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Prosopopoia, Or Mother Hubberds Tale
by [?]

Now when high Iove, in whose almightie hand 1225
The care of kings and power of empires stand,
Sitting one day within his turret hye,
From whence he vewes with his black-lidded eye
Whatso the heaven in his wide vawte containes,
And all that in the deepest earth remaines, 1230
And troubled kingdome of wilde beasts behelde,
Whom not their kindly sovereigne did welde,
[Welde, govern.]
But an usurping Ape, with guile suborn’d,
Had all subverst, he sdeignfully it scorn’d
In his great heart, and hardly did refraine 1235
But that with thunder bolts he had him slaine,
And driven downe to hell, his dewest meed.
But him avizing, he that dreadfull deed
Forbore, and rather chose with scornfull shame
Him to avenge, and blot his brutish name 1240
Unto the world, that never after anie
Should of his race be voyd of infamie;
And his false counsellor, the cause of all,
To damne to death, or dole perpetuall,
From whence he never should be quit nor stal’d.
[Stal’d, forestalled (?).]
Forthwith he Mercurie unto him cal’d, 1246
And bad him flie with never-resting speed
Unto the forrest, where wilde beasts doo breed,
And, there enquiring privily, to learne
What did of late chaunce to the Lyon stearne, 1250
That he rul’d not the empire, as he ought;
And whence were all those plaints unto him brought
Of wrongs and spoyles by salvage beasts committed:
Which done, he bad the Lyon be remitted
Into his seate, and those same treachours vile 1255
[Treachours, traitors.]
Be punished for their presumptuous guile.
The sonne of Maia, soone as he receiv’d
That word, streight with his azure wings he cleav’d
The liquid clowdes and lucid firmament,
Ne staid till that he came with steep descent 1260
Unto the place where his prescript did showe.
There stouping, like an arrowe from a bowe,
He soft arrived on the grassie plaine,
And fairly paced forth with easie paine,
Till that unto the pallace nigh he came. 1265
Then gan he to himselfe new shape to frame,
And that faire face, and that ambrosiall hew,
Which wonts to decke the gods immortall crew,
And beautefie the shinie firmament,
He doft, unfit for that rude rabblement. 1270
So, standing by the gates in strange disguize,
He gan enquire of some in secret wize,
Both of the King, and of his government,
And of the Foxe, and his false blandishment:
And evermore he heard each one complaine 1275
Of foule abuses both in realme and raine:
Which yet to prove more true, he meant to see,
And an ey-witnes of each thing to bee.
Tho on his head his dreadfull hat he dight,
Which maketh him invisible in sight, 1280
And mocketh th’eyes of all the lookers on,
Making them thinke it but a vision.
Through power of that he runnes through enemies swerds;
Through power of that he passeth through the herds
Of ravenous wilde beasts, and doth beguile 1285
Their greedie mouthes of the expected spoyle;
Through power of that his cunning theeveries
He wonts to worke, that none the same espies;
And through the power of that he putteth on
What shape he list in apparition. 1290
That on his head he wore, and in his hand
He tooke caduceus, his snakie wand,
With which the damned ghosts he governeth,
And furies rules, and Tartare tempereth.
With that he causeth sleep to seize the eyes, 1295
And feare the harts, of all his enemyes;
And when him list, an universall night
Throughout the world he makes on everie wight;
As when his syre with Alcumena lay.
Thus dight, into the court he tooke his way, 1300
Both through the gard, which never him descride,
And through the watchmen, who him never spide:
Thenceforth he past into each secrete part,
Whereas he saw, that sorely griev’d his hart,
Each place abounding with fowle iniuries, 1305
And fild with treasure rackt with robberies;
Each place defilde with blood of guiltles beasts
Which had been slaine to serve the Apes beheasts;
Gluttonie, malice, pride, and covetize,
And lawlesnes raigning with riotize; 1310
Besides the infinite extortions,
Done through the Foxes great oppressions,
That the complaints thereof could not be tolde.
Which when he did with lothfull eyes beholde,
He would no more endure, but came his way, 1315
And cast to seeke the Lion, where he may,
[Cast, projected.]
That he might worke the avengement for this shame
On those two caytives which had bred him blame
And seeking all the forrest busily,
At last he found where sleeping he did ly. 1320
The wicked weed which there the Foxe did lay
From underneath his head he tooke away,
And then him, waking, forced up to rize.
The Lion, looking up, gan him avize,
[Avize, bethink.]
As one late in a traunce, what had of long 1325
Become of him: for fantasie is strong.
“Arise,” said Mercurie, “thou sluggish beast,
That here liest senseles, like the corpse deceast,
The whilste thy kingdome from thy head is rent,
And thy throne royall with dishonour blent: 1330
[Blent, stained.]
Arise, and doo thy selfe redeeme from shame,
And be aveng’d on those that breed thy blame.”
Thereat enraged, soone he gan upstart,
Grinding his teeth, and grating his great hart;
And, rouzing up himselfe, for his rough hide 1335
He gan to reach; but no where it espide.
Therewith he gan full terribly to rore,
And chafte at that indignitie right sore.
But when his crowne and scepter both he wanted,
Lord! how he fum’d, and sweld, and rag’d, and panted,
And threatned death and thousand deadly dolours
To them that had purloyn’d his princely honours.
With that in hast, disroabed as he was,
He toward his owne pallace forth did pas;
And all the way he roared as he went, 1345
That all the forrest with astonishment
Thereof did tremble, and the beasts therein
Fled fast away from that so dreadfull din.
At last he came unto his mansion,
Where all the gates he found fast lockt anon 1350
And manie warders round about them stood:
With that he roar’d alowd, as he were wood,
[Wood, frantic.]
That all the pallace quaked at the stound,
[Stound, (time, scene) tumult.]
As if it quite were riven from the ground,
And all within were dead and hartles left; 1355
And th’Ape himselfe, as one whose wits were reft,
Fled here and there, and everie corner sought.
To hide himselfe from his owne feared thought.
But the false Foxe, when he the Lion heard,
Fled closely forth, streightway of death afeard, 1360
[Closely, secretly.]
And to the Lion came, full lowly creeping,
With fained face, and watrie eyne halfe weeping,
T’excuse his former treason and abusion,
And turning all unto the Apes confusion:
Nath’les the royall beast forbore beleeving, 1365
But bad him stay at ease till further preeving.
[Preeving, proving.]
Then when he saw no entrance to him graunted,
Roaring yet lowder that all harts it daunted,
Upon those gates with force he fiercely newe,
And, rending them in pieces, felly slewe 1370
Those warders strange, and all that els he met
But th’Ape still flying he no where might get:
rowme to rowme, from beame to beame he fled,
All breathles, and for feare now almost ded:
Yet him at last the Lyon spide, and caught, 1375
And forth with shame unto his iudgement brought.
Then all the beasts he causd’ assembled bee,
To heare their doome, and sad ensample see:
The Foxe, first author of that treacherie
He did uncase, and then away let flie. 1380
[Uncase, strip of his disguise.]
But th’Apes long taile (which then he had) he quight
Cut off, and both eares pared of their hight;
Since which, all Apes but halfe their eares have left,
And of their tailes are utterlie bereft.