Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Thomas Lodge
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Rosalind: Euphues' Golden Legacy


SALADIN'S SONNET

415If it be true that heaven's eternal course
With restless sway and ceaseless turning glides;
If air inconstant be, and swelling source
Turn and returns with many fluent tides;
If earth in winter summer's pride estrange,
And nature seemeth only fair in change;

416If it be true that our immortal spright,
Derived from heavenly pure, in wand'ring still,
In novelty and strangeness doth delight,
And by discoverent power discerneth ill;
And if the body for to work his best
Doth with the seasons change his place of rest:

417Whence comes it that, enforced by furious skies,
I change both place and soil, but not my heart,
Yet salve not in this change my maladies?
Whence grows it that each object works my smart?
Alas, I see my faith procures my miss,
And change in love against my nature is.

418 Et florida pungunt.

419Aliena, having read over his sonnet, began thus pleasantly to descant upon it:

420"I see, Saladin," quoth she, "that as the sun is no sun without his brightness, nor the diamond accounted for precious unless it be hard, so men are not men unless they be in love; and their honors are measured by their amours, not their labors, counting it more commendable for a gentleman to be full of fancy than full of virtue. I had thought

421

Otia si tollas, periere Cupidinis arcus, Contemptaeque jacent et sine luce faces.

422But I see Ovid's axiom is not authentical, for even labor hath her loves, and extremity is no pumice-stone to rase out fancy. Yourself exiled from your wealth, friends, and country by Torismond, sorrows enough to suppress affections, yet amidst the depth of these extremities Love will be lord and show his power to be more predominant than Fortune. But I pray you, sir, if without offense I may crave it, are they some new thoughts or some old desires?"

423Saladin, that now saw opportunity pleasant, thought to strike while the iron was hot, and therefore, taking Aliena by the hand, sat down by her; and Ganymede, to give them leave to their loves, found herself busy about the folds, whilst Saladin fell into this prattle with Aliena:

424"Fair mistress, if I be blunt in discovering my affections, and use little eloquence in leveling out my loves, I appeal for pardon to your own principles that say shepherds use few ceremonies, for that they acquaint themselves with few subtleties. To frame myself, therefore, to your country fashion with much faith and little flattery, know, beautiful shepherdess, that whilst I lived in the court I knew not love's cumber, but I held affection as a toy, not as a malady, using fancy as the Hyperborei do their flowers, which they wear in their bosom all day and cast them in the fire for fuel at night. I liked all because I loved none, and who was most fair on her I fed mine eye--but as charily as the bee, that, as soon as she hath sucked honey from the rose, flies straight to the next marigold. Living thus at mine own list, I wondered at such as were in love, and, when I read their passions, I took them only for poems that flowed from the quickness of the wit, not the sorrows of the heart. But now, fair nymph, since I became a forester, Love hath taught me such a lesson that I must confess his deity and dignity, and say, as there is nothing so precious as beauty, so there is nothing more piercing than fancy. For since first I arrived at this place and mine eye took a curious survey of your excellence, I have been so fettered with your beauty and virtue as, sweet Aliena, Saladin without further circumstance loves Aliena. I could paint out my desires with long ambages; but seeing in many words lies mistrust, and that truth is ever naked, let this suffice for a country wooing: Saladin loves Aliena, and none but Aliena."

425Although these words were most heavenly harmony in the ears of the shepherdess, yet to seem coy at the first courting, and to disdain love howsoever she desired love, she made this reply:

426"Ah, Saladin, though I seem simple, yet I am more subtle than to swallow the hook because it hath a painted bait. As men are wily, so women are wary, especially if they have that wit by others' harms to beware. Do we not know, Saladin, men's tongues are like Mercury's pipe, that can enchant Argus with an hundred eyes, and their words as prejudicial as the charms of Circes, that transform men into monsters. If such Sirens sing, we poor women had need stop our ears, lest in hearing we prove so foolish hardy as to believe them, and so perish in trusting much and suspecting little. Saladin, piscator ictus sapit; he that hath been once poisoned and afterwards fears not to bowse of every potion is worthy to suffer double penance. Give me leave then to mistrust, though I do not condemn. Saladin is now in love with Aliena, he a gentleman of great parentage, she a shepherdess of mean parents; he honorable and she poor? Can love consist of contrarieties? Will the falcon perch with the kestrel, the lion harbor with the wolf? Will Venus join robes and rags together, or can there be a sympathy between a king and a beggar? Then, Saladin, how can I believe thee that Love should unite our thoughts when Fortune hath set such a difference between our degrees? But suppose thou likest Aliena's beauty. Men in their fancy resemble the wasp, which scorns that flower from which she hath fetched her wax; playing like the inhabitants of the island Tenerifa, who, when they have gathered the sweet spices, use the trees for fuel. So men, when they have glutted themselves with the fair of women's faces, hold them for necessary evils, and, wearied with that which they seemed so much to love, cast away fancy as children do their rattles, and, loathing that which so deeply before they liked--especially such as take love in a minute, and have their eyes attractive, like jet, apt to entertain any object--are as ready to let it slip again."

