5.1. The Adventures of Master F. I. (1573)



The Printer [A. B.] to the Reader.[1]

It hath been an old saying that while two dogs do strive for a bone the third may come and carry it away. And this proverb may (as I fear) be well verified in me which take in hand the imprinting of this poetical posy. For the case seemeth doubtful, and I will disclose my conjecture:

Master H. W. in the beginning of this work hath in his letter written to the Readers cunningly discharged himself of any such misliking as the graver sort of grayhaired judgers might perhaps conceive in the publication of these pleasant Pamphlets.

And next unto that learned preamble, the letter of G. T. (by whom as seemeth, the first copy hereof was unto the same H. W. delivered) doth with no less clerkly cunning seek to persuade the readers that he also would by no means have it published.

Now I fear very much -- all these words notwithstanding -- that these two gentlemen were of one assent compact to have it imprinted, and yet, finding by experience that nothing is so wellhandled nowadays but that some malicious minds may either take occasion to mislike it themselves or else find means to make it odious unto others, they have therefore each of them politicly prevented the danger of misreport, and suffered me the poor Printer to run away with the palm of so perilous a victory.

Notwithstanding, having well perused the work, I find nothing therein amiss to my judgment, unless it be two or three wanton places passed over in the discourse of an amorous enterprise. The which for as much as the words are cleanly, (although the thing meant be somewhat natural), I have thought good also to let them pass as they came to me, and the rather because (as Master H. W. hath well alleged in his letter to the Reader) the well-minded man may reap some commodity out of the most frivolous works that are written. And as the venomous spider wilt suck poison out of the most wholesome herb, and the industrious Bee can gather honey out of the most stinking weed, even so the discrete reader may take a happy example by the most lascivious histories, although the captious and harebrain'd heads can neither be encouraged by the good nor forewarned by the bad. And thus much I have thought good to say in excuse of some savours which may perchance smell unpleasantly to some noses in some part of this poetical posy.

Now it hath with this fault a greater commodity than common posies have ben accustomed to present, and that is this: you shall not be constrained to smell of the flowers therein contained all at once, neither yet to take them up in such order as they are sorted. But you may take any one flower by itself, and if that smell not so pleasantly as you would wish, I doubt not yet but you may find some other which may supply the defects thereof.

As thus: he which would have good moral lessons clerkly handled, let him smell to the Tragedy translated out of Euripides. He that would laugh at a pretty conceit closely conveyed, let him peruse the comedy translated out of Ariosto. He that would take example by the unlawful affections of a lover bestowed upon an unconstant dame, let them read the report in verse made by Dan Bartholmew of Bath, or the discourse in prose of the adventures passed by master F. I. (whom the reader may name Freeman Iones [2]  ), for the better understanding of the same. He that would see any particular pang of love lively displayed, may here approve every Pamphlet by the title, and so remain contented. As also divers godly hymns and Psalms may in like manner be found in this record.

To conclude, the work is so universal as, either in one place or other, any man's mind may therewith be satisfied. The which I adventure (under pretext of this promise) to present unto all indifferent eyes as followeth.

H. W. to the Reader.

In August last passed, my familiar friend Master G. T. bestowed upon me the reading of a written Book wherein he had collected divers discourses & verses invented upon sundry occasions by sundry gentlemen, in mine opinion right commendable for their capacity. And herewithal my said friend charged me that I should use them only for mine own particular commodity, and eftsoons safely deliver the original copy to him again; wherein I must confess myself but half a merchant, for the copy unto him I have safely redelivered.

But the work (for I thought it worthy to be published) I have entreated my friend A.B. to imprint: as one that thought better to please a number by common commodity then to feed the humor of any private person by needless singularity. This I have adventured for thy contentation, learned Reader. And further have presumed of myself to christen it by the name of A hundred sundry Flowers: In which poetical posy are set forth many trifling fantasies, humoral passions, and strange affects of a lover.

And therein (although the wiser sort would turn over the leaf as a thing altogether fruitless) yet I myself have reaped this commodity, to sit and smile at the fond devises of such as have enchained themselves in the golden fetters of fantasy, and having bewrayed themselves to the whole world, do yet conjecture that they walk unseen in a net. Some other things you may also find in this Book which are as void of vanity as the first are lame for government.

And I must confess that (what to laugh at the one, & what to learn by the other) I have contrary to the charge of my said friend G. T. procured for these trifles this day of publication. Whereat if the authors only repine, and the number of other learned minds be thankful, I may then boast to have gained a bushel of good will in exchange for one pint of peevish choler.[3]

But if it fall out contrary to expectation that the readers judgments agree not with mine opinion in their commendations, I may then (unless their courtesies supply my want of discretion), with loss of some labor, accompt also the loss of my familiar friends; in doubt whereof, I cover all our names, and refer you to the well written letter of my friend G. T. next following, whereby you may more at large consider of these occasions.

And so I commend the praise of other mens travails, together with the pardon of mine own rashness, unto the well willing minds of discrete readers. From my lodging near the Strande the 20th of Ianuary, 1572 [= 1573].[4]

The letter of G. T. to his very friend H. W. concerning this work.

Remembering the late conference passed between us in my lodging, and how you seemed to esteem some Pamphlets which I did there show unto you far above their worth in skill, I did straightway conclude the same your judgment to proceed of two especial causes: One (and principal), the stedfast good will which you have ever hitherto sithens our first familiarity borne towards me. Another (of no less weight), the exceeding zeal and favor that you bear to good letters. The which (I agree with you) do no less bloom and appear in pleasant ditties or compendious Sonnets devised by green youthful capacities than they do fruitfully flourish unto perfection in the riper works of grave and grayhaired writers. For as in the last, the younger sort may make a mirror of perfect life, so in the first, the most frosty bearded Philosopher may take just occasion of honest recreation not altogether without wholesome lessons tending to the reformation of manners. For who doubteth but that Poets in their most feigned fables and imaginations have metaphorically set forth unto us the right rewards of virtues and the due punishments for vices?

Marry, indeed, I may not compare Pamphlets unto Poems, neither yet may justly advant for our native countrymen that they have in their verses hitherto (translations excepted) delivered unto us any such notable volume as have been by Poets of antiquity left unto the posterity. And the more pity that amongst so many toward wits no one hath been hitherto encouraged to follow the trace of that worthy and famous Knight Sir Geoffrey Chaucer and, after many pretty devises spent in youth for the obtaining a worthless victory, might consume and consummate his age in describing the right pathway to perfect felicity with the due preservation of the same. The which, although some may judge over grave a subject to be handled in style metrical, yet for that I have found in the verses of eloquent Latinists, learned Greeks, & pleasant Italians, sundry directions whereby a man may be guided toward th'attaining of that unspeakable treasure, I have thus far lamented, that our countrymen have chosen rather to win a passover praise by the wanton penning of a few loving lays than to gain immortal fame by the clerkly handling of so profitable a Theme. For if quickness of invention, proper vocables, apt Epithets, and store of monosyllables may help a pleasant brain to be crowned with Laurel, I doubt not but both our countrymen & country language might be enthronized among the old foreleaders unto the mount Helicon.

But now let me return to my first purpose, for I have wandered somewhat beside the path, and yet not clean out of the way. I have thought good (I say) to present you with this written book, wherein you shall find a number of Sonnets, lays, letters, Ballads, Rondelets, verlays and verses, the works of your friend and mine, Master F. I., and divers others, the which when I had with long travail confusedly gathered together, I thought it then Opere precium to reduce them into some good order. The which I have done, according to my barren skill, in this written Book, commending it unto you to read and to peruse, and desiring you, as I only do adventure thus to participate the sight thereof unto your former good will, even so that you will by no means make the same common: but after your own recreation taken therein that you will safely redeliver unto me the original copy. For otherwise I shall not only provoke all the authors to be offended with me, but further shall lose the opportunity of a greater matter, half and more granted unto me already, by the willing consent of one of them.

And to be plain with you, my friend, he hath written, which as far as I can learn did never yet come to the reading or perusing of any man but himself, two notable works. The one called the Sundry lots of love. The other of his own invention entitled The climbing of an Eagles nest. These things (and especially the later) doth seem by the name to be a work worthy the reading. And the rather I judge so because his fantasy is so occupied in the same, as that contrary to his wonted use, he hath hitherto withheld it from sight of any of his familiars until it be finished, you may guess him by his Nature. And therefore I require your secrecy herein, least if he hear the contrary, we shall not be able by any means to procure these other at his hands.

So fare you well, from my Chamber this tenth of August, 1572.

Yours or not his own.
G. T.

When I had with no small entreaty obtained of Master F. I. and sundry other toward young gentlemen the sundry copies of these sundry matters, then as well for that the number of them was great, as also for that I found none of them so barren but that (in my judgment) had in it aliquid salis[5], and especially being considered by the very proper occasion whereupon it was written (as they themselves did always with the verse rehearse unto me the cause that then moved them to write), I did with more labor gather them into some order, and so placed them in this register. Wherein as near as I could guess, I have set in the first places those which Master F. I. did compile.

And to begin with this his history that ensueth, it was (as he declared unto me) written upon this occasion. The said F. I. chanced once, in the north parts of this Realm, to fall in company of a very fair gentlewoman whose name was Mistress Ellinor, unto whom bearing a hot affection, he first adventured to write this letter following.

Mistress, I pray you understand that being altogether a stranger in these parts, my good hap hath been to behold you to my (no small) contentation, and my evil hap accompanies the same with such imperfection of my deserts as that I find always a ready repulse in mine own frowardness. So that considering the natural climate of the country, I must say that I have found fire in frost. And yet comparing the inequality of my deserts with the least part of your worthiness, I feel a continual frost in my most fervent fire.

Such is then th'extremity of my passions, the which I could never have been content to commit unto this telltale paper were it not that I am destitute of all other help. Accept therefore, I beseech you, the earnest good will of a more trusty than worthy servant, who, being thereby encouraged, may supply the defects of his ability with ready trial of dutiful loyalty. And let this poor paper (besprent with salt tears, and blowen over with scalding sighs) be saved of you as a safe guard for your sampler, or a bottom to wind your sowing silk, that when your last needlefull is wrought, you may return to reading thereof and consider the care of him who is

More yours than his own.
F. I.

This letter by her received (as I have heard him say) her answer was this:

She took occasion one day at his request to dance with him, the which doing, she bashfully began to declare unto him that she had read over the writing which he delivered unto her, with like protestation, that, as at delivery thereof, she understood not for what cause he thrust the same into her bosom, so now she could not perceive thereby any part of his meaning, nevertheless at last seemed to take upon her the matter, and though she disabled herself, yet gave him thanks as &c.

Whereupon he brake the brawl, and walking abroad devised immediately these few verses following.

[Nr 3] Fair Bersabe the bright once, bathing in a well [6]

Fair Bersabe the bright once, bathing in a well,
With dew bedimm'd King David's eyes that ruled Israel,
And Salomon himself, the source of sapience,
Against the force of such assaults could make but small defense:
To it the stoutest yield, and strongest feel like woe,
Bold Hercules and Samson both did prove it to be so.
What wonder seemeth then, when stars stand thick in skies,
If such a blazing star have power to dim my dazzled eyes?


To you these few suffice, your wits be quick and good,
You can conject by change of hue what humors feed my blood.

                                                    F. I.

I have heard the Author say, that these were the first verses that ever he wrote upon like occasion.[7]The which, considering the matter precedent, may in my judgment be well allowed, and to judge his doings by the effects, he declared unto me that before he could put the same in legible writing, it pleased the said Mistress Ellinor of her courtesy thus to deal with him.

Walking in a garden among divers other gentlemen & gentlewomen, with a little frowning smile in passing by him, she delivered unto him a paper with these words: "For that I understand not," quoth she, "th'intent of your letters, I pray you take them here again, and bestow them at your pleasure." The which done and said, she passed by without change either of pace or countenance.

F. I. somewhat troubled with her angry look, did suddenly leave the company, & walking into a park near adjoining, in great rage began to wreak his malice on this poor paper, and the same did rend and tear in pieces. When suddenly at a glance he perceived it was not of his own handwriting, and therewithal abashed, upon better regard he perceived in one piece thereof written in Roman these letters SHE:, wherefore placing all the pieces thereof as orderly as he could, he found therein written these few lines hereafter following.[8]

Your sudden departure from our pastime yesterday did enforce me for lack of chosen company to return unto my work, wherein I did so long continue till at the last the bare bottom did draw unto my remembrance your strange request. And although I found therein no just cause to credit your colored words, yet have I thought good hereby to requite you with like courtesy, so that at least you shall not condemn me for ungrateful.

But as to the matter therein contained, if I could persuade myself that there were in me any coals to kindle such sparks of fire, I might yet peradventure be drawn to believe that your mind were frozen with like fear. But as no smoke ariseth where no coal is kindled, so without cause of affection the passion is easy to be cured. This is all that I understand of your dark letters. And as much as I mean to answer.


My friend F. I. hath told me divers times that immediately upon receipt hereof, he grew in jealousy that the same was not her own device. And therein I have no less allowed his judgment then commended his invention of the verses and letters before rehearsed. For as by the style this letter of hers bewrayeth that it was not penned by a woman's capacity, so the sequel of her doings may decipher that she had mo' ready clerks then trusty servants in store.

Well, yet as the perfect hound, when he hath chased the hurt deer amid the whole herd, will never give over till he have singled it again, even so F. I., though somewhat abashed with this doubtful show, yet still constant in his former intention, ceased not by all possible means to bring this Deer yet once again to the Bows whereby she might be the more surely stricken, and so in the end enforced to yield. Wherefore he thought not best to commit the said verses willingly into her custody, but privily lost them in her chamber, written in counterfeit. And after on the next day thought better to reply, either upon her or upon her Secretary, in this wise as here followeth.

The much that you have answered is very much, and much more than I am able to reply unto. Nevertheless, in mine own defense thus much I allege: that if my sudden departure pleased not you, I cannot myself therewith be pleased, as one that seeketh not to please many and more desirous to please you then any.

The cause of mine affection, I suppose you behold daily, for (self love avoided) every wight may judge of themselves as much as reason persuadeth. The which if it be in your good nature suppressed with bashfulness, then mighty Iove grant you may once behold my wan cheeks washed in woe that therein my salt tears may be a mirror to represent your own shadow, and that like unto Narcissus you may be constrained to kiss the cold waves wherein your counterfeit is so lively portrayed.

For if abundance of other matters failed to draw my gazing eyes in contemplation of so rare excellency, yet might these your letters both frame in me an admiration of such divine esprit and a confusion to my dull understanding which so rashly presumed to wander in this endless Labyrinth.

Such I esteem you, and thereby am become such, and even

HE. F. I.

This letter finished and fair written over, his chance was to meet her alone in a Gallery of the same house: where (as I have heard him declare) his manhood in this kind of combat was first tried, and therein I can compare him to a valiant Prince, who distressed with power of enemies had committed the safeguard of his person to treaty of Ambassade, and suddenly (surprised with a Camisado in his own trenches) was enforced to yield as prisoner. Even so my friend F. I., lately overcome by the beautiful beams of this Dame Ellinor, and having now committed his most secret intent to these late rehearsed letters, was at unawares encountered with his friendly foe, and constrained either to prepare some new defense, or else like a recreant to yield himself as already vanquished.

Wherefore (as in a trance) he lifted up his dazzled eyes, & so continued in a certain kind of admiration, not unlike the Astronomer who (having, after a whole nights travail, in the grey morning found his desired star) hath fixed his hungry eyes to behold the Comet long looked for: whereat this gracious Dame (as one that could discern the sun before her chamber windows were wide open) did deign to embolden the fainting Knight with these or like words.

"I perceive now," quoth she, "how mishap doth follow me, that having chosen this walk for a simple solace, I am here disquieted by the man that meaneth my destruction." & therewithal, as half angry, began to turn her back, when as my friend F. I., now awaked, 'gan thus salute her.

"Mistress," quoth he, "and I perceive now that good hap haunts me, for being by lack of opportunity constrained to commit my welfare unto these blabbing leaves of bewraying paper," (showing that in his hand) "I am here recomforted with happy view of my desired joy." & therewithal, reverently kissing his hand [9], did softly distrain her slender arm & so stayed her departure.

The first blow thus proffered & defended, they walked & talked traversing divers ways, wherein I doubt not but that my friend F. I. could quit himself reasonably well. And though it stood not with duty of a friend that I should therein require to know his secrets, yet of himself he declared thus much, that after long talk she was contented to accept his proffered service, but yet still disabling herself and seeming to marvel what cause had moved him to subject his liberty so willfully, or at least in a prison (as she termed it) so unworthy.

Whereunto I need not rehearse his answer but suppose now that thus they departed: saving I had forgotten this, she required of him the last rehearsed letter, saying that his first was lost & now she lacked a new bottom for her silk, the which I warrant you he granted: and so proffering to take an humble congé by Bezo las manos, she graciously gave him the zuccado dez labros [10]: and so for then departed.

And thereupon recounting her words, he compiled these following, which he termed Terza sequenza, to sweet Mistress SHE.

[Nr 4] Of thee dear Dame, three lessons would I learn

Of thee dear Dame, three lessons would I learn[11]:
What reason first persuades the foolish Fly
(As soon as she a candle can discern)
To play with flame till she be burnt thereby?
Or what may moue the Mouse to bite the bait
Which strikes the trap that stops her hungry breath?
What calls the Bird where snares of deep deceit
Are closely couch'd to draw her to her death?
Consider well what is the cause of this,
And though percase thou wilt not so confess,
Yet deep desire, to gain a heavenly bliss,
May drown the mind in dole and dark distress:
Oft is it seen (whereat my heart may bleed)
Fools play so long till they be caught in deed.

And then

It is a heaven to see them hop and skip,
And seek all shifts to shake their shackles off:
It is a world, to see them hang the lip
Who erst at love were wont to scorn and scoff.
But as the Mouse, once caught in crafty trap,
May bounce and beat against the boarden wall,
Till she have brought her head in such misshape,
That down to death her fainting limbs must fall:
And as the Fly once singed in the flame,
Cannot command her wings to wave away:
But by the heel, she hangeth in the same
Till cruel death her hasty journey stay.
So they that seek to break the links of love
Strive with the stream, and this by pain I prove.

For when

I first beheld that heavenly hue of thine,
Thy stately stature and thy comely grace,
I must confess these dazzled eyes of mine
Did wink for fear, when I first view'd thy face:
But bold desire did open them again,
And bad me look till I had look'd too long,
I pitied them that did procure my pain,
And lov'd the looks that wrought me all the wrong:
And as the Bird once caught but works her woe
That strives to leave the limed twigs behind:
Even so the more I strave to part thee fro',
The greater grief did grow within my mind:
Remediless then must I yield to thee
And crave no more, thy servant but to be.

Till then and ever. HE. F. I.

When he had well sorted this sequence, he sought oportunity to leave it where she might find it before it were lost.

And now the coals began to kindle whereof but erewhile she feigned herself altogether ignorant. The flames began to break out on every side, & she to quench them shut up herself in her chamber solitarily. But as the smithy gathers greater heat by casting on of water, even so the more she absented herself from company, the fresher was the grief which galded her remembrance: so that at last the report was spread through the house that Mistress Ellinor was sick. At which news F. I. took small comfort: nevertheless Dame Venus with good aspect did yet thus much further his enterprise.

The Dame (whether it were by sudden change, or of wonted custom) fell one day into a great bleeding at the nose. For which accident, the said F. I., amongst other pretty conceits, hath a present remedy, whereby he took occasion (when they of the house had all in vain sought many ways to stop her bleeding) to work his feat in this wise:

First, he pleaded ignorance, as though he knew not her name, and therefore demanded the same of one other Gentlewoman in the house (whose name was Mistress Frances), who when she had to him declared that her name was Ellinor, he said these words or very like in effect: "If I thought I should not offend Mistress Ellinor, I would not doubt to stop her bleeding without either pain or difficulty."

This gentlewoman, somewhat tickled with his words, did incontinent make relation thereof to the said Mistress Ellinor, who immediately (declaring that F. I. was her late received servant) returned the said messenger unto him with especial charge that he should employ his devoir towards the recovery of her health, with whom the same F. I. repaired to the chamber of his desired: and, finding her set in a chair leaning on the one side over a silver basin, after his due reverence, he laid his hand on her temples and, privily rounding her in her ear, desired her to command a Hazel stick and a knife. The which being brought, he delivered unto her, saying on this wise.

"Mistress, I will speak certain words in secret to myself and do require no more but when you hear me say openly this word Amen, that you with this knife will make a nick upon this hazel stick. And when you have made five nicks, command me also to cease."

The Dame, partly of good will to the knight and partly to be stanched of her bleeding, commanded her maid and required the other gentils somewhat to stand aside. Which done, he began his orisons, wherein he had not long muttered before he pronounced Amen, wherewith the Lady made a nick on the stick with her knife. The said F. I. continued to another Amen, when the Lady having made another nick felt her bleeding began to stanch: and so by the third Amen thoroughly stanched.

F. I. then changing his prayers into private talk, said softly unto her, "Mistress, I am glad that I am hereby enabled to do you some service, and as the stanching of your own blood may some way recomfort you, so if the shedding of my blood may any way content you, I beseech you command it, for it shall be evermore readily employed in your service," and therewithal with a loud voice pronounced Amen.

Wherewith the good Lady making a nick did secretly answer thus: "Good servant," quoth she, "I must needs think myself right happy to have gained your service and good will, and be you sure that although there be in me no such desert as may draw you into this depth of affection, yet such as I am, I shall be always glad to show myself thankful unto you, and now, if you think yourself assured that I shall bleed no more, do then pronounce your fifth Amen," the which pronounced, she made also her fifth nick, and held up her head, calling the company unto her and declaring unto them that her bleeding was thoroughly stanched.

Well, it were long to tell what sundry opinions were pronounced upon this act, and I do dwell overlong in the discourses of this F. I., especially having taken in hand only to copy out his verses, but for the circumstance doth better declare the effect, I will return to my former tale.

F. I., tarrying a while in the chamber, found opportunity to lose his sequence near to his desired Mistress: and after congé taken, departed. After whose departure, the Lady arose out of her chair, & her maid, going about to remove the same, espied & took up the writing. The which her mistress perceiving, gan suddenly conjecture that the same had in it some like matter to the verses once before left in like manner, & made semblant to mistrust that the same should be some words of conjuration: and taking it from her maid, did peruse it & immediately said to the company that she would not forgo the same for a great treasure. But to be plain, I think that (F. I. excepted) she was glad to be rid of all company until she had with sufficient leisure turned over & retossed every card in this sequence.

And not long after, being now tickled thorough all the veins with an unknown humor, adventured of herself to commit unto a like Ambassador the deciphering of that which hitherto she had kept more secret, & thereupon wrote with her own hand & head in this wise:

Good servant, I am out of all doubt much beholding unto you, and I have great comfort by your means in the stanching of my blood, and I take great comfort to read your letters, and I have found in my chamber divers songs which I think to be of your making, and I promise you, they are excellently made, and I assure you that I will be ready to do for you any pleasure that I can during my life: wherefore I pray you come to my chamber once in a day till I come abroad again, and I will be glad of your company, and for because that you have promised to be my HE: I will take upon me this name, your SHE.

This letter I have seen of her own handwriting. And as therein the Reader may find great difference of Style from her former letter, so may you now understand the cause. She had in the same house a friend, a servant, a Secretary: what should I name him? such one as she esteemed in time past more than was cause in time present, and to make my tale good, I will (by report of my very good friend F. I.) describe him unto you. He was in height the proportion of two Pigmies, in breadth the thickness of two bacon hogs, of presumption a Giant, of power a Gnat, Apishly witted, Knavishly manner'd, & crabbedly favored. What was there in him then to draw a fair Lady's liking? Marry sir, even all in all, a well lined purse, wherewith he could at every call provide such pretty conceits as pleased her peevish fantasy, and by that means he had thoroughly (long before) insinuated himself with this amorous dame.

This manling, this minion, this slave, this secretary, was now by occasion ridden to London forsooth: and though his absence were unto her a disfurnishing of eloquence, it was yet unto F. I. an opportunity of good advantage, for when he perceived the change of her style, and thereby grew in some suspicion that the same proceeded by absence of her chief Chancellor, he thought good now to smite while the iron was hot and to lend his Mistress such a pen in her Secretaries absence as he should never be able at his return to amend the well writing thereof. Wherefore according to her command he repaired once every day to her chamber at the least, whereas he guided himself so well and could devise such store of sundry pleasures and pastimes that he grew in favor not only with his desired but also with the rest of the gentlewomen.

And one day passing the time amongst them, their play grew to this end, that his Mistress, being Queen, demanded of him these three questions. "Servant," quoth she, "I charge you, as well upon your allegiance being now my subject, as also upon your fidelity having vowed your service unto me, that you answer me these three questions by the very truth of your secret thought. First, what thing in this universal world doth most rejoice and comfort you?"

F. I., abasing his eyes towards the ground, took good advisement in his answer, when a fair gentlewoman of the company clapped him on the shoulder, saying, "How now sir, is your hand on your halfpenny?"

To whom he answered, "No, fair Lady, my hand is on my heart, and yet my heart is not in mine own hands": wherewithal abashed, turning towards dame Ellinor he said, "My sovereign & Mistress, according to the charge of your command and the duty that I owe you, my tongue shall bewray unto you the truth of mine intent. At this present, a reward given me without desert doth so rejoice me with continual remembrance thereof, that though my mind be so occupied to think thereon as that day nor night I can be quiet from that thought, yet the joy and pleasure which I conceive in the same is such that I can neither be cloyed with continuance thereof, nor yet afraid that any mishap can countervail so great a treasure. This is to me such a heaven to dwell in as that I feed by day and repose by night upon the fresh record of this reward." (This, as he sayeth. he meant by the kiss that she lent him in the Gallery, and by the profession of her last letters and words.)

Well, though this answer be somewhat misty, yet let my friend's excuse be that taken upon the sudden he thought better to answer darkly than to be mistrusted openly.

Her second question was, what thing in this life did most grieve his heart and disquiet his mind, whereunto he answered that although his late rehearsed joy were incomparable, yet the greatest enemy that disturbed the same was the privy worm of his own guilty conscience, which accused him evermore with great unworthiness: and that this was his greatest grief.

The Lady, biting upon the bit at his cunning answers made unto these two questions, gan thus reply. "Servant, I had thought to have touched you yet nearer with my third question, but I will refrain to attempt your patience. And now for my third demand, answer me directly: in what manner this passion doth handle you? and how these contraries may hang together by any possibility of concord? For your words are strange."

F. I., now rousing himself boldly, took occasion thus to handle his answer. "Mistress," quoth he, "my words indeed are strange, but yet my passion is much stranger, and thereupon this other day to content mine own fantasy I devised a Sonnet, which although it be a piece of Cockerels music and such as I might be ashamed to publish in this company, yet because my truth in this answer may the better appear unto you, I pray you vouchsafe to receive the same in writing," and drawing a paper out of his packet presented it unto her, wherein was written this Sonnet.

[Nr 5] Love, hope, and death do stir in me such strife

Love, hope, and death do stir in me such strife,
As never man but I led such a life.
First, burning love doth wound my heart to death,
And when death comes at call of inward grief,
Cold lingering hope doth feed my fainting breath
Against my will, and yields my wound relief:
So that I live, but yet my life is such,
As death would never grieve me half so much.
No comfort then but only this I taste,
To salve such sore, such hope will never want,
And with such hope, such life will ever last,
And with such life, such sorrows are not scant.
Oh strange desire, O life with torments toss'd:
Through too much hope, mine only hope is lost.

even HE. F. I.

This Sonnet was highly commended, and in my judgment it deserveth no less. I have heard F. I. say that he borrowed th'invention of an Italian[12]: but, were it a translation or invention, (if I be judge) it is both pretty and pithy.

His duty thus performed, their pastimes ended; and, at their departure, for a watchword he counseled his Mistress by little and little to walk abroad, saying that the Gallery near adjoining was so pleasant, as if he were half dead he thought that by walking therein he might be half and more revived.

"Think you so, servant?" quoth she. "And the last time that I walked there I suppose I took the cause of my malady, but by your advice, and for you have so clerkly stanched my bleeding, I will assay to walk there tomorrow."

"Mistress," quoth he, "and in more full accomplishment of my duty towards you and in sure hope that you will use the same only to your own private commodity, will there await upon you, & between you & me will teach you the full order how to stanch the bleeding of any creature, whereby you shall be as cunning as myself."

"Gramercy, good servant," quoth she, "I think you lost the same in writing here yesterday, but I cannot understand it, and therefore tomorrow (if I feel myself any thing amended) I will send for you thither to instruct me thoroughly." Thus they departed.

And at supper time, the Knight of the Castle, finding fault that his guest's stomach served him no better, began to accuse the grossness of his viands. To whom one of the gentlewomen which had passed the afternoon in his company answered, "Nay sir," quoth she, "this gentleman hath a passion, the which once in a day at the least doth kill his appetite."

"Are you so well acquainted with the disposition of his body?" quoth the Lord of the house.

"By his own saying," quoth she, "& not otherwise."

"Fair Lady," quoth F. I., "you either mistook me or overheard me then, for I told of a comfortable humor which so fed me with continual remembrance of joy as that my stomach being full thereof doth desire in manner none other victuals."

"Why sir," quoth the host, "do you then live by love?"

"God forbid, Sir," quoth F. I., "for then my cheeks would be much thinner then they be, but there are divers other greater causes of joy then the doubtful lots of love, and for mine own part, to be plain, I cannot love and I dare not hate."

"I would I thought so," quoth the gentlewoman.

And thus with pretty nips they passed over their supper: which ended, the Lord of the house required F. I. to dance and pass the time with the gentlewomen, which he refused not to do. But suddenly, before the music was well tuned, came out Dame Ellinor in her night attire and said to the Lord that (supposing the solitariness of her chamber had increased her malady) she came out for her better recreation to see them dance.

"Well done, daughter," quoth the Lord.

"And I, Mistress," quoth F. I., "would gladly bestow the leading of you about this great chamber, to drive away the faintness of your fever."

"No, good servant," quoth the Lady, "but in my stead I pray you dance with this fair Gentlewoman," pointing him to the Lady that had so taken him up at supper. F. I. to avoid mistrust, did agree to her request without further entreaty. The dance begun, this Knight marched on with the Image of St.Frances in his hand, and St. Ellinor in his heart.

The violins at end of the pavan stayed a while, in which time this Dame said to F. I. on this wise: "I am right sorry for you in two respects, although the familiarity have hitherto had no great continuance between us, and as I do lament your case, so do I rejoice (for mine own contentation) that I shall now see a due trial of the experiment which I have long desired."

This said, she kept silence. When F. I. (somewhat astonied with her strange speech) thus answered: "Mistress, although I cannot conceive the meaning of your words, yet by courtesy I am constrained to yield you thanks for your good will, the which appeareth no less in lamenting of mishaps than in rejoicing at good fortune. What experiment you mean to try by me, I know not, but I dare assure you that my skill in experiments is very simple."

Herewith the Instruments sounded a new Measure, and they passed forthwards, leaving to talk until the noise ceased: which done, the gentlewoman replied. "I am sorry sir, that you did erewhile deny love and all his laws, and that in so open audience."

"Not so," quoth F. I., "but as the word was roundly taken, so can I readily answer it by good reason."

"Well," quoth she, "how if the hearers will admit no reasonable answer?"

"My reason shall yet be nevertheless," quoth he, "in reasonable judgment." Herewith she smiled, and he cast a glance towards dame Ellinor askance, as who sayeth art thou pleased?

Again the viols called them forthwards, and again at the end of the braule said F. I. to this gentlewoman: "I pray you, Mistress, and what may be the second cause of your sorrow sustained in my behalf?"

"Nay, soft," quoth she, "percase I have not yet told you the first. But content yourself, for the second cause you shall never know at my hands until I see due trial of the experiment which I have long desired."

"Why then," quoth he, "I can but wish a present occasion to bring the same to effect, to the end that I might also understand the mystery of your meaning."

"And so might you fail of your purpose," quoth she, "for I mean to be better assured of him that shall know the depth of mine intent in such a secret than I do suppose that any creature (one except) may be of you."

"Gentlewoman," quoth he, "you speak Greek, the which I have now forgotten, and mine instructors are too far from me at this present to expound your words."

"Or else too near," quoth she, and so, smiling, stayed her talk when the music called them to another dance.

Which ended, F. I. half afraid of false suspect, and more amazed at this strange talk, gave over, and bringing Mistress Frances to her place was thus saluted by his Mistress. "Servant," quoth she, "I had done you great wrong to have danced with you, considering that this gentlewoman and you had former occasion of so weighty conference."

"Mistress," said F. I., "you had done me great pleasure, for by our conference I have but brought my brains in a busy conjecture."

"I doubt not," said his Mistress, "but you will end that business easily."

"It is hard," said F. I., "to end the thing whereof yet I have found no beginning."

His Mistress with change of countenance kept silence, whereat dame Frances, rejoicing, cast out this bone to gnaw on. "I perceive," quoth she,"it is evil to halt before a Cripple."[13]

F. I. perceiving now that his Mistress waxed angry, thought good on her behalf thus to answer: "And it is evil to hop before them that run for the Bell."

His Mistress replied, "And it is evil to hang the Bell at their heels which are always running."

The Lord of the Castle, overhearing these proper quips, rose out of his chair, and coming towards F. I.required him to dance a Galliard.

"Sir," said F. I., "I have hitherto at your appointment but walked about the house. Now, if you be desirous to see one tumble a turn or twain, it is like enough that I might provoke you to laugh at me. But in good faith, my dancing days are almost done, and therefore, sir," quoth he, "I pray you speak to them that are more nimble at tripping on the toe."

Whilst he was thus saying, dame Ellinor had made her Congé and was now entering the door of her chamber, when F. I., all amazed at her sudden departure, followed to take leave of his Mistress: but she, more then angry, refused to hear his good night, and entering her chamber caused her maid to clap the door.

F. I. with heavy cheer returned to his company, and Mistress Frances, to touch his sore with a corrosive, said to him softly in this wise. "Sir, you may now perceive that this our country cannot allow the French manner of dancing, for they (as I have heard tell) do more commonly dance to talk then entreat to dance."

F. I. hoping to drive out one nail with another[14], and thinking this a mean most convenient to suppress all jealous supposes, took Mistress Frances by the hand and with a heavy smile answered, "Mistress, and I (because I have seen the French manner of dancing) will eftsoons entreat you to dance a Barginet."

"What mean you by this?" quoth Mistress Frances.

"If it please you to follow," quoth he, "you shall see that I can jest without joy, and laugh without lust," and calling the musicians, caused them softly to sound the Tinternell, when he clearing his voice did Alla Napolitana[15] apply these verses following unto the measure:

 [Nr 6] In prime of lusty years, when Cupid caught me in

In prime of lusty years, when Cupid caught me in,
And nature taught the way to love, how I might best begin:
To please my wand'ring eye in beauties tickle trade,
To gaze on each that passed by, a careless sport I made.

With sweet enticing bait, I fish'd for many a dame,
And warmed me by many a fire, yet felt I not the flame:
But when at last I spied the face that please me most,
The coals were quick, the wood was dry, & I began to toast.

And smiling yet full oft, I have beheld that face,
When in my heart I might bewail mine own unlucky case:
And oft again with looks that might bewray my grief,
I pleaded hard for just reward, and sought to find relief.

What will you more? So oft my gazing eyes did seek
To see the Rose and Lily strive upon that lively cheek,
Till at the last I spied and by good proof I found
That in that face was painted plain the piercer of my wound.

Then, all too late aghast, I did my foot retire,
And sought with secret sighs to quench my greedy scalding fire:
But lo, I did prevail as much to guide my will,
As he that seeks with halting heel to hop against the hill.

Or as the feeble sight would search the sunny beam,
Even so I found but labor lost to strive against the stream.
Then gan I thus resolve, since liking forced love,
Should I mislike my happy choice before I did it prove?

And since none other joy I had but her to see,
Should I retire my deep desire? No, no, it would not be:
Though great the duty were, that she did well deserve,
And I poor man, unworthy am so worthy a wight to serve.

Yet hope my comfort stay'd, that she would have regard
To my good will that nothing crav'd but like for just reward:
I see the Falcon gent sometimes will take delight
To seek the solace of her wing and dally with a kite.

The fairest Wolf will choose the foulest for her make,
And why? because he doth endure most sorrow for her sake.
Even so had I like hope when doleful days were spent,
When weary words were wasted well, to open true entent.

When floods of flowing tears had wash'd my weeping eyes,
When trembling tongue had troubled her with loud lamenting cries,
At last her worthy will would pity this my plaint
And comfort me, her own poor slave, whom fear had made so faint.
Wherefore I made a vow the stony rock should start
Ere I presume to let her slip out of my faithful heart.


And when she saw by proof the pith of my good will,
She took in worth this simple song, for want of better skill.
And as my just deserts her gentle heart did move,
She was content to answer thus: I am content to love.

F. I.

These verses are more in number than do stand with contentation of some judgments, and yet, the occasion thoroughly considered, I can commend them with the rest, for it is (as may be well termed)continua oratio, declaring a full discourse of his first love: wherein (over and besides that the Epithets are aptly applied & the verse of itself pleasant enough) I note that by it he meant in clouds to decipher unto Mistress Frances such matter as she would snatch at, and yet could take no good hold of the same. Furthermore, it answered very aptly to the note which the music sounded, as the skilful reader by due trial may approve.

This singing dance or dancing song ended, Mistress Frances, giving due thanks, seemed weary also of the company, and proffering to depart, gave yet this farewell to F. I., not vexed by choler, but pleased with contentation, and called away by heavy sleep: "I am constrained," quoth she, "to bid you good night," and so turning to the rest of the company, took her leave.

Then the Master of the house commanded a torch to light F. I. to his lodging, where (as I have heard him say) the sudden change of his Mistress' countenance together with the strangeness of Mistress Frances'talk made such an encounter in his mind that he could take no rest that night: wherefore in the morning rising very early, although it were far before his Mistress' hour, he cooled his choler by walking in the Gallery near to her lodging, and there in this passion compiled these verses following:

[Nr 7] A cloud of care hath cov'red all my coast

A cloud of care hath cov'red all my coast[18]
And storms of strife do threaten to appear;
The waves of woe which I mistrusted most
Have broke the banks wherein my life lay clear;
Chips of ill chance are fallen amid my choice
To mar the mind that meant for to rejoice.

Before I sought, I found the haven of hap
Wherein (once found) I sought to shroud my ship,
But low'ring love hath lift me from her lap
And crabbed lot begins to hang the lip.
The drops of dark mistrust do fall so thick,
They pierce my coat and touch my skin at quick.

What may be said, where truth cannot prevail?
What plea may serve, where will itself is judge?
What reason rules, where right and reason fail?
Remediless then, must the guiltless trudge
And seek out care to be the carving knife
To cut the thread that ling'reth such a life.

F. I.

This is but a rough meter, and reason, for it was devised in great disquiet of mind and written in rage, yet have I seen much worse pass the musters, yea, and where both the Lieutenant and Provost Marshall were men of ripe judgment[19]: and as it is I pray you let it pass here, for the truth is that F. I. himself had so slender liking thereof, or at least of one word escaped therein, that he never presented it -- but to the matter.

When he had long (and all in vain) looked for the coming of his Mistress into her appointed walk, he wand'red into the park near adjoining to the Castle wall, where his chance was to meet Mistress Francesaccompanied with one other Gentlewoman, by whom he passed with a reverence of curtsy: and so walking on, came into the side of a thicket, where he sat down under a tree to allay his sadness with solitariness.

Mistress Frances, partly of courtesy and affection, and partly to content her mind by continuance of such talk as they had commenced over night, entreated her companion to go with her unto this tree of reformation, whereas they found the Knight with his arms unfolded in a heavy kind of contemplation, unto whom Mistress Frances stepped apace (right softly) & at unwares gave this salutation. "I little thought Sir Knight," quoth she, "by your evensong yesternight to have found you presently at such a morrow mass, but I perceive you serve your Saint with double devotion; and I pray God grant you treble meed for your true intent."

F. I., taken thus upon the sudden, could none otherwise answer but thus: "I told you, Mistress," quoth he, "that I could laugh without lust and jest without joy." And there withal starting up, with a more bold countenance came towards the Dames, proffering unto them his service, to wait upon them homewards.

"I have heard say oft times," quoth Mistress Frances, "that it is hard to serve two Masters at one time, but we will be right glad of your company."

"I thank you," quoth F. I., and so, walking on with them, fell into sundry discourses, still refusing to touch any part of their former communication, until Mistress Frances said unto him:

"By my troth," quoth she, "I would be your debtor these two days, to answer me truly but unto one question that I will propound."

"Fair Gentlewoman," quoth he, "you shall not need to become my debtor, but if it please you to quit question by question, I will be more ready to gratify you in this request than either reason requireth or than you would be willing to work my contentation."

"Master F. I.," quoth she, & that sadly, "peradventure you know but a little how willing I would be to procure your contentation. But you know that hitherto familiarity hath taken no deep root betwixt us twain. And though I find in you no manner of cause whereby I might doubt to commit this or greater matter unto you, yet have I stayed hitherto so to do in doubt least you might thereby justly condemn me both of arrogancy and lack of discretion, wherewith I must yet foolishly affirm that I have with great pain bridled my tongue from disclosing the same unto you. Such is then the good will that I bear towards you, the which if you rather judge to be impudency than a friendly meaning, I may then curse the hour that I first concluded thus to deal with you."

Herewithal being now red for chaste bashfulness, she abased her eyes and stayed her talk, to whom F. I.thus answered: "Mistress Frances, if I should with so exceeding villainy requite such and so exceeding courtesy, I might not only seem to degenerate from all gentry but also to differ in behavior from all the rest of my life spent: wherefore to be plain with you in few words, I think myself so much bound unto you for divers respects, as if ability do not fail me, you shall find me mindful in requital of the same: and for disclosing your mind to me, you may if so please you adventure it without adventure, for by this Sun," quoth he, "I will not deceive such trust as you shall lay upon me, and furthermore, so far forth as I may, I will be yours in any respect: wherefore I beseech you accept me for your faithful friend, and so shall you surely find me."

"Not so," quoth she, "but you shall be my Trust, if you vouchsafe the name, and I will be to you as you shall please to term me."

"My Hope," quoth he, "if you so be pleased."

And thus agreed they two walked apart from the other Gentlewoman, and fell into sad talk, wherein Mistress Frances did very courteously declare unto him, that indeed, one cause of her sorrow sustained in his behalf was that he had said so openly over night that he could not love, for she perceived very well the affection between him and Madame Ellinor, and she was also advertised that Dame Ellinor stood in the portal of her chamber hearkening to the talk that they had at supper that night, wherefore she seemed to be sorry that such a word (rashly escaped) might become great hindrance unto his desire: but a greater cause of her grief was (as she declared) that his hap was to bestow his liking so unworthily, for she seemed to accuse Dame Ellinor for the most unconstant woman living.

In full proof whereof, she bewrayed unto F. I. how she the same Dame Ellinor, had of long time been yielded to the Minion Secretary whom I have before described, "in whom though there be," quoth she, "no one point of worthiness, yet shameth she not to use him as her dearest friend, or rather her holiest Idol," and that this not withstanding, Dame Ellinor had been also sundry times won to choice of change, as she named unto F. I. two Gentlemen, whereof the one was named H. D. and that other H. K., by whom she was during sundry times of their several abode in those parts entreated to like courtesy, for these causes the Dame Frances seemed to mislike F. I.'s choice, and to lament that she doubted in process of time to see him abused.

The experiment she meant was this: for that she thought F. I. (I use her words) a man in every respect very worthy to have the several use of a more commodious common[20], she hoped now to see if his enclosure thereof might be defensible against her said Secretary, and such like. These things and divers other of great importance this courteous Lady Frances did friendly disclose unto F. I., and furthermore did both instruct and advise him how to proceed in his enterprise.

Now to make my talk good, and lest the Reader might be drawn in a jealous suppose of this LadyFrances, I must let you understand that she was unto F. I. a kinswoman, a virgin of rare chastity, singular capacity, notable modesty, and excellent beauty: and though F. I. had cast his affection on the other (being a married woman), yet was there in their beauties no great difference: but in all other good gifts a wonderful diversity, as much as might be between constancy & flitting fantasy, between womanly countenance & girlish garishness, between hot dissimulation & temperate fidelity. Now, if any man will curiously ask the question why F. I. should choose the one and leave the other, over and besides the common proverb So many men so many minds, thus may be answered: We see by common experience that the highest flying falcon doth more commonly prey upon the corn fed crow & the simple shiftless dove than on the mounting kite. And why? Because the one is overcome with less difficulty then that other.

Thus much in defense of this Lady Frances & to excuse the choice of my friend F. I., who thought himself now no less beholding to good fortune to have found such a trusty friend then bounden to Dame Venusto have won such a Mistress.

And to return unto my pretence, understand you that F. I. (being now with these two fair Ladies come very near the castle) grew in some jealous doubt (as on his own behalf) whether he were best to break company or not. When his assured Hope, perceiving the same, gan thus recomfort him: "Good sir," quoth she, "if you trusted your trusty friends, you should not need thus cowardly to stand in dread of your friendly enemies."

"Well said, in faith," quoth F. I., "and I must confess, you were in my bosom before I wist; but yet I have heard said often that in trust is treason."

"Well spoken for yourself," quoth his Hope.

F. I., now remembering that he had but erewhile taken upon him the name of her Trust, came home per misericordiam[21], when his Hope, entering the Castle gate, caught hold of his lap and half by force led him by the gallery unto his Mistress chamber, whereas after a little dissembling disdain, he was at last by the good help of his Hope right thankfully received. And for his Mistress was now ready to dine, he was therefore for that time arrested there & a supersedias sent into the great chamber unto the Lord of the house, who expected his coming out of the park.

The dinner ended, & he thoroughly contented both with welfare & welcome, they fell into sundry devices of pastime. At last F. I. taking into his hand a Lute that lay on his Mistress bed, did unto the note of theVenetian galliard apply the Italian ditty written by the worthy Bradamant unto the noble Rugier (asAriosto hath it, Rugier qual semper fui, &c.[22]). But his Mistress could not be quiet until she heard him repeat the Tinternell which he used over night, the which F. I. refused not; at end whereof his Mistress thinking now she had showed herself too earnest to use any further dissimulation, especially perceiving the toward inclination of her servant's Hope, fell to flat plain dealing, and walking to the window, called her servant apart unto her, of whom she demanded secretly & in sad earnest, who devised thisTinternell?

"My Father's sister's brother's son," quoth F. I..

His Mistress laughing right heartily, demanded yet again, by whom the same was figured.

"By a niece to an Aunt of yours, Mistress," quoth he.

"Well then, servant," quoth she, "I swear unto you here by my Father's soul, that my mother's youngest daughter doth love your father's eldest son above any creature living."

F. I. hereby recomforted, gan thus reply. "Mistress, though my father's eldest son be far unworthy of so noble a match, yet since it pleaseth her so well to accept him, I would thus much say behind his back, that your mother's daughter hath done him some wrong."

"& wherein, servant?" quoth she.

"By my troth, Mistress," quoth he, "it is not yet 20 hours since without touch of breast she gave him such a nip by the heart as did altogether bereave him his night's rest with the bruise thereof."

"Well, servant," quoth she, "content yourself, and for your sake, I will speak to her to provide him a plaster, the which I myself will apply to his hurt. And to the end it may work the better with him, I will purvey a lodging for him where hereafter he may sleep at more quiet." This said, the rosy hue destained her sickly cheeks, and she returned to the company, leaving F. I. ravished between hope and dread, as one that could neither conjecture the meaning of her mystical words nor assuredly trust unto the knot of her sliding affections.

When the Lady Frances coming to him demanded, "What? dream you sir?"

"Yea, marry, do I, fair Lady," quoth he.

"And what was your dream, sir," quoth she?

"I dreamt," quoth F. I., "that walking in a pleasant garden garnished with sundry delights, my hap was to espy hanging in the air a hope wherein I might well behold the aspects and face of the heavens, and calling to remembrance the day and hour of my nativity, I did thereby (according to my small skill in Astronomy) try the conclusions of mine adventures."

"And what found you therein," quoth dame Frances?

"You awaked me out of my dream," quoth he, "or else peradventure you should not have known."

"I believe you well," quoth the Lady Frances, and laughing at his quick answer brought him by the hand unto the rest of his company: where he tarried not long before his gracious Mistress bade him to fare well and to keep his hour there again when he should by her be summoned.

Hereby F. I. passed the rest of that day in hope awaiting the happy time when his Mistress should send for him. Supper time came and passed over, and not long after came the handmaid of the Lady Ellinor into the great chamber, desiring F. I. to repair unto their Mistress, the which he willingly accomplished: and being now entered into her chamber, he might perceive his Mistress in her nights attire preparing herself towards bed, to whom F. I. said: "Why how now, Mistress? I had thought this night to have seen you dance (at least or at last) amongst us?"

"By my troth, good servant," quoth she, "I adventured so soon unto the great chamber yesternight that I find myself somewhat sickly disposed, and therefore do strain courtesy, as you see, to go the sooner to my bed this night. But before I sleep," quoth she, "I am to charge you with a matter of weight," and taking him apart from the rest, declared that (as that present night) she would talk with him more at large in the gallery near adjoining to her chamber.

Here upon F. I., discretely dissimuling his joy, took his leave and returned into the great chamber, where he had not long continued before the Lord of the Castle commanded a torch to light him unto his lodging, whereas he prepared himself and went to bed, commanding his servant also to go to his rest.

And when he thought as well his servant as the rest of the household to be safe, he arose again, & taking his nightgown, did under the same convey his naked sword[23], and so walked to the gallery, where he found his good Mistress walking in her nightgown and attending his coming. The Moon was now at the full, the skies clear, and the weather temperate, by reason whereof he might the more plainly and with the greater contentation behold his long desired joys, and spreading his arms abroad to embrace his loving Mistress, he said: "Oh, my dear Lady, when shall I be able with any desert to countervail the least part of this your bountiful goodness?"

The dame (whether it were of fear indeed, or that the wiliness of womanhood had taught her to cover her conceits with some fine dissimulation) stert back from the Knight, and shrieking (but softly), said unto him, "Alas, servant, what have I deserved, that you come against me with naked sword as against an open enemy?"

F. I. perceiving her intent, excused himself, declaring that he brought the same for their defense & not to offend her in any wise. The Lady being therewith somewhat appeased, they began with more comfortable gesture to expel the dread of the said late affright, and sithens to become bolder of behavior, more familiar in speech, & most kind in accomplishing of common comfort.

But why hold I so long discourse in describing the joys which (for lack of like experience) I cannot set out to the full? Were it not that I know to whom I write, I would the more beware what I write. F. I. was a man, and neither of us are senseless, and therefore I should slander him (over and besides a greater obloquy to the whole genealogy of Enaeas) if I should imagine that of tender heart he would forbear to express her more tender limbs against the hard floor. Sufficed that of her courteous nature she was content to accept boards for a bead of down, mats for Cambric sheets, and the nightgown of F. I. for a counterpoint to cover them, and thus with calm content in stead of quiet sleep, they beguiled the night, until the proudest star began to abandon the firmament, when F. I. and his Mistress, were constrained also to abandon their delights, and with ten thousand sweet kisses and straight embracings did frame themselves to play loath to depart.

Well, remedy was there none, but dame Ellinor must return unto her chamber, and F. I. must also convey himself (as closely as might be) into his chamber, the which was hard to do, the day being so far sprung and he having a large base court to pass over before he could recover his stair foot door. And though he were not much perceived, yet the Lady Frances, being no less desirous to see an issue of these enterprises then F. I. was willing to cover them in secrecy, did watch, & even at the entering of his chamber door, perceived the point of his naked sword glist'ring under the skirt of his night gown: whereat she smiled & said to her self, this gear goeth well about.

Well, F. I. having now recovered his chamber, he went to bed, & there let him sleep, as his Mistress did on that other side. Although the Lady Frances being thoroughly tickled now in all the veins, could not enjoy such quiet rest, but arising, took another gentlewoman of the house with her and walked into the park to take the fresh air of the morning. They had not long walked there, but they returned, and thoughF. I. had not yet slept sufficiently for one which had so far travailed in the night past, yet they went into his chamber to raise him, and coming to his beds side, found him fast on sleep.

"Alas," quoth that other gentlewoman, "it were pity to awake him."

"Even so it were," quoth dame Frances, "but we will take away somewhat of his, whereby he may perceive that we were here," and looking about the chamber, his naked sword presented itself to the hands of dame Frances, who took it with her, and softly shutting his chamber door again, went down the stairs and recovered her own lodging in good order and unperceived of any body, saving only that other gentlewoman which accompanied her.

At the last, F. I. awaked, and appareling himself, walked out also to take the air, and being thoroughly recomforted as well with remembrance of his joys forepassed, as also with the pleasant harmony which the Birds made on every side and the fragrant smell of the redolent flowers and blossoms which budded on every branch, he did in these delights compile these verses following.

The occasion (as I have heard him rehearse) was by encounter that he had with his Lady by light of the moon: and forasmuch as the moon in midst of their delights did vanish away, or was overspread with a cloud, thereupon he took the subject of his theme. And thus it ensueth, called "A Moonshine Banquet." [24]

[Nr 8] Dame Cynthia herself that shines so bright

Dame Cynthia herself (that shines so bright
And deigneth not to leave her lofty place
But only then when Phoebus shows his face,
Which is her brother born and lends her light)
Disdain'd not yet to do my Lady right,
To prove that in such heavenly wights as she,
It sitteth best that right and reason be.
For when she spied my Ladies golden rays,
Into the clouds
Her head she shrouds
And shamed to shine where she her beams displays.

Good reason yet that to my simple skill,
I should the name of Cynthia adore,
By whose high help I might behold the more
My Lady's lovely looks at mine own will,
With deep content to gaze, and gaze my fill:
Of courtesy and not of dark disdain,
Dame Cynthia disclos'd my Lady plain.
She did but lend her light (as for a light)
With friendly grace
To show her face
That else would show and shine in her despite.

Dan Phoebus he with many a low'ring look,
Had her beheld of yore in angry wise:
And when he could none other mean devise
To stain her name, this deep deceit he took
To be the bait that best might hide his hook:
Into her eyes his parching beams he cast,
To scorch their skins that gaz'd on her full fast:
Whereby when many a man was sunburnt so,
They thought my Queen
The sun had been,
With scalding flames which wrought them all that woe.

And thus when many a look had lookt so long,
As that their eyes were dim and dazzled both,
Some fainting hearts that were both lewd and loath
To look again from whence the error sprong,
Gan close their eye for fear of further wrong:
And some again once drawn into the maze,
Gan lewdly blame the beams of beauties blaze:
But I with deep foresight did soon espy
How Phoebus meant
By false intent
To slander so her name with cruelty.

Wherefore at better leisure thought I best
To try the treason of his treachery:
And to exalt my Ladies dignity
When Phoebus fled and drew him down to rest
Amid the waves that walter in the west.
I gan behold this lovely Ladies face
Whereon dame nature spent her gifts of grace,
And found therein no parching heat at all,
But such bright hue
As might renew
An Angel's joys in reign celestial.

The courteous Moon that wisht to do me good
Did shine to show my dame more perfectly,
But when she saw her passing jollity,
The Moon for shame did blush as red as blood
And shrunk aside and kept her horns in hood:
So that now when Dame Cynthia was gone,
I might enjoy my Ladies looks alone,
Yet honored still the Moon with true intent:
Who taught us skill
To work our will
And gave us place till all the night was spent.

F. I.


This Ballad, or howsoever I shall term it, percase you will not like, and yet in my judgment it hath great good store of deep invention, and for the order of the verse, it is not common, I have not heard many of like proportion. Some will account it but a dyddeldeme: but who so had heard F. I. sing it to the lute by a note of his own devise, I suppose he would esteem it to be a pleasant diddeldome, and for my part, if I were not partial, I would say more in commendation of it than now I mean to do, leaving it to your and like judgments.

And now to return to my tale, by that time that F. I. returned out of the park, it was dinner time, and at dinner they all met, I mean both dame Ellinor, dame Frances, and F. I.. I leave to describe that the LadyFrances was gorgeously attired and set forth with very brave apparel, and Madame Ellinor only in her night gown girt to her, with a coif trimmed Alla Piedmonteze, on the which she wore a little cap crossed over the crown with two bends of yellow Sarcenet or Cypress, in the midst whereof she had placed, of her own handwriting, in paper this word, Contented. This attire pleased her then to use, and could not have displeased Mistress Frances, had she not been more privy to the cause than to the thing itself: at least the Lord of the Castle (of ignorance) and dame Frances (of great temperance) let it pass without offence. At dinner, because the one was pleased with all former reckonings, and the other made privy to the account, there passed no word of taunt or grudge, but omnia bene.[25]

After dinner, dame Ellinor being no less desirous to have F. I. company than dame Frances was to take him in some pretty trip, they began to question how they might best pass the day: the Lady Ellinorseemed desirous to keep her chamber, but Mistress Frances for another purpose seemed desirous to ride abroad thereby to take the open air. They agreed to ride a mile or twain for solace, and requested F. I.to accompany them, the which willingly granted.

Each one parted from other to prepare themselves, and now began the sport, for when F. I. was booted, his horses saddled, and he ready to ride, he gan miss his Rapier. Whereat all astonied he began to blame his man, but blame whom he would, found it could not be. At last, the Ladies going towards horseback called for him in the base Court and demanded if he were ready. To whom F. I. answered, "Madames, I am more than ready and yet not so ready as I would be," and immediately taking himself in trip, he thought best to utter no more of his conceit, but in haste more than good speed mounted his horse, & coming toward the dames presented himself, turning, bounding, & taking up his courser to the uttermost of his power in bravery. After suffering his horse to breathe himself, he gan also allay his own choler, & to the dames he said, "Fair Ladies, I am ready when it pleaseth you to ride where so you command."

"How ready soever you be, servant," quoth dame Ellinor, "it seemeth your horse is readier at your command then at ours."

"If he be at my command, Mistress," quoth he, "he shall be at yours."

"Gramercy, good servant," quoth she, "but my meaning is that I fear he be too stirring for our company." [26]

"If he prove so, Mistress," quoth F. I., "I have here a soberer palfrey to serve you on."

The Dames being mounted, they rode forthwards by the space of a mile or very near, and F. I. (whether it were of his horse's courage or his own choler) came not so near them as they wished. At last the LadyFrances said unto him, "Master I., you said that you had a soberer horse, which if it be so, we would be glad of your company. But I believe by your countenance, your horse & you are agreed."

F. I., alighting, called his servant, changed horses with him, and overtaking the Dames, said to MistressFrances: "And why do you think, fair Lady, that my horse and I are agreed?"

"Because by your countenance," quoth she, "it seemeth your patience is stirred."

"In good faith," quoth F. I., "you have guessed a right, but not with any of you."

"Then we care the less, servant," quoth Dame Ellinor.

"By my troth, Mistress," quoth F. I. (looking well about him that none might hear but they two), "it is with my servant, who hath lost my sword out of my chamber."

Dame Ellinor, little remembering the occasion, replied, "It is no matter, servant," quoth she, "you shall hear of it again, I warrant you, and presently we ride in God's peace and I trust shall have no need of it."

"Yet Mistress," quoth he, "a weapon serveth both uses, as well to defend as to offend."

"Now by my troth," quoth Dame Frances, "I have now my dream, for I dreamt this night that I was in a pleasant meadow alone, where I met with a tall Gentleman apparelled in a nightgown of silk all embroidered about with a guard of naked swords, and when he came towards me I seemed to be afraid of him, but he recomforted me saying, 'Be not afraid fair Lady, for I use this garment only for mine own defense: and in this sort went that warlike God Mars what time he taught dame Venus to make Vulcan a hammer of the new fashion.' [27] Notwithstanding these comfortable words, the fright of the dream awaked me, and sithens unto this hour I have not slept at all."

"And what time of the night dreamt you this?" quoth F. I.

"In the grey morning, about dawning of the day. But why ask you?" quoth dame Frances.

F. I. with a great sigh answered, "Because that dreams are to be marked more at some hour of the night then at some other."

"Why are you so cunning at the interpretation of dreams, servant?" quoth the Lady Ellinor.

"Not very cunning, Mistress," quoth F. I., "but guess, like a young scholar."

The dames continued in these and like pleasant talks: but F. I. could not be merry, as one that esteemed the preservation of his Mistress' honor no less then the obtaining of his own delights: and yet to avoid further suspicion, he repressed his passions as much as he could.

The Lady Ellinor, more careless then considerative of her own case, pricking forwards said softly to F. I., "I had thought you had received small cause, servant, to be thus dumpish when I would be merry."

"Alas, dear Mistress," quoth F. I., "it is altogether for your sake that I am pensive."

Dame Frances with courtesy withdrew herself and gave them leave. When as F. I. declared unto his Mistress that his sword was taken out of his chamber, and that he dreaded much by the words of the Lady Frances that she had some understanding of the matter.

Dame Ellinor now calling to remembrance what had passed the same night, at the first was abashed, but immediately (for these women be readily witted) cheered her servant and willed him to commit unto her the salving of that sore. Thus they passed the rest of the way in pleasant talk with dame Frances, and so returned towards the Castle where F. I. suffered the two dames to go together, and he alone unto his chamber to bewail his own misgovernment.

But dame Ellinor (whether it were according to old custom or by wily policy) found mean that night that the sword was conveyed out of Mistress Frances' chamber and brought unto hers, and after redelivery of it unto F. I., she warned him to be more wary from that time forthwards.

Well, I dwell too long upon these particular points in discoursing this trifling history, but that the same is the more apt mean of introduction to the verses which I mean to rehearse unto you, and I think you will not disdain to read my conceit with his invention about declaration of his comedy. The next that ever F. I. wrote then upon any adventure happened between him and this fair Lady, was this, as I have heard him say, and upon this occasion. After he grew more bold & better acquainted with his Mistress' disposition, he adventured one Friday in the morning to go unto her chamber, and thereupon wrote as followeth, which he termed "A Friday's Breakfast."

[Nr 9] That selfsame day, and of that day that hour

That selfsame day, and of that day that hour,
When she doth reign that mockt Vulcan the Smith
And thought it meet to harbor in her bower,
Some gallant guest for her to dally with.
That blessed hour, that blist and happy day,
I thought it meet with hasty steppes to go:
Unto the lodge wherein my Lady lay,
To laugh for joy, or else to weep for woe.
And lo, my Lady of her wonted grace,
First lent her lips to me (as for a kiss)
And after that her body to embrace,
Wherein dame nature wrought nothing amiss.
What followed next, guess you that know the trade,
For in this sort, my Fridays feast I made.

F. I.

This Sonnet is short and sweet, reasonably well, according to the occasion &c.

Many days passed these two lovers with great delight, their affairs being no less politicly governed than happily achieved. And surely I have heard F. I. affirm in sad earnest that he did not only love her, but was furthermore so ravished in Ecstasies with continual remembrance of his delights that he made an Idol of her in his inward conceit. So seemeth it by this challenge to beauty[29], which he wrote in her praise and upon her name.

[Nr 10] Beauty, shut up thy shop and truss up all thy trash

Beauty, shut up thy shop and truss up all thy trash,
My Nell hath stolen thy finest stuff & left thee in the lash:
Thy market now is marred, thy gains are gone, god wot,
Thou hast no ware that may compare with this that I have got.
As for thy painted pale, and wrinkles surfled up,
Are dear enough for such as lust to drink of ev'ry cup.
Thy bodies bolst'red out with bombast and with bags,
Thy rolls, thy Ruffs, thy cauls, thy coifs, thy jerkins & thy jags,
Thy curling and thy cost, thy friesling & thy fare,
To Court, to court with all those toys & there set forth such ware
Before their hungry eyes that gaze on every gest,
And choose the cheapest chaffer still to please their fancy best.
But I whose stedfast eyes could never cast a glance
With wand'ring look amid the press to take my choice, by chance
Have won by due desert a piece that hath no peer
And left the rest as refuse all to serve the market there.
There let him choose that list, there catch the best who can:
A painted blazing bait may serve to choke a gazing man,
But I have slipt thy flower that freshest is of hue,
I have thy corn, go sell thy chaff, I list to seek no new.
The windows of mine eyes are glaz'd with such delight
As each new face seems full of faults that blazeth in my sight.
And not without just cause I can compare her so;
Lo, here, my glove, I challenge him that can or dare say no.
Let Theseus come with club, or Paris brag with brand,
To prove how fair their Helen was that scourg'd the Grecian land,
Let mighty Mars himself, come armed to the field
And vaunt dame Venus to defend with helmet, spear & shield:
This hand that had good hap my Helen to embrace
Shall have like luck to foil her foes & daunt them with disgrace,
And cause them to confess by verdict and by oath
How far her lovely looks do stain the beauties of them both,
And that my Helen is more fair then Paris' wife,
And doth deserve more famous praise then Venus for her life.
Which if I not perform, my life then let me leese,
Or else be bound in chains of change to beg for beauties fees.

F. I.

By this challenge, I guess that either he was then in an ecstasy or else sure I am now in a lunacy, for it is a proud challenge made to Beauty herself and all her companions, and imagining that Beauty having a shop where she uttered her wares of all sundry sorts, his Lady had stolen the finest away, leaving none behind her but painting, bolstering, forcing, and such like, the which in his rage he judgeth good enough to serve the Court. And thereupon grew a great quarrel when these verses were by the negligence of his Mistress dispersed into sundry hands, and so at last to the reading of a Courtier.

Well, F. I. had his desire if his Mistress liked them, but as I have heard him declare, she grew in jealousy that the same were not written by her, because her name was Ellinor and not Helen. And about this point have been divers and sundry opinions, for this and divers other of his most notable Poems have come to view of the world, although altogether without his consent. And some have attributed this praise unto aHelen, who deserved not so well as this dame Ellinor should seem to deserve by the relation of F. I., and yet never a barrel of good herring between them both.[31] But that other Helen, because she was and is of so base condition as may deserve no manner commendation in any honest judgment, therefore I will excuse my friend F. I. and adventure my pen in his behalf, that he would never bestow verse of so mean a subject. And yet some of his acquaintance, being also acquainted (better than I) that F. I. was sometimes acquainted with Helen, have stood in argument with me, that it was written by Helen and not by Ellinor. Well, F. I. told me himself that it was written by this dame Ellinor, and that unto her he thus alleged, that he took it all for one name, or at least he never read of any Ellinor such matter as might sound worthy like commendation for beauty. And indeed, considering that it was in the first beginning of his writings, as then he was no writer of any long continuance, comparing also the time that such reports do spread of his acquaintance with Helen, it cannot be written less then six or seven years before he knew Helen. Marry, peradventure if there were any acquaintance between F. I. and that Helen afterwards (the which I dare not confess), he might adapt it to her name and so make it serve both their turns, as elder lovers have done before and still do and will do world without end. Amen.

Well, by whom he wrote it, I know not, but once I am sure that he wrote it, for he is no borrower of inventions, and this is all that I mean to prove, as one that send you his verses by stealth and do him double wrong to disclose unto any man the secret causes why they were devised, but this for your delight I do adventure, and to return to the purpose, he sought more certainly to please his MistressEllinor with this Sonnet written in her praise as followeth.

[Nr 11] The stately Dames of Rome their Pearls did wear

The stately Dames of Rome their Pearls did wear
About their necks to beautify their name,
But she (whom I do serve) her pearls doth bear
Close in her mouth, and smiling shows the same.
No wonder then, though ev'ry word she speaks
A jewel seems in judgment of the wise,
Since that her sug'red tongue the passage breaks
Between two rocks bedeckt with pearls of price.
Her hair of gold, her front of Ivory,
A bloody heart within so white a breast,
Her teeth of Pearl, lips Ruby, crystal eye,
Needs must I honor her above the rest,
Since she is formed of none other mold
But Ruby, Crystal, Ivory, Pearl, and Gold.

F. I.

Of this Sonnet, I am assured that it is but a translation, for I myself have seen the invention of an Italian[32], and Master I. hath a little dilated the same, but not much besides the sense of the first, and the addition very aptly applied: wherefore I cannot condemn his doing therein. And for the Sonnet, were it not a little too much praise (as the Italians do most commonly offend in the superlative), I could the more commend it: but I hope the party to whom it was dedicated had rather it were much more than any thing less.

Well, thus these two Lovers passed many days in exceeding contentation & more than speakable pleasures, in which time F. I. did compile very many verses according to sundry occasions proffered, whereof I have not obtained the most at his hands. And the reason that he denied me the same was that (as he alleged) they were for the most part sauced with a taste of glory, as you know that in such cases, a lover being charged with inexprimable joys, and therewith enjoined both by duty and discretion to keep the same covert, can by no means devise a greater consolation than to commit it into some ciphered words and figured speeches in verse, whereby he feeleth his heart half (or more than half) eased of swelling. For as sighs are some present ease to the pensive mind, even so we find by experience that such secret entercomoning of joys doth increase delight.

I would not have you conster my words to this effect, that I think a man cannot sufficiently rejoice in the lucky lots of love unless he impart the same to others. God forbid that ever I should enter into such an heresy, for I have always been of this opinion, that as to be fortunate in love is one of the most inward contentatious to man's mind of all earthly joys: even so, if he do but once bewray the same to any living creature, immediately either dread of discovering doth bruise his breast with an intolerable burden, or else he leeseth the principal virtue which gave effect to his gladness, not unlike to a 'pothecaries pot which, being filled with sweet ointments or perfumes, doth retain in itself some scent of the same, and being poured out doth return to the former state, hard, harsh, and of small savour. So the mind being fraught with delights, as long as it can keep them secretly enclosed, may continually feed upon the pleasant record thereof, as the well willing and ready horse biteth on the bridle, but having once disclosed them to any other, straightway we lose the hidden treasure of the same and are oppressed with sundry doubtful opinions and dreadful conceits. And yet for a man to record unto himself in the inward contemplation of his mind the often remembrance of his late received joys doth, as it were, ease the heart of burden and add unto the mind a fresh supply of delight, yea, and in verse principally (as I conceive), a man may best contrive this way of comfort in himself.

Therefore, as I have said, F. I. swimming now in delights did nothing but write such verse as might accumulate his joys to the extremity of pleasure, the which for that purpose he kept from me, as one more desirous to seem obscure and defective than overmuch to glory in his adventures, especially for that in the end his hap was as heavy as hitherto he had been fortunate. Amongst other, I remembered one happened upon this occasion:

The husband of the Lady Ellinor, being all this while absent from her, gan now return, & kept Cut at home, with whom F. I. found means so to insinuate himself that familiarity took deep root between them and seldom but by stealth you could find the one out of the other's company. On a time, the knight riding on hunting, desired F. I. to accompany him, the which he could not refuse to do, but like a lusty younker, ready at all assays, apparelled himself in green, and about his neck a Bugle, pricking & galloping amongst the foremost according to the manner of that country. And it chanced that the married Knight thus galloping lost his horn, which some divines might have interpreted to be but molting, & that by Gods grace, he might have a new come up again shortly in stead of that. Well, he came to F. I., requiring him to lend him his Bugle, for (said the Knight) "I heard you not blow this day, and I would fain encourage the hounds, if I had a horn."

Quoth F. I., "Although I have not been over lavish of my coming hitherto, I would you should not doubt but that I can tell how to use a horn well enough, and yet I may little do if I may not lend you a horn," and therewithal took his Bugle from his neck and lent it to the Knight, who making in unto the hounds, gan assay to rechat: but the horn was too hard for him to wind, whereat F. I. took pleasure and said to himself, "Blow till thou break that: I made thee one within these few days that thou wilt never crack whiles thou livest." And hereupon (before the fall of the Buck) devised this Sonnet following, which at his homecoming he presented unto his Mistress.

[Nr 12] As some men say there is a kind of seed

As some men say there is a kind of seed[33]
Will grow to horns if it be sowed thick,
Wherewith I thought to try if I could breed
A brood of buds well sharped on the prick:
And by good proof of learned skill I found,
As on some special soil all seeds best frame,
So jealous brains do breed the battleground,
That best of all might serve to bear the same.
Then sought I forth to find such supple soil,
And call'd to mind thy husband had a brain,
So that percase by travail and by toil
His fruitful front might turn my seed to gain:
And as I groped in that ground to sow it,
Start up a horn, thy husband could not blow it.

F. I.

This Sonnet treateth of a strange seed, but it tasteth most of rye, which is more common amongst men nowadays. Well, let it pass amongst the rest, & he that liketh it not, turn over the leaf to another; I doubt not but in this register he may find some to content him, unless he be too curious. And here I will surcease to rehearse any more of his verses until I have expressed how that his joys, being now exalted to the highest degree, began to bend towards declination.

For now the unhappy Secretary, whom I have before remembered, was returned from London, on who F. I. had no sooner cast his eyes but immediately he fell into a great passion of mind which might be compared unto a fever. This fruit grew of the good instructions that his Hope had planted in his mind, whereby I might take just occasion to forewarn every lover how they suffer this venomous serpent jealousy to creep into their conceits: for surely, of all other diseases in love, I suppose that to be uncurable, and would hold longer discourse therein, were it not that both this tale and the verses of F. I.himself hereafter to be recited shall be sufficient to speak for me in this behalf.

The lover (as I say, upon the sudden) was droven into such a malady as no meat might nourish his body, no delights please his mind, no remembrance of joys forepassed content him, nor any hope of the like to come might recomfort him: hereat, some unto whom I have imparted this tale have take occasion to discommend his fainting heart. Yet surely, the cause inwardly & deeply considered, I cannot so lightly condemn him, for an old saying is that every man can give counsel better than follow it: and needs must the conflicts of his thoughts be strange, between the remembrance of his forepassed pleasure and the present sight of this monster whom before (for lack of like instruction) he had not so thoroughly marked and beheld.

Well, such was the grief unto him that he became sickly and kept his chamber. The Ladies having received the news thereof, gan all at once lament his misfortune, and of common consent agreed to visit him. They marched thither in good equipage, I warrant you, and found F. I. lying upon his bed languishing, who they all saluted generally, and sought to recomfort, but especially his Mistress, having in her hand a branch of willow wherewith she defended her from the hot air, gan thus say unto him: "Servant," quoth she, "for that I suppose your malady to proceed of none other cause but only slothfulness, I have brought this pretty rod to beat you a little; nothing doubting but when you feel the smart of a twig or twain, you will like a tractable young scholar pluck up your quickened spirits & cast this drowsiness apart."

F. I. with a great sigh answered: "Alas, good Mistress," quoth he, "if any like chastisement might quicken me, how much more might the presence of all you lovely Dames recomfort my dulled mind? whom to behold were sufficient to revive an eye now dazzled with the dread of death, and that not only for the heavenly aspects which you represent, but also much the more for your exceeding courtesy in that you have deigned to visit me so unworthy a servant. But good Mistress," quoth he, "as it were shame for me to confess that ever my heart could yield for fear, so I assure you that my mind cannot be content to induce infirmity by sluggish conceit. But in truth, Mistress, I am sick," quoth he, and therewithal the trembling of his heart had sent up such throbbing into his throat as that his voice (now deprived of breath) commanded the tongue to be still.

When Dame Ellinor, for compassion, distilled into tears and drew towards the window, leaving the other Gentlewomen about his bed, who being no less sorry for his grief, yet for that they were none of them so touched in their secret thoughts, they had bolder sprits and freer speech to recomfort him. Amongst the rest, the Lady Frances (who indeed loved him deeply and could best conjecture the cause of his conceits) said unto him: "Good Trust," quoth she, "if any help of Physic may cure your malady, I would not have you hurt yourself with these doubts which you seem to retain. If choice of Diet may help, behold us here (your cooks) ready to minister all things needful. If company may drive away your annoy, we mean not to leave you solitary. If grief of mind be cause of your infirmity, we all here will offer our devoir to turn it into joy. If mishap have given you cause to fear or dread any thing, remember Hope, which never faileth to recomfort an afflicted mind. And good Trust," quoth she, distraining his hand right heartily, "let this simple proof of our poor good wills be so accepted of you as that it may work thereby the effect of our desires."

F. I. (as one in a trance) had marked very little of her courteous talk, and yet gave her thanks, and so held his peace. Whereat the Ladies being all amazed, there became a silence in the chamber on all sides. Dame Ellinor, fearing thereby that she might the more easily be espied, and having now dried up her tears, returned to F. I., recomforting him by all possible means of common courtesy, promising that since in her sickness he had not only stanched her bleeding, but also by his gentle company and sundry devices of honest pastime had driven away the pensiveness of her mind, she thought herself bound with like willingness to do her best in any thing that might restore his health; and taking him by the hand, said further: "Good servant, if thou bear indeed any true affection to thy poor Mistress, start upon thy feet again and let her enjoy thine accustomed service to her comfort; for sure," quoth she, "I will never leave to visit this chamber once in a day until I may have thee down with me."

F. I., hearing the hearty words of his Mistress and perceiving the earnest manner of her pronunciation, began to receive unspeakable comfort in the same, and said, "Mistress, your exceeding courtesy were able to revive a man half dead, and to me it is both great comfort and it doth also gald my remembrance with a continual smart of mine own unworthiness: but as I would desire no longer life than till I might be able to deserve some part of your bounty, so I will endeavor myself to live, were it but only unto that end that I might merit some part of your favor with acceptable service, and requite some deal the courtesy of all these other fair Ladies, who have so far above my deserts deigned to do me good."

Thus said, the Ladies tarried not long before they were called to Evensong, when his Mistress taking his hand, kissed it saying: "Farewell, good servant, and I pray thee suffer not the malice of thy sickness to overcome the gentleness of thy good heart."

F. I., ravished with joy, suffered them all to depart and was not able to pronounce one word. After their departure, he gan cast in his mind the exceeding courtesy used towards him by them all: but above all other the bounty of his Mistress, and therewithal took a sound and firm opinion that it was not possible for her to counterfeit so deeply (as indeed I believe that she then did not). Whereby he suddenly felt his heart greatly eased, and began in himself thus to reason: "Was ever man of so wretched a heart? I am the most bounden to love," quoth he, "of all them that ever professed his service, I enjoy one the fairest that ever was found, and I find her the kindest that ever was heard of: yet in mine own wicked heart I could villainously conceive that of her, which being compared with the rest of her virtues is not possible to harbor in so noble a mind. Hereby I have brought my self without cause into this feebleness, and good reason that for so high an offence I should be punished with great infirmity. What shall I then do? yield to the same? No, but according to my late protestation I will recomfort this languishing mind of mine, to the end I may live but only to do penance for this so notable a crime so rashly committed."

And thus saying, he start from his bed, and gan to walk towards the window: but the venomous serpent which (as before I rehearsed) had stung him could not be content that these medicines applied by the mouth of his gentle Mistress should so soon restore him to guerison. And although in deed they were such Mithridate to F. I. as that they had now expelled the rancor of the poison, yet that ugly hellish monster had left behind her in the most secret of his bosom (even between the mind and the man) one of her familiars named Suspect, which gan work in the weak spirits of F. I. effects of no less peril than before he had conceived: his head swelling with these troublesome toys and his heart swimming in the tempests of tossing fantasy: he felt his legs so feeble, that he was constrained to lie down on his bed again, and repeating in his own remembrance every word that his Mistress had spoken unto him, he gan to dread that she had brought the willow branch to beat him with in token that he was of her forsaken: for so lovers do most commonly expound the willow garland. And this to think, did cut his heart in twain.

A wonderful change: and here a little to stay you, I will describe (for I think you have not read it inAriosto)[34] the beginning, the fall, the return, and the being of this hellish bird, who indeed may well be counted a very limb of the Devil.

Many years since, one of the most dreadful dastards in the world, and one of them that first devised to wear his beard at length -- lest the barber might do him a good turn sooner than he looked for it, and yet not so soon as he deserved -- had builded for his security a pile on the highest and most inaccessible mount of all his Territories. The which, being fortified with strong walls and environed with deep ditches, had no place of entry but one only door so straight and narrow as might by any possibility receive the body of one living man, from which he ascended up a ladder & so creeping thorough a marvelous straight hole attained to his lodging, the which was so dark & obscure as scarcely either sun or air could enter into it. Thus he devised to lodge in safety, and for the more surety gan trust none other letting down this ladder but only his wife, and at the foot thereof kept always by daylight a fierce mastiff close enkenneled which never saw nor heard the face or voice of any other creature but only of them two; him by night he trusted with the scout of this pretty passage, having nevertheless between him and this dog a double door with treble locks, quadruple bars: and before all a portcullis of Iron. Neither yet could he be so hardy as to sleep until he had caused a guard of servants (whom he kept abroad for that purpose) to search all the corners adjoining to his fortress, and then between fearful sweat and shivering cold, with one eye open and the other closed, he stole sometimes a broken sleep divided with many terrible dreams.

In this sort the wretch lived all too long, until at last his wife, being not able any longer to support this hellish life, grew so hardy as with his own knife to dispatch his carcass out of this earthly purgatory.

The which being done his soul (and good reason) was quickly conveyed by Charon unto hell. There,Radamanthus, judge of that bench, commanded him quickly to be thrust into a boiling pool. And being therein plunged very often, he never shrieked or cried, "I scald," as his other companions there cried, but seemed so lightly to esteem it that the judge thought meet to condemn him unto the most terrible place, where are such torments as neither pen can write, tongue express, or thought conceive. But the miser even there seemed to smile and to make small account of his punishment. Radamanthus, hereof informed, sent for him and demanded the cause why he made so light of his durance.

He answered that whiles he lived on earth he was so continually afflicted and oppressed with suspicion as that now only to think that he was out of those meditations was sufficient armor to defend him from all other torments.

Radamanthus astonied hereat, gan call together the Senators of that kingdom, and propounded this question: how & by what punishment they might devise to touch him according to his deserts?

And hereupon fell great disputation. At last -- being considered that he had already been plunged in the most unspeakable torments & thereat little or nothing had changed countenance, therewithal that no soul was sent unto them to be relieved of his smart but rather to be punished for his former delights -- it was concluded by the general council that he should be eftsoons sent into the world & restored to the same body wherein he first had his residence, so to remain for perpetuity and never to depart nor to perish.

Thus this body and soul being once again united, and now eftsoons with the same pestilence infected, he became of a suspicious man Suspicion itself.

And now the wretch, remembering the treason of his wife who had so willingly dispatched him once before, gan utterly abhor her and fled her company, searching in all countries some place of better assurance. And when he had in vain trod on the most part of the earth, he embarked himself to find some unknown Island wherein he might frame some new habitation, and finding none so commodious as he desired, he fortuned (sailing along by the shore) to espy a rock more than six hundred Cubits high, which hung so suspiciously over the seas as though it would threaten to fall at every little blast. This did Suspicion imagine to be a fit foundation whereon he might build his second Bower. He forsook his boat and traveled by land to espy what entry or access might be made unto the same, and found from land no manner of entry or access unless it were that some courteous bird of the air would be Ambassador, or convey some Engines as whilom the Eagle did carry Ganymedes into heaven.

He then returned to Seas, and approaching near to his rock, found a small stream of fresh water issuing out of the same into the Seas -- the which, although it were so little and so straight as might unethes receive a boat of bigness to carry one living creature at once, yet in his conceit he thought it more large and spacious than that broad way called of our forefathers Via appia, or than that other named Flaminia-- he abandoned his bark and, putting off his clothes, adventured (for he was now assured not to drown) to wade and swim against the stream of this unknown brook, the which (a wondrous thing to tell, and scarcely to be believed) came down from the very top and height of this rock. And by the way he found six straight & dangerous places where the water seemed to stay his course, passing under six straight and low bridges, and hard by every of those places a pile raised up in manner of a Bulwark, the which were hollow in such sort as lodgings and other places necessary might in them commodiously be devised by such one as could endure the hellishness of the place.

Passing by these, he attained with much pain unto the top of the Rock, the which he found hollowed as the rest, and far more fit for his security than otherwise apt for any commodity. There gan Suspicion determine to nestle him self, and having now placed six chosen porters, (to wit, Dread, Mistrust, Wrath, Desperation, Frenzy, and Fury) at these six strange Bulwarks, he lodged himself in the seven all alone, for he trusted no company, but ever mistrusting that his wife should eftsoons find him out, therein he shrieketh continually like to a screech owl to keep the watch waking, never content to sleep by day or by night, but, to be sure that he should not oversleep himself, gan stuff his couch with Porcupines quills to the end that when heavy sleep overcame him and he thereby should be constrained to charge his pallet with more heavy burden, those plumes might then prick through and so awake him. His garments were steel upon Iron, and that Iron upon Iron, and Iron again, and the more he was armed, the less he trusted to be out of danger. He chopped and changed continually now this, now that, new keys, new locks, ditches new scoured, and walls newly fortified, and thus always uncontented liveth this wretched hellhound Suspicion in this hellish dungeon of habitation, from whence he never removeth his foot but only in the dead & silent nights when he may be assured that all creatures (but himself) are whelmed in sound sleep. And then with stealing steps he stalketh about the earth, infecting, tormenting, and vexing all kinds of people with some part of his afflictions, but especially such as either do sit in chair of greatest dignity and estimation, or else such as have achieved some dear and rare emprise.

Those above all others he continually galdeth with fresh wounds of dread, lest they might lose and forgo the rooms whereunto with such long travail and good haps they had attained, and by this means percase he had crept into the bosom of F. I. who (as is before declared) did erst swim in the deepest seas of earthly delights.

Now then, I must think it high time to return unto him, who being now through feebleness eftsoons cast down upon his bed, gan cast in his inward meditations all things passed and, as one thoroughly puffed up and filled with one peevish conceit, could think upon nothing else, and yet accusing his own guilty conscience to be infected with jealousy, did compile this translation of Ariosto's 31th song as followeth.

 [Nr 13] What state to man so sweet and pleasant were

What state to man so sweet and pleasant were,[35]
As to be tied in links of worthy love?
What life so bliss'd and happy might appear
As for to serve Cupid, that God above?
If that our minds were not sometimes infect
With dread, with fear, with care, with cold suspect,
With deep despair, with furious frenzy,
Handmaids to her whom we call jealousy.

For ev'ry other sop of sour chance
Which lovers taste amid their sweet delight
Increaseth joy and doth their love advance,
In pleasures place to have more perfect plight.
The thirsty mouth thinks water hath good taste,
The hungry jaws are pleas'd, with each repast:
Who hath not prov'd what dearth by wars doth grow
Cannot of peace the pleasant plenties know.

And though with eye we see not ev'ry joy,
Yet may the mind full well support the same.
An absent life long led in great annoy
When presence comes doth turn from grief to game.
To serve without reward is thought great pain,
But if despair do not therewith remain,
It may be borne, for right rewards at last
Follow true service though they come not fast.

Disdains, repulses, finally each ill,
Each smart, each pain, of love each bitter taste,
To think on them gan frame the lovers will
To like each joy, the more that comes at last:
But this infernal plague, if once it touch
Or venom once the lovers mind with grouch,
All feasts and joys that afterwards befall,
The lover counts them light or nought at all.

This is that sore, this is that poisoned wound,
The which to heal nor salve nor ointments serve,
Nor charm of words, nor Image can be found,
Nor observance of stars can it preserve,
Nor all the art of Magic can prevail,
Which Zoroastes found for our avail.
Oh, cruel plague, above all sorrows smart,
With desperate death thou slay'st the lover's heart.

And me, even now, thy gall hath so infect
As all the joys which ever lover found
And all good haps that ever Troilus' sect
Achieved yet above the luckless ground:
Can never sweeten once my mouth with mel,
Nor bring my thoughts again in rest to dwell.
Of thy mad moods and of naught else I think,
In such like seas, fair Bradamant did sink.

F. I.

This is the translation of Ariosto his 31th song, all but the last staff, which seemeth as an allegory applied to the rest. It will please none but learned ears, he was tied to the invention, troubled in mind &c.

So I leave it to your judgment, and return to F. I., who continued on his bed until his bountiful Mistress with the company of the other courteous dames returned after supper to his chamber. At their first entry: "Why how now, servant," quoth dame Ellinor, "we hoped to have found you on foot?"

"Mistress," quoth F. I., "I have assayed my feet since your departure, but I find them yet unable to support my heavy body, and therefore am constrained as you see to acquaint myself with these pillows."

"Servant," said she, "I am right sorry thereof, but since it is of necessity to bear sickness, I will employ my devoir to allay some part of your pains and to refresh your weary limbs with some comfortable matter."

And therewithal, calling her handmaid, delivered unto her a bunch of pretty little keys, and whispering in her ear dispatched her towards her chamber. The maid tarried not long but returned with a little Casket, the which her Mistress took, opened, and drew out of the same much fine linen, amongst the which she took a pillowbere very fine and sweet, which although it were of itself as sweet as might be, being of long time kept in that odoriferous chest, yet did she with damask water (and that the best that might be, I warrant you) all to sprinkle it with her own hands, which in my conceit might much amend the matter. Then, calling for a fresh pillow, sent her maid to air the same, and at her return put on this thus perfumed pillowbere. In mean time also she had with her own hands attired her servant's head in a fair wrought kerchief taken out of the same Casket, then laid him down upon this fresh and pleasant place, and prettily as it were in sport, bedewed his temples with sweet water which she had ready in a casting bottle of Gold, kissing his cheek and saying: "Good servant be whole, for I might not long endure thus to attend thee, and yet the love that I bear towards thee cannot be content to see thee languish."

"Mistress," said F. I. (and that with a trembling voice), "assure yourself that if there remain in me any spark of life or possibility of recovery, then may this excellent bounty of yours be sufficient to revive me without any further travail or pain unto your person, for whom I am highly to blame in that I do not spare to put you unto this trouble: and better it were that such a wretch as I had died unknown than that by your exceeding courtesy you should fall into any malady, either by resorting unto me or by these your pains taken about me."

"Servant," quoth she, "all pleasures seem painful to them that take no delight therein, and likewise all toil seemeth pleasant to such as set their felicity in the same, but for me, be you sure, I do it with so good a will that I can take no hurt thereby unless I shall perceive that it be rejected or neglected as unprofitable or uncomfortable unto you."

"To me, Mistress," quoth F. I., "it is such pleasure as neither my feeble tongue can express nor my troubled mind conceive."

"Why? are you troubled in mind then, servant?" quoth dame Ellinor.

F. I., now blushing, answered, "But even as all sick men be, Mistress."

Herewith they stayed their talk a while, and the first that brake silence was the Lady Frances, who said: "And to drive away the troubles of your mind, good Trust, I would be glad if we could devise some pastime amongst us to keep you company, for I remember that with such devices you did greatly recomfort this fair Lady when she languished in like sort."

"She languished indeed, gentle Hope," quoth F. I., "but God forbid that she had languished in like sort."

"Every body thinketh their grief greatest," quoth dame Ellinor, "but indeed whether my grief were the more or the less, I am right sorry that yours is such as it is. And to assay whither our passions proceeded of like cause or not, I would we could (according to this Lady's saying) devise some like pastimes to try if your malady would be cured with like medicines."

A gentlewoman of the company whom I have not hitherto named, and that for good respects, lest her name might altogether disclose the rest, gan thus propound. "We have accustomed," quoth she, "heretofore in most of our games to choose a King or Queen, and he or she during their government have charged every of us either with commandments or questions as best seemed to their majesty: wherein to speak mine opinion we have given over large a scope, neither seemeth it reasonable that one should have the power to discover the thoughts, or at least to bridle the affects, of all the rest. And though indeed in questioning (which doth of the twain more nearly touch the mind), everyone is at free liberty to answer what they list: yet oft have I heard a question demanded in such sort and upon such sudden that it hath been hardly answered without moving matter of contention. And in commands also sometimes it happeneth one to be commanded unto such service as either they are unfit to accomplish (and then the party's weakness is thereby detected) or else to do something that they would not, whereof ensueth more grouch then game. Wherefore, in mine opinion, we shall do well to choose by lot amongst us a governor who, for that it shall be sufficient preeminence to use the chair of majesty, shall be bound to give sentence upon all such arguments and questions as we shall orderly propound unto them, and from him or her (as from an oracle) we will receive answer, and deciding of our litigious causes." This dame had stuff in her, an old courtier, and a wily wench, whom for this discourse I will name Pergo[36], lest her name natural were to broad before, and might not drink of all waters[37].

Well, this proportion of Pergo pleased them well, and by lot it happened that F. I. must be moderator of these matters and collector of these causes. The which being so constituted, the Lady Ellinor said unto this dame Pergo, "You have devised this pastime," quoth she, "& because we think you to be most expert in the handling thereof, do you propound the first question, & we shall be both the more ready and able to follow your example."

The Lady Pergo refused not, but began on this wise.

"Noble governor," quoth she, "amongst the adventures that have befallen me I remember especially this one, that in youth it was my chance to be beloved of a very courtlike young gentleman who abode near the place wherein my parents had their resiance. This gentleman, whether it were for beauty or for any other respect that he saw in me, I know not, but he was enamored of me, & that with an exceeding vehement passion. & of such force were his affects that, notwithstanding many repulses which he had received at my hands, he seemed daily to grow in the renewing of his desires.

"I on the other side, although I could by no means mislike of him by any good reason, considering that he was of birth no way inferior unto me, of possessions not to be disdained, of person right comely, of behavior Courtly, of manners modest, of mind liberal, and of virtuous disposition: yet such was the gaiety of my mind as that I could not be content to lend him over large thongs of my love, but always dangerously behaved myself towards him, and in such sort as he could neither take comfort of mine answers nor yet once find himself requited with one good look for all his travail. This notwithstanding, the worthy Knight continued his suit with no less vehement affection than erst he had begun it, even by the space of seven years.

"At the last, whether discomfited by my dealings, or tired by long travail, or that he had percase lit upon the lake that is in the forest of Ardennes and so in haste and all thirsty had drunk some drops of disdain[38] whereby his hot flames were quenched, or that he had undertaken to serve no longer but his just term of apprenticehood, or that the teeth of time had gnawn and tired his dulled spirits in such sort as that all benumbed he was constrained to use some other artificial balm for the quickening of his senses, or by what cause moved I know not, he did not only leave his long continued suit, but (as I have since perceived) grew to hate me more deadly than before I had disdained him.

"At the first beginning of his retire, I perceived not his hatred, but imagined that being overwearied he had withdrawn himself for a time. And considering his worthiness, therewithal his constancy of long time proved, I thought that I could not in the whole world find out a fitter match to bestow myself than on so worthy a person, wherefore I did by all possible means procure that he might eftsoons use his accustomed repair unto my parents. And further, in all places where I happened to meet him I used all the courtesies towards him that might be contained within the bonds of modesty. But all was in vain, for he was now become more dangerous to be won than the haggard Falcon.

"Our lots being thus unluckily changed, I grew to burn in desire, and the more dangerous that he showed himself unto me, the more earnest I was by all means to procure his consent of love. At the last, I might perceive that not only he disdained me but, as me thought, boiled in hatred against me. And the time that I thus continued tormented with these thoughts was also just the space of seven years.

"Finally, when I perceived no remedy for my perplexities, I assayed by absence to wear away this malady, and therefore utterly refused to come in his presence, yea, or almost in any other company. Whereby I have consumed in lost time the flower of my youth and am become, as you see, (what with years and what with the tormenting passions of love) pale, wan, and full of wrinkles. Nevertheless, I have thereby gained thus much: that at last I have wound myself clear out of Cupid's chains and remain careless at liberty.

"Now mark to what end I tell you this: First, seven years passed in the which I could never be content to yield unto his just desires. Next, other seven years I spent in seeking to recover his lost love. And sithens both those seven years, there are even now on Saint Valentines day last other seven years passed, in the which neither I have desired to see him, nor he hath coveted to hear of me.

"My parents now perceiving how the crowsfoot is crept under mine eye and remembering the long suit that this gentleman had in youth spent on me, considering therewithal that green youth is well mellowed in us both, have of late sought to persuade a marriage between us, the which the Knight hath not refused to hear of, and I have not disdained to think on. By their mediation we have bin eftsoons brought to Parley, wherein over and besides the ripping up of many old griefs, this hath been chiefly rehearsed & objected between us: what wrong and injury each of us hath done to other. And hereabouts we have fallen to sharp contention: he alleged that much greater is the wrong which I have done unto him than that repulse which he hath sithens used to me: and I have affirmed the contrary. The matter yet hangeth in variance.

"Now, of you worthy Governor, I would be most glad to hear this question decided, remembering that there was no difference in the times between us: and surely, unless your judgment help me, I am afraid my marriage will be marred, and I may go lead Apes in hell." [39]

F. I. answered, "Good Pergo, I am sorry to hear so lamentable a discourse of your luckless love, and much the sorrier in that I must needs give sentence against you. For surely great was the wrong that either of you have done to other, and greater was the needless grief which causeless each of you hath conceived in this long time, but greatest in my judgment hath been both the wrong and the grief of the Knight, in that notwithstanding his deserts (which yourself confess) he never enjoyed any guerdon of love at your hands. And you (as you allege) did enjoy his love of long time together. So that by the reckoning it will fall out (although being blinded in your own conceit you see it not) that of the one & twenty years, you enjoyed his love seven at the least, but that ever he enjoyed yours we cannot perceive. And much greater is the wrong that rewardeth evil for good than that which requireth tip for tap. Further, it seemeth that where as you went about in time to try him, you did altogether lose time which can never be recovered: and not only lost your own time, whereof you would seem now to lament, but also compelled him to lose his time, which he might (be it spoken without offence to you) have bestowed in some other worthy place. And therefore, as that grief is much greater which hath no kind of comfort to allay it, so much more is that wrong which altogether without cause is offered."

"And I," said Pergo, "must needs think that much easier is it for them to endure grief which never tasted of joy, and much less is that wrong which is so willingly proffered to be by recompense restored: for if this Knight will confess that he never had cause to rejoice in all the time of his service, then with better contentation might he abide grief than I who, having tasted of the delight which I did secretly conceive of his deserts, do think each grief a present death by the remembrance of those forepassed thoughts: & less wrong seemeth it to be destitute of the thing which was never obtained than to be deprived of a jewel whereof we have been already possessed. So that, under your correction, I might conclude that greater hath been my grief & injury sustained than that of the Knight."

To whom F. I. replied, "As touching delight, it may not be denied but that every lover doth take delight in the inward contemplation of his mind to think of the worthiness of his beloved, & therefore you may not allege that the Knight had never cause to rejoice unless you will altogether condemn yourself of unworthiness. Marry, if you will say that he tasted not the delights that lovers seek, then mark, who was the cause but yourself? And if you would accuse him of like ingratitude, for that he disdained you in the latter seven years when as he might by accepting your love have recompensed himself of all former wrongs, you must remember therewithal that the cruelty by you showed towards him was such that could by no means perceive that your change proceeded of good will, but rather eftsoons to hold him enchained in unknown links of subtle dealings, & therefore not without cause he doubted you: & yet without cause you rejected him. He had often sought occasion, but by your refusals he could never find him: you having occasion fast by the foretop did dally with him so long, till at last he slipped his head from you. & then catching at the bald noddle, you found yourself the cause, & yet you would accuse another. To conclude, greater is the grief that is sustained without desert and much more is the wrong that is offered without cause."

Thus F. I. decided the question propounded by Pergo & expected that some other Dame should propound another: but his mistress (having her hand on another halfpenny) gan thus say unto him. "Servant, this pastime is good, and such as I must needs like of, to drive away your pensive thoughts: but sleeping time approacheth & I fear we disquiet you, wherefore the rest of this time we will (if so like you) bestow in trimming up your bed, and tomorrow we shall meet here and renew this new begun game with MadamePergo."

"Mistress," quoth F. I., "I must obey your will, and most humbly thank you of your great goodness and all these Ladies for their courtesy: even so, requiring you that you will no further trouble yourselves about me, but let my servant alone with conducting me to bed."

"Yes, servant," quoth she, "I will see if you can sleep any better in my sheets," and therewith commanded her handmaid to fetch a pair of clean sheets. The which being brought (marvelous fine and sweet), the Ladies Frances and Ellinor did courteously unfold them and laid them on the bed, which done, they also entreated F. I. to unclothe him and go to bed.

Being laid, his Mistress dressed and couched the clothes about him, sithens moistened his temples with rosewater, gave him handkerchiefs and other fresh linen about him, in doing whereof, she whispered in his ear, saying: "Servant, this night I will be with thee," and after with the rest of the Dames gave him good night and departed, leaving F. I. in a trance between hope and despair, trust and mistrust. Thus he lay ravished, commanding his servant to go to bed, and feigning that himself would assay if he could sleep.

About ten or eleven of the clock came his Mistress in her night gown, who, knowing all privy ways in that house very perfectly, had conveyed herself into F. I.'s chamber unseen and unperceived, and being now come unto his bedside, kneeled down, and laying her arm over him said these or like words: "My good Servant, if thou knewest what perplexities I suffer in beholding of thine infirmities, it might then suffice either utterly to drive away thy malady or much more to augment thy griefs. For I know thou lovest me, and I think also that thou hast had sufficient proof of mine unfeigned good will, in remembrance whereof I fall into sundry passions: First, I count the happy lots of our first acquaintance, and therein I call to mind the equality of our affections, for I think that there were never two lovers conjoined with freer consent on both parties: and if my overhasty delivery of yielding words be not wrested hereafter to my condemnation, I can then assure myself to escape forever without desert of any reproof: herewithal I can not forget the sundry adventures happened since we became one heart divided in two bodies, all which have been both happily achieved and delectably enjoyed. What resteth then to consider but this thy present state? The first corrosive that I have felt and the last cordial that I look for, the end of my joys and the beginning of my torments," and hereat her salt tears gan bathe the dying lips of her servant: who hearing these words and well considering her demeanor, began now to accuse himself of such and so heinous treason as that his guilty heart was constrained to yield unto a just scourge for the same.

He swooned under her arm: the which when she perceived, it were hard to tell what fears did most affright her. But I have heard my friend F. I. confess that he was in a happy trance, and thought himself for divers causes unhappily revived. For surely I have heard him affirm that to die in such a passion had been rather pleasant than like to pangs of death. It were hard now to rehearse how he was revived, since there were none present but he dying, who could not declare, & she living, who would not disclose so much as I mean to bewray. For my friend F. I. hath to me imported that, returning to life, the first thing which he felt was that his good mistress lay pressing his breast with the whole weight of her body and biting his lips with her friendly teeth: and peradventure she refrained (either of courtesy towards him, or for womanish fear to hurt her tender hand) to strike him on the cheeks in such sort as they do that strive to call again a dying creature: and therefore thought this the aptest mean to reduce him unto remembrance.

F. I., now awaked, could no less do than of his courteous nature receive his Mistress into his bed. Who, as one that knew that way better than how to help his swooning, gan gently strip off her clothes, and lovingly embracing him gan demand of him in this sort. "Alas, good Servant," quoth she, "what kind of malady is this that so extremely doth torment thee?"

F. I. with fainting speech answered: "Mistress, as for my malady, it hath been easily cured by your bountiful medicines applied. But I must confess that in receiving that guerison at your hands I have been constrained to fall into an Ecstasy through the galding remembrance of mine own unworthiness. Nevertheless, good Mistress, since I perceive such fidelity remaining between us as that few words will persuade such trust as lovers ought to embrace, let these few words suffice to crave your pardon, and do eftsoons pour upon me, your unworthy servant, the abundant waves of your accustomed clemency: for I must confess that I have so highly offended you as, but your goodness surpass the malice of my conceits, I must remain (and that right worthily) to the severe punishment of my deserts: and so should you but lose him who hath cast away himself and neither can accuse you nor dare excuse himself of the crime."

Dame Ellinor, who had rather have found her servant perfectly revived than thus with strange conceits encumbered, and musing much at his dark speech, became importunate to know the certainty of his thoughts.

And F. I., as one not master of himself, gan at the last plainly confess how he had mistrusted the change of her vowed affections. Yea, and that more was, he plainly expressed with whom, of whom, by whom, and to whom she bent her better liking.

Now, here I would demand of you and such other as are expert: Is there any greater impediment to the fruition of a lover's delights than to be mistrusted? or rather, is it not the ready way to erase all love and former good will out of remembrance to tell a guilty mind that you do mistrust it?

It should seem yes by Dame Ellinor, who began now to take the matter hotly. And of such vehemency were her fancies that she now fell into flat defiance with F. I., who although he sought by many fair words to temper her choleric passions, and by yielding himself to get the conquest of another, yet could he by no means determine the quarrel. The soft pillows, being present at all these hot words, put forth themselves as mediators for a truce between these enemies and desired that (if they would needs fight) it might be in their presence but only one push of the pike, and so from thenceforth to become friends again forever.

But the Dame denied flatly, alleging that she found no cause at all to use such courtesy unto such a recreant, adding further many words of great reproach. The which did so enrage F. I. as that, having now forgotten all former courtesies, he drew upon his new professed enemy and bare her up with such a violence against the bolster, that before she could prepare the ward, he thrust her through both hands, and &c., whereby the Dame, swooning for fear, was constrained (for a time) to abandon her body to the enemy's courtesy.

At last when she came to herself, she rose suddenly and determined to save her self by flight, leaving F. I. with many despiteful words and swearing that he should never (eftsoons) take her at the like advantage, the which oath she kept better than her former professed good will.

And having now recovered her chamber, because she found her hurt to be nothing dangerous, I doubt not but she slept quietly the rest of the night. As F. I. also, persuading himself that he should with convenient leisure recover her from this haggard conceit, took some better rest towards the morning than he had done in many nights forepast.

So let them both sleep whiles I turn my pen unto the before named Secretary, who being (as I said) come lately from London, had made many proffers to renew his accustomed consultations: but the sorrow which his Mistress had conceived in F. I. his sickness, together with her continual repair to him during the same, had been such lets unto his attempts as it was long time before he could obtain audience. At the last, these new accidents fell so favorably for the furtherance of his cause that he came to his Mistress presence, and there pleaded for himself.

Now, if I should at large write his allegations together with her subtle answers, I should but cumber your ears with unpleasant rehearsal of feminine frailty. To be short, the late disdainful mode which she had conceived against F. I., together with a scruple which lay in her conscience touching the 11th article of her belief[40], moved her presently with better will to consult with this Secretary, as well upon a speedy revenge of her late received wrongs as also upon the reformation of her religion. And in very deed, it fell out that the Secretary having been of long time absent, & thereby his quills & pens not worn so near as they were wont to be, did now prick such fair large notes that his Mistress liked better to sing fa-burden[41] under him than to descant any longer upon F. I. plainsong.

And thus they continued in good accord until it fortuned that Dame Frances came into her chamber upon such sudden as she had like to have marred all the music. Well, they conveyed their clefs as closely as they could, but yet not altogether without some suspicion given to the said dame Frances, who although she could have been content to take any pain in F. I.'s behalf, yet otherwise she would never have bestowed the watching about so worthless a prise.

After womanly salutations, they fell into sundry discourses, the Secretary still abiding in the chamber with them. At last, two or three other gentlewomen of the Castle came into Madam Ellinor's chamber, who after their Bon jour did all una voce seem to lament the sickness of F. I. and called upon the DamesEllinor and Frances to go visit him again. The Lady Frances courteously consented, but Madame Ellinorfirst alleged that she herself was also sickly, the which she attributed to her late pains taken about F. I., and said that only for that cause she was constrained to keep her bed longer than her accustomed hour.

The Dames (but especially the Lady Frances) gan straight ways conjecture some great cause of sudden change, and so leaving dame Ellinor, walked altogether into the park to take the air of the morning. And as they thus walked it chanced that Dame Pergo heard a Cuckoo chant, who (because the pride of the spring was now past) cried "Cuck cuck Cuckoo" in her stammering voice.

"Aha," quoth Pergo, "this foul bird begins to fly the country, and yet before her departure see how spitefully she can devise to salute us." [42]

"Not us," quoth Dame Frances, "but some other whom she hath espied."

Wherewith Dame Pergo, looking round about her and espying none other company, said, "Why, here is nobody but we few women," quoth she.

"Thanks be to God the house is not far from us," quoth Dame Frances.

Hereat the wily Pergo, partly perceiving Dame Frances meaning, replied on this sort: "I understand you not," quoth she, "but to leap out of this matter, shall we go visit Master F. I. and see how he doth this morning?"

"Why," quoth dame Frances, "do you suppose that the Cuckoo called unto him?"

"Nay, marry," quoth Pergo, for (as far as I know) he is not married."

"As who should say," quoth Dame Frances, "that the Cuckoo envieth none but married folks."

"I take it so," said Pergo.

The Lady Frances answered, "Yes, sure I have noted as evil luck in love after the cuckoos call to have happened unto divers unmarried folks as ever I did unto the married: but I can be well content that we go unto Master I., for I promised on the behalf of us all that we would use our best devoir to recomfort him until he had recovered health, and I do much marvel that the Lady Ellinor is now become so unwilling to take any travail in his behalf, especially remembering that but yesternight she was so diligent to bring him to bed. But I perceive that all earthly things are subject unto change."

"Even so they be," quoth Pergo, "for you may behold the trees which but even this other day were clad in gladsome green, and now their leaves begin to fade and change color."

Thus they passed talking and walking until they returned unto the Castle, whereas they went straight unto F. I.'s chamber & found him in bed. "Why how now, Trust," quoth Dame Frances, "will it be no better?"

"Yes, shortly, I hope," quoth F. I..

The Ladies all saluted him & he gave them the gramercy. At the last, Pergo popped this question unto him: "And how have you slept in your Mistress' sheets, Master F. I.?" quoth she. "Reasonable well," quothF. I., "but I pray you, where is my Mistress this morning?"

"Marry," said Pergo, "we left her in bed scarce well at ease."

"I am the more sorry," quoth F. I..

"Why, Trust," said Mistress Frances, "be of good comfort, and assure yourself that here are others who would be as glad of your well doing as your Mistress in any respect."

"I ought not to doubt thereof," quoth F. I., "having the proof that I have had of your great courtesies, but I thought it my duty to ask for my Mistress being absent."

Thus they passed some time with him until they were called away unto prayers, and that being finished they went to dinner, where they met Dame Ellinor attired in a night kerchief after the sullenest (the solemnest fashion I should have said), who looked very drowsily upon all folks unless it were her secretary, unto whom she deigned sometime to lend a friendly glance.

The Lord of the Castle demanded of her how F. I. did this morning. She answered that she knew not, for she had not seen him that day.

"You may do well then, daughter," quoth the Lord, "to go now unto him & to assay if he will eat any thing, & if here be no meats that like him, I pray you command for him any thing that is in my house."

"You must pardon me sir," quoth she, "I am sickly disposed, and would be loath to take the air."

"Why then, go you, Mistress Frances," quoth he, "and take somebody with you: and I charge you see that he lack nothing."

Mistress Frances was glad of the ambassade, & arising from the table with one other gentlewoman, took with her a dish of chickens boiled in white broth, saying to her father, "I think this meat meetest for Master I. of any that is here."

"It is so," quoth he, "daughter, and if he like not that cause somewhat else to be dressed for him according to his appetite."

Thus she departed and came to F. I. who, being plunged in sundry woes and thrilled with restless thoughts, was now beginning to arise: but, seeing the Dames, couched down again and said unto them, "Alas, fair Ladies, you put yourselves to more pains than either I do desire or can deserve."

"Good Trust," quoth Dame Frances, "our pains are no greater than duty requireth nor yet so great as we could vouchsafe in your behalf, and presently my father hath sent us unto you," quoth she, "with this pittance, and if your appetite desire any one thing more than other, we are to desire likewise that you will not refrain to call for it."

"Oh, my good Hope," quoth he, "I perceive that I shall not die as long as you may make me live." And being now some deal recomforted with the remembrance of his Mistress' words which she had used over night at her first coming, and also thinking that although she parted in choler, it was but justly provoked by himself, and that at leisure he should find some salve for that sore also, he determined to take the comfort of his assured Hope and so to expel all venoms of mistrust before received. Wherefore, raising himself in his bed, he cast a nightgown about his shoulders, saying: "It shall never be said that my fainting heart can reject the comfortable Cordials of so friendly physicians."

"Now by my troth, well said, gentle Trust," quoth Dame Frances, "and in so doing assure yourself of guerison with speed." This thus said, the courteous Dame became his carver, & he with a bold spirit gan taste of her cookery, but the late conflicts of his conceits had so disacquainted his stomach from repasts that he could not well away with meat: and yet nevertheless by little & little received some nurture.

When his Hope had crammed him as long as she could make him feed, they delivered the rest to the other gentlewoman, who, having not dined, fell to her provender. In which meanwhile the Lady Frances had much comfortable speech with F. I. and declared that she perceived very well the cause of his malady. "But, my Trust," quoth she, "be all whole, and remember what I foretold you in the beginning. Nevertheless you must think that there are remedies for all mischiefs, and if you will be ruled by mine advise, we will soon find the mean to ease you of this mishap."

F. I. took comfort in her discretion, and, friendly kissing her hand, gave her a cartload of thanks for her great good will, promising to put to his uttermost force and evermore to be ruled by her advise. Thus they passed the dinner while, the Lady Frances always refusing to declare her conceit of the late change which she perceived in his Mistress, for she thought best first to win his will unto conformity by little and little, and then in the end to persuade him with necessity.

When the other gentlewoman had victualed her, they departed, requiring F. I. to arise and boldly to resist the faintness of his fever, the which he promised and so bade them a Dio.

The Ladies at their return found the court in Dame Ellinor's chamber, who had there assembled her secretary, Dam Pergo, and the rest. There they passed an hour or twain in sundry discourses, wherein Dame Pergo did always cast out some bone for Mistress Frances to gnaw upon, for that indeed she perceived her hearty affection towards F. I., whereat Mistress Frances changed no countenance but reserved her revenge until a better opportunity.

At last quoth Dame Frances unto Mistress Ellinor, "And when will you go unto your servant, fair Lady?"

