Greene in Conceipt.
New raised from his grave to write
the Tragique Historie of faire Valeria of London.
Wherein is Truly Discovered
the rare and lamentable issue of a husbands dotage,
a wives leudnesse, and childrens disobedience.
Received and reported by J. D.
Veritas non quaerit angulos, umbra gaudet.
Printed at London by Richard Bradocke for
dwelling at the signe of the Gunne neare Holborne conduit. 1598.
To my deare friend, Master Thomas White of Corffe in Dorsetshire.
Though in the spring-time of our lives yeare, there bee no depth nor durance of resolution, because sound judgement our reasons ripenes, is then but in the budde; yet the affection which I beare you, wherto your owne hopefull forwardnesse did first give life, and your many courtesies adde strength, albeit it were the childe of my childhood, conceived where we both received the first grounds of learning, was even then so deepely rooted, that neither length of time, distance of place, nor discontents of minde, have beene able, I will not say to abolish, but to diminish it: for an instance whereof, I have entituled to your name this naked humor, a Present not so worthy as I would, or as perhaps I could affoord if some clouds were cleared: Yet howsoever this toy may proove, I presume of your acceptance, both in regard of that affection that (I hope) you still doe beare me, which may impetrate a toleration where no liking may bee looked for, or of that well-meaning wherewith I offer it unto you, sith strangers [p.2] of strangers and greatest princes of meanest peasants have taken in good worth as worthlesse things, because presented with good will. And I would that I might but halfe so farre prevaile with others, of whome some (I feare) will not onely charge me with that which justly they may, but also after the reading of my title and Proemium, deeme me one of those against whome Horace doth well exclaime, O imitatores servum pecus, yet I protest that never anything was further from my thoughts, and that the rest was finished before that humor was suggested. But I should grossely offend in troubling you with a long Epistle, whome I trouble with so long a toy. I will therefore conclude with this conditionall promise, wherein I joyne with you the courteous Reader, whose patience I urge too much with my youthes follies, that if my life be capable of riper yeeres, and my state of better fortune, my labours shall not be wholly barren of desert: till when, and ever I rest,
An advertisement to the Reader.
When night (friend to melancholly) had runne the third part of her course, besprinkling the drowsie earth with Lethes dew, I sitting solitary in my chamber, reading with some pleasure Lucians Timon, on a sodaine felt mine eies heavie, and immediatly all my powers were violently surprised by a slumber; wherinto I was no sooner entred, then me thought I saw standing before me, the shape of a well proportioned man suted in deaths livery, who seemed to write as fast as I could read. This gastly object did much astonish me, and (as fancie in such cases is a fruitfull nource of superstitious feares) my amazement was the greater being thus taken in the reading of that Authour, who, besides his other impieties, is the greatest scoffer of apparitions.
But when I had well noted the others mild countenance, my courage did soone recall it selfe, and I growing somwhat bold, demanded both who he was and why he came: whereto hee gently answered thus: I am hee, whose pen was first emploied in the advancement of vanitie, and afterward in the discovering of villanie. Joyne these two, and they will serve thee for the Periphrasis of my name. In the former of which, I confesse I have offended, yet who knoweth not, that Fiction the godmother of Poesie makes her the shadow of Philosophie; which if not sweetned by this heavenly mixture, may well have reverence, but small regard. This mooved the Poet to write, and me to use for my familiar motto that queint verse, Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulci. But admit it as the most will have it, yet dare I boldly affirme, that my later labours have made a large part of amends for those former vanities. Here (me thought) I could no longer containe my selfe from going to imbrace him, as both reason and humanitie required.
Sed frustra comprensa manus effigit imago
Par levibus ventis volucrique simillima somno.
Whereat beeing no lesse amazed then before, and casting backe mine eies, I espied him standing in like order at the other end of the chamber, when with a criticall smile he thus proceeded: Hast thou tost over to many Authors, and knowest not yet that ghostes are shadowes? But to omit this which impute to thine astonishment, and to answer the other part of thy demand, first, for thy better conceiting of my intent, know, that it is my wont to walke much from Elysium towardes the mouth of Orcus, the cause whereof is this: Diogenes, Menippus, and all the ancient Cynicks, with as many of our moderne humorists as have jumpt with them in their soure vain, do mightily frequent that place, who though of severall countries and times, yet are so throughly acquainted ech with other as if they had lived all togither. Their order is, when any ghosts arive, to run presently unto them, peere in their [p.4] faces and boord them currishly with a question touching their estates and fortunes while they lived: if they gather by their answeres that any of them have florished in the world for pompe, wealth, beauty, or whatsoever other like transitory gift, and that therein they have reposed their sole delight, oh then they soundly frumpe and baite them for their welcome with such bitter scoffes, that this new corrosive added to their other yet-bleding sorrowe, makes them altogither impatient: but if they finde that their lives greatest part hath beene distresse and care, then they comfort them, bidding them rejoyce in death. Marry this their comfort serves to small purpose, for I have heard the chiefe Seniors of this societie oft solemnly protest, that for I know not how many hundred yeares, not three of all those wretches (though the number hath bene infinite) have thanked them for their comfort, but all bitterly exclamed on death, and wished themselves againe alive, with thrice as many miseries as they had endured: yet many of them dyed so olde, that their sighte, their tast, and generally all their sences and powers had of themselves failed them; so that the weaknes of their spent nature could no longer have bin capable of any pleasure: others so poor, that for pure penury and no devotion, they had fasted to death. Som so grieved with Aches that they had long laine bedridden, or so peppered with diseases, that in many yeares they could reckon few daies of rest: some had beene rotted in prison, some newskipt from the gallowes; others blinde, many cripples, all miserable, which caused me deepely to mervaile what secret deceipt of nature made men thus dote on life.
Sed ad propositum. Walking there not long since, while those aforesaide odde companions were questioning with other ghosts, I saw one (and it was a womans Ghost) pacing demurely, and with so seded a countenance, that as it argued no joy, so it made shewe of little sorrow. Wondering at such moderation in so fraile a sexe, I went towards hir, and in going eyed hir so exactly, that in the end, though death had much defaced her, I knew who she was, and remembred that when I dyed, she lived at London in florishing estate and as lewde a dame, as any in that Citye. This much increased my former admiration, who demde it rare, that any of that sexe, wealth, and wantonnesse could with such patience brooke the losse of life. Being in this humor I discovered my selfe unto her, and earnestly requested her to shew me the cause of this her more then manly courage: whereto she gently replyed, that since my death her fortune changed by hir folly had quited the former plenty and pleasures that she had whilome enjoyed, with a farre greater measure of want and woe; and for she sawe mee extremly desirous to heare the maner of this change and sequell, shee imparted that likewise unto mee, concluding that sith death had ridde hir from distresse, it were madnesse to lament, much more to desire life. This saide, shee lefte mee in a strange humor: for I wished my selfe alive againe, were it but for two daies.
Laughest thou? So mightest thou well have done, if this my wish had beene the Ape of common error: but the onely ayme and end of my desire, was the good of those that live; for whose admonition, even in so small a time (for my witte was never long in performing such a taske) I would have pende in maner of a caveat, a large discourse both of hir former lewdnesse which my selfe had knowne, and of her following miseries which she had then related.
But finding my desires full accomplishment herein impossible, after long thought I conceipted a likely course, for the effecting thereof in parte; and this it was. To sue to Mercury that by the virtue of his charming rodde qua manes evocat orco, this my bodies bloudlesse remnant might revisite the earth, to finde some one who receiving from mee the plott and groundworke of this rare subject, might performe thereon in my behalfe, that which by reason of deaths defects my selfe now cannot. In this resolution I gave long attendance, before the leysure of that busie God, (which as thou knowest is heavens Herald, and hels carrier,) did afford me any opportunity: But in the end having purchased accesse and audience, I prevailde so farre with him, that either for his good opinion of my intent, or for the love he beares unto Poetry wherin himselfe; as he is the God of eloquence, hath no small interest, hee fully graunted my desire, but with this proviso, that I should dispatch within an houre, by which time he will have readye a fresh convoy of ghosts for his returne. To be short; I was with a tryce in sight of London, whether running for joy in headlong hast as the way ledde mee, I have by chance lighted on thee, and thereby know that this subject is reserved for thy penne. Listen then to my relation. Heere he somwhat pawsde: then with a deepe sigh, sorrowes true preface, he began his sadde discourse therein comprising the severall branches that I have handled; this done, hee thus concluded: Thou hast now hearde the summe of all, which I had once begunne to write, meting by good happe with penne, incke and paper on the way; but the shortnesse of my time warns me to resigne the office of my penne unto my tongue. Suffice it that I despeire not of thy memory, nor doubt thy forwardnes. This only I will add, let the world know it coms from me, that they who since my death have unkindly blamd me, may henceforth censure more charitably of me. Hereto (me thought) I thus replyed. The charge that thou imposest, is (I feare) greater then I can well discharge: for neither the nature of my veine is like to thyne, neither is it in suo genere so sufficient. Besides none will beleeve this, but rather deem it a blinde devise of mine to begge a title for my booke, and to picke up some crummes of credit from anothers table. Some againe will charge me that I have stolne this conceipt out of Lucian. And many marvaile, that I who have a while forborn the presse (save only in some sleight translations of gene- [p.6] rall novelties) because justly fearing the ever deep and piercing censures of this judiciall age, should now in so bold an humor grow thus confident. Lastly there are sundry others both better known to thee and of far more suficiencie.
Tush (quoth he) thou art too scrupulous; this is not modesty, but mopishnesse: leaving therfore these vaine excuses, performe what I request: and thereto I conjure thee by the reverence thou bear'st unto the sacred Muses. Well (quoth I) sith thou hast so deepely charged mee, I will performe it, and doe thou likewise in requitall graunt mee one demaunde, that I will make. I meane: nay (quoth hee) I know thy meaning and the humor that boyles now in thy brains, but dare not play the blab againe: for who would willingly fry in Phlegeton? Besides, the time doth fly and the power of Mercuris caduceus drawes me hence, farewell and faile not in thy promise: with these words mee thought he vanished, leaving mee extreamely discontented; for I had ready a mint of questions. As first, how each hagge and fiend doth take his place, when they are summond to any assembly, Al rauco suon' della tartarea tromba.
How Cerberus in these late yeares of dearth hath shifted for his diet, comming so oft short of his fee: for it is unlikly that they which being alive could not get themselves a dry crust, but sterved miserably, for want of foode, can after death be able to give him a soppe: Whether the gredy Cornehoorders be not generally cursed, even there also, for pluming so the silly ghosts before hand, that when they come thither they are not able to discharge the dueties of the house, viz. to the Ferriman, the porter etc. Whether Charon doe still cry out against gonnes for determining the fortune of battailles before they come to hand-strokes, and thereby cutting of the best part of his doings; whether Democritus do laugh still, and whether it be true that Heraclitus who while he lived, wept for the vanities of men, do now laugh at himselfe for having beene so foolish; whether it be likewise true that Aretine hangs by the tongue for having blab'd abroade the secrets of dame Lecheries dearlings, what monsters were brought forth of late, and which of the old haggs, are most in favour with Hecate. These and infinite other demands I would have made, had not his sodaine vanishing prevented me, whereat in a rage I clapt my hand on the table and therewith did awake, having my braines so set on worke by this strange slumber, that I could sleepe no more all that night. The next morning, the plot being fresh in my memory, I went in hand with it, proceeding therin at times of leasure till I had finished it, which (Gentlemen) I now present unto your favours the only wished harbor wherein this my weather beaten vessell may rest safely shrowded from the tempest of disgrace.
Besides sundry scapes of the Presse in Orthography, and some more extraordinary of whole wordes mistaken, though in the fewest coppies; these foure are generall: secrets for sorrowes. p.18. these, for those. p. 20. intent, for content. p. 21. deemd for doom'd. p. 27.
GREENE IN CONCEIPT:
New raised from his grave, to write the Tragique storie of faire Valeria of London.
Peace fraught with plentie, waiting on the Scepter of a gratious Soveraigne, had nowe seated her selfe in Albion, whence at her arivall, rough-fac'd Bellona the nursse of broyles, writing in blood, her bailefull tryumphes, fledde disconsolate to forraine coasts, and there sounded hir Tragique summons. At whose departure all things recovered their former quiet: As when the yeare haveing shaken of stormie winters Ice badge, growes young againe, greeting the earth with gladsome tidings of the Flower-clad springes approach: Sillie Sheepeherdes haunted securely with their harmelesse flockes, the westerne plaines, chanting by turnes sweete Roundelayes, or tyring with long play their Oaten pipes: Toyling husbandmen joyde freely in the issue of their hopes, reaping harvests plenty the guerdon of their winters paines. Each season had his successe, each state his solace. In which tranquilitie of time and truce of fortune, theirlived in the famous citie of Troinovant an ancient gentleman, sonne to a wealthie Citizen, who dying oulde, lefte him not younge, his onely childe, sole heire of his goodes, which, (besides money and other move- [p.8] ables) yealded him an ample revenue of yearely rents. Giraldo, (so was he named) haveing enough, deemed it follye to toyle for superfluous store, or not to use, what his Ancestors succesfull industrye had alreadie afforded him.
