Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Thomas Lodge
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Rosalind: Euphues' Golden Legacy


SONNETTO

444My boat doth pass the straits
of seas incensed with fire,
Filled with forgetfulness;
amidst the winter's night
A blind and careless boy,
brought up by fond desire,
Doth guide me in the sea
of sorrow and despite.

445For every oar he sets
a rank of foolish thoughts,
And cuts, instead of wave,
a hope without distress.
The winds of my deep sighs,
that thunder still for naughts,
Have split my sails with fear,
with care and heaviness.

446A mighty storm of tears,
a black and hideous cloud,
A thousand fierce disdains
do slack the halyards oft;
Till ignorance do pull,
and error hale the shrouds,
No star for safety shines,
no Phoebe from aloft.

447Time hath subduèd art,
and joy is slave to woe.
Alas, Love's guide, be kind!
what, shall I perish so?

448This letter and the sonnet being ended, she could find no fit messenger to send it by, and therefore she called in Montanus and entreated him to carry it to Ganymede. Although poor Montanus saw day at a little hole, and did perceive what passion pinched her, yet, that he might seem dutiful to his mistress in all service, he dissembled the matter and became a willing messenger of his own martyrdom. And so, taking the letter, went the next morn very early to the plains where Aliena fed her flocks, and there he found Ganymede, sitting under a pomegranate tree, sorrowing for the hard fortunes of her Rosader. Montanus saluted him, and, according to his charge, delivered Ganymede the letters, which, he said, came from Phoebe. At this the wanton blushed, as being abashed to think what news should come from an unknown shepherdess; but, taking the letters, unripped the seals and read over the discourse of Phoebe's fancies. When she had read and over-read them, Ganymede began to smile, and, looking on Montanus, fell into a great laughter, and with that called Aliena, to whom she showed the writings. Who, having perused them, conceited them very pleasantly, and smiled to see how Love had yoked her who before would not stoop to the lure--Aliena whispering Ganymede in the ear and saying, "Knew Phoebe what want there were in thee to perform her will, and how unfit thy kind is to be kind to her, she would be more wise and less enamored; but, leaving that, I pray thee let us sport with this swain." At that word Ganymede, turning to Montanus, began to glance at him thus:

449"I pray thee, tell me, shepherd, by those sweet thoughts and pleasing sighs that grow from my mistress' favors, art thou in love with Phoebe?"

450"Oh, my youth," quoth Montanus, "were Phoebe so far in love with me, my flocks would be more fat and their master more quiet; for through the sorrows of my discontent grows the leanness of my sheep."

451"Alas, poor swain," quoth Ganymede, "are thy passions so extreme or thy fancy so resolute that no reason will blemish the pride of thy affection and rase out that which thou strivest for without hope?"

452"Nothing can make me forget Phoebe, while Montanus forget himself; for those characters which true love hath stamped, neither the envy of time nor fortune can wipe away."

453"Why, but Montanus," quoth Ganymede, "enter with a deep insight into the despair of thy fancies, and thou shalt see the depth of thine own follies; for, poor man, thy progress in love is a regress to loss, swimming against the stream with the crab and flying with Apis Indica against wind and weather. Thou seekest with Phoebus to win Daphne, and she flies faster than thou canst follow; thy desires soar with the hobby, but her disdain reacheth higher than thou canst make wing. I tell thee, Montanus, in courting Phoebe thou barkest with the wolves of Syria against the moon and rovest at such a mark, with thy thoughts, as is beyond the pitch of thy bow, praying to Love when Love is pitiless and thy malady remediless. For proof, Montanus, read these letters, wherein thou shalt see thy great follies and little hope."

454With that Montanus took them and perused them, but with such sorrow in his looks as they betrayed a source of confused passions in his heart. At every line his color changed, and every sentence was ended with a period of sighs.

