A Protection for
The desire that every man hath to shewe his true vaine in writing is unspeakable, and their mindes are so caried away with the manner, as no care at all is had of the matter: they run so into Rethorick, as often times they overrun the boundes of their own wits, and goe they knowe not whether. If they have stretched their invention so hard on a last, as it is at a stand, there remaines but one help, which is, to write of us women: If they may once encroch so far into our presence, as they may but see the lyning of our outermost garment, they straight think that Apollo honours them, in yeelding so good a supply to refresh their sore overburdened heads, through studying for matters to indite off. And therfore that the God may see how thankfully they receive his liberality, (their wits whetted, and their braines almost broken with botching his bountie) they fall straight to dispraising and slaundering our silly sex. But judge what the cause should be, of this their so great malice towards simple women. Doubtles the weaknesse of our wits, and our honest bashfulnesse, by reason wherof they suppose that there is not one amongst us who can, or dare reproove their slanders and false reproches: their slaunderous tongues are so short, and the time wherin they have lavished out their wordes freely, hath bene so long, that they know we cannot catch hold of them to pull them out, and they think we wil not write to reproove their lying lips: which conceites have already made them cockes and wolde (should they not be cravened) make themselves among themselves bee thought to be of the game. They have bene so daintely fed with our good natures, that like jades (their stomackes are grown so quesie) they surfeit of our kindnes. If we wil not suffer them to smell on our smockes, they will snatch at our peticotes: but if our honest natures cannot away with that uncivil kinde of jesting then we are coy: yet if we beare with their rudenes, and be somwhat modestly familiar with them, they will straight make matter of nothing, blazing abroad that they have surfeited with love, and then their wits must be showen in telling the maner how.
Among the innumerable number of bookes to that purpose, of late (unlooked for) the newe surfeit of an olde Lover (sent abroad to warne those which are of his own kind, from catching the like disease) came by chance to my handes: which, because as well women as men are desirous of novelties, I willinglie read over: neither did the ending thereof lesse please me then the beginning, for I was so carried away with the conceit of the Gent. as that I was quite out of the booke before I thought I had bene in the middest thereof: So pithie were his sentences, so pure his wordes, and so pleasing his stile. The chiefe matters therein contained were of two sortes: the one in the dispraise of mans follie, and the other, invective against our sex, their folly proceeding of their own flatterie joined with fancie, & our faultes are through our follie, with which is some faith.
The bounteous wordes written over the lascivious kinge Ninus his head, set down in this olde Lover his Surfeit to be these (Demaund and have:) do plainly shew the flatterie of mens false heartes: for knowing that we women, are weake vessels soone overwhelmed, and that Bountie bendeth everie thing to his becke, they take him for their instrument (too too strong) to assay the pulling downe of us so weake. If we stand fast, they strive: if we totter (though but a little) they will never leave til they have overturned us. Semeramis demaunded: and who would not if courtesie should be so freely offered? Ninus gave all to his kingdome, and that at the last: the more foole he: and of him this shal be my censure (agreeing with the verdict of the surfaiting lover, save onely that he hath misplaced and mistaken certaine wordes) in this maner.
Fooles force such flatterie, and men of dull conceite:
The slouthful king Sardanapalus with his beastlike and licentious deedes are so plainly disciphered, and his bad end well deserved, so truly set down in that Surfeit, as both our judgments agree in one.
But that Menalaus was served with such sauce it is a wonder: yet truely their Sex are so like to Buls, that it is no marvell though the Gods do metamorphoze some of them, to give warning to the rest, if they coulde think so of it, for some of them wil follow the smocke as Tom Bull will runne after a towne Cowe. But, least they should running slip and breake their pates, the Gods provident of their welfare, set a paire of tooters on their foreheades, to keepe it from the ground, for doubtles so stood the case with Menalus, hee running abroade as a Smel-smocke, got the habit of a Coockold, of whom thus shall go my verdicte.
The Gods most just doe justly punish sinne
Deceitfull men with guile must be repaid,
The Greeke, Acteons badge did weare, they say,
The greatest fault that doth remaine in us women is, that we are too credulous, for could we flatter as they can dissemble, and use our wittes well, as they can their tongues ill, then never would any of them complaine of surfeiting. But if we women be so so perillous cattell as they terme us, I marvell that the Gods made not Fidelitie as well a man, as they created her a woman, and all the morall vertues of their masculine sex, as of the feminine kinde, except their Deities knewe that there was some soverainty in us women, which could not be in them men. But least some snatching fellow should catch me before I fall to the grounde, (and say they will adorne my head with a feather, affirming that I rome beyond reason, seeing it is most manifest that the man is the head of the woman, and that therfore we ought to be guided by them,) I prevent them with this answere. The Gods knowing that the mindes of mankind would be aspiring, and having throughly viewed the wonderfull vertues wherewith women are inriched, least they should provoke us to pride, and so confound us with Lucifer, they bestowed the supremacy over us to man, that of that Cockscombe he might onely boast, and therfore for Gods sake let them keepe it. But wee returne to the Surfeit.
Having made a long discourse of the Gods censure concerning love, he leaves them (& I them with him) and comes to the principall object and generall foundation of love, which he affirmeth to be grounded on women: & now beginning to search his scroule, wherein are tauntes against us, he beginneth and saieth that we allure their hearts to us: wherin he saieth more truly then he is aware off: for we woo them with our vertues, & they wed us with vanities, and men being of wit sufficient to consider of the vertues which are in us women, are ravished with the delight of those dainties, which allure & draw the sences of them to serve us, wherby they become ravenous haukes, who doe not onely seize upon us, but devour us. Our good toward them is the destruction of our selves, we being wel formed, are by them fouly deformed: of our true meaning they make mockes, rewarding our loving follies with disdainful floutes: we are the griefe of man, in that wee take all the griefe from man: we languish when they laugh, we lie sighing when they sit singing, and sit sobbing when they lie slugging and sleeping. Mulier est hominis confusio, because her kinde heart cannot so sharply reproove their franticke fits, as those madde frensies deserve. Aut amat, aut odit, non est in tertio: she loveth good thinges, and hateth that which is evill: shee loveth justice and hateth iniquitie: she loveth trueth and true dealing, and hateth lies and falshood: she loveth man for his vertues, & hateth him for his vices: to be short, there is no Medium between good and bad, and therefore she can be, In nullo tertio. Plato his answere to a Viccar of fooles which asked the question, being, that he knew not whether to place women among those creatures which were reasonable or unreasonable, did as much beautifie his devine knowledge, as all the bookes he did write: for knowing that women are the greatest help that men have, without whose aide & assistance it is as possible for them to live, as if they wanted meat, drinke, clothing, or any other necessary: and knowing also that even then in his age, much more in those ages which shold after follow, men were grown to be so unreasonable, as he could not discide whether men or bruite beastes were more reasonable: their eies are so curious, as be not all women equall with Venus for beautie, they cannot abide the sight of them: their stomackes so queasie, as doe they tast but twise of one dish they straight surfeit, and needes must a new diet be provided for them. Wee are contrary to men, because they are contrarie to that which is good: because they are spurblind, they cannot see into our natures, and we too well (though we had but halfe an eie) into their conditions, because they are so bad: our behaviours alter daily, because mens vertues decay hourely. If Hesiodus had with equity as well looked into the life of man, as he did presisely search out the qualities of us women, he would have said, that if a woman trust unto a man, it shal fare as well with her, as if she had a waight of a thousand pounds tied about her neck, and then cast into the bottomles seas: for by men are we confounded though they by us are sometimes crossed. Our tongues are light, because earnest in reprooving mens filthy vices, and our good counsel is termed nipping injurie, in that it accordes not with their foolish fancies. Our boldnesse rash, for giving Noddies nipping answeres, our dispositions naughtie, for not agreeing with their vilde mindes, and our furie dangerous, because it will not beare with their knavish behaviours. If our frownes be so terrible, and our anger so deadly, men are too foolish in offering occasions of hatred, which shunned, a terrible death is prevented. There is a continuall deadly hatred betweene the wilde boare and tame hounds, I would there were the like betwixt women and men unles they amend their maners, for so strength should predominate, where now flattery and dissimulation hath the upper hand. The Lion rageth when he is hungrie, but man raileth when he is glutted. The Tyger is robbed of her young ones, when she is ranging abroad, but men rob women of their honour undeservedlye under their noses. The Viper stormeth when his taile is trodden on, & may not we fret when al our bodie is a footstoole to their vild lust: their unreasonable mindes which knowe not what reason is, make them nothing better then bruit beastes. But let us graunt that Cletemnestra, Ariadna, Dalila, and Jesabell were spotted with crimes: shal not Nero with others innumerable, & therefore unnameable joine handes with them and lead the daunce? yet it greeves me that faithful Deianira should be falsely accused of her husband Hercules death, seeing she was utterly guiltlesse (even of thought) concerning any such crime, for had not the Centaures falshood exceeded the simplicitie of her too too credulous heart, Hercules had not died so cruelly tormented, nor the monsters treason bene so unhappely executed. But we must beare with these faultes, and with greater then these, especiallye seeing that hee which set it downe for a Maxime was driven into a mad mood through a surfeit, which made him run quite besides his booke, and mistake his case: for wher he accused Deianira falsely, he woulde have had condemned Hercules deservedly.
Marius daughter indued with so many excellent vertues, was too good either for Metellus, or any man living: for thogh peradventure she had some smal fault, yet doubtles he had detestable crimes. On the same place where Doun is on the hens head, the Combe grows on the Cocks pate. If women breede woe to men, they bring care, povertie, griefe, and continual feare to women, which if they be not woes they are worser.
Euthydomus made sixe kinde of women, and I will approove that there are so many of men: which be, poore and rich, bad and good, foule and faire. The great Patrimonies that wealthy men leave their children after their death, make them rich: but dice and other marthriftes happening into their companies, never leave them til they bee at the beggers bush, wher I can assure you they become poore. Great eaters beeing kept at a slender diet never distemper their bodies but remaine in good case: but afterwards once turned foorth to Liberties pasture, they graze so greedilie, as they become surfeiting jades, and alwaies after are good for nothing. There are men which are snout-faire, whose faces looke like a creame-pot, and yet those not the faire men I speake of, but I meane those whose conditions are free from knaverie, and I tearme those foule, that have neither civilitie nor honestie: of these sorts there are none good, none rich or faire long. But if wee doe desire to have them good, we must alwaies tie them to the manger and diet their greedy panches, other wise they wil surfeit. What, shal I say? wealth makes them lavish, wit knavish, beautie effeminate, povertie deceitfull, and deformitie uglie. Therefore of me take this counsell
Esteeme of men as of a broken Reed,
I pray you then (if this be true, as it truely cannot bee denied) have not they reason who affirme that a goose standing before a ravenous Fox, is in as good case, as the woman that trusteth to a mans fidelitie: for as the one is sure to loose his head, so the other is most certaine to be bereaved of her good name, if there be any small cause of suspition. The fellow that tooke his wife for his crosse, was an Asse, and so we will leave him: for he loved well to sweare on an ale pot, and because his wife, keeping him from his dronken vain, put his nose out of his socket, he thereby was brought into a mad moode, in which he did he could not tell what.
When provender prickes, the jade will winch, but keepe him at a slender ordinarie, and he will be milde ynough. The Dictators sonne was cranke as long as his cocke was crowing, but prooving a cravin, hee made his maister hang downe his head.
Thales was so maried to shamefull lust as hee cared not a straw for lawfull love, wherby he shewed himselfe to be indued with much vice and no vertue: for a man doth that often times standing, of which he repenteth sitting. The Romain coulde not (as now men cannot) abide to heare women praised, and themselves dispraised, and therfore it is best for men to follow Alphonso his rule: let them be deafe and mary wives, that are blind, so shal they not grieve to heare their wives commended nor their monstrous misdoing shall offend their wives eiesight.
Tibullus setting down a rule for women to follow, might have proportioned this platform for men to rest in. And might have said, Every honest man ought to shun that which detracteth both health and safety from his owne person, and strive to bridle his slanderous tongue. Then must he be modest, & shew his modestie by his vertuous and civil behaviours: and not display his beastlines through his wicked and filthy wordes. For lying lips and deceitful tongues are abhominable before God. It is an easie matter to intreate a Cat to catch a Mouse, and more easie to perswade a desperate man to kil him selfe. What Nature hath made, Art cannot marre, (and as this surfeiting lover saith) that which is bred in the bone, will not be brought out of the flesh. If we cloath our selves in sackcloth, and trusse up our haire in dishclouts, Venerians wil nevertheles pursue their pastime. If we hide our breastes, it must be with leather, for no cloath can keep their long nailes out of our bosomes.
We have rowling eies, and they railing tongues: our eies cause them to look lasciviously, & why? because they are geven to lecherie. It is an easie matter to finde a staffe to beate a Dog, and a burnt finger giveth sound counsel. If men would as well imbrace counsel as they can give it, Socrates rule wold be better follewed. But let Socrates, heaven and earth say what they wil, Mans face is worth a glasse of dissembling water: and therfore to conclude with a proverbe, Write ever, and yet never write ynough of mans falshoode, I meane those that use it. I would that ancient writers would as well have busied their heades about disciphering the deceites of their owne Sex, as they have about setting downe our follies: and I wold some would call in question that nowe, which hath ever bene questionlesse: but sithence all their wittes have bene bent to write of the contrarie, I leave them to a contrary vaine, and the surfaiting Lover, who returnes to his discourse of love.
Nowe while this greedye grazer is about his intreatie of love, which nothing belongeth to our matter: let us secretlye our selves with our selves, consider howe and in what, they that are our worst enemies, are both inferiour unto us, & most beholden unto our kindenes.
The creation of man and woman at the first, hee being formed In principio of drosse and filthy clay, did so remaine until God saw that in him his workmanship was good, and therfore by the transformation of the dust which was loathsome unto flesh, it became purified. Then lacking a help for him, GOD making woman of mans fleshe, that she might bee purer then he, doth evidently showe, how far we women are more excellent then men. Our bodies are fruitefull, wherby the world encreaseth, and our care wonderful, by which man is preserved. From woman sprang mans salvation. A woman was the first that beleeved, & a woman likewise the first that repented of sin. In women is onely true Fidelity: (except in her) there is constancie, and without her no Huswifery. In the time of their sicknes we cannot be wanted, & when they are in health we for them are most necessary. They are comforted by our means: they nourished by the meats we dresse: their bodies freed from diseases by our cleanlines, which otherwise would surfeit unreasonably through their own noisomnes. Without our care they lie in their beds as dogs in litter, & goe like lowsie Mackarell swimming in the heat of sommer. They love to go hansomly in their apparel, and rejoice in the pride thereof, yet who is the cause of it, but our carefulnes, to see that every thing about them be curious. Our virginitie makes us vertuous, our conditions curteous, & our chastitie maketh our truenesse of love manifest. They confesse we are necessarie, but they would have us likewise evil. That they cannot want us I grant: yet evill I denie: except onely in the respect of man, who (hating all good things, is onely desirous of that which is ill, through whose desire, in estimation of conceit we are made ill. But least some shuld snarle on me, barking out this reason: that none is good but God, and therfore women are ill. I must yeeld that in that respect we are il, & affirm that men are no better, seeing we are so necessarie unto them. It is most certain, that if we be il, they are worse: for Malum malo additum efficit malum peius: & they that use il worse then it shold be, are worse then the il. And therefore if they wil correct Magnificat, they must first learn the signification therof. That we are liberal, they wil not deny sithence that many of them have (ex confessio) received more kindnes in one day at our hands, then they can repay in a whole yeare: & some have so glutted themselves with our liberality as they cry No more. But if they shal avow that women are fooles, we may safely give them the lie: for my selfe have heard some of them confesse that we have more wisdome then need is, & therfore no fooles: & they lesse then they shold have, & therfore fooles. It hath bene affirmed by some of their sex, that to shun a shower of rain, & to know the way to our husbands bed is wisedome sufficient for us women: but in this yeare of 88, men are grown so fantastical, that unles we can make them fooles, we are accounted unwise. And now (seeing I speake to none but to you which are of mine owne Sex,) give me leave like a scoller to proove our wisdome more excellent then theirs, though I never knew what sophistry ment. Ther is no wisdome but it comes by grace, this is a principle, & Contra principium non est disputandum: but grace was first given to a woman, because to our lady: which premises conclude that women are wise. Now Primum est optimum, & therefore women are wiser then men. That we are more witty which comes by nature, it cannot better be prooved, then that by our answers, men are often droven to Non plus, & if their talk be of worldly affaires, with our resolutions they must either rest satisfied, or proove themselves fooles in the end.
It was my chance to hear a prety story of two wise men who (being cosen germane to the town of Gotam) prooved themselves as very asses, as they wer fooles: & it was this. The stelth of a ring out of a wise mans chamber, afflicted the loosers mind, with so grievous passions, as he could take no rest, til he went to aske a friends counsel, how he might recover his losse. Into whose presence being once entered, his clothes unbuttened, made passage for his friends eiesight unto his bosome: who seeing him in such a taking, judging by his looks that some qualme had risen on his stomack, the extremity wherof might make his head to ake, offered him a kertcher. This distressed man halfe besides himselfe, howled bitterly that he did mistake his case, & falling into a raving vain, began to curse the day of his birth, & the Destinies for suffering him to live. His fellow wise-man, mistaking this fit, fearing that some devil had possessed him, began to betake him to his heeles: but being stopped from running by his companion, did likewise ban the cause of this suddain change, & the motion that mooved the other to enter his presence: yet seing how daungerously he was disturbed, & knowing that by no meanes he could shun his company, calling his wittes together (which made him forget his passion) he demanded the cause of the others griefe: who taking a stoole & a cushion sate downe and declared that he was undone through the losse of a ring which was stolen out of his window: further saying, Sir, is it not best for mee to goe to a Wise-woman to knowe of her what is become of my ring? The other answering affirmatively, asked this: if he know anye? betweene whom, many wise women reckoned, they both went together for company, wher we wil leave them.
Now I pray you tell me your fancie, were not these men very wise, but especially did they not cunningly display their wisedome by this practise? Sithence that they hope to finde that through the wisedome of a woman, which was lost by the folly of a man. Wel, seeing according to the old proverb: The wit of a woman is a great matter: let men learne to be wiser or account them selves fooles: for they know by practize that we are none.
Now sithence that this overcloied and surfeiting lover leaveth his love, and comes with a fresh assault against us women let us arm our selves with patience & see the end of his tongue which explaineth his surfeit. But it was so lately printed, as that I shold do the Printer injurie should I recite but one of them, and therfore referring you to Boke his surfeit in love, I come to my matter. If to injoy a woman be to catch the Devill by the foote, to obtaine the favour of a man is to holde fast his damme by the middle: whereby the one may easily breake away, and the other cannot go without he carries the man with him.
The properties of the Snake and of the Eele are, the one to sting, and the other not to be held: but mens tongues sting against nature, and therefore they are unnaturall. Let us bear with them as much as may be, and yeeld to their willes more then is convenient: yet if we cast our reckoning at the end of the yeare, wee shall finde that our losses exceede their gaines, which are innumerable. The propertie of the Camelion is to change himselfe: But man alwaies remaineth at one stay, and is never out of the predicamentes of Dishonestie and unconstancie. The stinging of the Scorpion is cured by the Scorpion, wherby it seemes that there is some good nature in them. But men never leave stinging till they see the death of honestie. The danger of prickes is shunned, by gathering roses glove fisted: and the stinging of Bees prevented through a close hood. But naked Dishonestie and bare inconstancie are alwaies plagued through their owne follie.
If mens folly be so unreasonable as it will strive against Nature, it is no matter though she rewardes them with crosses contrary to their expectations. For if Tom foole will presume to ride on Alexanders horse, he is not to be pittied thogh he get a foule knocke for his labour. But it seemes the Gentleman hath had great experience of Italian Curtizans, wherby his wisedome is shewed. For Experientia præstantior arte: and hee that hath Experience to proove his case, is in better case then they that have al unexperienced book cases to defend their titles.
The smooth speeches of men are nothing unlike the vanishing cloudes of the Aire, which glide by degrees from place to place, till they have filled themselves with raine, when breaking, they spit foorth terrible showers: so men gloze, till they have their answeres, which are the end of their travell, & then they bid Modestie adue, and entertaining Rage, fal a railing on us which never hurt them. The rancknesse of grasse causeth suspition of the serpents lurking, but his lying in the plaine path at the time when Woodcockes shoote, maketh the pacient passionate through his sting, because no such ill was suspected. When men protest secrecie most solemnly, beleeve them lest, for then surely there is a tricke of knavery to be discarded, for in a Friers habite an olde Fornicator is alwaies clothed.
It is a wonder to see how men can flatter themselves with their own conceites: for let us looke, they wil straight affirm that we love, and if then Lust pricketh them, they will sweare that Love stingeth us: which imagination onely is sufficient to make them assay the scaling of halfe a dozen of us in one night, when they will not stick to sweare that if they should be denied of their requestes, death must needes follow. Is it any marvell though they surfeit, when they are so greedy, but is it not pittie that any of them should perish, which will be so soon killed with unkindnes? Yes truly. Well, the onset given, if we retire for a vantage, they will straight affirme that they have got the victorie. Nay, some of them are so carried away with conceite, that shameles they wil blaze abroad among their companions, that they have obteined the love of a woman, unto whom they never spake above once, if that: Are not these froward fellowes, you must beare with them, because they dwell far from lying neighboures. They will say Mentiri non est nostrum, and yet you shall see true tales come from them, as wilde geese flie under London bridge. Their fawning is but flattery: their faith falshoode: their faire wordes allurements to destruction: and their large promises tokens of death, or of evils worse then death. Their singing is a bayte to catch us, and their playinges, plagues to torment us: & therfore take heede of them, and take this as an Axiom in Logick and a Maxime in the Law, Nulla fides hominibus. Ther are three accidents to men, which of al are most unseperable. Lust, Deceit, and malice. Their glozing tongues, the preface to the execution of their vilde mindes, and their pennes the bloody executioners of their barbarous maners. A little gaule maketh a great deale of sweet, sower: and a slaunderous tongue poysoneth all the good partes in man.
Was not the follie of Vulcan worthy of Venus floutes, when she tooke him with the maner, wooing Briceris? And was it not the flatterye of Paris which intysed Hellen to falshood? Yes trulie: and the late Surfeiter his remembrance in calling his pen from raging against reason: sheweth that he is not quite without flatterie, for hee putteth the fault in his pen, when it was his passion that deserved reproofe. The love of Hipsicrates and Panthea, the zeale of Artemisia and Portia, the affection of Sulpitia and Aria, the true fancie of Hipparchia and Pisca, the loving passions of Macrina & of the wife of Paudocrus (al manifested in his Surfeit) shal condemne the undiscreetnes of mens minds: whose hearts delight in nought, save that only which is contrary to good. Is it not a foolish thing to bee sorry for things unrecoverable? Why then shold Sigismundus answer be so descanted upon, seeing her husband was dead, & she therby free for any man. Of the aboundance of the hart, the mouth speaketh, which is verified by the railing kind of mans writing. Of al kind of voluptuousnes, they affirm Lechery to be the cheefest, & yet some of them are not ashamed to confesse publiquely, that they have surfeited therwith. It defileth the body, & makes it stink, & men use it: I marvel how we women can abide them but that they delude us, as (they say) we deceive them with perfumes.
Voluptuousnes is a strong beast, and hath many instruments to draw to Lust: but men are so forward of themselves thereto, as they neede none to haile them. His court is already so full with them, that he hath more neede to make stronger gates to keepe them out, then to set them open that they may come in, except he wil be pulled out by the eares out of his kingdome. I woulde the abstinence of King Cyrus, Zenocrates, Caius Gracchus, Pompeius and of Francis Sforce Duke of Millaine, (recited in Boke his Surfeit in love) might be presidents for men to followe, and I warrant you then we should have no surfeiting. I pray God that they may mend: but in the meane time, let them be sure that rashnes breedes repentance, and treacherous hearts, tragical endes: false Flattery is the messenger of foule Folly, and a slaunderous tongue, the instrument of a dissembling heart.
I have set down unto you (which are of mine owne Sex) the subtil dealings of untrue meaning men: not that you should contemne al men, but to the end that you may take heed of the false hearts of al, & stil reproove the flattery which remaines in all: for as it is reason that the Hennes should be served first, which both lay the egs, & hatch the chickins: so it were unreasonable that the cockes which tread them, should be kept clean without meat. As men are valiant, so are they vertuous: and those that are borne honorably, cannot beare horrible dissembling heartes. But as there are some which cannot love hartely, so there are many who lust uncessantly, & as many of them wil deserve wel, so most care not how il they spæd so they may get our company. Wherin they resemble Envie, who will be contented to loose one of his eies that another might have both his pulled out. And therefore thinke well of as many as you may, love them that you have cause, heare every thing that they say, (& affoord them noddes which make themselves noddies) but beleeve very little therof or nothing at all, and hate all those, who shall speake any thing in the dispraise or to the dishonor of our sex.
Let the luxurious life of Heliogabalus, the inteperate desires of Commodus and Proculus, the damnable lust of Chilpericus and Xerxees, Boleslaus violent ravishings, and the unnaturall carnall appetite of Sigismundus Malotesta, be examples sufficiently probable to perswade you, that the hearts of men are most desirous to excell in vice. There were many good lawes established by the Romanes & other good kinges yet they coulde not restraine men from lecherie: and there are terrible lawes alotted in England to the offenders therein, all which will not serve to restrain man.
The Surfeiters phisike is good could he and his companions follow it: but when the fox preacheth, let the geese take heede, it is before an execution. Fallere fallentem non est fraus, and to kill that beast, whose propertie is onely to slay, is no sin: if you wil please men, you must follow their rule, which is to flatter: for Fidelitie and they are biter enemies. Things far fetched are excellent, and that experience is best which cost most: Crownes are costly, and that which cost many crownes is wel worth God thank you, or els I know who hath spent his labour and cost, foolishly. Then if any man geveth such deare counsell gratfuly, are not they fooles which will refuse his liberalitie. I know you long to heare what that counsel should be, which was bought at so hie a price: Wherefore if you listen, the Surfeiter his pen with my hande shall foorthwith shew you.
At the end of mens faire promises there is a Laberinth, & therefore ever hereafter stoppe your eares when they protest friendship, lest they come to an end before you are aware wherby you fal without redemption. The path which leadeth therunto, is Mans wit, and the miles ends are marked with these trees, Follie, Vice, Mischiefe, Lust, Deceite, & Pride. These to deceive you shall bee clothed in the raimentes of Fancie, Vertue, Modestie, Love, Truemeaning, and Handsomnes. Folly wil bid you welcome on your way, & tel you his fancie, concerning the profite which may come to you by this jorney, and direct you to Vice who is more craftie. He with a company of protestations will praise the vertues of women, shewing how many waies men are beholden unto us: but our backes once turned, he fals a railing. Then Mischiefe he pries into every corner of us, seeing if he can espy a cranny, that getting in his finger into it, he may make it wide enough for his tong to wag in. Now being come to Lust: he will fall a railing on lascivious lookes, & wil ban Lecherie, & with the Collier will say, the devill take him though he never means it. Deceit will geve you faire words, & pick your pockets: nay he will pluck out your hearts, if you be not wary. But when you heare one cry out against lawnes, drawn-workes, Periwigs, against the attire of Curtizans, & generally of the pride of al women: then know him for a Wolfe clothed in sheepes raiment, and be sure you are fast by the lake of destruction. Therfore take heed of it, which you shall doe, if you shun mens flattery, the forerunner of our undoing. If a jade be galled, wil he not winch? and can you finde fault with a horse that springeth when he is spurred? The one will stand quietly when his backe is healed, and the other go wel when his smart ceaseth. You must beare with the olde Lover his surfeit, because hee was diseased when he did write it, and peradventure hereafter, when he shal be well amended, he wil repent himselfe of his slanderous speaches against our sex, and curse the dead man which was the cause of it, and make a publique recantation: For the faltering in his speach at the latter end of his book affirmeth, that already he half repenteth of his bargaine, & why? because his melodie is past: but beleeve him not, thogh he shold out swear you, for althogh a jade may be still in a stable when his gall backe is healed, yet hee will showe himselfe in his kind when he is travelling: and mans flattery bites secretly, from which I pray God keepe you and me too.
A soveraigne Salve, to
cure the late Surfeiting Lover.
If once the heat, did fore thee beat,
If wits weare take, in such a brake,
If any wight, unto thy sight,
If thus thy foe, opprest thee so,
If nought but paine, in love remaine,
And sith the blast, is overpast,
Eiusdem ad Lectorem,
THough, sharpe the seede, by Anger sowen,
A fault escaped in C. the first Page, 7 lines from the end.
For: it became putrified.
Read: it became purified.