Hee therefore conform'd his life to such a course, as might equall his calling, and not Impaire his credit, or procure his discontent. Living thus at quiet (the more to Augment his ease,) love he esteemed so little, and mariage lesse, that he passed the most part of his time without a wife, in which Stoicall humor he determined to persiste, stiffely refusing many great offers, mov'd to him by sundrye of good account and knowne sufficience; whether the care of housekeeping and feare to match with a mate of unlike conditions, had dismaide him; or the sweetenesse of a single life through long use besotted him; Howsoever this resolution seemd easie in regard of his yeares, yet did the sequell largely shewe, that no time, no temperature is exempted from loves tyranny; nor ought lesse to be trusted, then affections tryall: The Sunne ofte shines not, til nere his setting, Cinthia filles not her circle, til fardest from hir brothers Sphere. Smothered Cinders may breed a flame, where we least suspect a fire; and winter fruites in growth lesse forwarde, are in lasting most forceable. The purest goulde hath his drosse; the clearest Wine his dregges; sweetest Roses their prickes; sowrest Stoickes their passions. Love hath his change of Arrowes, his choyce of objectes, to intice every eye, to intangle every Age. It chanced in a fatall hower, that Giraldo with sundry his familiers was invited by a gentleman of the country (his dead Fathers approved friende) to accompany him home, and passe with him some daies of pleasure at his howse, scituate in a gallant soyle fruitefull of all delightes. They agreeing to his friendly motion, lefte the Citie, and arriving where he dwelt, found there such entertainement, as might assure their welcome, and warrant his good- [p.9] will: They were richly feasted, and frollikt royally in all gentlemanlike disportes, hunting, hauking, with what soever pleasant recreation their thoughts could ayme at, and the countrye yealde. Thus farre lasted Giraldos comedie: but heere (though in a borrowed hue) stept in his Tragedies sad Proem masking his following sorrows in outward semblance of alluring sweetnesse: Such are the wiles of love and fortune, there first to smile, where they intend last and most to lower. This gentleman besides two sonnes of rare towardnesse, had one daughter, hir name Valeria, young and fayre, in discourse wittie, but in life wanton; the fault and cause thereof, her education: for being the fathers joy the Mothers Jewell, their last borne, and therfore most beloov'd, she was trained up by her parents in all libertie, and taught, not that which best beseem'd, but which most delighted hir; In steade of sowing, shee could sing, write, daunce, and sweetly touch hir Ivory Lute, with whose weltuned stringes, hir fingers were more acquainted, then with hir needle: Breefely what could shee not, which least she should, and all more exquisitly, then was meete for a modest virgine? If then the strongest Marble bee in time worne by weake droppes of raine, the hardest Adamant, (though otherwise impenetrable) pearc'd by Goats warme blood: what marvel is it, that these so mightie inforcements, wrought so effectually on hir, whose fewe years, fraile sex, and sleight education made the conquest easie? Yet ran he headlong forward, not heeding howe she was inclined, nor weighing as he should have done, the issue of his attempt, which these so many, and so manyfest likelihoodes did forethreaten: Such was his blindnesse even when he first behelde her, to whom nature had lent a looke so alluring, a tongue so inchanting, that it restes doubtfull, whether hir countenance could more intrappe, or hir wordes entangle. To those that never sawe the Ocean, narrowe straights may seeme large [p.10] seas: he which till now had never view'd with curious regarde, any such besotting object, demed Valeria the westerne paragon. His greedy ever gazing eyes, fed like hungry Guestes on hir faces beautie, yet never glutted; for the more he looked, the more he looved; Affection was no sooner bred, then wing'd: no soner warme, then flaming; (a thing in nature marvelous, but in love no miracle,) she was the onely subject of his conceipt, the onely ayme of his content: If she spake, his partiall eares deem'd hir voice more then Angelicall; if she smil'd, he was ravisht: if shee frown'd, even frowning shee seem'd fairer, and hir anger amiable. Thus were hir wordes his eares musique, her faire countenance his eyes harbor, hir selfe, his transported sowles supposed solace, while he though olde, yet a Novice in the schole of fancie fed his vaine thoughtes, with vainer hopes: But when beginning his wooing with signes, he sawe portraide on hir lookes, a deepe misliking of his age, threatning a sequell of many sorrowes, a Centurie of sowl-tyring passions, then somewhat rowsing his charm'd sences, he began sadly to conferre his former course of life, with his present crosses in love, weighing howe before he joy'd in content, nowe joylesse through discontent, then free from fancie, now slave to beautie: And so farre he waded in this pensive meditation, that sealing with manye sighes, each clawse of his complaints, he wished too late, than he had not come, or comming, had not seene; or seeing, had not affected; or affecting, had not so extreamly doted. But finding mone a bootlesse methode, a sleight medicine to cure harts maladye, he resolved to seeke some surer remedie: which, (as he thought) was immediatly to depart; hoping that absence should worke his ease, and that his eyes not having whereon to gaze, his thoughtes should want wherewith to greeve him.
In the heat of which humor, he abruptly tooke his leave of the gentleman his friend, and the other his familiars, fei- [p.11] ning sodaine and extraordinary occasions of busines, which drewe him thence. They no lesse beleeving his wordes, then loath to hinder his waightie affaires, did not importune his tariance, yet urged with much entreatie his spedy retorne, which he promising, though then not entending, lefte them; but could not leave so his sorrowe, for in him selfe he caried his owne wounde, the ever-fresh and perfect Idea of Valerias farre peircing beautie, a more inseperable companion to his thoughts, then the shadowe of his bodye: the one waiting without, the other working so forceably within, that by how much the more he strove to alay his passions, by so much the more hee encreased his paines: concluding by his owne experience, that to attempt the quenching of love with absence, is to cherish fire with oyle. For as the course of a stronge currant, counterchekt by a barre of earth, seekes with greater violence another issue, and having past his boundes, tornes the pleasant medowes, into unpleasant marishes: As the slowest flame, somwhat daunted by water, gathers immediatly double force and brightnesse: so the frenzie of a lovers fancie, is then most outragious, and feeles greatest lacke of wonted ease, when the eyes do want their wonted object. Giraldo therefore finding in the citie lesse comfort then in the contrye content, wandered in this labyrinth of woe, feeling his soules agonie howerly augmented: In the daie, he could not rest; in the night, he could not sleepe; if he sat, he sighed; but sighes yealded him no solace: ofte he walked to out weare his sorrowe, but oft walking could not worke it: At the table he sat a cypher; nor is it marvel, for how could he have any stomacke to disgest his meat that wanted strength to disband his melancholie, which was so frutefull in afflicting him, that not Hydra, foggie Lernas fowle guest, could faster renue hir seaven heades, with seavenfoulde encrease, then his each-passion doubled his perplexitie, making his unquiet life, the perfect map [p.12] of a lovers miserie: His friendes and neighbours mused much what might be the cause of his discontent, supposing nothing lesse, then that love had bene the occasion.
Among this number, one of like yeares and long aquaintance, did on a time so farre importune him, that Giraldo (though loath to utter his affection, yet able to denie him nothing, because he lov'd him dearely) discoursed the whole at large, peremptorily concluding to hast with all speede possible (if his speding might bee possible) a maryage betweene Valeria and himselfe: For (quoth hee) as Telephus wounded by Achilles speare, could not be cured but by the rust of the same speare: And they which are stunge by the Serpent Dipsas, feele an unquenchable thirst in the midst of water: so standes it with me, which have surfeted, yet am not satiate: but being wounded with Telephus, must likewise with him derive my helpe, whence I received my hurt. Which word he had no soner uttered; then his amazed friend deeming this humor in those yeares, the eight miracle; addrest himselfe to divert him from so fonde a thought, and after some pawse began thus: Were I as wise, as I am willing to discharge the duety of a friende, then would I with mightie Arguments disswade you from a purpose so il beseeming: Can it be that Giraldo so stale a batchelor, so strict a follower of the Stoicks philosophie, is in the wain of his age become a woer? He which laught at love, and scornd fancy, nowe droupe for love, and dote through folly: resembling in repugnance to nature, the stone Gagates, whereon if water be powred it kindles fyre, if oyle, it doth quench the flame?
Two things I have noted in many, and finde both in you: the first rare and commendable, the second ridiculous, yet common: A young man wise, an old man wanton. Weigh yet with your selfe, what your friends will say, and the worlde censure, hearing of this sodaine change: If mariage be a course so requisite, they will demaunde why you have so long defer'd it; if not to [p.13] be respected, why you shoulde nowe determine it? Know you that love in olde men is no lesse unseemely and unseasonable, then frost in Aprill, snowe in Sommer, Ice in the entering of Autumne? But admit it necessary, yet this hast is needlesse: Rash beginnings have ruful ends: ripe counsailes right sucesse. The Elephant breedes not oft in age: The Phenix (as some affirme) takes life from Ashes, but once in sixe hundred and sixtie yeares: the one how mightie a beast? The other how matchlesse a birde? In Samos stoode a Temple of Hymen, over whose dore, on the outside, was set the portrature of a Snayle, to admonishe the beholders, that with slowe pace and deepe advice they should proceede to a matter of such waighte, importing their extraordinarye weale or woe. Apelles drawing the picture of Folly, gave hir winges, but not eyes; hir eares stopt, thereby intimating, that fonde men runne headlong forwarde, not seeing what they do, nor hearing others, which fortell them, the issue of their unheedfull actions. It greeves me Geraldo to thinke, that fondly gazing on fayre lookes, which do commonly shroud false hearts, you are taken in beauties trappe, entangled like the fishe, which leaping at the Sunne beames, gilding the waves, playes therwith, untill the net have made him prisoner.
Had you fancied some modest Matron, not for beauty a fading blisse; but for vertue a lasting value, your hast had bene yet more hopefull; nor might any justly have accused your abstinence in youth, or your affection in age. But at these years, when the prime of fancy is past, to be won by a wanton glance, to dote on a silly Gerle, whose continence or constancy you know not, how farre unfit? The Cretans had a lawe made by Minos their just Kinge, that if a young man matcht with an olde woman, or an olde man wedded a young mayde, they both should forfet whatsoever they possessed, and the elder of either sexe so offending, lose the reverence due to their age. Well sawe hee, that [p.14] true affection could finde no residence, where the desires were so different; the one ayming wholy at youths delights, the other dull to wonted daliance, whence followes breach of wedlocke. What is your Valeria that you so dote on hir: say you shee is young? Then wavering: gravitie is seldome in greene yeares.
But were shee well enclin'd, yet might ill companie corrupt hir: Earely buddes are soone blasted; young sprigs do with the winde bende every way. The flower-rich spring is natures firstborne, but not heire of Autumnes ripenesse. Say you shee is faire? Then prowde, for as the herbe Fesula taken in wine, causeth the vaines to swell: so beautie in women doth enhance the thoughtes. I omitte to inferre hir store of favorits, which will not faile to seduce hir, if coyne or counsaile may subdue hir. Is she wittie? Then wilie; fraught still with new devices to circumvent you. But shee can daunce, singe, finger a Lute, and all excellently: doe not these argue hir wanton education, or can you for these so highly fancie hir? Then what other instance neede I, save your selfe, to proove that love is blinde?
Love, which hath the power of Lethe to induce oblivion, the windinges of a Labyrinth to entrappe the minde, the shape transforming juce of Circes inchanting cuppes, to change thoughtes, as she could alter bodies: Love which for a minute of pleasure, yealdes a million of paines; for a dramme of Hunny, an ounce of gall, resembling that tree in America, whose Apples are to the sight exceeding faire but to the tast, deathes foode. Cease then betimes friende Giraldo, least you repent to late, and sigh in vaine, to thinke on my sayings, when your supposed joyes shalbe smothered in surmising Jelousie. There is for every sore provided a salve, yet no simple for hartes sorrow: But as the bay tre alone is never hurt by lightning, so wisdome ever unstain'd by wantonnesse, which is in you the ground of that woe. Against poysons we have preservatives: Storme-beaten seamen, wrestling with the furye [p.15] of windes and waters, joy in the sight of Ledas twinnes: but thought sicke lovers have onely reason their soveraigne refuge: devine reason the sole physicke to cure loves follye, which straies from it so farre, that where the one raignes, the other cannot rest: For Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur.
Heere he paws'd and Giraldo thus replide: your counsaile savours much of good will, little of conceipt: yet for your curtesie I thanke you, and for your kindnesse, I wil think of you, as of a well-entending friend. You deeme it strange that I thus olde, (though not so olde as you urge) should now resolve on mariage, haveing before shaped a contrary course of life. True it is, that whilome my sole delight was to live single, but who knowes not, that ould opinions are ofte concealed by new occasions? Must I be ever ill advised, because once not well advertised? Is love in oulde men so unseasonable, in youth onely, (yf at all) commendable? Or rather as the herbe Moly tempered with newe wine doth much distemper the braines, and infeeble the whole bodye; the same mingled with olde wine, doth soner effect the contrary, and releeve the overcharged sences: So is affection in greene yeares full of perils, urging young men to extremes, which cannot moderate their passions; but in riper yeares doth cheer the thoughts, glad the hart, awake the sences halfe dul and drooping.
Admit the wants, the weakenesse, and whatsoever disabling defects incident to age. Tell mee (I pray you) who more needes comfort then they which want it; or what greater comforte to men then kinde women? How can you then with reason deny that to age; which doth ease the toylfull burthen of age, or terme that needlesse, which is so necessarie, but you growing to farther dislikes, condemne myne haste, which resolve with speede to dispatch my purpose, know you not that delay is fraught with daungers, that occasion is balde behinde? That they which deferre, are ofte [p.16] prevented, and so circumvented: Such as observe not there times, do justly faile in there deserved tryalles. On the lilie-garnisht bankes of Cephisus there springes a flower of rare effectes, yet merely forcelesse, if not applide at the instant: when Phebus doth in fiery majesty touch the meridian. In like sort, young virgines fancies, prone to affection by yeares and nature, must be assailed while time doth serve; for their favour once rooted (a thinge easily performed) can never bee recalde by threates of parents, or worldes of pressers. Speaking then betimes, I may perhaps speede: but deferring the one, I must dispaire of the other. Good wine needes no Ivie bush: Faier women want no woers. Hereto you reply that you condemne not so much my age as Valerias youth: to have woed and wedded an auncient woman, had bene a match more meet: and this equalitie of yeares, caried more likelyhood of mutuall love. For answere to which objection, I crave no greater instance then your owne experience, that widowes are wily and wilfull; that many scarse holsome morsels, do often usurpe the attyre and gestures of honest matrons: heer is a Lerna of evils, a sea of dangers; which to encounter, I have no courage: to conquer, no fortune: But in one yet never matched, how can deceipt be setled, or how is shee acquianted with wiles, which throughly knowes not the world? That Valeria is young, I yealde, nor am I very ould: but you will say that though a while I may entertaine hir with delight, yet I shalbe past begetting, when she is in the prime of bearing: hereon you urge, that giftes and pleasures, are mighty tempters, women and they young, fraile vesseles, and therefore weake resisters. Yet doubt not I, that with a gentle minde, the knowen kindnesse of a loving husband, shall more prevaile, then the doubtfull counsailes of deluding strangers.
