Montemayor's Diana

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togither vpon his friends departure, bicause Delicius would not consent there∣unto; but when he perceiued that he woulde needes go (by reason of the imminent danger that they were both in, if he had staied longer then the time prefixed) he would not also agree vnto his departure without his companie: But in the end being ouercome by Parthenius, though much against his will, he yeelded to his determina∣tion. In this meane while, beleeue not Gentlemen, that we were idle on the other side, for we were thinking of Parthenius bitter departure, Crimine complaining som∣times before me of his cold affection; and sometimes comforting herselfe with De∣licius promise, with which speeches and imaginations we went to bed. The hower being now come, when all mortall creatures take rest, and Crimine lying by her selfe sole, and solitarie to her owne thoughts, what she suffered and talked softly to her selfe, I know not, but what I passed, my selfe can tell you. For thinking that my bed∣fellow was asleepe, and the candles being put out, and also the silent darkenes of the night (a faithfull friend to thoughts and fansies) seruing my minde so fitly, diuers and sundrie things were represented to it, which being well grounded in my breast, I began thus to say to my selfe.
What God hath brought these two new Shepherds into these parts, to make such an alteration in me? What, am not I she, whom the onely thought of a man was woont to offend? What great content then doth the thinking of these two yoong Shepherdes giue me? Am I not shee, who delighted so much in hunting of beasts and birds: Why do I then hunt now after thoughts and vanities? Am I not she, that of mine owne free minde offered my selfe vp to Dianas seruice? Why with my will then must I become a bond-maide to Venus? Hence hence from me such an vnseemely fault. O pardon me Delicius, and Parthenius, for yet I cannot choose, but do that which you both deserue. O Gods, what a virgin colour is in their yoong and sweete faces, adorned with that little haire vpon their vermillion and ten∣der cheekes, what beautie, what mildnesse, what discretion? I thinke truely they must descende from some linage of the Gods, if they bee not such them∣selues, wherein my surmise (I knowe) is not vaine. The God Hymen not beeing hatefull to mee, I coulde perhappes submit my selfe to this onely fault. But I beseech the Gods, the earth may first swallowe mee vp, and Iupiter with his thunderbolt smite me to the mournfull shades of Acheron, and perpetuall night, before I violate thee (O chastitie) or breake thy holy bondes. The chaste minde that euer I haue borne, shall accompanie me to my graue. But I know, it of∣fends me not by thinking to which of both I shoulde encline, if my firme intent should turn to any side? which of them both excels the other in disposition, feature, and beautie, to loue the one more for that, and forsake the other for this I cannot discerne; who are so like, that if they themselues beheld one another, they could not knowe the one from the other. Great is the goodnes of Parthenius, for euen to the hazard of his life he offered it for safetie of his friend. What wittie and readie an∣sweres for Delicius? What wisedome to make my companion helpe his, and me not to forsake him, and that fierce Gorphorost might not hurt him? Parthenius in the end deserued well my loue, but yet (I thinke) he goes not beyond Delicius, who needed not the fauour of his brother to helpe him, and could no doubt haue done no lesse then he. And though he neuer had occasion to shew the sharpnes of his wit, his pithie wordes, and wittie answeres (from the which he was cut off from the very beginning) yet how cleerely by all his sweete songs and ditties that he made, did he manifest it? What verses did he carue in the tree, or rather in my hart, how modest,
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