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[Note: I wrote-out contractions where I couldn't find a keyboard alternative, and removed italics from proper names and poems. LDH]

The pleasant Fable of Ferdinando

Jeron[i]mi and Leonora de Valasco,

translated out of the Italian riding

tales of Bartello.

IN the pleasant Countrie of Lombardie, (and not farre from the Citie of Florence) there was dwelling sometimes a Lorde of many riche Seignories and dominions, who neverthelesse bare his name of the Castle of Valasco: this Lord had one only sonne and two daughters: his sonne was called (during the life of his father) the heyre of Valasco, who maried a faire Gentlewoman of the house of Bellavista named Leonora: the elder daughter of the Lord of Valasco was called Francischina, a yong woman very toward, bothe in capacitie and other active qualities. Nowe the Lord of Valasco having already maried his sonne & heyre, and himselfe drawing in age, was desirous to see his daughters also bestowed before his death, and especially the eldest, who both for beutie and ripenesse of age might often put him in remembrance that shee was a collop of his owne fleshe: and therefore sought meanes to draw unto his house Ferdinando Jeronimi a yong gentleman of Venice, who delighting more in hawking, hunting, and such other pastimes than he did in studie, had left his owne house in Venice, and was come into Lombardie to take the pleasures of the countrie. So that the Lorde of Valasco knowing him to be of a very good parentage, and therewithall not onely riche but adorned with sundrie good qualities, was desirous (as is sayd) to drawe him home to his house (under presence of hunting and hawking) to the end he might beholde his fayre daughter Francischina: who both for parentage and other worldly respects, might no lesse content his minde, than hir beautie was likely to have allured his liking. But it fell oute farre contrary to his desire, for Ferdinando Jeronimi beholding the Lady Leonora, who was in deede very fayre, and of a very courtlike behaviour, became enamoured of hir, and forgetting the curtesie that the Lorde of Valasco had shewed him in enter-


tayning him and his servaunts, with their horses, by the space of .iiii. moneths (whiche is a rare curtesie nowe adayes, and especially in suche a countrey) he sought all meanes possible to make the heyre of Valasco a Becco. And to the end that all menne may perceive what frutes growe on suche trees, and what issues come of such intents, I will set downe in English the fable as it is written in ltalian by Bartello. And bicause I do suppose that Leonora is the same name whiche wee call Elinor in English; and that Francischina also doth import none other than Fraunces, I will so entitle them as to our own countriemen may be moste perspicuous. Understand you then, that Ferdinando having nowe a hote affection unto the sayde Dame Elynor, and thinking it meeter to utter his firste conceipts in writing than in speache, did write unto hir as followeth.

FAyre Lady I pray you understande that (being altogether a straunger in this Countrie) my good happe
The ayre of that Countrie did (by all likelyhood) seeme colder to him than ye streetes of Venice.
hath bene to behold you to my no small contentation. And my evill happe accompanies the same with suche imperfection of my deserts, as that I finde alwayes a ready repulse in mine owne forwardnesse. So that considering the naturall clymate of the countrie, I muste say that I have found fire in frost. And yet comparing the inequalitie of my deserts, with the least part of your worthinesse, I feele a continual frost, in my most fervent fire. Such is the the extremitie of my passions, the whiche I could never have bene content to committe unto this teltale paper, were it not that I am destitute of all other helpe. Accept therefore I beseche you, the earnest good will of a more trustie (than worthy) servaunt, who being thereby encouraged, may supplie the defects of his abilitie with readie triall of duetifull loyaltie. And lette this poore paper (besprent with salte teares, and blowen over with skalding sighes) bee saved of you as a safegarde for your sampler, or a bottome to winde your sowing silke, that when your last needelfull is wrought, you maye returne to reading thereof and consider the care of hym who is

More youres than his owne.

F. J.


THis letter by hir receyved, hir aunswere was this: She tooke occasion one day, at his request to daunce with him: the whiche doing, shee bashfully began to declare unto him, that she had read over the writing whiche he delivered unto hir: with like protestation, that (as at deliverie thereof shee understood not for what cause he thrust the same into hir bosome,) so now shee could not perceyve thereby any part of his meaning: neverthelesse at laste seemed to take uppon hir the matter, and though shee disabled hir selfe, yet gave him thankes as &c. Whereupon he brake the braule, and walking abrode, devised immediatly these fewe verses following.

FAire Bersabe the bright once bathing in a Well,
With dewe bedimmd King Davids eies that ruled Israell.
And Salomon him selfe, the source of sapience,
Against the force of such assaultes could make but small defence:
To it the stoutest yeeld, and strongest feele like wo,
Bold Hercules and Sampson both, did prove it to be so.
What wonder seemeth then? when starres stand thicke in skies,
If such a blasing starre have power to dim my dazled eyes?


To you these fewe suffise, your wittes be quicke and good,
You can conject by chaunge of hew, what humors feede my blood.


BEfore he could put these verses in legible writing, it pleased M. Elinor of hir curtesie thus to deale with him. Walking in a garden among divers other gentlemen & gentle women, with a little frowning smyle in passing by him, she delivered unto him a paper, with these words. For that I understand not (quoth she) the intent of your letters, I pray you take them here againe, and bestow them at your pleasure. The which done and sayde, shee passed by withoute change either of pace or countenaunce. Ferdinando somewhat troubled with hir angrie looke, did sodenly leave the companie, and walking into a parke neare adjoyning, in great rage began to wreake his malice on this poore paper, and the same did rend and teare in peeces. When sodenly at a glaunce he perceved it was not of his owne hand writing, and therewithall abashed, uppon better regard he perceived in one peece therof written in



Romaine these letters Colei: which in english betokeneth SHE: wherfore placing all the peeces therof, as orderly as he could, he found therin written, these few lynes hereafter following.

YOur sodeyn departure, from our pastime yesterday, did enforce mee for lacke of chosen company too returne untoo my worke, wherein I did so long continue, till at the last the bare bottome did drawe unto my remembraunce your straunge request. And although I founde therin no just cause to credite your coloured wordes, yet have I thought good hereby too requite you with like curtesie, so that at least you shall not condemne mee for ungratefull. But as to the matter therin conteyned: if I could perswade my selfe, that there were in mee any coales to kyndle suche sparkes of fire, I might yet peradventure bee drawn to beleve that your minde were frosen with like feare. But as no smoke ariseth, where no cole is kindled, so without cause of affection the passion is easie to be cured. This is all that I understand of your darke letters: and as much as I meane to answere.

Colei: in english: SHE.

FErdinando immediatly upon receyte heerof, grew in jelosie that the same was not hir owne devise. And therin I have no lesse allowed his judgement, than commended his invention of the verses, and letters before rehersed. For as by the stile this letter of hirs bewrayeth that it was not penned by a womans capacitie, so the sequele of hir doings may discipher, that shee had mo redy clearkes than trustie servants in store. Well yet as the perfect hound, when he hath chased the hurt deere, amidde the whole heard, will never give over till he have singled it againe. Even so Ferdinando though somwhat abashed with this doubtfull shewe, yet stil constant in his former intention, ceased not by all possible meanes, too bring this Deere yet once agayne to the bowes, wherby shee might be the more surely stryken: and so in the end enforced to yeeld. Wherfore he thought not best to commit the sayde verses willingly into hir custodie, but privily lost them in hir chamber, written in counterfeit. And after on the next day thought better to replie, either upon hir, or uppon hir Secretary in this wise as here followeth.


THE much that you have answered is very much, and much more than I am able to reply unto: neverthelesse in myne owne defence, thus much I alleage: that if my sodein departure pleased not you, I cannot my selfe therwith be pleased, as one that seeketh not to please many, and more desirous to please you than any. The cause of myne affection, I suppose you behold dayly. For (self love avoyded) every wight may judge of themselves as much as reason perswadeth: the which if it be in your good nature suppressed with bashfulnesse, then mighty Jove graunt, you may once behold my wan cheekes washed in woe, that therein my salt teares may be a myrrour to represent your owne shadow, and that like unto Nacissus you may be constrayned to kisse the cold waves, wherein your counterfeit is so lively purtrayed. For if aboundance of other matters fayled to drawe my gazing eyes in contemplation of so rare excellency, yet might these your letters both frame in me an admiration of such divine esprite, and a confusion too my dull understanding, whiche so rashly presumed too wander in this endles Laberinth. Such I esteeme you, and thereby am become such, and even           HE. F. J.

THis letter finished and fayre written over, his chaunce was to meete hir alone in a Gallery of the same house: (where his manhood in this kinde of combat was firste tried :) and therein I can compare him to a valiant Prince, who distressed with power of enemies had committed the safegard of his person to treaty of Ambassade, and sodenly (surprised with a Camassado in his owne trenches) was enforced to yeeld as prisoner. Even so Ferdinando Jeronimi lately overcome by the beautifull beames of this Dame Elynor, and having now committed his moste secrete intent to these late rehearsed letters, was at unwares encountred with his friendly foe, and constrayned either to prepare some new defence, or else like a recreant to yeeld himselfe as already vanquished. Wherefore (as in a traunce) he lifted up his dazled eies, and so continued in a certen kind of admiration, not unlike the Astronomer, who (having after a whole nights travaile, in the grey morning found his desired starre) hath fixed his hungry eies to behold the Comete long looked for: wherat this gracious Dame (as

BB 2


one that could discerne the sunne before hir chamber windowes were wide open) did deign to embolden the fainting Knight with these or like woordes.

I perceive nowe (quod she) howe mishap doth follow me, that having chosen this walke for a simple solace, I am here disquieted by the man that meaneth my destruction: and therwithall, as half angry, began to turne hir backe, when Ferdinando (now awaked) gan thus salute hir.

Mistresse (quod he) and I perceive now, that good hap haunts me, for being by lacke of oportunitie constrained to commit my welfare unto these blabbing leaves of bewraying paper [(]strewing that in his hand) I am here recomforted with happy view of my desired joy: and therewithall reverently kissing his hand, did softly distreyne hir slender arme, and so stayed hir departure. The firste blowe thus profered and defended, they walked and talked traversing diverse wayes, wherein I doubte not but that the Venetian coulde quite himselfe resonably well. For after long talke shee was contented to accept his proffered service, but yet still disabling hir selfe, and seeming to marvell what cause had moved him to subject his libertie so wilfully, or at least in a prison (as shee termed it) so unworthy. Whereunto I neede not rehearse his answere, but suppose now, that thus they departed: saving I had forgotten this: shee required of him the last rehearsed letter, saying that his firste was loste, and nowe shee lacked a new bottome for hir silke, the whiche I warrant you, he graunted: and so proffering to take an humble congé by Bezo las manos, she graciously gave him the zuccado dez labros: and so for then departed. And thereuppon recompting hir woordes, he compiled these following, whiche he termed Terza sequenza, too sweete Mistresse SHE.

OF thee deare Dame, three lessons would I learne:
What reason first persuades the foolish Fly
(As soone as shee a candle can discerne)
To play with flame, till shee bee burnt thereby?
Or what may move the Mouse to byte the bayte
Which strikes the trappe, that stops hir hungry breth?
What calles the bird, where snares of deepe deceit
Are closely coucht to draw hir to hir death?


Consider well, what is the cause of this,
And though percase thou wilt not so confesse,
Yet deepe desire, to gayne a heavenly blisse,
May drowne the minde in dole and darke distresse:
Oft is it seene (whereat my hart may bleede)
Fooles play so long till they be caught in deede.
               And then
It is a heaven to see them hop and skip,
And seeke all shiftes to shake their shackles off:
It is a world, to see them hang the lip,
Who (earst) at love, were wont to skorne and skoff.
But as the Mouse, once caught in crafty trap,
May bounce and beate against the boorden wall,
Till shee have brought hir head in such mishap,
That downe to death hir fainting lymbes must fall:
And as the Flie once singed in the flame,
Cannot commaund her wings to wave away:
But by the heele, shee hangeth in the same
Till cruell death hir hasty journey stay:
So they that seeke to breake the linkes of love
Strive with the streame, and this by paine I prove.
               For when
I first beheld that heavenly hewe of thine,
Thy stately stature, and thy comly grace,
I must confesse these dazled eies of mine
Did wincke for feare, when I first viewd thy face:
But bold desire did open them againe,
And bad mee looke till I had lookt to long,
I pitied them that did procure my paine,
And lov'd the lookes that wrought me all the wrong:
And as the byrd once caught (but woorks hir woe)
That strives to leave the limed twigges behind:
Even so the more I strave to parte thee fro,
The greater grief did growe within my minde:
Remedilesse then must I yeeld to thee,
And crave no more, thy servaunt but to bee.

Till then and ever.      HE.      F. J.


WHen he had well sorted this sequence, he sought oportunitie to leave it where shee might finde it before it were lost. And nowe the coles began to kindle, whereof (but ere while) shee feigned hir selfe altogither ignorant. The flames began to breake out on every side: and she to quench them, shut up hir selfe in hir chamber solitarily. But as the smithie gathers greater heate by casting on of water, even so the more she absented hir self from company, the fresher was the griefe whiche galded hir remembrance: so that at laste the report was spredde thorough the house, that Mistresse Elinor was sicke. At which newes Ferdinando tooke small comfort; neverthelesse Dame Venus with good aspect did yet thus much furder his enterprise. The Dame (whether it were by sodaine chaunge, or of wonted custome) fell one day into a greate bleeding at the nose. For whiche accident the sayde Venetian, amongst other pretie conceits, had a present remedie: Whereby he tooke occasion (when they of the house had all in vayne sought many waies to stoppe hir bleeding) to worke his feate in this wise: Firste he pleaded ignorance, as though he knewe not hir name, and therefore demaunded the same of Mistresse Fraunces, who when shee had to him declared that hir name was Elinor, hee sayde these woordes or very like in effect: If I thought I shoulde not offend Mistres Elynor, I woulde not doubte to stoppe hir bleeding, without eyther payne or difficultie. This Gentlewoman somewhat tickled with his woordes, did incontinent make relation thereof to the sayde Mistresse Elynor: who immediately (declaring that Ferdinando was hir late receyved servaunt) returned the saide messenger unto him with especiall charge, that hee shoulde employ his devoyre towardes the recovery of hir health: with whome the same Ferdinando repayred to the chamber of his desired: and finding hir set in a chayre, leaning on the one side over a Silver bason: After his due reverence, hee layde his hande on hir Temples, and privily rounding hir in hir eare, desired hir to commaunde a Hazell sticke and a knyfe: the whiche beyng brought, hee delivered unto hir, saying on this wise. Mistresse I will speake certaine woordes in secrete to my selfe, and doe require no more: but when you heare me saie openly this woorde Amen, that you with this knyfe will make a nicke uppon this Hazell


sticke: and when you have made five nickes, commaunde mee also to cease. The Dame partly of good will to the Knight, and partly to be stenched of hir bleeding, commaunded hir mayde, and required the other Gentils, somewhat to stande aside: whiche done, he began his Oraisons, wherein he had not long muttered before he pronounced Amen, wherwith the Lady made a nicke on the sticke with hir knyfe. The saide Ferdinando continued to an other Amen, when ye Lady having made an other nick, felt hir bleeding began to steynch: & so by the third Amen throughly steinched. Ferdinando then chaunging his prayers into privet talk, said softly unto hir: Mystres, I am glad that I am hereby enabled to doe you some service, and as the staunching of your owne bloud may some way recomfort you, so if the shedding of my bloud may any way content you, I beseech you commaund it, for it shalbe evermore readily employed in your service: and therwithal with a loud voyce pronounced Amen: wherewith the good Lady making a nick, did secretly answere thus: Good servant (quod shee) I must needes think my selfe right happy to have gained your service and good will, and be you sure, that although ther be in me no such desert as may draw you into this depth of affection: yet such as I am, I shalbe alwayes glad to shewe my self thankfull unto you. And now, if you thinke your self assured that I shall bleede no more, doe then pronounce your fifth Amen: the which pronounced, shee made also hir fifth nicke, and held up hir head, calling the company unto hir, and declaring unto them, that hir bleeding was throughly steinched. And Ferdinando tarying a while in the chamber, found oportunitie to loose his sequence neere too his desired Mistres: And after congé taken, departed. After whose departure the Lady arose out of hir chayre, and hir mayd going about to remove the same, espied, and toke up the writing: the which hir mistres perceiving, gan sodenly conjecture that the same had in it some like matter to the verses once before left in like maner, and made semblant to mistrust that the same should be some wordes of conjuration: and taking it from hir mayd, did peruse it, and immediatly said too the company, that she would not forgo the same for a great treasure. But to be plain, I think that (Ferdinando excepted) she was glad to be rid of all company, untill she had with


sufficient leasure turned over and retossed every card in this sequence. And not long after being now tickled thorough all the vaines with an unknown humour, adventured of hir selfe to commit unto a like Ambassadour the discyphring of that which hitherto shee had kept more secret: and thereupon wrot with hir own hand and head in this wyse.

GOod servant, I am out of al doubt much beholding unto you, and I have great comfort by your meanes in the steinching of my bloud, and I take great comfort too reade your letters, and I have found in my chamber divers songs which I think too be of your making, and I promise you, they are excellently made: and I assure you that I wilbee ready to doe for you any pleasure that I can, during my life: wherefore I pray you come to my chamber once in a day, till I come abroad again, and I wilbe glad of your company: and for because that you have promised to be my HE: I will take upon me this name, your SHE.

THis letter was doubtles of hir own hande writing: and as therin the Reader may finde great difference of Style, from hir former letter, so may you now understand the cause. Shee had in the same house a friend, a servant, a Secretary: what should I name him? such one as shee esteemed in time past more than was cause in tyme present. And to make my tale good, I will (by the same words that Bartello useth) discribe him unto you. He was in heigth the proportion of two Pigmeis, in breath the thicknesse of two bacon hogges, of presumption a Gyant, of power a Gnatte, Apishly wytted, Knavishly mannered, and crabbedly favord. What was there in him then to drawe a fayre Ladies liking? Marry sir even all in all, a well lyned pursse, wherewith he could at every call, provide suche pretie conceytes as pleased hir peevish fantasie: and by that meanes hee had throughly (long before) insinuated him selfe with this amorous dame. This manling, this minion, this slave, this secretary, was nowe by occasion rydden too Florence forsothe: and though his absence were unto hir a disfurnishing of eloquence: it was yet untoo Ferdinando Jero[n]i[m]i an opportunitie of good advauntage: for when hee perceived the change of hir stile, and thereby grewe


in some suspition that the same proceeded by absence of hir chiefe Chauncellor, he thought good now to smyte while the yron was hotte, and to lend his Mistresse suche a penne in hir Secretaries absence, as hee should never be able (at his returne) to amend the well writing therof. Wherfore according to hir comaund he repayred once every day to hir chamber, at the least whereas hee guided himselfe so wel, and could devise such store of sundry pleasures and pastymes, that he grew in favour not onely with his desired, but also with the rest of the gentlewomen. And one day passing the time amongst them, their playe grew to this end, that his Mistresse, being Queene, demaunded of him these three questions. Servant (quod she) I charge you, as well uppon your all[e]giance being nowe my subject, as also upon your fidelitie, having vowed your service unto me, that you aunswere me these three questions, by the very truth of your secret thought. First, what thing in this universall world doth most rejoyce and comfort you? Ferdinando Jerononimi abasing his eyes towardes the ground, toke good advisement in his aunswere, when a fayre gentlewoman of the company clapped him on the shoulder, saying, how now sir, is your hand on your halfpeny? To whome he aunswered, no fayre Lady, my hand is on my harte, and yet my hart is not in myne owne hands: wherewithall abashed, turning towards dame Elinor he sayde: My sovereigne and Mistresse, according to the charge of your command, and the dutie that I owe you, my tongue shall bewraye unto you the truthe of mine intent. At this present a rewarde given me without desert, doth so rejoyce mee with continuall remembraunce, that though my minde be so occupied to thinke thereon, as that daye nor night I can bee quiet from that thought, yet the joye and pleasure whiche I conceive in the same is such, that I can neyther be cloyed with continuaunce thereof, nor yet afraide, that any mishappe can countervayle so greate a treasure. This is to me suche a heaven to dwell in, as that I feede by day, and repose by night uppon the freshe recorde of this reward. This (as Bartello sayeth) he ment by the kisse that she lent him in the Gallery, and by the profession of hir laste letters and woordes. Well, though this aunswere bee some what mistie, yet let his excuse be: that taken uppon the sodaine, he thought better to aunswere darkly, than to be mistrusted openly. Hir second


question was, what thing in this life did most greeve his harte, and disquiet his minde, wherunto he answered. That although his late rehersed joy were incomparable, yet the greatest enimie that disturbed the same, was the privie worme of his owne giltie conscience, which accused him evermore with great unworthinesse: and that this was his greatest griefe. The Lady biting upon the bitte at his cunning answeres made unto these two questions, ganne thus replie. Servaunt, I had thought to have touched you yet nearer with my thirde question, but I will refrayne to attempt your pacience: and nowe for my third demaund, aunswere me directly in what manner this passion doth handle you? and howe these contraries may hang together by any possibilitie of concorde? for your woordes are straunge. Ferdinando now rousing himselfe boldly, tooke occasion thus to handle his aunswere. Mistresse (quod he) my woordes in deede are straunge, but yet my passion is muche straunger: and therupon this other day to content mine owne fantasie I devised a Sonet, which although it bee a peece of Cocklorels musicke, and suche as I might be ashamed to publish in this company, yet bicause my truth in this answere may the better appeare unto you, I pray you vouchsafe to receive the same in writing: and drawing a paper out of his pocket, presented it to hir, wherin was written this Sonet.

LOve, hope, and death, do stirre in me such strife,
As never man but I led such a life.
First burning love doth wound my hart to death,
And when death comes at call of inward griefe,
Colde lingering hope doth feede my fainting breath
Against my will, and yeeldes my wound reliefe:
So that I live, but yet my life is such,
As death would never greve me halfe so much.
No comfort then but only this I tast,
To salve such sore, such hope will never want,
And with such hope, such life will ever last,
And with such life, such sorrowes are not skant.
Oh straunge desire, O life with torments tost
Through too much hope, mine onely hope is lost.

Even HE           F.J.


THis sonet was highly commended, and in my judgement it deserveth no lesse. His dutie thus perfourmed, their pastimes ended, and at their departure for a watch worde hee counselled his Mistresse by little and little to walke abrode: saying, that the Gallery neare adjoyning was so pleasaunt, as if he were halfe dead he thought that by walking therin hee might be halfe & more revived. Think you so servaunt (quod she?) and the last tyme that I walked there, I suppose I toke the cause of my malady: but by your advise (for that you have so clerkly steynched my bleeding) I will assay to walke there to morow. Mistres quod he, and in more ful accomplishment of my duetie towards you, and in sure hope that you will use the same onelie to your owne private commoditie, I will there awaite upon you, and betwene you and me wil teach you the ful order how to steynch the bleeding of any creature, wherby you shal be as cunning as my self. Gramercy good servant, quod she, I thinke you lost the same in writing here yesterday, but I cannot understand it: & therfore to morrow (if I feele my self any thing amended) I wil sende for you thither to enstruct me throughly: thus they departed. And at supper time, the Lord of Valasco finding fault yt his gestes stomacke served him no better, began to accuse the grosnesse of his vyands, to whom one of the gentlewomen which had passed ye afternoone in his company, answered. Nay sir, quod she, this gentleman hath a passion, the which once in a day at the least doth kill his appetite. Are you so well acquainted with the disposition of his body (quod the Lord of ye house?) by his owne saying, quod she, & not otherwise. Fayre ladie quod Ferdinando, you either mistoke me or overheard me then: for I told of a comfortable humor which so fed me with continuall remembrance of joy, as that my stomack being ful therof doth desire in maner none other vittayles. Why sir, (quod the host,) do you then live by love? God forbid sir quod Ferdinando, for then my cheekes wold be much thinner than they be: but there are divers other greater causes of joy, than the doubtful lots of love: & for mine own part, to be playn, I cannot love, & I dare not hate. I would I thought so, quod the gentlewoman. And thus with prety nyppes, they passed over their supper: which ended, the Lord of the house required Ferdinando


Jeronimi to daunce and passe the time with the gentlewomen, which he refused not to doe. But sodenly, before the musicke was well tuned, came out Dame Elynor in hir night attyre, and said to the Lord, yt (supposing the solitarinesse of hir chamber had encreased hir maladie) she came out for hir better recreation to see them daunce. Well done daughter (quod the Lorde.) And I Mistres (quod Ferdinando) would gladly bestowe the leading of you about this great chamber, to drive away ye faintnesse of your fever. No good servaunt, (quod the Lady,) but in my steede, I pray you daunce with this fayre Gentlewoman, pointing him too the Lady that had so taken him up at supper. Ferdinando to avoyd mistrust, did agree too hir request without furder entreaty. The daunce begon, this Knight marched on with the Image of S. Frances in his hand, and S. Elynor in his hart. The violands at end of the pavion staied a whyle: in whiche time this Dame sayde to Ferdinando Jeronimi on this wise: I am right sory for you in two respects, although the familiarity have hytherto had no great continuance betwene us: and as I do lament your case, so doo I rejoyce (for myne own contentation) that I shal now see a due triall of the experiment which I have long desired. This sayd, she kept silence: When Ferdinando (somwhat astonied with hir straunge speech) thus answered: Mistresse although I cannot conceive the meaning of your woordes, yet by curtesie I am constrayned to yeelde you thankes for your good wil, the which appeareth no lesse in lamenting of mishappes, than in rejoycing at good fortune. What experiment you meane to trie by mee, I knowe not, but I dare assure you, that my skill in experiments is very simple. Herewith the Instruments sounded a new Measure, and they passed forthwards, leaving to talke, untill the noise ceassed: whiche done, the Gentlewoman replied. I am sory sir, that you did erewhile, denie love and all
(a) as who sayeth
his lawes, and that in so open audience. Not so (quod Ferdinando) but as the woorde was roundly taken, so can I readely answere it by good reason. Well quod shee, howe if the hearers will admit no reasonable answere? My reasons yet bee neverthelesse (quod he) in reasonable judgement. Herewith shee smiled, and he cast a glance towards dame Elinor, (a) askances arte thou pleased? Againe the viols called them forthwardes, and againe at the ende of the braule sayde Ferdinando Jeronimi


to this Gentlewoman: I pray you Mistres, and what may be the second cause of your sorow sustained in my behalfe? Nay soft (quod she) percase I have not yet tolde you the first, but content your selfe, for the second cause you shall never know at my handes, untill I see due triall of the experiment which I have long desired. Why then (quod he) I can but wishe a present occasion to bring the same to effect, to the end that I might also understand the mistery of your meaning. And so might you faile of your purpose (quod she) for I meane to be better assured of him that shal know the depth of mine intent in such a secrete, than I do suppose that any creature (one except) may be of you. Gentlewoman (quod he) you speake Greeke, the which I have nowe forgotten, and mine instructers are to farre from mee at this present to expound your words. Or els to neare (quod she) and so smiling stayed her talke, when the Musicke called them to another daunce. Whiche ended, Ferdinando halfe afrayd of false suspect, and more amazed at this straunge talke, gave over, and bringing Mistresse Fraunces to hir place, was thus saluted by his Mistresse. Servaunt (quod shee) I had done you great wrong to have daunced with you, consideringe that this gentlewoman and you had former occasion of so weighty conference. Mistresse sayd Ferdinando you had done mee great pleasure, for by our conference I have but brought my braynes in a busie conjecture. I doubt not (sayd his Mistresse) but you wil end that busines easely. It is hard said he to ende the thing, whereof yet I have founde no begininge. His Mistresse with chaunge of countenaunce kept silence whereat dame Fraunces rejoycinge, cast out this bone to gnawe on. I perceyve (quod she) it is evill to halte before a Creple. Ferdinando perceyving now that his Mistresse waxed angry, thought good on hir behalfe thus to aunswere: and it is evill to hop before them that runne for the Bell: his Mistresse replied, and it is evill to hange the Bell at their heeles which are alwayes running. The Lord of [t]he Castle overhearing these proper quippes, rose out of his chaire, & comming towards Ferdinando required him to daunce a Gallyard. Sir sayd he I have hitherto at your apoyntment but walked about the house, now if you be desirous to see one tomble a turne or twayne, it is like ynough that I mighte provoke you to laugh at mee, but in good fayth my dauncing


dayes are almost done, and therfore sir (quod he) I pray you speake to them that are more nymble at trippinge on the toe. Whilest hee was thus saying dame Elynor had made hir Congey, and was now entring the dore of hir chamber when Ferdinando al amazed at hir sodeyne departure followed to take leave of his Mistresse: but she more then angrie, refused to heare his good night, and entring hir chamber caused hir mayde to clappe to the dore. Ferdinando with heavie cheare returned to his company, and Mistresse Fraunces to toutch his sore with a corosive, sayd to him softly in this wise. Sir you may now perceyve that this our countrie cannot allowe the French manner of dauncing, for they (as I have heard tell) do more commonly daunce to talke, then entreate to daunce. Fardenando hoping to drive out one naile with another and thinking this a meane moste convenient to suppresse all jelous supposes, tooke Mistresse Fraunces by the hand and with a heavy smile aunswered. Mistresse and I (because I have seene the french maner of dauncing) will eftsonnes entreat you to daunce a Bargynet: what meane you by thys quod mistresse Fraunces. If it please you to followe (quod he) you shall see that I can jest without joye, and laugh without lust, and calling the musitions, caused them softly to sounde the Tynternall, when he clearing his voyce did Alla Napolitana applie these verses following, unto the measure.

IN prime of lustie yeares, when Cupid caught mee in,
And nature taught the waie to love, how I might best begin:
To please my wandring eie, in beauties tickle trade,
To gaze on eache that passed by, a carelesse sporte I made.

With sweete enticing baite, I fisht for manie a dame,
And warmed me by manie a fire, yet felt I not the flame :
But when at last I spied, that face that pleasde me most,
The coales were quicke, the woode was drie, & I began to tost.

And smiling yet full oft, I have behelde that face,
When in my hearte I might bewaile mine owne unluckie case:
And oft againe with lokes that might bewraie my griefe,
I pleaded harde for just rewarde, and sought to finde reliefe.


What will you more? so oft my gazing eies did seeke,
To see the rose and Lillie strive upon that livelie cheeke:
Till at the last I spied, and by good proofe I founde,
That in that face was painted plaine, the pearcer of my wound.

Then (all to late) agast, I did my foote retire,
And sought with secret sighes to quench my gredie skalding fire
But lo, I did prevaile asmuche to guide my will,
As he that seekes with halting heele, to hop against the hill.

Or as the feeble sight, woulde searche the sunnie beame,
Even so I founde but labour lost, to strive against the streame.
Then gan I thus resolve, since liking forced love.
Should I mislike my happie choice, before I did it prove?

And since none other joye I had but her to see,
S[h]oulde I retire my deepe desire? no no it would not bee:
Though great the duetie were, that shee did well deserve,
And I poore man, unworthie am so wo[r]thie a wight to serve.

Yet hope my comfort staide, that she would have regard,
To my good will that nothing crav'd, but like for just reward:
I see the faucon gent sometime will take delight
To seeke the solace of hir wing, and dallie with a kite.

The fairest Woulf will choose the foulest for hir make,
And why? because he doth indure most sorrow for hir sake:
Even so had [I like] hope, when dolefull daies were spent
When wearie wordes were wasted well, to open true entent.

When fluddes of flowing teares, had washt my weeping eies,
When trembling tongue had troubled hir, with loud lamenting cries:
At last hir worthy will would pittie this my plaint,
And comfort me hir owne poore slave, whom feare had made so faint.
{ Wherefore I made a vowe, the stoany rocke should start,
Ere I presume, to let her slippe out of my faithfull heart.



And when she sawe by proofe, the pith of my good will,
She tooke in worth this simple song, for want of better skill:
And as my just deserts, hir gentle hart did move,
She was content to answere thus: I am content to love.

F. J.

BY these verses he ment in clowdes to discipher unto Mistresse Fraunces such matter as she wold snatch at, and yet could take no good hold of the same. Furthermore, it aunswered very aptly to the note whiche the musicke sounded, as the skilfull reader by due triall may approve. This singing daunce, or daunsing song ended, Mistresse Fraunces giving due thanks, seemed weary also of the company, and profering to departe, gave yet this farewell to Ferdinando not vexed by choller, but pleased with contentation, & called away by heavy sleepe: I am constreyned (quod she) to bid you good night, and so turning to the rest of the company, tooke hir leave. Then the Maister of the house commaunded a torch to light Ferdinando to his lodging, where the sodaine chaunge of his Mistresse countenance, togither with the straungenesse of Mistresse Fraunces talke, made such an encounter in his mind, that he could take no reste that night: wherefore in the morning rising very earely (although it were farre before his Mistresse hower) he cooled his choller by walking in the Gallery neare to hir lodging, and there in this passion co[m]piled these verses following.

A Cloud of care hath covred all my coste,
And stormes of strife doo threaten to appeare:
The waves of woo, which I mistrusted moste,
Have broke the bankes wherein my life lay cleere:
Chippes of ill chaunce, are fallen amyd my choyce,
To marre the mynd, that ment for to rejoyce.


Before I sought, I founde the haven of hap,
Wherin (once found) I sought to shrowd my ship,
But lowring love hath lifte me from hir lap,
And crabbed lot beginnes to hang the lip:
The proppes of darke mistrust do fall so thick,
They pearce my coate, and touch my skin at quick.

What may be saide, where truth cannot prevaile?
What plea maie serve, where will it selfe is judge?
What reason rules, where right and reason faile?
Remedilesse then must the guiltlesse trudge:
And seeke out care, to be the carving knife
To cut the thred that lingreth such a life.

