Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Thomas Lodge
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Rosalind: Euphues' Golden Legacy


ALIENA'S MEDITATION

363"Ay me! now I see, and, sorrowing, sigh to see, that Diana's laurels are harbors for Venus's doves; that there trace as well through the lawns wantons as chaste ones; that Callisto, be she never so chary, will cast one amorous eye at courting Jove; that Diana herself will change her shape, but she will honor Love in a shadow; that maidens' eyes, be they as hard as diamonds, yet Cupid hath drugs to make them more pliable than wax. See, Alinda, how Fortune and Love have interleagued themselves to be thy foes, and, to make thee their subject or else an abject, have inveigled thy sight with a most beautiful object! Alate thou didst hold Venus for a giglot, not a goddess, and now thou shalt be forced to sue suppliant to her deity. Cupid was a boy and blind, but, alas, his eye had aim enough to pierce thee to the heart. While I lived in the court I held love in contempt, and in high seats I had small desires. I knew not affection while I lived in dignity, nor could Venus countercheck me as long as my fortune was majesty and my thoughts honor; and shall I now be high in desires when I am made low by destiny? I have heard them say that Love looks not at low cottages, that Venus jets in robes not in rags, that Cupid flies so high that he scorns to touch poverty with his heel. Tush, Alinda, these are but old wives' tales, and neither authentical precepts nor infallible principles; for experience tells thee that peasants have their passions as well as princes, that swains, as they have their labors, so they have their amours, and Love lurks as soon about a sheepcote as a palace.

364"Ah, Alinda, this day, in avoiding a prejudice, thou art fallen into a deeper mischief; being rescued from the robbers, thou art become captive to Saladin. And what then? Women must love, or they must cease to live; and therefore did nature frame them fair, that they might be subjects to fancy. But perhaps Saladin's eye is leveled upon a more seemlier saint. If it be so, bear thy passions with patience; say Love hath wronged thee, that hath not wrung him; and if he be proud in contempt, be thou rich in content, and rather die than discover any desire; for there is nothing more precious in a woman than to conceal love and to die modest. He is the son and heir of Sir John of Bordeaux, a youth comely enough. O Alinda, too comely, else hadst not thou been thus discontent; valiant, and that fettered thine eye; wise, else hadst thou not been now won; but, for all these virtues, banished by thy father, and therefore if he know thy parentage he will hate the fruit for the tree and condemn the young scion for the old stock. Well, howsoever, I must love, and whomsoever, I will; and, whatsoever betide, Aliena will think well of Saladin, suppose he of me as he please."

365And with that, fetching a deep sigh, she rise up and went to Ganymede, who all this while sat in a great dump, fearing the imminent danger of her friend Rosader. But now Aliena began to comfort her, herself being overgrown with sorrows, and to recall her from her melancholy with many pleasant persuasions. Ganymede took all in the best part, and so they went home together after they had folded their flocks, supping with old Corydon, who had provided their cates. He, after supper, to pass away the night while bedtime, began a long discourse how Montanus, the young shepherd that was in love with Phoebe, could by no means obtain any favor at her hands, but, still pained in restless passions, remained a hopeless and perplexed lover.

366"I would I might," quoth Aliena, "once see that Phoebe. Is she so fair that she thinks no shepherd worthy of her beauty? Or so froward that no love nor loyalty will content her? Or so coy that she requires a long time to be wooed? Or so foolish that she forgets that, like a fop she must have a large harvest for a little corn?"

367"I cannot distinguish," quoth Corydon, "of these nice qualities; but one of these days I'll bring Montanus and her down, that you may both see their persons and note their passions; and then where the blame is, there let it rest. But this I am sure," quoth Corydon, "if all maidens were of her mind, the world would grow to a mad pass; for there would be great store of wooing and little wedding, many words and little worship, much folly and no faith."

368At this sad sentence of Corydon, so solemnly brought forth, Aliena smiled, and because, it waxed late, she and her page went to bed, both of them having fleas in their ears to keep them awake--Ganymede for the hurt of her Rosader, and Aliena for the affection she bore to Saladin. In this discontented humor they passed away the time till, falling on sleep, their senses at rest, Love left them to their quiet slumbers, which were not long. For as soon as Phoebus rose from his Aurora and began to mount him in the sky, summoning plough-swains to their handy labor, Aliena arose, and, going to the couch where Ganymede lay, awakened her page and said the morning was far spent, the dew small, and time called them away to their folds.