That she is fayer, I graunt also; that therefore prowde, I deny. It suffiseth not with Ovid [p.17] to say partially, fastus inest pulchris, sequiturque superbia formam, unlesse you learne of Aristotle to prove the consequence, by a strong coherence: It followes not that all are faultie, because some offend: but rather as the birde Rintaces bred in Persia, liveing by ayre and deawe onely, hath no excrements: so natures perfections polished by vertuous education, brooke no excesse. For where shoulde inwarde graces be more resident, then where outwarde giftes are most resplendent? That shee is wittye, in discourse, expert in dauncing, singing, and well fingering of a Lute, I confesse: that therefore wilye, or more apt for wantonnesse, I may in no sort graunt. The best things may be wrested to bad uses: Such recreations not misintended, hinder melancholy, and hurt not modesty. Thus have I answered what you objected, shewing reason the ground of my affection.
Say then my friendes what they list, censure the world what it will, I am resolute to attempt, nor doubt I to attaine that, for which my soule doth long, and my heart languish. Stoicks are stockes; sencelesse teachers that publish their owne follies, by denying that to wise men which the sences worke in all men. Till now I knewe not what it was to live, because I felt not the power of love. Have not Planets their conjunctions, the elements their mixtures, both their cooperant motions, which argue that nothing can be of itselfe sufficient? Say that sicknesse should enfeeble me, who coulde so kindly comfort me, or would so willingly attende mee, as a loving wife: which would sit by me, sigh for mee, share with me my sorrowes, and use all meanes to procure my safety? If death should seaze on mee wivelesse as I am, and childelesse, leaving my goodes to unkinde, or unknowne heires, with what discontent shoulde [p.18] I breath out my drooping spirit? But to your selfe I appeale which have in part experemented this facilitie, what joye it were, even in death, to behoulde, the fruite of my owne bodie, the continuer of my name, liveing to possesse what I leave: knowe you not that beastes voide of reason doe perpetuate, their severall kindes by procreation? And shall men inriched by reason, be herein exceeded by beastes? If all were such as you counsaile mee to continue, where were the hope of posteritie? And that taken away, where the spurre of vertue? Deserts guerdon, the taske of fame, sounding to succeding times true honours trophes in everliving notes? I omit to alledge, that nature, and my countrye claime mariage of me as a debt: The Spartans among other lawes made by Licurgus, had this one, that the younger sorte should at all times and in all places, reverence there elders: But to those of great Age wanting yssue, this preveledg was not due: So that Brasidas a valient chiefetaine never maried, laden with many yeares, but honored through more victories, passing by a young man, which sat still, not using to have any shewe of reverence, by moving his bodie, or his bonet, and deeming it a great indignitie, received this answere: Thou hast not (quoth he) a sonne which may doe the like to me, if living to thy age.
But whether runne I, in so large a fielde of mightie reasons, warranting my resolution beyond all compasse of contradiction? Sith then to marry it is not onely seemely for any, but likewise necessary for all: in disswading mee from it, you highly injury mee. That I have hetherto abstained, it was my fault; To persist in like humor, were deeper folly, Beter is little, then nothing; late then never; not to bee, then in vaine to bee. Nascitur is frustra, per quem non nascitur alter. Having thus said and fearing to bee urged with a fresh reply, he brake of there conference, by a feined occasion of businesse, leaving his well wishing [p.19] friende in a deepe amasement, no lesse petying his daunger, then wondering at his dotage.
But no soner had Aurora in her next uprise moystn'd with her earely teares, transform'd Adonis, and cherisht the forward springing of other flowers, then Giraldo mounting on his horsse, gallopt on the spurre in that gladsome season of the yeare, toward his harts wished harbor, where Valeria, (whom leaving, he so languished,) made hir residence: By whose father (his asured friend) he there alighting, was by so much the more lovingly welcomed, by how much the lesse, his coming was then lookt for, which yealded in outwarde shewe, no other liklihoode of conjecture, but to be a bare journey of recreation: till he impatient of all delay did fully (though in feawe wordes,) deliver the soomme of his desire, which was to espowse Valeria; whereto the soner to induce hir father, to whom onely he now communicated his affectious secrets, he promised to make hir a large joynter, craving of him no other dowery, then what himselfe would willingly assigne.
Theodoro (such was the others name) haveing much used the father, and long knowne the sonne; of whose vertue, (besides his breath,) he was no lesse certaine, then of his wealth assured: and perhappes somewhat mov'd by the voluntary offer of so large a joynter: yealded him his full consent: promising moreover, to worke herein so effectually with his daughter, (adding to his words the weight of a fathers authority) that shee likewise, whom it most concerned, should grant his demaunde, or deny hir duety: Which promise he faild not to performe, moveing the matter to Valeria in such sort, that the wily gerle which could by little gather much, and by a sillable conceive a sentence, was nothing ignorant of his entent herein, whom fearing to displease, and hoping by this match to raign as Mistrisse of all (for well she knew the myldnesse of Geraldos nature) thought at the first for fashions sake somewhat sticking at his age, concluded hir answere with [p.20] the offer of her obedience, in yeelding her selfe wholly to her fathers disposing. To bee shorte, Giraldo and shee were solemnly contracted, Valerias dowrie assigned, her joynter set downe, all things confirmed, and they soone after openly espoused. Now seemed hee to himselfe infinitely happie, solacing in an earthly heaven of imaginarie joyes, a Paradise of thought-exceeding pleasures. But between seeming and beeing, there hath ever beene a large difference: Cadmus seemed happie, but his lives sequell dasht his felicities vaine flourish with a Chiliade of crosse fortunes. Ante obitum nemo supremaque funera foelix. Had great Pompey with his third triumph finished his then-victorious life, hee had not famous'de Pharsalia through his foile, nor made Egypt fatall through his fall. Had Giraldo beene extinct in this the prime of his seeming happinesse, hee had not afterwarde dyed most happelesse. But to proceed, the Nuptials beeing ended, and Giraldo on his returne unto the Citie (whither hee purposed to take with him his beauteous Bride) at the instant of their departure, Theodoro (whose misgiving heart did make him heavie) taking aside his daughter, thus gravely bespake her.
Valeria, thou now must leave mee, and learne withall another course of life then thou hast ledde with mee: thou must with thy estate change thy thoughtes, no lesse earnestly nowe endeavouring to please thy husband, then earst warily shunning to displease thy father. Oh let it not be saide of thee, which is too truely saide of many, That living under their parents awe, they make shewe of admirable vertue, but beeing exempted from that obedience, they unmaske their abhorred vices, resembling in this change the Corall, which growing under the water, is of exceeding softnesse; but taking once the Aire, takes therewith a stone-like hardnesse. These may to their shame learne duetye of sillie creatures wanting rea- [p.21] son. Young Storkes feede their olde dammes, which else should famish: The Turtle having lost her mate by death, joyes not in the companie of any other. Lo, in the one a precept of pietie to the parents; in the other, a myrrour of love and loyaltie towarde the husband. And thinke withall, that naked beautie not adorned by vertue, is like the Tree Daphnoides, whose leaves are white, but the berries beeing ripe, are blacke. Presume not then on the fairenesse wherewith GOD hath sufficiently graced thee: that must fade, beeing onely the bodies gift: but if, while it flourish, it be ill applyed, what more is it then a painted tombe, a golden sheath closing a leaden Sword, or wherein is it more esteemed by the wise, then wisdome by the foolish? From the Countrey (a place of small resort) thou must now into the Cittie, where thou shalt finde sundry sortes of companie and customes, as in a large plot among wholesome hearbes, unholesome weedes: The wounded Hart flyes to the Forrest, cropping Dictamnum to cure his hurt, knowing it by the smell among infinite other plantes. The little Bee (Natures great miracle) can sucke sweete Hony out of the most unlikely flowers. I coulde wish in thee such distinguishing skill and knowledge, in discerning and using companie; nor doubt I it, yet give mee leave even without cause to feare, for therein likewise am I a father. All young Eagles can not steadfastly beholde the Sunne: All that seeme vertuous, are not so: whome though by their lookes thou canst not knowe, yet if for a triall thou temporize a while, the issue of their actions shall discover them. Shunne these Valeria, least they shame thee: Joyne acquaintance and use familiaritie with them onely, whose company may advance, or at least not impeach thy credite: And strive thou rather to merite this rare tytle of extraordinarie praise, that [p.22] being young in yeares, thou art old in maners, then to be noted of this common imperfection, that thy manners are as thy years, light I meane, what more should I say then this only, that on the hope of thy behaviour, my life and joyes depend: So that in thee it restes by thy well doing to cherish them, or by thy ill demeanor to cut them off: if thy entent be good, then may these words suffize, if otherwise farre more should be to fewe. This said, he ofte kist hir, bedewing plentiously hir faire cheekes with fathers teares; then committed hir to hir husbands government, and both to the almighties guidance, through whose favour, they with their traine, after some smale jorney arived in safetye at Troinovant: Aske not whether Giraldos friendes and neighbours mused to see him thus married: They were all in an extasie of admiration: but the roughest tempest is over blowne: the greatest wonder lastes but nine daies, and when the date of this was cleene expired, he not feeling the least scruple of discontent, liv'd in the pleasures of love, seeking by all means to content his young wife, which hetherto rendered him like kindnes, whether hir thoughts were yet pure, untill corrupted through bad company, or hir naturall humor of wantonnesse slept only, untill awaked by ill counsaill, (a thing to common in our age:) she bare him some prety children, a deper pledge of her yet-during loyalty: But alasse it had to sleight a permanence, for no sooner were three yeares past, then this vaine florish became frutles, and she contemptuously neglecting or burying in carelesse oblivion, hir fathers counsaile, was throughly setled in forbiden acquaintance. Pitch if touched defiles, Bad company corrupts good conditions: warme wax is apt for any impression, greene thoughts soone led to any opinion, but most commonly to imbrace the worst, for where vertue hath one affecter, vice hath many factors.
Among sundry of hir owne sex, with whom Valeria did [p.23] oft converse, there was one which in wit and wickednesse did farre exceed. Shee thought it not enough her selfe to offend, unlesse through her, others also became faultie. So that (as making a conscience of impietie) shee strove more earnestly to seduce the simple, then many to reduce the sinfull: and she had so cunningly demeaned her selfe, that Giraldos wife (circumvented by her over-reaching wiles) deemed her a deare friend, communicating with her the chiefest of her thoughts. They had many meetings, especially at gossips feasts, where alwaies (the banket beeing ended) while others held chat in common, they (somewhat withdrawing themselves) conferred in secret: and whereon soever they discoursed, this one point of her discontent, through daily feeling of more defect in her husbands declining yeares, was by Valeria sleightly touched; yet so touched, that the other might well conceit her intent. Even to be absolutely wicked, it requires time and use. No marvaile then that shee having not yet entered into an habit of sinne, was not so wholly impudent as to expresse her meaning in plaine tearmes, though still expecting when the other would take the occasion by her presented. They oft met, oft talkt, and Giraldos wife woulde still harpe somewhat on that string: and having scarse begun, with a sleight sigh, abruptly ceasde. Now was the path well troden, and they meeting soone after in like place, on a day of great solemnitie, used like matter of discourse, with the same occasion againe offered.
The other knowing her time, would not omit the advantage, but taking firme holde thereof, thus whispered to Valeria a Sirens tale. Should it then be thus, or have I thus deserved, that languishing through want of solace, you conceale from mee your hidden secrets? I have often heard, that for every sore, Nature hath planted a simple; that against everie sicknesse, Phisicke hath possibilitie of expulsive force. But well I wot, that reason containes no remedie [p.24] for care and discontent, save onely the companie and counsaile of a friend: such am I to you, and more I am, for your disease is to me knowen, though not by you disclosed: I know your youth, your husbands many yeeres; your affection, his inclination; your desires, his defects; your losse of time, his abuse of time.
This onely I feare, least your faint courage barre you from accomplishing what you most covet. But listen with attention to my discourse, setting light by such suggestions: What is beautie, the sweetnesse thereof not tasted? What more is it to those which having it, can not use it, then to Tantalus the deceiving fruit and food: what more is it to those which admiring it, can not enjoy it, then musicke to the deafe, pictures to the blind, delicious meat unto the dead? Beautie is no eternall blisse: but as the spring hath his date, so hath shee her durance limited by time: and (aye mee) too short a time. Sweetest flowers, if not gathered, wast or wither even on the ground, whence they were cherished. These glories which now doe grace us, must (if we live) receive the disgracious impression of wrinckled age: And therefore twice-ravisht Tindaris the wracke of Troy, long after her last recoverie, beholding in a glasse her aged face, did justly sigh, witnessing in her teares, how transitorie a florish her bodies late fairenesse did containe. To the Sunne, the measurer of time, Poets have assignd a charriot drawn by foure winged horses; thereby intimating, that our lives daies poste on each minute with irremorable precipitation.
Time the father of Occasion is (as his daughter) bald behinde, and hath one onely locke before, whereon unlesse you speedily lay holde, you shall for ever misse your holde. But why doe I tearme it yours, which if not used by you, can not be yours: Hereto you reply, that Geraldo is your husband, and you bound to him by the lawes of God and men. True it is, had you bound your selfe: but as enforced oathes are by many deemed meerely forcelesse, so [p.25] compelled matches are not by fewe thought nothing so materiall, as where both parties yeelde a mutually free consent. Oh how preposterous is the care of parents, which ayming more at goods then at their childrens good, weigh not on what rockes of daunger through incontinencie and reproch they cast them whome they couple with those that abound in coine, though having nought else of worth: Farre more nobly minded was Themistocles, which in bestowing his daughter, preferred the vertuous and able poore, before the sottish impotent rich: whereof being demanded the cause, he made this generous answer: I had rather (quoth hee) choose a man without mony, then money without a man: wherein doubtlesse, hee meant not onely, that he is worthie the name of a man which imbraceth vertue, but also that hee is not to be thought a man, which can not performe the act of a man where it justly is required.
What can be more unnaturall, then such inequalitie of yeeres and inclination? Which granted, howe (I pray you) can that be pleasing to God, which is so directly repugnant to the course of nature, whome hee at first created in most absolute perfection of proportionall regarde, and hath ever since, and will till the ende of this worldes times, preserve from confusion by upholding this equalitie? Thinke you that Myrobolan Trees, brought from Sunne-scorcht Susa, can prosper, if planted in frozen Scythia: or that the Northern pride of Flora can diaper the Southerne fieldes? Would you deeme that gardiner skilfull, whome you should see setting Colewortes neare the vine, which shunnes them so much by nature, that it windes another way and soone doth wither? Can that match bee lesse unmeete, where greene youth is yoakt with groning age? I have hearde that Licurgus the Spartane Lawgiver, did not onely permitte, but commaund it (as a service much meritorious to [p.26] the Common-wealth) that a vigorous man knowing an able woman matcht with an husband impotent through yeares or some naturall defect, might lawfully demaund and no lesse lawfully use her companie to raise up issue in the others behalfe, which he must acknowledge as his own. Had Giraldo and you been Spartans, living in those times, then had you enjoyed this pleasing priviledge, your husband beeing now past procreation: and hee, if discontent, in vaine had muttered: who if hee would needes marrie, should have wedded some ancient matrone, the widow of two or three husbands, which might by custome knowe how to fitte the humour of his yeares, and brooke quietly the loathsome accidents of his age, by feeling in her selfe like insufficiencie, baiting his eares with counter-coughes, and presenting to his eyes like nastie objects of filth and flegme. Breach of wedlocke had beene in her a crime inexpiable: but where the state and person of the offendour is changed, there likewise the qualitie of the offence is altered: nor can the crime bee so directly pertinent to you, (which being a child must obey) as to Theodoro, which (being your father) might and did commaund.
Be then couragious boldly to imitate the infinite examples of former times: nor are you now alone, which have for presidents me, and such my friends, as seeke with mee abroad what is not afforded us at home: If herein you consort with us, you shall likewise share with us your part of pleasures; you shall be furnisht with store of favorites, ech of gallant and goodly personage, and (which most is) of rare agilitie in acting that secret sweet service, which wee most affect. This onely is required, that you remunerate with coine the authours of your intent, bolstring up with your bags their impoverishing braveries.
Here Valeria halfe weeping, halfe wishing her self unwedded, seemd doubtful wheron to resolve: but the other following her advantage, gave not over till she had assured the con- [p.27] quest. To be short, there was a time and place determined for entering Valeria into the order: meane while the whole crue was summoned, there to assemble at the day appointed, being likewise throughly acquainted with the cause. The meetest corner for this covent was thought a gardin-house, having round about it many flowers, and within it much deflowring. Were not this age fruitfull in stranger miracles, I should have deem'd this an high marvell, that so small a plot of ground, could be so devowring a gulfe of some mens gettings: yet who knowes not that extortions fruite hath seldome fayrer ende?
But I procede; the day presign'd being come, no default was through absence made by any: there met they with their mynions, each having stopt hir husbands mouth with a feined tale, coynd extempore, Valeria not slacke to such devotion, came with the first, seeming to her selfe most fortunate, in becoming a sister of that society: They had there a costly banquet made at their common charge, so fraught with dainties, so furnisht with varietie of choycest delicates, that by their diet, there dispositions might bee well discerned; for this is the fewell which feedes and cherisheth the fyer of lust: Sine Cerere et Libero friget Venus, When they had stoutly carowsed and throughly pampered themselves, with these provoking preparatives, the table being now uncovered, they fell from quaffing to discoursing; then one of the dames and shee most impudent, (if this their excesse admitted any such degree of difference) calde for her lute, which fingering too fitly, for so unfit a purpose, shee accorded thereto with hir voice, and bewrayed (as followes) in a Canzon, the occasion of there meeting.
Happie lot to men assign'd
Hartes with harts in love combinde:
Love the some of earthly sweetes,
Where with mutuall love it meets:
Not consisting all in lookes,
Like to Idols, lay-mens bookes;
But who tryes, this true shall prove:
Action is the life of love,
Why slacke we then to bath in sweet delight,
Before our day be turn'd to endlesse night?
Fairest things, to nothing fade,
Wrapt in deaths eternall shade:
Hence I prove it beauties crime,
Not to reape the fruits of time;
Time which passeth swift as thought;
Time whose blisse is dearely bought;
Dearely bought so soone to faile us;
Soone, that should so long availe us.
Why slacke wee then to bath in sweete delight,
Before our daye be turnd to endlesse night?
Love and beautie fade together,
Fickle both as changing weather:
Age or sicknes wastes the one,
That doth faile, when this is gone:
Let us then while both doth last,
Use them both, eare both be past.
Sport we freely while wee may,
Yet a while it will be daye.
Oh but this day drawes on to endlesse night,
And with our life, still weares our loves delight.
Soone ah soone was Adon slaine,
Bashfull boy how faire in vaine!
Fram'd by nature to be loov'd:
Fram'd, but why, himselfe not mov'd?
Dide hee not in prime of youth,
Prime of beautie, pray to ruth.
Dye he did, himselfe preventing;
Sotte, unworthy all lamenting.
Oh thinke on him which changing safe delight,
For certaine danger, turn'd his day to night.
But me thinks I talking see,
How each minute slippes from me.
Losse I deeme the least delay;
Hast we then to this sweete play,
Whence is suckt the sappe of pleasure,
Such as love by time doth measure:
Love that gardes his mothers forte,
Peeping oft to see the sport:
A sport how rare, how rich in sweete delight?
But we how dull, how nere our day to night!
Scarce had she ended, when they began, whose courages too prompt by custome, were by wine whet on to wantonnes. Caetera quis nescit? We may more then guesse what was the sequell, by noting the precedence, both bad, but the latter a wrong inexpiable to the right of wedlocke: a matter so offensive to modest ears, that even impudence might blush relating it: but thoughts blush not to whom I referre it. Lust staine to love, bane to beautie, path to shame, wanted here no effects: for Valeria thus entered into this exercise, likt the game so well, that thenceforth she could never leave it.
Boldnesse bred by use grewe so absolute, in being dissolute, that it seemed in hir a second nature: who committing sinne with gredines, by offending in one, became faulty in many. For most vices are linked together in such an union of affinity, and cleave so sister-like in one knot, (each mutually depending on the other) that never any is imployed alone. This lustful dame not liking hir native beautie (though sufficient) would needes augment it with artificiall braveries, leaving no device unplotted, no deceipt unpractised, to make gratious hir [p.30] gracelesse selfe: And I feare she hath herein too many followers, which spoyle there stommacks with unsavory myxtures thereby to seeme eye-sweete, though scarce hartsounde; or repaire their ruinous faces, by overlaying them with a false glosse of adulterine fayrenesse, whereas chaste beautie scorns acquaintance with Apothecaryes boxes. But why talke I of chastity, treating of a subject so unchast; wherin whatsoever conceipt, or custome might afforde, shee faild not to apply effectually: And the more to garnish these bastard glories, she ware alwaies such oversumptuous attyre, that many in desert, and dignitie farre exceding hir, were in this, as farre behind hir.
No common fashion could please hir fancie, but it must be strange, and stately, drawing many eyes to gaze on hir; which aym'd wholly at singularitie, glorying to bee peerelesse in hir pompe. Never was any to hir power more lavish in varietie of wastefull vanities: never any so perverse in pride,and with such difficulty to be pleased: For were the least stitch in hir Atyre not as shee would have it, though the garment most fayre and costly, the Tailor most rare and cunning, yet would shee furiously fling it from hir, with purpose never to weare it; so that the sillye workeman set at his non plus, lost both hir custome and the creedit of his workmanshippe. Next I note hir gluttonous appetite, not in the quantitie, but in the qualitie of hir fare, which was so delicate and over daintie, that this lust-pampering diet, was no decorum in hir husbandes state. To prevent ill smelles, shee alwaies furnisht hir howse and garments with choyce perfumes, hir eyes deigned no tryviall objects: without musicke no meat woulde downe, so mightily was this modest creature troubled (forsooth) with melancholy. Thus every sence, had his excesse, and (which more is) hir gylefull lookes shareing with the Adamant his attractive power, could by an odde tricke whereto shee had inured them, worke petty wonders. [p.31] If pacing in the streets she had seene any, whose outward semblance, might argue his inward sufficience, she would court him with a glance, whereto if he answered with the like, then was the match halfe made, and they neded but one meeting to assure the bergaine. Deeme you this not wonderfull, to pleade passion in dumbe action; to speake in silence, and speede by signes? Oh why was sinne thus Ingenious, to excogitate so close a method for the furtherance of misdoing, or why should wantons exceede in wit, therby to spurre on there unbridled wills? Thus you see that nothing wanted, save only the cloking of hir crime, with the shew of holynesse and religion, whose outward pretext is now a practise of great import, and a mightie piller of such carnall devotion. Sinne appearing in his owne collors, should soone be knowen. A smoth habit of hipocresie is definde by some, an intellectuall vertue, though a morall vice. But the hauting of private conventicles being then not heard of, this pollicy could have no ground. Yet Valeria though wanting, so great an helpe, wanted no favorites, whose number by other meanes she still augmented: they strayning lustely their power in all sorts possible, (if any possible at full to please hir) were oft inforced for supply of their exhausted pith, to diet themselves with drugs, and trot dayly to th'apoticaries for such trash. Of this crue the chiefe competitor was named Arthemio, whose advantage the wily Dame dissembling, did so temper hir intemperate lookes, and thereby held him in such suspence, that though she somwhat gracd him above the rest, because loath to leave him; yet could he not gather by hir countenance any assurance of his content. Hir pollicie was, by concealing his prerogative, to retaine hir soveraintie: Hir feare, that by disclosing it, she should arme his thoughts with insolencie, and he shake off that subjection wherein now shee had him: Arthemio which looked for a better market by Giraldos death, then present maintenance in his life, failde not [p.32] to imbrace all likely meanes, to make use of all occasions, to applye each opportunitie for the attaining and assuring of Valerias favour to himselfe; still doubting his desires accomplishment, because not privie to his owne desart. After many thoughtes, hee deem'd this course the best, to seeme ravished by hir beautie; for well hee knewe, that herein to flatter women was highly to please them: In effecting which resolution, he did so quaintly counterfeite the drouping lover, both in his lookes, and other gestures, that her witte blinded through selfe-conceipt, was by his wiles farre over-reacht. At sight of hir hee would seeme so fillde with joy, as if hir presence, weare his onely pleasure. When shee left him, he would sigh, and faine such sorrow, as if his comfort began and ended with hir company.
Thus had he his lookes at such commaundment, as women have their teares: when shee talked he listned with such attention, as if hir voice had beene inchantingly melodious: ofte, (but on purpose when shee sawe him) he would steale a broken loke on hir: then (as loath that shee shoulde note him) cast downe his eyes, and fourthwith raise them to revewe hir. Hee would invite hir to sumptuous banquets, ofte solicite hir with amorous conceipts, of which so many, I have related two as instances of the rest, wherein you may cleerely see hir blindnesse, with his bouldnesse. In the prime of their acquaintance it chanced that Arthemio was earnestly intreated to make one in a maske, for the gracing of a mariage; which request he sone granted, knowing that Valeria (though with hir husbande) should be there a guest, to whom intending some odde toy in writing, because assurd that without suspicion he coulde not there imploy his tongue, and for that cause would not presume to much on his visard, he pende immediatly some feawe extemporall lines, with purpose there to deliver them which might fully intimate his forg'd affection. The time came; the maskers in their disguise appeard, when Arthemio having first taken [p.33] his mystris to the measures, and then withdrawing hir the daunce being ended, briefely whispered in hir eare his name, and conveyed into hir hande these lines: which done, he left her. Shee finding that night an opportunitie (for shee could commaunde occasions, haveing hir husbande at controlement) perused his slight passion which followes thus.
As when a wave-bruisd barke, long tost by the winds in a tempest
Straies on a forraine coast, in danger still to be swallow'd,
After a world of feares, with a winter of horrible objects,
Heav'n in a weeke of nights obscur'd, day turnd to be darknes,
The shipmans solace, faier Ledas twinnes at an instant,
Signes of a calme are seene, and seene are shrilly saluted:
So to my drooping thoughts, when sorrow most doth await me
Your subduing lookes, in fayrenesse first of a thousand,
(Staine to the brightest star, that gildes the roofe of Olimpus)
Calm'd with a kind of aspect, vouchsafe large hopes to releve me:
Such is your bewty, which makes your bounty so powrful;
Such to mee your bewty, which makes your bounty so blisful;
Whose each worth to relate, my worthlesse pen is unable:
Haires of a goldlike hewe; (not purest gould so refulgent)
Pearle-like piercing eyes (not purest pearles so relucent)
Cheekes of a maiden dye, with a snow white circle adorned:
That rosy-redde as a rose, this Lillie white as a lillye;
Not such a red, such a white, to be seene in a Rose or a Lillie.
Every part so repleat with more then could be required,
That to behold hir worke, ev'n Natures selfe was amased.
Muse not then that I love, but muse that I live, if I love not:
Muse that I draw my breath, mine eyes, not drawne by thy bewty.
Yet, shal I love in vain, in vain such bewty beholding,
Deem so to love, so to looke, that lokes and love be rewardles:
Better it is to be dead, by death from cares to be cleered;
Cares the records of love, sowre love when slightly regarded.
Grant me then (o fayrest) assurance so to be fancied,
That nor I droope dismaide, nor doubt, not fully resolved.
Valeria having red this toy, smilde to thinke how hee which had on hir so mighty an advantage, was held by hir at such a bay, because not privie to his owne prerogative. Thus did they both dissemble; hee in feining great affection where little was, she in making shewe of little, where much was. Upon occasion of this toye Valeria at their next meeting thus saluted him. Servant you are welcome from the Sea: what newes (I pray you) among shipmen? Arthemio smelling hir drift, and liking well the motion, but dissembling it, replyde thus: Mistres it were strange hee shoulde be welcome from the sea, which never saw the sea: But more strange (quoth shee) that land-men should in stormes be driven to expect ayde from starres; sith to them the greatest tempestes are meere trifles, if we weigh the seas huge tossing. Yet (quoth Arthemio) such may the storms be, and such the starres, that the one may be as ruthfull, and the other as requisite: That you meane (quoth shee) by the sandy sea, where men are oft drownde in dust, and their bodies remnants become drugges. But it seems by your short returne, and sound complexion, that you were not a passenger in those parts.
Hereto Arthemio thus answered: the sea wherein I yet do saile, readie still to sinke, if not supported by your favour, is no lesse strange then that of sand; for amidst the flambe I freise: (such are my feares) amidst the floode I flame (such is the fervor of my affection,) my shippe floats, yet not on water; the waves which beat on it are sobbes: It sailes, yet on no sea; the windes which breath on it are sighes. But by your leave (replyed Valeria) are you still a sea-man, and not yet on shore? Then was my welcome ill bestow'd, before your selfe were well arriv'd: but to unmaske this misterie, me thinks your sea is very metaphoricall, and I muse that where the lymits are so straight; the danger can be so extreame: It is (quoth hee) generally observed, that the floode is roughest, where most restrained. [p.35] And no lesse generally noted (quoth shee) that the Sea is of Elements the most uncertaine, whose waves are by each gale of wind raisde in billowes. If then your application hold as generall, I rather commend your Metaphors conceit, then your mindes constancie. But it were (said hee) injustice to charge the Patient with the Agents fault. Although my thoughtes (my fancies Sea) tost twixt vaine hopes and feares, plunge my heart in dire perplexities: yet that my sillie shippe, ranging in this rockey Ocean of despaire, though not having still one Current, strives still to keepe one course: and amidst so many changes, remaines unchanged, though tirde with troubles, which are (some say) loves surest trialls. Accuse not then, much lesse condemne that of disloyaltie, whereto life shall sooner faile then it to love: and which sooner may by death be broken, then breake those Adamantine bondes, wherein your beautie making through mine eyes a breach, holdes it inthrald. But why talke I as if in me it rested to repeale my passions, which doe share with the stone Abeston his retentive vertue? For as that being once hote is never after colde, so my fancie fettered in affections chaines by your soule-intangling fairenesse, is now not capable of libertie. Or rather (quoth Valeria) your thoughtes masked under your deceiving lookes disguise, resemble the Camelion; and as that can in a moment be clad with any colour, but retaines none; so your fancie can at the view of every pleasing face, forge new passions, but persist in none. Hereat Arthemio guiltie to himselfe, did bite the lippe, because knowing she spake the truth; yet comforted, in that shee meant it not a truth, but onely as tearmes of course, whereto as he would have answered, other companie brake off their conference: and they with the rest fell from loose talke to lustfull toying: dreading nothing lesse, then that their leudnesse could be discovered.
His second humour was this: Against Valerias birth- [p.36] day hee had of purpose pend this following Dittie, and on the verie day sent it her by that trull, through whose counsell shee was first seduced, and into whose familiaritie hee had of late insinuated, because knowing how much Valeria did love and trust her. Shee comming as a friend and neighbour, and beeing withall a notable hypocrite, had both easie accesse and privat conference without suspition: for it seemd a thing not to be doubted of, that the subject of their talke was onely some gossips matter, as among women it is ordinarie. Beeing thus alone with her, after a large preface of Arthemios deepe affection (for so had he before concluded) shee delivered her on his behalfe this welcome present, which Valeria forthwith unfolding, read as followeth.
Let others use what Calenders they please,
And celebrate their common holidayes;
My rules for time, my times of joy and ease
Shall in my zeale blaze thy perfections praise:
Their names and worth they from thy worth shal take,
And highly all be honoured for thy sake.
That day shall to my thoughts still holy be,
Which first vouchsafde thy beautie to mine eyes;
That day when first thou deigndst to favour me,
And each from some peculiar grace arise:
But mongst them all, my dutie shall attend
This more then all, on which they all depend.
Haile happie day, to whome the world doth owe
The blissefull issue of that influence,
Which from the force of best aspects did growe,
In luckiest house of heav'ns circumference:
Haile happie day that first didst shewe this aire,
To her whom Fairenes self doth yeeld more faire.
Nere be thy brightnes dimd by wind or raine;
No cloud on thee forestall Hyperions light;
On thee no doome pronounc'd of death or paine;
No death or paine endurde; no bloudie fight:
But be thou peacefull, calme, and cleare for aye;
Let feasts and triumphes choose thee for their day.
On thee I vowe to rest from all affaires,
To give large almes to poore distressed men;
Not to profane thy joy by fretting cares;
To send my saint some tribute of my pen;
And when thou dawn'st, devoutly still to say,
Haile happie, holy, high, and heav'nly day.
Such and so long may be to me her love,
As Ile this vow religiously maintaine;
So may my plaints her heart to pittie moove,
As from my heart I speake: let false hearts faine.
Haile happie day; but then how happie shee,
Who makes this day thus happie unto me!
Gentlemen, you need not doubt that Valeria, whose oversoothing humor made her interprete flatterie for truth, was no lesse proude of this then of the former, howsoever she dissembled her inward content, even to her sinnes owne secretarie and chiefe directour, least Arthemio should by her meanes lay holde on that assurance, which by himselfe hee could not gather. But marke (I pray you) how thicke a mist of dotage Giraldos good nature had cast before his eyes. As the trull was redie to depart, he would needes force her to tarrie dinner, telling her merily that this was his wives birth-day, whereon he had provided an extraordinarie dish, and thought none so meete as her selfe to taste [p.38] thereof, beeing so kinde and loving a neighbour, requesting her withall to repayre oftener to his house, to visit and passe away the time with his wife, and when she walked abroad, to beare her company. They hearing these wordes, did in their lookes argue each to other their high content, grounding (though falsly) on his simplicitie, the safe continuance of their delights, as being thereby exempted from all dread and danger of discoverie. But the highest flood hath the lowest ebbe, the hottest Sommer presignifies the coldest winter; tempestes in the prime of Autumne, are least dreaded, but most dangerous. Shame sinnes guerdon, is then nearest, when through selfe-soothing securitie, the feare thereof is fardest. And as the fish Remora, though little, can stay the greatest shippe: and the Crocodile though in the shell one of the least, prooves afterwarde the greatest Serpent that haunts the shore of Nilus: so not seldome in this worldes accidentes the detecting of deepest crimes, springs from the lightest and most unlikely occasions: for proofe of which assertion, I neede no farther instance than this subject whereon I intreat.
Giraldo among other servants, had one named Jockie, a sillie boy borne in the North of Albion, and employed in basest errands, such commonly as concerned the kitchen: It chaunced on a time, that as Valeria had left the house, gone foorth of purpose to sport with her companions, immediatly after her departure, this Jockie was sent abroad, when (straying in a boyish humor to gaze on the gayest objects in some other street) hee espied suddenly his Mistresse before him, and stept backe as halfe amazed; but recalling forthwith his courage, and noting more exactly one of her company, whose lewde and dissolute life was commonly known, he began knavishly to suspect, that ech of her other mates were likewise of the same mould. To confirme or confute which imagination, he followed them aloofe; yet so warily, that hee saw them housde, himselfe not seene: and [p.39] closely hovering neere the dore, espied their minions entering in order, with other such apparant likelihoods, as hee now no longer suspected, but certainely beleeved, that Giraldo his master was as soundly armde for the head, as either Capricorne or the stoutest hornd signe in the Zodiacke. Having made this triall, he departed, doubtfull what to determine: for on the one side, hee foresawe his owne most assured daunger, in revealing what hee had discovered, sith well hee knewe that one of his mistres wordes could overweigh, one of her teares wipe out a volume of accusations by him produc'd: which graunted, what then might follow but this, that the guerdon of his tongues lavishnes, should be laide on his shoulders? Besides, his Mistresse by this meanes irreconciliable, for women which by nature imbrace extreames, beeing therein onely constant, persist not so in any as in malice: and what mischiefe that might effect, he though young, had for his owne part experience enough. But on the other side well hee sawe, that his Masters credite alreadie stainde, and his disgrace daily augmented, would spread so it selfe, still gathering force by going forward, that if not now restrained, it must needs at last to his then-greater shame, and incurable sorrowe, either by others be detected, or of it selfe breake forth: for never yet was sinne long in league with secrecie.
Tender twigges may with ease be bowed: the full growen tree sooner broken, then bent. The now-detecting of Valerias crime, might recall her, and prevent Giraldos future reproch, but her offence if longer cherished by sin-noursing silence, would in the end become inexpiable. In regard hereof Jockie couragiously resolv'd to overpeaze the feare of danger with the care of dutie. In which vaine returning home, and beeing accusde of loytering by such as sent him, he appealed to his master, by whome likewise being sharply demanded the cause of his long tariance, he revealed to him in secret what he had seene, and proov'd to himselfe a true prophet, in receiving for [p.40] his thanklesse service, that guerdon which before hee justly feared. For Giraldo ayming amisse at his inclination, deemed this a villanous device forgde by the boy to breed discord between him and his wife: wherof this was no sleight presumption, in that Valeria was ever sharpe to him. But when Jockie (which would not cowardly give over having thus entred) continued his discoveries, still furnisht with more friendly opportunities, and did oft constantly offer upon the hazard of the whip, to make his master eye-witnes of that, whereof his eares deignd no acceptance; Giraldo at last deeply revolving in his pensive thoughts the boies large proffer, and much desirous to know at full the state of his own forehead, wherein he seemd to feele alreadie some alteration, agreed to his request, waiting a convenient time; and being then by him conducted, saw what hee sighd to see, and for ever sorrow'd to remember. Now jealousie (of all hags most hellish) whose never closed eies in number infinite, shun truce with sleep, whose tongues and eares equalling her eyes are still imploid, these in listning, they in whispering. This fiend (I say) shedding her selfe into his thoughts, and pouring into every vaine her venime, did by continuall torturing of his caretired soule, gather up the losses of her long delay: now wrought she on his intangled wits as on an anvill, hatching in his brains unwonted horrors. He that earst weighed not his friends words dissuading him from mariage, did now more then admire his truth-presaging wisdom, and much bewaild his own folly, in not crediting such good counsell: he that earst doted in blindnes, seemd now as cleere-sighted in discovering Valerias fault, as far-seeing Linceus in discrying the Punique fleet. He that earst deemd all gospell which his wife spake, did now dread deceit in every sillable, and mistrusted her each step, ech looke, ech sigh, ech smile: briefly, whatsoever by her was done, he deemd misdon. But how in nature could earth-incinerating Aetnas wombe big swolne with flames, brooke inclosure, nor enforce an issue through violent eruption? [p.41] The world-circling Ocean, threatning in his fomie source a second deluge, if not let blood in hollow Cavernes, and thence suckt up by the thirstie earth, would overflow the continent: aire restraind breakes forth in whirlwinds: wrong'd loves restles (if once raisd) suspicion, the thoughts-burning Aetna, boyling Ocean, and ever-blustring whirlwind, piercing thorough the eares unto the heart, must be in words exprest, or the drooping mind by wo supprest.
Giraldo therfore, that he might disburden his overburdened selfe, no longer able to sustaine his sorowes weight, faild not to imbrace the first occasion, chose his time, made his triall, and thus sadly breaking silence he bespake Valeria. Wife, I had thought until experience proov'd it false, that outward gifts were ever linkt with inward graces; but now I find, that in the sweetest fruits wormes are soonest bred; that the finest cloth is soonest eaten with consuming mothes; the freshest colours soonest tainted by defacing spots; even from fairest roses, spiders suck their fatall poison. Trothles Valeria (but I want a sharper Epithet) when first I saw thee, I affected thee, my love taking life from thy looks fairenes, yet well hop'd I of thy then-seeming vertues forwardnes, which hope long I held; but it now hath left me, and I too late have learnd, that as Iris hath many colours but none continuing, Proteus at his pleasure any shape, but none certaine; the sea many calmes, but yet the wary shipman never secure; so thy wit wrested by wantonnes, made, how faire a shew of vertue, thy selfe still nothing lesse then vertuous! But when the substance failes, needs must the shadow fade. Time the father of truth, drawing from before mine eyes the vaile of dotage which closde them as in a cloud, hath unclaspt the legend of thy lives shame, to weare out my life with sorow.
Shame (I say) which never shall have end; sorrow, which death alone may end. Muse not if that for which I still have lov'd thee, be now to me barren of delight, sith that which long I hopte in thee, had never harbor in thy thoughts. O thou of women the most unwomanly, say and sigh (if not all shameles) [p.42] wherein have I deserv'd this injury? Or by what wrong provokt (if any wrong sufficient to provoke an honest mind) hast thou yeelded that to others which by the lawes of God and men thou owest to me alone? Did I ever countermand thy desires, ever contradict thy designments; ever crosse thee, or unkindely thwart thee in thy commandements? Didst thou not alwaies go when thou wouldst, wither and with whome thou wouldst, spend what thou wouldest, rule without controlment, disposing all things at thy pleasure? Oh therein I wrought thy wracke, strengthening thy corrupt nature with corrupting libertie. But aye mee, my wordes work in thy countenance no change. What? Have thy cheeks forgot to blush, thy heart to feele compunction, thine eies to shed due teares? Teares they shed such as the Crocodill, to ensnare the silly passenger, not tears to argue thy contrition. Thou which are for sinne too fleshly, for repentance are too stonie. Oh if thou wouldst but sigh, I should hope of thy amendment: but sigh thou wilt not, or thou canst not: wilt not, in that thou art too wilfull; canst not, because long custome hath wholly corrupted thee. Here hee pausd; for to proceede griefe would not permit him: but Valeria though not looking for such a lesson, yet bearing it out with a bold face, wherein impudencie was throughly setled, after a tempest of rough termes, urged him to produce the authors of his accusation: which when he had done, naming Jockie and himself, she standing stoutly in defiance of them both, and renewing her railing vaine, would in the heat of her womanish fury, have sillie Jockie thrust out of the house, as the breeder of their discord: But herein he withstanding her, began now in vain to use that which of right to him belonged, I meane, the husbandes soveraigntie, by her sexe so much affected, by her still usurpt with most advantage: for how could he now recover what his long sufferance had to her confirmed? The fault whereof resting wholly in himselfe, the effect thereof did likewise to himself wholly redound: which in over-fondly manifesting his entire affection (a secret by husbands warily [p.43] to be handled) arm'd hir impietie with impudencie, hir impudence with impunitie. But while nature slept that jelosie might awake, there followed a mightie change: for the mildnesse in him so much commended, which appearing from his birth, wanne to him the mindes of all those which converst with him, was now vanquisht by modyrage; nor such rage to be condemned, if we weigh the ground whence it arose. They had therefore nought to marvaile at, which sawe their former discord, dasht by following disagrement, his love now, converted to loathing sith hir love perverted by lust, or his wonted kindnesse dying in unkinde upbradings: the cause amply warants the effect. Giraldo ofte inveighing, because seeing in hir no amendment, yet had ever the disadvantage: For shee openly defying and denying whatsoever he objected, hoping to bear out hir crime with bouldnesse, thought it not enough hir selfe to overmatch him wearying his eares with outragious scoulding (for with hir tongue shee was as tall a warriouresse as any of hir sex:) but which is worst, set on his owne children, to revile their silly father: they though traind up from their cradle in all bouldnesse and neglect of duety, were herein impiously obedient, too promptly conceaving and practising their wicked mothers death-worthie doctrine. Like examples fewe ages can afforde, feawe countryes yealde, much lesse should Albion (pollished so with civilitie, and native mildenesse of well ordered manners) harbor such unheard of heinousnesse, which is rare even to the barbarous Getes. Giraldo haveing till then helde out in changing bitter termes with hir, was hereat so amated, that he now no longer wished to live: In his howse he had no joy, sith there bayted thus by them, which from his bowells had their beeing. But when shunning ofte his home, he strayed abroade revolving in himselfe with many sighes his infinite fore-passed cares, present corrosives, and likelihoode of farre greater ensuing griefe; Jockey in [p.44] his absence never wanted blowes, nor shee a cause, though faulse, yet seeming just, haveing a witte so rich to coyne occasions, power so absolute, and a will so much inflamed with wrath to use them.
