Midas’s Transformation

Ovid, Metamorphosis (8), trans. Arthur Golding (London: Willyam Seres, 1567):

There Pan among the fayrye elues that dawneed round toogither
In setting of his conning out for singing and for play
Uppon his pype of réedes and war, presuming for too say·
Apollos musick was not like too his, did take in hand
A farre vnequall match, wherof the Tmole for iudge should stand.
The auncient iudge sitts downe vppon his hill, and ridds his eares
From trées, and onely on his head an Oken garlond weares,
Wherof the Acornes dangled downe about his hollow brow.
And looking on the God of n[]ate he sayd: yée néede not now
Too tarry longer for your iudge. Then Pan blew lowd and strong
His country pype of réedes, and with his rude and homely song
Delighted Midas eares, for he by chaunce was in the throng.
When Pan had doone, the sacred Tmole too Phebus turnd his looke,
And with the turning of his head his busshye heare he shooke.
Then Phebus with a crowne of []ay vppon his golden heare
Did swéepe the ground with scarlet robe. In left hand he did beare
His viall made of precious stones and Iuorye intermirt.
And in his right hand for too strike, his bowe was réedy fixt.
He was the verrye paterne of a good Musician ryght
Anon he gan with conning hand the tuned strings too smyght.
The swéetenesse of the which did so the iudge of them delyght,
That Pan was willed for to put his Réedepype in his cace,
And not too fiddle nor too sing where vialls were in place.
The iudgement of the holy hill was lyked well of all,
Saue Midas, who found fault therwith and wrongfull did it call.
Apollo could not suffer well his foolish eares too kéepe
Theyr humaine shape, but drew them wyde, & made them long & déepe.
And filld them full of whytish heares, and made them downe too sag.
And through too much vnstablenesse continually too wag.
His body kéeping in the rest his manly figure still,
Was ponnisht in the part that did offend for want of skill.
And so a slowe paaste Asses eares his heade did after beare.
This shame endeuereth he too hyde. And therefore he did weare
A purple nyghtcappe euer since. But yit his Barber who
Was woont too notte him spy[]d it: and béeing eager too
Disclose it, when he neyther durst too vtter it, nor could
It kéepe in secret still, hée went and digged vp the mowld,
And whispring softly in the pit, declaard what eares hée spyde
His mayster haue, and turning downe the clowre ageine, did hyde
His blabbed woordes within the ground, and closing vp the pit
Departed thence and neuer made mo woordes at all of it.
Soone after, there began a tuft of quiuering réedes too growe
Which béeing rype bewrayd theyr séede and him that did them sowe.
For when the gentle sowtherne wynd did lyghtly on them blowe,
They vttred foorth the woordes that had béene buried in the ground
And so reproude the Asses eares of Midas with theyr sound. (11) 

John Lyly, Midas (London: Thomas Scarlet for John Broome, 1592):

  Ap.  Wretched, vnworthie to bee a King, thou shalt know what it is to displease Apollo. I will leaue thee but the two last letters of they name, to be thy whole name; which if thou canst not gesse, touch thine cares, they shall tell thee.
  Myd.  What hast thou done Apollo? the eares of an Asse vpon the head of a King?
  Ap.  And well worthie, when the dulnes of an asse is in the eares of a King….Exeunt.
  Myd.  Ah Mydas, why was not thy whole bodie metamorphosed, that there might haue been no parte left of Mydas? Where shall I shrowd this shame? or how may I bee restored to mine olde shape? Apollo is angrie: blame not Apollo, whom being God of musick thou didst both dislike and dishonour; preferring the barbarous noyse of Pans pipe, before the sweete melolodie of Apolloes lute. If I returne to Phrygia, I shall bee pointed at; if liue in these woods, fauage beasts must be my co~panions: & what other companions should Mydas hope for than beasts, being of all beasts himselfe the dullest? Had it not bin better for thee to haue perished by a golden death, than now to lead a beastly life?... But I must seeke to couer my shame by arte, least beeing once discouered to these pettie Kings of Mysia, Pisidia and Galatia, they all ioyne to adde to mine Asses eares, of all the beasts the dullest, a sheepes heart, of all the beasts the fearfullest.

   The Reedes.  Mydas of Phrygia hath asses eares.
  Er.  This is monstrous, & either portends some mischiefe to the king, or vnto the state confusion. Mydas of Phrygia hath asses ears? It is vnpossible, let vs with speed to the king to know his resolution, for to some oracle he must send.

   Myd.  Sophronia, thou seest I am become a shame to the world, and a wonder. Mine eares glowe. Mine eares? Ah miserable Mydas, to haue such eares as make thy checkes blush, thy head monstrous, and thy hart desperate? Yet in blushing I am impudent, for I walke in the streetes; in deformitie I seeme comely. (5.1)

  Apollo his Oracle.
When Pan Apollo in musick shall excell,
Mydas of Phrygia shall lose his Asses eares;
Pan did Apollo in musick farre excell,
Therefore king Mydas weareth Asses eares:
Vnlesse he shrinke his stretching hand from Lesbos,
His eares in length, at length shal reach to Delphos. 

  [Myd.]  Sacred Appollo; if sacrifice yerely at thy temple, and submission hourely in mine owne Court, if fulfilling thy counsell, and correcting my councellors, may shake off these Asses eares, I heere before thee vow to shake off al enuies abrode, and at home all tyrannie.  The eares fall off.