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  • Title: Galathea (Modern)
  • Editor: David Bevington

  • Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: John Lyly
    Editor: David Bevington
    Peer Reviewed

    Galathea (Modern)

    [Enter] Telusa alone.
    How now? What new conceits, what strange contraries, breed in thy mind? Is thy Diana become a Venus, thy chaste thoughts turned to wanton looks, thy conquering modesty to a captive imagination? Beginnest thou with piralis to die in the air and live in the fire, to 430leave the sweet delight of hunting and to follow the hot desire of love? O Telusa, these words are unfit for thy sex, being a virgin, but apt for thy affections, being a lover. And can there in years so young, in education so precise, in vows so holy, and in a heart so chaste, enter either a strong desire or a wish or a wavering thought of love? Can Cupid's brands quench Vesta's flames, and his feeble shafts headed with feathers pierce deeper than 435Diana's arrows headed with steel? Break thy bow, Telusa, that seekest to break thy vow, and let those hands that aimed to hit the wild hart scratch out those eyes that have wounded thy tame heart. O vain and only naked name of chastity, that is made eternal and perisheth by time; holy, and is infected by fancy; divine, and is made mortal by folly! Virgins' hearts, I perceive, are not unlike cotton trees, whose fruit is so hard in the bud that it soundeth 440like steel, and, being ripe, poureth forth nothing but wool; and their thoughts like the leaves of lunary, which, the further they grow from the sun, the sooner they are scorched with his beams. O Melebeus, because thou art fair, must I be fickle and false my vow because I see thy virtue? Fond girl that I am, to think of love! Nay, vain profession that I follow, to disdain love! But here cometh Eurota. I must now put on a red mask and blush, lest she perceive my pale face and laugh.
    445[Enter Eurota.
    Telusa, Diana bid me hunt you out, and saith that you care not to hunt with her; but if you follow any other game than she hath roused, your punishment shall be to bend all our bows and weave all our strings. Why look ye so pale, so sad, so wildly?
    Eurota, the game I follow is the thing I fly: my strange disease, my chief desire.
    I am no Oedipus to expound riddles, and I muse how thou canst be Sphinx to utter them. But I pray thee, Telusa, tell me what thou ailest. If thou be sick, this ground hath leaves to heal; if melancholy, here are pastimes to use; if peevish, wit must wean it, or time, or counsel. If thou be in love (for I have heard 455of such a beast called Love), it shall be cured. Why blushest thou, Telusa?
    To hear thee in reckoning my pains to recite thine own. I saw, Eurota, how amorously you glanced your eye on the fair boy in the white coat, and how cunningly, now that you would have some talk of love, you hit me in the teeth with love.
    I confess that I am in love, and yet swear that I know 460not what it is. I feel my thoughts unknit, mine eyes unstayed, my heart I know not how affected or infected, my sleeps broken and full of dreams, my wakeness sad and full of sighs, myself in all things unlike myself. If this be love, I would it had never been devised.
    Thou hast told what I am in uttering what thyself is. These are my passions, Eurota, my unbridled passions, my intolerable passions, which I were as good acknowledge and crave 465counsel as to deny and endure peril.
    How did it take you first, Telusa?
    By the eyes, my wanton eyes, which conceived the picture of his face and hanged it on the very strings of my heart. O fair Melibeus! O fond Telusa! But how did it take you, Eurota?
    By the ears, whose sweet words sunk so deep into my head that the remembrance of his wit hath bereaved me of my wisdom. O eloquent Tyterus! O credulous Eurota! But soft, here cometh Ramia. But let her not hear us talk. We will withdraw ourselves and hear her talk.
    [They conceal themselves.]
    [Enter Ramia.
    I am sent to seek others, that have lost myself.
    [Aside to Telusa] You shall see Ramia hath also bitten on a love-leaf.
    [To herself] Can there be no heart so chaste but love can wound? Nor vows so holy but affection can violate? Vain art thou, virtue, and thou, chastity, but a byword, when you both are subject to love, of all things the most abject. If Love be 480a god, why should not lovers be virtuous? Love is a god, and lovers are virtuous.
    [Coming forward with Telusa] Indeed, Ramia, if lovers were not virtuous, then wert thou vicious.
    What, are you come so near me?
    I think we came near you when we said you loved.
    Tush, Ramia, 'tis too late to recall it; to repent it, a shame. Therefore, I pray thee, tell what is love?
    If myself felt only this infection, I would then take upon me the definition, but, being incident to so many, I dare not myself describe it. But we will all talk of that in the woods. Diana stormeth that, sending one to seek another, she loseth all. Servia, of all the nymphs the coyest, loveth deadly, and exclaimeth against Diana, honoreth Venus, detesteth Vesta, and maketh a common scorn of virtue. Clymene, whose stately looks seemed to amaze the greatest lords, 490stoopeth, yieldeth, and fawneth on the strange boy in the woods. Myself (with blushing I speak it) am thrall to that boy, that fair boy, that beautiful boy!
    What have we here, all in love? No other food than fancy? No, no, she shall not have the fair boy.
    Nor you, Telusa.
    Nor you, Eurota.
    I love Melibeus, and my deserts shall be answerable to my desires. I will forsake Diana for him. I will die for him!
    So saith Clymene, and she will have him. I care not. My sweet Tityrus, though he seem proud, I impute it to childishness, who, being yet scarce out of swath-clouts, cannot understand these deep conceits. I love him.
    So do I, and I will have him!
    Immodest all that we are, unfortunate all that we are like to be, shall virgins begin to wrangle for love and become wanton in their thoughts, in their words, in their actions? O divine Love, which art therefore called divine because thou overreachest the wisest, conquerest the chastest, and dost all things both unlikely and impossible, because thou art Love! Thou makest the bashful impudent, the wise fond, the chaste wanton, and workest contraries to our reach, because thyself is beyond reason.
    Talk no more, Telusa; your words wound. Ah, would I were no woman!
    Would Tityrus were no boy!
    Would Telusa were nobody!