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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)

    985[Enter] Phillida [and] Galathea.
    We met the virgin that should have been offered to Neptune. Belike either the custom is pardoned or she not thought fairest.
    I cannot conjecture the cause, but I fear the event.
    Why should you fear? The god requireth no boy.
    I would he did. Then should I have no fear.
    I am glad he doth not, though, because if he did I should have also cause to fear. But soft, what man or god is this? Let us closely withdraw ourselves into the thickets.Exeunt ambo.
    [Enter Neptune alone.
    And do men begin to be equal with gods, seeking by craft to 995overreach them that by power oversee them? Do they dote so much on their daughters that they stick not to dally with our deities? Well shall the inhabitants see that destiny cannot be prevented by craft nor my anger be appeased by submission. I will make havoc of Diana's nymphs. My temple shall be dyed with maidens' blood, and there shall be nothing more vile then to be a virgin. To be young and fair shall be accounted shame and punishment, insomuch as it shall 1000be thought as dishonorable to be honest as fortunate to be deformed.
    [Enter Diana with her nymphs.
    O Neptune, hast thou forgotten thyself, or wilt thou clean forsake me? Hath Diana therefore brought danger to her nymphs because they be chaste? Shall virtue suffer both pain and shame, which always deserveth praise and honor?
    1005Enter Venus.
    Praise and honor, Neptune; nothing less, except it be commendable to be coy and honorable to be peevish. Sweet Neptune, if Venus can do anything, let her try it in this one thing: that Diana may find as small comfort at thy hands as Love hath found courtesy at hers. This is she that hateth sweet delights, envieth loving desires, masketh wanton eyes, stoppeth 1010amorous ears, bridleth youthful mouths, and, under a name or a word "constancy," entertaineth all kind of cruelty. She hath taken my son Cupid -- Cupid, my lovely son -- using him like a prentice, whipping him like a slave, scorning him like a beast. Therefore, Neptune, I entreat thee by no other god than the god of love that thou evil entreat this goddess of hate.
    I muse not a little to see you two in this place, at 1015this time, and about this matter. But what say you, Diana, have you Cupid captive?
    I say there is nothing more vain than to dispute with Venus, whose untamed affections have bred more brawls in heaven than is fit to repeat in earth or possible to recount in number. I have Cupid, and will keep him -- not to dandle in my lap, whom I abhor in my heart, but to laugh him to scorn that hath made in 1020my virgins' hearts such deep scars.
    Scars, Diana, call you them that I know to be bleeding wounds? Alas, weak deity! It stretcheth not so far, both to abate the sharpness of his arrows and to heal the hurts. No, love's wounds, when they seem green, rankle, and, having a smooth skin without, fester to the death within. Therefore, Neptune, if ever Venus stood thee in stead, furthered thy fancies, 1025or shall at all times be at thy command, let either Diana bring her virgins to a continual massacre or release Cupid of his martyrdom .
    It is known, Venus, that your tongue is as unruly as your thoughts, and your thoughts as unstayed as your eyes. Diana cannot chatter; Venus cannot choose.
    It is an honor for Diana to have Venus mean ill, when she 1030so speaketh well. But you shall see I come not to trifle. Therefore once again, Neptune, if that be not buried which can never die --fancy -- or that quenched which must ever burn --affection -- show thyself the same Neptune that I knew thee to be when thou wast a shepherd, and let not Venus's words be vain in thine ears, since thine were imprinted in my heart.
    It were unfit that goddesses should strive, and it were unreasonable that I 1035should not yield. And therefore to please both, both attend. Diana I must honor; her virtue deserveth no less. But Venus I must love; I must confess so much. Diana, restore Cupid to Venus, and I will forever release the sacrifice of virgins. If therefore you love your nymphs as she doth her son, or prefer not a private grudge before a common grief, answer what you will do.
    I account not the choice hard, for, had I twenty Cupids, I would deliver them all to save one virgin, knowing love to be a thing of all the vainest, virginity to be a virtue of all the noblest. I yield. -- Larissa, bring out Cupid.[Exit Larissa.]
    And now shall it be said that Cupid saved those he thought to spoil.
    I agree to this willingly, for I will be wary how my son wander again. But Diana cannot forbid him to wound.
    Yes. Chastity is not within the level of his bow.
    But beauty is a fair mark to hit.
    Well, I am glad you are agreed, and say that Neptune hath dealt well with beauty and chastity.
    [Enter [Larissa with] Cupid.
    [To Venus] Here, take your son.
    [To Cupid] Sir boy, where have you been? Always taken, first by Sappho, now by Diana. How happeneth it, you I unhappy elf?
