ARBASTO. The Anatomie of Fortune. Wherein is discoursed by a pithie and pleasant discourse, that the highest state of prosperitie, is oft times the first steppe to mishappe, and that to stay vpon Fortunes lotte, is to treade on brittle Glasse. VVherein also Gentlemen may find pleasant con­ceits to purge Melancholie, and persit counsell to preuent misfortune. By Robert Greene Master of Arte.

Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit vtile dulci.

AT LONDON, Printed by H. Iackson, dwelling in Fleetstreete, beneath the Conduite, at the signe of Saint Iohn Euangelist. 1589.

To the right honorable and vertuous Lady, the Lady Mary Talbot, wife to the Right honou­rable Gilbert, Lord Talbot: Robert Greene wisheth increase of honour and vertue.

MYRON that vnskilfull Painter of Greece, neuer drewe anie picture, but the counterfaite of Iupiter: saying, that if it were ill wrought, his woorthines should countenance out the meanenes of his worke, if well, commend the perfection of his arte.

In like maner fareth it with me (right Honourable) who hauing vnskilfully shadowed with bad colors, the counterfait of Fortune, pre­sume boldly to shroud it vnder your Ladiships patronage, as able to defend it, be it neuer so meane, and to countenaunce it, were it neuer so good, beeing of Decius minde, who thought himselfe safe vnder the shielde of Caesar.

Poore Irus comming into the Temple of Pallas, seeing hir pour­traied with a Speare in the one hand, and a Booke in the other, noting thereby as well her inward vertue, as her outward valor: sayde, de­spightfull pouertie, thou shalt not keepe me from honouring Pallas, though from giuing her presents.

So hearing of your Ladiships exquisite perfection, as well in out­warde shape, as in vertuous qualities, drawne with a deepe desire, to shewe what a dutifull affection I owe to such noble and vertuous personages: although want sought to hinder my will, yet I thought rather to fault in the defect of abilitie, then not to shewe in effect the forwardnes of my desire, which wishing to bring forth a Mountain, haue scarce performed a Moul-hill, and willing to shew your honour Alexanders Picture, is far vnable to present you with Agrippas shaddowes.

But I hope your Ladiship will deale with me as Caesar did with his yong Souldiers, who accepted of their seruice, not onelie when they performed what they should, but when they practised what they could. Thus resting assured of your Ladiships curtesie, praying conti­nuallie for the increase of your honor, with all things that you would wish or imagin, I end.

Your Ladiships most dutifull to commaund, Robert Greene.

To the Gentlemen Readers health.

ALexander, whether wearied with Bucephalus pace, or desirous of nouelties, as the nature of man delighteth in change, rode on a time on Euphestions horse, for which being reprehen­ded by one of his Captains, he made him this aunswere: Though all (quoth he) cannot haue Bucephalus courage, yet this is a Horse.

So Gentlemen, if some too curious carpe at your cour­tesie, that vouchsafe to take a viewe of this vnperfect Pam­phlet, I hope you will aunswer, though it be not excellent, yet it is a Booke: beeing heerein of Agustus mind, who be­ing demaunded why he red Ennius and not Virgill, aunswe­red: why quoth he is not Ennius also a Poet. Though none but Apelles was famous for his Arte, yet others were coun­ted Painters. All might not washe with Homer, yet diuers dipt their fingers in his Bason. I affoorde not Gentlemen what I would, but what I can, trusting so you will think of me, and accept of my worke. And in this hope I rest.

Yours to vse, Robert Greene.

Arbasto, the Anatomie of Fortune.

SAyling towards Candie, after that I had long time béene tossed with infortunate tempests, forced by wind and waue, our course not well guided by our compasse, happilie arriued at the Cittie of Sydon, where being set on shore, I straight with my Companions went to offer incense to the Goddesse of prosperitie, which the Cittizens call Astarte. Whither be­ing come, my deuotion doone, and my oblations offered vp, desirous to take a viewe of the ancient Monuments of the Temple, I passed through manie places, where most sumptuous Sepulchers were erected: which beeing séene, as I thought to haue gone to my lodging, I spied a Cell, ha­uing the doore open: whereinto as I entered, I sawe an Archflamin sitting (as I supposed) at his Orizons, for so was the Priest of the Goddesse termed, who béeing clothed in white Sattin Robes, and crowned with a Diademe of perfect Gold, leaned his head vpon his right hand, powring forth streames of watrish tears, as outward signes of some inward passions, and held in his left hand the counterfaite of Fortune, with one foote trode on a Polype fish, and with the other on a Camelion, as assured badges of her certaine mutabilitie. Driuen into a dumpe with the sight of thys strange deuise, as I long gazed at the vnacquainted ge­sture of this olde Flamin, willing to knowe both the cause of his care, and what the picture of Fortune did import, I was so bold as to waken him out of his passion, with thys parle.

Father (ꝙ I) if my presumption be great in preasing so rashlie into so secret and sacred a place: yet I hope weigh­ing my wil, you wil somwhat excuse my boldnes, for I haue not presumed as thinking to giue anie iust occasion of of­fence, [Page] but as a stranger, desirous to see the Monuments of this ancient Temple, which as I narrowly viewed, happe­ning by chance into this your Cell, and seeing your old age perplexed with strange passions, staied as one willing to learne what disaster hap hath driuen you into these strange dumps, which if I without offence may request, and you without preiudice grant, I shal find my selfe by duty bound to requite your vndeserued curtesie.

After I had vttered these words, staying a good space to heare what the old Man would answer, séeing that he did not so much as vouchsafe to giue an eare to my parle, or an eye to my person, but still gazed on the picture of Fortune. As I was ready to course him from his harbor with a dee­per blast, I saw a present Metamorphosis of his mind: for from teares hee fell to trifling, from lowring to laughing, from mourning to mirth, yet neuer casting his eyes from Fortunes counterfaite, tyll at last after he had long smiled (as I thought) at the picture, he as in despight cast it from him, taking his Lute, plaied a dumpe, whereto he warbled out these words.

WHereat ere while I wept, I laugh,
That which I feard, I now despise:
My victor once, my vassaile is,
My foe constraind, my weale supplies.
Thus doe I triumph on my foe,
I weepe at weale, I laugh at woe.
My care is cur'd, yet hath no end,
Not that I want, but that I haue,
My chance was change, yet still I stay,
I would haue lesse, and yet I craue:
Aie me poore wretch that thus doe liue,
Constraind to take, yet forst to giue.
Shee whose delights are signes of death,
Who when she smiles begins to lowre,
Constant in this, that still she change,
Hir sweetest gifts time prooues but sowre.
I liue in care, crost with her guile,
Through her I weepe, at her I smile.

The old sire hauing with sighes sobbed out this sorrow­full dittie, I was driuen into a maze what the contrarie contents of these verses should meane, vntill at last casting his eye aside, and séeing me stand so solemnlie, he burst forth into these chollericke termes.

Friend, quoth he (if I may so terme thée) thou hast ey­ther not heard much, or learned very little, either thy curte­sie is small, or thy conditions too currish, that séekest to come to counsell before thou be called. If the secrecie of my Cell, or the reuerence of my age, or thy small acquaintance with me, were not sufficient to holde thée from preasing so nigh: yet séeing me thus solemnly perplexed, thou mightest (for modestie sake) haue left me to my secret and sorrowfull passions. If it be the custome of thy Countrey to be so dis­courteous, I like not the fruite of such a soyle: If thy owne reckles follie to be thus rash, I craue not to be acquainted with such a bold guest: but whether it be, as thou cammest in without my leaue, I wishe thée to goe out by iust com­maund.

He had no sooner vttered these words, but he was rea­die to take vppe the picture, if I had not hindered him with this replie.

Sir (ꝙ I) where the offence is confessed, there the fault is halfe pardoned, and those facts that are committed by ig­noraunce, alwaies claime them pardons by course: I graunt that I haue beene much too rash, but I repent, and therefore hope you will take the lesse offence, and the sooner [Page] excuse my follie: faults committed by will, gaine oft times but a checke, then mine doone by ignorance, shall I hope e­scape without a mate. Penalties are enioyned by the will more than by the worke: and thinges doone amisse, (saith Tullie) euer ought to be measured by the intent, and not by the méere action. Which considered, if my presence hath béene preiudiciall to your passions, I hope you will think I offended as a stranger, and will pardon mee, as one sorrie for so rash an enterprise.

The olde man very attentiuelie hearing my talke, ha­uing somewhat digested his choller, rysing vppe from his seate, made me this friendly answer.

Friend (ꝙ he) all is not gold that glisters, the smoothest talk hath oft times the smallest trueth: the Sunne when it glistreth most bright, then bréedeth ye greatest showre, when the Bore laieth down his bristles, thē he meaneth to strik. The Painter casteth ye fayrest colour ouer the foulest boord, and strangers flatterings are oft times but méere fallaci­ons: yet whither thy talke be truth or tales: whither thou commest to note my passions as a spie, or hast by chaunce hit into my Cell as a stranger, I care not: for if thou enuie me as a foe I force thée not, in that I feare not the spight of Fortune: if thou muse at my suddaine motions, as one de­sirous to be acquainted with my case, it shall little auaile thée to heare it, and be a great griefe for me to rehearse it.

O sir (ꝙ I) if my credite might be such, as without de­sert to obtaine so much fauour: or if the Prayer of a poore stranger might preuaile to perswade you to vnfold the cause of these your suddaine passions, I should thinke my former trauels counteruailed with this your friendly curtesie.

It is good indéed (ꝙ he) by other mens harmes to learne to beware: Phoebus had neuer béen so warie of Vulcane, if Mars his mishap had not bid him take héede: Vlisses had not [Page] so wisely eschewed Circes charms, if he had not séene before his fellowes trans-formed, and perhaps the hearing of my former cares may frée thée from ensuing calamitie.

I haue béen my selfe a Prince, which am nowe subiect vnto power: alate a mightie Potentate, and now constrai­ned to liue vnder a seruile law: not cōtented ere while with a princelie Pallace, nowe sufficiently satis-fied with a poore Cell, and yet this present want excéedes my wonted weale. I then had too much in penury, and now I lack in superflui­tie, being cloyed with aboundance, yet hauing nothing, in that my mind remaineth satis-fied. Fortune, yea Fortune in fauouring me, hath made me most infortunate. Syrenlike hiding vnder musick misery, vnder pleasure paine, vnder mirth mourning, like the sugred Honicombe, which while a man toucheth he is stoong with Bées. She presenteth fayre shapes, which proue but fading shadowes, shee proffereth Mountaines, and perhaps keepeth promise, but the gaines of these golden Mines is losse & misery. None rode on Seia­nus horse, which got not mishap. None toucht the golde of Tholossa, whom some desaster chaunce did not assaile: nei­ther hath any béen aduanced by fortune, which in time hath not béen crossed with some haples calamitie. I speake this by experience, which I pray ye gods thou neuer try by proofe: for he onlie is to be thought happy, whom the inconstant fa­uour of Fortune hath not made happy. The Picture which thou séest heere, is the perfect counterfaite of her inconstant conditions, for she like to the Polype Fysh, turneth herselfe into the likenes of euery obiect, and with the Camelion ta­keth her whole delight in change, beeing sure in nothing but in this, that shee is not sure. Which inconstancie after I had known by too much proofe, I began to arme my selfe a­gainst her guiles, and to count her fauning flatterie, and her frownes of no force, not to accept her as a friende, but to de­spise her as a foe, and in despight of her fained deitie, to op­pose my selfe against her fickle power, which I haue found the greatest shielde to shrowde me from her secret iniuries. [Page] I haue left my Pallace, and taken me to a simple Cell, in the one I found often displeasure, but in the other neuer but contentation. From a Prince of the earth, I am become a Priest to the Gods, séeking only by this obscure life to please my selfe, and displease Fortune: whose picture when I sée, I wéepe that I was so fonde, as to be subiect to such a seruile Dame, and I laugh, that at last I triumph bothe ouer myne owne affections, and ouer Fortune. Thus friend, since thou hast hearde the cause of my care, cease off to enquire farther in the case, passe from my Cell, and leaue me to my passions, for to procure my griefe, and not thy gaine, were to offer me double losse. After he had vttered these wordes, perceiuing by his parle that he was a mighty Prince, I beganne with more reuerence to excuse my rashnes, framing my talke to this effect.

I am sorrie (ꝙ I) if sorrowe might be amendes for that which is amisse, that my hastie follie hath offended your highnesse: and that my poore presence hath béen preiudiciall to your princely passions, but since the fault once committed may be repented, but not reclaimed, I hope your highnesse will pardon my vnwitting wilfulnes, and take (had I will) for an excuse of so suddaine an offence, which graunted, the desire I haue to heare of your strange happe, doth make mee passe manners in being importunate with your Maiestie, to heare the tragicall chance of this your strange change.

Well (ꝙ hee) since thy desire is such, and time allowes me conuenient leysure, sit downe, and thou shalt heare what trust there is to be giuen to inconstant Fortune.

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