Morando The Tritameron of Loue: Wherein certaine pleasaunt conceites, vttered by diuers woorthy personages, are perfectly dyscoursed, and three doubtfull questyons of Loue, most pithely and pleasauntly discussed: Shewing to the wyse howe to vse Loue, and to the fonde, howe to eschew Lust: and yeelding to all both pleasure and profitt.

By Robert Greene, Maister of Artes in Cambridge.

At London Printed for Edwarde White, and are to be solde at his shoppe, at the little North doore of S. Paules Church, at the signe of the Gunne.

1584.

To the Right Hono­rable, Phillip Earle of Arundell, Robert Greene wisheth increase of honour, with the full fruition of perfect felicity.

THE Emperour Do­mitian (Right Honourable) made him nets to catch flies, least happily he might be found idle. Caligula beeing wearied with weighty affayres, woulde (to passe away the time) gather Cockles. The Persian Kinges semetimes shaued stickes. Virgill chose rather to r [...]ade rude Ennius, then to be founde without a booke in hys hande. Time wisheth rather to be spent in vaine toyes, then in idle thoughts, the one driueth away fantasies, the other breedeth Melancholie. Mercurie vouchsafed once to drinke of Philemons Earthen potte. Apollo gaue Oracles at Delphos, as well to the poore man for his mite, as to the rich man for his treasure. Phillip thought well of the water which a poore shepheard offred to him, in a greasie Bottle: duety bindes the Subiecte to present, and courtesie the Prince to accept, in the one, will is an excuse, in the other, courtesie a bountifull re­warde. Apelles (right Honourable) presented Alexan­der with the counterfaite of Campaspe, the face not fully finished, because he liked the picture: and I offer this pamphlet vnto your Lordship, not well furnished because [Page] you are a louer of learning.

Zewxes paynting Triton, drewe onely his face, the rest he hidde with the tumbling waues of the Sea. And I setting foorth Morandos discourse, shew onely his bare talke, the rest I rudely shaddowe with an imperfect tale. The Persians caused their Apes alwayes to maske in cloth of Golde, to couer theyr deformetie. Timocles caused his Popingay to perke vnder a Dragon of Brasse, that the por­trature might defende her from the Vultures tyranny: and I seeke to shrowde my simple worke, vnder your Ho­nours winges, thinking one dramme of your Lordships fauoure, sufficient to fence me from the venemous teeth of those byting Vypers, who seeke to discredite all, hauing themselues no credite at all. Achilles made it not strange to take a viewe of Phidias clownish woorke, because it was the image of Mars: and I hope your Honour wyll vouchsafe to cast a glaunce on this silie Booke, for that it represents the discourse of diuers woorthy personages, although of it selfe, it is like Zewxes counterfaits, which seemed at a blush to be Grapes, but being throughly viewed, were bare shaddowed coloures. The Phisitions prescribe in theyr dyet, that sometimes bitter Pills, doo asmuch pro­fit the sto [...]acks, as sweete Potions. Augustus sometimes would solace himselfe, as well with Ennius drosse, as with Maros Golde: and it may bee your Honour passing ouer many learned workes, will at the last stumble at this fonde toye, and laugh as Sigismonde did at the Pomegranat, not that he smiled at the fruite, but at the simple mea­ning of the man which presented him with so small a gift [...] Resting vpon this point, I commit your Lordship to the Almightie.

Your Honours humbly to commaund Robert Greene.

To the Gentlemen Readers Health.

DEmosthenes Gentle ­men) alwaies sought to win the goodwill of the Senate, by vnfolding the equitie of the caze, and I seeke to ob­taine your fauour by appea­ling to your courtesie, hope­ing to finde you as readie to graunt me the one, as the Senate to graunt him the other. Protagenes founde the more fauour in setting foorth his simple Pictures, in that he did what hee coulde, and I hope to finde the more freendshipp at your handes for this imperfect worke, in that I doo what I can. Yet I knowe I shall be compared of some to Damides Parrat, which prated nothing but that she hearde her maister speake. Well though some bee Sauage, all are not Satyres, though diuers be sturdie, all are not Stoickes. Let flearing Sycophants carpe at my want, yet I doubt not but courteous Gentlemen will account of will, and as it is follie to reiect the fa­uoure of the one, so it is fondnes to respecte the freendshippe of the other. But to them that shall pardon my offence, and spare to spite at my fault. I wish them such prosperous happe, as they can de­sire, or I imagine: to the rest, I will to them as they wish to me, and yet I bidd them both farewell.

Robert Greene.

The Tritameron of Loue.

THere dwelled in Bononia a cer­taine Knight called Signior Bon­fadio, whose Prowesse in Marti­all exploites, did not onely winne him wealth to maintaine his wor­shippe, but also honor to counte­nance, and counteruaile his sub­staunce: and immortall glorie as the onely guerdon due for suche a doubtie Champion. So that he was generally honored of al for his valerous magnanimitie, & particularly loued of eche one for his bountifull curtesie, being no lesse liberall to the poore to defende them from want, then couragious for his countrie to maintaine them in weale. This Bonfadio shrou­ded thus vnder Fortune, and shrined vp by Fame, tried at last by proofe, which long before he had heard by reporte, that the stiffest Mettall yeldeth to the stampe, the strongest Oke to the Carpenters axe, the hard Steele to the file, and the stoutest harte doth bowe, when Nature bids him bende, that there is no Adamant, suche whiche the bloud of a Boate can not make soft, no Tree so sounde whiche the Scarabb flye will not pearce, no Iron so hard whiche rust will not fr [...]t, no mortall thing so sure whiche time will not consume, nor no man so valiaunt whiche commeth not without excuse when Death doth call. The Phenix hath blacke pennes as well as glistring feathers, the purest Wine hath his Lecs, the luckliest yeare hath his canicular daies. Uenus had a Mole [Page] in her face, and Adonis a skarre vppon his chin, there was sometime Thunder heard in the Temple of Peace, and For­tune is neuer so fauourable but she is as fickle: her prosperi­tie is euer sawsed with the sower soppes of aduersitie, being const [...]nt in nothing but in inconstancie. Scipio escaped many forraine broyles, but returning home in triumph was slaine with a tyle. Caesar conquered the whole world, yet cowardly slaine in the Senate. So Bonfadio hauing by his Prowesse long preuailed against his foes, was at last most vnluckelie slaine by his supposed friendes. For as in an euening he pas­sed through a blinde lane of the Citie, he was sodainly shot through with a Pistoll: which murther was so secretly com­mitted, that the perfourmer of so deuillish a fact could neuer bee detected. But the reporte of this ruthlesse Tragedie be­ing come to the eares of Ladie Panthia (for so was his wife called) she forthwith fell into suche perplexed passions, and was so surprised with sodaine sorrowe, that before the tale could be halfe tolde she fell downe in a traunce, being hardly brought againe to life by the cōpanie. Yet at last being come to her self, after she had wept so long that the very fountaine of her teares was dried vp with continuall powring out of sorrowfull plaintes, she then (womanlike) began somewhat to listen to the comfortable counsaile of her friendes, and to applie to her sore that salue that might soonest mittigate her maladie. For through their friendly perswasions very short­ly she began to consider, that as to wishe for an impossible thing was but a signe of small wit: so to sorrow without cea­sing for that whiche could not bee redressed did importe but mere follie: the one being a foe to desire, and y other a friend to death. She therfore resting vpon this point, thought with most solemne Obsequies to celebrate her husbandes Fune­ralls, that both the sequell of her workes might confirme her former wordes, and her teares be [...] [...]ought to come more of care then of custome. Wherevppon she framed a very sump­tuous Sepulchre, intombing her husbands bones with such pompous magnificence, that al Italie thought Bonfadio hap­pie [Page] for so good a wife, and her worthie of so good a husband. The Funeralls finished, Panthia for a time liued more sor­rowfullie being a widowe then merely being a wife, till at last seeing her mourning Weede began to waxe bare, she thought best both to cast awaie her outwarde coate and her inward care, wisely waighing with her self that it is in vaine to water the Plant when the roote is dead, to aske counsell when the case is distrust, to wishe for raine when the Corne is ripe, and to sigh when no sorrowe can preuaile. The Ce­dar tree remaineth without leaues but twelue daies, and the Date tree but seuen. Cyrces loue neuer continued aboue one yeare, and the Tapers in the Temple of Ianus burned onely but nine nightes, the call of a Quaile continueth but one quarter, and a widowes sorrowe onely two monethes: in the one sad for her olde mate, and in the other carefull for a newe match.