F. J.

THis is but a rough meeter, and reason, for it was devised in great disquiet of minde, and written in rage, but to the matter. When he had long (and all in vaine) looked for the coming of his Mistresse into hir appoynted walke: he wandred into the Parke neere adjoyning to the Castle wall, where his chaunce was to meete Mistres F[r]aunces, accompanied with one other Gentle woman, by whome hee passed with a reverence of curtesie: and so walking on, came into the side of a thicket? where he satte downe under a tree to allay his sadnesse with solitarines. Mystresse Fraunces, partely of curtesie and affection, and partly to content hir minde by continuance of such talke as they had commenced over night entreated hir companion to goe with hir unto this Tree of reformation, whereas they founde the Knight with hys armes foulded in a heavy kinde of contemplation, unto whome Mistresse Fraunces stepped a pace (right softhlye) and at unwares gave this salutation. I little thought Syr Knight (quoth shee) by your Evensong yesternight, to have founde you presentlye at suche a Morrow Masse, but I perceyve you serve your Saint with double devotion: and I pray God graunt you treable meede for youre true intent. He being taken thus upon the sodaine, coulde none otherwise aunswere but thus: I toulde you mistres (quod hee) that I coulde laugh without lust, and jest without joye: and therewithall starting up, with a more bold



countenaunce came towards the Dames, proffering unto them his service, to waight upon them homewardes. I have hearde saye ofte times (quod Mistresse Fraunces) that it is harde to serve two Maysters at one time, but we wyll be ryght glad of your company. I thanke you (quod hee) and so walking on with them, fell into sundrye discourses, still refusing to touche any part of theyr formor communication, untill Mystresse Fraunces sayde unto him: by my troth (quod shee) I woulde bee your debtour these two daies, to aunswere me truely but unto one question that I will propound: fayre Gentlewoman (quod he) you shall not neede to become my debtour, but if it please you to quit question by question, I will bee more readye to gratifie you in this request, then eyther reason requireth, or than you woulde be willing to worke my contentation. Maister Fardinando Jeronomii (quod she, & that sadly) peradventure you know but a litle how willing I would be to procure your con[ten]tation, but you know that hitherto familliarytie hath taken no deepe roote beetwixt us twaine. And though I finde in you no manner of cause whereby I might doubt to commit this or greater matter unto you, yet have I stayed hitherto so to doe, in doubt least you might thereby justlie condemne me both of arrogancy and lacke of discretion, wherwith I must yet foolishlye affirme, that I have with great paine brydeled my tongue from disclosing the same unto you. Suche is then the good will that I beare towardes you, the which if you rather judge to be impudencie, then a friendely meaning, I may then curse the hower that I first concluded thus to deale with you: herewithall beeing nowe redde for chaste bashefulnesse, shee abased hir eies, and staied hir taulke: to whome Fardinando thus aunswered. Mystresse Fraunces, if I shoulde with so exceeding villanye requight suche and so exceeding great courtesye, I might not onelye seeme to digenerate from all gentrye, but also to differre in behaviour from all the reste of my lyfe spent: wherfore to be playne with you in fewe wordes I thinke my selfe so muche bounde unto you for divers respects, as if abilitie doe not fayle me, you shall finde mee mindefull in requitall of the same, and for disclosing your mind to me, you may if so i[t] please you adventure it without adventure, for by this Sunne quod he, I will not deceyve such trust as you shall laye uppon mee, and furthermore, so farre foorth as I may, I will be yours in any


respect: wherfore I beseech you accept me for your faithfull friend, and so shall you surely finde me. Not so, quod shee but you shalbe my Trust, if you vouchsafe the name, and I wilbe to you as you shall please to tearme me: my Hope (quod hee) if you be so pleased: and thus agreed, they two walked a parte from the other Gentlewoman, and fell into sad talke wherein Mistresse Fraunces dyd verye curteousely declare unto him, that in deede, one cause of hir sorrow sustained in his behalfe, was that he had sayde so openly over night, that hee coulde not love, for she perceyved verye well the affection betweene him and Madame Elynor, and shee was also advertised that Dame Elynor stoode in the portall of hir chamber, harkening to the talke that they hadde at supper that night, wherefore she seemed to be sorry that such a worde (rashely escaped) might become great hinderaunce unto his desire: but a greater cause of hir gnefe was (as shee declared) that his happe was to bestow his liking so unworthylye, for shee seemed to accuse Dame Elinor, for the most unconstant woman living: In full proofe whereof, she bewrayed unto him, how she the same Dame Elynor, had long time bene yelded to the Minion Secretary, whom I have befor described: in whome though there be (quod she) no one poynt of woorthinesse, yet shameth she not to use him as hir dearest friend, or rather hir holiest Idoll and that this not withstanding Dame Elynor had bene also sundry tymes woone to choyce of chaunge, as she named unto Ferdinando two Gentlemen wherof the one was named Hercule Donaty, and the other Haniball de Cosmis, by whom she was during sundrie times of their severall aboad in those countries, entreated to like courtisie: for these causes the Dame Fraunces seemed to mislike his choyce, and to lament that she doubted in processe of time to see him abused.

The experiment she ment was this, for that she thought Ferdenando (I use Bartelloes wordes) a man in every respect very worthy to have the severall use of a more commodious common, she hopped now to see if his inclosure there of might be defensible against hir sayd Secretary, and such like. These thinges and divers other of great importaunce, this courteouse Lady Fraunces dyd friendly disclose unto hym, and further more, did both instruct and advise him to proceede in his enterprise. Nowe to make my talke good, and least the

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Reader might bee drawen in a jelose suppose of this Lady Fraunces, I must let you understand yt she was a virgin of rare chastity, singuler capacitie, notable modestie, & excelent beauty: and though Ferdenando Jeronimii had cast his affection on the other (being a [married] woman) yet was there in their beauties no great difference: but in all other good giftes a wonderfull diversitie, as much as might betwene constancie & fl[itt]ing fantasie, betwene womanly countenaunce and girlish garishnes, betwene hot dissimulation & temperat fidelity. Now if any man wil curiously aske the question why he should chuse the one and leave ye other, over & besides ye common proverbe (So mani men so manie mindes) thus may be answered we see by common experience, that the highest flying faucon, doth more commonly praye upon the corn fed crow & the simple shiftles dove, then on ye mounting kyte: & why? because the one is overcome with lesse difficultye then that other. Thus much in defence of this Lady Fraunces, & to excuse the choyce of Ferdenando who thought himself now no lesse beholding to good fortune, to have found such a trusty friend, then bounden to Dame Venus, to have wonne such a Mistres. And to returne unto my presence, understand you, that he (being now with these two fair Ladies come very neere the castle) grew in some jelouse doubt (as on his own behalf) whether he wer best to break company or not. When his assured Hope, perceiving the same, gan thus recomfort him: good sir (quod she) if you trusted your trusty friends, you should not neede thus cowardly to stand in dread of your friendly enimies. Well said in faith (quod Ferdinando) & I must confesse, you were in my bosome before I wist: but yet I have heard said often, that in Trust is treason. Wel spoken for your self quod his Hope. Ferdinando now remembring that he had but erewhile taken upon him the name of hir Trust, camme home per misericordiam, when his Hope entring the Castle gate, caught hold of his lap, & half by force led him by the gallery unto his Mistres chamber: wheras after a litle dissembling disdain, he was at last by the good helpe of his Hope, right thankfully received: & for his Mistresse was now ready to dine, he was therfore for yt time arested there, & a supersedias sent into the great chamber unto the Lord of the house, who expected his coming out of the parke. The dinner ended, & he throughly contented both with welfare & wel-


come, they fell into sundry devices of pastime: at last Ferdinando taking into his hand a Lute that lay on his Mistresse bed, did unto the note of the Venetian galliard apply the Italian dittie written by the worthy Bradamant unto ye noble Rugier, as Ariosto hath it. Rugier qual semper fui, &c. but his Mistres could not be quiet untill she heard hym repeat the Tinternell which he used over night, the whiche he refused not [, at end] wherof his Mistres thinking how she had shewed hir selfe [to earnest] to use any further dissimulation, especially perceyvyng the toward enclination of hir servants Hope, fel to flat and playne dealing & walked to the window, call[ing] hir servaunt apart unto hir, of whom she demaunded secretly and in sad earnest, who devised this Tinternell? My Fathers Sisters brothers sonne (quod he). His mistres laughing right hartely, demaunded yet again, by whome the same was figured: by a niece to an Aunt of yours, Mistres (quod he). Well then servaunt quoth shee, I sweare unto you by my Fathers Soule, yt my mothers youngest daughter, doth love your fathers eldest sone above any c[r]eature living. Fardenando hereby recomforted gan thus replie. Mistres, though my fathers eldest son be far unworthy of so noble a match, yet since it pleaseth hir so wel to except him, I would thus much say behind his ba[c]k, yt your mothers daughter hath done him some wrong: and wherein servaunt (quod she): by my troth Mistres (quod he) it is not yet xx. houres, since without touch of brest, she gave him such a nip by the harte, as did altogether bereave him his nightes rest with the bruse therof. Well servaunt (quod she) content your selfe, for your sake, I will speake to hyr to provyde hym a playster, the which I my selfe will applye to hys hurt: And to the ende it maye worke the better wyth hym, I will purvey a lodging for hym, wher hereafter he maye sleepe at more quiet.

This sayd: the rosie hewe dis[t]ained hir sikely chekes, and she returned to the company, leaving Ferdinando ravished betwene hope and dread, as on that could neither conjecture the meaning of hir misticall wordes, nor assuredly trust unto the knot of hyr sliding affectiones. When the Lady Fraunces, comming to him, demaunded, what dream you sir? Yea mary doe I fayre Lady (quod he). And what was your dream, sir (quod she)? I dreamt (quod he) that walking in a pleasaunt garden garnished


with sundrye delights, my hap was to espie hanging in the ayre, a hope wherin I might well beholde the aspectes and face of the heavens, and calling to remembrance the day and hower of my natively, I did therby (accordyng to my small skil in Astronomy) trie the conclusion of mine adventures. And what found you therin (quod Dame Fraunces)? you awaked me out of my dreame (quod he) or ells peradventure you should not have knowen. I beleeve you well (quod the lady Fraunces) and laughing at his quicke aunswere brought him by the hande unto the rest of his company: where he taryed not long before his gracious Mystresse badde him to farewel, and to keepe his houre there againe when he should by hir be sommoned. Hereby hee passed the rest of that daye in hope awayting the happie tyme when his Mystresse shoulde sende for him. Supper time came, and passed over, and not long after came the handemayde of the Lady Elynor into the great chamber desiering him to repayre unto their Mistresse, the which he willingly acomplished: and being nowe entred into hyr chamber, he might perceyve his Mystresse in hir nightes attyre, preparing hir selfe towards bed, to whome Fardinando sayde: Why how now mystresse? I hadde thought this night to have seene you daunce (at least or at last) amongst us? By my troth good Servaunt (q[u]oth shee) I adventured so soone unto the great Chamber yeasternyght, that I finde my selfe somewhat sickelye disposed, and therefore doe strayne courtesye (as you see) to goe the sooner to my bedde this night: but before I sleepe (quoth she) I am to charge you with a matter of wayght, and taking him a parte from the rest, declared that (as that present night) shee woulde talke with him more at large in the gallery neere adjoyning to hir chamber. Hereupon Ferdinando discreetely dissimuling his joy, toke his leave & returned into the great chamber, where he had not long continued before the Lord of the Castell commaunded a torch to light him unto his lodging, wheras he prepared himselfe and went to bed, commaunding his servaunt also to go to his rest. And when he thought as well his servaunt, as the rest of the houshold to be safe, he arose againe, & taking his night gowne, did under the same convey his naked sword, and so walked to the gallerie, where he founde his good Mistresse walkyng in hir night gowne and attending his comming. The Moone was nowe at the full,


the skies cleare, and the weather temperate, by reason whereof he might the more playnely [an]d with the greater contentation behold his long desired joyes: and spreading his armes abrode to embrace his loving Mistresse, hee sayde: oh my deare Lady when shall I be able with any deserte to countervayle the least parte of this your bountifull goodnesse? The Dame (whether it were of feare in deede, or that the wylinesse of womanhoode had taught hir to cover hir conceites with some fine dissimulation) stert backe from the Knight, and shriching (but softly) sayd unto him. Alas servaunt what have I deserved, that you come agaynst mee with naked sword as against an open enimie. Ferdinando perceyving hir intent excused himselfe, declaryng that he brought the same for their defence, and not to offende hir in any wise.

The Ladie beyng therewith somewhat apeased they began with more comfortable gesture to expell the dread of the sayd late affright, and sithence to become bolder of behaviour, more familiar in speeche, and moste kinde in accomplishing of common comfort. But why horde I so long discourse in describyng the joyes whiche (for lacke of like experience) I cannot set out to the full? Well, remedie was there none, but dame Elynor muste returne unto hir chamber, and he muste also convey himselfe (as closely as might be) into his chamber, the which was hard to do, the day being so farre sprong, and he having a large base court to passe over before he could recover his staire foote dore. And though he were not much perceived, yet the Lady Fraunces being no lesse desirous to see an issue of these interprises, then he was willing to cover them in secrecy, laid watch, & even at the entring of his chamber dore, perceived the poynt of his naked sworde glistring under the skyrt of his nyght gowne: whereat she smiled & sayd to hir selfe, this geare goeth well aboute. Well Ferdenando having now recovered his chamber he went to bede, there let him sleepe, as his mistrisse did on the otherside. Although the Lady Fraunces being throughly tickled now in al the vaynes, could not enjoye such quiet rest, but arising toke another gentle woman of the house with hir, and walked into the parke to take the fresh ayre of the morning. They had not long walked there, but they returned, and thoug[h] Ferdenando Jeronimii had not yet slept sufficiently, for one which had so


farre travayled in the night past, yet they went in to his chamber to rayse him, and comming to his beds side, found him fast on slep. Allas quod that other gentle woman, it were pitye to awake him: even so it were quod dame Fraunces, but wee wil take away som what of his, wherby he may perceive that we were here, and loking about the chamber, hys naked sword presented it selfe to the handes of dame Fraunces, who tooke it with her, and softly shutting hys chamber dore agayne, went downe the stayres and recovered hir owne lodging, in good order and unperceyved of any body, saving only that other gentle woman which accompanied with hir. At the last Ferdenando awaked, and apparrelling hym selfe, walked out also to take the ayre, and being throughly recomforted aswell with remembraunce of his joyes forepassed, as well with the pleasaunt hermony which the Brides made on every side, and the fragrant smel of the redolent flowers and blossomes whiche budded on every braunche: hee did in these delightes compyle these verses following called a mooneshyne banquete.

DAme Cinthia her selfe (that shines so bright,
And dayneth not to leave hir loftie place:
But onely then, when Ph■bus shewes his face.
Which is her brother borne and lendes hir light,)
Disdaind not yet to do my Lady right:
To prove that in such heavenly wightes as she,
It fitteth best that right and reason be.
For when she spied my Ladies golden raies,
Into the cloudes,
Hir head she shroudes,
And shamed to shine where she hir beames displaies.

Good reason yet, that to my simple skill,
I should the name of Cynthia adore:
By whose high helpe, I might beholde the more,
My Ladies lovely lookes at mine owne will,
With deepe content, to ga[z]e, and gaze my fill:
Of courtesie and not of darcke disdaine,
Dame Cy[n]thia disclosde my Lady plaine.
Shee did but lende hir light (as for a lite)


With friendely grace,
To shew hir face,
That else would shew and shine in hir dispight.

Dan Ph■bus hee with many a lowring looke,
Had hir behelde [of] yore in angrie wise:
And when he coulde none other meane devise
To staine hir name, this deepe deceit he tooke,
To be the baite that best might hide his hooke:
Into hir eies his parching beames he cast,
To skorche their skinnes, that gaz'd on hir full fast:
Whereby when many a man was sunne burnt so
They thought my Queene,
The sonne had beene,
With skalding flames, which wrought them all that wo,

[So] that when many a looke had lookt so long,
As that their eyes were dimme and dazaled both:
Some fainting heartes that were both leude and loth
To looke agayne from whence that error sprong,
Gan close their eye for feare of farther wrong:
And some againe once drawen into the maze,
Gan leudly blame the beames of beauties blaze:
But I with deepe foresight did soone espie,
How ph■bus ment,
By false intent,
To slaunder so her name with crueltie.

Wherefore at better leasure thought I best,
To trie the treason of his trecherie:
And to exalt my Ladies dignitie
When Ph■bus fled and drewe him downe to rest.
Amid the waves that walter in the west,
I gan behold this lovely Ladies face,
Whereon dame nature spent hir giftes of grace:
And found therein no parching heat at all,
But such bright hew,
As might renew,
An Aungels joyes in raigne celestiall.


The courteouse Moone that wisht to do me good,
Did shine to shew my dame more perfectly,
But when she sawe hir passing jollitie,
The Moone for shame, did blush as red as bloud,
And shrounke a side and kept hir hornes in hoode:
So that now when Dame Cynthia was gone,
I might enjoye my Ladies lokes alone,
Yet honoured still the Moone with true intent:
Who taught us skill,
To worke our will,
And gave us place, till all the night was spent.

F. J.

ANd now to returne to my tale, by that time, that hee returned out of the parke, it was dinner time, and at dynner they all met, I meane both dame Elynor, dame Fraunces & Ferdenando. I leave to discribe that the Lady Fraunces was gorgiously attyered, and set forth with very brave apparell, and Madame Elynor onely in hir night gowne gyrt to hir, with a coyfe trymimed Ala Piedmonteze, on the whiche she ware a little cap[p]e crossed over the crow[n]e with two bandes of yellowe Sarcenet or Cipresse, in the middest whereof she had placed (of hir owne hand writing) in paper this worde, Contented. This attyre pleased hir then to use, and could not have displeased Mistresse Fraunces, had she not ben more privy to the cause, then to the thing it selfe: at least the Lorde of the Castle, of ignnoraunce, and dame Fraunces, of great temporaunce, let it passe without offence. At dinner, bicause the on was pleased with al former reconinges, and the other partye privie to the accompt, there passed no word of taunt or grudg[e]d, but omnia bene. After dynner dame Elinor being no lesse desirous to have Ferdinandos compani, then dame Frances was to take him in some prety trippe, they began to question how they might best passe the day: the Lady Elinor seemed desirous to kepe her chamber, but Mistresse Fraunces (for another purpose) seemed desirous to ride abroade, therby to take the open ayre: they greed to ride a mile or twayne for solace, and requested Ferdinando to accompany them, the which willingly graunted. Eche one parted from other, to prepare them


selves & nowe began the sport, for when he was booted, his horses sadled, and he ready to ride, he gan misse his Rapier, wherat al astonied he began to blame his man, but blame whom he would, found it could not be. At last the Ladies going towardes the horsebacke called for him in the base Court, and demaunded if he were readie: to whome hee aunswered, Madame, I am more than readie, and yet not so ready as I would be, and immediatly taking him selfe in trip, he thought best to utter no more of his conceipt, but in hast more than good spede mounted his horse, & comming toward ye dames presented himselfe, turning, bounding, & taking up his courser to the uttermost of his power in bravery: after suffering his horse to breath him selfe, he gan also allay his owne choller, & to the dames he sayd. Fayre Ladyes I am ready when it pleaseth you to ride where so you commaund. How ready so ever you be servaunt, quod dame Elynor, it seemeth your horse is readier at your commaunde then at oures. If he bee at my commaund Mistresse (quod he) he shall be at yours. Gramercye good servaunte (quod shee) but my meanyng is, that I feare he be to stirring for our company. If he prove so mistres (quod he) I have here a soberer palfray to serve you on. The Dames being mounted they rode forthwardes by the space of a mile or very scare, & Ferdinando (whether it were of his horses corage or his owne choller came not so neare them as they wished) at last the Lady Fraunces sayde unto him, mayster Jeron[i]my you sayde that you had a sober horse, which if it be so, we would bee glad of your company but I beleve by your countenaunce your horse and you are agreed. Ferdinando alighting called his servaunt, chaunged horses with him, and over taking the Dames, sayd to Mistres Fraunces: And why doe you think fayre Lady that my horse and I are agreed? Because by your countenaunce (quod she) it seemeth your patience is stirred. In good faith, quod he, you have gessed aright, but not with any of you. Then we care the lesse servaunt, quod Dame Elynor. By my troth Mistresse, quod he (looking wel about him that none might heare but they two) it is with my servaunt, who hath lost my sword out of my chamber. Dame Elinor litle remembring the occasion, replied it is no matter servaunt, quod she, you shall heare of it againe, I warrant you, and presently wee ryde in Gods


peace, and I trust shall have no neede of it: yet Mistres quod he, a weapon serveth both uses, as well to defend, as to offend. Now [by my] troth, quod Dame Fraunces, I have now my dreame, for I dreamt this night that I was in a pleasaunt medow alone, where I met with a tall Gentleman, apparrelled in a night gowne of silke, all embroadered about with a garde of naked swordes, and when he came towards me I seemed to be afrayd of him, but he recomforted me saying, be not afrayd fayre Lady, for I use this garment onely for mine owne defence: and in this sort went that warrelike God Mars, what time hee taught Dame Venus to make Vulcan a hammer of the new fashion. Notwithstanding these comfortable words, the fright of the dreame awaked me, and sithens unto this hower I have not slept at al. And what time of the night dreamt you this quod Fardinando? In the grey morning about dawning of the day, but why aske you quod Dame Frances? Ferdenando with a great sigh answered, because that dreames are to bee marked more at some hower of the night, then at some other? why are you so cunning at the interpretation of dreames servaunt? (quod the Ladye Elinor): not very conning Mistres quod he, but gesse like a young scholler. The Dames continued in these and like pleasaunt talkes: but Jeron[i]mii coulde not be mery, as on that estemed the preservation of his mistres honor, no [lesse] then the obteyning of his owne delightes, and yet to avoyd further suspicion, he repressed his passions, as much as hee could. The Lady Elynor (more carelesse then considerative of hir owne case) pricking forwardes sayd softly to him, I had thought you had received small cause servaunt to be thus dumpish, when I would be mery. Alas deere mistresse quod he, it is altogether for your sake, that I am pensife: Dame Fraunces of courtesie with drewe hir selfe and gave them leave, when as Ferdinando declared unto his Mistres, that his sworde was taken out of his chamber, and that he dreaded much by the wordes of the Lady Fraunces, that she had some understanding of the mater. Dame Elynor now calling to remembrance what had passed the same night, at the first was abashed, but immediatly (for these women be redily witted) chered hir servaunt, and willed him to commit unto hir the salving of that sore. Thus they passed the rest of the way in pleasaunt talke with dame Fraunces, and so returned towards


the Castle where Jeronimy suffered the two dames to go together, and he alone unto his chamber to bewayle hys own misgovernment. But dame Elynor (whether it were according to olde custome, or by wilye pollycye) founde meane that nyght, that the sworde was conveyed out of Mistres Fraunces chamber, and brought unto hirs: and after redeliverye of it unto hir servaunt, she warned hym to be more wary from that time forthwardes: afterward when he grew more bold and better aquaynted with his Mistris disposition, hee adventured one Frydaye in the morning to go unto hir Chamber, and thereupon wrote as followeth: which he termed a Frydayes Breakefast.

THat selfe same day, and of that day that hower,
When she doth raigne, that mocks Vulcan the smith,
And thought it meete to harbor in hir bower,
Some gallant gest for hir to dally with,
That blessed houre, that bliss and happie daye,
I thought it meete, with hastie steppes to go
Unto the lodge, wherin my Lady laye,
To laugh for joye, or else to weepe for woe.
And lo, my Lady of hir wonted grace,
First lent hir lippes to me (as for a kisse)
And after that hir bodye to imbrace,
Wherein dame nature wrought nothing amisse.
What followed next, gesse you that know the trade,
For in this sort, my F[r]ydaies feast I made.

F. J.

MAny dayes passed these two lovers with great delight, their affayres being no lesse politiquely governed, then happilye atchived. And surelye it should seeme in sadde earnest, that hee did not onely love hir, but was furthermore so ravished in extasies with continuall remembraunce of his delights, that he made an Idoll of hir in his inwarde conceyte. So seemeth it by this challenge to beautie, which [h]e wrote in hir prayse and uppon hir name.


BEautie shut up thy shop, and trusse up all thy trash,
My Nell hath stolne thy finest stuffe, & left thee in the lash
Thy market now is marde, thy gaines are gone god wot,
Thou hast no ware, that maie compare, with this that I have got
As for thy painted pale, and wrinckles surfled up:
Are deare ynough, for such as lust to drinke of every cup:
Thy bodies bolstred out, with bumbact and with bagges,
Thy rowles, thy ruffes, thy caules, thy coifes, thy Jerkins & thy Jagges.
Thy curling, and thy cost, thy friesling and thy fare,
To court to court with al those tois & there set forth such ware
Before their hungrie eies, that gaze on every gest,
And choose the cheapest chaffaire still, to please their fancy best.
But I whose stedfast eies, coulde never cast a glaunce,
With wandring loke, amid the prese, to take my choise by chaunce
Have wonne by due desert, a peece that hath no peere,
And left the rest as refuse all, to serve the market there:
There let him chuse that list, there catche the best who can:
A painted blazing baite may serve, to choke a gazing man.
But I have slips thy flower, that freshest is of hewe:
I have thy come, goe sell thy chaffe, I list to seeke no new,
The windowes of mine eies, are glaz'd with such delight,
As eche new face seemes full of faultes, that blaseth in my sight:
And not without just cause, I can compare her so,
Loe here my glove I challenge him, that can, or dare say no.
Let Theseus come with clubbe, or Paris bragge with brand,
To prove how faire their Hellen was, that skourg'd the Grecian land:
Let mighty Mars himselfe, come armed to the field:
And vaunt dame Venus to defend, with helmet, speare, & shield.
This hand that had good hap, my Hellen to embrace,
Shal have like lucke to [foyle] hir foes, & daunt them with disgrace.
And cause them to confesse by verdict and by othe,
How farre hir lovelie lookes do steine, the beauties of them both.
And that my Hellen is more faire then Paris wife,
And doth deserve more famous praise, then Venus for hir life.
Which if I not perfourme, my life then let me leese,
Or else be bound in chaines of change, to begge for beuties feese.

F. J


BY this challenge I geese, that eyther he was than in an extasie, or else, sure I am nowe in a lunacie, for it is a prowde challenge made to Beautie hir selfe, and all hir companions: and imagining that Beautie having a shoppe where she uttered hir wares of all sundry sortes, his Ladie had stollen the fynest away, leaving none behind hir, but paynting, bolstring, forcing and such like, the whiche in his rage he judgeth good inough to serve the Courte: and thereupon grewe a great quarrell. When these verses were by the negligence of his Mistresse dispersed into sundry handes, and so at last to the reading of a Courtier. Well Ferdinando had his desire, yf his Mistresse lyked them, but as Bartello writeth, shee grewe in jelousie, that the same were not written by hir, because hir name was Elynor and not Hellen. And about this point have been divers and sundry opimions among the Venetians, for this & divers other of his most notable Poems, have come to view of the world. And some have attributed this praise unto a Hellen, who deserved not so well as this dame Elynor shoulde seeme to deserve, and yet never a barrell of good herring betweene them both: But that other Hellen, because she was sayeth Bartello, of so base conditions, as may deserve no maner commendation in any honest judgement, therefore he thinketh that he would never bestow verse of so meane a subject. And yet some of his acquaintaunce knowing also that he was sometimes acquainted with Hellen, have stoade in argument, that it was written by Hellen, & not by Elynor. Well mine aucthor affirmeth that it was written by this Dame Elynor, and that unto hir he thus alledged, that he tooke it all for one name, or at least he never read of any Elynor suche matter as might sound worthy like commendation, for beautie. And in deede considering all circumstaunces of histories, and comparing also the time that suche reportes do spreade of his acquaintaunce with Hellen, it cannot be written lesse then sixe or seven yeeres before he knewe Hellen: marrye peradventure if there were any acquaintaunce betweene him and that Hellen afterwardes, he might adapt it to hir name, and so make it serve boath their turnes, as elder lovers have done before, and still doe, and wyll doe world without ende. Wel by whome he wrote it I know not, and to returne to the purpose, he sought


more certainelye to please his Mistresse Elynor with this Sonet written in hir praise as followeth.

THE stately Dames of Rome, their Pearles did weare,
About their neckes to beautifie their name:
But she (whome I doe serve) hir pearles doth beare,
Close in hir mouth, and smiling shewe, the same.
No wonder then, though ev'ry word she speakes,
Jewell seeme in judgement of the wise,
Since that hir sugred tongue the passage breakes,
Betweene two rockes, bedecks with pearles of prire.
Hir haire of golde, hir front of Ivory,
(A bloody heart within so white a breast)
Hir teeth of Pearle lippes Rubie, christall eye,
Needes must I honour hir above the rest:
Since she is fourmed of none other moulde,
But Rubie, Christall, Ivory, Pearle, and Golde.

Ferdinando Jeronimy.

OF this Sonet, were it not a lyttle to muche prayse (as the Italians do most commonly offend in the superlative) I could [the] more commend it: but I hope the party to whome it was dedicated had rather it were much more, than any thing lesse. Wel, thus these twoo Lovers passed many daies in exceeding contentation, & more than speakable pleasures, in which time Ferdinando did compile very many verses according to sundrye occasions proffred, and they were for the most parte sauced with a taste of glory, as you know that in such cases a lover being charged with inexprimable joyes, and therewith enjoyned both by duety and discrecion to keepe the same covert, can by no meanes devise a greater consolation, than to commit it into some cyphred wordes, and figured speeches, in verse, whereby he feeleth his heart halfe (or more than halfe) eased of swelling. For as sighes are some present ease to the pensive minde, even so we find by experience, that such secreete entercomoning of joyes doeth encrease delight. I would not have you conster my wordes to this effect, that I thinke a man cannot sufficientlye rejoyce in the luckie lottes of love, unlesse


he empart the same to others: God forbid that ever I should enter into such an herisie, for I have alwayes bene of this opinion, that as to be fortunate in love, is one of the most inward contentations to mans mind of all earthly joyes: even so if hee do but once bewray ye same to any living creature, immediatly either dread of discovering doth bruse his brest with an intollerable burden, or els he leeseth the principall vertue which gave effect to his gladnes, not unlyke to a Poticares pot, which being filled with sweete oyntmentes or perfumes, doth retayne in it selfe some sent of the same, and being powred out doeth returne to the former state, hard, harsh, and of small savour: So the mind being fraught with delightes, as long as it can kepe them secretly enclosed, may continually feede upon the pleasaunt record thereof, as the wel wylling and readie horse byteth on the bridle, but having once disclosed them to any other, straight waye we loose the hidden treasure of the same, and are oppressed with sundry doubtfull opinions and dreadfull conceiptes. And yet for a man to record unto him selfe in the inward contemplation of his mind, the often remembrance of his late received joyes, doth as it were ease the hearte of burden, and ad unto the mind a fresh supplie of delight, yea, and in vearse principally (as I conceyve) a man may best contrive his waye of comfort in him selfe. Therfore as I have sayde Ferdinando swimming nowe in delightes did nothing but writ such verse as might acumilat his joyes, to the extremitie of pleasure, the which for that purpose he kept from sight of ye world, as one more desirous to seme obscure & defective, than overmuch to glory in his adventures, especially for yt jn the end his hap was as heavie, as hitherto he had teen fortunate. And here I wyll surcease to rehearse amy more of his verses until I have expressed how yt his joyes being exalted to the highest degree began to bend towards declination. For now the unhappy Secretary whom I have before remembred, was returned from Florence, on whom Fardinando had no soner cast his eies, but immediatly he fell into a great passion of minde, which might be compared unto a feaver. This fruit grew of the good instructions yt his Hope had planted in his mind, whereby I might take just occasion to forwarn every lover, how they suffer this venemous serpent jelousie to creepe into their conceipts: for surely, of al other diseases in love, I suppose that



to be uncurable, and would hold longer discourse therin, were it not yt both this tale & the verses of Ferdinando him selfe hereafter to be recited, shalbe sufficient to speake for me in this behalf. The lover (as I say upon the sodain) was droven into such a malladie, as no meate might nourishe his body, no delightes please his minde, no remembrance of joyes forepassed content him, nor any hope of the lyke to come might recomfort him: hereat (some unto whome I have imparted this tale) have taken occasion to discommend his fainting heart, yet surely the cause inwardly & deeply considered, I cannot so lightly condempne him: for an old saying is, that everye man can give councell better than followe it: and needes must the conflicts of his thoughts be straunge: betweene the remembraunce of his forepassed pleasure, and the present sight of this monster, whom before (for lacke of like instruction) he had not so throughlye marked and beheld. Well, such was the griefe unto him, that he became sickly and kept his chamber. The Ladies having received the newes thereof, gan al at once lament his misfortune, & of common consent agreed to visit him: they marched thither in good equipage, I warant you, and found Ferdinando lying upon his bed languishing, whom they all saluted generally, and sought to recomfort: but especiallye his Mistresse, having in hir hand a braunc[h]e of wyllow, wherewith shee defended hir from the whot aire, gan thus say unto him: Servaunt (quod she) for that I suppose your mallady to proceede of none other cause but only slouthfulnesse, I have brought this preaty rod to beate you a little: nothing doubting, but when you feele the smart of a twig or twayne, you will like a tractable yong scholler, pluck up your quickned spirits, & cast this drowsinesse apart. Ferdinando with a great sigh answered: Alas good Mistres (quod he) if any like chastisement might quicken me, how much more might the presence of all you lovely Dames recomfort my dulled mind? whome to behold, were sufficient to revive an eye now dazled with the dread of death: & that not onely for the heavenly aspects whiche you represent, but also much the more for your exceeding curtesie, in that you have deigned to visit mee so unworthie a servaunt. But good Mistresse (quod he) as it were shame for me to confesse that ever my hart coulde yeelde for feare, so I assure you that my minde cannot be content to induce infirmitie by


sluggishe conceyt: But in trueth Mistresse I am sicke (quod he,) and therewithall the trembling of his hart had sent up suche throbbing into his throte, as that his voyce (now deprived of breath) commaunded the tong to be still. When Dame Elynor for compassion distilled into teares, and drew towardes the window, leaving the other Gentlewomen about his bed, who being no lesse sorye for his griefe, yet for that they were none of them so touched in their secrete thoughtes, they had bolder sprite and freeer speech to recomfort him, amongest the rest the Lady Fraunces, (who in deede loved him deepely, and could best conjecture the cause of his conceipts) sayd unto him: Good Trust (quod shee) if any helpe of Phisick may cure your maladie, I would not have you hurt your selfe with these doubts whiche you seeme to retayne: If choice of Diet may helpe, beholde us here (your cookes) ready to minister all things needefull: if company may drive away your anoye, wee meane not to leave you solitary, if griefe of mind be cause of your infirmitie, wee all here will offer our devoyre to turne it into joye: if mishap have given you cause to feare or dreade any thing, remember Hope, which never fayleth to recomfort an afflicted minde. And good Trust (quod she) (distraining his hand right hartely) let this simple proofe of our poore good willes bee so [ac]cepted of you, as that it maye work therby the effect of our desires. Ferdinando (as on in a traunce) had nnarked very litle of hir curteouse talke, & yet gave hir thankes, and so held his peace whereat the Ladyes (being all amazed) there became a silence in the chamber on all sides. Dame Elynor fearing thereby that she might the more Basely be espyed, and having nowe dryed up hir teares, retourned to hir servaunt, recomforting him by all possible meanes of common curtesie, promising that since in hir sicknes he had not only staunched hir bleding, but also by his gentle company and sundry devices of honest pastime, had driven a waye the pensivenes of hir mind, she thought hir selfe bound with like willingnes to do hir best in any thing that might restore his health, & taking him by the hand said further. Good servaunte, if thou beare in deed any true affection to thy poore Mistres, start upon thy feet again, and let hir enjoye thine accustomed service to hir comfort, for sure (quod she) I will never leave to visite this chamber once in a daye, untill I may have thee downe with

DD 2


mee. Ferdinando hearyng the harty woordes of his Mistris, and perceivyng the earnest mamer of hir pronunciation, began to receyve unspeakeable comfort in the same, and sayd: Mistris, your exceedyng courtesie were able to revive a man half dead, and to me it is bothe great comfort, and it doeth also gald my remembrance, with a continual smart of myne owne unworthinesse: but as I woulde desire no longer life, than til I might be able to deserve some part of your bouty, so I wil endevor my self to live, were it but only unto yt ende, yt I might merite some parte of your favour with acceptable service, and requight some deale the courtesie of all these other fayre Ladies, who have so farre (above my deserts) deigned to doe me good. Thus sayd, the Ladies taried not long before they were called to Evensong, when his Mistres taking his hand, kissed it saying: Farewel good servaunt, and I praye thee suffer not the mallice of thy sickenesse to overcome the gentlenesse of thy good hart. Fardinando ravished with joy, suffered them all to departe, and was not able to pronounce one word. After their departure, he gan cast in his mind the exceeding curtesie used towardes him by them all, but above all other the bounty of his Mystresse: and therwithall tooke a sound & firme opinion, that it was not possible for hir to counterfeite so deepely (as in deede I beleeve that shee then did not) wherby he sodenly felt his hert greatly eased, and began in himselfe thus to reason. Was ever man of so wretched a heart? I am the most bounden to love (quod he) of all them that ever p[rof]essed his service, I enjoy one the fayrest that ever was found, and I finde hir the kindest that ever was hearde of: yet in mine owne wicked heart, I coulde vilanously conceyve that of hir, which being compared with the rest of hir vertues, is not possible to harbour in so noble a mind. Herby I have brought my self without cause into this feeblenesse: and good reason that for so high an offence, I should be punished with great infirmitie: what shall I then doe? yelde to the same? no, but according to my late protestation, I will recomfort this languishing minde of mine, to the ende I may live but onely to do penaunce for this so notable a cryme so rashly committed: and thus saying, he start from his bed, and gan to walke towardes the window: but the venimous serpent which (as before I rehearsed) had stony him, coulde not be content that these medicines


applyed by the mouth of his gentle Mistresse, should so soone resto[r]te him to guerison. And although in cede they were such Mythrydate to him as that they had nowe expelled the rancour of the poyson yet that ougly hellishe monster had left behind hir in the most secret of his bosome, (even betwene the minde and the man) one of hir familiers named suspect, whiche gan work in the weake spirites of Ferdinando efectes of no lese perill than before he had received, his head swelling with these troublsome toyes, and his hart swimming in the tempests of tossing fantasie: he felt his legges so feeble, that he was constrayned to lie down on his bed again, and repeating in his own remembraunce every woorde that his mistres had spoken unto him, he gan to dread, that she had brought the willow braunche to beate hym with, in token that he was of hir forsaken: for so lovers do most commonly expound the willow garlande, and this to thinke, did cut his hart in twayne. A wonderfull chaunge : and here a little to staye you, I will discribe as I finde it in Bartello the beginning, the fall, the retourne, and the being of this hellish byrde, who in deede maye well bee counted a very lymbe of tine Divill. Many yeares since, one of the moste dreadfull dasterdes in the world and one of them that first devissed to weare his beard at length, lest the Barbor might doe him a good turne soner then he looked for it, and yet not so soone as he deserved, had builded for his security a pile on the hyghest and most inaccessible mount of all his Territores: the which being fortyfied with strong walles, and envyroned with deepe ditches, had no place of ent[ri]e, but one onely dore so strayght and narrow, as might by any possibility receive the body of one living man: from which he asended up a ladder, and so creeping through a mervelous strait hole, attayned to his lodging, ye which was so dark and obscure, as scarcely either sunne or ayre could enter into it: thus hee devised to lodge in safetie, and for the more suertye gene truste none other letting downe this ladder but only his wife: and at the foote therof kept alwaies by daye light, a fierce mastife close enkeneled which never sawe nor hearde the face or voice of any other creature but onelye of them twoo: him by night he trusted with the scout of this prety passage, having neverthelesse between him & this dogge, a double dore with treble lockes, quadrible barres, and before


all a port coulez of Iron: neither yet could he bee so hardye as to sleepe, untyll he had caused a garde of servauntes (whome he kept abroade for that purpose) to search all the corners adjoyning to all his fortresse, and th[en] betweene fearefull sweate and chyvering cold, with one eye opened & the other closed, he stole sometimes a broken sleepe, devided with many terrible dreames. In this sort the wretch lyved all to long, untyll at last his Wife being not able any longer to supporte this hellishe life, grewe so hardye, as with his owne knife to dispatche his carkas out of this earthlye purgatorye: the which being done, his soule (and good reason) was quickly conveyed by Carone unto hell: there Radamanthus Judge of that benche, commaunded him quicklye to be thrust into a boyling poole: and being therein pronged very often, hee never shryked or cryed, I skalde, as his other companions there cryed, but seemed so lightlye to esteeme it, that the Judge thought meete to condempne him unto the most terrible place, where are such tormentes, as neyther penne can wryte, tongue expresse, or thought conceyve: but the myser (even there) seemed to smyle and to make small accompt of his punishment. Radamanthus hereof enformed, sent for him, and demaunded the cause why he made so light of his duraunce? he aunswered that whyles he lyved on earth, he was so continually afflicted and oppressed with suspicion, as that now (only to thinke that he was out of those meditations) was sufficient armour to defend him from all other tormentes. Radamanthus astonied hereat, gan call togeather the Senators of that kingdome, and propounded this question, howe & by what punnishment they might devise to touche him according to his deserts? & hereupon fell great disputation: at last being considered, that he had already him pronged in the most unspeakable torments, & therat litle or nothing had changed countenance, therewithal yt no soule was sent unto them to be relieved of his smart, but rather to be punished for his former delights: it was concluded by ye general counsel, yt he should be eftsones sent into ye world & restored to the same body wherein he first had his reliance, so to remain for perpetuity, and never to depart nor to perish. Thus this body and soule being once againe united, and nowe eftsones with the same pestilence infected, he became of a suspicious man, Suspicion it selfe: and now the wretch remembring the


treason of his wife, who had so willingly dispatched him once before, gan utterly abhorre hir, and fled hir company, searching in all countries some place of better assurance, and when he had in vaine bode over ye most part of the earth, he embarked hiimself to find some unknowen Ilande, wherein he might frame some newe habitation: and finding none so commodious as hee desired, he fortuned (sayling aloane by the shoare) to espy a rock, more than sixe hundreth Cubits high, which hong so suspiciously over the seas, as though it would threaten to fall at everye litle blast: this dyd Suspition Imagine to be a fit foundation whereon he might build his second Bower: hee forsooke his boate, and travailed by lande to espie what entrye or accesse might bee made unto ye same, and founde from lande no maner of entrie or accesse, unlesse it were that some curteouse Byrd of the ayre would be Ambassadour, or convey some Engins, as whilom the Eagle did carrie Ganymedes into heaven. He then returned to Seas, and approching neere to this rocke, founde a small streame of fresh water issuing out of the same into the Seas: the whiche, although it were so lytle and so straight, as might unethes receyve a boat of bygnesse to carry one hying creature at once, yet in his conceypt hee thought it more large and spatious than that broad waye called of our forefathers Via appia, or than that other named [F]laminia, he abandoned his barke, and putting of his clothes adventured (for he was now asured not to drown) to wade and swim against the streame of this unknown brooke, the which (a wondrous thing to tell, and skarcelye to be beleeved) came downe from the very top and height of this rock: and by the waye he found six strayghts & dangerous places, wher the water seemed to staye his course, passing under six strayght and lowe bridges, and harde by every of those places, a pyle raysed up in manner of a Bulworke, the which were hollow, in such sorte as lodginges and other places necessary might in them commodiously be devised, by suche one as coulde endure the hellishnes of the place. Passing by these hee attayned wyth much payne unto the toppe of the Rocke, the which hee found hollowed as the rest, and farre more fite for hys security, than otherwise apt for any commodity. Ther gan Suspition, determine to nestle hym selfe, and having now placed sixe chosen porters, to wit, (Dread, Mistrust, Wrath, Desperation, Frensie, and Fury :) at these sixe straung Bulworkes, he lodged himselfe


in that vii. al alone, for he trusted no company, but ever mistrusting that his wife should eftsonnes finde him out therein, hee shricketh co[n]tynually lyke to a shrich owle to keepe the watch wakyng, never content to sleep by day nor by night. But to be sure that he should not over sleepe him selfe, gene stuffe hys couch with Porpentines quilles, to the ende that when heavy sleep overcame him, and he thereby should be constrayned to charge his pallad with more heavye burden, those plumes might then pricke through and so awake him. His garments were steele upon yron, and that yron upon Iron, and Iron agayne, and the more he was armed, the lesse he trusted to be out of daunger. He chopped and changed continually now this, now that, now keyes, now lockes, ditches newe skowred, and walles newlye fortified, and thus alwaies uncontented liveth this wretched helhound Suspition, in this hellish dungion of habitation: from whence he never removeth his foote, but onely in the dead & silent nightes, when he maye be assured that all creatures (but him selfe) are whelmed in sound sleepe. And then with stealing steps he stalketh about the earth, enfecting, tormenting, & vexing all kindes of people with some part of his afflictions: but especiallye such as eyther doe sit in chayre of greatest dignity and estimation, or els such as have atchived some deere and rare emprise. Those above al others he continually gauleth with fresh wounds of dread, least they might lose and forgo the roomes wherunto with such long travaile and good happes they had attained, and by this meanes percase he had crept into the bosom of Ferdinando, who (as is before declared) did earst swimme in the deepest seas of earthly delightes. Nowe then I must thinke it high time to retorne unto him, who (being now through feeblenesse eftsones cast downe upon his bed) gan cast in his inwarde meditations all thinges passed, and as one throughly puffed up and filled with one peevishe conceipte, coulde thinke uppon nothing else, and yet accusing his own guiltie conscience to be infected with jelosie, dyd compile this as followeth.

WHat state to man, so sweete and pleasaunt weare,
As to be tyed, in linkes of worthy love?
What life so bliss and happie might appeare,
As for to serve Cupid that God above?


If that our mindes were not sometimes infect,
With dread, with feare, with care, with cold suspect:
With deepe dispaire, with furious frenesie,
Handmaides to her, whome we call jelosie.

For ev'ry other sop of sower chaunce,
Which lovers tast amid their sweete delight:
Encreaseth joye, and doth their love advaunce,
In pleasures place, to have more perfect plight.
The thirstie mouth thinkes water hath good taste,
The hungrie jawes, are pleas'd, with eche repaste:
Who hath not prov'd what dearth by warres doth growe,
Cannot of peace the pleasaunt plenties knowe.

And though with eye, we see not ev'ry joye,
Yet maie the minde, full well support the same,
[An] absent life long led in great annoye
(When presence comes) doth turne from griefe to game,
To serve without reward is thought great paine,
But if dispaire do not therewith remaine,
It may be borne for right rewardes at last,
Followe true service, though they come not fast.

Disdaines, repulses, finallie eche ill,
Eche smart, eche paine, of love eche bitter tast,
To thinke on them gan frame the lovers will,
To like eche joye, the more that comes at last:
But this infernall plague if once it tutch,
Or venome once the lovers mind with grutch,
All festes and joyes that afterwardes befall,
The lover comptes them light or nought at all.

This is that sore, this is that poisoned wound,
The which to heale, nor salve, nor ointmentes serve,
Nor charme of wordes, nor Image can be founde,
Nor observaunce of starres can it preserve,
Nor all the art of Magicke can prevaile,
Which Zoroactes found for our availe,
Oh cruell plague, above all sorrowes smart,
With desperate death thou sleast the lovers heart.


And me even now, thy gall hath so enfect,
As all the joyes which ever lover found,
And all good haps, that ever Troylus sect,
Atchieved yet above the luckles ground:
Can never sweeten once my mouth with mell,
Nor bring my thoughtes, againe in rest to dwell.
Of thy mad moodes, and of naught else I thinke,
In such like seas, faire Bradamant did sincke

Ferdinando. Jeronimy.

THus Ferdinando continued on his bedde, untyll hys bountifull Mistresse with the companye of the other courteous dames retorned after supper to his chamber. At their first entrie: Why how nowe servaunt (quod dame Elinor) wee hoped to have founde you [on] foote? Mistresse quod he, I have assayed my feete since your departure, but I finde them yet unable too suport my heavy body, and therefore am constrayned as you see, to acquaint my selfe with these pillowes. Servaunt sayde she I am right very therof, but since it is of necessitie to beare sicknesse, I will employ my endevoyre to allay some parte of your paynes, and to refreshe your weary limbes with some comfortable matter: and therewithall calling hir hande mayde, delivered unto hir a bounch of pretie littell keyes, and whispering in hir eare, dispatched hir towards hir chamber: The mayde taryed not long, but returned with a little Casket, the which hir mistresse toke, opened and drewe out of the same much fine linnen, amongst the which she toke a pillowebere very fine and sweete, which although it were of it selfe as sweete as might be (being of long time kept in that odoriferous chest) yet did she with damaske water and that of the best that might be (I warramt you) al to sprinkle it with hir owne handes, which in my conceipt might much amende the matter. Then calling for a fresh pillowe, sent hir mayde to ayre the same and at hir returne put on this, thus perfumed pillowebeere. In meane time also shee had with hir owne hands attyred hir servaunts head in a fayre wrought kerchife taken out of the same Casket: then layde him downe uppon this freshe and pleasaunt place, and pretelye as it were in sporte, bedewed his temples with sweete water which she had readye


in a casting bottle of Golde, kissing his cheeke and saying: Good servaunt be whoale, for I might not long indure thus to attend thee, and yet the love that I beare towardes thee, cannot be content to see thee languishe. Mistresse sayde Ferdinando (and that with a trembling voice) assure your selfe, that if there remain in me any sparke of life or possibillity of recovery, them may this excellent bounty of yours be sufficient to revive me without any further travaile or paine unto your person: for whome I am highlye to blame, in that I do not spare to put you unto this trouble, & better it were that suche a wretch as I had died unknown, than yt by your exceeding curtesie, you should fall into any malladye, eyther by resorting unto me, or by these your paines taken about me. Servaunt (quod shee) all pleasures seeme painefull [to] them that take no delight therin, and lyke wise all toile seemeth pleasaunt to such as set their felicitie in the same: but for me bee you sure, I doe it with so good a wyll that I can take no hurt thereby, unlesse I shall perceyve that it be rejected or neglected, as unprofitable or uncomfortable unto you. To me Mistresse quod Fardinando it is suche pleasure, as neyther my feeble tongue can expresse, nor my troubled mind conceyve. Why? are you troubled in mind, then servant quod dame Elynor? Ferdinando now blushing answered, but even as al sick men be Mistresse. Herewith they staied their talke a while, and the first that brake silence was the Ladye Fraunces: who sayde, and to drive away ye troubles of your mind good Trust, I would be glad if we coulde devise some pastime amongst us to keepe you company: for I remember that with such devises you did greatly recomforte this fayre Lady when she languished in like sort. She languished in deede gentle Hope quod hee, but God forbide that she had languished in like sort. Every body thinketh their own greif greatest quod dame Elynor, but in deede whether my greife were the more or the lesse, I am right sorye that yours is such as it is: And to assay whither our passions proceded of lyke cause or not, I would we could (according to this Ladyes saying) devise some like pastimes to trie if your malladie would be cured with like medicines. A gentle woman of the company whom I have not hetherto named, gan thus propound. We have accustomed (quod she) heretofore in most of our games to chuse a King or Quene, and he or she during their government,


have charged every of us, eyther with commaundementes or questions, as best seemed to their majestic. Wherin (to speake mine opinion) we have given over larg a skope, neither semeth it reasonable yt on should have ye power to discover ye thoughts, or at least to bridle the affects of al ye rest. And though in deed in questioning (which doth of ye twaine more nerely touch the mind) every on is at free liberty to answere what they list: yet oft have I hearde a question demaunded in such sorte, and upon such sodayne, yt it hath bene hardly answered without moving matter of contencion. And in commaundes also, some times it happeneth one to bee commaunded unto such service, as eyther they are unfit to accomplish (and then the parties weaknes is therby detected) or els to doe something that they would not, wherof ensueth more grutch than game. Wherefore in mine opinion, we shall do well to chuse by lot amongst us a governour, who (for that it shalbe sufficient preheminence to use the chayre of majestie,) shalbe bound to give sentence uppon al suche arguments and questions as we shall orderly propound unto them: and from him or her (as from an oracle) wee will receive aunswere, and decyding of our lytigious causes. This dame had stuffe in her, an old courtier, & a wylie wenche, named Pergo. Wel this proportion of Pergo pleased them well, and by lot it hapned that Ferdinando must be moderator of these matters, and colector of these causes. The which being so constituted, the Lady Elynor sayd unto this dame Pergo. You have devised this pastime (quod she) & because we thinke you to be most expert in the handling therof, do you propound the first question, & we shalbe both the more ready and able to follow your example: ye Lady Pergo refused not, but began on this wise. Noble governor (quod she) amongst the adventures that have befallen mee, I remember especially this one, that in youth it was my chaunce to bee beloved of a verye courtlike yong Gentleman, who abode neare the place wherin my parents had their resiaunce. This gentleman (whether it were for beauty, or for any other respect that he sawe in me, I knowe not) but he was enamored of me, & that with an exceeding vehement passion, & of such force were his effectes, that notwithstanding many repulses which he had received at my handes, he seemed daylye to grow in the renewing of his desires. I on the other side, although I could by no meanes


mislike of him by any good reason (considering that he was of byrth no waye inferiour unto mee, of possessions not to bee disdained, of parson right comelye, of behaviour Courtly, of manners modest, of mynde lyberall, and of vertuous disposition) yet suche was the gaitye of my minde, as that I coulde not bee content to lende him over large thonges of my love: but alwayes daungerouslye behaved my selfe towardes him, and in suche sorte, as hee coulde neyther take comfort of myne aunsweres, nor yet once finde him selfe requited with one good looke for all his travaile. This notwithstanding, the worthy Knight continewed his sute with no lesse vehement affection than earst hee had begonne it, even by the space of seven yeares. At the last, whether discomfited by my dealynges, or tryed by long travayle, or that he trade parcase light upon the lake that is in the forrest of Ardena, and so in haste and all thristie, had dronke some droppes of disdayne, whereby his hot flames were quenched, or that he had undertaken to serve no longer, but his just tearme of apprenticehode, or that the teeth of tyme had gnawen and tyred his dulled spirites in such sort, as that all beenummed hee was constrayned to use some other artificyal balme for the quickning of his sences, or by what cause moved I knowe not he did not onely leave his long continued sute, but (as I have since perceived) grew to hate me more deadly than before I had disdained him. At the first beginnyng of his retyre I perceived not his hatred, but imagened that being over wearied, he had withdrawen himself for a time. And considering his worthines, ther withall his constancie of long time proved, I though[t] that I could not in the whole world find out a fitter match to bestowe my selfe, than one so worthy a person. Wherfore I d[id] by al possible meanes procure that he might eftsones use his accustomed rep[ayr]e unto my parentes: And further, in al places where I hapened to meete him, I used al the curtesies towardes him that might be contayned wythin the bondes of modestie. But al was in vaine, for he was now become more daungerous to be wone, than the haggard Faulcon. Our lottes being thus unluckely chaunged, I grewe to burne in desire, and the more daungerous that he shewed him selfe unto me, the more earnest I was by all meanes to procure his consent of love. At the last I might perceive that not only he disdayned me, but (as me thought)


boyled in hatred against me. And the time that I thus continued tormented with these thoughts, was also just the space of seven yeares. Finally when I perceived no remedye for my perplexityes, I assayed by absence to were away this malady, and therefore utterly refused to come in his presence, yea or almost in any other company. Wherby I have consumed in lost time the flower of my youth, & am become as you see (what with yeares, and what with the tormenting passions of love) pale, wane, and full of wrinkles. Neverthelesse, I have therby gayned thus much, that at last I have wond my self cleere out of Cupids chaynes, and remayne carelesse at libertie. Now marke to what end I tell you this: first vii. yeares passed in the which I could never be content to yeld unto his just desires: next other vii. yeares I spent in seeking to recover his lost love: and sithens both those vii. yeares, there are even now on saint Valentines day last, other vii. yeares passed, in the which (neither I have desired to see him) nor he hath coveted to here of me. My parents now perceyving how the crowes foot is crept under mine eye, and remembring the long sute that this genteleman had in youth spent on me, considering therewith all that grene youth is well mellowed in us both, have of late sought to perswade a marriage betwene us, the which the Knighte hath not refused to here of, and I have not disdayned to thinke on. By their mediation we have bene eftsoones brought to Parlee, wherein over and be sides the ripping up of many olde griefes, this hath bene cheffly rehearsed & objected betwene us, what wrong and injury eche of us hath done to other. And here aboutes wee have fallen to sharpe contencion. He alleadged, that much greater is the wrong which I have done unto him, than that repulse which hee hath sithenes used to me: and I have affirmed the contrary. The matter yet hangeth in varyence. Now, of you worthy Governour I would be most glad to heare this question decided, remembring that there was no difference in the times betwene us. And surely, unles your judgment helpe me, I am afrayde my marryage will bee marred, and I may go lead Apes in hell. Ferdenando aunswered, good Pergo, I am sory to heare so lamentable a discourse of your luckles love, and much the soryer, in yt I muste needes give sentence agaynst you. For surely great was the wrong that eyther of you have done to


other, and greater was the needelesse greife which causelesse eche of you hath conceyved in this long time, but greatest in my judgment hath bene both the wrong and the greife of the Knight. In that notwithstanding his desertes (which your selfe confesse) he never enjoyed any guerdone of love at your handes. And you (as you alledge) did enjoy his love of long time to gether. So that by the reckoning, it wil fal out (although being b[lin]ded in your owne conceipt, you see it not) that of the one & twenty yeares you enjoyed his love vii. at the least, but that ever he enjoyed yours wee cannot perceive. And much greater is the wrong that rewardeth evill for good, than that which requireth tip for tap. Further, it semeth that where as you went [a]bout in time to trie him, you did altogither loose time which can never be recovered. And not only lost your owne time, whereof you would seeme nowe to lament, but also compelled him to lease his time, which he might (be it spoken without offence to you) have bestowed in some other worthy place, and therefore, as that greife is much greater which hath no kind of comfort to allay it, so much more is that wrong which altogether without cause is offered. And I (sayd Pergo) must needes think, that much easier is it for them to endure grief which never tasted of joye, and much lesse is that wrong which is so willingly proffered to be by recompence restored. For if this Knight wil confesse that he never had cause to rejoyce in all the time of his service, then with better contentacion might he abyde greife than I, who having tasted of the delight which I did secretly conceive of his desertes, do think ech grief a present death by the remembrance of those for passed thoughts: & lesse wrong seemeth it to be destitut of ye thing which were never obtained, then to be deprived of a Jewel wherof we have been already possessed, so that under your correction I might conclude, that greater hath beene my griefe and injury sustained, than that of the Knight. To whome Jeronimy replied, as touching delight, it maye not be denied but that every lover doth take delight in the inward contemplation of his mind, to think of the worthines of his beloved: & therefore you maie not alledge that the Knight had never cause to rejoyce, unlesse you will altogeather condemne your selfe of worthines. Mary if you will say that he tasted not the delightes that lovers seeke, then marke, who was the cause but


your selfe? And if you would accuse him of like ingratitude, for yt he disdained you in the later vii. yeeres (when as he might by accepting your love, have recompenced him selfe of all former wronges) you must remember therewithall, that the crueltie by you shewed towards him was such, that he could by no means perceive that your change proceeded of good will, but rather eftsons to hold him enchained in unknown linkes of subtile dealings, & therefore not without cause he doubted you: & yet without cause you rejected him. He had often sought occasion, but by your refusals he could never find him, you having occasion fast by ye foretop, did dally with him so long, tyl at the last he sliped his head from you, & then catching at the bald noddle, you found your selfe the cause, & yet you would accuse another. To conclude, greater is the griefe that is susteined without desert, & much more is the wrong that is offered without cause. Thus Ferdinando Jeronimy decided the question propounded by Pergo, and expected that some other Dame should propound another? but his Mistresse (having hir hand on another halfpeny) gan thus say unto him. Servant this pastime is good, and such as I must nedes like of, to drive away your pensive thoughtes: but sleeping time approcheth, & I feare we disquiete you: wherefore the rest of this time we will (if so like you) bestowe in trimming up your bed, and to morrow wee shal meete here and renewe this newe begon game with Madame Pargo. Mistresse (quod hee) I must obeye your wil, and most humbly thanke you of your great goodnesse, and all these Ladies for their curtesie. Even so requiring you that you wyll no further trouble your selves about mee, but let my Servaunt aloane with conducting mee to bed. Yes servaunt (quod she) I wil see if you can sleepe any better in my sheetes: and therewith commaunded hir handmayde to fetche a payre of cleane sheetes, the which being brought (marvaylous fine and sweete) the Ladies Fraunces and Elinor dyd curteously unfold them, and layd them on the bed, which done, they also entreated him to uncloath him and go to bed, being layd, his Mistresse dressed and couched the cloathes about him, sithens moistened his temples with Rosewater, gave him handkerchewes and other freshe linnen about him, in doing wherof, she whispered in his eare, saying: Servaunt, this night I will bee with thee, and after with the rest of the Dames


gave him good night and departed, leaving him in a traunce between hope and dispayre, trust and mistrust. Thus he laye ravished, commaunding his servaunt to goe to bed, and fayning that him selfe would assaye if he could sleepe. About ten or eleven of the clocke came his mistresse in hir night gowne: who knowing all privye wayes in that house verie perfectlye, had conveied her selfe into his chamber, unseene and unperceived: and being nowe come unto his beds side kneeled downe, and laying hir arme over him sayde these or lyke wordes: My good Servaunt, if thou knewest what perplexities I suffer in beholding of thine infirmities, it might then suffice eyther utterlye to drive away the mallady, or much more to augment thy griefes: for I know thou lovest me: and I think also that thou hast had sufficient proofe of myne unfayned good wyll: in remembrance whereof, I fall into sundry passions: First, I compt the happy lotes of our first acquaintance, and therin I call to minde the equalitie of our affections, for I thinke that there were never two lovers conjoyned with freer concent on both partyes: and (if my over hasty delivery of yeelding words be not wrested hereafter to my condempnation) I can then assure my self to escape for ever without desert of any reprofe. Herewithall I cannot forget the sundry adventures hapned since wee became one hart devided in two bodyes, all which have teen both happily atchived, and delectable enjoyed. What resteth then to consider but this thy present stat? The first corosive that I have felt, and the last cordiall that I looke for, the end of my joyes, and the beginning of my torments. And here hir salt teares gan bath the dying lippes of hir servaunt: who (hearing these wordes, and well considering hir demeanor) began now to accuse him selfe of such and so haynous treason, as that his gilty hart was constrayned to yeelde unto a just scourge for the same. He swooned under hir arme: the which when she perceived, it were harde to tel what feares did most affright hir.

And It were hard nowe to rehearse how he was revyved since there were none presente but hee dying, (who could not declare) and she living, who would not disclose so much as I meane to bewraye. For mine aucthor dreameth yt Ferdenando returning to life, the first thing which he felt, was yt his good mistres lay pressing his brest with the whole weight of hir

G. E E


bodye, & byting his lips with hir friendly teeth. And peradventure she refrayned (either of curtesie towards him, or for womanish feare, to hurt her tender hande) to strike him on the cheekes in such sort, as they doe that strive to call againe a dying creature: and therefore thought this the aptest meane to reduce him unto remembrance. Ferdinando now awaked, could no lesse doe, than of his curteous nature receive his Mistresse into his bed: Who (as one that knewe that waye better, than how to help his swooning,) gan gently strip of hir clothes, and lovingly embracing him, gan demaund of him in this sorte. Alas good Servaunt (quod shee) what kinde of maladie is this that so extreemly doth torment thee? Jeronimii with fainting speech answered: Mistresse as for my maladie, it hath beene easelye cured by your bountifull medicines applied. But I must confesse, that in receiving that guerison at your handes, I have bene constrained to fall into an Extasie, through the gauling remembraunce of mine owne unworthinesse. Neverthelesse good Mistres, since I perceive such fidelitye remayning betweene us, as that fewe woordes wyll perswade suche trust as lovers ought to imbrace, let these fewe wordes suffice to crave your pardon: and do eftsones powre uppon me (your unworthy servaunt) the aboundaunt waves of your accustomed clemencie, for I must confesse, that I have so highlye offended you, as (but your goodnesse surpasse the mallice of my conceiptes) I must remayne (and that right woorthely) to the severe punishment of my desertes: and so should you but loose him who hath cast away him self, and neither can accuse you, nor darre to excuse him selfe of the crime. Dame Elinor (who had rather have founde hir servaunt perfectly revived, than thus with straunge conceypts encombred: and musing much at his darke specie,) became importunat to know ye sertaynty of his thoughts. And Ferdenando as on not maister of him selfe, gan at the last playnly confesse how he had mistrusted the chaung of hir vowed affections: Yea and (that more was) he playnely expressed with whom, of whom, by whom, and too whom she bent hir better liking. Nowe, here I would demaunde of such as are experte: Is there any greater impedymente to the fruition of a Lovers delights, than to be mistrusted? or rather, is it not the ready way to race all love and former good will out of remembrance,


to tell a guilty mind that you do mistrust it? It should seeme yes, by Dame Elynor, who began now to take the matter whotlye: and of such vehemencie were hir fancies, that she nowe fell into flat defiance with Ferdinando, who although he sought by many faire wordes to temper hir chollorike passions and by yelding him selfe to get the conquest of an other, yet could he by no meanes determine the quarrell. The soft pillowes being present at al these whot speches, put forth them selves as mediators for a truce betwene these enemies and desired that (if they would needes fight) it might be in their presence but one only blowe, & so from thence forth to become friendes againe for ever. But the Dame denied flatlye, alledging that shee found no cause at all to use such curtesie unto such a recreant: adding further many words of great reproche: the which dyd so enrage Ferdinando, as that having forgotten all former curtesies, he assayleth his enemies by force. At last she rose sodainlye and determined to save hir selfe by flight, leaving him in bedde, with many despitefull wordes, and swearing that he shoulde never (eftsones) take her at the lyke advauntage: the whiche oathe she kepte better than hir fourmer professed good wyll: and having nowe recovered her Chamber (because shee founde her hurt to be nothing daungerous) I doubte not, but shee slept quietlye the rest of the night As Ferdinando also (perswading himselfe that he shoulde with convenient leasure recover her from this haggard conceipt) tooke some better rest towardes the morning, than hee had done in many nightes forepast. So let them both sleepe whiles I turne my penne unto the before named Secretarie, who being (as I saye) come latelye from Florence, had made many proffers to renewe his accustomed consultations: but the sorrowe whiche his Mistresse had conceyved in Jeronimy his sicknesse togeather with hir continuall repayre to him during the same, had bene such lettes unto his attempts, as it was long time before he could obtayne audience.

At the last these newe accidentes fell so favourably for the furtherance of his cause, that he came to his Mistresse presence and there pleaded for himselfe. Nowe, if I should at large write his alligations, togither with hir subtile aunsweres, I shoulde but comber your eares with unpleasaunt rehearsall of feminine frayltye.

BE 2


To be short, the late disdayneful moode which she had conceived against Ferdinado togither with a scrupule which lay in hir conscience, touching the xi. article of hir beleefe, moved hir presently with better will to consult with this Secretary, aswel upon the speedy revenge of hir late received wrongs as also upon the reformation of hir religion. And in verye deede, it fel out that the Secretary (having bene of long time absent, & there his quiles and pens not worne so neere as they were wont to be,) did now pricke [such] faire large notes, that his mistres liked better to sing fa-burden under him, than to descant any longer upon Ferdinandoes playne song, and thus they continued in good accord, untill it fortuned that Dame Fraunces came into her chamber upon such sodaine as she had like to have marred all the musicke, well they conveyed their clifes as closely as they could, but yet not altogither without some suspicion given to the sayd dame Fraunces, who although she could have bene content to take any paine in Jeronimies behalfe, yet otherwise she could never have bestowed the watching about so worthelesse a pryse. After womanly salutations they fell into sundrye discourses, the Secretary stil abiding in the chamber with them. At last two or three other gentlewomen of the Castle came into Madam Elinores chamber, who after their Bon jour did all (una voce) seeme to lament the sikenes of Ferdinando and called uppon the Dames Elynor and Fraunces, to goe visite him againe.

The Lady Fraunces curteously consented, but Madame Elynor first alledged that she her selfe was also sickly, the which she attributed to hir late paynes taken about him and sayd, that onely for that cause she was constrayned to kepe hir bed longer than hir accustomed hower. The Dames (but specially the Lady Fraunces) gan streight wayes conjecture some great cause of sodaine chaunge, and so leaving dame Elinor, walked altogether into the parke to take the ayre in the morning: And as they thus walked it chaunced that Dame Pergo heard a Cuckoe chaunt, who (because the pride of the spring was now past) cried Cuck cuck Cuckoe in hir stamering voyce. A ha (quod Pergo) this foule byrd begines to flye the countrye, and yet before hir departure, see how spitfully she can devyse to salute us. Not so (quod Dame Fraunces) but some other whom she hath espyed, wherewith Dame Pergo looking round about hir, and espying none other companie


sayde. Why here is no body but we few women, quod she. Thanks be to God the house is not farre from us (quod Dame Fraunces.) Here at the wylie Pergo partly perceyviing Dame Fraunces meaning, replyed on this sort: I understand you not (quod she) but to leap out of this matter, shall wee goe visit Maister Jeronimy and see how he doth this morning. Why quod dame Fraunces, do you suppose that the Cuckoe called unto him? Nay mary quod Pergo, for (as fare as I knowe) he is not maried. As who should say (quod Dame Fraunces,) that the Cuckoe envieth none but maryed folkes. I take it so, sayd Pergo, the Lady Frances answered. Yes sure I have noated as evill lucke in love (after the Cuckoes call) to have hapned unto divers unmaried folkes, as ever I did unto the maryed, but I can be well content that we go unto him, for I promised on ye behalfe of us al, that we would use our best devoyre to recomfort him untill he had recovered helth: and I do much mervayle that ye Lady Elinor is now become so unwilling to take amy travayle in his behalfe, especially remembring that but yesternight she was so diligent to bring him to bed. But I perceive that all earthly thinges are subject unto change. Even so they be quod Pergo, for you maye behold the trees which but even this other daye were clad in gladsome greene, and nowe their leaves begin to fade and change collour. Thus they passed talkeing and walking untill they returned unto the Castle, whereas they went strayght unto Ferdinandoes chamber, and found him in bed. Why how now Trust (quod Dame Fraunces,) will it be no better? Yes shortly I hope quod he. The Ladyes all saluted him: and he gave them the gramercy: at the last Pergo popped this question unto him: And howe have you slept in your Mistres shetes Mayster Jeronemy quod she? reasonably well quod he, but I pray you where is my mistresse this morning? Mary sayd Pergo, we left hir in bed scarce well at ease. I am the more sorye quod he. Why Trust (sayd Mistresse Fraunces) be of good comfort, & assure your selfe that here are others who would be as glad of your wel doing, as your mistres in any respect. I ought not to doubt there of (quod Ferdinado) having the profe that I have had of your great courtesies, but I thought it my dutye to aske for my mistresse being absent. Thus they passed some time with him untill they were called awaye unto prayers, and that


being finished they went to dinner, where they met Dame Elynor attired in an night kerchiefe after the soolenest (the solempnest fashion I should have said,) who loked very drowsely upon all folkes, unlesse it were hir secretary, unto whom she deigned somtime to lend a frendly glaunce. The Lord of the Castle demaunded of hir how master Jeronemy did this morning. She answered that she knew not for she had not sene him that day. You may do wel then daughter (quod the Lord) to go now unto him, and to assay if he will eate any thing, and if here be no meates that like him, I praye you commaunde (for him) anye thing that is in my house. You must pardon me sir (quod she,) I am sickely disposed, and would be loth to take the ayre, why then go you mistres Fraunces (quod he) and take some body with you: and I charge you see that he lacke nothing. Mistres Fraunces was glad of the ambassege, and arysing from the table with one other gentle[wo]man, tooke with hir a dish of chikins boiled in white broth, saying to hir father: I think this meat meetest for mayster Jeronimy [o]f any that is here. It is so (quod he) daughter, and if he like not that, cause some what els to be dressed for him according to his apetite. Thus she departed and came to Ferdinando, who being pronged in sundry woes and thrilled with restlesse thoughtes, was nowe beginning to rise. But seing the Dames, couched down agayne, and sayd unto them. Alas fayre Ladyes you put your selves to more paynes than eyther I do desire, or can deserve. Good Trust quod Dame Fraunces, our paynes are no greater than duty requireth, nor yet so great as we could vouchsaf[e] in your behalfe.

And presently my father hath sent us unto you (quod she) with this pittaunce, and if your apetite desire any on thing more than other, we are to desire likewise that you will not refrayne to call for it. Oh my good Hope (quod he) I perceive that I shall not dye as long as you maye make me live. Aind (being nowe some deale recomforted with the remembraunce of his mistres words which she hadde used over night at hir first comming, and also thinkinge that although shee parted in choller, it was but justlye provoked by him selfe, and that at leasure hee shoulde finde some salve for that sore also) hee determined to take the comforte of his assured Hope,


and so to expell all venomnes of mistrust before received. Wherfor raising him selfe in his bed, hee cast a night gowne about his shoulders saying: It shall never be sayd that my fainting hart can reject the comfortable Cordialles of so freendly phisitions. Nowe by m[y] troth well sayed gentle Trust quod Dame Fraunces, and in so doing, assure your selfe gueryson with speed. This thus sayed, the curteous Dame become his kerver, & he wyth a bold spirite gan test of hir cokerey. But the late conflicts of his conceipts had so disaquainted his stomack from repasses, that he could not wel a way with meate: and yet neverthelesse by lyttle & little receyved some nouryture. When his Hope had crammed him as longe as she coulde make him feede, they delyvered the rest to the other gentlewoman who having not dyned, fell to hir provender. In which meane while the Lady Fraunces had much comfortable speech with signor Jeronemy and declared yt shee perceived very well the maladie, but my Trust (quod she) be all whole, and remember what I foretould you in the beginning: neverthelesse you must thinke that there are remedies for all mischifes, and if you will be ruled by myne advise, we will soone finde the meane to ease you of this mishap. Ferdinando tooke comforte in hir discrecion, & freendly kissed hir hand, gave hir a cartlode of thankes for hir greate good will, promising to put to his uttermost force, and evermore to be ruled by hyr advice. Thus they passed the dinner while, the Lady Fraunces alwayes refusing to declare hir conceipt of the late chaung which she perceived in his Mistresse, for she thought best first to wynne his wyll unto conformitie, by little and little, and then in the ende to perswade him with necessitye. When the other gentlewoman had vytayled hir, they departed, requiring him to rise and boldly to resist the fayntenesse of his fever. The which he promised and so bad them a Dio. The Ladyes at their retourne found the course in Dame Elynores chamber, who had there assembled hir secretary, Dame Pergo & the rest: ther they passed an hower or twayne in sundry discourses, wherein Dame Pergo did alwaies cast out some bone for mistresse Fraunces to gnaw uppon, for that in deede she perceyved hir harty affection towardes Ferdinando whereat Mistresse Fraunces chaunged no countenaunce, but reserved hir revenge untill a


better oportunitie. At last (quod Dame Fraunces unto Mistresse Elinor) and when will you goe unto your servaunt fayre Lady? When he is sicke and I am whole, quod Daime Elinor. That is even nowe quod the other, for howe sicke he is your selfe can witnesse: and howe well you are we must beare recorde. You maye as well be deceived in my disposition (quod Dame Elinor), as I was overseene in his sodaine alteration: and if he be sicke, you are meete to be his phisition: for you sawe yesterday that my paines dyd lyttle profite towardes his recomfort. Yes surelye sayde the other, not onelye I but all the rest had occasion to judge that your curtesie was his chiefe comfort. Well, quod Dame Elinor, you knowe not what I knowe. Nor you what I thinke quod Dame Fraunces. Thinke what you lyst quod Elinor. In deede quod Fraunces, I may not thinke that you care, neither wyll I dye for your displeasure: & so halfe angrie she departed. At supper they met againe, and the maister of the house demanded of his daughter Fraunces howe Fardinando did? Syr (quod she) he dyd eate somewhat at dyner, and sithens I sawe him not. The more to blame quod he, and now I would have al you gentlewomen take of the best meates and goe suppe with him, for company driveth away carefulnesse, and leave you me here with your leavinges alone. Naye syr quod Mistresse Elinor, I pray you give me leave to beare you company, for I dare not adventure thither. The Lorde of the Castle was contented & dispatched awaye the rest: who taking with them such viandes as they thought meetest, went unto Jeronimies chamber, fynding him up, and walking about to recover strength: whereat Dame Fraunces rejoysed, and declared how her Father had sense that company to attend him at supper. Ferdinando gave great thankes, & missing now nothing but his Mistresse, thought not good yet to aske for hir, but because he partly yessed the cause of hir absence, he contented himselfe, hoping that when his lure was newe garnished, he shoulde Basely recleame hyr from those coy conceyptes. They passed over their supper all in quyete, and sone after Mistresse Fraunces, being desirous to requite Dame Pargoes qui[pp]es, requested that they might continue the pastime which Dame Pergo had begonne over night: wherunto they all consented, and the lot fell unto Dame Fraunces to propounde the second question who adressing hir speche unto Ferdinado


said in this wise, Noble governor, I will reherse unto you a strange historic, not fayned, neyther borowed out of any oulde aucthoritie, but a thing done in deed of late dayes, and not farre distant from this place where wee nowe remayne. It chaunced that a gentleman our neyghbour being maryed to a very fayre gentlewoman, lived with hir by the space of fower or five yeares in greate contentacion, trusting hir no lesse than he loved hir, and yet loving hir as much as any man could love a woman. On that other side the gentlewoman had woonne (unto hir beautie) a singular commendation for hir chest and modest behaviour. Yet it happened in time that a lustie young gentleman (who very often resorted to them) obtayned that at hir handes, which never any man coulde before him attaine: and to be plaine, he wonne so much in hir affections, that forgetting both hir owne duty, and hir husbandes kindnes, shee yeelded hir body at the commaundement of this lover, in which pastime they passed long tyme by theyr pollitycke government. At last the frendes of this Lady (and especially three sisters which she had) espied overmuch familliarity betwene the two lovers, and dreading least it might breake out to their common reproch toke their sister apart, and declared that the world did judge scarce well of the repayre of that Gentleman unto hyr house: and that if she did not foresee it in time, shee should not onely leese the good credite which she hir selfe had hitherto possessed, but furthermore should distaine theyr whole race with common obloquy & reproche. These and sundry other Godly admonitions of these sisters, could not sink in the mind of this gentlewoman, for she dyd not only stand in defiaunce what any man could thinke of hir, but also seemed to accuse them, that (because they saw hir estimation (being their yonger) to grow above their owne) they had therefore devised this meane to set variance betwene hir husbande and hir. The sisters seing their holesome counsell so rejected, and hir continue styll in hir obstinate opinion, adressed theyr speache unto hir husbande, declaring that the worlde judged not the best, neyther they themselves did very wel like of the familiaritie betwene their sister and that gentleman, and therfore advised him to forecast all perils, and in time to forbid him his house. The husband (on the other side) had also conceived suche a good opinion of his gest, & had growen into


such a stricte familliaritie with him, yt you might with more ease have removed a stone wal, than once to make him think amis, eyther of his wyfe, or of hir lover. Yea, and immediatelie after this conference, he woulde not sticke thus to say unto his wife. Lamia (for so in deede was hir name) thou hast three such busie brained sisters, as I thinke shortlye their heads wyll breake: they woulde have me to bee jellous of thee, no no Lamia. &c. so that he was not onely far from any such beleefe, but furthermore dyd everye daye increase his curtesies towards the lover. The sisters being thus on all sides rejected, and yet perceyving more & more an unseemelye behaviour betweene their sister and hir minion, began to melt in their owne grease: and such was theyr enraged presence of revenge, that they suborned divers servauntes in the house to watch so dilligentlye, as that this treason might be discovered. Amongst the rest, one mayde of subtile spirite had so long watched them, that at last she spied them go into the chamber together, and lockte the dore to them: whereupon she ranne with all hast possible to hir Mayster, and toold him that if he would come with hir, she would shewe him a very straunge sighte. The gentleman (suspecting nothing) went with hir, untill he came into a chamber neere unto that wherein they had shut them selves. And she pointing hir mayster to the keyhole, bad him looke through, where he sawe the thing which moste mighte mislike him to behold. Where at he sodaynely drewe his Dagger, and turned towardes the mayde, who fled from him for feare of mischiefe. But when he could not overtake hir in the heat of his coller, he commaunded that she should forth wyth trusse up that little which she had, and to departe his service. And before hir departure, he found meanes to talke with hir, threatening that if ever she spake any worde of this mistery in any place where she should come, it should cost hir life. The mayde for feare departed in silence, and the Maister never changed countenance to either his wife or to hir paramour, but fayned unto his wife that he had turned a waye the mayde upon that sodayne, for that shee had throwen a Kitchin knife at him, whiles he went about to correct a fault in hir. &c. Thus the good gentleman dranke up his owne swette unseene every day, encreasing curtesie to the lover, and never chaunging countenaunce to his wife in any thing, but onely that he


refrayned to have such knowledge of hir carnally, as he in tim[e] past had, and other men have of their wives. In this sort he continued by the space all most of halfe a yeare, neverthelesse lamenting his mishap in solytary places. At last (what moved him I know not) he fell agayn to company with his wife as other men do, and (as I have heard it sayed) he used this pollicy. Every time that he had knowledge of hir, he would leave either in the bed, or in hir cusshencloth, or by hir looking glasse, or in some place where she must needes finde it, a piece of money which then was in Italie called a Caroline. Thus he dealt with her continuallye by the space of fowre or five monethes, using hir neverthelesse very kindly in all other respects, and providing for hir all things necessary at the first call. But unto his geast he still augmented his curtesie, in such sort, that you would have thought them to be sworne brothers. All this notwithstanding his wife much musing at these smal peeces which she founde in this sort, and furthermore, having sundrye times found hir husband in solitarye places making great lamentation, shee grewe inquisitive, what should be ye secreete cause of these alterations, unto whom he would none otherwise answere, but yt any man should finde occation to be moie pensive at one time than at another. The wife notwithstanding increasing hir suspect, imparted the same unto hir lover, alledging therewithal that she doubted verye much least hir husband had some vehement suspicion of their affaires. The lover encoraged hir, & likewise declared, that if she would be importunate to enquire the cause, hir husband would not be able to kepe it from hir: and having now throughly instructed hir, shee dealt with her husband in this sort. One day when shee knew him to be in his study alone, she came in to him, and having fast locked the dore after hir, & conveyed the keye into hir pocket, she began first with earnest entreaty, and then with teares to crave that he woulde no longer keepe from hir the cause of his sodaine alteration. The husband dissimuled the matter still: at last she was so earnest to know for what cause he left money in such sort at sundry times: That he aunswered on this wise: Wyfe (quod hee) thou knowest howe long wee have beene married togeather, and howe long I made so deare accompt of thee as ever man made of his Wife: since which dayes, thou knowest also howe


long I refrained thy company, and howe long againe I have used thy company, leaving the money in this sort, and the cause is this. So long as thou dyddest behave thy selfe faithfullye towardes mee, I never lothed thy company: but sithens I have perceived thee to bee a harlotte, and therefore dyd I for a tyme refraine and forbeare to lye with thee, and nowe I can no longer forbeare it, I give thee every time that I lye with thee, a Caroline, which is to make thee understande thine owne whordome: and this rewarde is sufficient for a whore.

