THE Fissher-mans Tale: Of the famous Actes, Life and loue of CASSANDER a Grecian Knight.


Cedant arma togis, concedant laurea linguis.

Imprinted at London by Richard Iohnes, at the Rose and Crowne, neere S. Andrewes Church in Holburne, 1595.

To the right VVorshipfull, his verie good friend and Benefactor, M. Henrie Mordant, sonne and sole heire to the right Hono­rable the Lord Mordant, Francis Sabie wisheth full fruition of externall and internall felicitie.

ABashed (right Worshipfull) at the ex­cellencie of your greatnesse, astonished at the reporte of your prudence: com­forted notwithstanding, at the remembrance of your acustomed clmencie: a­nimated at the consideration of your excellent vertue: more confidentlie doe I present vnto your Worship these few vntutord lines, the trauell of my rude Mule, and vntimelie fruites of my first spring. The ground where they grew, as it needed much ma­nuring, and diligent tillage, euen so the Gardener to make amendes, was none of the skilfullest, but lacked that cunning which riper yeares and longer experience might peraduenture haue supplyed, whereby the fruit, which otherwise would haue bene delicate, be changed and turned to meere wildings. Yet considering that the stomacke ouercloyd with daintie and sweete iunkets, is oft times very much recreated with meaner and har­sher meats: So your Worship sometime wearied with high and serious affaires, may at length vouchsafe to cast a glaunce vpon these my vnlettered poemes, which [Page] wil perhaps bring no lesser content than delectation vn­to your graue and stayed mind, vnto whome, and vnto whose noble predecessours, I do acknowledge me and my weake parentes so much to bee and haue bene in­debted, that should the gods allot vnto the tearme of my life, Nestors yeares, bestowe vpon me Croesus wealth, and endue me with Tullies elequence, yet were I neunr able with long endeuour, incessiue giftes, or finenesse of Oratorie, to make satisfaction, requite, or set foorth halfe that praise and dutie, which is of me, to you to be perfourmed, for so great and so many inestimable be­nefites: should I goe about to rehearse them, I shoulde vndertake a matter as hard to be compassed, as is Aetna to be remooued. These rude lines, penned at vacant houres, partly to shun the vntolerable crime of ingrati­tude, partly to make known in some measure, my boun­den dutie, I haue presented to your Worship, praying you to vouchsafe them your acceptance', as Alexander did of a cup of cold water, offered vnto him of a simple man, which not doubting of, I hope hereafter I shall be better able to present your Worship with some polisht and profitable peece of my trauell.

Your Worships euer at comandement FRANCIS SABIE.

The Fissher-mans TALE.

THE darksome shade of cloudy night was past,
Bright Lucifer brought in the chearefull day,
With fire-breathing steeds light Titan drawne,
Into his chariot newlie mounted was.
Rose-cheekt Aurora with a sanguine hue,
Her friendlie Phoebus louinglie did greet,
Now wearie corpes which quietlie enioyd,
The pleasing sleepe of close and silent night,
Rousde vp themselues, awakened with the notes
And dulcet tunes of little singing birdes:
Which on greene boughes amid the shadie fields,
With manie colloured blossomes deckt did sit.
Calme was the aire, sweet-breathing Zephirus
Did greet faire Ver, with milde and gentle blastes,
Each god seemde now on mortall wightes to smile,
Nothing did lacke to solace pensiue minds,
I shakt of sleepe, and tooke in hand a reed,
A reede whereto was bound a slender line,
And crooked hooke, wherewith for my disport,
Walking along the bankes of siluer lakes,
Oft times I vsde with false deceiuing baytes,
To plucke bright-sealed fish from Chrystal waues,
Foorthwith I bended steps vnto the streames,
And pleasant meares, not far from mine abode,
Needlesse it were here to rehearse what ioyes
Each thing brought then vnto my dolefull minde.
[Page]The litle Menowes leapt aboue the waues,
And sportiue Fish▪ like wanton Lambes did play.
I thrust my selfe into a Wherrie boat,
Or little barke, my selfe was sayles and oares,
One while I rowde with rudder as I could,
Guiding the boat, which went of owne accord,
One while assayde the greedy Fish to take,
And twitcht them vp which nibled at my bayt.
Auroras beautie now gan vade away,
Titan had run iust halfe his woonted race,
I with Agenors daughter carried was,
All vnawares vnto the foming sea:
So mindfull was I of these fond delightes,
And so vnmindfull of returne to shore.
But see what chanc'd a, sudden storme arose,
Skies looked blacke, clouds ouerwhelmd the skies,
Mysts rose, winde blew, ship-shaking Boreas.
Storm-bringing Auster, sayl-hoysting Adria
Rag'd all at once as once when angrie Iuno
Sude to the wind-god for Aeneas bane,
Seas sweld, ropes crackt, sayles ren [...], shipmen cride out,
Ay me, poore wretch, my little fleeting barke,
Leapt like a feather, tost with blastes of wind:
One while it seemde the loftie skies to touch,
Straightwaies I thought it went to Plutoes lake,
No hope of life at all I did expect,
I which euen now layd baites for greedy fish,
Thought now my bodie should feed greedy Fish.
But winds and fortune long together stroue,
Windes seeking to subuert me in the deepe,
Fate to preserue and keepe me from distresse,
Fortune preuailde long time, thus being tost,
Fearing each blast should haue me ouerwhelmd,
My little barke skipt on a rocke at length,
[Page]A rocke whereon a cabbin small was built,
Built all of stone, so firmlie and so sure;
That neither force of windes, nor beating waues,
Was able any whit to make it yeeld.
Here was I cast, here did my Wherry rest,
Halfe drownd with waues, half rent with raging winds
Which making sure, I higher did ascend,
Vnto the bower which there seated was,
Which on the East side had a little dore,
And looking in, engrauen there I saw
God Neptune with a threetinde mace in hand,
There Triton stode with trumpet made of shels,
And Tethis dect with rich Smaragds and gems,
There Proteus picturde was, and Nayades faire,
With all such water-nymphes as vsde those lakes,
On th'one side in a stonie seat there fate,
(for seates there were in stone most finely made)
An aged man, his head more white than milk,
Or new falne snowe, which lies on Scythian hilles:
His beard exceld the Alablaster faire,
Or Doue, whereon no blackish spot is seene:
A God he seemde, not like a mortall wight:
His countenance me thought presag'd no lesse.
Foorthwith saluting him in seemly sort,
I pardon crau'd for my rash enterprise,
So boldly which presumed to come neere,
Mollest and vexe his censur'd Deitie,
Sometimes excusing my presumption,
With force of storme which thither did me driue,
Affirming feare and safegard of my life,
Did make me looke into his sacred cell,
Straitway I crau'd his aide in such distresse:
Whose trembling ioynts might moue him vnto ruth.
And if he were some God, as I suppos'de,
[Page]That he would cause the tempest then to cease,
And I with sweet perfumes would oftentimes,
His sacred Altars pollish and bedecke:
He lifting vp his graue and senile head,
Where at his hoarie lockes and haire did shake.
My sonne, he said, feare not, lay feare aside,
My selfe such homage I do not vouchsafe,
I am as thou, a mottall man, no god.
I haue abode my selfe no small mishaps,
I which sometimes haue also bene distrest,
Do learne to rue such men as be opprest.
Feare not I say, these waues and blustering winds
Will not last long, they cannot long endure:
Come neere my sonne, some god hath made request
To Eolus, to send abroad his blastes
For some intent: or els they be by force
Burst out of caues, but how so ere it is,
Be sure they will not thus conttinue long:
For (men say) nothing violent is permant.
Come neere, sit downe, sit downe here in this seat,
I sate: he tooke a twinkling Lute in hand,
This (saiih he) my wealth, my breath and food,
The only ioy of my long-hated life.
Father I said, how shall I now requite
Halfe part of this your vndeseru'd good-will,
Whilst streames doe run into the frothy seas,
While fish in lakes, while birds abide in woods,
Of this your kindnes shall my Muse recite:
A ioyfull Ditty where so ere I liue.
And sith you haue such honor me vouchsaft,
In your graue presence as to giue me place,
Might I not seeme too bold if I should aske
Your name, your linage, and the great mishaps
You haue abode, for surely you be sprung
[Page]Of noble linage, and no small euents
You suffered haue, which be the eausers of
This pensiue, sad, and solitarie life.
Thrise shoke this aged Grandsire his white head,
And frost-white lockes, wherewith a shower of teares
Like Chrystal drops from Myrra [...]s tree which fal,
Bedewde his withered cheekes and ashie face;
Endeuouring thrise to speake, in steed of words
Came nought but sighes, and grief-bewraying sobs:
And when the cloud of dolour gan remooue,
He brast at length into these dolefull tearmes,
A wofull tale thou bids me to rehearse,
Whereon to thinke mine inward sences bleed,
Ah how my soule with dolour is surprisde.
When I record those illes which I haue borne,
Stay, stay a litle, yet I cannot speake.
Hereat he staid, and thus againe began.
A Grecian am I borne, sprung by descent
Of stout Achilles noble line and race.
A Champion once inuincible I was,
A louer once, and blyth Arcadian swaine,
Ay me what shall I say, that now I am?
A Fisherman now will I say I am.
Noble by birth, a Champion in feates,
A louer fond I was by fortunes spight,
A shepheard to obtain my wisht for loue,
A fisherman to conuict cruell fate.
So many times which altered mine estate.
Herewith he staid, and thus againe began:
I was (quoth he Menalchus sonne, an Earle,
Of Prince and people, king aud commons lou'd,
I was his sole and only sonne, in whome
More treasure he reposde, than euer did
Aeneas in Asca [...]ius his delight.
[Page]I called was Cassander then by name,
In chiualrie and valiant feates of Armes,
Euen from my childhood was I trayned vp,
Ioying in nothing but in fight and warre:
I named was a Grecian Conquerour,
Thought of Achilles worthily to spring:
But not contented with that great renowme,
Which in my natiue soyle I had atchiu'd,
I farther went, and with reuenging sword,
Thought for to purchase neuer-dying fame:
Mine aged Sire, both voyd of sonne and heire,
As carelesse of his life and wealth I left,
He like a Turtle-doue, when I was gone,
Alas, how doth mine heart to tell it bleed?
Pyning away, did end his dayes with griefe.
Vpon a Steed, like huge Bucephalus,
I tooke my way vnto the holie land,
And what exployts, what noble feats in Armes,
What warlike deedes among the Pagan folke,
Arch-enemies to the holy land I wrought.
I need not here recite, they cannot die,
Fames trump hath sounded thē throughout the world
Fame hath them scrowled in her register:
There was I calde Knight of the holy Camp,
From thence I went to Philip Macedon,
O there what laud, what loue of Virgins faire,
What euer-during fame and praise I wan,
What credite? makes me ioy, and grieue to think.
Yet not herewith content, to Thessalie
I went, from thence vnto the barbarous Getes,
The flinty Getes for chiualrie, the Getes
For mine exploytes, renowned me likewise
Returning thence, to Boheme land I came,
There found I that I chiefly wished for,
[Page] Mathias who ware their imperiall crowne,
With all his subiects clad in armour bright,
Full fortie thousande fighting men he had:
With magnanimious Captaines manie one,
Intended to wage warre against the Turke.
And to besiege a walled Pagan towne,
For that his daughter therein was detaind,
Betrayd, and falslie stolne away from him:
Whom Amurah, Lord of the Turkish band,
Was minded for his Paramour to keep.
Aged Mathias whose white hoarie haires,
Were fitter for the bed than direfull warre,
Euen like a Tyger mooued vnto wrath,
Bearing a Lance corragiously in hand,
Did martch on foremost like a valiant Knight,
Soone came these tydings to the Pagans eares,
Who made prouision for to stop his host.
A mightie armie they did also raise,
Great Amurah himselfe there present was,
He neere the cittie did his hoste encampe,
Where faire Lucina was in prison kept.
Mathias martched on, and at the length
Nere to the Pagans armie did he come:
Ruddi [...] Aurora had euen now remoou'd
The canapie of cryme-concealing night,
Both armies met, I did my selfe intrude,
Vnknowne of all into the Christians host,
On both sides then war-moouing drummes did sound,
Shril Trumpets blew, then Lances went to wrack:
Speares brake, guns crackt, armour flew in sunder,
Then might you see some hale with both their hands
Shafts from their lims, which wrought their fatal bane.
I like a Lyon formost of them rode,
And entrance made into the pagans host.
[Page]The Christians followed, and in midst of them
Old King Mathias like a Giant wroth,
He wondred what I was that so them holpe,
Some said I was an Angel come from heauen,
Some of their heads, some of their legs and armes,
I did bereaue, I slew whom ere I met,
None durst withstand my force, you might haue seene
Turkes flie as thicke as Doues do from an Hauke,
Me thinks I heare them still to crie and say,
He is a Deuill, no man, which thus doth fight,
Some said, it is the Knight of the holy Camp,
Who lately so endammaged our men.
Some said, I know not whom he is, but sure
Whom ere he meets he sends to Plutoes lake.
When Amurah, chieftaine of the Turkish host
Saw this, he waxed ful of wrath and feare,
Flee, flee, he cried, lets flee, els shall we die,
This deuil amongst them will vs all destroy.
Then gan the Turks to flee as fast as lambs.
From greedy wolues as Deer frō Lions iawes
Oh then what massacres of them we made,
Ful thirty thousand Turks we slue before
They entred in the ports of Belo towne,
We rushed in before they shut the gates.
Then cride Mathias, Priams famous towne,
Nere bought so deare the rapture of faire Hellen,
As Belo shall now my Lucinas rape.
Then might you see a lamentable sight,
Yong infants sprawling on the poynts of speares,
Faire Virgins drawled by their yellow haire,
Old bedred men gan rise vp now for feare:
And seemd with vs to gripple, but in vaine,
No passage was through al the martyrd streetes,
Dead bodies lay as thicke as Oakes in woods.
[Page]The channels ran with cursed Pagans blood,
And nought was heard but howling in the towne,
Great Amurah himselfe fled to an hold:
With brazen wals inclosed round about,
No entrance was, draw-bridges were pluckt vp,
From vs he escapte and sau'd his life,
Lucina lookt out from a window high,
And saw her aged fire in armour bright,
Ay me, poore wretch, she cride, what shall I doe,
Helpe father, helpe, or els I perish now.
Then all at once we ran against the gates,
Whereat an Eunuch keeper of the Goale,
And Concubines of Amurah his Lord,
Misdoubting what might vnto him betide,
Ranne to Lucina with an iron blade,
This shall quoth he, dispatch and end thy dayes,
If for my life thou wilt not pardon get.
Then skreekt she out requiring present aide,
Or els she should be slaine of him outright,
We gaue our oathes if he would saue her life,
Vnbar the ports, and yeeld to vs the keyes,
He should escape, he should his life enioy,
Then were the doores vnlockt, we had the keyes,
Among the Turke his concubines we ran,
There found we faire Lucina who with armes
Vplist to heauen, gaue God eternall thankes:
Then kneeld she downe, and Christall teares her face
Bedewing, thankt her graue and aged Sire,
Protesting that inuiolate she was,
And yet vntoucht of Turke or pagan slaue,
Old King Mathias with a iowfull heart,
Embrac'd his daughter, kissing her right oft,
O gods (quoth he) I yeeld you hartie praise,
Who once haue granted me to haue againe
[Page]Mine onely daughter, solace of my life,
Staffe of mine age, prolonger of my dayes:
Then turning vnto me, he kneeled downe,
And tooke his Crowne off from his hoaried head,
O Knight he said, what ere thou be, thou hast
My life, my fame, and daughters credit fau'd:
Take here my crowne, to thee it doth belong,
Take here my Mace and Diademe so cleare,
I giue thee them, thou hast them both deseru'd,
Take here my daughter, thou shalt be my sonne,
Whereat I blusht, and thus reanswered him:
O King, such honor is not to me due,
Keepe stil thy crowne, I doe it not desire,
Giue onlie praise vnto th' immortall gods,
Which haue me sent, and prosperd in this warre.
As for thy daughter, she no doubt shal haue
A Prince more worth, and greater than am I,
I must depart, I may no longer stay,
Fate hath not here appointed me a place.
Thus after many thanks and sad farewels,
Left I Mathias with his ioyfull men,
Reioycing in the spoyles which they had got,
And sorrowfull for my departure thence,
I tooke that way which Fortune did me lead,
Seeking more fame through countries far vnknowne
By chance I passe th' Arcadian fields and plaines,
Where many thousands milk-white heards do feed,
Where manie troupes of loue-bewitched swaines
Sit vnder shades, and leaue-behanged trees,
Resounding ditties to th [...] trulles on pipes,
Or telling ancient histories of loue.
Now Titans circle mounted vp on high,
The duskish backe of Leo gan to burne:
Field-tilling slaues which laboured all day,
[Page]With ardent heat waxt weary now and faint.
Vpon a Palfray swifter than the wind,
I roued through the swayn-frequented plaines:
And casting vp mine head, by chance I saw
A seemlie troupe of shepheardesses faire.
I saw them all, oh would I had not seene,
I sawe one Lasse farre comelier than the rest,
A peerlesse peece, an heart-delighting gyrle,
An heauenly Nymph, what shall I say I saw,
An haplesse faire, a sweet vnlukie Dame,
I saw her, and I know not whether Fate,
Or Cupids stroke this rare euent did cause:
My Steed, ere while whom raines could not detaine,
But swifter than a shaft he seemde to flie:
Now vawted vp, and force to prickling spurres
Could not make run, and poste as erst he did:
But stil he seemde to gaze vpon the mayd:
As one enamourd of her comelie shape.
Ah how she pleasde my loue-new stroken mind,
Ah how her feature did my sences like:
Her cheeks exceld the whitest Scithian snowe,
Or Alablaster, finelie mixt with red:
Her eyes like pearles, or Diamonds inclosde
In yellow gold, or mettal fine and rare?
Her teeth like pegs of Iuorie, her lips
Resembled Cherries of a sanguine hue,
Her haire as yellow as the precious gold:
By these I iudgde of members which were hid,
Alas of them far better did I iudge.
She seeing her so vewed on of me,
Began to change her countenance so sweet,
Euen like Aurora when her Phaebus faire
She welcommeth, her collour went and came.
Then who had seene her, would haue doubtles said,
[Page]A goddesse she, no mortal wight had bene,
In beautie she did Venus farre surpasse:
In modesty Diana she did staine,
Good Lord, how long could I haue found in heart,
T'aue gazed on her mind-reioycing shape.
Whole dayes, whole yeares, my life I could haue spent
In vewing her. But modestie forbad,
I went from thence, but altogether lame,
And wounded with a fire-burning dart,
My sences sad, heart metamorphosed.
Nought thought I on, but on her beautie rare.
Not farre from thence I saw an aged heard,
Feeding his flocke, I made enquirie of him,
What Imp it was that was so passing faire,
What was her name, and of what linage come.
She is (quoth he) supposde the daughter of
Old Thirsis, she her self doth know no lesse?
She is not so, I heard him oft times say,
(He is my brother) that he founde her young
Wrapt in a skarlet mantle, rich in price
As once he passed by the siluer streame
Of Humber, lying in a wherrie boate,
He brought her vp, ful many wold her haue,
But she reiecteth all, I muse at it.
I rode on to a little village towne.
Not far from thence, where all these shepheards dwelt,
Long would it be to tell what griefe I bode,
Impatient was I both of sleepe and rest,
My palfray whome so carefully I fed.
And tendred earst more deare than mine owe selfe,
Now in a little cottage did I shut.
Scarce had he meat my mind was altered quite.
Thus when I saw my sences out of frame,
A thousand contrarieties in my mind,
[Page]A storme of sobs, and shoure of teares sent foorth.
I brast into these variable tearmes.
How now Cassander, what new rage is this?
What vnacquainted thoughts possesse the mind?
What hast thou drunk of Sirces poisoned cups?
Or hath Medeas charms enchanted thee?
Art thou in loue? why what is loue [...]a toy,
A lustfull care, a sence-bereauing wish,
Hast thou so long kept chast Dianas lawes?
And now wilt stoup to wanton Venus lure?
Was thou not termd a Grecian Conqueror?
Thought of Achilles worthylie come,
Was thou not cald Knight of the holy camp?
And wanst each where euen skie-surmounting fame▪
Did not the Getes deeme thee Mineruas sonne,
Didst thou not once subdue fierce Amurah:
And tookst from him Lucina faire by force:
And shall a woman conquere thee? shall now
A little boy make thee to stoupe and yeeld?
Was thou not lately proferd to thy wyfe,
Mathi as daughter, diademe and crowne,
And now doest like a silly country drudge?
A shepheards trulle, come of so base a stocke.
What will the Eagle smile vpon a wren?
Or wil the Lyon looke vpon a mouse?
And shall Cassander, Lord Menalchus sonne,
Vouchsafe to looke vpon so base a gyrle?
No foole, be not so ignoble in thought,
Ah, but she's faire, shees passing beautiful,
Her eie-delighting shape hath won mine hart,
Loue is a god respecting no degree,
Loue is a god and will be honored.
Loue conquers all things: it hath conquered
Apollo once, it made him be a swaine.
[Page]Yea mightie Mars in armes inuincible,
It forced hath to lay aside his speare,
Loue made the sea-god take a Wesils shape,
Yea mighty Ioue, whose rage makes earth to shake,
Loue made to take the snow-white shape of Bull:
And shal not then Cassender yeeld to loue,
He mortall, it a conquerour of gods:
Yeeld? yeeld he will, Yeeld? yeeld he must,
Necessitie him vrgeth so to doe:
Then in a rage, I rhrew aside my sword,
I brake my speare, impediments to Loue.
My Steed, my neuer-tyred Steed I [...]olde,
Who had me gaind such far-surpassing fame,
And to my selfe I smilinglie did say,
Yeeld Mars to Venus, weapons vnto gownes.
I cast aside my warlike vestimentes,
I cut mine haire, in steed of silken robes,
I bought a sute of cuntry ruslet cloth:
A paire of slops I put vpon my legs,
A leather scrip I hung about my necke,
And for my palfrey, a cut-taile dog I got.
I bought me sheepe, and cotes, I was content
To be a shepheard to obtaine my loue:
Or that ynough, I might but see my loue.
But now my selfe a while I meane to leaue
Oppressed with a thousand sundrie woes,
A little will I speake of Floras case,
Who hauing seene me, was incenst with loue.
She sigh'd foorthwith, and iudged me the fairste,
And beautifulst that euer nature framde,
She left her mates, and thought how she by toyle
Extinguish might this new conceaued flame:
But twas in vaine. For as a sparkle falne
Among drie straw by chance, or withered leaues
[Page]Is not extinguisht by and by, but growes
In time into an indelible flame:
Euen so my Flora, into whose chast breast
A little sparke of Cupids fire hath chanst,
Could not out weare it straight, but grew at length,
Into an huge and inextinguible flame.
What should she do, poore wretch, no hope at all
Had she of getting her desired loue.
And sooner might she Aetna hill remooue,
Than cancell it out of her setled mind,
I am a base, and flock-attending drudge,
And he (quoth she) an high-conceited Knight,
Thus therefore snarde in Vulcans priuie net.
And could with Mars no waies from thence escape.
She wept, she cride, she sobd and all at once,
And fell at last into these wofull tearmes:
Vnluckie Flora, poore distressed gyrle,
Begotten in some hard and haples houre,
Borne when some euill, vnlucky Planet rulde,
what greater spite could Fortune haue thee wrought?
Could gods haue framde thy greater miseries?
Is thy Diana vnto Venus turnd?
Thy chastitie to leud and fond desires?
Hast thou so long bene Vestas vowed Nun,
And now to Venus doest begin to turne?
Art thou in loue, fond foole, whom doest thou loue?
A stragling Knight, some faithlesse run-away,
What canst thou tel? perhaps he hath deceiu'd
A number of such wanton gyrles as thou?
Ah but hees faire. What then? Doth not the Moth
Sooner corrupt a fine than naughtie cloth?
Hath not the fayrest fruite the sowrest taste,
And sweetest face oft times the foulest heart?
Was not Aeneas faire? yet in the end
[Page]Who was more false, who proou'd more treacherous
What then fond wench? wilt thou forwarne all men
To shun the sea, because it drowned one?
Wilt thou condemne all men of periurie,
Because Aeneas falsified his faith?
O no, it cannot be that he is false,
Oh would I had him, were he ne'er so false,
This said, she looked vp and in the East
Beheld the shepheards star began to shine,
Foorthwith she rose, and run vnto her flocke,
Shut them in fold, and so retyred home.
I hauing now prouided for mine art,
All needfull things, sheepe, hooke, and cottages,
A dog, a bottle, and a lether scrip,
By practise learned how to feed my flocke,
No sooner had bright Titan lift his head
From Tethis lap, where quietly he slept,
But through a lettice Flora vewing light,
Which came from Ecus, as she lay in bed,
Rose vp, and ran vnto her greedy flock,
And let them lose, which bleated for their meat,
Now sate she downe, now followed she her heard,
But ouer-lookt them with a watchfull eye.
Not long had Flora been in pleasant fields,
But I came also not so much to feed
My bleating cattle, as to feed my selfe,
I put them foorth but driue them euer neere,
And neerer to the place where Floras fed,
Then leauing them alone, I bended steps
Tow'rds her, she watchful fate vpon an hill,
I faind as though I would haue passed by,
And praisde her sheep, but so that she might heare,
As free from scab, fine feld, and passing fat,
She seeing me so faire and neat a swaine,
[Page]Come neere, did quite forget her former loue,
This is quoth she, some rich and comely heard,
Ile stay no longer, time will breed content,
Returning then, I askt her whose they were,
Where dwelt their owner, and what was his name.
Art 'thou (quoth she) a feeder in these fields,
And doest not know who doth possesse these sheepe?
The sheep can tell, behold their owners name
Imprinted is vpon their wollie backes.
Pardon (quoth I) faire maide, mine ignorance,
My flocke hath not long grased in these bounds,
But yet much talk of Thirsis haue I heard,
Euen on the farther side of these huge downes,
But what? are ye his daughter whose sweet forme
Is blased through those sheep-resorted plaines,
Alas (poore gyrle) how darst thou sit alone,
Doest thou not feare the Lyons greedy iawes,
Doest thou not feare the ramping Beare, or Woolfe,
Or in thy loue fearst thou not one that burnes,
Alas poore gyrle, how darst thou sit alone?
How can I choose but needs I must, quoth she.
Feare all these illes, yet must I be content:
I may not contradict the gods behestes,
Withstand I cannot fatall destiny,
The gods and destinie will haue it thus:
They haue assigned me this poore estate.
I but (quoth I) what fortune doth with-hold
That Nature milde seemes on you to bestow,
But will you cause that Fortune also smile,
Then leaue this single life▪ and be my loue,
You shall not need to feare fierce winters frosts,
You shall not stand in feare of sommers heat,
The Lyons iawes, the Woolfe, nor greedy Beare,
Nor any beast, shall then make thee affraid,
[Page]Thou shalt be free from all these casualties,
So saith she, shunning vast Charibd [...]s gulfe,
I should int' Silla fal, as bad or worse.
Then children come, then charge of keeping house,
Then mickle woes, but litle ioyes arise.
My mother oft hath told me in a rage,
That I liue like a Lady vnto her,
I (saith she) care for all things which be done,
I serue the Swine, I giue the Pulhens meat:
I fret, I chide, I neuer am at rest,
And thou doest nought but walke the pleasant fieldes,
Thy greatest labour is a meere delight.
I but (quoth I) thy mother tels thee so,
When she doth chafe and chide with thee, because
She would haue thee be pleasde with thine estate,
But if she might a Queene or Empresse be,
She would not leade a single life againe.
Some other talk, would better please my mind,
I am not yet disposde, saith she to wed,
Know that thou art not first I haue repeld:
Cease therefore, yet I can, nor will not wed,
Then I replyde, if thou wilt not me loue,
A simple swaine, loue me a noble Knight,
That Knight I am whom lately thou espiedst,
Range through the plaines vpon a courser braue,
Whose shape diuine, whose hart-alluring forme,
Hath made such brackes in mine vnspotted heart,
That hoping to obtaine thy wisht-for loue,
Setting apart my fame and dignity,
I am content thou seest to be a swaine,
O would I might be still a Swaine, so that
I might once get thy chiefe desired loue.
In faith Sir Knight, (saith she) I am not her
You take me for, haue you none to delude
[Page]And mocke, saue with this meane attire?
And so easily wonne with cogging words,
Or doe I weigh your valiant chiualrie?
I care not for your magnanimity:
I set not by your noble feates in armes:
Tis not your Knighthood, not your high exploytes,
Your honour, birth, nor skie-surmounting fame,
That can make Flora yeeld to lewd desire:
Although the gods haue made vs poore and base,
They haue not also made vs lewd and light,
I dayly see and by experience finde,
That they which clime the high'st, haue greatest fals:
You see that shrubs, and little bushes stand,
When stately oakes, with winds ar ouerthrowne,
The little cottage stands, when turrets high
Are subiect to the force of euerie blast.
We Swaynes can sit and play on oaten pipes,
When mightie men are vext with high afyayres,
We thinke that we be rich ynough, if we
Can but expell a bare and needy life.
We thinke our cloaths are fine ynough, if they
Will couer vs, and driue away the colde.
Then cease, sir Knight, leaue off your fayned sute,
The law of nature seemes it to resist.
Two things contrarie neuer can agree,
My birth is meane, yours noble, I am poore,
You rich, alas what kind of match is this?
Here at she staid, and I replyed thus.
No Flora, no, tis not your meane estate,
Nor ofpring vile which can detract my loue,
Loue is a god, regarding no estate:
It striketh where, and when, and whom it list,
It maketh rich and poore haue all one mind,
It maketh prince and people all alike.
[Page]It maketh swaines and high-conceited Knights,
To beare one heart, one mind, and both content,
Then Flora come, thou shalt be my true-loue,
Cassanders onlie comfort and delight,
In steed of sweet and redolent perfumes,
Thy dulcet breath shal recreate my heart,
Thine eyes shall be mine onely looking glasse:
Thy cheeks shall be my chiefest librarie:
In steed of sacrifice, vpon thy lips
Ile offer vp a thousand kisses sweet.
Which I will of more price and value deeme,
Than twentie thousand Indies can affoord.
Come Flora, come, if we two louers true,
Into the shadie fields together walke,
Sweete Philomela an hundred sundry notes,
Shal for our welcomes sound in leauie-woods,
If on the banks or Poplar-bearing brims,
Of Christall Humber we do please to walke,
Great Dolphins shall aboue the water rise,
And for our solace seeme to make great sport,
The Marmaids shal looke out from siluer lakes,
And greet vs with an hundred merrie songs,
The Naydes, Nymphs, Nereides and Faunes,
The Satyrs, Fayries, and each rurall power,
Abandoning their fragrant fields and springs,
About our lodging shal resort and sing.
Then thinke not Flora that thy meane estate,
Nor base degree shall alter this my loue,
Thou seest I haue my honour set apart,
And am content to be as thou, an heard,
My concubine I meane thee not to make,
Nor paramour, while beauty doth endure.
But take mine hand, mine heart, and faith also,
[Page]Ye Gods bear witnes, thou shalt be my spouse
And loyall wife, till cruell Atrapos
Dissolue the fatal thrid of this my life.
No longer could she now withstād the brunts,
And hard assaults of Cupids fiery darts:
But casting armes about my tender necke,
Armes whiter than the new-distilled milke,
Sent foorth these glad & hart-reuiuing words
What more than Delian musick do I heare,
Which ouer-cloyes my soule with sweet content:
Could gods haue better pleased Floras mind?
Could Fortune haue bestowd a greater gift?
No my Cassander, no my sweetest sweet.
Had all the gold which Indie rich affoords,
Had all the gems which Tagus rich doth yeeld,
Been proferd me, might I haue been espousd
Vnto the greatest Monarch vnder heauen
Yet wold not I haue iudgd them half so much
In value, as the least and smallest part
Of this thy kindnes proffered vnto me:
Now therefore sith the gods & fate haue been
So beneficiall, as to grant the thing
I chiefly wisht, take here mine, hand & heart,
Take here my faith Cassander, that I wil
Whilst life doth last, whilst breath in me remaines,
More faithfull be and constant vnto thee,
Than was Vlisses spouse vnto her loue.
These words she spake and seald them with a kisse,
A kisse more rich in price than all the gems,
Which Tethis hangs about Apollos necke,
Who then had felt but halfe the sugred ioyes
And sweet contentments of vs Louers twaine,
Would haue supposde no ioy, no blisse in heauen,
No sportnor solace like to that had bene.
[Page]But Phaebus now displaide his fierie beames:
And fields on each side were repleat with heards:
My Flora fearing least it should be told
Her father, that she did'a stranger loue,
Wild me depart, and goe vnto my flocke,
I went from thence with speed, but not so far,
But that ech might all day the other see:
Good Lord how manie day lie did I see,
Sue to my sweet-heart to obtaine her loue,
There came Alexis beautifull in shape,
Amintas came, and clownish Corridon,
Rich Meliboeus made nol smallest sute,
All these with many moe she did repell,
Repelde Alexis shed foorth wofull teares:
Poore Coridon brought gifts, she wiegh'd not gifts,
Rich Meleboeus iudgde her made of flint:
Amintas dide, dispayring in his loue:
And to be briefe, none came but she repeld.
No sooner had the Chamberlaine of night
Put out the lampe, and drawne the clowdie vale,
No sooner did Aurora teene the torch,
And ope the vale which Vesper latelie shut:
But secretely vnto her I repairde:
When both our heards where either bare in field,
Or new let out, but although secretly,
Yet at the length, for what man did not note
Her gestes and deeds, it came to Thirsis [...]are:
He lik a Gyant, all incenst with wrath,
Did call his Daughter, trembling at his looks,
What maid (quoth he) what newes be these I heare,
Are you in loue with yonder new-come Swaine?
Haue you repeld so manie honest men,
And now will haue some vnknowne cogging slaue,
A stranger meere, who whilst your beauty lasts,
[Page]Wil make of you, and then he wil be gone.
And mocke some other as he hath done you.
Well, Ile preuent these euils, Ile cut you short,
Ile kepe my flocke, and you shall stay at home.
Dayes-messenger began now to appeare,
I rose betimes and wayted for my loue.
But loe, in steed of her, old Thirsis came,
Ay me, how lothsome was this aged churle
Vnto my sight, when I espide him come:
He walked vp and down, and in a rage
Lookt towards me, as though I had angred him.
Sixe daies past on, and still in steed of her
None came to field, but that old hateful Carle:
What Stix? What Phlegeton? what greater sting
Could haue possest Cassanders restles thoughts,
A mighty masse of dolours vext mine heart,
A thousand sundry cares opprest my mind,
Sometimes I thought her father had her vrgde
To breake her vowe and take another loue:
Considering of what force a fathers rage,
And threatnings was vnto a silly child:
Sometimes againe I thought vpon the vowes
Her giuen faith and loyalty, who said.
When Atlas shrinkes vnder his massie load,
I will be false to thee, and not before.
Thus hoping and dispairing both at once,
A shift I found to put me out of doubt.
I laid aside my countrie Swaines attire,
And baser weeds vpon me I did put,
With iags and rags my selfe I did abase,
A filthy cloth about my head I knit,
One leg I bolstred out with dyrtie clothes:
As though it had bene swolne with festred sores,
A crouch in hand and wallet at my backe,
[Page]So cripple-like I went to Thirsis doore,
There first I praid, and made mine orison:
As beggers vse before they craue their almes,
Then crau'd their good will and benenolence,
In dolefull wise and lamentable sort,
My Flora, who was alwayes ready prest,
To aide the poore, whome Fortune frownde vpon:
To th' ambrie ran, and cut a slunch of bread
And cheese, she thought a charitable deed.
Here (saith she) pray that I may haue my wish,
Then lookt I vp, she foorthwith fetch a sigh,
And knew I was Cassander her true loue.
Help my Cassander, help me now she said.
Or Coridon must me enioy, thy loue:
My father said, I shall to morrow wed,
Loue or loue not, for time will breede content.
Nay, weel preuent him if thou wilt (quoth I)
In carelesse bed when parents lie at night,
Vnlocke the doores, and secretly come out,
Ile be preparde, Ile carie thee away,
So weel escape and remedie these euils,
This said, she beckned with her hand, as though
That I had said did please her very well,
Then went from me, and ran into the house:
And time it was, her mother came apace,
Then praying for my maister and my Dame,
I went away, still leaning on my crutch,
But when I came int' fields out of their sights,
My crutth, my weeds, and scrip I threw away,
Then who had seene me would not haue supposde,
I had bene hee which halted so ere while,
Vnto the port I went, two ships there found,
All furnished and readie to lanche out,
With Palin [...]r [...] there did I agree.
[Page]To ship vs twaine at dead time of the night,
Then hoisting sayles without abode or stay,
To carie vs into my country Greece:
For thither did the shipmen bend their sayles:
Then back again without delay I went,
Preparde an horse, and all things verie fit,
Now Phoebus did vnyoke his fiery horse,
Now Cinthia gerd her blacke night ruling steeds,
Old Thirsis came from feeding of his flockes,
And seeing Flora, thus he spake to her.
Come M [...]n [...]on (quoth he) see you be preparde,
You must to morrow goe vnto the Church,
And marrie Corridon: Ile haue it so.
Thus shall it be, therefore make no excuse.
I will (saith she) sweet father sith you bid,
If you commaund, why should I not obey.
Hereat old Thirsis wondrous glad in mind,
Sent Corridon these hart reuiuing newes.
He came, and gaue her many a clownish smack,
Sent for good ale, and ioyfully they dranke.
But now the Pleyades gan to shine on high,
And wearie lims expected mortall rest.
Glad Corridon tooke leaue, and went away,
And Thirsis ioyfull, laid him downe in bed,
Halfe part of drousie night was fully spent,
Nought walkt abroad but shades and griesllie Ghosts,
Each thing was silent, all the field was husht,
No birds in shades, no ecchoes rang in woods.
Old Thirsis now gan snort and soundlie sleepe,
And crasie Mepsa lying by his side,
But Flora mindfull of her promise made,
Lay wakeful still, abandoning all sleepe:
And hearing them so soundlie snorting both,
Rose vp, opt doores, and priuily crept out.
[Page]I caught her vp, and mounting on a horse,
made no delay but hasted to the shore.
But see what hapt, scarce were we on his backe,
But suddenly our palfrey neighed out,
Vnhappy neighing Thirsis might it call.
Who wakening at the snril and sudden noise,
Cald Flora, thinking robbers had been there,
Vp Flora, (quoth he looke about the house,
Bar fast the doores, false knaues are neere at hand.
But Flora was now far ynough from him,
He rising vp, ran foorthwith to her bed.
And missing her, straightway he cryed out,
Alas poore wretch, how shall I liue henceforth,
The traytor hath my Flora stolne away,
O gastfull night, wast dungeon of sinne,
Concealing Chaos, hider of all vice,
Nurse of ill actes, companion of woes,
How couldst thou let me sleepe in carelesse bed,
Whilst my sweet daughter, staffe of mine old age,
Ioy of my life, prolongresse of my dayes:
Is by a villaine falslie from me stolne.
Ile after him, and if I may but once
The traitor see, then in despight of gods,
And fortune both, these age-shakt bedred lims
Shal either bring my sweetest child againe.
Or els I vowe vnto the highest powers,
I will not stick to spend my dearest blood.
This said, he tooke an horse, and desperate,
Came posting after vs vnto the port:
And scarce were we, vnhorst and gone aboord,
But like a Tyger, when her tender ones
He sees on seas, thus raged he on land,
Stay periurde villaine, homicide vniust,
Lust-breathing traytor, giue me my sweet child;
[Page]Come Flora, leaue him to reuenging seas,
Come my sweet child, tis I thy father call,
Ah cruell Tyger, flinty-hearted flaue,
Canst thou thus murther old vnweeldy age,
I fearing least these fierce outragious tearmes
Should mooue the minds of people vnto ruth:
Made no delay, but leaping on the shore:
Caught in mine armes the swayne, an irksome loade,
And caried him perforce into the ship:
Not mooued with these miserable words,
Ah cruell wretch, incester pittilesse,
What wilt thou do? first take from me my child:
Then take me from mine old and aged wife,
What should I do, shal these old age shakt lims,
Be tost on seas, which rather couet rest:
Shall I now liue amongst some barbarous folke,
And in some vicious country lay my bones,
O take my daughter, take her and be gone,
And let me goe vnto my wife againe,
Ah my sweet Mepsa, who shall hug with thee,
And what shall now betide my tender flocke,
This done, the shipmen hoisted vp their sayles:
Plide oares, and quickly lanched into deepe:
All hope was gone, now must he needs away,
Sometimes he railde, sometimes he held his peace,
Poore Flora sate vpon my louing knee:
And scarslie durst behold her angrie Sire:
The scowling euen had thrise with dankish mysts,
Obscurde the day, and brought in pitchie night:
The blushing morne thrise with rose-colloured hue,
Expeld the night, and brought in day againe:
When cutting through the Caerule salt-sea some,
With flying pines, and plowing Tethis waues,
Enuious Fate, prosperities Archfoe,
[Page]Minding to shew her fickle deity,
That in her forehead as she dimples had,
So she had also wrinckles in her front,
That as she smilde, so she could also frowne,
Now turnde her wheele, and wrought our endles woe
Securely now between my folded armes,
Held I my loue, the hauen of content:
When suddenlie a stormie Orion came,
Blacke hellish mystes the splendent skies obscurde,
Skies taking now the shape that once they did
When princelie Ioue did worke the great deluge?
Winds flewe abroad burst out from craggie hils:
And all Eolia then was vp in armes,
Vast surges rose, death-threatning billowes rag'd,
Our flying pinnesse now mounted to and fro,
Now downe to Stix, now vp to heauen they went:
Ay me poore wretch, thus gan I then crie out:
Sin-hating powers, reformers of all vice,
Abandoners of euil and cruell actes,
Cease to pursue with weapons of reuenge,
Mine haynous and intollerable fact.
Alas my rigour to old Thirsis showne,
And Floras rape do follow me by seas,
If nought but death can satisfie my crime,
Then take away mine vndeserued life.
Spare Floras life, she hath deseru'd no death.
This said, an huge tempestuous blast of wind
Fraught with a mightie garison of waues,
Laid so hard siege against our fortrest pine,
That cables crackt, and sailes in sunder tare.
Out cride the keepers, now are we vndone,
Yet fully bent vnto our endlesse wracke,
Fietce Adria remunified his force,
A roaring cannon he againe dischargde,
[Page]Which rent our ships against the craggie rockes,
Then might you see an heart lamenting hap,
Some hang on boords, some swimming in the deep,
All labouring to saue and keep their liues:
I held in armes my true and dearest loue:
Thinking with her to end my lothed life:
When suddenly we were by fate disioynd:
I throwne by force all headlong in the seas,
Yet labouring my life still to preserue:
For who so wretched but desires to liue,
These twinding armes caught hold vpon a boord,
Which drew me to this life-preseruing rocke,
And as thou didst, I found this cottage heer:
Which hath been some religious house of Gods,
Nought was in it, but bare and naked seats,
And sea-Gods shapes, which thou doest now behold,
But in this seat this instrument did lie,
Which was (I thinke) Apollos Citterne once,
The storme now ceast, I took it in mine hand,
Descending where thy Wherrie now doth stand,
There viewed I the qualified waues,
And looked if some ship I could espie,
Preseru'd from winds, to aide me in distresse:
For here was neither nourishment nor food
To saue my life: thus standing on the rocke,
I with my fingers toucht these twinckling strings,
No dittie fine, but yet a sound it made:
The sportiue fish enchanted with the sound,
Did come to me, and seemde to leape and play.
And suffered me to take them in mine hand,
Admiring at this rare and strange euent,
I thankt the Gods which such reliefe me sent:
And sith that Fortune had so cruell been,
As to bereaue me of my sweetest ioy:

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