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  • Title: Pandosto
  • Editor: Hardin Aasand

  • Copyright Hardin Aasand. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Robert Greene
    Editor: Hardin Aasand
    Not Peer Reviewed



    Robert Greene's Pandostois rich in romantic details and settings, elements that Shakespeare will appropriate and adjust to fit his vision of the The Winter's Tale.The romance, published in 1588, would go through at least 24 editions by 1740 and engender a number of pastoral offshoots focusing on the young lovers, Dorastus and Fawnia. While the novel is considered a "romance," there is a strong cautionary quality to the story. Pandosto, King of Bohemia, and his queen, Bellaria, are victims of the goddess of inconstancy, Fortune, who "turned her wheel and darkened their bright sun of prosperity with the misty clouds of mishap and misery." This turn of the wheel propels the story's elements of mistrust, suspected adultery, fears of illegimate births, and reunion of parent and child. Despite these broad features, Greene introduces pathos by having the grief-stricken queen die following the news of her son Garinter's death. The restoration of the daughter Fawnia to Pandosto's side fails to endure: Pandosto commits suicide following the onset of a deep melancholy prompted by his guilt.

    Greene's moralizing theme can be found in his preface to the prose narrative: "Yea, [jealousy] is such a heavy enemy to that holy estate of matrimony, sowing between the married couples such deadly seeds of secret hatred, as love being once razed out by spiteful distrust, there oft ensueth bloody revenge, as this ensuing history manifest proveth." The text below has been quietly modernized; spelling and punctuation have been adjusted for sense and syntax.


    The Triumph of Time.

    Wherein is discovered by a pleasant history, that although by the means of sinister fortune, truth may be concealed yet by time in spite of fortune it is most manifestly revealed.

    Pleasant for age to avoid drowsy thoughts, profitable for youth to eschew other wanton pastimes, and bringing to both a desired content.

    Temporis filia veritas.

    By Robert Greene, Master of Arts in Cambridge.

    5Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci.

    Among all the passions wherewith human minds are perplexed, there is none that so galleth with restless despite as the infectious soar of jealousy, for all other griefs are either to be appeased with sensible persuasions, to be cured with wholesome counsel, to be relieved in want, or by tract of time to be worn out --jealousy only excepted-- which is so sauced with suspicious doubt and pinching mistrust, that whoso seeks by friendly counsel to raze out this hellish passion, it forthwith suspecteth that he giveth this advice to cover his own guiltiness. Yea, who so is pained with this restless torment doubteth all, distrusteth himself, is always frozen with fear, and fired with suspicion, having that wherein consists all his joy, to be the breeder of his misery. Yea, it is such a heavy enemy to that holy estate of matrimony, sowing between the married couples such deadly seeds of secret hatred, as love being once razed out by spiteful distrust, there oft ensueth bloody revenge, as this ensuing history manifestly proveth: wherein Pandosto (furiously incensed by causeless jealousy) procured the death of his most loving and loyal wife, and his own endless sorrow and misery.

    In the country of Bohemia there reigned a king called Pandosto, whose fortunate success in wars against his foes and bountiful courtesy towards his friends in peace, made him to be greatly feared and loved of all men. This Pandosto had to wife a lady called Bellaria, by birth royal, learned by education, fair by nature, by virtues famous, so that it was hard to judge whether her beauty, fortune, or virtue won the greatest commendations. These two linked together in perfect love, led their lives with such fortunate content that their subjects greatly rejoiced to see their quiet disposition. They had not been married long, but Fortune (willing to increase their happiness) lent them a son, so adorned with the gifts of nature, as the perfection of the child greatly augmented the love of the parents and the joys of their commons; in so much that the Bohemians to show their inward joys by outward actions made bonfires and triumphs throughout all the kingdom, appointing jousts and tourneys for the honor of their young prince; whether resorted not only his nobles, but also divers kings and princes which were his neighbors, willing to show their friendship they ought to Pandosto, and to win fame and glory by their prowess and valor.

    Pandosto, whose mind was fraught with princely liberality, entertained the kings, princes, and noblemen with such submiss courtesy and magnifical bounty, that they all saw how willing he was to gratify their good wills, making a general feast for his subjects which continued by the space of twenty days, all which time the jousts and tourneys were kept to the great content both of the lords and ladies there present.

    This solemn triumph being once ended, the assembly taking their leave of Pandosto and Bellaria, the young son (who was called Garinter) was nursed up in the house to the great joy and content of the parents. Fortune, envious of such happy success, willing to show some sign of her inconstancy, turned her wheel and darkened their bright sun of prosperity with the misty clouds of mishap and misery. For it so happened that Egistus, King of Sycilia, who in his youth had been brought up with Pandosto, desirous to show that neither tract of time nor distance of place could diminish their former friendship, provided a navy of ship, and sailed into Bohemia to visit his old friend and companion, who hearing of his arrival, went himself in person, and his wife Bellaria, accompanied with a great train of lords and ladies, to meet Egistus; and espying him, alighted from his horse, embraced him very lovingly, protesting that nothing in the world could have happened more acceptable to him than his coming, wishing his wife to welcome his old friend and acquaintance, who (to show how she liked him whom her husband loved) entertained him with such familiar courtesy, as Egistus perceived himself to be very well welcome.

    10After they had thus saluted and embraced each other, they mounted again on horseback and rode toward the city, devising and recounting how being children they had passed their youth in friendly pastimes, where by the means of the citizens Egistus was received with triumphs and shews in such sort that he marveled how on so small a warning they could make such preparation. Passing the streets thus with such rare sights, they rode on to the palace, where Pandosto entertained Egistus and his Sycilians with such banqueting and sumptuous cheer, so royally as they all had cause to commend his princely liberality. Yea, the very basest slave that was known to come from Sycilia was used with such courtesy, that Egistus might easily perceive how both he and his were honored for his friend's sake.

    Bellaria (who in her time was the flower of courtesy), willing to show how unfeignedly she loved her husband by his friend's entertainment, used him likewise so familiarly that her countenance bewrayed how her mind was affected towards him, oftentimes coming herself into his bedchamber to see that nothing should be amiss to mislike him.

    This honest familiarity increased daily more and more betwixt them; for Bellaria, noting in Egistus a princely and bountiful mind adorned with sundry and excellent qualities, and Egistus, finding in her a virtuous and courteous disposition, there grew such a secret uniting of their affections, that the one could not well be without the company of th'other, in so much that when Pandosto was busied with such urgent affairs that he could not be present with his friend Egistus, Bellaria would walk with him into the garden, where they two in private and pleasant devices would pass away the time to both their contents. This custom still continuing betwixt them, a certain melancholy passion entering the mind of Pandosto, drave him into sundry and doubtful thoughts. First, he called to mind the beauty of his wife Bellaria, the comeliness and bravery of his friend Egistus, thinking that love was above all laws, and therefore to be stayed with no law that it was hard to put fire and flax together without burning that their open pleasures might breed his secret displeasures. He considereth with himself that Egistus was a man and must needs love, that his wife was a woman and therefore subject to love, and that where fancy forced, friendship was of no force.

    These and such like doubtful thoughts a long time smothering in his stomach began at last to kindle in his mind a secret mistrust, which increased by suspicion, grew at last to a flaming jealousy, that so tormented him as he could take no rest. He then began to measure all their actions and to misconstrue of their too private familiarity, judging that it was not for honest affection but for disordinate fancy, so as he began to watch them more narrowly, to see if he could get any true or certain proof to confirm his doubtful suspicion.

    While thus he noted their looks and gestures and suspected their thoughts and meanings, they two silly souls who doubted nothing of this his treacherous intent frequented daily each other's company, which draue him into such a frantic passion that he began to bear a secret hate to Egistus, and a louring countenance to Bellaria, who, marveling at such unaccustomed frowns, began to cast beyond the moon and to enter into thousand sundry thoughts, which way she should offend her husband; but finding in herself a clear conscience ceased to muse till such time as she might find fit opportunity to demand the cause of his dumps.

    15In the meantime Pandosto's mind was so far charged with jealousy that he no longer doubted, but was assured (as he thought) that his friend Egistus had entered a wrong point in his tables and so had played him false play; whereupon desirous to revenge so great an injury, he thought best to dissemble the grudge with a fair and friendly countenance, and so under the shape of a friend to show him the trick of a foe. Devising with himself a long time how he might best put away Egistus without suspicion of treacherous murder concluded at last to poison him, which opinion pleasing his humor, he became resolute in his determination, and the better to bring the matter to pass, he called to him his cupbearer, with whom in secret he brake the matter, promising to him for the performance thereof, to give him 1000 crowns of yearly revenues.

    His cupbearer, either being of a good conscience or willing for fashion's sake to deny such a bloody request, began with great reasons to persuade Pandosto from his determinate mischief, shewing him what an offense murder was to the gods; how such unnatural actions did more displease the heavens than men and that causeless cruelty did seldom or never escape without revenge. He laid before his face that Egistus was his friend, a king, and one that was come into his kingdom to confirm a league of perpetual amity betwixt them, that he had and did show him a most friendly countenance; how Egistus was not only honored of his own people by obedience but also loved of the Bohemians for his courtesy; and that if he now should without any just or manifest cause poison him, it would not only be a great dishonor to his majesty, and a means to sow perpetual enmity between the Sycilians and the Bohemians; but also his own subjects would repine at such treacherous cruelty.

    These and such like persuasions of Franion (for so was his cupbearer called) could no whit prevail to dissuade him from his devilish enterprise, but remaining resolute in his determination, his fury so fired with rage, as it could not be appeased with reason. He began with bitter taunts to take up his man and to lay before him two baits--preferment and death, saying that if he would poison Egistus, he should advance him to high dignities. If he refused to do it of an obstinate mind, no torture should be too great to requite his disobedience. Franion, seeing that to persuade Pandosto any more was but to strive against the stream, consented as soon as opportunity would give him leave to dispatch Egistus, wherewith Pandosto remained somewhat satisfied, hoping now he should be fully revenged of such mistrusted injuries, intending also as soon as Egistus was dead to give his wife a sop of the same sauce, and so be rid of those which were the cause of his restless sorrow. While thus he lived in this hope, Franion, being secret in his chamber, began to meditate with himself in these terms.

    Ah Franion, treason is loved of many, but the traitor hated of all; unjust offenses may for a time escape without danger, but never without revenge. Thou art servant to a king and must obey at command, yet Franion, against law and conscience, it is not good to resist a tyrant with arms nor to please an unjust king with obedience. What shalt thou do? Folly refused gold, and frenzy preferment, wisdom seeketh after dignity, and counsel looketh for gain. Egistus is a stranger to thee and Pandosto thy sovereign. Thou hast little cause to respect the one and oughtest to have great care to obey the other. Think this Franion that a pound of gold is worth a ton of lead, great gifts are little Gods, and preferment to a mean man is a whetstone to courage. There is nothing sweeter than promotion nor lighter than report; care not then though most count thee a traitor, so all call thee rich. Dignity (Franion) advanceth thy posterity, and evil report can hurt but thyself. Know this, where Eagles build, Falcons may pray; where Lions haunt, Foxes may steal. Kings are known to command, servants are blameless to consent; fear not thou then to lift at Egistus. Pandosto shall bear the burthen. Yea, but Franion, conscience is a worm that ever biteth but never ceaseth; that which is rubbed with the stone galactites will never be hot. Flesh dipped in the sea Aegeum will never be sweet; the herb Tragion being once bit with an asp never groweth, and conscience once stained with innocent blood is always tied to a guilty remorse. Prefer thy content before riches and a clear mind before dignity. So being poor, thou shalt have rich peace or else rich, thou shalt enjoy disquiet.