Panthia in this state hauing past this tearme (I doe not saie with like affection) thought now she had a greater care and more charge being a widowe then a wife. For she had by Signior Bonfadio three daughters, the eldest named Lacena, the seconde Sostrata, and the yongest Fioretta, all so adorned with beautie and indowed with bountie, so framed in bodie and fourmed in minde, eche of them being both in outwarde complexion and inwarde constitution so singular, as hard it was to iudge which held the Supremacie. Panthia placing all her felicitie in the exquisite perfection of her three daugh­ters, sought to bring them vp so charily and chastly, that all men might like them for their beautie and loue them for their vertue, imitating the good Lapidaries, whiche in the purest golde set the most precious stone. While thus solitarily and sadly she past awaie the time amongst her children, Signior Morando a Knight, who in his life time had oft serued in the warres with Bonfadio, betweene whom there had long been a perfect League of amitie, willing to shewe in the broode h [...] well he loued the olde birde, was so friendly to Panthia as familiar with Bonfadio, comforting her as a desolate wi­dowe, [Page] and counselling her as his friendes wife, driuen to the one by conscience, and to the other by curtesie. Seing there­fore she did wholie absent her self from companie, whiche made her dreame on sondrie melancholie motions, he did in­uite her and her three Daughters to a graunge house of his seuen miles distant frō Bononia, whether also diuers gentle­men were bidden, thinking this the fittest meanes to driue her from her sorrowfull dumpes. Panthia desirous to let Si­gnior Morando vnderstande how greatly she did account of his curtesie, came at the daie appointed to his house, where bothe she and her Daughters were not onely well welcome to Morando, but to all the rest of the companie. Amongst whom was Signior Peratio, Messier Aretyno, and Signior don Syluestro, with others, who sitting downe to dinner and passing awaie the time with pleasaunt parle, it chaunced af­ter dinner as they sat talking that Signior Peratio spied han­ging in the Parlera Table most curiously painted: wherein both the Sea and Land was most perfectly pourtraied. The Picture was of Europa, the Sea of the Phenicians and the Lande of Sydon: On the Shoare was a beautifull Medowe, wherein stoode a troupe of daintie Damosells: in the Sea a Bull, vppon whose backe sat a Dame of surpassing beautie sailing towards Candie, but looking to the crew of her com­panions from whom by Sinister meanes she was seperated. The Painter by secrete skill had perfectly with his Pensell desciphered the feature of their faces, as their countenance did seeme to importe bothe feare and hope. For seing their pereles Princesse a praie to suche a prowling Pyrate, they rusht into the Seas (as willing to be partakers of their Mi­stres miserie) as farre as feare of such fearfull surges would permit them, but pushed back with the dread of present daun­ger, they stoode vewing how cunningly and caresully the Bull transported his charge: How Europa araied in Purple Roabes sat securely and safely holding in her right hand his horne and in her left his taile. About him the Dolphins see­med to leape, the Syrens to sing, and Triton himself to tri­umph. [Page] Cupid also in the fourme of a little boy was there most curiously painted, hauing his winges spred, a Quiuer by his side, in one hande a flame of fire, in the other a chain [...] of gold, where with he drewe the Bull as by constraint, and turning his head towards Iupiter seemed to smile at his follie and to despise his dietie, that by his meanes he had made suche a straunge Metamorphosis.

Signior Peratio hauing long gazed on this gorgcous Pic­ture, both praised his perfect skill that had so cūningly made a counterfait of Nature by Arte, and also mused at the force of Loue that had by conquest caught so worthie a Captiue, that at length as one forced by affection he sighing saied: O Gods that a childe should rule both the Heauen the Sea and the Lande.

Don Siluestro seing Peratio so sodainly passionate with the view of a simple Picture, taking occasion herevppon to enter into further parle began to crosse him on this maner.

Why how now Peratio (quoth he) doe you sigh to see Iu­piter so fonde as for lust to abase his dietie, or Cupid so pre­sumptuous as by Loue to increase his dignitie: the one she­wing himself worse then a man for his follie, the other more then a God for his power.

No sir (quoth Morando) you mistake his meaning, for it fares with him as with Narcissus, that was neuer in Loue but when he lookt into the water, or like the Fishe Mugra which onely leapeth at the sight of the North starre: Hypar­chion neuer sawe any Musicall Instrument but he would sing, nor he any a [...]rous Picture but he must sigh, the one shewing thereby his affection to Musicke, the other bewray­ing his passions in Loue.

In deede sir (quoth Peratio) I remember Sylenus would alwaies leade his Asse in a string, that when he waxt wearie he might ride, and Amphion plaied euer best on his Harpe when he heard poore Stheneus blowe on his Oten pipe: So sir you keepe me for a plaine song: wherevpon to descant she­wing your fine wit alwaies to be most sharp when you finde [Page] my dull head to be most grosse. But Calchas neuer prophe­sied Darth to the Grecians but when his owne Lands were barraine: Nor Tiresias had neuer giuen a verdite against Iu­no, but that he himself had been once a woman. Thrasos age could not bereaue him of his parasiticall affections: neither was Battus a lesse vlabb being olde then in his youth: The whiter the Leekes head is the greener is the blade. The An­gelica beareth seede alwaies when it begins to wither: Drie stickes are sonest consumed with fire, and doating age sonest caught with fancie, deuining that of others whereof they themselues doe most dreame: but they followe the olde Pro­uerbe, Similes habent labra lactucas.

By my faith Signior Morando, quoth Madame Panthia, if you haue pusht Peratio with the pike hath hit you with the Iaunce: but it semes he hath bene burnt in the hand, that can­not abide to here of fire. Apollo would neuer willyngly a­vide the noise of the Crowe, because he had beleued her to lightlie. Sylenus was euer most angrie when any tould him of good wine, because he would oft bee drunke. Peratio li­kes not to be toucht where he is gald, nor to be accused so stricktlie, when his conscience feeles the crime: and yet I goe too farre, for it is no off [...]nce to loue.

Yes Madame, quoth Aretyno, as Jupiter loued Europa crauyng onely to cropp the bud of her beautie, and to spoile the frute of her honstie, seekyng for the gaine of his fadynge pleasure, to procure her lastyng paine: Is not suche fancie a faulte, when it springeth vp without honest affection?

Truth sir, quoth Panthia, but I coumpt likyng without Lawe, [...]o loue but lust. Was Scipio thought a frende to Nu­mantia, when he sought to spoile the Citie [...] or Chronis to Cae­res, who robed her Temple of her treasure? The Turky ha­uing lost his culler is of no value. The fairest flower with out his smell is coumpted but a weede: and the maid that by mischaunce loos [...]th her virginitie, though neuer so faier is most infortunate, her chefest treasure is thē but trash like the Ore in the Ile Choos, which is puer in the mynge, but drosse [Page] in the furnace, for beautie without honestie is like deadlie poyson preserued in a box of gould. Consideryng this Arc­tyno, doe you coumpt him to loue, that wisheth his Ladie suche losse.

Madame, quoth Morando, you misconsture of his minde, for Aretyno coumptes, that what soeuer is fancie, that is loue.

Tis good then (quoth she) to bringe him from his heresie, for fancie is Vox aequiuoca, which either may be taken for ho­nest loue, or fonde affection, for fancie oftimes commeth of wealth or beautie, but perfect loue euer springeth from ver­tue and honestie.

Marie, quoth Peratio, that is the cause that wemen loue so muche and men so little, wherein by your owne iudgement thei are altogither blamlesse, for wemen finde in vs honestie without wealth, and we in thē beautie without vertue. Sir, quoth she, your censure is no sentence, neither can this bro­ken coine stande for sterlyng: for to excuse your selfe before you be accused, is to finde a fowle crack in a false conscieuce. Tis hard to couer a greate rent with a small peece, or to hide Uulcans poult foote with pulling on a straight shoe. Honesty is alwaies painted like a woman, as signif [...]yng that it is most predamynaunt in that sexe. And sir to giue you a venie with your owne weapō, as you saied bef [...]e, like lippes, like lettice, as the man is, so is his manners, cat alwaies goeth after kynde, and tis harde to finde men without small houe­stie, and great deceite.

Doe you speake by experience, quoth Morando, was your husband in the number of those that are cumbred with this consumption.

He was, quoth she, by nature, but that he did amend it by nourture, and yet, quoth she, my husbandes honestie cannot conclude generally, but that there must be large exceptions.

I am glad Madame Panthia, that you are so pleasaunt, and al the rest of my good guestes so merilie disposed, I hope you will not denie me of a request, that generally I shall [Page] craue of you all.

If it bee reasonable, quoth Panthia, I dare promise for the gentlewemen.

And I, quoth Syluestro for the men.

Why then I will haue you tell me your opinions, whe­ther this our countrey prouerbe be true or no, whiche is com­monly spoken Amor fa molto ma argento fa tutto. Loue doth much but money doth all.

In men quoth Panthia, and that we will proue.

In wemen, quoth Peratio, and that I will defend.

Two fitte champions, quoth Morando, to trie suche a doubtfull combate.

Nay sir, quoth Panthia, I my self refuse his proffer but my daughter Lacena shall perfourme my challenge, for it is not a mourners parte to discourse of such pleasant pointes.

A fitte matche, quoth Peratio for so honest a man, and to put you out of doubt I had rather sip with your daughter then sup with you: for an inche of a kidd is woorth an ell of of a cat, but to leaue these cuttyng blowes: how say you La­cena, are you content to defende so false an heresie.

