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This likes her best. Uppon this poynt now restes her doubtful mynd.
So raysing up herself uppon her leftsyde shee enclynd,
And leaning on her elbow sayd: Let him advyse him what
To doo, for I my franticke love will utter playne and flat.
Alas to what ungraciousnesse intend I for to fall?
What furie raging in my hart my senses dooth appall?
In thinking so, with trembling hand shee framed her to wryght
The matter that her troubled mynd in musing did indyght.
Her ryght hand holdes the pen, her left dooth hold the empty wax.
She ginnes. Shee doutes, shee wryghtes: shee in the tables findeth lacks.
She notes, she blurres, dislikes, and likes: and chaungeth this for that.
Shee layes away the booke, and takes it up. Shee wotes not what
She would herself. What ever thing shee myndeth for to doo
Misliketh her. A shamefastnesse with boldenesse mixt thereto
Was in her countnance. Shee had once writ Suster: Out agen
The name of Suster for to raze shee thought it best. And then
She snatcht the tables up, and did theis following woords ingrave:
The health which if thou give her not shee is not like to have
Thy lover wisheth unto thee. I dare not ah for shame
I dare not tell thee who I am, nor let thee heare my name.
And if thou doo demaund of mee what thing I doo desyre,
Would God that namelesse I myght pleade the matter I requyre,
And that I were unknowen to thee by name of Byblis, till
Assurance of my sute were wrought according to my will.
As tokens of my wounded hart myght theis to thee appeere:
My colour pale, my body leane, my heavy mirthlesse cheere,
My watry eyes, my sighes without apparent causes why,
My oft embracing of thee: and such kisses (if perdye
Thou marked them) as very well thou might have felt and found
Not for to have beene Susterlike. But though with greevous wound
I then were striken to the hart, although the raging flame
Did burne within: yit take I God to witnesse of the same,
I did as much as lay in mee this outrage for to tame.
And long I stryved (wretched wench) to scape the violent Dart
Of Cupid. More I have endurde of hardnesse and of smart,
Than any wench (a man would think) were able to abyde.
Force forceth mee to shew my case which faine I still would hyde,
And mercy at thy gentle hand in fearfull wyse to crave.
Thou only mayst the lyfe of mee thy lover spill or save.
Choose which thou wilt. No enmy craves this thing: but such a one
As though shee bee alyde so sure as surer can bee none,
Yit covets shee more surely yit alyed for to bee,
And with a neerer kynd of band to link her selfe to thee.
Let aged folkes have skill in law: to age it dooth belong
To keepe the rigor of the lawes and search out ryght from wrong.
Such youthfull yeeres as ours are yit rash folly dooth beseeme.
Wee know not what is lawfull yit. And therefore wee may deeme
That all is lawfull that wee list: ensewing in the same
The dooings of the myghtye Goddes. Not dread of worldly shame
Nor yit our fathers roughnesse, no nor fearfulnesse should let
Our purpose. Only let all feare asyde be wholy set.
~Wee underneath the name of kin our pleasant scapes may hyde.
Thou knowest I have libertie to talke with thee asyde,
And openly wee kysse and cull. And what is all the rest
That wants? Have mercy on mee now, who playnly have exprest
My case: which thing I had not done, but that the utter rage
Of love constreynes mee thereunto the which I cannot swage.
Deserve not on my tumb thy name subscribed for to have,
That thou art he whose cruelnesse did bring mee to my grave.
Thus much shee wrate in vayne, and wax did want her to indyght,
And in the margent she was fayne the latter verse to wryght.
Immediatly to seale her shame shee takes a precious stone,
The which shee moystes with teares: from tung the moysture quight was gone.
She calld a servant shamefastly, and after certaine fayre
And gentle woords: My trusty man, I pray thee beare this payre
Of tables (quoth shee) to my (and a great whyle afterward
Shee added) brother. Now through chaunce or want of good regard
The table slipped downe to ground in reaching to him ward.
The handsell troubled sore her mynd. But yit shee sent them. And
Her servant spying tyme did put them into Caunyes hand.
Maeanders nephew sodeinly in anger floong away
The tables ere he half had red, (scarce able for to stay
His fistocke from the servants face who quaakt) and thus did say:
Avaunt, thou baudye ribawd, whyle thou mayst. For were it not
For shame I should have killed thee. Away afrayd he got,
And told his mistresse of the feerce and cruell answer made
By Caunye. By and by the hew of Byblis gan to fade,
And all her body was benumd with Icie colde for feare
To heere of this repulse. Assoone as that her senses were
Returnd ageine, her furious flames returned with her witts.
And thus shee sayd so soft that scarce hir toong the ayer hitts:
And woorthely. For why was I so rash as to discover
By hasty wryghting this my wound which most I ought to cover?
I should with dowtfull glauncing woords have felt his humor furst,
And made a trayne to trye him if pursue or no he durst.
I should have vewed first the coast, to see the weather cleere,
And then I myght have launched sauf and boldly from the peere.
But now I hoyst up all my sayles before I tryde the wynd:
And therfore am I driven uppon the rockes against my mynd,
And all the sea dooth overwhelme mee. Neyther may I fynd
The meanes to get to harbrough, or from daunger to retyre.
Why did not open tokens warne to bridle my desyre,
Then when the tables falling in delivering them declaard
My hope was vaine? And ought not I then eyther to have spaard
From sending them as that day? or have chaunged whole my mynd?
Nay rather shifted of the day? For had I not beene blynd
Even God himself by soothfast signes the sequele seemd to hit.
Yea rather than to wryghting thus my secrets to commit,
I should have gone and spoke myself, and presently have showde
My fervent love. He should have seene how teares had from mee flowde.
Hee should have seene my piteous looke ryght loverlike. I could
Have spoken more than into those my tables enter would.
About his necke against his will, myne armes I myght have wound
And had he shaakt me off, I myght have seemed for to swound.
I humbly myght have kist his feete, and kneeling on the ground
Besought him for to save my lyfe. All theis I myght have proved,
Wherof although no one alone his stomacke could have moved,
Yit all togither myght have made his hardened hart relent.
Perchaunce there was some fault in him that was of message sent.
He stept unto him bluntly (I beleeve) and did not watch
Convenient tyme, in merrie kew at leysure him to catch.
Theis are the things that hindred mee. For certeinly I knowe
No sturdy stone nor massy steele dooth in his stomacke grow.
He is not made of Adamant. He is no Tygers whelp.
He never sucked Lyonesse. He myght with little help
Bee vanquisht. Let us give fresh charge uppon him. Whyle I live
Without obteyning victorie I will not over give.
For firstly (if it lay in mee my dooings to revoke)
I should not have begonne at all. But seeing that the stroke
Is given, the second poynt is now to give the push to win.
For neyther he (although that I myne enterpryse should blin)
Can ever whyle he lives forget my deede. And sith I shrink,
My love was lyght, or else I meant to trap him, he shall think.
Or at the least he may suppose that this my rage of love
Which broyleth so within my brest, proceedes not from above
By Cupids stroke, but of some foule and filthy lust. In fyne
I cannot but to wickednesse now more and more inclyne.
By wryghting is my sute commenst: my meening dooth appeere:
And though I cease: yit can I not accounted bee for cleere.
Now that that dooth remayne behynd is much as in respect
My fond desyre to satisfy: and little in effect
To aggravate my fault withall.

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