455At last, noting Phoebe's extreme desire toward Ganymede and her disdain towards him, giving Ganymede the letter, the shepherd stood as though he had neither won nor lost. Which Ganymede perceiving wakened him out of his dream thus:

456"Now, Montanus, dost thou see thou vowest great service and obtainest but little reward; but in lieu of thy loyalty, she maketh thee, as Bellerophon, carry thine own bane. Then drink not willingly of that potion wherein thou knowest is poison; creep not to her that cares not for thee. What, Montanus, there are many as fair as Phoebe, but most of all more courteous than Phoebe. I tell thee, shepherd, favor is love's fuel; then since thou canst not get that, let the flame vanish into smoke, and rather sorrow for a while than repent thee for ever."

457"I tell thee, Ganymede," quoth Montanus, "as they which are stung with the scorpion cannot be recovered but by the scorpion, nor he that was wounded with Achilles' lance be cured but with the same truncheon, so Apollo was fain to cry out that love was only eased with love, and fancy healed by no medicine but favor. Phoebus had herbs to heal all hurts but this passion; Circes had charms for all chances but for affection, and Mercury subtle reasons to refel all griefs but love. Persuasions are bootless, reason lends no remedy, counsel no comfort, to such whom fancy hath made resolute; and therefore, though Phoebe loves Ganymede, yet Montanus must honor none but Phoebe."

458"Then," quoth Ganymede, "may I rightly term thee a despairing lover, that livest without joy and lovest without hope. But what shall I do, Montanus, to pleasure thee? Shall I despise Phoebe, as she disdains thee?"

459"Oh," quoth Montanus, "that were to renew my griefs and double my sorrows, for the sight of her discontent were the censure of my death. Alas, Ganymede! Though I perish in my thoughts, let not her die in her desires. Of all passions, love is most impatient. Then let not so fair a creature as Phoebe sink under the burden of so deep a distress. Being lovesick, she is proved heartsick, and all for the beauty of Ganymede. Thy proportion hath entangled her affection, and she is snared in the beauty of thy excellence. Then, sith she loves thee so dear, mislike not her deadly. Be thou paramour to such a paragon. She hath beauty to content thine eye, and flocks to enrich thy store. Thou canst not wish for more than thou shalt win by her, for she is beautiful, virtuous, and wealthy, three deep persuasions to make love frolic."

460Aliena, seeing Montanus cut it against the hair and plead that Ganymede ought to love Phoebe when his only life was the love of Phoebe, answered him thus:

461"Why, Montanus, dost thou further this motion, seeing if Ganymede marry Phoebe thy market is clean marred?"

462"Ah, mistress," quoth he, "so hath love taught me to honor Phoebe that I would prejudice my life to pleasure her and die in despair rather than she should perish for want. It shall suffice me to see her contented and to feed mine eye on her favor. If she marry, though it be my martyrdom, yet if she be pleased I will brook it with patience and triumph in mine own stars to see her desires satisfied. Therefore, if Ganymede be as courteous as he is beautiful, let him show his virtues in redressing Phoebe's miseries."

463And this Montanus pronounced with such an assured countenance that it amazed both Aliena and Ganymede to see the resolution of his loves, so that they pitied his passions and commended his patience, devising how they might by any subtlety get Montanus the favor of Phoebe. Straight (as women's heads are full of wiles) Ganymede had a fetch to force Phoebe to fancy the shepherd, malgrado the resolution of her mind. He prosecuted his policy thus:

464"Montanus," quoth he, "seeing Phoebe is so forlorn, lest I might be counted unkind in not salving so fair a creature, I will go with thee to Phoebe, and there hear herself in word utter that which she hath discoursed with her pen; and then, as Love wills me, I will set down my censure. I will home by our house and send Corydon to accompany Aliena."

465Montanus seemed glad of this determination, and away they go towards the house of Phoebe.

