The Palace of Pleasure, Vol III, 1567, William Painter

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VOL. III.


Ballantyne Press
BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO.
EDINBURGH AND LONDON

 

Title Page Text


v

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

VOLUME II.

TOME II.—Continued.
PAGE
TITLE PAGE (EDITION 1580)1
NOVEL
XXIII.DUCHESS OF MALFY3
XXIV.COUNTESS OF CELANT44
XXV.ROMEO AND JULIET80
XXVI.LADIES OF VENICE125
XXVII.LORD OF VIRLE157
XXVIII.LADY OF BOHEMIA195
XXIX.DIEGO AND GINEVRA222
XXX.SALIMBENE AND ANGELICA288
XXXI.HELENA OF FLORENCE329
XXXII.CAMIOLA AND ROLAND354
XXXIII.LORDS OF NOCERA363
XXXIV.SULTAN SOLYMAN395
XXXV.KING OF MOROCCO416
CONCLUSION431

1

Tome II: Title Page Text

3

The Palace of Pleasure.

THE TWENTY-THIRD NOUELL.

The infortunate mariage of a Gentleman, called Antonio Bologna, wyth the Duchesse of Malfi, and the pitifull death of them both.

The great Honor and authority men haue in thys World, and the greater their estimation is, the more sensible and notorious are the faultes by theim committed, and the greater is their slaunder. In lyke manner more difficult it is for that man to tolerate and sustayne Fortune, which al the dayes of his life hath lyued at his ease, if by chaunce he fall into any great necessity than for hym whych neuer felt but woe, mishap, and aduersity. Dyonisius the Tyraunt of Scicilia, felt greater payne when hee was expelled his Kyngdome, than Milo did, beinge banished from Rome: for so mutch as the one was a Soueraygne Lorde, the sonne of a Kynge, a Iusticiary on Earth, and the other but a simple Citizen of a Citty, wherein the People had Lawes, and the Lawes of Magistrates were had in reuerence. So lykewyse the fall of a high and lofty Tree, maketh greater noyse, than that whych is low and little. Hygh Towers, and stately Palaces of Prynces bee seene further of, than the poore Cabans, and homely Sheepeheardes Sheepecotes: the Walles of lofty Cittyes more a loofe doe Salute the Viewers of the same, than the simple Caues, which the Poore doe digge belowe the Mountayne Rockes. Wherefore it behooueth the Noble, and sutch as haue charge of Common wealth, to lyue an honest Lyfe, and beare their port vpright, that none haue cause to discourse vppon their wicked deedes and naughty life. And aboue all modesty ought to be kept by Women, 4whom as their race, Noble birth, aucthority and name, maketh them more famous, euen so their vertue, honesty, chastity, and continencie more prayse worthy. And behoueful it is, that like as they wishe to be honoured aboue all other, so their life do make them worthy of that honour, without disgracing their name by deed or worde, or blemishing that brightnesse which may commend the same. I greatly feare that all the Princely factes, the exploytes and conquests done by the Babylonian Queene Semyramis, neuer was recommended wyth sutch prayse, as hir vice had shame in records by those which left remembrance of auncient acts. Thus I say, because a woman being as it were the Image of sweetnesse, curtesie and shamefastnesse, so soone as she steppeth out of the right tract, and abandoneth the sweete smel of hir duety and modesty, besides the denigration of hir honour, thrusteth her selfe into infinite Troubles, causeth ruine os sutch whych should bee honoured and praysed, if Womens Allurementes solicited theym not to Folly. I wyll not heere Indeuour my selfe to seeke for examples of Samson, Salomon or other, which suffred themselues fondly to be abused by Women: and who by meane of them be tumbled into great faults, and haue incurred greater perils: contentinge my selfe to recyte a ryght pitifull History done almost in our tyme, when the French vnder leadinge of that notable Capitayne Gaston de Foix, vanquished the force of Spayne and Naples at the Iourney of Rauenna in the time of the French Kynge called Lewes the twelfth, who married the Lady Mary, Daughter to Kynge Henry the seuenth, and Sister to the Victorious Prynce of worthy memory kynge Henry the eyght, Wyfe (after the death of the sayd Lewes) to the puissaunt Gentleman Charles, late Duke of Suffolke. In the very tyme then lyued a Gentleman of Naples called Antonio Bologna, who hauing bin master of Household to Fredericke of Aragon, somtime king of Naples, after the French had expelled those of Aragon out of that Citty, the sayde Bologna retyred into Fraunce, and thereby recouered the goods, which hee possessed in his countrey. The Gentleman besides that he was valiant of his persone, a good man of Warre, and wel esteemed amongs the best, had a passing numbre of good graces, which made him to be loued and cherished of euery 5wight: and for riding and managing of greate horse, he had not his fellow in Italy: he could also play exceedynge well and trim vpon the Lute, whose fayning voyce so wel agreed therevnto, that the moste melancholike persons would forget their heauinesse, vpon hearing of his heauenly noyse: and besides these qualyties, he was of personage comely, and of good proportion. To be short: nature hauing trauayled and dispoyled hir Treasure House for inriching of him, he had by Arte gotten that, which made him most happy and worthy of prayse, which was, the knowledge of good letters, wherein he was so well trayned, as by talke and dispute thereof, he made those to blush that were of that state and profession. Antonio Bologna hauing left Fredericke of Aragon in Fraunce, who expulsed out of Naples was retired to king Lewes, went home to his house to lyue at rest and to auoyd trouble, forgetting the delicates of Courtes and houses of great men, to bee the only husband of his owne reueneue. But what? it is impossible to eschue that which the heauens haue determined vpon vs: or to shunne the vnhappe which seemeth to follow vs, as it were naturally proceeding from our mother’s Wombe: in sutch wyse as many times, he which seemeth the wisest man, guided by misfortune, hasteth himself with stouping head to fall headlonge into hys death and ruine. Euen so it chaunced to this Neapolitane Gentleman: for in the very same place where he attained his aduauncement, he receiued also his diminution and decay, and by that house which preferred hym to what he had, he was depryued, both of his estate and life: the discourse whereof you shall vnderstande. I haue tolde you already, that this Gentleman was Mayster of the kinge of Naples household, and beyng a gentle person, a good Courtier, wel trained vp, and wyse for gouernment of himself in the Courte and in the seruice of Princes, the Duchesse of Malfi thought to intreate him that he would serue hir, in that office which he serued the King. This Duchesse was of the house of Aragon, and sister to the Cardinall of Aragon, which then was a rych and puissant personage. Being resolued, and persuaded, that Bologna was deuoutly affected to the house of Aragon, as one brought vp there from a Chylde: shee sent for him home to his House, and vpon hys repaire vsed vnto him these, 6or like Woordes: “Mayster Bologna, sith your ill fortune, nay rather the vnhap of our whole House is sutch, as your good Lord and Mayster hath forgon his state and dignity, and that you therwithall haue lost a good Maister, without other recompence but the prayse which euery man giueth you for your good seruice, I haue thought good to intreat you to doe me the honor, as to take charge of the gouernment of my House, and to vse the same, as you did that of the King your maister. I know well that the office is to vnworthy for your calling; notwithstanding you be not ignorant what I am, and how neare to him in bloud, to whom you haue bene a Seruaunte so faythfull and Louing; and albeit that I am no Queene, endued with greatest reuenue, yet with that little portyon I haue, I beare a Pryncely heart: and sutch as you by experience do knowe what I haue done, and dayly do to those which depart my seruice, recompensing them according to theyr paine and trauaile: magnificence is obserued as well in the Courts of poore Princes, as in the stately Palaces of great Kings and monarches. I do remembre that I haue read of a certain noble gentleman, a Persian borne, called Ariobarzanes, who vsed great examples of curtesie and stoutnesse towards King Artaxerxes, wherewith the king wondred at his magnificence, and confessed himself to be vanquished: you shal take aduise of this request, and in the meane time do think you will not refuse the same, aswell for that my demaund is iust, as also being assured, that our House and race is so well imprinted in your heart, as it is impossible that the memory thereof can be defaced.” The gentleman hearynge that curteous demaund of the Duchesse, knowing himselfe how deepely bound he was to the name of Aragon, and led by some vnknowen prouocation to his great il luck, answered hir in this wise: “I would to God, Madame, that with so good reason and equity I were able to make denyall of your commaundment, as iustly you maye require the same: wherfore for the bounden duety which I owe to the name and memorie of the house of Aragon, I make promise that I shall not only sustaine the trauell, but also the daunger of my Lyfe, dayly to be offred for your seruice: but I feele in mynde I know not what, which commaundeth me to withdraw my selfe to lyue alone at home within 7my lyttle house, and to be content with that I haue, forgoing the sumptuous charge of Prynces houses, which Lyfe would be wel liked of my self, were it not for the feare that you Madame should be discontented with my refusall, and that you should conceiue, that I disdained your offred charge, or contempne your Court for respect of the great Office I bare in the Courte of the Kyng, my Lord and Mayster: for I cannot receiue more honour, than to serue hir, which is the paragon of that stock and royal race. Therfore at all aduentures I am resolued to obey your will, and humbly to satisfy the duety of the charge wherein it pleaseth you to imploy me, more to pleasure you for auoiding of displeasure, then for desire I haue to lyue an honorable lyfe in the greatest Princes house of the world, sith I am discharged from him in whose name resteth my comfort and only stay, thinking to haue liued a solitarye life, and to passe my yeres in rest, except it were in the pore abilitye of my seruice to that house, wherunto I am bound continually to be a faithfull seruaunt. Thus Madame, you see me to be the readiest man of the world, to fulfil the request, and accomplishe sutch other seruice wherein it shall please you to imploy me.” The Duchesse thanked him very heartily, and gaue him charge of all hir housholde traine, commaunding ech person to do him sutch reuerence as to hir self, and to obey him as the chief of al hir family. This Lady was a widow, but a passing faire Gentlewoman, fine and very yong, hauing a yong sonne vnder hir guard and keping, left by the deceased Duke hir husband, togither with the Duchy, the inheritaunce of hir child. Now consider hir personage being sutch, her easy life and delycate bringing vp, and hir daily view of the youthly trade and manner of Courtiers lyfe, whether she felt hir self pryckt wyth any desire, which burned hir heart the more incessantly, as the flames were hidden and couert: from the outward shew whereof shee stayed hir self so well as shee coulde. But shee followinge beste aduice, rather esteemed the proofe of Maryage, than to burne wyth so lyttle fire, or to incurre the exchange of louers, as many vnshamefaste strumpets do, which be rather giuen ouer, than satisfied with pleasure of loue. And to say the truthe, they be not guided by wisedom’s lore, which suffer a maiden ripe for mariage to be long 8vnwedded, or yong wife long to liue in widowe’s state, what assurance so euer they make of their chaste and stayed lyfe. For bookes be to full of sutch enterpryses, and houses stored with examples of sutch stolne and secrete practises, as there neede no further proofe for assurance of our cause, the daily experience maketh plaine and manifest. And a great folly it is to build the fantasies of chastitye amid the follies of worldly pleasures. I will not goe about to make those matters impossible, ne yet will iudge at large, but that there be som maydens and Wyues, which wiselye can conteine themselues amongs the troupe of amorous suters. But what? the experience is very hard, and the proofe no lesse daungerous, and perchaunce in a moment the mind of some peruerted, which all their lyuyinge dayes haue closed theyr Eares from the Sute of those that haue made offer of louyng seruice. And hereof we neede not run to forrayne Hystories, ne yet to seeke records that be auncient, sith wee may see the daily effects of the lyke, practised in Noble houses, and Courtes of Kyngs and Prynces. That this is true, example of this fayre Duchesse, who was moued wyth that desyre which pricketh others that be of Flesh and Bone. Thys Lady waxed very weary of lying alone, and gryeued hir Hearte to be wythoute a match, specially in the Nyght, when the secrete silence and darkenesse of the same presented beefore the eyes of hir mind, the Image of the pleasure which she felt in the lyfe tyme of hir deceased Lord and Husband, whereof now feelyng hir selfe despoyled, she felt a contynuall Combat, and durst not attempte that which she desyred most, but eschued the thyng wherof hir Mind lyked best. “Alas (sayd shee) is it possyble after the taste of the Value of honest obedyence whych the Wyfe oweth vnto hir Husband, that I should desyre to suffer the Heat whych burneth and altereth the martyred mynds of those that subdue themselues to loue? Can sutch attempt pierce the heart of me to become amorous by forgetting and straying from the limmetts of honest life? But what desire is this? I haue a certayne vnacquaynted lust, and yet very well know not what it is that moueth me, and to whom I shall vow the spoyle thereof. I am truely more fond and foolyshe than euer Narcissus was, for there is neyther shadow nor voyce, vpon which I can well stay my sight, nor yet simple Imagination of any worldly 9man, whereuppon I can arrest the conceypt of my vnstayed heart, and the desires which prouoke my mynde. Pygmalion loued once a Marble Piller, and I haue but one desire, the colour whereof is more pale than death. There is nothyng which can geue the same so mutch as one spot of vermilion rud. If I doe discouer these appetites to any wight, perhaps they will mock me for my labor, and for all the beauty and Noble byrth that is in me, they will make no conscience to deeme me for their iesting stock, and to solace themselues with rehersall of my fond conceits. But sith there is no enemy in the field, and that but simple suspicion doth assayle me, why breake I not the same, and deface the entier remembraunce of the lightnesse of my brayne? It appertayneth vnto mee to shewe my selfe, as issued from the Noble house of Aragon: to me it doeth belonge to take heede how I erre or degenerate from the royall bloud whereof I came.” In this sort that fayre Wydow and young Princesse fantasied in the night vppon the discourse of hir appetites. But when the day was come, seeing the great multitude of the Neapolitan Lords and Gentlemen that marched vp and downe the Citty, eyinge and beholdinge their best beloued, or vsing talke of loue with them whose seruaunts they were, all that which she thought vpon in the night, vanished so sone as the flame of burned Straw, or the Pouder of Cannon shot, and purposed for any respect to liue no longer in that sort, but promised the conquest of some frend that was lusty and discreete. But the difficulty rested in that she knew not vpon whom to fixe hir loue, fearing to bee slaundered, and also that the light disposition and maner of most part of youth were to be suspected, in sutch wise as giuing ouer al them which vauted vpon their Gennets, Turkey Palfreis, and other Coursers alonge the Citty of Naples, shee purposed to take repast of other Venison, than of that fond and wanton troupe. So hir mishap began already to spin the threede which choked the Ayre and Breath of hir vnhappy life. Yee haue heard before that Mayster Bologna was one of the wisest and most perfect Gentlemen that the land of Naples that tyme brought forth, and for his Beauty, Proportion, Galantnesse, Valiaunce, and good grace, without comparison. His fauour was so sweete and pleasant, as they which kept him company, had somwhat to do to abstayne their affection. 10Who then could blame thys fayre Princesse, if (pressed wyth desire of match, to remoue the ticklish instigations of her wanton flesh, and hauing in hir presence a man so wise) shee did set hir minde on hym, or fantasy to mary him? Would not that party for calming of his thirst and hunger, being set at a table before sundry sorts of delicate viands, ease his hunger? Me thinke the person doth greatly forget himselfe, which hauing handfast vpon occasion, suffreth the same to vanish and fly away, sith it is wel known that she being bald behinde, hath no place to sease vpon when desire moueth vs to lay hold vpon hir. Which was the cause that the Duchesse became extremely in loue with the mayster of hir house. In sutch wyse as before al men, she spared not to prayse the great perfections of him whom she desired to be altogether hirs. And so she was inamored, that it was as possible to see the night to be voide of darknesse, as the Duchesse without the presence of hir Bologna, or els by talke of words to set forth his prayse, the continuall remembrance of who (for that shee loued him as hirselfe) was hir onely minde’s repast. The Gentleman that was full wyse, and had at other times felt the great force of the passion which proceedeth from extreeme loue, immediatly did mark the countenaunce of the Duchesse, and perceyued the same so neere, as vnfaynedly hee knew that very ardently the Lady was in loue with him: and albeit he sawe the inequality and difference betweene them both, she being sorted out of the royall bloud, and himself of meaner calling, yet knowing loue to haue no respect to state or dignity, determined to folow his fortune, and to serue hir which so louingly shewed hir selfe to him. Then sodaynely reprouing his fonde conceit, he sayd vnto himself: “What folly is that I enterprise, to the preiudice and peril of mine honor and life? Ought the wisedome of a Gentleman to stray and wandre through the assaults of an appetite rising of sensuality, and that reason gieue place to that which doeth participate with brute beasts depriued of all reason by subduinge the minde to the affections of the body? No, no, a vertuous man ought to let shine in him selfe the force of the generosity of his minde. This is not to liue according to the spirite, when pleasure shall make vs forget our duty and sauegard of our Conscience. The reputation of a wise Gentleman resteth not only to be valiant, 11and skilfull in feates of armes, or in seruice of the Noble: but needefull it is for him by discreation to make himselfe prayse worthy, and by vanquishinge of himselfe to open the gate to fame, whereby he may euerlastingly make himselfe glorious to all posterity. Loue pricketh and prouoketh the spirite to do well, I do confesse, but that affection ought to be addressed to some vertuous end, tending to mariage, for otherwise that vnspotted Image shall be soyled wyth the villany of Beastly pleasure. Alas,” sayd he, “how easie it is to dispute, when the thyng is absent, which can both force and violently assayle the Bulwarks of most constant hearts. I full well doe see the troth, and doe feele the thing that is good, and knowe what behoueth mee to follow: but when I view the pereles beauty of my Lady, hir graces, wisedome, behauiour and curtesie, when I see hir to cast so louinge an eye vpon me, that she vseth so great familiarity, that she forgetteth the greatnesse of hir house to abase hirselfe for my respect: how is it possible that I should be so foolish to dispise a duety so rare and precious, and to set light by that which the Noblest would pursue wyth all reuerence and deuoyre? Shall I be so voyde of wisdome to suffer the yonge Princesse to see hirselfe contempned of mee, thereby to conuert hir loue to teares, by setting hir mynde upon an other, that shall seek mine ouerthrow? Who knoweth not the fury of a woman: specially the Noble dame, by seeing hirselfe despised? No, no, she loueth me, and I will be hir seruaunt, and vse the fortune proffred. Shal I be the first simple Gentleman that hath married or loued a Princesse? Is it not more honourable for mee to settle my mind vpon a place so high, than vppon some simple wench by whom I shall neyther attayne profit, or aduancement? Baldouine of Flaunders, did not he a Noble enterprise when he carried away Iudith the daughter of the French kynge, as she was passing vpon the Seas into England, to be married to the kynge of that Countrey? I am neither Pirat nor Aduenturer, for the Lady loueth me. What wrong doe I then to any person by rendringe loue agayne? Is not she at liberty? To whom ought shee to make accoumpt of hir deedes and doinges, but to God alone and to hir owne Conscience? I wyll loue hir, and cary lyke affection for the loue which I know and see that she beareth vnto me, beinge 12assured that the same is directed to good ende, and that a Woman so wyse as she is, will not hazard the bleamish of hir honor.” Thus Bologna framed the plot for intertaynment of the Duchesse (albeit hir loue already was fully bent vpon him) and fortified hym selfe agaynst all perillous myshap and chaunce that might succeede, as ordinarily you see that Louers conceyue all things for their aduauntage, and fantasie dreames agreeable to their most desire, resemblinge the Mad and Bedlem persons which haue before their eyes, the figured Fansies whych cause the conceipt of their fury, and stay themselues vpon the vision of that which most troubleth their offended Brayne. On the other side, the Duchesse was in no lesse care of hir Louer, the will of whom was hid and secret, whych more did vexe and torment hir, than the fire of loue that burned hir feruently. She could not tell what way to hold, to do him vnderstand hir heart and affection. She feared to discouer the same vnto hym, doubtinge eyther that some fond and rigorous aunswere, or the reueylinge of hir mynde to hym, whose presence pleased hir more than all of the men of the World. “Alas,” sayd shee, “am I happed into so straunge misery, that with mine owne mouth I must make request to him, which with all humility ought to offer mee hys service? Shall a Lady of sutch bloud as I am, be constrayned to sue, where all other be required by importunate instance of their Suters? Ah loue, loue, what so euer he was that clothed thee wyth sutch puissaunce, I dare say he was the cruell ennimy of man’s freedom. It is impossible that thou hadst thy being in heauen, sith the clemency and curteous influence of the same, inuesteth man with better benefits, than to suffer hir nourse children to be intreated with sutch rigor. He lieth which sayth that Venus is thy mother, for the swetenes and good grace that resteth in that pitifull Goddesse, who taketh no pleasure to see louers perced with so egre trauayles as that which afflicteth my heart. It was some fierce cogitation of Saturne, that brought thee forth, and sent thee into the worlde to breake the ease of them which liue at rest without any passion or griefe. Pardon me Loue, if I blaspheme thy maiesty, for the stresse and endlesse grief wherein I am plunged, maketh me thus to roue at large, and the doubts, which I conceyue, do take away the health and soundnesse 13of my mynde, the little experience in thy schole causeth this amaze in me, to be solicited with desire that countersayeth the duty, honor, and reputation of my state: the party whom I loue, is a Gentleman, vertuous, valiant, sage, and of good grace. In this there is no cause to blame Loue of blindnesse, for all the inequality of our houses, apparant vpon the first sight and shew of the same. But from whence Issue Monarchs, Prynces and great Lords, but from the naturall and common Masse of Earth, whereof other men do come? what maketh these differences betwene those that loue ech other, if not the sottish opinion which we conceiue of greatnesse, and preheminence: as though naturall affections bee like to that ordayned by the fantasie of men in their lawes extreme. And what greater right haue Princes to ioyne wyth a simple Gentlewoman, than the Princesse to mary a Gentleman, and sutch as Anthonio Bologna is, in whom Heauen and Nature haue forgotten nothinge to make him equall with them which march amongs the greatest. I thinke we be the dayly slaues of the fond and cruell fantasie of those Tyraunts, which say they haue puissance ouer vs: and that straininge our will to their tiranny, we be still bound to the chaine like the Galley slaue. No, no, Bologna shall be my Husband, for of a freend I purpose to make my loyall and lawful Husband, meaning therby not to offend God and men together, and pretend to liue without offence of conscience, wherby my soule shal not be hindred for any thyng I do, by marying him whom I so straungely loue. I am sure not to be deceyued in loue. He loueth me so mutch or more as I do him, but he dareth not disclose the same, fearing to be refused and cast of with shame. Thus 2 vnited wils, and 2 hearts tied togethers with equal knot cannot chose but bryng forth fruites worthy of sutch society. Let men say what they list, I will doe none otherwyse than my heade and mynd haue already framed. Semblably I neede not make accompt to any persone for my fact, my body, and reputation beynge in full liberty and freedome. The bond of mariage made, shall couer the faulte whych men woulde fynde, and leauyng myne estate, I shall do no wrong but to the greatnesse of my house, which maketh me amongs men right honorable. But these honors be nothyng worth, where the Mynd is voyd of contentation, 14and wher the hearte pryckte forwarde by desire leaueth the Bodye and Mynde restlesse wythout quiet.” Thus the Duchesse founded hir enterpryse, determining to mary hir houshold Mayster, seeking for occasion and time, meete for disclosing of the same, and albeit that a certaine naturall shamefastnesse, which of custome accompanieth Ladies, did close hir mouth, and made hir to deferre (for a certain time) the effect of hir resolued minde: yet in the ende vanquished with loue and impacience, she was forced to breake of silence, and to assure hir self in him, reiecting feare conceiued of shame, to make hir waye to pleasure, which she lusted more than mariage, the same seruyng hir, but for a Maske and couerture to hide hir follies and shamelesse lusts, for which she did the penaunce that hir folly deserued. For no colorable dede or deceytful trompery can serue the excuse of any notable wyckednesse. She then throughly persuaded in her intent, dreamyng and thinking of nought else, but vpon the imbracement of hir Bologna, ended and determined hir conceits and pretended follies: and vpon a time sent for him vp into hir chamber, as commonly she did for the affaires and matters of hir house, and taking him a side vnto a window, hauing prospect into a garden, she knew not how to begin hir talk: (for the heart being seased, the mind troubled, and the witts out of course, the tongue fayled to do his office,) in sutch wise, as of long time she was vnable to speake one onely woord. He surprised with like affection, was more astonied by seeing the alteration of his Ladie. So the two Louers stoode still like Images beholding one another, without any mouing at all, vntill the Lady the hardiest of them bothe, as feelinge the most vehement and greatest gryef, tooke Bologna by the hand, and dissembling what she thought, vsed this or sutch language: “If any other besides your selfe (Gentleman) should vnderstand the secret which now I purpose to dysclose, I doubt what speeach were necessary to colour, what I shall speake: but being assured of your discretion and wisdom, and with what perfection nature hath indued you, and Arte, hauing accomplished that in you, which nature did begin to worke, as one bred and brought vp in the royal court of the seconde Alphonse, of Ferdinando, and Frederick of Aragon my cousins, I wil make no doubt at all to manifest to 15you the hidden secretes of my heart, being well persuaded that when you shall both heare and sauor my reasons, and tast the light which I bring forth for me, easily you may iudge that mine aduice cannot be other than iust and reasonable. But if your conceits shall straye from that whych I determine, I shal he forced to thinke and saye that they which esteeme you wise and sage, and to be a man of good and ready wytte, be maruelously deceiued. Notwithstanding my heart foretelleth that it is impossible for mayster Bologna, to wandre so farre from equitie, but that by and by he wil enter the lystes and dyscerne the White from Blacke, and the Wronge fro that whych is Iust and Ryghte: for so mutch as hitherto I neuer saw thinge done by you, which Preposterated or peruerted the good iudgement that all the world esteemeth to shine in you, the same well manifested and declared by your tongue, the right iudge of the Mynde, you knowe and see how I am a Wydow through the Death of that Noble Gentleman of good remembrance, the Duke my Lord and husbande: you be not ignoraunt also, that I haue lyued and gouerned my self in sutch wise in my Widow state, as there is no man so hard and seuere of iudgement, that can blason reproch of mee in that whych appertayneth to the honestye and reputation of sutch a Lady as I am, bearyng my port so righte, as my conscience yeldeth no remorse, supposinge that no Man hathe wherewith to byte and accuse me. Touchyng the order of the goods of the Duke my Sonne, I have vsed them with diligence and discretion, as besides the Dettes, whych I haue dyscharged sithens the death of my Lord: I haue purchased a goodly Manor in Calabria, and haue annexed the same to the Dukedome of his heire: and at this day doe not owe one peny to any creditor that lent money to the Duke, which he toke vp to furnish the charges in the warres, which he sustayned in the seruice of the Kinges our soueraine Lords in the late warres for the Kyngdome of Naples. I haue as I suppose by this meanes stopped the slaunderous mouth and giuen cause vnto my sonne, during his life to accompt himself bound vnto his mother: now hauing till thys time liued for other, and made my selfe subiect more than nature could beare, I am entended to chaunge both my lyfe and condition. I haue tyll thys time run, trauayled, and remoued to the 16Castels and Lordeships of the Dukedome, to Naples and other places, being in mind to tary as I am a widow. But what new affayres and new councel hath possest my mynd? I haue trauayled and payned my self inoughe: I haue to long abidden a widowe’s lyfe: I am determined therefore to prouyde a Husbande, who by louing me, shall honor and cherysh me according to the loue which I shall beare hym, and my desert. For to loue a man without mariage, God defend my hearte should euer think, and shal rather dye a hundred thousand deathes, than a desire so wicked should soyle my conscience, knowyng well that a woman which setteth hir honor to sale, is lesse than nothing, and deserueth not the common ayre should breathe vpon hir, for all the reuerence that men do beare vnto them. I accuse no person, albeit that many noble women haue their forheds marked, with the blame of dishonest lyfe, and being honored of some, bee neuerthelesse the common Fable of the Worlde. To the intente then that sutch myshappe happen not to me, and perceyuyng my selfe vnable styll thus to lyue, beyng younge as I am, and (God bee thanked) neyther deformed nor yet paynted, I had rather bee the louyng Wyfe of a symple feere, than the Concubyne of a kynge or greate Prynce. And what? is the myghty Monarche able to washe away the faulte of hys Wyfe whych hath abandoned him contrary to the duety and honesty whych the vndefyled bed requyreth? no lesse then Pryncesses that whilom trespassed with those whych were of baser stuffe than themselues. Messalina with hir imperiall robe could not so wel couer hir faults, but that the Historians, do defame hir with the name and title of a common woman. Faustina the Wyfe of the sage Monarch Marcus Aurelius, gayned lyke reporte by rendringe hir selfe to others pleasure, bysides hir lawfull Spouse. To mary my selfe to one that is myne equall, it is impossible, for so mutch as there is no Lorde in all this Countrey meete for my degree, but is to olde of age, the rest being dead in these later Warres. To mary a husband that yet is but a childe, is folly extreeme, for the inconueniences which daily chaunce thereby, and the euil intreaty that Ladies do receyue when they come to age, when their nature waxeth cold, by reason whereof, imbracements be not so fauourable, and their husbandes glutted 17with ordinary meate, vse to run in exchange: wherefore I am resolued without respite or delay, to choose some well qualified and renoumed Gentleman, that hath more vertue than richesse, that is of better Fame and brute, then of wealth and reuenue, to the entent I may make him my Lord, Espouse, and Husbande. For I cannot imploy my loue vpon treasure, which may bee taken away from him, in whom richesse of the minde doth fayle, and shall bee better content to see an honest Gentleman with little liuing, to be praysed and commended of ech Degree for his good Deedes, than a rich Carle curssed and detested of all the World. Thus mutch I say, and it is the summe of all my secretes, wherein I pray your councel and aduice. I know that some wil be offended with my choise, and the Lords my Brothers, specially the Cardinall will thincke it straunge, and receyue the same with ill Digesture, that mutch a do shall I haue to bee agreed with them and to remoue the griefe they shall conceyue against mee for this myne attempt: wherefore I would the same should secretly be kept, until without peril and daunger eyther of my self or him, whome I pretende to marry, I may publish and manyfest, not my loue but the mariage which I hope in God shall soone bee consummate and accomplished wyth one, whome I doe loue better than my self, and who as I ful well do know, doeth loue me better than his owne propre lyfe.” Mayster Bologna, which tyll then hearkned to the oration of the Duchesse without mouing, feeling himselfe touched so neare, and hearinge that his Lady had made hir approche for mariage, stode still astonnied, hys tongue not able to frame one word, onely fantasied a thousand chimeraes in the Ayre, and formed like number of imaginations in his minde, not able to coniecture what hee was, to whom the duchesse had vowed hir loue, and the possession of hir beauty. He could not thinke that this ioy was prepared for hymselfe, for that his Lady spake no word of him, and he lesse durst open his mouth, and yet was wel assured that she loued him beyond measure. Notwithstanding knowing the ficklenesse and vnstable heart of women, he sayd vnto himselfe that she would change hir mynde, for seeing him to be so great a Coward, as not to offer his seruice to a Lady by whom hee saw himselfe so many times both wantonly looked vppon, and intertayned wyth some secresie more 18than familiar. The Duchesse which was a fine and subtile dame, seeinge hir friend rapt with the passion, and standing still vnmooueable through feare, pale and amazed, as if hee had bene accused and condempned to dy, knew by that Countenaunce and astonishment of Bologna, that she was perfectly beloued of him: and so meaning not to suffer him any longer to contynue in that amaze, ne yet to further feare hym, wyth dissembled and fayned mariage of any other but wyth hym, she tooke hym by the hand, and beholdinge him with a wanton and luring eye, (in sutch sort as the curious Philosophers themselues would awake, if sutch a Lampe and Torche did burne wythin theyr studies,) she sayde thus vnto hym: “Seignor Anthonio, I pray you be of good cheere, and torment not your selfe for any thing that I haue sayd: I know well, and of long time haue perceyued what good and faythful lone you beare mee, and with what affection you haue serued me, sithens you first came into my company. Thinke me not to bee so ignorant, but that I know ful wel by outward signes, what secret thoughts be hid in the inner heart: and that coniectures many times do geue me true and certayne knowledge of concealed things: and am not so foolish to thinke you to be so vndiscrete but that you haue marked my Countenaunce and maner, and thereby haue knowen that I haue bene more affectioned to you, than to any other: for that cause (sayde shee, strayninge hym by the hand very louingly, and wyth cheerefull colour in hir face) I sware vnto you, and doe promise that if you thinke meete, it shalbe none other but your self whom I wil haue, and desire to take to husband and lawful spouse, beynge assured so much of you, as the loue which so longe time hath ben hidden and couered in our hartes, shall appeare by so euident proofe, as onely death shal end and vndo the same.” The Gentleman hearing sutch sodain talke, and the assurance of that which he most wished for, albeit he saw the daunger extreme wherunto he launched himself by espousing this great Ladie, and the ennimies he should get by entring sutch aliaunce: notwythstandynge building vpon vaine hope, and thinking at length that the choler of the Aragon brother would passe away if they vnderstoode the maryage, determined to pursue the purpose, and not to refuse that greate preferment, being so prodigally 19offred: for which cause hee answered his Lady in this manner: “If it were in my power madame, to bryng to passe that, which I desire for your seruice by acknowledging the benefits and fauors which you depart vnto me, as my mind presenteth thanks for the same, I would think my self the happyest Gentleman that lyueth, and you the beste serued Pryncesse of the world. For one beter beloued (I dare presume to say, and so long as I liue wil affirme) is not to be found. If tyll thys time I delayed to open that which now I discouer vnto you, I beseeche you madame to impute it to the greatnesse of your estate, and to the duty of my calling and office in your house, being not seemelye for a seruaunte to talk of sutch secrets with his Lady and Mistresse. And truely the payne which I haue indured to hold my peace, and to hyde my grief, hath ben more noysom to me than one hundred thousand like sorrowes together, although it had bene lawfull to haue reuealed them to some trusty friend: I doe not denye madame, but of long time you did perceiue my follie and presumption, by addressing my minde so high, as to the Aragon bloud, and to sutch a princesse as you be. And who can beguile the Eye of a louer, specially of hir, whose Paragon for good minde, wisedome and gentlenesse is not? And I confesse to you besides, that I haue most euidentlye perceiued how a certain loue hath lodged in your gracious hearte, wherwith you bare me greater affection, than you dyd to anye other within the compasse of your family. But what? great Ladyes heartes be fraught with secretes and conceites of other effects than the Minds of Symple Women, which caused me to hope for none other guerdon of my loyal and faithful affection, than Deathe, and the same very short, and sith that little hope accompanyed wyth great, nay, rather extreme passion, is not able to giue sufficient force, both to suffer and to stablish my heart with constancye. Nowe for so mutch as of your motion, grace, curtesie and liberality the same is offred, and that it pleaseth you to accept me for yours, I humblye beseche you to dispose of me not as husband, but of one whych is, and shalbe your Seruaunt for euer, and sutch as is more ready to obey, than you to commaund. It resteth now Madame, to consyder how, and in what wise our affayres are to be directed, that thynges being in assurance, you may so liue 20without perill and bruite of slaunderous tongues, as your good fame and honest report may continue without spot or blemish.” Beholde the first Acte of this Tragedy, and the prouision of the fare which afterwardes sent them bothe to their graue, who immediatly gaue their mutual faith: and the houre was assigned the next day, that the faire Princesse should be in hir chamber alone, attended vpon with one onely Gentlewoman which had ben brought vp with her from the cradle, and was made priuy to the heauy mariage of those two louers which was consummate in hir presence. And for the present time they passed the same in words: for ratification whereof they went to bed togither: but the pain in the end was greater than the pleasure, and had hen better for them bothe, yea and also for the third, that they had shewed themselues so wyse in the deede, as discrete in keeping silence of that which was don: for albeit theyr mariage was secrete, and therby politikely gouerned themselues in their stelthes and robberyes of Loue, and that Bologna more ofte helde the state of the Stewarde of the House by Daye, than of Lorde of the same, and by Nyghte supplyed that Place, yet in the ende, the thynge was perceyued whych they desyred to bee closely kepte. And as it is impossyble to tyll and culture a fertyle Grounde, but that the same muste yelde some Fruycte, euen so the Duchesse after many pleasures (being ripe and plentiful) became with childe, which at the firste astonned the maried couple: neuerthelesse the same so well was prouided for, as the first Childbed was kept secret, and none did know thereof: the Childe was nourced in the Towne, and the father desired to haue him named Frederick, for remembraunce of the parents of hys Wyfe. Nowe fortune whych lieth in dayly wayte and ambushment, and lyketh not that men should longe Loyter in Pleasure, and Passetime, being enuious of sutch prosperity, cramped so the Legges of our two Louers, as they must needes chaunge their Game, and learne some other practise: for so mutch as the Duchesse beinge great with Childe agayne, and deliuered of a Girle, the businesse of the same was not so secretly done, but that it was discouered. And it sufficed not that the brute was noysed through Naples, but that the sound flew further of: As eche man doth know that Rumor hath many mouthes, who 21wyth the multitude of hys Tongues, and Trumps, Proclaymeth in diuers and sundry places, the things which chaunce in al the Regions of the Earth: euen so that bablinge foole, caried the newes of that second Childbed to the eares of the Cardinall of Aragon the Duchesse brother, being then at Rome. Think what Ioy, and Pleasure the Aragon brothers had, by hearinge the report of their Sister’s fact: I dare presume to say, that albeit they were extremely wroth wyth this happened Slaunder, and wyth that dishonest fame which the Duchesse had gotten throughout Italy, yet farre greater was their sorrow and griefe for that they did not know what hee was, that so curteously was allied to their house, and in their loue had increased their Ligneage: and therefore swelling wyth despite, and rapt with fury to see themselues so defamed by one of their Bloude, they purposed by all meanes whatsoeuer it cost them, to know the lucky Louer that had so wel tilled the Duchesse their Sister’s field. Thus desirous to remoue that shame from before their eyes, and to bee reuenged of a wrong so notable, they sent Espials round about, and scouts to Naples, to view and spy the behauiour and talke of the Duchesse, to settle some certayne Iudgement of him, which stealingly was become their Brother in lawe. The Duchesse Courte beinge in thys trouble, she dyd contynually perceiue in hir house, hir brothers men to marke hir countenance, and to note those that came thither to visite hir, and to whom she vsed greatest familiaritie, bicause it is impossible but that the fire, although it be raked vnder the ashes, must giue some heat: and albeit the two Louers vsed eche others company, without shewing any Sygne of their affection, yet they purposed to chaung theyr estate for a tyme, by yelding truce to their pleasures: yea, and although Bologna was a wise and prouident personage, fearing to be surprised vpon the facte, or that the Gentlewoman of the chamber corrupted with money, or forced by feare, should pronounce any matter to his hinderance or disaduantage, determined to absent himself from Naples, yet not so sodainly but that he made the Duchesse his faithfull Lady and companion priuy of his intent: and as they were secretly in their chamber together, he vsed these or sutch like words: “Madame, albeit the right good intent and vnstained conscience, is free from 22faulte, yet the iudgement of men hath further relation to the exterior apparance, than to vertue’s force and innocence it self, as ignoraunt of the secrets of the thought: and so in things that be well done, wee must of necessity fall into the sentence of those, whom beastly affection rauisheth more, than ruled reason. You see the solempne watch and guarde whych the Seruaunts of the Lordes your Brothers do within your house, and the suspition which they haue conceiued by reason of your second Childbed, and by what meanes they labor truely to know how your affayres procede, and things do passe. I feare not death where your seruice may be aduaunced, but ys herein the Maiden of your Cbamber be not secrete, if she bee corrupted, and if she keepe not close that which shee ought to doe, it is not ignoraunt to you that it is the losse of my lyfe, and shall dye suspected to bee a Whoremonger and varlot, euen I, (I say) shal incurre that Peryll, whych am your true and Lawfull Husband. Thys separation chaunceth not by iustyce or desert, sith the cause is to ryghteous for vs: but rather your brethren will procure my death, when I shall thinke the same in greatest assurance. If I had to do but wyth one or two, I would not chaunge the place, ne march one step from Naples, but be assured, that a great band, and the same well armed will set vppon me: I pray you, madame, suffer me to retire for a time, for I am assured that when I am absent, they will neuer soile their hands or imbrue their sweardes in your Bloud. If I doubted any thing at all of Peryll touchyng your owne person, I had rather a hundred hundred tymes die in your Company, than lyue to see you no more: but out of doubt I am, that if our affaires were discouered, and they knew you to be begotten with Chyld by me, your safety would be prouided for wher I should sustain the penaunce of the fact, committed without fault or sinne: and therfore I am determined to goe from Naples, to order mine affaires, and to cause my Reuenue to be brought to the place of mine abode, and from thence to Ancona, vntyl it pleaseth God to mitigate the rage of your brethren, and recouer their good wills for consent to our mariage. But I meane not to do or conclude any thing without your aduise, and if thys intente doe not like you, gyue me Councell Madame, what I were beste to doe, that 23both in Lyfe and Death you may knowe your faythfull seruaunt and louing Husband is ready to obey and please you.” This good Lady hearing hir husband’s discourse, vncertayne what to do, wept bitterly, as well for grief to lose his presence, as for that she felt her self with child the third time: the sighes and teares, the sobbes and heauy lookes, which she threwe forth vppon hir sorrowful husband, gaue sufficient witnesse of hir payne and Gryef: and if none had hard hir, I thynke her playntes would haue well expressed hir inwarde smarte of mynde. But like a wise Ladye seing the alleaged reasons of hir husbande, licensed him although agaynste hir minde, not wythout vtterance of these fewe Words, before hee went out of hir Chamber: “Deare husbande, if I were so well assured of the affectyon of my Brethren, as I am of my mayde’s fidelity, I would entreat you not to leaue me alone: specially in the case I am, beynge wyth Chylde: but knowyng that to be iust and true whych you haue sayde, I am content to force my wyll for a certayne tyme, that hereafter we may lyue at rest together, ioyning our selues in the companye of our Chyldren and Famylye, voyde of those troubles, whych greate Courts ordinarily beare within the compasse of their Palaces. Of one thing I must intreat you, that so often as you can by trusty messenger, you send me word and intelligence of your health and state, bicause the same shall bring vnto me greater pleasure and contentation, than the welfare of mine owne: and bicause also, vpon sutch occurrentes as shall chaunce, I may prouyde for myne owne affaires, the surety of my self, and of our Children.” In saying so, she embraced him very amorously, and he kissed hir with so greate sorrow and grief of heart, as the soule was ready out of his Body to take hir flight, sorowful beyond measure so to leaue hir whome he loued, for the great curtesies and honor which hee had receiued at hir hands. In the end, fearing that the Aragon espials woulde come and discrie them in those priuities, Bologna tooke his leaue, and bad his Lady and spouse Farewell. And this was the second Acte of this Tragicall Historie, to see a fugitife husband, secretly to mary, especially hir, vpon whome hee ought not so mutch as to loke but with feare and reuerence. Behold here (O ye folish louers) a Glasse of your lightnesse, and yee Women, the course of 24your fond behauyor. It behoueth not the wise sodainly to execute their first motions and desyres of their heart for so mutch as they may be assured that pleasure is pursued so neare with a repentaunce so sharp to be suffred, and hard to be digested, as their voluptuousnesse shall vtterly discontent them. True it is, that mariages be don in heauen and performed in earth, but that saying may not be applied to fooles, which gouerne them selues by carnall desires, whose scope is but pleasure, and the reward many times equall to their follie. Shall I be of opinion that a houshold seruaunt oughte to sollicite, nay rather suborne the Daughter of his Lorde without punyshment, or that a vyle and abiect person dare to mount vpon a Prynces Bed? No, no, pollicye requyreth order in all, and eche wight ought to bee matched according to theyr qualytye, wythout makynge a Pastyme of it to couer theyr Follyes, and knowe not of what Force Loue and Desteny be, except the same be resysted. A goodly thinge it is to Loue, but where reason looseth Place, Loue is wythoute his effecte, and the sequele rage and Madnesse: leaue we to discourse of those which beleue that they be constrayned to folowe the Force of theyr Mynde, and may easilye subdue themselues to the Lawes of Vertue and Honesty, lyke one that thrusteth hys Heade into a Sack, and thynkes he can not get out: sutch people do please themselues in theyr losse, and thinke all well that is noysome to their Health, daily folowyng theyr owne delyghtes. Come wee againe then to sir Bologna, who after he had left hys Wyfe in hir Castell, went to Naples, and hauing sessed a rent vpon hir lands, and leuyed a good summe of Money, he repayred to Ancona a city of the patrimonye of the Romane church, whither hee caryed the two Chyldren, which he had of the Duchesse, causyng them to be brought vp with suche Dyligence and care, as it is to be thought a Father well affectyoned to hys Wyfe would doe, and who delyghted to see a Braunch of the Tree, that to hym was the best beloued Fruyct of the World. There he hyred a house for hys trayne, and for those that wayted vppon hys Wyfe, who in the meane tyme was in great care, and could not tell of what Woode to make hir arrowes, perceyuing that hir Belly began to swell, and grow to the tyme of hir deliuery, seeing that from Day to Day, hir Brothers seruaunts were at hir back, voide 25of Counsel and aduise, if one euenyng she had not spoken to the Gentlewoman of her chamber, touchyng the doubts and peryl wherein she was, not knowing how she might be deliuered from the same. That maiden was gentle and of a good mind and stomake, and loued hir mistresse very derely, and seeing hir so amazed and tormenting hir self to death, mindyng to fray hir no further, ne to reproue hir of hir fault which could not be amended, but rather to prouyde for the daunger wherunto she had hedlong cast hir selfe, gaue hir this aduyse: “How now, Madame” (sayd shee,) “is that wysdom whych from your Chyldhode hath ben so famyliar in you, dislodged from your brest in time when it ought chiefly to rest for incountryng of those mishaps that are comming vpon vs? think you to auoid the dangers, by thus tormentyng your self, except you set your hands to the work therby to gyue the repulse to aduerse fortune? I haue heard you many tymes speake of the Constancye and Force of Mynde, whych ought to shine in the deedes of Princesses, more clerely than amongs those dames of baser house, and whych ought to make them appeare like the sunne and the little starres: and yet I see you nowe astonned, as though you had neuer forseene, that aduersity chaunceth so wel to catch the great within his clouches, as the base and simple sort. It is but now that you haue called to remembraunce that which might insue your mariage with sir Bologna? Did hys onely presence assure you against the waits of fortune, and was it the thought of paines, feares and frights, which now turmoileth your dolorous mind? Ought you thus to vexe your selfe, when nede it is to thinke how to saue both your honor, and the fruicte wythin your intrailes? If your sorrow be so great ouer sir Bologna, and if you feare your childbed wil be descried, why seeke you not meanes to attempt some voyage, for couering of the fact, to beguile the eyes of them whych so diligently do watch you? Doth your hearte faile you in that matter? whereof do you dreame? why sweat and freat you before you make me answer?” “Ah sweete hearte,” (answered the Duchesse,) “if thou feltest the payne which I do suffer, thy tongue would not be so mutch at wyll, as thou shewest it now to bee for reproofe of my small Constancie. I do sorrow specially for the causes which thou alleagest, and 26aboue all, for that I know well, that if my Brethren had neuer so litle intelligence of my beynge with Chyld, I were vndone and my Lyfe at an end, and peraduenture poore Wench, thou shouldest beare the penaunce for my sinne. But what way can I take, that stil these Candels may not giue light, and I voided of the Trayne whych ought to wayghte vpon my Brethren? I thinke if I should descend into Hell, they would know, whither any shadowe there were in loue with me. Now gesse if I should trauayle the Realme, or retire to any other place, whither they would let me liue in peace? Nothing lesse, for suspect they would, that the cause of my departure proceeded of desyre to liue at liberty, to dallye wyth hym, whom they Iudge to be other than my lawfull husbande: and it may so be, that as they bee Wicked and suspicious, so will they doubte of my beynge wyth Chylde and thereby shall I bee farre more infortunate by trauaylyng, than here in miserie amidde myne anguishe: and you the reste that be keepers of my Councell, fall into greater Daunger, vppon whome no doubte they will bee reuenged: and fleshe themselues for your vnhappy waiting and attendance vpon vs.” “Madame,” sayd the bolde Maiden, “be not afraide, and followe mine aduise, for I hope that it shall be the meanes both to see your spouse, and to rid those troublesome verlets out of your house, and in like maner safely to deliuer you into good assuraunce.” “Say your mind,” quod the Ladye, “for it may bee, that I wyll gouerne my self according to the same.” “Mine aduise is then,” sayd the Gentlewoman, “to let your houshold vnderstand, that you made a Vowe to visite the Holy Temple of our Lady of Loretto, (a Famous Pilgrimage in Italy) and that you commaund your Trayn to make themselues ready to wayt vpon you for accomplyshment of your deuotion, and from thence you shall take your Iourney to soiourne at Ancona, whither before you goe hence, you shall send your Moueables and Plate, wyth sutch Moneye as you thynke necessarye for furnyshing of your Charges: and afterwards God will performe the rest, and through his holy mercy will guyde and direct al your affaires.” The Duchesse hearing the mayden speake her good aduise and amazed of her sodayne inuention, could not forbear to imbrace and kysse hir, blessing the houre wherein she was borne, and that euer she 27chaunced into hir Companye, to whome afterwards shee sayd: “My Wenche, I had well determined to gyue ouer myne estate and Noble porte, ioyfully to lyue a simple Gentlewoman with my deare and welbeloued Husband, but I could not deuyse how I should conuenyently departe thys countrey without suspition of some folly: and sith that thou hast so well instructed mee for brynging that same to passe, I promyse thee that so diligentlye thy counsel shal be performed, as I see the same to be right good and necessary: for rather had I see my husband, beynge alone without title of Duchesse or great Lady, than to liue without him beautified with the graces and Names of Honor and preheminence.” This deuised plot was no soner grounded, but she gaue order for execution of the same, and brought it to passe with sutch dexterity as the Ladye in lesse than viii. Dayes had conueyed and sente the most part of hir Moueables, and specially the chyefest and beste to Ancona, taking in the meane time hir way towards Loretto after she had bruted hir solempne vow made for that Pilgrimage. It was not sufficient for this folysh Woman to take a Husband more to glut hir libidinous appetite, than for other occasion, except shee added to hir sinne another excreable impietie, making holy places and dueties of deuotion, to be as it were the shadowes of hir folly. But let vs consider the force of Louers rage, which so soone as it hath seased vpon the minds of men, we see how maruellous be the effects thereof, and with what straint and puissaunce that madnesse subdueth the wise and strongest worldlings: who woulde thinke that a great Lady besides the abandoning hir estate, hir goodes and Chyld, would haue misprysed hir honor and reputation, to follow like a vagabond, a pore and simple Gentleman, and him besides that was the household seruaunt of hir Courte? and yet you see this great and mighty Duchesse trot and run after the Male, like a female Wolfe or Lionesse (when they goe to sault,) and forget the Noble bloud of Aragon whereof she was descended, to couple hir self almost with the simplest person of all the trimmest Gentlemen of Naples. But turne we not the example of follies to be a matter of consequence: for if one or two become bankrupt of theyr honor, it followeth not, good Ladyes, that theyr fact should serue for a matche to your 28deserts, and mutch lesse a patron for you to folow. These Hystories be not wryten to trayne and trap you to pursue the thousand thousand slippery sleightes of Loue’s gallantise, but rather carefully to warne you to behold the semblable faultes, and to serue for a drugge to dyscharge the Poyson which gnaweth and fretteth the integrytie and soundnesse of the soule. The wyse and skilfull Apothecary or compositor of drugges, dresseth Vipers flesh to purge the patyent from hote corrupted bloud which conceyueth and engendreth Leprosie within hys Body. In lyke manner, the fonde loue and wycked rybauldry of Semiramis, Pasiphae, Messalina, Faustina, and Romilda is shewed in wryt, that euery of you maye feare to be numbred and recorded amongs sutch common and dishonourable women. You Princes and great Lords read the follies of Paris, the adulteries of Hercules, the dainty and effeminate life of Sardanapalus, the tiranny of Phalaris, Busiris, or Dyonisius of Sicile, and see the history of Tiberius, Nero, Caligula, Domitian, and Heliogabalus, and spare not to recompte them amongs our wanton youthes which soile themselues villaines more filthily than the swine do in the durt: al this intendeth it an instruction for your youth to follow the infection and whoredome of those Monsters? Better it were all those bokes were drenched in bottomlesse depth of seas, than Christian life by their meanes should be corrupted: but the example of the wicked is induced for to eschue and auoid them, as the life of the good and honest is remembred to frame and addresse our behauior in this world to be praise worthy and commended: otherwyse the holinesse of sacred writ should serue for an argument to the vnthrifty and luxurious to confirm and approue their beastly and licencious wickednesse. Come we againe then to our purpose: the good Pilgrime of Loretto went forth hir voyage to atchieue hir deuotions, by visiting the Saint for whose Reliques she was departed the country of the Duke hir Sonne: when she had done hir suffrages at Loretto, hir people thought hir voiage to be at an end, and that she would haue returned again into hir Countrey: but she said vnto them, that forsomutch as she was so neare Ancona, being but xv. myles of, she would not retyre but she had seen that auncient and goodlye city, which diuers Hystories do greatly recommend, as wel for the 29antiquitie, as for the pleasant seat therof. Al were of hir aduise, and went forward to see the antiquities of Ancona, and she to renue the pleasures whych she had before begon with hir Bologna, who was aduertised of all hir determination, restyng now like a God, possessed with the Iewels and rychesse of the Duchesse, and had taken a fayre palace in the great Streat of the City, by the gate wherof the traine of hys Lady must passe. The Harbinger of the Duchesse posted before to take vp lodging for the train, but Bologna offred vnto hym hys Palace for the Ladye. So Bologna whych was already welbeloued in Ancona, and newely entred Amytye and greate Aquayntaunce wyth the Gentlemen of the Cytye, wyth a goodlye troupe of them, wente forthe to meete hys Wyfe, to whom he presented his house, and besought hir that shee and hir trayne would vouchsafe to lodge there. She receiued the same very thankfully, and withdrew hir selfe vnto his house, who conducted hir thither, not as a husband, but like him that was hir humble and affectionate seruaunte. But what needeth greate dyscourse of Woordes? The duchesse knowing that it was impossible but eche man must be priuy to hir facte, and know what secretes hath passed betweene hir and hir Husband, to the ende that no other opynyon of hir Childebed should be conceyued, but that whych was good and Honest, and done synce the accomplyshment of the Maryage, the morrow after hir arryuall to Ancona, assembled all her Trayne in the Hall, of purpose no longer to keepe cloase that sir Bologna was hir Husbande, and that alreadye shee had had two Chyldren by him, and agayne was great with childe, with a third. And when they were come togither after dynner, in that presence of hir husbande, shee vsed vnto them these woordes: “Gentlemen, and al ye my trusty and louyng seruaunts, hyghe tyme it is to manyfest to euery of you, the thing which hath ben done before the Face, and in the presence of hym who knoweth the most obscure and hydden secrets of our thoughts. And needefull it is not to keepe silente that which is neyther euyll done ne hurtfull to any person: If things myght be kept secrete and styl remaine vnknowen, except they were declared by the doers of them, yet would not I commit the wrong in concealyng that, which to dyscouer vnto you doth greatly delite me, and deliuereth my mind 30from exceeding grief, in sutch wise as if the flames of my desire could break out with sutch violence, as the fire hath taken heate within my mind, ye should see the smoke mount vp with greater smoulder than that which the mount Gibel doeth vomit forth at certayne seasons of the yeare. And to the intent I may not keepe you long in this suspect, this secret fire wythin my Heart, and that which I shal cause to flame in open ayre, is a certain opinion which I conceiue for a mariage by me made certain yeares past, at what time I chose and wedded a husband to my fantasie and liking, desirous no longer to liue in Widow state, being vnwilling to do the thing that should preiudice and hurt my conscience. The same is done, and yet in one thing I haue offended, which is by long keepyng secrete the performed mariage: for the wycked brute dispearsed through the realme by reason of my childbed, one yeare paste, hath displeased some: howbeit my conscience receiueth comforte, for that the same is free from fault or blot. Now shall ye know therefore what he is, whom I acknowledg for my Lord and spouse, and who it is that lawfully hath me espoused in the presence of this Gentlewoman here present, which is the witnesse of our Nuptials and accorde of mariage. This gentleman also Antonio Bologna, is he to whom I haue sworn and giuen my faith, and hee againe to mee hath ingaged his. He it is whom I accompt for my spouse and husband, (and with whome henceforth) I meane to rest and contynue. In consideration whereof, if there be any heere amongs you all, that shal mislike of my choyse, and is willing to wayt vppon my sonne the Duke, I meane not to let them of their intent, prayinge them faithfully to serue him, and to be careful of his person, and to be vnto him so honest and loyall, as they haue bene to me so longe as I was their mistresse. But if any of you desire stil to make your abode wyth me, to be partakers of my Wealth and woe, I will so entertayne them as they shall haue good cause to be contented, if not let them departe hence to Malfi, and the steward shal prouide for them according to their degre: for touching my self I do mind no more to be termed an infamous Duchesse: rather would I be honored wyth the Tytle of a symple Gentlewoman, or wyth that estate whych shee can haue that hath an honest husband, and wyth whom she holdeth 31faithfull and loyall company, than reuerenced with the glory of a Pryncesse, subiect to the despite of slaunderous tongues. Ye know” (said she to Bologna) “what hath passed betwene vs, and God is the witnesse of the integrity of my Conscyence, wherfore I pray you bryng forth our Chyldren, that eche Man may beholde the Fruyctes raysed of our allyance.” Hauynge spoken those Woordes, and the Chyldren broughte forthe into the Hall, all the companye stoode styll so astonned wyth that newe successe and tale, as though hornes sodainly had started forth their heads, and rested vnmoueable and amazed, like the great marble piller of Rome called Pasquile, for so mutch as they neuer thought, ne coniectured that Bologna was the successor of the duke of Malfi in his mariage bed. This was the preparatiue of the catastrophe and bloudy end of this tragedie. For of all the Duchesse seruaunts, there was not one that was willing to continue wyth theyr auncient mistresse, who with the faithfull maiden of hir chamber remained at Ancona, enioying the ioyful embracements of hir Husbande, in all sutch Pleasure and Delyghts as they doe, whych hauyng lyued in fear, be set at liberty, and out of al suspition, plunged in a sea of ioy, and fleting in the quiet calme of al passetime, where Bologna had none other care, but how to please his best beloued, and she studied nothing else but how to loue and obey him, as the wyfe ought to doe hir husband. But thys fayre Weather lasted not long, for as the ioyes of men do not long endure but wast in lyttle time, so bee the delights of louers lesse firme and stedefast and passe away almost in one moment of an houre. Now the seruaunts of the Duchesse which wer retired, and durst tary no longer with hir, fearing the fury of the cardinal of Aragon brother to the Lady, the verye Day they departed from Ancona, deuised amongs themselues that one of them should ride in post to Rome, to aduertise the cardinal of the ladye’s maryage, to the intente that the Aragon brethren myght conceiue no cause to seke reuenge of theyr disloyalty. That determination spedily was accomplished, one posting towardes Rome, and the rest galloping to the countrey Castles of the duke. These newes reported to the Cardinal and his brother, it may be coniectured how gryeuously they toke the same, and that they were not able to digest them wyth modestye, the yongest 32of the brethren, yalped forth a Thousand Cursses and despytes, agaynste the symple sexe of womankind. “Ha,” said the Prince (transported with choler, and driuen into deadly furie) “what law is able to punish or restrayne the folysh indiscretion of a Woman, that yeldeth hir self to hir own desires? What shame is able to brydle and withdrawe a Woman from hir mind and madnesse? Or with what fear is it possible to snaffle them from execution of theyr filthinesse? Ther is no beast be he neuer so wilde, but man sometime may tame, and bring to his lure and order. The force and diligence of Man is able to Make mylde the stronge and Proude, and to ouertake the swyftest Beaste and Foule, or otherwyse to attayne the hyghest and deepest things of the world: but this incarnate diuelish beaste the Woman, no force can subdue hir, no swiftnesse can approch hir mobylity, no good mind is able to preuent hir sleightes and deceites, they seem to be procreated and borne againste all order of Nature, and to liue withoute Lawe, whych gouerneth al other things indued with some reason and vnderstanding. But howe great abhomination is this, that a Gentlewoman of sutch a house as ours is, hath forgotten hir estate, and the greatnesse of hir deceased husband, with the hope of the toward youthe of the Duke hir sonne and our Nephew. Ah, false and vile bytch, I sweare by the Almighty God and by his blessed wounds, that if I can catch thee, and that wicked knaue thy chosen mate, I wil pype ye both sutch a wofull galiard, as in your imbracements ye neuer felt like ioy and mirthe. I wil make ye daunce sutch a bloudy bargenet, as your whorish heate for euer shall be cooled. What abuse haue they committed vnder title of mariage, whych was so secretly don, as their children do witnesse their lecherous loue, but theyr promise of faith was made in open aire, and serueth for a cloke and visarde of their moste filthy whoredom. And what if mariage was concluded, be we of so little respect, as the carion beast could not vouchsafe to aduertise vs of hir entent? Or is Bologna a man worthy to be allied or mingled with the roial bloud of Aragon and Castille? No, no, be he neuer so good a gentleman, his race agreeth not with kingly state. But I make to God a vow, that neuer wyll I take one sound and restful slepe, vntill I haue dispatched that infamous fact from our bloud, and 33that the caitif whoremonger be vsed according to his desert.” The cardinal also was out of quiet, grinding his teeth togither, chattering forth of his Spanish mosel Jack an Apes Pater-noster, promising no better vsage to their Bologna than hys yonger brother did. And the better to intrap them both (without further sturre for that time) they sent to the Lord Gismondo Gonsago the Cardinal of Mantua, than Legate for pope Iulius the second at Ancona, at whose hands they enioyed sutch friendship, as Bologna and all his family were commaunded spedily to auoid the city. But for al that the Legat was able to do, of long time he could not preuail, Bologna had so greate intelligence wythin Ancona. Neuerthelesse whiles hee differred his departure, he caused the most part of his trayne, his Children and goods to be conueyed to Siena, an auncient Citty of Thoscane, which for the state and liberties, had long time bin at warres with the Florentines, in sutch wyse as the very same day that newes came to Bologna that hee should depart the Citty within xv. daies, hee was ready, and mounted on horseback to take hys flight to Siena, whych brake for sorrow the hearts of the Aragon brethren, seeinge that they were deceiued, and frustrate of their intent, bicause they purposed by the way to apprehend Bologna, and to cut him in peeces. But what? The tyme of his hard lucke was not yet expired, and so the marche from Ancona, serued not for the Theatre of those two infortunate louers ouerthrow, who certaine moneths liued in peace in Thoscane. The Cardinall night nor day did sleepe, and his brother still did wayt to performe hys othe of reuenge. And seeinge their ennimy out of feare, they dispatched a post to Alfonso Castruccio, the cardinall of Siena, to entreat the lord Borgliese, cheyfe of the Seigniory there, that their Syster, and Bologna should be banished the Countrey, and limits of that Citty, which wyth small suite was brought to passe. These two infortunate, Husband and Wyfe, were chasid from all places, and so vnlucky as whilom Achastus was when he was accursed, or Oedipus, after his father’s death, and incestious mariage wyth his mother, vncertayne to what Sainct to vow themselues, and to what place to take their flight. In the ende they determined to goe to Venice, but first to Ramagna, there to imbarke themselues for to retyre in saulfty to the citty 34enuironned wyth the Sea Adriaticum, the richest in Europa. But the poore soules made their reconinge there wythout their hoaste, faylinge halfe the price of their banket. For being vppon the territory of Forly, one of the trayne a farre of, did see a troupe of horsemen galloping towardes their company, which by their countenaunce shewed no signe of peace or amity at all, which made them consider that it was some ambush of theyr Enimyes. The Neapolitan gentleman seeing the onset bendinge vppon them, began to feare death, not for that hee cared at al for his mishap, and ruine, but his heart began to cleaue for heauinesse to see his Wyfe and little Children ready to be murdered, and serue for the passetime of the Aragon Brethren’s eyes, for whose sakes he knew himselfe already predestinate to dy, and that for despite of him, and to accelerate his death by the ouerthrow of hys Wyfe and Children, he was assured that they would dispatch them all before his face and presence. But what is there to be done, where counsell and meanes to escape do fayle? Full of teares therefore, astonishment and feare, he expected death so cruell as man could deuise, and was already determined to suffer the same with good courage, for any thing that the Duchesse could say vnto him. He might well haue saued himself and his eldest sonne by flight, being both wel mounted vpon two good Turkey horsses, whiche ran so fast, as the quarrel out of a Crosbow. But he loued to mutch his wife and children, and woulde kepe them company both in lyfe and death. In th’ende the good Lady sayd vnto him: “Sir, for all the ioyes and pleasures which you can do me, for God’s sake saue your selfe and the litle infant next you, who can well indure the galloping of the horse. For sure I am, that you being out of our company, we shall not neede to feare any hurt: but if you do tary, you wil be the cause of the ruine and ouerthrow of vs all, and we shal receiue thereby no profit or aduauntage: take this purse therefore, and saue yourself, attending better fortune in time to come.” The poore Gentleman Bologna knowing that his wife had pronounced reason, and fearing that it was impossible from that time forth that she or hir Traine could escape their hands, taking leaue of hir, and kissing his chyldren not forgetting the money which she offred vnto him, willed his seruants 35to saue themselues by sutch meanes as they thought best. So gieuing spurs vnto his horse, he began to fly amayne, and his eldest sonne seeing his father gone, began to followe in like sorte: and so for that time they two were saued by breaking of the intended ill luck lyke to light vpon them. And where he thought to rescue himselfe at Venice, he turned another way, and by great Iourneys arriued at Millan. In the meane time the horsemen were approched neere the Duchesse, who seeing that Bologna had saued himselfe, very courteously began to speake vnto the lady, were it that the Aragon brethren had geuen theym that charge, or feared that the Lady would trouble them with hir importunate Cries, and Lamentations. One therefore amongs the Troupe sayde thus vnto hir: “Madam, we be commaunded by the Lordes your brethren, to conduct you home vnto your house, that you may receiue agayne the Gouernment of the Duchy, and the order of the Duke your sonne, and do maruell very mutch at your folly, for giuing your selfe thus to wander the Countrey after a man of so smal reputation as Bologna is, who when he had glutted his lusting lecherrous minde with the comelines of your noble Personage, wil despoyle you of your goods and honour, and then take his Legs into som straung countrey.” The simple Lady, albeit greeuous it was vnto hir to heare sutch speech of hir husband, yet helde hir peace and dissembled what she thought, glad and wel contented with the curtesy done vnto hir, fearinge before that they came to kyll hir and thought hirselfe already discharged, hopinge vppon their courteous Dealinges, that shee, and hir Chyldren from that tyme forth should lyue in good assuraunce. But she was greatly deceyued, and knew within shorte space after, the good will that hir Brethren bare hir: for so soone as these Gallants had conducted hir into the kyngdome of Naples, to one of the Castels of hir sonne, she was committed to pryson wyth hir chyldren, and she also that was the secretary of hir infortunate mariage. Til this time Fortune was contented to proceede with indifferent quiet against those Louers, but henceforth yee shall heare the Issue of theyr little prosperous loue, and how pleasure hauing blinded them, neuer forsooke them vntil it had giuen them the ouerthrow. It booteth not heere to recite any Fables or Hystories, contenting my 36self that Ladies do reade wythout to many weping teares, the pitifull end of that myserable princesse, who seeing hir selfe a Prisoner in the company of hir litle chyldren and welbeloued Mayden, paciently liued in hope to see hir Brethren appaysed, comforting hir selfe for the escape of hir husband out of the hands of his mortal foes. But hir assurance was changed into an horrible feare and hir hope to no expectation of surety, when certayne dayes after hir imprisonment, hir gaoler came in, and sayde vnto hir: “Madame, I do aduise you henceforth to consider and examine your Conscience, for so mutch as I suppose that euen thys very day your Lyfe shall be taken from you.” I leaue for you to thinke what horrour, and traunce assayled the feeble heart of this poore Lady, and wyth what eares she receyued that cruell message, but hir cryes, and moanes together with hir sighes and lamentations declared with what chere she receyued the aduertisement. “Alas” (sayd she) “is it possible that my brethren should so far forget themselues, as for a fact nothing preiudicial vnto them, cruelly to put to death their innocent Sister, and to imbrue the memory of their fact, in the bloud of one which neuer did offend them? Must I against al right and equity be put to death before the Iudge or Maiestrate haue made triall of my lyfe, and knowne the righteousnesse of my cause? Ah God, most rightfull and bountifull father, beholde the mallice of my Brethren, and the Tyrannous cruelty of those which wrongfully doe seeke my bloud. Is it a sinne to marry? Is it a fault to fly, and auoide the sinne of Whoredome? What Lawes be these, where marriage bed, and ioyned matrimony is pursued wyth lyke seuerity, that Murder, Theft, and Aduoutry are? And what Christianity in a Cardinall, to shed the bloud which hee ought to defend? What profession is thys, to assayle the innocent by the hygh way side, and to reue them of lyfe in place to punish Theeues and Murderers? O Lord God thou art iust, and dost al things in equity, I see wel that I haue trespassed against thy maiesty in some more notoryous crime than in marriage: I most humbly therefore beseech thee to haue compassion on mee, and to pardon myne offences, accepting the confession, and repentaunce of mee thine humble seruaunt for satisfaction of my sinnes, which it pleased thee to washe away in 37the precious bloud of thy sonne our Sauiour, that being so purified, I may appeare at the holy banket in thy glorious kingdome.” When shee had thus finished hir prayer, two or three of the ministers which had taken hir besides Forly, came in, and said vnto hir: “Now Madame make ready your selfe to goe to God, for beholde your houre is come.” “Praysed be that God” (sayd she) “for the wealth and woe that it pleaseth hym to send vs. But I beseech you my friendes to haue pitty vppon these lyttle Babes and innocent creatures: let them not feele the smarte whych I am assured my Brethren beare agaynste their Poore vnhappy Father.” “Well well, madame,” sayd they, “we wil conuey them to sutch place as they shal not want.” “I also recommend vnto you” (quod she) “this pore imprisoned mayden, and entreate hir well, in consideration of hir good service done to the infortunate Duchesse of Malfi.” As she had ended those words, the two Ruffians did put a coarde about her neck, and strangled hir. The mayden seeing the pitious Tragedy commensed vpon hir maystresse, cried out a maine, cursing the cruell malice of those tormenters, and besought God to be witnesse of the same, and crying out vpon his diuine Maiesty, she humbly praied unto him to bend hys iudgement agaynst them which causelesse (being no Magistrates,) had killed so innocent creatures. “Reason it is” (sayd one of the Tyrants) “that thou be partaker of thy maystresse innocency, sith thou hast bene so faythfull a Minister, and messenger of hir fleshly follies.” And sodaynly caught hir by the hayre of the head, and in steade of a Carcanet placed a roape about her necke. “How nowe” (quoth shee,) “is this the promised fayth you made vnto my lady?” But those words flew into the Ayre wyth hir Soule, in company of the myserable Duchesse. And now hearken the most sorowfull scene of all the Tragedy. The little Chyldren which had seene all this furious game executed vpon their mother and hir mayde, as nature prouoked them, or as some presage of their myshap might leade them thereunto, kneeled vpon their knees before those Tyrants, and embracinge their Legges, wayled in sutch wyse, as I thinke that any other, except a pitilesse heart spoyled of all humanity, would haue had compassion. And impossible it was for them, to vnfolde the embracementes of those innocent creatures, 38whych seemed to foreiudge their death by Sauage lookes and Countenaunce of those Roysters: whereby I think that needes it must be confessed, that nature hath in hir selfe, and in vs imprinted some signe of diuination, and specially at the Houre and tyme of death, so as the very beastes doe feele some forewarninges, although they see neyther Sworde, nor Staffe, and indeuoure to auoyde the cruell Passage of a thynge so Fearefull, as the separation of two thynges so neerely vnyted, euen the Body, and Soule, which for the motion that chaunceth at the very instant, sheweth how narure is constrained in that monstrous diuision, and more than horrible ouerthrow. But who can appease a heart determined to worke mischief, and hath sworne the death of another forced thereunto by some special commaundment? The Aragon brethren ment hereby nothing else, but to roote out the whole name and race of Bologna. And therfore the two ministers of iniquity did like murder and slaughter vpon those two tender babes, as they had done before vpon their mother not without some motion of horror, for an act so detestable. Behold here how far the cruelty of man extendeth, when it coueteth nothing else but vengeance, and marke what excessyue choler the mind of them produceth, whych suffer themselues to be forced and ouerwhelmed with fury. Leaue we apart the cruelty of Euchrates, the Sonne of the kinge of Bactria, and of Phraates the Sonne of the Persian Prynce, of Timon of Athenes, and of an infinit number of those which were rulers and gouernors of the Empyre of Rome: and let vs match with these Aragon brethren, one Vitoldus Duke of Lituania, the cruelty of whom, constrained his own subiects to hang themselues for feare leaste they should fall into his furious and bloudy hands. We may confesse also these brutall brethren to be more butcherly than euer Otho Erle of Monferrato, and prince of Vrbin was, who caused a yeoman of his chamber to be wrapped in a sheete poudred with sulpher and brimstone, and afterwards kindled with a Candle, was scalded and consumed to death, bicause he waked not at an hour by him appointed: let vs not excuse them also from some affinity with Manfredus the sonne of Henry the second emperor, who smoldered hys own father, being an old man, between two Couerlets. These former furies might haue some excuse to 39couer their cruelty, but these had no other color but a certain beastly madnesse which moued them to kil those litle Children their nephews, who by no means could preiudice or anoy the Duke of Malfi or his title, in the succession of his Duchie, the mother hauing withdrawen hir goods, and had her dowrie assigned hir: but a wicked hart wrapt in malice must nedes bring forth semblable workes. In the time of these murders the infortunate Louer kept himself at Millan with his sonne Frederick, and vowed himself to the Lord Siluio Sauello, who that tyme besieged the Castell of Millan, in the behalf of Maximilian Sforcia, which in the end he conquered and recouered by composition wyth the French within. But that charge being atchieued, the general Sauello marched from thence to Cremona with hys Campe, whyther Bologna durst not folow, but repayred to the Marquize of Britone, in whych tyme the Aragon brethren so wroughte as hys goods were confiscate at Naples, and he dryuen to hys shiftes to vse the Golden Duckates which the Duchesse gaue him to relieue himselfe at Millan, whose Death althoughe it were aduertised by many, yet hee could not be persuaded to beleue the same, for that diuers which went about to betray him, and feared he shoulde flie from Millan, kept his beake vnder the water, (as the Prouerb is,) and assured him both of the Lyfe and welfare of his Spouse, and that shortly his Brethren in law would be reconciled because many Noble men fauored hym well, and desired his returne home to hys countrey. Fed and filled with that vaine hope, he remayned more than a yeare at Millan, frequentyng good company, who was well entertayned of the rychest marchaunts and best Gentlemen of the Cytye: and aboue all other, he had famyliar accesse to the house of the Ladye Hippolita Bentiuoglia, where vppon a Daye after Dynner, takyng hys lute in hand, whereon he could exceedyngly well play, he began to sing a sonnet, whych he had composed vppon the discourse of hys mysfortune, the tenor whereof insueth.

The Song of Antonio Bologna, the husband of the Duchesse of Malfi.

If loue, the death, or tract of tyme, haue measured my distresse,

Or if my beatinge sorrowes may my languor well expresse:

Then loue come soone to visit me, which most my heart desires,

40And so my dolor findes some ease, through flames of fansies fires.

The time runnes out his rollinge course, for to prolong myne ease,

To th’ end I shall enioy my loue, and heart himselfe appease,

A cruell darte brings happy death, my soule then rest shall find:

And sleepinge body vnder Toumbe, shall dreame time out of mynde,

And yet the Loue, the Time, nor Death, lookes not how I decreace:

Nor geueth eare to any thinge, of this my wofull peace.

Full farre I am from my good hap, or halfe the ioye I craue,

Whereby I chaung my state wyth teares, and draw full neere my graue.

The courteous Gods that giues me lyfe, now mooues the Planets all:

For to arrest my groning ghost, and hence my sprite to call.

Yet from them still I am separd, by thinges vnequall heere,

Not ment the Gods may be vniust, that breedes my chaunging cheere.

For they prouide by their foresight, that none shall doe me harme:

But she whose blasing beauty bright, hath brought me in a charme.

My mistresse hath the powre alone, to rid me from this woe:

Whose thrall I am, for whom I die, to whom my sprite shall goe.

Away my soule, goe from the griefs, that thee oppresseth still,

And let thy dolor witnesse beare, how mutch I want my will.

For since that loue and death himselfe, delights in guiltlesse bloud,

Let time transport my troubled sprite, where destny seemeth good.

This song ended, the poor Gentleman could not forbeare from pouring forth his luke warme Tears, which abundantly ran downe his heauy Face, and his pantinge Sighes truly discouered the alteration of his mynde, whych mooued ech wight of that assembly to pitty his mournful State: and one specially of no acquaintance, and yet knew the deuises that the Aragon Brethren had trayned and contriued against hym: that vnacquaynted gentleman his name was Delio, one very well learned, and of trim inuention, who very excellently hath endited in the Italian vulgar tongue. This Delio knowing the Gentleman to be husband to the deceased 41Duchesse of Malfi, came vnto him, and taking him aside, said: “Sir, albeit I haue no great acquaintance with you, this being the first time that euer I saw you, to my remembrance, so it is, that vertue hath sutch force, and maketh gentle myndes so amorous of their like, as when they doe beholde ech other, they feele themselues coupled as it were in a bande of mindes, that impossible it is to diuide the same: now knowinge what you be, and the good and commendable qualities in you, I coumpt it my duty to reueale that which may chaunce to breede you damage. Know you then, that I of late was in company with a Noble man of Naples, whych is in this Citty, banded with a certaine company of horsemen, who tolde mee that he had a speciall charge to kill you, and therefore prayed me (as it seemed) to require you not to come in his sight, to the intent he might not be constrayned to doe that which should offend his Conscience, and grieue the same all the dayes of his life: moreouer I haue worse Tidinges to tell you: the Duchesse your Wyfe deade by violent hand in prison, and the most part of them that were in hir company: besides this assure your selfe, that if you doe not take heede to that which this Neapolitane Capitnyne hath differred, other wyll doe and execute the same. This mutch I haue thought good to tell you, bicause it would very mutch grieue me, that a Gentleman so excellent as you be, should be murdered in that myserable wyse, and I should deeme my selfe vnworthy of lyfe, if knowing these practises I should dissemble the same.” Whereunto Bologna aunswered: “Syr Delio, I am greatly bound vnto you, and geue you hearty thankes for the good will you beare me. But in the conspiracy of the brethren of Aragon, and of the death of my lady, you be deceyued, and some haue giuen you wrong intelligence: for within these two dayes I receyued letters from Naples, wherein I am aduertised, that the right honorable and reuerend Cardinal and his Brother be almost appeased, and that my goods shall bee rendred agayne, and my dear Wyfe restored.” “Ah syr,” sayde Delio, “how you be beguiled and Fedde wyth Follyes, and nourished with sleights of Court: assure your selfe that they which write these trifles, make sutch shamefull sale of your lyfe, as the Butcher doth of his flesh in the Shambles, and so wickedly betray you, as impossible it is to inuent 42a treason more detestable: but bethinke you well thereof.” When he had sayd so, he tooke hys leaue, and ioyned hymselfe in company of fine and pregnaunt Wyttes, there assembled together. In the meane tyme, the cruell Spirite of the Aragon Brethren were not yet appeased with the former murders, but needes must finish the last act of Bologna hys Tragedy by losse of hys Lyfe, to keepe hys Wyfe and Chyldren company, so well in an other Worlde as he was vnited with them in Loue in this frayle and transitory passage. The Neapolitan gentleman before spoken of by Delio, whych had taken this enterprise to satissie the barbarous Cardinall to berieue his Countreyman of lyfe, hauinge chaunged his mynde, and differring from day to day to sorte the same to effect, it chaunced that a Lombarde of larger Conscience than the other, inueigled with Couetousnesse, and hired for ready Money, practised the death of the Duchesse poore husband: this bloudy beaste was called Daniel de Bozola that had charge of a certayne bande of footemen in Millan. Thys newe Iudas and pestilent manqueller, who wythin certayne dayes after knowinge that Bologna oftentymes Repayred to heare Seruice at the Church and conuent of S. Fraunces, secretly conueyed himself in ambush, hard besides the church of S. Iames, (being accompanied wyth a certayne troupe of Souldiers) to assayle infortunate Bologna, who was sooner slayne than hee was able to thinke vpon defence, and whose mishap was sutch, as hee whych kylled hym had good leysure to saue himselfe by reason of the little pursuite made after hym. Beholde heere the Noble fact of a Cardinall, and what sauer it hath of Christian purity, to commit a slaughter for a fact done many yeares past vpon a poore Gentleman which neuer thought him hurt. Is thys the sweete obseruation of the Apostles, of whom they vaunt themselues to be the Successours and followers? And yet we cannot finde nor reade, that the Apostles, or those that stept in their trade of lyfe, hyred Ruffians, and Murderers to cut the Throates of them which did them hurt. But what? it was in the tyme of Iulius the second, who was more martiall than Christian, and loued better to shed bloud than giue blessing to the people. Sutch ende had the infortunate mariage of him, whych ought to haue contented himselfe wyth that degree and honor that 43he had acquired by the deedes and glory of his vertues, so mutch by ech wight recommended: we ought neuer to climb higher than our force permitteth, ne yet surmount the bounds of duty, and lesse suffer our selues to be haled fondly forth with desire of brutal sensuality. Which sinne is of sutch nature, that he neuer giueth ouer the party whom he maystereth, vntil he hath brought him to the shame of some Notable Folly. You see the miserable discourse of a Princesse loue, that was not very wyse, and of a Gentleman that had forgotten his estate, which ought to serue for a lookinge Glasse to them which bee ouer hardy in makinge Enterprises, and doe not measure their Ability wyth the greatnesse of their Attemptes: where they ought to mayntayne themselues in reputation, and beare the title of well aduised: foreseeing their ruine to be example for all posterity, as may bee seene by the death of Bologna, and by all them which sprang of him, and of his infortunate Spouse his Lady and Maistresse. But we haue discoursed inough hereof, sith diuersity of other hystories do call vs to bring the same in place, which were not mutch more happy than the bloudy end of those, whose Hystory ye haue already heard.

44

THE TWENTY-FOURTH NOUELL.

The disordered Lyfe of the Countesse of Celant, and how shee (causinge the County of Masino to be murdered,) was beheaded at Millan.

Not wythout good cause of long tyme haue the wyse, and discrete, Prudently gouerned their Children, and taken great heede ouer their Daughters, and those also whom they haue chosen to bee their Wyues, not in vsing them lyke Bondwomen, and Slaues, to beereiue them of all Liberty, but rather to auoyde the murmur, and secrete slaunderous Speach of the common people, and occasions offred for infection, and marrying of Youth, specially circumspect of the assaultes bent agaynst Maydens, being yet in the firste flames of fire, kindled by nature in the hearts, yea of those that be the wysest, and best brought vp. Some doe deeme it very straunge, that solempne Guard bee obserued ouer those which ought to lyue at lyberty, and doe consider how lyberty and the bridle of Lycence let slip vnto Youth, they breede vnto the same most strong and tedious Bondage, that better it had bene for youth to haue beene chayned, and closed in obscure Pryson, than marked wyth those blottes of infamy, which Sutch Lycence and Lyberty doe conduce. If England doe not by experience see Maydens of Noble Houses Infamed through to mutch vnbrideled, and frank maner of Lyfe, and their Parents desolate for sutch villanyes, and the name of their houses become Fabulous and Ridiculous to the people: surely that manner of Espiall and watch ouer Children, may be noted in Nations not very farre conuening from vs, where men be Ielous of the very Fantasie of them, whom they think to be indued with great vertues, and of those that dare with their very Lookes geue attaynt, to behold their Daughters: but where examples be euident, where all the World is assured of that which they see by daily experience, that the fruicts of the disordered, breake out into light, it behooueth no more to attend the daungerous customes of Countreyes, to condescend to the sottish Opinions of those, whych say that youth to narrowly looked vnto, is trayned vp in sutch grosenesse, and blockishnesse of spyrite, as 45impossible it is afterwardes the same shoulde do any thinge prayse worthy. The Romayne maydens whilom were Cloystered within their Fathers Pallaces, still at their Mothers Elbowes, and notwithstanding were so wel brought vp, that those of best ciuility and finest trained vp in our age, shall not be the seconde to one of the least perfect in the Citty. But who can learne ciuility and vertue in these our dayes? our Daughters nousled in companies, whose mouthes run ouer with Whorish and filthy talke, wyth behauiour full of Ribauldry, and many fraughted wyth facts lesse honest than Speach is able to expresse. I doe not pretend heereby to depriue that sexe of honest and seemely talke, and company, and leste of exercise amonges the Noble Gentlemen of our Englyshe Soyle, ne yet of the Liberty receyued from our Auncestours, only (me thyncke) that requisite it were to contemplate the manners and inclination of wils, and refrayne those that be prone to wantonnesse, and by lyke meanes to reioyce the mindes of them that be bent to heauinesse, deuided from curtefie and Ciuility, by attendinge of whych choyse, and considering of that difference, impossible it is but vertue must shyne more bright in Noble houses than homelynesse in Cabanes of Pesauntes, and Countrey Carles: who oftentymes better obserue the Discipline of our Predecessours in education of their Chyldren, than they which presume to prayse themselues for good skil in vse and gouernment of that age, more troublesome and payneful to rule, than any other wythin the compasse of man’s lyfe. Therefore the good and wise Emperour Marcus Aurelius would not haue his Daughters to be trayned vp in Courts. “For (quod he) what profit shall the Nurse receyue by learning hir mayden honesty and vertue, when our workes intice them to daliaunce and vice, apprehending the folly of those that bee amorous?” I make this discourse, not that I am so rigorous a Iudge for our maydens of England, but that I wish them so reformed, as to see and be seene should be forbidden, as assured that vertue in what place so euer she be, cannot but open things that shall fauor of hir excellency. And now to talke of an Italian Dame, who so long as hir first husband (knowing hir inclination) kept hir subiect, liued in reputation of a modest and sober wyfe. Nothing was seene in hir that could defame hir renoume. But so soone as the 46shadow of that free captiuity was made free by the death of hir husband, God knoweth what pageant she played, and how shee soyled both hir owne reputation, and the honour of hir second Mate, as yee shall vnderstande if with pacience yee vouchsafe to reade the discourse of thys present Hystory. Casal, (as it is not vnknowen) is a Citty of Piedmont, and subiect to the Marquize of Montferrato, where dwelled one that was very rich, although of base birth, named Giachomo Scappardone, who being growne wealthy, more by wicked art, and vsury, to mutch manifest, than by his owne diligence, toke to Wife a yong Greeke mayden, which the Marchiones of Montferrato mother of Marquize Guglielmo, had brought home wyth hir from the voyage that shee made into Grætia wyth hir husbande, when the Turkes ouerran the countrey of Macedonia, and seased vpon the Citty of Modena which is in Morea. Of that mayden Scapperdone had a Daughter indifferent fayre, and of behauiour liuely and pleasaunt, called Bianca Maria. The Father dyed wythin a while after hir birth, as one that was of good yeares, and had bin greatly turmoyled in getting of riches, whose value amounted about one Hundred Thousand Crownes. Bianca Maria arriued to the age of sixteene, or seuenteene yeares, was required of many, aswell for hir Beauty, Gentlenes, and good grace, as for her goods, and riches. In the ende she was maried to the Vicecount Hermes, the Sonne of one of the chiefest Houses in Millan, who incontinently after the mariage, conueyed hir home to hys house, leauing his Greeke mother to gouerne the vsuries gotten by hir dead husband. The Gentleman which amongs two greene, knew one that was ripe, hauing for a certayne tyme well knowen, and learned the maners of hys Wyfe, saw that it behooued hym rather to deale wyth the Bit and brydle than the spur, for that she was wanton, full of desire, and coueted nothing so mutch as fond and disordered liberty, and therefore without cruell dealing, disquiet, or trouble, hee vsed by little and little to keepe hir in, and cherished hir more than his nature willingly would suffer, of purpose to holde hir wythin the boundes of duty. And although the Millan Dames haue almost like lyberties that ours haue, yet the Lord Hermes kept hir wythin Dores, and suffred hir to frequent none other house and company, but the Lady Hippolita Sforcia, who 47vppon a day demaunded of him wherefore hee kept in his wyfe so short, and persuaded hym to geue her somewhat more the Brydle, bicause diuers already murmured of this order, as to strayte and Frowarde, esteeming hym eyther to be to mutch fond ouer hir, or else to Jealous. “Madame,” sayde the Millanoise, “they whych at pleasure so speake of me, know not yet the nature of my Wyfe, who I had rather should be somewhat restrayned, than run at Rouers to hir dishonour, and my shame. I remember wel madame the proper saying of Paulus Emilius that notable Romane: who being demauned wherefore he had put away his Wyfe being a Gentlewoman so fayre and beautifull. ‘O,’ quod he and lifted vp his leg (whereupon was a new payre of Buskins) ‘yee see this fayre Buskin, meete and seemely for this Leg to outward apparance not greeuous or noysome, but in what place it hurteth me, or where it wringeth yee doe neyther see nor yet feele. So I, madame, do feele in what place my Hoase doeth hurt and wring my Legge. I know madame what it is to graunt to so wanton a dame as my Wyfe is, hir will, and how farre I ought to slip the rayne: iealous I am not vpon the fayth I beare vnto God, but I feare what may chaunce vnto me. And by my trouth, madame, I geeue her Lycence to repayre to you both Day and Nyght, at whatsoeuer hour you please, being assured of the vertuous company that haunteth your house: otherwyse my Pallace shall suffyce hir pleasure for the common ioy of vs both, and therefore I wish no more talk hereof, least too importunate suites do offend my nature, and make me thinke that to be true whych of good will I am loth to suspect, contenting my selfe with hir Chastity, for feare least to mutch liberty do corrupt hir.” These words were not spoken wythout cause, for the wyse husband saw wel that sutch beasts, albeit rudely they ought not to be vsed, yet stifly to be holden short, and not suffred too mutch to wander at will. And verily his prophecy was to true for respect of that which followed: who had not bene maried full vi. yeares, but the Vicecount Hermes departed thys World, whereof she was very sory bycause she loued him derely, hauing as yet not tasted the licorous baites of sutch liberty, as afterwards she drank in gluttonous draughts, when after hir husband’s obsequies, she retired to Montferrato, and then to 48Casal to hir Father’s house, hir mother being also dead, and she a lone woman to ioy at pleasure the fruict of hir desires, bendinge hir only study to gay and trimme Apparell, and imployed the mornings with the vermilion rud to colour hir cheekes by greater curiosity than the most shamelesse Curtisan of Rome, fixing hir eyes vppon ech man, gyring, and laughing with open mouth, and pleasantly disposed to talk and reason with euery Gentleman that passed by the streate. This was the way to attayne the glorious feast of hir triumphant filthines, who wan the prise aboue the most famous women whych in hir tyme made profession of those armes, wherewith Venus once dispoyled Mars, and toke from him the strongest and best steeled armure of all his furniture. Thinck not fayre maydes, that talk and clattering with youth is of small regarde. For a Citty is halfe won when they within demaunde for parle, as loth to indure the Canon shot. So when the eare of yong Wyfe or mayde is pliant to lasciuious talk, and deliteth in wanton words, albeit hir chastity receyue no damage, yet occasion of speach is ministred to the people, and perchaunce wyth sutch disaduantage, as neuer after hir good name is recouered. Wherefore needefull it is, not only to auoyde the effect of euill, but also the least suspition: for good fame is requisite for the Woman, as honest lyfe. The great Captain Iulius Cæsar, (which first of al reduced the common wealth of Rome in fourme of monarchie) beinge once demaunded wherefore hee hadde refused hys Wyfe before it was proued that she had offended with Clodius, the night of the sacrifices done to the Goddesse Bona, answered so wysely as truely, that the house of Cæsar ought not onely to be voyde of whordome but of suspition therof. Behold therfore what I haue sayd, and yet doe say againe, that ye oughte to take greate heede to youre selues, and to laugh in tyme, not reclinyng your eares to vncomely talke, but rather to follow the nature of the Serpent, that stoppeth his eare with his tayle, to auoide the charms and sorceries of the Enchaunter. Now this Bianca Maria was sued vnto, and pursued of many at Casall that desired hir to Wyfe, and amonges the rest two did profer themselues, which were the Lord Gismondo Gonzaga, the neere kinsman of the Duke of Mantua, and the Counte of Celant, a great Baron of Sauoy, whose landes lie in the vale of 49Agosta. A great pastyme it was to thys fyne Gentlewoman to feede hir self wyth the Orations of those two Lordes and a ioye it was to hir, to vse her owne discourse and aunswers expressinge with right good grace sundry amorous countenances, intermingling therwithall sighes, sobbes, and alteration of cheere, that full well it might haue bene sayde, of loue trickes that shee was the only dame and mistresse. The Marchyonesse of Montferrato desirous to gratify the Lord of Mantua his sonne in law, endeuored to induce this wanton Lady to take for spouse Gismondo Gonzaga, and the sute so well proceeded, as almost the mariage had bene concluded if the Sauoy Earle had not come betwixte, and shewed forth his Noblenesse of minde, when he vnderstode how things did passe, and that another was ready to beare away the pryse, and recouer his mistresse. For that cause he came to visit the Lady, who intertayned him wel, as of custom she did al other. And for that he would not employe hys tyme in vayne, when he founde hir alone and at conuenyent leysure, began to preache vnto hir in thys wyse with sutch countenaunce, as she perceyued the Counte to be far in loue with hir.

The Oration of the Counte of Celant to his Ladye.

“I am in doubt Madame, of whome chiefly I ought to make complaynt, whether of you, or of my selfe, or rather of fortune which guideth and bryngeth us together. I see wel that you receiue some wrong, and that my cause is not very iust, you taking no regarde vnto my passion which is outragious, and lesse hearkeninge vnto my request that so many times I haue giuen you to vnderstand onely grounded vpon the Honest loue I beare you. But I am besides this more to be accused for suffering an other to marche so far over my game and soyle, as I haue almost lost the tracte of the pray after which I most desire, and specially doe condemne my Fortune, for that I am in daunger to lose the thyng which I deserue, and you in peryll to passe into that place where your captiuity shalbe worse than the slaues by the Portugales condemned to the mines of India. Doeth it not suffise you that the Lord Hermes closed you vp the space of v. or vi. yeares in his Chamber, but wil you nedes attempt the rest of your youthly daies amid the Mantuanes, whose suspicious heads are ful of hammers working in the 50same? Better it were madame, that we approchynge neerer the gallante guise of Fraunce, should live after the lyberty of that Countrey, than bee captiue to an Italian house, whych wyll restrain you with like bondage, as at other tymes you have felt the experience. Moreover ye see what opinion is like to be conceiued of you, when it shalbe bruted that for the Marquize feare, you haue maried the Mantuan Lord. And I know well that you like not to be esteemed as a pupil, your nature cannot abyde compulsion, you be free from hir authority, it were no reason you should be constrained. And not to stay in framing of orations, or stand vpon discourse of Words, I humbly beseche you to behold the constant loue I beare you, and being a Gentleman so Wealthy as I am, none other cause induceth me to make this sute, but your good grace and bryngynge vp, whych force me to loue you aboue any other Gentlewoman that liueth. And althoughe I myghte alleage other reasons to proue my saying, yet referre I my self to the experience and bounty of youre mynd, and to the equity of your Iudgement. If my passion were not vehement, and my torment without comparison, I would wish my fained griefs to be laughed to scorne, and my dissembled payne rewarded with flouts. But my loue being sincere and pure, my trauail continuall, and my griefs endlesse, for pity sake I beseche you madame to consider my faithfull deserts with your duetiful curtesie, and then shall you see how mutch I ought to be preferred before them, which vnder the shadow of other mens puissance, do seke to purchase power to commaund you: where I do faithfully bynd and tye my word and deede continually to loue and serue you, wyth promyse al the dayes of my Lyfe to accomplish your commaundements. Beholde if it please you what I am, and with what affection I make mine humble playnt, regard the Messanger, loue it is himself that holdeth me within your snares, and maketh mee captyue to your beauty and gallant graces, which haue no piere. But if you refuse my sute, and cause me breath my words into the aire, you shalbe accused of cruelty, ye shall see the entier defaict of a gentleman which loueth you better than loue himselfe is able to yelde flame and fire to force any wight to loue mortal creature. But, verily, I beleue the heauens haue departed in me sutch aboundance, to the intent in 51louyng you with vehemence so greate, you may also thinke that it is I which ought to be the Friend and spouse of that gentle and curteous Lady Bianca Maria, which alone may cal her self the mistresse of my Heart.” The Ladye whych before was mocked and flouted wyth the Counte his demaunds, hearing thys laste discourse, and remembring his first mariage, and the natural iealosie of Italyans, half wonne, without making other countenance, answered the Counte in thys manner: “Syr counte, albeyt that I am obedyente to the wyll and commaundemente of madame the Marchyonesse, and am loth to dysplease hir, yet wil I not so farre gage my lybertye, but still reserue one poynt to saye what reasteth in my thoughte. And what shoulde lette me to chose sutch one, to whome I shalbe both his life and death? And whereof beinge once possed, it is impossyble to be rid and acquited? I assure you, if I feared not the speach and suspition of malycious mindes, and the venime of slaunderous Tongues, neuer husband should bryng me more to bondage. And if I thought that he whom I pretend to chose, would be so cruel to me, as others whom I know, I would presently refuse mariage for euer. I thanke you neuerthelesse, both of your aduertisements giuen me, and of the honor you doe me, your self desiryng to accomplish that honor by maryage to be celebrated betweene vs. For the fidelity of which your talke, and the little dissimulation I see to be in you, I promise you that there is no gentleman in this countrey to whom I giue more puissance ouer me, than to you, if I chaunce to mary, and thereof make you so good assurance, as if it were already done.” The Counte seeing so good an entry would not suffer the tyme to slip, but beating the Bushes vntill the praye was ready to spryng, replyed: “And sith you know (madame) what thing is profitable, and what is hurtfull, and that the benefite of lyberty is so mutch recommended, why doe you not performe the thinge that may redounde to your honor? Assure mee then of your word, and promise me the faith and loyaltie of maryage, then let me alone to deale wyth the rest, for I hope to attayn the effect without offense and displeasure of any.” And seeing hir to remaine in a muse without speaking word, he toke hir by the hand and kissing the same a million of tymes, added these Words: “How now, 52madame, be you appalled for so pleasaunt an assault, wherin your aduersary confesseth himselfe to be vanquished? Courage, madame, I say courage, and beholde him heere which humbly praieth you to receiue him for your lawfull husband, and who sweareth vnto you all sutch amitye and reuerence that husband oweth to hys loyall spouse.” “Ah, syr Counte,” sayd she, “and what wyll the Marquize say, vnto whom I haue wholly referred my self for mariage? shal not she haue iust occasion to frowne vppon mee, and frowardly to vse me for little respect I beare vnto hir? God be my witnesse if I would not that Gonzaga had neuer come into this countrey: for although I loue him not, yet I haue almost made him a promyse, which I can not kepe.” “And sith there is nothing don,” (said the Sauoy Lord) “what nede you to torment your selfe? wyl the Marquize wrecke hir tyrannie ouer the will of hir subiectes, and force Ladyes of hir Lande to marie againste their luste? I thinke that so wyse a princesse, and so well nurtured, will not so far forget hir self, as to straine that which God hath left at lyberty to euerye wight: promise me onely maryage and leaue me to deale wyth the rest: other thynges shalbe wel prouided for.” Bianca Maria vanquished with that importunity, and fearing againe to fal into seruytude, hoping that the Counte would mainteine sutch liberty as he had assured, agreed vnto hym and plyghted vnto him her faithe, and for the tyme vsed mutuall promises by wordes respectiuely one to another: and the better to confirme the fact, and to let the knotte from breakyng, they bedded themselues togethers. The Counte very ioyfull for that encountre, yelded sutch good beginning by his countenance, and by Famyliar and continuall haunte with Bianca Maria, as shortly after the matter was knowen and came to the Marquesse eares, that the Daughter of Scappardone had maryed the Counte of Celant. The good lady albeit that shee was wroth beyond measure, and willingly would haue ben reuenged vpon the bride, yet hauing respect to the Counte, which was a noble man of great authority, swallowed down that pille wythout chewing, and prayed the Lord Gonzaga not to be offended, who seing the light behauiour of the Ladie, laughed at the matter, and praysed God for that the thing was so wel broken off: and he did foresee already what issue that Comedye would haue, beynge 53very famylyar for certayne Dayes in the House of Bianca Maria. Thys maryage then was publyshed, and the solempnity of the Nuptyals were done very pryncely, accordyng to the Nobylity of hym whych had maryed hir: but the augurie and presage was heauy, and the melancholike face of the season (which was obscured and darkened about the time they should go to church) declared that the mirth and ioy should not long continue in the house of the counte, according to the common saying: He that loketh not before he leapeth, may chaunce to stumble before he sleepeth. For the lord of Celant being retird home to his valeys of the Sauoy mountains, began to loke about his businesse, and perceiued that his wife surpassed al others in light behauiour and vnbrideled desires, whereuppon hee resolued to take order and stop hir passage before she had won the field, and that frankly she should goe seke hir ventures where shee list, if she would not be ruled by his aduise. The foolish Countesse seeing that hir husband well espied hir fond and foolysh behauior, and that wisely he went about to remedy the same, was no whit astonied, or regarded his aduise, but rather by forging complaints did cast him in the teeth sometymes with hir riches that she brought him, sometime with those whom she had refused for his sake, and with whom farre of she liued lyke a sauage creature amid the mountaine deserts and baren dales of Sauoy, and tolde him that by no meanes she minded to be closed and shut vp like a tamelesse beast. The Counte which was wyse, and would not breake the Ele vppon his knee, prouidently admonished hir in what wise a Ladye ought to esteeme hir honor, and how the lightest faults of Noble sorts appeare mortal sinnes before the world: and that it was not sufficient for a Gentlewoman to haue hir body chast, if hir speach were not according, and the minde correspondent to that outward semblance, and the conseruation agreable to the secret conceiptes of Mynd: “And I shall be ful sory swete Wife” (sayd the Counte) “to giue you cause of discontent: for wher you shalbe vexed and molested, I shall receiue no ioy or pleasure, you being [such one as ought to be the second my self, determining] by God’s grace to keepe my promise, and vse you like a wyfe, if so be you regard me with duety semblable: for reason will not that the 54head obey the members, if they shew not themselues to be sutch as depend vpon the health and life of it. The husband being the Wyue’s chiefe, ought to be obeyd in that which reason forbiddeth: and shee referring hir selfe to the pleasure of hir head, forceth him to whom she is adioyned, to do and assay all trauayle and payne for hir sake. Of one thinge I must needes accuse you, which is, that for trifles you frame complaynt: for the mynde occupied in folly, lusteth for nothinge more than vayne things, and those that be of little profite, specially where the pleasure of the Bodye is onely considered: where if it follow reason, it dissembleth his griefes with wordes of wysedome, and in knowing mutch, fayneth notwithstanding a subtile and honest ignoraunce: but I may bee mutch deceyued herein, by thinking that a Woman fraught with fickle Opinions may recline her eares to what so euer thing, except to that whych deliteth hir mynde, and pleaseth the desires framed wyth in hir foolyshe fantasie. Let not thys speach be straunge vnto you, for your woordes vttered without discretion, make me vse thys language: finally (good madame) you shall shew your selfe a Wyse and louing wyfe, if by takinge heede to my requests, you faythfully follow the advise thereof.” The Countesse whych was so fine and malicious as the Earle was good and wyse, dissembling her griefe, and coueringe the venome hidden in hir mynde, began so well to play the hypocrite before hir husbande, and to counterfayte the simple Dame, as albeit he was right politike, yet he was within hir Snare intrapt, who flattered him wyth so fayre Wordes, as she won him to goe to Casal, to visite the lands of hir Inheritaunce. We see whereunto the intent of this false Woman tended, and what checkmate she ment to geue both to hir husband, and hir honour: whereby we know that when a woman is disposed to giue hir selfe to wickednesse, hir mynde is voyd of no malyce or inuention to sort to ende any daunger or perill offered vnto hir. The factes of one Medea (if credite may be gieuen to Poets) and of Phædra, the Woman of Theseus, wel declare with what beastly zeale they began and finished their attempts: the eagles flight is not so high, as the Foolyshe desires, and Conceiptes of a Woman that trusteth in hir owne opinion, and treadeth out of the tract of duety, and way of Wysedome. Pardon 55me, good Ladies, if I speake so largely, and yet think not that I mean to display any other but sutch, as forget the degree wherin their Auncestours haue placed them, and whych digresse from the true path of those that haue immortalized the memory of themselues, of their husbands, and of the houses also whereof they came. I am very lothe to take vppon mee the office of a slaunderer, and no lesse do mean to flatter those, whom I see to their great shame, offende openly in the sight of the worlde: but why should I dyssemble that which I know your selues would not conceyle, yf in conscyence yee were requyred? It were extreame follye to decke and clothe vice wyth the holy garment of Vertue, and to call that Curtesie and Ciuylity, whych is manyfest whoredom and Trechery: let vs terme ech thyng by his due Name, and not deface that whych of it selfe is faire and pure: let vs not also staine the renoume of those, whom their own Vertue do recommende. This gentle Countesse beeing at Casal, making mutch of hir husbande, and kissing him with the kisse of treason, and of him being vnfainedly beloued and cherished, not able to forget his sermons, and mutch lesse hir own filthy lyfe, seeyng that with hir Counte it was impossyble for hir to liue and glut her lecherous lust, determined to runne away and seeke hir aduenture: for the brynging to passe wherof she had already taken order for money, the interest wherof growing to hir daily profite at Millan: and hauynge leuied a good summe of Ducates in hande, vntyll hir other rents were ready, she fled away in the night in companye of certayne of hir men which were priuie to her doeings. Hir retire was to Pauie, a City subiecte to the state and Duchy of Millan, where she hired a pryncely pallace, and apparelled the same according to hir estate and Trayne of hir husband, and as her owne reuenue was able to beare. I leaue for you to thinke what buzzings entred the Counte’s head, by the sodayne flight of his wife, who would haue sent and gone him selfe after to seke hir out, and bryng hir home againe, had he not well considered and wayed his owne profite and aduantage, who knowing that hir absence would rid out of his head a fardell of suspitions which he before conceiued, was in the ende resolued to lette hir alone, and suffer hir remaine in what place so euer she was retired, and whence hee 56neuer minded to cal hir home agayne. “I were a very foole,” (said he) “to keepe in my House so pernicious and fearfull an enimy, as that arrant whore is, who one day before I beware will cause some of hir ruffians to cut my throte, besides the Vyolatyon of hir holye Maryage Bed: God defende that sutch a Strumpet by hir presence should any longer profane the house of the Lord of Celant, who is well rewarded and punished for the exessiue loue whych he bare hir: let hir goe whether shee list, and lyue a God’s name at hir ease, I do content my self in knowing what Women be able to do, wythout further attempt of fortune or other proofe of hir wycked Lyfe.” He added further, that the honor of so Noble a personage as he was, depended not upon a woman’s mischief: and assure your selfe the whole race of woman kind was not spared by the Counte, against whom he then inueyed more through rage than reason, he considered not the honest sort of women, which deface the vyllany of those that giue themselues ouer to theyr own lusts, wythout regarde of modesty and shame, which oughte to be Famylyar, as it were by a certain Naturall inclynatyon in all degrees of Women and Maydens. But come we again to Bianca Maria, holding now hir Courte and open house at Pauie, wher she got so holy a fame, as mistresse Lais of Corinth did, whose trumprie was neuer more common in Asia than that of this fayre dame, almost in euery corner of Italy, and whose conuersation was sutch as hir frank liberty and famyliar demeanor to ech wyghte, well witnessed hir horryble Lyfe. True it was that her reputatyon ther was very smal, and she hired not hir selfe, ne yet toke pains by setting hir body to sale, but for some resonable gayne and earnest pain: howbeit she (of whom somtimes the famous Greke orator would not buy repentaunce for so high a pryce) was more excessiue in Sale of hir Merchaundyse, but not more wanton: for she no sooner espyed a comely Gentleman that was youthly, and well made, but would presently shew him so good countenance, as he had ben a very foole, that knewe not what prouender this Colt did neigh: whose shamelesse Gesture Massalina the Romane princesse dyd neuer surmount, except it were in that shee visited and haunted common houses: and this dame vsed hir disports wythin hir owne, the other also receiued indyfferently Carters, Galleye slaues, and 57Porters: and thys halfe Greeke did hir pastyme wyth Noble Men that were braue and lustye: but in one thing shee well resembled hir, whych was, that Messalina was soner wearye with trauayle, than she satisfied with pleasure and the filthy vse of hir body, like vnto a sink that receyueth al filth, wythout disgorgyng any throwne into the same: this was the chaste lyfe which that good Lady led, after she had taken flight from hir husband. Marke now whether the Milanois that was hir first husbande, were a grosse headed person or a foole, and whither hee were not learned and skilful in the science of Phisiognomy, and time for him to make ready the rods to make hir know hir duety, therwith to correct hir wanton youth, and to cut of the lusty twigs and proud sciences that soked the moisture and hart of the stock and braunches. It chaunced whiles she liued at Pauie, in this good and honorable port, the Counte of Massino called Ardizzino Valperga came to the Emperour’s service, and therby made hys abode at Pauie with one of his brothers: the Counte being a goodly Gentleman young and gallant in apparel, giuen to many good quallities had but one onely fault, which was a mayme in one of his legges, by reason of a certain aduenture and blow receiued in the warres, although the same toke away no part of his comelinesse and fyne behauyor. The Counte I say, remaining certayne days at Pauie beheld the beauty and singularity of the Countesse of Celant, and stayed with sutch deuotion to view and gaze vpon hir, as manye times he romed vp and down the streate wherein she dwelt to find meanes to speak vnto hir. His first talke was but a Bon iour: and simple salutation, sutch as gentlemen commonly vse in company of Ladies, and at the firste brunte Valperga coulde settle none other iudgement vpon that Goddesse, but that she was a wise and honest dame, and yet sutch one as needed not the Emperor’s camp to force the place, which as he thought was not so well flanked and rampired but that a good man of Armes myght easily winne, and the breache so liuely and sautable, as any souldier might passe the same: he became so famyliar with the Lady, and talked with hir so secretly, as vpon a day being with hir alone, hee courted in this wise: “Were not I of all men moste blame worthy, and of greatest folly to be reproued, so long time to be acquainted with a Lady 58so faire and curteous as you be, and not to offre my seruice life and goodes to be disposed where you pleased? I speake not thys, Madame, for any euil and sinister iudgement that I conceyue of you, for that I prayse and esteeme you aboue any Gentlewoman that euer I knew til this day, but rather for that I am so wonderfully attached with your good graces, as wrong I should doe vnto your honor and my loyal seruice towards you, if I continued dumbe, and did conceyle that whych incessantly would consume my heart with infynyte numbre of ardent desyres, and wast myne intrailes for the extreame and burning loue I beare you. I do require you to put no credite in me, if I refuse what it shall please you to commaund me: wherfore Madame, I humbly besech you to accepte me for your owne, and to fauor me as sutch one, whych with all fidelity hopeth to passe hys time in your company.” The Countesse although she knew ful wel that the fire was not so liuely kindled in the stomacke of the Counte as hee wente aboute to make hir beleue, and that his wordes were to eloquent, and countenance to ioyfull for so earnest a louer as hee semed to be, at thys first incountry: yet for that he was a valiant Gentleman, yong, lusty, and strongly made, minded to retaine him, and for a tyme to staye hir stomacke by appeasying hir gluttonous appetite in matters of loue, with a morsell so dainty, as was thys Mynion and lustye young Lorde: and when the Courage of hym began to coole, another shoulde enter the listes. And therefore she aunswered hym in thys wise: “Although I (knowying the vse and manners of men, and with what Baits they Hoke for Ladies, if they take not heede, hauing proued their malice and little loue,) determined neuer to loue other than mine affection, ne yet to fauoure Man excepte it bee by shewyng some Familiar manner to heare theyr talke, and for pastime to hearken the braue requests of those which say they burne for loue, in the mids of some delyghtsome brooke. And albeit I think you no better than other bee, ne more fayhfully, more affectyonate, or otherwyse moued than the rest, yet I am contente for respecte of youre honoure, somewhat to beeleue you and to accepte you for myne owne, sith your dyscretyon is sutch (I truste) as so Noble a Gentleman as you bee, wyll hym selfe declare in those Affayres, and when I see the effecte of my 59hope succeede, I cannot be so vnkynde, but wyth all honesty shall assaye to satisfy that your loue.” The Countee seeing hir alone, and receyuing the Ladie’s language for his aduantage, and that hir countenance by alteration of hir minde did ad a certayne beauty to hir face, and perceyuing a desire in hir that he should not vse delay, or be to squeimish, she demaunding naught else but execucion, tooke the present offred time, forgetting all ceremonies, and reuerence, he embraced hir and kissed hir a Hundred Thousande tymes. And albeit shee made a certayne simple and prouoking resistance, yet the louer notinge them to be but preparatiues for the sport of loue, he strayed from the bounds of honesty, and threw her vppon a fielde Bed wythin the Chambre, where hee solaced hymselfe wyth hys long desired suite. And finding hir worthy to be beloued, and she him a curteous gentleman, consulted together for continuaunce of their amity, in sutch wise as the Lorde Ardizzino spake no more but by the mouth of Bianca Maria, and dyd nothynge but what she commaunded, being so bewrapped wyth the heauy Mantell of hir Beastly Loue, as hee still abode nyght and day in the house of his beloued: whereby the brute was noysed throughout the Citty, and the songes of their Loue more common in ech Citizen’s mouth, than Stanze or Sonnettes of Petrarch, Played and Fayned vpon the Gittrone, Lute, or Lyra, more fine and witty than those vnsauery Ballets that be tuned and chaunted in the mouthes of the common sort. Beholde an Earle well serued, and dressed by enioying so false a Woman, which had already falsified the fayth betrouthed to hir husband, who was more honest, milde, and vertuous than she deserued. Beholde also, yee Noble Gentlemen, the simplicity of this good Earle, how it was deceyued by a false and filthy strumpet, whose stincking lyfe and common vse of body woulde haue withdrawen ech simple creature from mixture of their owne wyth sutch a Carrion. A lesson to learne al youth to refrayne the Whoorishe lookes of lighte conditioned Dames, a number (the more to be pittied) shewinge foorth themselues to the Portsale of euery Cheapener, that list demaunde the pryce, the grozenes whereof before considered, were worthy to be defied and loathed. This Ladye seeinge her Louer nousled in hir lust, dandled him with a thousand trumperyes, and made 60hym holde the Mule, while other enioyed the secrete sporte which earst hee vsed hymself. This acquayntance was so dangerous to the Counte, as she hir selfe was shamelesse to the Counte of Celant: for the one bare the armes of Cornwall, and became a seconde Acteon, and the other wickedly led his lyfe, and lost the chiefest of that hee loked for by the seruice of great Princes, throughe the treason of an arrante common queane. Whiles this Loue contynued in al Pleasure and lyke contentation of either parts: fortune that was ready to mounte the stage, and shew in sight that her mobylytye was no more stable than a woman’s wyllfor vnder sutch habite and sexe Painters and Poets describe hirmade Ardizzino suspecte what desire she had of chaunge: and within a while after, sawe himselfe so farre misliked of his Lady, as though he had neuer bene acquainted. The cause of which recoile was, for that the Countesse was not contented with one kind of fare, whose Eyes were more greedy than hir stomake able to digest, and aboue al desired chaunge, not seking meanes to finde him that was worthy to be beloued and intertayned of so great a Lady, as she esteemed hir selfe to be, and as sutch of their owne opinion thinke themselues, who counterfaicte more grauitie and reputation than they doe, whome Nature and vertue for theyr maiesty and holynes of lyfe make Noble and praise worthy. That desire deceiued hir nothing at all, for a certaine time after that Ardizzino possessed the forte of this fayre Countesse, there came to Pauia, one Roberto Sanseuerino earle of Gaiazzo, a yong and valiaunte gentleman, whose Countreye lyeth on this side the Mountaines, and was verye famylyar with the Earle of Massino. This vnfaythful Alcina and cruel Medea had no soner cast hir Eye vppon Signor di Gaiazzo, but was pierced with loue in sutch wise, as if forthwith shee had not attayned hir desyres, she would haue run mad, bycause that Gentleman bare a certayne statelye representatyon in hys Face, and promysed sutch dexteritie in hys deedes, as sodaynly she thought him to be the man that was able to staunch hir filthy thurst. And therfore so gently as she could, gave ouer hir Ardizzino, with whom she vtterly refused to speake, and shunned hys company when she saw him, and by shutting the gates agaynst him: the Noble man was notable to forbeare from throwing forth 61some words of choler, wherby she tooke occasion both to expell him, and also to beare hym sutch displeasure, as then she conspired his death, as afterwards you shall perceyue. This greate hatred was the cause that she fell in loue as you haue harde wyth the Counte of Gaiazzo, who shewed vnto him all signe of Amitye, and seeing that hee made no greate sute vnto hir, she wrote vnto him in this manner.

