John Lyly: Euphues and his England 1580
(Original spelling, slightly updated by incorporating,
for clarity, the author's changes in later editions)
Transcribed by Barboura Flues
Edited, designed, and published on the web by Robert Brazil
All rights reserved, text/layout copyright 2006, B. Flues, R. Brazil, and

  ¶Euphues and his England,


his voyage and aduentures, myxed with
sundry pretie discourses of honest
Loue, the discription of the
countrey, the Court, and
the manners of that

be read, and nothing hurtfull to be regar-
ded: wherein there is small offence
by lightnesse gluen to the wise,
and lesse occasion of loose-
nes proffered to the

¶By Iohn Lyly, Maister
of Arte.

Commend it, or amend it.

Imprinted at London for Gabriell Cawood, dwelling
in Paules Church-yard. 1580.

To the Right Honourable my
very good Lorde and Maister, Edward de Vere,
Earle of Oxenforde, Vicount Bulbeck, Lorde of
Escales and Badlesmere, and Lorde great
Chamberlaine of England, John Lyly
wisheth long lyfe, with en-
crease of Honour.

THE first picture that Phydias the first Paynter shadowed, was the protraiture of his owne person, saying thus: if it be well, I will paint many besides Phydias, if ill, it shall offend none but Phydias.

In the like manner fareth it with me (Right Honourable) who never before handling the pensill, did for my fyrst counterfaite, coulour mine owne Euphues, being of this minde, that if it wer lyked, I would draw more besides Euphues, if loathed, grieve none but Euphues.

Since that, some there have bene, that either dissembling the faultes they saw, for feare to discourage me, or not examining them, for the love they bore me, that praised mine olde worke, and urged me to make a new, whose words I thus answered. If I should coyne a worse, it would be thought that the former was framed by chaunce, as Protogenes did the foame of his dogge, if a better, for flatterie, as Narcissus did, who only was in love with his own face, if none at all, as froward as the Musition, who being entreated, will scarse sing sol fa, but not desired, straine above Ela.

But their importunitie admitted no excuse, in-so-much that I was enforced to preferre their friendship before mine owne fame, being more carefull to satisfie their requestes, then fearefull of others reportes: so that at the last I was content to set an other face to Euphues, but yet just behind the other, like the Image of Janus, not running together, lik the Hopplitides of Parrhasius least they should seeme so unlike Brothers, that they might be both thought bastardes, the picture wherof I yeeld as common all to view, but the patronage onely to your Lordshippe, as able to defend, knowing that the face of Alexander stamped in copper doth make it currant, that the name of Caesar, wrought in Canvas, is esteemed as Cambricke, that the feather of an Eagle, is of force to consume the Beetle.

I have brought into the worlde two children, of the first I was delivered, before my friendes thought mee conceived, of the second I went a whole yeare big, and yet when everye one thoght me ready to lye downe, I did then quicken: But good huswives shall make my excuse, who know that Hens do not lay egges when they clucke, but when they cackle, nor men set forth bookes when they promise, but when they performe. And in this I resemble the Lappwing, who fearing hir young ones to be destroyed by passengers, flyeth with a false cry farre from their nestes, making those that looke for them seeke where they are not: So I suspecting that Euphues would be carped of some curious Reader, thought by some false shewe to bringe them in hope of that which then I meant not, leading them with a longing of a second part, that they might speake well of the first, being never farther from my studie, then when they thought mee hovering over it.

My first burthen comming before his time, must needes be a blind whelp, the second brought forth after his time must needes be a monster. The one I sent to a noble man to nurse, who with great love brought him up, for a yeare: so that where-soever he wander, he hath his Nurses name in his forhead, wher sucking his first milke, he can-not forget his first Master.

The other (right Honourable) being but yet in his swathe cloutes, I commit most humbly to your Lordships protection, that in his infancie he may be kepte by your good care from fals, and in his youth by your great countenaunce shielded from blowes, and in his age by your gracious continuaunce, defended from contempt. He is my youngest and my last, and the paine that I sustained for him in travell, hath made me past teeming, yet doe I thinke my self very fertile, in that I was not altogether barren. Glad I was to sende them both abroad, least making a wanton of my first, with a blinde conceipt, I should resemble the Ape, and kill it by cullyng it, and not able to rule the second, I should with the Viper, loose my bloud with mine own brood. Twinnes they are not, but yet Brothers, the one nothing resemblyng the other, and yet (as all children are now a dayes) both like the father. Wherin I am not unlike unto the unskilfull Painter, who having drawen the Twinnes of Hippocrates, (who wer as lyke as one pease is to an other) & being told of his friends that they wer no more lyke then Saturne and Appollo, he had no other shift to manifest what his worke was, then over their heads to write: The Twinnes of Hippocrates. So may it be, that had I not named Euphues, fewe woulde have thought it had bene Euphues, not that in goodnes the one so farre excelleth the other, but that both beeing so bad, it is hard to judge which is the worst.

