Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Laurence Twine
Editors: Tom Bishop, Andrew Forsberg
Not Peer Reviewed

Twine: The Pattern of Painful Adventures (Quarto)


109THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER.

110How the Pirats which stole away Tharsia brought her to the citie Machilenta, and sold her to a common bawd, and how she preserved her virginitie.

111THE meane time while these troubles were at Tharsus, the Pirats being in their course upon the Sea, by benefite of happie winde arrived at Machilenta, and came into the citie. Nowe had they taken manie mo men and women besides Tharsia, whom all they brought a shoare, and set them to sell as slaves for money. Then came there sundrie to buy such as they lacked for their purposes, amongst whom a moste vile man-bawd, beholding the beautie and tender yeeres of Tharsia, offered money largely for her. Howbeit Athanagoras, who was Prince of the same Citie, beholding likewise the noble countenance, and regarding the great discretion of the mayden in communication, out-bid the bawd, and offered for her ten sestercies of gold. But the bawd, being loth to loose so commodious a prey, offered twenty. "And I wil give thirty," said Athanagoras. "Nay I wil give forty," said the bawd: "and I fiftie," quoth Athanagoras, and so they continued in outbidding one an other untill the bawd offered an hundred sestercies of gold to be payed ready downe, "and whosoever wil give more," saide he, "I will yet give ten sestercies more than he." Then prince Athanagoras thus bethought him secretly in his minde: "if I should contend with the bawd to buy her at so hie a price, I must needes sell other slaves to pay for her, which were both losse and shame unto me. Wherefore I will suffer him to buy her; and when he setteth her to hire, I will be the first man that shall come unto her, and I will gather the floure of her virginitie, which shall stand mee in as great steade as if I had bought her." Then the bawd payed the money, and tooke the maiden and departed home[.]

112[A]nd when he came into his house, hee brought her into a certaine chappel where stoode the idoll of Priapus made of gold, and garnished with pearls and pretious stones. This idoll was made after the shape of a man, with a mighty member unproportionable to the body, alwayes erected, whome bawds and leachers doe adore, making him their god, and worshipping him. Before this filthy idoll he commaunded Tharsia to fall downe. But she answered, "god forbid master, that I should worship such an idoll. But [sir]," said she, "are you a Lapsatenian?" "Why askest thou?" said the bawd. "I aske," quoth she, "because the Lapsatenians doe worship Priapus," this spake she of simplicitie, not knowing what she was. "Ah wretch," answered he, "knowest thou not that thou arte come into the house of a covetous bawd?" When Tharsia heard that, she fell downe at his feet and wept, saying: "O master, take compassion upon my virginity, and do not hire out my body for so vile a gaine." The bawd answered, "knowest thou not, that neither bawd nor hangman do regard teares or prayers?" Then called he unto him a certaine villaine which was governour over his maids, and said unto him: "Let this maiden be decked in virgin's apparell, pretious and costly, and write upon her: 'whoseever defloureth Tharsia shal pay ten peeces of golde, and afterward she shall be common unto the people for one peece at a time'." The villaine fulfilled his master's commaundement, and the third day after that she was bought, shee was with great solemnitie conducted through the streete with musicke, the bawd himselfe with a great multitude going before, and so conveyed unto the brothell house.

113When shee was come thither, Athanagoras the Prince disguising his head and face because hee woulde not be knowen, came first in unto her; whome when Tharsia sawe, she threw her selfe downe at his feete, and saide unto him: "For the love of god, Gentleman, take pitty on me, and by the name of god I adjure and charge you, that you do no violence unto me, but bridle your lust, and hearken unto my unhappy estate, and consider diligently from whence I am sprung. My father was poore Apollonius prince of Tyrus, whome force constrained to forsake his owne countrey. My mother was daughter to Altistrates king of Pentapolis, who died in the birth of me, poore wretch, upon the sea. My father also is dead as was supposed, which caused Dionisiades wife of Stranguilio of Tharsus, to whom my father committed me of special trust to be brought up being but an infant, envying mine estate, and thirsting after my wealth, to seeke my death by the handes of a villaine; which had beene accomplished, and I would to god it had before I had seen this day, but that I was suddenly taken away by the pyrates which solde me unto this filthie bawd." With these or such like wordes declared shee her heavie fortune, eftsoones sobbing and bursting out into streames of tears, that, for extreme griefe she could scarsly speake. When she had in this manner uttered her sorow, the good prince being astonied and mooved with compassion, said unto her: "Be of good cheere Tharsia, for surely I rue thy case; and I my selfe have also a daughter at home, to whome I doubt that the like chances may befall."

114And when he had so said, he gave her twenty peeces of gold, saying: "Holde heere a greater price or reward for thy virginitie than thy master appointed: and say as much unto others that come unto thee as thou hast done to me, and thou shalt withstand them." Then Tharsia fell on her knees, and weeping saide unto him: "Sir, I give you most hartie thankes for your great compassion and curtesie, and most hartily I beseech you upon my knees, not to descry unto any that which I have said unto you." "No surely," answered Athanagoras, "unlesse I tell it unto my daughter, that she may take heede when she commeth unto the like yeares, that she fall not into the like mishappe," and when he had so saide, he let fall a few teares, and departed. Now as he was going he met with an other pilgrime that with like devotion, came for to seeke the same saint, who demaunded of him howe hee liked of the maiden's company. "Truly," answered Athanagoras "never of any better." Then the, yong man whose name was Aportatus entred into the chamber; and the maiden, after the manner, shut the doore to, and Athanagoras listned at the windowe. Then saide Aportatus unto Tharsia, "How much did the prince give unto thee?" She answered fortie peeces of golde. Then said he, "receive here of me an whole pound weight of golde." The Prince which heard this talke thought then in his minde, "the more that you do give her, the more she will weepe, as, thinking that you would looke for recompence, the which shee meaneth not to perfourme."

115The maiden received the money, and fell down on, her knees at his feete, and declared unto him all her estate with teares, as is before shewed. When Aportatus heard that, he was mooved with compassion, and he tooke her up from the ground, saying: "Arise Ladie Tharsia: we are al men, and subject to the like chances," and therewithall he departed. And when he came foorth he found prince Athanagoras before the doore laughing at him, to whom he said: "Is it wel done, my liege, thus to delude a poore gentleman? Was there none to whom you might beginne in teares but unto me only?" Then communed they further of the matter, and sware an othe betweene themselves, that they would not bewray those words unto any; and they withdrew themselves aside into a secret place, to see the going in and comming foorth of other, and they sawe many which went in and gave their mony, and came foorth againe weeping. Thus Tharsia through the grace of god, and faire perswation, preserved her body undefiled.