The Letter of Bianca Marie, to the Counte of Gaiazzo.

Sir, I doubt not by knowing the state of my degree, but that ye blush to see the violence of my mynd, which passing the limites of modesty, that ought to guard sutch a Lady as I am, forceth me (vncertayn of the cause) to doe you vnderstand the gryef that doeth torment me, which is of sutch constraynt, as if of curtesie ye do not vouchsafe to come vnto me, you shall commyt two faults, the one leauing the thing worthy for you to loue and regard, and which deserueth not to be cast of, the other in causing the Death of hir, that for Loue of you, is bereft of rest: wherby loue hath uery little in me to sease vpon, either of heart or liberty. The ease of which gryef proceedeth from your only grace, which is able to vanquyshe hir, whose victorious hap hath conquered all other, and who attending your resolut aunswer, shal rest vnder the mercifull refuge of hope, whych deceiuing hir, shal se by that very meanes the wretched end of hir that is al your owne.

Bianca Maria Countesse of Celant.

The yong Lorde mutch maruelled at this message, were it for that already hee was in loue with hir, and that for loue of his friend Ardizzino, durst not be known therof, or for that he feared she wold be straught of wits, if she were despised, he determined to goe vnto hir, and yet stayed thinking it not to be the part of a faythfull companyon to deceiue his Friend: but in the end pleasure surmounting reason, and the beauty ioyned wyth the good grace of the Lady hauing blinded him, and bewitched his wits so wel as Ardizzino, he toke his way towards hir house, who waited for him wyth good deuotion, whither being arriued, he failed not to vse like spech that Valperga did, either of them (after certain reuerences and other fewe words) minding and desyringe one kinde of intertaynement. 62This practize dured certayn months, and the Countesse was so farre rapt with her new louer, as she only employed hir self to please him, and he shewed himself so affected as therby she thought to rule and gouerne him in all things: wherof she was afterwards deceiued as you shall vnderstand the maner. Ardizzino seing himself wholly abandoned the presence and loue of his Lady, knowing that she railed vpon him in al places where she came, departed Pauia halfe out of his wittes for Anger, and so strayed from comely ordyr by reason of his rage, as hee displayed the Countesse thre times more liuely in hir colours, than she could be paynted, and reproued hir wyth the termes of the vilest and moste common strumpet that euer ran at rouers, or shot at random. Bianca Maria vnderstode hereof, and was aduertised of the vile report that Ardizzino spread of hir, throughout Lombardie, which chaffed hir in sutch wyse as she fared like the Bedlem fury, ceasing night nor day to playne the vnkindnes and folly of hir reiected louer: somtimes saying, that she had iust cause so to do, then flattering hir selfe, alledged, that men were made of purpose to suffer sutch follyes as were wroughte by hir, and where they termed themselues to bee Women’s Seruauntes, they ought at theyr Mystresse Handes to endure what pleased them. In the end, not able any longer to restrayne hir choler, ne vanquish the appetite of reuenge, purposed at all aduenture to prouide for the death of her auncient Enimy, and that by meanes of him whom she had now tangled in her Nettes. See the vnshamefastnesse of this mastife bitche, and the rage of that Female Tiger, howe shee goeth about to arme one friend against an other, and was not content onely to abuse the Counte Gaiazzo, but deuised how to make him the manqueller. And as one night they were in the middest of their embracements, she began pitifully to weepe and sigh, in sutch wise as a man would haue thought (by the vexation of hir hearte) that the soule and body would haue parted. The younge Lorde louingly enquired the cause of hir heauinesse: and sayd vnto hir, that if any had done hir displeasure, hee would reuenge hir cause to hir contentment. She hearing him say so, (then in studie vpon the deuice of hir Enimie’s death) spake to the Counte in this manner: “You know sir, that the thing whych moste tormenteth the 63Gentle heart and minde that can abide no wronge, is defamation of honoure and infamous reporte. Thus mutch I say for that the Lord of Massino, (who to say the trouth, was fauoured of me in like sorte as you be now) hath not been ashamed to publishe open slaunders agaynst me, as thoughe I were the arrantest Whore that euer had giuen her self ouer to the Galley slaues alongs the shore of Scicile. If he had vaunted the fauour which I haue done him but to certayne of his privat Friendes, I had incurred no slaunder at all, mutch lesse any lyttle suspition, but hearyng the common reportes, the wrongfull Woordes and wycked brutes that he hath raysed on me: I beseech you syr, to do me reason that he may feele his offence and the smart for his committed fault against hir that is al yours.” The Lord Sanseuerino hearyng this discourse, promised hir to do hys best, and to teache Valperga to talke more soberly of hir, whom he was not worthy for to serue, but in thought. Notwithstandyng, he sayde more than he ment to do, for he knew Ardizzino to be so honest, sage and curteous a personage, as hee would neyther doe nor say any thing without good cause, and that Ardizzino had iuster quarell agaynst him, by takyng that from hym whych hee loued (althoughe it was after his discontinuance from that place, and vpon the onely request of hir.) Thus he concluded in mind styl to remayne the fryend of Ardizzino, and yet to spend his time with the Countesse, which he did the space of certayn months without quarelling with Valperga, that was retired to Pauie, with whom he was conuersant, and liued familiarly, and most commonly vsed one table and bed togither. Bianca Maria seeing that the Lord of Gaiazzo cared not mutch for hir, but onely for his pleasure, determined to vse like practise against him, as she did to hir former louer, and to banish him from hir House. So that when he came to see hir, either she was sicke, or hir affaires were sutch, as she could not kepe hym company: or else hir gate was shut vpon him. In the end (playing double or quit) she prayed the sayd Lord to shewe hir sutch pleasure and friendship, as to come no more vnto hir, bicause she was in termes to goe home to hir husband the Counte of Celant, who had sent for hir, and feared least his seruaunts shoulde finde her house ful of suters, alleaging that she had liued long inoughe in 64that most sinful life, the lighest faultes whereof were to heynous for dames of hir port and calling, concluding that so long as she lyued she would beare him good affection for the Honest Company and conuersation had betwene them, and for hys curtesie towards hir. The yong Earle, were it that he gaue creadit vnto hir tale or not, made as though he did beleue the same, and without longer dyscourse, forbare approche vnto hir house, and droue out of his heade al the Amorous affection which he caried to the Piedmont Circes. And to the ende he might haue no cause to thinke vpon hir, or that his presence should make hym slaue againe to hir that first pursued him, he retired in good time to Millan: by which retire hee avoided that mishap, wherwith at length this Pestilent women would haue cut him ouer the shinnes, euen when his mind was least theron. Such was the malice and mischief of hir heart, who ceasing to play the whore, applied hir whole pastime to murder. Gaiazzo being departed from Pauie, thys Venus once agayne assayed the embracements of hir Ardizzino, and knew not wel how to recouer hym agayne, bycause she feared that the other had discouered the Enterpryse of his Murder. But what dare not shee attempte whose mynde is slaue to sinne? The first assayes be harde, and the minde doubtfull, and conscience gnaweth vpon the worme of repentaunce, but the same once nousled in vice, and rooted in the heart, it is more pleasaunte, and gladsome for the wicked to execute, than vertue is familiar to those that follow hir: So that shame separate from before the eyes of youth, riper age noursed in impudency, their sight is so daseled, as they can see nothing that eyther shame or feare can make them blush, which was the cause that this Lady, continuinge still in hir mischiefe, so mutch practised the freendes of hym whom she desired to kill, and made sutch fit excuse by hir Ambassades, as hee was content to speake to hir, and to here hir Iustifications, whych were easy inough to doe, the Iudge being not very guilty. Shee promised and swore that if the fault were proued not to be in him, neuer man should see Bianca Maria, (so long as she lyued) to be other than a friend and slaue to the Lord Ardizzino, wholly submitting hirselfe vnto his will and pleasure. See how peace was capitulated betweene the two reconciled Louers, and what were the articles of 65the same, the Lorde of Massino entringe Possession agayne of the fort that was reuolted, and was long tyme in the power of another. But when he was seazed agayne, the Lady saw full wel, that hir recouered friend was not so hard to please, as the other was, and that wyth him she liued at greater liberty. Continuing then their amorous Daunce, and Ardizzino hauing no more care but to reioyce himselfe, nor hys Lady, but to cherishe and make mutch of hir friend, beholde eftsoones the desire of Bloud and wyll of murder, newly reuiued in that new Megera, who incited (I knowe not with what rage,) fansied to haue him slayne, whych refused to kill hym, whom at this present shee loued as hirselfe. And he that had inquired the cause thereof, I thyncke none other reason coulde he rendred, but that a braynelesse heade and reasonlesse minde, doe thincke most notable murders, and myschiefe be easie to be brought to passe, who so strangely proceeded in disordred Lustes, which in fine caused their myserable shame, and ruine, wyth the death of hirselfe and hym, whom she had stirred to the fact, boldeninge him by persuasion, to make him beleue Vyce to bee Vertue, and Gloriously commended hym in hys follies, whych you shall heare by readinge at lengthe the discourse of thys Hystory. Bianca Maria, seeing hirselfe in full possession of hir Ardizzino, purposed to make hym chiefe executioner of the murder, by hir intended, vpon Gaiazzo, for the doing whereof one night holdinge hym betwene hir armes, after shee had long time dalyed with hym, like a cunninge Maistresse of hir Art, in the ende weauinge and trayning hir treason at large, she sayd thus vnto him: “Syr, of long time I haue bene desirous to require a good turne at your hands, but fearing to trouble you, and thereupon to be denied, I thought not to be importunate: and albeit the matter toucheth you, yet did I rather holde my peace then to here refusall of a thinge, which your selfe ought to profer, the same concerning you.” “Madame,” sayd hir Louer, “you know the matter neede to be haynous and of great importaunce, that I should deny you, specially if it concerne the bleamish of your honor. But you say the same doth touch mee somewhat neerely, and therefore if ability be in me, spare not to vtter it, and I wyll assay your satisfaction to the vttermost of my power.” “Syr,” sayd she, “is the Counte 66of Gaiazzo one of your very frends?” “I thinke” (aunswered Valperga) “that he is one of the surest freends I haue, and in respect of whose frendship, I will hazarde my selfe for him no lesse than for my Brother, being certaine that if I have neede of him, he will not fayle to do the like for me. But wherefore doe you aske me that question?” “I will then tel you,” sayd the Traytresse (kissing him so sweetely as euer he felt the like of any Woman,) “for somutch as you be so deceyued of your opinion in him who is wicked in dissembling of that, which maliciously lieth hidden in hys heart. And briefly to say the effect: assure your selfe hee is the greatest and most mortall Ennimy that you haue in the Worlde. And to the intent that you do not think this to be some forged Tale, of light inuention, or that I heard the report of some not worthy of credit, I will say nothinge but that whych hymselfe did tell me, when in your absence he vsed my company. He sware vnto me, without declaration of the cause, that hee coulde neuer bee mery, nor hys mynde in rest, before hee saw you cut in pieces, and shortly woulde giue you sutch assaulte, as al the dayes of our lyfe, you shoulde neuer haue lust or mynde on Ladies loue. And albeit then, I was in choler agaynst you, and that you had ministred some cause, and reason of hatred, yet our first loue had taken sutch force in my hart, and I besought him not to do that enterprise so long as I was in place where you did remayne, because I cannot abide (wythout present death) to see your finger ake, mutch lesse your lyfe berieued from you. Vnto which my sute his Eare was deafe, swearing still and protesting that either he would be slayne himselfe, or else dispatch the Countee Ardizzino. I durst not” (quod she) “ne wel could as then aduertise you thereof, for the smal accesse that my seruants had vnto your lodging, but now I pray you to take good heede by preuenting his diuelishe purpose: For better it were for you to take his lyfe, than he to kill and murder you, or otherwyse work you mischiefe, and you shal be esteemed the wiser man, and he pronounced a traytor to seeke the death of him, that bare him sutch good will. Doe then accordinge to myne aduice, and before he begin, doe you kill hym, by the which you shall saue your selfe, and doe the part of a valyaunt knight, bisides, the satisfying of the mynde of hir that 67aboue al pleasures of the World doth chiefly desire the same. Experience now will let me proue whether you loue me or not, and what you will do for hir that loueth you so dearly, who openeth this conspired murder, aswell for your safety, as for lengthening of the lyfe of hir, which wythout yours cannot endure: graunt this my sute (O friend most deare) and suffer me not in sorrowfull plight to be despoyled of thy presence: and wilt thou suffer that I shoulde dy, and that yonder Proude, Trayterous, and vnfaythfull varlet should liue to laugh mee to scorne?” If the Lady had not added those last words to hir foolish sermon, perchaunce she might haue prouoked Ardizzino to folow hir Counsell: but seeing hir so obstinately continue hir request, and to prosecute the same with sutch violence, concluding vpon hir owne quarrel, his conscience throbbed, and his minde measured the malice of that Woman, with the honesty of him, against whom that tale was told, who knew his frend to be so sound and trusty, as willingly he would not do the thinge that should offend him, and therefore would geue no credit to false report without good, and apparant proofe: for which cause hee was persuaded that it was a malicious tale deuised by some that went about to sowe debate betweene those two friendly earles. Notwithstanding, vpon further pause, and not to make hir chafe, or force hir into rage, he promised the execution of hir cursed wil, thanking hir for hir aduertisement, and that he would prouide for hys defence and surety: and to the intent that shee might thyncke he went about to performe his promise, he tooke his leaue of hir to goe to Millan, which hee did, not to follow the abhominable will of that rauenous Mastife, but to reueale the matter to his companion, and direct the same as it deserued. Being arriued at Millan, the chiefe Citty of Lombardy, he imparted to Gaiazzo from poynct to poynct the discourse of the Countesse, and the peticion shee made vnto hym, vppon the conclusion of hir Tale: “O God” (sayd the lord Sanseuerino,) “who can beware the traps of Whoores, if by thy grace our hands be not forbidden, and our hearts and thoughts guided by thy goodnes? Is it possible that the Earth can breede a Monster more pernicious than this most Pestilent Beast? Thys is truely the grift of hir Father’s vsury, and the stench of all hir Predecessours villanyes: it is impossible of a 68Kyte or Cormerant to make a good Sparhauk, or Tercle gentle. This carion no doubt is the Daughter of a Vilayne, sprong of the basest race amongs the common people, whose mother was more fine than chaste, more subtile than sober: this minion hath forsaken hir husband, to erect bloudy Skaffoldes of murder amid the Nobles of Italy: and were it not for the dishonour which I should get to soyle my hands in the bloude of a Beast so corrupt, I woulde teare hir with my Teeth in a hundreth Thousand peeces: how many times hath she entreated mee before: in how many sundry sortes with ioyned handes hath she besought mee to kill the Lorde Ardizzino? Ah, my Companion, and right well beloued Freende, can you thincke mee to bee so Trayterous, and Cowarde a Knaue, as that I dare not tell to them to whome I beare displeasure what mallice lurketh in my heart?” “By the fayth of a Gentleman,” (sayd Ardizzino,) “I would be sory my mynd should seaze on sutch Folly, but I am come to reueale thys vnto you, that the Song might sound no more wythin myne eares. It behoueth vs then, sith God hath kept vs hytherto, to avoyde the ayre of that infection, that our braynes be not putrified, and from henceforth to fly those Bloudsuckers, the Schollers of Venus: and truely great dishonour would redound to vs, to kill one an other for the onely pastime and sottish fansie of that mynion: I haue repented me an hundred times when she first mooued mee of the deuice to kill you, that I did not geeue a hundred Poignaladoes wyth my Dagger, to stop the way by that example for all other to attempt sutch Butcheries: for I am well assured that the mallyce whych shee beareth you, proceedeth but of the delay you made for satisfaction of hir murderous desire, whereof I thancke you, and yelde my selfe in all causes to imploy my lyfe, and that I haue, to do you seruice.” “Leaue we of that talk” (sayd Gaiazzo) “for I haue done but my duety, and that which ech Noble heart ought to euery wight, doing wrong to none, but prone to help, and doe good to all: whych is the true marke and Badge of Nobility. Touching that malignant Strumpet, hir owne lyfe shall reuenge the wrongs which she hath gone about to venge on vs. In meane while let vs reioyce, and thincke the goods, and richesse shee hath gotten of vs, wil not cause hir Bagges mutch to Strout and Swel. 69To be short, she hath nothing whereby she may greatly laugh vs to scorne, except our good entertainment of hir night and day do prouoke hir: let other coyne the pence henceforth to fill her Coafers, for of vs (so farre as I see) she is deceyued.” Thus the two Lordes passed forth their tyme, and in all Companies where they came, they spent their Talke, and Communication of the disordered lyfe of the Countesse of Celant. The whole Citty also rang of the sleights and meanes she vsed to trappe the Noblemen, and of her pollicies to be rid of them when her thirst was stanched, or diet grew lothesome for want of chaunge. And that whych greued hir most, an Italyan Epigram blased forth hir prowes to hir great dishonour, whereof the Copy I cannot get, and some say that Ardizzino was the author: for it was composed, when he was dispossessed of pacience: and if shee coulde haue wreked hir will on the knights, I beleeue in hir rage she would haue made an Anathomy of their Bones. Of whych hir two enimies, Ardizzino was the greatest, agaynst whom hir displeasure was the more, for that he was the first with whom she entred skirmish. Nothing was more frequent in Pauy, than villanous Iests, and Playes vppon the filthy Behauiour of the Countesse, which made hir ashamed to goe out of hir Gates. In the ende shee purposed to chaunge the Ayre and place, hoping by that alteration to stay the Infamous Brute, and Slaunder: so she came to Millan, where first she was inuested wyth state of honour, in honest Fame of Chaste lyfe so longe as Vicount Hermes liued, and then was not pursued to staunch the thirst of those that did ordinarily draw at hir Fountayne. About the tyme that she departed from Pauy, Dom Pietro de Cardone a Scicilian, the Bastard Brother of the Counte of Colisano, whose Lieuetenaunt he was, and their father slayn at the Battayle of Bicocca wyth a band of horsemen arriued at Milan. This Scicilian was about the age of one or two and twenty yeres, somwhat black of face, but well made and sterne of countenance: whiles the Countesse soiorned at Milan, this gentleman fell in loue with hir, and searched all meanes he coulde to make hir hys friende, and to enioy hir: who perceyuing him to be young, and a Nouice in Skirmishes of Loue, lyke a Pigeon of the first coate, determined 70to lure him, and to serue hir turne in that which shee purposed to doe on those agaynst whom shee was outragiously offended. Now the better to entice thys younge Lorde vnto her Fantasye, and to catch hym wyth hir bayte, when hee passed through the Streate, and saluted hir, and when he Syghed after the manner of the Spaniard, rominge before hys Lady, shee shewed him an indifferent mery Countenaunce, and sodaynely restrayned that Cheere, to make hym taste the pleasure mingled with the soure of one desire, which he could not tel how to accomplish: and the more faynt was his hardines for that he was neuer practised in the daliance and seruice of Lady of noble house or calling, who thincking that the Gentlewoman was one of the Principall of Millan, he was straungely vexed, and tormented for hir loue, in sutch wyse as in the night he could not rest for fantasing, and thynking vpon hir, and in the Day passed up and downe before the Doore of her lodging. One eueninge for his disport hee went forth to walke in company of another Gentleman, which well could play vppon the Lute, and desired him to gieue awake vnto hys Lady, that then for iealousie was harkeninge at hir window, both of the sounde of the Instrument, and the Ditty of hir amorous Knight, where the Gentleman song thys Sonet.

The death with trenchant dart, doth brede in brest sutch il,

As I cannot forget the smart, that thereby riseth stil.

Yet neerthelesse I am, the ill it selfe in deede,

That death with daily dolours deepe, within my breast doth breede.

I am my Mistresse thrall, and yet I doe not kno,

If she beare me good will at all, or if she loue or no.

My wound is made so large, with bitter wo in brest,

That still my heart prepares a place to lodge a carefull guest.

O dame that hath my lyfe and death at thy desire.

Come ease my mind, wher fancies flames doth burne like Ethna fire,

For wanting thee my life is death and doleful cheere,

And finding fauor in thy sight, my dayes are happy heere.

71Then he began to sigh so terribly, as if already she had geuen sentence, and difinitiue Iudgement of his farewell, and disputed with his fellow in sutch sort, and wyth Opinion so assured of hys contempt, as if he had bene in loue with some one of the Infants of Spayne: for which cause he began very pitifully to sing these verses.

That God that made my soule, and knows what I haue felt,

Who causeth sighes and sorows oft, the sely soule to swelt,

Doth see my torments now, and what I suffer still,

And vnderstands I tast mo griefs, than I can shew by skill.

Hee doth consent I wot, to my ill hap and woe,

And hath accorded with the dame that is my pleasaunt foe,

To make my boyling brest abound in bitter blisse,

And so bereue me of my rest, when heart his hope shall misse.

O what are not the songs, and sighs that louers haue,

When night and day with sweete desires, they draw vnto their graue,

Their grief by frendship growes, where ruth nor pity raynes,

And so like snow against the Sun, they melt away with pains.

My dayes must finish so, my destny hath it set,

And as the candle out I goe, before hir grace I get.

Before my sute be heard, my seruice throughly knowne,

I shalbe layd in Toumbe ful low, so colde as Marble stone.

To thee fayre Dame I cry, that makes my senses arre,

And plantest peace within my brest and then makes sodain war:

Yet at thy pleasure still, thou must my sowre make sweete,

In graunting me the fauour due, for faythfull Louers meete.

Which fauor geue me now, and to thy Noble mynde,

I doe remayne a Galley slaue, as thou by proofe shall finde.

And so thou shalt release my heart from cruell bandes,

And haue his fredome at thy wil that yelds into thy handes.

72So rendring all to thee, the gods may ioyne vs both

Within one lawe and league of loue, through force of constant troth.

Then shalt thou mistresse be, of lyfe, of Limme and all,

My goods, my golde, and honour, loe! shall so be at thy call.

Thys gentle order of loue greatly pleased the Lady, and therefore opened hir gate to let the Scicilian lorde, who seeing hymselfe fauoured (beyond all hope) of his Lady, and cheerefully intertayned, and welcommed with great curtesie stoode so still astonnied, as if hee had beene fallen from the Cloudes: but she which coulde teache hym good manner, to make hym the minister of hir myschiefe, takynge hym by the hande, made hym sit downe vpon a greene Bed besydes hir, and seeing that he was not yet imboldened, for all hee was a Souldiour, shee shewed hir selfe more hardy than hee, and firste assayled hym wyth talke, sayinge: “Syr, I praye you thinke it not straunge, if at thys houre of the nyght, I am bolde to cause you enter my house, beinge of no great acquayntaunce wyth you, but by hearinge your curteous salutations: and wee of thys Countrey bee somewhat more at liberty than they in those partes from whence you come: besides it lyketh mee well (as I am able) to honour straunge gentlemen, and to retayne theym with right good willinge heart, sith it pleaseth theym to honour mee wyth repayre vnto my house: so shall you be welcome styll when you please to knocke at my Gate, whych at all tymes I wyll to be opened for you, wyth no lesse good wyll than if yee were my naturall Brother, the same wyth all the thinges therein, it may please you to dispose as if they were your own.” Dom Pietro of Cardonne well satisfied, and contented wyth thys vnlooked for kyndnesse, thanked her very Curteously, humbly praying hir besides to dayne it in good parte, if he were so bolde to make requeste of loue, and that it was the onelye thynge which hee aboue all other desyred moste, so that if shee would receiue him for hir friende and Seruaunt, shee shoulde vnderstande him to be a Gentleman, which lightly woulde promise nothing excepte the accomplishment did followe: she that sawe a greater onset than she loked for, answered hym smilyng with a very good grace: 73“Sir, I haue knowne very many that haue vouched slipperie promyses, and proffered lordly seruices vnto Ladies, the effect wherof if I myght once see, I would not thinke that they coulde vanishe so soone, and consume like smoake.” “Madame” (sayde the Scicilian) “yf I fayle in any thing which you commaunde mee, I praye to God neuer to receiue any fauor or grace of those Curtesies whych I craue.” “If then” (quod shee) “you wyl promise to employ your selfe aboute a businesse that I haue to do when I make request, I wyll also to accept you for a friende, and graunt sutch secrecie as a faithful louer can desyre of his Lady.” Dom Pietro which would have offred hym selfe in Sacrifice for hir, not knowyng hir demaunde, tooke an othe, and promysed hir so lyghtly as madly afterwardes he did put the same in proofe. Beholde the preparatiues of the obsequies of their first loue, and the guages of a bloudie Bed: the one was prodigall of hir honoure, the other the tormente of his reputation, and neglected the duety and honor of his state, which the house wherof he came, commaunded hym to kepe. Thus all the nyght he remained with Bianca Maria, who made him so wel to like hir good entertaynment and imbracementes, as he neuer was out of her Company. And the warie Circes fayned her self so fare in loue wyth hym, and vsed so many toyes and gametricks of her filthy science, as he not onelye esteemed hym selfe the happiest Gentleman of Scicilia, but the most fortunate wight of all the Worlde, and by bibbing of hir Wyne was so straungely charmed with the Pleasures of his fayre Mystresse, as for hir sake he would haue taken vpon him the whole ouerthrowe of Milan, so well as Blose of Cumes to sette the Cittye of Rome on fire, if Tyberius Gracchus the sedicious, woulde haue giuen it him in charge. Sutch is the manner of wilde and foolish youth, whych suffreth it selfe to be caried beyonde the boundes of reason. The same in time past did ouerthrow many Realmes, and caused the chaunge of diuers Monarchies: and truely vnseemely it is for a man to be subdued to the will of a common strumpet. And as it is vncomly to submit him selfe to sutch one, so not requisite to an honest and vertuous Dame, his maried Wyfe. Which vnmanly deedes, be occasions that diuers Foolishe Women commit sutch filthy factes, with 74their inspekable trumperies begiling the simple man, and perchance through to mutch losing the Bridle raynes to the lawfull Wyfe, the poore man is strangely deceyued by some adulterous varlet, whych at the Wyue’s commaundment, when she seeth oportunity, wil not shrinke to hazarde the honour of them both, in sutch wise as they serue for an example vppon a common Scaffold to a whole generation and Posterity. I wyll not seeke farre of for examples, being satisfied with the folly of the Bastard Cardonne, to please the cruelty and malice of that infernall fury the Countesse, who hauinge lulled, flattered, and bewitched with hir louetricks (and peraduenture with some charmed drinke) her new Pigeon, seeinge it time to solicite his promise, to be reuenged of those, whych thought no more of hir conspiracies and trayterous deuises, and also when the time was come for punishinge of hir whoredome, and chastising of the breach of fayth made to hir husbande, and of hir intended murders, and some of them put in execution, she I say, desirous to see the ende of that, which in thought she had contryued, vppon a day tooke Dom Pietro aside, and secretly began this Oration: “I take God to witnes (sir) that the request which I pretend presently to make, proceedeth of desire rather that the Worlde may know how iustly I seeke meanes to mayntayne myne honour, than for desire of reuenge, knowinge very well, that there is nothing so precious, and deere vnto a woman, as the preseruation of that inestimable Iewell, specially in a Lady of that honourable degre whych I mayntayne amonge the best. And to the intent I seeme not tedious with prolixity of words, or vse other than direct circumstances before him that hath offred iust reuenge for the wrongs I haue receyued: knowe you sir, that for a certain tyme I continued at Pauie, kepynge a house and Trayne so honest, as the best Lords were contented wyth myne ordinarye. It chaunced that two honest Gentlemen of Noble House haunted my Palace in lyke sort, and with the same intertainment whych as you see, I doe receiue ech Gentleman, who beyng well intreated and honoured of me, in the ende forgat themselues so farre, as without respect of my state and callinge, wythout regard of the race and family wherof they come, haue attempted the slaunder of my good name, and vtter subuersion of my 75renoume: and sufficient it was not for them thus to deale with mee poore Gentlewoman, without desert (excepte it were for admyttyng them to haue accesse vnto my house) but also to continue their Blasphemies, to myne extreame reproach and shame: and howe true the same is, they that know me can well declare, by reason whereof, the vulgar people prone and ready to wycked reportes, haue conceiued sutch opynion of me, as for that they see me braue and fine in Apparell, and specyally throughe the slaunderous speache of those gallantes, do deeme and repute me for a common Whoore, wherof I craue none other wytnesse than your selfe and my conscience. And I sweare vnto you, that sith I came to Milan, it is you alone that hath vanquished, and made the Triumphe of my Chastytye: and yf you were absent from this Citye, I assure you on my fayth that I would not tarry heere xxiiii.houres. These infamous ruffians I say, these persecuters and termagantes of my good name, haue chased mee out of all good Cityes, and made me to be abhorred of ech honest company, that weary I am of my lyfe, and lothe to lyue any longer except spedye redresse bee had for reuengement of thys wronge: wherefore except I finde some Noble Champion and Valyaunte Personage to requyte these Vyllains for their spitefull Speach blased on me in euerye Corner of Towne and Countreye, and to paye them theyr rewarde and hire that I may lyue at Lybertye and quyet, Sorrowe wyll eyther consume mee or myne owne handes shall hasten spedye Death.” And in speakyng those Woordes, shee beganne to weepe with sutch abundance of teares streaming downe hir Cheekes and Necke of Alabaster hewe, as the Scicilian whych almost had none other God but the Countesse, sayd vnto hir: “And what is he, that dare molest and slaunder hir that hath in hir puissaunce so many Souldiers and men of Warre? I make a vow to God, that if I know the names of those two arrant villaynes, the which haue so defamed my Mystresse name, the whole worlde shall not saue their liues, whose carrion Bodies I will hew into so many gobbets, as they haue members vpon the same: wherefore Madame” (sayd he, imbracing her) “I pray you to grieue your selfe no more, commit your wronges to me, only tell me the names of those Gallaunts, and afterwards you shall vnderstande 76what difference I make of woorde and deede, and if I doe not trimme and dresse theym so finely, as hereafter they shall haue no neede of Barber, neuer trust me any more.” Shee, as reuiued from death to lyfe, kyssed and embraced him a thousand tymes, thankinge hym for his good will, and offering him all that she had. In the ende she tolde him that hir enimies were the counties of Massino and Gaiazzo, which but by theyr deaths alone were not able to amend and repayre hir honour. “Care not you” (sayde hee) “for before that the Sunne shall spreade his Beames twice 24 houres vpon the earth, you shall heare newes, and know what I am able to do for the chastisement of those deuils.” As he promised, hee fayled not to do: for wythin a whyle after as Ardizzino was goinge to supper into the Citty, he was espyed by hym, that had in company attendaunt vppon hym fyue and twenty men of Armes, which waited for Ardizzino, in a Lane on the left hand of the Streate called Merauegli, leading towards the church of Sainct Iames, through which the Countee must needes passe. Who as he was going very pleasantly disposed with his brother, and 5 or 6 of his men, was immediately assayled on euery side, and not knowinge what it ment, would haue fled, but the Wayes, and Passages were stopped rounde aboute: to defende himselfe it auayled not hauing but their single Swords, and amid the troupe of sutch a bande that were throughly armed, which in a moment had murdred, and cut in peeces all that company. And although it was late, yet the Countie Ardizzino many times named Dom Pietro, which caused hym to be taken, and imprisoned by the Duke of Bourbon, that was fled out of Fraunce, and then was Lieutenaunt for the Emperour Charles the fifth in Milan. Whosoeuer was astonned and amazed with that Imprisonment, it is to bee thoughte that the Scicilan was not greatly at his ease and quiet, who needed no torments to force him confesse the fact, for of his owne accorde voluntarily he dysclosed the same, but he sayde he was prouoked thervnto by the persuasion of Bianca Maria telling the whole discourse as you haue heard before. She had already intelligence of this chaunce, and might haue fled and saued hir selfe before the fact (by the confession of Dom Pietro) had ben discouered, and attended in some secrete place till that stormie 77time had bene calmed and appeased. But God which is a rightfull iudge woulde not suffer hir wickednesse stretch any further, sith she hauing found out sutch a nimble and wilful executioner, the Countee of Gaiazzo could not long haue remained aliue, who then in good time and happy houre was absent out of the City. So soone as Dom Pietro had accused the Countesse, the Lord of Bourbon sente her to pryson, and being examined, confessed the whole matter, trustinge that hir infinite numbre of Crownes woulde haue corrupted the Duke, or those that represented his person. But hir Crownes and Lyfe passed all one way. For the day after hir imprisonment shee was condempned to lose hir heade: and in the meane time Dom Pietro was saued, by the diligence and suite of the Captaynes, and was employed in other Warres, to whom the Duke gaue him, for that he was lothe to lose so notable a Souldiour, the very right hand of his Brother the Countee of Colisano. The Countesse hauing sentence pronounced vppon hir, but trusting for pardon, would not prepare hir selfe to dy, ne yet by any meanes craue forgiuenes of hir faults at the hands of God, vntil she was conueyed out of the Castell, and ledde to the common place of execution, where a Scaffolde was prepared for hir to play the last Acte of thys Tragedy. Then the miserable Lady began to know hirselfe, and to confesse hir faults before the people, deuoutly praying God, not to haue regard to hir demerites, ne yet to determine his wrath agaynst hir, or enter with hir in iudgement, for so mutch as if the same were decreed accordinge to hir iniquity, no saluation was to be looked for. She besought the people to pray for hir, and the countee of Gaiazzo that was absent, to pardon hir malice, and treason which she had deuised agaynst him. Thus miserably and repentantly dyed the Countesse, which in hir lyfe refused not to imbrace and follow any wickednes, no mischiefe shee accompted euill done, so the same were imployed for hir pleasure and pastime. A goodly example truely for the youth of our present time, sith the most part indifferently do launch into the gulfe of disordred lyfe, suffring themselues to bee plunged in the puddles of their owne vayne conceiptes, without consideration of the mischieues that may ensue. If the Lord of Cardonne had not bene beloued of his generall, into what calamity had he fallen for 78yeldinge himselfe a pray to that bloudy Woman who had more regarde to the light, and wilfull fansie of hir, whom he serued like a slaue, than to his duety and estimation? And truely all sutch be voyde of their right wits, which thincke themselues beloued of a Whoore. For their amity endureth no longer than they sucke from their pursses and bodies any profit or pleasure. And because almost euery day semblable examples be seene, I will leaue of this discourse, to take me to a matter, not farre more pleasaunt than this, although founded vpon better grounde, and stablished upon loue, the first onset of lawfull mariage, the successe whereof chaunced to murderous ende, and yet the same intended by neyther of the beloued: as you shall be iudge by the continuance of reading of the history ensuing. Beare with me good Ladyes (for of you alone I craue this pardon) for introducing the Whoorish lyfe of the Countesse, and hir bloudy enterprise: bicause I know right wel, that recitall of murders, and bloudy facts wearieth the mindes of those that loue to lyue at rest, and wish for fayre weather after the troublesome stormes of raging Seas, no lesse than the Pilote and wise Mariner, hauing long time endured and cut the perillous straicts of the Ocean Sea. And albeit the corruption of our nature be so great, as follies delighte vs more than ernest matters fraught wyth reason and wisedome, yet I thinke not that our mindes be so peruerted and diuided from trouth, but sometimes wee care and seeke to speake more grauely than the countrey Hynde, or more soberly than they, whose lyues do beare the marke of infamy, and be to euery wight notorious for the onely name of their vocation. Suffiseth vs that an Hystory, be it neuer so full of sporte and pleasure, do bring with it instruction of our lyfe, and amendement of our maners. And wee ought not to be so curious or scrupulous, to reiect merry and pleasant deuises that be voide of harmeful talke, or wythout sutch glee as may hynder the education of Youth procliue, and ready to choose that is corrupt, and naught. The very bookes of holy scriptures doe describe vnto vs persons that bee vicious, and so detestable as nothing more, whose factes vnto the simple may seeme vnseemely, vpon the least recitall of the same. And shall wee therefore reiect the readinge, and eschue those holy bookes? God forbid, but with diligence to 79beware, that we do not resemble those that be remembred there for example, forsomutch as speedely after sinne, ensueth grieuous, and as sodayne punishment. For which cause I haue selected these Historyes, of purpose to aduertise Youth, how they that follow the way of damnable iniquity, fayle not shortly after their great offences, and execution of their outragious vices, to feele the iust and mighty hand of God, who guerdoneth the good for their good works and deedes, and rewardeth the euil for their wickednes and mischiefe. Now turne we then to the Hystory of two, the rarest Louers that euer were, the performaunce, and finishinge whereof, had it bene so prosperous as the beginning, they had ioyed ioyfully the Fruicts of their intent, and two noble houses of one City reconciled to perpetuall frendship.

80

THE TWENTY-FIFTH NOUELL.

The goodly Hystory of the true, and constant Loue between Rhomeo and Ivlietta, the one of whom died of Poyson, and the other of sorrow, and heuinesse: wherein be comprysed many aduentures of Loue, and other deuises touchinge the same.

I am sure that they which measure the Greatnesse of Goddes worked accordinge to the capacity of their Rude, and simple vnderstandinge, wyll not lightly adhibite credite vnto thys History, so wel for the variety of straunge Accidents which be therein described, as for the nouelty of so rare, and perfect amity. But they that haue read Plinie, Valerius Maximus, Plutarche, and diuers other Writers, do finde, that in olde time a great number of Men and Women haue died, some of excessiue ioy, some of ouermutch sorrow, and some of other passions: and amongs the same, Loue is not the least, whych when it seazeth vppon any kynde and gentle subiect, and findeth no resistaunce to serue for a rampart to stay the violence of his course, by little and little vndermineth, melteth and consumeth the vertues of naturall powers in sutch wyse as the spyrite yealdinge to the burden, abandoneth the place of lyfe: which is verified by the pitifull, and infortunate death of two Louers that surrendered their last Breath in one Toumbe at Verona a Citty of Italy, wherein repose yet to thys day (with great maruell) the Bones, and remnauntes of their late louing bodies: an hystory no lesse wonderfull than true. If then perticular affection which of good right euery man ought to beare to the place where he was borne, doe not deceyue those that trauayle, I thincke they will confesse wyth me, that few Citties in Italy, can surpasse the sayd Citty of Verona, aswell for the Nauigable riuer called Adissa, which passeth almost through the midst of the same, and thereby a great trafique into Almayne, as also for the prospect towards the Fertile Mountaynes, and pleasant valeys whych do enuiron the same, with a great number of very clere and lyuely fountaynes, that serue for the ease and commodity of the place. Omittinge (bisides many other singularities) foure Bridges, and an 81infinite number of other honourable Antiquities dayly apparaunt vnto those, that be to curious to viewe and looke vpon them. Which places I haue somewhat touched, bicause thys most true History which I purpose hereafter to recite, dependeth thereupon, the memory whereof to thys day is so wel known at Verona, as vnneths their blubbred Eyes be yet dry, that saw and beheld that lamentable sight. When the Senior Escala was Lord of Verona, there were two families in the Citty, of farre greater fame than the rest, aswell for riches as Nobility: the one called the Montesches, and the other the Capellets: but lyke as most commonly there is discorde amongs theym which be of semblable degree in honour, euen so there hapned a certayne enmity betweene them: and for so mutch as the beginning thereof was vnlawfull, and of ill foundation, so lykewyse in processe of time it kindled to sutch flame, as by diuers and sundry deuyses practised on both sides, many lost their lyues. The Lord Bartholmew of Escala, (of whom we haue already spoken) being Lord of Verona, and seeing sutch disorder in his common weale, assayed diuers and sundry waies to reconcile those two houses, but all in vayne: for their hatred had taken sutch roote, as the same could not be moderated by any wyse counsell or good aduice: betweene whom no other thing could be accorded, but geuing ouer Armour, and Weapon for the time, attending some other season more conuenient, and wyth better leysure to appease the rest. In the time that these thinges were adoing, one of the family of Montesches called Rhomeo, of the age of 20 or 21. yeares, the comliest and best conditioned Gentleman that was amonges the Veronian youth, fell in loue with a yong Gentlewoman of Verona, and in few dayes was attached with hir Beauty, and good behauiour, as he abandoned all other affaires and busines, to serue and honour hir: and after many Letters, Ambassades, and presents, he determined in the ende to speake vnto hir, and to disclose hys passions, which he did without any other practise. But she which was vertuously brought vp, knew how to make him so good answer to cut of his amorous affections, as he had no lust after that time to returne any more, and shewed hir self so austere, and sharpe of Speach, as she vouchsafed not with one looke to behold him. But how mutch the young Gentleman saw hir whist, 82and silent, the more he was inflamed: and after he had continued certayne months in that seruice wythout remedy of his griefe, he determined in the ende to depart Verona, for proofe if by chaunge of the place he might alter his affection, saying to himselfe: “What do I meane to loue one that is so vnkinde, and thus doth disdayn me: I am all hir owne, and yet she flieth from me. I can no longer liue, except hir presence I doe enioy: and she hath no contented mynde, but when she is furthest from me: I will then from henceforth Estraunge my selfe from hir, for it may so come to passe by not beholding hir, that thys fire in me which taketh increase and nourishment by hir fayre Eyes, by little and little may dy and quench.” But minding to put inproose what he thought, at one instant hee was reduced to the contrary, who not knowing whereupon to resolue, passed dayes and nights in marueilous Playnts, and Lamentations: for Loue vexed him so neare, and had so well fixed the Gentlewoman’s Beauty within the Bowels of his heart, and mynde, as not able to resist, hee faynted with the charge, and consumed by little and little as the Snow agaynst the Sunne: whereof hys parenttes, and kinred did maruayle greatly, bewaylinge hys misfortune, but aboue all other one of hys Companyons of riper Age, and Counsell than hee, began sharpely to rebuke him: for the loue that he bare him was so great as hee felt hys Martirdome, and was pertaker of hys passion: which caused him by ofte viewyng his friend’s disquietnesse in amorous panges, to say thus vnto him: “Rhomeo, I maruell mutch that thou spendest the best time of thine age, in pursute of a thing, from which thou seest thy self despised and banished, wythout respecte either to thy prodigall dispense, to thine honor, to thy teares, or to thy myserable lyfe, which be able to moue the most constant to pity: wherefore I pray thee for the Loue of our auncient amity, and for thyne health sake, that thou wilt learn to be thine owne man, and not to alyenat thy lyberty to any so ingrate as she is: for so farre as I coniecture by things that are passed betwene you, either she is in loue wyth some other, or else determineth neuer to loue any. Thou arte yong, rich in goods and fortune, and more excellent in beauty than any Gentleman in thys Cyty: thou art well learned, and the onely sonne of the house wherof thou commest: what gryef would 83it bee to thy poore olde Father and other thy parentes, to see the so drowned in this dongeon of Vyce, specially at that age wherein thou oughtest rather to put them in some Hope of thy Vertue? begyn then from henceforth to acknowledge thyne error, wherein thou hast hitherto lyued, doe away that amorous vaile or couerture whych blyndeth thyne Eyes and letteth thee to folow the ryghte path, wherein thine auncestors haue walked: or else if thou do feele thy self so subiect to thyne owne wyll, yelde thy hearte to some other place, and chose some Mistresse accordyng to thy worthynesse, and henceforth doe not sow thy Paynes in a Soyle so barrayne whereof thou reapest no Fruycte: the tyme approcheth when al the Dames of the Cyty shal assemble, where thou mayst behold sutch one as shall make thee forget thy former gryefs.” Thys younge Gentleman attentyuely hearyng all the persuadyng reasons of hys fryend, began somewhat to moderate that heate and to acknowledge all the exhortatyons which hee had made to be directed to good purpose: and then determined to put them in proofe, and to be present indifferently at al the feasts and assemblies of the City, without bearing affection more to one Woman than to an other: and continued in thys manner of Lyfe, ii. or iii.monthes, thinking by that meanes to quench the sparks of auncient flames. It chaunced then within few dayes after, about the feast of Chrystmasse, when feasts and bankets most commonly be vsed, and maskes accordinge to the custome frequented, that Anthonie Capellet being the Chief of that Familye, and one of the principall Lords of the City too, made a banket, and for the better Solempnization thereof, inuited all the Noble men and dames, to which Feast resorted the most part of the youth of Verona. The family of the Capellets (as we haue declared in the beginninge of thys Hystory) was at variance with the Montesches, which was the cause that none of that family repaired to that Banket, but onelye the yong Gentleman Rhomeo, who came in a maske after supper with certaine other yong Gentlemen: and after they had remained a certayne space with their visards on, at length they did put of the same, and Rhomeo very shamefast, withdrew himself into a Corner of the Hall: but by reason of the light of the Torches which burned very bright, he was by and by 84knowen and loked vpon of the whole Company, but specially of the Ladies, for besides his Natiue Beauty wherewyth Nature had adorned him, they maruelled at his audacity how hee durst presume to enter so secretly into the House of that Famyllye which had litle cause to do him any good. Notwithstanding, the Capellets dissembling their mallice, either for the honor of the company, or else for respect of his Age, did not misuse him eyther in Worde or Deede: by meanes whereof wyth free liberty he behelde and viewed the Ladies at hys Pleasure, which hee dyd so well, and wyth grace so good, as there was none but did very well lyke the presence of his person: and after he had particularly giuen Iudgement vppon the excellency of each one, according to his affection, hee sawe one Gentlewoman amonges the reste of surpassinge Beautye who (althoughe hee had neuer seene hir tofore) pleased him aboue the rest, and attributed vnto hir in heart the Chyefest place for all perfection in Beautye: and feastyng hir incessantlye with piteous lookes, the Loue whych hee bare to his first Gentlewoman, was ouercomen with this newe fire, that toke sutch norishment and vigor in his hart, as he was not able neuer to quench the same but by Death onely: as you may vnderstande by one of the strangest discourses, that euer any mortal man deuised. The yong Rhomeo then felying himselfe thus tossed wyth thys newe Tempest, could not tell what countenaunce to vse, but was so surprised and chaunged with these last flames, as he had almost forgotten himselfe, in sutch wise as he had not audacity to enquyre what she was, and wholly bente himself to feede hys Eyes with hir sighte, wherewyth he moystened the sweete amorous venome, which dyd so empoyson him, as hee ended hys Dayes with a kinde of most cruell death. The Gentlewoman that dydde put Rhomeo to sutch payne was called Iulietta, and was the Daughter of Capellet, the mayster of the house wher that assembly was, who as hir Eyes did rolle and wander too and fro, by chaunce espied Rhomeo, which vnto hir seemed to be the goodliest personage that euer shee sawe: and Loue (which lay in wayte neuer vntill that time,) assayling the tender heart of that yong Gentlewoman, touched hir so at the quicke, as for any resistance she coulde make, was not able to defende his forces, and then began to set at naught 85the royalties of the feast, and felt no pleasure in hir heart, but when she had a glimpse by throwing or receiuing some sight or looke of Rhomeo. And after they had contented eche others troubled heart with millions of amorous lookes which oftentimes interchangeably encountred and met together, the burning Beames gaue sufficient testimony of loue’s priuy onsettes. Loue hauing made the heartes breache of those two louers, as they two sought meanes to speake together, Fortune offered them a very meete and apt occasion. A certayne Lord of that troupe and companye tooke Iulietta by the Hande to Daunce, wherein shee behaued hir selfe so well, and wyth so excellent grace, as shee wanne that Daye the prise of Honour from all the Damosels of Verona. Rhomeo hauynge foreseene the place wherevnto shee mynded to retire, approched the same, and so dyscretelye vsed the matter, as hee founde the meanes at hir returne to sit beside hir: Iulietta when the daunce was finished, returned to the very place where she was set before, and was placed betwene Rhomeo and an other gentleman called Mercutio, which was a courtlyke Gentleman, very well be loued of all men, and by reason of his pleasaunt and curteous behauior was in euery company wel intertayned. Mercutio that was of audacity among Maydens, as a Lyon is among Lambes, seazed incontynently vpon the hande of Iulietta, whose hands wontedly were so cold both in Wynter and Sommer as the Mountayne yce, although the fire’s heat did warm the same. Rhomeo whych sat vppon the left side of Iulietta, seynge that Mercutio held hir by the right hand, toke hir by the other that he myght not be deceiued of his purpose, and strayning the same a little, he felt himself so prest wyth that newe fauor, as he remayned mute, not able to aunswer: but she perceyuyng by his chaunge of color, that the fault proceded of the vehemence of loue, desyryng to speake vnto hym, turned hir selfe towards hym, and wyth tremblyng voyce ioyned with virginal shamefastnesse, intermedled with a certayn bashfulnesse, sayd to hym: “Blessed be the houre of your neare approche:” but mynding to procede in further talke, loue had so closed vp hir mouth, as she was not able to end hir Tale. Wherunto the yong Gentleman all rauished with ioy and contentation, sighing, asked hir what was the cause of that ryght fortunate 86blessing: Iulietta, somwhat more emboldened with pytyful loke and smyling countenance, said vnto him: “Syr, do not maruell yf I do blesse your comminge hither, bicause sir Mercutio a good tyme wyth frosty hand hath wholly frosen mine, and you of your curtesy haue warmed the same agayne.” Wherunto immediatly Rhomeo replyed: “Madame, if the heauens haue ben so fauorable to employe me to do you some agreeable seruice, being repaired hither by chance amongs other Gentlemen, I esteeme the same well bestowed, crauying no greater benefite for satisfaction of all my contentations receiued in this World, than to serue obey and honor you so long as my lyfe doth last, as experience shall yeld more ample proofe when it shall please you to geue further assaye: moreouer, if you haue receiued any Heat by touche of my Hand, you may be well assured that those flames be dead in respect of the lyuely Sparkes and violent fire which sorteth from you fayre Eyes, which fire hath so fiercely inflamed all the most sensible parts of my body, as if I be not succored by the fauoure of your good graces, I do attend the time to be consumed to dust.” Scarse had he made an ende of those last words but the daunce of the Torche was at an end: whereby Iulietta, which wholly burnt in loue, straightly claspyng her Hand with hys, had no leysure to make other aunswer, but softly thus to say: “My deare frend, I know not what other assured wytnesse you desire of loue, but that I let you vnderstand that you be no more your own, than I am yours, beying ready and dysposed to obey you so farre as honour shal permyt, beseechying you for the present tyme to content your selfe wyth thys aunswere, vntyll some other season meeter to Commvnicate more secretly of our affaires.” Rhomeo seeing himselfe pressed to part of the Company, and for that hee knew not by what meanes he myght see hir agayne that was hys Life and Death, demaunded of one of his friends what shee was, who made aunswer that she was the Daughter of Capellet, the Lord of the house, and Mayster of that daye’s feast (who wroth beyonde measure that Fortune had sent him to so daungerous a place, thought it impossible to bring to end his enterprise begon.) Iulietta couetous on the other side, to know what yong Gentleman he was which had so curteously intertayned hir that Nyght, and of whome shee felt 87the new wound in hir heart, called an olde Gentlewoman of honor which had nursed hir and brought her vp, vnto whom she sayd leaning vpon hir shoulder: “Mother, what two young Gentlemen be they which first goe forth with the two Torches before them.” Vnto whome the old Gentlewoman told the name of the houses wherof they came. Then she asked hir againe, what young gentleman that was which holdeth the visarde in his hand, wyth the damaske cloke about him. “It is” (quod she) “Romeo Montesche, the sonne of youre Father’s capytall Enimye and deadly foe to all your kinne.” But the Mayden at the onely Name of Montesche was altogyther amazed, despayrynge for euer to attayne to husband hir great affectyoned fryend Rhomeo, for the auncyent hatreds betweene those two Families. Neuerthelesse she knewe so well how to dissemble hir grief and discontented Minde, as the olde Gentlewoman perceiued nothing, who then began to persuade hir to retire into hir Chamber: whom she obeyed, and being in bed, thinking to take hir wonted rest, a great tempest of diuers thoughtes began to enuiron and trouble hir Mynde, in sutch wyse as shee was not able to close hir Eyes, but turninge heere and there, fantasied diuers things in hir thought, sometimes purposed to cut of the whole attempte of that amorous practise, sometimes to continue the same. Thus was the poor pucell vexed with two contraries, the one comforted hir to pursue hir intent, the other proposed the immynente Perill wherevnto vndyscretly she headlong threwe hir self: and after she had wandred of long time in this amorous Laberinth, she knew not whereuppon to resolue, but wept incessantly, and accused hir selfe, saying: “Ah, Caitife and myserable Creature, from whence do rise these vnaccustomed Trauayles which I feele in Mynde, prouokynge mee to loose my reste: but infortunate wretch, what doe I know if that yong Gentleman doe loue mee as hee sayeth. It may be vnder the vaile of sugred woordes he goeth about to steale away mine honore, to be reuenged of my Parentes whych haue offended his, and by that meanes to my euerlastinge reproche to make me the fable of the Verona people.” Afterwardes sodainly as she condempned that which she suspected in the beginning, sayd: “Is it possible that vnder sutch beautye and rare comelynesse, dysloyaltye and treason may haue theyr 88Syedge and Lodgynge? If it bee true that the Face is the faythfull Messanger of the Mynde’s Conceypte, I may bee assured that hee doeth loue mee: for I marked so many chaunged Colours in his Face in time of his talke with me, and sawe him so transported and besides himselfe, as I cannot wyshe any other more certayne lucke of Loue, wherein I wyll persyst immutable to the laste gaspe of Lyfe, to the intente I may haue hym to bee my husband: for it maye so come to passe, as this newe aliaunce shall engender a perpetuall peace and Amity betweene hys House and mine.” Arrestinge then vppon this determynation styll, as she saw Rhomeo passinge before hir Father’s Gate, she shewed hir selfe with merry countenance, and followed him so with loke of Eye, vntill she had lost his sight. And continuing this manner of Lyfe for certaine Dayes, Rhomeo not able to content himself with lookes, daily did behold and marke the situation of the house, and one day amongs others hee espied Iulietta at hir Chamber Window, bounding vpon a narrow Lane, ryght ouer against which Chamber he had a Gardein which was the cause that Rhomeo fearing discouery of their loue, began the day time to passe no more before the Gate, but so soone as the Night with his browne Mantell had couered the Earth, hee walked alone vp and downe that little streat: and after he had bene there many times, missing the chiefest cause of his comming, Iulietta impacient of hir euill, one night repaired to hir window, and perceiued throughe the bryghtnesse of the Moone hir friend Rhomeo vnder hir window, no lesse attended for, than hee hymselfe was waighting. Then she secretly with Teares in hir Eyes, and wyth voyce interrupted by sighes, sayd: “Signior Rhomeo, me thinke that you hazarde your person to mutch, and commyt the same into great Daunger at thys time of the Nyght, to protrude your self to the Mercy of them which meane you little good. Who yf they had taken would haue cut you in pieces, and mine honor (which I esteme dearer than my lyfe,) hindred and suspected for euer” “Madame” aunswered Rhomeo, “my Lyfe is in the Hand of God, who only can dispose the same: howbeyt yf any Man had soughte menes to beryeue mee of my Lyfe, I should (in the presence of you) haue made him knowen what mine ability had ben to defend the same. Notwythstandyng Lyfe is not so deare, and 89of sutch estimation wyth me, but that I coulde vouchsafe to sacryfice the same for your sake: and althoughe my myshappe had bene so greate, as to bee dyspatched in that Place, yet had I no cause to be sorrye therefore, excepte it had bene by losynge the meanes, and way how to make you vnderstande the good wyll and duety which I beare you, desyrynge not to conserue the same for anye commodytye that I hope to haue thereby, nor for anye other respecte, but onelye to Loue, Serue, and Honor you, so long as breath shal remaine in me.” So soone as he had made an end of his talke, loue and pity began to seaze vpon the heart of Iulietta, and leaning hir head vpon hir hand, hauing hir face all besprent wyth teares, she said vnto Rhomeo: “Syr Rhomeo, I pray you not to renue that grief agayne: for the onely Memory of sutch inconuenyence, maketh me to counterpoyse betwene death and Lyfe, my heart being so vnited with yours, as you cannot receyue the least Iniury in this world, wherein I shall not be so great a Partaker as your self: beseechyng you for conclusion, that if you desire your owne health and mine, to declare vnto me in fewe Wordes what youre determynation is to attaine: for if you couetany other secrete thing at my Handes, more than myne Honoure can well allowe, you are maruelously deceiued: but if your desire be godly, and that the frendship which you protest to beare mee, be founded vppon Vertue, and to bee concluded by Maryage, receiuing me for your wyfe and lawfull Spouse, you shall haue sutch part in me, as whereof without any regard to the obedience and reuerence that I owe to my Parentes, or to the auncient Enimity of oure Famylyes, I wyll make you the onely Lord and Mayster [ouer me], and of all the thyngys that I possesse, being prest and ready in all poyntes to folow your commaundement: but if your intent be otherwyse, and thinke to reape the Fruycte of my Virginity, vnder pretense of wanton Amity, you be greatly deceiued, and doe pray you to auoide and suffer me from henceforth to lyue and rest amongs myne equals.” Rhomeo whych looked for none other thyng, holding vp his Handes to the Heauens, wyth incredible ioy and contentation, aunswered: “Madame, for so mutch as it hath pleased you to doe me that honour to accepte me for sutch a one, I accorde and consent to your request, and doe offer vnto you the best part 90of my heart, which shall remayn with you for guage and sure testimony of my saying, vntill sutch tyme as God shall giue me leaue to make you the entier owner and possessor of the same. And to the intent I may begyn myn enterpryse, to morrow I will to the Frier Laurence for counsell in the same, who besides that he is my ghostly father is accustomed to giue me instruction in al my other secret affaires, and fayle not (if you please) to meete me agayne in this place at this very hour, to the intent I may giue you to vnderstand the deuice betwene him and me.” Which she lyked very well, and ended their talke for that time. Rhomeo receyuing none other fauour at hir hands for that night, but only Wordes. Thys Fryer Laurence, of whom hereafter wee shall make more ample mention, was an auncient Doctor of Diuinity, of the order of the Fryers Minors, who besides the happy profession which he had made in study of holy writ, was very skilful in Philosophy, and a great searcher of nature’s Secrets, and exceeding famous in Magike knowledge, and other hidden and secret sciences, which nothing diminished his reputation, bicause hee did not abuse the same. And this Frier through his vertue and piety, had so well won the citizens hearts of Verona, as he was almost the Confessor to them all, and of all men generally reuerenced and beloued: and many tymes for his great prudence was called by the lords of the Citty, to the hearing of their weighty causes. And amonges other he was greatly fauored by the Lorde of Escale, that tyme the principall gouernor of Verona, and of all the Family of Montesches, and of the Capellets, and of many other. The young Rhomeo (as we haue already declared) from his tender age, bare a certayne particuler amity to Frier Laurence, and departed to him his secrets, by meanes whereof so soone as he was gone from Iulietta, went strayght to the Fryers Franciscians, where from poinct to poinct he discoursed the successe of his loue to that good father, and the conclusion of mariage betwene him and Iulietta, adding vpon the ende of talke, that hee woulde rather choose shamefull death, than to fayle hir of his promise. To whom the good Frier after he had debated diuers matters, and proposed al the inconueniences of that secret mariage, exhorted hym to more mature deliberation of the same: notwithstandinge, all the alleged persuasions 91were not able to reuoke his promyse. Wherefore the Frier vanquished with his stubbornesse, and also forecasting in his mynde that the mariage might be some meanes of reconciliation of those two houses, in th’end agreed to his request, intreating him, that he myght haue one dayes respit for leysure to excogitate what was best to be done. But if Rhomeo for his part was carefull to prouide for his affayres, Iulietta lykewise did her indeuour. For seeing that shee had none about her to whom she might discouer her passions, shee deuised to impart the whole to hir Nurse which lay in her Chamber, appoyncted to wayte vppon hir, to whom she committed the intier secrets of the loue between Rhomeo and hir. And although the olde Woman in the beginninge resisted Iulietta hir intent, yet in the ende she knew so wel how to persuade and win hir, that she promised in all that she was able to do, to be at hir commaundement. And then she sent hir with all diligence to speake to Rhomeo, and to know of him by what meanes they might be maried, and that he would do hir to vnderstand the determination betwene Fryer Laurence and him. Whom Rhomeo aunswered, how the first day wherein he had informed Fryer Laurence of the matter, the sayde Fryer deferred aunswere vntil the next, which was the very same, and that it was not past one houre sithens he returned with finall resolution, and that Frier Laurence and he had deuised, that she the Saterday following, should craue leaue of hir mother to go to confession, and to repayre to the Church of Saynct Francis, where in a certayne Chappell secretly they should be maried, praying hir in any wyse not to fayle to be there. Which thinge she brought to passe with sutch discretion, as hir mother agreed to hir request: and accompanied onely wyth hir gouernesse, and a young mayden, she repayred thither at the determined day and tyme. And so soone as she was entred the Church, she called for the good Doctor Fryer Laurence, vnto whom answere was made that he was in the shriuing Chappell, and forthwith aduertisement was gieuen him of hir comming. So soone as Fryer Laurence was certified of Iulietta, hee went into the body of the Church, and willed the olde Woman and yong mayden to go heare seruice, and that when hee had heard the confession of Iulietta, he would send for them agayn. Iulietta beinge entred a little Cell wyth Frier Laurence, 92he shut fast the dore as he was wont to do, where Rhomeo and he had bin together shut fast in, the space of one whole hour before. Then Frier Laurence after that he had shriued them, sayd to Iulietta: “Daughter, as Rhomeo here present hath certified me, you be agreed, and contented to take him to husband, and he likewise you for his Espouse and Wyfe. Do you now still persist and continue in that mynde?” The Louers aunswered that they desired none other thing. The Fryer seeing theyr conformed and agreeable willes, after he had discoursed somewhat vppon the commendation of mariage dignity, pronounced the vsuall woordes of the Church, and she hauing receyued the Ring from Rhomeo, they rose vp before the Fryer, who sayd vnto them: “If you haue any other thing to conferre together, do the same wyth speede: for I purpose that Rhomeo shall goe from hence so secretly as he can.” Rhomeo sory to goe from Iulietta sayde secretly vnto hir, that shee should send vnto hym after diner the old Woman, and that he would cause to be made a corded Ladder the same euening, thereby to climbe vp to her Chamber window, where at more leisure they would deuise of their affaires. Things determined betwene them, either of them retyred to their house with incredible contentation, attendinge the happy houre for consummation of their mariage. When Rhomeo was come home to his house, he declared wholly what had passed betwen him and Iulietta, vnto a Seruaunt of his called Pietro, whose fidelity he had so greatly tryed, as he durst haue trusted him with hys life, and commaunded hym wyth expedition to prouide a Ladder of Cordes wyth 2 strong Hookes of Iron fastned to both endes, which he easily did, because they were mutch vsed in Italy. Iulietta did not forget in the Euening about fiue of the Clocke, to send the olde Woman to Rhomeo, who hauing prepared all things necessary, caused the Ladder to be deliuered vnto her, and prayed hir to require Iulietta the same euening not to fayle to bee at the accustomed place. But if this Iorney seemed long to these two passioned Louers, let other Iudge, that haue at other tymes assayed the lyke: for euery minute of an houre seemed to them a Thousande yeares, so that if they had power to commaund the Heauens (as Iosua did the Sunne) the Earth had incontinently bene shadowed wyth darkest Cloudes. The 93apoyncted houre come, Rhomeo put on the most sumptuous apparell hee had, and conducted by good fortune neere to the place where his heart tooke lyfe, was so fully determined of hys purpose, as easily hee clymed vp the Garden wall. Beinge arriued hard to the wyndow, he perceyued Iulietta, who had already so well fastned the Ladder to draw him vp, as without any daunger at all, he entred hir chambre, which was so clere as the day, by reason of the Tapers of virgin Wax, which Iulietta had caused to be lighted, that she might the better beholde hir Rhomeo. Iulietta for hir part, was but in hir night kerchief: who so soon as she perceyued him colled him about the Neck, and after shee had kissed and rekissed hym a million of times, began to imbrace hym betwene hir armes, hauing no power to speake vnto him, but by Sighes onely, holding hir mouth close against his, and being in this traunce beheld him with pitifull eye, which made him to liue and die together. And afterwards somewhat come to hir selfe, she sayd with sighes deepely fetched from the bottom of hir heart. “Ah Rhomeo, the exampler of al vertue and gentlenes, most hartely welcome to this place, wherein for your lacke, and absence, and for feare of your person, I haue gushed forth so many Teares as the spring is almost dry: but now that I hold you betwen my armes, let death and fortune doe what they list. For I count my selfe more than satisfied of all my sorrowes past, by the fauour alone of your presence.” Whom Rhomeo with weeping eye, giuing ouer silence aunswered: “Madame, for somutch as I neuer receyued so mutch of fortune’s grace, as to make you feele by liuely experience what power you had ouer me, and the torment euery minute of the day sustained for your occasion, I do assure you the least grief that vexeth me for your absence, is a thousand times more paynefull than death, which long time or this had cut of the threede of my lyfe, if the hope of this happy Iourney had not bene, which paying mee now the iust Tribute of my weepings past, maketh me better content, and more glad, than if the whole Worlde were at my commaundement, beseeching you (without further memory of auncient griefe) to take aduice in tyme to come how we may content our passionate hearts, and to sort our affayres with sutch Wysedome and discretion, as our enimies without aduantage may 94let vs continue the remnant of our dayes in rest and quiet.” And as Iulietta was about to make answere, the Olde woman came in the meane time, and sayd vnto them: “He that wasteth time in talke, recouereth the same to late. But for so mutch as eyther of you hath endured sutch mutuall paynes, behold (quoth shee) a campe which I haue made ready:” (shewing them the Fielde bed which shee had prepared and furnished,) whereunto they easily agreed, and being then betwene the Sheets in priuy bed, after they had gladded and cherished themselues with al kinde of delicate embracements which loue was able to deuise, Rhomeo vnloosing the holy lines of virginity, tooke possession of the place, which was not yet besieged with sutch ioy and contentation as they can iudge which haue assayed like delites. Their marriage thus consummate, Rhomeo perceyuing the morning make to hasty approch, tooke his leaue, making promise that he would not fayle wythin a day or two to resort agayne to the place by lyke meanes, and semblable time, vntil Fortune had prouided sure occasion vnfearfully to manyfest their marriage to the whole Worlde. And thus a month or twayne, they continued their ioyful mindes to their incredible satisfaction, vntil lady Fortune enuious of their prosperity, turned hir Wheele to tumble them into such a bottomlesse pit, as they payed hir vsury for their pleasures past, by a certaine most cruell and pitifull death, as you shal vnderstand hereafter by the discourse that followeth. Now as we haue before declared, the Capellets and the Montesches were not so well reconciled by the Lord of Verona, but that there rested in them sutch sparks of auncient displeasures, as either partes waited but for some light occasion to draw togethers, which they did in the Easter holy dayes, (as bloudy men commonly be most willingly disposed after a good time to commit some nefarious deede) besides the Gate of Boursarie leading to the olde castel of Verona, a troupe of Capellets rencountred with certayne of the Montesches, and without other woordes began to set vpon them. And the Capellets had for Chiefe of their glorious enterprise one called Thibault, cosin Germayne to Iulietta, a yong man strongly made, and of good experience of armes, who exhorted his Companions with stout Stomakes to represse the boldnes of the Montesches, that ther 95might from that time forth no memory of them be left at all. The rumoure of this fray was disperssed throughout al the corners of Verona, that succour might come from all partes of the Citty to depart the same. Whereof Rhomeo aduertized, who walked alonges the Citty with certayne of his Companions, hasted him speadily to the place where the slaughter of his Parents and alies were committed: and after he had well aduised and beholden many wounded and hurt on both sides, he sayd to hys Companions: “My frends let vs part them, for they be so flesht one vpon an other, as will all be hewed to pieces before the game be done.” And saying so, he thrust himselfe amids the troupe, and did no more but part the blowes on eyther side, crying vpon them aloud: “My freends, no more, it is time henceforth that our quarel cease. For besides the prouocation of God’s iust wrath, our two families be slaunderous to the whole World, and are the cause that this common wealth doth grow vnto disorder.” But they were so egre and furious one agaynst the other, as they gaue no audience to Rhomeo his councel, and bent theymselues too kyll, dysmember and teare eche other in pieces. And the fyght was so cruell and outragious betweene them as they which looked on, were amased to see theym endure those blowes, for the grounde was all couered with armes, legges, thighes, and bloude, wherein no signe of cowardnes appeared, and mayntayned their feyghte so longe, that none was able to iudge who hadde the better, vntill that Thibault Cousin to Iulietta inflamed with ire and rage, turned towardes Rhomeo thinkinge with a pricke to runne him through. But he was so wel armed and defended with a priuye coat whiche he wore ordinarily for the doubt he had of the Capellets, as the pricke rebounded: vnto whom Rhomeo made answeare: “Thibault thou maiest know by the pacience which I haue had vntill this present tyme, that I came not hether to fyght with thee or thyne, but to seeke peace and attonemente betweene vs, and if thou thinkest that for defaulte of courage I haue fayled myne endeuor, thou doest greate wronge to my reputacion. And impute thys my suffrance to some other perticular respecte, rather than to wante of stomacke. Wherfore abuse mee not but be content with this greate effusion of Bloude and murders already committed. And 96prouoke mee not I beseeche thee to passe the boundes of my good will and mynde.” “Ah Traitor,” sayd Thibaulte, “thou thinkeste to saue thy selfe by the plotte of thy pleasaunt tounge, but see that thou defende thy selfe, els presently I will make thee feele that thy tounge shal not gard thy corps, nor yet be the Buckler to defende the same from present death.” And saying so, he gaue him a blow with such furye, as hadde not other warded the same hee had cutte of his heade from his shoulders, and the one was no readyer to lende, but the other incontinentlye was able to paye agayne, for hee being not onelye wroth with the blowe that hee had receiued, but offended with the iniury which the other had don, began to pursue his ennemy with suche courage and viuacity, as at the third blowe with his swerd hee caused him to fall backewarde starke deade vppon the grounde with a pricke vehementlye thruste into his throte, whiche hee followed till hys Sworde appeared throughe the hynder parte of the same, by reason wherof the conflicte ceassed. For besides that Thibault was the chiefe of his companye he was also borne of one of the Noblest houses within the Cittye, which caused the Potestate to assemble his Souldiers with diligence for the apprehension and imprisonment of Rhomeo, who seyeng yl fortune at hande, in secrete wise conuayed him selfe to Fryer Laurence at the Friers Franciscanes. And the Fryer vnderstandinge of his facte, kepte him in a certayne secrete place of his couente vntil fortune did otherwyse prouyde for his safe goinge abroade. The bruite spred throughout the citty, of this chaunce don vpon the Lorde Thibault, the Capellets in mourning weedes caused the deade bodye to be caryed before the sygnory of Verona, so well to moue them to pytty, as to demaunde iustice for the murder: before whom came also the Montesches, declaryng the innocencye of Rhomeo, and the wilfull assault of the other. The councell assembled and witnesses heard on both partes a straight commaundemente was geuen by the Lorde of the Cittye to geeue ouer theire weapons, and touchinge the offence of Rhomeo, because he hadde killed the other in his owne defence, he was banished Verona for euer. This common misfortune published throughout the Citty, was generally sorowed and lamented. Som complayneth the death of the Lorde Thibault, so well for his dexteritye in armes as for the 97hope of his great good seruice in time to come, if hee hadde not bene preuented by sutch cruell Death. Other bewailed (specially the Ladies and Gentlewomen) the ouerthrow of yong Rhomeo, who besides his beauty and good grace wherwith he was enriched, had a certayne naturall allurement, by vertue whereof he drew vnto him the hearts of eche man, like as the stony Adamante doth the cancred iron, in sutch wise as the whole nation and people of Verona lamented his mischaunce: but aboue all infortunate Iulietta, who aduertised both of the death of hir cosin Thibault, and of the banishment of hir husband, made the Ayre sound with infinite number of mornefull playnts and miserable lamentations. Then feeling hirselfe to mutch outraged with extreeme passion, she went into hir chamber, and ouercome with sorrowe threwe hir selfe vpon hir bed, where she began to reinforce hir dolor after so straunge fashion, as the most constant would haue bene moued to pitty. Then like one out of hir wits, she gazed heere and there, and by fortune beholding the Window whereat Rhomeo was wont to enter into hir chamber, cried out: “Oh vnhappy Windowe, oh entry most vnlucky, wherein were wouen the bitter toyle of my former mishaps, if by thy meanes I haue receyued at other tymes some light pleasure or transitory contentation, thou now makest me pay a tribute so rigorous and paynefull, as my tender body not able any longer to support the same, shall henceforth open the Gate to that lyfe where the ghost discharged from this mortal burden, shal seeke in some place els more assured rest. Ah Rhomeo, Rhomeo, when acquayntaunce first began betweene vs, and reclined myne eares vnto thy suborned promisses, confirmed with so many othes, I would neuer haue beleeued that in place of our continued amyty, and in appeasing of the hatred of our houses, thou wouldest haue sought occasion to breake the same by an acte so shamefull, whereby thy fame shall be spotted for euer, and I miserable wretch desolate of Spouse and Companion. But if thou haddest beene so gready after the Cappelletts bloud, wherefore didst thou spare the deare bloud of mine owne heart when so many tymes, and in sutch secret place the same was at the mercy of thy cruell handes? The victory which thou shouldest haue gotten ouer me, had it not bene glorious inough for thine ambitious minde, but for more triumphant 98solempnity to bee crowned wyth the bloude of my dearest kinsman? Now get thee hence therefore into some other place to deceiue some other, so vnhappy as my selfe. Neuer come agayne in place where I am, for no excuse shall heereafter take holde to asswage mine offended minde: in the meane tyme I shall lament the rest of my heauy lyfe, with sutch store of teares, as my body dried vp from all humidity, shall shortly search reliefe in Earth.” And hauing made an ende of those hir wordes, hir heart was so grieuously strayned, as shee coulde neyther weepe nor speake, and stoode so immoueable, as if she had bene in a traunce. Then being somewhat come agayne vnto hirselfe, with feeble voyce shee sayd: “Ah, murderous tongue of other men’s honor, how darest thou so infamously to speake of him whom his very enimies doe commend and prayse? How presumest thou to impute the blame vpon Rhomeo, whose vnguiltines and innocent deede euery man alloweth? Where from henceforth shall be hys refuge, sith she which ought to bee the onely Bulwarke, and assured rampire of his distresse, doth pursue and defame him? Receyue, receyue then Rhomeo the satisfaction of mine ingratitude by the sacrifice which I shal make of my proper lyfe, and so the faulte which I haue committed agaynste thy loyaltye, shall bee made open to the Worlde, thou being reuenged and my selfe punished.” And thinking to vse some further talke, all the powers of hir body fayled hir wyth signes of present death. But the good olde Woman whych could not imagine the cause of Iulietta hir longe absence, doubted very mutch that she suffred some passion, and sought hir vp and downe in euery place wythin hir Father’s Pallace, vntill at length shee founde hir lyinge a long vpon hir Bed, all the outwarde parts of hir body so colde as Marble. But the goode Old woman which thought hir to bee deade, began to cry like one out of hir Wittes, saying: “Ah deare Daughter, and Noursechylde, howe mutch doeth thy death now grieue mee at the very heart?” And as she was feeling all the partes of hir body, shee perceyued some sparke of Lyfe to bee yet within the same, whych caused hir to call hir many tymes by her name, til at length she brought her oute of her sounde, then sayde vnto her: “Why Iulietta, myne owne deare darelyng, what meane you by this tormoylinge of your selfe? I 99 cannot tel from whence this youre behauiour and that immoderate heauines doe proceede, but wel I wot that within this houre I thought to haue accompanied you to the graue.” “Alas good mother” (aunswered woful Iulietta) “do you not most euidently perceiue and see what iust cause I haue too sorrow and complayne, loosyng at one instante two persons of the world which wer vnto mee most deare?” “Methinke,” aunsweared the good woman, “that it is not seemely for a gentlewoman of your degree to fall into such extremetye: for in tyme of tribulation wysedome should most preuaile. And if the lord Thibault be deade do you thinke to get him agayn by teares? What is he that doth not accuse his ouermutch presumption: woulde you that Rhomeo hadd done that wronge to him, and hys house, to suffer himselfe outraged and assayled by one to whom in manhoode and prowesse he is not inferioure? Sufficeth you that Rhomeo is alyue, and his affayres in sutche estate whoe in tyme may be called home agayne from banishmente, for he is a greate lorde, and as you know well allied and fauored of all men, wherefore arme your selfe from henceforth with pacyence: for albeit that Fortune doth estraunge him from you for a tyme, yet sure I am, that hereafter shee will restore him vnto you agayne wyth greater ioye and Contentatyon than before. And to the Ende that wee bee better assured in what state he is, yf you wyll promyse me to gyue ouer your heauynesse, I wyll to Daye knowe of Fryer Laurence whether he is gone.” To which request Iulietta agreed, and then the good woman repayred to S. Frauncis, wher shee founde Fryer Laurence who tolde her that the same nyghte Rhomeo would not fayle at hys accustomed houre to visite Iulietta, and there to do hir to vnderstande what he purposed to doe in tyme to come. This iorney then fared like the voiages of mariners, who after they haue ben tost by greate and troublous tempest seeyng some Sunne beame pearce the heauens to lyghten the lande, assure themselues agayne, and thinkinge to haue auoyded shipwracke, and sodaynlye the seas begynne to swell, the waues do roare with sutch vehemence and noyse, as if they were fallen agayne into greater danger than before. The assigned hour come, Rhomeo fayled not accordinge to hys promise to bee in his Garden, where he founde his furniture prest to mount 100the Chamber of Iulietta, who with displayed armes, began so strayghtly to imbrace hym, as it seemed that the soule would haue abandoned hir body. And they two more than a large quarter of an hour were in sutch agony, as they were not able to pronounce one word, and wetting ech others Face fast closed together, the teares trickeled downe in sutch abundance as they seemed to be throughly bathed therein, which Rhomeo perceyuing, thinking to stay those immoderate teares, sayd vnto hir: “Myne owne dearest freend Iulietta, I am not now determined to recite the particulars of the straung happes of frayle and inconstaunte Fortune, who in a moment hoisteth a man vp to the hyghest degree of hir wheele, and by and by, in lesse space than in the twynckeling of an eye, she throweth hym downe agayne so lowe, as more misery is prepared for him in one day, than fauour in one hundred yeares: whych I now proue, and haue experience in my selfe, which haue bene nourished delicately amonges my frends, and maynteyned in sutch prosperous state, as you doe little know, (hoping for the full perfection of my felicity) by meanes of our mariage to haue reconciled our Parents, and frends, and to conduct the residue of my lyfe, according to the scope and lot determined by Almighty God: and neuerthelesse all myne enterprises be put backe, and my purposes tourned cleane contrary, in sutch wise as from henceforth I must wander lyke a vagabonde through diuers Prouinces, and sequestrate my selfe from my Frends, wythout assured place of myne abode, whych I desire to let you weete, to the intent you may be exhorted in tyme to come, paciently to beare so well myne absence, as that whych it shal please God to appoint.” But Iulietta, al affrighted wyth teares and mortal agonies, would not suffer hym to passe any further, but interruptinge his purpose, sayd vnto hym: “Rhomeo, how canst thou be so harde hearted and voyde of all pity, to leaue mee heere lone, besieged with so manye deadlye myseries? There is neyther houre nor Minute, wherein death doth not appeare a thousand tymes before mee, and yet my missehappe is sutch, as I can not dye, and therefore doe manyfestlye perceyue, that the same death preserueth my lyfe, of purpose to delight in my gryefes, and tryumphe ouer my euyls. And thou lyke the mynister and tyrante of hir cruelty, doest make 101no conscience (for ought that I can see) hauing atchieued the Summe of thy desyres and pleasures on me, to abandon and forsake me: whereby I well perceyue, that all the lawes of Amity are deade and vtterly extinguyshed, forsomutch as he in whom I had greatest hope and confidence, and for whose sake I am become an enimy to my self, doth disdayne and contemne me. No, no Rhomeo, thou must fully resolue thy selfe vppon one of these ii. points, either to see me incontinently throwen down headlong from this high Window after thee: or else to suffer me to accompany thee into that Countrey or Place whither Fortune shall guide thee: for my heart is so mutch transformed into thine, that so soone as I shall vnderstande of thy departure, presently my lyfe will depart this wofull body: the continuance whereof I doe not desire for any other purpose, but only to delight my selfe in thy presence, to bee pertaker of thy misfortunes: and therefore if euer there lodged any pity in the heart of gentleman, I beseeche the Rhomeo with al humility, that it may now finde place in thee, and that thou wilt vouchsafe to receyue me for thy seruaunt, and the faithful companion of thy mishaps: and if thou thinke that thou canst not conueniently receyue me in the estate and habite of a Wyfe, who shall let me to chaunge myne apparell? Shall I be the first that haue vsed like shiftes to escape the tyranny of parentes? Doste thou doubt that my seruice will not bee so good vnto thee as that of Petre thy seruaunte? Wyll my loyaltye and fidelity be lesse than his? My beauty which at other tymes thou hast so greatly commended, it is not esteemed of thee? my teares, my loue, and the aunciente pleasures and delights that you haue taken in mee shal they be in obliuyon?” Rhomeo seing hir in these alterations, fearing that worsse inconuenience would chaunce, tooke hir agayne betweene hys armes, and kissing her amorously, sayd:Iulietta, the onely mistresse of my heart, I pray thee in the Name of God, and for the feruent Loue whych thou bearest vnto me, to doe away those vayne cogitations, excepte thou meane to seeke and hazard the destruction of vs both: for if thou perseuer in this purpose, there is no remedye but wee muste both perish: for so soone as thyne absence shalbe knowen, thy Father will make sutch earnest pursute after vs, that we cannot choose but be discried and taken, and in the ende cruelly 102punished, I as a theefe and stealer of thee, and thou as a dysobedyent Daughter to thy Father: and so in stead of pleasaunt and quiet Lyfe, our Dayes shalbe abridged by most shamefull Death. But if thou wylt recline thy self to reason, (the ryght rule of humane Lyfe,) and for the tyme abandon our mutuall delyghts, I will take sutch order in the time of my banishment, as within three or foure Months wythoute any delay, I shalbe reuoked home agayne: but if it fall out otherwyse (as I trust not,) howsoeuer it happen, I wyll come agayne vnto thee, and with the helpe of my Fryendes wyll fetch the from Verona by strong Hand, not in Counterfeit Apparell as a straunger, but lyke my spouse and perpetuall companion: in the meane tyme quyet your selfe, and be sure that nothing else but death shall deuide and put vs a sunder.” The reasons of Rhomeo so mutch preuailed with Iulietta, as shee made hym thys aunswere: “My deare fryend, I wyll doe nothing contrary to your wyll and pleasure: and to what place so euer you repayre, my hearte shall bee your owne, in like sorte as you haue giuen yours to be mine: in the meane while I pray you not to faile oftentimes to aduertise me by Frier Laurence, in what state your affaires be, and specially of the place of your abode.” Thus these two pore louers passed the Night togither, vntil the day began to appeare which did dyuyde them, to their extreame sorrow and gryef. Rhomeo hauiuge taken leaue of Iulietta, went to S. Fraunces, and after he hadde aduertysed Frier Laurence of his affaires, departed from Verona in the habit of a Marchaunt straunger, and vsed sutch expedytyon, as without hurt he arriued at Mantuona, (accompanied onely wyth Petre his Seruaunt, whome hee hastily sente backe agayne to Verona, to serue his Father) where he tooke a house: and lyuying in honorable companye, assayed certayne Monthes to put away the gryefe whych so tormented him. But duryng the tyme of his absence, miserable Iulietta could not so cloke hir sorrow, but that through the euyll colour of hir face, hir inwarde passion was discryed: by reason whereof hir Mother, who heard hir oftentimes sighing, and incessantly complayning, coulde not forbeare to say vnto hir: “Daughter, if you continue long after thys sort, you wyll hasten the Death of your good Father and me, who loue you so dearely as 103our owne lyues: wherefore henceforth moderate your heauinesse, and endeuor your self to be mery: think no more vpon the Death of your cosin Thibault, whome (sith it pleased God to cal away) do you thinke to reuoke wyth Teares, and so withstande his Almightye will?” But the pore Gentlewoman not able to dyssemble hir griefe, sayd vnto hir: “Madame, long time it is sithens the last Teares for Thibault were poured forth, and I beleue that the fountayne is so well soked and dried vp, as no more will spryng in that place.” The mother which could not tell to what effect those Woords were spoken held hir peace, for feare she should trouble hir Daughter: and certayne Dayes after seeing hir to continue in heauinesse and continuall griefs, assaied by al meanes possible to know, aswell of hir, as of other the housholde Seruauntes, the occasion of their sorrow, but al in vayne: wherwith the pore mother vexed beyonde measure, purposed to let the Lord Antonio hir Husband to vnderstand the case of hir Daughter: and vppon a day seeing him at conuenient leisure, she sayd vnto him: “My Lord, if you haue marked the countenaunce of our daughter, and hir kinde of behauior sithens the Death of the Lord Thibault hir Cosyn, you shall perceiue so straunge mutation in hir, as it will make you to maruell, for she is not onely contented to forgoe meate, drinke and slepe, but she spendeth hir tyme in nothinge else then in Weeping and Lamentatyon, delighting to kepe hir self solytarye wythin hir Chamber, where she tormenteth hir self so outragiously as yf wee take not heede, hir Lyfe is to be doubted, and not able to knowe the Oryginall of hir Payne, the more difficulte shall be the remedye: for albeit that I haue sought meanes by all extremity, yet cannot I learne the cause of hir sicknesse: and where I thought in the beginning, that it proceded vpon the Death of hir Cosin, now I doe manifestly perceiue the contrary, specially when she hir self did assure me that she had already wept and shed the last teares for him that she was mynded to doe: and vncertayne whereuppon to resolue, I do thinke verily that she mourneth for some despite, to see the most part of theyr companions maried, and she yet vnprouyded, persuading with hir selfe (it may be) that wee hir Parents do not care for hir: wherefore deare Husband, I heartely beseech you for our rest and hir quiet, that hereafter ye be carefull 104to prouyde for hir some maryage worthy of our state.” Whereunto the Lord Antonio, willingly agreed, saying vnto hir: “Wyfe, I haue many times thought vppon that whereof you speake, notwythstandyng sith as yet shee is not attayned to the age of xviii. yeares, I thought to prouide a husband at leysure: neuerthelesse things beinge come to these Termes, and knowing the Virgins chastity is a dangerous Treasure, I wyll be mindfull of the same to your contentation, and she matched in sutch wyse, as she shall thynke the tyme hitherto well delayed. In the meane while marke dylygently whyther she bee in loue wyth any, to the end that we haue not so greate regarde to goodes, or the Nobylity of the house wherein we meane to bestow hir, as to the Lyfe and Health of our Daughter who is to me so deare as I had rather die a Begger without Landes or goods, than to bestow hir vpon one which shall vse and intreat hir il.” Certayne dayes after that the Lorde Antonio had bruted the maryage of his daughter, many Gentlemen were suters, so wel for the excellency of hir Beauty, as for hir great Rychesse and reuenue. But aboue all others the alyaunce of a young Earle named Paris, the Counte of Lodronne, lyked the Lord Antonio: vnto whom lyberally he gaue his consent, and told his Wyfe the party vppon whom he dyd mean to bestow his Daughter. The mother very ioyful that they had found so honest a Gentleman for theyr Daughter, caused hir secretly to be called before hir, doyng hir to vnderstande what things had passed betwen hir father and the Counte Paris, discoursing vnto hir the beauty and good grace of the yong Counte, the vertues for which he was commended of al men, ioyning therevnto for conclusion the great richesse and fauor which he had in the goods of fortune, by means whereof she and hir Fryends should liue in eternal honor: but Iulietta which had rather to haue ben torne in pieces than to agree to that maryage, answered hir mother with a more than accustomed stoutnesse: “Madame, I mutch maruel, and therewithal am astonned that you being a Ladye discrete and honorable, wil be so liberal ouer your Daughter as to commit hir to the pleasure and wil of an other, before you do know how hir mind is bent: you may do as it pleaseth you, but of one thing I do wel assure you, that if you bring it to passe, it shal be against my wil: and 105touching the regard and estimation of Counte Paris, I shal first lose my Lyfe before he shal haue power to touch any part of my body: which being done, it is you that shal be counted the murderer, by deliueryng me into the handes of him, whome I neyther can, wil, or know whiche way to loue: wherefore I praye you to suffer me henceforth thus to lyue, wythout taking any further care of me, for so mutche as my cruell fortune hath otherwyse disposed of me.” The dolorous Mother which knewe not what Iudgement to fixe vpon hir daughter’s aunswere, lyke a woman confused and besides hir selfe went to seeke the Lord Antonio, vnto whom without conceyling any part of hir Daughter’s aunswer, she dyd him vnderstand the whole. The good olde man offended beyond measure, commaunded her incontinently by Force to be brought before him, if of hir own good will she would not come: so soone as she came before hir Father, hir eyes full of teares, fel down at his fete, which she bathed with the luke warme drops that distilled from hir Eyes in great abundance, and thynkyng to open hir mouth to crye him mercy, the sobbes and sighes many tymes stopt hir speach, that shee remained dumbe not able to frame a Woorde. But the olde man nothing moued with his Daughter’s Teares, sayd vnto hir in great rage: “Come hither thou vnkynd and dysobedient Daughter, hast thou forgotten how many tymes thou hast hearde spoken at the Table, of the puissance and authoryty our auncyente Romane Fathers had ouer their chyldren? vnto whom it was not onelye lawfull to sell, guage, and otherwyse dispose them (in theyr necessity) at their pleasure, but also which is more, they had absolute power ouer their Death and Lyfe? With what yrons, with what torments, with what racks would those good Fathers chasten and correct thee if they were a liue againe, to see that ingratitude, misbehauior and disobedience which thou vsest towards thy Father, who with many prayers and requestes hath prouided one of the greatest Lords of this prouince to be thy husband, a Gentleman of best renoume, and indued wyth all kynde of Vertues, of whom thou and I be vnworthy, both for the notable masse of goods and substance wherewith he is enriched, as also for the Honoure and generositie of the house whereof hee is discended, and yet thou playest the parte of an obstinate and 106rebellyous Chyld agaynst thy Father’s will. I take the omnipotency of that Almightye God to witnesse, which hath vouchsafed to bryng the forth into this world, that if vpon Tuesday nexte thou failest to prepare thy selfe to be at my Castell of Villafranco, where the Counte Paris purposeth to meete vs, and there giue thy consent to that whych thy Mother and I haue agreed vppon, I will not onely depriue thee of my worldly goodes, but also will make the espouse and marie a pryson so straight and sharpe, as a thousande times thou shalt curse the Day and tyme wherein thou wast borne: wherfore from henceforth take aduisement what thou doest, for excepte the promise be kept which I haue made to the counte Paris, I will make the feele how greate the iust choler of an offended Father is against a Chylde vnkynde.” And without staying for other answer of his Daughter, the olde man departed the Chamber, and lefte hir vppon hir knees. Iulietta knowing the fury of hir Father, fearing to incurre his indignation, or to prouoke his further wrath, retired for the day into hir Chamber, and contriued that whole Nyght more in weeping then slepyng. And the next Morning fayning to goe heare seruice, she went forth with the woman of hir Chamber to the Fryers, where she caused father Laurence to be called vnto hir, and prayed him to heare hir confession: and when she was vpon hir knees before hym, shee began hir Confession wyth Teares, tellinge him the greate mischyefe that was prepared for hir, by the maryage accorded betweene hir Father and the Counte Paris: and for conclusion sayd vnto him: “Sir, for so mutch as you know that I cannot by God’s law bee maried twice, and that I haue but one God, one husband and one faith, I am determined when I am from hence, with these two hands which you see ioyned before you, this Day to ende my sorowful lyfe, that my soule may beare wytnesse in the Heauens, and my bloude vppon the Earth of my faith and loyalty preserued.” Then hauyng ended hir talke, shee looked about hir, and seemed by hir wylde countenaunce, as though she had deuised some sinister purpose: wherefore Frier Laurence, astonned beyonde measure, fearyng least she would haue executed that which she was determyned, sayd vnto hir: “Mistresse Iulietta, I pray you in the name of God by little and little to moderate youre conceiued 107griefe, and to content your self whilst you bee heere, vntill I haue prouided what is best for you to doe, for before you part from hence, I will giue you sutch consolation and remedy for your afflictions, as you shall remaine satysfied and contented.” And resolued vppon thys good minde, he speedily wente out of the Churche vnto his chamber, where he began to consider of many things, his conscience beyng moued to hinder the marriage betwene the Counte Paris and hir, knowing by his meanes she had espoused an other, and callynge to remembraunce what a daungerous enterprise he had begonne by committyng hymself to the mercy of a symple damosell, and that if shee fayled to bee wyse and secrete, all theyr doyngs should be discried, he defamed, and Rhomeo hir spouse punished. Hee then after he had well debated vpon infinite numbre of deuises, was in the end ouercome with pity, and determined rather to hazarde his honour, than to suffer the Adultery of the Counte Paris with Iulietta: and being determined herevpon, opened his closet, and takynge a vyall in his Hande, retourned agayne to Iulietta, whom he found lyke one that was in a Traunce, wayghtinge for newes, eyther of Lyfe or Death: of whome the good olde Father demaunded vpon what Day hir maryage was appoynted. “The firste daye of that appoyntment (quod shee) is vppon Wednesdaye, whych is the Daye ordeyned for my Consente of Maryage accorded betweene my father and Counte Paris, but the Nuptiall solemnitye is not before the x. day of September.” “Wel then” (quod the religious father) “be of good cheere daughter, for our Lord God hathe opened a way vnto me both to deliuer you and Rhomeo from the prepared thraldom. I haue knowne your husband from his cradle, and hee hath daily committed vnto me the greatest secretes of hys Conscience, and I haue so dearely loued him agayne, as if hee had ben mine owne sonne: wherefore my heart can not abide that anye man should do him wrong in that specially wherein my Counsell may stande him in stede. And forsomutch as you are his wyfe, I ought lykewyse to loue you, and seke meanes to delyuer you from the martyrdome and Anguish wherewyth I see your heart besieged: vnderstande then (good Daughter) of a secrete which I purpose to manifest vnto you, and take heede aboue all 108thinges that you declare it to no liuing creature, for therein consisteth your life and Death. Ye be not ignorant by the common report of the Cityzens of this City, and by the same published of me, that I haue trauailed throughe all the Prouinces of the habytable Earthe, wherby duryng the continuall tyme of xx. yeres, I haue soughte no rest for my wearied body, but rather haue many times protruded the same to the mercy of brute beasts in the Wyldernesse, and many times also to the mercilesse Waues of the Seas, and to the pity of common Pirates together with a thousand other Daungers and shipwracks vppon Sea and Land. So it is good Daughter that all my wandring Voyages haue not bene altogethers vnprofitable. For besides the incredible contentation receiued ordinarily in mind, I haue gathered some particular fruyct, whereof by the grace of God you shall shortly feele some experience. I haue proued the secrete properties of Stones, of Plants, Metals, and other thinges hydden within the Bowels of the Earth, wherewith I am able to helpe my selfe againste the common Lawe of Men, when necessity doth serue: specyally in thynges wherein I know mine eternal God to be least offended. For as thou knowest I beynge approched as it were, euen to the Brymme of my Graue, and that the Tyme draweth neare for yeldynge of myne Accompte before the Audytor of all Audytors, I oughte therefore to haue some deepe knowledge and apprehension of God’s iudgement more than I had when the heat of inconsidered youth did boyle within my lusty body. Know you therefore good daughter, that with those graces, and fauours which the heauens prodigally haue bestowed vpon me, I haue learned and proued of long time the composition of a certayne Paaste, which I make of diuers soporiferous simples, which beaten afterwards to Pouder, and dronke wyth a quantyty of Water, within a quarter of an houre after, bringeth the receiuer into sutch a sleepe, and burieth so deepely the senses and other sprites of life, that the cunningest Phisitian will iudge the party dead: and besides that it hath a more marueillous effect, for the person which vseth the same feeleth no kinde of griefe, and according to the quantity of the dough, the pacient remayneth in a sweete sleepe, but when the operation is wrought and done, hee returneth into his first estate. Now then Iulietta receiue myne 109instruction, put of all Feminine affection by taking vppon you a manly stomacke for by the only courage of your minde consisteth the hap or mishap of your affayres. Beholde here I geue you a Vyale which you shall keepe as your owne propre heart, and the night before your mariage, or in the morninge before day, you shall fil the same vp with water, and drink so mutch as is contayned therein. And then you shall feele a certayne kynde of pleasaunt sleepe, which incrochinge by litle and litle all the partes of your body, wil constrayne them in sutch wyse, as vnmoueable they shal remayne: and by not doing their accustomed dueties, shall loose their naturall feelinges, and you abide in sutch extasie the space of 40 houres at the least, without any beating of poulse or other perceptible motion, which shall so astonne them that come to see you, as they will iudge you to be deade, and according to the custome of our Citty, you shal be caried to the Churchyarde hard by our Church, where you shall be intoumbed in the common monument of the Capellets your auncestors, and in the meane tyme we will send word to lord Rhomeo by a speciall messanger of the effect of our deuice, who now abideth at Mantua. And the night following I am sure he will not fayle to be heere, then he and I together will open the graue, and lift vp your body, and after the operation of the Pouder is past, hee shall conuey you secretly to Mantua, vnknowen to all your Parents and frends. Afterwards (it may be) Tyme, the mother of Truth, shall cause concord betwene the offended City of Verona, and Rhomeo. At which time your common cause may be made open to the general contentacion of all your frends.” The words of the good father ended, new ioy surprised the heart of Iulietta, who was so attentiue to his talke as she forgat no one poynct of hir lesson. Then she sayd vnto him: “Father, doubt not at all that my heart shall fayle in performaunce of your commaundement: for were it the strongest Poyson, or most pestiferous Venome, rather would I thrust it into my body, than to consent to fall in the hands of him, whom I vtterly mislike: with a right strong reason then may I fortifie my selfe, and offer my body to any kinde of mortall daunger to approch and draw neare to him, vpon whom wholly dependeth my Life and all the solace I haue in this World.” “Go your wayes then my 110daughter” (quod the Frier) “the mighty hand of God keepe you, and hys surpassing power defende you, and confirme that will and good mynde of yours, for the accomplishment of this worke.” Iulietta departed from frier Laurence, and returned home to hir father’s Pallace about ii. of the clock, where she found hir mother at the Gate attending for hir: And in good deuotion demaunded if shee continued still in hir former follies? But Iulietta with more gladsome cheere than she was wont to vse, not suffering hir mother to aske agayne, sayd vnto hir: “Madame I come from S. Frauncis Church, where I haue taried longer peraduenture than my duety requireth: how be it not without fruict and great rest to my afflicted conscience, by reason of the godly persuasions of our ghostly Father Frier Laurence, vnto whom I haue made a large declaration of my life. And chiefly haue communicated vnto him in confession, that which hath past betwene my Lord my father and you, vpon the mariage of Countee Paris and me. But the good man hath reconciled me by his holy words, and commendable exhortations, that where I had minde neuer to mary, now I am well disposed to obey your pleasure and commaundement. Wherfore, madame, I beseech you to recouer the fauor and good wyl of my father, aske pardon in my behalfe, and say vnto him (if it please you) that by obeying his Fatherly request, I am ready to meete the Countee Paris at Villafranco, and there in your presence to accept him for my Lorde and husband: In assuraunce whereof, by your pacience, I meane to repayre into my Closet, to make choise of my most pretious Iewels, that I being richly adorned, and decked, may appeare before him more agreeable to his mynde, and pleasure. The good mother rapt with exceeding great ioy, was not able to aunswere a word, but rather made speede to seeke out hir husband the Lord Antonio, vnto whom she reported the good will of hir daughter, and how by meanes of Frier Laurence hir minde was chaunged. Whereof the good olde man maruellous ioyfull, praysed God in heart, saying: “Wife this is not the firste good turne which we haue receiued of that holy man, vnto whom euery Cittizen of this Common wealth is dearely bounde. I would to God that I had redeemed 20 of his yeares with the third parte of my goods, so grieuous is to me his extreme old age. 111The selfe same houre the Lord Antonio went to seeke the Countee Paris, whom hee thought to perswade to goe to Villafranco. But the countee told him agayne, that the charge would be to great, and that better it were to reserue that cost to the mariage day, for the better celebration of the same. Notwithstanding if it were his pleasure, he would himselfe goe visite Iulietta: and so they went together. The Mother aduertised of his comming, caused hir daughter to make hir selfe ready, and to spare no costly Iewels for adorning of hir beauty agaynst the Countee’s comming, which she bestowed so well for garnishing of hir Personage, that before the Countee parted from the house, shee had so stolne away his heart, as he liued not from that time forth, but vpon meditation of hir beauty, and slacked no time for acceleration of the mariage day, ceasing not to be importunate vpon father and mother for th’ende and consummation thereof. And thus with ioy inough passed forth this day and many others vntil the day before the mariage, against which time the mother of Iulietta did so well prouide, that there wanted nothing to set forth the magnificence and nobility of their house. Villafranco whereof we haue made mention, was a place of pleasure, where the Lord Antonio was wont many tymes to recreate himselfe a mile or two from Verona, there the dynner was prepared, for so mutch as the ordinary solemnity of necessity muste be done at Verona. Iulietta perceyuing hir time to approache dyssembled the matter so well as shee coulde: and when tyme forced hir to retire to hir Chamber, hir Woman would have waited vppon hir, and haue lyen in hir Chambre, as hir custome was: but Iulietta sayd vnto hir: “Good and faithfull mother, you know that to morrow is my maryage Day, and for that I would spend the most parte of the Nyght in prayer, I pray you for this time to let me alone, and to morrow in the Mornyng about vi. of the clocke come to me agayne to helpe make mee readie.” The good olde woman willing to follow hir minde, suffred hir alone, and doubted nothyng of that which she did meane to do. Iulietta beinge within hir Chambre hauing an eawer ful of Water standing vppon the Table filled the viole which the Frier gaue her: and after she had made the mixture, she set it by hir bed side, and went to Bed. And being layde, new thoughtes began to assaile hir, with a conceipt 112of grieuous Death, which brought hir into sutch case as she could not tell what to doe, but playning incessantly sayd: “Am not I the most vnhappy and desperat creature, that euer was borne of Woman? For mee there is nothyng left in this wretched worlde but mishap, misery, and mortall woe, my distresse hath brought me to sutch extremity, as to saue mine honor and conscience, I am forced to deuoure the drynke whereof I know not the vertue: but what know I (sayd she) whether the Operatyon of thys Pouder will be to soone or to late, or not correspondent to the due tyme, and that my fault being discouered, I shall remayne a Fable to the People? What know I moreouer, if the Serpents and other venomous and crauling Wormes, whych commonly frequent the Graues and pittes of the Earth wyll hurt me, thynkyng that I am deade. But howe shall I indure the stynche of so many carions and Bones of myne auncestors whych rest in the Graue, yf by fortune I do awake before Rhomeo and Fryer Laurence doe come to help mee?” And as shee was thus plunged in the deepe contemplatyon of thynges, she thought that she saw a certayn vision or fansie of hir Cousin Thibault, in the very same sort as shee sawe him wounded and imbrued wyth Bloud, and musing how that she must be buried quick amongs so many dead Carcases and deadly naked bones, hir tender and delycate body began to shake and tremble, and hir yelowe lockes to stare for feare, in sutch wyse as fryghtned with terroure, a cold sweate beganne to pierce hir heart and bedewe the reste of al hir membres, in sutch wise as she thought that an hundred thousand Deathes did stande about hir, haling hir on euery side, and plucking hir in pieces, and feelyng that hir forces diminyshed by lyttle and lyttle, fearing that through to great debilyty she was not able to do hir enterpryse, like a furious and insensate Woman, with out further care, gulped vp the Water wythin the Voyal, then crossing hir armes vpon hir stomacke, she lost at that instante all the powers of hir Body, restyng in a Traunce. And when the morning lyght began to thrust his head out of his Oryent, hir Chaumber Woman which had lockte hir in with the Key, did open the doore, and thynkyng to awake hir, called hir many tymes, and sayd vnto hir: “Mistresse, you sleepe to long, the Counte Paris will come to raise you.” The poore olde 113Woman spake vnto the wall, and sange a song vnto the deafe. For if all the horrible and tempestuous soundes of the world had bene cannoned forth out of the greatest bombardes and sounded through hir delycate Eares, hir spyrites of Lyfe were so fast bounde and stopt, as she by no meanes coulde awake, wherewith the pore olde Woman amazed, began to shake hir by the armes and Handes, whych she found so colde as marble stone. Then puttyng Hande vnto hir Mouthe, sodainely perceyued that she was dead, for shee perceyued no breath in hir. Wherefore lyke a Woman out of hir Wyttes, shee ranne to tell hir mother, who so madde as a Tigre, berefte of hir Faunes hied hir selfe into hir Daughter’s Chaumber, and in that pitiful state beholdynge hir Daughter, thinkyng hir to be deade, cried out: “Ah cruell Death, which hast ended all my ioye and Blysse, vse the last scourge of thy wrathfull ire agaynst me, least by sufferyng mee to liue the rest of my woefull Dayes, my Torment doe increase.” Then she began to fetch sutch strayning sighes, as hir heart did seeme to cleaue in pieces. And as hir cries began to encrease, behold the Father, the County Paris, and a great troupe of Gentlemen and Ladies, which were come to honour the feaste, hearing no sooner tell of that which chaunced, were stroke into sutch sorrowfull dumpes as he which had beheld their Faces would easily haue iudged that the same had ben a day of ire and pity, specially the Lord Antonio, whose heart was frapped with sutch surpassing woe, as neither teare nor word could issue forth, and knowing not what to doe, straight way sent to seeke the most expert Phisitians of the towne, who after they had inquired of the life past of Iulietta, deemed by common reporte, that melancoly was the cause of that sodayne death, and then their sorows began to renue a fresh. And if euer day was Lamentable, Piteous, Vnhappy, and Fatall, truly it was that wherein Iulietta hir death was published in Verona: for shee was so bewayled of great and small, that by the common playnts, the Common wealth seemed to be in daunger, and not without cause: for besides hir naturall beauty (accompanied with many vertues wherewith nature had enriched hir) she was else so humble, wise, and debonaire, as for that humility and curtesie she had stollen away the hearts of euery wight, and there was none but did lament hir Misfortune. And whilest these thinges 114were in this lamented state, Frier Laurence with diligence dispatched a Frier of his Couent, named Frier Anselme, whom he trusted as himselfe, and deliuered him a Letter written with hys owne hande, commaunding him expressely not to giue the same to any other but to Rhomeo, wherein was conteyned the chaunce which had passed betwene him and Iulietta, specially the vertue of the Pouder, and commaunded him the nexte ensuinge Nighte to speede himselfe to Verona, for that the operation of the Pouder that time would take ende, and that he should cary wyth him back agayne to Mantua his beloued Iulietta, in dissembled apparell, vntill Fortune had otherwise prouided for them. The frier made sutch hast as (too late) hee arriued at Mantua, within a while after. And bicause the maner of Italy is, that the Frier trauayling abroade ought to take a companion of his couent to doe his affaires wythin the City, the Fryer went into his couent, and for that he was within, it was not lawfull for him to come oute againe that Day, bicause that certain dayes before, one relygious of that couent as it was sayd, dyd dye of the plague: wherefore the Magistrates appoynted for the health and visitation of the sick, commaunded the Warden of the House that no Friers should wander abrode the city, or talke with any Citizen, vntil they were licensed by the officers in that behalfe appoynted, which was the cause of the great mishap which you shal heare hereafter. The Friar being in this perplexitye, not able to goe forth, and not knowyng what was contayned in the Letter, deferred hys Jorney for that Day. Whilst things were in thys plyght, preparation was made at Verona, to doe the obsequies of Iulietta. There is a custome also (which is common in Italy,) to laye all the best of one lignage and Familye in one Tombe, wherevppon Iulietta was intoumbed, in the ordinary Graue of the Capellettes, in a Churcheyarde, hard by the Churche of the Fryers, where also the Lord Thibault was interred, whose Obsequies honorably done, euery man returned: whereunto Pietro, the seruaunt of Rhomeo, gaue hys assystance: for as we haue before declared, hys mayster sente hym backe agayne from Mantua to Verona, to do his father seruice, and to aduertise him of that which should chaunce in his absence there: who seeyng the Body of Iulietta, inclosed in Toumbe, thinkyng 115with the reste that shee had bene dead in deede, incontinently tooke poste horse, and with dylygence rode to Mantua, where he founde his Mayster in his wonted house, to whom he sayde, wyth hys Eyes full of Teares: “Syr, there is chaunced vnto you so straunge a matter as if so be you do not arme your selfe with Constancye, I am afrayed that I shall be the cruell minyster of your Death: be it known vnto you sir, that yesterday morning my mistresse Iulietta left hir Lyfe in thys Worlde to seeke rest in an other: and wyth these Eyes I saw her buryed in the Churchyarde of S. Frauncis.” At the sounde of whych heauye message, Rhomeo begann woefullye to Lamente, as though hys spyrites gryeued wyth the Tormente of his Passion at that instant would haue abandoned his Bodye. But stronge Loue which woulde not permytte him to faynt vntyl the extremity, framed a thoughte in hys fantesie, that if it were possyble for him to dye besides hir his Death should be more gloryous, and shee (as he thought) better contented: by reason whereof, after he had washed his face for feare to discouer his sorrowe, hee wente out of his Chamber, and commaunded hys man to tarry behynd him, that he myght walke through out all the Corners of the Citye, to finde propre remedye (if it were possyble) for hys gryefe. And amonges others, beholdynge an Apoticarye’s shop of lyttle furnyture and lesse store of Boxes and other thinges requisite for that scyence, thought that the verye pouerty of the mayster Apothecarye would make hym wyllingle yeld to that which he pretended to demaunde: and after he had taken hym aside, secretly sayde vnto him: “Syr, if you be the Mayster of the House, as I thynk you be, beholde here Fifty Ducates, whych I gyue you to the intent you delyuer me some strong and vyolente Poyson that within a quarter of an houre is able to procure Death vnto hym that shall vse it.” The couetous Apothecarye entysed by gayne, agreed to his request, and faynying to gyue hym some other medycine before the People’s Face, he speedily made ready a strong and cruell Poyson, afterwardes he sayd unto him softly: “Syr, I guye you more than is needefull, for the one halfe is able to destroy the strongest manne of the world:” who after he hadde receyued the poyfon, retourned home, where he commaunded his man to departe with diligence to Verona, and that he should make 116prouision of candels, a tynder Boxe, and other Instrumentes meete for the opening of the graue of Iulietta, and that aboue all things hee shoulde not fayle to attende his commynge besides the Churchyarde of S. Frauncis, and vppon Payne of Life to keepe hys intente in silence. Which Pietro obeied in order as hys maister had requyred, and made therin sutch expedityon, as he arriued in good time to Verona, taking order for al things that wer commaunded him. Rhomeo in the meane while being solycyted wyth mortall thoughtes caused incke and paper to be broughte vnto hym, and in few words put in wryting all the discourse of his loue, the mariage of him and Iulietta, the meane obserued for consummation of the same, the helpe that he had of Frier Laurence, the buying of his Poyson, and last of all his death. Afterwardes hauing finished his heauy tragedy, hee closed the letters, and sealed the same with his seale, and directed the Superscription thereof to hys Father: and puttyng the letters into his pursse, he mounted on horsebacke, and vsed sutch dylygence, as he arriued vppon darke Nyght at the Citye of Verona, before the gates were shut, where he founde his seruaunte tarying for him with a Lanterne and instrumentes as is before sayd, meete for the opening of the graue, vnto whome hee said: “Pietro, helpe mee to open this Tombe, and so soone as it is open I commaunde thee vppon payne of thy life, not to come neere mee, nor to stay me from the thing I purpose to doe. Beholde, there is a letter which thou shalt present to morrow in the mornyng to my Father at his vprysing, which peraduenture shall please him better than thou thinkest.” Pietro, not able to imagine what was his maister’s intent, stode somewhat aloofe to beholde his maister’s gestes and Countenance. And when they had opened the Vaulte, Rhomeo descended downe two steppes, holdyng the candel in his hand and began to behold wyth pityfull Eye, the body of hir, which was the organ of his Eyes, and kyst it tenderly, holdyng it harde betwen his armes, and not able to satisfie him selfe with hir sight, put hys fearefull handes vppon the colde stomacke of Iulietta. And after he had touched hir in many places, and not able to feele anye certayne Iudgemente of Lyfe, he drewe the Poyson out of hys boxe, and swallowyng downe a great quantytye of the same, cryed out: 117“O Iulietta, of whome the Worlde was vnworthye, what Death is it possyble my Hearte coulde choose oute more agreeable than that whych yt suffereth harde by thee? what Graue more Gloryous, than to bee buried in thy Toumbe? what more woorthy or excellent Epytaphe can bee vowed for Memorye, than the mutuall and pytyfull Sacryfice of our lyues?” And thinkinge to renue his sorrowe, his hearte began to frette through the vyolence of the Poyson, whiche by lyttle and lyttle assailed the same, and lookyng about hym, espied the Bodye of the Lorde Thibault, lying nexte vnto Iulietta, whych as yet was not al together putrified, and speakyng to the bodye as though it hadde bene alyue, sayde: “In what place so euer thou arte (O Cousyn Thibault) I most heartely do crye the mercye for the offence whych I haue done by depryuing of thy Lyfe: and yf thy Ghost doe wyshe and crye out for Vengeaunce vppon mee, what greater or more cruell satysfaction canste thou desyre to haue, or henceforth hope for, than to see him whych murdered thee, to bee empoysoned with his owne handes, and buryed by thy side?” Then endynge hys talke, felyng by lyttle and lyttle that his lyfe began to fayle, falling prostrate vppon his knees, wyth feeble voyce hee softely sayd: “O my Lord God, which to redeeme me didest discend from the bosom of thy Father, and tookest humane fleshe in the Wombe of the Vyrgine, I acknowledge and confesse, that this body of myne is nothing else but Earth and Dust.” Then seazed vppon wyth desperate sorrow, he fell downe vppon the Body of Iulietta with sutch vehemence, as the heart faint and attenuated with too great torments, not able to beare so hard a vyolence, was abandoned of all his sense and Naturall powers, in sutch sorte as the siege of hys soule fayled him at that instant, and his members stretched forthe, remayned stiffe and colde. Fryer Laurence whych knew the certayne tyme of the pouder’s operation, maruelled that he had no answere of the Letter which he sent to Rhomeo by his fellowe Fryer Anselme, departed from S. Frauncis and with Instruments for the purpose, determined to open the Graue to let in aire to Iulietta, whych was ready to wake: and approchyng the place, hee espied a lyght within, which made him afraide vntyll that Pietro whych was hard by, had certyfied hym 118that Rhomeo was with in, and had not ceased there to Lamente and Complayne the space of halfe an Houre: and when they two were entred the Graue and finding Rhomeo without Lyfe, made sutch sorrowe as they can well coneyue whych Loue their deare Fryende wyth lyke perfection. And as they were making theyr complaints, Iulietta rising out of hir traunce, and beholding light within the Toumbe, vncertayne wheather it were a dreame or fantasie that appeared before his eyes, comming agayne to hir selfe, knew Frier Laurence, vnto whom she said: “Father, I pray thee in the name of God to perfourme thy promise, for I am almost deade.” And then frier Laurence concealing nothing from hir, (bycause he feared to be taken through his too long abode in that place) faithfully rehearsed vnto hir, how he had sent frier Anselme to Rhomeo at Mantua, from whom as yet hee had receiued no aunswere. Notwithstanding he found Rhomeo dead in the graue, whose body he poyncted vnto, lyinge hard by hir, praying hir sith it was so, paciently to beare that sodayne misfortune, and that if it pleased hir, he would conuey hir into some monastery of women where she might in time moderate hir sorrow, and giue rest vnto hir minde. Iulietta had no sooner cast eye vppon the deade corps of Rhomeo, but began to breake the fountayne pipes of gushing teares, which ran forth in sutch aboundance, as not able to support the furor of hir griefe, she breathed without ceasing vpon his mouth, and then throwen hir selfe vppon his body, and embracing it very hard, seemed that by force of sighes and sobs, she would haue reuiued, and brought him againe to life, and after she had kissed and rekissed hym a million of times, she cried out: “Ah the sweete reste of my cares, and the onely port of all my pleasures and pastimes, hadst thou so sure a hearte to choose thy Churchyarde in this place betwene the armes of thy perfect Louer, and to ende the course of thy life for my sake in the floure of thy Youth when lyfe to thee should have bene most deare and delectable? how had this tender body power to resist the furious Coumbat of death, very death it selfe here present? how coulde thy tender and delicate youth willingly permit that thou shouldest approch into this filthy and infected place, where from henceforth thou shalt be the pasture of Worms vnworthy of 119thee? Alas, alas, by what meanes shall I now renue my playnts, which time and long pacience ought to haue buried and clearely quenched? Ah I, miserable and Caitife wretch, thinking to finde remedy for my griefs, haue sharpned the Knife that hath gieuen me this cruell blow, whereof I receiue the cause of mortall wound. Ah, happy and fortunate graue which shalt serue in world to come for witnesse of the most perfect aliaunce that euer was betwene two most infortunate louers, receyue now the last sobbing sighes, and intertayment of the most cruell of all the cruell subiects of ire and death.” And as she thought to continue hir complaynts, Pietro aduertised Frier Laurence that he heard a noyse besides the citadell, wherewyth being afrayd, they speadily departed, fearing to be taken: and then Iulietta seeing hir selfe alone, and in full Liberty, tooke agayne Rhomeo betweene hir armes, kissing him with sutch affection, as she seemed to be more attaynted with loue than death, and drawing out the Dagger which Rhomeo ware by his side, she pricked hir selfe with many blowes against the heart, sayinge with feeble and pitiful voice: “Ah death the end of sorrow, and beginning of felicity, thou art most hartely welcome: feare not at this time to sharpen thy dart: giue no longer delay of life, for feare that my sprite trauayle not to finde Rhomeo’s ghost amongs sutch number of carion corpses: and thou my deare Lord and loyall husband Rhomeo, if there rest in thee any knowledge, receyue hir whom thou hast so faythfully loued, the onely cause of thy violent death, which frankely offreth vp hir soule that none but thou shalt ioy the loue whereof thou hast made so lawfull conquest, and that our soules passing from this light, may eternally liue together in the place of euerlasting ioy.” And when she had ended those wordes shee yelded vp hir ghost. While these thinges thus were done, the garde and watch of the Citty by chaunce passed by, and seeing light within the graue, suspected straight that there were some Necromancers which had opened the Toumbe to abuse the deade bodies for ayde of their arte: and desirous to knowe what it ment, went downe into the vaut, where they found Rhomeo and Iulietta, with their armes imbracing ech other’s neck, as though there had bene some token of lyfe. And after they had well viewed them at leysure, they perceyued in what case they were: 120and then all amazed they sought for the theeues which (as they thought) had done the murther, and in the ende founde the good father Fryer Laurence, and Pietro the seruaunte of deade Rhomeo (whych had hid themselues under a stall) whom they caryed to Pryson, and aduertysed the Lord of Escala, and the magistrates of Verona of that horrible murder, which by and by was published throughoute the City. Then flocked together al the Citizens, women and children leauyng their houses, to loke vppon that pityful sighte, and to the Ende that in presence of the whole Cytie, the murder should be knowne, the Magistrates ordayned that the two deade Bodies should he erected vppon a stage to the view and sight of the whole World, in sutch sorte and manner as they were found withyn the Graue, and that Pietro and frier Laurence should publikely bee examyned, that afterwardes there myght be no murmure or other pretended cause of ignoraunce. And thys good olde Frier beyinge vppon the Scaffold, hauinge a whyte Bearde all wet and bathed with Teares, the Iudges commaunded him to declare vnto them who were the Authors of that Murder, sith at vntimely houre hee was apprehended with certayne Irons besides the Graue. Fryer Laurence, a rounde and franke Man of talke, nothyng moued with that accusation, answered them with stoute and bolde voyce: “My maisters, there is none of you all (if you haue respect vnto my forepassed Life, and to my aged Yeres, and therewithall haue consideration of this heauy spectacle, whereunto vnhappy fortune hathe presently brought me) but doeth greatly maruell of so sodaine mutation and change vnlooked for so mutch as these three score and Ten or twelue Yeares sithens I came into this Worlde, and began to proue the vanities thereof, I was neuer suspected, touched, or found guilty of any crime which was able to make me blushe, or hide my face, although (before God) I doe confesse my self to be the greatest and most abhominable sinner of al the redeemed flocke of Christ. So it is notwythstanding, that sith I am prest and ready to render mine accompte, and that Death, the Graue and wormes do dailye summon this wretched corps of myne to appeare before the Iustyce seate of God, still wayghtyng and attending to be carried to my hoped graue, this is the houre I say, as you likewise may thinke wherein I am 121fallen to the greatest damage and preiudice of my Lyfe and honest porte, and that which hath ingendred thys synyster opynyon of mee, may peraduenture bee these greate Teares which in abundaunce tryckle downe my Face as though the holy scriptures do not witnesse, that Jesus Christ moued with humayne pitty, and compassion, did weepe, and poure forth teares, and that many times teares be the faythfull messengers of a man’s innocency. Or else the most likely euidence, and presumption, is the suspected hour, which (as the magistrate doth say) doth make mee culpable of the murder, as though all houres were not indifferently made equall by God their Creator, who in his owne person declareth vnto vs that there be twelue houres in the Day, shewing thereby that there is no exception of houres nor of minutes, but that one may doe eyther good or ill at all times indifferently, as the party is guided or forsaken by the sprite of God: touching the Irons which were founde about me, needefull it is not now to let you vnderstand for what vse Iron was first made, and that of it selfe it is not able to increase in man eyther good or euill, if not by the mischieuous minde of hym which doth abuse it. Thus mutch I haue thought good to tell you, to the intent that neyther teares nor Iron, ne yet suspected houre, are able to make me guilty of the murder, or make me otherwyse than I am, but only the witnesse of mine owne conscience, which alone if I were guilty should be the accuser, the witnesse, and the hangman, whych, by reason of mine age and the reputation I haue had amonges you, and the little time that I haue to liue in this World shoulde more torment me within, than all the mortall paynes that could be deuised: but (thankes be to myne eternall God) I feele no worme that gnaweth, nor any remorse that pricketh me touching that fact, for which I see you all troubled and amazed: and to set your harts at rest, and to remoue the doubts which hereafter may torment your consciences, I sweare vnto you by all the heauenly parts wherein I hope to be, that forthwith I will disclose from first to last the entire discourse of this pitifull tragedy, whych peraduenture shall driue you into no lesse wondre and amaze, than those two poore passionate Louers were strong and pacient, to expone themselues to the mercy of death, for the feruent and indissoluble loue betwene 122then.” Then the Fatherly Frier began to repeate the beginning of the loue betwene Iulietta, and Rhomeo, which by certayne space of time confirmed, was prosecuted by wordes at the first, then by mutual promise of mariage, vnknown to the world. And as within few dayes after, the two Louers feelinge themselues sharpned and incited with stronger onset, repaired vnto him vnder colour of confession, protesting by othe that they were both maried, and that if he woulde not solempnize that mariage in the face of the Church, they should be constrayned to offend God to liue in disordred lust: in consideration whereof, and specially seeing their alliaunce to be good, and comfortable in dignity, richesse and Nobility on both sides, hoping by that meanes perchaunce to reconcile the Montesches, and Capellets, and that by doing sutch an acceptable worke to God, he gaue them the Churches blessingin a certayne Chappel of the friers church whereof the night following they did consummate the mariage fruicts in the Pallace of the Capellets. For testimony of which copulation, the woman of Iuliettae’s Chamber was able to depose: Adding moreouer, the murder of Thibault, which was Cousin to Iulietta: by reason whereof the banishment of Rhomeo did followe, and howe in the absence of the sayd Rhomeo, the mariage being kept secret betwene them, a new Matrimony was intreated wyth the Countee Paris, which misliked by Iulietta, she fell prostrate at his feete in a Chappell of S. Frauncis church, with full determination to haue killed hirself with hir owne hands, if he gaue hir not councell how she should auoyde the mariage agreed betwene hir father and the Countee Paris. For conclusion, he sayd, that although he was resolued by reason of his age, and nearenesse of death to abhorre all secrete Sciences, wherein in his younger yeares he had delight, notwithstanding, pressed with importunity, and moued with pitty, fearing least Iulietta should do some cruelty agaynst hirselfe, he strayned his conscience, and chose rather with some little fault to grieue his minde, than to suffer the young gentlewoman to destroy hir body, and hazarde the daunger of hir soule: and therefore he opened some part of his auncient cunning, and gaue her a certayne Pouder to make hir sleepe, by meanes whereof she was thought to be deade. Then he 123tolde them how he had sent Frier Anselme to cary letters to Rhomeo of their enterprise, whereof hitherto he had no aunswere. Then briefly he concluded how he found Rhomeo dead within the graue, who as it is most likely did impoyson himselfe, or was otherwise smothered or suffocated with sorow by findinge Iulietta in that state, thinking shee had bene dead. Then he tolde them how Iulietta did kill hirselfe with the Dagger of Rhomeo to beare him company after his death, and how it was impossible for them to saue hir for the noyse of the watch which forced theym to flee from thence. And for more ample approbation of his saying, he humbly besought the Lord of Verona and the Magistrats to send to Mantua for Frier Anselme to know the cause of his slack returne, that the content of the letter sent to Rhomeo might be seene: to examine the Woman of the Chamber of Iulietta, and Pietro the seruaunt of Rhomeo, who not attending for further request, sayd vnto them: “My Lordes, when Rhomeo entred the graue, he gaue me this Pacquet, written as I suppose with his owne hand, who gaue me expresse commaundement to deliuer it to his father.” The pacquet opened, they found the whole effect of this story, specially the Apothecarie’s name, which sold him the Poyson, the price, and the cause wherefore he vsed it, and all appeared to be so cleare and euident, as there rested nothing for further verification of the same, but their presence at the doing of the particulers thereof, for the whole was so well declared in order, as they were out of doubt that the same was true: and then the Lord Bartholomew of Escala, after he had debated with the Magistrates of these euents, decreed that the Woman of Iulietta hir chamber should bee banished, because shee did conceale that priuy mariage from the Father of Rhomeo, which if it had beene knowne in tyme, had bred to the whole Citty an vniuersall benefit. Pietro because he obeyed hys mayster’s commaundement, and kept close hys lawfull secrets, according to the well conditioned nature of a trusty seruaunt, was set at liberty. The Poticary taken, rackt, and founde guilty, was hanged. The good olde man Frier Laurence, as well for respect of his auncient seruice which he had done to the common wealth of Verona, as also for his vertuous life (for the which hee was specially recommended) was let goe in peace, without 124any note of Infamy. Notwithstanding by reason of his age, he voluntarily gaue ouer the World, and closed himselfe in an Hermitage, two miles from Verona, where he liued 5 or 6 yeares, and spent hys tyme in continuall prayer, vntil he was called out of this transitory worlde, into the blisful state of euerlasting ioy. And for the compassion of so straunge an infortune, the Montesches, and Capellets poured forth sutch abundaunce of teares, as with the same they did euacuate their auncient grudge and choler, whereby they were then reconciled: and they which coulde not bee brought to attonement by any wisedome or humayne councell, were in the ende vanquished and made frends by pity: and to immortalizate the memory of so intier and perfect amity, the Lord of Verona ordayned, that the two bodies of those miraculous Louers should be fast intoumbed in the graue where they ended their lyues, in which place was erected a high marble Piller, honoured with an infinite number of excellent Epytaphes, which to this day be apparaunt, with sutch noble memory, as amongs all the rare excellencies, wherewith that City is furnished, there is none more Famous than the Monument of Rhomeo and Iulietta.

