Pandosto by Robert Greene, 1588

Original Spelling. From the First Quarto of 1588.
Transcribed and edited by B.Flues. Copyright © 2003, all rights reserved
Items defined in the glossary are underlined.
Run on lines (closing open endings) are indicated by ~~~.

Pandosto. the Triumph of Time.
Wherein is discovered by a pleasant Historie,
that although by the meanes of sinister fortune,
Truth may be concealed yet by Time in spight of fortune
it is most manifestly revealed.

Pleasant for age to avoyde drowsie thoughtes,
profitable for youth to eschue other wanton pastimes,
and bringing to both a desired content.
Temporis filia veritas.

By Robert Greene, Maister of Artes in Cambridge.
Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci.
Imprinted at London by Thomas Orwin
for Thomas Cadman, dwelling at the Signe of the Bible,
neere unto the North doore of Paule, 1588.


Pandosto part 1 - This page; scroll down.
Pandosto part 2
Pandosto part 3
Appendix I
  Suggested Reading
Appendix II: Connections
Appendix III: Vocabulary, Word Formation

The Historie of Dorastus and Fawnia.

[Para. 1] Among al the passions wherewith humane mindes are perplexed, there is none that so galleth with restlesse despight, as the infectious soare of Jealousie: for all other griefes are eyther to bee appeased with sensible perswasions, to be cured with wholesome counsel, to be relieved in want, or by tract of time to be worne out. (Jealousie only excepted) which is so sawsed with suspitious doubtes, and pinching mistrust, that whoso seekes by friendly counsaile to rase out this hellish passion, it foorthwith suspecteth that he geveth this advise to cover his owne guiltinesse. Yea, who so is payned with this restlesse torment doubteth all, dystrusteth him-selfe, is alwayes frosen with feare, and fired with suspition, having that wherein consisteth all his joy to be the breeder of his miserie. Yea, it is such a heavy enemy to that holy estate of matrimony, sowing betweene the married couples such deadly seeds of secret hatred, as Love being once rased out by spightful distrust, there oft ensueth bloudy revenge, as this ensuing Hystorie manifestly prooveth: wherein Pandosto (furiously incensed by causelesse Jealousie) procured the death of his most loving and loyall wife, and his owne endlesse sorrow and misery.

[Para. 2] In the Countrey of Bohemia there raygned a King called Pandosto, whose fortunate successe in warres against his foes, and bountifull curtesie towardes his friendes in peace, made him to be greatly feared and loved of all men. This Pandosto had to Wife a Ladie called Bellaria, by birth royall, learned by education, faire by nature, by vertues famous, so that it was hard to judge whether her beautie, fortune, or vertue, wanne the greatest commendations. These two lincked together in perfect love, led their lives with such fortunate content, that their Subjects greatly rejoyced to see their quiet disposition. They had not beene married long, but Fortune (willing to increase their happines) lent them a sonne, so adorned with the gifts of nature, as the perfection of the Childe greatly augmented the love of the parentes, and the joys of their commons; in so much that the Bohemians, to shewe their inward joyes by outwarde actions, made Bone-fires and triumphs throughout all the Kingdome, appointing Justes and Turneyes for the honour of their young Prince: whether resorted not onely his Nobles, but also divers Kings and Princes which were his neighbours, willing to shewe their frendship they ought to Pandosto, and to win fame and glory by their prowesse and valour. Pandosto, whose minde was fraught with princely liberality, entertayned the Kings, Princes, and noble men with such submisse curtesie and magnifical bounty, that they all sawe how willing he was to gratifie their good wils, making a generall feast for his Subjects, which continued by the space of twentie dayes; all which time the Justes and Turneys were kept to the great content both of the Lordes and Ladies there present. This solemne tryumph being once ended, the assembly, taking their leave of Pandosto and Bellaria: the young sonne (who was called Garinter) was nursed up in the house to the great joy and content of the parents.

[Para. 3] Fortune envious of such happy successe, willing to shewe some signe of her inconstancie, turned her wheele, and darkned their bright sunne of prosperitie, with the mistie cloudes of mishap and misery. For it so happened that Egistus King of Sycilia, who in his youth had bene brought up with Pandosto, desirous to shewe that neither tracte of time, nor distance of place could diminish their former friendship, provided a navie of ships, and sayled into Bohemia to visite his old friend and companion, who hearing of his arrivall, went himselfe in person, and his wife Bellaria, accompanied with a great traine of Lords and Ladies, to meet Egistus: and espying him, alighted from his horse, embraced him very lovingly, protesting that nothing in the world could have happened more acceptable to him then his comming, wishing his wife to welcome his olde friend and acquaintance: who (to shewe how she liked him whom her husband loved) intertayned him with such familiar curtesie, as Egistus perceived himselfe to bee verie well welcome. After they had thus saluted and embraced eche other, they mounted againe on horsbacke and rode toward the Citie, devising and recounting, howe being children they had passed their youth in friendely pastimes: where, by the meanes of the Citizens, Egistus was receyved with triumphs and showes in such sort, that he marvelled how on so small a warning they coulde make such preparation.

[Para. 4] Passing the streetes thus with such rare sightes, they rode on to the Pallace, where Pandosto entertained Egistus and his Scycilians with such banqueting and sumptuous cheare, so royally, as they all had cause to commend his princely liberality; yea, the verie basest slave that was knowne to come from Sycilia was used with such curtesie, that Egistus might easily perceive how both hee and his were honored for his friendes sake. Bellaria (who in her time was the flower of curtesie), willing to show how unfaynedly shee looved her husband by his friends intertainement, used him likewise so familiarly, that her countenance bewraied how her minde was affected towardes him: oftentimes comming her selfe into his bed chamber, to see that nothing should be amis to mislike him. This honest familiarity increased dayly more and more betwixt them; for Bellaria, noting in Egistus a princely and bountifull minde, adorned with sundrie and excellent qualities, and Egistus, finding in her a vertuous and curteous disposition, there grew such a secret uniting of their affections, that the one could not well be without the company of the other: in so much that when Pandosto was busied with such urgent affaires, that hee could not bee present with his friend Egistus, Bellaria would walke with him into the Garden, where they two in privat and pleasant devises would passe away the time to both their contents. This custome still continuing betwixt them, a certaine melancholy passion entring the minde of Pandosto, drave him into sundry and doubtfull thoughts. First, he called to minde the beauty of his wife Bellaria, the comelines and braverie of his friend Egistus, thinking that Love was above all Lawes, and therefore to be staied with no Law: that it was hard to put fire and flaxe together without burning; that their open pleasures might breede his secrete displeasures. He considered with himselfe that Egistus was a man, and must needes love: that his wife was a woman, and therefore subject unto love, and that where fancy forced, friendship was of no force.

[Para. 5] These and such like doubtfull thoughtes a long time smoothering in his stomacke, beganne at last to kindle in his minde a secret mistrust, which increased by suspition, grewe at last to be a flaming Jealousie, that so tormented him as he could take no rest. He then began to measure all their actions, and to misconstrue of their too private familiaritie, judging that it was not for honest affection, but for disordinate fancy, so that hee began to watch them more narrowely, to see if hee coulde gette any true or certaine proofe to confirme his doubtfull suspition. While thus he noted their lookes and gestures, and suspected their thoughtes and meaninges, they two seely soules who doubted nothing of this his treacherous intent, frequented daily eache others companie, which drave him into such a franticke passion, that he beganne to beare a secret hate to Egistus, and a lowring countenance to Bellaria, who marveiling at such unaccustomed frowns, began to cast beeyond the Moone, and to enter into a thousand sundrie thoughtes, which way she should offend her husband: but finding in her selfe a cleare conscience, ceassed to muse, until such time as she might find fit opportunitie to demaund the cause of his dumps. In the meane time Pandostoes minde was so farre charged with Jealousy, that he did no longer doubt, but was assured (as he thought) that his Friend Egistus had entered a wrong pointe in his tables, and so had played him false play: whereupon desirous to revenge so great an injury, he thought best to dissemble the grudge with a faire and friendly countenance: and so under the shape of a friend, to shew him the tricke of a foe. Devising with himself a long time how he might best put away Egistus without suspition of treacherous murder, hee concluded at last to poyson him: which opinion pleasing his humour, he became resolute in his determination, and the better to bring the matter to passe he called unto him his cupbearer, with whom in secret he brake the matter: promising of yearely revenues; his cupbearer, eyther being of a good conscience, or willing for fashion sake, to deny such a bloudy request, began with great reasons to perswade Pandosto from his determinate mischief: shewing him what an offence murther was to the gods: how such unnaturall actions did more displease the heavens than men, and that causeles crueltie did seldome or never escape without revenge: he layd before his face, that Egistus was his friend, a king, and one that was come into his kingdome to confirme a league of perpetuall amitie betwixt them, that he had and did shew him a most friendly countenaunce: how Egistus was not onely honoured of his owne people by obedience, but also loved of the Bohemians for his curtesie. And that if he now should, without any just or manifest cause, poyson him, it would not only be a great dishonour to his Majesty, and a meanes to sow perpetuall enmitie betweene the Sycilians and the Bohemians, but also his owne subjectes would repine at such trecherous crueltie. These and such like perswasions of Franion (for so was his cup-bearer called) could no whit prevaile to disswade him from his devilish enterprise: but remaining resolute in his determination, his fury so fiered with rage, as it could not be appeased with reason, he began with bitter taunts to take up his man, and to lay before him two baytes: preferment, and death: saying that if he would poyson Egistus, he should advaunce him to high dignities: if he refused to do it of an obstinate minde, no torture should be too great to requite his disobedience. Franion, seeing that to perswade Pandosto any more, was but to strive against the streame, consented, as soone as opportunity would give him leave, to dispatch Egistus, wherewith Pandosto remained somewhat satisfied, hoping now he should be fully revenged of such mistrusted injuries, intending also assoon as Egistus was dead, to give his wife a sop of the same sawce, and so be rid of those which were the cause of his restles sorrow. While thus he lived in this hope, Franion being secret in his chamber, began to meditate with himselfe in these termes.

[Para. 6] Ah Franion, treason is loved of many, but the traitor hated of all: unjust offences may for a time escape without danger, but never without revenge. Thou art servant to a king, and must obey at commaund: yet Franion, against law and conscience, it is not good to resist a tyrant with armes, nor to please an unjust king with obedience. What shalt thou do? Folly refuseth gold, and frensie preferment: wisedome seeketh after dignitie, and counsel looketh for gaine. Egistus is a stranger to thee, and Pandosto thy soveraigne: thou hast little cause to respect the one, and oughtest to have great care to obey the other. Thinke this Franion, that a pound of gold is worth a tunne of Lead, great gifts are little Gods, and preferment to a meane man is a whetstone to courage: there is nothing sweeter than promotion, nor lighter than report: care not then though most count thee a traytor, so all call thee rich. Dignitie (Franion) advaunceth thy posteritie, and evill report can hurt but thyselfe. Know this, where Eagles builde, Faulcons may prey: where Lyons haunt, Foxes may steale. Kings are knowen to commaunde, servaunts are blamelesse to consent: feare not thou then to lift at Egistus, Pandosto shall beare the burthen. Yea, but Franion, conscience is a worme that ever biteth, but never ceaseth: that which is rubbed with the stone Galactites will never be hot. Flesh dipped in the Sea Aegeum will never bee sweete: the hearbe Tragion, being once bit with an Aspis, never groweth, and conscience once stayned with innocent bloud, is alwayes tyed to a guiltie remorse. Preferre thy content before riches, and a cleare minde before dignitie; so beeing poore, thou shalt have rich peace, or else rich, thou shalt enjoy disquiet.

[Para. 7] Franion having muttered out these or such like words, seeing either he must die with a cleare minde, or live with a spotted conscience, he was so combred with divers cogitations that hee could take no rest: untill at last he determined to breake the matter to Egistus; but fearing that the king should either suspect or heare of such matters, he concealed the devise till opportunitie would permit him to reveale it. Lingring thus in doubtfull feare, in an evening he went to Egistus lodging, and desirous to breake with him of certaine affaires that touched the king, after all were commaunded out of the chamber, Franion made manifest the whole conspiracie which Pandosto had devised against him, desiring Egistus not to accompt him a traytor for bewraying his maisters counsell, but to thinke that he did it for conscience, hoping that although his maister inflamed with rage, or incensed by some sinister reportes, or slaunderous speeches, had imagined such causelesse mischief: yet when time should pacifie his anger, and try those talebearers but flattering Parasites, then he would count him as a faithfull servaunt, that with such care had kept his maisters credit. Egistus had not fully heard Franion tell forth his tale, but a quaking feare possessed all his limmes, thinking that there was some treason wrought, and that Franion did but shaddow his craft with these false colours: wherefore he began to waxe in choller, and sayd that he doubted not Pandosto, sith he was his friend, and there had never as yet bene any breach of amitie: he had not sought to invade his lands, to conspire with his enemies, to disswade his subjectes from their allegiance: but in word and thought he rested his at all times: he knew not therefore any cause that should moove Pandosto to seeke his death, but suspected it to be a compacted knavery of the Bohemians to bring the King and him at oddes.

[Para. 8] Franion staying him in the midst of his talke, told him that to dally with Princes was with the swannes to sing agaynst their death, and that if the Bohemians had intended any such secret mischief, it might have bene better brought to passe then by revealing the conspiracie: therefore his Majestie did ill to misconstrue of his good meaning, sith his intent was to hinder treason, not to become a traytor; and to confirme his premises, if it please his Majestie to fly into Sycilia for the safegard of his life, he would goe with him: and if then he found not such a practise to be pretended, let his imagined trecherie be repayed with most monstrous torments.

[Para. 9] Egistus hearing the solemne protestation of Franion, began to consider, that in love and kingdomes, neither faith, nor lawe is to bee respected: doubting that Pandosto thought by his death to destroy his men, and with speedy warre to invade Sycilia. These and such doubtes thoroughly weighed, he gave great thankes to Franion, promising if hee might with life returne to Syracusa, that hee would create him a Duke in Sycilia, craving his counsell how he might escape out of the countrey. Franion, who having some small skill in Navigation, was well acquainted with the Ports and Havens, and knew every daunger in the Sea, joyning in counsell with the Maister of Egistus Navie, rigged all their ships, and setting them afloate, let them lye at anker, to be in the more readinesse when time and winde should serve.

[Para. 10] Fortune although blind, yet by chaunce favoring this just cause, sent them within six dayes a good gale of wind; which Franion seeing fit for their purpose, to put Pandosto out of suspition, the night before they should sayle, he went to him and promised, that the next day he would put the device in practise, for he had got such a forcible poyson, as the very smell thereof should procure sodaine death. Pandosto was joyfull to heare this good newes, and thought every houre a day till he might be glutted with bloudy revenge, but his suit had but ill successe: for Egistus fearing that delay might breede daunger, and willing that the grasse should not be cut from under his feete, taking bagge and baggage, with the helpe of Franion, conveyed himself and his men out of a posterne gate of the Citie so secretly and speedely that without any suspition they got to the sea shoare, where, with many a bitter curse taking their leave of Bohemia, they went aboord. Weighing their Ancres and hoysting sayle, they passed as fast as winde and sea would permit towardes Sycilia; Egistus being a joyfull man that he had safely past such trecherous perils.

[Para. 11] But as they were quietly floating on the sea, so Pandosto and his Citizens were in an uprore: for seeing that the Sycilians without taking their leave were fled away by night, the Bohemians feared some treason, and King thought that without question his suspition was true, seeing his Cup-bearer had bewrayed the summe of his secret pretence: whereupon he began to imagine, that Franion and his wife Bellaria had conspired with Egistus, and that the fervent affection she bare him, was the onely meanes of his secret departure, in so much that, incensed with rage, he commaunded that his wife should be carried to straight prison, untill they heard further of his pleasure.

[Para. 12] The guarde unwilling to lay their hands on such a vertuous Princesse, and yet fearing the kings furie, went very sorrowfully to fulfill their charge. Comming to the Queenes lodging, they found her playing with her young sonne Garinter, unto whom with teares doing the message, Bellaria astonished at such a hard censure, and finding her cleare conscience a sure advocate to pleade in her case, went to the prison most willingly: where with sighs and teares she past away the time till she might come to her triall.

[Para. 13] But Pandosto, whose reason was suppressed with rage, and whose unbridled folly was incensed with furie: seeing Franion had bewrayed his secrets, and that Egistus might wel be rayled on, but not revenged, determined to wreake all his wrath on poore Bellaria. He therefore caused a generall Proclamation to be made through all his Realme, that the Queene and Egistus had by the helpe of Franion, not onely committed most incestuous adulterie, but also had conspired the Kings death: wherupon the traitor Franion was fled away with Egistus, and Bellaria was most justly imprisoned. This proclamation being once blazed through the countrey, although the vertuous disposition of the Queene did halfe discredit the contents, yet the sodaine and speedie passage of Egistus, and the secret departure of Franion, induced them (the circumstances throughly considered) to thinke that both the Proclamation was true, and the King greatly injured: yet they pitied her case, as sorowful that so good a Ladie should be crossed with such adverse Fortune.

[Para. 14] But the King, whose restlesse rage would admit no pity, thought that although he might sufficiently requite his wifes falshood with the bitter plague of pinching penurie, yet his minde should never be glutted with revenge, till he might have fit time and oportunitie to repay the treacherie [of], Egistus with a fatall injurie. But a curst Cow hath oft times short hornes, and a willing mind but a weake arm: for Pandosto although he felt that revenge was a spurre to warre, and that envie alwayes proffereth steele, yet he saw, that Egistus was not onely of great puissance and prowesse to withstand him, but also had many Kings of his alliance to ayde him, if neede should serve: for he married to the Emperours daughter of Russia. These and the like considerations something daunted Pandosto his courage, so that he was content rather to put up a manifest injurie with peace, than hunt after revenge with dishonor and losse; determining since Egistus had escaped scot-free, that Bellaria should pay for all at an unreasonable price.

[Para. 15] Remayning thus resolute in his determination, Bellaria continuing still in prison, and hearing the contents of the Proclamation, knowing that her mind was never touched with such affection, nor that Egistus had ever offered her such discurtesie, would gladly have come to her answer, that both she might have knowne her unjust accusers, and cleared her selfe of that guiltlesse crime.

[Para. 16] But Pandosto was so enflamed with rage, and infected with Jealousie, as he would not vouchsafe to heare her nor admit any just excuse, so that she was faine to make a vertue of her neede, and with patience to beare these heavie injuries. As thus she lay crossed with calamities (a great cause to increase her griefe) she found her selfe quicke with childe: which assoone as she felt stir in her bodie, she burst foorth into bitter teares, exclaiming against fortune in these tearmes.

[Para. 17] Alas, Bellaria, how infortunate art thou, because fortunat! better hadst thou bene borne a begger than a Prince: so shouldest thou have bridled Fortune with want, where now shee sporteth her selfe with thy plentie. Ah happy life where poore thoughts, and meane desires live in secure content, not fearing Fortune because too low for Fortune! Thou seest now Bellaria, that care is a companion to honor, not to povertie, that high caedars are frushed with tempests, when low shrubs are not toucht with the wind: pretious Diamonds are cut with the file, when despised peables lie safe in the sand: Delphos is sought to by Princes, not beggers: and Fortunes altars smoke with Kings presents, not with poore mens gifts. Happy are such, Bellaria, that curse Fortune for contempt, not fear, and may wish they were, not sorrow they have bene. Thou art a Princesse, Bellaria, and yet a prisoner, borne to the one by discent, assigned to the other by despite: accused without cause, and therefore oughtest to die without care: for patience is a shield against Fortune, and a guiltlesse minde yeeldeth not to sorow. Ah, but Infamie galleth unto death, and liveth after death: Report is plumed with times feathers, and Envie oftentimes soundeth Fames trumpet: thy suspected adulterie shall fly in the ayre, and thy knowne vertues shall ly hid in the Earth; one Moale stayneth a whole face, and what is once spotted with Infamy can hardly be worne out with time. Die then Bellaria, Bellaria die! for if the Gods should say thou art guiltlesse, yet envie would heare the Gods, but never beleeve the Gods. h haplesse wretch, cease these tearmes: desperat thoughts are fit for them that feare shame, not for such as hope for credite. Pandosto hath darkned thy fame, but shal never discredite thy vertues. Suspition may enter a false action, but proofe shall never put in his plea: care not then for envie, sith report hath a blister on her tongue: and let sorrow baite them which offend, not touch thee that art faultlesse. But alas, poore soule, howe canst thou but sorrow? Thou art with child, and by him that in steed of kind pitie, pincheth thee in cold prison.

[Para. 18] And with that, such gasping sighes so stopping her breath, that she could not utter mo words, but wringing her hands, and gushing foorth streames of tears, shee passed away the time with bitter complaints. The Jaylor pitying these her heavie passions, thinking that if the king knew she were with child, he would somwhat appease his furie, and release her from prison, went in all hast, and certified Pandosto what the effect of Bellarias complaint was: who no sooner heard the Jaylor say she was with child, but as one possessed with a phrenzie, he rose up in a rage, swearing that she and the basterd brat she was withall should dye, if the Gods themselves said no; thinking assuredly by computation of time, that Egistus, and not he, was father to the child.

[Para. 19] This suspitious thought galled afresh this halfe healed sore, in so much as he could take no rest, until he might mitigate his choler with a just revenge, which happened presently after. For Bellaria was brought to bed of a faire and beautifull daughter, which no sooner Pandosto heard, but he determined that both Bellaria and the yong infant should be burnt with fire.

[Para. 20] His Nobles, hearing of the Kings cruell sentence, sought by perswasions to divert him from this bloody determination: laying before his face the innocencie of the child, and vertuous disposition of his wife, how she had continually loved and honored him so tenderly, that without due proof he could not, nor ought not to appeach her of that crime. And if she had faulted, yet it were more honorable to pardon with mercy, then to punish with extremity, and more Kingly, to be commended of pity, than accused of rigor. And as for the child, if he should punish it for the mothers offence, it were to strive against nature and justice: and that unnatural actions do more offend the Gods then men: how causelesse crueltie, nor innocent bloud never scapes without revenge.

[Para. 21] These and such like reasons could not appease his rage, but he rested resolute in this, that Bellaria beeing an adulteresse, the child was a bastard, and he would not suffer that such an infamous brat should call him father. Yet at last (seeing his noble men were importunate upon him) he was content to spare the childs life, and yet to put it to a worser death. For he found out this devise, that seeing (as he thought) it came by Fortune, so he would commit it to the charge of Fortune, and therefore he caused a little cock-boate to be provided, wherein he meant to put the babe, and then send it to the mercie of the seas, and the destinies.

[Para. 22] From this his Peeres in no wise could perswade him, but that he sent presently two of his Gard to fetch the child, who being come to the prison, and with weeping teares recounting their maisters message: Bellaria no sooner heard the rigorous resolution of her mercilesse husband, but she fell downe in a swound, so that all thought she had bin dead, yet at last being come to her selfe, she cried and scriched out in this wise.

[Para. 23] Alas, sweete infortunate babe, scarse borne before envied by fortune: would the day of thy birth had bin the tearme of thy life! then shouldest thou have made an end to care and prevented by fathers rigor. Thy faults cannot yet deserve such hatefull revenge, thy dayes are too short for so sharpe a doome, but thy untimely death must pay thy mothers debtes, and her guiltlesse crime must be thy gastly curse. And shalt thou, sweete babe, be committed to fortune, when thou art already spighted by Fortune? Shall the seas be thy harbour, and the hard boate thy cradle? Shall thy tender Mouth, in steede of sweete kisses, be nipped with bitter stormes? Shalt thou have the whistling windes for thy Lullabie, and the salt sea fome in steede of sweete milke? Alas, what destinies would assigne such hard hap? What father would be so cruell? Or what Gods will not revenge such rigor? Let me kisse thy lips (sweet Infant) and wet thy tender cheekes with my teares, and put this chaine about thy litle necke, that if fortune save thee, it may helpe to succour thee. Thus, since thou must goe to surge in the gastfull seas, with a sorrowfull kisse I bid thee farewell, and I pray the Gods thou mayst fare well.

[Para. 24] Such, and so great was her griefe, that her vital spirits being suppressed with sorrow, she fell downe in a traunce, having her sences so sotted with care, that after she was revived, yet she lost her memorie, and lay for a great time without moving, as one in a traunce. The gard left her in this perplexitie, and carried the child to the King, who quite devoide of pity commanded that without delay it should bee put in the boat, having neither saile nor rudder to guid it, and so to bee carried into the midst of the sea, and there left to the wind and wave as the destinies please to appoint. The very shipmen, seeing the sweete countenance of the yong babe, began to accuse the King of rigor, and to pity the childs hard fortune: but feare constrayned them to that which their nature did abhorre: so that they placed it in one of the ends of the boat, and with a few green bows made a homely cabben to shrowd it as they could from wind and weather: having thus trimmed the boat they tied it to a ship, and so haled it into the mayne Sea, and then cut in sunder the coarde, which they had no sooner done, but there arose a mighty tempest, which tossed the little Boate so vehemently in the waves, that the shipmen thought it coulde not long continue without sincking, yea the storme grewe so great, that with much labour and perill they got to the shoare.

[Para. 25] But leaving the Childe to her fortunes. Againe to Pandosto, who not yet glutted with sufficient revenge, devised which way he should best increase his Wives calamitie. But first assembling his Nobles and Counsellors, hee called her for the more reproach into open Court, where it was objected against her, that she had committed adulterie with Egistus, and conspired with Franion to poyson Pandosto her husband, but their pretence being partely spyed, shee counselled them to flie away by night for their better safety. Bellaria, who standing like a prisoner at the Barre, feeling in her selfe a cleare Conscience to withstand her false accusers: seeing that no lesse then death could pacifie her husbands wrath, waxed bolde, and desired that she might have Lawe and Justice, for mercy shee neyther craved nor hoped for; and that those perjured wretches, which had falsely accused her to the King, might be brought before her face, to give in evidence.

[Para. 26] But Pandosto, whose rage and Jealousie was such, no reason, nor equitie could appease: tolde her, that for her accusers they were of such credite, as their wordes were sufficient witnesse, and that the sodaine and secret flight of Egistus and Franion confirmed that which they had confessed: and as for her, it was her parte to deny such a monstrous crime, and to be impudent in forswearing the fact, since shee had past all shame in committing the fault: but her stale countenance should stand for no coyne, for as the Bastard which she bare was served, so she should with some cruell death be requited. Bellaria no whit dismayed with this rough reply, tolde her Husband Pandosto, that he spoke upon choller, and not conscience: for her vertuous life had beene ever such, as no spot of suspition could ever staine. And if she had borne a friendly countenance to Egistus, it was in respect he was his friende, and not for any lusting affection: therefore if she were condemned without any further proofe, it was rigour, and not Law.

[Para. 27] The noble men which sate in judgment, said that Bellaria spake reason, and intreated the king that the accusers might be openly examined, and sworne, and if then the evidence were such, as the Jury might finde her guilty (for seeing she was a Prince she ought to be tryed by her peeres), then let her have such punishment as the extremitie of the Law will assigne to such malefactors. The king presently made answere, that in this case he might, and would, dispence with the Law, and that the Jury being once panneld, they should take his word for sufficient evidence, otherwise he would make the proudest of them repent it. The noble men seeing the king in choler were all whist, but Bellaria, whose life then hung in the ballaunce, fearing more perpetuall infamie then momentarie death, tolde the king, if his furie might stand for a Law, that it were vaine to have the Jury yeeld their verdit; and therefore she fell downe upon her knees, and desired the king that for the love he bare to his young sonne Garinter, whome she brought into the world, that hee would graunt her a request, which was this, that it would please his majestie to send sixe of his noble men whome he best trusted, to the Isle of Delphos, there to enquire of the Oracle of Apollo, whether she had committed adultery with Egistus, or conspired to poyson with Franion: and if the God Apollo, who by his devine essence knew al secrets, gave answere that she was guiltie, she were content to suffer any torment, were it never so terrible. The request was so reasonable, that Pandosto could not for shame deny it, unlesse he would bee counted of all his subjects more wilfull then wise. He therefore agreed, that with as much speede as might be there should be certaine Embassadores dispatched to the Ile of Delphos; and in the meane season he commanded that his wife should be kept in close prison.

[Para. 28] Bellaria having obtained this graunt was now more carefull for her little babe that floated on the Seas, then sorrowful for her owne mishap. For of that she doubted: of her selfe she was assured, knowing if Apollo should give Oracle according to the thoughts of the hart, yet the sentence should goe on her side, such was the clearnes of her minde in this case. But Pandosto (whose suspitious heade still remained in one song) chose out six of his Nobility, whom hee knew were scarse indifferent men in the Queenes behalfe, and providing all things fit for their journey, sent them to Delphos. They willing to fulfill the Kinges commaund, and desirous to see the situation and custome of the Iland, dispatched their affaires with as much speede as might be, and embarked themselves to this voyage, which (the wind and weather serving fit for their purpose) was soone ended. For within three weekes they arrived at Delphos, where they were no sooner set on lande, but with great devotion they went to the Temple of Apollo, and there offring sacrifice to the GOD, and giftes to the Priest, as the custome was, they had not long kneeled at the Altar, but Apollo with a loude voice said: Bohemians, what you finde behinde the Alter take and depart. They forthwith obeying the Oracle founde a scroule of parchment, wherein was written these words in letters of Golde, --

[Para. 29] The Oracle.
Suspition is no proofe: Jealousie is an unequall judge: Bellaria is chast: Egistus blameless: Franion a true subject: Pandosto threacherous: his babe an innocent, and the King shall live without an heire: if that which is lost be not founde.

[Para. 30] As soone as they had taken out this scroule, the Priest of the God commaunded them that they should not presume to read it, before they came in the presence of Pandosto: unlesse they would incurre the displeasure of Apollo. The Bohemian Lords carefully obeying his commaund, taking their leave of the Priest, with great reverence departed out of the Temple, and went to their ships, and assoone as winde would permit them, sailed toward Bohemia, whither in short time they safely arrived, and with great tryumph issuing out of their Ships went to the Kinges pallace, whom they found in his chamber accompanied with other Noble men: Pandosto no sooner saw them, but with a merrie countenaunce he welcomed them home, asking what newes: they told his Majestie that they had received an aunswere of the God written in a scroule, but with this charge, that they should not read the contents before they came into the presence of the King, and with that they delivered him the parchment: but his Noble men entreated him that sith therein was contayned either the safetie of his Wives life, and honesty, or her death, and perpetuall infamy, that he would have his Nobles and Commons assembled in the judgement Hall, where the Queene be brought in as prysoner should heare the contents: if shee were found guilty by the Oracle of the God, then all should have cause to thinke his rigour proceeded of due desert: if her Grace were found faultlesse, then shee should bee cleared before all, sith she had bene accused openly. This pleased the King so, that he appointed the day, and assembled al his Lords and Commons, and caused the Queene to be brought in before the Judgement seat, commaunding that the inditement shoulde bee read, wherein she was accused of adultery with Egistus, and of conspiracy with Franion: Bellaria hearing the contentes, was no whit astonished, but made this cheereful aunswer:

[Para. 31] If the devine powers bee privy to humane actions (as no doubt they are) I hope my patience shall make fortune blushe, and my unspotted life shall staine spightful discredit. For although lying Report hath sought to appeach mine honor, and Suspition hath intended to soyle my credit with infamie: yet where Vertue keepeth the Forte, Report and Suspition may assayle, but never sack: how I have led my life before Egistus comming, I appeale Pandosto to the Gods and to thy conscience. What hath past betwixt him and me, the Gods only know, and I hope will presently reveale: that I loved Egistus I can not denie: that I honored him I shame not to confesse: to the one I was forced by his vertues, to the other for his dignities. But as touching lascivious lust, I say Egistus is honest, and hope my selfe to be found without spot: for Franion, I can neither accuse him nor excuse him, for I was not privie to his departure, and that this is true which I have heere rehearsed, I referre myself to the devine Oracle.

[Para. 32] Bellaria had no sooner sayd, but the King commaunded that one of his Dukes should reade the contents of the scroule: which after the Commons had heard, they gave a great showt, rejoysing and clapping their hands that the Queene was cleare of that false accusation: but the king whose conscience was a witnesse against him of his witlesse furie, and false suspected Jealousie, was so ashamed of his rashe folly, that he entreated his nobles to perswade Bellaria to forgive, and forget these injuries: promising not onely to shew himselfe a loyall and loving husband, but also to reconcile himselfe to Egistus, and Franion: revealing then before them all the cause of their secrete flighte, and how treacherously hee thought to have practised his death, if the good minde of his Cupbearer had not prevented his purpose. As thus he was relating the whole matter, there was worde brought him that his young sonne Garinter was sodainly dead, which newes so soone as Bellaria heard, surcharged before with extreame joy, and now suppressed with heavie sorrowe, her vital spirites were so stopped, that she fell downe presently dead, and could never be revived.

[Para. 33] This sodaine sight so appalled the Kings Sences, that he sancke from his seat in a swound, so as he was fayne to be carried by his nobles to his Pallace, where hee lay by the space of three dayes without speache: his commons were as men in dispaire, so diversely distressed: there was nothing but mourning and lamentation to be heard throughout al Bohemia: their young Prince dead, their vertuous Queene bereaved of her life, and their King and Soveraigne to great hazard: this tragicall discourse of fortune so daunted them, as they went like shadowes, not men; yet somewhat to comfort their heavie hearts, they heard that Pandosto was come to himselfe, and had recovered his speache, who as in a fury brayed out these bitter speaches:

[Para. 34] O miserable Pandosto, what surer witnesse then conscience? what thoughts more sower then suspition? What plague more bad then Jealousie? Unnaturall actions offend the Gods more then men, and causelesse crueltie never scapes without revenge. I have committed such a bloudy fact, as repent I may, but recall I cannot. Ah Jealousie, a hell to the minde, and a horror in the conscience, suppressing reason, and inciting rage: a worse passion then phrenzie, a greater plague than madnesse. Are the Gods just? Then let them revenge such brutishe crueltie: my innocent Babe I have drowned in the Seas; my loving wife I have slaine with slaunderous suspition; my trusty friend I have sought to betray, and yet the Gods are slacke to plague such offences. Ah unjust Apollo, Pandosto is the man that hath committed the fault: why should Garinter, seely childe, abide the paine? Well, sith the Gods meane to prolong my dayes, to increase my dolour, I will offer my guiltie bloud a sacrifice to those sackles soules, whose lives are lost by my rigorous folly.

[Para. 35] And with that he reached at a Rapier, to have murdered himselfe, but his Peeres being present, stayed him from such a bloudy acte: perswading him to think, that the Common-wealth consisted on his safetie, and that those sheepe could not but perish, that wanted a sheepheard; wishing that if hee would not live for himselfe, yet he should have care of his subjects, and to put such fancies out of his minde, sith in sores past help, salves do not heale, but hurt: and in things past cure, care is a corrosive: with these and such like perswasions the Kinge was overcome, and began somewhat to quiet his minde: so that assoone as he could goe abroad, hee caused his wife to be embalmed, and wrapt in lead with her young sonne Garinter: erecting a rich and famous Sepulchre, wherein hee intombed them both, making such solemne obsequies at her funeral, as al Bohemia as all Bohemia might perceive he did greatly repent him of his forepassed folly, causing this epitaph to be ingraven on her Tombe in letters of Golde.

[Para. 36] THE EPITAPH


[Para. 37] This epitaph being engraven, Pandosto would once a day repaire to the Tombe, and there with watry plaintes bewaile his misfortune; coveting no other companion but sorrowe, nor no other harmonie, but repentance. But leaving him to his dolorous passion, at last let us come to shewe the tragicall discourse of the young infant.

[Para. 38] Who being tossed with Winde, and Wave, floated two whole days without succour, readie at every puffe to bee drowned in the Sea, till at last the Tempest ceassed and the little boate was driven with the tyde into the Coast of Sycilia, where sticking uppon the sandes it rested. Fortune minding to be wanton, willing to shewe that as she hath wrincles on her browes, so shee hath dimples in her cheekes, thought after so many sower lookes, to lend a fayned smile, and after a puffing storme, to bring a pretty calme: shee began thus to dally. It fortuned a poore mercenary Sheepheard, that dwelled in Sycilia, who got his living by other mens flockes, missed one of his sheepe, and thinking it had strayed into the covert, that was hard by, sought very diligently to find that which he could not see, fearing either that the Wolves or Eagles had undone him (for hee was so poore, as a sheepe was halfe his substance), wandered downe toward the Sea cliffes, to see if perchaunce the sheepe was browsing on the sea Ivy, whereon they greatly doe feede, but not finding her there, as he was ready to returne to his flocke, hee heard a child crie; but knowing there was no house nere, he thought he had mistaken the sound, and that it was the bleatyng of his Sheepe. Wherefore looking more narrowely, as he cast his eye to the Sea, he spyed a little boate, from whence as he attentively listened, he might heare the cry to come: standing a good while in a maze, at last he went to the shoare, and wading to the boate, as he looked in, he saw a little babe lying al alone, ready to die for hunger and colde, wrapped in a Mantle of Scarlet, richely imbrodered with Golde, and having a chayne about the necke.

