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tracts an insensible passion for an object he had not yet seen, and employs his hours in picturing the charms which were the general theme of admiration. Hence, his musing and love of solitude while he continued at the hospitable abode of Kalander. His desire to behold the perfections of Philoclea becomes soon too violent to be repressed : he therefore determines to leave the habitation of Kalander, and, though with much reluctance, his friend Musidorus, in the furtherance and prosecution of his desire. Attiring himself in the dress of an Amazon, he procures admission, under the disguise and the name of Zehmane, into the country retreat of Basilius. The first glance he obtains of Philoclea confirms the empire she already had gained of his heart; while Philoclea, ignorant of his being other than he appeared to be, conceives for him a tender and innocent affection. The effect which his appearance has upon the king and queen is equally powerful: É. ignorant of his sex, becomes deeply enamoured of Pyrocles, under his character of Zelmane. The penetration of Gynecia, however, sees immediately through his disguise, but she, not less smitten with his beauty and perceiving his love for Philoclea, watches him with unremitting jealousy. Such is the state of things when the meeting between the two young princes takes place, and such is the account which Musidorus receives from Pyrocles of the story of his passion. About this time, Phalantus of Corinth, a valiant and well-proved knight, o through Arcadia, offers to maintain the supreme beauty of his lady Arteria against all comers, after having been successful in several other courts, and brought with him in triumph the miniatures of the different ladies whose knights he had conquered, and whose various beauties are painted in Sir Philip Sidney's usual felicitous manner. This challenge, of course, appears little less than high treason to the passionate love of Pyrocles, and as an insult to the supremacy of those charms whose force had captivated his heart: indignant in her cause, he immediately puts on armour, and Phalantus quickly falls before the conquering lance of his opponent, not however without the right of priority of combat being first contested by Musidorus, who had in like manner armed himself for the encounter, to defend the rights of Pamela to the palm of beauty and loveliness; and who, not less wounded than his friend Pyrocles by the irresistible shafts of Cupid, now, disguises himself in the dress of a shepherd, and procures himself to be taken into the service of Dametas. A fresh occasion soon offers itself to the young princes, of signalizing their valour in the defence of their mistresses. Two wild beasts, suspected to have been let loose by Cecropia, the implacable enemy of the family of Basilius, fall upon the princesses as they are walkin
in the wood, and they are only prevented from inevitable deat
by the intervention and courage of their lovers, who each kill one of the beasts, and cutting off their heads present them to their mistresses as trophies of their prowess. The valour of Pyrocles being performed under his character of the Amazon Zelmane, is considered almost supernatural, and he becomes more and more an object of love to Basilius and Gynecia, by both of whom he is tormented by an avowal of their passion. Not less is the heart of Philoclea enamoured; and the following passage, in which the progress of her love is described, will perhaps more completely elucidate the peculiar style of Sidney, than whole pages of laboured analysis.
"The sweet-minded Philoclea was in their degree of well-doing, to whom the not knowing of evil serveth for a ground of virtue, and hold their inward powers in better forme, with an unspotted simplicity, than many who rather cunningly seek to know what goodness is, than willingly take into themselves the following of it. But as that sweet and simple breath of heavenly goodness is the easier to be altered, because it hath not passed through the worldly wickedness nor feelingly found the evil that evil carries with it, so now the lady Philoclea whose eies and senses had received nothing but according to the natural course of each thing required, whose tender youth had obediently lived under her parents' behests without framing out of her own will the forechoosing of any thing; when now she came to a point wherein her judgment was to be practised in knowing faultiness by his first tokens; she was like a young fawn, who comming in the wind of the hunters doth not know whether or no it be a thmg or no to be eschewed, whereof at the time she began to get a costly experience. For, after that Zelmane had a while lived in the lodge with her, and that her only being a noble stranger had bred a kinde of heedfull attention; her comming to that lonely place, (where she had no body but her parents) a willingnesse of conversation; her wit and behaviour, a liking and silent admiration; at length the excellency of her naturall gifts, joyned with the extream shewes she made of most devout honouring Philoclea, (carrying thus, in one person, the only two bands of good will, lovelinesse and lovingnesse,) brought forth in her heart a yeelding to a most friendly affection; which when it had gotten so full possession of the keyes of her minde, that it would receive no message from her senses, without that affection were the interpreter; then straight grew an exceeding delight stil to be with her, with an immeasurable liking of all that Zelmane did; matters being so turned in her, that where at first liking her manners did breed good will, now good-will became the chiefe cause of liking her manners: so that within a while Zelmane was not prized for her demeanure, but the demeanure was prized because it was Zelmane's. Then followed that most naturall effect of conforming her selfe to that which she did like, and not onely wishing to be her selfe such another in all things, but to ground an imitation upon so much an esteemed authority: so that the next degree was to marke all Zelmane's doings, speeches, and fashions, and to take them into her self, as a pattern of worthy proceeding. Which when once it was enacted, not onely by the cominalty of passions; but agreed unto by her most noble thoughts, and that reason it selfe (not yet experienced in the issues of such matters) had granted his royall assent; then friendship (a diligent officer) took care to see the statute throughly observed. Then grew on that not onely she did imitate the sobernesse of her countenance, the gracefulnesse of her speech, but even their particular gestures: so that as Zelmane did often eye her, she would often eye Zelmane, and as Zelmane's eyes would deliver a submissive but vehement desire in their look, she, though as yet she had not the desire in her, yet should her eyes answer in like piercing kindnesse of a looke. Zelmane, as much as Gynecia's jealousie would suffer, desired to be neere Philoclea; Philoclea, as much as Gynecia's jealousie would suffer, desired to be neer Zelmane. If Zelmane tooke her hand and softly strained it, she also (thinking the knots of friendship ought to be mutuall) would (with a sweet fastnesse) shew she was loth to part from it. And if Zelmane sighed, she would sigh also; when Zelmane was sad, she deemed it wisdome, and o: she would be sad too. Zelmane's languishing countenance with crost armes, and sometimes cast-up eyes, she thought to have an excellent grace; and therefore she also willingly put on the same countenance: till at the last (poore soule, ere she were aware) she accepted not onely the badge, but the service; not onely the signe, but the passion signified. For whether it were, that her wit in continuance did finde, that Zelmane's friendship was full of impatient desire, having more than ordinary limits, and therfore she was content to second Zelmane, though her selfe knew not the limits, or that in truth, true love (well considered) hath an infective power; at last she fell in acquaintance with love's harbenger, wishing: first, she would wish, that they two might live all their lives together, like two of Diana's nymphs. But that wish, she thought, not sufficient, because she knew, there would be more nymphs besides them, who also would have their part in Zelmane. Then would she wish, that she were her sister, that such a naturall band might make her more speciall to her. But against that, she considered, that, though being her sister, if she happened to be married, she should be robbed of her. Then, grown bolder, she would wish either her selfe or Zelmane a man, that there might succeed a blessed marriage between them. But when that wish had once displayed his ensigne in her mind, then followed whole squadrons of longings that so it might be, with a maine battell of mislikings and repinings against their creation, that so it was not. Then dreams by night began to bring more unto her, then she durst wish by day, where out waking did make her know her selfe the better by the image of those fancies. But as some diseases when they are easie to be cured, they are hard to be known, but when they grow easie to be known, they are almost impossible to be cured; so the sweet Philoclea, while she might prevent it, she did not feele it, now she felt it, when it was past preventing; like a river, no rampiers being built against it, till almarriage and the birth of his two daughters, the sharpness of her disappointment is converted into the most bitter hatred against the hindrances of her son's succession. Against them and their lives her machinations are now uniformly bent, and in her endeavours for their destruction, no atrocity of cruelty is considered by her as too savage. Finding that her design of destroying them by the two wild beasts she had let loose for that purpose, was defeated by the bravery of the two young princes, she stirs up the Arcadians to rebellion against their beneficent king. Inflamed by imaginary grievances, and incited by the oratory of the partizans of Cecropia, a tumultuous body of the people assemble, and come before the presence of Basilius, demanding of him satisfaction for their wrongs, and compliance with their requisition. Partly by the eloquence and partly by the bravery of Zelmane and Dorus, they are dispersed, and return without perpetrating any acts of violence on Basilius or his family. Cecropia, stung to the heart, to find that her designs had miscarried, still perseveres in her pursuit, and ultimately, by a successful wile, makes the two princesses and Zelmane her prisoners, whom she immediately carries to her castle.—The character of Amphialus comes next before us. Though the son of Cecropia, he possesses none of the evil principles of her character, and is a personage celebrated for his virtue and valour. Inflamed with love for Philoclea, though he disapproves of the methods by which she has fallen into his hands, he cannot prevail with himself to part with her, and relinquish her to her parents. The struggles of his love and his pity, his honour and his desire, are well described.
"In that sort he went to Philoclea's chamber; whom hee found (because her chamber was over-lightsome) sitting of that side of her bed which was from the window, which did cast such a shadow upon her, as a good painter would bestow upon Venus, when under the trees shee bewailed the murther of Adonis: her hands and fingers (as it were) indented one within the other: her shoulder leaning to her bed's-head, and over her head a scarfe, which did eclipse almost halfe her eyes, which under it fixed their beames upon the wall by, with so steddy a manner, as if in that place they might well change, but not mend their object: and so remained they a good while after his comming in, hee not daring to trouble her, nor she perceiving him, till that (a little varying, her thoughts something quickning her senses) she heard him as he hapned to stirre his upper garment; and perceiving him, rose up, with a demeanure, where in the booke of beauty there was nothing to be read but sorrow; for kindnesse was blotted out, and anger was never there.
But Amphialus that had entrusted his memory with long and forcible speeches, found it so locked up in amazement, that hee could picke nothing out of it, but the beseeching her to take what was done in good part, and to assure her selfe there was nothing but honour meant unto her person. But shee making no other answer, but letting her hands fall one from the other, which before were joyned (with eyes something cast aside, and a silent sigh) gave him to understand, that considering his doings, shee thought his speech as full of incongruitie, as her answer would be voyde of purpose. Whereupon he kneeling downe, and kissing her hand (which she suffered with a countenance witnessing captivitie, but not kindnesse) hee besought her to have pitie of him, whose love went beyond the bounds of conceit, much more of uttering: that in her hands the ballance of his life or death did stand; whereto the least motion of her would serve to determine, shee being indeed the mistresse of his life, and hee her eternall slave; and with true vehemencie besought her that he might heare her speake, whereupon she suffered her sweet breath to turn it selfe into these kinde of words. Alas cousin, said shee, what shall my tongue be able to doe, which is informed by the eares one way, and by the eyes another? You call for pitie, and use crueltie; you say you love mee, and yet doe the effects of enmitie. You affirme, your death is in my hands, but you have brought mee, to so neere a degree of death, as when you will, you may lay death upon mee: so that while you say I am mistresse of your life, I am not mistresse of mine owne. You entitle your selfe my slave, but I am sure I am yours. If then violence, injurie, terrour, and depriving of that which is more deare than life it selfe, libertie, be fit orators for affection, you may expect that I will be easily perswaded. But if the nearnesse of our kindred breed any remorse in you, or there bee any such thing in you, which you call love toward mee, then let not my fortune be disgraced with the name of imprisonment: let not my heart waste it selfe by being vexed with feeling evill, and fearing worse. Let not mee bee a cause of my parents' wofull destruction; but restore mee to my selfe, and so doing, I shall account I have received my selfe of you. And what I say for my selfe, I say for my deare sister, and my friend Zelmane; for I desire no well being, without they may be partakers. With that her teares rained downe from her heavenly eyes, and seemed to water the sweet and beautifull flowers of her face.”—p. 239–240.
The bold step which Cecropia and her son had taken, having excited the indignation of the country, they find it necessary to prepare themselves against the forces which Basilius is levying for the rescue of his daughters; and, determined to persist in what they had begun, they fortify their castle, naturally strong, and make it ready for a siege. In the mean time, Cecropia leaves no steps unturned to win Philoclea to favour the suit of her son. She goes to her prisoner, fraught with all the arts of subtlety and craft.
“She went softly to Philoclea's chamber, and peeping thorow the side of the doore, then being a little open, she saw Philoclea sitting