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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, maugte 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 bardy 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 bim 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
speede. 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 bimselfe 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 be fixd on her his partiall perced eye, His former love, for which of late he 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 nay le 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 flames 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 ibis 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 lis 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
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 eyeni meete with her lovers eyes. When theyr new smitten hearts had fed on loving gleames, Whilst, passing too and fro theyr eyes, y-mingled were they
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 chayre 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 bolde, Such was emong the bashful maydes Mercutio to beholde. With frendly gripe he ceasd fayre Juliets snowish hand: A gyft he had, that Nature gave him in his swathing band,
That frosen mountayne yse was never halfe so cold,
As were his handes, though nere so neere the fire he did them
As soon as had the knight the virgins right hand raught,
Within his trembling hand her left hath loving Romeus caught.
For he wist well himselfe for her abode most payne,
And well he wist she lovd bim best, unless she list to fayne.
Then she with slender hand his tender palm hath prest;
What joy, trow you, was grafied so in Romeus cloven brest?
The sodayne sweete delight hath stopped quite his tong,
Ne can he clame of her his right, ne crave 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 love was cause why so his tong did stay,
And so much more she longd to heare what Love could teach him
saye, When she had longed long, and he long held his peace, And her desyre of hearing him by sylence did increase, At last, with trembling royce and shamefast chere, the mayde Unto her Romeus tournde her selse, and thus to him she sayde :
“O blessed be the time of thy arrivall here!” But ere she could speake forth the rest, to her love drewe so nere, And so within her mouth her tongue 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 (quoth he) unware to me, O lady mine, is hapt: That geves you worthy cause my cumming here to blesse? Fayre Juliet was come agayne unto her seife by this; Fyrst ruthfully she look'd then say'd with smyling chere: “Mervayle no whit, my heartes delight, my only knight and feere, Mercutio's ysy hande had all to-frosen myne, And of thy goodness thou agayne bast warmed it with thyne.” Whereto with stayed brow gan Romeus replye: “ If so the Gods have graumted me suche favor from the skye, That by my being here some service I have 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 wish if I might bare my wished harts' desire! For 1 of God woulde crave, as pryse of paynes forpast, To serve, obey, and honour 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 unto his ladye lye. But if my touched band have warmed yours some dele, Assure yourselse the beate is colde which in your hand you fele, Compard to suche quicke sparks and glowing furious gleade, As from your bewties pleasant eyne Love caused to proceade; Which have to set on fyre eche feling part of myne, That lo! my mynde doeth melt awaye, my utward parts do pyne. And, but you helpe all whole, to ashes sball I toorne ; Wherefore, alas! bave ruth on him, whom you do force to boorne."
Even 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 dyd shake,
When laysureles with whispring voyce thus did she aunswer make:
“ You are no more your owne, deare frend, then I am yours;
My honour sav'd, prest tobey your will, while life endures."
Lo! here the lucky lot that sild true lovers Ande,
Eche takes away the others hart, and leaves the owne behinde.
A happy life is love, if God graunt from above
That hart with hart by even waight do make excbaunge of love.
But Romeus gone from her, his hart for care is colde;
He hath forgot to ask 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 enchaunt-
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 geve him life or death,
That scarcely can his wofull brest keepe in the lively breath.
Wherefore with pitious plaint feerce Fortune doth he blame,
That in his ruth and wretched plight doth seeke her laughing
And he reproveth love cheefe cause of his unrest,
Who ease and freedome hath exilde out of his youthfull brest :
Twise hath he made him serve, hopeles of his rewarde;
of both the ylles to choose the lesse, I weene, the choyse were
Fyrst to a ruthles one he made him sue for grace,
And now with spurre he forceth him to ronne an endles race.
Amid these stormy seas one ancor doth him holde,
He serveth not a cruell one, as he had done of olde ;
And therefore is content and chooseth still to serve,
Though hap should sweure that guerdonles the wretched wight
The lot of Tantalus is, Romers, like to thine;
For want of foode, amid his foode, the myser still doth pyne.
As carefuli was the mayde what way were best devise,
To learne his name that intertaind her in so gentle wise ;
Of whom her hart receivd so depe, so wyde, a wound.
An ancient dame she calde to her, and in her eare gan rounde :
(This old dame in her youth had nurst her with her mvlke,
With slender nedel taught her sow, and how to spyn with sylke.)
What twayne are those, quoth she, which prease unto the doore,
Whose pages in their hand do beare two torches light before ?
And then, as eche of them had of his houshold name,
So she bim namd.--Yet once again the young and wyly dame:
“ And tell me who is he with vysor in his hand,
That yonder dooth in masking weede besyde the window stand.”
His name is Romeus, said shee, a Montagewe,
Whose fathers pryde first styrd the stryfe which both your hous-
The word of Montagew her joyes did overthrow,
And straight instead of happy hope despayre began to growe.
What hap have I, quoth she, to love my fathers foe?
What, am I wery of my wele? what, doe I wysh my woe?
But though her grevouse paynes distraind her tender hart,
Yet with an outward show of joye she cloked inward smart;
avu of the courtlike dames her leave so courtly tooke,
That none did gesse the sodein change by changing of her looke.
'Then at her mother's best to chamber she her hyed,
So wel she faynde, mother ne nors the hidden larme descride.
But when she shoulde have slept as wont she was in bed,
Not half a wynke of quyet sleepe could harber in her hed;
For loe, an hugy beape of divers thoughtes arise,
That rest have banisht from her bart, and slumber from her eyes.
And now from syde to svde she losseth and she turnes,
And now for feare slie shevereth, and now for love she burnes,
And now she likes her choyse, and now her choyse she blames,
And now eche houre within her head a thousand fansyes frames.
Sonetime in mynde to s'op amyd her course begonne,
Sometime she roues, what so betyde, that tempted race to ronne.
Thus dangers dred and love within the marden fought;
The fight was terse, continuing long by their contrary thought.
In tourning mase of love she wandreth too and fro,
Then standeth cloutful what to doo; last, overprest with woe,
llow so her fansies cease, her tear's did never blin,
With heavy cheere and wringed hancis thus doth her plaint begin.
“ Ah silly foole, quodli she, y-cought in soottill snare!
Ah wretched wench, bewrapt in woe! ah cavtife clad with care !
Whence come these wandring thoughts to thy unconstant brest,
By straving thus from raisons lore, that reve thy wonted rest?
What if his suttel brayne to favne have taught his tong,
And so the snaketat lurkesin grasse thy tender hart hath stong?
What if with frendly speache the traitor lve in wavte,
As oft the povsond hooke is hid, urapt in the pleasant bayte?
Oft under cloke of truth hath Falshood servd her lust;
And toornd their honor into shame, that did to slightly trust.
What, was not Dido so, a crowned queene, defamd?
And eke, for such an heynous cryme, have men not Theseus
A thousand stories more, to teache me to beware,
In Boccace and in Ovids bookes too plainely written are.
Perhaps, the great revenge he cannot woorke by strength,
By suttel sleight (my honour staynd) he hopes to woorke at
length So shall I seeke to find my fathers foe, his game; So (I defylde) 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. Then I, a laughing stocke through all the towne becomme, Shall hide my selfe, but not my shame, within an hollow toombe.” Straight underneath her foote she treadeth in the dust Her troblesome thought, as wholly vaine, y.bred of fond distrust. “No, no, by God above, I wot it well, quoth shee, Although I rashely spake before, in no wise can it bee,