John Lyly


Texto utilizado para esta edición digital:
Lyly, John. Endymion. Edited by David Bevington. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996. The Revels Plays.
Adaptación digital para EMOTHE:
  • Teruel Pozas, Miguel (Artelope)

Nota a la edición digital

Reproduced by permission of Manchester University Press.
Introduction, critical apparatus, etc. © David Bevington 1996.

Noticia de representación


Played before the Queen's Majesty at
Greenwich, at Candlemas Day at Night,
by the Children of Paul's


Since the plays in Paul's were dissolved, there are certaincomedies come to my hands by chance which were presentedbefore Her Majesty at several times by the Children of Paul's.This is the first, and, if in any place it shall misplease, I willtake more pains to perfect the next. I refer it to thy indifferentjudgement to peruse, whom I would willingly please. And ifthis may pass with thy good liking, I will then go forward topublish the rest. In the meantime, let this have thy good wordfor my better encouragement. Farewell.


ENDYMION, a young man.
EUMENIDES , his friend.
TELLUS, a lady-in-waiting at Cynthia's court.
FLOSCULA, her servant.
DARES, Endymion's page.
SAMIAS, Eumenides's page
SIR TOPHAS, a braggart.
EPITON, his page.
DIPSAS, an aged sorceress.
FAVILLA, } maids-in-waiting at the court.
BAGOA, a sorceress, assistant to Dipsas.
Three Ladies and an ancient Man, in a dumb show.
CYNTHIA, the Queen.
SEMELE, a lady-in-waiting at Cynthia's court.
CORSITES, a captain.
ZONTES, } lords at Cynthia's court.
GERON, a wise old man, estranged husband of Dipsas.
A Constable.
Two Watchmen.
Four Fairies.
PYTHAGORAS, a Greek philosopher at Cynthia's court.
GYPTES, an Egyptian soothsayer at Cynthia's court.

SCENE, at and near the court of Cynthia.]

Act I

Actus Primus, Scaena Prima

[Enter] Endymion [and] Eumenides.

I find, Eumenides, in all things both variety to
content and satiety to glut, saving only in my affections,
which are so stayed, and withal so stately, that I can
neither satisfy my heart with love nor mine eyes with
wonder. My thoughts, Eumenides, are stitched to the
stars, which, being as high as I can see, thou mayst
imagine how much higher they are than I can reach.

If you be enamoured of anything above the moon,
your thoughts are ridiculous, for that things immortal are
not subject to affections; if allured or enchanted with
these transitory things under the moon, you show yourself
senseless to attribute such lofty titles to such low

My love is placed neither under the moon nor

I hope you be not sotted upon the man in the

No, but settled either to die or possess the moon

Is Endymion mad, or do I mistake? Do you love
the moon, Endymion?

Eumenides, the moon.

There was never any so peevish to imagine the
moon either capable of affection or shape of a mistress;
for as impossible it is to make love fit to her humour,
which no man knoweth, as a coat to her form, which
continueth not in one bigness whilst she is measuring.
Cease off, Endymion, to feed so much upon fancies. That
melancholy blood must be purged which draweth you to
a dotage no less miserable than monstrous.

My thoughts have no veins, and yet, unless they be
let blood, I shall perish.

But they have vanities, which being reformed, you
may be restored.

O fair Cynthia, why do others term thee unconstant
whom I have ever found unmovable? Injurious
time, corrupt manners, unkind men, who, finding a constancy
not to be matched in my sweet mistress, have
christened her with the name of wavering, waxing, and
waning! Is she inconstant that keepeth a settled course,
which since her first creation altereth not one minute in
her moving? There is nothing thought more admirable or
commendable in the sea than the ebbing and flowing; and
shall the moon, from whom the sea taketh this virtue, be
accounted fickle for increasing and decreasing? Flowers
in their buds are nothing worth till they be blown, nor
blossoms accounted till they be ripe fruit; and shall we
then say they be changeable for that they grow from seeds
to leaves, from leaves to buds, from buds to their perfection?
Then why be not twigs that become trees, children
that become men, and mornings that grow to evenings
termed wavering, for that they continue not at one stay?
Ay, but Cynthia, being in her fullness, decayeth, as not
delighting in her greatest beauty, or withering when she
should be most honoured. When malice cannot object
anything, folly will, making that a vice which is the greatest
virtue. What thing, my mistress excepted, being in the
pride of her beauty and latter minute of her age, that
waxeth young again? Tell me, Eumenides, what is he
that, having a mistress of ripe years and infinite virtues,
great honours and unspeakable beauty, but would wish
that she might grow tender again, getting youth by years
and never-decaying beauty by time, whose fair face
neither the summer's blaze can scorch nor winter's blast
chap, nor the numbering of years breed altering of
colours? Such is my sweet Cynthia, whom time cannot
touch because she is divine, nor will offend because she is
delicate. O Cynthia, if thou shouldst always continue at
thy fullness, both gods and men would conspire to ravish
thee. But thou, to abate the pride of our affections, dost
detract from thy perfections, thinking it sufficient if once
in a month we enjoy a glimpse of thy majesty; and then,
to increase our griefs, thou dost decrease thy gleams,
coming out of thy royal robes wherewith thou dazzlest
our eyes, down into thy swath clouts, beguiling our eyes.
And then–

Stay there, Endymion. Thou that committest
idolatry wilt straight blaspheme if thou be suffered. Sleep
would do thee more good than speech. The moon
heareth thee not, or, if she do, regardeth thee not.

Vain Eumenides, whose thoughts never grow
higher than the crown of thy head! Why troublest thou
me, having neither head to conceive the cause of my love
or a heart to receive the impressions? Follow thou thine
own fortunes, which creep on the earth, and suffer me to
fly to mine, whose fall, though it be desperate, yet shall it
come by daring. Farewell.


Without doubt Endymion is bewitched;
otherwise in a man of such rare virtues there could not harbour a
mind of such extreme madness. I will follow him, lest in
this fancy of the moon he deprive himself of the sight of
the sun.


Actus Primus, Scaena Secunda

[Enter] Tellus [and] Floscula

Treacherous and most perjured Endymion, is Cynthia
the sweetness of thy life and the bitterness of my death?
What revenge may be devised so full of shame as my
thoughts are replenished with malice? Tell me, Floscula,
if falseness in love can possibly be punished with extremity
of hate. As long as sword, fire, or poison may be
hired, no traitor to my love shall live unrevenged. Were
thy oaths without number, thy kisses without measure,
thy sighs without end, forged to deceive a poor credulous
virgin, whose simplicity had been worth thy favour and
better fortune? If the gods sit unequal beholders of injuries,
or laughers at lovers' deceits, then let mischief be as
well forgiven in women as perjury winked at in men.

Madam, if you would compare the state of Cynthia
with your own, and the height of Endymion his thoughts
with the meanness of your fortune, you would rather
yield than contend, being between you and her no comparison,
and rather wonder than rage at the greatness of
his mind, being affected with a thing more than mortal.

No comparison, Floscula? And why so? Is not my
beauty divine, whose body is decked with fair flowers,
and veins are vines, yielding sweet liquor to the dullest
spirits, whose ears are corn to bring strength, and whose
hairs are grass to bring abundance? Doth not frankincense
and myrrh breathe out of my nostrils, and all the
sacrifice of the gods breed in my bowels? Infinite are my
creatures, without which neither thou nor Endymion nor
any could love or live.

But know you not, fair lady, that Cynthia governeth
all things? Your grapes would be but dry husks, your corn
but chaff, and all your virtues vain, were it not Cynthia
that preserveth the one in the bud and nourisheth the
other in the blade, and by her influence both comforteth
all things and by her authority commandeth all creatures.
Suffer then Endymion to follow his affections, though to
obtain her be impossible, and let him flatter himself in his
own imaginations, because they are immortal.

Loath I am, Endymion, thou shouldst die, because I
love thee well, and that thou shouldst live it grieveth me,
because thou lovest Cynthia too well. In these extremities
what shall I do? Floscula, no more words. I am resolved:
he shall neither live or die.

A strange practice, if it be possible.

Yes, I will entangle him in such a sweet net that he
shall neither find the means to come out, nor desire it. All
allurements of pleasure will I cast before his eyes, insomuch
that he shall slake that love which he now woweth
to Cynthia, and burn in mine, of which he seemeth
careless. In this languishing between my amorous devices
and his own loose desires, there shall such dissolute
thoughts take root in his head, and over his heart grow so
thick a skin, that neither hope or preferment, nor fear of
punishment, nor counsel of the wisest, nor company of
the worthiest shall alter his humour nor make him once to
think of his honour.

A revenge incredible, and if it may be, unnatural.

He shall know the malice of a woman to have neither
mean nor end, and of a woman deluded in love to have
neither rule nor reason. I can do it, I must, I will. All his
virtues will I shadow with vices; his person –ah, sweet
person!– shall he deck with such rich robes as he shall
forget it is own person; his sharp wit –ah, wit too
sharp, that hath cut off all my joys!– shall he use in
flattering of my face and devising sonnets in my favour.
The prime of his youth and pride of his time shall be
spent in melancholy passions, careless behaviour, untamed
thoughts, and unbridled affections.

When this is done, what then? Shall it continue till
his death, or shall he dote for ever in this delight?

Ah, Floscula, thou rendest my heart in sunder, in
putting me in remembrance of the end.

Why, if this be not the end, all the rest is to no end.

Yet suffer me to imitate Juno, who would turn
Jupiter's lovers to beasts on the earth, though she knew
afterwards they should be stars in heaven.

Affection that is bred by enchantment is like a flower
that is wrought in silk: in colour and form most like, but
nothing at all in substance or savour.

It shall suffice me, if the world talk, that I am favoured
of Endymion.

Well, use your own will, but you shall find that love
gotten with witchcraft is as unpleasant as fish taken with
medicines unwholesome.

Floscula, they that be so poor that they have neither
net nor hook will rather poison dough than pine with
hunger; and she that is so oppressed with love that she is
neither able with beauty nor wit to obtain her friend will
rather use unlawful means than try untolerable pains. I
will do it.


Then about it. Poor Endymion, what traps are laid
for thee because thou honourest one that all the world
wondereth at! And what plots are cast to make thee
unfortunate that studiest of all men to be the faithfullest!


Actus Primus, Scaena Tertia

[Enter] Dares [and] Samias.

Now our masters are in love up to the ears, what have
we to do but to be in knavery up to the crowns?

O, that we had Sir Tophas, that brave squire, in the
midst of our mirth –and ecce autem, will you see the devil?

Enter Sir Tophas, [ridiculously armed and accoutred, and] Epiton.


Here, sir.

I brook not this idle humour of love. It tickleth not
my liver, from whence the love-mongers in former age
seemed to infer they should proceed.

Love, sir, may lie in your lungs, and I think it doth,
and that is the cause you blow and are so pursy.

Tush, boy, I think it but some device of the poet to
get money.

A poet? What's that?

Dost thou not know what a poet is?


Why, fool, a poet is as much as one should say, a
poet. [Discovering Dares and Samias] But soft, yonder be
two wrens. Shall I shoot at them?

They are two lads.

Larks or wrens, I will kill them.

Larks? Are you blind? They are two little boys.

Birds or boys, they are both but a pittance for my
breakfast. Therefore have at them, for their brains must,
as it were, embroider my bolts.

[He takes aim at Samias and Dares.]

[To Sir Tophas] Stay your courage, valiant knight, for
your wisdom is so weary that it stayeth itself.

Why, Sir Tophas, have you forgotten your old friends?

Friends? Nego argumentum.

And why not friends?

Because amicitia, as in old annuals we find, is inter
pares. Now, my pretty companions, you shall see how
unequal you be to me. But I will not cut you quite off;
you shall be my half friends, for, reaching to my middle,
so far as from the ground to the waist I will be your

Learnedly. But what shall become of the rest of your
body, from the waist to the crown?

My children, quod supra vos nihil ad vos, you must
think the rest immortal because you cannot reach it.

[To Samias and Dares] Nay, I tell ye, my master is
more than a man.

[To Epiton] And thou less than a mouse.

But what be you two?

I am Samias, page to Eumenides.

And I Dares, page to Endymion.

Of what occupation are your masters?

Occupation, you clown? Why, they are honourable,
and warriors.

Then are they my prentices.

Thine? And why so?

I was the first to that ever desired war, and therefore by
Mars himself given me for my arms a whole armoury, and
thus I go as you see, clothed with artillery. It is not silks
(milksops), nor tissues, not the fine wool of Seres, but
iron, steel, swords, flame, shot, terror, clamour, blood,
and ruin, that rocks asleep my thoughts, which never had
any other cradle but cruelty. Let me see, do you not

Why so?

Commonly my words wound.

What then do your blows?

Not only wound, but also confound.

[To Epiton] How dar'st thou come so near thy master,
Epi? –Sir Tophas, spare us.

You shall live. You, Samias, because you are little;
you Dares, because you are no bigger; and both of you,
because you are but two; for commonly I kill by the
dozen, and have for every particular adversary a peculiar

[He displays his armoury.]

May we know the use, for our better skill in war?

You shall. He is a birdbolt for the ugly beast, the

A cruel sight.

Here is the musket for the untamed, or, as the vulgar
sort term it, the wild mallard.

[He demonstrates, not heeding their talk.]

O desperate attempt!

Nay, my master will match them.

Ay, if he catch them.

Here is spear and shield, and both necessary, the one
to conquer, the other to subdue or overcome the terrible
trout, which, although he be under the water, yet, tying a
string to the top of my spear and an engine of iron to the
end of my line, I overthrow him, and then herein I put

[He shows his gear and struts about, oblivious to their talk.]

O wonderful war! Dares, didst thou ever hear such a

All the better. We shall have good sport hereafter if we
can get leisure.

Leisure? I will rather lose my master's service than his
company. Look how he struts. [To Tophas] But what is
this? Call you it your sword?

No, it is my scimitar, which I, by construction often
studying to be compendious, call my smiter.

What, are you also learned, sir?

Learned? I am all Mars and Ars.

Nay, you are all mass and ass.

Mock you me? You shall both suffer, yet with such
weapons as you shall make choice of the weapon wherewith
you shall perish. Am I all a mass or lump? Is there no
proportion in me? Am I all ass? Is there no wit in me? –
Epi, prepare them to the slaughter.

I pray, sir, hear us speak. We call you 'mass', which
your learning doth well understand is all 'man', for mas,
maris is a man. Then 'as', as you know, is a weight, and
we for your virtues account you a weight.

The Latin hath saved your lives, the which a world of
silver could not have ransomed. I understand you
and pardon you.

Well, Sir Tophas, we bid you farewell, and at our next
meeting we will be ready to do you service.

Samias, I thank you. Dares, I thank you. But
especially I thank you both.

[Aside to Dares] Wisely! Come, next time we'll have
some pretty gentlewomen with us to walk, for without
doubt with them he will be very dainty.

[To Samias] Come, let us see what our masters do. It
is high time.

Exeunt [Dares and Samias].

Now will I march into the field, where, if I cannot
encounter with my foul enemies, I will withdraw myself
to the river and there fortify for fish; for there resteth
no minute free from fight.

Exit [Sir Tophas with Epiton].

Actus Primus, Scaena Quarta

[Enter] Tellus [and] Floscula [at one door, and] Dipsas [at another].

Behold, Floscula, we have met with the woman by
chance that we sought for by travail. I will break my mind
to her without ceremony or circumstance, lest we lose
that time in advice that should be spent in execution.

Use your discretion. I will in this case neither give
counsel nor consent, for there cannot be a thing more
monstrous than to force affection by sorcery, neither do I
imagine anything more impossible.

Tush, Floscula, in obtaining of love what impossibilities
will I not try? And for the winning of
Endymion what impieties will I not practise? –Dipsas,
whom as many honour for age as wonder at for cunning,
listen in few words to my tale and answer in one word to
the purpose, for that neither my burning desire can afford
long speech nor the short time I have to stay many delays.
Is it possible by herbs, stones, spells, incantation, enchantment,
exorcism, fire, metals, planets, or any practice,
to plant affection where it is not and to supplant it
where it is?

Fair lady, you may imagine that there hoary hairs are
not void of experience, nor the great name that goeth of
my cunning to be without cause. I can darken the sun by
my skill and remove the moon out of her course; I can
restore youth to the aged and make hills without bottoms.
There is nothing that I cannot do but that only which you
would have me do, and therein I differ from the gods,
that I am not able to rule hearts; for, were it in my power
to place affection by appointment, I would make such evil
appetites, such inordinate lusts, such cursed desires, as all
the world should be filled both with superstitious heats
and extreme love.

Unhappy Tellus, whose desires are so desperate that
they are neither to be conceived of any creature nor to be
cured by any art!

This I can: breed slackness in love, though never root
it out. What is he whom you love, and what she that he

Endymion, sweet Endymion, is he that hath my heart;
and Cynthia, too too fair Cynthia, the miracle of nature,
of time, of fortune, is the lady that he delights in, and
dotes on every day, and dies for ten thousand times a day.

Would you have his love, either by absence or sickness,
aslaked? Would you that Cynthia should mistrust
him, or be jealous of him without colour?

It is the only thing I crave, that, seeing my love to
Endymion, unspotted, cannot be accepted, his truth to
Cynthia, though it be unspeakable, may be suspected.

I will undertake it and overtake him, that all his love
shall be doubted of and therefore become desperate. But
this will wear out with time, that treadeth all things down
but truth.

Let us go.

I follow.


Act II

Actus Secundus, Scaena Prima

[Enter] Endymion

O fair Cynthia, O unfortunate Endymion! Why
was not thy birth as high as thy thoughts, or her beauty
less than heavenly? Or why are not thine honours as rare
as her beauty? Or thy fortunes as great as thy deserts?
Sweet Cynthia, how wouldst thou be pleased, how possessed?
Will labours, patient of all extremities, obtain thy
love? There is no mountain so steep that I will not climb,
no monster so cruel that I will not tame, no action so
desperate that I will not attempt. Desirest thou the
passions of love, the sad and melancholy moods of perplexed
minds, the not-to-be-expressed torments of
racked thoughts? Behold my sad tears, my deep sighs, my
hollow eyes, my broken sleeps, my heavy countenance.
Wouldst thou have me vowed only to thy beauty and
consume every minute of time in thy service? Remember
my solitary life, almost these seven years. Whom have I
entertained but mine own thoughts and thy virtues? What
company have I used but contemplations? Whom have I
wondered at but thee? Nay, whom have I not contemned
for thee? Have I not crept to those on whom I might have
trodden, only because thou didst shine upon them? Have
not injuries been sweet to me if thou vouchsafedst I
should bear them? Have I not spent my golden years in
hopes, waxing old with wishing, yet wishing nothing but
thy love? With Tellus, fair Tellus, have I dissembled,
using her but as a cloak for mine affections, that others,
seeing my mangled and disordered mind, might think it
were for one that loveth me, not for Cynthia, whose
perfection alloweth no companion nor comparison.
In the midst of these distempered thoughts of mine,
thou art not only jealous of my truth, but careless, suspicious,
and secure, which strange humour maketh my
mind as desperate as thy conceits are doubtful. I am none
of those wolves that bark most when thou shinest brightest,
but that fish –thy fish, Cynthia, in the flood Araris–
which at thy waxing is as white as the driven snow and at
thy waning as black as deepest darkness. I am that
Endymion, sweet Cynthia, that have carried my thoughts
in equal balance with my actions, being always as free
from imagining ill as enterprising; that Endymion whose
eyes never esteemed anything fair but thy face, whose
tongue termed nothing rare but thy virtues, and whose
heart imagined nothing miraculous but thy government;
yea, that Endymion who, divorcing himself from the
amiableness of all ladies, the bravery of all courts, the
company of all men, hath chosen in a solitary cell to live
only by feeding on thy favour, accounting in the world
(but thyself) nothing excellent, nothing immortal. Thus
mayst thou see every vein, sinew, muscle, and artery of
my love, in which there is no flattery nor deceit, error nor
art. But soft, here cometh Tellus. I must turn my other
face to her like Janus, lest she be as suspicious as Juno.

Enter Tellus, [Floscula, and Dipsas].

Yonder I espy Endymion. I will seem to suspect
nothing, but soothe him, that, seeing I cannot obtain the
depth of his love, I may learn the height of his dissembling.
Floscula and Dipsas, withdraw yourselves out
of our sight, yet be within the hearing of our saluting. [Floscula and Dipsas withdraw.]
How now, Endymion, always solitary? No company but
your own thoughts? No friend but melancholy fancies?

You know, fair Tellus, that the sweet remembrance
of your love is the only companion of my life, and
thy presence my paradise, so that I am not alone when
nobody is with me, and in heaven itself when thou art
with me.

Then you love me, Endymion?

Or else I live not, Tellus.

Is it not possible for you, Endymion, to dissemble?

Not, Tellus, unless I could make me a woman.

Why, is dissembling joined to their sex inseparable, as
heat to fire, heaviness to earth, moisture to water, thinness
to air?

No, but found in their sex as common as spots
upon doves, moles upon faces, caterpillars upon sweet
apples, cobwebs upon fair windows.

Do they all dissemble?

All but one.

Who is that?

I dare not tell. For If I should say you, then would
you imagine my flattery to be extreme; if another, then
would you think my love to be but indifferent.

You will be sure I shall take no vantage of your words.
But in sooth, Endymion, without more ceremonies, is it
not Cynthia?

You know, Tellus, that of the gods we are
forbidden to dispute, because their deities come not
within the compass of our reasons; and of Cynthia we are
allowed not to talk but to wonder, because her virtues are
not within the reach of our capacities.

Why, she is but a woman.

No more was Venus.

She is but a virgin.

No more was Vesta.

She shall have an end.

So shall the world.

Is not her beauty subject to time?

No more than time is to standing still.

Wilt thou make her immortal?

No, but incomparable.

Take heed, Endymion, lest, like the wrestler in
Olympia that, striving to lift an impossible weight,
catched an incurable strain, thou, by fixing thy thoughts
above thy reach, fall into a disease without all recure. But
I see thou art now in love with Cynthia.

No, Tellus. Thou knowest that the stately cedar,
whose top reacheth unto the clouds, never boweth his
head to the shrubs that grow in the valley; nor ivy that
climbeth up by the elm can ever get hold of the beams of
the sun. Cynthia I honour in all humility, whom none
ought or dare adventure to love, whose affections are
immortal and virtues infinite. Suffer me therefore to gaze
on the moon, at whom, were it not for thyself, I would die
with wondering.


Actus Secundus, Scaena Secunda

[Enter] Dares, Samias, Scintilla, [and] Favilla.

Come, Samias, didst thou ever hear such a sighing, the
one for Cynthia, the other for Semele, and both for
moonshine in the water?

Let them sigh, and let us sing. –How say you, gentlewomen,
are not our masters too far in love?

Their tongues haply are dipped to the root in amorous
words and sweet discourses, but I think their hearts
are scarce tipped on the side with constant desires.

How say you, Favilla, is not love a lurcher, that taketh
men's stomachs away that they cannot eat, their spleen
that they cannot laugh, their hearts that they cannot fight,
their eyes that they cannot sleep, and leaveth nothing but
livers to make nothing but lovers?

Away, peevish boy! A rod were better under thy
girdle than love in thy mouth. It will be a forward cock
that croweth in the shell.

Alas, good old gentlewoman, how it becometh you to
be grave!

Favilla, though she be but a spark, yet is she fire.

And you, Scintilla, be not much more than a spark,
though you would be esteemed a flame.

[Aside to Dares] It were good sport to see the fight
between two sparks.

[Aside to Samias] Let them to it, and we will warm us
by their words.

You are not angry, Favilla?

That is, Scintilla, as you list to take it.

That, that!

This it is to be matched with girls, who, coming but
yesterday from making of babies, would before tomorrow
be accounted matrons.

I cry your matronship mercy. Because your pantables
be higher with cork, therefore your feet must needs be
higher in the insteps. You will be mine elder because you
stand upon a stool and I on the floor.

Good, good.

[Aside to Samias] Let them alone, and see with what
countenance they will become friends.

[To Favilla] Nay, you think to be the wiser, because
you mean to have the last word.

[The women threaten each other.]

Step between them, lest they scratch. In faith, gentlewomen,
seeing we came out to be merry, let not your
jarring mar our jests. Be friends. How say you?

I am not angry, but it spited me to see how short she

I meant nothing, till she would needs cross me.

Then so let it rest.

I am agreed.

[Weeping] And I, yet I never took anything so unkindly
in my life.

