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Within my trembling hande my penne doth shake for feare,
And, on my colde amazed head, upright doth stand my heare.
But sith shee doeth commaunde, whose hest I must obeye,
In moorning verse a woful chaunce to tell I will assaye.
Helpe, learned Pallas, helpe, ye Muses with your art,
Help, all ye damned feends, to tell of joyes retournd to smart:
Help eke, ye sisters three, my skillesse pen tindyte,
For you it causd, which I alas! unable am to wryte.
There were two auncient stocks, which Fortune hygh did place
Above the rest, indewd with welth, and nobler of their race;
Lovd of the common sorte, lovd of the prince alike,
And lyke unhappy were they both, when Fortune list to stryke;
Whose prayse with equal blast Fame in her trumpet blew;
The one was clyped Capelet, and thother Mountague.
A wonted use it is, that men of likely sorte,
(I wot not by what furye forsd) envye eache others porte.
So these, whose egall state bred envye pale of hew,
And then of grudging envies roote blacke hate and rancor grew;
As of a littel sparke oft ryseth mighty fyre,
So, of a kyndled sparke of grudge, in flames flash oute their eyre:
And then theyr deadly foode, first hatchd of trifling stryfe,
Did bathe in bloud of smarting woundes,-it reved breth and lyfe.
No legend lye I tell; scarce yet theyr eyes be drye,
That did behold the grysly sight with wet and weeping eye.
But when the prudent prince who there the scepter helde,
So great a new disorder in his commonweale behelde,
By jentyl meane he sought their choler to asswage,
And by perswasion to appease their blameful furious rage;
But both his woords and tyme the prince hath spent in vaypė,
So rooted was the inward hate, he lost his buysy payne.
When frendly sage advise ne gentyll woords avayle,
By thondring threats and princely powre their courage gan he
quayle; In hope that when he had the wasting flame supprest, In time he should quyte quench the sparke that boornd within
their brest. Now whylst these kyndreds do remayne in this estate, And eche with outward frendly shew doth hyde his inward hate, One Romeus, who was of race a Mountague, Upon whose tender chyn as yet no manlyke beard there grewe, Whose beauty and whose shape so farre the rest dyd stayne, That from the cheef of Veron youth he greatest fame dyd gayne, Hath found a mayde so fayre (he founde so foul his happe) Whose beauty, shape, and comely grace, did so his heart en."
trappe, That from his owne affayres his thought she did remove; Onely he sought to honour her, to serve her and to love. To her he writeth oft, oft messengers are sent, At length, in hope of better spede, himselfe the lover went; Present to pleade for grace, which absent was not founde, And to discover to her eye his new receaved wounde. But she that from her youth was fostred evermore With vertues foode, and taught in schole of wisdomes skilful lore,
By aunswere did cutte off thaffections of his love,
That he no more occasion had so vayne a sute to move :
So sterne she was of chere, (for all the payne he tooke)
That, in reward of toyle, she would not geve a frendly looke:
And yet how much she did with constant minde retyre,
So much the more his fervent minde was prickt fourth by desyre,
But when he, many monthes, hopeless of his recure,
Had served her, who forced not what paynes he did endure,
At length he thought to leave Verona, and to prove
If chaunge of place might chaunge away his ill-bestowed love;
And speaking to himselfe, thus gan he make his mone:
“ What booteth me to love and serve a fell unthankfull one,
Sith that my humble sute, and labour sowde in vayne,
Can reape none other fruite at all but scorne and proude disdayne!
What way she seekes to goe, the same I seeke to runne,
But she the path wherein I treade with spedy flight doth shuone.
I cannot live except that nere to her I be;
She is ay best content when she is farthest of from me,
Wherefore henceforth I will farre from her take my flight;
Perhaps, mine eye once banished by absence from her sight,
This fyre of myne, that by her pleasant eyne is fed,
Shall little and little weare away, and quite at last be ded.”
But whilest he did decree this purpose still to kepe,
A contrary repugnant thought sanke in his brest so depe,
That douteful is he now which of the twayne is best,
In syghs, in teares, in plainte, in care, in sorrow and unrest,
He mones the daye, he wakes the long and werey night;
So depe hath love, with pearcing hand, ygrav'd her bewty bright
Within his brest, and hath so mastred quyte his hart,
That he of force must yelde as thrall;- no way is left to start.
He cannot staye his steppe, but forth styll must he ronne,
He languisheth and melts awaye, as snowe agaynst the sonne.
His kyndred and alyes do wonder what he ayles,
And eche of them in frendly wyse his heavy hap bewayles.
But one emong the rest, the trustiest of his feeres,
Farre more than he with counsel fild, and ryper of his yeeres,
Gan sharply him rebuke; such love to him he bare,
That he was fellow of his smart, and partner of his care.
" What meanst thou Romeus, quoth he, what doting rage
Doth make thee thus consume away the best part of thine age,
In seking her that scornes, and hydes her from thy sight,
Not forsing all thy great expence, ne yet thy honour bright,
Thy teares, thy wretched lyfe, ne thine unspotted truth,
Which are of force, I weene, to move the hardest hart to ruthe?
Now, for our frendships sake, and for thy health, I pray
That thou hencefoorth become thine owne;-Ogive no more away
Unto a thankles wight thy pretious free estate:
In that thou lovest such a one thou seemst thy self to hate.
For she doth love els where, and then thy time is lorne;
Or els (what booteth thee to sue?) Loves court she hath forsworne,
Both yong thou art of yeres, and high in Fortunes grace:
What man is better shapd than thou? who hath a sweeter face?
By painfull studies meane great learning hast thou wonne, as
Thy parents have none other heyre, thou art theyf onely sonne.
What greater greefe, trowst thou, what woful dedly smart,
Should so be able to distraine thy seely fathers hart,
As in his age to see the plonged deepe in vice,
When greatest hope he hath to heare thy vertues fame arise ?
What shall thy kinsmen think, thou cause of all their ruthe?
Thy dedly foes doe laugh to skorne thy yil-employed youth.
Wherefore my counsell is, that thou henceforth beginne
To knowe and flye the errour which to long thou livedst in.
Remove the veale of love that kepes thine eyes so blynde,
That thou ne canst the ready path of thy forefathers fynde.
But if unto thy will so much in thrall thou art,
Yet in some other place bestowe thy witles wandring hart.
Choose out some woorthy dame, her honor thou, and serve,
Who will give eare to thy complaint, and pitty ere thou sterve.
But sow no more thy paynes in such a barraine soyle
As yelds in harvest time no crop, in recompence of toyle.
Ere long the townish dames together will resort,
Some one of beauty, favour, shape, and of so lovely porte,
With so fast fixed eye perhaps thou mayst beholde,
That thou shalt quite forget thy love and passions past of olde.”
The yong mans listning eare receivd the holsome sounde,
And reasons truth y-planted so, within his heade had grounde;
That now with healthy coole y-tempred is the heate,
And piece-meale weares away the greefe that erst his heart did
To his approved frend a solemne othe he plight,
At every feast y-kept by day, and banquet made by night,
At pardons in the churche, at games in open streate,
And every where he would resort where ladies wont to mete;
Eke should his savage heart like all indifferently,
For he would vew and judge them all with unallured eye.
How happy had he been, had he not been forsworne!
But twice as happy had he been, had he been never borne.
For ere the moone could thrise her wasted hornes renew,
False Fortune cast for him, poore wretch, a mischiefe new to
The wery winter nightes restore the Christmas games, su
And now the seson doth invite to banquet townish dames,
And fyrst in Capels house, the chiefe of all the kyns
Sparth for no cost, the wonted use of banquets to begin.
No lady fayre or fowle was in Verona towne,
No knight or gentleman of high or lowe renowne,
But Capilet himselfe bath byd unto his feast, t
Or, by his name in paper sent, appointed as a geast.
Yong damsels thither flocke, of bachelers a rowte,
Not so much for the banquets sake, as bewties to serche out.
But not a Montagew would enter at his gate,
(For, as you heard, the Capilets and they were at debate)
Save Romeus, and he in maske, with hydden face,
The supper done, with other five did prease into the place.
When they had maskd a while with dames in courtly wise,
All did unmaske; the rest did shew them to theyr ladies eyes;
But bashfull Romeus with shamefast face forsooke
The open prease, and him withdrew into the chambers nooke.
But brighter than the sunne the waxen torches shone,
That, maugre what he could, he was espyd of every one,
But of the women cheefe, theyr gasing eyes that threwe,
To woonder at his sightly shape, and bewties spotles hewe;
With which the heavens him had and nature so bedect,
That ladies, thought the fayrest dames, were fowle in his respect.
And in theyr head besyde an other woonder rose,
How he durst put himselfe in throng among so many foes :
Of courage stoute they thought his cumming to procede,
And women love an hardy hart, as I in stories rede.
The Capilets disdayne the presence of theyr foe,
Yet they suppresse theyr styred yre; the cause I doe not knowe:
Perhaps toffend theyr gestes the courteous knights are loth;
Perhaps they stay from sharpe revenge, dreadyng the princes
Perhaps for that they shamd to exercise theyr rage
Within their house, gainst one alone, and him of tender age.
They use no taunting talke, ne harme him by theyre deede,
They neyther say, what makst thou here, ne yet they say, God
So that he freely might the ladies view at ease,
And they also behelding him their chaunge of fansies please :
Which Nature had hym taught to doe with such a grace,
That there was none but joyed at his being there in place.
With upright beame he wayd the beauty of eche dame,
And judgd who best, and who next her, was wrought in natures
frame. At length he saw a mayd, right fayre, of perfect shape, (Which Thesus or Paris would have chosen to their rape) Whom erst he never sawe; of all she pleasde him most; Within himselfe he sayd to her, thou justly mayst thee boste Of perfet shapes renowne and beauties sounding prayse, Whose like ne hath, ne shall be seene, ne liveth in our dayes. And whilst he fixd on her his partiall perced eye, His former love, for which of late be ready was to dye, Is nowe as quite forgotte as it had never been : The proverbe saith, unminded oft are they that are unseene. And as out of a planke a nayle a nayle doth drive, So novel love out of the minde the auncient love doth rive. This sodain kindled fyre in time is wox so great, That only death and both theyr blouds might quench the fiery
heate. 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 fames were quenchd and drenched
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 devise,
But onely seeketh by her sight to feede his houngry eyes;
Through them he swalloweth downe loves 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 every one dyd cast about her sight,
At last her floting eyes were ancored fast on him,
Who for her sake dyd banish health and freedome from eche
limme. He in her sight did seeme to passe the rest, as farre As Phæbus shining beames do passe the brightnes of a starre. In wayte laye warlike Love with golden bowe and shaft, And to his eare with steady hand the bowstring up he raft: Till now she had escapde his sharpe inflaming darte, Till now he listed not assaulte her yong and iender hart. His whetted arrow loosde, so touchde her to the quicke, That through the eye it strake the hart, and there the hedde did
sticke. It booted not to strive. For why?- she wanted strength; The weaker aye unto the strong, of force, must yeld at length. The pomps now of the feast her heart gyns to despyse; And onely joyeth whan her eyen meete with her lovers eyes. When theyr new smitten bearts had fed on loving gleames, Whilst, passing too and fro theyr eyes, y-mingled were theyr
beames, Eche of these lovers gan by others lookes to knowe, That frendship in theyr brest had roote, and both would have it
grow. When thus in both theyr harts had Cupide made his breache, And eche of them had sought the meane to end the warre by
speach, Dame Fortune did assent, theyr purpose to advaunce. With torch in hand a comely knight did fetch her foorth to daunce; She quit herselfe so well and with so trim a grace That she the cheefe prayse 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 syde of her chavre her lover Romeo, And on the other syde there sat one cald Mercutio ; A courtier that eche where was highly had in price, For he was courteous of his speeche, and pleasant of devise. Even as a lyon would emong the lambes be bolte, Such was emong the bashful maydes Mercutio tu beholde. With frendly gripe he ceasd fayre Juliets snowish hand: A gyft he had, that Nature gaye him in his swathing band, VOL. XII.