A Mirrour or looking-glasse for the Ladies of Englande.

Wherein is disciphered, howe Gentlemen vnder the perfect substaunce of pure loue, are oft inueigled with the shadowe of lewde lust: and their firme faith, brought a sleepe by fading fancie: vntil wit ioyned with wisedome, doth awake it by the helpe of reason.

By Robert Greene Graduate in Cambridge.

Imprinted at London for Thomas Woodcocke. 1583.

To the right honourable his very good Lorde and Maister, Lorde Darcie of the North, Robert Greene wisheth long life, prosperous successe, with all increase of honour and vertue.

EMilius Macedonicus (Right honorable) thinking to gratifie Alexander the great with some curious peece of workmāship, waded so far in the depth of his art, as strayning curtesie with cunning, he skipt beyonde his skill, not being able to make it perfect. Who being blamed of Pausanias, for striuing further then his sleeue would stretch, answeared: that al­though arte and skill were wanting to beautifie the work, yet heart & wil did polish that part, which lacke of cunning had lefte vnperfect, ouershadowing the ble­mish of disabilitie, with the vaile of sincere affection. Whose aunsweare, as one guiltie of the like crime, I clayme for a sufficient excuse of my follie, that durst en­terprise to striue beyond my strength, knowing my selfe vnable, both by nature and art, to bring such a weighty matter to a wise end. For if the fouler is to be condēned of follie, that takes in hande to talke of hunting; or the merchant counted as madde, which medleth with the rules of Astronomie: then may I well be dubbed a dolt, which dare take in hand to discipher the substaunce of loue, that am but a lout; or to shew the force of fancie, which am but a foole. But as there is not a grea­ter cooling carde to a rash wit then want, so there is not a more speedie spurre to a willing minde, then the force of duetie: which droue me into a double doubt: eyther [Page] to be counted as bold as blind Bayard, in presuming too farre; or to incurre the preiudice of ingratitude, in being too slacke; to bee thought vaineglorious in writing without wit; or a thanklesse person forgetting my debt: so hauing free choyse of them both, I thought it but a light matter to bee counted ouer venturous, if I might doe any thing which should shew some part of my due­tie vnto your honour: neyther did I euer care to be coū ­ted bolde, if that blemishe might eyther pleasure your Lordship, or els make manifest my good will, whiche alwaies did wishe to be with the formost of your wel­willers. But as wishes are of no value, so his will is as vaine, that couetes to pay his debt with a counterfeite coyne: wherein I both finde the fault, and commit the offence. For being greatly indebted to your honour by duetie, for the first payment I offer a peece of work nei­ther worth the wetting nor wearing, the receiuing nor reading, more meete for the Apothecaries pots, then a noble mans hand; fitter for the pedler to rent, then Gen­tlemen to reade. Yet if the worke be weighed with my simple wit, it is downe measure; and if my good will might serue for a weight, although the stuffe bee light, yet there are few woulde be heauier in the ballance. So that hoping of your honours wonted curtesie, that you will marke the mynd, and not the matter; the will, and not the worke; I commit your honour to the almigh­tie.

Your Honours humble Seruant, Robert Greene.

To the Gentlemen readers.

AFter that, Gentlemen, I had neither wel furnished nor finished this imperfect peece of woorke, but brought it to a bare ende, whether it were for imitation or art, I haue almost forgot, but for one it was, I chanced to reade diuers Epistles of sundrie men writ­ten to the readers, wherin I found the best learned of them also far drenched in doubt of their disabilitie, & almost fortified for feare that want of skill shoulde be a blemish to their woorke, as (thinking a flat confession should haue a plaine pardon) they cal their bookes vanities, shadowes imperfect paterns, more meete for the Pedler then the Printer, toyes, trifles, trash, trinkets. Some comparing thē to cheeses, neither worth the tasting, nor eating, so their books, nei­ther worth the reading nor hearing: and yet the worst of them all so perfectly polished with the pumice stone of eloquence, as in them nature and art doe striue for supremacie. If then those learned men doe count their works but counterfeit, that were carued with such curious cunning, and tearmed them trash which were Mer­chant ware: what shall I call mine, which is of such simple stuffe, as it is neither worth the cheaping nor chaunging? Surely I wil leaue the name to the readers gentle iudgement, because I cannot finde one bad enough, that euery one may tearme it as their fancy lea­deth them. For there is no chaffer so charie, but some will cheape; no ware so bad, but some wil buy; no booke so yll but some will both reade it and praise it; & none againe so curious, but some wil carpe at it. Wel, so many heades, so many wittes. If Gentlemen will take my booke as a toy to passe away the time, and weigh mere of my meaning then of the matter, and more of my wil, then eyther of my wit, or the worke; if I say, they shall shew me this curtesie, it shal be both a spurre to prick me forward to attempt further, and a suffi­cient recompence for my trauell,

Robert Greene.

Roger Portington Esquier, in commen­dation of the booke.

IF Grecia soyle may vaunt her hap and lucky chaunce,
as nurse of Clios clarkely crue, her state t'aduaunce,
Or Smirna boast of Homers skil, for hope of fame,
If royall Rome may reape renowne by Tullies name,
Or Virgils countrie village vaunt that she excell,
Dan Ouids natiue land may striue to beare the bell:
Then Britaine soyle may brauely boast her state in fine,
That she a new Pernassus is, the Muses shrine.
No finer wittes in Grecia raigned then Britayne breedes,
No brauer workes in Smirna wrought then English deeds.
If passing port of Poets praise was euer founde
In Mantua, the like is got in Britayne ground.
If Tullie wan the golden spurres of fame by prose,
And reaped in Rome such rich renowne as wel as those:
Our Authour beautifies this Brittayne soyle for why?
His stately style in English prose doth climbe the skie.
His filed phrase deserues in learnings throne to sit,
And his Mamillia darkens quite the Frenchmens wit.
Yea if that any haue beene crowned with laurel greene,
This Greene deserues a laurel braunch I weene:
For why? his pen hath paynted out dan Cupids craft,
And set at large the doubtfull chance of fancies drafte:
Yea in such comely colours sure his workes enbost,
As he for English phrase may sit amidst the most.
And thogh he thinks his booke too rude to win such fame,
His foes would say that he by right deserues the same.
Roger Portington.


THe Citie of Padua, renoumed as wel for the antiquitie of the famous Uniuersitie, as also for the notable ryuer now called Po, when the Ciuill warres were moste hot, and the broyles of dissention so ryfe, that the Gothes and Hungarians with sodaine inuasion had subuerted the whole state of Italy, was euer so fortified with couragious Captaines & warlike Souldiors, and so wel gouerned by the prudent pollicy of their Magistrate Signior Gonsaga, that they alwayes set out the flagge of de­fiaunce, and neuer came so much as once to parle of peace with their enemies; although Venice, Florence, Sienna, with many other Cities (as Machianell in his Florentine historie maketh report) at the hotte Skirmishes and fierce Assaults of the Sol­diours, accepted conditions of peace willinglye: so much pre­uailed the pollitique wisdome of the wise Rular. Out of whose liue by discent yssued one Francesco Gonzaga, a Gentleman whome fortune did not onely endue with wealth, but also beau­tified with as great wisdome, as any of his predecessors: so that it was in doubt, whether he wanne more fauour for his wit, or feare for his ryches: whether hee were better lyked for his cal­ling, or loued for his courtesie: but sure whether it were, he had gayned the hearres of all the people. And yet for all these gol­den giftes of Nature, he was more bound vnto Fortune, which had bestowed vpon him one onely daughter, called Mamillia, of such exquisit perfection and singular beautie, as the lineaments of her body, so perfectly portrayed out by nature, did shew this gorgeous Goddesse to be framed by the common consent of all the Graces: or els to purchase Nature some great commenda­tion by caruing a peece of so curious perfection. For her body was not onely beautified with the outward blaze of beautie: but her minde was also endued with the beames of inward bountie, as yt men were rauished as much with the wōder of her wisdom, [Page] as driuen into admiration with the fourme of her feature. But what neede I to disciphet her excellent perfection, sith nature had so cunningly paynted out the portraiture, both of her mind and body, in such comly coulours, as it may suffice for me to say, she was the flower of all Venice.

This gallant Gyrle by her vertuous qualities had made such a stealth in the heart of one Florion, a young Gentleman, which serued as she did in the Dukes court at Venice, that hee reposed his onely pleasure in her presence, and againe her onely contentation consisted in his company, that they were two bo­dyes and one soule, their will and wish was alike, the consent of the one was a constraint to the other, the desire of Mamillia, was the delight of Florion: yea the concord of their nature was such, as no soppes of suspition, no mistes of distrust, no floddes of ficklenes could once foyle their fayth, their friendship was so firmely founded on the rocke of vertue: for this straight league of lyking was not fleshly fanoy, but a meere choyce of Chasti­tie. Whereby we may well note the broad blasphemy of those which thinke, because the Towe cannot touch the fire, but it must burne, no [...] the Iuie claspe the Tree, vnlesse it sucke out the sappe: so like wise the greene wood cannot touch the coales, but it must flame, nor the Uine branch embrace the tender twig, but it must consume it: that loue and lyking cannot be without lust and lasci [...]iousnes: that deepe desire cannot be without flesh­ly affection: but this suspition proceedeth of an eull disposition. This currish misconstruing commeth of a corrupt conscience, they seeke others, where they haue beene hidde them selues: for we may see by experience and manifest examples, that there haue beene euen lewd Louers, which haue contented their dis­ordinate desire, onely with the courteous countenaunce of their Mistresse, who although they were caught in the snare of beau­tie, and altogether vowed vnto vanitie, yet they could so well bridle their affections, that the onely sight of their Ladye was sufficient to feed their fancy. If then the wanton woer, whose stay is but a rotten staffe, can so valiantly resist the Alarmes of lust; may not a faythfull friende frie in friendship, and freese [Page 2] in such filthy affection, be feruent in goodnesse, and cold in de­sire? yes Amian and Ignatia: Auficlius and Canchia: Ama­dor and his Florinda, are sufficient proofes and presidences of this chast league of loyall amitie, that we may well thinke, and easilye perceiue this sacred bond of friendship betweene Flori­on and Mamillia was altogether founded vpon vertue, and the more it is to be credited, because hee had beene deceiued by the lightnesse of one Luminia, and knew very well, that there was litle cōstancy in such kites of Cressids kind, whose minds were as foule within, as their faces faire without: he had been burnt in the hand, for touching fire without aduisement: he had late e­nough tasted of that baite, to bee taken in the trappe: he had bin too sore canuased in the Nettes, to strike at euery stale: and hee had trusted too much the shape of the body, to be so soone allu­red with the [...]ewe of Beawtie: yea hee had beene so deepelye drenched in the waues of womens wyles, that euery sodayne sight was a sea of suspition, as he made a vowe in the waye of martage to abandon the company of women for euer, and to a solemne oath, since he had wonne againe the fieldes of his free­dome, neuer by the leawdnes of loue to enter into bondage. Yet he would not altogether, (although hee had cause with Euripi­des to proclaime himselfe open enemie to womankinde) seeme so absurd a Sophister, to inferre a general conclusion of a par­ticular proposition, nor be counted so iniurious, to condemne al of lightnesse, for ones leawdnes; nor to shewe himselfe such a moodelesse Aminius, to say all were Criples, because he found one halting: No, no, he knew all hearbes were not as bitter as Coloquintida; that all water was not infectious, though some were pestilent; that as there is a chāgable Polipe, so there is a sted fast Emerauld, that there was as well a Lucrece, as a La­is; as well Cornelia as Corinna; as constant a Penelope, as a fleeting Phania; and as vertuous a Mamillia, as a vicious Luminia: so that as he detested yt one for her folly, he imbraced the other for her vertue: insomuch that hauing himself escaped the seas of trouble and care, yet he thought his minde not fully quiet, vntill he might cause his friend Mamillia, to cast her an­ker [Page] in the port of Tranquilitie. For after that he had made a Metamorphosis of himselfe from a Courtier of Venice, to a Countriman in Sienna: from the waues of wickednes, to the calme seas of Securitie: from the castle of Care, to the pallace of pleasure: from the heath of Heauines, to the hauen of Happi­nes: yea, as he thought, from hel to heauē: yet he could not haue a quiet conscience, til he might see her of the same sect, & as dead­ly to hate it, as he did loth it: so that he wrot her a letter, where­in he counsayled her to follow his example, which shee hauing receiued, and read, the force of his friendshippe, on the one side so perswaded her, & the rule of reason on the other side, so con­strayned her, that she concluded to abandon the Dukes Courte for euer, and so eschewe the bayte wherein was hidde such a deadly hooke, to abstaine from yt pleasure, which in time would turne to poyson, to giue a final farewell to that condition of life, which at length woulde breede her confusion. And therefore hauing obtayned leaue of the Dutches, came home in haste to her fathers house in Padua, where she had not remayned long, beefore diuers young Gentlemen drawen by the passing prayse of her perfection, which was bruted abroade through al the Ci­tie, repayred thither all in general, hoping to get the goale, & euery one particularly perswading himself to haue as much as any, wherwith to deserue her loue: so yt there was no Feather, no fangle, Gem nor Iewell, Ouch nor Ring left behinde, which might make them seemely in her sight: yea some were so curi­ous no doubt, as many Italian Gentlemen are, which woulde euen correct nature, where they thought shee was faultie in de­fect: For their narrow shoulders must haue a quilted Dublet of a large sise: their thinne belly must haue a coat of the Spa­nish cut: their crooked legges, a fide sloppe; their smal shankes, a bombast hose, and their dissembling mind, two faces in a hood: to wax with the Moone, and ebbe with the sea: to beare both fire and water, to laugh and weepe all with one winde.

NOwe amongst all this courtly crew, which resorted to the house of Gonsaga, there was a Gentleman, called Phari­cles, [Page 3] a youth of wonderfull witte, and no lesse wealth, whome both nature and experience had taught the old prouerbe, as per­fect as his Pater noster, he that cannot dissemble, cannot lyue: which sentence is so surely setled in the mindes of men, as it may very wel be called in question, whether it belong vnto them as an inseperable accident, or els is engrafted by nature, and so fast bred by the bone, as it will neuer out: for they will haue the cloath to be good, though the lyning be rotten ragges; and a fine die, though a course thread: their wordes must be as smooth as oyle, though their heartes be as rough as a rocke, and a smi­ling countenaunce in a frowning minde. This Pharicles, I say, fayre enough: but not faythful enough, a disease in men, I will not say incurable, crauing altogether to croppe the buddes of her outward beawtie, and not the fruites of her inward boun­tie; forced rather by the lust of the body, then enticed by the loue of her vertue; thought by the glose of his painted shew, to win the substance of her perfect minde, vnder his side cloathes to co­uer his clawes, with the cloake of curtesie to conceale his curi­ositie. For as the birdes cannot be enticed to the trappe, but by a stale of the same kind, so he knew well enough, that she, whose minde was surely defenced with the rampire of honestie, must of necessitie haue the onset giuen by ciuilitie. He therefore fra­ming a sheepes skin for his woolues backe, and putting on a smooth hide ouer his Panthers panch, vsed first a great grauitie in his apparell, and no lesse demurenes in his countenaunce and gesture, with such a ciuil gouernmēt of his affection, as yt he see­med rather to court vnto Diana, thē vow his seruice vnto Ve­nus. This Gentleman being thus set in order, wanted nothing but opportunitie to reueale his minde to his new Mistresse, ho­ping that if time would minister place and occasion, he would so reclaime her with his faigned eloquence, as she should sease vpō his lure, & so cunningly cloake her with his counterfeit cal, as she should come to his fist: for he thought himselfe not to haue on al his armour, vnlesse he had teares at command, sighes, sobs, prayers, protestations, vowes, pilgrimages, and a thousand false othes to bind euery promise.

[Page] While thus he made his traine, Gonzaga, as his custome was, once a yeere inuited all the youth of Padua to a banquet, where, after they had taken repast, there was no talke but of the beawtie of Mamillia, vntill euerye man tooke his Mistresse to tread the measures.

But shee knowing idlenesse to bee the nource of Loue, and thinking him halfe madde, who fearing fire, woulde put towe into the flame; or that doubting of drowning, would swimme in the Sea; conueied her selfe closely from that wan­ton company alone into a garden, intending by solitarinesse to auoyd al inconuenience, as her presence among the lustie brutes might haue procured. Pharicles, who now thought tyme and place conuenient to discouer his minde, sat quite beside the sad­dle: for perceiuiug the absence of his Mistresse, his heart was in his hose, and he stoode, as if he had with Medusas head beene turned to a stone. Thus nypped on the pate with this newe mischaunce, he determined to returne home in hast to bewayle his happe: but as nothing violent is permanent, so his sodaine sore had a new salue. For as hee passed through the court, he espied Mamillia, reading alone in the garden, whose sodaine sight so reuiued his daunted mind, as that he paced vnto her, and after he had curteously giuen her the Salue, interrupted her on tis manner.

Mistresse Mamillia, although my rashnes merit blame, in presuming so farre to trouble your studye, yet the cause of my boldnes deserueth pardon, sith it commeth of goodwill and af­fection: For where the offence proceedeth of loue, there the pardon ensueth of course: But if you thinke the faulte so great, as remission cannot so easilye be graunted, I am heere willing, that the heart which committed the cryme, shall suffer the punishment due, and yeelde to bee your slaue for euer, to kneele at your Shryne as a true seruaunt in parte of a­mendes.

Mamillia hearinge the Gentlemanne in suche tearmes, although somewhat abashed, payde him his debte in the same coyne.

[Page 4] Maister Pharicles, although your sodaine ariuall did not greatly hinder my study, I thinke it did not greatly profit your selfe: so that your absence might haue more pleasured you, and better contented me. And where you say the offence proceedeth of good will and affection, I am not so madde to thinke, that the hearb Sisimbrium wil sprout and sprigg to a great branch in a momente: that the colde yron will burne at the sight of the fire: but hee that will iuggle must playe his feates vnder the boorde, or els his halting will be spied. And where in recompence of your fault, you proffer your seruice, I will haue no Gentlemen my seruaunts, vnlesse for their Liuery, I should giue them a chaungeable suite: and therefore if your market be ended, and your deuotion done, you haue as good leaue to goe, as to come.

Pharicles perceiuing the frumpe, as one that was maister of his occupation, serued her againe of the same sauce.

Gentlewoman, in that my ariual did not greatly hinder your Muses▪ I thinke my fault so much the lesse: although procee­ding of your curtesie, rather then of my good happe: but if I had knowne my absence might haue pleasured you, my presence should not haue troubled your patience: and though the hearbe Sisimbrium growes not to a great braunch in a moment, yet the tallest blade of Spattania hath his [...]ull height in one momēt: and if the Iron burneth not at the sight of the fire, yet the harde stone Calcir, which can be bruised with no mettall, melteth with the heate of the Sunne, and is resolued into licour. As for my iuggling, if it may be spyed, it argueth the more good will, and lesse deceite: so that if I halte, I am a starke lame Lazar, and not a counterfeit Criple. For my Liuery, if I may be your ser­uaunt, I passe not what couler it be, so it commeth of your pro­fer, and not of my desert. Thus, as I haue nowe begunne my market with buying my bondage, and selling my free­dome, finding the ware I looked for, but the choyce so cha­rye, that no price will bee sette, hoping the champion will in time make a chaung of his chaffer for my coyne, I humbly take my leaue.

[Page] Pharicles presently departing vnto his chamber, lefte Ma­millia stil in the garden, musing on the Gētlemans sodaine mo­tion, doubting whether his words were faithful or flattering, in earnest or iest: so that somewhat scortched with the fire of fan­cie, she entred with her selfe into this meditation.

Ah Mamillia, what straunge alteration is this? what sodaine change, what care chance? Shal they, who deemed thee a mir­rour of modestie, count thee a patterne of lightnes? shal thy stai­ed life be now cōpared to the Camoeleon that turneth himselfe into the likenes of euery obiect: or likened to the Fullers Mill, which euer waxeth worse and worse: to the hearbe Phanaces, whose bud is sweete, and the fruite bitter: to the Rauens in A­rabia, which being young haue a pleasaunt voyce, and in their age a horrible cry? Wilt thou consent vnto lust, in hoping to loue? shall Cupid claime thee for his captiue, who euen nowe wert vowed a [...]estall virgin? Shal thy tender age be more ver­tuous, then thy rype yeeres? Wilt thou verifie the Prouerbe, a young S [...] [...] olde Diuell? What? shal the beauty of Pha­ [...]cle [...] cha [...] thy mynde, or his filed speech bewiteh thy fenses? Wil not her thinke the castle wanteth but scā [...]ing, that yeeldeth at the first shot; and that the bulwarke wanted but batterie, that at the first parle becomes Prisoners? yes, yes, Mamillia, his beauty argues inconstancy; and his filed phrases, [...]ceite: and if he see thee woo [...] with a worde, hee will thinke thee lost with a wynde: he wil iudge that is l [...]ghtly to bee gained, is as quickly lost. The hawke that commeth at the first cal, wil neuer be sted­fast on the stond: the Niesse that wil be reclaymed to the fist at yt first sight of the lure, wil baite at euery bush: the woman ye wil loue at the first looke, will neuer be charye of her choyse. Take heede Mamillia, the finest scabberd hath not euer the brauest blade; nor the goodliest chest hath not ye most gorgious treasure: the bell with the best sound, hath an yron clapper: the fading ap­ples of Tantalus, haue a gallant shew, but if they be toucht, they turne to Ashes: so a faire face may haue a foule minde: sweete words, a sower heart: yea rotten bones out of a paynted Sepul­chre: for al is not gold that glysters. Why? but yet the Gem is [Page 5] chosen by his hue, and the cloth by his colour: condemn not then Mamillia, before thou hast cause: accuse not so strictly, without tryall: search not so narrowly, till thou hast occasion of doubt. Yea but the Mariners sound at the first, for feare of a rocke: the surgion searcheth betimes, for his surest proofe: one forewit is worth two after: it is good to beware, when the acte is done too late commeth repentance. What? is it the beautie of Pharicles that kindleth this flame? Who more beautifull then Iason? yet who more false? for after Medea had yeelded, he sackt the forte, and in lieu of her loue, killed her with kindnesse. Is it his wit? who wyser then Theseus? yet none so traiterous. Beware Ma­millia, I haue heard them say, she that marries for beauty, for euery dramme of pleasure, shall haue a pound of sorrow. Choose by the eare, and not by the eye. Pharicles is fayre, so was Paris, and yet fickle: he is wittie, so was Corsiris, and yet wauering. No man knowes the nature of the hearbe by the outward shew, but by the inwarde Iuyce, & the operation consistes in the mat­ter, and not in the [...]rme. Yea but why doe I stay at a straw, & skip ouer a blocke? Why am I curious at a Gnat, and let passe an Elephant? his beauty is not it that moueth me, nor his wit y captayne which shall catch the castle, sith the one is momen­tary, and the other may be impayred by sicknesse. Thy faith and honestie, Pharicles, whereof all Padua speaketh, hath won my heart, and so shall weare it: thy c [...]uility without dissimulation, thy fayth without fayning haue made theyr breach by loue, and shall haue their entrance by law. Wel Mamillia, the common people may erre, and that which is spoken of many, is not euer true. Who so praysed in Rome of the common people & Senat, as Iugurth? yet a rebel. Who had more voyces in Carthage then Aeneas? yet tryed a stragler: who in more credit with the Romaines thē Scipio Affricanus the great? yet at length foūd halting. The Foxe wins the fauour of the lambes by play, and then denoures them, so perhaps Pharicles shewes himselfe in outward shew a demi God, whereas who tries him inwardely, shall finde him but a solemne Saint. Why? all Padua speakes of his honestie, yea but perchance he makes a vertue of his need, [Page] and so layes this baulmed hooke of fayned honesty, as a luring bayte to trappe some simple Dame. Why? can he be faithlesse to one, that haue beene faithfull to all? The cloth is neuer tryed till it come to the wearing: and the linnen neuer shrinkes, till it comes to the wetting: so want of liberty to vse his will, may make a restraint of his nature: and though hee vse faith and ho­nestie to make his marriage, yet she perhaps that shall try him, shall either finde he neuer had them, or quite forgot them. For the nature of men as I haue heard say, is like the Amber stone, which will burne outwardly, and freese inwardly: and like the Barke of the Myrtle tree, which growes in the mountaynes in Armenia, that is, as hot as fire in the tast, and as colde as water in the operation. The dogge byteth sorest: when hee doeth not barke: the Onix is hottest when it lookes white, the Sirens meane most mischiefe, when they sing: the Tyger then hideth his crabbed countenance, when he meaneth to take his pray: and a man doth most dissemble when he speakes fayrest. Try then, Mamillia, ere thou trust; proue ere thou pu [...] in practise, cast the wa [...]er ere thou appoynt the medicine, doe all thinges with deli­beration, goe as the snaile faire and softly, hast makes waste, the maulce is euer sweetest, where the fire is softest. Let not wit o­uercome wisedome, nor fancie bee repugnant to faith, let not the hope of an husbande be the hazard of thine honesty, cast not thy credite in the chance of an other man, wade not too farre where the foorde is vnknowen, rather bridle thy affections with reason, and mortifie thy mynde with modesty, that as thou hast kept thy virginitie inuiol [...]te without spot, so thy choyse may be without blemishe: know this, it is too late to call againe yester­day. Therefore keepe the memory of Pharicles as needful, and yet not necessary: like him when thou shalt haue occasion to loue; and loue when thou hast tried him loyall: vntill then, re­maine indifferent.

When Mamillia had vttered these worde, she went out of the garden priuily into her closet, and there to auoyde the inconue­nience which might haue ensued of those foolish cogitations, cal­led an old Gentlewoman, which was her nurse named Madam [Page 6] Castilla, to beare her company: a Gentlewoman, whose life and yeeres were so correspondent, as for her honestie shee might haue tryed the daunger of Dianas caue: So they two together passe the time in honest and mery talke, vntill all the guestes of Gonzaga had taken their leaue, and departed.

But Pharicles, who all this while had a flea in his eare, & his combe cut with the taunting quippes of his Mistresse, as his fire was the more, his flame was the greater, and not being able so well to rule his lust, as she to bridle her loue, vsed himself for a secretarie, with whome to participate his passions, knowing that it were a poynt of meere folly to trust a friend in loue, sith Ouid in his booke de Arte amand [...], had forbidden that, as prin­cipal, and perceiuing very wel, that in such matters two might best keepe counsaile where one was away: entred into these tearmes with himselfe.

O Pharicles, Pharicles, now thou findest it true, which earst thou countest for a fable, that so long the Flie dalies in the flame that at length she is burnt, yt the birdes Halciones vēter so long in the waues, that at last they are drowned; that so longe the pitcher goeth to the brooke, as in tyme it comes broken home: so thou which warming thy fancy at euery flame, and ventu­ring thy selfe at euery waue, art at last burnt with beawtie, and drowning in desire, as it standes in hazard, that either thou returne home broken, or halfe crased. Nowe thou seest venturing, if it bee token of witte, yet is it no signe of wis­dome, and that timiditie in loue is a vertue. Nowe hast thou founde Phocas precept to bee fruitefull, that a Louer shoulde proceede in his suite, as the Crabbe, whose pace is e­uer backwarde, that though loue bee like the Adamant, which hath vertue to draw: yet thou shouldest be sprinckled with goats blood, which resisteth his operation: that though the face of some fayre dame hath power to incense thy minde, yet thou shouldest take the hearb Lupinar to coole desire. But Pha­ricles, if thou beest taken, it is no meruaile, if thou beest hurt, it is no pittie: for the Minow that is euer nibbling, and neuer by­ting, will at length be hanged on the hooke. Thou which didst [Page] accuse so currishly all women of lightnes in loue, shalt perhaps now condemne thy selfe of leawdnes in lyfe: and thou which in thy choyce wert counted captious, shalt try thy selfe not to be so curious. What Gentlewoman in all Padua was there ey­ther so fayre or honest, whose beautie or vertue thou didst not deeme light, esteeming them eyther vnmeete for thee, or thy selfe vnfitte for them: so that eyther thou couldest sooth her with a trumpe, or els lay a loading carde on her backe, should wey a scoffe? and nowe thou art like to be serued of the same sauce: which, if it happen, those whome you vsed for a sporte, will eyther thinke thou didst not know thy descant, or els crosse thee for a foole. Why, Pharicles? wilt thou be a preacher? who is so guiltie as he that accuseth himselfe? if thou hast commit­ted the crime, yet let an other finde the faulte. It is a fowle birde defiles the own neast, construe al thinges to the best, turne the stearne the best waye: yea, and if thou haste troden thy shooe awry, it is but a poynt of youth, leaue such foolish exami­nations of thy crased conscience. Mamillia, yea Mamillia, Pha­ricles is the marke thou must shoote at: her beautie is the goale thou must seeke to get: her fayre face, her golden lockes her co­ral cheekes: to conclude, her christall corps shadowed ouer with a heauenly glasse: surpassing beautie is the Syren, whose songe hath enchanted thee, and the Circes cuppe, which hath so sotted thy senses, as either thou must with Vlysses haue a speedy re­medie, or els remayne transformed. She hath the power to bynd and loose: her comelinesse is the comfortable collise to cure thy care, her perfection is the lenitiue plaister, must mitigate thy payne: her beauty is like the hearbe Phanaces, whiche reuiueth the dead carcasse. Ah Pharicles is the foundation of thy faith fix­ed vpon her feature? consider with thy selfe, beauty is but a blos­some, whose flower is nipped with euery frost, it is like ye grasse in India, which is withered before it springeth: what is more fayre? yet what more fading? What more delighthfull, yet nothing more deadlye? what more pleasaunte? and what more perillous? Beautie may wel be compared to the Bathes in Ca­licut, whose streames flow as cleere as the floods of Padus, and whose operation is as pestilent as the riuer Orme. What Pha­ricles, [Page 7] wilt thou become a precise Pythagoras in renouncing of loue, or a teastie Tianeus in dispraysing of beauty? What more cleere then the Cristall? and what more precious? What more comely then cloth of Arras? so what more coastly? what creature so beautifull as a woman, and what more estimable? is not the Diamond of greatest dignity, that is most glistering? and the pearle thought most precious, that is most perfect in co­lour? Aristotle saith, he cannot be counted happy, although hee had al the vertues, if he want beauty: yea Appollonius an Arch­heretike, and professed enemie against the sacred lawes of beau­ty, is driuen both by the lawes of nature and nurture, to confesse that vertue is so much the more acceptable, by howe muche the more it is placed in a beautifull body. Therefore Pharicles re­cant, as perceiuing thine owne folly, and make amends to beau­ty, as guilty of blasphemy: for by dispraise thou shalte reape re­uenge, and by praise in hazard to atchieue thy purpose. Cineas the Philosopher was of this opinion, that when the Gods fra­med beauty, they went beyond their skill, in that the maker was subiect to the thing made: for none so wise, but beauty hath be­witched: none so sober but beauty hath besotted: none so valiant, but beauty hath byn victor: yea euen the Gods themselues haue geuen beauty the superiority as a thing of more force then they were able to resist.

Well Pharicles, sith beauty is the price for which thou mea­nest to venture, vse no delay, for feare of danger: let no fonde rea­sons perswade thy setled minde, let not the preceptes of Philo­sophy subuert the will of nature, youth must haue his course, hee that will not loue when he is young, shal not be loued when he is olde. Spare no cost, nor be not afrayde of words: for they are as winde, they which are most coy at the first, are most cōstant at the last. What a cold cōfect had the Lord Mendozza, at y Dut­ches of Sauoyes hand? Prictor at his Coluida, & Horatius at his Curiatia? So though Mamillia were something short in her answeres, it signifieth the greater affection, though she made it strange at the first, she wil not be strait at the last: y greatest offer [Page] hath but a small denyall. Well, to conclude, I am fully resol­ued in my selfe, eyther to winne the spurres, or loose the horse: to haue ye blossome, or lose ye fruite: to enioy the beautie of Ma­millia, or els to ieopard a ioynt. And therefore whatsoeuer lear­ning willes, I will consent vnto Nature: for the best clarkes are not euer the wisest men: whatsoeuer the lawes of Philoso­phy perswade me, I will at this time giue the raynes of libertie to my amorous passions: for he that makes curiositie in loue, wil so long straine curtesie, that either he wil be counted a solemne sutor, or a witlesse wooer: therefore whatsoeuer the chaunce be, I wil cast at all.

Pharicles hauing thus made an end, stood in a mase with him selfe, not that it did proceede from any sincere affection, enforced by her vertue: but that his mind was set vpon lust, enflamed by her bewtie.

Which disease I doubt nowadayes reignes in many Italian gentlemen. Whether it be that Mercurie is Lord of their birth, or some other peeuish planet predominant in the calculation of their natiuitie, I know not: but this I am sure, that theyr rype wittes are so soone ouershadowed with vice, and their senses so blinded with self loue, that they make their choyce so farre with­out skill, as they proue them selues but euill chapmen: for if she be faire, they thinke her faithfull: if her bodye be endued with bewtie, they iudge she cannot but be vertuous. They are so bli [...] ­ded with the visor of Venus and conceite of Cupid, as they think all birdes with white fethers to be simple Doues: euery seemely Sappho, to be a ciuill Salona: euery Lais, to bee a loy­all Lucrece: euery chatting maydē to be a chast matrone. These are such as chose for lust, and not for loue; as marry the bodye, and not the mind: so that as soone as the beautie fo their Mistres be vaded, their loue is also quight extinguished. But againe to the purpose.

As thus, I say, Pharicles had well eased his minde with this last meditation, because his loue was but a lose kind of likinge, and the fire of his fancie such a flender flame, as the least misly­king showre of shrewd fortune would quite quench it: therfore [Page 8] he had neither care of his choyce, nor feare of his chaunge: but onely fed his fancy with the hope of hauing Mamillia: and re­sted vpon this poynt, till eyther occasion or place should serue to offer his seruice.

In the meane time Gonzaga perceiuing his daughter to be mariageable, knowing by skill and experience, that the grasse being ready for the sieth, would wither if it were not cut; and the apples beeing rype, for want of plucking woulde rotte on the tree; that his daughter beeing at the age of twentie yeeres, would either fall into the greene sicknes for want of a husband, or els if she scaped that disease, incurre a farther inconuenience: so that lyke a wise father he thought to foresee such daungers. And deuisinge with himselfe where hee might haue a meete match for his Daughter, thought none so fit as Pharicles, who I say by his crafty cloaking, had wonne the hearts of al the Gentlemen of Padua. Therefore first intending to knowe whether his Daughter could fancy the Gentleman, before hee should breake the matter vnto him, & yet if he doubting he should moue the question, she might conceiue some hope of libertie, and so strayne vpon her owne choyce, went vnto Madam Castilla her nourse, desiring her to moue the motion to his daughter, as concerning Pharicles, & that the next day she should tell him his aunswere. Madam Castilla easily graunted: and depar­ting frō Gonzaga, went vnto the chamber of Mamillia, where she found her solemnly sitting in secrete meditation, vpon the cōtēts of a Letter, which not half an houre before was sent vnto her from her old friend Florion, the tenure whereof was this.

Dan Florion of Sienna, to Mamillia in Padua.

MIstresse Mamillia, the extreame pleasure I conceiue of your sodaine and certaine de­parture from the Dukes court vnto Padua, forced me to send you this letter, as a perfect token of my ioy, and your good happe, both thinking my selfe in some credit with you, [Page] that my perswasions preuailed: and likewise iudging you to bee wise, in that you both auoyd daunger, and prouide for a storme: for it is a great vertue, saieth the Poet, to abstaine from plea­sure. The courtly life, saith Agrippa, is a glistering miserie: for what more pleasaunt outwardly, and what more perilous in­wardly? what more delightful to the body? what more deadly to the minde? there is the substance of vice, with the vaile of vertue, there is bondage in the shape of licencious libertie, and care clad in a masking coat. Happy, yea thrise happy art thou Mamillia, whose wisdōe hath not bin inueigled by wit, nor whose wil hath not bin enforced by wilfulnes: for in obeying the one, thou hast scaped danger, & in resisting of the other, thou hast won same. Yea, but the gold, saith some, is tried in the fire, and the ore is put into the furnace. It is more honour to keepe the forte being assayled, then not besieged: so the credit of a Gentlewoman is more, to be honest in the court, then in the countrey, and it pur­chaseth more fame to kneele with a chast minde at the shrine of Venus, then at the altar of Vesta. Mamillia, so many heades, so many wits. I speake by experience. The house is more in dāger of fire that is thatched with straw, then y which is couered with stone: he is more in danger of drowning, that sayles in the Sea, then he which rides on the land. What maketh the theef, but his pray? what entiseth the fish, but the baite? what calleth the byrde, but the scrappe? what reclaimeth the hawke [...] but the lure? The court. Mamillia, is y whetston of lust, the baite of vanity, the call of Cupid: yea the vtter enimy to virginity: so that in as much as virginity is to be esteemed, so much the Dukes court is to be es­chewed. But I heare thou art at home with thy father in Padua, & that there is great resort of Gentlemē to craue thee in marri­age: take counsel, Mamillia, at him which hath bought it. If thou hast taken care to keepe thy virginity inuiolable, as thy greatest treasure: so take both heede and time in bestowing the same as a most precious Iewel. Respect not his beauty, without vertue: for it is like a ring in a swynes snoute: esteeme not his wealth without wit, nor his riches without reason; for then thou shalt ei­ther choose a fayre Inne with a foule hostesse; or wed thy self to a [Page 9] woodden picture with a golden coate. Regarde not his byrth, without bountie: for it wil euer procure statelinesse. Beware of hot loue, Mamillia, for the greatest flowe hath the soonest ebbe: the sorest tempest hath the most sodaine calme: y hottest loue hath the coldest end: and of the deepest desire oftentimes ensueth the deadliest hate. But why doe I deale so doultishly to exhort thee, which hast no neede of such perswasion, & sith I both haue heard, & I my selfe know thy mynde so grafted in vertue, y thou wilt neither like so lightly, nor wauer so lewdly: but either make thy match wel, or els stand to thy choyce? For she that wil falsifie her faith to one, will crack her credit for al. Therfore least I should be tedious, or vrge that which is not needfull, I referre the rest to your discretion, desiring you to do my commendations to the rest of my friendes. And so farewell.