125

THE TWENTY-SIXTH NOUELL.

Two gentlemen of Venice were honourably deceiued of their Wyues, whose notable practises, and secret conference for atchieuinge their desire, occasioned diuers accidentes, and ingendred double benefit: wherein also is recited an eloquent oration, made by one of them, pronounced before the Duke and state of that Cittye: with other chaunces and actes concerninge the same.

Heere haue I thought good to summon 2 Gentlewomen of Venice to appeare in Place, and to mount on Stage amongs other Italian Dames to shew cause of their bolde incountrey agaynst the Folly of their two Husbands, that vncharitably without respect of neyghbourhoode, went about to assayle the honesty of eyther’s wyfe, and weening they had enioyed others felicity, by the womens prudence, foresight and ware gouernment, were both deceiued, and yet attayned the chiefest benefit that mariage state doth looke for: so that if search bee made amonges antiquities, it is to be doubted wheather greater chastity, and better pollicy could be founde for accomplishment of an intended purpose. Many deedes haue ben done by women for sauegard of their Husbandes lyues, as that of the Minyæ, a sort of Women whose husbandes were imprisoned at Lacedæmon, and for treason condemned, who to saue their liues, entred into prison the night before they should dy, and by exchange of apparell, deliuered them, and remayned there to suffer for them. Of Hipsicratea also the Queene and Wyfe of Mithridates king of Pontus, who spared not hir Noble beauty and golden lockes to manure hir selfe in the vse of armes, to keepe hir husband company in perils and daungers: and being ouercome by Pompeius, and flying away, neuer left him vnaccompanied, ne forsooke sutch trauayle as he himselfe sustayned. The like also of Æmilia, Turia, Sulpitia, Portia, and other Romane Dames. But that sutch haue preuented their husband’s folly, seldome we reade, sauing of Queene Marie, the Wife of Don Pietro king of Arragon, who marking the insolency of hir husband, and sory for his disordred life, honest iealousie opening hir continent 126eyes, forced hir to seeke meanes to remoue his wanton acts, or at leastwise by pollicy and wise foresight to make him husbande and culture his own soyle, that for want of seasonable tillage was barren and voyde of fruicte. Wherefore consulting with the Lord chamberlayne, who of custome brought whom the king liked best, was in place of his woman bestowed in his Bed, and of her that night begat the yong Prynce Giacomo, that afterwardes proued a valiaunte, and wise king. These passing good pollicies of women many times abolish the frantik lecherous fits of husbands gieuen to superfluous lusts, when first by their chast behauiour and womanly patience they contayne that which they be loth to see or heare of, and then demaunding counsell of sobriety and wisedome, excogitate sleights to shun folly, and expell discurtesie, by husbande’s carelesse vse. Sutch practises, and deuises, these two Gentlewomen whom I now bringe forth, disclose in this discourse ensuing. In the Citty of Venice, (which for riches and fayre Women excelleth all other within the region of Italy) in the time that Francesco Foscari, a very wyse Prynce, did gouerne the state, there were two young Gentlemen, the one called Girolamo Bembo, and the other Anselmo Barbadico, betwene whom as many times chaunceth amongs other, grew sutch great hatred and cruel hostility, as ech of them by secret and all possible meanes deuised to doe other shame and displeasure, which kindled to sutch outrage, as it was thought impossible to be pacified. It chaunced that at one tyme both of them did mary two noble young Gentlewomen, excellent and fayre, both brought vp vnder one Nurse, and loued ech other lyke two Sisters, and as though they had been both borne of one body. The Wyfe of Anselmo, called Isotta, was the Daughter of Messer Marco Gradenigo, a man of great estimation in that Citty, one of the procuratours of San Marco, whereof there were not so great number in those dayes as there bee now, because the Wysest men, and best Approued of Lyfe were chosen to that great and Noble dignity, none allotted thereunto by Bribes or Ambition. The Wyfe of Girolamo Bembo was called Lucia, the Daughter of Messer Gian Francesco Valerio Caualiere, a Gentleman very well learned, and many times sent by the State, Ambassador into diuers Countreys, and after he had bene Orator wyth the Pope, for his 127wisedome in the execution of the same was in great estimation wyth the whole Citty. The two Gentlewomen after they were maried, and heard of the hatred betwene their Husbandes, were very sorrowfull and pensiue, because they thought the Freendshyp and Loue betwene them twayne, continued from their tender yeares, could not bee, but with greate difficulty kept, or else altogither dissolued and broken. Notwithstanding beyng discrete and wyse, for auoyding occasion of eche Husbande’s offence, determined to cease their accustomed conuersation and louinge Familiarity, and not to frequent others company, but at Places and Tymes conuenient. To whom Fortune was so fauourable, as not onely theyr Houses were neere together but also adioyninge, in the Backsides whereof theyr Gardeyns also Confined, seperated onely wyth a lyttle Hedge, that euery day they myght see one another, and many tymes talke together: moreouer the Seruauntes, and People of eyther houses were freendly, and familiar, whych didde greately content the two Louynge Gentlewomen, bicause they also in the absence of theyr Husbandes, myghte at pleasure in their Gardens disport themselues. And continuing this order the space of three yeares neyther of them within that terme were with chylde. In which space Anselmo many times viewing and casting his eyes vpon Madonna Lucia, fell earnestly in loue with hir, and was not that day well at ease, wherein he had not beholden hir excellent beauty. She that was of Spirite, and Wit subtle, marked the lookes and maner of Anselmo, who neyther for loue, ne other cause did render like lookes on him, but to see to what ende his louing cheere and Countenaunce would tend. Notwithstanding she seemed rather desirous to behold him, than elswhere to imploye hir lookes. On the other side the good behauiour, the wise order and pleasaunt beauty of Madonna Isotta was so excellent and plausible in the sight of mayster Girolamo, as no Louer in the World was better pleased with his beloued than he with hir: who not able to liue wythout the sweete sight of Isotta (that was a crafty and wily Wench) was by hir quickly perceiued. She being right honest and wise, and louing hir husband very dearely, did beare that countenaunce to Girolamo, that she generally did to any of the Citty, or to other straunger that she neuer saw before. But hir 128husband more and more inflamed, hauing lost the liberty of himselfe, wounded and pierced with the amorous arowes of Loue, coulde not conuert his minde to any other but to mistresse Lucia. These two women wonted to heare seruice euery day ordinarily at the church of Sanfantino, bicause they lay long a bed in the mornings, and commonly seruice in that church was sayd somewhat late: their pewes also somwhat distant one from an other. Whether their 2 amorous husbands continually vsed to follow them a loofe of, and to place themselues where eyther of them might best view his beloued: by which custome they seemed to the common people to be iealous ouer their Wyues. But they prosecuted the matter in sutch wyse, as eyther of them without shipping, sought to send other into Cornouale. It came to passe then, that these 2 beloued gentlewomen one knowing nothing of another’s intent, determined to consider better of this loue, because the great good will long time borne, should not be interrupted. Vppon a certayne day when their husbands were abrode, resorting together to talk at their Garden hedge according to theyr wonted manner, they began to be pleasaunte and merry: and after louynge salutations, Mistresse Lucia spake these Woordes vnto hir Companyon: “Isotta my deare beloued sister, I haue a tale to tell you of your husband, that perchaunce will seeme straunger than anye newes that euer you heard.” “And I” (answered mistresse Isotta) “I have a story to tel you that wil make you no lesse to wonder than I at that which you haue to say, and it may be will put you into some choler and chafe.” “What is that?” quod the one and other. In the ende eyther of them told what practizes and loue their husbands went about. Whereat although they were in great rage for theyr husbandes follye, yet for the time they laughed out the matter, and thought that they were sufficient (as in very deede they were, a thing not to be doubted) and able to satisfie their husbands hunger and therewithall began to blame them and to say that they deserued to learn to play of the Cornets, if they had no greater feare of God, and care of honesty than their husbands had. Then after mutch talke of this matter, concluded that they should do wel to expect what their husbands would demaund. Hauing taken order as they thought meete, they agreed dailye to espye what shoulde 129chaunce, and purposed first with sweete and pleasaunte lookes to bayte and lure eche other feere, to put them in hope therby that they should satisfie their desires, which done for that tyme they departed. And when at the Church at Sanfantino or other place in Venice, they chanced to meete their louers, they shewed vnto them cheareful and mery Countenaunce: whych the Louers well notyng, were the gladdest Men of the Worlde: and seeing that it was impossible in Speache to vtter their Myndes, they purposed by Letters to signify the same. And hauing found Purciuants to goe betwene parties (whereof this City was wont to be ful) either of them wrote an Amorous Letter, to his beloued, the content whereof was, that they were verye desyrous secretly to talke with them, thereby to expresse the burnynge affectyons that inwardly they bare them, whych without declaration and vtterance by Mouthe in theyr owne presence, woulde breede them Torments more bytter than Deathe. And wythin fewe Dayes after (no greate difference of Tyme betweene,) they wrote their Letters. But Girolamo Bembo hauing a pregnant Wit, who coulde well Endite both in prose, and Rime, wrote an excellent sonnet in the prayse of his Darling in Italian Meeter, and wyth hys Letter sent the same vnto hir, the effect whereof doth follow.

A liuely face and pearcing beauty bright

Hath linkt in loue my sely sences all:

A comely porte, a goodly shaped wight

Hath made me slide that neuer thought to fall:

Hir eyes, hir grace, hir deedes and maners milde,

So straines my heart that loue hath Wit begilde.

But not one dart of Cupide did me wounde,

A hundred shaftes lights all on me at ones:

As though dame kind some new deuise had founde,

To teare my flesh, and crash a two my bones:

And yet I feele sutch ioy in these my woes

That as I die my sprite to pleasure goes.

These new found fits sutch change in me doe breede,

I hate the day and draw to darknesse, lo!

130Yet by the Lampe of beauty doe I feede

In dimmest dayes and darkest nights also,

Thus altring State and changing Diet still,

I feele and know the force of Venus will.

The best I finde, is that I doe confesse,

I loue you Dame whose beauty doth excell:

But yet a toy doth breede me some distresse,

For that I dread you will not loue me well,

Than loue yee wot shall rest in me alone:

And fleshly brest, shall beare a heart of stone.

O goddesse mine, yet heare my voyce of ruthe,

And pitie him that heart presents to thee:

And if thou want a witnesse for my truth

Let sighes and teares my iudge and record be,

Vnto the ende a day may come in hast,

To make me thinke I spend no time in waste.

For nought preuayles in loue to serue and sue

If full effect ioyne not with words at neede,

What is desire or any fansies newe

More than the winde? that spreades abroade in deede,

My words and works, shall both in one agree,

To pleasure hir, whose Seruaunt would I bee.

The subtill Dames receiuing those amorous letters and song, disdanfully at the first seemed to take them at the bringers hands, as they had determined, yet afterwardes they shewed better countenaunce. These letters were tossed from one to an other, whereat they made great pastime, and thought that the same would come to very good successe, eyther of theym keepinge styll their Husbande’s Letter, and agreed without iniury done one to an other trimly to deceyue their husbands. The maner how you shall perceyue anone. They deuised to send word to their Louers, that they were ready at al times to satisfie their sutes, if the same might be secretly done, and safely might make repayre vnto their houses, when their Husbands were absent, which in any wise they sayde, 131must be done in the night, for feare least in the day tyme they were discried. Agayne these prouident and subtill Women had taken order wyth their Maydes, whom they made priuy to their practyse that through their Gardens they should enter into other’s house, and bee shut in their Chambers without Lyght, there to tary for their Husbands, and by any meanes not to bee seene or knowne. This order prescribed and giuen, Mistresse Lucia first did hir louer to vnderstand, that the night insuing at foure of the Clock at the Posterne dore, which should be left open, he should come into hir house, where hir mayde should be ready to bring him vp to hir Chaumbre, because hir husband Maister Girolamo woulde that Night imbarke himselfe to goe to Padua. The like Mistresse Isotta did to Maister Girolamo, appointing him at fiue of the clock, whych she sayd was a very conuenient time, bicause mayster Anselmo that night would sup and lye with certayne of his Fryends at Murano, a place besides Venice. Vpon these newes, the 2 Louers thought them selues the most valiaunt and fortunate of the World, no Enterprise now there was but seemed easie for them to bring to passe, yea if it were to expell the Saracens out of Hierusalem, or to depriue the great Turke of his Kingdome of Constantinople. Their ioy was sutch, as they coulde not tell where they were, thinking euery houre a whole day till night. At length the tyme was come so long desired, and the Husbandes accordingly gaue diligent attendaunce, and let their Wyues to vnderstande, (or at least wyse beleeued they had) that they could not come home that night for matters of great importaunce. The Women that were very wise, seeing their ship sayle wyth so prosperous wynde, fayned themselues to credite all that they offered. These young men tooke eyther of them his Gondola (or as we tearm it theyr Barge) to disport themselues, and hauing supped abroade, rowed in the Canali, which is the Water that passeth through diuers Streates of the Citty, expecting their appoyncted houre. The Women ready at three of the Clocke, repayred into their Gardens, and after they had Talked, and Laughed together a prety whyle, went one into an other’s house, and were by the maydes brought vp to the Chaumbers. There eyther of them the Candle being light, began diligently to view the order and situation of the 132Place, and by little and little marked the chiefest things they looked for, committing the same to memory. Afterwards they put out the Candle, and both in trembling maner expected the comming of their Husbandes. And iust at four of the Clocke the Mayden of Madonna Lucia stoode at the dore to wayte for the comminge of Maister Anselmo, who within a while after came, and gladly was let in by the mayde, and by hir conducted vp to hir Bed side. The place there, was so dark as Hel, and impossible for him to know his Wyfe. The two Wyues were so like of bignesse and Speach as by darke wythout great difficulty they could be known: when Anselmo had put of his clothes, he was of his Wyfe amorously intertayned, thinking the Wyfe of Girolamo had receyued him betwene hir armes, who aboue a Thousande times kissed hir very sweetely, and she for hir parte sweetely rendred agayne to hym so many: what followed it were Folly to describe. Girolamo lykewise at 5 of the clocke appeared, and was by the mayde conueied vp to the Chamber, where he lay with his own Wife, to their great contentations. Now these 2 husbands thinking they had ben imbraced by their beloued Ladies, to seeme braue, and valiaunt men of Warre, made greater proofe of their Manhoode, than they were wont to do. At what time their Wyues (as it pleased God to manifest by their deliuery) were begotten with child of 2 fayre Sons, and they the best contented Women of the World. This practise continued betwene them many times, fewe weekes passing but in this sort they lay together. Neither of them for all this perceiued themselues to be deluded, or conceyued any suspition of collusion for that the chamber was still without light, and in the day the Women commonly fayled not to be together. The time was not longe but their Bellies began to swell, whereat their Husbandes were exceeding ioyfull, beleeuing verily that eyther of them had fixed Hornes vpon the other’s head. Howbeit the poore men for all their false Beliefe had bestowed theyr Laboure vppon their owne Soyle, watred onely with the course of their proper Fountayne. These two Iolly Wenches seeyng themselues by thys amorous practize to be with Childe, beganne to deuise howe they might break of the same, douting least some slaunder and ill talke should rise: and thereby the hatred and malice betwene theyr husbandes 133increase to greater fury. And as they were aboute thys deuise, an occasion chaunced vtterly to dissolue theyr accustomed meetynges, but not in that sorte as they woulde haue had it. For the Women determined as merily they had begon so iocundlye to ende: but Fortune the guide of Humane Lyfe, disposeth all enterpryses after hir owne pleasure, who lyke a puissant Lady caryeth with hir the successe of eche attempte. The beginning she offereth freely to him that list, the Ende she calleth for, as a ransome or trybute payable vnto hir. In the same streate, or as they call it Rio, and Canale, not farre from theyr Houses, there dwelled a young Woman very fayre and comely, not fully twenty yeares of age, which then was a Widow, and a lyttle before the wife of M. Niccolo Delphino, and the Daughter of M. Giuoanni Moro, called Gismonda: she besides hir Father’s Dowrye (which was more than a Thousand Pound) had left hir by hir Husband, a great Porcyon of Money, Iewels, Plate, and houshold Furnitures. Wyth hir fell in Loue Aloisio Foscari, the Nephewe of the Duke, who making greate sute to haue hir to Wyfe, consumed the time in beholding his Ladye, and at length had brought the matter to so good passe, as one Nighte she was contented, at one of the Wyndowes of hir House directly ouer agaynste a little lane, to heare him speake. Aloisio maruellous glad of those desired Newes, at the appoynted Nyght, about fyue or sixe of the Clocke, with a Ladder made of Roapes (bicause the Window was very high) went thyther alone. Beyng at the place and making a signe concluded vppon betweene them, attended when the gentlewoman should throw down hir cord to draw vp the Ladder accordingly as was appointed, which not longe after was done. Gismonda when shee had receiued the ende of the Ladder, tied it fast to the iawme of the wyndow, and gaue a token to hir Louer to mount. He by force of loue being very venturous, liuely and lustely scaled the Wyndow: and when he was vppon the Top of the same, desirous to caste himselfe in, to embrace his Lady, and shee not readye to receiue him, or else vppon other occasion, he fel downe backewarde, thinking as he fell to haue saued himselfe twice or thryce by catchyng holde vppon the Ladder, but it would not be. Notwithstanding, as God would haue it, the poise of his Body fell not vppon the pauement of the streate fully, 134but was stayed by some lets in the fall, whych had it not bene so, no doubt he had bene slayne out of hande, but yet his bones were sore brused and his heade deepely wounded. The infortunate Louer seeing himselfe sore hurt wyth that pityfull fall, albeyt hee thought that hee had receiued his Death’s Wounde, and impossyble to liue any longer, yet the loue that he bare to the Widow, did so far surmount hys payne and the gryefe of hys Body sore crushed and broken, that so well as he could, hee rose vp, and with his hands stayed the Bloud that ranne from hys Heade, to the intente yt myghte not rayse some slaunder vppon the Widow whom hee loued so wel: and went alonges the streate towarde the houses of Girolamo and Anselmo aforesaid. Being come thither wyth greate difficulty not able to goe anye further for verye payne and gryefe, hee faynted and fell downe as deade, where the Bloude issued in sutch aboundaunce, as the Grounde therewyth was greatly imbrued, and euery one that saw him thought him to be voide of Lyfe. Mistresse Gismonda exceeding sorrowful for this mischaunce, doubted that he had broken his Necke, but when she saw hym depart, she comforted him so well as she could, and drewe vp the Ladder into hir Chamber. Sutch Chaunces happen to earnest Louers, who when they think they haue scaled the top of theyr Felicity, sodaynly tomble downe into the Pit of extreme despayre, that better it had ben for them leysurely to expect the grace of their Ladyes at conuenient place and houre, than hardily without prouidence to aduenture lyke desperat souldiers to clym the top of the vamure, without measurying the height of the Wals, or viewynge the substaunce of theyr Ladders, do receyue in the ende cruell repulse, and fal down headlonge either by present Death or mortall Wounde, to receyue euerlastyng reproche and shame. But turne we agayne now to this disgraced Louer, who lay gasping betwene Lyfe and Death. And as he was in this sorrowful state, one of the Captaynes, a Noble man appointed to see orders obserued in the Nighte, wyth hys bande (which they call Zaffi) came thither: and finding hym lying vpon the ground, knew that it was Aloisio Foscari, and causing him to be taken vp from the place wher he lay, (thinking he had ben dead) commanded that he should be conueyed into the Church adioyning whych immediately was done. And when he had wel considered 135the place where hee was founde, hee doubted that eyther Girolamo Bembo or Anselmo Barbadico, before whose Dores hee thought the murder committed, had kylled him, which afterwards he beleued to be true, bycause he heard a certayne noyse of mennes Feete at one of their Doores: wherefore he deuided his company, placyng some on the one side of their houses, and some on the other, besieging the same so well as he coulde. And as Fortune woulde he founde by Neglygence of the mayds, the dores of the ii. houses open. It chaunced also that Nyght that the two Louers one in other’s House were gone to lye with their Ladyes, who hearynge the hurly burly, and sturre made in the house by the Sergeants, sodaynely the Women lept out of their Beds, and bearyng their apparell vppon theyr shoulders, went home to their houses throughe their Gardeins vnseene of any, and in fearefull wyse did attende what should be the End of the same. Girolamo, and Anselmo not knowing what rumor and noise that was, although they made hast in the Darke to cloth themselues, were by the Offycers without any field fought, apprehended in ech other’s Chamber, and remained Prysoners at theyr mercy: whereat the Captayne and hys Band did greatly maruell, knowyng the Hatred betweene them. But when Torches and Lyghts were brought, and the two Gentlemen caried out of Doores, the wonder was the greater for that they perceyued them almoste Naked, and prysoners taken in eche other’s House. And besydes thys admiratyon, sutch murmur and slaunder was bruted, as the quality of euerye Vulgar Heade coulde secretlye deuyse or Imagyne, but specyally of the innocente Women, who howe faultlesse they were, euery Man by what is sayde before maye conceyue, and yet the cancred Stomackes of that Troupe bare sutch Malyce agaynste them, as they iarred and brawled agaynst them lyke curryshe Curres at straunge Dogges whom they neuer sawe before. The Gentlemen immediately were caried to pryson, ignorant vppon what occasion: afterwards vnderstandinge that they were committed for the murder of Aloisio Foscari, and imprysoned like theeues, albeit they knew themselues guiltlesse of murder or Theft, yet their gryef and sorrowe was very greate, beynge certayne that all Venice should vnderstande howe they betweene whome had ben mortall hatred, 136were nowe become copartners of that whych none but the true possessours ought to enioy: and althoughe they coulde not abyde to speake together, lyke those that deadely dyd hate one another, yet both theyr myndes were fyxed vppon one thought. In the ende, conceyuing Fury and despite agaynste theyr Wyues, the place being so darke that no Lyght or Sunne coulde pierce into the same, whereby wythout shame or disdayne one of them began to speake to another, and with terrible Othes they gaue theyr fayth to disclose the troth in what sort eyther of them was taken in other’s Chamber, and frankely told the way and meane howe eche of them enioyed hys Pleasure of other’s Wyfe: whereupon the whole matter (according to their knowledge) was altogether by little and little manifest and knowne. Then they accompted theyr Wiues to be the most arrant strumpets within the whole City, by dispraysing of whom theyr olde rancor was forgotten, and they agreed together like two Fryends, who thought that for shame they should neuer be able to looke Men in the face, ne yet to shew themselues openlye within the Citye, for sorrow whereof they deemed Death the greatest good turne and best Benefit that could chance vnto them. To be short, seeing no meanes or occasion to comfort and relieue theyr pensyue and heauy states, they fell into extreeme despayre, who ashamed to lyue any longer, deuised way to rid them selues of Lyfe, concludyng to make themselues guilty of the murder of Aloiso Foscari: and after mutch talke betweene them of that cruell determination, styll approuing the same to be theyr best refuge, they expected nothyng else, but when they should be examined before the Magistrates. Foscari as is before declared was carryed into the Churche for Deade, and the Pryest straightly charged wyth the keepynge of hym, who caused hym to be conueyed into the myddes of the Church, setting ii. Torches a Light, the one at his heade, and the other at his feete, and when the Company was gone, he determined to goe to bed the remnant of the Nyght to take his rest: but before he went, seeing the Torches were but short, and could not last paste two or three houres, he lighted two other, and set them in the others place, for that it should seeme to his frends, if any chaunced to come what care and worship he bestowed vpon him. The Priest 137ready to depart, perceiued the Body somewhat to moue, with that looking vppon his Face, espyed his eyes a little to begin to open. Wherewithall somewhat afraide, he crying out, ran awaye: notwithstanding his Courage began to come to him again, and laying his hand vpon his breast, perceiued his heart to beate, and then twas out of doubt that he was not dead, although by reason of losse of his bloud he thought little life to remaine in him: wherefore he with one of his fellow priests which was a bed, and the Clerck of the Parish, caried maister Foscari so tenderly as they could into the Priests Chamber, which adioined next the Church. Then he sente for a surgeon that dwelt hard by, and required him diligently to search the Wounde, who so well as he could purged the same from the corrupt Bloud, and perceiuyng it not to be mortall, so dressed it wyth Oyles and other precious ointments, as Aloisio came agayn to hymselfe: and when he had anoynted that recouered body wyth certayne Precious and comfortable Oyles, he suffred him to take his rest: the Priest also went to bed and slepte till it was Daye, who so soone as he was vp, went to seeke the Captayne to tel him that Maister Aloisio was recouered. The Captaine at that tyme was gone to the pallace at San. Marco, to giue the Duke aduertisement of thys Chaunce, after whom the Priest went and was let in to the Duke’s Chamber: to whom he declared what he had done to Aloisio. The Duke very glad to heare tell of his Nephewe’s lyfe, although then very pensiue for the newes broughte vnto him by the Captayne, intreated one of the Signor de notte, to take with him two of the best surgions, and to call him that had already dressed his Nephew, to goe to visite the wounded Gentleman, that hee might be certified of the truth of that Chaunce. All which together repaired to the Pryeste’s Chaumber, where fyndinge hym not a sleepe, and the Wounde fayre inoughe to heale, dyd therevnto what their cunning thoughte meete: and then they began to inquire of hym, that was not yet full recouered to perfecte speache, howe that chaunce happened, telling hym that he might frankelye confesse vnto them the trouthe. The more dilygent they were in this demaunde, bicause the Surgeon that dressed him fyrst, alleaged, that the Wounde was not made with Sworde, but receiued by some greate fall or blowe with Mace or 138Clubbe, or rather seemed to come of some high fall from a Wyndowe, by reason his Head was so gryevously brused. Aloisio hearynge the Surgeons sodayne demaunde, presentlye aunswered, that he fell downe from a Wyndowe, and named also the House. And he had no sooner spoken those Woordes, but he was very angry wyth him selfe and sorrye: and wherewithall his dismayde Spyrites began to reuyue in sutch wyse, as sodainlye he choyse rather to dye than to speake any thynge to the dyshonoure of mystresse Gismonda. Then the Signior di notte, asked hym what he dyd there aboute that Tyme of the Nyght, and wherfore hee dyd clymb vp to the Wyndowe, beynge so hyghe: whych hee coulde not keepe secrete, consyderyng the Authorytye of the Magystrate that demaunded the questyon, albeyt hee thoughte that yf his Tongue hadde runne at large, and commytted a Faulte by rashe speakynge, hys Bodye should therefore suffer the smart: wherefore before hee woulde in any wyse gyue occasion to slaunder hir, whome hee loued better than hys owne Lyfe, determined to hazarde hys Lyfe and Honoure, to the mercye of Iustice, and sayde: “I declared euen nowe, whych I cannot denye, that I fell downe from the wyndowe of Mystresse Gismonda Mora. The cause thereof (beeynge now at state, wherein I knowe not whether I shall Lyue or Dye) I will truelye dysclose: Mystresse Gismonda beynge a Wydowe and a younge Woman, wythoute anye Man in hir House, bycause by reporte shee is very rych of Iewels and Money, I purposed to robbe and dyspoyle: wherefore I deuysed a ladder to clymbe vp to hir Wyndowe, with Mynde full bent to kill all those that should resiste me: but my mishappe was sutch as the Ladder being not well fastened fell downe, and I my selfe therwithall, and thinking to recouer home to my lodging with my corded Ladder, my Spirites beganne to fayle, and tombled downe I wotte not where.” The Signor de notte, whose name was Domenico Mariperto hearing him say so, maruelled greatly, and was very sorie, that all they in the Chamber, which were a great number, (as at sutch chaunces commonly be) dyd heare those Woordes: and bicause they were spoken so openly, he was forced to saye vnto hym: “Aloisio, it doth not a little grieue me that thou hast committed sutch follye, but for so mutch as sorrowe now will not 139serue to remedye the Trespasse, I muste needes shew my selfe both faithfull to my countrey, and also carefull of mine honor, withoute respect of persons: wherefore thou shalte remaine here in sutch safe custody as I shal appoint, and when thou art better amended, thou must according to desert be referred to the Gaole.” Leauing him there vnder sure keeping, he went to the counsell of the Dieci, (which magistrates in that City be of greatest authority) and finding the Lords in Counsell, he opened the whole matter vnto them: the presidentes of the Counsell which had hearde a great numbre of complaynts of many Theftes don in the Nyght wythin the Citye, tooke order that one of the Captaynes that were appoynted to the dilygente Watche and keepyng of Aloisio, remayning in the Pryeste’s House, should cause him to be examined, and with tormentes forced to tell the truth, for that they did verely beleeue that hee had committed many Robberies besides, or at the least was priuy and accessarie to the same, and knew where the Theues were become. Afterwardes the sayd Counsell did sitte vppon the matter of Girolamo Bembo and Anselmo Barbadico, found at myde Night naked in eche other’s Chambre, and commytted to Pryson as is before remembred: and bicause they had many matters besides of greater importaunce, to consult vppon, amongs which the warres betwene them and Philippo Maria Visconte, Duke of Milane, the aforesayde causes were deferred tyll an other tyme, notwythstandyng in the meane while they were examyned. The Duke himselfe that tyme being in Counsell, spake most seuerely against his Nephew: neuerthelesse he did hardly beleeue that his Nephew being very rich, and indued with great honesty, would abase himselfe to a vice so vile and abhominable as theft is, wherevppon he began to consider of many thinges, and in the ende talked with hys Nephew secretly alone, and by that meanes learned the trouth of the whole matter. In like maner Anselmo and Girolamo were Examined by Commissioners appoyncted by the state, what one of them did in an other’s chamber, at that houre of the night, who confessed that many tymes they had seene Aloisio Foscari, to passe vp and down before their houses at times inconuenient, and that night by chaunce one of them not knowing of another, espied Aloisio, thinking that he lingered about their 140houses to abuse one of their Wyues, for which cause they went out, and with their Weapons sodenly killed him: which confession they openly declared accordingly, as whereupon before they were agreed. Afterwardes with further circumstaunce being examined vpon the Article of being one in another’s Chaumber, it appeared that their first tale was vtterly vntrue: of all which contradictions the Duke was aduertised, and was driuen into extreeme admiration, for that the truth of those disorders coulde not be to the full vnderstanded and knowne. Whereuppon the Dieci, and the assistauntes were agayne assembled in councell accordinge to the maner, at what time after all things throughly were debated and ended, the Duke being a very graue man, of excellent Witte, aduaunced to the Dukedome by the consent of the whole State, as euery of theym were about to rise vp, hee sayde vnto them: “My Lordes, there resteth one thinge yet to be moued, which peraduenture hitherto hath not bene thought vpon: there are before vs two complaynts, the effect whereof in my iudgement is not throughly conceyed in the Opinions of diuers. Anselmo Barbadico, and Girolamo Bembo, betwene whom there hath bene euer continuall hatred, left vnto them as a man may say euen by Fathers Inheritance both of them in eyther of their Chaumbers, were apprehended in a manner naked by our Sergeaunts, and without Torments, or for feare to bee racked vpon the onely interrogatories of oure ministers, they haue voluntarily confessed that before their houses they killed Aloisio our Nephew: and albeit that our sayde Nephew yet liueth, and was not striken by them or any other as should appeare, yet they confesse themselues guilty of murder. What shall be sayd then to the matter, doth it not seeme doubtfull? Our Nephew again hath declared, that in going about to rob the house of Mistresse Gismonda Mora, whom he ment to haue slayne, he fel downe to the Ground from the top of a window, wherefore by reason so many robberies haue bene discouered within the Citty, it may be presumed that hee was the theefe and malefactor, who ought to be put to the torments, that the truth may be knowne, and being found guilty, to feele the seuere punishment that he hath deserued. Moreouer when he was found lying vpon the ground, he had neither Ladder nor Weapon, whereupon may bee 141thought that the fact was otherwise done, than hitherto is confessed. And because amongs morall vertues, temperance is the chiefest and worthy of greatest commendation, and that iustice not righteously executed, is iniustice and wronge, it is meete and conuenient for vs in these straunge accidents, rather to vse temperaunce than the rigor of iustice: and that it may appeare that I do not speake these words without good grounde, marke what I shall saye vnto you. These two most mortall enimies doe confesse that which is impossible to be true, for that our Nephew (as is before declared) is a liue, and his wounde was not made by Sworde, as hee himselfe hath confessed. Now who can tell or say the contrary, but that shame for being taken in their seuerall Chambers, and the dishonesty of both their Wyues, hath caused them to despise life, and to desire death? we shall finde if the matter be diligently inquired and searched, that it will fall out otherwise than is already supposed by common opinion. For the contrariety of examinations, vnlikelihoode of circumstances, and the impossibility of the cause, rendreth the matter doubtfull: wherefore it is very needeful diligently to examine these attempts, and thereof to vse more aduised consideration. On the other side, our Nephew accuseth himselfe to be a theefe and which is more, that hee ment to kill Mistresse Mora when hee brake into hir house. Vnder this Grasse, my Lords, as I suppose, some other Serpent lieth hiden, that is not yet thought of. The Gentleman yee know before this time was neuer defamed of sutch outrage, ne suspected of the least offence that may be obiected: besides that, all yee doe know, (thanks therefore be geuen to almighty God) that he is a man of great richesse, and possessions, and hath no neede to rob: for what necessity should driue him to rob a widowe, that hath of his owne liberally to bestow vpon the succour of Widowes? Were there none els of substance in the Citty for him to geue attempt but to a Wyddowe, a comfortlesse creature, contented with quiet lyfe to lyue amonges hir family within the boundes of hir owne house? What if hir richesse, Iewels and plate be great, hath not Aloisio of his owne to redouble the same? but truly this Robbery was done after some other manner than hee hath confessed: to vs then my Lords it appertayneth, if it so stande with your pleasures, 142to make further inquiry of the same, promisinge vnto you vppon our Fayth, that wee shall imploy our whole diligence in the true examination of thys matter, and hope to bring the same to sutch good ende, as none shall haue cause to blame vs, the finall sentence whereof shall bee reserued to youre iudgement.” Thys graue request and wise talke of the Duke pleased greatly the Lordes of the Counsayle, who referred not onely the examination, but also the finall sentence vnto hym. Whereuppon the wyse Prynce beinge fully enformed of the chaunce happened to his Nephewe, attended onely to make search, if he could vnderstand the occasion why Bembo and Barbadico so foolishly had accused themselues of that which they neuer did. And so after mutch counsayle, and great tyme contriued in their seueral examinations, his Nephew then was well recouered, and able to goe abroade, being set at liberty. The Duke then hauinge bestowed hys trauayle with the other two prisoners, communicated to the Lords of the aforesayd councel called Dieci the whole trouth of the matter. Then he caused with great discretion, proclamation to be made throughout Venice, that Anselmo and Girolamo shold be beheded betwene the two Pyllers, and Aloisio hanged, whereby he thought to know what sute the women would make, eyther with or against their Husbandes, and what euidence mistresse Gismonda woulde geue against Aloisio. The brute hereof dispersed, diuers talke thereuppon was raysed, and no communication of any thing els in open streats, and priuate houses, but of the putting to death of those men. And bicause all three were of honorable houses, their kinsmen, and Friendes made sute by all possible meanes for theyr pardon. But their Confessions published, the rumor was made worse, (as it dayly chaunceth in like cases) than the matter was in deede, and the same was noysed how Foscari had confessed so many theftes done by him at diuers tymes, as none of his freends or Kin durst speake for him. Mistresse Gismonda which bitterly lamented the mischaunce of hir Louer, after she vnderstoode the confession hee had made, and euidently knew that because hee woulde not bleamish hir honour, he had rather willingly forgo his owne, and therewithall his lyfe, felt hir selfe so oppressed with feruent loue, as shee was ready presently to surrender hir ghost. Wherefore 143shee sent him woorde that he should comfort himselfe, because shee was determined to manifest the very trouth of the matter, and hoped vppon hir declaration of true euidence, sentence shoulde bee reuoked, for testimony whereof, shee had his louinge letters yet to shewe, written to hir with his owne handes, and would bring forth in the iudgement place, the corded ladder, which she had kept stil in her chamber. Aloisio hearinge these louing newes, and of the euidence which his Lady woulde giue for his defence, was the gladdest man of the worlde, and caused infinite thankes to be rendred vnto hir, wyth promise that if hee might bee rid and discharged out of prison, he woulde take hir for his louing spouse and wyfe. Whereof the gentlewoman conceyued singuler solace, louing hir deere freende with more entier affection than hir owne soule. Mistresse Lucia, and mistresse Isotta, hearing the dispercled voyce of the death of their husbands, and vnderstanding the case of mistresse Gismonda by an other woman, layd their heads together likwise to deuise meanes for sauing their husbandes liues: and entring into their Barge, or Gondola, wente to seeke mistresse Gismonda and when they had debated vppon the trouthe of these euents, concluded with one assent to prouide for the safegarde and deliuerye of theyr husbandes, wherein they shewed themselues both wise and honest. For what state is more honorable and of greater Comforte than the marryed Lyfe, if in deede they that haue yoaked themselues therein be conformable to those Delightes, and contentation which the same conduceth? Wealth and Riches maketh the true vnyted couple to reioyce in the Benefits of Fortune, graunted by the sender of the same, either of them prouiding for disposing thereof, against the decripite time of olde age, and for the bestowing of the same vppon the Fruicte accrued of theyr Bodies. Pouerty in any wise dothe not offend them, both of them glad to laboure and trauaile like one Body, to sustaine theyr poore and neady Lyfe, eyther of them Comfortably doth Minyster comforte in the cruell tyme of Aduersity, rendring humble thankes to God for hys sharp Rodde and Punyshment enflicted vppon them for their manyfolde sinnes commytted againste hys maiestye, trauailinge by night and Daye by sweatinge Browes to get browne Breade, and drynke ful thin to cease the Cryes and pytifull crauinges 144of their tender Babes, wrapt in Cradle and instant on their mother to fill their hungry mouthes. Aduerse fortune maketh not one to forsake the other. The louing Wyfe ceaseth not by paynfull sute to trot and go by Night and day in heate and colde to relieue the miserye of hir husband. He likewise spareth not his payne to get and gayne the liuyng of them both. He abrode and at home according to his called state, she at home to saue the Lucre of that Labor, and to doe sutch necessary trauayle incident to the married kinde. He carefull for to get, she heedeful for to saue, he by trafique and Arte, shee by diligence and housholde toile. O the happy state of married folke: O surpassing delights of mariage bed: which maketh these ii. poore Gentlewomen, that by honorable pollicy saued the honor of themselues and honesty of theyr husbandes, to make humble sute for their preseruation, who were like to be berieued of their greatest comforts. But come we again to declare the last act of this Comical discourse. These maried Women, after this chaunce befell, vpon their husbandes imprysonment, began to be abhorred of their Friendes and Parentes, for that they were suspected to be dishoneste, by reason whereof dolefully lamenting their Misfortune, notwithstandynge their owne conscience voyde of faulte, dyd byd them to be of good cheere and comfort. And when the daye of execution came, they dyd theyr Friends and Parents to vnderstand that their conceiued opinyon was vntrue, and prayed them to forbeare their disdain and malice, till the truth should be throughly manifested, assuring them that in the End their owne innocencie and the guiltlesse cryme of their Husbands should openly be reuealed to the Worlde. In the meane time they made request vnto their Friendes, that one of the Lordes called Auogadori might be admitted to vnderstande their case, the rest to be referred to themselues, wherein they had no neede either of Proctor or Aduocate. This request seemed verye straunge to their friends, deeming their case to be shameful and abhominable: neuertheles diligently they accomplyshed their request and vnderstandyng that the Counsell of the Dieci had commytted the matter wholy to the Duke, they made a supplicatyon vnto hym in the name of the three Gentlewomen, wherein they craued nothing else but theyr matter might be hearde. The Duke perceiuying hys aduise like to take 145effect, assigned them a Day, commaundinge them at that tyme before hym and the Lords of the Councell and all the College of the estate to appeare. The Day being come, all the Lordes assembled, desirous to see to what issue this matter would grow. On the morning the three Gentlewomen honestly accompanied with other Dames, went to the Palace, and goynge along the streate of San Marco the people began to vtter many raylyng words against them: some cried out (as we see by vnstable order the vulgare people in like cases vse to do) and doinge a certain curtisy by way of disdain and mockery: “Behold the honest women, that without sending their husbands out of Venice, haue placed them in the Castell of Cornetto, and yet the arrante Whoores bee not ashamed to shewe them selues abrode, as thoughe they hadde done a thynge that were Honeste and prayse worthye.” Other shot forth theyr Boltes, and wyth theyr Prouerbes proceedyng from their malicious Mouthes thwited the pore Women at their pleasure. Other also seeyng Mystresse Gismonda in their Company, thought that she went to declame against maister Aloisio Foscari, and none of them all hapned on the trouth. Arryued at the pallace, ascending the marble staires or steps of the same, they were brought into the great hal, wher the Duke appointed the matter to be heard. Thither repaired the friends and those of nearest kin to the three Gentlewomen, and before the matter did begin, the Duke caused also the thre prisoners to be brought thither. Thither also came many other Gentlemen, with great desire to see the end of those euents. Silence being made the Duke turning his face to the women, sayd vnto them: “Ye Gentlewomen haue made requeste by supplycatyon to graunt you publike audyence accordyng to Iustice, for that you do alleage that Law and order doth so require, and that euery wel ordred common wealth condemneth no subiecte withoute due answere by order of lawe. Beholde therefore, that we desirous to do Iustice, bee ready in Place to heare what ye can say.” The two husbands were very angrie and wrathfull against their wiues, and the more their stomackes did fret with choler and disdayne, by how mutch they saw their impudente and shamelesse wiues wyth sutch audacity to appeare before the maiesty of a counsel so honourable and dreadfull, as though they had ben the 146most honeste and chast Women of the World. The two honeste wiues perceyued the anger and displeasure of their husbands, and for all that were not afrayde ne yet dismayde, but smyling to themselues and somewhat mouing their heads in decente wyse seemed vnto them as though they had mocked them. Anselmo more angry and impacient then Girolamo, brake out into sutch furie, as had it not ben for the maiesty of the place, and the Companye of People to haue stayed him, woulde haue kylled them: and seyng he was not able to hurt them, he began to vtter the vylest Woords, that he possibly could deuise agaynst them. Mistresse Isotta hearing hir husband so spytefully to spit forth his poyson in the presence of that honourable assemblye, conceiued courage, and crauinge licence of the Duke to speake, with merrye countenance and good vttrance began thus to say her mind: “Most excellent Prince, and yee right honourable Lordes, I doe perceyue how my deare husbande vncomely and very dishonestly doth vse himselfe agaynst me in this noble company, thincking also that mayster Girolamo Bembo is affected with like rage and minde agaynst this Gentlewoman mystresse Lucia hys wyfe, although more temperate in words, he do not expresse the same. Agaynst whom if no reply be made, it may seeme that he doth well and hath spoken a truth, and that we by silence do condemne our selues to be those most wicked women whom hee alleageth vs to be. Wherefore by your gratious pardon and licence (most honourable) in the behalfe of mistresse Lucia and my selfe, for our defence I purpose to declare the effect of my mynde, although my purpose be cleane altered from that I had thought to say, being now iustly prouoked by the vnkinde behauiour of him whom I loue better than my selfe, and whose disloyalty, had hee beene silent and not so rashly runne to the ouerthrow of me and my good name, coulde I haue concealed, and onely touched that which had concerned the Purgation and sauegard of them both, which was the onely intent and meaning of vs, by making our humble supplication to your Maiesties. Neuerthelesse, so farre as my feeble force shall stretch, I will assay to do both the one and the other, although it be not appropriate to our kinde in publike place to declayme, nor yet to open sutch bold attempts, but that necessity of matter and oportunity 147of time, and place dothe bolden vs to enter into these termes, whereof we craue a thousand pardons for our vnkindely dealings, and render double thanks to your honours, for admitting vs to speake. Be it knowne therefore vnto you, that our husbands agaynst duety of loue, lawes of mariage, and against all reason, do make their heauy complaynts, which by and by I will make playne and euident. I am right well assured, that their extreme rage and bitter hearts sorrow do proceede of 2 occasions: The one, of the murder whereof they haue falsely accused theymselues: the other of iealousie, which grieuously doth gnawe their hearts, thinking vs to be vile, and abhominable Women, because they were surprised in ech other’s Chaumber. Concerning the murder, if they haue soyled their handes therein, it appertayneth vnto you my Lords to render their desert. But how can the same be layd to our charge, for somutch as they (if it were done by them) committed the same without our knowledge, our help and counsel? And truly I see no cause why any of vs ought to be burdened with the outrage, and mutch lesse cause haue they to laye the same to our charge: for meete it is that he that doth any vnlawful act, or is accessary to the same, should suffer the due penalty and seuere chastisement accordingly as the sacred lawes do prescribe, to be an example for other to abstayne from wicked facts. But hereof what neede I to dispute, wherein the blind may see to bee none offence, because (thankes bee to God) Mayster Aloisio liueth, which declareth the fonde Confession of our vngentil husbandes to bee contrary to trouth? And if so be our husbands in deede had done sutch an abhominable enterprise, reason and duety had moued vs to sorrowe and lament them, because they be borne of noble bloud, and be gentlemen of this noble Citty, which like a pure virgin inuiolably doth conserue hir lawes and customes. Great cause I say, had we to lament them, if lyke homicides, and murderers they had spotted their bloud with sutch fowle bleamish thereby deseruing death, to leaue vs yong Women Widowes in wofull plight. Nowe it behoueth me to speake of the Iealousie they haue conceyued of vs, for that they were in ech other’s Chamber, which truly is the doubtfull knot and scruple that forceth all their disdaine and griefe. This I knowe well is the Nayle that 148pierceth their heart: other cause of offence they haue not: who like men not well aduised, without examination of vs and our demeanour, bee fallen into despayre, and like men desperate, haue wrongfully accused themselues: but because I may not consume words in vayne, to stay you by my long discourse from matters of greater importaunce, I humbly beseech you (right excellent prince) to commaunde them to tell what thing it is, which so bitterly doth torment them.” Then the Duke caused one of the noble men assistaunt there, to demaund of them the question: Who aunswered that the chiefest occasion was, bicause they knew their Wyues to be Harlots, whom they supposed to be very honest: and forsomutch as they knew them to be sutch, they conceyued sorrow and griefe, which with sutch extremity did gripe them at the heart, as not able to sustayne that great Infamy, ashamed to be sene of men, were induced through desire of death to confesse that they neuer did. Mistresse Isotta hearing them say so, began to speak agayne, turning hir selfe vnto them: “Were you offended then at a thynge which yee thought inconuenient and not meete to be done? Wee then haue greatest cause to complayne. Why then sweete Husband went you to the Chaumber of mistresse Lucia at that time of the night? What had you to do there? What thing thought you to finde there more than was in your own house? And you Mayster Girolamo, what constrayned you to forsake your Wyue’s Bed to come to my Husband’s, where no man euer had, or at this present hath to do but himselfe? Were not the Sheetes of the one so white, so fine, neate, and sweete as the other? I am (most noble Prince) sory to declare my Husbande’s folly, and ashamed that hee should forsake my Bed to go to an other, that did accompt myselfe so well worthy to entertayne hym in myne owne, as the best Wyfe in Venice, and now through his abuse, I abstayne to shewe my selseamonges the Beautifull, and noble Dames of this Citty. The lyke misliking of hirselfe is in mistresse Lucia, who (as you see) may be numbred amongs the fayrest. Eyther of you ought to haue bene contented with your Wyues, and not (as wickedly you haue done) to forsake them, to seeke for better breade than is made of Wheate, or for purer Golde than whereof the Angell is made: O worthy deede of yours, that haue the Face to leaue your 149owne Wyues, that be comely, fayre, and honest, to seeke after straunge Carrion. O beastly order of Men that cannot conteyne their lust within the boundes of their owne House, but must goe hunt after other Women as Beastes do after the nexte of their kinde that they chaunce vppon. What vile affection possessed your hearts to lust after others Wyfe? You make complaynte of vs, but wee with you haue right good cause to be offended, you ought to bee grieued with your owne disorder, and not with others offence, and thys your affliction patiently to beare, bycause you went about to beguile one an other’s Loue, lyke them that be weary, and Glutted with their owne fare, seekinge after other daynties more delicate if they were to be founde. But praysed be God and our prouident discretion, if any hurt or shame hath chaunced, the same doth light on you. Moreouer I know no cause why men should haue more liberty to doe euill than we Women haue: albeit through the weaknes and cowardise of our Sexe, yee men will doe what ye list. But ye be now no Lords, nor we Seruaunts, and husbands we do you call, bicause the holy Lawes of Matrimony (which was the first Sacrament giuen by God to Men after the creation of the Worlde) doe require equall fayth, and so well is the husband bound to the Wyfe as she vnto him. Go to then and make your complaynt: the next Asse or Beast ye meete take hir to be your Wyfe. Why do yee not know that the balance of iustice is equall, and wayeth downe no more of one side than of other? But let vs nowe leaue of to reason of this matter, and come to that for which we be come hither. Two things (most ryghteous Prynce) haue moued vs to come before your maiesty, and all this honourable assembly, which had they not bene, we would haue bene ashamed to shewe our Faces, and lesse presumed to speake or once to open our Lippes in this Noble audience, which is a place only meete for them that be most Expert, and eloquent Orators, and not for vs, to whom the Needle, and Distaffe be more requisite. The first cause that forced vs to come forth of our owne house, was to let you understand that our Husbands be no murderers, as is supposed, neyther of this Gentleman present maister Aloisio, ne yet of any man els: and thereof we haue sufficient and worthy testimony. But herein we neede 150not to trauaile mutch, or to vse many wordes: for neyther maister Alosio is slayne, ne any other murdred that is known or manifest hitherto. One thyng resteth, which is that Madonna Lucia and I do humbly beseech youre excellente Maiestye, that youre grace and the authoritye of the right honourable Lords here present, will vouchsafe to reconcile vs to our husbands, that we may obtayne pardon and fauor at their handes, bicause we haue so manifestly made their acts to appeare, and for that we be the offence, and they the Offendours, and yet by their owne occasions, we haue committed the Error (if it may be so termed.) And now to come to the conclusion, I doe remember, sithens I was a Chylde, that I haue heard the Gentlewoman my mother saye (whose soule God pardon) many times vnto me, and other my sisters, and to mistresse Lucia, that was brought vp with vs, being by hir instructed in diuers good and vertuous Lessons, that all the honor a woman can doe vnto hir husband, whereby she beautifieth him and his whole race and family, consisteth in hir honest, chast, and vertuous lyfe, without which, she oughte rather to die than liue. And that a Gentleman’s Wyfe when she hath giuen hir body to the vse of an other man, is the common marke for euery man to point at in the streate where she goeth, hir husband therby incurring reproche and shame, whych no doubt is the greatest iniury and scorne that an honest Gentleman can receiue, and the moste shamefull reproche that can deface his house. Which Lesson we so well remembryng, desirous not to suffer the carelesse and vnbrideled appetites of our husbandes to be vnrained, and runne at large to some dishonest Ende, by a faithfull and commendable pollicy, did prouide for the mischyefe that myghte ensue. I neede not heere rehearse the enimytye and debate that manye yeares did raigne betweene our husbandes Fathers, bicause it is knowne to the whole City. Wee too therefore here presente, the Wiues of those noble Gentlemen, brought vp together from oure Cradle, perceiuing the malyce betwene our husbandes, made a vertue of Necessity, deemynge it better for vs to lose our sweete and auncient conuersation, than to mynister cause of disquietnesse. But the nearenesse of our houses would not that naturall hatred shoulde defraude and take away olde ingrafted amity. Wherefore many times 151when our Husbands were gone forth, we met together, and talked in our Gardens, betwene whych there is but a slender hedge beset with Primme and Roses, which commoditye in their absence we did discretly vse. And as sometimes for pleasure we walked with oure husbandes there, ye (shee turninge vnto them) did cast your eyes vpon ech other’s wyfe, and were strayghte way in loue, or else perchance you fained your selues to bee, whych espied by vs, many times betwene our selues did deuise vppon the same, and red your amorous letters, and sonnet sent vnto vs. For which disloyalty and treason toward vs your Wyues, we sought no dishonour to youre persons, wee were content to suffer you to bee abused with your fond loue, we blabbed it not abroade to our Gossips, as many leude and fantasticall women bee wont to doe, thereby to rayse slaunder to our husbands, and to sturre vp ill reporte vpon them, whose infirmities it becommeth vs to conceale and hide. We deuised meanes by some other way to let you understand your fault, and did cast vpon you many times right louinge lookes. Which although it were agaynste our owne desire, yet the cause, and full conclusion of the same, was to practise, if it were possible, to make you frendes: But consideringe that this loue, and allurementes of eyther parts, could not tend to other end, as wee coniectured, but to increase displeasure, and to put the swords into your handes, we therefore consulted, and vniformely in one minde agreed for the appeasinge, and satisfaction of all partes, at sutch nightes as ye fayned to go into diuers places about earnest affayres as yee alleaged, Mistresse Lucia with the help of Cassandra my mayde, through the Gardeine came into my chamber, and I by meanes of Iane hir maide by like way repayred vnto hirs. And yee poore men guided by our maydes were brought vnto your chambers where ye lay with your owne Wyues, and so by tilth of others land in straunge soyle (as yee beleeued) yee lost no labour. And bicause your embracements then, were like to those atchieued by amorous Gentlemen, vsinge vs with more earnest desire than you were wont to do, both wee were begotten with childe: which ought to be very gladsome, and gratefull vnto you, if yee were so fayne to haue children as yee shewed your selues to bee. If then none other offence doth grieue you, if remorse of Conscience for other cause doeth not 152offend you, if none other sorrowe doeth displease you: gieue ouer your griefe. Remit your displeasure. Be glad, and ioyfull. Thanke vs for our pollicy and pleasaunt disport that wee made you. If hitherto yee haue ben enimies, henceforth be frends, put of that auncient mallice so long continued, mitigate your hatefull moode, and liue yee from henceforth like friendly Gentlemen, yelde vp your rancor into the lap of your Countrey, that shee may put him in exile for euer, who like a pitifull, and louing mother woulde gladly see all hir children of one accorde and minde. Which if yee doe, (ye shall do singulare pleasure to your friendes), ye shall doe great discomfort to your foes, yee shall do singular good to the commonwealth, yee shall doe greatest benefit to your selues, ye shall make vs humble Wyues, yee shall encrease your posterity, yee shall be praysed of all men, and finally shall depart the best contented that euer the World brought forth. And now because yee shall not thinke that wee haue picked out thys Tale at our fingers ends, thereby to seeke your sauegard and our owne Fame, and prayse, beholde the letters which you sent vs, beholde you owne handes subscribed to the same, beholde your seales assigned thereunto, which shall render true testimony of that which vnfaynedly we haue affirmed.” Then both deliuered their letters, which viewed and seene, were well knowne to be their owne husbandes handes, and the same so well approued hir tale, as their husbands were the gladdest men of the world and the Duke and Seignory maruaylously satisfied and contented. In so mutch as the whole assembly with one voyce, cried out for their husbands deliueraunce. And so with the consent of the Duke and the whole seignory they were clearely discharged. The Parents, Cosins, and Friends of the husbands and wyues were wonderfully amazed to heere this long hystory, and greatly praysed the maner of their deliuery, accoumpting the women to be very wise, and mistresse Isotta to be an eloquent gentlewoman, for that shee had so well defended the cause of their husbands and of themselues. Anselmo and Girolamo openly in the presence of all the people embraced, and kissed their Wyues with great reioysing. And then the husbands shaked one an other by the hands, betwene whom began a Brotherly accorde, and from that time forth liued in perfect amity, and 153Friendship, exchaunging the wanton loue that eyther of them bare to other’s wyfe into Brotherly Friendship, to the great delight of the whole Citty. When the multitude assembled, to heare this matter throughly was satisfied, the Duke with cheerefull Countenaunce lookinge toward Gismonda, sayde thus vnto hir: “And you fayre Gentlewoman, what haue you to say: Bee bolde to vtter your minde, and wee wil gladly heare you.” Mistresse Gismonda bashfull to speake, began wonderfully to blush, into whose cheekes entred an orient rud, intermixed with an alabaster white, which made her countenaunce more amiable than it was wont to be. After she had stode still a while with hir eyes declined towards the ground, in comly wise lifting them vp againe with shamefast audacity she began thus to speake: “If I most Noble Prince, in open audience should attempt to discourse of Loue, whereof I neuer had experience, or knew what thing it was, I should be doubtfull what to say thereof, and peraduenture durst not open my mouth at al. But hearing my father (of worthy memory) many times to tel that your maiesty in the time of your youth disdained not to open your heart to receiue the amorous flames of loue, and being assured that there is none but that doth loue little or mutch, I do not doubt but for the words which I shal speake, to obtaine both pity and pardon. To come then to the matter: God I thanke him of his goodnesse, hath not permitted me to bee one of those women, that like hipocrites do mumble their Paternoster to saincts: appearing outwardly to be devout and holy and in Fruict doe bring forth Deuils, and al kinds of vices, specially ingratitude, which is a vice that doth suck and dry vp the fountain of godly Piety. Life is deare to mee (as naturally it is to all) next which I esteeme myne honor, which is to be preferred before life, bicause without honor life is of no regard. And where man and woman do liue in shame notorious to the world, the same may be termed a liuing death rather than a life. But the loue that I beare to mine onely beloued Aloisio here present, I do esteeme aboue al the Iewels and treasures of the world, whose personage I do regard more than mine owne Lyfe. The reason that moueth me thereto is very great, for before that I loued him or euer ment to fixe my mind that way, he dearely regarded me, continually deuising which way he might win and obtain my 154loue, sparing no trauel by Night and Day to seeke the same. For which tender affection should I shew myself vnkind and froward? God forbid. And to be playn with your honors, he is more deare and acceptable vnto me, than the balles of mine own eyes, being the chiefest things that appertain to the furniture of the body of man, without which no earthly thing can be gladsome and ioyful to the sense, and feelinge. Last of all his amorous, and affectionate demonstration of his loue towards me, by declaringe himselfe to be carefull of mine honor, rather more willinge to bestow his owne, than to suffer the same to be touched with the least suspicion of dishonesty, I can not choose, but so faythfully imbrace, as I am ready to guage my life for his sake, rather than his finger shoulde ake for offence. And where hath there bene euer found sutch liberality in any louer? What is he that hath bene euer so prodigall, to employ his life (the most speciall pledge in this worlde,) rather than hee would suffer his beloued to incurre dishonoure? Many hystoryes haue I red, and Chronicles of our time, and yet I haue found few or none comparable vnto thys Gentleman, the like of whom be so rare and seldome as white Crowes, or Swannes of colour blacke. O singuler liberality, never hearde of before. O fact that can neuer be sufficiently praysed. O true loue most vnfayned. Maister Aloisio rather than he would haue my fame any one iote to be impayred, or to suffer any shadow of suspition to bleamish the same, frankly hath confessed himselfe to be a theefe, and murdrer, regardinge mee and mine honor more than himselfe, and life. And albeit that he might a thousand wayes haue saued himselfe without the imprisonment and aduersity which he hath sustained: neuerthelesse after he had sayd, beinge then past remembrance through the fall, that he fell downe from my window, and perceyued how mutch that confession would preiudice and hurt my good name, and hurt the known honesty of the same, of his good wyll did chose to dye rather than to speake any words that might breede yll opinion of mee, or the least thinge of the worlde that might ingender infamy and slaunder. And therefore not able to revoke the words hee had spoken of the fall, nor by any meanes coulde coloure the same, hee thought to saue the good name of another by his owne hurt. If he then thus redily and liberally hath protruded his life into manifest daunger 155for my benefit and saueguard, preferring mine honour aboue the care of himselfe, shall not I abandon all that I haue, yea and therewithall hazard mine honor for his saluation? But what? Shall I disdayne bountifully to imploy my selfe and all the endeuor of my Frendes for his deliuery? No, no (my Lords) if I had a thousand liues, and so many honors at my commaundement, I woulde giue them al for his releyse and comfort, yea if it were possible for me to recouer a fresh x.c.m. lyues, I woulde so frankly bestow them all, as euer I desired to liue, that I might enioy mine owne Aloisio. But I am sorry, and euer shal be sorry, for that it is not lawful for me to do more for him, than that which my power and possibility is able. For if he should die, truely my life could not endure: if he were depriued of life, what pleasure should I haue to liue in this world after him: whereby (moste honorable and righteous iudge,) I beleeue before the honest, not to loose any one iote of myne honor, bicause I being (as you may see) a younge Woman and a Widow desirous to marry againe, it is lawful for me to loue and to bee beloued, for none other intent (whereof God is the onely iudge) but to attaine a husbande according to my degre. But if I should lose my reputation and honor, why should not I aduenture the same for hym, that hath not spared hys own for me? Now to come to the effect of the matter, I do say wyth al dutifull reuerence, that it is an accusation altogither false and vntrue, that euer mayster Alolsio came to my house as a Theefe against my wil. For what neede he to be a thefe, or what nede had he of my goodes, that is a Lorde and owner of twenty times so mutch as I haue? Alas good Gentleman, I dare depose and guage my lyfe, that he neuer thoughte mutch lesse dyd any robbery or thing vnlawful, wherewith iustly he may be charged, but he repayred to my house with my consent, as a louing and affectionate Louer, the circumstance whereof, if it be duly marked, must aduouch the same to be of trouth infallible. For if I had not giuen him licence to come, how was it possible for him to conuey his ladder so high, that was made but of Ropes, and to fasten the same to the iaume of the window, if none within did helpe hym? Againe, howe could the Window of the Chaumber be open at that time of the night, which is still kept shut, if it had not bene by my consent? But 156I with the helpe of my mayde threwe downe to him a little Rope, whereunto he tyed his Ladder and drewe the same vp, and making it so fast, as it could not vndo, gaue a signe for him to Mounte. But as both our ill Fortune would haue it, before I could catch any hold of him, to mine inestimable griefe and hart’s sorrow he fell downe to the ground. Wherefore (my Lords) I beseech your honours to reuoke the confession wherein he hath made hymselfe to be a theefe. And you maister Aloisio declare the trouth as it was, sith I am not ashamed in this honourable assemble to tel the same. Beholde the letters (my Lordes) which so many tymes he wrote vnto me, wherein hee made suite to come to my speache, and continually in the same doth call me Wyfe. Beholde the Ladder, which till nowe, did still remayne in my chaumber. Beholde my maide, whych in all mine affayres, is as it were myne owne hande and helper.” Aloisio being hereupon demaunded by the Lordes of the articles, which she in hir tale had recited, confessed them al to be true: who also at the same instant was discharged. The Duke greatly commended them both, hir for hir stoute audacity, in defence of an innocent Gentleman, and him for his honour, and modesty, by seeking to preserue the Fame and good reporte of a vertuouse Gentlewoman. Whych done, the Counsell disassembled and brake up. And the friendes of both the parties accompanied them home to the house of mistresse Gismonda, where to the great reioyce, and pleasure of all men, they were solemnely maried in sumptuous and honourable wise, and Aloisio with hys Wyfe lyued in great prosperity long time after. Mistresse Lucia, and mistresse Isotta, at the expyred tyme were deliuered of two goodly sonnes, in whom the Fathers tooke great Ioy, and delight. Who wyth their Wyues after that tyme liued very quietly, and well, one louing an other like naturall Brethren, many times sporting among themselues discretely at the deceipts of their Wyues. The wisedome of the Duke also was wonderfully extolled and commended of all men, the fame whereof was increased and bruted throughout the Region of Italy. And not without cause. For by hys prudence and aduise, the Dominion of the State, and Common wealth was amplified and dilated. And yet in th’ende being old and impotent, they vnkindly deposed him from his Dukedom.

157

THE TWENTY-SEVENTH NOUELL.

The Lorde of Virle, by the commaundement of a fayre younge Wydow called Zilia, for hys promise made, the better to attaine hir loue, was contented to remayne dumbe the space of three yeares, and by what meanes he was reuenged, and obtayned hys suite.

They that haue spent their youth in humayne follies, and haue followed the Vanities of loue, not addicted to the contemplation of high secrets, nor haue made entry here on Earth, to inlarge and amplyfy the boundes of their honor and Estimation. Those Worldlings (I say) and embracers of transitory pleasures, shall witnesse with me, and confirme, this olde and auncient Theme and proposition to be true which is: that the Beauty, and comely grace of a Woman, is the very true and naturall adamant (for the attractiue power, and agreeable quality there inclosed,) to draw vnto it the hearts, and affections of men: which hath made man beleue, that the same onely essence, was sent downe from aboue to serue both for ioy and torment together. For the amplyfyinge of which proposition, I will not bring forth, the immoderate loue of Paris by forsaking his owne Natiue country of Troy, to visite fayre Helena in Greece, nor yet tell how Hercules gaue ouer his mace to handle the Distaffe, vpon the commaundement of Omphale, nor yet how Sampson and Salomon were sotted in the slaueries of Dalida and other concubines. But my discourse here folowing shall ring out a loud Peale, of a meane Gentlewoman, of Piedmount, that shewed no fauor or Curtesy at all to her suppliant, a Gentleman not inferior to Paris for his actiuity and prowesse: which for her seruice and atchyeues of her loue, refused not to bee dombe the space of many yeares, and to giue ouer the best porcion of his sences wherewith the Almighty, made Man differente from brute and sauage Beastes. If this thing declare not sufficiently the force and power of that attractiue and drawing power in woman, no other example is worthy to be preferred. Those aforesayd and many other haue voluntarily yoaked themselues in the chains of loue’s obedience, rendreth the masse of 158their mirye corps to the slauery thereof, but that any haue franckely tyed vp their Tongue, the chiefest Instrument of the bodies furniture: in honorable assembly or where dexterity of seruice shoulde make him glorious, the like of that subiection was neuer seene or founde. And yet our fathers dayes did see this miracle wrought by a Woman, vpon a Gentleman very wise, and well trained vp in all good exercyse. This example, and what this Malapert Dame did gaine, by the penance of this louing knight, shal in this discourse be manifestly pronounced. The City of Thurin (as is well knowne to them that haue trauelled Piedmont) is the ornament and bulwark of al the Countrey, so well for the natural site of the place, as for the artificial and industrious worke of man’s hande, which hath instaured and furnished with great magnificence, that which nature had indifferently enryched, for the rudenesse and litle knowledg of the time past. Now besides this stately and strong city, there standeth a litle towne named Montcall, a place no lesse strong, and of good defence, than wel planted in a faire and rich soyle. In this Towne there dwelt a Gentlewoman a widow called Zilia, beautiful amongs the most excellent fayre Gentlewomen of the countrey, which country (besides other happy and heauenly influences) seemeth to be specially fauored, for hauing the most fairest and curteous Gentlewomen, aboue any other within the compasse of Europa. Notwithstanding this faire Silia, degenerating from the nature of hir climate was so haggard and cruel, as it might haue ben thought, she had ben rather nourished and brought vp amid the most desert mountaines of Sauoy, than in the pleasant and rich Champian Countreye, watred and moystened with Eridanus, the father of Riuers, at this Day called the Pau, the largenesse whereof doth make men to maruel, and the fertility allureth ech man to be desirous to inhabit vpon the same. This fayre rebellious Widow, albeit, that she was not aboue xxiv. orxxv. yeres of age, yet protested neuer more to be subiect to man, by mariage, or otherwise, thinking her selfe wel able to liue in single life: a Minde truly very holy and commendable, if the pricks of the flesh do obey the first motions and adhortations of the spirit, but where youth, pleasure, and multitude of suters do addresse their endeuour 159against that chastity (which is lightly enterprysed) the Apostels counsel oughte to be followed, who willeth yong widows to marry in Christ, to auoid the temptations of the flesh, and to flye offensiue slaunder and dishonour before men. This mistresse Zilia (hir husband being dead) only bent hir selfe to enrich hir house, and to amplify the possession of a little infant which she had by hir late departed Husband. After whose death she became so couetous, as hauing remoued, and almost cut of quite the wonted port she vsed in hir husband’s dayes, imployed hir maids in houshold affaires, thinking nothing to be wel don that passed not through hir owne Handes. A thinge truely more prayse worthy, than to see a sorte of effeminate, fine and daynty fyngred Dames, that thinke their honor diminished yf they holde but their Nose ouer theyr Housholde Matters, where theyr Hande and Dylygence were more requisite, for so mutch as the mystresse of a House is not placed the Cheyfe to heare onely the reasons of them that Labor, but thereunto to put hir hands, for hir presente eye seemeth to giue a certyn perfection to the worke that the Seruauntes doe by hir commaundement. Which caused the Hystoryans in tymes past, to describe vnto the Posterity a Gentlewoman called Lucretia, not babbling amongs young girles, or running to feastes and Maigames, or Masking in the night, withoute any regard of the honor and dygnitye of hir race and house, but in hir Chaumber Sowing, Spinning and Carding, amids the Troup of hir Mayden Seruaunts: wherein our mistresse Zilia passed the moste part of hir time, spending no minute of the day, without some honest exercise, for that she the rather did for that she liked not to be seene at Feasts, or Bankets, or to be gadding vp and downe the streetes, wandring to Gardeyns or places of pleasure, although to sutch places youth sometimes may haue their honest repayre to refresh their wearied bodies with vertuous recreation, and thereby reioyce the heauinesse of their mynde. But this Gentlewoman was so seuere in following the rigorous, and constrayned maners of our auncients, as impossible it was, to see hir abroade: except it were when she went to the Church to heare deuine seruice. This Gentlewoman seemed to haue studied the diuinity of the Ægyptians which paynt Venus holding a key before hir mouth, and setting 160hir Fote vpon a Tortus, signifying vnto us thereby the duety of a chaste Woman, whose tongue ought to bee locked, that shee speak not but in tyme and place, and her feete not straying or wandering, but to keepe hir selfe within the limits of hir owne house, except it be to serue God, and sometimes to render bounden duety to them which brought them into light. Moreouer Zilia was so religious (I will not say superstitious) and rigorous to obserue customes, as she made it very squeimish and straung to kisse a Gentleman that met hir, a ciuility which of long time hath bene obserued, and yet remayneth in the greatest parte of the Worlde, that Gentlewomen do welcome straungers and Guests into their houses with an honest and chaste kisse. Notwithstandinge the institution and profession of this Wyddow had wiped away this poyncte of hir youth: whether it were for that she esteemed hirselfe so fayre as all men were vnworthy to touch the vtter partes of so rare and pretious a vessell, or that hir great, and inimitable chastity made hir so straunge, to refuse that which hir duety and honour woulde haue permitted hir to graunt. There chaunced about this time that a Gentleman of the Countrey, called Sir Philiberto of Virle, esteemed to be one of the most valiaunt gentlemen in those parts, repayred vpon an holy day to Montcall, (whose house was not very farre of the Towne) and being at diuine seruice, in place of occupying his Sence and Mynde in heauenly things, and attending the holy words of a Preacher, which that day declared the worde of God vnto the people, hee gaue himselfe to contemplate the excellent beauty of Zilia, who had put of for a while hir mourninge vayle, that she might the better beholde the good father that preached, and receyue a little ayre, because the day was extreme hot. The Gentleman at the first blushe, when hee sawe that sweete temptation before his eyes, thought himselfe rapt aboue the thirde heauen, and not able to withdraw his looke, he fed himselfe with the Venome which by little, and little, so seased vpon the soundest parts of hys mynde, as afterwards being rooted in heart, he was in daunger still to remayne there for a Guage, wythout any hope of ease or comforte, as more amply this followinge discourse, shall giue you to vnderstande. Thus all the morning hee behelde the Gentlewoman, who made no more161accoumpt of theym, that wyth great admiration did behold hir, than they themselues did of their life, by committing the same to the handes of a Woman so cruell. This Gentleman being come home to his lodging enquired what fayre Wyddow that was, of what calling, and behauiour, but hee heard tell of more truely than he would of good will haue known or desired to haue ben in hir, whom he did presently chose to be the only mistresse of his most secret thoughts. Now vnderstandynge well the stubburne Nature, and vnciuile Manner of that Wyddowe, hee coulde not tell what parte to take, nor to what Sainct to vow his Deuotion, to make suite vnto hir hee thought it tyme lost, to bee hir Seruaunt, it was not in his power, hauing already inguaged his Lyberty into the handes of that beauty, whych once holding captiue the hearte of men, will not infraunchise them so soone as Thought and Wyll desire. Wherefore baytinge hymself with hope, and tickled wyth loue, he determined whatsoeuer chaunced, to loue hir, and to assay if by long seruice he could lenifie that harde hearte, and make tender that vnpliaunt wyll, to haue pitty vppon the payne which shee saw him to endure, and to recompence hys laboursome Trauayles, which hee thought were vertuously imployed for gayning of hir good grace. And vpon this settled deliberation, he retired agayne to Virle (so was his house named) where disposinge hys thinges in order, he retorned agayne to Montcall to make his long resiaunce there, to put in readines his furniture, and to welde his artillary with sutch industry, as in the ende he might make a reasonable breach to force and take the place: for surprising whereof, hee hazarded great daungers, the rather that himselfe might first be taken. And where his assaults and pollicies could not preuayle, hee minded to content his Fancy wyth the pleasure and pastyme that hee was to receyue in the contemplation of a thing so fayre, and of an image so excellent. The memory of whom rather increased his paine than yelded comfort, did rather minister corrosiue poyson, than giue remedy of ease, a cause of more cruell and sodayne death, than of prolonged lyfe. Philiberto then being become a citizen of Montcal, vsed to frequent the Church more than hee was wont to doe, or his deuotion serued hym, and that bycause he was not able elsewhere to enioy 162the presence of hys Saynct, but in places and Temples of Deuotion: which no doubt was a very holy and worthy Disposition, but yet not meete or requisite to obserue sutch holy places for those intentes, which ought not to bee prophaned in things so fonde and foolishe, and Actes so contrary to the Institution, and mynde of those, whych in tymes past were the firste Founders and Erectoures of Temples. Seignior Philiberto then mooued wyth that Religious Superstition, made no Conscience at al to speake vnto hir wythin the Church. And true it is, when she went out of the same, he (mooued wyth a certayne familiar curtesie, naturall to eche Gentleman of good bringing vp) many tymes conducted hir home to hir house, not able for all that (what so euer hee sayd) to win the thing that was able to ingender any little solace, which greeued him very much: for the cruell woman fained as though she vnderstoode nothing of that he sayde, and turnyng the Wayne agaynst the Oxen, by contrary talke shee began to tell hym a tale of a Tubbe, of matters of hir Householde, whereunto hee gaue so good heede, as shee did to the hearing of his complaynts. Thus these two, of diuers Affections, and mooued wyth contrary thoughtes, spake one to another, without apt aunswere to eyther’s talke. Whereby the Gentleman conceyued an assured argument of hys Ruine, who voyde of all hope, and meanes, practised with certayne Dames of the Citty, that had familiar accesse vnto hyr house, and vsed frequent conuersation wyth hys rebellious Lady Zilia. To one of them, then hee determined to communicate hys secrets, and to doe hir to vnderstand in deede the only cause that made him to soiorne at Montcall, and the griefe which he suffered, for that he was not able to discouer his torment vnto hir, that had giuen him the wounde. Thys Gentleman therefore, repayred to one of his neyghbours, a Woman of good corage, which at other tymes had experimented what meates they feede on that sit at Venus Table, and what bitternesse is intermingled amid those drinckes that Cupido quaffeth vnto hys Guestes. Vnto whom (hauing before coniured hir to keepe close that whych hee woulde declare) he discouered the secrets of hys mynde, expressinge hys loue wythout naming hys Lady before he heard the aunswere of hys Neyghbour, who vnderstanding almost to what purpose the 163affections of the Pacient were directed, sayd vnto hym: “Sir, needful it is not to vse longe orations, the loue that I beare you for the honest qualities whych hytherto I haue knowne to be in you, shall make me to keepe silent, that whereof as yet I do not know the matter, and the assuraunce you haue, not to bee abused by mee, constrayneth me to warrant you, that I wyll not spare to do you all the pleasure and honest seruice I can.” “Ah mistresse,” (aunswered sir Philiberto) “so long as I lyue, I will not fayle to acknowledge the Liberality of your endeuour by offeringe your selfe paciently to heare, and secretly, to keepe the Words I speake accordingly as they deserue: and that (whych is more than I require) you doe assure me that I shall finde sutch one of you as wil not spare to gieue your ayde. Alas, I resemble the good and wyse Captayne, who to take a forte doeth not only ayde himselfe with the forwardnesse, and valiaunce of his Souldiers, but to spare them, and to auoyde slaughter for makinge of way, planteth his cannon, and battereth the Walle of the fort, which hee would assaile, to the intent that both the Souldier, and the ordinaunce may perfourme and suffise the perfection of the plat, which hee hath framed and deuised within his pollitike heade. I haue already encouraged my souldiers, and haue lost the better part truely in the skirmish which hath deliuered vnto mee my sweete cruell Ennimy. Now I am driuen to make ready the fire, which resteth in the kindled match of your conceiptes, to batter the fort hitherto inexpugnable, for any assault that I can make.” “I vnderstand not” (sayd she smilyng) “these labyrynths of your complaynts, except you speake more playn. I neuer haunted the Warres, ne knewe what thynge it is to handle weapons, improper and not seemely for myne estate and kynde.” “The Warre” (quod he) whereof I speake, is so naturall and common, as I doubt not, but you haue sometymes assayed, with what sleightes and camisados men vse to surpryse their enimies, howe they plant their ambushes, and what meanes both the assaylant and defendant ought to vse.” “So far as I see” (sayd shee) “there resteth nothing for vs, but the assurance of the field, sith wee bee ready to enter in combat: and doe thinke that the fort shall not bee harde to winne, by reason of the Walles, dikes, rampers, bulwarks, 164platformes, counterforts, curtines, vamewres and engins which you haue prepared, besides a numbre of false brayes and flanks, placed in good order, and the whole defended from the thundringe Cannons and Bombardes, which do amaze the wandring enemy in the field. But I pray you leauing these warlike Tumults, to speak more boldly without these extrauagantes and digressions, for I take pitye to see you thus troubled: ready to exceede the boundes of your modesty and wonted wysedome.” “Do not maruell at all mistresse” (quod he) “sith accordynge to new occurrentes and alterations, the purpose, talke, and counsel ordinarily do change I am become the seruaunt of one which maketh me altogither lyke vnto those that bee madde, and bound in Chaines, not able to speake or say any thing, but what the spyrites that be in them, do force them to vtter. For neither will I thynke, or speake any thing, but that which the Enchaunter Loue doth commaunde and suffer to expresse, who so rygorously doth vexe my hearte, as in place wher bouldenesse is most requysite, hee depriueth me of force, and leaueth mee without any Countenance. And being alone, God knoweth how frankly I doe wander in the place, where myne enemy may commaunde, and with what hardinesse I do inuade hir prouince. Alas, is it not pity then to see these diuersities in one selfe matter, and vpon one very thing? Truely I would endure wyllingly all these trauailes, if I wyst in the end, my seruice woulde be accepted, and hoped that my Martirdome shoulde fynde releefe: but liuing in this vncertainty, I must needes norysh the hunger and solace of the vnhappy, which are wishes and vaine hopes, trusting that some God wyll gayne me a faythful friend that will assaye to rid me from the hell, into the which I am throwne, or else to shorten thys Miserable lyfe, whych is a hundred tymes more paynfull than Death.” In sayinge so, he began to sighe so straungely as a man would haue thought that two Smithes sledges working at the forge, had gyuen two blowes at his stomake, so vehement was the inclosed winde within his heart, that made him to fetche forth those terrible sighes, the Eyes not forgetting to yeld forth a Riuer of Teares, which gushynge forthe at the centre of hys Hearte, mounted into his Braynes, at lengthe to make issue through the Spoute, proper to the Chanell 165of sutch a Fountayne. Which the Gentlewoman seyng, moued with compassion, coulde not contain also from Weepyng, and therewythall sayde vnto him: “Although mine estate and reputation, which to this day I have kept vnspotted, defend the vse of my good wyl in al things that may defame mine honor, yet sir, seing the extremity which you suffer to be vnfained, I wil somwhat stretch my conscience, and assay to succor you with so good heart, as frankely you trust me with the secrets of your thought. It resteth then now for me to know what she is, to whome your deuocions be inclined whose heart and mind I wil so relief with the taste of your good wil, as I dare giue warrant, her appetit shal accept your profred seruice, and truly that woman may count her self happy that shal intertain the offer of a gentleman that is so honest and curteous, who meaneth with al fidelity to aduance and honor, not onely the superficial ornament of hir beauty, but the inward vertues of hir constant mind. And truly the earth seldom yeldeth those frutes in the harts of men in these our barren days, they being ouer growen with the shrubbes of disloialty the same choke vp the plantes of true Fidelity, the sedes whereof are sowen and replanted in the soyle of womens hartes, who not able to depart and vse the force and effects thereof will put vpon them conditions that bee cruell, to punish the Foolysh indiscreation of tryfling Louers, who disguised with the vizard of fained friendship, and paynted with coloured Amity, languishing in sighes and sorrowes, goe aboute to assay to deceiue the flexible Nature of them that prodigally employ theyr honor into the hands of sutch cruel, inconstante and foolysh suters.” “Ah Mistresse” answered the Gentleman: “howe may I bee able to recompence that onely benefite which you promyse me now? But be sure that you see heere a Souldier and Gentleman presente which shall no lesse bee prodigall of hys Lyfe to doe you seruyce, than you bee lyberall of your reputation, to ease his Paines. Now sith it pleaseth you to shew sutch fauour to offer me your helpe and support in that which payneth me, I require no more at your hands, but to beare a letter which I shall wryte to mystresse Zilia, with whome I am so farre in loue, as if I do receiue no solace of my griefe, I know not howe I shall auoyde the cuttyng of the Threede, whych the 166spynning systers haue twisted to prolonge my lyfe, that henceforth can receiue no succor if by your meanes I do not atchieue the thing that holdeth me in bondage.” The Gentlewoman was very sorrowful, when she vnderstoode that Seignior Philiberto had bent his Loue vpon sutch one, as would not consente to that requeste, and mutch lesse would render rest vnto hys myseryes, and therefore enforced hir selfe to moue that Foolyshe Fantasye out of his head. But he beyng already resolued in thys myshappe, and the same perceyued by her in the ende she sayde: “To the intente sir that you may not thynke that I doe meane to excuse the Satysfactyon of my promyse, make youre Letters, and of my Fayth I wil delyuer them. And albeyt I knowe verye well what bee the Honoures and Glorye of that Pylgryme, yet I wyll render to you agayne the true aunswere of hir speache whereby you maye consider the gayne you are lyke to make, by pursuing a Woman (although faire) of so small desert.” The Gentleman fayled not to gyue her heartye Thankes, prayinge hir to tarry vntyll hee had written his letters: whereunto she most willingly obeyed. He then in his chaumber, began to fantasie a hundred hundred matters to write vnto his Mistresse, and after he had fixed theym in minde tooke Incke and Paper writing as followeth.

