Astrologers make the stars a cause or sign of this bitter passion, and out of every man's horoscope will give a probable conjecture whether he will be jealous or no, and at what time, by direction of the significators to their several promissors: their aphorisms are to be read in Albubater, Pontanus, Schoner, Junctine, &c. Bodine, cap. 5. meth. hist. ascribes a great cause to the country or clime, and discourseth largely there of this subject, saying, that southern men are more hot, lascivious, and jealous, than such as live in the north; they can hardly contain themselves in those hotter climes, but are most subject to prodigious lust. Leo Afer telleth incredible things almost, of the lust and jealousy of his countrymen of Africa, and especially such as live about Carthage, and so doth every geographer of them in Asia, Turkey, Spaniards, Italians. Germany hath not so many drunkards, England tobacconists, France dancers, Holland mariners, as Italy alone hath jealous husbands. And in Italy some account them of Piacenza more jealous than the rest. In Germany, France, Britain, Scandia, Poland, Muscovy, they are not so troubled with this feral malady, although Damianus a Goes, which I do much wonder at, in his topography of Lapland, and Herbastein of Russia, against the stream of all other geographers, would fasten it upon those northern inhabitants. Altomarius Poggius, and Munster in his description of Baden, reports that men and women of all sorts go commonly into the baths together, without all suspicion, "the name of jealousy" (saith Munster) "is not so much as once heard of among them." In Friesland the women kiss him they drink to, and are kissed again of those they pledge. The virgins in Holland go hand in hand with young men from home, glide on the ice, such is their harmless liberty, and lodge together abroad without suspicion, which rash Sansovinus an Italian makes a great sign of unchastity. In France, upon small acquaintance, it is usual to court other men's wives, to come to their houses, and accompany them arm in arm in the streets, without imputation. In the most northern countries young men and maids familiarly dance together, men and their wives, which, Siena only excepted, Italians may not abide. The Greeks, on the other side, have their private baths for men and women, where they must not come near, nor so much as see one another: and as Bodine observes lib. 5. de repub. "the Italians could never endure this," or a Spaniard, the very conceit of it would make him mad: and for that cause they lock up their women, and will not suffer them to be near men, so much as in the church, but with a partition between. He telleth, moreover, how that "when he was ambassador in England, he heard Mendoza the Spanish legate finding fault with it, as a filthy custom for men and women to sit promiscuously in churches together; but Dr. Dale the master of the requests told him again, that it was indeed a filthy custom in Spain, where they could not contain themselves from lascivious thoughts in their holy places, but not with us." Baronius in his Annals, out of Eusebius, taxeth Licinius the emperor for a decree of his made to this effect, Jubens ne viri simul cum mulieribus in ecclesia interessent: for being prodigiously naught himself, aliorum naturam ex sua vitiosa mente spectavit, he so esteemed others. But we are far from any such strange conceits, and will permit our wives and daughters to go to the tavern with a friend, as Aubanus saith, modo absit lascivia, and suspect nothing, to kiss coming and going, which, as Erasmus writes in one of his epistles, they cannot endure. England is a paradise for women, and hell for horses: Italy a paradise for horses, hell for women, as the diverb goes. Some make a question whether this headstrong passion rage more in women than men, as Montaigne l. 3. But sure it is more outrageous in women, as all other melancholy is, by reason of the weakness of their sex. Scaliger Pút. lib. cap. 13. concludes against women: "Besides their inconstancy, treachery, suspicion, dissimulation, superstition, pride," (for all women are by nature proud) "desire of sovereignty, if they be great women," (he gives instance in Juno) "bitterness and jealousy are the most remarkable affections."
"Sed neque fulvus aper media tam fulvus in ira est,
Fulmineo rapidos dum rotat ore canes.
Nec leo," &c.--
"Tiger, boar, bear, viper, lioness,
A woman's fury cannot express."
Some say redheaded women, pale-coloured, black-eyed, and of a shrill voice, are most subject to jealousy.
"High colour in a woman choler shows,
Naught are they, peevish, proud, malicious;
But worst of all, red, shrill, and jealous."
Comparisons are odious, I neither parallel them with others, nor debase them any more: men and women are both bad, and too subject to this pernicious infirmity. It is most part a symptom and cause of melancholy, as Plater and Valescus teach us: melancholy men are apt to be jealous, and jealous apt to be melancholy.
"Pale jealousy, child of insatiate love,
Of heart-sick thoughts which melancholy bred,
A hell-tormenting fear, no faith can move,
By discontent with deadly poison fed;
With heedless youth and error vainly led.
A mortal plague, a virtue-drowning flood,
A hellish fire not quenched but with blood."
If idleness concur with melancholy, such persons are most apt to be jealous; 'tis Nevisanus' note, "an idle woman is presumed to be lascivious, and often jealous." Mulier cum sola cogitat, male cogitat: and 'tis not unlikely, for they have no other business to trouble their heads with.
More particular causes be these which follow. Impotency first, when a man is not able of himself to perform those dues which he ought unto his wife: for though he be an honest liver, hurt no man, yet Trebius the lawyer may make a question, an suum cuique tribuat, whether he give every one their own; and therefore when he takes notice of his wants, and perceives her to be more craving, clamorous, insatiable and prone to lust than is fit, he begins presently to suspect, that wherein he is defective, she will satisfy herself, she will be pleased by some other means. Cornelius Gallus hath elegantly expressed this humour in an epigram to his Lychoris.
"Jamque alios juvenes aliosque requirit amores,
Me vocat imbellem decrepitumque senem," &c.
("And now she requires other youths and other loves, calls me the imbecile and decrepit old man.")
For this cause is most evident in old men, that are cold and dry by nature, and married, succi plenis, to young wanton wives; with old doting Janivere in Chaucer, they begin to mistrust all is not well,
-- She was young and he was old,
And therefore he feared to be a cuckold.
And how should it otherwise be? old age is a disease of itself, loathsome, full of suspicion and fear; when it is at best, unable, unfit for such matters. Tam apta nuptiis quam bruma messibus, as welcome to a young woman as snow in harvest, saith Nevisanus: Et si capis juvenculam, faciet tibi cornua: marry a lusty maid and she will surely graft horns on thy head. "All women are slippery, often unfaithful to their husbands" (as Æneas Sylvius epist. 38. seconds him) , "but to old men most treacherous:" they had rather mortem amplexarier, lie with a corse than such a one: Oderunt illum pueri, contemnunt mulieres. On the other side many men, saith Hieronymus, are suspicious of their wives, if they be lightly given, but old folks above the rest. Insomuch that she did not complain without a cause in Apuleius, of an old bald bedridden knave she had to her good man: "Poor woman as I am, what shall I do? I have an old grim sire to my husband, as bald as a coot, as little and as unable as a child," a bedful of bones, "he keeps all the doors barred and locked upon me, woe is me, what shall I do?" He was jealous, and she made him a cuckold for keeping her up: suspicion without a cause, hard usage is able of itself to make a woman fly out, that was otherwise honest,
--"plerasque bonas tractatio pravas
"bad usage aggravates the matter." Nam quando mulieres cognoscunt maritum hoc advertere, licentius peccant, as Nevisanus holds, when a woman thinks her husband watcheth her, she will sooner offend; Liberius peccant, et pudor omnis abest, rough handling makes them worse: as the goodwife of Bath in Chaucer brags,
In his own grease I made him frie
For anger and for every jealousie
Of two extremes, this of hard usage is the worst. 'Tis a great fault (for some men are uxorii) to be too fond of their wives, to dote on them as Senior Deliro on his Fallace, to be too effeminate, or as some do, to be sick for their wives, breed children for them, and like the Tiberini lie in for them, as some birds hatch eggs by turns, they do all women's offices: Cúlius Rhodiginus ant. lect. Lib. 6. cap. 24. makes mention of a fellow out of Seneca, that was so besotted on his wife, he could not endure a moment out of her company, he wore her scarf when he went abroad next his heart, and would never drink but in that cup she began first. We have many such fondlings that are their wives' packhorses and slaves, (nam grave malum uxor superans virum suum, as the comical poet hath it, there's no greater misery to a man than to let his wife domineer) to carry her muff, dog, and fan, let her wear the breeches, lay out, spend, and do what she will, go and come whither, when she will, they give consent.
"Here, take my muff, and, do you hear, good man;
Now give me pearl, and carry you my fan," &c.
--"poscit pallam, redimicula, inaures;
Curre, quid hic cessas? vulgo vult illa videri,
Tu pete lecticas"--
many brave and worthy men have trespassed in this kind, multos foras claros domestica hæc destruxit infamia, and many noble senators and soldiers (as Pliny notes) have lost their honour, in being uxorii, so sottishly overruled by their wives; and therefore Cato in Plutarch made a bitter jest on his fellow-citizens, the Romans, "we govern all the world abroad, and our wives at home rule us." These offend in one extreme; but too hard and too severe, are far more offensive on the other. As just a cause may be long absence of either party, when they must of necessity be much from home, as lawyers, physicians, mariners, by their professions; or otherwise make frivolous, impertinent journeys, tarry long abroad to no purpose, lie out, and are gadding still, upon small occasions, it must needs yield matter of suspicion, when they use their wives unkindly in the meantime, and never tarry at home, it cannot use but engender some such conceit.
"Uxor si cessas amare te cogitat
Aut tote amari, aut potare, aut animo obsequi,
Ex tibi bene esse soli, quum sibi sit male."
"If thou be absent long, thy wife then thinks,
Th' art drunk, at ease, or with some pretty minx,
'Tis well with thee, or else beloved of some,
Whilst she poor soul doth fare full ill at home."
Hippocrates, the physician, had a smack of this disease; for when he was to go home as far as Abdera, and some other remote cities of Greece, he writ to his friend Dionysius (if at least those Epistles be his) "to oversee his wife in his absence, (as Apollo set a raven to watch his Coronis) although she lived in his house with her father and mother, who be knew would have a care of her; yet that would not satisfy his jealousy, he would have his special friend Dionysius to dwell in his house with her all the time of his peregrination, and to observe her behaviour, how she carried herself in her husband's absence, and that she did not lust after other men. For a woman had need to have an overseer to keep her honest; they are bad by nature, and lightly given all, and if they be not curbed in time, as an unpruned tree, they will be full of wild branches, and degenerate of a sudden." Especially in their husband's absence: though one Lucretia were trusty, and one Penelope, yet Clytemnestra made Agamemnon cuckold; and no question there be too many of her conditions. If their husbands tarry too long abroad upon unnecessary business, well they may suspect: or if they run one way, their wives at home will fly out another, quid pro quo. Or if present, and give them not that content which they ought, Primum ingratæ, mox invisæ noctes quæ per somnum transiguntur, they cannot endure to lie alone, or to fast long. Peter Godefridus, in his second book of Love, and sixth chapter, hath a story out of St. Anthony's life, of a gentleman, who, by that good man's advice, would not meddle with his wife in the passion week, but for his pains she set a pair of horns on his head. Such another he hath out of Abstemius, one persuaded a new married man, "to forbear the three first nights, and he should all his lifetime after be fortunate in cattle," but his impatient wife would not tarry so long: well he might speed in cattle, but not in children. Such a tale hath Heinsius of an impotent and slack scholar, a mere student, and a friend of his, that seeing by chance a fine damsel sing and dance, would needs marry her, the match was soon made, for he was young and rich, genis gratus, corpore glabellus, arte multiscius, et fortuna opulentus, like that Apollo in Apuleius. The first night, having liberally taken his liquor (as in that country they do) my fine scholar was so fuzzled, that he no sooner was laid in bed, but he fell fast asleep, never waked till morning, and then much abashed, purpureis formosa rosis cum Aurora ruberet; when the fair morn with purple hue 'gan shine, he made an excuse, I know not what, out of Hippocrates Cous, &c., and for that time it went current: but when as afterward he did not play the man as he should do, she fell in league with a good fellow, and whilst he sat up late at his study about those criticisms, mending some hard places in Festus or Pollux, came cold to bed, and would tell her still what he had done, she did not much regard what he said, &c. "She would have another matter mended much rather, which he did not conceive was corrupt:" thus he continued at his study late, she at her sport, alibi enim festivas noctes agitabat, hating all scholars for his sake, till at length he began to suspect, and turned a little yellow, as well he might; for it was his own fault; and if men be jealous in such cases ( as oft it falls out) the mends is in their own hands, they must thank themselves. Who will pity them, saith Neander, or be much offended with such wives, si deceptæ prius viros decipiant, et cornutos reddant, if they deceive those that cozened them first. A lawyer's wife in Aristænetus, because her husband was negligent in his business, quando lecto danda opera, threatened to cornute him: and did not stick to tell Philinna, one of her gossips, as much, and that aloud for him to hear: "If he follow other men's matters and leave his own, I'll have an orator shall plead my cause, I care not if he know it."
A fourth eminent cause of jealousy may be this, when he that is deformed, and as Pindarus of Vulcan, sine gratiis natus, hirsute, ragged, yet virtuously given, will marry some fair nice piece, or light housewife, begins to misdoubt (as well he may) she doth not affect him. Lis est cum forma magna pudicitiæ, beauty and honesty have ever been at odds. Abraham was jealous of his wife because she was fair: so was Vulcan of his Venus, when he made her creaking shoes, saith Philostratus, ne mæcharetur, sandalio scilicet deferente, that he might hear by them when she stirred, which Mars indigne ferre, was not well pleased with. Good cause had Vulcan to do as he did, for she was no honester than she should be. Your fine faces have commonly this fault; and it is hard to find, saith Francis Philelphus in an epistle to Saxola his friend, a rich man honest, a proper woman not proud or unchaste. "Can she be fair and honest too?"
"Sæpe etenim oculuit picta sese hydra sub herba,
Sub specie formæ, incauto se sæpe marito
Nequam animus vendit,"--
(Hor. epist. 15. "Often has the serpent lain hid beneath the coloured grass, under a beauliful aspect, and often has the evil inclination affected a sale without the husband's privity.")
He that marries a wife that is snowy fair alone, let him look, saith Barbarus, for no better success than Vulcan had with Venus, or Claudius with Messalina. And 'tis impossible almost in such cases the wife should contain, or the good man not be jealous: for when he is so defective, weak, ill-proportioned, unpleasing in those parts which women most affect, and she most absolutely fair and able on the other side, if she be not very virtuously given, how can she love him? and although she be not fair, yet if he admire her and think her so, in his conceit she is absolute, he holds it impossible for any man living not to dote as he doth, to look on her and not lust, not to covet, and if he be in company with her, not to lay siege to her honesty: or else out of a deep apprehension of his infirmities, deformities, and other men's good parts, out of his own little worth and desert, he distrusts himself, (for what is jealousy but distrust?) he suspects she cannot affect him, or be not so kind and loving as she should, she certainly loves some other man better than himself.
Nevisanus, lib. 4. num. 72, will have barrenness to be a main cause of jealousy. If her husband cannot play the man, some other shall, they will leave no remedies unessayed, and thereupon the good man grows jealous; I could give an instance, but be it as it is.
I find this reason given by some men, because they have been formerly naught themselves, they think they may be so served by others, they turned up trump before the cards were shuffled; they shall have therefore legem talionis, like for like.
"Ipse miser docui, quo posset ludere pacto
Custodes, eheu nunc premor arte mea."
"Wretch as I was, I taught her bad to be,
And now mine own sly tricks are put upon me."
Mala mens, malus animus, as the saying is, ill dispositions cause ill suspicions.
"There is none jealous, I durst pawn my life,
But he that hath defiled another's wife,
And for that he himself hath gone astray,
He straightway thinks his wife will tread that way."
To these two above-named causes, or incendiaries of this rage, I may very well annex those circumstances of time, place, persons, by which it ebbs and flows, the fuel of this fury, as Vives truly observes; and such like accidents or occasions, proceeding from the parties themselves, or others, which much aggravate and intend this suspicious humour. For many men are so lasciviously given, either out of a depraved nature, or too much liberty, which they do assume unto themselves, by reason of their greatness, in that they are noble men, (for licentiæ peccandi, et multitudo peccantium are great motives) though their own wives be never so fair, noble, virtuous, honest, wise, able, and well given, they must have change.
"Qui cum legitimi junguntur foedere lecti,
Virtute egregiis, facieque domoque puellis,
Scorta tamen, foedasque lupas in fornice quærunt,
Et per adulterium nova carpere gaudia tentant."
"Who being match'd to wives most virtuous,
Noble, and fair, fly out lascivious."
Quod licet ingratum est, that which is ordinary, is unpleasant. Nero (saith Tacitus) abhorred Octavia his own wife, a noble virtuous lady, and loved Acte, a base quean in respect. Cerinthus rejected Sulpitia, a nobleman's daughter, and courted a poor servant maid.--tanta est aliena in messe voluptas, for that "stolen waters be more pleasant:" or as Vitellius the emperor was wont to say, Jucundiores amores, qui cum periculo habentur, like stolen venison, still the sweetest is that love which is most difficultly attained: they like better to hunt by stealth in another man's walk, than to have the fairest course that may be at game of their own.
"Aspice ut in coelo modo sol, modo luna ministret,
Sic etiam nobis una pella parum est."
"As sun and moon in heaven change their course,
So they change loves, though often to the worse."
Or that some fair object so forcibly moves them, they cannot contain themselves, be it heard or seen they will be at it. Nessus, the centaur, was by agreement to carry Hercules and his wife over the river Evenus; no sooner had he set Dejanira on the other side, but he would have offered violence unto her, leaving Hercules to swim over as he could: and though her husband was a spectator, yet would he not desist till Hercules, with a poisoned arrow, shot him to death. Neptune saw by chance that Thessalian Tyro, Eunippius' wife, he forthwith, in the fury of his lust, counterfeited her husband's habit, and made him cuckold. Tarquin heard Collatine commend his wife, and was so far enraged, that in the midst of the night to her he went. Theseus stole Ariadne, vi rapuit that Trazenian Anaxa, Antiope, and now being old, Helen, a girl not yet ready for a husband. Great men are most part thus affected all, "as a horse they neigh," saith Jeremiah, after their neighbours' wives,--ut visa pullus adhinnit equa: and if they be in company with other women, though in their own wives' presence, they must be courting and dallying with them. Juno in Lucian complains of Jupiter that he was still kissing Ganymede before her face, which did not a little offend her: and besides he was a counterfeit Amphitryo, a bull, a swan, a golden shower, and played many such bad pranks, too long, too shameful to relate.
Or that they care little for their own ladies, and fear no laws, they dare freely keep whores at their wives' noses. 'Tis too frequent with noblemen to be dishonest; Pielas, probitas, fides, privata bona sunt, as he said long since, piety, chastity, and such like virtues are for private men: not to be much looked after in great courts: and which Suetonius of the good princes of his time, they might be all engraven in one ring, we may truly hold of chaste potentates of our age. For great personages will familiarly run out in this kind, and yield occasion of offence. Montaigne, in his Essays, gives instance in Cæsar, Mahomet the Turk, that sacked Constantinople, and Ladislaus, king of Naples, that besieged Florence: great men, and great soldiers, are commonly great, &c., probatum est, they are good doers. Mars and Venus are equally balanced in their actions,
"Militis in galea nidum fecere columbæ,
Apparet Marti quam sit amica Venus."
"A dove within a headpiece made her nest,
'Twixt Mars and Venus see an interest."
Especially if they be bald, for bald men have ever been suspicious (read more in Aristotle, Sect. 4. prob. 19.) as Galba, Otho, Domitian, and remarkable Cæsar amongst the rest. Urbani servate uxores, mæchum calvum adducimus; besides, this bald Cæsar, saith Curio in Sueton, was omnium mulierum vir; he made love to Eunoe, queen of Mauritania; to Cleopatra; to Posthumia, wife to Sergius Sulpitius; to Lollia, wife to Gabinius; to Tertulla, of Crassus; to Mutia, Pompey's wife, and I know not how many besides: and well he might, for, if all be true that I have read, he had a license to lie with whom he list. Inter alios honores Cæsari decretos (as Sueton, cap. 52. de Julio, and Dion, lib. 44. relate) jus illi datum, cum quibuscunque fúminis se jungendi. Every private history will yield such variety of instances: otherwise good, wise, discreet men, virtuous and valiant, but too faulty in this. Priamus had fifty sons, but seventeen alone lawfully begotten. Philippus Bonus left fourteen bastards. Lorenzo de Medici, a good prince and a wise, but, saith Machiavel, prodigiously lascivious. None so valiant as Castruccius Castrucanus, but, as the said author hath it, none so incontinent as he was. And 'tis not only predominant in grandees this fault: but if you will take a great man's testimony, 'tis familiar with every base soldier in France, (and elsewhere, I think) . "This vice" ( saith mine author) "is so common with us in France, that he is of no account, a mere coward, not worthy the name of a soldier, that is not a notorious whoremaster." In Italy he is not a gentleman, that besides his wife hath not a courtesan and a mistress. 'Tis no marvel, then, if poor women in such cases be jealous, when they shall see themselves manifestly neglected, contemned, loathed, unkindly used: their disloyal husbands to entertain others in their rooms, and many times to court ladies to their faces: other men's wives to wear their jewels: how shall a poor woman in such a case moderate her passion? Quis tibi nunc Dido cernenti talia sensus? (Virg. Æn. 4. "What now must have been Dido's sensations when she witnessed these doings?")
How, on the other side, shall a poor man contain himself from this feral malady, when he shall see so manifest signs of his wife's inconstancy? when, as Milo's wife, she dotes upon every young man she sees, or, as Martial's Sota,--deserto sequitur Clitum marito, "deserts her husband and follows Clitus." Though her husband be proper and tall, fair and lovely to behold, able to give contentment to any one woman, yet she will taste of the forbidden fruit: Juvenal's Iberina to a hair, she is as well pleased with one eye as one man. If a young gallant come by chance into her presence, a fastidious brisk, that can wear his clothes well in fashion, with a lock, jingling spur, a feather, that can cringe, and withal compliment, court a gentlewoman, she raves upon him, "O what a lovely proper man he was," another Hector, an Alexander, a goodly man, a demigod, how sweetly he carried himself, with how comely a grace, sic oculos, sic ille manus, sic ora ferebat, how neatly he did wear his clothes! Quam sese ore ferens, quam forti pectore et armis, how bravely did he discourse, ride, sing, and dance, &c., and then she begins to loathe her husband, repugnans osculatur, to hate him and his filthy beard, his goatish complexion, as Doris said of Polyphemus, totus qui saniem, totus ut hircus olet, he is a rammy fulsome fellow, a goblin-faced fellow, he smells, he stinks, Et cæpas simul alliumque ructat ("And belches out the smell of onions and garlic.") --si quando ad thalamum, &c., how like a dizzard, a fool, an ass, he looks, how like a clown he behaves himself! she will not come near him by her own good will, but wholly rejects him, as Venus did her fuliginous Vulcan, at last, Nec Deus hunc mensa, Dea nec dignata cubili est. ("Neither a god honoured him with his table, nor a goddess with her bed.") So did Lucretia, a lady of Senæ, after she had but seen Euryalus, in Eurialum tota ferebatur, domum reversa, &c., she would not hold her eyes off him in his presence,-- tantum egregio decus enitet ore (Virg. 4. Æn. "Such beauty shines in his graceful features.") , and in his absence could think of none but him, odit virum, she loathed her husband forthwith, might not abide him:
"Et conjugalis negligens tori, viro
Præsente, acerbo nauseat fastidio;"
"All against the laws of matrimony,
She did abhor her husband's phis'nomy;"
and sought all opportunity to see her sweetheart again. Now when the good man shall observe his wife so lightly given, "to be so free and familiar with every gallant, her immodesty and wantonness," (as Camerarius notes) it must needs yield matter of suspicion to him, when she still pranks up herself beyond her means and fortunes, makes impertinent journeys, unnecessary visitations, stays out so long, with such and such companions, so frequently goes to plays, masks, feasts, and all public meetings, shall use such immodest gestures, free speeches, and withal show some distaste of her own husband; how can he choose, "though he were another Socrates, but be suspicious, and instantly jealous?" Socraticas tandem faciet transcendere metas; more especially when he shall take notice of their more secret and sly tricks, which to cornute their husbands they commonly use (dum ludis, ludos hæc te facit) they pretend love, honour, chastity, and seem to respect them before all men living, saints in show, so cunningly can they dissemble, they will not so much as look upon another man in his presence, so chaste, so religious, and so devout, they cannot endure the name or sight of a quean, a harlot, out upon her! and in their outward carriage are most loving and officious, will kiss their husband, and hang about his neck (dear husband, sweet husband) , and with a composed countenance salute him, especially when he comes home; or if he go from home, weep, sigh, lament, and take upon them to be sick and swoon (like Jocundo's wife in Ariosto, when her husband was to depart) , and yet arrant, &c. they care not for him,
"Aye me, the thought (quoth she) makes me so 'fraid,
That scarce the breath abideth in my breast;
Peace, my sweet love and wife, Jocundo said,
And weeps as fast, and comforts her his best, &c.
All this might not assuage the woman's pain,
Needs must I die before you come again,
Nor how to keep my life I can devise,
The doleful days and nights I shall sustain,
From meat my mouth, from sleep will keep mine eyes, &c.
That very night that went before the morrow,
That he had pointed surely to depart,
Jocundo's wife was sick, and swoon'd for sorrow
Amid his arms, so heavy was her heart."
And yet for all these counterfeit tears and protestations, Jocundo coming back in all haste for a jewel he had forgot,
"His chaste and yoke-fellow he found
Yok'd with a knave, all honesty neglected,
The adulterer sleeping very sound,
Yet by his face was easily detected:
A beggar's brat bred by him from his cradle.,
And now was riding on his master's saddle."
Thus can they cunningly counterfeit, as Platina describes their customs, "kiss their husbands, whom they had rather see hanging on a gallows, and swear they love him dearer than their own lives, whose soul they would not ransom for their little dog's,"
--"similis si permutatio detur,
Morte viri cupiunt aniniani servare catellæ."
Many of them seem to be precise and holy forsooth, and will go to such a church, to hear such a good man by all means, an excellent man, when 'tis for no other intent (as he follows it) than "to see and to be seen, to observe what fashions are in use, to meet some pander, bawd, monk, friar, or to entice some good fellow." For they persuade themselves, as Nevisanus shows, "That it is neither sin nor shame to lie with a lord or parish priest, if he be a proper man;" "and though she kneel often, and pray devoutly, 'tis" (saith Platina) "not for her husband's welfare, or children's good, or any friend, but for her sweetheart's return, her pander's health." If her husband would have her go, she feigns herself sick, Et simulat subito condoluisse caput: her head aches, and she cannot stir: but if her paramour ask as much, she is for him in all seasons, at all hours of the night. In the kingdom of Malabar, and about Goa in the East Indies, the women are so subtile that, with a certain drink they give them to drive away cares as they say, "they will make them sleep for twenty-four hours, or so intoxicate them that they can remember nought of that they saw done, or heard, and, by washing of their feet, restore them again, and so make their husbands cuckolds to their faces." Some are ill-disposed at all times, to all persons they like, others more wary to some few, at such and such seasons, as Augusta, Livia, non nisi plena navi vectorem tollebat. But as he said,
"No pen could write, no tongue attain to tell,
By force of eloquence, or help of art,
Of women's treacheries the hundredth part."
Both, to say truth, are often faulty; men and women give just occasions in this humour of discontent, aggravate and yield matter of suspicion: but most part of the chief causes proceed from other adventitious accidents and circumstances, though the parties be free, and both well given themselves. The indiscreet carriage of some lascivious gallant (et e contra of some light woman) by his often frequenting of a house, bold unseemly gestures, may make a breach, and by his over-familiarity, if he be inclined to yellowness, colour him quite out. If he be poor, basely born, saith Beneditto Varchi, and otherwise unhandsome, he suspects him the less; but if a proper man, such as was Alcibiades in Greece, and Castruccius Castrucanus in Italy, well descended, commendable for his good parts, he taketh on the more, and watcheth his doings. Theodosius the emperor gave his wife Eudoxia a golden apple when he was a suitor to her, which she long after bestowed upon a young gallant in the court, of her especial acquaintance. The emperor, espying this apple in his hand, suspected forthwith, more than was, his wife's dishonesty, banished him the court, and from that day following forbare to accompany her any more. A rich merchant had a fair wife; according to his custom he went to travel; in his absence a good fellow tempted his wife; she denied him; yet he, dying a little after, gave her a legacy for the love he bore her. At his return, her jealous husband, because she had got more by land than he had done at sea, turned her away upon suspicion.
Now when those other circumstances of time and place, opportunity and importunity shall concur, what will they not effect?
"Fair opportunity can win the coyest she that is,
So wisely he takes time, as he'll be sure he will not miss:
Then lie that loves her gamesome vein, and tempers toys with art,
Brings love that swimmeth in her eyes to dive into her heart."
As at plays, masks, great feasts and banquets, one singles out his wife to dance, another courts her in his presence, a third tempts her, a fourth insinuates with a pleasing compliment, a sweet smile, ingratiates himself with an amphibological speech, as that merry companion in the Satirist did to his Glycerium, adsidens et interiorem palmam amabiliter concutiens, ("Sitting close to her, and shaking her hand lovingly.")
"Quod meus hortus habet sumat impune licebit,
Si dederis nobis quod tuus hortus habet;"
with many such, &c., and then as he saith,
She may no while in chastity abide.
That is assail'd on every side.
For after a great feast, Vino sæpe suum nescit amica virum. ("After wine the mistress is often unable to distinguish her own lover.") Noah (saith Hierome) "showed his nakedness in his drunkenness, which for six hundred years he had covered in soberness." Lot lay with his daughters in his drink, as Cyneras with Myrrha,-- quid enim Venus ebria curat? The most continent may be overcome, or if otherwise they keep bad company, they that are modest of themselves, and dare not offend, "confirmed by others, grow impudent, and confident, and get an ill habit."
"Alia quæstus gratia matrimonium corrumpit,
Alia peccans multas vult morbi habere socias."
(Euripides, l. 63. "Love of gain induces one to break her marriage vow, a wish to have associates to keep her in countenance actuates others.")
Or if they dwell in suspected places, as in an infamous inn, near some stews, near monks, friars, Nevisanus adds, where be many tempters and solicitors, idle persons that frequent their companies, it may give just cause of suspicion. Martial of old inveighed against them that counterfeited a disease to go to the bath; for so, many times,
Conjuge Penelope venit, abit Helene."
Æneas Sylvius puts in a caveat against princes' courts, because there be tot formosi juvenes qui promittunt, so many brave suitors to tempt, &c. "If you leave her in such a place, you shall likely find her in company you like not, either they come to her, or she is gone to them." Kornmannus makes a doubting jest in his lascivious country, Virginis illibata censeatur ne castitas ad quam frequentur accedant scholares? And Baldus the lawyer scoffs on, quum scholaris, inquit, loquitur cum puella, non præsumitur ei dicere, Pater noster, when a scholar talks with a maid, or another man's wife in private, it is presumed he saith not a pater noster. Or if I shall see a monk or a friar climb up a ladder at midnight into a virgin's or widow's chamber window, I shall hardly think he then goes to administer the sacraments, or to take her confession. These are the ordinary causes of jealousy, which are intended or remitted as the circumstances vary.