Urania, Part II - Philarchos' Tale
The following is a transcription of a portion of the
manuscript continuation of The Countess of Montgomery's
Urania by Lady Mary Wroth (Newberry Library, Chicago, Case
MS fY 1565. W 95). Taken from vol. 1 ('the first booke, of the
secound parte of the Countess of Mountgomeries Urania', I, 35av), it is a tale of his travels told
by Philarchos to his sister Pamphilia and Veralinda, the wife of
her cousin Leonius.
Contractions expanded; deletions between angled brackets; foliation refers to Wroth's numbering of each folded sheet.
|To my bed I hasted fearing more curious trouble, for all I held such as kept mee from the content of my contemplation, vexatious; I had a lamp burning in my chamber which helped mee well for I write much in the night sleeping as little as any man, and then the least motion awaketh mee, I fear'd the night would bee longe and tedious, soe I carried a booke to bed with mee, which I still had brought along with mee, and read a while after I had dunn writing, and as soon had I dun reading, new phansie coming into my head and soe I writt aggaine, and soe sayd Pamphilia, a little to interrupt you would you
|would bee pleased to honor this brave Queene and my self soe much as to see summ of your verces, for without flattery, I speake itt, itt is generally by the best witts sayd you write best of any prince next to Amphilanthus whom the world would, ore will have doe all things best, you must pardon mee deere sister sayd hee for shewing you any on such termes, knowing my self as farr short in that, as in all things of that most excelling prince, and soe I ame sure you thought your self nott longe since, if alltered, I ame now, for I esteeme him soe still, and will will I see plainly the contrary, which thes eyes I hope shall never see; Butt will you lett us see som of your verces sayd Veralinda, you will grow soe farr to ernest as wee shall lose discourse verces, and all anon I feare, Noe madame sayd hee you shall commaund any I have, and chouse whether you desire the end of this story, ore the verces first, the story sayd Pamphilia, butt indeed deere brother, I did nott think you would have binn soe Cholorick with mee I ame your servant deerest sister sayd hee, butt more tyde to the boundles vertues of Amphilanthus./ Well I writt som Verces then, and you shall have them, then reading them over I was turn'd to sleepe, when I was called to attention by the most delicate voice that ever (as I thought then) ever I had heard, to the window I stept, the Moone as purposely to honor that night with her favours to shew princelike meeting shining in her brightest glory, I discerned many delicate ladys, butt the delicatest was the princess in an Arbour in the midst wher of was a rare wrought fountaine, and of that curiositie as a man might justly say non butt the master of curiosities could have had such an other, The top of itt was covered with the most curious fruict trees, some ripe, some growing towards itt, some greene, som in blossome, over which as if a vaile was a blushing Rose, an innosent Jessimine, and an ambitious in loving woodbine, ever climing to the top to showe his loved service, aspired to shew itt self most aparante, spreading as kissing the fruict, and as affectionate to thos kisses, amourously twining, and imbracing the branches which ther love like twining, and yeelding, gentle sprigs imbraced, and lovingly Joined in loving twinn like twines; and as sweetly in closing them, as amourousest thoughts doth the harts of most amourous lovers; and if all hir rarieties might amongst them have had equalitie, this could have suffered non, for this was peerless; This made mee thinke, and remember the time when I had binn a lover, What songs I had in horrid and deepe passions made, allmost calling the deviles (that might have frighted mee) to my ayde, and this doth many fearles lovers doe, yett as I was a lover, I could nott, nor can remember that ever I felt other (then in imitation) butt mortall paine, and this sweetenes mad mee the more thinke, and soe the more cherish such fine, delectable phansies and soe pleasure in remembrance of former injoyings, they soe sweetly bringing on, what was past, as must of nessessitie, the one heaping on the other bee more pleasing when present, this gave way to desire of present content, yett in the best way, yett that brought in libertie, or hope of itt, by liberall thoughts, libertie a thing hath disturbed king
