Montemayor's Diana

Page 477

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Shepherdesses exercise and disport our selues with (to this but plaine and easie) I could neuer yet dissolue nor expound. Make not thy selfe so vnskilfull (saide Sel∣uagia) since I haue knowne the contrarie in thee, and that there was neuer any Rid∣dle so hard, but was easie enough in thy vnderstanding. In good time (saide Felicia) for now we may wel try her cunning, which pastime wil affoord no lesse delight then the other before. Propound her therfore euery one of you a Riddle, for I know Diana will acquite herselfe with you all. It liked them all well; but Diana, who had not such confidence in her cunning, that she durst oppose her skil to such difficult questions as she thought they woulde propounde, but bicause she woulde obey Felicia and please her Syrenus, who seemed to take a pride and delight therein, she was content to take in hand the charge that they imposed vpon hir. Syluanus, who was very ready in propounding of Riddles, made the first, saying. Bicause I know well (faire Shep∣herdesse) that thy pregnant and liuely wit is able to discouer hard and hidden mat∣ters, and that thy skill is no lesse sufficient to compasse and attaine to intricate and high things, I will therefore (by thy fauour) aske thee a question, by answering which, I know thou wilt manifest thy delicate and ripe wit. Tell me therefore what this Riddle meanes?

A Riddle.

NEere to a Shepherd did a damsell sit,
As leane as withered sticke by scorching flame:
Her body as full of eies as might be in it,
A toong she had, but could not mooue the same.
her winde she drew aboue, and eke beneath,
But from one part she neuer yet did change,
A wofull Shepherd came to kisse her breath,
Then made she plaints most sorrowfull and strange:
The more the Shepherd put his mouth vnto
Her mouth in stopping it, she cried amaine,
Opening her eies, and shutting them againe.
See now what this dumbe Shepherdesse could doe,
That when her mouth he did but touch or kisse,
He waxeth dumbe, but she still speaking is.

This Riddle (said Diana) although it be somewhat hard, shall not trouble my wit much, for I haue heard thy selfe propound it on a day at the fountaine of the Sicamours; and because there was no Shepherd there that could tell the meaning of it, thy selfe didst expound vnto vs, saying, that the Damosell was a Bagpipe or a Fluite played vpon by a Shepherd. And thou appliedst all the parts of the Riddle to the effects that happen commonly in musicke. All of them laughed to see how Syluanus memorie had deceiued him, and how Dianas so readily found it out; wherefore Syluanus to acquite himselfe, and to be reuenged of his shame, smiling said. Maruell not at my weake memorie; for this forgetfulnes seemes not so ill as Dianas, nor so hurtfull as that of Syrenus. Thou hast now paide vs home (said Syrenus) and better thou shouldest haue done, if our obliuions had not beene changed into so perfect affections and happie estates as now they are. No more (said Seluagia) for all is well spoken. But answere me Diana to that, which I will aske thee, for I will trie if I can speake in a darker language then my Syluanus did: The Riddle is this.


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