The Letters of Seignior Philiberto of Virle, to Mistresse Zelia of Montcall.

“The passion extreeme which I endure, (Madame) through the feruent loue I beare you, is sutch, as besides that I am assured of the little affection that resteth in you towards me agayne, in respect of that incredible seruitude which my desire is ready to employ, I haue no power to commaunde my force, ne yet to rid my selfe from my vowed deuotion and will to your incomparable beauty, although euen from the beginning I felt the pricks of the mortall shot which now torments my mynde. Alas, I do not know vnder what influence I am borne, nor what Fate doth guide my yeares, sith I doe perceyue that heauen, and loue, and hir whom alone I honor, doe confirme themselues with one assent to seeke myne ouerthrow. Alas, I thinke that all the powers aboue conspired together, to make me be the faythfull man, and perpetuall 167seruaunt of you my mistresse deare, to whom alone, I yelde my heart afflicted as it is, and the ioy of hidden thoughts noursed in my minde, by the contemplation and remembraunce of your excellent and perfect graces, whereof, if I be not fauored, I waight for death, from whych euen now I fly: not for feare of that whych she can doe, or of the vgly shape which I conceyue to be in hir, but rather to confirme my life, this Body for instrument to exercise the myndes conceypts for doinge your Commaundements, which Body I greatly feare shall proue the vnworthy cruelty, both of your gentle nouriture, and of those graces which Dame Nature most aboundantly hath powred in you. Be sure Madame that you shall shortlye see the Ende of him, which attendeth yet to beare so mutch as in him doeth lye, the vehement loue into an other world, which maketh me to pray you to haue pity on him, who (attending the rest and final sentence of his Death or Lyfe) doth humbly kisse your white and delicate handes, beseeching God to giue to you like ioy as his is, who desireth to be,

Wholy yours or not to be at all

Philiberto of Virle.” 

The Letter written, closed and sealed, he deliuered to his neighbour, who promysed hym agayne to bryng him answere at Night. Thus this Messenger went hir way, leauing this pore languishyng Gentlemen hoping against hope, and fayning by and by some ioy and pleasure, wherein he bained himself with great contented minde. Then sodaynly he called againe vnto remembraunce, the cruelty and inciuility of Zilia, which shewed before his eyes so many kindes of Death, as tymes he thought vpon the same, thinking that he saw the choler wherewith his little curteous mistresse furiously did intertaine the messenger, who findinge Zilia comming forth of a garden adioining to her house, and hauing saluted her, and receiued like curteous salutation would haue framed hir talke, by honest excuse in the vnsemely charge and message: to hir vnto whom she was sent, and for some ease to the pore gentleman which approched nearer death than life. But Zilia break of hir talke saying: “I maruell mutch Gentle neighbor to see you heere at this time of the day, knowing your honest custome is to let passe no minute of the tyme, except it be emploied in some vertuous 168exercise.” “Mistresse” answered the messanger, “I thank you for the good opinion you haue of me, and doe pray you to continue the same. For I do assure you that nothinge vayne or of lyttle effect hath made me slacke my businesse at this time, which me think I do not forslow, when I inforce my selfe to take pitye and mercy vpon the afflicted and the substaunce thereof I woulde disclose, if I feared not to offend you, and break the loue which of long tyme betweene vs two hath ben frequented.” “I know not” (said Zilia) “whereunto your words do tend, althoughe my Hearte doth throbbe, and minde doth moue to make mee thinke your purposed talke to bee of none other effecte, than to say a thing which may redound to the preiudice of myne honour. Wherefore I pray you do not disclose what shall be contrary, (be it neuer so little) to the duety of Dames of our Degree.” “Mystresse” sayd the Neighboure, “I suppose that the lyttle Lykelihoode touchyng in you the thinge for the helpe whereof I come, hath made you feele some passion, contrary to the greefe of him that indures so mutch for your sake. Vnto whome without feare of your dyspleasure, I gaue my Faithe in Pledge to beare this Letter.” In saying so, she drewe the same out of hir Bosome, and presentyng it to cruell Silia, shee sayde: “I beseeche you to thynke that I am not ignoraunt of the evyll wherewyth the Lorde of Virle is affected, who wrote these letters. I promysed him the duety of a Messanger towards you: and so constrayned by promyse I could doe no lesse, than to delyuer you that which hee doeth sende, with Seruyce sutch as shall endure for euer, or yf it shall please you to accept him for sutch a one as hee desireth to be. For my parte I onelye praye you to reade the Contentes, and accordynglye to gyue mee Aunswere: for my Fayth is no further bounde, but trustelye to report to hym the thinge whereuppon you shall bee resolued.” Zilia which was not wonte to receyue very ofte sutch Ambassades, at the firste was in mind to breake the Letters, and to retourne the Messanger wythout aunswere to hir shame. But in the Ende takyng Heart, and chaunging hir affectyon, she red the Letters not without shewing some very great alteration outwardely, which declared the meanynge of hir thought that diuersly did stryue wythin hir mynde: for sodaynly shee 169chaunged her Coloure twyce or thryce, nowe waxing pale lyke the increasynge Moone Eclypsed by the Sunne, when shee feeleth a certayne darkenynge of hir borowed Lyghte, then the Vermylyon and coloured Taynte came into hir Face agayne, wyth no lesse hewe than the blomed Rose newelye budded forthe, whych Encreased halfe so mutch agayne, the excellencye of that wherewyth Nature had indued hir. And then she paused a whyle. Notwythstandynge, after that shee had red, and red agayne hir Louer’s letter, not able to dissemble hir foolishe anger which vexed hir heart, shee sayde vnto the mistresse messanger: “I would not haue thought that you, being a woman of good fame would (by abusinge your duety,) haue bene the ambassador of a thing so vncomely for your Estate, and the house where of you come, and towards me which neuer was sutch one (ne yet pretend to be.) And trust me it is the loue I beare you, which shall for this tyme make me dissemble what I thincke, reseruinge in silence, that whych (had it come from an other) I would haue published to the great dishonour of hir that maketh so little accoumpt of my chastity. Let it suffice therefore in tyme to come for you to thinke and beleue, that I am chaste and honest: and to aduertise the Lord of Virle to proceede no further in his sute: for rather will I dy, than agree to the least poynct of that which hee desires of mee. And that he may knowe the same, be well assured that hee shall take his leaue of that priuate talke which sometimes I vsed with him to my great dishonor, as far as I can see. Get you home therefore, and if you loue your credit so mutch, as you see me curious of my chastity, I beseech you vse no further talke of hym, whom I hate so mutch, as his folly is excessiue, for I do little esteeme the amorous Toyes and fayned passions, whereunto sutch louinge fooles doe suffer themselues to be caried headlong.” The messenger ashamed to heare hir selfe thus pinched to the quicke, aunswered hir very quietly without mouing of hir pacience: “I pray to God (mistresse) that he may recouer the different disease al most incurable in eyther of you twayne, the same being so vehement, as altered into a phrenesie, maketh you in this wyse, incapable of reason.” Finishing these wordes she tooke hir leaue of Zilia, and arriued to the Louer’s house, she founde him 170lying vpon his bed, rather dead than a liue: who seeing his neyghbor returned backe agayne, with Face so sadde, not tarying for the aunswere which she was about to make, he began to say: “Ah infortunate Gentleman, thou payest wel the vsury of thy pleasures past when thou diddest lyue at lyberty, free from those trauayles which now do put thee to death, without suffering thee to dy. Oh happy, and more than happy had I ben, if inconstant Fortune had not deuised this treason, wherein I am surprised and caught, and yet no raunsome can redeeme from prison, but the most miserable death that euer poore louer suffred. Ah Mistresse, I knowe well that Zilia esteemeth not my Letters, ne yet regardeth my loue, I confesse that I haue done you wrong by thus abusing your honest amity, for the solace of my payne. Ah fickle loue, what foole is hee which doth commit hymselfe to the rage and fury of the Waues of thy foming and tempestuous Seas? Alas I am entred in, with great, and gladsome cheere, through the glistering shew before myne eyes of the faynt shining Sunne beames, whereunto as soone as I made sayle, the same denied me light of purpose to thrust me forth into a thousand winds, tempests, and raging stormes of Rayne. By meanes whereof I see no meane at all to hope for end of my mishaps: and mutche lesse the shipwracke that sodainely may rid me from this daunger more intollerable, than if I were ouerwhelmed wythin the bottomlesse depth of the mayne Ocean. Ah deceyuer and wily Souldiour, why hast thou made me enterprise the voyage farre of from thy solitudes and Wildernesse, to geue me ouer in the middest of my necessity? Is this thy maner towards them which franckly followe thy tract, and pleasauntly subdue themselues to thy trayterous follies? At least wyse if I sawe some hope of health would indure without complaynt thereof: yea, and it were a more daungerous tempest. But O good God, what is he of whom I speake? Of whom do I attend for solace and releefe? Of him truely which is borne for the ouerthrow of men. Of whom hope I for health? Of the most noysom poyson that euer was mingled with the subtilest druggs that euer were. Whom shall I take to be my Patron? He which is in ambush traiterously to catch me, that he may martir me worsse than he hath done before. Ah cruell Dame, that measurest 171so euill, the good will of him that neuer purposed to trespasse the least of thy commaundements. Ah, that thy beauty should finde a Subiect so stubborne in thee, to torment them that loue and honor thee. O maigre and vnkinde recompence, to expell good seruaunts that be affectionate to a seruice so iust and honest. Ah Basiliske, coloured ouer with pleasure and swetnesse, how hath thy sight dispersed his poyson throughout mine heart? At least wise if I had some drugge to repell thy force, I should liue at ease, and that without this sute and trouble. But I feele and proue that this sentence is more than true:

No physicke hearbes the griefe of loue can cure,

Ne yet no drugge that payne can well assure.

Alas, the seare cloath will not serue, to tent the wound the time shall be but lost, to launch the sore, and to salue the same it breeds myne ouerthrow. To be short, any dressing can not auayle, except the hand of hir alone which gaue the wounde. I woulde to God shee sawe the bottome of my heart, and viewed the Closet of my mynde, that shee might iudge of my firme fayth and know the wrong she doth me by hir rigor and froward will. But O vnhappy man, I feele that she is so resolued in obstinate mynde, as hir rest seemeth only to depend vpon my payne, hir ease vpon my griefe, and hir ioy vpon my sadnesse.” And saying so, began straungly to weepe, and sighing betwene, lamented, in so mutch as, the mistresse messaunger not able to abide the griefe and paynefull trauayle wherein shee saw the poore gentleman wrapped, went home to hir house: notwithstanding she told afterward the whole successe of his loue to a Gentleman, the friend of Philiberto. Now this Gentleman was a companion in armes to the Lorde of Virle, and a very familyar Freend of his, that went about by all meanes to put away those foolishe, and Franticke conceypts out of his fansie, but hee profited as mutch by his endeuour, as the passionate gayned by his heauines: who determining to dye, yelded so mutch to care and grief, as he fell into a greeuous sicknes, which both hindred him from sleepe, and also his Appetite to eate and drinke, geuing himselfe to muse vppon his follies, and fansied dreames, without hearing or admitting any man to speake 172vnto hym. And if perchaunce hee hearkened to the persuasions of his frends, he ceassed not his complaynt, bewayling the cruelty of one, whom he named not. The Phisitians round about were sought for, and they coulde geue no iudgement of his malady (neyther for all the Signes they saw, or any inspection of his Vrine, or touching of his pulse) but sayd that it was melancholie humor distilling from the Brayne, that caused the alteration of his sense: howbeit their Arte and knowledge were void of skil to evacuate the grosse Bloud that was congeled of his disease. And therefore dispayryng of his health, with hands full of Money, they gaue him ouer. Which his friend and Companion perceiuing, maruellous sorry for his affliction he ceased not to practise all that he could by Letters, gifts, promises and complaynts to procure Zilia to visite her pacient. For hee was assured that her onely presence was able to recouer him. But the cruell woman excused hir self that she was a Widow and that it shoulde bee vnseemely for one of hir degree (of intente) to visite a Gentleman, whose Parentage and Alliance she knew not. The soliciter of the Lord of Virle his health, seeing how lyttle hys prayers auailed to his implacable gryefe could not tell to what Sainct he might vow himself for Counsell, in the ende resolued to sollicite hir again that hadde done the first Message, that she myght eftsons deuise some meanes to bryng them to speake togither. And fynding hir for hys purpose, thus he sayed vnto hir: “Mystresse I maruell mutch that you make so little accompt of the pore lorde of Virle who lyeth in his Bedde attending for Death. Alas, if euer pitty had place in Woman’s heart, I beseech you to gyue your ayde to help him, the meane of whose recouery, is not ignoraunt vnto you.” “God is my witnesse” (quod she) “what trauaile my heart is willing to vndertake to helpe that Gentleman, but in things impossible, it is not in man to determine, or rest assured iudgement. I wil go vnto him and comfort hym so well as I can, that peraduenture my Promyses may ease some part of his payne: and afterward we wil at leysure better consider, what is best for vs to do.” Herevppon they wente together to see the Pacient, that beganne to looke more chearefull than he dyd before: who seeing the Gentlewoman, said vnto hir: “Ah mistres, I would to God I had neuer 173proued your fidelity, then had I not felt the passing cruell Heart of hir, that esteemeth more hir honour to practise rigour and tyranny than with gentlenesse to maintaine the Lyfe of a pore feeble knight.” “Sir,” (said she,) “be of good cheare, doe not thus torment your selfe: for I trust to gyue you remedy betwene thys and to morrowe, and wyll doe myne endeuor to cause you to speake with hir, vppon whome wrongfully perchaunce you doe complayne, and who dare not come vnto you, least ill speakers conceiue occasion of suspicion, who wil make the report more slaunderous, then remedie for the cause of your disease.” “Ah” (sayd the pacient) “howe ioyefull and pleasaunt is your talke? I see wel that you desire my health, and for that purpose would haue me drinke those liquors, which superficiallay appeare to bee sweete, which afterwardes may make my lyfe a hundred tymes more faint and feeble than now it is.” “Be you there,” sayed she? “And I sweare vnto you by my faith not to faile to keepe my promyse, to cause you speake alone with mistresse Zilia.” “Alas, mistresse” sayd the louer, “I aske no more at your haudes, that I may heare with myne own eares the last sentence of hope or defiance.” “Well put your trust in me,” sayd she, “and take no thought but for your health. For I am assured ere it be longe, to cause hir to come vnto you, and then you shall see whether, my diligence shall aunswere the effect of myne attempt.” “Me thinke already” (quod he) “that sicknesse is not able to stay me from going to hir that is the cause, sith her onely remembraunce hath no lesse force in mee, than the clearnesse of the Sun beames to euaporate the thicknesse of the morning mistes.” With that the Gentlewoman tooke her leaue of hym, and went home attendynge oportunity to speake to Zilia, whome two or three Dayes after she mette at Church, and they two beyng alone togither in a Chapell, she sayd vnto hir with fayned Teares, forced from her Eyes, and sending forth a Cloude of sighes, these woordes: “Madame, I nothing doubt at al, but the last Letters which I brought you, made you conceiue some il opinion of me, which I do guesse by the frownyng countenance that euer sithens you haue borne me. But when you shall knowe the hurte which it hath done, I thinke you wyll not be so harde, and voyde of pitye, 174but with pacyence hearken that whych I shall saye, and therewythall bee moued to pitye the state of a pore Gentleman, who by your meanes is in the pangs of death.” Zilia, which til then neuer regarded the payne and sicknesse of the pacient, began to sorrow, with sutch passion, as not to graunt him further fauor than he had already receiued, but to finde some means to ease him of hys gryefe, and then to gyue hym ouer for euer. And therefore she sayd vnto hir neyghbor: “My good frend, I thought that all these sutes had beene forgotten, vntill the other day a certen Gentleman praied me to go see the Lord of Virle, who told me as you do now, that he was in great daunger. And now vnderstanding by you that he waxeth worsse, and worsse, I will be ruled, being well assured of your honesty and vertue, and that you will not aduise me to any thing that shall be hurtfull to myne honour. And when you haue done what you can, you shal winne of me so mutch as nothinge, and geeue no ease to him at all that wrongfully playneth of my cruelty. For I purpose not to do any priuate fact with him, but that which shall be meete for an honest Gentlewoman, and sutch as a faythfull tutor of hir chastity, may graunt to an honest and vertuous Gentleman.” “His desire is none other” (sayd the gentlewoman) “for he craueth but your presence, to let you wit by word, that he is ready to do the thing you shall commaund him.” “Alas” sayde Zilia, “it is impossible for me to go to hym without suspition, which the common people will lightly conceiue of sutch light and familiar Behauiour. And rather would I dy than aduenture mine honor hitherto conserued wyth great seuerity and diligence. And yet sith you say, that he is in extremes of death, for your sake, I wil not stick to heare him speake.” “I thanke you” (sayd the Messanger) “for the good wil you beare me and for the help you promise vnto the poore passionate Gentleman, whom these newes wil bring on foote againe, and who al the dayes of his life wil do you honor for that good turne.” “Sith it is so (sayd Zilia) to morrow at noone let him come vnto my house, wherein a low chamber, he shall haue leysure to say to mee his mind. But I purpose by God’s help, to suffer him no further than that which I haue already graunted.” “As it shall please you” (sayd hir neighbour) “for 175I craue no more of you but that only fauour, which as a Messanger of good Newes, I go to shew hym, recommending my selfe in the meane tyme to your commaunde.” And then she went vnto the pacient, whom she found walkinge vp and downe the Chaumber, indifferent lusty of his person, and of colour meetely freshe for the tyme hee left his Bed.” Now when sir Philiberto saw the Messanger, hee sayde vnto hir: “And how now mystresse, what Newes? Is Zilia so stubborne as shee was wont to be?” “You may see hir” (sayd she) “if to morrowe at Noone you haue the heart to aduenture to goe vnto hir house.” “Is it possible” (sayd hee embracing hir) “that you haue procured my delyueraunce from the misery, wherewith I haue so long tyme beene affected? Ah trusty and assured frende, all the dayes of my lyfe I wil remember that pleasure, and benefite, and by acknowledging of the same, shall be ready to render like, when you please to commaunde, or els let me be counted the most vncurteous Gentleman that euer made profession of loue: I will go by God’s help to see mistresse Zilia, with intent to endure all vexation, wherewith Dame Fortune shall afflict me, protesting to vex my selfe no more, although I see my wished hap otherwise to ende than my desert requireth. But yet agaynst Fortune to contend, is to warre agaynst my selfe, whereof the Victory can be but daungerous.” Thus he passed all the day, which seemed to last a thousand years to hym, that thought to receyue some good intertaynment of hys Lady, in whose Bonds hee was catched before he thought that Woman’s malice could so farre exceede, or display hir venomous Sting. And truly that man is voyde of Sense, whych suffreth hym selfe so fondly to bee charmed, sith the pearill of others before time abused, ought to serue hym for exaumple. Women be vnto mankinde a greate confusion, and vnwares for want of hys due foresight, it doth suffer it selfe to bee bounde and taken captiue by the very thing which hath no being to worke effect, but by free will. Which Inchauntment of woman’s beauty, being to men a pleasaunt displeasure, I thinke to bee decked with that drawinge vertue, and allurement, for chastising of their sinnes who once fed and bayted with their fading fauour and poysoned sweetnesse, forget their owne perfection, and nousled in 176their foolishe Fansies, they seeke Felicity, and soueraygne delight, in the matter wherein doth lie the summe of their vnhaps. Semblaly the vertuous and shamefaste dames, haue not the eyes of their minde so blindfolde, but that they see whereunto those francke seruices, those disloyal Faythes and Vyces coloured and stuffed with exterior vertue, doe tende: Who doubt not also but sutch louers do imitate the Scorpion, whose Venome lieth in his Tayle, the ende of which is loue beinge the ruine of good Renoume, and the Decay of former vertues. For which cause the heauens, the Frende of their sexe, haue giuen them a prouidence, which those Gentle, vnfauoured louers terme to be rigor, thereby to proue the deserts of Suters, aswell for their great contentation and prayse, as for the rest of them that do them seruice. Howbeit this iust and modest prouidence, that cruel Gentlewoman practised not in hir louer, the Lord of Virle, who was so humble a seruaunt of his vnkinde mistresse, as his obedience redounded to his great mishap, and folly, as manifestly may appeare by that whych followeth. Sir Philiberto then thinking to haue gayned mutch by hauing made promise, liberally to speake to his Lady, went vnto hir at the appoyncted hour, so well contented truely of that grace, as all the vnkindnesse past was quite forgot. Now being come to the Lodging of Mistresse Zilia, he found hir in the deuised place with one of hir maydes attending vpon hir. When she saw him, after a little cold entertaynment, she began to say vnto him with fayned ioy, that neuer mooued hir heart, these woordes: “Now sir, I see that your late sicknesse was not so straunge as I was geeuen to vnderstand, for the good state wherein I see you presently to be, which from henceforth shall make mee beleue, that the passions of Men endure so long as the cause of their affections continue within their fansies, mutch like vnto looking Glasses, which albeit they make the equality or excesse of things represented to appeare, yet when the thing seene doth passe, and vanishe away, the formes also do voyde out of remembraunce, resembling the wynde that lightly whorleth to and fro through the plane of some deepe valley.” “Ah madame” aunswered he, “how easie a matter it is for the griefelesse person to counterfayt both ioy and dissimulation in one very thing, which not onely 177may forget the conceipt that mooueth his affections, but the obiect must continually remayne in him, as paynted, and grauen in his minde. Which truely as you say is a looking Glasse, not sutch one for all that, as the counterfayted apparaunce of represented formes hath like vigor in it, that the first and true idees and shapes can so soone vanish without leauiug most perfect impression of sutch formes within the minde of him, that liueth vpon their onely remembraunce. In this mirror then (which by reason of the hidden force I may well say to bee ardent and burning) haue I looked so well as I can, thereby to form the sustentation of my good hap. But the imagined Shape not able to support sutch perfection, hath made the rest of the body to fayle (weakned through the mindes passions) in sutch wise as if the hope to recouer this better parte halfe lost, had not cured both, the whole decay of the one had followed, by thinking to giue some accomplishment in the other. And if you see me Madame, attayne to some good state, impute the same I beseech you, to the good will and fauor which I receiue by seeing you in a priuate place, wherein I conceyue greater ioy than euer I did, to say vnto you the thing which you would not beleeue, by woords at other times proceeding from my mouth, ne yet by aduertisement signified in my written letters. Notwithstanding I think that my Martirdome is known to bee sutch as euery man may perceyue that the Summe of my desire is onely to serue and obey you, for so mutch as I can receyue no greater comforte, than to be commaunded to make repayre to you, to let you know that I am whole (although giuen ouer by Phisitians) when you vouchsafe to employ me in your seruice, and thinke my selfe raysed vp agayne from one hundred thousand deathes at once, when it shall please you to haue pitty vpon the griefe and passion, that I endure. Alas, what causeth my mishap, that the heauenly beauty of yours should make proofe of a cruelty so great? Haue you decreed Madame thus to torment mee poore Gentleman that am ready to sacrifice myselfe in your seruice, when you shall impart some fauour of your good grace? Do you thinke that my passions be dissembled? Alacke, alacke, the teares which I haue shed, the losse of lust to eate and drinke, the weary passed nights, the longe contriued sleepelesse tyme the 178restlesse turmoyle of my consumed corps may wel assure that my loyall heart is of better merite than you esteeme.” Then seeing hir to fixe hir eyes vpon the ground, and thinkinge that hee had already wonne hir, he reinforced his humble Speache, and Sighing at fits betwene, not sparinge the Teares, whych trickled downe alongs hys Face, he prosecuted his Tale as followeth: “Ah fayre amongs the fayrest, woulde you blot that surpassing Beauty with a cruelty so furious, as to cause the death of him which loueth you better than himselfe? Ah my withered eyes, which hitherto haue bene serued with two liuely springs to expresse the hidden griefs within the heart, if your vnhap be sutch that the only Mistresse of your contemplations, and cause of your driery teares, doe force the Humor to encrease, which hitherto in sutch wise hath emptied my Brayne, as there is no more in mee to moisten your drouth, I am content to endure al extremity, vntil my heart shal feele the last Pangue, that depriueth yee of nourishment, and me of mine affected Ioy.” The Gentlewoman, whether shee was weary of that Oration, or rather doubted that in the end hir chastity would receue some assault through the dismeasured passion which she saw to continue in him, answered with rigorous words: “You haue talked, and written inough, you haue indifferently well solicited hir, whych is throughly resolued in former minde, to keepe hir honor in that worthy reputation of degree, wherein she maynetayneth the same amongs the best. I haue hitherto suffered you to abuse my patience, and haue shewed that familiarity which they deserue not that go about leudly to assayle the chastity of those Women that patiently gieue them eare, for the opinion they haue conceiued of the shadowing vertues of like foolishe Suters. I now doe see that all your woordes doe tend to beguile mee, and to depriue mee of that you cannot giue mee: Which shall bee a warning for me henceforth, more wisely to looke about my businesse, and more warely to shunne the Charmes of sutch as you bee, to the ende that I by bending mine open eares, be not surprised, and ouercome wyth your enchaunted Speaches. I pray you then for conclusion, that I heare no more hereof, neyther from you, nor yet from the Ambassadour that commeth from you. For I neyther will, ne yet pretend to depart to you any 179other fauour than that which I haue enlarged for your comfort: but rather doe protest, that so longe as you abide in this Countrey, I will neyther goe forth in streate, nor suffer any Gentleman to haue accesse into this place except he be my neare Kinsman. Thus for your importunat sute, I will chastise my light consent, for harkeninge vnto you in those requests, which duty and Womanhoode ought not to suffre. And if you do proceede in these your follies, I will seeke redresse according to your desert, which till now I haue deferred, thinking that time would haue put out the ardent heate of your rash, and wanton youth.” The infortunate Lord of Virle, hearing this sharpe sentence, remayned long time without speach, so astonned as if he had bene falne from the Clouds. In the ende for al his despayre he replyed to Zilia with Countenaunce indifferent merry: “Sith it is so madame, that you take from mee all hope to be your perpetuall Seruaunt, and that without other comfort or contentation I must nedes depart your presence, neuer (perchaunce) hereafter to speake vnto you againe, be not yet so squeimish of your beauty, and so cruell towards your languishing louer, as to deny him a kisse for pledge of his last farewell. I demaund nothing here in secret, but that honestly you may openly performe. It is al that I doe craue at your handes in recompence of the trauayles, paynes, and afflictions suffred for your sake.” The malitious dame full of rancor, and spitefull rage sayd vnto him: “I shall see by and by sir, if the loue which you vaunt to beare mee, be so vehement as you seeme to make it.” “Ah Madame” (sayd the vnaduised Louer) “commaunde only, and you shal see with what deuotion I will performe your will, were it that it should cost me the price of my proper life.” “You shall haue” (quod she) “the kisse which you require of me if you will make promise, and sweare by the fayth of a Gentleman, to do the thinge that I shall commaund, without fraude, couin or other delay.” “Madame” (sayd the ouer wilful louer) “I take God to witnesse that of the thing which you shall commaunde I will not leaue one iote vndone, but it shall bee executed to the vttermost of your request and will.” She hearing him sweare with so good affection, sayd vnto him smiling: “Now then vpon your oth which I beleue, and being assured of your Vertue and Noble 180nature, I will also performe and keepe my promise.” And saying so, shee Embraced and kissed him very louingly. The poore Gentleman not knowing how dearely hee had bought that disfauorable curtesie, and bitter sweetenesse, helde hir a while betwene his armes, doubling kisse vppon kisse, with sutch Pleasure, as his soule thought to fly vp to the heauens being inspired with that impoysoned Baulme which hee sucked in the sweete and sugred breath of his cruel mistresse: who vndoing hir selfe out of his armes, sayde vnto him: “Sith that I haue made the first disclosure both of the promise and of the effect, it behooueth that you performe the rest, for the full accomplyshment of the same.” “Come on hardily” (sayeth hee) “and God knoweth how spedily you shal be obeyed.” “I wil then” (quod shee) “and commaund you vpon your promysed faith that from this present time, vntyl the space of three yeres be expyred, you speake to no lyuing person for any thing that shall happen vnto you, nor yet expresse by tonge, by sound of word or speache what thing you wante or els desyre, whych requeste if you do breake, I will neuer truste liuing man for youre sake, but wil publyshe your fame to bee villanous, and your person periured, and a promyse breaker.” I leaue for you to think whether this vnhappy louer were amazed or not, to heare a Commaundment so vniust, and therewithall the difficulty for the performance. Notwithstanding he was so stoute of hearte, and so religious an obseruer of his Othe as euen at that very instant he began to do the part which she had commaunded, playing at Mumchaunce, and vsing other signes, for doing of his duetye, accordynge to hir demaund. Thus after his ryghte humble reuerence made vnto hir, he went home, where faining that hee had lost his speach by meanes of a Catarre or reume which distilled from his brayne, he determined to forsake his Countrey vntill his tyme of penance was rune out. Wherfore setting staye in hys affayres, and prouydyng for his trayne, he made him ready to depart. Notwithstanding, he wrot a Letter vnto Zilia, before he toke hys iovrney into Fraunce, that in olde tyme hadde ben the Solace and refuge of the miserable, as wel for the pleasantnes and temperature of the ayre, the great wealth and the aboundance of al thynges, as for the curtesye, gentlenes and 181familyarity of the people: wherein that region may compare with any other nation vpon the earth. Now the Letter of Philiberto, fell into the hands of lady Zilia, by meanes of hys Page instructed for that purpose: who aduertised hir of the departure of his mayster, and of the despaire wherein hee was. Whereof shee was somewhat sory, and offended: But yet puttinge on hir Aunciente seuerytye, tooke theLetters, and breakinge the Seale, found that which followeth.

The very euill that causeth mine anoy

The matter is that breedes to me my ioy,

Which doth my wofull heart full sore displease,

And yet my hap and hard yll lucke doth ease.

I hope one day when I am franke and free,

To make thee do the thing that pleaseth mee,

Whereby gayne I shall, some pleasaunt gladnesse,

To supply mine vndeserued sadnesse,

The like whereof no mortall Dame can giue

To louing man that heere on earth doth lyue.

This great good turne which I on thee pretende,

Of my Conceites the full desired ende,

Proceedes from thee (O cruell mystresse myne)

Whose froward heart hath made mee to resigne

The full effect of all my liberty,

(To please and ease thy fonde fickle fansy)

My vse of speache in silence to remayne:

To euery wight a double hellishe payne.

Whose fayth hadst thou not wickedly abusde

No stresse of payne for thee had bene refusde,

Who was to thee a trusty seruaunt sure,

And for thy sake all daungers would endure.

For which thou hast defaced thy good name,

And thereunto procurde eternall shame.

¶ That roaring tempest huge which thou hast made me felt,

The raging stormes whereof, well neere my heart hath swelt

By paineful pangs: whose waltering waues by troubled Skies,

And thousand blasts of winde that in those Seas do ryse

182Do promise shipwracke sure of that thy sayling Barke,

When after weather cleare doth rise some Tempest darke.

For eyther I or thou which art of Tyger’s kinde,

In that great raging gulfe some daunger sure shalt finde,

Of that thy nature rude the dest’nies en’mies bee,

And thy great ouerthrow full well they do foresee.

The heauens vnto my estate no doubt great friendship shoe,

And do seeke wayes to ende, and finish all my woe.

This penaunce which I beare by yelding to thy hest

Great store of ioyes shall heape, and bring my mynde to rest.

And when I am at ease amids my pleasaunt happes,

Then shall I see thee fall, and snarld in Fortune’s trappes.

Then shall I see thee ban and cursse the wicked time,

Wherin thou madest me gulp such draught of poysoned wine.

Of which thy mortall cup, I am the offerd wight,

A vowed sacrifice to that thy cruell spight.

Wherefore my hoping heart doth hope to see the day,

That thou for silence now to me shalt be the pray.

¶ O Blessed God most iust, whose worthy laude and prayse

With vttered speach in Skies a loft I dare not once to rayse,

And may not well pronounce and speak what suffrance I sustain,

Ne yet what death I do indure, whiles I in lyfe remayne,

Take vengeance on that traytresse rude, afflict hir corps with woe

Thy holy arme redresse hir fault, that she no more do soe:

My reason hath not so farre strayed but I may hope and trust

To see hir for hir wickednes, be whipt with plague most iust.

In the meane while great heauines my sence and soule doth bite,

And shaking feuer vex my corps for griefe of hir despite.

My mynde now set at liberty from thee (O cruell Dame)

Doth giue defiaunce to thy wrath, and to thy cursed name,

Proclayming mortal warre on thee vntill my tongue vntide,

Shall ioy to speak to Zilia fast weping by my side.

The heauens forbid that causlesse wrong abroad shold make his vaunt,

Or that an vndeserued death forgetfull tombe should haunt:

But that in written booke and verse their names shold euer liue

And eke their wicked deedes shold dy, and vertues stil reuiue.

183So shall the pride and glory both, of hir be punisht right,

By length of yeares, and tract of time. And I by vertues might,

Full recompence thereby shal haue and stand still in good Fame,

And she like caitif wretch shall liue, to hir long lasting shame.

Whose fond regard of beautie’s grace, contemned hath the force

Of my true loue full fixt in hir: hir heart voide of remorse,

Esteemed it selfe right foolishly and me abused still,

Vsurping my good honest fayth and credite at hir will.

Whose loyall faith doth rest in soule, and therein stil shal bide,

Vntill in filthy stincking graue the earth my corps shall hide.

Then shal that soule fraught with that faith, to heuens make his repaire

And rest among the heuenly rout, bedect with sacred aire.

And thou for thy great cruelty, as God aboue doth know,

With ruful voice shalt wepe and wayle for thy gret ouerthrow,

And when thou woldst fayn purge thy self for that thy wretched dede

No kindnes shal to the be done, extreme shal be thy mede:

And where my tongue doth want his wil, thy mischiefe to display,

My hand and penne supplies the place, and shall do so alway.

For so thou hast constraynd the same by force of thy behest:

In silence still my tongue to keepe, t’accomplishe thy request.

Adieu, farewell my tormenter, thy frend that is full mute,

Doth bid thee farewell once agayne, and so hee ends his sute.

He that liueth only to be reuenged of thy cruelty,

Philiberto of Virle.

Zilia lyke a disdaynefull Dame, made but a Iest at theese Letters and Complayntes of the infortunate Louer, saying that she was very well content with his Seruice: and that when he should perfourme the tyme of his probation, shee shoulde see if he were worthy to bee admitted into the Felowship of theym which had made sufficient proofe of the Order, and Rule of Loue. In the meane tyme Philiberto rode by great Iourneys (as we haue sayde before) towardes the goodly, and pleasaunte countrey of Fraunce, wherein Charles the Seuenth that tyme did raygne, who miraculously (But gieue the Frencheman leaue to flatter, and speake well of hys owne Countrey, accordinge to the flatteringe, and vauntinge Nature of that Nation) chased the Englishemen out of hys 184Landes, and Auncient Patrimony in the yeare of our Lord 1451. This Kynge had hys Campe then Warrefaringe in Gascoine, whose Lucke was so Fortunate as hee expelled hys Ennymies, and left no Place for theym to Fortyfy there, whych Incouraged the Kynge to followe that good Occasion, and by Prosecutinge hys Victoryous Fortune, to Profligate out of Normandie, and to dispatch himselfe of that Ennemy, into whose Handes, and seruitude the Countrey of Guyene was ryghtly delyuered, and Victoryously wonne, and gotten by the Englishmen. The kynge then beeinge in hys Campe in Normandie, the Piedmount Gentleman the Lorde of Virle aforesayde, Repayred thereunto to Serue hym in hys Person, where hee was well knowne of some Captaynes whych had seene hym at other tymes, and in place where worthy Gentlemen are wonte to Frequente, and in the Duke of Sauoyes Courte, whych the Frenchemen dyd very mutch Haunte, because the Earle of Piedmont that then was Duke of Sauoy had Marryed Iolanta, the seconde daughter of Charles the Seuenth. Theese Gentlemen of Fraunce were very mutch sory for the Mysfortune of the Lord of Virle, and knowinge hym to be one of the Brauest, and Lustyest Men of Armes that was in his tyme within the Country of Piedmont, presented him before the King, commending vnto hys grace the vertue, gentlenesse, and valiaunce of the man of Warre: who after hee had done his reuerence accordinge to hys duety, whych hee knew ful wel to doe, declared vnto him by signes that he was come for none other intent, but in those Warres to serue hys Maiestye: whom the King heard and thankefully receyued assuryng himself and promising very mutch of the dumbe Gentleman for respect of his personage which was comely and wel proportioned, and therefore represented some Force and greate Dexterity: and that whych made the king the better to fantasie the Gentleman, was the reporte of so many worthy men which extolled euen to the heauens the prowesse of the Piedmont knight. Whereof he gaue assured testimony in the assault which the king made to deliuer Roane, the Chyefe Citye and defence of all Normandie, in the year of our Lord 1451. where Philiberto behaued himself so valiantly as he was the first that mounted upon the Wals, and by his Dexterity and inuincyble force, made way to the 185souldiers in the breche, whereby a little while after they entred and sacked the Enemies, dryuing them out of the Citye, and wherein not long before, that is to say 1430. the duke of Somerset caused Ioane the Pucelle to be burnt. The king aduertised of the Seruice of the Dumbe Gentleman, to recompence him according to his desert, and bycause hee knewe hym to bee of a good house, he made him a Gentleman of his Chambre, and gaue him a good pension, promysing him moreouer to continue hys liberality, when he should see him prosecute in time to come, the towardnesse of seruice which he had so haply begon. The dumbe Gentleman thanking the King very humbly, both for the present pryncely reward, and for promise in time to come, lifted vp his hand to heauen as taking God to witnesse of the faith, which inuiolable he promysed to keepe vnto his Prynce: which he did so earnestly, as hardely he had promysed, as well appeared in a Skirmishe betweene the Frrench, and their auncient Enimies the Englysh-Men, on whose side was the valiaunt and hardy Captayne the Lord Talbot, who hath eternized his memory in the victories obtained vpon that People, which sometimes made Europa and Asia to tremble, and appalled the monstruous and Warlike Countrey of Affrica. In this conflycte the Piedmont Knighte combated with the Lorde Talbot, agaynste whome he had so happy successe, as vpon the shock and incountre he ouerthrewe both man and Horse, which caused the discomfiture of the Englishe Men: who after they had horsed agayne their Captain fled amaine, leauing the field bespred with dead Bodyes and bludshed of their Companions. This victory recouered sutch corage and boldnes to the French, as from that tyme forth the Englishmen began with their places and forts to lose also theyr hartes to defend themselues. The king excedingly wel contented wyth the prowesse and valiance of the dumbe Gentleman, gaue him for seruice past the Charge of v.c. men of armes, and indued him with some possessions, attending better fortune to make him vnderstand howe mutch the vertue of valiance ought to be rewarded and cheryshed by Prynces that be aided in their Necessity with the Dylygence of sutch a vertuous and noble Gentleman. In lyke manner when a Prynce hath something good in himself, he can do no lesse but loue and fauor that which 186resembleth himself by Pryncely Conditions, sith the Vertue in what soeuer place it taketh roote, can not chose but produce good fruicte, the vse whereof far surmounts them all which approche the place, where these first seedes of Nobility were throwen. Certaine dayes after the kinge desirous to reioyce his Knights and Captaines that were in his trayne, and desirous to extinguish quite the woefull time which so long space held Fraunce in fearefull silence, caused a triumph of Turney to bee proclaimed within the City of Roane, wherein the Lord of Virle was deemed and esteemed one of the best, whych further did increase in him the good wyl of the kyng, in sutch wyse as he determined to procure his health, and to make him haue his speache againe. For he was verye sorry that a Gentleman so valiant was not able to expresse his minde, which if it might be had in counsel it would serve the state of a commonwealth, so wel as the force and valor of his body had til then serued for defence and recovery of his country. And for that purpose he made Proclamation by sound of Trumpet throughout the prouinces as wel within his own kingdome, as the regions adioyning vpon the same, that who so euer could heale that dumb Gentleman, shoulde haue ten thousand Frankes for recompence. A Man myght then haue seene thousands of Physitians assemble in fielde, not to skirmish with the Englysh men, but to combat for reward in recouery of the pacient’s speache, who begon to make sutch Warre against those ten thousand Frankes, as the kyng was afrayde that the cure of that disease could take no effect: and for that cause ordained furthermore, that whosoeuer would take in hand to heale the dumbe, and did not keepe promyse within a certaine prefixed time, should pay the sayd summe, or for default thereof should pledge his head in gage. A Man myght then haue seene those Phisicke Maysters, aswell beyonde the Mountaynes, as in Fraunce it selfe, retire home againe, bleeding at the Nose, cursing with great impiety their Patrones, Galen, Hypocrates, and Auicen, and blamed with more than reprochful Woordes, the Arte wherewith they fished for honor and richesse. This brute was spred so far, and babblyng Fame had already by mouth of her Trump publyshed the same throughout the most part of the Prouinces, Townes, and Cities neare and farre off to Fraunce, in sutch 187wyse as a Man woulde haue thought that the two young men (which once in the tyme of the Macedonian Warres brought Tydings to Varinius that the king of Macedon was taken by the Consul Paulus Emilius) had ben vagarant and wandering abrode to carry Newes of the king’s edicte for the healing of the Lord of Virle. Which caused that not only the brute of the Proclamation, but also the Credyte and reputatyon wherein the sayd Lord was with the French king arriued euen at Montcal and passed from mouth to mouth, til at length Zilia the principal cause thereof vnderstode the newes, which reioyced hir very mutch, seing the firme Amitie of the dumbe Lord, and the syncere faith of hym in a promise vnworthy to be kept, for so mutch as where Fraude and feare doe rule in Heartes of Men, relygyon of promise, specially the Place of the gyuen Fayth, surrendreth hys force and reuolteth, and is no more bound but to that which by good wyll he woulde obserue. Nowe thoughte shee, thoughte? nay rather shee assured hir selfe, that the Gentleman for all hys wrytten Letter was stil so surprysed wyth hir Loue, and kindled wyth her fire in so ample wyse, as when hee was at Montcall: and therefore determyned to goe to Paris, not for desire shee had to see hir pacient and penetenciarie, but rather for couetise of the ten thousand Francks, wherof already shee thought hir self assured, making good accompt that the dumbe Gentleman when hee should see himself discharged of his promise, for gratifying of hir, would make no stay to speak to the intent she myght beare away both the prayse and Money, whereof all others had failed tyll that tyme. Thus you see that she, whome honest Amitye and long service could lytle induce to compassion and desire to giue some ease vnto hir moste earnest louer, yelded hir selfe to couetous gaine and greadinesse for to encrease hir Rychesse. O cursed hunger of Money, how long wilt thou thus blinde the reason and Sprytes of men? Ah perillous gulfe, how many hast thou ouerwhelmed within thy bottomlesse Throte, whose glory, had it not bene for thee, had surpassed the Clouds, and bene equall with the bryghtnesse of the Sunne, where now they bee obscured wyth the thicknesse of thy fogges and Palpable darknesse. Alas, the fruicts whych thou bryngest forth for all thine outewarde apparance, conduce no felycity to them 188that bee thy possessors, for the dropsey that is hydden in their Mynde, whych maketh them so mutch the more drye, as they drynke ofte in that thirsty Fountaine, is cause of their alteration: and moste miserable is that insaciable desire the Couetous haue to glut their appetite, whych can receiue no contentment. Thys onely Couetousnesse sometimes procured the Death of the great and rych Romane Crassus who through God’s punyshment fell into the Handes of the Persians, for violating and sacking the Temple of God that was in Ierusalem. Sextimuleus burnyng with Avarice and greedynesse of money, dyd once cut of the head of hys Patron and defender Caius Gracchus the Tribune of the People, incyted by the Tirant, which tormenteth the hearts of the couetous. I wil not speake of a good number of other Examples of people of all kyndes, and divers nations, to come again to Zilia. Who forgetting hir virtue, the first ornament and shining quality of hir honest behauiour, feared not the wearines and trauaile of way, to commit her selfe to that danger of losse of honor, and to yeld to the mercy of one, vnto whom she had don so great iniury, as hir conscyence (if shee hadde not lost hir ryghte sence) oughte to haue made hir thinke that hee was not without desire to reuenge the wrong vniustly don vnto him, and specially being in place where she was not known, and he greatly honoured and esteemed, for whose loue that Proclamation and search of Physicke was made and ordained. Zilia then hauing put in order hir affaires at home departed from Montcall, and passing the Mounts, arrived at Paris, in that time when greatest despayre was of the dumbe Knight’s recouery. Beynge arryued, wythin fewe Dayes after she inquyred for them that had the charge to entertayne sutch as came, for the cure of the pacient. “For (sayd she) if ther be any in the world, by whom the knigt may recouer his health, I hope in God that I am she that shal haue the prayse.” Heereof the Commissaries deputed hereunto, were aduertysed, who caused the fayre Physitian to come before them, and asked her if it were she, that would take vppon hir to cure this dumbe Gentleman. To whom shee aunsweared. “My maysters it hath pleased God to reueale vnto me a certayne secrete very proper and meete for the healyng of hys Malady, wherewithal if the pacyent wyll, I hope to make hym 189speake so well, as he dyd these two yeares past and more.” “I suppose, sayd one of the Commissaries, that you be not ignoraunte of the Circumstances of the Kynges Proclamation.” “I knowe ful wel” (quod she) “the Effecte therefore, and therefore doe say vnto you, that I wyll loose my life yf I doe not accomplysh that which I doe promyse so that I may haue Lycence, to tarry wyth hym alone, bycause it is of no lesse importaunce than hys Health.” “It is no maruell,” sayde the Commissary, “consideryng your Beauty, which is sufficient to frame a Newe Tongue in the moste dumbe Person that is vnder the Heauens. And therefore doe your Endeuor, assuring you that you shall doe a great pleasure vnto the King, and besides the prayse you shall gette the good wyll of the dumbe Gentleman, which is the most excellent man of the World and therefore so well recompensed as you shall haue good cause to be contented wyth the kynges Lyberalitye. But (to the intente you be not deceyued) the meanynge of the Edicte is, that within fiftene dayes after you begin the cure, you muste make hym whole, or else to satisfie the Paynes ordayned in the same.” Whereunto she submitted hir selfe, blinded by Auarice and presumption, thinking that she had like power nowe ouer the Lord of Virle, as when she gaue him that sharpe and cruel penance. These Conditions promysed, the Commissaries went to aduertise the Knight, how a gentlewoman of Piedmont was of purpose come into Fraunce to helpe him: whereof he was maruelously astonned. Now he would neuer haue thoughte that Zilia had borne hym so great good wil, as by abasing the pryde of hir Corage, would haue come so farre to ease the griefe of him, whome by sutch greate torments she had so wonderfully persecuted. He thought againe that it was the Gentlewoman his Neighboure, whych sometymes had done hir endeuor to helpe him, and that nowe she had prouoked Zilia to absolue him of his faith, and requite him of hys promise. Musing vpon the diuersitie of these things, and not knowing wherevpon to settle hys iudgment, the deputies commaunded that the Woman Physitian should be admitted to speake with the patient. Which was done and brought in place, the Commissaries presently withdrew themselues. The Lord of Virle seeinge hys Ennemye come before him, whom sometimes hee loued very dearely, iudged by 190and by the cause wherefore she came, that onely Auaryce and greedy desire of gaine had rather procured hir to passe the mountayns trauaile, than due and honest Amitye, wherewith she was double bound through his perseuerance and humble seruice, with whose sight hee was so appalled, as he fared like a shadowe and Image of a deade man. Wherefore callyng to mynd the rigour of his lady, hir inciuility and fonde Commaundement, so longe time to forbidde hys Speach, the Loue which once hee bare hir, with vehement desire to obey hir, sodainly was so cooled and qualyfyed, that loue was turned into hatred, and will to serue hir, into an appetite of reuenge: whereupon he determined to vse that presente Fortune, and to playe his parte wyth hir, vpon whom hee had so foolyshly doted, and to pay hir with that Money wherewyth she made him feele the Fruicts of vnspeakable crueltye, to giue example to fonde and presumptuous dames, how they abuse Gentlemen of sutch Degree whereof the Knyghte was, and that by hauing regarde to the merite of sutch personages, they be not so prodigall of themselues, as to set their honour in sale for vyle reward and filthy mucke: whych was so constantly conserued and defended by this Gentlewoman, agaynst the assaultes of the good grace, beauty, valour, and gentlenesse, of that vertuous and honest suter. And notwithstanding, in these dayes wee see some to resiste the amity of those that loue, for an opynyon of a certayne vertue, which they thinke to be hydden within the corps of excellent beauty, who afterwards do set themselues to sale to hym that giueth most, and offreth greatest reward. Sutch do not deserue to be placed in rank of chast Gentlewomen, of whome they haue no smacke at al, but amongs the throng of strumpets kynde, that haue some sparke and outward shew of loue: for she which loueth money and hunteth after gayne, wyl make no bones, by treason’s trap to betray that vnhappy man, which shall yelde himselfe to hir: hir loue tending to vnsensible things, and sutch in dede, as make the wisest sorte to falsifie their fayth, and sel the ryghte and Equity of their Iudgment. The Lorde of Virle, seeing Zilia then in his company, and almost at his commaundement, fayned as though hee knew hir not, by reason of his small regard and lesse intertaynment shewed vnto hir at hir first comming. Which 191greatly made the poore Gentlewoman to muse. Neuerthelesse she making a vertue of necessity, and seeing hir selfe to bee in that place, from whence shee could not depart, without the losse of hir honor and Lyfe, purposed to proue Fortune, and to committe hir selfe vnto his mercy, for all the mobilytie whych the auncients attribute vnto Fortune. Wherefore shutting fast the doore, shee went vnto the Knight, to whom she spake these words: “And what is the matter (sir knight) that now you make so little accompte of your owne Zilia, who in times past you sayd, had great power and Authorytye ouer you? what is the cause that moueth you hereunto? haue you so soone forgotten hir? Beholde me better, and you shal see hir before you that is able to acquyte you of youre promyse, and therefore prayeth you to pardon hir committed faultes done in tymes past by abusing so cruelly the honest and firme loue which you bare hir. I am she, which through follye and temeritie did stoppe your mouth, and tyed vp your Tongue. Giue me leaue, I beseeche you, to open the same agayne, and to breake the Lyne, whych letteth the liberty of your Speache.” She seeying that the dumbe Gentleman would make no aunswere at all, but mumme, and shewed by signes, that he was not able to vndoe his Tongue, weepyng began to kysse hym, imbrace hym and make mutch of hym, in sutch wyse, as he whych once studyed to make Eloquent Orations before hys Ladye, to induce hir to pity, forgat then those Ceremonyes, and spared his talke, to shewe hymselfe to be sutch one as shee had made at hir Commaundement, mused and deuysed altogether vpon the executyon of that, which sometyme hee hadde so paynefully pursued, both by Woords and contynuall Seruyce, and coulde profite nothing. Thus waked agayne by hir, whych once had Mortyfyed hys Mynde, assayed to renue in hir that, whych long tyme before seemed to be a sleepe. She more for feare of losse of Lyfe, and the pryce of the rewarde, than for any true or earnest loue suffred hym to receyue that of hir, whych the long Suter desireth to obtaine of his mistresse. They liued in this ioy and Pleasure the space of fiftene Dayes ordained for the assigned Terme of his Cure, wherein the poore Gentlewoman was not able to conuert hir offended Fryende to speake, although she humbly prayed him to shewe so 192mutch favour as at least she might goe free, from either losse: telling hym howe lyttle regard shee hadde to hir honour, to come so farre to doe him pleasure, and to discharge him of his promise. Mutch other gay and lowlye talke shee hadde. But the knyghte nothing moued with what she sayde determined to brynge hir in sutch feare, as he had bene vexed with heauinesse, which came to passe at the expyred tyme. For the Commissaries seeing that their pacyent spake not at all, summoned the Gentlewoman to pay the Penaltye pronounced in the Edict, or else to loose hyr lyfe. Alas, howe bytter seemed thys drynke to thys poore gentlewoman who not able to dissemble the gryef that prest on euery syde, beganne to saye: “Ah, I Wretched and Caytyfe Woman, by thinking to deceiue an other, haue sharpened the Sworde to finish myne owne lyfe. Was it not enough for me to vse sutch crueltye towardes this myne Enemye, which most cruelly in double wyse taketh Reuenge, but I must come to bee thus tangled in his Snares, and in the Handes of him, who inioying the Spoyles of myne Honour, will with my Lyfe, depryue me of my Fame, by making mee a Common Fable, to all Posterity in tyme to come? O what hap had I, that I was not rather deuoured by some Furious and cruell beast, when I passed the mountaines, or else that I brake not my Necke, downe some steepe and headlong hil, of those high and hideous mountains, rather than to bee set heare in stage, a Pageant to the whole Citye to gaze vppon, for enterprysing a thing so vayne, done of purpose by him, whome I haue offended. Ah, Signior Philiberto, what Euill rewardest thou for pleasures receiued, and fauors felt in hir whom thou didst loue so much, as to make hir dye sutch shameful, and dreadfull death. But O God, I know that it is for worthy guerdon of my folysh and wycked Lyfe. Ah disloyaltye and fickle trust, is it possible that thou be harbored in the hearte of hym which hadde the Brute to bee the most Loyall and Curteous Gentleman of hys Countrey? Alas, I see well nowe that I must die through myne onelye simplicity, and that I muste sacrifice mine Honoure to the rygour of hym, which with two aduauntages, taketh ouer cruell reuenge of the lyttle wrong, wherewith my chastity touched him before.” As she thus had finished hir complainte, one came in to carrye 193hir to Pryson, whether willinglye shee wente for that she was already resolued in desire, to lyue no longer in that miserie. The Gentleman contented wyth that payne, and not able for to dissemble the gryefe, which hee conceyued for the passion whych hee sawe hys Welbeloued to endure, the enioyinge of whome renued the heate of the flames forepast, repayred to the Kyng, vnto whome to the great pleasure of the Standers by, and exceding reioyce of hys Maiestye (to heare hym speake) he told the whole discourse of the Loue betweene hym and cruell Zilia, the cause of the losse of his speach, and the somme of hys reuenge.” By the fayth of a Gentleman (sayed the king) but here is so straunge an hystorye as euer I heard: and verely your fayth and loyaltye is no lesse to be praised and commended than the cruelty and couetousnes of the Woman worthy of reproch and blame, which truly deserueth some greeuous and notable iustice, if so be she were not able to render some apparant cause for the couerture and hiding of hir folly.” “Alas sir,” (sayd the Gentleman) “pleaseth your maiesty to deliuer hir (although she be worthy of punishment) and discharge the rest that be in prison for not recouery of my speach, sith my onely help did rest, eyther at hir Commaundemente whych had bounde me to that wrong, or else in the expired time, for whych I had pleadged my fayth.” To which request, the Kinge very willingly agreed, greatly praysing the Wisedome, Curtesie, and aboue all the fidelity of the Lord of Virle, who causing his penitenciary to be set at liberty, kept hir company certayne dayes, as well to Feaste, and banket hir, in those Landes and Possessions which the kinges maiesty had liberally bestowed vpon him, as to saciate his Appetite with some fruictes whereof he had sauoured his taste when he was voluntaryly Dumbe. Zilia founde that fauour so pleasaunt, as in maner shee counted hir imprisonment happy, and hir trauell rest, by reason that distresse made hir then feele more liuely the force and pleasure of Liberty, which shee had not founde to bee so delicate, had she not receyued the experience and payne thereof. Marke heere how Fortune dealeth with them which trustinge in their force, despise (in respect of that which they doe themselues) the little portion that they iudge to bee in others. If the Vayneglory, and arrogante 194Presumption of a Chastity Impregnable had not deceiued this Gentlewoman, if the sacred hunger of gold had not blinded hir, it could not haue bene knowne, wherein hir incontinency consisted, not in the Mynion delights, and alluring Toyes of a passionate Louer, but in the couetous desire of filling hir Purse, and Hypocriticall glory of praise among men. And notwithstanding yee see hir gaine to serue hir turne nothing at all but to the perpetuall reproch of hir name, and the slaunder sutch as ill speakers and enimies of womankinde, do burden the Sexe withall. But the fault of one Woman, which by hir owne presumption deceyued hir selfe, ought not to obscure the glory of so many vertuous, Fayre, and Honest dames, who by their Chastity, Liberality, and Curtesy, be able to deface the blot of Folly, Couetousnes and cruelty of this Gentlewoman heere, and of all other that do resemble hir. Who taking leaue of hir Louer, went home agayne to Piedmount, not without an ordinary griefe of heart, which serued hir for a spur to hir Conscience, and continually forced hir to thinke, that the force of man is lesse than nothing, where God worketh not by his grace, which fayling in vs, oure worckes can fauor but of the stench and corruption of our nature, wherein it tumbleth and tosseth lyke the Sow that walloweth in the puddle of filth and dirt. And because yee shall not thincke in generall termes of Woman’s chastity, and discretion, that I am not able to vouche some particular example of later years, I meane to tell you of one, that is not onely to bee praysed for hir Chastity in the absence of hir husband, but also of hir Courage and Pollicy in chastisinge the vaunting natures of two Hungarian Lords that made their braggs they would win hir to their Willes, and not only hir, but all other, whatsoeuer they were of Womankynde.

195

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH NOUELL.

Two Barons of Hvngarie assuring themselues to obtayne their sute to a fayre Lady of Boeme, receyued of hir a straung and maruelous repulse, to their great shame and Infamy, cursinge the tyme that euer they aduentured an Enterprise so foolish.

Penelope, the woful Wife of absent Vlisses, in hir tedious longing for the home retourne of that hir aduenturous knight, assayled wyth Carefull heart amid the troupe of amorous Suters, and within the Bowels of hir royall Pallace, deserued no greater fame for hir valiaunt encountries and stoute defence of the inuincible, and Adamant fort of hir chastity than this Boeme Lady doth by resisting two mighty Barrons, that canoned the Walles, and well mured rampart of hir pudicity. For being threatned in his Princes Court, whether al the well trayned crew of eche science and profession, dyd make repayre, beyng menaced by Venus’ band, which not onely summoned hir fort and gaue hir a camisado by thick Al’ Armes, but also forced the place by fierce assault, she lyke a couragious and politike captayne, gaue those braue and lusty Souldiers, a fowle repulse, and in end taking them captiues, vrged them for their victuals to fall to woman’s toyle, more shamefull than shamelesse Sardanapalus amid hys amorous troupe. I neede not amplifie by length of preamble, the fame of this Boeme Lady, nor yet briefly recompt the Triumph of hir Victory: vayne it were also by glorious hymnes to chaunte the wisedome of hir beleuing maake, who not carelesse of hir Lyfe, employed hys care to serue hys Prynce, and by seruice atchieued the cause that draue him to a souldier’s state. But yet for trustlesse faith in the pryme conference of his future porte, hee consulted wyth a Pollaco, for a compounded drugge, to ease his suspect mind, whych medicine so eased his maladie, as it not onely preserued hym from the infected humour, but also made hir happy for euer. Sutch fall the euents of valiaunt mindes, though many tymes mother iealosie that cancred Wytch steppeth in hir foote to anoy the well disposed heart. For had he ioyned to his valyaunce credite of his louynge wife, 196without the blynde aduyse of sutch as professe that blacke and lying scyence, double glorye hee had gayned: once for endeuoryng by seruice to seeke honour: the seconde, for absolute truste in hir, that neuer ment to beguyle him, as by hir firste aunswere to his first motion appeareth. But what is to be obiected against the Barons? Let them answere for their fault, in this discourse ensuing: whych so lessoneth all Noble Myndes, as warely they ought to beware how they aduenture upon the honour of Ladies, who bee not altogither of one selfe and yelding trampe, but wel forged and steeled in the shamefast shoppe of Loyaltie, which armure defendeth them against the fond skirmishes and vnconsidred conflicts of Venus’ wanton band. The maiesties also of the king and Queene, are to be aduaunced aboue the starres for their wise dissuasion of those Noblemen from their hot and hedlesse enterpryse, and then their Iustice for due execution of their forfait, the particularity of whych discourse in this wyse doth begynne. Mathie Coruine, sometime king of Hungarie, aboute the yeare of oure Lorde 1458, was a valiaunt man of Warre, and of goodly personage. Hee was the first that was Famous, or feared of the Turks, of any Prynce that gouerned that kingdome. And amongs other his vertues, so well in Armes and Letters, as in Lyberallyty and Curtesie he excelled al the Prynces that raygned in his time. He had to Wyfe Queene Beatrice of Arragon, the Daughter of olde Ferdinando kyng of Naples, and sister to the mother of Alphonsus, Duke of Ferrara, who in learnyng, good conditions, and all other vertues generally dispersed in hir, was a surpassing princesse, and shewed hirself not onely a curteous and Liberall Gentlewoman to king Mathie hir husband, but to all other, that for vertue seemed worthy of honour and reward: in sutch wise as to the Court of these two noble Princes, repayred the most notable Men of al Nations that were giuen to any kind of good exercise, and euery of them according to theyr desert and degree welcomed and entertained. It chaunced in this time, that a knight of Boeme the vasall of Kinge Mathie, for that he was likewyse kyng of that countrey, born of a noble house, very valiant and wel exercised in armes, fell in loue with a passing faire Gentlewoman of like nobility, and reputed to be the fairest of al the country, and had a brother 197that was but a pore Gentleman, not lucky to the goods of fortune. This Boemian knight was also not very rich, hauing onely a Castle, wyth certain reuenues thervnto, which was scarce able to yeld vnto him any great maintenance of liuing. Fallyng in loue then with this faire Gentlewoman, he demaunded hir in mariage of hir brother, and with hir had but a very little dowrie. And this knight not wel forseeing his poore estate, brought his wyfe home to his house, and there, at more leisure considering the same, began to fele his lacke and penury, and how hardly and scant his reuenues were able to maintein his port. He was a very honest and gentle person, and one that delighted not by any meanes to burden and fine his tenants, contenting himself with that reuenue which his ancesters left him, the same amounting to no great yerely rent. When this gentleman perceiued that he stode in neede of extraordinary relyefe, after many and diuers consyderations with himself, he purposed to folow the Court, and to serue king Mathie his souerain lord and master, there by his diligence and experience, to seke meanes for ability to sustaine his wife and himself. But so great and feruent was the loue that he bare vnto his Lady, as he thought it impossible for him to liue one houre without hir, and yet iudged it not best to haue hir with him to the court, for auoidinge of further Charges incydente to Courtyng Ladyes, whose Delight and Pleasure resteth in the toyes and trycks of the same, that cannot be wel auoyded in poore Gentlemen, without theyr Names in the Mercer’s or Draper’s Iornals, a heauy thyng for them to consyder if for their disport they lyke to walke the stretes. The daily thynkyng thereupon, brought the poore Gentleman to great sorrow and heauinesse. The Lady that was young, wise and discrete, marking the maner of hir husband, feared that he had some misliking of hir. Wherefore vpon a day she thus sayd vnto hym: “Dere husband, willingly would I desire a good turne at your hand, if I wist I should not displease you.” “Demaund what you will,” (said the knighte) “if I can, I shall gladly performe it, bicause I do esteeme your satisfaction, as I do mine owne lyfe.” Then the Lady very sobrely praied him, that he would open vnto hir the cause of that discontentment, which hee shewed outwardly to haue, for that his mynd and behauiour seemed to bee 198contrary to ordinary Custome, and contriued Daye and Nyghte in sighes, auoydinge the Company of them that were wont specially to delyght him. The Knight hearing his Ladyes request, paused a whyle, and then sayd vnto hir: “My wel beloued Wyfe, for so mutch as you desyre to vnderstand my thoughte and mynde, and whereof it commeth that I am sad and pensife, I wyll tell you: all the Heauinesse wherewith you see me to be affected, doth tend to this end. Fayne would I deuyse that you and I may in honour lyue together, accordyng to our calling. For in respect of our Parentage, our Liuelode is very slender, the occasion whereof were our Parents, who morgaged their Lands, and consumed a great part of their goods that our Auncestors lefte them. I dayly thynking hereupon, and conceiuyng in my head dyuers Imaginations, can deuise no meanes but one, that in my fansie seemeth best, which is, that I go to the Court of our soueraine lord Mathie who at this present is inferring Warres vpon the Turk, at whose hands I do not mistrust to receyue good intertainment, beynge a most Lyberal Prynce, and one that esteemeth al sutch as be valiant and actiue. And I for my parte wyll so gouerne my selfe (by God’s grace) that by deserte I wyll procure sutch lyuing and fauour as hereafter we may lyue in oure Olde Dayes a quyet Lyfe to oure great stay and comforte: For althoughe Fortune hitherto hath not fauored that state of Parentage, whereof we be, I doubt not wyth Noble Courage to win that in despyte of Fortune’s Teeth, which obstinately hitherto she hath denyed. And the more assured am I of thys determination, bycause at other tymes, I haue serued vnder the Vaiuoda in Transiluania, agaynst the Turke, where many tymes I haue bene requyred to serue also in the Courte, by that honourable Gentleman, the Counte of Cilia. But when I dyd consider the beloued Company of you (deare Wyfe) the swetest Companyon that euer Wyght possessed, I thought it vnpossible for me to forbeare your presence, whych yf I should doe, I were worthy to sustayne that dishonour, which a great number of carelesse Gentlemen doe, who following their pryuate gayne and Wyll, abandon theyr young and fayre Wyues, neglectinge the fyre which Nature hath instilled to the delycate bodies of sutch tender Creatures. Fearing therewythall, that so soone as I shoulde depart 199the lusty yong Barons and Gentlemen of the Countrey would pursue the gaine of that loue, the pryce whereof I do esteeme aboue the crowne of the greatest Emperour in all the World, and woulde not forgoe for all the Riches and Precious Iewels in the fertyle Soyle of Arabie, who no doubte would swarme togyther in greater heapes then euer dyd the wowers of Penelope, within the famous graunge of Ithaca, the house of Wandering Vlisses. Whych pursute if they dyd attayne, I shoulde for euer hereafter be ashamed to shewe my face before those that be of valour and regard. And this is the whole effect of the scruple (sweete wyfe) that hyndreth me, to seeke for our better estate and fortune.” When he had spoken these words, he held his peace. The Gentlewoman which was wyse and stout, perceyuing the great loue that her husband bare hir, when hee had stayed himselfe from talke, with good and merry Countenance answered hym in thys wyse: “Sir Vlrico,” (which was the name of the Gentleman) “I in lyke manner as you haue done, haue deuysed and thoughte vpon the Nobilitye and Byrth of our Auncestors, from whose state and port (and that wythout oure fault and cryme) we be far wyde and deuyded. Notwythstanding I determined to set a good face vpon the matter, and to make so mutch of our paynted sheath as I could. In deede I confesse my selfe to be a Woman, and you Men doe say that Womens heartes be faynt and feeble: but to bee playne wyth you, the contrary is in me, my hearte is so stoute and ambitious as peraduenture not meete and consonant to power and ability, although we Women will finde no lacke if our Hartes haue pith and strength inough to beare it out. And faine woulde I support the state wherein my mother maintayned me. Howe be it for mine owne part (to God I yeld the thanks) I can so moderate and stay my little great heart, that contented and satisfied I can be, with that which your abilitye can beare, and pleasure commaund. But to come to the point, I say that debating with my selfe of our state as you full wisely do, I do verily think that you being a yong Gentleman, lusty and valiaunt, no better remedy or deuyse can be found than for you to aspyre and seeke the Kyng’s fauor and seruice. And it must needes ryse and redounde to your gaine and preferment, for that I heare you say the King’s Maiestye doth 200already knowe you. Wherefore I do suppose that hys grace (a skilfull Gentleman to way and esteeme the vertue and valor of ech man) cannot chose but reward and recompence the well doer to his singular contentation and comfort. Of this myne Opinion I durst not before thys time vtter Word or signe for feare of your displeasure. But nowe sith your selfe hath opened the way and meanes, I haue presumed to discouer the same, do what shal seeme best vnto your good pleasure. And I for my parte, although that I am a woman (accordingly as I saied euen now) that by Nature am desirous of honor, and to shew my selfe abrode more rich and sumptuous than other, yet in respect of our fortune, I shal be contented so long as I lyue to continue with you in this our Castell, where by the grace of God I will not fayle to serue, loue and obey you, and to keepe your House in that moderate sorte, as the reuenues shall be able to maintayne the same. And no doubt but that poore liuing we haue orderly vsed, shal be sufficient to finde vs two, and fiue or sixe seruaunts with a couple of horsse, and so to lyue a quyet and merry Lyfe. If God doe send vs any Children, tyl they come to lawfull age, we will with our poore liuing bryng them vp so well as wee can and then to prefer them to some Noble mens seruices, with whome by God’s grace they may acquire honoure and lyuing, to keepe them in their aged dayes. And I doe trust that wee two shall vse sutch mutuall loue and reioyce, that so long as our Lyfe doth last in wealth and woe, our contented mindes shall rest satisfied. But I waying the stoutnesse of your minde, doe know that you esteeme more an Ounce of honor, than all the Golde that is in the world. For as your birth is Noble, so is your heart and stomacke. And therefore many tymes seeing your great heauinesse, and manyfolde muses and studies, I haue wondred with my selfe whereof they should proceede, and amongs other my conceipts, I thought that either my behauior and order of dealyng, or my personage did not lyke you: or else that your wonted gentle minde and disposition had ben altered and transformed into some other Nature: many times also I was contente to thynke that the cause of your disquiet mynde, dyd ryse vppon the disuse of Armes, wherein you were wonte dailye to accustome youre selfe amonges the Troupes of the honourable, a company in 201dede most worthy of your presence. Reuoluing many times these and sutch lyke cogitations, I haue sought meanes by sutch alurementes as I could deuyse, to ease and mitigate your troubled minde, and to wythdraw the great vnquiet and care wherewith I sawe you to be affected. Bycause I do esteeme you aboue all the Worlde deemyng your onely gryefe to be my double Payne, your aking Fynger, a feruent Feuer fit, and the least Woe you can sustayne moste bytter Death to me, that loueth you more dearelye than my selfe. And for that I doe perceyue you are determyned to serue our Noble King, the sorrowe which without doubte wyll assayle mee by reason of your absence, I wyll sweeten and lenifie wyth Contentatyon, to see your Commendable desyre appeased and quiet. And the pleasaunt Memory of your valyaunt facts beguyle my pensife thoughts, hopyng our nexte meetyng shall bee more ioyfull than thys our dysiunctyon and departure heauy. And where you doubt of the Confluence and repayre of the dyshoneste whych shall attempt the wynnyng and subduing of myne heart and vnspotted bodye, hytherto inuyolably kepte from the touch of any person, cast from you that feare, expel from your minde that fonde conceipt: for death shall sooner close these mortall Eyes, than my Chastitye shall bee defyled. For pledge whereof I haue none other thyng to gyue but my true and symple fayth, whych if you dare trust it shal hereafter appeare so firme and inuiolable as no sparke of suspition shal enter your careful minde, which I may wel terme to be carefull, bicause some care before hand doth rise of my behauior in your absence. The tryall wherefore shall yelde sure euidence and testimony, by passing my careful life which I may with better cause so terme in your absence, that God knoweth wil be right pensife and carefull vnto mee, who ioyeth in nothinge else but in your welfare. Neuerthelesse all meanes and wayes shall bee agreeable vnto my minde for your assurance, and shall breede in me a wonderful contentation, which lusteth after nothing but your satisfaction. And if you list to close me vp in one of the Castell towers til your return, right glad I am there to continue an Ankresse life: so that the same may ease your desired mind.” The knight with great delyght gaue ear to the aunswere of his Wife, and when she had ended hir talke, he began to reply 202vnto hir: “My welbeloued, I doe lyke wel and greatly commended the stoutnesse of your heart, it pleaseth me greatly to see the same agreeable vnto mine. You haue lightned the same from inestimable woe by vnderstanding your conceiued purpose and determination to gard and preserue your honor, praying you therein to perseuere, still remembring that when a Woman hath lost hir honor, shee hath forgone the chiefest Iewel she hath in this Life, and deserueth no longer to be called woman. And touching my talke proposed vnto you although it be of great importaunce, yet I meane not to depart so soone. But if it do come to effect I assure thee Wife, I will leaue thee Lady and mistresse of all that I haue. In the meane time I will consider better of my businesse, and consult with my fryendes and kinsmen, and then determine what is best to be done. Til when let vs lyue and spend our tyme so merely as we can.” To bee shorte there was nothing that so mutch molested the knight, as the doubt he had of his wife, for that she was a very fine and faire yong Gentlewoman: And therefore he stil deuised and imagined what assurance he myght finde of hir behauior in his absence. And resting in this imagination, not long after it cam to passe that the knight being in company of diuers Gentleman, and talking of sundry matters, a tale was tolde what chaunced to a gentleman of the Countrey whych had obtained the fauoure and good wyll of a Woman, by meanes of an olde man called Pollacco, which had the name to be a famous enchaunter and Physitian, dwelling at Cutiano a Citie of Boeme, where plenty of siluer mines and other metals is. The knight whose Castle was not far from Cutiano, had occasion to repaire vnto that Citye, and according to his desire found out this Pollacco, which was a very old man, and talking with him of diuers things, perceiued him to be of great skil. In end he entreated him, that for so mutch as he had don pleasure to many for apprehension of their loue, he wold also instruct him, how he might be assured that hys wife did keepe hir self honest all the time of his absence, and that by certaine signes hee might have sure knowledge whether she brake hir faith, by sending his honesty into Cornwall. Sutch vaine trust this knight reposed in the lying Science of Sorcery, whych although to many other is found deceitful, 203yet to him serued for sure euidence of his wiue’s fidelity. This Pollacco which was a very cunning enchaunter as you haue heard sayd vnto him: “Sir you demaund a very straunge matter, sutch as wherwyth neuer hitherto I haue bene acquainted, ne yet searched the depthe of those hydden secrets, a thyng not commonly sued for, ne yet practized by me. For who is able to make assurance of a woman’s chastity, or tel by signes except he were at the deede doing, that she had don amisse? Or who can gaine by proctors wryt, to summon or sue at spiritual Courte, peremptorily to affirme by neuer so good euydence or testimony, that a woman hath hazarded hir honesty, except he sweare Rem to be in Re, which the greatest Ciuilian that ever Padua bred neuer sawe by processe duely tried? Shall I then warrante you the honesty of such slippery Catell, prone and ready to lust, easy to be vanquished by the suites of earnest pursuers? But blameworthy surely I am, thus generally to speake: for some I know, although not many, for whose poore honesties I dare aduenture mine owne. And yet that number how small so euer it be, is worthy all due Reuerence and Honoure. Notwythstandyng (bycause you seeme to bee an Honeste Gentleman) of that Knowledge which I haue, I will not bee greatelye squeimyshe, a certayne secrete experiment in deede I haue, wherewith perchaunce I may satisfy your demaund. And this is it: I can by mine Arte in smal time, by certaine compositions, frame a Woman’s Image, which you continually in a lyttle Boxe may carry about you, and so ofte as you list behold the same. If the wife doe not breake hir maryage faith, you shall still see the same so fayre and wel coloured as it was at the first making, and seeme as though it newly came from the painter’s shop, but if perchaunce she meane to abuse hir honesty the same wil waxe pale, and in deede committing that filthy Fact, sodainly the colour will bee blacke, as arayed with Cole or other filth, and the smel thereof wyl not be very pleasaunt, but at al times when she is attempted or pursued, the colour will be so yealow as Gold.” This maruellous secrete deuyse greatly pleased the Knyght verely beleuing the same to be true, specially mutch moued and assured by the same bruted abrode of his science, whereof the Cytyzens of Cutiano, tolde very 204straunge and incredyble things. When the pryce was paied for this precious Iewel, hee receiued the Image, and ioyfully returned home to his Castell, where tarryinge certain dayes, he determined to repayre to the Court of the glorious king Mathie, making his wife priuy of hys intent. Afterwards when he had disposed his household matters in order, he committed the gouernment therof to his Wife, and hauinge prepared all Necessaries for his voyage, to the great sorrow and grief of his beloued, he departed and arryued at Alba Regale, where that time the king lay with Beattrix his Wife, of whom hee was ioyfully receiued and entertayned. He had not long continued in the Court, but he had obtained and won the fauor and good wyll of all men. The king which knew him full well very honorably placed him in his Courte, and by him accomplished diuers and many waighty affairs, which very wisely and trustely he brought to passe according to the king’s mind and pleasure. Afterwards he was made Colonell of a certain number of footmen sent by the king against the Turks to defende a holde which the enimies of God began to assaile vnder the conduct of Mustapha Basca, which conduct he so wel directed and therin stoutly behaued himself, as he chased al the infidels oute of those coasts, winning therby the name of a most valiaunt soldier and prudent Captaine, whereby he merueylously gayned the fauor and grace of the king, who (ouer and besides his dayly intertaynment) gaue vnto him a Castle, and the Reuenue in fee farme for euer. Sutch rewards deserue all valiaunt men, which for the honour of theyr Prince and countrey do willingly imploy their seruice, worthy no doubt of great regard and chearishinge, vpon their home returne, because they hate idlenes to win Glory, deuisinge rather to spende whole dayes in fielde, than houres in Courte, which this worthy knight deserued, who not able to sustayne his poore Estate, by politick wisdome and prowesse of armes endeuored to serue his Lord and countrey, wherein surely hee made a very good choyseThen he deuoutly praysed God, for that he put into his minde sutch a noble enterprise, trusting dayly to atchieue greater Fame and Glory: but the greater was his ioy and contentation, bicause the Image of hys Wyfe inclosed wythin a Boxe, whych still hee caried about him in hys pursse, continued freshe of coloure without 205alteration. It was noysed in the Court how thys valiaunt Knight Vlrico, had in Boeme the fayrest and goodliest Lady to his Wife that liued eyther in Boeme, or Hungary. It chaunced as a certaine company of young Gentlemen in the Courte were together (amongs whom was this Knight) that a Hungarian Baron sayd vnto him: “How is it possible, syr Vlrico, being a yeare and a halfe since you departed out of Boeme, that you haue no minde to returne to see your Wife, who, as the common fame reporteth, is one of the goodliest Women of all the Countrey: truely it seemeth to me, that you care not for hir, which were great pitty if hir beauty be correspondent to hir Fame.” “Syr,” (quod Vlrico) “what hir beauty is I referre vnto the World, but how so euer you esteeme me to care of hir, you shall vnderstand that I doe loue hir, and wil do so duringe my lyfe. And the cause why I haue not visited hir of long time, is no little proofe of the great assurance I haue of her vertue and honest lyfe. The argument of hir vertue I proue, for that she is contented that I should serue my Lord and king, and sufficient it is for me to giue hir intelligence of my state and welfare, whych many tymes by Letters at opportunity I fayle not to do: The proofe of my Fayth is euydent by reason of my bounden duety to our Soueraigne Lord of whom I haue receyued so great, and ample Benefites, and the Warrefare which I vse in his grace’s seruice vpon the Frontiers of his Realme agaynst the enimies of Christe, whereunto I bear more good will than I doe to Wedlocke Loue, preferring duety to Prince before mariage: albeit my Wiue’s fayth, and constancy is sutch, as freely I may spend my lyfe without care of hir deuoyr, being assured that besides hir Beauty shee is wise, vertuous and honest, and loueth me aboue al worldly things, tendring me so dearely as she doth the Balles of hir owne eyes.” “You haue stoutly sayd,” (answered the Baron) “in defence of your Wiue’s chastity, whereof she can make vnto hir selfe no great warrantice, because a woman some tymes will bee in minde not to be mooued at the requests, and gifts offred by the greatest Prince of the World who afterwards within a day vpon the onely sight, and view of some lusty youth, at one simple worde vttered with a few Teares, and shorter suite, yeldeth to his request. And what is she then that can conceyue 206sutch assuraunce in hir selfe? What is hee that knoweth the secretes of heartes which be impenetrable? Surely none as I suppose, except God him selfe. A Woman of hir owne nature is mooueable and plyant, and is the moste ambitious creature of the Worlde. And (by God) no Woman doe I know but that she lusteth and desireth to be beloued, required, sued vnto, honored and cherished? And oftentimes it commeth to passe that the most crafty Dames which thincke with fayned Lookes to feede their diuers Louers, be the first that thrust their heads into the amorous Nets, and lyke little Birdes in hard distresse of weather be caught in Louer’s Limetwigges. Whereby, sir Vlrico, I do not see that your Wyfe (aboue all other Women compact of flesh and bone) hath sutch priuiledge from God, but that she may be soone entised and corrupted.” “Well sir,” (sayd the Boeme Knight) “I am persuaded of that which I haue spoken, and verely doe beleue the effect of my beliefe most true. Euery man knoweth his owne affayres, and the Foole knoweth better what hee hath, than hys neighbors, do, be they neuer so wise. Beleue you what you thincke for good. I meane not to disgresse from that which I conceyue. And suffer me (I pray you) to beleue what I list, sith beliefe cannot hurt me, nor yet your discredite can hinder my beliefe, being free for ech man in semblable chaunces to thinke, and belieue what his mynde lusteth and liketh.” There were many other Lordes and Gentlemen of the court present at there talke, and as we commonly see (at sutch like meetinges) euery man vttereth his minde: whereupon sundry opinions were produced touching that question. And because diuers men be of diuers natures, and many presuminge vpon the pregnancy of their wise heads there rose some stur about that talke, each man obstinate in hys alledged reason, more froward peraduenture than reason, more rightly required: the communication grew so hot and talke brake forth so loude, as the same was reported to the Queene. The good Lady sory to heare tell of sutch strife within hir Court, abhorring naturally all controuersie and contention, sent for the parties, and required theym from poynct to poynct to make recitall of the beginning, and circumstaunce of their reasons, and arguments. And when she vnderstoode the effect of al their talke, she sayd, that euery man at his 207owne pleasure might beleeue what he list, affirming it to be presumptuous and extreme folly, to iudge all women to be of one disposition, in like sort as it were a great errour to say that all men bee of one quality and condicion: the contrary by dayly experience manifestly appearing. For both in men and women, there is so great difference and variety of natures, as there bee heades, and wits. And how it is commonly seene that two Brothers, and Sisters, borne at one Byrth, bee yet of contrary Natures and Complexions, of Manners, and Conditions so diuers, as the thinge which shall please the one, is altogeather displeasaunt to the other. Wherevppon the Queene concluded, that the Boeme knight had good reason to continue that good and honest credit of his Wyfe, as hauing proued hir fidelity of long time, wherein she shewed hirself to be very wise and discret. Now because (as many times we see) the natures and appetites of diuers men be insaciable, and one man sometimes more foolish hardy than another, euen so (to say the troth) were those two Hungarian Barons, who seeming wise in their owne conceiptes, one of them sayd to the Queene in this manner: “Madame, your grace doth wel maintaine the sexe of womankinde, because you be a Woman. For by nature it is gieuen to that kinde, stoutly to stand in defence of themselues, because their imbecillity, and weakenes otherwise would bewray them: and although good reasons might be alledged to open the causes of their debility, and why they be not able to attayne the hault excellency of man, yet for this tyme I doe not meane to be tedious vnto your grace, least the little heart of Woman should ryse and display that conceit which is wrapt within that little Moulde. But to retourne to this chaste Lady, through whom our talke began, is we might craue licence of your Maiesty, and saulfe Conduct of thys Gentleman to knowe hir dwelling place, and haue leaue to speake to hir, we doubt not but to breake with our batteringe talke the Adamant Walles of hir Chastity that is so famous, and cary away that Spoile which victoriously we shall atchieue.” “I know not,” aunswered the Boeme Knight, “what yee can, or will doe, but sure I am, that hitherto I am not deceyued.” Many things were spoken there, and sundry opinions of eyther partes alledged, in ende the two Hungarian Barons persuaded 208them selues, and made their vaunts that they were able to climbe the Skyes, and both would attempt and also bring to passe any enterprise were it neuer so great, affirming their former offer by othe, and offering to Guage all the Landes, and goods they had, that within the space of 5 moneths they woulde eyther of them obtayne the Gentlewoman’s good will to do what they list, so that the knight were bound, neyther to returne home, ne yet to aduertise hir of their determination. The Queene, and all the standers by, laughed heartely at this their offer, mocking and iesting at their foolish, and youthly conceites. Whych the Barons perceiuiug, sayde: “You thinke Madame that we speake triflingly, and be not able to accomplish this our proposed enterprise, but Madame, may it please you to gieue vs leaue, wee meane by earnest attempt to gieue proofe thereof.” And as they were thus in reasoninge and debating the matter, the kinge (hearinge tell of this large offer made by the Barons) came into the place where the queene was, at such time as she was about to dissuade them from the frantik deuise. Before whom he being entred the chamber, the two Barons fell downe vpon their Knees, and humbly besought his Grace, that the compact made betwene sir Vlrico and them might proceede, disclosing vnto him in few wordes the effect of all their talke, which franckly was graunted by the king. But the Barons added a Prouisio, that when they had won their Wager, the Knight by no meanes shoulde hurt his Wyfe, and from that tyme forth should gieue ouer hys false Opinion, that women were not naturally gieuen to the sutes and requests of amorous persons. The Boeme Knight, who was assured of hys Wyue’s great Honesty, and Loyall fayth, beleeued so true as the Gospell, the proportion and quality of the Image, who in all the tyme that hee was farre of, neuer perceyued the same to bee eyther Pale or Black, but at that tyme lookinge vpon the Image, hee perceiued a certayne Yealow colour to rise, as hee thought his Wyfe was by some loue pursued, but yet sodeynly it returned agayne to his naturall hewe, which boldned him to say these words to the Hungarian Barons: “Yee be a couple of pleasaunt, and vnbeleeuing Gentlemen, and haue conceyued so fantasticall opinion, as euer men of your calling did: but sith you proceede in your obstinate folly, and 209wil needes guage all the Lands, and goods you haue, that you bee able to vanquishe my Wyue’s Honest, and Chaste heart, I am contented, for the singuler credite which I repose in hir, to ioyne with you, and will pledge the poore lyuinge I haue for proofe of mine Opinion, and shall accomplishe al other your requestes made here, before the maiesties of the Kinge and Queene. And therefore may it please your highnesse, sith this fond deuice can not be beaten out of their heads, to gieue Licence vnto those Noblemen, the Lords Vladislao and Alberto, (so were they called) to put in proofe the mery conceipt of their disposed mindes (whereof they do so greatly bragge) and I by your good grace and fauoure, am content to agree to their demaundes: and wee, answered the Hungarians, do once agayne affirme the same which wee haue spoken.” The king willing to haue them gyue ouer that strife, was intreated to the contrary by the Barons: whereupon the kinge perceyuinge their Follies, caused a decree of the bargayne to be put in writing, eyther Parties interchaungeably subscribiug the same. Which done, they tooke their leaues. Afterwards, the two Hungarians began to put their enterprise in order and agreed betweene themselues, Alberto to bee the firste that should aduenture vppon the Lady. And that within sixe Weekes after vpon his returne, the lord Vladislao should proceede. These things concluded, and all Furnitures for their seuerall Iorneys disposed, the lord Alberto departed in good order, with two seruaunts directly trauayling to the castle of the Boeme Knight, where being arriued, hee lighted at an Inne of the towne adioyning to the Castle, and demaunding of the hoste, the Conditions of the lady, hee vnderstoode that shee was a very fayre Woman, and that hir honesty, and loue towards hir husbande farre excelled hir beauty. Which wordes nothing dismayede the Amorous Baron, but when hee had pulled of his Bootes, and richely arayed hymselfe, he repayred to the Castle, and knockinge at the Gates, gaue the Lady to vnderstand that he was come to see hir. She which was a curteous Gentlewoman, caused him to be brought in, and gently gaue him honourable intertaynment. The Baron greatly mused vppon the beauty, and goodlinesse of the Lady, singularly commending hir honest order and Behauiour. And beinge set down, the young 210Gentleman sayd vnto hir: “Madame, mooued with the fame of your surpassing Beauty, which now I see to bee more excellent than Fame with hir swiftest Wyngs is able to cary: I am come from the Court to view and see if that were true, or whether lyinge Brutes had scattered their Vulgar talke in vayne: but finding the same farre more fine and pure than erst I did expect, I craue Lycence of your Ladyship, to conceyue none offence of this my boulde, and rude attempt.” And herewithall hee began to ioyne many trifling and vayne words, whych dalyinge Suters by heate of Lusty bloude bee wont to shoote forth, to declare theym selues not to be Speachlesse, or Tongue tied. Which the Lady well espying speedily imagined into what Porte hys rotten Barke would arriue: wherefore in the ende when shee sawe his Shippe at Roade, began to enter in prety louinge talke, by little, and little to incourage his fond attempt. The Baron thinkinge hee had caught the Ele by the Tayle, not well practised in Cicero his schoole, ceased not fondly to contriue the time, by making hir beleeue, that he was farre in loue. The Lady weary (God wote) of his fonde behauiour, and amorous reasons, and yet not to seeme scornfull, made him good countenaunce, in sutch wyse as the Hungarian two or three dayes did nothing else but proceede in vayne Pursute, Shee perceyuing him to bee but a Hauke of the first Coate, deuysed to recompence hys Follies with sutch entertaynement, as during his life, he shoulde keepe the same in good remembraunce. Wherefore not long after, fayning as though his great wisedome, vttered by eloquent Talke, had subdued hir, shee sayd thus vnto him: “My Lord, the reasons you produce, and your pleasaunt gesture in my house, haue so inchaunted mee, that impossible it is, but I must needes agree vnto your wyll: for where I neuer thought during lyfe, to stayne the purity of mariage Bed, and determined continually to preserue my selfe inuiolably for my Husbande: your noble grace, and curteous behauiour, haue (I say) so bewitched mee, that ready I am to bee at your commaundement, humbly beseeching your honour to beware, that knowledge hereof may not come vnto myne Husband’s eares, who is so fierce and cruell, and loueth me so dearely, as no doubt he will without further triall eyther him selfe kill me, or otherwise procure my 211death: and to the intent none of my house may suspect our doings, I shall desire you to morrow in the morninge about nyne of the Clock, which is the accustomed time of your repayre hither, to come vnto my Castle, wherein when you be entred, speedily to mount vp to the Chaumber of the highest Tower, ouer the doore whereof, yee shall finde the armes of my Husband, entayled in Marble: and when you be entred in, to shut the Doore fast after you, and in the meane time I will wayte and prouyde, that none shall molest and trouble vs, and then we shall bestowe our selues for accomplishement of that which your loue desireth.” Nowe in very deede this Chaumber was a very strong Pryson ordayned in auncient time by the Progenitours of that Territory, to Impryson, and punishe the Vassals, and Tenants of the same, for offences, and Crimes committed. The Baron hearynge this Lyberall offer of the Ladye, thinking that he had obteined the summe of al his ioy, so glad as if he had conquered a whole kingdome, the best contented man aliue, thanking the Lady for hir curteous answere, departed and retourned to his Inne. God knoweth vppon howe merry a Pinne the hearte of this young Baron was sette, and after he had liberally banketted his hoste and hostesse, pleasantly disposing himselfe to myrth and recreation, he wente to bed, where ioy so lightned his merry head, as no slepe at all could close his eyes, sutch be the sauage pangs of those that aspyre to like delyghts as the best reclaimer of the wildest hauk could neuer take more payne or deuise mo shiftes to Man the same for the better atchieuing of hir pray than dyd this braue Baron for brynging hys Enterprise to effect. The nexte day early in the morning hee rose, dressing himselfe with the sweete Perfumes, and puttinge on hys finest suite of Apparell, at the appoincted houre hee went to the Castell, and so secretly as he could, accordinge to the Ladies instruction, hee conueyed himselfe vp into the Chaumber which hee founde open, and when he was entred, hee shut the same, the maner of the Doore was sutch, as none within coulde open it without a Key, and besides the strong Locke, it hadde both barre and Bolt on the outside, wyth sutch fasteninge as the Deuill himselfe being locked within, could not breake forth. The Lady whych wayted hard by for his comming, so soone as she perceyued that 212the Doore was shut, stept vnto the same, and both double Locked the Doore, and also without she barred, and fast Bolted the same, caryng the Key away with hir. This Chamber was in the hyghest Tower of the House (as is before sayd) wherein was placed a Bedde wyth good Furniture, the Wyndow whereof was so high, that none coulde looke out wythout a Ladder. The other partes thereof were in good, and conuenient order, apt and meete for an honest Pryson. When the Lorde Alberto was within, hee sat downe, wayting (as the Iewes do for Messias) when the Lady according to hir appoynctment shoulde come. And as he was in this expectation building castles in the Ayre, and deuising a thousand Chimeras in his braine, behold he heard one to open a little wicket that was in the doore of that Chamber, which was as straight, as scarcely able to receiue a loafe of bread, or cruse of Wyne, vsed to be sent to the prysoners. He thinking that it had ben the Lady, rose vp, and hearde the noyse of a lyttle girle, who looking in at the hole, thus sayd vnto him: “My Lord Alberto, the Lady Barbara my mistresse (for that was hir name) hath sent me thus to say vnto you: ‘That for as much as you be come into this place, by countenaunce of Loue, to dispoyle hir of hir honour, shee hath imprysoned you like a theefe, accordinge to your deserte, and purposeth to make you suffer penance, equall to the measure of your offence. Wherefore so long as you shal remain in thys place, she mindeth to force you to gaine your bread and drinke with the arte of spinning, as poore Women doe for gayne of theyr lyuinge, meanynge thereby to coole the heate of your lusty youth, and to make you tast the sorrow of sauce meete for them to assay, that go about to robbe Ladyes of theyr honour: she bad me lykewise to tell you, that the more yarne you spin, the greater shall be the abundance and delycacie of your fare, the greater payne you take to earne your foode, the more lyberall she will be in dystrybutyng of the same, otherwise (she sayeth) that you shall faste wyth Breade and Water.’ Which determinate sentence she hath decreed not to be infringed and broken for any kinde of sute or intreaty that you be able to make.” When the maiden had spoken these Wordes, she shut the lyttle dore, and returned to hir Ladye, the Baron which thought that he had ben commen to a mariage, did eate nothing al the mornyng 213before, bycause he thought to be enterteyned with better and daintier store of viandes, who nowe at those newes fared like one out of his wittes and stoode still so amazed, as though his leggs would haue fayled him, and in one moment his Spyrites began to vanysh and hys force and breath forsoke hym, and fel downe vpon the Chamber flore, in sutch wise as hee that had beheld hym would haue thought him rather dead than liuyng. In this state he was a great tyme, and afterwardes somewhat commynge to himselfe, he could not tel whether hee dreamed, or else that the Words were true, which the maiden had sayde vnto hym: In the end seeing, and beynge verely assured, that he was in a Pryson so sure as Bird in Cage, through disdayne and rage was like to dye or else to lose his wits, faring with himselfe of long time lyke a madde Man, and not knowing what to do, passed the rest of the Day in walking vppe and downe the Chaumber, rauing, stamping, staring, Cursynge and vsing Words of greatest Villanie, lamenting and bewailinge the time and day, that so like a beast and Brutysh man, he gave the attempt to dispoyle the honesty of an other man’s Wyfe. Then came to his mind the losse of all his Lands and Goods, which by the king’s authority were put in comprimise, then the shame, the scorne, and rebuke whych hee should receiue at other mens handes, beyonde measure vexed him: and reporte bruted in the Courte (for that it was impossible but the whole Worlde should knowe it) so gryeued hym, as his heart seemed to be strained with two sharp and bityng Nailes: the Paynes whereof, forced hym to loose hys wyttes and vnderstandynge. In the myddes of whych Pangs furiously vauntyng vp and downe the Chaumber, hee espied by chaunce in a Corner, a Dystaffe furnyshed with good store of flaxe, and a spyndle hangyng thereuppon: and ouercome wyth Choler and rage, hee was aboute to spoyle and break the same in pieces: but remembryng what a harde Weapon Necessitye is, hee stayed his wysedome, and albeyt he hadde rather to haue contryued hys leysure in Noble and Gentlemanlyke pastyme, yet rather than he would be idle he thought to reserue that Instrument to auoyde the tedious lacke of honest and Familiar Company. When supper time was come, the mayden retourned agayne, who opening the Portall dore, saluted the Baron, and sayde: “My 214Lord, my mistresse hath sent mee to vysite your good Lordshyp, and to receiue at youre good Handes the effecte of your laboure, who hopeth that you haue sponne some substanciall store of threede for earning of your Supper, whych beynge done, shall be readily brought vnto you.” The Baron full of Rage, Furie, and felonious moode, if before he were fallen into choler, now by protestation of these words, seemed to transgresse the bounds of reason, and began to raile at the poore wench, scolding and chiding hir like a strumpet of the stews, faring as though he would haue beaten hir, or don hir some other mischiefe: but his moode was stayed from doyng any hurt. The poore Wench lessoned by her mistresse, in laughing wise sayd vnto him: “Why (my Lord) do you chase and rage againste mee? Me thinks, you do me wrong to vse sutch reprochful words, which am but a seruaunt, and bounde to the commaundement of my mistresse: Why sir, do you not know that a pursiuaunt or messanger suffreth no paine or blame? The greatest Kyng or Emperour of the Worlde, receiuing defiaunce from a meaner Prynce, neuer vseth his ambassador with scolding Wordes, ne yet by villany or rebuke abuseth his person. Is it wisdome then for you, being a present prysoner, at the mercy of your kepers, in thys dishonorable sorte to reuile me with disordred talke? But sir, leaue of your rages, and quiet your selfe for this present tyme, for my mistresse maruelleth much why you durst come (for al your Noble state) to giue attemptes to violate hir good name, which message shee requyred me to tell you, ouer and besides a desire shee hath to know whether by the Scyence of Spynning, you haue gained your meat for you seeme to kicke against the wynd, and beat Water in a morter, if you think from hence to goe before you haue earned a recompense for the meat which shal be giuen you. Wherefore it is your lot paciently to suffer the penance of your fond attempt, which I pray you gently to sustaine, and think no scorn thereof hardely, for desperate men and hard aduentures must needes suffer the daungers thereunto belonging. This is the determinate sentence of my mistresse mynd, who fourdeth you no better fare than Bread and Water, if you can not shewe some prety Spyndle full of yarne for signe of your good wyll at this present pynch of your distresse.” The 215Mayden seeying that hee was not dysposed to shewe some part of wylling mind to gaine his lyuing by that prefixed scyence shut the portall Doore, and went her way. The unhappy Baron (arryued thether in very yll tyme) that Nyght had Neyther Breade nor Broth, and therefore he fared accordynge to the Prouerbe: He that goeth to bed supperlesse, lyeth in his Bed restlesse, for during the whole night, no sleepe could fasten hys Eyes. Now as this Baron was closed in pryson faste, so the Ladye tooke order, that secretly wyth great cheare hys Seruauntes should be interteyned, and his Horsse wyth sweete haye and good prouender well mainteined, all his furnitures, sumpture horse and caryages conueyed within the Castle, where wanted nothyng for the state of sutch a personage but onely Lyberty, makyng the host of the Inne beleue (wher the Lord harbored before) that he was returned into Hungarie. But now turne we to the Boeme knight, who knowynge that one of the two Hungarian Competitors, were departed the Court and ridden into Boeme, dyd still behold the quality of the inchaunted Image, wherein by the space of thre or foure Dayes, in whych time, the Baron made his greatest sute to his Ladie: he marked a certaine alteration of Coloure in the same, but afterwards returned to his Natiue forme: and seeing no greater transformation, he was wel assured, that the Hungarian Baron was repulsed, and imployed his Labor in vaine. Whereof the Boeme knight was excedingly pleased and contented, bycause he was well assured, that his Wyfe had kept hir selfe ryghte pure and honest. Notwithstandyng hys Mynde was not wel settled, ne yet hys heart at rest, doubting that the lord Vladislao, which as yet was not departed the courte, would obtayne the thing, and acquite the faulte, which his Companion had committed. The imprysoned Baron which all this tyme had neither eaten nor dronken, nor in the night could sleepe, in the mornyng, after he had considred his misaduenture, and well perceyued no remedy for him to goe forth, except hee obeyed the Ladie’s hest, made of Necessity a Vertue, and applyed himselfe to learne to Spynne by force, which freedome and honour could neuer haue made him to do. Whereuppon he toke the distaffe and beganne to Spynne. And albeyt that hee neuer Sponne in al hys Lyfe before, yet instructed by Necessity, so well as he could, he 216drewe out his Threede, now small and then greate, and manye times of the meanest sort, but verye often broade, yl fauored, yll closed, and worse twisted, all oute of fourme and fashyon, that sundry tymes very heartely he laughed to himselfe, to see his cunning, but would haue made a cunning Woman spinner burst into Ten Thousand laughters, if she had ben there. Thus all the morning he spent in spynning, and when dynner came, his accustomed messenger, the mayden, repayred vnto him againe, and opening the wyndow demaunded of the Baron how his worke went foreward, and whether he were disposed to manifest the cause of hys comming into Boeme? Hee well beaten in the schoole of shame, vttered vnto the Maide the whole compact and bargayne made betweene him and his Companion, and the Boeme knyghte hir mayster, and afterwards shewed vnto hir his Spyndle ful of threde. The young Wenche smylyng at hys Woorke, sayd: “By Sainct Marie this is well done, you are worthy of victual for your hire: for now I well perceiue that Hunger forceth the Woulf oute of hir Denne. I conne you thanck, that like a Lord you can so puissantly gayne your lyuing. Wherefore proceeding in that which you haue begonne, I doubt not but shortely you will proue sutche a workeman, as my mistresse shall not neede to put oute hir flax to spinne (to hir great charge and coste) for making of hir smockes, but that the same may wel be don within hir own house, yea althoughe the same doe serue but for Kitchen Cloathes, for dresser bordes, or cleanynge of hir Vessell before they bee serued forth. And as your good deserts doe merite thankes for this your arte, now well begonne, euen so your new told tale of comming hyther, requyreth no lesse, for that you haue dysclosed the trouth.” When she had spoken these Woords, she reached hym some store of meates for hys dynner, and bade hym fare well. When shee was returned vnto hir Lady, shee shewed vnto hir the Spyndle full of threde, and told hir therewythall the whole story of the compact betwene the knight Vlrico, and the two Hungarian barons. Whereof the Lady sore astonned, for the snares layd to entrappe hir, was notwithstanding wel contented, for that shee had so well forseene the same: but most of all reioysed, that hir husband had so good opinion of hir honest lyfe. And before she would aduertise 217hym of those euents, she purposed to attend the commyng of the lord Vladislao to whome she ment to do like penance for his carelesse bargayne and dishonest opinion, accordyngly as he deserued, maruelling very mutch that both the Barons, were so rash and presumptuous, daungerously (not knowing what kind of Woman she was) to put their Landes and goodes in hazard. But considering the Nature of diuers brainsick men, which passe not how carelesly they aduenture their gained goods, and inherited Lands, so they may atchieue the pray, after which they vainely hunt, for the preiudice and hurt of other, she made no accompt of these attemptes, sith honest Matrones force not vppon the sutes, or vayne consumed time of lyght brained Cockscombs, that care not what fond cost or ill imployed houres they waste to anoy the good renoume and honest brutes of Women. But not to discourse from point to point the particulers of this intended iorney, this poore deceiued Baron in short time proued a very good Spinner, by exercise whereof, he felt sutch solace, as not onely the same was a comfortable sporte for his captiue time, but also for want of better recreation, it seemed so ioyfull, as if he had bene pluming and feding his Hawke, or doing other sports belongyng to the honourable state of a Lord. Which his wel attriued labour, the Maiden recompensed with abundance of good and delycate meates. And although the Lady was many times requyred to visite the Baron, yet she would neuer to that request consent. In whych tyme the knyght Vlrico ceased not continually to viewe and reuewe the state of his Image, which appeared styll to bee of one well coloured sorte, and although thys vse of hys was diuers times marked and seene of many, yet being earnestly demaunded the cause thereof hee would neuer disclose the same. Many coniectures thereof were made, but none could attayne the trouthe. And who would haue thought that a knight so wyse and prudente had worne within his pursse any inchaunted thyng? And albeyt the Kyng and Queene had intelligence of thys frequent practyse of the knight, yet they thought not mete for the priuate and secrete Mystery, to demaund the cause. One moneth and a halfe was passed now that the Lorde Alberto was departed the Court, and become a Castle knyghte and cunning Spynster: which made the 218Lord Vladislao to muse, for that the promise made betweene them was broken, and hearde neyther by Letter or messenger what successe he had receiued. After diuers thoughts imagyned in his mynde, he conceyued that his companion had happily enioyed the ende of his desired ioy, and had gathered the wyshed fruicts of the Lady, and drowned in the mayne Sea of his owne pleasures, was ouerwhelmed in the bottome of Obliuion: wherefore he determined to set forward on his iourney to giue onset of his desired fortune: who without long delay for execution of his purpose, prepared all necessaries for that voyage, and mounted on horsebacke with two of his men, he iourneyed towards Boeme, and within a few daies after arryued at the Castle of the fayre and most honest Lady. And when hee was entred the Inne where the Lord Alberto was first lodged, he dilygently enquyred of him, and heard tell that he was returned into Hungarie many dayes before, whereof mutch maruelling, could not tel what to say or think. In the end purposing to put in prose the cause wherefore he was departed out of Hungarie, after dilygent searche of the maners of the Lady, he vnderstoode by general voyce, that she was without comparison the honestest, wisest, gentlest, and comelyest Lady within the whole Countrey of Boeme. Incontinently the Lady was aduertised of the arriual of this Baron, and knowing his message, she determyned to paye him also wyth that Money whych she had already coyned for the other. The next Day the Baron went vnto the Castle, and knocking at the Gate, sent in woord how that he was come from the Court of king Mathie, to visite and salute the Lady of that Castle: and as she did entertayne the first Baron in curteous guise, and with louing Countenaunce, euen so she dyd the second, who thought thereby that he had attayned by that pleasaunt entertaynment, the game which he hunted. And discoursing vppon dyuers matters, the lady shewed hir selfe a pleasaunt and Familyar Gentlewoman, whych made the Baron to thynk that in short tyme he should wyn the pryce for which he came. Notwithstanding, at the fyrste brunt he would not by any meanes descend to any particularity of his purpose, but hys Words ran general, which were, that hearynge tell of the fame of hir Beauty, good grace and comelinesse, by hauing 219occasion to repayre into Boeme to doe certayne his affaires, he thought it labor wel spent to ride some portion of his iourney, though it were besides the way, to dygresse to do reuerence vnto hir, whom fame aduaunced aboue the Skyes: and thus passing his first visitation he returned againe to his lodging. The lady when the Baron was gone from hir Castle, was rapt into a rage, greatlye offended that those two Hungarian Lordes so presumptuously had bended themselues lyke common Theeues to wander and roue the Countreys, not onely to robbe and spoyle hir of hir honour, but also to bryng hir in displeasure of hir husband, and thereby into the Daunger and Peryll of Death. By reason of which rage (not without cause conceived) she caused an other Chamber to be made ready, next Wall to the other Baron that was become sutch a notable Spynster, and vpon the nexte returne of the Lord Vladislao, she receiued him with no lesse good entertainement than before, and when Nyght came, caused him to be lodged in hir owne house in the Chamber prepared as before, where he slept not very soundly all that Night, through the continuall remembraunce of hys Ladies beauty. Next morning he perceiued himself to be locked fast in a Pryson. And when he had made him readye, thinking to descend to bid the Lady good Morrow, seeking meanes to vnlock the Doore, and perceiuing that he could not, he stoode styll in a dumpe. And as hee was thus standyng, maruelling the cause of his shuttyng in so fast, the maiden repaired to the hole of the dore, giuing his honor an vnaccustomed salutation, which was that hir mistresse commaunded hir to giue him to vnderstand, that if hee had any lust or appetyte to his breakfast, or if he minded from thenceforth to ease his hunger or conteine Lyfe, that he should giue him selfe to learne to reele yarne. And for that purpose she willed him to looke in sutch a corner of the Chamber, and he should find certaine spindles of thred, and an instrument to winde his yarn vpon. “Wherefore” (quod she) “apply your self thereunto, and loose no time.” He that had that tyme beholden the Baron in the Face, would haue thought that hee had seene rather a Marble stone, than the figure of a man. But conuerting his could conceyued moode, into mad anger, he fell into ten times more displeasure 220with himselfe, than is before described by the other Baron. But seeinge that his mad behauiour, and beastly vsage was bestowed in vayne, the next day he began to Reele. The Lady afterwardes when shee had intelligence of the good, and gaynefull Spinning of the Lord Alberto, and the wel disposed, and towardly Reeling of the Lord Vladislao, greatly reioyced for makinge of sutch two Notable Workemen, whose workemanship exceeded the labours of them that had been Apprentyzes to the Occupation seuen Yeares togeather. Sutch bee the apt and ready Wyts of the Souldiers of Loue: wherein I would wishe all Cupides Dearlings to be nousled and applied in their youthly time: then no doubt their passions woulde appease, and rages assuage, and would giue ouer bolde attempts, for which they haue no thancke of the chaste and honest. And to thys goodly sight the Lady brought the Seruaunts of these noblemen, willing them to marke and beholde the diligence of their Maysters, and to imitate the industry of their gallant exercise, who neuer attayned meate before by labour they had gayned the same. Which done, shee made them take their Horse, and Furnitures of their Lords, and to depart: otherwise if by violence they resisted, she would cause their choller to be caulmed with sutch like seruice as they saw their Lordes doe before their Eyes. The Seruaunts seeing no remedy, but must needes depart, tooke their leaue. Afterwards she sent one of hir Seruaunts in poast to the Courte, to aduertise hir husband of all that which chaunced. The Boeme knight receyuing these good newes, declared the same vnto the King and Queene, and recited the whole story of the two Hungarian Barons, accordingly as the tenor of his Wyues letters did purport. The Princes stoode still in great admiration, and highly commended the wisedome of the Lady, esteeming hir for a very sage and polliticke woman. Afterwards the knight Vlrico humbly besought the king for execution of his decree and performaunce of the Bargayne. Whereupon the king assembled his counsell, and required euery of them to saye their minde. Vpon the deliberation whereof, the Lord Chauncellor of the Kingdome, with two Counsellers, were sent to the Castle of the Boeme knight, to enquire, and learne the processe and doinges of the two Lordes, who diligently accomplished the kinge’s commaundement. 221And hauinge examined the Lady and hir mayden with other of the house, and the barons also, whom a little before the arriuall of these Commissioners, the Lady had caused to be put together, that by Spinning and Reeling they might comfort one another. When the Lord Chauncellor had framed and digested in order the whole discourse of this history, returned to the Court where the king and Queene, with the Pieres and Noblemen of his kingdome, caused the acts of the same to be diuulged and bruted abroade, and after mutch talk, and discourse of the performaunce of this compact, pro, and contra, the Queene taking the Ladie’s part, and fauoring the knight, the kinge gaue sentence that sir Vlrico should wholly possesse the landes and goods of the two Barons to him, and to his Heyres for euer, and that the Barons should be banished the kingdomes of Hungary and Boeme, neuer to returne vpon payne of death. This sentence was put in execution, and the vnfortunat Barons exiled, which specially to those that were of their consanguinity and bloud, seemed to seuere, and rigorous. Neuerthelesse the couenaunt being most playne and euident to most men, the same seemed to bee pronounced with greate Iustice and equity, for example in time to come, to lesson rash wits how they iudge and deeme so indifferently of Womens behaviours, amongs whom no doubt there bee both good and bad as there bee of men. Afterwards the 2 princes sent for the Lady to the Court, who there was courteously intertayned, and for this hir wise and polliticke fact had in great admiration. The Queene then appoynted hir to be one of hir women of honor, and esteemed hir very deerely. The knight also daily grew to great promotion well beloued and fauored of the king, who with his lady long time liued in greate ioy and felicity, not forgetting the cunning Pollacco, that made him the image and likenes of his wife: whose frendship and labor he rewarded with money, and other Benefits very liberally.

222

THE TWENTY-NINTH NOUELL.

Dom Diego a Gentleman of Spayne fell in loue with fayre Gineura, and she with him: their loue by meanes of one that enuied Dom Diego his happy choyse, was by default of light credit on hir part interrupted. He constant of mynde, fell into despayre, and abandoninge all his frends and liuing, repayred to the Pyrene Mountaynes, where he led a sauage lyfe for certayne moneths, and afterwardes knowne by one of hys freendes, was (by marueylous Circumstaunce) reconciled to hys froward mistresse, and maryed.

Mens mischaunces occurring on the brunts of dyuers Tragicall fortunes, albeit vpon their first taste of bitternesse, they sauor of a certayne kinde of lothsome relish, yet vnder the Rynde of that vnsauerouse Sap, doth lurke a sweeter honnye, than sweetenesse it selfe, for the fruit that the Posterity may gather, and learne by others hurts, how they may loathe, and shun the like. But bicause all thinges haue their seasons, and euery thynge is not conuenient for all Times, and Places, I purpose now to shew a notable example of a vayne and superstitious Louer, that abandoned his liuing and friendes, to become a Sauage Desert man. Which History resembleth in a maner a Tragical Comedy, comprehending the very same matter and Argument, wherewyth the greatest part of the sottishe sorte Arme themselues to couer and defend their Follies. It is red and seene to often by common custome, and therefore needelesse heere to display what rage doth gouerne, and headlong hale fonde and licentious youth (conducted by the pangue of loue, if the same be not moderated by reason, and cooled with sacred Lessons) euen from the cradle to more murture and riper age. For the Tiranny of Loue amonges all the deadly Foes that vexe and afflict our mindes, glorieth of his force, vaunting hymselfe able to chaunge the proper nature of things, be they neuer so sounde and perfect: who to make them like his lustes, transformeth himselfe into a substaunce qualified diuersly, the better to intrap sutch as be giuen to his vanities. But hauing auouched so many examples before, I am content for this present to tell the 223discourse of two persons, chaunced not long sithens in Catheloigne. Of a Gentleman that for his constancy declared two extremities in himselfe of loue and folly. And of a Gentlewoman so fickle and inconstant, as loue and they which wayted on him, be disordered, for the trustlesse grounde whereupon sutch foundation of seruice is layed, which yee shall easely conceiue by well viewing the difference of these twayne: whom I meane to summon to the lists, by the blast of this sounding trump. And thus the same beginneth. Not long after that the victorious and Noble Prynce, younge Ferdinandus, the Sonne of Alphonsus Kynge of Aragon was deade, Lewes the Twelfth, that tyme being Frenche king, vpon, the Marches of Catheloigne, betwene Barcelona, and the Mountaynes, there was a good Lady then a Wyddow, which had bene the Wyfe of an excellant and Noble knight of the Countrey, by whom she hadde left one only Daughter, which was so carefully brought vp by the mother as nothinge was to deare or hard to bee brought to passe for hir desire, thinking that a creature so Noble and perfect, could not be trayned vp to delicately. Now besides hir incomparable furniture of beauty, this Gentlewoman was adorned with Hayre so fayre, curle, and Yealow, as the new fined golde was not matchable to the shining locks of this tender Infant, who therefore was commonly called Gineura la Blonde. Halfe adaye’s iorney from the house of this Wyddow, lay the lands of another Lady a Wydow also, that was very rich, and so wel allied as any in all the Land. This Lady had a Sonne, whom she caused to be trayned vp so well in Armes and good letters, as in other honest Exercises proper and mete for a Gentleman and great Lorde, for which respect shee had sent him to Barcelona the chyefe Citty of all the Countrey of Catheloigne. Senior Dom Diego, (for so was the Sonne of that Wydow called) profited so well in all thynges, that when hee was 18 yeares of age, there was no Gentleman of his degree, that did excell him, ne yet was able to approche vnto his Perfections and commendable Behauiour. A thing that did so well content the good Lady his mother as she could not tell what countenaunce to keepe to couer hir ioy. A vice very common to fond and foolish mothers, who flatter themselues with a shadowed hope of the future goodnesse of their children, which many times 224doth more hurt to that wanton and wilfull age, than profit or aduauncement. The persuasion also of sutch towardnesse, full oft doth blinde the Spirites of Youth, as the Faults which follow the same bee farre more vile than before they were: whereby the first Table (made in his first coloures) of that imagined vertue, can take no force or perfection, and so by incurring sundry mishaps the Parent and Chylde commonly escape not without equall blame. To come agayne therefore to our discourse: It chaunced in that tyme that (the Catholike Kyng deceased) Phillippe of Austrich which Succeeded him as Heyre, passing through Fraunce came into Spayne to bee Inuested, and take Possession of all hys Seigniories, and Kyngdomes: which knowen to the Cittyzens of Barcelona, they determined to receiue hym with sutch Pompe, Magnificence, and Honor, as duely appertaineth to the greatnes and maiesty of so great a Prince, as is the sonne of the Romane Emperour. And amonges other thinges they prepared a Triumphe at the Tilt, where none was suffred to enter the lists, but yong Gentlemen, sutch as neuer yet had followed armes. Amongs whom Don Diego as the Noblest person was chosen chiefe of one part. The Archduke then come to Barcelona after the receyued honors and Ceremonies, accustomed for sutch entertaynment, to gratifie his Subiects, and to see the brauery of the yong Spanish Nobility in armes, would place himselfe vpon the scaffolde to iudge the courses and valiaunce of the runners. In that magnifique and Princely conflict, all mens eyes were bent vpon Dom Diego, who course by course made hys aduersaries to feele the force of his armes, his manhoode, and dexterity, on horsebacke, and caused them to muse vpon his toward valiance in time to come, whose noble Ghests then acquired the victory of the Campe on his side. Which mooued King Phillip to say, that in all his life he neuer saw triumph better handled, and that the same seemed rather a battell of strong and hardy men, than an exercise of yong Gentlemen neuer wonted to support the deedes of armes, and trauayle of warfare. For which cause calling Dom Diego before him he sayd: “God graunt (yong Gentleman) that your ende agree with your good beginnings and hardy shock of proofe done this day. In memory whereof I will this night that ye do your watch, for I meane to 225morrow (by God’s assistance) to dub you Knight.” The yong Gentleman blushing for shame, vpon his knees kissed the Prince’s hands, thanking him most humbly of the honor and fauor which it pleased his maiesty to do to him, vowing and promising to do so wel in time to come, as no man should be deceyued of their conceyued opinion, nor the king frustrate of his seruice, which was one of his most obedient Vassals and subiects. So the next day he was made knight, and receyued the coller of the order at the hands of king Phillip, who after the departure of his prince which tooke his iorney into Castille, retired to his owne landes and house more to see his mother, whom long time before he had not seene, than for desire of pleasure that be in fieldes, which notwithstanding he exercised so wel as in end he perceyued refiaunce in townes and Citties, to be an imprisonment in respect of that he felt in Countrey. As the Poets whilome fayned Loue to shoote his Arrowes amid the Woods, Forrests, fertile Fields, Sea coasts, Shores of great Ryuers, and Fountayne brinkes, and also vppon the tops of Huge, and hygh Mountaynes at the pursute of the sundry sorted Nymphes, and fieldish Dimigods, deeming the same to bee a meane of liberty to follow Loue’s tract without suspition, voyde of company and lothsome cries of Citties, where Iealousie, Enuy, false report, and ill Opinion of all things, haue pitched their Camp, and raysed their Tents. And contrariwise franckly and wythout dissimulation in the fieldes, the Freende discouering his passion to his Mistresse, they enioy the pleasure of hunting, the naturall musicke of Byrds and sometimes in pleasaunt Herbers compassed with the murmur of some running Brookes, they communicate their Thoughts, beautifie the accorde and vnity of Louers, and make the place famous for the first witnesse of their amorous acquaintaunce. In like manner thrice, and foure times blest be they there, who leeuing the vnquiet toyle that ordinarily doth chaunce to them that abyde in Citties, doe render duety of their studies to the Muses wherevnto they be most Addicted. Now Dom Diego at his owne house loued and cherished of his mother, reuerenced and obeyed of hys Subiects after he had imployed some time at his study, had none other ordinary pleasure but in rousing the Deere, hunting the wylde Bore, run the Hare, sometimes to fly at the Hearon, or fearful 226Partrich alongs the fields, Forests, Ponds, and steepe Mountaynes. It came to passe one day, as he Hunted the wylde Mountayne Goate, which he had dislodged vpon the Hill top, he espied an olde Hart that his Dogges had found, who so ioyfull as was possible of that good lucke, followed the course of that swift, and fearefull beast. But (sutch was his Fortune) the Dogges lost the foote of that pray, and he his men: for being horssed of purpose, vpon a fayre Iennet, could not be followed, and in ende loosinge the sight of the Deere, was so farre seuered from company, as he was vtterly ignoraunt which way to take. And that which grieued him moste was his Horse out of Breath scarce able to goe a false Gallop. For which cause he put his horne to his mouth, and blew so loude as he could: but his men were so farre of, as they could not here him. The young Gentleman being in this distresse, could not tell what to doe, but to returne backe, wherein he was more deceyued than before, for thinkinge to take the way home to hys Castle, wandred still further of from the same. And trotting thus a long tyme, he spied a Castle Situated vppon a little Hill, whereby he knew himselfe far from his owne house. Neuerthelesse hearing a certayne noyse of Hunters, thinking they had bene his People, resorted to the same, who in deede were the Seruaunts of the Mother of Gineura with the golden Locks, which in company of their Mistresse had hunted the Hare. Dom Diego, when he drue neere to the cry of the Hounds, saw right well that hee was deceyued. At what tyme Night approched, and the Shadowes darkening the Earth, by reason of the Sunnes departure, began to Cloth the Heauens with a Browne and misty Mantell. When the Mother of Gineura saw the knight which Rode a soft pace, for that his Horsse was tired, and could trauayle no longer, and knowing by his outward apperance that he was some great Lord, and ridden out of his way, sent one of hir men to knowe what he was, who returned agayne with sutch aunswere as shee desired. The Lady ioyfull to entertayne a Gentleman so excellent and famous, one of hir next neighbors, went forwarde to bid hym welcome, which she did with so great curtesy as the Knight sayd vnto hir: “Madame, I thinke that fortune hath done me this fauour, by setting me out of the way, to proue your 227curtesie and gentle entertaynment, and to receyue this ioy by visiting your house, whereof I trust in time to come to be so perfect a frend, as my predecessors heretofore haue hene.” “Sir,” sayd the Lady, “if happinesse may be attributed to them, that most doe gayne, I thincke my selfe better fauored than you, for that it is my chaunce to lodge and entertayne him, that is the worthiest person and best beloued in all Catheloigne.” The Gentleman blushing at that prayse, sayd nothing els, but that affection forced men so to speake of his vertues, notwithstandinge sutch as hee was, he vowed from thenceforth his seruice to hir and all hir Houshold. Gineura desirous not to bee slacke in curtesie, sayd that he should not so do, except she were partaker of some part of that, which the knight so liberally had offered to the whole Family of hir Mother. The Gentleman which till that time tooke no heede to the deuine Beauty of the Gentlewoman, beholding hir at his pleasure, was so astoonned, as hee could not tell what to aunswere, his eyes were so fixed vpon hir, spendinge his lookes in contemplation of that freshe hew, stayned with a red Vermilion, vppon the Alabaster and fayre colour of hir cleare and beautifull face. And for the imbelishing of that naturall perfection, the attire vppon hir head was so couenable and proper, as it seemed the same day shee had Looked for the comming of him, that afterwardes indured so mutch for hir sake. For hir head was Adorned with a Garlande of Floures, interlaced wyth hir Golden, and Enamiled hayre, which gorgeously couered some part of hir Shoulders, disparcled, and hanging down some tyme ouer hir passing fayre Foreheade, somewhyles vpon hir ruddy Cheekes, as the Sweete, and Pleasaunt windy Breath dyd mooue them to, and fro: Yee should haue seene hir wauering and crisped tresses disposed with so good grace, and comelynesse, as a man would haue thought that Loue and the three Graces coulde not tell els where to harbor themselues, but in that riche and delectable place of pleasure, in gorgeous wise laced and imbraudred. Vpon hir Eares did hang two Sumptuous and Riche orientall Pearles, which to the artificiall order of hir hayre added a certen splendent brightnes. And he that had beholden the shining and large Forehead of that Nimph which Gallantly was beset with a Diamonde of inestimable price 228and value, chased with a tresse of Golde made in form of little Starres, would haue thought that he had seene a Rancke of the twinckeling Planettes, fixed in the Firmament in the hottest time of Sommer, when that fayre season discouereth the order of his glittering Cloudes. In lyke maner the sparkeling eyes of the fayre Gentlewoman, adorned with a stately vaulte with two Archers, equally by euen spaces distinct, and deuided, stayned with the Ebene Indian tree, did so well set forth their Brightnesse, as the eyes of them that stayed their lookes at Noone daye’s directly vpon the Sunne, could no more be dazeled and offended, than those were that did contemplate those two flaminge Starres, which were in force able throughly to pierce euen the Bottome of the inward partes. The Nose well fourmed, iustly placed in the Amiable valley of the Vysage, by equall conformity Distinguished the two Cheekes, stayned wyth a pure Carnation, resemblinge two lyttle Apples that were arryued to the due time of their maturity and ripenesse. And then hir Coralline mouth, through which breathing, issued out a breath more soote and sauorous than Ambre, Muske, or other Aromaticall Parfume, that euer the sweete Soyle of Arabie brought forth. She sometime vnclosing the doore of hir Lips, discouered two rancke of Pearles, so finely blanched, as the purest Orient would blushe, if it were compared with the Beauty of thys incomparable whitenesse. But hee that will take vppon hym to speake of all hir inspeakable Beauty, may make his vaunte that he hath seene all the greatest perfections that euer dame Nature wrought. Now to come a little lower, on this freshe Diana appeared a Neck, that surmounted the Blaunch colour of Mylke, were it neuer so excellent white, and hir Stomacke somewhat mounting by the two Pomels, and firme Teates of hir Breasts separated in equal distaunce, was couered wyth a vayle, so lose, and fine, as those two little prety Mountaynes might easily be Discried, to moue, and remooue, according to the affection that rose in the centre of that modest, and sober Pucelle’s mynde: who ouer, and besides all thys, had sutch a pleasaunt Countenaunce, and ioyefull cheere, as hir Beauty more than wonderfull, rendred hir not so woorthy to be serued, and loued, as hir natural goodnesse, and disposed curtesie appearing in hir Face, and hir excellent 229entertaynement and comely Grace to all indifferently. This was not to imitate the maner of the most parte of our fayre Ladies, and Gentlewomen, who (mooued wyth what Opinion I know not) be so disdaynefull, as almost theyr name causeth discontentment, and breedeth in them great imperfection. And who by thinking to appeare more braue, and fine, by to mutch squeymishe dealing, doe offuscate and darken with folly their exterior Beauty, blotting, and defacing that which beauty maketh amiable, and worthy of honor. I leaue you now to consider wheather Dom Deigo had occasion to Forgo his Speach, and to bee bereft of Sense, being liuely assayled with one so well armed as Gineura was with hir Graces and Honesty: who no lesse abashed with the Port, Countenaunce, sweete talk, and stately Behauiour of the knight, which she vewed to be in him by stealing lookes, felt a motion (not wonted or accustomed) in hir tender heart, that made hir to chaunge color, and by like occasion speachlesse: an ordinary custome in them that be surprised with the malady of loue to lose the vse of speach where the same is most needefull to gieue the intier charge in the heart, which not able to support and beare the burden of so many passions, departeth some portion to the eyes, as to the faythful messengers of the mynde’s secret conceipts, which tormented beyond measure, and burninge with affection, causeth sometimes the Humor to gushe out in that parte that discouered the first assault, and bred the cause of that Feuer, which frighted the hearts of those two yong persons, not knowing well what the same might be. When they were come to the Castle, and dismounted from their Horsses, many Welcomes and Gratulations were made to the knight, which yelded more wood to the fire, and liuely touched the yong Gentleman, who was so outraged with loue, as almost he had no minde of himselfe, and rapt by litle, and little, was so intoxicated with an Amorous passion, as all other thoughtes were lothsome, and Ioye displeasaunt in respect of the fauourable Martirdome which hee suffered by thinking of his fayre and gentle Gineura. Thus the knight which in the morning disposed him selfe to pursue the Hart, was in heart so attached, as at euening he was become a Seruaunt, yea and sutch a Slaue, as that voluntary seruitude wholly dispossessed him from his former 230Freedome. These be the fruictes also of Folly, inuegling the lookes of men, that launch themselues with eyes shut into the Gulfe of despayre which in ende doth cause the ruin and ouerthrow of him, that yeldeth thereunto. Loue proceedeth neuer but of opinion: so likewise the ill order of those that bee afflicted with that Passion, ryseth not elswhere, but by the fond persuasion which they conceiyue, to bee Blamed, Despised, and deceyued of the thing beloued: where if they measured that passion according to his valor, they would make no more accoumpt of that which doth torment them, than they do of their health, honor, and life, which loue for their great seruice and labor deludeth them, and recompenseth another with that for which the foolish Louer imployeth thys trauel, which at length doth haste despaire, and ende more than desperate, when an other enioy that, for which hee hath so longe time beate the Bushes. During the time that supper was preparyng, the Lady sente hir men to seeke the huntesmen of Dom Diego, to gyue them knowledge where he was become, and thereof to certify his mother, who when she heard tell that her sonne was lodged there, was very glad beyng a ryght good fryend and very familiar Neighbor with the Lady, the hostesse of Dom Diego. The Gentleman at supper after he had tasted the feruent heate that broyled in his Minde, coulde eate little meate, beinge satisfied with the feeding diete of his Amorous eyes, which without any maner of Iealousie, distributed their nourishment to the heart, who sat very soberly, priuily throwing his secretly Prickes, with louely, and wanton lookes, vppon the heart of the fayre Lady, which for hir part spared not to render vsury of rolling regardes, whereof he was so sparing, as almost he durst not lift vp his eyes for dazeling of them. After Supper, the knight bidding the mother and Daughter good night, went to Bed, where in steede of sleepe, he fell to sighinge and imageninge a thousande diuers deuises, fantasiyng like number of follies, sutch as they doe whose Braynes be fraught loue. “Alas,” (sayde hee) “what meaneth it, that alwayes I haue lyued in so great liberty, and nowe doe feele my self attached with sutch bondage as I cannot expresse whose effects neuerthelesse be fastned in me? Haue I hunted to be taken? Came I from my house in liberty, to be 231shut vp in Pryson, and do not know wheather I shall be receyued, or being receyued haue intertaynment, according to desert? Ah Gineura, I would to God, that thy Beauty did pricke mee no worsse, than the tree whereof thou takest thy name, is sharp in touching, and bitter to them that taste it. Truely I esteeme my comming hither happy (for all the Passion that I indure) sith the purchase of a griefe so lucky doth qualify the ioy, that made me to wander thus ouer frankly. Ah Fayre amonges the Fayrest, truely the fearefull Beast which with the bloudy Hare Houndes was torne in pieces, is not more Martired, than my heart deuided in Opinions vppon thyne Affection. And what doe I know if thou louest an other more worthy to bee Fauoured of thee than thy poore Dom Diego. But it is impossible that any can approche the sincerity that I feele in my heart, determining rather to indure death, than to serue other but fayre and golden Gineura: therefore my loyalty receyuing no comparison, cannot bee matched in man sufficient (for respect of the same) to be called seruaunt of thine excellency. Now come what shal, by meanes of this, I am assured that so long as Dom Diego liueth, his heart shal receyue none other impression or desire, but that which inciteth him to loue, serue, and honor the fairest creature at thys day within the compasse of Spayne.” Resolued hereupon, sweating, laboring, and trauelling upon the framing of his loue, he founde nothing more expedient than to tel hir his passion, and let hir vnderstand the good wil that he had to do hir seruice, and to pray hir to accept hym for sutch, as from that time forth would execute nothing but under the title of hir good name. On th’otherside Gineura could not close hir eyes, and knew not the cause almost that so impeched hir of sleepe, wherefore now tossing on th’one side, and then turning to the other, in hir rich and goodly Bed, fantasied no fewer deuises than passionated Dom Diego did. In th’end she concluded, that if the knight shewed hir any euident signe, or opened by word of mouth any Speach of loue and seruice, she would not refuse to do the like to him. Thus passed the night in thoughts, sighes, and wishes betwene these 2 apprentises of the thing, whereof they that be learners, shal soone attayne the experience, and they that follow the occupation throughly, in short time be their crafts 232maisters. The next day the knight would depart so soone as he was vp: but the good widow, imbracing the personage and good order of the knight in hir heart, more than any other that she had seene of long time, intreated him so earnestly to tarry as he which loued better to obey hir request then to depart, although fayned the contrary, in the end appeared to be vanquished vpon the great importunity of the Lady. Al that morning the Mother and the Daughter passed the time with Dom Deigo in great talke of common matters. But he was then more astonned and inamored than the night before, in sutch wise as many times he aunswered so vnaptly to their demaunds, as it was easily perceiued that his minde was mutch disquieted with some thing, that only did possesse the force and vehemence of the same: notwithstanding the Lady imputed that to the shamefastnesse of the Gentleman, and to his simplicity, which had not greatly frequented the company of Ladies. When dinner time was come, they were serued with sutch great fare and sundry delicates accordingly as with hir hart she wyshed to intertain the young Lord, to the intent from that time forth, he might more willinglye make repaire to hir house. After dinner he rendred thanks to his hostesse for his good cheare and intertainment that he had receiued, assuring hir, that all the dayes of his Life he would imploy himselfe to recompence hir curtesy, and with all duety and indeuor to acknowledge that fauor. And hauing taken his leaue of the mother, he went to the Damosell, to hir I say, that had so sore wounded his hearte who already was so deeply grauen in his mind, as the marke remained there for euer, taking leaue of hir, kissed hir handes, and thinking verily to expresse that whereuppon hee imagined all the Nyghte, his Tongue and Wits were so tyed and rapt, as the Gentlewoman perfectly perceiued this alteration, whereat she was no whit discontented and therefore all blushyng, sayde vnto him: “I pray to God sir, to ease and comfort your gryefe, as you leaue vs desirous and glad, long to enioy your company.” “Truely Gentlewoman,” (aunswered the Knyght) “I think my selfe more than happy, to heare that wysh proceede from sutch a one as you be, and specially for the desire whych you say you haue of my presence, whych shall be euer readye 233to doe that whych it shall please you to commaunde.” The Gentlewoman bashfull for that offer, thanked hym verye heartilye praying him wyth sweete and smilinge Countenance, not to forget the waye to come to visite them, beyng wel assured, that hir mother would be very glad thereof. “And for mine owne part,” (quod she) “I shall thinke my self happy to be partaker of the pleasure and great amity that is betwene our two houses.” After great reuerence and leaue taken between them, Dom Diego returned home, where he tolde his mother of the good interteynment made him, and of the great honesty of the Lady hys hostesse: “Wherfore madam,” (quod he to hys Mother) “I am desyrous (if it be your pleasure) to let them know how much their bountifull hospitality hath tied me to them, and what desire I haue to recompence the same. I am therefore wyllyng to bydde them hyther, and to make them so good cheare, as wyth all theyr Hearte they made me when I was wyth them.” The Lady whych was the assured fryende of the Mother of Gineura, lyked well the aduyse of hir sonne, and tolde him that they should bee welcome, for the aunciente amity of long time betwene them, who was wont many times to visit one an other. Dom Diego vpon his mother’s words, sent to intreat the Lady and fayr Gineura, that it woulde please them to do him the honour to come into his house: to which request she so willingly yelded, as he was desirous to bid them. At the appointed day Dom Diego sought al meanes possible honourably to receyue them: In meates whereof there was no want, in Instruments of all sortes, Mummeries, Morescoes, and a thousand other pastymes, whereby he declared his good bringing vp, the gentlenesse of his Spyryte, and the desire that he had to appeare sutch one as he was, before hir, which had already the full possession of his liberty. And bicause he would not faile to accomplyshe the perfection of his intent, hee inuyted all the Gentlemen and Gentlewomen that were his neighbours. I will not here describe the moste part of the prouision for that feast, nor the diuersity of Meates, or the delycate kyndes of Wines. It shall suffise mee to tell that after dynner they daunced, where the knight tooke his mistresse by the hand who was so glad to see hir 234selfe so aduanced, as he was content to be so neare hir, that was the sweete torment and vnspeakable passion of his mynd, whych hee began to discouer vnto hir in this wyse: “Mistresse Gineura I have ben alwayes of this Minde, that Musike hath a certeine secrete hydden vertue (which wel can not be expressed) to reuiue the thoughts and cogitations of man, be he neuer so mornfull and pensiue, forcing him to vtter some outward reioyse: I speake it by my self, for that I liue in extreme anguish and payne, that al the ioy of the World seemeth vnto mee displeasaunt, care, and disquyetnesse: and neuerthelesse my passion, agreeing with the plaintife voice of the Instrument, doth reioyce and conceiue comforte, as well to heare insensible thinges conformable to my desires as also to see my self so neere vnto hir, that hath the salue to ease my payne, to discharge my disease, and to depryue my Mynd from all gryefs. In like maner reason it is, that she hir selfe do remedy my disease, of whom I receiued the prycke, and which is the first foundation of all mine euil.” “I can not tell” (sayd the Gentlewoman) what disease it is you speak of, for I shoulde bee very vnkinde to gieue him occasion of griefe, that doth make vs this great cheere.” “Ah Lady myne,” (sayd the knight, fetching a sigh from the bottome of his heart,) “the intertaynement that I receyue by the continuall contemplation of your diuine Beauties, and the vnspeakeable brightnesse of those two Beames, which twinkle in your Face, bee they that happily doe vex me, and make me drink this Cup of bitternesse, wherein notwithstanding I finde sutch sweetenesse as al the Heauenly Drincke called Ambrosia, fayned by the Poets, is but Gall in respect of that which I taste in mynde, feeling my deuotion so bent to do you seruice, as onely Death shall vnty the knot wherewith voluntarily I Knyt my selfe to be your Seruaunt for euer, and if it so please vou, your Faythfull, and Loyall Freende, and Husbande.” The yonge Damosell not wonted for to heare sutch Songs, did chaunge hir coloure at least three or foure times, and neuerthelesse fayned a little angre of that which did content hir most: and yet not so sharpe, but that the Gentleman perceyued well enough, that shee was touched at the quicke, and also that he was accepted into hir 235good Grace and Fauoure. And therefore hee continued styll hys talke, all that time after dinner, vntill the Mayden made hym thys aunswere: “Sir, I will nowe confesse that griefe may couer alteration of affections proceeding of Loue. For although I had determined to dissemble that which I thinke, yet there is a thinge in my Mynde (which I can not name) that gouerneth mee so farre from my proper Deuises, and Conceyptes, as I am constrayned to doe that which this second Inspiration leadeth mee vnto, and forceth my Mynde to receyue an Impression: but what will be the ende thereof, as yet I knowe not. Notwythstandinge, reposinge mee in youre Vertue, and Honesty, and acknowledgynge youre merite, I thincke my selfe happy to haue sutch one for my Freende, that is so Fayre and comely a knight, and for sutch I doe accept you vntill you haue obtayned of the Lady, my Mother, the second poynct, which may accomplish that which is moste desyred of them, that for vertue’s sake do loue. And but for that you shall bee none otherwyse fauoured of me, than hytherto you haue ben.” “Tyll now haue I attended for thys ryght happye day of Ioy and Blysse (sayd the Knyght) in token whereof, I doe kysse your whyte and delycate Hands, and for acknowledging the fauour that presently I do receiue, I make my vaunt to be the seruaunt of hir that is the fayrest, and most curteous Gentlewoman, on thys side the Mountaynes.” As hee had fynished those words they came to couer for Supper, where they were serued so honourably, as yf they had ben in the Court of the Monarch of Spayne. After Supper they went to walke abroade alongs the Riuer side, besette wyth Wyllow Trees, where both the Beauty of the time, the runnyng Ryuer, the Charme of the Natural musicke of birds, and the pleasaunt Murmure of the tremblyng Leaues, at the whistelyng of the swete Westerne Wynd, moued them agayne to renew theyr Pastyme after Dynner. For some dyd gyue themselues to talke, and to deuyse of delectable matter: some framed Nosegayes, Garlandes, and other prety posyes for theyr Fryendes; other some did leape, runne, and throwe the Barre. In the end a great Lord, neighbor to Dom Diego, whose name was Dom Roderico, knowyng by his Fryend’s Countenaunce to what saynt hee was vowed, and perceyuing 236for whose loue the feaste was celebrate, tooke by the hand a Gentlewoman that sate nexte to fayre Gineura, and prayed hir to daunce after a Song, whereunto shee beeynge pleasaunt and wyse, made no great refusall. Dom Diego fayled not to ioyne wyth hys mystresse, after whome folowed the rest of that noble trayne, euery of them as they thought best. Now the Gentlewoman, that was ledde into daunce, song thys song so apt for the purpose, as if shee had entred the heart of the Ennimy and Mystresse of Dom Diego, or of purpose had made the same in the Name of hir, whom the matter touched aboue the rest.

Who may better sing and daunce amongs vs Ladies all,

Than she that doth hir louer’s heart possesse in bondage thrall?

The yong and tender feeblenesse

Of myne vnskilfull age,

Whereof also the tendernesse

Doth feeble heart assuage:

Whom Beautye’s force hath made to frame

Vnto a Louer’s hest,

So soone as first the kindled flame

Of louinge Toyes increst.

Who may better sing and daunce amongs vs Ladies all,

Than she that doth hir louer’s heart possesse in bondage thrall?

I haue assayed out to put

The fier thus begoone,

And haue attempted of to cut,

The threede which loue hath spoone:

And new alliance fayne would flee

Of him whom I loue best,

But that the Gods haue willed me

To yeld to his request.

Who may better sing and daunce among vs Ladies all,

Than she that doth hir louer’s heart possesse in bondage thrall?

So amiable is his grace,

Not like among vs all:

So passing fayre is his Face,

Whose hue doth stayne us all:

237And as the shining sunny day

Doth eu’ry man delight,

So he alone doth beare the sway,

Amongs eche louing wight.

Who may better sing and daunce amongs vs Ladies all

Than she that doth hir louer’s heart possesse in bondage thrall?

Why should not then, the fayrest dame,

Apply her gentle minde,

And honor giue vnto his name,

Wyth humble heart and kinde?

Sith he is full of curtesie,

Indewd with noble grace,

And brest replete with honesty,

Well knowne in euery place.

Who may better sing and daunce amongs vs Ladies all,

Than she that doth hir louer’s heart possesse in bondage thrall?

If I should loue, and serue him than,

May it be counted vice?

If I retayne that worthy man,

Shall I be deemde vnwise?

I will be gentle to him sure,

And render him myne ayde:

And loue that wight with heart full pure,

That neuer loue assayde.

Who may better sing and daunce amongs vs Ladies all,

Than she that doth hir louer’s heart possesse in bondage thrall?

Thus the most sacred vnity,

That doth our hearts combine:

Is voyde of wicked flattery,

The same for to vntwine.

No hardned rigor is our guide,

Nor folly doth vs lead:

No Fortune can vs twayne deuide,

Vntill we both be deade.

Who may better sing and daunce amongs vs Ladies all,

Than she that doth hir louer’s heart possesse in bondage thrall?

238And thus assured certaynely,

That this our loue shall dure,

And with good lucke hope verely,

The same to put in vre

The sowen seedes of amity,

Begon betwixt vs twayne,

Shall in most perfect vnity,

For euermore remayne.

Who may better sing and daunce amongs vs Ladies all,

Than she that doth hir louer’s heart possesse in bondage thrall?

Thys Song delighted the Myndes of many in that company, and principally Dom Deigo, and Gineura, who felt themselues tickled without laughing: And the mayden reioysed to heare hir selfe so greatly praysed in so noble a company, and specially in the presence of hir friende who had no lesse pleasure by hearing the praises of his beloued, than if he had bin made Lord of all Aragon. She for all hir dissembled Countenaunce could not hide the alteration of hir Mynde, without sending forth a sodayne chaunge of colour, that forced a fayre and goodly taynt in hir Face. Dom Diego seeing that mutation, was so ioyful as was possible, for thereby he knew and Iudged himselfe assured of the good grace of hys Mistresse, and therefore wringing hir finely by the hands, sayd vnto her very soberly Smiling: “What greater pleasure my louinge Wench can there happen vnto your Seruaunt, than to see the accomplishment of this Propheticall Song? I assure you that in all my life I neuer heard musicke, that delighted me so mutch as this, and thereby doe vnderstand the good will of the Gentlewoman, which so curteously hath discouered yours towards me, and the faythfull seruice whereof you shall see me from henceforth so liberall, as neyther goods nor life shalbe spared for your sake.” Ginuera who loued him with all hir heart, thanked him very humbly, and prayed him to beleeue that the Song was truely soonge, and that without any fayle, she that soonge, had thereby manyfested all the secrets of hir mynde. The daunce ended, they sat theym downe rounde about a cleare Fountayne, which by silent discourse, issued from an high and moysty rock, enuironned 239with an infinite number of Maple trees, Poplars, and Ashes. To which place a Page brought a Lute to Dom Diego, whereupon hee could play very well, and made it more pleasauntly to sound for that hee accorded hys Fayninge Voyce to the Instrument, Singing this song that followeth.

That I should loue and serue also, good reason doth require,

What though I suffre loathsome grief, my life in woe to wrap?

The same be th’only instruments of my good lucke and hap,

The foode and pray for hungry corps, of rest th’assured hire.

By thought wherof (O heauy man) gush forth of teares great store

And by and by reioyst agayne, my driery teares do cease:

Which guerdon shall mine honor sure in that triumphant peace,

The summe wherof I offer now, were it of price mutch more.

Which I do make withall my heart, vnto that blessed wight,

My proper Goddesse here on earth, and only mistresse deere:

My goods and life, my brething ghost within this carcase here,

I vow vnto that maiesty, that heauenly starre most bright.

Now sith my willing vow is made, I humbly pray hir grace,

To end th’accord betwene vs pight, no longer time to tracte:

Whych if it be by sured band, so haply brought to passe,

I must my self thrice happy count, for that most heauenly fact.

Thys Song made the company to muse, who commended the trim inuention of the Knight, and aboue all Gineura praysed him more than before, and could not so well refrayne hir lookes from him, and he with counterchaunge rendring alike agayne, but that the two wydowes their Mothers tooke great heede thereof, reioysing greatly to see the same, desirous in time to couple them togeather. For at that present they deferred the same, in consideration they were both very young. Notwithstanding it had bene better that the same Coniunction had ben made, before Fortune 240had turned the Wheele of hir vnstablenes. And truely delay and prolongation of time sometimes bryngeth sutch and so great missehappe that one hundred times men cursse their fortune, and little aduyse in foresight of their infortunate chaunces that commonly do come to passe. As it chaunced to those Wydowes, one of them thinking to loose hir son by the vaine behauior of the other’s daughter, who wythout the help of God, or care vnto his wil, disparaged hir honor, and prepared a poyson so daungerous for his Mother’s age, as the foode thereof hastened the way to the good Ladye’s Graue. Now whiles this loue in thys manner increased and that the desire of these two Louers, flamed forth ordinarily in fire and flames more violent, Dom Diego all chaunged and transformed into a new man, receiued no delyght, but in the sight of his Gineura. And she thought that there could be no greater Felicity or more to be wyshed for, than to haue a Fryend so perfect, and so well accomplyshed wyth all thyngs requisite for the ornament and full furniture of a Gentleman. This was the occasion that the young Knyght let no Weeke to passe without visiting his mystresse twice or thryce at the least, and she did vnto hym the greatest curtesy and best Entertaynment, that vertue could suffer a Mayden to doe, whych was the diligent Treasurer and careful tutor of hir honor. And this she dyd by consent of hir Mother. In lyk maner, honestie doth not permyt chaste Maydens to vse long talk or immoderate speach, with the fyrst that be suters vnto them, and mutch lesse seemely it is for them to be ouer squeimysh Nice, wyth that man whych seeketh (by way of marryage) to wynne power and tytle of the Body, beyng in very deede, or ought to be the moiety of theyr soule. Sutch was the desyres of these two Louers, which notwithstanding was impeeched by meanes, as hereafter you shal heare. For duryng the rebounding ioy of those faire couple of Loyall Louers, it chaunced that the Daughter of a Nobleman of the Countrey, named Ferrando de la Serre, whych was fayre, very Comely, Wise, and of good behauiour, by keepynge daily Company with Gineura, fell extreamely in loue with Dom Diego, and assayed by all meanes to do him to vnderstand what the puissance was of hir Loue which willingly shee meant to bestowe vpon him, if it woold please hym 241to honor hir so mutch, as to loue hir with like sincerity. But the knight which was no more his own Man, beyng possessed of another, had with hys Lybertye lost his Wyts and Mynd to marke the affectyon of this Gentlewoman, of whom he made no accompt. The Maiden neuerthelesse ceased not to loue him, and to proue all possible wayes to make him hir owne. And knowing how mutch Dom Diego loued Hawking, she bought a hauke the best in all the countrey, and sent the same to Dom Diego, who wyth all his heart receiued the same, and affectuously gaue hir thanks for that desired gyft, praying the messanger to recommend him to the good grace of his mistresse, and to assure hir self of his faythfull seruice, and that for hir sake he would kepe the Hauke so tenderly as the Balles of his eyes. Thys Hauke was the cause of the ill fortune that afterwards chaunced to this poore Louer. For going many times to see Gienura with the hauke on his fist and bearing with him the tokens of the goodnesse of his Hauke, it escaped his mouth to say, that the same was one of the things that in all the World he loued best. Truely this Word was taken at the first bound contrary to his meaning, wherewith the matter so fell out, as afterwards by despayre he was like to lose his Lyfe. Certaine dayes after, as in the absence of the knight, talk rose of his vertue and honest conditions, one praysing his prowesse and valyance, another his great Beauty and Curtesy, another passing further, extolling the sincere affectyon and constancy which appeared in him touching matters of Loue, one enuious person named Gracian spake his mind of hym in this wyse: “I will not deny but that Dom Diego is one of the most excellent most honest and brauest knyghtes of Catheloigne, but in matters of Loue he seemeth to me so walteryng and inconstant, as in euery place where he commeth, by and by he falleth in loue, and maketh as though he were sicke and would dy for the same.” Gineura maruelling at those words said vnto him: “I pray you my frend to vse better talk of the Lord Dom Diego. For I do thynk the Loue whych the Knight doth beare to a Gentlewoman of thys countrey, is so firme and assured, as none other can remoue the same out of the siege of hys mind?” “Lo howe you be deceiued Gentlewoman” (quod Gracian) “for vnder coloure of dissymulate seruice, he and sutch as he is doe abuse the simplicity of young 242Gentlewomen. And to proue my sayinge true, I am assured that he is extremely enamored wyth the Daughter of Dom Ferrando de la Serre, of whom he receyued an Hauke, that he loueth aboue all other things.” Gineura remembrying the words which certayn dayes before Dom Diego spake touching his hauke, began to suspect and beleue that which Gracian alleaged, and not able to support the choler, whych cold Iealosy bred in hir stomack, went into hir Chaumber full of so greate gryefe and heauynesse as she was many tymes lyke to kyll hir selfe. In the end, hopyng to be reuenged of the wrong whych shee beleued to receyue of Dom Diego, determyned to endure hir fortune paciently. In the meane tyme she conceyued in hir Mynd a despyte and hatred so great and extreame agaynst the poore Gentleman that thought lyttle hereof, as the former loue was nothing in respecte of the reuenge by death which she then desired vpon hym. Who the next day after his wonted maner came to see hir, hauing (to hys great damage) the hauke on his fiste, which was the onely cause of all her Iealosie. Nowe as the knyght was in talke with the Mother, seeynge that his beloued came not at al (accordyng to hir custome) to salute him and bid him welcome, inquired how she dyd. One that loued hym more than the rest, sayd vnto him: “Syr, so soone as she knewe of your comming, immedyately she wythdrew hir self into hir Chaumber.” He that was wyse and well trayned vp dissembled what he thought, imagining that it was for some lyttle fantasie, whereunto Women wyllingly be subiecte. And therfore when he thought time to depart he toke leaue of the wydow, and as he was goyng down the staires of the great Chamber, he met one of the maides of Gineura, whom he prayed to commend him to hir mistresse. Gineura duryng al this time tooke no reste, deuising howe shee myghte cutte of cleane hir loue entertained in Dom Diego, after she knewe that hee carryed the hawke on his fyst: beyng the onely instrument of her frensie. And therefore thynkyng hir selfe both despysed and mocked of hir Knyght, and that he had done it in despyte of hir, she entred into so great rage and Choler as she was like to fall mad. She being then in this trouble of Mynde, behold hir Gentlewoman came vnto hir, and dyd the knyght’s message. Who hearing but the symple name of hir supposed 243Ennimy, began to sighe so straungely, as a Man would haue thought hir soule presently would haue departed hir Body. Afterwards when she had vanquished hir raging fit whych stayed hir speach, she gan very tenderly to weepe, saying: “Ah traytor and vnfaithful Louer, is thys the recompence of the honest, and firme Amity whych I haue borne thee, so wyckedly to deceiue me vnder the colour of so faint and detestable a Fryendship? Ah rashe and arrant Theefe, is it I vppon whom thou oughtest to bend thy wycked Trumperies? Doste thou thinke that I am no better worth but that thou prodigally shouldest waste myne honor to bear the spoyles thereof to hir, that is in nothing comparable vnto me? Wherein haue I deserued thys discurtesy, if not by louyng thee more than thy beauty and fained loue deserue? Diddest thou dare to aduenture vppon me, hauyng thy conscyence wounded wyth sutch an abhominable and deadly Treason? Durste thou to offer thy Mouth to kysse my Hand, by the mouth of another, to whome thou haddest before dedicated thy lying Lyppes in thine owne person? I most humbly thancke Almighty God that it pleased him to let me see the Poison by thee prepared for the ruine of my lyfe and honor. Ha foole, hope not to take me in thy Trap, nor yet to deceyue me through thy sugred and deceitfull Words. For I sweare by the Almyghty God, that so long as I shall liue, I will accompte thee none other, but the most cruell and mortall Ennimy that I haue in this world.” Then to accomplish the rest of hir carefull Minde she wrote a Letter to giue hir farewell to hir olde Friend Dom Diego. And for that purpose instructed hir Page with this Lesson, that when the knyght should come, he should be ready before hir lodging and say vnto him in the behalfe of hir, that before he passed any further, hee shoulde reade the Letter, and not to fayle to doe the Contents: the Page which was malicious, and il affectioned to Dom Diego, knowyng the appointed day of hys comming, wayted for hym a quarter of a mile from the Castle, where he had not long taryed, but the innocent louer came, agaynst whome the page went, bearyng about him more hurtfull and noysome weapons than al the Theeues and robbers had in all the Countrey of Catheloigne. In this manner presenting his mystresse letters, he said vnto him: “My Lord, madame Gineura my 244mistresse hath sent me vnto you: and bicause she knoweth how feareful you be to dysplease hir, prayeth you not to fayle to reade this Letter before you passe anye further, and there wyth al to accomplysh the effecte thereof.” The knyght abashed wyth that sodayne message, aunswered the Page: “God forbid my fryend,” (quod he) “that I should disobey hir by anye meanes, vnto whom I haue gyuen a full authority and puissaunce over myne affectyons.” So receyuing the letters, he kissed them thre or four times, and openyng them, found that he loked not for, and red that whych he thought not off. The contents were these.

The letters of faire Ginuera, to the Knight Dom Diego.

There shall passe no day of my Lyfe, from makyng complaynts of the disloyall and periured Louer, who being more esteemed and better beloued than thou dydst deserue, hast made so small accompte of mee, whereof I wyll be reuenged vpon my selfe, for that I so lyghtly beleued thy wordes so full of crafte and guyle. I am in mynd that thou henceforth shalt flye to buzze and beat the Bushes, where thou suspectest to catch the pray: for heere thou art lyke to be deceiued. Goe varlet, (goe I say,) to deceyue hir whych holdeth thee in hir nets and snares, and whose Presentes (althoughe of small Value) moued thee more than the Honeste, Vertuous and Chaste Loue, that Vertue hir selfe began to knytte betweene vs. And sith a Carrion Kyte hath made the fly further off, than the Wynde of the Ayre was able to bear thee, God desende that Gineura should goe aboute to hynder thy follyes, and mutch lesse to suffer hir selfe to bee beguyled throughe thine Excuses. Nay rather God defend (except thou desirest to se me dy) that thou shouldest euer bee in place where I am, assuryng thee of thys my mynde, neuer to be chaunged so long as my soule shall rest wythin my body: which giuing breath vnto my panting breast, shal neuer be other, but a mortall enimy to Dom Diego: and sutch one as euen to the Death wyl not fayle to prosecute the default of the most traiterous and vnfaythfull Knyght that euer was gyrte in girdle, or armed with Sword. And behold the last fauour that thou canst, or oughtest to hope of me, who 245lyueth not but onelye to martir and crucify thee, and neuer shal be other but

The greatest Enimy, that euer thou haddest, or

shalt haue, Gineura the fayre.

The myserable louer had no sooner red the Letter, but lifting vp his eyes to the heauens, he sayd: “Alas, my God thou knowest well if euer I haue offended, that I ought to be banyshed from the place, where my contentation is chyefly fixed, and from whence my heart shall neuer departe, chaunce what myssehappe and Fortune so euer shall.” Then tournyng himself towards the Page, hee sayd: “Sir Page my fryend, say vnto my Ladye, most humblye commending me vnto hir, that for this present time I wyll not see hir, but hereafter she shall heare some newes from me.” The page well lessoned for the purpose, made hym aunswere, saying: “Sir, she hath wylled me to say thus mutch by mouth, that ye cannot do hir greater pleasure, than neuer to come in place where shee is: for so mutch as the Daughter of Dom Ferrando de la Serre hath so catched you in hir nettes, that loth she is your faithfull heart shoulde hange in ballance, and expect the vncertaine Loue of two Ladyes at once.” Dom Diego hearing the truth of hys missehap, and the occasion of the same, made Lyghte of the matter for that tyme, till at length the Choler of his Mistresse were abated, that thereby shee might know vpon how bryttle Ground she hadde planted a suspition of hir most faythfull and louing Seruaunt, and so retiring to his House, altogither vexed and yll contented, he wente into hys Chaumber where with his Dagger he paunched the gorge of the poore birde, the cause of hys Ladies Anger, saying: “Ha vyle carraine kite, I sweare by the bloud of him, that thou shalt neuer be the cause agayne, to make hir fret for sutch a triflyng thing as thou art: I beleue that what so euer fury is hidden within the Body of this curssed Kite, to engender a Plague, the same now is seased on me, but I hope to doe my Mystresse vnderstande what Sacrifice I haue made of the thyng that was sent me, ready to do the lyke vppon mine owne flesh, where it shall please her to commaund.” So taking Inke and Paper, he made aunswere to Gineura as foloweth.

246

The Letters of Dom Diego, to Gineura the faire.

But who would euer thynck (my Lady deare) that a Lyght Opinion could so soone haue deuided your good iudgement, to condempn your Knight before you had heard what he was able to say, for himself? truely I thought no more to offend you, than the man which you neuer knew, although you haue bene deceiued by colored words, vttered by those that be enuious of my happe, and Enimies of your ioy, who haue filled your minde full of false report. I swere vnto you (by God, my good Lady) that neuer thinge entred into my fantasie more, than a desire to serue you alone and to auoide the acquaintance of all other, to preserue for you a pure and entire heart. Whereof longe agone I made you an offer. In wytnesse whereof I humbly beseech you to beleue, that so soone as you see this Birde (the cause of your anger and occasion of my mishap) torne and pluckte in pieces, that my heart feeleth no lesse alteration or torment: for so long as I shall vnderstand your displeasure to endure against mee, assure your selfe my Life shall abide in no lesse paine than my ioye was great when I franckly possessed your presence. Be it sufficient (Madame) for you to know, that I neuer thought to offend you. Be contented I beseech you, with this sacrifice which I send you, if not that I doe the like vpon myne owne body, which without your good will and grace can no longer liue. For my lyfe depending vppon that only benefit, you ought not to be astonned if the same fayling his nourishment doth pearish, as frustrate of that foode, propre, and apt for his Appetite: and by like meanes my sayd life shall reuiue, if it may please you to spread your beames ouer mine obscure and base personage, and to receiue thys satisfaction for a fault not committed. And so wayting a gentle aunswere from your great curtesie, I humbly kisse your white and delicate handes, with all humility, praying God sweete Lady, to let you see how mutch I suffer without desert, and what puissaunce you haue ouer him that is all your

Faythfull and euer servaunt

most obedient, Dom Diego.

247The letter closed, and sealed, he deliuered to one of his faythfull and secret Seruaunts, to beare (with the deade Hauke) vnto Gineura, charging him diligently to take heede to hir countenaunce, and aboue all, that faithfully he should beare away what she dyd say vnto him for aunswere. His man fayled not to speede himselfe with diligence: and being come before Gineura, he presented that which his maister had sent hir. She full of wrath and indignation, would not once vouchsafe to reade the letter, and mutch lesse to accept the present which was a witnesse of the contrary of that shee did beleue, and turninge vnto the messenger, she sayde: “My Frende, thou mayest goe get thee backe agayne, wyth the selfe same charge which thou hast brought, and say vnto thy mayster, that I haue nothing to doe with his Letters, his Excuses, or any other thing that commeth from his handes, as one hauing good experience of his sleyghts and deceipts. Tell him also, that I prayse God, in good time I haue taken heede to the little fayth and trust that is in him for a countergarde, lightly neuer hereafter to bee deceiued.” The seruyng man would fayne haue framed an Oration to purge his maister, but the fierce Gentlewoman brake of his talke, saying vnto hym, that she was wel resolued vpon hir intent, whych was that Dom Diego should neuer recouer place in hir minde: and that shee hated hym as mutch at that time as euer shee loued him before. Vppon whych aunswere the Messanger returned, so sorrowfull for the Misfortune of his Mayster (knowing hym to bee very innocent) as he knew full well into what despayre his Mayster would fall, when he vnderstode those pitifull and heavy newes: notwithstanding needes he must knowe them, and therefore when he was come before Dom Diego, he recyted vnto hym from poynt to poynt his ambassage, and deliuered hym agayne his Letters. Whereof the infortunate Gentleman was so sore astonned, as he was like to haue fallen downe dead at that instant. “Alas,” (sayd he) “what yll lucke is this, that when I thought to enioye the benefite of my attempte, Fortune hath reuolted to bryng me to the extremity of the moste desparate man that ever lyued? Is it possible that my good seruice should bee the cause of my approached ouerthrow? Alas, what may true and faithfull louers henceforth hope for, if not the losse of theyr tyme, when 248after long deuoire and duetye, an Enuious fool shall come to depryue them of theyr ioy and gladnesse, and they feelyng the bytternesse of theyr abandoned farewell, one that loueth lesse shall beare away the sweete fruicte of sutch hope, and shall possesse withoute deserte the glory due to a good and faythfull suter. Ah fayre Gineura, that thou seest not the griefe whych I do feele, and the affection wherewith I serue thee, and how mutch I would suffer to gayne and recouer thy good grace and fauor. Ha vayne hope, which vntill now hast fylled me, with mirth and gladnesse, altogether spent and ouerwhelmed in the gaulle of thy bytter sauour, and in the tast of thy corrupted lycour: better it had ben for me at the begining to haue refused thee, than afterwards receiued, cherished, and sincerely beloued, to be banished for so light occasion, as I am ful sore ashamed to conceyue the same within remembrance: but fortune shal not haue hir wil ouer me: for so long as I shall liue I wyll contynue the seruaunt of Gineura, and my lyfe I wyll preserue, to lette her vnderstand the force of Loue: by continuaunce whereof, I wyll not sticke to sette my selfe on fyre with the liuely flames of my passions, and then withdrawe the fyrebrandes of my ioy, by the rigour and frowardnesse that shall proceede from hir.” When he had fynished his talke, he began to sigh and lament so strangely, as his man was about to go cal the lady his mother. In whom dyd appeare sutch signes, as if death had ben at hand, or els that he had ben attached wyth the Spirite of phrensie. But when hee sawe hym aboute to come agayne to himselfe, he sayed thus vnto him: “How now, syr, wyl you cast your selfe away for the foolyshe toy of an vndiscrete girle, yll mannered and taught, and who perchaunce doth al this to proue how constant you would be? No, no sir, you must turne ouer an other Leafe, and sith you bee determyned to loue hir, you must perseuere in your pursute. For at length it is impossible, but that this Diamont hardnesse, must needes bee mollified, if she be not a Diuell incarnate, more furious than the wildest beasts, whych haunt the deserts of Lybia.” Dom Diego was comforted with that admonition, and purposed to persist in hys affection, and therefore sent many messages, giftes, letters, and excuses to hys angry mistresse Gineura. But she made yet lesse accompt 249of them than of the first, charging the messangers not to trouble themselues about those trifles, for shee had rather dye than see hym, or to receyue any thyng from him, whom she deadly hated. When newes hereof came to the knyght, he was altogether impacient, and seeing the small profite which he did gaine by pursuing his folysh opinion, and not able to bestow his loue elsewhere, he determined to die: and yet vnwilling to imbrue his hands with his owne bloud, he purposed to wander as a vacabond into some deserte, to perfourme the course of his vnhappye and sorrowfull dayes, hoping by that meanes to quench the heat of that amorous rage, either by length of tyme, or by death, the last refuge of the myserable. For which purpose then, he caused to be made two pylgrims wedes, the one for himselfe, and the other for his man, and prepared al their necessaries for his voiage. Then writing a Letter to his Gineura, he called one of his men, to whom he said: “I am going about certayne of myne affayres, whereof I will haue no man to knowe, and therefore when I am gone, thou shalt tell my Lady Mother what I say to thee, and that within twenty dayes (God willing) I meane to retourne: moreouer I require thee, that foure dayes after my departure, and not before, thou beare theese letters to mistresse Gineura, and if so be she refuse to receyue them, fayle not to deliuer them vnto hir mother. Take heede therefore if thou loue me, to do all that which I haue geuen thee in charge.” Afterwards he called his seruaunt vnto hym, which had done the first message vnto Gineura, which was a wise, and gentle fellow, in whom the knight reposed great affiaunce, to him he declared all his enterprise, and th’ende whereunto his fierce determination did extend. The good Seruaunt whych loued his mayster, hearing his intent so vnreasonable, sayde vnto him: “Is it not enough for you sir, to yelde your selfe a pray to the most fierce, and cruell woman that lyueth, but thus to augment hir glory, by seeing hir selfe so victorious over you? Are you ignoraunt what the mallice of Women is, and how mutch they triumph in tormenting the poore blynded soules that become their Seruaunts, and what prayse they attribute vnto themselues, if by some misfortune they driue them to dispaire? Was it without cause that the Sage in times past did so greatly hate that Sexe, 250and Kinde, as the common Ruine, and ouerthrow of men? What mooued the Greeke Poet to sing theese verses against all sorts of Women?

A common woe though silly woman be to man,

Yet double ioy againe she doth vnto him bring:

The wedding night is one, as wedded folk tell can,

The other when the knill for hir poore soule doth ring.

If not for that he knew the happinesse of man consisted more in auoyding the acquaintaunce of that fury, than by imbracinge, and chearishing of the same, sith hir nature is altogether like vnto Æsop’s Serpent, which being deliuered from pearill and daunger of death by the shepeheard, for recompence thereof, infected his whole house with his venomous hissing, and rammish Breath. O howe happy is hee that can mayster his owne affections, and like a free man from that passion, can reioyce in liberty, fleeing the sweete euill which (as I well perceyue) is the cause of your despayre. But sir, your wisedome ought to vanquish those light conceipts, by setting so light of that your rebellious Gentlewoman, as shee is vnworthy to be fauoured by so great a Lord as you be, who deserueth a better personage than hir’s is, and a frendlier entertainment than a farewell so fondly giuen.” Dom Diego, although that he tooke pleasure to heare those discourses of his faythfull seruaunt, yet he shewed so sower a Countenaunce vnto him, as the other with theese fewe wordes helde his peace: “Sith then it is so syr, that you be resolued in your mishap, it may please you to accept mee to wayte vpon you, whither you are determined to goe: for I meane not to liue at mine ease, and suffer my mayster, in payne, and griefe. I will be partaker of that which Fortune shall prepare, vntill the heauens doe mitigate their rage vpon you, and your predestinate mishap.” Dom Diego, who desired no better company, imbraced him very louingly, thankinge him for the good will that hee bare him, and sayd: “This present Night about midnight, we wil take our Iourney, euen that way wheather our Lot and also Fortune shall Guide vs, attendinge eyther the ende of my Passion, or the whole ouerthrow of my selfe.” Their intent they did put in proofe: for at Midnight the Moone being cleere 251when all thinges were at rest, and the Crickets chirpinge through the Creauises of the Earth, they tooke their way vnseene of any. And so soone as Aurora began to garnish hir Mantle with colors of red and white, and the morning Starre of the Goddesse of stealing loue, appeared, Dom Diego began to sigh, saying: “Ah yee freshe and dewy Morninges, that my hap is farre from the quiet of others, who after they haue rested vpon the Cogitation of their Ease, and ioye, doe awake by the pleasaunte Tunes of the Byrdes, to perfourme by effect that which the Shadowe and Fantasie of their Minde, did present by dreaming in the Night, where I am constrayned to separate by great distaunce exceeding vehement continuation of my Torments, to followe wilde Beasts, wandring from thence where the greatest number of men doe quietly sleepe and take their rest. Ah Venus, whose Starre now conducteth me, and whose beames long agoe did glow and kindle my louing heart, how chaunceth it that I am not intreated according to the desert of my constant minde and meaning most sincere? Alas, I looke not to expect any thyng certayne from thee, sith thou hast thy course amongs the wandring starres. Must the Influence of one Starre that ruleth ouer mee, deface that which the Heauens would to bee accomplished, and that my cruel mistresse, deluding my languors and griefs, triumpheth ouer mine infirmity, and ouerwhelmeth me with care and sorow, that I liue pyning away, amongs the sauage beasts in the Wildernesse? For somutch as without the grace of my Lady, all company shalbe so tedious and lothsom vnto me, that the only thought of a true reconciliation with hir, that hath my heart, shal serue for the comfort and true remedy of all my troubles.” Whiles he had with these pangs forgotten himselfe, hee sawe that the day began to waxe cleere, the Sun already spreading his golden beames vpon the earth and therefore hastely he set himself forthwards, vsing Bywayes, and far from common vsed trades, so neere as he could, that hee might not by any meanes be knowne. Thus they rode forth till Noone: but seeing their horsse to be weary and faynt, they lighted at a village, farre from the high way: where they refreshed themselues, and bayted their horsse vntill it was late. In this sort by the space of three daies they trauersed the Countrey vntill they arriued to the foote 252of a mountayne, not frequented almost but by Wilde and sauage Beasts. The countrey round about was very fayre, pleasaunt, and fit for the solitarines of the Knight: for if shadow pleased him, hee might be delighted with the couert of an infinite number of fruictfull trees, wherewith only nature had furnished those hideous and Sauage Desertes. Next to the high and wel timbred Forrests, there were groues and bushes for exercise of hunting. A man could desire no kinde of Veneson, but it was to be had in that Wildernesse: there might be seene also a certain sharpe and rude situation of craggy, and vnfruictful rocks, which notwithstanding yelded some pleasure to the Eyes, to see theym tapissed with a pale moasie greene, which disposed into a frizeled guise, made the place pleasaunt and the rock soft, according to the fashion of a couerture. There was also a very fayre and wide Caue, which liked him well compassed round about with Firre trees, Pine apples, Cipres, and Trees distilling a certayne Rosen or Gumme, towards the bottom whereof, in the way downe to the valley, a man might haue viewed a passing company of Ewe trees, Poplers of all sortes, and Maple trees, the Leaues whereof fell into a Lake or Pond, which came by certayne smal gutters into a fresh and very cleare fountayne right agaynst that Caue. The knight viewing the auncienty and excellency of the place, deliberated by and by to plant there the siege of his abode, for performing of his penaunce and life. And therefore sayd unto his seruaunt: “My friend, I am aduised that this place shall be the Monastery, for the voluntary profession of our religion, and where we will accomplish the Voyage of our Deuotion. Thou seest both the beauty and solitarinesse, which do rather commaund vs here to rest, than any other place nere at hand.” The Seruaunt yelded to the pleasure of his mayster, and so lightinge from their horsse, they disfurnished them of their Saddles, and Bridles, gieuing to them the liberty of the fields, of whom afterwards they neuer heard more newes. The saddles they placed within the Caue and leauing their ordinary apparell, clothed themselues in Pilgrimes weedes, fortifying the mouth of the caue, that wilde beasts should not hurt them when they were a sleepe. There the seruaunt began to play the Vpholster, and to make 2 little beds of mosse, 253whose spindle and wheele were of wood, so well pollished and trimmed, as if he had bin a carpenter wel expert in that Science. They liued of nothing els, but of the fruicts of those wilde trees, sometimes of herbs, vntill they had deuised to make a crosbow of wood, wherewith they killed now and then a Hare, a Cony, a Kid, and many times some stronger beast remayned with them for gage: whose bloude they pressed out betwene two pieces of wood and rosted them against the Sunne, seruing the same in, as if it had bene a right good Dishe for their first course of their sober and vndelicate Table, whereat the pure water of the fountayne, next vnto their hollow and deepe house, serued in steade of the good Wynes, and delicious Drinks that abounded in the house of Dom Diego. Who liuing in this poore state, ceased night nor day to complayne of his hard fortune and curssed plight, going many times through the Desertes all alone, the better to muse and study thereupon, or (peraduenture) desirous that some hungry Beare should descend from the mountayne, to finishe his life and paynefull griefes. But the good Seruaunt knowing his Mayster’s sorow and mishap, would neuer go out of his sight but rather exhorted him to retourne home againe to his goods and possessions, and to forget that order of lyfe, vnworthy for sutch a personage as he was, and vncomely for him that ought to be indued with reason and iudgement. But the desperate Gentleman wilfull in his former deliberation, would not heare him speake of sutch retrayt. So that if it escaped the seruaunt to be earnest and sharpe agaynst the rudenesse and sottish cruelty of Gineura, it was a pastime to see Dom Diego mount in choller against him, saying: “Art thou so hardy to speak il of the gentlewoman, which is the most vertuous personage vnder the coape of heauen? Thou maist thancke the loue I beare thee, otherwise I would make thee feele how mutch the slaunder of hir toucheth mee at the heart, which hath right to punishe me thus for mine indiscretion, and that it is I that commit the wronge in complayning of hir seuerity.” “Now sir,” sayd the seruaunt, “I do indeede perceyue what maner of thing the contagion of loue is. For they which once doe feele the corruption of that Ayre, think nothing good or sauory, but the filthy smel of that pestiferous meat. Wherefore 254I humbly beseech you a little to set apart, and remoue from minde, that feare and presumptuous dame Gineura, and by forgetting hir beauty, to measure hir Desert and your griefe, you shall know then (being guided by reason’s lore) that you are the simplest and weakest man in the worlde, to torment your selfe in this wise, and that shee is the fondest Girle, wholly straught of wits, so to abuse a Noble man that meriteth the good grace and sweete embracement of one more fayre, wise and modest, than she sheweth hirselfe to be.” The knight hearing these words thought to abandon pacience, but yet replied vnto him: “I sweare vnto thee by God, that if euer thou haue any sutch talke agayne, eyther I will dye, or thou shalt depart out of my company, for I cannot abide by any meanes to suffer one to despise hir whom I do loue and honor, and shal so do during life.” The seruaunt loth to offend his mayster held his peace, heauy for all that in heart, to remember how the poore gentleman was resolued to finish there, (in a desert unknowen to his Freendes) all the remnaunt of his life. And who aswell for the euill order, and not accustome nourture, as for assiduall playnts and weepings, was become so pale and leane, as he better resembled a dry Chip, than a man, hauing feeling or lyfe. His eyes were sonke into his Head, his Beard vnkempt, his hayre staring, his skin ful of filth, altogether more like a wilde and Sauage creature (sutch one as is depainted in brutal forme) than faire Dom Diego, so mutch commended, and esteemed throughout the kingdome of Spayne. Now leaue we this Amorous Hermit to passionate and playne his misfortune, to see to what ende the Letters came that he wrote to his cruel Mistresse. The day prefixed for deliuery of his Letters, his seruaunt did his charge, and being come to the house of Gineura, founde hir in the hall with hir mother, where kissing his Mayster’s Letters, hee presented them with very great reuerence to the Gentlewoman. Who so soone as shee knew that they came from Dom Diego, all chaunged into raging colour, and foolishe choller, threwe theym incontinently vppon the grounde, sayinge: “Sufficeth it not thy Mayster, that already twice I haue done him to vnderstand, that I haue nothing to doe with his Letters nor Ambassades, and yet goeth he about by sutch assaultes to encrease 255my displeasure and agony, by the only remembraunce of his folly?” The Mother seeing that vnciuile order, although shee vnderstoode the cause, and knowinge that there was some discorde betweene the two Louers, yet thought it to bee but light, sithe the Comike Poet sayeth:

The Louers often falling out,

And prety warling rage:

Of pleasaunt loue it is no doubt,

The sure renewing gage.

She went vnto hir Daughter, and sayd vnto hir: “What great rage is this: let me see that Letter that I may reade it: for I haue no feare that Dom Diego can deceyue me with the sweetenes of his honny words. And truly Daughter you neede not fear to touch theym, for if there were any Poyson in theym, it proceeded from your beauty that hath bitten and stong the knight, whereof if he assay to make you a partaker, I see no cause why he ought to be thus rigorously reiected, deseruing by his honesty a better entertaynement at your hands.” In the meane time one of the seruing men toke vp the Letters, and gaue them to the Lady, who reading them, found written as followeth.

The letters of Dom Diego, to mistresse Gineura.

My dearest and most wel beloued Lady, sith that mine innocency can finde no resting place within your tender Corpse, what honest excuse or true reason so euer I do alledge, and sith your heart declareth itself to be Implacable, and not pleased with hym that neuer offended you, except it were for ouermutch loue, which for guerdon of the rare and incomparable amity, I perceyue my selfe to be hated deadly of you and in sutch wise contemned, as the only record of my name causeth in you an insupportable griefe and displeasure vnspeakeable. To auoide I say your indignation, and by my mishap to render vnto you some ease and contentment, I haue meant to dislodge my self so far from this Countrey, as neyther you nor any other, shal euer heare by fame 256or true report, the place of my abode, nor the graue wherein my bones shall rest. And although it be an inexplicable heart’s sorrow and torment, which by way of pen can not be declared, to be thus misprised of you, whom alone I do loue and shal, so long as mine afflicted soule shall hang vpon the feeble and brittle threede of life: yet for all that, this griefe falling vpon me, is not irkesome, as the punishment is grieuous, by imagining the passion of your minde when it is disquieted with disdayne and wrath agaynst me, who liueth not, but to wander vpon the thoughts of your perfections. And forsomutch as I doe feele for the debility that is in me, that I am not able any longer to beare the sowre shockes of my bitter torments and martyrdome that I presently doe suffer, yet before my life doe fayle, and death doe sease vpon my senses, I haue written vnto you this present letter for a testimoniall of your rigour, which is the marke that iustifieth my vnguiltynesse. And although I doe complayne of mine vnhappy fortune, yet I meane not to accuse you, onely contented that eche man doe know, that firme affection and eternall thraldome do deserue other recompence than a farewell so cruell. And I am wel assured, that when I am deade, you will pitty my torment, knowing then, although to late, that my loyalty was so sincere, as the report of those was false, that made you beleeue, that I was very far in loue with the Daughter of Dom Ferrande de la Serre. Alas, shall a Noble gentleman that hath bene well trayned vp, be forbidden to receiue the gifts that come from a vertuous Gentlewoman? Ought you to be so incapable and voyde of humanity, that the sacrifice which I haue made of the poore Birde, the cause of your disdayne, my repentaunce, my lawfull excuses, are not able to let you see the contrary of your persuasion? Ah, ah, I see that the dark and obscure vayle of uniust disdayne and immoderate anger, hath so blindfold your eyes, and inuegled your mynde, as you can not iudge the truth of my cause and the vnrightousnes of your quarell. I will render vnto you none other certificate of myne innocency, but my languishinge heart, which you clepe betweene your hands, feling sutch rude intertaynment there, of whom he loaked for reioyse of his trauayles. But forsomutch then as you do hate me, what resteth for me to do, but to procure destruction to my self? 257And sith your pleasure consisteth in mine ouerthrow, reason willeth that I obey you, and by deth to sacrifice my life in like maner as by life you were the only mistresse of my heart. One only thing cheereth vp my heart agayne, and maketh my death more myserable, which is, that in dying so innocent as I am, you shall remayne guilty, and the onely cause of my ruine. My Lyfe will depart like a Puffe, and Soule shall vanish like a sweete Sommer’s blast: whereby you shall be euer deemed for a cruell Woman and bloudy Murderer of your deuout and faythfull Seruaunt. I pray to God mine owne sweete Lady, to giue you sutch Contentation, Ioye, Pleasure, and Gladnesse, as you do cause through your Rigor, Discontentment, Griefe, and Displeasure to the poore languishing Creature, and who for euermore shall bee

Your most obedient and affected

seruaunt Dom Diego.

The good Lady hauing red the Letter, was so astonned, as hir words for a long space staied within hir mouth; hir heart panted, and spirite was full of confusion, hir minde was filled with sorrow to consider the anguishes of the poore vagabound, and foster Hermit. In the ende before the houshold dissembling hir passion which mooued hir sense, she tooke her Daughter a side, whom very sharply she rebuked, for that she was the cause of the losse of so notable and perfect a Knight as Dom Diego was. Then she red the Letter vnto hir, and as all hir eloquence was not able to moue that cruel damsell, more venemous than a Serpent agaynst the knight, who (as she thought) had not indured the one halfe of that which his inconstancy and lightnesse had wel deserued, whose obstinate minde the mother perceyuinge, sayde vnto hir: “I pray to God (deare daughter) that for your frowardnesse, you bee not blinded in your beauty, and for refusall of so great a benefit as is the alliaunce of Dom Diego, you be not abused with sutch a one as shall dimme the light of your renoume and glory, which hitherto you haue gayned amongs the sobrest and modest maydens.” Hauing sayd so, the wyse and sage widow, went to the seruaunt of Dom Diego, of whom she demaunded what day his mayster departed, which she knowing, and not ignoraunt 258of the occasion, was more wroth than before: notwithstanding she dissembled what she thought, and sending backe his seruant, she required him to do hir hearty commendations to the Lady his mistresse, which he did. The good Lady was ioyfull of them not knowing the contents of her sonne’s letters, but looked rather that he had sent word vnto his lady of the iust hour of his returne. Howbeit when she saw that in the space of 20 dayes, nor yet within a moneth he came not, shee could not tell what to thinke, so dolorous was she for the absence of hir sonne. The time passinge without hearing any newes from him she began to torment hirselfe, and be so pensiue, as if she had heard certayne newes of his death. “Alas,” (quod she) “and wherefore haue the heauens giuen me the possession of sutch an exquisite fruict, to depriue mee thereof before I do partake the goodnesse, and swetenes therof, and before I do enioy the grifts proceding from so goodly a stock. Ah God, I fear that my immoderate loue is the occasion of the losse of my sonne, and the whole ruine of the mother, with the demolition and wast of al our goods. And I would that it had pleased God (my Son) the hunter’s game had neuer bene so deere, for thinking to catch that pray thou thy selfe wast taken and thou wandring for thy better disport, missing the right way, so strangely didst straggle, that hard it is to reduce thee into the right track agayne. At least wise if I knew the place, whereunto thou arte repaired to finde againe thy losse, I would trauell thither to beare the company, rather than to lyue heere voyde of a Husbande, betrayed by them whom I best trusted and bereft from the presence of the my Sonne, the Staffe and onely comfort of myne olde age, and the certayne hope of all our House and Family.” Now if the Mother vexed hir selfe, the Sonne was eased with no great reioyce, being now a free cittizen with the Beasts, and Foules of the Forrests, Dennes, and Caues, leauing not the Profundity of the Woods, the Craggednes of the Rocks, or beauty of the Valley, without some signe or token of his griefe. Sometime with a Puncheon wel sharpned, seruing him in steede of a Penknife, he graued the successe of his loue vpon an hard stone. Other times the softe Bark of some tender and new growen spray serued him in steede of Paper, or Parchment. For there he 259carued in Cyphres properly combined with a Knot (not easily to be knowne) the name of his Lady, interlaced so properly with his owne, that the finest heads might bee deceyued, to Disciphre the righte interpretation. Vpon a day then, as he passed his time (accordinge to his custome) to muse vpon Myssehaps, and to frame his successe of loue in the Ayre, hee Ingraued these Verses vpon a Stone by a Fountayne side, adioyning to his rude and Sauage house.

If any Forrest Pan, doth haunt here in this place,

Or wandring Nymphe, hath hard my wofull playnt:

The one may well beholde, and view what drop of grace,

I haue deseru’de, and eke what griefes my heart do taynt,

The other lend to me some broke, or showre of rayne

To moyst myne heart and eyes, the gutters of my brayne.

Somewhat further of many times at the rising of the Sunne, he mounted the Top of an high and greene Mountayne to solace himselfe vpon the freshe and greene grasse, where four Pillers were erected, (eyther naturally done by dame Nature, or wrought by the industry of man,) which bore a stone in forme four square, well hewed, made and trimmed in maner of an Aulter, vpon which Aulter he dedicated these verses to the Posterity.

Vpon this holy squared stone, which Aulter men doe call,

To some one of the Gods aboue that consecrated is,

This dolefull verse I do ingraue, in token of my thrall,

And deadly griefes that do my silly heart oppresse,

And vex with endelesse paynes, which neuer quiet is,

This wofull verse (I say) as surest gage of my distresse,

I fixe on Aulter stone for euer to remayne,

To shew the heart of truest wight, that euer liued in payne.

And vpon the brims of that Table, he carued these Wordes:

This Mason worke erected here, shall not so long abide,

As shall the common name of two, that now vncoupled bee,

Who after froward fortune past, knit eche in one degree,

Shall render for right earnest loue, reward on either side.

260And before his Lodging in that wilde and stony Forrest vpon the Barke of a lofty Beeche Tree, feeling in himselfe an unaccustomed lustinesse, thus he wrote:

Th’encreasing beauty of thy shape, extending far thy name,

By like increase I hope to see, so stretched forth my fame.

His man seeing him to begin to be merily disposed, one day said vnto him: “And wherefore sir serueth the Lute, which I brought amongs our Males, if you do not assay thereby to recreate youre selfe, and sing thereupon the prayses of hir whom you loue so wel: yea and if I may so say, by worshipping hir, you do commit idolatry in your minde. Is it not your pleasure that I fetche the same vnto you, that by immitation of Orpheus, you may mooue the Trees, Rocks, and wylde Beastes to bewayle your misfortune, and witnesse the penaunce that you doe for hir sake, without cause of so haynous punishment:” “I see well,” (quod the knight) “that thou wouldest I should be mery, but mirth is so far from me, as I am estraunged from hir that holdeth me in this misery. Notwithstanding I will performe thy request, and will awake that instrument in this desert place, wherewith sometime I witnessed the greatest part of my passions.” Then the knight receyuing the Lute sounded thereupon this song ensuing.

The waues and troubled scum, that mooues the Seas alofte,

Which runs and roares against the rocks, and threatneth daungers oft

Resembleth lo the fits of loue,

That dayly do my fansie moue.

My heart it is the ship, that driues on salt Sea fome,

And reason sayles with senselesse wit, and neuer loketh home,

For loue is guide, and leades the daunce,

That brings good hap, or breedes mischaunce.

The furious flames of loue, that neuer ceaseth sure,

Are loe the busie sailes and oares, that would my rest procure,

And as in Skies, great windes do blo,

My swift desires runnes, fleeting so.

261As sweete Zephyrus breath, in spring time feedes the floures,

My mistresse voice would ioye my wits, by hir most heauenly powers,

And would exchaunge my state I say,

As Sommer chaungeth Winter’s day.

She is the Artique starre, the gratious Goddesse to,

She hath the might to make and marre, to helpe or els vndo,

Both death and life she hath at call,

My warre, my peace, my ruine and all.

She makes me liue in woe, and guides my sighs and lookes,

She holds my fredome by a lace, as fish is held with hookes,

Thus by despayre in this conceite,

I swallow vp both hooke and baite.

And in the deserts loe I liue, among the sauage kinde,

And spend my time in wofull sighs, rays’d vp by care of minde,

All hopelesse to in paynes I pyne,

And ioyes for euer doe resigne.

I dread but Charon’s boat if she no mercy giue,

In darknesse then my soule shall dwell, in Pluto’s raygne to liue,

But I beleue she hath no care,

On him that caught is in hir snare.

If she release my woe, a thousand thankes therefore,

I shall hir giue, and make the world to honor hir the more,

The Gods in Skies will prayse the same,

And recorde beare of hir good name.

O happy is that life, that after torment straunge,

And earthly sorows on this mould, for better life shal chaunge

And liue amongs the Gods on high,

Where loue and Louers neuer die.

O lyfe that here I leade, I freely giue thee now,

Vnto the fayre where ere she rests, and loke thou shew hir how

262I linger forth my yeares and dayes,

To win of hir a crowne of prayse.

And thou my pleasaunt Lute, cease not my songs to sound,

And shew the torments of my minde, that I through loue haue found,

And alwayes tell my Mistresse still,

Hir worthy vertues rules my will.

The Foster Louer.

The Foster louer singing this song, sighing sundry tymes betwene, the tricling teares ranne downe his Face: which thereby was so disfigured, as scarse could any man haue knowne him, that al the dayes of their lyfe had frequented his company. Sutch was the state of this myserable yong gentleman, who dronke with hys owne Wyne, balanced himselfe downe to despayre rather than to the hope of that which he durst not looke for. Howbeit like as the mischiefs of men be not alwayes durable, and that all thinges haue their proper season, euen so Fortune repentinge hir euill intreaty which wrongfully shee had caused this poore penetenciary of Gineura to endure, prepared a meanes to readuaunce him aloft vppon hir Wheele, euen when he thought least of it. And certes, herein appeared the mercy of God, who causeth things difficult and almost impossible, to be so easy, as those that ordinarily be brought to passe. How may this example show how they which be plunged in the bottome of defiaunce, deeming their life vtterly forlorne, be soone exalted euen to the top of all glory, and felicity? Hath not our age seene a man whych was by aucthority of his Enimy iudged to dye, ready to bee caried forth to the Scaffolde miraculously deliuered from that daunger, and (wherein the works of God are to be marueyled) the same man to be called to the dignity of a Prynce, and preferred aboue all the rest of the people? Now Dom Diego attending his fieldish Philosophy in the solitary valeys of the riche Mountayne Pyrene, was rescowed with an helpe vnlooked for as you shall heare. You haue hard how hee had a Neyghbour and singuler Frend a Noble Gentleman named Dom Roderico. Thys Gentleman amongs all his faithfull Companions did most lament the harde fortune of Dom Diego. It came to passe that 22 moneths after that the poore Wilde penitent person 263was gonne on Pilgrimage, Dom Roderico tooke his Iourney into Gascoyne for diuers his vrgent Affayres, which after hee had dispatched, were it that hee was gon out of his way, or thatGod (as it is most likely) did driue him thither, he approched towarde that Coaste of the Pyrene Mountaynes, where that tyme his good Frende Dom Diego did Inhabite, who dayly grew so Weake and Feeble, as if God had not sent him sodayne succour hee had gotten that hee most desired, which was death that should haue bene the ende of his trauayles and Afflictions. The trayne of Dom Roderico being then a bowe shot of from the sauage Caben of Dom Diego, espyed the tractes of mens Feete newly troden, and beganne to maruayle what hee should bee that dwelled there, considering the Solitude, and Infertility of the Place, and also that the same was farre of from Towne or House. And as they deuised hereupon, they saw a man going into a Caue, which was Dom Diego, comming from making his complayntes vppon the Rock spoken of before. From which hauinge turned his face toward that parte of the worlde where he thought the lodging was of that Saynct, whereunto he addressed his deuotions, Dom Diego hearinge the Noyse of the horsse, was retired because hee woulde not bee seene. The knight which rode that way, seeing that, and knowing how far he was oute of the way, commaunded one of his men to Gallop towardes the Rocke, to learne what people they were that dwelled within, and to demaund how they might coaste to the high way that led to Barcelona. The Seruaunt approching neare the Caue, perceiued the same so well Empaled and Fortified with Beasts skins before, fearing also that they were Theeues and Robbers that dwelled there, durst not approche, and lesse enquire the way, and therefore returned towards his mayster, to whom hee tolde what hee saw. The knight of another maner of Metall and hardinesse than that Rascall and coward seruaunt, like a stout, Couragious, and valiaunt Man, poasted to the Caue, and demaundinge who was within, he saw a man come forth so disfigured, horrible to looke vppon, pale with staring hayre vpright, as pitifull it was to behold him, which was the seruant of the foster Hermit. Of him Roderico demaunded what he was, and which was the way to Barcelone. “Syr,” aunswered that disguised person: “I know not 264how to aunswere your demaund, and mutch lesse I know the country where we now presently be. But sir, (sayde he sighing) true it is that we be two poore companions whom Fortune hath sent hither, by what il aduenture I know not, to do penaunce for our Trespasses, and Offences.” Roderico hearing him say so, began to call to his remembraunce his Freende Dom Diego, although he neuer before that tyme suspected the place of his abode. He lighted then from his horsse, desirous to see the singularities of the Rocke, and the magnificence of the Cauish lodging, where hee entred and sawe him whom he sought for, and yet for all that did not know him: He commoned with him a long tyme of the pleasure of the solitary life in respect of theym that liued intangled with the combersome Follies of this World. “For somutch” (quod he) as the spirite distracted and withdrawen from Worldly troubles is eleuate to the contemplation of heauenly thinges, and sooner attendeth to the knowledge and reuerence of his God, than those that bee conuersaunt amongs men, and to conclude, the complaynts, the delights, ambitions, couetousnesse, vanities, and superfluities that abounde in the confused Maze of Worldely troupe, doe cause a misknowledge of our selues, a forgetfulnesse of our Creator, and many times a negligence of piety and purenesse of Religion. Whiles the vnknowne Hermit, and the knight Roderico talked of these thinges, the Seruauntes of Roderico visiting all the Corners of the deepe, and Stony Cell of those Penitents, by Fortune espied two Saddles, one of theym rychely wroughte and Armed wyth Plates of Steele, that had bene made for some goodly Ienet. And vppon the Plate well Wroughte, Grauen and Enameled, the Golde for all the Rust cankering the Plate, did yet appear. For whych Purpose one of theym sayde to the seruaunt of Dom Diego: “Good Father hitherto I see neyther Mule, nor Horsse, for whom these Saddles can serue, I pray thee to sell them vnto vs, for they will doe vs more pleasure, than presently they do you.” “Maisters (quod the Hermit,) if they like you, they be at your commaundement.” In the meane time Roderico hauing ended his talke with the other Hermit, without knowing of any thinge that he desired, sayd vnto his men: “Now sirs to horse, and leaue wee theese poore people to rest in peace, and let vs goe seeke for the 265right way which we so well as they haue lost.” “Syr,” (quod one of his men,) “there be two Saddles, and one of them is so exceeding fayre, so well garnished and wrought as euer you saw.” The knight feeling in himselfe an vnaccustomed motion, caused them to be brought before him, and as he viewed and marked the riche Harnesse, and Trappings of the same, he stayeth to looke vppon the Hinder parte minionly wrought, and in the middest of the engrauing he red this deuise in the Spanish Tongue.

Que brantare la fe, es causa muy fea.

That is,
To violate or breake fayth, is a thing detestable.

