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«By R.G. Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit dulci. London Printed by George Purslowe Modern spelling transcript copyright 2007 Nina Green All Rights ...»

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extraordinary, she fell to conceive a liking, which for the baseness of his birth she passeth over for a toy. But the blinded wag, that suffers not his wounds to be cured with easy salves, nor permitteth any lenitive plasters to prevail where he pierceth with his arrows, put oil in the flame and set fire to the fax, that she felt her fancy, scarce warm, to grow to such a scalding heat as every vein of her heart [+felt?] sweet passions. Feeling this new lord, called love, to be so imperious, she stooped a little, and entered into deeper consideration of Eurimachus’ perfection, and so deep by degrees that, although she coveted with the snail to have her pace slow, yet at length she waded so far that she was over her shoes. So that feeling herself passing into an unknown form, she fell into this

doubtful meditation:

What flame is this, Marpesia, that overheateth thy heart? What strange fire hath Venus sent from Cyprus that scorcheth thee here in Taprobane? Hath Cupid’s bow such strength, or his arrows such flight, as being loosed in heaven, he can strike here upon earth? A mighty goddess is Venus, and great is Cupid, that work effects of such strange operation. Make not a doubt, Marpesia, of that is palpable; dream not at that which thou seest with thine eyes, nor muse not at that which thou feelest with thy heart. Then confess and say thou art in love, and love in thee [sic for ‘entered’?] so deeply as pumice-stones of reason will hardly raze out the characters. In love? Thou art young, Marpesia; so is Cupid a very child. A maid; so was Venus before she lost her virginity, and yet for her lightness she was the goddess of love. But with whom art thou in love? With Eurimachus? One of base birth and small living, of no credit, a mean gentleman, and thy brother’s servant?

Consider, Marpesia, that love hath his reasons and his rules to settle fancy and govern affections; honour ought not to look lower in dignity, nor the thoughts of ladies gaze at worthless persons. Better is it for thee to perish in high desires than in low disdain;

oppose thyself to Venus unless her presents be more precious. Say love is folly except her gifts be more rich; count rather to die in despising so mean a choice than live in liking so unlikely a chance. What will thy mother, thy brother, thy friends, nay all Taprobane say but that thou art vain, careless and amorous? But note this, Marpesia, love is a league that lasteth while life. Thou art in this to feed thine eye, not thine [sic for ‘their’?] humour; to satisfy the desire of thy heart, not the consideration of their thoughts, for in marrying, either a perpetual content or a general mislike is like to fall to thyself. What though he be poor, yet he is of comely personage; though he be base of birth, yet he is wise. What he wanteth in gifts of fortune he hath in the mind, and the defect of honours is supplied with virtues. Venus herself loved Adonis; Phoebe stooped from heaven to kiss a poor shepherd; Aenone [sic for ‘Oenone’] loved Paris as he was a swain, not as the son of Priamus. Love is not always companion to dignity, nor fancy ever lodged in kings’ palaces. Then, Marpesia, look at Eurimachus for he is courteous, and love him as he is virtuous; supply thou his want with thy wealth, and increase his credit with thy countenance. But how dare he motion love, that is so low, or enterprise to attempt so great an assault? Never stand in doubt, Marpesia; give him thou but favour, and love and fortune will make him bold.

Marpesia, having thus meditated with herself, sought by all means possible how to make Modern spelling transcript copyright 2007 Nina Green All Rights Reserved ALCIDA; GREENE’S METAMORPHOSIS 39 ________________________________________________________________________

him privy to her affections. She used in her salutations affable courtesy, and somewhat more than ordinary. Her looks were full of favours, her glances many and mild. He used no exercise but she did commend, nor performed anything which she said not to be excellent. The young Eurimachus was not such a novice but he could espy a pad in the straw, and discern a glowing coal from cold cinders. He noted her glances, her looks, her gestures, her words, examining every particular action in the depth of his thoughts, finding by the touchstone that all tended unto mere love or extreme dissimulation, for whatsoever she did was in extremes. Well, hope put him in comfort that she was too virtuous to dissemble, and fear that she was too honourable to love so base a man, yet supposing the best, he took her passions for love, & had a desire to return a liking with affection, but the consideration of his parentage, of his small possessions, of her honour, his lord’s disfavour, and the impossibility of his suit was a cooling card to quench the hottest flame that Cupid could set on fire with his enchanted brand. But Venus [-had] pitied the fondling, gave him such precious comfortives to encourage her champion that he resolved to attempt, whatsoever his fortune were. Thus in suspense, he began to

debate with himself:

It hath been an old saying, Eurimachus, sucked from his mother’s teat, that it is good to look before thou leap, and to sound the ford before thou venture to wade, sith time past cannot be recalled, nor actions performed revoked, but repented. Gaze not at stars, lest thou stumble at stones; look not into the lion’s den, lest for thy presumption thy skin be pulled over thine ears. In loves, thoughts are to be measured by fortunes, not by desires, for Venus’ tables are to be gazed at with the eye, not to be reached at with the hand. In love, Eurimachus? Why it fitteth not with thy present estate. Fancy is to attend on high lords, not on such as are servile. It were meeter for thee to sweat at thy labours than to sigh at thy passions, to please thy lord than to dote on thy mistress. Busy then thy hands to free thy heart; be not idle, and Venus’ charms are to a deaf adder: Cedit amor rebus, res age tutus eris [=Love yields to business; be busy, and you will be safe].





But Eurimachus, Phidias painteth love young, and her garlands are made with the buds of roses, not with withered flowers. Youth holdeth the fire, and fancy puts in the oil, but age carries the cold cinders, now that heat of young years hath yielded. Therefore if thou refuse to love, when wilt thou find time to fancy? Wrinkles in the face are spells against Cupid, and Venus starteth back from white hairs. Then now or else never. Love is a greater lord than thy master, for he hath deity to countervail his dignity. Thou tattlest, Eurimachus, of love, but say who is the object. Thy thoughts aim at no less nor no lower than Marpesia, sister to thy lord, a princess by birth, fair and beautiful, full of honourable and virtuous qualities, sought by men of high parentage; to say all in one word, the flower of Taprobane. Fond fool, thinkest thou the kite and the eagle will perch on one tree, the lion and the wolf lie in one den; ladies of great worth look on such worthless peasants? No, think her disdain will be greater than thy desire, and assure thee this: if thou presume, she will revenge.

Why, is Cupid blind, and shoots he not one shaft at random? May he not as soon hit a princess as a milkmaid? Truth, but his arrows are matches; he shoots not high with the one and low with the other. He joins not the mouse and the elephant, the lamb and the Modern spelling transcript copyright 2007 Nina Green All Rights Reserved ALCIDA; GREENE’S METAMORPHOSIS 40 ________________________________________________________________________

tiger, the fly and the falcon, nor sets not honour in any servile room. Yet Omphita [sic?], the queen of the Indians, loved a barber; Angelica Medes [sic for ‘Medoro’?], a mercenary soldier. Yea, Venus herself chose a blacksmith. Women oft resemble in their loves the apothecaries in their art; they choose the weed for their shop when they leave the fairest flower in the garden. They oft respect the person more than the parentage, and the qualities of the man more than his honours, feeding the eye with the shape, and the heart with the virtues, howsoever they live discontent for want of riches.

But build not, Eurimachus, on these uncertain instances, nor conclude on such premises, lest thy foundation fail and thy logic prove not worth a louse. What reason hast thou to persuade thee once to aim a thought at Marpesia, such as Venus, if she heard them pleaded, would allow for aphorisms? If favours be a sign of fancy, what glances have I had that have pieced deep; what looks, as discovering love; what courteous speeches to my face; what praise behind my back; nay, what hath Marpesia done of late but talk of Eurimachus and honour Eurimachus? What of this, young novice? Are not women archpractisers of flattery and dissimulation? Lay they not their looks to entrap when they mean to keep the fowl for tame fools? Have they not desire in their faces when they have disdain in their hearts? Did not Helena kiss Menelaus when she winked at Paris; did not Cressida wring Troilus by the hand when her heart was in the tents of the Grecians?

Every look that women lend is not love; every smile in their face is not a prick in their bosom. They present roses, and beat men with nettles; burn perfumes, and yet stifle them with the black; speak fair and affable, when, God wot, they mean nothing less. If then, Eurimachus, thou knowest their wiles, fear to make experience of their wits. Rest thee as thou art. Let Marpesia use favours, cast glances, praise and dispraise how she list.

Think all is wanton dissimulation, and so rest.

In this melancholy humour he left his loves, and went to his labours. Love, espying how in the day he withstood her face with diligence, she caused Morpheus to present him in his sleeps with the shape of his mistress, which recording in the day, he found that where fancy had pierced deep, there no salve would serve to appease the malady, that from these light pains he fell into extreme passions. As he could take no rest, he sought always to be solitary, so to feed his thoughts with imaginations, that like Cephalus he delighted to walk in the groves, and there with Philomela to bewail his loves.

Cupid, pitying his plaints, sent opportunity to find her, who brought it so to pass that as on a day he walked into a place hard adjoining to the park, having his lute in his hand, playing certain melancholy dumps to mitigate his pinching humour, Marpesia, with one of her gentlewomen being abroad in the lanes, espied him thus solitary. Stealing therefore behind him to hear what humour the man was in, heard him sing to his lute this

mournful madrigal:

Rest thee, desire, gaze not at such a star;

Sweet fancy, sleep; love, take a nap awhile;

My busy thoughts that reach and roam so far With pleasant dreams the length of time beguile;

Fair Venus, cool my overheated breast, Modern spelling transcript copyright 2007 Nina Green All Rights Reserved ALCIDA; GREENE’S METAMORPHOSIS 41 ________________________________________________________________________

And let my fancy take her wonted rest.

Cupid abroad was lated in the night, His wings were wet with ranging in the rain, Harbour he sought; to me he took his flight To dry his plumes; I heard the boy complain, My door I oped to grant him his desire, And rose myself to make the wag a fire.

Looking more narrow by the fire’s flame, I spied his quiver hanging at his back;

I feared the child might my misfortune frame, I would have gone for fear of further wrack, But what I drad, poor man, did me betide, For forth he drew an arrow from his side.

He pierced the quick, that I began to start, The wound was sweet, but that it was too high, And yet the pleasure had a pleasing smart;

This done, he flies away, his wings were dry But left his arrow still within my breast, That now I grieved I welcomed such a guest.

He had no sooner ended his sonnet but Marpesia, perceiving by the contents that it was

meant of her, stepped to him and drave him thus abruptly from his passions:

If you grieve, Eurimachus, for entertaining such a guest, your sorrow is like the rain that came too late, to believe love is such an unruly tenant that, having his entrance upon courtesy, he will not be thrust out by force. You make me call to mind the counterfeit of Paris when he was Oenone’s darling, for Phidias drew him sitting under a beech-tree playing on his pipe, and yet tears dropping from his eyes, as mixing his greatest melody with passions. But I see the comparison will not hold in you, for though your instrument be answerable to his, yet you want his lukewarm drops, which showeth, though your music be as good, yet your thoughts are not so passionate. But leaving these ambages, say to me, Eurimachus, what may she be that is your mistress?

Eurimachus, amazed at the sight of his lady more than Priamus’ son was at the view of the three goddesses, sat still like the picture of Niobe turned into marble, as if some strange apoplexy had taken all his senses. Gaze on her face he did; speak he could not, insomuch that Marpesia, smiling at the extremity of his loves, wakened him out of this

trance thus:

What cheer, man, hath love witched thy heart as all thy senses have left their powers? Is thy tongue tied as thy heart is fettered, or hath the fear of your mistress’ cruelty driven you into a cold palsy? If this be the worst, comfort yourself, for women will be true, and if she be too hard-hearted, let me but know her, and you shall see how I will prattle on Modern spelling transcript copyright 2007 Nina Green All Rights Reserved ALCIDA; GREENE’S METAMORPHOSIS 42 ________________________________________________________________________

your behalf. What say you to me; what makes you thus mute?

By this Eurimachus had gathered his senses together, that rising up and doing reverence

to Marpesia, he thus replied:

Madam, it is a principle in philosophy that Sensibile sensui superpositu{m} nulla sit sensasio [sic for ‘sensatio’?]; the colour clapped to the eye hindereth the sight, the flower put in the nostril hindereth the smell.

And what of this philosophical enigma? quoth Marpesia.



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