Act 1, Scene I

Scene: The Wood before Clorin's Bower

Enter Clorin.

Clorin.
Hail, holy earth, whose cold arms do embrace
The truest man that ever fed his flocks
By the fat plains of fruitful Thessaly!
Thus I salute thy grave; thus do I pay
My early vows and tribute of mine eyes
To thy still-lovèd ashes; thus I free
Myself from all ensuing heats and fires
Of love; all sports, delights, and jolly games,
That shepherds hold full dear, thus put I off:
Now no more shall these smooth brows be begirt
With youthful coronals, and lead the dance;
No more the company of fresh fair maids
And wanton shepherds be to me delightful,
Nor the shrill pleasing sound of merry pipes
Under some shady dell, when the cool wind
Plays on the leaves: all be far away,
Since thou art far away, by whose dear side
How often have I sat crowned with fresh flowers
For summer's queen, whilst every shepherd's boy
Puts on his lusty green, with gaudy hook,
And hanging scrip of finest cordevan.
But thou art gone, and these are gone with thee,
And all are dead but thy dear memory;
That shall outlive thee, and shall ever spring,
Whilst there are pipes or jolly shepherds sing.
And here will I, in honour of thy love,
Dwell by thy grave, forgetting all those joys
That former times made precious to mine eyes;
Only remembering what my youth did gain
In the dark, hidden virtuous use of herbs:
That will I practise, and as freely give
All my endeavours as I gained them free.
Of all green wounds I know the remedies
In men or cattle, be they stung with snakes,
Or charmed with powerful words of wicked art,
Or be they love-sick, or through too much heat
Grown wild or lunatic their eyes or ears
Thickened with misty film of dulling rheum;
These I can cure, such secret virtue lies
In herbs applièd by a virgin's hand.
My meat shall be what these wild woods afford,
Berries and chestnuts, plantains, on whose cheeks
The sun sits smiling, and the lofty fruit
Pulled from the fair head of the straight-grown pine;
On these I'll feed with free content, and rest,
When night shall blind the world, by thy side blest.

Enter Satyr with a Basket of Fruit.

Satyr.
Through yon same bending plain,
That flings his arms down to the main,
And through these thick woods, have I run,
Whose bottom never kissed the sun
Since the lusty spring began;
All to please my master Pan,
Have I trotted without rest
To get him fruit; for at a feast
He entertains, this coming night,
His paramour, the Syrinx bright.—
But, behold, a fairer sight!
[Seeing Clorin he stands amazed.
By that heavenly form of thine,
Brightest fair, thou art divine,
Sprung from great immortal race
Of the gods; for in thy face
Shines more awful majesty
Than dull weak mortality
Dare with misty eyes behold,
And live: therefore on this mould
Lowly do I bend my knee
In worship of thy deity.
Deign it, goddess, from my hand
To receive whate'er this land
From her fertile womb doth send
Of her choice fruits; and but lend
Belief to that the Satyr tells:
Fairer by the famous wells
To this present day ne'er grew,
Never better nor more true.
Here be grapes, whose lusty blood
Is the learnèd poets' good,
Sweeter yet did never crown
The head of Bacchus; nuts more brown
Than the squirrel's teeth that crack them;
Deign, O fairest fair, to take them!
For these black-eyèd Dryope
Hath oftentimes commanded me
With my claspèd knee to climb:
See how well the lusty time
Hath decked their rising cheeks in red
Such as on your lips is spread!
Here be berries for a queen
Some be red, some be green;
These are of that luscious meat,
The great god Pan himself doth eat:
All these, and what the woods can yield,
The hanging mountain or the field,
I freely offer, and ere long
Will bring you more, more sweet and strong;
Till when, humbly leave I take
Lest the great Pan do awake,
That sleeping lies in a deep glade,
Under a broad beech's shade.
I must go, I must run
Swifter than the fiery sun.
[Exit.
Clorin.
And all my fears go with thee!
What greatness, or what private hidden power,
Is there in me, to draw submission
From this rude man and beast? Sure I am mortal,
The daughter of a shepherd; he was mortal,
And she that bore me mortal: prick my hand,
And it will bleed; a fever shakes me, and
The self-same wind that makes the young lambs shrink
Makes me a-cold: my fear says I am mortal,
Yet I have heard (my mother told it me,
And now I do believe it), if I keep
My virgin-flower uncropt, pure, chaste, and fair,
No goblin, wood-god, fairy, elf, or fiend,
Satyr, or other power that haunts the groves,
Shall hurt my body, or by vain illusion
Draw me to wander after idle fires;
Or voices calling me in dead of night,
To make me follow, and so tole me on,
Through mire and standing pools, to find my ruin.
Else why should this rough thing, who never knew
Manners nor smooth humanity, whose heats
Are rougher than himself and more mis-shapen,
Thus mildly kneel to me? Sure there is a power
In that great name of virgin, that binds fast
All rude uncivil bloods, all appetites
That break their confines: then, strong chastity,
Be thou my strongest guard, for here I'll dwell
In opposition against fate and hell!
[Retires into the bower.