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First let our great God cease to keep my flocks,
That being left alone without a guard,
The wolf, or winter's rage, summer's great heat,
And want of water, rols, or what to us
Of ill is yet unknown, full speedily,
And in their general ruin, let me feel.
Amo. I pray thee, gentle shepherd, wish not so:
I do believe thee, 'tis as hard for me
To think thee false, and harder than for thee
To hold me foul.
Peri. O you are fairer far
Than the chaste blushing morn, or that fair star
That guides the wand'ring sea-men through the deep,
Straiter than straitest pine upon the steep
Head of an aged mountain, and more white
Than the new milk we strip before day-light
From the full-freighted bags of our fair flocks.
Your hair more beauteous than those hanging locks
Of young Apollo.
Amo. Shepherd, be not lost,
Y’are sail'd too far already from the coast
Of our discourse,
Peri. Did you not tell me once
I should not love alone, I should not lose
Those many passions, vows, and holy oaths,
I've sent to heaven? did you not give your hand,
Even that fair hand, in hostage? Do not then
Give back again those sweets to other men,
You yourself vow'd were mine.
Amo. Shepherd, so far as maiden's modesty
May give assurance, I am once more thine.
Once more I give my hand; be ever free
From that great foe to faith, foul jealousy.
Peri. I take it as my best good; and desire,
For stronger confirmation of our love,
To meet this happy night in that fair grove,
Where all true shepherds have rewarded been
For their long service. Say, sweet, shall it hold?
Amo. Dear friend, you must not blame me if I make
A doubt of what the silent night may do —
Maids must be fearful.
Peri. O do not wrong my honest simple truth,
Myself and my affections are as pure
As those chaste flames that burn before the shrine
Of the great Dian: only my intent'
To draw you thither, was to plight our troths,
With interchange of mutual chaste embraces,
And ceremonious tying of ourselves.
For to that holy wood is consecrate
A Virtuous Well, about whose flowery banks
The nimble-footed fairies dance their rounds
By the pale moon-shine, dipping oftentimes
- Their stolen children, so to make them free
From dying flesh, and dull mortality.
By this fair fount hath many a shepherd sworn
And given away his freedom, many a troth
Been plight, which neither envy nor old time
Could ever break, with many a chaste kiss given
In hope of coming happiness : by this
Fresh fountain many a blushing maid
Hath crown'd the head of her long loved shepherd
With gaudy flowers, whilst he happy sung
Lays of his love and dear captivity.
There grow all herbs fit to cool looser flames,
Our sensual parts provoke; chiding our bloods,
And quenching by their power those hidden sparks
That else would break out, and provoke our sense
fires--so virtuous is that place.
Then, gentle shepherdess, believe and grant;
In troth it fits not with that face to scant
Your faithful shepherd of those chaste desires
He ever aim'd at.
Amo. Thou hast prevail'd; farewel; this coming
Shall crown thy chaste hopes with long wish'd delight. -
Thenot admiring the constancy of Clorin to her dead Lover,
rejects the suit of Cloe. • Cloe. Shepherd, I pray thee stay, where hast thou been,
Or whither go'st thou ? Here be woods as green
air likewise as fresh and sweet,
As where smooth Zephyrus plays on the fleet
Face of the curled streams, with flowers as many
As the young spring gives, and as choice as any.
Here be all new delights, cool streams and wells,
Arbours o’ergrown with woodbines, caves and dells,
Chuse where thou wilt, whilst I sit by and sing,
Or gather rushes to make many a ring
For thy long fingers ; tell thee tales of love,
How the pale Phæbe, hunting in a grove,
First saw the boy Endymion, from whose eyes
She took eternal fire that never dies;
How she convey'd him softly in a sleep,
His temples bound with poppy, to the steep
Head of old Latmus, where she stoops each night,
Gilding the mountains with her brother's light,
To kiss her sweetest.
The. Far from me are these
Hot flashes, bred from wanton heat and ease.
I have forgot what love and loving meant ;
Rhimes, songs, and merry rounds, that oft are sent
To the soft ears of maids, are strange to me;
Only I live to admire a chastity,
That neither pleasing age, smooth tongue, or gold,
Could ever break upon, so pure a mold
Is that her mind was cast in; 'tis to her
I only am reserv’d; she is my form I stir
By, breathe and move, 'tis she and only she
Can make me happy, or give me misery.
Cloe. Good shepherd, may a stranger crave to know
To whom this dear observance you
The. You may, and by her virtue learn to square
And level out your life ; for to be fair
And nothing virtuous, only fits the eye
Of gaudy youth and swelling vanity.
Then know, she's call’d the Virgin of the Grove,
She that hath long since buried her chaste love,
And now lives by his grave, for whose dear soul
She hath vow'd herself into the holy roll
Of strict virginity; 'tis her I so admire,
Not any looser blood, or new desire.
Thenot loves Clorin yet feurs to gain his suit.
Clor. Shepherd, how cam’st thou hither to this place?
No way is trodden; all the verdant grass
The spring shot up, stands yet unbruised here
Of any foot, only the dappled deer
Far from the feared sound of crooked horn
Dwells in this fastness.
The. Chaster than the morn,
I have not wand'red, or by strong illusion
Into this virtuous place have made intrusion :
But hither am I come (believe me, fair,)
To seek you out, of whose great good the air
Is full, and strongly labours, whilst the sound
Breaks against heaven, and drives into a stound
The amazed shepherd, that such virtue can
Be resident in lesser than a man.
Clor. If any art I have, or hidden skill,
May cure thee of disease, or fester'd ill,
Whose grief or greenness to another's eye,
May seem unpossible of remedy,
I dare yet undertake it.
The. 'Tis no pain
I suffer through disease, no beating vein
Conveys infection dangerous to the heart,
No part imposthumed, to be cured by art,
This body holds, and yet a feller grief
Than ever skilful hand did give relief
Dwells on my soul, and may be heal'd by you,
Fair beauteous virgin.
Clor. Then, shepherd, let me sue
To know thy grief; that man yet never knew
The way to health, that durst not show his sore.
The. Then, fairest, know I love you.
Clor. Swain, no more.
Thou hast abused the strictness of this place,
And offer'd sacrilegious foul disgrace
To the sweet rest of these interred bones;
For fear of whose ascending, fly at once,
Thou and thy. idle passions, that the sight
Of death and speedy vengeance may not fright
Thy very soul with horror.
The. Let me not
(Thou all perfection) merit such a blot
For my true zealous faith.
Clor. Darest thou abide
To see this holy earth at once divide
And give her body up? for sure it will,
If thou pursu'st with wanton flames to fill
This hallow'd place; therefore repent and go,
Whilst I with praise appease his ghost below;
That else would tell thee, what it were to be
A rival in that virtuous love that he
The. 'Tis not the white or red
Inhabits in your cheek, that thus can wed
My mind to adoration; nor your eye,
Though it be full and fair, your forehead high,
And smooth as Pelops' shoulder: not the smile,
Lies watching in those dimples to beguile
The easy soul ; your hands and fingers long
With veins enamel'd richly; nor your tongue,
Though it spoke sweeter than Arion's harp;
Your hair, wove into many a curious warp,
Able in endless error to enfold
The wand'ring soul; nor the true perfect mold
Of all your body, which as pure doth shew
In maiden whiteness as the Alpsian snow:
All these, were but your constancy away,
Would please me less than a black stormy day
The wretched seaman toiling through the deep.
But whilst this honour'd strictness you dare keep,
Though all the plagues that e'er begotten were
In the great womb of air, were settled here,
In opposition, I would, like the tree,
Shake off those drops of weakness, and be free,
Even in the arm of danger.