Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Thomas Lodge
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Rosalind: Euphues' Golden Legacy


ROSADER'S MEDITATION

319"Now, Rosader, Fortune, that long hath whipped thee with nettles, means to salve thee with roses, and, having crossed thee with many frowns, now she presents thee with the brightness of her favors. Thou that didst count thyself the most distressed of all men mayest account thyself the most fortunate amongst men, if Fortune can make men happy or sweet Revenge be wrapped in a pleasing content. Thou see'st Saladin, thine enemy, the worker of thy misfortunes and the efficient cause of thine exile, subject to the cruelty of a merciless lion, brought into this misery by the gods that they might seem just in revenging his rigor and thy injuries. See'st thou not how the stars are in a favorable aspect, the planets in some pleasing conjunction, the Fates agreeable to thy thoughts, and the Destinies performers of thy desires, in that Saladin shall die and thou be free of his blood, he receive meed for his amiss and thou erect his tomb with innocent hands? Now, Rosader, shalt thou return unto Bordeaux and enjoy thy possessions by birth and his revenues by inheritance. Now mayest thou triumph in love and hang Fortune's altars with garlands. For when Rosalind hears of thy wealth, it will make her love thee the more willingly; for women's eyes are made of chrysocoll, that is ever unperfect unless tempered with gold, and Jupiter soonest enjoyed Danae, because he came to her in so rich a shower. Thus shall this lion, Rosader, end the life of a miserable man, and from distress raise thee to be most fortunate." And with that, casting his boar-spear on his neck, away he began to trudge.

320But he had not stepped back two or three paces but a new motion stroke him to the very heart, that, resting his boar-spear against his breast, he fell into this passionate humor:

321"Ah, Rosader, wert thou the son of Sir John of Bordeaux, whose virtues exceeded his valor, and yet the most hardiest knight in all Europe? Should the honor of the father shine in the actions of the son, and wilt thou dishonor thy parentage, in forgetting the nature of a gentleman? Did not thy father at his last gasp breathe out this golden principle, 'Brothers' amity is like the drops of balsamum, that salveth the most dangerous sores?' Did he make a large exhort unto concord, and wilt thou show thyself careless? O Rosader, what though Saladin hath wronged thee and made thee live an exile in the forest, shall thy nature be so cruel, or thy nurture so crooked, or thy thoughts so savage, as to suffer so dismal a revenge? What, to let him be devoured by wild beasts? Non sapit qui non sibi sapitis fondly spoken in such bitter extremes. Lose not his life, Rosader, to win a world of treasure, for in having him thou hast a brother, and by hazarding for his life thou gettest a friend and reconcilest an enemy; and more honor shalt thou purchase by pleasuring a foe than revenging a thousand injuries."

322With that his brother began to stir, and the lion to rouse himself, whereupon Rosader suddenly charged him with the boar-spear and wounded the lion very sore at the first stroke. The beast, feeling himself to have a mortal hurt, leapt at Rosader and with his paws gave him a sore pinch on the breast that he had almost fallen; yet as a man most valiant, in whom the sparks of Sir John of Bordeaux remained, he recovered himself, and in short combat slew the lion, who at his death roared so loud that Saladin awaked, and, starting up, was amazed at the sudden sight of so monstrous a beast lying slain by him, and so sweet a gentleman wounded. He presently, as he was of a ripe conceit, began to conjecture that the gentleman had slain him in his defense. Whereupon, as a man in a trance, he stood staring on them both a good while, not knowing his brother, being in that disguise. At last he burst into these terms:

323"Sir, whatsoever thou be, as, full of honor thou must needs be by the view of thy present valor, I perceive thou hast redressed my fortunes by thy courage and saved my life with thine own loss, which ties me to be thine in all humble service. Thanks thou shalt have as thy due, and more thou canst not have, for my ability denies me to perform a deeper debt. But if anyways it please thee to command me, use me as far as the power of a poor gentleman may stretch."

324Rosader, seeing he was unknown to his brother, wondered to hear such courteous words come from his crabbed nature; but glad of such reformed nurture, he made this answer:

325"I am, sir, whatsoever thou art, a forester and ranger of these walks, who, following my deer to the fall, was conducted hither by some assenting fate that I might save thee and disparage myself. For, coming into this place, I saw thee asleep and the lion watching thy awake, that at thy rising he might prey upon thy carcass. At the first sight I conjectured thee a gentleman, for all men's thoughts ought to be favorable in imagination, and I counted it the part of a resolute man to purchase a stranger's relief, though with the loss of his own blood; which I have performed, thou see'st, to mine own prejudice. If, therefore, thou be a man of such worth as I value thee by thy exterior lineaments, make discourse unto me what is the cause of thy present fortunes. For by the furrows in thy face thou seemest to be crossed with her frowns: but whatsoever, or howsoever, let me crave that favor to hear the tragic cause of thy estate."

326Saladin sitting down, and fetching a deep sigh, began thus: