The faire Vicountesse of Ventideon.
(Though these were Dames of beautie and renowne,
Gracing each Poet with a Laurell crowne.)
If they had seene this Lady in their time,
Who all their giftes and beauties doth possesse,
They had strain’d foorth inuention, verse, and rime,
To celebrate so high a Patronesse.
On her their thoughts and pens they had imployed,
Happy so rare a Muse to haue enioyed.
This did Orpheus sing with sweetest verse,
And Eccho answered to his siluer voice,
And euery time he did the same rehearse,
The land and sea did presently reioice
To heare the ioyfull newes of such an one,
By whom their honour should be so much knowne.
Now then from this day foorth and euermore
Let wicked men their false opinions leaue,
And though there were not (as there is) such store
Of woorthy Dames (as vainly they conceiue)
This onely one with honour shall recall,
And amplifie the glorte of vs all.
The praise and defence of women, and the braue grace and sweet note whereâˆ£with Belisa sung it, pleased and delighted them all passing well. Wherefore Don Felix acknowledging himselfe ouercommed, Belisa was well content, and Arsileus her husband not a little proude. All the men there consessed all to be true that was said in the song, and sung in the fauour of women; and all that to be false that was said and sung in the dispraise and disgrace of men, and especially those verses which inluriously inuayed against their falshood, deceits, and dislembled paines in loue; with affirmation rather of their firmer faith and truer torments, then they outwardly expressed. That which most of all pleased Arsileus, was the answere of Florisia to Melibeus, bicause it was no lesse pithie then pleasant; and also bicause he had sometimes heard Belisa sing a song vpon that matter which delighted him very much. Wherefore he praied her to reioice so noble and merie companie as that was, by singing it once againe. Who, bicause she could not denie her deere Arsileus, although she was somewhat wearie with her last song, to the same tune did sing it: and this it was.
POore Melibee of loue and hope forgot,
Told to Florisia greefes that he hadpast,
She answered him: I vnderstand thee not,
And lesse beleeue thee (Shepherd) what thou saiest.
He saith: Mypeerelesse Shepherdesse,
Behold the paine wherewith I die,
Which I endure with willingnesse,
And seeke that greefe, which I would flie:
My hot desires doe burne and die I wot,