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Stop thine ears, as I did mine." In George Chapman, Ben Jonson, and John Marston's Eastward Hoe the headstrong Touchstone rejects his family appeals with the words, "I will sayle by you, and not heare you, like the wise Vlisses" (5.4.1-2).
Exhorting the reader to keep clear of passionate love, Edmund Prestwich marks that Ulysses escaped the bewitching Sirens only because he "was afraid / And (since he scap'd) may thank his timely fears / That taught him (e're he heard them) t'stop his ears."  Such wisdom comes too late for Thomas Watson, now that his mistress's singing has maddened him with love: "Through musicks helpe loue hath increast his might, / I stoppe mine eares as wise Vlisses bad, / But all too late, now loue hath made me mad" (B2v; reprint, 26).
Only flight or the pitch of Ulysses helps against the infernal horror of the shrieking."  When Thomas Twyne translated this sentence into English in 1579, he sensibly replaced the medieval "pitch" with the more classical "wax": "this pleasure of the eyes is requited with great weerysomnesse of the eares, agaynst the horriblenesse of whose most hellysh noyse, it were needeful for men to run away, or to stoppe theyr eares with Vlisses waxe" (85r).
Now that Arte whiche is reported to haue auayled Vlisses, eyther nature, or some chaunce hath geuen vnto thee, in that thou hast safely passed the singyng of the Sirenes with deafe eares, whereby thou oughtest to accompt thy selfe happie.
The stage directions explain "that whosoever shall lend an attentive care to their [the Sirens'] musicke, is in great danger to perish; but he that can warily avoyd it by stopping his cares against their inchantment, shall not onely secure themselves, but bee their mine: This was made good in Vlisses the speaker.
Deaf Ulysses returns more covertly in Howell's Deuises, in a poem inveighing against flatterers: "As Saylers earst, by Sirens songs alurde, / Deuoured were that lackt Vlisses skill, / So Noble minds by such haue bene procurde, / To credite toyes, that turnde to greater ill.
Sunt ea monstra satis." In Barclay's translation the passage reads as follows: "When false adulation with fayre wordes doth glose, / And flatterers doth truth with paynted wordes pall, / It is difficultie [i.e., difficulte] thine eares then to close, / And counted a mastery and labour principall: / These arc the mermaydes whom men Syrens call....// These flatterers by whom the worlde is acloyde / I count the same monsters, whose gilefull armony / Vlisses despised, and namely [i.e., manly] did auoyde, / Him selfe to preseruing and all his company" (75).
(55.) Brant, 1961, 36.29-33: "Wer hofft dem narren schiff entgan / Der muoB des wachs jnn oren han / Das brucht Vlisses vff dem mer / Do er sach der Syrenen her / Vnd er durch wiBheyt von jnn kam."
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