The Third Book of the Courtier
This English translation of The Book of the Courtier is that of Sir Thomas Hoby (1561) as edited by Walter Raleigh for David Nutt, Publisher, London, 1900, and partakes of the virtues and faults, as may be, of that edition. It was transcribed by Risa S. Bear at the University of Oregon during the summer of 1997. This edition is provided to the public for nonprofit purposes only; the design is copyright © 1997 The University of Oregon. Corrections and comments to the Publisher, rbear[at]uoregon.edu .
OF THE COURTYER OF COUNT
Englished at the request of
the Ladye Marquesse of Northampton
in anno 1551
T is read that Pithagoras verie wittilye and after a suttill maner found out the measure of Hercules bodye, in that he knew that the space where everye fyve yeeres they kept the games or prices of Olympicus in Achaia nigh unto Elis beefore Jupiter Olympicus Temple, was measured by Hercules himselfe: and appointed a furlonge of grounde there of sixe hundreth and five and twentie of his owne feete: and the other furlonges whiche after his time were caste oute in diverse partes of Greece by his successors, were also of sixe hundreth and five and twentie of their feete, but for all that somewhat shorter then his. Pythagoras knewe furthwith by that proportion how muche Hercules foote was bigger then all other mens feete, and so the measure of his foote once knowen, he gathered that all Hercules bodye proporcionally in greatnesse exceaded all other mens, so muche, as that furlonge, all other furlonges. You may the (gentle M. Alphonsus) by the verie same reason easlie gather by this least parte of all the rest of the bodye, how farr the Court of Urbin excelled all the other in Italy. For if the sportes and
pastymes (that are used to none other end but to refresh the werisome mindes after earnest labours) far passed all such as are commonly used in the other Courtes of Italy: what (gesse you) were al the other vertuous practises, wherunto al men had their mindes bent and were full and wholly addicted. And of this I may be boulde to make my vaunt, nothing mistrusting but to be credited therin, consideringe I goe not about to praise so auntient antiquities wherin I might, if I were disposed, feine what I lusted: but of this I speake, I am able to bring furth manie men of woorthy credence, for sufficient triall, whiche as yet are in lief and have themselves seene and marked well the livinge and conversation of such as in times past excelled in that Court. And I recken my selfe bounde (for that lyeth in me to do) to stretch furth my force with all diligence to defende this famous memorie from mortall oblivion, and with my penn to make it live in the mindes of oure posteritie, wherby perhappes in time to come there shall not want that will envie this our time. For there is no manne that readeth of the wonderful families of times past, but in his mind he conceyveth a certein greater opinion of them that are written upon, then it appeereth those bookes can expresse though they have bine written with perfection: even so do we consider that all the readers of this our travayle (if at the least wise it shall deserve so much favour, that it may come to the sight of noble men and vertuous Ladies) will cast in their minde and thinke for a surety, that the Court of Urbin hath bine muche more excellent and better fournished with notable men, then we are able to expresse in writinge. And in case so much eloquence were in me, as there was prowesse in them, I should nede none other testimonie to make such give full credence to my woordes, as have not seene it.
Pisis. ad Jovem Olimpicum.
Plin. lib. ii. cap. xxiii. De natur. histor.
The Court of Urbin.
Whan therfore the companye was assembled in the accustomed place the day folowinge at the due hour, and set with silence, everye man tourned his eyes to Sir Fridericke and to the L. Julian, waytinge whan the one of them would beegine to speake his minde.
Wherfore the Dutchesse, after she had bine still a while: My L. Julian (quoth she) every mans desire is to see this your Gentilwoman well set furthe, and if you showe us her not in such maner, that all her beawties maye be discerned, we will suspect that you are jealous over her.
The L. Julian answered: Madam, if I reckened her beawtifull, I would show you her without any other setting furth, and in suche wise as Paris did beehoulde the three
Goddesses. But in case these Ladies be not a helpe to me to trim her (who can do it right well) I doubt me, that not onlye the L. Gaspar and Phrisio, but all the other Lordes here shall have a just cause to speake yll of her. Therefore sins she is yet in some part deemed beawtifull, perhappes it shall be better to kepe her close and see what Sir Friderick hath yet beehind to speake of the Courtier, which (no doubt) is muche more beawtifull then my woman can be.
That I had in minde, answered Sir Fridericke, is not so necessary for the Courtier, but it may be left out, and no hurt done: yea, it is a contrarye matter almost to that hitherto hath bine reasoned of.
And what matter is it then? quoth the Dutchesse.
Sir Fridericke answered: I was pourposed, in what I coulde, to declare the causes of these companies and ordres of knightes brought up by great Princis under diverse standardes, as is that of Saint Michael in the house of Fraunce, the order of the Garter under the title of Saint George in the house of Englande, the Golden Flice in the house of Burgony, and how these dignities be geven, and in what sort thei that deserve are disgraced from them how
they first came up, who were the founders of them, and to what ende they were ordeined, bicause we see that these knightes in great Courtes are alwayes highlye estemed. I minded also, if time had suffised me, beside the diversitie of maners used in the Courtes of christian princes in feasting and appeeringe in open showes, to speake somewhat also of the great Turkes: but much more particularlye of the Sophyes kinge of Persia: for whan I understood by merchaunt men a longe time trafficked in that countrey, the noble men there to be very ful of prowesse and well manered and use in their conversation one with an other, and in womens service, and in all their practisinges much courtesie and great sobrietie, and whan time serveth, in marciall feates, in sportinges, and undertaking enterprises much sumptuousnes, great liberality and braverie, I delited to knowe what order they take in these thinges which they sett most store by, wherin their Pompes consist and braveries of garmentes and armour, wherin they differ from us, and wherin we agree, what kinde of enterteinment their women use, and with what sober mode they showe favour to who so is in their love service: but to say the truth, it is no fitt time nowe to entre into this talke, especiallye sins there is other to be said, and much more to our pourpose then this.
Order of S. Michael.
Of the Garter.
Of the Golden Flise.
Yes, quoth the L. Gaspar, both this and many other thinges be more to the pourpose, then to facion this gentilwoman of the Palaice, forsomuche as the verie same rules that are given for the Courtier, serve also for the woman, for aswell ought she to have respect to times and places and to observe (asmuche as her weaknesse is able to beare) all the other properties that have bin somuch reasoned upon, as the Courtier. And therfore in steade of this, it were not perhappes amisse to teach some particular pointes that beelong to the service about a Princis person, for no doubt the Courtier ought to know them and to have a grace in doing them. Or els to speake of the way that he ought to take in the bodily exercises, how to ride, to handle weapon, and wrastle, and wherin consisteth the hardnes of these feates.
Then spake the Dutchesse, smiling: Princis are not served about their persons with so excellent a Courtier as this is. As for the exercises of bodye and strength and slightnes of person, we will leave them for M. Peter Mount here to take charge to teache them whan he shall thinke most meete, for presently the L. Julian hath nothinge elles to speake of, but of this woman, whom (me thinke) you nowe beegine to have a feare of, therfore woulde brynge us oute of oure pourpose.
Phrisio answered: Certein it is, that nowe it is needlesse and out of pourpose to talke of women, especially beeinge yet beehinde somwhat to be spoken of the Courtier, for the one matter ought not to be mingled with the other.
You are in a great errour, answered the L. Cesar Gonzaga, for like as no other Court, great ever it be, can have any sightlinesse, or brightnesse in it, or mirth without women, nor anie Courtier can be gratious, pleasant or hardye, nor at anye time undertake any galant enterprise of Chivalrye onlesse he be stirred wyth the conversacion and wyth the love and contentacion of women, even so in like case the Courtiers talke is most unperfect ever more, if the entercourse of women give them not a part of the grace wherwithall they make perfect and decke out their playing the Courtier.
The L. Octavian laughed and saide: Beehoulde a peece of the bayte that bringeth men out of their wittes.
Then the L. Julian tourning him to the Dutchesse: Madam (quoth he) sins it is so youre pleasure, I will speake that commeth to minde, but with verie great doubt to satisfie. And iwisse a great deale lesse peine it were for me to facion a lady that should deseve to be Queene of the world, then a perfect gentilwoman of the Court, for of herr I wote not where to fett any pattern, but for a Queene I should not neede to seeke farr, and sufficient it were for me onlye to imagin the heavenly condicions of a lady whom I know, and through seeynge them, direct all my thoughtes to expresse plainlye with woordes the thynge that manye see with their eyes, and where I could do no more, yet should I fulfill my dutie in naminge her.
Then said the Dutchesse: Pass not your boundes (my L. Julian) but minde the order taken, and facion the gentilwoman of the Palaice, that this so woorthie a maistresse maye have hym that shall woorthelie serve her.
The L. Julian proceaded: For a proof therfore (Madam) that your commaundement may drive me to assaye to do, yea the thinge I have no skill in, I shall speake of this excellent woman, as I woulde have her. And whan I have facioned her after my minde, and can afterwarde gete none other, I will take her as mine owne, after the example of Pigmalion. And where as the L. Gaspar hath said, that
the verye same rules that are given for the Courtier, serve also for the woman, I am of a contrarye opinion. For albeit some qualities are commune and necessarye aswell for the woman as the man, yet are there some other more meeter for the woman then for the man, and some again meete for the man, that she ought in no wise to meddle withall. The verie same I saye of the exercises of the bodye. But principally in her facions, maners, woordes, gestures and conversation (me thinke) the woman ought to be muche unlike the man. For right as it is seemlye for him to showe a certain manlinesse full and steadye, so doeth it well in a woman to have a tendernes, soft and milde, with a kinde of womanlie sweetnes in everye gesture of herres,
Ovid. lib. xiii. Metam.
that in goyng, standinge and speakinge what ever she lusteth, may alwayes make her appeere a woman without anye likenes of man. Adding therfore this principle to the rules that these Lordes have taught the Courtier, I thinke well, she maye serve her tourne with manye of them, and be endowed with verye good qualities, as the L. Gaspar saith. For many vertues of the minde I recken be as necessary for a woman, as for a man. Likewise noblenesse of birth, avoidinge Affectation or curiositie, to have a good grace of nature in all her doinges, to be of good condcyons, wyttye, foreseeyng, not haughtie, not envious, not yll tunged, not light, not contentious, not untowardlye, to have the knowleage to wynn and kepe the good wyll of her Ladye and of all others, to do well and with a good grace the exercises comely for women. Me thinke well beawty is more necessarie in her then in the Courtier, for (to saye the truth) there is a great lacke in the woman that wanteth beawtie. She ought also to be more circumspect and to take better heed that she give no occasion to be yll reported of, and so to behave her selfe, that she be not onlye not spotted wyth anye fault, but not so much as with suspicion. Bicause a woman hath not so many wayes to defende her selfe from sclaunderous reportes, as hath a man. But for somuch as Count Lewis hath verye particularly expressed the principall profession of the Courtier, and willeth it to be in Marsiall feates, me thinke also beehouffull to uttre
Wherin the woman should differ from the man.
In what they agree.
(according to my judgement) what the Gentilwomans of the Palace ought to be: in which point whan I have throughlye satisfied, I shall thinke my self rid of the greatest part of my dutye. Leaving therfore a part of the vertues of the minde that ought to be commune to her with the Courtier, as wisdome, noblenes of courage, staidenesse, and manie mo, and likewise the condicions that are meete for all women, as to be good and discrete, to have the understanding to order her husbandes goodes and her house and children whan she is maried, and all those partes that beelonge to a good huswief: I say that for her that liveth in Court, me thinke there beelongeth unto her above all other thinges, a certein sweetnesse in language that may delite, wherby she may gentlie entertein all kinde of men with talke woorth the hearynge and honest, and applyed to the time and place, and to the degree of the person she communed withall: accompaniyng with sober and quiet maners and with the honestye that must alwayes be a stay to all her deedes, a readie livelines of wit, wherby she may declare herselfe far wide from all dulnesse: but with such a kinde of goodnes,
Vertues of the minde.
that she may be esteamed no lesse chaste, wise and courteise, then pleasant, feat conceited and sobre: and therefore must she kepe a certein meane very hard, and (in a maner) dirived of contrarie matters, and come just to certein limites, but not passe them. This woman ought not therfore (to make herself good and honest) be so skemish and make wise to abhorr both the companye and the talke (though somwhat of the wantonest) if she be present, to gete her thens by and by, for a man may lightlye gesse that she feined to be so coye to hide that in herselfe, whiche she doubted others might come to the knowleage of: and such nice facions are alwaies hateful. Neither ought she again (to showe herself free and pleasant) speake wordes of dishonesty, nor use a certein familiaritye withoute measure and bridle, and facions to make men beleave that of her, that perhappes is not: but beeinge present at suche kinde of talke, she ought to geve the hearinge with a litle blushing and shamefastnes. Likewise to eschew one vice that I have seen reigne in
Sweetnesse in language.
Livelinesse of wit.
many: namely, to speake and willingly to give ear to such as report ill of other women: for suche as in hearinge the dishonest beehaviours of other women disclosed, are offended at the matter, and make wise not to credit and (in maner) to thinke it a wonder that a woman should lead an unclean lief, they make proof that sins this fault seemeth unto them so foule a matter, they commit it not. But those that go alwaies harking out the loves of others and disclose them so point by point, and with such joye, it seemeth that they envy the matter, and that their desire is to have all men know it, that the like may not be imputed to them for a trespace, and so they tourne it to certein laughters with a kind of gesture, wherby they make men to suspect at the verie same instant that they take great contentacion at it. And of this arriseth, that men although to their seeming they give diligent ear to it, for the most part conceive an ill opinion of them and have them in verye small reputation, and (to their weeninge) with these beehaviours are enticed to attempt them farther. And many times afterward they renn so farr at rovers, that it purchaseth them worthely an yll name, and in conclusion are so litle regarded, that men passe not for their companie, but rather abhorr them. And contrariwise, there is no man so shameles and high minded, but beareth a great reverence towarde them that be counted good and honest, bicause that gravitie tempered with knowleage and goodnes, is (as it were) a shield against the
To much a familiaritye.
To speake and give eare to ill reportes of other women.
wanton pride and beastlines of saucy merchauntes. Wherfore it is seen that one woord, a laughter or a gesture of good will (how litle soever it be) of an honest woman, is more set by of every man, then al the toyes and wanton gestures of them that so lavishly show small shamefastnesse. And where they leade not in deede an uncleane lief, yet wyth those wanton countenaunces, babblinge, scornfulnesse, and suche scoffynge condicions they make men to thinke they do. And forsomuch as wordes that are not grounded upon some pithie foundacion, are vaine and childishe, the Gentilwoman of the Palaice, beeside her discreation to understand the condicion of him she talketh withall, to entertein him honestlye, must needes have a sight in manie thinges, and a judgemente in her communication to pike out such as be to pourpose for the condicion of him she talketh withall, and be heedefull that she speake not otherwhile where she wold not, woordes that may offende him. Let her beeware of praysing her selfe undiscreatly, or beeinge to tedious that she make him not weerie. Let her not go mingle with pleasant and laughing talke, matters of gravitie: nor yet with grave, Jestes and feat conceites. Let her not foolishlye take upon her to know that she knoweth not, but soberly seeke to be estemed for that she knoweth, avoiding (as is saide) Curiousitie in all thinges. In this
Honest women esteamed with all men.
Beehaviour in talke.
maner shall she be indowed with good condicions, and the exercises of the body comlie for a woman shall she do with an exceading good grace, and her talke shall be plentuous and ful of wisdome, honesty, and pleasantnesse: and so shall she be not only beloved but reverenced of all men, and perhappes woorthie to be compared to this great Courtier, aswel for the qualities of the minde as of the bodye.
Whan the L. Julian had hitherto spoken, he helde his peace, and settled himselfe as thoughe he had made an ende of his talke.
Then said the L. Gaspar: No doubt (my L. Julian) but you have decked gaily out this Gentilwoman, and made her of an excellent condicion: yet me seemeth that you have gone generallye inough to woorke, and neamed in her certein thinges so great, that I thinke in my minde you are ashamed to expound them, and have rather wished them in her, after the maner of them that somtime wishe for thinges unpossible and above nature, then taught them. Therfore woulde I that you declared unto us a little better, what exercises of the bodye are meete for a Gentilwoman of the Palaice, and in what sorte she ought to entertein, and what those many thinges be whiche you saye she ought to have a sight in: and whether wisedome, noblenesse of courage, staidnesse and those manye other vertues that you have spoken of, your meaninge is should helpe her about the overseeinge onlie of her house, children and houshoulde (the which neverthelesse you will not have her principall profession) or els to entertein, and to do these exercises of the body with a good grace: and in good felowship take heede ye put not these seelie vertues to so vyle an occupation that they may be ashamed of it.
The L. Julian laughed and said: You can not chouse (my L. Gaspar) but still you must uttre youre yll stomake againste women. But certes me thought I had spoken sufficient, and especiallyie beefore such audience, that I beleave none here, but understandeth concernynge the exercises of the body, that it is not comlye for a woman to practise feates of armes, ridinge, playinge at tenise, wrastlinge, and manye other thynges that beelonge to men.
Then said Unico Aretino: Emonge them of olde time the maner was that women wrastled naked with men, but we have lost this good custome together with manye mo.
The L. Cesar Gonzaga replied to this: And in my time I have seene woman playe at tenise, practise feates of armes, ride, hunt, and do (in a maner) all the exercises beeside, that a gentilman can do.
The L. Julian answered: Sins I may facion this woman after my minde, I will not onelye have her not to practise these manlie exercises so sturdie and boisterous, but also even those that are meete for a woman, I will have her to do them with heedfulnesse and with the soft mildenesse that we have said is comelie for her. And therfore in daunsynge I would not see her use to swift and violent trickes, nor yet in singinge or playinge upon instrumentes those harde and often divisions that declare more counninge then sweetenesse. Likewise the instrumentes of musike which she useth (in mine opinion) ought to be fitt for this
pourpose. Imagin with your selfe what an unsightly matter it were to see a woman play upon a tambour or drumm, or blowe in a flute or trompet, or anye like instrumente: and this bicause the boisterousnesse of them doeth both cover and take away that sweete mildenes which setteth so furth everie deede that a woman doeth. Therfore whan she commeth to daunse, or to show any kinde of musike, she ought to be brought to it with suffringe her self somewhat to be prayed, and with a certein bashfulnes, that may declare the noble shamefastnes that is contrarye to headinesse. She ought also to frame her garmentes to this entent, and so to appararaile herself that she appeere not fonde and light. But forsomuch as it is lefull and necessary for women to sett more by their beawty then men, and sundrie kindes of beawtie there are, thys woman ought to have a judgement to knowe what maner garmentes set her best out, and be most fitt for the exercises that she entendeth to undertake at that instant, and with them to arraye herselfe. And where she perceyveth in her a sightlye and cheerfull beawtie, she ought to farther it with gestures, wordes and apparaile, that all may betoken mirth. In like case an other that feeleth herself of a milde and grave disposition, she ought also to accompany it with facions of the like sort, to encrease that that is the gift of nature. In like maner where she is somwhat fatter or leaner then reasonable sise, or wanner, or browner, to helpe it with garmentes, but feiningly asmuch as she can possible, and keapinge herself clenlye and handsome, showe alwaies that she bestoweth no pein nor diligence at all about it. And bicause the L. Gaspar doeth also aske what these manye thinges be she ought to have a sight in, and howe to entertein, and whether the vertues ought to be applyed to this enterteinment, I saye that I will have her to understande that these Lordes have wylled the Courtier to knowe: and in those exercises that we have saide are not comelye for
Speculation of musike.
Instrumentes of musike.
How she should come to show her feates.
her, I will at the least she have that judgement, that men can have of the thinges which they practise not, and this to have knowleage to praise and make of Gentilmen more and lesse accordinge to their desertes. And to make a breef rehersall in fewe woordes of that is alreadye saide, I will that this woman have a sight in letters, in musike, in drawinge or peinctinge, and skilfull in dausninge, and in divising sportes and pastimes, accompaniynge with that discreete sobermode and with the givinge a good opinion of herselfe, the other principles also that have bine taught the Courtier. And thus in conversation, in laughing, in sporting, in jestinge, finally in every thinge she shall be had in very great price, and shall entertein accordingly both with Jestes and feat conceites meete for her, everie person that commeth in her company. And albeit staidnes, noblenes of courage, temperance, strength of the minde, wisdome and the other vertues a man wold thinke beelonged not to entertein, yet will I have her endowed with them all, not somuch to entertein (although notwithstanding they may serve therto also) as to be vertuous: and these vertues to make her suche a one, that she may deserve to be esteamed, and al her doinges framed by them.
A judgement in exercises not meete for her.
Qualities for a Gentilwoman.
I wonder then, quoth the L. Gaspar smilinge, sins you give women both letters, and staidnesse, and noblenesse of courage and temperance, ye will not have them also to beare rule in Cities and to make lawes, and to leade armies, and men to stand spinning in the kitchin.
The L. Julian answered in like maner smiling: Perhappes to, this were not amisse, then he proceaded. Do you not know that Plato (which in deede was not very friendly to women) giveth them the overseeing of Cities, and all other marciall offices he appointeth to men? Thinke you not there were manye to be found that could aswell skill in ruling Cities and armies, as men can? But I have not appointed them these offices, bicause I facion a waiting gentilwoman of the Court, not a queene. I se wel you wold covertly have up again the sclaunderous report that the L. Octavian gave women yesterday: namely, That they be moste unperfect creatures, and not apt to woorke anye vertuous deed, and of verie litle woorthiness and of no value in respet of men. But surely both he and you should be in verie great errour if ye thought so.
Then said the L. Gaspar: I wyll not have up again matters alreadye past, but you woulde faine presse me to speake some worde that might offende these Ladies mindes, to make them my foes, as you with flattringe them falselye will purchase their good will. But they are so wise above other, that they love trueth better (althoughe it make not so muche with them) then false praises: neyther take they it in yll part for a man to saye, that Men are of a more woorthiness, and they will not let to confesse that you have spoken greate wonders, and appointed to the gentilwoman of the Palaice certein fonde unpossible matters, and so many vertues that Socrates and Cato and all the Philosophers in the worlde are nothinge to her. For to tell you the plaine trothe, I marveile you were not ashamed somuch to passe youre boundes, where it ought to have suffised ye to make this gentilwoman of the Palaice beawtifull, sober, honest, welspoken, and to have the understandinge to entertein without renninge in sclaunder, with daunsinge, musike, sportes, laughing, Jestes, and the other matters that we see daily used in Court: but to go about to give her the knowleage of all thinges in the worlde, and to appoint her the vertues that so syldome times are seene in men, yea and in them of old time, it is a matter that can neyther be held withall nor scantlye heard. Now that women are unperfect creatures and consequently of less woorthiness then men, and not apt to conceive those vertues that they are, I pourpose not to affirme it, bicause the prowesse of the Ladies were inough to make me a lyer. Yet this I saye unto you, that most wise men have left in writinge, that nature, bicause she is
alwaies set and bent to make thinges most perfect, if she coulde, woulde continuallye bring furth men, and whan a woman is borne, it is a slacknes or default of nature, and contrary to that she would do. As it is also seene in one borne blinde, lame, or with some other impediment, and in trees manye frutes that never ripen: even so may a woman be said to be a creature brought furth at a chaunce and by happe, and that it is so, marke me the woorkes of the man and the woman, and by them make your proof of the perfection of ech of them. Howbeit sins these defaultes of women are the wite of nature that hath so brought them furthe, we ought not for this to hate them, nor feint in havinge lesse respect to them then is meete, but to esteame them above that they are, me thinketh a plaine errour.
A woman the default of nature.
The L. Julian looked the L. Gaspar would have proceaded on still, but whan he sawe nowe that he helde his peace, he said: Of the unperfectnes of women me thinke you have alleaged a verye cold reason, wherunto (albeit may happ it were not now meete to entre into these subtil pointes) I answere accordinge to the opinion of him that is
of skill, and accordinge to the truth, that Substance in what ever thinge it be, can not receive it more or less: for as no stone can be more perfectlye a stone, then an other: as touchinge the beeinge of a stone: nor one blocke more perfectlie a blocke, then an other: no more can one man be more perfectlye a man then an other, and consequentlye the male kinde shall not be more perfect, then the female, as touchinge his formall substance: for both the one and the other is conteined under the Species of Homo, and that wherein they differ is an accidentall matter and no essentiall. In case you will tell me that the man is more perfecte then the woman, thoughe not as touchinge the essentiall, yet in the Accidentes, I answere that these accidentes must consist eyther in the bodye or in the minde: yf in the bodye, bicause the man is more sturdier, nimbler, lighter, and more abler to endure travaile, I say that this is an argument of smalle perfection: for emonge men themselves such as abounde in these qualities above other, are not for them the more esteamed: and in warr, where the greatest part of peinfull labours are and of strength, the stoutest are not for all that the moste set bye. Yf in the mind, I say, what ever thinges men can understande, the self same can women understande also: and where it perceth the capacitie of the one, it may in likewise perce the others. Here after the L. Julian had made a litle stopp, he proceaded smilinge: Do you not know that this principle is helde in Philosophy, Who so is tender of flesh is apt of mind? Therfore there is no doubt, but women beeing tenderer of flesh, are also apter of minde, and of a more enclined witt to musinges and speculations, then men. Afterward he folowed on: But leaving this a part, bicause you said that I should make my proof of the perfection of ech of them by the woorkes, I saye unto you, if you consider the effectes of nature, you shall finde that she bringeth women furth as they be, not at a chaunce, but fittlye necessary for the ende. For albeit she shapeth them of bodye not stoute and of a milde minde, with manye other qualities contrarye to mens, yet doe the condicions of eche of them stretch unto one self ende, concerning the self same profit. For even as through that weake feeblenes women are of a lesser courage, so are they also by the verye same more warie. Therefore moothers nourish up children and fathers instruct them, and with manlines provide for it abrode, that they with carefull diligence store up in the house, which is no lesse praise. In case you wil then consider the auntient Histories (albeit men at all times have bine verie sparing in writinge the prayses of women) and them of latter dayes, ye shall finde that continually vertue hath raigned aswell emong women as men: and that suche there have bine also that have made warr and obteined glorious victories, governed realmes with
Substantia non recipit maius aut minus.
Homo both man and woman.
great wisdome and justice, and done what ever men have done. As touchinge sciences, do you not remember ye have read of so manie that were well seene in Philosophie? Other, that have bine most excellent in Poetrye? Other, that have pleaded, and both accused and defended beefore Judges most eloquentlye? Of handicraftes, longe it were to reherse, neither is it needfull to make any rehersall therof. If then in the esentiall substance the man is no more perfect then the woman, nor yet in the Accidentes (and of this beeside reason, the experiences are seene) I wote not wherein this his perfection shoulde consist. And bicause you saide that Natures entent is alwaies to bring furth thinges most perfect, and therefore if she could, would alwayes bringe furth a man, and that the bringing a woman furth is rather a default and slackenesse of nature, then her entent, I answere you that this is ful and wholly to be denied, neither can I see whie you maye saye that nature entendeth not to bring furth women, without whom mankind can not be preserved, wherof nature herself is more desirous then of anye thinge elles, bicause through the meanes of this felowship of male and female she bringeth furth children, that restore the received benifites in their chldhood to their fathers in their old dayes, in that they nourishe them: afterwarde they renue them, in beegettinge them selves also other children, of whom they looke in their old age to receive it, that beeing yonge they beestowed uppon their fathers: wherby nature (as it were) tourning her about in a circle, fulfilleth an everlastingnesse, and in this wise geveth an immortalitie to mortall men. Sins then to this, the woman is as needefull as the man, I can not discern for what cause the one is made by hap more then the other. Truth it is that Nature entendeth alwaies to bringe furth matters most perfect, and therfore meaneth to bring furth man in his kinde, but not more male then female. Yea were it so that she alwayes brought furth male, then shoulde it withoute peraventure be an unperfectnesse: for like as of the bodye and of the soule there arriseth a compounde more nobler then his partes, whiche is, man: even so of the felowshippe of male and female
Women have acheved great enterprises.
there arriseth a compounde preservinge mankinde, without which the partes wer in decaye, and therfore male and female by nature are alwaies together, neither can the one be without the other: right so he ought not to be called the male, that hath not a female (accordinge to the definition of both the one and the other) nor she the female that hath not a male. And for somuch as one kinde alone betokeneth an imperfection, the divines of olde time referr both the one and the other to God: wherfore Orpheus said that Jupiter was both male and female: and it is read in Scripture that God facioned male and female to his likeness. And the Poetes manie times speaking of the Goddes, meddle the kindes together.
Male can not be without female.
Then the L. Gaspar: I woulde not (quoth he) we should entre into these subtill pointes, for these women will not understande us. And albeit I answere you with verie good reasons, yet will they beleave, or at the leaste make wise to beleave that I am in the wrong, and furthwith will geve sentence as they lust. Yet sins we are entred into them, only this will I saye, that (as you know, it is the opinion of most wise men) the man is likened to the Fourme, the woman to the Mattier: and therfore as the Fourme is perfecter then the Mattier, yea it giveth him his beeing, so is the man much more perfect then the woman. And I remember that I have heard (whan it was) that a greate Philosopher in certein Problemes of his saith: Whens commeth it that
naturally the woman alwaies loveth the man, that hath bine the first to receive of her, amorous pleasures? And contrariwise the man hateth the woman that hath bine the first to coople in that wise with him? and addinge therto the cause, affirmeth it to be this: For that in this act, the woman receyveth of the man perfection, and the man of the woman imperfection: and therfore everie man naturallye loveth the thinge that maketh him perfect: and hateth that maketh him unperfect. And beeside this a great argument of the perfection of the man, and of the imperfection of the woman, is, that generallye everye woman wisheth she were a man, by a certein provocation of nature, that teacheth her to wishe for her perfection.
Aristot. i. Physic. xviii.
The L. Julian answered sodeinlye: The seelie poore creatures wish not to be a man to make them more perfect, but to have libertye, and to be ridd of the rule that men have of their owne authoritie chalenged over them. And the similitude which you give of the Mattier and Fourme, is not alike in everye point: bicause the woman is not made so perfect by the man, as is the Mattier by the Fourme, for the Mattier receiveth his beeinge of the Fourme, and can not stande without it: yea the more Mattier Fourmes have, the more imperfection they have withall, and severed from it, are most perfect: but the woman receiveth not her beeinge of the man, yea as she is made perfect by the man, so doeth she also make him perfect: wherby both the one and the other come together to beegete children: the whyche thinge they can not do any of them by them selves. The cause then of the continuall love of the woman towarde the first that she hath bine with, and of the hatred of the man towarde the first woman, I will not affirme to be that youre Philosopher alleageth in his Problemes, but I impute it to the surenesse and stablenesse of the woman, and waveringe of the man, and that not without naturall reason: for sins the male is naturallye hott, by that qualitie he taketh lightnesse, stirring and unstedfastnes, and contrariwise the woman throughe colde, quietnesse, steadie waightinesse, and more earnest imprintinges.
Then the L. Emilia tourninge her to the L. Julian: For love of God (quoth she) come once out of these your Mattiers and Fourmes and males and females, and speake so that you maye be understoode: for we have heard and very well understoode the ill that the L. Octavian and the L. Gaspar have spoken of us: but sins we understande not nowe in what sort you stand in our defence, me thinke therfore that this is a straiynge from the pourpose, and a leavinge of the yvell imprintinge in everye mans minde that these our ennemies have given of us.
Give us not this name, answered the L. Gaspar, for more meter it were for the L. Julian, whiche in givinge women false prayses, declareth that there are none true for them.
The L. Julian saide then: Doubt ye not (madam) all shall be answered to. But I will not raile upon men so without reason, as they have done upon women. And if perchaunce there were any one here that meant to penn this our talke, I wolde not that in place where these Mattiers and Fourmes were understoode, the argumentes and reasons which the L. Gaspar alleageth against you shoulde be seen unanswered to.
I wote not, my L. Julian, quoth then the L. Gaspar, howe in this you can denie, that the man is not throughe his naturall qualities more perfect then the woman, whiche of complexion is colde and the man hott, and muche more nobler and perfecter is heate then colde, bicause it is active and furth bringinge: and (as you know) the element poureth downe here emonge us onlye heate, and not colde, which perceth not the wookes of nature: and therfore bicause
women are colde of complexion, I thinke it is the cause of their feinthertednesse and fearfulnesse.
Heat muche perfecter then colde.
Women cold of complexion.
Why the woman is more temperate then the man.
Will you still, answered the L. Julian, entre into subtill ointes? you shall perceive your self at everye time to come into a greater pecke of troubles: and that it is so, herken to. I graunt you, that heat in it self is more perfect then colde, but this foloweth not in meddled matters and compounded, for in case it were so, the body that were most hot should be most perfect: whiche is false, bicause temperate bodies be most perfect. I do you to weete moreover, that the woman is of complexion colde in comparason of the man: which for overmuch heat is far wide from temper: but as touching herself, she is temperate, or at the least neerer to temper than the man, bicause she hath that moisture within her of equall portion with the natural heat, which in the man through overmuch drouth doth sooner melt and consume away. She hath also suche a kinde of colde that it resisteth and comforteth the naturall heate, and maketh it neerer to temper, and in the man overmuch heat doth soone bring the natural warmth to the last degree, the which wanting nourishment, consumeth away: and therfore, bicause men in generacion sooner waxe dry then women, it happeneth oftentimes that they are of a shorter lief. Wherfore this perfection may also be geven to women, that living longer then men, they accomplish it, that is the
entent of nature more then men. Of the heat that the element poureth downe upon us, we talke not now, bicause it is diverse in signification to it which we entreat upon: the which sins it is nourisher of all thinges under the sphere of the moone aswell hott as colde, it can not be contrarye to colde. But the fearfulnes in women although it beetokeneth an imperfection, yet doth it arrise of a praiswoorthie cause, namely the subtilnes and readines of the spirites, that convey spedely the shapes to the understanding, and therfore are they soone out of pacience for outward matters. Full well shall you see many times some men,that dread neither death nor any thing els, yet are they not for all that to be called hardy, bicause they know not the daunger, and goe furth like harbraines where they see the way open, and cast no more with them selves, and this proceadeth of a certein grosnes of the dulled spirites: therfore a fond person can not be said to be stoutherted, but verie courage in deede commeth of a propre advisement and determined will so to doe, and to esteame more a mans honestie and dutye, then all the perils in the worlde, and althoughe he see none other waye but death, yet to be of so quiet an hert and minde that his senses be not to seeke nor
Men sooner drie then women.
The perfection of women above men.
Fearfulnesse in women.
amased, but do their duty in discoursing and beethinkinge, even as though they were most in quiet. Of this guise and maner we have seene and heardsay many great men to be, likewise manie women, which both in olde time and presentlie have showed stoutenes of courage, and brought matters to passe in the world woorthie infinite praise, no lesse then menne have done.
Then said Phrisio: These matters beegan, whan the first woman in offending made others to offend also against God, and for inheritance left unto mankinde death, afflictions, sorowes, and all other miseries and calamityes, that be felt nowe adayes in the worlde.
The L. Julian answered: Sins you will also farther youre pourpose with entringe into scripture, doe you not knowe that the same offence was in like maner amended by a woman? Whiche hath profited muche more then she hindred us, so that trespace acquited with so woorthye a deede, is counted most happye. But I pourpose not now to tell
you, how much in dignitie all creatures of mankinde be inferiour to the virgin our Ladye, for meddlinge holye matters with these our fonde reasoninges: nor reherse howe manye women with infinite stedfastnes have suffred cruell death under Tirannes for the name of Christ: nor them that with learninge in disputacion have confuted so manye Idolatrers. And in case you will answere me, that this was a miracle and the grace of the holy ghost, I say unto you that no vertue deserveth more praise, then that which is approved by the testimonie of God. Manye other also of whom there is no talke, you your self may looke upon, expecially in readinge Saint Hierom, which setteth out certein of his time with such wonderfull prayses, that they might suffise the holyest man that can be. Imagin then how many there have bine of whom there is no made no mention at all: bicause the seelie poore soules are kept close without the pompous
pride to seek a name of holinesse emong the people, that now a dayes many men have, accursed Hypochrites, which not minding, or rather setting smalle store bye, the doctrine of Christ, that willeth a man whan he fasteth, to annoint his face, that he may appeere not to faste, and commaundeth prayer, almes deedes, and other good woorckes, to be done, not in the markett place, nor Sinagoges, but in secrete, so that the left hande knowe not of the right, they affirme no treasure in the world to be greater, then to give a good example, and thus hanging their head aside and fastning their eyes upon the grounde, spreadinge a report about, that they will not once speake to a woman, nor eate anye thinge but raw herbes, smokye, with their side garmentes all to ragged and torne, they beeguile the simple: but for all that, they abstaine not from falsifiynge willes, sowinge mortall hatred beetweene man and wief, and otherwhile poison: usinge sorcery, inchauntmentes and al kinde of ribaldrie, and afterward alleage a certein authoritie of their owne heade, that saith: Si non caste, tamen caute, and with this weene to heale everye greate sore, and with good reason to perswade hym that is not heedefull that God forgiveth soone all offences how heynous ever they be, so they be kept close and no ill example arriseth of them. Thus with a veile of holinesse, and this mischevous devise, manie times they tourne all their thoughtes to defile the chaste minde of some woman, often times to sowe variance beetweene brethren, to governe states, to set up the one and plucke downe the other, to chop of heades, to imprison and banish menne, to be ministers of the wickednesse, and (in a maner) the storers and hoorders up of the robberies that many Princes commit. Other past same delite to seeme delicate and smothe, with their croune minionlye shaven, and well clad, and in their gate lift up their garment to show their hose sit cleane, and the handsomnesse of person in makinge courtesie. Other use certein bye lookes and gestures even at masse, whiche they houlde opinion beecome them wel, and make men to beehoulde them: mischeevous and wicked menne, and cleane voide not onlye of all religion but of all good maner. And whan their naughty lief is laide to them, they make a Jest at it, and give him a mocke that telleth them of it, and (as it were) count their vises a prayse.
Then said the L. Emilia: Suche delite you have to speake yll of Friers, that ye are fallen into this talke without all pourpose. But you commit a great offence to murmur against religious persons, and without any profit ye burden youre conscience: for were it not for them, that they pray unto God for us, we shoulde yet have far greater plages then we have.
Then laughed the L. Julian and said: Howe gessed you so even (Madam) that I spake of Friers, sins I named them not? But forsooth this that I saye, is not called murmuringe, for I speake it plaine and openlye. And I meane not the good, but the bad and wicked, of whom I have not yet spoken the thousandeth part of that I know.
Speake you not now of Friers, answered the L. Emilia: for I thinke it (for my part) a greevous offence to give eare to you, and for hearing you any more, I will get me hens.
I am well pleased, quoth the L. Julian, to speake no more of this. But to retourn to the prayses of women, I saye that the L. Gaspar shall not finde me out any notable man,
but I will finde his wief or sister or daughter of like merite and otherwhile above him. Beeside that, manie have bine occasion of infinite goodnesse to their men, and sometime broken them of manye erroures. Therfore sins women are (as we have declared) naturallye as apt for the selfe same vertues, as men be, and the proof therof hath bine often seene, I wote not whye, in givinge them that is possible they maye have and sundrie times have had and still have, I ought to be deemed to speake wonders, as the L. Gaspar hathe objected against me: consideringe that there have ever bine in the worlde and still are, women as nigh the woman of the Palaice whom I have facioned, as men nigh the man whom these Lordes have facioned.
Women not inferiour to men.
Then said the L. Gaspar: those reasons that have experience against them (in my minde) are not good. And ywisse, yf I shoulde happen to aske you what these great women are or have bine, so worthy praise, as the great men whose wives, sisters, or daughters they have bine, or that have bine occasion of anye goodnesse, or such as have broken them of their erroures, I beleave it woulde combre you shreudlye.
Surely, answered the L. Julian, none other thinge coulde combre me, but the multitude of them: and if time served me, I woulde tell you to this pourpose the Hystories of Octavia wief to Marcus Antonius and sister to Augustus.
Of Porcia daughter to Cato and Wief to Brutus. Of Caia Cecilia wief to Tarquinius Priscus. Of Cornelia daughter to Scipio, and of infinite other, which are most knowen. And not onelye these of oure Countrey, but also Barbariens, as that Alexandra whiche was wief to Alexander Kinge of the Jewes, who after the death of her husbande, seeinge the people in an uprore, and alreadye runn to weapon to slea the two chidren whiche he had left beehinde hym, for a revenge of the cruell and streict bondage that their father had alwayes kept them in, she so beehaved herselfe, that sodeinlye she asswaged that just furye, and in a moment, with wisdome made those myndes favourable to the children, whyche the father in manye yeeres with infinit injuries had made their most ennemies.
Egesipp. lib. 1. cap. 12.
Tell us at the leaste, answered the L. Emilia, howe she dyd.
The L. Julian saide: she perceiving her children in so great a jeopardye, immediatlye caused Alexanders bodye to be caste oute in into the middes of the markett place: afterwarde calling unto her the Citizins, she said, that she knewe their mindes were set on fire wyth moste juste furye againste her husbande: for the cruell injuries whiche he wickedlye
had done them, deserved it: and even as whan he lyved, she dyd her best alwayes to withdrawe hym from so wicked a lief, so nowe she was readie to make a triall therof, and to helpe them to chastise him even deade, asmuch as she might, and therfore should take that bodye of his and give it to be devoured of Dogges, and rente it in peeces in the cruellest maner they coulde imagin. But yet she desired them to take pity uppon the innocent chyldren, that coulde not onelye be in no fault, but not so muche as weettynge of their fathers yll doynges. Of such force were these woordes, that the ragynge furye once conceyved in all that peoples myndes was sodainlye asswaged, and tourned into so tender an affection, that not onelye with one accorde they chose those children for their heades and rulers, but also to the deade corps they gave a most honourable buryall.
She asswaged the furye of the people.
Here the L. Julian made a little pause, afterwarde he proceaded: Knowe you not that Mithridates wyef and Systers showed a farre lesse feare of death, then Mithridates
him selfe? And Asdruballes wief, then Asdrubal himselfe? Know you not that Harmonia daughter to Hiero the Syracusan, woulde have died in the burninge of her Countrye?
Obstinacie called stedfastnesse.
Then Phrisio: Where obstinacye is bent, no doubt (quoth he) but otherwhile ye shall find some women that will never chaunge pourpose, as she that coulde no lenger call her husbande pricklouse, with her handes made him a signe.
The L. Julian laughed and said: Obstinacy that is bent to a vertous ende, ought to be called stedfastnesse, as in Epicharia a libertine of Roome, which made privie to a great conspiracie against Nero, was of such stedfastnesse, that beeinge rent with all the most cruell tormentes that
could be invented, never uttred any of the partners: and and in the like perill manie noble gentilmen and Senatours fearfullly accused brethren, friendes, and the deerest and best beloved persons to them in the worlde. What saye you of this other, called Leena? In whose honoure the Athenians dedicated before the castle gate a lionesse of mettall without a tunge, to betoken in her the steady vertue of silence. For she beeinge in like sort made privie to a conspiracy againste the Tirannes, was not agast at the death of two great men her friendes, and for all she was torne with infinite and moste cruell tormentes, never disclosed any of the conspiratours.
Leena bitt in sunder her tunge and spitt it in the face of Hippias the Tiran. Plin. Lib. 34. cap.8.
Then saide the L. Margaret Gonzaga: Me seemeth that ye make to breef rehersall of these vertuous actes done by women. For although these our ennemies have heard them and read them, yet they make wise not to knowe them, and would faine the memorye of them were loste. But in case ye will doe us to understande them, we will at the least honour them.
Then answere the L. Julian: With a good will. Now wil I tell you of one, that did suche a deede as I beeleave the L. Gaspar himself will confesse that verie fewe menne doe. And beegane. In Massila there was in times past an usage, whiche is thought came out of Greece: and that was, that openlye there was poyson layed up meddled wyth Cicuta, and it was lefull for him to take it that alleaged to
the Senate that he ought to be rid of his lief for some discommoditie that he felt therin, or elles for some other juste cause: to the entent that who so had suffered to much adversitie or tasted over great prosperitie, he might not continue in the one, or chaunge the other. In the presence therfore of Sextus Pompeius-&nobr;-&nobr;-&nobr;-
Cicuta a venimous herbe horrible of savour, one kinde whereof is supposed to be hemlocke.
Here Phrisio not tariynge to have the L. Julian proceade farther: This me seemeth (quoth he) is the beeginninge of some longe tale.
Then the L. Julian tourninge him to the L. Margaret, said: See, Phrisio will not suffre me to speake. I would have toulde you now of a woman, that after she had showed the Senate that she ought of right to die, glad and without any feare, tooke in the presence of Sextus Pompeius the poyson with such stedfastnesse of minde and with such wise and loving exhortations to hers, that Pompeius and all the rest that beeheld in a woman suche knowleage and stedinesse in the tremblinge passage of death, remayned (not without teares) astonied with great wonder.
Then the L. Gaspar smiling: And I again remember (quoth he) that I have read an Oration, wherin an unfortunate husband asketh leave of the Senate to die, and alleageth that he hath a just cause, for that he can not abide the continuall weerisomnes of his wives chattinge, and had leiffer drinke of that poison which you say was laied up openly for these respectes, then of his wives scoldinges.
The L. Julian answered: How many seelie poore women should have a just cause to aske leave to die, for abidinge, I will not say the yll woordes, but the most yvell deedes of their husbandes? For I know of some my self, that in this worlde suffre the peines which are said to be in hell.
Bee there not againe, trow you, answered the L. Gaspar, manye husbandes that are so tourmented with their wives, that everye hour they wishe for death?
And what displeasure, quoth the L. Julian, can women doe their husbandes, that is so without remedy, as those are which husbandes do their wives? which though not for love, yet for feare are obedient to their husbandes.
Sure it is in deede, quoth the L. Gaspar, that the litle they do well otherwhile, commeth of feare, for fewe there are in the world that secretlye in their minde hate not their husbandes.
Nay, cleane contrarye, answered the L. Julian: and in case you will remembre what you have read, it is to be seene in all Histories, that alwaies (in a maner) wives love their husbandes better than they their wives. Whan have you ever seene or read that a hasbande hath showed such a token of love towarde his wief, as did Camma towarde her husbande?
I wote not, answered the L. Gaspar, what she was, nor what token she showed.
Nor I, quoth Phrisio.
The L. Julian answered: Give eare. And you (my L. Margaret) looke ye beare it well awaye. This Camma was
a most beawtifull yonge woman, indowed with suche modestie and honest condicions, that no lesse for them, then for her beawty she was to be wondred at: and above other thinges with all her hert she loved her husband, who had to name Synattus. It happened that an other Gentilman of greater authoritie then Synattus, and (in a maner) head ruler and Tirann of the Citie where they dwelled, fell in love with this yonge woman: and after he had longe attempted by all wayes and meanes to compasse her, and all but loste labour beethinkinge himselfe that the love she bore her husbande, was the onlye cause that withstood his desires, he caused this Synattus to be slayne. Thus instant upon her afterwarde continuallye, other frute coulde he never gete of her, then what he had beefore. Wherfore this love daily encreasinge, he was fullye resolved to take her to wief, for all in degree she was muche inferiour to him. So suite beeinge made to her friendes by Sinoris (for so was the lover named) they tooke in hande to perswade her to be contented wyth it: declaring that to agree therto, was verye profitable, and to refuse it, perilous for her and them all. She after she had a while gainsaied them, at length made answere that she was contented. Her kinsfolke brought this tidinges to Sinoris, which passing measure glad, gave order to have this mariage made out of hande. After they were then both come for this pourpose solemnlye into the Temple of Diana, Camma had caused to be brought to her a certein sweet drinke whiche she had made, and so beefore the image of Diana in the presence of Sinoris she dranke the one moitie. Afterwarde, with her owne hand (for this was the usage in mariages) she gave the remaine to the bridegrome, whiche dranke it cleane up. Camma assone as she sawe her device take effect, kneeled her downe verye joyfull before the image of Diana, and said: Oh Goddesse, thou that knowest the bottome of my hert, be a good witnesse to me, howe hardlye after my deere husbande deceased, I have refreined from killinge my selfe, and what peines I have susteined to endure the greef to live in this bitter lief, in whiche I have felt none other joye or pleasure, but the hope of the revenge whiche I perceyve nowe is come to effect. Therfore wyth gladnesse and contentation I go to finde out the sweete companye of that soule, whiche in lyef and death I have alwayes more loved then mine owne selfe. And thou Caytif, that weeneddest to have bine my hubande, in steade of a mariage bed, give ordre to prepare thee a grave, for of thee do I here make a sacrifice to the shadowe of Synattus. Synoris amased at these woordes, and alreadye feelynge the operation of the poyson within him that put him to great peine, proved many remedies, but all prevayled not. And Camma had fortune so favourable on her side, or what ever els, that beefore she died, she had knowleage that Sinoris was deade. Whan she hearde of that, with verye great contentation she layed her upon her bed, with her eyes to heaven, continuallye callynge upon the name of Synattus, and saying Oh most sweete mate, sins nowe I have bestowed for the last tokens upon thy death, both teares and revenge, and perceive not that I have anye thinge yet beehinde to doe for thee here, I flee the world and this without thee a cruell lief, which for thy sake onlye in times past was dere to me. Come therefore and meete me (oh my Lorde) and embrace as willinglie this soule, as she willinglye commeth to thee. And speakinge these woordes, and with her armes spred, as thoughe she woulde at that instant have embraced him, died. Say nowe Phrisio, what thinke you by this?
An example of the true love of a wief toward her husbande.
Phrisio answered: Me thinke you woulde make these Ladies weepe. But let us sett case this was true, I say unto you that we finde no more such women in the worlde.
The L. Julian saide: Yes, that there be, and that it is so, give eare. In my dayes there was in Pisa a gentilman whose
name was M. Thomas, of what house, I remember not, for all I heard my father often times tell it, which was his great friend. This M. Thomas then, passinge upon a daye in a litle vessell from Pisa towarde Sicilia about his affaires, was overtaken with certein foistes of Moores, that were on the backe of him unawares and beefore the governours of the vessell had espied them. And for all the men within, defended them selves well, yet bicause they were but fewe and the ennemies manie, the vessell with as manie as were on borde was taken by the Moores, some hurt, some whole, as fell to their lotte, and emonge them M. Thomas, whiche had played the man and slaine with his owne hande a brother of one of the Capitaines of those foystes: for which matter the Capitain full of wrathe, as you maye conjecture by the losse of his brother, woulde have him for his prisoner, and beatinge and buffetinge him daily, brought him into Barbary, where in great misery he determined to kepe him alive his captive and with muche drugerye. All the rest, some one waye, some an other, within a space were
An other example of fressher yeeres.
at libertye, and retourned home, and brought tidinges to his wief, called M. Argentin, and children, of the hard lief and great affliction which M. Thomas lived in, and was like without hope to live in continuallye, onlesse God wonderfullye helped him. The which matter whan she and they understoode for a certaintie, attemptinge certein other wayes for hys deliveraunce, and where he himselfe was fullye resolved to ende his lief, there happened a carefull affection and tender pitie so to quicken the witt and courage of a sonne of his called Paul, that he had respect to no kind of daunger, and determined eyther to die or to deliver his father. The which matter he brought to passe and with suche privie conveiaunce, that he was first in Ligurno beefore it was knowen in Barbarye that he was parted thens. Here hens M. Thomas (beeinge arrived in safetye) writ to his wief, and did her to weete his settinge at libertie, and where he was, and how the next daye he hoped to see her. The honest Gentilwoman filled with so great and sodeine joye, that she shoulde so shortlye aswell throughe the zeale as prowesse of her sonne, see her hubande whom she loved
so much, where she once surelye beleaved never to have seen him again, after she had read the letter she lifted her eyes to heaven and calling upon the name of her husbande, fell starke dead to the grounde, and with no remedie done to her, did the the departed soule retourn to the body again. A cruell sight, and inoughe to temper the willes of men and to withdrawe them from covetinge to ferventlye superfluous joyes.
Then said Phrisio smilinge: What know you whether she died for sorowe or no, understanding her husbande was comminge home?
The L. Julian answered: Bicause the rest of her lief was nothinge agreeable therto. But I weene rather the soule could not tary the lingering to see him with the eyes of her bodye, and therfore forsooke it, and drawen out thens with covetinge, fled by and by where in readinge the letter, her thought was fled.
The L. Gaspar said: It may be that this woman was overloving, bicause women in everie thinge cleave alwayes to the extremitie, which is yll. And see, for that she was overloving, she did yll to herselfe, to her husbande and to her children, in whom she tourned into bitternesse the pleasure of that daungerous and desired libertie of his. Therfore you ought not to alleage her for one of the women, that have bine the cause of so great goodnesse.
The L. Julian answered: I alleage her for one of them that make trial that there are wives whiche love their husbandes. For of such as have bine occasion of great profittes in the world I coulde tell you of an infinite number, and reherse unto you so auntient, that welnighe a man wolde judge them fables. And of suche as emong men have bine the inventors of such kinde of matters, that they have deserved to be deemed Goddesses, as, Pallas, Ceres, the Sybilles, by whose mouth God hath so oftentimes spoken and discovered to the world matters to come. And such as
have taught verye great men, as Aspasia, and Diotima the which also with sacrifice drove of a plague tenn yeeres that shoulde have fallen in Athens. I coulde tell you of Nichostrata mother to Evander, whiche showed the Latins their letters. And of an other woman also that was maistres to Pindarus Liricus. And of Corinna and Sappho, which were most excellent in Poetrie: but I wil not seeke matters so far of, I say unto you that leaving the rest apart, of the greatnes of Roome perhappes women were a no lesse cause then men.
Aspasia loved and taught the eloquent Pericles Duke of Athens.
This quoth the L. Gaspar, were good to understande.
The L. Julian answered: Herken to it then. After Troye was wonn, manye Trojans, that in so great a destruction escaped, fled some one way, some another: of whiche, one part, that by manye Sea stormes were tossed and tumbled,
came into Italy the coost where the Tever entreth into the Sea: so landing to provide for their necessaries, beegane to goe a forraginge about the Countrie. The women that taried beehinde in the shippes, imagined emonge themselves a profitable divise, that shoulde make an ende of their perilous and longe Seawandringe, and in steade of their lost Countrey recover them a new. And after they had layed their heades together, in the mens absence, they sett fire on the shippes, and the firste that beegane this woorke was called Roma. Yet standinge in feare of the mens displeasure that were retiringe backe again, they went to meete with them, and imbracing and kissing in token of good will, some their husbandes, some their next a kinn, they asswaged that first brunt: afterwarde they disclosed to them quietlye the cause of their wittie enterprise. Wherfore the Trojans, on the one side, for neede, and one the other for beeinge courteiouslye receyved of the inhabtauntes, were very well pleased with that the women had done, and there dwelled with the Latins in the place where afterward was Roome. And of this arrose the auntient custome emonge the Romanes, that women meetinge their kinsfolke, kissed them. Now ye see what a helpe these women were to give the
Women the cause of the greatnes of Roome.
beeginninge to Roome. And the Sabine women were a no lesse helpe to the encrease of it, then were the Trojane to the first beeginning: for whan Romulus had purchased him the generall hatred of al his neighboures, for the ravine that he made of their women, he was assayled with warre on all sides, the which for that he was a valiaunt man, he soone rid his handes of with victorie: onlye the warr with the Sabines excepted, which was verie sore, bicause Titus Tatius kinge of the Sabines was verye puissant and wise. Wherupon after a sore bickeringe beetweene the Romanes and Sabines, with verie great losse on both sides, prepayrynge for a freshe and cruell battaile, the Sabine women clad in blacke, with their heare scattred and haled, weepinge, comfortlesse, without feare of weapons now bent to give the onsett, came into the middes beetweene their fathers and husbandes, beseachinge them not to fill their handes with the bloode of their fatherinlawes and sonninlawes, and in case it were so that they repined at this aliaunce, thei should bend their weapons against them: for much better it were for them to die, then to live widowes or fatherles and brotherlesse, and to remembre that their children had bine begotten of such as had slaine their fathers, or they them selves of such as had slaine their husbandes. With these pitifull waylinges, manie of them caried in their armes their yonge babes, of whom some beegane alreadie to leuse their tunge and seemed to call and sport with their graundfathers, unto whom the women showinge furth their nephewes and weeping, said: Beehoulde youre owne bloode that is in such rage ye seeke to shed with youre owne handes. Of suche force was in this case the affection and wisedome of the women, that there was not onlye concluded beetwene the two Kinges ennemies together, an indissoluble frendship and league, but also (which was a more wonderfull matter) the Sabines came to dwell in Roome, and of two peoples was made one, and so did this accorde much encrease the strength of Roome: thanked be the wise and couragious women whiche were so rewarded of Romulus,
An auncient custome emonge the Romanes.
Women a helpe to the encrease of Roome.
that partinge the people into thirtie bandes, gave them the names of the Sabine women.
Sp. Tarpeius daughter corrupted with money by T. Tatius.
Here the L. Julian pausinge a while, and perceyvinge that the L. Gaspar spake not: Trowe you not (quoth he) that these women were occasion of goodnes to their men, and helped to the greatnesse of Roome?
The L. Gaspar answered: No doubt, they were woorthie much praise. But in case you woulde aswell tell the faultes of women, as their well doinge, you woulde not have kept hid, that in this warr of T. Tatius a woman betrayed Roome, and taught the ennemies the waye to take the Capitolium, wherby the Romanes were welnighe all undone.
The L. Julian answered: You mention me one ill woman, and I tell you of infinite good. And beeside the afore named, I coulde applye to my pourpose a thousand other examples of the profit done to Roome by women, and tell you whie there was once a Temple buylded to Venus armata, and an other to Venus calva, and howe the feast of
Handmaydens was instituted to Juno, bicause the Handmaidens once delivered Roome from the guiles of the ennemies. But leavinge all these thinges a part, that couragious act for discoveringe the conspiracye of Catalina, for whiche Cicero is so praised, had it not cheeflye his beeginninge of a commune woman, which for this may be said to have bin the occasion of al the good that Cicero boasteth he did the commune weale of Roome? And in case I had sufficient time, I would (may happe) showe you also that women have oftentimes corrected men of manye vices: (I feare me) my talke hath alreadye bine overlong and combrous. Therfore sins I have accordinge to my pour fulfilled the charge that these Ladies have geven me, I meane to give place to him that shall speake more woorthier matters to be heard, then I can.
Then the L. Emilia: Do you not deprive (quoth she) women of the true praises due unto them. And remembre thoughe the L. Gaspar and perchaunce the L. Octavian to, heare you with noisomnesse, yet doe we and these other Lordes herken to you with pleasure.
Notwithstandinge the L. Julian woulde there have ended, but all the Lordes beegane to entreat him to speake. Wherfore he saide laughinge: Least I should provoke my L. Gaspar to be mine enemy any more then he is, I will but breefly tell you of certein that come into my minde, leavinge manye that I could recite unto you. Afterward he proceaded: Whan Philipp Demetrius sonne,
was about the Citie of Scio, and had layed siege to it, he caused to be be proclaymed, that what ever bondemen woulde forsake the Citie and flee to him, he promised them liberty and their maisters wives. The spite of women for this so shamefull a proclamation was such, that they came to the walles with weapon, and fought so fierslye, that in a smalle time they drove Philipp awaye with shame and losse, which the men could not do. These selfe same women beeing with their husbandes, fathers and brethren that went into banishment, after they came into Leuconia, did a no lesse glorious act, then this was. For the Erythreans that were there with their federates, made warre against these Sciotis, which not able to houlde out, came to accorde with composition to depart onlye in their doblet and shirt out of the Citie. The women hearinge of this so shamefull a composition, were muche offended, revilinge them, that leavinge their weapons, they would issue out like naked men emonge their ennemies. And whan they made answere that it was alreadie so condicioned, they willed them to carye their shield and speare, and leave their clothes, and answere their ennemies that this was their arraye. And in so doinge by their womens counsell, they covered a greate part of the shame, which they coulde not cleane avoide. Likewise whan Cirus had discomfitted in battaile the armye of the Persians, as they rann awaye, in their fleeinge they mett with their women without the
Philippus kinge of Macedonia sonne to Demetrius.
gates, who comminge to them, saide: Whither flee ye you cowardes? Entende ye perhappes to hide you in us from whens ye came? These and suche like woordes the men hearinge, and perceiving howe muche in courage they were inferiour to their women, were ashamed of themselves, and retourning backe again to their ennemies fought with them a freshe and gave them the overthrowe.
The stout hert of women.
Whan the L. Julian had hitherto spoken, he stayed, and tourning him to the Dutchesse, said: Now (Madam) you will licence me to houlde my peace.
The L. Gaspar answered: It is time to houlde your peace, whan you knowe not what to saye more.
The L. Julian saide smiling: You provoke me so, that ye maye chaunce be occupied all night in hearing the praises of women. And ye shall understande of manye Spartane women that much rejoyced at the glorious death of their children: and of them that forsooke them or slue them with their owne handes whan they hard they used dastardlinesse. Again how the Saguntine women in the destruction of their Countrey, tooke weapon in hand against Hannibales souldiers. And how the armie of the Dutch men vanquished by Marius, their women not obteininge their suite to live free in Roome in service with the virgins vestalles, killed themselves everie one with their younge children. And a thousand mo that al auntient Histories are full of.
Then said the L. Gaspar: Tushe (my L. Julian) God woteth how these matters passed, for those times are so farr from us, that many lyes may be toulde, and none there is that can reprove them.
The L. Julian said: In case you will measure in everye time the woorthinesse of women with mens, ye shall finde that they have never bine nor yet presently are any whit inferiour to men. For leavinge apart those so auntient, if ye come to the time whan the Gothes raigned in Italy, ye shall finde that there was a queene emong them Amalasunta that ruled a long while with marveilous wisdome. Afterward Theolinda, queene of the Longobardes, of singular vertue. Theodora Empresse of Greece. And in Italy emong many other was a most singuler Lady the
Countesse Matilda, whose praises I leave to be toulde of Count Lewis, bicause she was of his house.
Ann French Queene.
Nay, quoth the Count, it is youre part, for you knowe it is not meete that a man shoulde praise his owne.
The L. Julian continued on: And how many famous in times past finde you of this most noble house of Montefeltro? Howe manye of the house of Gonzaga, of Este and Pij? In case we will then speake of the time present, we shall not neede to seeke Examples far fett, for we have them in the house. But I will not serve my pourpose with them whom we see in presence, least ye should seeme for courteisie to graunt me it, that in no wise ye can denye me. And to goe oute of Italye, remembre ye, in oure dayes we have seene Ann Frenche Queene a verye great Ladye, no lesse in vertue then in State: and if in justice and mildenesse, liberalitye and holynesse of lief, ye lust to compare her to the Kinges Charles and Lewis (Whyche had bine wyef to bothe of them) you shall not finde her a jott inferiour to them. Beehoulde the Ladye Margaret daughter to the Emperour Maximilian, whyche wyth great wysedome and justyce hitherto hath ruled and still doeth her State. But omitting all other, tell me (my L. Gaspar) what king or what Prince hath there bine in our dayes, or yet many yeeres beefore in Christendome, that deserveth to be
compared to Queene Isabel of Spaine?
Isabel Queene of Spaine.
Praise of her.
The L. Gaspar answered: Kinge Ferdinande her husbande.
The L. Julian saide: This will I not denie. For sins the Queene thought him a woorthie husbande for her and loved and observed him somuch, yt can not be said nay, but he deserved to be compared to her. And I thinke well the reputacion he gote by her was a no lesse dowerie then the kingdome of Castilia.
Nay, answered the L. Gaspar, I beleave rather of manie of kinge Ferdinandes actes Queene Isabel bore the praise.
Then saide the L. Julian: In case the people of Spaine, the Nobles, private persons, both men and women, poore and rich, be not al agreed together to lye in her praise, there hath not bine in our time in the world a more cleere example of true goodnesse, stoutnesse of courage, wisdome, religion, honestie, courtesie, liberalitie, to be breef, of all vertue, then Queene Isabel. And where the renoume of that Ladye in everie place and with all Nations is verye great, they that lived with her and were present at all her doinges, do all affirme this renoume to be spronge of her vertue and desertes. And whoso will waye her actes, shall soone perceive the truth to be so. For leavinge apart infinite thinges that make triall of this, and might be toulde, if it were our pourpose, everye man knoweth that in the first beginninge of her reigne, she founde the greatest part of Castilia possessed by great Astates: yet recovered she the wholl again, so justly and in such sort that they dispossessed themselves continued in a great good affection, and were willing to make surrender of that they had in possession. It is also a most knowen thinge with what courage and wisedome she alwaies defended her realmes from most puissant ennemies. And likewise to her alone may be geven the honour of the glorious conquest of the kingdome of Granada, whiche in so longe and sharpe a warr against stubborne ennemies, that fought for their livelode, for their lief, for their law, and to their weening in Goddes quarrell, declared evermore with counsell and with her owne person somuch vertue and prowesse, as perhappes in oure time fewe Princis have had the stomake, not onelye to folowe her steppes, but to envie her. Beeside this, all that knewe her, report that there was in her suche a divine maner of government, that a man woulde have weened that her will onlye was almost inoughe to make everye man without any more businesse, to do that he ought: so that scase durst a man in his owne home and in secrete commit any thinge that he suspected woulde displease her. And of this a great part was cause the wonderfull judgement which she had in knowinge and chousinge ministers meete for the offices she entended to place them in. And so well could she joigne the rigour of justice with the mildenesse of mercye and liberalitie, that there was no good person in her dayes that coulde complaine he had bine smallye rewarded, ne anye yll, to sore punisshed. Wherfore emonge her people toward her, there sprange a verie great reverence dirived of love and feare, which in all mens mindes remayneth still so settled, that a man woulde thinke they looked that she should beehoulde them from heaven, and there above eyther praise or dyspraise them. And therfore with her name, and with the wayes which she ordeined, those Realmes are still ruled, in wise that albeit her lief wanteth, yet her authoritie lyveth, like a whiele that longe swynged about with violence, keepeth the same course a good while after of it self,
though no man move it anye more. Consider you beeside this (my L. Gaspar) that in oure time all the great men of Spaine and renowmed in what ever thinge, have bine made by Queene Isabel. And the great Capitain Gonsalve Ferdinande was more setbye for it, then for all his famous victories and excellent and couragious actes, that in peace and warr have made him so notable and famous, that in case fame be not unkinde, she will for ever spred abrode to the worlde his immortall prayses, and make proof that in oure age we have had fewe Kinges or great Princis, that by him have not bine surmounted in noble courage, knowleage and all vertue. To retourn therfore to Italye, I saye unto you that we have not wanted here also moste excellent Ladies. For in Naples we have two Queenes, and not longe a go in Naples likewyse died the other Queene of Hungarye, as excellent a Ladye as you knowe anye and to be compared well inoughe to the mightye and glorious kinge Mathew Corvin her husbande. Likewise the Dutchesse Isabell of Aragon most woorthie sister to kinge Ferdinande of Naples, which as golde in the fire, so in the stormes of fortune hath
she showed her vertue and prowesse. If you will come into Lumbardy, you shall marke the Ladye Isabell marquesse of Mantua, whose moste excellent vertues shoulde receyve great wronge in speakinge of them so temperatelye, as whoso will speake of them in this place must be driven to do. I am sorye moreover that you all knew not the Dutchesse Beatrice of Millane her sister, that you might never again wonder at a womans wit. And the Dutches Elionor of Aragon Dutches of Ferrara, and mother to both these Ladies whom I have named, was such a one, that her moste excellent vertues gave a good triall to all the worlde, that she was not onlye a woorthie daughter to a kinge, but also deserved to be a Queene over a farr greater State then all her auncestours possessed. And to tell you of an other: Howe manie menne knowe you in the worlde, woulde abide the bitter strokes of fortune so pacientlye, as Queene Isabell of Naples hath done? Whiche for all the losse of her kingdome, banishment and deathe of kinge Fridericke her husbande and two sonnes, and imprisonment of the Duke of Calabria her eldest, yet still showeth her selfe a Queene:
Queenes of Naples.
Queen of Hungary.
Dut. Isabel of Aragon.
Isabel Marq. of Mantua.
Dut. Beatrice of Millane.
Dut. Elinor of Ferrara.
and so beareth out the myserable inconveniences of wretched povertie, that every man maye see, thoughe she hath chaunged fortune, yet hathe she not altered condicion. I omitt the naminge unto you of infinite other great Ladies, and also women of low degree, as many Pisanes that in defence of their countrey against Florentines, have declared that noble courage without any feare of death, that the most invincible courages coulde doe that ever were in the worlde: wherfore certein of them have bine renowmed by many noble Poetes. I coulde tell you of certein most escellent in letters, in musicke, in peinctinge, in carvinge, but I wil not any more go searching out emonge these examples, whiche are most knowen to you all. It sufficeth that if in youre myndes ye thinke upon women whom you youre selves knowe, it shall be no harde matter for you to understand, that they are not most commonlye in prowesse or woorthinesse inferiour to their fathers, brethren and husbandes: and that manye have bine occasion of goodnesse to menne, and manie times broken them of manye of their vices. And where presentlye there are not founde in the worlde those great Queenes that go to conquer farr Countreys, and make great buildinges, Piramides and Cities, as Thomiris Queene of Scithia, Artemisia, Zenobia, Semiramis, or Cloepatra, no more are there also men like unto Cæsar, Alexander, Scipio, Lucullus, and the other noble Romane Capitanes.
Queene Isabel of Naples.
Say not so, answered then Phrisio laughing, for presently there are more found like Cleopatra or Semiramis, then ever there were. And thoughe they have not so many
states, poures, and riches, yet there wanteth not in them good wil to counterfeit them at the least in giving themselves to pleasure, and satisfiying al their lustes asmuche as they may.
These queenes gave themselves to all their appetites.
Sardanapalus a king in Assiria monstrous in all kinde of lecherie.
The L. Julian said: You will ever Phrisio passe your boundes. But in case there be found some Cleopatres, there want not for them infinit Sardanapalles, whiche is much woorse.
Make not this comparason, quoth the L. Gaspar then, I beleave not that men are so incontinent, as women be: and where they were so, yet shoulde it not be woorse. For of the incontinencye of women arrise infinite inconveniences, that do not of mens. And therfore (as it was well said yesterday) they have wisely ordeined that it may be lawfull for them to be out of the way without blame in all other thinges, that they maye applye their force to kepe them selves in this one vertue of chastitie, without the which children were uncertein, and the bonde that knitteth all the world together by bloode and by the love that naturallye ech man hath to that is borne him, shoulde be lewsed. Therfore a wanton lief in women is lesse to be borne withall then in men, that carie not their children nine monthes in their bodye.
Then answered the L. Julian: Doubtlesse these be pretie argumentes that ye make, I merveile you put them not in writinge. But tell me. For what cause is it ordained that a wanton lief shoulde not be so shamefull a matter in men as in women? Consideringe if they be by nature more vertuous and of greater prowesse, they maye also the easelier kepe themselves in this vertue of continencie: and children should be no more nor lesse certein, for if women were geven to wanton livinge, so men were continent, and consented not
to the wantonnesse of women, they emonge themselves and without anye other helpe could not beare children. But if you wil tel the troth, you your self know, that we have of our owne authority claymed a libertie, wherby we will have selfe same offences in us verye light and otherwhile woorthie praise, and in women not sufficientlye to be punished, but with a shamefull death, or at the least everlastinge sclaunder. Therfore sins this opinion hath taken root, me thinketh it a meete matter to punish them in like maner sharpely, that with lyes bringe up a sclaunder upon women. And I beleave that everie worthie gentilman is bounde to defende alwaies with weapon, where neede requireth, the truth: and especially whan he knoweth any woman falslye reported of to be of litle honestie.
The wanton lief of men make women unchast.
Men have calenged a libertye.
And I, answered the L. Gaspar smilinge, do not onlye affirme to be everye worthye gentimans dutye that you saye, but also take it for great courtesy and honestie to cover some offence that by mishappe or overmuch love a woman is renn into. And thus you may see that I am more on womens side, where reason beareth me oute, then you be. I denie not that men have taken a litle libertie, and that bicause they know by the commune opinion, that to them wanton living is not so sclanderous as to women, which through the weaknes of their kinde, are much more enclined to appetites, then men: and in case they absteine otherwhile from satisfiynge their lustes, they doe it for shame, not that will is not most readye in them, and therfore have men layed uppon them feare of sclaunder for a bridle, to keepe them (in a maner) whether they will or no in this vertue, without the whiche (to saye the trothe) they were litle to be set bye: for the world hath no profit by women, but for gettinge of children. But the like is not of men, which governe Cities, armies, and doe so manye other waightye matters, the whiche (sin you will so have it) I will not dispute, how women coulde do, yt sufficeth they do it not. And whan it was meete for men to make triall of their continencie, aswell howe they passed women in this vertue, as in the rest, althoughe you graunt it not. And about this, I will not reherse unto you so many Histories or fables, as you have done, I remit you to the continencie onlie of two most mightie personages, youthfull and upon their victorye, whiche is wont to make haute men of lowest degree. And the one is, the great Alexander toward the most beawtiful women of Darius his
ennemie and discomfited. The other, Scipio, unto whom beeinge xxiiii. yeeres of age, and havinge wonn by force a Citie in Spaine, there was brought a most beawtiful and noble Damisell taken emonge manye other. And whan Scipio understoode that she was affiansed to a Lorde of the Countrey, he did not only absteine from all dishonest act towarde her, but undefiled restored her to her husband and a large gift withall. I coulde tell you of Xenocrates, which was so continent, that a most beawtifull woman lyinge naked by his side and dalying with him and using all the wayes she coulde (in which matters she was verie well practised) she had never the pour to make him once showe the least signe of wantonnesse, for all she bestowed a wholl night about it. And of Pericles that did no more but heare one prayse with overmuche earnetnesse the well favourednesse of a boye, and he tooke him up sharplye for it. And of manye other most continent of their owne free wil, and not for shame or feare of punishment, that compelleth the greatest part of women to kepe them selves upright in this vertue, whiche notwithstandinge deserve much praise withall: and whoso falsely bringeth up of them a sclanderous report of uncleannesse of lyvinge, is worthie (as you have said) very sore punishment.
The continencie of Alexander toward Darius wief and daughters.
Q. Curt. lib. iii.
The continency of Scipio toward a yong Ladye betrothed to Allucius a lord among the Celtiberians.
Pericles reprehended Sophocles for sayinge O puerum pulchrum.
Then spake the L. Cesar whiche had helde his peace a good while: Judge you in what sort the L. Gaspar speaketh in the dispraise of women, whan these are the matters that he speaketh in their praise. But if the L. Julian will give me leave, that I maye in his steade answere him certein few matters, as touchinge where (in mine opinion) he hath falselye spoken against women, it shall be good for him and me bothe. For he shall rest him a while, and shall afterward the better go forwarde to speake of some other perfection of the Gentilwoman of the Palaice, and I shall have a good tourne that I have occasion to execute jointlye with him the dutie of a good knight, whiche is to defende the truth.
Mary I beseche you, answered the L. Julian: for me thinke I have alreadye fulfilled accordinge to my poure, that I ought, and this communication nowe is out of the pourpose that I went about.
The L. Cesar then beegane: I will not nowe speake of the profit that the worlde hath by women beeside the bearinge of children, for it is well inoughe declared howe necessarye they be, not onlye to be oure beeinge, but also to oure well beeinge. But I saye (my L. Gaspar) that in case they be as you affirme more inclined to appetites, then men, and notwithstanding absteine more then men (which you your selfe graunt) they are so much the more woorthie praise, as their kinde is lesse able to withstande naturall appetites. And if you saye they do it for shame, I can not see but for one vertue you give them two. For in case
shame can doe more in them than appetite, and throughe it refraine from ylldoynge, I esteame this shame (which in conclusion is nothinge els but feare of sclaunder) a moste sildome vertue and reigninge in verie fewe menne. And if I coulde without infinite reproche to menne, tell howe manye of them be drowned in unshamefastnesse and impudencye (whiche is the vice contrarie to this vertue) I shoulde infect these devoute eares that heare me. And for moste part these kinde of injurious persons both to God and nature, are menne wel stricken in yeeres, which professe some preesthoode, some Philosophye, some divinitie, and rule Commune weales with suche Catoes gravitie in countenance, that it maketh an outwarde showe of all the honestye in the worlde, and alwaies alleage woman kinde to be most incontinent, where they at no time finde them selves more agreeved, then at the want of their naturall lustynesse, that they may satisfie their abominable desires, whiche still abide in the minde after nature hath taken them from their bodye, and therfore manye times find oute wayes, where force preveyleth not. But I will not tell farther. It suffyceth for my pourpose ye graunt that women absteine more from uncleane livinge, then menne. And sure it is, that they are not kept short with any other bridle, then what they put upon them selves. And that it is true, the moste part of them that be kept under with overstreict looking to, or
Injurious persons to God and nature.
beaten of their husbandes or fathers, are lesse chaste, then they that have some libertye. But generallye a greate bridle to women, is the zeale of true vertue and the desire of good name, whyche manye that I have knowen in my dayes more esteame, then their owne lief. And in case you wil tell the troth, everie one of us hath seene most noble yonge menne, discreete, wise, of prowes and welfavoured, spend many yeeres in lovinge, sparinge for nothinge that might entice, tokens, suites, teares: to be short, whatsoever may be imagined, and all but lost labour. And if it might not be tould me that my condicions never deserved I shoulde be beloved, I would alleage my self for a witnesse, which more then once throughe the unchangeable and overstedfaste honestie of a woman was nighe deathes doore.
Zeale of true vertue and good report.
The L. Gaspar answered: Marveile you not therat, for women that are suid to, alwayes refuse to fulfill his request that suith to them, but those that are not suid to, sue to others.
The L. Cesar said: I never knewe them that have bine suid to by women, manye there be that perceivinge they have attempted in vaine and spent their time fondlye, renn to this noble revenge, and saye that they had plentie of the thinge whiche they did but caste in their minde. And
to their weeninge, to report yll and to studye for inventions how to bringe up sclaunderous tales of some woorthie gentilwoman, is a kinde of Courtiers. But these kinde of persons that knavishelye make their vaunt of anye woman of price, be it true or false, deserve very sore correction and punishment. And if it be otherwhile bestowed upon them, it can not be saide howe muche they are to be commended that do this office. For in case they tell lyes, what mischiefe can be greater then to take from a woorthy woman with guile the thinge which she more esteameth then her lief? And no other cause, but that ought to make her remowmed with infinite prayses. If again, it be true they say, what peine can suffice so trayterous a person, that rendreth suche ingratitude in recompence to a Gentilwoman, whiche wonne with his false flattringes, feigned teares, continuall suites, bewaylinges, craftes, deceites, and perjuries hath suffred her selfe to be lead to love overmuche, afterward without respect, hath given herselfe unheedfullie for a praye to so wycked a spirit? But to answere you beeside to this wonderful continencye of Alexander and Scipio which you have alleaged, I saye, that I will not denie but eche of them did a deede woorthie much praise. Notwithstandinge least ye should saye that in rehersinge to you auntient matters, I toulde you fables, I will alleage a woman of oure time of base degree, who notwithstandinge showed a farr greater continency then anye of these two great astates. I
Sclaunderous persons of womens honesties.
say unto you therfore that I knewe once a welfavoured and tender yonge woman, whose name I tell you not, for givynge matter to manye leude persons to report yll, whiche assone as they understande a woman to be in love, make an yll descantinge upon it. She therfore beloved of a woorthie and faire condicioned yonge Gentilman, was bent with hert and minde to love him. And of this not I alone, unto whom of her owne accord she uttered trustfullye the wholl matter, no otherwise then if I had bine, I will not say a brother, but an inward sister of herres, but all that beehelde herr in companye of the beloved yonge man, were well weettinge of her passion. She thus ferventlye lovinge, as a most loving minde coulde love, continued two yeeres in suche contynencie, that she never made anye token to this yonge man of the love that she bore him, but suche as she coulde not hide from him. At no time she woulde speake with him, nor receive any letters from him or tokens, where there never passed daye but she was tempted with both the one and the other. And howe she longed for it, that wote I well, for yf otherwhile she coulde privilie gete anye thinge that had bine the yonge mans, she was so tender over it, that a manne woulde have thought that of it had spronge her lief and all her joye. Yet woulde she never in so long a time content him with other, then to beehoulde him and be seene of him again, and somtime happening to be at open feastes, daunce with him as she did with others. And bicause there was no great difference in their degree, she and the yonge man coveted that so great a love might have a luckye ende, and be man and wief together. All the men and women in the Citie desired the same, savinge her cruell father, which of a weywarde and straunge opinion minded to bestowe her upon an other more welthie. And this was not by the unluckye mayden otherwise gainstoode, then with most bitter teares. And after this unfortunate mariage was concluded with great compassion of the people there, and despaire of the poore lovers, yet did not this stroke of fortune serve to roote up so grounded a love in the hert of ech other, but lasted afterwarde the terme of three yeeres, albeit she full wiselye dissembled it, and sought everye waye to cutt in sunder those desires, whiche now were past hope. And in this while she folowed on still in her set pourpose of continencye, and perceivinge she could not honestly have him, whom she worshipped in the world, she chose not to have him at all, and continued in her wont not to accept messages, tokens nor yet his lookes. And in this resolved determination the seelie soule vanquished with most cruell affliction, and wexed through longe passion verie feint, at the three yeeres ende, died. Rather woulde she forgoo her contentacions and pleasures so much longed for, finally her lief, then her honestie. And yet wanted she no meanes nor wayes to fulfill her desire most secretlye, and without perill either of sclaunder or anye other losse. And for all that, refrained she from the thinge of herselfe that she so muche coveted, and for the whiche she was so continuallye attempted by the person whom alone in the world her desire was to please. And to this was she not driven for feare or anye other
An example of true continencye.
respect, but onlye for the zeale of true vertue. What will you say of an other? that for sixe monthes almost nightlye laye with a moste deere lover of herres, yet in a gardein full of most savoury fruites, tempted with her owne most fervent longinge and with the petitions and teares of him that was moore deere to herr then her owne selfe, refrayned from tastinge of them. And for all she was wrapped and tyed in the streict chaine of those beloved armes, yet never yelded she herselfe as vanquished, but preserved undefiled the floure of her honestie. Trowe you not (my L. Gaspar) that these be deedes of continencye alike to Alexanders? Whiche most ferventlye inamored not with the women of Darius, but with this renowme and greatnesse, that pricked him forwarde with the spurres of glorye to abide peines and daungers to make himself immortall, set at nought not onelie other thinges, but hys owne lief, to gete a name above all men? and do we marveile with suche thoughtes in his hert that he refrayned from a thinge whiche he coveted not greatlye? for sins he never sawe those women beefore, it is not possiible that he shoulde be in love with them at a blushe, but rather perhappes abhorred them for Darius his ennemies sake. And in this case everie wanton act of his towarde them, had bine an injurye and not love. And therfore no great matter if Alexander, whiche no lesse with noblenes of courage then marciall prowesse subdued the world, abstained from doing injury to women. The continency in like case of Scipio is
An other example of a mayden.
doubtlesse much to be commended, yet if ye consider wel, not to be compared to these two women: for he in like maner also refrayned from a thing that he coveted not, beeinge in his ennemies countrey, a fresh Capitain, in the beeginning of a most weightie enterprise, leaving beehind him in his Countrie such expectacion of himself, and having beeside to give accompt to rigorous judges, that often times chastised not only the great, but the least offences of al, and emong them he wist well he had enemies, knowing also if he had otherwise done, bicause she was a noble damsel and espoused to a noble man, he should have purchased him so many enemies and in such sort, that many wold have driven of and perchaunce have set him cleane beeside his victory. Thus for so many respectes and so weighty, he absteined from a light and hurtfull appetite, in showing continency and a freeherted welmeaning, the which (as it is written) gote him all the hartes of that people: and an other armie stood him in steade with favour to vanquish mens hertes, whiche perhappes by force of armes had bine invicible. So that this maye rather be termed a warlike pollicie, then pure continencie: albeit beeside, the report of this matter is not all of the purest, for some writers of authoritie affirme that this Damsell was enjoyed of Scipio in the pleasures of love: and of this I tell you ye maye depose upon.
Phrisio said: Perhappes ye have founde it in the Gospell.
I have seene it my self, answered the L. Cesar, and
therfore I have a much more certeintye of this, then you or anye man els can have that Alcibiades arrose no otherwise from Socrates bed then children do from their fathers beddes: for to saye the truth, a straunge place and time was bed and night to view with fixed minde the pure beawty which is said Socrates loved without anye unhonest desire, especiallye lovinge better the beawtie of the minde, then of the bodye: but in boyes, not in old men, for all they were wiser. And in good sooth a better example could not have bine pyked out to praise the contenencie of men, then this of Xenocrates, which occupied in his studye fastned and bound by his profession, whiche is Philosophie, that consisteth in good maners, and not in wordes, old, cleane, spent of his natural lustinesse, nothinge able, no not in makinge profer to be able, refrayned from a commune haunted woman, which for the names sake might abhorr him. I woulde sooner have beleaved he had bine continent, if he had declared any token to have bine come to his right senses again, and in that case have used continencie: or elles abstained from the thinge which olde men covett more then the battailes of Venus, namelye from wine. But to establishe well continencie in olde age, it is written that he was full and laden with it. And what can be saide to be more wider from the contiencie of an olde man, then dronkennesse? And in case the shonning of Venus matters in that slow and colde age deserveth so much praise, how much should it deseve in a tender mayden, as those two I have tould you of? Of whiche the one most streictlye bridlinge all her senses, not onlie denied her eyes their light, but also toke from the hart those thoughtes, whiche alone had bine a moste sweete foode a longe time to kepe him in lief. The other ferventlye in love, beeinge so often times alone in the armes of him whom she loved more a great deale then all the world beeside, fightinge against her owne self and against him that was more deere to her then her owne selfe, overcame that fervent desire, that many times hath and doth overcome so manie wise men. Trow ye not nowe (my L. Gaspar) that writers may be shamed to make mention of Xenocrates in this case, and to recken him for chaste? where if a man coulde come bye the knowledge of it, I wold lay a wager that he slept al that night until the next day diner time, like a dead body buried in wine: and for all the stirringe that woman made, coulde not once open his eyes, as though he had bine cast into a dead slepe.
Alcibiades was Socrates scholer the welfavouredst yonge boy in al Athens.
Lais of Corinth.
Olde men desyrous of wine.
Here all the men and women laughed, and the L. Emilia: Surelye, my L. Gaspar (quoth she) yf you will beethinke your selfe a little better, I beleave you shall finde out some other prety example of continencye alike unto this.
The L. Cesar answered: Is not this other (thinke ye Madam) a goodly example of continencye which he hath alleaged of Pericles? I muse that he hath not aswell called to rehersall the continencie and pretie saiyng that is written of him that a woman asked to great a summ of for
one night, and he answered her, that he minded not to bye repentence so deere.
Demosthenes answer to Lais of Corinth that asked him xxiii. li. for one night.
They ceased not laughinge, and the L. Cesar after he had stayed a while: My L. Gaspar (quoth he) perdon me, yf I tell troth. For in conclusion these be the wonderful continencies that men wite of themselves, accusinge women for incontinent, in whom are dailye seene infinit tokens of continencie. And certesse if ye ponder it aright, there is no fortresse so impringable, nor so well fensed that beeinge assaulted with the thousandeth part of the inginnes and guyles that are practised to conquer the steadie mind of a woman, would not yelde up at the first assault. How manye trained up by great astates and enriched throughe them and advaunced to great promotion, having in their handes their fortresses, houldes and Castles, wherupon depended their whol state, their lief and al their gooddes, without shame or care to be named Traiters, have disloyallye given
them to whom they ought not? And would God in our dayes there were suche scarcitie of these kinde of persons, that we might not have much more a do to find out some one, that in this case hath done that he ought, then to name suche as have failed therin. See you not so many other that daily wander about to kill men in thickettes, and rovinge by sea, onlye to robb mens money? Howe manye Prelates make marchaundise with the goodes of the Churche of God? How manye Lawiers falsifie testaments? What perjuries make they? How many false evidences, onlye to gete money? How manye Phisitiens poison the diseased, onlye for it? Howe manye again for feare of death do most vile matters? And yet all these so stiff and hard battayles doeth a tender and delicate yonge woman gainstande manye times, for sundrye there have bine, that have chose rather to dye then to lose their honesty.
Then said the L. Gaspar: These (my L. Cesar) bee not, I beleave, in the world nowadayes.
The L. Cesar answered: And I will not alleage unto you them of olde time. But this I say, that manye might be found out, and are daily, that in this case passe not for death. And nowe it commeth into my mynde that whan Capua was sacked by the French men (which is not yet so longe since, but you may full well beare it in minde) a well
favoured yong gentylwoman of Capua, beeinge lead out of her house where she had bine taken by a companye of Gascoignes, whan she came to the ryver that renneth by Capua, she feigned to plucke on her shoe, insomuch that her leader lett her goe a litle, and she streight waye threw herselfe into the river. What will you saye of a poore Countrey wenche, that not manye monthes ago at Gazuolo beeside Mantua gone into the fielde a leazinge with a sister of herres, sore a thirst entred into a house to drinke water, where the good man of the house, that was yonge, seeinge her meetlye welfavoured and alone, takynge her in his armes, firste with faire woordes, afterwarde with threatninges attempted to frame her to do his pleasure, and where she strived still more obstinatelye, at length with manye blowes and by force overcame her. She thus tossed and sobbinge, retourned into the fielde to her sister, and for al the instance that she made uppon her woulde never disclose to herr what outrage she received in that house, but still drawinge homewarde, and showinge herselfe apeaced by litle and litle, and to speake without desturbance, she gave her certein instructions. Afterward when she came to the Olio, whiche is the river that renneth by Gazuolo, keapinge
Examples of the chastitie of women.
her somewhat a louf from her sister, that knew not nor imagined that she minded to do, sodeinlye cast her self into it. Her Sister sorowfull and weepinge, folowed downe by the rivers side as faste as she coulde, whiche caried her a good pace awaye, and everye time the poore soule appeared above water, her sister threw in to her a corde that she had brought with her to binde the corne withall. And for al the corde came to her handes more then once (for she was yet nigh inoughe to the bancke) the stedfast and resolved girl alwaies refused it and pushed it from her. And thus shonninge all succour that might save her lief, in a short space died. She was neyther stirred by noblenes of blood, nor by feare of death or sclaunder, but onelye by the greef of her lost maidenheade. Nowe by this you may gather, howe manye other women doe deedes moste woorthye memorye, sins (as a manne maye saye) three dayes a go, this hath made such a triall of her vertue, and is not spoken of, ne yet her name knowen. But had not the death folowed at that time of the Bishop of Mantua uncle to oure Dutchesse, the bancke of the Olio in the place where she cast herselfe in, had nowe bine garnished with a verie faire sepulture, for memorie of so glorious a soule, that deserved somuch the more cleere renowme after death, as in lief it dwelled in a unnoble bodye.
Here the L. Cesar tooke respit a while, afterwarde he set forwarde: In my dayes also in Roome there happened a like chaunce, and it was, that a welfavoured and well borne
yonge Gentilwoman of Roome, beeinge longe folowed after of one that showed to love her greatly, wold never please him with any thing, no not somuch as a looke. So that this felow by force of money corrupted a waitinge woman of herres, who desirous to please him to fingre more money, was in hande with her maistresse upon a daie, no great holye day, to go visit Saint Sebastianes Church. And giving the lover intelligence of the wholl, and instructinge him what he had to doe, lead the yonge Gentilwoman into one of the darke Caves under grounde, that whoso go to Saint Sebastianes are wont to visit. And in it was the yonge man first closely hid, whiche perceivinge himselfe alone with her whom he loved somuche, beegane everye waye to exhort her with as faire language as he could, to have compassion upon him, and to chaunge her former rigour into love. But whan he sawe all his prayers coulde take none effect, he tourned him to threatninges. And whan they prevayled not, he all to beate her. In the ende he was full and wholye bent to have his pourpose, if not otherwise, by force, and therin used the helpe of the naughtye woman that had brought her thither. Yet coulde he never do as muche as make her graunt to him, but in wordes and deedes (althoughe her force was but small) alwaies the seely yonge woman defended herselfe in what she coulde possible. So that what for the spite he conceived, whan he sawe he coulde not gete his will, and what for feare least the matter shoulde come to her kinsfolkes eare and make him punished for it, this mischevous person wyth the aide of the woman that doubted the same, strangled the unluckye yonge woman, and there left her, and rennynge his waye provided for himselfe for beeinge founde out again. The waiting woman blinded with her own offence, wist not to flee, and beeinge taken upon certeine susspitions, confessed the wholl matter, and was therfore punished accordinge to her desertes. The body of the constante and noble gentilwoman with great honoure was taken oute of the cave and caried to buriall within Roome, with a garlande of Laurell about her heade, accompanied with an infinit number of men and women: emong whiche was not one that brought his eyes to his home again without teares. And thus generallye of all the people was this rare soule no lesse beewayled then commended. But to tell you of them that you your selfe know, remembre you not that ye have heard tel, as the Lady Foelix della Rovere
A chaunce that happened to a gentilwoman in Roome.
One of the vii. Churches of Roome ii. miles without the City.
was on her journey to Saona, doubting lest certein sailes that were descried a farr of, had bine Pope Alexanders vesselles that pursuid her, was utterly resolved, if they had made toward her, and no remedie to escape, to cast herself into the Sea. And this is not to be thought that she did upon anye lightnesse, for you aswell as any man, do know with what a witt and wisedome the singuler beawtie of that Ladye is accompanied. I can no lenger kepe in silence a woorde of our Dutchesse, who livinge xv. yeeres in companye with her husbande, like a widowe, hath not onlye bine stedfast in not uttringe this to anye person in the world, but also whan she was perswaded by her owne friendes to forsake this widowheade, she chose rather to suffer banishment, poverty, and al other kinde of misery, then to agree to that, which all other men thought great favour and prosperitie of fortune.
Lady Foelix della Rovere.
Praise of the Dutches that lead a widowes lief with the Duke.
And as he still proceaded in talkinge of this, the Dutchesse saide: Speake of somwhat els, and no more ado in this matter, for ye have other thinges inoughe to talke of.
The L. Cesar folowed on. Full well I know that you wil not denie me this (my L. Gaspar) nor you Phrisio.
No doubtlesse, answered Phrisio: but one maketh no number.
Then saide the L. Cesar: Truth it is that these so greate effected and rare vertues are seene in few women. Yet are they also that resist the battailes of love, all to be wondred at, and such as otherwhile be overcome deserve much compassion. For surelye the provocations of lovers, the craftes that they use, the snares that they laye in waite are suche and so applyed, that it is to great a wonder, that a tender girle should escape them. What daye, what hour passeth at anye time that the yonge woman thus layed at is not tempted by her lover with money, tokens, and al thinges that he can imaginn may please her? At what time can
she ever looke out at a window, but she seeth continuallye the earnest lover passe by? With silence in woordes, but with a paire of eyes that talke. With a vexed and feint countenance. With those kindled sighes. Often times with most abundant teares. Whan doeth she at any time yssue out at her doores to Church or any other place, but he is alwaies in the face of her? And at everye tourninge of a lane meeteth her in the teeth, with such heavy passion peinted in his eies that a man wold weene that even at that instant he were ready to die? I omitt his precisenesse in sundry thinges, inventions, meery conceites, undertaking enterprises, sportes, daunses, games, maskeries, justes, tourneimentes, the which thinges she knoweth al to be taken in hand for her sake. Again, in the night time she can never awake, but she heareth musike, or at the least that unquiet spirit about the walles of her house casting furth sighes and lamentable voices. If by a hap she talketh with one of her waiting women about her, she (being already corrupted with money) hath straight way in a readinesse some pretye token, a letter, a rime, or some such matter to present her in the lovers behalf: and here entring to pourpose, maketh her to understand how this selie soule burneth, how he setteth litle by his owne lief, to do her service, and how he seeketh nothing of her but honesty, and that only his desire is to speake with her. Here then for all hard matters are founde out remedies, counterfeit kayes, laders of ropes, wayes to cast into sleepe, a trifling matter is peincted out, examples are alleaged of others that do much woorse: so that every matter is made so easy, that she hath no more trouble, but to say, I am content. And in case the poore soule maketh resistaunce but a while, they plye her with suche provocations, and finde suche meanes, that with continuall beatynge at, they breake in sunder that is a lett to her. And many therebe that perceiving they can not prevaile with faire woordes, fall to threatninges, and say that they wil tel their husbandes they are, that they be not. Other bargain bouldlye with the fathers and many times with the husbandes which for money or promotions sake give their owne daughters and wives for a prey against their wil. Other seeke by inchauntmentes, and witchcraftes to take from them the liberty that God hath graunted to soules, wherin are seene wonderfull conclusions. But in a thousand yeere I coulde not repeate all the craftes that men use to frame women to their willes, which be infinit. And beeside them which every man of himselfe findeth out, there hath not also wanted that hath wittily made bookes, and beestowed great study to teache how in this beehalfe women are to be deceived. Now judge you how from so manye nettes these simple dooves can be safe, tempted with so sweete a bayte. And what great matter is it then, in case a woman knowinge her self somuch beeloved and worshipped many yeeres together, of a noble and faire condicioned yong man, which a thousand times a day hasardeth his lief to serve her, and never thinketh upon other but to please her with the continuall beatinge whiche the water maketh when it perceth the most hard marble stone, at length is brought to love him? Is this (thinke you) so haynous a trespace, that the seelye poore creature taken with so manye enticementes, deserveth not, if the woorst should fal, the perdon that many times murtherers, theves, fellones and traiters have? Wil you have this vice so uncomperable great, that bicause one woman is found to renn into it, all women kinde shoulde be cleane despised for it, and genrallye counted voide of continencye? Not regardinge that manye are founde moste invincible, that against the continuall flickeringe provacations of love are made of Diamondes, and stiff in their infinite steadinesse, more then the rockes against the surges of the Sea?
The carefull diligence of lovers.
Then the L. Gaspar whan the L. Cesar stayed talkinge, beegan to make him answere, but the L. Octavian smilinge: Tushe, for love of God (quoth he) graunt him the victory, for I know ye shall do small good, and me thinke I see you shall not onelye make all the women youre ennemies, but also the more part of the menne.
The L. Gaspar laughed and said: Nay, the women have rather great cause to thank me. For had I not contraryed the L. Julian and the L. Cesar, they shoulde not have come to the knowleage so manye prayses as they have given them.
Then saide the L. Cesar: The prayses whiche my L. Julian and I have given women, and many mo beeside, were
most knowen, therfore they have bine but superfluous. Who woteth not that without women no contentation or delite can be felt in all this lief of ourse? whiche (sett them aside) were rude and without all sweetnesse, and rougher then the lief of forest wilde beastes? Who knoweth not that women rid oure hartes of al vile and dastardlye imaginations, vexations, miseries, and the troublesome heavinesse that so often times accompanieth them? And in case we will consider the truth, we shall know moreover as touchinge the understanding of great matters, that they do not stray our wittes, but rather quicken them, and in warr make men past feare and hardie passinge measure. And certesse it is not possible, that in the hart of man, where once is entred the flame of love, there should at any time reigne cowardlynesse. For he that loveth, alwaies coveteth to make himself as lovely as he can, and ever dreadeth that he take no foyle, that should make him litle set by of whom he desireth to be much set by: and passeth not to go a thousande times in a daye to his death, to declare himselfe woorthye of that love. Therfore whoso coulde gather an armie of lovers, that shoulde fight in presence of the ladies they loved, shoulde subdue the wholl world, onlesse against it on the contrarie part there were an other armie likewise in love. And to abide by, the houldinge out of Troye x. yeeres against all Greece, proceaded of nothinge elles but of certein lovers, whiche whan they entended to issue out abrode
The operations of love.
to fight, armed themselves in the presence of their Ladies, and many times they helped them themselves, and at their settinge furth rounded them some certein woord, that set them on fire and made them more then men. Afterward in fightinge they wist well that they were beeheld from the walles and Toures by the Ladies, wherfore they deemed every bould enterprise that they undertooke, was commended of them, whiche was the greatest rewarde to them that they coulde have in the worlde. Manye there be that houlde opinion that the victorye of Kinge Ferdinande and Isabell of Spaine, against the kinge of Granada was cheeflye occasioned by women, for the most times whan the armye of Spaine marched to encounter with the ennemyes, Queene Isabel set furth also with all her Damselles: and there were manye noble gentilmen that were in love, who til they came within sight of the ennemies, alwaies went communing with their Ladies. Afterwarde echone takinge his leave of his, in their presence marched on to encountre with the ennemies, with that fiersenesse of courage, that love and desire to showe their Ladies that they were served wyth valiaunt men, gave them. Wherupon it beefell manye times that a very few gentilmen of Spain put to flight and slue an infinit number of Moores, thanked be the courteious and beloved women. Therfore I wote not (my L. Gaspar) what weywarde judgement hath lead you to dispraise women. Do you not see that of all comelye exercises and whiche delite the worlde, the cause is to be referred to no earthlye thynge, but to women? Who learneth to daunce featlye for other, but to please women? Who applyeth the sweetenesse of musicke for other cause, but for this? Who to write in meeter, at the least in the mother tung, but to
Why Troy withstoode all Greece x. yeeres.
Women the cause of the conquest of the kingdom of Granada.
expresse the affections caused by women? Judge you howe manye most noble Poemes we had bine without both in Greeke and Latin, had women bine smallye regarded of Poetes. But leavinge all other a part, had it not bine a verye great losse, in case M. Francis Petrarca, that writt so divinlye his loves in this oure tunge, had applied his minde onlye to Latin matter: as he woulde have done, had not the love of the Damsell Laura sometime strayed him from it? I name not unto you the fine wittes that are nowe in the worlde, and here present, whiche dailye bringe furthe some noble frute, and notwythstandynge take their grounde onlye of the vertue and beawtye of women. See whether Salomon myndynge to write mysticallye verye highe and heavenlye matters, to cover them wyth a gracious veile, did not feigne a fervent Dialogue full of the affection of a lover with his woman, seeminge to him that he coulde not fynde here beeneth emonge us anye lykenesse more meete and agreeinge wyth heavenlye matters, then the love toward women: and in that wise and maner minded to gyve us a litle of the smacke of that divinitye, whiche he bothe for hys understandynge and for the grace above others, had knowleage of. Therefore thys needed no disputacyon (my L. Gaspar) or at the least so manye woordes in the matter. But you in gainsaiynge the truth have hindred the understandinge of a thousande other pretie matters and necessary for the perfection of the gentilwoman of the Palaice.
Women the cause of worthie qualities.
The L. Gaspar answered: I beleave there can be no more be said. Yet if you suppose that the L. Julian hath not garnished her throughlye with good condicions, the fault is not in him, but in him that hath so wrought that there are no mo vertues in the worlde: for all that there be, he hath beestowed uppon her.
The Dutchesse saide smilinge: Well, you shall see that the L. Julian will yet finde out mo beeside.
The L. Julian answered: In good sooth (Madam) me seemeth I have sufficientlye spoken. And for my part I am well pleased wyth this my woman. And in case these Lordes will not have her as she is, let them leave her to me.
Here whan all was whist, Sir Fridericke saide: My L. Julian, to give you occasion to saye somewhat elles, I will but aske you a question, as touchynge that you have willed to be the principall profession of the Gentilwoman of the Palayce. And this it is, that I longe to knowe howe she shoulde beehave herselfe in a point that (to my seemynge) is moste necessarye. For albeit the excellent qualityes
whiche you have geven her conteine in them discretion, knowleage, judgemente, sleight, sobermoode, and so manye other vertues, wherebye of reason she ought to have the understandynge to entertein everye manne and in all kinde of pourpose, yet thinke I nothwithstandynge above any other thing that it is requisite for her to knowe what beelongeth to communication of love. For even as everye honest Gentilmanne for an instrument to obteine the good will of women, practyseth those noble exercises, precise facions and good maners whyche we have named, even so to this pourpose applyeth he also hys woordes, and not onlye whan he is stirred thereto by some passion, but often times also to do honour to the woman he talketh withall, seemynge to him that to declare to love her is a witnes that she is woorthie of it, and that her beawtie and woorthynesse is suche, that it enforceth everie manne to serve her. Therfore woulde I knowe, howe this woman in suche a case shoulde beehave herselfe uprightlye, and howe to answere him that loveth her in deed, and how him that maketh false semblant: and whether she ought to dissemble the understandinge of it, or be answerable, or shonn the matter, and howe to handle herselfe.
To talke of love.
Then said the L. Julian: It were first needefull to teach her to knowe them that make semblant to love, and them that love in deede: afterward for beeinge answerable in love or no, I beeleave she ought not to be guided by any other mans will, but by her owne self.
Sir Fridericke saide: Teach you her then what are the moste certein and surest tokens to descerne false love from true, and what triall she shal thinke sufficient to content herselfe withall, to be out of doubt of the love shewed her.
The L. Julian answered smiling: That wote not I, bicause men be nowadayes so craftye, that they make infinite false semblantes, and sometime weepe, whan they have in deede a greater lust to laughe. Therefore they shoulde be sent to the constant Ile under the Arch of faithfull lovers. But least this woman of mine (which is my charge and no man elles, bicause she is my creature) should renn into those errours whiche I have seene manye other renn into, I would saye that she should not be light of credence that she is beloved: nor be like unto some, that not onlie make not wise they understande him not that communeth with them of love, be it never so farr of, but also at the first woorde accept all the prayses that be given them: or elles denie them after such a sort, that it is rather an alluringe for them to love them they commune withall, then a withdrawinge of themselves. Therfore the maner of enterteinment in reasoninge of love that I will have my woman of the Palaice to use, shall be alwaies to shonn beeleavinge that whoso talketh of love, loveth her anye whitt the more. And in case the Gentilman be (as manye suche there are abrode (malapert, and hath smalle respect to her in his talke, she shall shape him an answere, that he shall plainly understande she is not pleased withall. Again if he be demure and useth sober facions and woordes of love covertlie, in suche honest maner, as I beeleave the Courtier whom these Lordes have facioned will doe, the woman shall make wise not to understand him, and shal draw his woordes to another sense, seekinge alwaies sobrely with the discretion and wisedome that is alreadye said becommeth her, to stray from that pourpose. But in case the communication be such that she can not feigne not to understande it, she shall take the wholl (as it were) for a meerie divise, and make wise that she knoweth it is spoken to her rather to honour her withall, then that it is so in deede, debasinge her desertes and acknowleginge at the Gentilmans courtesie the prayses which he geveth her: and in this sort she shall be counted discreete, and shall be on the surer hande for beeinge deceived. Thus me seemeth the Gentilwoman of the Palaice ought to behave herself in communication of love.
Then Sir Frederick: You debate this matter, my L. Julian (quoth he) as though it were requisite, that all suche as speake with women of love shoulde tell lyes, and seeke to deceive them, the whiche in case it were so, I woulde say your lessons were good. But if this gentilman that enterteineth, loveth in very deede, and feeleth the passion that so tourmenteth mens hertes sometime, consider you not in what peine, in what calamitie and death ye put him in, whan at no time you will that the woman shall beeleave him in any thinge he saith about this pourpose? Shall othes,teares, and so many other tokens then, have no force at all? Take heede (my L. Julian) least a manne may thinke that beeside the naturall crueltye whiche manie of these women have in them, you teach them yet more.
The L. Julian answered: I have spoken, not of him that loveth, bot of him that enterteineth with communication of love, wherein one of the neccessariest pointes is, that woordes be never to seeke: and true lovers as they have a burninge hart, so they have a colde tunge, with broken talke and sodeine silence. Therfore (may happ) it were no false principle to saye: He that loveth much, speaketh litle. Howbeit in this I beleave there can be given no certein rule, by reason of the diversity of mens maners. And I wote not what I should say, but that the woman be good and heedfull, and alwaies beare in mynde, that men may with a great deale lesse daunger declare themselves to love, then women.