369"Ah, ah!" quoth Ganymede, "is the wind in that door? Then in faith I perceive that there is no diamond so hard but will yield to the file, no cedar so strong but the wind will shake, nor any mind so chaste but love will change. Well, Aliena, must Saladin be the man, and will it be a match? Trust me, he is fair and valiant, the son of a worthy knight whom, if he imitate in perfection as he represents him in proportion, he is worthy of no less than Aliena. But he is an exile: what then? I hope my mistress respects the virtues, not the wealth, and measures the qualities, not the substance. Those dames that are like Danae, that like love in no shape but in a shower of gold, I wish them husbands with much wealth and little wit, that the want of the one may blemish the abundance of the other. It should, my Aliena, stain the honor of a shepherd's life to set the end of passions upon pelf. Love's eyes looks not so low as gold; there is no fees to be paid in Cupid's courts; and in elder time, as Corydon hath told me, the shepherds' love-gifts were apples and chestnuts, and then their desires were loyal and their thoughts constant. But now

370

Quaerenda pecunia primum, post nummos virtus.

371And the time is grown to that which Horace in his Satires wrote on:

372 omnis enim res
Virtus fama decus divina humanaque pulchris
Divitiis parent: quas qui construxerit ille
Clarus erit, fortis, justus. Sapiensne? Etiam et rex
Et quicquid volet--

373But, Aliena, let it not be so with thee in thy fancies, but respect his faith, and there an end."

374Aliena, hearing Ganymede thus forward to further Saladin in his affections, thought she kissed the child for the nurse's sake and wooed for him that she might please Rosader, made this reply:

375"Why, Ganymede, whereof grows this persuasion? Hast thou seen love in my looks, or are mine eyes grown so amorous, that they discover some new-entertained fancies? If thou measurest my thoughts by my countenance, thou mayest prove as ill a physiognomer as the lapidary that aims at the secret virtues of the topaz by the exterior shadow of the stone. The operation of the agate is not known by the strakes, nor the diamond prized by his brightness, but by his hardness. The carbuncle that shineth most is not ever the most precious, and the apothecaries choose not flowers for their colors, but for their virtues. Women's faces are not always calendars of fancy, nor do their thoughts and their looks ever agree; for when their eyes are fullest of favors, then are they oft most empty of desire, and when they seem to frown at disdain, then are they most forward to affection. If I be melancholy, then, Ganymede, 'tis not a consequence that I am entangled with the perfection of Saladin. But seeing fire cannot be hid in the straw, nor love kept so covert but it will be spied, what should friends conceal fancies? Know, my Ganymede, the beauty and valor, the wit and prowess of Saladin hath fettered Aliena so far as there is no object pleasing to her eyes but the sight of Saladin; and if Love have done me justice to wrap his thoughts in the folds of my face, and that he be as deeply enamored as I am passionate, I tell thee, Ganymede, there shall not be much wooing, for she is already won, and what needs a longer battery?"

376"I am glad," quoth Ganymede, "that it shall be thus proportioned, you to match with Saladin and I with Rosader. Thus have the Destinies favored us with some pleasing aspect, that have made us as private in our loves as familiar in our fortunes."

377With this Ganymede start up, made her ready, and went into the fields with Aliena, where, unfolding their flocks, they sat them down under an olive tree, both of them amorous, and yet diversely affected--Aliena joying in the excellence of Saladin, and Ganymede sorrowing for the wounds of her Rosader, not quiet in thought till she might hear of his health. As thus both of them sat in their dumps, they might espy where Corydon came running towards them, almost out of breath with his haste.

378"What news with you," quoth Aliena, "that you come in such post?"

379"Oh, mistress," quoth Corydon, "you have a long time desired to see Phoebe, the fair shepherdess whom Montanus loves; so now, if you please, you and Ganymede, but to walk with me to yonder thicket, there shall you see Montanus and her sitting by a fountain, he courting with his country ditties, and she as coy as if she held love in disdain."

380The news were so welcome to the two lovers that up they rose and went with Corydon. As soon as they drew nigh the thicket, they might espy where Phoebe sat, the fairest shepherdess in all Arden, and he the frolickest swain in the whole forest--she in a petticoat of scarlet covered with a green mantle, and, to shroud her from the sun, a chaplet of roses, from under which appeared a face full of nature's excellence, and two such eyes as might have amated a greater man than Montanus. At gaze upon the gorgeous nymph sat the shepherd, feeding his eyes with her favors, wooing with such piteous looks and courting with such deep-strained sighs as would have made Diana herself to have been compassionate. At last, fixing his looks on the riches of her face, his head on his hand and his elbow on his knee, he sung this mournful ditty: