Thomas Chatterton

(1752 - 1770 / Bristol / England)

Englysh Metamorphosis - Poem by Thomas Chatterton

BOOKE st.
WHANNE Scythyannes, salvage as the wolves theie chacde,
Peyncted in horrowe formes bie nature dyghte,
Heckled yn beastskyns, slepte uponne the waste,
And wyth the morneynge rouzed the wolfe to fyghte,
Swefte as descendeynge lemes of roddie lyghte
Plonged to the hulstred bedde of laveynge seas,
Gerd the blacke mountayn okes yn drybblets twighte
And ranne yn thoughte alonge the azure mees,
Whole eyne dyd feerie fheene, like blue-hayred defs ,
That dreerie hange upon Dover's emblaunched clefs.
Soft boundeynge over swelleynge azure reles
The salvage natyves sawe a shyppe appere;
An uncouthe denwere to theire bosomme steles;
Theyre myghte ys knopped ynne the froste of fere.
The headed javlyn lisseth here and there;
Theie stonde, theie ronne, theie loke wyth eger eyne;
The shyppes sayle, boleynge wythe the kyndelie ayre,
Ronneth to harbour from the beateynge bryne;
Theie dryve awaie aghaste, whanne to the stronde
A burled Trojan lepes, wythe Morglaien sweerde yn honde.
Hymme followede eftsoones hys compheeres , whose swerdes
Glestred lyke gledeynge starres ynne frostie nete,
Hayleynge theyre capytayne in chirckynge wordes
Kynge of the lande, whereon theie set theyre sete.
The greete kynge Brutus thanne theie dyd hym greete,
Prepared for battle, mareschalled the fyghte;
Theie urg'd the warre, the natyves sledde, as flete
As sleaynge cloudes that swymme before the fyghte;
Tyll tyred with battles, for to ceese the fraie,
Theie uncted Brutus kynge, and gave the Trojans swaie.
Twayne of twelve years han lemed up the myndes,
Leggende the salvage unthewes of theire breste,
Improved in mysterk warre, and lymmed theyr kyndes,
Whenne Brute from Brutons sonke to æterne reste.
Eftsoons the gentle Locryne was possest
Of swaie, and vested yn the paramente ;
Halceld the bykrous Huns, who dyd infeste
Hys wakeynge kyngdom wyth a foule intente;
As hys broade swerde oer Homberres heade was honge,
He tourned toe ryver wyde, and roarynge rolled alonge.
He wedded Gendolyne of roieal sede,
Upon whose countenance rodde healthe was spreade;
Bloushing, alyche the scarlette of herr wede,
She sonke to pleasaunce on the marryage bedde.
Eftsoons her peacefull joie of mynde was fledde;
Elstrid ametten with the kynge Locryne;
Unnombered beauties were upon her shedde,
Moche fyne, moche fayrer thanne was Gendolyne;
The mornynge tynge, the rose, the lillie floure,
In ever ronneynge race on her dyd peyncte theyr powere.
The gentle suyte of Locryne gayned her love;
Theie lyved soft momentes to a swotie age;
Eft wandringe yn the coppyce, delle, and grove,
Where ne one eyne mote theyre disporte engage;
There dydde theie tell the merrie lovynge fage ,
Croppe the prymrosen floure to decke theyre headde;
The feerie Gendolyne yn woman rage
Gemoted warriours to bewrecke her bedde;
Theie rose; ynne battle was greete Locryne sleene;
The faire Elstrida fledde from the enchafed queene.
A tye of love, a dawter fayre she hanne,
Whose boddeynge morneyng shewed a fayre daie,
Her fadre Locrynne, once an hallie manne.
Wyth the fayre dawterre dydde she haste awaie,
To where the Western mittee pyles of claie
Arise ynto the cloudes, and doe them beere;
There dyd Elstrida and Sabryna staie;
The fyrste tryckde out a whyle yn warryours gratch and gear;
Vyncente was she ycleped, butte fulle soone fate
Sente deathe, to telle the dame, she was notte yn regrate .
The queene Gendolyne sente a gyaunte knyghte,
Whose doughtie heade swepte the emmertleynge skies,
To slea her wheresoever she shulde be pyghte ,
Eke everychone who shulde her ele emprize .
Swefte as the roareynge wyndes the gyaunte flies,
Stayde the loude wyndes, and shaded reaulmes yn nyghte,
Stepte over cytties, on meint acres lies,
Meeteynge the herehaughtes of morneynge lighte;
Tyll mooveynge to the Weste, myschaunce hys gye ,
He thorowe warriours gratch fayre Elstrid did espie.
He tore a ragged mountayne from the grounde,
Harried uppe noddynge forrests to the tide,
Thanne wythe a fuirie, mote the erthe astounde ,
To meddle ayre he lette the mountayne flie,
The flying wolfynnes sente a yelleynge crie;
Onne Vyncente and Sabryna felle the mount;
To lyve æternalle dyd theie eftsoones die;
Thorowe the sandie grave boiled up the pourple founte,
On a broade grassie playne was layde the hylle,
Staieynge the rounynge course of meint a limmed rylle.
The goddes, who kenned the actyons of the wyghte,
To leggen the sadde happe of twayne so fayre,
Houton dyd make the mountaine bie theire mighte.
Forth from Sabryna ran a ryverre cleere,
Roarynge and rolleynge on yn course bysmare
From female Vyncente shotte a ridge of stones,
Eche syde the ryver rysynge heavenwere;
Sabrynas floode was helde ynne Elstryds bones.
So are theie cleped; gentle and the hynde
Can telle, that Severnes streeme bie Vyncentes rocke's ywrynde .
The bawsyn gyaunt, hee who dyd them slee,
To telle Gendolyne quycklie was ysped ;
Whanne, as he strod alonge the shakeynge lee,
The roddie levynne glesterrd on hys headde:
Into hys hearte the azure vapoures spreade;
He wrythde arounde yn drearie dernie payne;
Whanne from his lyfe-bloode the rodde lemes were fed,
He felle an hepe of ashes on the playne.
Stylle does hys ashes shoote ynto the lyghte,
A wondrous mountayne hie, and Snowdon ys ytte hyghte.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 1, 2010



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