That only inscription made him to pause a while. For it was the Poesie that Dom Diego bore ordinarily in his armes, which moued him to think that without doubt one of those Pilgrimes was the very same man to whom that Saddle did appertayne. And therefore he bent himselfe very attentiuely afterwardes to behold first the one, and then the other of those desert Citizens. But they were so altered, as hee was not able to know them agayne. Dom Diego seeing his Freende so neare him, and the desire that he had to knowe hym, chafed very mutch in hys mynde, and the more his Rage began to waxe, when hee saw Roderico approch neare vnto hym more aduisedly to looke vpon hym, for hee had not his own Affections so mutch at commaundement, but hys Bloude mooued hys Entrailes, and mounting into the most knowen place, caused outwardly the alteration which hee endured, to appeare. Roderico seeing hym to chaunge colour, was assured of that which before hee durst not suspect: and that which made him the sooner beleeue that he was not deceived, was a lyttle tuft of haire, so yelow as Gold, which Dom Diego had vpon his Necke, whereof Dom Roderico takyng heede, gaue ouer all suspition, and was well assured of that he doubted. And therefore displaying himselfe with hys armes opened vpon the necke of his friend, and imbracing him very louingly, his face bedewed with tears, sayd vnto him: “Alas, my Lord Dom Diego, what euill lucke from Heauen hath departed you from the good company of them which dye for sorrow, to see themselues berieued of the Beauty, lyght and ornament of their felowship? What are they that haue giuen 266you occasion thus to Eclipse the bryghtnesse of your name, when it oughte most clearely to shyne, both for theyr present pleasure, and for the honour of your age? Is it from me sir, that you oughte thus to hide yourselfe? Do you think me so to be blynd, that I know not ryght well, that you are Dom Diego, that is so renoumed for vertue and prowesse? I would not haue tarried here so longe, but to carry away a power to reioyce two persons, you being the one, by withdrawing your selfe from this heauy and vnseemely Wyldernesse, and my selfe the other, to enioy your Company, and by bearyng newes to your fryends, who sith your departure, do bewaile and lament the same.” Dom Diego seeing that he was not able to conceyle the truth of that which was euidently seene, and the louing imbracements of his best Friende, began to feele a certayne tendernesse of heart lyke vnto that whych the Mother conceyueth, when she recouereth hir Sonne that is long absent, or the chaste wyfe, the presence of hir deare Husband, when she clepeth him betwene hir armes, and frankely culleth and cherisheth hym at hir pleasure. For whych cause not able to refrain any longer for ioy and sorrow together, weping and sighing began to imbrace him wyth so good and hearty affection, as with good wyl the other had sought and longed to knowe where he was. And being come againe to himself, he sayd to his faithfull and most louinge friend: “Oh God, how vneasy and difficult be thy iudgments to comprehend? I had thought to liue here miserably, vnknowen to al the world, and behold, I am here discouered, when I thought least of it. I am indeede” (quod he to Roderico) “that wretched and vnfortunate Dom Diego, euen that thy very great and louing fryend, who weary of his lyfe, afflycted wyth his vnhap, and tormented by fortune, is retyred into these desertes to accomplysh the ouerplus of the rest of his il luck. Now sith that I haue satisfied you herein, I beseech you that being content wyth my sighte, yee wyll get you hence and leaue me heere to performe that lyttle remnant whych I haue to lyue, without telling to any person that I am aliue, or yet to manifeste the place of my abode.” “What is that you say sir,” (sayd Roderico) “are you so farre straught from your ryght wits, to haue a minde to continue this brutal Lyfe, to depryue al your 267friends from the ioy whych they receiue by inioying your company? Think I pray you that God hath caused vs to be born noble men, and hauing power and authority not to lyue in Corners, or be buryed amid the slauery of the popular sort, or remain idle within great palaces or secrete Corners, but rather to illustrat and giue lyght with the example of our vertue to those that shal apply themselues to our dexterity of good behauior, and do lyue as depending vpon our edicts and commaundments: I appeale to your faith, what good shall succede to your subiects, who haue both heard and also knowne the benefit bestowed vppon them by God, for that hee gaue them a Lord so modest and vertuous, and before they haue experimented the effect of his goodnesse and Vertue, depriued of him, that is adorned and garnished with sutch perfections? What comfort, contentation and ioy shall the Lady your mother receiue, by feelyng your losse to be so sodaine, after your good and delycate bryngyng up, instructed with sutch great diligence and vtterly berieued of the fruict of that education? It is you sir, that may commaund obedience to Parents, succor to the afflicted, and do iustice to them that craue it: Alas, they be your poore subiectes that make complaints, euen of you, for denying them your due presence. It is you of whom my good madame doth complayne, as of him that hath broken and violated his faith, for not comming home at the promised day.” Now as he was about to continue his oration, Dom Diego vnwilling to heare him, brake of his talk saying: “Ah sir, and my great Friend: It is an easy matter for you to iudge of mine affayres, and to blame myne absence, not knowing peraduenture the cause thereof. But I esteeme you a man of so good iudgement, and so great a fryend of thinges that be honeste, and a Gentleman of great fidelity, as by vnderstanding my hard luck, when you be aduertised of the cause of my withdrawing into this solitarie place, you wyll rightly confesse, and playnely see that the wisest and most constant haue committed more vaine follies than those don by mee, forced with like spirite that now moueth and tormenteth me.” Hauing sayd, he tooke aside Roderico, where he dyd tell vnto hym the whole discourse both of his Loue, and also of the rigor of hys Lady, not without weepyng, in sutch abundaunce 268and with sutch frequent sighes and sobs interruptyng so hys speach, as Roderico was constrained to keepe him company, by remembryng the obstinacie of hir that was the Mistresse of his heart, and thinkynge that already he had seene the effect of lyke missehap to fal vpon his owne head, or neare vnto the lyke, or greater distresse than that which he sawe his deare and perfect Fryend to endure. Notwythstanding he assayed to remoue him from that desperate minde and opinion of continuance in the desert. But the froward penitente swore vnto him, that so long as he liued (without place recouered in the good graces of his Gineura,) he would not returne home to his house, but rather change his being, to seke more sauage abode, and lesse frequented than that was. “For” (quod hee) “to what purpose shall my retourne serue where continuinge mine affection, I shall fele lyke cruelty that I dyd in time past, which wil bee more painful and heauy for me to beare than voluntary exile and banyshment, or bring me to that end wherein presently I am.” “Contente your self I beseech you, and suffer me to be but once vnhappy, and do not perswade mee to proue a second affliction, worsse than the first.” Roderico hearing his reasons so liuely and wel applied would not reply, onely content that he would make him promyse to tarry there two monthes, and in that time attempt to reioyse himselfe so wel as he could. And for hys owne part, he swore vnto him, that he would bee a meanes to reconcile Gineura, and brynge them to talke together. Moreouer, he gaue him assurance by othe, that hee shoulde not bee discouered by hym, nor by any in his Company. Wherewith the knyght somewhat recomforted, thanked him very affectuously. And so leauyng wyth him a fielde bed, two seruaunts, and Money for his Necessities, Roderico tooke hys leaue, tellyng hym that shortely he would visite him againe, to his great contentation, as euer he was left and forsaken with gryefe and sorrow, himselfe makyng great mone for the vnseemely state and myserable plyght of Dom Diego. And God knoweth whether by the way, he detested the cruelty of pitilesse Gineura, blasphemyng a million of times the whole sexe of Womankynd, peraduenture not without iust cause. For there lieth hydden (I know not what) in the brests of Women, which at times like the 269Wane and increase of the Moone, doth chaunge and alter, whereof a man can not tell on what foote to stand to conceiue the reasons of the same: whych fickle fragility of theirs (I dare not say mobility) is sutch, as the subtillest wench of them al best skilled in Turner’s Art, can not (I say deface) or so mutch as hide or colour that naturall imperfection. Roderico arriued at his house, frequented many times the lodging of Gineura, to espy hir fashions, and to see if any other had conquered that place, that was so well assayled and besieged by Dom Diego. And this wyse and sage knyght vsed the matter so well, that he fell in acquaintance wyth one of the Gentlewoman’s Pages, in whom she had so great trust, as she conceyled from him very few of hir greatest secretes, not well obseruing the preceipte of the wyse man, who councelleth vs not to tell the secretes of the mynde to those, whose iudgement is but weake, and tongue very lauish and frank of speach. The Knyght then familiar with this Page, dandled him so with faire words, as by lyttle and lytle he wrong the Wormes out of his Nose, and vnderstode that when Gineura began once to take Pepper in snuffe against Dom Diego, she fell in loue wyth a Gentleman of Biskaye, very poore, but Beautyfull, young and lustye, whych was the Stewarde of the house: and the Page added further that hee was not then there, but woulde returne wythin three Dayes, as he had sent Woorde to hys mystresse, and that two other Gentlemen woulde accompany him to cary away Gineura into Biskaye, for that was their last conclusion: “And I hope” (quod he) “that she will take me with hir, bicause I am made priuy to their whole intent.” Roderico hearing the treason of this flight and departure of the vnfaithful daughter, was at the first brunt astonned, but desirous that the Page should not marke his altered Countenaunce, said vnto him: “In very deede meete it is, that the Gentlewoman should make hir owne choice of husband, sith hir mother so little careth to prouide for hir. And albeit that the Gentleman be not so riche and Noble as hir estate deserueth, hir affection in that behalfe ought to suffise and the honesty of his person: for the rest Gineura hath (thanks be to God) wherewith to intertaine the state of them both.” These wordes he spake, farre from the thought of his hearte. For being alone by himself, thus he said: 270“O blessed God, how blinde is that loue, which is vnruled, and out of order: and what dispayre to recline to them, which (voide of reason) doe feede so foolishly of vayne thoughts and fond desires, in sutch wise as two commodities, presented vnto them, by what ill lucke I know not, they forsake the beste, and make choise of the worst. Ah Gineura, the fairest Lady in all this Countrey, and the moste vnfaithfull Woman of oure time, where be thine eyes and iudgement? Whither is thy mynde straied and wandred, to acquite thyselfe from a great Lord, faire, rich, noble, and vertuous, to be giuen to one that is poore, whose parents be vnknowne, his prowesse obscure, and birth of no aparant reputation. Behold, what maketh me beleue, that loue (so wel as Fortune) is not onely blynd, but also dazeleth the sight of them that hee imbraceth and captiuateth vnder his power and bondage. But I make a vowe (false woman) that it shal neuer come to passe and that this Biskaye gentleman shall neuer enioy the spoyles whych iustely bee due vnto the Trauaile and faithfull seruice of the valyaunt and vertuous knyght Dom Diego. It shal be hee, or else I wil dye for it, whych shall haue the recompense of his troubles, and shall feele the caulme of that tempest, whych presently holdeth hym at Anker, amyd the most daungerous rockes that euer were.” By this meanes Roderico knew the way how to keepe promise wyth his friende, which liued in expectation of the same. The two dayes past, whereof the Page had spoken, the beloued of Gineura, fayled not to come, and with him two Gallants of Biskaye, valiaunt Gentlemen, and well exercysed in Armes. That Nighte Roderico wente to see the olde Wydowe Lady, the Mother of the Mayden, and fyndyng oportunity to speak to the Page, hee said vnto hym: “I see my Friend, accordingly as thou diddest tell mee, that ye are vppon departing, the steward of the house beeing now retourned. I pray the tel mee, if thou haue neade of mee, or of any thyng that I am able doe for thee, assuring thee that thou shalt obtaine and haue what so euer thou requirest. And therewithall I haue thought good to tel thee, and giue the warning (for thine owne sake specially) that thou keepe all thynges close and secrete, that no slaunder or dishonour do followe, to blot and deface the Same and prayse of thy Mistresse. And for my selfe I had rather dye, 271than once to open my mouth, to discouer the least intent of this enterpryse. But tell mee, I praye thee, when do ye depart?” “Sir” (quod the Page) “as my Mistresse saieth, to morow about ten or eleuen of the Clocke in the Euening, when the Lady hir Mother shall bee in the sound of hir first sleepe.” The knight hearyng that, and desirous of no better time, tooke hys leaue of the Page, and went home, where he caused to bee sente for tenne or twelue Gentlemen, his Neighbours and Tenaunts, whom he made priuy of his secretes, and partakers of that he went about, to deliuer out of Captiuity and miserie the chiefest of all his Friends. The Nighte of those two Louers departure being come, Dom Roderico, which knewe the way where they should passe, bestowed him selfe and his Company in Ambush, in a little Groue, almost three Miles of the Lodging of this fugitiue Gentlewoman: where they hadde not long tarried but they hearde the tramplinge of Horsse, and a certaine whispring noise of People riding before them. Nowe the Nighte was somwhat cleare, which was the cause, that the Knighte amonges the thronge, knew the Gentlewoman, besides whome rode the Miserable Wretche that hadde stolne hir awaye. Whome so soone as Roderico perceyued full of despyte, moued wyth extreme passion, welding his launce into his rest, brake in the nearest way vpon the infortunate louer, with sutch vehemency, as neither coate of Maile or Placard was able to saue his lyfe, or warraunt him to keepe company wyth that troupe which banded vnder loue’s Enseigne, was miserably slayne, by the guide of a blynd, naked, and thieuish litle boy. And when he saw he had done that he came for, he sayd to the rest of the Company: “My Friends, thys man was carelesse to make inuasion vpon other mens ground.” These poore Biskayes surprysed vpon the sodayne, and seeyng the ambushment to multiply, put spurres to theyr horsse to the best aduantage they could for expedition, leauing their Conduct or guid gaping for breath and geuing a signe that he was dead. Whiles the other were making themselues ready to runne away, two of Roderico his men, couered with Skarfes, armed, and vnknowne, came to sease vppon sorrowfull Gineura, who beholdyng her fryende deade, began to weepe and crye so straungely, as it was maruell that hir breath fayled 272not. “Ah trayterous Theeues,” (said she) “and bloudy Murderers, why do ye not addresse your selues to execute cruelty vppon the rest, sith you haue done to death hym, that is of greater value than you all? Ah my deare Fryend, what crooked and grieuous Fortune haue I, to see thee grouelyng dead on ground and I abyding in life, to be the pray of murderous Theeues and thou so cowardly beryued of lyfe.” Roderico wyth his face couered, drew neare vnto her, and sayde: “I beseech you Gentlewoman, to forget these straunge fashions of complaynt, sith by them ye bee not able to reuiue the dead, ne yet make your ende of gryefes.” The maiden knowing the voyce of hym, that had slayne hir fryende, began to cry out more fiercely than before. For whych cause one of the gentlemen in company with Roderico, hauing a blacke counterfait beard with two lunets, in manner of spectacles, very large and great, that couered the moste part of his Face, approched neare the bashful maiden, and with bigge voice and terrible talk, holding his dagger vpon hir white and delicate breast, said vnto hir: “I sweare by the Almighty God, if I heare thee speake one word more, I wil sacrifice thee vnto the ghost of that varlet, for whome thou makest thy mone, who deserued to end his daies vpon a gallow tree rather than by the hands of a gentleman. Holde thy peace therefore thou foolysh girle, for greater honour and more ample Benefite is meant to thee, than thou hast deserued. Ingratitude onely hath so ouerwhelmed thy good Nature, as thou art not able to iudge who be thy friends.” The gentlewoman fearing death, whych as she thought was present, held hir peace, downe alonges whose Eyes a ryuer of Teares dyd run, and the passion of whose heart appeared by assiduall sighes, and neuer ceassing sobbes, whych in end so quallifyed hir cheare, that the exteriour sadnesse was wholy inclosed wythin the mynd and thought of the afflicted Gentlewoman. Then Roderico caused the body of the dead to be buryed in a lyttle Countrey Chappell, not farre out of theyr way. Thus they trauayled two dayes before Gineura knew any of them, that had taken hir away from hir louer: who permytted none to speake vnto hir nor she to any of hir company, beyng but a waiting maid, and the page that hadde dyscouered al the secretes to Dom Roderico. A notable example 273surely for stolne and secrete mariages, whereby the honour of the contracted partes, is most commonly blemyshed, and the Commaundement of God violated, whose word enioyneth obedience to Parents in all ryghtfull causes, who if for any lyght offence, they haue power to take from vs the inheritance whych otherwyse naturall law would giue vs, what ought they of duety to doe, where rebellyous Chyldren abusing theyr goodnesse, do consume without feare of Liberty, the thynge that is in theyr free wyll and gouernement. In like maner diuers vndiscrete and folysh mothers are to be accused, which suffer their daughters of tender and chyldysh age to be enamored of theyr seruants, not remembryng how weake the flesh is, how prone and ready men be to do euyl, and how the seducyng spirite wayting stil vpon us, is procliue and prone to surpryse and catch vs wythin his Snares, to the intent he may reioyce in the ruine of soules washed and redeemed wyth the bloud of the Son of God. This troupe drawing neare to the caue of Dom Diego, Roderico sent one of his men to aduertise him of their comming, who in the absence of his fryende, fylled and susteined with hope, shortely to see the onely Lady of hys hearte, accompanyed wyth a merry and ioyfull Trayne, so soone as hee had somewhat chaunged his wilde maner of Lyfe, he also by lyttle and lyttle gayned a good part of hys lusty and fresh coloure, and almost had recouered that beauty, which he had when he firste became a Citizen of those desertes. Now hauiug vnderstanded the message sent vnto him by Roderico, God knoweth if with that pleasaunt tydings he felt a motion of Bloud, sutch as made all his members to leape and daunce, whych rendred hys Mynde astonned, for the onely memorye of the thynge that poysed hys mynd vp and downe, not able to be wayed in equall Balaunce whereof rather he ought to haue made reioyse than complayne, being assured to see hir, of whome he demaunded onely grace and pardon, but for recouery of hir, he durst not repose any certayne Iudgement. In the Ende hoystyng vp hys head lyke one rysen from a long and sound sleepe, hee sayd: “Praise be to God, who yet before I dye, hath done me great pleasure, to suffer me to haue a syght of hir, that by causing my Matirdome, continueth hir stubburne manner of Lyfe, whych shall procure in like sort myne 274vtter ruine and decay. Vpon the approch of whom I shall goe more ioyfull, charged with incomparable loue, to vysit the ghosts beneath, in the presence of that cruel swete, that now tormenteth me with the ticklysh tentation, and who sometimes hath made me tast a kind of Hony sugred with bytter Gal, more daungerous than the suck of Poyson and vnder the vermyllion rudde of a new sprouted Rose diuiuelyblowen forth, hath hydden secrete Thornes the pryckes whereof hath me so lyuely touched, as my Wound cannot well bee cured, by any Baulme that may be thereunto applyed, without enioying of that myne owne missehappe, moste happy or wythout that remedy, whych almost I feele restyng in death, that so long and oftentymes I haue desired as the true remedy of all my paynes and gryefe.” In the meane whyle Dom Roderico, whych tyll that tyme was not knowen vnto Gineura, drew neare vnto hir by the way as he rode, and talked wyth hir in this sorte: “I doubt not (Gentlewoman) but that you think your self not wel contented to se me in this place, in sutch company and for occasion so vnseemely for my degre, and state, and moreouer knowying what iniury I seeme to do vnto you, that euer was, and am so affectionate and friendly to the whole stocke of your race and Lynage, and am not ignoraunte that vppon the firste brunte you may iudge my cause vniust to carry you away from the handes of your fryend, to bring you into these desertes, wylde, and solitary places. But if ye considred the force of that true amity, which by vertue sheweth the common Bondes of hearts and myndes of Men, and shall measure to what end this acte is done, without to mutch staying vpon the lyght apprehension of Choler, for a beginnynge somewhat troublesom, I am assured then (that if you be not wholly depryued of reason) you shall perceiue that I am not altogether worthy blame nor your selfe vtterly voyde of fault. And bycause we draw neare vnto the place, whether (by the help of God) I meane to conduct you, I beseech you to consider, that the true Seruaunt whych by all seruice and duety studieth to execute the commaundementes of him that hath puissance ouer him, doth not deserue to bee beaten or driuen away from the house of his maister, but to be fauored and cherished, and ought to receyue equal recompense for 275his seruice. I speake not this for my selfe, my deuotion beinge vowed elsewhere, but for that honest affection which I beare to all vertuous and chaste persons. The effect whereof I will not deny to tell you in tyme and place, where I shall use sutch modesty towards you, as is meete for a maiden of your age and state. For the greatnesse of Noble Men and puisant, doth most appeare and shew forth it self, when they vse Mildenesse and Gentlenesse vnto those, to whom by reason of their Authority they mighte execute cruelty and malice. Now to the end that I do not make you doubtfull long, al that which I haue done and yet meane to doe, is for none other purpose but to ease the grieuous paines of that moste faithful louer that loueth at thys Daye vnder the Circle of the Moone. It is for the good Knighte Dom Diego, that loueth you so dearely and still worshippeth your Noble fame, who bicause he wil not shew himself disobedient, liueth miserably amonge bruite beasts, amid the craggy rocks and mountaines, and in the deepe solitudes of comfortlesse dales and valleis. It is to him I say that I do bryng you, protesting vnto you by othe (Gentlewoman) that the misery wherein I saw him, little more than vi. Wekes past, toucheth me so neare the heart, as if the Sacrifice of my lyfe sufficed alone, (and without letting you to feele this painfull voyage) for the solace of his martirdome I would spare it no more, than I do mine owne endeuor and honor, besides the hazarding of the losse of your good grace and fauour. And albeit I wel perceiue, that I do grieue you, by causing you to enter this painfull iourney, yet I besech you that the whole displeasure of this fact may bee imputed vnto my charge, and that it would please you louingly to deale with him, who for your sake vseth so great violence against himself.” Gineura as a woman half in despayre for the death of hir friend, behaued hir selfe like a mad woman void of wit and sense, and the simple remembraunce of Dom Diego his name so astonned her, (which name she hated far more than the pangs of death) that she staied a long time, hir mouth not able to shape one word to speake. In the ende vanquished with impacience, burning with choler, and trembling for sorrow, loked vpon Dom Roderico with an Eye no lesse furious, than a Tigresse caught within the Net, and seeth before hir face hir young 276Fawnes murdered, wringing hir hands and beating hir delicate brest, she vsed these or sutch like woordes: “Ah bloudy traitor and no more Knight, is it of thee that I oughte to looke for so detestable a villany and treason? How darest thou be so hardy to entreat me for an other, that hast in myne owne presence killed him, whose death I will pursue vpon thee, so longe as I haue life within this body? Is it to thee false theefe and murderer, that I ought to render accompte of that which I meant to doe? Who hath appointed thee to be arbitrator, or who gaue thee commission to capitulate the Articles of my mariage? Is it by force then, that thou wouldest I should loue that vnfaithfull Knighte, for whom thou hast committed and done this acte, that so longe as thou liuest shal blot and blemish thy renoume, and shal be so wel fixed in my mind, and the wounds shal cleaue so neare my heart, vntill at my pleasure I be reuenged of this wrong? No, no, I assure thee no force done vnto mee, shall neuer make mee otherwyse dysposed, than a mortall Enimy both to thee which art a Theefe and rauisher of an other man’s wife, and also to thy desperate frend Dom Diego, which is the cause of this my losse: and now not satisfied with the former wrong done vnto me, thou goest about to deceiue me vnder the Colour of good and pure Friendship. But sith wicked Fortune hath made me thy Prysoner, doe with me what thou wylt, and yet before I suffer and endure that that Traytor Dom Diego doe enioy my Virginity, I will offer vp my lyfe to the shadowes and Ghostes of my faythful fryend and husband, whome thou hast so trayterously murdred. And therefore (if honestlye I may or ought entreate mine Enimy) I pray thee that by doynge thy duety, thou suffer vs in peace, and gyue lycence to mee, thys Page, and my two pore Maydens to depart whether we lyst.” “God forbid” (quod Roderico) “that I should doe a Trespasse so shamefull, as to depryue my dearest fryend of his ioy and contentation, and by falsifiing my faith be an occasion of hys death, and of your losse, by leauing you without company, wandring amids this wildernesse.” And thus he continued his former discourse and talk, to reclaime thys cruell Damosell to haue pity vpon hir poore penytent, but he gained as mutch thereby, as if he had gone aboute to number the Sands alongs the Sea Coastes of 277the maine Ocean. Thus deuising from one talke to an other, they arryued neare the Caue, which was the stately house of Dom Diego: where Gineura lyghted, and saw the pore amorous Knight, humbly falling downe at hir feete, all forworne, pale, and disfigured, who weeping with warme teares, said vnto hir: “Alas, my deare Lady, the alone and onely mistresse of my heart, do you not thinke that my penaunce is long inoughe for the sinne which ignorauntly I haue committed, if euer I haue don any fault at al? Behold [I beseech you (good ladie deare) what ioy] I haue conceiued in your absence, what pleasures haue nursed mine hope, and what consolation hath entertained my life: which truely had it not bene for the continual remembraunce of your diuine Beauty, I had of long time abreuiated the pains which do renew in me so many times the pangs of death: as oftentimes I think vpon the vnkindnes shewed vnto me by making so litle accompt of my fidelity: whych can nor shal receiue the same in good part, wer it so perfect as any assuraunce were able to make it.” Gineura swelling with sorrow and full of feminine rage, blushing with fury, hir eyes sparcklinge forth hir chollerick conceypts, vouchsafed not so mutch as to giue him one word for aunswere, and bicause she would not looke vppon him, she turned hir face on the other side. The poore and afflicted Louer, seeing the great cruelty of his felonous Mystresse, still kneeling vpon his knees, redoubling his armes, fetching Sighes with a voyce that seemed to bee drawne by force from the bottome of his heart, proceeded in these wordes: “Syth the sincerity of my fayth, and my long seruice madame Gineura, cannot persuade you that I haue beene most Obedient, Faythfull, and very Loyall seruaunt towards you, as euer any that hath serued Lady or Gentlewoman, and that without your fauour and grace it is vnpossible for mee any longer to liue, yet I doe very humbly beseech you, for that all other comfort is denied me, if there bee any gentlenesse and curtesie in you, that I may receyue this onely grace at your hands for the last that euer I hope to craue: which is, that you being thus greeuously offended with me, would do iustice vpon that vnfortunate man, that vpon his Knees doth instantly craue the same. Graunt (cruell mistresse) this my request, doe vengeaunce 278at your pleasure vpon him, which willingly yeldeth himselfe to death with the effusion of his poore innocent bloud to satisfy you, and verily farre more expedient it is for him thus to die, by appeasing your wrath, than to rest or liue to your discontentment or anoiaunce. Alas, shal I be so vnfortunate, that both life and death should bee denied me by one person of the world, whom I hoped to content and please by any sort or meanes what so euer restinge in mine humble obedience? Alas gentlewoman rid mee from this Torment, and dispatch your selfe from the griefe you haue to see this vnhappy Knight, who would say and esteeme himselfe most happy (his life being lothsome vnto you) if he may content you, by death done by your owne handes, sith other fauour he cannot expect or hope for.” The Mayden hardned in hir Opinion, stoode still immoueable mutch like vnto a Rocke in the midst of the Sea, disquieted with a tempest of billowes, and fomy Waues in sutch wise as one word could not be procured from hir mouth. Which vnlucky Dom Diego perceyuing, attached with the feare of present death, and faylinge his Naturall force fell downe to the Grounde, and faintyng saied: “Ah, what a recompence doe I receiue for this so faythfull Loue?” Roderico bebolding that rufull sight, whilest the others went about to relieue Dom Diego, repaired to Gineura, and full of heauinesse mingled with fury, said vnto hir: “By God (false fiendish woman) if so be that I doe chaunge my mind, I will make thee feele the smarte, no lesse than thou shewest thy selfe dishonourable to them that doe thee honour: Art thou so carelesse of so greate a Lord as this is, that humbleth himselfe so lowe to sutch a strumpet as thou art: who without regarde either to hys renoume, or the honour of his House, is content to bee abandoned from his noble state, to become a fugitiue and straunger? What cruelty is this for thee to mispryse the greatest humility that man can Imagin? What greater amends canst thou wysh to haue, yea though the offence which thou presupposest had ben true? Now (if thou be wyse) chaunge thy Opinion, except thou wouldest haue mee doe into so many pieces, thy cruel corpse and vnfaithful heart, as once this poore Knight did in parts the vnhappy hauke, which through thy folly did breede vnto him this distresse, and to thy self the 279name of the most cruell and disloyall Woman that euer lyued. But what greater benefite can happen vnto thee, than to see thys Gentleman vtterly to forget the fault, to conceiue no sinister suspition of thy running away, crauing pardon at thy Hands, and is contented to sacrifice him self vnto thine Anger, to appease and mytigate thy rage? Now to speake no more hereof, but to proceede in that which I began to say, I offer vnto thee then both death and Loue, choose whether thou lyst. For I sweare againe by hym that seeth and heareth all thinges, that if thou play the foole, that thou shalt feele and proue me to be the cruellest Ennimy that euer thou hadst: and sutch a one as shall not feare to imbrue his hands wyth the bloud of hir that is the death of the greatest friend I haue, and truest knight that euer bare armes.” Gineura hearing that resolute aunswere, shewed hir selfe to be nothing afrayde nor declared any token of feare, but rather seemed to haue encouraged Roderico, in braue and mannish sort, farre diuers from the simplicity of a young and tender Mayden, as a Man would say, sutch a one as had neuer felt the assaultes and troubles of adverse fortune. Wherefore frouncyng her Browes, and grating hir Teeth wyth closed fists, and Countenaunce very bold, she made him answere: “Ah thou Knight, whych once gauest assault to commit a villany and Treason thinkest thou now without remorse of conscyence to continue thy mischyefe: I speak it to thee Villayne, whych hauing shed the Bloud of an honester Man than thou art, fearest not now to make me a Companion of hys Death. Which thyng spare not hardily to accomplysh, to the intent that I liuinge, may not be sutch a one as thou falsly iudgest me to be: for neuer Man hitherto vaunted, and never shall, that hath had the spoyle of my dearest Iewell: from the Fruict whereof, like an arrant Thiefe, thou hast depryued my loyall Spouse. Now doe what you lyste: for I am farre better content to suffer death, be it as cruel as thou art mischieuous, and borne for the disquieting and vexation of honest Maidens then yelde vnto thy furies: notwithstanding I humbly beseech Almyghty God, to gyue thee so mutch pleasure, contentation and ioy in thy loue, as thou hast done to me, by hastening the death of my deare Husband. O God, if thou be a iust God, sutch a one, as from whom we thy 280poore Creatures do beleue al iustice to proceede, thou I say which art the Rampire and refuge of al iustice, poure downe thy vengeance and plague vpon these pestiferous Thieues and murderers, which prepared a worldely plague vpon me thine innocent damsel. Ah wycked Roderico, think not that death can be so fearful vnto me, but that with good heart, I am able to accept the same, trusting verily that one day it shal be the cause of thy ruine, and the ouerthrowe of him for whom thou takest al these paines.” Dom Roderico maruelously rapte in sense imagined the Woman to be fully bente against hym, who then had puissance (as he thought,) ouer hir own heart: and thinking, that he sawe hir moued with like rage against him, as she was against Dom Diego, stode stil so perplexed and voyde of ryghte minde, as he was constrained to sitte downe, so feeble he felt him self for the onely remembraunce of hir euyll demeanor. And whilest this Pageant was a doing, the handmayd of Gineura, and hir page, inforced to persuade their mystresse to haue compassion vpon the Knight that had suffred so mutch for hir sake, and that she would consent to the honest requests and good counsell of Roderico. But she which was stubbornely bent in hir fonde persuasions, made them aunsere: “What fooles? are you so mutch bewitched, eyther with the fayned teares of this disloyall Knight, whych colorably thus doth torment himselfe, or els are yee inchaunted with the venomous honny and tirannicall brauery of the Theefe which murdered my husbande, and your mayster? Ah vnhappy caytife mayden, is it my chaunce to endure the assault of sutch Fortune, when I thought to liue at my best ease, and thus cruelly to tomble into the handes of him, whom I hate so mutch as he fayneth loue vnto me? And moreouer my vnlucky fate is not herewith content, but redoubleth my sorrowe, euen by those that be of my trayne, who ought rather to incourage mee to dy, than consent to so vnreasonable requests. Ah loue, loue, how euill be they recompenced which faythfully doe Homage vnto thee? And why should not I forget all Affection, neuer hereafter to haue mynde on man to proue beginning of a pleasure, which tasted and felt bringeth more displeasure than euer ioy engendreth delight. Alas, I neuer knewe what was the fruicte of that which so straungely did attach me, 281and thou O trayterous and theeuishe Loue, haste ordayned a banket serued with sutch bitter dishes, as forced I am perforce to taste of their egre sweetes: Auaunt sweete folly, auaunt, I doe henceforth for euer let thee slip, to imbrace the death, wherein I hope to find my greatest rest, for in thee I finde noughte else but heapes of strayninge Passions. Auoyde from me all mishap, flee from me ye furious ghostes and Fayries most vnkinde, whose gaudes and toyes dame loue hath wrought to keepe occupied my louing minde, and suffer me to take ende in thee, that I may liue in an other life without thee, being now charged with cup of griefe, which I shall quaffe in venomous drincke soaked in the Sops of bitternesse. Sharpen thou thy selfe, (O death vnkinde) prepare thy Darte, to strike the Corpse of hir, that she may voyde the Quarelles shotte agaynst hir by hir Aduersary. Ah poore hearte, strip thy selfe from hope, and qualifie thy desires. Cease henceforth to wishe thy Lyfe, seeing, and feelinge the appoyncted sight of loue and Life, combattyng within my minde, els where to seeke my peace in an other world, with him to ioy, whych for my sake was sacrificed to the treason of varlets handes, who for the perfite hoorde of his desires, noughte else dyd seeke but to soile his bloudy fists with the purest bloude of my loyall friend. And I this floud of Teares do shead to saciate his felonous moode that is the iust shortening of my dolefull Dayes.” When she had thus complayned, she began horribly to torment hir selfe that the cruellest of the company were moued with compassion, to see hir thus strangely straught of hir wits: neuertheles they did not discontinue by duety to solicite hir to haue regard to that which poore fayntyng Dom Diego dyd endure: who so soone as wyth freshe Fountayn water hee was reuiued, seeing still the heauinesse of his Lady, and hir increased disdaine and choler againste hym vanished in diuers soundings: which moued Roderico from studye deepe, wherein he was, to ryse, whereunto the rage of Gineura had cast him downe, bicause forgetting all imaginarie affection of his Lady, and proposing his duety before his eyes, whych ech Gentleman oweth to Gentle Damsels [and womenkind], styll beholding with honorable aspect the gryefe of the martyred wyldernesse Knyght, sighing yet in former gryefes, he sayd vnto Gineura, “Alas, is it possyble, 282that in the heart of so young and delicate a maiden, there may bee harboured so straunge fury and vnreasonable rage? O God, the effect of the cruelty resting in this Woman, painting it selfe in the imaginatiue force of my mind, hath made me feare the like myssehappe to come to the cruell state of this disaduenturous gentleman? Notwithstanding (O thou cruell beast) thinke not that thys thy fury shall stay me from doing thee to death, to rid thee from follye and disdayne, and this vnfortunate louer from despayre and trouble, verily beleuing, that in tyme it shalbe knowne what profit the World shall gayne by purgyng the same of sutch an infected plague as is an vnkynd and arrogante hearte: and it shall feele what vtility ryseth by thyne ouerthrowe. And I doe hope besydes in tyme to come, that Men shall prayse this deede of myne, who for preseruynge the Honoure of one House, hath chosen rather to doe to death two offenders, than to leaue one of them aliue, to obscure the glory and brightnesse of the other. And therefore” (sayd he, tourning his face to those of his traine,) “cut the throte of this stubborne and froward beast, and doe the like to them that be come with hir, shewe no more fauor vnto them all, than that curssed strumpet doth mercy to the life of that miserable Gentleman, who lieth a dying there for loue of hir.” The Mayden hearing the cruel sentence of hir death, cryed out so loud as she coulde, thinking reskue woulde haue come, but the poore Wench was deceiued: for the desert knew none other, but those that were abiding in that troupe. The Page and the woman seruaunt exclamed vpon Roderico for mercy, but he made as though he heard them not, and rather made signe to his men to do what he commaunded. When Gineura sawe that their deathe was purposed in deede, confirmed in opinion rather to dy, than to obey, she said vnto the executioners: “My friends, I beseech you let not these innocentes abide the penaunce of that which they neuer committed. And you, Dom Roderico, be reuenged on me, by whome the fault, (if a woman’s faith to hir husband may be termed a faulte) is don. And let these infortunate depart, that bee God knoweth guiltles of any cryme. And thou my friend, which liuest amonges the shadowes of faythfull louers, if thou haue any feelinge, as in deede thou prouest being in another world, 283behold the purenesse of mine heart and fidelity of my loue: who to keep the same inuiolable, do offer my self voluntarily to the death, which this cruell tyrant prepareth for me. And thou hangman the executioner of my ioyes, and murderer of the immortall pleasures of my loue (sayd she to Roderico) glut thy vnsaciable desire of bloud, make dronke thy mind with murder, and boast of thy litle triumph, which for all thy threates or persuasible words, thou canst not get from the heart of a simple maiden, ne cary away the victory for all the battred breach made into the rampare of hir honour.” When she had so said, a Man would haue thought that the memory of death had cooled hir heate, but the same serued hir as an assured solace of hir paynes. Dom Diego being come to himself and seing the discourse of that tragedy, being now addressed to the last act and end of that life and stage of faire and golden locked Gineura, making a vertue of necessity, recouered a lyttle corage to saue, (if it were possible) the life of hir, that had put hys owne in hazard miserably to end. Hauing stayed them that held the maiden, he repayred to Dom Roderico, to whom he spake in this wise: “I see wel my good Lord and great Friende, that the good will you beare me, causeth you to vse this honest order for my behalf, whereof I doubt if I should lyue a whole hundred yeares, I shall not be able to satisfy the least of the bondes wherein I am bound, the same surpassing all mine ability and power. Yet for al that (deare friend) sith you see the fault of this missehap to arise of my predestinate ill lucke, and that man cannot auoyde things once ordained, I beseech you do me yet this good pleasure (for all the benefits that euer I haue receiued) to send back again this gentlewoman with hir trayne, to the place from whence you toke hir, wyth like assurance and conduct, as if shee were your sister. For I am pleased with your endeuor, and contented with my misfortune, assuring you sir besides, that the trouble which she endureth, doth far more gryeue my heart than al the paine which for hir sake I suffer. That hir sorrow then may decrease and mine may renue againe, that she may lyue in peace, and I in Warre for hir cruel beauty sake, I wyll wayt vppon Clotho, the Spynner of the threden life of man vntil she breake the twysted lace that holdeth the fatall course of 284my dolefull yeares. And you Gentlewoman lyue in rest, as your poore suppliant, wretched Dom Diego, shalbe citizen of wyld places, and vaunt you hardely that yee were the best beloued maiden that euer liued.” Maruellous truly be the forces of loue, when they discouer their perfection, for by their meanes thinges otherwise impossible be reduced to sutch facility, as a man would iudge that they had neuer bene so hard to obtaine, and so painefull to pursue: As appeared by this damsel, in whome the wrath of fortune, the pynche of iealosie, the intollerable rage of hir fryendes losse, had ingendred a contempte of Dom Diego, an extreame desire to be reuenged on Dom Roderico, and a tediousnesse of longer Lyfe. And now putting of the vaile of blynde appetite, for the esclarishing of hir vnderstandyng Eyes, and breakyng the Adamant Rocke planted in the middes of hir breast, she beheld in open sight the stedfastnesse, pacience and perseueration of hir great fryend. For that supplycation of the Knight had greater force in Gineura, than all hys former seruyces. And full wel she shewed the same, when throwyng hir selfe vppon the Necke of the desperate Gentleman, and imbracyng hym very louyngly she sayd vnto him: “Ah sir, that your felicity is the begynnyng of my great ioy of Mynd, whych sauoreth now of sweetnes in the very same, in whom I imagyned to be the welsprynge of bytternesse. The diminutyon of one gryefe is, and shall bee the increase of a bonde, sutch as for euer I wyll call my selfe the moste humble slaue of your honor, lowly beseechyng you neuerthelesse to pardon my follyes, wherewyth full fondely I haue abused youre pacience. Consider a whyle sir, I beseech you, the Nature and secrecye of loue. For those that be blinded in that passion, thynke them selues to be perfecte Seers, and yet be the first that commit most filthy faultes. I doe not denie any committed wrong and trespasse, and doe not refuse therefore the honest and gentle Correction that you shall appointe mee, for expiation of myne offence.” “Ah my Noble Lady,” (aunswered the knight, all rapt wyth pleasure, and halfeway out of his wyts for ioy) “I humbly beseech you inflyct vppon my poore wretched body no further panges of Death, by remembryng the glory of my thought, sith the recitall bryngeth with it a tast of the trauailes which you 285haue suffred for my ioy and contentation.” “It is therefore,” (quod she) “that I think my self happy: for by that meanes I haue knowne the perfect qualyties that be in you, and haue proued two extremities of vertue. One consisting in your constancy and loyalty wherby you may vaunt yourself aboue hym that sacrificed his Lyfe vpon the bloudy body of his Ladye who for dying so, finished his Trauailes. Where you haue chosen a life worse than death, no lesse paynefull a hundred times a Day, than very death it self. The other in the clemency wherwyth you calme and appease the rage of your greatest aduersaries. As my self which before hated you to death, vanquished by your courtesie do confesse that I am double bound vnto you, both for my lyfe and honor: and hearty thankes do I render to the Lord Roderico for the violence he dyd vnto me, by which meanes I was induced to acknowledge my wrong, and the right whych you had to complayne of my beastly resistance.” “Al is wel,” sayd Roderico, “sith without peril of honor we may returne home to our houses: I intend therefore (sayd he) to send word before to the Ladies your mothers of your returne, for I know how so wel to couer and excuse this our enterpryse and secrete iorneis, as by God’s assistance no blame or displeasure shall ensue thereof. And like as (said he smiling) I haue builded the fortresse whych shot into your campe, and made you flie, euen so I hope (Gentlewoman) that I shalbe the occasion of your victorye, when you combat in close campe, with your sweete cruel Ennimy.” Thus they passed the iorney in pleasaunt talk, recompensing the 2 Louers with al honest and vertuous intertainment for their griefs and troubles past. In the meane while they sent one of their Seruaunts to the two widow Ladies, which were in greate care for their Children, to aduertise them that Gineura was gone to visit Dom Diego, then being in one of the castles of Roderico, where they were determined if it were their good pleasure, to consumate their mariage, hauing giuen faith and affiance one to the other. The mother of Gineura could not heare tel of more pleasant newes: for she had vnderstanded of the foolysh flyght and escape of hir daughter, with the steward of hir house, wherof she was very sorrowful, and for grief was like to die, but assured and recomforted with those newes 286she failed not to mete the mother of Dom Diego, at the appointed place whether the 2 louers were arriued two daies before. Ther the mariage of that fair couple (so long desired) was solempnised with sutch magnificence as was requisite for the state of those two noble houses. Thus the torment indured, made the ioye to sauour of some other taste than they do feele, which without paine in the exercise of loue’s pursute, attaine the top of theyr desires: and truly their pleasure was altogether like to him that nourished in superfluous delicacy of meates cannot aptly so wel iudge of pleasure as he which sometimes lacketh the abundance. And verily loue wythout bitternesse, is almost a cause without effects, for he that shall take away gryefs and troubled fansies from Louers, depryueth them of the prayse of their stedfastnesse, and maketh vayne the glory of their perseuerence: For hee is vnworthy to beare away the price and Garland of triumph in the Conflict, that behaueth himselfe like a coward, and doth not obserue the lawes of armes and manlike dueties incident to a combat. This History then is a Mirrour for Loyall Louers and Chaste Suters, and maketh them detest the vnshamefastnesse of those, which vpon the first view do followe with might and mayne, the Gentlewoman or Lady that gieueth them good Face, or Countenaunce whereof any gentle heart, or mynde, noursed in the Schoolehouse of vertuous education, will not bee squeymishe to those that shall by chaste salutation or other incountry, doe their curteous reuerence. This History also yeldeth contempt of them, which in their affection forget themselues abasing the Generosity of their Courages to be reputed of fooles the true champions of loue, whose like are they that desire such regarde. For the perfection of a true Louer consisteth in passions, in sorrows, griefes, martirdomes, or cares, and mutch lesse arriueth he to his desire, by sighes, exclamations, Weapings, and childishe playnts: For so mutch as vertue ought to be the bande of that indissoluble amity, which maketh the vnion of the two seuered bodies of that Woman man, which Plato describeth, and causeth man to trauell for hys whole accomplishment in the true pursute of chaste loue. In which labour truly, fondly walked Dom Diego, thinking to finde the same by his dispayre amiddest the sharpe solitary Deserts of those Pyrene 287Mountaynes. And truely the duety of his perfect friende, did more liuely disclose the same (what fault so euer he did) than all his Countenaunces, eloquent letters or amorous Messages. In like manner a man doth not know what a treasure a true Friende is, vntill hee hath proued his excellency, specially where necessity maketh him to taste the swetenes of sutch delicate meate. For a frend being a seconde himselfe, agreeth by a certayne naturall Sympathie and attonement to th’affections of him whom he loueth both to particpate his ioyes and pleasures, and to sorrowe his aduersity, where Fortune shall vse by some misaduentures, to shewe hir accustomed mobility.

288

THE THIRTIETH NOUELL.

A Gentleman of Siena, called Anselmo Salimbene, curteously and gently deliuereth his enemy from death. The condemned party seeing the kinde parte of Salimbene, rendreth into his hands his sister Angelica, with whom he was in loue, which gratitude and curtesie, Salimbene well markinge, moued in Conscience, woulde not abuse hir, but for recompence tooke hir to his wyfe.

Wee do not meane here to discouer the Sumptuosity and Magnificence of Palaces, stately, and wonderfully to the view of men, ne yet to reduce to memory the maruellous effectes of man’s Industry to builde and lay Foundations in the deepest Chanel of the mayne sea, ne to describe their ingenious Industry, in breaking the Craggy Mountaynes, and hardest Rocks, to ease the crooked Passages of weary waies, for Armies to marche through in accessible places. Onely now do we pretend to shewe the effects of loue, which surmount all Opinion of common thinges, and appeare so miraculous as the founding, and erecting of the Collissæi, Collossæi, Theatres, Amphitheatres, Pyramides, and other workes wonderfull to the world, for that the hard indured path of hatred and displeasure long time begoon, and obstinately pursued wyth straunge cruelty, was conuerted into loue, by th’effect of concord, sutch as I know none, but is so mutch astonned, as hee maye haue good cause to wonder, consyderyng the stately foundations vppon which Kinges and greate Monarches haue employed the chyefest reuenues of their prouinces. Now lyke as ingratitude is a vice of greatest blame and discommendation amongs men, euen so Gentlenesse and Kindnesse ought to beare the title of a most commendable vertue. And as the Thebans were accused of that crime, for their great Captaynes Epaminondas and Pelopidas. So the Plateens (contrarywise) are praised for their solempne obseruation of the Grekes benefits, which deliuered them oute of the Persians bondage. And the Sicyonians beare away the pryse of eternall prayse, for acknowledgyng the good turnes receiued of Aratus, that delyuered them from the cruelty of the tyrants. And 289if Philippo Maria, duke of Milan, deserued eternal reproch for his ingratitude to his wife Beatrix, for the secrete killing of hir, he being enryched with hir goodes and treasures: a barbarous Turke borne in Arabia, shal carry the praise, who being vanquished in Arabia, by Baldouine, kyng of Hierusalem, and he and his Wife taken prysoners, and his treasures fallen into the hands of that good king, issued of the Loraine bloud, who neuerthelesse seeing that the Chrystian had deliuered him, and restored againe his wife would not be vanquished in magnificence and liberalitye, and mutch lesse beare the name of an vnkind prince, but rather when Baldouine was ouercome of the infidels, and being retyred within a certaine city, the Admiral of Arabie, came to him in the night, and tellyng him the deuice of his companions, conueyed hym out of the City, and was hys guide vntill he sawe hym free from peril. I haue alleaged the premysses, bycause the History whych I purpose to recyte, aduoucheth two examples not Vulgare or Common, the one of very great Loue, and the other of sutch acceptation and knowledgyng thereof, as I thought it pity the same should lurk from the Acquayntaunce of vs Englysh Men. And that they alone should haue the Benefite thereof whych vnderstand the Italian tongue, supposing that it shall bryng some fruyct and commodity to this our Englishe Soyle, that ech Wyghte may frame their lyfe on those whych in straung Countries far from vs, haue lyued vertuously wythout reproch that might soyle or spotte theyr name. In Siena then (an auncient, and very noble Citty of Toscane, which no longe time past was gouerned by hir Magistrates, and liued in hir own lawes and liberties, as the Lucquois, Pisans, and Florentines do) were two families very rich, noble, and the chiefe of the Citty called the Salimbenes, and Montanines, of the Race and Stock whereof, excellent men in their Common wealth haue descended, very good and expert Souldiers for conducte of Armies. Those two houses in the beginning were so great freendes, and frequented sutch loue and familiarity, as it seemed they had bene but one house and bloude, dayly vsinge eche others company, and banketting one another. But Italy in all times being as it were a Store house of troubles, and a very marte of sedition, bandes, and parcialities, specially of ciuill warres in euery Citty, it coulde 290not be that Siena shoulde alone enioy hir liberty in peace, and accorde of Cittizens, and vaunt hir selfe to bee free from knowledge of particular debate. For of warres shee had good experience against the Florentines, who by long remembraunce haue don what they coulde to make hir subiect vnto them. Nowe the cause of that discorde rose euen by them which kept the Cittizens in vnity and concord, and was occasioned by those 2 houses the noblest, and most puissant of their common wealth. It is not vnknowne to any man, that antiquity ordayned it to be peculiar for nobility, to trayne vp there children in huntinge, aswell to bolden and Nosell theym in daungers, as to make them stronge, and accustomed in trauayle, and to force them shun the delicate lyfe and great Idlenes which accompany honorable houses, and those of gentle bloud, forsomutch as by the pursuite of Beastes, sleyghts of warre bee obserued: the Hounds be the square battell, the Greyhoundes be the flanquarts and Wynges to follow the enimy, the horseman serueth to gieue the Chace, when the Game speedeth to couert, the Hornes be the Trumpets to sounde the Chase and Retire, and for incouragement of the Dogges to run. To be short, it seemeth a very Campe in battayle, ordayned for the pleasure and passetyme of noble youth. Neuerthelesse, by hunting diuers missefortunes doe arise, and sundry daungers haue happened by the same. Meleager lost his Lyfe for the victory of the wyld Bore of Callydonia, Cephalus was slaine for kylling his deare beloued Pocris, and Acastus was accursed for murdering the King’s sonne of whome he was the Tutour. William Rufus, one of our Englysh Kings, the son of the Conquerour, was killed with an Arrow in the New Forrest by a French Gentleman called Walter Tyrel, as he was pursuing the Harte. Other histories reporte dyuers peryls chaunced in hunting, but yet the same worthy to be cheryshed, frequented and vsed by good aduise and moderate pastyme. So the huntinge of the wylde Bore defyled the City of Siena, with the bloud of hir owne Citizens, when the Salimbenes and Montanines vppon a daye in an assembled company, incountring vpon a greate and fierce Bore, toke hym by force of men and Beastes. When they had don, as they were banketting and communing of the nimblenesse of their dogs, ech man praising his owne, as hauing done beste, there 291rose greate debate amongs them [vpon that matter], and proceeded so farre, as fondly they began to reuile one another with words, and from taunting termes to earnest blowes, wherewith diuers in that skirmish were hurt on both sides: In the end the Salimbenes had the worsse, and one of the principall slayne in the place, which appalled the rest, not that they were discoraged, but attending time and season of reuenge. This hatred so strangely kindled betwene both partes, that by lyttle and lyttle, after many combats and ouerthrowes of eyther side, the losse lyghted vpon the Montanines, who with their wealth and rychesse were almost brought to nothing, and thereby the rygour and Choler of the Salimbenes appeased, none being able to resist them, and in space of time forgot all iniuries. The Montanines also that remayned at Siena, liued in quyet, wythoute chalenge or quarell of their aduersaries, howbeit mutuall talke and haunt of others company vtterly surceased. And to say the truth, there were almost none to quarell wythall, for the whole Bloude and Name of the Montanines rested in one alone, called Charles the Sonne of Thomas Montanine, a young man so honest and well brought vp as any then in Siena, who had a syster, that for beauty, grace, curtesy and honesty, was comparable with the best in all Thoscane. This poore young Gentleman had no great reuenue, for that the patrimonie of his predecessors was wasted in charges for entertainement of Souldiers in the time of the hurly burly and debates aforesaid. A good parte also was confiscate to the Chamber of Siena for trespasses and forfaitures committed: with the remayne he sustained his family, and indifferently maintained hys porte soberly within his owne house, keping his sister in decent and moderate order. The Maiden was called Angelica, a Name of trouth, without offence to other, due to hir. For in very deede in hir were harbored the vertue of Curtesy and Gentlenesse, and was so wel instructed and nobly brought vp, as they which loued not the Name or race of hir, could not forbeare to commend hir, and wyshe theyr owne daughters to be hir lyke. In sutch wise as one of hir chiefest foes was so sharpely beset with hir vertue and beauty, as he lost his quiet sleepe, and lust to eate and drinke. His name was Anselmo Salimbene, who woulde wyllinglye haue made sute 292to marry hir, but the discord past, quite mortified his desire, so soone as he had deuised the plot wythin his brayne and fansie. Notwithstanding it was impossible that the louer so lyuely grauen and roted in his mind, could easily be defaced. For if once in a day he had not seene hir, his heart did fele the torments of tosting flames, and wished that the hunting of the Bore, had neuer decaied a family so excellent, to the intent he myght haue matched himself with hir, whome none other could displace out of his remembraunce, that was one of the rychest Gentlemen and of greatest power in Siena. Now for that he durst not discouer his amorous griefe to any person, was the chiefest cause that martired most his hearte, and for the auncient festred malice of those two families, he despayred for euer, to gather either floure or fruict of that affection, presupposing that Angelica would neuer fixe hir Loue on him, for that his Parents were the cause of the defaite and ouerthrow of the Montanine house. But what? There is nothing durable vnder the heauens. Both good and euyll haue theyr reuolution in the gouernment of humane affayres. The amityes and hatredes of Kynges and Prynces, be they so hardened, as commonly in a Moment hee is not seene to be a hearty Friende, that lately was a cruell Foe, and spyred naught else but the ruine of his Aduersary? Wee see the variety of Humayne chaunces, and then doe iudge at eye what great simplicity it is to stay and settle certayne, and infallible iudgement vppon man’s vnstayed doings. He that erst gouerned a king, and made all things to tremble at his word, is sodaynely throwne downe, and dyeth a shamefull death. In like sorte, another whych looketh for his owne vndoinge, seeth himselfe aduaunced to hys estate agayne, by reuenge ouer his Enimies. Calir Bassa gouerned whilom the great Mahomet, that wan the Empire of Constantinople, who attempted nothing without the aduice of that Bassa. But vpon the sodayne he saw him selfe reiected, and the next day strangled by commaundement of him, which so greatly honoured him, and without iust cause did him to a death so cruell. Contrarywise Aragon the Tartarian entring Armes against his Vncle Tangodor Caui, when hee was vpon the Poynct to lose his Lyfe for his rebellion, and was conueyed into Armenia to be executed there, was rescued by certayne Tartarians 293the houshold seruaunts of his dead vncle, and afterwards Proclaymed King of Tartary about the year 1285. The example of the Empresse Adaleda is of no lesse credit than the former, who being fallen into the hands of Beranger the Vsurper of the Empyre escaped his fury and cruelty by flight, and in the ende maried to Otho the firste, sawe hir wrong reuenged vpon Beranger and all his Race by hir Sonne Otho the second. I aduouch these Hystories to proue the mobility of fortune, and the chaunge of worldly chaunces, to th’ende you may see that the very same misery which followed Charles Montanine hoysted him aloft agayne, and when he looked for least succour, he saw deliueraunce at hand. Now to prosecute our Hystory: know yee that while Salimbene by little and little pined for loue of Angelica, whereof shee was ignoraunt and carelesse, and albeit shee curteously rendred health to him, when sometimes in his amorous fit he beheld hir at a Window, yet for al that shee neuer so mutch as guessed the thoughts of hir louing enimy. During these haps it chaunced that a rich Cittizen of Siena, hauing a ferme adioyning to the Lands of Montanine, desirous to encrease his Patrimony, and annexe the same vnto his owne, and knowing that the yong Gentleman wanted many thinges, moued him to sel his inheritaunce, offring hym for it in ready money, a m. Ducates, Charles which of al the wealth and substaunce left him by his auncester, had no more remaynyng but that countrey Ferme, and a Palace in the City (so the rich Italians of ech City, terme their houses,) and with that lytle lyued honestly, and maintained his sister so wel as he could, refused flatly to dispossesse himselfe of the portion, that renewed vnto him the happy memory of those that had ben the chiefe of all the Common Wealth. The couetous wretch seeing himselfe frustrate of his pray, conceiued sutch rancor against Montanine, as he purposed by right or wrong to make him not only to forfait the same, but also to lose his lyfe, following the wicked desire of tirannous Iesabell, that made Naboth to be stonned to death to extort and wrongfully get his vineyard. About that time for the quarels and common dyscordes raigning throughout Italy, the Nobility were not assured of safety in their Countreis, but rather the common sort and rascall number, were the chief rulers and 294gouerners of the common wealth, whereby the greatest part of the Nobility or those of beste authority being banished, the villanous band, and grosest kind of common people made a law (like to the Athenians in the time of Solon) that all persons of what degree and condition so euer they were, which practized by himselfe or other meanes the restablyshing or reuocation of sutch as were banished out of their Citye, should lose and forfaite the summe of m. Florens, and hauing not wherewith to pay the condempnation, their head should remaine for gage. A law no doubt very iust and righteous, scenting rather of the barbarous cruelty of the Gothes and Vandales, than of true christians, stopping the retire of innocents exiled for particular quarels of Citizens incited one against another, and rigorously rewarding mercy and curtesy, with execution of cruelty incomparable. This Citizen then purposed to accuse Montanine for offending against the law, bicause otherwise he could not purchase his entent, and the same was easy inough for him to compasse, by reason of his authority and estimation in the Citye: for the Endytemente and plea was no sooner red and giuen, but a number of post knightes appeared to depose against the poore Gentleman, to beare witnesse that he had trespassed the Lawes of the Countrey, and had sought meanes to introduce the banished, with intent to kyll the gouerners, and to place in state those factious, that were the cause of the Italian troubles. The myserable Gentleman knewe not what to do, ne how to defend himself. There were against him the Moone and the vii. starres, the state of the City, the Proctor and Iudge of the Courte, the wytnesses that gaue euidence, and the law whych condempned him. He was sent to Pryson, sentence was pronounced against him with sutch expedition, as he had no leysure to consider his affayres. There was no man, for feare to incurre the displeasures of the Magistrates, that durst open hys mouth to speake or make sute for hys delyueraunce. Like as the most part of fryendes in these dayes resembling the crow, that flyeth not but after carrian to gorge his rauenous Crop, and sutch friends doe visite the house of the fryend but for profit, reuerencyng him so long as he is in prosperitye, accordyng to the Poet’s complaynt.

295

Like as the purest gold in fieri flames is tried,

Euen so is fayth of fryends in hard estate descried.

If hard missehap doth thee affray,

Ech of thy friends do flie away,

And he which erst full friendly semde to thee,

A friend no more to thy poor state is hee.

And simple Wyghtes ought not to bee afrayde, and thynke amyss if Fryendes doe flee away, sith Prynces and great Lords incurre sutch hap and Fortune. The great leader of the Romayne Armies, Pompeius, the honor of the people and Senate of Rome, what companion had he to flee with hym? Whych of his auncient friends toke paine to rescue and delyuer him from his Enimyes hands which did pursue him? A king of Ægipt which had known and found this good Romane Prynce a kind and gentle fryend, was he that killed him, and sent his head to his Victor and unsatible greedy gutte Iulius Cæsar, falsifying his promised fayth, and forgetting his receiued pleasures. Amongs all the comforts which this pore Siena Gentleman found, although but a curssed Traitor, was thys vnfaithfull and pestiferous Camæleon, who came and offred him al the pleasure and kindnesse he was able to do. But the varlet attended conuenient tyme to make him taste his poyson, and to let him see by effect, how dangerous a thing it is to be il neighbored, hoping after the condempnation of Montanine he should at pleasure purchase the Lordshippe, after whych with so open mouth he gaped. Ouer whom he had hys wyll: for two or three dayes after the recitall of the endytement, and giuing of the euydence, Charles was condempned, and his fine sessed at m.Florins to be payed within xv. dayes, vntyl whych time to remaine in Pryson. And for default of sutch payment to loose his heade, bicause he had infringed the Lawes, and broken the Statutes of the Senate. This sentence was very difficult for poor Montanine to digest, who saw all his goodes like to be dispoyled and confiscate, complayning specially the fortune of fayre Angelica his sister, whych all the tyme of the imprysonment of hir deare brother, neuer went out of the house, ne ceased to weepe and lamente the hard fortune whereinto their family was lyke to fall by that new 296mischaunce: “Alas,” said the fayre curteous damsel, “will the heauens never be appeased but continually extend their wrathe vpon our deplored family, and shal our missehaps neuer cease? Had it not bene more tollerable for our consumed bloude, that the dissentions past, had been tried by dent of sword, than to see the present innocency of the young Gentleman my brother in daunger to be innocently accused and put to death, through the vniustice of those, which beare mortal malice to noble bloud, and glory in depryuation of the whole remembrance of the same? O dampnable state that muste hale the guiltlesse to the gibet and irreuocable sentence of those iudges remaining in a city, which men cal free, albeit a confused multitude hath the vpper hande, and may so bee, that Nature hath produced them to treade vnder foote noble Wightes for their Offences. Ah dear Brother, I see well what is the cause. If thou hadst not that lytle lordshyp in the Countrey, and Pryncely House in the City, no man would haue enuied thine estate, or could haue charged thee with any Crime, which I would to God, thou hadst not onely enterprysed, but also broughte to passe, to the intent thou mightest haue ben reuenged of the wrong which these cankred Carles ordinarily do vnto my Noble bloud. But what reason is it that marchants and artificers, or the sonnes of villaines should rule a common Wealth? O happy Countreis where kings giue Lawes, and Princes see by proued sight, those persons which resemble them, and in their places beare the sway. And O unhappy wee, that be the slaues of a waiwarde state, peruerted by corruption. Why dyd our predecessors minde to stablysh any lyberty at al, to thrust the same into the confused gouernment of the commons of our Countrey? We haue stil the Frenchman at our tayle, or the people of our highest Bishop, or else those crafty Florentines, we be the common pray of al those that list to follow the haunt, and that which is our extreamest misery, we make oure selues the very slaues of them that of right ought to be reputed the vilest amongs us al. Ah deare Brother, that thy wretched tyme is come, the onely hope of our decayed family. Thou hadest neuer bene committed to Warde, had not thy false assured foes bene assure of witnesse to condempne thee. Ah that my life mighte raunsome thine, and 297redeme agayn thyne estate and succor, thou shouldest be sure that forthwith Angelica would prepare hirself to bee the pray of those hungry rauenyng Wolues, which bleat and bellow after thy Lands and Lyfe.” Whyle this fayre Damsell of Siena in this sort dyd torment hir self, poore Montanine, seeinge that he was brought to the last extremity of his desired hope, as eche man naturally doth seke meanes to prolong his lyfe, knowing that all other help fayled for hys delyueraunce except he sold his land, aswel to satisfy the fine, as to preuayle in the rest of his Affaires, sent one of the gailers to that worshipfull usurer the cause of hys Calamity, to offer him his Land for the pryce and sum of a m. Ducates. The pernicious and trayterous villain, seeing that Montanine was at his mercy, and stode in the water up to the very throte, and knew no more what to do, as if already he had tryumphed of hys life and Land so greatly coueted, answered him in this manner: “My friend thou shalt say to Charles Montanine, that not long ago I would willingly haue giuen him a good Summe of Money for his Ferme, but sithens that tyme I haue imployed my Money to some better profit: and albeit I was in minde to buy it, I would be loth to give aboue 7. c. Florins, being assured that it cannot be so commodious, as my Money is able to bring yearely Gayne into my Purse.” See how Auarice is the Pickpurse of secret and hidden gayne, and the very Whirlepoole of Honesty, and Conscience, couetinge nought els but by vnrighteous Pray of other mens goods, to accumulate and heape together. The aboundance whereof bringeth no greater good hap vnto the gluttonous Owner, but rather the minde of sutch is more miserable, and carryeth therewithall more decrease of quiet, than increase of filthy muck. The couetous man beareth no loue but to his Treasure, nor exerciseth charity but vpon his Coafers, who, than he would be dispossessed thereof, had rather sell the life of his naturall Father. This detestable Villayne hauing sometimes offered m. Ducates to Charles for his Enherytaunce, will now doe so no more, aspiring the totall Ruine of the Montanine Family. Charles aduertised of his minde, and amazed for the Counsels decree, well saw that all thinges contraried hys hope and expectation, and that he must needes dye to satisfie the excessiue and couetous Lust of the Cormerant, whose malice hee 298knew to bee so vehement, as none durst offer him Money, by reason of the vnhappy desire of this neuer contented Varlet: For which consideration throughly resolved to dye, rather than to leaue hys poore Sister helplesse, and without reliefe, and rather than he would agree to the bargayne tending to his so great losse and disadvauntage, and to the Tirannous dealing of the wicked Tormentor of hys Lyfe, seeing also that all meanes to purge and auerre his innocency, was taken from him, the finall decree of the Iudges being already passed, he began to dispose himselfe to repentaunce and saluation of his Soule, making complaynte of his Mishaps in thys manner.

To what hath not the heauens hatefull bin,

Since for the ease of man they weaue sutch woe?

By diuers toyles they lap our crosses in

With cares and griefes, whereon our mischiefes groe:

The bloudy hands and Sword of mortall foe,

Doe search mine euill, and would destroy me quite,

Through heynous hate and hatefull heaped spite.

Wherefore come not the fatall sisters three,

That draw the line of life and death by right?

Com furies all, and make an ende of mee,

For from the world, my sprite would take his flight.

Why comes not nowe fowle Gorgon full in sight,

And Typhon’s head, that deepe in hell remaynes,

For to torment the silly soules in paynes?

It better were for mee to feele your force,

Than this missehap of murdring enuy’es rage,

By curssed meanes and fall vpon my corse,

And worke my ruine amid my flouring age:

For if I were dispatch’de in this desire,

The feare were gone, of blacke infernall fire.

O Gods of Seas, and cause of blustring winde,

Thou Æolus and Neptune to I say,

Why did you let my Barke sutch fortune finde,

299That safe to shore I came by any way?

Why brake yee not, agaynst some Rocke or Bay,

The keele, the sterne, or els blew downe the Mast,

By whose large sayles through surging seas I past?

Had these things hapt, I had not seene this houre,

The house of dole where wofull sprites complayne,

Nor vserers on me had vsde sutch power,

Nor I had seene depaynted in disdayne,

The God of care, with whom dead Ghosts remayne.

Who howles and Skrekes in hollow trees and holes,

Where Charon raygnes among condemned soules.

Ah, ah, since hap will worke my wretched end,

And that my ruine by iudgement is decreed:

Why doth not happe sutch happy fortune send,

That I may lead with me the man in deede,

That staynd his fayth, and faylde me at my neede,

For gayne of golde, as vsurers do God knowes,

Who cannot spare the dropping of their nose?

I should haue slayne the slaue that seru’d me so,

O God forbid my hands were brued in blood,

Should I desire the harme of friend or foe?

Nay better were to wishe mine en’my good:

For if my death I throughly vnderstood,

I should make short the course I haue to run,

Since rest is got when worldly toyle is done.

Alas, alas, my chiefest way is this,

A guiltlesse death to suffer as I can,

So shall my soule be sure of heauen’s blisse,

And good renoume shall rest behinde me than,

And body shall take end where it began,

And fame shall fly before me, ere I flit

Vnto the Gods, where Ioue in throne doth sit.

300O God conuert, from vyce to vertue now,

The heart of him that falseth fayth wyth me,

And chaunge his minde and mend his maners throw,

That he his fault and fowle offence may see,

For death shall make my fame immortall bee:

And whiles the Sunne which in the heauens doth shine,

The shame is his, and honor shall be mine.

Alas, I mourne not for my selfe alone,

Nor for the fame of my Forefathers olde,

’Tys Angelike, that causeth me to mone,

’Tys she that filles my brest with fansies colde,

’Tys shee more worth, than was the fliece of golde,

That mooues my minde and breedes sutch passions straunge,

As in my selfe I feele a wonderous chaunge.

Haue pitty Lord of hir and mee this day,

Since destny thus hath sundred vs in spite,

O suffer not hir vertues to decay,

But let hir take in friendship sutch delite,

That from hir brest all vice be banisht quite:

And let hir like as did hir noble race,

When I poore man am deade, and out of place.

Alas my hand would write these wofull lines,

That feeble sprite denyes for want of might,

Wherefore my heart in brest consumes and pines,

With deepe desires, that far is from man’s sight,

But God he sees myne innocencie and right,

And knowes the cause of myne Accuser still,

Who seekes my bloud to haue on mee his will.

When Charles thus complayned himself, and throughly was determined to dy, great pitty it was to see how fayre Angelica did rent hir Face, and teare hir golden Locks, when she saw how impossible it was to saue hir obstinate brother from the cruel 301sentence pronounced vpon him, for whom she had imployed all hir wits and fayre speach, to perswade the neerest of hir Kin to make sute. Thus rested she alone ful of sutch heauinesse and vexation as they can think which see themselues depriued of things that they esteeme most dere. But of one thing I can wel assure you, that if ill fortune had permitted that Charles should haue bin put to death, the gentle damsel also had breathed forth the final gasp of hir sorowful life, yeldinge therewithall the last end of the Montanine race and family. What booteth it to hold processe of long discourse? Beholde the last day is come deferred by the Iudges, whereupon he must eyther satisfie the fine, or dye the next day after like a rebel and Traytor against the state, without any of his kin making sute or meane for his deliueraunce: albeit they visited the fayre mayden, and comforted hir in that hir wretched state, instructing hir how shee should gouerne hir selfe patiently to suffer things remedilesse. Angelica accompanied with hir kin, and the maidens dwelling by, that were hir companions, made the ayre to sound with outcries and waymentings, and she hir selfe exclaymed like a woman destraught of Wits, whose plaints the multitude assisted with like eiulations and outcries, wayling the fortune of the yong gentleman, and sorowfull to see the mayden in daunger to fal into some mishap. As these things were thus bewayled, it chaunced about nine of the clocke at night, that Anselmo Salimbene, he whom we haue sayd to be surprised with the loue of Angelica, returning out of the Countrey, where he had remayned for a certayne time, and passing before the house of his Lady, according to his custome, heard the voyce of women and maydens which mourned for Montanine, and therewithall stayd: the chiefest cause of his stay was, for that he saw go forth out of the Pallace of hys Angelica, diuers Women making Moane, and Lamentation: wherefore he demaunded of the neyghbors what noyse that was, and whether any in those Quarters were dead or no. To whom they declared at length, al that which yee haue heard before. Salimbene hearing this story, went home to his house, and being secretly entred into his chamber, began discourse with himselfe vpon that accident, and fantasying a thousand things in his heade, in the ende thought that Charles 302should not so be cast away, were he iustly or innocently condempned, and for the only respect of his sister, that she might not bee left destitute of the Goods, and Inheritaunce. Thus discoursing diuers things, at length he sayd: “I were a very simple person nowe to rest in doubt, sith Fortune is more curious of my felicity than I could wishe, and seeketh the effect of my desires, when least of all I though vpon them. For behold, Montanine alone is left of all the mortall enimies of our house, whych to morrow openly shall lose his head like a rebell and seditious person, vpon whose Auncesters, in him shall I be reuenged, and the quarell betweene our two Families, shall take ende, hauinge no more cause to feare renuing of discorde, by any that can descend from him. And who shall let mee then from inioying hir, whom I doe loue, hir brother being dead, and his goods confiscate to the Seigniory, and she without all Maynetenaunce, and Reliefe, except the ayde of hir onely beauty and curtesie? What maynetenaunce shall she haue, if not by the loue of some honest Gentleman, that for hys pleasure may support hir, and haue pitty vppon the losse of so excellent beauty? Ah Salimbene, what hast thou sayd? Hast thou already forgotten that a Gentleman for that only cause is esteemed aboue al other, whose glorious facts ought to shine before the brightnesse of those that force theymselues to followe vertue? Art not thou a Gentleman borne, and Bred in noble house, Issued from the Loyns of gentle and noble Parentes? Is it ignoraunt vnto thee, that it pertayneth vnto a noble and gentle heart, to reuenge receyued Iniuries himselfe, without seeking ayde of other or else to pardon them by vsing clemency and princely curtesie, burying all desire of vengeaunce vnder the Toumbe of eternall obliuion? And what greater glory can man acquire, than by vanquishing himselfe, and chastising his affections and rage, to bynde him which neuer thought to receyue pleasure or benefit at his hand? It is a thing which exceedeth the common order of nature, and so is it meete and requisite, that the most excellent doe make the effects of their excellency appeare, and seeke meanes for the immortality of their remembraunce. The great Dictator Cæsar was more praysed for pardoning hys enimies, and for shewing himselfe curteous and easie to be spoken to, than for subduinge 303the braue and valiaunt Galles and Britons, or vanquishing the mighty Pompee. Dom Roderico Viuario, the Spaniard, although he might haue bene reuenged vpon Dom Pietro, king of Aragon, for his infidelity, bicause he went about to hinder his voyage agaynst the Saracens at Grenado, yet woulde not Punishe or Raunsome him, but taking him Prysoner in the Warres, suffred him to goe without any Tribute, or any exaction of him and his Realme. The more I followe the example of mighty Personages in thinges that be good, the more notorious and wonderful shall I make my selfe in their rare and noble deedes. And not willing to forget a wrong done vnto me, whereof may I complayne of Montanine? What thinge hath hee euer done agaynst me or mine? And albeit his Predecessors were enimies to our Family, they haue therefore borne the penaunce, more harde than the sinne deserued. And truly I should be afrayde, that God would suffer me to tumble into some mishap, if seeing one afflicted, I should reioyce in his affliction, and take by his decay an argument of ioy and pleasure. No, no, Salimbene is not of minde that sutch fond Imagination should Bereue good will to make hymselfe a Freende, and to gayne by liberality and curtesie hir, which for hir only vertue deserueth a greater lord than I. Being assured, that there is no man (except he were dispoyled of all good nature and humanity) specially bearing the loue to Angelica, that I do, but he would be sory to see hir in sutch heauinesse and despayre, and would attempt to deliuer hir from sutch dolorous griefe. For if I loue hir as I do in deede, must not I likewise loue all that which she earnestly loueth, as him that is nowe in daunger of death for a simple fine of a thousand Florens? That my heart doe make appeere what the loue is, which maketh me Tributary and Subiect to fayre Angelica, and that eche man may knowe, that furious loue hath vanquisht kings and great monarches, it behoueth not me to be abashed, if I which am a man and subiect to passions, so well as other, doe submit my selfe to the seruice of hir, who I am assured is so vertuous as euen very necessity cannot force hir to forget the house, whereof she tooke hir originall. Vaunt thy selfe then O Angelica, to haue forced a heart of it selfe impregnable, and giuen him a wound which the stoutest Lads might304sooner haue depriued of lyfe, than put him out of the way of his gentle kinde: and thou, Montanine, thinke, that if thou wilt thy selfe, thou winnest to day so hearty a frende, as only death shall separate the vnion of vs twayne, and of all our posterity. It is I, nay it is I my selfe, that shall excell thee in duety, poynting the way for the wisest, to get honor, and violently compel the mooued myndes of those that be our aduersaries, desiring rather vainely to forgo myne own life, than to giue ouer the vertuous conceipts, which be already grifted in my minde.” After this long discourse seeing the tyme required dilligence, hee tooke a thousand Ducats, and went to the Treasurer of the fines, deputed by the state, whom he founde in his office, and sayde vnto him: “I haue brought you sir, the Thousande Ducates, which Charles Montanine is bounde to pay for his deliueraunce. Tell them, and gieue him an acquittaunce, that presently hee may come forth.” The Treasorer woulde haue giuen him the rest, that exceeded the Summe of a Thousand Florens: but Salimbene refused the same, and receyuing a letter for his discharge, he sent one of his Seruaunts therewithal to the chiefe Gayler, who seeing that the Summe of his condemnation was payd, immediately deliuered Montanine out of the Prison where he was fast shut, and fettered with great, and weyghty Giues. Charles thinckinge that some Frier had bin come to confesse him, and that they had shewed him some mercy to doe hym to death in Prison, that abroade in open shame of the world he might not deface the Noble house whereof he came, was at the first sight astonned, but hauing prepared himselfe to die, praysed God, and besought him to vouchsafe not to forget him in the sorrowful passage, wherein the stoutest and coragious many times be faynt and inconstaunt. He recommended his Soule, he prayed forgieuenesse of his sinnes: and aboue all, he humbly besought the goodnesse of God, that it would please him to haue pitty vpon his Sister, and to deliuer hir from all Infamy and dishonor. When he was caried out of Pryson, and brought before the Chiefe Gayler, sodaynely his Giues were discharged from his Legges, and euery of the standers by looked merily vppon hym, without speakinge any Woorde that might affray hym. That Curtesie vnlooked for, made hym attende some better thynge, and assured hym of that whych 305before by any meanes hee durste not thyncke. And hys expectation was not deceiued. For the Gayler sayde vnto hym: “Bee of good Cheare Sir, for beholde the letters of your discharge, wherefore you may goe at liberty whether you list.” In saying so, he opened the Pryson, and licenced Montanine to departe, praying him not to take in ill part his intreaty and hard imprysonment, for that hee durst doe none other, the State of the City hauing so enioyned hym. May not ech Wyght now behold how that the euents of loue be diuers from other passions of the mind? How could Salimbene haue so charitably deliuered Montanine, the hatred beyng so long tyme rooted between the two houses, if some greate occasion whych hath no name in Loue, had not altred his Nature, and extinguished hys affection? It is meritoryous to succour them whome we neuer saw before, sith nature moueth vs to doe well to them that be lyke our selues. But faith surmounteth there, where the very naturall inclynation feeleth it self constrayned and seeth that to be broken, whych obstynately was purposed to be kept in mynde. The graces, gentlenesse, Beauty, mild behauior and allurement of Angelica, had greater force ouer Salimbene, than the humility of hir Brother, although he had kneeled a hundred tymes before him. But what heart is so brute, but may be made tractable and Mylde, by the Contemplation of a thyng so rare, as the excellent Beauty of that Siena Mayden, and woulde not humble it selfe to acquyre the good graces of so perfect a Damsel? I wyll neuer accuse man for beyng in Loue wyth a fayre and vertuous Woman, nor esteeme hym a slaue, whych painefully serueth a sobre Mayden, whose heart is fraught wyth honeste affections, and Mynd wyth desyre tending to good ende. Well worthy of blame is he to be deemed whych is in loue wyth the outeward hew, and prayseth the Tree onely layden with floures, without regard to the fruict, whych maketh it worthye of commendation. The young maiden must needes resemble the floure of the Spryng time, vntill by hir constancy, modesty, and chastity she hath vanquished the concupiscence of the flesh, and brought forth the hoped fruicte of a Vertue and Chastity not Common. Otherwyse, shee shall bee lyke the inrolled Souldyer, whose valyance hys only mind doth wytnes, and the offer whych he maketh 306to hym that doth register his name in the muster bookes. But when the effect of seruyce is ioyned wyth his attempt, and proofe belyeth not hys promyse, then the Captain imbraceth him, and aduaunceth him, as a glasse for his affaires from that time forth. The lyke of Dames hauing passed the assaults and resisted the attempts of theyr assaylants which be honest, not by force being not requyred, but inclyned by ther owne nature, and the dyligence of theyr chast and inuincyble heart. But turne we againe vnto our purpose, Montanine, when he was delyuered, forthwyth wente home to hys house, to comfort hir, whom he was more than sure to be in great distresse and heauinesse for his sake, and whych had so mutch neede of comfort as he had, to take his rest. He came to the gate of his Pallace (where beyng knowne that it was Montanine) his sister by any meanes coulde not bee made to beleue the same: so impossible seeme thynges vnto vs, which we most desyre. They were all in doubte, lyke as wee reade that they were when S. Peter escaped Herod’s Pryson by the Angel’s meanes. When Angelica was assured that it was hir Brother, sobbes wer layde aside, sighes were cast away, and heauy weepings conuerted into teares of ioy, she went to imbrace and kisse hir Brother, praising God for hys delyuerance, and making accompt that he had ben raised from death to lyfe, considering his stoutnes of minde rather bent to dye than to forgo his Land, for so smal a pryce. The Dames that wer kin vnto hym, and tarried there in Company of the maiden half in dispayre, least by dispayre and fury shee might fall into outrage therby to put hir lyfe in peril, with all expedition aduertised their husbands of Montanine’s Lyberty, not looked for, who repayred thither, as wel to reioyce with him in his ioy and good fortune, as to make their excuse, for that they had not trauayled to ryd him from that misery. Charles whych cared nothing at al for those mouth blessings, dissembled what he thought, thanking them neuerthelesse for their visitation and good remembrance they had of hym, for visiting and comforting his sister which honor, he estemed no lesse than if they had imployed the same vpon his owne person. Their friends and kinsfolk being departed, and assured that none of them had payde his ransome, hee was wonderfully astonned 307and the greater was his gryef for that he could not tell what hee was, whych withoute requeste, had made so gentle a proofe of his lyberality: if he knew nothing, farre more ignoraunte was his sister, forsomutch as she dyd thinke, that he had changed his mind, and that the horrour of death had made him sel his countrey inheritance, to hym whych made the first offer to buy the same: but either of them deceyued of their thought went to bed. Montanine rested not all the Nyght, hauyng still before his eyes, the vnknowne image of hym that had delyuered him. His bed serued his turne to none other purpose, but as a large field or some long alley within a Wood, for walkes to make discourse of hys mynde’s conceipts, sometimes remembryng one, sometimes another, without hitting the blanke and namyng of him that was his deliuerer, vnto whome he confessed him selfe to owe hys seruice and duety so long as hee lyued. And when hee saw the day begyn to appeare and that the Mornyng, the Vauntcurrour of the day, summoned Apollo to harnesse hys Horsse to begynne his course in our Hemisphere, he rose and went to the Chamberlaine or Treasurer, sutch as was deputed for receypt of the Fines, sessed by the State, whom he saluted, and receyuing lyke salutation, he prayed hym to shewe hym so mutch pleasure as to tell hym the parties name, that was so Lyberall to satysfie his fine due in the Eschequer of the State. To whome the other aunswered: “None other hath caused thy delyueraunce (O Montanine) but a certain person of the World, whose Name thou mayst easily gesse, to whome I gaue an acquittance of thyne imprysonmente, but not of the iuste summe, bycause hee gaue me a Thousand Ducates for a Thousand Florens, and woulde not receyue the ouerplus of the debte, whych I am readye to delyuer thee wyth thyne acquyttaunce.” “I haue not to doe wyth the Money” (sayd Charles) “onely I pray you to tell me the name of him that hath don me thys great curtesy, that hereafter I may acknowledge him to be my Friend.” “It is” (sayd the Chamberlayne) “Anselmo Salimbene, who is to bee commended and praysed aboue all thy parents and kinne, and came hither very late to bryng the Money, the surplusage whereof, beholde here it is.” “God forbid” (sayd Montaine) “that I should take awaye that, whych so happily was brought hither to rid me out of payne.” 308And so went away wyth his acquittance, his mind charged with a numbre of fansies for the fact don by Salimbene. Being at home at his house, he was long time stayed in a deepe consideration, desirous to know the cause of that gentle parte, proceeding from him whose Parents and Auncesters were the capitall Enimies of his race. In the end lyke one risyng from a sound sleepe, he called to mynd, that very many times he had seene Anselmo with attentiue eye and fixed looke to behold Angelica, and in eying hir uery louyngly, he passed euery day (before theyr gate) not shewing other countenaunce, but of good wyll, and wyth fryendly gesture, rather than any Ennimies Face, saluting Angelica at all tymes when he met hir. Wherefore Montanine was assured, that the onely loue of Salimbene towards his sister caused that delyueraunce, concluding that when the passion doth proceede of good loue, seazed in gentle heart and of noble enterpryse, it is impossible but it muste bryng forth the maruellous effects of vertue’s gallantize, of honesty and curtesy, and that the spyrite wel borne, can not so mutch hide hys gentle nourtoure, but the fyre must flame abroade, and that whych seemeth dyfficult to bee brought to passe, is facilitye, and made possible by the conceiptes and indeuors so wel imployed: wherefore in the Ende not to bee surmounted in Honesty, ne yet to beare the marke of one, that vnthankefully accepteth good turnes, he determyned to vse a great prodigality vppon him, that vnder the name of foe, had shewed himselfe a more faythful friend, then those that bare good face, and at neede wer furthest off from afflicted Montanine, who not knowing what present to make to Salimbene, but of himselfe and hys syster, purposed to impart his minde to Angelica, and then vpon knowledge of hir wil to performe his intent. For which cause vnderstanding that his gracious enimy was gone into the Countrey, he thoughte well to consyder of his determynatyon, and to breake wyth hir in hys absence, the better to Execute the same, vppon his nexte retourne to the Citye. He called Angelica asyde, and beynge bothe alone together, hee vsed these or sutch lyke Woordes: “You knowe, deare Sister, that the higher the fall is, the more daungerous and greater gryefe he feeleth that doth fall from highe than hee that tumbleth downe from place more low 309and of lesser steepenes. I speak this, bicause I cal to mind the condition, nobility, and excellency of our ancesters, the glorie of our race, and riches of all our house, which constraineth me many tymes to sigh, and sheade a streame of teares, when I see the sumptuous palaces that were the homes and resting places of our Fathers, and grand fathers, when I see on al parts of this City, the Armes, and Scutcheons painted and imbossed, bearyng the mark of the Antiquity of our house, and when I beholde the stately marble tombes and brasen Monuments, in dyuers our Temples erected for perpetuall Memorye of many knyghtes and generalles of warres, that sorted forth of the Montanine race: and chyefly I neuer enter thys great Palace, the remnant of our inheritaunce and patrimony, but the remembraunce of our auncesters, so glaunceth ouer mine Hearte, as an hundred hundred tymes, I wysh for death, to thynke that I am the Post alone of the mysery and decay fallen vppon the name and famous familye of the Montanines, whych maketh me thinke our life to be vnhappy, being downe fallen from sutch felicity, to feele a mysery most extreame. But one thing alone ought to content vs, that amid so great pouerty, yl luck, ruine and abasement, none is able to lay vnto our charge any thing vnworthy of the nobility and the house, whereof we be descended, our lyfe being conformable to the generositie of our predecessors: whereby it chanceth, that although our poore estate be generally knowne, yet none can affirme, that we haue forligned the vertue of them, which vertuously haue lyued before vs. If so bee wee haue receiued pleasure or benefit of any man, neuer disdained I with al duety to acknowledge a good turne, stil shunning the vyce of ingratytude, to soyle the reputation wherein hitherto I haue passed my lyfe. Is there anye blot which more spotteth the renoume of man, than not confessing receiued benefites and pleasures perfourmed in our necessity? You know in what peril of death I was, these few daies past, through their false surmise which neuer loued me, and how almost miraculously I was redemed out of the hangman’s hands, and the cruel sentence of the vnryghteous Magistrate, not one of our kin offrynge themselues in deede or word for my defense, which forceth mee to say, that I haue felt of my Kin, which I neuer thought, and haue tasted 310sutch commodity at his hands, of whome I neuer durst expect or hope for pleasure, relief, aide or any comfort. I attended my delyueraunce by sute of those whome I counted for Kin and fryends, but the same so soon vanished, as the Necessity and peryll were present. So pressed with woe, and forsaken of fryends, I was affrayde that our aduersaries (to remoue all feare and suspition in tyme to come) would haue purchased my totall ruine, and procured the ouerthrowe of the Montanines name, by my Death, and approched end. But good God, from the place whereof I feared the danger, the calme arose, which hath brought my Barke to the hauen of health, and at his hands where I attended ruine, I haue tasted affiance and sustentation of myne honor and lyfe. And playnely to procede, it is Anselmo Salimbene, the son of our auncient and capital enimies, that hath shewed himself the very loyall and faithful fryend of our family, and hath deliuered your brother by payment to the State, the summe of a Thousand Ducats to raunsome the life of him, who thought him to be his moste cruel aduersary. O Gentleman’s heart in dede and gentle mind, whose rare vertues do surpasse all humaine vnderstanding. Friends vnited together in band of Amitye, amaze the World by the effects not vulgar in things whych they do one for an other. But thys surmounteth all, a mortall Ennimy, not reconcyled or requyred, without demaund of assuraunce for the pleasure which he doth, payeth the debts of his aduersarie: which facte exceedeth all consideration in them, that discouer the factes of men. I can not tel what name to attribute to the deede of Salimbene, and what I ought to call that his curtesy, but this must I needes protest, that the example of his honestie and gentlenes is of sutch force, and so mutch hath vanquished me, as whether I shal dye in payne or lyue at ease, neuer am I able to exceede his lyberality. Now my life being ingaged for that which he hath don to mee, and hee hauynge delyuered the same from infamous Death, it is in your handes (deare sister) to practize the deuyse imagined in my mind, to the intente that I may be onely bound to you for satisfying the liberalitye of Salimbene, by meanes whereof, you which wepte the death and wayled the lost liberty of your Brother, doe see me free and in safety hauyng none other care but to be acquited of 311hym, to whome both you and I be dearely bound.” Angelica hearyng hir brother speak those words, and knowing that Salimbene was he, that had surpassed all their kinne in amity and comforte of theyr familye, answered her brother, sayinge: “I woulde neuer haue thought (good Brother) that your deliuerance had come to passe by him whose name euen now you tolde, and that our Ennimyes breaking al remembraunce of auncient quarels, had care of the health and conseruation of the Montanines. Wherefore if it were in my power I would satisfy the curtesy and gentlenesse of Anselmo, but I know not which way to begin the same. I being a maid that knoweth not how to recompense a good turne, but by acknowledging the same in heart: and to go to render thanks, it is neither lawfull or comely for me, and mutch lesse to offer him any thynge for the lyttle accesse I haue to his house, and the small familiarity I haue with the Gentlewomen of his kinne. Notwythstanding, Brother, consider you wherein my power resteth to ayde and helpe you, and be assured (myne honor saued) I wyll spare nothynge for your contentment.” “Sister” (sayd Montanine) “I haue of long time debated with my self what is to be done, and deuised what myghte be the occasion that moued this young Gentleman to vse so greate kindnesse toward mee, and hauing diligently pondred and waied what I haue seene and knowne, at length I founde that it was the onely force of Loue, which constrained his affection, and altered the auncient hatred that he bare vs, into new loue, that by no meanes can be quenched. It is the couert fire which Loue hathe kindled in his intrailes, it is loue whych hath raysed the true effects of gentlenesse, and hath consumed the conceipts of displeased mind. O the great force of that amorous alteration, which vppon the sodain exchaung, seemeth impossible to receiue any more chaung or mutation. The onely Beauty and good grace of you Syster, hath induced our gracious Enimy, the seruaunt of your perfections, to delyuer the poore Gentleman forlorn of all good fortune. It is the honest lyfe and commendable behauiour of Angelica Montanine, that hath incyted Anselmo to doe an acte so praise worthy, and a deede so kinde, to procure the deliuerance of one, which looked not for a chaunce of so great consequence. Ah gentle younge gentleman: 312Ah pryncely minde, and heart noble and magnanimous. Alas how shall it be possyble that euer I can approche the honest liberalitye wherwyth thou hast bound me for euer? My lyfe is thine, myne honour dependeth of thee, my goodes be tyed to thee. What resteth then, if not that you (sister) voyde of cruelty do vse no vnkyndnesse to hym that loueth you, and who for love of you hathe prodygally offred hys owne goodes to ryd me from payne and dyshonor? If so be, my lyfe and sauegarde haue ben acceptable vnto thee, and the sight of me dyscharged from Pryson was ioyful unto thee, if thou gauest thy willing consent that I should sel my patrimony, graunt presently that I may wyth a great, rare, and precious present, requyte the Goodnesse, Pleasure and curtesye that Salimbene hath done for your sake: And syth I am not able with goodes of Fortune to satisfie his bountye, it is your person which may supply that default, to the intent that you and I may be quytted of the oblygation, wherein we stand bound vnto him. It behoueth that for the offer and reward of Money whych he hath imployed, we make present of your Beautye, not selling the pryce of your chastity, but delyueryng the same in exchaunge of curtesye, beyng assured for hys gentlenesse and good Nourtoure sake, hee wyll vse you none otherwyse, or vsurpe any greater authority ouer you, than Vertue permitteth in ech gentle and Noble hearte. I haue none other means of satisfaction, ne larger raumsome to render free my head from the Tribute whych Salimbene hathe gyuen for my Lyfe and Liberty. Thynke (deare Sister) what determinate aunswere you wyll make me, and consider if my request be meete to be denyed. It is in your choise and pleasure to deny or consent to my demaund. If so be that I be denyed and loose the meanes by your refuse to be acquitted of my defender, I had rather forsake my Citye and Countrey, than to lyue heere wyth the title of ingratitude, for not acknowledging so greate a pleasure. But alas, with what Eye, shall I dare behold the Nobility of Siena, if by greate vnkyndnesse I passe vnder silence the rarest friendship that euer was deuised? What heartes sorrow shall I conceyue to bee pointed at wyth the finger, like one that hath forgotten in acknowledging by effecte, the receiued pleasure of my delyueraunce? No (sister) eyther you must bee the 313quyet of my Minde, and the acquittance of vs bothe, or else must I dye, or wander lyke a vagabond into straunge Countries, and neuer put foote agayne into Italy.” At those words Angelica stode so astonned and confused, and so besides hir selfe, like as wee see one distraught of sense that feeleth himself attached with some amaze of the Palsey. In the end recouering hir sprytes, and bee blubbered al with teares, hir stomacke panting like the Bellowes of a forge, she answeared hir brother in thys manner: “I knowe not louyng Brother by reason of my troubled minde howe to aunswere your demaund, which seemeth to be both ryght, and wronge, right for respect of the bond, not so, in consideration of the request. But how I proue the same, and what reason I can alleadge and discouer for that proofe, hearken me so paciently, as I haue reason to complayne and dispute vpon this chaunce more hard and difficulte to auoyde, than by reply able to be defended, sith that Lyfe and the hazarding thereof is nothing, in regarde of that which you wyll haue me to present with too exceeding prodigall Liberality, and I would to God that Life mighte satisfie the same, than be sure it should so soone be imployed, as the promise made thereof. Alas, good God, I thought that when I sawe my brother out of Pryson, the neare distresse of death, whereunto vniustly he was thrown, I thought (I say) and firmely did beleue, that fortune the Enimy of our ioy, had vomitted al hir poison, and being despoyled of hir fury and crabbed Nature had broken the bloudy and Venemous Arrowes, wherewyth so longe tyme she hath plagued our family, and that by resting of hir selfe, shee had gyuen some rest to the Montanine house of al theyr troubles and misaduentures. But I (O miserable wight) do see and feele how far I am deuided from my hope, and deceiued of mine opinion, sith the furious stepdame, appeareth before me with a face more fierce and threatning, then euer she did, sharpening hir selfe against my youth in other sort, then euer against any of our race. If euer she persecuted our auncesters, if she brought them to ruine and decay, she now doth purpose wholly to subuerte the same, and throw vs headelong into the bottomlesse pit of all misery, exterminating for all tegether, the remnaunte of our consumed house. Be it either by losse of thee (good brother) or the vyolent death 314of me which cannot hazarde my Chastity for the pryce of myne vnhappy life: Ah, good God, into what anguish is my mynde exponed, and how doe I feele the force and Vyolence of froward Fortune? But what speak I of fortune? How doth hard lucke insue, that is predestinated by the heauens vppon our familly? Must I at so tender yeares, and of so feeble kinde make choyse of a thing, which would put the wysest vpon Earth into their shifts? My heart doth fayle me, reason wanteth and Iudgement hangeth in ballaunce by continuall agitations, to see how I am dryuen to the extremity of two daungerous straits, and enuironned with fearefull ieoperdies, forcibly compelled either to bee deuided and separated from thee (my Brother,) whome I loue aboue mine owne life, and in whome next after God I haue fyxed and put my hope and trust, hauing none other solace, Comfort and helpe, but thee, or else by keping thee, am forced to giue vnto an other, and know not how, the precious treasure which beyng once lost, cannot be recouered by any meanes, and for the gard and conseruation whereof, euery woman of good iudgement that loueth vertue, ought a thousand times to offer hir selfe to death (if so many wayes she could) rather than to blot or soyle that inestimable Iewell of chastity, wherewith our lyfe is a true lyfe: contrarywyse shee which fondly suffreth hir self to be disseazed and spoyled of the same, and looseth it without honest title, albeit she be a lyue, yet is she buryed in the most obscure caue of death, hauing lost the honour which maketh Maydens march with head vpryght. But what goodnesse hath a Ladye, Gentlewoman, Maiden, or Wyfe, wherein she can glory, hir honour being in doubt, and reputatyon darkened with infamie? Whereto serued the imperyall house of Augustus, in those Ladyes that were intituled the Emperour’s Daughters, when for their villany, theyr were vnworthy of the title of chaste and vertuous? What profited Faustina the Emperiall Crowne vpon hir head, hir chastity through hir abhominable Life, being rapt and despoyled? What wronge hath bene done to many symple Women, for being buryed in the Tombe of dark obliuion, which for their vertue and pudique Lyfe, meryted Eternall prayse? Ah Charles, my Brother deare, where hast thoubestowrd the Eye of thy foreseeing mynde, that without prouidence and care of the 315fame due to honest Dames, and chast Damosels of our Family, hauyng lost the goodes and Fathers inheritance, wilt haue me in like sort forgoe my Chastity, whych hytherto I haue kept with heedeful dilygence. Wilte thou deare Brother, by the pryce of my virginity, that Anselmo shall haue greater victorye ouer vs, than he hath gotten by fight of Sword vpon the allied remnaunt of our house? Art thou ignorant that the woundes and diseases of the Mynd, be more vehement than those which afflict the Body? Ah I vnhappy mayden, and what ill lucke is reserued for me, what destiny hath kept me till this day to be presented for Venus’ Sacrifice, to satisfy a young manne’s lust, which coueteth (peraduenture) but the spoile of mine honor? O happy the Romain maide, slayne by the proper hands of hir woeful Father Virginius, that she myght not be soyled with infamy, by the Lecherous embracements of rauenous Appius, which desired hir acquaintaunce. Alas, that my brother doe not so, rather I woulde to God of his owne accord he be the infamous minister of my life ready to be violated, if God by his grace take not my cause in hand? Alas death, why dost thou not throwe against my hearte thy most pearcing dart, that I may goe waite vpon the shadowes of my thryce happy Parents, who knowing this my gryefe, wyll not be voide of passion to helpe me wayle my woefull state. O God, why was not I choaked and strangled, so soone as I was taken forth the secret imbracements of my mother’s Wombe, rather than to arriue into this mishap, that either must I lose the thing I deeme moste deare, or die with the violence of my proper hands? Come death, come and cut the vnhappy threede of my woefull Lyfe: stope the pace of teares with thy trenchant Darte that streame outragiously downe my face, and close the breathing wind of sighes, which hynder thee from doing thine office vpon my heart, by suffocation of my lyfe and it.” When she had ended those Words, hir speache dyd faile, and waxing pale and faint, (sitting vppon hir stoole) she fared as though that very death had sitten in hir place. Charles thynking that his sister had bene deade, mated with sorrowe, and desirous to lyue no longer after hir, seeing he was the cause of that sownyng, fell downe dead vpon the Ground, mouing neither hand nor foote, as though the soule had ben departed from the bodye. At the noyse 316which Montanine made by reason of hys fall, Angelica reuiued out of hir sowne, and seeinge hir Brother in so pytifull plyght, and supposing he had bene dead for care of hys request, for beyng berieued of hir Brother, was so moued, as a lyttle thynge would haue made hir do, as Thisbe dyd, when she viewed Pyramus to be slayne. But conceyuing hope, she threw hir selfe vppon hir Brother, cursing hir Fortune, bannyng the Starres of cruelty, and hir lauish speach, and hir self for hir little loue to hir brother, who made no refusall to dye to saue his Lande for reliefe of hir: wher she denyed to yeld hir selfe to him that loued hir with so good affection. In the end she applied so many remedies vnto hir brother, sometimes casting cold water vpon his face, sometimes pinching and rubbing the temples and pulses of his armes and his mouth with vineger, that she made hym to come agayne: and seeing that his eyes were open, beholding hir intentiuely with the countenance of a man half in despayre, she saied vnto him: “For so mutch brother as I see fortune to be so froward, that by no meanes thou canst auoide the cruel lot, which launceth me into the bottome of mortall misery, and that I must aduenture to folowe the indeuors of thy minde, and obey thy will, which is more gentle and Noble, than fraught with reason, I am content to satisfy the same and the loue which hitherto thou hast born me. Be of good cheere, and doe wyth mee and my body what thou list, giue and presente the same to whom thou pleasest. Wel be thou sure, that so sone as I shal bee out of thy hands and power, I wyl be called or esteemed thine no more, and thou shalt haue lesse authority to stay me from doing the deuises of my fantasie, swearing and protesting by the Almighty God, that neuer man shall touch Angelica, except it be in mariage, and that if he assay to passe any further, I haue a heart that shall incourage my hands to sacrifice my Life to the Chastitye of Noble Dames whych had rather dye than liue in slaunder of dyshonesty. I wyll die a body without defame, and the Mynde voyde of consent, shall receiue no shame or filth that can soyle or spot the same.” In saying so, she began againe to weepe in sutch aboundance, as the humour of hir brayne ranne downe by the issue of bothe hir Eyes. Montanine albeit sorrowful beyond measure to see his gentle and chast sister 317in sutch vexation and heauinesse, reioysed yet in his mind, that she had agreed to his request, which presaged the good lucke that afterwardes chaunced vnto him, for hys Lyberal offer. “Wherefore” (said he to Angelica,) “I was neuer in my Lyfe so desirous to liue, but that I rather choose to dye, than procure a thinge that should turne thee to displeasure and griefe, or to hazarde thine honor and reputation in daunger or peryll of damage, which thou hast euer knowne, and shouldest haue still perceyued by effect, or more properly to speak, touched with thy finger if that incomparable and rare curtesy and Lyberality of Salimbene had not prouoked me to requyre that, which honestly thou canst not gyue, nor I demaunde without wronge to thee, and preiudice to mine owne estimation and honoure. But what? the feare I haue to be deemed ingrate, hath made me forget thee, and the great honesty of Anselmo maketh me hope, yea and stedfastly beleue, that thou shalt receiue none other displeasure, but to be presented vnto him whome at other times we haue thought to be our mortal enimy. And I thinke it impossible that he wil vse any villany to hir whome he so feruently loueth, for whose sake he feareth not the hatred of his friends, and disdained not to save him whome he hated, and on whome he myght haue bene reuenged. And forsomutch sister, as the face commonly sheweth the signe and token of the hearte’s affection, I pray thee by any meanes declare no sad countenaunce in the presence of Salimbene, but rather cheere vp thy face, dry vp the aboundance of thy teares, that he by seeing thee Ioyfull and mery, may be moued to continue his curtesy and use thee honestly, being satisfied with thy liberality, and the offer that I shall make of our seruice.” Here may be seene the extremitie of two dyuers thinges, duety combatting with shame, reason being in contention with himself. Angelica knew and confessed that hir brother did but his duetye, and that she was bound by the same very bond. On the other side, hir estate and virginall chastity, brake the endeuours of hir duety, and denyed to doe that which she esteemed ryght. Neuerthelesse shee prepared hir self to follow both the one and the other: and by acquitting the duety to hir brother, she ordayned the meane, to discharge him of that which he was bound to his benefactor, determinynge neuerthelesse 318rather to dye, than shamefully to suffer hir selfe to be abused, or to make hir lose the floure, which made hir glyster amongs the maidens of the city, and to deface hir good fame by an acte so vyllanous. But that speciall rare vertue was more singular in hir, than was that continency of Cyrus the Persian King, who fearing to be forced by the allurements of the excellent beauty of chast Panthea, would not suffer hir to be brought into his presence, for feare that hee being surmounted with folysh lustes, should force hir, that by other meanes could not be persuaded to breake the holy lawes of Mariage, and promised faith to hir husband. For Salimbene hauing in his presence, and at his commaundement hir whome aboue al thyngs he loued would by no meanes abuse his power, but declared his gentle nature to bee of other force and effect, than that of the aforesaid king as by reading the successe of this historie you shal perceiue. After that Montanine and his sister had vttered many other words vpon their determination, and that the fayre maiden was appeased of hir sorrow, attending the issue of that which they went about to begin: Anselmo was come home out of the Countrey, whereof Charles hauing intelligence, about the second houre of the night, he caused his sister to make hir ready, and in company of one of their seruants that caried light before them, they came to the lodginge of Salimbene, whose seruaunt seeing Montanine so accompanied to knocke at the Gate, if hee did maruel I leaue for you to think, by reason of the displeasure and hatred which he knew to bee betweene the two families, not knowing that which had already passed for the heginning of a final peace of so many controuersies: for which cause so astonned as he was, he went to tel his maister that Montanine was at the gate, desirous secretly to talk vnto him. Salimbene knowing what company Charles had with him, was not vnwilling to goe downe, and causing two Torches to be lighted, came to his gate to entertaine them, and to welcome the brother and the sister, wyth so great curtesie and friendship as he was surprysed with loue, seeing before his eyes the sight of hir that burned hys heart incessantly, not discoueryng as yet the secrets of his thought by making hir to vnderstand the good wyl he bare hir, and how mutch he was hir seruant. 319He could not tel wel whether he was incharmed or his eyes daselled, or not wel wakened from sleepe when he saw Angelica, so amazed was he with the straungenesse of the fact, and arriuall of the maiden to his house. Charles seeing hym so confused, and knowing that the great affection he bare vnto his sister, made him so perplexed and besides himself, said vnto him: “Sir, we would gladly speake with you in one of your Chambers, that there myght be none other witnesse of our dyscourse, but we three together.” Salimbene which was wrapt wyth ioy, was able to make none other aunsweare, but: “Goe we whether you please.” So taking his Angelica by the hand, they went into the Hall, and from thence into his chamber, whych was furnyshed accordinge to the state and riches of a Lord, he being one of the welthiest and chiefe of the City of Siena. When they were set downe, and al the seruants gone forth, Charles began to say to Salimbene, these words: “You may not thinke it straunge (sir Salimbene) if against the Lawes and customes of our Common Wealthe, I at thys tyme of the Nyght doe call you vp, for knowyng the Bande wherewyth I am bound vnto you, I must for euer confesse and count my selfe to be your slaue and bondman, you hauing don a thing in my behalf that deserueth the name of Lord and maister. But what vngrateful man is he that wil forget so greate a benefit, as that which I haue receyued of you, holding of you, life, goods, honor, and this mine own sister that enioyeth by your meanes the presence of hir brother and hir rest of mind, not losing our noble reputation by the losse prepared for me through vnrighteous iudgement, you hauing staied the ruine both of hir and me, and the rest of our house and kin. I am ryghte glad sir, that this my duety and seruice is bounden to so vertuous a Gentleman as you be, but exceeding sorry, that fortune is so froward and contrary vnto me, that I am not able to accomplishe my good will, and if ingratitude may lodge in mind of a neady Gentleman, who hath no helpe but of himselfe, and in the wyll of hys chast sister, and minde vnited in two persons onely saued by you, duety doeth requyre to present the rest, and to submit al that is left to be disposed at your good pleasure. And bicause that I am well assured, that it is Angelica alone which hath kindled the flame of desire, and hath caused you 320to loue that which your predecessours haue deadly hated, that same sparke of knowledge, whych our misery could not quench with all his force, hath made the way and shewed the path whereby we shall auoide the name of ingrate and forgetfull persons, and that same which hath made you lyberall towards me, shalbe bountifully bestowed vpon you. It is Angelica sir, which you see present heere, who to discharge my band, hath willingly rendred to be your owne, submittinge hir selfe to your good wyll, for euer to be youres. And I which am hir brother, and haue receiued that great good wyll of hir, as in my power to haue hir wyl, do present the same, and leaue hir in your hands, to vse as you would your owne, praying you to accept the same, and to consider whose is the gift, and from whence it commeth, and how it ought to be regarded.” When he had sayd so, Montanine rose vp, and without further talke, went home vnto his house. If Anselmo were abashed at the Montanines arriuall, and astonned at the Oration of Charles, his sodain departure was more to be maruelled at, and therwithal to see the effect of a thing which he neuer hoped, nor thought vpon. He was exceding glad and ioyfull to see himself in the company of hir, whome he desired aboue al things of the world, but sory to see hir heauy and sorrowful for sutch chaunce. He supposed hir being ther, to procede rather of the yong man’s good and gentle Nature, than of the Maiden’s will and lykynge. For whych cause taking hir by the hand, and holding hir betwene hys armes, he vsed these or sutch lyke words: “Gentlewoman, if euer I had felt and knowne with what Wing the variety and lyghtnesse of worldly thynges do flye, and the gaynes of inconstant fortune, at this present I haue seen one of the most manifest profes which seemeth to me so straunge, as almost I dare not beeleue that I see before myne Eyes. I know well that it is for you, and for the seruice that I beare you, that I haue broken the effect of that hatred, whych by inheritaunce I haue receiued against your House, and for that deuotion haue deliuered your Brother. But I see that Fortune wyll not let mee to haue the vpper hand, to bee the Conquerer of hir sodaine pangs. But you your self shall see, and euery man shall know that my heart is none other than noble, and my deuises tend, but to the exploit of 321all vertue and Gentlenesse: wherefore I pray you (sayd he, kissing hir louingly) be not sad, and doubt not that your seruaunt is any other now, hauing you in his power, than he was when he durst not dyscouer the ardent Loue that vexed him, and held him in feeble state, ful of desire and thought: you also may bee sure, that he hath not had the better hande ouer me, ne yet for his curtesy hath obteined victory, nor you for obeying him. For sith that you be myne, and for sutch yelded and giuen to me, I wyl keepe you, as hir whome I loue and esteme aboue al things of the World, makyng you my Companion and the onely mistresse of my goodes heart, and wyll. Thinke not that I am the Fryend of Fortune, and practise pleasure alone without vertue. It is modesty which commaundeth me, and honesty is the guide of my conceipts. Assure you then, and repose your comfort on mee: for none other than Angelica Montanine shall be the wyfe of Anselmo Salimbene: and during my life, I wyll bee the Fryend, the defender and supporter of your house.” At these good Newes, the drousie and wandryng Spirite of the fayre Siena mayd awaked, who endyng hir teares and appeasing hir sorrow, rose vp, and made a very lowe reuerence vnto hir curteous fryend, thanking hym for hys greate and incomparable liberalitye, promising all seruice, duetie, and Amitye, that a Gentlewoman ought to beare vnto him, whom God hath reserued for hir Spouse and husband. After an infinite number of honest imbracements and pleasaunte kisses giuen and receiued on both partes, Anselmo called vnto him one of his Auntes that dwelled within him, to whome he deliuered his new Conquest to keepe, and spedily without delay he sent for the next of his Kinne and dearest friends: and being come, he intreated them to kepe him company, in a very vrgent and weighty businesse he had to do, wherein if they shewed themselues dilygent in his request, doubtful it is not, but he addressed speede for accomplishment of his Enterpryse. Then causyng hys Aunte and welbeloued Angelica to come forth, he carryed them (not without their great admiration) to the pallace of Montanine, whither being arryued: he and hys Companie were well intertayned of the sayd Montanine, the Brother of fayre Angelica. When they were in the Hall, Salimbene sayd to hys Brother in law that should be: “Senio 322Montanine, it is not long sithens, that you in company of my faire Gentlewoman heere, came home to speake wyth mee, desirous to haue no man priuy to the effect of your conference. But I am come to you with this troupe to disclose my minde before you al, and to manifeste what I purpose to doe, to the intente the whole World may know your good and honest Nature, and vnderstand how I can be requited on them, which indeuor to gratifie me in any thing.” Hauing said so, and euery man being set down he turned his talk to the rest of the company in thys wise: “I doubt not my friends and Noble Dames, but that ye mutch muse and maruell to see me in this house so late, and in your company, and am sure, that a great desire moueth your minds to know for what purpose, the cause, and why I haue gathered this assemblie in a time vnlooked for, and in place where none of our race and kinne of long time did enter, and lesse did meane to make hither their repaire. But when you doe consider what vertue and goodnesse resteth in the heartes of those men, that shunne and auoide the brutyshnesse of Minde, to followe the reasonable part, and which proprely is called Spirituall, you shall thereby perceiue, that when Gentle kynde and Noble Heart, by the great mistresse dame Nature be gryfted in the myndes of Men, they cease not to make appeare the effect of their doings, sometyme producing one vertue, sometimes another, which cease not to cause the fruicte of sutch industry both to blome and beare: In sutch wyse, as the more those vertuous actes and commendable workes, do appeare abroade, the greater dyligence is imployed to searche the matter wherein she can cause to appeare the force of vertue and excellency, conceiuing singular delyghte in that hir good and holy delyuery, which bryngeth forth a fruict worthy of sutch a stocke. And that force of mind and Generosity of Noble Heart is so firme and sure in operation, as although humane thinges be vnstable and subiect to chaung, yet they cannot be seuered or disparcled. And although it be the Butte and white, whereat fortune dischargeth al hir dartes and shaftes, threatning shooting and assayling the same round, yet it continueth stable and firme like a Rocke and Clyffe beaten wyth the vyolent fury of waues rising by wind or tempest. Whereby it chaunceth, that riches and dignity can no more 323aduaunce the heart of a slaue and villaine, than pouerty make vile and abase the greatnesse of courage in them that be procreated of other stuffe than of common sorte, whych daily keepe the maiesty of their oryginall, and lyve after the instincte of good and Noble Bloude, wherewith their auncesters were made Noble, and sucked the same vertue oute of the Teates of Noursses Breasses, who in the myddes of troublesome trauayles of Fortune that doe assayle them, and depresse theyr modesty, their face and Countenaunce, and theyr factes full well declare theyr condition, and to doe to vnderstande, that vnder sutch a Misery, a Mynde is hydde which deserueth greater Guerdon than the eigre taste of Calamitye. In that dyd glowe and shyne the Youthe of the Persian and Median Monarch, beynge nourssed amonges the stalles and Stables of hys Grandfather, and the gentle kind of the founder of stately Rome sockeled in the Shepecoates of Prynces sheepehierds. Thus mutch haue I sayd, my good lords and dames, in consideration of the noble corage and gentle minde of Charles Montanine, and of his sister, who without preiudice to any other I dare to say, is the paragon and mirrour of all chast and curteous maidens, well trayned vp, amonges the whole Troupe of those that lyue thys day in Siena, who beeyng brought to the ende and last poynt of their ruine, as euery of you doth knowe, and theyr race so sore decayed as there remayneth but the onely Name of Montanine: notwythstanding they neuer lost the heart, desire, ne yet the effect of the curtesy, and naturall bounty, whych euer doth accompany the mynd of those that be Noble in deede. Whych is the cause that I am constrayned to accuse our Auncesters, of to mutch cruelty, and of the lyttle respecte whych for a controuersye occured by chaunce, haue pursued them with sutch mortall reuenge, as without ceasing, with all their force, they haue assayed to ruinate, abolyshe, and for euer adnichilate that a ryghte Noble and illustre race of the Montanines, amongs whome if neuer any goodnesse appeared to the Worlde, but the Honesty, Gentlenesse, Curtesy and vertuous maners of these twayne here presente, the Brother and sister, yet they ought to be accompted amonges the ranke of the Noblest and chiefest of our City, to the intent in time to come it may not be reported, that wee haue esteemed and chearyshed 324Riches and drossie mucke, more than vertue and modesty. But imitating those excellent gouerners of Italy, whych held the Romane Empire, let vs rather reuerence the Vertuous Poore, than prayse or pryse the Rich, gyuen to vice and wickednesse. And for so mutch as I do see you all to be desirous to knowe the cause and argument, whych maketh me to vse this talke, and forceth mee to prayse the curtesy and goodnesse of the Montanines, pleaseth you to stay a lyttle with pacience, and not think the tyme tedyous, I meane to declare the same. Playnely to confesse vnto you (for that it is no cryme of Death, or heinous offence) the gyfts of nature, the Beauty and comelynesse of fayre Angelica heere present, haue so captiuate my Mind, and depriued my heart of Lyberty, as Night and Day trauailing how I might discouer vnto hir my martirdom, I did consume in sutch wyse, as losing lust of slepe and meate, I feared ere long to be either dead of sorrow or estranged of my right wits, seing no meanes how I might auoide the same, bicause our two houses and Families were at contynuall debate: and albeit conflicts were ceased, and quarelles forgotten, yet there rested (as I thought) a certaine desire both in the one and the other of offence, when time and occasion did serue. And yet mine affection for all that was not decreased, but rather more tormented, and my gryefe increased, hopelesse of help, which now is chaunced to me as you shall heare. You do know, and so do all men, howe wythin these fewe dayes past, the Lord Montanine here present, was accused before the Seniorie, for trespasses against the statutes and Edicts of the same, and being Prysoner, hauing not wherewith to satisfie the condempnation, the Law affirmed that his life should recompence and supply default of Money. I not able to suffer the want of hym, which is the brother of the dearest thing I esteeme in the Worlde, and hauing not hir in possession, nor lyke without him to attayne hir, payed that Summe, and delyuered hym. He, by what meanes I know not, or how he coniectured the beneuolence of my deede, thynking that it proceeded of the honest Loue and affection which I bare to gracious and amiable Angelica, wel consideryng of my curtesy, hath ouercome me in prodigalitye, he this Nyght came vnto mee, with his sister my mistresse, yelding hir my slaue and Bondwoman, leauyng 325hir with me, to doe with hir as I would with any thing I had. Behold my good Lordes, and yee Noble Ladies and cosins, and consider how I may recompence this Benefit, and be able to satisfie a present so precious, and of sutch Value and regard as both of them be, sutch as a right puissant prince and Lord may be contented wyth, a duety so Liberall and Iewell inestymable of two offered thynges.” The assistants that were there, could not tell what to say, the discourse had so mutch drawne their myndes into dyuers fantasies and contrary opinions, seing that the same requyred by deliberation to be considered, before lightly they vttred their mindes. But they knew not the intent of him, which had called them thither, more to testify his fact, than to iudge of the thing he went about, or able to hinder and let the same. True it is, that the ladies viewing and marking the amiable countenance of the Montanine Damsell, woulde haue iudged for hir, if they feared not to bee refused of hym, whome the thing did touche most neere. Who without longer staye, opened to them al, what he was purposed to do, saying: “Sith ye do spende time so long vpon a matter already meant and determyned, I wyll ye to knowe, that hauing regard of mine honour, and desirous to satisfie the honesty of the Brother and sister, I mynde to take Angelica to my wyfe and lawfull spouse, vniting that whych so long tyme hath bene deuyded, and making into two bodyes, whilom not well accorded and agreed, one like and vniforme wyll, praying you ech one, ioyfully to ioy with me, and your selues to reioyse in that alliaunce, whych seemeth rather a worke from Heauen, than a deede concluded by the Counsell and industrie of Men. So lykewyse all wedded feeres in holy Wedlocke (by reason of the effect and the Author of the same, euen God himselfe, whych dyd ordayne it firste) bee wrytten in the infallible booke of hys owne prescience, to the intent that nothing may decay, whych is sustayned wyth the mighty hand of that Almyghty God, the God of wonders, which verily hee hath displayed ouer thee (deare Brother) by makynge thee to fall into distresse and daunger of death, that myne Angelica, beeing the meane of thy delyueraunce, myght also bee cause of the attonement which I doe hope henceforth shall bee, betwene so Noble houses as ours be.” Thys finall 326decree reueled in open audience, as it was, against their expectation, and the ende that the kindred of Anselmo looked for, so was the same no lesse straunge and bashfull, as ioyful and pleasaunt, feeling a sodain ioy, not accustomed in theyr mynde, for that vnion and allyaunce. And albeit that their ryches was vnequall, and the dowry of Angelica nothyng neare the great wealth of Salimbene, yet all Men dyd deeme him happy, that hee had chaunced vpon so vertuous a maiden, the onely Modestie and Integritie of whome, deserued to bee coupled wyth the most honourable. For when a man hath respecte onely to the beauty or Riches of hir, whome he meaneth to take to Wyfe, hee moste commonly doth incurre the Mischiefe, that the Spyrite of dyssention intermeddleth amyd theyr household, whereby Pleasuere vanishing wyth Age, maketh the riueled Face (beset wyth a Thousand wrynkeled furrowes) to growe pale and drye. The Wyfe lykewyse when she seeth her goodes to surmount the substance of hir wedded Husband, she aduaunceth hir hearte, she swelleth wyth pryde, indeuoryng the vpper hand and souerainty in all thyngs, whereupon it riseth, that of two frayle and transitorie things, the building which hath so fyckle foundation, can not indure, man being borne to commaund, and can not abyde a mayster ouer hym, beyng the chyefe and Lord of hys Wyfe. Now Salimbene, to perfourme the effect of hys curtesie, gaue his fayre Wife the moytie of his Lands and goods, in fauoure of the Mariage, adopting by that meanes, Montanine to bee his Brother, appointing hym to be heyre of all hys goodes in case he deceased wythout heyres of his Body. And if God did send hym Children, he instituted him to bee the heyre of the other halfe, which rested by hys donation to Angelica his new espouse: Whom he maried solempnely the Sunday folowing, to the great contentation and maruell of the whole City, which long time was afflicted by the ciuile dissentions of those two houses. But what? Sutch be the varieties of worldly successe, and sutch is the mischiefe amongs men, that the same which honesty hath no power to winne, is surmounted by the disgrace and misfortune of wretched time. I neede not to alleage here those amongs the Romanes, which from great hatred and malice were reconciled with the indissoluble knot of Amity; forsomutch as the dignyties 327and Honoures of theyr Citty prouoked one to flatter and fawne vpon an other for particular profit, and not one of them attained to sutch excellencie and renoume, as the foresayd did, one of whome was vanquyshed with the fire of an amorous passion, whych forcyng nature hir selfe, brought that to passe, which could neuer haue bene thoughte or imagyned. And yet Men wyll accuse loue, and painte hir in the Colours of foolysh Furye and raging Madnesse. No, no, Loue in a gentle heart is the true subiect and substance of Vertue, Curtesy, and Modest Manners, expellynge all Cruelty and Vengeance, and nourishyng peace amongs men. But if any do violate and prophane the holy Lawes of Loue, and peruert that which is Vertuous, the faulte is not in that holye Saincte but in hym whych foloweth it wythout skyll, and knoweth not the perfection. As hapneth in euery operation, that of it selfe is honest, although defamed by those, who thinking to vse it, doe filthily abuse the same, and cause the grosse and ignoraunte to condempne that is good, for the folye of sutch inconstant fooles: In the other is painted a heart so voyde of the blody and abhominable sinne of Ingratitude, as if death had ben the true remedy and meane to satisfie his band and duety, he would haue made no conscience to offer himselfe frankly and freely to the dreadful passage of the same. You see what is the force of a gentle heart wel trained vp, that would not be vanquished in curtesye and Lyberality. I make you to be iudges, (I meane you) that be conuersant in loue’s causes, and that with a Iudgement passionlesse, voide of parciality doe dyscourse vppon the factes and occurrentes that chaunce to men. I make you (I saye) iudges to gyue sentence, whether of three caried away the pryse, and most bound his companion by lyberall acte, and curtesie not forced. You see a mortall enimy sorrow for the misery of his aduersary, but solycited therunto by the ineuitable force of Loue. The other marcheth with the glory of a present so rare and exquisite, as a great Monarch would haue accompted it for singuler fauor and prodigality. The maiden steppeth forth to make the third in ranke, wyth a loue so stayed and charity wonderfull towards hir brother, as being nothynge assured whether he to whome she offered hir selfe were so Moderate, as Curteous, she yeldeth hir selfe to the 328losse of hir chastity. The first assayeth to make himselfe a conquerour by mariage, but she diminishyng no iote of hir Noble mind, he must seeke else where hys pryse of victory. To hir a desyre to kyll hir selfe (if thinges succeeded contrary to hir minde) myght haue stopped the way to hir great glory, had she not regarded hir virginity, more than hir own Lyfe. The second seemeth to go half constrained, and by maner of acquitall, and had hys affectyon bene to render hymselfe Slaue to hys Foe, hys Patron and preseruer, it would haue diminished his prayse. But sithens inough wee haue hereof dyscoursed, and bene large in treatie of Tragicomicall matters, intermyxed and suaged (in some parte) wyth the Enteruiewes of dolor, modesty, and indifferente good hap, and in some wholly imparted the dreadfull endes like to terrible beginnings, I meane for a reliefe, and after sutch sowre sweete bankets, to interlarde a licorous refection for sweeting the mouthes of the delicate: And do purpose in this Nouell insuing, to manifest a pleasaunt disport betweene a Wydow and a Scholler, a passing Practise of a crafty Dame, not well schooled in the discipline of Academicall rules, a surmountinge science to trade the nouices of that forme, by ware foresight, to incountre those that by laborsome trauayle and nightly watch, haue studied the rare knowledge of Mathematicalles, and other hidden and secrete Artes. Wishing them so well to beware, as I am desirous to let them know by this rudiment, the successe of sutch attemptes.

