Act 2, Scene II

Scene: The Wood before Clorin's bower.

Enter CLORIN sorting herbs.

Clorin.
Now let me know what my best art hath done,
Helped by the great power of the virtuous moon
In her full light. Oh, you sons of earth,
You only brood, unto whose happy birth
Virtue was given, holding more of nature
Than man, her first-born and most perfect creature,
Let me adore you! you, that only can
Help or kill nature, drawing out that span
Of life and breath even to the end of time;
You, that these hands did crop long before prime
Of day, give me your names, and, next, your hidden power.
This is the clote, bearing a yellow flower;
And this, black horehound; both are very good
For sheep or shepherd bitten by a wood
Dog's venomed tooth: these rhamnus' branches are,
Which, stuck in entries, or about the bar
That holds the door, kill all enchantments, charms
(Where they Medea's verses), that do harms
To men or cattle: these for frenzy be
A speedy and a sovereign remedy,
The bitter wormwood, sage, and marigold;
Such sympathy with man's good they do hold:
This tormentil, whose virtue is to part
All deadly killing poison from the heart:
And, here, narcissus root, for swellings best:
Yellow lysimachus, to give sweet rest
To the faint shepherd, killing, where it comes,
All busy gnats, and every fly that hums:
For leprosy, darnel and celandine,
With calamint, whose virtues do refine
The blood of man, making it free and fair
As the first hour it breathed, or the best air:
Here, other two; but your rebellious use
Is not for me, whose goodness is abuse;
Therefore, foul standergrass, from me and mine
I banish thee, with lustful turpentine;
You that entice the veins and stir the heat
To civil: mutiny, scaling the seat
Our reason moves in, and deluding it
With dreams and wanton fancies, till the fit
Of burning lust be quenched, by appetite
Robbing the soul of blessedness and light:
And thou, fight vervain, too, thou must go after,
Provoking easy souls to mirth and laughter;
No more shall I dip thee in water now,
And sprinkle every post and every bough
With thy well-pleasing juice, to make the grooms
Swell with high mirth, and with joy all the rooms.

Enter THENOT.

Thenot.
This is the cabin where the best of all
Her sex that ever breathed, or ever shall
Give heat or happiness to the shepherd's side,
Doth only to her worthy self abide.
Thou blessèd star, I thank thee for thy light,
Thou by whose power the darkness of sad night
Is banished from the earth, in whose dull place
Thy chaster beams play on the heavy face
Of all the world, making the blue sea smile,
To see how cunningly thou dost beguile
Thy brother of his brightness, giving day
Again from chaos; winter than the way
That leads to Jove's high court, and chaster far
Than chastity itself, you blessèd star
That nightly shines! thou, all the constancy
That in all women was or e'er shall be;
From whose fair eye-balls flies that holy fire
That poets style the mother of desire,
Infusing into every gentle breast
A soul of greater price, and far more blest,
Than that quick power which gives a difference
'Twixt man and creatures of a lower sense!
Clorin.
Shepherd, how cam'st thou hither to this place?
No way is trodden; all the verdant grass
The spring shot up stands yet unbruisèd here
Of any foot; only the dappled deer,
Far from the fearèd sound of crookèd horn,
Dwells in this fastness.
Thenot.
Dwells in this fastness. Chaster than the morn,
I have not wandered, or by strong illusion
Into this virtuous place have made intrusion:
But hither am I come (believe me, fair),
To seek you out, of whose great good the air
Is full, and strongly labours, whilst the sound
Breaks against heaven, and drives into a stound
Th'amazèd shepherd, that such virtue can
Be resident in lesser than a man.
Clorin.
If any art I have, or hidden skill,
May cure thee of disease or festered ill
Whose grief or greenness to another's eye
May seem unpossible of remedy,
I dare yet undertake it.
Thenot.
I dare yet undertake it. 'Tis no pain
I suffer through disease, no beating vein
Conveys infection dangerous to the heart,
No part imposthumed, to be cured by art,
This body holds; and yet a fuller grief
Than ever skilful hand did give relief
Dwells on my soul, and may be healed by you,
Fair, beauteous virgin.
Clorin.
Fair, beauteous virgin. Then, shepherd, let me sue
To know thy grief: that man yet never knew
The way to health that durst not show his sore.
Thenot.
Then, fairest, know, I love you.
Clorin.
Then, fairest, know I love you. Swain, no more!
Thou hast abused the strictness of this place,
And offered sacrilegious foul disgrace
To the sweet rest of these interrèd bones;
For fear of whose ascending, fly at once,
Thou and thy idle passions, that the sight
Of death and speedy vengeance may not fright
Thy very soul with horror.
Thenot.
Thy very soul with horror. Let me not,
Thou all perfection, merit such a blot
For my true zealous faith.
Clorin.
For thy true zealous faith. Dar'st thou abide
To see this holy earth at once divide,
And give her body up? for sure it will,
If thou pursu'st with wanton flames to fill
This hallowed place: therefore repent and go,
Whilst I with prayers appease his ghost below,
That else would tell thee what it were to be
A rival in that virtuous love that he
Embraces yet.
Thenot.
Embraces yet. 'Tis not the white or red
Inhabits in your cheek that thus can wed
My mind to adoration; nor your eye,
Though it be full and fair, your forehead high
And smooth as Pelops' shoulder; not the smile
Lies watching in those dimples to beguile
The easy soul; your hands and fingers long,
With veins enamelled richly; nor your tongue,
Though it spoke sweeter than Arion's harp;
Your hair woven into many a curious warp,
Able in endless error to enfold
The wandering soul; not the true perfect mould
Of all your body, which as pure doth show
In maiden-whiteness as the Alpen-snow:
All these, were but your constancy away,
Would please me less than a black stormy day
The wretched seaman toiling through the deep.
But, whilst this honoured strictness you dare keep,
Though all the plagues that e'er begotten were
In the great womb of air were settled here,
In opposition, I would, like the tree,
Shake off those drops of weakness, and be free
Even in the arm of danger.
Clorin.
Even in the arm of danger. Wouldst thou have
Me raise again, fond man, from silent grave
Those sparks, that long ago were buried here
With my dear friend's cold ashes?
Thenot.
With my dear friend's cold ashes? Dearest dear,
I dare not ask it, nor you must not grant:
Stand strongly to your vow, and do not faint.
Remember how he loved you, and be still
The same opinion speaks you: let not will,
And that great god of women, appetite,
Set up your blood again; do not invite
Desire and fancy from their long exile,
To seat them once more in a pleasing smile:
Be, like a rock, made firmly up 'gainst all
The power of angry heaven, or the strong fall
Of Neptune's battery. If you. yield, I die
To all affection; 'tis that loyalty
You tie unto this grave I so admire:
And yet there's something else I would desire,
If you would hear me, but withal deny.
Oh, Pan, what an uncertain destiny
Hangs over all my hopes! I will retire;
For, if I longer stay, this double fire
Will lick my life up.
Clorin.
Will lick my life up. Do; and let time wear out
What art and nature cannot bring about.
Thenot.
Farewell, thou soul of virtue, and be blest
For ever, whilst that here I wretched rest
Thus to myself! Yet grant me leave to dwell
In kenning of this arbour: yon same dell,
O'ertopped with mouming cypress and sad yew,
Shall be my cabin, where I'll early rue,
Before the sun hath kissed this dew away,
The hard uncertain chance which faith doth lay
Upon this head.
Clorin.
Upon this head. The gods give quick release
And happy cure unto thy hard disease!
[Exit Thenot, Clorin retiring into the Bower.