466When they drew nigh to the cottage, Montanus ran before and went in and told Phoebe that Ganymede was at the door. This word "Ganymede," sounding in the ears of Phoebe, drave her into such an ecstasy for joy that, rising up in her bed, she was half revived, and her wan color began to wax red. And with that came Ganymede in, who saluted Phoebe with such a courteous look that it was half a salve to her sorrows. Sitting him down by her bedside, he questioned about her disease, and where the pain chiefly held her? Phoebe looking as lovely as Venus in her night-gear, tainting her face with as ruddy a blush as Clytia did when she bewrayed her loves to Phoebus, taking Ganymede by the hand began thus:

467"Fair shepherd, if Love were not more strong than Nature, or fancy the sharpest extreme, my immodesty were the more and my virtues the less; for Nature hath framed women's eyes bashful, their hearts full of fear, and their tongues full of silence. But Love, that imperious Love, where his power is predominant then he perverts all and wresteth the wealth of Nature to his own will. An instance in myself, fair Ganymede, for such a fire hath he kindled in my thoughts that, to find ease for the flame, I was forced to pass the bounds of modesty and seek a salve at thy hands for my harms. Blame me not if I be overbold, for it is thy beauty, and if I be too forward it is fancy and the deep insight into thy virtues that makes me thus fond. For let me say in a word what may be contained in a volume: Phoebe loves Ganymede."

468At this she held down her head and wept, and Ganymede rose as one that would suffer no fish to hang on his fingers, made this reply:

469"Water not thy plants, Phoebe, for I do pity thy plaints, nor seek not to discover thy loves in tears, for I conjecture thy truth by thy passions. Sorrow is no salve for loves, nor sighs no remedy for affection. Therefore frolic, Phoebe; for if Ganymede can cure thee, doubt not of recovery. Yet this let me say without offense, that it grieves me to thwart Montanus in his fancies, seeing his desires have been so resolute and his thoughts so loyal. But thou allegest that thou art forced from him by fate. So I tell thee, Phoebe, either some star or else some destiny fits my mind rather with Adonis to die in chase than be counted a wanton in Venus's knee. Although I pity thy martyrdom, yet I can grant no marriage; for though I held thee fair, yet mine eye is not fettered. Love grows not like the herb spattana to his perfection in one night, but creeps with the snail, and yet at last attains to the top. Festina lente, especially in love, for momentary fancies are ofttimes the fruits of follies. If, Phoebe, I should like thee as the Hyperborei do their dates, which banquet with them in the morning and throw them away at night, my folly should be great and thy repentance more. Therefore I will have time to turn my thoughts, and my loves shall grow up as the watercresses, slowly but with a deep root. Thus, Phoebe, thou mayest see I disdain not, though I desire not, remaining indifferent till time and love makes me resolute. Therefore, Phoebe, seek not to suppress affection, and with the love of Montanus quench the remembrance of Ganymede; strive thou to hate me as I seek to like of thee, and ever have the duties of Montanus in thy mind, for I promise thee thou mayest have one more wealthy but not more loyal."

470These words were corrosives to the perplexed Phoebe, but, sobbing out sighs and straining out tears, she blubbered out these words:

471"And shall I then have no salve of Ganymede but suspense, no hope but a doubtful hazard, no comfort but be posted off to the will of time? Justly have the gods balanced my fortunes, who, being cruel to Montanus, found Ganymede as unkind to myself; so in forcing him perish for love, I shall die myself with overmuch love."

472"I am glad," quoth Ganymede, "you look into your own faults and see where your shoe wrings you, measuring now the pains of Montanus by your own passions."

473"Truth," quoth Phoebe, "and so deeply I repent me of my frowardness toward the shepherd that, could I cease to love Ganymede, I would resolve to like Montanus."

474"What, if I can with reason persuade Phoebe to mislike of Ganymede, will she then favor Montanus?"

475"When reason," quoth she, "doth quench that love I owe to thee, then will I fancy him--conditionally, that if my love can be suppressed with no reason, as being without reason Ganymede will only wed himself to Phoebe."

476"I grant it, fair shepherdess," quoth he; "and to feed thee with the sweetness of hope, this resolve on: I will never marry myself to woman but unto thyself."