The wife beganne stoutlye to stand at defiaunce, but the husband cut of hir speech, and declared when, where, and how he had sene it: hereat the woman being abashed, and finding hir conscience guilty of asmuch as he had aledged, fell downe on hir knees, & with most bitter teares craved pardon, confessing hir offence: whereat hir husband (moved with pitie) & melting likewise in floods of lamentation, recomforted hir, promising that if from that day forwardes she would be true unto him, he would not onely forgive al that was past, but become more tender and loving unto hir then ever he was. What doe I tarrye so long? they became of accord: and in full accomplishment thereof, the gentlewoman dyd altogeather eschewe the company, the speech, and (as much as in hir laye) the sight of hir lover: although hir husband dyd continue his curtesie towards him, and often charged his wife to make him fayre resemblaunt. The Lover was nowe onelye left in perplexitie, who knewe nothing what might be the cause of all these chaunges, and that most greeved him, he could by no meanes optaine againe the speech of his desired: he watched all opportunities, hee suborned messengers, hee wroote letters, but all in vaine. In the ende she caused to bee declared unto him a time and place where she woulde meete him and speake with him. Being met, she put him in remembraunce of all that had passed betweene them: shee layde also before him howe trusty she had bene unto him in all professions: she confessed also howe faithfullye he had discharged the duety of a friend in al respectes, and therwithall she declared that her late alteration and pensivenesse of minde was not without great cause, for that she had of late such a mishap, as might chaunge the disposition of any lyving creature: Yea, and that the case was such, as unlesse she found present remedy, hir death must


needes ensue, and that spedely, for the preventing whereof, she alledged that she had beaten hir braines with al devises possible, and that in the ende she could thinke of no redresse but one, the which lay only in him to acomplish. Wherfore she besought him for all the love and good will which had ever passed betweene them, nowe to shewe the fruites of true friend ship, and to gratifie hir with a free graunt to this request. The lover who had alwayes bene desirous to pleasure hir in any thing, but now especially to recover hir wonted kindnesse, gan franklye promise to accomplishe any thing that might be to him possible, yea, though it were to his great detriment, and therewithall, dyd deepely blame hir in that shee would so long torment hir selfe with any griefe, considering that it lay in him to helpe it. The Ladye aunswered, that she had so long kept it from his knowledge, bicause she doubted whether hee would be content to performe it or not, although it was such a thing as he might easely graunt without any manner of hurt to himself, & yet now in the ende she was forced to adventure uppon his curtesie, being no longer able to beare ye burden of hir griefe: the lover solicited her most earnestly to disclose it and she (as fast) seemed to mistrust that he would not accomplish it. In the ende she tooke out a booke (which she had brought for the nonce) & bound him by othe to accomplishe it. The lover mistrusting nothing lesse than that ensued, toke the othe willingly, which done, she declared al that had passed betwene hir & hir husband : his griefe, hir repentance, his pardon, hir vowe, and in the ende of hir tale enjoyned the lover, that from thenceforthwardes, he should never attempt to breake her constant determination, the lover replied that this was unpossible. But she plainlye assured him, that if he graunted hir that request, she would be his friend in al honest & godly wise: if not, she put him out of doubt that she would eschew his company and flee from his sight as from a scorpion. The lover considering that hir request was but just, accusing his owne guiltye conscience, remembring the great curtesies alwayes used by hir husband, and therewithall seeing the case now brought to such an issue, as that by no other meanes than by this it could be conceiled from the knowledge of the worlde but most of all, being urged by his othe, dyd at last give an unwilling consent, and yet a faithful promise to yelde unto hir


wyl in al thinges, and thus being become of one assent, he remaineth the derest friend & most welcome gest that may be, both to the Lady and hir husband: and the man and the wife so kind (each to other) as if there never had bene such a breche betwen them. Now, of you noble Governor I would faine lerne, whether the perplexity of the husband when he looked in at the keye hoole, or of the wife when she knewe the cause why the Carolines were so scattered, or of the lover when he knew what was his mistres charge, was greater of ye three? I might have put in also ye troubled thoughts of the sisters & the mayd, when they saw their good wil rejected, but let these three suffice. Gentle Hope (quod Ferdinando) you have rehearsed (& that right eloquently) a notable tale, or rather a notable history, because you seeme to affirme, that i[t] was done in dede of late & not far hence. Wherein I note five especial pointes: that is a marvailous patience in the husband, no lesse repentaunce in the wife, no smal boldnesse of the mayde, but muche more rashnesse in the sisters, & last of al, a rare tractabilitie in the lover. Neverthelesse to returne unto your question. I thinke the husbands perplexity greatest, because his losses abounded above the rest, & his injuries were uncomparable. The Lady Fraunces did not seme to contrary him but rather smiled in hir sleeve at Dame Pergo, who had no lesse patience to here the tale recited, then the Lady Fraunces had pleasure in telling of it. By this time the sleeping houre aproched, & the Ladyes prepared their departure, when as mistres Fraunces sayd unto ye Venetiane: Although percase I shall not do it so handsomly as your mistres, yet good Trust (quod she) if you vouchsafe it, I can be content to trim up your bed in the best maner that I may, as on who would be as glad as she to procure your quiet rest. Ferdinando gave hir great thanks desiring hir not to trouble hirself, but to let his man alone with yt charge. Thus they departed, & how al partyes toke rest that night I knowe not: but in ye morning Ferdinando began to consider with himselfe that he might lye long ynough in his bed before his mistres would be apeased in hir pevishe conceipts: wherfore he arose, & being aparelled in his night gowne, tooke occation to walke in the gallery neere adjoyning unto his mistres chamber: but there might he walke long inough ere his Mistresse would come to walke with him.


When dinner time came he went into the great chamber whereas the Lord of the Castle saluted him, being joyful of his recoverye: Jeronimy giving due thanks, declared that his friendly entertainement togeather with the great curtesie of the gentlewomen was such, as might revive a man although he were halfe dead. I would bee loath (quod the hoast) that any Gentleman comming to mee for good wyll, shoulde want any curtesie of intertainement that lyeth in my power. When the meate was served to the table, the Gentlewomen came in all but Dame Elynor and Mistresse Pergo, the which Ferdinando marked very well, and it dyd somewhat abate his apetite. After diner, his Hope came unto him and demaunded of him howe hee would passe the daye for his recreation? to whome he answered even as it best pleased hir. She devised to walke into the parke, and so by litle and litle to acquaint himself with the ayre: he agreed, and they walked togeather being accompanied with one or two other gentlewomen. And although there were nowe more cause that hee shoulde mistrust his Mistresse than ever he had before receyved, yet the vehement passions which he sawe in her when she first came to visite him, and moreover the earnest words which she pronounced in his extremitie, were such a refreshing to his minde, as that he determined no more to trouble him selfe with like conceiptes: concluding further, that if his mistresse were not faultie, then had he committed a foule offence in needeles jelousie, and that if she were faultie (especiallye with the Secretarie) then no perswation could amend hir, nor any passion helpe him [:] and this was the cause that enabled him after suche passing panges to abide the doubtfull conclusion: And thus manfully and valiantly to represse faintnesse of his mind: nothing doubting but that he should have won his mistresse to pardon his presumption, & lovingly to imbrace his service in wonted maner: but he was farre deceived, for shee was nowe in a nother tewne, the which Mistresse Fraunces began partly to discover unto him as they walked togeather: for she burdened him that his mallady proceded onely of a disquiet minde And if it dyd so my gentle Hope (quod he) what remedy? My good Trust (quod she) none other but to plant quiet where disquiet began to grow. I have determined (quod he) but I must crave the helpe of your assured friendship. Therof you


may make accompt (quod she) but wherein? Ferdinando walking apart with hir, began to declare that there was some contention hapened betweene his mistres and him: the Lady tolde him that she was not ignoraunt thereof. Then he desired hir to treate so much in the cause, as they might eftsons come to Parlee: thereof I dare assure you (quod Mistresse Fraunces,) and at their returne she led him into his Mistresse Chamber, whome they founde lying on hir bed, whether gauled with any griefe, or weary of the thing (which you woote of) I know not, but there she lay: unto whome Ferdinando gave two or three salutations before she seemed to marke him. At last sayd the Lady Fraunces unto hir, your servaunt hearing of your sicknesse, hath adventured thus far into the ayre to see you. I thank him (quod dame Elinor) & so lay still, refusing to give him any countenance. Whereat he perceiving all the other Gentlewomen fall to whispering, thought good, boldlye to pleade his owne case: and approching the bed began to enforce his unwylling Mistresse unto curtesie, wherein he used such vehemence as she could not wel by any meanes refuse to talk with him: but what their talke was, I may not take upon me to tel you. Sufficeth this to be known, that in the end she pretended to passe over all olde grudges, and thencefoorth to pleas[u]re him as occation might serve, the which occation was so long in hapening, that in the ende he being nowe eftsones troubled with unquiet fantasies, and forced to use his penne againe as an Ambassadour betweene them: one daye amongst the rest found oportunitye to thrust a letter into her bosome, wherein hee had earnestly requested another Mooneshine banquet or frydayes breakfast to recomfort his dulled spirites, whereunto the Dame yelded this aunswere in writing, but of whose endyting judge you.

I can but smyle at your simplicitye, who burden your frends with an impossibility. The case so stode as I could not though I would. Wherefore from hencefoorth either learne to frame your request more reasonablye, or else stand content with a flat repulse.           S H E.

[F]erdinando liked this letter but a litle: & being thereby droven into his accustomed vaine, he compiled in verse this aunswere folowing, upon these wordes conteined in her letter, I could not though I would.


I could not though I would: good Ladie saie not so,
Since one good word of your good wil might sone redresse my wo,
Where would is free before, there could can never faile:
For profe, you see how gallies passe where ships can bere no saile,
The wearie marriner where skies are overcast,
By readie will doth guide his skil and wins the haven at last,
The pretie bird that singes with pricke against her brest,
Doth make a vertue of hir nede, to watche when others rest,
And true the proverbe is, which you have laide apart,
There is no hap can seeme to hard unto a willing heart.
Then lovelie Ladie mine, you saie not as you should,
In doutful tearms to answere thus: I could not though I would.
Yes yes, full well you know, your can is quicke and good:
And wilfull will is eke too swift, to shed my guiltlesse blood.
But if good will were bent as press as power is,
Such will would quicklie find the skil to mende that is a misse.
Wherefore if you desire to see my true love spilt,
Commaund and I will slea my selfe, that yours maie be the gilt,
But if you have no power to saie your servaunt naie,
Write thus: I maie not as I would, yet must I as I maie.

Ferdinando. Jeronimy.

THus Jeronimy replied upon his Mistres answere, hoping thereby to recover some favour at hir hands, but it would not be: so that nowe he had bene as likelye (as at the first) to have fretted in fantasies, had not the Ladye Fraunces continually comforted him: and by litle & litle she drove suche reason into his minde, that now he began to subdue his humor with discretion, and to determine that if he might espie evident profe of his Mistres fraieltie, he would then stand content with patience perforce, & geve his Mistres the Bezo la[s manos]. And it happened one daye amongst others, that he resorted to his mistresse chamber and founde her (allo solito) lying uppon her bed, and the Secretarie with Dame Pergo and her handmaide keeping of her company. Whereat Ferdinando somewhat repyning, came to her and fell to dalliaunce, as one that had nowe rather adventure to be thought presumptious than yeelde to be accompted bashfull, he cast his [a]rme over his Mistresse, and began to accuse hir of sluggishnes, using some other bolde



partes, as well to provoke hir, as also to grieve the other. The Ladye seemed litle to delight in his dallying, but cast a glance at hir Secretarie, & therewith smiled, when as the Secretarie and Dame Pergo burst out into open laughter. The which Ferdinando perceiving, and disdaining her ingratitude, was forced to depart, and in that fantasie compiled this Sonet.

WIth hir in armes that had my hart in holde,
I stoode of late to pleade for pitie so:
And as I did hir lovelie lookes beholde,
Shee cast a glaunce upon my rivall foe.
His fleering face provoked hir to smile,
When my salt teares were drowned in disdaine:
He glad, I sad, he laught, (alas the while)
I wept for woe: I pin'd for deadlie paine.
And when I sawe none other boote prevaile,
But reason rule must guide my skilfull minde:
Why then (quod I) olde proverbes never faile,
For yet was never good Cat out of kinde.
Nor woman true but even as stories tell,
Wonne with an egge, and lost againe with shell.

Ferdinando. Jeronimy.

THis Sonet declareth that he began now to accompt of hir as she deserved, for it hath a sharpe conclusion, and it is somewhat too general. Well, as it is he lost it, where his Mistresse found it, and she immediatly imparted the same unto Dame Pergo, and Dame Pergo unto others: so that it quickely became common in the house. Amongst others Mistres Fraunces having recovered a copie of it, did seme to pardon the generallity, and to bee wel pleased with the perticularity thereof, the whiche shee bewraied one daye unto Ferdinando in this wise. Of all the joyes that ever I had (my good Trust quod shee) there is none where in I take more comforte than in your conformity. And although your present rage is such that you can bee content to condemne a number unknowen, for the transgression of one to well knowne: yet I doe rather rejoyce that you should judge your pleasure over many, than too be abused by any. My good Hope (quod he)


it were not reason that after such manyfold profes of your exceding curtesies, I should use straung or contencious speech with so deare a friend. And in deed I must confesse that the opinion which I have conceived of my Mistresse, hath stirred my penne to write very hardly agaynst all the feminine gender. But I praye you pardon me (quod he) & if it please you I will recant it, as also (parcase) I was but cloyd with surcuydrye, and presumed to think more than may be proved. Yea but how if it were proved quod Dame Fraunces? If it were so (which God forbid quod he) then coulde you not blame me to conceive that opinion. Howsoever I might blame you (quod she) I meane not to blame you, but I demaund further, if it be as I thinke & you suspect, what will you then do? Surely (quod he) I have determined to drinke up mine own sorow secretly, and to bid them both a Dieu. I like your farewell better than your fantasie (quod she) and whensoever you can be content to take somuch paynes, as the Knight (which had a night gowne yarded with naked swordes) dyd take, I thinke you maye put your selfe out of doubt of all these thynges. By these wordes and other speech which she uttered unto him, Ferdinando smelt how the world wente about, and therefore dyd one day in the grey morning adventure to passe through the gallery towardes his Mistresse Chamber, hoping to have found the dore open, but he founde the contrarye, and there attending in good devotion, hearde the parting of his Mistresse and hir Secretarie, with many kinde wordes: whereby it appeared that the one was very loth to depart from the other. Poore Jeronimy was enforced to beare this burden, and after hee had attended there as long as the light woulde give him leave, he departed also to his Chamber, and apparelling himselfe, could not be quiet untyll he had spoken with his mistresse, whome he burdened flatly with this despitefull trecherye: and she as fast denyed it, untyl at last being styll urged with such evident tokens as he alleadged, shee gave him this bone to gnawe uppon. And if I dyd so (quod shee) what than? Whereunto Ferdinando made none answere, but departed with this farewel. My losse is mine owne, and your gaine is none of yours, and sooner can I recover my losse, than you enjoye the gaine which you gape after. And when hee was in place sollitary, he compiled these following for a finall ende of the matter.

FF 2


And if I did what then?
Are you agreeved therefore?
The Sea hath fishe for everie man,
And what would you have more?

Thus did my Mistresse once,
Amaze my minde with doubt:
And popt a question for the nonce,
To beate my braines about.

Whereto I thus replied,
Eache Fisherman can wishe,
That all the Seas at everie tide,
Were his aloane to fishe.

And so did I (in vaine,)
But since it maie not be:
Let such fishe there as finde the gaine,
And leave the losse for me.

And with such lucke and losse,
I will content my selfe:
Till tydes of turning time maye tosse,
Suche fishers on the shelfe.

And when they sticke on sandes,
That everie man maie see:
Then will I laugh and clappe my handes,
As they doe nowe at mee.

Ferdinando Jeronimy.

THus Ferdinando being no longer able to beare these extreeme despises, resolved to absent him selfe, [a]swell for his owne further quiete, as also to avoide the occasion of greater mischiefes that might ensewe: And although the exceeding curtesies and approved fidelitie of Dame Fraunces had beene sufficient to allure the fast lyking of any man, especially considering that shee was reasonably fayre, and descended of a worthy father, who nowe fell flatlye to move and solicite the same, yet such sinistre conceyptes had he taken by the frailtye of Dame Elinor, as that rejecting all proffers,


and contempning all curtesies, he tooke his leave, & (without presence of returne) departed to his house in Venice: spending there ye rest of his dayes in a dissolute kind of lyfe: & abandoning the worthy Lady Fraunc[ischin]a, who (dayly being gauled with the griefe of his great ingratitude) dyd shortlye bring hir selfe into a myserable consumption: whereof (after three yeares languishing) shee dyed: Notwithstanding al which occur[rente]s the Lady Elinor lived long in ye continuance of hir acustomed change: & thus we see that where wicked lust doeth beare the name of love, it doth not onelye infecte the lyght minded, but it maye also become confusion to others which are vowed to constancie. And to that ende I have recyted this Fable which maye serve as ensample to warne the youthfull reader from attempting the lyke worthies enterprise. I knowe not howe my rude translation thereof wyll delight the finest judgementes: But sure as Bartello writteth it in Italian, it is both pleasaunt and profitable: the which hath made mee adventure thus to publishe the same in such simple style as I am able to endite: Desiring the gentle reader, rather to take example of reformation therein, then to finde faulte at the homelye handling of the same.

Ever or never.