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cases of her hollow hart, and wheras before she cheared up her new come ghest with a sweet welcoming song, she now Degan to checke him in a flat contrary note, and freshly to renew again her former quarrel. And when hee (silly foole) expected that the table should haue bin couered for a great feast, she began to say him this bad grace before a worse supper.
"Morania her vnexpected speech ynto Agamio.-As selfe conceited pride (fond Agamio) will alwaies climbe high, so at last tripped downe by some misfortune, it will fal as lowe; and as selse loue of thy owne perfections hath euermore besotted thy minde with blinding follies, so now thy woful end shal pay thee home in al measure for thy false opinion. Didst thou like a foolish chapmā at the first cheapning, thinke to buy so precious a jewell as my loue is, and at so base a rate, which many others, al of them far thy betters, could not get with great proflers, much labor, and infi[ni]t cost? Couldst thou so childishly suppose that thou wert so worthy a mate, that at the first motion I would giue both hand and hart to make vp the match, and yeeld thee my greatest fauor won by thy iniu. rious wrogs, which many braue knights haue often sought, but coulde neuer obtain with great sute and long seruice. But as thy inuectiue speeches ful of spight against womankind, might perhaps (to inconsiderate judges) make shew of a pretty wit, so now thy hasty and ouerheady recapting doth yeild a plaine proof that thou ever wandred far wide from the path of perfect wisedome : for true loue can never fix good liking when it is sought to be conquered by force, but it is alwaies attained soonest, and abideth euermore soundest whē it is gained hy gentle proceedinges, which may best please, and do most content the milde inclination of a woman's kind nature, was it not of late a comedy pleasant inough to thy waiward humor, that thou didst attempt to eclipse the bright beames of my mayden fame with thy black opposed speeches ? But do you now still seeke when you see I live for all your spight, and that I haue digested al your poison by the vertue of a good nature, to win that by dissem. bling, which thou couldest not subdue by force, and if thou shouldst bee so happy (as you say falsely) and I most happy (as I may say truely) by the fruition of thy bad will, then thou mightest make open proclamation of my dishonor, and crow ouer me as a subdued captiue to thy curssed lust, and hereafter say, women are very kinde to their secret friendes, when being requested, they proue so kind to their opē foes. “ But as fondlings account their chickens before they be 2
hatcht, and foolish gamsters boast of their winnings before they come to the end of the game, so shal thy hoped haruest dye in the sprooting bud, thy faire blossomes being killed with vngentle frost, perish and bring forth no fruite, and the torments of thy cruell and vngentle death, make some mends for the wicked deeds of thy hated life ; wherefore I wish thee to make a small repentance for thy great and grieuous offences, before the few minuites of thy posting life, haue run out their short course.
6 And because the horror of thy lingring death, may be ye more terror to thy like minded mates that hereafter live, we haue deuised such deadly pains that the very thought doth amaze me with fear; yet because thou hast run a wild race full of impiety, thou must and shalt abide them without any pitty, and although women shal be the sole executioners (who haue had al the wrong) and cry quittance with thee in thy woful end, yet thinke not to escape their weake and feeble hands, for who euer yet iniured their sexe and gentle nature, but before their work was at an end, receiued the due wages that their bad labours well deserued : And let men say Morania would have dyed for sorrow if she had not beene revenged vpon her old enimy Agamio.
“ The Author. No sooner had Morania named reuenge (a sweet word to grudging minds) with a treble and terrible voice and that her fellow-actors had heard their communica. tion, but the furious queene with her inraged traine at once rushed bastily on the stage, being al prepared to play mad Medea's part in the bloody tragedy of their maligned foe Agamio; and when he saw his merciles executioners, he began to growe pale and change his colour, dreading to endure the tempest of their stormy choler, and before his tongue might speake or plead his maister's sorrowful case, they seized as greedily on him (as Acteon's houndes did fasten on their mishaped maister) and with their vnited forces did lay him fiat on the ground, and so quickly muffled vp his mouth, that well (poore soule) hee might think his worst ; but he had not liberty to speak one word : yea they did so violently beat on his panting breast that he could hardly fetch his labouring breath. And when they had quickly dispoy led him of his comely and costly array, they tyed and chayned him to a post like a muzled beare) there to be baited to death, and fresh remē. brance of his old wrongs had set so sharp an edge on their murdering ire, that nothing might sooner coole their fierce minds or better quench their blood-thirsty humour, then to inuent such strange deuised paines, that the least pinch might
make him feele a deadly pang, and yet the greatest torture be too weake to make a finall riddance of his wearisome life.
" But heere I must make a little pause and wonder, that hellish reuenge (yet how sauage is the nature of this cruell monster) should so farre transport trembling harted women from their mild and modest nature, for some of them with hot burning pinsers nipped his naked body, and others with teeth and nailes made deepe impressions in his tender flesh : that if murderous Medea had beheld those tormentors with her faire-sparkling eyes, she could not at least but haue fetched one sorrowfull sigh at so grevious and pittifull a sight.
" Now when they saw their extreame handling had almost bereaved him of his sence and feeling, then they would often hold their hands, and make pausing rest, yet it was not to give any ease or breathing to his poore panting hart, but that their seacond assault might have greater force, and do their captiue foe more hurt. And when the sorrow.madded queene, and her like moody mates, in acting their cruell parts, had almost wearied their hands, but not halfe tyred the mallice of their harts, they thought it now fitte time to defer for a while the last bloody act, untill they had refreshed themselues with a ioyfull feast, while their welcome and ilcome guest (full sore against his will) kept a true fast.
" And although their fare had bin very coarse, yet would they haue fed neuer the worse, sharp reuenge had so whet their hungry stomackes, but that their delicate fare and merry talke might do him the more despight, they would sup and reuill it out in his hearing and open sight, that in the middest of all their frolick mirth he might make many a mournefull sob and sorrowfull sigh. And after they had a little labored their teeth, and their tongue had some leasure to talke (for when women meete together alone at a feast they do not vse to be mute) they reckoned vp al the bead role of all his wrongs, which from time to time he had done to the female sex, and for euery bad word he had spoken, named a bitter death, which they al concluded he had worthily deserued.
6. For they all well knew that she pleased the queen best, that could thinke of the worst and recount the most. And as before their mercilesse hands wounded his body, so now their sharpe poynted words entered his eares, and pearced his languishing hart, and both hands and toong were emplyed to redouble the paines of his sufferings, and so in the meane while his sighing note serued instead of sweete mu.
sicke, to recreate their wearied senses. But when their pleasant supper was ended, and they had passed away the time with much talke, the queene and her partakers prepa. red themselues to act the catastrophe of their bloody and nightly tragedy, and now to make a short riddance of their capitall foe's hatefull life, and yet they could haue wished, he might haue lined stil in extream pangs of liogering death.
6 Now when the sun began his daily circuit in the blushing orient, least his bright eye should discouer their secret and night-hooded murder, they suddenly threw the mangled and tormented body of Agamio into a fierce flaming fire, where it was quickly burnt and consumed into ashes. And although their revenging minds were somwhat quieted when their enimy was quite dead, yet they were all content, that his memory should liue somewhat longer, and every one of them tooke some of his ashes, being his last reliques, and entombed it in their golden tablets, that so often as they did view it with their eie, they might conceiue new ioy in their hart, with a pleasant thought of their great victory ouer so stout a foe. And thus ended the lamentable tragedy of rash beleeuing and credulous Agamio, whose death may be a caueat for others not hastily to trust the faire wordes of an old foe, making a goodly shew of a fained reconciliation. Finis."
I The Contemplation of Sinners. 1499. Ato. Colophon. "I Here endeth the treatyse called the Contemplaryon
of Synners, for euery daye of the weke a synguler Medylacyon. Emprentyd at I'estmynster by ken de orde the .x. daye of July, the yere of our Lorde .M.CCCC.lxxx.rir." " Namque huius mundi fallacis guadia vite
Et quibus exuere se debet omnis homo, Sunt miseranda nimis vexant mortalia corda
Virtutum faciunt quamlibet immemorem
Librum hunc perlegite qui facit esse sacros
1 Prologus. " At the deuoute and dylygent request of the ryght
reuerende fader in god & lorde Rycharde bysshop of Dure. ham and lorde pryueseall of Englonde, this lytell boke named Contemplacon of Synners is compyled & fynysshed. The sayd blessyd fader in god desynynge gretly all vertue to encrease and vyce to be exyled, hath caused this booke to be enprynted to the entente that oft redynge this booke may surely serche and truely knowe the state of his conscyence."
Mr. Dibdin, who has given a full account of this book (ii. 83) pronounces it in every respect a great curiosity.
I select the following curious, though rude, alliterature verses from Monday's contemplation :
“ Tulit me a conspectu vite salubris rabida prosperitas."
Maketh a man to lose an heueuly crowne." The work has about eight curious wood-cuts, some of which have been copied by Mr. Dibdin.
This account is taken from a copy in the library of Lee Priory, near Canterbury.
1 The Miracle of the Peace in Fravnce. Celebrated by
the Ghost of the Divine Do Bartas. Translated by Ioscah Sylvester. Imprinted at London by Richard Bradocke for John Browne, and are to be sold at his shop in Fleet-streete at the signe of the Bible. 1599. pp. 70. In fours.
This little article of a voluminous and very unequal writer* has not been noticed by either Herbert or Ritson.t It is dedicated in a sonnet to M. Anthony Bacone whose arms are on the back of the title. The contents are
* Mr. Ellis in his second volume has given a specimen of Sylvesier's poetry. The poem of “a contented mind” there selecied must have been a close imitation of one inserted in the Cens. Lit. vol. x. p. 282.
+ The poems are to be found in the 4to. collection of Sylvester's works.