Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Thomas Lodge
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Rosalind: Euphues' Golden Legacy


SONNETTO

190Of all chaste birds the phoenix doth excel;
Of all strong beasts the lion bears the bell;
Of all sweet flowers the rose doth sweetest smell;
Of all fair maids my Rosalind is fairest.

191Of all pure metals gold is only purest;
Of all high trees the pine hath highest crest;
Of all soft sweets I like my mistress' breast;
Of all chaste thoughts my mistress' thoughts are rarest.

192Of all proud birds the eagle pleaseth Jove;
Of pretty fowls kind Venus likes the dove;
Of trees Minerva doth the olive love;
Of all sweet nymphs I honor Rosalind.

193Of all her gifts her wisdom pleaseth most;
Of all her graces virtue she doth boast.
For all these gifts my life and joy is lost
If Rosalind prove cruel and unkind.

194In these and such like passions Rosader did every day eternize the name of his Rosalind, and this day especially when Aliena and Ganymede, enforced by the heat of the sun to seek for shelter, by good fortune arrived in that place where this amorous forester registered his melancholy passions. They saw the sudden change of his looks, his folded arms, his passionate sighs; they heard him often abruptly call on Rosalind, who, poor soul, was as hotly burned as himself, but that she shrouded her pains in the cinders of honorable modesty. Whereupon, guessing him to be in love, and according to the nature of their sex being pitiful in that behalf, they suddenly brake off his melancholy by their approach, and Ganymede shook him out of his dumps thus:

195"What news, forester? Hast thou wounded some deer and lost him in the fall? Care not, man, for so small a loss; thy fees was but the skin, the shoulder, and the horns. 'Tis hunter's luck to aim fair and miss, and a woodman's fortune to strike and yet go without the game."

196"Thou art beyond the mark, Ganymede," quoth Aliena. "His passions are greater and sighs discovers more loss. Perhaps in traversing these thickets he hath seen some beautiful nymph and is grown amorous."

197"It may be so," quoth Ganymede, "for here he hath newly engraven some sonnet. Come and see the discourse of the forester's poems."

198Reading the sonnet over and hearing him name Rosalind, Aliena looked on Ganymede and laughed, and Ganymede, looking back on the forester and seeing it was Rosader, blushed. Yet, thinking to shroud all under her page's apparel, she boldly returned to Rosader, and began thus:

199"I pray thee tell me, forester, what is this Rosalind for whom thou pinest away in such passions? Is she some nymph that waits upon Diana's train whose chastity thou hast deciphered in such epithets? Or is she some shepherdess that haunts these plains whose beauty hath so bewitched thy fancy, whose name thou shadowest in covert under the figure of Rosalind, as Ovid did Julia under the name of Corinna? Or say me, forsooth, is it that Rosalind of whom we shepherds have heard talk--she, forester, that is the daughter of Gerismond, that once was king and now an outlaw in the forest of Arden?"

200At this Rosader fetched a deep sigh, and said:

201"It is she, O gentle swain, it is she; that saint it is whom I serve, that goddess at whose shrine I do bend all my devotions--the most fairest of all fairs, the phoenix of all that sex, and the purity of all earthly perfection."

202"And why, gentle forester, if she be so beautiful and thou so amorous, is there such a disagreement in thy thoughts? Haply she resembleth the rose, that is sweet but full of prickles? Or the serpent regius that hath scales as glorious as the sun and a breath as infectious as the aconitum is deadly? So thy Rosalind may be most amiable and yet unkind; full of favor and yet froward, coy without wit and disdainful without reason."

203"O shepherd," quoth Rosader, "knewest thou her personage, graced with the excellence of all perfection, being a harbor wherein the Graces shroud their virtues, thou wouldest not breathe out such blasphemy against the beauteous Rosalind. She is a diamond, bright but not hard, yet of most chaste operation, a pearl so orient that it can be stained with no blemish; a rose without prickles, and a princess absolute as well in beauty as in virtue. But I, unhappy I, have let mine eye soar with the eagle against so bright a sun that I am quite blind; I have with Apollo enamored myself of a Daphne, not, as she, disdainful, but far more chaste than Daphne. I have with Ixion laid my love on Juno, and shall, I fear, embrace naught but a cloud. Ah, shepherd, I have reached at a star! My desires have mounted above my degree and my thoughts above my fortunes. I, being a peasant, have ventured to gaze on a princess whose honors are too high to vouchsafe such base loves."

204"Why, forester," quoth Ganymede, "comfort thyself. Be blithe and frolic, man. Love souseth as low as she soareth high; Cupid shoots at a rag as soon as at a robe; and Venus's eye, that was so curious, sparkled favor on polt-footed Vulcan. Fear not, man, women's looks are not tied to dignity's feathers, nor make they curious esteem where the stone is found but what is the virtue. Fear not, forester. Faint heart never won fair lady. But where lives Rosalind now? At the court?"

205"Oh, no," quoth Rosader, "she lives I know not where, and that is my sorrow; banished by Torismond, and that is my hell. For, might I but find her sacred personage and plead before the bar of her pity the plaint of my passions, hope tells me she would grace me with some favor, and that would suffice as a recompense of all my former miseries."

206"Much have I heard of thy mistress' excellence, and I know, forester, thou canst describe her at the full, as one that hast surveyed all her parts with a curious eye. Then do me that favor to tell me what her perfections be."

207"That I will," quoth Rosader, "for I glory to make all ears wonder at my mistress' excellence."

208And with that he pulled a paper forth his bosom, wherein he read this: