Montemayor's Diana

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began to say vnto her. It is no lesse strange to vs, to see such an one as thou art (most valiant and faire Shepherdesse) of such valour and strength in these plaines and woods, sequestred from all popular concourse, then to thee (I thinke) to see three Nymphes heere all alone, and without companie to defend them from the like as∣saults. But bicause we may knowe what thou art (which is our chiefe desire) we will inforce that fauour with this small desert, by telling thee first what we are, for the better knowledge wherof, thou shalt vnderstand (couragious Shepherdesse) that this Nymph is called Polydora, that Cynthia, and my selfe Doria, we hauing our mansion place in Dianas wood, where sage Feliciakeepes her stately court, whose course of life, and onely exercise, is to cure and remedie the passions of loue. We, going to visit a certaine Nymph her cousin, that liueth on this side of the Gallician hils, came by chance to this pleasant and shadowed dale, where, seeing the place fit to passe away the heate of the noone day, vnder the shadowe of these greene Sicamours and Laurell trees, and emulating the harmonie of this running spring, which passeth thorow this greene medow, we tooke our instruments, to see if we could imitate the same. And our hap (or rather mishap) it was that these Sauages long since captiua∣ted (as they say) in our loues, by chaunce came hither, who importuning vs many times with their brutish requestes, to graunt them our loue, and seeing that by no meanes we gaue them any hope thereof, with violent hands determined to put their beastly intents in practise; and finding vs heere all alone, did that, which (faire Shepherdesse) thou sawest, whē so fortunately thou camest to our rescue. The Shep∣herdesse hearing what faire Doria had told her, with plentious teares gaue an eui∣dent testimonie of the inward greefe, which her afflicted hart felt, and looking vpon the Nymphes, she began thus to say.
Loue is not such a qualitie (faire Nymphes of the chaste Goddesse) that the per∣son, whom it holdeth in captiuitie, can haue any regarde of reason, neither is reason a meanes to make an enamoured hart forsake that way, wherein the cruell destinies will conduct it. For proofe whereof, experience is at hand: for though you were loued of these cruell Sauages, and that the lawes of honest and pure loue doth pro∣hibite all iniuries, and whatsoeuer might offend you, yet on the other side, that head∣long disorder comes, wherewith it workes such strange and sundrie effectes, that the same men, that should serue and honour you, seeke to spoile and hurt you. And bicause you may knowe, that I am not vrged to say this, as onely induced by that, which now at my comming I haue seene in this vallie, I will tell you that, which I thought to conceale from all the world, but onely from him, to whom I yeelded vp long since the freedome of my hart, (if euer time and fortune grant mine eies such fauour, that they may see him once againe) whereby you shal see how in the schoole of mishaps I haue learned to talke of loues consequences, and of the effectes, which the traitor works in their sorrowfull harts, that are subiect vnto him.
You shall therefore knowe (faire Nymphes) that great Vandalia is my natiue countrie, a prouince not far hence, where I was borne, in a citie called Soldina, my mother called Delia, my father Andronius, for linage and possessions the chiefest of all that prouince. It fell out that as my mother was married many yeeres, and had no children, (by reason whereof she liued so sad and malecontent, that she enioyed not one merry day) with teares and sighes she daily importuned the heauens, and with a thousand vowes and deuout offerings besought God to grant her the summe of her desire: whose omnipotencie it pleased, beholding from his imperiall throne her continuall orisons, to make her barren bodie (the greater part of her age being


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