Yours in a chast mynd, Dan Florion.

AFter that Mamillia had read this Letter to Madame Castilla, they fel in discourse of the vertu [...]us disposition of Florion, who beeing of tender yeeres, which are subiect vnto lust; was euer a professed enimie to Loue: yea the painted face of Beauty coulde neuer haue po­wer to enchant his vertue, he had already wel tyed himselfe to the mast of modesty, to keepe him from the Si­rens songs of beastly vanity, and had sufficiently defensed his minde with the rampyre of honesty, against the laseiuious cuppe of Circes sorcerie; that as other Gentlemen of Italy had sworne themselues true subiects to the crowne of Cupid: so hee had vowed himselfe a professed souldier, to march vnder the ensigne of Uertue.

These few words past betweene them, of the good and godlie nature of the Gentleman: Madame Castilla, as the Mistresse of her arte, beganne to take occasion of talke with Mamillia, by the con [...]ents of Florions behest: if she should haue abruptly sifted [Page] her, her deuise shold be spied: & so perchance not haue an answer agreeable to his demand: therfore she cried her on this maner.

Mistresse Mamillia, the contentes of your friende Florions Letter shewes, that eyther the constellation of the starres, the disposition of the Planets, or y decree of the destinies, or force of the fates were contrary in y houre of his byrth, or els it is not al­wayes true, that youth is prone vnto vice; or that tender yeeres cannot be without wanton conditions: for there is none more witty, and yet few lesse wilfull: none so curteous, yet few lesse curious: as his nature seemes very precious, and yet very peril­lous: euē like the patient, which by ouer much blood falleth into the Plurisie: the glasse, the more fine it is, the more brittle: the [...], though it last the wyn [...] ̄ing, wil scarse abyde the wearing: the Margaret is of great valure, yet soonest broken: y Muske is most strong in sauour, yet endureth but a smal time: so the nature of Florion by how much the more it is precious, by so much y more it is to be doubted: and yet the byrds that breede in Bohemia, are of the same colour in their age, that they were [...] changeth colour, [...] so Flo­ [...]ion hauing setled the foundation of his youth in [...], may end his life, in vertue.

But what neede we [...]ter so farre into the state of an other man [...] life? [...] is as good as the end, we cānot fore see it: but whether it happen to be good or bad, you may ac­count of him [...] maketh me muche to maruel, & that is this: that he being in Venice, so farre of should heare more then I, which an [...] not onely in Padua, but in your fa­thers house, yea more, your nurse and bedfellow: of the resort of Su [...]ors I meane, which although I maruel at for the loosenes, yet I am glad of it, if they be woorth the welcomming. Mamil­lia, my gray haires, which in respect of my reuerend age should somewhat preuaile to procure some coūtenance and credit with you, my long continuance and familiarity in your company, my paynes I tooke with you in your swadling clothes, my care in your youth to nourishe you in vertue, and my ioy in your rype [Page 10] age to see you addicted to the same, are of force sufficient, I hope to procure you to be somewhat ruled by my talke: which if you shal doe, I shal thinke my labour wel bestowed, and my time and trauell well spent.

Florion, Mamillia, writeth to you of marriage, which if it commeth of his owne coniecture, and no report, he proueth him­selfe a subtill sophister, meaning vnder the colour of an vncer­taine rumour, to perswade you to a most stayed and stedfast state of life, as one knowing very well, that as nothing is more com­mendable then virginitie: so nothing is more honourable than matrimonie. And I my selfe, Mamillia, which once a wife, and now a widdow, doe speake by experience, that though virgini­tie is pleasant, yet marriage is more delightfull. For in the first creation of the world, God made not Adam and Eua single vir­gins, but ioyned couples: so y virginitie is profitable to one, but marriage is profitable to many. Whether is ye vine more regar­ded that beareth grapes, or ye Ash that hath nothing but leaues? The Deere that encreaseth the park, or the barren Doe? Whe­ther is the hoppe tree more esteemed, that rots on the grounde, than that which clasping the pole, creepeth vp, & bringeth foorth fruite? What, Mamillia, as virginity is fayre and beautifull: so what by course of kind is more vnseemely, then an old wrinckled maide? what is more pleasaunt to the sight, then a Smaragde, yet what lesse profitable, if it be not vsed? What more delightful to the eyes, then the colour of good wine; yet what of lesse value if it cannot be tasted? There is nothing more faire thē the Phoe­nix, yet nothing lesse necessary, because she is single. Yea, euen the law of nature, Mamillia, wisheth society, and detesteth soli­tarinesse. Whether euen in thine owne iudgement, Mamillia, if thou hadst a goodly orcharde, wouldest thou wish nothing but blossomes to grow continually; or the blossomes to fade, and the trees to be fraught with pleasāt fruit? Whether doest thou think the ruddy Rose, which withereth in the hand of a man, deligh­ting both sight and smelling, more happie than that which fadeth on the stalke without profit? Whether hath the wine better luck which is drunken, than that which standing still, is turned to vi­neger? [Page] And yet, Mamillia, I graunt too muche: for a womans beauty decayes not with marriage, but rather commeth then to the flower and perfection. But as I doe perswade thee to mar­riage, so would I wish thee to change for the better, or els keepe thy chance still: I meane, I would haue him that shoulde match with thee, to bee suche a one, in whose society thou shouldest not count mariage a bondage, but a freedom; not a knot of restraint, but a band of liberty, one whom thou shouldest like for his beau­ty, and loue for his vertue; I would haue him to want no wealth, and yet to be wise, and with his wisedome to haue all kynde of ciuility.

Now, Mamillia, as I haue spoken in general, so I wil touch the particular. I meane to shew thereof one, which I woulde wish to be thy husband, and thee to be his wife. Pharicles it is, to be flat with thee, whose beauty & honesty hath amased all Ve­nice, whose order of lyuing may be, and hath been a perfect plat­forme and methode of ciuil dealing, and honest behauiour: thee, Mamillia, I wish to be his mate for his curtesie: and him to be thy match but in constancie. The Gemme which is gallaunt in colour, and perfect in vertue, is the more pretious; thē hearbe, which hath a faire bark, and a sweete sappe, is the more to bee e­steemed; the Panther with his paynted skin and his sweet breath is the more delighted: so Pharicles faire in face, and faithfull in his heart; pleasant in his countenance, and perfect in his mind; is so much the more to be imbraced. If ye Ore, Mamillia, which is drosse outwardly, and gold inwardly, be of great price: what then is the pure mettal? if the rough stone with a secret vertue, is of value: what is it then, being polished? If a smooth & learned style in an ill print, importes some credit: what doth that which commeth out of a perfect presse? so Mamillia, if a man which is deformed in body, and reformed in minde, may deserue great li­king: what deserues he, which is both bountifull, and beautiful? If a crooked carkasse, and an honest nature merite commenda­tion: what doth he then, which is both faire & faithful? If a disfi­gured body, with honest conditions, wins fauour: what thē doth a comely coūtenance, with a curteous mynd? Al these perfectiōs [Page 11] by nature, Mamillia, are incident to Pharicles: y he can ney­ther be appeached of want, nor condemned of lacke, neyther his person nor mind in any wise misliked.

Now Mamillia, conster of my wordes, as you please, & like where you loue, so that I may neither repent my talke, nor you curse my counsell.

Mamillia, Gentlemen, was driuen into such a maze with this sodaine motion of Madam Castilla, that she stood, as though her heart had bin on her halfepēny, fearing the fetch of her old nurse, doubting what a fleeue she shoulde shape for the coate, least shee should be ouertaken in misliking so lightly: or (though not very chary of her choyse) in choosing so quickly: therefore she framed her answere betweene both on this maner.

MAdam, if I stand in a mase which haue the harme, thinke it not strange, sith you maruel, which are not toucht. For I may more muse of the rumour which know it contrary: than you, which doe but call it in question. But if Florion haue heard a lye, and you beleeue it: it is not my fault, but your lightnesse of credit: and therefore construe of it how you can: for I am at a good poynt. Old women wil quickly conceiue, & soone beleeue: for age is as credulous, as suspitious; the dried oake wil sooner fire, than the greene Ashe; & olde ragges wil sooner burne, than new linnen; the green apple is hard to pearce, when the old fruit wil quickly bruse: so age though they be slow in hearing, yet they are swifter in beleeuing then youth, that the least sparke of sus­pitiousnesse, wil fire their whole brayne. And therefore he that knoweth their fault, & wil not beare with it, is much too blame. Whereas you draw your perswasiōs for my credite, of your talk from your gray haires, it sheweth surely but a greene wit, not so ful of grauity, as either your age or yeeres requires: For thē your reasons would haue tended to ciuility, & not to sensuality, to vertue, & not to vanity. Your paines you tooke with me in my swadling cloathes, your care in my youth to nurse me in vertue, and your ioy in my ripe yeeres to see mee addicted to the same, shewes by the end that your care was but slender, & your ioy fai­ned. The Cowe which giueth good store of mylke, & spilleth it [Page] with her foote, is as much to be blamed for the losse, as to be cō ­mended for the giftt. The water which for a time beareth ye ves­sel, & at last with the waues ouerwhelmeth the same, doth more harme in drowning the Barke, then good in bearing it. The hū ­ter which trayneth the hounde being young, truely to cal vpon the sente, is much too blame to beate him from it being olde: so you Madam, are more to be blamed for perswading me to ma­trimonie, than you were before to be commended, for exhorting me to virginity: for in my tender age my infancie was not able to receiue your counsell, and then you tolde me howe greatly I ought to esteeme virginity: and nowe in my rype yeeres, when I can conceiue your meaning, you wish me vtterly to forsake it: either then sure you were in a wrong opinion, or els nowe in an errour, but howsoeuer it was, my mind is setled. Uirginity you say is delightful, yet matrimony more pleasant: Virginity you put in the positiue, but matrimonie in the superlatiue. Well, I pray God you make not marriage so farre to exceed in compa­rison, that at last it growe to an extremitie. But as your age is much giuen to the shaking palsey: so I thinke your argumentes haue a spice of the same disease: for their foundation is but fickle, & therfore the lesse worth to be taken at ye hardest. The tal Cedar that beareth only bare blossoms, is of more value then the apple tree that is laden with fruite: the keeper (for all your saying) makes more account of a barren Doe, than of a bearing hynde. Diana shal obtaine more same for her chastity in the hunting of ye woods, than Venus for her lasciuious honestye in playing with Mars in her bed. Uirginity shalbe esteemed as a rare & precious iewel, whē marriage shalbe counted but a custome. The baytree growing single by it self, flourisheth greene; whereas being clas­ped with the yuie, it withereth: ye gold of it self hath a gallāt hue, but being touched, it changeth colour: the Saphyre stone clasped in mettal, looseth his vertue: so a virgin being once married, wi­thereth straight, changeth colour, and looseth her chiefest trea­sure. And though you say by course of kind that nothing is more vnseemely then an olde wrinckled mayde: yet experience tea­cheth vs, that nothing is more vnlikely than an olde withered [Page 12] wife. The Rose dying on the stalke, seemeth in better state then that which fadeth, being pluckt: the grasse looketh better being vncut, then that which withereth with the sieth: for the one fa­deth by course of nature; and the other by kinde of imperfecti­on. The Phenix being seldome seene, the more desired; the ra­rer the Gemme is, the more esteemed. The stones of Arabia be­cause they be straunge, are of greatest price: so virginitie, by so much the more is to be regarded, by how much it is more rare then mariage: for the one commeth by speciall grace, and the other by common course. Uirginitie among the Romanes was had in such admiration and estimation, that if by chaunce the Uestal virgins walked abroad, the Senators would giue them the vpper hand, and all the officers shew them due reuerence.

Cybil the mother of the Gods, was a virgin: and Minerua was famous for three thinges; strength, wisdome, and virginitie.

The wise woman which gaue Oracles at Delphos, was a vir­gin, being alwayes called Pythia. Uirginitie alters the na­ture of wilde beastes: for the Lyons neuer hurt a pure Uir­gin: and Pliny reporteth that the Unicorne will sleepe on a virgins lappe. Therefore Madame, your argumentes rather importe rule, than reason; and seemes to come from a greene witte, not from a gray head: but though the fowle haue fayre feathers, he may haue rancke flesh; the fish may haue glistering skales without, and yet be rotten within: so your outwarde shew of grauitie, may inwardly be addicted to vanitie, and old folke are twise children: and perhappes though your face bee wrinckeled, your minde is youthfull; though your yeeres and calling argue chastitie, yet you had as leefe haue hus­bande, as wishe mee marryed: and I promise you for my parte, I had rather you shoulde eate of the meate, then I taste of the sauce: if it be not a knot of bondage, but a band of li­bertie, I would haue you once againe try that freedome. But sure eyther you know more then all, or els say more then you know: for not onely the common people, but also the most lear­ned hath thought maryage to be such a restraint of libertie, as it feeleth no sparke of freedome: for both the body is giuen as a [Page] slaue vnto the will of an other man, and the minde is subiecte to sorow and bound in the caue of care: so that euen the name of a wife importes a thousand troubles. If you call this libertie, I know not what bondage is. Who so is addicted to maryage, findeth it easie but in one respect, and that is, if she chaunce on a good husband, which indeede you brauely set out in his colours. But so did Aristotle his happy man; Tully, his Orator, Plato his common Wealth, and in our countreye heere, one of my kinsmen sets out the liuely Image of a Courtier. But as these spoke of such, but could neuer finde them: so you haue de­scribed such a husband, as can neuer be heard of. Yet, Madame, you go further: for the others spoke in generall, and you for the better confirmation of your reason, inferre a particular, and that is Pharicles, whom indeed I confesse to haue in outward shew, as good qualities as any in all Italy. But the hearbe, though it haue a fayre hue, and a sweete sappe, yet being tasted, it may be infectious. The Panther with his paynted skinne and sweete breath, hath a tyrannous heart: so Pharicles may bee as foule within, as faire without; and if he be not, he digresseth from his kind: for these Gentlewomen which haue trusted to the beautie of the face, haue beene deceiued with the deformitie of the mind. Theseus, Demophoon, Aeneas, Iason, and Hercules, were both famous for their feature and fortitude, and renoumed for their inuincible valure, and yet they wanne not so much fame for their prowes in warre, as shame for their inconstancy in loue: he that chooseth an apple by the skinne, and a man by his face, may be deceiued in the one, and ouershot in the other. Therefore Madame, sith both mariage is troublesome, and the choyce so doubtfull, I meane not to proue the care, nor try the chance, but remaine a virgin still. Yet thus much to your question, if my minde should change to try such happe, I would welcome Pha­ricles, as well as any other.

Madame Castilla hearing this ouerthwartnes of Mamillia, was driuen into a great mase, to see the Gentlewoman so hoat with her: in so much ye as old women are soone angry, she tooke pepper in the nose at the sharpe reply, and therefore framed her as quicke an answere.

[Page 13] MAmillia, quoth she, if the Phisitions rubbe the soare, the pa­tient must needes sturre; touch a galled horse, and he will winch: so your hotte answere shewes my question toucht you in the quicke; and that though you make so straunge with mary­age, yet if your choyce were in your owne handes, you woulde giue a finall farewell to virginitie. But the Fox will eate no grapes: and you will not marry, because you may, or perhappes do loue, where your friendes wil not like, and your wish should be contrary to their will. Sirichia the Daughter of Smald king of the Danes, could not be perswaded by her father to forsake her virginitie, but the third day after his death, she was betroa­thed but to a meane Squire: Manlia Daughter of Mauritius was so scrupulous of her virginitie, that she altogether aban­doned the company of wiues and widdowes, and yet at length she tooke an husband, and was so kinde harted, that she woulde not sticke to sell large peniworths of her honestie. Mamillia, I will not make comparisons, because they be odious, nor infer any conclusions, for feare of farther daunger. But take this by the way, that he which couers a small sparke in the ashes, will procure a great flame. And with this she departed, as halfe an­gry, leauing Mamillia very sorowfull that she had displeased her old nource, and very carefull for the yssue of her new loue: yet, as much as she could dissembling the matter, she past away the day in mery company.

But all this while Pharicles had a flea in his eare, and a thorne in his foote, which procured him little rest. For as the wounded Deare stayes in no place: so the passionat louer staies but without stedfastnes, neuer hauing a quiet minde: for if hee sayle, Loue is his Pylot: if he walke, Loue is his companion: if he sleepe, Loue is his pillow: so that alwayes he hath the spur in his side, to procure his disquiet, hauing no salue for his soare, vnlesse he reap remedy at y hands of his aduersary, which Pha­ricles tryed true. For there passed no houre after his departure from Mamillia, in which a thousand cares did not clogge his combred minde: for the thought of her sharpe answere was hard to disgest in his crased stomacke: then that her father and he was [Page] of no great acquaintaunce, which was a cause of his long ab­sence. Howe if fortune so fauoured, that he gayned her good­will? yet hee lost his owne freedome, and that was but a signe of an yll chapmanne: Howe oftentimes they, which sued to marrye in haste, did finde sufficient time to repent them at lea­sure?

And surely Gentlemen, if Pharicles had rested on this point, in my iudgement he had hit the marke: for there is no such hin­deraunce to a man, as a wife: if respecting warre, Darius and Methridates are witnesses: of learning and Philosophy, So­crates comes in as plaintife: so in my opiniō, if men would ne­uer marry, they should neuer be marred: and if they would ne­uer haue a wife, they should alwayes want strife: for she is that burden that Christ onely refused to take from mens shoulders: yea some haue called a wife, a heauy Crosse, as a mery iesting Gentleman of Venice did: who hearing the preacher command euery man to take vp his Crosse, and follow him hastily, tooke his wife on his shoulders, & said he was ready with the formost: but least in talking of crosses, I be crost for a foole in going beyonde my commission, againe to Pharicles: who though per­happes hee read these, or suche like examples, yet his hot loue warmed his affection: so whatsoeuer he mused in his minde, it would not abate his deuotion, but still sought sundry meanes to breake to his Saynt: and yet the farder he went, the more hee was from his purpose, that he had past the Caue of care, ready to enter into the dungeon of despayre, if fortune had not fauoured his chaunce. For flinging out of his studie, to auoyde this melancholy, hee went to take ayre in the fieldes, where, by good happe, hee espyed his Mystresse walking with her nurce to a graynge place, amyldes distance from Padua, to beare certaine Gentlewomen company, which resorted thither to visit a sicke patient, at which place was also Signior Gonsaga, with other Gentlemen.

Now if Pharicles was dryuen into an extasie, with the ex­treame pleasure he conceiued by the sodayne sight of his God­desse, it is no metuaile, sith her absence was the hazarde of his [Page 14] life, and her presence his onely pleasure: and I think, if I may enter into a womans thought, without offēce, Mamillia would not haue wished a fitter companyon to shorten her iourney: yet she passed on without any semblance of his sight: whereas feare and necessitie had a deadly combate in the minde of Pharicles, he doubted if he should be ouer bold, he might spill his pottage. But the law of necessitie, saith Plato, is so hard, that y Gods thē selues are not able to resist it. For as the water, by nature cold, is made hotte by the force of the fire: and the straight tree pressed downe, growes alwayes crooked: so nature is subiect to neces­sitie, that kind cannot haue his course. The litle Mouse, by na­ture fearefull, in daunger is desperate: the Boore in safetie is timorous, in perril without feare: the Coward in peace dreadeth the sight of the weapon, whereas being vrged by necessitie, hee passeth the pikes.

Ormaus the Sonne of kinge Cirus, by nature was borne dumbe, yet when the Citie Suzes was taken, seeing a souldier ready to kill his owne Father, cryed out, villayne, saue the crowne: so that necessitie in him supplyed a want of nature. And if there bee any thing, which is more forcible then neces­sitie, it is the lawe of Loue, which so incensed Pharicles, that casting all feare aside, hee offred him selfe to his Mistres, with this courteous parle.

GEntlewoman, if I boldly offer my selfe, as a Copartner of your voyage, which am a companyon farre vnfitte for such a company, pardon my fault, sith it commeth of force, and condemne not my nature of want of nurture; but let your bew­tie beare the blame, as the spurre of my rash enterprise: For the Adamant drawes by vertue, though Iron striue by nature: wher force is: there the fault is forgiuen. But if in any wise my ser­uice might pleasure you, or rather not offend you, I would prof­fer it, if I knew it would be but halfe so well accepted, as harti­ly offred: but perhaps it wil not be worth the wearing, beecause proffered chaffer stinckes.

Madame Castilla hearing the curtesie of the Gentlemanne, and perceiuing what Sainte hee serued, to encourage him the [Page] more, gaue him this gentle answere, fit for his friendly offer.

GEntleman, quoth she, we neither can thinke ill of your nur­ture, nor yet mislike your nature, sith the one argues cur­tesie, and the other smal curiositye; vnlesse it bee in making your arriuall so strange, & accusing your conscience as guilty, which no mā finds fault with: for my part, Sir, & I think I may speak for Mamillia, you are not so soone come, as welcome, nor your seruice is not more heartily offered, then willingly accepted: & therefore, if you be content with your happe, wee are very well pleased with the chaunce.

And with that she fel in talke with the rest of the company, to the ende Pharicles might vse some speaches to Mamillia: who now seeing the coast cleere, and time and place fitte for the purpose, gaue her the onset in this manner.

MIstres Mamillia, it hath byn a saying more common then true, that loue makes al men Orators, yet I my selfe finde it contrary by experience, insomuch that I thinke the perfect lo­uer wants not onely Eloquence, but hath a restraint of his na­ture. The water pot being filled to the brim, yeeldes no licour, though hauing a hundred holes. The wine vessel beyng ful, lets passe no wine, though neuer so wel vented. The colour ioyned hard to the sight, hindreth the sense. The flower put into y nose-thril, stoppeth y smelling. The louer in y presence of his Lady, at y first is eyther driuen into an extasie for ioy, or els into a qua­king traūce for feare: so that, when he should plead his cause, his wits are either bewitched, or els not at home: & if it happen his tongue be not tied, in many words lies mistrust; and in paynted speech, deceit is most oftē couered, & specially, where either ac­quaintance or long continuance hath bred no credit. Therfore I Mistres Mamillia, whose acquaintance with you is smal, & cre­dit lesse, dare vse no circumstance, for feare of mistrust, neither cā I tel in what respect to bring a sufficient triall, or proofe of my goodwil: but only that I wish the end of my loue to be suche, as my faith and loyalty, is at this present, whiche I hope tract of time shal try without spot.

In the meane time requesting you to thinke that the force of [Page 15] loue hath constrayned me to yeeld as a slaue, readye at beauties cōmand to hazard my life for your pleasure: I must needs cōfes y the gifts of Nature so abundantly bestowed vpon you, haue so bewitched my senses, that for my last refuge, I am forced to ap­peale vnto your curtesie, as a soueraigne medicine for my incu­rable disease: incurable I may tearme it, vnles y drops of your fauour quench the flame, or els death with his deadly dart decide y cause. But I hope it is vnpossible, y such a crystal breast should lodge an hart of Adamāt: y such a sugred face should haue a bit­ter minde: that your diuine beauty should bee ouergrowne with hellish cruelty, to tormēt thē, who for your loue sustaynes a thou­sand miseries. Miserie I may wel cal it: for as there is nothing more pleasant then beauty: so nothing is more yrksome thā bon­dage, & yet my restraunt of liberty is so much the more accepta­ble, by how much the more it is desired. For although y flye wil­lingly fries in the flame, yet she is blameles: although the Her­mine loues her mortall enemy, yet is she not faultie, sith the one comes of affection, and the other by course of nature.

Ah Mamillia, thy beauty hath bought my freedom, & thy hea­uēly face hath made me captiue, y as he which is hurt of y Scor­piō, seeketh a salue frō whēce he receiued y sore: so you only may minister y medicine, which procures the disease. The burning fe­uer is driuen out with a hot potion, and the shaking palsey with a colde drinke. Loue onely is remedied by loue, and fancy muste be cured by mutuall affectiō. Therfore Mamillia, I speake with teares out wardly, & with drops of blood inwardly, that vnles y misling showres of your mercie, mittigate the fire of my fancy, & giue a soueraigne plaister for my secret sore, I am like to passe my life in greater miserie, then if I had tasted the infernall tor­ments: for Sophocles being demanded, what harme hee woulde wish to his enemy, answered, that he might loue where he was not liked, & that such misfortune might haue long lasting. But perhaps you wil say, Mamillia, that the beasts which gase at y Panther, are guilty of their own death; that the Mouse taken in the trap, deserueth her chaunce; that a louer, which hath freewill, deserueth no pitie, if he make not his choyce right.

[Page] Ah Mamillia, can the strawresist the vertue of the pure Iet? can flaxe resist the force of the fire? can a Louer withstand the brunt of bewtie? or freese, if he stand by the flame, or peruert the lawes of nature? weigh al things in the balance of equitie, and then I doubt not but to haue a iust iudgement. But this I assure my selfe, if you knew the strength of my loue, or the force of my loy­altie, though my person and byrth be farre vnfit for such a mate, yet you would deeme my loue to deserue no lesse: for Leander to his Hero, or Piramus to his Thesbe was neuer more fath­full, then Pharicles will try himself to Mamillia: that although small acquaintance breedes mistrust, and mistrust hinders loue: yet tract of time shall inferre such a tryall, as trust shal kindle af­fection.

And therefore I hope that your noble heart wil not put a doubt till occasion be offered, nor cal his credit in question, whom nei­ther you haue found nor heard to be halting. What though the Serpentine powder is quickly kindled, and quickly out? yet the Salamander stone, once set on fire, can neuer be quenched: As the sappy Myrtle tree wil quickly rotte: so the hard Oake will neuer be eaten with wormes: Though the free stone is apt for euery impression: yet the Emerauld will sooner breake, then receiue any new forme: Though the Polipe chaungeth co­lour euery houre: yet the Saphyre will cracke before it con­sent to disloyaltie. As all things are not made of one mould: so all men are not of one minde: for as there hath beene a troath­lesse Iason, so hath there beene a trustie Troylus, and as there hath beene a dissembling Damocles, so was there a loyall Lae­lius. And sure Mamillia, I call the Gods to witnesses, I speake without fayning, that sith thy bewtie, either by fate or fortune, is shrined in my heart, my loyaltie shall be such, as the be troathed fayth of Erasto to his Persida, shal not compare with the loue of Pharicles to Mamillia. Sith therefore my loue is such, repaye but halfe so much in parte of recompence, and it will be suffycient to release my sorrowe. But alas, who can lay their loue where is no desert, and where want breedes a flat de­nyall?

[Page 16] Ah Mamillia, Nature by her secreete iudgement hath endu­ed all creatures with some perfect qualities, wher want breedes mislyking. The Moule depriued of sight, hath a woonderfull hearing: the Hare being very fearefull, is most swift: the fish ha­uing no eares, hath most cleere eyes; so I, of meane wealth, and lesse witte, haue giuen me by nature such a loyal hart, as I hope the perfection of the one will supply the want of the other, and if the choyce had beene in my handes, it shoulde haue beene as it is: therefore sith in you onely consistes my safetie, and that your bewtie hath gayned the chiefest place in my heart: Whereof I hope when time shal be fauourable to my desire, to make suffici­ent tryal, I humbly beseech you to take pitie vppon him, whose life & death consistes in your answer: and to let it be such, as you may haue a faithfull seruant for euer.

ALthough these wordes of Pharicles, Gentlemen, did not greatlye displease Mamillia, beecause it is verye harde to anger a woman with praising her, and especially, if she think as­much of her selfe as others speake, yet she would haue hid fire in the straw, and haue daunced in a net, striuing as much as shee could, with a discontented countenaunce to couer a contented mind, and to seeme as cruel as a Tygre, though as meeke as a Lambe, least either by outward shewe or words hee might con­iecture some hope of good happe, she gaue him this cold confect for his hotte stomacke.

SYr, quoth she, although the common prouerb saieth, that the Citie which comes to parle, and the woman that lendes an attentiue eare, the one is soone sacked, and the other is easilye gayned: yet I would wish you not to conceiue any hope, or spend any trauaell: for your hope shal be voyd, and your labour lost.

For although I was so foolish to lend you mine eare, I am wa­rie enough in letting of my heart: for as you found me prodigall in the one, you shall finde me as niggardly in the other. But as fables are good enough to passe away the time, so your talke will seeme to shorten the way, and so I take it. For it is yll hal­ting before a Cryple, and a burnt childe will feare the fire. And though I neede not doubt, because I was neuer burnt, yet is it [Page] good to beware by an other mans harme: the Mouse that seeth her fellow taken in the trappe, and ventureth her self, deserueth no pittie, if she be caught: the Foxe seeing his marrow almost kilde with the dogges, is a foole, if he take not squat: it is hard taking of fowle, when the net is descried: and yll catching of fish, when the hooke is bare: it is hard, Pharicles, to make her beleeue, that will giue no credit, & to deceiue her that spyeth the fetch: when the string is broken, it is hard to hit the white: whē a mans credit is called in question, it is hard to perswade one.

Blame me not, Pharicles, if I vrge you so strictly, nor thinke nothing, if I suspect you narrowly: a woman may knit a knot with her tongue, she cannot vntie with all her teeth: and when the signet is set on, it is too late to breake the bargayne: there­fore I had rather mistrust too soone, then mislike too late, I had rather feare my choyce, then rue my chaunce: I had rather stop at the brimme, then at the bottome. A womans heart is like the stone in Aegypt, that will quickly receiue a forme, but neuer chaunge without [...]racking: therefore, if I receiue any, it shal be such a one, as I shall not repent me: I put an if in it, because I doe not meane to chaunge virginitie with mariage, for it would be too hard a bargaine: for we see those women, which haue bin counted most wise, haue beene most chaste, and so fearefull to match, y they durst not once cal it in question. Faza, the princesse of Gaule, when she knew her father had promysed her in mari­age, wept so long, til she became blind. Parthenia after she was maryed, and had tryed by childebirth the difference betweene virginitie and mariage, she would neuer after companye with her husband, saying, that a lasting vertue was to be preferred be­fore a fading vanitie: sith therfore the most wise haue feared and eschewed, thinke me not cruell, if I be wise for my self, nor iudg me not scrupulous, though I put a doubt before I haue cause; or be in dread to buy repentance at an vnreasonable rate, for if I were minded to marry, I shoulde hardly find one fish among so many Scorpions, or one [...]eral among so many broken glasses. The woolfe hath as smooth a skin as y simple sheepe: the sower Elder hath a fayrer bark thē the sweet gineper: where the water [Page 17] is calmest, there it is deepest; and where the sea is most quiet­there it is most daungerous; where is the greatest colour of ho­nestie, there oftentimes is the most want: for an empty vessell hath a lowder sound then a full barrell, and a dissembling minde hath more eloquence then a faythfull hart: for trueth is euer na­ked. I will not apply the comparison, Pharicles, to any parti­cular, but in generall: yet if the propositions be vniuersal, they may inferre in the conclusion a perticular person. The Poets and paynters representing the loue of menne, bring in Cupid with a payre of winges; disciphering the loue of women, a Tor­tuse vnder the feete of Venus: she wing that as the loue of men is moueable, and vnconstant as a byrde: so the fancy of women is as firme & fixed, as a stedfast Tortuse. And with great reason: for neyther the Romishe recordes, nor Grecian hystories haue made any, or at the least so oft mention of the disloyaltie of wo­men: but onely how their simplicitie hath beene beguyled by the flatterie of faigned louers, of whome the most renomned may beare sufficient witnes: (as Theseus, Iason, Hercules, Aeneas and Demophon) that the loue of men hath euer beene incon­stant: yet they so reioysed at their infamous deedes, that the Po­ets canonized them, not only for saints, but placed them among the Gods, so that others of base estate, taking example by them, doe vaunt of their disloyaltie, as of some glorious con­quest, and as Herostratus fiered the temple of Diana, to be spo­ken of, so they falsifie their faith, to be famous. Yet it is a world to see how the deepest dissembler of them all, can haue teares accommaund to deceaue a simple mayde? What sighs? what sobs? what prayers? what protestations? their talke burnes as hotte as the mount Aetna, when as their affectiō is as cold as a clock: it is not the loue of y maid, but y lust of their mind, not her boun­tie, but her bewtle; so that euery face sets them on fire; euery la­dy, be she louely, must be their mistres. But no maruel, for if mē are chollericke, hot in their loue, and dry in their fayth, soone set on fire, and soone quenched: their loue is euen as lasting as the flame in the straw: which is as litle permanent, as it is violent, or like the Apples in Arabia, which begin to rot, ere they be halfe rype.

[Page] Well Pharicles, although I cast all these doubtes, and others haue tryed them true, yet I am forced by fancy to take some re­morce of thy tormentes. Medea knew the best, and did followe the worst in choosing Iason: but I hope not to finde thee so wa­uering.

Ah Pharicles, I haue beene brought vp in the court, and al­though my bewtie be small and witlesse, yet I haue beene desi­red of many, and could neuer fancy any: thou hast wonne the ca­stle that many haue besieged, and hast obtained that which others haue sought to gaine: it is not the shape of thy bewtie, but the hope of thy loyaltie, which enticeth me, not thy fayre face, but thy faythful heart; not thy comely countenaunce, but thy curteous manners; not thy wordes, but thy vertues: for she that buyldes her loue vpon bewty, meanes to fancy but for a while: for where the subiect is fading, the cause cannot be lasting. Would God, Pharicles, I might finde thee but such a one, as I will try my selfe to bee: for whereas thou dost protest such loyaltie; and put case it be as true as it may be: yet it shall be but counterfeite re­specting mine: be thou but Theagines, and I will try my selfe to be more constant then Cariclia: no torments, no trauayle, no, onelye the losse of life shall dimmishe my loue: in liewe thereof remayne thou but constant, and in pledge of my protested good wyll, haue heere my hearte and hande to be thine in duste and ashes.

MAmillia hauing thus ended her talk, I leaue you to iudge, gentlemen, into what a quandarie Pharicles was brought [...] seeing the answere of his Mistresse to be so correspondent with his demaund, & y fortune was so fauourable to his desire, as she seemed to will, that he did wish. For if the condemned man re­ioyseth, when he heareth his pardon pronounced, or the prisoner his freedome, no doubt Pharicles ioy could be no lesse, sith de­nial was his death, and consent, the conserue to heal his wound: the greater care, the greater ioy: the more doubt, the more plea­sure: so his vnlookt for hap brought such an inspeakable conten­tation, as forced through the extremity of his passions, and incē ­sed by the constrant of his affection, he burst forth into this talk.

[Page 18] MAmillia, if where the water standeth most still, there it is deepest, and when the winde is lowest, then the greatest tē ­pest is imminent: so where the minde with ouermuch ioy, or too much payne is surcharged, there the tongue is both tyed, and the countenaunce restrayned: so that as the heart is not able to con­ceiue it, the tongue is not able to expresse it, as the water potte, which being full, voydeth no licquour. Publius Metellius hea­ring his Sonne had subdued the Equiars, died forioy. Cassina­tus conceaued such a pleasure in seeing his father winne a gar­land in Olympus, that he kild himselfe with inward laughter. If I infer the similitude, perhaps it wil breede doubt: for deedes in loue are to be required, and not words. Therefore, for feare I incurre the suspition of flattery, I will leaue you to coniecture of that, which I thinke.

But this by the way, assure your selfe, Mistresse Mamillia, that your bewtie hath so blinded me, as I shall neuer see any, which so well shal content my minde: and your bountie hath bounde me neuer to lyke any other. Thus enueigled with the one, and fettered with the other, I remayne your true seruaunt for euer.

WHile they were in these tearmes, Madam Castilla thought Pharicles had giuen the forte a suffycient battery, for this tyme: therefore ioyning to them with the rest of the company, she enterrupted them on this maner.

MIstresse Mamillia, I beleeue you will go with a cleane soule to visit the sicke patient: for if you haue beene al this while at shrift, you might both haue confessed a great many of faultes, and receiued full absolution. But I pray God your go­stly Father be as holy for the soule, as wholsome for the body: & if he be, surely you haue heard good counsell: if not: it is Saint Erauncis fault, he wantes his hoode.

Madame, quoth Mamillia, if you thinke so well of my goa­stlye Father and his shrift, I pray you let him haue you in con­fession as long: for you are eldest, and therefore had neede of a longer examination and larger absolution, if hee be holye for the soule, he hath enough to take care of his own: as for myne, [Page] I will take charge of my selfe: if wholsome for the body, the more fitte for your purpose, sith old women are full of diseases, and had neede haue a Phisition tyed by their girdle: as for saint Frauncis fault, as you tearme it, if that be a hinderaunce of his comming, I am sure to pleasure you, he will take the paynes to fetch it.

Pharicles hearing the tauntes of the Gentlewomen, and see­ing that he was come to the Gentlemans place: because he was not well acquainted, though against his will, though best for that time to take his leaue: and therefore offred them the fare­well with this priuy quip.

Madame, if my keeping the Gentlewoman so long at shrift, hath beene in any respect offensiue to you, I am very sory: but if I may stand you as long in steede of a gostly Father, and so pleasure you, I am at commaund: mary my commission is nei­ther for worde nor deede, and therefore I doubt your confession will be too large for mee to deale with all. But sith I haue brought you thus farre: and am altogether vnaequainted with the Gentleman, I will take my leaue to depart home, although against my will.

Nay surely, quoth Madame Castilla, your hast shall make waste, and your small acquaintaunce shalbe no hinderance: for at this time you shall be my guest, and with that they entred in­to the place, where after they had saluted the company, and visi­ted the sicke person, Madam Castilla requested the gentleman to welcome the stranger for her sake, who both had taken paines to beare them company, and through his pleasaunt conceites procured the way to seeme shorter. Signior Gonzaga taking occasion to shew his good will to Pharicles, aunswered: that sith the maister of the house was not well, he would say the Gen­tleman was welcome in his befalfe: and so taking him by the hand, welcomed him very friendly. Which curtesie of Gonza­ga was no lesse pleasure vnto Pharicles, then contentation vn­to Mamillia, to see him whom they most doubted, to shew such a friendly countenaunce, that they both hoped to haue a prospe­rous successe in their enterprise.

[Page 19] Now this sicke Gentleman, called Gostino, had one onely daughter, named Publia, about the age of sixteen yeeres, whose bewty and bringing vp, shewed that she was in no respect secōd vnto Mamillia: but rather more perfect in the giftes of nature. This young Gentlewoman being by the mothers side cosinue Germaine to Mamillia, after her duetie done to the company, requested them to take such a simple dinner, as her father in so short a time could prouide: giuing them also to vnderstand by her behauiour, that the influence of the heauens had denyed her no­thing: but that nurture had forced her self to augment the grace of nature, and that comlines of body, and curtesie of the minde hadde a continuall warre, which shoulde haue the superyori­tie.

This gorgeous Goddesse furnished with these singular qua­lities in euery respect, so set on fire Pharicles fancy, that as if he had drunke of the fountaines in Ardenia, his hot loue was tur­ned to as cold a lyking.

Now his heart was set vpon Publia, which of late was vow­ed to Mamillia, in such a sorte, that his stomacke lost the woon­ted appetite to feede the eyes with the bewtie of his new God­desse, as that he seemed to haue eaten of the hearbe Spattania, which shutteth vp the stomacke for a long season. And Publia on the contrary side, noting the feature of Pharicles, the comly­nesse of his person, and the rarenes of his qualities, was so scort­ched with the bewtie of this new guest, as finding occasion to conuey her selfe into her closet, vnder the colour of some serious businesse, she powred forth her plaintes in this order.

O vnhappy fortune, O lucklesse destinie, hath Publia prepa­red a banquet to entrappe her selfe with a more daincy delicat? hath she layde the net, and is taken in the snare? hath shee wel­commed him that hath caught her captiue: well, now I see, that as the Bee that flyeth from flower to flower, hauing free choyce to chuse at libertie, is at last taken by the winges, and so fette­red: in like manner my fancy taking the viewe of euery face, hath a restraint of her freedome, and is brought in bondage with the bewty of this straunger.

[Page] Alas, what shall I doe? Shal I loue so lightly? shal Fancie giue me the foyle at the first dash? shal myne eyes be the cause of my miserie? would God they had lost their sight in the cradle, shal my heart be so tender, to yeelde at the first call? would God nature had framed it of Adamant, to resist the force of such foo­lish cogitations.

Ah Publia, consider thy state: what hath he more to be beelo­ued then other? thy suters haue had to beliked. What, foole? dost thou aske a question of Loue, or a reason of Fancy? striue not a­gainst the streame: if thou resist Loue, thou art ouermatched.

For euen the Gods are tributaries vnto Venus, as confessinge the superiorities of beauties kingdomes, then be not thou asha­med, being but a simple maide. Venus loued a black smith with a poult foote: and thou a Gentleman of singular perfection: yet as there is a difference betweene thee and Venus in bewtie: so is there a greater distaunce betweene Vulcan and him in defor­mitie. Then Publia, yeelde when thou must needes consente: run when thou art called by command: for sure, if euer thou wile bestowe thy freedome, he is worthy to haue thee captiue: if thou meanest to marrie, thou canst not haue a meeter match: yea but how if his heart be placed, and his minde settled? then were I a great deale better to wayle at the first, then weepe at the last; to be content with a litle pricke, then with a deepe wound. The Scorpion, if he touch neuer so lightly, enuenometh the whole body: the least sparke of wilde fier sets on fire a whole house: the Coeatrice killeth euen with her sight: ye sting of loue woun­deth deadly: the flame of Fancy fireth the whole bodye: and the eyes of a Louer are counted incurable: yet the Elephant being euuenomed with the Uiper, eateth him vp, and is healed, there is nothing better for burning, then heat of fire, & nothing so soone killeth a Basilisk, as the sight of a man. Then Publia, sith Pha­ricles hath giuē the wound, let him salue the sore: let the fire of affection driue out the flame of Fancy; and sith thou art hurte by the eie, be healed by the sight: hope for the best: for thou hast as much to be loued, as he to be liked: & therfore remain patient, til thou knowest more. With yt she went out of her closet: but before [Page 20] her returne the strangers had dined, and were al descanting of the Gentlemans disease.

So many heads, so many wits: for some saide it was a feuer, and proceeded of cold: some, the consumption of the milte, whose originall was thought some burstines, and ensued of flegme: some one thing, and some an other: but all I thinke mist the marke. Gonzaga, who heard all their opinions, sayd, that if the Gentleman were not wel stricken in age, whatsoeuer the disease was, he would say the first cause was loue: and my reason is this, quoth he: the oft chaunge of colours, his sodaine traunces, his sighes in his dreame, the dead stopping of his pulses, and then their beating a fresh, al these are signes of an vnquiet minde, of an impatient affection, and to be flat, of loue it selfe.

Signior Gonzaga, quoth the sicke Gentleman, eyther you are expert in phisick, or els you speake by experiēce: but whether you doe, you misse the cushion: for my disease doth not proceede of loue: nor if I were wel, should it: for I haue felt the first dishe of so variable a tast, that I wil neuer eate of the secōd: I meane, I felt the presence of my wife so sweet, and her absence by death so sowre, as I meane, neuer to try the like hap. But nowe, sith you are all at leysure, and I very gladde to heare any thing that might mittigate the paine, or shorten the time, I woulde craue this boone of you all in general, that one of you woulde satisfie my minde in this, to tel me what thing it is the common people call loue.

The Gentlemen of their curtesie could doe no lesse but con­discend to their hostes request: yet euery one alleadging of disa­bility, so that they were forced to cast lots, who shoulde discusse this hard question: & amongst al, the chance fel vpon Pharicles, which although it was some small griefe vnto him, because hee doubted of his habilitye: yet hee thought Fortune fauoured him in this poynt, that he might shew his cunning before Pub­lia.

Where I cannot but muse, Gentlemen, to see that such moyst licour shold turne to hard flint: that the most wholsome Mithri­date in twise shifting, should be deadly poyson: that the Reedes [Page] in Candie, will of their owne nature beecome bitter gall: that the loue of men should turne to hard harted: that fancy should be quenched at the second sight: that the affection of Pharicles, should turne to frantik folly, in mislyking without cause, and choosing without tryall: but it is not so common, as true, that men be fickle in their fayth, brittle in their braine, and luke­warme in their loue: neither hot nor cold, euen like the Picke­rell, that keepeth the baight in his mouth, to cast out at his plea­sure: yet where doe we see any writing of loue, or of any such matter: but they must haue one fling at women? dispraysing their nature, disciphering their nurture, painting out their pol­liticke practises and subtil shiftes, declaring their mutabilitie, comparing them to the Polipe stone, that chaungeth colours e­uery houre; to the Weathercock, that wauereth with the wind; to the Marigolde, whose forme is neuer permanent, but chaun­geth with the Sunne: and yet they themselues a great deale worse: as Pharicles, one of the same sect presently shal proue: who fryed at euery fire, and chaunged his looke at euery leeke, as one that builded vppon bewtie, and not bountie; that did lust, but not loue; with which fickle feuer ye Gentlemen of our time are greatly troubled: for he that cannot looke & laugh, and tel a tale with nulla fide, they wil straight note him in ther tables for a dunce, or put him in their bookes for a foole: and yet they wil needes fry in frost, & freese in fire: they see, & yet are blind: they heare without eares, they spend the day in sighing, and the night in sobbes; they haue heapes of care, streames of teares, waues of woe: yea, to be short, they like without loue, and fancy, with­out affection, that their choyce must needes chaunge, because it is without reason.

But againe to Pharicles, who seeing necessitie on the one side, and his credit on the other, to be two spurres in his side, and that the Gentlemen were attentiue, began on this manner.

THe Poets and Paynters fayned not fortune blinde, without good cause, and great reason: for as her gifts are vncertaine: so the lotte is doubtfull, and the chaunce vnlooke for, most often happeneth: she imparteth wealth to the foole, and pouertie to [Page 21] the wise: she powreth water into the Sea, when it ouerfloweth, and giueth riches to him that is cloyed with aboundance: doe we not see, that were is most neede, there she giueth least? and the most noble men haue the woorst lucke? Policrate is a mir­rour of her mutabilitie, by his miserable end: and Abdolomi­nus, a patterne of her frailtie, by his good happe: and I heere may serue for a proofe of her small skill, that hath layed a great burden on me, which am leest able to beare it. But on the small braunch hangeth oft the most fruit; and on the woorst wit som­times chaunceth the greatest charge: for neither my experience by nurture, nor my wit by nature, hath wherof to compare with the worst of the company, and yet fortune by lot hath layde the most on me, so that he that woorst may, must hold the candle.

But sith a man must needes go when the diuel driues, although I know my faulte, and you shall finde it, yet the hope of your curtesie, voyde of curiositie, somewhat encourageth my slender skill to presume the farther, although beetweene your learned eares and my rude tongue there will be great discord. I will not doe as Hiarbitas and Hermonides, who striuing to excell in musicke, for euer lost their voyces, least if I force my selfe in eloquence to seeme a courtier, I proue at length a flat carter. Astorides seeing Roscius gestures, durst neuer after come on the stage: Hiparchion hearing Rufinus blowe vpon his pipe, would neuer after play on his flute. Two thinges daunte the minde of a young man; eyther the skill or person of the hearer. Demosthenes the famous Orator of Athens was so astonished at the maiestie of king Philyp, that he lost his speech: Carnitus seing Anniball comming into the schooles, became dumb: then it is no meruaile, gentlemen, if I be afrayed to incur the cōmon proueth. A fooles bolt is soone shot; or to doubt yt my green wit should giue a rash reason, or enter too far in mine own conceite, which was so hurtful to Marsias, yt with his pipe would imitate Apollos harp. Notwithstanding as the prick of the spurre for­ceth the horse that feareth the euill way, so in this my doubt the reuerence I beare to Gostino and the rest of the company bani­sheth al feare, assuring my selfe you will lay the fault vpon for­tune, [Page] who made the lotte so vnequall, and let my vniust chaunce serue for a sufficient excuse: and if I happe to stretch too farre, I wil blowe the retrayte with repentance which neuer commeth without pardon.

When I coniecture with my selfe, Gentlemen, the great tra­uel and industry that the auncient Philosophers, and learned men haue taken in searching out the secrets of nature, insomuch that some of them haue put out their owne eyes, to attayne to the greater perfection, thinking that they were obstacles & hin­derances of their profound contemplations, as did Democles. Others being extreemely delighted with supernaturall cogita­tions, aud enamoured of the Mathematical artes, with gazing vp into the skie, haue fallen backward, and broken their neckes, as did Gallus: some searching out the essence of the first mat­ter, waded so farre in the depth of Astronomy, seeking out the causes of the ebbing and flowing of the Sea, that they drowned themselues, as Aristotle. Others coueting to know the sense of secret maters scanning the quidities of Logike, haue lost their wittes, as Crinitus, and many other moe. I cannot but mar­uel that among al these secretaries of nature, there haue neuer byn found any which haue enterprised to search out the essence and perfect nature of loue. Sure I thinke they might answeare with Hermes, who being demāded what God was, said he could neuer giue answeare, because the farther he went, the more was behinde, yet in my iudgement the true loue is no other thing, but a desire of that which is good; and this good is the influence of the celestiall bountie: so that by the definition it is to be pla­ced in the intellectuall part of the mynd, and not in the sensuall: but your question Signior Gostino is of that which the commō people cal loue.

Ouid, who thought himselfe a maister of that art, and writ precepts of the same, thought it more obscure then the Letters of Ephesus, or the riddles of Sphinx, to tel the perfect definition of loue: so that being demanded what it was, answered, that hee knew not what it should be, from whence it sprong, whether it went, nor to what end it tended: but sure, quoth he, it is the losse [Page 22] of a mans selfe: Anacreon said it was [...] mischiefe [...] or a pince of pleasure we receiue a gallon of sorow: for what wea­pinges, what watchinges, what cursinges, what sighes, what trauel doth the louer endure? so that in an other place he calleth it a warfarre, for the drumme of fancy, strikes vp the Alarum in the Louers heartes, as he goeth to fight, knowing to be vanqui­shed: and that euery frowning looke of his Lady, is worse then the shot of a cruell Cannon. And yet the Passionate Louer is thought to abyde no payne, nor suffer no trouble.

Calimachus calleth it a Court without Sergeantes, for be­cause they that loue, obey without consistant, and are captiue without conquest. Therefore in [...] loue com­meth of free will, it ought to haue the better [...] ward.

Prince Tamberlane, tho most bloody [...] in the world, neuer shed blood, where there was submission; and the Lyon spareth lyfe, if his enemy yeelde; what beast is so brute as kyl­leth his fellow? then that woman is much too blame, that with her denyall would seeke his life, who brought captiue by loue. [...] Propertius saieth, [...] sweete tyranny [...]her [...] his [...] willingly, and that the mynde of the Louer is not where it lyueth, but where it loueth.

Oh, saith he, what man is able to resist the force of loue? or rather, what wil not loue force a man to lo [...] Did [...] Retormo­dicus ouerchrow the whole state of the Lac [...] [...], for the loue of Scedasus daughters? Roderick of Spaine lost his king­dome for Camma, yea many haue not onely hated, both father and mother for the loue of their Ladyes [...] but also haue poysoned their kinsmen and acquaintance, for to fulfil their fancies. Cate­line slew his sonne, for the loue of Orestill [...], and yet men are counted neither loyall nor faythfull. Tibullus, called loue a pro­found science: to be briefe, euerye one pay [...]tes it out in his co­lours, as it please them, and yet none can tell what they say: in such sort that they make it a misterie, which can neither bee ex­pressed nor taught, but by demonstration in a dumb schoole, as soccer as y sacrifice of Ceres, or of Vesta: yet the most wise phy­loso [...], [Page] [...] [Page 23] witte in the flower: for an old Louer is like on old hogge with a greene tayle.

Signior Gostino, whether it were through the weakenes of his stomacke, or the extremetie of his paine, was forced to inter­rupt Pharicles in the middes of his talke, requesting the Gen­tleman not to think that it was wearines of his discourse: but yt straungenesse of the disease, that procured this restraint, and to entreate the rest of the companye not to take it in euill parte, that hee was the cause of such a sodaine intermission, hoping the Gentleman at their next meeting woulde satisfie their mindes fully, wishing Pharicles not to bee a straunger at his house, but to vse him as a friend, and the oftner he should come, the bet­ter he should be welcome.

Pharicles, with the rest of the Gentlemen, perceiuing Go­stino to craue rest, and that his drowsie eyes chymed for sleepe, thanking him for their good cheere, and wishing his welfare, tooke their leaue, and departed.

But Pharicles, whose heart was on his halfpenny, found fish on his fingers, that he might be the last should take his leaue of Publia, to see if he could strike fire out of the flint: and therefore strayning her by the hand, gaue her his A dio.

Gentlewoman, if I take my leaue more boldly then any of ther rest, impute the fault to your bewtie, and not to my impu­dencie, which so hath fixed my fancy with the flame of affection, as [...]n halfe in doubt it is vnquenchable: yet though the pati­ent knowes his disease vncurable, he couetes a plaister to miti­gate the paine. But I hope well, and if I may haue wel, I shall thinke my selfe to get as much as I would wish.

The traueller talking of hunger, hath euer a more sharp sto­macke, and I so long discoursed of loue, that where before I shotte as a blinde man: nowe were I able to speake by experi­ence. For Ouid, nor all the maisters of loue coulde neuer finde out a more perfect definition, then my fancie, fettered in the beames of your bewtie, hath imprinted into my mind: so that by the charge of Venus, will you, nill you, I remaine your ser­uaunt.

[Page] [...] this farewell, as hartily as hée [...] it, gaue him a Cake of the same passe, and a soppe of the same sauce.

GEntleman, quoth shee, as I cannot laye the fault of your boldnesse, as you tearme it, to any impudency, so would I not haue you without cause accuse my bewtie, least you either commit folly or flattery: for hee that prayseth the Crowe, for h [...] colour, is eyther stone blinde, or starke madde: and there­fore I thinke that your fancye is not fixed: but your fan­tasie is fumed with some vapours, proceeding from a hotte sto­macke, procuring a rash iudgement: so that when it shalbe alay­ed with some cold confection, you wil not be of the same opini­on. But sure I am content at your next commiyng, to take a recantation for a recompence of your errour, which the sooner it bee, the better it shall please mee: and so fare you well.



[...] [Page 24] stayed minde of Publia, to swarue from the vowed virginitie: so that thinking my selfe as chaste, as any in Padua, I proue the lightest in Italy: for I yeelde before I be ouercome: I consent without compulsiō: the first assault, the first shot, the first Alarm, yea the first worde hath scaled the walles, wonne the Fort, and caught me captiue. Alas, what will they say, that praysed me for my vertue? will they not as fast disprayse me for my vice? will not my father fret, my kinsfolke cry out, my friendes be sory, my enemies laugh me to scorne? yea, will not al the world wonder, to see me of late giuen to chastitie, and now shake handes with virginitie? to yeeld my deerest Iewel and chiefest treasure vnto the straunger? The choyce of a friend requireth the eating of a bushell of salt; then the choosing of a husband, tenne; for by how much the bande is straighter, by so much the choice should be longer.

But I almost lyke beefore I looke, and loue beefore I knowe, and cast my corne, I wotte not where; and am lyke to reape, I knowe not what. Ah foole, is not the Iacinth, if it be rubbed with lyme, soone set a fire, and hardly quenched? is not the Adamant and the yron soone ioyned, and hardly disseuered? the coyne hath his stampe in a moment, and cannot be taken out without melting. Loue entreth easily, and is as hard to thrust out as nature: fancye soone fireth: but long ere it quencheth: yea but Publia, flatter not thy selfe: for soone rype, soone rot­ [...]; that which e [...]eth without compulsion, will weare awaye without constraint: marryage, if it be soone begun, yet it is not so soone ended. Take time and choyce, and choose warily, not his face: for nothing so soone gluttes the stomacke, as sweete meate; and nothing sooner filles the eye, then bewtie: for often­tymes where is the best proportion, there are the woorst proper­ties; the wine is not knowne by the caske, but by the taste. The Gods intending to: shew the perfection of nature in one crea­ture, framed a man so exquisit in forme and feature, as neither for the lmiamentes of his face, nor the proportion of his bodye was possible to be sayde, this was wanting. This demy God be­ing sent vpon the earth, when as noone could condemne nature [Page] of want, Momus onely found this fault, that the Gods framed not a window in his brest, through which to perceiue his inward thoughtes: meaning, as I coniecture, that there is none so com­ly in his body, but may bee corrupte in his minde, nor so fine in his feature, but he may be faultie in his fayth: to cōclud, as euery saint hath his feast, so euery man hath his fault; that a man [...]ad neede groope well, that should finde one fish amonge so manye Scorpions, and what a one Pharicles is, I may easily gesse, but I know not.

Ah Publia, if any one heard thy talke, they might condemne thee of villany. Wilt thou speak euil of him which wisheth well to thee? shal y reward of loue be loathing? doth good wil deserue hatred? or fancy defiance? What hath he, ye thou maist not like? or what wouldest thou like, that is wanting in him, neither bewty, birth, wisdome, wealth, & what more is to be required in a man? Ah, nothing, Publia: his store procureth thy want, his perfection hath made thee vnperfect, as now thy welfare hanges in the wil of an other man, and doost both liue and loue, so that conclude with thy self, Pharicles must be he, whose shape thou wilt shrine in thy heart for euer, hap good or happe euill, against all the as­saultes of fortune.

Publia was not thus vexed on the one side, but Pharicles suf­fred a farre greater torment: that after hee came to his lodg­ing casting himselfe on his bedde, hee exclaymed on his happe in such sorte, that the aboundance of teares were sufficient signe [...] of his woe.

O Pharicles, Pharicles, what a doubtefull combate dost thou feele in thy minde betweene fancy and fayth, loue and loy­altie, beautie and bountie? shal the flickering assault of fancy o­uerthrow the castle of constancy, shall the lightnesse of loue vi­olate the league of loyaltie? shal the shadow of bewtie wipe out the substance of bounty? shall hope bee of more force then assu­rance? wilt thou vow thee constant to one, and prooue thy selfe not stedfast to any? the Turtle chuseth, but neuer changeth; the Swan lyketh, but neuer loatheth; the Lyon after he hath entred league with his make, doth neuer couer a new choyce: these haue [Page 25] but only sense; and I am sure thou hast reason and sense, and art more vnruly: they haue but nature for their guide, and yet are constant: thou haste both nature and nurture, and yet thy minde is mouable: these brute beastes keepe their consent inui­olable, and thou a reasonable creature dost falsifie thy faith with out constraint, yea euen breake thine oath without compulsion, whereas nothing is so to be hated, as periury, and a man hauing cracked his credit, is halfe hanged.

Marcus Regulus rather then hee shoulde falsifie his fayth, euen to his enemies suffered a most horrible death. Horatius Secundus being betroathed to Ciuilia, was rackt to death for his constancy. Lamia a Concubine, by no torments coulde be haled from the loue of Aristogicon. What perilles suffered Theagines to keepe his credit with Caricha? Pharicles, let these examples mooue thee to be loyall to Mamillia: be thou stedfast, and no doubt thou shalt not finde her staggering: but if thou wauer, ware thou dost not as the dogge, loose both bones: for deceit deserues deceite, and the ende of tretcherie, is to haue small trust.

Sudasus a Parian borne, when he came into the courte, to sweare, that he neuer loued Castana, became dumbe, and so was condemned. Iouinianus Otto nephewe to Alexādrus Farne­sius, after that he had renounced his vow made to his louer, ran madde: beware, Pharicles, of the like rewarde, if thou commit the lyke offence. Tush hee that would refraine from drinke, be­cause hee hath heard that Anacreon died with the potte at his head, or that hateth an egge, because Appeius Sauleius dyed in eating of one, would be noted for an Asse: so if I should stand to my pennyworth, hauing made my market like a foole, and may chaunge for the better, because other in the like case haue had e­uill happe, I may eyther be counted for a Cowarde, or a Calfe.

Dooe not the Gods, saye the Poets, laugh at the periurie of Louers? and that Iupiter smyles at the crafte of Cupyd? Paris, when he stole away Helena, and forsooke his Oeno­ne: did not both Sea and winde fauour his enterprises with a speedy gale? Theseus had neuer better lucke, then after hee [Page] had forsaken Ariadne: and I perchaunce may haue as good hap in leauing Mamillia. He that hauing tasted of water, & after wil not drink of wine, is of a grose nature. The dog that winding ye Hedgehogge, will not forsake the sent, to hunt at the Hare, is but a Curre, and he that wil not change in loue, if bewtie make the choyce, shal not come in my Creede. Mamillia is faire, but not second to Publia: she is wittie, but ye other more wise, where the sauce sharpened with prunes, casteth of sugar, it is follye to infer comparison. Yea, but what complaintes will Mamillia make, when she perceiueth thy dissembling? her hotte loue will cu [...]ne to deadly hate, shee will procure thy discredit euen with Publia: she will blase thy forged flattery, not onely here in Pa­dua, but throughout all Italy. I shall haue Gonzagā myne enemy, yea, and mine owne friendes to be my foes, yea and per­happes by that meanes, both loose her friendship, and the others fauour.

Tush, Pharicles, he that is afrayed to venture on the Buck, because he is wrapped in the bryers, [...] shall neuer haue Hunters happe, and he that puts a doubt in loue at euery chau [...]e, shall ne­uer haue Louers luck. Cannot the Ca [...] catch mise, without she haue a bel hanged at her eare? cānot ye Hobby sease on his pray, but he must checke? cannot the Spanyel returne the Partridge but he must quest? and cannot I deale so warily, [...]ut al the world must ring of it? yes, it is a subtill birde, that breedes among the aery of hawkes, and a [...] sheepe that lambes in the Foxes denne, and he shalbe crafty shal spy mee halting. I can like Ma­millia for a neede, and loue Publia of necessitie: it is good to keepe a stale, for feare I catch no foule, and needefull to holde Mamillia on the [...]ist, least Publia proue so haggard, she will not come to the lure. He that hath two fishes at the baight, it is hard if he misse both. Therefore I will be of the surer side alwayes prouided, Publia shall haue my heart, and I hers, or els I wyll sitte beside the saddle. And with that he fell in a study with him­selfe, of sundry matters pertayning to his amorous deuises, and at last determined with himselfe, if he could find a trusty messen­ger to send her a letter, fearing if he should make his repayre [...] [Page 26] sodainely, it would breede some suspition in Gostinos heade, for hee that loues, castes beyonde the Moone, and especially he that dissembles: and craft had neede of cloking, where trueth is euer naked.

Where, by the way, Gentlemen, we see Pharicles a perfect patterne of Louers in these our dayes, that beare two faces vn­der one hoode; and haue as many Ladyes as they haue wittes, and that is not a fewe: for euery newe face must haue a newe fancye; and if hee see a thousand, they must all be viewed with a figh, as though hee were enamoured; if she be younger, her tender age pleaseth him; if she be of middle age, the rypenesse of her yeeres, contenteth him: another enchaunteth him with her voyce, and one with her gestures: so that his couetous de­fire woulde haue all, and yet amidst this store he is pyned, and dissembling doubt maketh a restraint of his choyce, yet he must needes be a Carpet Knight: for they thinke it as harde to lyue without loue, as without meat. But when they beginne to like, it is a worlde to see howe they learne to lye: fancy they cannot, without flattery; nor talk without tales, they be dead at the first dash, & plunged in Plutos pitte, when they haue a merier heart thē the poore maide. They say, a womā is the weaker vessel, but sure in my iudgement, it is in the strength of her body, and not in the force of her minde: For the rypest witte, the readyest heat; the moste subtill skonce is fayne to sette his braynes on the last, and his witte on the tenters to deceiue a simple mayde: first he assayes with flattery, then with sophistry, inferryng his com­parisons, he is caught in the beames of her bewtie, as the Bee in the cobwebbe; hee is parched with the hue of her face, as the Flye in the candle; hee is drawne by the qualities of her mind, and the sweetenesse of her voyce, as with a Syrens songue, and when perhappes she hath nothing to be praysed nor to bee lyked in her, yet the comlynesse of her bodye, and the rarenesse of her condicions, hath so enchaunted, as if shee heale not his wound, he shal as it were with Circes cup be turned to a hog or a horse.

And this they vse not to one, but to many, counting him a [Page] foole that cannot flatter; and a dol [...]e, that dare not disemble, as Pharicles an Archeaptaine of their crue presently wil prooue, who knewe the best, and followed the woorst; and could speake hotlye, but follow it as coldly.

For after that hee had giuen the raynes of libertie to his frantike affections, and hadde fostered the sparke to growe to a great flame, the medicine then came too late, when the di­sease was incurable: the more he did striue, the woorse he was: euen as the Harte, which feeling the arrowe in his side, the more he forceth him selfe, the farther it entreth; or the byrde being taken in the nette, by struggling becomes faster: so hee seeking to eschewe his first maladie, fell into a deeper sicknesse, perceiuing as the wounde by time is more grieuous then when the blowe was freshe, so loue encreaseth by delay, and delayes breede daungers: fearing agayne his hastie venturing might procure a slacke speedinge, determyned to take counsell at his pyllowe, and as his minde shoulde giue him, to prosecute his purpose: and in this doubte hee remayned the space of a weeke.

In which tyme Publia seeing Pharicles made no great haste in his returne, thought her newe Louer would proue an olde scoffer, condemning her selfe of follye, that shee should bee so soone enticed by flatterie, seeking to roote out that by reason, which was inserted by sensualitie, knowing, no fitter reme­die for loue, then to resist betimes, in which determination, as she should haue proceeded, she had the retrait blown by a let­ter, which Pharicles had sent her by his page. Likwise offering in his maysters behalfe, a present vnto Gostino, in recompence of his good cheere, which he receiuing gracefullye, wished the Page to giue it to his daughter, who taking the present, and re­ceiuing the Letter, could scarcely stay to vnrip the seale, while she came in her closet, where betweene hope and dread she read these lines following:

Pharicles to Publia.

IF the Gods, Publia, hauing made man, had likewise giuen him free will to bee mayster of himselfe, in subduing his rebellious affec­tions, or hadde appoynted medicine for the minde, as Phisick for the soule, I needed not at this time haue sought for helpe to resist the assaultes of contrary passions, as he that after long combat for the defence of his libertie, is forced to yeelde by the strength of the Uictor, hoping by submission to obtaine the more fauour.

But nature and fortune hath in no creature framed such a per­fect vnformitie, but there is as great a contrarietie: and as many salues as arte hath taught, so many sores nature hath giuen, ne­uer suffering blisse to come without bale, nor good lucke with­out ill happe, finding alwayes a cooling carde of misfortune to pluck down ye puffing peate of prosperitie. The Bee, as she hath the fragrant flower, wheron to take delight, so she hath the Spi­ders webbe wherein to be tangled. The flye, as she is reuiued by the heate of the Sunne, so is she consumed by the flame of the fire: as the Lyon cooleth his stomacke with eating the Sea­mouse, so is it inflamed with eating the litle Ermelyne. But although in this respect I cannot greatly eyther accuse nature or fortune, yet the destinies I thinke haue framed your bewtie such a furious enemy to my carefull minde, as it hath made such a breach in my heart, that the strongest rampyre and surest de­fence I could make is not possible to resist the cōtinual Alarms, wherewith the remembraunce of your rare vertues night and day doe assayle me in such wise, that since my departure I haue felt in my heart, as in a little world, al the passions and contra­rieties of the Elementes. For my eyes, Publia, I call the gods to witnesses, I speake without fayning, almost turne into water through the continuall streams of teares, and my sighes flye as winde in the ayre, proceeding from ye flaming fire which is kind­led in my hart, as that without the droppes of your pittie, it wil turne my body into dry earth and cinders.

[Page] Then, Publia, sith your beautie is my bale, let it be my blysse­couet not to vanquish him which is already captiue, striue not for my lyfe, sith you haue my libertie, but let the waues of mer­cie quench the fire of fancy, and doe but render loue for loue: yea, Publia, such loue as eternitie shall neuer blot out with obliuion, neyther any sinister fortune in any wise do diminishe: so that if the world wondred at the loyaltie of Petrarch to his Laura, or Amadis to Oriane: they shall haue more cause to meruell at the loue of Pharicles to Publia, whose lyfe and death standeth in your answere, which I hope shal be such as belongeth to the desert of my loue, and the shew of your bewtie.

Yours, if he be Pharicles.

PVblia hauing read ouer this Letter, view­ing and reuiewing euery lyne in particular, chaunged colours at euery sillable, fearing to be foyled by flatterye, or to be brought in­to a fooles paradise by promises, knowing that the Nyghtingale hath a sweete voyce, and yet but a rankefleshe: that the Storkes in India haue a pleasaunt cry, but a bloody byl: that the fayrest Nutte without, may haue the fowlest Worme within: that the most daynty delicates may be sauced with deadly poyson: that smooth talke and fayre promises maye haue but small perfor­mance: that wordes were but winde: that inke and paper were not sufficient pledges for such an inseperable knot: yet hope haled her on to thinke well of his offer: and that shee whiche would not trust ere she tryed, should not proue without peryll: saying that experience is the Mistresse of fooles, and that they which were incredulous, incurred the greatest suspition of flat­terie: so amidst these sundry dumpes, shee tooke her penne, and sent Pharicles this dumpe.

Publia to Pharicles.

MAister Pharicles, your Letters being more hastily receiued then hartily read, I stoode in a doubt, whether I should answere with silence, or Sophistrie: for because where the question is extream, there the answere must needes want a meane: and where the demand is but a iest, it is best to make replye with a scoffe. But at length I was resolued to write more largly then I would, hoping both to profit and perswade you. Profit, I meane, in that I spying so soone your faining, I may dehorte you from flatterie, and [...]e the meanes that you leaue this folly, to be passionate onely in your pentie, a louer but in your lippes: for although you thinke my simple witte hath no such caparitie to conceiue your vaine iesting, yet all women are not of one mettall, but as I knowe it, and beare with it: so they wil spy it, and both blabbe it, and blame it: yea perhappes crosse you out of their creede: for he that hath beene scratched with the briers, will take heede of a thorne, and he that sees his felow hurt, will beware of the like harme; hee that hath beene deceiued with a lye, will scarsely credit a true tale. Women are wily, and will take example one by an other: so that it shall bee heard for one to halt before a cryple: they thinke euery one that writes an a­morous style, doth not loue faithfully: but most of them lye fals­ly. A pricke with a penne proued not Clanuel a true Louer, but a troathlesse Lechour: yea many write before they knowe the partie, and get by it they know not what: so that, Pharicles, if women would credit euery line, they would buy repentaunce too deare. But if Phillis were aliue in these our dayes, shee would neuer hange her selfe: and if Dido had beene incredu­lou [...], she had not dyed so desperately. Therefore Pharicles, if I doubt without cause, or feare before I haue occasion, blame me not, sith others haue suffered such euill hap by venturing too far in an vnknowne vessell.

Well, put case your flattery be fayth, and that all that you haue written is Golden: yet you clayme kindnesse where none was offered: or else you thinke because I sayd farewel friendly, I did fancy firmly: surelye eyther you are deceiued, or else I was in a dreame at the departure: for I doe not know in what respect eyther my words or deedes should be a spurre to pricke you for­ward in this rash entirprise: but assure your selfe, if there were any, I repent me of them, not that I am so foolish to repay ha­tred for loue: but that I haue vowed perpetuall virginitie, and meane to remaine chaste for euer. Therefore Pharicles, sease to craue that cannot be gotten: seeke not for impossibilities: quench the fire your selfe, when an other cannot put out the flame: a­bate the force of loue, where you cannot haue your longing.

I giue you perhappes a sower sauce to your sweete meate: because I will not feede you with delayes, nor fobbe you with fayre wordes, and foule deedes: but I speak as I thinke, & so you shall finde it. Yet in fine, least you should iudge me altogether vngratefull, I thank you for your good will, and I thinke well of it: and if euer I chaunce to loue, you haue as much to like as any: therefore if your fancy be so fixed, as you make faire on, pray that both my heart my turne, and my vow may be broken, and then hope well. But in the meane time, if you come, you shall be welcome, as a friend: but no farther.

Yours, if she could, Publia.

After that Pharicles, gentlemen, had receiued and read this Letter, seeing the beginning was hard, thought the ending as ill, so that beeing somewhat chollericke, hee threw it awaye in a rage, not half read, rebuking his folly in so soon yeelding vnto fancy, turning his great loue to a greeuous hate, as one somwhat tickled with self loue, thinking yt Hawk too haggard, that should not come at the first cal: now againe praysing his Mamillia, vowing wholye his heart vnto her, and promising in recompence of his disloialtie, neuer to lend Publia a good looke, and in this determination flang out of [Page 29] study, and went to the house of Gonzaga.

HEre gentlemen, we may see the flitring of mens fancy, and the ficklenes of their fayth, that they may well be compared to a blacke wal, that receiueth euery impression, which not with­standing with the wipe of ones hand is easily defaced: so men loue all, and now none, verifying the saying of Calimachis, that as flowers fade and florish euery yeare so their loue is hotte and cold euery houre, hauing nothing certaine but onely this, that the last driueth out the first, as one nayle forceth cut an o­ther; the nature of men is so destrous of noueltie. But because it is an euill dogge, barks at his fellow, againe to Pharicles, who being come into the house of Gonzaga, found not all things ac­cording to his desire for Mamillia was halfe sick in [...] bed, yet she her self knew scarsly the disease: but Pharicles missing her, went farder, and sound Madam Castilla sitting solytary in her Muses, whom after he had saluted and demaunded how mistres Mamillia did: Mary quoth Madam Castilla, your often repair vnto her, as farre as we can coniecture, hath driuen her into a plurisie, or vs into som ielousie: but whether it did she is sicke.

Pharicles, feeling his gald conscience prick [...] sayd, that al­though it pleased her to iest by cōtraries, yet his return was as speedy, as might be: for his busines was so necessary, that the losse of his landes hanged, thereon: but if he had knowne Ma­millia would haue conceiued any displeasure at his absence, he would not onely haue hasarded his landes, but haue ventured his life to haue made his repaire more speedy: if then her sicknesse proceedes of my negligence, I hope my sufficient excuse will be a remedy to cure the disease.

You speak wel, quoth Madam Castilla: therefore follow me, that you may plead your owne cause for I will be no Aduocat: and with that she caried him into Mamillias chamber, where she lay, half sleeping, half waking, whom Madam Castilla cal­led out of her traunce with this parle.

MIstres Mamillia, quoth she, you know whē time was, we tearmed this Gentleman a gostly father: therfore I thoght good in this your sickenes, that he should receiue your cōfession, [Page] as one most meete for the purpose I thank you for your paines, quoth Mamillia: for indeede I haue a great block in my consci­ence, which I meane to reueale vnto him, & that is of my folly, in louing so lightly, and fixing my fancy, where I doubt is no fayth whereof, if he can giue me absolution, I shall surely bee bound vnto him.



Ah Mamillia, quoth Pharicles, doe you thinke, that I haue such a trayterous heart, or such an impudent face to imagine such trechery against your diuine bewtie? No, no, Mamillia, I call the Gods to witnesses, and the heauens to heare my prote­stations, and if my words be not conformable to my thoughts: the internal furies conspire my vtter destructiō; and if my mind remaine not constant, and my fancy firme, the Gods themselues be reuengers of such disloyaltie.

Well, said Mamillia, Iason promysed as much to Medea, and yet shee founde him a lyer: but I feare no such matter.

No, me thinke, quoth Madame Castilla, I dare promise for [Page 30] the Gentleman. But now let vs see how we can find our teeth oc­cupyed, as we haue doone our tongues, and then I will say none of vs are fallen into a consumption, through weakenesse of sto­macke: so they all went to dinner.

Where I leaue you to consider, Gentlemen, how far vnmeete women are to haue such reproches layd vppon them, as sundrye large lipt felowes haue done: who whē they take a peece of work in hand, and either for want of matter, or lack of wit are half gra­uelled, then they must fill vp the page with slaundering of womē, who scarsly know what a woman is: but if I were able either by wit or arte, to be their defender, or had the law in my hand, to di­spose as I list, which would be as vnseemely, as an Asse to treade the measures [...] yet, if it were so, I would correct Mantuās Egloge, intituled Alphus: or els if the Authour were aliue, I woulde not doubt to perswade him in recompence of his errour, to frame a new one: for surely though Euripides in his tragedies doth greatly exclaim against that sexe, yet it was in his choller, and he infer­red a generall by a particular, which is absurd. He had an euyll wife, what then? because the hill Canaros hath a fountayne runs deadlye poyson, is al water nought? shall the fire be reiected, be­cause some one sparke fireth a whole whose? are the bodyes of the flyes Cantharides to be cast away, because their legges are poyson? shal we condemne al women of inconstancy, because He­lena was fickle? or all to be naught, because some one is a shrewe? if the premises wil infer such a conclusiō, I refer me to their greatest enemy. But for feare of a farther digression, againe to thē we left at dinner, who after they had taken a suffycient repast, fell a­gaine to their former discourse, till Gonzaga returning home, broke off their talke with his presence, entertaining Pharicles very friendly, assuring him he was as welcome as he could wish him selfe to be, which curtesie was not so heartily offred, as wil­lingly reciued. So that it seemed if the one were content, the o­ther was as well pleased. Yet Gonzaga being as wily as Pha­ricles was wittie, desirous to smell the vane of the young Gen­tleman, trayned his hooke with this bayte.

Pharicles, quoth he, the old Fox that cannot spy the fetch of the young one, was neuer crafty himself: the Goose that cannot see [Page] the Gosling winke, may seeme to haue a defect of nature: he that cannot see fire in straw, is surely stone blind: and hee that cannot spy the flame of fancy, is but a foole. There is none wil so soone spy one halting, as a cripple: it is hard to couer smoke, but more hard to conceale loue. I my self both haue tryed it, and nowe I likewise finde the proofe of it in you, who as closely as you keepe your cloke, yet I spy the lining, for loue kept in secret is like the spark couered with ashes, which at length bursteth into a great flame. But if it be as I thinke, I am glad of it. As I haue taken care Pharicles, to haue my daughter keep her virginity inuiolat without spot of suspitiousnes, so would I be as willing to yeelde the fruits of her chastity into the hands of some gentleman, whom she might both like for loue, & think wel offor his birth & honesty, rather wishing with Themistocles to marrye my daughter to a man, thē to money: desiring likewise his choice to be for her good­nesse, and not for her goodes, least if the knotte should be knit for wealth, it might be disseuered for pouerty. Licurgus would haue no dowries to be giuen with maides, least some should be liked for riches, and others loathed for want. The maides of Essenea went neuer bare faced, vntill they were maryed, least bewty should bee of more force then honesty, esteeming her which was honest, ney­ther to haue want of nature, nor lack of nurture: So that Phari­cles, I hope if you choose, it shal not be for wealth, which is vani­tie; nor for bewty, which is momentary (although I thank God she can neither blame nature nor fortune) but onelye for vertue which is permanent: for where the cause is durable, there the ef­fect must néedes be lasting, Loue ought to be like the stone Ar­menicke, which is hardly inflamed, but once set on fire, is neuer quenched: like the Emerauld, which being imprinted, neuer chan­geth fourme without breaking. Surely, Pharicles, I speake these wordes to you as a friende, and to Mamillia, as a father, wishing well to you for good lyking, and to her by course of kinde: being willing to marry my daughter, but neyther to buy her an husband, nor to set her to sale, vnlesse the price bee loue, I mean that I woulde not make the match by entreatie, nor seeme to consente lyghtlye, least haste shoulde make waste.

Therefore, Pharicles, although I speake largely, thinke not [Page 31] my consent is any profer. For others of great byrth; and no small wealth (I will make no comparisons) haue both made great suite, and offered large feofmentes to haue my good wyll: yet sith Mamillia did not loue, I did not lyke: and what shee doeth nowe, I am not priuye to it: but if shee doe, my minde perhappes may bee chaunged: for you knowe olde men are verye suspitious, and I my selfe doubte by the dreade of others, wee are colde of complexion, and therefore fearefull by nature, and will quicklye spye a padde in the strawe, and a snake in the grasse, I perhappes thinke the Moone is ecclipsed, when she is but chaunging; & gesse loue is lust, when it is loyaltie, falshood to bee fayth, and trueth to be treason, iudging vpon meat with a sicke stomacke, and casting wine with a furred tongue; construing al thinges by contraries, through the imbecilitie of our witte: sith euery thing is the worse for wearing: so ye he which wil court an old mans daughter, may be curteous, & yet thought curyous; his liberality may be thought prodigalitie; his cleanlynesse, pride and vnthriftinesse, that, walke as warilye as you can, the olde doter will suspect him.

Pharicles, I speake against mine owne age, and confesse the frayltie of my nature, that if you chaunce to finde the lyke faulte in me, that you impute it not to peeuishnesse, but to course of kinde: For you, Pharicles, professe loue to my daughter, and I thinke it is but dissimulation: you faigne faith, and I doubt of flat­tery; you seeme to offend in excesse, and I feare you faint in de­fect, I feare more then you can forge, and all little ynough in my iudgement. For you, young gentlemen, nowadayes lyke without loue, and lust without lyking: you fancy euery face, and ech sun­dry moneth you must haue a new mistresse, wooing as you think, with great witte, and at length proues without wisdome, so that as the seede is subtiltie, and the fruite folly, the haruest can reape but little honesty. Pharicles, I inferre no particulars, I told you my faulte, and therefore blame me not, if I cannot digresse from nature, but speake what I thinke: for if your conscience be cleare, it doeth not touch you; if it bee not, I am glad I haue spoken so much, that eyther you may amende, or els make an ende: for if my sight fayle me not, one you must doe.

Pharicles being rubd on his gald backe, thought Gonzaga was [Page] a subti [...] Fox, and needed not to learne his occupation, and that he could see the Gosling wink, being broad waking; but as young wittes are rash, so they are ready; and can smell a tale beefore it be half tolde: for Pharicles found his fetch at the first word, & there­fore intending to be as wily, as he was wise, gaue false fire to his peece, thereby to blinde Gonzagas eyes, as warily as hee coulde looke and to winke, and yet not be spyed on this manner.

Sir, quoth he, as it is hard to hide the smoake, so were he a foole that would goe about to couer it, and if fancy must needes be spy­ed, who would seeke to cloake it? nature cannot be restrained, nor loue kept in secret: for the one will come to his course, and the o­ther seeme light amidst the darknes. I knowing this, (although you mistake me) neuer thought to loue where I might not come lawfully, nor to like, where eyther the person or place should haue neede of a vale for Sunne burning: as for my selfe, I neede none: therefore, sir, if I halt, it is outright, that more maye perceiue it then a cryple. But I hope, iudge what you will, you shal find me stand to my tackling, and to take my course so well by my com­passe, that I shall proue a cunning Pylot, and to shew my selfe so chary in my choyse, what wares I chuse, that I shall bee a good Chapman, and the better I trust, in that I haue your counsel. The Lyons whelp taketh euer the fattest sheepe, when the old sire is by: the fawne neuer makes so good choyse of his feede, as the old Bucke; age speaketh by experience, and liketh by tryall, youth leaneth vpon wit, which is voyd of wisdom. Where the old Faul­con seaseth, there is euer the best pray: therefore he that will not be ruled by age, shalbe decided by youth, and hee that will not heare the admonition of a friend, shal perhaps feele the correctiō of a foe. This causeth me to thank your counsel, although I was determined before, for I neuer meant to loue without lasting nor fancy for a time, least I my self might be the first should repent it, but was fully resolued to lay my foundation vppon such a rock, as neither the earthquakes of dissention, nor the tempestes of trouble may once be able to moue. Now I know wel ynough, yt hee that chooseth the carnation for colour, should find it to haue lesse vertue then the black violet; yt the fading blossoms are more delectable to the sight, then the lasting fruite; that the painters colours which [Page 32] are most bright, will soonest loose their glose; yt nothing so soone stayneth, as cloath of lighte colour; and nothing to be lesse per­manent, then the glasse of bewtie, which beginneth to decay in the budde, to wither in the blossome, and if it commeth to be fruite, is rotten before it be halfe ripe. The loue of bewtie, saith Anacreon is the forgetting of reason, the enemy to wit, and to be counted in­deede a short frensie: for he that loueth onely for bewty, wil eyther loath when age approcheth, or else soone be glutted with plentie: wheras fancy fixed vpon vertue, encreaseth euer by continuance. He yt putteth the Adder in his bosome, delighted with her golden skin, is worthy to be euuenomed: the mouse, if she feede vpon rose­alger for the glistering hue, deserueth to be poysoned: if the fishe will needes to the baight, because it is of flyes in Cātabria, it is her own folly if she be taken: the bird that commeth to the glasse, enticed by the brightnes, deserueth the net: he yt wil choose a fayre face with euil conditions, claymeth by right to be counted a foole. Cateline had not so much pleasure in the bewtie of Oristilla, as he reaped sorow by her outragious crueltie, nor won so much cre­dit by her comlines, as Brutus did of his wife Porcia for her cur­tesie. The husband of Sempronia for al her faire face, had a wife of whom it was in question, whether she were more prodigall of her purse, or liberal of her honestie, that I am sure he would haue made a chang with Gracchus for his black wife Cornelia. Me­nelaus, who had that earthly Goddesse Helena, reaped for euery seede of pleasure, a whole haruest of sorow, contented to become Captaine of Cornetto, & for her comlynes to haue her almost cō ­mon, being as infortunate in his choyce, as Glitio Gallus was happy in his chance, by wedding Egnatia Maximilla: so that he which maketh choyce of bewty without vertue commits as much folly as Critius did, in choosing a golden boxe filled with rotten bones. I therfore fearing the fetters by the captiuitie of the bond­man, was euer careful to like for the proportion of the body, and loue for the qualities of the minde, neuer meaning to make a rusty rapier my rampire of defence, though it haue a veluet scabbarde; nor my choyce of any euil woman, be she neuer so proper of persō, hauing peeuish conditions: least for euery ynch of ioy, I catch an ell of annoy; and for euery drop of delight, a whole draught of de­spight. [Page] This, I say, was the cause, Gonzaga, that forced me to re­paire vnto your daughter, because the fame of her exquisit perfec­tion by nature plentifully placed in her, hath rauished euen her e­nimies hearts to loue & like her: her grauity in gestures, her mo­desty in manners, her curtesie in conuersation, chalenged my ly­bertie and wonne my heart her own for euer. It was not the co­lour in her cheekes, but the conditions of her mind; not her come­linesse, but her curtesie, not her person, but her perfection that in­chaunted me. But why doe I seeke to try my selfe loyall, when the hearers doe deeme me a lyar [...] why doe I bring in reasons to proue my troath, when my wordes can haue no trust, or to debate the matter, when they thinke it daliaunce? well sir, I cannot let you to think: but if I daly, it is in dolour; if I sport, it is in spight; if I iest, it is without ioy; and so tract of tyme shall try it. You ap­ply this mistrust to your age, and suspition to your old brain: sure you maye doe so: for I call the Gods to witnesses that the wordes which I speake, and the loue I protest to Mamillia is verytie without vanity, trueth without trifling: fayth without flattery, as fine within, as fayre without; a siluer sheath with a golden dagger, and in token she shal haue both lands and life, hand and heart, as her own for euer.

GOnzaga hearing the solemne protestation of the gentleman, being as credulous as suspitious, thought, what the heart did think, the tongue would clinck: and that his filed speech was with­out fayning, and his sweete talke without sower tales, gaue him his hand, that he was as glad to haue him to his sonne, as he desi­rous of such a father, and that he conceaued a great contentation of minde, that he found so fitte a match for his daughter: so that af­ter many pleasaunt parlees on both sides, they were fully betro­thed together. Pharicles promising the next spring to consummat the marryage, and Gonzaga prouiding a courtly banquet to [...]eale vp ye matter. Which being ended, Pharicles after many amiable lookes and sweete kisses, gaue her the curteous conge, and depar­ted to his lodging no lesse contented, then if he had obtained Cre­sus welth, Alexanders empire, or any treasure that fortune could assigne vnto him.

But the Sunne being at the highest, declyneth; the Sea, bee­ing [Page 33] at full tide, ebbeth; caulme continueth not long without a storme; neyther is happynesse had long without heauines, blysse without bale, weale without woe, as by this new betrothed cou­ple may be seene, who now flowing in floudes of felitity are by the falshood of Pharicles soused in the seas of sorrow, exalted to the hyest degree of happines, are driuen to the greatest extremity of euill, alate placed in paradise, and now plunged in perplexi­tie: for he no sooner entred his study, but espying the cruell letter of his mercilesse mistresse Publia, frying in fury, burning in rage and turning his woonted loue to a present hate, euen as the dog which byteth the stone; or the Bore that in chase teareth the trees; so he in reuenge of his choller, thought to read ouer this Letter more for spight then for pleasure; more for lothing then for loue. But as the birde, when shee is moste carelesse is caught of the fowler, so Pharicles reading in iest, found good earnest; and was so caught in the hay and taken with the toyles, that his fancy was fettered with a new charme, and his minde so amazed with this new musing, that he bestowed all the night in examining particu­larly euery line of her letter. And though the first part was sharp and rigorous, yet he found the last to be mixed with mettal of more mild matter, reading it ouer a thousande tymes, blaming his na­ture, and condemning his choler in being so rash to refuse meate at the first taste, to reiect the Orenge, because the pill was sower; to disalow the loue of Publia, because she made chary of her cha­stitie, his new plighted troath was almost wauering, and waying at the first assault his feigned fancy, almost eclipsed through fa­ding folly, insomuch that the hope of his newe luste, had almoste quenched the shew of his newe loue; the freendlye conclusion of Publia, had well nigh raced out his fayth to Mamillia; the desire of his fond affectiō so blinded his vnderstanding, ye he passed not to peruert both humane & diuine lawes: for the accōplishmēt therof: no rules of reason, no feare of lawes, no prickes of conscience, no respect of honesty, no regard of God or man, could prohibit him frō his pestiferous purpose: for if lawes had bin of force, he knew his deede was contrary to al lawes, in violating his sacred oath: if conscience, he knew it terrible: if honesty, he knew wit most wicked: if God or man, he knew it abhominable in the sight of both.