This unskilfulnesse is no wayes to be covered, but as Accius did his shortnesse, who being a lyttle Poet, framed for himselfe a great picture, & I being a naughtie Painter, have gotten a most noble Patron: being of Ulysses minde, who thought himselfe safe under the Shield of Ajax..

I have now finished both my labours, the one being hatched in the hard winter with the Alcyon, the other not daring to bud till the colde were past, like the Mulbery, in either of the which or in both, if I seeme to gleane after an others Cart, for a few eares of corne, or of the Taylors shreds to make me a lyvery, I will not deny, but that I am one of those Poets, which the painters faine to come unto Homers bason, there to lap up, that he doth cast up.

In that I have written, I desire no praise of others but patience, altogether unwillyng, bicause every way unworthy, to be accompted a workeman.

It sufficeth me to be a water bough, no bud, so I may be of the same roote, to be the yron, not steele, so I be in the same blade, to ber vinegar, not wine, so I be in the same caske, to grinde colours for Appelles, though I cannot garnish, so I be of the same shop. What I have done, was onely to keepe my selfe from sleepe, as the Crane doth the stone in hir foote, & I would also with the same Crane, I had bene silent holding a stone in my mouth.

But it falleth out with me, as with the young wrastler, that came to the games of Olympia, who having taken a foyle, thought scorne to leave, till he had received a fall, or him that being pricked in the finger with a Bramble, thrusteth his whole arme among the thornes, for anger. For I seeing my selfe not able to stande on the yce, did neverthelesse adventure to runne, and being with my first booke striken into disgrace, could not cease until I was brought into contempt by the second: wherein I resemble those that having once wet their feete, care not how deepe they wade.

In the which my wading (right Honourable) if the envious shal clap lead to my heeles to make me sinke, yet if your Lordship with your lyttle finger doe but holde me up by the chinne, I shall swimme, and be so farre from being drowned, that I shall scarce be duckt.

When Bucephalus was painted, Appelles craved the judgement of none but Zeuxis: when Juppiter was carved, Prisius asked the censure of none but Lysippus: now Euphues is shadowed, only I appeale to your honour, not meaning thereby to be carelesse what others thinke, but knowing that if your Lordship allowe it, there is none but wil lyke it, and if ther be any so nice, whom nothing can please, if he will not commend it, let him amend it.

And heere right Honourable, although the Historie seeme unperfect, I hope your Lordship will pardon it.

Appelles dyed not before he could finish Venus, but before he durst, Nichomachus left Tindarides rawly, for feare of anger, not for want of Art, Timomachus broke off Medea scarce halfe coloured, not that he was not willing to end it, but that he was threatned: I have not made Euphues to stand without legges, for that I want matter ot make them, but might to maintein them: so that I am enforced with the olde painters, to colour my picture but to the middle, or as he that drew Ciclops, who in a little table made him to lye behinde an Oke, wher one might perceive but a peece, yet conceive that al the rest lay behinde the tree, or as he that painted an horse in the river with halfe legges, leaving the pasternes for the viewer, to imagine as in the water.

For he that vieweth Euphues, wil say that he is drawen but to the wast, that he peepeth, as it were behinde some screene, that his feet are yet in the water: which maketh me present your Lordship, with the mangled body of Hector, at it appeared to Andromache, & with half a face as the painter did him that had but one eye, for I am compelled to draw a hose on, before I can finish the legge, & in steed of a foot to set downe a shoe. So that whereas I had though to shew the cunning of a Chirugian bymine Anatomy with a knife, I must play the Tayler on the shoppe boorde with a paire of sheeres. But whether Euphues lympe with Vulcan, as borne lame, or go on stilts with Amphionax, for lack of legs, I trust I may say, that his feet shold have ben, olde Helena: for the poore Fisher-man that was warned he should not fish, did yet at his dore make nets, and the olde Vintener of Venice, that was forbidden to sell wine, did notwithstanding hang out an Ivie bush.

This Pamphlet right honorable, conteining the estate of England, I know none more fit to defend it, then one of the Nobilitie of England, nor any of the Nobilitie, more auntient or more honorable then your Lordship, besides that, describing the condition of the English court, & the majestie of our dread Sovereigne, I could not finde one more noble in court, your Honor, who is or should be under hir Majestie chiefest in court, by birth borne to the greatest Office, & therfore me thought by right to be placed in great authoritie: for who so compareth the honor of your L. noble house, with the fidelitie of your auncestours, may wel say, which no other can truly gainsay, Vero nihil verius. So that I commit the ende of al my pains unto your most honorable protection, assuring my self that the little Cock boat is safe, when it is hoised into a tall ship, that the Cat dare not fetch the mouse out of the Lions den, that Euphues shal be without daunger by your L. Patronage, otherwise, I cannot see, wher I might finde succour in any noble personage. Thus praying continually for the encrease of your Lordships honour, with all other things that either you woulde wish, or God will graunt, I ende.

Your Lordships most dutifully to commaund,

and Gentlewoemen of England,
John Lyly wisheth what
they would.

Arachne having woven in cloth of Arras, a Raine-bow of sundry & silkes, it was objected unto hir by a Ladie more captious then cunning, that in hir worke there wanted some coulours: for that in a Raine-bow there would bee all: Unto whom she replyed, if the coulours lacke thou lookest for, thou must imagine that they are on the other side of the cloth: For in the Skie wee canne discerne but one side of the Raine-bowe, and what coulours are in the other, see wee can-not, gesse wee may.

In the like manner (Ladies and Gentlewoemen) am I to shape an aunswere in the behalfe of Euphues, who framing divers questions and quirkes of love, if, by some more curious then needeth, it shall be tolde him, that some sleightes are wanting, I must saye they are noted on the backside of the booke. When Venus is paynted, we can-not see hir back, but hir face, so that all other thinges that are to be recounted in love, Euphues thinketh them to hang at Venus back in a budget, which bicause hee can-not see, hee will not set downe.

These discourses I have not clapt in a cluster, thinking with my selfe, that Ladies had rather be sprinckled with sweete water, then washed, so that I have sowed them heere and there, lyke Strawberies, not in heapes, lyke Hoppes: knowing that you take more delyght, to gather flowers one by one in a garden, then to snatche them by handfulles from a Garland.

It resteth Ladies, that you take the paines to read it, but at such times, as you spend in playing with your little Dogges, and yet will I not pinch you of that pastime, for I am content that your Dogges lye in your laps, so Euphues may be in your hands, that when you shall be wearie in reading of the one, you may be ready to sport with the other: or handle him as you doe your Junckets, that when you can eate no more, you tye some in your napkin for children, for if you be filled with the first part, put the second in your pocket for your wayting Maydes: Euphues had rather lye shut in a Ladyes casket, then open in a Schollers studie.

Yet after dinner, you may overlooke him to keepe you from sleepe, or if you be heavie, to bring you a sleepe, for to worke upon a full stomacke is against Phisicke, and therefore better it were to holde Euphues in your hands, though you let him fal, when you be willing to winke, then to sowe in a clout, and pricke your fingers, when you begin to nod.

What-soever he hath written, it is not to flatter, for he never reaped anye rewarde by your sex, but repentaunce, neyther canne it be to mocke you, for hee never knewe anye thing by your sexe, but righteousnesse.

But I feare no anger for saying well, when there is none but thinketh she deserveth better.

She that hath no glasse to dresse hir head, will use a bole of water, shee that wanteth a sleeke-stone to smooth hir linnen, wil take a pebble, the country dame girdeth hir selfe as straight in the wast with a course caddis, as the Madame of the court with a silke riband, so that seeing everye one so willing to be pranked, I could not thinke any one unwilling to be praised.

One hand washeth an other, but they both wash the face, one foote goeth by an other, but they both carrye the body, Euphues and Philautus prayse one an other, but they both extoll woemen: Therfore in my minde you are more beholding to Gentlemen that make the coulours, then to the Painters, that drawe your counterfaites: for that Apelles cunning is nothing if hee paint with water, and the beautie of women not much if they go unpraised.

If you thinke this Love dreamed not done, yet mee thinketh you may as well like that love which is penned and not practised, as that flower that is wrought with the needle, and groweth not by nature, the one you weare in your heades, for the faire sight, though it have no favour, the other you may reade for to passe the time, though it bring small pastime. You chuse cloth that will weare whitest, not that will last longest, coulours that looke freshest, not that endure soundest, and I would you woulde read bookes that have more shewe of pleasure, then ground of profit, then should Euphues be as often in your hands, being but a toy, as Lawne on your heads, being but trash, the one will be scarce liked after once reading, and the other is worne out after the first washing.

