Montemayor's Diana

Page 361

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most louing thoughts of him that wrote them. Her kinde and tender hart was no lesse pierced with pitie, and compassion when she vnderstoode in what extremities his loue consisted, since by the sequell of his letter she perceiued how abruptly he ended; whereby he manifested the forcible passion that he had in writing of his paines and sorrowes: To all which no meane motiues in her conquered minde this moreouer occurred, that he offered to expose himselfe to any danger of death for Sagastes his mortall enemie, onely to do her seruice, that neuer yet had shewed him the least fauour in the world. So that loue assayling her on the one side (which till then had not notably signorized in her) and her honour and vertuous reputation (which she had euer religiously obserued) pressing her on the other, droue her vset∣led thoughts into such suspence, and troubled her doubtfull minde, that being igno∣rant what course to take, or what remedie to choose out for the best, since she would neither offend this, & could not choose but obey that, she was between two contra∣ries so mightily assaulted, that to yeelde to one without preiudice to the other, shee would in a manner haue lost her deerest life: which sorrowfull thoughts hiding in her secret breast, and the letters in her amorours bosome, she went to her chamber, where casting her selfe vpon her bed, and lying flatling vpon her pillow, thus shee lamented to her selfe.
O what shall become of thee Dardanea, being assailed by two such opposite enimies! O heauenly Diana! O inuincible Venus! How haue you both with your diuine powers seised on my yeelding soule? How could you, being so great God∣desses, make your habitation and seat in so humble a sublect, and in so base and little a house as this is? And being so contrarie and capitall enimies, how haue you de∣termined to your content, and my losse to deraigne a hard and mightie battel in such a tender and weake field? Why will you execute your vnresisted forces in the fee∣ble breast of a yeelded and captiue woman? Faine would I not open the gates Diana, whose name I honor to thy cōtrarie; but pardon me, since I haue not my wonted for∣ces: for importunate Venus knowing how strongly this tower of thinc was defended, & being driuē many times from it, hath now emploied all hir force in the enterprise, and conquest of it. O noble Disteus, if thy words be fained (which the Gods forbid) then is my death certaine. But why should I thinke so when as thou are Disteus, whose name includes all generous virtues: and I Dardanea, whose minde such thoughts doth ill beseeme. Alas poore Gentleman, how vngratefully doth Palna thy nurse requite thy fauours which she confesseth thou hast bountifully bestowed on her, since from thy first desire (a matter but of small consequence) she so bitterly repelled thee by denying to giue me a letter, which to her hands, next to my hart thou didst so earnestly commend. What wilt thou say, nay what shall I doe, since she that was the soule and onely meanes, will haue nothing to do with the matter, which she hir selfe did first begin. Couldst thou not (Disteus) or wert thow affraide to open thy greese vnto me, or was I vnable or too timorous to manifest my passion vnto thee? Tell me cruell Palna, what leaue hadst thou to send backe againe the letter, that was onely directed to me, by not letting me once see it. Was it not meet thou shouldest do that, thy master commaunded thee, and that which was expe∣dient for me? But alas thou art not in fault but I, and therefore will I onely take the punishment on my selfe, and excuse thee from blame. For since I haue entrea∣ted thee so sharply, when thou didst speake to me of Disteus, and in such things, which did not any waies offend my honour, thou hast then reason to vse me cruelly in that, wherein my helpe and remedie doth chiesly consist.

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