329

THE THIRTY-FIRST NOUELL.

A Wydow called Mistresse Helena, wyth whom a Scholler was in loue, (shee louing an other) made the same Scholler to stande a whole Wynter’s night in the Snow to wayte for hir, who afterwardes by a sleyght and pollicie, caused hir in Iuly, to stand vppon a Tower starke naked amongs Flies and Gnats, and in the Sunne.

Diuert we now a little from these sundry haps, to solace our selues wyth a merry deuice, and pleasaunt circumstaunce of a Scholler’s loue, and of the wily guily Subtilties of an amorous Wydow of Florence. A Scholler returned from Paris to practise hys knowledge at home in his owne Countrey, learneth a more cunning Lecture of Mistresse Helena, than he did of the subtillest Sorbone Doctor, or other Mathematicall from whence he came. The Scholler as playnely hee had applied his booke, and earnestly harkned his readings, so he simply meant to be a faythfull Louer and deuout requirant to this Iolly dame, that had vowed his Deuotion and promised Pilgrimage to an other Saynct. The Scholler vpon the first view of the Wydowe’s wandring Lookes, forgetting Ouide’s Lessons of Loue’s guiles, pursued his conceipt to the vttermost. The Scholler neuer remembred how many valiaunt, wise and learned men, wanton Women had seduced and deceyued. Hee had forgot how Catullus was beguiled by Lesbia, Tibullus by Delia, Propertius by Cynthia, Naso by Corinna, Demetrius by Lamia, Timotheus by Phryne, Philip by a Greeke mayden, Alexander by Thays, Hanniball by Campania, Cæsar by Cleopatra, Pompeius by Flora, Pericles by Aspaga, Psammiticus the king of Ægypt by Rhodope, and diuers other very famous by Women of that stampe. Hee had not ben wel trayned in holy writ, or heard of Samson’s Dalida, or of Salomon’s Concubins, but like a playne dealinge man, beleued what she promised, followed what she bad him, waited whiles she mocked him, attended till shee laughed him to scorne. And yet for all these Iolly pastimes inuented by this Widdow, to deceyue the poore Scholler, she scaped not free from his Logike rules, not saife from his Philosophy. He was forced 330to turne ouer Aristotle, to reuolue his Porphyrie, and to gather his Wits about hym to requite this louing Peate, that had so charitably delt with him. He willingly serched ouer Ptolome, perused Albumazar, made haste to Haly, yea and for a shift besturred him in Erra Pater, for matching two contrary Elements. For colde in Christmasse holy dayes, and Frost at Twelftide, shewed no more force on this poore learned Scholler, than the Sunne’s heate in the Feries of Iuly, Gnats, Flyes, and Waspes, at Noone dayes in Sommer vpon the naked tender Corpse of this fayre Wyddow. The Scholler stoode belowe in a Court, benoommed for colde, the Wyddowe preached a lofte in the top of a Tower, and fayne would haue had water to coole hir extreme heate. The Scholler in his Shyrt bedecked wyth his demissaries. The Wyddow so Naked as hir Graundmother Eue, wythout vesture to shroud hir. The Wyddow by magike arte what so euer it cost, would fayne haue recouered hir lost Louer. The Scholler well espying his aduantage when hee was asked councell, so Incharmed hir with his Sillogismes, as he made hir to mount a Tower, to cursse the time that euer she knew him or hir Louer. So the Wydow not well beaten in causes of Schoole, was whipt with the Rod, wherewith shee scourged other. Alas good Woman, had she known that olde malice had not bene forgotten, she woulde not haue trusted, and lesse committed hir selfe to the Circle of his Enchauntments. If women wist what dealings are wyth men of great reading, they would amongs one hundred other, not deale wyth one of thee meanest of those that be Bookish. One Girolamo Ruscelli, a learned Italyan making prety notes for the better elucidation of the Italyan Decamerone of Boccaccio, iudgeth Boccaccio himselfe to be this scholler, whom by an other name he termeth to be Rinieri. But whatsoeuer that Scholler was, he was truely to extreme in reueng, and therein could vse no meane. For hee neuer left the poore feeble soule, for all hir curteous Words and gentle Supplication, vntill the Skin of hir flesh was Parched with the scalding Sunne beames. And not contented with that, delt his Almose also to hir Mayde, by sending hir to help hir Mistresse, where also she brake hir Legge. Yet Phileno was more pityfull ouer the 3 nymphes and fayre Goddesses of Bologna, whose Hystory you may reade in the 33149 Nouell of my former Tome. He fared not so roughly with those, as Rinieri did with thys, that sought but to gayne what she had lost. Well, how so euer it was, and what differency betweene eyther of theym, this Hystory ensuinge, more aptly shall gieue to vnderstande. Not long sithens, there was in Florence, a young Gentlewoman of worshipfull parentage, fayre and comely of personage, of courage stout, and abounding in goods of Fortune (called Helena,) who being a widow, determined not to mary agayne, bicause she was in loue with a yong man that was not voyde of Nature’s good gifts, whom for hir owne Tooth, aboue other shee had specially chosen. In whom (setting aside all other care) many tymes (by meanes of one of hir maydes which she trusted best) she had great pleasure and delight. It chaunced about the same time that a yong Gentleman of that Citty called Rinieri, hauinge a great time studied at Paris, returned to Florence, not to sell his Science by retayle, as many doe, but to knowe the reasons of things, and the causes thereof, which is a speciall good exercise for a Gentleman. And being there honoured and greatly esteemed of all men, aswell for his curteous behauiour, as also for his knowledge, he liued like a good Cittizen. But it is commonly seene, they which haue best vnderstandinge and knowledge, are soonest tangled in Loue: euen so it hapned with this Rinieri, who repayringe one day for his passetime to a Feaste, this Madame Helena clothed al in blacke, (after the manner of Widowes) was there also, and seemed in his eyes so beautifull and well fauored, as any woman euer he saw, and thought that hee might bee accoumpted happy, to whom God did shewe so mutch fauoure, as to suffer him to be cleped betweene hir Armes: and beholdinge her diuers tymes and knowing that the greatest and dearest things cannot be gotten with out labour, he determined to use all his endeuour and care in pleasing of hir, that thereby he might obtayne hir loue, and so enioy hir. The yong Gentlewoman not very bashfull, conceyuing greater opinion of hir selfe, than was needefull, not castinge hir Eyes towards the Ground, but rolling them artificially on euery side, and by and by perceyuing mutch gazing to be vpon hir, espied Rinieri earnestly beholding hir, and sayd, smiling to hir selfe: “I thinke that I haue not this day lost my 332time in comming hither, for if I bee not deceyued, I shall catch a Pigeon by the Nose.” And beginning certayne times stedfastly to looke vpon him, she forced hir selfe so mutch as she could, to seeme very ernestly to beholde him. And on the other part thinking, that the more pleasaunt and amorous she shewed hirselfe to be, the more hir beauty should be esteemed, chiefly of him whom specially shee was disposed to loue. The wise Scholler giuing ouer his Philosophy, bent all his endeuour here vnto, and thinking to be hir seruaunt, learned where she dwelt, and began to passe before hir house under pretence of some other occasion: whereat the Gentlewoman reioysed for the causes beforesayde, fayning an earnest desire to looke vpon him. Wherefore the Scholler hauing found a certayne meane to be acquaynted wyth hir Mayde discouered his loue: Praying her to deale so with hir mistresse, as he might haue hir fauor. The maide promised him very louingly incontinently reporting the same to hir mistresse, who with the greatest Scoffes in the Worlde, gaue ear thereunto and sayd: “Seest thou not from whence this Goodfellowe is come to lose al his knowledge and doctrine that he hath brought vs from Paris. Now let vs deuise therefore how he may bee handled for going about to seeke that, which he is not like to obtaine. Thou shalt say vnto him, when he speaketh to thee agayne, that I loue him better than he loueth me, but it behooueth me to saue mine honoure, and to keepe my good name and estimation amongs other Women.” Whych thinge, if he be so wise (as hee seemeth) hee ought to Esteeme and Regarde. “Ah, poore Wench, she knoweth not wel, what it is to mingle Huswiuery with learning, or to intermeddle distaues with bookes. Now the mayde when she had founde the Scholler, tolde him as hir mistresse had commaunded: whereof the Scholler was so glad, as he with greater endeuor proceded in his enterprise, and began to write Letters to the Gentlewoman, which were not refused, although he could receyue no aunsweres that pleased him, but sutch as were done openly. And in this sorte the Gentlewoman long time fed him with delayes. In the ende she discouered all this new loue vnto hir frend, who was attached with sutch an Aking Disease in his heade, as the same was Fraught with the Reume of Iealousie: 333wherefore she to shewe hir selfe to be suspected without cause (very carefull for the Scholler) sent hir mayde to tell him, that she had no conuenient time to doe the thinge that should please him, sithens he was first assured of hir loue, but hoped the next Christmasse holly dayes to be at his commaundement: wherefore if he would vouchsafe to come the night following the first holly day, into the Court of hir house, she would wayte there for his comminge. The Scholler the best contented man in the Worlde fayled not at the time appoyncted, to go to the Gentlewoman’s house: where being placed by the Mayde in a base Court, and shut fast within the same, he attended for hir, who Suppinge with hir friende that night, very pleasauntly recited vnto him all that she had determined then to doe, saying: “Thou mayst see now what loue I do beare vnto him, of whom thou hast foolishly conceyued thys Iealousie. To which woordes hir Freende gaue eare with great delectation, desiringe to see the effect of that, whereof she gaue him to vnderstand by wordes.” Now as it chaunced the day before the Snowe fell downe so thicke from aboue, as it couered the Earth, by which meanes the Scholler within a very little space after his arriuall, began to be very colde: howbeit hopinge to receyue recompence, he suffred it paciently. The Gentlewoman a little whyle after, sayd vnto hir Freende: “I pray thee let vs goe into my chuamber, where at a little Window we may looke out, and see what he doth that maketh thee so Iealous, and herken what aunswere he will make to my Mayde, whom of purpose I wyll send forth to speake vnto him.” When she had so sayde, they went to the Window, where they seeing the Scholler (they not seene of hym,) heard the Mayde speake these wordes: “Rinieri, my Mystresse is the angriest Woman in the World, for that as yet she cannot come vnto thee. But the cause is, that one of hir Brethren is come to visite hir this Euening, and hath made a long discourse of talke vnto hir, and afterwardes bad himselfe to Supper, and as yet is not departed, but I thinke hee will not tary longe, and then immediately she will come. In the meane tyme she prayeth thee to take a little payne.” The Scholler beleeuing this to be true, sayde vnto hir: “Require your Mistresse to take no care for mee till hir leasure may serue: But yet entreat hir to make 334so mutch hast as she can.” The Mayde returned and went to Bed, and the Dame of the house sayd then vnto hir frend: “Now sir, what say you to this? Doe you thincke that if I loued him, as you mystrust, that I would suffer him to tarry beneath in this greate colde to coole himselfe?” And hauing sayd so, she went to Bed with hir frende, who then was partly satisfied, and all the night they continued in greate pleasure and solace, laughing, and mocking the miserable Scholler that walked vp and downe the Court to chafe himselfe, not knowing where to sit, or which way to auoyde the colde, and curssed the long taryinge, of his mistresse Brother, hoping at euery noyse he heard, that she had come to open the dore to let him in, but his hope was in vayne. Now she hauinge sported hir selfe almost till midnight, sayd vnto hir frend: “How think you (sir) by our Scholler, whether iudge you is greater, his Wysedome, or the loue that I beare vnto him? The colde that I make him to suffer, will extinguish the heate of suspition whych yee conceyued of my wordes the other day.” “Yee say true,” (sayd hir frend,) “and I do assure you, that like as you are my delight, my rest, my comfort, and all my hope, euen so I am yours, and shalbe during life.” For the confirmation of which renewed amity, they spared no delights which the louing Goddesse doeth vse to serue and imploy vpon her seruaunts and suters. And after they had talked a certayne time, she sayd vnto him: “For God’s sake (sir) let vs rise a little, to see if the glowing fire which this my new louer hath dayly written vnto me, to burn in him, bee quenched or not.” And rysing out of their Beds, they went to a little Window and looking downe into the Courte, they saw the Scholler dauncing vpon the Snow, whereunto his shiuering teeth were so good Instruments, as he seemed the trimmest Dauncer that euer trode a Cinquepace after sutch Musicke, being forced thereunto through the great colde which he suffered. And then she sayde vnto him: “What say you to this my frende, do you not see how cunninge I am to make men daunce without Taber, or Pipe?” “Yes in deede,” (sayd hir Louer) “yee be an excellent Musitian.” “Then” (quod shee) “let vs go downe to the dore, and I will speake vnto him, but in any Wise say you nothing, and we shal heare what reasons and arguments he will frame to mooue me to compassion, and 335perchaunce shall haue no little pastime to behold him.” Whereupon they went downe softly to the dore, and there without opening the same, shee with a softe voyce out at a little whole, called the Scholler vnto hir. Which hee hearinge, began to prayse God and thancke hym a thousande times, beleeuing veryly that he should then be let in, and approching the dore, said: “I am heere mine (owne sweete heart) open the dore for God’s sake, for I am like to die for Cold.” Whom in mocking wise she answered: “Can you make me beleue (M. Scholler) that you are so tender, or that the colde is so great as you affirme, for a little Snow newly falne downe? There be at Paris farre greater Snowes than these be, but to tell you the troth, you cannot come in yet, for my Brother (the deuell take him) came yesternight to supper, and is not yet departed, but by and by hee wyll be gon, and then you shall obtayne the effect of your desire, assuring you, that with mutch a doe I haue stolne away from hym, to come hither for your comfort, praying you not to thincke it longe.” “Madame” sayd the Scholler, “I beseech you for God’s sake to open the dore, that I may stand in couert from the Snow, which within this houre hath fallen in great aboundaunce, and doth yet continue: and there I will attend your pleasure.” “Alas sweet Friend” (sayd she) “the dore maketh sutch a noyse when it is opened, that it will easily be heard of my brother, but I will pray him to depart, that I may quickely returne agayne to open the same.” “Goe your way then” (sayd the Scholler) “and I pray you cause a great fire to be made, that I may warme mee when I come in, for I can scarce feele my selfe for colde.” “Why, it is not possible” (quod the Woman) “if it be true that you wholly burne in loue for me, as by your sundry Letters written, it appeareth, but now I perceyue that you mocke me, and therefore tary there still on God’s name.” Hir frende which heard all this, and tooke pleasure in those wordes, went agayne to Bed with hir, into whose eyes no slepe that night coulde enter for the pleasure and sport they had with the poore Scholler. The vnhappy wretched Scholler whose teeth chattered for colde, faring like a Storke in colde nights, perceyuing himselfe to be mocked, assayed to open the dore, or if he might goe out by some other way: and seeing it impossible, stalking vp and downe like a Lyon, curssed 336the nature of the time, the wickednesse of the woman, the length of the Night, and the Folly and simplicity of himselfe: and conceyuing great rage, and despight agaynst hir, turned sodaynely the long and feruent loue that he bare hir, into despight and cruell hatred, deuising many and diuers meanes to bee reuenged, whych he then farre more desired, than hee did in the beginninge to lye with his Widow. After that longe and tedious night, day approched, and the dawning thereof began to appeare: wherefore the mayde instructed by hir mistresse, went downe into the court, and seemyng to haue pity uppon the Scholler, sayd vnto hym: “The Diuell take hym that euer he came hyther this nyghte, for hee hath bothe let vs of sleepe, and hath made you to be frozen for colde, but take it paciently for this tyme, some other Nyght must be appointed. For I know well that neuer thyng coulde chaunce more displeasantly to my Mistresse than this.” But the Scholler full of dysdayne, lyke a wyse man which knew well that threats and menacyng words, were weapons without hands to the threatned, retayned in hys Stomacke that whych intemporate wyll would haue broken forth, and wyth so quiet Woordes as hee coulde, not shewynge hymselfe to bee angry, sayd: “In deede I haue suffred the worste Nyghte that euer I dyd, but I knowe the same was not throughe your mistresse fault, bicause shee hauing pitye vppon me, and as you say, that which cannot be to Night, may be done another time, commend me then vnto hir, and farewell.” And thus the poore Scholler stiffe for colde, so well as hee coulde, retourned home to his house, where for the extremitye of the tyme and lacke of sleepe beyng almost deade, he threwe hymselfe vppon his bed, and when he awaked, his Armes and Legges had no feeling. Wherefore he sent for Physitions and tolde them of the colde he had taken, who incontinently prouided for his health: and yet for al their best and spedy remedies, they could scarce recouer his Iointes and Sinewes, wherein they did what they could: and had it not bene that he was yong, and the Sommer approching, it had ben to mutch for him to haue endured. But after he was come to Healthe, and grewe to be lusty, secrete Malyce still resting in his breaste, hee thought vpon reuenge. And it chaunced in a lytle tyme after, that Fortune prepared a new accident to the 337scholer to satisfy his desire, bycause the young man which was beloued of the Gentlewoman, not caring any longer for hir, fel in loue with an other, and gaue ouer the solace and pleasure he was wont to doe to mistresse Helena, for which despite she consumed herself in wepings and lamentations. But hir maid hauing pity vpon hir mistresse sorrowes, knowing no meanes to remoue the melancoly which she conceiued for the losse of hir friend, and seing the scholler daily passe by accordinge to his common Custome, conceiued a foolishe beliefe that hir mistresse friend might be brought to loue hir agayne, and wholly recouered, by some charme or other sleight of Necromancy, to bee wrought and brought to passe by the Scholler. Which deuise she tolde vnto hir mistresse, and she vndiscretely (and without due consideration that if the scholler had any knowledge in that science, he would helpe himselfe) gaue credite to the words of hir mayde, and by and by sayd vnto hir, that shee was able to bring it to passe, if he would take it in hande, and therewithall promised assuredly, that for recompense he should vse hir at his pleasure. The mayde diligently tolde the Scholler hereof, who very ioyfull for those newes, sayd vnto himselfe: “O God, praysed be thy name, for now the time is come, that by thy helpe I shall requite the iniuries done vnto me by this wicked Woman, and be recompensed of the great loue that I bare vnto hir:” And aunswered the mayd: “Go tell thy mistresse that for this matter she neede to take no care, for if hir frend were in India, I can presently force him to come hither, and aske hir forgiuenesse of the fault he hath committed agaynst hir. And the maner, and way how to vse hir selfe in this behalfe, I will gieue hir to vnderstand when it shal please hir to appoinct me: and fayle not to tell hir what I say, comforting hir in my behalfe.” The mayde caried the aunswere, and it was concluded, that they should talke more hereof at the Church of S. Lucie, whither being come, and reasoning together alone, not remembring that she had brought the Scholler almost to the poynct of death, she reueyled vnto him all the whole matter, and the thing which he desired, praying him instantly to helpe hir, to whome the scholler sayd: “True it is lady, that amongs other things which I learned at Paris, the arte of Necromancie, (whereof 338I haue very great skill,) is one: But bycause it is mutch displeasaunt to God, I haue made an othe neuer to vse it, eyther for my selfe, or for any other: howbeit the loue which I beare you, is of sutch force, as I cannot deny you any request, yea and if I should be damned amongs all the deuils in hell, I am ready to performe your pleasure. But I tell you before, that it is a harder matter to be done, than paraduenture you belieue, and specially where a Woman shall prouoke a Man to loue, or a Man the Woman, bycause it can not be done by the propre Person, whome it doth touche, and therefore it is meete, whatsoeuer is done, in any wyse not to be affrayde, for that the coniuration must bee made in the Nyght, and in a solytarie place wythout Companye: which thing I know not how you shal bee disposed to doe.” To whom the Woman more amorous than wise, aunswered: “Loue prycketh mee in sutch wise, as there is nothyng but I dare attempt, to haue him againe, that causelesse hath forsaken me. But tel me I beseech you wherein it behoueth that I be so bold and hardy.” The Scholer (subtil inough) said: “I muste of necessity make an image of brasse, in the name of him that you desire to haue, which being sent vnto you you must, when the Mone is at hir ful, bath your self stark naked in a running riuer at the first houre of sleepe vii. times with the same image: and afterwards beyng stil naked, you must go vp into some tree or house vnhabited, and turning your selfe towardes the North side thereof wyth the image in your hand you shal say vii. times certain words, that I wil giue you in writing, which when you haue done, two damsels shal come vnto you, the fairest that euer you saw, and they shall salute you, humbly demaundyng what your pleasure is to commaund them: to whome you shal willingly declare in good order what you desire: and take hede aboue al things, that you name not one for an other: and when they begonne, you may descend downe to the place where you left your Apparel, and array your selfe agayne, and afterwardes retourne home vnto your house, and assure your self, that before the mid of the nexte Nyghte folowing, your Fryend shall come vnto you weepyng, and crying Mercye and forgyuenesse at youre Handes. And know yee, that from that tyme forth, he wil neuer forsake you for any other.” The gentlewoman hearing those 339words, gaue great credyte thervnto: and thought that already she helde hir fryend betweene hir Armes, and very ioyfull sayd: “Doubt not sir, but I wyll accomplysh al that you haue inioyned me: and I haue the meetest place in the World to doe it: for vppon the valley of Arno, very neare the Ryuer syde I haue a Manor house, secretly to woorke any attempt that I list: and now it is the moneth of Iuly, in which tyme bathing is most pleasaunt. And also I remembre that not far from the Ryuer, there is a lyttle Toure vnhabited, into which one can scarce get vp, but by a certain Ladder made of chesnut tree, which is already there, whereuppon the shephierds do sometime ascende to the turrasse of the same Toure, to looke for their cattell when they be gone astray: and the place is very solitarie out of the way. Into that Toure wyll I goe vp, and trust to execute what you haue requyred me.” The Scholler which knew very well both the village whereof she spake, and also the Toure, right glad for that he was assured of his purpose, sayde: “Madame, I was neuer there, ne yet do knowe the village, nor the Toure, but if it bee as you saye, it is not possible to finde anye better place in the Worlde: wherefore when the tyme is come, I wyll send you the Image, and the prayer. But I heartily beseech you, when you haue obtained your desire, and do perceyue that I haue well serued your turne, to haue me in remembraunce, and to keepe your promyse.” Which the Gentlewoman assured hym to doe withoute fayle, and taking hir leaue of him, she retired home to hir house. The Scholer ioyfull for that his deuise should in deede come to passe, caused an image to be made with certaine Characters, and wrote a tale of a Tubbe in stede of the prayer. And when hee sawe tyme he sent them to the Gentlewoman, aduertising hir that the Nyght folowyng, she must doe the thing he had appoynted hir. Then to procede in his enterprise, he and his man went secretly to one of his fryends houses that dwelte harde by the towne. The Woman on the other side, and hir Mayde repaired to hir place: where when it was nyght, makyng as though she would go slepe, she sent hir Mayde to Bed: afterwards about ten of the Clocke she conueyed hirself very softly out of hir lodgyng, and repayred neare to the Towne vpon the riuer of Arno, and lookyng aboute hir, not seeing or perceiuing 340any man, she vnclothed hir selfe, and hidde hir apparell vnder a bush of Thornes, and then bathed hir selfe vii.tymes with the Image, and afterwardes starke naked, holding the same in her hand, she went towardes the Toure. The Scholler at the beginning of the Nyghte beying hydden wyth hys seruaunt amongs the willowes and other trees neere the Toure, saw all the aforesayde thinges, and hir also passing naked by him, (the whitenesse of whose body surpassed as he thought, the darknesse of the night, so farre as blacke exceedeth white) who afterwardes behelde hir Stomack, and the other partes of hir body, which seemed unto him to be very delectable. And remembringe what would shortly come to passe, he had some pitty vppon hir, on the other side, the temptation of the Flesh sodaynely assayled hym, prouoking him to issue forth of the secret corner, to Surprise hir, and to take his pleasure vpon hir. But calling to hys rememberaunce what shee was, and what great wrong hee had sustayned, his mallice began to kindle agayne, and did remoue his pitty, and lust, continuing still stedfast in his determination, suffring her to passe hir Iorney. The Wydow being vppon the Toure, and turning hir face towards the North, began to say the wordes which the Scholler had giuen hir. Within a while after the Scholler entred in very softly, and tooke away the ladder whereupon she got vp, and stoode still to heare what she did say and doe. Who hauing vii.times recited hir prayer, attended the comming of the two damsels: for whom she wayted so long in vayne, and therewithall began to be extreemely colde, and perceyued the dawning of the day appeare. Wherefore taking great displeasure that it came not to passe as the Scholler had tolde hir, she spake theese wordes to hir selfe: “I doubt mutch least this Scholler will rewarde mee with sutch another night, as wherein once I made him to wayte: but if he haue done it for that respect, he is not well reuenged, for the nights now want the third part of the length of those, then, besides the colde that he indured, which was of greater extremity.” And that the day might not discouer hir, she woulde haue gone downe from the Toure, but she found the Ladder to be taken away. Then as thou the Worlde had molten vnder hir Feete, hir heart began to fayle, and Fayntinge, fell downe vppon the tarrasse of the toure, 341and when hir force reuiued agayne, she began pitifully to weepe and complayne. And knowing well that the Scholler had done that deede for reuenge, she grew to be angry wyth hir selfe, for that shee hadde Offended another, and to mutch trusted hym whom she ought (by good reason) to haue accoumpted hir enimy. And after she had remayned a great while in this plight, then looking if there were any way for hir to goe downe, and perceyuinge none, she renued hir weeping, whose minde great care and sorrow did pierce saying thus to hir selfe: “O vnhappy wretch, what will thy brethren say, thy Parents, thy Neyghbors, and generally all they of Florence, when they shall vnderstande that thou hast bene found heere naked? Thy honesty which hitherto hath bene neuer stayned, shall now bee blotted with the stayne of shame, yea, and if thou were able to finde (for reamedy hereof) any matter of excuse (sutch as might be founde) the wicked Scholler (who knoweth all thy doings) will not suffer thee to ly: ah miserable wretch, that in one houre’s space, thou hast lost both thy freende and thyne honour. What shall become of thee? Who is able to couer thy shame?” When she had thus complayned hirselfe, hir sorrowe was not so great as shee was like to cast hirselfe headlong downe from the Toure: but the Sunne being already risen, she approched neare one of the corners of the Walle, espying if she coulde see any Boy keeping of cattell, that she might send him for hir Mayde. And it chaunced that the Scholler which lay and slept in couert, awaked, one espying the other, the Scholler saluted hir thus: “Good morow, Lady, be the Damsels yet come?” The Woman seeing, and hearing him, began agayne bitterly to weepe, and prayed him to come vp to the Toure, that she might speake with him. The Scholler was thereunto very agreable, and she lying on hir belly vpon the terrasse of the Touer, discouering nothing but hir head ouer the side of the same, sayd vnto him weeping: “Rinieri, truly, if euer I caused thee to endure an ill Night, thou art now well reuenged on me; for although it be the moneth of Iuly, I thought (because I was naked) that I should haue frosen to death this night for cold, besides my great, and continuall Teares for the offence which I haue done thee, and of my Folly for beleeuing thee, 342that maruell it is mine eyes do remayne within my head: And therefore I pray thee, not for the loue of me, whom thou oughtest not to loue, but for thine owne sake which art a gentleman, that the shame and payne which I haue sustayned, may satisfy the offence and wrong I haue committed agaynst thee: and cause mine apparell I beseech thee to be brought vnto me, that I may goe downe from hence, and doe not robbe mee of that, which afterwardes thou art not able to restore, which is, myne honor: for if I haue deceyued thee of one night, I can at all times when it shall please thee, render vnto thee for that one, many. Let it suffice thee then with this, and like an honest man content thy selfe by being a little reuenged on me, by making me to know now what it is to hurt another. Do not, I pray thee, practise thy power against a woman: for the Egle hath no fame for conquering of the Doue. Then for the loue of God, and for thine honor sake, haue pitty and remorse vpon me.” The Scholler with a cruel heart remembring the iniury that he hath receyued, and seeing hir so to weepe and pray, conceyued at one instant both pleasure and griefe in his minde: pleasure of the reuenge which he aboue all things desired, and griefe mooued his manhoode to haue compassion vpon the myserable woman. Notwithstanding, pitty not able to ouercome the fury of his reuenge, he aunswered: “Mistresse Helena, if my praiers (which in dede I could not moysten with teares, ne yet sweeten them with sugred woordes, as you doe yours nowe) might haue obtained that night wherein I thought I should haue died for colde in the Court full of snowe, to haue bene conueyed by you into some couert place, an easie matter it had beene for mee at this instant to heare your suite. But if now more than in times past your honor do waxe warme, and that it greeueth you to stand starke naked, make your prayers to him, betweene whose Armes you ware not offended to be naked that night, wherein you hearde me trot vp and downe your Courte, my Teeth chattering for cold and marching vpon the Snow: And at his handes seeke releefe, and pray him to bring your Clothes, and fetch a Ladder that you may come downe: Force your selfe to set your honor’s care on him for whom both then, and now besides many other times, you haue not feared to put the same in perill, 343Why doe you not cal for him to come and help you? And to whom doth your help better appertayne than vnto him? You are his owne, and what things will he not prouyde in this distresse of yours? Or else what person will hee seeke to succour, if not to helpe and succour you? Call him (O foolish woman) and proue if the loue which thou bearest him, and thy wit together with his, be able to deliuer thee from my Folly, where (when both you were togethers) you tooke your Pleasure. And now thou haste Experience wheather my Folly or the Loue which thou diddest beare vnto him, is greatest. And be not now so Lyberall, and Curteous of that which I go not about to seeke: reserue thy good Nights to thy beloued freende, if thou chaunce to escape from hence aliue: for from my selfe I cleerely discharge you both. And truly I haue had to mutch of one: and sufficient it is for mee to bee mocked once. Moreouer by thy crafty talke vttered by subtill speache, and by thyne vntimely prayse, thou thinkest to force the getting of my good will, and thou callest me Gentleman, valiaunt man, thinkinge thereby to withdrawe my valyaunte minde from punishing of thy wretched body: but thy flatteries shall not yet bleare mine vnderstanding eyes, as once wyth thy vnfathyfull promises thou diddest beguile my ouerweeninge wit. I now to well do know, and thereof thee well assure, that all the time I was a Scholler in Paris, I neuer learned so mutch as thou in one night diddest teach mee. But put the Case that I were a valiaunt man, yet thou art none of them vpon whom valiaunce ought to shewe his effects: and for the end of sutch tormenting and passing cruell beasts, as thou art, only death is fittest rewarde: for if a Woman made but halfe these playnts, there is no man, but woulde asswage his reuenge. But yet as I am no Eagle, and thou no Doue, but a most venomous Serpent, I intend so well as I can to persecute thee mine auncient enimy, wyth the greatest mallice I can deuise, which I cannot so properly cal reuenge, as I may terme it Correction: for that the reuenge of a matter ought to surmount the Offence, and I will bestow no reuenge on thee: for if I were disposed to apply my mynde therevnto, for respect of thy displeasure done to me, thy Lyfe should not suffise, nor one hundred more like vnto thine: which if I tooke away, I should but rid the Worlde of a most vile, 344and wicked woman. And to say the truth, what other art thou then a Deuill accept a little beauty in thy Face, which within few yeares will vanishe and consume: for thou tookest no care to kill, and destroy an honest man (as thou euen now diddest terme me) whose Life, may in tyme to come bee more profitable to the Worlde, than an hundred thousand sutch as thyne, so long as the World indureth. I wil teach thee then by the paine thou suffrest, what is it to mock sutch Men as bee of skyll, and what maner of thyng it is to delude and Scorne poore schollers, gyuing thee warning hereby, that thou never fall into sutch folly, if thou escapest this. But if thou haue so great a will to come downe as thou sayest thou hast, why doest thou not throwe downe thy selfe headlonge, that by breaking of thy Necke (if it please God) at one instante thou rid thy selfe of the payne, wherein thou sayest thou art, and make mee the best contented man of the Worlde. For this tyme I will say no more to thee, but that I haue done inough to make thee clime so high. Learne then now so wel how thou maist get down, as thou didst know how to mock and deceyue me.” While the Scholler had preached vnto hir these words, the wretched woman wepte continually, and the time stil did passe away, the Sunne increasing more and more: but when the Scholler held his peace, she replyed: “O cruell man, if that curssed nyght was grieuous vnto thee, and my fault appeared great, cannot my youth and Beauty, my Teares and humble Prayers bee able to mitigate thy wrath and to moue thee to pitty: do at least that thou mayst be moued and thy cruell minde appeased for that onely act, let me once again be trusted of thee, and sith I haue manifested al my desire, pardon me for this tyme, sith thou hast sufficiently made me feele the penance of my sinne. For, if I had not reposed my trust in thee, thou hadst not now reuenged thy self on me, which with desire most spytefull thou doest full well declare. Gyue ouer then thine anger, and pardon me henceforth: for I am determined if thou wilt forgeue mee, and cause me to come downe out of this place, to forsake for ever that vnfaithfull Louer, and to receive thee for my only friend and Lord. Moreouer where thou greatly blamest my beauty, esteeming it to be short, and of smal accompt, sutch as it is, and the like of other women I know, not 345be regarded for other cause but for pastime and plesure of youthly Men, and therefore not to be contemned: and thou thy self truly art not very old; and albeit that cruelly I am intreated of thee, yet can I not beleue that thou wouldest haue me so miserably to die, as to cast my selfe down headlong, like one desperate, before thine eyes, whome (except thou were a lier as thou seemest to be now) in time past I did wel please and like. Haue pitye then upon me, for God’s sake, for the Sunne begins to grow exceding hot, and as the extreame and bitter cold did hurt me the last Night euen so the heat beginneth to molest me.” Whereunto the Scholler which kept hir there for the nonce, and for his pleasure, answered: “Mistresse you did not now commit your faith to me for any loue you bare, but to get that again which you had lost, wherfore that deserueth no good turne, but greater pain: and fondlye thou thinkest this to be the onely meanes, whereby I am able to take desired reuenge. For I haue a thousand other wayes and a thousand Trappes haue I layed to tangle thy feete, in makynge thee beleue that I dyd loue thee: in sutch wyse as thou shouldest haue gone no where at any tyme, is thys had not chanced but thou shouldest haue fallen into one of them: and surely thou couldest haue falne into none of them, but would haue bred thee more anoyaunce and shame than this (which I chose not for thyne ease, but for my greater pleasure.) And besides if all these meanes had fayled me, the pen should not, wherewyth I would haue displayed thee in sutch Colours, as when the simple brute thereof hadde come to thyne eares, thou wouldest haue desired a thousand times a Day, that thou hadst neuer bene born. For the forces of the pen be farre more vehement, than they can esteeme that haue not proued them by experience. I swear vnto thee by God, that I doe reioyse, and so wil to the ende, for this reuenge I take of thee, and so haue I done from the beginning: but if I had with pen painted thy maners to the Worlde, thou shouldest not haue ben so mutch ashamed of other, as of thy selfe, that rather than thou wouldest haue loked mee in the Face agayne, thou wouldest haue plucked thyne Eyes oute of thy head: and therefore reproue no more the Sea, for beeing increased wyth a lyttle Brooke. For thy loue, or for that thou wilt be mine own, I 346 care not, as I haue already told thee, and loue him again if thou canst, so mutch as thou wilt, to whome for the hatred that I haue borne, I presently bear so mutch good wyll agayne, and for the pleasure that he hath don thee now. You be amorous and couet the loue of young men, bicause you see theyr Colour somewhat fresh, their beard more black, their bodies well shaped to daunce and runne at Tylt and Ryng, but al these qualities haue they had, that be growne to elder yeares, and they by good experience know what other are yet to learn. Moreouer you deeme them the better horssemen, bicause they can iourney more myles a day than those that be of farther yeares. Truely I confesse, that with great paynes they please sutch Venerial Gentlewomen as you be, who doe not perceyue (like sauage Beastes) what heapes of euill doe lurke vnder the forme of fayre apparance. Younge men be not content with one Louer, but so many as they behold, they do desire, and of so many they think themselues worthy: wherefore their loue cannot be stable. And that this is true, thou mayest now be thine owne wytnesse. And yong men thynkyng themselues worthy to be honoured and cherished of theyr Ladies, haue none other glory but to vaunt themselues of those whome they have enioyed: whych fault maketh many to yeld themselues to those that be discrete and wise, and to sutch as be no blabbes or Teltales. And where thou sayest that thy loue is knowne to none, but to thy mayde and me, thou art deceiued, if thou beleue the same, for al the inhabitants of the streete wherein thy Louer dwelleth, and the streete also wherein thy house doth stand, talke of nothynge more than of your Loue. But many times in sutch cases, the party whome sutch Brute doth touch, is the last that knoweth it. Moreouer, young men do robbe thee, where they of elder yeares do gyue thee. Thou then (which hast made sutch choyse), remayne to him whome thou hast chosen, and me (whom thou floutest) gyue leaue to apply to an other: for I haue found a Woman to bee my fryend, which is of an other discretion than thou art, and knoweth me better than thou dost. And that thou mayst in an other world be more certaine of myne Eyes desire, than thou hitherto art, throwe thy selfe downe so soone as thou canst, that thy soule already (as I suppose) receiued betwene the armes of the diuel hym selfe may 347se if mine eyes be troubled or not, to view thee breake thy Necke. But bicause I think thou wilt not do me that good turne, I say if the Sunne begin to warme thee, remember the cold thou madest me suffer, which if thou canst mingle with that heat, no doubt thou shalt feele the same more temperate.” The comfortlesse Woman seeing that the Scholler’s words tended but to cruell end, began to weepe and said: “Now then sith nothing can moue thee to take pity for my sake, at lest wise for the loue of hir, whom thou saiest to be of better discretion than I, take some compassion: for hir sake (I say) whom thou callest thy friend, pardon mee and bryng hither my clothes that I may put them on, and cause me if it please thee to come down from hence.” Then the Scholler began to laugh, and seing that it was a good while past iii. of the clocke, he answered: “Well go to, for that woman’s sake I cannot wel say nay, or refuse thy request, tel me where thy garments be, and I wyll go seke them, and cause thee to come downe.” She beleuing hym, was some what comforted, and told hym the place where she had bestowed them. And the Scholler going out of the Toure, commaunded his seruaunt to tarry there, and to take heede that none went in vntil he came againe. Then he departed to one of hys friends houses, where he wel refreshed himselfe, and afterwards when he thought time, he layd him downe to slepe. Al that space mistresse Helena whych was styll vpon the Toure, and recomforted with a lyttle foolish hope, sorrowful beyonde measure, began to sit downe, seeking some shadowed place to bestow hir selfe, and with bitter thoughts and heauy cheare in good deuotion, wayted for his comming, now musing, now wepyng, then hopyng, and sodaynely dispayring the Scholler’s retourne wyth hir Clothes: and chaunging from one thought to another, like one that was weary of trauel, and had taken no rest al the Nyght, she fel into a litle slumbre. But the Sun whych was passing hote, being aboute noone, glaunced his burning beames vpon hir tender body and bare head, with sutch force, as not only it singed the flesh in sight, but also did chip and parch the same with sutch rosting heat, as she which soundly slepte, was constrayned to wake: and feling that raging warmth, desirous somewhat to remoue hir self, she thought in turning that all hir tosted flesh had 348opened and broken, like vnto a skyn of parchement holden against the fire: besides with payne extreame, hir head began to ake, with sutch vehemence, as it seemed to be knocked in pieces: and no maruel, for the pament of the Toure was so passing hotte, as neither vpon hir feete, or by other remedy, shee could find place of rest. Wherefore without power to abide in one place, she stil remoued to and fro wepying bitterly. And moreouer, for that no Wynd did blow, the Toure was haunted wyth sutch a swarme of Flies, and Gnats, as they lighting vppon hir parched flesh, did so cruelly byte and stinge hir, that euery of them seemed worsse than the prycke of a Nedle, which made hir to bestirre hir hands, incessantly to beate them off cursing still hir selfe, hir Lyfe, hir friend and Scholler. And being thus and with sutch pain bitten and afflicted with the vehement heat of the Sun, with the Flies and gnats, hungry, and mutch more thyrsty, assailed with a thousand grieuous thoughts, she arose vp, and began to loke about hir if she could heare or see any person, purposing whatsoeuer came of it to call for helpe. But hir ill fortune had taken way al this hoped meanes of hir reliefe: for the Husbandmen and other Laborers were al gone out of the fields to shrowd themselues from the heate of the day, sparing their trauail abrode, to thresh their corn and doe other things at home, by reason whereof she neither saw nor hearde any thing, except Butterflies, humble bees, crickets, and the riuer of Arno, which making hir lust to drink of the water quenched hir thirst nothing at al, but rather did augment the same. She sawe besides in many places, woodes, shadows and houses, which lykewyse did breede hir double grief, for desire she had vnto the same. But what shal we speak any more of this vnhappy woman? The Sunne aboue, and the hot Toure paiment below, wyth the bitings of the flies and gnats, had on euery part so dressed hir tender corps, that where before the whitenesse of hir body did passe the darkenesse of the Night, the same was become red, al arayed and spotted wyth gore bloud, that to the beholder and viewer of hir state, she seemed the most yll sauored thyng of the Worlde: and remayning in thys plyght without hope or councel, she loked rather for death than other comfort. The Scholler after the Clocke had rounded three in the afternoon, awaked, and remembring 349his lady, went to the Toure to see what was become of hir, and sent his man to dinner, that had eaten nothing all that day. The Gentlewoman hearing the Scholler, repayred so feeble and tormented as shee was, vnto the trap doore, and sitting vppon the same, pityfully weeping began to say: “Rinieri, thou art beyonde measure reuenged on me, for if I made thee freese all night in mine open Court, thou haste tosted me to day vppon this Toure, nay rather burnt with heate, consumed me: and besides that, to dye and sterue for hunger, and thirst. Wherefore I pray thee for God’s sake to come vp, and sith my heart is faynt to kill my selfe, I pray thee heartely speedily to do it. For aboue all things I desire to dy, so great and bitter is the torment which I endure. And if thou wilt not shewe me that fauor, yet cause a glasse of Water to be brought vnto me, that I may moysten my mouth, sith my teares bee not able to coole the same, so great is the drouth and heate I haue within.” Wel knew the Scholler by hir voyce, hir weake estate, and sawe besides the most part of hir body all tosted with the Sunne: by the viewe whereof, and humble sute of hir, he conceiued a little pitty. Notwythstanding he aunsweared hir in this wise: “Wicked woman thou shalt not dye with my hands, but of thine owne, if thou desire the same, and so mutch water shalt thou haue of me for coolinge of thine heate, as dampned Diues had in hell at Lazarus handes, when he lifted up his cry to Abraham, holdinge that saued wighte within his blessed bosome, or as I had fire of thee for easing of my colde. The greater is my griefe that the vehemence of my colde must be cured with the heate of sutch a stincking carion beast, and thy heate healed with the coldnesse of most Soote and sauerous Water distilled from the orient Rose. And where I was in daunger to loose my Limmes, and life, thou wilt renew thy Beauty like the Serpent that casteth his Skin once a yeare.” “Oh myserable wretch” (sayd the woman) “God gieue him sutch Beauty gotten in this sorte, that wisheth me sutch euill. But (thou more cruell than any other beast) what heart haste thou, thus like a Tyraunte to deale with me? What more grieuous payne coulde I endure of thee, or of any other, than I do, if I had killed, and done to death thy parents or whole race of thy stocke and kin with most cruel torments? 350Truely I know not what greater tyranny coulde be vsed agaynst a Trayter that had sacced or put a whole Citty to the sword, than that thou haste done to me, to make my flesh to bee the foode and rost meate of the Sunne, and the baite for licorous flies, not vouchsafing to reach hither a simple glasse of Water whych would haue bene graunted to the condempned Theefe, and Manqueller, when they be haled forth to hanging, yea wine most commonly, if they aske the same. Now for that I see thee still remayne in obstinate mind, and that my passion can nothinge mooue thee, I wyll prepare paciently to receiue my death, that God may haue mercy on my soule, whom I humbly beseech with his righteous eyes to beholde that cruell act of thyne.” And with those woords, she approched with payne to the middle of the terrasse, despayring to escape that burning heate, and not onely once, but a thousande times, (besides hir other sorowes) she thought to sowne for thirst, and bitterly wept without ceasing, complayning hir mishap. But being almost night, the Scholler thought hee had done inough, wherefore he tooke hir clothes, and wrapping the same within his seruaunt’s cloke, he went home to the Gentlewoman’s house where he founde before the gate, hir mayde sitting al sad and heauy, of whom he asked where hir mistresse was. “Syr,” (sayd she) “I cannot tell, I thought this morning to finde hir a Bed, where I left hir yester night, but I cannot finde hir there, nor in any other place, ne yet can tell wheather to goe seeke hir, which maketh my hearte to throb some misfortune chaunced vnto hir. But (sir quod she) cannot you tell where she is?” The Scholler aunswered: “I would thou haddest bene with hir in the place where I left hir, that I might haue bene reuenged on thee so well, as I am of hir. But beleue assuredly, that thou shalt not escape my handes vntill I pay thee thy desert, to the intent hereafter in mocking other, thou mayst haue cause to remember me.” When hee had sayde so, hee willed his man to gieue the mayde hir Mistresse Clothes, and then did bidde hir seeke hir out if shee would. The Seruaunte did his Mayster’s commaundment, and the Mayde hauinge receyued them, knewe them by and by, and markinge well the scholler’s wordes, she doubted least hee had slayne hir Mistresse, and mutch adoe she had to refrayne from crying out. And the Scholler being gone, 351she tooke hir Mistresse Garments, and ran vnto the Toure. That day by hap, one of the Gentlewoman’s labouring Men had two of his hogges runne a stray, and as he went to seeke them (a little while after the Scholler’s departure) he approched neare the Toure looking round about if he might see them. In the busie searche of whom hee heard the miserable playnt that the vnhappy Woman made, wherefore so loude as he coulde, be cried out: “Who weepeth there aboue?” The Woman knew the voice of hir man, and calling him by his name, shee sayde vnto him: “Goe home I pray thee to call my mayde and cause her to come vp hither vnto me.” The fellow knowing his mistresse voice sayd vnto hir: “What Dame, who hath borne you vp so hygh? Your mayde hath sought you al this day, and who would haue thought to finde you there?” He then taking the staues of the Ladder, did set it vp against the Toure as it ought to be, and bounde the steppes that were wanting, with fastenings of Wyllowe twigges, and sutch like pliant stuffe as he could finde. And at that instant the mayde came thither, who so soone as she was entred the Toure, not able to forbeare hir voyce, beating hir hands, shee began to crye: “Alas sweete Mistresse where be you?” She hearing the voyce of hir Mayde aunswered so well as shee could: “Ah (sweete Wench) I am heere aboue, cry no more, but bring me hither my clothes.” When the mayde heard hir speake, by and by for ioy, in haste she mounted vp the Ladder, which the Labourer had made ready, and with his helpe gat vp to the Terrasse of the Toure, and seeing hir Mystresse resembling not a humayne body but rather a wodden Faggot halfe consumed with fire, all weary and whithered, lying a long starke naked vppon the Grounde, she began with hir Nayles to wreke the griefe vpon hir Face, and wept ouer hir with sutch vehemency as if she had beene deade. But hir Dame prayed hir for God’s sake to holde hir peace, and to help hir to make hir ready: and vnderstanding by hir, that no man knewe where she was become, except they which caried home hir clothes, and the Labourer that was present there, shee was somewhat recomforted, and prayed them for God’s sake to say nothing of that chaunce to any person. The Laborer after mutch talke, and request to his Mistresse, to be of good cheere, when shee was rysen vp, caried 352hir downe vpon his Necke, for that she was not able to goe so farre, as out of the Toure. The poore Mayde which came behinde, in goinge downe the Ladder without takinge heede, hir foote fayled, and fallinge downe to the Grounde, shee brake hir Thigh, for griefe whereof she roared, and cryed out lyke a Lyon. Wherefore the Labourer hauing placed his Dame vpon a greene banke, went to see what hurt the Mayde had taken, and perceyued that she had broken hir Thigh, he caried hir likewise vnto that banke, and placed hir besides hir mistresse, who seeing one mischiefe vppon another to chaunce, and that she of whom she hoped for greater help, than of any other, had broken hir Thigh, sorrowfull beyonde measure, renewed hir cry so miserably, as not onely the Labourer was not able to comforte hir, but he himself began to weepe for company. The Sunne hauinge trauayled into hys Westerne course, and taking his farewell by settling himselfe to rest, was at the poynct of goinge downe. And the poore desolate woman vnwilling to be benighted, went home to the Labourer’s house, where taking two of his Brothers, and his Wyfe, returned to fetch the Mayde, and caried hir home in a Chayre. Then cheering vp hys Dame with a little fresh water, and many fayre Wordes, he caried hir vpon his Necke into a Chaumber, afterwardes his Wyfe made hir warm Drinks and Meates, and putting of hir clothes, layd hir in hir Bed, and tooke order that the mistresse and maide that night were caried to Florence, where the Mistresse ful of lies, deuised a Tale all out of order of that which chaunced to hir, and hir Mayde, making hir Brethren, hir Sisters, and other hir neighbours beleeue, that by flush of lightning, and euill Sprites, hir face and body were Blistered, and the Mayde stroken vnder the Arse bone with a Thunderbolt. Then Physitians were sent for, who not without greate griefe, and payne to the Woman (which many tymes left hir Skin sticking to the Sheets) cured hir cruell Feuer, and other hir diseases, and lykewise the mayde of hir Thigh: which caused the Gentlewoman to forget hir Louer, and from that time forth wisely did beware and take heede whom she did mocke, and where she did bestow hir loue. And the Scholler knowing that the Mayde had broken hir Thigh, thought himselfe sufficiently reuenged, ioyfully passing by them both many times in silence. 353Beholde the reward of a foolish wanton widow for hir Mockes and Flouts, thinking that no greate care or more prouident heede ought to be taken in iesting with a Scholler, than with any other common person, nor well remembring how they doe know (not all, I say, but the greatest parte) where the Diuell holdeth his Tayle: and therefore take heede good Wyues, and Wydowes, how you giue your selues to mockes and daliaunce, specially of Schollers. But nowe turne we to another Wyddow that was no amorous Dame but a sober Matrone, a motherly Gentlewoman, that by pitty, and Money Redeemed, and Raunsomed a King’s Sonne out of myserable Captiuity, that was vtterly abandoned of all his Friendes. The manner and meanes how the Nouell ensuing shall shewe.

354

THE THIRTY-SECOND NOUELL.

A Gentlewoman and Wydow called Camiola of hir owne minde Raunsomed Roland the Kyng’s Sonne of Sicilia, of purpose to haue him to hir Husband, who when he was redeemed unkindly denied hir, agaynst whom very Eloquently she Inueyed, and although the Law proued him to be hir Husband, yet for his vnkindnes, shee vtterly refused him.

Bvsa a Gentlewoman of Apulia, maynetayned ten Thousande Romayne souldiers within the walles of Cannas, that were the remnaunte of the army after the ouerthrow there: and yet hir State of Rychesse was saulfe and nothynge dimynished, and left therby a worthy Testimony of Lyberality as Valerius Maximus affirmeth. If this worthy woman Busa for Liberality is commended by auncient Authors: if she deserue a Monument amongs famous Wryters for that splendent vertue which so brightly blasoneth the Heroicall natures of Noble dames, then may I bee so bolde amonges these Nouels to bring in (as it were by the hand) a Wyddow of Messina, that was a Gentlewoman borne, adorned with passing beauty and vertues. Amongs the rancke of which hir comely Qualities, the vertue of Liberality glistered lyke the morninge Starre after the Night hath cast of his darke and Cloudy Mantell. This Gentlewoman remayning in Wyddowes state, and hearing tell that one of the Sonnes of Federicke, and Brother to Peter that was then King of the sayd Ilande called Rolande, was caried Prysoner to Naples, and there kept in miserable Captiuity, and not like to bee redeemed by his Brother for a displeasure conceyued, nor by any other, pittying the state of the young Gentleman, and mooued by hir gentle, and couragious disposition, and specially with the vertue of liberality, raunsomed the sayd Rolande, and craued no other interest or vsury for the same, but him to husband, that ought upon his knees to haue made sute to be hir slaue and seruaunte for respect of his miserable state of Imprisonment. An affiaunce betweene them was concluded, and he redeemed, and when hee was returned, hee falsed his former fayth, and cared not for hir: 355for which vnkinde part, she before his Frends inueyeth agaynst that ingratitude, and vtterly forsaketh him, when (sore ashamed) he would very fayne haue recouered hir good wil. But she like a wise gentlewoman well waying his inconstant mynde before mariage, lusted not to taste or put in proofe the fruicts and successe thereof. The intire Discourse of whom you shall briefly and presently vnderstand.  Camiola a widow of the City of Siena, the Daughter of a gentle Knight called Signor Lorenzo Toringo, was a Woman of great renoume and fame for hir beauty liberality and shamefastnesse, and led a life in Massina, (an auncient Citty of Sicile) no lesse commendable than famous, in the company of hir parentes, contenting hirself wyth one only Husbande, while she liued, which was in the tyme when Federick the thirde was Kyng of that Isle: And after their death she was an heyre of very great wealth and ritchesse, which were alwayes by hir conserued and kept in maruellous honest sort. Nowe it chaunced that after the death of Federick, Peter succeedinge by his Commaundement, a great Army by Sea was equipped from Messina, vnder the conduct of Iohn Countee of Chiaramonte, (the most Renoumed in those dayes in Feats of Warre,) for to ayde the people of Lippary, which were so strongly and earnestly besieged, as they were almost all dead and consumed for hunger. In this Army, ouer and besides those that were in pay, many Barons and Gentlemen willingly went vpon their own proper costes, and charges, as well by Sea as Lande, onely for fame, and to be renoumed in armes. This Castell of Lippari was assaulted by Godefrey of Squilatio a valiaunt Man, and at that time Admiral to Robert Kyng of Ierusalem and Sicile: Which Godefrey by long siege and assault, had so famished the people within, as dayly he hoped they would surrender. But hauing aduertisement (by certayne Brigandens which he had sent abroade to scour the Seas) that the Enimies Army (which was farre greater than his) was at hand, after that he had assembled all his Nauy togeather in one sure place, he expected the euent of Fortune. The Enimies so soone as they were seased and possessed of the place, without any resistaunce of the places abandoned by Godefrey, caried into the Citty at their pleasure all their victualles.  which they brought wyth them, for which good happe and 356chaunce the sayde Countee Iohn being very mutch encouraged and puffed vp wyth pryde, offred Battell to Godefrey. Wherefore he not refusing the same, being a man of great corage, in the Night time fortified his Army with Boordes, Timber, and other Rampiers, and hauing put his Nauy in good order, he encouraged his Men to fight, and to doe valiauntly the next day, which done, hee caused the Ankers to bee wayed, and gieuing the signe, tourned the prowees of hys Shyppes agaynst the Sicilians Army, but Countee Iohn who thought that Godefrey would not fight, and durst not once looke vpon the great army of the Sicilians, did not put his Fleete in order to fight, but rather in readinesse to pursue the enimies. But seeing the Courage, and the approch of theym that came agaynste him, began to feare, his heart almost fayling him, and repented him that he had required his Enimy to that which he thought neuer to haue obtayned. In sutch wise as mistrusting the Battayle with troubled minde, changing the order giuen, and notwithstanding not to seeme altogither fearefull, incontinently caused his Ships to be put into order after the best maner he could for so little tyme, himselfe gieuing the signe of battell. In the meane while their enimies being approched neere vnto them, and making a very great noyse with Cryes and Shoutes, furiously entred the Sicilians, which came slowly forth, and hauing first throwne their Hookes and Grapples to stay them, they began the fight with Dartes, Crosse-bowes, and other Shot, in sutch sort as the Sicilians being amazed for the sodayne mutation of Councell, and all enuironned with feare, and the Souldiers of Godefrey perceyuing the same, entred their enimies Ships, and comming to blowes, even in a moment all was filled with bloud, by reason whereof the Sicilians, then despayring of themselues, and they that feared turning the prowes fled away: But neuerthelesse the Victorye reclininge towardes Godefrey, many of their Ships were drowned, many taken, and diuers Pinnasses by force of their Oares escaped. In that fight died fewe people, but many were hurt, and Ihon the Captayne Generall taken Prysoner, and with him almost all the Barons, which of their own accordes repayred to those Warres, and besides a great number of Souldiers, many Ensignes as well of the field, as of the Galleyes, and specially the 357mayne Standerd was taken. And in the ende, the Castell being rendred after long Voyages, and great Fortunes by Sea, they were al chayned, caried to Naples and there imprisoned. Amongs those Prisoners, there was a certayne Gentleman named Rowlande, the Naturall Sonne of King Federick deceased, a yong prince very comely and valyaunt. Who not being redeemed, taried alone in prison very sorrowfull to see all others discharged after they had payd their Raunsome and himselfe not to have wherewith to furnish the same. For king Pietro (to whom the care of him appertayned by reason he was his Brother), for that his warres had no better successe, and done contrary to his commaundement, conceyued displeasure so wel agaynst him, as all others which were at that battell. Nowe hee then being prisoner without hope of any liberty, by meanes of the dampishe prison, and his feete clogged with yrons, grewe to bee sicke and feeble. It chaunced by fortune, that Camiola remembred him, and seeing him forsaken of his brethren, had compassyon vppon his missehappe in sutch wise, as she purposed (if honestly she might doe the same) to set hym at liberty. For the accomplishment whereof without preiudice of hir honour, she sawe none other wayes but take him to husband. Wherefore shee sent diuers vnto him secretely, to conferre if he would come forth vpon that condition, whereunto he wilingly agreed. And performing ech due ceremonie, vnder promised faith, vpon the gift of a ring willingly by a deputy espoused Camiola, who with so mutch diligence as she could, payed two thousand Crownes for his ransome, and by that meanes he was deliuerd. When he was retourned to Messina, he repayred not to his Wyfe, but fared as though there had neuer bene any sutch talke beetwene theym: whereof at the begynninge Camiola very mutch maruelled, and afterwardes knowinge his vnkindenesse was greatly offended in hir heart against him. Notwithstanding to the intent she might not seeme to be grieued without reason, before she proceded any further, caused him louingly to be talked withal, and to be exhorted by folowing his promyse to consummate the mariage: and seeing that he denied euer any sutch Contract to be made, she caused him to be summoned before the Ecclesiastical Iudge, by whome sentence was giuen that hee was 358hir husband euidence of his owne letters, and by witnesse of certayne other personages of good reputation, which afterwards he himself confessed, his face blushyng for shame, for that he had forgotten sutch a manifest benefit and good turne. When the kynde part of Camiola done vnto him was throughly known, he was by hys Brethren reproued and checked for hys villany, whereupon by their instigation, and the persuasion of his frends, he was contented by humble request to desire Camiola to perform the Nuptials. But that gentlewoman which was of great corage in the presence of diuers that were wyth him, when he required hir thereunto, answered him in this maner: “Rowland I haue great cause to render thankes to almyghty God, for that it pleased him to declare vnto me the proofe of thine vnfaythfulnesse, before thou didst by any meanes contaminate (vnder colour of mariage) the purity of my body, and that through his fauour, by whose most holy name thou wentest about to abuse me by false and periured Oth, I haue foreseene thy Trumpery and deceypt, wherein I beleeue that I have gayned more than I shoulde haue done by thee in mariage. I suppose that when thou were in pryson, thou didst meane no lesse, than now, by effect thou shewest, and diddest thinke that I, forgetting of what house I was, presumptuously desired a Husband of the Royal bloud, and therefore wholly inflamed with thy love, did purpose to beguile mee by denying the Trouth, when thou haddest recouered lyberty thorough my Money, and thereby to reserue thy selfe for some other of more famous Aliaunce, being restored to thy former degree. And thereby thou hast gieuen proofe of thy will, and what minde thou haddest so to do if thyne ability had bene correspondent. But God, who from the lofty Skyes doth beholde the humble and low, and who forsaketh none that hopeth in him, knowing the sincerity of my Conscience, hath gieuen mee the grace by little trauayle, to breake the bands of thy deceipts, to discouer thine ingratitude, and make manifest thine infidelity, which I haue not done only to display the wrong towardes me, but that thy Brethren and other thy friends might from henceforth know what thou art, what affiaunce they ought to repose in thy fayth, and thereby what thy frends ought to looke for, and 359what thine enimies ought to feare. I have lost my Money, thou thy good name: I haue lost the hope which I had of thee, thou the fauour of the Kinge, and of thy brethren: I the expectation of my mariage, thou a true and constant Wife: I the fruits of charity, thou the gayne of amity: I an vnfaythful husband, thou a most pure and loyall Wyfe. Now the Gentlewomen of Sicilia doe maruayle at my Magnificence, and Beauty, and by prayses aduaunce the same vp into the heauens: and contrarywise euery of theym doe mock thee, and deeme thee to be Infamous. The Renoumed Wryters of ech Countrey will place me amongs the ranke of the noblest Dames, where thou shalt be depressed, and throwne downe amonges the Heapes of moste vnkynde. True it is, that I am somewhat deceyued by deliuering out of Pryson, a yong man of Royal, and noble race, in steede of whom I have redeemed a Rascall, a Lier, a Falsifier of his faith, and a cruell Beast: and take heede hardily how thou do greatly esteme thyselfe, and I wish thee not to think that I was moued to draw thee out of Pryson, and take thee to Husbande for the good qualities that were in thee, but for the memory of auncient benefits which my father receyued of thine (if Federick, a king of most sacred remembraunce were thy father, for I can scarsly beleeue, that a sonne so dishonest should proceede from so noble a Gentleman as was that famous Prince.) I know well thou thinkest that it was an vnworthy thing, that a Widow not being of the Royal bloud should have to husband, the sonne of a Kinge, so strong and of so goodly personage, which I willingly confesse: but I would haue thee a little to make me aunswere (at the least wise if thou canst by reason) when I payd so great a sum of money to deliuer thee from bondage and captiuity, where was then the nobility of thy Royall race? Where was thy force of Youth? And where thy Beauty? If not that they were closed up in a terrible Pryson, where thou wast detayned in bitter griefe, and sorrowe, and there with those naturall qualities, couered also in obscure darknesse, that compassed thee round about. The ill fauoured noyse and iangling of thy chaines, the deformity of thy Face forced for lack of light, and the stench of the infected Prison that prouoked sicknesse, and the forsaking of thy Frends, had quite 360debased al these perfections wherewith now thou seemest to be so lusty. Thou thoughtest me then to be worthy, not onely of a yong man of a royall bloud, but of a God, if it were possible to haue him, and so soon as thou (contrary to all hope) didst once visite thy natural Countrey, like a most pestilent person without any difficulty, haste chaunged thy mynde, and neuer since thou wast deliuered, once did call into thy remembraunce how I was that Camiola, that I was shee (alone) that did remembre thee: that I was shee (alone) that had compassion on thy mishap, and that I was onely shee, who for thy health did imploy all the goods I had. I am, I am (I say) that Camiola, who by hir Money raunsomed thee out of the hands of the Capitall enimies of thine Auncesters, from Fetters, from Pryson: and finally deliuered thee from Misery extreme, before thou were altogether settled in dispayre. I reduced thee agayne to hope, I haue reuoked thee into thy Countrey, I haue brought thee into the Royal Pallace, and restored thee into thy former Estate, and of a Prisoner weake, and ill fauoured, haue made the a younge Prynce, strong, and of fayre aspect. But wherefore haue I remembred these things, whereof thou oughtest to bee very mindefull thy selfe, and which thou art not able to deny? Sith that for so great benefits thou hast rendred me sutch thanks, as being my husband in deede, thou haddest the Face to deny me mariage, already contracted by the deposition of honest Witnesses, and approued by Lettres, Signed with thine owne hand. Wherefore diddest thou despise me that hath delyuered thee? Yea and if thou couldest haue stayned the Name of hir with Infamy, that was thine onely Refuge, and Defender, thou wouldest gladly haue giuen cause to the common people, to thinke lesse than Honesty of hir. Art thou ashamed (thou Man of little Iudgement) to haue to Wyfe a Wyddowe, the Daughter of a Knight? O how farre better had it ben for thee to haue bene ashamed to breake thy promised fayth, to haue dispised the holy and dreadfull name of God, and to haue declared by thy curssed vnkindnes, how full fraught thou art with Vice. I doe confesse in deede that I am not of the Royall bloud: notwithstanding from the Cradle, being Trayned, and brought vp in the Company of kinges Wyues, and Daughters, no great maruayle it is, if I haue 361indued and put on a Royall heart and manners, that is able to get, and purchase royall Nobility: but wherefore doe I multiply so many wordes? No, no, I will be very facile, and easie in that wherein thou haste ben to me so difficult and hard by resisting the same with all thy power. Thou haste refused heretofore to be mine, and hauing vanquished thee, to be sutch, franckly of myne owne accorde, I doe graunt that thou art not. Abide (on God’s name) with thy royall Nobility, neuerthelesse defiled with the spot of Infidelity. Make mutch of thy youthly lustinesse, and of thy transitory beauty, and I shal be contented with my Wyddow apparell, and shall leaue the riches which God hath geuen me to Heyres more honest than those that might haue come of thee. Auaunt thou wycked yong man, and sith thou art coumpted to be vnworthy of me, learne with thine own experience, by what subtilty and guiles thou maiest betray other dames, suffiseth it for me to be once deceyued. And I for my parte fully determine neuer to tary longer with thee, but rather chastly to lyue without husband, which lyfe I deeme farre more excellent than with thy match continually to be coupled.” After shee had spoken these words, shee departed from him, and from that time forth, it was impossible eyther by prayers, or Admonitions to cause hir chaunge hir holy intent. But Rowland al confused, repenting himself to late of hys Ingratitude, blamed of ech man, his eyes fixed vpon the grounde, auoyding not onely the presence of his brethren, but of all sorts of people, dayly led from that time forth, a most miserable life, and neuer durst by reason to demaunde hir againe to Wife, whom he had by disloyalty refused. The King and the other Barons, marueyling of the noble heart of the Lady, singularly commended hir, and exalted hir prayses vp into the Skyes, vncertayne neuerthelesse wherein shee was most worthy of prayse, eyther for that (contrary to the couetous nature of Women) she had raunsomed a yong man with so great a Summe of Money, or else after she had deliuered him, and sentence gieuen that he was hir Husbande, she so couragiously refused him, as an vnkinde man, vnworthy of hir company. But leaue we for a tyme, to talke of Wydowes, and let vs see what the Captayne, and Lieutenaunt 362of Nocera can alledge vpon the discourse of his cruelties, which although an ouer cruell Hystory, yet depaynteth the successe of those that apply their myndes to the Sportes of Loue, sutch Loue I meane, as is wantonly placed, and directed to no good purpose, but for glutting of the Bodye’s delight, which both corrupteth nature, maketh feeble the body, lewdly spendeth the time, and specially offendeth him who maketh proclamation, that Whooremongers and adultrers shal neuer Inherite his Kyngdome.

363

THE THIRTY-THIRD NOUELL.

Great cruelties chaunced to the Lords of Nocera, for adultry by one of them committed with the Captayne’s wyfe of the forte of that Citty, with an enterprise moued by the Captaine to the Cittyzens of the same for Rebellion, and the good and dutyfull aunswere of them: with other pityfull euents rysing of that notable and outragious vyce of whoredom.

The furious rage of a Husband offended for the chastity violated in his Wyfe, surpasseth all other, and ingendreth mallice agaynst the doer whatsoeuer he be. For if a Gentleman, or one of good nature, cannot abyde an other to doe him any kinde of displeasure, and mutch lesse to hurt him in hys Body, how is he able to endure to haue his honour touched, specially in that part which is so neere vnto him as his owne Soule? Man, and Wyfe being as it were one body and one will, wherein Men of good Judgement cannot well like the Opinion of those which say that the honour of a lusty and couragious person dependeth not vpon the fault of a foolish woman: for if that wer true which they so lightly vaunt, I would demaund why they be so animated and angry against them which adorne their head with braunched Hornes, the Ensignes of a Cuckolde: and truely nature hath so well prouided in that behalfe, as the very sauage Beastes doe fight, and suffer death for sutch honest Jealousie. Yet will I not prayse, but rather accuse aboue al faulty men, those that be so fondly Jealous, as eche thinge troubling their mindes, be afrayde of the Flyes very shadowe that buzze about their Faces. For by payning and molestinge theymselues with a thinge that so little doth please and content them, vntill manifest, and euident proofe appeare, they display the folly of their minde’s imperfection, and the weakenesse of their Fantasy. But where the fault is knowne, and the Vyce discouered, where the husbande seeth himselfe to receyue Damage in the soundest part of his moueable goods, reason it is that he therein be aduised by timely deliberation and sage foresight, rather than with headlong fury, and raging rashnesse 364to hazard the losse of his honour, and the ruine of his life and goods. And lyke as the fayth and fidelity of the vndefiled Bed hath in all times worthely ben commended and rewarded: euen so he that polluteth it by Infamy, beareth the penaunce of the same. Portia the Daughter of Cato, and wife of Brutus shall be praysed for euer, for the honest and inuiolable loue which she bare vnto hir beloued husband, almost like to lose hir life when she heard tell of his certayne death. The pudicity of Paulina the wife of Seneca appeared also, when she assayed to dy by the same kinde of death wherewith hir Husband violently was tormented by the vniust commaundement of the most cruel and horrible Emperoure Nero. But Whores and Harlottes, having honest Husbands, and well allied in Kin, and Ligneage by abandoning their bodyes, doe prodigally consume their good Renoume: yea but if they escape the Magistrates, or auoyde the wrath of offended husbandes for the wrong done vnto them, yet they leaue an immortall slaunder of their wicked life, and youth thereby may take example aswell to shun sutch shamelesse Women, as to followe those Dames that be Chaste, and Vertuous. Now of this contempt whych the Wyfe beareth to hir Husband, do rise very many times notorious slaunders, and sutch as are accompanied with passinge cruelties: wherein the Husbande ought to moderate his heate, and calme his choler, and soberly to chastise the fault, for so mutch as excessiue wrath, and anger, doe Eclipse in man the light of reason, and sutch rages doe make them to be semblable vnto Brute, and reasonlesse Beastes: meete it is to be angry for thinges done contrary to Right, and Equity, but Temperaunce, and Modesty is necessary in al occurrentes, bee they wyth vs, or against vs. But if to resist anger in those matters, it be hard and difficulte, yet the greater impossibility there is in the operation, and effect of any good thinge, the greater is the glory that vanquisheth the affection and mastereth the first motion of the minde which is not so impossible to gouerne, and subdue to reason, as many do esteeme. A wise man then cannot so farre forget his duety, as to exceede the Boundes, and Limits of reason, and to suffer his mynde to wander from the siege of Temperaunce, which if he doe after hee hath well mingled Water in his Wyne, hee may chaunce to 365finde cause of Repentaunce, and by desire to repayre his Offense augment his fault, sinne being so prompt and ready in man, as the crime which might bee couered with certayne Iustice, and coloured by some lawe or righteous cause, maketh him many tymes to fall into detestable Vice and Synne, so contrary to mildnesse and modesty, as the very Tyraunts themselues woulde abhorre sutch wickednesse. And to the ende that I do not trouble you with Allegation of infinite numbres of examples, seruing to this purpose, ne render occasion of tediousnes for you to reuolue so many bookes, I am contented for this present, to bring in place an Hystory so ouer cruell, as the cause was not mutch vnreasonable, if duty in the one had bene considered, and rage in the other bridled and foreseene, who madly murthered and offended those that were nothing guilty of the Facte, that touched him so neare. And although that these be matters of loue, yet the Reader ought not to bee grieued nor take in evill parte, that we bee still in that Argument. For we doe not hereby goe about to erect a Schoolehouse of Loue, or to teache Youth the wanton Toyes of the same. But rather bryng forth these Examples to withdraw the plyant, and tender Age of this our time, from the pursuite of like Follies, which may (were they not in this sort warned) ingender lyke effects that these our Hystoryes do recoumpt, and whereof you shall bee Partakers by reading the discourse that followeth. Yee must than vnderstand, that in the time that Braccio Montone, and Sforza Attendulo florished in Italy, and were the chiefest of the Italian men of warre, there were three Lords and brethren which held vnder their authority and Puissaunce Foligno, Nocera, and Treuio, parcell of the Dukedome of Spoleto, who gouerned so louingly their Landes together, as without diuision, they maynetayned themselues in great Estate, and lyued in Brotherly concorde. The name of the Eldest of these three Lordes was Nicholas, the second Cæsar, the yongest Conrade, gentle Personages, wise and wel beloued so well of the Noble men their Neyghbours, as also of the Cittyzens that were vnder their Obeysaunce, who in the ende, shewed greater loyalty towards them, than those that had sworne their fayth, and had giuen Pleadges for confirmation, as yee shal perceyue by reading what insueth. It chaunced that the eldest 366oftentimes repayring from Foligno to Nocera, and lodging still in the Castell, behelde with a little to mutch wanton Eye, the Wyfe of his Lieutenaunt whych was placed there with a good number of dead payes, to Guard the Fort, and keepe vnder the Cittizens, if by chaunce (as it happeneth vpon the new erection of Estates) they attemped some new enterprise agaynst their Soueraygne Lordes. Nowe this Gentlewoman was very fayre, singularly delighting to be looked vpon: which occasioned the Lord Nicholas, by perceyuing the wantonesse and good wyll of the Mystresse of the Castell, not to refuse so good occasion, determining to prosecute the inioying of hir, that was the Bird after which he hunted, whose Beauty and good grace had deepely wounded his Mind, wherin if he forgot his duety, I leaue for al men of good iudgement to consider. For me thinke that this young Lorde ought rather singularly to loue and cherysh his liuetenaunt that faithfullye and trustily had kept his Castell and Forte, than to prepare agaynst him so Trayterous an Attempt, and Ambushe. And if so bee hys sayd Lieutenaunt had bene accused of felony, misprison, or Treason (yet to speake the trouth) hee might haue deliuered the charge of his Castell vnto an other, rather then to suborne his Wyfe to folly. And ought likewise to haue considered that the Lieuetenaunt by puttinge his trust in him, had iust cause to complayne for Rauishing hys Honoure from hym in the Person of hys Wyfe, whom hee ought to haue loued wythout any affection to Infrindge the Holy Lawe of Amitye, the breakinge whereof dissolueth the duety of ech Seruaunt towardes his Soueraygne Lord and mayster. To be short, this blinded Louer yelding no resistaunce to loue, and the foolish conceipt which altereth the iudgements of the wisest, suffred his fansie to roue so farre vnto hys Appetites, as on a daye when the Lieuetenaunte was walked abroade into the Castel to view the Souldiours and deade payes (to pleasure him that sought the meanes of his displeasure) hee spake to the Gentlewoman his Wyfe in this manner: “Gentlewoman, you being wise and curteous as ech man knoweth, needefull it is not to vse long or Rethoricall Orations, for so mutch as you without further supply of talk do clearely perceyue by my Looks, Sighes, and earnest Viewes, the loue that I beare you, which without comparison nippeth my 367Hearte so neare as none can feele the parching paynes, that the same poore portion of me doth suffer. Wherefore hauing no great leysure to let you further vnderstand my mynde, it may please you to shewe me so mutch Fauour as I may be receyued for him, who hauing the better right of your good grace, may therewithall enioy that secret Acquayntance, which sutch a one as I am deserueth: of whom yee shall haue better experience if you please to accept him for your owne.” This mistresse Lieutenaunt which compted hir selfe happy to be beloued of hir Lorde, and who tooke great pleasure in that aduenture, albeit that shee desyred to lette hym knowe the good will that she bare vnto him, yet dissembled the matter a little, by aunswering him in this wise: “Your disease Sir is sodayne, if in so little time you haue felt sutch excesse of malady: but perchance it is your heart that being ouer tender, hath lightly receyued the pricke, which no doubt will so soone vanish, as it hath made so ready entry. I am very glade (Sir) that your heart is so merily disposed to daliaunce, and can finde some matter to contriue the superfluitie of tyme, the same altering the diuersity of man’s complexion, accordingly as the condition of the hourely Planet guideth the nature of euery wight.” “It is altogither otherwise (aunswered hee) for being come hither as a master and Lord, I am become a seruaunt and slaue: and briefly to speake my minde, if you haue not pitty vpon me, the disease which you call sodayne, not only will take increase, but procure the death and finall ruine of my heart.” “Ah sir,” (sayd the Gentlewoman) “your griefe is not so deepely rooted, and death so present to succeede as you affirme, ne yet so ready to gieue ouer the place, as you protest, but I see what is the matter, you desire to laugh mee to scorne, and your heart craueth something to solace it selfe which cannot be idle, but must imploy the vacant tyme vpon some pleasaunt Toyes.” “You haue touched the pricke (aunswered the Louer) for it is you in deede wherevpon my hearte doth ioy, and you are the cause of my Laughter and passetime, for otherwise all my delights were displeasures, and you also by denying me to be your seruaunt, shall abbreuiate, and shorten my liuing dayes, who only reioyseth for choyse of sutch a mystresse.” “And how (replied she) 368can I be assured of that you say? The disloyalty, and infidelity of man being in these dayes so faste vnited, so hastely following one another, as the Shadow doth the Body, wheresoeuer it goeth.” “Onely experience” (sayed he) “shall make you know what I am, and shall teach you wheather my heart is any thing different from my wordes, and I dare bee bolde to say, that if you vouchsafe to do mee the pleasure to receyue mee for your owne, you may make your vaunt to haue a Gentleman so faythfull for your frend, as I esteeme you to be discrete, and as I desire to let you taste the effect of mine affection, by sutch some honest order as may be deuised.” “Sir” (sayd she) “it is well and aduisedly spoken of you, but yet I thincke it straunge for sutch a Gentleman as you be, to debase your honor to so poore a Gentlewoman, and to goe about both to dishonor me, and to put my life in pearill.” “God forbid” (aunswered the Lord Nicholas) “that I be cause of any slaunder, and rather had I dye my selfe than minister one simple occasion whereby your fame should be brought in question. Only I doe pray you to have pitty vpon me, and by vsing your curtesie, to satisfie that which my seruice and faythfull friendship doth constrayne, and binde you for the comfort of him that loueth you better than himselfe.” “We will talke more thereof hereafter” (aunswered the lieuetenaunt’s Wyfe) “and than will I tell you mine aduise, and what resolution shall follow the summe of your demaunde.” “How now Gentlewoman” (sayd he) “haue you the heart to leaue me voyde of hope, to make me languish for the prorogation of a thing so doubtful as the delayes bee which loue deferreth? I humbly pray you to tell me whereunto I shall trust: to the intent that by punishing my heart for proofe of this enterprise, I may chastise all mine Eyes by reuing from them the meanes for euer more to see that which contenteth me best, and wherein resteth my solace, leauing my minde full of desires, and my heart without final stay, vppon the greatest Pleasure that euer man coulde choose.” The Gentlewoman would not loose a Noble man so good and perfect: whose presence already pleased hir aboue all other thinges, and, who voluntarily had agreed to hys request, by the onely signe of hir Gests, and Lookes, sayde vnto him smilinge with a very good grace: “Doe not accuse my heart of lightnesse, nor 369my minde of infidelity and treason, if to please and obey you, I forget my duty, and abuse the promise made unto my Husband, for I sweare vnto you (sir) by God, that I haue more forced my thought, and of long time haue constrayned mine appetites in dissembling the loue that I beare you, than I haue receiued pleasure, by knowing my selfe to be beloued by one agreeable to mine affection. For which cause you shall finde me (being but a poore Gentlewoman) more ready to do your pleasure, and to be at your commaundement, than any other that liueth be shee of greater Port, and regarde than I am. And who to satisfie your request, shal one day sacrifice that fidelity to the iealous fury of hir husband.” “God defend” (sayd the young Lord) “for we shal be so discrete in our doings, and so seldome communicate, and talke togeather, as impossible for any man to discry the same. But if mishap will haue it so, and that some ill lucke doe discouer our dealinges, I haue shift of wayes to coloure it, and power to stop the mouthes of them that dare presume to clatter and haue to do with our priuate conference.” “All that I know wel inough sir” (sayd she) “but it is great simplicity in sutch thinges for a man to trust to his authority, the forced inhibition whereof shall prouoke more babble, than rumor is able to spreade for all his tattling talk of our secret follies. Moreouer I would be very glad to do what pleaseth you, so the same may be without slaunder. For I had rather dy, than any should take vs in our priuities and familier pastimes: let vs be contented with the pleasure that the ease of our ioy may graunt, and not with sutch contentation as shal offend vs, by blotting the clerenesse of our good name.” Concluding then the time of their new acquayntaunce, which was the next day at noone, when the Lieutenaunt did walke into the Citty, they ceased their talke for feare of his enteruiew. Who (upon his retourne) doing reuerence vnto his Lord, tolde him that hee knewe where a wilde Boare did haunte, if it pleased him to see the pastime. Whereunto the Lord Nicholas fayned louingly to gieue eare (although agaynst his will) for so mutch as hee thought the same Huntinge should be a delay for certayne dayes to the enioying, (pretended and assured) of his beloued. But she that was so mutch or more esprysed with the raging and intollerable fire of loue, 370speedily found meanes to satisfie hir louer’s sute, but not in sutch manner as was desired of eyther partes, wherefore they were constrayned to defer the rest vntill an other time. This pleasaunt beginning so allured the Lord of Nocera, as vnder the pretence of huntinge, there was no weeke that passed, but hee came to visite the Warrener of hys Lieutenaunt. And this order continuing without any one little suspition of their loue, they gouerned theymselues wisely in pursute thereof. And the Lord Nicholas vsed the game and sporte of Hunting, and an infinite number of other exercises, as the running of the Ring, and Tennis, not so mutch thereby to finde meanes to enioy his Lady, as to auoyde occasion of Iealosie in hir Husband, being a very familiar vice in all Italians, the Cloake whereof is very heauy to beare, and the disease troublesome to sustayne. But what? Like as it is hard to beguile an Vsurer in the accoumpt of his money, for his continuall watch ouer the same, and slumbring sleepes vpon the Bookes of his recknings and accoumpts, so difficult it is to deceyue the heart of a iealous man, and specially when he is assured of the griefe which his head conceyueth. Argus was neuer so cleere eyed for all his hundred Eyes ouer Iupiter’s Lemman, as those Louers be, whose opinions be ill affected ouer the chastity of their Wyues. Moreouer what Foole, or Asse is hee, who seeing sutch vndiscrete familiarity of two Louers, the priuy gestures and demeanors without witnesse, theyr stolne walkes at vntymely houres, and sometimes theyr embracements to, strayght and common before seruants, that would not doubt of that whych most secretly did passe? True it is that in England (where liberty is so honestly obserued as being alone or secrete conuersation gyueth no cause of suspition) the same mighte haue bene borne withall. But in Italy, where the Parents themselues be for the most part suspected, (if there had bene no facte in deede committed) that familiarity of the Lord Nicholas, with hys Lieutenaunte’s Wyfe was not suffrable, but exceded the Bounds of reason, for so mutch as the Commoditie which they had chosen for possessing of theyr loue, (albeit the same not suspitions) animated them afterwards to frequent their familiarity and dysporte to frankly, and wythout discretion: which was the cause that fortune (who neuer leaueth the ioyes of men wythout 371giuing thereunto some great alarme,) being enuious of the mutuall delightes of those two louers, made the husband to doubt of that which hee would haue dissembled, if honor could so easily be loste wythoute reproch, as bloud is shed without peryll of Lyfe, but the matter being so cleare, as the fault was euident, specyally in the party which touched him so neare as hymselfe, the Lieuetenaunt before he would enterpryse any thing, and declare what he thought desired throughly to bee resolued of that whych hee sawe as it were but in a Cloude, and by reason of hys conceyued Opynion hee dealt so warely and wisely in those affaires, and was so subtil an espiall, as one day when the louers were at theyr game, and in their most straite and secrete embracements, he viewed them coupled with other leash, than he would haue wished, and colled with straighter bands then reason or honesty did permit. He saw with out beeing seene, wherein he felt a certaine ease and contentment, for being assured of that he doubted, and purposed to ordeyne a sowre refection after their delightsome banket, the simple louers ignoraunt by signe or coniecture, that their enterpryses were dyscouered. And truely it had ben more tollerable and lesse hurteful for the Lieuetenaunte, if euen then hee had perpetrated his vengeaunce, and punyshed them for theyr wyckednesse, than to vse the Cruelty wherewith afterwardes he blotted his renoume, and soyled his hands by Bedlem rage in the innocent bloud of those that were not priuye to the folly, and lesse guilty of the wronge don vnto him. Now the Captain of the Castel for al his dissimulation in couering of his griefe, and his fellony and Treason intended against his soueraigne Lord, which he desired not yet manifestly to appeare, was not able any more from that time forth to speake so louingly vnto him, nor with sutch respect and reuerence as he did before, which caused his Wife thus to say vnto hir Louer: “My Lord I doubt very mutch least my husband doth perceiue these our common practizes, and secrete familiar dealings, and that he hath some Hammer working in his heade, by reason of the Countenaunce, and vncheareful entertaynement which he sheweth to your Lordship, wherefore myne aduyse is, that you retire for a certaine tyme to Foligno. In the meane space I wil marke and espye if that his alteration be conceiued for any matter 372against vs, and wherefore his wonted lookes haue put on this new alteration and chaunge. All which when I haue (by my espial and secret practize sounded) I will spedily aduertise you, to the end that you may provide for the sauegard of your faithfull and louing seruaunt.” The young Lord, who loued the Gentlewoman wyth al his heart, was attached with so great gryefe, and dryuen into sutch rage by hearyng those wycked Newes, as euen presently he woulde haue knowne of hys Lieuetenaunt, the cause of his dyswonted cheare. But weighing the good aduyse whych his woman had giuen him, paused vppon the same, and promysed hir to doe what she thought best. By reason whereof, gyuynge warnyng to his Seruantes for hys departure, he caused the Lyeuetenaunte to be called before him, vnto whome hee sayd: “Captayne, I had thoughte for certayne Dayes to sporte and passe my tyme, but hearing tell that the Duke of Camarino commeth to Foligno, to debate with vs of matters of importaunce, I am constrained to departe, and do pray you in the meane time to haue good regard vnto our affaires, and if any newes doe chaunce to aduertise the same wyth all Expedytion.” “Sir” (sayd the Captayne) “I am sorrye that now when our passetime of hunting myght yelde some good recreation vnto your honour, that you doe thus forsake vs, notwithstanding sith it is your good pleasure, we will cease the chase of the wylde Bore till your retourne. In the meane time, I will make ready the Coardes and Tramelles, that vppon your comming, nothing want for the Furniture of our sport.” The Lord Nicholas, seeing his Lieuetenaunt so pleasauntly disposed, and so litle bent to Choller, or iealous fantasie, was persuaded, that some other toy had rather occupyed his Minde, than any suspition betweene his Wife and hym. But the subtyll Husband searched other meanes to be reuenged, than by kylling him alone, of whom he receyued that dishonour, and was more craftie to enterpryse, and more hardie to execute, than the Louers were wyse or well aduised to preuent and wythstande his sleightes and pollicies. And albeit that the Wyfe (after the departure of hir Fryend) assayed to drawe from him the cause of his altered cheare yet coulde shee neuer learne, that hir husband had any ill opinion of theyr Loue. For so many tymes as talke was moued of the 373Lord Nicholas, hee exalted his prayse vp into the Heauens, and commended hym aboue all his Brethren. All whych hee dyd to beguyle the pollycies of hir, whome he saw to blush, and many times chaunge Colour, when she heard him spoken of, to whom she bare better affection than to hir Husband, vnto whom (in very dede) she did owe the faith and integritie of hir body. This was the very toile which he had laid to intrap those amorous persons and purposed to rid the world of them by that meanes, to remoue from before his eyes, the shame of a Cuckolde’s title, and to reuenge the iniurie don to his reputation. The mistresse of the Castel seeynge that hir husband (as shee thought) by no meanes did vnderstande hir follies, desired to continue the pleasure, which either of them desired, and which made the third to die of phrenesie, wrote to the Lord Nicholas, the letter that followeth.

“My Lord, the feare I had, that my husband should perceyue our loue, caused me to intreat you certaine dayes past, to discontinue for a time, the frequentation of your owne house, whereby I am not little agrieued, that contrary to my wil, I am defrauded of your presence, which is far more pleasaunt vnto me, than my husband’s flatteries, who ceaseth not contynually to talke of the honest behauiour, and commendable qualyties that be in you, and is sorry for your departure, bicause he feareth that you mislyke youre entertainement, whych should be (sayth he) so gryeuous and noysome vnto him, as death it selfe. Wherefore, I pray you sir, if it be possible, and that your affayres doe suffer you, to come hither to the ende I may enioy your amayable presence, and vse the Liberty that our good hap hath prepared, through the litle iealousie of my husband your Lieuetenaunt: who I suppose before it be long wil intreat you, so great is his desire to make you passetime of hunting within your owne Land and territory. Fayle not then to come I beseech you, and we wyll so well consider the gouernment of our affaires, as the best sighted shall not once discry the least suspicion thereof, recommending my selfe most humbly (after the best maner I can) to your good Lordship.”