There is nothing lyghter then a feather, yet is it sette a loft in a woemans hatte, nothing slighter then haire, yet is it most frisled in a Ladies head, so that I am in good hope, though their be nothing of lesse accounte then Euphues, yet he shall be marked with Ladies eyes, and lyked sometimes in their eares: For this I have diligently observed, that there shall be nothing found, that may offend the chast minde with unseemely tearmes, or uncleanly talke.

Then Ladies I commit my selfe to your curtesies, craving this only, that having read, you conceale your censure, writing your judgments as you do the posies in your rings, which are alwayes next to the finger, not to be seene of him that holdeth you by the hands, and yet known to you that wear them on your hands: If you be wronge (which cannot be done with-out wrong) it were better to cut the shooe, then burne the last.

If a Tailour make your gowne too little, you cover his fault with a broad stomacher, if too great, with a number of plights, if too short, with a faire garde, if too long, with a false gathering, my trust is you will deale in the like manner with Euphues, that if he have not fead your humour, yet you will excuse him more then the Tailour: for could Euphues take the measure of a womans minde, as the Tailour doth of hir bodie, hee would go as neere to fit them for a fancie, as the other doth for a fashion.

Hee that weighes wind, must have a steadie hand to holde the ballaunce, and he that sercheth a woemans thoughts must have his own stayed. But least I make my Epistle as you do your new found bracelets, endlesse, I wil frame it like a bullet, which is no sooner in the mould but it is made. Committing your Ladiships to the Almightie, who graunt you al you would have, and should have: so your wishes stand with his will. And so humbly I bid you farewell.

Your Ladiships to commaund




To the Gentlemen

GEntlemen, Euphues is come at the length though too late, for whose absence, I hope three badde excuses, shall stande in a steede of one good reason.

First in his travaile, you must think he loytered, tarying many a month in Italy viewing the Ladyes in a Painters shop, when he should have bene on the Seas in a Merchaunts ship, not unlike unto an idle huswife, who is catching of flyes, when she should sweepe downe copwebs.

Secondly, being a great start from Athens to England, he thought to stay for the advantage of a Leape yeare, and had not this yeare leapt with him, I think he had not yet leapt hether.

Thirdly, being arrived, he was as long in viewing of London, as he was in comming to it, not farre differing from Gentlewomen, who are longer a dressing their heads then their whole bodyes.

But now he is come Gentlemen, my request is onely to bid him welcome, for divers ther are, not that they mislike the matter, but that they hate the man, that wil not stick to teare Euphues, bicause they do envie Lyly: Where-in they resemble angry Dogges, which byte the stone, not him that throweth it, or the cholericke Horse-rider, who being cast from a young Colt, & not daring to kill the Horse went into the stable to cutte the saddle.

These by they, that thought Euphues to be drowned and yet were never troubled with drying of his clothes, but they gessed as they wished, and I woulde it had happened as they desired.

They that loath the Fountaines heade, will never drinke of the lyttle Brookes: they that seeke to poyson the Fish, will never eate the spawne: they that lyke not mee, will not allowe anye thing, that is mind.

But as the Serpent Porphirius, though he bee full of poyson yet having no teeth, hurteth none but himselfe, so the envious, though they swell with malyce till they burst, yet having no teeth to bite, I have no cause to feare.

Onely my sute is to you Gentlemen, that if anye thing bee amisse, you pardon it: if well, you defende it: and how-soever it bee, you accepte it.

Faultes escaped in the Printing, correcte with your pennes: omitted by my negligence, overslippe with patience: committed by ignoraunce, remit with favour.

If in every part it seeme not alyke, you know that it is not for him that fashioneth the shoe, to make the graine of the leather.

Lovers when they come into a Gardeine, some gather Nettles, some Roses, one Tyme, an other Sage, and everye one, that, for his Ladyes favour, that shee favoureth: insomuch as there is no Weede almoste, but it is worne. If you Gentlemen, doe the lyke in reading,

I shall be sure all my discourses shall be regarded, some for the smell, some for
the smart, all for a kinde of a loving smacke:
Lette everye one followe his fancie, and
say that is best, which he lyketh best.
And so I commit everye mans
delight to his own choice, &
my selfe to all your

Yours to use,
John Lyly

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