Then since it is most euident and cleere,
That I doe prize thy loue at such a rate,
Thou must requite my loue againe so deere,
If Nemesis ingratitude doth hate.
But if thou dost not purpose to requite
The loue, that I haue borne, and beare thee still;
And with like loue to ease my heauie plight,
And greeuous paines for thy procuring ill:
My hands of life shall then vndoe the chaine,
But not of loue (by death to ease my death)
And so requite me, when no other meane
Is left, to make me still enioy this breath.
For sure if that my life be of this sort,
My life is death, and dying is my life:
My death is sweete, a pleasure, ioy and sport,
Lining in such a world of amorous strife.
But now I cease, my teares fall in such store,
And painfull soule for greefe can write no more.
O how wisely hast thou done Martandrus (said Lord Felix) by warning vs to be attentiue, for this letter doth well beseeme the person of a discreete and enaâˆ£moured Gentleman, with what modestie and feare did he write it. And how true is that (said Danteus) which is almost in the end of it, That all things in this worlde in a different kind may be paide, as grasse with sheepe, sheepe with cloth, and fiâˆ£nally all with money; but onely loue, the which, bicause with no other thing it hath neither equalitie nor proportion, cannot but with loue be recompenced againe. For touching my selfe I know, that though my Shepherdesse Duarda would giue me all that she hath in the world; yet she could not pay me that she owes me, if she denied me her loue. Felismena preuenting Duarda that was about to answere him, said. Let vs leaue this for this time: And as you loue your selfe (Sir) tell on, bicause we may know what this Ladie did with such a letter; for I know not what she was able to anâˆ£swere againe, but to yeelde her selfe to his loue, whereupon I thinke she durst not take in hand to answere so wise reasons. Not so Ladie (said Martandrus) for I assure you that Dardanea is not such an one, that the high sence and stile thereof could put her to a non-plus; in proofe whereof you shall see it by her answere. But bicause we may not discontinue so sweete a discourse I will proceede.
This letter was of so great effect in Dardaneas tender hart, that now in euerie point she perceiued her selfe yeelded to Cupids forces: The which her cristalline teares that issued out of her cleere eies, did make so manifest, that she was vnable to stay them, although many times in vaine she laboured the contrarie. But as she could not satifie her selfe with reading it once or twise ouer, the more she read it, the more her loue encreased: For knowing Disteus his vertues and valour to bee great, and therewithall considering the qualitie of his person, and with what milde modestie and discretion he wrote this letter, the well conceiued words thereof were so forcible in her minde imprinted, that they strangely disposed it to entertaine