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AMID the desert rockes the mountaine beare
Right so my muse
Of this my muse.
ROMEUS AND JULIET.
THERE is beyond the Alps a towne of auncient fame, Whose bright renoune yet shineth cleare, Verona men it name; Bylt in an happy time, bylt on a fertile soyle, Maynteined by the heavenly fates, and by the townish toyle. The fruitefull hilles above, the pleasant vales belowe, The silver streame with chanel depe, that through the town doth
The store of springes that serve for use, and eke for ease,
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; Loved of the common sorte, loved 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 Mountagew. A wonted use it is, that men of likely sorte, (I wot not by what furye forsd) envye each 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 grisly sight with wet and weeping eye.
But when the prudent prince who there the scepter helde,
quayle; In hope that when he had the wasting flame supprest, In time he should quyte quench the sparks 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 entrappe; That from his owne affayres his thought she did remove; Onely he sought to honor 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 skilfull lore, By aunswere did cutte of 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 shunne. 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 fight; Perhaps, mine eye once banished by absence from her sight,
This fyre of myne, that by her pleasant eyne is fed,
But whilest he did decree this purpose still to kepe,
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 honor 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;-0 give 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 bootest thee to sue?) Loves court she hath for
sworne. 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, Thy parents have none other heyre, thou art theyr 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 thee 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 yll-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. VOL, VI.
Choose out some woorthy dame, her honor thou, and serve,
The yong mans listning eare receivd the holsome sounde,
freate. 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
brewe. The wery winter nightes restore the Christmas games, And now the seson doth invite to banquet townish dames. And fyrst in Capels house, the chiefe of all the kyn 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 hath byd unto his feast, 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, ane 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 spotless hewe; With which the heavens him had and nature so bedect, That ladies, thought the fayrest dames, were fowle in his respect.