To the two unparalleld
and Patterns of Virtue,
Daughters to the Right Honour-
able the Marquess of
IF I had not observed that the greatest humilitie, reigns in the bosoms of the Noblest Personages, I should not presume to Dedicate this most unworthie Fabrick to your Honours; especially when I consider the poorness of my endeavours, and admire the Learned Sidney's Pastimes; Whereof I beseech you charitably to believe, that my ambition was not raised to so high a pitch, as the Title now manifests it to be, until I received Commands from those that cannot be disobeyed. But however, if your Ladiships will graciously vouchsafe to peruse such a confused Theam, I shall harbour the better opinion of it, and shall acknowledge my self, as in all Gratefulness,
Your Honours devoted Servant,
to the ingenious
MArvel not to find Heroick Sidney's renowned Fansie pursued to a close by a Feminine Pen: Rather admire his prophetical spirit now as much, as his Heroical before. Lo here Pigmalion's breathing statue, Sir Philip's fantasie incarnate: both Pamela's Majestie, and Philoclea's Humilitie exprest to the life, in the person and style of this Virago. In brief, no other than the lively Ghost of Sydney, by a happie transmigration, speaks through the organs of this inspired Minerva. If any Critical ear, disrealish the shrilness of the Note; let it be tuned to Apollo's Lyre, and the harmonie will soon be perceived to be much better; and the Ladie appeare much more delightfull to her Musidorus: So wisheth
Thine and Her servant,
Sir PHILIP SYDNEY'S
A R C A D I A;
By Mistress A. W.
thing doth greater disadvantage bring
H. P. M.
To the Ingenious LADIE, the
Authour of the Continuation of
Sir Philip Sydney's
FAir Authour! though your Sex secure you so,
On the Continuation of Sir Philip
By Mistress A. W.
MUch of the Terrene Globe conceal'd doth lie,
To Mistress A. W.
Upon her ADDITIONALS to
Sir PHILIP SYDNEY'S
IF a Male Soul, by Transmigration, can
On the Continuation of Sir Philip
By Mistress A. W.
LAy by your Needles Ladies, take the Pen,
Sr PHILIP SYDNEY'S
A R C A D I A.
Wherein is handled the
Loves of Amphialus and Helen
Queen of Corinth, Prince Plangus and
Erona : With the Historie of
the Loves of Old Claius and
Young Strephon to
IN the time that Basilius King of Arcadia, with Genecea his Queen, and his two renowned daughters, the Paragons of the World, Pamela and Philoclea, were retired from the Court to a private lodge amongst the shepherds, there to refresh themselves with their pleasant & harmless sports. In the time that Pyrocles, son and heir to the good Evarchus King of Macedon, disguised himself to an Amazonian Ladie, for the love of his Venus, the sweet Philoclea. And Musidorus Prince of Thassalia disrobed himself of his glorions rayment, and put on Shepherds weeds, for the sight of the stately Pamela. And when Cupid displayed his quivers throughout his circle, and brought the famousest Princes in the world to adore his mothers beautie: Then Prince Plangus, son to the King of Iberia, at the first view of Erona, a Queen in Lydia, was made a Prisoner to her who was a Prisoner. And he whose resolutions were altogether fixed on the rare beautie of Erona, resolved with himself, either to release his incomparable Jewel out of a dolefull Prison, or else to loose his life in the enterprise.
Then he became an humble suitor to Artaxia, Queen of Armenia, under whose custodie the fair Ladie was, telling her his life was bound up in Erona's. And then would he vow it was pitie so sweet a creature should pass by the pleasures of her life in so solitarie a place. And sometimes he would pray for her, and then again he would praise her. But Artaxia would no ways be perswaded to any compassion: the more he desired, the more she denied, which he perceiving, with a soft voice and deep sigh, he brake out into these words,
Great Queen, if my grief and groans cannot mollifie your heart, nor the rememberance that once I was your beloved Kinsman, nor yet the beautie of Erona can be a sufficient remedie to cure your anger; yet call to mind she was your royal Brothers Mistress; and can you imagin that he would have endured the thought that Eronas bloud should so innocently be shed! no, but assure your self, that whensoever a drop of it is spilt, out of his ashes there will rise a Revenger to root you out of your Kingdom.
But Artaxia arose out of her throne with a gracefull Majestie, and did protest she would be revenged on her brothers murderers: for, said she, although my brother did love and honour Erona too well, yet her hate of him was the cause of his being slain, and of his subjects overthrow. And Prince Plangus, if your affections be never so extreamly set upon Erona, yet I am resolved to keep her life in my power. But because you shall have no occasion given you, to brand me with the title of Tyrant Queen, in the word of a Princess I do promise you, that if within two years after the day of my brothers death, you can procure Prince Pyrocles and Musidorus to accept of a combat against two others of my choosing, to obtain the libertie of Erona; if they overcome those Knights of my electing, that day shall Erona be at her own disposal: but if my Champions manifest their valour to that height, as to receive the victorie, the same day Eronas bodie shall be consumed to ashes, and I shall endeavour to gratifie their courage.
Plangus joyfully accepted of this proposition, since he could obtain no better. And well he knew the Princes cared not for their proud looks, nor feared the glittering of their swords; yet little did he know the craftiness of Artaxia. But such subtile Policie seldom ends with an happie conclusion.
And now in hopes of a prosperous journey, he bends his course towards Greece, there to deliver his message, upon which his life depended. But he had not travelled many days, before he had surprised a Letter, the superscription was to Plaxirtus, brother to Leonatus King of Paphlagonia; he withouth fear or dread, brake it open, and read it. He had no sooner perused it over, but that he wished it closed again. Then cried he out aloud, Can it be possible? is Artaxia such a deceitfull Politician? can her lips utter that which is so far at distance from her heart? and can flattering make her seem the lesse cruel? No sure, her very name will be hatefull to all Posteritie.
See here, saith he to some of his servants that were with him, see here a Letter from Artaxia to Plaxirtus, how she praises him for a treacherous act, how she condoles with him for the death of Pyrocles and Musidorus, the two gloriousest Princes that ever lived in the world; how she promises him to end the Tragedie with a Comedie; she tels him the Gods set to their help to revenge her brothers death; and then she acknoledges her self and her Kingdom his, according to her proclamation.
Thus Plangus was breathing out his griefs, but had not altogether eased himself, before he was interrupted by a messenger, who not being accustomed to complements, came to him, and certified him that he came from Armenia, and that he was servant to that Nobleman, to whom Artaxia and he reposed so much confidence in, to intrust Erona to be under his charge; and that now, contrarie to the Articles agreed upon between them, Plaxirtus had brought the news to Artaxia of the death of Pyrocles and Musidorus, which had been procured by his contrivance; and said he, she hath married him in requital. And by this time he hath besieged my Lords Castle where Erona is confined. Then my Lord having intelligence of it, immediately sent me after you, to let you understand that he was not furnished with conveniences well enough to hold out long: therefore as you love Erona, so come with speed to relieve her. Now I have finished my message, and I must be gone. So with less reverence than he used when he came, he hastily went his way. Plangus being cast into such an astonishment, that he let him go at his pleasure, without so much as inquiring after Eronas welfare. But at length, he rouzed himself out of his amazement, and then would have poured out his soul in complaints, had he not espied his news-monger galloping almost out of his sight, then sending his eyes after him, he made a virtue of necessitie, and contented themselves that they were spectatours of the nimble Nag, which shewed his unwillingness to rest his foot upon the ground, before he entered his native soil. This tempted Plangus to discover his fancie, which he did in these terms, certainly said he,
There is a charm in Beautie, that Beast do homage to, and must obey; that now makes the Nag to trip so fast away to do Erona service. Shall I then be worse than a beast? no, although I cannot pass along with thee; yet my heart shall always keep before thee. And dear Erona, though now I turn my face from thee, yet my deeds shall always declare to be for thee, and shall endeavour to clear the clouds that now obscure thy brightness.
Thus, between hope and despair, he mounted his horse, and commanding his servants to follow him, he resolved to go into Macedon, to report the news to Evarchus, of his sons and nephews death. For he was perswaded, that Evarchus would not be backward from bringing to due punishment the causers of his unspeakable loss. And by that means he thought he might handsomly shew his valour, and prove it upon his Ladies enemies. Yet sometimes fears would make conspiracies within him, and almost overwhelm him, untill he recalled his sences, and considered, that it was not a daunted spirit that could serve Erona. Then setting spurs to his horse, he travelled in a night and a day without once opening his lips; silence, in his opinion being the best companion to a troubled mind.
But at last he entered into the pleasant countrey of Arcadia, which was adorned with stately woods: No cries were heard there but of the lambs, and they in sport too sounded their voices to make their playfellow lambs answer them again in imitation of the like. And the abundance of shadie trees that were there, were so beautifull with the sweet melodie of birds, that any one, save love-sick Plangus, might think it a sufficient harmonie to draw away their delight from any other vanitie of the world. Besides, there were the Shepherds piping to their prettie Shepherdesses, whilest they chearfully sang to pleasure them again. In this sweet place, he sat himself down, with an intention to rest his wearied limbs under a branched tree, whilest his servants refreshed themselves, & baited their horses, but no ease could be harboured in his disquieted heart, his eys being no sooner closed, but that he imagined he saw Erona burning in their unmercifull fire: at which sight he staringly opened them, and determined with himself, that since sleep would procure no comfort to him, other then Tragical scenes, he would never enjoy any contentment before he had settled Erona in her throne in safetie.
He had not been long in this perplexitie, before he was kindly examined the cause of his sadness. Plangus hearing the question, and musing extreamly who it should be that to his thinking should ask so strange an one, heaved up his head, which before he had carelesly held down, and seeing onely an ancient man attended by his two Daughters, and hoping he would be a companion suitable to his disposition, he courteously answered him, that it would be but a trouble to him to understand the occasion of his grief, for, said he, it will be too melancholly a storie to rehearse to you, unless you were in a capacitie to help me.
It is possible I might do you service, replied the old man; for now you are in Arcadia, where I am King, and having retired from my Court to a private Lodge, which is seated in a Grove hardby, I with my two daughters, happening now to walk for recreation into this pleasant place, and I perceiving you being a stranger, lying in such a forlorn posture, I must confess it was incivilitie in me to disturb you, but my compassion would submit to no causalities that could hinder my desired knowledge. And now I hope it will be no inconvenience to you to relate your own Historie to me.
But Plangus, with humble reverence excused his denial, and beseeched Basilius first to grant him his pardon, since it was a fault of ignorance, and not of perversness. And that he promised himself, that he would chuse rather to be his Chyrurgian to heal his wounds, than in the least to marr or make them.
Basilius would suffer him no longer to go on with his frivolous civilities, and telling him they should serve his turn, made him sit down. Then Plangus related all circumstances in the same manner, that afterward the divine Philoclea sweetly declared to her lover, the admirable Pyrocles. And believe me, she told it with more liveliness and quickness of wit, than Plangus did himself: For oftentimes his thought was strayed from his storie, to sigh, with gazing upon the splendor of Pamela and Philoclea, for he conceited that in their beauties he might see Eronas. But alas poor Prince! Cupid in that had blinded him, for although Erona might deserve a large share of praises, yet the two Sisters could not be paralelled. But when he had concluded his passionate relation, he earnestly craved release of Basilius: who answered him, that he governed a quiet and a peaceable Countrey, and that he should very unwillingly teach his people the way of dissention; but yet he would command a Guard of Arcadians to conduct him safe into Macedon.
Plangus, in lowly submission, congratulated with Basilius for that favour, believing that time and entreatie would amplifie his goodness, according to his abilitie. Then as he was appointing a place where the Arcadians should meet him, his servants presented themselves to him, and certified him, that the day was far spent, and that it would be necessarie for him to go to the next town, and there to lodge that night. Plangus, very well liked of their advice, that he might have the more freedom to contrive his best way to act his part he had alreadie begun to play. Then after they had ended their sundrie discourses, he parted from Basilius and the two surpassing sisters.
Now Eronas beautie had grounded such an impression in his heart, that no other thought, but of her perfections, could enter into his. She was his Image, her he worshipped, and her he would for ever magnifie. And untill he came near the Citie, he busied his fancie in extolling his Ladie. But there he was received by the governour of the Town with as great gallantrie as could be expected, considering the short warning Basilius gave them, there wanting no cost that might be pleasing either to his eye or tast. A stately supper being provided, which was garnished with a royal banquet, sent from Basilius; and all was finished in so gorgeous a manner, that Plangus did assure himself he was no ordinarie, nor yet unwelcom Guest. But all the sweet musick with the plentie of delicates was no more to Plangus, than the rememberance of his own misfortune. Yet having a Princely care not to show himself unthankfull to the meanest supporter of his undeserved Festivals, he would oftentimes praise them for their bountie to him a stranger, and one that was no way able to make them the least requital, but they replied, that his acceptance was as much, and more than they deserved or expected. Then after they had a good while parlied together upon several occasions, the Citizens returned to their houses, and Plangus went to his lodging, then prostrating himself before Cupid for his happie success in fulfilling of his own desires, beseeched him to unite Erona's affection as firmly to him, as his was unmoveable to her; and that both might be so well preserved, that at length they might enjoy the happie fruition of real friendship between him and Erona, at whose name he ended; and as if he received his life from thence, he fell into a little slumber, which continued for so short a time, that when he awaked, the clouds were not separated to give way to the approaching day, that was then extreamly wisht for by him, who determined to spend the hour-glass of his life in defence of his esteemed mistress.
By that time he had run over his thoughts to the end of his intended enterprises, Phebus spread his beams over his curtains, which cast so great a reflection upon him, that though his eyes were still dissembling sleep yet the Suns brightness made him gaze about him, and seeing it so sweet a morning, he believed it to be an emblem of his prosperous success. In this perswasion he arose, and charging his servants to be in a readiness, he walked into a Gallerie, where multitudes stood waiting for his presence, he kindly saluting them, and repeating his former speeches of courtesie and gratitude, he commanded his man to bring out his Steed; and then taking his leave of the Arcadians, saving the residue which Basilius appointed to wait on him, he raised himself upon the beast, which gently received him as willing to bear so loved a burden, and sprightly ambled along: but Plangus was forced to hold his bridle, and teach his Nag his bounds were no further than his Commission, by reason of a calling from a young Shepherd, who speedily running to Plangus, and in a breathless manner he certified him that he was sent by his Lord Basilius to excuse his absence, the occasion being his retiredness to so private a place, that with no conveniencie he could entertain him there agreeable to his greatness, nor yet to remove so far so suddenly.
Plangus requested the Shepherd to return his thanks and obedience to his Sovereign, and seeing it was a matter of no greater importance, he would endure no longer hinderances, but set spurs to his horse and gallopped away with all expedition: but not without some turbulent passages that he was fain to endure, before he could attain to his desired haven: yet at last he arrived under the Dominions of Evarchus in Macedon, where he was welcomed by a companie of dolorous persons, who without entreatie would participate with him in his sorrows, but alas! there were few comforters, all the people seeming like shadows in regard of the miss they had of their young Prince, who after he had brought so many Kings in subjection under his prowess and valour, should now himself be lost, none knowing where or how; but perpetually hearkening to several relations, which put them into more fears and doubts every day than they were in before.
Musidorus wanted not bewailing neither; for well they knew Pyrocles life was bound up in his, and that he loved & respected the Macedonians as much for Pyrocles sake, as he did the Thessalians for his own sake, and that they learned one another virtuous qualities, which were equally distributed between them; therefore the whole Kingdom groaned under burthensom calamities for their witnessed loss: but by the enterance of Plangus, who was a stranger to them, their complaints were turned into whisperings, and their sighs into listenings, all being earnest to know who he was, and the cause of his Posting from citie to citie towards the Court. Some would believe the worst, and then would swear they did see sadness in his face; others would perswade themselves, it was his hastie travelling that made him seem careful But Plangus not staying to hearken to their mistrustfull uncertainties, kept on his former pace, till he was come within a mile of the Palace, where he was stopped by one Kalodolus, an ancient servant belonging to Musidorus, who hearing of the coming of a Foreigner, and infinitely longing to hear from his dear Master, and meeting Plangus, he fell down at his feet, and besought him to have commiseration upon him, and tell him of the safetie of Musidorus.
This request silenced Plangus for a while, who could not imagin what reply to make to him: but having considered a little better of it, he brake his silence on this fashion. Sir, it grieves me extreamly that I cannot give you such satisfactorie answer as I wish I could: however do not afflict your self, for I dare assure you that he is happie, being a more glorious Prince, and far greater than all the Kingdoms of the World could make him.
Why? is he dead? said Kalodolus, then all virtue is fled away: but I will follow thee Musidorus, where ere thou beest, I will not stay behind. Then snatching out a Rapier from him that was nearest him, he would have sent his soul to Pluto, had it not been prevented by the quick eye of Plangus, who apprehending his danger, leaped upon him, and with violence wrung the Rapier out of his hand, but yet he would not be pacified for a time, nor perswaded from practising his intended mischief, till reason over-swaying his patience, made him becom a moderator of his own rashness; for said he,What good can my death do to Musidorus? shall I my self destroy, and do my Prince the wrong? no, I will live as long as fortune pleases, and guid my steps about the world, till I have found his Tomb, where I will solemnize such Obsequies as may be thought worthy to be titled the Funeral of so worthy a Prince. Then I will weep my self to tears upon his grave, to water that illustrious Plant, that certainly must needs spring up & flourish; for it is impossible so rare a thing can be obscured in the earth.
Here Kalodolus speech was stopped by a floud, that would endure no longer to be hid within his aged carkass. And the noble Plangus answered him with sighs, as if his heart would break: then they both lookt so stedfastly in pitie upon one another, that if a Painter had been present, he could not take, nor have a livelier Master-piece of sorrow than this lover and servant represented, they being both void of comfort, and equally afflicted, until Plangus pluckt up his dead spirits, and adviced Kalodolus to cease his complaints, and not to suffer grief to overrun his patience, for since Musidorus was dead, the onely service he could do for him, was to help forward the revenging of the Actors in his death. And then he required him to direct him the way to Evarchus: which command Kalodolus instantly obeyed. And guiding him through stately Courts, paved all with Marble, and compassed in with Marble pillars, that were adorned with such goodly proportioned Statues, that had not Plangus been employed with matters of consequence, he would not so regardlesly have passed by them, without prying into their Storie; which might perhaps have been beneficial unto him, to know the several tricks of warlike Hercules, as was there curiously engraven by famous Antiquaries. But Plangus thoughts were higher flown than these Portaitures could reach to; those he valued like shadows in comparison of his valiant enterprises, that artificially his invention would lay before him, as if it were accomplished alreadie. And in that unsatisfied perswasion he was brought to Evarchus, whose sight awakened him from his fabulous fantasie. And then with a sad reverence he kneeled down.
But the good King would not suffer that, but lifting him up, he entreated him to use no such ceremonies, but to discourse that which he earnestly wisht to know without any delays. So Plangus being extream willing to fulfill Evarchus charge, though first to bring him by degrees to the hearing of those mournfull tidings, he began with this Prologue:
Most gracious Sir, did I not consider your wisdom in governing your passions, far surmounting other mens, I should not so abruptly presume to be the messenger of such unfortunate news, as now I am. But since my life is hazarded in several respects, I know your goodness will no way persevere against me, for necessitie hath no rule, and that is the reason which now inforces me to manifest that unto you, which I am loth to utter: But I assure my self, that your Majestie will no way despise the sovereign salve called Patience, that is a present Remedie for all afflictions.
Know then, great King, that the mirrours of virtue, the famous Pyrocles your son, and Musidorus your nephew are treacherously slain by the bloudie plot of Plaxirtus, false Brother to Leonatus King of Paphlagonia, and revealed to me by the surprisal of a letter of congratulation from Artaxia Queen of Armenia, under whose power Erona Queen of Lydia is a prisoner; and without speedie succour, she will be put to death in the cruellest way that can be imagined, by the same instruments that exposed her Champions to theirs: But yet Sir, they have left behind them so pretious a name, that their adversaries cannot blemish: and so long as their better part flourishes on earth, all the realitie that can be shewed for the lesser, is to go on couragiously, and revenge your loss, and to give Apollo thanks for their leaving so glorious a memorie behind them.
Thus Plangus ended, without further mentioning Erona, until Evarchus grief was somewhat digested: which he did perceive extreamly to over-sway him, by the changing of bloud in his face, that perpetually going and coming, would sometime wax pale and wan; and then would flush, as if he threatened to make Plaxirtus smart for all his villanie. And in this conflict of sorrow and anger he continued a great space: but at last they both yielded to reason, and Evarchus wisely became the Judge of the Sessions; for said he,
It is Justice to bring murderers to their deserved punishments. And because you Prince Plangus testifie your self to be such an affectionate Friend to my dear Children, shew your self one in their revenge; you I will entrust to be the General of my Armie; prove as valiant now as you have ever done; let all your aim be at Plaxirtus; and if possible, convey him hither alive, that he may die a publick spectacle of shame and terror before all the People. And I give you free libertie to use your power in the release of that distressed Ladie you spake of, for certainly their hearts are infinitely hardened for any mischief: but for Artaxia, remember she is a woman, and subject to degrees of Passion as well as man. But alas! she desired the destruction of Pyrocles and Musidorus, and now she hath rendered her recompence to Plaxirtus for that abominable deed. O the thought of that Action reaches further than my compassion: but I will resign my power to you, therefore though you grow Victorious, yet strengthen your self with discretion, and let not rashness nor faint-heartedness prevail over you. Now go on with your intentions, and prosper, whilst I end my days in solitariness.
Evarchus had no sooner done, but he bowed to the earth, as if he wisht to be there quickly; and then after he had signed a Commission for raising of an Armie, he withdrew into his chamber, and Plangus waited upon him to the enterance, and so they parted; one to temperate melancholly, the other to Hope intermixt with cares: for though Plangus was loaded with troublesom imployments, yet those he took for refreshments, because the foundation of them was laid for Erona's sake. But Evarchus grieved, as he had too just cause, to think that he should never more behold the joy of his heart again; and so he continued without the least show of a contented mind, yet not with a desperate rage. A large and rare Theme might be Chronicled of his wisely governed Passions; but that is too pregnant a virtue for my dull capacity to go on with.
Therefore surrendering that to sharp wits, I will onely mention Plangus happie success that he obtained in Macedon; for in short time he levied an Armie, sufficient to conquer all Armenia, every one being desirous to revenge their Princes quarrel, and thought it a preferment to be the meanest Souldier; then being all in a readiness, they march away. But Plangus before he went, sent his Ambassadors to Delphos, to know the Oracle his Destinie, and just as he was managing his Armie, in their march they returned with this answer;
That he should be Victorious over his Enemies, if so be he would be vigilant in guiding his Forces in a way of deliberation; and not to venture to shew his Valour, in over-rash attempts in a Bravado before his Mistress, which oftentimes hath been the cause of the Routing a magnificent Armie: but he must remember the eyes of all the World were upon him as their Defence and Shield, whose wisdom must preserve them from their furious enemies.
This Oracle infinitely comforted Plangus; and when he had given thanks to Apollo for his proclaimed prosperous Fortune, he kept on his march to Armenia; whom we will leave for a time.
Now I will discover some Passages that passed between Amphialus Nephew to Basilius the King of Arcadia, and Helena Queen of Corinth, how that after she had carried him away in a Lighter from Arcadia, what bitter complaints she made for him, untill she had brought him to Corinth, that would be to pitifull a subject to stay on; therefore leaving that to several conjectures, I will onely rehearse those particulars that united those rare Persons together to both their abundant felicitie.
When Helena had conveyed her beloved Amphialus to her renowned Citie Corinth, and lodged him in the richest furnished Chamber that could be devised, yet all she thought too mean for such an imcomparable Guest: then she advised with her skilfull Chyrurgeons how she might have his wounds healed; and had always an especial care to see the salves applied to them her self; and when all was finished, she passed away the day with sighs by senceless Amphialus, who lay so quietly, that for a great time none could perceive the least motion of life in him: but at last the Chyrurgeons avouched they could find warm bloud strive for life in his (now in all likelihood) curable wounds. Which speech of theirs did make Helena wash her fair face with her tears for joy, when before it had not touched a drop of water, from the time that she found Amphialus in so wofull a condition. Then began she to discourse with him, as if he could mind her what she said.
Tell me dear Amphialus, said she, what occasion have I given you to make you hate me? have I not ever honoured and loved you far above my self? O yes! and if I had a thousand lives to lose, I would venture them all for your sake. But since that is an impossible thing, propound to me the most probable way for me to purchase you, and I dare undertake it, be it never so dangerous: But if it be the Princess Philoclea that lies as a block in my way, so that I must either continue where I am, or else stumble over it and be made quite hopeless, yet let me counsel you as a faithfull friend, not to engage your affections to one that is so negligent of it, but rather bestow it upon me that will accept of it. Oh hear me, and have pitie on me, O Amphialus, Amphialus!
Then she flung her self down upon his bed, with a resolution not to stir before she had discerned some sign of life in outward appearance. And as she was earnestly looking upon him, she espied his eyes astealing open; but immediately, with a long fetcht sigh, he closed them up again, as grieving for their tenderness they could not gaze upon beautie. But Helena replying with twentie to his one, went on with her love-sick speeches.
Alas poor Prince! said she, is it thy hard fortune to receive thy life again in sighs? hath such il-favoured spleens no place to settle in, but in thy noble breast, which shines in goodness? Chear up, dear Prince, and let not thy greatest Foe find cause to tax thee with the least blemish.
Longer she would have proceeded in her bemoaning of Amphialus, had she not been interrupted by the Chyrurgeons that were in the chamber, and hearing her voice, came instantly to her, and kneeling down, intreated her to abandon the chamber, for as much as her presence and complaints caused disturbance in Amphialus, and procured nothing but that which was hurtfull to her own person: and then they assured her, that if she would forbear his companie, they could perfect the cure in half the time, that otherwise they should be constrained to be tedious in, by reason that her sad speeches would ground such an impression in him in his weakness, that it would be as much as their skill could reach unto, to keep his wounds from growing worser than better. These perswasions of the Chyrurgeons had a very great influence over Helena, and she forsaking her former passions, guarded her self with a long Robe of wise considerations, and departed his chamber without any shew of fondess, to the admiration of all beholders. Yet she never neglected the care of Amphialus, but diligently enquired after his amendment, that she might know all passages as punctually, as if she had been with him. In this golden mean of Patience she continued so long, till Amphialus had revived somewhat his decayed spirits, & the Chyrurgeons had so well overcome his wounds, that by degrees he was brought to walk about his chamber; but always he would be crossing his Arms, knocking his Breast, and breathing speeches to himself in so wofull a manner, as would make the hardest heart burst into a deluge of tears. Yet all this time he never examined by what means he was conveyed thither, nor any other question that concerned Helena's or his own condition. And so for a great while he imprisoned himself in such ignorance, till by the coming of a young Gentleman, named Clytifon, son to Kaleander, a Noble man of Arcadia, his concealed estate, and all other circumstances that had happened in Arcadia from his departure from thence were declared to Amphialus wonder and astonishment.
For this Clytifon was sent as an Ambassadour to Amphialus from his uncle the King of Arcadia, to congratulate with him for his recoverie, and to certifie him of his Cosins deliverance out of his Castle, by the prowess of Prince Pyrocles and Musidorus; and how they disguised themselves for the love of Pamela and Philoclea, with all the several attempts that they practised to obtain their desired enterprise. (As their bringing Anaxius to submit to their mercie, Pyrocles having granted him his life on condition he would acknowledge it) and finally to give him notice, that the nuptials of Pyrocles and Philoclea, with Musidorus and Pamela were onely deferred for the time they could hear from Amphialus. This was the chief of Clytifons Ambassage, which he carefully obeyed.
But before he entered into Corinth, the Citie swelled with rumour, every one being greedie to know that which nothing concerned them. But Clytifon knowing it was not a time of dalliance, hastened to the Palace, where he was waited for by Helena, whose watchfull eyes and attentive ears could not pass by any suspitious whisperings, but would always make strict enquirie of the cause of them. So now she believing the credible report, would needs come down her self, attended with a train of Ladies, to welcom the Ambassadour to her Court, when as soon as she perceived a glimpse of him, she perfectly knew him to be that noble Clytifon, whom before she had been beholding to for his excellent companie. Then whilst she was shewing her courtesie to him for his former civilities, he with an humble reverence, yet supported with a Garb of Majestie, came to her after the manner of an Ambassadour, and presenting mightie high commendations to her from all the Princes that resided in Arcadia, she besought him to accept of such poor entertainment as her abilitie could make him. Then leading him into the Presence (it being in the after-noon) she commanded a delicate Collation to be set before him, which was fulfilled so quickly and so decently, that Clytifon could not choose but sit and extol their comely order; and within a while fell to eating those rarities that Helena had provided for him; but she would not be perswaded to tast of any, her troubled mind was too full of jealousies and fears, to think of pleasing her appetite. Sometime she mistrusted that Basilius had sent for Amphialus to be tried by the Law for his Mother Cecropia's stealing away his Daughters, that he might have a fair pretence to take away his life. But quickly she vanquished that doubt by another that she imagined to be most probable, which was, that Philoclea's heart might be mollified, and that she under-hand had made choice of Clytifon to be her Proxie, in wishing Amphialus to pursue his former Petition to Philoclea, that she with the more modestie might grant him his request. This fancie of Helena made such a wound within her breast, that a thousand of sighs had free passage there, and in silence she did think out her complaints; until Clytifon had disordered the artificial curiosities with tasting of their goodness, and had sufficed his natural hunger. Then Helena taking him aside from the companie that came to gaze upon him, with many shews of grief she conjured him, that if ever he had been real to any friend, to shew himself one to her, who vowed faithfulness and secresie: but yet if it were a matter of such weightie importance, as he could not repose so much confidence in her, being a Princes of another Countrey, yet she entreated him to certifie her whether it concerned Amphialus, or in his her own ruin.
Clytifon had hardly patience to hear her out, but removed her fears on this manner: Chear up great Queen, said he, those cloudie shadows of discontent and fears never do good but hurt, and wrong your Beautie, that otherwise would be the sweetest, and the singular Flower that could be found in the large Garden of the world. Chear up then and rejoyce at joyfull tidings: for to the amazement of all, the two ever blessed Princes, Pyrocles and Musidorus, are by many strange accidents found to be alive, though disguised, within my Sovereigns Lodges (from being gallant Souldiers) the one to a woman, the other to a comely Shepherd, which was brought to pass by the industrie of blind Cupid, who takes pleasure in wounding the best of undaunted spirits. But yet he hath dealt so favourable with these incomparable Persons, that he hath equally wounded Pamela and Philoclea to them again: so that now Arcadia waits onely for the nuptials finishing, to be made happie in having so glorious a Prince to reign over them, and that is delayed onely for the time that they might hear from my Lord Amphialus.
Helena's joy at the hearing of this news, was too great for my dull expression, yet after she had moderated her excessive mirth, and brought it within the bounds of reason, she feared that Amphialus would be so overcome with despairing grief, that nothing but death could end his miserie. Then fell she at Clytifon's feet, and begged of him not to be over-hastie in declaring his Ambassage to Amphialus, but to compass him in by degrees to the hearing of it. This request of hers Clytifon courteously promised to perform. And she guiding him to Amphialus chamber door, desired him to walk in, and departed.
But Amphialus espying Clytifon, and leaping upon him, and then lovingly embracing him, said, How doest thou Clytifon? thou lookest as if thou meanedst to chide me; but spare your labour, I will do that my self, nay, and more if Philoclea would command it, let her desire my heart and she shall have it, and with mine own hand Ile pluck it out to give her, yet think it all too little to excuse my crime. But she is gratious and noble, answered Clytifon, and will be readier to forgive, than you can be to begge your pardon of her. But I will never presume to aske forgiveness, replyed Amphialus, since I deserve all punishments. Though you do, said Clytifon, yet if you will present your self unto her in an humble and submissive way, and cast off your former Suit, I durst assure you she would not onely grant your life, but would also receive you to her favour as her near Kinsman. If I could think so, replied Amphialus, I should be highlie contented far above my deserts or wishes, and said Clytifon, would you be pleased to hear that she were married to another or else likelie to be so suddainly? Yes with all my soul answered Amphialus, but yet upon condition, that it may be to her all flourishing happiness. As for my own particular, that is the least thing I regard or hope for, onely as I said before, that the Princess Philoclea may be endowed with all felicity, that will procure to me an uncontrouled blessedness.
Then Clytifon asked him if he would accept of him to be the bearer of a letter from him to Philoclea? which he promised carefully to deliver, if it were such an one as might be received without scruple. Amphialus answered he would gladly write to Philoclea, but it should no way be prejudicial to him, he intending onely to manifest his grief for her ill usage in his Castle; and to let her know how readie he was to welcom any punishment she would inflict upon him. Then after more such speeches passed between them, Clytifon rehearsed the truth of his message. Which at first Amphialus heard with trembling, untill Clytifon remembered him of his former discourse, that nothing that could make Philoclea happie, should ever make him unhappie. Then rousing up himself, he wished Clytifon to leave him to his privacie, that he might have the more libertie to endite a letter worthie of her acceptance; Clytifon being to carrie it away the next morning. So he, without the least contradiction, left Amphialus, who being alone fell into a passion (as afterward he confessed) that had almost made him senseless, untill time that wears out all things, recaled his memorie back to him again, which first discovered it self thus:
Alas miserable Amphialus! thou imployest thy self to extol thy Rival, and meanest to make it thy recreation to do so always. Now I can remember the Amazon Ladie that fought so gallantly with me in the Arcadian woods, for the Princess Philoclea's Glove; what blows she strook at me, and with what nimbleness she avoided mine, when I aimed at her in mine own defence. I must confess it daunted me to see a woman rant so over me, but yet it made me the more admire her valour, and brought down my former loftiness, to wonder at my timourousness. But since she is discovered to be the noble Pyrocles, I shall be so far from hiding that disguised exploit of his, that I shall blazon it about the world in triumph, as an honour for me to be overcome by him; and it shall never be said, that envie of my Rival shall make me obscure his worth, for I shall applaud his wisdom in making so rare a choice. Nor did I ever hear of any that could deserve him better than the divine Philoclea. Then grieve no more Amphialus, at thy Ladies happiness, since in hers all thine consists; but prepare thy self to obey her commands, be they never so contrary to thy nature.
With these resolutions, although with a shaking hand, he began to write his letters. But Clytifon, as soon as he came out of the chamber, was received by Helena, to whom he related Amphialus and his whole discourse. And she being in hope to make him a fortunate messenger for her proceeding, used him with all the courtesie that could be. And then by her favours she enticed him to her bait, and made him as much her humble servant, as he was Amphialus: For then he had promised to be a nimble Post to them both: and he must be conducted to his lodging, and Helena to her closet.
Where she began too hard a task for her distracted mind, a letter she did write unto Philoclea, but that did no way please her, it was not sufficiently adorned with Rhetorick for so rare a Princess. Another she did like reasonable well, but that was so blured with her tears, that the best of eyes could not read it. More she wrote, and found blemishes in them all. But at last being tired with scribing so long upon one subject, she resolved that the next should go what ere it were, which in earnest proved the worst of all. But yet because you shall understand the enditment of it, it is set down as ensueth. The Superscription was,
For the virtuous Princes Philoclea.
Did I not hear in what raptures of happiness your Divine self is involved, or could I in the least comprehend the splendor of your goodness to spread upon your distressed Cosin Amphialus, I should willingly resign up all my claim to felicitie, so that you, of farr worthier endowments, might enjoy it. But since it hath pleased the destinies to place you in the highest firmament of contentment, that you may with the more ease behold the calamitie of your Admirer, let me therefore intreat you to shew your compassion to him by mildness, and suffer his punishment, may be sincere affection to me; and you will infinitely above measure oblige your devoted servant,
HELENA of Corinth.
Often did she peruse this Letter to find out cavils in it, until sleep would endure no longer to be resisted, nor hindered from seizing on so pure a soul, which she evidenced by letting her letter fall out of her delicate proportioned hand that held it: then fell she into slumbers, and starts would now and then afright her, but those she ended with sighs, and fell asleep again, and then she passed away the remainder of the night with varietie of dreams, untill the approching day roused up her senses, and remembered her it was high time for Lovers to be stirring. Then she being always mindfull of such observations, took her letter, and making it fortunate with her prayers, she carried it into the Presence, where she stayed for Clytifon, who was receiving his farewel of Amphialus.
For after Amphialus had finished his humble suit, as he termed it, and had endured a tedious night, Clytifon must needs be sent for to prescribe the likeliest medicine for a love-sick remedie. Clytifon could not be asked an harder question, for he himself would gladly have taken Physick, had he been sure of the cure. Tell me Clytifon, said he, is there no help for a troubled mind? no cordial to bring sleep into these eyes of mine? If you will submit your actions, replied Clytifon, to my approbation, I will set you in a perfect way of quietness, though it should procure mine own endless miserie. He deserves no Physician, answered Amphialus,that will not accept of his advice, when it is so freely profered him. Know then, said Clytifon, your onely way to obtain contentment, is to honour, nay, and love her who so entirely loves and respects you. O stay there, cried out Amphialus, and do not weigh me down with clogs of grief, I am balanced sufficiently alreadie, why do you with more burdens strive to sink me? nothing but Philoclea's commands I find can enter into my heart, and they may strike me dead. Flie then Clytifon, flie as swiftly as Phœbus can, and make a quick return to let me know Philoclea's censure equal to my deserts. With these words he gave Clytifon his letter, and with a sad gesture turned away. But Clytifon without deferring went his way; though first he received Helena's, and with many protestations vowed to further her undertakings.
And now I will leave these two lovers in longing expectation of his return, and will trace along with Clytifon to accompanie him, he being destitute almost of any comfort, by reason his affections were so extreamly engaged to Helena's beautie, that nothing but envious death could aswage it. This caused such a conflict to arise between Cupid's discharged Bowe, and Clytifon's making his own wounds to gape with contrarying the God of loves commands, and hastening from the Mistress of his desires to gain her to another: that oftentimes he was turning back to discover his intentions to her. But this design he vanquished by confuting himself.
It is true said he, I ride apace towards mine own overthrow; but since it was her charge, how dare I harbour a thought of refusing? no it is her gracious pleasure to vouchsafe me to be her Messenger, and shall I loose her esteemed favours, which I infinitly hazard if I do not manifest my faithfull endeavours in gaining Amphialus to be her Husband, but I will choose to be her loyal Servant, rather than to her sweet self an importunate Suiter. And I should account my self ever happie, could it lie in my power to further hers; but I am unworthy to receive such a Title as a poor Instrument to redeem her Majestie to her former felicitie: however I will shew my willingness, by my nimbleness; and then teaching his Steed to give a gallant caper, he speedily rode away, and without the least hinderance he quickly set footing in the Countrey of Arcadia, where he was welcomed by Peals of Bels, and Shoutings of People, with varietie of sports contrived by young children: besides the pleasant Shepherds blowed their pipes, whilest the prettie Shepherdesses chanted out their praises of their great God Pan. All these harmless pastimes were ordered so conveniently, that he might have a perfect view of them as he went by: and all was to declare the joy they conceived for Clytifon's safe return, whose stay they heard was the onely delayance of the Princes Nuptials. And as he rode along, the silly Lambs did welcome him with leaps, whilest the Fox that lurked in his private corner to catch them, discovered himself to do homage unto Clytifon, and by that means lost his game; yet he chearing himself up with hopes of a more plentifull prey hereafter, returned to his former craft, and received that misfortune as a just recompence of his carelesness.
Thus Clytifon's thoughts were taken up by sundrie objects, till he had traced along ground so far as to the Citie of Matenia: there he might see Noble Personages glorie with their imployment, and to esteem themselves to be regarded were they not set to work. There he might behold the Palace richly furnishing, and all the houses gaudily decking up. There he might hear of abundance of several inventions for Masques, & other curious sights that might be delightfull to the eye. But Clytifon passed by all these rare Scenes, they being in comparison of his fantasie, by him reputed superfluous.
And now his eye was fixed upon the Lodge that shadowed the wonders of the world, and was seated about two miles distance from Matenia. Thither with eagerness he goes, where he was onely saluted by the diligent servants that directed him to the grove adjoyning to the Lodge, where the Princes just before were walked for recreation. Then as he went gazing about him, he discerned Evarchus King of Macedon, who signified his joy for his Sons and Nephews, to him, revived lives, by his lifted up hands and eyes, which with great devotion he rendered to the Gods in thankfulness.
For it happened after Plangus departure from Macedon with an Armie, Evarchus fearing his love-lines would give opportunitie for sadness to overcome his languishing spirit, made a journey into Arcadia to visit his antient Friend Basilius. And after many strange accidents had apparently been discovered, as the famous Sir Philip Sydney fully declares, Pyrocles and Musidorus were found to be alive; and now he tarried in Arcadia to see his blessedness compleated in their Marriages. And in the mean time he dispatched a messenger to Plangus to encourage him with those welcom tidings. And then the good King confined himself wholy to the continual praises of the Divine providence for his unlooked for comfort. And now straying from the rest of the Princely companie, he fell to his wonted contemplations, and never moved from his devout posture, till Clytifon's suddain approach into his sight, made him start, and withall raised him.
Then Evarchus examined him how the noble Gentleman Amphialus did? but Clytifon was so mightily dashed with his disturbing of Evarchus, that he let silence be both his Answer and Pleader for his presumption, which Evarchus perceiving, brought him into that solitary Arbor where Pyrocles in his disguizement had the priviledge to resort: There sate Basilius with Genecea his Queen, and he lovingly condoling with her for her former sufferings that she was then a sounding in his attentive ears, but at Evarchus and Clytifons enterance they rose up, and graciously saluting Clytifon, they commanded him to repeat those Adventures that had befallen him at Corinth, if they were remarkable; but Evarchus prevailed with them to have patience, that Philoclea, whom it most concerned, might hear as soon as any; then they all went to the young Princes, and found them so well imployed, that had they not espied them, they would in pitie have passed by, and not disturbed them.
Pyrocles and Musidorus being seated upon a Fountaines brim, where in the middle Cupids Image was placed, ready the second time to have wounded them; but they not minding him, strived who should with the comeliest grace, and highest Rhetorick extoll their Mistresses; whilst the faire Pamela, with lovely Philoclea tied the truest Lovers knot in grasse, that ever yet was tied; and now and then would pick a Flower to shew their Art, to tell the vertue of it; in these harmless pleasures their Parents found them busied.
Then Basilius comming to Philoclea, told her that Clytifon had brought her news of her servant Amphialus, & she modestly blushing, replyed, that she should be glad to hear of her Cosins health; then Basilius desired them all to sit down, that they might lend the better attention to Clytifon; but he in reverence to his Soveraigne, would stand, till Basilius lay'd his commands upon him to the contrarie: then Clytifon recounted all circumstances saving that about himself, as I have set down; and when he had ended, he presented Philoclea with Helena's & Amphialus Letters, which she courteously received, & when she had broken them open, she read them, but with such Crystall streames all the time droping from her Rosie cheeks, that had Venus been by, she would have preserved them in a Glasse to wash her faice withall, to make her the more beautifull; and then her Servant Pyrocles gently wiped them away; but seeing them yet distil, he was angry, and shewed it on this manner. It is a hard Riddle to me, said he, that a Lover should write such a regardless Letter, to grieve and mar that face that he so much adored. He would longer have chid Amphialus, but that Evarchus advised him to take the Letter from his sorrowfull Ladie, which she willingly resigned unto him; and he read as followeth.
For the Incomparable PRINCESS , the Princess Philoclea.
I Am confident, you have heard what affection I have harboured in my heart, your (though unknown to me) most barbarous usage, and that I might clear mine innocence of such an heinous crime, with what a Tragical act I heaped up miserie upon miserie, which hath infinitly overwhelmed my distracted soul; and now I onely rest in expectation of your commands. I beseech you let it be so pitifull, that it may procure eternal ease to my extream perplexity; and nothing can diminish that but Death by your appointment; and that to me shall be most welcom; and I shall account my self happy in obeying your desires at the last moment, which I vow to accomplish what ere it be, with chearfulness; and with this undaunted resolution, I will ever continue to be,
Your faithfull, though unworthy Servant,
Whilest Pyrocles was reading this, the sweet Philoclea stopt the remainder of her tears, till she had taken a view of Helena's. Then she entreated her Pyrocles to read over her Cousin Amphialus lines to her again. And she attentively listening to his passionate Phrases, the second time she renewed her weeping deluge: but the stately Pamela said, her Cosin did wisely to cast himself into the Power of her sister, he knew her clemencie, and considered it was his safest way to do so, before he set footing in Arcadia.
Then they all perswaded Philoclea not to grieve for that which she might remedie, and adviced her to go and write a letter to Amphialus, and in it to command him to put in execution Helena's demands. She immediatly arose, and at her rising made the flowers to hang down their heads for want of her presence: but her breath being a sweeter perfume than the scent of the choicest Flowers, made her careless of their sorrow; for she not minding them, went her way; and Pyrocles, who could be as well out of his life, as from her company, followed after her, and would needs wait upon her to the lodge; and there he staid till she had written her Letter.
Which she had no sooner ended, and Pyrocles perused, but that ingenious Clytifon was readie upon his Horse to receive it, that he might with speed convey it to Corinth. So after abundance of commendations from Philoclea to Helena and Amphialus, he parted, and without any remarkable Passage, he quickly attained to his journeys end: where he was received between hope and fear by Helena, who hearing of his return, withdrew into a private room, and then sent for him; but as soon as he was entred into her sight, she cryed out.
Good Sir, doe not break my heart with delayance; is there any possibility for me to live? if there be none, O speak, that I may die! and end my years: for if Amphialus doom be death; I am resolved not to live one minute after him. But Clytifon, as desirous to give her ease, as she could be to ask it of him, answered, That now the joyfull time was near at hand that Amphialus and she should be united together, and should flourish with all happiness that could be imagined. I beseech you do not flatter me, said Helena, such vain perswasions will do no good, but make my fall the higher and so more dangerous. Madam, replyed Clytifon, let me beg the favour of you to believe me, and if I have told you any falshood, say I was never trustie to my Friend, and you cannot punish me more to my vexation: but here is a Letter from my Lord to Amphialus, that will verifie me of the truth: Upon this Helena was brought to believe that felicitie to her, that she so long hath wished for, and caused vermilion Red to die her cheeks in preparation to receive their welcom Guest: and then her earnestness grew impatient of deferrings, she longing to prie into Philoclea's letters, therefore sealing up her lips from further questions, she directed Clytifon to Amphialus, and then she left him.
Amphialus in the mean time, whose bowels yearned for Clytifon's return, listened to all whisperings. So then he seeing the Attendants so busie in their private discourses, he enquired whether Clytifon was come? just as he entered his presence. Then after due civilities passed between them, Clytifon delivered up his charge to Amphialus, who used many ceremonies before he would presume to touch it; but when he was better advised, he joyfully imbraced it, and by degrees he intruded upon it, for first he brake the seal, and then he made this protestation.
Now I do vow and promise before Cupid, whose dart hath so cruelly wounded me, and before Venus, to whose beautie I am so much a slave, never in the least to resist Philoclea's lines; but I will shew my dutie to her by my willingness to obey her pleasure. And you my Lord Clytifon with this Noble companie are witnesses of this my Protestation.
Thus concluded he his solemn vow, and then he carefully unfolded the treasure of his life, with a belief that every fold drew him nearer than other to Paradise: and when he read it, the curiousest eye could not espie the least motion of discontent to reside in him; but he rather seemed as a Conquerour that had suddenly surprised unlookt-for comfort, which much conduced to the joy of the beholders. And when he had fully delighted his eyes with Philoclea's gracious lines, he changed his note from admiring her perfections, to blazon his now amorous Phrases of Helena's worth; and then the sweet behaviour of Helena to him in his calamitie extended to his memorie, which made him extreamly wonder at the hidden virtues of Philoclea's letters, for working so great a cure in his understanding: therefore now assuring himself the Gods had destined Helena to be his Spouse, in pursuance of their pleasure, and of his own happiness, he sent to her in an humble manner to entreat her companie. Which Message, poor Queen, she heard as joyfully, as she could have done, had Mercury posted from Heaven to bring her tidings of her transporting thither: but yet trembling possessed her delicate bodie, and would not leave her, before she had presented her self to Amphialus; who taking her by the white, yet shaking, hand, gratefully thanked her for her many favours: and then telling her he should studie a requital, besought her to hear the letter that his Cosin Philoclea had honoured him with. But Helena answered with blushes, whilest he read the letter, thus,
For her highly-esteemed Cosin, the Lord AMPHIALUS.
Might I partake with the Gods in their interest in you, I would not be kept in such ignorance and amazement, as I am at this present; but I would throughly search what just occasions I have ever given you, to hazard your person with such sad apprehensions of my anger, as I hear without speedie remedie will deprive you of all future felicitie. But laying by all that ambitious thought, in earnest, Cosin, I must needs tell you, how without comparison it troubles me, that you should think me so severe and unnatural, to torment you with a second death, for that fault, which you have by so many evident signs manifested your self to be innocent of, and if you had been guiltie as you are not, I should rather choose to mitigate your crime, than any way to heighten it. But yet I will not profusely let slip that advantage, which you have so freely left to my discretion, but will use it as an ornament to make you happie, yet not in way of authoritie, but as a Petitioner I humbly crave of you not to refuse Beautie and Honor when it is so virtuously presented to you by the famous Queen Helena, whose love-lines surpasses all others.
Therefore if you esteem of me, prove it by entirely loving of her, who, I am sure, will endow you with all such blessings as may enrich your contentment. And now with full satisfaction, that you will grant me my request, I close up these abrupt lines, and am immoveably,
Your faithfull Cosin and Servant,
Here the sweet Philoclea ended, and Amphialus with a low congee began to speak to Helena in this manner: Fair Queen, what excuse I shall make for my long incivilitie to your singular self, I know not, nor can I imagin with what confidence to beg of you the perfecting of these compassionate lines; therefore for pitie sake accept of my cast-down eyes for my Soliciters, and let your goodness plead for my backwardness in submitting to that duty of love to you, when the greatest Princes tremble at your sight, and worship you as their Image. Madam, suffer your Answer may be pitifull, since I acknowledge mine error.
My Lord,replied Helena, there is no cause given here to induce you to renew your grief, if my yielding my self to your noble disposal may be valued as a sufficient satisfactory Argument to ease you, that hath ever been my endeavor in all virtuous ways to compass.
The more may be imputed to my unworthiness, answered Amphialus; now I am surprized with shame in having so dull an apprehension, such a stony heart to refuse so rare a Person as your divine self; but the Gods are just, for now the wheel of Fortune is turned, and if you please to revenge your wrong upon me the instrument, you cannot stab me with a sharper spear, than your denial.
Why, said Helena, do you force me to repeat my real affections to you so often? is it your jealousie of my constancie? if it be that, with thanks to my Goddess Diana, I avouch, that I never harboured the least unchast thought to scandalize or blemish my puritie.
Now I may challenge you, replied Amphialus, for searching out new sorrows to your self; but pardon me dear Madam, for my rash presumption with chiding you for one fault, when I my self am burdened with so many, and beleeve me, my highest ambition is to hear your heavenly voice sound out the Harmonie of your love within mine ears; and when you vouchsafe me that, none can paralel with me in happiness.
Thus they passed away the day with these, and afterwards more fond expressions; and amongst them they concluded to make a journey into Arcadia, & for the greater Triumph, to celebrat their nuptials with the other renowned Princes, now in the height of their superfluous complements, the news of the happy success of Philoclea's Letter had so spread about, that such abundance of the Citie flocked to the Palace to see Amphialus, that Helena was forced to command the Officers, not to let any have admission, until some important business, they were to consult upon, might be accomplished; and then she promised free Passage to all: This caused every one to retire to their houses, and Helena and Amphialus after a while spared some time to advise with Clytifon to consider of the probablest way for them to go into Arcadia; the people of Corinth being in great expectation of their solemnizing the wedding there.
Then Clytifon counselled them on this manner. The surest way that I can think on is, to lay open your real intentions to the Peers of your Land, that by degrees, it may be published to the Vulgar; also declare that you will not yield to any thing that may prove to their prejudice; but if they will not receive that as satisfactory, but argue that it is a disparagement for their Country to suffer their Princess to depart from thence, and be transported into another, to have her marriage finished; you may easily prevent their future dislike of that particular; since the dishonour of your Countrey concerns you most; and in all reason you should have the most especial care to preserve it; you may please them with telling them, you do intend to make your Kingdom famous by the splendor of those Princes that now reside in Arcadia; and then you will solemnize your wedding with the same points that you use when you are there: and I am perswaded their dissentions will be quieted.
The Counsel of Clytifon was no way rejected, but very well esteemed by the Royal lovers, who shewed their thankfulness by the large Theams they made of their judgements to him: and then telling him, that they must still be more obliged to him, they entreated him to let his return to Arcadia be a little sooner than theirs, to give the Princely family intelligence of their following after; because they were yet in their private lodge, it would not be commodious for them to come unto them unawares. Clytifon replied, That none should do that Service but himself; then Amphialus told him it was high time for him to make good his words, for Queen Helena, and his own intention was to be at Matenia suddenly; thus after a few more speeches passed, Clytifon took his leave, and dispatched away with all expedition.
In the mean time Helena gallantly played her game; for at the immediate time of Clytifon's departure from Corinth, she proclaimed free Liberty for her Subjects access unto her: then Amphialus and she being arrayed in glorious Apparel, removed from their with-drawing Rooms into the Presence, and there seated themselves in the Throne: their Nobles coming to them in their ranks, and kissing both their hands, rendered in all lowly manner their joy for their Queens carefull choice, in making so brave a Prince their high Lord. Then Helena declared her mind to them as Clytifon advised her, which at first startled them, but she argued in her own defence so wisely, that she quickly confuted and pacified those disturbers. But after them came Knights, Gentlemen, Citizens, in such abundance, that they confined the Princess to their patience for a Week together. Besides, the Countrey Peasants, and all sorts of Mechanicks, that with admiration pressed to gaze upon them. But when their tedious task was over, they spent some time in pleasing their fancies with the contrivance of stately curiosities, for the honour of their Nuptials. Amphialus and Helena concurring so well together, that nothing was commended by the one, but instantly it was highly approved of and valued by the other. Which combining of these, was a rare example for the under-workmen, they endeavouring to follow their Superiours Rule, delighting in these fellows judgements, did to the lovers joy, unexpectedly finish their Art.
Then all accomodations being prepared in a readiness, they departed from Corinth, their pomp being thus ordered, Three Chariots drawn by six horses apiece, came whirling to the gate, the first was for six Noble men being of Amphialus his Bedchamber. That Chariot was lined with green Figerd-velvet, richly fringed; signifying the Princes loves. The Horses were black; to manifest their mourning for being so long exiled from their loves. The next Chariot was lined with white Sattin, embroidered with gold, that was to witness their innocencie, their love being virtuous: in that went six Ladies, attendants upon Helena. The third and last was for Helena and Amphialus, that was lined with blue, embroidered with Pearls and pretious Stones, the Horses wore plumes of Feathers; the Coach-man, Postilian, and six Footmens liveries were blew, as an Emblem of their constancie, and embroidered as the Chariot was. On this triumphant manner they went to Arcadia, besides an innumerable companie of Coaches and Hors-men that belonged to the Court; which keeping on a moderate pace, in short time safely set footing there: and the flying report, that would not be stoped for any mans pleasure, quickly gave notice to the Princes of Helena's and Amphialus being come.
But they had before removed to their Palace, being in perpetual expectation of their companie: and to shew how glad they were to enjoy it, Musidorus and Pamela, with Pyrocles, going altogether in a Coach, went out a good distance from the Citie to meet them: which they could hardly compass to do, by reason of the multitudes that went to see that magnificent Sight; until they had appointed Officers to beat a Lane: so that at last they made a narrow passage. It was an incomparable Sight to see Helena and Amphialus greet Philoclea? what low congies they made to her, as if she had been their Goddess! whilest she courteously reverenced them again. Then Helena and she stood admiring one anothers Beautie, till Amphialus had saluted the other Princes, and yet returned soon enough to break their silence. Ladies, said he, there is no occasion given to stir up sadness in Rebellion against mirth & happiness, for here we may see Love coupled together, when we have known by experiments it to have been dispersed by many strange accidents. And most sweet Princess Philoclea, by your gracious lines I am preserved from perpetual miserie, to enjoy a Crown endowed with all felicitie. But yet, Madam, all that I can do or say in requital, is to let you know that I am and ever shall be, your humble Servant.
I beseech you Cosin, replied Philoclea, do not your self that injurie, to confess you were thrust forward to your contentment. And seriously, when I obtained a sight of this rare Queen, I was astonished at your former backwardness. But since Cupid did play his part so cunningly as to make you blind, I am extream glad that I could be an instrument worthie to recover your decayed eyes and languishing spirits; and I am beholding to your goodness in obeying my request. Here Philoclea ended; and Amphialus was furnished with a Replie.
When Musidorus brought in Pamela to Helena, whom she civily welcomed to Arcadia; but upon Amphialus she looked aloft, as not deserving to be regarded by her. Which Musidorus perceiving, he secretly perswaded her to look favourably upon him. Whose advice was received by her as a command that she durst not withstand. So she altering her disdainfulness into chearfulness, bent her discourse to Amphialus, that at last they grew excellent companie for one another, and so continued; till their thoughts were taken up with amazement at sight of Clytifon, who came hallowing to them; and with signs pointed to them to hast into their Chariots. But they not understanding his meaning, delayed their speed, till he came nearer, and certified them that there was a Messenger come from Plangus to Evarchus, but he would not be perswaded to deliver his business, before Musidorus and Pyrocles were present.
This newes strook Pamela and Philoclea into an extremity of sadness; for then Plangus storie was renewed into their memorie, which made them suspect it was some envious errand to separate their affections; but their beloved Princes used all perswasions that might comfort them, and then led them to Amphialus Chariot, that being the largest, and in that regard the most convenient; they being too full of perplexity to minde matters of State, went altogether, that they might the better passe away the time with company.
Then in a distracted manner they went to Matenia, and quietly passed through the Streets till they came to the Palace, where they had much ado do to enter, by reason of the throng that was there making enquiries after the Armenian Messenger; yet at last the Princess obtained entrance; where Helena and Amphialus were with all respect welcomed by Basilius and Genecea: and when many Complements were consummate, they all went to the Presence, where Evarchus and the Messenger were. Then Evarchus told them there was a business of consequence to discover, and he wished them to give audience to it; Then all noise being appeased; the Messenger turning to Evarchus, said these following words.
Most renowned King; Prince Plangus, Generall of your forces in Armenia, hath sent me to recount unto your Majestie the truth of his proceedings since his departure from Macedon; which if your Majestie please to heare, I shall in a little time bring it about to his present Condition. Know then, Gracious Sir, Prince Plangus had hardlie set footing in the Armenian Land, before he was surprised by the unfortunate News of his Ladie Erona's being delivered up into the power of her Tyrannical enemies. You may imagine what discouragement this was to him at his first entrance, to be almost deprived of his chiefest victory: but yet he hid his grief, shewing his undaunted spirit to his Armie; he doubled their march, and at length overtook the Forces of the deceitfull Plaxirtus, and with losse of a few men, he so disordered them, that he and all his Armie marched through the middest of our Adversaries, whilst they like frighted men stood gazing on us; yet we not altogether trusting to our safeties, to their amazement, placed a reasonable company in Ambush to hold them play, if they should venture to fall on us; and we having Intelligence that Plaxirtus himself was but a mile before us, attended by a small Guard, because of his Confidence in his forces that were behind him, pursued him: & he not doubting but that we were of his confederacie, turned back his Horse, and staid that we might overtake him, thinking thereby to do us a favour: but Prince Plangus not having patience to see him so well pleased, galloped towards him; which Plaxirtus seeing, and knowing his own guilt, began to distrust that then he should receive a due reward; and then he cryed out, Are we freinds? Are we freinds? but Prince Plangus riding to him, clasped him about the wast, and gallantly threw him off his horse, and then answered him, That he should be always his freind to do him such courtesies as they were; which the Guard hearing, they shewed us that they were expert in running, though not in fighting, for in a moment they were all fled away: then Prince Plangus having his greatest Adversary at his feet, and studying the most convenient way to fulfill your Majesties desire, to preserve him alive, till he might be more openly put to death; just than a Trumpeter came to him from Artaxia, with a paper in his hand, which he delivered to Plaxirtus, wherein Artaxia declared, That her Cosin Plangus, whom she entertained civilly in her Court, was risen in Arms against her, and had brought Forreigners to invade her Land; and that he had not onely forgotten her former kindness to him, but also broken the laws of Nature, she being his neer kinswoman; and not onely with her, but also with her dear and lawfull Husband Plaxirtus, whom he had taken and made a Prisoner; and she further declared, That whatsoever cruelty be inflicted upon Plaxirtus, she would do the like, or worse to Erona. And if he did not quickly send her a satisfactorie Answer, she would begin with Erona first, and make her endure the greatest torments that she could possibly, and live.
This put Prince Plangus into a world of confused cogitations? for very unwilling he was to let go unrevenged the bloudy contriver of these Princes supposed murder: and if he did not in some degree yield to that, then his beloved Lady Erona must suffer those intollerable tortures. But when he was in the height of passion, to think that from a victor he must become Slave, we might perceive a Traveller guided to us by some of the Souldiers. At that sight Prince Plangus entreated the Trumpeter to stay till he had known the meaning of the strangers coming. He was your happy Messenger, O King, that delivered the Queen Erona from miserie. He it was that brought the joyful news of the safetie of these famous Princes to perplexed Prince Plangus. And that so well revived him, that after he had worshipped Apollo for such an unlookt for blessing, he chearfully dispatcht away the Trumpeter with his answer, that now the Treacherie of Plaxirtus was brought to nought, for Pyrocles and Musidorus were miraculously preserved, and lived to be examples of virtue: and if she would stand to the former Articles, Plaxirtus should be set at libertie, now the renowned Princes want your assistance in defence of the Ladie Erona, whose life is now in your power; for by me Plaxirtus and Anaxius challenge you to answer them in a Combat for the distressed Queen, and if you prove victorious over them, the same day Erona shall be freed from her imprisonment: but if the contrarie side prevail, at that time Erona must be put to death. These are the Articles before agreed upon, and now the second time resolved on. If you will hazard your Persons in the Quarell, the whole Kingdom of Armenia being in expectation of your valour, that may end the differences.
Thus the Messenger concluded, and Pyrocles and Musidorus sent him back to Armenia, with promise of their speedie following after him. It would have made a Rock, had it been by, burst out in tears in reference to the companie. And had Narcissus been never ravished with his own conceited beautie, yet had he been there, he would have wept into fountains, to see the best of Princes turmoiled in waves of affections: And Fortune deluding them, perswaded them they were near refreshment, when they were environed with their chiefest calamities. Here you might see Pamela with her Arms wreathed about Musidorus, as if she intended there should be her rest, till he had granted her request, & her cast-down eyes and weepings that bedewed her pure cheeks did witness her abundant sorrow. But at last, wiping them away, she contested with Musidorus and her self on this manner:
Dear Musidorus, do not part from her to whom you have so often plighted your faith. If you love me, as you vow you do, why will you abandon my presence? oh do not break my heart with your inconstancie, nor stain your other virtues with such a crime, as never can be washt away; therefore stay, or else confute me with your reason, and then I shall hate my passion, and contemn my self, for valuing my interest in your affections above the main treasure, so accounted by the heavenly and earthly societie, in keeping an honourable and unblemished reputation; which if you can do, and yet leave me, I will never shew my self such a ridiculous lover as to be your hinderance. My thrice dearer than my self, replied Musidorus, do not afflict me with the word Inconstancie; if I were guiltie, then might you justly tax me with it. But far be the thought of infidelitie from me: and believe me Ladie, Plaxirtus cannot pierce his sword deeper into my heart, than these sharp words, which proceeded from your sweet lips have done. But for my Combat in Armenia, that is so necessarie, that none can decide the Quarrel, unless it be my Cosin Pyrocles and my self, by reason of Artaxia & Plaxirtus thirsting for our lives, they will never suffer Erona to be released from prison, before they have vented their malice upon us, in as great a measure as their abilitie can give them leave. And besides, should I refuse, it would redound so extreamly upon my renown, that every one would be readie to object, that since a Woman prevailed over me, I am directly cowardized. And now, dear Ladie, I dare presume you will rather let me venture my life in defence of so just a cause, than to let it go unrevenged to my deserved infamie.
Poor Pamela all this while seemed like one in a trance, not having power to contradict Musidorus in his pleadings, nor yet able to submit her yielding to them; but made her tears and sighs her advocates, when he with all perswasions sought to comfort her. And in the mean time the sweet Philoclea, who lay grovelling at her Pyrocles feet, and would not be removed, expressed her grief in these mournfull complaints.
Ah me! said she, that I should be born under such an unfortunate Planet of unhappie events that dayly afflict me! tell me, my Pyrocles the cause that makes you so willingly hazard your person in such dangerous attempts? if you can tax me with any errors, to my self unknown, that might work your displeasure, O tell me what they are that I may mend, and studie some easier waw to punish me than by your intended death. But if nothing else may reconcile me to you, yet shew your clemencie, and let your own blessed hand first end my miserie.
Here she stopped, and perceiving Pyrocles to be in as amazed condition as she her self was, not knowing what to do or say to appease her sorrow, she premeditated, that now or never was her time to keep him with her in safetie, and then she suddenly arose from the ground, and standing a while in great devotion, at last she cried out;
Now am I readie to receive thy harmless Spear into my heart, now shew thy love & pitie to me quickly, and preserve me not alive to endure such terrour as cannot be charmed away, unless you will promise me the enjoyment of your companie. But Pyrocles started up, and catching her in his arms, adviced her not to give way to sorrow, the hater of Beautie, to rule over her; nor yet to mistrust she ever offended him, but that she was more pretious to him than the world could be; and that he made no question but that he should return again from Armenia to enjoy her with peace and happiness.
With these and many more such expressions, he strived to chear her up. But she still kept on bewailing her ill-fortune, and would not be pacified: untill Musidorus came to her and entreated her to go to her Sister Pamela, and to shew her discretion by moderating her passion, that she might be a motive to reduce her Sister to follow her example, who now lay weltering in her tears. These tidings perswaded her to defer her own cares, that she might in some measure work a cure in her sister, whom she valued, next to her Pyrocles, above all the world. And then she would not delay the time with bemoaning herself, but hastily went her way supported by the two illustrious branches of the forest, Pyrocles and Musidorus.
But as she went there represented to her view the two antient Kings, Evarchus and Basilius walking to and fro like shadows, and looked as they would have done, had one come out of the Grave to warn them to prepare themselves in short time to come to them. This doleful sight had like to have prevailed over her, and made her fall into a Relapse of passion; but the rememberance of the task she was going about suppressed those vapours. And being come within the sight of Pamela, whose deluge was stayd a little to pause, that it might issue more freshly and eagerly at Philocleas presence) whom as soon as she espied, she perceived her hidden discontent, and rebuked in this manner.
Sister, think not your dissembling smiles can entise me to follow your example, for I can as perfectly see through you into your grieved heart, as if your were transparent, and know your pain that now you endeavour to conceal. Oh! leave these counterfeits, and you will be a farr more acceptable comforter unto me.
Poor Philoclea could no longer withstand the batteries of Pamela, but confessed her forced mirth, and then instead of asswaging, they augmented one anothers sorrows with such lamentable moans, that Pyrocles and Musidorus were forced to give way to Sighs, till their thoughts were surprised by the coming of Clytifon, who brought them word, that the two Kings stayed at the door to speak with them. Then they softly went out of the Chamber, and were received by Basilius and Evarchus, who told them, that since it stood so much upon their Honours to endeavour to redeem that distressed Ladie, they advised them not to linger in the performance of it, for nothing was in their way to cause any delay, and the sooner they went, the sooner by Apollo's assistance they might return: To whose mercie they recommended them, and commanded them, that when they had obtained a prosperous journey, and had vanquished their enemies, not to be negligent in sending them word of it, that they might be sharers in their joy as well as their sorrow. Then after both the Kings had made them happie with their blessings, they sent them away.
Though first Pyrocles and Musidorus would needs take a review of their Ladies Pavilion, but not of their Persons, out of consideration that it would but double their affliction: and then reverencing the carpet on which they used to tread, they took their leave of the desolate Chamber, and did resolve to travel alone. Had not Kalodolus, Musidorus faithful Servant, made a vow that no occasions should perswade him to leave his master again; so that Musidorus, seeing there was no remedie, yielded to his desires. Nor could Amphialus noble heart well brook to stay behind, for oftentimes he entreated them that he might go a second for them, or else a servant to them. But they answered him that he could not do them better Service than to accompany his Cosins, and make much of them in their absence: then, after they had accomplished some more Complements, they parted, Amphialus to his charge, and the Princes commited themselves into the hands of wavering Fortune. Who having already shewed them her frowns, would now pleasure them with her smiles, which first she discovered by conveying them safely to Armenia, where they were wellcomed unanimosly by all, but especially by Plangus, who could hardly confine his joy within the bounds of reason.
But the Princes being mindfull of his busines, desired Plangus to hasten their Combat, because their Ladies were in a despairing condition of ever seeing them again, and they assured him they did not fear to enter within the compass of Plaxirtus, so long as it was by the publick agreement, and not by secret practices, Plangus certified them that all things were prepared for their accommodation, and that they might, if they pleased, exercise their valour upon their enemies the next morning. And that two Scaffolds were erected, the one for Artaxia, she intending to be a Beholder, the other for Erona, who is to be brought thither guarded as a Prisoner, and in her sight there is a Stake in readines to consume her, if they be overcome. This last he uttered in such mournful expressions, that Pyrocles and Musidorus vowed to spend their hearts bloud, but that they would release & deliver Erona from the power of Artaxia.
And before they would refresh themselves with Plangus entertainments, they dispatched a Trumpeter to Plaxirtus and Anaxius to certifie them, they were come to answer their challenge, and had set apart the next morning for that purpose: the Trumpeter soon returned with this reply, that the sooner it was, the more advantagious it would prove to them, and they would not fail to meet them at the place and time appointed. Thus they agreed upon the next morning; and when the Prince had partaked of Plangus Supper, they yielded to sleep, which forsook them not till the promised time was near at hand.
Early in the morning Plaxirtus and Anaxius puffed up with Pride; and not questioning but that they should be Conquerours, put on their Armour, and mounting their steeds, galloped to the List. And Artaxia, thinking to vent her spleen with gazing at the overthrow of the Princes, came to the Scaffold attired in all her costly and glorious apparel, and with as great a Train as she would have had, were she to have been spectator of her Husbands Coronation, King of Armenia.
Within awhile was Erona brought guarded by a Band of Souldiers to her Scaffold, where she might see the end of her miserie by the Fire, or otherwise by Pyrocles and Musidorus victorie: but she, being wearied out of her life by sundrie afflictions, looked as gladly upon the fiery Stake, as she did upon her famous Champions who were then entered the list, and waving their swords about their heads; Pyrocles encountred Anaxius and Musidorus Plaxirtus. Then entered they into so fierce a fight, that it goes beyond my memorie to declare all the passages thereof: but both Parties shewed such magnanimity of Courage, that for a long time none could discern who should be victors. Till at length Musidorus gave a fatal thrust to Plaxirtus, who being before faint with loss of bloud, fell from his Steed, and in the fall clasht his Armour in pieces; and then his Steed, for joy that he was eased of such a wicked burden, pranced over his disgraced master, and not suffering him to die such an honourable death as by Musidorus Sword, trampled out his guts, while Plaxirtus, with curses in his mouth, ended his hateful life.
Then Pyrocles redoubled his blows so eagerly upon Anaxius, that he could no longer withstand them, but gnashing his teeth for anger, he fell at Pyrocles feet and died. Thus pride and Treacherie received their just reward.
But then Artaxia's glory was turned into mourning, and her rich attire into rags as soon as she perceived Plaxirtus wounded, his bloud gushing out, his Horse treading on him, and he himself dying with bitter groans and frantick speeches, which he breathed out at his last moment for fear of further torments: she tare off her hair, and rent her cloths in so enraged a manner, that she drew all eyes from the corps in wonder and amasement on her. Nor could any thing regulate her furie, but she violently run down to the corps, and there breathed out her complaints.
In which time Plangus called his Souldiers together, and went up to the other scaffold to release Erona; though at first he was forced to make a way with his sword, the Guard resolving not to surrender her, till they had received a further command from Artaxia: but Plangus made them repent their strictness, and ask Erona pardon for it. And after he was revived with a warm kiss from her hand, he led her down to Pyrocles and Musidorus: Who having forgot the former injuries Artaxia had done them, courteously perswaded her not to bemoan him, whose memorie was reprochfull to all the world, for valuing his one deceitfulness above virtue; and then they told her, it would be more for her renown, to solemnize for him such obsequies as are seeming for a Prince, he being of the race, although he learned not to follow their example; and then to proclaim her sorrow for joyning with him in his mischief. Many more speeches they used to her, some to abate her grief, & others to asswage her malice; but at first she would listen to none; yet afterwards being better advised, she sent for two magnificent Hearses, and before she would suffer Plaxirtus his corps to be laid in, she pronounced her resolution on this manner:
Since it hath pleased Apollo, who hath the Government of all things on earth, to suffer Plaxirtus to fall by your prowess, I do here by this dead bodie vow to you, to end my life in Widowhood. And you Cosin Plangus, whom I have so infintely wronged with this fair Ladie Erona, to you I do resign up the Authoritie of my Kingdom, being, after my decease, the lawfull Successour. I shall desire onely a competencie to keep me from famishment: but if these your valiant Champions will have you go to Arcadia, to finish your Marriage there, in that time I will be your trustie Deputie, to order your affairs here in Armenia, until you return from thence. Then she commanded the corps to be laid in the Hearse, and taking leave of the Royal companie, she went along with it.
Now the Princes had time to take notice of Erona's sadness. And Plangus, who had been all this time courting her to be his Mistress, could obtain no favour from her, but far-fetcht sighs, and now and then Chrystal drops distilling from their fountains. These apparent signs of her disconsolate mind, grounded a great deal of cares in the hearts of the Princes, who bending all their endeavours to insinuate Plangus into her affections, they first sifted her with these Questions; Whether her being preserved from the crueltie of Plaxirtus, was the cause of her discontentment? or whether, she grieved for her deliverance? and therefore hated them for fighting in her defence? These Questions put Erona into such Quondaries, that she could not, for a while, determin what to answer. But at last she pitcht upon true sinceritie, and freely displayed her griefs to them, in these terms:
Do not, I beseech you, plead ignorance of that which is so palpable. Have you not heard how they tortured my Husband Antifalus to death? why then do you renew it in my memorie? which might have been prevented if you, Prince Plangus, had shewed your realitie to me, as you protested you would by Policie set him at liberty, but all was neglected and Antifalus was barbarously murdered, and yet you are not ashamed to presume upon my weakness, in pretending you are my Servant, that you may the second time deceive me. Longer she would have chidden Plangus; but that he falling down humbly begged she would have consideration upon him, and heare him. Then with silence she admitted him, and he declared, how that according to his promise made to her Sacred self, he did prosecute so faithfully, that he brought all things to a readiness, and might have been perfected, but that the timorous Antifalus discovered the whole Plot the same night it was to be put in execution. And this without any scruple, he would take his oath was true. Erona considered very much of this saying of Plangus: and Pyrocles and Musidorus watching their opportunity, just as she was replying, interrupted her, and told her they were confident she might give credit to what Plangus had spoken; and if she durst rely upon their advice, they would recommend him to her for her Husband, as soon as the greatest Monarch in the world. These Princes seconding Plangus in his excuses, mitigated Erona's pensivenes, so that cheerfully she yielded her self to be at Pyrocles and Musidorus disposing: for, said she, I am bound by so many Obligations to you, that I cannot suffer my requitall to be a refusall. Onely I desire that Prince Plangus may approve the truth of his words with an Oath, as he himself hath propounded. Which he willingly did upon that condition, and she accepted of him as her betrothed Husband. And Cupid by degrees so skillfully drew her affection to him, that she was as firmly Planguses, as ever she was Antifaluses to the abundant joy of all their friends.
Now Pyrocles and Musidorus imployments being in every particular accomplished as well as could be wished, They remembring the charge of Evarchus to them; together with the cares of their sorrowfull Ladies, they presently sent a Post to Arcadia to signifie the news of their safety: but yet there remained the care of dispatching their Armie into their native Countrey Macedon. And as they were conferring which way they might compass that matter of such consequence quickly, Kalodolus being at the counsel put in his verdict, which was liked very well, and instantly put in practice; for he having a special friend in whom he very much confided, he advised that he might be trusted to be General in Plangus room, that they might orderly go home, and after they were payd their due, to dismiss them and let them go to their own Houses.
When all this was performed: they commanded all conveniences to be prepared for their own accomodation about their return to Arcadia; but for curiosities they would not stay for them, but limited a day for their departure. In which time Erona imployed her inventions about a Present for Pamela and Philoclea, which she was verie ambitious of, they being the mistresses of Musidorus and Pyrocles, to whom she acknowledged her self infinitely engaged; and without delayance, she set all her Maids to work the Story of their love, from the fountain to the happy conclusion: which by her busie fancie she shadowed so artificially, that when it was perfected, and she had shewed it to the Princes, they vowed that had they not known by experience those passages to have been gone and past, they should have believed they were then in acting in that piece of workmanship.
Now all the work was ended, their necessaries were in a readiness, fair and temperate weather bespake their fuller happiness. All these so well concurring, enticed the Princes to begin their journey. And Fortune, dealing favourably, conducted them safely and speedily to the Arcadian Court. Where they were received with such joy by their Consorts, and Parents especially, and by all in general, as it would make two large a storie to recount all their discourses with their affectionate expressions that passed between the Royal lovers. Passing by all other, give me leave to tell you, it was a prettie sight to see the four Ladies, Pamela and Philoclea, with Helena and Erona, admiring one anothers perfections, all of them having the worst opinions of themselves, and the better of their neighbours. Therefore to decide the controversie, Philoclea entreated her Pyrocles, to make a motion to Musidorus, Plangus, and Amphialus to spend their judgements upon them; Pyrocles immediately obeyed her; but esteemed best of their own mistresses.
Pyrocles liked Philoclea best, because her sparkling eyes, pure complection, and sweet features were crowned with such modest courtesie, that she ravished all her Beholders, and perswaded them they were in Paradise, when they were in her heavenly Angel-like companie, Earth not affording her fellow.
Musidorus avouched, his fair Pamela was always clad with such a Majestie, as bespake her a Queen in spite of the Destines; yet that Majestie was so well composed with Humility, that it seemed but an out case to a more excellent inward virtue.
Then came Plangus turn, who said that in his judgement, Erona deserved to be extolled in the highest measure, for though her splendor was something darkened by her sadness and sufferings, yet under that veil her brightness did appear to shoot forth beams of goodness to every one that did approch her Presence.
Amphialus was last, who protested there could not be a lovelier creature than Helena was, so adorned with all gifts of Nature, that he verily believed if she had tempted Adonis, as Venus did, he could not in the least have denied her. And he assured himself, that by the determination of the Gods, they being in love with her themselves, Cupid had strook him blind, that in the mean time they might pursue their love; but seeing she was resolved to accept of no other but him, they for pitie sake opened his eyes: and now he was amazed at his former perverseness. This conceipt of Amphialus made the Ladies exceeding merrie. Till Evarchus came to them and spake thus:
Young Princes, I came now to remember you how often you have been by several accidents, frustrated of your desired Felicity: you see a little blast alters your happiness into a world of sorrows. Therefore harken to my counsel, whose gray hairs witness my better experience of the world than your green years. Do not linger away the time in Courtship: that is as bad as to be carelesly rash. Finish therefore the knot, that no crosses or calamities can unfinish, without further deferrings.
This command of Evarchus, did not at all displease the four Bride-grooms. Nothing hindered now but their agreeing about the day; and that made no long disputation neither, for two days following happened to be Pamela's Birth-day, and that they concluded should be the Bridal-day.
Now the night before these happy Nuptials, Erona presented Pamela and Philoclea with her rare piece of work, which they received with thanks and admiration; and for the honour of Erona (she being the inventor of it) they caused it to be hung up by the Image of Cupid in the Temple, and after passed the night in quietness.
Early in the morning the Sun shot forth his glorious beams, and awakened the lovers. But when they were up, he hid himself a while within the waterie clouds, weeping that they were brighter Suns than he: yet when they were gaurded with their nuptial Robes, he dispersed the clouds again, and cleared his eyes, that he might with envie gaze upon their lustre; and the Brides without disdain yielded their beauties to his perusal. When the Middle-day had almost run his course to the After-noon, the four Bride-grooms imitating one another in their Apparel, were all in gray cloth embroydered with gold, richly clad, yet not fantastick; in their left hands they held their swords, but in their right their Brides.
First went Musidorus leading his fair Princess Pamela, whose comely behaviour and sweet sympathie, manifested her joy, that then Musidorus and she should be so united to live and die together. Upon her head she bare an imperial Diadem, which agreed comparatively to her stately mind. Her Garments were cloth of Tissue, that in a careless fashion hanged loose about her. And round her Neck she wore a Chain of Orient Pearl. Upon her Alabaster shoulders a blue Scarf was cast, that being whirled sometimes with the wind, did seem to blow her to Hymens Temple. Six virgin Nimphs attired in White attended on her. The two foremost perfumed the ayr as they went with their odiferous sweets; but that was superfluous, for Pamela's breath left a far more fragrant scent than the artificial curiosities could do; next to them followed two other Virgins with Holie-water in their hands, which they sprinkled as they went, to purifie all sinfull vapors; but that also was needless, for no harm durst come near the Virtuous Pamela, whose looks could charm even wicked Fiends: then the two last followed Pamela, bearing up her train. Thus was she guarded to the Temple with her beloved Musidorus; and after them went Pyrocles and Philoclea, Plangus and his Erona, and Amphialus with his Helena, all in the same order as Musidorus and Pamela: then the Priest united their hands, and as their hands, so their hearts together; and the former crueltie of Fortune was ever after turned into pitie.
The Temple where these Nuptial Rites were thus celebrated, was scituate in a garden, or rather a Paradise for its delightfulness; the murmuring of the waters that flowed from a Fountain at first entrance dividing, themselves into four streams, seeming to threaten, and yet enticing the comers to venter further; the Fountains bedecked with the Images of Diana and her Maids, the Goddess figured with an austere countenance, pointing to the lust-full Venus, whose Statue at a little distance stood, as she with lacivious actions endeavoured to entrap the modest Boy Adonis, but Hymen on the other side disputes, those whom his Priests unite, cannot be stiled Venus, but Diana's. The perfumed flowers grew so thick in the direct way to the Temple, that they served for Carpets to consecrate the Mortals feet before they approched into it: the Temple was built of Marble; the out-sides adorned with Portratures of the Gods. Fortune was seated at the frontier of it, which at the least motion of the beholder, represented a several gesture. And all the Gods, in their degrees, sat presidents to the observers.
The inside was not so uniform as artificial, it winding into several circles in the passage to the sacred place; and all the way were emblems in Marble, of the calamities of Lovers before they can be set in Hymens Temple; many of them representing the Princes sufferings. The middle of the Temple is not so gorgeous as decent, where there met with the Princes, some of Hymens Officers attired in white robes trailing on the ground. These presented the Bride-grooms with Swords and Ballances, and their Brides with Lawrel; & when they had here sounded a sweet harmonie to Hymen, they went back from the Temple to the Court.
Where you may conjecture with what joy they were received by Evarchus, Basilius, and Genecea, they all pouring out their blessings upon them. Then passed they away the remainder of the day with all sorts of Musick, Dancing, and other varieties of mirth.
Whilst a famous Mask was presenting in the greatest glorie to the view of the Princes, and an innumerable companie of noble Personages: Mopsa, sole heir to Damatas, who was by Basilius favour, the Princess Pamela's Governour, when she resided in the Lodge, went to Philoclea, and wrying her neck one way and her mouth another, she squeazed out these ensuing words. Fair Princess, I intend not to forget the promise you made me, when I told you a part of a curious tale, how you assured me your Wedding Gown, if I would afford to finish my Storie on that welcom day: but now the greatest part of the day is run away, and you are raised so high on your tip-toes, that you do not vouchsafe me to be in your books, but choose rather to gaze upon these strange sights, than to remember me or your Gown. The sweet Philoclea could not forbear blushing to hear Mopsa reprove her so sharply; but to make her silent for the present, she renewed her promise, and Mopsa very impatiently stayed out the vanishing of their Scenes; which when Philoclea perceived, she smilingly led Mopsa by her hand into the middest of the Royal companie, where she left her to exercise her discretion; and withdrawing at a distance from her, she discovered to her Paramour Pyrocles, Mopsa's ambition, who immediately caused all noises to be hushed, that he might with the greater attention hearken to Mopsa, and observe all her actions though never so absurd. But Mopsa vallued not the laughter of her beholders, her little apprehension had alreadie seized on Philoclea's glittering Gown, and she imagined it hung upon her mothie Karkass; and in that firm perswasion she stood looking upon her self like a Peacock, untill Pyrocles called to her, which made her skip, and rub her eyes before she could discern her self to be yet in her rustie Feathers. Yet afterwards, playing with her hands, for the more grace; she brake forth into these ensuing words.
It seemeth best to my liking to rehearse the first part of my Storie in brief, that so ye may the better relish the Latter. There was a King, (the chiefest man in all his Countrey) who had a prettie Daughter, who as she was sitting at a window, a sprightlie Knight came to her, and with his dilly Phrases won her to be his own, and stealing out of her Fathers Castle, with many honey kisses, he conjured her not to enquire after his name, for that the water-Nimphs would then snatch him from her: howbeit one time, in a darksom wood, her teeth were set so on edge, that she asked, and he presently with a piteous howling vanished away. Then she, after she had endured such hardship as she never had endured in all her lifetime, went back to one of her Ants, who gave her a Nutt, charging her not to open it before she fell into extremitie; from her, she went to another Ant, and she gave her another Nut, counselling her (said Mopsa) in the same words that her first Ant had done before her, and so sent her packing: But she one day being as wearie as my fathers black horse is, when he hath rode a good journey on him, sat her down upon a Mole-hil, and making huge complaints for her mishaps, a grisly old woman came to her, commanding her to open one of the Nuts; and she considering, that of a little medling cometh great ease, broke it open, for nothing venter, nothing have, which Proverb she found wondrous true; for within the shell she found a paper, which discovered that her Knight was chained in an ugly hole under ground in the same wood where she lost him. But one Swallow makes no summer; wherefore she cracked her other Nut, from whence there flew out gold and silver in such abundance, that the old Woman falling down upon her stumps, scrambled up her lap full, and yet left the joyfull maid her load: Need makes the old wife trot; nay, it made both the old and young to trot, and to lug away their bags of money: and when they came to a lane with twentie several paths, the old Woman took her leave of the Kings dainty Daughter, bidding her lay down the money, and it should guid her to her Knight: with that she laid it down, and the money tumbled the direct way before her.
At this passage Mopsa conceiting that she saw Mammons treasure so near her, opened her mouth, which was of a sufficient wideness, and wadled along as if she had been practizing to catch flies there: which if she had, the prisoners might have recreated their wings within their prison walls, they were so large. The princely Societie could not forbear simparing at Mopsa's ravishment, and had burst out into a publick mirth, had they not been surprized with a better object.
Which at first view appeared to be the Goddess Flora and her Nymphs, their addorning imitating hers, but when they drew near, they discerned their errors, it being Urania, a fair Shepherdess, who might be very well taken for Flora; for although it was impossible for her to excel the Goddess in beautie, yet without controlement, in Pamela's and Philoclea's absence she might paralel the most transcendent: on either side of this Urania, there walked the two Shepherds, Strephon and Claius, with their eyes fixed on her in celestial admiration: their countenances resembled despair more than hope, and earnestness more than confidence: these addressed themselves unto the Princess, leaving the prettie Sheperdess at a short distance with her companions, who in Troops attended her; and prostrating themselves at their feet, they burst out into bitter tears.
Musidorus, who was then raised to the height of temporal blessings, disdained not to acknowledge them to have been the Founders of his happiness, repeating in publick, how they had preserved him from the dangers of the Seas: but Claius and Strephon could not suborn their weepings, but continued weltring in their tears, which astonished and strook a sadness into the least relenting spirits; all being ignorant of the Accident, except Musidorus, who surmized the truth.
Now whilst they expected the issue, Mopsa laid hold on Philoclea, and with many a vineger look, besought her to hear out her Tale: and for fear she should be deprived of her Gown without depending on a replie, she pursued her Storie in these her accustomed expressions. Leading her, said Mopsa, to the very Caves mouth where her Knight vented a thousand grievous groans, then in her hearing, she might then joyfully sing, fast bind, fast find, for there the Witches bound him, and there his Sweet-heart found him, where they pleasured one another with their sugar-kisses; and after a good while, she unchained him and then they lovingly set them down and slept all night in the Cave, because haste maketh waste but the next morning, she shewed him her monstrous vast sums of money, which so affrighted him, that he clinging his eyes fast together, was not able to say, Boh to a Goose hardlie: yet at last she perswaded him, and he peeped up, and waxed the merriest man upon earth when he had got himself free, and his Mistress again with such store of Riches: for then the old woman, that had advised the Kings Daughter to open her nuts, and to lay down the money, appeared to him, and released him of his Bondage by Witchcraft, for ever after: wherefore the Knight, and his own sweet darling went back to the Kings Court, as jocundly as could be, and with some of their money they bought them a brave Coach and Horses, just such as are in my fathers stable at home, and in such pomp they went to the King their Father, who entertained them bravelie, pleasing them with delicate sights, as Puppet-plaies, and stately Fairs; and their riches encreased daily, and they lived gallantly, as long as they had a jot of breath in their bodies.
Thus finished Mopsa her tedious Tale, which though it was very ridiculous, yet wanted it not applauses from all the Auditors: and Philoclea in requital, presented her with her Bridal Roabs, telling her, she deserved larger incouragements to elevate her wit; and more speeches she used in Mopsa's commendation, whose partial senses were subject to believe all such rare realities; in which blind opinion I will leave her;
To return to the disconsolate Shepherds Claius and Strephon, who when they had wept their passionate Fountains drie, they looked about with adoration upon the prettie Urania, as the reviver of their languishing hopes, and Strephon yielding to Claius the preheminence by reason of his years, he with great reverence to Basilius with the Bride-grooms and Brides,
Thus spake; Dread Soveraign, and most Illustrious Princes, we beseech you not to reckon it among the number of misdemeanors, that we shadow the brightenss of this Nuptial day with our clowdie Fortunes, since our aim is to disperse our envious mists, and to make it the more glorious by celebrating a Feast; and though our triumph cannot amount to such splendor as the four great Monarchs doth, whose flourishing Dominions can onely satisfie their gladness by their Princes pomp; yet harbour the belief (pardon me if I say amiss) that our Bride may equal yours in Beautie, though not in rich attire, and in noble virtues, though not in Courtly accoutrements; her Soul, the Impartial Diadem of her delicate Bodie, is certainly incomparable to all other of her sex, though heavenly. This Mistress of perfections is Urania the Shepherdess, she it is that causes my eyes to ebb and flow, my joynts to tremble at her looks, and my self to perish at her frowns; but I will not insist too much (upon your Highness patience) on this Subject, her self is an evident witness of all, and more than I have Charactered: and Gracious Sirs, as I am bound by all dutie and Allegiance to live under the servitude of my Lord Basilius, as well as under his protection: so am I not confin'd from gratefulness to such as will obliege me in this my prostrate condition, or in any extremitie; for the Destinies have allotted such cruel Fates to my Friend Claius and me, whose entire affections are never to be severed, that we both are slaves to Urania's pierceing Eyes! Oh we both are vassals to her devoted graces; yet so much do we esteem of our unfeigned Friendship that we will rather abandon all happiness, than to cause a discontent, or suspition of our real wishes of one anothers prosperitie; out of which intention, we submit to be ruled by the judgement of you, renowned Bride-grooms, whose prudence and justice is not to be swayed by any partialitie; to you it is that we do humbly petition, to distinguish which of us two may best deserve to be admitted into Urania's spotless thoughts, as her lawfull Husband.
Claius had not ceased his suit so suddenly, but that Strephon interrupted him thus abruptly:
Good Claius, bar the passage of thy tongue, and grant me libertie to speak and ease my fierce torment: the reverence I bear to your age, and my sinceritie to your person, permitted you to disburden your fancie first, but not to deprive me of the same priviledge. Know then, most excellent Princes, that this incomparable Urania, (O her virtues cannot be expressed by humane creatures! for at the very mentioning of her name my tongue faltered, and my self condemns my self for being too presumptuous, but yet this once we strive against her powers that thus possesses me, and will not be perswaded from telling you that) she is compounded so artificially, as she cannot be paralleld nor described; for believe it, she is above the capacitie of the most studious Philosopher: and do not harbour, I beseech you, a prejudicial opinion of her, under the notion of her entertaining two lovers at one instant, since it hath been always contrarie to her chast disposition, to accept of the least motion concerning a married life; and for Platonick Courtiers, her heavenly modestie is a palpable witness of her innocencie. Besides the many dolorous hours that my friend Claius and I have passed away, our onely recreation we enjoyed being in recounting the careless actions she used when we declared our passions, and commending our choice though she was cruel. But when this your happie day was prefixed, she shot forth beams of goodness on us, and in charitie she concluded, that her intentions were far from our destructions; and since now she perceived our lives were in jeopardie, and we depended onely upon her reply, she would no longer keep us in suspence, but was resolved her Nuptials should be solemnized on this day, following the example of the two Royal Sisters whom she ever adored. And because she would not be an instrument to disturb that knot of Friendship between Claius and me, she referred her choice to your wisdoms, worthie Sirs, the excellent Sisters Bride-grooms, you it is whom she desires to pronounce either my felicite, or my overthrow.
Then Strephon, closing his speech with an innumerable companie of long-fetcht sighs, departed to his Goddess Urania, who was environed by her fellow Shepherdesses, which in admiration, love, or envie stood gazing on her; but he pressed through the thickest of them to do homage to her sweet self, she looking on him carelesly, without either respecting or disdaining him.
But aged Claius had cast himself at the Princes feet, where he pleaded for his own felicitie on this manner;
Consider my ancient years, and in compassion think how easily grief may cut off the term of my life; when youthfull Strephon may baffle with Love, and Court some other Dame, Ile finde him one who shal be as pleasing to his eyes, as Urania is in mine; unless the fates have raised him to be my victorious Rival. But alas, O tell me Strephon! did I ever injure thee, that thou seekest my untimely death? Hast not thou ever been in my sight as a jewel of an unvalued rate? why dost thou then recompense me so unkindly? I know thou wilt argue, that the passion of Love with a Woman, and with such an one as Urania is, cannot be contradicted by the nearest relations. But I pray thee Strephon, cannot the importunities of me, thy Foster-friend, regulate, nay asswage thy passions, to keep me from perishing? Now Strephon, when he had revived his drooping heart, with perusing the delicate Urania, and fearing that Claius was supplicating to Pyrocles and Musidorus for her, he returned back, happening to come at the minute when Claius questioned him; to whom he thus replied: What the Gods have appointed, cannot be prevented, nor quenched by the powerfullest perswasions of any Mortal: and let that suffice. Claius being so fully answered to his conjecture, rested silent to hear his sentence. Strephon, who was of a more sprightly constitution, recreated himself sometimes with glosing upon Urania, and then to observe the lookes of the Princes as they were conferring together, about what to determine concerning them. Besides his Pastoral songs that he sounded in Urania's praise.
But the Princes, who were then in serious consultation, listened to Basilius, who advised them in this manner:
Despise not Claius his complaints though he be afflicted with the infirmities of old age; youthfull Strephon may seem more real and pleasing to the eye, yet Claius his heart, I am confident, is the firmest settled; Youth is wavering, Age is constant; Youth admires Novelties, Age Antiquities. Claius hath learned experience by age to delight Urania with such fancies as may be suitable to her disposition; Strephon's tender years cannot attain to any knowledge, but as his own Genius leads him. Wherefore consider before you denounce your Sentence, whether Urania may not be Claius Spouse better than Strephon's.
Pyrocles knowing that Basilius aim was to plead in defence of Dotage, refrained to make any other reply than, What you command Sir, we must and will obey. For as he was both by Birth and Education a Prince, so had he not neglected to be instructed in the dutie of a Subject. Not that he was forced to acknowledge it to Basilius as his due, any otherwise then as his goodness enduced him to; that he might be a pattern to draw the Arcadians to follow his example, they wholly determining to be ruled that day by Pyrocles and Musidorus, who after Basilius decease was to be their successive King. And they were not ignorant of the intimacie between his Cosen Pyrocles and him; wherefore they reverenced and observed both their actions. But the Princes Musidorus and Pyrocles, to avoid the rumours of the People that thronged about them, to over-hear their resolution concerning the Shepherds, retired to an Arbour-walk, where none but the sweet societie of Birds attented them: there Pyrocles ripped open his supposition to Musidorus, which was to this effect.
My dear Cosen, said he, for of that honoured Title my memorie shall never be frustrated, dost thou not imagin Basilius guiltiness, when he pleads for dotage so extreamly? he hath not unburdened his conscience yet of his amorousness of me in my Amazons Metamorphosis: I know it stings him by the Arguments he supports. However he may cease his fears of my discovering his courtship, for I have always persevered in Allegiance and dutie to my Father, my King; nor do I doubt my failing now in those Principles, since I have you my worthie Cosen so near me. Musidorus embracing his Cosen, protested that he harboured the same fancie, and said he, the stammering of his words declared the certainty: but did you not admire the heavenly behaviour of my Pamela to day, when she ascended into the Temple, how her soul seemed to flie with her body to that sanctified place, as transported with entering into so holy an Habitation which was too sacred for any other but her self. And replyed Pyrocles, Philoclea might be admitted with her, whose Humility did seem to guard her, or else sure she had stumbled; so lightly did she set her feet upon the Pavement, lest she should profane it. And sometimes dropping Agonies did so surprize her, that she seemed to contemplate with divine mysterie; and then to look down upon her own unworthiness with such humbleness as made her most into tears, as it were for soaring above her elements. Whilst the Princes were discoursing in commendations of their Brides.
Claius in the presence of Basilius and the remaining Princes, fell down and fainted. Strephon stood thumping his breast, and crying, O Musidorus! think upon us who succoured you, and let not a third Rival deprive us of the incomparable Urania. This unexpected passion of the Shepherd's, astonished the senses of all the beholders: yet none were so stupid as to neglect their serviceable care: yea Urania her self, though just before when Pamela and Philoclea sent and entreated her company, she had returned a modest refusal; yet now perceiving Strephon's and Claius distress, she tarried not to hear the news by Harbingers, but went the foremost to relieve them: upon distracted Strephon she smiled, saying, Is Fortune thine enemie Strephon? but her voice sounded so harmoniously in his ears, that he disclaimed all sadness, promising himself the victorie. She then absented from him, that she might work as effectual and sudden a cure upon aged Claius, who gastfully lay foaming on the ground, yet that terrible sight was not so obnoxious to her as to oversway her compassion, she pinched and pulled him, endeavouring to restore his life again; but nothing would recover him, until she breathed on him with stooping near him, and pronouncing these words:
Unhappie Claius, whose life depends upon a woman! this once look up, & speak me blameless. Have not I ever abhord the thought of Strephon or your ruins? yes sure, I have, & have dallied with you both, apprehending eithers danger, if I should forsake one, and resign my self up to the others disposal; neither have I regarded the piping of the Shepherds, nor the songs of the Shepherdesses: and on Festival days, when they have elected me Queen of their Triumphs, I have excused my self, and retired into solitarie Groves, where I have spent the day in musing upon my Lovers desperate conditions, and studying for the probablest Antidotes that might cure their distempers, without blemishing mine own reputation. But that was so hard a task, that I could never accomplish it. Claius age could not endure such a penaltie as my denial without miscarriage: and Strephon's working brain would not receive it without practicing a Tragedie upon himself. Wherefore I made patience my friend, and coyness my favourite, neither slighting, nor esteeming their large allusious of my Beautie and their Passion, which they oft repeated, until the reports of the consummating of the Princesses Nuptials were confirmed. And then I resolved, that as I abhorred murder, so I would no longer admit them into my companie, before the Priest of Pan hath united me to one of them, that then I might without derogating from my honour, by censorious suspitions, enjoy the societie of him whom the Princes shall select to be my wedded Husband. So indifferent is my choice of these two constant Friends, and unmoveable Servants.
Before Urania had finished these words, Claius in a rapture of joy, roused up his drowned spirits. And then Urania retired back to her fellow Sheperdesses; but the Princes were so inquisitive to know what acccident had brought Claius and Strephon into such despairing Agonies, that they would not permit them to tender their service to Urania at her present departure, for desire of questioning them. Strephon made this quick replie; that a stranger presumed to gaze upon Urania; and his feet going as nimblie as his tongue, he tripped after her, not asking leave of the concours of People that thronged about him.
But aged Claius, whose tongue was livelier than his feet, spake after this manner:
My greedie eyes, said he, being dazled with looking too long upon Urania, who is adorned with as glorious beams as Phœbus can boast in his brightest day; I yielded them respite, giving them leave to take a view of mortals, clearing their dimness with their equal light; but there did espie an hautie Youth, who scoffingly stared upon me, seeming to call me insolent, for striving to purchace Urania, and conceiting himself to be worthier of her, he did so amorously seal his eyes upon her, that sundry times he made her paint her cheeks with harmless blushes: and my jealous fancie comprehending no other reason, than that as he obtained free access with his eyes, so he might with his person; I rendring my self into the hands of cruel death.
The Princess could no longer tollerate Claius in his ungrounded mistrusts, but interrupted him, by enforming him that Basilius had sent for Musidorus and Pyrocles; the Messenger happening to come at the immediate time when they were extolling their Mistresses; but then they left off that subject till a more convenient hour, and applied their Answer to the Intelligencer, promising to follow speedilie: yet contrarie to their resolutions, they lingred in the way, a doalfull voice perswading them to stand and hearken, which sounded out these words.
Faire Titan, why dost thou deride me with thy smiles, when I do homage to thy resplendent beams! and you pleasant Bells, why do ye not compel your notes to ring me to my Funeral? for since she is tyrannous, why should I live to endure her torments? my Superiors triumph in their Loves: my Fellow shepherds can boast of theirs: it is wretched Philisides, oh it is I that am singularlie miserable, made so by a beautifull, yet cruel Mistriss; the Princess knew him to be Philisides the despairing Shepherd by his sorowfull subject; and he rising from under an hedge, discovered himself to be the same: there the Princess leaving him in a forlorn posture, hastened to their other companie, to execute their Office, which they had agreed upon as they went: Claius and Strephon were amazed at their sight, their fear commanding them to give way to sorrow, but their hopes bad them both to burie sadness in the lake of Oblivion: in this unsetled condition they continued not long, the division of their thoughts being suppressed by the Sentence which Musidorus uttered thus.
An Oration might be acceptable to the ears of these Auditors, but that the Evening desires me not to be tedious, especiallie to these expecting Lovers: in compassion to you both, oh Claius and Strephon, I doe heartily wish there were two Urania's, and should be exceeding well content, if some others were to decide this business, than my Cosen Pyrocles and my self, he for my sake being equallie oblieged with me to you for your unspeakable courtesie to me when I was a distressed stranger, and incompassed by the frowns of Fortune; our affections to you both may be evenly ballanced, but your activitie cannot be justlie summoned together: Claius age manifests a dulness, and Strephon's youth his lightsomness; or else your worthiest exploits, without disputing, might conquer Urania. At this Claius, as if he had been revived, ventured to jump, but his heels served him a trick, teaching him to kiss his mother Earth, as more suitable to his ancient years than a young Shepherdess was: but he vexing at so publick a disaster, fell in a rage upon Strephon, who esteemed it more Nobleness to hold his hands, than to recompence his blows, Claius holding in disdain his backwardness, left his eagerness, and turning to the Princess with tears in his eyes, he beseeched them, if it should be his unhappiness to be deprived of Urania, to grant him the priviledge of her presence, though at as great a distance as possibly he could discern her, Strephon not knowing the subtiltie of Fortune, and doubting the worst, desisted not from craving the like favour: the Princess mercifully yielded to their requests, and Musidorus proceeded in his sentence.
Urania deserves to possess the first lodgings of the wisest hearts, she is too pure to be a second; out of which consideration, we have resolv'd that you shall both swear by the sacred Name of Pan, whether you have ever been defiled with another object, or have been afflicted with Cupids dart, though in a virtuous way; which if you both can protest against, we will prohibit this invention, and determin on some other; and if but one can clear himself, he shall be acknowledged the fittest Husband for her.
Strephon without scruple offered to take his Oath; Claius, though he was enticed by the force of Beautie, yet his Conscience withdrew him from perjuring himself, perswading him to defer the time: the Princess perceiving his slowness, guessed the matter, and lest he should be surprized with the vanities of this world, they commanded him and Strephon to convey Urania to the Temple: Musidorus and Pyrocles, with Pamela and Philoclea, and the other Royal Bride-gromes and Brides, besides the resort of shepherds and shepherdesses attending on them: where being come, Claius and Strephon ascended to the Altar, and with great reverence Strephon professed his Innocence from Female Creatures, and withall his chaste affection, which he constantlie bare to Urania: and Claius with jealous devotion affirmed that Urania was a precious Jewel, locked in the Treasurie of his heart, which none could bereave him of, unless they murdered him, neither spared he room for any other to abide there, but her Divine self: yet he could not denie, but that in his younger days his indulgent Phantasie had seized upon a Shepherdess, though not with anie other entire affection than as her prettie songs enveigled him; and since he had wholie abandoned her, and cleaved to Urania, the severest Justice could not make that a sufficient pretence to give away his elected Spouse.
Thus Claius advocated for himself; but Pyrocles and Musidorus caused silence to be made, and then Musidorus said;
For as much as you have referred your selves, before evident Witness, to the judgement of Prince Pyrocles and my self; who without any expulsion to your side, have sincerelie bestowed it upon you; we will admit of no addresses to recal our judgements, for that were to accuse ourselves of Infidelitie; but we will not see it put in execution: and Strephon shall enjoy his first Love, the Shepherdess Urania, and Claius may dwell in the view of her, to save him from perishing.
Strephon, as a man who newly embraced a life ransomed from the power of hatefull death, to inhabit a glorious Paradice, snatched Urania from out of the hands of amazed Claius, and in a ravishment ran for the Priest of Pan, who in the mid'st of the throng, consumated their Union. This last Couple wanted not aplauses, though they were inferior to the other in dignitie; for Strephons comeliness, and Urania's gracefulness seemed to adorn their harmless roabs: their becomming Modestie enthral'd the hearts of their observers, their courtesie conquered the eyes of their profession, that beheld in what estimation they were with the Princes, and their happiness equalled the greatest Personages.
But alas, in Strephon's felicity consists Claius miserie, his grief being so infinite, that his passages of tears was stopped, and a frantick Brain possessed him more than a Womanish sorrow, against this life he exclaimed, Strephon and himself he abhorred, and endeavouring to set a Period to his afflictions, he brake out into these words: Proud love, who gloriest in tormenting mortals, this once moderate thy rage by dispatching me quickly from under thy Tyrannie; for in what have I displeased thee, you cannot signifie, I have so faithfully served to your crueltie. But now to gratifie me, you plunder me of my onely blessing, and yet in derision you make me to live. But O Cupid! if any pitie or remorse dares harbour in thee, as thou hast deeply wounded me, so directly slay me, and I shall entitle thee mercifull. But if thou fliest from such a compassionate act, then Prince Musidorus and Pyrocles, whose fame is enriched wtih goodness, replenish it more by my speedy destruction and make me breathless. And Shepherds and Shepherdesses, let not the dreadfull Name of Tragedy affright you, my Death will be the obsequies of a Comedy; therefore if any spleen reign victor in you, revenge your self upon me that am the most contemptible wretch.
This Speech he uttered with such distracted actions, that terrified the women and afflicted the men. But at appointment of the Princes they conveyed him to some private habitation, where he had attendants, who oftentimes prevented him from mischieving himself. But for Strephon and Urania, the Princes solemnly invited them to their societie for that evening, where at Pamela's and Philoclea's entreaties, they retiring to a pleasant summer House, Strephon rehearsed these passages concerning Urania, Claius, and himself, on this manner:
To recollect Urania's virtues, or what surpassing beautie engaged Claius and me to be her servants, would be superfluous, since her divine self is present to merit divine praises from the dullest spectators. Onely first her prettie innocence withdrew our eyes from gazing on the stars, to salute her heavenly spheres that reflected upon us as she passed by. For Claius and I having separated our Flocks from our neighbouring shepherds into a fresh and sweet pasture, where none frequented or trode the pleasant grass, but savage Satyrs, and dancing Fairies, we espied a Tree, whose flourishing branches seemed to fortifie themselves against the heat of the sun, and we enticed by the shadow, repaired to it: there we lay down, purposing to trie our skill in describing the pitifull decorums of the shepherds that were inchanted by Cupids quiver, to adore the fair beautie of Mortals: but the wonderfull Justice of the highest Powers, taught us to acknowledge our frailtie, by inflicting the like punishment upon us: for as we were reproching their lovesick infirmities, fair Urania, enduced by a Sparrow that flew from her when she had courteously bred it up, pursued after it, to take it prisoner, her course bending towards us: but when she had surprized it, she confined it to a Paradise, putting it between the pillows of her Breast, and checking it no otherwise than with her harmless kisses, she went away, leaving Claius and my carkass behind her, but our souls cleaved immoveably unto her, and fixing our eyes upon one another, as ashamed of our prodigious censoriousness of our Neighbours, we suffered not our lips to open, till we were acquainted with the subject that did triumph over us; but sounding our Bell, we secured our Flocks, and hastened to repose our selves upon our beds, but our memorie of the most Divine Urania taught us a more watchfull lesson than drousiness: her Image, which was engraven in our fancie, disdained to be blurred by our forgetfulness, wherefore the restless night we passed over with sighs, reviling the Fates for burying our felicitie in the depth of adversitie, so hard and explete did we account it ever to obtain Urania; and though Claius and I were one anothers Rivalls, both aiming at one, yet did it not any way mittigate our friendship, I applauding Claius choice, and he mine; neither did we ignorantly admire our judgements, but did enquire, and receive the approbation of a multitude of Swains, who with abundant devotion extolled Urania's worth: yet Fortune, that favours not the purest souls, knit her brows, frowning upon our Goddess Urania, who mildly strived to wash them away with her Christal tears: the occasion I heard her whisper out one time, when she imagined little, and I resided so near her, in these sweetly expressed, yet dollorous words.
Too great a burden for me to bear oppresses me, Antaxius is too officious in his love, I wish he were more calm; my Parents rigor is too too intollerable, unless my disobedience had been palpable; I have never offended them wilfully, no not in this their desired Match, except they interpret my silence for a refusal, that being the onely symptom of my discontent, nor do I reveal my affection to any but to thee my sparrow, who canst not discover it with thy chirping, and that note of thine is to me condoling, and chearfull; my disconsolate Heart not knowing how to value any other melodious sounds: but alass my incredulitie of the divine Providence may justlie reprove and punish me; yet since I do humbly acknowledge thy alsufficiencie, let thy Mercie chastise me, and deliver me from the thraldom of Antaxius.
Then wiping her bedewed eyes, she arose, as confident her devout Prayers had conjured the Gods to pitie her distress, and beseeching the Deities to make me their instrument; call'd after her. Fair Creature, pardon me if I profane your sacred Title with a feeble one, since your humilitie vouchsafes earthly troubles to perplex you; and believe me, the brick of this world is built upon divers motions, it can boast of no firm foundation; the rarest Beauties in their age seldom escape advers Billows, and boysterous winds, and without relying on a Rock, their perishing is sure: wherefore, sweet Nimph, accept of me to be your Rock, and questionless you shall be preserved from all tempestuous weathers.
Urania trusting in no other Power, than what was celestial, looked up to the Element, where seeing no heavenlie Object, she cast her eyes down, fixing them upon me with such blessedness, as strook me to the ground, not being capable of assisting my self; however I fed upon her voice, which she displayed in this language.
What a presumptuous mortal art thou to frame thy self to be a God, that by such a pretence thou mayst insult over me? For better Powers cannot support me from furious storms. This spoken, she went away, as loathing the sight of such a blasphemous serpent, as she thought me to be. Which I perceiving, and rowsing my self from out of a transe, I began to crie, O stay, stay, stay, but she deaf to my perswasions, hastened beyond the limits of mine eyes; but the rebounding of my words sounded in the ears of the Pastor Claius, who was with his and my Flock at a little distance from me. He harkening to my voice, and discerning me to wander out of the close, his jealous brain supposed the reason, & walking as swiftly as his aged leggs would suffer him, he found me out, his inquisitiveness enforcing me not to be niggardly in my answers, which were so tedious, that the Sun vanished from our Horizon, as tired with our unnecessary speeches, and took his farewel, highing him to his Eastern home. But at length Claius and I yielding our selves to silence though not to rest, experience had taught us to despair of sleeping, until Cupids wounds were curable. And early in the morning when the Sheperdesses had driven their Flocks into the Pastures, we lingering with ours, that we might see the place made happie with Urania's abiding there, her Enimie Antaxius the wealthy Heardsman, driven by a flattering current of his success, approched near us, not scrupulous in asking Urania's harbour: we making much of our opportunitie directed him the contrary way from her, to the Island of Citherea, her Parents dwelling there, onely they had trusted her with the Flock on this side the River, to feed them with a livelier pasture. But we protested to him, that in the morning we saw the Grass to weep for her departure, and the seas dance with joy that she relyed on their mildness. Antaxius easily believed our intilligence, and thanking us for it, he hastened to overtake her: and we pleased with our prosperous subtletie, drove our Flocks to a Pasture adjoyning to Urania's, and entreating Pan to be their Guardian, we left them to trie Fortunes courtesie.
Urania blushing at our presence, at mine especially, who had before abruptly assaulted her, seemed to rebuke me with it, as in earnest so it did, my trembling witnessed my guiltiness, and my tears and sighs my repentance: my slowness to utterance allowed Claius a convenient time to discover his passion to Urania, the policie used to Antaxius, he forbore to repeat, until my repentance had obtained a pardon, and then he related in what expedition we sent away her undesired suitor; which at first vanished the red from her face, her fears usurping in her tender breast, lest her Parents should doubt her safetie at Antaxius report. Yet when she remembred her absence might extinguish Antaxius lust, her vermilion came back to mixture, and adorned her, as detesting to be deprived of such an Alabaster shelter.
Claius made Poesies in her praise to please her, dedicating to her service all his studies. My art in framing of Garlands, shewing the flowers natural curiositie in their varietie of shades, a device that sets them forth most perfectly I did teach her; oftentimes presenting her with the choisest of my Flock, when she would accept of them; and if Wolves or other ravenous beasts had happened to lurk that way, I never left hunting them till their hands evidenced me their Conqueror, which I used to lay at Urania's feet; other tricks I invented to be admitted into her societie.
Here Strephon stopt: but the Princes entreated him to go on. Which happiness of mine, saith he, continued not long without interruption. Antaxius learning that Claius and I pretended affection to Urania, he proudly landed at our haven, rudely carrying her away without resistance. Her commands, that could not be disobeyed, ordained the contrary. Then it was, most gracious Prince Musidorus that you escaped the seas, O then it was that Urania floted on them, and we bitterly bemoaned our loss. Certainly by the appointment of the Gods the Ocean waxed so calm, yet about where she was embarqued, the waters murmured, and the winds sweetly whistled, combining their voices so harmoniously, that she might really believe, they conspired to crown her with some unexpected blessing; as indeed so they: had for when we had conducted you to my Lord Kalenders house, we received a Letter from our adored Goddess.
We might have been justly taxed of incredulitie at the first view of it, our rememberance of her uncivil Carrier demollishing all hopefull thoughts; but when we had more believingly read over and saluted those heavenly lines, we taking a short farewel of your Highnes, conformed our pace to our eagerest disposition, and came to the Sands against the Island of Citherea; where not caring for any other passage but Charon's Boat, we committed our selves to heavens protection, and fixed our eyes upon Urania's Island, leaping into the sea, there we had like to have participated of Leander's entertainment, but our luckie Stars preserved us to better fortune. The waves growing turbulent, the winds roared, the skies thickened, and all tempestuous weather threatened to combine against us. My Friend Claius faint limbs I was glad to support with my tired ones, and we both had perished and resigned our breaths to the Giver, but that the storm forced a Bark to cast Anchor, and harbour in our Coast, from whence we had not swom far, though the Billows had thrown us up and down, as contemning us for our presumption in pursuing our loves to Urania, but the companie in the Bark, weighing our calamities, and their own too, should they neglect so charitable an act as endeavouring to help us, imagining the Gods would be deaf to their prayers, if they were careless of ours: they let their sails flie towards us, & lengthening the cord of their Cock-boat, they sent it to us; we skilled in their meaning laid hold on it, and by degrees we purchased the in-sides for our security, they pulling us to the Bark, helped us in.
Where we were gazed on with astonishment by all; neither were our eyes indebted to theirs, so manie of Urania's Associats did we espie in the Bark to look upon; and amongst the rest there was Antaxius: Oh Claius, hadst thou been here, thou wouldst have justified thy paleness, and my cholerick flushes, that with zeal strove for Victorie over our haughtie Rival; who being vexed at the sight of us, and minding nothing so much as our fatal ruine, stretched his voice, which was most hideous, to condemn us. What monsters are these, said he, that you have had pitie upon? their Phiysiognomies resemble ours, but the shape is different; therefore hurl them overboard, lest they do drown us with their Inchantment. The gulph of salt-Water that flew out of our mouths, and our wett garments that hung confusedly, with his aggravations pierced into the stupid senses of the Companie, who doubted whether we were very Claius and Strephon or no, yet dreaded to question us: my anger for Antaxius unworthie affronting us, could not be moderated, but acting the fierceness of a Tygar, I fell upon him, and flung him into the sea, where he deservedlie tasted of such pleasures, as he had allotted for us: such is the wisdom of the higher Powers to recompence what is due.
The affrighted People fled into their Cabins, the Pilot and Sailors forsaking their imployments, hid themselves under the Decks: but all this time I never ceased to pray for Urania's safeguard, being ignorant of the chance that brought Antaxius thither, or where she resided; her letters signifying onely how much she wished to see us, our vowed friendship obliging her in all virtuous ways to honor us: but having quelled the courage of the Sailors, the storm asswaging, we shewed our authoritie, commanding them to strike their sail to the Island of Citherea: and giving a visit to our Prisoners in the Cabins, we intreated them to suppress all prejudicial conceit of us, who never intended to injure them, though we had revenged our selves upon Antaxius for scandalizing us, and perswading them barbarously to murder us, under the pretence of Sea-Monsters: nor did we neglect to tell them how infinitly they would favor us, in relating what accident had inticed Antaxius to that Bark, without his Mistress Urania, who was reported to be his onely delight.
The young Shepherd Lalus, being present, interrupted me thus: Urania disdains to be the Mistress of so base a fellow, though his importunitie both to her nearest relations, and to her divine self, forced her to grant him the priviledge of Charactering her perfections in Poetrie, amongst which he had declared his Lust, shadowing it with the title of Love, when he might as well transform a Dove to a Kite, or a Wolf to a Lamb, as lust to Love; Urania abhorring him for it, charged me, who am bound to obey her charge, to be urgent with Antaxius to come this voyage with me. I assaulted him with the question; he thought it no ways requisit for his proceedings, but at her perswasions he ceased to argue: This Voyage we intended for a chearfull one, but it hath proved a fatal one to him, though a fortunate one to Urania; for she as far excels Antaxius in deserts, as our Princess Pamela does Mopsa, Master DametaUrania's daughter.
At this passage the Princess smiled, and Strephon blushed at his true, yet blunt expression: but longing to be freed from Tautalogizing, his modestie not suffering him to Court Urania there, he persisted in his rehearsal.
It afflicted me to reckon; O I could not reckon the number of Rivals that waited to frustrate me of my felicitie, all that ever beheld her, commended her, few they were that did not Court her, but most lived in hopes to enjoy her; however I dissembled my grief, and congratulated with Lalus for his courteous relation, telling him, I had seen that Paragon, and did as much admire her, as I could any of her sex, though my delight consisted chiefly in other recreations, than to extoll a woman. This drift of mine enticed him earnestly to better my opinion, and in his highest Rhetorick, he laboured to inform me concerning the Passion of Love, that though it were mixed with bitterness, in consideration of some griefs that follow it, yet seldom it is, but that the conclusion is happie. I making as though I listened not to his discourse, sung a song, the subject whereof tended against Love and Women: he encreasing his desires to work my conversion, determined to bring me to Urania. I willingly seemed to yield to his request, Claius wondred at my disguised heart, yet held his peace, trusting to my poor discretion.
Now the Sea-men, bringing us news of our safe arrival in the Ports of Citherea, we landed, releasing the Bark; I could hardly confine my joy within so small a compass as my heart, when I went upon the ground where she had trode, and not reveal it; but I restrained it as much as possibly I could, slighting his description of Urania's worth. But alas my hopes of the success, my designment might have, was frustrated; upon so tottering a climat do we Mortals restless live, that when we think we have escaped the dangerousest storms, our feet stand upon the brims, ready to be blown down at evry flirt of wind, to the depth of miserie.
For Urania, my secret Jewel, and Lalus that reveiled me, was missing, not to publick Pastorals, nor yet solitarie Retirements, but by the soul practises of a Knight named Lacemon, who violently carried her away from her sheep, whilst she was complaining of Claius and my tedious absence; the reporter of this dolefull News lay hid under a hedge, the glistering of rude Lacemon's Armour advising him to conceal himself; such was the cowardliness of the simple Swain.
Lalus would have murdered him, had not we by force withheld him; yet I made him feel the stroak of my Cudgel, to make him repent his folly, a poor revenge for so hainous a trespass, yet that disburdened me of a greater, so subject are we in affliction to double our error with a crime more odious: Urania was lost, yet the memorie of her Name, Virtue or Beautie could never be expired: neither did we linger in pursuance of Lacemon, nor in her search, whose heavenly soul, as we imagined, must needs perfume and leave a scent where it had breathed, which was the signe that we besought the Sacred Powers to grant, might be our convoy to her. Then Lalus departed from us, choosing his path; Claius and I would not be separated, if possibly we could avoid it. I know not whether this unwillingness to part with me proceeded from a jealous humour, his nature being always inclinable to it; but I am sure, mine was real, doubting not, but what the Divine Providence had agreed on, should be accomplished what ere it were.
The byest ways, as we conceived, might be the likeliest to find Urania, Lacemon having many: his felicitie, since he had deprived the Land of its Goddess, and we as deeply ingaged against him, our presumptuous Rival, as any other, searched the most suspitious Corners; but no tidings could be heard of Urania up the Island, where we had wandered, except profane ones; for ask the Swains that sluggishly sate nodding by some of their scattered sheep, whose fellows had been devoured by Wolves, through the carelesness of their Shepherds, when we examined them concerning Urania, whom we described by her Praiers and tears made to a Knight accoutred in a Martial habit; their reply would be so absurd, nay between sleeping and waking, divers did affirm they saw her, directing us to unseemly Mortals, who indeed had usurped Urania's Name, though they came short of her perfections. I cannot judge which was victor in me of Rage and Sorrow; furious I was at the counterfeit Urania's, and desperate, despairing of ever finding the real one.
At this passage Strephon burst out into floods of tears, which he endeavoured to conceal, excusing his too large rehearsal, & desired to break off; but the Princess earnestness to hear Urania rescued from the power of Lacemon, induced him to proceed on this manner: My chollerick Passion I vented upon the stupid men, instructing them to entitle their Dames with some meaner Name than Urania, under penaltie of their lives, which they dearly valued: and then Claius and I renewed our languishing travels.
When we had passed through the publick and remote places of the Island, meeting with no obstacles in the way, either by Freinds or Enemies, we crossed the Ocean, landing at the sands over against the Island, we continued not there, though we could not determin where we had best continue, but a Pilgrims life we resolved on, unless Urania's unexpected securitie should forbid it; when therefore we had traced about the Confines of Arcadia, without any comfortable reports of her, we rose with the Sun, to take a longer journey, but the tiredness of our legs prolonged the time, and so proved faithfull instruments to further our felicitie, by delaying our haste: Upon a bank we sate down, chasing at the grass for looking fresh and green in Urania's absence; and Claius folding his arms, and casting his eyes on the ground, as a fit object for him to view, especially when he pitched on such a subject as deserved opposition, as he then did; uttering these words:
Seldom it is, but the fairest Physiognomies harbour the foulest souls, all reason proves it so; nay the Gods abhor partialitie; why then should they adorn a Creature so richly surpassing above the rest visibly, and yet give her a soul answerable? Urania! O Urania! I will not, no I durst not say unchaste, though the Summers mourn not for her exilement, nor the Birds cease from their various notes, which comfort we heretofore apprehended they made to invite Urania to reside altogether in the Woods; nor yet the Shepherds refrain from their pleasant sports; nor do the Shepherdesses neglect their care of medicining their tender Lambs, to celebrate a Day in their bewailings.
Age we reckon stands at the gate of Death: yet Claius years was a Target to defend him from it, otherwise I should not have thought a replie a sufficient revenge, which I did in these terms. A suspitious head is as great torment as I could wish to light upon Lacemon, besides the unjustness of it, your uncharitable censures may too soon redound upon you, when repentance hath lost its opportunitie to crave and receive a pardon: expose not your self to that crime, which never can be purged away, should it dammage the reputation of those that imitate Diana's qualities in as great a measure as her Beautie; for if the Gods have bestowed on them reasonable souls, why should we pine at their industrie to make them admirable: You argue, that the Summer keeps its natural course, though Urania is missing, which is a manifest testimonie of her virtues, boisterous and cold weather being a foe to Travelers, but the warm Sun is delightfull; and the birds proudly chant their Tunes, for I am confident, they ravish her far above the loftie expressions of Lacemon: neither wonder at the mirth and imployments of the Shepherds and Shepherdesses, for the Virgins are glad to exercise their inventions, to charm back the belief of Urania's loss, so darksom and odious is it to them, the Shepherds their Paramours fostering (though with sadness) their busie fancies.
Claius fixing his eyes on the ground, as convinced of his error, sought not to frame an excuse, yet to shew that Age had not deprived him of his senses; he thus spake: An odoriferous scent seems to command me to rest silent, and to bear the blame without controulment, and dreadfulness mixed with hope possess me. O Strephon, Strephon, faithfully conceal my follie, I beseech thee.
At this suddain Allarm, I gazed about me, an happie sight, though an amazed one approaching near me, Urania it was, with her arms spread, and cryes in her mouth, which mentioned murder, her hair contemptibly hung about her, though delicate; and patience and anger seemed to combat in her rosie cheeks for the Victorie; but at last, abundance of Christal tears became the Arbiter, which when she had vented; she distributed to us these words:
Never was I yet in the Turret of felicitie, but I have stumbled, and fell to the pit of adversitie: Antaxius, in the Island of Citherea lustfully expects me; and here, if I continue, the Furie Lacemon will overtake me; O whither shall I flie for safetie? my pitie would not suffer me to retain her in ignorance, wherefore I related Antaxius death: her silence seemed to condemn me of rashness, for granting him no time of repentance; but my excuse was prevented by the ragefull coming of Lacemon, who with eyes sparkling, and Armour stained with bloud, an Emblem of the Tragedie he had committed, holding in his right hand a spear, and a shield in his left, he mustered up to us; we nothing dreading, but Urania's trembleing, with our staves, weak instruments (as he imagined) to resist him, made towards him: he disdaining Claius age, and my youth, exercised neither vigilance to withstand our blows, nor strength to repay them: I vexed at his so slight regard of my valour, and perswading Claius to retire to Urania, who willingly yielded to my counsel; I renewed the incounter, and with such fierceness, that Lacemon was forced to stand on his own defence; his want of experience might be the cause of his overthrow; for I am certain I can boast but of little that caused it, though the fortune of my blows proved fatal to him, thrusting him off his horse, and beating out his brains: his life was so hatefull, that his death was welcomed by most, and commiserated of none: Urania highly commended my action, too large a recompence for so poor a desert, yet I thanked the Gods for giving me such success as she thought worthie of her acceptance; and waiting upon her to the Island of Citherea, by the way she yielded to our request, gracefully delivering these words.
The motions of this world I cannot comprehend, but with confusion, so unexpectedly do they surprize me, Antaxius by Lalus instigations, trusted to the Seas fidelitie, your compulsion forcing them to deceive him, in whose banishment I sent a Letter to you, wherein I acknowledged your sincere affection, and by all the ties of virtuous friendship, conjured you not to denie me your Counsel or Companie in my extremitie; and happening to repose my self upon the Clifts, my harmless Sparrow I set down at a little distance from me, learning it to come at my inducement, the prettie fool, with shivering wings aspired to mount towards me; but the Tyger Lacemon, or Monster, for his disposition could never pretend to humanitie, being prepared in a readiness to commit such a treacherous act, came from a darksom hole, suitable to his practises, and seized on me and my Sparrow for Prisoners, and conveying us to his provided Boat, we were sailed over, and by him conducted to this Countrey of Arcadia, where in a Cave he hath enclosed me: and perceiving, that I consorted with my Bird, and delighted in its Innocencie, a virtue which he mortally detested, he unmercifully murdered it, lingeringly tormenting it to death, whilst my Sparrow with its dying looks, seemed to check me, for enduring its sufferance without resistance: thus he endeavoured to terrifie me with his crueltie, but if it were possible, it made me more enflamed to withstand his assaults; neither threats, nor intreaties were wanting to tempt me to his base desires, but I absolutely refused him, till necessitie perswaded me to trie the effect of Policie.
His own reports signifying Phalantus Helena, the Queen of Corinths Brothers defiance to the Arcadian Knights, his Lance willing to defend his Mistress Sortesia's beautie against other Champions; I counterfeited earnestness to Lacemon, in exercising his skill to purchase my glorie: he puffed up with hopes of future success, considering it was the first time that I had imployed him, and so publicklie, with all expedition, hasted to the lodge with my Picture, where by a thrust from off his horse, he was made to leave my Picture, to reverence Sortesia's surpassing one; with a cloudie soul, he returned to me, I being compassed to stay within his bounds, so manie bars and bolts frustrating my escape; but by his muttering I discerned his discontent, an humour that best suited his condition: I strictly examined concerning my Pictures triumph, and his Fortune, he studying to delude me, replied, That business of importance had enforced Basilius to defer the challenge for awhile, out of which regard, he, by the example of other Noble Personages, resigned up my Picture to the custodie of the Governor of Basilius lodge, and should be extremelie well pleased, if I would vouchsafe him my companie into the fresh aire; few perswasions served to remove me from that stifling cave, besides the hopes that I relied upon of your encountering Lacemon; but little imagined the Shepherd Lalus would be the first; kind Lalus! it was the least of my thoughts of thy so chearfullie loosing thy life for the preservation of mine; for when Lacemon had with boastings, for not being overcome by any of his subjected Rivalls, brought me near the confines of Arcadia, swelling with pride, his rough Arms rudely striving with me: then it was that Lalus succoured me with his own fatal ruine: for though I was by Lacemon desguised, by his suggestion, I knowing no other signe, he discovered me to be Urania: his desire to rescue me from Lacemon, extinguished the reprehension of his own eminent danger, his courage, though exceeding Lacemons, yet his strength and shield was far inferior to him, in the heat of the blows, before conquest, was decided on either side; I fled from dreadfull Lacemon,
His speedie pursuance after me, might be a means to preserve Lalus life, yet I doubt it, Lacemons bloudie Armour prenominating his wicked action. But I protest, that I had rather my skin should imitate Pan's, and my complexion Vulcan's, than that any one Tragedie should be committed in its defence.
Fountains running from Urania's sparkling eyes, stopped the remainder of her speech. Lalus being my assured Rival, mitigated very much my sorrow for him. However, lest I should forfeit Urania's favour, I seemed sad, yet strived with it, that I might be a more acceptable instrument to moderate hers. Neither was Claius negligent in his love, but with Rhetorical speeches he sought to win on her affections; and the Island of Citharea in awhile flourished with her adored Goddess. Her Parents in heavenly raptures welcomed home their dearest Daughter, keeping her watchfully under their eyes, and jealous of our depriving them of her the second time, though we had safely delivered her into their hands. And Urania her self suspecting our often resorting to her, might redound to her prejudice, made excuses to abandon our companie. But death in a short time appeared in his visage to Urania's Parents, carrying them to the Elizian fields: she then having the libertie to dispose of her self, which she with confinement did, not delighting in the Pastorals, nor yet in our societie, until this happie Day was nominated. And now great Princes, I humbly beseech you to pardon this my tedious Relation.
The Princes courteously declared Strephon to be worthiest of Urania, the particulars of his exploits witnesing it. Basilius on that day preferring him in his Court, honouring him with Knighthood, and both he and his Ladie Urania lived in great reputation with all, obtaining love and esteem from the stateliest Cedar to lowest shrub.
But when Cynthia drew her curtains, commanding the Princes to hide themselves within their Pavilions, and they retiring to obey her; just then an unusual voice sounded to them, and close behind it rushed in Lalus the Shepherd: anger composed with reverence beset him, both being so officious, that reverence environed Passion within the compasse of civilitie, and Passion allowed Reverence to shew a prettie decent behaviour, though not affected; both dying cheeks with ruddiness, whilest he applying his speech to Pyrocles and Musidorus spake to this purpose:
Great Princes, I will not presume to question your Justice, but your knowledge. It was I that gave Lacemon his deaths wound. Strephon did but lessen his torments by quick dispatching him when he fled from me, pretending Urania was his onely happiness that he desired to enjoy, and not my bloud
The Princes certifying Lalus, that other arguments enjoyned them to bestow Urania on Strephon, they left him, but not so disconsolate for Urania's loss, as to keep his eloquence from courting other Shepherdesses, in as high a degree as ever he did her. But aged Claius, having wrestled with death all the night, not that he desired to live, but unwilling to leave off calling on Urania, blessed Urania! yet in the morning he was overcome, resigning up his breath with her name in his mouth. Basilius had him sumptuously buried, and Musidorus caused a famous Monument to be built in his memorie. On the top of it, before the Sun had fully dried it, there was found Philisides the despairing Shepherd dead, yet not by other practices than a deep melancholly that over-pressed his heart: these lines were engraven on a stone that lay by him. Judge not uncharitably; but believe the expression of a dying man; No poysonous draught have I tasted of, nor any self-murdering instruments have I used to shorten my miserable life: for by the authoritie of the Gods, the time of my end was concealed from all but my self. I am sure it came not unwished for, for why should I live to be despised of her, whom above all the world I honoured? I will forbear to name her, because my Rival shall not triumph in my death, nor yet condemn me for coveting so rare a Person. My ambition is to have the tears of the Arcadian Beauties shed at my Funeral, & sprinkled on my Hearss; and when my bodie is so magnificently embalmed, let it be interred with Claius two Lovers, both finishing their lives for their Mistresses sakes, his is publickly known to be Urania, my Breast is the Cabinet where mine is fixed, and if you rip that open, you will find it; though perhaps not so perfect as I could wish it were, the Cabinet melting into tears for its unkindness. And now farewel all the world; and I beseech the Divine Powers to bind Cupids hands from wounding, unless he have a certain salve to cure them.
Thus died Philisides; his Will being faithfully performed by the Princes and the beauteous Princesses, with Urania and other prettie Shepherdesses, needing no imprecations faithfully bemoan his death, burying him with plentie of tears.
Thus were there Nuptials finished with sadness. But before the solemnities were quite over, there came more Princes that had partaken of the benefit of Musidorus and Pyrocles valour, with Presents of gratitude for their Brides, Pamela and Philoclea. Then after all Ceremonies accomplished, they retired severally to their flourishing Kingdoms of Thessalia and Macedon, and Armenia, with Corinth, where they increased in riches, and were fruitfull in their renowned Families. And when they had sufficiently participated of the pleasures of this world, they resigned their Crowns to their lawfull Successours, and ended their days in Peace and Quietness.