The last refuge and surest remedy, to be put in practice in the utmost place, when no other means will take effect, is to let them go together, and enjoy one another: potissima cura est ut heros amasia sua potiatur, saith Guianerius, cap. 15. tract. 15. Æsculapius himself, to this malady, cannot invent a better remedy, quam ut amanti cedat amatum, (Jason Pratensis) than that a lover have his desire.
"Et pariter torulo bini jungantur in uno,
Et pulchro detur Æneæ Lavinia conjux."
"And let them both be joined in a bed,
And let Æneas fair Lavinia wed;"
'Tis the special cure, to let them bleed in vena Hymenæa, for love is a pleurisy, and if it be possible, so let it be,-- optataque gaudia carpant. Arculanus holds it the speediest and the best cure, 'tis Savanarola's last precept, a principal infallible remedy, the last, sole, and safest refuge.
"Julia sola poles nostras extinguere flammas,
Non nive, nun glacie, sed potes igne pari."
"Julia alone can quench my desire,
With neither ice nor snow, but with like fire."
When you have all done, saith Avicenna, "there is no speedier or safer course, than to join the parties together according to their desires and wishes, the custom and form of law; and so we have seen him quickly restored to his former health, that was languished away to skin and bones; after his desire was satisfied, his discontent ceased, and we thought it strange; our opinion is therefore that in such cases nature is to be obeyed." Areteus, an old author, lib. 3. cap. 3. hath an instance of a young man, when no other means could prevail, was so speedily relieved. What remains then but to join them in marriage?
"Tunc et basia morsiunculasque
Surreptim dare, mutuos fovere
Amplexus licet, et licet jocari;"
"they may then kiss and coll, lie and look babies in one another's eyes," as their sires before them did, they may then satiate themselves with love's pleasures, which they have so long wished and expected;
"Atque uno simul in toro quiescant,
Conjuncto simul ore suavientur,
Et somnos agitent quiete in una."
Yea, but hic labor, hoc opus, this cannot conveniently be done, by reason of many and several impediments. Sometimes both parties themselves are not agreed: parents, tutors, masters, guardians, will not give consent; laws, customs, statutes hinder: poverty, superstition, fear and suspicion: many men dote on one woman, semel et simul: she dotes as much on him, or them, and in modesty must not, cannot woo, as unwilling to confess as willing to love: she dare not make it known, show her affection, or speak her mind. "And hard is the choice" (as it is in Euphues) "when one is compelled either by silence to die with grief, or by speaking to live with shame." In this case almost was the fair lady Elizabeth, Edward the Fourth his daughter, when she was enamoured on Henry the Seventh, that noble young prince, and new saluted king, when she broke forth into that passionate speech, "O that I were worthy of that comely prince! but my father being dead, I want friends to motion such a matter! What shall I say? I am all alone, and dare not open my mind to any. What if I acquaint my mother with it? bashfulness forbids. What if some of the lords? audacity wants. O that I might but confer with him, perhaps in discourse I might let slip such a word that might discover mine intention!" How many modest maids may this concern, I am a poor servant, what shall I do? I am a fatherless child, and want means, I am blithe and buxom, young and lusty, but I have never a suitor, Expectant stolidi ut ego illos rogatum veniam, as she said, A company of silly fellows look belike that I should woo them and speak first: fain they would and cannot woo,-- quæ primum exordia sumam? being merely passive they may not make suit, with many such lets and inconveniences, which I know not; what shall we do in such a case? sing "Fortune my foe?" --
Some are so curious in this behalf, as those old Romans, our modern Venetians, Dutch and French, that if two parties clearly love, the one noble, the other ignoble, they may not by their laws match, though equal otherwise in years, fortunes, education, and all good affection. In Germany, except they can prove their gentility by three descents, they scorn to match with them. A nobleman must marry a noblewoman: a baron, a baron's daughter; a knight, a knight's; a gentleman, a gentleman's: as slaters sort their slates, do they degrees and families. If she be never so rich, fair, well qualified otherwise, they will make him forsake her. The Spaniards abhor all widows; the Turks repute them old women, if past five-and-twenty. But these are too severe laws, and strict customs, dandum aliquid amori, we are all the sons of Adam, 'tis opposite to nature, it ought not to be so. Again: he loves her most impotently, she loves not him, and so e contra. Pan loved Echo, Echo Satyrus, Satyrus Lyda.
"Quantum ipsorum aliquis amantem oderat,
Tantum ipsius amans odiosus erat."
"They love and loathe of all sorts, he loves her, she hates him; and is loathed of him, on whom she dotes." Cupid hath two darts, one to force love, all of gold, and that sharp,-- Quod facit auratum est; (Ovid. Met. 1. "The efficacious one is golden.") another blunt, of lead, and that to hinder;-- fugat hoc, facit illud amorem, "this dispels, that creates love." This we see too often verified in our common experience. Choresus dearly loved that virgin Callyrrhoe; but the more he loved her, the more she hated him. Ćnone loved Paris, but he rejected her: they are stiff of all sides, as if beauty were therefore created to undo, or be undone. I give her all attendance, all observance, I pray and intreat, Alma precor miserere mei, fair mistress pity me, I spend myself, my time, friends and fortunes, to win her favour, (as he complains in the Eclogue,) I lament, sigh, weep, and make my moan to her, "but she is hard as flint," -- cautibus Ismariis immotior -- as fair and hard as a diamond, she will not respect, Despectus tibi sum, or hear me,
--"fugit illa vocantem
Nil lachrymas miserata meas, nil flexa querelis."
("Having no compassion for my tears, she avoids my prayers, and is inflexible to my plaints.")
What shall I do?
"I wooed her as a young man should do,
But sir, she said, I love not you."
"Durior at scopulis mea
Cúlia, marmore, ferro,
Robore, rupe, antro, cornu, adamante, gelu."
"Rock, marble, heart of oak with iron barr'd,
Frost, flint or adamants, are not so hard."
I give, I bribe, I send presents, but they are refused. Rusticus est Coridon, nec munera curat Alexis. I protest, I swear, I weep,
--"odioque rependit amores,
Irrisu lachrymas" --
"She neglects me for all this, she derides me," contemns me, she hates me, "Phillida flouts me:" Caute, feris, quercu durior Eurydice, stiff, churlish, rocky still.
And 'tis most true, many gentlewomen are so nice, they scorn all suitors, crucify their poor paramours, and think nobody good enough for them, as dainty to please as Daphne herself.
"Multi illum petiere, illa aspernate petentes,
Nec quid Hymen, quid amor, quid sint connubia curat."
"Many did woo her, but she scorn'd them still,
And said she would not marry by her will."
One while they will not marry, as they say at least, (when as they intend nothing less) another while not yet, when 'tis their only desire, they rave upon it. She will marry at last, but not him: he is a proper man indeed, and well qualified, but he wants means: another of her suitors hath good means, but he wants wit; one is too old, another too young, too deformed, she likes not his carriage: a third too loosely given, he is rich, but base born: she will be a gentlewoman, a lady, as her sister is, as her mother is: she is all out as fair, as well brought up, hath as good a portion, and she looks for as good a match, as Matilda or Dorinda: if not, she is resolved as yet to tarry, so apt are young maids to boggle at every object, so soon won or lost with every toy, so quickly diverted, so hard to be pleased. In the meantime, quot torsit amantes? one suitor pines away, languisheth in love, mori quot denique cogit! another sighs and grieves, she cares not: and which Siroza objected to Ariadne,
"Nec magis Euryali gemitu, lacrymisque moveris,
Quam prece turbati flectitur ora sati.
Tu juvenem, quo non formosior alter in urbe,
Spernis, et insano cogis amore mori."
"Is no more mov'd with those sad sighs and tears,
Of her sweetheart, than raging sea with prayers:
Thou scorn'st the fairest youth in all our city,
And mak'st him almost mad for love to die:"
They take a pride to prank up themselves, to make young men. enamoured,-- captare viros et spernere capias, (T. H. "To captivate the men, but despise them when captive.") to dote on them, and to run mad for their sakes,
--"sed nullis illa movetur
Fletibus, aut voces ullas tractabilis audit."
"Whilst niggardly their favours they discover,
They love to be belov'd, yet scorn the lover."
All suit and service is too little for them, presents too base: Tormentis gaudet amantis -- et spoliis. As Atalanta they must be overrun, or not won. Many young men are as obstinate, and as curious in their choice, as tyrannically proud, insulting, deceitful, false-hearted, as irrefragable and peevish on the other side; Narcissus-like,
"Multi illum juvenes, multæ petiere puellæ,
Sed fuit in tenera tam dira superbia forma,
Nulli illum juvenes, nullas petiere puellæ."
"Young men and maids did to him sue,
But in his youth, so proud, so coy was he,
Young men and maids bade him adieu."
Echo wept and wooed him by all means above the rest, Love me for pity, or pity me for love, but he was obstinate, Ante ait emoriar quam sit tibi copia nostri, "he would rather die than give consent." Psyche ran whining after Cupid,
"Formosum tua te Psyche formosa requirit,
Et poscit te dia deum, puerumque puella;"
"Fair Cupid, thy fair Psyche to thee sues,
A lovely lass a fine young gallant woos;"
but he rejected her nevertheless. Thus many lovers do hold out so long, doting on themselves, stand in their own light, till in the end they come to be scorned and rejected, as Stroza's Gargiliana was,
"Te juvenes, te odere senes, desertaque langues,
Quæ fueras procerum publica cura prius."
"Both young and old do hate thee scorned now,
That once was all their joy and comfort too."
As Narcissus was himself,
--"Who despising many.
Died ere he could enjoy the love of any."
They begin to be contemned themselves of others, as he was of his shadow, and take up with a poor curate, or an old serving-man at last, that might have had their choice of right good matches in their youth; like that generous mare, in Plutarch, which would admit of none but great horses, but when her tail was cut off and mane shorn close, and she now saw herself so deformed in the water, when she came to drink, ab asino conscendi se passa, she was contented at last to be covered by an ass. Yet this is a common humour, will not be left, and cannot be helped.
"Hanc volo quæ non vult, illam quæ vult ego nolo:
Vincere vult animos, non satiare Venus."
"I love a maid, she loves me not: full fain
She would have me, but I not her again;
So love to crucify men's souls is bent:
But seldom doth it please or give consent."
"Their love danceth in a ring, and Cupid hunts them round about; he dotes, is doted on again." Dumque petit petitur, pariterque accedit et ardet, their affection cannot be reconciled. Oftentimes they may and will not, 'tis their own foolish proceedings that mars all, they are too distrustful of themselves, too soon dejected: say she be rich, thou poor: she young, thou old; she lovely and fair, thou most ill-favoured and deformed; she noble, thou base: she spruce and fine, but thou an ugly clown: nil desperandum, there's hope enough yet: Mopso Nisa datur, quid non speremus amantes? Put thyself forward once more, as unlikely matches have been and are daily made, see what will be the event. Many leave roses and gather thistles, loathe honey and love verjuice: our likings are as various as our palates. But commonly they omit opportunities, oscula qui sumpsit, &c., they neglect the usual means and times.
"He that will not when he may,
When he will he shall have nay."
They look to be wooed, sought after, and sued to. Most part they will and cannot, either for the above-named reasons, or for that there is a multitude of suitors equally enamoured, doting all alike; and where one alone must speed, what shall become of the rest? Hero was beloved of many, but one did enjoy her; Penelope had a company of suitors, yet all missed of their aim. In such cases he or they must wisely and warily unwind themselves, unsettle his affections by those rules above prescribed,-- quin stultos excutit ignes, divert his cogitations, or else bravely bear it out, as Turnus did, Tua sit Lavinia conjux, when he could not get her, with a kind of heroical scorn he bid Æneas take her, or with a milder farewell, let her go. Et Phillida solus habeto, "Take her to you, God give you joy, sir." The fox in the emblem would eat no grapes, but why? because he could not get them; care not then for that which may not be had.
Many such inconveniences, lets, and hindrances there are, which cross their projects and crucify poor lovers, which sometimes may, sometimes again cannot be so easily removed. But put case they be reconciled all, agreed hitherto, suppose this love or good liking be between two alone, both parties well pleased, there is mutuus amor, mutual love and great affection; yet their parents, guardians, tutors, cannot agree, thence all is dashed, the match is unequal: one rich, another poor: durus pater, a hard-hearted, unnatural, a covetous father will not marry his son, except he have so much money, ita in aurum omnes insaniunt, as Chrysostom notes, nor join his daughter in marriage, to save her dowry, or for that he cannot spare her for the service she doth him, and is resolved to part with nothing whilst he lives, not a penny, though he may peradventure well give it, he will not till he dies, and then as a pot of money broke, it is divided amongst them that gaped after it so earnestly. Or else he wants means to set her out, he hath no money, and though it be to the manifest prejudice of her body and soul's health, he cares not, he will take no notice of it, she must and shall tarry. Many slack and careless parents, iniqui patres, measure their children's affections by their own, they are now cold and decrepit themselves, past all such youthful conceits, and they will therefore starve their children's genus, have them a pueris illico nasci senes, they must not marry, nec earum affines esse rerum quas secum fert adolescentia: ex sua libidine moderatur quæ est nunc, non quæ olim fuit: as he said in the comedy: they will stifle nature, their young bloods must not participate of youthful pleasures, but be as they are themselves old on a sudden. And 'tis a general fault amongst most parents in bestowing of their children, the father wholly respects wealth, when through his folly, riot, indiscretion, he hath embezzled his estate, to recover himself, he confines and prostitutes his eldest son's love and affection to some fool, or ancient, or deformed piece for money.