[Weeping] 'Tis I have the cause, that never offered
the occasion.

Excellent, and right like a woman.

A strange sight, to see water come out of fire.

It is their property to carry in their eyes fire and water,
tears and torches, and in their mouths honey and gall.

You will be a good one if you live. But what is
yonder formal fellow?

Enter Sir Tophas [and Epiton].

[Aside, to his friends] Sir Tophas, Sir Tophas of whom
we told you. If you be good wenches, make as though you
love him, and wonder at him.

We will do our parts.

But first let us stand aside and let him use his garb, for
all consisteth in his gracing.

[The pages and maids-in-waiting stand aside.]


At hand, sir.

How likest thou this martial life, where nothing but
blood besprinkleth our bosoms? Let me see, be our enemies

Passing fat. And I would not change this life to be a
lord; and yourself passeth all comparison, for other captains
kill and beat, and there is nothing you kill but you
also eat.

I will draw out their guts out of their bellies, and tear
the flesh with my teeth, so mortal is my hate and so eager
my unstanched stomach.

[Aside] My master thinks himself the valiantest man in
the world if he kill a wren, so warlike a thing he
accounteth to take away life, though it be from a lark.

Epi, I find my thoughts to swell and my spirit to take
wings, insomuch that I cannot continue within the compass
of so slender combats.

[Aside] This passeth!

[Aside] Why, is he not mad?

[Aside] No, but a little vainglorious.



I will encounter that black and cruel enemy that
beareth rough and untewed locks upon his body, whose
sire throweth down the strongest walls, whose legs are as
many as both ours, on whose head are placed most horrible
horns by nature as a defence from all harms.

What mean you, master, to be so desperate?

Honour inciteth me, and very hunger compelleth me.

What is that monster?

The monster ovis. I have said; let thy wits work.

I cannot imagine it. Yet let me see. A black enemy
with roughs locks –it may be a sheep, and ovis is a sheep.
His sire so strong –a ram is a sheep’s sire, that being also
an engine of war. Horns he hath, and four legs –so hath
a sheep. Without doubt this monster is a black sheep. Is
it not a sheep that you mean?

Thou hast hit it. That monster will I kill and sup

[To his friends] Come, let us take him off. [The pages and maids come forward.]
Sir Tophas, all hail!

Welcome, children. I seldom cast mine eyes so low as
to the crowns of your heads, and therefore pardon me
that I spake not all this while.

No harm done. Here be fair ladies come to wonder at
your person, your valour, your wit, the report whereof
hath made them careless of their own honours, to glut
their eyes and hearts upon yours.

Report cannot but injure me, for that, not knowing
fully what I am, I fear she hath been a niggard in her

No, gentle knight. Report hath been prodigal, for
she hath left you no equal, nor herself credit. So much
hath she told, yet no more than we now see.

[Aside] A good wench.

If there remain as much pity toward women as there
is in you courage against your enemies, then shall we be
happy, who, hearing of your person, came to see it, and,
seeing it, are now in love with it.

Love me, ladies? I easily believe it, but my tough
heart receiveth no impression with sweet words. Mars
may pierce it; Venus shall not paint on it.

A cruel saying.

[Aside] There’s a girl.

[To Sir Tophas] Will you cast these ladies away, and all
for a little love? Do but speak kindly.

There cometh no soft syllable within my lips. Custom
hath made my words bloody and my heart barbarous.
That pelting word 'love', how waterish it is in my
mouth! It carrieth no sound. Hate, horror, death are
speeches that nourish my spirits. I like honey, but I care
not for the bees; I delight in music, but I love not to play
on the bagpipes; I can vouchsafe to hear the voice of
women, but to touch their bodies I disdain it as a thing
childish and fit for such men as can disgest nothing but

A hard heart. Shall we die for your love and find no

I have already taken a surfeit.

Good master, pity them.

Pity them, Epi? No, I do not think that this breast
shall be pestered with such a foolish passion. What is that
the gentlewoman carrieth in a chain?

Why, it is a squirrel.

A squirrel? O gods, what things are made for money!

[The pages and maids speak confidentially to one another.]

Is not this gentleman overwise?

I could stay all day with him if I feared not to be

Is it not possible to meet again?

Yes, at any time.

Then let us hasten home.

[Aloud] Sir Tophas, the god of war deal better with
you than you do with the god of love.

Our love we may dissemble, disgest we cannot; but I
doubt not but time will hamper you and help us.

I defy time, who hath no interest in my heart.
–Come, Epi, let me to the battle with that hideous beast.
Love is pap, and hath no relish in my taste because it is
not terrible.

[Exeunt Sir Tophas and Epiton.]

Indeed, a black sheep is a perilous beast. But let us in
till another time.

I shall long for that time.


Actus Secundus, Scaena Tertia

[Enter] Endymion, [near the lunary bank; and, unseen by him,] Dipsas [and] Bagoa.

No rest, Endymion? Still uncertain how to settle
thy steps by day or thy thoughts by night? Thy truth is
measured by thy fortune, and thou art judged unfaithful
because thou art unhappy. I will see if I can beguile
myself with sleep; and, if no slumber will take hold in my
eyes, yet will I embrace the golden thoughts in my head
and wish to melt by musing, that as ebony, which no fire
can scorch, is yet consumed with sweet savours, so my
heart, which cannot be bent by the hardness of fortune,
may be bruised by amorous desires. On yonder bank
never grew anything but lunary, and hereafter I will never
have any bed but that bank. O Endymion, Tellus was fair!
But what availeth beauty without wisdom? Nay,
Endymion, she was wise. But what availeth wisdom without
honour? She was honourable, Endymion, belie her
not. Ay, but how obscure is honour without fortune? Was
she not fortunate, whom so many followed? Yes, yes, but
base is fortune without majesty. Thy majesty, Cynthia, all
the world knoweth and wondereth at, but not one in the
world that can imitate it or comprehend it. No more,
Endymion! Sleep or die. Nay, die, for to sleep it is
impossible; and yet, I know not how it cometh to pass, I
feel such a heaviness both in mine eyes and heart that I
am suddenly benumbed, yea, in every joint. It may be
weariness, for when did I rest? It may be deep melancholy,
for when did I not sigh? Cynthia, ay so, I say, Cynthia!

He falls asleep.

[Advancing] Little dost thou know, Endymion, when
thou shalt wake; for, hadst thou placed thy heart as low in
love as thy head lieth now in sleep, thou mightiest have
commanded Tellus, whom now instead of a mistress
thou shalt find a tomb. These eyes must I seal up by art,
not nature, which are to be opened neither by art nor
nature. Thou that layest down with golden locks shalt not
awake until they be turned to silver hairs; and that chin,
on which scarcely appeareth soft down, shall be filled
with bristles as hard as broom. Thou shalt sleep out thy
youth and flowering time and become dry hay before
thou knewest thyself green grass, and ready by age to step
into the grave when thou wakest, that was youthful in the
court when thou laidst thee down to sleep. The malice of
Tellus hath brought this to pass, which, if she could not
have commanded by menacing; for from her gather we all our
simples to maintain our sorceries. [To Bagoa] Fan with
this hemlock over his face, and sing the enchantment for
sleep, whilst I go in and finish those ceremonies that are
required in our art. Take heed ye touch not his face, for
the fan is so seasoned that whoso it toucheth with a leaf
shall presently die, and over whom the wind of it
breatheth, he shall sleep for ever.


Let me alone, I will be careful. [She fans Endymion as she sings.]
What hap hadst thou, Endymion, to come
under the hands of Dipsas? O fair Endymion, how it
grieveth me that that fair face must be turned to a withered
skin and taste the pains of death before it feel the
reward of love! I fear Tellus will repent that which the
heavens themselves seemed to rue. –But I hear Dipsas
coming. I dare not repine, lest she make me pine, and
rock me into such a deep sleep that I shall not awake to
my marriage.

Enter Dipsas.

How now, have you finished?


Well, then, let us in, and see that you do not so much
as whisper that I did this; for if you do, I will turn thy
hairs to adders and all thy teeth in thy head to tongues.
Come away, come away.

Exeunt[, leaving Endymion asleep].
A Dumb Show
Music sounds. Three Ladies enter, one with a knife and a looking-glass, who, by procurement of one of the other two, offers to stab Endymion as he sleeps, but the third wrings her hands, lamenteth, offering still to prevent it, but dares not. At last, the first lady, looking in the glass, casts down the knife. Exeunt [the Ladies]. Enters an ancient Man with books with three leaves, offers the same twice. Endymion refuseth. He rendeth two and offers the third, where he stands a while, and then Endymion offers to take it. Exit [the old Man. Endymion remains sleeping on the lunary bank, curtained off from view.]


Actus Tertius, Scaena Prima

[Enter] Cynthia, three lords [Corsites, Zontes, and
Panelion,] Tellus, [Semele, and Eumenides].

Is the report true that Endymion is stricken into
such a dead sleep that nothing can either wake him or
move him?

Too true, madam, and as much to be pitied as
wondered at.

As good sleep and do no harm as wake and do no

What maketh you, Tellus, to be so short? The time
was, Endymion only was.

It is an old saying, madam, that a waking dog doth
afar off bark at a sleeping lion.

It were good, Eumenides, that you took a nap with
your friend, for you speech beginneth to be heavy.

Contrary to your nature, Semele, which hath been
always accounted light.

What, have we here before my face these unseemly
and malapert overthwarts? I will tame your tongues and
your thoughts, and make your speeches answerable to
your duties and your conceits fit for my dignity; else will
I banish you both my person and the world.

Pardon, I humbly ask; but such is my unspotted
faith to Endymion that whatsoever seemeth a needle to
prick his finger is a dagger to wound my heart.

If you be so dear to him, how happeneth it you
neither go to see him nor search for remedy for him?

I have seen him, to my grief, and sought recure
with despair, for that I cannot imagine who should restore
him that is the wonder to all men. Your Highness,
on whose hands the compass of the earth is at command
(though not in possession), may show yourself both worthy
your sex, your nature, and your favour, if you redeem
that honourable Endymion, whose ripe years foretell rare
virtues and whose unmellowed conceits promise ripe

I have had trial of Endymion, and conceive greater
assurance of his age than I could hope of his youth.

But timely, madam, crooks that tree that will be a
cammock, and young it pricks that will be a thorn; and
therefore he that began without care to settle his life, it is
a sign without amendment he will end it.

Presumptuous girl, I will make thy tongue an example
of unrecoverable displeasure. –Corsites, carry her to
the castle in the desert, there to remain and weave.

Shall she work stories or poetries?

It skillet not which. Go to, in both; for she shall
find examples infinite in either, what punishment long
tongues have. [Exeunt Corsites and Tellus.]
Eumenides, if either the soothsayers in Egypt, or the
enchanters in Thessaly, or the philosophers in Greece, or
all the sages of the world can find remedy, I will procure
it. Therefore dispatch with all speed: you, Eumenides,
into Thessaly; you, Zontes, into Greece (because you
are acquainted in Athens); you, Panelion, to Egypt,
saying that Cynthia sendeth and, if you will,

On bowed knee I give thanks, and with wings on
my legs I fly for remedy.

We are ready at Your Highness' command, and hope
to return to your full content.

It shall never be said that Cynthia, whose mercy and
goodness filleth the heavens with joys and the world with
marvels, will suffer either Endymion or any to perish if he
may be protected.

Your Majesty's words have been always deeds,
and your deeds virtues.


Actus Tertius, Scaena Secunda

[Enter] Corsites [and] Tellus.

Here is the candle, fair Tellus, in which you must
weave, till either time end your days or Cynthia her
displeasure. I am sorry so fair a face should be subject to
so hard a fortune, and that the flower of beauty, which is
honoured in courts, should here wither in prison.

Corsites, Cynthia may restrain the liberty of my body;
of my thoughts she cannot. And therefore do I esteem
myself most free, though I am in greatest bondage.

Can you then feed on fancy, and subdue the malice
of envy by the sweetness of imagination?

Corsites, there is no sweeter music to the miserable
than despair; and therefore the more bitterness I feel, the
more sweetness I find. For so vain were liberty, and so
unwelcome the following of higher fortune, that I choose
rather to pine in this castle than to be a prince in any
other court.

A humour contrary to your years and nothing agreeable
to your sex, the one commonly allured with delights,
the other always with sovereignty.