The L. Gaspar said laughinge: Why (my L. Julian) wil not you that this your so excellent a woman shall love again, at the least when she knoweth certeinlye she is beeloved? consideringe if the Courtier were not loved again, it is not likelye he woulde continue in lovinge her: and so shoulde she want manye favours, and cheefly the homage and reverence, wherwithal lovers obey and (in a maner) woorship the vertue of the woman beloved.
In this, answered the L. Julian, I will not counsel her. But I say pardee to love, as you now understand, I judge it not meete, but for unmaried women. For whan this love can not ende in matrimonye, the woman muste needes have alwaies the remorse and pricking that is had of unlefull matters, and she putteth in hasarde to staine the renowme of honestie, that standeth her so much upon.
Then answered Sir Fridericke smilinge: Me thinke (my L. Julian) this opinion of yours is verie soure and crabbed, and I beleave you have learned it of some Frier Preacher, of them that rebuke women in love with lay men, that their part may be the more. And me seemeth you sett over hard lawes to maried women, for manye there be that their
husbandes beare verye sore hatred unto without cause, and nipp them at the hert, sometime in lovinge other women, otherwhile in woorkinge them all the displeasures they can imagin. Some are compelled by their fathers to take olde men full of diseases, uglesome and weywarde, that make them lead their lief in continual misery. And in case it were leful for such to be divorsed and severed from them they be ill coopled withal, perhappes it were not to be alowed that they should love any other then their husband. But whan eyther through the sterres, theyr enemies, or through the diversitie of complexion, or anie other casualtie it befalleth, that in bed, whiche ought to be the nest of agreement and love, the cursed furie of hell soweth the seede of his venime, which afterwarde bryngeth furth disdeigne, susspition and the pricking thornes of hatred, that tourmenteth those unluckie soules bound cruelly together in the fast lincked chaine that can not be broken but by death, why will not you have it lefull for this woman to seeke some easement for so harde a scourge, and give unto an other that which her husbande not onlye regardeth not, but rather cleane abhorreth? I houlde well, that suche as have meete husbandes and be beloved of them, ought not to do them injurie: but the other in not lovinge him that loveth them do them selves injurie.
Nay, they do themselves injurie in lovinge other beeside their husbande, answered the L. Julian. Yet sins not loving is not many times in our will, if this mishap chaunce to the woman of the Palaice, that the hatred of her husbande or the love of an other bendeth her to love, I will have her to graunt her lover nothing elles but the minde: nor at any time to make him any certein token of love, neither in woorde nor gesture, nor any other way that he may be fully assured of it.
Then saide M. Robert of Bari smilinge: I appeale (my L. Julian) from this judgement of youres, and I beleave I shall have many felowes. But sins you will teach this currishnesse (that I maye terme it so) to maried women, will ye also have the unmaried to be so cruell and discourtious, and not please their lovers at the least in somewhat?
In case my woman of the Palaice, answered the L. Julian,
be not maryed, myndinge to love, I wyll have her to love one, whom she maye marye, neyther will I thinke it an offence if she showe him some token of love. In which matter I will teache her one generall rule in fewe woordes, and that is, That she showe him whom she loveth all tokens of love, but such as may bring into the lovers minde a hope to obtein of of her any dishonest matter. And to this she must have a great respect, bicause it is an errour that infinit women renn into, which ordinarilye covett nothinge somuch as to be beawtifull: and bicause to have manye lovers they suppose is a testimonye of their beawtie, they do their best to winn them as many as they can. Therfore often times they renn at rovers in beehaviours of small modestie, and leavinge the temperate sobermoode that is so sightlye in them, use certein wanton countenaunces, with baudie woordes and gestures full of unshamefastnesse, houldinge opinion that menne marke them and give eare to them willyngly for it, and with these facions make themselves beloved, which is false: bicause the signes and tokens that be made them, sprynge of an appetite moved by an opinion of easinesse, not of love. Therfore will not I that my woman of the Palaice with dishonest beehaviours should appeere as though she wold offre herselfe unto whoso wyll have her, and allure what she can the eyes and affection of who so beehouldeth her: but with her desertes and vertuous condicions, with amiablenesse and grace drive into the mind of whoso seeth her the verye love that is due unto every thinge woorthy to be beloved: and the respect that alwaies taketh awaye hope from whoso mindeth anye dishonest matter. He then that shall be beloved of such a
How maidens shoulde love.
A generall rule.
woman, ought of reason to houlde himselfe contented with everye litle token, and more to esteame a looke of herres with affection of love, then to be altogether maister of an other. And to such a woman I wote not what to ad more, but that she be beloved of so excellent a Courtier, as these Lordes have facioned, and she likewise to love him, that both the one and the other may have ful and wholy his perfection.
The love of honest women.
After the L. Julian had thus spoken he helde his peace, whan the L. Gaspar laughinge: Now (quoth he) you can not complaine that the L. Julian hath not facioned this woman of the Palaice most excellent. And if perdee there be any suche to be found, I say that she deserveth well to be esteamed equall with the Courtier.
The L. Emilia answered: I will at all times be bounde to finde her, whan you finde the Courtier.
M. Robert said then: Doubtlesse it can not be saide nay, but the L. Julians woman whiche he hath facioned is most perfect. Yet in these her last properties as touching love, me seemeth notwithstanding that he hath made her somwhat over crabbed, and especially where he will have her in woordes, gestures, and countenance to take cleane away all hope from the lover, and settle him as nigh as she can in despaire. For (as all menne know) the desires of man stretch not to suche kinde of matters, whereof there is no hope to be had. And althoughe at times some women there have bine, that perhappes bearing themselves loftie of their beawtie and woorthinesse: the first woorde they have said to them that communed with them of love hath bine, that they should never looke to come bye anye thinge of them that liked them: yet in countenaunce, and daliance together they have afterward bine more favourable to them, so that with their gentle deedes they have tempred in part their proude woordes. But if this woman both in woordes, deedes and beehaviours take hope quite awaye, I beeleave our Courtier, if he be wise, will never love her, and so shall she have this imperfection, that she shall be without a lover.
Then the L. Julian: I wyll not (quoth he) have my woman of the Palaice to take away the hope of every thinge, but of dishonest matters, that which, in case the Courtier be so courteious and discreete, as these Lordes have facioned him, he will not onelye not hope for, but not once motion. For if beawtie, maners, witt, goodnesse, knowleage, sobermoode, and so manye other vertuous condicions which we
have given the woman, be the cause of the Courtiers love towarde her, the ende also of this love must needes be vertuous: and if noblenesse of birth, skilfulnes in marciall feates, in letters, in musike, gentlenesse, beeing both in speach and in beehaviour indowed with so many graces, be the meanes wherwithall the Courtier compaseth the womans love, the end of that love must needes be of the same condicion that the meanes are by the whiche he commeth to it. Beeside that, as there be in the world sundrie kindes of beawtye, so are there also sundrie desires of men: and therfore it is seene that manie, perceivinge a woman of so grave a beawtie that goinge, standinge, jestinge, dalyinge, and doinge what she lusteth, so tempreth al her gestures, that it driveth a certein reverence into whoso behouldeth her, are agast as a ferde to serve her: and rather drawn with hope, love those garishe and enticefull women, so delicate and tender, that in their woordes, gestures and countenance declare a certein passion somewhat feeble, that promiseth to be easely brought and tourned into love. Some to be sure from deceytes, love certein other so lavishe both of their eyes, woordes and gestures, that they do what ever first commeth to minde, with a certein plainesse that hideth not their thoughtes. There want not also manye other noble courages, that seeminge to them that vertue consisteth about hard matters (for it is over sweete a victorie to overcome that seemeth to an other impringable) are soone bent to love the beawties of those women, that in their eyes, woordes and gestures declare a more churlish gravitie then the rest for a triall that their prowesse can enforce an obstinate minde, and bende also stubborne willes and rebelles against love, to love. Therfore suche as have so great affiance in themselves, bicause they recken themselves sure from deceit, love also willinglye certein women, that with a sharpenesse of wit, and with art it seemeth in their beawtie that they hide a thousande craftes. Or elles some other, that have accompanied with beawty a certein skornefull facion in few wordes, litle laughing, after a sort as though (in a maner) they smallye regarded whoso ever behouldeth or serveth them. Again there are founde certein other, that vouchsafe not to love but women that in their countenaunce, in their speach and in all their gestures have about them all hansomnesse, all faire condicions, all knowleage, and all graces heaped together, like one floure made of all the excellencies in the worlde. Therfore in case my woman of the Palaice have scarsitie of these loves proceadinge of an yll hope, she shal not for this be without a lover: bicause she shal not want them that shalbe provoked through her desertes and through the affiance of that prowesse in themselves, wherby they shal knowe themselves worthy to be beloved of her.
Sundrye kindes of beawtye.
M. Robert still spake against him, but the Dutchesse toulde him that he was in the wrong, confirminge the L. Julians opinion: after that she added: We have no cause to complaine of the L. Julian, for doubtlesse I thinke that the woman of the Palaice whom he hath facioned, maye be compared to the Courtier, and that with some avauntage: for he hath taught her to love which these Lordes have not done their Courtier.
Then spake Unico Aretino: It is meete to teache women to love, bicause I never sawe anye that coulde doe it, for almoste continuallye all of them accompanye their beawtye
with crueltye and unkindnesse toward suche as serve them most faithfullye, and whiche for noblenesse of birth, honestie and vertue deserved a rewarde for theyr good will: and yet manye times gave themselves for a prey to most blockish and cowardly men and verye assheades, and which not only love them not, but abhor them. Therfore to shon these so foule oversightes, perhappes it had bin well done first to have taught them to make a choise of him that should deserve to be beloved, and afterward to love him. The whiche is not necessarye in men, for they knowe it to well of themselves: and I my selfe can be a good witnesse of it, bicause love was never taught me, but by the divine beawty and most divine maners of a Lady, so that it was not in my will not to woorshippe her: and therfore needed I therin no art nor teacher at all. And I beleave that the like happeneth to as manie as love truly. Therfore the Courtier hath more neede to be taught to make him beloved then to love.
Beawtifull women cruell.
Then said the L. Emilia: Do you now reason of this then, M. Unico.
Unico answered: Me thinke reason woulde that the good will of women shoulde be gotten in servinge and pleasinge them. But it, wherin they recken themselves served and pleased, I beleave muste be learned of women themselves, whiche oftentimes covett suche straunge matters, that there is no man that would imagin them, and otherwhile they themselves wote not what they should longe for: therfore it were good you (Madam) that are a woman, and of right ought to know what pleaseth women, shoulde take thys peine, to do the worlde so great a profit.
Then saide the L. Emilia: For somuch as you are generallye most acceptable to women, it is a good likelihoode that you knowe al the waies how their good will is to be gotten. Therfore is it pardee meete for you to teach it.
Madam, answered Unico, I can give a lover no profitabler advise then to procure that you beare no stroke with the woman whose good will he seeketh. For the smalle qualities which yet seemeth to the world sometime to be in me, with as faithfull a love as ever was, were not of such force to make me beloved, as you to make me be hated.
Then answered the L. Emilia: God save me (M. Unico) for once thinking and much more for working anye thing that should make you be hated. For beeside that I should doe that I ought not, I shoulde be thought of a sclender judgement to attempt a matter unpossible. But sins ye provoke me in this sort to speake of that pleaseth women, I will speake of it, and if it displease you, laye the fault in your selfe. I judge therfore, that whoso entendeth to be beloved, ought to love and to be lovely: and these two
pointes are inoughe to obtein the good will of women. Nowe to answere to that which you lay to my charge, I say that everie manne knoweth and seeth that you are moste lovelie. Mary whether ye love so faithfullye, as you saye ye do, I am verye doubtfull and perhappes others to. For, your beeing over lovely, hath bine the cause that you have bine beloved of many women: and great rivers divided into manye armes beecome smalle brookes: so love likewise scattered into mo then one bodye hath smalle force. But these your continuall complaintes and accusinge of the women whom you have served of unkindenesse (which is not likely, consideringe so manye desertes of yours) is a certein kind of discretion, to cloke the favours, contentations and pleasures whyche you have received in love, and an assurance for the women that love you and that have given themselves for a prey to you, that you will not disclose them. And therfore are they also wel pleased, that you should thus openlye showe false loves to others, to cloke their true. Wherfore if haplye those women that you nowe make wise to love, are not so light of beleaf, as you would they were, it happeneth bicause this your art in love beginneth to be discovered, and not bicause I make you to be hated.
Howe to obtein the good will of women.
Then said M. Unico: I entende not to attempt to confute your wordes, bicause me seemeth it is aswell my destiny not to be beleaved in truth, as it is yours to be beleaved in untruth.
Saye hardlye M. Unico, answered the L. Emilia, that you love not so, as you woulde have beleaved ye did. For if you did not love, all your desires should be to please the woman beloved, and to will the selfe same thinge that she willeth, for this is the lawe of love. But your complaininge somuche
of her, beetokeneth some deceite (as I have said) or els it is a signe that you will that, that she willeth not.
The lawe of love.
Nay (quoth M. Unico) there is no doubt but I will that, that she willeth, which is a signe I love her: but it greeveth me bicause she willeth not that, that I will, which is a token she loveth not me, according to the verie same lawe that you have alleaged.
The L. Emilia answere: He that taketh in hande to love, must please and applye himself full and wholy to the appetites of the wight beloved, and accordinge to them frame hys owne: and make his owne desires, servauntes: and hys verye soule, like an obedient handmaiden: nor at anye tyme to thynke upon other, but to chaunge his, if it were possible, into the beloved wightes, and recken this his cheef joy and happinesse, for so do they that love trulye.
My cheef happinesse were jumpe, answered M. Unico, if one will alone ruled her soule and myne both.
It lieth in you to do it, answered the L. Emilia.
Then spake M. Bernarde interruptinge them: Doubtlesse, who so loveth trulye, directeth all his thaughtes, without other mens teachinge, to serve and please the woman beloved. But bicause these services of love are not otherwhile well knowen, I beleave that beeside lovinge and servinge, it is necessary also to make some other showe of this love, so manifest, that the woman may not dissemble to know that she is beloved: yet with such modesty, that it may not appeere that he beareth her litle reverence. And therfore you (Madam) that have beegone to declare how the soule of the lover ought to be an obedient handmayden to the beloved, teach us withall, I besech you, this secrete matter, which me thinke is most needefull.
The L. Cesar laughed and said: If the lover be so bashfull, that he is ashamed to tell it her, let him write it her.
To this the L. Emilia said: Nay if he be so discreete, as is meete, beefore he maketh the woman to understand it, he ought to be out of doubt to offende her.
Then saide the L. Gaspar: All women have a delite to be suide to in love, althoughe they were mynded to denye the suite.
The L. Julian said: You are muche deceyved. For I woulde not counsell the Courtier at anye time to use this way, except he were sure not to have a repulse.
What shoulde he then do? quoth the L. Gaspar.
The L. Julian answered: In case you will needes write or
speake to her, do it with such sobermoode, and so warilye, that the woordes maye firste attempt the minde, and so doubtfullye touch her entent and will, that they maye leave her a way and a certein issue to feine the understandinge that those woordes conteine love: to the entent if he finde anye daunger, he maye draw backe and make wise to have spoken or written it to an other ende, to enjoye these familiar cherishinges and daliances with assuraunce, that oftentimes women showe to suche as shoulde take them for frendshippe, afterwarde denye them assone as they perceyve they are taken for tokens of love. Wherefore suche as be to rashe and venture so saucilie with certein furies and plunges, oftentimes lose them, and woorthilie: for it displeaseth alwaies every honest gentilwoman, to be litle regarded of whoso without respect seeketh for love at her beefore he hath served her. Therfore (in my minde) the way which the Courtier ought to take to make his love knowen to the woman me thinke should be to declare them in signes and tokens more then in woordes. For assuredlye there is otherwhile a greater affection of love perceyved in a sigh, in a respect, in a feare, then in a thousand woordes. Afterwarde, to make the eyes the trustye messengers, that
Howe a man should disclose his love to a woman.
maye carye the ambassades of the hart: bicause they oftentimes declare with a more force what passion there is inwardlye, then can the tunge, or letters, or messages, so that they not onelye disclose the thaughtes, but also manye tymes kendle love in the hert of the person beloved. For those lively spirites that issue out at the eyes, bicause they are engedred nigh the hart, entring in like case into the eyes that they are leveled at, like a shaft to the pricke, naturallye perce to the hart, as to their restynge place and there are at truste with those other spirites: and with the moste subtill and fine nature of bloode whyche they carie with them, infect the bloode about the hart, where they are come to, and warme it: and make it like unto themselves, and apt to receive the imprintinge of the image which they have caried away with them. Wherfore by litle and litle comminge and goinge the waye through the eyes to the hart, and bringinge backe with them the tunder and strikinge yron of beawtie and grace, these messengers kendle with the puffinge of desire the fire that so burneth, and never ceaseth consuminge, for alwayes they bringe some matter of hope to nourishe it. Therfore it may full well be said, that the eyes are a guide in love, especiallye if they have a good grace and sweetenesse in them, blacke, of a cleere and sightlye blackenesse, or elles gray, meery and laughinge, and so comely and percinge in beehouldinge, as some, in which a man thinketh verilie that the wayes that give an issue to the spirites are so deepe, that by them he maye see as farr as the hart. The eyes therefore lye lurkinge like souldiers in warre lyinge in wayte in bushment, and if the fourme of all the bodye be welfavoured and of good proportion, it draweth unto it and allureth whoso beehouldeth it a farr of, until he come nigh: and assoone as he is at hande, the eyes shoote, and like sorcerers, beewitch, and especiallie whan by a right line they sende their glisteringe beames into the eies of the wight beloved at the time whan they do the like, bicause the spirites meete togehter, and in that sweete encounter the one taketh the others nature and qualitye: as it is seene in a sore eye, that beehoulding steadily a sound one, giveth him his disease. Therefore me thinke oure Courtier may in this wise open a great percel of the love to his woman. Truth it is that in case the eyes be not governed with art, they discover manie times the amorous desire more unto whom a man would least: for through them (in a maner) visibly shinefurth those burninge passions, whiche the lover mindinge to disclose onlie to the wight beloved, openeth them manie times also unto whom he woulde most soonest hide them from. Therfore he that hath not lost the bridle of reason, handleth himselfe heedfullye, and observeth the times and places: and whan it needeth, refrayneth from so steadfast beehouldinge, for all it be a most savourie foode, bicause an open love is to harde a matter.
Count Lewis answered: Yet otherwhile to be open it hurteth not: bicause in this case manye times men suppose that those loves tende not to the ende which everie lover coveteth, whan they see there is litle heede taken to hide them, and passe not whether they be knowen or no: and therfore with deniall a man chalengeth him a certein libertye to talke openly and to stande without susspition with the wight beloved: whiche is not so in them that seke to be secrete, bicause it appeereth that they stande in hope of, and are nighe some great rewarde, whiche they woulde not have other men to knowe. I have also seene a most fervent love springe in the hart of a woman towarde one, that seemed at the firste not to beare him the leaste affection in the world, onlye for that she heard say, that the opinion of many was, that they loved together. And the cause of this (I beleave) was, that so generall a judgement seemed a sufficiente witnesse, that he was woorthie of her love. And it seemed (in a maner) that report brought the ambassade on the lovers beehalfe muche truer and worthier to be beleaved, then he himselfe coulde have done with letters, or woordes, or any other person for him: therfore sometime this commune voice onlye hurteth not, but farthereth a mans purpose.
The L. Julian answered: Loves that have report for their messenger, are verye perilous to make a man pointed to with a finger. And therfore who ever entendeth to walke this race warily, needes must he make countenaunce to have a great deale lesse fire in his stomake, then in deede he hath, and content himselfe with that, that he thinketh a trifle, and dissemble his desires, jeolosies, afflictions and pleasure, and manye times laugh with mouth whan the hart weepeth, and showe himselfe lavishe of that he is most covetous of: and these thinges are so harde to be done, that (in a maner) they are unpossible. Therfore if oure Courtier would folowe my counsell, I would exhort him to kepe his loves secrete.
Then said M. Bernarde: You must then teache it him, and me thinke it is much to pourpose: for beeside privie signes that some make otherwhile so closely, that (in a maner) without any gesture, the person whom they covett, in their countenance and eyes reade what they have in the hert, I have sometime heard betweene two lovers a long and a large discourse of love, wherof yet the standers by could not plainlye understand any particuler point, nor be out of doubt that it was of love, suche was the discreation and heedfulnesse of the talker: for without makinge anie maner showe that they were not willinge to be hearde, they rounded privilye the wordes onlie that were most to pourpose, and al the rest they spake aloude, which might be applied to divers meaninges.
Then spake Sir Friderick: To reason thus in peecemeale of these rules of secretnesse, were a takinge of an infinit matter in hand: therfore would I that we spake somwhat rather how the lover shoulde keepe and maintein his Ladies good wil, which me thinke is much more necessary.
The L. Julian answered: I beleave the meanes that serve
him to compasse it, serve him also to kepe it, and all this consisteth in pleasinge the woman beloved, without offending her at any time. Therfore it were a hard matter to give any certein rule, bicause whoso is not discrete, infinit wayes committeth oversightes, whiche otherwhile seeme matters of nothing, and yet offende they much the womans minde. And this happeneth more then to others, to suche as be mastred with passion: as some that whenso ever they have opportunitie to speake with the woman they love, lament and bewaile so bitterlye and covett manye times thinges so unpossible, that through this unreasonablenesse they are lothed of them. Other, if they be pricked with anye jeolosie, stomake the matter so greevouslye, that without stopp they burst oute in raylinge upon him they suspect, and otherwhile it is without trespace eyther of him or yet of the woman, and will not have her speake with him, nor once tourne her eyes on that side where he is. And with these facions manye times, they do not onlye offende the woman, but also they are the cause that she bendeth herselfe to love him. Bicause the feare that a lover declareth to have otherwhile least his Ladye forsake him for the other, beetokeneth that he acknowleageth himself inferiour in desertes and prowesse to the other, and with this opinion the woman is moved to love him. And perceyvinge that to put him out of favour he reporteth ill of him, although it be true, yet she beleaveth it not, and notwythstandinge loveth him the more.
To maintein good will.
Then saide the L. Cesar: I confesse that I am not so wise that I coulde refrayne speakynge yll of my felow lover, except you coulde teache me some other better waye to dispatche him.
The L. Julian answered smilinge: It is saide in a Proverbe, Whan a mans ennemye is in the water uppe to the middle, lette him reache him his hande, and helpe him from daunger: but whan he is up to the chinn, set his foote on
his head and drowne him out of hand. Therefore certein there be that playe so with their felow lovers, and untill they have a sure meane to dispatche them, go dissembling the matter, and rather show themselves friendes then otherwise. Afterward whan occasion serveth them so fitlye, that they know they may overthrowe them with a sure riddaunce, reportinge all yvell of them, be it true or false, they doe it without sparynge, with art, deceite and all wayes that they can imagin. But bicause I woulde not lyke that oure Courtier shoulde at anye tyme use any deceyte, I woulde have him to withdrawe the good will of his maistresse from his felowlover with none other arte, but with lovinge, with servinge, and with beeinge vertuous, of prowesse, discreet, sober, in conclusion with deservinge more then he, and with beeinge in everye thynge heedfull and wise, refrayninge from certein leude folies, into the which often times manye ignoraunt renn, and by sundrie wayes. For in times past I have knowen some that in writinge and speakinge to women used evermore the woordes of Poliphilus, and ruffled so in their subtill pointes of Rhetoricke, that the women were oute of conceit with their owne selves, and reckened themselves
An Italian proverbe.
Howe a womans good will is to be drawen from a mans rivale.
most ignoraunt, and an houre seemed a thousand yeere to them, to ende that talke and to be rid of them. Other, bragg and boast to by yonde all measure. Other speake thinges manie times that redounde to the blame and damage of themselves, as some that I am wont to laughe at, which make profession to be lovers, and otherwhile save in the companye of women: I never founde woman that ever loved me, and are not weetinge that the hearers by and by judge that it can arrise of none other cause, but that they deserve neither to be beloved, nor yet so much as the water they drinke, and count them assheades, and would not love them for all the good in the worlde: seeming to them that in case they should love them, they were lesse worth, then all the rest that have not loved them. Other, to purchase hatred to some felowe lover of theirs, are so fonde that in like maner in the companye of women they saye: such a one is the luckiest man in the worlde, for once, he is neyther welfavoured, nor sober, nor of prowess, neyther can he do or say more then other menne, and yet all women love him, and renn after him, and thus uttringe the spite they beare him for this good lucke, althoughe neyther in countenaunce nor deedes he appeereth lovelye, yet make they them beleave that he hathe some hid matter in him, for the whiche he deserveth the love of so manie women, wherfore the women that heare them talke of him in this wise, they also upon this beleaf are moved to love him muche more.
Men that professe to be to lovinge in woordes.
The fondnes of some lovers.
Then Count Lewis laughed and saide: I assure you our Courtier if he be discreete, will never use this blockishenes, to gete him the good will of women.
The L. Cesar Gonzaga answered: Nor yet an other that a Gentilman of reputation used in my dayes, who shal be namelesse for the honour of men.
The Dutchesse answered: Tell us at the least what he did.
The L. Cesar said: This manne beeinge beloved of a
great Lady, at her request came privilye to the towne where she laye. And after he had seene her and communed with her, as long as they thought meete and had time and leyser therto, at his leave takinge with many bitter teares and sighes in witnesse of the extreme greef he felt for this departinge, he required her to be alwaies mindfull of him. And afterward he added withall, that she woulde discharge his ynn, for sins he came thither at her request, he thought meete that he should not stand to the charges of his beeing there himself.
Blockish over sightes.
Then beegan all the Ladies to laugh, and said that he was most unwoorthy of the name of a Gentilman: and many were ashamed with the selfe shame that he himselfe shoulde woorthilye have felt, if at anye time he had gotten so muche understandynge, that he might have perceyved so shamefull an oversight.
Then tourned the L. Gaspar to the L. Cesar and said: Better it had bine to have omitted the rehersal of this matter for the honour of women, then the naming of him for the honour of men. For you may well imagin what a judgement that great Ladie had in lovinge so unreasonable a creature. And perhappes to, of manye that served her, she chose him for the most discreatest, leavinge beehinde, and showinge ill wil unto them that he was not woorthie to wayte upon.
Count Lewis laughed and saide: Who woteth whether he was discreate in other thinges or no, and was out of the waye only about ynnes? But many times for overmuch
love men committ great folies. And if you will tell the truth, perhappes it hath bine your chaunce to commit mo then one.
Love maketh men commit great folies.
The L. Cesar answered smilinge: Of good felowshippe let us not discover oure owne oversightes.
Yet we must discover them, answered the L. Gaspar, that we may know how to amende them, then he proceaded: Now that the Courtier knoweth how to wynn and kepe the good will of his Lady, and take it from his felow lover, you (my L. Julian) are dettour to teache her to kepe her loves secrete.
The L. Julian answered: Me thinke I have sufficientlye spoken, therefore gete ye nowe an other to talke of this secreate matter.
Then M. Bernarde and all the rest beegane a freshe to be in hande with him instantlye, and the L. Julian said: You will tempt me. Yet are all the sort of you to great Clearkes in love. Yet if ye desire to know farther, goe and reade Ovid.
And howe, quoth M. Bernarde, shal I hope that his lessons are any thing worth in love, whan he counselleth and saith that is is very good for a man in the companye of his maistresse to feigne the dronkarde? See what a goodly way it is to gete good will withall. And he alleageth for a pretie divise to make a woman understande that he is in love with her, beeinge at a banckett, to diepe his finger in wine and write it upon the table.
The L. Julian said smilinge: In those dayes it was no fault.
And therfore, quoth M. Bernarde, seeinge so sluttish a matter was not disalowed of men in those daies, it is to be thought that they had not so courtlye beehaviours to serve women in love, as we have. But let us not omitt oure first pourpose to teache to keepe love secrete.
Then saide the L. Julian: In myne advise to keepe love
secrete, the causes are to be shonned that uttre it, whiche are manye: yet one principall, namelye, to be over secrete and to put no person in truste. Bicause everye lover coveteth to make his passions knowen to the beloved, and beeinge alone, he is driven to make many mo signes and more evident, then if he were aided by some lovinge and faithfull friende. For the signes that the lover himselfe maketh, give a farr greater susspition, then those that he maketh by them that go in message betweene. And forsomuch as men naturallye are greedie to understand, assone as a straunger beeginneth to suspect the matter, he so applieth it, that he commeth to the knowleage of the truth, and whan he once knoweth it, he passeth not for disclosinge it, yea sometime he hath a delite to do it. Which happeneth not of a friend, who beeside that he is a helpe to him with favour and counsell, doeth many times remedie the oversightes committed by the blinde lover, and alwaies procureth secretnes, and preventeth many matters which he himself can not foresee: beeside the great comfort that he feeleth, whan he may uttre his passions and greeffes, to a harty friende, and the partening of them likewise encreaseth his contentations.
To kepe love secrete.
Then said the L. Gaspar: There is an other cause that discovereth loves much more then this.
What is that? answered the L. Julian. The L. Gaspar said: Vaine greedinesse joigned with the
fondenesse and cruelty of women, which (as you your selfe have saide) procure as muche as they can to gete them a great numbre of lovers, and (if it were possible) they would have them al to burne and make asshes, and after death to retourn to lief, to die again. And thoughe they love withall, yet rejoice they at the tourment of lovers, bicause they suppose that greef, afflictions and the calling every hour for death, is a true witnesse that they are beloved, and that with their beawtie they can make men miserable and happy, and give them life and death, as pleaseth them. Wherfore they feede upon this only foode, and are so gredie over it, that for wanting it they never throughly content lovers, nor yet put them out of hope, but to kepe them still in afflictions and in desire, they use a certein lofty sowernesse of threatninges mingled with hope, and wold have them to esteame a woorde, a countenance or a beck of theirs for a cheef blisse. And to make men count them chaste and honest aswel others as their lovers, they finde meanes that these sharpe and discourtious maners of theirs may be in open sight, for every man to thinke that they will much woorse handle the unworthy, sins they handle them so, that deserve to be beloved. And under this beleaf thinking Themselves with this craft safe from sclaunder, often times they lie nightlie with most vile men and whom they scase knowe. So that to rejoice at the calamitie and continuall complaintes of some woorthie gentilman, and beloved of them, they barr themselves from those pleasures, whiche perhappes with some excuse they might come bye, and are the cause that the poore lover by verye debating of the matter is driven to use wayes, by the which the thinge commeth to light, that with all diligence shoulde have bine kept most secrete. Certein other there are, whiche if with deceite they can bringe manye in beeleaf that they are beloved of them, nourish emonge them jeolosies with cherishinge and makinge of the one in the others presence. And whan they see that he also whom they love best is now assured and oute of doubt that he is beloved, through the signes and tokens that be made him, manie times with doubtfull woordes and feigned disdeignes they put him in an uncerteintie and nippe him at the verie hart, makinge wise not to passe for him and to give themselves full and wholye to the other. Wherupon arrise malice, enimities, and infinite occasions of stryfe and uttre confusion. For needes must a man showe in that case the extreme passion which he fealeth, althoughe it redounde to the blame and sclaunder of the woman. Other, not satisfied with this onlye tourment of jeolosye, after the lover hath declared all his tokens of love and faithfull service, and they receyved the same with some signe to be answerable in good will, without pourpose and whan it is least looked for, they beegine to beethinke themselves, and make wise to beleave that he is slacked, and feininge newe suspitions that they are not beloved, they make a countenaunce that they will in any wise put him out of their favour. Wherfore throughe these inconveniences the poore soule is constrayned of verye force to beegine a freshe, and to make her signes, as thoughe he beegane his service but then, and all the daye longe passe up and downe through the streete, and whan the woman goith furth of her doores to accompanye her to churche and to everie place where she goith, and never to tourne hys eyes to other place. And here he retourneth to weepinge, to sighes, to heavie countenance, and whan he can talke with her, to swearing, to blaspheminge, to desperation, and to all rages which unhappie lovers are lead to by these wielde beastes, that have greater thirst of blood then the verie Tygres. Such sorowfull tokens as these be are to often sene and knowen, and manie times more of others then of the causer of them, and thus are they in fewe dayes so published, that a stepp can not be made, nor the leaste signe that is, but it is noted with a thousande eyes. It happeneth then, that longe before there be any pleasures of love beetwext them, they are ghessed and judged of all the world. For whan they see yet their lover nowe nighe deathes doore, cleane vanquished with the crueltye and tourmentes they put him to, determineth advisedlye and in good ernest to drawe backe, then beegine they to make signe that they love him hartely, and do him al pleasures and give themselves to him, leaste if that fervent desire should feint in him, the frute of love shoulde withall be the lesse acceptable to him, and he ken them the lesse thanke for doinge all thinges contrarily. And in case this love be already knowen abrode, at this same time are all the effectes knowen in like maner abrode, that come of it, and so lose they their reputation, and the lover findeth that he hath lost time and labour and shortned his life in afflictions without any frute or pleasure, because he came by his desire, not whan they should have bine so accepatable to him that they woulde have made him a most happie creature, but whan he set litle or nothinge by them. For his hart was nowe so mortified with those bitter passions, that he had no more sense to taste the delite or contentation offred him.
What discloseth love.
Then said the L. Octavian smilinge: You helde your peace a while and refrayned from speakinge yll of women, but now ye have so wel hit them home, that it appered ye waited a time to plucke uppe your strength, like them that retire backeward to give a greater pushe at the encounter. And to say the truth, it is ill done of you, for nowe me thinke ye may have done and be pacified.
The L. Emilia laughed, and tourninge her to the Dutchesse she said: See Madam, oure ennemies begine to breake and to square one wyth an other.
Give me not this name, answered the L. Octavian, for I am not your adversarie, but this contention hath displeased me, not bicause I am sorye to see the victory upon womens side, but bicause it hath lead the L. Gaspar to revile them more then he ought, and the L. Julian and the L. Cesar to praise them perhappes somwhat more then due: beeside that through the length of the talke we have lost the understandynge of manye other pretye matters that are yet beehinde to be said of the Courtier.
See, quoth the L. Emilia, whether you be not oure adversarie, for the talke that is past greeveth you, and you would not that this so excellent a Gentilwoman of the Palaice had bine facioned: not for that you have any more to say of the Courtier (for these lordes have spoken alreadye what they know and I beleave neither you, ne any man elles can ad ought therto) but for the malice you beare to the honour of women.
It is out of doubt, answered the L. Octavian, beeside that is alreadie spoken, of the Courtier, I coulde wishe muche more in him. But sins every man is pleased that he shall be as he is, I am well pleased to, and woulde not have him altered in anye point, savinge in makinge him somwhat more frindlye to women, then the L. Gaspar is, yet not perhappes, so much as some of these other Lordes are.
Then spake the Dutchesse: In any case we must see whether youre witt be suche that it can give the Courtier a greater perfection, then these Lordes have alreadye done: therefore dispose your selfe to uttre that you have in your minde, els will we thinke that you also can not ad unto him more then hath alreadie bine saide, but that you minded to diminish the praises and worthinesse of the gentilwoman of the Palaice, seeing ye judge she is equall with the Courtier, whom by this meane you would have beleaved might be muche more perfect, then these Lordes have facioned him.
The L. Octavian laughed and said: The prayses and disprayses given women more then due, have so filled the eares and minde of the hearers, that they have left no voide rowme for anye thinge elles to stande in: beeside that (in mine opinion) it is very late.
Then said the Dutchesse: If we tarie till to morowe, we shall have more time, and the prayses and dispraises, whiche (you saye) are given women on both sides passinge measure, in the meane season will be cleane out of these Lordes mindes, and so shall they be apte to conceyve the truth that you will tell us. Whan the Dutchesse had thus spoken, she arrose upon her feete, and courteisly dismissing them all, withdrew her to the bedchamber, and everye manne gote him to his rest.
Go on to the fourth Booke.