[Page] But too true it is, ye the force of loue, nay rather ye fury of lust, doth neither care for kith nor kin, friend nor foe, God nor the diuell, as this faithlesse Pharicles wil proue: who hauing shrined his heart by solemn promises in the bulwark of Mamillias bountye, yeel­ded with a fresh Alarm, giuen by the remēbrance of Publias bew­tie, shewing yt the cat wil to kinde: that the woolfe wil be a deuou­rer: the fox wily, & men deceitful: for nature must haue his course, their loue is neuer guided by reason, but by rage: nor their fancy by faith, but by fury: they burn in outward shape as hot as Aetna, where their meere substance is as cold as Caucasus: their promi­ses are loyal, but the performance lasciuious: they import feruent affection, but it proueth fleshly fancy: they are so giuē vnto guiles, framed to forswearing, prone vnto periury, wedded vnto wicked­nes, & bowed vnto vanitie, that to say what I think, the most trusty louer, that they make most account of, if he were throughly sifted, would shrink in the wetting, & proue a leud leachour: so that shee which yeeldeth her self vnder y curteous countenance of an iniu­rious man, is cōmonly so wrapped in the waues of wiles, y she is drowned at ye length in the deapth of deceit, & hardly escaped with the losse of his libertie, vnlesse they smell them betimes: which is hard to doe: for in their wooing, they counterfeit simplicitie, and in their wedding they shewe their subtiltie, while they are sutors, they are saints: but being sold, they are serpents: they wil beare a painted sheath, with a rusty blade: a faire blossom, but rotten fruit: & Doues they wil needes be, when indeede they be diuels. But a­gaine to our Gentleman, whose careful minde was so tossed with the tempests of contrary cogitations, that as the vessell born with the tyde against the wind feeleth dubble force, and is compelled to yeelde to winde and waue: so Pharicles driuen by the force of lust, against the lawes of loue, felt dubble dolour, and was so di­uersly tormented, that he fel into these tearmes.

Of al euil, which either God or nature hath layed vpon man, there is noone so great, but either reason may redres, pleasure as­swage, or mirth mittigate, hearbes heale, or by some meanes or o­ther be cured: Loue only excepted, whose furious force is so ful of rancor, that phisick can in no respect preuaile to helpe the patient, deseruing not ye name of a disease, but of an incurable mischiefe: [Page 34] yet importing such a shew of goodnes, that it so inflameth our de­sire to purchase it, yt we wil not care to buy it at an vnreasonable rate: Which loue hath takē such deep roote in me, as neither reasō can rule, nor wisdom wield: it is so ranckled with rage, & infected with frātick folly, frantick I may wel term it, sith it is so light, as it seemeth to come without liking: so momētary, as it sheweth no modesty: so vnconstant, yt it hath no one iot of continuance: so di­uers, as it may well be called diuelish, more brittle then a broken glas: more wauering thē ye wethercock: more variable in thought then ye Camelion in hue: more changable in deede thē the nightin­gale in voyce: now liking, now lothing: now fire [...] now frost: colde before I am hot: & hot at the first dash. O fickle loue, fraught with frailty. O traiterous hart ful of trechery. O cursed conscience, al­together careles. O miserable wretch wrapped in wickednes: shal I requit ye liberal loue of Mamillia with such disloyalty, re­turning as ye dog to my vomit in liking Publia? shal I deceiue ye opiniō, that both she & her father conceaued in me, with such dete­stable vill any? shal I return ye trust they put in me, with such trea­sō: shal I defile my fayth towards her with such forged falshood? shal I [...] so new fangle to leaue ye one so lewdly, & loue the other so lightly it is a cōmon saying, that chang is seldom made for the better, & he is a foole, they say, that will bily ye pig in the poke: or wed a wife without trial: or setle loue without time. What a mad­nes were it then, to make such an il market, to chop & chang, and liue by ye losse: to refuse Mamillia without reason, & chuse Publia without trial: to reiect assurance for incertainty: to fish for hope, where I may satisfie my self with trust: to venture vpon one, of whom I haue had no proof (but if there be so much) a litle trifling loue? Wel, those whelps are euer blind, that dogs beget in hast: ye seed too timely sown hath euer smal increase: he that leaps before he looke, may hap to light in ye ditch: he that settles his affection in such speed, as he makes his choyce without discretiō: for his hasty choosing, may perchāce get a heauy bargain. Tush, he that seekes to restrain loue, kicks againe the prick: he stops ye stream. & beates the fire downward, he wil make necessity to haue a law, & cause Bālams Asse to speak: for loue is aboue king or keisar, Lorde or lawes, yea euen aboue ye Gods thēselues: if it be then so stronge; [Page] why is it not then more stedfast? if it be so forcible, why is it not fixed? perhaps so it is in al sauing me: I am y od person, I am that one particular, on whom Cupid wil shew his craft, & decipher his nature: in whom al the contrarieties of loue wil work their con­trary passions, on whom Venus will vaunt for her vaine bassall, as one ready to strike at euery stale, to come at euery cal, to light on euery lure, yea, and almost scase on the emptie fiste, neyther regarding the ware, nor the price: but leauing the force for the first assaulte of fancye. Oh Gods, how foolishly doe I fable? how my talke enforced by rage, is altogether without reason? can I striue agaynst that which is styrred by the Starres? can I per­uert that which is placed by the Planettes? can I driue out that, which is decreed by the destinies [...]or shewe force in that, which is fixed by the fates? No, no, Pharicles, assure thy selfe, this thy chaunge is by the charge of the Gods, and thy newe lyking to some greater ende: perhappes they will preuent by the meanes of Publia some greate inconuenience, which should light vpon thee in matching with Mamillia. Aeneas, had he not setled his minde vpon Dido? yea, and celebrated the rites of matrimonys was bee not warned by the Gods in a dreame, to falsefie his fayth [...] & lay his loue vpon Lauinia? who did more for Iason thē Medea? yet hee was driuen by the destinies to forsake her, and fixe his fancy vpon Creusa to whome he was constant to the ende. [...] Theseus, by the admonition of Bacchus, left Ariadne, and was forced by the fates to fancy Phechia, with whome hee remayned as loyall, as light vnto the other: so perhaps I am forced by na­ture and destinie to loth Mamillia, and like Publia: and if it bee so, all is well: for Aristotle saieth, that nature nor fate neuer framed any thing amisse: and though I offend in lyking the one lightly, yet I wil make amends in louing the other more firmly: if the world shal wonder at my faining to the one, they shal meruail as much at my fayth to the other: if abmen talk of my trechery to Mamillia, they shal speak as much of my troath to Publia. Now haue I surely setled my self, neuer frō henceforth to lend a louing looke to Mamillia. Publia shalbe the planet, wherby to direct my doings: she shalbe the star, shal guid my compas: she shal be the ha­uen, to harbor in: the saint at whose shrine I meane to offer my de­uotion.

[Page 35] I wil now put al fear aside: for a faint hart was neuer fauoured of fortune: the coward that feareth ye crack of the canon, will neuer proue a couragious captaine, nor vaunt himself of victory: the da­stard that dreadeth the noyse of the drum, will neuer come in the skirmish, nor were y flag of triumph: the louer that heareth such a calm conscience, as for fear of his credit, dare not match vnder the dissēbling stādard of Cupids camp, shal neuer be proclaimed heire apparāt to Venus kingdō. Therfore sith I haue setled & decreed, I will make no delay, for feare the grasse be cut from vnder my feet: but either by words or writing sēd an answer to my new mi­stres: and with that he tooke his pen, and sent her this Letter.

Pharicles to Publia.

THe phisitiō, mistres Publia, yt letteth the sicke patient blood for the Plurysie, when tracte of tyme hath made the disease incurable, defendeth the walles when the Citty is ouerrunne: salues seldome helpe an ouerlonge suffered sore: it is too late to bring the ruine of battery, whē the wals are already broken: that shower cōmeth out of time, when the corne is rype: & too late it is to dist [...]ge loue out of ones breast, whē it hath before infected euery part of the body. The surgion, when the festring Fistuloe hath by long continuance made the sound flesh rotten, can neither with le­ [...]iue plaistets, nor cutting corasiues be cured: so loue craueth but only time to bring the body & mind to bondage. So your seemely self seeing me fettred in y chain of fancy, & fast boūd in the bāds of your bewty, haue sent me pils of hard disgestiō, to asswage ye force of my loue, & mitigate the firmnes of my fancy: but as the byting of a viper ranckleth & rageth, til he hath brought the body bittē to bain, so the sight of your cōely persō hath so pearced euery vain wt the sting of loue, yt neither the sowernes of the sauce, nor sharpnes of the salue, can in any wise preuaile: onely the milde medicine of your mercy may salue the sore, & cut away the cause of my careful disease. Sith therfore mistres Publia, it is in your power either to exalt me to ye highest degree of happines, or driue me down to the deepest bottom of bitter bale: to place me in the princely pallace of earthly paradise, or plunge me in the pit of perplexity: way my cause equally in the scales of honesty & equity, & yeeld me but ac­cording vnto iustice, which am a careful client at bewties bar: that is, to giue according to my desert, and the desert of loue, is loue a­gaine. [Page] And although the shortnes of time hath made no trial to pro­cure anye great trust, yet I hope the clearnes of my conscience in that case, & the firmnes of my faith, will in time force the trueth to flame bright, amidst the darkest mists of distrust: & againe the scal­ding sighes & piteous plaints & praiers that I haue powred out to the Gods, that they might chang your hart & settled vow of chart [...]tie, I hope when they shal take effect, that they wil be witnesses of my good wil. For since the receit of your letters, if my words cā ­not be taken for witnesses, yet the praiers, processions, pilgrima­ges, offers & vowes that I haue made vnto the Gods, if they graūt my petition, wil testifie the ioy I conceiued in the curteous clause of your letters, although I was almost foundred for fear, couered with care, & daunted with dread, at the rigorous sight of your first lines. But as I was neuer of that minde, to count him a couragi­ous captain, that at the first shot of the canon would yeeld the ke [...]es of the citie: so was I euer in that opinion, that the more harde the combat were, the more hauty wer the conquest: the more doubtful the fight, the more worthy the victory: ye more paine I should take about the battery, the more pleasure to win the bulwork of your brest: which if I should abtain, I would count it a more rich price, then euer Scipio, or any of the nine worthy won by conquest, And y these words be vritie, & not vanity: troath, & not trifling: I ap­peale to your good grace and fauour, minding to be tried by your curtesie, abiding either the sentence of consent vnto life, or mal [...] vnto death.

Yours euen after death, Pharicles.

PVblia hauing receiued this letter, perceiuing the constāt mind of y young gentleman, by rubbing afresh her half healed sore, with the remēbrance of his person, & wage of his perf [...]nos fra­ming in her mind a mirour of his modesty, & as it were viewing in a glas the feature of his face [...] the comlines of his corps the bew­ty of his body, & al the vertues fo [...] abundantly the flowed vpon him by nature, had such a new alarm giuen her by loue, yt the glowing coles turned to flashing flames: her Heeting fancy, to firme affec­tion: her lingring liking, to loyal loue: as now she felt the furious fight of contrary passions in her tender hart, expressing the heat, which was kindled within her in these s [...]alding [...].

Alas, quoth she, how hath nature ordayned by her prudent pollicy [Page 36] that no creature vnder heauen, but if he hath one commodity im­parted vpon him, he hath an other inconuenience, as wel incident vnto him, & especially mainkind: who for euery moment of mirth, hath annexed a month of misery: for euery proud puff of prosperi­tie, some sower sops of aduersitie: for euery mite of happinesse, a thousand chips of il chance: for euery dram of felicity, a whole she­wre of shrewd fortune: & when the sun of good succes shiueth most cleerely, then comes the cloudes of [...]are, & mists of mischief, when they are most vnlooked for: so y I perceiue it is so cōmon, as true, how amōgst humane thinges, nothing is stable in one state. The lark, when she is most carelesse, & mounteth most highest vnto the sky, with cheerful notes, is then seased on by the hawk: & a womā walking in the wide fields of freedō, & larg leaze of liberty, secure from care, is then soonest caught in ye linckes of loue, & fetters of faney, restrained with a straigh [...] band of bondage, wherin nature & fortune hath also most vnequally prouided: for ye most tēder tree is euer laden wt the most fruit, & the smallest stalk hath euer ye grea­test corn: the weakest wit & youngest yeeres, whō neither experi­ence nor age hath taught any skil, is euer forced to bear the lode sō burdē of loue: wheras ri [...]er yeeres are seldō or neuer trubled: so that the weakest is euer driuen to the wal: & they that worst may hold the cādle, which procureth the greater pain: for as the young colt, at the first breaking snuffles at the snafflle; & thinks ye bit bit­ter; so the yoke of loue seemeth more heauy vnto [...]nee, because I neuer felt, the force of it before. But what need I make this excla­tion against fortune, sith I am not thē first, nōr shal not be the la [...]? whō the frantick frensie of flittering fancy hath with more wrōg, & greater vamage pictiously expressed, yt now I soe & try it by ex­periēce, y there is no fish so fleeting, but wil come to the baite: no [...]oa so wilde, but wil stand at the gaze: no hawk so haggard, but wil stoup at the lure: no Niesse so ramage, but wil be reclaimed to the limes: no fruit so fine, but the caterpiller wil cōsume it: no ad­amant so hard, but wil yeeld to the file: no metal so strong, but wil bend at the stamp: no maid so free, but loue will bring her to bō ­dage & thraldō: & so I cal it bondage, fond foole, to be bound vnto bewty, if I be a slaue, yet shal I be subiect vnto vertue, is it thra [...] ­dōe to liue in league with him, who wil like me in my youth, and loue me in mine age? in whom I shal find nothing, but only plea­sure [Page] & contētation, who wil be the hauē of my happines, wherin I may rest, & the parte of my prosperity, to defend me frō the tēpests of froward fortune, & throwd me frō ye bitter blasts of bale? Shal I repent me, sith my bargain is good, or complain of the losse of liberty, sith I haue made a chang for a more worthy thing? shall I grudge when the gods are agreed, or defer it, sith ye destinies driue it; or frown, sith my fortune frames it? no, Pharicles is my saint, & him wil I serue? he is my ioy, & him will I enioy: he hath laid the siege, & he shal fack ye citie: he hath abod the battery, & he shal haue the bulwark of my breast: he hath fought the combat, & he shall be victor in the cōquest: for I cannot be so vnnaturall to reward his loue with lothing, so wout reasō to defraud him of his right, so di­uelish, for his deepe desire, to giue him a dolful dish of dispair. No, no, I haue setled with my self, ye if euer I marry, Pharicles shalbe the man I wil match with: & therfore, as I haue driuē him with delaies, & fed him wt folly: so now I wil send him a setled answer of my good wil & fauour: as I haue giuē him cutting corasiues, so I wil sēd him cōfects of comfort: as I haue bin fearful to shew my liking for y better trial so now wil I be bold to shew my loue in to­kē: of a sure trust. But Publia, be not too forward, for fear he mis­construe thy meaning, or think sinisterly of thy light consent, least thy proffe [...]ed goodwill proue not halfe worth the wearing. Doth not Pharicles say, himself, that where the conquest is doubtful, the vicory, is most to be counted? yt castle that hath longest battery, is thought the richer booty? are not those pearles which are scarsly found, & hardly gattē ouer of the greatest value? the spice, which y marchant through raging rockes and perrilous seas bringeth home, hath a swee [...]er taste, thē that which is easily gotten, hardly come by, warily kept. The maid that by long suit & much trauaile is obtained, by how much the more she was hard in the getting, by so much the more she wil be sweet in the wearing: she, which in her virginity is chary of her chastity, in her mariage wil be as wary of her honesty: therfore I wil send Pharicles such a potion, as shal be sower in the mouth, & sweet in the maw, sharpe in eating, & plesāt in disgesting. And with that she sent him a letter, to this effect.

Publia to Pharicles.

IT is hard M. Pharicles to purchase credit by the praise of any thing, wt either defect of nature, or want of arte do blemish: & as impossible it is to be beleeued wtout sufficient witnes, wher either [Page 37] son or cause [...]oth make the plea imperfect: for praise in a thing vn­worthy, is a manifest sign of flauery. Who would think he spok in ernest, which extolled the cr [...]w for her colour: the hare, to be harty: y moulde, for her sight: the dolphin, for his straight back: sith lack of such perfection in thē, condēnes thy praiser for a parasit? I, ther­fore knowing in my self no desert to driue you to such deep desire as you profes, am the hardlyer induced to beleeue your words: be­cause ye meanes of my bewty merits no such praise, as you attribut vnto it, it procureth lesse credit to your talk, so that I take thē forwords of course, rather thē for tales of truth, thinking & fearing to find in yt fairest rose, a foule canker: & in finest speech, foulest fal­shood. It is giuē to ye wolf by nature, to be cruel: to the lion, to be fierce: to the fox subtilnes: & as wel it is ingrafted in man, both by nature & eduratiō, to be dissēbling: so yt it is a setled sētēce amōgst thē: be y cānot di [...]ēble, cānot liue: & he that cannot wt a fewe filed words bring a maide into a fooles paradise, cannot loue. These things, & these faigned flatteries of men considered, Pharicles, wt the smal acquaintance I haue with you, mightiustly driue me into the deep den of distrust, & almost sink me in the surging seas of suspition: but yt the secret goodwil we I haue borne you long time, wil neither suffer me to cōceaue such mistrust, nor to conceale any longer ye fire of my fancy, but must of necessity giue place, wher y flam bursteth forth by force. Think therfore Pharicles, yt the sowersauce I sēt you, was to cast your stomack: that the salues of suspect was to search the sores of dissimulatiō: y the taints of distrust was to feel the depth of the wound: that my denial was for the greater trial: that my straitnes in words was no strāgnes in mind, but to try the truth of your goodwil: for if the sower taste of my talk had quatted your stomack, I wold haue thoght it altogether queasy: if the salues of suspect had foūd the sore but a smal blam: if the taints had tried the woūd ful of dead flesh: or if one daūt of denial had ea­sed your courage, & proued you as crauēly a coward, as ye vētrous knight, yt finding the first encoūter cōbersō, giueth ouer the quest: thē might I wel haue thought your loue light, your fancy fickle, your faith fading, as il to be liked, & worse to be blamed, then the hound, which at the first default giueth ouer the chase: but sith you stood to your tackling amidst the deepest waues of denial [...] & neuer shrūk for al the shewres of repulsiō, assure your self, you haue gai­ned one in lieu of your trauel, whose faith & fācy is so fixed vpon


scortched wt the bewty of mamillia before he was enamored with the person of Publia: now lyking, now lothing, as the sick patiēt, whose stomack is but quasie: yet as the wind after often changing remaineth long in one quarter: so Pharicles, in amēds of his flee­ting fancy towards Marmillia, determined to be alwaies constant with Publia. Which determination had such euill successe, as it was the cause of his exile: for after he knew Mamillia heard of his dissēbling, he cōueied himself closly into Sicillia, traueling forthen his iourney, pilgrim like: but wher his intēt was to remain, no mā ­knewe. But as soone as I shal either hear, or learn of his aboa [...], looke for newes by a speedy Post.

Robert Greene.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.