Montemayor's Diana

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haue beene one moment from the louing embracements of his beloued daughter Stela, & so did not one minute (when from any other forced thing he ceased) cast his tender eies off her, whereby he gaue Stela no meanes to looke vpon the vnknowne Shepherd, on whom her eies and hart attended: but euery time that she might steale a looke from her Father Parisiles, making as though she sat not well, or as though she would spit or cough, then with earnest desire and affection she beheld him. But in the end the old man hauing no good excuse to acquite himselfe from Felicias commaund, nor from the requests of that faire companie, which so seriously demaunded it of him, began to say in this sort.

My louing Sonnes (for by the priuiledge of mine age I may call you so) for as much as the greater part of my life hath beene dedicated to the worship and seruice of our most soueraigne Gods, and especially of our Goddesse Isis (whose vn∣worthy Priest from the entrance of my youth I haue beene) it would be most agreea∣ble to my condition, to entreat of the maner, that ought to be obserued in worship∣ping of her, and how much we are bound to performe the same. But bicause you haue for your Ladie and mistresse (for so I take her to be, bicause you do accompanie and follow her) the sage Felicia, to whom not I my selfe (the lowest of all Priests) but the best in all the world may iustly be disciples, it must needes be a part beyonde all courtesie, and good manners to enterprise any such taske. And this difficultie be∣sides doth offer it selfe to my minde, in that I know not, with what historie to delight al your eares: For the difference of estates, which in this noble companie I perceiue, strikes a doubt into my minde vpon the choise of my discourse, considering with my selfe, that that which will please some, will (perhaps) offend others. To these Shep∣herdes I could present some things requisite for their poore estate and vocations, and profitable for them and their flockes, and some curious secretes, which they shoulde knowe (happily) neuer yet thought on amongst Shepherdes. As likewise from whence the playing on the fluite or Bagpipe first came, and when the honour of their God Pan, and the customes and rites, which in old times they ob∣serued in their sacrifices, were first in vse, and why those are decaied, and other now admitted in their places. To you noble personages, I could present (a thing (per∣haps) which would best fit your desires) whereof loue was first engendred, and how he worketh, and for what cause the God of Loue doth keepe no reason, being honored as a God, we holding it for a rule infallible, That the Gods are iust, and that in all things they obserue due iustice and equitie. And this is that, which I would more willingly entreate of, bicause in these meadowes heere, a question was once mooued, which touched not the simplicitie of the Shepherd that did aske it. But bicause to declare it well, it were necessary to entreate of the powers of the soule, and the duties thereof, and what place euery one of them hath in mans body, (a disputation more fit for Philosophers schooles, then for the fieldes, where none but flockes are) I will not explaine it, reseruing it onely for any one that will there∣of be priuately instructed. But bicause I haue heere a thing before mine eies, which filleth me with admiration, (although it may be, that many that haue beene heere haue perhaps touched the same) I will make my beginning thus. Do you not see how nature and arte, the one borrowing that of the other, wherein either of them was defectiue, haue done their vtmost in making this Iland or meadow (cal∣ling it as it shall best please you) the very paterne of the Elysian fieldes? But lea∣uing aside many things, that I could note vnto you about this matter, I will declare vnto you why this Oke is placed heere in the middes of these Laurell trees, bicause


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