to me a thousand odde matters, and made me as many great offers: he promised me many costly garments, rich iewels, and sent mee many letters, thinking by those meanes, if not to ouercome me, at least to mollifie my hard refusals. He was a Shepâˆ£herd in his flourishing age no lesse commended for al youthful sports, then cunning in all pastorall exercises, one that could tell a smooth tale, and with great wisedome and discretion bring his purpose to good effect. And bicause you may the better beleeue me, I will rehearse vnto you a letter that once he wrote vnto me, the which although it altered my minde nothing, yet it greatly contented me, and thus it said.
FAire Shepherdesse, The cause was Loue,
Who (to acquaint thee with his paine)
This fault and blame in me did moue
To write to thee: But to be plaine,
Who would not be both shent and blamed,
In thy sweete loues to be inflamed?
But if my letter doe offend
Thy modest eares, as to too bold:
Then vnderstand, that in the end
The feare I haue to be controld,
My soule with paine and greefe hath fild,
And hath the same already kild.
I haue to thee ten thousand times
My torments told, wherein I liue,
Sometimes by speech sometimes by rimes,
Which first to me thy selfe didst giue,
The which no more thou dost requite,
Then mocke, vnto thy great delighte.
With open mouth thou laugh’st at mee,
And makest it thine onely game
To see me die for loue of thee:
And I doe ioy to see the same:
Although thou laughest at my paine,
Which laughter is to me no gaine.
And so when that in me I finde
The greeuous ill, which makes me die,
I thinke (when that comes to my minde)
No remedie thou wilt apply.
Bicause to see thou ici’st thy fill,
How much my comforts thou dost kill.
A remedie thou dost disdaine:
And then my soule with hope to feede
I see it is as much in vaine,
When as it is by loue decreede
To haue my life lie in thy hand,
And death in thy desire to stand.
I sawe thy shining beauties beames,
Faire Shepherdesse, vpon a day
Neere to great Duerus Christall streames,
Making the fields so fresh and gay,
And goodly banks to ioy and flourish,
The which thy beauties feedes & nourish.
And there I sawe thee leane and stand,
Among those banks not long agoe,
Vpon thy sheepehooke with thy hand,
With naked necke as white as snowe,
And to thine elbowe (seeming greeued)
With naked arme, that was vnsleeued.
Where if there had beene any one,
That well had viewed euery part,
Admit he were as hard as stone,
And had not lou’d thee from his hart:
Reason would moue me then to say,
That he his folly did bewray.
And therefore thus when I had knowne
Thy goodly giftes, and beautie rare,
From thinking of them one by one
No time, nor rest I did not spare:
Thus I began loues force to trie,
And in his torments thus to die.
But if against me thou dost moue
Saying, It is to me a shame
Being an old man thus to loue
So yoong amaide, and so to blame:
O giue me no aduice at all,
But remedies for which I call.