Montemayor's Diana

Page 479

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Wittie, it nothing can.
Vnlearned, yet he doth abound
In learning graue and most profound;
When that I take him by the hand,
Although I heare him not,
His meaning yet I vnderstand,
Though him I haue forgot.
So wise is he, though wordes nor motions showing,
Yet thousand things he tels me woorth the knowing.

I would haue beene well contented (said Diana) and thought my selfe happie to haue beene ouercommed by thee (beloued Ismenia) but since in beautie, and in other perfections and graces thou goest far beyond me, I shall gaine no great praise & glorie by ouerthrowing thy purpose, whereby thou thoughtest to haue entrapped me with thy Riddle. It is now two yeeres, since a certaine Phisition of Leon came to attend my Father in his sicknes, & as he had a booke one day in his hands, he gaue it me, & I began to read. And the great profit occurring to my mind that is commonly taken in reading of bookes, I told him, that they were like doombe Masters, that were vnderstoode without speaking. Then to this purpose he told me this Riddle, wherein some rare matters and excellent inuentions of bookes are particularly set downe and noted. In good sooth (said Ismenia) there can none of vs Shepherds ouercome thee, wherefore our courage is quailed in passing any farther in this con∣tention, vnlesse these Ladies heere meane to giue thee afresh assault with their wea∣pons, and to make thee yeeld. Alcida, which till that time had held her peace, ta∣king great delight in hearing the musicke, and looking on the daunces and sports, and to behold and deuise with her beloued Marcelius, being also very desirous to haue one part in that sport, said: Since thou hast (gracious Diana) subdued all the Shepherds with thy skill, it is not reason that we should also passe safely away with∣out our Riddles, the which although I know thou wilt as easily dissolue (and mine especially) as thou hast done the rest; yet bicause it may perhaps delight thee, I will propound it. When I sayled on a time from Naples into Spaine, by the way the ma∣ster of the ship told it me, and I committed it to memorie, bicause me thought it was a pretie one: and this it was.

A Riddle.
SHew me a horse of such a kinde,
That in the strangest fashion
Doth neuer eate, but of the winde
Doth take his sustentation:
Winged before, and wing’d behinde:
Strange things he doth, and wondrous deeds:
And when he runs his race,
Vpon his brest with haste he speedes.
His reines with maruellous grace
Come from his sides that neuer bleedes.
And in his course he doth not faile,
If rightly he doth wag his taile.

When Diana had heard this Riddle, she was a pretie while thinking with her selfe how she might expound it, and hauing framed the discourse in her minde, which was necessarie for the answere, and considered well of euerie part in it; at the last, she said. As it is great reason (faire Ladie) that I remaine conquered at thy hands: So it is no lesse, that whosoeuer renders himselfe to thy gentlenes, he yeelde himselfe also to thy discretion, whereby I esteeme him not confounded, but happy. And if by the horse of thy Enigma, a ship be not vnderstoode, I confesse then that I

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