    Franion having muttered out these or such like words, seeing either he must die with a clear mind or live with a spotted conscience; he was so cumbered with divers cogitations that he could take no rest, until at last he determined to break the matter to Egistus, but fearing that the king should either suspect or hear of such matters, he concealed the device till opportunity would permit him to reveal it. Lingering thus in doubtful fear, in an evening he went to Egistus's lodging and desirous to break with him of certain affairs that touched the king, after all were commanded out of the chamber. Franion made manifest the whole conspiracy, which Pandosto had devised against him, desiring Egistus not to accompt him a traitor for bewraying his master's counsel, but to think that he did it for conscience, hoping that although his master inflamed with rage or incensed by some sinister reports or slanderous speeches, had imagined such causeless mischief; yet when time should pacify his anger and try those tale bearers but flattering Parasites, then he would count him as a faithful servant, that with such care had kept his master's credit.

    20Egistus had not fully heard Franion tell forth his tale, but a quaking fear possessed all his limbs, thinking that there was some treason wrought and that Franion did but shadow his craft with these false colors; wherefore he began to wax in choler and said that he doubted not Pandosto, sith he was his friend, and there had never as yet been any breach of amity. He had not sought to invade his lands to conspire with his enemies, to dissuade his subjects from their allegiance; but in word and thought he rested his at all times. He knew not therefore any cause that should move Pandosto to seek his death but suspected it to be a compacted knavery of the Bohemians to bring the King and him at odds.

    Franion, staying him in the midst of his talk, told him that to dally with Princes was with the swans to sing against their death, and that if the Bohemians had intended any such secret mischief, it might have been better brought to pass than by revealing the conspiracy. Therefore his Majesty did ill to misconstrue of his good meaning, sith his intent was to hinder treason, not to become a traitor and to confirm his premises. If it please his Majesty to flee into Sycilia for the safeguard of his life, he would go with him; and if then he found not such a practice to be pretended, let his imagined treachery be repaid with most monstrous torments.

    Egistus, hearing the solemn protestation of Franion, began to consider that in love and kingdoms neither faith nor law is to be respected; doubting that Pandosto thought by his death to destroy his men and with speedy war to invade Sycilia, these and such doubts thoroughly weighed, he gave great thanks to Franion, promising if he might with life return to Syracusa, that he would create him a Duke in Sycilia, craving his counsel how he might escape out of the country. Franion, who having some small skill in Navigation, was well acquainted with the Ports and Havens and knew every danger in the Sea, joining in counsel with the Master of Egistus's Navy, rigged all their ships and setting them afloat let them lie at anchor to be in the more readiness when time and wind should serve.

    Fortune, although blind yet by chance, favoring this just cause, sent them within six days a good gale of wind, which Franion seeing fit for their purpose to put Pandosto out of suspicion the night before they should sail; he went to him and promised that the next day he would put the device in practice, for he had got such a forcible poison as the very smell thereof should procure sudden death. Pandosto was joyful to hear this good news and thought every hour a day till he might be glutted with bloody revenge, but his suit had but ill success; for Egistus, fearing that delay might breed danger and willing that the grass should not be cut from under his feet, taking bag and baggage with the help of Franion, conveyed himself and his men out of a postern gate of the city so secretly and speedily that without any suspicion they got to the seashore, where, with many a bitter curse taking their leave of Bohemia, they went aboard; weighing their anchors and hoisting sail, th[e]y passed as fast as wind and sea would permit towards Sycilia, Egistus being a joyful man that he had safely passed such treacherous perils.

    But as they were quietly floating on the sea, so Pandosto and his Citizens were in an uproar; for seeing that the Sycilians without taking their leave were fled away by night, the Bohemians feared some treason, and the King thought that without question his suspicion was true, seeing his cupbearer had bewrayed the sum of his secret pretence. Whereupon he began to imagine that Franion and his wife Bellaria had conspired with Egistus and that the fervent affection she bear him was the only means of his secret departure, in so much that incensed with rage, he commanded that his wife should be carried to straight prison until they heard further of his pleasure. The guard, unwilling to lay their hands on such a virtuous Princess and yet fearing the king's fury, went very sorrowfully to fulfill their charge.

    25Coming to the Queen's lodging, they found her playing with her young son Garinter, unto whom with tears doing the message, Bellaria astonished at such a hard censure and finding her clear conscience a sure advocate to plead in her case, went to the prison most willingly; where with sighs and tears she past away the time till she might come to her trial.

    But Pandosto, whose reason was suppressed with rage and whose unbridled folly was incensed with fury, seeing Franion had bewrayed his secrets and that Egistus might well be railed on but not revenged, determined to wreak all his wrath on poor Bellaria. He therefore caused a general proclamation to be made through all his Realm that the Queen and Egistus had by the help of Franion not only committed most incestuous adultery, but also had conspired the King's death; whereupon the Traitor Franion was fled away with Egistus, and Bellaria was most justly imprisoned.

    This Proclamation being once blazed through the country, although the virtuous disposition of the Queen did half discredit the contents, yet the sudden and speedy passage of Egistus and the secret departure of Franion induced them (the circumstances thoroughly considered) to think that both the Proclamation was true and the King greatly injured; yet they pitied her case, as sorrowful that so good a Lady should be crossed with such adverse fortune. But the King, whose restless rage would admit no pity, thought that although he might sufficiently requite his wife's falsehood with the bitter plague of pinching penury, yet his mind should never be glutted with revenge, till he might have fit time and opportunity to repay the treachery [of] Egistus with a fatal injury.

    But a curst Cow hath oft times short horns and a willing mind but a weak arm; for Pandosto, although he felt that revenge was a spur to war and that envy always proffereth steel, yet he saw that Egistus was not only of great puissance and prowess to withstand him, but also had many Kings of his alliance to aide him if need should serve. For he married to the Emperor's daughter of Russia. These and the like considerations something daunted Pandosto his courage, so that he was content rather to put up a manifest injury with peace than hunt after revenge [with] dishonor and loss, determining since Egistus had escaped scot free, that Bellaria should pay for all at an unreasonable price.

    Remaining thus resolute in his determination, Bellaria continuing still in prison and hearing the contents of the Proclamation, knowing that her mind was neuter touched with such affection, nor that Egistus had ever offered her such discourtesy, would gladly have come to her answer, that both she might have known her unjust accusers and cleared herself of that guiltless crime. But Pandosto was so inflamed with rage and infected with Jealousy as he would not vouchsafe to hear her nor admit any just excuse, so that she was feign to make a virtue of her need, and with patience to bear these heavy injuries.

    30As thus she lay crossed with calamities (a great cause to increase her grief) she found herself quick with child, which as soon as she felt stir in her body, she burst forth into bitter tears, exclaiming against fortune in these terms:

    Alas, Bellaria, how unfortunate art thou because fortunate; better hadst thou been born a beggar than a Prince; so shouldest thou have bridled fortune with want, where now she sporteth herself with thy plenty. Ah happy life, where poor thoughts and mean desires live in secure content, not fearing fortune because too low for fortune! Thou seest now, Bellaria, that care is a companion to honor, not to poverty, that high cedars are frushed with tempests, when low shrubs are not touched with the wind. Precious diamonds are cut with the file, when despised pebbles lie safe in the sand; Delphos is sought to by princes, not beggars; and Fortune's altars smoke with king's presents, not with poor men's gifts. Happy are such, Bellaria, that curse fortune for contempt, not fear, and may wish they were, not sorrow they have been. Thou art a princess, Bellaria, and yet a prisoner, born to the one by dissent, assigned to the other by despite, accused without cause, and therefore oughtest to die without care; for patience is a shield against fortune, and a guiltless mind yielded not to sorrow. Ah, but infamy galleth unto death, and liveth after death. Report is plumed with time's feathers, and envy oftentimes soundeth fame's trumpet. Thy suspected adultery shall fly in the air, and thy known virtues shall lie hid in the earth. One mole staineth a whole face, and what is once spotted with Infamy can hardly be worn out with time. Die then Bellaria, Bellaria die, for if the gods should say thou art guiltless, yet envy would hear the gods, but never believe the gods. Ah hapless wretch! Cease these terms; desperate thoughts are fit for them that fear shame, not for such as hope for credit. Pandosto hath darkened thy fame, but shall never discredit thy virtues. Suspicion may enter a false action, but proof shall never put in his plea. Care not then for envy, sith report hath a blister on her tongue, and let sorrow bite them which offend, not touch thee that art faultless. But alas, poor soul! How canst thou but sorrow? Thou art with child, and by him that in stead of kind pity pincheth thee in cold prison.

    And with that such gasping sighs so stopped her breath, that she could not utter any more words, but wringing her hands and gushing forth streams of tears, she passed away the time with bitter complaints.

    The jailor, pitying these her heavy passions, thinking that if the king knew she were with child, he would somewhat appease his fury and release her from prison, went in all haste and certified Pandosto what the effect of Bellaria's complaint was; who no sooner heard the jailor say she was with child, but as one possessed with a frenzy he rose up in a rage, swearing that she and the bastard brat she was withal should die, if the Gods themselves said no, thinking that surely by computation of time that Egistus and not he was father to the child. This suspicious thought galled afresh this half-healed sore, insomuch as he could take no rest until he might mitigate his choler with a just revenge, which happened presently after. For Bellaria was brought to bed of a fair and beautiful daughter, which no sooner Pandosto heard, but he determined that both Bellaria and the young infant should be burnt with fire.

    His nobles, hearing of the king's cruel sentence, sought by persuasions to divert him from this bloody determination, laying before his face the innocency of the child and virtuous disposition of his wife; how she had continually loved and honored him so tenderly, that without due proof he could not nor ought not to appeach her of that crime. And if she had faulted, yet it were more honorable to pardon with mercy than to punish with extremity, and more kingly to be commended of pity than accused of rigor. And as for the child, if he should punish it for the mother's offence, it were to strive against nature and justice; and that unnatural actions do more offend the gods than men; how causeless cruelty nor innocent blood never scapes without revenge. These and such like reasons could not appease his rage, but he rested resolute in this: that Bellaria being an adulteress, the child was a bastard, and he would not suffer that such an infamous brat should call him father. Yet at last (seeing his noble men were importunate upon him) he was content to spare the child's life, and yet to put it to a worser death. For he found out this device that seeing (as he thought) it came by fortune, so he would commit it to the charge of fortune, and therefore he caused a little cock-boat to be provided, wherein he meant to put the babe, and then send it to the mercy of the seas and the destinies. From this his peers in no wise could persuade him, but that he sent presently two of his guard to fetch the child, who being come to the prison and with weeping tears recounting their master's message, Bellaria no sooner heard the rigorous resolution of her merciless husband, but she fell down in a sound, so that all thought she had been dead, yet at last being come to herself, she cried and screeched out in this wise.

    35Alas, sweet unfortunate babe, scarce born before envied by Fortune. Would the day of thy birth had been the term of thy life; then shouldest thou have made an end to care and prevented thy father's rigor. Thy faults cannot yet deserve such hateful revenge; thy days are too short for so sharp a doom, but thy untimely death must pay thy mother's debts and her guiltless crime must be thy ghastly curse. And shalt thou sweet babe be committed to fortune? When thou art already spited by Fortune? Shall the seas be thy harbor, and the hard boat thy cradle? Shall thy tender mouth instead of sweet kisses be nipped with bitter storms? Shalt thou have the whistling winds for thy lullaby, and the salt sea foam instead of sweet milk? Alas, what destinies would assign such hard hap? What father would be so cruel? Or what gods will not revenge such rigor? Let me kiss thy lips (sweet infant) and wet thy tender cheeks with my tears and put this chain about thy little neck, that if fortune save thee, it may help to succor thee. Thus, since thou must go to surge in the ghastful seas, with a sorrowful kiss I bid thee farewell, and I pray the Gods thou mayst fare well.

    Such, and so great was her grief, that her vital spirits being suppressed with sorrow, she fell down again in a trance, having her senses so sotted with care, that after she was revived, yet she lost her memory and lay for a great time without moving, as one in a trance. The guard left her in this perplexities and carried the child to the king, who quite devoid of pity, commanded that without delay it should be put into the boat, having neither sail nor other to guide it, and so to be carried into the midst of the sea, and there left to the wind and wave as the destinies please to appoint. The very shipmen seeing the sweet countenance of the young babe began to accuse the king of rigor and to pity the child's hard fortune, but fear constrained them to that which their nature did abhor so that they placed it in one of the ends of the boat, and with a few green bows made a homely cabin to shroud it as they could from wind and weather. Having thus trimmed the boat they tied it to a ship, and so haled it into the main sea, and then cut asunder the cord, which they had no sooner done, but there arose a mighty tempest, which tossed the little boat so vehemently in the waves that the ship men thought it could not long continue without sinking; yea, the storm grew so great, that with much labor and peril they got to the shore but leaving the child to her fortunes.

    Again to Pandosto, who not yet glutted with sufficient revenge, devised which way he should best increase his wife's calamity. But first assembling his nobles and counselors, he called her for the more reproach into open court, where it was objected against her that she had committed adultery with Egistus and conspired with Franion to poison Pandosto her husband, but their pretence being partly spied, she counseled them to fly away by night for their better safety. Bellaria, who standing like a prisoner at the bar, feeling in herself a clear conscience to withstand her false accusers, seeing that no less than death could pacify her husband's wrath, waxed bold, and desired that she might have law and justice, for mercy she neither craved nor hoped, and that those perjured wretches, which had falsely accused her to the king, might be brought before her face to give in evidence. Pandosto, whose rage and jealousy was such no reason nor equity could appease, told her that for her accusers they were of such credit as their words were sufficient witness, and that the sudden and secret flight of Egistus and Franion confirmed that which they had confessed. And as for her, it was her part to deny such a monstrous crime and to be impudent in forswearing the fact, since she had past all shame in committing the fault; but her stale countenance should stand for no coin, for as the bastard which she bare was served, so she should with some cruel death be requited.

    Bellaria, no whit dismayed with this rough reply, told her husband Pandosto that he spake upon choler and not conscience, for her virtuous life had been ever such, as no spot of suspicion could ever stain. And if she had borne a friendly countenance to Egistus, it was in respect he was his friend, and not for any lusting affection: therefore if she were condemned without any further proof, it was rigor, and not law.

    The noblemen which sate in judgment, said that Bellaria spake reason, and entreated the king that the accusers might be openly examined, and sworn, if then the evidence were such, as the jury might find her guilty (for seeing she was a prince) she ought to be tried by her peers, then let her have such punishment as the extremity of the law will assign to such malefactors. The king presently made answer, that in this case he might and would dispense with the law, and that the jury being once paneled they should take his word for sufficient evidence, otherwise he would make the proudest of them repent it.

    40The noblemen seeing the king in choler were all whist, but Bellaria whose life then hung in the balance, fearing more perpetual infamy than momentary death, told the king if his fury might stand for a law, that it were vain to have the jury yield their verdict; and therefore she fell down upon her knees and desired the king that for the love he bare to his young son Garinter, whom she brought into the world, that he would grant her a request, the which was this: that it would please his majesty to send six of his noble men whom he best trusted to the isle of Delphos, there to enquire of the oracle of Apollo whether she had committed adultery with Egistus, or conspired to poison with Franion. And if the God Apollo, who by his divine essence knew all secrets, gave answer that she was guilty, she were content to suffer any torment, were it never so terrible. The request was so reasonable, that Pandosto could not for shame deny it, unless he would be counted of all his subjects more willful then wise. He therefore agreed, that with as much speed as might be there should be certain ambassadors dispatched to the isle of Delphos; and in the mean season he commanded that his wife should be kept in close prison. Bellaria, having obtained this grant, was now more careful for her little babe that floated on the seas than sorrowful for her own mishap. For of that she doubted; of herself she was assured, knowing if Apollo should give oracle according to the thoughts of the heart, yet the sentence should go on her side, such was the clearness of her mind in this case. But Pandosto (whose suspicious head still remained in one song) chose out six of his nobility, whom he knew were scarce indifferent men in the queen's behalf, and providing all things fit for their journey, sent them to Delphos; they willing to fulfill the king's command and desirous to see the situation and custom of the island dispatched their affairs with as much speed as might be, and embarked themselves to the voyage, which (the wind and weather serving fit for their purpose) was soon ended. For within three weeks they arrived at Delphos, where they were no sooner set on land but with great devotion they went to the temple of Apollo, and there offering sacrifice to the god and gifts to the priest, as the custom was, they humbly craved an answer of their demand. They had not long kneeled at the altar, but Apollo with a loud voice said: "Bohemians, what you find behind the altar take and depart." They forthwith obeying the oracle found a scroll of parchment, wherein was written these words in letters of gold.

    The Oracle.Suspicion is no proof; jealousy is an unequal Judge; Bellaria is chaste; Egistus blameless; Franion a true subject; Pandosto treacherous; his babe an innocent, and the king shall live without an heir if that which is lost be not found.

    As soon as they had taken out this scroll, the priest of the god commanded them that they should not presume to read it before they came in the presence of Pandosto unless they would incur the displeasure of Apollo. The Bohemian lords carefully obeying his command, taking their leave of the priest, with great reverence departed out of the temple and went to their ships, and as soon as wind would permit them, sailed toward Bohemia; whither in short time they safely arrived, and with great triumph issuing out of their ships, went to the king's palace, whom they found in his chamber accompanied with other noble men. Pandosto no sooner saw them, but with a merry countenance he welcomed them home, asking what news. They told his majesty that they had received an answer of the god written in a scroll, but with this charge, that they should not read the contents before they came in the presence of the king, and with that they delivered him the parchment; but his noblemen entreated him that sith therein was contained either the safety of his wife's life and honesty or her death and perpetual infamy, that he would have his nobles and commons assembled in the judgment hall, where the queen brought in as a prisoner should hear the contents. If she were found guilty by the oracle of the god, then all should have cause to think his rigor proceeded of due desert; if her grace were found faultless, then she should be cleared before all, sith she had been accused openly. This pleased the king so, that he appointed the day and assembled all his lords and commons and caused the queen to be brought in before the judgment seat, commanding that the indictment should be read, wherein she was accused of adultery with Egistus and of conspiracy with Franion. Bellaria hearing the contents, was no whit astonished, but made this cheerful answer:

    If the divine powers be privy to humane actions (as no doubt they are), I hope my patience shall make Fortune blush, and my unspotted life shall stain spitefully discredit. For, although lying report hath sought to appeach mine honor and suspicion hath intended to soil my credit with infamy, yet where virtue keepeth the fort, report and suspicion may assail, but never sack. How I have led my life before Egistus coming, I appeal Pandosto to the gods and to thy conscience. What hath passed between him and me, the gods only know, and I hope will presently reveal; that I loved Egistus I cannot deny; that I honored him I shame not to confess. To the one I was forced by his virtues, to the other for his dignities. But as touching lascivious lust, I say Egistus is honest, and hope myself to be found without spot; for Franion, I can neither accuse him nor excuse him, for I was not privy to his departure, and that this is true which I have here rehearsed, I refer myself to the divine oracle.

    45Bellaria had no sooner said but the king commanded that one of his dukes should read the contents of the scroll, which after the commons had heard, they gave a great shout, rejoicing and clapping their hands that the queen was clear of that false accusation. But the king whose conscience was a witness against him of his witless fury and false-suspected jealousy was so ashamed of his rash folly that he entreated his nobles to persuade Bellaria to forgive and forget these injuries, promising not only to show himself a loyal and loving husband, but also to reconcile himself to Egistus and Franion; revealing then before them all the cause of their secret flight, and how treacherously he thought to have practiced his death if the good mind of his cupbearer had not prevented his purpose. As thus he was relating the whole matter, there was word brought him that his young son Garinter was suddenly dead, which news so soon as Bellaria heard, surcharged before with extreme joy and now suppressed with heavy sorrow, her vital spirits were so stopped that she fell down presently dead and could never be revived. This sudden sight so appalled the king's senses that he sunk from his seat in a swoon, so as he was feign to be carried by his nobles to his palace, where he lay by the space of three days without speech. His commons were as men in despair, so diversely distressed; there was nothing but mourning and lamentation to be heard throughout all Bohemia. Their young Prince dead, their virtuous Queen bereaved of her life, and their king and sovereign in great hazard-- this tragical discourse of fortune so daunted them as they went like shadows, not men; yet somewhat to comfort their heavy hearts, they heard that Pandosto was come to himself and had recovered his speech, who as in a fury brayed out these bitter speeches.

    O miserable Pandosto, what surer witness than conscience? What thoughts more sour then suspicion? What plague more bad then jealousy? Unnatural actions offend the gods, more than men, and causeless cruelty never scapes without revenge. I have committed such a bloody fact, as repent I may, but recall I cannot. Ah jealousy, a hell to the mind and a horror to the conscience, suppressing reason, and inciting rage; a worse passion than frenzy, a greater plague than madness. Are the gods just? Then let them revenge such brutish cruelty. My innocent babe I have drowned in the seas. My loving wife I have slain with slanderous suspicion. My trusty friend I have sought to betray, and yet the gods are slack to plague such offences. Ah unjust Apollo, Pandosto is the man that hath committed the fault. Why should Garinter, silly child, abide the pain? Well, sith the gods mean to prolong my days, to increase my dolor, I will offer my guilty blood a sacrifice to those sackless souls, whose lives are lost by my rigorous folly.

    And with that he reached at a rapier to have murdered himself, but his peers being present stayed him from such a bloody act, persuading him to think that the commonwealth consisted on his safety, and that those sheep could not but perish that wanted a shepherd, wishing that if he would not live for himself, yet he should have care of his subjects and to put such fancies out of his mind, sith in sores past help, salves do not heal but hurt; and in things past cure, care is a corrosive. With these and such like persuasions the king was overcome and began somewhat to quiet his mind; so that as soon as he could go abroad, he caused his wife to be embalmed and wrapped in lead with her young son Garinter, erecting a rich and famous sepulcher, wherein he entombed them both, making such solemn obsequies at her funeral, as all Bohemia might perceive he did greatly repent him of his fore passed folly, causing this epitaph to be engraven on her tomb in letters of gold:

    The Epitaph. Here lies entombed Bellaria, fair,
    Falsely accused to be unchaste:
    Cleared by Apollo's sacred doom,
    Yet slain by jealousy at last.50 What ere thou be that passest by,
    Curse him that caused this queen to die.

    This Epitaph being engraven, Pandosto would once a day repair to the tomb, and there with watery plaints bewail his misfortune, coveting no other companion but sorrow, nor no other harmony, but repentance. But leaving him to his dolorous passions, at last let us come to show the tragical discourse of the young infant.

    Who being tossed with wind and wave, floated two whole days without succor, ready at every puff to be drowned in the sea, till at last the tempest ceased, and the little boat was driven with the tide into the coast of Sycilia, where sticking upon the sands, it rested. Fortune minding to be wanton, willing to show that as she hath wrinkles on her brows, so she hath dimples in her cheeks, thought after so many sour looks to lend a feigned smile, and after a puffing storm, to bring a pretty calm; she began thus to dally. It fortuned a poor mercenary shepherd that dwelled in Sycilia, who got his living by other men's flocks, missed one of his sheep, and thinking it had strayed into the covert that was hard by, sought very diligently to find that which he could not see, fearing either that the wolves or eagles had undone him (for he was so poor, as a sheep was half his substance) wandered down toward the sea cliffs to see if perchance the sheep was browsing on the sea ivy; whereon they greatly do feed, but not finding her there, as he was ready to return to his flock he heard a child cry, but knowing there was no house near, thought he had mistaken the sound, and that it was the bleating of his sheep. Wherefore looking more narrowly, as he cast his eye to the sea, he spied a little boat, from whence as he attentively listened, he might hear the cry to come. Standing a good while in a maze at last he went to the shore, and wading to the boat, as he looked in he saw the little babe lying all alone, ready to die for hunger and cold, wrapped in a mantle of scarlet, richly embroidered with gold and having a chain about the neck. The shepherd, who before had never seen so fair a babe nor so rich jewels, thought assuredly that it was some little god and began with great devotion to knock on his breast. The babe, who writhed with the head to seek for the pap, began again to cry afresh, whereby the poor man knew that it was a child, which by some sinister means was driven thither by distress of weather; marveling how such a silly infant, which by the mantle and the chain could not be but born of noble parentage should be so hardly crossed with deadly mishap. The poor shepherd perplexed thus with divers thoughts took pity of the child and determined with himself to carry it to the king, that there it might be brought up, according to the worthiness of birth, for his ability could not afford to foster it, though his mind was willing to further it.

    Taking therefore the child in his arms, as he folded the mantle together the better to defend it from cold, there fell down at his foot a very fair and rich purse, wherein he found a great sum of gold, which sight so revived the shepherd's spirits as he was greatly ravished with joy and daunted with fear: joyful to see such a sum in his power; fearful if it should be known, that it might breed his further danger. Necessity wished him at the least to retain the gold, though he would not keep the child. The simplicity of his conscience feared him from such deceitful bribery. Thus was the poor man perplexed with a doubtful dilemma, until at last the covetousness of the coin overcame him; for what will not the greedy desire of gold cause a man to do? So that he was resolved in himself to foster the child, and with the sum to relieve his want. Resting thus resolute in this point, he left seeking of his sheep, and as covertly and secretly as he could went by a byway to his house, least any of his neighbors should perceive his carriage. As soon as he was got home, entering in at the door, the child began to cry, which his wife hearing and seeing her husband with a young babe in arms, began to be somewhat jealous, yet marveling that her husband should be so wanton abroad sith he was so quiet at home; but as women are naturally given to believe the worst, so his wife, thinking it was some bastard, began to crow against her goodman and taking up a cudgel (for the most master went breechless) swore solemnly that she would make clubs trumps if he brought any bastard brat within her doors. The goodman, seeing his wife in her majesty with her mace in her hand, thought it was time to bow for fear of blows and desired her to be quiet, for there was none such matter; but if she could hold her peace, they were made for ever, and with that he told her the whole matter: how he had found the child in a little boat without any succor, wrapped in that costly mantle, and having that rich chain about the neck. But at last when he showed her the purse full of gold, she began to simper something sweetly and taking her husband about the neck, kissed him after her homely fashion, saying that she hoped god had seen their want and now meant to relieve their poverty; and seeing they could get no children, had sent them this little babe to be their heir.

    "Take heed in any case" (quoth the shepherd) "that you be secret, and blab it not out when you meet with your gossips, for if you do, we are like not only to lose the gold and jewels, but our other goods and lives."

    55"Tush" (quoth his wife) "profit is a good hatch before the door. Fear not, I have other things to talk of than of this, but I pray you let us lay up the money surely and the jewels, least by any mishap it be espied."

    After that they had set all things in order, the shepherd went to his sheep with a merry note, and the good wife learned to sing lullaby at home with her young babe, wrapping it in a homely blanket instead of a rich mantle, nourishing it so cleanly and carefully as it began to be a jolly girl, insomuch that they began both of them to be very fond of it, seeing as it waxed in age, so it increased in beauty. The shepherd every night at his coming home would sing and dance it on his knee and prattle, that in a short time it began to speak and call him "Dad" and her "Mam." At last when it grew to ripe years, that it was about seven years old, the shepherd left keeping of other men's sheep, and with the money he found in the purse, he bought him the lease of a pretty farm and got a small flock of sheep, which when Fawnia (for so they named the childe) came to the age of ten years, he set her to keep, and she with such diligence performed her charge as the sheep prospered marvelously under her hands. Fawnia thought Porrus had been her father and Mopsa her mother (for so was the shepherd and his wife called), honored and obeyed them with such reverence that all the neighbors praised the dutiful obedience of the child. Porrus grew in a short time to be a man of some wealth and credit, for Fortune so favored him in having no charge but Fawnia that he began to purchase land, intending after his death to give it to his daughter; so that diverse rich farmers' sons came as wooers to his house, for Fawnia was something cleanly attired, being of such singular beauty and excellent wit, that whoso saw her would have thought she had been some heavenly nymph and not a mortal creature-- insomuch that, when she came to the age of sixteen years, she so increased with exquisite perfection both of body and mind as her natural disposition did bewray that she was born of some high parentage. But the people thinking she was daughter to the shepherd Porrus rested only, amazed at her beauty and wit; yea, she won such favor and commendations in every man's eye, as her beauty was not only praised in the country, but also spoken of in the court. Yet such was her submiss modesty, that although her praise daily increased, her mind was no whit puffed up with pride, but humbled herself as became a country maid and the daughter of a poor shepherd. Every day she went forth with her sheep to the field, keeping them with such care and diligence as all men thought she was very painful, defending her face from the heat of the sun with no other veil but with a garland made of bows and flowers, which attire became her so gallantly as she seemed to be the goddess Flora herself for beauty. Fortune, who all this while had showed a friendly face, began now to turn her back and to show a louring countenance, intending as she had given Fawnia a slender check, so she would give her a harder mate; to bring which to pass, she laid her train on this wise. Egistus had but one only son called Dorastus, about the age of twenty years, a prince so decked and adorned with the gifts of nature, so fraught with beauty and virtuous qualities, as not only his father joyed to have so good a son and all his commons rejoiced that god had sent them such a noble prince to succeed in the kingdom. Egistus, placing all his joy in the perfection of his son, seeing that he was now marriageable, sent ambassadors to the king of Denmark to entreat a marriage between him and his daughter, who willingly consenting, made answer, that the next spring if it please Egistus with his son to come into Denmark, he doubted not but they should agree upon reasonable conditions. Egistus, resting satisfied with this friendly answer, thought convenient in the meantime to break with his son; finding therefore on a day fit opportunity, he spake to him in these fatherly terms.

    Dorastus, thy youth warneth me to prevent the worst, and mine age to provide the best. Opportunities neglected are signs of folly. Actions measured by time are seldom bitten with repentance. Thou art young, and I old. Age hath taught me that which thy youth cannot yet conceive.I therefore will counsel thee as a father, hoping thou wilt obey as a child. Thou seest my white hairs are blossoms for the grave, and thy fresh color fruit for time and fortune, so that it behooveth me to think how to die and for the to care how to live. My crown I must leave by death, and thou enjoy my kingdom by succession, wherein I hope thy virtue and prowess shall be such, as though my subjects want my person, yet they shall see in thee my perfection. That nothing either may fail to satisfy thy mind or increase thy dignities, the only care I have is to see the well married before I die and thou become old.

    Dorastus, who from his infancy delighted rather to die with Mars in the field than to dally with Venus in the chamber, fearing to displease his father and yet not willing to be wed, made him this reverent answer:

    60Sir, there is no greater bond than duty, nor no straiter law then nature. Disobedience in youth is often galled with despite in age. The command of the father ought to be a constraint to the child. So parents' wills are laws; so they pass not all laws. May it please your grace therefore to appoint whom I shall love, rather than by denial I should be appeached of disobedience. I rest content to love, though it be the only thing I hate.

    Egistus, hearing his son to fly so far from the mark, began to be somewhat choleric, and therefore made him his hasty answer:

    What, Dorastus, canst thou not love? Cometh this cynical passion of prone desires or peevish forwardness? What dost thou think thyself too good for all, or none good enough for thee. I tell thee, Dorastus, there is nothing sweeter than youth nor swifter decreasing while it is increasing. Time passed with folly may be repented, but not recalled. If thou marry in age, thy wife's fresh colors will breed in thee dead thoughts and suspicion, and thy white hairs her loathsomeness and sorrow. For Venus, affections are not fed with kingdoms or treasures, but with youthful conceits and sweet amours. Vulcan was allotted to shake the tree, but Mars allowed to reap the fruit. Yield, Dorastus, to thy father's persuasions, which may prevent thy perils. I have chosen thee a wife, fair by nature, royal by birth, by virtues famous, learned by education, and rich by possessions, so that it is hard to judge whether her bounty or fortune, her beauty or virtue, be of greater force. I mean, Dorastus, Euphrania, daughter and heir to the King of Denmark.

    Egistus, pausing here a while, looking when his son should make him answer, and seeing that he stood still as one in a trance, he shook him up thus sharply:

    Well, Dorastus, take heed. The tree Alpya wasteth not with fire, but withereth with the dew. That which love nourisheth not, perisheth with hate. If thou like Euphrania, thou breedest my content, and in loving her, thou shalt my love otherwise—

    65and with that he flung from his son in a rage, leaving him a sorrowful man, in that he had by denial displeased his father, and half angry with himself that he could not yield to that passion whereto both reason and his father persuaded him.

    But see how Fortune is plumed with time's feathers, and how she can minister strange causes to breed strange effects. It happened not long after this that there was a meeting of all the farmers' daughters in Sycilia, whither Fawnia was also bidden as the mistress of the feast, who, having attired herself in her best garments, went among the rest of her companions to the merry meeting, there spending the day in such homely pastimes as shepherds use.

    As the evening grew on and their sports ceased, each taking their leave at other, Fawnia, desiring one of her companions to bear her company, went home by the flock to see if they were well folded, and as they returned, it fortuned that Dorastus (who all that day had been hawking, and killed store of game) encountered by the way these two maids, and casting his eye suddenly on Fawnia, he was half afraid, fearing that with Acteon he had seen Diana, for he thought such exquisite perfection could not be found in any mortal creature.

    As thus he stood in a maze, one of his pages told him that the maid with the garland on her head was Fawnia, the faire shepherd, whose beauty was so much talked of in the court. Dorastus, desirous to see if nature had adorned her mind with any inward qualities as she had decked her body with outward shape, began to question with her whose daughter she was, of what age, and how she had been trained up; who answered him with such modest reverence and sharpness of wit that Dorastus thought her outward beauty was but a counterfeit to darken her inward qualities, wondering how so courtly behavior could be found in so simple a cottage, and cursing Fortune that had shadowed wit and beauty with such hard fortune.

