I haue not a little (faire Shepherdesse) with my interrupting presence (which to small purpose hath thus disturbed thee) offended the great content, which I had to heare thee; but the desire I haue to know thee, and to giue thee some lightning for thy griefe, that causeth thee so pitifully to moane, may serue (if it please thee) for my excuse, and make me blamelesse heerein. For the which griefe, though it is booteâˆ£lesse, as some say, to seeke any comfort; yet by a free will and reasons deuoide of passion there may be sufficient remedies applyed. Dissemble not therefore with me thy sorrowes, and thinke it not much to tell me thy name, and the cause of thy sad complaints, since for this I will make no lesse account of thy perfections, nor iudge thy deserts to be of lesse value.
Diana hearing these words, stoode a while without answering her againe, haâˆ£uing her eies fastened on the rare beautie of that Shepherdesse, and her minde ocâˆ£cupied in a doubtfull construction of that, which she should answere to her gentle offers and louing words, and in the end answered her thus againe.
If the great pleasure, which I take in beholding thee (vnknowen Shepherâˆ£desse, and curteous without compare) and the comfort, which thy sweete words do promise me, might finde any small kinde of confidence or hope in my afflicted hart, I would then beleeue that thou wert able to remedie my sorrowes, and would not doubt to manifest my paines vnto thee. But my griefe is of such tenour, that when it begins to molest me, it seiseth in such sort on my heart, that it stops vp all the pasâˆ£sages against remedie: Yet know (Gentle Shepherdesse) that I am called Diana, knowen too well in all the fields and villages hereabouts; and so let it content thee to knowe my name, and not to enquire further of sorrowes, since thou shalt profit thee no more, then to make thy selfe compassionate and condolent for my tender yeeres, seeing them oppressed with so many cares and troubles.
Thus are they deluded (answered the Shepherdesse) that make themselues slaues to fonde Loue, who but beginning to serue him, are become so much his vasâˆ£sals, that they desire not to be free, and thinke it impossible to be manumitted from his seruitude. If loue be thy greefe (as by thy song I am sure it is) then know (faire Shepherdesse) that in this infirmitie I haue no small experience: For I my selfe haue beene manie yeeres a captiue in like bondage, but now am free; blinde I was, but now haue found out the way of truth: I haue passed in the amorous Ocean manie dangerous stormes and tempests, and now am safely arriued in the secure hauen of content and rest: And though thy paine be neuer so great; yet hath not mine, I dare boldly say, beene lesse: And since for the same I found out a happie remedie, baâˆ£nish not hope from thy minde, shut not vp thine eies from the truth, nor thine eares from the substance of my words.
Are they words (said Diana) that shall be spent to remedie my loue, whose workes exceed the compasse and helpe of wordes. But yet for all this faine would I know thy name, and the cause that hath brought thee into our fields; the which if thou wilt vouchsafe to tell me, shall so greatly comfort me, that I will for a while suspend the complaints that I haue begun, a thing perhaps which may not a little auaile for the lightning of my griefe.
My name (said the Shepherdesse) is Alcida: but the rest which thou demandest of me, the compassion which I haue of thy voluntarie greefe, will not suffer me to deâˆ£clare, before thou hast embraced my wholsome remedies, though (perhaps) vnsaâˆ£nerie to thy distempered taste.
Euery comfort, said Diana, shall be most gratefull to me that commeth from