Montemayor's Diana

Page 476

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aire, and filled it with so sweete musicke, that in a manner it astonished them that heard it, and made them to maruell no lesse at it. These Nymphes were strangely apparelled, and passing faire to behold, euerie one in her proper colours, their locks of golden haire hanging loose to the wauering winde, with fine coronets on their heads, and sweete flowers tied togither with threds of gold and siluer. The Shep∣herds seeing this melodious quier of angels, left of the daunce that they had be∣gun, and sat downe, giuing attentiue eare to the heauenly musicke, and concent of the sundrie sweete instruments that they plaied on, which ioyned sometimes with cleere and delicate voices, mooued strange and rare delight. Then came out by and by sixe Nymphes apparelled with crimosin Satten, embrodered with flowers & leaues of gold and siluer, wearing rich caules vpon their heads, which were filled and wrought with Rubies and Emerauldes, from the which hung downe vpon their fairest browes Diamantes of incomparable value, with pendants at their eares, of the rarest Pearles and richest Diamonds that could be founde. They had crymosin Buskins on their legs that were finely printed and gilt, with their bowes in their hands, and their quiuers of arrowes hanging behinde their shoulders. In this sort they began to dance to the sound that the instruments made, but with so braue a grace, that it was a rare sight to behold them. And being in the middes of their dance, there lept out on the sudden a stately white Hart, marked all ouer with lit∣tle blacke spots, which seemed very pleasant to the eie: his painted hornes with golde were large, high, and branchie. In breefe it was such an one, as Felicia could best deuise to make that companie sport. When the Nymphes espied the Hart, they ranne rounde about him, and dancing neuerthelesse without missing one straine of the musicke that plaied still, with a braue concord they began to shoote at him, the which leaping from one side to another after the arrowes were once flien out, with manie nimble and pretie skips did the best to defend himselfe. But after they had a pretie while sported themselues with this pastime, the Hart beganne to breake out from them amongst the orchards and courts, the Nymphes pursuing him amaine, vntill they chased him out of the Garden, who with their ioyfull cries and pleasant hallowing made a delicate noise, which the other Nymphes & Shep∣herds seconded with their voices, taking a most singular delight in this dance. And with this sport the Nymphes made an end of their musicke. In the meane time sage Felicia, bicause there should not want some profitable lesson to be gathered out of those pleasures for the direction and instruction of life, meaning to trie their con∣ceits about the obscure mysteries and significations of that dance, saide to Diana. Canst thou tell me (faire Shepherdesse) what is ment by the chase of this goodlie Hart, besides the thing it selfe? To whom she saide againe, I am not so wise (gra∣cious Ladie) that I am able to expounde mysteries, nor to dissolue your hard questi∣ons. Why then will I tell thee said Felicia, what matter is conteined vnder that in∣uention. The Hart is mans hart, made faire with delicate thoughts, and rich with quiet content. It submitteth it selfe to humane inclinations, which shoote mortall arrowes at it, but with discretion remoouing it selfe into diuers parts, and applying it selfe to honest exercises, it must defend it selfe from so many hurtfull arrowes, that ayme so cruelly at it. And when it is pursued of them, it must flie away speedilie, thereby to saue it selfe, though those humane and fraile inclinations which shoote such arrowes, will not cease to pursue it, and will neuer leaue to accompanie it, vntill it escapes out of the orchard of life. How can I vnderstand (saide Diana) so difficult and Morall a conclusion, as this, when as the questions and Riddles which wee


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