477And with that Ganymede gave Phoebe a fruitless kiss and such words of comfort that, before Ganymede departed, she arose out of her bed and made him and Montanus such cheer as could be found in such a country cottage--Ganymede in the midst of their banquet rehearsing the promises of either in Montanus' favor, which highly pleased the shepherd. Thus, all three content and soothed up in hope, Ganymede took his leave of his Phoebe and departed, leaving her a contented woman and Montanus highly pleased. But poor Ganymede, who had her thoughts on her Rosader, when she called to remembrance his wounds, filled her eyes full of tears and her heart full of sorrows, plodded to find Aliena at the folds, thinking with her presence to drive away her passions. As she came on the plains she might espy where Rosader and Saladin sat with Aliena under the shade, which sight was a salve to her grief and such a cordial unto her heart that she tripped alongst the lawns full of joy.

478At last Corydon, who was with them, spied Ganymede, and with that the clown rose, and, running to meet him, cried:

479"O sirrah, a match, a match! Our mistress shall be married on Sunday."

480Thus the poor peasant frolicked it before Ganymede, who, coming to the crew, saluted them all, and especially Rosader, saying that he was glad to see him so well recovered of his wounds.

481"I had not gone abroad so soon," quoth Rosader, "but that I am bidden to a marriage, which, on Sunday next, must be solemnized between my brother and Aliena. I see well where love leads delay is loathsome, and that small wooing serves where both the parties are willing."

482"Truth," quoth Ganymede; "but a happy day should it be if Rosader that day might be married to Rosalind."

483"Ah, good Ganymede," quoth he, "by naming Rosalind, renew not my sorrows, for the thought of her perfections is the thrall of my miseries."

484"Tush, be of good cheer, man," quoth Ganymede. "I have a friend that is deeply experienced in negromancy and magic. What art can do shall be acted for thine advantage. I will cause him to bring in Rosalind, if either France or any bordering nation harbor her; and upon that take the faith of a young shepherd."

485Aliena smiled to see how Rosader frowned, thinking that Ganymede had jested with him. But breaking off from those matters, the page, somewhat pleasant, began to discourse unto them what had passed between him and Phoebe, which, as they laughed, so they wondered at, all confessing that there is none so chaste but love will change. Thus they passed away the day in chat, and when the sun began to set they took their leaves and departed; Aliena providing for their marriage day such solemn cheer and handsome robes as fitted their country estate, and yet somewhat the better in that Rosader had promised to bring Gerismond thither as a guest. Ganymede, who then meant to discover herself before her father, had made her a gown of green and a kirtle of the finest sendal in such sort that she seemed some heavenly nymph harbored in country attire.

486Saladin was not behind in care to set out the nuptials, nor Rosader unmindful to bid guests, who invited Gerismond and all his followers to the feast, who willingly granted, so that there was nothing but the day wanting to this marriage.

487In the meanwhile, Phoebe, being a bidden guest, made herself as gorgeous as might be to please the eye of Ganymede; and Montanus suited himself with the cost of many of his flocks to be gallant against the day, for then was Ganymede to give Phoebe an answer of her loves and Montanus either to hear the doom of his misery or the censure of his happiness. But while this gear was a-brewing, Phoebe passed not one day without visiting her Ganymede, so far was she wrapped in the beauties of this lovely swain. Much prattle they had, and the discourse of many passions, Phoebe wishing for the day, as she thought, of her welfare, and Ganymede smiling to think what unexpected events would fall out at the wedding. In these humors the week went away, that at last Sunday came.

488No sooner did Phoebus' henchman appear in the sky to give warning that his master's horses should be trapped in his glorious coach, but Corydon, in his holiday suit, marvelous seemly in a russet jacket welted with the same and faced covered. with red worsted, having a pair of blue camlet sleeves, bound at the wrists with four yellow laces, closed afore very richly with a dozen of pewter buttons; his hose was of grey kersey, with a large slop barred overthwart the pocket-holes with three fair guards, stitched of either side with red thread; his stock was of the own, sewed close to his breech, and for to beautify his hose he had trussed himself round with a dozen of new-threaden points of medley color. His bonnet was green, whereon stood a copper brooch with the picture of Saint Denis; and to want nothing that might make him amorous in his old days, he had a fair shirt-band of fine lockram, whipped over with Coventry blue of no small cost. Thus attired, Corydon bestirred himself as chief stickler in these actions, and had strowed all the house with flowers, that it seemed rather some of Flora's choice bowers than any country cottage.

