A discourse of the adventures passed by Master F. J.

5 - "...come against me with naked sword..."

And to return unto my pretence, understand you that F. J. (being now with these two fair Ladies come very near the castle) grew in some jealous doubt (as on his own behalf) whether he were best to break company or not. When his assured Hope, perceiving the same, gan thus recomfort him: "Good sir," quoth she, "if you trusted your trusty friends, you should not need thus cowardly to stand in dread of your friendly enemies."

"Well said, in faith," quoth F. J., "and I must confess, you were in my bosom before I wist; but yet I have heard said often that in trust is treason."

"Well spoken for yourself," quoth his Hope.

F. J., now remembering that he had but erewhile taken upon him the name of her Trust, came home per misericordiam, when his Hope, entering the Castle gate, caught hold of his lap and half by force led him by the gallery unto his Mistress chamber, whereas after a little dissembling disdain, he was at last by the good help of his Hope right thankfully received. And for his Mistress was now ready to dine, he was therefore for that time arrested there & a supersedias sent into the great chamber unto the Lord of the house, who expected his coming out of the park.

The dinner ended, & he thoroughly contented both with welfare & welcome, they fell into sundry devices of pastime. At last F. J. taking into his hand a Lute that lay on his Mistress bed, did unto the note of the Venetian galliard apply the Italian ditty written by the worthy Bradamant unto the noble Rugier (as Ariosto hath it, Rugier qual semper fui, &c.). But his Mistress could not be quiet until she heard him repeat the Tinternell which he used over night, the which F. J. refused not; at end whereof his Mistress thinking now she had showed herself too earnest to use any further dissimulation, especially perceiving the toward inclination of her servant's Hope, fell to flat plain dealing, and walking to the window, called her servant apart unto her, of whom she demanded secretly & in sad earnest, who devised this Tinternell?

"My Father's sister's brother's son," quoth F. J..

His Mistress laughing right heartily, demanded yet again, by whom the same was figured.

"By a niece to an Aunt of yours, Mistress," quoth he.

"Well then, servant," quoth she, "I swear unto you here by my Father's soul, that my mother's youngest daughter doth love your father's eldest son above any creature living."

F. J. hereby recomforted, gan thus reply. "Mistress, though my father's eldest son be far unworthy of so noble a match, yet since it pleaseth her so well to accept him, I would thus much say behind his back, that your mother's daughter hath done him some wrong."

"& wherein, servant?" quoth she.

"By my troth, Mistress," quoth he, "it is not yet 20 hours since without touch of breast she gave him such a nip by the heart as did altogether bereave him his night's rest with the bruise thereof."

"Well, servant," quoth she, "content yourself, and for your sake, I will speak to her to provide him a plaster, the which I myself will apply to his hurt. And to the end it may work the better with him, I will purvey a lodging for him where hereafter he may sleep at more quiet." This said, the rosy hue destained her sickly cheeks, and she returned to the company, leaving F. J. ravished between hope and dread, as one that could neither conjecture the meaning of her mystical words nor assuredly trust unto the knot of her sliding affections.

When the Lady Frances coming to him demanded, "What? dream you sir?"

"Yea, marry, do I, fair Lady," quoth he.

"And what was your dream, sir," quoth she?

"I dreamt," quoth F. J., "that walking in a pleasant garden garnished with sundry delights, my hap was to espy hanging in the air a hope wherein I might well behold the aspects and face of the heavens, and calling to remembrance the day and hour of my nativity, I did thereby (according to my small skill in Astronomy) try the conclusions of mine adventures."

"And what found you therein," quoth dame Frances?

"You awaked me out of my dream," quoth he, "or else peradventure you should not have known."

"I believe you well," quoth the Lady Frances, and laughing at his quick answer brought him by the hand unto the rest of his company: where he tarried not long before his gracious Mistress bade him to fare well and to keep his hour there again when he should by her be summoned.

Hereby F. J. passed the rest of that day in hope awaiting the happy time when his Mistress should send for him. Supper time came and passed over, and not long after came the handmaid of the Lady Eleanor into the great chamber, desiring F. J. to repair unto their Mistress, the which he willingly accomplished: and being now entered into her chamber, he might perceive his Mistress in her nights attire preparing herself towards bed, to whom F. J. said: "Why how now, Mistress? I had thought this night to have seen you dance (at least or at last) amongst us?"

"By my troth, good servant," quoth she, "I adventured so soon unto the great chamber yesternight that I find myself somewhat sickly disposed, and therefore do strain courtesy, as you see, to go the sooner to my bed this night. But before I sleep," quoth she, "I am to charge you with a matter of weight," and taking him apart from the rest, declared that (as that present night) she would talk with him more at large in the gallery near adjoining to her chamber.

Here upon F. J., discretely dissimuling his joy, took his leave and returned into the great chamber, where he had not long continued before the Lord of the Castle commanded a torch to light him unto his lodging, whereas he prepared himself and went to bed, commanding his servant also to go to his rest.

And when he thought as well his servant as the rest of the household to be safe, he arose again, & taking his nightgown, did under the same convey his naked sword, and so walked to the gallery, where he found his good Mistress walking in her nightgown and attending his coming. The Moon was now at the full, the skies clear, and the weather temperate, by reason whereof he might the more plainly and with the greater contentation behold his long desired joys, and spreading his arms abroad to embrace his loving Mistress, he said: "Oh, my dear Lady, when shall I be able with any desert to countervail the least part of this your bountiful goodness?"