"Phanaretæ ducet filiam, rufam, illam virginem,
Cæsiam, sparso ore, adunco naso" --
(Ter. Heaut. Scen. ult. "He will marry the daughter of rich parents, a red-haired, blear-eyed, big-mouthed, crooked-nosed wench.")
and though his son utterly dislike, with Clitipho in the comedy, Non possum pater: If she be rich, Eia (he replies) ut elegans est, credas animum ibi esse? he must and shall have her, she is fair enough, young enough, if he look or hope to inherit his lands, he shall marry, not when or whom he loves, Arconidis hujus filiam, but whom his father commands, when and where he likes, his affection must dance attendance upon him. His daughter is in the same predicament forsooth, as an empty boat, she must carry what, where, when, and whom her father will. So that in these businesses the father is still for the best advantage; now the mother respects good kindred, must part the son a proper woman. All which Livy exemplifies, dec. 1. lib. 4. a gentleman and a yeoman wooed a wench in Rome (contrary to that statute that the gentry and commonalty must not match together) ; the matter was controverted: the gentleman was preferred by the mother's voice, quæ quam splendissimis nuptiis jungi puellam volebat: the overseers stood for him that was most worth, &c. But parents ought not to be so strict in this behalf, beauty is a dowry of itself all sufficient, Virgo formosa, etsi oppido pauper, abunde dotata est, Rachel was so married to Jacob, and Bonaventure, in 4. sent, "denies that he so much as venially sins, that marries a maid for comeliness of person." The Jews, Deut. xxi. 11, if they saw amongst the captives a beautiful woman, some small circumstances observed, might take her to wife. They should not be too severe in that kind, especially if there be no such urgent occasion, or grievous impediment. 'Tis good for a commonwealth. Plato holds, that in their contracts "young men should never avoid the affinity of poor folks, or seek after rich." Poverty and base parentage may be sufficiently recompensed by many other good qualities, modesty, virtue, religion, and choice bringing up, "I am poor, I confess, but am I therefore contemptible, and an abject? Love itself is naked, the graces; the stars, and Hercules clad in a lion's skin." Give something to virtue, love, wisdom, favour, beauty, person; be not all for money. Besides, you must consider that Amor cogi non potest, love cannot be compelled, they must affect as they may: Fatum est in partibus illis quas sinus abscondit, as the saying is, marriage and hanging goes by destiny, matches are made in heaven.
"It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overrul'd by fate."
A servant maid in Aristænetus loved her mistress's minion, which when her dame perceived, furiosa æmulatione in a jealous humour she dragged her about the house by the hair of the head, and vexed her sore. The wench cried out, "O mistress, fortune hath made my body your servant, but not my soul!" Affections are free, not to be commanded. Moreover it may be to restrain their ambition, pride, and covetousness, to correct those hereditary diseases of a family, God in his just judgment assigns and permits such matches to be made. For I am of Plato and Bodine's mind, that families have their bounds and periods as well as kingdoms, beyond which for extent or continuance they shall not exceed, six or seven hundred years, as they there illustrate by a multitude of examples, and which Peucer and Melancthon approve, but in a perpetual tenor (as we see by many pedigrees of knights, gentlemen, yeomen) continue as they began, for many descents with little alteration. Howsoever let them, I say, give something to youth, to love; they must not think they can fancy whom they appoint; Amor enim non imperatur, affectus liber si quis alius et vices exigens, this is a free passion, as Pliny said in a panegyric of his, and may not be forced: Love craves liking, as the saying is, it requires mutual affections, a correspondency: invito non datur nec aufertur, it may not be learned, Ovid himself cannot teach us how to love, Solomon describe, Apelles paint, or Helen express it. They must not therefore compel or intrude; quis enim (as Fabius urgeth) amare alieno animo potest? but consider withal the miseries of enforced marriages; take pity upon youth: and such above the rest as have daughters to bestow, should be very careful and provident to marry them in due time. Siracides cap. 7. vers. 25. calls it "a weighty matter to perform, so to marry a daughter to a man of understanding in due time:" Virgines enim tempestive locandæ, as Lemnius admonisheth, lib. 1. cap. 6. Virgins must be provided for in season, to prevent many diseases, of which Rodericus a Castro de morbis mulierum, lib. 2. cap. 3. and Lod. Mercatus lib. 2. de mulier. affect, cap. 4, de melanch. virginum et viduarum, have both largely discoursed. And therefore as well to avoid these feral maladies, 'tis good to get them husbands betimes, as to prevent some other gross inconveniences, and for a thing that I know besides; ubi nuptiarum tempus et ætas advenerit, as Chrysostom adviseth, let them not defer it; they perchance will marry themselves else, or do worse. If Nevisanus the lawyer do not impose, they may do it by right: for as he proves out of Curtius, and some other civilians, Sylvæ, nup. lib. 2. numer. 30. "A maid past twenty-five years of age, against her parents' consent may marry such a one as is unworthy of, and inferior to her, and her father by law must be compelled to give her a competent dowry." Mistake me not in the mean time, or think that I do apologise here for any headstrong, unruly, wanton flirts. I do approve that of St. Ambrose (Comment. in Genesis xxiv. 51) , which he hath written touching Rebecca's spousals, "A woman should give unto her parents the choice of her husband, lest she be reputed to be malapert and wanton, if she take upon her to make her own choice; for she should rather seem to be desired by a man, than to desire a man herself." To those hard parents alone I retort that of Curtius, (in the behalf of modester maids) , that are too remiss and careless of their due time and riper years. For if they tarry longer, to say truth, they are past date, and nobody will respect them. A woman with us in Italy (saith Aretine's Lucretia) twenty-four years of age, "is old already, past the best, of no account." An old fellow, as Lycistrata confesseth in Aristophanes, etsi sit canus, cito puellam virginem ducat uxorem, and 'tis no news for an old fellow to marry a young wench: but as he follows it, mulieris brevis occasio est, etsi hoc non apprehenderit, nemo vult ducere uxorem, expectans vero sedet; who cares for an old maid? she may set, &c. A virgin, as the poet holds, lasciva et petulans puella virgo, is like a flower, a rose withered on a sudden.
"Quam modo nascentem rutilus conspexit Eous,
Hanc rediens sero vespere vidit anum."
"She that was erst a maid as fresh as May,
Is now an old crone, time so steals away."
Let them take time then while they may, make advantage of youth, and as he prescribes,
"Collige virgo rosas dum flos novus et nova pubes,
Et memor esto ævum sic properare tuum."
"Fair maids, go gather roses in the prime,
And think that as a flower so goes on time."
Let's all love, dum vires annique sinunt, while we are in the flower of years, fit for love matters, and while time serves: for
"Soles occidere et redire possunt,
Nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
Nox est perpetuo una dormienda."
"Suns that set may rise again,
But if once we lose this light,
'Tis with us perpetual night."
Volat irrevocabile tempus, time past cannot be recalled. But we need no such exhortation, we are all commonly too forward: yet if there be any escape, and all be not as it should, as Diogenes struck the father when the son swore, because he taught him no better, if a maid or young man miscarry, I think their parents oftentimes, guardians, overseers, governors, neque vos (saith Chrysostom) a supplicio immunes evadetis, si non statim ad nuptias, &c. are in as much fault, and as severely to be punished as their children, in providing for them no sooner.
Now for such as have free liberty to bestow themselves, I could wish that good counsel of the comical old man were put in practice,
"Opulentiores pauperiorum ut filias
Indotas dicant uxores domum:
Et multo fiet civitas concordior,
Et invidia nos minore utemur, quam utimur."
"That rich men would marry poor maidens some,
And that without dowry, and so bring them home,
So would much concord be in our city,
Less envy should we have, much more pity."
If they would care less for wealth, we should have much more content and quietness in a commonwealth. Beauty, good bringing up, methinks, is a sufficient portion of itself, Dos est sua forma puellis, "her beauty is a maiden's dower," and he doth well that will accept of such a wife. Eubulides, in Aristænetus, married a poor man's child, facie non illætabili, of a merry countenance, and heavenly visage, in pity of her estate, and that quickly. Acontius coming to Delos, to sacrifice to Diana, fell in love with Cydippe, a noble lass, and wanting means to get her love, flung a golden apple into her lap, with this inscription upon it,
"Juro tibi sane per mystica sacra Dianæ,
Me tibi venturum comitem, sponsumque futurum."
"I swear by all the rites of Diana,
I'll come and be thy husband if I may."
She considered of it, and upon some small inquiry of his person and estate, was married unto him.
"Blessed is the wooing,
That is not long a doing."
As the saying is; when the parties are sufficiently known to each other, what needs such scrupulosity, so many circumstances? dost thou know her conditions, her bringing-up, like her person? let her means be what they will, take her without any more ado. Dido and Æneas were accidentally driven by a storm both into one cave, they made a match upon it; Massinissa was married to that fair captive Sophonisba, King Syphax' wife, the same day that he saw her first, to prevent Scipio Lælius, lest they should determine otherwise of her. If thou lovest the party, do as much: good education and beauty is a competent dowry, stand not upon money. Erant olim aurei homines (saith Theocritus) et adamantes redamabant, in the golden world men did so, (in the reign of Ogyges belike, before staggering Ninus began to domineer) if all be true that is reported: and some few nowadays will do as much, here and there one; 'tis well done methinks, and all happiness befall them for so doing. Leontius, a philosopher of Athens, had a fair daughter called Athenais, multo corporis lepore ac Venere, (saith mine author) of a comely carriage, he gave her no portion but her bringing up, occulto formæ, præsagio, out of some secret foreknowledge of her fortune, bestowing that little which he had amongst his other children. But she, thus qualified, was preferred by some friends to Constantinople, to serve Pulcheria, the emperor's sister, of whom she was baptised and called Eudocia. Theodosius, the emperor, in short space took notice of her excellent beauty and good parts, and a little after, upon his sister's sole commendation, made her his wife: 'twas nobly done of Theodosius. Rudophe was the fairest lady in her days in all Egypt; she went to wash her, and by chance, (her maids meanwhile looking but carelessly to her clothes) an eagle stole away one of her shoes, and laid it in Psammeticus the King of Egypt's lap at Memphis: he wondered at the excellency of the shoe and pretty foot, but more Aquilæ factum, at the manner of the bringing of it: and caused forthwith proclamation to be made, that she that owned that shoe should come presently to his court; the virgin came, and was forthwith married to the king. I say this was heroically done, and like a prince: I commend him for it, and all such as have means, that will either do (as he did) themselves, or so for love, &c., marry their children. If he be rich, let him take such a one as wants, if she be virtuously given; for as Siracides, cap. 7. ver. 19. adviseth, "Forego not a wife and good woman; for her grace is above gold." If she have fortunes of her own, let her make a man. Danaus of Lacedæmon had a many daughters to bestow, and means enough for them all, he never stood inquiring after great matches, as others used to do, but sent for a company of brave young gallants to his house, and bid his daughters choose every one one, whom she liked best, and take him for her husband, without any more ado. This act of his was much approved in those times. But in this iron age of ours, we respect riches alone, (for a maid must buy her husband now with a great dowry, if she will have him) covetousness and filthy lucre mars all good matches, or some such by-respects. Crales, a Servian prince (as Nicephorus Gregoras Rom. hist. lib. 6. relates it,) was an earnest suitor to Eudocia, the emperor's sister; though her brother much desired it, yet she could not abide him, for he had three former wives, all basely abused; but the emperor still, Cralis amicitiam magni faciens, because he was a great prince, and a troublesome neighbour, much desired his affinity, and to that end betrothed his own daughter Simonida to him, a little girl five years of age (he being forty-five,) and five years older than the emperor himself: such disproportionable and unlikely matches can wealth and a fair fortune make. And yet not that alone, it is not only money, but sometimes vainglory, pride, ambition, do as much harm as wretched covetousness itself in another extreme. If a yeoman have one sole daughter, he must overmatch her, above her birth and calling, to a gentleman forsooth, because of her great portion, too good for one of her own rank, as he supposeth: a gentleman's daughter and heir must be married to a knight baronet's eldest son at least; and a knight's only daughter to a baron himself, or an earl, and so upwards, her great dower deserves it. And thus striving for more honour to their wealth, they undo their children, many discontents follow, and oftentimes they ruinate their families. Paulus Jovius gives instance in Galeatius the Second, that heroical Duke of Milan, externas affinitates, decoras quidem regio fastu, sed sibi et posteris damnosas et fere exitiales quæsivit; he married his eldest son John Galeatius to Isabella the King of France his sister, but she was socero tam gravis, ut ducentis millibus aureorum constiterit, her entertainment at Milan was so costly that it almost undid him. His daughter Violanta was married to Lionel Duke of Clarence, the youngest son to Edward the Third, King of England, but, ad ejus adventum tantæ opes tam admirabili liberalitate profusæ sunt, ut opulentissimorum regum splendorem superasse videretur, he was welcomed with such incredible magnificence, that a king's purse was scarce able to bear it; for besides many rich presents of horses, arms, plate, money, jewels, &c., he made one dinner for him and his company, in which were thirty-two messes and as much provision left, ut relatæ a mensa dapes decem millibus hominum sufficerent, as would serve ten thousand men: but a little after Lionel died, novæ nuptæ et intempestivis conviviis operam dans, &c., and to the duke's great loss, the solemnity was ended. So can titles, honours, ambition, make many brave, but unfortunate matches of all sides for by-respects, (though both crazed in body and mind, most unwilling, averse, and often unfit,) so love is banished, and we feel the smart of it in the end. But I am too lavish peradventure in this subject.
Another let or hindrance is strict and severe discipline, laws and rigorous customs, that forbid men to marry at set times, and in some places; as apprentices, servants, collegiates, states of lives in copyholds, or in some base inferior offices, Velle licet in such cases, potiri non licet, as he said. They see but as prisoners through a grate, they covet and catch, but Tantalus a labris, &c. Their love is lost, and vain it is in such an estate to attempt. Gravissimum est adamare nec potiri, 'tis a grievous thing to love and not enjoy. They may, indeed, I deny not, marry if they will, and have free choice, some of them; but in the meantime their case is desperate, Lupum auribus tenent, they hold a wolf by the ears, they must either burn or starve. 'Tis cornutum sophisma, hard to resolve, if they marry they forfeit their estates, they are undone, and starve themselves through beggary and want: if they do not marry, in this heroical passion they furiously rage, are tormented, and torn in pieces by their predominate affections. Every man hath not the gift of continence, let him pray for it then, as Beza adviseth in his Tract de Divortiis, because God hath so called him to a single life, in taking away the means of marriage. Paul would have gone from Mysia to Bithynia, but the spirit suffered him not, and thou wouldst peradventure be a married man with all thy will, but that protecting angel holds it not fit. The devil too sometimes may divert by his ill suggestions, and mar many good matches, as the same Paul was willing to see the Romans, but hindered of Satan he could not. There be those that think they are necessitated by fate, their stars have so decreed, and therefore they grumble at their hard fortune, they are well inclined to marry, but one rub or other is ever in the way; I know what astrologers say in this behalf, what Ptolemy quadripartit. Tract. 4. cap. 4. Skoner lib. 1. cap. 12. what Leovitius genitur. exempl. 1. which Sextus ab Heminga takes to be the horoscope of Hieronymus Wolfius, what Pezelius, Origanaus and Leovitius his illustrator Garceus, cap. 12. what Junctine, Protanus, Campanella, what the rest, (to omit those Arabian conjectures a parte conjugii, a parte lasciviæ, triplicitates veneris, &c., and those resolutions upon a question, an amica potiatur, &c.) determine in this behalf, viz. an sit natus conjugem habiturus, facile an difficulter sit sponsam impetraturus, quot conjuges, quo tempore, quales decernantur nato uxores, de mutuo amore conjugem, both in men's and women's genitures, by the examination of the seventh house the almutens, lords and planets there, a [Symbol: Moon-3/4] et [Symbol: Sun] &c., by particular aphorisms, Si dominus 7mæ in 7ma vel secunda nobilem decernit uxorem, servam aut ignobilem si duodecima. Si Venus in 12ma, &c., with many such, too tedious to relate. Yet let no man be troubled, or find himself grieved with such predictions, as Hier. Wolfius well saith in his astrological dialogue, non sunt prætoriana decreta, they be but conjectures, the stars incline, but not enforce,
"Sidera corporibus præsunt cælestia nostris,
Sunt ea de vili condita namque luto:
Cogere sed nequeunt animum ratione fruentem,
Quippe sub imperio solius ipse dei est."
("The stars in the skies preside over our persons, for they are made of humble matter. They cannot bind a rational mind, for that is under the control of God only.")
wisdom, diligence, discretion, may mitigate if not quite alter such decrees, Fortuna sua a cujusque fingitur moribus, Qui cauti, prudentes, voti compotes, &c., let no man then be terrified or molested with such astrological aphorisms, or be much moved, either to vain hope or fear, from such predictions, but let every man follow his own free will in this case, and do as he sees cause. Better it is indeed to marry than burn, for their soul's health, but for their present fortunes, by some other means to pacify themselves, and divert the stream of this fiery torrent, to continue as they are, rest satisfied, lugentes virginitatis florem sic aruisse, deploring their misery with that eunuch in Libanius, since there is no help or remedy, and with Jephtha's daughter to bewail their virginities.
Of like nature is superstition, those rash vows of monks and friars, and such as live in religious orders, but far more tyrannical and much worse. Nature, youth, and his furious passion forcibly inclines, and rageth on the one side; but their order and vow checks them on the other. Votoque suo sua forma repugnat. (Ovid. 1. Met "Their beauty is inconsistent with their vows.") What merits and indulgences they heap unto themselves by it, what commodities, I know not; but I am sure, from such rash vows, and inhuman manner of life, proceed many inconveniences, many diseases, many vices, mastupration, satyriasis, priapismus, melancholy, madness, fornication, adultery, buggery, sodomy, theft, murder, and all manner of mischiefs: read but Bale's Catalogue of Sodomites, at the visitation of abbeys here in England, Henry Stephan. his Apol. for Herodotus, that which Ulricus writes in one of his epistles, "that Pope Gregory when he saw 600 skulls and bones of infants taken out of a fishpond near a nunnery, thereupon retracted that decree of priests' marriages, which was the cause of such a slaughter, was much grieved at it, and purged himself by repentance." Read many such, and then ask what is to be done, is this vow to be broke or not? No, saith Bellarmine, cap. 38. lib. de Monach. melius est scortari et uri quam de voto cúlibatus ad nuptias transire, better burn or fly out, than to break thy vow. And Coster in his Enchirid. de cúlibat. sacerdotum, saith it is absolutely gravius peccatum, "a greater sin for a priest to marry, than to keep a concubine at home." Gregory de Valence, cap. 6. de cúlibat. maintains the same, as those of Essei and Montanists of old. Insomuch that many votaries, out of a false persuasion of merit and holiness in this kind, will sooner die than marry, though it be to the saving of their lives. Anno 1419. Pius 2, Pope, James Rossa, nephew to the King of Portugal, and then elect Archbishop of Lisbon, being very sick at Florence, "when his physicians told him, that his disease was such, he must either lie with a wench, marry, or die, cheerfully chose to die." Now they commended him for it; but St. Paul teacheth otherwise, "Better marry than burn," and as St. Hierome gravely delivers it, Aliæ, sunt leges Cæsarum, aliæ Christi, aliud Papinianus, aliud Paulus noster præcipit, there's a difference betwixt God's ordinances and men's laws: and therefore Cyprian Epist. 8. boldly denounceth, impium est, adulterum est, sacrilegum est, quodcunque humano furore statuitur, ut dispositio divina violetur, it is abominable, impious, adulterous, and sacrilegious, what men make and ordain after their own furies to cross God's laws. Georgius Wicelius, one of their own arch divines (Inspect. eccles. pag. 18) exclaims against it, and all such rash monastical vows, and would have such persons seriously to consider what they do, whom they admit, ne in posterum querantur de inanibus stupris, lest they repent it at last. For either, as he follows it, you must allow them concubines, or suffer them to marry, for scarce shall you find three priests of three thousand, qui per ætatem non ament, that are not troubled with burning lust. Wherefore I conclude it is an unnatural and impious thing to bar men of this Christian liberty, too severe and inhuman an edict.
The silly wren, the titmouse also,
The little redbreast have their election,
They fly I saw and together gone,
Whereas hem list, about environ
As they of kinde have inclination,
And as nature impress and guide,
Of everything list to provide.
But man alone, alas the hard stond,
Full cruelly by kinds ordinance
Constrained is, and by statutes bound,
And debarred from all such pleasance:
What meaneth this, what is this pretence
Of laws, I wis, against all right of kinde
Without a cause, so narrow men to binde?
Many laymen repine still at priests' marriages above the rest, and not at clergymen only, but of all the meaner sort and condition, they would have none marry but such as are rich and able to maintain wives, because their parish belike shall be pestered with orphans, and the world full of beggars: but these are hard-hearted, unnatural, monsters of men, shallow politicians, they do not consider that a great part of the world is not yet inhabited as it ought, how many colonies into America, Terra Australis incognita, Africa, may be sent? Let them consult with Sir William Alexander's Book of Colonies, Orpheus Junior's Golden Fleece, Captain Whitburne, Mr. Hagthorpe, &c. and they shall surely be otherwise informed. Those politic Romans were of another mind, they thought their city and country could never be too populous. Adrian the emperor said he had rather have men than money, malle se hominum adjectione ampliare imperium, quam pecunia. Augustus Cæsar made an oration in Rome ad cúlibes, to persuade them to marry; some countries compelled them to marry of old, as Jews, Turks, Indians, Chinese, amongst the rest in these days, who much wonder at our discipline to suffer so many idle persons to live in monasteries, and often marvel how they can live honest. In the isle of Maragnan, the governor and petty king there did wonder at the Frenchmen, and admire how so many friars, and the rest of their company could live without wives, they thought it a thing impossible, and would not believe it. If these men should but survey our multitudes of religious houses, observe our numbers of monasteries all over Europe, 18 nunneries in Padua, in Venice 34 cloisters of monks, 28 of nuns, &c. ex ungue leonem, 'tis to this proportion, in all other provinces and cities, what would they think, do they live honest? Let them dissemble as they will, I am of Tertullian's mind, that few can continue but by compulsion. "O chastity" (saith he) "thou art a rare goddess in the world, not so easily got, seldom continuate: thou mayst now and then be compelled, either for defect of nature, or if discipline persuade, decrees enforce:" or for some such by-respects, sullenness, discontent, they have lost their first loves, may not have whom they will themselves, want of means, rash vows, &c. But can he willingly contain? I think not. Therefore, either out of commiseration of human imbecility, in policy, or to prevent a far worse inconvenience, for they hold some of them as necessary as meat and drink, and because vigour of youth, the state and temper of most men's bodies do so furiously desire it, they have heretofore in some nations liberally admitted polygamy and stews, a hundred thousand courtesans in Grand Cairo in Egypt, as Radzivilus observes, are tolerated, besides boys: how many at Fez, Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, &c., and still in many other provinces and cities of Europe they do as much, because they think young men, churchmen, and servants amongst the rest, can hardly live honest. The consideration of this belike made Vibius, the Spaniard, when his friend Crassus, that rich Roman gallant, lay hid in the cave, ut voluptatis quam ætas illa desiderat copiam faceret, to gratify him the more, send two lusty lasses to accompany him all that while he was there imprisoned, And Surenus, the Parthian general, when he warred against the Romans, to carry about with him 200 concubines, as the Swiss soldiers do now commonly their wives. But, because this course is not generally approved, but rather contradicted as unlawful and abhorred, in most countries they do much encourage them to marriage, give great rewards to such as have many children, and mulct those that will not marry, Jus trium liberorum, and in Agellius, lib. 2. cap. 15. Elian. lib. 6. cap. 5. Valerius, lib. 1. cap. 9. We read that three children freed the father from painful offices, and five from all contribution. "A woman shall be saved by bearing children." Epictetus would have all marry, and as Plato will, 6 de legibus, he that marrieth not before 35 years of his age, must be compelled and punished, and the money consecrated to Juno's temple, or applied to public uses. They account him, in some countries, unfortunate that dies without a wife, a most unhappy man, as Boethius infers, and if at all happy, yet infortunio felix, unhappy in his supposed happiness. They commonly deplore his estate, and much lament him for it: O, my sweet son, &c. See Lucian, de Luctu, Sands fol. 83, &c.
Yet, notwithstanding, many with us are of the opposite part, they are married themselves, and for others, let them burn, fire and flame, they care not, so they be not troubled with them. Some are too curious, and some too covetous, they may marry when they will both for ability and means, but so nice, that except as Theophilus the emperor was presented, by his mother Euprosune, with all the rarest beauties of the empire in the great chamber of his palace at once, and bid to give a golden apple to her he liked best. If they might so take and choose whom they list out of all the fair maids their nation affords, they could happily condescend to marry: otherwise, &c., why should a man marry, saith another epicurean rout, what's matrimony but a matter of money? why should free nature be entrenched on, confined or obliged, to this or that man or woman, with these manacles of body and goods? &c. There are those too that dearly love, admire and follow women all their lives long, sponsi Penelopes, never well but in their company, wistly gazing on their beauties, observing close, hanging after them, dallying still with them, and yet dare not, will not marry. Many poor people, and of the meaner sort, are too distrustful of God's providence, "they will not, dare not for such worldly respects," fear of want, woes, miseries, or that they shall light, as "Lemnius saith, on a scold, a slut, or a bad wife." And therefore, Tristem Juventam venere deserta colunt, they are resolved to live single, as Epaminondas did, Nil ait esse prius, melius nil cúlibe vita, (Senec. Hip. "There is nothing better, nothing preferable to a single life.") and ready with Hippolitus to abjure all women, Detestor omnes, horreo, fugio, execror, &c. But,
"Hippolite nescis quod fugis vitæ bonum,
"alas, poor Hippolitus, thou knowest not what thou sayest, 'tis otherwise, Hippolitus." Some make a doubt, an uxor literato sit ducenda, whether a scholar should marry, if she be fair she will bring him back from his grammar to his horn book, or else with kissing and dalliance she will hinder his study; if foul with scolding, he cannot well intend to do both, as Philippus Beroaldus, that great Bononian doctor, once writ, impediri enim studia literarum, &c., but he recanted at last, and in a solemn sort with true conceived words he did ask the world and all women forgiveness. But you shall have the story as he relates himself, in his Commentaries on the sixth of Apuleius. For a long time I lived a single life, et ab uxore ducenda semper abhorrui, nec quicquam libero lecto censui jucundius. I could not abide marriage, but as a rambler, erraticus ac volaticus amator (to use his own words) per multiplices amores discurrebam, I took a snatch where I could get it; nay more, I railed at marriage downright, and in a public auditory, when I did interpret that sixth Satire of Juvenal, out of Plutarch and Seneca, I did heap up all the dicteries I could against women; but now recant with Stesichorus, palinodiam cano, nec púnitet censeri in ordine maritorum, I approve of marriage, I am glad I am a married man, I am heartily glad I have a wife, so sweet a wife, so noble a wife, so young, so chaste a wife, so loving a wife, and I do wish and desire all other men to marry; and especially scholars, that as of old Martia did by Hortensius, Terentia by Tullius, Calphurnia to Plinius, Pudentilla to Apuleius, hold the candle whilst their husbands did meditate and write, so theirs may do them, and as my dear Camilla doth to me. Let other men be averse, rail then and scoff at women, and say what they can to the contrary, vir sine uxore malorum expers est, &c., a single man is a happy man, &c., but this is a toy. Nec dulces amores sperne puer, neque tu choreas; (Hor. "Neither despise agreeable love, nor mirthful pleasure.") these men are too distrustful and much to blame, to use such speeches, Parcite paucorum diffundere, crimen in omnes. "They must not condemn all for some." As there be many bad, there be some good wives; as some be vicious, some be virtuous. Read what Solomon hath said in their praises, Prov. xiii. and Siracides, cap. 26 et 30, "Blessed is the man that hath a virtuous wife, for the number of his days shall be double. A virtuous woman rejoiceth her husband, and she shall fulfil the years of his life in peace. A good wife is a good portion" (and xxxvi. 24) , "an help, a pillar of rest," columina quietis, Qui capit uxorem, fratrem capit atque sororem. (Aphranius. "He who chooses a wife, takes a brother and a sister.") And 30, "He that hath no wife wandereth to and fro mourning." Minuuntur atræ conjuge curæ, women are the sole, only joy, and comfort of a man's life, born ad usum et lusum hominum, firmamenta familiæ,
"Delitiæ humani generis, solatia vitæ.
Blanditiæ noctis, placidissima cura diei,
Vota virum, juvenum spes," &c.
(Locheus. "The delight of mankind, the solace of life, the blandishments of night, delicious cares of day, the wishes of older men, the hopes of young.")
"A wife is a young man's mistress, a middle age's companion, an old man's nurse:" Particeps lætorum et tristium, a prop, a help, &c.
"Optima viri possessio est uxor benevola,
Mitigans iram et avertens animam ejus a tristitia."
"Man's best possession is a loving wife,
She tempers anger and diverts all strife."