I marvel, Corsites, that you, being a captain, who
should sound nothing but terror and suck nothing but
blood, can find in your heart to talk such smooth words,
for that it agreeth not with your calling to use words so
soft as that of love.

Lady, it were unfit of wars to discourse with women,
into whose minds nothing can sink but smoothness. Besides,
you must not think that soldiers be so rough-hewn
or of such knotty metal that beauty cannot allure, and
you, being beyond perfection, enchant.

Good Corsites, talk not of love, but let me to my
labour. The little beauty I have shall be bestowed on my
loom, which I now mean to make my lover.

Let us in, and what favour Corsites can show, Tellus
shall command.

The only favour I desire is now and then to walk.


Actus Tertius, Scaena Tertia

[Enter] Sir Tophas [armed as before], and Epiton[, with a
gown and other paraphernalia].


Here, sir.

Unrig me. Heighho!

What's that?

An interjection, whereof some are of mourning, as
eho, vah.

I understand you not.

Thou seest me.


Thou hearst me.


Thou feelest me.


And not understandst me?


Then am I but three quarters of a noun substantive.
But alas, Epi, to tell thee the troth I am a noun adjective.


Because I cannot stand without another.

Who is that?


Are you in love?

No, but love hath, as it were, milked my thoughts and
drained from my heart the very substance of my accustomed
courage. It worketh in my head like new wine, so
as I must hoop my sconce with iron, lest my head break
and so I bewray my brains. But I pray thee, first discover
me in all parts, that I may be like a lover, and then will I
sigh and die. Take my gun, and give me a gown. Cedant
arma togae.

[Helping Sir Tophas to disarm] Here.

Take my sword and shield, and give me beard-brush
and scissors. Bella gerant alii; tu, Pari, semper ama.

Will you be trimmed, sir?

Not yet, for I feel a contention within me whether I
shall frame the bodkin beard or the bush. But take my
pike and give me pen. Dicere quae puduit, scribere jussit

I will furnish you, sir.

Now for my bow and bolts, give me ink and paper;
for my smiter, a penknife. For scalpellum, calami,
atramentum, charta, libelli, sint semper studiis arma parata meis.

Sir, will you give over wars and play with that bauble
called love?

Give over wars? No, Epi. Militat omnis amans, et habet
sua castra Cupido.

Love hath made you very eloquent, but your face is
nothing fair.

Non formosus erat, sed erat facundus Ulysses.

Nay, I must seek a new master if you can speak
nothing but verses.

Quicquid conabar dicere versus erat. Epi, I feel all Ovid
de Arte Amandi lie as heavy at my heart as a load of logs.
O, what a fine thin hair hath Dipsas! What a pretty low
forehead! What a tall and stately nose! What little hollow
eyes! What great and goodly lips! How harmless she is,
being toothless! Her fingers fat and short, adorned with
long nails like a bittern! In how sweet a proportion her
cheeks hang down to her breast like dugs, and her paps
to her waist like bags! What a low stature she is, and yet
what a great foot she carrieth! How thrifty must she be in
whom there is no waste! How virtuous is she like to be,
over whom no man can be jealous!

Stay, master, you forget yourself.

O Epi, even as a dish melteth by the fire, so doth my
wit increase by love.

Pithily, and to the purpose. But what, begin you to

Good Epi, let me take a nap. For as some man may
better steal a horse than another look over the hedge, so
divers shall be sleepy when they would fainest take rest.

He sleeps.

Who ever saw such a woodcock? Love Dipsas? Without
doubt all the world will now account him valiant, that
ventureth on her whom none durst undertake. But here
cometh two wags.

Enter Dares and Samias.

[To Dares] Thy master hath slept his share.

[To Samias] I think he doth it because he would not
pay me my board wages.

It is a thing most strange, and I think mine will never
return; so that we must both seek new masters, for we
shall never live by our manners.

[To Samias and Dares] If you want masters, join with
me and serve Sir Tophas, who must needs keep more
men because he is toward marriage.

What, Epi, where's thy master?

Yonder sleeping in love.

Is it possible?

He hath taken his thoughts a hole lower, and saith,
seeing it is the fashion of the world, he will vail bonnet to

How is he attired?


Whom loveth this amorous knight?


That ugly creature? Why, she is a fool, a scold, fat,
without fashion, and quite without favour.

Tush, you be simple. My master hath a good

Good? As how?

Why, in marrying Dipsas, he shall have every day
twelve dishes of meat to his dinner, though there be none
but Dipsas with him. Four of flesh, four of fish, four of

As how, Epi?

For flesh, these: woodcock, goose, bittern, and rail.

Indeed, he shall not miss if Dipsas be there.

For fish, these: crab, carp, lump, and pouting.

Excellent! For, of my word, she is both crabbish,
lumpish, and carping.

For fruit, these: fretters, medlers, hart-i-chokes, and
lady-longings. Thus you see he shall fare like a king,
though he be but a beggar.

Well, Epi, dine thou with him, for I had rather fast
than see her face. But see, thy master is asleep. Let us
have a song to wake this amorous knight.




Here snores Tophas,
That amorous ass,
Who loves Dipsas,
With face so sweet,
Nose and chin meet.

At sight of her each Fury skips
And fling into her lap their whips.

Holla, holla in his ear.

The witch sure thrust her fingers there.

Cramp him, or wring the fool by th'nose.

Or clap some burning flax to his toes.

What music's best to wake him?

Bow-wow! Let bandogs shake him.

Let adders hiss in's ear.

Else earwigs wriggle there.

No, let him batten; when his tongue
Once goes, a cat is not worse strung.

But if he ope nor mouth nor eyes,
He may in time sleep himself wise.

[To himself, as he wakens] Sleep is a binding of the
senses, love a loosing.

[Aside to Samias and Dares] Let us hear him awhile.

There appeared in my sleep a goodly owl, who,
sitting upon my shoulder, cried 'Twit, twit', and before
mine eyes presented herself the express image of Dipsas.
I marvelled what the owl said, till at the last I perceived
'Twit, twit', 'To it, to it', only by contraction admonished
by this vision to make account of my sweet Venus.

[Loudly] Sir Tophas, you have overslept yourself.

No, youth, I have but slept over my love.

Love? Why, it is impossible that into so noble and
unconquered a courage, love should creep, having first a
head as hard to pierce as steel, then to pass to a heart
armed with a shirt of mail.

[Aside to Samias and Dares] Ay, but my master yawning
one day in the sun, love crept into his mouth before
he could close it, and there kept such a tumbling in his
body that he was glad to untruss the points of his heart
and entertain Love as a stranger.

If there remain any pity in you, plead for me to

Plead? Nay, we will press her to it.
[Aside to Samias] Let us go with him to Dipsas, and there shall we have
good sport. –But Sir Tophas, when shall we go? For I
find my tongue voluble, and my heart venturous, and all
myself like myself.

[Aside to Dares] Come, Dares, let us not lose him till
we find our masters, for as long as he liveth, we shall lack
neither mirth nor meat.

We will traverse. –Will you go, sir?

I prae, sequar.


Actus Tertius, Scaena Quarta

[Enter] Eumenides [and] Geron [near the fountain.
Geron sings.]

Father, your sad music, being tuned on the same
key that my hard fortune is, hath so melted my mind that
I wish to hang at your mouth's end till my life end.

These tunes, gentleman, have I been accustomed with
these fifty winters, having no other house to shroud myself
but the broad heavens; and so familiar with me hath
use made misery that I esteem sorrow my chiefest solace.
And welcomest is that guest to me that can rehearse the
saddest tale or the bloodiest tragedy.

A strange humour. Might I enquire the cause?

You mast pardon me if I deny to tell it, for, knowing
that the revealing of griefs is, as it were, a renewing of
sorrow, I have vowed therefore to conceal them, that I
might not only feel the depth of everlasting discontentment,
but despair of remedy. But whence are you? What
fortune hath thrust you to this distress?

I am going to Thessaly to seek remedy for
Endymion, my dearest friend, who hath been cast into a
dead sleep almost these twenty years, waxing old and
ready for the grave, being almost but newly come forth of
the cradle.

You need not for recure travel far, for whoso can
clearly see the bottom of this fountain shall have remedy
for anything.

That, methinketh, is unpossible. Why, what virtue
can there be in water?

Yes, whosoever can shed the tears of a faithful lover
shall obtain anything he would. Read these words
engraven about the brim.

[Reading] Have you known this by experience, or
is it placed here of purpose to delude men?

I only would have experience of it, and then should
there be an end of my misery. And then would I tell the
strangest discourse that ever yet was heard.

[To himself] Ah, Eumenides!

What lack you, gentleman? Are you not well?

Yes, father, but a qualm that often cometh over
my heart doth now take hold of me. But did never any
lovers come hither?

Lusters, but not lovers. For often have I seen them
weep, but never could I hear they saw the bottom.

Came there women also?


What did they see?

They all wept, that the fountain overflowed with tears,
but so thick became the water with their tears that I could
scarce discern the brim, much less behold the bottom.

Be faithful lovers so scant?

It seemeth so, for yet heard I never of any.

Ah, Eumenides, how art thou perplexed! Call to
mind the beauty of thy sweet mistress and the depth of
thy never-dying affections. How oft hast thou honoured
her, not only without spot, but suspicion of falsehood!
And how hardly hath she rewarded thee without cause or
colour of despite! How secret hast thou been these seven
years, that hast not, nor once darest not, to name her for
discontenting her! How unfaithful, that hast offered to die
for her to please her! Unhappy Eumenides!

Why, gentleman, did you once love?

Once? Ay, father, and ever shall.

Was she unkind, and you faithful?

She of all women the most froward, and I of all
creatures the most fond.

You doted, then, not loved. For affection is grounded
on virtue, and virtue is never peevish; or on beauty, and
beauty loveth to be praised.

Ay, but if all virtuous ladies should yield to all that
be loving, or all amiable gentlewomen entertain all that
be amorous, their virtues would be accounted vices and
their beauties deformities, for that love can be but between
two, and that not proceeding of him that is most
faithful, but most fortunate.

I would you were so faithful that your tears might
make you fortunate.

Yea, father, if that my tears clear not this fountain,
then may swear it is but a mere mockery.

So, 'faith, everyone yet that wept.

[Looking into the fountain] Ah, I faint, I die! Ah,
sweet Semele, let me alone, and dissolve by weeping into

[Aside] This affection seemeth strange. If he see nothing,
without doubt this dissembling passeth, for nothing
shall draw me from the belief.

Father, I plainly see the bottom, and there in
white marble engraven these words: 'Ask one for all, and
but one thing at all.'

O fortunate Eumenides (for so have I heard thee call
[He looks into the fountain.] thyself), let me see.
I cannot discern any such thing. I think thou dreamest.

Ah, father, thou art not a faithful lover and therefore
canst not behold it.

Then ask, that I may be satisfied by the event, and
thyself blessed.

Ask? So I will. And what shall I do but ask, and
whom should I ask but Semele, the possessing of whose
person is a pleasure that cannot come within the compass
of comparison, whose golden locks seem most curious
when they seem most careless, whose sweet looks seem
most alluring when they are most chaste, and whose
words, the more virtuous they are, the more amorous
they be accounted. I pray thee, Fortune, when I shall first
meet with fair Semele, dash my delight with some light
disgrace, lest, embracing sweetness beyond measure, I
take surfeit without recure. Let her practise her accustomed
coyness, that I may diet myself upon my desires.
Otherwise the fullness of my joys will diminish the sweetness,
and I shall perish by them before I possess them.
Why do I trifle the time in words? The least minute
being spent in the getting of Semele is more worth than
the whole world; therefore let me ask. –What now,
Eumenides? Whither art thou drawn? Hast thou forgotten
both friendship and duty, care of Endymion and the
commandment of Cynthia? Shall he die in a leaden sleep
because thou sleepest in a golden dream? –Ay, let him
sleep over, so I slumber but one minute with Semele.
Love knoweth neither friendship nor kindred.
Shall I not hazard the loss of a friend, for the obtaining
of her for whom I would often lose myself? –Fond
Eumenides, shall the enticing beauty of a most disdainful
lady be of more force than the rare fidelity of a tried
friend? The love of men to women is a thing common,
and of course; the friendship of man to man infinite, and
immortal. –Tush, Semele doth possess my love. –Ay,
but Endymion hath deserved it. I will help Endymion; I
found Endymion unspotted in his truth. –Ay, but I shall
find Semele constant in her love. I will have Semele.
–What shall I do? Father, thy grey hairs are ambassadors of
experience. Which shall I ask?

Eumenides, release Endymion; for all things, friendship
excepted, are subject to fortune. Love is but an eye-worm,
which only tickleth the head with hopes and
wishes; friendship the image of eternity, in which there is
nothing movable, nothing mischievous. As much difference
as there is between beauty and virtue, bodies and
shadows, colours and life, so great odds is there between
love and friendship. Love is a chameleon, which draweth
nothing into the mouth bur air, and nourisheth nothing in
the body but lungs. Believe me, Eumenides, desire dies in
the same moment that beauty sickens, and beauty fadeth
in the same instant that it flourisheth. When adversities
flow, then love ebbs, but friendship standeth stiffly in
storms. Time draweth wrinkles in a fair face but addeth
fresh colours to a fast friend, which neither heat, nor cold,
nor misery, nor place, nor destiny can alter or diminish.
O friendship, of all things the most rare, and therefore
most rare because most excellent, whose comforts in
misery is always sweet and whose counsels in prosperity
are ever fortunate! Vain love, that only coming near to
friendship in name, would seem to be the same, or better,
in nature!

Father, I allow your reasons and will therefore
conquer mine own. Virtue shall subdue affections, wisdom
lust, friendship beauty. Mistresses are in every place,
and as common as hares in Athos, bees in Hybla, fowls in
the air; but friends to be found are like the phoenix in
Arabia, but one, or the philadelphi in Arays, never above
two. I will have Endymion. [He looks into the fountain again.]
Sacred fountain, in whose bowels are hidden divine secrets,
I have increased your waters with the tears of
unspotted thoughts, and therefore let me receive the reward
you promise. Endymion, the truest friend to me,
and faithfullest lover to Cynthia, is in such a dead sleep
that nothing can wake or move him.

Dost thou see anything?

I see in the same pillar these words: 'When she,
whose figure of all is the perfectest and never to be
measured, always one yet never the same, still inconstant
yet never wavering, shall come and kiss Endymion in his
sleep, he shall then rise; else, never.' This is strange.

What see you else?

There cometh over mine eyes either a dark mist,
or upon the fountain a deep thickness, for I can perceive
nothing. But how am I deluded? Or what difficult, nay,
impossible, thing is this?

Methinketh it easy.

Good father, and how?

Is not a circle of all figures the perfectest?


And is not Cynthia of all circles the most absolute?


Is it not impossible to measure her, who still worketh
by her influence, never standing at one stay?


Is she not always Cynthia, yet seldom in the same
bigness, always wavering in her waxing or waning, that
our bodies might the better be governed, our seasons the
dailier give their increase, yet never to be removed from
her course as long as the heavens continue theirs?


Then who can it be but Cynthia, whose virtues, being
all divine, must needs bring things to pass that be miraculous?
Go humble thyself to Cynthia; tell her the success,
of which myself shall be a witness. And this assure thyself:
that she that sent to find means for his safety will now
work her cunning.

How fortunate am I, if Cynthia be she that may do

How fond art thou, if thou do not believe it!

I will hasten thither, that I may entreat on my
knees for succour, and embrace in mine arms my friend.

I will go with thee, for unto Cynthia must I discover all
my sorrows, who also must work in me a contentment.

May I now know the cause?

That shall be as we walk, and I doubt not but the
strangeness of my tale will take away the tediousness of
our journey.

Let us go.

I follow.


Act IV

Actus Quartus, Scaena Prima

[Enter] Tellus.

I marvel Corsites giveth me so much liberty –all the
world knowing his charge to be so high and his nature to
be most strange, who hath so ill entreated ladies of great
honour that he hath not suffered them to look out of
windows, much less to walk abroad. It may be he is in
love with me, for, Endymion, hardhearted Endymion,
excepted, what is he that is not enamoured of my beauty?
But what respectest thou the love of all the world?
Endymion hates thee. Alas, poor Endymion, my malice
hath exceeded my love, and thy faith to Cynthia
quenched my affections. Quenched, Tellus? Nay, kindled
them afresh, insomuch that I find scorching flames for
dead embers, and cruel encounters of war in my thoughts
instead of sweet parleys. Ah, that I might once again see
Endymion! Accursed girl, what hope hast thou to see
Endymion, on whose head already are grown grey hairs,
and whose life must yield to nature before Cynthia end
her displeasure? Wicked Dipsas, and most devilish
Tellus, the one for cunning too exquisite, the other for
hate too intolerable! Thou vast commanded to weave the
stories and poetries wherein were showed both examples
and punishments of tattling tongues, and thou hast only
embroidered the sweet face of Endymion, devices of love,
melancholy imaginations, and what not out of thy work,
that thou shouldst study to pick out of thy mind. But here
cometh Corsites. I must seem yielding and stout, full of
mildness yet tempered with a majesty. For if I be too
flexible I shall give him more hope than I mean; if too
froward, enjoy less liberty than I would. Love him I
cannot, and therefore will practise that which is most
contrary to our sex, to dissemble.

Enter Corsites.

Fair Tellus, I perceive you rise with the lark, and to
yourself sing with the nightingale.

My lord, I have no playfellow but fancy. Being barred
of all company, I must question with myself and make my
thoughts my friends.

I would you would account my thoughts also your
friends, for they be such as are only busied in wondering
at your beauty and wisdom, and some such as have
esteemed your fortune too hard, and divers of that kind
that offer to set you free if you will set them free.

There are no colours so contrary as white and
black, nor elements so disagreeing as fire and water,
nor anything so opposite as men's thoughts and their

He that gave Cassandra the gift of prophesying, with
the curse that, spake she never so true, she should never
be believed, hath, I think, poisoned the fortune of men,
that, uttering the extremities of their inward passions, are
always suspected of outward perjuries.

Well, Corsites, I will flatter myself and believe you.
What would you do to enjoy my love?

Set all the ladies of the castle free and make you the
pleasure of my life. More I cannot do; less I will not.

These be great words, and fit your calling, for captains
must promise things impossible. But will you do one
thing for all?

Anything, sweet Tellus, that am ready for all.

You know that on the lunary bank sleepeth Endymion.

I know it.

If you will remove him from that place by force and
convey him into some obscure cave by policy, I give you
here the faith of an unspotted virgin that you only shall
possess me as a lover and, in spite of malice, have me for
a wife.

Remove him, Tellus? Yes, Tellus, he shall be removed,
and that so soon as thou shalt as much commend
my diligence as my force. I go.

[He starts to leave.]

Stay. Will yourself attempt it?

Ay, Tellus. As I would have none partaker of my
sweet love, so shall none be partners of my labours. But
I pray thee go at your best leisure, for Cynthia beginneth
to rise, and if she discover our love we both perish, for
nothing pleaseth her but the fairness of virginity. All
things must be not only without lust but without suspicion
of lightness.

I will depart, and go you to Endymion.

I fly, Tellus, being of all men the most fortunate.


Simple Corsites! I have set thee about a task, being but
a man, that the gods themselves cannot perform. For
little dost thou know how heavy his head lies, how hard
his fortune. But such shifts must women have to deceive
men, and, under colour of things easy, entreat that which
is impossible. Otherwise we should be cumbered with
importunities, oaths, sighs, letters, and all implements of
love, which, to one resolved to the contrary, are most
loathsome. I will in and laugh with the other ladies at
Corsites' sweating.


Actus Quartus, Scaena Secunda

[Enter] Samias [and] Dares.

Will thy master never wake?

No, I think he sleeps for a wager. But how shall we
spend the time? Sir Tophas is so far in love that he pineth
in his bed and cometh not abroad.

But here cometh Epi, in a pelting chafe.

[Enter] Epiton.

A pox of all false proverbs! And, were a proverb a
page, I would have him by the ears.

Why art thou angry?

Why? You know it is said, the tide tarrieth no man.


A monstrous lie; for I was tied two hours, and tarried
for one to unloose me.

Alas, poor Epi!

Poor? No, no, you base-conceited slaves, I am a most
complete gentlemen, although I be in disgrace with Sir

Art thou out with him?

Ay, because I cannot get him a lodging with
Endymion. He would fain take a nap for forty or fifty

A short sleep, considering our long life.

Is he still in love?

In love? Why, he doth nothing but make sonnets.

Canst thou remember any one of his poems?

Ay, this is one:
The beggar Love that knows not where to lodge,
At last within my heart when I slept,
He crept.
I waked, and so my fancies began to fodge.

That's a very long verse.

Why, the other was short. The first is called from the
thumb to the little finger, the second from the little finger
to the elbow, and some he hath made to reach to the
crown of his head and down again to the sole of his foot.
It is set to the tune of the Black Saunce, ratio est, because
Dipsas is a black saint.

Very wisely. But pray thee, Epi, how art thou complete?
And, being from thy master, what occupation wilt thou take?

Know, my hearts, I am an absolute microcosmos, a
petty world of myself. My library is my head, for I have no
other books but my brains; my wardrobe on my back, for
I have no more apparel than is on my body; my armoury
at my fingers' ends, for I use no other artillery than my
nails; my treasure in my purse. Sic omnia mea mecum porto.


Now, sirs, my palace is paved with grass and tiled with
stars; for caelo tegitur qui non habet urnam, he that hath no
house must lie in the yard.

A brave resolution. But how wilt thou spend thy

Not in any melancholy sort. For mine exercise I will
walk horses.

Too bad.

Why, is it not said, 'It is good walking when one hath
his horse in his hand'?

Worse and worse. But how wilt thou live?

By angling. O, 'tis a stately occupation to stand four
hours in a cold morning and to have his nose bitten with
frost before his bait be mumbled with a fish.

A rare attempt. But wilt thou never travel?

Yes, in a western barge, when, with a good wind and
lusty pugs, one may go ten miles in two days.

Thou art excellent at thy choice. But what pastime
wilt thou use? None?

Yes, the quickest of all.

What, dice?

No. When I am in a haste, one-and-twenty games at
chess to pass a few minutes.

A life for a little lord, and full of quickness.

Tush, let me alone. But I must needs see if I can find
where Endymion lieth, and then go to a certain fountain
hard by, where they say faithful lovers shall have all things
they will ask. If I can find out any of these, ego et magister
meus erimus in tuto, I and my master shall be friends. He
is resolved to weep some three or four pailfuls to avoid
the rheum of love that wambleth in his stomach.

Enter the watch [two Watchmen and the Constable].

Shall we never see thy master, Dares?

Yet, let us go now, for tomorrow Cynthia will be there.

I will go with you. But how shall we see for the watch?

Tush, let me alone. I'll begin to them. –Masters,
God speed you.

Sir boy, we are all sped ready.

[Aside to Samias and Dares] So methinks, for they
smell all of drink like a beggar's beard.

But I pray, sirs, may we see Endymion?

No, we are commanded in Cynthia's
name that no man shall see him.

No man? Why, we are but boys.

[To his fellow watchmen] Mass, neighbours,
he says true. For if I swear I will never drink my liquor by
the quart, and yet call for two pints, I think with a safe
conscience I may carouse both.

[Aside to Samias and Epiton] Pithily, and to the purpose.

[To his fellow watchmen] Tush, tush,
neighbours, take me with you.

[Aside to Dares and Epiton] This will grow hot.

[Aside to Samias and Epiton] Let them alone.

[To his fellow watchmen] If I say to my wife,
'Wife, I will have no raisins in my pudding', she puts in
currants. Small raisins are raisins, and boys are men.
Even as my wife should have put no raisins in my pudding,
so shall there no boys see Endymion.

[Aside] Learnedly.

Let Master Constable speak; I think he is the wisest
among you.

You know, neighbours, 'tis an old said saw, 'Children
and fools speak true.'


Well, there you see the men be the fools, because it
is provided from the children.


Then say I, neighbours, that children must not see
Endymion, because children and fools speak true.

O, wicked application!

Scurvily brought about.

Nay, he says true; and therefore till Cynthia
have been here he shall not be uncovered. Therefore

[Aside to Samias and Epiton] A watch, quoth you? A
man may watch seven years for a wise word and yet go
without it. Their wits are all as rusty as their bills. –But
come on, Master Constable, shall we have a song before
we go?

With all my heart.


Stand. Who goes there?
We charge you appear
'Fore our constable here.
In the name of the Man in the Moon,
To us billmen relate
Why you stagger so late,
And how you come drunk so soon.