Thus both the master and the man, the one in minde, the other in bodie by this Tyrannesse outragiously afflicted, wished the first never to have weded hir; the second that his master had herein likewise been by hir over-mastred, when to thwart hir fury, he would needs retaine him stil in service; But she not moved by hir crimes discovery, proceeded dayly in misdoing, with so stoborne unrelenting wilfulnesse, that soner might the sonne melt with his beames, the ever ysie-bulke of waylesse Caucasus, over whose snow-manteled shoulders they glance without reflection; Then hir sinfrozen thoughts melt with true sorrowe, or (which is lesse) hir heedelesse eares, admit (though sleightly) holsome counsailes; eares more deafe to friendes reproovinges, then are the wrack-rich Libique rocks, or the guestlesse ship-swalowing Sirtes, to the cries of dying marriners: such force hath custome even against nature: Then how invincible where backed (as here it was) by native perversitie? When Ulisses mates turn'd from men to beastes, through the taste of Circes potions, had it afterwarde in their owne choyce, whether they would so remaine, or reasuming their former shapes, returne from beastes to men againe; they would in no sort be remetamorphosed, aleadging, that in this there brutishe state, they were farre more exempted from hart-gnawing greefe, farre more secure, then when their bodies were with humane shape invested: which fiction moralized as Homer ment it, doth not onely note our lives troubles fraught with infinite distressing dangers, but likwise, that when reason is by affection overruled, and the soule our better parte, slave to the bodies tyrannye, our baser parts, such as are charmed with the love of sensuall delights (wherein we wholly communicate with beasts [p.45] and degenerating from our states decorum, participate with them their nature, which is altogether led by sence-bred appetits) are then so deeply bewitcht with wantonnes, that they will sooner dye for love of it: then while they live, in any sort assent to leave it: but as the byting of the Aspicke, brings death as in a slumber, the assault therof not being felt; so where defiling lust doth raigne at full, they whose thoughtes it hath polluted, have no feeling of their destroying follyes, till plungd in the midst of their deserved paines. When the floode is at his highest source, then takes the ebe his turne, Valerias crime fostered through long concealing, was nowe subject to sinnes desteny, which is, to bee as openly discovered, as it was before closely covered: Hir offence earst privately reveald to hir wrong'd husbande, did soone after become publique; and with hir, the partnours of hir impyetie shard like fortune. For what can be more just, then that they which sinne together, should participate the shame therof together? And thus it was: After many meetinges, many mischiefes perpetrated by that troope of trulles, it chanced that in one of their fleshly synods, newes were tould of a great solemnitie, which within fewe dayes was to bee celebrated, with much royalty at the courte: whereupon at Valerias motion, they immediatly resolv'd, that suted in mens attyre, they would meete there in a maske, there favorits; which promisd without faile there to finde them, and after one sporte acted by themselves, to act on them another, with so much the more safetie, by how much the farder they should bee from their husbandes: whose noses growing now with their hornes somwhat longe, coulde smell shrowdly any thing at hande.
Was then there laying out of curled heare, (salving oft the wants of their almost hearelesse scalpes) so light a crime? Their buskes, and that great bumme of Paris, that vaile of lechery, so slight a sinne, (beeing so soveraigne a remedy for bigge bellyes, which ofte at a pinch helpe forwarde the worldes increase [p.46] with swelling zeale,) were there other former faults such veniall offences, that to exceede them all, and herein only able to exceede them, they must disguise there sexe? But why marvell I at their desire to seeme men, sith they so mightily affected men? Yet could they not conveigh their illcontriv'd intent with such secrecie, but that sundry knewe thereof (for amongst so many how coulde all be silent?) passing thus from one mouth to an other it came in the ende to the heering of certaine courtiers, of which one, the greatest in account, deepely abhorring so odyous an enterprize, bouldly reveald it to the prince of those times, who desiring to see the issue of their impudence, (though deeming it almost impossible, that anye of that sex should be so shamelesse) commanded generall silence, and such semblance, as if nothing were discover'd. They going forward with their attempt, fayld not to assemble at the day assigned, each being cas'd in hir mynions best attyre: then using the benefite of the darke, which is gilty of many mischiefes, they came to the court, and there suing for farther accesse, obtain'd it, thinking of nothing lesse, then that they were intrapt: But to dispatch the matter breefely; In the midst of their jolitie, they were by the princes commaundemente all forceably unmaskt, standing then before hir, as stony Images, not blushing ought at this bewraying of their lewdnes, though environd, and like monsters gazd on by many eyes, nor making any shewe of sorrowe, for their soveraigns sharpe rebukes, which conceiving no hope of their amendment, sent them home with open shame unto their husbands. The griefe wherof pinched Giraldo so nere the heart, that he fell through sorrow into a greevous sicknesse, which wasted so his infeebled body, that all remedies fayling, his last musique was the sextons unison, sommoning him with a dolefull sounde, to make ready for his longest home. When no lesse desirous of death, then disparing of life, he causd all [p.47] in the chamber to withdrawe, (Valeria excepted) whom calling to him, he thus bespake: Might these last wordes worke that remorse in thee, which my former speeches never could effect: I should deeme my selfe not wholly unhappie. That I am sicke, thou seest: that dangerously sick, I feele: the cause thy folly: long have wee liv'd together, in litle joy, lesse agrement; our jarring grounded on thy falshood, not my fault; unlesse it were a fault, with too much love to foster thy too much libertie: But I cease to relate former injuries, at thought whereof I may justly wish with Augustus, that I had liv'd wivelesse, and died childlesse: bee it a full amendes for all these misdemeanors, heedfully to observe and followe, that which I nowe shall speake, not as a husband, (though in that name I should commaund) but as a friend, no lesse carefull of thy soule, then thou carelesse of my safety: First, if thou canst conteine thy lust, live still a widowe; for who heareing of thy loosenesse, wil mary thee for love; and to whom is not thy shame knowen? If then hee wed thee for wealth, finding (as needes he must) thy sinne grounded on my too much sufferance; how slavish shall thy life be under him? I omit to urge thy childrens hinderance by an unadvised match.
Next I counsell thee in no sort to change the seat of thy aboade; for what else should that argue, then a meer dispayre of recovering thy lost good name? Continue then where now thou art, earnestly endeavouring to wipe out the blemish of thy former leawdnesse, by imbraceing henceforth, and persisting to the ende, in an honest course of life: so shall the same place and persons that sawe thee vicious, see likewise thy returne to vertue; the report whereof received from others might justly be doubted, but their owne witnesse to themselves must needes bee authenticall. Beleeve me Valeria thou canst not otherwise weare out the impression of thy shame; nor can it in such sort bee so curde, that no scarre will remaine: This for thee: and thus breefely [p.48] for thy children: sith the shortnesse of my time, warnes mee likewise to be short in talke: God lent us three all sonnes, one of which he hath taken againe unto himselfe: that the happiest: Two he hath left to us, and I leave to thee: Reforme them with thy selfe; see them well instructed, taught to imbrace vertue, and abhorre vice: Such hetherto hath beene their education, that I greeve to remember it: but thou maiest joy to better it: Libertye is the bane of youth; not for a time, as the honny of Colchos, which doth inebriate those that taste it, and distract with one dayes madness those that greedelye doe eate it: But this soule-contaminatinge poysson, strengthned by custome, growes incurable: Purge then from this infection their tender thoughts, while they yet are each way flexible. That thou lovest them I doubt not, but that thy love will cherish their leawdnesse, I justly dread, and therefore do thus warily admonish thee; bee thou as wary and willing to performe what I requier, tending so greatly to their good: In hope whereof I leave to thee, and after thee to them what so ever I possesse: And on condition heereof I forgive both them and thee all the wronges which you have doone mee: But if you faile heerein; then, when my soule shall at the seaventh Angels sounde, take againe this my bodie and you be cited before the impartiall Tribunall of the devine majesty, I wil accuse you as guiltie of them all chiefely of my death, whereof you joyntly are the causers; death which I imbrace so willingly, that could Nature for my wordes disclame hir due, and the inexorable destinies, for my laments reverse their dome, limiting to my dayes a longer date; yet woulde I inforce death, by not suing for longer life: And dye I must, for now I fainte even unto death; nowe faile my powers: nowe doth each sence denye his service; And gratious heaven seeming to exhale my soule, will resume it [p.49] whence I received it: farewell Valeria, thinke on my wordes, as God shall thinke on thee. This saide hee, and seald it with a sigh; then after many groanes yealded the ghost: rendring his spirit to his maker.
But his body was no sooner breathlesse, then Jockie was turned to his shiftes: whose good service, had not his kinde maister secretly guerdonized before his death, doubtlesse his estate had beene very harde. Valeria, though having cleene forgotten hir husbandes wordes, which shee markte no longer, then while hee spake them, provided yet for his buriall in the best sorte; and so much the rather, because in his decease shee joyed the fulnesse of hir own desires. His corpes was with funerall pompe conveyed to the Church: And there sollemnly enterred; nothing omitted which necessitie or custome coulde claime; A sermon, a banquet, and like observations. Haveing thus laide him, where shee wisht him long before, shee was nowe a lustie widowe, and courted by that crue of gallantes, whose braveries in hir husbands lifetime shee had upheld, dreining out the quintessence of his bagges to garnishe with gay robes their backes. But Arthemio whose harvest of farre greater hopes then these, was nowe come, which he so long had loockt for, and in regarde thereof woulde not with the rest make profit of hir former prodigalitie: seeing nowe time and occasion smyling on him, slacked not his affayres, but to prevent the first in forwardnesse, and sooner then in reason he should, immediatly on Giraldos buriall, sued for accesse, which finding as hee expected, and for his more incoragement veweing in his mistris countenance, no cloudes of discontent, he thus began his wooing.
It is a custome still in use with christians,
to attend the funerall of their deceased friendes
with whole [p.50] chantries of choyce quire-men,
singing solemnly before them: but behinde followes a
troope all clad in blacke, which argues mourning:
much have I marveled at this ceremony, deeming it
till now, some hidden paradox, confounding thus in
one, things so opposite as these signes of joy and
sorrowe. But your late good fortune, inforst me to
cancell this fond opinion: for if singing do with
most right belong to joying, who may then so justly
as your selfe, set on worke a world of singers, to
celebrate the day of your recovered liberty, from
the tirannous controlement of a jelous sot? To
gratulate which your good happe, I have thus
adventured, nor lesse to prosecute my owne hopes,
doom'd to live or dye at your disposing; herein
resembling transformed Clitie, which as the angry
Sunne doth rise or set, opens or shuts (silly
Nimph) hir saffron-coloured brest: Sith then the
making or marring of my hopes, doth wholly rest in
you: deigne rather to quicken them by a gratious
regard, then to kill them by a disgratious repulse:
make me rather the mirror of your clemency, then the
martyre of your cruelty. If you fancye any worthier
then my selfe, I shall droope for my defects: yf any
meaner then my selfe, you shall derogate from my
deserts: But ay mee, what deserts have I to
alleadge, if true affection be no deserte? This
saide, he pawsd, as feeling some deeper passion,
but Valeria no longer able to dissemble, thus with a
smile replide (for weeping was alreadie out of
season) Servant (quoth she) that true affection
merits favour, reason grants; that not ever barren
of desert, thy fortune shall yealde sufficient
proofe; whose desires I have hitherto dieted with
dismaying doubts, thereby to make tryall of thy
constancie: which finding each way faultlesse, I
will not that through me it should be frutlesse:
But to make amends for tyring so thy minde with long
suspence, and to remunerate thy fancies loyalty, with
more then lookes, I yeald wholly to thy disposing,
my selfe, my substance, and whatsoever [p.51] to me
is deerest: Thy comming was to speake, thy good hap
to speede both of love and living, largely able to
equall thy desires with thy deserts, and be this the
earnest of my true intent: here she concluded her
words with kisses, sealing on his lippes her loves
assurance: which kindnesse he requiting, did answer
them with tenfold interest: Thence stept they to
the next degree of lovers daliance, and so forward
while lust had force. But having finisht, and
Valeria being now in the veine, Arthemio deeming it
pollicie to strike when the iron was hote, least
fortune should not ever rest so friendly, left her
not, till before sufficient witnesses, they had each
to other solemnly made themselves sure: Immediatly
after which contract, their mariage was in a morning
betimes, hastily hudled up at a lawlesse Church:
whose leaning Pulpit (a monument of many yeares, but
of lesse use then a Cipher in Arethmetique) had
fallen so farre at oddes with preaching, that,
whether through age or ignorance I knowe not, it had
long beene like a bell without a clapper. The
wedding thus dispatcht, shee vaunting to her selfe,
her soules delightes, deem'd this her Comedies
Catastrophe, changing all former discontents into
the fulnesse of her desires accomplishment. But how
much she was deceived, let the sequell shewe. Fame
the swiftest evill and lavish spreader of most
unwelcome newes, had now bruted to Theodoros eares
Giraldos death, his daughters lewdnes, her late
publike infamie and second match: The hearing of
which report pearsed so his heart, that he likewise
full of sorow, yeelded his care-weakened bodie to
the bed, and thence breathlesse to the grave: when
at the instant of his departure, he employed some
friend in writing, what himselfe thus with a
fainting voice did utter, and as his last to her,
Double murderesse, earst of thy husband, now of thy father, read what I write, and may thy heart be rent with reading, as mine through thee is rent with ruth. Is this the memorie [p.52] which thou wilt leave, wherein thy name shall live to eternall obloquy? Is this the issue of my hope when last I left thee; or of thy mothers joy, when she had borne thee? Oh what flouds of tears would she have shed, had she liv'd to have seen thy leudnesse? Or if the dead know what the living doe, how doth her soule mourne for thy sinnes excesse! Deeply art thou bound to Nature which shortened her daies by death, and so prevented thy causing likewise of her untimely end. Hadst thou an infant suckt some fierce Hircanian Tygresse, or been fostered on the ridge of Pholoe by some ravenous Liones, yet couldst thou not have thus degenerated from thy kind, in more then brutish misdemeanour. Vipers dig their way to life, thorough the bowels of their dams, and of them the females do in conception kill the males; both which to do, it is their nature. But thou against the rites of nature, and therein far worse then vipers, quitst him with death, to whome thou owest thy life: and hast likewise before brought to his end thy harmles husband, to take into thy bosome the defiler of his bed: fatall to you both be your imbraces, and thou in thy greatest need enforst to relie on those for succour, whom thy present injuries do most justly exasperate against thee: Oh whether hath passion caried me? It beseemes not dying men to ban, much lesse fathers: yet how canst thou tearme me herein cruell, being thy selfe my deaths contriver? But whereto wast I my wordes in vaine, which will slightly passe thine ears like the weightles Cumaean writings tost each way by the dallying windes? Striving to reforme an hopeles reprobate, I sow with succesles labor on the sand, and will therefore refer the issue to heavens execution, whose justice, in making him the instrument of thy wo, whom thy selfe hast made the subject of thy lust, is now imminent and will fall with greater force, then had it been before inflicted: yet wish I as a father thy speedy amendment or speedy end, that thy evils may be the lesse. And so I leave thee to thy deserts, if thou leave not thy leud desires.
