that they haue cleerely shewed, that in daintie and wittie conceits they haue not so fine a vaine as women haue. Don Felix then iesting said. It is no great maruell that in sharpnes of wit they excel vs, when in all other perfections they come nothing neer vs. Belisa coulde not digest Don Felix his merrie iest, thinking (perhaps) that he ment it in good earnest, but looking vpon all the women, said. We will agree (Don Felix) that men excell vs, but therein we shew our goodnes, and our vertues in our voluntarie subiection to their will and skill. But yet knowe this, that there are woâˆ£men which for their vertues and deserrs may be paragoned to the woorthiest and wisest men, for though gold lies hidden & vnknown, yet it looseth not therefore any part of that value and prize of that which is currant. For the truth and force of our praises is so great, that it maketh you publish them to your selues, which seeme to be our enimies. Florisia a Shepherdesse renowned for great knowledge and wisdome, was not (Don Felix) of your opinion, when in our towne on a day at a certaine marriâˆ£age (where was a confluence of many Shepherds, men, and women, that from townes farre and nie had come to that feast) to the tune of a Rebecke, and of two Harpes, which three Shepherds sweetely plaiedon, she sung a song in the praise and defence of women, which not onely pleased them, but also delighted all the men there, of whom she spoke but little good. And if you are too peruerse and obstiâˆ£nate in your opinion, it shall not be amisse to rehearse it to you, to make you leaue of your blinde errour. They laughed all hartely to see Belisa so cholericke, and made no small sport thereat. In the end old Eugerius and his sonne Polydorus, bicause they would not be depriued of that merrie song which they expected at Belisas handes, said vnto her. The praise (faire Shepherdesse) and defence of women is iustly due vnto them, and no lesse delightfull to vs to heare it with thy delicate voice repeaâˆ£ted. It pleaseth me well (said Belisa) if it like you, for there are many sharpe and stingâˆ£ing inuectiues, if I could remember all the verses in it; but yet I will begin to recite them, bicause I hope that in singing them, one will reduce another to my minde. Then Arsileus, seeing that Belisa was preparing herselfe to sing, began to tune his Rebecke, at the sound whereof she sung the song, that she heard Florisia in times past sing, which was this.
FLie storming verse out of my raging brest
With furious anger, malice, and despite:
Indigned spirits, once at my request
Powre foorth your wrath and pen prepare to write
With scornefull stinging and inuectiue stile,
Against a people brutish base, and vile:
Avile, peruerse and monstrous kinde of men,
Who make it but their pastime, and their game,
With bar barous mouth and with vnciuill pen
To slaunder those, who lest deserue the same:
Women Imeane a work manship diuine,
Angels in shape, and Goddesses in minde.
Thou wicked man that dost presume too hie
Of thy perfections, but without desart,
False man I say, accustomed to lie,