|domes till gained, this nott beeing free, might bee counted, ore might bee a true motive of rebelion, and soe itt was in my brest, and, to appease this tumult of loving frailte, how could itt bee appeased butt by libertie, then blessed libertie take thy freedome (sayd I) and bee a while a taster, if nott possesst of sum pleasure, lett Varietie a little come in place, insteed of teadiousnes to one course, and to which one may sooner returne, then obtaine libertie to bee out of itt; Thus resolved I beegan to seeke a way to compas my injoying their companies, I never meaning to attempt farder, (honor, and Vertue beeing my guide) then sivile conversation, I cast up all doubts how itt might bee taken, nott att last doubting such sweetnes, and the libertie of the place would refuse soe innocent an intent which was onely for contentment sake, without hurt intended:/ Seeking up and downe the roome beehind the hangings neere a compass window I found a doore, then som little hope sprang up that I should attaine my desires to attend, nott offend that most noble, and chaste company/ I opend itt when coming into a most pleasing Chamber to sight (if to others nott to mee as itt proved) trickt up with all curiosities of sweets, and flowers, a most rich bed standing in the midst of the roome, Carpetts all over, with greater state then the person ther required, space onely sufficient to goe about the roome, the bed was full square, and the height just as the bredth, and length, soe shining as if contending with the Moone for brightnes, butt what was most glorious and contending for speciall light, was with in, a treasure indeed shining perpetually, for ther was goodnes, and love soe mixt as till then ther was nott found a center, wher they could in a true vertuous way meete, att least exprest;/ In this bed lay a lady of admirable beautie, butt sad to the hieght of sadnes, soe farr indeed possest with all, as she did neither heere the dore open, nor my coming to the bed side, her eyes in a constant settlednes of cloesing, sighing att last she breathed out thes words; Oh above all maist thou esteeme thy self haples, for all thy loyalty gaining noe thing butt loss of love, of time, and fortunes, was ever any one soe constant, loving onely one, and soe longe to live to beewaile that, and never to injoye, why did I love foule that I was, and greater foole (nay greatest beast if nott loving) why then in soe high a place, yett how can that bee a fault since bace love is ignoble, aspiring love can onely bee blamed butt for ambition, and of the tow if both bee faults I hope I errd in the better and soe noe fault, for love is lord of ambition, and ambitious love is most priseable, soe noe fault is in the choice, butt in misfortune, and a during one, for hee loved beefore I sawe him, his picture I had often seene, and as that first love was to a picture, soe still hath hee continued to mee a shaddowe love, and noe substance, yett happy ame I in this, my starrs bringing mee wher I beeholde him though unseene by him; Alas my Lord Philarchos I can nott blame thee
|thy loyall lady Orilena doth farr better deserve thee then I, yett nott in loving for sure non can love better then my self, non ever loving like to mee, and soe hee might have loved us both, I never having loved butt him, nor ever will love other then my deerest lord Philarchos, and when thou goest from hence, will I likewise goe, and parting from all joy, will I confine my self to parpetuall exile, with that she beegan to stirr, and I having lett in soe wide a passage to libertie, fearing I might heere be wrought to the full height of libertie, mee pourposed to steale out of the roome, butt that I corrected as nott seeming well to fly away by running from one who soe deerely loved mee; butt o then modest feare of ingagement stepped in and presenting itt self told mee soone of my many crosses, soe as I who in feild (for soe some spiritt told mee) could nott bee daunted, should I bee afraide as thinking my undaunted spiritt could soe faile as nott to bee master of one poore piece, my passions, beesides what insivilitie itt would bee nott to acknowledg thankfullnes, wher I was soe obliged, and wher better, ore when then when beeing both alone butt for each other, which in love, ore att the time of love are butt one in the pleasingest night, that ever Cinthia courted her love in, that Venus followed her Adonis with weary steps in, butt heere I had all purpose taken away, all traveiles prevented, a most rich, and intising place, and a lady soe delitious as would have tempted the verie Godhead of constancy a little to err, immagining all things soe disposed, and concurring, were of purpose sett ther to bee imbraced, and I the man offered all this, how poore a thing had itt binn, and how meanly would itt showe, if I imbraced itt nott soe as resolution prevailing, I stept to her, and sitting on the bed side tooke her hand, and indeed eagerly kissed itt, and looking stedfastly on her, deere Lady sayd I what unlooked for hapines is beefalen mee to finde my self thus Fortunate, and to finde my hapines in soe fine a way, the Lady (amongst most) the truliest chaste, was as reason taught her infinitely amased to see her self thus surprised, att such a time at night, and in such a place, her chamber, all alone in bed, and wholy att my mercy as she caled itt, and therfor to trust to my favour, or lose that she soe deerely, and more esteemed then her lyfe, her honor, in this trance as itt were, nott knowing assuredly how, ore what to speake, how to looke, ore settle any resolusion to withstand my will; A dreadfull man itt seem'd you appear'd to her sayd Veralinda; In a kinde Madame sayd Philarchos, although itt were butt for fear she should bee too unkinde to mee, butt she was indeed truly vertious, and that she exprest, for with the most sincere bashfullnes, a face of purpose by Vertu apareled in sweetnes, and lovelines in such chastenes she used thes few words, in a trembling fearfull Voice, love, and unquiett thousands of doubts surrounding her, fearing to dislike mee, ore doubting her owne frailtie, for the greatest and bravest spiritts of you all soe surprised, and by him you love, and att such a time as you discover your owne loves, may, and will feare; Learnedly spoken for woemen whos spiritts you never knew, ore weaknes soe farr as to fall in to soe loving, and foulish a snare as that ther owne toungues should bee panders to ther loves desires; sayd Pamphilia; In chaste thoughts, and secrett room sayd Philarchos noe doubt appeere, and I think nott butt some have better destiny than to bee discoverd as this lady was, though you shall never make mee such an heritick to love as to beeleeve that his power hath nott made your best judgments, and highest spiritts bow to a sweet privatt confession of your loves, and if soe what hurt, when, then the greatest of your powrs appeere in refusall, and scorne if discoverd, if nott you have your teares, complaints and sorrowes empty, back returned to your panting, groaning harts for your paines, and so as if ajourned to an other nights torture, when as
|this sweet Ladys sorrows, and contents came, and ended together; My Lord, though God knowes sayd she though you have binn seldome absent from my thoughts, yett they never daring to present ill to my minde beeing constantly resolved to Vertue, my brest armed with chastety, my soule with puritie determind never to speake love my self to you, rather wishing I might still have lived unblest in nott seeing you, then on the condition of that hapines to bee bound to say the least of what you have most unexpectedly by mee, heard my self to say, and thus, by this unlooked for adventure to seeme (contrary to my hart) as itt were to prostrate my self to your power, and as if impudently to lay a snare to beetray my honor in, and by soe shamefull a way, as of all the most shamely creaturs, as indeed I must confess I must have binn if I had intended any such thinge, from which my Lord I beeseech you bee confident I am as free, as you ought (on the contrary part if I had binn guiltie) to have hated mee for such impudent immodestie, therfor as you are by birthe one of the greatest, and noblest make nott your conquest dishonorable; butt vertiously dispose of mee, and by that ty mee to bee your humblest servante;/ Truly if thes words, and with thos words such floods of teares had nott com, I knowe nott how farr my libertie on such delicate oppertunities might have strayed, yett they stayed mee, and yett itt may bee I had better pleased the sweet sad soule with kinde, and loving imbracings then as I did, yett I did nott resolve to lose all for then Cinthia her self would have blushed to see mee such a coward, soe indeed I tooke many most sweet, and pleasing kisses from her, which she loath to lett mee have, made them farr the sweeter, striving soe pretily, as the more pleasingly to make mee take more that she might have more cause to refuse, butt this was all I would doe, and soe much was butt sivilitie, I satt upon the bed a little more then sitting bending towards her, and discoursing of many matters, yett all of love wee passed till day breake the time away, when imbracing her, and kissing her I used thes words, worthy Lady my griefe is infinite that I knew nott soone enough of your love to mee, since had I heard itt, ore seene itt by you, and I free, I would have binn your servant, butt now my faithe, and vowe to Orilena my deerest self, binds mee in all fealltie to her, beeside I never seeking dishonor to that by mee most honored sex, I can nott, nor may any way have a thought to enter into mee to dishonor soe vertuous, and deserving a lady as your self, therfor Madame bee assured of my service to you in a faire, and vertious way, and to assure you therof I advise you thus far yett first I should tell you, I injoined her to tell mee her story which she beegan thus, I <lying> throwing my self on the bed then, holding her by the trembling hand, her voice even weake with feare of furder danger, which truly I intended nott, though she doubted; She beegan her story thus, since you most brave prince commaund, I your humblest vassale must obay and tell my story which is soe ill a tale for my self as beeing a maide I may bee ashamed to confess I would lett in soe unmaydenlyke thoughts enter; ore make intrusion into my brest, ore to fall soe lowe from the high power of chastitie as to suffer the beeguiling blind God to have any possession in mee, much les to
|governe over mee, butt then remembring (as love will never lett any that hee can governe want memory, ore will to cousin them selves with all if once they seeme to bee his subjects) greatest kings, and princes must bee, have binn, and are his Vassalls, soe as any who hath heard, read, ore knowne the power of love in all ages as now, will I hope forgive mee, and kindely blott away that loving fault in mee, farder then obaying, and if obidience bee a offence then doe I offend above any, yett never unchastely, for O chastitie how much doe I prise thee, love thee, cherish thee, nay adore thee, then still protect mee; Obedience thus brings mee to say that my misfortune, yett honor in that, beegan thus; When as if itt please your highnes to remember that all the Morean Court, and many strangers for that time making them selves Courtiers, as well strangers taking the Morean habitt, as the native people all determining to honor the solemnitie of Pamphilias coronation as farr as could bee dunn in a forraine land and nott att home receiving the title of Queene, too meane, though as great a title as any, yett farr to meane for her excelent deserving, and with all her going away and soe to bee receaved by her people, most went with her, amongst which number I made my poore self one, nott seeing my sinn of presumption to adventure in such stately a Cerrimony, butt foulish conciept, and bold pride told mee I might bee one, beeing well cloathed, and soe brought on the stage like a player acting an other part nott conserning my self butt in phantastick conseit, fouled by mine owne phansy immagining this would make mee what I desir'd nay itt was dun in my frantick conceipt, and I the great prinsess I thought at, butt the farr greater foule I, for beeing in madnes confident (as most such silly creatures are who overweene of their fortunes), quite beesides my marck, yett with a most bolde (therfor faulty) confidence, (or much rather to say sausines) came into my mind, and soe farr I acted my presumptious part, as att the dauncing I presumed to take you out to daunce, were itt to doe againe how should I tremble, nay with blushing overwhelmed with my owne shame kill my self inn my lamenting tortures, I should quake to touch that hand, which my rudenes then perremtarily commaunded mee to venter on, with out respect to concieve what I was, and how I ought to have presented my self in due time, and place, beefore I presumd soe farr, as to present my unworthy self, beefore, in deed I had a little bold spiritt (which I call nott good) which gave mee a spiritt of beeing soe bolde, butt the nott seeing, ore least well teaching of the blinde God Cupid, who nott seeing his errors, still runns on his owne wayes, nott beeing able to aprehend shame, nott seeing his eyes soe longe closed from seeing the truthe of love indeed, which ought to bee all Judgment, all discreasion, all faltles, all truthe; butt alas into his faules fetters I fell; and soe forgot all modesty as maydes should have in speaking my love, for indeed soe excelling were you in all parfections, as I esteemed all the rest butt as foyles to your excellency; Madame (sayd I) I ame sorry you soe ill testify your choise by this expression, beeing butt vanity itt self, the Princes soe all exceeding showes you practice butt complements, and vanities, nott sound truths, butt
|onely fictions, nott substancies, like most vaine loves, that studdy the shadowes nott the soule of love; Therfor Madame for I fear you will in longe striving to explaine your self lose your self, I to prevent that, and your farder ill, doe of nessessitie say, your longe preamble to your speach makes mee beeleeve onely words will prove your troubles nott infelt sorrow, since deepest, and most true felt griefe is manifested in deepest, and consealingest silence, One true teare, and harty sigh is farr more excelent expression of the truth of love when the soules breath gives the aire to the sigh as from soule sent, then millions of thes well worded mulltitudes which are butt outward showes of what should onely bee sencibly felt with in;/ You say you love, allter that, and mend itt; and mee you say, alas for shame thinke nott of saying soe againe, butt banish thos treacherous thoughts, which nurse one an other wholy to your distruction, for what is, ore should bee more deere to a Lady, and a faire one, then her honer, heere you lose itt in choise, and adventure itt to all eares, and soe to their judgings since I ame nott in any way fitt for you to thinke of in that kinde, in the best way you can nott, for I ame maried, and you knowe itt in the other what butt dishonor, I ame an others, and soe justly tide in untying bands of golden hapines, as noe brick shall ever slip, or open, to unty, ore lesson the band, and chaine of perfectest love, and zealous affection to her deerest she, and my onely unfained love; Therfor if you love mee leave loving soe, and for doing soe especially, and for that ill choise of mee, I thanke you, butt as a true, and faithfull adviser, I intreat you to extinguish the shadow of any such fault, ore thought in you formerly held, and for that if I can doe you any other service I ame ready to obay you, butt must nott love you;/ My Lord sayd she I onely with teares beg butt rewarde for my longe soe chaste love, and unspotted soe farr as the hart did nott nor shall ever lett in a thought which may, ore did bring in an other or other love, I beeseech you then have pitty on mee; I have truly madame sayd I and therfor advise you to take an new course, com abroad, and soe take of the black vaile of conciept every one hath power now to role ther immaginations in, for your strange retirednes, especially in a strange country; Iff you will goe to my sister into Pamphilia, ore much better returne into your owne country to your aged father, ore parents if hee bee gonn, heerin you may best, their marry, and bury thes unfitting flames in the new choise, joying in that as much as in the safe restoring of most prised honor to you, for thus you butt maske desir under the guilded outside of a fained chastitie, for love is desire, and desire is nott worthy of the sweetest, noblest, and best deservingst title of chastitie, when that is pure from the rotten follye of desire; And soe settle your longe distemperd thoughts, endles, and fruictles, and att last lead a hapy lyfe, O noe my lord sayd she noe lyfe can bee hapy if nott with you, with mee O God cryde I say nott soe and yett protest Chaste love I beeing a maried man, speake nott any more such such words, butt wash away thos shameles desirs in the teares of true repentance, and cleere your soule from such deluding,and wanton desires, seeking since you must love a worthy love, for I can nott thinke this is one, nor ever will I staine my blood with the spott of unworthy love which must bee if I wronge my mariage bed, nor shall breath stay in mee after I conceave such a thought, noe, noe such thought shall presume to adventure itt self beefor my judgment, which without Judgment, and Justice might bring an unworthy suffering to fall into unworthy acts, thos as hellish spiritts I banish from mee; and unworthy must bee if satisfy you, were you, ore could you bee ten millions of times worthier then you are; I thought you trembled for feare I would
|abuse you, take away that foule vaine thought, I ame free from any such bacenes, and soe confident are all Ladys of my worthyest conseits of them, and my religious Vowes, as I have thus much libertie graunted mee amongst them all, with out thought, ore thoughts shadow of suspition, ore harme, my loyallty to Ladys honors soe well knowne, butt now itt too plainly appeers your trembling, and bodys motion proceeded from over much plenty of desire, and your inward flames which grew to that heigth which made immodesty to strongly move. Correct thes sinfull, and firy sparckes in time, least they flame, and blow to your destruction, and without insolent professions take vertious resolusions, lett modesty governe, and this abortive child called spiritt (which is in the wurst kinde) bee as unlawfull, ore rather never borne, then shall you bee happy, for without modestie, and sincere living a woman is butt a beast of the hansommer sort, where chaste, and modest an Angell, and in thes latter times of loosnes to bee adored;/ Resolve on this, and goe home to your father, the very showe of lightnes is sufficient in this world to be called, and beeleeved lightnes itt self, purging your hart from this swelling Vapour of fond, and unworthy (though aspiring) love; Repent and take an new course to the olde, and best conclusion for chaste minds indeed by oboloshing louse, and wanton love, and match like your degree with worthe, and from your fathers house, bee a comfort (nott a corsive) to his age; and most of all, and most indeed of all present, and cherish to your owne deerenes that which ought most to bee prised, content, in a soule purged from vaine thoughts of Cupid, forgett thos blaspheames, which make a godhead of ill; forgett fond, and foulish opinion of Venus, all is wickednes, and wrap your self up as in your winding sheete in the truthe of chastety, and modest love; Herin you shall have your desire satisfied, and a pure, and in a fitting way, for beeleeve itt thes frensies of love, and in unjust ways, hath binn, are, and ever wilbee the overthrow of worthyest men, if that way led, and the certaine ruin of any (though the greatest) woemen; And soe faire Lady farewell, your servant if you follow my true, and best advise, iff nott I hartily, and shall wish for your change that you may feele hapines in itt, and truly I will Joye to heere of itt; My Lord sayd she I now see my shame by your noble admonition, I will strive all I may to obay your commaunds; and this with many teares, and indeed sweete teares, she sayd, doe soe brave Lady sayd I, and in this I shall thinke you love mee best; lett this yett I beeseech you bee graunted to mee your humblest servante sayd she that you permitt your Squire to conduct mee home; Madame sayd I with all my hart, and I will knight himm, that hee may bee the better able to doe you service, soe I kissed her hands, and returnd to mine owne chambers, butt deerest sister beeleeve mee I never was soe neere by temptation like to breake my faithe to my faithfull Orilena; [...] for mee I ame sory I have with soe idle a discourse, and especially being of the idlest kinds of discourse, the frivelous God, and his more foulish governement of love; Pamphilia, though suffering, and obediently, and as unfortunately for
|love, and loving yett could nott indure to heere love soe cruelly blamed yett scorning to bee thought she could adore soe idole like a dietie, she with many thankes, and kindest expressions thanked her dere brother for the tale and sweete expressions in itt the like did the sweetest Veralinda, and soe for that night tooke leave of each other to take theire best, and quiettest rests they might bee permitted [...]
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