Page images
PDF
EPUB

wanton glances, or allured with their wicked guiles, either enchanted with their beauty or enamoured with their bravery, enter with thyself into this meditation.

What shall I gain if I obtain my purpose? Nay, rather, what shall I lose in winning my pleasure? If my lady yield to be my lover, is it not likely she will be another's lemman ? and if she be a modest matron, my labour is lost. This therefore remaineth, that either I must pine in cares or perish with

curses.

If she be chaste, then is she coy; if light, then is she impudent : if a grave matron, who can woo her? if a lewd minion, who would wed her? if one of the vestal virgins, they have vowed virginity; if one of Venus's court, they have vowed dishonesty. If ! love one that is fair, it will kindle jealousy; if one that is foul, it will convert me into phrenzy. If fertile to bear children, my care is increased ; if barren, my curse is augmented. If honest, I shall fear her death ; if immodest, I shall be weary of her life.

To what end then shall I live in love, seeing always it is a life more to be feared than death : for all

my time wasted in sighs, and worn in sobs, for all my treasure spent on jewels, and spilt in jollity, what recompence shall I reap besides repentance? What other reward shall I have than reproach?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

What other solace than endless shame? But haply thou wilt say, If I refuse their courtesy, I shall be accounted a meacock, a milk-sop, taunted and retaunted with check and check-mate, flouted and reflouted with intolerable glee.

Alas, fond fool! art thou so pinned to their sleeves that thou regardest more their babble, than thine own bliss, more their frumps than thine own welfare? Wilt thou resemble the kind spaniel, which the more he is beaten the fonder he is; or the foolish ejesse, which will never away? Dost thou not know, that women deem none valiant, unless he be too venturous ; that they account one a dastard if he be not desperate ; a pinch-penny if he be not prodigal ; if silent a sot; if full of words a fool? Perversely do they always think of their lovers, and talk of them scornfully, judging all to be clowns which be no courtiers, and all to be pinglers that be not cour

sers.

Seeing therefore the very blossom of love is sour, the bud cannot be sweet : in time prevent danger, least untimely thou run into a thousand perils.

Do you not know the nature of women, which is grounded only upon extremities? Do they think any man to delight in them unless he doat on them? Any to be zealous unless he be jealous? Any to be fervent in ca:e he be not furious? If he be cleanly, then term they him proud; if mean in apparel, a sloven;

if tall, a lungis; if short, a dwarf; if bold, blunt; if shamefaced, a coward ; insomuch as they have neither mean in their frumps, nor measure in their folly. But at the first the ox wieldeth not the yoke, nor the colt the snaffle, nor the lover good counsel; yet time causeth the one to bend his neck, the other to ope his mouth, and should enforce the third to yield his sight to reason. Lay before thine eyes, the slights and deceits of thy lady, her snatching in jest and keeping in earnest, her perjury, her impiety, the countenance she sheweth to thee of course, the love she beareth to others of zeal, her open malice, her dissembled mischief,

0! I would in repeating their vices thou couldst be as eloqüent, as in remembering them thou oughtest to be penitent; be she never so comely, call her counterfeit; be, she never so straight, think her crooked. And wrest all parts of her body to the worst, be she never so worthy. If she be well set, then call her a boss; if slender, a hazel twig; if nutbrown, as black as a coal; if well coloured, a painted wall; if she be pleasant, then is she a wanton ; if sullen, a clown; if honest, then is shę coy; if impudent, a harlot.

Search every vein and sinew of their disposition; if she have no sight in descant, desire her to chaunt it; if no cunning to dance, request her to trip it; if po skill in music, proffer ber the lute; if an ill gait, then walk with her; if rude in speech, talk with her; if she be gag-toothed, tell her some merry jest, to make her laugh; if pink-eyed, some doleful history to cause her to weep : in the one her grinning will shew her deformed, in the other, her whining like a pig half roasted.

It is a world to see how commonly we are blinded with the collusions of women, and more enticed by their ornaments being artificial, then their proportion being natural. I loath almost to think on their ointments and apothecary drugs, the sleeking of their faces, and all their slibber sauces, which bring queasiness to the stomach, and disquiet to the mind.

Take from them their perriwigs, their paintings, their jewels, their rolls, their · bolsterings, and thou shalt soon perceive that a wornan is the least part of herself.

When they be once robbed of their robes, then will they appear so odious, so ugly, so monstrous, that thou wilt rather think them serpents than saints, and so like hags, that thou wilt fear rather to be enchanted than enamoured. Look in their closets, and there shalt thou find an apothecary's shop of sweet confections, a surgeon's box of sundry salves, a pedlar's pack of new fangles. Besides all this, their shadows, their spots, their lawns, their leefekies, their ruffs, their rings: shew them rather cardinals' courtesans than modest maa trons, and more carnally affected than moved im conscience. If every one of these things severally be not of force to move thee, yet all of them jointly should mortify thee.

Moreover, to make thee the more stronger to strive against these syrens, and more subtle to dea ceive these tame serpents, my counsel is, that thou have more strings to thy bow than one; it is safe riding at two anchors; a fire divided in twain burneth slower ; a fountain running into many rivers, is of less force ; the mind enamoured on two women is less affected with desire, and less infected with despair; one love expelleth another, and the remembrance of the latter quencheth the concupiscence of the first.

Yet if thou be so weak, being bewitched with their wiles, that thou hast neither will to eschew, nor wit to avoid their company, if thou be either so wicked that thou wilt not, or so wedded that thou canst not abstain from their glances, yet at the least dissemble thy grief. If thou be as hot as the mount Etna, fain thyself as cold as the hill Caucasus ; carry two faces in one hood ; cover thy flaming fancy with feigned ashes; shew thyself sound when thoa art rotten; let thy view be merry, when thy heart is melancholy; bear a pleasant countenance, with a pined conscience; a painted sheath with a leaden dagger : Thus dissembling thy grief, thou mayst re

« PreviousContinue »