427Saladin, hearing how Aliena harped still upon one string, which was the doubt of men's constancy, he broke off her sharp invective thus:

428"I grant, Aliena," quoth he, "many men have done amiss in proving soon ripe and soon rotten; but particular instances infer no general conclusions, and therefore I hope what others have faulted in shall not prejudice my favors. I will not use sophistry to confirm my love, for that is subtlety, nor long discourses, lest my words might be thought more than my faith; but if this will suffice, that by the honor of a gentleman I love Aliena and woo Aliena not to crop the blossoms and reject the tree but to consummate my faithful desires in the honorable end of marriage."

429At the word "marriage" Aliena stood in a maze what to answer, fearing that if she were too coy, to drive him away with her disdain, and if she were too courteous, to discover the heat of her desires. In a dilemma thus what to do, at last this she said:

430"Saladin, ever since I saw thee, I favored thee. I cannot dissemble my desires, because I see thou dost faithfully manifest thy thoughts, and in liking thee I love thee so far as mine honor holds fancy still in suspense; but if I knew thee as virtuous as thy father, or as well qualified as thy brother Rosader, the doubt should be quickly decided. But for this time to give thee an answer, assure thyself this: I will either marry with Saladin or still live a virgin."

431And with this they strained one another's hand; which Ganymede espying, thinking he had had his mistress long enough at shrift, said:

432"What, a match or no?"

433"A match," quoth Aliena, "or else it were an ill market."

434"I am glad," quoth Ganymede. "I would Rosader were well here to make up a mess."

435"Well remembered," quoth Saladin. "I forgot I left my brother Rosader alone, and therefore, lest being solitary he should increase his sorrows, I will haste me to him. May it please you, then, to command me any service to him, I am ready to be a dutiful messenger."

436"Only at this time commend me to him," quoth Aliena, "and tell him, though we cannot pleasure him, we pray for him."

437"And forget not," quoth Ganymede, "my commendations; but say to him that Rosalind sheds as many tears from her heart as he drops of blood from his wounds for the sorrow of his misfortunes, feathering all her thoughts with disquiet till his welfare procure her content. Say thus, good Saladin, and so farewell."

438He, having his message, gave a courteous adieu to them both, especially to Aliena, and so playing loath to depart, went to his brother. But Aliena, she perplexed and yet joyful, passed away the day pleasantly, still praising the perfection of Saladin, not ceasing to chat of her new love till evening drew on; and then they, folding their sheep, went home to bed. Where we leave them and return to Phoebe.

439Phoebe, fired with the uncouth flame of love, returned to her father's house, so galled with restless passions as now she began to acknowledge that, as there was no flower so fresh but might be parched with the sun, no tree so strong but might be shaken with a storm, so there was no thought so chaste but time, armed with love, could make amorous; for she that held Diana for the goddess of her devotion was now fain to fly to the altar of Venus, as suppliant now with prayers as she was forward before with disdain. As she lay in her bed, she called to mind the several beauties of young Ganymede. First his locks, which, being amber-hued, passeth the wreath that Phoebus puts on to make his front glorious. His brow of ivory was like the seat where love and majesty sits enthroned to enchain fancy; his eyes as bright as the burnishing of the heaven, darting forth frowns with disdain and smiles with favor, lightening such looks as would inflame desire were she wrapped in the circle of the frozen zone. In his cheeks the vermilion teinture of the rose flourished upon natural alabaster; the blush of the morn and Luna's silver show were so lively portrayed that the Trojan that fills out wine to Jupiter was not half so beautiful. His face was full of pleasance, and all the rest of his lineaments proportioned with such excellence as Phoebe was fettered in the sweetness of his feature. The idea of these perfections tumbling in her mind made the poor shepherdess so perplexed as, feeling a pleasure tempered with intolerable pains and yet a disquiet mixed with a content, she rather wished to die than to live in this amorous anguish. But wishing is little worth in such extremes, and therefore was she forced to pine in her malady without any salve for her sorrows. Reveal it she durst not, as daring in such matters to make none her secretary; and to conceal it, why, it doubled her grief; for, as fire suppressed grows to the greater flame and the current stopped to the more violent stream, so love smothered wrings the heart with the deeper passions.

440Perplexed thus with sundry agonies, her food began to fail, and the disquiet of her mind began to work a distemperature of her body, that, to be short, Phoebe fell extreme sick, and so sick as there was almost left no recovery of health. Her father, seeing his fair Phoebe thus distressed, sent for his friends, who sought by medicine to cure and by counsel to pacify, but all in vain; for although her body was feeble through long fasting, yet she did magis aegrotare animo quam corpore, which her friends perceived and sorrowed at, but salve it they could not.

441The news of her sickness was bruited abroad through all the forest, which no sooner came to Montanus' ear but he, like a madman, came to visit Phoebe. Where, sitting by her bedside, he began his exordium with so many tears and sighs that she, perceiving the extremity of his sorrows, began now as a lover to pity them, although Ganymede held her from redressing them. Montanus craved to know the cause of her sickness, tempered with secret plaints, but she answered him, as the rest, with silence, having still the form of Ganymede in her mind, and conjecturing how she might reveal her loves. To utter it in words she found herself too bashful; to discourse by any friend she would not trust any in her amours; to remain thus perplexed still and conceal all, it was a double death. Whereupon, for her last refuge, she resolved to write unto Ganymede, and therefore desired Montanus to absent himself a while, but not to depart, for she would see if she could steal a nap. He was no sooner gone out of the chamber but, reaching to her standish, she took pen and paper and wrote a letter to this effect: