Page images

barrassed and fretted with a rivalship, (though not of his friend,) preaches against the folly of love in his turn, and upbraids Euphues for having abandoned his laudable resolution to desert the fair for ever. Euphues, exhilarated by the sun-beams of beauty, calling one day upon his friend, who had retired that he might indulge in a doleful soliloquy on the hardship of his case, finds him in solitude and despondency, and thus rallies him:

What, Philautus, dost thou shun the court to sleep in a corner, as one either cloyed with delight, or having surfeited with desire? believe me, Philautus, if the wind be in that door, or thou so devout, to fall from beauty to thy beads, and to forsake the court to live in a cloister, I cannot tell whether I should more wonder at thy fortune, or praise thy wisdom : but I fear me, if I live to see thee so holy, I shall be an old man before I die; or if thou die not before thou be so pure, thou shalt be more marvelled at for thy years, than esteemed for thy virtues. In sooth, my good friend, if I should tarry a year in England, I could not abide an hour in my chambers: for I know not how it cometh to pass, that in earth I think no other paradise, such variety of delights to allure a courtly eye, such rare purity to draw a

well disposed mind, that I know not whether they be in England more amorous or virtuous; whether I should think my time best bestowed in viewing goodly ladies, or hearing godly lessons.

I had thought no woman to excel Livia in the world; but now I see that in England they be all as good, none worse, many better; insomuch that I am enforced to think, that it is as rare to see a beautiful woman in England without virtue, as to see a fair woman in Italy without pride: courteous they are without coins, but not without a care; amiable without pride, but not without courtliness; merry without curiosity, but not without measure; so that comparing the ladies of Greece with the ladies of Italy, I find the best but indifferent; and comparing both countries with the ladies of England, I account. them all stark nought.

And truly, Philautus, thou shalt not shrive me like a ghostly father, for to thee I will confess in two things my extreme folly; the one in loving Lueilla, who in comparison of these had no spark of beauty, the other for making a cooling card against women, when I see these to have so much virtue : so that in the first I must acknowledge my judgment raw to discern shadows, and rash in the latter to give so peremptory sentence: in both I think myself to have erred 30 much that I recant both, being ready to take any penance thou shalt enjoin me,

[ocr errors]

whether it be a faggot for heresy, or a fine for hypoerisy. An heretic I was by mine invective against women, and no less than an hypocrite for dissembling with thee: for now, Philautus, I am of that mind that women,- -but Philautus taking hold of this discourse, interrupted him with a sudden reply, as followeth.

Stay, Euphues, I can level at the thoughts of thy: heart by the words of thy mouth; for that commonly the tongue uttereth the mind, and the outward speech bewrayeth the inward spirit. For as a good root is known by a fair blossom, so is the substance of the heart noted by the shew of the countenance. I can see day at a little hole: thou must halt cunningly if thou beguile a cripple; but I cannot choose but laugh to see thee play with the bait, that I fear thou hast swallowed, thinking with a mist to make my sight blind, because I should not perceive thy eyes bleared; but in faith, Euphues, I am now as well acquainted with thy conditions as with thy per son, and use hath made me so expert in thy dealings, that well thou mayest juggle with the world, but thou shalt never deceive me.

A burnt child dreadeth the fire; he that stumbleth twice at one stone is worthy to break his shins : thou mayst happily forswear thyself, but thou shalt never delude me; I know thee now as readily by thy visard as thy visage: it is a blind goose that know

[ocr errors]

eth not a fox from a fern-bush, and a foolish fellow that cannot discern craft from conscience, being once cozened. But why should I lament thy follies with grief, when thou seemest to colour them with deceit ? Ah, Euphues, I love thee well, but thou hatest thyself, and seekest to heap more harms on thy head by a little wit, than thou shalt ever claw off by thy great wisdom. All fire is not quenched by water; thou hast not love in a string; affection is not thy slave; thou canst not leave when thou listest. With what face, Euphues, canst thou return to thy vomit, seeming with the greedy hound to lap up that which thou didst cast up? I am ashamed to rehearse the terms that once thou didst utter of malice against women, and art thou not ashamed now again to recant them ? They must needs think thee either envious upon small occasion, or amorous upon a light cause; and then will they all be as ready to hate thee for thy spite, as to laugh at thee for thy looseness.

No, Euphues, so deep a wound cannot be healed with so light a plaster; thou mayst by art recover the skin, but thou canst never cover the scar; thou mayst flatter with fools because thou art wise, but the wise will ever mark thee for a fool. Then sure I cannot see what thou gainest, if the simple condemn thee of flattery and the grave of folly. Is thy cooling card of this property, to quench fire in others, and to kindle flames in thee? or is it a

whet-stone to make thee sharp, and us blunt; or a sword to cut wounds in me, and cure them in Euphues? Why didst thou write that against them thou never thoughtest, or if thou didst it, why dost thou not follow it? But it is lawful for the physician to surfeit, for the shepherd to wander, for Euphues to prescribe what he will, and do what he list.

The sick patient must keep a straight diet, the silly sheep a narrow fold; poor Philautus must believe Euphues and all lovers (he only excepted) are cooled with a card of teen, or rather fooled with a vain toy. Is this thy professed purity, to cry peccavi? thinking it as great sin to be honest, as shame not to be amorous: thou that didst blaspheme the noble sex of women without cause, dost thou now commit idolatry with them without care, observing as little gravity then in thine unbridled fury, as thou dost now reason by thy disordinate fancy? I see now that there is nothing more smooth than glass, yet nothing more brittle: nothing more fair than snow, yet nothing less firm: nothing more fine than wit, yet nothing more fickle.


Thou art in love, Euphues, contrary to thine oath, thine honour, thine honesty; neither would any professing that thou doest live as thou doest, which is no less grief to me, than shame to thee; excuse thou mayst make to me, because I am credulous; but amends to the world thou canst not frame, because

« PreviousContinue »