Act 2, Scene IV

Scene: Another part of the Wood.


Here will I stay, for this the covert is
Where I appointed Cloe. Do not miss,
Thou bright-eyed virgin; come, oh come, my fair!
Be not abused with fear, nor let cold care
Of honour stay thee from thy shepherd's arm,
Who would as hard be won to offer harm
To thy chaste thoughts, as whiteness from the day,
Or yon great round to move another way:
My language shall be honest, full of truth,
My flames as smooth and spotless as my youth;
I will not entertain that wandering thought,
Whose easy current may at length be brought
To a loose vastness.
Alexis. [Within.]
To a loose vastness. Cloe!
To a loose vastness. Cloe! 'Tis her voice,
And I must answer.—Cloe!—Oh, the choice
Of dear embraces, chaste and holy strains
Our hands shall give! I charge you, all my veins,
Through which the blood and spirit take their way,
Lock up your disobedient heats, and stay
Those mutinous desires that else would grow
To strong rebellion; do not wilder show
That blushing modesty may entertain.
Alexis. [Within.]
There sounds that blessèd name again,
And I will meet it. Let me not mistake;


This is some shepherd. Sure, I am awake:
What may this riddle mean? I will retire,
To give myself more knowledge.

To give myself more knowledge. Oh, my fire,
How thou consum'st me!—Cloe, answer me!
Alexis, strong Alexis, high and free,
Calls upon Cloe. See, mine arms are full
Of entertainment, ready for to pull
That golden fruit which too, too long hath hung
Tempting the greedy eye. Thou stay'st too long;
I am impatient of these mad delays:
I must not leave unsought those many ways
That lead into this centre, till I find
Quench for my burning lust. I come, unkind!
Daphnis. [Coming forward.]
Can my imagination work me so much ill,
That I may credit this for truth, and still
Believe mine eyes? or shall I firmly hold
Her yet untainted, and these sights but bold
Illusion? Sure, such fancies oft have been
Sent to abuse true love, and yet are seen
Daring to blind the virtuous thought with error;
But be they far from me with their fond terror!
I am resolved my Cloe yet is true.
Cloe. [Within.]
I am resolved my Cloe yet is true. Cloe!
Hark! Cloe! Sure, this voice is new,
Whose shrillness, like the sounding of a bell,
Tells me it is a woman.—Cloe, tell
Thy blessèd name again.
Cloe. [Within.]
Thy blessed name again. Cloe! here!
Oh, what a grief is this, to be so near,
And not encounter!

Enter CLOE.

And not encounter! Shepherd, we are met:
Draw close into the covert, lest the wet,
Which falls like the lazy mist upon the ground,
Soak through your startups.
Soak through your startups. Fairest, are you found?
How have we wandered, that the better part
Of this good night is perished? Oh, my heart!
How have I longed to meet you, how to kiss
Those lily hands, how to receive the bliss
That charming tongue gives to the happy ear
Of him that drinks your language! But I fear
I am too much unmannered, far too rude,
And almost grown lascivious, to intrude
These hot behaviours; where regard of fame,
Honour and modesty, a virtuous name,
And such discourse as one fair sister may
Without offence unto the brother say,
Should rather have been tendered. But, believe,
Here dwells a better temper: do not grieve,
Then, ever-kindest, that my first salute
Seasons so much of fancy; I am mute
Henceforth to all discourses but shall be
Suiting to your sweet thoughts and modesty.
Indeed, I will not ask a kiss of you,
No, not to wring your fingers, nor to sue
To those blest pair of fixèd stars for smiles;
All a young lover's cunning, all his wiles,
And pretty wanton dyings, shall to me
Be strangers; only to your chastity
I am devoted ever.
I am devoted ever. Honest swain,
First let me thank you, then return again
As much of my love.—No, thou art too cold,
Unhappy boy, not tempered to my mould;
Thy blood falls heavy downward. 'Tis not fear
To offend in boldness wins; they never wear
Deservèd favours that deny to take
When they are offered freely. Do I wake,
To see a man of his youth, years, and feature,
And such a one as we call goodly creature,
Thus backward? What a world of precious art
Were merely lost, to make him do his part!
But I will shake him off, that dares not hold:
Let men that hope to be beloved be bold.
Daphnis, I do desire, since we are met
So happily, our lives and fortunes set
Upon one stake, to give assurance now,
By interchange of hands and holy vow,
Never to break again. Walk you that way,
Whilst I in zealous meditation stray
A little this way: when we both have ended
These rites and duties, by the woods befriended
And secrecy of night, retire and find
An agèd oak, whose hollowness may bind
Us both within his body; thither go;
It stands within yon bottom.
It stands within yon bottom. Be it so.
And I will meet there never more with thee,
Thou idle shamefacedness!
Alexis. [Within.]
Thou idle shanefacedness! Cloe!
Thou idle shamefacedness! Cloe! 'Tis he!
That dare, I hope, be bolder.
Alexis. [Within.]
That dare, I hope, be bolder. Cloe!
That dare, I hope, be bolder. Cloe! Now,
Great Pan, for Syrinx' sake, bid speed our plough!