There is no joy, no comfort, no sweetness, no pleasure in the world like to that of a good wife,
"Quam cum chara domi conjux, fidusque maritus
("How harmoniously do a loving wife and constant husband lead their lives.")
saith our Latin Homer, she is still the same in sickness and in health, his eye, his hand, his bosom friend, his partner at all times, his other self, not to be separated by any calamity, but ready to share all sorrow, discontent, and as the Indian women do, live and die with him, nay more, to die presently for him. Admetus, king of Thessaly, when he lay upon his death-bed, was told by Apollo's Oracle, that if he could get anybody to die for him, he should live longer yet, but when all refused, his parents, etsi decrepiti, friends and followers forsook him, Alcestus, his wife, though young, most willingly undertook it; what more can be desired or expected? And although on the other side there be an infinite number of bad husbands (I should rail downright against some of them) , able to discourage any women; yet there be some good ones again, and those most observant of marriage rites. An honest country fellow (as Fulgosus relates it) in the kingdom of Naples, at plough by the seaside, saw his wife carried away by Mauritanian pirates, he ran after in all haste, up to the chin first, and when he could wade no longer, swam, calling to the governor of the ship to deliver his wife, or if he must not have her restored, to let him follow as a prisoner, for he was resolved to be a galley-slave, his drudge, willing to endure any misery, so that he might but enjoy his dear wife. The Moors seeing the man's constancy, and relating the whole matter to their governors at Tunis, set them both free, and gave them an honest pension to maintain themselves during their lives. I could tell many stories to this effect; but put case it often prove otherwise, because marriage is troublesome, wholly therefore to avoid it, is no argument; "He that will avoid trouble must avoid the world." (Eusebius præpar. Evangel. 5. cap. 50.) Some trouble there is in marriage I deny not, Etsi grave sit matrimonium, saith Erasmus, edulcatur tamen multis, &c., yet there be many things to sweeten it, a pleasant wife, placens uxor, pretty children, dulces nati, deliciæ filiorum hominum, the chief delight of the sons of men; Eccles. ii. 8. &c. And howsoever though it were all troubles, utilitatis publicæ causa devorandum, grave quid libenter subeundum, it must willingly be undergone for public good's sake,
"Audite (populus) hæc, inquit Susarion,
Malæ sunt mulieres, veruntamen O populares,
Hoc sine malo domum inhabitare non licet."
"Hear me, O my countrymen, saith Susarion,
Women are naught, yet no life without one."
Malum est mulier, sed necessarium malum. They are necessary evils, and for our own ends we must make use of them to have issue, Supplet Venus ac restituit humanum genus, and to propagate the church. For to what end is a man born? why lives he, but to increase the world? and how shall he do that well, if he do not marry? Matrimonium humano generi immortalitatem tribuit, saith Nevisanus, matrimony makes us immortal, and according to Tacitus, 'tis firmissimum imperii munimentum, the sole and chief prop of an empire. Indigne vivit per quem non vivit et alter, (Palingenius. "He lives contemptibly by whom no other lives.") which Pelopidas objected to Epaminondas, he was an unworthy member of a commonwealth, that left not a child after him to defend it, and as Trismegistus to his son Tatius, "have no commerce with a single man:" Holding belike that a bachelor could not live honestly as he should, and with Georgius Wicelius, a great divine and holy man, who of late by twenty-six arguments commends marriage as a thing most necessary for all kinds of persons, most laudable and fit to be embraced: and is persuaded withal, that no man can live and die religiously, and as he ought, without a wife, persuasus neminem posse neque pie vivere, neque bene mori citra uxorem, he is false, an enemy to the commonwealth, injurious to himself, destructive to the world, an apostate to nature, a rebel against heaven and earth. Let our wilful, obstinate, and stale bachelors ruminate of this, "If we could live without wives," as Marcellus Numidicus said in Agellius, "we would all want them; but because we cannot, let all marry, and consult rather to the public good, than their own private pleasure or estate." It were an happy thing, as wise Euripides hath it, if we could buy children with gold and silver, and be so provided, sine mulierum congressu, without women's company; but that may not be:
"Orbis jacebit squallido turpis situ,
Vanum sine ullis classibus stabit mare,
Alesque coelo deerit et sylvis fera."
"Earth, air, sea, land eftsoon would come to nought,
The world itself should be to ruin brought."
Necessity therefore compels us to marry.
But what do I trouble myself, to find arguments to persuade to, or commend marriage? behold a brief abstract of all that which I have said, and much more, succinctly, pithily, pathetically, perspicuously, and elegantly delivered in twelve motions to mitigate the miseries of marriage, by Jacobus de Voragine,
1. Res est? habes quæ tucatur et augeat.-- 2. Non est? habes quæ quærat.-- 3. Secundæ res sunt? felicitas duplicatur.-- 4. Adversæ sunt? Consolatur, adsidet, onus participat ut tolerabile fiat.-- 5. Domi es? solitudinis tædium pellit.-- 6. Foras? Discendentem visu prosequitur, absentem desiderat, redeuntem læta excipit.-- 7. Nihil jucundum absque societate? Nulla societas matrimonio suavior.-- 8. Vinculum conjugalis charitatis adamentinum.-- 9. Accrescit dulcis affinium turba, duplicatur numerus parentum, fratrum, sororum, nepotum.-- 10. Pulchra sis prole parens.-- 11. Lex Mosis sterilitatem matrimonii execratur, quanto amplius cúlibatum?-- 12. Si natura púnam non effugit, ne voluntas quidem effugiet.
1. Hast thou means? thou hast none to keep and increase it.-- 2. Hast none? thou hast one to help to get it.-- 3. Art in prosperity? thine happiness is doubled.-- 4. Art in adversity? she'll comfort, assist, bear a part of thy burden to make it more tolerable.-- 5. Art at home? she'll drive away melancholy.-- 6. Art abroad? she looks after thee going from home, wishes for thee in thine absence, and joyfully welcomes thy return.-- 7. There's nothing delightsome without society, no society so sweet as matrimony.-- 8. The band of conjugal love is adamantine.-- 9. The sweet company of kinsmen increaseth, the number of parents is doubled, of brothers, sisters, nephews.-- 10. Thou art made a father by a fair and happy issue.-- 11. Moses curseth the barrenness of matrimony, how much more a single life?-- 12. If nature escape not punishment, surely thy will shall not avoid it.
All this is true, say you, and who knows it not? but how easy a matter is it to answer these motives, and to make an Antiparodia quite opposite unto it? To exercise myself I will essay:
1. Hast thou means? thou hast one to spend it.-- 2. Hast none? thy beggary is increased.-- 3. Art in prosperity? thy happiness is ended.-- 4. Art in adversity? like Job's wife she'll aggravate thy misery, vex thy soul, make thy burden intolerable.-- 5. Art at home? she'll scold thee out of doors.-- 6. Art abroad? If thou be wise keep thee so, she'll perhaps graft horns in thine absence, scowl on thee coming home.-- 7. Nothing gives more content than solitariness, no solitariness like this of a single life,-- 8. The band of marriage is adamantine, no hope of losing it, thou art undone.-- 9. Thy number increaseth, thou shalt be devoured by thy wife's friends.-- 10. Thou art made a cornuto by an unchaste wife, and shalt bring up other folks' children instead of thine own.-- 11. Paul commends marriage, yet he prefers a single life.-- 12. Is marriage honourable? What an immortal crown belongs to virginity?
