Symptoms are either of body or mind; of body, paleness, leanness, dryness, &c. Pallidus omnis amans, color hic est aptus amanti, as the poet describes lovers: fecit amor maciem, love causeth leanness. Avicenna de Ilishi, c. 33. "makes hollow eyes, dryness, symptoms of this disease, to go smiling to themselves, or acting as if they saw or heard some delectable object." Valleriola, lib. 3. observat. cap. 7. Laurentius, cap. 10. Ælianus Montaltus de Her. amore. Langius, epist. 24. lib. 1. epist. med. deliver as much, corpus exangue pallet, corpus gracile, oculi cavi, lean, pale,-- ut nudis qui pressit calcibus anguem, "as one who trod with naked foot upon a snake," hollow-eyed, their eyes are hidden in their heads,-- Tenerque nitidi corposis cecidit decor, they pine away, and look ill with waking, cares, sighs.
"Et qui tenebant signa Phœbeæ facis
Oculi, nihil gentile nec patrium micant."
"And eyes that once rivalled the locks of Phœbus, lose the patrial and paternal lustre." With groans, griefs, sadness, dullness,
--"Nulla jam Cereris subi
Cura aut salutis" --
want of appetite, &c. A reason of all this, Jason Pratensis gives, "because of the distraction of the spirits the liver doth not perform his part, nor turns the aliment into blood as it ought, and for that cause the members are weak for want of sustenance, they are lean and pine, as the herbs of my garden do this month of May, for want of rain." The green sickness therefore often happeneth to young women, a cachexia or an evil habit to men, besides their ordinary sighs, complaints, and lamentations, which are too frequent. As drops from a still,-- ut occluso stillat ab igne liquor, doth Cupid's fire provoke tears from a true lover's eyes,
"The mighty Mars did oft for Venus shriek,
Privily moistening his horrid cheek
With womanish tears," --
--"ignis distillat in undas,
Testis erit largus qui rigat ora liquor,"
with many such like passions. When Chariclia was enamoured of Theagines, as Heliodorus sets her out, "she was half distracted, and spake she knew not what, sighed to herself, lay much awake, and was lean upon a sudden:" and when she was besotted on her son-in-law, pallor deformis, marcentes oculi, &c., she had ugly paleness, hollow eyes, restless thoughts, short wind, &c. Euryalus, in an epistle sent to Lucretia, his mistress, complains amongst other grievances, tu mihi et somni et cibi usum abstulisti, thou hast taken my stomach and my sleep from me. So he describes it aright:
His sleep, his meat, his drink, in him bereft,
That lean he waxeth, and dry as a shaft,
His eyes hollow and grisly to behold,
His hew pale and ashen to unfold,
And solitary he was ever alone,
And waking all the night making moan.
Theocritus Edyl. 2. makes a fair maid of Delphos, in love with a young man of Minda, confess as much,
"Ut vidi ut insanii, ut animus mihi male affectiis est,
Miseræ mihi forma tabescebat, neque amplius pompam
Ullum curabam, aut quando domum redieram
Novi, sed me ardens quidam morbus consumebat,
Decubui in lecto dies decem, et noctes decem,
Defluebant capite capilli, ipsaque sola reliqua
Ossa et cutis" --
"No sooner seen I had, but mad I was.
My beauty fail'd, and I no more did care
For any pomp, I knew not where I was,
But sick I was, and evil I did fare;
I lay upon my bed ten days and nights,
A skeleton I was in all men's sights."
All these passions are well expressed by that heroical poet in the person of Dido:
"At non infelix animi Phænissa, nec unquam
Solvitur in somnos, oculisque ac pectore amores
Accipit; ingeminant curæ, rursusque resurgens
Sævit amor," &c.--
"Unhappy Dido could not sleep at all,
But lies awake, and takes no rest:
And up she gets again, whilst care and grief,
And raging love torment her breast."
Accius Sanazarius Egloga 2. de Galatea, in the same manner feigns his Lychoris tormenting herself for want of sleep, sighing, sobbing, and lamenting; and Eustathius in his Ismenias much troubled, and "panting at heart, at the sight of his mistress," he could not sleep, his bed was thorns. All make leanness, want of appetite, want of sleep ordinary symptoms, and by that means they are brought often so low, so much altered and changed, that as he jested in the comedy, "one scarce know them to be the same men."
"Attenuant juvenum vigilatæ corpora noctes,
Curaque et immenso qui fit amore dolor."
Many such symptoms there are of the body to discern lovers by,-- quis enim bene celet amorem? Can a man, saith Solomon, Prov. vi. 27, carry fire in his bosom and not burn? it will hardly be hid; though they do all they can to hide it, it must out, plus quam mille notis -- it may be described, quoque magis tegitur, tectus magis æstuat ignis. 'Twas Antiphanes the comedian's observation of old, Love and drunkenness cannot be concealed, Celare alia possis, hæc præter duo, vini potum, &c. words, looks, gestures, all will betray them; but two of the most notable signs are observed by the pulse and countenance. When Antiochus, the son of Seleucus, was sick for Stratonice, his mother-in-law, and would not confess his grief, or the cause of his disease, Erasistratus, the physician, found him by his pulse and countenance to be in love with her, "because that when she came in presence, or was named, his pulse varied, and he blushed besides." In this very sort was the love of Callices, the son of Polycles, discovered by Panacæas the physician, as you may read the story at large in Aristenætus. By the same signs Galen brags that he found out Justa, Boethius the consul's wife, to dote on Pylades the player, because at his name still she both altered pulse and countenance, as Polyarchus did at the name of Argenis. Franciscus Valesius, l. 3. controv. 13. med. contr. denies there is any such pulsus amatorius, or that love may be so discerned; but Avicenna confirms this of Galen out of his experience, lib. 3. Fen. 1. and Gordonius, cap. 20. "Their pulse, he saith, is ordinate and swift, if she go by whom he loves," Langius, epist. 24. lib. 1. med. epist. Neviscanus, lib. 4. numer. 66. syl. nuptialis, Valescus de Taranta, Guianerius, Tract. 15. Valleriola sets down this for a symptom, "Difference of pulse, neglect of business, want of sleep, often sighs, blushings, when there is any speech of their mistress, are manifest signs." But amongst the rest, Josephus Struthis, that Polonian, in the fifth book, cap. 17. of his Doctrine of Pulses, holds that this and all other passions of the mind may be discovered by the pulse. "And if you will know, saith he, whether the men suspected be such or such, touch their arteries," &c. And in his fourth book, fourteenth chapter, he speaks of this particular pulse, "Love makes an unequal pulse," &c., he gives instance of a gentlewoman, a patient of his, whom by this means he found to be much enamoured, and with whom: he named many persons, but at the last when his name came whom he suspected, "her pulse began to vary and to beat swifter, and so by often feeling her pulse, he perceived what the matter was." Apollonius Argonaut. lib. 4. poetically setting down the meeting of Jason and Medea, makes them both to blush at one another's sight, and at the first they were not able to speak.
Tremo, horreoque postquam aspexi hanc,"
Phædria trembled at the sight of Thais, others sweat, blow short, Crura tremunt ac poplites,-- are troubled with palpitation of heart upon the like occasion, cor proximum ori, saith Aristenætus, their heart is at their mouth, leaps, these burn and freeze, (for love is fire, ice, hot, cold, itch, fever, frenzy, pleurisy, what not) they look pale, red, and commonly blush at their first congress; and sometimes through violent agitation of spirits bleed at nose, or when she is talked of; which very sign Eustathius makes an argument of Ismene's affection, that when she met her sweetheart by chance, she changed her countenance to a maiden-blush. 'Tis a common thing amongst lovers, as Arnulphus, that merry-conceited bishop, hath well expressed in a facetious epigram of his,
"Alterno facies sibi dat responsa rubore,
Et tener affectum prodit utrique pudor," &c.
"Their faces answer, and by blushing say,
How both affected are, they do betray."
But the best conjectures are taken from such symptoms as appear when they are both present; all their speeches, amorous glances, actions, lascivious gestures will betray them; they cannot contain themselves, but that they will be still kissing. Stratocles, the physician, upon his wedding-day, when he was at dinner, Nihil prius sorbillavit, quam tria basia puellæ pangeret, could not eat his meat for kissing the bride, &c. First a word, and then a kiss, then some other compliment, and then a kiss, then an idle question, then a kiss, and when he had pumped his wits dry, can say no more, kissing and colling are never out of season, Hoc non deficit incipitque semper, 'tis never at an end, another kiss, and then another, another, and another, &c.-- huc ades O Thelayra -- Come kiss me Corinna?
"Centum basia centies,
Centum basia millies,
Mille basia millies,
Et tot millia millies,
Quot guttæ Siculo mari,
Quot sunt sidera coelo,
Istis purpureis genis,
Istis turgidulis labris,
Figam continuo impetu;
O formosa Neæra. (As Catullus to Lesbia.)
Da mihi basia mille, deindi centum,
Dein mille altera, da secunda centum,
Dein usque altera millia, deinde centum."
--"first give a hundred,
Then a thousand, then another
Hundred, then unto the other
Add a thousand, and so more," &c.
Till you equal with the store, all the grass, &c. So Venus did by her Adonis, the moon with Endymion, they are still dallying and colling, as so many doves, Columbatimque labra conserentes labiis, and that with alacrity and courage,
"Affligunt avide corpus, junguntque salivas
Oris, et inspirant prensantes dentibus ora."
Tam impresso ore ut vix inde labra detrahant, cervice reclinata, "as Lamprias in Lucian kissed Thais, Philippus her Aristænetus," amore lymphato tam uriose adhæsit, ut vix labra solvere esset, totumque os mihi contrivit; Aretine's Lucretia, by a suitor of hers was so saluted, and 'tis their ordinary fashion.
--"dentes illudunt sæpe labellis,
Atque premunt arete adfigentes oscula" --
They cannot, I say, contain themselves, they will be still not only joining hands, kissing, but embracing, treading on their toes, &c., diving into their bosoms, and that libenter, et cum delectatione, as Philostratus confesseth to his mistress; and Lamprias in Lucian, Mammillas premens, per sinum clam dextra, &c., feeling their paps, and that scarce honestly sometimes: as the old man in the Comedy well observed of his son, Non ego te videbam manum huic puellæ in sinum insere? Did not I see thee put thy hand into her bosom? go to, with many such love tricks. Juno in Lucian deorum, tom. 3. dial. 3. complains to Jupiter of Ixion, "he looked so attentively on her, and sometimes would sigh and weep in her company, and when I drank by chance, and gave Ganymede the cup, he would desire to drink still in the very cup that I drank of, and in the same place where I drank, and would kiss the cup, and then look steadily on me, and sometimes sigh, and then again smile." If it be so they cannot come near to dally, have not that opportunity, familiarity, or acquaintance to confer and talk together; yet if they be in presence, their eye will betray them: Ubi amor ibi oculus, as the common saying is, "where I look I like, and where I like I love;" but they will lose themselves in her looks.
"Alter in alterius jactantes lumina vultus,
Quærebant taciti noster ubi esset amor."
"They cannot look off whom they love," they will impregnare eam, ipsis oculis, deflower her with their eyes, be still gazing, staring, stealing faces, smiling, glancing at her, as Apollo on Leucothoe, the moon on her Endymion, when she stood still in Caria, and at Latmos caused her chariot to be stayed. They must all stand and admire, or if she go by, look after her as long as they can see her, she is animæ auriga, as Anacreon calls her, they cannot go by her door or window, but, as an adamant, she draws their eyes to it; though she be not there present, they must needs glance that way, and look back to it. Aristenætus of Exithemus, Lucian, in his Imagim. of himself, and Tatius of Clitophon, say as much, Ille oculos de Leucippe nunquam dejiciebat, and many lovers confess when they came in their mistress' presence, they could not hold off their eyes, but looked wistfully and steadily on her, inconnivo aspectu, with much eagerness and greediness, as if they would look through, or should never have enough sight of her. Fixis ardens obtutibus hæret; so she will do by him, drink to him with her eyes, nay, drink him up, devour him, swallow him, as Martial's Mamurra is remembered to have done: Inspexit molles pueros, oculisque comedit, &c. There is a pleasant story to this purpose in Navigat. Vertom. lib. 3. cap. 5. The sultan of Sana's wife in Arabia, because Vertomannus was fair and white, could not look off him, from sunrising to sunsetting; she could not desist; she made him one day come into her chamber, et geminæ, horæ spatio intuebatur, non a me anquam aciem oculorum avertebat, me observans veluti Cupidinem quendam, for two hours' space she still gazed on him. A young man in Lucian fell in love with Venus' picture; he came every morning to her temple, and there continued all day long from sunrising to sunset, unwilling to go home at night, sitting over against the goddess's picture, he did continually look upon her, and mutter to himself I know not what. If so be they cannot see them whom they love, they will still be walking and waiting about their mistress's doors, taking all opportunity to see them, as in Longus Sophista, Daphnis and Chloe, two lovers, were still hovering at one another's gates, he sought all occasions to be in her company, to hunt in summer, and catch birds in the frost about her father's house in the winter, that she might see him, and he her. "A king's palace was not so diligently attended," saith Aretine's Lucretia, "as my house was when I lay in Rome; the porch and street was ever full of some, walking or riding, on set purpose to see me; their eye was still upon my window; as they passed by, they could not choose but look back to my house when they were past, and sometimes hem or cough, or take some impertinent occasion to speak aloud, that I might look out and observe them." 'Tis so in other places, 'tis common to every lover, 'tis all his felicity to be with her, to talk with her; he is never well but in her company, and will walk "seven or eight times a day through the street where she dwells, and make sleeveless errands to see her;" plotting still where, when, and how to visit her,
"Levesque sub nocte susurri,
Composita repetuntur hora."
And when he is gone, he thinks every minute an hour, every hour as long as a day, ten days a whole year, till he see her again. Tempora si numeres, bene quæ numeramus amantes. And if thou be in love, thou wilt say so too, Et longum formosa, vale, farewell sweetheart, vale charissima Argenis, &c. Farewell my dear Argenis, once more farewell, farewell. And though he is to meet her by compact, and that very shortly, perchance tomorrow, yet both to depart, he'll take his leave again, and again, and then come back again, look after, and shake his hand, wave his hat afar off. Now gone, he thinks it long till he see her again, and she him, the clocks are surely set back, the hour's past,
"Hospita Demophoon tua te Rodopheia Phillis,
Ultra promissum tempus abesse queror."
She looks out at window still to see whether he come, and by report Phillis went nine times to the seaside that day, to see if her Demophoon were approaching, and Troilus to the city gates, to look for his Cresseid. She is ill at ease, and sick till she see him again, peevish in the meantime; discontent, heavy, sad, and why comes he not? where is he? why breaks he promise? why tarries he so long? sure he is not well; sure he hath some mischance; sure he forgets himself and me; with infinite such. And then, confident again, up she gets, out she looks, listens, and inquires, hearkens, kens; every man afar off is sure he, every stirring in the street, now he is there, that's he, male auroræ, malæ soli dicit, deiratque, &c., the longest day that ever was, so she raves, restless and impatient; for Amor non patitur moras, love brooks no delays: the time's quickly gone that's spent in her company, the miles short, the way pleasant; all weather is good whilst he goes to her house, heat or cold; though his teeth chatter in his head, he moves not; wet or dry, 'tis all one; wet to the skin, he feels it not, cares not at least for it, but will easily endure it and much more, because it is done with alacrity, and for his mistress's sweet sake; let the burden be never so heavy, love makes it light. Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and it was quickly gone because he loved her. None so merry; if he may happily enjoy her company, he is in heaven for a time; and if he may not, dejected in an instant, solitary, silent, he departs weeping, lamenting, sighing, complaining.
But the symptoms of the mind in lovers are almost infinite, and so diverse, that no art can comprehend them; though they be merry sometimes, and rapt beyond themselves for joy: yet most part, love is a plague, a torture, a hell, a bitter sweet passion at last; Amor melle et felle est fæcundissimus, gustum dat dulcem et amarum. 'Tis suavis amaricies, dolentia delectabilis, hilare tormentum;
"Et me melle beant suaviora,
Et me felle necant amariora."
(Stobæus e Græco. "Sweeter than honey it pleases me, more bitter than gall, it teases me.")
like a summer fly or sphinx's wings, or a rainbow of all colours,
"Quæ ad solis radios conversæ aureæ erant,
Adversus nubes ceruleæ, quale jabar iridis,"
fair, foul, and full of variation, though most part irksome and bad. For in a word, the Spanish Inquisition is not comparable to it; "a torment" and "execution" as it is, as he calls it in the poet, an unquenchable fire, and what not? From it, saith Austin, arise "biting cares, perturbations, passions, sorrows, fears, suspicions, discontents, contentions, discords, wars, treacheries, enmities, flattery, cozening, riot, impudence, cruelty, knavery," &c.
Lamentatio, lachrymæ perennes,
Languor, anxietas, amaritudo;
Aut si triste magis potest quid esse,
Hos tu das comites Neæra vitæ."
These be the companions of lovers, and the ordinary symptoms, as the poet repeats them.
"In amore hæc insunt vitia,
Suspiciones, inimicitiæ, audaciæ,
Bellum, pax rursum," &c.
"Insomnia, ærumna, error, terror, et fuga,
Excogitantia excors immodestia,
Petulantia, cupiditas, et malevolentia;
Inhæret etiam aviditas, desidia, injuria,
Inopia, contumelia et dispendium," &c.
"In love these vices are; suspicions,.
Peace, war, and impudence, detractions,
Dreams, cares, and errors, terrors and affrights,
Immodest pranks, devices, sleights and flights,
Heart-burnings, wants, neglects, desire of wrong,
Loss continual, expense and hurt among."
Every poet is full of such catalogues of love symptoms; but fear and sorrow may justly challenge the chief place. Though Hercules de Saxonia, cap. 3. Tract. de melanch. will exclude fear from love melancholy, yet I am otherwise persuaded. Res est solliciti plena timoris amor. 'Tis full of fear, anxiety, doubt, care, peevishness, suspicion; it turns a man into a woman, which made Hesiod belike put Fear and Paleness Venus' daughters,
--"Marti clypeos atque arma secanti Alma
Venus peperit Pallorem, unaque Timorem:"
because fear and love are still linked together. Moreover they are apt to mistake, amplify, too credulous sometimes, too full of hope and confidence, and then again very jealous, unapt to believe or entertain any good news. The comical poet hath prettily painted out this passage amongst the rest in a dialogue betwixt Mitio and Æschines, a gentle father and a lovesick son. "Be of good cheer, my son, thou shalt have her to wife. Æ. Ah father, do you mock me now? M. I mock thee, why? Æ. That which I so earnestly desire, I more suspect and fear. M. Get you home, and send for her to be your wife. Æ. What now a wife, now father," &c. These doubts, anxieties, suspicions, are the least part of their torments; they break many times from passions to actions, speak fair, and flatter, now most obsequious and willing, by and by they are averse, wrangle, fight, swear, quarrel, laugh, weep: and he that doth not so by fits, Lucian holds, is not thoroughly touched with this loadstone of love. So their actions and passions are intermixed, but of all other passions, sorrow hath the greatest share; love to many is bitterness itself; rem amaram Plato calls it, a bitter potion, an agony, a plague.
"Eripite hanc pestem perniciemque mihi;
Quæ mihi subrepens imos ut torpor in artus,
Expulit ex omni pectore lætitias."
"O take away this plague, this mischief from me,
Which, as a numbness over all my body,
Expels my joys, and makes my soul so heavy."
Phædria had a true touch of this, when he cried out,
"O Thais, utinam esset mihi
Pars æqua amoris tecum, ac paritor fieret ut
Aut hoc tibi doleret itidem, ut mihi dolet."
"O Thais, would thou hadst of these my pains a part,
Or as it doth me now, so it would make thee smart."
So had that young man, when he roared again for discontent,
"Jactor, crucior, agitor, stimulor,
Versor in amoris rota miser,
Exanimor, feror, distrahor, deripior,
Ubi sum, ibi non sum; ubi non sum, ibi est animus."
"I am vext and toss'd, and rack'd on love's wheel:
Where not, I am; but where am, do not feel."
The moon in Lucian made her moan to Venus, that she was almost dead for love, pereo equidem amore, and after a long tale, she broke off abruptly and wept, "O Venus, thou knowest my poor heart." Charmides, in Lucian, was so impatient, that he sobbed and sighed, and tore his hair, and said he would hang himself. "I am undone, O sister Tryphena, I cannot endure these love pangs; what shall I do?" Vos O dii Averrunci solvite me his curis, O ye gods, free me from these cares and miseries, out of the anguish of his soul, Theocles prays. Shall I say, most part of a lover's life is full of agony, anxiety, fear, and grief, complaints, sighs, suspicions, and cares, (heigh-ho, my heart is wo) full of silence and irksome solitariness?
"Frequenting shady bowers in discontent,
To the air his fruitless clamours he will vent."
except at such times that he hath lucida intervalla, pleasant gales, or sudden alterations, as if his mistress smile upon him, give him a good look, a kiss, or that some comfortable message be brought him, his service is accepted, &c.
He is then too confident and rapt beyond himself, as if he had heard the nightingale in the spring before the cuckoo, or as Calisto was at Melebæas' presence, Quis unquam hac mortali vita, tam gloriosum corpus vidit? humanitatem transcendere videor., &c. who ever saw so glorious a sight, what man ever enjoyed such delight? More content cannot be given of the gods, wished, had or hoped of any mortal man. There is no happiness in the world comparable to his, no content, no joy to this, no life to love, he is in paradise.
"Quis me uno vivit felicior? aut magis hac est
Optandum vita dicere quis poterit?"
"Who lives so happy as myself? what bliss
In this our life may be compar'd to this?"
He will not change fortune in that case with a prince,
"Donec gratus eram tibi,
Persarum vigui rege beatior."
The Persian kings are not so jovial as he is, O festus dies hominis, O happy day; so Chærea exclaims when he came from Pamphila his sweetheart well pleased,
"Nunc est profecto interfici cum perpeti me possem,
Ne hoc gaudium contaminet vita aliqua ægritudine."
"He could find in his heart to be killed instantly, lest if he live longer, some sorrow or sickness should contaminate his joys." A little after, he was so merrily set upon the same occasion, that he could not contain himself.
"O populares, ecquis me vivit hodie fortunatior?
Nemo hercule quisquam; nam in me dii plane potestatem
Suam omnem ostendere;"
"Is't possible (O my countrymen) for any living to be so happy as myself? No sure it cannot be, for the gods have shown all their power, all their goodness in me." Yet by and by when this young gallant was crossed in his wench, he laments, and cries, and roars downright: Occidi -- I am undone,
"Neque virgo est usquam, neque ego, qui e conspectu illam amisi meo,
Ubi quæram, ubi investigem, quem percunter, quam insistam viam?"
"The virgin's gone, and I am gone, she's gone, she's gone, and what shall I do? where shall I seek her, where shall I find her, whom shall I ask? what way, what course shall I take? what will become of me -- " vitales auras invitus agebat, he was weary of his life, sick, mad, and desperate, utinam mihi esset aliquid hic, quo nunc me præcipitem darem. 'Tis not Chæreas' case this alone, but his, and his, and every lover's in the like state. If he hear ill news, have bad success in his suit, she frown upon him, or that his mistress in his presence respect another more (as Hedus observes) "prefer another suitor, speak more familiarly to him, or use more kindly than himself, if by nod, smile, message, she discloseth herself to another, he is instantly tormented, none so dejected as he is," utterly undone, a castaway, In quem fortuna omnia odiorum suorum crudelissima tela exonerat, a dead man, the scorn of fortune, a monster of fortune, worse than nought, the loss of a kingdom had been less. Aretine's Lucretia made very good proof of this, as she relates it herself. "For when I made some of my suitors believe I would betake myself to a nunnery, they took on, as if they had lost father and mother, because they were for ever after to want my company." Omnes labores leves fuere, all other labour was light: but this might not be endured. Tui carendum quod erat -- "for I cannot be without thy company," mournful Amyntas, painful Amyntas, careful Amyntas; better a metropolitan city were sacked, a royal army overcome, an invincible armada sunk, and twenty thousand kings should perish, than her little finger ache, so zealous are they, and so tender of her good. They would all turn friars for my sake, as she follows it, in hope by that means to meet, or see me again, as my confessors, at stool-ball, or at barley-break: And so afterwards when an importunate suitor came, "If I had bid my maid say that I was not at leisure, not within, busy, could not speak with him, he was instantly astonished, and stood like a pillar of marble; another went swearing, chafing, cursing, foaming." Illa sibi vox ipsa Jovis violentior ira, cum tonat, &c. the voice of a mandrake had been sweeter music: "but he to whom I gave entertainment, was in the Elysian fields, ravished for joy, quite beyond himself." 'Tis the general humour of all lovers, she is their stern, pole-star, and guide. Deliciumque animi, deliquiumque sui. As a tulipant to the sun (which our herbalists calls Narcissus) when it shines, is Admirandus flos ad radios solis se pandens, a glorious flower exposing itself; but when the sun sets, or a tempest comes, it hides itself, pines away, and hath no pleasure left, (which Carolus Gonzaga, duke of Mantua, in a cause not unlike, sometimes used for an impress) do all inamorates to their mistress; she is their sun, their Primum mobile, or anima informans; this one hath elegantly expressed by a windmill, still moved by the wind, which otherwise hath no motion of itself. Sic tua ni spiret gratia, truncus ero. "He is wholly animated from her breath," his soul lives in her body, sola claves habet interitus et salutis, she keeps the keys of his life: his fortune ebbs and flows with her favour, a gracious or bad aspect turns him up or down, Mens mea lucescit Lucia luce tua. Howsoever his present state be pleasing or displeasing, 'tis continuate so long as he loves, he can do nothing, think of nothing but her; desire hath no rest, she is his cynosure, Hesperus and vesper, his morning and evening star, his goddess, his mistress, his life, his soul, his everything; dreaming, waking, she is always in his mouth; his heart, his eyes, ears, and all his thoughts are full of her. His Laura, his Victorina, his Columbina, Flavia, Flaminia, Cœlia, Delia, or Isabella, (call her how you will) she is the sole object of his senses, the substance of his soul, nidulus animæ suæ, he magnifies her above measure, totus in illa, full of her, can breathe nothing but her. "I adore Melebæa," saith lovesick Calisto, "I believe in Melebæa, I honour, admire and love my Melebæa;" His soul was soused, imparadised, imprisoned in his lady. When Thais took her leave of Phædria,-- mi Phædria, et nunquid aliud vis? Sweet heart (she said) will you command me any further service? he readily replied, and gave in this charge,
--"egone quid velim?
Dies noctesque ames me, me desideres,
Me somnies, me expectes, me cogites,
Me speres, me te oblectes, mecum tota sis,
Meus fac postremo animus, quando ego sum tuus."
"Dost ask (my dear) what service I will have?
To love me day and night is all I crave,
To dream on me, to expect, to think on me,
Depend and hope, still covet me to see,
Delight thyself in me, be wholly mine,
For know, my love, that I am wholly thine."
But all this needed not, you will say; if she affect once, she will be his, settle her love on him, on him alone,
--"illum absens absentem
Auditque videtque" --
she can, she must think and dream of nought else but him, continually of him, as did Orpheus on his Eurydice,
"Te dulcis conjux, te solo in littore mecum,
Te veniente die, te discedente canebam."
"On thee sweet wife was all my song.
Morn, evening, and all along."
And Dido upon her Æneas;
--"et quæ me insomnia terrent,
Multa viri virtus, et plurima currit imago."
"And ever and anon she thinks upon the man
That was so fine, so fair, so blithe, so debonair."
Clitophon, in the first book of Achilles Tatius, complaineth how that his mistress Leucippe tormented him much more in the night than in the day. "For all day long he had some object or other to distract his senses, but in the night all ran upon her. All night long he lay awake, and could think of nothing else but her, he could not get her out of his mind; towards morning, sleep took a little pity on him, he slumbered awhile, but all his dreams were of her."
--"te nocte sub atra
Alloquor, amplector, falsaque in imagine somni,
Gaudia solicitam palpant evanida mentem."
"In the dark night I speak, embrace, and find
That fading joys deceive my careful mind."
The same complaint Euryalus makes to his Lucretia, "day and night I think of thee, I wish for thee, I talk of thee, call on thee, look for thee, hope for thee, delight myself in thee, day and night I love thee."
"Nec mihi vespere Surgente decedunt amores,
Nec rapidum fugiente solem."
Morning, evening, all is alike with me, I have restless thoughts, Te vigilans oculis, animo te nocte requiro. Still I think on thee. Anima non est ubi animat, sed ubi amat. I live and breathe in thee, I wish for thee.
"O niveam quæ te poterit mihi reddere lucem,
O mihi felicem terque quaterque diem."
"O happy day that shall restore thee to my sight." In the meantime he raves on her; her sweet face, eyes, actions, gestures, hands, feet, speech, length, breadth, height, depth, and the rest of her dimensions, are so surveyed, measured, and taken, by that Astrolabe of phantasy, and that so violently sometimes, with such earnestness and eagerness, such continuance, so strong an imagination, that at length he thinks he sees her indeed; he talks with her, he embraceth her, Ixion-like, pro Junone nubem, a cloud for Juno, as he said. Nihil præter Leucippen cerno, Leucippe mihi perpetuo in oculis, et animo versatur, I see and meditate of nought but Leucippe. Be she present or absent, all is one;
"Et quamvis aberat placidæ præsentia formæ
Quem dederat præsens forma, manebat amor.
(Ovid. Fast. 2. ver. 775. "Although the presence of her fair form is wanting, the love which it kindled remains.")
That impression of her beauty is still fixed in his mind,-- hærent infixi pectora vultus; as he that is bitten with a mad dog thinks all he sees dogs -- dogs in his meat, dogs in his dish, dogs in his drink: his mistress is in his eyes, ears, heart, in all his senses. Valleriola had a merchant, his patient, in the same predicament; and Ulricus Molitor, out of Austin, hath a story of one, that through vehemency of his love passion, still thought he saw his mistress present with him, she talked with him, Et commisceri cum ea vigilans videbatur, still embracing him.
Now if this passion of love can produce such effects, if it be pleasantly intended, what bitter torments shall it breed, when it is with fear and continual sorrow, suspicion, care, agony, as commonly it is, still accompanied, what an intolerable pain must it be?
--"Non tam grandes
Gargara culmos, quot demerso
Pectore curas longa nexas
Usque catena, vel quæ penitus
Crudelis amor vulnera miscet."
"Mount Gargarus hath not so many stems
As lover's breast hath grievous wounds,
And linked cares, which love compounds."
When the King of Babylon would have punished a courtier of his, for loving of a young lady of the royal blood, and far above his fortunes, Apollonius in presence by all means persuaded to let him alone; "For to love and not enjoy was a most unspeakable torment," no tyrant could invent the like punishment; as a gnat at a candle, in a short space he would consume himself. For love is a perpetual flux, angor animi, a warfare, militat omni amans, a grievous wound is love still, and a lover's heart is Cupid's quiver, a consuming fire, accede ad hunc ignem, &c. an inextinguishable fire.
--"alitur et crescit malum,
Et ardet intus, qualis Ætnæo vapor
Exundat antro" --
As Ætna rageth, so doth love, and more than Ætna or any material fire.
--"Nam amor sæpe Lypareo
Vulcano ardentiorem flammam incendere solet."
Vulcan's flames are but smoke to this. For fire, saith Xenophon, burns them alone that stand near it, or touch it; but this fire of love burneth and scorcheth afar off, and is more hot and vehement than any material fire: Ignis in igne furit, 'tis a fire in a fire, the quintessence of fire. For when Nero burnt Rome, as Calisto urgeth, he fired houses, consumed men's bodies and goods; but this fire devours the soul itself, "and one soul is worth a hundred thousand bodies." No water can quench this wild fire.
--"In pectus coecos absorbuit ignes,
Ignes qui nec aqua perimi potuere, nec imbre
Diminui, neque graminibus, magicisque susurris."
"A fire he took into his breast,
Which water could not quench.
Nor herb, nor art, nor magic spells
Could quell, nor any drench."
Except it be tears and sighs, for so they may chance find a little ease.
"Sic candentia colla, sic patens frons,
Sic me blanda tui Neæra ocelli,
Sic pares minio genæ perurunt,
Ut ni me lachrymæ rigent perennes,
Totus in tenues eam favillas."
"So thy white neck, Neæra, me poor soul
Doth scorch, thy cheeks, thy wanton eyes that roll:
Were it not for my dropping tears that hinder,
I should be quite burnt up forthwith to cinder."
This fire strikes like lightning, which made those old Grecians paint Cupid, in many of their temples, with Jupiter's thunderbolts in his hands; for it wounds, and cannot be perceived how, whence it came, where it pierced. Urimur, et cœcum, pectora vulnus habent, and can hardly be discerned at first.
--"Est mollis flamma medullas,
Et tacitum insano vivit sub pectore vulnus."
"A gentle wound, an easy fire it was,
And sly at first, and secretly did pass."
But by-and-by it began to rage and burn amain;
--"Pectus insanum vapor.
Amorque torret, intus sævus vorat
Penitus medullas, atque per venas meat
Visceribus ignis mersus, et venis latens,
Ut agilis altas flamma percurrit trabes."
"This fiery vapour rageth in the veins,
And scorcheth entrails, as when fire burns
A house, it nimbly runs along the beams,
And at the last the whole it overturns."
Abraham Hoffemannus, lib. 1. amor conjugal, cap. 2. p. 22. relates out of Plato, how that Empedocles, the philosopher, was present at the cutting up of one that died for love, "his heart was combust, his liver smoky, his lungs dried up, insomuch that he verily believed his soul was either sodden or roasted through the vehemency of love's fire." Which belike made a modern writer of amorous emblems express love's fury by a pot hanging over the fire, and Cupid blowing the coals. As the heat consumes the water, Sic sua consumit viscera cœcus amor, so doth love dry up his radical moisture. Another compares love to a melting torch, which stood too near the fire.
"Sic quo quis proprior suæ puellæ est,
Hoc stultus proprior suæ runinæ est."
"The nearer he unto his mistress is,
The nearer he unto his ruin is."
So that to say truth, as Castilio describes it, "The beginning, middle, end of love is nought else but sorrow, vexation, agony, torment, irksomeness, wearisomeness; so that to be squalid, ugly, miserable, solitary, discontent, dejected, to wish for death, to complain, rave, and to be peevish, are the certain signs and ordinary actions of a lovesick person." This continual pain and torture makes them forget themselves, if they be far gone with it, in doubt, despair of obtaining, or eagerly bent, to neglect all ordinary business.
--"pendent opera interrupta, minæque
Murorum ingentes, æquataque machina coelo."
(Virg. Æn. 4. "The works are interrupted, promises of great walls, and scaffoldings rising towards the skies, are all suspended.")
Lovesick Dido left her work undone, so did Phædra,
--"Palladis telæ vacant
Et inter ipsus pensa labuntur manus."
Faustus, in Mantuan, took no pleasure in anything he did,
"Nulla quies mihi dulcis erat, nullus labor ægro
Pectore, sensus iners, et mens torpore sepulta,
Carminis occiderat studium." --
(Virg. Æn. 4. "The works are interrupted, promises of great walls, and scaffoldings rising towards the skies, are all suspended.")
And 'tis the humour of them all, to be careless of their persons and their estates, as the shepherd in Theocritus, et hæc barba inculta est, squalidique capilli, their beards flag, and they have no more care of pranking themselves or of any business, they care not, as they say, which end goes forward.
"Oblitusque greges, et rura domestica totus
Uritur, et noctes in luctum expendit amaras."
"Forgetting flocks of sheep and country farms,
The silly shepherd always mourns and burns."
Lovesick Chærea, when he came from Pamphila's house, and had not so good welcome as he did expect, was all amort, Parmeno meets him, quid tristis es? Why art thou so sad man? unde es? whence comest, how doest? but he sadly replies, Ego hercle nescio neque unde eam, neque quorsum eam, ita prorsus oblitus sum mei, I have so forgotten myself, I neither know where I am, nor whence I come, nor whether I will, what I do. P. "How so?" Ch. "I am in love." Prudens sciens. "-- vivus vidensque pereo, nec quid agam scio." "He that erst had his thoughts free" (as Philostratus Lemnius, in an epistle of his, describes this fiery passion) , "and spent his time like a hard student, in those delightsome philosophical precepts; he that with the sun and moon wandered all over the world, with stars themselves ranged about, and left no secret or small mystery in nature unsearched, since he was enamoured can do nothing now but think and meditate of love matters, day and night composeth himself how to please his mistress; all his study, endeavour, is to approve himself to his mistress, to win his mistress' favour, to compass his desire, to be counted her servant." When Peter Abelard, that great scholar of his age, Cui soli patuit scibile quicquid erat, ("whose faculties were equal to any difficulty in learning,") was now in love with Heloise, he had no mind to visit or frequent schools and scholars any more, Tædiosum mihi valde fuit (as he confesseth) ad scholas procedere, vel in iis morari, all his mind was on his new mistress.
Now to this end and purpose, if there be any hope of obtaining his suit, to prosecute his cause, he will spend himself, goods, fortunes for her, and though he lose and alienate all his friends, be threatened, be cast off, and disinherited; for as the poet saith, Amori quis legem det? though he be utterly undone by it, disgraced, go a begging, yet for her sweet sake, to enjoy her, he will willingly beg, hazard all he hath, goods, lands, shame, scandal, fame, and life itself.
"Non recedam neque quiescam, noctu et interdiu,
Prius profecto quam aut ipsam, aut mortem investigavero."
"I'll never rest or cease my suit
Till she or death do make me mute."
Parthenis in Aristænetus was fully resolved to do as much. "I may have better matches, I confess, but farewell shame, farewell honour, farewell honesty, farewell friends and fortunes, &c. O, Harpedona, keep my counsel, I will leave all for his sweet sake, I will have him, say no more, contra gentes, I am resolved, I will have him." Gobrias, the captain, when, he had espied Rhodanthe, the fair captive maid, fell upon his knees before Mystilus, the general, with tears, vows, and all the rhetoric he could, by the scars he had formerly received, the good service he had done, or whatsoever else was dear unto him, besought his governor he might have the captive virgin to be his wife, virtutis suæ spolium, as a reward of his worth and service; and, moreover, he would forgive him the money which was owing, and all reckonings besides due unto him, "I ask no more, no part of booty, no portion, but Rhodanthe to be my wife." And when as he could not compass her by fair means, he fell to treachery, force and villainy, and set his life at stake at last to accomplish his desire. 'Tis a common humour this, a general passion of all lovers to be so affected, and which Æmilia told Aratine, a courtier in Castilio's discourse, "surely Aratine, if thou werst not so indeed, thou didst not love; ingenuously confess, for if thou hadst been thoroughly enamoured, thou wouldst have desired nothing more than to please thy mistress. For that is the law of love, to will and nill the same." Tantum velle et nolle, velit nolit quod amica?
Undoubtedly this may be pronounced of them all, they are very slaves, drudges for the time, madmen, fools, dizzards, atrabilarii , beside themselves, and as blind as beetles. Their dotage is most eminent, Amore simul et sapere ipsi Jovi non datur, as Seneca holds, Jupiter himself cannot love and be wise both together; the very best of them, if once they be overtaken with this passion, the most staid, discreet, grave, generous and wise, otherwise able to govern themselves, in this commit many absurdities, many indecorums, unbefitting their gravity and persons.
"Quisquis amat servit, sequitur captivus amantem,
Fert domita cervice jugum" --
(Mantuan. "Whoever is in love is in slavery, he follows his sweetheart as a captive his captor, and wears a yoke on his submissible neck.")
Samson, David, Solomon, Hercules, Socrates, &c. are justly taxed of indiscretion in this point; the middle sort are between hawk and buzzard; and although they do perceive and acknowledge their own dotage, weakness, fury, yet they cannot withstand it; as well may witness those expostulations and confessions of Dido in Virgil:
"Incipit effari mediaque in voce resistit."
(Virg. Æn. 4. "She began to speak but stopped in the middle of her discourse.")
Phædra in Seneca:
"Quod ratio poscit, vincit ac regnat furor,
Potensque tota mente dominatur deus."
(Seneca, Hippol. "What reason requires, raging love forbids.")
Myrrha in . Ovid:
"Illa quidem sentit, foedoque repugnat amori,
Et secum quo mente feror, quid molior, inquit,
Dii precor, et pietas," &c.
"She sees and knows her fault, and doth resist,
Against her filthy lust she doth contend.
And whither go I, what am I about?
And God forbid, yet doth it in the end."
--"Per vigil igne
Carpitur indomito, furiosaque vota retrectat,
Et modo desperat, modo vult tentare, pudetque
Et cupit, et quid agat, non invenit," &c.
"With raging lust she burns, and now recalls
Her vow, and then despairs, and when 'tis past,
Her former thoughts she'll prosecute in haste,
And what to do she knows not at the last."
She will and will not, abhors: and yet as Medea did, doth it,
--"Trahit invitam nova via, aliudque cupido,
Mens aliud suadet; video meliora, proboque,
Deteriora sequor." --
"Reason pulls one way, burning lust another,
She sees and knows what's good, but she doth neither,"
"O fraus, amorque, et mentis emotæ furor, quo me abstulistis?"
(Buchanan. "Oh fraud, and love, and distraction of mind, whither have you led me?")
The major part of lovers are carried headlong like so many brute beasts, reason counsels one way, thy friends, fortunes, shame, disgrace, danger, and an ocean of cares that will certainly follow; yet this furious lust precipitates, counterpoiseth, weighs down on the other; though it be their utter undoing, perpetual infamy, loss, yet they will do it, and become at last insensati, void of sense; degenerate into dogs, hogs, asses, brutes; as Jupiter into a bull, Apuleius an ass, Lycaon a wolf, Tereus a lapwing, Calisto a bear, Elpenor and Grillus into swine by Circe. For what else may we think those ingenious poets to have shadowed in their witty fictions and poems but that a man once given over to his lust (as Fulgentius interprets that of Apuleius, Alciat of Tereus) "is no better than a beast."
"Rex fueram, sic crista docet, sed sordida vita
Immundam e tanto culmine fecit avem."
"I was a king, my crown my witness is,
But by my filthiness am come to this."
Their blindness is all out as great, as manifest as their weakness and dotage, or rather an inseparable companion, an ordinary sign of it, love is blind, as the saying is, Cupid's blind, and so are all his followers. Quisquis amat ranam, ranam putat esse Dianam. Every lover admires his mistress, though she be very deformed of herself, ill-favoured, wrinkled, pimpled, pale, red, yellow, tanned, tallow-faced, have a swollen juggler's platter face, or a thin, lean, chitty face, have clouds in her face, be crooked, dry, bald, goggle-eyed, blear-eyed, or with staring eyes, she looks like a squissed cat, hold her head still awry, heavy, dull, hollow-eyed, black or yellow about the eyes, or squint-eyed, sparrow-mouthed, Persian hook-nosed, have a sharp fox nose, a red nose, China flat, great nose, nare simo patuloque, a nose like a promontory, gubber-tushed, rotten teeth, black, uneven, brown teeth, beetle browed, a witch's beard, her breath stink all over the room, her nose drop winter and summer, with a Bavarian poke under her chin, a sharp chin, lave eared, with a long crane's neck, which stands awry too, pendulis mammis, "her dugs like two double jugs," or else no dugs, in that other extreme, bloody fallen fingers, she have filthy, long unpared nails, scabbed hands or wrists, a tanned skin, a rotten carcass, crooked back, she stoops, is lame, splay-footed, "as slender in the middle as a cow in the waist," gouty legs, her ankles hang over her shoes, her feet stink, she breed lice, a mere changeling, a very monster, an oaf imperfect, her whole complexion savours, a harsh voice, incondite gesture, vile gait, a vast virago, or an ugly tit, a slug, a fat fustilugs, a truss, a long lean rawbone, a skeleton, a sneaker (si qua latent meliora puta) , and to thy judgment looks like a merd in a lantern, whom thou couldst not fancy for a world, but hatest, loathest, and wouldst have spit in her face, or blow thy nose in her bosom, remedium amoris to another man, a dowdy, a slut, a scold, a nasty, rank, rammy, filthy, beastly quean, dishonest peradventure, obscene, base, beggarly, rude, foolish, untaught, peevish, Irus' daughter, Thersites' sister, Grobians' scholar, if he love her once, he admires her for all this, he takes no notice of any such errors, or imperfections of body or mind, Ipsa hæc -- delectant, veluti Balbinum Polypus Agnæ, (Hor. ser. lib. sat. l. 3. "These very things please him, as the wen of Agna did Balbinus.") he had rather have her than any woman in the world. If he were a king, she alone should be his queen, his empress. O that he had but the wealth and treasure of both the Indies to endow her with, a carrack of diamonds, a chain of pearl, a cascanet of jewels, (a pair of calfskin gloves of four-pence a pair were fitter) , or some such toy, to send her for a token, she should have it with all his heart; he would spend myriads of crowns for her sake. Venus herself, Panthea, Cleopatra, Tarquin's Tanaquil, Herod's Mariamne, or Mary of Burgundy, if she were alive, would not match her.
(" Vincit vultus hæc Tyndarios,
Qui moverunt horrida bellla."
(Seneca in Octavia. "Her beauty excels the Tyndarian Helen's, which caused such dreadful wars.")
Let Paris himself be judge) renowned Helen comes short, that Rodopheian Phillis, Larissean Coronis, Babylonian Thisbe, Polixena, Laura, Lesbia, &c., your counterfeit ladies were never so fair as she is.
"Quicquid erit placidi, lepidi, grati, atque faceti,
Vivida cunctorum retines Pandora deorum."
"Whate'er is pretty, pleasant, facete, well,
Whate'er Pandora had, she doth excel."
Dicebam Triviœ formam nihil esse Dianœ. Diana was not to be compared to her, nor Juno, nor Minerva, nor any goddess. Thetis' feet were as bright as silver, the ankles of Hebe clearer than crystal, the arms of Aurora as ruddy as the rose, Juno's breasts as white as snow, Minerva wise, Venus fair; but what of this? Dainty come thou to me. She is all in all,
--"Cœlia ridens Est Venus, incedens Juno,
"Fairest of fair, that fairness doth excel."
Ephemerus in Aristænetus, so far admireth his mistress' good parts, that he makes proclamation of them, and challengeth all comers in her behalf. "Whoever saw the beauties of the east, or of the west, let them come from all quarters, all, and tell truth, if ever they saw such an excellent feature as this is." A good fellow in Petronius cries out, no tongue can tell his lady's fine feature, or express it, quicquid dixeris minus erit, &c.
"No tongue can her perfections tell,
In whose each part, all tongues may dwell."
Most of your lovers are of his humour and opinion. She is nulli secunda, a rare creature, a phoenix, the sole commandress of his thoughts, queen of his desires, his only delight: as Triton now feelingly sings, that lovesick sea-god:
"Candida Leucothoe placet, et placet atra Melæne,
Sed Galatea placet longe magis omnibus una."
"Fair Leucothe, black Melene please me well,
But Galatea doth by odds the rest excel."
All the gracious elogies, metaphors, hyperbolical comparisons of the best things in the world, the most glorious names; whatsoever, I say, is pleasant, amiable, sweet, grateful, and delicious, are too little for her.
"Phœbo pulchrior et sorore Phœbi."
"His Phœbe is so fair, she is so bright,
She dims the sun's lustre, and the moon's light."
Stars, sun, moons, metals, sweet-smelling flowers, odours, perfumes, colours, gold, silver, ivory, pearls, precious stones, snow, painted birds, doves, honey, sugar, spice, cannot express her, so soft, so tender, so radiant, sweet, so fair is she.-- Mollior cuniculi capillo, &c.
"Lydia bella, puelia candida,
Quæ bene superas lac, et lilium,
Albamque simul rosam et rubicundam,
Et expolitum ebur Indicum."
"Fine Lydia, my mistress, white and fair,
The milk, the lily do not thee come near;
The rose so white, the rose so red to see,
And Indian ivory comes short of thee."
Such a description our English Homer makes of a fair lady
That Emilia that was fairer to seen,
Then is lily upon the stalk green:
And fresher then May with flowers new,
For with the rose colour strove her hue,
I no't which was the fairer of the two.
In this very phrase Polyphemus courts Galatea:
"Candidior folio nivei Galatea ligustri,
Floridior prato, longa procerior alno,
Splendidior vitro, tenero lascivior hædo, &c.
Mollior et cygni plumis, et lacte coacto."
"Whiter Galet than the white withie-wind,
Fresher than a field, higher than a tree,
Brighter than glass, more wanton than a kid,
Softer than swan's down, or ought that may be."
So she admires him again, in that conceited dialogue of Lucian, which John Secundus, an elegant Dutch modern poet, hath translated into verse. When Doris and those other sea nymphs upbraided her with her ugly misshapen lover, Polyphemus; she replies, they speak out of envy and malice,
"Et plane invidia huc mera vos stimulare videtur.
Quod non vos itidem ut me Polyphemus amet;"
("It is envy evidently that prompts you, because Polyphemus does not love you as he does me.")
Say what they could, he was a proper man. And as Heloise writ to her sweetheart Peter Abelard, Si me Augustus orbis imperator uxorem expeteret, mallem tua esse meretrix quam orbis imperatrix; she had rather be his vassal, his quean, than the world's empress or queen.-- non si me Jupiter ipse forte velit,-- she would not change her love for Jupiter himself.
To thy thinking she is a most loathsome creature; and as when a country fellow discommended once that exquisite picture of Helen, made by Zeuxis, for he saw no such beauty in it; Nichomachus a lovesick spectator replied, Sume tibi meos oculos et deam existimabis, take mine eyes, and thou wilt think she is a goddess, dote on her forthwith, count all her vices virtues; her imperfections infirmities, absolute and perfect: if she be flat-nosed, she is lovely; if hook-nosed, kingly; if dwarfish and little, pretty; if tall, proper and man-like, our brave British Boadicea; if crooked, wise; if monstrous, comely; her defects are no defects at all, she hath no deformities. Immo nec ipsum amicæ stercus fœtet, though she be nasty, fulsome, as Sostratus' bitch, or Parmeno's sow; thou hadst as live have a snake in thy bosom, a toad in thy dish, and callest her witch, devil, hag, with all the filthy names thou canst invent; he admires her on the other side, she is his idol, lady, mistress, venerilla, queen, the quintessence of beauty, an angel, a star, a goddess.
"Thou art my Vesta, thou my goddess art,
Thy hallowed temple only is my heart."
The fragrancy of a thousand courtesans is in her face: Nec pulchræ effigies, hæc Cypridis aut Stratonices; 'tis not Venus' picture that, nor the Spanish infanta's, as you suppose (good sir) , no princess, or king's daughter: no, no, but his divine mistress, forsooth, his dainty Dulcinia, his dear Antiphila, to whose service he is wholly consecrate, whom he alone adores.
"Cui comparatus indecens erit pavo,
Inamabilis sciurus, et frequens Phoenix."
"To whom conferr'd a peacock's indecent,
A squirrel's harsh, a phoenix too frequent."
All the graces, veneries, elegancies, pleasures, attend her. He prefers her before a myriad of court ladies.
"He that commends Phillis or Neræa,
Or Amaryllis, or Galatea,
Tityrus or Melibea, by your leave,
Let him be mute, his love the praises have."
Nay, before all the gods and goddesses themselves. So Quintus Catullus admired his squint-eyed friend Roscius.
"Pace mihi liceat (Cœlestes) dicere vestra,
Mortalis visus pulchrior esse Deo."
"By your leave gentle Gods, this I'll say true,
There's none of you that have so fair a hue."
All the bombast epithets, pathetical adjuncts, incomparably fair, curiously neat, divine, sweet, dainty, delicious, &c., pretty diminutives, corculum, suaviolum, &c. pleasant names may be invented, bird, mouse, lamb, puss, pigeon, pigsney, kid, honey, love, dove, chicken, &c. he puts on her.
"Meum mel, mea suavitas, meum cor,
Meum suaviolum, mei lepores,"
"my life, my light, my jewel, my glory," Margareta speciosa, cujus respectu omnia mundi pretiosa sordent, my sweet Margaret, my sole delight and darling. And as Rhodomant courted Isabella:
"By all kind words and gestures that he might,
He calls her his dear heart, his sole beloved,
His joyful comfort, and his sweet delight,
His mistress, and his goddess, and such names,
As loving knights apply to lovely dames."
Every cloth she wears, every fashion pleaseth him above measure; her hand, O quales digitos, quos habet illa manus! pretty foot, pretty coronets, her sweet carriage, sweet voice, tone, O that pretty tone, her divine and lovely looks, her every thing, lovely, sweet, amiable, and pretty, pretty, pretty. Her very name (let it be what it will) is a most pretty, pleasing name; I believe now there is some secret power and virtue in names, every action, sight, habit, gesture; he admires, whether she play, sing, or dance, in what tires soever she goeth, how excellent it was, how well it became her, never the like seen or heard. Mille habet ornatus, mille decenter habet. Let her wear what she will, do what she will, say what she will, Quicquid enim dicit, seu facit, omne decet. He applauds and admires everything she wears, saith or doth,
"Illam quicquid agit, quoquo vestigia vertit,
Composuit furtim subsequiturque decor;
Seu solvit crines, fusis decet esse capillis,
Seu compsit, comptis est reverenda comis."
"Whate'er she doth, or whither e'er she go,
A sweet and pleasing grace attends forsooth;
Or loose, or bind her hair, or comb it up,
She's to be honoured in what she doth."
Vestem induitur, formosa est: exuitur, tota forma est, let her be dressed or undressed, all is one, she is excellent still, beautiful, fair, and lovely to behold. Women do as much by men; nay more, far fonder, weaker, and that by many parasangs. "Come to me my dear Lycias," (saith Musæus in Aristænetus) "come quickly sweetheart, all other men are satyrs, mere clowns, blockheads to thee, nobody to thee." Thy looks, words, gestures, actions, &c., "are incomparably beyond all others." Venus was never so much besotted on her Adonis, Phædra so delighted in Hippolitus, Ariadne in Theseus, Thisbe in her Pyramus, as she is enamoured on her Mopsus.
"Be thou the marigold, and I will be the sun,
Be thou the friar, and I will be the nun."
I could repeat centuries of such. Now tell me what greater dotage or blindness can there be than this in both sexes? and yet their slavery is more eminent, a greater sign of their folly than the rest.
They are commonly slaves, captives, voluntary servants, Amator amicæ mancipium, as Castilio terms him, his mistress' servant, her drudge, prisoner, bondman, what not? "He composeth himself wholly to her affections to please her, and, as Æmelia said, makes himself her lackey. All his cares, actions, all his thoughts, are subordinate to her will and commandment:" her most devote, obsequious, affectionate servant and vassal. "For love" (as Cyrus in Xenophon well observed) "is a mere tyranny, worse than any disease, and they that are troubled with it desire to be free and cannot, but are harder bound than if they were in iron chains." What greater captivity or slavery can there be (as Tully expostulates) than to be in love? "Is he a free man over whom a woman domineers, to whom she prescribes laws, commands, forbids what she will herself; that dares deny nothing she demands; she asks, he gives; she calls, he comes; she threatens, he fears; Nequissimum hunc servum puto, I account this man a very drudge." And as he follows it, "Is this no small servitude for an enamourite to be every hour combing his head, stiffening his beard, perfuming his hair, washing his face with sweet water, painting, curling, and not to come abroad but sprucely crowned, decked, and apparelled?" Yet these are but toys in respect, to go to the barber, baths, theatres, &c., he must attend upon her wherever she goes, run along the streets by her doors and windows to see her, take all opportunities, sleeveless errands, disguise, counterfeit shapes, and as many forms as Jupiter himself ever took; and come every day to her house (as he will surely do if he be truly enamoured) and offer her service, and follow her up and down from room to room, as Lucretia's suitors did, he cannot contain himself but he will do it, he must and will be where she is, sit next her, still talking with her. "If I did but let my glove fall by chance," (as the said Aretine's Lucretia brags,) "I had one of my suitors, nay two or three at once ready to stoop and take it up, and kiss it, and with a low congé deliver it unto me; if I would walk, another was ready to sustain me by the arm. A third to provide fruits, pears, plums, cherries, or whatsoever I would eat or drink." All this and much more he doth in her presence, and when he comes home, as Troilus to his Cressida, 'tis all his meditation to recount with himself his actions, words, gestures, what entertainment he had, how kindly she used him in such a place, how she smiled, how she graced him, and that infinitely pleased him; and then he breaks out, O sweet Areusa, O my dearest Antiphila, O most divine looks, O lovely graces, and thereupon instantly he makes an epigram, or a sonnet to five or seven tunes, in her commendation, or else he ruminates how she rejected his service, denied him a kiss, disgraced him, &c., and that as effectually torments him. And these are his exercises between comb and glass, madrigals, elegies, &c., these his cogitations till he see her again. But all this is easy and gentle, and the least part of his labour and bondage, no hunter will take such pains for his game, fowler for his sport, or soldier to sack a city, as he will for his mistress' favour.
"Ipsa comes veniam, neque me salebrosa movebunt
Saxa, nec obliquo dente timendus aper."
("Nor will the rude rocks affright, me, nor the crooked-tusked bear, so that I shall not visit my mistress in pleasant mood.")
As Phædra to Hippolitus. No danger shall affright, for if that be true the poets feign, Love is the son of Mars and Venus; as he hath delights, pleasures, elegances from his mother, so hath he hardness, valour, and boldness from his father. And 'tis true that Bernard hath; Amore nihil mollius, nihil volentius, nothing so boisterous, nothing so tender as love. If once, therefore, enamoured, he will go, run, ride many a mile to meet her, day and night, in a very dark night, endure scorching heat, cold, wait in frost and snow, rain, tempest, till his teeth chatter in his head, those northern winds and showers cannot cool or quench his flame of love. Intempesta nocte non deterretur, he will, take my word, sustain hunger, thirst, Penetrabit omnia, perrumpet omnia, "love will find out a way," through thick and thin he will to her, Expeditissimi montes videntur omnes tranabiles, he will swim through an ocean, ride post over the Alps, Apennines, or Pyrenean hills,
"Ignem marisque fluctus, atque turbines
Venti paratus est transire," --
though it rain daggers with their points downward, light or dark, all is one: (Roscida per tenebras Faunus ad antra venit) , for her sweet sake he will undertake Hercules's twelve labours, endure, hazard, &c., he feels it not. "What shall I say," saith Hædus, "of their great dangers they undergo, single combats they undertake, how they will venture their lives, creep in at windows, gutters, climb over walls to come to their sweethearts," (anointing the doors and hinges with oil, because they should not creak, tread soft, swim, wade, watch, &c.) , "and if they be surprised, leap out at windows, cast themselves headlong down, bruising or breaking their legs or arms, and sometimes losing life itself," as Calisto did for his lovely Melibæa. Hear some of their own confessions, protestations, complaints, proffers, expostulations, wishes, brutish attempts, labours in this kind. Hercules served Omphale, put on an apron, took a distaff and spun; Thraso the soldier was so submissive to Thais, that he was resolved to do whatever she enjoined. Ego me Thaidi dedam; et faciam quod jubet, I am at her service. Philostratus in an epistle to his mistress, "I am ready to die sweetheart if it be thy will; allay his thirst whom thy star hath scorched and undone, the fountains and rivers deny no man drink that comes; the fountain doth not say thou shalt not drink, nor the apple thou shalt not eat, nor the fair meadow walk not in me, but thou alone wilt not let me come near thee, or see thee, contemned and despised I die for grief." Polienus, when his mistress Circe did but frown upon him in Petronius, drew his sword, and bade her kill, stab, or whip him to death, he would strip himself naked, and not resist. Another will take a journey to Japan, Longæ navigationis molestis non curans: a third (if she say it) will not speak a word for a twelvemonth's space, her command shall be most inviolably kept: a fourth will take Hercules's club from him, and with that centurion in the Spanish Cœlestina, will kill ten men for his mistress Areusa, for a word of her mouth he will cut bucklers in two like pippins, and flap down men like flies, Elige quo mortis genere illum occidi cupis. Galeatus of Mantua did a little more: for when he was almost mad for love of a fair maid in the city, she, to try him belike what he would do for her sake, bade him in jest leap into the river Po if he loved her; he forthwith did leap headlong off the bridge and was drowned. Another at Ficinum in like passion, when his mistress by chance (thinking no harm I dare swear) bade him go hang, the next night at her doors hanged himself. "Money" (saith Xenophon) "is a very acceptable and welcome guest, yet I had rather give it my dear Clinia than take it of others, I had rather serve him than command others, I had rather be his drudge than take my ease, undergo any danger for his sake than live in security. For I had rather see Clinia than all the world besides, and had rather want the sight of all other things than him alone; I am angry with the night and sleep that I may not see him, and thank the light and sun because they show me my Clinia; I will run into the fire for his sake, and if you did but see him, I know that you likewise would run with me." So Philostratus to his mistress, "Command me what you will, I will do it; bid me go to sea, I am gone in an instant, take so many stripes, I am ready, run through the fire, and lay down my life and soul at thy feet, 'tis done." So did Æolus to Juno.
--"Tuus o regina quod optas
Explorare labor, mihi jussa capescere fas est."
"O queen it is thy pains to enjoin me still,
And I am bound to execute thy will."
And Phædra to Hippolitus,
"Me vel sororem Hippolite aut famulam voca,
Famulamque potius, omne servitium feram."
"O call me sister, call me servant, choose,
Or rather servant, I am thine to use."
"Non me per altas ire si jubeas nives,
Pigeat galatis ingredi Pindi jugis,
Non si per ignes ire aut infesta agmina
Cuncter, paratus ensibus pectus dare,
Te tunc jubere, me decet jussa exequi."
"It shall not grieve me to the snowy hills,
Or frozen Pindus' tops forthwith to climb.
Or run through fire, or through an army,
Say but the word, for I am always thine."
Callicratides in Lucian breaks out into this passionate speech, "O God of Heaven, grant me this life for ever to sit over against my mistress, and to hear her sweet voice, to go in and out with her, to have every other business common with her; I would labour when she labours; sail when she sails; he that hates her should hate me; and if a tyrant kill her, he should kill me; if she should die, I would not live, and one grave should hold us both." Finiet illa meos moriens morientis amores. (Buchanan. "When she dies my love shall also be at rest in the tomb.") Abrocomus in Aristænetus makes the like petition for his Delphia,-- Tecum vivere amem, tecum obeam lubens. "I desire to live with thee, and I am ready to die with thee." 'Tis the same strain which Theagines used to his Chariclea, "so that I may but enjoy thy love, let me die presently:" Leander to his Hero, when he besought the sea waves to let him go quietly to his love, and kill him coming back. Parcite dum propero, mergite dum redeo. "Spare me whilst I go, drown me as I return." 'Tis the common humour of them all, to contemn death, to wish for death, to confront death in this case, Quippe queis nec fera, nec ignis, neque præcipitium, nec fretum, nec ensis, neque laqueus gravia videntur; "'Tis their desire" (saith Tyrius) "to die."
"Haud timet mortem, cupit ire in ipsos
"He does not fear death, he desireth such upon the very swords." Though a thousand dragons or devils keep the gates, Cerberus himself, Scyron and Procrastes lay in wait, and the way as dangerous, as inaccessible as hell, through fiery flames and over burning coulters, he will adventure for all this. And as Peter Abelard lost his testicles for his Heloise, he will I say not venture an incision, but life itself. For how many gallants offered to lose their lives for a night's lodging with Cleopatra in those days! and in the hour or moment of death, 'tis their sole comfort to remember their dear mistress, as Zerbino slain in France, and Brandimart in Barbary; as Arcite did his Emily.
--when he felt death,
Dusked been his eyes, and faded is his breath
But on his lady yet casteth he his eye,
His last word was, mercy Emely,
His spirit chang'd, and out went there,
Whither I cannot tell, ne where.
When Captain Gobrius by an unlucky accident had received his death's wound, heu me miserum exclamat, miserable man that I am, (instead of other devotions) he cries out, shall I die before I see my sweetheart Rhodanthe? Sic amor mortem, (saith mine author) aut quicquid humanitus accidit, aspernatur, so love triumphs, contemns, insults over death itself. Thirteen proper young men lost their lives for that fair Hippodamias' sake, the daughter of Onomaus, king of Elis: when that hard condition was proposed of death or victory, they made no account of it, but courageously for love died, till Pelops at last won her by a sleight. As many gallants desperately adventured their dearest blood for Atalanta, the daughter of Schenius, in hope of marriage, all vanquished and overcame, till Hippomenes by a few golden apples happily obtained his suit. Perseus, of old, fought with a sea monster for Andromeda's sake; and our St. George freed the king's daughter of Sabea (the golden legend is mine author) that was exposed to a dragon, by a terrible combat. Our knights errant, and the Sir Lancelots of these days, I hope will adventure as much for ladies' favours, as the Squire of Dames, Knight of the Sun, Sir Bevis of Southampton, or that renowned peer,
"Orlando, who long time had loved dear
Angelica the fair, and for her sake
About the world in nations far and near,
Did high attempts perform and undertake;"
he is a very dastard, a coward, a block and a beast, that will not do as much, but they will sure, they will; for it is an ordinary thing for these inamoratos of our time to say and do more, to stab their arms, carouse in blood, or as that Thessalian Thero, that bit off his own thumb, provocans rivalem ad hoc æmulandum, to make his co-rival do as much. 'Tis frequent with them to challenge the field for their lady and mistress' sake, to run a tilt,
"That either bears (so furiously they meet)
The other down under the horses' feet,"
and then up and to it again,
"And with their axes both so sorely pour,
That neither plate nor mail sustain'd the stour,
But riveld wreak like rotten wood asunder,
And fire did flash like lightning after thunder;"
and in her quarrel, to fight so long "till their headpiece, bucklers be all broken, and swords hacked like so many saws," for they must not see her abused in any sort, 'tis blasphemy to speak against her, a dishonour without all good respect to name her. 'Tis common with these creatures, to drink healths upon their bare knees, though it were a mile to the bottom, no matter of what mixture, off it comes. If she bid them they will go barefoot to Jerusalem, to the great Cham's court, to the East Indies, to fetch her a bird to wear in her hat: and with Drake and Candish sail round about the world for her sweet sake, adversis ventis, serve twice seven years, as Jacob did for Rachel; do as much as Gesmunda, the daughter of Tancredus, prince of Salerna, did for Guisardus, her true love, eat his heart when he died; or as Artemisia drank her husband's bones beaten to powder, and so bury him in herself, and endure more torments than Theseus or Paris. Et his colitur Venus magis quam thure, et victimis, with such sacrifices as these (as Aristænetus holds) Venus is well pleased. Generally they undertake any pain, any labour, any toil, for their mistress' sake, love and admire a servant, not to her alone, but to all her friends and followers, they hug and embrace them for her sake; her dog, picture, and everything she wears, they adore it as a relic. If any man come from her, they feast him, reward him, will not be out of his company, do him all offices, still remembering, still talking of her:
"Nam si abest quod ames, præsto simulacra tamen sunt
Illius, et nomen dulce observatur ad aures."
(Lucretius. "For if the object of your love be absent, her image is present, and her sweet name is still familiar in my ears.")
The very carrier that comes from him to her is a most welcome guest; and if he bring a letter, she will read it twenty times over, and as Lucretia did by Euryalus, "kiss the letter a thousand times together, and then read it:" And Chelidonia by Philonius, after many sweet kisses, put the letter in her bosom,
"And kiss again, and often look thereon,
And stay the messenger that would be gone:"
And asked many pretty questions, over and over again, as how he looked, what he did, and what he said? In a word,
"Vult placere sese amicæ, vult mihi, vult pedissequæ,
Vult famulis, vult etiam ancillis, et catulo meo."
"He strives to please his mistress, and her maid,
Her servants, and her dog, and's well apaid."
If he get any remnant of hers, a busk-point, a feather of her fan, a shoe-tie, a lace, a ring, a bracelet of hair,
"Pignusque direptum lacertis; Aut digito male pertinaci,"
(Hor. "Some token snatched from her arm or her gently resisting finger.")
he wears it for a favour on his arm, in his hat, finger, or next his heart. Her picture he adores twice a day, and for two hours together will not look off it; as Laodamia did by Protesilaus, when he went to war, "'sit at home with his picture before her;' a garter or a bracelet of hers is more precious than any saint's relic," he lays it up in his casket, (O blessed relic) and every day will kiss it: if in her presence, his eye is never off her, and drink he will where she drank, if it be possible, in that very place, &c. If absent, he will walk in the walk, sit under that tree where she did use to sit, in that bower, in that very seat,-- et foribus miser oscula figit, ( "And distracted will imprint kisses on the doors.") many years after sometimes, though she be far distant and dwell many miles off, he loves yet to walk that way still, to have his chamber-window look that way: to walk by that river's side, which (though far away) runs by the house where she dwells, he loves the wind blows to that coast.
"O quoties dixi Zephyris properantibus illuc,
Felices pulchram visuri Amaryllada venti."
"O happy western winds that blow that way,
For you shall see my love's fair face to day."
He will send a message to her by the wind.
"Vos auræ Alpinæ, placidis de montibus auræ,
Hæc illi portate," --
(Fracastorius Naugerio. "Ye alpine winds, ye mountain breezes, bear these gifts to her.")
he desires to confer with some of her acquaintance, for his heart is still with her, to talk of her, admiring and commending her, lamenting, moaning, wishing himself anything for her sake, to have opportunity to see her, O that he might but enjoy her presence! So did Philostratus to his mistress, "O happy ground on which she treads, and happy were I if she would tread upon me. I think her countenance would make the rivers stand, and when she comes abroad, birds will sing and come about her."
"Ridebunt valles, ridebunt obvia Tempe,
In florem viridis protinus ibi humus."
"The fields will laugh, the pleasant valleys burn,
And all the grass will into flowers turn."
Omnis Ambrosiam spirabit aura. "When she is in the meadow, she is fairer than any flower, for that lasts but for a day, the river is pleasing, but it vanisheth on a sudden, but thy flower doth not fade, thy stream is greater than the sea. If I look upon the heaven, methinks I see the sun fallen down to shine below, and thee to shine in his place, whom I desire. If I look upon the night, methinks I see two more glorious stars, Hesperus and thyself." A little after he thus courts his mistress, "If thou goest forth of the city, the protecting gods that keep the town will run after to gaze upon thee: if thou sail upon the seas, as so many small boats, they will follow thee: what river would not run into the sea?" Another, he sighs and sobs, swears he hath Cor scissum, a heart bruised to powder, dissolved and melted within him, or quite gone from him, to his mistress' bosom belike, he is in an oven, a salamander in the fire, so scorched with love's heat; he wisheth himself a saddle for her to sit on, a posy for her to smell to, and it would not grieve him to be hanged, if he might be strangled in her garters: he would willingly die tomorrow, so that she might kill him with her own hands. Ovid would be a flea, a gnat, a ring, Catullus a sparrow,
"O si tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem,
Et tristes animi levare curas."
("Oh, if I might only dally with thee, and alleviate the wasting sorrows of my mind.")
Anacreon, a glass, a gown, a chain, anything,
"Sed speculum ego ipse fiam,
Ut me tuum usque cernas,
Et vestis ipse fiam,
Ut me tuum usque gestes.
Mutari et opto in undam,
Lavem tuos ut artus,
Nardus puella fiam,
Ut ego teipsum inungam,
Sim fascia in papillis,
Tuo et monile collo.
Fiamque calceus, me
Saltem ut pede usque calces."
"But I a looking-glass would be,
Still to be look'd upon by thee,
Or I, my love, would be thy gown,
By thee to be worn up and down;
Or a pure well full to the brims,
That I might wash thy purer limbs:
Or, I'd be precious balm to 'noint,
With choicest care each choicest joint;
Or, if I might, I would be fain
About thy neck thy happy chain,
Or would it were my blessed hap
To be the lawn o'er thy fair pap.
Or would I were thy shoe, to be
Daily trod upon by thee."
O thrice happy man that shall enjoy her: as they that saw Hero in Museus, and Salmacis to Hermaphroditus,
--"Felices mater, &c. felix nutrix.--
Sed longe cunctis, longeque beatior ille,
Quem fructu sponsi et socii dignabere lecti."
The same passion made her break out in the comedy, Næ illæ fortunatæ, sunt quæ cum illo cubant, "happy are his bedfellows;" and as she said of Cyprus, Beata quæ illi uxor futura esset, blessed is that woman that shall be his wife, nay, thrice happy she that shall enjoy him but a night. Una nox Jovis sceptro æquiparanda, such a night's lodging is worth Jupiter's sceptre.
"Qualis nox erit illa, dii, deæque,
Quam mollis thorus?"
"O what a blissful night would it be, how soft, how sweet a bed!" She will adventure all her estate for such a night, for a nectarean, a balsam kiss alone.
"Qui te videt beatus est, Beatior qui te audiet,
Qui te potitur est Deus."
("He is happy who sees thee, more happy who hears, a god who enjoys thee.")
The sultan of Sana's wife in Arabia, when she had seen Vertomannus, that comely traveller, lamented to herself in this manner, "O God, thou hast made this man whiter than the sun, but me, mine husband, and all my children black; I would to God he were my husband, or that I had such a son;" she fell a weeping, and so impatient for love at last, that (as Potiphar's wife did by Joseph) she would have had him gone in with her, she sent away Gazella, Tegeia, Galzerana, her waiting-maids, loaded him with fair promises and gifts, and wooed him with all the rhetoric she could,-- extremum hoc miseræ da munus amanti, "grant this last request to a wretched lover." But when he gave not consent, she would have gone with him, and left all, to be his page, his servant, or his lackey, Certa sequi charum corpus ut umbra solet, so that she might enjoy him, threatening moreover to kill herself, &c. Men will do as much and more for women, spend goods, lands, lives, fortunes; kings will leave their crowns, as King John for Matilda the nun at Dunmow.
"But kings in this yet privileg'd may be,
I'll be a monk so I may live with thee."
The very Gods will endure any shame (atque aliquis de diis non tristibus inquit, &c.) be a spectacle as Mars and Venus were, to all the rest; so did Lucian's Mercury wish, and peradventure so dost thou. They will adventure their lives with alacrity -- pro qua non metuam mori -- nay more, pro qua non metuam bis mori, I will die twice, nay, twenty times for her. If she die, there's no remedy, they must die with her, they cannot help it. A lover in Calcagninus, wrote this on his darling's tomb,
"Quincia obiit, sed non Quincia sola obiit,
Quincia obiit, sed cum Quincia et ipse obii;
Risus obit, obit gratia, lusus obit.
Nec mea nunc anima in pectore, at in tumulo est."
"Quincia my dear is dead, but not alone,
For I am dead, and with her I am gone:
Sweet smiles, mirth, graces, all with her do rest,
And my soul too, for 'tis not in my breast."
How many doting lovers upon the like occasion might say the same? But these are toys in respect, they will hazard their very souls for their mistress' sake.
"Atque aliquis interjuvenes miratus est, et verbum dixit,
Non ego in cælo cuperem Deus esse,
Nostram uxorem habens domi Hero."
"One said, to heaven would I not
desire at all to go,
If that at mine own house I had
such a fine wife as Hero."
Venus forsook heaven for Adonis' sake,-- cælo præfertur Adonis. Old Janivere, in Chaucer, thought when he had his fair May he should never go to heaven, he should live so merrily here on earth; had I such a mistress, he protests,
"Cælum diis ego non suum inviderem,
Sed sortem mihi dii meam inviderent."
"I would not envy their prosperity,
The gods should envy my felicity."
Another as earnestly desires to behold his sweetheart he will adventure and leave all this, and more than this to see her alone.
"Omnia quæ patior mala si pensare velit fors,
Una aliqua nobis prosperitate, dii
Hoc precor, ut faciant, faciant me cernere coram,
Cor mihi captivum quæ tenet hocce, deam."
"If all my mischiefs were recompensed
And God would give we what I requested,
I would my mistress' presence only seek,
Which doth mine heart in prison captive keep."
But who can reckon upon the dotage, madness, servitude and blindness, the foolish phantasms and vanities of lovers, their torments, wishes, idle attempts?
Yet for all this, amongst so many irksome, absurd, troublesome symptoms, inconveniences, fantastical fits and passions which are usually incident to such persons, there be some good and graceful qualities in lovers, which this affection causeth. "As it makes wise men fools, so many times it makes fools become wise; it makes base fellows become generous, cowards courageous," as Cardan notes out of Plutarch; "covetous, liberal and magnificent; clowns, civil; cruel, gentle; wicked, profane persons, to become religious; slovens, neat; churls, merciful; and dumb dogs, eloquent; your lazy drones, quick and nimble." Feras mentes domat cupido, that fierce, cruel and rude Cyclops Polyphemus sighed, and shed many a salt tear for Galatea's sake. No passion causeth greater alterations, or more vehement of joy or discontent. Plutarch. Sympos. lib. 5. quæst. 1, saith, "that the soul of a man in love is full of perfumes and sweet odours, and all manner of pleasing tones and tunes, insomuch that it is hard to say (as he adds) whether love do mortal men more harm than good." It adds spirits and makes them, otherwise soft and silly, generous and courageous, Audacem faciebat amor. Ariadne's love made Theseus so adventurous, and Medea's beauty Jason so victorious; expectorat amor timorem. Plato is of opinion that the love of Venus made Mars so valorous. "A young man will be much abashed to commit any foul offence that shall come to the hearing or sight of his mistress." As he that desired of his enemy now dying, to lay him with his face upward, ne amasius videret eum a tergo vulneratum, lest his sweetheart should say he was a coward. "And if it were possible to have an army consist of lovers, such as love, or are beloved, they would be extraordinary valiant and wise in their government, modesty would detain them from doing amiss, emulation incite them to do that which is good and honest, and a few of them would overcome a great company of others." There is no man so pusillanimous, so very a dastard, whom love would not incense, make of a divine temper, and an heroical spirit. As he said in like case, Tota ruat cæli moles, non terreor, &c. Nothing can terrify, nothing can dismay them. But as Sir Blandimor and Paridel, those two brave fairy knights, fought for the love of fair Florimel in presence --
"And drawing both their swords with rage anew,
Like two mad mastives each other slew,
And shields did share, and males did rash, and helms did hew;
So furiously each other did assail,
As if their souls at once they would have rent,
Out of their breasts, that streams of blood did trail
Adown as if their springs of life were spent,
That all the ground with purple blood was sprent,
And all their armour stain'd with bloody gore,
Yet scarcely once to breath would they relent.
So mortal was their malice and so sore,
That both resolved (than yield) to die before."
Every base swain in love will dare to do as much for his dear mistress' sake. He will fight and fetch, Argivum Clypeum, that famous buckler of Argos, to do her service, adventure at all, undertake any enterprise. And as Serranus the Spaniard, then Governor of Sluys, made answer to Marquess Spinola, if the enemy brought 50,000 devils against him he would keep it. The nine worthies, Oliver and Rowland, and forty dozen of peers are all in him, he is all mettle, armour of proof, more than a man, and in this case improved beyond himself. For as Agatho contends, a true lover is wise, just, temperate, and valiant. "I doubt not, therefore, but if a man had such an army of lovers" (as Castilio supposeth) "he might soon conquer all the world, except by chance he met with such another army of inamoratos to oppose it." For so perhaps they might fight as that fatal dog and fatal hare in the heavens, course one another round, and never make an end. Castilio thinks Ferdinand King of Spain would never have conquered Granada, had not Queen Isabel and her ladies been present at the siege: "It cannot be expressed what courage the Spanish knights took, when the ladies were present, a few Spaniards overcame a multitude of Moors." They will undergo any danger whatsoever, as Sir Walter Manny in Edward the Third's time, stuck full of ladies' favours, fought like a dragon. For soli amantes, as Plato holds, pro amicis mori appetunt, only lovers will die for their friends, and in their mistress' quarrel. And for that cause he would have women follow the camp, to be spectators and encouragers of noble actions: upon such an occasion, the Squire of Dames himself, Sir Lancelot or Sir Tristram, Cæsar, or Alexander, shall not be more resolute or go beyond them.
Not courage only doth love add, but as I said, subtlety, wit, and many pretty devices, Namque dolos inspirat amor, fraudesque ministrat, (Hyginus, l. 2. "For love both inspires us with stratagems, and suggests to us frauds.") Jupiter in love with Leda, and not knowing how to compass his desire, turned himself into a swan, and got Venus to pursue him in the likeness of an eagle; which she doing, for shelter, he fled to Leda's lap, et in ejus gremio se collocavit, Leda embraced him, and so fell fast asleep, sed dormientem Jupiter compressit, by which means Jupiter had his will. Infinite such tricks love can devise, such fine feats in abundance, with wisdom and wariness, quis fallere possit amantem. (Virg. "Who can deceive a lover.") All manner of civility, decency, compliment and good behaviour, plus solis et leporis, polite graces and merry conceits. Boccaccio hath a pleasant tale to this purpose, which he borrowed from the Greeks, and which Beroaldus hath turned into Latin, Bebelius in verse, of Cymon and Iphigenia. This Cymon was a fool, a proper man of person, and the governor of Cyprus' son, but a very ass, insomuch that his father being ashamed of him, sent him to a farmhouse he had in the country, to be brought up. Where by chance, as his manner was, walking alone, he espied a gallant young gentlewoman, named Iphigenia, a burgomaster's daughter of Cyprus, with her maid, by a brook side in a little thicket, fast asleep in her smock, where she had newly bathed herself: "When Cymon saw her, he stood leaning on his staff, gaping on her immovable, and in amaze;" at last he fell so far in love with the glorious object, that he began to rouse himself up, to bethink what he was, would needs follow her to the city, and for her sake began to be civil, to learn to sing and dance, to play on instruments, and got all those gentlemanlike qualities and compliments in a short space, which his friends were most glad of. In brief, he became, from an idiot and a clown, to be one of the most complete gentlemen in Cyprus, did many valorous exploits, and all for the love of mistress Iphigenia. In a word, I may say thus much of them all, let them be never so clownish, rude and horrid, Grobians and sluts, if once they be in love they will be most neat and spruce; for, Omnibus rebus, et nitidis nitoribus antevenit amor, they will follow the fashion, begin to trick up, and to have a good opinion of themselves, venustatem enim mater Venus; a ship is not so long a rigging as a young gentlewoman a trimming up herself against her sweetheart comes. A painter's shop, a flowery meadow, no so gracious aspect in nature's storehouse as a young maid, nubilis puella, a Novitsa or Venetian bride, that looks for a husband, or a young man that is her suitor; composed looks, composed gait, clothes, gestures, actions, all composed; all the graces, elegances in the world are in her face. Their best robes, ribands, chains, jewels, lawns, linens, laces, spangles, must come on, præter quam res patitur student elegantiæ, they are beyond all measure coy, nice, and too curious on a sudden; 'tis all their study, all their business, how to wear their clothes neat, to be polite and terse, and to set out themselves. No sooner doth a young man see his sweetheart coming, but he smugs up himself, pulls up his cloak now fallen about his shoulders, ties his garters, points, sets his band, cuffs, slicks his hair, twires his beard, &c. When Mercury was to come before his mistress,
--"Chlamydemque ut pendeat apte
Collocat, ut limbus totumque appareat aurum."
"He put his cloak in order, that the lace.
And hem, and gold-work, all might have his grace."
Salmacis would not be seen of Hermaphroditus, till she had spruced up herself first,
"Nec tamen ante adiit, etsi properabat adire,
Quam se composuit, quam circumspexit amictus,
Et finxit vultum, et meruit formosa videri."
"Nor did she come, although 'twas her desire,
Till she compos'd herself, and trimm'd her tire,
And set her looks to make him to admire."
Venus had so ordered the matter, that when her son Æneas was to appear before Queen Dido, he was
"Os humerosque deo similis (namque ipsa decoram
Cæsariem nato genetrix, lumenque juventæ
Purpureum et lætos oculis afflarat honores.")
like a god, for she was the tire-woman herself, to set him out with all natural and artificial impostures. As mother Mammea did her son Heliogabalus, new chosen emperor, when he was to be seen of the people first. When the hirsute cyclopical Polyphemus courted Galatea;
"Jamque tibi formæ, jamque est tibi cura placendi,
Jam rigidos pectis rastris Polypheme capillos,
Jam libet hirsutam tibi falce recidere barbam,
Et spectare feros in aqua et componere vultus."
"And then he did begin to prank himself,
To plait and comb his head, and beard to shave,
And look his face i' th' water as a glass,
And to compose himself for to be brave."
He was upon a sudden now spruce and keen, as a new ground hatchet. He now began to have a good opinion of his own features and good parts, now to be a gallant.
"Jam Galatea veni, nec munera despice nostra,
Certe ego me novi, liquidaque in imagine vidi
Nuper aquæ, placuitque mihi mea forma videnti."
"Come now, my Galatea, scorn me not,
Nor my poor presents; for but yesterday
I saw myself i' th' water, and methought
Full fair I was, then scorn me not I say."
"Non sum adeo informis, nuper me in littore vidi,
Cum placidum ventis staret mare" --
(Virg. E. l. 2. "I am not so deformed, I lately saw myself in the tranquil glassy sea, as I stood upon the shore.")
'Tis the common humour of all suitors to trick up themselves, to be prodigal in apparel, pure lotus, neat, combed, and curled, with powdered hair, comptus et calimistratus, with a long love-lock, a flower in his ear, perfumed gloves, rings, scarves, feathers, points, &c. as if he were a prince's Ganymede, with everyday new suits, as the fashion varies; going as if he trod upon eggs, as Heinsius writ to Primierus, "if once he be besotten on a wench, he must like awake at nights, renounce his book, sigh and lament, now and then weep for his hard hap, and mark above all things what hats, bands, doublets, breeches, are in fashion, how to cut his beard, and wear his locks, to turn up his mustachios, and curl his head, prune his pickedevant, or if he wear it abroad, that the east side be correspondent to the west;" he may be scoffed at otherwise, as Julian that apostate emperor was for wearing a long hirsute goatish beard, fit to make ropes with, as in his Mysopogone, or that apologetical oration he made at Antioch to excuse himself, he doth ironically confess, it hindered his kissing, nam non licuit inde pura puris, eoque suavioribus labra labris adjungere, but he did not much esteem it, as it seems by the sequel, de accipiendis dandisve osculis non laboro, yet (to follow mine author) it may much concern a young lover, he must be more respectful in this behalf, "he must be in league with an excellent tailor, barber,"
"Tonsorem pucrum sed arte talem,
Qualis nec Thalamis fuit Neronis;"
"have neat shoe-ties, points, garters, speak in print, walk in print, eat and drink in print, and that which is all in all, he must be mad in print."
Amongst other good qualities an amorous fellow is endowed with, he must learn to sing and dance, play upon some instrument or other, as without all doubt he will, if he be truly touched with this loadstone of love. For as Erasmus hath it, Musicam docet amor et Pœsia, love will make them musicians, and to compose ditties, madrigals, elegies, love sonnets, and sing them to several pretty tunes, to get all good qualities may be had. Jupiter perceived Mercury to be in love with Philologia, because he learned languages, polite speech, (for Suadela herself was Venus' daughter, as some write) arts and sciences, quo virgini placeret, all to ingratiate himself, and please his mistress. 'Tis their chiefest study to sing, dance; and without question, so many gentlemen and gentlewomen would not be so well qualified in this kind, if love did not incite them. "Who," saith Castilio, "would learn to play, or give his mind to music, learn to dance, or make so many rhymes, love-songs, as most do, but for women's sake, because they hope by that means to purchase their good wills, and win their favour?" We see this daily verified in our young women and wives, they that being maids took so much pains to sing, play, and dance, with such cost and charge to their parents, to get those graceful qualities, now being married will scarce touch an instrument, they care not for it. Constantine agricult. lib. 11. cap. 18, makes Cupid himself to be a great dancer; by the same token as he was capering amongst the gods, "he flung down a bowl of nectar, which distilling upon the white rose, ever since made it red:" and Calistratus, by the help of Dedalus, about Cupid's statue made a many of young wenches still a dancing, to signify belike that Cupid was much affected with it, as without all doubt he was. For at his and Psyche's wedding, the gods being present to grace the feast, Ganymede filled nectar in abundance (as Apuleius describes it) , Vulcan was the cook, the Hours made all fine with roses and flowers, Apollo played on the harp, the Muses sang to it, sed suavi Musicæ super ingressa Venus saltavit, but his mother Venus danced to his and their sweet content. Witty Lucian in that pathetical love passage, or pleasant description of Jupiter's stealing of Europa, and swimming from Phoenicia to Crete, makes the sea calm, the winds hush, Neptune and Amphitrite riding in their chariot to break the waves before them, the tritons dancing round about, with every one a torch, the sea-nymphs half naked, keeping time on dolphins' backs, and singing Hymeneus, Cupid nimbly tripping on the top of the waters, and Venus herself coming after in a shell, strewing roses and flowers on their heads. Praxiteles, in all his pictures of love, feigns Cupid ever smiling, and looking upon dancers; and in St. Mark's in Rome (whose work I know not) , one of the most delicious pieces, is a many of satyrs dancing about a wench asleep. So that dancing still is as it were a necessary appendix to love matters. Young lasses are never better pleased than when as upon a holiday, after evensong, they may meet their sweethearts, and dance about a maypole, or in a town-green under a shady elm. Nothing so familiar in France, as for citizens' wives and maids to dance a round in the streets, and often too, for want of better instruments, to make good music of their own voices, and dance after it. Yea many times this love will make old men and women that have more toes than teeth, dance,-- "John, come kiss me now," mask and mum; for Comus and Hymen love masks, and all such merriments above measure, will allow men to put on women's apparel in some cases, and promiscuously to dance, young and old, rich and poor, generous and base, of all sorts. Paulus Jovius taxeth Augustine Niphus the philosopher, "for that being an old man, and a public professor, a father of many children, he was so mad for the love of a young maid (that which many of his friends were ashamed to see) , an old gouty fellow, yet would dance after fiddlers." Many laughed him to scorn for it, but this omnipotent love would have it so.
Properans amor, me adegit
Violenter ad sequendum."
"Love hasty with his purple staff did make
Me follow and the dance to undertake."
And 'tis no news this, no indecorum; for why? a good reason may be given of it. Cupid and death met both in an inn; and being merrily disposed, they did exchange some arrows from either quiver; ever since young men die, and oftentimes old men dote -- Sic moritur Juvenis, sic moribundus amat. (Joach. Bellius Epig. "Thus youth dies, thus in death he loves.") And who can then withstand it? If once we be in love, young or old, though our teeth shake in our heads, like virginal jacks, or stand parallel asunder like the arches of a bridge, there is no remedy, we must dance trenchmore for a need, over tables, chairs, and stools, &c. And princum prancum is a fine dance. Plutarch, Sympos. 1. quæst. 5. doth in some sort excuse it, and telleth us moreover in what sense, Musicam docet amor, licet prius fuerit rudis, how love makes them that had no skill before learn to sing and dance; he concludes, 'tis only that power and prerogative love hath over us. "Love" (as he holds) "will make a silent man speak, a modest man most officious; dull, quick; slow, nimble; and that which is most to be admired, a hard, base, untractable churl, as fire doth iron in a smith's forge, free, facile, gentle, and easy to be entreated." Nay, 'twill make him prodigal in the other extreme, and give a hundred sesterces for a night's lodging, as they did of old to Lais of Corinth, or ducenta drachmarum millia pro unica nocte, as Mundus to Paulina, spend all his fortunes (as too many do in like case) to obtain his suit. For which cause many compare love to wine, which makes men jovial and merry, frolic and sad, whine, sing, dance, and what not.
But above all the other symptoms of lovers, this is not lightly to be overpassed, that likely of what condition soever, if once they be in love, they turn to their ability, rhymers, ballad makers, and poets. For as Plutarch saith, "They will be witnesses and trumpeters of their paramours' good parts, bedecking them with verses and commendatory songs, as we do statues with gold, that they may be remembered and admired of all." Ancient men will dote in this kind sometimes as well as the rest; the heat of love will thaw their frozen affections, dissolve the ice of age, and so far enable them, though they be sixty years of age above the girdle, to be scarce thirty beneath. Jovianus Pontanus makes an old fool rhyme, and turn poetaster to please his mistress.
"Ne ringas Mariana, meos me dispice canos,
De sene nam juvenem dia referre potes," &c.
"Sweet Marian do not mine age disdain,
For thou canst make an old man young again."
They will be still singing amorous songs and ditties (if young especially) , and cannot abstain though it be when they go to, or should be at church. We have a pretty story to this purpose in Westmonasteriensis, an old writer of ours (if you will believe it) An. Dom. 1012. at Colewiz in Saxony, on Christmas eve a company of young men and maids, whilst the priest was at mass in the church, were singing catches and love songs in the churchyard, he sent to them to make less noise, but they sung on still: and if you will, you shall have the very song itself.
"Equitabat homo per sylvam frondosam,
Ducebatque secum Meswinden formosam.
Quid stamus, cur non imus?"
"A fellow rid by the greenwood side,
And fair Meswinde was his bride,
Why stand we so, and do not go?"
This they sung, he chaft, till at length, impatient as he was, he prayed to St. Magnus, patron of the church, they might all three sing and dance till that time twelvemonth, and so they did without meat and drink, wearisomeness or giving over, till at year's end they ceased singing, and were absolved by Herebertus archbishop of Cologne. They will in all places be doing thus, young folks especially, reading love stories, talking of this or that young man, such a fair maid, singing, telling or hearing lascivious tales, scurrilous tunes, such objects are their sole delight, their continual meditation, and as Guastavinius adds, Com. in 4. Sect. 27. Prov. Arist. ob seminis abundantiam crebræ cogitationes, veneris frequens recordatio et pruriens voluptas, &c. an earnest longing comes hence, pruriens corpus, pruriens anima, amorous conceits, tickling thoughts, sweet and pleasant hopes; hence it is, they can think, discourse willingly, or speak almost of no other subject. 'Tis their only desire, if it may be done by art, to see their husband's picture in a glass, they'll give anything to know when they shall be married, how many husbands they shall have, by cromnyomantia, a kind of divination with onions laid on the altar on Christmas eve, or by fasting on St. Anne's eve or night, to know who shall be their first husband, or by amphitormantia, by beans in a cake, &c., to burn the same. This love is the cause of all good conceits, neatness, exornations, plays, elegancies, delights, pleasant expressions, sweet motions, and gestures, joys, comforts, exultancies, and all the sweetness of our life, qualis jam vita foret, aut quid jucundi sine aurea Venere? Emoriar cum ista non amplius mihi cura fuerit, let me live no longer than I may love, saith a mad merry fellow in Mimnermus. This love is that salt that seasoneth our harsh and dull labours, and gives a pleasant relish to our other unsavoury proceedings, Absit amor, surgunt tenebræ, torpedo, veternum, pestis, &c. All our feasts almost, masques, mummings, banquets, merry meetings, weddings, pleasing songs, fine tunes, poems, love stories, plays, comedies, Atellans, jigs, Fescennines, elegies, odes, &c. proceed hence. Danaus, the son of Belus, at his daughter's wedding at Argos, instituted the first plays (some say) that ever were heard of symbols, emblems, impresses, devices, if we shall believe Jovius, Coutiles, Paradine, Camillus de Camillis, may be ascribed to it. Most of our arts and sciences, painting amongst the rest, was first invented, saith Patritius ex amoris beneficio, for love's sake. For when the daughter of Deburiades the Sycionian, was to take leave of her sweetheart now going to wars, ut desiderio ejus minus tabesceret, to comfort herself in his absence, she took his picture with coal upon a wall, as the candle gave the shadow, which her father admiring, perfected afterwards, and it was the first picture by report that ever was made. And long after, Sycion for painting, carving, statuary, music, and philosophy, was preferred before all the cities in Greece. Apollo was the first inventor of physic, divination, oracles; Minerva found out weaving, Vulcan curious ironwork, Mercury letters, but who prompted all this into their heads? Love, Nunquam talia invenissent, nisi talia adamassent, they loved such things, or some party, for whose sake they were undertaken at first. 'Tis true, Vulcan made a most admirable brooch or necklace, which long after Axion and Temenus, Phegius' sons, for the singular worth of it, consecrated to Apollo at Delphos, but Pharyllus the tyrant stole it away, and presented it to Ariston's wife, on whom he miserably doted (Parthenius tells the story out of Phylarchus) ; but why did Vulcan make this excellent Ouch? to give Hermione Cadmus' wife, whom he dearly loved. All our tilts and tournaments, orders of the garter, golden fleece, &c.-- Nobilitas sub amore jacet -- owe their beginnings to love, and many of our histories. By this means, saith Jovius, they would express their loving minds to their mistress, and to the beholders. 'Tis the sole subject almost of poetry, all our invention tends to it, all our songs, whatever those old Anacreons: (and therefore Hesiod makes the Muses and Graces still follow Cupid, and as Plutarch holds, Menander and the rest of the poets were love's priests,) all our Greek and Latin epigrammatists, love writers. Antony Diogenes the most ancient, whose epitome we find in Phocius Bibliotheca, Longus Sophista, Eustathius, Achilles, Tatius, Aristænetus, Heliodorus, Plato, Plutarch, Lucian, Parthenius, Theodorus, Prodromus, Ovid, Catullus, Tibullus, &c. Our new Ariostoes, Boyards, Authors of Arcadia, Urania, Faerie Queen, &c. Marullus, Leotichius, Angerianus, Stroza, Secundus, Capellanus, &c. with the rest of those facete modern poets, have written in this kind, are but as so many symptoms of love. Their whole books are a synopsis or breviary of love, the portuous of love, legends of lovers' lives and deaths, and of their memorable adventures, nay more, quod leguntur, quod laudantur amori debent, as Nevisanus the lawyer holds, "there never was any excellent poet that invented good fables, or made laudable verses, which was not in love himself;" had he not taken a quill from Cupid's wings, he could never have written so amorously as he did.
"Cynthia te vatem fecit lascive Properti,
Ingenium Galli pulchra Lycoris habet.
Fama est arguti Nemesis formosa Tibulli,
Lesbia dictavit docte Catulle tibi.
Non me Pelignus, nec spernet Mantua vatem,
Si qua Corinna mihi, si quis Alexis erit."
"Wanton Propertius and witty Gallus,
Subtile Tibullus, and learned Catullus,
It was Cynthia, Lesbia, Lychoris,
That made you poets all; and if Alexis,
Or Corinna chance my paramour to be,
Virgil and Ovid shall not despise me."
"Non me carminibus vincet nec
Thraceus Orpheus, Nec Linus."
(Virg. Eclog. 4. "None shall excel me in poetry, neither the Thracian Orpheus, nor Apollo.")
Petrarch's Laura made him so famous, Astrophel's Stella, and Jovianus Pontanus' mistress was the cause of his roses, violets, lilies, nequitiæ, blanditiæ, joci, decor, nardus, ver, corolla, thus, Mars, Pallas, Venus, Charis, crocum, Laurus, unguentem, costum, lachrymæ, myrrha, musæ, &c. and the rest of his poems; why are Italians at this day generally so good poets and painters? Because every man of any fashion amongst them hath his mistress. The very rustics and hog-rubbers, Menalcas and Corydon, qui fætant de stercore equino, those fulsome knaves, if once they taste of this love-liquor, are inspired in an instant. Instead of those accurate emblems, curious impresses, gaudy masques, tilts, tournaments, &c., they have their wakes, Whitsun-ales, shepherd's feasts, meetings on holidays, country dances, roundelays, writing their names on trees, true lover's knots, pretty gifts.
"With tokens, hearts divided, and half rings,
Shepherds in their loves are as coy as kings."
Choosing lords, ladies, kings, queens, and valentines, &c., they go by couples,
"Corydon's Phillis, Nysa and Mopsus,
With dainty Dousibel and Sir Tophus."
Instead of odes, epigrams and elegies, &c., they have their ballads, country tunes, "O the broom, the bonny, bonny broom," ditties and songs, "Bess a belle, she doth excel," -- they must write likewise and indite all in rhyme.
"Thou honeysuckle of the hawthorn hedge,
Vouchsafe in Cupid's cup my heart to pledge;
My heart's dear blood, sweet Cis is thy carouse
Worth all the ale in Gammer Gubbin's house,
I say no more, affairs call me away,
My father's horse for provender doth stay,
Be thou the Lady Cressetlight to me,
Sir Trolly Lolly will I prove to thee,
Written in haste, farewell my cowslip sweet,
Pray let's a Sunday at the alehouse meet."
Your most grim stoics and severe philosophers will melt away with this passion, and if Atheneus belie them not, Aristippus, Apollodorus, Antiphanes, &c., have made love-songs and commentaries of their mistress' praises, orators write epistles, princes give titles, honours, what not? Xerxes gave to Themistocles Lampsacus to find him wine, Magnesia for bread, and Myunte for the rest of his diet. The Persian kings allotted whole cities to like use, hæc civitas mulieri redimiculum præbeat, hæc in collum, hæc in crines, one whole city served to dress her hair, another her neck, a third her hood. Ahasuerus would have given Esther half his empire, and Herod bid Herodias "ask what she would, she should have it." Caligula gave 100,000 sesterces to his courtesan at first word, to buy her pins, and yet when he was solicited by the senate to bestow something to repair the decayed walls of Rome for the commonwealth's good, he would give but 6000 sesterces at most. Dionysius, that Sicilian tyrant, rejected all his privy councillors, and was so besotted on Mirrha his favourite and mistress, that he would bestow no office, or in the most weightiest business of the kingdom do aught without her especial advice, prefer, depose, send, entertain no man, though worthy and well deserving, but by her consent; and he again whom she commended, howsoever unfit, unworthy, was as highly approved. Kings and emperors, instead of poems, build cities; Adrian built Antinoa in Egypt, besides constellations, temples, altars, statues, images, &c., in the honour of his Antinous. Alexander bestowed infinite sums to set out his Hephestion to all eternity. Socrates professeth himself love's servant, ignorant in all arts and sciences, a doctor alone in love matters, et quum alienarum rerum omnium scientiam diffiteretur, saith Maximus Tyrius, his sectator, hujus negotii professor, &c., and this he spake openly, at home and abroad, at public feasts, in the academy, in Pyræo, Lycæo, sub Platano, &c., the very bloodhound of beauty, as he is styled by others. But I conclude there is no end of love's symptoms, 'tis a bottomless pit. Love is subject to no dimensions; not to be surveyed by any art or engine: and besides, I am of Hædus' mind, "no man can discourse of love matters, or judge of them aright, that hath not made trial in his own person," or as Æneas Sylvius adds, "hath not a little doted, been mad or lovesick himself." I confess I am but a novice, a contemplator only, Nescio quid sit amor nec amo ("I am not in love, nor do I know what love may be.") I have a tincture; for why should I lie, dissemble or excuse it, yet homo sum, &c., not altogether inexpert in this subject, non sum præceptor amandi, and what I say, is merely reading, ex altorum forsan ineptiis, by mine own observation, and others' relation.