Act 1, Scene III

Scene: Another part of the Wood

Enter CLOE.

Cloe.  
How have I wronged the times or men, that thus,
After this holy feast, I pass unknown
And unsaluted? 'Twas not wont to be
Thus frozen with the younger company
Of jolly shepherds; 'twas not then held good
For lusty grooms to mix their quicker blood
With that dull humour, most unfit to be
The friend of man, cold and dull chastity.
Sure I am held not fair, or am too old,
Or else not free enough, or from my fold
Drive not a flock sufficient great to gain
The greedy eyes of wealth-alluring swain.
Yet, if I may believe what others say,
My face has foil enough; nor can they lay
Justly too strict a coyness to my charge;
My flocks are many, and the downs as large
They feed upon: then, let it ever be
Their coldness, not my virgin-modesty
Makes me complain.

Enter THENOT.

Thenot.
makes me complain. Was ever man but I
Thus truly taken with uncertainty;
Where shall that man be found that loves a mind
Made up in constancy, and dares not find
His love rewarded? Here, let all men know,
A wretch that lives to love his mistress so.
Cloe.  
Shepherd, I pray thee stay. Where hast thou been?
Or whither goest thou? Here be woods as green
As any; air likewise as fresh and sweet
As where smooth Zephyrus plays on the fleet
Face of the curlèd streams; with flowers as many
As the young spring gives, and as choice as any;
Here be all new delights, cool streams and wells,
Arbours o'ergrown with woodbines, caves, and dells;
Choose where thou wilt, whilst I sit by and sing,
Or gather rushes, to make many a ring
For thy long fingers; tell thee tales of love,—
How the pale Phœbe, hunting in a grove,
First saw the boy Endymion, from whose eyes
She took eternal fire that never dies;
How she conveyed him softly in a sleep,
His temples bound with poppy, to the steep
Head of old Latmus, where she stoops each night,
Gilding the mountain with her brother's light,
To kiss her sweetest.
Thenot.
To kiss here sweetest. Far from me are these
Hot flashes, bred from wanton heat and case;
I have forgot what love and loving meant;
Rhymes, songs, and merry rounds, that oft are sent
To the soft ear of maid, are strange to me:
Only I live to admire a chastity,
That neither pleasing age, smooth tongue, nor gold,
Could ever break upon, so sure the mould
Is that her mind was cast in; 'tis to her
I only am reserved; she is my form I stir
By, breathe and move; 'tis she, and only she,
Can make me happy, or give misery.
Cloe.  
Good Shepherd, may a stranger crave to know
To whom this dear observance you do owe?
Thenot.
You may, and by her virtue learn to square
And level out your life; for to be fair,
And nothing virtuous, only fits the eye
Of gaudy youth and swelling vanity.
Then, know, she's called the Virgin of the Grove,
She that hath long since buried her chaste love,
And now lives by his grave, for whose dear soul
She hath vowed herself into the holy roll
Of strict virginity: 'tis her I so admire,
Not any looser blood or new desire.
[Exit.
Cloe.  
Farewell, poor swain I thou are not for my bend;
I must have quicker souls, whose words may tend
To some free action: give me him dare love
At first encounter, and as soon dare prove!
Sings.Come, shepherds, come!
Come away
Without delay,
Whilst the gentle time doth stay.
Green woods are dumb,
And will never tell to any
Those dear kisses, and those many
Sweet embraces that are given;
Dainty pleasures, that would even
Raise in coldest age a fire,
And give virgin-blood desire.
Then, if ever,
Now or never,
Come and have it:
Think not I
Dare deny,
If you crave it.

Enter DAPHNIS.

Here comes another. Better be my speed,
Thou god of blood! But certain, if I read
Not false, this is that modest shepherd, he
That only dare salute, but ne'er could be
Brought to kiss any, hold discourse, or sing,
Whisper, or boldly ask that wishèd thing
We all are born for; one that makes loving faces,
And could be well content to covet graces,
Were they not got by boldness. In this thing
My hopes are frozen; and, but fate doth bring
Him hither, I would sooner choose
A man made out of snow, and freer use
An eunuch to my ends; but since he's here,
Thus I attempt him.— [Aside.] Thou, of men most dear;
Welcome to her that only for thy sake
Hath been content to live! Here, boldly take
My hand in pledge, this hand, that never yet
Was given away to any; and but sit
Down on this rushy bank, whilst I go pull
Fresh blossoms from the boughs, or quickly cull
The choicest delicates from yonder mead,
To make thee chains or chaplets, or to spread
Under our fainting bodies, when delight
Shall lock up all our senses. How the sight
Of those smooth rising cheeks renew the story
Of young Adonis, when in pride and glory
He lay infolded 'twixt the beating arms
Of willing Venus! Methinks stronger charms
Dwell in those speaking eyes, and on that brow
More sweetness than the painters can allow
To their best pieces. Not Narcissus, he
That wept himself away in memory
Of his own beauty, nor Silvanus' boy,
Nor the twice-ravished maid, for whom old Troy
Fell by the hand of Pyrrhus, may to thee
Be otherwise compared, than some dead tree
To a young fruitful olive.

Daphnis.
To a young fruitful olive. I can love,
But I am loath to say so, lest I prove
Too soon unhappy.
Cloe.  
Too soon unhappy. Happy, thou wouldst say.
My dearest Daphnis, blush not; if the day
To thee and thy soft heats be enemy,
Then take the coming night; fair youth, 'tis free
To all the world. Shepherd, I'll meet thee then
When darkness hath shut up the eyes of men,
In yonder grove: speak, shall our meeting hold?
Indeed you are too bashful; be more bold,
And tell me ay.
Daphnis.
And tell me ay. I am content to say so,
And would be glad to meet, might I but pray so
Much from your fairness, that you would be true.
Cloe.  
Shepherd, thou hast thy wish.
Daphnis.
Shepherd, thou hast thy wish. Fresh maid, adieu.
Yet one word more: since you have drawn me on
To come this night, fear not to meet alone
That man that will not offer to be ill,
Though your bright self would ask it, for his fill
Of this world's goodness; do not fear him, then,
But keep your 'pointed time. Let other men
Set up their bloods to sale, mine shall be ever
Fair as the soul it carries, and unchaste never.
[Exit.
Cloe.  
Yet am I poorer than I was before.
Is it not strange, among so many a score
Of lusty bloods, I should pick out these things,
Whose veins, like it dull river far from springs,
Is still the same, slow, heavy, and unfit
For stream or motion, though the strong winds hit
With their continual power upon his sides?
Oh, happy be your names that have been brides,
And tasted those rare sweets for which I pine!
And far more heavy be thy grief and tine,
Thou lazy swain, that mayst relieve my needs,
Than his, upon whose liver always feeds
A hungry vulture!

Enter ALEXIS.

Alexis.
A hungry vulture. Can such beauty be
Safe in his own guard, and not draw the eye
Of him that passeth on, to greedy gaze
Or covetous desire, whilst in a maze
The better part contemplates, giving rein,
And wishèd freedom to the labouring vein?
Fairest and whitest, may I crave to know
The cause of your retirement, why you go
Thus all alone? Methinks the downs are sweeter,
And the young company of swains more meeter,
Than these forsaken and untrodden places.
Give not yourself to loneness, and those graces
Hide from the eyes of men, that were intended
To live amongst us swains.
Cloe.  
To live amongst us swains. Thou art befriended,
Shepherd: in all my life I have not seen
A man, in whom greater contents have been,
Than thou thyself art. I could tell thee more,
Were there but any hope left to restore
My freedom lost. Oh, lend me all thy red,
Thou shame-faced Morning, when from Tithon's bed
Thou risest ever-maiden!
Alexis.
Thou risest ever-maiden. If for me,
Thou sweetest of all sweets, these flashes be,
Speak, and be satisfied. Oh, guide her tongue,
Aly better angel; force my name among
Her modest thoughts, that the first word may be——
Cloe.  
Alexis, when the sun shall kiss the sea,
Taking his rest by the white Thetis' side,
Meet me in the holy wood, where I'll abide
Thy coming, shepherd.
Alexis.
Thy coming, shepherd. If I stay behind,
An everlasting dulness, and the wind,
That as he passeth by shuts up the stream
Of Rhine or Volga, whilst the sun's hot beam
Beats back again, seize me, and let me turn
To coldness more than ice! Oh, how I burn
And rise in youth and fire! I dare not stay.
Cloe.  
My name shall be your word.
Alexis.
Fly, fly, thou day!
[Exit.
Cloe.  
My grief is great, if both these boys should fail:
He that will use all winds must shift his sail.
[Exit.