So Siracides himself speaks as much as may be for and against women, so doth almost every philosopher plead pro and con, every poet thus argues the case (though what cares vulgus nominum what they say?) : so can I conceive peradventure, and so canst thou: when all is said, yet since some be good, some bad, let's put it to the venture. I conclude therefore with Seneca,
--"cur Toro viduo jaces?
Tristem juventam solve: mine luxus rape,
Effunde habenas, optimos vitæ dies
"Why dost thou lie alone, let thy youth and best days to pass away?" Marry whilst thou mayst, donec viventi canities abest morosa, whilst thou art yet able, yet lusty, Elige cui dicas, tu mihi sola places, (Ovid. "Find her to whom you may say, 'thou art my only pleasure.'") make thy choice, and that freely forthwith, make no delay, but take thy fortune as it falls. 'Tis true,
"--calamitosus est qui inciderit
In malam uxorem, felix qui in bonam,"
(Euripides. "Unhappy the man who has met a bad wife, happy who found a good one.")
'Tis a hazard both ways I confess, to live single or to marry, Nam et uxorem ducere, et non ducere malum est, ( E Græco Valerius, lib. 7. cap. 7. "To marry, and not to marry, are equally base.") it may be bad, it may be good, as it is a cross and calamity on the one side, so 'tis a sweet delight, an incomparable happiness, a blessed estate, a most unspeakable benefit, a sole content, on the other; 'tis all in the proof. Be not then so wayward, so covetous, so distrustful, so curious and nice, but let's all marry, mutuos foventes amplexus; "Take me to thee, and thee to me," tomorrow is St. Valentine's day, let's keep it holiday for Cupid's sake, for that great god Love's sake, for Hymen's sake, and celebrate Venus' vigil with our ancestors for company together, singing as they did,
"Cras a et qui nunquam amavit, quique amavit, cras amet,
Ver novum, ver jam canorum, ver natus orbis est,
Vere concordant amores, vere nubunt alites,
Et nemus coma resolvit, &c.--
Cras amet," &c.--
"Let those love now who never loved before,
And those who always loved now love the more;
Sweet loves are born with every opening spring;
Birds from the tender boughs their pledges sing," &c.
Let him that is averse from marriage read more in Barbarus de re uxor. lib. 1. cap. 1. Lemnius de institut. cap. 4. P. Godefridus de Amor. lib. 3. cap. 1. Nevisanus, lib. 3. Alex. ab Alexandro, lib. 4. cap. 8. Tunstall, Erasmus' tracts in laudem matrimonii &c., and I doubt not but in the end he will rest satisfied, recant with Beroaldus, do penance for his former folly, singing some penitential ditties, desire to be reconciled to the deity of this great god Love, go a pilgrimage to his shrine, offer to his image, sacrifice upon his altar, and be as willing at last to embrace marriage as the rest: There will not be found, I hope, "No, not in that severe family of Stoics, who shall refuse to submit his grave beard, and supercilious looks to the clipping of a wife," or disagree from his fellows in this point. "For what more willingly" (as Varro holds) "can a proper man see than a fair wife, a sweet wife, a loving wife?" can the world afford a better sight, sweeter content, a fairer object, a more gracious aspect?
Since then this of marriage is the last and best refuge, and cure of heroical love, all doubts are cleared, and impediments removed; I say again, what remains, but that according to both their desires, they be happily joined, since it cannot otherwise be helped? God send us all good wives, every man his wish in this kind, and me mine!
And God that all this world hath ywrought
Send him his Love that hath it so deere bought.
If all parties be pleased, ask their banns, 'tis a match. Fruitur Rhodanthe sponsa, sponso Dosicle, Rhodanthe and Dosicles shall go together, Clitiphon and Leucippe, Theagines and Chariclea, Poliarchus hath his Argenis', Lysander Calista, to make up the mask) Polilurque sua puer Iphis Ianthi.
And Troilus in lust and in quiet
Is with Creseid, his own heart sweet
And although they have hardly passed the pikes, through many difficulties and delays brought the match about, yet let them take this of Aristænetus (that so marry) for their comfort: "after many troubles and cares, the marriages of lovers are more sweet and pleasant." As we commonly conclude a comedy with a wedding, and shaking of hands, let's shut up our discourse, and end all with an Epithalamium.
Feliciter nuptis, God give them joy together. Hymen O Hymenæ, Hymen ades O Hymenæe! Bonum factum, 'tis well done, Haud equidem sine mente reor, sine numine Divum, 'tis a happy conjunction, a fortunate match, an even couple,
"Ambo animis, ambo præstantes viribus, ambo
"they both excel in gifts of body and mind, are both equal in years," youth, vigour, alacrity, she is fair and lovely as Lais or Helen, he as another Charinus or Alcibiades,
--"ludite ut lubet et brevi
"Then modestly go sport and toy,
And let's have every year a boy."
"Go give a sweet smell as incense, and bring forth flowers as the lily:" that we may say hereafter, Scitus Mecastor natus est Pamphilo puer. In the meantime I say,
"Ite, agite, O juvenes, non murmura vestra columbæ,
Brachia, non hederæ, neque vincant oscula conchæ."
"Gentle youths, go sport yourselves betimes,
Let not the doves outpass your murmurings,
Or ivy-clasping arms, or oyster-kissings."
And in the morn betime, as those Lacedæmonian lasses saluted Helena and Menelaus, singing at their windows, and wishing good success, do we at yours:
"Salve O sponsa, salve felix, det vobis Latona
Felicem sobolem, Venus dea det æqualem amorem
Inter vos mutuo; Saturnus durabiles divitias,
Dormite in pectora mutuo amorem inspirantes,
"Good morrow, master bridegroom, and mistress bride,
Many fair lovely bairns to you betide!
Let Venus to you mutual love procure,
Let Saturn give you riches to endure.
Long may you sleep in one another's arms,
Inspiring sweet desire, and free from harms."
Even all your lives long,
"Contingat vobis turturum concordia,
"The love of turtles hap to you,
And ravens' years still to renew."
Let the Muses sing, (as he said;) the Graces dance, not at their weddings only but all their days long; "so couple their hearts, that no irksomeness or anger ever befall them: let him never call her other name than my joy, my light, or she call him otherwise than sweetheart. To this happiness of theirs, let not old age any whit detract, but as their years, so let their mutual love and comfort increase." And when they depart this life,
--"concordes quoniam vixere tot annos,
Auferat hora duos eadem, nec conjugis usquam
Busta suæ videat, nec sit tumulandus ab illa."
"Because they have so sweetly liv'd together,
Let not one die a day before the other,
He bury her, she him, with even fate,
One hour their souls let jointly separate."
"Fortunati ambo si quid mea carmina possunt,
Nulla dies unquam memori vos eximet ævo."
"Happy both, if my verses have any charms, nor shall time ever detract from the memorable example of your lives."
Atque hæc de amore dixisse sufficiat, sub correctione, quod ait ille, cujusque melius sentientis. Plura qui volet de remediis amoris, legat Jasonem Pratensem, Arnoldum, Montaltum, Savanarolum, Langium, Valescum, Crimisonum, Alexandrum Benedictum, Laurentium, Valleriolam, e Poetis Nasonem, e nostratibus Chaucerum, &c., with whom I conclude,
For my words here and every part,
I speak hem all under correction,
Of you that feeling have in love's art,
And put it all in your discretion,
To intreat or make diminution,
Of my language, that I you beseech:
But now to purpose of my rather speech.