Thy dying father slaine by thy fault,
This subscription himselfe did write, whose feeble hand another guided: scarse had he written what he would, when hee breathed out his enfranchised soule, ending almost at one instant his life and letter: which Valeria receiving, read without remorse, hearing likewise the manner of his death by the messenger discourst at large, yet were her eyes still tearelesse: much it was that this could worke in her one houre of melancholly, for she deemd it no decorum to blemish her yet-during pleasures with not availing sorrow. But had Theodoros life beene longer and his writing later, then coulde not his wordes have perisht thus wholly without effect: for soone after the receiving of this letter, her preimagined joyes failing by degrees, grewe daily lesse: and shee too late, seeing in the present issue of Arthemios former promises, nought but deceit, wished her selfe againe at her owne will, which now shee justly wanted: nor so staid her fortunes change, for to have wanted onely herein her wish, it had beene well; or howsoever, not wholly ill: But (which was worse) shee beheld apparant likelihoode of farre greater imminent distresse, then were her woonted outward delights. Hee knowing well her humour by his owne so long experience, thought it better to graffe hornes on anothers head, then himselfe to beare the impression: in preventing which misfortune hee usde this method: To reforme her leudnesse, he restraind her libertie.
That was a day of favour wherein shee might freely walke about the house, for commonly shee was mewde up in her chamber: her loose-taild gossips which first intic'd her to folly, were warnde from approach: especially that arch-queane her greatest counsellor, to whose kindnes himselfe also had been indebted. Those gallant yonkers which long had fed her humor, by serving her insatiate lust, were bard from accesse. This was some corosive to a wilfull wanton, whose desire could erst brook no contradiction: but these [p.54] are trifles, if we note her following troubles, so many and so mightie, that it past a womans patience to indure them, if any way able to redresse them. Although her walks were watcht thus narrowly (as many eyes attending her steppes as had Argus guarding transformed Io) yet he most lavishly addicted to lasciviousnesse, romd abroad at pleasure, wasting his owne bodie and her substance on troupes of truls, whome he gorgeously maintained. Riches lightly gotten, are soone leudly gone, for who weighes aright the worth of them, being not wearied with paines in gathering them? Pearles did then grow most in price, when they were first purchased with the daungers of many stormes. His minde beeing thus wholly on feasting his Minions with sumptuous bankets, it needes must followe, that Gluttonie made way and worke for her sister Lecherie, which without her furtherance were almost forcelesse. They having Sirens tongues and Crocodiles teares, thereby entic'd him to intangle him, and prevailed: for as the Hemlocke of Attica tempered with wine, is of all compounded poysons the most deadly: so of all enticements that is most dangerous, where wit and beautie lodg'd both in one subject, are so employed.
All this while sate poore Valeria at home, surcharg'd with sorrow, not ruminating as yet, so much on repentance of former wantonnes, as drooping through despight of present wants: for now wrathfull heaven setting wide open the gates of vengeance, showrd downe on her sinfull head heapes of deserved evils, infinitely exceeding the number of her yeares, yet not equalling her dire offences, whose estate was not herein onely haplesse to be (as earst) restrained from companie, and from the libertie of her woonted walkes, but likewise in each respect most abjectly miserable: her allowance in attire, and at the table, scarse the shadow of what it was, and hardly fitting the basenesse of her present fortune, her lust dieted with troubles leavings: her [p.55] earst-imperious humor set all on soveraigntie, stoopt to the lowest steppe of slaverie; and shee that whilome controlde the master, was now subject without redresse, to the checks and taunts of her owne servants, which thereto authorised by Arthemios order, limited so straightly her very lookes, that had she glanc'd her eye on any, though the meanest object, it forthwith bred suspition; and that no small complaint, yet must she in no sort (if loving her owne case) cast on them an angry countenance to argue her offended mind, much lesse bewray in wordes her deepe-setled discontent, least he in a fitte of furie thundering forth an Alphabet of ugly othes, should amaze her with his affrighting menaces: nor did he so containe his outrage, but oft martyring with blowes her tender bodie, left on her bruised limmes for lasting monuments the irremooveable characters of his barbarous crueltie; so to verifie the tenour of his threates, and repay with heaped measure those her markes of thanklesse remembrance, which shee (earst-mercilesse) had lent, and laid on silly Jockies shoulders. I omit the daily objecting of former leudnesse, and Giraldos death continually upbraided.
At the memorie of which so many miseries, the silly wretch did in sighes and teares discourse her sorrowes, lamenting justly the fortune of her change, but more the folly of her second choice. Now thought shee on her husbands wordes which then she weighed not, when hee spake them. Now felt shee in her selfe the issue of his too true prediction: and as the wearie Mariner seeing from farre a storme, knowen by the seas loud rore, and flocking togither of birds, prepares himselfe with courage and patience to entertaine the perill: so she, whose mind weande thus from wantonnesse, revolv'd with restlesse motion forepassed woes, and in her fortunes mappe viewd the yet-clouded tracts of following troubles, addressed her selfe to beare quietly these deserved crosses, and made nature scholler to necessitie, but as yet womans frailty could not fully [p.56] digest the sower precepts, of such saint-like patience, which that she might the lesse endure, he slackt not his indeavour, still devising by what meanes he most might vexe her; and had therefore changde his former custome into an order far more impudent: for in stead of banketting his harlots abroad, he now feasted them at home. She was the drudge to prepare their dainties, and scarse thought worthy of the lowest roome, when all their delicats were serv'd in. Then would hee in her sight kisse his queanes and toy with them, thus daring her to impatience, that thereon he might coine some seeming cause to tyrannize with his fist: for well hee knewe, that the tongue the hearts herald, womens chiefe instrument of revenge and ease, could then hardly or not at all by her be bridled. Continuing this custome, he once invited his most affected Trull, to feast her privatly with extraordinarie cost; when after the banquet ended and the table uncovered, taking his Lute, he sang to a pleasing note this following dittie, more to crosse his wife, then to content his wanton Mistresse.
Wave-tossing windes characterizing feare
On marble furrowes of the threatfull deepe,
Rousde from their caves the lowring aire to teare,
And force the welken floods of showers to weepe:
(Though stormie blastes doe scatter common fire)
Burne midst their stormie blastes in hote desire.
Wind-tossed waves which with a gyring course
Circle the Centers overpeering maine,
And dare heav'ns star-bright turrets in their source,
Can yet not ease their finnie regents paine:
But though the floud, the fire in nature quench,
They burne amidst the flouds which them do drench.
Oh whereto then in drooping hearts distresse,
Shall I a silly man my thoughts conforme,
Which can no more themselves, themselves redresse,
Then may some guidelesse Pinnace in a storme
Encounter safely barking Scillas rocke,
And safely dare Charibdis to the shocke.
Where force doth faile, the weaker needs must yeeld,
Seing submissive that his smart may cease:
Yet maist thou gaine a farre more glorious field,
Deigning to graunt my care-fraught hearts release.
The conquest this, t'excell in saving one,
Loves irrelenting God, which saveth none.
Here Valeria all enragde and scarse able to forbeare so long, flew on the others face, taking with her hands such sure hold, that the bloud trickled down amaine: which seeing and at sight thereof insulting, she addes this bitter scorne. Now jolly mistres vant if you list your beauties conquest. Are you that daintie peece the rivall of my right? This the face that hath wrested my husbands fancie? Then turning to Arthemio shee thus proceeds. Monster of inhumanitie, speake (if thou canst without remorse) wherein have I deserved these many injuries, this of all the most intollerable? Was it for loving thee? Yea therein chiefly have I deserved them, yet not from thee, which hast thence received thy making. Canst thou: but here Arthemio interrupted her words with blows: then pausing hee thus replide. Slanderous strumpet, say if thou canst without blushing (but that thou canst too well) what greater wrong herein sustainst thou, then thou hast offerd to thy other husband? How then darst thou terme justice injurie: but sith this sight is so offensive, Ile hereafter to greeve thy heart, glut thine eies with more abhorred objects, and now tame so thy tongue and devilish fingers, that henceforth thou shalt have cause to curse the use of them. This said, hee fell againe to blowes, nor ceast he from beating, till shee had ceast from shrewish answering. Soone after, to effect his first menace, and therin to effect the second, he proceeded more insatiatly in heaping wrong on wrong, even to the carnal using of [p.58] his whores before her face, whose presence hee enforc't, making her the unwilling baud unto their beastlines: yet shee remembring his late outrage, the markes whereof she had yet still to shewe, bare more quietly this the greatest injurie, then those other which he before had offered. Now had shee learnd to smooth her lookes with signes of mildnesse, although her care-worne heart were big with malice: now did she account patience her only gaine, knowing well that by speaking she could not only not purchase any remedie, but rather make her sorowes thereby more remedilesse, his delight beeing still in doing that which most did vex her, beside the penaltie of her prating, set by him soundly on her shoulders. Loe here an instance prooving it not wholly impossible to over-master for the time the miraculous volubilitie of a womans tongue: which though not fearing a bravado of blowes, yet shuns the brunt of a maine revenge. But howsoever Valeria bridling nature by necessity, could in her husbands sight dissemble her deepe sorowes, yet being alone she could not so containe her passions, but at thought of this so dire a wrong (matter enough to have moov'd a saints patience) she would oft thus unrip them. O Valeria, of all the unhappiest, thou wantest many tongues to expresse the many torments which weare thy body and weary thy mind: did thy starres bode thee these miseries, or thine owne amisse breed thee these misfortunes? Ah blame not them, accuse not heaven of injustice, but blame thy selfe, thy sinne, thy vicious living; accuse thy selfe, thy lust, thy unlawful loving: weigh wretched woman with thy distresse, thy deserts: in the one thou shalt find thy sorows inexplicable, thy shame infinite: both knowen, neither pitied: thy selfe pointed at by passers by, if thou be seene abroad: baited with rebukes and blowes, if thou remain at home: thy goods lavishly wasted to maintain the braveries of truls usurping thy right, and insulting on thy ruth: thy children likewise sharing with thee their portion of deserved punishment: but in the other thou shalt see these thy miseries far lesse then thy misdeedes: what then maist thou [p.59] expect? Ease of these evils? No no Valeria; but till death, think that thy cares shall never ende: And that they then may cease, nor thou bee doom'd to eternall woe, sue while thou livest with ceaselesse intercession, else shall thy sute bee vaine: remission, if not purchast eare life be past, is sought too late.
The bodyes each-sicknesse may be expelled by
choyce of symples: mercy only sought with true
penitence, can salve the sin-sicke soule. But what
talkest thou of penitence which neer wouldst lend
one minuts listning to those that thereto would
perswade thee; nere humiliate with harts contrition,
thy mindes hawtinesse? Nowe is the morning past,
the sunne declining, the evening shadowes have beset
thee: Oh but dispaire not, leave that to those
whose hopes have left them; Thy hopes are many;
Hadst thou lived and died in wonted ease, lulde so
in deepe securitie, then had thy state beene wholly
desperate: But these crosses are gentle summons to
recall thee, directions to reduce thy straying
steppes, woundes which heale and so entended:
Learne then thy use of these afflictions, sith to be
happie, thou must be haplesse. Tush fonde Valeria
thy talke is vaine; wilt thou preach of abstinence
to pyning Tantalus, of welth and pleasure to dying
men, of patience, to thy impatient selfe? Thinke on
thy husband and on thy father, dead through thee: on
thy kindred justlye hateing thee: on thy children
which still doe live, but through thee have nothing
left: After these thinke on thy selfe, thy sinnes,
thy sorrowes: Sinnes and sorrowes innumerable,
infinite, intollerable: What is now thy Theam of
patience? Where thy hopes, or whence thy helpe?
Heer would shee stoppe amidst dispaire, making that
hir passions periode, then in the silence of teares
and sighs, act anew hir soules distresse. Once in
the depth of hir meditation, somewhat to recreate
hir care-duld spirits, shee tooke hir Lute, and
therto warbled with a fainting voice, this sleight ode.
Having long revolv'd in thought,
Long unto my selfe lamented,
Since I first to sinne assented,
All the ill my sinne hath wrought;
Enforc'st I am with sighes to say,
Myne eyes did plot my soules decay.
These all heedelesse of the harmes,
Guilfull Sirens had intended,
In like faults with them offended,
Listning to their luring charmes:
Whereby inforst, with sighes I say,
Mine ears did first my soule betray.
Then began each other sence,
Taught by them to wrest his use,
Reaving me of all excuse,
Sought to shadow sinnes pretence,
Whereby enforc'st with sighes I say,
Mine ears did first my soule betray.