    Coming through Diana's woods, and seeing so many fair faces with fond hearts, I thought for my sport to make them smart, and so was taken by Diana.
    I am glad I have you.
    And I am glad I am rid of him.
    Alas, poor boy! Thy wings clipped? Thy brands quenched? Thy bow burnt? And thy arrows broke?
    Ay, but it skilleth not. I bear now mine arrows in my eyes, my wings on my thoughts, my brands in mine ears, my bow in my mouth, so as I can wound with looking, fly with thinking, burn with hearing, shoot with speaking.
    Well, you shall up to heaven with me, for on earth thou wilt lose me.
    [Enter Tityrus [and] Melibeus. Galathea and Phillida [follow at a distance, unseen at first by the characters on stage].
    But soft, what be these?
    Those that have offended thee to save their daughters.
    [To Tityrus] Why, had you a fair daughter?
    Ay, and Melibeus a fair daughter.
    Where be they?
    In yonder woods; and methinks I see them coming.
    Well, your deserts have not gotten pardon, but these goddesses' jars.
    This is my daughter, my sweet Phillida.
    And this is my fair Galatea.
    Unfortunate Galatea, if this be Phillida!
    Accursed Phillida, if that be Galatea!
    [To herself] And wast thou all this while enamored of Phillida, that sweet Phillida?
    [To herself] And couldst thou doat upon the face of a maiden, thyself being one, on the face of fair Galatea?
    Do you both, being maidens, love one another?
    I had thought the habit agreeable with the sex, and so burned in the fire of mine own fancies.
    I had thought that in the attire of a boy there could not have lodged the body of a virgin, and so was inflamed with a sweet desire which now I find a sour deceit.
    Now things falling out as they do, you must leave these fond-found affections. Nature will have it so; necessity must.
    I will never love any but Phillida. Her love is engraven in my heart with her eyes.
    Nor I any but Galatea, whose faith is imprinted in my thoughts by her words.
    An idle choice, strange and foolish, for one virgin to dote on another, and to imagine a constant faith where there can be no cause of affection. -- How like 1085you this, Venus?
    I like well and allow it. They shall both be possessed of their wishes, for never shall it be said that Nature or Fortune shall overthrow Love and Faith.[To Galatea and Phillida] Is your love unspotted, begun with truth, continued with constancy, and not to be altered till death?
    Die, Galatea, if thy love be not so!
    Accursed be thou, Phillida, if thy love be not so!
    Suppose all this, Venus, what then?
    Then shall it be seen that I can turn one of them to be a man, and that I will.
    Is it possible?
    What is to Love or the mistress of love unpossible? Was it not Venus that did the like to Iphis and Ianthes?[To Galatea and Phillida] How say ye? Are ye agreed? One to be a boy presently?
    I am content, so I may embrace Galatea.
    I wish it, so I may enjoy Phillida.
    [To Phillida] Soft, daughter, you must know whether I will have you a son.
    [To Galatea] Take me with you, Galatea: I will keep you as I begat you, a daughter.
    Tityrus, let yours be a boy, and, if you will, mine shall not.
    Nay, mine shall not, for by that means my young son shall lose his inheritance.
    Why then, get him to be made a maiden, and then there is nothing lost.
    If there be such changing, I would Venus could make my wife a man.
    Because she loves always to play with men.
    Well, you are both fond. Therefore agree to this changing, or suffer your daughters to endure hard chance.
    How say you, Tityrus, shall we refer it to Venus?
    I am content, because she is a goddess.
    Neptune, you will not dislike it?
    Not I.
    Nor you, Diana?
    Not I.
    Cupid shall not.
    I will not.
    Then let us depart. Neither of them shall know whose lot it shall be till they come to the church door. One shall be. Doth it suffice?
    And satisfy us both. Doth it not, Galatea?
    Yes, Phillida.
    [Enter Rafe, Robin, and Dick.
    Come, Robin, I am glad I have met with thee, for now we will make our father laugh at these tales.
    Diana. What are these that so malepartly thrust themselves into our companies?
    Forsooth, madam, we are fortune tellers.
    Fortune-tellers? Tell me my fortune.
    We do not mean fortune-tellers, we mean fortune tellers. We can tell what fortune we have had these twelve months in the woods.
    Let them alone. They be but peevish.
    Yet they will be as good as minstrels at the marriage, to make us all merry.
    Ay, ladies, we bear a very good consort.
    [To Rafe] Can you sing?
    [To Dick] And you?
    [To Robin] And what can you do?
    If they double it, I will treble it.
    Then shall ye go with us, and sing Hymen before the marriage. Are you content?
    Content? Never better content! For there we shall be sure to fill our bellies with capons' rumps, or some such dainty dishes.
    Then follow us.