[Para. 39] The Sheepeheard, who before had never seene so faire a Babe, nor so riche Jewels, thought assuredly that it was some little God, and began with great devocion to knock on his breast. The Babe, who wrythed with the head, to seeke for the pap, began againe to cry afresh, whereby the poore man knew that it was a Childe, which by some sinister meanes was driven thither by distresse of weather; marvailing how such a seely infant, which by the Mantle, and the Chayne, could not be but borne of Noble Parentage, should be so hardly crossed with deadly mishap. The poore sheepheard perplexed thus with divers thoughts, tooke pitty of the childe, and determined with himselfe to carry it to the King, that there it might be brought up, according to the worthinesse of birth; for his ability coulde not afforde to foster it, though his goode minde was willing to further it.

[Para. 40] Taking therefore the Childe in his armes, as he foulded the mantle together, the better to defend it from colde, there fell downe at his foote a very faire and riche purse, wherein he founde a great summe of golde, which sight so revived the shepheards spirits, as he was greatly ravished with joy, and daunted with feare: Joyfull to see such a summe in his power, and feareful if it should be knowne, that it might breede his further daunger. Necessitie wisht him at the least, to retaine the Golde, though he would not keepe the childe: the simplicity of his conscience scared him from such deceiptfull briberie. Thus was the poore manne perplexed with a doubtfull Dilemma, until at last the covetousnesse of the coyne overcame him: for what will not the greedy desire of Golde cause a man to doe? So that he was resolved in himselfe to foster the child, and with the summe to relieve his want: resting thus resolute in this point he left seeking of his sheepe, and as covertly, and secretly as he coulde, went a by way to his house, least any of his neighbours should perceive his carriage: as soone as he was got home, entring in at the doore, the childe began to crie, which his wife hearing, and seeing her husband with a yong babe in armes, began to bee somewhat jelousse, yet marveiling that her husband should be so wanton abroad, sith he was so quiet at home: but as women are naturally given to beleeve the worste, so his wife thinking it was some bastard, beganne to crowe against her goodman, and taking up a cudgel (for the most maister went breechles) sware solemnly that shee would make clubs trumps, if hee brought any bastard brat within her dores. The goodman, seeing his wife in her majestie with her mace in her hand, thought it was time to bowe for feare of blowes, and desired her to be quiet, for there was non such matter; but if she could holde her peace, they were made for ever: and with that he told her the whole matter, how he had found the childe in a little boat, without any succour, wrapped in that costly mantle, and having that rich chaine about the neck: but at last when he shewed her the purse full of gold, she began to simper something sweetely, and taking her husband about the neck, kissed him after her homely fashion: saying that she hoped God had seene their want, and now ment to relieeve their poverty, and seeing they could get no children, had sent them this little babe to be their heire. Take heede in any case (quoth the shepherd) that you be secret, and blabbe it not out when you meete with your gossippes, for if you doe, we are like not only to loose the Golde and Jewels, but our other goodes and lives. Tush (quoth his wife), profit is a good hatch before the doore: feare not, I have other things to talke of then of this; but I pray you let us lay up the money surely, and the Jewels, least by any mishap it be spied.

[Para. 41] After that they had set all things in order, the shepheard went to his sheepe with a merry note, and the good wife learned to sing lullaby at home with her yong babe, wrapping it in a homely blanket in sted of a rich mantle; nourishing it so clenly and carefully as it began to bee a jolly girle, insomuch as they began both of them to be very fond of it, seeing, as it waxed in age, so it increased in beauty. The shepheard every night at his comming home, would sing and daunce it on his knee, and prattle, that in a short time it began to speake, and call him Dad, and her Mam: at last when it grew to ripe yeeres, that it was about seven yeares olde, the shepheard left keeping of other mens sheepe, and with the money he found in the purse, he bought him the lease of a pretty farme, and got a smal flocke of sheepe, which when Fawnia (for so they named the child) came to the age of ten yeres, hee set her to keepe, and shee with such diligence performed her charge as the sheepe prospered marveilously under her hand. Fawnia thought Porrus had been her father, and Mopsa her mother, (for so was the shepheard and his wife called) honoured and obeyed them with such reverence, that all the neighbours praised the duetifull obedience of the child. Porrus grewe in a short time to bee a man of some wealth, and credite, for fortune so favoured him in having no charge but Fawnia, that he began to purchase land, intending after his death to give it to his daughter; so that diverse rich farmers sonnes came as wooers to his house: for Fawnia was something clenly attired, beeing of such singular beautie and excellent witte, that those whoso sawe her, would have thought shee had bene some heavenly nymph, and not a mortal creature: in so much, that when she came to the age of sixteene yeeres, shee so increased with exquisite perfection both of body and minde, as her natural disposition did bewray that she was borne of some high parentage; but the people thinking she was daughter to the shephard Porrus, rested only amazed at hir beauty and wit; yea she won such favour and commendations in every mans eye, as her beautie was not only praysed in the countrey, but also spoken of in the Court: yet such was her submisse modestie, that although her praise daily increased, her mind was no whit puffed up with pride, but humbled her selfe as became a country mayde and the daughter of a poore sheepheard. Every day she went forth with her sheepe to the field, keeping them with such care and diligence, as al men thought she was verie painfull, defending her face from the heat of the sunne with no other vale, but with a garland made of bowes and flowers; which attire became her so gallantly, as shee seemed to bee the Goddesse Floria her selfe for beauty.

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