Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

meadows, enamelled with all sorts of eye-pleasing flowers; thickets, which being lined with most pleasant shade were witnessed so too, by the cheerful disposition of many well-tuned birds; each pasture stored with sheep feeding with sober security, while the pretty lambs with bleating oratory craved the dam's comfort: here a shepherd's boy piping, as though he should never be old; there a young shepherdess knitting, and withal singing, and it seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work, and her hands kept time to her voice-music. As for the houses of the country (for many houses came under their eye) they were all scattered, no two being cne by the other, and yet not so far off as that it barred mutual succour; a show, as it were, of an accompanyable solitariness, and of a civil wildness. : “ I pray you,” said Musidorus, then first unsealing his longsilent lips, “what countries be these we pass through, which are so divers in show, the one wanting no store, the other having no store but of want?”

• “ The country,"answered Claius,“ where you were cast ashore, and now are passed through, is Laconia; not so poor by the barrenness of the soil (though in itself not passing fertile) as by a civil war, which being these two years within the bowels of that estate, between the gentlemen and the peasants (by them named. Helots') hath in this sort, as it were, disfigured the face of nature, and made it so inhospitable as now you have found it: the towns, neither of the one side nor the other, willingly opening their gates to strangers, nor strangers willingly entering for fear of being mistaken.

• “ But this country, where now you set your foot; is Arcadia : and even hard by is the house of Ka. lander, whither we lead you. This country being thus decked with peace, and (the child of peace) good husbandry, these houses you see so scattered are of men, as we two are, that live upon the commodity of their sheep, and therefore in the division of the Arcadian estate are termed shepherds; a happy people, wanting little, because they desire not much.” “ What cause then," said Musidorus,“ made you venture to leave this sweet life, and put yourself in yonder unpleasant and dangerous realm?” “Guarded with poverty,” answered Strephon, “ and guided with love."

“ But now,” said Claius, “ since it hath pleased you to ask any thing of us, whose baseness is such as the very knowledge is darkness, give us leave to know something of you, and of the young man you so much lament, that at least we may be the better instructed to inform Kalander, and he the better know how to proportion his entertainment.” Musidorus (according to the agreement between Pyrocles and him to alter their names) answered, that he called himself Palladius, and his friend Daiphantus;' but “ till I have him again,” said he, “ I am indeed nothing, and therefore my story is of nothing: his entertainment (since so good a man he is) cannot be so low, as I account my estate; and in sum, the sum of all his courtesy may be to help me by some means to seek

my friend.”

6

They perceived he was not willing to open himself farther, and therefore without farther questioning brought him to the house, about which they might see (with fit consideration both of the air, the prospect, and the nature of the ground) all such necessary additions to a great house, as might well show Kalander knew that provision is the foundation

ness.

[ocr errors]

*

of hospitality, and thrift the fuel of magnificence. The house itself was built of fair and strong stone, not affecting so much any extraordinary kind of fineness, as an honourable representing of a firm stateli

The lights, doors, and stairs rather directed to the use of the guest, than to the eye of the artificer; and yet as the one chiefly heeded, so the other not neglected: each place handsome without curiosity, and homely without loathsomeness; not so dainty as not to be trod on, nor yet slubbered up with good fellowship; all more lasting than beautiful, but that the consideration of the exceeding lastingness made the eye believe it was exceeding beautiful. The servants not so many in number, as cleanly in apparel, and serviceable in behaviour; testifying even in their countenances, that their master took as well care to be served, as of them that did serve.

• This country Arcadia, among all the provinces of Greece, hath ever been had in singular reputation, partly for the sweetness of the air and other natural benefits, but principally for the well-tempered minds of the people, who (finding that the shining title of glory, so much affected by other nations, doth indeed help little to the happiness of life) are the only people, which as by their justice and providence give neither cause nor hope to their neighbours to annoy them, so are they not stirred with false praise to trouble others' quiet; thinking it a small reward for the wasting of their own lives in ravening, that their posterity should long after say they had done so. Even the Musés seem to approve their good determination, by choosing this country for their chief repairing-place, and by bestowing their perfections so largely, here, that the very shepherds have their fancies lifted to so high conceits, as the learned of other nations are content both to borrow their names and imitate their cunning.

• Here dwelleth and reigneth this prínce, whose picture you see, by name Basilius; a prince of sufficient skill to govern so quiet a country, where the good minds of the former princes had sét down good laws, and the well-bringing up of the people doth serve as a most sure bond to hold them. But to be plain with you, he excels in nothing so much as the zealous love of his people, wherein he doth not only pàss all his own foregoers, but, as I think, all the princes living. Whereof the cause is, that though he exceed not in the virtues which get admiration, as depth of wisdom, height of courage, and largeness of magnificence; yet is he notable in those which stir affection, as truth of word, meekness, courtesy, mercifulness, and liberality.

• He, being already well strieken in years, married a young princess named Gynecia, daughter to the King of Cyprus, of notable beauty, as by her picture you see: a woman of great wit, and in truth of more princely virtues than her husband; of most unspotted chastity; but of so working a mind and so vehement spirits, as a man may say, it was happy she took a good course, for otherwise it would have been terrible.

“Of these two are brought into the world two daughters, so beyond measure excellent in all the gifts allotted to reasonable creatures, that we may think they were born to show, that Nature is no step-mother to that sex, how much soever some men (sharp-witted only in evil speaking) have sought to disgrace them. The elder is named Pamela; by many

[blocks in formation]

men not deemed inferior to her sister : for my part, when I marked them both, methought there was (if, at least, such perfections may receive the word of

more') more sweetness in Philoclea, but more majesty in Pamela : methought love played in Philoclea's eyes, and threatened in Pamela's: methought Philoclea's beauty only persuaded, but so persuaded as all hearts must yield; Pamela's beauty used violence, and such violence as no heart could resist.. And it seems, that such proportion is between their minds : Philoclea so bashful, as though her excellences had stolen into her before she was aware; so humble, that she will put all - pride out of countenance; in sum, such proceeding as will stir hope, but teach hope good manners: Pamela of high thoughts, who avoids not pride with not knowing her excellences, but by making that one of her excellences to be void of pride; her mother's wisdom, greatness, nobility, but (if I can guess aright) knit with a more constant temper. Now then, our Basilius being so publicly happy, as to be a prince; and so happy in that happiness, as to be a beloved prince; and so in his private [life]: blessed, as to have so excellent a wife and so over-excellent children, hath of late taken a course, which yet makes him more spoken of than all these blessings, For, having made a journey to Delphi, and safely returned within short space, he brake up his court, and retired himself, his wife and children, into a certain forest hereby, which he called his Desert;" wherein (beside a house appointed for stables, and lodgings for certain persons of mean calling, who do all household-services) he hath builded two fine lodges : in the one of them himself remains with his younger

« PreviousContinue »