    As thus he held her a long while with chat, Beauty seeing him at discovert, thought not to lose the vantage but stroke him so deeply with an envenomed shaft as he wholly lost his liberty and became a slave to love, which before contemned love, glad now to gaze on a poor shepherd who before refused the offer of a rich princess; for the perfection of Fawnia had so fired his fancy as he felt his mind greatly changed and his affections altered, cursing love that had wrought such a change and blaming the baseness of his mind that would make such a choice. But thinking these were but passionate toys that might be thrust out at pleasure to avoid the siren that enchanted him, he put spurs to his horse, and bad this fair shepherd farewell.

    70Fawnia (who all this while had marked the princely gesture of Dorastus), seeing his face so well featured, and each limb so perfectly framed, began greatly to praise his perfection, commending him so long, till she found herself faulty and perceived that if she waded but a little further, she might slip over the shoes. She therefore seeking to quench that fire which never was put out went home, and feigning herself not well at ease, got her to bed, where casting a thousand thoughts in her head, she could take no rest; for if she waked, she began of call to mind his beauty, and thinking to beguile such thoughts with sleep, she then dreamed of his perfection; pestered thus with these unacquainted passions, she passed the night as she could in short slumbers.

    Dorastus (who all this while rode with a flea in his ear) could not by any means forget the sweet favor of Fawnia, but rested so bewitched with her wit and beauty as he could take no rest. He felt fancy to give the assault and his wounded mind ready to yield as vanquished, yet he began with divers considerations to suppress this frantic affection, calling to mind that Fawnia was a shepherd, one not worthy to be looked at of a prince, much less to be loved of such a potentate, thinking what a discredit it were to himself, and what a grief it would be to his father, blaming fortune and accusing his own folly that should be so fond as but once to cast a glance at such a country slut.

    As thus he was raging against himself, love, fearing if she dally long to lose her champion, stepped more nigh and gave him such a fresh wound as it pierced him at the heart, that he was feign to yield, maugre his face, and to forsake the company and get him to his chamber, where being solemnly set, he burst into these passionate terms:

    Ah, Dorastus, art thou alone? No, not alone while thou art tried with these unacquainted passions. Yield to fancy; thou canst not by thy father's counsel, but in a frenzy thou art by just destinies. Thy father were content if thou couldest love, and thou therefore discontent, because thou dost love. O divine Love, feared of men because honored of the gods, not to be suppressed by wisdom, because not to be comprehended by reason: without law, and therefore above all law.How now, Dorastus, why dost thou blaze that with praises which thou hast cause to blaspheme with curses? Yet why should they curse love which are in love?75Blush, Dorastus, at thy fortune, thy choice, thy love. Thy thoughts cannot be uttered without shame, nor thy affections without discredit. Ah Fawnia, sweet Fawnia, thy beauty Fawnia. Shamest not thou Dorastus to name one unfit for thy birth, thy dignities, thy kingdoms? Die, Dorastus! Dorastus, die! Better hadst thou perish with high desires than live in base thoughts. Yea, but beauty must be obeyed, because it is beauty, yet framed of the gods to feed the eye, not to fetter the heart.Ah, but he that striveth against Love shooteth with them of Scyrum against the wind, and with the Cockatrice pecketh against the steel. I will therefore obey, because I must obey. Fawnia, yea Fawnia shall be my fortune, in spite of fortune. The Gods above disdain not to love women beneath. Phoebus liked Sibilla, Jupiter Io, and why not I then Fawnia, one something inferior to these in birth, but far superior to them in beauty, born to be a shepherd, but worthy to be a goddess.Ah Dorastus, wilt thou so forget thyself as to suffer affection to suppress wisdom, and love to violate thine honor? How sour will thy choice be to thy father, sorrowful to thy subjects, to thy friends a grief, most gladsome to thy foes? Subdue then thy affection, and cease to love her whom thou couldst not love, unless blinded with too much love. Tush, I talk to the wind, and in seeking to prevent the causes, I further the effects. I will yet praise Fawnia, honor, yea, and love Fawnia, and at this day follow content, not counsel. Do, Dorastus! Thou canst but repent.

    And with that his Page came into the chamber, whereupon he ceased from complaints, hoping that time would wear out that which fortune had wrought. As thus he was pained, so poor Fawnia was diversely perplexed, for the next morning getting up very early, she went to her sheep, thinking with hard labors to pass away her new conceived amours, beginning very busily to drive them to the field, and then to shift the folds. At last (wearied with toil) she sate her down, where (poor soul) she was more tried with fond affections, for love began to assault her, in so much that as she sate upon the side of a hill, she began to accuse her own folly in these terms.

    Infortunate Fawnia, and therefore infortunate because Fawnia. Thy shepherd's hook sheweth thy poor state, thy proud desires an aspiring mind. The one declareth thy want, the other thy pride. No bastard hawk must soar so high as the Hobby. No fowl gaze against the sun but the Eagle. Actions wrought against nature reap despite, and thoughts above Fortune disdain.80Fawnia, thou art a shepherd, daughter to poor Porrus. If thou rest content with this, thou art like to stand; if thou climb thou art sure to fall. The herb Anita growing higher than six inches becometh a weed. Nilus flowing more than twelve cubits procureth a dearth. Daring affections that pass measure are cut short by time or fortune. Suppress then, Fawnia, those thoughts which thou mayest shame to express. But, ah Fawnia! Love is a Lord, who will command by power, and constrain by force.Dorastus, ah, Dorastus is the man I love. The worse is thy hap, and the less cause hast thou to hope. Will Eagles catch at flies? Will Cedars stoop to brambles, or mighty Princes look at such homely trulls? No, no, think this: Dorastus's disdain is greater than thy desire. He is a Prince respecting his honor, thou a beggar's brat forgetting thy calling. Cease then not only to say but to think to love Dorastus, and dissemble thy love, Fawnia, for better it were to die with grief than to live with shame. Yet in despite of love I will sigh, to see if I can sigh out love.

    Fawnia, somewhat appeasing her griefs with these pithy persuasions, began after her wonted manner to walk about her sheep and to keep them from straying into the corn, suppressing her affection with the due consideration of her base estate, and with the impossibilities of her love, thinking it were frenzy, not fancy, to covet that which the very destinies did deny her to obtain.

    But Dorastus was more impatient in his passions, for love so fiercely assailed him, that neither company nor music could mitigate his martyrdom, but did rather far the more increase his malady. Shame would not let him crave counsel in this case, nor fear of his father's displeasure reveal it to any secret friend; but he was feign to make a Secretary of himself and to participate his thoughts with his own troubled mind. Lingering thus awhile in doubtful suspense, at lost stealing secretly from the court without either men or Page, he went to see if he could espy Fawnia walking abroad in the field, but as one having a great deal more skill to retrieve the partridge with his spaniels than to hunt after such a strange pray he sought, but was little the better; which cross luck drove him into a great choler, that he began both to accuse love and fortune. But as he was ready to retire, he saw Fawnia sitting all alone under the side of a hill, making a garland of such homely flowers as the fields did afford. This sight so revived his spirits that he drew nigh with more judgment to take a view of her singular perfection, which he found to be such as in that country attire she stained all the courtly Dames of Sicilia. While thus he stood gazing with piercing looks on her surpassing beauty, Fawnia cast her eye aside and spied Dorastus, which sudden sight made the poor girl to blush and to dye her crystal cheeks with a vermilion red, which gave her such a grace as she seemed far more beautiful. And with that she rose up, saluting the Prince with such modest courtesies, as he wondered how a country maid could afford such courtly behavior. Dorastus, repaying her courtesy with a smiling countenance, began to parley with her on this manner:

    Fair maid (quoth he) either your want is great, or a shepherd's life very sweet, that your delight is in such country labors. I cannot conceive what pleasure you should take, unless you mean to imitate the nymphs, being yourself so like a nymph. To put me out of this doubt, show me what is to be commended in a shepherd's life and what pleasures you to countervail these drudging labors.

    85Fawnia with blushing face made him this ready answer:

    Sir, what richer state than content or what sweeter life than quiet. We shepherds are not born to honor, nor beholding unto beau[t]y, the less care we to fear fame or fortune. We count our attire brave enough if warm enough and our food dainty if to suffice nature. Our greatest enemy is the wolf; our only care in safe keeping our flock. Instead of courtly ditties we spend the days with country songs. Our amorous conceits are homely thoughts: delighting as much to talk of Pan and his country pranks, as ladies to tell of Venus and her wanton toys. Our toil is in shifting the folds and looking to the lambs' easy labors. Oft singing and telling tales, homely pleasures our greatest wealth not to covet, our honor not to climb, our quiet not to care. Envy looketh not so low as shepherds. Shepherds gaze not so high as ambition. We are rich in that we are poor with content, and proud only in this: that we have no cause to be proud.

    This witty answer of Fawnia so inflamed Dorastus's fancy as he commended himself for making so good a choice, thinking, if her birth were answerable to her wit and beauty, that she were a fit mate for the most famous prince in the world. He therefore began to sift her more narrowly on this manner:

    Fawnia, I see thou art content with country labors because thou knowest not courtly pleasures. I commend thy wit, and pity thy want, but wilt thou leave thy father's cottage and serve a courtly mistress.Sir (quoth she) beggars ought not to strive against fortune nor to gaze after honor, lest either their fall be greater or they become blind. I am born to toil for the court, not in the court; my nature unfit for their nurture, better live then in mean degree than in high disdain.90Well said Fawnia (quoth Dorastus) I guess at thy thoughts; thou art in love with some country shepherd.No sir (quoth she). Shepherds cannot love that are so simple, and maids may not love that are so young.Nay, therefore (quoth Dorastus) maids must love, because they are young, for Cupid is a child, and Venus, though old, is painted with fresh colors.I grant (said she) age may be painted with new shadows, and youth may have imperfect affections; but what art concealeth in one, ignorance revealeth in the other.

    Dorastus, seeing Fawnia held him so hard, thought it was vain so long to beat about the bush. Therefore he thought to have given her a fresh charge, but he was so prevented by certain of his men, who missing their master, came posting to seek him, seeing that he was gone forth all alone; yet before they drew so nigh that they might hear their talk, he used these speeches:

    95Why Fawnia, perhaps I love thee, and then thou must needs yield, for thou knowest I can command and constrain.Truth sir (quoth she) but not to love, for constrained love is force, not love; and know this, sir, mine honesty is such, as I had rather die than be a concubine even unto a king, and my birth is so base as I am unfit to be a wife to a poor farmer.Why then (quoth he) thou canst not love Dorastus?"Yes," said Fawnia, "when Dorastus becomes a shepherd—"

    And with that, the presence of his men broke off their parley, so that he went with them to the palace, and left Fawnia sitting still on the hillside, who seeing that the night drew on, shifted her folds, and busied herself about other work to drive away such fond fancies as began to trouble her brain. But all this could not prevail, for the beauty of Dorastus had made such a deep impression in her heart, as it could not be worn out without cracking, so that she was forced to blame her own folly in this wise.

    100Ah, Fawnia, why dost thou gaze against the sun, or catch at the wind? Stars are to be looked at with the eye, not reached at with the hand. Thoughts are to be measured by fortunes, not by desires. Falls come not by sitting low, but by climbing too high. What then shall all fear to fall, because some hap to fall? No, luck cometh by lot, and fortune windth those threads which the destinies spin. Thou art favored Fawnia of a prince, and yet thou art so fond to reject desired favors. Thou hast denial at thy tongue's end and desire at thy heart's bottom; a woman's fault to spurn at that with her foot which she greedily catcheth at with her hand. Thou lovest Dorastus, Fawnia, and yet seemest to lour. Take heed. If he retire, thou wilt repent, for unless he love, thou canst but die. Die then Fawnia! For Dorastus doth but jest. The lion never preyeth on the mouse, nor falcons stoop not to dead stales. Sit down then in sorrow. Cease to love, and content thyself that Dorastus will vouchsafe to flatter Fawnia, though not to fancy Fawnia. Heigh ho! Ah fool! It were seemlier for thee to whistle as a shepherd than to sigh as a lover.

    And with that she ceased from these perplexed passions, folding her sheep, and hieing home to her poor cottage. But such was the inconstant sorrow of Dorastus to think on the wit and beauty of Fawnia, and to see how fond he was being a prince and how froward she was being a beggar. Then he began to lose his wonted appetite, to look pale and wan; instead of mirth, to feed on melancholy; for courtly dances to use cold dumps, insomuch that not only his own men, but his father and all the Court began to marvel at his sudden change, thinking that some lingering sickness had brought him into this state; wherefore he caused Physicians to come, but Dorastus neither would let them minister nor so much as suffer them to see his urine, but remained still so oppressed with these passions, as he feared in himself a farther inconvenience. His honor wished him to cease from such folly, but love forced him to follow fancy. Yea, and in despite of honor, love won the conquest, so that his hot desires caused him to find new devices, for he presently made himself a shepherd's coat that he might go unknown and with the less suspicion to prattle with Fawnia, and conveyed it secretly into a thick grove hard joining to the palace, whither finding fit time and opportunity, he went all alone, and putting off his princely apparel, got on those shepherd's robes and taking a great hook in his hand (which he had also gotten) he went very anciently to find out the mistress of his affection; but as he went by the way, seeing himself clad in such unseemly rags, he began to smile at his own folly and to reprove his fondness in these terms.

    "Well," said Dorastus, "thou keepest a right decorum, base desires and homely attires. Thy thoughts are fit for none but a shepherd and thy apparel such as only become a shepherd, a strange change from a Prince to a peasant. What is it thy wretched fortune or thy willful folly? Is it thy cursed destinies or thy crooked desires that appointeth thee this penance? Ah, Dorastus, thou canst but love, and unless thou love, thou art like to perish for love[.] Yet, fond fool, choose flowers, not weeds; diamonds, not pebbles; ladies, which may honor thee, not shepherds which may disgrace the. Venus is painted in silks, not in rags; and Cupid treadeth on disdain when he reacheth at dignity. And yet, Dorastus, shame not at thy shepherd's weed. The heavenly Gods have sometime earthly thoughts: Neptune became a ram, Jupiter a bull, Apollo a shepherd. They gods, and yet in love; and thou a man appointed to love.

    Devising thus with himself, he drew nigh to the place where Fawnia was keeping her sheep, who casting her eye aside and seeing such a mannerly shepherd, perfectly limbed, and coming with so good a pace, she began half to forget Dorastus and to favor this pretty shepherd, whom she thought she might both love and obtain. But as she was in these thoughts, she perceived then it was the young prince Dorastus, wherefore she rose up and reverently saluted him. Dorastus, taking her by the hand, repaid her courtesy with a sweet kiss, and praying her to sit down by him, he began thus to lay the battery.

    If thou marvel, Fawnia, at my strange attire, thou wouldst more muse at my unaccustomed thoughts; the one disgraceth but my outward shape, the other disturbeth my inward senses. I love Fawnia, and therefore what love liketh I cannot mislike. Fawnia, thou hast promised to love, and I hope thou wilt perform no less. I fulfilled thy request, and now thou canst but grant my desire. Thou wert content to love Dorastus when he ceased to be a Prince and to become a shepherd, and see I have made the change, and therefore not to miss of my choice.105"Truth," quoth Fawnia, "but all that wear cowls are not Monks. Painted eagles are pictures, not eagles. Zeuxis' grapes were like grapes, yet shadows. Rich clothing make not princes, nor homely attire beggars. Shepherds are not called shepherds because they wear hooks and bags, but that they are born poor and live to keep sheep, so this attire hath not made Dorastus a shepherd, but to seem like a shepherd."Well, Fawnia," answered Dorastus. "Were I a shepherd I could not but like thee, and being a prince. I am forced to love thee. Take heed, Fawnia. Be not proud of beauty's painting, for it is a flower that fadeth in the blossom. Those which disdain in youth are despised in age. Beauty's shadows are tricked up with time's colors, which being set to dry in the sun are stained with the sun, scarce pleasing the sight ere they begin not to be worth the sight, not much unlike the herb Ephemeron, which flourisheth in the morning and is withered before the sun setting. If my desire were against law, thou mightest justly deny me by reason, but I love thee, Fawnia, not to misuse thee as a concubine, but to use thee as my wife. I can promise no more, and mean to perform no less.

    Fawnia, hearing this solemn protestation of Dorastus, could no longer withstand the assault, but yielded up the fort in these friendly terms:

    Ah, Dorastus, I shame to express that thou forcest me with thy sugared speech to confess. My base birth caused the one, and thy high dignities the other. Beggars' thoughts ought not to reach so far as kings, and yet my desires reach as high as princes. I dare not say, Dorastus, I love thee, because I am a shepherd, but the gods know I have honored Dorastus (pardon if I say amiss) yea and loved Dorastus with such dutiful affection as Fawnia can perform, or Dorastus desire. I yield, not overcome with prayers, but with love, resting Dorastus's handmaid ready to obey his will, if no prejudice at all to his honor, nor to my credit.

    Dorastus hearing this friendly conclusion of Fawnia, embraced her in his arms, swearing that neither distance, time, nor adverse fortune should diminish his affection, but that in despite of the destinies he would remain loyal unto death. Having thus plight their troth each to other, seeing they could not have the full fruition of their love in Sycilia, for that Egistus consent would never be granted to so mean a match, Dorastus determined as soon as time and opportunity would give them leave to provide a great mass of money and many rich and costly jewels for the easier carriage, and then to transport themselves and their treasure into Italy, where they should lead a contented life, until such time as either he could be reconciled to his father, or else by succession come to the kingdom. This device was greatly praised of Fawnia, for she feared if the King his father should but hear of the contract, that his fury would be such as no less than death would stand for payment. She therefore told him that delay bred danger; that many mishaps did fall out between the cup and the lip; and that to avoid anger, it were best with as much speed as might be to pass out of Sycilia lest Fortune might prevent their pretence with some new despite. Dorastus, whom love pricked forward with desire, promised to dispatch his affairs with as great haste, as either time or opportunity would give him leave. And so resting upon this point, after many embracing and sweet kisses, they departed.

    110Dorastus, having taken his leave of his best beloved Fawnia, went to the grove where he had his rich apparel, and there uncasing himself as secretly as might be, hiding up his shepherd's attire till occasion should serve again to use it, he went to the palace, shewing by his merry countenance that either the state of his body was amended or the case of his mind greatly redressed. Fawnia, poor soul, was no less joyful that being a shepherd, Fortune had favored her so, as to reward her with the love of a prince, hoping in time to be advanced from the daughter of a poor farmer to be the wife of a rich king, so that she thought every hour a year, till by their departure they might prevent danger, not ceasing still to go every day to her sheep, not so much for the care of her flock as for the desire she had to see her love and lord, Dorastus, who oftentimes when opportunity would serve repaired thither to feed his fancy with the sweet content of Fawnia's presence; and although he never went to visit her but in his shepherd's rags, yet his oft repair made him not only suspected but known to diverse of their neighbors, who for the good will they bare to old Porrus, told him secretly of the matter, wishing him to keep his daughter at home, least she went so oft to the field that she brought him home a young son, for they feared that Fawnia being so beautiful, the young prince would allure her to folly. Porrus was stricken into a dump at these news, so that thanking his neighbors for their good will, he hied him home to his wife, and calling her aside, wringing his hands, and shedding forth tears, he brake the matter to her in these terms.

    I am afraid, wife, that my daughter Fawnia hath made herself so fine, that she will buy repentance too dear. I hear news, which if they be true, some will wish they had not proved true. It is told me by my neighbors that Dorastus, the king's son, begins to look at our daughter Fawnia, which if it be so, I will not give her a halfpenny for her honesty at the year's end. I tell thee, wife, nowadays beauty is a great stale to trap young men, and fair words and sweet promises are two great enemies to maiden's honesty; and thou knowest where poor men entreat and cannot obtain, there princes may command and will obtain. Though kings' sons dance in nets, they may not be seen, but poor men's faults are spied at a little hole. Well, it is a hard case where King's lusts are laws, and that they should bend poor men to that which they themselves willfully break.Peace husband (quoth his wife) take heed what you say. Speak no more than you should, least you hear what you would not. Great streams are to be stopped by sleight, not by force; and princes to be persuaded by submission, not by rigor. Do what you can, but no more than you may, least in saving Fawnia's maidenhead, you lose your own head. Take heed I say. It is ill jesting with edged tools and bad sporting with Kings. The Wolf had his skin pulled over his ears for but looking into the Lion's den.Tush, wife (quoth he) thou speakest like a fool. If the king should know that Dorastus had begotten our daughter with child (as I fear it will fall out little better) the king's fury would be such as no doubt we should both lose our goods and lives. Necessity therefore hath no law, and I will prevent this mischief with a new device that is come in my head, which shall neither offend the king nor displease Dorastus. I mean to take the chain and the jewels that I found with Fawnia and carry them to the King, letting him then to understand how she is none of my daughter, but that I found her beaten up with the water, alone in a little boat wrapped in a rich mantle, wherein was enclosed this treasure. By this means I hope the king will take Fawnia into his service, and we whatsoever chanceth shall be blameless.

    This device pleased the good wife very well, so that they determined as soon as they might know the king at leisure to make him privy to this case. In the meantime Dorastus was not slack in his affairs but applied his matters with such diligence that he provided all things fit for their journey. Treasure and jewels he had gotten great store, thinking there was no better friend than money in a strange country. Rich attire he had provided for Fawnia, and, because he could not bring the matter to pass without the help and advice of someone, he made an old servant of his called Capnio, who had served him from his childhood, privy to his affairs, who, seeing no persuasions could prevail to divert him from his settled determination, gave his consent and dealt so secretly in the cause, that within short space he had gotten a ship ready for their passage. The mariners seeing a fit gale of wind for their purpose wished Capnio to make no delays, lest if they pretermitted this good weather, they might stay long ere they had such a fair wind. Capnio, fearing that his negligence should hinder the journey, in the night time conveyed the trunks full of treasure into the ship, and by secret means let Fawnia understand that the next morning they meant to depart. She upon this news slept very little that night, but got her up very early and went to her sheep, looking every minute when she should see Dorastus, who tarried not long for fear delay might breed danger, but came as fast as he could gallop, and without any great circumstance took Fawnia up behind him and rode to the haven where the ship lay, which was not three quarters of a mile distant from that place. He no sooner came there, but the mariners were ready with their cock-boat to set them aboard, where being couched together in a cabin, they passed away the time in recounting their old loves till their man Capnio could come.

