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HELEN TO PARIS.

Theseus repented, so should Paris do, Succeed in love and in repentance too. Nor am I angry; who can angry be With him that loves her? If your heart agree With your kind words, your suit I could applaud, So I were sure your lines were void of fraud. I cast not these strange doubts, or this dispense, Like one that were bereft of confidence ; Nor that I with myself am in disgrace, Or do not know the beauty of my face: But because too much trust hath damag'd such As have believ'd men in their loves too much. And now the general tongue of women saith Men's words are full of treason, void of faith.

Let others sin, and hours of pleasure waste, 'Tis rare to find the sober matron chaste. Why? Say it be that sin prevails with fair ones, May not my name be rank’d'among the rare ones? Because my mother LÆDa was beguild, Must I stray too, that am her eldest child? I must confess my mother made a rape, But Jove beguild her in a borrow'd shape : When she (poor soul) nor dreamt of god or man, He trod her like a milk-white feather'd swan, She was deceiv'd by error; if I yield To your unjust request, nothing can shield

HELEN TO PARIS.

Me from reproach ; I cannot plead concealing:
'Twas in her, error ; 'tis in me plain dealing,
She happily err'd; he that her honour spilt,
Had in himself full power to salve the guilt.
Her error happy'd me too (I confess)
If to be Jove's child, be a happiness.

T'omit high Jove, of whom I stand in awe, As the great grandsire to our father-in-law; To pass the kin I claim from TANTALUS, From PELOPS, and from noble TINDARUS; Læpa by Jove, in shape of swan, beguild, Herself so chang’d, and by him made with child Proves Jove my father. Then you idly strive, Your name from gods and princes to derive. What need you of old Priam make relation, LAOMEDON, or your great Phrygian nation ? Say all be true ; what then? He of whom most To be of your alliance you so boast, Jove (five degrees at least) from you remov'd, To be the first from me, is plainly prov'd. And tho' (as I believ'd well) Troy may stand Powerful at sea, and full of strength by land; And no dominion to your state superior, I hold our clime nothing to Troy inferior. Say, you in riches pass us, or in number Of people, whom you boast your streets to cumber :

HELEN TO PARIS.

Yet your's a barbarous nation is, I tell you,
And in that kind do we of Greece excel you.
Your rich epistle doth such gifts present,
As might the goddesses themselves content,
And woo them to your pleasure : but if I
Shall pass the bounds of shame, and tread awry;
If ever you should put me to my shifts,
Yourself should move me more than all your gifts.
Or if I ever shall transgress by stealth,
It shall be for your sake, not for your wealth.
But as your gifts I scorn not, so such seem
Most precious, where the giver we esteem.
More than your presents it shall Helen please,
That you for her bave past the stormy seas;
That she hath caus’d your toil, that you respect her,
And more than all your Trojan dames affect her.

But you're a wag in troth, the notes and signs You make at table, in the meats and wines, I have observ'd, when I least seem'd to mind them, For at the first my curious eye did find them. Sometimes (you wanton) your fix'd eye advances His brightness against mine, darting sweet glances, Out-gazing me with such a steadfast look, That my dazl’d eyes their splendor have forsook; And then you sigh, and by and by you stretch Your amorous arm outright, the bowl to reach

HELEN TO PARIS.

That next me stands, making excuse to sip
Just in the self-same place that kiss'd my lip.
How oft have I observ'd your finger make
Tricks and conceited signs, which strait I take?
How often doth your brow your smooth thoughts cloke,
When, to my seeming, it hath almost spoke ?
And still I fear'd my husband would have 'spy'd you;
In troth you are to blame, and I must chide you.
You are too manifest a lover (tush)
At such known signs I could not chuse but blush;
And to myself I oft was forc'd to say,
This man at nothing shames. Is this (I pray)
Aught save the truth? Oft-times upon the board,
Where Helen was engraven, you the word
Amo have underwrit, in new-spilt wine :
(Good sooth) at first I could not scan the line,
Nor understand your meaning. Now (oh! spite)
Myself am now taught so to read and write.
Should I offend, as sin to me is strange,
These blandishments have power chaste thoughts to
Or if I could be mov'd to step astray, [change.
These would provoke me to lascivious play: .
Besides, I must confess, you have a face
So admirable rare, so full of grace,
That it hath power to woo, and to make seizure
Of the most bright chaste beauties to your pleasure.
Yet had I rather stainless keep my fame,
Than to a stranger hazard my good name.

HELEN TO PARIS.

Make me your instance, and forbear the fair; Of that which most doth please you, make most spare. The greatest virtues, of which wise men boast, Is to obtain from that which pleaseth most. How many gallant youths (think you) desire That which you covet, scorch'd with the self-same fire ? Are all the world fools ? only Paris wise ? Or is there none, save you, have judging eyes? No, no, you view no more than others see, But you are plainer and more bold with me. You are more earnest to pursue your game; I yield you not more knowledge, but less shame. I would to God that you had sail'd from Troy, When my virginity and bed † enjoy, A thousand gallant princely suitors came : Had I beheld young Paris, I proclaim, Of all those thousand I had made you chief, And Spartan MENELAUS, to his grief, Should to my censure have subscrib'd and yielded. But now (alas !) your hopes are weakly builded : You covet goods possess’d, pleasures foretasted ; Tardy you come, that should before have hasted ; What you desire, another claims as due : As I could wish to have been espous’d to you, So let me tell you, since it is my fate, I hold me happy in my present state. Then cease, fair prince, an idle suit to move, Seek not to harm her whom you seem to love.

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