"When he is sick and I am whole," quoth Dame Ellinor.

"That is even now," quoth the other, "for how sick he is yourself can witness: and how well you are, we must bear record."

"You may as well be deceived in my disposition," quoth Dame Ellinor, "as I was overseen in his sudden alteration. And if he be sick you are meetest to be his physician: for you saw yesterday that my pains did little profit towards his recomfort."

"Yes, surely," said the other, "not only I but all the rest had occasion to judge that your courtesy was his chief comfort."

"Well," quoth Dame Ellinor, "you know not what I know."

"Nor you what I think," quoth Dame Frances.

"Think what you list," quoth Ellinor.

"Indeed," quoth Frances, "I may not think that you care, neither will I die for your displeasure." And so half angry she departed.

At supper they met again, and the Master of the house demanded of his daughter Frances how F. I. did?

"Sir," quoth she, "he did eat somewhat at dinner, and sithens I saw him not."

"The more to blame," quoth he, "and now I would have all you gentlewomen take of the best meats and go sup with him, for company driveth away carefulness; and leave you me here with your leavings alone."

"Nay, sir," quoth Mistress Ellinor, "I pray you give me leave to bear you company, for I dare not adventure thither."

The Lord of the Castle was contented & dispatched away the rest: who taking with them such viands as they thought meetest, went unto F. I.'s chamber, finding him up and walking about to recover strength, whereat Dame Frances rejoiced and declared how her father had sent that company to attend him at supper.

F. I. gave great thanks and, missing now nothing but his Mistress, thought not good yet to ask for her, but because he partly guessed the cause of her absence he contented himself, hoping that when his lure was new garnished he should easily reclaim her from those coy conceits. They passed over their supper all in quiet, and soon after, Mistress Frances, being desirous to requite Dame Pergo's quips, requested that they might continue the pastime which Dame Pergo had begun over night. Whereunto they all consented, and the lot fell unto Dame Frances to propound the second question, who addressing her speech unto F. I. said in this wise:

"Noble governor, I will rehearse unto you a strange history, not feigned, neither borrowed out of any old authority, but a thing done indeed of late days and not far distant from this place where we now remain. It chanced that a gentleman, our neighbor, being married to a very fair gentlewoman, lived with her by the space of four or five years in great contentation, trusting her no less than he loved her and yet loving her as much as any man could love a woman. On that other side, the gentlewoman had won (unto her beauty) a singular commendation for her chaste and modest behavior. Yet it happened in time that a lusty young gentleman (who very often resorted to them) obtained that at her hands which never any man could before him attain: and to be plain, he won so much in her affections that, forgetting both her own duty and her husband's kindness, she yielded her body at the commandment of this lover, in which pastime they passed long time by their politic government.

"At last, the friends of this Lady (and especially three sisters which she had) espied overmuch familiarity between the two lovers, and, dreading lest it might break out to their common reproach, took their sister apart and declared that the world did judge scarce well of the repair of that gentleman unto her house: and that if she did not foresee it in time, she should not only lose the good credit which she herself had hitherto possessed, but furthermore should destain their whole race with common obloquy and reproach. These and sundry other godly admonitions of these sisters could not sink in the mind of this gentlewoman, for she did not only stand in defiance what any man could think of her but also seemed to accuse them that because they saw her estimation (being their younger) to grow above their own, they had therefore devised this mean to set variance between her husband and her.

"The sisters, seeing their wholesome counsel so rejected and her continue still in her obstinate opinion, addressed their speech unto her husband, declaring that the world judged not the best, neither they themselves did very well like, of the familiarity between their sister and that gentleman, and therefore advised him to forecast all perils and in time to forbid him his house. The husband (on that other side) had also conceived such a good opinion of his guest & had grown into such a strict familiarity with him that you might with more ease have removed a stone wall than once to make him think amiss either of his wife or of her lover. Yea, and immediately after this conference, he would not stick thus to say unto his wife: 'Bess,' (for so indeed was her name) 'thou hast three such busy-brained sisters as I think shortly their heads will break: they would have me to be jealous of thee. No, no, Bess, &c.' So that he was not only far from any such belief, but furthermore did every day increase his courtesies towards the lover.

"The sisters, being thus on all sides rejected and yet perceiving more and more an unseemly behavior between their sister and her minion, began to melt in their own grease: and such was their enraged pretence of revenge that they suborned divers servants in the house to watch so diligently as that this treason might be discovered. Amongst the rest, one maid of subtle spirit had so long watched them that at last she espied them go into a chamber together and lock the door to them. Whereupon she ran with all haste possible to her Master and told him that if he would come with her, she would show him a very strange sight. The gentleman (suspecting nothing) went with her until he came into a chamber near unto that wherein they had shut themselves, and she, pointing her Master to the keyhole, bade him look through, where he saw the thing which most might mislike him to behold.

"Whereat he suddenly drew his Dagger and turned towards the maid, who fled from him for fear of mischief: but when he could not overtake her in the heat of his choler, he commanded that she should forthwith truss up that little which she had and to depart his service. And before her departure, he found means to talk with her, threatening that if ever she spake any word of this mystery in any place where she should come, it should cost her life. The maid for fear departed in silence, and the Master never changed countenance either to his wife or to her paramour, but feigned unto his wife that he had turned away the maid upon that sudden for that she had thrown a Kitchen knife at him whiles he went about to correct a fault in her &c.

"Thus the good gentleman drank up his own sweat unseen every day, increasing courtesy to the lover and never changing countenance to his wife in any thing but only that he refrained to have such knowledge of her carnally as he in times past had and other men have of their wives. In this sort he continued by the space almost of half a year, nevertheless lamenting his mishap in solitary places.

"At last (what moved him I know not), he fell again to company with his wife as other men do, and, as I have heard it said, he used this policy: every time that he had knowledge of her, he would leave either in the bed, or in her cushioncloth, or by her looking glass, or in some place where she must needs find it, a piece of money, which then was fallen to three halfpence and I remember they called the Slips. Thus he dealt with her continually by the space of four or five months, using her nevertheless very kindly in all other respects & providing for her all things necessary at the first call: But unto his guest he still augmented his courtesy, in such sort, that you would have thought them to be sworn brothers.

"All this notwithstanding, his wife much musing at these three half penny pieces which she found in this sort, and furthermore having sundry times found her husband in solitary places making great lamentation, she grew inquisitive what should be the secret cause of these alterations: unto who he would none otherwise answer but that any man should find occasion to be more pensive at one time than at another.

"The wife, notwithstanding increasing her suspect, imported the same unto her lover, alleging therewithal that she doubted very much lest her husband had some vehement suspicion of their affairs. The lover encouraged her, & likewise declared that if she would be importunate to enquire the cause her husband would not be able to keep it from her: and having now thoroughly instructed her, she dealt with her husband in this sort.

"One day when she knew him to be in his study alone, she came in to him, and having fast locked the door after her and conveyed the key into her pocket, she began first with earnest entreaty, and then with tears, to crave that he would no longer keep from her the cause of his sudden alteration. The husband dissimuled the matter still. At last she was so earnest to know for what cause he left money in such sort at sundry times that he answered on this wise: 'Wife,' quoth he, 'thou knowest how long we have ben married together & how long I made so dear account of thee as ever man made of his wife; since which days, thou knowest also how long I refrained thy company, and how long again I have used thy company leaving the money in this sort, and the cause is this: So long as thou didst behave thyself faithfully towards me, I never loathed thy company, but sithens I have perceived thee to be a harlot. & therefore did I for a time refrain and forbear to lie with thee. & now I can no longer forbear it, I do give thee every time that I lie with thee a slip, which is to make thee understand thine own whoredom. And this reward is sufficient for a whore.'

"The wife began stoutly to stand at defiance, but the husband cut off her speech and declared when, where, and how he had seen it. Hereat the woman, being abashed and finding her conscience guilty of as much as he had alleged, fell down on her knees, & with most bitter tears craved pardon, confessing her offence. Whereat her husband, moved with pity & melting likewise in floods of lamentation, recomforted her, promising that if from that day forwards she would be true unto him, he would not only forgive al that was past, but become more tender & loving unto her than ever he was.

"What do I tarry so long? They became of accord: & in full accomplishment thereof, the gentlewoman did altogether eschew the company, the speech, & (as much as in her lay) the sight of her lover, although her husband did continue his courtesy towards him and often charged his wife to make him fair semblance. The lover was now only left in perplexity, who knew nothing what might be the cause of all these changes, & that most grieved him, he could by no means obtain again the speech of his desired: he watched all opportunities, he suborned messengers, he wrote letters, but all in vain.

"In the end, she caused to be declared unto him a time and place where she would meet him and speak with him. Being met, she put him in remembrance of all that had passed between them; she laid also before him how trusty she had been unto him in all professions; she confessed also how faithfully he had discharged the duty of a friend in all respects; and therewithal she declared that her late alteration and pensiveness of mind was not without great cause, for that she had of late such a mishap as might change the disposition of any living creature. Yea, and that the case was such as unless she found present remedy her death must needs ensue and that speedily: for the preventing whereof, she alleged that she had beaten her brains with all devises possible, and that in the end she could think of no redress but one, the which lay only in him to accomplish. Wherefore she besought him, for all the love and good will which passed between them, now to show the fruits of true friendship and to gratify her with a free grant to this request.

"The lover, who had always been desirous to pleasure her in any thing, but now especially, to recover her wonted kindness, gan frankly promise to accomplish any thing that might be to him possible, yea, though it were to his great detriment: and therewithal did deeply blame her in that she would so long torment herself with any grief, considering that it lay in him to help it.

"The Lady answered that she had so long kept it from his knowledge because she doubted whether he would be contented to perform it or not, although it was such a thing as he might easily grant without any manner of hurt to himself: & yet that now in the end she was forced to adventure upon his courtesy, being no longer able to bear the burden of her grief. The lover solicited her most earnestly to disclose it, and she (as fast) seemed to mistrust that he would not accomplish it.

"In the end, she took out a book (which she had brought for the nonce) and bound him by oath to accomplish it. The lover, mistrusting nothing less than that ensued, took the oath willingly. Which done, she declared all that had passed between her & her husband: his grief, her repentance, his pardon, her vow, & in the end of her tale, enjoined the lover that from thenceforthwards he should never attempt to break her constant determination.

"The lover replied that this was unpossible. But she plainly assured him that if he granted her that request, she would be his friend in all honest & godly wise; if not, she put him out of doubt that she would eschew his company & fly from his sight as from a scorpion.

"The lover, considering that her request was but just, accusing his own guilty conscience, remembering the great courtesies always used by her husband, & therewithal seeing the case now brought to such an issue as that by none other means than by this it could be concealed from knowledge of the world -- but most of all, being urged by his oath -- did at last give an unwilling consent & yet a faithful promise to yield unto her will in all things. And thus being become of one assent, he remaineth the dearest friend & most welcome guest that may be, both to the Lady & her husband, and the man & wife so kind each to other as if there never had been such a breach between them.

"Now, of you, noble Governor, I would fain learn whether the perplexity of the husband when he looked in at the key hole, or of the wife when she knew the cause why the slips were so scattered, or of the lover when he knew what was his Mistress' charge, was greater of the three? I might have put in also the troubled thoughts of the sisters & the maid when they saw their good will rejected, but let these three suffice."

"Gentle Hope," quoth F. I., "you have rehearsed (& that right eloquently) a notable tale, or rather a notable history, because you seem to affirm that it was done in deed of late & not far hence. Wherein I note five especial points: that is, a marvelous patience in the husband, no less repentance in the wife, no small boldness of the maid, but much more rashness in the sisters, and last of all, a rare tractability in the lover. Nevertheless, to return unto your question, I think the husband's perplexity greatest, because his losses abounded above the rest & his injuries were uncomparable."

The Lady Frances did not seem to contrary him, but rather smiled in her sleeve at Dame Pergo, who had no less patience to hear the tale recited than the Lady Frances had pleasure in telling of it, but I may not rehearse the cause why unless I should tell all.

By this time, the sleeping hour approached & the Ladies prepared their departure, when as mistressFrances said unto F. I., "Although percase I shall not do it so handsomely as your mistress, yet goodTrust," quoth she, "if you vouchsafe it, I can be content to trim up your bed in the best manner that I may, as one who would be as glad as she to procure your quiet rest."

F. I. gave her great thanks, desiring her not to trouble herself, but to let his man alone with that charge.

Thus they departed, and how all parties took rest that night I know not. But in the morning, F. I. began to consider with himself that he might lie long enough in his bed before his mistress would be appeased in her peevish conceits. Wherefore he arose &, being apparelled in his nightgown, took occasion to walk in the gallery near adjoining unto his Mistress chamber: but there might he walk long enough ere his mistress would come to walk with him.

When dinner time came, he went into the great chamber, whereas the Lord of the castle saluted him, being joyful of his recovery. F. I., giving due thanks, declared that his friendly entertainment together with the great courtesy of the gentlewomen was such as might revive a man although he were half dead.

"I would be loath," quoth the host, "that any gentleman coming to me for good will should want any courtesy of entertainment that lieth in my power."

When the meat was served to the table, the gentlewomen came in; all but Dame Ellinor & mistress Pergo, the which F. I. marked very well, & it did somewhat abate his appetite.

After dinner, his Hope came unto him and demanded of him how he would pass the day for his recreation? To whom he answered, even as it best pleased her.

She devised to walk into the park & so by little & little to acquaint himself with the air. He agreed & they walked together, being accompanied with one or two other gentlewomen.

Here (lest you should grow in some wrong conceit of F. I.), I must put you out of doubt that although there were now more cause that he should mistrust his mistress than ever he had before received, yet the vehement passions which he saw in her when she first came to visit him &, moreover, the earnest words which she pronounced in his extremity, were such a refreshing to his mind as that he determined no more to trouble himself with like conceits: concluding further that if his mistress were not faulty, then had he committed a foul offence in needless jealousy, & that if she were faulty (especially with theSecretary), then no persuasion could amend her nor any passion help him: and this was the cause that enabled him, after such passing pangs, to abide the doubtful conclusion thus manfully, and valiantly to repress faintness of his mind: nothing doubting but that he should have won his Mistress to pardon his presumption & lovingly to embrace his service in wonted manner. But he was far deceived, for she was now in another tune; the which Mistress Frances began partly to discover unto him as they walked together: for she burdened him that his malady proceeded only of a disquiet mind.

"And if it did so, my gentle Hope," quoth he, "what remedy?

"My good Trust," quoth she, "none other but to plant quiet where disquiet began to grow."

"I have determined so," quoth he, "but I must crave the help of your assured friendship."

"Thereof you may make account," quoth she, "but wherein?"

F. I., walking apart with her, began to declare that there was some contention happened between his mistress & him. The Lady told him that she was not ignorant thereof. Then he desired her to treat so much in that cause as they might eftsoons come to Parley.

"Thereof I dare assure you," quoth Mistress Frances, & at their return, she led F. I. into his Mistress' chamber, whom they found lying on her bed, whether galded with any grief, or weary of the thing which you wot of I know not, but there she lay, unto who F. I. gave two or three salutations before she seemed to mark him.

At last said the Lady Frances unto her, "Your servant hearing of your sickness hath adventured thus far into the air to see you."

"I thank him," quoth Dame Ellinor, & so lay still, refusing to give him any countenance.

Whereat F. I., perceiving all the other gentlewomen fall to whispering, thought good boldly to plead his own case, &, approaching the bed, began to enforce his unwilling mistress unto courtesy, wherein he used such vehemence as she could not well by any means refuse to talk with him. But what their talk was, I may not take upon me to tell you unless you would have me fill up a whole volume only with his matters, and I have dilated them over largely already. Sufficeth this to be known, that in the end she pretended to pass over all old grudges & thenceforth to pleasure him as occasion might serve.

The which occasion was so long in happening that in the end F. I., being now eftsoons troubled with unquiet fantasies, & forced to use his pen again as an Ambassador between them, one day amongst the rest found opportunity to thrust a letter into her bosom, wherein he had earnestly requested another moonshine banquet or Friday's breakfast to recomfort his dulled spirits. Whereunto the Dame yielded this answer in writing, but of whose enditing judge you.

 I can but smile at your simplicity, who burden your friends with an impossibility. The case so stood as I could not though I would. Wherefore from henceforth either learn to frame your request more reasonably, or else stand content with a flat repulse.


F. I. liked this letter but a little: and being thereby droven into his accustomed vein, he compiled in verse this answer following, upon these words contained in her letter, "I could not though I would."

[Nr 14] I could not though I would: Good Lady, say not so

I could not though I would: Good Lady, say not so,
Since one good word of your good will might soon redress my woe.
would is free before, there could can never fail:
For proof, you see how galleys pass where ships can bear no sail.
The weary mariner when skies are overcast
By ready will doth guide his skill and wins the haven at last.
The pretty bird that sings with prick against her breast
Doth make a virtue of her need to watch when others rest.
And true the proverb is, which you have laid apart,
There is no hap can seem too hard unto a willing heart.
Then, lovely Lady mine, you say not as you should,
In doubtful terms to answer thus:
 I could not though I would.
Yes, yes, full well you know your 
can is quick and good,
And willful 
will is eke too swift to shed my guiltless blood.
But if good 
will were bent as press'd as power is,
will would quickly find the skill to mend that is amiss.
Wherefore if you desire to see my true love spilt,
Command and I will slay myself, that yours may be the guilt.
But if you have no power to say your servant nay,
Write thus:
 I may not as I would, yet must I as I may.

F. I.

Thus F. I. replied upon his Mistress answer, hoping thereby to recover some favor at her hands, but it would not be.

So that now he had been as likely (as at the first) to have fretted in fantasies, had not the Lady Francescontinually comforted him: and by little & little, she drove such reason into his mind that now he began to subdue his humors with discretion, and to determine that if he might espy evident proof of his Mistress frailty, he would then stand content with patience perforce, & give his Mistress the Bezo las manos.

And it happened one day amongst others that he resorted to his Mistress' chamber & found her (allo solito) lying upon her bed, & the secretary with Dame Pergo & her handmaid keeping of her company. Whereat F. I. somewhat repining, came to her and fell to dalliance, as one that had now rather adventure to be thought presumptuous than yield to be accounted bashful. He cast his arm over his Mistress and began to accuse her of sluggishness, using some other bold parts as well to provoke her as also to grieve the other. The Lady seemed little to delight in his dallying, but cast a glance at her secretary and therewith smiled, when as the Secretary & dame Pergo burst out into open laughter.

The which F. I. perceiving, and disdaining her ingratitude, was forced to depart, and in that fantasy compiled this Sonnet.

[Nr 15] With her in arms that had my heart in hold

With her in arms that had my heart in hold,
I stood of late to plead for pity so.
And as I did her lovely looks behold,
She cast a glance upon my rival foe.
His fleering face provoked her to smile
When my salt tears were drowned in disdain:
He glad, I sad, he laugh'd; alas the while,
I wept for woe, I pin'd for deadly pain.
And when I saw none other boot prevail
But reason's rule must guide my skilful mind:
Why then, quoth I, old proverbs never fail,
For yet was never good Cat out of kind:
Nor woman true, but even as stories tell,
Won with an egg, and lost again with shell.

F. I.

This Sonnet declareth that he began now to account of her as she deserved, for it hath a sharp conclusion, and it is somewhat too general. Well, as it is he lost it where his Mistress found it, and she immediately imparted the same unto Dame Pergo, and Dame Pergo unto others: so that it quickly became common in the house.

Amongst others, Mistress Frances, having recovered a copy of it, did seem to pardon the generality and to be well pleased with the particularity thereof. The which she bewrayed one day unto F. I. in this wise: "Of all the joys that ever I had, my good Trust," quoth she, "there is none wherein I take more comfort than in your conformity. And although your present rage is such that you can be content to condemn a number unknown for the transgression of one too well known, yet I do rather rejoice that you should judge your pleasure over many than to be abused by any."

"My good Hope," quoth he, "it were not reason that, after such manifold proofs of your exceeding courtesies, I should use strange or contentious speech with so dear a friend, and indeed I must confess that the opinion which I have conceived of my Mistress hath stirred my pen to write very hardly against all the feminine gender, but I pray you pardon me," quoth he, "& if it please you I will recant it, as also (percase) I was but cloyed with Surquedry and presumed to think more than may be proved."

"Yea, but how if it were proved?" quoth Dame Frances.

"If it were so (which God forbid)," quoth he, "then could you not blame me to conceive that opinion."

"Howsoever I might blame you," quoth she, "I mean not to blame you. But I demand further, if it be as I think & you suspect, what will you then do?"

"Surely," quoth F. I., "I have determined to drink up mine own sorrow secretly, and to bid them bothAdieu."

"I like your farewell better than your fantasy," quoth she, "and whensoever you can be content to take so much pains as the Knight which had a nightgown guarded with naked swords did take, I think you may put yourself out of doubt of all these things."

By these words and other speech which she uttered unto him, F. I. smelt how the world went about, and therefore did one day in the grey morning adventure to pass through the gallery towards his Mistress' chamber, hoping to have found the door open, but he found the contrary, and there attending in good devotion, heard the parting of his Mistress and her Secretary with many kind words: whereby it appeared that the one was very loath to depart from the other.

F. I. was enforced to bear this burden, and after he had attended there as long as the light would give him leave, he departed also to his chamber, and, appareling himself, could not be quiet until he had spoken with his Mistress, whom he burdened flatly with this despiteful treachery: and she as fast denied it, until at last being still urged with such evident tokens as he alleged, she gave him this bone to gnaw upon: "And if I did so," quoth she, "what then?"

Whereunto F. I. made none answer, but departed with this farewell: "My loss is mine own, and your gain is none of yours, and sooner can I recover my loss than you enjoy the gain which you gape after."

And when he was in place solitary, he compiled these following for a final end of the matter.

[Nr 16] And if I did, what then?

And if I did, what then?
Are you aggriev'd therefore?
The Sea hath fish for every man,
And what would you have more?

Thus did my Mistress once
Amaze my mind with doubt
And popp'd a question for the nonce
To beat my brains about.

Whereto I thus replied:
Each fisherman can wish
That all the Sea at every tide
Were his alone to fish.

And so did I, in vain,
But since it may not be,
Let such fish there as find the gain,
And leave the loss for me.

And with such luck and loss[43] 
I will content myself
Till tides of turning time may toss
Such fishers on the shelf.

And when they stick on sands,
That every man may see:
Then will I laugh and clap my hands
As they do now at me.

F. I.

It is time now to make an end of this thriftless History, wherein although I could wade much further, as to declare his departure, what thanks he gave to his Hope, &c., yet I will cease, as one that had rather leave it unperfect than make it too plain. I have past it over with quoth he and quoth she, after my homely manner of writing, using sundry names for one person, as the Dame, the Lady, Mistress, &c., The Lord of the Castle, the Master of the house, and the host. Nevertheless ,for that I have seen good authors term every gentlewoman a Lady and every gentleman domine, I have thought it no greater fault then petty treason thus to intermingle them, nothing doubting but you will easily understand my meaning, and that is as much as I desire.

Now henceforwards I will trouble you no more with such a barbarous style in prose, but will only recite unto you sundry verses written by sundry gentlemen, adding nothing of mine own but only a title to every Poem, whereby the cause of writing the same may the more evidently appear. Neither can I declare unto you who wrote the greatest part of them, for they are unto me but a posy presented out of sundry gardens, neither have I any other names of the flowers but such short notes as the authors themselves have delivered thereby. If you can guess them, it shall no way offend me. I will begin with this translation as followeth....

G. T.



[1] “The Printer [A. B.] to the Reader”: The opening remarks of the printer are a light hearted preamble to the anthology A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres (1573). Its first two sections are dedicated to translations of the works of Ludovico Ariosto and Euripides. “The Adventures of Master F. I.” are first seen in the third section of the book after the introductions “H. W. to the Reader” and “G. T. to his very friend H. W.”

[2] “whom the reader may name Freeman Iones”: The “Printer” uses the fact that in the old English typography the capital letter J did  not exist. The printers used the letter I and left the rest to the imagination of the reader. The abbreviation of “Foelix Infortunatis” would thus be identical to the abbreviation of “Freeman Jones.” A “Freeman Jones” was a term for a happy-go-lucky, carefree sort of fellow, the exact opposite of the highly sensitive, genteel Master F. I. – The fact that “Master F. I., the author of the love poems in “The Adventures”, and “Si fortunatus infoelix”, featured in Divers excellent Devises, are one and the same person, is revealed by a formal analysis of the translations (under “F. I.” and “Si fortunatus infoelix”) of Ariosto (No. 13, “What state to man so sweet and pleasant were”, and No. 17, “When worthy Bradamant had looked long in vain”). Moreover, “Master F.I.”, as we can see from his behaviour and indeed, his whole existence, is a fortunate, unhappy man. At the end of his adventures he takes leave of Mistress Ellinor with the words: “My loss is mine own, and your gain is none of yours, and sooner can I recover my loss than you enjoy the gain which you gape after.”  In the last poem (No. 16), he shows himself to be a good looser: “And with such luck and loss / I will content myself / Till tides of turning time may toss / Such fishers on the shelf.” – Incidentally: We come across the use of the term “Fortunatis Infoelix” in SHAKE-SPEARE’s Twelfth Night. The servant Maria, copying the handwriting of her mistress Olivia, sends a letter to the steward Malvolio, with a declaration of love. She signs the letter with “THE FORTUNATE UNHAPPY.”

[3] “to have gained a bushel of good will in exchange for one pint of peevish choler”: By claiming that he is acting without the permission of the author, the “Printer” employs the same ruse as was used by Oxford in his preface to Bedingsfields Cardanus Comforte (1573) : “And herein I am forced, like a good and politic captain, oftentimes to spoil and burn the corn of his own country, lest his enemies thereof do take advantage.”

[4] “From my lodging near the Strande” describes the the apartment in the “Savoy”, opposite Lord Burghley's residence, where Oxford used to live with his young wife. The Savoy, once a hospital, was situated on “The Strand”, the street that lead from the Palace of Whitehall to the city centre. Up until the 1570s it was taken over by Queen Elizabeth's courtiers. The Earl lived in his rooms on “The Strande” until the end of 1576. (George Gascoigne, the co-author of the Anthologie A Hundreth sundrie Flowres, ended his pre-amble to the Posies with the words: “From my poore house at Waltamstow in the Forest”, with that he meant the estate of Walthamstow, Bedfordshire which had been home to Gascoigne since 1564. - “1572”: The old English calender started with the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary on 25 March. The period between 1 January and 24 March was still considered to be part of the old year.

[5] “aliquid salis: a pinch of salt.

[6] “Fair Bersabe the bright once, bathing in a well”: The poems of Master “F.I.” make up the fiery nucleus of The Adventures. Dante’s novella La Vita Nuova (1293) is similar construed around some poems.

In No. 57 (“This Apuleius was in Afric born”) we see “Meritum petere grave” as the ardent admirer of Bersabe, who for her part calls him “David”. With that the author refers to the identity of  “Master F.I.” and “ Meritum petere grave” (who is also the publisher of the anthology A Hundreth sundrie Flowres.

[7] “the first verses that ever he wrote upon like occasion”: In spite of the understatement Master F. I. manages the rickety, bumpy “poulter's metre” without serious injury (see also Nos. 17, 24, 25, 30, 41, 43, 44, 46, 50, 56, 59, 79, 80). The term “poulter's metre” is a play on the practice employed by poulterers of selling eggs by the dozen, giving the customer two eggs as a bonus. The number fourteen became known as “The poulter's dozen”. (Normally suitable for home made poems for children: “You're going up the stairs, so I will say good night / You're going to put your jim-jams on, so I will say sleep tight”.)

Sternhold and Hopkins used the poulter's metre for the popular re-writes of the psalms in the fifties and the sixties of the sixteenth century (The Whole Boke of Psalmes, collected into Englishe metre by Thomas Sternhold, I. Hopkins, and others). Infuriated by there choice C.S. Lewis said: “The vices of that metre are two. The medial break in the alexandrine, though it may well do in French, quickly becomes intolerable in a language with such a tyrannous stress-accent as ours: the line struts. The fourteener has a much pleasanter movement, but a totally different one; the line dances a jig. Hence in a couplet made of two such yoke-fellows we seem to be labouring up a steep hill in bottom gear for the first line, and then running down the other side of the hill, out of control, for the second.“ (English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama, 1954, p. 232-33.)

[8] “these few lines hereafter following”: This theme is of a letter that is torn up, later to be put together again, is reminiscent of the Eurialus and Lukretia by Enea Silvio Piccolomini (1405-1464); English translation first published in 1560.

[9] “reverently kissing his hand”: The lady's hand is not actually kissed. What is meant here is a “gallant” (feigned) kiss.

[10] “an humble congé by Bezo las manos”: To take leave with a bow, the kissing of a hand. Zuccado dez labrosTo blow a kiss.

[11] “Of thee dear Dame, three lessons would I learn”: See: Petrarch, Canzoniere 19 (“Son animali al mondo de sí altera”.) and 141 (“A la dolce ombra de le belle frondi”.) Compare also with Sir Thomas Wyatts translation of Canzone 19: “How the Lover perisheth in his delight as the Fly in the fire”.

[12] “he borrowed th'invention of an Italian”: This poem shows similarities to Petrarch, Canzoniere 184 (“Love, Nature, and the lovely gentle soul, / where every noble virtue lives and reigns, / conspire against me now: Love racks his brains / to bring me to my death (his usual style); / Nature holds her by such a slender thread, / there is barely enough strength to sustain her” . – The particular poetical device in Oxford’s poem is known as anadiplosis, the repetition of the last word of a preceding clause (sore / hopelife / sorrows).

[13] “it is evil to halt before a Cripple”: “It is ful hard to halten unespyed / Bifore a crepul, for he can the craft” (It is very hard to limp undetected before a cripple, for he understands the art). Geoffrey Chaucer,Troilus and Criseyde (IV, ccix. 1-2). Compare with Oxford, No. 99: “When that thine eye hath chose the dame”.

[14] “hoping to drive out one nail with another”: Compare with Arthur Brooke: “And as out of a plank a nail a nail doth drive, /So novel love out of the mind the ancient love doth rive.” Romeus and Juliet (1562), line 207. Or; with Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona II/4: “Or as one nail by strength drives out another, /So the remembrance of my former love” or; Coriolanus, IV/7: “One fire drives out one fire, one nail one nail.”

[15] “Alla Napolitana”: Following the Caritean Petrarchans who were noted for the emphasis they put on erotic aspects of love: Benedetto Gareth or ‘Il Cariteo’ (c.1450–1514), Antonio Tebaldi or ‘Il Tebaldeo’ (1463–1537) and Serafino de Ciminelli or Serafino Aquilano (1466-1500). Serafino was the chief of the group. He is also Thomas Wyatt’s biggest creditor after Petrarch. Wyatt’s translations of Serafino are included in Songes and sonettes (Tottel’s Miscellany), London 1557. - Unto the measure : The “poulter’s metre” (see note 7).

[16] “When in my heart I might bewail mine own unlucky case”: This amalgamation of laughter and tears can also be found in Petrarch, Canzoniere 102 and 134. – Canzoniere 102: “però, s'alcuna volta io rido o canto, / facciol, perch'i' non ò se non quest'una / via da celare il mio angoscioso pianto” (Therefore if you see me smile or sing, I do it since that is the only way to hide the anguish of my weeping.)  See also Oxford, Nos. 45, 78. – Petrarch, Canzoniere 134: “Pascomi di dolor, piangendo rido; / egualmente mi spiace morte et vita” (Sir Thomas Wyatt’s translation: “I feed me in sorrow, and laugh in all my pain. / Lo, thus displeaseth me both death and life. And my delight is causer of this strife.” (Songes and sonettes, 1557, 2.13).

[17] “I see the Falcon gent sometimes will take delight”: The Falcon is referred to as being female.

[18] “A cloud of care hath cov'red all my coast”: See Sir Thomas Wyatt’s translation of Petrarch,Canzoniere 189: “Passa la nave mia colma d’oblio”: “A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain, / Have done the wearied cords great hinderance” (Songes and sonettes, 1557, 2.14)

[19] “both the Lieutenant and Provost Marshall were men of ripe judgment”: they pass the reviews of boundary judges and councils of war.

[20] “a more commodious common”: See W. Shakespeare, Love’s Labours Lost, II/1: “My lips are no common, though several they be” and Sonnet 137: “Why should my heart think that a several plot,/ Which my heart knows the wide world's common place?”

[21] “per misericordiam: by mercy, hoping for undeserved leniency.

[22] “Rugier qual semper fui: Ariosto, Orlando furioso (Cant. 44,61)

[23] “and taking his nightgown, did under the same convey his naked sword”: The motive of the sword being removed from the bedroom can be found in the romance Amadis de Gaule vol. I (Paris 1540).

[24] “The occasion … A Moonshine Banquet”: This paragraph seems to've been the 1573 equivalent of a cut-and-paste error, resulting from some indecision about whether to embed the poem in the F. I. story or to include it in the more miscellaneous collection of verse later in the volume.

[25] “omnia bene: it’s all good.

[26] “but my meaning is that I fear he be too stirring for our company”: Compare Piccolomini’s Eurialus und Lukretia: “When Eurialus saw Lukretia, he became just as jumpy as his horse.”

[27] “God Mars … taught dame Venus to make Vulcan a hammer of the new fashion”: Mars seduced Venus and made a fool of Vulcan. Vulcan set a trap (an iron net) for the lovers.

[28] “When she doth reign that mockt Vulcan the Smith”: Friday was Venus' day.

[29] “this challenge to beauty”: A “bragging poem”; we find similar lines in  A Winter’s Tale, IV/1: “Bugle bracelet, necklace amber, / Perfume for a lady's chamber; / Golden quoifs and stomachers, / For my lads to give their dears; / Pins and poking-sticks of steel / What maids lack from head to heel. / Come, buy of me, come; come buy, come buy.”

[30] “The windows of mine eyes are glaz'd with such delight”: See Thomas Phaer, Regiment of Life (1545) : “The eyes are the wyndowes of the mynde, for both joye & anger are seene through them.” – Oxford plays with the concepts of image and observer just as did Shakespeare, in Sonnet 24:

For through the painter must you see his skill,
To find where your true image pictured lies,
Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.

[31] “and yet never a barrel of good herring between them both”: We may assume that this is a derisive reference to the fact Helen and Ellinor are very similar to each other.

[32] “for I myself have seen the invention of an Italian”: F. I..s poem plays with themes from Italian Renaissance poetry. E.g.: Petrarch, Canzoniere 157 and 220, Pietro Bembo (1470–1547), fifth sonnet of the Rime, Enea Silvio Piccolomini in Eurialus and Lukretia und Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, Canto VII.

[33] “As some men say there is a kind of seed”: This poem was not included in the 1576 version of The Posies.

[34] “for I think you have not read it in Ariosto”: In abbreviated form: Ariosto, Cinque Canti, Canto II, 7-23 (see: Ludovico Ariosto, Cinque Canti / Five Cantos. Translated by Alexander Sheers and David Quint. Biblioteca Italiana. Berkeley 1996).

[35] “What state to man so sweet and pleasant were”: The first five verses are translated from Ariosto,Orlando Furioso, Canto XXXI (“Che dolce più, che più giocondo stato / saria di quel d'un amoroso core?”)

[36] “I will name Pergo”:  Pergo (Latin): I persevere, I carry out with expedience.

[37] “lest her name natural were to broad before, and might not drink of all waters”: to prevent her real name from becoming the subject of gossip.

[38] “some drops of disdain”: The source of hatred. See, Matteo Maria Boiardo (1441-1494), Orlandoinnamorato, Canto XV,26ff. and Ariosto, Orlando Furioso Canto I,78. The theme, the source of love and hate, is repeated, in adapted form, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

[39] “and I may go lead Apes in hell”: See Taming of the Shrew II/1 und Much Ado About Nothing II/1. An old maid doesn't lead men to heaven. She leads apes to hell.

[40] “touching the 11th article of her belief”: See Andreas Capellanus (12. Jh.), De amore and the commandments of love contained therein. The eleventh commandment states that if you would be ashamed to marry a person, then you shouldn't fall in love with them.

[41] “his Mistress liked better to sing fa-burden”: From the French “fauxbourdon” = false bass. An early Renaissance composition technique, the main melody is accompanied by a bass line, normally a fourth below. Sometimes the bass voice jumps an octave, hence the term; false bass.

[42] this foul bird … can devise to salute us”: The call of the cuckoo prophesies infidelity. See Love’s Labours Lost V,2: “The cuckoo then on every tree/mocks married men, for thus sings he...”.

[43] “And with such luck and loss”: See “My lucke is losse”, a variation on the name “Fortunatus Infoelix”. “My lucke is losse”was Oxford's nom de plume in the collection The Paradyse of Daynty Devises (1576).



A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres, Bounde up in one small Poesie. Gathered partely (by translation) in the fyne outlandish Gardins of Euripides, Ovid, Petrarke, Ariosto, and others: and partly by invention, out of our owne fruitefull Orchardes in Englande:Yelding sundrie sweete savours of Tragical, Comical, and Morall Discourses, bothe pleasant and profitable to the well smellyng noses of learned Readers. Meritum petere, grave. At London, Imprinted for Richarde Smith. [1573]

The Posies of George Gascoigne Esquire.Corrected, perfected and augmented by the Author. 1575. Tam Marti, quam Mercurio. Imprinted At London by H. Binneman for Richard Smith.

The Paradyse of daynty devises, Conteyning sundry pithy preceptes, London 1578

The Paradise of Dainty Devices (1576-1606), ed. Hyder E. Rollins. Cambridge, 1927

The Complete Works of George Gascoigne, ed. John W. Cunliffe, I-II. Cambridge 1907-1910. Band I: The Posies (1575). https://archive.org/details/completeworksge01cunlgoog

George Gascoigne’s ‚A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres’, ed. Charles T. Prouty, Columbia Missouri 1942. The Adventures of Master F. I. (1573) http://www.pseudopodium.org/repress/gascoigne/

George Gascoigne, A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres, ed. G. W. Pigman III, New York 2000