    115Porrus, who had heard that this morning the king would go abroad to take the air, called in haste to his wife to bring him his holiday hose and his best jacket, that he might go like an honest substantial man to tell his tale. His wife, a good cleanly wench, brought him all things fit and sponged him up very handsomely, giving him the chain and jewels in a little box, which Porrus for the more safety put in his bosom. Having thus all his trinkets in a readiness, taking his staff in his hand, he bad his wife kiss him for good luck, and so he went towards the palace. But as he was going, Fortune (who meant to show him a little false play) prevented his purpose in this wise.

    He met by chance in his way Capnio, who trudging as fast as he could with a little coffer under his arm to the ship and spying Porrus, whom he knew to be Fawnia's father, going towards the palace, being a wily fellow, began to doubt the worst, and therefore crossed him the way and asked him whither he was going so early this morning.

    Porrus (who knew by his face that he was one of the court) meaning simply, told him that the King's son Dorastus dealt hardly with him, for he had but one daughter who was a little beautiful, and that his neighbors told him the young prince had allured her to folly. He went therefore now to complain to the king how greatly he was abused.

    Capnio (who straightway smelt the whole matter) began to soothe him in his talk, and said that Dorastus dealt not like a Prince to spoil any poor man's daughter in that sort. He therefore would do the best for him he could, because he knew he was an honest man.

    But (quoth Capnio) you lose your labor in going to the palace, for the king means this day to take the air of the sea and to go aboard of a ship that lies in the haven. I am going before, you see, to provide all things in a readiness, and if you will follow my counsel, turn back with me to the haven, where I will set you in such a fit place as you may speak to the king at your pleasure.

    120Porrus, giving credit to Capnio's smooth tale, gave him a thousand thanks for his friendly advice and went with him to the haven, making all the way his complaints of Dorastus yet concealing secretly the chain and the jewels. As soon as they were come to the seaside, the mariners, seeing Capnio, came a land with their cock-boat, who, still dissembling the matter, demanded of Porrus if he would go see the ship, who unwilling and fearing the worst, because he was not well acquainted with Capnio made his excuse that he could not brook the Sea, therefore would not trouble him.

    Capnio, seeing that by fair means he could not get him aboard, commanded the mariners that by violence they should carry him into the ship, who like sturdy knaves hoisted the poor shepherd on their backs, and bearing him to the boat, launched from the land.

    Porrus, seeing himself so cunningly betrayed, durst not cry out, for he saw it would not prevail, but began to entreat Capnio and the mariners to be good to him and to pity his estate. He was but a poor man that lived by his labor. They, laughing to see the shepherd so afraid, made as much haste as they could and set him aboard. Porrus was no sooner in the ship, but he saw Dorastus walking with Fawnia, yet he scarce knew her, for she had attired herself in rich apparel, which so increased her beauty, that she resembled rather an angel than a creature.

    Dorastus and Fawnia were half astonished to see the old shepherd, marveling greatly what wind had brought him thither, till Capnio told them all the whole discourse: how Porrus was going to make his complaint to the king, if by policy he had not prevented him, and therefore now sith he was aboard for the avoiding of further danger, it were best to carry him into Italy.

    Dorastus praised greatly his man's device, and allowed of his counsel, but Fawnia, (who still feared Porrus, as her father) began to blush for shame, that by her means he should either incur danger or displeasure.

    125The old shepherd hearing this hard sentence--that he should on such a sudden be carried from his wife, his country, and kinsfolk, into a foreign land amongst strangers--began with bitter tears to make his complaint and on his knees to entreat Dorastus that pardoning his unadvised folly he would give him leave to go home, swearing that he would keep all things as secret as they could wish. But these protestations could not prevail, although Fawnia entreated Dorastus very earnestly, but the mariners hoisting their main sails weighed anchors and hailed into the deep, where we leave them to the favor of the wind and seas, and return to Egistus.

    Who having appointed this day to hunt in one of his forests called for his son Dorastus to go sport himself, because he saw that of late he began to lour, but his men made answer that he was gone abroad none knew whither, except he were gone to the grove to walk all alone as his custom was to do every day.

    The king, willing to waken him out of his dumps, sent one of his men to go seek him, but in vain, for at last he returned, but find him he could not, so that the king went himself to go see the sport; where passing away the day, returning at night from hunting, he asked for his son, but he could not be heard of, which drove the king into a great choler, whereupon most of his noble men and other courtiers, posted abroad to seek him, but they could not hear of him through all Sicilia, only they missed Capnio his man, which again made the king suspect that he was not gone far.

    Two or three days being passed and no news heard of Dorastus, Egistus began to fear that he was devoured with some wild beasts, and upon that made out a great troupe of men to go seek him, who coasted through all the country and searched in every dangerous and secret place, until at last they met with a fisherman that was sitting in a little covert hard by the seaside mending his net, when Dorastus and Fawnia took shipping, who being examined if he either knew or heard where the king's son was, without any secrecy at all revealed the whole matter, how he was sailed two days past and had in his company his man Capnio, Porrus and his fair daughter Fawnia. This heavy news was presently carried to the king, who half dead for sorrow commanded Porrus's wife to be sent for, she being come to the palace after due examination, confessed that her neighbors had oft told her that the king's son was too familiar with Fawnia her daughter; whereupon her husband fearing the worst, about two days past (hearing the king should go an hunting) rose early in the morning and went to make his complaint, but since she neither heard of him nor saw him, Egistus, perceiving the woman's unfeigned simplicity, let her depart without incurring further displeasure, conceiving such secret grief for his Son's reckless folly that he had so forgotten his honor and parentage by so base a choice to dishonor his father, and discredit himself, that with very care and thought he fell into a quartan fever, which was so unfit for his aged years and complexion, that he became so weak as the physicians would grant him no life.

    But his son Dorastus little regarded either father, country, or kingdom in respect of his lady Fawnia, for Fortune, smiling on his young novice, lent him so lucky a gale of wind, for the space of a day and a night, that the mariners lay and slept upon the hatches; but on the next morning about the break of the day, the air began to be overcast, the winds to rise, the seas to swell. Yea, presently there arose such a fearful tempest, as the ship was in danger to be swallowed up with every sea. The main mast with the violence of the wind was thrown overboard, the sails were torn, the tackling went in sunder, the storm raging still so furiously that poor Fawnia was almost dead for fear, but that she was greatly comforted with the presence of Dorastus. The tempest continued three days, all which time the Mariners every minute looked for death, and the air was so darkened with clouds that the Master could not tell by his compass in what coast they were. But upon the fourth day about ten of the clock, the wind began to cease, the sea to wax calm, and the sky to be clear, and the Mariners descried the coast of Bohemia, shooting of their ordinance for joy that they had escaped such a fearful tempest.

    130Dorastus, hearing that they were arrived at some harbor, sweetly kissed Fawnia, and bad her be of good cheer. When they told him that the port belonged unto the chief city of Bohemia where Pandosto kept his court, Dorastus began to be sad, knowing that his Father hated no man so much as Pandosto, and that the king himself had sought secretly to betray Egistus. This considered, he was half afraid to go on land but that Capnio counseled him to change his name and his country, until such time as they could get some other Bark to transport them into Italy. Dorastus, liking this device, made his case privy to the mariners, rewarding them bountifully for their pains and charging them to say that he was a gentleman of Trapalonia called Meleagrus. The shipman, willing to show what friendship they could to Dorastus, promised to be as secret as they could or he might wish, and upon this they landed in a little village a mile distant from the city, whereafter they had rested a day, thinking to make provision for their marriage, the fame of Fawnia's beauty was spread throughout all the city, so that came to the ears of Pandosto, who then being about the age of fifty had notwithstanding young and fresh affections, so that he desired greatly to see Fawnia and to bring this matter the better to pass, hearing they had but one man and how they rested at a very homely house. He caused them to be apprehended as spies and sent a dozen of his guard to take them, who being come to their lodging told them the king's message. Dorastus, no whit dismayed, accompanied with Fawnia and Capnio, went to the court (for they left Porrus to keep the stuff) who being admitted to the king's presence, Dorastus and Fawnia with humble obeisance saluted his majesty.

    Pandosto, amazed at the singular perfection of Fawnia, stood half astonished, viewing her beauty, so that he had almost forgot himself what he had to do. At last with stern countenance, he demanded their names and of what country they were and what caused them to land in Bohemia.

    Sir (quoth Dorastus) know that my name Meleagrus is a knight born and brought up in Trapalonia, and this gentlewoman, whom I mean to take to my wife, is an Italian born in Padua, from whence I have now brought her. The cause I so small a train with me is for that her friends unwilling to consent, I intended secretly to convey her into Trapalonia, whether as I was sailing, by distress of weather I was driven into these coasts. Thus have you heard my name, my country, and the cause of my voyage.

    Pandosto, starting from his seat as one in choler, made this rough reply:

    Meleagrus, I fear this smooth tale hath but small truth, and that thou coverest a foul skin with fair paintings. No doubt this lady by her grace and beauty is of her degree more meet for a mighty prince than for a simple knight, and thou like a perjured traitor hath bereft her of her parents to their present grief and her ensuing sorrow. Till therefore I hear more of her parentage and of thy calling, I will stay you both here in Bohemia.

    135Dorastus, in whom rested nothing but kingly valor, was not able to suffer the reproaches of Pandosto, but that he made him this answer:

    It is not meet for a king, without due proof to appeach any man of ill behavior nor upon suspicion to infer belief. Strangers ought to be entertained with courtesy, not to be entreated with cruelty, least being forced by want to put up injuries, the gods revenge their cause with rigor.

    Pandosto, hearing Dorastus utter these words, commanded that he should straight be committed to prison, until such time as they heard further of his pleasure, but as for Fawnia, he charged that she should be entertained in the court, with such courtesy as belonged to a stranger and her calling. The rest of the shipmen he put into the dungeon.

    Having thus hardly handled the supposed Trapalonians, Pandosto, contrary to his aged years, began to be somewhat tickled with the beauty of Fawnia, insomuch that he could take no rest but cast in his old head a thousand new devises. At last he fell into these thoughts:

    How art thou pestered, Pandosto, with fresh affections and unfit fancies, wishing to possess with an unwilling mind, and a hot desire troubled with a cold disdain? Shall thy mind yield in age to that thou hast resisted in youth? Peace, Pandosto, blab not out that which thou mayest be ashamed to reveal to thyself. Ah, Fawnia is beautiful, and it is not for thine honor (fond fool) to name her that is thy captive and another man's concubine. Alas, I reach at that with my hand which my heart would feign refuse: playing like the bird ibis in Egypt, which hateth serpents, yet feedeth on her eggs.140Tush, hot desires turn oftentimes to cold disdain. Love is brittle where appetite not reason bear the sway. Kings' thoughts ought not to climb so high as the heavens, but to look no lower than honor. Better it is to peck at the stars with the young eagles than to prey on dead carcasses with the vulture. Tis more honorable for Pandosto to die by concealing love than to enjoy such unfit love. Doth Pandosto then Love? Yea. Whom? A maid unknown, yea, and perhaps immodest, straggled out of her own country, beautiful but not therefore chaste; comely in body but perhaps crooked in mind. Cease then, Pandosto, to look at Fawnia, much less to love her. Be not overtaken with a woman's beauty, whose eyes are framed by art to enamor, whose heart is framed by nature to enchant, whose false tears know their true times, and whose sweet words pierce deeper than sharp swords.

    Here Pandosto ceased from his talk, but not from his Love. For although he sought by reason and wisdom to suppress this frantic affection, yet he could take no rest; the beauty of Fawnia had made such a deep impression in his heart. But on a day walking abroad into a Park, which was hard adjoining to his house, he sent by one of his servants for Fawnia, unto whom he uttered these words:

    Fawnia, I commend thy beauty and wit, and now pity thy distress and want, but if thou wilt forsake Sir Meliagrus, whose poverty, though a knight, is not able to maintain an estate answerable to thy beauty and yield thy consent to Pandosto, I will both increase thee with dignities and riches.No sir, answered Fawnia. Meliagrus is a knight that hath won me by love, and none but he shall wear me. His sinister mischance shall not diminish my affection but rather increase my good will. Think not though your grace hath imprisoned him without cause, that fear shall make me yield my consent. I had rather be Meliagrus's wife, and a beggar, than live in plenty and be Pandosto's concubine.

    Pandosto, hearing the assured answer of Fawnia, would, notwithstanding, prosecute his suit to the uttermost, seeking with fair words and great promises to scale the fort of her chastity, swearing that if she would grant to his desire, Meleagrus should not only be set at liberty, but honored in his court amongst his nobles; but these alluring baits could not entice her mind from the love of her new betrothed mate Meleagrus, which Pandosto seeing, he left her alone for that time to consider more of the demand. Fawnia, being alone by herself, began to enter into these solitary meditations:

    145Ah, infortunate Fawnia, thou seest to desire above fortune is to strive against the gods and fortune. Who gazeth at the sun weakeneth his sight. They which stare at the sky fall oft into deep pits. Haddest thou rested content to been a shepherd, thou needst not to have feared mischance. Better had it been for thee, by sitting low, to have had quiet than by climbing high to have fallen into misery. But, alas, I fear not mine own danger but Dorastus's displeasure. Ah, sweet Dorastus, thou art a prince but now a prisoner, by too much love procuring thine own loss. Haddest thou not loved Fawnia, thou haddest been fortunate. Shall I then be false to him that hath forsaken kingdoms for my cause? No. Would my death might deliver him, so mine honor might be preserved.

    With that, fetching a deep sigh, she ceased from her complaints and went again to the palace, enjoining a liberty without content, and proffered pleasure with small joy. But poor Dorastus lay all this while in close prison, being pinched with a hard restraint and pained with the burden of cold and heavy irons, sorrowing sometimes that his fond affection had procured him this mishap; that by the disobedience of his parents, he had wrought his own despite; another, while cursing the gods and fortune, that they should cross him with such sinister chance, uttering at last his passions in these words:

    Ah unfortunate wretch, born to mishap. Now thy folly hath his desert. Art thou not worthy for thy base mind to have bad fortune? Could the destinies favor thee, which hast forgot thine honor and dignities? Will not the gods plague him with despite that paineth his father with disobedience? Oh gods, if any favor or justice be left, plague me, but favor poor Fawnia, and shroud her from the tyrannies of wretched Pandosto, but let my death free her from mishap, and than welcome death.

    Dorastus pained with these heavy passions, sorrowed and sighed, but in vain, for which he used the more patience.

    But again to Pandosto, who broiling at the heat of unlawful lust could take no rest but still felt his mind disquieted with his new love, so that his nobles and subjects marveled greatly at this sudden alteration, not being able to conjecture the cause of this his continued care. Pandosto, thinking every hour a year till he had talked once again with Fawnia, sent for her secretly into his chamber; whither though Fawnia unwillingly coming, Pandosto entertained her very courteously using these familiar speeches, which Fawnia answered as shortly in this wise:

    150Pandosto.Fawnia, are you become less willful and more wise, to prefer the love of a king before the liking of a poor knight. I think ere this you think it is better to be favored of a king than of a subject.Fawnia.Pandosto, the body is subject to victories, but the mind not to be subdued by conquest. Honesty is to be preferred before honor, and a dram of faith weigheth down a ton of gold. I promised Meleagrus to Love, and will perform no less.Pandosto.155Fawnia, I know thou art not so unwise in thy choice as to refuse the offer of a king, nor so ungrateful as to despise a good turn. Thou art now in that place where I may command, and yet thou seest I entreat. My power is such as I may compel by force, and yet I sue by prayers. Yield, Fawnia, thy love to him which burneth in thy Love. Meleagrus shall be set free, thy countrymen discharged, and thou both Loved and honored.Fawnia.I see, Pandosto, where lust ruleth it is a miserable thing to be a virgin, but know this, that I will always prefer fame before life, and rather choose death then dishonor.

    Pandosto, seeing that there was in Fawnia a determinate courage to love Meleagrus and a resolution without fear to hate him, fleeing away from her in a rage, swearing if in short time she would not be won by reason: he would forget all courtesy and compel her to grant by rigor. But these threatening words no whit dismayed Fawnia, but that she still both despited and despised Pandosto. While thus these two Lovers strove, the one to win love, the other to live in hate, Egistus heard certain news by merchants of Bohemia that his son Dorastus was imprisoned by Pandosto, which made him fear greatly that his son should be but hardly entreated, yet considering that Bellaria and he was cleared by the oracle of Apollo from that crime wherewith Pandosto had unjustly charged them, he thought best to send with all speed to Pandosto, that he should set free his son Dorastus and put to death Fawnia and her father Porrus. Finding this by the advice of counsel the speediest remedy to release his son, he caused presently two of his ships to be rigged and thoroughly furnished with provision of men and victuals and sent divers of his nobles, ambassadors, into Bohemia, who, willing to obey their king and receive their young prince, made no delays for fear of danger, but with as much speed as might be, sailed towards Bohemia. The wind and seas favored them greatly, which made them hope of some good hap, for within three days they were landed, which Pandosto no sooner heard of their arrival, but he in person went to meet them, entreating them with such sumptuous and familiar courtesy that they might well perceive how sorry he was for the former injuries he had offered to their king, and how willing (if it might be) to make amends. As Pandosto made report to them how one Meleagrus, a knight of Trapolonia, was lately arrived with a lady called Fawnia in his land, coming very suspiciously, accompanied only with one servant, and an old shepherd. The ambassadors perceived by the half what the whole tale meant and began to conjecture that it was Dorastus, who, for fear to be known, had changed his name; but dissembling the matter, they shortly arrived at the court, where after they had been very solemnly and sumptuously feasted, the noblemen of Sicilia being gathered together, they made report of their embassage, where they certified Pandosto that Meleagrus was son and heir to the king Egistus, and that his name was Dorastus. How contrary to the king's mind he had privily conveyed away that Fawnia, intending to marry her, being but daughter to that poor shepherd Porrus, whereupon the King's request was that Capnio, Fawnia, and Porrus might be murthered and put to death and that his son Dorastus might be sent home in safety.

    Pandosto having attentively and with great marvel heard their embassage, willing to reconcile himself to Egistus and to show him how greatly he esteemed his favor, although love and fancy forbad him to hurt Fawnia, yet in despite of love he determined to execute Egistus will without mercy, and therefore he presently sent for Dorastus out of prison, who marveling at his unlooked for courtesy, found at his coming to the king's presence, that which he least doubted of, his father's ambassadors, who no sooner saw him but with great reverence they honored him; and Pandosto, embracing Dorastus, set him by him very lovingly in a chair of estate. Dorastus, ashamed that his folly was bewrayed, sate a long time as one in a muse, till Pandosto told him the sum of his father's embassage, which he had no sooner heard but he was touched at the quick for the cruel sentence that was pronounced against Fawnia. But neither could his sorrow nor persuasions prevail, for Pandosto commanded that Fawnia, Porrus, and Capnio should be brought to his presence, who were no sooner come, but Pandosto having his former Love turned to a disdainful hate, began to rage against Fawnia in these terms:

    160Thou disdainful vassal, thou currish kite, assigned by the destinies to base fortune, and yet with an aspiring mind gazing after honor! How durst thou presume, being a beggar, to match with a prince, by thy alluring looks to enchant the son of a king to leave his own country to fulfill thy disordinate lusts. O despiteful mind! A proud heart in a beggar is not unlike to a great fire in a small cottage, which warmeth not the house but burneth it. Assure thyself thou shalt die, and thou old doting fool, whose folly hath been such, as to suffer thy daughter to reach above thy fortune, look for no other meed but the like punishment. But Capnio, thou which hast betrayed the king and has consented to the unlawful lust of thy lord and master, I know not how justly I may plague thee. Death is too easy a punishment for thy falsehood, and to live (if not in extreme misery) were not to show the equity. I therefore award that thou shalt thine eyes put out, and continually, while thou dyest, grind in a mill like a brute beast.

    The fear of death brought a sorrowful silence upon Fawnia and Capnio, but Porrus seeing no hope of life, burst forth into these speeches:

    Pandosto, and ye noble ambassadors of Sycilia, seeing without cause I am condemned to die, I am yet glad I have opportunity to disburden my conscience before my death. I will tell you as much as I know, and yet no more than is true; whereas I am accused that I been a supporter of Fawnia's pride, and she disdained as a vile beggar, so it is that I am neither father unto her, nor she daughter unto me.For so it happened that I being a poor shepherd in Sycilia, living by keeping other men's flocks, one of my sheep straying down to the seaside as I went to seek her, I saw a little boat driven upon the shore, wherein I found a babe of six days old, wrapped in a mantle of scarlet, having about the neck this chain. I, pitying the child and desirous of the treasure, carried it home to my wife, who with great care nursed it up and set it to keep sheep. Here is the chain and the jewels, and this Fawnia is the child whom I found in the boat. What she is or of what parentage, I know not, but this I am assured of, that she is none of mine.

    Pandosto would scarce suffer him to tell out his tale, but that he required the time of the year, the manner of the boat, and other circumstances, which when he found agreeing to his count, he suddenly leapt from his seat and kissed Fawnia, wetting her tender checks with his tears, and crying, "My daughter Fawnia, ah sweet Fawnia, I am thy father, Fawnia." This sudden passion of the king drove them all into a maze, especially Fawnia and Dorastus. But when the king had breathed himself a while in this new joy, he rehearsed before the ambassadors the whole matter, how he had entreated his wife Bellaria for jealousy, and that this was the child whom he sent to float in the seas.

    165Fawnia was not more joyful that she had found such a father than Dorastus was glad he should get such a wife. The ambassadors rejoiced that their young Prince had made such a choice, that those kingdoms which through enmity had long time been dissevered, should now through perpetual amity be united and reconciled. The citizens and subjects of Bohemia (hearing that the king had found again his daughter, which was supposed dead, joyful that there was an heir apparent to their kingdom) made bonfires and shows throughout the city. The courtiers and knights appointed jousts and tourneys to signify their willing minds in gratifying the king's hap.

    Eighteen days being past in these princely sports, Pandosto, willing to recompense old Porrus of a shepherd made him a knight, which done, providing a sufficient navy to receive him and his retinue, accompanied with Dorastus, Fawnia, and the Sycilian ambassadors. He sailed towards Sycilia, where he was most princely entertained by Egistus, who, hearing this comical event, rejoiced greatly at his son's good hap, and without delay (to the perpetual joy of the two young lovers) celebrated the marriage, which was no sooner ended, but Pandosto (calling to mind how first he betrayed his friend Egistus, how his jealousy was the cause of Bellaria's death, that contrary to the law of nature he had lusted after his own daughter) moved with these desperate thoughts, he fell into a melancholy fit, and to close up the comedy with a tragical stratagem, he slew himself, whose death being many days bewailed of Fawnia, Dorastus, and his dear friend Egistus, Dorastus taking his leave of his father, went with his wife and the dead corpse into Bohemia, where after they were sumptuously entombed, Dorastus ended his days in contented quiet.