489Thither repaired Phoebe with all the maids of the forest, to set out the bride in the most seemliest sort that might be; but howsoever she helped to prank out Aliena, yet her eye was still on Ganymede, who was so neat in a suit of grey that he seemed Endymion when he won Luna with his looks, or Paris when he played the swain to get the beauty of the nymph Oenone. Ganymede, like a pretty page, waited on his mistress Aliena, and overlooked that all was in a readiness against the bridegroom should come; who, attired in a forester's suit, came accompanied with Gerismond and his brother Rosader early in the morning; where arrived, they were solemnly entertained by Aliena and the rest of the country swains, Gerismond very highly commending the fortunate choice of Saladin in that he had chosen a shepherdess whose virtues appeared in her outward beauties, being no less fair than seeming modest.

490Ganymede, coming in and seeing her father, began to blush, nature working affects by her secret effects. Scarce could she abstain from tears to see her father in so low fortunes--he that was wont to sit in his royal palace, attended on by twelve noble peers, now to be contented with a simple cottage and a troop of reveling woodmen for his train. The consideration of his fall made Ganymede full of sorrows; yet that she might triumph over fortune with patience and not any way dash that merry day with her dumps, she smothered her melancholy with a shadow of mirth and very reverently welcomed the King, not according to his former degree but to his present estate, with such diligence as Gerismond began to commend the page for his exquisite person and excellent qualities.

491As thus the King with his foresters frolicked it among the shepherds, Corydon came in with a fair mazer full of cider and presented it to Gerismond with such a clownish salute that he began to smile and took it of the old shepherd very kindly, drinking to Aliena and the rest of her fair maids, amongst whom Phoebe was the foremost. Aliena pledged the King and drunk to Rosader; so the carouse went round from him to Phoebe, etc. As they were thus drinking and ready to go to church, came in Montanus, appareled all in tawny, to signify that he was forsaken; on his head he wore a garland of willow, his bottle hanged by his side, whereon was painted despair, and on his sheephook hung two sonnets as labels of his loves and fortunes.

492Thus attired came Montanus in, with his face as full of grief as his heart was of sorrows, showing in his countenance the map of extremities. As soon as the shepherds saw him, they did him all the honor they could, as being the flower of all the swains in Arden; for a bonnier boy was there not seen since that wanton wag of Troy that kept sheep in Ida. He, seeing the King and guessing it to be Gerismond, did him all the reverence his country courtesy could afford, insomuch that the King, wondering at his attire, began to question what he was. Montanus, overhearing him, made this reply:

493"I am, sir," quoth he, "Love's swain, as full of inward discontents as I seem fraught with outward follies. Mine eyes like bees delight in sweet flowers, but, sucking their full on the fair of beauty, they carry home to the hive of my heart far more gall than honey, and for one drop of pure dew a ton full of deadly aconitum. I hunt with the fly to pursue the eagle, that, flying too nigh the sun, I perish with the sun; my thoughts are above my reach and my desires more than my fortunes, yet neither greater than my loves. But, daring with Phaethon, I fall with Icarus, and, seeking to pass the mean, I die for being so mean. My night-sleeps are waking slumbers, as full of sorrows as they be far from rest, and my days' labors are fruitless amours, staring at a star and stumbling at a straw, leaving reason to follow after repentance. Yet every passion is a pleasure though it pinch, because love hides his wormseed in figs, his poisons in sweet potions, and shadows prejudice with the mask of pleasure. The wisest counselors are my deep discontents, and I hate that which should salve my harm, like the patient which, stung with the Tarantula, loathes music, and yet the disease incurable but by melody. Thus, sir, restless I hold myself remediless, as loving without either reward or regard, and yet loving because there is none worthy to be loved but the mistress of my thoughts. And that I am as full of passions as I have discoursed in my plaints, sir, if you please, see my sonnets, and by them censure of my sorrows."

494These words of Montanus brought the King into a great wonder, amazed as much at his wit as his attire, insomuch that he took the papers off his hook and read them to this effect: