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With vpright beame he wayd the bewty of eche dame,
And judgd who best, and who next her, was wrought in natures
At length he saw a mayd, right fayre, of perfect shape,
(Which Theseus or Paris would have chosen to their rape)
Whom erst he neuer sawe; of all she pleasde him most;
Within himselfe he sayd to her, thou iustly mayst thee boste
Of perfit shapes renoune and beauties sounding prayse,
Whose like ne hath, ne shal be seene, ne liueth in our dayes.
And whilest he fixd on her his partiall perced eye,
His former loue, for which of late he ready was to dye,
Is nowe as quite forgotte as it had neuer been:
The prouerbe saith, vnminded oft are they that are vnseene.
And as out of a planke a ṇayle a nayle doth drive,
So nouell loue out of the minde the auncient loue doth riue.
This sodain kindled fyre in time is wox so great,
That onely death and both theyr blouds might quench the fiery
When Romeus saw himselfe in this new tempest tost,
Where both was hope of pleasant port, and daunger to be lost, He doubtefull skasely knew what countenance to keepe;
In Lethies floud his wonted flames were quenchd and drenched deepe.
Yea he forgets himselfe, ne is the wretch so bolde
To aske her name that without force hath him in bondage folde;
Ne how tunloose his bondes doth the poore foole deuise,
But onely seeketh by her sight to feede his houngry eyes;
Through them he swalloweth downe loues sweete empoysonde
How surely are the wareles wrapt by those that lye in wayte!
So is the poyson spred throughout his bones and vaines,
That in a while (alas the while) it hasteth deadly paines.
Whilst Juliet, for so this gentle damsell hight,
From syde to syde on euery one dyd cast about her sight,
At last her floting eyes were ancored fast on him,
Who for her sake dyd banishe health and freedome from eche
He in her sight did seeme to passe the rest, as farre
As Phœbus shining beames do passe the brightnes of a starre.
In wayte laye warlike Loue with golden bowe and shaft,
And to his eare with steady hand the bowstring vp he raft:
Till now she had escapde his sharpe inflaming darte,
Till now he listed not assaulte her yong and tender hart.
His whetted arrow loosde, so touchde her to the quicke,
That through the eye it strake the hart, and there the hedde did
It booted not to striue. For why?-she wanted strength;
The weaker aye vnto the strong, of force, must yeld, at length.
The pomps now of the feast her heart gyns to despyse;
And onely ioyeth whan her eyen meete with her louers eyes.
When theyr new smitten hearts had fed on louing gleames,
Whilst, passing too and fro theyr eyes, y-mingled were theyr
Eche of these louers gan by others lookes to knowe,
That frendship in their brest had roote, and both would haue it
When thus in both theyr harts had Cupide made his breache, And eche of them had sought the meane to end the warre by
Dame Fortune did assent, theyr purpose to advaunce.
With torch in hand a comly knight did fetch her foorth to daunce;
She quit herselfe so well and with so trim a grace
That she the cheefe prase wan that night from all Verona race:
The whilst our Romeus a place had warely wonne,
Nye to the seate where she must sit, the daunce once beyng donne.
Fayre Juliet tourned to her chayre with pleasant cheere,
And glad she was her Romeus approched was so neere.
At thone side of her chayre her louer Romeo,
And on the other syde there sat one cald Mercutio;
A courtier that eche where was highly had in pryce,
For he was courteous of his speche, and pleasant of deuise.
Euen as a lyon would emong the lambes be bolde,
Such was emong the bashfull maydes Mercutio to beholde.
With frendly gripe he ceasd fayre Juliets snowish hand:
A gyft he had, that Nature gaue him in his swathing band,
That frosen mountayne yse was neuer halfe so cold,
As were his handes, though nere so neere the fire he dyd them holde.
As soone as had the knight the vyrgins right hand raught,
Within his trembling hand her left hath louing Romeus caught.
For he wist well himselfe for her abode most payne,
And well he wist she loued him best, vnles she list to fayne.
Then she with tender hand his tender palme hath prest;
What ioy, trow you, was graffed so in Romeus clouen brest?
The sodain sweete delight had stopped quite his tong,
Ne can he claime of her his right, ne craue redresse of wrong.
But she espyd straight waye, by chaunging of his hewe
From pale to red, from red to pale, and so from pale anewe,
That vehment loue was cause why so his tong dyd stay,
And so much more she longde to heare what Loue could teache
When she had longed long, and he long held his peace,
And her desire of hearing him by sylence dyd encrease,
At last, with trembling voyce and shamefast chere, the mayde
Unto her Romeus tournde her selfe, and thus to him she sayde:
"O blessed be the time of thy arriuall here!"-
But ere she could speake forth the rest, to her Loue drewe so nere,
And so within her mouth her tong he glewed fast,
That no one woord could scape her more then what already past.
In great contented ease the yong man straight is rapt:
What chaunce (quod he) vnware to me, O lady myne, is hapt:
That geues you worthy cause my cumming here to blisse?
Fayre Juliet was come agayne vnto her selfe by this;
Fyrst ruthfully she look'd, then say'd with smylyng cheere:
"Meruayle no whit, my heartes delight, my onely knight and
Mercutious ysy hande had all to-frosen myne,
And of thy goodnes thou agayne hast warmed it with thyne." Whereto with stayed brow gan Romeus to replye:
"If so the Gods haue graunted me suche fauour from the skye, That by my being here some seruice I haue donne
That pleaseth you, I am as glad as I a realme had wonne.
O wel-bestowed tyme that hath the happy hyre,
Which I woulde wysh if I might haue my wished hart's desire!
For I of God woulde craue, as pryse of paynes forpast,
To serue, obey, and honor you, so long as lyfe shall last:
As proofe shall teache you playne, if that you like to trye
His faltles truth, that nill for ought vnto his ladye lye.
But if my touched hand haue warmed yours some dele,
Assure your self the heat is colde which in your hand you fele,
Compard to suche quick sparks and glowing furious gleade,
As from your bewties pleasaunt eyne Loue caused to proceade;
Which haue so set on fyre eche feling parte of myne,
That lo! my mynde doeth melt awaye, my vtward parts doe
And, but you helpe all whole, to ashes shall I toorne ; Wherfore, alas! have ruth on him, whom you do force to boorne."
Euen with his ended tale, the torches-daunce had ende, And Juliet of force must part from her new-chosen frend. His hand she clasped hard, and all her partes did shake, When laysureles with whispring voyce thus did she aunswer make:
"You are no more your owne, deare frend, then I am yours; My honor sav'd, prest tobay your will, while life endures." Lo! here the lucky lot that sild true louers finde,
Eche takes away the others hart, and leaues the owne behinde.
A happy life is loue, if God graunt from aboue
That hart with hart by euen waight do make exchaunge of loue. But Romeus gone from her, his hart for care is colde;
He hath forgot to aske her name, that hath his hart in holde. With forged careles cheere, of one he seekes to knowe,
Both how she hight, and whence she camme, that him enchaunted so,
So hath he learnd her name, and knowth she is no geast,
Her father was a Capilet, and master of the feast.
Thus hath his foe in choyse to geue him lyfe or death,
That scarsely can his wofull brest keepe in the liuely breath.
Wherefore with piteous plaint feerce Fortune doth he blame,
That in his ruth and wretched plight doth seeke her laughing
And he reproueth loue cheefe cause of his vnrest,
Who ease and freedome hath exilde out of his youthfull brest: Twyse hath he made him serue, hopeles of his rewarde;
Of both the ylles to choose the lesse, I weene, the choyse were harde.
Fyrst to a ruthlesse one he made him sue for grace,
And now with spurre he forceth him to ronne an endles race.
Amyd these stormy seas one ancor doth him holde,
He serueth not a cruell one, as he had done of olde;
And therefore is content and chooseth still to serue,
Though hap should sweare that guerdonles the wretched wight
The lot of Tantalus is, Romeus, lyke to thine;
For want of foode, amid his foode, the myser styll doth pine.
As carefull was the mayde what way were best deuise,
To learne his name that intertaind her in so gentle wise;
Of whom her hart receiued so deepe, so wyde, a wounde.
An auncient dame she calde to her, and in her eare gan rounde:
(This old dame in her youth had nurst her with her mylke,
With slender nedel taught her sow, and how to spin with
What twayne are those, quoth she, which prease vnto the doore,
Whose pages in theyr hand doe beare two toorches light before?
And then, as eche of them had of his houshold name,
So she him namde.-Yet once agayne the yong and wyly dame:
"And tell me who is he with vysor in his hand,
That yender doth in masking weede besyde the window stand.”
His name is Romeus, sayd she, a Montegew,
Whose fathers pryde first styrd the strife which both your hous holdes rewe.
The woord of Montegew her ioys did ouerthrow,
And straight insteade of happy hope dyspayre began to growe,
What hap haue I, quoth she, to loue my fathers foe?
What, am I wery of my wele? what, doe I wishe my woe?
But though her grieuouse paynes distraind her tender hart,
Yet with an outward shewe of ioye she cloked inward smart;
And of the courtlyke dames her leaue so courtly tooke,
That none dyd gesse the sodain change by changing of her looke.
Then at her mothers hest to chamber she her hyde,
So wel she faynde, mother ne nurce the hidden harme descride.
But when she should haue slept as wont she was in bed,
Not halfe a winke of quiet slepe could harber in her hed;
For loe, an hugy heape of dyuers thoughtes arise,
That rest haue banisht from her hart, and slumber from her eyes.
And now from side to side she tosseth and she turnes,
And now for feare she sheuereth, and now for love she burnes,
And now she lykes her choyse, and now her choyse she blames,
And now eche houre within her head a thousand fansies frames.
Sometime in mynde to stop amyd her course begonne,
Sometime she vowes, what so betyde, that tempted race to ronne.
Thus dangers dred and loue within the mayden fought;
The fight was feerce, continuyng long by their contrary thought.
In tourning mase of loue she wandreth too and fro,
Then standeth doutfull what to doe; last, ouerprest with woe,
How so her fansies cease, her teares dyd neuer blyn,
With heauy cheere and wringed hands thus doth her plaint begyn.
"Ah sily foole, quoth she, y-cought in soottill snare!
Ah wretched wench, bewrapt in woe! ah caytife clad with care!
Whence come these wandring thoughts to thy vnconstant brest,
By straying thus from raysons lore, that reue thy wonted rest?
What if his suttell brayne to fayne haue taught his tong,
And so the snake that lurkes in grasse thy tender hart hath stong?
What if with frendly speache the traytor lye in wayte,
As oft the poysond hooke is hid, wrapt in the pleasant bayte?
Oft vnder cloke of truth hath Falshood serued her lust;
And toornd theyr honor into shame, that did so slightly trust.
What, was not Dido so, a crouned queene, defamd?
And eke, for such an heynous cryme, haue men not Theseus
A thousand stories more, to teache me to beware,
In Boccace and in Ouids bookes too playnely written are.
Perhaps, the great reuenge he cannot woorke by strength,
By suttel sleight (my honor staynde) he hopes to worke at
So shall I seeke to finde
my fathers foe, his game;
So (I befylde) Report shall take her trompe of blacke defame,
Whence she with puffed cheeke shall blowe a blast so shrill
Of my disprayse, that with the noyse Verona shall she fill.