This Letter was deliuered to a Lackey to beare to the Lord Nicholas, and not so priuily done, but the Lieutenaunt immediately espied the deceipt which the sooner was disciphred, for so mutch as he 374dayely lay in wayte to find the meanes to reuenge the wrong done vnto him, of purpose to beate the iron so long as it was hotte, and to execute hys purpose before his Wife tooke heede, and felte the endeuor of his Enterpryse. And bicause that shee had assayed by diuers wayes to sound his heart, and fele whether he had conceiued displeasure against the Lord hir louer, the Day after wherein she had written to hir friend, hee sent one of his Men in poste to the three Lordes, to requyre them to come the nexte Day to see the pastime of the fayrest and greatest wild Bore, that long tyme was bred in the Forrests adioyning vnto Nocera, Albeit that the Countrey was fayre for coursinge, and that dyuers tymes many fayre Bores haue ben encountred there. But it was not for this, that he had framed his errand, but to trap in one toyle and snare the thre brethren, whom he determined to sacrifice to the aulter of his vengeance, for the expiation of theyr elder brother’s trespasse, and for soyling the Nuptial bed of his seruaunt. He was the wylde Bore whome he meant to strike, hee was the pray of his vnsaciable and cruell Appetite. If the fault had ben generall of all three togethers, he had had some reason to make them passe the bracke of one equall fortune, and to tangle them within one net, both to preuent thereby (as he thought) his further hurt, and to chastise their leude behauiour. For many tymes (as lamentable experience teacheth) Noble men for the onely respecte of their Nobility, make no Conscience to doe wrong to the honor of them, whose reputation and honesty, they ought so wel to regard as their owne. Herein offended the good Prynce of the Iewes Dauid, when to vse his Bersabe without suspition, he caused innocent Vrias to bee slayne, in lieu of recompence for his good seruice, and diligent execution of his behests. The children of the proud Romane king Tarquinius, did herein greatly abuse them selues, when they violated that noble Gentlewoman Lucrece, whom al histories do so mutch remembre, and whose chastity, al famous writers do commend. Vppon sutch as they be, vengeance ought to be don, and not to defile the hands in the bloud of innocents, as the Parents and Kinsemen of deade Lucrece did at Rome, and this Lieutenaunt at Nocera, vppon the brethren of him that had sent him into Cornwal, without passing ouer the Seas. But what? Anger proceding 375of sutch wronge, surmounteth al phrenesie, and exceedeth al the bounds of reason, and man is so deuoyd of Wyts, by seeing the blot of defamation, to lyght vpon him, as he seeketh al meanes to hurt and displease him that polluteth his renoume. Al the race of the Tarquines for like fact were banyshed Rome, for the onely brute whereof, the husband of the faire rauished wife, was constrayned to auoid the Place of his natiuity. Paris alone violated the body of Menelaus, the Lacedemonian kyng, but for reuenge of the rauyshed Greeke, not onely the glory and Rychesse of stately Troy, but also the most parte of Asia and Europa, was ouertourned and defaced, if credyte may be gyuen to the recordes of the Auncyent. So in this fact of the Lieutenaunt, the Lord Nicholas alone, had polluted his bed, but the reuenge of the cruel man extended further, and his fury raged so farre, as the guiltlesse were in greate Daunger to beare the penaunce, which shall be well perceiued by the discourse that foloweth. The Captaine then hauing sent his message, and beyng sure of his intent (no lesse than is he already had the brethren within his hold, vpon the point to couple them together with his wife, to send them all in pilgrimage to visite the faithfull forte, that blason their loues in an other worlde, with Dydo, Phyllis, and sutch like, that more for dispayre than loue, bee passed the straictes of death) caused to be called before him in a secrete place, al the souldiers of the Fort, and sutch as with whome he was sure to preuayle, to whom not without sheading forth some teares, in heauie Countenaunce, he spake in this maner: “My Companions and Fryends, I doubt not but yee bee abashed to see me wrapt in so heauy plyght, and appeare in this forme before you (that is to say) bewept, heauy, panting with sighes, and all contrary to my custome, in other state and maner, than my courage and degree requyre. But when ye shall vnderstand the cause I am assured that the case whych seemeth straunge to you, shall be thought just and ryght and so will perfourme the thing wherein I shall employe you. Ye knowe that the first point that a Gentleman ought to regarde, consisteth not onely in repelling the iniury done vnto the body, but rather it behoueth that the fight begin for the defense of his honor, which is a thinge that proceedeth from the Minde, and resorteth to the 376Body, as the Instrument to worke that which the spyryte appointeth. Now it is honour, for conseruation whereof, an honest man and one of good Courage feareth not to put hymselfe in all perill and daunger of death and losse of goodes, referring himselfe also to the guarde of that whych toucheth as it were oure owne reputation. In sutch wyse as if a good Captaine do suffer hys souldier to be a wycked man, a Robber, a Murderer, and an exacter, he beareth the note of dyshonor albeit in all his doings he gouerneth his estate after the rule of honesty, and doth nothing that is vnworthy his vocation. But what? he being a head vnited to sutch members, if the partes of that vnited thing be corrupt and naught, the head must needes bear the blot of the fault before referred to the whole Body. Alas (sayd he sighing) what parte is more neare, and dearer to Man, than that which is giuen vnto him for a Pledge and Comfort duryng his Life, and which is conioyned to be bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, to breath forth one Mynde, and to think with one heart and equall wil. It is of the Wyfe that I speake, who being the moytie of hir husband, ye ought not to muse if I say, that the honoure of the one is the rest of the other, and the one infamous and wycked, the other feeleth the troubles of sutch mischiefe, and the Wife being carelesse of hir honour, the husband’s reputation is defiled, and is not worthy of prayse, if he suffer sutch shame vnreuenged: I must (Companions and good friends) here dyscouer that whych my heart would faine kepe secrete, if it were possible, and must rehearse a thing vnto you, which so sone as my Mouth would faine kepe close, the Minde assayeth to force the ouerture. And loth I am to do it, were it not that I make so good accompt of you, as ye being tied to me with an vnseparable Amity, will yeld me your comfort and Ayde against him that hath done mee this Villany, sutch as if I be not reuenged vpon, needes must I be the Executioner of that vengeance vppon my selfe, that I am loth to lyue in this dishonor, whych all the dayes of my life (without due vltion) like a Worme wyll torment and gnaw my conscyence. Wherefore before I goe any further, I woulde knowe whether I myght so well trust your aide and succour in this my businesse, as in all others I am assured you would not leaue mee so long as 377any breath of life remained in you. For without sutch assurance, I do not purpose to let you know the pricking naile that pierceth my heart, nor the gryefe that grieueth me so neare, as by vttering it without hope of help I shall open the Gate to death, and dye without reliefe of my desire, by punishing him, of whome I haue receyued an iniury more bloudy than any man can doe.” The Souldiers whych loued the Captaine as theyr owne Lyfe, were sorry to see him in sutch estate, and greater was theyr dolour to heare wordes that tended to nothing else but to fury, vengeaunce, and murder of hymselfe. Wherefore all wyth one accorde promysed theyr helpe and mayne force towardes and against all men for the bryngyng to passe of that whych hee dyd meane to requyre. The Lieutenaunt assured of his Men conceyued heart and Courage, and continuing his Oration and purpose, determyned the slaughter and ouerthrowe of thre Trinicien Brethren, (for that was the surname of the Lordes of Foligno,) who pursued his Oration in this maner: “Know ye then (my Companions and good Friends) that it is my Wife, by whome I haue indured the hurt and losse of myne honour, and she is the party touched, and I am he that am most offended. And to the ende that I do not hold you longer in suspence, and the party be concealed from you, whych hath don me thys Outrage: ye shall vnderstand that Nicholas Trinicio, the elder of the three Lordes of Folingno and Nocera, is he, that against all ryght and equity hath suborned the Wife of his Lieuetenaunt, and soyled the Bed of him, whereof he ought to haue ben the defender and the very bulwarke of his reputation. It is of hym my good Fryends, and of his that I meane to take sutch Vengeaunce, as eternall memory shall display the same to all posterity: and neuer Lord shal dare to doe a like wrong to mine, without remembraunce what his duety is, which shall teach hym how to abuse the honest seruice of a Gentleman that is one of his owne trayne. It resteth in you both to holde vp your hand, and keepe your promise, to the end that the Lord Nicholas, deceiuyng and mocking me, may not trust and put affiance in your force, vnto whych I heartily do recommend my selfe.” The Souldiers moued and incited with the wickednesse of theyr Lord and with the wrong 378done to him, of whom they receyued wages, swore agayne to serue his turne in any exploit he went about, and requyred him to be assured, that the, Trinicien Brethren should be ouerthrowne, and suffer deserued penaunce, if they might lay hands vpon them, and therefore willed him to seke meanes to allure them thither, that they might be dispatched. The Lieuetenaunt at these words renuing a chearefull Countenaunce, and shewing himself very ioyfull for sutch successe after he had thanked his Souldyers, and very louingly imbraced the chiefest of them, reuealed hys deuised pollicy, and hoped shortly to haue them at his commaundement within the Fort, alleaging that he had dispatched two Messengers vnto them, and that his wife also priuily had sent hir page: vnto whome he purposed to gyue so good a recompense, as neuer more she should plant his hornes so hygh, vnder a colour of gentle entertaynement of hir ribauld and Friend. They were scarce resolued vpon this intent, but newes were brought him, that the next day morning, the three lords accompanied with other nobility would come to Nocera, to hunt that huge wylde Bore, whereof the Lieutenaunt had made so greate auant. These newes did not greatly please the Captaine, for so mutch as he feared, that his purpose could not (conueniently) be brought to passe, if the company were so great. But when he considered that the Lords alone, should lodge within the Fort, he was of good cheare again, and staied vpon his first intent. The Triniciens the next day after came very late, bicause the Lord Berardo of Verano duke of Camerino, desired to be one, and also the two brethren taried for Conrade, who was at a mariage, and could not assist the Tragedie that was played at Nocera, to his great hap and profit. So this troupe came to Nocera late, and hauing supped in the City, the Lord Nicholas, and the Duke of Camerino went to Bed in the Fort, Cæsar the brother of Trinicio tarying behind with the Trayne, to lodge in the city. Stay here a while (ye Gentlemen) ye I say, that pursue the secrete stelths of loue, neuer put any great trust in fortune, which seldome kepeth hir promise with you. Ye had neede therfore to take goode heede, least ye be surprysed in the place, wher priuily you giue the assault, and in the acte 379wherein ye desire the assistance of none. See the barbarous cruelty of a Lieutenant, which loued rather to kill his corriual in his cold bloud, than otherwise to be reuenged, when he saw him a bed with his Wife, purposely that the example of his fury myght be the better knowne, and the secret sclander more euident, from the roote whereof did spryng an infinite number of Murders and mischiefs. About midnight then, when all thinges were at rest vnder the darke silence of the nyght, the Lieutenant came to the Chamber of the Lord Nicholas, accompanied with the most part of the Watch, and hauyng stopt vp the yeoman of hys Chaumber, hee so dressed the Companion of hys Bedde, as for the first proofe of his courtesie, he caused hys Membres and priuy partes to be cut of, saying vnto him with cruell disdayne: “Thou shalt not henceforth (wycked wretch) weld this launce into the rest, thereby to batter the honour of an honester man than thy self.” Then lanching his stomacke with a piercing blade, he tare the heart out of his belly, saying: “Is this the trayterous Heart that hath framed the plot and deuysed the enterprise of my shame, to make this infamous villaine without Life, and his renoume without prayse?” And not content with this Cruelty, he wreakt the like vpon the remnaunt of his body, that sometimes the runnagate Medea did vpon hir innocent brother, to saue the Lyfe of hir selfe, and of hir friend Iason. For she cut him into an hundred thousand pieces, gyuing to euery Membre of the poore murdred soule hir word of mockery and contempt. Was it not sufficient for a tirannous husband to be reuenged of hys shame, and to kill the party which had defamed him, without vsing so furious Anotamie vpon a dead body, and wherein there was no longer feeling? But what? Ire beyng wythout measure, and anger wythout Brydle or reason, it is not to be wondred, if in al his actes the Captayne ouerpassed the iust measure of vengeance. Many would thinke the committed murder vppon Nicholas, to be good and iust: but the Iustice of an offense, ought not so longe time to be conceyled, but rather to make him feele the smart at the very tyme the deed is done, to the ende that the nypping gryefe of pestilent treason wrought against the betrayed party, be not obscured and hydden by sodayne rage and lacke of 380reason rising in the mindes first motions, and thereby also the faulte of the guilty, by hys indiscretion couered: otherwyse there is nothyng that can colour sutch vice. For the law indifferently doth punish euery man, that without the Magistrates order taketh authority to venge his own wrong. But come we againe vnto our purpose. The Captayne all imbrued in bloude, entred the Chaumber of the Duke of Camerino, whom with al the rest of the strangers that were wythin the Castle, hee lodged (without speakynge any worde) in a deepe and obscure pryson. Beholde, what reste they tooke that nyghte, whych were come to hunt the Wylde Boare. For wythout trauaylyng farre, they were intrapped in the subtill engines and Nettes of the furious Lieuetenaunte, who when the morning bedecked with hir vermilion cleare began to shewe hir selfe, when all the Hunters dyd put them selues in readynesse, and coupled vp theyr Dogges to marche into the Fielde, beholde, one of the Captayne’s cruell Ministers wente into the City, to cause the Lord Cæsar to come and speake with hys brother Nicholas, and intreated him not to tarry, for that he and the Duke were dysposed to shewe hym some disport. Cæsar whych neuer suspected the least of these chaunced murders, desired not to be prayed agayne, but made haste to the Butcherie like a lamb, and in the company of the Wolues themselues that were in readynesse to kyll hym. He was no sooner in the Court of the Castle, but seuen or eyght Varlets apprehended hym and hys Men, and carryed hym into the Chaumber (bound lyke a thefe) wherin the Membres of hys Myserable Brother were cut of and dispersed, whose corpse was pitifully gored and arrayed in Bloud. If Cæsar were abashed to see himselfe bound and taken prysoner he was more astonned when he perceyued a body so dysmembred, and which as yet he knewe not. “Alas,” (sayd he) “what sighte is this? Is thys the bore whych thou hast caused vs to come hyther to hunt within our very Fort?” The Captayne rising vp, al imbrued wyth bloud, whose face and voyce promised nothing but Murder to the miserable young Gentleman sayd: “See Cæsar, the Body of thine adulterous brother Nicholas, that infamous whoremonger, and marke if this be not his head: I woulde to God that Conrade were here also that ye might all three 381be placed at this sumptuous Banket, which I haue prepared for you. I sweare vnto thee then, that this should be the last day of all the Trinicien race, and the end of your Tirannies and wicked Life. But sith I cannot get the effect of that whych my heart desireth, my minde shal take repast in the triumph which Fortune hath ordeined. Curssed be the mariage and Wedding at Trevio, that hath hyndred me of an occasion so apte, and of the meanes to dispatch a matter of sutch importance as is the ouerthrow of so many tirants.” Cæsar at this sentence stode so stil, as whilom dyd the wyfe of Loth, by seing the City on fire, and consume into ashes: by the sight whereof she was conuerted into a stone of Salt. For when he sawe that bloudy Pageant, and knew that it was his brother Nicholas, pity and feare so stopt the pipes of his speach, as without complayning himself or framing one word, he suffred his throte to be cut by the barbarous captaine, who threw him halfe dead vpon the corps of his brother, that the bloud of either of them might cry vp to the heauens for so loud vengeance as that of Abel dyd, being slain by the treason of his nearest brother. Beholde the dreadful begynnings of a heart rapt in fury, and of the mind of him that not resisting his fond affections, executed the terrible practizes of his owne braine, and preferring his fantasie aboue reason, deuised sutch ruine and decay, as by these Examples the Posteritye shall haue good cause to wonder. The lyke Cruelty vsed Tiphon towards his brother Osyris by chopping his body inxxvi. gobbets, whereby ensued the decay of him and his, by Orus whome some doe surname Appollo. And troweth the Captayne to loke for lesse mercy of the Brother of the other twayne that were murdered and of the Dukes kindred whome he kept Prysoner? But he was so blynded with Fury, and it may be, led by ambition and desyre to be made Lord of Nocera, that he was not contented to venge his shame on hym whych had offended, but assayed to murder and extinguysh all the Trinicien bloud: the enheritaunce only remaining in them. And to come to the end of his Enterprise, this Italyan Nero, not content wyth these so many slaughters, but thereunto adioyned a new Treason assaying to win the Citizens of Nocera to moue rebellion agaynst their Lord, causing them to assemble before the Forte, vnto whome 382vppon the Walles, he vsed this or like Oration: “I haue hitherto (my Maisters) dissembled the lyttle pleasure that my heart hath felt to see so many true and faithful Citizens, subiecte vnder the wyll and unbrydeled lustes of two or three Tyraunts: who hauing gotten Power and authority ouer vs, more through our owne folly and cowardyse, than by valiance, vertue and iustice, either in them or those which haue dispoyled this countrey of their auncient liberty. I will not deny but pryncipalities of longe entraunce and Foundation deryued by succession of inherytaunce, haue had some spyce and kynde of Equity, and that Lordes of good lyfe and conuersation ought to be obeyed, defended and honored. But where inuasion and seasure is against ryght, where the people is spoyled and Lawes violated, it is no conscience to disobey and abolish sutch monsters of nature. The Romanes in the prime age of their Common Wealth ful wel declared the same, when they banished out of their City that proud race of the Tirant Tarquine, and when they went about to exterminate al the rootes of cruelty and tyrannical power. Our Neighbors the Sicillians once dyd the like vnder the conduct of Dion, against the disruled fury and wilful cruelty of Denis the tyrant of Syracusa, and the Atheniens against the Chyldren of Pisistratus. And ye that be sorted from the stocke of those Samnites, which in times past so long heald vp their Heades against the Romane force, will ye be so very cowardes and weake hearted for respect of the title of your seigniorie as ye dare not with me to attempt a valiant enterprise for reducing your selues into libertye, and to expell that vermyne broode of Tyraunts which swarme through out the whole regyon of Italy. Wyll yee bee so mated and dumped, as the shadow alone of a fond and inconstant young man, shall holde your Nose to the Grindstone, and drawe you at his lust lyke an Oxe into the stall? I feare that if ye saw your Wiues and Daughters haled to the passetyme and pleasure of these Tirauntes, to glutte the whoredome of those styncking Goate Bucks, more Lecherous and filthy than the senseles sparrowes: I feare (I say) that ye durst not make one Sygne for demonstratyon of your Wrath and dyspleasure. No, no (my maysters of Nocera,) it is hyghe tyme to cutte of the Hydra hys heads, and to strangle hym wythin hys Caue. The tyme is come 383(I say) wherein it behoueth you to shewe your selues lyke Men, and no longer to dissemble the case that toucheth you so neare. Consyder whether it bee good to follow myne aduyse, to repossede agayne the thyng whych is your owne, (that is) the Freedome wherein your Auncesters gloryfied so mutch, and for which they feared not to hazarde theyr Goodes and Lyues. It wyll come good cheape, if you be ruled by me, it wyll redound to your treble Fame, if lyke Men ye follow my aduyse, whych I hope to let you shortely see wythout any great peryll or losse of your Citizens Bloud. I haue felt the effect of the Trinicien Tirannye, and the rigor of their vnrighteous gouernment, which hauing begonne in me, they will not faile, if they be not chastised in time, to extend on you also, whome they deeme to be their slaues. In lyke manner I haue first begon to represse their boldnesse, and to wythstande their leud behauior: yea and if you Mynde to vnderstande ryght from wrong, an easy matter it will be to perfourme the rest, the time beinge so commodious, and the discouery of the thinge whereof I haue made you so priuy, so conuenient. And know ye, that for the exploit of mine intent, and to bryng you agayne altogether in Liberty, I haue taken the two Lords Nicholas and Cæsar prysonners, attending till fortune do bryng to me the third, to pay him with like money and equals guerdon, that not onely you may bee free and setled in your auncient priuiledge, but my heart also satisfied of the wrong which I haue receiued by their iniustice. Beleue (Maisters) that the thing whych I haue done: was not wythoute open iniury receiued, as by keepyng it close I burst, and by telling the same I am ashamed. I wil kepe it secrete, notwithstanding, and shal pray you to take heede vnto your selues, that by vniuersal consent, the mischiefe may be preuented. Deuise what answer you wyll make me, to the intent that I by following your aduise, may also be resolued vpon that I haue to do, without Preiudice but to them to whome the case doth chyefly appertayne.” Duryng al this discourse, the wycked Captayne kept close the Murder which hee had committed, to drawe the Worme out of the Nocerines Nose, and to see of what Mynde they were, that vppon the intellygence thereof, he myght woorke and follow the tyme accordyngly. Hee that had seene the Cytizens of Nocera after that sedytious 384Oration, would haue thought that he had heard a murmure of Bees, when issuing forth their Hyues, they light amidst a pleasaunt Herber, adorned and beautyfied with diuers coloured floures. For the people flocked and assembled togythers, and began to grudge at the imprysonment of ther Lord, and the treason committed by the Lieuetenaunte, thynking it very straunge that he which was a houshold seruaunt durst be so bold to sease on those to whome he dyd owe all honour and Reuerence. And do assure you that if he had ben below, as he was vpon the rampire of the Walles, they had torne him into so many pieces, as he had made Gobbets of the Lord Nicholas body. But seing that they could not take him, they went about to seeke the deliueraunce of them, whome they thought to be yet aliue: and one of the chyef of the City in the Name of them all shortly and bryefly, aunswered him thus: “If malice did not well discouer it selfe in the sugred and Traiterous composition of thy woordes (O Captayne) it were easy inough for an inconstant People (bent to chaunge, and desirous of innouations,) to heare and do that, which sutch a traitor and flatterer as thou art dost propose: but we hauing til now indured nothing of the Triniciens that sauoreth of Tiranny, cruelty, or excesse, we were no lesse to be accused of felony, than thou art guilty of Rebels cryme, by seasyng vpon the Persons of thy Lords, if we shoulde yelde credyt to thy Serpents hissing, or lend aide to thy traiterous practise, thou goest about against them who innoblyng thee are trayterously berieued of that which concerned their reputation and greatnesse. We be an honest People and faithfull Subiects. We wyll not be both Wicked and vnhappy at once, and without cause expell our heads out of our common Wealth. No though they should perpetrate the mischiefes whych thou hast alleadged. Vppon sutch Nouelties and straunge facts we shall take newe aduise and Councell. To be short, thou shalt pleasure vs to set our Lordes at Lyberty, and thou like a wyse man shalt doe thy duety, and satisfy a People which easily can not endure that a subiecte do wrong to those to whome he oweth obedience. And feare not to receiue anye euill of them, nor yet to feele anoyaunce, for wee wyll take vppon vs by honest meanes to craue pardon for thy fault how haynous so euer it be. But if thou continue thine 385offence, be sure that the Lord Conrade shall be aduertised, and with all our power we shall succour him by force, to let thee feele the Nature of Treason, and what reward is incydent to the practizers of the same.” The Captaine albeit he was abashed with that aunswere, and saw that it would not be wel wyth him if he did not prouid spedy remedy and order for his affayres, aswell for the comming of the Lord Conrade, as of the brother of the Duke Camerino, told the Citizens that within three or foure dayes he would giue them a resolute aunswer, and so it might be, yelde vnto theyr wylles, and delyuer them whom he had in holde. Thys gentle aunswere dyd nothyng stay the Citizens for the accomplyshment of that which they thought best to do, knowing also that the gallant had not commenced that Tragedy, but for other toyes whych his vngracious head had framed for a further intended Myschiefe, for which cause they assembled their Councell, and concluded that one should ryde in poste to the Lord Conrade, (the third and remnaunt of the Brethren,) that hee myghte come to take order for the delyueraunce of Nicholas and Cæsar whome they thought he had reserued still alyue in Captiuity. The Nocerines shewed this curtesie (not but that they woulde gladly haue bene at lyberty, if the way had bene better troden,) aswell for the lyttle trust they reposed in the Captayne, who they thoughte would be no more gentle and faithfull, than he shewed himselfe to be loyall to his Maisters, and for that Conrade was well beloued of the Lordes his Neighbors, and specially of the imprysoned Duke and his Brother Braccio Montone, who had the Italian men of Warre at his pleasure, and that the Noble men woulde assiste him wyth all their power. Wherefore they considered that theyr fairest and best way, for auoiding of factions, was to kepe themselues trusty and true, and by not hearkening to a Traitor, to bynd their soueraigne Lord with sutch duety and obedience, as the vnkindest man of the world would confesse and acknowledg for the consequence of a matter of sutch importance. The seditious captaine on the other side, void of hope, and in greater rage than hee was before, persisted in hys folly, not without foreseeyng howe hee myghte saue himselfe, which hee had pollitikely brought to passe, if God had not shortened his waye, by payment of Vsury 386for hys Wyckednesse, and by very dilygence of them in whome hee reposed his truste, the manner and howe, immedyately doeth follow. So soone as he had gyuen ouer the Councell of the Citizens and a lyttle bethought him what he had to do, he called before him two yong Men, whom aboue al others he trusted best. To these yong men he deliuered all his Gold, Syluer and Iewels, that they mighte conuey the same out of the iurisdiction of his Lords, to the intente that when he saw hymself in daunger, he myght retire to the place where those gallants had before carryed his furniture, and mountinge them vpon two good steedes, he let them forth at the Posterne gate, praying them so soone as they could to retourne aduertysement of their abode, and that spedily he would send after them hys Chyldren and the rest of his moueables, tellyng them that he specially committed his Lyfe and goodes into their hands, and that in time and place he would acknowledg the Benefite don vnto him in that distresse. The two that were thus put in trust for sauegard of hys thyngs, promised vnto him Golden Hilles and Miracles: but so soone as they had lost the sight of theyr maister, they deuised another complotte and determined to breake faith to him, which was forsworne, and who made no conscience not onely to reuolt, but also cruelly to kill his soueraigne Lordes. They thought it better to ryde to Treuio, to tell the Lord Conrade the pitifull end of his brethren, and the imprysonment of the Duke of Camerino, than to seeke rest for him, whome God permitted not to be saued, for his heinous sinne already committed, and for that which he mente to do vppon hys Wyfe. For all the dyligence that the Nocerines had made, yet were the Lieuetenaunte’s Men at Treuio before them, and hauyng filled the Eares of Conrade with those heauy Newes, and hys Eyes with Teares, his Mynde with sorrow, and Spyrite with desyre to be reuenged, and as Conrade was about to mount on horse backe wyth the Trayne hee had, the Citizens were arryued to disclose the Imprysonment of his brethren. To whome Conrade made aunswere: “I would to God (my friends) that the tirant had ben contented with the litle cruelty wherof you speake, for then I would find the meanes to agree the parties vpon the knowledge of their variance. But (alas) his malice hath passed further, and hath beastly slain my brethren: but I swear 387by the almighty God, that if he giue me life, I wil take sutch, and so cruell vengeaunce on him, as he shall be a Glasse to all his lyke, for punishment of a fault so horrible. Depart my frends, depart and get you home, dispose your watch and gard about the Castell, that the traiter do not escape: and assure your selues that this your loue shall neuer be forgotten, and you shall haue of me not a Tirant as he maliciously hath protested, but rather sutch a Lord, and better also, than hytherto ye haue me proued.” If Conrade had not ben pressed with heauinesse, he had chaunted goodly Songes against the Treason of the Lieuetenaunt, and would haue accused his Brother of indiscretion, for trusting him, whose wyfe hee had abused, and wel did know that he espyed the same. But what? The businesse requyred other things than Words: and extreame folly it is to nippe the Dead with taunts, or with vayne words to abuse the absent, speciall where vltion and reuenge is easy, and the meanes manifest to chastise the temerity of sutch, and to be acquited of the wrong done vnto him that cannot do it hymselfe. Conrade then toke his way to Tuderto, where then remained the Lord Braccio, and thereof was Lord and Gouernour, and had also vnder his gouernement Perugia, and many other Cityes of the Romane Church, and who wyth the dignity of the great Constable of Naples, was also Prynce of Capua, to him the Trinicien Brother, all be sprent wyth Teares and transported wyth choller and griefe, came to demaunde succor for reuenge of the Lieuetenaunt’s trespasse, saying: “For what assurance (my Lord) can Prynces and great Lordes hope henceforth, when their very seruaunts shall ryse, and by constraining their Maisters, make assay to vsurp their seigniories wherein they haue no title or interest? Is this a reuenge of wrong, in steede of one to kill twaine, and yet to wishe for the third to dispatch the World of our race? Is this to pursue his ennimy, to seeke to catch hym in trappe, whych knoweth nothing of the quarell, and to make hym to suffer the payne? My two Brethren be dead, our Cosin Germaine the Duke is in pryson, I am heere comfortlesse, all sad and pensife before you, whome lykewyse this matter toucheth, although not so near as it doeth me, but yet with lyke dishonor. Let vs go (my Lorde) let vs goe I beseech you to visite our good hoste that so rudely 388intreateth his Ghests which come to visite him, and let vs beare him a reward, that he may taste of our comming, let vs goe before hee saue himselfe, that with little trauayle and lesse harme to an other the ribauld may be punished, who by his example if he longer liue, may increase courage both in Seruaunts to disobey, and in Subiects to rebell, without conscience, agaynst their heads, and gouerners? It is a case of very great importaunce, and which ought to be followed with all rigor and cruelty. And he ought neuer to bee supported, comforted or fauored, which shall by any meanes attempt to reuolt or arme himselfe agaynst his Prince, or shall constrayne him or hir that is his Soueraygne Lord, or Mistresse. Is not a Prynce constituted of God to be obeyed, loued, and cherished of his Subiects? Is it not in him to make and ordaine lawes, sutch as shalbe thought needefull and necessary for Common wealth? Ought not he then to be obeyed of his subiectes and vassals? Ought they then to teach the head, and commaund the chiefest Member of their body? I do remember a tale (my Lord) recited by Menenius Agrippa that wyse, and Notable Romayne, who going about to reconcile the commons with the Senate, alleaged a fit and conuenable example. In time past (quod he) when the partes of Mankinde were at variaunce, and euery member would be a Lord generally conspiring, grudging and alleaging how by their great trauayle, paynes, and carefull ministery, they prouided all furniture, and mayntenaunce for the belly, and that he like a sluggish Beast stoode still, and enioyed sutch pleasures as were geuen him, in this murmure and mutine, al they agreed that the hands should not minister, the Mouth should not feede, the Teeth should not make it seruiceable, the Feete should not trauayle, nor Heade deuise to get the same: and whylest euery of them did forsake their seruice and obedience, the belly grew so thin, and the Members so weake and feeble, as the whole body was brought to extreme decay, and ruine, whereby (sayd Agrippa) it appeareth that the seruice due vnto the Belly (as the chiefe portion of man) by the other Members is most necessary, the obeying and nurssing of whom doth instil force and vigor into the other parts through which we doe liue, and bee refreshed, and the same disgested and dispearsed into the vaynes, 389and vitall powers ingendreth mature and fine bloud, and mayntaineth the whole state of the body, in comely forme and order. By which trim comparison, applyed to ciuile warre was deflected and mollified the stout corage and attempts of the multitude. Euen so agreing with Agrippa, if the Members grudge, and disobey against their chiefe, the state must grow to ruine. To be short, in certaine haps a Trayter may be chearished, and that hath falsified his first fayth: but treason and periury euermore be detested as vices execrable. In this deede neyther the thing, nor yet the doer hath any colour of excuse, the trespasse and cause for which it is don being considered. Suffiseth it Sir, for so mutch as there is neyther time nor cause of further discourse, what neede we to decide the matter, whych of it selfe is euident? Beholde mee heere a poore Trinician Brother without brethren, ioylesse without a Fort at Nocera. On the other part confider the Duke of Camerino in great distresse and daunger, to passe that strait of death my Brethren did. Let vs goe (I pray you) to deliuer the Captiue, and by reuenging these offenses and murders, to settle my Citty in former State, and freedome, which the villayne goeth about to take from me, by encouraginge my Subiects to reuolt and enter armes, thereby to expel our house from the Title of the same.” As Conrade spake these woords, and wyth great grauity, and constancy pronouncing sundry tokens of sorrow, the Conestable of Naples, wroth beyond measure for these vnpleasant newes, and full of griefe and choller against the trayterous Lieutenaunt, swore in the hearing of them all, that he would neuer rest one good sleepe vntill that quarell were auenged, and had quited the outrage done to the Lord Conrade, and the wrong which he felt in him for the imprisonment of the Duke of Camerino. So he concluded, and the Souldiours were assembled thorough out all the parts of the Conestable’s Lands, vpon the ende of the weeke to march against the Fort of Nocera, the Cittizens whereof had layd diligent Scout, and watch for the escape of the Captayne, who without bashfulnesse determined with his men to defend the same and to proue fortune, making himselfe beleeue that his quarell was good, and cause iust to withstand them that shoulde haue the heart to come to assayle him. The Constable in the mean time 390sent a Trumpet to Nocera to summon the Captaine to surrender, and to tell the cause of his reuolt, and at whose prouocation hee had committed so detestable a Treason. The Captaine well assured and boldned in his Wyckednesse, aunswered that he was not so well fortified to make a surrender so good cheape, and for so small a pryce to forgo his honor and reputation: and furthermore, that his wit was not so slender, but hee durst deuise and attempt sutch a matter without the councel of any other, and that all the deedes and deuises passed till that time, were of his owne inuention. And to be enen with the wrong done to his honor by the Lord Nicholas Trinicio, for the violation of his Wiue’s Chastity, he had committed the Murders (tolde to Braccio) beyng angry, that all the Tirannous race was not in his hand to spyll, to the end he mighte deliuer his Countrey, and put the Citizens in Liberty, albeit that fondly they bad refused the same as vnworthy of sutch a Benefite, and well deserued that the Tyrants should taxe them at theyr pleasure, and make them also theyr common slaues and Drudges. The Trumpet warned hym also to render to hym the Duke, bicause he was guiltlesse of the facte, whych the Captayne regarded so little as he did the first demaundes, whych was the cause (the Company being arriued at Nocera, and the Constable vnderstandyng the litle accompte the Castell Gentleman made of his summons) that the battry the very day of theyr arriuall was laid and shotte against the place with sutch thunder and dreadfull thumpes of Canon shot, as the hardiest of the Mortpayes within, began to faint. But the corage and litle feare of theyr chyefe, retired theyr hearts into theyr bellyes. The breach being made againe, the Constable who feared to lose the Duke in the Captaine’s Fury, caused the Trumpet to summon them wythin to fall to Composition, that Bloudshed might not stirre theyr Souldioures to further cruelty. But so mutch gayned this second warnyng as the first, for which cause the nexte day after the assault was gyuen, where if the assaulte was valiant, the resistaunce was no lesse than bolde and venturous. But what can Thirtie or Fortie Men doe agaynste the Force of a whole Countrey, and where the Generall was one of the most valiaunte, and wisest Captaynes of hys tyme and who was accompanied with the floure of the Neapolitane 391Fotemen. The assault continued four or fiue Houres, but in the end the Dead payes not able to sustayne the force of the assaylants, forsooke the Breache, and assaying to saue themselues, the Lieuetenaunt retired to the Kipe of the Fort, where his Wife continued prisoner, from the time that the two brethren were slaine. Whiles they without, ruffled in together in heapes amonges the defendauntes, the Duke of Camerino, with his Men, found meanes to escape out of Pryson, and therewithal began furiously to chastise the ministers of the disloyal Captaine, which in little tyme were cut al to pieces. Conrade being within found the Captayn’s Father, vppon whom he was reuenged, and killed him with his owne hands. And not content with that, caried into further rage, and fury, he slashed him into gobbets, and threwe them to the dogs. Truly a straunge maner of reuenge, if the Captain’s cruelty had not attempted like inhumanity. To bee shorte, horrible it is to repeate the murders done in that sturre, and hurly burly. For they that were of the Captayne’s part, and taken, receyued all the straungest and cruellest punishment that man could deuise. And were it not that I haue a desire in nothing to beely the Author, and lesse will to leaue that which he had wrytten vpon the miserable end of those that were the ministers and seruaunts to the barbarous tirrany of the Captayne, I would passe no further, but conceale that which doth not deserue remembraunce, except to auoide the example, which is not straunge, the Cruelty of reuenging heart in the nature of Man, in al times growinge to sutch audacity, as the torments which seeme incredyble, be lyable to credite as wel for those we reade in auncient Historyes, as those we heare tell of by heare say, and chauncyng in our tyme. Hee that had the vpper hand of his Enimy, not content to kyll, but to eate with his rauenous teeth the heart disentraylde from his aduersary, was hee lesse furious than Conrade, by makinge Anatomy of the Captayn’s Father? And he that thrust Galleazze Fogase in to the mouth of a Canon, tying his Head vnto his Knees and causing him to be caried by the violent force of Gunpouder into the City from whence he came, to bribe and corrupt certayne of hys enemies army, did he shew himselfe to be more curteous than one of these? Leaue we a part those that be past, 392to touch the miserable ende wherewith Conrade caused the last tribute of the Captain’s souldyers to bee payd. Now amongs these some were tied to the Tayles of wilde Horses, and trayned ouer Hedges, and Bushes, and downe the stiepnes of high Rocks, some were haled in pieces, and afterwards burnt with great Martyrdome, some were deuyded and parted aliue in four quarters, other sowed naked wythin an Oxe Hyde, and so buried in Earth, vp to the Chin, by whych torments they finished their Liues with fearful gronings. Will ye say that the Bull of Perillus, or Diomedes Horsses, were afflictions more cruell than these? I know not what ye cal cruelty, if these acts may beare the title of modesty. But all thys, proceeded of wrath and disdayne of eyther partes. The one dysdayned that the seruaunt should be his head, and the other was offended, that his soueraygne Lord should assay to take that from him, which his duty commaunded him to keepe. Conrade toke in ill part the treason of the Captayn, who beyond measure was angry, that the Lord Nicholas had made him a brother of Vulcan’s order, and regestred him in the booke of husbands, which know that they dare not speake. In summe, the one had right, and the other was not without some reason, and notwithstanding both surmounted the boundes of man’s milde nature. The one ought to content hymselfe (as I haue sayd) for being reuenged on him that had offended him, and the other of the murder done, duringe the assault without shewing so bloudy tokens of cruelty and so apparent euidence of tiranny, vpon the ministers of the brutall and bloudy Captayne, who seeing his father put to death with sutch Martirdome, and his men so straungely tormented, was vanquished with choller, dispayre and impacyence. And albeit the Captayne had no greate desire to hurt his Wyfe, yet was he surmounted with sutch rage, as apprehending hir, and binding hir hands and feete, she styl crying him mercy, and crauing pardon for hir faultes at the hands of God and him, he threw hir downe from the highest Toure of the Kipe vpon the pauement of the Castle courte, not without teares and abashment of al, which saw that monstrous and dreadful sight, which the Souldiers viewing, they fired the Toure, and with fire and smoke forced the Captaine to come forth, and by lyke meanes 393made him, his Brother and Chyldren to tread the daunce that his Wyfe before had don. Conrade by and by caused those bodies to be throwne forth for Foode to the Wolues, and other raueninge Beasts, and Byrdes liuing vpon the pray of Carrion, causing also his Brethren honourably to bee buryed, and the Gentlewoman that had home the penaunce worthy for hir fault. Sutch was the end of the most myserable, and worst gouerned loue, that I thinke man hath euer red in wryting, and which doth clearely witnesse, that there is no pleasure so great but Fortune by chaunging and turning hir Wheele maketh a hundred times more bitter than desire of sutch ioy doth yelde delyght. And farre better it were (besides the offence done to God) neuer to cast Eye on Woman, than to bord or proue them, to rayse sutch Sclaunders and Facts which cannot be recounted but with the horrour of the Hearers, nor wrytten but to the great griefe of those that muse and study vpon the same: Notwithstanding for instruction of our life, both good and bad Examples bee introduced and offred to the view of ech degree, and state. To the end that Whoredome may bee auoyded, and bodily Pleasure eschued, as most Mortal and pernicious Plagues that doe infect as well the Body and Reputation of man, as the integrity of the Minde. Besides that ech man ought to possesse his own Vessel, and not to couet that is none of hys, vnseemely also it is to solicite the Neyghbor’s Wyfe, to procure thereby the disiunction and defaite of the whole bond of mariage, which is a Treasure so deare and precious, and carieth so greate griefe to him that seeth it defaced, as our Lord (to declare the grauity of the Fact) maketh a comparison of his Wrath agaynste them which run after straunge Gods, and applyeth the honour due vnto him to others that doe not deserue the same, with the iust disdayne, and ryghtfull Choller of a Iealous Husbande, Fraught wyth despyght to see himselfe dispoyled of the Seasure, and Possession onely giuen to him, and not subiect to any other, whatsoeuer he be. Learne here also (O yee husbands) not to fly with so nimble Wing, as by your owne authority yee seeke reueng without fearing the follies and sclaunders that may insue. Your sorrow is iust, but it behoueth that reason doe guide your fantasies, and bridle your ouer sodayne passions, to the intent that yee come 394not after to sing the doleful Song of repentaunce, like vnto this foolish man, who hauing done more than he ought, and not able to retire without his ouerthrow, threw himselfe into the bottomlesse gulfe of perdition. And let vs all fixe fast in memory, that neuer vnruled rage, and wilful choller bringeth other benefit than the ruine of him that suffereth himselfe to runne headlonge into the same, and who thinketh that all that is naturall in vs, is also reasonable, as though Nature were so perfect a worckwoman, as in man’s corruption she could make vs Aungels, or halfe Gods. Nature following the instinct of that which is naturall in vs, doth not greatly stray from perfection, but that is giuen to few, and those whom God doth loue and choose. And Vertue is so seldome founde, as it is almost impossible to imitate that perfection. And briefly to say, I will conclude with the Author of this present Hystory.

Angre is a fury short,

To him that can the same excell:

But it is no laughing sport

In whom that senselesse rage doth dwell.

That pang confoundeth ech man’s wits

And shameth him with open shame,

His honour fades in frantike fits,

And blemisheth his good name.

395

THE THIRTY-FOURTH NOUELL.

The horrible and cruell murder of Soltan Solyman, late the Emperor of the Turkes and father of Selym that now raigneth, done vpon his eldest Sonne Mvstapha, by the procurement, and meanes of Rosa his mother in lawe, and by the speciall instigation of one of his noble men called Rvstanvs: where also is remembred the wilful death of one of his Sons named Giangir, for the griefe he conceiued to see Mvstapha so miserably strangled.

Twenty two yeares past or thereabouts I translated this present Hystory out of the Latine tongue. And for the rarenes of the Fact, and the disnaturall part of that late Furiose Enemy of God, and his Sonne Christ: I dedicated the same to the right honorable, my speciall good Lord, with al vertues, and nobility, fully accomplyshed, the Lord Cobbam Lorde Warden of the cinque Portes, by the name of Sir VVilliam Cobham Knyght. And bycause I would haue it continue in man’s remembraunce thereby to renue the auncient detestation, which we haue, and our Progenitors had against that horrible Termagant, and Persecutor of Christyans, I haue insinuated the same amongs the rest of these Nouels. For of one thing I dare make warrantise, that auncient Writers haue not remembred, nor old Poets reported a more notorious or horyble Tragedy or fact executed against nature, then that vnnaturall murder done by the sayd enemy of Christianity, the late Soltan Solyman, otherwyse called the great Turke. I remember the description of Nero’s Parricide vppon his louynge Mother, of purpose to behold the place of his byrth. I call to memory also the wycked Murther of Orestes, on hys Mother Clytemnestra. I also consider the vnfatherly part of Tantalus, who wyth the flesh of his owne sonne Pelops, feasted the Gods. All which are not farre dyfferent from this pestiferous Fury, and may wyth the same, and the lyke bee comparable by any Man heeretofore committed. This Hellysh Champyon hys owne Sonne, of hys owne Seede, Naturally conceaued wythin hys mother’s Wombe, vnnaturally in his owne presence moste Myserably did kill. O pityfull case, But alas, voyde of pitty 396to a pyttylesse man. O cruell fact, but not ouer cruell to him that liued a cruell Man. What Beast be he neuer so woode, or Sauage, can suffer his Yonglings to take harme, mutch lesse to doe them hurte himselfe? What fierce Lyonesse can infeste hir owne Whelpe, which with Naturall paines brought it into light? But what doe I stand vpon Lamentation of the case and leaue the brutenesse of this Madman far bruter then Lyons vnconsidered? The brutenesse of this fury so farre ecceedeth Beasts, as Reasonable passeth Vnreasonable. The fury of the Deuill, whom he serueth, so raged in his tirannous life, as loe, he slue his owne Sonne. The care of God, and Christe was so farre out of his Sighte as hee subuerted Nature. The libidonous lustes os this Lecherous Infidell, so surmounted the bounds of reason, as the fire thereof consumed his owne flesh. This Enemy of Christe was so bewytched as the dotage of his infidelity consented to murder. And as tiranny like a Lord possessed his Brayne in huntinge after the bloud of Christians, so Tiranny like an Enchaunter with the Sorcery of Feminine adulation shed the bloud of his owne begotten. Thus as tiranny was the Regent of his life most wicked, so Tiranny was the Plague of his owne generation. For as the Wryter of this Hystory reporteth, it was thoughte that the same was done by Diuyne Prouydence. And lyke as this vnhappy Father was a deadly Enemy vnto Chryst and hys Church, so this yonge Whelpe was no lesse a sheder of Christian Bloud. No doubt a very froward Impe, and a towarde Champion for the diuel’s Theatre: and as it is sayd hereafter, so goodly a yong man in Stature and other externe qualities of the body, as Nature could not frame a better. So excellent, and couragious in Feates of armes as Bellona hirselfe could not procreate a lustier. This History in the Latin tongue is written by Nicholas Moffan a Burgonian borne, a man so well in the warfare of good learning (as it appeareth) as in the seruice of the warres well expert. Who being a Souldiour in Hercules warres (the old Champyon of Christendome, and Pagan Enimy, Charles the fifte) was sore wounded and taken Prysoner in Bulgaria, in the yeare of our Lord 1552, and continued Captiue till September, 1555, almost three yeares. Whose Misery, Trouble, Famine, Colde, and other Torments by him sustayned, during the sayd time 397if it should bee declared, perhaps woulde seeme incredible. But when the Turke had kept him in miserable bandes two yeares, and saw he could not obtayne the Raunsome, whych he immesurably requyred, at length sent him to the Castell of Strigon, where for a certayne time he remayned hampered with double chaynes vpon his Necke, Handes, and Feete. And within sometime after hys comming thither he was made to toile in the day, like a common slaue, to hew and carry Woode, keepe Horse, sweepe Houses, and sutch other busines. Which Drudgery, he was glad to doe aswell for exercyse of his Members, which with colde yrons were benommed, as also to get Breade to relieue his hunger. For when hee had done his stinte, his Maister gaue him Bread, Onions, Garlicke, Cheese, and sutch other fare: and at Night he was sent agayne to Pryson, where he was matched with a Mate, that for Debte was condempned to perpetual Pryson, of whom he learned many things, aswel of their Lawes, Religion, warlike Affayres, and other maners of the Turkes, as also of the order of this horrible Fact don by Solyman. And by the report of his sayd Companion in pryson, he digested the same into the forme of this history. And after this man had payed hys Raunsome, and was set at lyberty, he arriued into the partes of Chrystedome. The Verity of whych is sutch, as it is not onely credyble bycause thys Man dyd wryte it, who was three Yeares there resiaunt, and in manner aforesaid, heard the truth thereof, but also is warranted, by sundry Marchant Men, Trauellers into farre Countreyes, faythfully verifiing the same to bee true. And before I drawe to the dyscourse of the Story, I will set downe some of the manners of Solyman’s greatest states and fauorites, and the pryncipal offices and honors of that hellish Monarchy. As Mustapha, Machomet, Baiasith, Selim, Gianger, Chrustam, and Hibrahim. This Hibrahim was so dearely beloued with the Emperour Solyman as he exercysed the Office of Vesiri, whych is nexte to the Emperour, the chyefest in degree of honor. Who by increase of that Office, became more wealthy in Treasure then Solyman himselfe, whych when he perceyued, without any respect of the honorable office, or the honor of the party, neglecting in respect of richesse (according to the natural desire of Auarice, wherewith the greedy Appetites of the 398stocke are endued) all religion, honour, Parents, countrey, friends or amity, he caused in his own presence, his head to be striken of, adding the treasures of the said Hibrahim to his owne Coafers, and placed one Rustanus to succeede in his office. Besides which honorable places ther be diuers degrees of honor, as Mutchty, which is of that honor with them as the chief bishop or Pope in other Countreies, and of sutch authority with the Emperour, that aswel in time of Peace, as also in Warres, he determineth vppon nothing without the counsel of Muchti. Bascha (which we commonly call VVascha) is the Lieuetenaunt of a Prouince. But forsomutch as all other offices and dignities, depend only vpon the Emperor, and are bestowed as he listeth, none of them hauing any thing proper that he may call his owne: the sayd Baschas in all Prouinces, euery three yeare are chaunged after the disposition of the Emperour, and continue no longer Gouernors, than the sayd terme, without his special decree, and commaundement. And this chaunge and seueral mutation, is done for two causes. First that notwithstanding the sayd Offices are bestowed by turnes, yet they which are most excellente in prowes of Armes, and Valiaunce, are best in fauour, and are placed in the most fertile Countreyes. But the maner in the disposition of the same Office is now degenerated, for where in tyme paste the same were bestowed vppon the best Captaynes and Souldyers, in these Days, are through Fauoure and Money, throughly corrupted. So that now amonges them all thynges for Money are venalia, ready to be solde, and yet the same vnknowen to the Emperour him selfe. The other cause, of the alteration and chaunge of the sayd Baschæ, and the Chyefest cause, as I haue learned is, least through theyr longe abode in the sayd Prouinces so to them assigned, by some incydent occasion they myght entre familiarilie wyth the Christians, and in successe of tyme be conuerted. The Turkes haue also amonges them certayne Noble Men which in theyr Language they call Spahy, and it is the first degree of honour, but it hath no discent or succession to the Posterity, and they only deserue the tytle thereof, whych in Warrelyke Affayres behaue them selues moste Manfully, and who at length are preferred to another degree of honour, and are called Subasche, which worde so farre as I can vnderstande, may be referred to the Title of Baron. Next 399to the same Subaschæ here is another called Begg. But here is meete to be knowne howe that woorde is taken amonges them two wayes, for generally all they which excell other in any promotion are called Beggi. That is to say Lordes or Maysters: but if it be meant singularly or properly, then it signifieth not simply a Captaine (for they call a Captaine Aga) but also an Earle. And if the sayd Begg chaunce to be endued by the Emperour with the order of Knyghthoode, then hee is called Sanggakbegg. And they likewise are accustomed to bee transposed from County to county, as the Baschæ are, and the same do not descend to the heires, but when the Earle is deade. And then both the promotion and county, are by the Emperour giuen to another. And hereby it appeareth that no man hath any thynge proper or his own, and therfore they cal themselues, Padiscahumcullari. That is to say, the Emperour’s bondmen. Here also I ought to entreat of the manners of the Turkes in theyr Warres, and the sundry offices therein. In what sorte they leuy, and muster their Souldiers, the order of their marching, the order in putting the same in array, and by what diligence they vse their Skouts, and Wardes, all which had bene necessary to haue bene spoken of, but that I might not be tedious. And yet of one thing for a conclusion I entend to speake of, which is of the Ianischari. The sayd Ianischari are the whole strength of the Turkes battell, who neuer obtayne victory, but the same is astributed to their valiaunce. They bee very expert, and skilfull in the vse of small shot, and great Ordinaunce, and in that kinde of defence and munition, they chiefly excell. And as I haue red, the Turke hath continually in wages thirty m. of the sayd Ianischari. They haue aboue other many singuler Pryuiledges, in so mutch as the name of a Ianischarus is in sutch reuerence amongs them, that notwithstanding any offence, or crime, done by them worthy capitall death, they in no wise shalbe punished, except before the committing of the offence, they be depriued of their estate by their Captaynes. Thys Priuiledge also they haue aboue others, that vnlesse they lye in Campe, they bee neuer compelled to watch nor warde, without great necessity do force them. And for this they be hatefull and odious to other Souldiours. It is sayd, that all they be Christian men’s children. And in those countreyes which he vanquisheth, he chooseth out the Boyes of 400the same, sutch as he thinketh meete, and carrieth them away, and bringeth them vp in his owne trade, and lawes, with exercise of feates in armes, and being growen to ripe yeares, and man’s state, they be alloted amongs the number of Ianischari. And thus mutch touching the maners, dignities, and offices of that Turkish broode: Now to the Hystory. Bee it knowne therefore, that Solyman had of a certayne bonde Woman this Mustapha, to whom from his Youth hee gaue in charge the Countrey of Amasia. Who with his Mother continually resiaunt in the sayd countrey, became so forwards in Feates of armes, as it was supposed of all men, that hee was gieuen vnto their countrey by some heauenly prouidence. This Mustapha, with his Mother being placed in the said Countrey, it chaunced that the Kynge his Father was beyonde measure wrapt with the beauty of another of his Concubins called Rosa, of whom hee begat foure sonnes, and one daughter. The eldest of the Sonnes was called Machomet, to whom the Prouince of Caramania was assigned. The second, Baiasith, who enioyed the countrey of Magnesia. The third called Selymus, to whom after the death of Machomet the eldest, the sayd Countrey of Caramania was appoincted. The fourth Iangir, whose surname, by reason hee was croke backed, notwithstanding his pregnant wit, was Gibbus. And the daughter he bestowed in mariage vppon Rustanus Bascha, who when Hibrahim was put to death, exercised the office of Vesiri as is aforesayd (which office we vse to call the President of the Counsayle) and according to his natural disposition to couetousnesse, abusing the sayd office, altered and chaunged all maner of thinges belonging to the same. He diminished the Souldiours wages, being by them called Ianischari. He abated the stipends of the Captayns, whom they nominate Saniachi. Hee also seassed vpon the Prouinces yearely Taxes and Tributs. And herewith being not satisfied, he ordayned a stint vpon the charges of the kings houshold, wherby he sought, but to accumulate vnto himselfe, infinite treasures, gotten by deceiptfull extortion, through occasion whereof, he was supposed to be faythfull, and diligent Seruaunte, and thereby greatly insinuated himselfe into the king’s fauour, little regardinge the hatred and displeasure of others. In the meane time, this Rosa of whom mencion is made 401before, perceyuing hir selfe before others to be beloued of the Kinge, vnder the Cloake of devotion declared vnto Muchty (which is the chiefe Bishop of Machomet’s religion) that she was affected with a Godly zeale to builde a Temple, and Hospitall for straungers, to the chiefe God, and honor of Machomet: but she was not minded to attempt the same without his aduice. And therefore shee asked whether the same would bee acceptable to God, and profitable for the health of her soule. Whereunto Muchty aunswered: that the worke to God was acceptable, although to hir soule it was nothing auaileable. Adding further, that not onely all hir Substance was at the Kinge’s disposition, but hir Life also, being a Bondwoman. And therefore that worke woulde be more profitable to the Kinge. With which aunswere the woman in hir mind dayly being troubled, became very pensiffe, like one that was voyde of all comfort. The King being aduertised of hir sorrow very gently began to comfort hir, affirming that shortely he would finde sutch meanes, as she should enioy the effect of hir desire. And forthwith manumised hir and made hir free, a writing and instrument made in that behalfe, according to their custome, to the intent she might not be at commaundement any more to be yoked in bondage. Hauinge in this sorte obtayned this fauoure, the sayd Rosa, with a great Masse of Money determined to proceede in hir entended purpose. In the meane season, the Kyng wythout measure being incensed with the desire of the sayd Rosa, as is aforesayd, sent for hir by a messenger, willing hir to repayre to the Court. But the crafty Woman, vnskilful of no pollicy, returned the Messenger with subtile aunswere, which was, that he should admonish the King hir Lord and Soueraygne, to call to his remembraunce aswell the lawe of honesty, as also the precepts of his owne lawes, and to remembre she was no more a Bondwoman and yet she could not deny but hir life remained at the disposition of his maiesty, but touching Carnall copulation to be had agayne with his person, that could in no wise be done, without committing of sinne most heynous. And to the intent he should not thinke the same to be fayned or deuised of hir selfe, she referred it to the iudgement of Muchty. Which aunswere of repulse, so excited the inflamed affections of the Kyng, as setting all 402other businesse a part, he caused the Muchty to be sent for. And giuing him liberty to aunswere, he demaunded whether his Bondwomen being once manumised, could not be knowen carnally without violation of the lawes? Whereunto Muchty aunswered: that in no wise it was lawfull, vnlesse before he should with hir contract matrimony. The difficulty of which Lawe in sutch sorte augmented the Kyng’s desires, as being beyond measure blinded with Concupiscence, at length agreed to the marriage of the sayd manumysed woman, and after the Nuptial writinges according to the custome were ratified, and that he had giuen vnto hir for a Dowry 5000 Soltan Ducats, the marriage was concluded, not without great admiration of all men, especially for that it was done contrary to the vse of the Ottomane Ligneage. For to eschew Society in gouernment, they marry no free or lawfull Wyues, but in their steades to satisfy theyr owne pleasures, and libidinous Appetites (wherein most vily, and filthely aboue any other Nation they chiefly excell) they chose out of diuers Regions of the World the most Beautifull, and fayrest Wenches, whom after a Kyngly sorte very honourably they bring vp in a place of their Courte, which they call Sarai: and instruct them in honest, and ciuile maners, with whom also they vse to accompany by turnes, as theyr pleasure most lyketh. But if any of them do conceyue, and bring forth childe, then she aboue all other is honoured, and had in reuerence, and is called the Soltanes most worthy. And sutch after they haue brought forth childe, are bestowed in marriage vppon the Pieres and Nobility, called Baschæ, and Sangacæ. But now to returne to our purpose. This manumised Woman being aduaunced through Fortune’s benefit, was esteemed for the chiefe Lady of Asia, not without great happinesse succeeding in al hir affayres. And for the satisfiyng of hir ambicious entents, there wanted but only a meane and occasion, that after the death of Solyman, one of hir own children might obtayne the Empire. Where vnto the generosity and good behauiour of Mustapha was a great hinderaunce, who in deede was a yong man of great magnanimity, and of Wit most excellent, whose Stomach was no lesse couragious, than he was manly in person, and force. For which qualities he was meruaylously beloued of the Souldiours 403and Men of warre, and for his wisedome and iustice very acceptable to the people. All which things this subtile woman considering, she priuely vsed the counsayle of Rustanus for the better accomplishing of hir purpose, knowing that he would rather seeke th’aduauncement of his kinsman and the brother of his owne Wyfe as reason was, then the preferment of Mustapha, with whom she certaynely knew that Rustanus was in displeasure. For in the beginning, as he sought meanes to extenuate the liuings of all other (as is aforesayd) so also he went about (but in vayne) to plucke somewhat from Mustapha. Whereby he thought that if he should once obtayne the gouernment, he would skarce forget sutch an iniury, and thereby not only in hazarde of his Office, and dignity, but also in daunger of losse of his heade. All which thinges, this wicked woman pondering in hir vngratious Stomacke went about to insert into the King’s mynde, no small suspitions of Mustapha, saying that he was ambitiouse and bolde vpon the Fauour and good wil of all men (wherewith in deede he was greatly endued) and reioysing in his force, let no other thing to be expected, then oportunity of time to aspire to the Kingdome, and to attempt the slaughter of his Father. And for the better cloaking of the matter, she caused Rustanus at conuenient tyme, more at large to amplifie and set forwards hir mallice, who alwayes had in charge all principall and weyghty affayres. In whom also was no lacke of matter to accelerate the accusation and death of the yong man. Moreouer to sutch as were appoyncted to the administration of the countrey of Syria, he priuely declared, that Mustapha was greatly suspected of his Father, commaunding euery of them dilligently to take heede to his estate, and of all sutch things as they eyther saw or perceyued in him, with all expedition to send aduertisement, affirming that the more spightfully they wrote of him, the more acceptable it should be to the Kinge. Wherefore diuers time Rustanus being certified of the kingly Estimation, Magnanimity, Wysedome, and Fortitude of Mustapha, and of his beneuolence and liberality towards all men, wherewith he greatly conciled their fauour, and how the ardent desires of the People, were inclined to hys election: he therefore durst not take vppon him to be the first that should sow the seede of that wicked conspiracy, but deliuering his Letters to the 404vngratious Woman, left the rest to the deuise of his vnhappy brayne: But Rosa espying oportunity of time to succeede hir vnhappy desyre, ceased not to corrupt the Kyng’s mynde, sometimes with promise of the vse of other Women, and sometimes with sundry other adulations. So that if mention was made of Mustapha at any time, she woulde take sutch occasion to open the Letters, as might serue most apt for hir purpose. And she was not deceyued of hir expectation. For taking a conuenient time not without teares (which Women neuer want in cloaked matter) she admonished the Kinge of the pearill wherein he stoode, remembring amongs other thinges, how his Father Selymus, by sutch meanes depryued his owne Father both from his kingdome, and Life, instantly requiringe him by that example to beware. But these Arguments of suspition, at the first brunt seemed not probable to the Kyng, and therefore by this meanes the deuilishe Woman could little preuayle, which when hir enuious Stomacke perceyued, she began to direct hir mischieuous mynde to other deuises, seeking meanes with poyson to destroy the yonge man. And there wanted not also, gracelesse persons, prompt and ready to accomplish that mischieuous fact, had not diuine prouidence resisted the same. For Rosa sent vnto Mustapha a sute of Apparell in the name of his Father, which by marueylous craft was enuenimed with Poyson. But Mustapha in no wyse would weare the sayd apparell before one of his slaues had assayed the same, whereby he preuented the Mischiefe of his vngratious Stepmother, opening to all men the deceipt of the poyson. And yet this pestilent Woman ceased not to attempt other Enterprises. She went about to purchase vnto hir the good will and familiarity of the Kyng in sutch sort as the like neuer obtayned in the Courte of Ottoman, (for she vsed certayne Sorceries through the helpe of a Woman a Jewe borne, which was a famous Enchauntresse, to wyn the loue of the Kyng, and thereby perswaded hir selfe to procure greater things at his hands) in so mutch as she obtayned that hir Children by course should be resiant in their Father’s Courte, that by theyr continuall presence and assiduall flattering, they might get the loue of their Father. So that if Mustapha did at any time come to the Court, by that meane she might haue a better meanes to rid him of his life, if not, to tary a time, wherein he should be dispatched 405by the help of others. But Mustapha not repayring to the Courte (for the Kyng’s chyldren do not vse to go out of their Countreys assigned vnto them, without their Father’s knowledge, nor to repayre to Constantinople with any number of men of Warre, to receyue their Inheritance till their Father be deade) she deuised another mischiefe. For enioying hir former request, she recouered another, also hauing brought to passe that not onely in the Citty, but also in the countrey, hir children should attend vppon theyr Father. Yea, and Giangir the crokebacked should alwayes attend on his father in his Warres. But the Stepmother’s deuise for certayne yeares hanging as it were in ballance, at length Fortune throughly fauoured hir wicked endeuours. For the Bascha which had the protection of Mustapha, and the gouernment of the Prouince of Amasia, (For euery one of the Kyng’s chyldren haue one Bascha, that is to say a Liutenaunt, which doe aunswere the people according to the lawes and gieue orders for the administration of the Warres, and also euery one of them haue a learned Man to Instruct them in good dyscipline, and Pryncely qualities) the sayd Bascha I say deuised Letters wherein was contayned a certayne treatise of Marriage, betwene Mustapha and the Kyng’s Daughter of Persia, and how he had referred the matter to the Ministers of the Temple, to the intent that if it had not good successe, he should be free from all suspition, and sent the same Letters to Rustanus who greatly reioysed for that he hoped to bring his desyred purpose to good effect. And fearing the matter no longer, incontinently he vttered the same to Rosa, who both togethers, forthwith went into the Pallace, and discouered the whole matter to the King. And to the intent they might throughly incense the Kyng’s mynde with suspicions, that before was doubtefull, and deliberatiue in the matter, to put him out of all doubt, they affyrmed that Mustapha like an ambitiouse man, sought meanes to conspyre his death being incensed like a Madman to the gouernment of his large Empyre, contrary to nature, and Law diuine. And to the intent better creadit might be gieuen to their subtile Suggestions, they alleaged the Treaty of Marriage betwene Mustapha and the Kyng of Persia, the deadly and auncient enimy of the Ottoman Ligneage. For respect whereof, he ought diligently to take heede 406least by conioyning the power of the Persians with the Sangachi, and Ianischari, which are the Captayns, and Souldiours, whose good willes he had with his lyberality already tyed to his fauour, in short time, would go about to depriue him of his Kyngdome and Lyfe. With these accusations and sutch lyke they had so farre sturred the king, as he himselfe sought the Death of his owne Sonne, in manner as foloweth. Therefore in the yere of our Lord 1552, he caused to be published with al expedition throughout his prouinces, that the Persians had made their vauntes how they woulde inuade the Countrey of Syria, win the Cityes there, and carry away the Captiues, and also would destroy euery place with fier and Sword, in sutch sort as no man should withstand them. Wherefore to prouide against the sayd proude and haultie Bragges, hee was forced to send Rustanus thyther with an Armie. The Souldiours being leuied, hee pryvily commaunded Rustanus in as secret manner as hee could and without any Tumulte to lay handes vpon Mustapha, and to bryng hym bound to Canstantinople. But if he could not conueniently bryng that to passe, then to dispatch hym of hys Lyfe by sutch meanes as he could. Rustanus receyuyng thys wycked and cruell Commaundement, marched towardes Syria wyth a power. Wher when he arryued Mustapha, hauing knowledge thereof setting all other businesse a parte, beying accompanyed with the Lustyest and best appoynted Men of Warre in al Turkey to the Numbre of seuen Thousande, hee directed his Iorney also towardes Syria. Whereof when Rustanus had vnderstandynge, and perceyued hee could not well accomplysh the wycked desire of the Kyng, immedyately retourned backe agayne to Constantinople in sutch haste that hee durste not abyde the sight of the Duste rered into the Ayre by Mustaphae’s Horse Men, and mutch lesse hys commyng. When the Souldyers were retired Rustanus declared to all Men that the Countrey was in good quyet, and pryuely repayred to the Kynge, and vttered to hym the cause of hys retourne, addynge further, that as farre as hee could see by manyfeste Sygnes, and Coniectures, the good Wylles of all the Armye were inclyned to Mustapha, and for that cause in so daungerous an Enterpryse, hee durste not aduenture with open Warres, but lefte all to the consideration of hys Maiesty. This 407reporte bred to the cruell Father (who nothynge degenerated from the Naturall Tirannye of hys Auncestors) greater Suspicions: for reuengement whereof he most wickedly toke further aduise. The yeare folowyng he commaunded an huge Army to be leuied once againe makyng Proclamation that the Persians with a greater Power would inuade Syria, and therefore thought it mete that he himself for the Common sauegarde of them all, ought personally to repayre thyther with a power to withstande the indeuors of his Ennimies. The Army being assembled, and al furnitures prouyded in that behalfe, they marched forwardes, and within fewe dayes after the cruell Father folowed. Who beynge come into Syria, addressed a messenger to Mustapha, to commaund him forthwith to repayre vnto him, then being encamped at Alepes. And yet Solymane could not keepe secret the mortall hatred he bare to hys Sonne from others, although he imployed dilygent care for that purpose, but that the knowledge thereof came to the Eares of one of the Baschæ, and others of Honour. Emonges whome Achmet Bascha pryuily sent Woorde to Mustapha, to the intent he myght take the better heede to hymself. And it seemed not without Wonder to Mustapha, that his Father, wythout necessary cause, shoulde arryue in those partes wyth so great a Number. Who notwithstanding, knowing hymselfe innocente, althoughe in extreame sorrow and pensifenes of mynd determyned to obey hys Father’s Commaundement although he shoulde stand in Daunger of hys Lyfe. For hee esteemed it a more honest and laudable part to incurre the Peryll of death in Obedience to hys Father, than to lyue in contumelye by disobedyence. Therefore in that great anxietye and care of Mynde, debatyng many thinges wyth hymselfe: At length he demaunded of a learned Man whych contynually was conuersaunt wyth hym in his House (as is aforesayde,) whether the Empyre of the whole World or a vertuous Lyfe ought rather to be wyshed for. To whom this Learned Man most Godly aunswered. That hee which dilygently weyed the Gouernement of this Worlde, shall perceiue no other Felycitye therein then a vayne and foolysh apparence of goodnesse. “For there is nothyng” (quod he) “more frayle or vnsure then the Worlde’s prosperity. And it bryngeth none other Fruicts but Feare, 408sorrow, troubles, suspicions, murders, Wickednesse, vnrighteousnes, spoyle, Pouerty, Captiuity, and sutch lyke whych to a man that affecteth a blessed Lyfe, are in no wyse to be wyshed for. For whose sake who so list to enioy them, leaseth the happines of that Lyfe. But to whome it is gyuen from aboue to way and consider the frayltye and shortnes of thys state (which the Common People deemeth to be a Lyfe) and to resist the vanityes of the World, at length to embrace vertue, to them truely in heauen there is a Place assigned and prepared of the highest God, where hee shall inherite perpetuall Ioyes, and Felicity of the Lyfe to come.” Wyth whych aunswer Mustapha beyng somwhat prycked in conscience wonderfully was satisfied, as being tolde of him which seemed by a certaine Prophecy to pronosticate his end. And tarrying vppon no longer disputation, immedyately dyrected his Iourney towards his cruell Father. And vsing that expedition he could, arriued at the place where his Father encamped, and not farre from the same he pitched his pauilion. But this expedite arriuall of Mustapha did inculcat a greater suspicion in the wycked Father. And Rustanus was not behynde wyth lyes, and other subtill informacions to set forwardes the same. And after he had called together the common Souldiours and the chiefe men of Warre in the Army, hee sente them to meete wyth Mustapha, who without any tarrying most readily obeyed his commaundement, to put themselues in readines. In the mean time this crafty Verlet, shewing by outward countenance the hid enuy that lay secrete in his heart, forthwith repaired into the Kynge’s Pauilion, and without shame or honesty told the King, howe almost euery one of the principall Souldiours of their owne accorde went to meete Mustapha. Then the King being troubled in mind, went forth of his tent, and persuaded with himself that Rustanus Wordes were true. Now Mustapha lacked not sondry tokens of his vnhappy fate: For not thre daies before he should take his iorney about the breake of day in the morning being in slepe, he dreamed that he saw Machomet clad in gorgious apparel, to take him by the hand, and lead him into a most pleasant place beutified with sundry turrets and sumptuous buildinge hauing in it a most delectable gardein, who shewing him al those things with his finger, spake these 409wordes: “Here” (quod he) “doe they rest for euer, which in the World haue lyued a Godly and iust Life, and haue bene Aduauncers of Law and Iustice, and contempners of vice.” And turning his face to the other syde, he saw two swifte and broad Riuers, the one of them boiled more blacke then Pitch. And in the sayd Riuers many were drowned, whereof some appeared aboue Water crying with horrible voices, Mercy, Mercy. “And there” (quod he) “are tormented all sutch, which in the World most wyckedly haue committed Mischiefe.” And the chiefe of them he sayed were Prynces, Kinges, Emperours, and other great Men. With that Mustapha awaked and callyng the saied learned Man vnto him, vttered his dreame. And pausyng a lyttle whyle (for the supersticious Machometistes attribute mutch Credite to dotage of dreames) being ful of sorrow and pensifnesse, at length answered That the vision was very dreadful, for that it pronosticated extreame peril of his life. Therefore he required him to haue diligent respect thereunto. But Mustapha beynge of great valiaunce and fortitude, hauing no regard to the aunswer aforesaid, couragiously replied with these wordes: “Shall I suffer my self to be vanquished with vaine and childish feare? Nay I wil rather take a good heart, and make hast to my Father. For I am assured that alwayes from time to time I haue honored his maiesty accordyng to my duety, in so mutch as neyther Fote trauelled, nor Eye looked, mutch lesse heart thought agaynst his will to desyre or couet to raigne, except it had pleased the highe God to haue called hys Maiesty from thys Lyfe to a better. And besydes that my Mynde was neuer bente after hys Death to beare rule, excepte Generall Electyon of all the Army, to the intent I myghte entre the Imperiall Seate wythout slaughter, Bloudshed, or any other cruell fact, and thereby preserue the friendship of my Brethren inuiolat, and free from any spot of hatred. For I alwayes determyned, and chose rather (since my Father’s pleasure is so) to end my Life like an obedyent Child, than continually to raigne, and be counted of al men, obstinate and disobedient, especially of mine enimies.” When he had spoken those wordes, he made hast to his father. And at his arriual to the Campe, so sone as he had pitched his Tent he apparelled himself al in white, and putting certain letters into his 410bosome, which the Turkes vse to do, when they go to any place (for in supersticions they vse maruailous dotage) he proceded towards his father, entending wyth reuerence (as the manner is) to kisse his hand. But when hee was come to the entry of the tent, he rememberd himself of his Dagger which he wore about him, and therefore vngirding himself he put it of for auoiding of al suspicion. Which don, when he was entred the Tent, he was very curteously (with sutch reuerence as behoued) welcomed of his father’s Eunuches. And when he saw no man else, but the seat royal, where his father was wont to sitte readye furnished, with a sorrowful heart stode stil, and at length demaunded where his Father was. Who answered that forthwith hee would come in presence. In the meane season he saw seuen dombe men (which the Turke vseth as Instruments to kepe his secrets, and priuily to do sutch murthers as he commaundeth) and therewith immediately was wonderfully mased saying: “Beholde my present Death.” And therewith stepped aside to auoide them, but it was in vaine, For being apprehended of the Eunuches and garde, was by force drawen to the place appointed for him to loose hys Lyfe, and sodainly the domb Men fastened a Bowstryng about his Necke. But Mustapha, some what striuing, requyred to speak but two Wordes with his Father. Which when the wicked parricide his Father hearde, beholding the Cruell Spectacle on the other side of the Tente, rebuked the dombe Men, saying: “Wil you neuer execute my Commaundement, and doe as I bid you? Wyll you not kyll the Traitor, which these ten years space would not suffer me to slepe one quyet Night?” Who when they harde him speake those cruell Woordes, the Eunuches and dombe Men threw him prostrate vpon the ground, and cording the string with a double knot most pitifully strangled him. Which wycked and cruell facte being done, the Bascha that was Lieuetenaunt of Amasia was also apprehended by the Kynge’s Commaundement, and likewyse beheaded in hys owne Presence. This Facte also commytted, he caused to be called before hym Gianger the Crokebacke, who was Ignoraunte of that was done, and Iestynge wyth hym as though hee had done a thynge worthie commendation, bad him to go and meete his Brother Mustapha: who with a ioyful cheere made hast to meete him. 411But when he came to the place and saw his infortunate Brother ly strangled and dead vpon the earth, it is impossible to tell with what sorrow he was affected. And he was scasce come to the place, but his wicked Father sent Messengers after him, to tell him that the Kyng had giuen him all Mustapha, his Treasures, Horsemen, Bondmen, Pauilions, Apparell: Yea, and moreouer the Prouince of Amasia. But Giangir conceyuing extreme sorrow for the cruell murder of his deere brother, with lamentable teares spake these words. “Oh cruell and wicked Dogge: yea, and if I may so call my father, Oh Traytor most pestilent, do thou enioy Mustapha, his Treasures, his Horses, Furnitures, and the sayd Countrey to. Is thy heart so vnnaturall, cruell, and wicked, to kill a yongue man so notable as Mustapha was, so good a Warriour, and so worthy a Gentleman as the Ottoman house neuer had or shall haue the like, without any respect of Humanity or Zeale naturall? By Saynct Mary I neede to take heede least hereafter in like maner thou as impudently do triumph of my death, being but a crokebacke and deformed man.” When hee had spoken theese wordes, plucking out his Dagger, he slew himselfe. Whereof when the Emperor had aduertisement, he conceyued inspeakable sorrow. But for al that, his sorrowfull heart vanquished not his couetouse minde. For he commaunded all Mustaphe’s Treasure, and other Furnitures to bee brought into his Tent. And the Souldiours thincking the same should be gieuen amongs them made as mutch haste to dispatche his commaundement. In the meane tyme Mustaphe’s Souldiours (not knowing what was become of their Mayster) seeing sutch a number runne in heapes without order came forth of their Camp to withstande their foolishe tumult, who very manfully, not without mutch slaughter withstoode the same. And when the Fame of that Tragicall tumult was bruted amongs the King’s souldiers, (who perceyuing the same more and more to waxe hot,) they went forth to succour their fellowes, but the Onset being gieuen on all sides, the fight on both parts was so fierce, as in short space there were slayne very neere the number of two thousande men besides the hurt and wounded, whereof the number was greater. Howbeit this Broyle had not bene thus ended, had not Achmat Bascha, a graue and wise man, and for his experimentes in the Warres of great aucthority amongs the 412souldiers driuen them back, and repressed their fury. Who turning himself towards Mustaphe’s souldiers with smiling countenaunce and milde words appeasing their furious stomacks spake these wordes: “Why my deere brethren and freends wil yee now degenerate from your olde accustomed wisedome, sufficiently tried in you these many yeares past, and will now resist the commaundment of the great Soltan the lord and soueraigne of vs all? I cannot chuse (as God shal help me) but meruayle what should mooue you whom hitherto I haue proued to be so notable and valiant men, and in this ciuile conflict, you should bende your force vpon your own frends, and raise vp sutch a spectacle to the Ottoman enemy, against whom heretofore you haue very prosperously and manfully fought, and therewith by mutuall slaughter to make them reioyse whom heretofore with the like, you haue made heauy and pensive. Therefore my fellowes as you tender your own valiaunce and Magnanimity, take heede, that by your own folly you do not lese the estimation of your wonted fortitude and wisedome, wherein hitherto you haue excelled all men. And reserue your force, which you now more than inough haue vsed amongs your owne Fellowes till you come against your Enemies, where you shall haue a more laudable, and better occasion to vse it.” With these woordes and the like spoken by Achamat Basca, the Souldiours were somewhat appeased, and all thinges were franckely suffered to bee carried out of Mustapha hys Pavylion to the Kynge’s. But when the death of Mustapha came to the knowledge of the Ianischari, and the rest of the Army, forthwith began another sedition. And after the Trumpets had blowen the onset, there was sutch a Tumult and styrre amongs the Souldiours, mixte wyth sundry Lamentations, and Teares, that like Madmen with great violence, they ran into the Courte, with theyr Swords naked in theyr hands ready bent to strike. And this renued and sudden styrre so terrified the Kyng, that hee wiste not what to do who for all the dampes would needes haue fled. But being persuaded of his Counselloures to tarry, hauing throughe Necessity, gotten occasion to attempt that whych in the tyme of hys most security he durst scarce haue enterprysed, went forth, and with sterne Countenaunce, spake to hys Souldyers in this manner. “What rumors, what tumultes, and what mad partes are these, wherewith 413so proudely in this sort ye disquiet me? What meane these enflamed countenances? What signify these haulty gestures, these proude and angry lokes? Doe you not remembre that I am your King that hath Power and Authority to gouerne and rule you? Are you determyned in this sort to spot your Auncyent and inuincible valiaunce, and the notable Warrefare of your predecessours, with the bloud of your Emperour?” And while the King was speaking these Words, the souldiers boldly answered, how they confessed him to be the same, whome many yeares ago they chose to be their Kinge, and for that hee alleaged how they had with their good seruice in the Warres acquired vnto him many great conquests and had diligently kepte the same: all that they did of purpose that he should vse towards them againe a godly Authority and iust Gouernment, and not vnaduisedly should lay his bloudy handes vppon euery iuste Man, and so to staine and defile himselfe with the Bloud of Innocents. And againe, where he laide to their charge, that they were issued from their Cabanes armed with Weapon, they affirmed the same to be done in a iust quarell, euen to reuenge the slaughter of innocent Mustapha, and for that they ought not to haue sutch a Kynge as should worke his anger vppon them that had not deserued it. Further they required that they might cleare themselues openly of the offence of Treason, whereof falsly they were accused by Mustapha, his Enimies, and to haue their accuser to be brought forth in open presence. And sayde more that before he personally did appeare before the Indgement Seat Face to Face to giue euidence, sub talionis pœna, accordinge to the Law, they would not vnarme nor yet disasemble themselues. [And whiles these things were debated betwene the emperor and the souldiers, the cruelty of the fact, so moued] all men to teares, that the Kyng him selfe seemed to take great repentaunce for his horrible deede, and promysed the Souldiours that they should haue their requests, and went about with fayre perswasions to mittigate (as mutch as lay in him) their furious stomakes. Howbeit the Souldiours gaue diligent heede to their watch and warde euery man in his place appoynted, that the king might not secretly conuey himselfe away, and so deceyue theym of his promisses, and the expectation of their requests. In 414the meane time the Kyng depriued Rustanus of all his offices, and promotions, and tooke away from him the priuy Signet whereof he had the keeping, and deliuered it to Achmat Bascha. Rustanus amased with the terror and feare of the Souldiours, thinking himselfe scarce in good security amongs his owne men, secretly conueyed himselfe to Achmat Bascha his Pauilyon, and asked counsell of him what was best to be done in so doubtfull, and daungerous a case. Who aduised him therein to haue the kyng’s aduice, and as he commaunded him so in any wyse to doe. Which counsayle marueylously satisfied the mynde of Rustanus. And without any longer delay by certaine Messengers which were his faythfull, and familier Freends required the King’s aduise. Whereunto the King aunswered that forthwith without longer tariaunce he should auoyde his syght, and absent himselfe from his Campe. Who replied that without Money and other furnitures, he could not conueniently execute hys commaundement. But the King had hym to do what hee list, for he woulde in no wise gieue hym leaue to haue any longer time or space to deliberate the matter. At length Rustanus without further stay, as guilty of his cursed deuises, accompanied with eyght of his trustiest Frends directed his Iorney to Constantinople, and vsing mutch expedition (as feare in fearefull matters putteth spurres to the horse) came to Constantinople: and there with Rosa and other the Conspiratours expected the euents of Fortune not without daunger of their liues. Moreouer it was sayd that Solyman, whose Conscience bewrayed the beastlynes of his abhominable facte, being pricked with a supersticious repentance, determined to trauel on pilgrimage to Mecha, and proceding in his voiage, he was driuen by meanes of the Persians force to go to Hierusalem there to offer sacrifice for the death of his Sonne, which they call Corba. But now to conclude, and somewhat to speake of Mustapha or rather by way of admonition this one thing to say of him, that the sayde Mustapha was so acceptable and well beloued of all men for his warlike experience, and for his redinesse to sheade Christian bloud, that they supposed the like would neuer be in the Ottoman house more towards to enlarge, and amplyfie their Empyre, or promysed greatter thinges for the perfourmance thereof. In so mutch as 415then they dispayred so of their Enterprises, as this Prouerbe rose vp amongs them, Gietti Soltan Mustapha, which signifieth an vtter dispayre in thinges which they thought before to goe about. Therefore we haue good cause to reioyce for the death of thys cruell enimy that should haue raygned, and to thinck the slaughter of him not to be done without God’s speciall prouidence, who in this sorte hath prouided for vs. And at length to be wise, and abstayne from ciuile Warre and dissencions. And with common Force to set vppon this wicked Tarmegant, considering that he is not only a generall Ennimy to our Countrey and Lyfe, but also to our Soules. Which thing if we do, it will not be so hard a matter to withstand the force of this enemy of Christendome, as if we doe not, it wyll be daungerous through our continuall discorde to gieue him occasion to inuade the rest of Europe, and so with his tiranny bring the same to vtter destruction, which God that is omnipotent forbid, who bring vs to vnity through his Sonne Iesus Christe, Amen.

416

THE THIRTY-FIFTH NOUELL.

The great curtesie of the Kyng of Marocco, (a Citty in Barbarie) toward a poore Fisherman, one of his subiects, that had lodged the Kyng, being strayed from his Company in hunting.

For somutch as the more than beastly cruelty recounted in the former Hystory, doth yelde some sowre taste to the minds of those that be curteous, gentle and well conditioned by nature, and as the Stomacke of him that dayly vseth one kinde of meate, be it neuer so delycate and daynty, doth at length lothe, and disdayne the same, and vtterly refuseth it: I now chaunge the Diet, leauing murders, slaughters, despayres, and tragicall accidents, and turne my stile to a more pleasaunt thing, that may so well serue for instruction of the noble to follow vertue, as that which I haue already written, may rise to their profit, warely to take heede they fal not into sutch deformed and filthy faults, as the name and prayse of man be defaced, and his reputation decayed: if then the contraries be knowne by that which is of diuers natures, the villany of great cruelty shalbe conuerted into the gentlenesse of milde curtesie, and rigor shalbe condempned, when with sweetenesse and generosity, the noble shall assaye to wyn the heart, seruice, and affected deuotion of the basest sorte: So the greatnesse and nobility of man placed in dignity, and who hath puissaunce ouer other, consisteth not to shew himselfe hard, and terrible, for that is the manner of Tyraunts, bicause he that is feared, is consequently hated, euyll beloued, and in the ende forsaken, of the whole World, which hath bene the cause that in times past Prynces aspiring to great Conquests, haue made their way more easie by gentlenesse and Curtesie, than by fury of armes, stablishing the foundations of their dominions more firme and durable by those meanes, than they which by rigor and cruelty haue sacked townes, ouerthrowne Cities, depopulated Prouinces, and fatted Landes with the bodies of those, whose liues they haue depriued by dent of sword, sith the gouernement and authority ouer other, caryeth greater subiection, than puissance. Wherefore 417Antigonus, one of the successors of great Alexander (that made all the Earth to tremble vppon the recitall of hys name) seeing that hys Sonne behaued himselfe arrogantly, and wythout modesty to one of hys Subiects, reproued and checked hym, and amongs many wordes of chastisement and admonition, sayd vnto him: “Knowest thou not my Sonne, that the estate of a Kyng is a noble and honourable seruitude?” Royall wordes (in deede) and meete for Kyng: For albeit that eche man doth reuerence to a Kyng, and that he be honoured, and obeyed of all, yet is hee for all that, the Seruaunt, and publike Mynister, who ought no lesse to defend hys Subiect, than the Subiect to do him honour and Homage. And the more the Prynce doth humble himselfe, the greater increase hath his glory, and the more wonderfull he is to euery Wyght. What aduaunced the Glory of Iulius Cæsar, who first depressed the Senatorie State of gouernment at Rome? Where his Victoryes atchieued ouer the Galles and Britons, and afterwardes ouer Rome it selfe, when he had vanquished Pompee? All those serued his tourne, but his greatest fame rose of his Clemency and Curtesie: By the whych Vertues hee shewed himselfe to be gentle, and fauorable euen to those, whom hee knewe not to loue him, otherwise than if hee had beene their mortall Enimy. His Successors as Augustus, Vespasianus, Titus, Marcus Aurelius, and Flauius were worthily noted for clemency: Notwithstanding I see not one drawe neere to the great Courage, and Gentlenesse, ioyned wyth the singuler Curtesie of Dom Roderigo Viuario the Spanyarde Surnamed Cid, towarde Kyng Pietro of Aragon that hindred his expedityon agaynst the Mores at Grenadoe. For hauing vanquyshed the sayde King, and taken hym in Battell, not onely remitted the reuenge of his wrong, but also suffered hym to go wythout raunsome, and tooke not from him so mutch as one Forte, esteemyng it to bee a better exploite to winne sutch a King with curtesie, than beare the name of cruell in putting him to Death, or seasing vpon his land. But bicause acknowledging of the poore, and enriching the smal, is commendable in a Prynce, than when he sheweth himselfe gentle to his lyke, I haue collected this discourse and facte of Kynge Mansor of Marocco, whose Chyldren (by subtile and fained religion) Cherif 418succeded, the Sonne of whom at this day inioyeth the kingdomes of Su, Marocco, and the most part of the isles confinynge vpon Æthiopia. This history was told by an Italian called Nicholoso Baciadonne, who vppon this accydent was in Affrica, and in trafike of Marchandyse in the Land of Oran, situated vppon the coast of the South seas, and where the Geneuois and Spanyards vse great entercourse, bicause the countrey is faire, wel peopled, and wher the inhabitants (although the soyle be barbarous) lyue indifferent ciuilly, vsing great curtesie to Straungers, and largely departing their goodes to the poore, towards whom they be so earnestly bente, and louing, as for theyr Lyberality and pytiful almesse, they shame vs Christians. They meinteine a grest numbre of Hospitalles, to receiue and intertaine the poore and neady, wherein they shew themselues more deuout than they that be bounde by the law of Iesus Christe, to vse Charity towardes theyr brethren, with more curtesie and greater myldnesse. These Oraniens delight also to record in wryting the successe of thinges that chaunce in their time and carefully reserue the same in Memorie, whych was the cause that hauyng registred in theyr Chronicles, (wrytten in Arabie letters, as the most part of those Countreyes do vse) this present history, they imparted the same to the Geneuois marchants of whom the Italian author confesseth to haue receyued the copie. The cause why the Geneuois marchant was so diligent to make the enquirie, was by reason of a City of that prouince, builte through the chaunce of thys Historye, and which was called in theyr Tongue, Cæsar Elcabir, so mutch to say as, A great Pallace. And bycause I am assured, that curteous Myndes will delyght in deedes of Curtesie, I haue amonges other the Nouelles of Bandello, chosen by Francois de Belleforest and my self, discoursed thys, albeit the matter be not of great importance. For greater thynges and more notorious curtesies haue bene done by our own Kinges and Prynces. As that of Henry the eight a Prynce of notable memorye in hys Progresse into the North the xxxiii. yeare of his raigne, when he dysdayned not a pore Miller’s house being stragled from his trayne, busily pursuing the Hart, and ther vnknowne of the Miller, was welcomed with homely cheare, as hys mealy house was able for the time to minister, and afterwardes 419for acknowledging his willing Mynde, recompenced him wyth daynties of the Courte, and a Pryncely rewarde. Of Edwarde the thyrde, whose royall Nature was not displeased pleasauntly to vse a Waifaring Tanner, when deuyded from his Company, he mette hym by the way not far from Tomworth in Staffordshire, and by cheapening of his welfare steede (for stedinesse sure and able to carry him so farre as the stable dore) grewe to a price, and for exchaunge the Tanner craued fiue shillings to boote betwene the Kings and his. And when the King satisfied with disport, desired to shew himself by sounding his warning blaste, assembled all hys Traine, and to the great amaze of the poore Tanner, (when he was guarded with that Troupe) he well guerdoned his good Pastime and familiar dealing, with the order of Knighthoode and reasonable reuenue for the maintenaunce of the same. The lyke Examples our Chronicles, memory, and reporte plentifully doe auouche and witnesse. But what? this Hystory is the more rare and worthy of notyng, for respect of the People and Countrey, where seldome or neuer Curtesie haunteth or findeth harborough, and where Nature doth bryng forth greater store of monsters, than thinges worthy of praise. This great King Mansor then was not onely the Temporall Lord of the Countrey of Oran and Marocco, but also (as is saide of Prete Iean,) Byshop of his Law and the Mahomet Priest, as he is at thys Day that raighneth in Feze, Sus, and Marocco. Now thys Prynce aboue all other pleasure, loued the game of Hunting. And he so mutch delighted in that passetime, as sometime he would cause his Tentes in the myd of the desertes to be erected, to lye there all Nyght, to the end, that the next day he might renew his game, and defraud his men of idlenesse, and the Wild beasts of rest. And this manner of Life he vsed still, after he had done Iustice and hearkened the complaintes for which his Subiectes came to disclose thereby theyr griefes. Wherein also he toke so great pleasure, as some of our magistrates do seeke their profite, whereof they be so squeymishe, as they be desirous to satisfy the place whereunto they be called, and render all men their righte due vnto them. For wyth theyr Bribery and Sacred Golden Hunger, Kings and Prynces in these dayes be ill serued, the people wronged, and the wycked out of 420feare. There is none offence almost how villanous so euer it be, but is washed in the Water of Bribery, and clensed in the holly drop, wherewith the Poets faine Iupiter to corrupt the daughter of Acrifius fast closed within the brasen Toure. And who is able to resist that, which hath subdued the highest powers? Now returne we from our wanderings: This greate Kynge Mansor on a day assembled his People to hunt in the marish and fenny Countrey, that in elder age was not farre of from the City of Alela, which the Portugalles holde at this present, to make the way more free into the Isles of Molucca, of the most part wherof their King is Lord. As he was attentife in folowing a Beare, and his pastime at the best, the Elements began to darke and a great tempest rose, such as with the storme and violent Winde, scattered the trayne far of from the King, who not knowing what way to take, nor into what place he might retire, to auoid the tempest, the greatest that he felt in al his life, would with a good wil haue ben accompanied as the Troiane Æneas was, when being in like pastime and fear he was constrayned to enter into a Caue wyth his Queene Dido, where he perfourmed the Ioyes of hys vnhappy Maryage. But Mansor beeynge without Companye, and wythout any Caue at Hande, wandered alonges the Champayne so carefull of hys Lyfe for feare of Wylde Beastes, whych flocke together in those desertes as the Courtiers were pensiue, for that they knew not whether theyr Prynce was gone. And that which chiefly grieued Mansor was hys being alone without guide: And for all he was well mounted, he durst passe no further for fear of drownyng, and to be destroyed amiddes those Marshes, whereof all the Countrey was very ful. On the one side he was fryghted with Thunderclaps, which rumbled in the ayre very thicke and terryble: On the other side the lightning continually flashed on his face, the roring of the Beastes apalled him, the ignoraunce of the way so astonned him, as he was affraide to fall into the running Brokes, which the outragious raignes had caused to swell and ryse. It is not to be doubted, that orisons and prayers vnto hys greate prophet Mahomet were forgotten, and doubtfull it is whether he were more deuout when he went on Pilgrimage to the Idolatrous Temple of Mosqua. Hee complayned of ill lucke, accusing Fortune, but chiefly hys 421owne folly, for giuing himselfe so mutch to hunting, for the desire whereof, hee was thus straggled into vnknowen Countreyes. Sometimes he raued and vomytted his Gall agaynst his Gentlemen and houshold seruaunts, and threatned death vnto his guarde. But afterwards, when reason ouershadowed his sense, he saw that the tyme, and not their neglygence or little care caused that disgrace. He thoughte that his Prophet had poured downe that tempest for some Notable sinne, and had brought him into such and so dangerous extremity for his faults. For which cause he lifted vp his Eyes, and made a thousand Mahomet mowes, and Apish mocks (according to theyr manner.) And as he fixed his eyes aloft vp to the heauens, a flash of lightning glaunced on his Face so violently, as it made him to holde downe his head, lyke a lyttle Chyld reproued of his maister. But he was further daunted and amazed, when he saw the night approche, which with the darkenes of his cloudy Mantell, stayed hys pace from going any further, and brought him into such perplexitye, as willingly he would haue forsaken both his hunting and company of his Seruants to be quit of that Daunger. But God carefull of good Myndes (with what law so euer they be trayned vp,) and who maketh the Sunne to shine vpon the iust and and vniuste, prepared a meanes for his sauegarde, as you shal heare. The Affricane King beyng in his traunce, and naked of all hope, necessity (which is the clearest loking glasse that may be found,) made him diligently to loke about, whether he could see any persone by whome he might attayne some securitie. And as he thus bent himselfe to discry all the partes of the Countrey, he saw not far of from him, the glimpse of a light which glimmered out at a little Window, whereunto he addressed himselfe, and perceiued that it was a simple Cabane situate in the middest of the Fennes, to which he approached for his succor and defense in the time of that tempest. He reioysed as you may think, and whither his heart lept for ioy, I leaue for them to iudge which haue assayed like daungers, how be it I dare beleue, that the saylers on the seas feele no greater ioy when they arriue to harborough, than the king of Marocco dyd: or when after a Tempest, or other peril, they discrye vppon the prowe of their shyppe, the bryghtnesse of 422some clyffe, or other land. And thys king hauing felt the tempest of Wind, raine, haile, lyghtenyng, and Thunder claps, compassed round aboute with Marshes and violent streames of little Riuers that ran along his way, thought he had found Paradise by chauncing vpon that rusticall lodge. Now that Cotage was the refuge place of a pore Fisher man, who lived and susteined his Wife and children with Eeles which he toke alongs the ditches of those deepe and huge Marshes. Mansor when he was arrived at the dore of that great pallace couered and thacked with Reede, called to them wythin, who at the first would make no answer to the Prynce that taried there comming at the Gate. Then he knocked againe, and with louder voyce than before, which caused this fisher man, thinkynge that he had bene some rippier (to whom he was wont to sell hys ware, or else some straunger strayed out of his way,) spedily went out, and seeinge the Kinge well mounted and richlye clothed, and albeit he tooke him not to be his soueraigne Lord, yet he thought he was some one of his Courtly Gentlemen. Wherefore hee sayde: “What Fortune hath dryuen you (sir) into these so deserte and solytarye Places, and sutch as I maruell that you were not drowned a hundred tymes, in these streames, and bogges whereof this Marrish and fenny Countrey are full?” “It is the great God” (aunswered Mansor) “which hath had some care of me, and will not suffer me to perysh without doynge greater good turnes and better deedes than hitherto I haue don.” The King’s comming thither, seemed to Prognosticate that whych after chaunced, and that God poured downe the Tempest for the Wealth of the Fisher man, and commodity of the Country. And the straying of the Kyng was a thyng appoynted to make voyde those Marshes, and to purge and clense the Countrey: Semblable chaunces haue happened to other Prynces, as to Constantine the great, besides his City called New Rome, when he caused certayne Marshes and Ditches to be filled vp and dryed, to build a fayre and sumptuous Temple, in the Honor and Memory of the blessed Virgin that brought forth the Sauior of the World. “But tel me good man” (replyed Mansor) canst thou not shew me the way to the Court, and whether the King is gone, for gladly (if it were possible) would I ride thither.” “Verily” (sayd the Fisher Man) “it will be almost 423day before ye can come there, the same beinge ten leagues from hence. “Forsomutch as thou knowest the way” (aunswered Mansor) “doe me so great pleasure to brynge me thither, and be assured that besides the good turne, for which I shall be bound vnto thee, I will curteously content thee for thy paynes.” “Sir” (sayd the poore man) “you seeme to be an honest Gentleman, wherfore I pray you to lyght, and to tarry heere this Night, for that it is so late, and the way to the City very euyll and combersome for you to passe.” “No, no,” (sayd the King) “if it be possible, I must repayre to the place whither the King is gone, wherefore doe so mutch for me as to bee my guide, and thou shalt see whether I be vnthankfull to them that imploy their paynes for mee.” “If Kyng Mansor” (sayd the Fisher man) “were heere hymselfe in Person and made the lyke request, I would not be so very a foole, nor so presumptuous, (at this time of the Nyght) to take vppon me without Daunger to bryng hym to his Palace.” “Wherefore?” (sayed the Kyng) “Wherefore? (quod you), bicause the Marshes bee so daungerous, as in the Day tyme, if one know not wel the way, the Horse, (be hee neuer so stronge and Lusty,) may chaunce to sticke fast, and tarry behynd for gage. And I would be sorry if the King were heere, that he should fall into Peryl, or suffer any anoyance and therewythall would deeme my selfe vnhappy if I did let hym to incur sutch euyll or incombrance.” Mansor that delighted in the communication of this good man, and desirous to know the cause that moued him to speak with sutch affection, said vnto him: “And why carest thou for the Life, health, or preseruation of the Kynge? What hast thou to doe wyth him that wouldest be so sorry for hys state, and carefull of his safety.” “Ho, ho,” said the good man, “doe you say that I am carefull for my Prince? Verily I loue him a hundred tymes better than I do my selfe, my Wife or children whych God hath sent me: and what sir, do not you loue our Prince?” “Yes that I doe” (replyed the Kyng,) “for I haue better cause than thou, for that I am many times in his company, and liue vpon his charge and am entertayned with his wages. But what nedest thou to care for hym? Thou knowest him not, hee neuer did thee anye good turne or pleasure: nor yet thou nedest not hope henceforth to haue any pleasure at his hands.” 424“What?” (said the Fisher man) “must a Prince be loued for gaine and good turnes, rather than for hys Iustice and curtesie? I see wel that amongs you maister Courtiers, the benefits of kings be more regarded, and their gifts better liked than their vertue and nobility, which maketh them wonderful vnto vs: and ye do more esteme the gold, honor and estates that they bestow vpon you, than their health and sauegard, which are the more to be considered, for that the King is our head, and Godhath made him sutch one to kepe vs in Peace, and to be carefull of our states. Pardon me if I speake so boldly in your presence.” The kyng (which toke singular delight in this Countrey Philosopher,) answered him: “I am not offended bicause thy words approche so neare the troth: but tel me what benefit hast thou receiued of that King Mansor, of whome thou makest sutch accompt and louest so wel? For I cannot thinke that euer he dyd thee good, or shewed thee pleasure, by reason of thy pouerty, and the little Furnyture within thy house in respect of that which they possesse whome hee loueth and fauoreth, and vnto whome he sheweth so great familyaritye and Benefite.” “Doe tell me sir” (replyed the good man) “for so mutch as you so greatly regard the fauoures which Subiects receiue at theyr Prynces handes, as in deede they ought to doe, What greater goodnesse, richesse, or Benefite ought I to hope for, or can receyue of my King (being sutch one as I am,) but the profite and vtility that all we whych be his vassalles do apprehend from day to day in the Iustyce that he rendereth to euery Wyghte, by not suffering the puissant and Rich to suppresse and ouertread the feeble and weake, and him that is deuoid of Fortune’s goods, that indifferency be maintayned by the Officers, to whom he committeth the gouernement of his Prouinces, and the care which he hath that his people be not deuoured by exactions, and intolerable tributes. I do esteeme more his goodnesse, clemency and Loue, that he beareth to his subiects, than I doe all your delycates and ease in following the Court. I most humbly honor and reuerence my king in that he being farre from vs, doeth neuerthelesse so vse his gouernment as we feele his presence like the Image of God, for the peace and vnion wherein we through him do lyue and enioy, without disturbaunce, that lytle whych 425God and Fortune haue gyuen vs. Who (if not the king) is he that doeth preserue vs, and defend vs from the incursions and pillages of those Theues and Pirates of Arabie, which inuade and make warre with their neighbours? and there is no friend they haue but they would displease if the King wysely did not forbyd and preuent their villanies. That great Lord which kepeth his Court at Constantinople and maketh himself to be adored of his people like a God, brideleth not so mutch the Arabians, as our king doth, vnder the Protection and sauegard of whome, I that am a poore Fisher man, do ioy my pouerty in peace, and without fear of theeues do norish my litle family, applying my selfe to the fishing of Eeles that be in these ditches and fenny places, which I carry to the market townes, and sell for the sustenance and feeding of my wife and children, and esteeme my self right happy, that returning to my cabane, and homely lodge at my pleasure, in whatsoeuer place I do abide, bicause (albeit far of from Neighboures,) by the benefite and dilygence of my Prince, none staye my iourney, or offendeth me by any meanes, whych is the cause (sayd he lifting vp his hands and eyes aloft,) that I pray vnto God and his great Prophet Mahomet, that it may please them to preserue our King in health, and to gyue him so great happe and contentation, as he is vertuous and debonaire, and that ouer hys Ennimies (flying before him,) he may euermore be victorious, for noryshing his people in peace, and his children in ioy and Nobility.” The King seeing that deuout affectyon of the paisaunte, and knowyng it to be without guile or Hypocrisie, would gladly haue discouered himself, but yet willyng to reserue the same for better opportunity, he sayd vnto him: “Forsomutch as thou louest the king so well, it is not impossible but those of his house be welcome vnto thee, and that for thy Mansor’s sake, thou wilt helpe and do seruice to his Gentlemen.” “Let it suffise you” (replyed he) “that my heart is more inclined to the King, than to the willes of those that serue him for hope of preferment. Now being so affectionate to the king as I am, thynke whyther hys householde Seruauntes haue power to commaund me, and whither my willing mynde be prest to doe them good or not. But mee thynke ye neede not to stay heere at the gate in talke, being so wet as 426you be: Wherefore vouchsafe to come into my house, which is youre owne, to take sutch simple lodging as I haue, where I wyl entreat you, (not according to your merite) but with the little that God and his Prophet haue departed to my pouerty: And to morrow morning I will conduct you to the City, euen to the royall Palace of my Prynce.” “Truly” (answered the King) “albeit necessity did not prouoke me, yet thine honesty deserueth well other reputation than a simple Countrey man, and I do thinke that I haue profited more in hearing thee speake than by hearkenyng to the flattering and babbling tales of Courting triflers, which dayly employ themselues to corrupte the eares of Prynces.” “What sir?” (sayd the Paysant) “thynke you that thys poore Coate and simple lodging be not able to apprehend the Preceptes of Vertue? I haue sometimes heard tell, that the wise auoyding Cityes and Troupes of Men, haue wythdrawne themselues into the desertes, for leysure to contemplate heauenly thynges.” “Your skyll is greate,” replyed Mansor: “Goe we then, sith you please to doe me that Curtesie as this night to be myne hoste.” So the king went into the Rustical Lodge, where insteede of Tapistery and Turkey hangings, he sawe the house stately hanged with fisher Nets and Cordes, and in place of rich seeling of Noble mens houses, he beheld Canes and Reedes whych serued both for the seeling and couering. The Fisher man’s Wife continued in the kitchen, whilest Mansor hymself both walked and dressed his owne horse, to which horse the Fisher man durste not once come neare for his Corage and stately trappour, wyth one thing he was abundantly refreshed, and that the moste needefull thing which was fire, whereof there was no spare, no more then there was of Fishe. But the king which had been dayntely fed, and did not well taste and lyke that kynde of meat, demaunded if hys hunger could not be supplyed with a lytle Flesh, for that his stomacke was anoyed with the onely sauoure of the Eeles. The poore man, (as ye haue somewhat perceiued by the former discourse) was a pleasaunt fellow, and delighted rather to prouoke laughter than to prepare more dainty meat, said vnto the king: “It is no maruell, though our kinges do furnishe themselues with Countrey men, to serue them in their Warres, for the delicate bringing vp and litle force in fine Courtiers. 427Wee, albeit the Raine doth fal vppon our heads, and the Winde assaile euery part of our bodies all durtie and Wet, doe not care either for fire or Bed, wee feede vpon any kinde of meate that is set before vs, withoute seeking Sauce for increasing of our appetite: and we (beholde) are nimble, healthy, lusty, and neuer sicke, nor our mouth out of tast, where ye do feele sutch distemperaunce of stomacke, as pity it is to see, and more ado there is to bring the same into his right order and taste, than to ordeine and dresse a supper for a whole armie.” The king who laughed (with displayed throte,) hearing his hoste so merily disposed, could haue been contented to haue heard him still had not his appetite prouoked him, and the time of the Night very late. Wherefore he said vnto him: “I do agree to what you alleage, but performe I pray thee my request, and then wee will satisfie ourselues with further talke.” “Well sir” (replied the king’s Hoste,) “I see well that a hungry Belly hath no luste to heare a merry song, whereof were you not so egre and sharpe set, I could sing a hundred. But I haue a lytle Kidde which as yet is not weaned, the same wil I cause to bee made ready, for I think it cannot be better bestowed.” The supper by reason of the hoste’s curtesie, was passed forth in a thousand pleasant passetimes, whych the Fisherman of purpose vttered to recreate hys Guest, bicause he sawe hym to delight in those deuyses. And vppon the end of Supper, he sayd vnto the King: “Now sir, how like you this banket? It is not so sumptuous as those that be ordinarily made at our Prynce’s Court, yet I thynke that you shal slepe wyth no lesse appetyte than you haue eaten with a god stomack, as appeareth by the few Woords you have vttered in the tyme of your repast. But whereunto booteh it to employ tyme, ordeyned for eating, in expense of talke, whych serueth not but to passe the tyme, and to shorten, the day? And meats ought rather to be taken for sustentation of Nature then for prouocation or motion of thys feeble and Transitorye Fleshe?” “Verily” (sayd the King) “your reason is good, and I doe meane to ryse from the Table, to passe the remnant of the Nyght in rest, therewyth to satisfie my selfe so well as I haue wyth eatyng, and do thanke you heartily for your good aduertysement.” So the King went to Bed, and it was not long ere hee fell a 428sleepe, and contynued tyll the Mornynge. And when the Sunne dyd ryse, the Fisherman came to wake hym, tellyng hym that it was tyme to rise, and that hee was ready to bryng him to the Court. All this whyle the Gentlemen of the kinge’s Traine were searching round aboute the Countrey to fynde his Maiesty, makyng Cryes and Hues, that he myghte heare them. The kyng knowyng their voices, and the noyes they made, went forth to meete them, and if his People were gladde when they founde him, the Fisherman was no lesse amazed to see the honor the Courtyers did vnto his Guest. Which the curteous king perceiuing, sayd vnto him: “My Friend, thou seest here, that Mansor, of whome yesternight thou madest so great accompt, and whome thou saidst, that thou didst loue so well. Bee assured, that for the Curtisie thou hast done him, before it bee longe, the same shall be so well acquyted, as for euer thou shalte haue good cause to remembre it.” The good man was already vpon his marybones beseeching the King that it would please him pardon hys rude entertainement and his ouermutch familiarity whych hee had vsed vnto him. But Mansor causing him to rise vp, willed hym to depart, and sayed that within few dayes after he shoulde heare further Newes. Now in these Fennish and marrysh groundes, the Kyng had already builded diuers Castles and lodges for the pleasure and solace of hunting. Wherefore he purposed there to erect a goodly City, causing the waters to be voyded with greate expedition, whych City he builded immediately, and compassyng the circuite of the appoynted place, with strong Walles and depe Ditches, he gaue many immunities and Pryuiledges to those, that would repayre to people the same, by meanes whereof, in litle tyme, was reduced to the state of a beautifull and wealthy City, whych is the very same that before we sayd to be Cæsar Elcabir, as mutch to say: “The great Palace.” This goodly worke beinge thus performed Mansor sent for his host, to whome hee sayde: “To the end from henceforth thou mayest more honourably entertaine Kyngs into thy House, and mayest intreate them wyth greater sumptuositie, for the better solacyng of them wyth thy curtesy and pleasaunt talke, beholde the City that I haue buylded, which I doe gyue vnto thee and thyne for euer, reseruing nothyng but an acknowledgement of good wil, 429to the end thou mayst know that a Gentleman’s mind nousled in villany, is discouered, when forgetting a good turne, he incurreth the vice of Ingratitude.” The good man seeing so liberall an offer and present worthy of sutch a king fell downe vppon his knees, and kyssing his foote with al humility, sayd vnto him: “Sir if your Liberality did not supply the imperfection of my Meryte, and perfourmed not what wanted in me, to attayne so great estate, I would excuse my selfe of the charge whych it pleaseth you to gyue mee, and whereunto for lacke of trayning vp, and vse of sutch a Dignity, I am altogether vnfit. But sith that the graces of God, and the gyftes of Kynges ought neuer to bee reiected, by acceptynge thys Benefite wyth humble thankes for the clemencye of your royall Maiestye, I rest the Seruaunt and slaue of you and yours.” The king hearing hym speake so wisely, took hym vp, and imbraced him, saying: “Would to God and his great Prophete, that all they which rule Cityes, and gouerne Prouinces, had so good a Nature as thine then I durst be bolde to say, that the People shoulde lyue better at theyr ease, and Monarches without charge of conscience, for the ill behauyors of theyr Officers. Lyue good man, lyue at thine ease, maynteine thy people, obserue our lawes, and increase the Beauty of the City, whereof from this time forth wee doe make the possesser.And truly the present was not to bee contempned, for that the same at this day is one of the fairest that is in Affrica, and is the Land of the blacke People, sutch as the Spaniards call Negroes. It is very full of Gardeins, furnished with aboundance of Spyces brought from the Moluccas, bicause of the martes and faires ordeined there. To be short, Mansor shewed by this gift what is the force of a gentle heart, which can not abyde to bee vanquished in curtesie, and lesse suffer that vnder forgetfulnesse the memorye of a receyued good turne be lost. King Darius whilome, for a little garment, receiued in gift by Silofon the Samien, recompenced him wyth the gaine and royall dignity of that City, and made him soueraine Lord thereof, and of the Isle of Samos. And what greater vertue can illustrate the name of a noble man, than to acknowledge and preferre them, which for Natural shame and bashfulnesse, dare not beholde the Maiesty of their greatnesse? God sometymes with 430a more curteous Eye doth loke vpon the presents of a poore man, than the fat and rych offerings of him that is great and wealthy? Euen so a benefite, from what hand soeuer it procedeth, cannot chose but bryng forth the fruicts of his Liberality that giueth the same, who by vsing largesse, feleth also the like in him to whom it is employed. That magnificence no long time past vsed the Seigniorie of Venice, to Francesco Dandulo, who after he had dured the great displeasures of the Pope, in the name of the whole City, vpon his returne to Venice, for acknowledgment of his pacyence, and for abolishmente of that Shame, was wyth happye and vniforme Acclamatyon of the whole state elected, and made Prince, and Duke of that Common wealth. Worthy of prayse truly is he, that by some pleasure bindeth another to his curtesie: but when a Noble man acknowledgeth for a benefit, that which a Subiect is bounde to gieue him by duty and seruice, there the proofe of prayse carryeth no Fame at all. For which cause I determined to display the Hystory of the barbarous King Mansor, to the intent that our Gentlemen, noryshed and trained vp in great ciuilytie, may assay by their mildenesse and good education, to surmount the curtesie of that Prynce, of whom for this time wee purpose to take our Farewell.

431

THE
CONCLUSION,
WITH
AN ADUERTISEMENT TO THE READER.

----

What thou hast gained for thy better instruction, or what conceiued for recreation by reading these thirty fiue Nouells, I am no Iudge, although (by deeming) in reading and perusing, thou mayst (at thy pleasure) gather both. But howsoeuer profite, or delight, can satisfy mine apoyntment, wherefore they were preferred into thy hands, contented am I that thou doe vouchsafe them Good lessons how to shun the Darts, and Prickes of insolency thou findest in the same. The vertuous noble may sauor the fruits and taste the licour that stilleth from the gums or buds of Vertue. The contrary may see the blossoms fall, that blome from the shrubs of disloialty and degenerat kinde. Yong Gentlemen, and Ladies do view a plot founded on sured grounde, and what the foundation is, planted in shattring Soyle, with a fashion of attire to garnish their inward parts, so well as (sparelesse) they imploy vpon the vanishing pompe. Euery sort and sexe that warfare in the fielde of humayne life, may set here the sauourous fruict (to outwarde lyking) that fansied the sensuall taste of Adam’s Wyfe. They see also what griefts sutch fading fruicts produce vnto posterity: what likewise the lusty growth and spring of vertue’s plant, and what delicates it brauncheth to those that carefully keepe the slips thereof, within the Orchard of their mindes. Diuers Tragical shewes by the pennes description haue 432bene disclosed in greatest number of these Hystories, the same also I haue mollified and sweetened with the course of pleasaunt matters, of purpose not to dampe the deynty mindes of those that shrinke and feare at such rehearsall. And bicause sodaynly (contrary to expectation) this Volume is risen to greater heape of leaues, I doe omit for this present time sundry Nouels of mery deuise, reseruing the same to be ioyned with the rest of an other part, wherein shall succeede the remnaunt of Bandello, specially sutch (suffrable) as the learned French man François de Belleforrest hath selected, and the choysest done in the Italian. Some also out of Erizzo, Ser Giouani Florentino, Parabosco, Cynthio, Straparole, Sansouino, and the best liked out of the Queene of Nauarre, and other Authors. Take these in so good part with those that haue and shall come forth, as I do offre them with good will curteously correcting sutch Faults, and Errors, as shall present themselues, eyther burying them in the Bosome of Fauor, or pretermitting them with the beck of Curtesie.

FINIS.


BALLANTYNE PRESS: EDINBURGH AND LONDON.

Title Pages

Volume III Title Page

THE

Palace of Pleasure

ELIZABETHAN VERSIONS OF ITALIAN AND FRENCH NOVELS
FROM BOCCACCIO, BANDELLO, CINTHIO, STRAPAROLA,
QUEEN MARGARET OF NAVARRE,
AND OTHERS

DONE INTO ENGLISH
by WILLIAM PAINTER

NOW AGAIN EDITED FOR THE FOURTH TIME
by JOSEPH JACOBS

VOL. III.

[Publisher’s Mark: IN NUCE LIBELLUS]

LONDON: PUBLISHED BY DAVID NUTT IN THE STRAND
MDCCCXC

Tome II Title Page

The second Tome
of the Palace of Pleasure,
contayning store of goodlye Histories,
Tragical matters, and other Mo-
rall argumentes, very re-
quisite for delight
and profyte.

Chosen and selected out of
diuers good and commen-
dable Authors:

and now once agayn corrected and
encreased

By William Painter, Clerke of the
Ordinance and Armarie.

Imprinted at London, in
Fleat strete, by Thomas
Marshe.


Errors and Inconsistencies

Spelling in the Novels

Spelling is more consistent in this third volume than in the first two. Word-initial “u” and non-initial “v” are in the original. In Novel 29, the name “Diego” occurs often enough to establish consistency. In three places it is printed “Deigo”; they are not individually marked. The spelling “Ihon” is anomalous but occurs in other texts of similar age.

Specific words:

“the” is often used for “thee”
“liuetenaunt” occurs twice, “lieuetenaunt” once

Errors

The printed book did not include an Errata list. It is therefore impossible to tell whether irregularities of spelling, punctuation and typography in the primary text are unique to the Jacobs edition (1890), or whether they were deliberately carried over from Haslewood (1813) and/or Painter (1566 and later).

Errors and anomalies are handled in one of three ways, all using mouse-hover popups:

Clear errors in the text are marked but not changed: guie.

Missing punctuation—generally closing quotation marks—or omitted space between some words is added in grey with a note: .

A few unexpected forms were simply noted: usq;.