What are ye, scabs?

The watch;
This is the constable.

A patch.

Knock 'em down unless they all stand.
If any run away,
'Tis the old watchman's play
To reach him a bill of his hand.

O gentlemen, hold.
Your gowns freeze with cold,
And your rotten teeth dance in your head.

Wine nothing shall cost ye,

Nor huge fires to roast ye.

Then soberly let us be led.

Come, my brown bills, we'll roar,
Bounce loud at tavern door,

And I'th'morning steal all to bed.


Actus Quartus, Scaena Tertia

[Enter] Corsites solus. [Endymion lies asleep on the lunary bank.]

I am come in sight of the lunary bank. Without doubt
Tellus doteth upon me; and cunningly, that I might not
perceive her love, she hath set me to a task that is done
before it is begun. Endymion, you must change your
pillow, and, if you be not weary of sleep, I will carry you
where at ease you shall sleep your fill. It were good that
without more ceremonies I took him, lest, being espied, I
be entrapped and so incur the displeasure of Cynthia,
who commonly setteth watch that Endymion have no
wrong. He lifts.
What now, is your mastership so heavy? Or are you
nailed to the ground? Not stir one whit? –Then use all
thy force, though he feel it and wake. –What, stone still?
Turned, I think, to earth, with lying so long on the earth.
Didst not thou, Corsites, before Cynthia pull up a tree
that forty years was fastened with roots and wreathed in
knots to the ground? Didst not thou with main force pull
open the iron gates which no ram or engine could move?
Have my weak thoughts made brawnfallen my strong
arms? Or is it the nature of love or the quintessence of the
mind to breed numbness, or litherness, or I know not
what languishing in my joints and sinews, being but the
base strings of my body? Or doth the remembrance of
Tellus so refine my spirits into a matter so subtle and
divine that the other fleshy parts cannot work whilst they
muse? Rest thyself, rest thyself; nay, rend thyself in
pieces, Corsites, and strive, in spite of love, fortune, and
nature, to lift up this dulled body, heavier than dead and
more senseless than death. Enter Fairies.
But what are these so fair fiends that cause my hairs to
stand upright and spirits to fall down? Hags –out, alas!
Nymphs, I crave pardon. Ay me, out! What do I here?

The fairies dance, and with a song pinch him, and he falleth asleep.

Pinch him, pinch him, black and blue.
Saucy mortals must not view
What the Queen of Stars is doing,
Nor pry into our fairy wooing.

Pinch him blue

And pinch him black.

Let him not lack
Sharp nails to pinch him blue and red,
Till sleep has rocked his addle head.

For the trespass he hath done,
Spots o'er all his flesh shall run.
Kiss Endymion, kiss his eyes;
Then to our midnight hay-de-guise.

They kiss Endymion and depart[, leaving him and the spotted Corsites asleep].
[Enter] Cynthia, Floscula, Semele, Panelion, Zontes, Pythagoras, [and] Gyptes.

You see, Pythagoras, what ridiculous opinions you
hold, and I doubt not but you are now of another mind.

Madam, I plainly receive that the perfection of
your brightness hath pierced through the thickness that
covered my mind, insomuch that I am no less glad to be
reformed than ashamed to remember my grossness.

They are thrice fortunate that live in your palace,
where truth is not in colours but life, virtues not in
imagination but execution.

I have always studied to have rather living virtues
than painted gods, the body of truth than the tomb. But
let us walk to Endymion; it may be it lieth in your arts to
deliver him. As for Eumenides, I fear he is dead.

I have alleged all the natural reasons I can for
such a long sleep.

I can do nothing till I see him.

Come, Floscula, I am sure you are glad that you
shall behold Endymion.

I were blessed if I might have him recovered.

Are you in love with his person?

No, but with his virtue.

What say you, Semele?

Madam, I dare say nothing for fear I offend.

Belike you cannot speak except you be spiteful. But
as good be silent as saucy. Panelion, what punishment
were fit for Semele, in whose speech and thoughts is only
contempt and sourness?

I love not, madam, to give any judgement. Yet sith
Your Highness commandeth: I think, to commit her
tongue close prisoner to her mouth.

Agreed. Semele, if thou speak this twelvemonth,
thou shalt forfeit thy tongue. –Behold Endymion. Alas,
poor gentleman, hast thou spent thy youth in sleep, that
once vowed all to my service? Hollow eyes? Grey hairs?
Wrinkled cheeks? And decayed limbs? Is it destiny or
deceit that hath brought this to pass? If the first, who
could prevent thy wretched stars? If the latter, I would I
might know thy cruel enemy. I favoured thee, Endymion,
for thy honour, thy virtues, thy affections; but to bring thy
thoughts within the compass of thy fortunes, I have
seemed strange, that I might have thee stayed. And now
are thy days ended before my favour begin. But whom
have we here? Is it not Corsites?

It is, but more like a leopard than a man.

Awake him. [Corsites is awakened.]
How now, Corsites, what make you here? How came you
deformed? Look on thy hands, and then thou seest the
picture of thy face.

Miserable wretch, and accursed! How am I deluded?
Madam, I ask pardon for my offence, and you see my
fortune deserveth pity.

Speak on. Thy offence cannot deserve greater punishment;
but see thou rehearse the truth, else shalt thou
not find me as thou wishest me.

Madam, as it is no offence to be in love, being a man
mortal, so I hope can it be no shame to tell with whom,
my lady being heavenly. Your Majesty committed to my
charge fair Tellus, whose beauty in the same moment
took my heart captive that I undertook to carry her body
prisoner. Since that time have I found such combats in
my thoughts between love and duty, reverence and affection,
that I could neither endure the conflict nor hope for
the conquest.

In love? A thing far unfitting the name of a captain,
and, as I thought, the tough and unsmoothed nature of
Corsites. But forth.

Feeling this continual war, I thought rather by parley
to yield than by certain danger to perish. I unfolded to
Tellus the depth of my affections, and framed my tongue
to utter a sweet tale of love, that was wont to sound
nothing but threats of love. She, too fair to be true and too
false for one so fair, after a nice denial practised a notable
deceit, commanding me to remove Endymion from this
cabin and carry him to some dark cave, which I, seeking
to accomplish, found impossible, and so by fairies or
fiends have been thus handled.

How say you, my lords, is not Tellus always practising
of some deceits? –In sooth, Corsites, thy face is now
too foul for a lover and thine heart too fond for a soldier.
You may see, when warriors become wantons, how their
manners alter with their faces. Is it not a shame, Corsites,
that, having lived so long in Mars his camp, thou shouldst
now be rocked in Venus' cradle? Dost thou wear Cupid's
quiver at thy girdle, and make lances of looks? Well,
Corsites, rouse thyself and be as thou hast been, and let
Tellus, who is made all of love, melt herself in her own

Madam, I doubt not but to recover my former state,
for Tellus' beauty never wrought such love in my mind as
now her deceit hath despite; and yet to be revenged of a
woman were a thing than love itself more womanish.

These spots, gentleman, are to be worn out if you rub
them over with this lunary, so that in place where you
received this maim you shall find a medicine.

I thank you for that. The gods bless me from love
and these pretty ladies that haunt this green!

Corsites, I would Tellus saw your amiable face.

[Corsites rubs out his spots with lunary from the bank.
Semele laughs.]

How spitefully Semele laugheth, that dare not speak!

Could you not stir Endymion with that doubled
strength of yours?

Not so much as his finger with all my force.

Pythagoras and Gyptes, what think you of
Endymion? What reason is to be given, what remedy?

Madam, it is impossible to yield reason for things
that happen not in compass of nature. It is most certain
that some strange enchantment hath bound all his senses.

What say you, Gyptes?

With Pythagoras, that it is enchantment, and that so
strange that no art can undo it, for that heaviness argueth
a malice unremovable in the enchantress, and that no
power can end it till she die that did it or the heavens
show some means more than miraculous.

O Endymion, could spite itself a mischief so
monstrous as to make thee dead with life, and living
being altogether dead? Where others number their years,
their hours, their minutes, and step to age by stairs, thou
only hast thy years and times in a cluster, being old before
thou rememberest thou wast young.

No more, Floscula; pity doth him no good. I would
anything else might, and I vow by the unspotted honour
of a lady he should not miss it. But is this all, Gyptes, that
is to be done?

All as yet. It may be that either the enchantress shall
die or else be discovered. If either happen I will then
practise the utmost of my art. In the mean season, about
this grove would I have a watch, and the first living thing
that toucheth Endymion to be taken.

Corsites, what say you, will you undertake this?

Good madam, pardon me; I was overtaken too late.
I should rather break into the midst of a main battle than
again fall into the hands of those fair babies.

Well, I will provide others. Pythagoras and Gyptes,
you shall yet remain in my court till I hear what may be
done in this matter.

We attend.

Let us go in.

Exeunt. [Endymion continues asleep on his lunary bed, near a tree, but perhaps curtained off during the entr'acte music.]

Act V

Actus Quintus, Scaena Prima

[Enter] Samias [and] Dares.

Eumenides hath told such strange tales as I may well
wonder at them but never believe them.

The other old man, what a sad speech used he, that
caused us almost all to weep! Cynthia is so desirous to
know the experiment of her own virtue, and so willing to
ease Endymion's hard fortune, that she no sooner heard
the discourse but she made herself in a readiness to try
the event.

We will also see the event. But whist! Here cometh
Cynthia with all her train. Let us sneak in amongst them.

Enter Cynthia, Floscula, Semele, Panelion etc
[Eumenides, Zontes, Gyptes, and Pythagoras. Samias and Dares join the throng.]

Eumenides, it cannot sink into my head that I
should be signified by that sacred fountain, for many
things are there in the world to which those words may be

Good madam, vouchsafe but to try, else shall I
think myself most unhappy that I asked not my sweet

Will you not yet tell me her name?

Pardon me, good madam, for if Endymion awake
he shall. Myself have sworn never to reveal it.

Well, let us to Endymion. [They approach the sleeping Endymion.]
I will not be so stately, good Endymion, not
to stoop to do thee good; and if thy liberty consist in a kiss
from me, thou shalt have it. And although my mouth
hath been heretofore as untouched as my thoughts, yet
now to recover thy life (though to restore thy youth it be
impossible) I will do that to Endymion which yet never
mortal man could boast of heretofore, nor shall ever hope
for hereafter.

She kisseth him.

Madam, he beginneth to stir.

Soft, Eumenides. Stand still.

Ah, I see his eyes almost open.

I command thee once again, stir not. I will stand
behind him.

[She stands where Endymion will not see her at first.]

What do I see, Endymion almost awake?

Endymion, Endymion, art thou deaf or dumb? Or
hath this long sleep taken away thy memory? Ah, my
sweet Endymion, seest thou not Eumenides, thy faithful
friend, thy faithful Eumenides, who for thy safety hath
been careless of his own content? Speak, Endymion,
Endymion, Endymion!

Endymion? I call to mind such a name.

Hast thou forgotten thyself, Endymion? Then
do I not marvel thou rememberest not thy friend. I tell
thee thou art Endymion and I Eumenides. Behold also
Cynthia, by whose favour thou art awaked, and by whose
virtue thou shalt continue thy natural course.

Endymion, speak, sweet Endymion. Knowest thou
not Cynthia?

O heavens, whom do I behold? Fair Cynthia, divine

I am Cynthia, and thou Endymion.

Endymion? What do I hear? What, a grey beard?
Hollow eyes? Withered body? Decayed limbs? And all in
one night?

One night? Thou hast here slept forty years, by
what enchantress as yet it is not known. And behold, the
twig to which thou laidst thy head is now become a tree.
Callest thou not Eumenides to remembrance?

Thy name I do remember by the sound, but thy
favour I do not yet call to mind. Only divine Cynthia, to
whom time, fortune, destiny, and death are subject, I
see and remember, and in all humility I regard and reverence.

You have good cause to remember Eumenides, who
hath for thy safety forsaken his own solace.

Am I that Endymion who was wont in court to
lead my life, and in jousts, tourneys, and arms to exercise
my youth? Am I that Endymion?

Thou art that Endymion and I Eumenides. Wilt
thou not yet call me to remembrance?

Ah, sweet Eumenides, I now perceive thou art he,
and that myself have the name of Endymion. But that this
should be my body I doubt; for how could my curled
locks be turned to grey hairs and my strong body to a
dying weakness, having waxed old and not knowing it?

Well, Endymion, arise. A while sit down, for that thy
limbs are stiff and not able to stay thee, and tell what hast
thou seen in thy sleep all this while? What dreams, visions,
thoughts, and fortunes? For it is impossible but in
so long time thou shouldst see things strange.

Fair Cynthia, I will rehearse what I have seen,
humbly desiring that when I exceed in length, you give
me warning, that I may end. For to utter all I have to
speak would be troublesome, although haply the strangeness
may somewhat abate the tediousness.

Well, Endymion, begin.

Methought I saw a lady passing fair but very mischievous,
who in the one hand carried a knife with which
she offered to cut my throat, and in the other a looking
glass, wherein, seeing how ill anger became ladies, she
refrained from intended violence. She was accompanied
with other damsels, one of which, with a stern countenance,
and as it were with a settled malice engraven in her
eyes, provoked her to execute mischief. Another with
visage sad, and constant only in sorrow, with her arms
crossed, and watery eyes, seemed to lament my fortune,
but durst not offer to prevent the force. I started in my
sleep, feeling my very veins to swell and my sinews to
stretch with fear, and such a cold sweat bedewed all my
body that death itself could not be so terrible as the

A strange sight. Gyptes at our better leisure shall
expound it.

After long debating with herself, mercy overcame
anger, and there appeared in her heavenly face such a
divine majesty, mingled with a sweet mildness, that I was
ravished with the sight above measure, and wished that I
might have enjoyed the sight without end. And so she
departed with the other ladies, of which the one retained
still an unmovable cruelty, the other a constant pity.

Poor Endymion, how wast thou affrighted! What

After her immediately appeared an aged man with
a beard as white as snow, carrying in his hand a book with
three leaves, and speaking, as I remember, these words:
'Endymion, receive this book with three leaves, in which
are contained counsels, policies, and pictures.' And with
that, he offered me the book, which I rejected; wherewith
moved with a disdainful pity, he rent the first leaf in a
thousand shivers. The second time he offered it, which I
refused also; at which, bending his brows and pitching his
eyes fast to the ground as though they were fixed to the
earth and not again to be removed, then suddenly casting
them up to the heavens, he tore in a rage the second leaf
and offered the book only with one leaf. I know not
whether fear to offend or desire to know some strange
thing moved me; I took the book, and so the old man

What didst thou imagine was in the last leaf?

There –ay, portrayed to life– with a cold quaking
in every joint, I beheld many wolves barking at thee,
Cynthia, who, having ground their teeth to bite, did with
striving bleed themselves to death. There might I see
Ingratitude with an hundred eyes, gazing for benefits, and
with a thousand teeth gnawing on the bowels wherein she
was bred. Treachery stood all clothed in white, with a
smiling countenance but both her hands bathed in blood.
Envy, with a pale and meagre face, whose body was so
lean that one might tell all her bones, and whose garment
was so tattered that it was easy to number every thread,
stood shooting at stars, whose darts fell down again on
her own face. There might I behold drones, or beetles, I
know not how to term them, creeping under the wings of
a princely eagle, who, being carried into her nest, sought
there to suck that vein that would have killed the eagle. I
mused that things so base should attempt a fact so barbarous
or durst imagine a thing so bloody. And many other
things, madam, the repetition whereof may at your better
leisure seem more pleasing; for bees surfeit sometimes
with honey, and the gods are glutted with harmony, and
Your Highness may be dulled with delight.

I am content to be dieted; therefore let us in.
Eumenides, see that Endymion be well tended, lest, either
eating immoderately or sleeping again too long, he
fall into a deadly surfeit or into his former sleep. See this
also be proclaimed: that whosoever will discover this
practice shall have of Cynthia infinite thanks and no small

Exit, [attended by her courtly entourage. Floscula, Endymion, and Eumenides remain.]

Ah, Endymion, none so joyful as Floscula of thy

Yes, Floscula, let Eumenides be somewhat gladder,
and do not that wrong to the settled friendship of a
man as to compare it with the light affection of a
woman. –Ah, my dear friend Endymion, suffer me to die
with gazing at thee!

Eumenides, thy friendship is immortal and not to
be conceived, and thy good will, Floscula, better than I
have deserved. But let us all wait on Cynthia. I marvel
Semele speaketh not a word.

Because if she do she loseth her tongue.

But how prospereth your love?

I never yet spake word since your sleep.

I doubt not but your affection is old and your
appetite cold.

No, Endymion, thine hath made it stronger, and
now are my sparks grown to flames and my fancies almost
to frenzies. But let us follow, and within we will debate all
this matter at large.


Actus Quintus, Scaena Secunda

[Enter] Sir Tophas [and] Epiton.

Epi, love hath jostled my liberty from the wall and
taken the upper hand of my reason.

Let me then trip up the heels of your affection and
thrust your good will into the gutter.

No, Epi, love is a lord of misrule, and keepeth Christmas
in my corpse.

No doubt there is good cheer. What dishes of delight
doth his lordship feast you withal?

First, with a great platter of plum-porridge of pleasure,
wherein is stewed the mutton of mistrust.

Excellent love-lap!

Then cometh a pie of patience, a hen of honey, a
goose of gall, a capon of care, and many other viands,
some sweet and some sour, which proveth love to be as it
was said of in old years: dulce venenum.

A brave banquet!

But Epi, I pray thee feel on my chin; something
pricketh me. What dost thou feel or see?

[Examining his chin] There are three or four little

I pray thee call it my beard. How shall I be troubled
when this young spring shall grow to a great wood!

O, sir, your chin is but a quiller yet. You will be most
majestical when it is full fledge. But I marvel that you love
Dipsas, that old crone.

Agnosco veteris vestigia flamma, I love the smoke of an
old fire.

Why, she is so cold that no fire can thaw her thoughts.

It is an old goose, Epi, that will eat no oats; old kine
will kick, old rats gnaw cheese, and old sacks will have
much patching. I prefer an old cony before a rabbit-sucker,
and an ancient hen before a young chicken

Argumentum ab antiquitate. [Aside] My master loveth
antique work.

Give me a pippin that is withered like an old wife.

Good, sir.

Then a contrario sequitur argumentum. Give me a wife
that looks like an old pippin.

[Aside] Nothing hath made my master a fool but flat

Knowest thou not that old wine is best?


And thou knowest that like will to like?


And thou knowest that Venus loved the best wine?


Then I conclude that Venus was an old woman in an
old cup of wine. For, est Venus in vinis, ignis in igne fruit.

O lepidum caput, O madcap master! You were worthy
to win Dipsas, where she as old again, for in your love you
have worn the nap of your wit quite off and made it
threadbare. But soft, who comes here?

[Enter Samias and Dares.]

My solicitors.

All hail, Sir Tophas! How feel you yourself?

Stately in every joint, which the common people term
stiffness. Doth Dipsas stoop? Will she yield? Will she

O, sir, as much as you would wish, for her chin almost
toucheth her knees.

Master, she is bent, I warrant you.

What conditions doth she ask?

She hath vowed she will never love any that hath not
a tooth in his head less than she.

How many hath she?


That goeth hard, master, for then you must have

A small request, and agreeable to the gravity of her
years. What should a wise man do with his mouth full of
bones like a charnel house? The turtle true hath ne'er a

[Aside to Epiton] Thy master is in a notable vein, that
will lose his teeth to be like a turtle.

[Aside to Samias] Let him lose his tongue too, I care

Nay, you must also have no nails, for she long since
hath cast hers.

That I yield to. What a quiet life shall Dipsas and I
lead, when we can neither bite nor scratch! You may see,
youths, how age provides for peace.

[Aside to Epiton and Dares] How shall we do to make
him leave his love? For we never spake to her.

[Aside to Samias] Let me alone. [To Sir Tophas] She is
a notable witch, and hath turned her maid Bagoa to an
aspen tree for bewraying her secrets.

I honour her for her cunning, for now, when I am
weary of walking on two legs, what a pleasure may she do
me to turn me to some goodly ass and help me to four!

Nay then, I must tell you the truth: her husband Geron
is come home, who this fifty years hath had her to wife.

What do I hear? Hath she an husband? Go to the
sexton and tell him Desire is dead, and will him to dig his
grave. Oh heavens, an husband? What death is agreeable
to my fortune?

Be not desperate, and we will help you to find a
young lady.

I love no Grissels; they are so brittle they will crack
like glass, or so dainty that if they be touched they are
straight of the fashion of wax. Animus maioribus instat; I
desire old matrons. What a sight would it be to embrace
one whose hair were as orient as the pearl, whose teeth
shall be so pure a watchet that they shall stain the truest
turquoise, whose nose shall throw more beams from it
than the fiery carbuncle, whose eyes shall be environed
about with redness exceeding the deepest coral, and
whose lips might compare with silver for the paleness!
Such a one if you can help me to, I will by piecemeal
curtail my affections toward Dipsas and walk my swelling
thoughts till they be cold.

Wisely provided. How say you, my friends, will you
angle for my master's cause?

Most willingly.

If we speed him not shortly, I will burn my cap. We
will serve him of the spades, and dig and old wife out of the
grave that shall be answerable to his gravity.

Youths, adieu. He that bringeth me first news shall
possess mine inheritance.


[To Epiton] What, is thy master landed?

Know you not that my master is liber tenens?

What's that?

A freeholder. But I will after him.

And we to hear what news of Endymion for the


Actus Quintus, Scaena Tertia

[Enter] Panelion [and] Zontes.

Who would have thought that Tellus, being so fair
by nature, so honourable by birth, so wise by education,
would have entered into a mischief to the gods so odious,
to men so detestable, and to her friend so malicious?

If Bagoa had not bewrayed it, how then should it have
come to light? But we see that gold and fair words are of
force to corrupt the strongest men, and therefore able to
work silly women like wax.

I marvel what Cynthia will determine in this cause.

I fear as in all causes: hear of it in justice and then
judge of it in mercy. For how can it be that she that is
unwilling to punish her deadliest foes with disgrace will
revenge injuries of her train with death?

That old witch Dipsas, in a rage, having understood
her practice to be discovered, turned poor Bagoa to an
aspen tree. But let us make haste and bring Tellus before
Cynthia, for she was coming out after us.

Let us go.



[Enter] Cynthia, Semele, Floscula, Dipsas, Endymion,
Eumenides[, Geron, Pythagoras, Gyptes, and Sir Tophas.
A tree stands by the lunary bank, as in IV.iii and V.i].

Dipsas, thy years are not so many as thy vices, yet
more in number than commonly nature doth afford or
justice should permit. Hast thou almost these fifty years
practised that detested wickedness of witchcraft? Wast
thou so simple as for to know the nature of simples, of all
creatures to be most sinful? Thou hast threatened to turn
my course awry and alter by thy damnable art the government
that I now possess by the eternal gods. But know
thou, Dipsas, and let all the enchanters know, that
Cynthia, being placed for light on earth, is also protected
by the powers of heaven. Breathe out thou mayst words,
gather thou mayst herbs, find out thou mayst stones
agreeable to thine art, yet of no force to appal my heart,
in which courage is so rooted, and constant persuasion of
the mercy of the gods so grounded, that all thy witchcraft
I esteem as weak as the world doth thy case wretched.
This noble gentleman Geron, once thy husband but now
thy mortal hate, didst thou procure to live in a desert,
almost desperate. Endymion, the flower of my court and
the hope of succeeding time, hast thou bewitched by art
before thou wouldst suffer him to flourish by nature.

Madam, things past may be repented, not recalled.
There is nothing so wicked that I have not done, nor
anything so wished for as death. Yet among all the things
that I committed, there is nothing so much tormenteth
my rented and ransacked thoughts as that in the prime of
my husband's youth I divorced him by my devilish art, for
which, if to die might be amends, I would not live till
tomorrow. If to live and still be more miserable would
better content him, I would wish of all creatures to be
oldest and ugliest.

Dipsas, thou hast made this difference between me
and Endymion, that, being both young, thou hast caused
me to wake in melancholy, losing the joys of my youth,
and him to sleep, not remembering youth.

Stay, here cometh Tellus. We shall now know all.

Enter Corsites [and] Tellus, [escorted by] Panelion
[and Zontes].

[To Tellus] I would to Cynthia thou couldst make as
good an excuse in truth as to me thou hast done by wit.

Truth shall be mine answer, and therefore I will not
study for an excuse.

Is it possible, Tellus, that so few years should harbour
so many mischiefs? Thy swelling pride have I borne
because it is a thing that beauty maketh blameless, which,
the more it exceedeth fairness in measure, the more it
stretcheth itself in disdain. Thy devices against Corsites I
smile at, for that wits the sharper they are, the shrewder
they are. But this unacquainted and most unnatural practice
with a vile enchantress against so noble a gentleman
as Endymion I abhor as a thing most malicious, and will
revenge as a deed most monstrous. And as for you,
Dipsas, I will send you into the desert amongst wild
beasts, and try whether you can cast lions, tigers, boars,
and bears into as dead a sleep as you did Endymion, or
turn them to trees as you have done Bagoa. But tell me,
Tellus, what was the cause of this cruel part, far unfitting
thy sex, in which nothing should be but simpleness, and
much disagreeing from thy face, in which nothing seemed
to be but softness?

Divine Cynthia, by whom I receive my life and am
content to end it, I can neither excuse my fault without
lying nor confess it without shame. Yet were it possible
that in so heavenly thoughts as yours there could fall such
earthly motions as mine, I would then hope, if not to be
pardoned without extreme punishment, yet to be heard
without great marvel.

Say on, Tellus. I cannot imagine anything that can
colour such a cruelty.

Endymion, that Endymion, in the prime of his youth
so ravished my heart with love that to obtain my desires
I could not find means, nor to resist them reason. What
was she that favoured not Endymion, being young, wise,
honourable, and virtuous? Besides, what metal was she
made of, be she mortal, that is not affected with the spice,
nay infected with the poison, of that not-to-be-expressed
yet always-to-be-felt love, which breaketh the brains and
never bruiseth the brow, consumeth the heart and never
toucheth the skin, and maketh a deep wound to be felt
before any scar at all be seen? My heart, too tender to
withstand such a divine fury, yielded to love –madam, I
not without blushing confess, yielded to love.

A strange effect of love, to work such an extreme
hate. How say you, Endymion, all this was for love?

I say, madam, then the gods send me a woman's

That were as bad, for then by contrary you should
never sleep. But on, Tellus, let us hear the end.

Feeling a continual burning in all my bowels and a
bursting almost in every vein, I could not smother the
inward fire, but it must needs be perceived by the outward
smoke; and, by the flying abroad of divers sparks,
divers judged of my scalding flames. Endymion, as full of
art as wit, marking mine eyes (in which he might see
almost his own), my sighs (by which he might ever hear
his name sounded), aimed at my heart (in which he was
assured his person was imprinted), and by questions
wrung out that which was ready to burst out. When he
saw the depth of my affections, he swore that mine in
respect of his were as fumes to Etna, valleys to Alps, ants
to eagles, and nothing could be compared to my beauty
but his love and eternity. Thus drawing a smooth shoe
upon a crooked foot, he made me believe that (which all
of our sex willingly acknowledge) I was beautiful, and to
wonder (which indeed is a thing miraculous) that any of
his sex should be faithful.

Endymion, how will you clear yourself?

Madam, by mine own accuser.

Well, Tellus, proceed, but briefly, lest, taking delight
in uttering thy love, thou offend us with the length of it.

I will, madam, quickly make an end of my love and my
tale. Finding continual increase of my tormenting
thoughts, and that the enjoying of my love made deeper
wounds than the entering into it, I could find no means to
ease my grief but to follow Endymion, and continually to
have him in the object of mine eyes, who had me slave
and subject to his love. But in the moment that I feared
his falsehood, and fried myself most in mine affections, I
found (ah, grief! even then I lost myself), I found him in
most melancholy and desperate terms, cursing his stars,
his state, the earth, the heavens, the world, an all for the
love of–

Of whom? Tellus, speak boldly.

Madam, I dare not utter for fear to offend.

Speak, I say. Who dare take offence if thou be commanded
by Cynthia?

For the love of Cynthia.

For my love, Tellus? That were strange. Endymion,
is it true?

In all things, madam. Tellus doth not speak false.

What will this breed to in the end? Well, Endymion,
we shall hear all.

I, seeing my hopes turned to mishaps, and a settled
dissembling towards me, and an unmovable desire to
Cynthia, forgetting both myself and my sex, fell unto this
unnatural hate. For knowing your virtues, Cynthia, to be
immortal, I could not have an imagination to withdraw
him; and finding mine own affections unquenchable, I
could not carry the mind that any else should possess
what I had pursued. For though in majesty, beauty, virtue,
and dignity I always humbled and yielded myself to
Cynthia, yet in affections I esteemed myself equal with
the goddesses, and all other creatures, according to their
states, with myself. For stars to their bigness have their
lights, and the sun hath no more. And little pitchers,
when they can hold no more, are as full as great vessels
that run over. Thus, madam, in all truth have I uttered
the unhappiness of my love and the cause of my hate,
yielding wholly to that divine judgement which never
erred for want of wisdom or envied for too much

How say you, my lords, to this matter? But what say
you, Endymion, hath Tellus told truth?

Madam, in all things, but in that she said I loved
her and swore to honour her.

Was there such a time whenas for my love thou didst
vow thyself to death, and in respect of it loathed thy life?
Speak, Endymion. I will not revenge it with hate.

The time was, madam, and is, and ever shall be,
that I honoured Your Highness above all the world; but
to stretch it so far as to call it love, I never durst. There
hath none pleased mine eye but Cynthia, none delighted
mine ears but Cynthia, none possessed my heart but
Cynthia. I have forsaken all other fortunes to follow
Cynthia, and here I stand ready to die if it please Cynthia.
Such a difference hath the gods set between our states
that all must be duty, loyalty, and reverence; nothing,
without it vouchsafe Your Highness, be termed love. My
unspotted thoughts, my languishing body, my discontented
life, let them obtain by princely favour that which
to challenge they must not presume, only wishing of
impossibilities; with imagination of which I will spend my
spirits, and to myself, that no creature may hear, softly
call it love. And if any urge to utter what I whisper, then
will I name it honour. From this sweet contemplation if I
be not driven, I shall live of all men the most content,
taking more pleasure in mine aged thoughts than ever I
did in my youthful actions.

Endymion, this honourable respect of thine shall be
christened 'love' in thee, and my reward for it 'favour'.
Persevere, Endymion, in loving me, and I account more
strength in a true heart than in a walled city. I have
laboured to win all, and study to keep such as I have won;
but those that neither my favour can move to continue
constant, nor my offered benefits get to be faithful, the
gods shall either reduce to truth or revenge their treacheries
with justice. Endymion, continue as thou hast begun,
and thou shalt find that Cynthia shineth not on thee
in vain.

[Endymion's youthful looks are restored to him.]

Your highness hath blessed me, and your words
have again restored my youth. Methinks I feel my joints
strong, and these mouldy hairs to moult, and all by your
virtue, Cynthia, into whose hands the balance that
weigheth time and fortune are committed.

What, young again? Then it is pity to punish Tellus.

Ah, Endymion, now I know thee and ask pardon of
thee. Suffer me still to wish thee well.

Tellus, Cynthia must command what she will.

Endymion, I rejoice to see thee in thy former estate.

Good Floscula, to thee also am I in my former

Endymion, the comfort of my life, how am I ravished
with a joy matchless, saving only the enjoying of my

Endymion, you must now tell who Eumenides
shrineth for his saint.

Semele, madam.

Semele, Eumenides? Is it Semele? The very wasp of
all women, whose tongue stingeth as much as an adder's

It is Semele, Cynthia, the possessing of whose
love must only prolong my life.

Nay, sith Endymion is restored, we will have all
parties pleased. Semele, are you content after so long trial
of his faith, such rare secrecy, such unspotted love, to
take Eumenides? –Why speak you not? Not a word?

Silence, madam, consents. That is most true.

It is true, Endymion. Eumenides, take Semele. Take
her, I say.

Humble thanks, madam. Now only do I begin to

A hard choice, madam, either to be married if I say
nothing or to lose my tongue if I speak a word. Yet do I
rather choose to have my tongue cut out than my heart
distempered. I will not have him.

Speaks the parrot? She shall nod hereafter with
signs. Cut off her tongue, nay, her head, that, having a
servant of honourable birth, honest manners, and true
love, will not be persuaded!

He is no faithful lover, madam, for then would he
have asked his mistress.

Had he not been faithful, he had never seen into the
fountain, and so lost his friend and mistress.

Thine own thoughts, sweet Semele, witness
against thy words, for what hast thou found in my life but
love? And as yet what have I found in my love but
bitterness? Madam, pardon Semele, and let my tongue
ransom hers.

Thy tongue, Eumenides? What shouldst thou live,
wanting a tongue to blaze the beauty of Semele? Well,
Semele, I will not command love, for it cannot be enforced.
Let me entreat it.

I am content Your Highness shall command, for now
only do I think Eumenides faithful, that is willing to lose
his tongue for my sake; yet loath, because it should do me
better service. Madam, I accept of Eumenides.

I thank you, Semele.

Ah, happy Eumenides, that hast a friend so faithful
and a mistress so fair! With what sudden mischief will
the gods daunt this excess of joy? Sweet Semele, I live or
die as thou wilt.

What shall become of Tellus? Tellus, you know
Endymion is vowed to a service from which death cannot
remove him. Corsites casteth still a lovely look towards
you. How say you, will you have your Corsites and so
receive pardon for all that is past?

Madam, most willingly.

But I cannot tell whether Corsites be agreed.

Ay, madam, more happy to enjoy Tellus than the
monarchy of the world.

Why, she caused you to be pinched with fairies.

Ay, but her fairness hath pinched my heart more

Well, enjoy thy love. But what have you wrought in
the castle, Tellus?

Only the picture of Endymion.

Then so much of Endymion as his picture cometh
to, possess and play withal.

Ah, my sweet Tellus, my love shall be as thy beauty
is: matchless.

Now it resteth, Dipsas, that if thou wilt forswear that
vile art of enchanting, Geron hath promised again to
receive thee; otherwise, If thou be wedded to that wickedness,
I must and will see it punished to the uttermost.

Madam, I renounce both substance and shadow of
that most horrible and hateful trade, vowing to the gods
continual penance and to Your Highness obedience.

How say you, Geron, will you admit her to your

Ay, with more joy than I did the first day, for nothing
could happen to make me happy but only her forsaking
that lewd and detestable course. Dipsas, I embrace thee.

And I thee, Geron, to whom I will hereafter recite the
cause of these my first follies.

[They embrace.]

Well, Endymion, nothing resteth now but that we
depart. Thou hast my favour, Tellus her friend,
Eumenides in paradise with his Semele, Geron contented
with Dipsas.

Nay, soft. I cannot handsomely go to bed without

Well, Sir Tophas, it may be there are more virtues in
me than myself knoweth of, for Endymion I awaked, and
at my words he waxed young. I will try whether I can turn
this tree again to thy true love.

Turn her to a true love or false, so she be a wench I
care not.

Bagoa, Cynthia putteth an end to thy hard fortunes,
for, being turned to a tree for revealing a truth, I will
recover thee again if in my power be the effect of truth.

[Bagoa regains her human shape.]

Bagoa? A bots upon thee!

Come my lords, let us in. You, Gyptes and Pythagoras,
if you cannot content yourselves in our court to fall
from vain follies of philosophers to such virtues as are
here practised, you shall be entertained according to your
deserts, for Cynthia is no stepmother to strangers.

I had rather in Cynthia's court spend ten years
than in Greece one hour.

And I choose rather to live by the sight of Cynthia
than by the possessing of all Egypt.

Then follow.

We all attend.


The Epilogue

A man walking abroad, the wind and sun strove for
sovereignty; the one with his blast, the other with his
beams. The wind blew hard; the man wrapped his garment
about him harder. It blustered more strongly; he
then girt it fast to him. 'I cannot prevail', said the wind.
The sun casting her crystal beams began to warm the
man; he unloosed his gown. Yet it shined brighter; he
then put it off. 'I yield', said the wind, 'for if thou continue
shining he will also put off his coat'.
Dread sovereign, the malicious that seek to overthrow
us with threats do but stiffen our thoughts and make
them sturdier in storms. But if Your Highness vouchsafe
with your favourable beams to glance upon us, we shall
not only stoop, but with all humility lay both our hands
and hearts at Your Majesty’s feet.