adoe:
If it should onely Iugum meane
Or Iugulator too.
Some thinke that Iugum is
The Iug, she iugleth so,
But Iugulator is the word
That doubleth al hir woe.
For when she thinkes thereon,
She beares them both in minde,
Him, breaker of his bonde in bed,
Hir, killer of hir kinde.
As fast as furies force
Hir thoughts on him to thinke,
So fast hir conscience choks hir vp,
And wo to wrong doth linke.
At last (by griefe constrainde)
It boldly breaketh out,
And makes the hollow woods to ring
With Eccho round about.
Hir next most note (to note)
I neede no helpe at al,
For I my selfe the partie am
On whom she then doth call.
She calles on Nemesis
And Nemesis am I,
The Goddesse of al iust reuenge,
Who let no blame go by.
This bridle bost with gold,
I beare in my left hande,
To holde men backe in rashest rage,
Vntil the cause be scand.
And such as like that bitte
And beare it willingly,
May scape this scourge in my right hand
Although they trode awry.
But if they hold on head,
And scorne to beare my yoke,
Oft times they buy the rost ful deare,
It smelled of the smoke.
This is the cause (sir Squire
Quoth she) that Phylomene
Doth cal so much vpon my name,
She to my lawes doth leane:
She feeles a iust reuenge.
Of that which she hath done,
Constrainde to vse the day for night,
And makes the moone hir sunne.
Ne can she now complaine,
(Although she lost hir tong)
For since that time, ne yet before,
No byrde so swetely soong.
That gift we gods hir gaue,
To countervaile hir woe,
I sat on bench in heauen my selfe
When it was graunted so.
And though hir foe be fledde,
But whither knows not she,
And like hir selfe transformed eke
A selly byrde to bee:
On him this sharpe reuenge
The Gods and I did take,
He neither can beholde his brats,
Nor is belovde of make.
As soone as coles of kinde
Haue warmed him to do
The selly shift of dewties dole
Which him belongeth to:
His hen straight way him hates,
And flieth farre him fro,
And close conueis hir eggs from him,
As from hir mortal foe.
As sone as she hath hatcht,
Hir little yong ones runne,
For feare their dame should serue them efte,
As Progne had begonne.
And rounde about the fields
The furious father flies,
To seke his sonne, and filles the ayre
With loude lamenting cries.
This lothsome life he leads
By our almightie dome,
And thus sings she, where company
But very seldome come.
Now lest my faithful tale
For fable should be taken,
And therevpon my curtesie,
By the might be forsaken:
Remember al my words,
And beare them wel in minde,
And make thereof a metaphore,
So shalt thou quickly finde.
Both profite and pastime,
In al that I thee tel:
I knowe thy skil wil serue therto,
And so (quoth she) farewell.

Wherewith (me thought) she flong so fast away,
That scarce I could, hir seemely shaddowe see.
At last: my staffe (which was mine only stay)
Did slippe, and I, must needes awaked be,
Against my wil did I (God knowes) awake,
For willingly I could my self content,
Seuen dayes to sleepe for Philomelâs sake,
So that my sleepe in such swete thoughts were spent.
But you my Lord which reade this ragged verse,
Forgiue the faults of my so sleepy muse,
Let me the heast of Nemesis rehearse,
For sure I see, much sense therof ensues.
I seeme to see (my Lord) that lechers lust,
Procures the plague, and vengaunce of the highest,
I may not say, but God is good and iust,
Although he scourge the furdest for the nighest:
The fathers fault lights sometime on the sonne,
Yea foure discents it beares the burden stil,
Whereby it falles (when vaine delight is done)
That dole steppes in and wields the world at wil.
O whoredom, whoredome, hope for no good happe,
The best is bad that lights on lechery
And (al wel weyed) he sits in Fortunes lappe,
Which feeles no sharper scourge than beggery.
You princes peeres, you comely courting knights,
Which vse al arte to marre the maidens mindes,
Which win al dames with baite of fonde delights,
Which bewtie force, to loose what bountie bindes:
Thinke on the scourge that Nemesis doth beare,
Remember this, that God (although he winke)
Doth see al sinnes that euer secret were.
(Voe vobis) then which still in sinne do sinke.
Gods mercy lends you brydles for desire,
Hold backe betime, for feare you catch a foyle,
The flesh may spurre to euerlasting fire,
But sure, that horse which tyreth like a roile,
And lothes the griefe of his forgalded sides,
Is better, much than is the harbrainde colte
Which headlong runnes and for no bridle bydes,
But huntes for sinne in euery hil and holte.
He which is single, let him spare to spil
The flowre of force, which makes a famous man:
Lest when he comes to matrimonies will,
His fynest graine be burnt, and ful of branne.
He that is yokte and hath a wedded wife,
Be wel content with that which may suffyse,
And (were no God) yet feare of worldly strife
Might make him lothe the bed where Lays lies:
For though Pandyons daughter Progne shee,
Were so transformde into a fethered foule,
Yet seemes she not withouten heires to be,
Who (wrongde like hir) ful angrely can scoule,
And beare in brest a right reuenging mode,
Til time and place, may serue to worke their will.
Yea surely some, the best of al the broode
(If they had might) with furious force would kil.
But force them not, whose force is not to force.
And way their words as blasts of blustring winde,
Which comes ful calme, when stormes are past by course:
Yet God aboue that can both lose and bynde,
Vil not so soone appeased be therfore,
He makes the male, of female to be hated,
He makes the sire go sighing wondrous sore,
Because the sonne of such is seldome rated.
I meane the sonnes of such rash sinning sires,
Are seldome sene to runne a ruly race.
But plagude (be like) by fathers foule desires
Do gadde a broade, and lacke the guide of grace
Then (Lapwinglike) the father flies about,
And howles and cries to see his children stray,
Where he him selfe (and no man better) mought
Haue taught his bratts to take a better way.
Thus men (my Lord) be Metamorphosed,
From seemely shape, to byrds, and ougly beastes:
Yea brauest dames, (if they amisse once tredde)
Finde bitter sauce, for al their pleasant feasts.
They must in fine condemned be to dwell
In thickes vnseene, in mewes for minyons made,
Vntil at last, (if they can bryde it wel)
They may chop chalke, and take some better trade.
Beare with me (Lord) my lusting dayes are done,
Fayre Phylomene forbad me fayre and flat
To like such loue, as is with lust begonne.
The lawful loue is best, and I like that.
Then if you see, that (Lapwinglike) I chaunce,
To leape againe, beyond my lawful reache,
(I take hard taske) or but to giue a glaunce,
At bewties blase: for such a wilful breache,
Of promise made, my Lord shal do no wrong,
To say George) thinke on Philomelâes song.

The complaynt of Philomene - GEORGE GASCOIGNE