GREENES VISION: Written at the instant of his death. Conteyning a penitent passion for the folly of his Pen.

Sero sed serio.

Imprinted at London for Thomas Newman, and are to be sould at his shop in Fleetestreete, in Saint Dunstons Churchyard.

To the right worshipfull and his e­speciall good friend, M. Nicholas San­ders of Ewell Esquier, T. Newman wish­eth all feliciti [...].

WERE I as able as I am willing (Right Worshipfull) to shewe my selfe thankful for your manie kindnesses extended vnto me, some more ac­complisht Dedication then this, should haue offred it selfe to your iudiciall view at this instant.It was one of the last workes of a wel known Au­thor, therefore I hope it will be more acceptable. Manie haue published repentaunces vnder his name, but none more vnfeigned then this, being euerie word of his owne: his own phrase, his own method. The experience of many vices brought forth this last vision of vertue. I recommend it in­tirely to your worships euen ballancing censure. None haue more insight then you into matters of wit. All men of Art acknowledge you to bee [Page] an especiall Mecenas, and supporter of learning in these her despised latter daies. I am one that haue no interest in knowledge, but the inseperate loue that I beare to them that professe it: That atten­dant loue on good letters, striues to honor you in whome Art is honoured. I thinke not this pam­phlet any way proportionable in woorth with your worshippes patronage: but it is my desire to yeelde some encrease to your fame in anie thing that I shall imprint. Thus wishing to your worshippe that felicitie and contentment, which your owne best gouerned thoughtes doe aime at, I most humblie take my leaue.

Your VVorships most bounden T. Newman.

To the Gentlemen Readers, Health.

GEntlemen, in a vision before my death, I foresee that I am like to sustaine the shame of many follies of my youth, when I am shrowded in my winding sheete. O let not iniurious tongues tri­umph ouer a dead carcase. Now I am sick, and sorrow hath wholy sea [...]d on me: vaine I haue beene, let not other men shewe themselues vaine in reproching my vanitie. I craue pardon of you all, if I haue offended any of you with laciuious Pamphle [...]ing. Many things I haue wrote to get money, which I could otherwise wish to be supprest: Pouertie is the father of innume­rable infirmities: in seeking to salue priuate wantes, I haue made my selfe a publique laughing stock. Hee that commeth in Print, setteth himselfe vp as a com­mon marke for euery one to shoote at: I haue shotte at many abuses, ouer s [...]o [...]e my selfe in describing of some: where truth failed, my inuention hath stood my friend. God forgiue me all my misdeameanours: now in the best lust of my yeares, death I feare will depriue me of any further proceeding in securitie. This booke hath many things, which I would not haue written [Page] on my Tombe: I write this last, let it be my last will and testament. Farewell, if I liue you shall heare of me in deuinitie, in the meane time, accept the will for the deede, and speake well of me when I am dead.

Yours dying. Robert Greene.


After I was burdened with the penning of the Cobler of Canterbury, I wared passing melancholy, as grieuing that either I shold be wrong with enuy, or wronged with suspi­tion. But whē I entred into the consideratiō, that slander spareth not Kinges, I brookt it with the more patience, & thought, that as the strong­est gustes offend lesse the low shrubs than the tall Ceda [...]s: [...] the blemish of report would make a lesse scarre in a cottage than in a pallace: yet I could not but conceit it hardly, and so in a discontented humor I sat me down vpon my bed-side and began to cal to remembrance what fond and wanton lines had past my pen how I had bent my course to a wrong shore, as beating my brains about such vanities as were little profitable, [...]owing my se [...]d in the sand and so reaping nothing but thornes and thistles. As this I recounted ouer the follies that youth led me vnto, I stept to my Standish that st [...] hard by, and writ this Ode.

Greenes Ode, of the vanitie of wanton writings.
THough Tytirus the Heards swaine,
Phillis loue-mate felt the paine,
That Cupid fiers in the e [...]e,
Till they loue or till they die,
Straigned ditties from his pipe,
[...] [...]
[Page]VVith pleasant voyce and cunning strip [...]
Telling in his song how faire,
Phillis eie-browes and hir haire [...]
How hir face past all supposes:
For white Lillies: for red Roses.
Though he sounded on the hils,
Such fo [...]d passions as loue wils,
That all the Swaines that foulded by,
Flockt to heare his harmonie,
And vowed by Pan that Tytirus
Did Poet-like his loues discusse,
That men might learne mickle good,
By the verdict of his mood,
Yet olde Menalcas ouer-ag'd,
That many winters there had wag'd.
Sitting by and hearing this:
Said, their wordes were all amisse.
For (quoth he) such wanton laies,
Are not worthie to haue praise [...]
Iigg [...]s and ditties of fond loues,
Youth [...]o mickle follie mooues.
And tould this old said saw to thee,
Which Coridon did learne to me,
Tis shame and sin for pregnant wits,
To spend their skill in wanton fits.
Martiall was a bonnie boy,
He writ loues griefe and loues ioy.
He tould what wanton lookes passes,
Twixt the Swaines and the lasses.
And mickle wonder did he write,
Of Womens loues and their spight,
But for the follies of his pen,
He was hated of most men:
For they could say, t'was sin and shame
For Schollers to endite such game.
Quaint was Ouid in his [...]ime,
Chiefest Poet of his time.
[Page]What he could in wordes rehearse,
Ended in a pleasing verse [...]
Apollo with his ay-greene baies,
Crownd his head to shew his praise:
And all the Muses did agree,
He should be theirs, and none but he.
This Poet chaunted all of loue,
Of Cupids wings and Venus doue [...]
Of faire Corima and her hew,
Of white and red, and vaines blew.
How they loued and how they greed,
And how in fancy they did speed.
His Elegies were wanton all,
Telling of loues pleasings thrall,
And cause he would the Poet seeme.
That best of Venus lawes could deeme.
Strange precepts he did impart,
And writ three bookes of loues art.
There he taught how to woe,
What in loue men should doe,
How they might soonest winne,
Honest women vnto sinne:
Thus to tellen all the truth,
He infected Romes youth:
And with his bookes and verses brought
That men in Rome nought els saught,
But how to tangle maid or wife,
With honors breach throgh wanton life:
The foolish sort did for his skill,
Praise the deepnesse of his quill:
And like to him said there was none,
Since died old Anacr [...]on.
But Romes Augustus worlds wonder,
Brookt not of this foolish blonder:
Nor likt he of this wanton verse,
That loues lawes did rehearse.
For well he saw and did espie,
[Page]Youth was sore impaird thereby:
And by experience he finds,
VVanton bookes infect the minds,
Which made him straight for reward,
Though the censure seemed hard,
To bannish Ouid quite from Rome,
This was great Augustus doome:
For (quoth he) Poets quils,
Ought not for to teach men ils.
For learning is a thing of prise.
To shew precepts to make men wise,
And neere the Muses sacred place,
Dwels the virtuous minded graces,
Tis shame and sinne then for good wits,
To shew their skill in wanton fits.
This Augustus did reply,
And as he said, so think I.

AFter I had written this Ode, a déepe insight of my fol­lies did pearce into the center of my thoughtes, that I felt a passionat remorse, discouering such perticuler vanities as I had soothed vp withall my forepassed humors, I began to consider that that Astrea, that virtue, that metaphisicall in­fluence which maketh one man differ from an other in excel­lence béeing I meane come from the heavens, & was a thing infested into man from God, the abuse whereof I found to be as preiudicial as the right vser thereof was profitable, that it ought to be imployed to wit, in painting out a goddesse, but in setting out the praises of God: not in discouering of beauty but in discouering of vertues: not in laying out the plat­formes of loue, nor in telling the déepe passions of fancy, but in perswading men to honest & honorable actions which are the steps that lead to the true and perfect felicity: the serpent is then therefore an odious creature, for that he sucketh poy­son from that Odorifferous flower, from whence the painefull Bee gathers her sweete Honnie. And that Lapidarie is holden a man woorthlesse in the worlde, [Page] that will wrest the secret operation of the Diamond, to a deadly Aconiton: And such schollers deserue much blame, as out of that pretious fountaine of learning will fetch a perni­tious water of vanitie: the trees that growe in Indea haue rough banks, but they yéeld pretious gummes: and the stones in Sicillia haue a duskie couller, but being cut they are a ori­ent as the sunne: so the outward phrase is not to be measured by pleasing the eare, but the inward matter by profiting the mind: the puffing glorie of the loftie stile shadowing wan­ton conceipts is like to the skin of a serpent that contriues impoysoned flesh, or to a panther that hath a beautiful hide but a beastly paunch: for as the flowers of Egipt please the eye but infest the stomach, and the water of the riuer Orume cooleth the hand but killeth the heart, so bookes that contriue scurilitie, may for a while breed a pleasing conceit and a mer­rie passion: but for euery dram of mirth, they leaue behinde them in the readers mind, a Tunfull of infecting mischiefs, like to the Scorpion, that flatters with his head and stings with his taile. These premisses driue me into a maze, especi­ally when I considered, that wee were borne to profit our countrie, not onely to pleasure our selves: then the discom­modities that grew from my vaine pamphlets, began to mu­ster in my sight: then I cald to minde, how many idle fancies I had made to passe the Presse, how I had pestred Gentle­mens eyes and mindes, with the infection of many fond pas­sions, rather infecting them with the allurements of some inchanted Aconiton, then tempered their thought with any honest Antidote, which consideration entered thus farre into my conscience.

Greenes trouble of minde.

FAther of mercie, whose gratious fauour is more pliant to pardon, then wee to become penitent, who are more willing to shadowe the contrite heart with remission, then we to offer our selues with hartie repentance: I heere in the humbleness of heart, [Page]pro [...]ra [...]e my selfe before the throne of thy maiestie, vphoul­den with mercy and loue, as one blushing at the blemish of my vile and detestable offences, wherewith I haue purchased the burthen of thy wrath, being so heauie a load, that the shoulders of my poore diseased conscience, being ready to sinke vnder so heauie a weight, destitute of any meane to support the same, or to cure the passion of such a maladie, but by the salue that growes from the death of thy bitter passion, who camst into the world, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

When I doe (great Physition of our déepest misdéeds) but glaunce mine [...]ye at the obiect of my sinne, and Sicco pede passe them ouer as faults of course, and follies of youth: yet I am pierced with so sharpe a passion, that I cannot con­ceale the greef of my conscience, but it bursteth foorth in sighes and groanes, insomuch that I thinke life an enemie to my weale, and I wish the beginning of my dayes had béene the hower of my departure.

But when with a strict insight, I say, Redde rationem villi­cationis, and take a straight accompt what the déedes of my youth haue beene, how full of vanitie, and fond conceited fan­cies, oh then what a fearefull terror dooth torture my minde, what a dungeon of dollours lyes open to swallow me? As the Scorpion stings deadly, and the Uipers bites mortally, so dooth the worme of my conscience grype without ceasing. And yet O Lord, a deeper miserie, for when with a foreséeing consideration I looke into the time to come, wherein the se­cret coniecture of my faults and offences, shall be manifested and laide to my charge, and that I know Stipend [...]um peccati mors, Oh then whether shall I flie from thy presence, shall I take the wings of the morning and absent my selfe? can the hideous mountaines hide me, can wealth redéeme sinne, can beautie counteruaile my faults, or the whole world coun­terpoyse the ballance of mine offences? oh no, and therefore am I at my wits end, wishing for death, and the end of my miserable dayes, and yet then the remembrance of hell, and the torments thereof driue me to wish the contrarie. But [Page] when I couet long life, and to see more dayes then this ima­gination wrings me, I thinke, as I was conceiued in sinne and from my birth inclined to ill: so the sequell of my dayes will growe a Malo in penis, and the longer the woorse, the more yeares, the more offences: for the life of man is as the Panther, the longer he liues the more spots hee hath in his skinne, and the Onix, the longer it is kept, the more stroakes it hath. So our nature is so corrupt, that we renew not our bill with the Eagle, but growe blacker and blacker with the Halciones.

When I ruminate on these premisses, then I loath the length of more dayes, fearing least the aptnesse of my cor­rupt flesh, through the rebellion thereof, against the spirit, heape greater plagues vpon my poore soule. What shall I doe then Lord, thus distrest on euery syde, hauing no hope of comfort left me, but feare and dispaire. If I séeke to man, I know the strength of Sampson, the pollicie of Achitophell, the wisdome of Salomon, to bee vaine in this respect, for all haue synned, and are within the compasse of my miserable condition: being payned with this maladie, to whome shall I flie for medicine? euen to the swéete Phisytian of all sycklie soules, to thée that canst with a word cure all my sorrowes, to the kinde Samaritan, that wilt powre wyne and Oyle into my woundes, set mee on thine owne beast, and take care for the saluing of my hurt [...], that canst say, thy sinnes are forgiuen, and I am whole.

To thée I come (ouer heated with the thirst of sinne) for water, that may spring in me a Well of lyfe: I am heauie loaden, and I will lay the burden on thy back, for thou art a promised mediatour for the penitent vnto God the Father. It is thou that seekest the wandring sheepe, and bringest him home on thy shoulder [...]: thou wilt not loose that groate, but findest it with ioy, thou weepest in the neck of thy repenting Sonne, and killest the fat Calfe for his welcome: thou hast cryed out in the Streetes, Were your sinnes as red as Scarlet, Ile make them as white as Snowe, and were they as Purple, I will make them as white as Wooll. [Page] These proclaimed promises is comfort, this heauenly voice is consolation, whereby I am reuiued, and my conscience lightned of the follies of my youth: nowe haue I found the true and onely phisition for my long diseased soule, euen he that came to heale the penitent. Giue me grace Lord, then to take perfect handfast of these comfortable sayings: stretch foorth thy hand, and I will with Peter spring into the water [...] for thou wilt vphould me: let me touch with faith the hem of thy Uesture, and then I shall enioy the true working of that most singular medicine, thy death & bitter passion, who suf­feredst for our sinnes, and on the crosse criedst Consumatum est, to take away the punishment due for our transgression: oh thy mercy is infinite whereby thou callest vs, thy loue vn­searchable, whereby thou fauourest vs, and thy wisdome in­comprehensible, whereby thou guidest vs: all these doo ap­peare to be imparted towards me, in that thou stirrest vp in my heart a loathing of my sinne, and that the follies of my young yeares are odious in my remembrance. Sith then O Lord thou hast toucht me with repentance, and hast called me from the wildernesse of wickednesse and extreame dis­paire, to place me in the pleasant fields of sinc [...]ritie, truth and godlinesse, and so shadowe me with the wings of thy grace, that my minde being frée from all sinfull cogitations, I may for euer kéepe my soule an vndef [...]ed member of thy church, and in faith, loue, feare, humblenesse of heart, praier, and du­tifull obedience, shew my selfe regenerate, and a reformed man from my former follies.

BEing in this déepe meditation, lying comtemplating vp­on my bed, I fell a sl [...]epe, where I had not lyne long in a slumber, but that me thought I was in a faire medowe, sit­ting vnder an Oake, vi [...]wing the beautie of the sunne which then shewed himselfe in his pride: as thus I sat g [...]sing on so g [...]rg [...]ous an obiect [...] I spied comming downe the Meade, two ancient men, aged for their foreheads were the Calenders of their yeares [...] and the whitenesse of their haires bewrayed the number of their dayes [...] their pace wa [...] answerable to their [Page] age, and In diebus illis, hung vpō their garments: their visa­ges were wrinckled, but well featured, and their counte­nance conteyned much grauitie. These two ould men came to me, and sat downe by me, the one of the right hand, and the other on the left: looking vpon them earnestly, I espyed written on the ones brest Chawcer, and on the others Gower: Chawcer was thus attired as néere as I can de­scribe it.

The description of sir Geffery Chawcer.
HIs stature was not very tall,
Leane he was, his legs were small,
Hosd within a stock of red,
A buttond bonnet on his head,
From vnder which did hang I weene,
Siluer haires both bright and sheene,
His beard was white trimmed round,
His countnance blithe and merry found,
A Sleeuelesse Iacket large and wide,
With many pleights and skirts side,
Of water Chamlet did he weare,
A whittell by his belt he beare,
His shooes were corned broad before,
His Inck horne at his side he wore,
And in his hand he bore a booke,
Thus did this auntient Poet looke.

Thus was Chawcer attired, and not vnlike him was Iohn Gower, whose description take thus.

The description of Iohn Gower.
LArge he was, his height was long,
Broad of brest, his lims were strong,
[Page]But couller pale, and wan his looke,
Such haue they that plyen their booke,
His head was gray and quaintly shorne,
Neately was his beard worne.
His visage graue, sterne and grim,
Cato was most like to him [...]
His Bonnet was a Hat of blew,
His sleeues straight of that same hew [...]
A surcoate of a taw [...]e die,
Hung in pleights ouer his thigh,
A breech close vnto his dock,
Handsomd with a long stock,
Pricked before were his shoone,
He wore such as others doone,
A bag of red [...] by his side,
And by that his napkin tide,
Thus Iohn Gower did appeare,
Quaint attired as you heere.

Sitting as a man in a maze at the view of these two an­cient Poets, as well at the grauitie of their lookes, as the strangenesse of their attire. At last sir Geffrey Chaucer start vp, and leaning on his staffe with a smiling countenance, be­gan thus to breake silence. My friend quoth he, thy counte­nance bewray thy thoughts, and thy outward lookes thy in­ward passions: for by thy face I see the figure of a discontented minde, and the very glaunce of thine eyes is a map of a dis­quieted conscience. Take héede, I tell thée sorrowes concea­led are the more sower, and gréefes smoothered, if they burst not out, will make the heart to breake: I confesse it is best to bee secretarie to a mans selfe, and to reueale the inwarde thoughts to a stranger is more follie, yet I tell thée, better brooke an inconuenience then a mischiefe, and be counted a little fond, then too froward. Therefore if thy gréefe be not to priuate, or so néere to thy selfe, that thou wilt not bewray it to thy shirte: manie festring sores launched are the sooner cured, and cares discouered are the sooner eased: thou hast heere two, whome experience hath taught many medicines [Page] for yong mens maladies, I am sir Geffrey Chaucer, this Iohn Gower, what we can in counsaile, shall be thy comfort, and for secrecie we are no blabs. H [...]ering sir Geffrey Chaucer thus familiar, I tooke heart at grasse to my selfe, and thought nowe I might haue my doubt well debated, betwéene two such excellent schollers: wherevpon putting of my hat with great reuerence, I made this replie.

Graue Lawreats, the tipes of Englands excellence for Poetry, and the worlds wonders for your wits, all haile, and happily welcome, for your presence is a salue for my passions, and the inward gréefes that you perceiue by my outward lookes, are alreadie halfe eased by your comfortable promise: I cannot denie but my thoughts are discontent, and my sen­ces in a great maze, which I haue damd vp a long while, as thinking best to smoother sorrow with silence, but now I will set fire on the straw, and lay open my secrets to your selues, that your swéet counsailes may ease my discontent. So it is, that by profession I am a scholler, & in wil do affect that which I could neuer effect in action, for faine would I haue some taste in the liberall sciences, but Non licet cuibis adire Corin­thum, and therefore I content my selfe with a superficiall in­sight, and only satisfie my desire with the name of a Scholler, yet as blinde Baiard wil iumpe soonest into the mire, so haue I ventured afore many my betters, to put my selfe into the presse, and haue set foorth sundrie bookes in print of loue & such amourous fancies which some haue fauoured, as other haue misliked. But now of late there came foorth a booke called the Cobler of Canterburie, a merry worke, and made by some madde [...]ellow, conteining plesant tales, a litle tainted with scurilitie, such reuerend Chawcer as your selfe set foorth in your iourney to Canterbury. At this booke, the grauer and greater sorte repine, as thinking it not so pleasant to some, as preiudiciall to many, crossing it with such bitter in [...]ec­tiues, that they condemne the Author almost for an Atheist. Now learned Lawreat, héere lyes the touch of my passione: they father the booke vppon me, whereas it is Incerti authoris, and suspitiouslye slaunder me with many harde reproches, [Page] for penning that which neuer came within the compasse of my Quill. Their allegation is, because it is pleasant, and therfore mine: because it is full of wanton conceits, and ther­fore mine: in some place say they the stile bewraies him, thus vpon supposed premisses they conclude peremptorie, & though some men of accoumpt may be drawne by reason from that suppose, yet that Ignobile Vulgus, whose mouthes will not be stopt with a Bakers batch, will still crie, it was none but his: this father Chawcer hath made me enter into conside­ration of all my former follies, and to thinke how wantonly I haue spent my youth [...] in penning such fond pamphlets, that I am driuen into a dumpe whether they shall redound to my insuing credit, or my future infamie, or whether I haue doone well or ill, in setting foorth such amourous trifles, heerein re­solue me, and my discontent is doone.

At this long period of mine, Chawcer sat downe & laught, and then rising vp and leaning his back against a Trée, he made this merry aunswer. Why Greene quoth he, knowest thou not, that the waters that flow from Pernassus Founte, are not tyed to any particular operation? that there are nine Muses, amongst whom as there is a Clio to write graue mat­ters, so there is a Thalis to endite pleasant conceits, and that Apollo hath Baies for them both, aswell to crowne the one for hir wanton amours, as to honour the other for her wor­thy labours: the braine hath many strings, and the wit many stretches, some tragical to write, like Euripedes: some comi­call to pen, like Terence: some déepely conceited to set out matters of great import: others sharpe witted to discouer pleasant fantasies: what if Cato set foorth seueare censures, and Ouid amorous Axiomes, were they not both counted for their faculties excellent? yes, and Ouid was commended for his Salem ingen [...]i, when the other was counted to haue a dull wit, & a slow memory: if learning were knit in one string, and could expresse himself but in one vaine, thē should want of va­riety, bring all into an imperfect Chaos. But sundry men, sun­dry conceits, & wits are to be praised not for the grauity of the [Page] matter, but for the ripenes of the inuention: so that Martiall, Horace or any other, deserue to bee famoused for their Odes and Elegies, as wel as Hesiode, Hortensius, or any other for their deeper precepts of doctrines. Feare not then what those Moroste wil murmure, whofe dead cinders brook no glowing sparkes nor care not for the opinion of such as hold none but Philosophie for a Subiect: I tell thée learning will haue his due, and let a vipers wit reach his hand to Apollo, and hee shall sooner haue a branch to eternize his fame, than the sow­rest Satyricall Authour in the worlde. Wee haue heard of thy worke to be amorous, sententious, and well written. If thou doubtest blame for thy wantonnes, let my selfe suffice for an instaunce, whose Canterburie tales are broad enough before, and written homely and pleasantly: yet who hath bin more canonised for his workes, than Sir Geffrey Chaucer. What Green? Poets wits are frée, and their words ought to be without checke: so it was in my time, and therfore resolue thy selfe, thou hast doone Scholler-like, in setting foorth thy pamphlets, and shalt haue perpetual fame which is learnings due for thy endeuour. This saying of Chawcer chéered mee vntill olde Iohn Gower rising vp with a sowre countenance began thus.

Iohn Gower to the Authour.

WEll hath Chawcer said, that the braine hath sun­drie strings, and the wit diuerse stretches: some bent to pen graue Poems, other to endite wanton fancies, both honoured and praised for the height of their capacitie: yet as the Diamond is more estimated in the Lapidaries shop than the Topace, and the Rose more valued in the Garden than Gillyflowers: So men that write of Morall precepts, or Philosophicall Aphorismes are more highly estéemed, than such as write Poems of loue, and con­ceits of fancie. In elder time learning was so high prized that Schollers were companions for Kings, & Philosophers were fathers of the Commonwealth, vpholding the state with the [Page] strength of their precepts: their wits were then imployed ei­ther to the censures of virtue, or to the secrets of nature: ei­ther to deliuer opinions of Morall Discipline, or conclusions of natural philosophy, being measured by the grauity of their sayings, not the wantonnes of their sentences: And so long were poets titled with many honors as long as their poems were vertuous, either tending to suppresse vanitie with He­siod, or to aduance arms and vallour with Homer. But when they began to wrest their sonnets to a wrong vse, then they were out of credite, and for an instaunce of their follies, Ouid there graunde Captaine, was rewarded with bannishment. They which considred that man was born to profit his coun­trey, sought how to apply their time, and bend their wits to attaine to perfection of learning, not to inueagle youth with amours, but to incite to vertuous labours: some in their A­cademies, taught the motion of the Starres, the count of the heauens, some the nature of trées, plants, hearbs and stones: others deciphered the secret qualities of beasts, birds, & fouls, others, writs of Aconomical precepts, some of policy, some of gouernement of Common wealthes, and how the Citizens should followe vertue, and eschewe vice: others deliuered instruction for manners. Thus all generallie aim [...]d at an v­niuersall profit of their countrey, and how to kéepe youth from any touch of idle vanities. None in their writings discoursed either of loue or hir lawes: for Venus then onely was holden for a wandring planet, not honored for a wanton Go [...]desse. Philosophers were dunces in loues doctrine, and held it infa­mous for to be tainted with the blemish of fond fancy: much more to pen down any precepts of affectiō, if then Ethnik phi­losophers, who knewe not God, but by a naturall instinct of vertue sought so carefully to auoid such vanities, & only bent the sum of their wits to their countries profit: thē how blam­worthy are such as endeuour to shew their quicke capacities in such wanton woorkes, as greatly preiudice the state of the commonwealth. I grant ther is no weed so il, but som wil ga­ther, no stone so crasd, but some wil choose: nor no book so fond but some wil fauor: but Vox populi vox Dei the most & the gra­uest wil account it vaine and scurrulous. Therefore trust me, [Page] Iohn Gowers opinion is: thou hast applied thy wits ill, & hast sowed chaffe & shalt reape no haruest. But my maister Cha [...] ­cer brings in his workes for an instance, that as his, so thine shalbe famoused: no, it is not a promise to conclude vpon: for men honor his mere for the antiquity of the verse, the english & prose, than for any déepe loue to the matter: for proofe marke how they weare out of vse. Therfore let me tel thee, thy books are baits that allure youth, Syrens that sing sweetly, and yet destroy with their notes, faire flowers without smel and good phrases without any profite.

Without any profite (quoth Chawcer) and with that hee s [...]art vp with a frown: no Gower, I tell thée, his labours, as they be amorous, so they be sententious: and serue as well to suppresse vanity, as they seem to import wantonnes. Is there no meanes to cure sores, but with Corasiues? no helpe for vi­cers, but sharpe implasters? no salue against vice, but sowr sa­tyr [...]s? Yes, a pleasant vaine, quips as ni [...] the quicke as a gra­ner inuec [...]ue, and vnder a merry fable can Esope as wel tant folly, as Hesiode correct manners in his Heroicks. I tell thée this man hath ioyned pleasure with profite, & though his Bee hath a sting, yet she makes sweet honny. Hath he not discoue­red in his workes the follies of loue, the sleights of fancy, and lightnesse of youth [...] to be induced to such vanities? and what more profit can there be to his countrey than manifest such o­pen mischiefes, as grew from the conceit of beauty & deceit of women: and all this hath he painted down in his pamphlets. I grant quoth Gower) the meaning is good, but the method is bad: for by aming at an inconuenience, he bringeth in a mis­chiefe: in séeking to sppresse fond loue, the swéetnes of his dis­course allures youth to loue, like such as taking drink to cool their thirst, feele the tast so pleasant, that they drinke while they surfeit. Ouid drewe not so many with his remedie of Loue from loue, as his Ars Amandi bred amorous schollers, nor hath Greenes Bookes weaned so many from vanity, as they haue wedded from wantonnesse. That is the reason (quoth Chawcer) that youth is more prone vnto euil than to good, and with the Serpent, sucke honny from the swee­test [Page] sirops, and haue not Poets shadowed waightie precepts in slender Poems and in pleasant fancies vsed deepe perswa­tions? who bitte the Curtizans of his time and the follies of youth more than Horace, and yet his Odes were wanton. Who more inuaied against the manners of men than Marti­all, and yet his verse was lasciuious? And had hee not better (quoth Gower) haue discouered his principles in some graue sort as Hesiode did or Pindaris, than in such amorous & wan­ton manner: the lightnesse of the conceit cracks halfe the cre­dite, and the vanitie of the pen bréeds the lesse beleefe. After Ouid had written his Art of Loue, and set the youth on fire to imbrace fancy, he could not reclaime them with

Ot [...]a si tollas periere cupidinis arcus.

The thoughts of young men are like Bauins, which once set on fire, will not out till they be ashes, and therefore doe I infer, that such Pamphlets doe rather preiudice than profite. Tush (quoth Chawcer) all this is but a peremptorie selfe con­ceit in thine owne humour for I will shew thee for instance, such sentences as may like the grauest, please the wisest, and instruct the youngest and wantonnest, and they be these: first, of the disposition of women.

Sentences collected out of the Au­thours bookes.

Quid leuius bruto? [...]ulmen, quid fulmine? flamma,
Quid flamma? mulier, quid muhere? nihil.
  • 1 BE not ouertaken with the beautie of women, whose eies are fram'd by art to enamour, and their hearts by nature to inchant.
  • 2 Women with their false teares know their due times, and their sweete woordes pearce deeper than sharpe swordes.
  • 3 Womens faces are lures, there beauties are baites, their lookes nets, their wordes charmes, and all to bring men to ruine.
  • 4 A hard fauored woman that is renowmed for hir cha­stitie, [Page] is more honorable than she that is famous for her beu­tie.
  • 5 She which houldeth in her eie most coynes, hath oft in her heart most dishonesty.
  • 6 A woman may aptly bee compared to a Roase, for as we cannot enioy the fragrant smell of the one without prick­kles: so wee cannot possesse the vertues of the other, without some shrewish conditions.
  • 7 Though Women haue small force to ouercome men by reason, yet haue they good fortune to vnder-mine men by po­licie.
  • 8 Womens paines are more pinching, if they bee girded with a frumpe, than if they be galled with a mischiefe.
  • 9 The ready way to fier a woman to desire is to crosse thē with disdaine.
  • 10 Some women haue their loues in their lookes, which taken in with a gase, is thrust out with a wincke.
  • 11 Womens eares are not theeir touchstones but their eies, they see and make choyce, and not heare and fancy.
  • 12 Women oft resemble in their loues the Apothecaries in their Art, which choose the wéeds for their shops, when they leaue the flowers in the field.
  • 13 Euerie looke that women lend is not loue, nor euerie smile in their face is n [...]t a pricke in their bosome.
  • 14 Womens hearts are ful of hoales, apt to receiue, but not to reteine.
  • 15 The Clossets of womens thoughts are euer open & the deapth of their heart hath a string that stretcheth to their tongues end.
  • 16 A woman is like Fortune standing vppon a Gloabe, winged with the feathers of ficklenes.
  • 17 Womens heartes are the Exchequers where fancye yéelds vp hir accounts.
  • 18 Women, be they chast, be they curteous, be they con­stant, be they rich, renowmed, honest [...] wise: yet haue they suf­ficient vanities to counteruaile thier vertues.
  • 19 Womens excellency is discouered in their constancie
  • [Page]20 As the glittering beames of the Sunne when it ari­seth, decketh the Heauens: so the glittering beautie of a good wife adorneth the house.

How saiest thou Gower, quoth Chawcer to these senten­ces? are they not worthie graue eares, and necessarye for young mindes? is there no profit in these principles? is there not flowers amongst weedes, and sweete aphorismes hidden amongst effeminate amours? Are not these worthie to eter­nize a mans fame, and to make the memoriall of him lasting? I cannot denie quoth Gower, but the sayings are good, both pleasant and Satyricall: but if they had beene placed in an other humor, how much more had they beene excellent? for is not a Diamond placed in gould, more pretious, then set in Copper? and sentences in a matter of import, higher valued, then thrust in amongst vaine trifles? If ripe wits would con­sider, what glory redounds by déepe studies, they would neuer busie their braines about such superficiall vanities. Tushe, quoth Chaucer, it behooues a Scholler to fit his Pen to the time and persons, and to enter with a déepe insight into the humours of men, and win them by such writings as best wil content their fancies, I tell thée. ‘Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit vtile dulci:’ What, a pleasant tale stuft full of conceit, breedes delight to the eare, and pierceth into the thoughts: Demosthenes when he could not perswade the Athenians with his long and learned Orations, drew them to withstand Phillip with a merry Fable. And Alcibiades wrought more amongst his Souldiers with his pleasant allusions, then with all his graue exhortations: for proofe Gower thou shalt heere me tell a tale for the suppressing of iealousie, which tell mee how thou likest when thou hast heard it. With that hee sat him downe, and so did Gower: and I in the midst was verie attentiue.

Chawcers tale of Iealousie.

THere dwelled in Grandchester hard by Cam­bridge, a man called Tomkins, a Wheele­wright he was, and such a one as liued by his art, who being a young man and vnmarried, held it a religion euery sunday to frolike it in the Church yarde: his doublet was of lea­ther, russetted after the best fashion, faire trust afore with a doozen, and a half of Pewter Buttons: A Ierkin of Graye Carley, with a tagd welt of the owne, and because his dub­let was new, his sléeues hung down verie properly: a round slop of white, with two guards about the pocket hole, gra [...]st with a lock stock, that for wearing at the knee were fen [...]st with two peeces of a Calues skinne: his Ruffe was of fine Lockeram, stitcht very faire with Couentrie blew: a Gréene Hat fresh from the Haberdashers, tyed vp before, and a brooch of Copper, wherein Saint George sate very well moun­ted.

Thus Tomkins came ruffling amongst the wenches to the Churchyard, where he was alwayes foregallant of the Countrie gambals, performing his charge with such a grace, that the proudest wench in all the parish would fauour him with her Napkin. The Bee flies so long amongst the flowers, that at last he lights on one: and Tomkins could not touche the fier so oft, but he must warme, put Flare and Fire to­gether, and they will flame: and so proper a Squire could not court it so oft among so many faire maides, but at last he was caught by the heele, and ouer the shooes forsooth in loue, and with whome? with a Maide that euery daye went to sell Creame at Cambridge.

A bonnie Lasse she was, verye well tucket vp in a Russet Petticoate, with a bare hemme, and no fringe, yet had shee a Red Lace, and a Stomacher of Tuft Mockado, and a Partlet cast ouer with a prittie whippe, and drest she was [Page]in a Kerchiffe of Holland, for her Father was a Farmer, her girdle was greene, and at that hung a large Leather Purse with faire threaden Tassels, & a new paire of yellow gl [...]ues, tufted with redde rawe Silke verie richly: and forsooth this Maides name was Kate, her did Tomk [...]ns loue, insomuch that many lookes past betweene them, and many wooings, that at last hee brake the matter to her, and she that was old enough to giue an answere, said [...] if he could get her Fathers good will she was content. At this Tomkins strooke the bar­gaine vppe with a kisse, and sought opertunitie to meet with her Father to breake the matter vnto him. At last, Fortune so fauoured, that her Fathers Axletree broake as hee wa car­rying manure to the ground, wherevpon he was faine to pul foorth his horses, and in all post hast to send for Tomkins, and forsooth Kate must be the woman to fetch the Wheele-right: Away she goes, and as she went smug'd her selfe vp with her harding Aporne, and comes to Tomkins honse, whome shee found lus [...]e at his worke, she saluted him, & he down with his Axe and gaue her a welcome, she did her message, and he left all workes and went with her. Assoone as he came to her fa­thers house, he went about his worke, and made him a newe Axeltree: when hee had done, hee was bidden come in and drinke, and her father drew foorth his pnrse and pleased him for his paines. Tomkins, that thought nowe to bewray the matter, putting his Axe vnder his arme, desired the old man hee might haue a woord with him, to whome hee discoursed the whole matter as concerning his Daughter. Hee heard him like an olde Foxe, and considered Tomkins was a yong man and a thriftie, and had a good occupation, and therefore hee could not haue a fitter matche. Wherevpon, after some pratle betwéene them, all was agréed, and the marriage day was set downe: Against which, the Tailor of the Towne had worke enough for the Bride and Bride-groomes apatell, and many a Goose and many a Pig lost their life against that day. Well, on a Sunday it was, and the maids flockt to Kates fa­thers house, striuing to make the Bride handsome, who had a fresh Gowne of home-spun Cloath, and was very finelie [Page] dizond in a little Cappe, and a faire paste: the Glouer sould two doozen of two peny Gloues, which she gaue to her friends, and I warrant you Tomkins house was as full of lustie Gallants, that tooke care to set out their Bridegroome all new from top to toe, with a paire of greene Garters tyed crosse aboue the knee, and a d [...]zen of Crewell Points that set out his hose verie faire. Thus with a branche of Rosemarie marched Tomkins to the Church, where Kate and he met: and there, to be bréefe, they were marryed: well that daye was past with dauncing and Honney moone it was for a mo­neth after, Tomkins did little worke, for he had enough to do to looke on his faire wife: yet shee went as she was woonte when she was a Maide to Cambridge with her Creame: but Tomkins on a day, considering that Schollers were mad fellows, began to be ieaiious, least some of them might teach his Wife Lodgick, so that he cut hir off from that vaine, and tyed hir to hir Distaffe, and caused hir to sit by him as hee wrought.

Long were they not married, but séeing his Wife was the fayrest in all the parrish, and noting that diuers of his neighbours did vse to his house, he began to wax iealious, in so much that euery looke she cast, he thought to be loue, and if she smilde it went to his heart, for hee thought it was a fa­uour. Thus Tomkins grew almost mad, and yet durst not wrong his Wife, because hir father was one of the cheefe men in all the parish, and beside his wife was so honest, as he could fi [...]de her in no fault: yet thus smoothering his owne suspiti­on he liued in a second hell, not daring let his wife go out of his sight, and scarce trusting his owne eyes, Kate was not so simple but she could perceiue it, and gréeued, that without cause she was so wrongd, yet poore we [...]ch she conceald her groefe with patience, and brookt his suspition, till she might with credit reuenge: for causelesse iealousie is the greatest breache to a womans honestie: I knowe not how she dealt with the Wheele write, but a Scholler of Trinitie Hostell Vitiauit Glicerium, and made poore Tomkins looke ouer the pale like a Buck in season. Women haue their shifts, and if [Page] they be willing, they haue as many inchauntments as euer Cyrces had to turne men into hornd beasts. Still was Tom­kins suspitious, but fault he could finde none, for Kate was a warie wenche, and the Scholer had taught hir Si non caste, tamen caute: But his iealousie still stucke in her stomacke, that on a time she desired the Scholer to deuise some meane how he might rid her husband of his fonde suspition, let that alone for me, quoth the Scholer, take no care, before sunday at night [...]le make him singe a new songe: Kate went home, and to hir wh [...]ele she goes, and makes much of hir Tomkins, who vpon Friday next caryed his wife to hir fathers, and commanded hir to stay there while he went to Cambridge, and came againe, she obeyed his charge, and away goes hee towards the good towne. By the way as he went, in a dump studying on the beautie of his wife, féeding himselfe with his iealious humor, he ouertooke a Scholer, to whome he gaue the time of the day [...]: Welcome friend quoth the Scholer, where do you dwell? sir quoth he, at next towne at Granche­ster, at Granchester man quoth hee, I am glad I met thée, now shall I laugh a little: I pray thée tell me fréend, haue you not a Wheele-wright that dwels there they call him Tomkins? yes marrie sir quoth he, I am his next neighbor. I pray you what of him: if thou dwelst so néere, I maruel (quoth he) thou doost aske? why hee marryed bonnie Kate of Granchester, that soulde Creame: and now he is the moste famous Cuckould in all the countrey. This went as colde as a stone to Tomkins heart, yet because hee would learne all, he conceald the matter, and bare it out with a good counte­nance, and said that although he dwelt at the next doore, yet he neuer heard so much. Ile tell thée man quoth the Scho­l [...]r, for a Quarte of Wine, Ile shew thée, the next time shee comes to towne, with whome she is familiarlie acquainted: Marrie quoth he, and at the next Tauerne Ile bestow it on you, and to morrow comes lustie Kate to Cambridge, and if you do me so muc [...] fauour, ile bestow a dish of Apples on you, to e [...]te these winter [...]uenings: the Scholer thankt him, & to the wine they went, & the next day Tomkins was appointed [Page] to come to Trinitie Hostell to such a Chamber, vppon which conclusion he did his businesse and home he went. He bare out the matter with a good face, although he was full of choller in his hart, & could not sléep, to thinke S. Luke was his Patron. But the next morning early hee had his wife make her r [...]ady to goe to market, for hee was not well and keepe his bed h [...]e would till she came againe. Kate start vp and made her selfe verie handsome, and suspected there was some thing in the winde: well, to Cambridge she must, for it was her husbands charge, and away shee went. No sooner was shee out of the dores, but vp got be and made him selfe readie, tooke the key in his pocket, and crost another way to Cambridge, that hee was seene of none, and to Trinity Hostell he goes, and found out the Scholler, who had him welcome, thankt him for his wine, and tould him you are come in a good hower, for follow me and I will shew you where your wife and a Scholler are now making merrie together. The matter before was deba­ted amongst them how poor Tomkins should be handled. Wel the Scholer brought him secreatly to a Chamber windowe, where looking in, he might see his wife sitting vpon a Schol­lers lap eating of a pound of Cherries: skarce could hee keepe his tongue from railing out, but at the Schollers request hee bridled it and put it vp with patience. Well, home hee would to prouide for his wiues welcome, but the Scholer tould him hee should drinke first, and filling him out drinke, gaue him a Dormitarie potion, that after he had talked a little, he fell in a dead sleepe: then went the Scholer in and fetcht Kate out, and shewed her her husband. Merrie they were, and past a­way the time while it was late in the night, & then they hea­ued vp Tomkins on a horse backe, and carried him home to his house, vndrest him, and laid him in his bed, & though it were late, Katherine cald her mother vp, & reueald the whole ma­ter to her. The old beldame laught, and said, the ieal [...]ous fool was wel serued. Wel the Scholers had good chéere made them, and away they went, and the Mother and the daugh­ter sette vppe a watching Candle, and sate verie mann [...]ly by a good fier, looking when Tomkins should wake. About [Page] midnight, the drinke left his operation, and he suddenly a­woke, and starting vp, swore by gogs nownes, you arrant whore ile be reuengde vpon thee: with that his mother and his wife stept to him, and said, what cheere sonne, fie leaue such idle talke, and remember God: naye you whore (quoth Tomkins) ile be reuengd both on you and your knaue schol­ler. Daughter quoth the olde Beldam, goe for more neigh­bours, he begins to raue: good Sonne leaue these words, and remember Christ, with that Tomkins lookt about, began to call himselfe to remembrance, and saw hee was in his bed, with a Kercher on his head, watcht by his mother and his wife, maruelled how he should come from Cambridge, that in this mase he lay a long while, as in a trance: at last he said, alas where am I? Marrie husband (quoth Kate) in your own house, and in your owne bed, sicke God helpe you, why (quoth he) and was I not at Cambridge to day? at Cambridge man alas, when I came home, I found you heere, and my mother sitting by you, very sicke: and so you continued till within this hower, and then you fell into a slumber: why but quoth Tomkins, was I not at Cambridge this day, and saw thee in Trinitie hostell? In Trinitie Hostell, trust me (quoth she) I was not there this two yeere, and for your being at Cam­bridge, God helpe you, I pray God you were able to go the­ther. Whie Mother (quoth he) make me not mad, assoone as my wife went to Cambridge, I start vp, made me readie, and went to Trinitie hostell, and there saw I hir with these eies, sitting vppon a Schollers knee, eating of a pound of Cher­ries. Well Husband (quoth Kate) and how came you home againe? I marrie (quoth he) their lyes the question: I know well of my going thether, and of my being there, but of my re­turne, why I remember nothing. No I think so poore man (quoth she) for all this day hast thou beene a sick man, and full of broken slumbers and strange dreames: I will tell thee Sonne this disease is a mad bloud that lies in thy head, which is growne from iealousie, take heede of it, for if it should con­tinue but six dayes, it would make thee starke mad, for it was nothing but an idle and a iealious fancie, that made [Page] thée thinke thou wert at Cambridge, and sawest thy wife there: and was I not then out of my bed, quoth he? no God helpe you, quoth the Mother. Then wife quoth he, and he wept, I aske both God and thee forgiuenesse, and make a vowe, if God graunt me health, neuer héereafter to suspect thée, thou shalt go whether thou wilt, and keepe what compa­nie thou wilt, for a iealious minde is a second hell. Thus was Tomkins brought from his suspition, and his wife and hee reconcilde.

WHat saist thou quoth Chawcer to this tale, is there any offence to be taken, is it not a good inuectiue against iea­lousie: Sauf vostre grace, quoth Iohn Gower, sir Geffrey, your tale is two scurrulous, and not worthie to trouble my graue eare: such fantasticall toyes be in the Cobler of Canterbury, and that bred the booke such discredit: call you this a method to put downe any particular vice, or rather a meanes gene­rally to set vp vanitie? this is the sore that creepes into the minde of youth, and leaues not fretting till it be an incura­ble vlcer: this is the rust that eateth the hardest Stéele, and cannot be rubd off with the purest Oyle. Mens mindes are apt to follies and prone to all such idle fancies, and such bookes are Spurres to pricke them forwarde in their wickednesse, where they neede sharpe bits to bridle in their wanton affec­tions: cannot the Phisition salue a maladie, without vnder a poyson [...]d and pleasant strope, he hide a medicinable potion, when the operation of the one shall doo more preiudice, then the vertue of the other can worke profit? Shall I in such sharpe hookes lay aluring baites? shall I séeke to drawe men from dancing with a Ta [...]er, to perswade men to peace with weapons, or exhort men to vertuous actions with tales of wanton affections? no Greene, marke Iohn Gower wel, thou hast write no booke well, but thy Nunquam [...]era est, and that is indifferent Linsey Wolsey to be borne, and to be praised and no more: the rest haue swéete phrases, but sower follies: good precepts tempered amongst idle matter, Eeles amongst Scorpions: and Pearles, strowed amongst pibbles: beléeue [Page] not Sir Geffrey Chawcer in this: marke but his madde tale to put downe Iealowsie, I will tell a tale to the same ef­fect, and yet I hope, neither so light of conceipt, nor so full of scurrilitie.

Iohn Gowers tale against Iealousie.

IN the citie of Antwerpe, there dwelled a gen­tleman of good Parentage, called Alexander Vandermast, who beeing indued with Lands and liuings, such as were able to maintaine an honest port, thought not with the Cedar to die fruitles, nor to end his name with his life, and therefore to haue a priuate friende with whome to com­municate his thoughtes, and issue to maintaine the fame of his house, he thought to wed him self to some good wife with whose beauty he might delight his eie, & with whose vertues hee might content his mind. At last looking about, hee sawe manie faire and well featured, but they had faults that bred his mislike: Some thought to amend Nature with Art, and with Apothecaries drugges, to refine that which God had made perfect: Such artificiall paintings he likt not, as being the instances of pride. Some had their eies full of Amours, casting their lookes with such alluring glaunces, that their verie immodestie appeared in their eie-lids, those hee held too forwarde to the fist: Some had delight to heare themselues chat, and had more talke in their tongues, than witte in their heads, those he counted for Gosseps, and let them slip: taking thus a narrow view of the maides of Antwerpe. At last, he spied one amongst the rest, who was faire, modest, silent, and generallie indued with all vertues, as highly commended through all the Cittie for her chastitie, as she was praised for her beautie. Upon her did Alexander cast his eie, and so fixe his heart, that he began entirely to affect her, knowing what a pretious iewell he should haue, if he got so vertuous a wife: For hee had read in Iesus Syrache, that happie is that [Page] m [...]n that hath a vertuous wife, for the number of his dayes shalbe double. A vertuous woman dooth make a ioyfull man, and whether he be riche or poore, he may alwaies haue a mer­rie heart. A woman that is silent of toung, shamefast in countenance, sober in behauiour, and hon [...]st in condition, adorned with vertuous qualities correspondent, is like a goodly pleasant Flower, deckt with the coullers of all the Flowers in the Field, which shall be giuen for a good portion, to such a one as feareth God.

These sayings made Alexander an earnest sutor to The­odora, for so was the Maides name: and so followed his pur­posed intent, that not onely he obteyned the good will of the Maide, but the consent of her parents, so that in short time there was a mariage, not onely concluded, but fully consu­mated. These two agréed together louingly, and in such loy­altie, that all Antwerpe talked of the affection of the one, and the obedience of the other, and the loue of both: liuing in this concord, the deuill that grudged at the sinceritie of Iob, gree­ued at the mutuall amitie of these two, and sought to set them at oddes, which he attempted with the perni [...]ious fier of Ielousie, a plague that offereth déepest wrong to the holy estate of marriage, and setteth such mortall variance, as hardly by any meanes can be pacified. Where married cou­ples agree together, it is a great happinesse, and a thing very acceptable in the sight of God: but as in musick are many distords, before there can bee framed a true Diapasin, so in wedlock are many farres, before there be established a per­fect friendship: Falling out there may be, and wordes may growe betweene such swéete friends: but

Amantium irae amoris redinte gratia est:

[...] wh [...]re Ielousie [...]nter [...] by stelth [...] from thence he can­not be thrust out by forc [...]. This pestilent humor entred into the minde of Alexanderi [...] for séeing he had the fayrest wife in all Antwarpe, & that many Ma [...]chants resorted to his house, he found that women are weake vessels, and conceited a Iea­lious opinion without [...]use, thinking such as came to enter [Page] parle with him for traffike, come rather for the beautie of hi [...] wife, then for any other trade of Marchandize, in so much that hee pind her vp in her Chamber, and kept himselfe the Key: not content with this, sitting one day in a great dump [...] he fell into this meditation.

Alexander Vandermast, his iealious meditation with himselfe.

THou hast married thy selfe Alexander, to a Woman, and therefore to a thing light and inconstant, whose heart is like to feathers blowne abroad with euery winde, & whose thoughts aime at euery new obiect, thou mightst Van­dermast haue foreséene this, for thou hast red, that Armins of Carthage be­ing earnestly perswaded to marry, an­swered, I dare not, for if I chance vpon one that is wise, shee will be wilfull: if wealthie, then wanton: if poore, then pee­ [...]ish: if beautifull, then proude: if deformed, then loathsome: and the least of these is able to kill a thousand men. Why Alexander did thou not eschew this, foreseeing this, and knowing them to bee such euils? why didst thou loade thy selfe with such a heauie burden, oh howe art thou changed? what motion hath madded thee with this conceit? thou wert woont to say that they were Heauens wealth, and earths miracles, adorned with the singularitie of proportion, to shrowd the excellencie of all perfection, as farre excéeding men in vertues, as they excell them in beauties, resembling An­gels in qualities, as they are like to God [...] in perfec [...]ne [...] [...]ing purer in minde then in moulde, and yet made of the puritie of man: iust they are, as giuing loue hir due: constant, as houl­ding loyaltie more pretious then life, as hardly to be drawne from vnited affection, as the Salamanders from the Ca [...]er­nes of Etna. Oh Alexander, I would they were so, then wert [Page] thou as happy, as now thou art miserable: but no doubt their hearts are made of Iet, that draw vp fancie in a minute, and let it slip in a moment, and their thoughts so fickle, that they couet to feede on euery new obiect: they s [...]eke to marrie, that the husband may couer their faults, and like Atheists they count all pardoned, that is doone with secrecie. She riseth vp saith the Wise man, and wipeth her mouth, as though shee had made no offence. No doubt there be such as thou dooest decipher, but torment not thy selfe with Iealousie, l [...]t not thy hart suspect what neither thy eye sées by proofe, nor thine eares heere by reporte, Theodora is vertuous, and chaste, honour dwels in hir thoughts, and modestie in her eyes, shee treades vpon the Tortuse, and kéepes her house, and strayes not abroad with euery wanton giglet: She layes not out the tramels of hir hayre to allure mens lookes: nor is she wan­ton in her eye lids, she seekes not to companie with strangers, nor takes delight in much prattle, but as Susanna was to Io­achim, and Lucretia to Collatine, so is Theodora to Alexan­der. She is like to the vertuous Woman which Salomon sets out in the Prouerbes, who eates not her bread with idle­nesse, shee is vp earlie and late, labouring gladlie with her hands: she occupies Wooll and Flaxe, layes hould vpon the Distaffe, and puts hir fingers to the Spindle: such a one Alexander is thy Theodora, whome Antwarpe admires for hir vertues, and thou maist loue for her perfection. Such she seemes indeed [...] but women are subtill [...] shewing themselues to disdaine that which they most desire, and vnder the maske of a pure life, shadowe a thousand deceitfull vanities [...] She is faire, and many eyes awaite vpon her beautie, and women are weake creatures, some women.

I see many Marchants flocke to my house, and amongst them all, perhaps she will like one: tush, for all her shew of constancie and vertuous perfection, I will not trust her, nor beléeue her, for women are subtile to allure, and slipperie to deceiue, hauing their hearts made of waxe ready to receiue euery impression: and with this he starte vp, and went [...] to looke if his wiues Chamber doore were safe loc [...]t, and so went [Page] about his businesse, but so discontent in his thoughts, as all the world might espie his gréefe by his passions. Theodora saw all this, and perceiued the folly of her husband, and brookt it with great patience, for that she knew her selfe free from al intended suspition, coueting with her forcible effects of d [...]tie, to race out the cankred rust of Iealousie, that bred such secret and silent iarres betwixt her and her Alexander, pind vp thus as a ha [...]k in a mew to solace her, she had recourse to her book, aiming in all her Orizons for grace, that her actions might be directed, and the course of her life so leaueld, that no blemish might taint the brightnes of her credit, otherwhile for recre­ation she would take her Lute in her hand and sing this Di­tie.

Theodoras Song.
SEcret alone, and silent in my bed,
When follies of my youth doe touch my thought,
And reason tels me that all flesh is sinne,
And all is vaine that so by man is wrought.
Hearts sighes,
Eies teares,
With sorrow throb when in my mind I see,
All that man doth is foolish vanitie.
When pride presents the state of honors pompe,
And seekes to set aspiring mindes on fire,
When wanton Loue brings beauty for a bait,
To scortch the eie with ouer hot desire.
Hearts sighes,
Eies teares,
VVith sorrow throb when in my mind I see,
That pride and loue are extreame vanitie.
Oh Loue that ere I loued, yet loue is chast,
My fancie lik [...] none but my husbands face.
[Page]But when I thinke I loued none but him,
Nor would my thought giue any other grac [...],
Harts sighes,
Eyes teares,
With sorrow throb, when in my minde I see,
The purest loue is toucht with Iealousie.
Alas mine eye had neuer wanton lookes,
A modest blush did euer taint my Cheekes,
If then suspition with a faulse conceipt,
The ruine of my fame and honour seekes,
Harts sighes,
Eyes teares,
Must needs throb sorrows, when my mind doth see,
Chaste thoughts are blamd with causelesse iealousie.
My husbands will was ere to me a lawe,
To please his fancie is my whole delight,
Then if he thinkes whatsoeuer I do is bad,
And with suspition chastitie requight:
Harts sighes,
Eyes teares,
Must needs throb sorrows, when my minde dooth see,
Dutie and loue are quit with iealousie.
No deeper hell can fret a womans minde,
Then to be tainted with a false suspect,
Then if my constant thoughts be ouercrost,
When pratling fond, can yeeld no true detect.
Harts sighes,
Eyes teares,
Must needs throb sorrows, when my minde doth see,
Duty and loue are quit with iealousie.
Seeke I to please, he thinkes I flatter then,
Obedience is a couer for my fault,
When thus he deemes I treade my shoo awrie,
[Page]And going right, he still suspects I halt,
Harts sighes,
Eyes teares,
Must needs throb sorrows, when my minde doth see,
Dutie and loue are quit with iealousie.
No salue I haue to cure this restlesse soare,
But sighes to God, to change his iealious minde,
Then shall I praise him in applauding himns,
And when the want of this mistrust I finde:
Harts sighes,
Eyes teares,
Shall cease, and Lord [...]le onely pray to thee,
That women neare be wrongd with Iealousie.

Theodora hauing ended her Dittie, layde by her Lute, and sate in a muse, when diuers Merchants came in to aske for her husband, amongst the rest, one was verye pleasant with the Maide of the house, and fell to prattle with her, in which instant Alexander comming in, and séeing them in se­cret and priuate talke (and the Merchant with a letter) be­gan straight to mistrust that the Gentleman was commu­ning with his maide for the deliuerie of some amourous let­ter to her Mistres: wherevpon he began to enter into such a frantike, as hee regarded not the salute of his friends, but séemed like a mad man, not answering according to their de­maunds, but in such abrupt replies, that all of them espyed the man to be passing passionate, thinking some fond humor so infected his braine, that he would growe lunatike: where­vpon, after some short parle with him, they all departed, and tooke their leaue, leauing him deepe perplexed in his deepest thoughts: first he went and lookt if the doore were fast, which he found as strongly lockt as he left it, then hee questioned with his maide about the talke and the letter, she discourst vnto him all the truth, but in vaine, for so deepely had suspiti­on grafted mistrust in his conscience, that beléefe could take no place, but that his heart suspected, that he thought verely [Page] to be as sure as the Gospell, for who so is pained with the restlesse torment of iealous [...]e, doubteth all, mistrusteth him­selfe, being alwayes frozen with feare, and fired with suspiti­on: With this canckred poison was the minde of Alexander so corrupt, as he thought verily his wife had played false, and that he being blinde, had eaten the flie: wherevpon he studied how to quittance hir villanie, so heauie an enemie is Ielou­sie to the holy estate of matrimonie, sowing betwéene the married couples such deadly séedes of secret hatred, that loue being once raced out by sacklesse distrust, through enuie there ensueth a desire of blo [...]die reuenge, and so it fell out with Alexander: but that God which defendeth the innocent, shrowded guiltlesse Theodora vnder his wings, and kept hir from the peremptorie resolution of her frantike husband. Well, at last iealousie entered so farre into his thought, that he fell into a Lunatike melancholie, and like a mad man fled out of his house, and ranne about the Fields, haunting secret Groues, and solitarie places to féede his humour. The re­port of this strange chance, was bruted abroade throughout all Antwerpe, which made men to wonder at the matter­some had hard opinion of Theodora, and said her lewdnesse bred his frenzie, and that Alexander hauing spied some wan­ton trick by his wife, fell into that Lunacie, condemning hir for a pernitious courtizan: others séeing the vertuous dis­position of the woman, could not be induced to so hard a sus­pition, but thought the brainsick iealousie of the man had procured that strange maladie: some suspended their iudge­ments both of him and hir, till further triall might make it manifest, but the most part spake ill of hir, especially his pa­rents and kinsfolke, who reuilde hir, and cald her strumpet, turning her out of doore as a Courtizan deser [...]ing no better fauour.

Thus hardly was poore Theodora vsd, who tooke all pati­ently, and being dis [...]est and wrongd, went to a poore womans house, who vpon méere p [...]tie harboured her, where falling to hir labour, shee confyrmed to all good mindes, the as [...]ured con [...]dence of vertuous cha [...]itie: being there poore, changing [Page] her apparel to the place, she went in her white Was [...]coat, and sate to her whéele, whereon woorking busily euery day aboue other, noting her innocency, and how vniustly shee was accu­sed, shee burst out into teares, and blubbred out this passi­on.

Theodoras meditation of her Innocencie.

INfortunate Theodora, whose thoughtes are measured with enuy, and whose deedes are weied with suspition, the prime of thy yeares is nipped with mishappes, and when the blos­soms of thy youth should grow to ripe fruits. they are bitten with the frostes of Fortune When thou wert a maid, modesty hung in thy looks, and thy chaste thoughts appeared in thy countenaunce, all Antwerpe spoake of thy beautie and applawded thy vertues, and nowe being a wife, they accuse thee of vanity and lightnesse, wher­as thy constancy is as great, and thy chastity no lesse. Ah, but infamy galleth vnto death, and liueth after death: Tush The­odora, vertue may be blam'd, but neuer sham'd. The Dia­mond may be hidden in dirt, but neuer loose his operation: the Sunne may be obscured with a Cloud, but at last it wil break forth in his brightnes, and vertue hidden with slander, will at last maugre enuie appeare without blemish. Ah Theodora, but Alexander, thine Alexander, the ioy of thy youth, and the content of thy mind is run lunatick, and al for thée I confesse: and my heart gréeues at his mishap, and with daily Orisons I will pray, that his iealous thoughts may be raced out: his parents and friends hould th [...]e for a Curtisan: all Antwerpe woonders at thee, and exclaimes against thée for a strumpet, the more is my sorrow, & the greater my misery: but the Lord who is Chrodiognostes, whose eie sées the secrets of al heartes, sées mine innocency. Oh, but what shal I doe to recouer my husbands weale, & recouer my former credit: might my bloud [Page] be a salue to cure his malady, or my life ease the sore that so torments him, I would with the hazard of my soule, se [...]ke to recouer the weale of his body [...] and lanch out the déerest drops of bloud, to purchase his least content. But iealousie that in­fectious fiend, hath wrought thy bitter bale, and his vtter o­uerthrow, setting such a flame of fire in his breast, as neither reason nor counsaile can quench. What shal I then doe? sit thée down Theodora, and let thy praiers pearce the heauens cry out in the bitternes of mind, take hould of the hemme of Christs vesture by faith, and with the blind man say: thou son of Dauid, looke vpon the innocency of thy handmaid, redresse her wrongs, and heale the malady of her husband. Orizons Theodora haue wings, and if they bee plumed with the fea­thers of an assured beliefe in Christ his passion, they flie fast through the farthest spheres, and penetrate euen the throane of his maiesty: and that they plead for grace, from whence by the helpe of the lambe, who sits there a Mediator for vs, they returne not without regard Do this first Theodora, then sit thée downe to thy worke, and with thy hands thrist, satisf [...]e thy harts thirst. Forget thy amours, and fall to labours, and be sure of this, in thy cottage thou shalt shun much enuy, and many reproches: for Fortune seldome lookes so low as pouer­ty. Content thee with thy estate, for aduersity is the triall of the mind, and mishap is the ballance of the thoghts Use pati­ence, for it is a great proofe of vertue and be not séene abrode: for secrecy kils infamy, and such as delight to bee seene, shall haue their credit toucht with many tongues, and haue this verse hung on their backe.

Spectatum veniunt, veniunt spectentur vt ipsae.

Thus liuing poorely, content: and pati [...]nt in thy labours, Antwerpe shall thinke it was thy husbands folly, not thy va­nity.

Thus Theodora satisfied her selfe with her own perswa­sion, & in the cottage shund the stormes that fortune inflicted vpon great mansions, as she thus rested happy, for that

Foelix qui potuit contentus viuere par [...]o.

Alexander romed vp and downe still perplexed with his [Page] iealous passions, and finding no ease in his conscience: for iea­lousie is like the biting of Hidaspis, which suffers a man to take no sleepe: Lunatike he was, and yet sundrie times he would hoth reasonablie meditate with himselfe, and confer with others, sorrowing at the fondnesse of his owne suspiti­on: but straight againe hee would with the Dog returne to his vomit, and fall to his ould vayne of frenzie, with generall exclamations against beautie: yet so sententious, that a­mongst the rest I remember some of his principles, which seemed rather the censure of some ripe wit, then the fruites of any Lunacie, and they as I remember be these.

Alexanders sentences in his Lunacie, against beautie.

  • 1 AH, beautie is a vaine thing, whose paintings are trickt vp with times coullers, which being set to dry in the Sunne, loose their brightnesse with the Sunne.
  • 2 Beautie is a Charme, worse then Cyrces had amongst hir confections, for it first inchaunteth the eye, then bewit­cheth the heart, and at last brings both to vtter ruine, when of it selfe it is but like the Flower Asautis, that looseth coul­ler with euery lowde winde.
  • 3 Beautie draweth many mens eyes to looke on so gor­geous an obiect, and is oft the cause of manye dishonest actions.
  • 4 Beauty is delightsome and pleasant, yet nothing more perilous and deadlie.
  • 5 The more beautie, the more pride, the more pride, the more inconstancie.
  • 6 Beautie, when it is not ioynde with vertue, is like the fethers of a Phenix, placst on the carkasse of a Crowe.
  • 7 Beautie is oft the fairest marke that leadeth to mishaps.
  • 8 Beautie is a couller dasht with euery breath, a flower mixt with euery frost, and a fauor that time & age defaceth.

[Page]These sententio [...]s and satyricall inuectiues against beau­tie, did he breath out in his madne [...]e, which séemed hee was more melancholie then Lunatike [...] well howsoeuer, about he ran restlesse and passionate, till on a day, comming into a meadow, he saw in a little houell made with boughes, an a­ged man sitting, houlding a serpent in his hand, that with hir téeth still bit hir selfe, and still the aged father smilde. Alex­ander standing by, and séeing this, as mad as he was, mar­ueld at the matter, and vpon a suddaine said: Father what doost thou meane by that embleame? The ould man turning his head, and séeing Alexander, was nothing abasht but re­plyed: My Sonne quoth he, I am viewing the Enugmati­call figure of Ielowsi [...]: of Iealousie quoth Alexander? as how? marrie quoth he, thus. Thou seest this Serpent, it is bred in the Cauernes of Sicillia, brought from thence, and giuen me by a marchant, the name of it is a Limster: marke how Nature hath made it full of splene and choller, still intending to doo, and restlesse to reuenge: but so hath the cerious work­man of all prouided, that it can bite nor preiudice no crea­ture but it selfe, which disposition when I considered. I com­pard it to a iealous m [...]n, who being pinched with that passi­on, hurteth none but himselfe, and galled with suspition, bi­teth with the Lemster his owne flesh: for I tell thée my sonne whosoeuer is fired with iealousie, or toucht with that hate­full passion of mistrust, [...]e fretteth inwardly, taketh no rest, & consumes himself with inward gréefe, hurting none but him­selfe, as conteyning all the miserie within himselfe. Ah Alex­ander quoth he, I know thée, and sorrow that I soe thée thus fond, to be brought into such dishonor, by the suspition of a woman, when beeing Iealous of hir, thou wringest thy selfe at the heart, when thou hurtst not her little finger, if thou couldst conceit what it were, and knewst the secret operati­on and inward preiudice, thou wouldst shake it off, as a toye worthlesse a man of such calling. Antwerpe I tell thée pitties thée as they loue thee, and wonders at thée, as they note thy follies, and are angrie [...]t thee, as thou perseuerest in so vains an humour: and because thou shalt haue an insight by me into [Page] the [...]ollie of th [...]e owne humor, I will set thée downe the de­scription of iealousie: wherein, as in a glasse thou maist perceiue thine owne madding passions.

The ould mans description of iealousie.

IElousie is a canckar, that fretteth the quiet of the thoughts, a moath that secretly consu­meth the life of man, & a poyson spetially op­posed against the perfection of loue. The hart being once infected with iealousie, the sléepes are broken: dreames, disquiet slumbers, thoughts, cares, and sorrows: the life woe and myserie, that liuing he dies, and liuing prolongs out his life in passions worse then death. None looketh on his loue, but suspition saies this is he, that commeth to be contriuall of my fauours: none knocks at his doore, but starting vp he thinks them mes­sengers. None talkes, but they whisper of affection, if she frowne, she hates him, and loues others: if she smile, it is be­cause she hath had successe in hir loues: looke she frowardlye on any man, she dissembles: if she fauour him with a grati­ous eye, then as a man tainted with a frenzie, he cryes out, that neither fier in the strawe, nor loue in a womans lookes can be conceald. Thus dooth he liue restlesse, maketh loue that oft is swéet, to be in taste as bitter as gall, and consumes himselfe with secret torments.

How saist thou my sonne (quoth the ould man) haue I not hit thée in the right vaine, and made a perfect description of thine owne patheticall humours. Oh quoth Alexander, and he sat him downe with teares in his eyes, and sighes, in such sort, and so deepely straind, as his heart was ready to burst. Now Father, and neuer before now, doe I see into the depth of mine owne follies, and perceiue how infortunately this Ielowse conceit hath led me: but teach me, how shall I shake of this fiend, that so mortally haunts me? by what mean [...]s [Page] shall I race out this passion, that so paines me: and haue the disquiet of my thoughts satisfied. Oh my Sonne (quoth the ould man) thou art commaunded by the wise man, not to be iealious ouer the wife of thy bosome, least shee showe some shrewd point of wickednesse vppon thee: for nothing more greeueth an honest woman, nor draweth more aptly to some mortall resolution, then to be suspected without cause. And I tell thée my Sonne, Antwerpe hath euer spoken well of thy wife, whatsoeuer thou hast misconstred. Thou hast then doone amisse, in absenting thy selfe from her, for thou art chargde not to departe from a good and discréet woman that is fallen vnto thée for thy portion, in the feare of the Lord: for the guift of hir honestie is aboue gould. A woman of fewe wordes, is a guift of God: and to a well nurtured Maide may nothing be comparde. An honest and mannerly woman, is a guift aboue other guifts: and there is no weight to bee compard to a womans minde, that can rule it selfe like as the cléere light vpon the holy Candlestickes: so is the beau­tie of the face vpon an honest body, like as the goulden pillers vpon the sockets of siluer, so are the faire legs vpon a woman that hath a constant minde.

A faire Wyfe reioyseth her husband, and a man loueth nothing better: but if shee bee louing and vertuous withall, then is not her husband like to other men. He that hath got­ten a vertuous woman, hath a goodly possession, she is vnto him a helpe and piller on whome he resteth: where no hedge is, there the goods are spoiled: and where no Husband is, there the friendlesse mourneth. Dooest thou marke my Sonne these Sentences? if thou hast so good a wife: oh, how hast thou sinned, to wrong hir with Ielousie: to taint thine honor, and to blemish the credit of her chastitie. If she bee wanton, and wyll neuer wante one: but sitteth downe as Syrach saith, and openeth hir Quiuer to euery Arrowe, then my Sonne shake her off, abide not with such a woman, least yee féele the force of the lawe: but bee not iealous: for that breedes thy fatall ruine, and to her is no preiudice. Oh Fa­ther (quoth he) these wordes, as they pierce to the quicke, [Page] so are they Balme vnto my distressed soule: I feele a com­fort in the sweetnesse of your counsaile, and these principles are perswas [...]e arguments to race out my former folli [...]s. I must of force confesse, that I married her a Maid, famoused through all Antwerpe for her vertue, as shee was spoken of for her beautie. And beeing married, I found her obe­dient, chaste, modest, and s [...]lent: but her beautie bred the bane, and was the meanes of all my misery: For when I no­ted the excellencie of her feature, and the rarenesse of her per­fection, and considered that euery mans eie aim'd at so faire an obiect that womens harts were of waxe, ready to receiue euerie impression, and saw how diuerse Marchants of the ci­tie flockt to my house, then the sting of Iealousie beganne to torment me, and suspition brought mee into this melancholie humour: I néed not paint out in particulars. For Father, thou hast described sufficiently my pa [...]ions, how I was passi­onate, onely let this suffice, I was iealous, but whether with cause or n [...], there lies the question. Were I satisfied in this, I would say, farewell to all fond Iealousie, to ease thé [...] of this martyrdome. My sonne I will not onely reléeue them with counsaile, but aid thee with the effect of my Art. Thou hast bene absent a long while, from thy wife, and al men hold thee still for lunaticke: I hauing some skill in Negromancie, will change thy countenance into ye shape of a most beutiful yong man: beeing thus metamorphosed, thou sh [...]lt go to thy wife, and being now crossed with pouerti [...], & liui [...]g poore distrest in Cottage, thou shalt proffer her golde and maintenance, I tel thée my sonne, thou shalt carry with th [...]e two great perswasi­ons, to make bre [...]ch into a womans honestie, which is beau­tie and wealth, chi [...]flie where the partie is pinched with pen­nurie. If shee y [...]elde vnto th [...]e, shake her off as an inconstant Curtilan, and then be more iealouse. For what shouldst thou be suspitious of that which thou knowest? If she withstand, and had rather brooke honest p [...]uertie, than violate her chasti­ti [...]. Oh Alexander, then sorrowe at thy follie [...], say [...]hou has [...] sin'd against so ve [...]ous a wif [...], [...]nd recon [...]ile thy selfe vnto hir, and be not touched any more with iealousie, for that is a [Page] hell to thée, and no hurt to hir. This counsaile did greatlie comfort Alexander, that he not onely humblie thanked the ould man for his aduise, but intreated him to prosecute the intent of his purpose, which he presentlie did, for by his arte he made him séeme a beautifull young man, faire to the eye and well proportioned, but in all forme, farre from that which he was: hauing store of Crownes in his pursse (thus transformed) away he trudgeth towards Antwerpe, where in the subur [...]es, hee heard of his wife how she was wrongd by his friends, turned out of doores, and liued there with a widow woman, in a poore cottage: hir fame was good, and the report of her labours were great, her honestie highly va­lued, and her patience much commended, which greatly com­forted the thoughts of Alexander: at last learnin [...] out the house, he went thether, and comming in asked for Theodora, who humblie rose and saluted him with such modest curtes [...]e, as did importe a sh [...]w of great v [...]rtue. Alexander noting her bashfulnesse, began to consider, that if she plaide false, she was cunning to coyne her countenance, and he sought there­fore to trie her thus.

FAyre Mistresse, whom Fortune hath made as miserable, as Nature had formed beautifull, and whom the crosse as­pect of the plan [...]ts, haue left as distrest, as the Gods in their fauours haue made vertuous. Know this, that comming as a stranger to Antwerpe, it was tould me by mine hoast, as a wonder, of the extremitie of your husbands iealousie, and the excellencie of your patience: his follies, and your vertues: his suspition, and your constancie. His report made me desirous to sée with mine eye, what I heard with mine eare, that I might confirme reporte with a fure witnesse. Now s [...]eing you, and noting your exteriour lineaments, gracst with so manie inward perfections, I praise Nature for hir worke­manship, accuse Fortune for her tyrannie, and sorrowe that so beautifull a creature should bee bitten with such bitter crosses.

But necessitye is a sore penance, and extremitye is as [Page] hard to beare as death: yet Mistresse Theodora it is a colde comforte, is wrapt in no remedie: a greeuous vlcer, that no Chirurgie can finde a salue for: and a hard sorrow that no re­leefe can medicine. Seeing therefore your husbands iealou­sie hath left you from friends and many cares, seeke, as you haue hetherto [...]hockt Fortune with patience, so to thwart mishap with a present remedie, and thus it is: Your beautie Mistresse Theodora, is able to content any eye, and your qualities, to satisfie the most curious minde: which as it doth amase me, so it driues a pittiful compassion into my thoughts to lay any plot for your better estate. Therefore may it please you to vouchsafe of such a friend as my self, your want shall be releeued, and your necessitie redressed: I will take you from this cottage, to a place more fit for your calling: your rags shal be robes, and your thin diet plenteous fare: and to make vp all fortunate, you shall haue such a friend at your commaund, as no mishap any waye can diuert from your loue. If you stand vpon the losse of your honour, and the ble­mish of your fame: to answer that obiection, first Antwerpe hath made hazard of your credit, and though without cause, yet they haue calde your name in question, and infamie is such a déepe coloure, that it will hardlie be raced out with obliuion: to take you from such vipers as cease not to sting you with the enuie of their tongues: I will carrie you from the reach of them all, and the greatest wonder lastest but nine dayes, nor will the talke of your departure continue any longer tearmes: for the offence, why it is loue, and that shadowes wanton scapes: what is doone closely is halfe par­doned and affections that are mainteyned with loyaitie, are but slender faults: let not feare of a little fame, tie you still to such extremity: Misery is a malady that ought to haue no respect of medecine, and where necessitie dooth bréede a soare, foolish is that patient if hee makes doubt to accept of any salue. What Theodora your husband is Lunatick, neuer to be hoped for, nor had againe in his right wits: then vouch­safe a friend, who if no other maske will serue, will shadowe all faultes with gould.

[Page] Theodora could scarce stay the bearing of such a long dis­course, knowing it was preiuditiall to a womans credit, to listen to such prattle, alluding to the French prouerbe.

Le ville que parle, le femme qui S'esconte,
L'ane se gaigne, l'aul [...]e, S'effonte.

Wherevpon she puld her hand from his, and with a modest blush made him answer.

I cannot deny sir, but I haue found Fortune my foe, yet to counteruaile her malice I haue had Patience my friend, and what the world hath obieded with suspition, I haue answered with innocency: for my present misery, as I brooke it with content, so I hope to finde the heauens more fauou­rable: and for my husbands follies, I counte his present iea­lousie counteruailde with his former loues, and hope that God will chaunge his opinions into better censures, and make him conceit of me as fauourable, as now hee thinkes hardlie. In the meane time sir, your aime is farre beyond the marke, and your compasse directed by a wrong starre: for though I be pinched with wante, and toucht with that sting that forceth many to attempt vnlawfull actions, yet had I rather sit with Cornelia, and satisfie my hunger with handes labours, then frolick it with Lamia, and buy repentance with delicates: no Sir, thinke not that all the pouertie in the world can hale me from the thought of mine ould honour, or any shower of misfortune, driue me from the seate of vertue, better liue in lowe content, then in high infamie: and more pretious is want with honestie, then wealth with discredit: Therefore sir, I thanke you for your proffer, but I am no traffike for such a chapman: but reporte this wheresoeuer you come, that I would scorne a crowne, in respect of con­stancie, and vould the participation of a kingdom light, in va­lue of my chastity: I tell you sir, though I be a woman, yet the loue that I bear, and the dutie that I owe to my husband howsoeuer he hath wrongd mee, makes me so resolute, that neyther extremitie shall diswade me from affecting him, nor any proffer of riches perswade to fancie any other. And wher­as you obiect, that my credit is already crasde in Antwerpe, [Page] I denie not but I am suspected, and of most, wrongde with hard reproches: yet carying a cleere conscience, I haue this hope, that seeing

Temporis filia veritas

Time and my good behauiour shall wipe out the blemish of such causelesse infamie, and then shall I shew my self to mine owne honour, and theyr discredit. And whereas you say, that Louers faults are slender offences, I answer: that there can be no greater staine to a woman, then to be toucht with losse of her good name, especially being confirmed and ratified by proofe: for that being lost, she hath no more whereon to boste, and that made Lucretia let out a pure soule from a defiled body.

Then good Sir, you knowe my minde, my pouertie is my content: mine honor, my wealth: and mine innocencie, the onely thing that is left to quiet my conscience: therefore as your Marte was little, your market being doone, the doore is open, and you may go when you please.

Alexander hearing this, was highly contented, yet thought to giue one assault more, and houlding hir fas [...] by the wrest, returnde hir a replie thus.

Tush Mistresse Theodora, women must be coye, and séeme at the first to disdaine that, which after they desire: els might they be thought very light, that would come at euery lure. I haue béene a Huntsman, and will not at the first de­fault giue ouer the chace: therefore aduise your selfe better, take time when you will giue me an answer: aske counsaile of your pillowe, I can tell you, gould is a goodly thing, and there is not a warmer coat [...] then wealth: what, such faults are checkt with a smyle, not controulde with a frowne, and men smother vp Louers offences with fauour. Be not per­emptorie, for in that you shall discouer rather folly then any aduised wisdome, such as haue diseases, and refuse remedie are worthie still to bide in the paine, and they who are ouer the shooes in wante, are worthie the Staffe and the Wallet, [Page] if they will not any way reach at wealth. Consider therefore with your selfe, and to morrow this time I will come & craue an answere.

Theodora, hauing her face full of choller pluckt away her arme, sate her downe to her Wheele, and then reason'd thus roughly with him.

Sir, neuer take any longer daies, where the partie is vn­willing to set no further date: nor giue any more attemptes, where the Castle is impregnable, Know, your sute is in vain: and your words breathed into the wind: and to bee short, take it as you please, I hould your golde in scorne, and your selfe (vnlesse you were more honest) in disdaine. If you be so passi­onate, that you must needs haue a Paramour, go seeke suche Lettice where they grow, for heere is none for your lips: you shall not finde heere a Danae that will bee drawne in with a shower of golde, but rather a Diana, whome Venus and al her frownes could neuer affright. Therefore take this for a finall answer, if you come any more, you shall find your welcome as bad as may be, and for want of entertainment, you shall doe your account at the doore, and so Sir, if you be a Gentleman, be gone.

This cheared so the hart of Alexander, that in that very mo­mēt he left to be iealous, & conceiued such a new loue towards Theodora, that hee could scarce abstaine from imbracing her, but yet he bridled his affection, & seeing he could doe no good, tooke his leaue verie courteouslie. Hee was no sooner out of doore, but Theodora rose and shut it. Alexander subtilly stole vnder the window, to heare what shee would say, and accor­ding to his expectation, hee heard her say thus to her Landes-Ladie.

Oh (quoth she) and she fetcht a déepe sigh: How doth For­tune frowne, and how is the time iniurious, that men think golde able to bannish vertue, and Fame to bee lesse vallued then treasure. Because I am poore, what, dooth Antwe [...]pe thinke, I meane to make sale of my chastititie? and because [Page] extreamity hath bitten me by the he [...]le: Do men thinke, pel [...]e shall draw mée to become a wanton? no, I call him to witnes that knowes mine innocencie. I hould mine honour as deare as my life, and my constancy as pretious as the apple of mine eie: and though as the wise man writ, the dishonest woman sai [...]s, what, we are in the da [...]k and compast in wi [...]h the wals [...] feare not, no man [...]an [...]spie vs, yet the eie of the Lord sees al and he searcheth the heart and the rain [...]s, and punisheth such offences in iustice: Farre rather had I be openly blamed, be­ing innocent, than haue a good report with a guiltie consci­ence: for though I be wrongfully accused, yet the Lord is able at all times to raise vp a Daniell that may cleare them that put their trust in him. Pouertie, wante, extreamitie, mis­fortune, all seeme easie, béeing tempered with content and patience: but riches, treasure, prosperitie, and wealth, are o­dious, béeing tainted with the staine of an adulterous name. No Alexander, wheresoeuer thou béest, or whatsoeuer thy Fortune is, or howe so euer thou hast wronged mee, yet thy faults shall not make mee offend, nor thy abuse draw mee to any preiudice: But I will bee loyall Theodora, the constant wife of Alexander for euer: for in the booke of Wisdome this I read.

Wisedome Chapter 4.

O how faire is a chast generation with vertue, the memorial thereof is immortal: for it is kno­wen with God & men, when it is present, men take example therat, and if it go away, yet they desire it, it is alwaies crowned and houlden in honor, & winneth the reward of the vniuersall battaile.

With this she ceast, and fel to her spinning, and Alexander he went his way to find out the olde man, whome hee found solitarie in his houel As soone as he cast vp his eie and saw A­lexander: Oh my sonne Alexander (quoth he) what newes? Alexander sate him downe and fetching a déepe sigh, said, fa­ther, I haue sinned, and wronged my wife with a false suspect [...] [Page] Now doe I find, that she that loueth loyally, may wel be crost with calamity, but neuer iustly accused of inconstancie: suspi­tion may put in a false plea, but proofe neuer maintained the action, and with that he discourst from point to point, how he had dealt with Theodora, what proffers, what answers, and what she said in his absence. The olde man at this was very glad, and demaunded of him, howe hee felt him selfe from his former franticke humour? quight shaken off (quoth Alexan­der) and therefore now pul off your inchantment, that I may returne to my former shape, and home to my wife, which hee did, and after many good instructions (glad that hee had re­cald him from his iealousie) hee tooke his leaue of Alexander, who trimming vp himselfe like a pilgrime, departed towards Antwerpe, and in the euening comming thither, went to his Fathers house. Assoone as hee came in and was espied, they all ranne away as affraid of him: But when with reuerence his Father saw him doe his duty, he [...] entertained him with teares, and demaunded of him, how he farde? Alexander said wel, and sate downe by him, and discourst to him at large all his fortunes, his méeting with the olde man, and what hadde happened, still crying at euerie sentence, how he had wrong'd his louing Theodora: At this glad newes all his friends and kinsefolkes were sent for, and there at a solempne supper, the discourse of all was declared vnto them: They reioysed at his happy metamorphosis, and sorowed at the hard abuse they offered to Theodora.

But to make amends, the next day there was a great [...]ea [...] prouided, and all the chiefe of Antwerpe bidden thither as guests. Theodora was sent for, her husband and she recon­ciled, set into her former estate, held in great estimation for her constancy, and her husband euer after frée from all suspiti­ous iealousie.

NOw Sir Geffrey Chawcer (quoth Gower) how like you this tale, is it not more full of humanity, then your vain and scurrulous inuention? and yet affecteth as muche in [Page] the mind of the hearers? are not graue sentences as forcible, as wanton principles? tush (quoth Chawcer) but these are not plesant, they breed no delight, youth wil not like of such a long circumstance Our English Gentlemen are of the mind of the Athenians, that will sooner bee perswaded by a fable, than an Oration: and induced with a merrie tale, when they will not be brought to any compasse with serious circumstances. The more pittie (quoth Gower) that they should bee so fond, as to be subiect to the delight of euery leud fancy, when the true badge of a Gentleman, is learning ioyned with vallour and vertue, and therefore ought they to read of Martiall Disci­pline, not of the slight of Venus: and to talke of hard labours, not to chat of foolish and effeminate amoures. Aristotle read not to Alexander wanton Elegies, but he instructed him in Morall precepts, and taught how to gouerne like a King, not how to court like a louer: But now a daies, our youthes de­sire to read amourous pamphlets, rather then Philosophicall actions, and couet like Epicures rather to passe the time in some pleasant fable, then like Philosophers to spend the day in profitable Aphorismes: but when the blacke Oxe hath trode on their foot, and that age hales them on to olde yeares, and the Palme trée, as the Preacher saies, waxeth white, then will they repent those howers they haue spent in tossing ouer such fruitlesse papers. Therefore Greene take this of me, as thou hast written many fond workes, so from hence forth at­tempt nothing but of worth: let not thy pen stoope so low, as vanity, nor thy wit be so far abused to paint out any precepts of fancie, but flie higher with the Hobbie: soare against ye sun with the Eagle: carry spices into thy nest with the Phenix: & doe nothing but worthie thy wit and thy learning. Is not a Diamond as soone cut as a pebble? a rose as soone planted as a weed? a good booke as easilie pend, as a wanton Pamphlet? Then Green, giue thy selfe to write either of humanitie, and as Tullie did, set downe thy mind de officiis, or els of Morall vertue, and so be a profitable instructer of manners: doe as the Philosophers did, seeke to bring youth to vertue, with setting downe Ariomes of good liuing, and doe not perswade young [Page] Gentlemen to folly, by the acquainting themselues with thy idle workes. I tell thée, bookes are companions, and friends, and counsailors, and therefore ought to bee ciuill, honest, and discréet, least they corrupt with false doctrine, rude manners, and vicious liuing: Or els penne some thing of naturall phi­losophie. Diue down into the Aphorismes of the Philosophers and see what nature hath done, and with thy pen paint that out to the world: let them see in the creatures the mightinesse of the Creator, so shalt thou reape report woorthy of memo­rie. Thus Greene haue I counsailed thée, and the seuen lib [...] ­rall Sciences lie before thee as subiects whereon to write Leaue loue and her follies, let Venus bee a starre to gaze at, or els, if thou wilt néeds Poetically haue her a Woman, ac­cept her an infamous strumpet to wonder at: let fancie alone, and medle no more with affection: thou hast said enough, and if Augustus had liued, as much as would haue deserued ban­nishment. Now that I haue counsailed thée, tell me Greene, what thinkest thou of my aduertizement? howe art thou re­solued? Doost thou not repent of thy time mispent, in penning such fruitlesse pamphlets? Rising vppe reuerently with my Cap in my hand, I made them this answere.

The Authours answere to Gower and Chawcer.

LEarned, & lawreat, whose censures are Authentical: I haue noted your words with such attention, that my minde is cleared of that doubt, wherewith it hath béene long blemished: For now I perceiue Father Chawcer, that I fol­lowed too long your pleasant vaine, in penning such Amourous workes, and that ye fame that I sought after by such trauail, was nothing but smoke. I did with the Southerne wind bring in clouds to [Page] destroy my selfe, and like the Smith, make a toole to breede mine one bane: and hunt after fame, when in deedes I found the ready path to infamy. My pamphlets haue past the presse, and some haue giuen them praise, but the grauest sort, whose mouthes are the trumpets of true report, had spoken hardlie of my labours: For which, if sorrow may make amendes, I hope to acquite some part of my misse with penaunce, and in token (Father Gower) that what my tongue speaketh, my heart thinketh: I will begin from hence forth to hate all such follies, and to write of matters of some import: either Moral to discouer the actiue course of vertue, how man should direct his life to the perfect felicity, or els to discourse as a Natura­list, of the perfection that Nature hath planted in her crea­tures, thereby to manifest the excellent glory of the maker: or some Politicall Axiomes, or Acanonicall preceptes that may both generally and perticularly profite the Common­wealth. Hence foorth Father Gower, farewell the insight I had into loues secrets, let Venus rest in her spheare, I wil be no Astronomer to her influence, let affection die, and pe­rish as a vapour that vanisheth in the aire, my yeares growe towardes the graue, and I haue had bouts enough with fan­cy: They which helde Greene for a patron of loue, and a se­cond Ouid, shal now thinke him a Timon of such lineaments, and a Diogines that will barke at euery amourous pen. One­ly this (father Gower) I must end my Nunquam sera est, and for that I craue pardon: but for all these follies, that I may with the Niniuites, shew in sackcloth my harty repentaunce: looke as speedily as the presse wil serue for my mourning gar­ment, a wéede that I knowe is of so plaine a cut, that it will please the grauest eie, and the most precize eare. Thus father Gower, thy counsaile hath made me a conuert & a penitent déepely sorrowfull for the follies of my penne, but promising héere that no idle fancies shal grow any more from my con­ceit, hoping you will take my hand for a pawne of the faith of my promise, I rest yours in all humble duty. At this Gower wroong mee by the hand, and smilde, and Chawcer shakt his head and fumed: All three rising, and ready to depart when the [Page] Meadow was all shadowed with a light, which suddenly va­nisht: and there appeard a man in great royaltie, attyred gorgeous, in the habite of a King: carrying such grauitie in his countenance, as it strooke both feare and reuerence into my thoughts: At his presence Chawcer and Gower abasht, and both putting off their Bonnets, fell on their knees: my selfe in a great maze, did him such duty as belongde to a Po­tentate: but still mine eye gasde on the man, whose descrip­tion take thus.

The discription of Salomon.
HIs stature tall, large, and hie,
Lim'd and featur'd beauteouslie,
Chest was broad armes were strong.
Lockes of Amber passing long,
That hung and waued vpon his necke,
Heauens beautie might they checke.
Visage faire and full of grace,
Mild and sterne, for in one place,
Sate mercie meeklie in his eie:
And Iustice in his lookes hard by.
His Roabes of Bisse, were crimsen hew,
Bordred round with twines of blew:
In Tyre no richer silke solde,
Ouer braided all with golde:
Costly set with pretious stone,
Such before I neere saw none.
A massie Crowne vpon his head,
Checquerd through with Rubies red.
Orient Pearle and bright Topace,
Did burnish out each valiant place.
Thus this Prince that seemed sage,
Did goe in royall Equipage.

THis gorgeous Potentate drew néere me, and taking me by the hand, lifted me vp from the place where I kneeled, [Page] and said thus: My son, they which respect their fame, are the children of wisdome: & such as feare the danger of report, shal be houlden vertuous. I know thy thoughts by thy lookes, and thy face bewraies thy resolution. The Pro et contra these haue had about thy pamphlets, them I heard, though thou hast not séene me, and I haue equally weighed their censures: Chawcers opinion hath his, Maister Gower refelled, and made them by his counsaile peremptory to leaue the follies of thy penne and all wanton Amours, to betake them to Philosophy and higher laboures: but to diuert thée from that opinion my sonne am I come to put knowledge in thy lippes, and to teach thée wisedome. I am hee that craued it of the Lord, and he gaue me it, and made me wiser then the sons of men. Therfore harken to my words, and let my sayings sink down into thy heart, so shalt thou be honored in the stréets, & bee had in estimation before the Magistrate. Wisedome my sonne is more worth then pretious stones, yea, all the things that thou canst desire, are not to be compared to it. Wisdome hath her dwelling with knowledge, and prudent counsaile is hir own: with her is the fear of the Lord and the eschewing of il. As for pride and disdaine, and a mouth that speaketh foolish things, she vtterly abhorreth them. She giues counsaile, & is a guide, and is ful of vnderstanding and strength [...] through her kings raign: through her, princes make iust laws: through hir, Lords beare rule, & Iudges of the earth execute iudgement: she is louing to those that loue her, and they that séeke hir ear­ly, shall find hir. Riches and honor are with her: yea, excellent goodnes and righteousnes: her fruit is better then golde, & hir encrease more worth, than fine siluer. The Lord himself hath hirin possession, therfore harkē to hir, for blessed is ye man that watcheth at hir doors: who so findeth hir, findeth life, and shall obtaine fauour of the Lord, and who so offendeth against hir, hurteth his own soule: and who so hateth her, is the louer of death. If then my Sonne, Wisedome be so pretious, howe hast thou mispent thy youth, that hast haunted after foolish­nesse and beaten thy braines about idle fancies, and yet art now resoluing to continue in vanitie: I tell thée, I haue [Page] sought out to finde what is perfect vnder the Sonne: and I haue found nothing but wisdome, without blemish.

Learning hath many braunches, and teacheth her Schol­lers many strange things, and yet my Sonne, when thou hast waded the depth of hir knowledge, and sought into the secret of her bosome, thou shalt finde all thy labours to be vexation of minde and vanitie. Canst thou number and ex­tract, as the cunning Arithmetician: or with Geometrie measure the ground, and leuell out the plaines by the excel­lencie of thine arte. Canst thou reach vnto the heauens with thy knowledge, and tell the course of the Starres, setting downe their aspects, oppositiues, times, and sextiles, and dis­course of the influence of euery Star? canst thou with mu­sick please thine eare, and with the meladie of hir Cordes make thy heart merrie? Canst thou tell the secrets of Philo­sophie, and like a cunning naturalist, discouer the hidden a­phorismes of arte, and set out the nature and operation of all things? wel my sonne, say thou canst write of all these things, yet when thou dooest with a carefull insight, enter into the consideration, what the end of all is, thou shalt finde the stu­die of them to bee vtter vexation of minde, and vanitie: and the fame that growes from such labours, to vanish awaye like smoake, or a vapour tossed with the winde: If then all be follie, séeke Wisdome, and shée will teach thee the feare of the Lord. Therefore my Sonne, follow my counsell from hence­foorth, as thou hast made a vowe to leaue effeminate fancies, and to proclaime thy selfe an open enemie to loue: so abiure all other studies, séeing Omnia sub coelo vanitas, and onely giue thy selfe to Theologie: be a Deuine my Sonne, for her do­cuments are seueritie, and her foode is the bread of life: hir principles came from Heauen, and hir wordes came from aboue, so shalt thou make amends for the follyes of thy youth, and as thou hast seduced youth by thy wanton Pam­phlets: so shalt thou instruct them by thy godlie laboures. Diuinitie, whie it is a studie that farre surpasseth all the se­uen liberall sciences, and the least sparke that it doth lighten, is more bright then all their fading glories: it comprehendeth [Page] the lawe of the Lorde: and by it shalt thou knowe what the depth of his will is. Theologie is mother of all know­ledge, for from it commeth health of the soule, and through it thou shalt win men vnto heauen. Then my Sonne, leaue all other vaine studies, and applye thy selfe to féede vpon that heauenly Manna, whose taste shall comforte thy heart, and drinke of those waters, which shall spring in thée a well of life, and so shalt thou recouer thy fame that thou hast lost, and be accompted of amongst the Elders of the Cittie Couet not to blinde thy selfe with the illusions that other artes present vnto thée: for so shalt thou haue the portion of the foole, and the end of thy labours shall be vanitie: for all know­ledge except it, is meere follie: and there is no wisdome, but the knowledge of the law of the Lord.

Therefore be not wise in thine owne conceit, for he that will not héere instruction, shall feele the smart of the rodde. Deuinitie I tell thee, i [...] the true wisdome [...] and vpon hir right hand is long life, and vpon hir left hand is riches and honour: her wayes are pleasant, and her pathes are peaceable: she is a trée of life to them that lay hould vppon her, and blessed are they that kéepe her fast. The first point of wisdome, is, that thou be willing to obtaine wisdome, and when thou hast got her, shee will make thée a gratious head, and garnishe thy temples with a Crowne of glorie: if then my Sonne, all knowledge, all sciences, all artes, all learning except Theo­logie, be méere foolishnesse and vanitie: leaue the quiddities of Lodgick, and aphorismes of Philosophie: and applye thy wits onely to diuinitie. Hould not these precepts light, that I haue giuen thée, nor disdayne not my counsaile, for I that speake to thée am Salomon.

And this he spake with such a maiestie, that the terrour of his countenance afrighted me, and I started and awoake, and found my selfe in a dreame: yet Gentlemen, when I en­tered into the consideration of the vision, and called to minde not onely the counsaile of Gower, but the perswasions of Salomon: a sodaine feare tainted euery limme, and I felt a [Page] horror in my conscience, for the follyes of my Penne: where­vpon, as in my dreame so awooke, I resolued peremptorilie, to leaue all thoughts of loue, and to applye my wits as néere as I could, to séeke after wisdome so highly commended by Salomon: but howsoeuer the direction of my studies shall be limited me, as you had the blossomes of my wanton fancies, so you shall haue the fruites of my better laboures.

Rob. Greene.

Imprinted at London for Thomas Newman, and are to be sould at his shop in Fleetestreete, in Saint Dunstons Churchyard.

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