Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Thomas Lodge
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Rosalind: Euphues' Golden Legacy


ADAM SPENCER'S SPEECH

170"Oh, how the life of man may well be compared to the state of the ocean seas, that for every calm hath a thousand storms, resembling the rose tree, that for a few fair flowers hath a multitude of sharp prickles! All our pleasures end in pain, and our highest delights are crossed with deepest discontents. The joys of man, as they are few, so are they momentary, scarce ripe before they are rotten, and withering in the blossom, either parched with the heat of envy or fortune. Fortune, O inconstant friend, that in all thy deeds art froward and fickle, delighting in the poverty of the lowest and the overthrow of the highest, to decipher thy inconstancy! Thou standest upon a globe, and thy wings are plumed with Time's feathers, that thou mayest ever be restless: thou art double-faced like Janus, carrying frowns in the one to threaten, and smiles in the other to betray. Thou profferest an eel and performest a scorpion, and where thy greatest favors be, there is the fear of the extremest misfortunes, so variable are all thy actions. But why, Adam, dost thou exclaim against Fortune? She laughs at the plaints of the distressed, and there is nothing more pleasing unto her than to hear fools boast in her fading allurements, or sorrowful men to discover the sore of their passions. Glut her not, Adam, then with content, but thwart her with brooking all mishaps with patience. For there is no greater check to the pride of Fortune than with a resolute courage to pass over her crosses without care. Thou art old, Adam, and thy hairs wax white; the palm tree is already full of blooms, and in the furrows of thy face appears the calendars of death. Wert thou blessed by Fortune, thy years could not be many nor the date of thy life long. Then sith Nature must have her due, what is it for thee to resign her debt a little before the day? Ah, it is not this which grieveth me, nor do I care what mishaps Fortune can wage against me, but the sight of Rosader that galleth unto the quick. When I remember the worships of his house, the honor of his fathers, and the virtues of himself, then do I say that Fortune and the Fates are most injurious to censure so hard extremes against a youth of so great hope. O Rosader, thou art in the flower of thine age, and, in the pride of thy years, buxom and full of May. Nature hath prodigally enriched thee with her favors, and virtue made thee the mirror of her excellence. And now, through the decree of the unjust stars, to have all these good parts nipped in the blade and blemished by the inconstancy of fortune! Ah, Rosader, could I help thee, my grief were the less, and happy should my death be, if it might be the beginning of thy relief; but seeing we perish both in one extreme, it is a double sorrow. What shall I do? Prevent the sight of his further misfortune with a present dispatch of mine own life? Ah, despair is a merciless sin!"

171As he was ready to go forward in his passion, he looked earnestly on Rosader, and, seeing him change color, he rise up and went to him, and holding his temples, said:

172"What cheer, master? though all fail, let not the heart faint. The courage of a man is showed in the resolution of his death."

173At these words Rosader lifted up his eye, and, looking on Adam Spencer, began to weep.

174"Ah, Adam," quoth he, "I sorrow not to die, but I grieve at the manner of my death. Might I with my lance encounter the enemy and so die in the field, it were honor and content; might I, Adam, combat with some wild beast and perish as his prey, I were satisfied. But to die with hunger, O Adam, it is the extremest of all extremes!"

175"Master," quoth he, "you see we are both in one predicament, and long I cannot live without meat; seeing therefore we can find no food, let the death of the one preserve the life of the other. I am old and overworn with age; you are young and are the hope of many honors. Let me then die; I will presently cut my veins, and, master, with the warm blood relieve your fainting spirits; suck on that till I end, and you be comforted."

176With that Adam Spencer was ready to pull out his knife, when Rosader, full of courage though very faint, rose up, and wished Adam Spencer to sit there till his return. "For my mind gives me," quoth he, "I shall bring thee meat." With that, like a madman, he rose up, and ranged up and down the woods, seeking to encounter some wild beast with his rapier, that either he might carry his friend Adam food or else pledge his life in pawn for his loyalty.

177It chanced that day that Gerismond, the lawful King of France banished by Torismond, who with a lusty crew of outlaws lived in that forest, that day in honor of his birth made a feast to all his bold yeomen and frolicked it with store of wine and venison, sitting all at a long table under the shadow of limon trees. To that place by chance Fortune conducted Rosader, who, seeing such a crew of brave men having store of that for want of which he and Adam perished, he stepped boldly to the board's end and saluted the company thus:

178"Whatsoever thou be that art master of these lusty squires, I salute thee as graciously as a man in extreme distress may. Know that I and a fellow-friend of mine are here famished in the forest for want of food; perish we must, unless relieved by thy favors. Therefore, if thou be a gentleman, give meat to men, and to such men as are every way worthy of life. Let the proudest squire that sits at thy table rise and encounter with me in any honorable point of activity whatsoever, and if he and thou prove me not a man, send me away comfortless. If thou refuse this, as a niggard of thy cates, I will have amongst you with my sword; for rather will I die valiantly than perish with so cowardly an extreme."

179Gerismond, looking him earnestly in the face, and seeing so proper a gentleman in so bitter a passion, was moved with so great pity that, rising from the table, he took him by the hand and bad him welcome, willing him to sit down in his place, and in his room not only to eat his fill but be lord of the feast.

180"Gramercy, sir," quoth Rosader, "but I have a feeble friend that lies hereby famished almost for food, aged and therefore less able to abide the extremity of hunger than myself, and dishonor it were for me to taste one crumb before I made him partner of my fortunes. Therefore I will run and fetch him, and then I will gratefully accept of your proffer."

181Away hies Rosader to Adam Spencer and tells him the news, who was glad of so happy fortune, but so feeble he was that he could not go; whereupon Rosader got him up on his back and brought him to the place. Which when Gerismond and his men saw, they greatly applauded their league of friendship; and Rosader, having Gerismond's place assigned him, would not sit there himself, but set down Adam Spencer. Well, to be short, those hungry squires fell to their victuals and feasted themselves with good delicates and great store of wine. As soon as they had taken their repast, Gerismond, desirous to hear what hard fortune drave them into those bitter extremes, requested Rosader to discourse, if it were not any way prejudicial unto him, the cause of his travel. Rosader, desirous any way to satisfy the courtesy of his favorable host, first beginning his exordium with a volley of sighs and a few lukewarm tears, prosecuted his discourse, and told him from point to point all his fortunes: how he was the youngest son of Sir John of Bordeaux, his name Rosader, how his brother sundry times had wronged him, and lastly how, for beating the sheriff and hurting his men, he fled.

182"And this old man," quoth he, "whom I so much love and honor, is surnamed Adam Spencer, an old servant of my father's, and one, that for his love, never failed me in all my misfortunes."

183When Gerismond heard this, he fell on the neck of Rosader, and next discoursing unto him how he was Gerismond their lawful king exiled by Torismond, what familiarity had ever been betwixt his father, Sir John of Bordeaux, and him, how faithful a subject he lived, and how honorable he died, promising, for his sake, to give both him and his friend such courteous entertainment as his present estate could minister, and upon this made him one of his foresters. Rosader, seeing it was the King, craved pardon for his boldness in that he did not do him due reverence, and humbly gave him thanks for his favorable courtesy. Gerismond, not satisfied yet with news, began to inquire if he had been lately in the court of Torismond, and whether he had seen his daughter Rosalind or no? At this Rosader fetched a deep sigh, and, shedding many tears, could not answer: yet at last, gathering his spirits together, he revealed unto the King how Rosalind was banished, and how there was such a sympathy of affections between Alinda and her that she chose rather to be partaker of her exile, than to part fellowship; whereupon the unnatural king banished them both. "And now they are wandered none knows whither, neither could any learn since their departure, the place of their abode." This news drave the King into a great melancholy, that presently he arose from all the company and went into his privy chamber, so secret as the harbor of the woods would allow him. The company was all dashed at these tidings, and Rosader and Adam Spencer, having such opportunity, went to take their rest. Where we leave them, and return again to Torismond.

184The flight of Rosader came to the ears of Torismond, who, hearing that Saladin was sole heir of the lands of Sir John of Bordeaux, desirous to possess such fair revenues, found just occasion to quarrel with Saladin about the wrongs he proffered to his brother. And therefore, dispatching a herehault, he sent for Saladin in all post-haste. Who, marveling what the matter should be, began to examine his own conscience wherein he had offended His Highness; but, emboldened with his innocence, he boldly went with the herehault unto the court; where, as soon as he came, he was not admitted into the presence of the King, but presently sent to prison. This greatly amazed Saladin, chiefly in that the jailer had a straight charge over him to see that he should be close prisoner. Many passionate thoughts came in his head, till at last he began to fall into consideration of his former follies and to meditate with himself. Leaning his head on his hand and his elbow on his knee, full of sorrow, grief, and disquieted passions, he resolved into these terms: