Montemayor's Diana

Page 283

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to doe it. I deferred it yesterday to this present hower, to thinke on it the better, and in what manner I should giue it you without shewing any particular affection more to one then to the other; and as with equall loue I am soundly affected to you both, so was your great likenesse most agreeable to my minde. But as that which is iust and due must not be denied, so will I in such sort giue you the markes of your diffe∣rence, to ridde our selues out of doubt, and hold al others still in it. And therewithal, you are not your selues (I thinke) able to iudge, when I know not my selfe, whether of you shall haue the greater fauour (if it deserues such a name) and bicause you may know, that partially I decline no more to one part then to another, vntill I haue made the same, I will not haue you make your selues knowen vnto me by worde nor signe, by discouering to me which is which, but that the lot may fall to whom it shal; and none refuse or gainsay that which I shall now do, vnlesse he will refuse and ha∣zard my good will from hencefoorth. When I had said thus, I tooke out of my bo∣some a little greene ribband, and put it with a bodkin in one of their coates neere to his hart; and then I went to the other, and clipping from him with a fine paire of Syssers which I brought of purpose with me, a peece of darke greene lace from that part, where I had put the greene ribband in the other, I sowed it on mine owne left side not farre from the secret seate of both their loues: Whereby I meant to giue them to vnderstande, that to the one I gaue hope, and from the other I tooke tor∣ment. Which being done I saide. Nowe may you declare to whom I haue giuen the greene ribband, and from whom I tooke the little peece of lace. Then it was eui∣dent, that to Delicius I gaue the first, and tooke the second from Parthenius. Nowe that they had declared their names, and were knowne vnto vs, Delicius being glad and ioyfull for the gift giuen him by mine owne hand, with a certaine kind of meri∣nes saide. Now doth the cause come to my remembrance (faire Stela) why Crimine hath beene so importunate with thee to make a difference betweene vs: O how glad would I be to know this, said I, bicause I could neuer get it out of her. If thou wilt craue leaue and pardon of her (saide he) for me to tell it, I would quickly giue thee this contentment. Bicause she may haue it (saide Crimine) it pleaseth me to graunt it, though it were to my cost. Thou must then knowe saide Delicius, that though it hath beene the greatest fauour, that we haue receiued at this present (as a gift of thine owne hands) yet that which was done to Parthenius in comparison of this was most singular and great, being of greater qualitie in that kinde. And this it was, that when thou shewedst such rigour to me, Parthenius, to see mee in such an agonie (as gracious Crimine thou knowest) was so much dismaied, that he was in no lesse dan∣ger then my selfe. For as I spake not a worde, but lying in such a pitious trance, wherein he equally bare me companie, at last comming to my selfe againe, and tur∣ning my head aside to a certaine crie that Crimine gaue, I sawe her embrace Parthe∣nius (a happie extasie for him, since it was the occasion of so sweete a fauour done him) and holde his head face to face in her owne lappe. If any other thing passed betweene them, aske it of her, for I could see no more by reason of my late dismaied sences, not then perfectly restored. What thinkest thou of this faire Stela, what a soueraigne pitie was this? This he spake with a gracious smile, and had no sooner made an end of telling it, when a vermillion blush teinted al our faces, though it pro∣ceeded of different causes. It made Crimine blush with a decent shamefastenes, min∣gled with ioy of so delightfull a remembrance. It made Parthenius blush for greefe and anger at the passed act; and me for iealousie, incorporated with the offence of so vnwoorthie a deede against my loue. So that Delicius, thinking to make it but a
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