Sir, quoth she, where dutie driues, there denyall is a fault, and where nature infereth, obedience there to resist is to war against the Gods: the youg Lambe commeth at the bleating of y old sheepe: the Signett at y call of the Swan: the Faune followeth fast after y Do: creatures without rea­son, and brute beastes by mere instinckt of Nature followe their dams, and should not I then obey my parentes: yes no doubt, or els I might be counted more brute then a beast, or lesse naturall then a reasonable creature. This considered, if I aduentere rashely to discusse so harde a case beyng vnfit by nature and arte, the duetie I hope that I owe vnto her, who hath power to commānd me, shall be sufficient to excuse my small skill and great interprise, and the common saiyng so [...]uerally vs [...]d here in our countrey doeth somwhat incorage me. A [...]ure truth, quoth thei, neede no subtill gloze: nor a cleare case a shifting Counseller. Well (quoth Peratio) I [Page] doubt your fained simplisitie, will proue a non to bee sine­wishe Sophestrie, and therefore thus to the purpose. The case (quoth he) which we haue to discusse, is a maxime houl­den as true as a holie Oracle: but the doubt is, whether it is to be auerred in men, or verefied in wemen: If the perfec­tion of the bodie, and the constitution of the mynde, forceth men to loue, more then the greedie desire to gaine, then we haue wonne the feilde, and you lost the combate: and if we­men loue more for beautie and vertue, then for wealthe and riches, wee haue taken the foile, and you wonne the con­quest. But it was harde for Achelous with his shiftes to pre­uaile againste Hercules because of his strength, and it will be as harde for you to resist my reasons because thei be true. Who so readeth the Romishe Recordes, and Grecian Histo­ries, and turneth ouer the volumes filled with the reporte of passionate louers, shall finde soundrie Sonnets, sawsed with sorrowfull passions, diuers Ditties declaryng their dumps, carefull complaintes, wofull wailinges, and a thousande sundrie haplesse motions, wherin the poore perplexed louers doe painte out, how the beautie of their mistres, hath ama­zed their mindes, how their fancie is fettered with their ex­quisite perfection: how they are snared with the fourme of her Feature: how the giftes of Nature so bountifully besto­wed vppon her, hath intangled their mindes, and bewitched their sences, that her excellent vertue, and singular bountie, hath so charmed their affections, and her rare qualities hath so drowned them in desire, as thei esteeme her courtesie more then Cesars Kingdomes, her loue more then Lordshippes, and her good will more then all worldly wealth. Tushe all Treasure is but trash, in respect of her person. Yea, they pre­fer the inioying of her perfection, before all the riches of for­tunate Craesus. Thus the poore passionate louers whose life hangeth on their Mistres loue, craue onely to feede their fancies with her beautie, and to please their mindes with her vertue. But let the most iniurious Dame, who hath best skill to breath out slaundrous speeches against men, say (if [Page] she can) that she hath euer heard, or red, of any louer that hath desiphered in his ditties, the earnest desire he had to entoye his Mistres, or painted out his passions, that he suffered to gaine his Ladies possessions: now it is a fault committed of most, and omitted of fewe, that men in their loue looke be­fore they leepe, and therefore oftimes fall in the ditche, neuer gaping after the desire of greedie gaine, nor building their fancie vppon the fading goodes of Fortune: so that oft they win such a wife as he maie put her Dowrie in his eye for hur­ting his sight, and her wealth maie be cast without any great count: whereby it is euident, that if a man once fixe his fan­cie vpon any Dame, no want of wealth, no lacke of liuing can impaire his loue, but he remaineth faithfull in despight of Fortune, wearing this Posie in his Shield, Non aurum sed amor.

In treth (quoth Siluestro) if I had a case in the law thou shouldest be my Counsellor, for I doubt thou bast put in such a Plea, as it will be hard for Lacena to a [...]swere.

Tushe sir (quoth she) though the Castle be sharply assaul­ted it is not straight wonne, and the fielde is not lost at the first Alarum. Aiax valor was no whit the lesse for Vlisses v [...]ine babling, and though by his wordes he wonne the prize, yet all men knew it was more by prating then by Prowesse: so if you foile me by your subtill fallations, euery one shall perceiue that it is not because I defende the wrong, but be­cause I cannot wrangle. Boetius in his Bookes De consola­tione, noting the sondrie affections which force the minde, ei­ther to mislike greatly or to loue feruently: saith, that in ma­king a choyce of their loue women do most erre, in that they suffer their mindes sonest to be subdued by the giftes of Na­ture: wherein although I confesse they offend by fixing their fancies on suche a fickle subiect: yet it is euident, that they more respect the person then his purse, and rather like his perfection then his landes and liuinges. For if wemen in their choyce were more wedded vnto wealth then to wit, and respected more their Louers Possessions then his person, no [Page] doubt an infinite number of Damosells [...]hculd lead their li­ues in more plentie and lesse penurie. But as the softest waxe sonest receiueth impression: as the tender twigge is most ea­sie to bend, and the finest glasse most brittle: so the pure com­plexion of wemen is most subiect vnto Loue, being quickly inflamed by the force of affection but neuer quenched: like to the Abeston stone which once set on fire can neuer be put out. For when as Cupid a [...]th to allure the minde of a se [...]e maide to offer Incense at his Altar & so become his subiect, he seeketh not to drawe her with worldly trashe or treasure, nor to perswade her with the gift of Jemmes or Jewelles, but couereth his hooke with y sugred baite of beautie, wher­with she being once blinded he carieth her awaie into perpe­tuall captiuitie. The affection of wemen is alwaies f [...]ttered either with outward beautie or inwarde bountie, either buil­ded on the perfect complexion of the bodie or pure consti­tution of the minde: they alwaies waie his worthinesse and not his wealth, his comelinesse and not his coyne: and rather seeke to settle their mindes vppon his vertue then on suche fading pelfe as is not permament. For after that they haue imprinted in their mindes the fourme of their Louers fea­ture, and that beautie hath so bewitched their sences as they are wholy at her becke, then they carefully poore soules con­slder the condition of their Louers: and as they haue vewed their outward substaunce, so thei deuine of their inward qua­lities. If he bee valiaunt they loue to heare of his Martiall exploites: his Prowesse pleaseth thē: his manly deedes drou­neth them in delight: yea, they are so besotted in this fonde imagination, that they thinke no man so able to attchiue any enterprise as he, vaunting of his victories, as if she her self bad wonne the conquest: If he bee wise his wit setteth them more on fire: If Eloquent, his sugred speeche inchaunteth them: If learned, his secrete skill draweth them into an end­lesse Laberinth: so that they wholie feede their fancies with his beautie, or delight their mindes with his qualities, neu [...]r resepecting his riches nor weighing his wealth: wher [...]by of­times [Page] when pouertie pincheth them they crie Peccaui. But Signior Peratio, to come more nerer to the purpose, tell me but what you would thinke of her that would carefully co­uett that whiche she cannot at her owne will enioye, or seeke greedily to gaine that thing whiche an other properly shall possesse, were it not to seeme either fonde or franticke: In the same case should wemen consist if they liked more for liuing then for loue. For after they bee once maried is not her hous­bandes wealth his owne to dispose? Maie he not either wise­ly keepe it or wilfully consume it, either spare or spend at his owne pleasure? Yes no doubt, her Dowrie is then growne to be his due, & her Patrimonie wholy his proper possessiōs: so that it maie consequently bee concluded, that wemen are not so wi [...]lesse as to wishe for that which if they get yet their gaine shall be nothing, but they obserue this rule as a princi­ple, Omnia vincit amor, & nor caedamus amori.

How now (quoth Panthia) hath not my Daughter saied pretely well to the purpose? Did she not as well play the de­fendant as he the plaintife?

In deede (quoth Peratio) she hath done pretely but not pithelie. For to conclude vpon supposes is but slender So­phistrie, and to calculate vpon coniectures is but bad Astro­logie. For though Boetius doth finde womē faultie for firing their fancies on the outwarde shape of beautie, yet he de­nieth not but that wealth may be the finall cause which kind­leth their fonde desire, as he doeth blame them for gazing to muche on the giftes of Nature: so he doeth not excuse them from gaping to greedelie after the gifts of Fortune: so that to vse this reason in this case, is to pull on Hercules hose on a ch [...]ldes foote. What the naturall cause is of wemens vn­naturall couetousnesse I knowe not, sith I am not skilfull in suche secrete Philosophie, but this I am sure that they are so deepely addicted to this drosse, and so greedelie giuen to the gaine of golde, that there is no loue suche whiche coyne cannot chaunge, no affection suche whiche fading pelfe can not infringe: nay, almost no chastitie so charie whiche desire [Page] of wealth cannot wracke: whiche Uirgill wisely weighing said: Auri sacra fames quid non Muliebria pectora cogis. And to proue these my premisses by a manifest instance. How was Danae the Daughter of Acrysius sought and sued to by di­uers and sondrie suters, whose parentage & progenie, whose beautie and boūtie, whose singuler feature and famous qua­lities deserued to be mates to ye brauest Dames of the world: and yet because their comelinesse was without coyne, their worship without wealth, and their singuler perfection with­out sumptuous possessions, although she had sufficiēt wealth of a poore Pesaunt to make a mightie Prince, yet she was so greedie after the desire of gaine, that she esteemed more fa­ding pelfe then all the beautie and vertue in the worlde [...] yea, suche was her couetous minde, that although Iupiter himself sought to sacke the Castle of her chastitie, and to croppe the bud of her beautie, yet she despised his dietie, vntil to optaine his desire he was faine to fall into her lappe in the shape of a shower of golde. Procris whose feruent affection was suche towarde Cephalus, as her parentes were constrained vnwil­lingly to marrie her as they thought to an vnfit matche, be­cause her senses were so besotted with y beautie of this Ce­phalus, and his worth [...]e qualities had so bewitched her minde that he was the onely Sainct whom in harte she desired to serue. After that they long had led a happie life, Cephalus in­tending to make a triall of his wiues constancie, absenting himself for a while, and comming in disguised apparel made sute vnto her, that in her husbandes absence he might haue the fruition of her persone: but suche was her settled faithe and affection, that neither sighes, sorow, sobbes, complaints, prayers, promises, nor protestations could preuaile, vntill he gaue the last assault with the proffer of many precious Ie­welles: whereat she was forced to giue ouer the Forte, and so Courtizanlike make a saile of her cōstancie. What should I speake of that golden girle Eriphile, who being the Mi­stresse of many riche Possessions, was notwithstanding so a­dicted to the desire of pelfe, that she reiected poore passionate [Page] Infortunio, and chose that doting olde Peasant Amphiarus, whom after she betraied to the Greekes for an ouch of gold. Beautie nor vertue could not win the loue of Tarpeia, but for a Bracelet she betraied the Capitoll. Tushe, whom beau­tie cannot bende riches will breake: whom vertue cannot op­taine wealth will winne: For it is not the man that wemen respect but money: not his person but his purse: not his Li­nage but his liuing: That as the Serpentes Hydaspes, the more they drinke the more they thirst, and so are neuer satis­fied: so wemen, the more coyne they haue the more they co­ [...]et without satietie. So that I conclude, were I as mightie as Alexander, as beautifull as Paris, as valiaunt as Hector, as wise as Ulisses, as trustie as Troylus, yet I shall see the sentence of Ouid stande for an Oracle: Si nihil attuleris ibis Homere for as.

Morando and the rest of the Gentlemen hearyng howe runnyngly Peratio did prattle, laughed to see how stoutly he stucke to his tackling, saying that they thought his reasons were so forcible, as they could not be infringed, and that it were best for Lacena, to giue ouer the fight in the plaine feelde. Whiche drie frumpe driue her into suche a fuming choler, that she made Peratio this sharpe replie.

Sir (quoth she) it were harde for Vulcan to call any man Cripple, because he himself had a poult foote, and Venus should be thought impudent to condempe any of lightnesse, sith she her self was so leude: and as vnsite for you to con­demne me of folli [...], sith your owne reasons are so fonde, for as you saie it is bad Astrologie to calculate vpon coniecture, so I saie it is worse Philosophie to proue a generall Axiome by a particuler instaunce, whereas you auerre that wemen are naturally couetous, and know not the cause, your affec­tion semeth to proceede rather of rancor then of reason, and of wilfull spight, more then of due proofe, for wantyng a sure author to vpholde your heresie, you are faine your self to bryng in the verdict, but in this Ipse dixit shall stande for no paye, neither shall your censure be set doune for a sentence, [Page] we will not alowe you to be a coynor of conclusions, vnlesse your premisses had been of more puissaunce. But I remem­ber very well that Horace notyng the fonde affections of men, and wisely describyng the greedie desire they haue to gaine: did cunningly carpe at their couetousnesse, saiyng: Quaeranda pecunia primū post nūmos virtus meanyng that in all their actions, they first seeke to pray vpon pelfe, counting suche fadyng trashe, their onely treasure: preferyng wealth before wisedome, and riches before vertue, gaping gredilie after gold, as the onely guerdon they desire for their deserts, yea, in their loue they alwaies ayme more at the money, then at the maide, and coumpt her dowrie the best sainct that de­serueth their depest deuotion, although they can connyngly conterfete, that they are drowned in the desire of her person, when in harte they meane her purse, playing like the Elo­phant that rather chooseth to leane against the strong Oke then against thsweete Briar, or like the Tiger that chozeth his praie, not by the fairenes of the skin, but by the fatnesse of the flesh, wheras poore gentlewemen either onely respect the out warde propertie or his inwarde perfection, either the comlinesse of his person, or the curtisie of his mind, detesting that filthie dr [...]sse, as a thyng not so gredilie to be desired. For was it the wealth of Eneas that Dido so muche doted on, or his worthienesse, who came to Carthage as a poore strag­ling Straunger, beyng readie to take of all and being able to giue to no [...]e? Was it the pelfe of Demophon or his person that Phillis so depely desired? was it the riches of Paris that AEnone wished, or his beautie when she knewe him for no other but a poore Shepheard? Was it the wealth of Vlisses, or his wisdome that Circes sought after, when she sawe him to be but a wanoring Pirate? Did not Campaspe prefer pore Appelles before mightie Alexander, and that louelie Lady Euphinia choose Acharisto her Fathers bondman. Tushe who seeth not if he be not either sencelesse, or sotted with self­will, that wemen respect goodwill and not gaine, curtesie and not coyne, yea, loue onely and not landes or [...]ynges. [Page] And sir wheras you bryng in Danaae as an instaunce to proue wemens couetous desire, if you wrest not the sence, it is small to the purpose, for Jupiter chaunged not into gelde to obtaine her chastitie, but to corrupte her kepers that so he might make a rape of her virginitie, neither was Tarpeyae perswaded to loue for golde, but to betraie the Capitall for gaine. And though Eriphile did amisse aud Procris offende, will these two examples infer a generall conclusion: No, for as one Swallowe maketh not sommer, nor as one withered tree proueth not winter, so one womans offence is not suffi­cient to proue all faultie. Your rash reasons, therefore are like Tantalus Apples, which are fayre to the eye, but beeing touched, they turne to Ashes. Or like Apelles grapes, that seemed to be such, till they were narrowly viewed. So your subtill arguments importe greate force till they bee sifted, and then they are like Cornelius shadowes which seemed like men but were none. Retyre therefore before you come at the trench, sith you haue followed the sound of a wrong March, for it is proper to a man to bee deceiued, but to percist in an errour, is the signe of an impudent mind, and vpon this con­ditiō, although you haue broadly blasphemed against womē, you shall escape vnpunished, and fully pardoned.

Morando heryng how connyngly Lacena had resisted Peratios reasons, began to be halfe blancke, because Pan­thia pulling him by the sleeue saied.

Sir (quoth she) although my daughter hath concluded in an imparfect Moode, yet it is harde to reduce it but Per impossible: your Champion is chafed and seeketh reuenge, but he plaies like Phineus that sought to meete his foe in the [...]elde, and yet he himself tooke the first foile, but as it is no shame for hym that gazeth against the Sonne to winke, so Peratio that striues against the truthe, maie take the mate and yet haue good skill at the Chesse.

Why (quoth Aretino) is he alwaies the best man that giues the last stroke, or she wonne the victoier, that speakes the last woorde, Peratio hath but yet plaide his quarters, he [Page] now meanes to lie at his warde, and I beleue so warelie, that Lacena shal haue good lucke if she scape without a losse.

Tush gentlemen (quoth Peratio) Madam Panthia thinc­kes that where Venus sitts there Mars must lay downe his Helmet, that no Birdes can sing where the Peacocke dis­plaies her golden Feathers: but I am not so fonde, as with Hercules to become a slaue to Omphale, nor with Mars to tye my self to Venus will. Lacenas faire lookes, nor her pain­ted speech shall not so charme me, as I shall so lightly geue other the chalenge, for I am not in loue, and therefore may speake at liberty. Truely (quoth Morando) sith the contro­uersie is suche, as it cannot without a longe discourse be de­cided: I will at this tyme become a mediator and yeld my verdit because time calles vs away. Upon this sentence, this therfore is my sensure, that as Phillip of Macedon said there was no Citie so surelie defenced, whereinto an Asse laden with gold might not enter: so the Temple of Vesta is neuer so well shut, but a key of gold will spedelie vnlose the locke.

Sir (quoth Panthia) and I by your leaue will conclude to your premisses, with the picture which Phidias the Painter drew of Mars and Uenus in this forme: representing Mars tied vnto Uenus by the eye, his breast open, wherein appered a harte all of gold. But Venus hauyng her sight valed, her harte persed through with an arrow, and chained vnto Mars with a siluer threed, wherein was written this posie Sans Aultre. Well (quoth Morando) it was harde to finde Di­ana without her bowe, or Appollo without his harpe, or a wo­mans craftie witte, without a clarklie shift. But when Her­cules had conquered Orithia he could not vauut of the vic­torie, because she was a woman: so therefore I wil not striue to confute Madame Panthia, sith in gettyng the conquest I should rather reape discredit, then purchase praise or honour: we will therefore now ende our discourse, and sit doune to supper, where whatsoeuer your chere bee, yet I praie you thynke your selues hartie welcome. The Gentlemen and Gentlewemen findyng their fare no woorse then their wel­come [Page] was, gaue Morando greate thankes for his curtesie, and being all pleasantlie disposed, they passed awaie the sup­per with many pretty parlees, Don Siluestro onely excepted, who was in his dumps: for the beautie of Lacena had alredie so battered the bulwarke of his breast, and had so quatted his stomacke with her excellent qualities, that he onely fed his eyes in notyng the exquisit perfection of her person, whiche Aretino partlie perceiuyng, he began to plucke him from his passions, in this maner. I haue often marueled and cannot yet cease to muse gentlemen (quoth he) at the mad­nesse of those momentarie louers, whose myndes are like the state of Mineruas Owle, that howe heauie socuer her heade was, would euer prune her self at the sight of Pallas, or like Narcissus that had scarsely lookt into the water but was in loue with his owne shaddowe: but I thinke these vio­lent passions are nothing permanent, their sparckling heate neuer proues to perfect coles, muche like to Jasons Warri­ours th [...]t faded before thei were fullie fourmed.

What moues you (quoth Morando to pop forth so sodain­ly this darke probleme, doe you think there is any man here that is pinched with suche passions, or would you see by the measure of an other mans foote, where you owne shoe wrin­ges you.

No sir (quoth he) the picture of Andromeda and Perseus, whiche hanges here before myne eyes, brought this to my remembraunce, for me thinke either Andromeda was pas­syng beautifull or Perseus verie amorous, that soaring aloft in the ayre he did firmely loue before he did fultie looke, his eyes were scarsely fixed ere his harte was fet [...]red, and how thinke you Signior Siluestro is not this straunge.

Siluestro doubtyng that Aretino shot at an other marke then his talke did pretende, thought to shadow his falt with a false culler, and with the Lapwing to crie farthest of from her nest, he framed him therefore this aunswere. Truely Aretino (quoth he) it were folie to question with Pigmalio [...] about Esculapius secrets, or to demande of Polydemon wha [...] [Page] sollemnitie Hymeneus obserued in his Sacrafices, because the one was vnskilfull in Phisicke and the other as ingno­rant in Mariage, and meare fondnesse it is for the [...]o aske my oppinion of fancie, when I connot by experience yelde a v [...]rdit of affection, it is harde for him to giue a censure of Paintyng that hath but lookt into Appelles shoppe, and as difficult for me to sett downe my sentence of Loue whiche a [...] but newlie entred into Cupids Schoole. For I con­fesse I am not of Tianeus opinion, to despise Beautie, nor so dogged as Diogenes, to condemne wemen, sith the one shewes a crabbed nature, and the other as ill nourture. But it maie be you gesse another mans bow by your owne bent, and plaie like Ewritius that accused Andremon of loue, whē he himself was before fettered with lust.

What (quoth Aretino) shall Pigmalion bee angrie with him that saied he was a Caruer, seeing it was his profession by arte, or shall a yong gentleman take offence for being na­med a louer, sith it is proper to hym by age. But I leaue with your melancholie humour Syluestro, sith I see that tis hard to finde a suspicious man without ielowsie, and a lin­gring louer without Dumpes.

Gentlemen quoth Peratio, mee thinks it is folly to talke about so fond a trifle as loue, which I can rightly compare to Perseus wings, which being giuen him by Iupiter, caried him alwayes into perrilous daungers, or to Mydas goulde, which he counting his blisse, prooued at last to bee his b [...]le. Let not then such a friuolons question cause friends to giue such byting quippes.

Tush (quoth Aretino) these cuttes can not cause Syluestro and mee toiarre, euery blowe drawes not bloud, nor euery worde inferreth not wrath, that friendshippe is of a brickle mould, that a little Table talke will cracke. In troth (quoth Syluestro) I take not such offence at Aretinos folly as I doe Peratio at thy extreme fondnes, that makest so light acount of loue. But Proteus neuer remayned long in one shape, nei­ther was Iola seene to weare one garment twise. The [...] [Page] Cassiopea remayneth in one signe but ten dayes, and thou in one mynde but ten howers, being now hotte now could, first as courteous as Traian, and then as currish as Tymon, one while a defender of lust, and an other time a contemner of loue. But as it is harde to catche the Polipe fish, because she [...]ourneth into the likenesse of euery obiect, so it is folly to credit thee which framest thy talke after euery new fantasie.

Stay then Syluestr [...] (quoth Signior Morando) lest you proue your selfe more fond in taking such small occasion of anger, then they in ministring the cause, we met as friends, and loth I were we should part as foes. Therefore for this night I commend you all as my guestes, to keepe silence, and to morrowe if you please in close field to trie the combat, Madame Panthia, and I will sit as Iudges to assigne the conquest: the question shalbe, whether it be good to loue or noe, and in the meane time, sith it is farre in the night, I commit you to God. Madame Panthia, aud the rest geuing their good host the Adiew, par­ted quietly without any more quippes to their lod­ging.

The seconde daies discourse.

THE night being passed, & y gl [...] ­string beames of Phebus calling these Courtiers frō their drowsie beddes, Signior-Siluestro who all this night had slept with a flea in his eare, being pinched with the quippes of Aretino, but more passionate with y exquisite qua­lities of Lacena, rose before all the rest, and walking alone into the Garden, began there to muse on these painefull passions which so diuersly perpiexed him, feeling the force of Loue so furiously to assaile him, as either the mercie of his new Mistres must mittigate his ma­ladie, or els his care must be ended by vntimely death: the one he doubted of as being in feare, the other he dreaded not as one in most haplesse distresse, wauering thus betweene twoo waues as he sat in his dumpes, Morando Madame Panthia and all the rest of the cōpanic missing Siluestro, went to seeke him: whom they founde as a solitary Sainct sitting in a sor­rowfull plight: whiche they espying began to laugh at his follie, that vpon so small a cause (as they surmised) had ente­red into suche choller. But as their aime was ill, so they mist the marke: For Siluestro was offring his sighes to an other Saint then they could coniecture: yet whatsoeuer the cause of his care was, Panthia thought to driue him out of his dumpes in this maner.

Signior Siluestro (quoth she) you accused yesternight Pera­tio of fickelnesse, and I allowe it the better, because I see by [Page] this chaunce you your self wilbe no chaungeling: you went to bed in choller and rise full of melancholie, resembling the birde Osyphaga, who if she perketh at night chatting, chec­keth all the morning till the Sunne bee vp: but I cannot blame you sith Aretino and his fellowe came ouer your fal­lowes with suche cutting blowes.

I see Madame (quoth Peratio) you are no cunning Astro­loger, that can by calculation coniecture no better of Silue­stros disease. Would you haue Zetus merrie as long as he heareth Amphion harpe? Can poore Polipheme plaie on his pipe as long as Galatea frownes? Or Apollo laugh when Driope lowers? No, Appelles must be sad as long as Cam­paspe is coye: It is good reason that Louers should be solita­rie to be wraie their sorrowe, and full of dumpes to signifie their dollor: Accuse not Siluestro then if he be not pleasaunt, being troubled with suche amorous pass [...]ons: for the poore Gentleman is in loue I see by his looke.

Siluestro hearing with what bitter tauntes Peratio began to bob the foole, and how he sought like a Sycophant to plaie with his nose, entring somewhat into choller shakt him vp with this sharpe replie.

I remember Peratio (quoth he) that Cadmus for his con­t [...]nnelious minde was turned into a Serpent, and Arachne for her prowde presumption was transformed into a Spider: I maruell if the Gods to wreck their wrath would vse their [...]ide Metamorphosis, whether they would turne thee into an Asse or an Ape: for by y one they might tipically figure forth thy blockishe reasons, and by the other paint out thy apishe qualities. Did Apollo neuer lower but when he was in loue? Nor was Appelles neuer sad but when he was a sutor? No doubt then the God was very gamesome before he knewe Daphne, and the Painter passing pleasaunt before he sawe Campaspe. Surely your Astrologicall reasons bee of small force in that they haue force: I meane not to proue me a Lo­uer but thy self a fondling. Well, if I loue it is the signe of good nature: if I loue not, of a Cinicall nurture: but whether [Page] I loue or no it cannot profite thee nor displeasure me, and yet not to loue is the signe of a discourteous Pesaunt.

M [...]rando hearing what bitter blowes were giuen be­tweene these two Gentlemen, parted them with this parle.

If (quoth he) Hercules and Achelous had not fallen out, the Nimphes had neuer gotten their Cornucopia. Had not Circes and Vlisses iarred, his men had neuer returned to their sh [...]pes. Tis an ill flaw that bringeth vp no wracke, and a bad winde that breedeth no mans profite. Had not Syluestro and Peratio fallen out about loue, wee had neuer brought it in question whether it be good to loue or no. But now wee will haue it tried out in the plaine fielde to see the euent of the battaile. For truely I am of Siluestros opinion, that to liue without loue is not to liue at all.

Sostrata who from her birth was vowed vnto Vesta, and offred her Sacrifice at the Shrine of Diana, hearing Mo­rando take Siluestros pa [...]te, with blushing face made this maidenly aunswere.

Sir (quoth she) although I maie seeme impudent in my mothers presence to enterparle, and maie bee thought halfe inmodest without commaund to come to counsell, yet I hope the equitie of the cause and the necessitie of the defence, will excuse me to the one and cleare me from the other. To haue fonde loue honoured as a God were grosse Idolatrie: to con­sent to suche Scisinaticall opinions were palpable Heresie: therfore if it please my mother to giue me leaue, I wil proue that the worst course of life is to loue.

Daughter (quoth Panthia) if you thinke your self strong enough to withstand so stou [...]e an Heresie, my good will shall be quickly graunted: but take heede least in ventring in an vnknowne Foorde you slippe ouer the shooes.

T [...]she (quoth Peratio) it was easie for Achilles to con­quer Hector, when he himself by the meanes of Thetis was inuulnerable, and as easilie may Sostrata withstand Siluestro [...] she is armed with the truth, which maie well be assalted, but neuer vtterly sacked.

[Page]Your good worde (quoth Siluestro) is neuer wanting, but if Sostrata would be ruled by mine aduise, she should not yeld her verdict against Venus: but for my parte let her doe as she please: for I am sure prattle she may, but preuaile she cannot.

Sostrata hearing the shorte censure of Siluestro, began to defende the walles with this Rampire.

Ouid (quoth she) the Maister of this Arte, who busily bet his braine about setting downe of amorous principles, being demaunded what Loue was, aunswered that it was suche a vaine and inconstant thing, suche a fickle and fonde affectio­nate passion, that he knewe not what it was, from whence it came, nor to what ende it tended: Onely this he was assured of by experience, that to the vnhappie it was a hell, and to the most fortunate (at the least) the losse of freedome. Ana­creon said that it was the forgetting of a mans self: whereby his sences are so besotted and his wittes inueagled: he is so suared with vanitie, and so fettered with follie, as he greede­lie seeketh to gaine that thing, whiche at last turneth to his extreme losse. For who so yeeldeth himself as a flaue to loue, bindeth himself in fetters of golde: and if his sute haue good successe, yet he leadeth his life in glistring miserie. For loue according to the definition of the Philosophers, is nothing els but the desire of Beautie: so that the beginning, middest, and ende of loue, is to croppe the bitter sweete bud of Beau­tie: which how pleasaunt so euer it be in the mouth, yet so pe­rilous in the maw, that he neuer or seldome digesteth it, with­out daunger both of his purse and person. Beautie the onely [...]ewell whiche Louers desire to enioye (although you maie obiect against me, that it is a foule birde defiles their owne neast) (yet conscience cōstraines me to auer the tr [...]th) is like to the Baaran flower, which is most pleasaunt to the eye, but who so toucheth it feeleth present sinarte. None euer rid on Seianus horse but he came to ruine. Who so possessed but one dramme of the golde of Tholossa perished. He that with vn­washt handes touched the Aultar of Ianus, fell downe pre­sently dead, and fewe or none whiche onely fixe their fancie [Page] vpon Beautie, escape without mishappe or miserie: so that I conclude, the Louer in liew of his toyle getteth suche gaine, as he that reapeth the beautifull Apples of Tantalus, which are no soner toucht but they turne to Ashes. If this trash thē be the treasure whiche Louers desire so greedily to gaine, no doubt their winninges shall be muche like to his, which sup­posing to embrace Iuno, caught nothyng but a vaine vani­shyng Cloude. This considered, he hath either his sences be­sotted, or els is blinded with selfwill, whiche seeth not the a­buses in Loue and follie of Louers: whose life is so pestered with continuall passions and combred with suche haplesse cares, as it is to be counted nothyng but a very masse of mi­serie: They spende the daie in dumpes and the night in dol­lor, seeking much and finding little: gaping after that which they seldome gaine: and which if they get proueth at length but losse.

Tis true in trothe (quoth Peratio) for of all follies, loue is the greatest fondnesse, and especially in those whiche are coumpted truest Louers: who if they want of their will, and misse of their wishe, pine awaie in hellishe pennurie, and though their mistres rewarde them with hate, yet they ne­uer make an ende of their loue but by death. Such loue in my opinion, no wise man either will or can commende, for if to loue were good, as is now in question, yet tis a proued principle Omne nimium vertitur in vitium, therefore if euer I loue I will keepe a meane, neither to hie least I suspecte with Cephalus, nor to lowe least I mislike with Minos, and especially I would not exceede, for I thinke of Louers, as Diogenes did of Dauncers, who beyng asked how he liked them, answered: the better the woorse.

This pleasant conceipt of Peratio made Morando and all the companie to laugh, seeyng how bitterly he began to bob Siluestro on the thumbes, who throughly chafed, burst foorth into these tearmes.

Peratio (ꝙ he) you come to counsell before you bee calde, and set downe your sentence, before any manne craues your [Page] censure, your verdit is of lesse valure. Your slender opinion is not to be taken for a principle, and therefore learne thus much of me, that so apishly to carpe at euery cause is a signe of greate immodestie, and small manners, but leauyng you to your follie, thus much to the purpose. The Philosophers who haue sought precisely to set out the perfect Anotomie of pure loue, who set downe by pen that whiche before they tried by experience, weighyng wisely the straunge affectes and force of loue, and feeling in them selues the puissance of his power, iustly cannonised that sacred essence for a God, at­tributing vnto it the [...]itle of dietie, as a thyng woorthie of such supernaturall dygnitie. For it doeth infuse into the mindes of men suche vertuous and valerous motions, kind­lyng in mens hartes such gowing coales of naturall affecti­on (whiche before the force of loue had touched them, lay bu­ried in the deade cindres of hate) that it doeth knitt the min­des of frendes together with suche perfect and perpetuall a­mitie, as we may iustlie say with Socrates, they be two bo­dies and one soule, yea, the common people although their myndes bee sotted and almost sencelesse, yet they haue had loue in suche sacred estimation, that they carefully rewarded them with the title of Honour and Dignitie, whiche haue excelled in that holie affection, estemyng this onely vertue (if so basly it may be termed) sufficient of a man to make one a God. But to ayme more neare the marke, if we rightly cō ­sider the force of loue, wee shall finde that there is nothing whiche so pleasureth a man, and proffitethe the Common wealth as loue: Tullie beyng demaunded why the Common wealth of Rome did oft fall into many calamnities at that tyme, especially when S [...]illa and Marius Tyranously shed so muche innocente bloud, answered because the temple of loue was defaced, and beeyng demanded what caused the Commonwealth so to florish in prosperous estate, answered loue: Aledgyng to the olde Italian prouerbe Amor è la ma­dre del bu [...]n citta. What causeth vertue to rayne and vice to come to ruine but loue? What delighteth in good and de­spighteth [Page] ill but loue? Yea, what causeth a man to bee hono­red for a GOD but loue. It maketh the valient to venture amidest moste perrilous daungers: neither to bee feared with the losse of life, nor to respect the dint of Death, t [...]in­kyng no aduenture harde to bee atchiued, nor encounter combersome, no daunger perrilous, so he be fullie armed with the shield of loue, to defend hym from the furious force of his enemies. So manie Grecians had neuer bene slaine of H [...]ctor had not Andromache looked ouer the walles. Troie­lus had neuer made suche a Massacre among his fo [...]s had not Cr [...]ssed buckled on his Helmet. Nay Achilles had ne­uer slaine them bothe, had not Briseida beene the Mistres of his thoughtes. To conclude, in all ages Cheualrie had ne­uer so brauely flowrished if Loue had not been the guerdon for their desertes. Loue maketh a man which is naturally a­dicted vnto vice to be indewed with vertue, to applie himself vnto all lawdable exercises, that thereby he maie obtaine his Louers fauour: He coueteth to bee skilfull in good letters, that by his learnyug he maie allure her to excell in Musick, that by his melodie he maie entise her to frame his speech in a perfect phrase, that his Eloquence maie perswade her, yea, what Nature wanteth he seeketh to amende by nurture, and the onely cause of this verteous disposition is Loue. And to proue this premisses with a particular instaunce, I remem­ber that our countriman Boccaee in his Decameron bringeth in one Chymon [...] Lacedemonian, who was more wealthie thē wittie, and of greater possessions then good qualities, giuen from his birth to be a seruile drudge by nature, and could not by his friendes be haled from his clownish state by nurture: his delight was to toyle at ye Plough, although a Nobleman borne, and ciuill curtesie was the onely thing he contemned. This Chimon who by no art could be brought to haue any witte, by chaunce as he passed through the streetes, cast his eye on the glittring beauty of a Ladyin Lacedemonia, whose singuler perfection so deeply imprinted into the harte of this witlesse Chimon, as he felt the flame of fancie to fric within [Page] his entrales, yea, the force of affection had so furiously assal­ted hym, as perplexed with these vnaquainted passions. Loue driue him so to his shiftes, that he seckyng to obtaine his mistres fauour, he began to applie himself to al bertuous ex­ercises, that within shorte tyme loue beeyng his loodestone, of a witlesse foole he became to bee a wise Philosopher, of of Clowne to become a Courtiour, yea, loue made suche a straunge Metamorphoses of her new Nouice, that in pro­wesse and curtesie he exceded al the Courtiers of Lacedemo­nia. Tushe who rightly can denie that Loue is not the cause of glorie honour profite and pleasure whiche happeneth to man, and that without it he cannot conueniently liue, but shall runne into a thousande enormities. Whereof I con­clude, that not to loue is not to liue: or els to leade a life re­pugnaunt to all vertuous qualities.

Well said Siluestro (quoth Morando) thy reason is good: for in truthe he that is an enemie to loue, is a fo [...] to nature: there is nothyng which is either so requested of men, or desi­red of brute beastes more then mutuall societie, whiche nei­ther the one can gaine nor the other attaine without loue: Is not he then more sencelesse then a beast, or lesse naturall then a reasonable creature whiche would de [...]pise it? Yes no doubt, I would count him like to a Aparmantus, that had no other reason to hate men but for that they were men: he himself being like a man, but in nature a very Monster.

Sir (quoth Sostrata) if you weighed well what loue were you would yeeld an other verdict. Is there any thyng which man esteemeth more then libertie: Nay, doth he not account it dearer then life: and is not Loue the losse thereof, and the meanes to leade him into an endlesse Laberinth? Doth it not fetter him that is free, and thrall the quiet minde in perpetu­all bondage? Is there any thyng to be found in Loue but lo­wring, care, calamitie, sorrowe, sighes, woe, waylinges, com­plaintes and miserie? What breedeth frenzie and bringeth furie but Loue? What maketh the wise foolishe, and fooles more fond but Loue? What besotteth the senses? What bru­seth [Page] the braine? What weakeneth the witte? What dusseth the memorie? What fadeth the strength? Nay, what leadeth a man to ruth and ruine but Loue? And yet forsooth no lesse then a GOD Dido had ended her golden daies with ioye in gallaunt Carthage. Phillis had neuer desperatly procured her owne death. Ariadne had not miserablie died in the soli­tarie Desertes. Medea had raigned royally as Queene of Colchos. Yea, innumerable others had enioyed more felicitie or tasted lesse miserie, if this cruell monster Loue had not wrought their mishappe. For as soone as it once inueagleth the wit and bewitcheth the sences, it maketh straight a Me­tamorphosis of the poore Louers minde: he then rageth as though he were haunted with some hellishe Hagge, or posses­sed with some franticke Furie, like one inchaunted with some Magicall charme, or charmed with some bewitchyng Sorcerie, yea, he is perplexed with a thousande sundrie pas­soons: first free, and then fettered: alatc swimming in rest, and now sincking in care: erewhile in securitie, and then in cap­tiuitie: yea, turned from mirth to mournyng: from pleasure to paine: from delight to despight: hatyng themselues and louyng others, who is the chief cause of this their calamitic. Fulfillyng the saying of Propertius, that to loue howsoeuer it be is to loose, and to fancie how charie soeuer the choice be is to haue an ill chaunce: For Loue though neuer so faithful is but a Chaos of care, and fancie though neuer so fortunate is but a M [...]sse of miserie. Whereof I conclude, that who so is intangled with the snares of Loue, or besotted with the beames of balefull Beautie, enioyeth more care then com­moditie: more paine then profite: more cost th [...]n comforte: more greef then good, yea, reapeth a tunne of drosse for euery dramme of perfect golde.

Nay, staie (quoth Siluestro) conclude not so redelie before the premisses bee graunted: for though you haue (Sostrata) sh [...]dowed the table, yet till the colours be laied on with a per­fect Pensell it is no certaine picture. Zewexes deceiued bir­des with painted grapes, and yet they were no perfect frute: [Page] and though ye fill their eares with your fond reasons, yet af­ter I haue pulde backe the vale, euery one shall see they are but mere shadowes. You reason first of the definition of loue, saying: that it is no other thyng but the desire of Beautie: whiche if I graunt, what then forsooth: by an odd induction you conclude that Beautie is the breeder of mishappe, and therefore Loue the bringer of miserie: but I neither affirme the one nor graunt vnto the other. For Plato being demaun­ded in what thinges we most resemble the Gods, aunswered in Wisedome and Beautie: esteeming Wisedome the onely Iemme whiche inricheth the minde, and Beautie the onely Iewel that adorneth the bodie. Yea, Seuere Socrates said, that the Gods in framing of Beautie skipt beyond their skill, in that the maker was subiect to the thing made: for the Gods themselues haue been so subiect to y glittering hue of Beau­tie, as they haue been forcst to forsake their celestiall Sphea­res, for to enioye so precious a treasure, yea, to make a Me­tamorphosis of their dietie into humane shape: as Iupiter did by turning into a Bull to croppe the beautie of Europa: And thinke you then (Sostrata) you haue not bothe committed an hainous offence in blaspheming so deuine a thing, and also been greatly deceiued in thinking light of Loue, whiche ten­deth to no other ende but to the obtaining of so deuine a trea­sure. Further, you count euery vertue in Loue to be vanitie: euery strawe to be a stumbling stocke: euery little Molehill to be a greate M [...]untaine: concluding because it is fraught with care, therefore it is to bee contemned: because it is sub­iect to trouble and mishapp, therefore to be vtterly misliked: but your opinion is vaine, and therfore your reasons is of no value: they carie small sence in that you are so subiect to self­will. For did not [...] compare vertue to the letter [...] which is small at the foote but broade at the toppe: meaning that to obtaine vertue is very painefull, but the possession thereof passing pleasant: Yea, doe not the wise Philosophers indeuour much trauell to attaine vertue? Doe not Martiall mindes who gape after glorie sleepe little and labor much: [Page] hasard their li [...]mes and venture their liues to attaine honor. Doe not M [...]rchaunts yeeld themselues to the mercie of the furious Seas, and trie the rage of stormie Tempests, suffer perilles by Sea and post by Land to possesse riches? Shall therefore the Philosophers life bee contemned, because it is fraught with trouble? Shall the Marchauntes staie, or the Martiall state be despised, because the one is subiect to daun­ger, and the other to death? No, if this maie bee concluded it will breede a confusion in all estates. Shall then Loue bee thought leaud, because poore passionate Louers be readie to beare the burthen of all misfortune, to the ende to attchiue so royall a rewarde as Beautie? No, for he is to bee thought a fearfull dastard whom any worldly muck doth deceiue, whō any hard attempt doth withdraw, or any humble praier doth withholde from attaining the toppe of his desire. Cease then (Sostrata) to blaspheme against Beautie sith it is deuine. Leaue of to inueigh against Loue, since it is a labour fit for the Gods: otherwise thou shalt be thought to be more wilfull then wise, and to spitt out these bitter speeches more of can­cred spight then of any iust cause.

Well (quoth Aretino) if that testie Tyanens were aliue, who was the contemner of Beautie, the despraiser of Loue, despiser of fancie, and the detester of all suche amorous socie­tie, and heard Siluestro tell this tale, no doubt he would not onely turne his tippet, recant his hereticall opinion, and per­swade others to honor beautie, but he himself would become a Louer.

Truely (quoth Panthia) for my parte I confesse that Sil­uestro hath so cunningly confuted my Daughters reasons, as I must needes saie he is worthie to haue the verdict go on his side. For though Diana hath reapt renowne by her cha­stitie, yet Iuno hath gained more honour by her Mariage.

Why Madame Panthia (quoth Peratio) will you bring Siluestro into a Fooles paradise by allowyng his opinion, I can but smile to see how cunningly you can claw him where he itcheth: but he knowes you do but flatter, and thinks that [Page] womens thoughtes and their tongues runnes not alwaies together.

Truely quoth (Aretino) that is the cause that Siluestro beares so much with Lacenas follie: for he thinkes she plaies like the Consull Attilius, that was wont to couer the picture of his Concubine with a courtaine: wherein was imbrode­red the storie of Diana and Acteon.

What Lacena doth ( [...] Sylnestro) I knowe not, but I am sure Peratio speakes more of crabbednes then of conscience, resembling herein Apollo (I meane not in pure complexion, but in peuish cōdition) who inueighing greatly against Ve­nus and Cupid, did himselfe the next night rauish poore Cly­mene.

Well (quoth Morando) Madame Panthia, sith you haue heard this doubtfull question so throughly discoursed, giue your Censure and your verdict shall stand for a sentence.

Sir (quoth she) if I should passe against Syluestro, then al might think I either neuer loued my husband, or els that I spoke of affection, therfore that I be not accused of the one, nor condemned of the other, this is my opinion, that Sylue­stro speaking of those loyall louers, which fixe their fancie and place their affection first vpon the vertue of the mynde, and then vpon the beautie of the body defendeth the right in saying that to loue, is a vertue, and that my daughter Lace­na (in touching the excessiue loue, nay rather lust of those fond and fantasticall louers, who onely respect the comple­xion of the body, and not the perfection of the mind, hauing their fancie so fickle, as they are fiered with euery new face, respecting pleasure more then profit, and yet refusing no paynes to satisfie their fleshly desires) saith well that such loue is a vice.

Panthia hauing yelded her iudgement was greatly pray­sed of al the company for geuing so wise a verdict. In deede (quoth Aretino) it made mee to maruell when I heard La­cena so farre out of square, sith that by naturall constitution women are more subiect vnto loue then men.

[Page]Not so (quoth Panthia) you speake by contraries, for wo­men are hard to bee snared in loue like the stone Ceraunon, whiche will hardly receiue any stampe, but being once prin­ted neuer looseth the fourme. Marie if I might be so bolde, I could aptly compare men to Spanielles, that will faune of euery one that carieth bread in his fist.

Stay there (quoth Morando) it is now dinner time, and this question asketh along discourse, we will now dine, and the rest of the daie to exercise our selues wee will spende in Hunting, but to morowe we will haue this doubt deba­ted of Aretino and Fioretta. I will be the plaintif (quoth Aretino.) And my Daughter shall bee the defendant (quoth Panthia.) Why then (quoth Morando) let vs plie our teeth as we haue done our tungs: and with that they all sat doune to dinner.

The third daies discourse.

PAnthia and the rest of the compa­nie hauing pleasauntly past awaie the day in sporte, and quietly spent the night in sleepe, no sooner sawe that Aurora had forsaken the wa­trie bed of her Louer Tytan, but thei remembring that Aretino and Fioretta were to perfourme their chalenge, hasted vp to bee hear [...]rs of this doubtfull discourse. But seeing Morando was not yet stirring, they walked into the Garden to take the freshe and flagrant ayre, where Flora presented vnto them a Para­dise of odoriferous flowers, greatly pleasing the eye & sweet­ly delighting the sinell, intised with the verdue of these flo­wrishing Plantes, they all rested them in an Arbor made of Roses, whereby Peratio taking occasion to be pleasaunt en­tered into this parlie.

I now (quoth he) see by experience Mantuans principle to be true, that weale is neuer without woae, no blisse without bale, eche sweete hath his sower, euery commoditie hath his discommoditie annexed: For you see by proofe the sweetest Rose hath his prickles.

And what of this (quoth Panthia) what inferre ye of these principles?

Mary (quoth he) I can aptly compare a woman to a Rose: for as we cannot enioye the flagrant smel of the one without sharpe prickles, so we cannot possesse the vertues of the other without shrewish conditions: and yet neither the one nor the [Page] other can well be forborne, for they are necessarie [...].

O sir (quoth Panthia) you are very pleasaunt, poore we­men must be content to suffer the reproofe though [...] the reproach: but if they were as little vertuous as men are greatly vicious, no doubt then you would write volumes of their vanitie: but (quoth she) as bad as they be when you sue to obtaine their fauour, then you accoumpt them as heauen­ly creatures, and cannonize them for Sainctes, commen­ding their chastitie, and extolling their vertues: whereof I conclude, that either they are faultlesse or you flatterers.

Tushe (quoth Peratio) what others thinke I knowe not, but I was neuer of that minde: for truely this is my verdict, be she vert [...]ous, be she chast, be she courteous, be she constant, be she riche, be she renowmed, be she honest, be she honorable, yet if she bee a woman, she hath sufficicent vanities to coun­teruaile her vertues.

Truely (quoth Siluestro) as the Inhabitaunts of Lemnos were turned into Frogges for railing against Latona, so Pe­ratio thou deseruest to be chaunged into a Curre, for barking out suche currishe blasphemous speeches against wemen. Niobe inueighed against Uenus for her lightnesse, and yet she her self more leaude: and thou railest against wemen for their vanitie, thou thy self being thrise more vicious: but as it was impossible to tell a tale to a Cretian and not to talke to a lyar, so it is impossible (Peratio) to speake of thee and not to name a slaunderer.

With that Morando being newly risen, and missing his guestes went into the Garden, and hearing these bitter bla­wes thought quickly to part the fraie, he seuered them there­fore with this salue.

Gentlemen and Gentlewomen (quoth he) in that I will not be tedious in one worde, I bid you all good daie. The atchiuing of yesterdaies chalenge betwene Aretino and Fio­retta, hath made me rise thus early. Cease of therefore from your supposes, for I inioyne you all to Silence, and let vs heare what a plea our plaintife will put in to auer his doubt­full [Page] Probleme.

The companie first requiting Morando with the like courtesie, and then returning his salue with the like saluta­tion, held their peace to heare Aretino parle, who seing they listened attentiuely to heare his talke, began his tale in this maner.

It is a principle (quoth he) amongst the naturall Philo­sophers, that men by their constitution are indewed with a more perfect and stronger complexion then wemen, beeing more apt to endewer labour and trauaile, and lesse subiect to effeminate pleasure and pastime: hauing their hartes more hardened to withstande any kinde of passion, and lesse molli­fied to receiue any patheticall impression. Whereof I infer that men hauing their hartes indurate by naturall constitu­tion, are more able to withstande the force of Loue then we­men, whose effeminate mindes are inclosed within a more tender and delicate complexion. For as the perfect Golde whiche is of a pure substaunce, receiueth any fourme sooner then the sturdi [...] Steele which is of a grosse & massie moulde, so wemens effeminate mindes are more subiect to sodaine affection, and are soner fettered with the snare of fancie then the hard hartes of men, whiche beein [...] rubbed with the Ada­mant stone are apt to withstand any violēt passions. Tiresias who had by his harde happe the proofe of both Natures: and Scython who at his pleasure was either a man or a woman: the one being demanded by Jupiter and the other by Bachus, whether men or wemen were most subiect vnto loue, framed this answere: that the Armes which Venus gaue in her shield were sufficient to discusse the doubt: meaning that as Do­ues who are Uenus darlinges, are more prone vnto lust then any other foules: so wemen are more subiect vnto Loue then any other mortall creatures.

Truely sir (quoth Fioretta) you seeme by your sentences to be a subtill and secret Philosopher: for I thinke you bring in suche darke problemes, as you scarce vnderstande your owne reasons. Is this your skill in naturall Philosophie to [Page] bring in vnnaturall principles? Or think you by Sophistrie to shadowe the truth? No, wordes are but winde, and a fewe drie blowes shall not carie awaie the conquest. Aristotle and Albertus both set downe this infallible Axiome, that the na­turall constitution of men is choller hot and drie, hauing of all the fower Elements fire most predominant in their com­plexions: So that as Galen affirmeth in his Booke De par­tibus corporis humani this fierie constitution doth make them full of passions, soone hot soone colde, easilie inflamed and quickly quenched. Whereas wemen be Phlegmatick coole and moyst, hauing water most predominant in their constitu­tion, a [...]d therefore lesse subiect vnto any fierie affections. Whereof I inferre, that the mindes of men whiche are hot and drie, are sooner scorched with the heate of Venus and fie­red with the flame of fancie: yea, Loue hath more power to set on fire their affections, being alreadie of a hot constituti­on, then to scorch or scalde the hartes of wemen, which natu­rally are of so moyst and cold a complexion. The drie Bauin is soner set on fire then the watrie Beech: the withered Ha [...]e sooner burneth then the moyst Grasse, and the fierie harte of Mars soner scorched then the cold minde of Diana.

Nay Mistris Fioretta (quoth he) seeing you vrge me so strictly, I will proue my premisses with most approued in­staunces. W [...]s not Dido almost consumed in the flame be­fore Eneas toucht the fire? Was not she fettered at the first sight, whereas Venus could hardly induce her sonne to Loue. Demophon was not so sone drowned in desire as Phillis: for be no soner set foote on l [...]nd but she was ouer shooes in loue, whereas God knowes all her flattring allurementes could hardly traine him to the Court of Cupid. The Nimph Echo no sooner saw [...] Narcissus but she was inflamed: whereas he neither by teares, praiers, promises, nor protestations could be allured to yeeld himself a su [...]iect vnto Venus. Tu [...]he, what should I recount the passionate loue of Salmacis, Circe, Bi­blis, Hylonome, and of infinite other, whose liues are suffi­cient proofes and presidents to confirme my former reasons. [Page] Cupid intending to reuenge himself vpon Apollo, for disco­uering the adultrie betweene his mother and Mars, was faine to spend many of his chiefest dartes ere he could strike him in loue with Daphne: but as the blinde boy pleasauntly sported with his mother, by chaunce he raced her breast with the tippe of his arrowe, whiche no sooner toucht her but she was deepely in loue with her darling Adonis. In fine, all a­ges and estates haue yéelded sufficient proofes to confirme my premisses, so that I neede not alledge any more reasons, but conclude with the saying of Martiall, whiche affirmeth three thinges neuer to bee parted Mulier, Amor, & incon­stantia.

Tush (quoth Fioretta) all this wind shakes no corne, your Antecedent infers no necessary Consequent, for if I graunt that diuers Dames haue bene sodainly suprised with fancie, may you therefore conclude, that wemen are more subiecte vnto affection then men, this were Aretino to absurde an argument: But to confirme my reasons with a plaine proofe whiche we bothe see and knowe by daily experience. Are not men faine, beyng them selues once fiered with fancie to seeke and sue, to watch and warde, to prate, to parle to, pray, to protest, to sweare, to forsweare, yea, to vse a thousand son­drie shiftes to alure a simple maide vnto loue: Doe they not seeke to hale her vnto their hooke, with diuers new deuises. Some practise musicke to inueagle their mindes, playng in the nyght vnder their windowes, with Lutes, Citrons, and Bandoras. Some Tornay and Iust: that by their man­hoode they maie alure them to loue. Some painte out their passions in Songes and Sonets, to moue them vnto mer­cie: none saying they are to pittifull, but all exclaimyng of their crueltie. The poore woman notwithstandyng, is so vnwillyng to yeeld vnto loue, that she is hardly induced to fancie by all these flattryng alurementes, whereas the man is fiered with euery new face, fettered with euery newe fan­cie, in loue at euery looke, yea, they cannot Accedere ad ig­nem, but they doe straight Galescere plus quam satis so that it [Page] is harde to finde a man, but he is either fraught with loue or, flatterie.

Not so Fioretta (quoth Siluestro) conclude not so stricktly, for to loue (I graunt) is proper to men, but to flatter belon­geth to wemen.

Why (quoth Peratio) dare you blaspheme so broadely a­gainst that noble sexe, take head, if your mistres heare of this fond sensure, she hang not the lip.

This is small to the purpose (quoth Morando) whether men faine or wemen flatter, it is not the marke we shoote at. Sith Madame Panthia, these two champions haue so man­fully behaued themselues within the listes, that as yet the combate hangeth in suspence, to whiche of them shall wee Iudges of this quarrell assigne the conquest?

Truely sir ( [...] Panthia) to speake my mynd freely with­out affectiō, in this case this is my opinion. That loue being no mortall passion, but a supernaturall influence alloted vnto euery man, by destiny charmeth and inchaunteth the mindes of mortall creatures, not accordyng to their wills, but as the decree of the fat [...]s shall determine, for some are in loue at the first looké: As was P [...]rseus with Andromeda: Some [...]e­uer to be reclaimed, as was Narcissus: Others scortched at the first sight, as Uenus her self was of Adonis: Some al­waies proclaimeth open Warres to Cupid, as did Daphne. Thus I conclude; that men or wemen are not more or lesse subiect vnto Loue, respectyng their naturall constitution, but by the secrete influence of a certaine supernaturall con­stellation.

Morando and the rest of their companie, greatly praised and allowed the wise verdict of Panthia, commendyng the mother for her perfect modestie, and the daughters for their passing chastitie. The discourse thus ended and the sentence set downe, Morando and his guestes went to dinner, which being ended as well with pithie deuises as pleasaunt dain­ties, Panthia constrained by certaine vrgent affaires, yeel­ding [Page] Morando great thankes for his courteous entertain­ment, went home to Bononia accōpanied with the three Gentlemen: who likewise leauing Morando in his dumpes for the losse of suche good com­panions departed, and for a time staied with Panthia at Bononia: where what successe Siluestro had in his loue I knowe not: but if I learne looke for newes

Finis.
Robert Greene [...]

¶ Imprinted at Lon­don by I. Kingston for Edward VVhite, dwelling at the little North doore of S. Paules Church, at the signe of the Gun. [Page]

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