Instruments of griefe and shame,
Sundering Isthmus of true pleasure
Chast delights unspotted treasure,
Wracke and death of my good name;
Why force you me with sighes to say,
That you did first my soule betray?
But oh cease fond wretch t'accuse,
Done, undon things cannot bee:
More it now concerneth thee,
Other minde and means to use:
Least thou too late with sighes do say,
Thy sinnes have wrought thy soules decaye.
Thus did shee then expresse hir humor, and ofte in other sorte: mean while Arthemio, which set not his minde on mourning, kept on his ryot after such a rate, that Giraldos substance was sone consum'd; and had his power matcht the hugenesse of his desires, not an India of wealth might have suffizd. Now were his lands all morgag'd which with the fairest and most worth of his houshold furniture, as also his owne, and hir attyre, fell through forfeits into the hands of brokeing Usurers. Oh what a banquet was this for them, whose chiefe making, springs from the marring of such unthrifts; their rising, from the ruines of silly men! These are they whom (to omit their other titles) we may justly terme the devils forerunners, preparing his waies before him. For when they have left a man as bare, as hee lefte Job, of whose goods by Gods permission, hee made large havocke, then takes hee his turne of entrance, to dispatch the tragedie, which these his factors (coheirs of his infernall kingdome) have set so forward. His first plotte is to induce the sillie wretches thus turnd out of all, to doubt of divine providence. Heereon hee suggestes motions of dispaire, teaching them to number their crosses with curses, and in this humor packes them away, some to the beame, some to the water, each to a desperate end. If hee meete with lighter spirits, not thus incombred through melancholly, nor setting their misfortunes so neer the heart, but resolute to live maugre fortunes frownes, These he fashions for his purpose in another mould, fitting them with a method for unlawfull shiftes: under such a Tutor working wonders even on leaden wits, how can there bee a dearth of bad directions, or not plenty of devillish practises, whereto he sharpens their conceipts and corages beyond their naturall promptnesse? Of this seconde sorte Arthemio within fewe monethes became a member; Loe here the issue: for sone after, his house growing queasie stomacht through a long consumption of the moveables, [p,62] did in a generall vomit spewe out the master, the mystris, and all their traine. Oh whereto in this distresse should poore Valeria betake hir selfe? Mony shee had none, shoulde shee borrowe, who would lend hir, or vouchsafe hir one nights lodging? Such was the rumor of hir leaudnesse: should shee begge? Who would give hir? I omit her native hautinesse, hir education and former state, all abhorring so abject a profession. But necessitie which tames the mightiest, had sone mastered hir afflicted minde, inforcing hir to crave of those, which before had crav'd of hir: yet found shee none, which would in wordes, pitie hir woes; A slender comfort, but such as other wretches have. O you whome sinne charming with securitie, veiles from your eyes the sequels of your shame and sorrow: you which trace Valerias steppes in all lasciviousnesse, hether I summon you to read with sighs, in these hir fortunes sad recordes, your owne fore-threatned ruine. This is the looking glasse which more beseemes you, then that whereon you daylye poore, practising your alluring lookes, and marshalling your bodies pride, thereby to attract more gazers on your garishnesse.
Had I the mellifluous veine of Orpheus, rich in devine conceipt; and garnisht with the spoyles of Helicon, whose ravishing vertue, he helde prisoner to his inchanting Hymnes and harmony: Then should I with sweete passion treat this subject, and, or winne you from your wantonnesse by displaying to the full Valerias woes: or proove your hartes to be more frozen then the winter mantle of Thracian Hebrus, melting through his melodie; more stobburne then the loftie trees baring Hemus and highe Rhodope to waite on him; more brutish then the savage beasts attending him, more stony then the flinty rockes which follow'd him, for all these hee mov'd: but move he could not those brain-sicke beldames of your sexe; which confounding his harmonyous notes, with howling noyse, tare peecemeale the sillie Poet: These only in not relenting [p.63] should you resemble. Looke on the crosses of this wretched creature, and by them looke to your selves, turning so hir evill to some good: Weigh in what mizery shee needes must live, whose costly robes were now changd to ragges, hir dainty fare to hard crustes, hir chambers richly furnisht, to base corners, hir beauties florish blasted, more by cares then yeares. Shee which whilome scornd to looke, and almost to tread upon the grounde; Now durst not raise thence hir blubbred eyes, fearing to looke towards heaven, such was hir sinne: blushing to looke on men, such was hir shame. Shee which earst on highest dayes woulde keepe the house, judging hir attyre for such times to meane (how costly soever) did now shame to bee seene on any day. But when night (the veile of earthes vanities) had drawne hir sable curtaines over the welkin, in this generall hue of horror, bereaving eyes and ears of daies objects: See of all the most unhappie and now wholly the guest of darknesse, wanderd alone making musicke to hir mones, with deepe-fetcht sighes: nor bewaild shee onely hir owne estate, but lamented likewise hir childrens distresse, justly feard although not knowen: for they not accompanying their carefull mother, shifted for themselves, but where or how, she knew not. After many dayes of such distresse, many wekes of woe, many monthes worne out in misery, it was hir hap to heere of hir man Jockeys aboade and fortune, which having maried a pore widow, kept a simple victualling house in an out part of the city: At the heereing of which newes shee was long and much perplexed, wavering in uncertainty of resolution: For when shee weighed the causlesse wronges, which shee had offered him in wordes and blows: Howe shee had ofte incensd hir husband, ofte others, injuriously to revile and beat him, nor ever granted him one hower of quiet; She could no lesse then feare that hir repaire to him, should rather aggravate hir present griefe, in receaving some reprochfull answere, then any way attaine [p.64] desired ease. But weighing the extreamity of hir neede, and well knowing that not imploring his reliefe, she could not any way better hir estate, but that it still grewe worse, the silly woman thus on all sides beset with sorrowes, chose rather to prosecute the slightest hope, then to continue the certainty of hir ill happe: Having thus resolv'd she went to seeke him, and sue to him for succor; him whom shee so much had injured: Loe heere the issue of hir dying fathers execration; which by the way calling to minde, at thought thereof, shee stream'd downe from hir pyned cheekes, showers of salt teares.
Comming and finding him, (which greeved to see hir in such a plight turned somwhat aside his troubled countenance) she thus bespake him. Ah Jockey deigne yet to looke on mee, and in one vewe, take thy full revenge of all the wronges that I have done thee: See hir miserable, which was immodest: See hir humbled at thy feete, acknowledging with teares hir causlesse fury oft inflicted on thy giltlesse body: ah shunne me not: I was thy mistrisse, nor scorne me that once gave thee bread, though nowe thou seest mee baser then the meanest servant, nor refuse I that degree if thou vouchsafe so to receave mee. What greater tryumph on such a foe canst thou desire, then to have hir subject to thy checkes, and within the compasse of thy controlles, which with unjust controlles and checkes (those the lightest injuries) hath ofte wearied thy glowing eares? But sith heaven doth thus avenge on mee thy cause, let that suffice thee: oh adde not to my ruth thy rancour, Cut not my heart with dire reproches, hart so already cut with deepe cares, that almost nothing may bee added to my woes. If tyme or troubles have not wrested from out thy memory Giraldos name, then for his sake deigne thou to succour me, and by his example, whose kinde affection my faults could never so extinguish, but that it lasted while hee liv'd. Wretch as I am, how am I blinded thus to [p.65] plead against my selfe? Loving him, thou needes must loath mee, through whom hee led a joylesse life, and dyed sorrowing for my sinne: Whereon then shall I relye, but on the mildnesse of thy nature? If this hope doe likewise fayle mee, then whereto live I? Why are my dayes prolonged to drawe on my lives distresse? In uttering these last wordes, shee cast downe hir countenance, fixing hir eyes stedfastly on the earth: but Jockey unable to conteine his teares, therein shewing how deeply hir plaints had pierced him with remorcefull passion, did thus gently comfort hir.
Had mine eares received from the report of others, that which mine eyes do now assure me of, I should never have beleeved it. Good God, could such former wealth ende in such present want? Such plenty in such penury, such bravery in such basenesse, such pleasure in such pinching woe? O Lord how righteous are thy judgements: Yet Mistris, (for so Ile still call and accompt you, nor shall your fortune, or former injuries cancell my duetye) I coulde wish, (if I might wish it without impiety) that this example of Gods justice had beene shewed on any other: But wee must thinke that whatsoever hee in his wisdome doth determine, is doubtlesse for the best. If you can make true use of his correction, you shalbe happie in your unhappinesse and these your miseries be a steppe to your felicitie.
That I am sory to see you in this state, my wordes and countenance may witnesse, and my greeved heart doth fele: But sith it is so, I yet rejoyce that I am able by releeving you, to shewe how deare to mee the name and memorie of my deceased master is: I accept you therefore as a welcome guest, assuring you of such entertainement as I can afforde; and touching the wronges that you have done me, I will strive so to forget them, as if I never had sustained them.
This saide hee, nor saide hee more, then he
perform'd, for immediatly he tooke hir into his
house, where all the time of hir aboad with him
(which was so long as hir selfe would tary) shee had
such reliefe as his poore estate could yealde,
afforded without grudging: nor did hee ever greeve
hir, with the least upbraiding of former wrongs, nor
suffer, (while hee was present or knewe of it,) that
shee shoulde take the sleightest paines, more then
in her owne affaires: But in his absence oft, to
ease and please his wife, she would playe the
tapster, and voluntarily addresse hir selfe to helpe
hir in all kinde of drudgeries. While in this sort
shee liv'd, not altogether so haplesse as before,
Arthemio no longer able to continue his shifting,
sith he had thereby indangered his life, made this
his last shifte, closely to shifte him selfe away:
sence when he was never seene about the cytie, nor
almost heard of: Only some obscure reports have
past, of his long scouring the westerne plaines for
pursses, and that being afterwarde apprehended, hee
dyed miserably in a common Gaol before his publique
araignment, so preventing the open scandall of an
ignominious death. Howe so ever this bee likely in
regarde of his former wicked life, yet not being
thereof assured, I will suspend my censure, nor
presumptuously descant of the unknowen proceedings
of the almighty. But Valeria after long residence
with Jockey, at last, whether hoping on some better
place, or loath continually to trouble him, sith no
way able to requite his kindnesse, fondly left him
and thereby replung'd hir selfe into hir former
miseryes, falling in the ende to little better then
open beggery: from which so abject state of life,
shee nere recovered till death gave truce to hir
distresses: death wherein only shee was not
haplesse; But if to wretched people the preventing
of any sorrow may bee term'd good happe, then so was
hirs, in not seeing hir surviving childrens
miserable endes, such as their dissolute bringing
up, did ever threaten, and their leaud cour- [p.67] ses justly merit: of these the elder flying for
some offence beyond the seas, and there following
armes in the civill tumults of distracted Belgia,
but soone staining the most honourable profession of
a souldier by playing the traitour, had his deserts
paide with the halter, and therein leaping
desperately from the ladder, he tooke his journey
into the other world. The yonger confirmd so in the
love of headstrong libertie through his corrupt
education, that hee could not long brooke any
service: succourd by none, because disdaining
subjection to all; died in the fieldes, and there
lay a loathsome spectacle; for his stinking carkasse
had no other coverture then heavens vast
circumference, and his unburied limmes were seazed
on by ravenous birdes, who therewith glutted their
carrion gorges. Somewhat before his last gaspe with
an oft interrupted voice, he faintly groned out
these bitter mones. O whither shall I turne me,
whereon shall I hope, or what shall I desire? My
bones ake, my bowels gnawe, my feet rot, each limme
doth shiver, and my whole bodie is full of paine:
life I loath thee, life when leav'st thou me? Death
why dalliest thou with these delaies? Why commest
thou in such degrees of torments? Thy messengers
are more terrible then thy selfe: yet come not
death, least in exchange of these my present woes,
thou plunge me in eternall woe.
O sinne, how sweet is thy beginning, how sower
thy end? O father, but enough of thee, for thy name
doth cut my soule anew. O mother, but too much of
thee, cruell through immoderate kindnes: O unhapie
brother, but happie in respect of me: for though thy
end were likewise shamefull, yet was thy carcasse
covered with earth: but mine must lie still in this
stinking place, to pollute the aire, and feed the
ravenous foules: yet helpe me some good man who
passing by may heare my mones: give me at least some
shelter from this injurie of the weather; unkind
men, will none relieve me? Yet not unkind, because
Gods justice [p.68] hardens their heartes: oh that is it,
whereon when I doe thinke, I wish that I had beene
borne a beast, that with my life all my miseries
might ende: yet helpe mee, O my God, sith men
forsake me: though hell looke for me, and I dare not
looke on heaven: though my offences be innumerable,
yet is thy mercie infinitely greater: mercie sweete
Lord, father of mercie, mercie it selfe: O that my
mother had taught mee to pray, when shee taught me
to revile my father: Alas, I knowe no forme of
praier, save this onely which my heart laden with
anguish doth thus endite. Mercie sweete Lorde, let
my soule imbrace thy mercie, let thy mercie imbrace
my soule. But aye me, my paines increase, life and
death doe combat in my breast: this their strife
doubles my torments: ah, but helles torments are
farre greater. From them and these, sweet Lorde
deliver me, for in thee: Here as he faine would
have proceeded, life failing, made these his last
wordes unperfect, with whose death I end this
Thus (Gentlemen) have you heard briefly related the Tragique issue of Giraldos wooing in age, and Valerias wantonnesse in youth: Had I intituled this discourse, A looking Glasse, the Metaphor had not been wholly immateriall: for herein may all sortes of readers note sundry points of weight: husbandes, the daunger of too much doting: wives in her fall, the end of lustfull follie: parents, the mightie perill of soothing their children in check-free licentiousnesse: children, the fruit of disobedience and undutifull demeanour: rash proceeders, the great difference of good and bad counsell, of honest and dishonest companie: with the danger of not imbracing the one, and not shunning the other: and that the rather, sith the force of companie, hath in the effecting of either such exceeding force, according to the Italian proverbe, Dimmi con chi tu vai, et sapro quel che fai. Ictus piscator sapit, but if wee [p.69] account him wise, which being once hurt, doth shunne a second hazard: how much more justly may wee commend their wisdome, who beeing not hurt at all, but learning heedfulnes at others costes, governe warily themselves by noting the issue of their indiscretion: which fore-sight and good fortune I wish unto you all.