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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)

    620[Enter] Diana, Telusa, Eurota, Ramia, [and] Larissa.
    What news have we here, ladies? Are all in love? Are Diana's nymphs become Venus's wantons? Is it a shame to be chaste because you be amiable? Or must you needs be amorous because you are fair? O Venus, if this be thy spite I will requite 625it with more then hate. Well shalt thou know what it is to drib thine arrows up and down Diana's leas. There is an unknown nymph that straggleth up and down these woods, which I suspect hath been the weaver of these woes, I saw her slumbering by the brook-side. Go search her and bring her. If you find upon her shoulder a burn, it is Cupid; if any print on her back like a leaf, it is Medea; if any picture on her left 630breast like a bird, it is Calypso. Whoever it be, bring her hither, and speedily bring her hither.
    I will go with speed.
    Go you, Larissa, and help her.
    I obey.
    [Exeunt Telusa and Larissa.]
    Now, ladies, doth not that make your cheeks blush that makes mine ears glow? Or can you remember that without sobs which Diana cannot think on without sighs? What greater dishonor could happen to Diana, or to her nymphs shame, than that there can be any time so idle that should make their heads so addle? Your chaste hearts, my nymphs, should resemble the onyx, which is hottest when it is whitest; and your thoughts, the more they are assaulted with 640desires, the less they should be affected. You should think love like Homer's moly: a white leaf and a black root, a fair show and a bitter taste. Of all trees the cedar is greatest and hath the smallest seed; of all affections, love hath the greatest name and the least virtue. Shall it be said, and shall Venus say it -- nay, shall it be seen, and shall wantons see it -- that Diana, the goddess of chastity, whose thoughts are always answerable to 645her vows, whose eyes never glanced on desire, and whose heart abateth the point of Cupid's arrows, shall have her virgins to become unchaste in desires, immoderate in affection, untemperate in love, in foolish love, in base love? Eagles cast their evil feathers in the sun, but you cast your best desires upon a shadow. The birds ibes lose their sweetness when they lose their sights, and virgins all their virtues with their unchaste thoughts. "Unchaste," Diana calleth that that hath either any show or 650suspicion of lightness. O my dear nymphs, if you knew how loving thoughts stain lovely faces, you would be as careful to have the one as unspotted as the other beautiful.
    Cast before your eyes the loves of Venus's trulls, their fortunes, their fancies, their ends. What are they else but Silenus's pictures -- without, lambs and doves; within, apes and owls -- who, like Ixion, embrace clouds for Juno, the shadows of virtue instead of the substance. 655The eagle's feathers consume the feathers of all others, and love's desire corrupteth all other virtues. I blush, ladies, that you, having been heretofore patient of labors, should now become prentices to idleness and use the pen for sonnets, not the needle for samplers. And how is your love placed? Upon pelting boys, perhaps base of birth, without doubt weak of discretion. Ay, but they are fair. O ladies, do your eyes begin to love colors, whose hearts was wont to loathe them? Is Diana's chase become Venus's court? And are your holy vows turned to hollow thoughts?
    Madam, if love were not a thing beyond reason, we might then give a reason of our doings; but so divine is his force that it worketh effects as contrary to that we wish as unreasonable against that we ought.
    Lady, so unacquainted are the passions of love that we can neither describe them nor bear them.
    Foolish girls, how willing you are to follow that which you should fly! But here cometh Telusa.
    Enter Telusa and other [Larissa and perhaps other nymphs] with Cupid.
    We have brought the disguised nymph, and have found on his shoulder Psyche's burn, and he confesseth himself to be Cupid.
    [To Cupid] How now, sir, are you caught? Are you Cupid?
    Thou shalt see, Diana, that I dare confess myself to be Cupid.
    And thou shalt see, Cupid, that I will show myself to be Diana -- that is, conqueror of thy loose and untamed appetites. Did thy mother, Venus, under the color of a nymph, send thee hither to wound my nymphs? Doth she add craft to her malice, and, mistrusting her deity, practice deceit? Is there no place but my groves, no persons but my nymphs? Cruel and unkind Venus, that spiteth only chastity, thou shalt see that Diana's power shall revenge 675thy policy and tame this pride. As for thee, Cupid, I will break thy bow and burn thine arrows, bind thy hands, clip thy wings, and fetter thy feet. Thou that fattest others with hopes shalt be fed thyself with wishes, and thou that bindest others with golden thoughts shalt be bound thyself with golden fetters. Venus's rods are made of roses, Diana's of briars. Let Venus, that great goddess, ransom Cupid, that little god. These ladies here, whom thou hast infected with foolish love, 680shall both tread on thee and triumph over thee. Thine own arrow shall be shot into thine own bosom, and thou shalt be enamored, not on Psyches, but on Circes. I will teach thee what it is to displease Diana, distress her nymphs, or disturb her game.
    Diana, what I have done cannot be undone, But what you mean to do shall. Venus hath some gods to her friends, Cupid shall have all.
    Are you prating? I will bridle thy tongue and thy power, and in spite of mine own thoughts I will set thee a task every day which, if thou finish not, thou shalt feel the smart. Thou shalt be used as Diana's slave, not Venus's son. All the world shall see that I will use thee like a captive, and show myself a conqueror. [To her nymphs] Come, have him in, that we may devise apt punishments for his proud presumptions.
    [To Cupid] We will plague ye for a little god.
    We will never pity thee, though thou be a god.
    Nor I.
    Larissa. Nor I.