The dame (whether it were of fear indeed, or that the wiliness of womanhood had taught her to cover her conceits with some fine dissimulation) stert back from the Knight, and shrieking (but softly), said unto him, "Alas, servant, what have I deserved, that you come against me with naked sword as against an open enemy?"

F. J. perceiving her intent, excused himself, declaring that he brought the same for their defense & not to offend her in any wise. The Lady being therewith somewhat appeased, they began with more comfortable gesture to expel the dread of the said late affright, and sithens to become bolder of behavior, more familiar in speech, & most kind in accomplishing of common comfort.

But why hold I so long discourse in describing the joys which (for lack of like experience) I cannot set out to the full? Were it not that I know to whom I write, I would the more beware what I write. F. J. was a man, and neither of us are senseless, and therefore I should slander him (over and besides a greater obloquy to the whole genealogy of Enaeas) if I should imagine that of tender heart he would forbear to express her more tender limbs against the hard floor. Sufficed that of her courteous nature she was content to accept boards for a bead of down, mats for Cambric sheets, and the nightgown of F. J. for a counterpoint to cover them, and thus with calm content in stead of quiet sleep, they beguiled the night, until the proudest star began to abandon the firmament, when F. J. and his Mistress, were constrained also to abandon their delights, and with ten thousand sweet kisses and straight embracings did frame themselves to play loath to depart.

Well, remedy was there none, but dame Eleanor must return unto her chamber, and F. J. must also convey himself (as closely as might be) into his chamber, the which was hard to do, the day being so far sprung and he having a large base court to pass over before he could recover his stair foot door. And though he were not much perceived, yet the Lady Frances, being no less desirous to see an issue of these enterprises then F. J. was willing to cover them in secrecy, did watch, & even at the entering of his chamber door, perceived the point of his naked sword glist'ring under the skirt of his night gown: whereat she smiled & said to her self, this gear goeth well about.

Well, F. J. having now recovered his chamber, he went to bed, & there let him sleep, as his Mistress did on that other side. Although the Lady Frances being thoroughly tickled now in all the veins, could not enjoy such quiet rest, but arising, took another gentlewoman of the house with her and walked into the park to take the fresh air of the morning. They had not long walked there, but they returned, and though F. J. had not yet slept sufficiently for one which had so far travailed in the night past, yet they went into his chamber to raise him, and coming to his beds side, found him fast on sleep.

"Alas," quoth that other gentlewoman, "it were pity to awake him."

"Even so it were," quoth dame Frances, "but we will take away somewhat of his, whereby he may perceive that we were here," and looking about the chamber, his naked sword presented itself to the hands of dame Frances, who took it with her, and softly shutting his chamber door again, went down the stairs and recovered her own lodging in good order and unperceived of any body, saving only that other gentlewoman which accompanied her.

At the last, F. J. awaked, and appareling himself, walked out also to take the air, and being thoroughly recomforted as well with remembrance of his joys forepassed, as also with the pleasant harmony which the Birds made on every side and the fragrant smell of the redolent flowers and blossoms which budded on every branch, he did in these delights compile these verses following.

¶ The occasion (as I have heard him rehearse) was by encounter that he had with his Lady by light of the moon: and forasmuch as the moon in midst of their delights did vanish away, or was overspread with a cloud, thereupon he took the subject of his theme. And thus it ensueth, called "A Moonshine Banquet."

[This paragraph seems to've been the 1573 equivalent of a cut-and-paste error, resulting from some indecision about whether to embed the poem in the F. J. story or to include it in the more miscellaneous collection of verse later in the volume. RD]

Dame Cynthia herself (that shines so bright
And deigneth not to leave her lofty place
But only then when Phoebus shows his face,
Which is her brother born and lends her light)
Disdain'd not yet to do my Lady right,
To prove that in such heavenly wights as she,
It sitteth best that right and reason be.
For when she spied my Ladies golden rays,
Into the clouds
Her head she shrouds
And shamed to shine where she her beams displays.

Good reason yet that to my simple skill,
I should the name of Cynthia adore,
By whose high help I might behold the more
My Lady's lovely looks at mine own will,
With deep content to gaze, and gaze my fill:
Of courtesy and not of dark disdain,
Dame Cynthia disclos'd my Lady plain.
She did but lend her light (as for a light)
With friendly grace
To show her face
That else would show and shine in her despite.

Dan Phoebus he with many a low'ring look,
Had her beheld of yore in angry wise:
And when he could none other mean devise
To stain her name, this deep deceit he took
To be the bait that best might hide his hook:
Into her eyes his parching beams he cast,
To scorch their skins that gaz'd on her full fast:
Whereby when many a man was sunburnt so,
They thought my Queen
The sun had been,
With scalding flames which wrought them all that woe.

And thus when many a look had lookt so long,
As that their eyes were dim and dazzled both,
Some fainting hearts that were both lewd and loath
To look again from whence the error sprong,
Gan close their eye for fear of further wrong:
And some again once drawn into the maze,
Gan lewdly blame the beams of beauties blaze:
But I with deep foresight did soon espy
How Phoebus meant
By false intent
To slander so her name with cruelty.

Wherefore at better leisure thought I best
To try the treason of his treachery:
And to exalt my Ladies dignity
When Phoebus fled and drew him down to rest
Amid the waves that walter in the west.
I gan behold this lovely Ladies face
Whereon dame nature spent her gifts of grace,
And found therein no parching heat at all,
But such bright hue
As might renew
An Angel's joys in reign celestial.

The courteous Moon that wisht to do me good
Did shine to show my dame more perfectly,
But when she saw her passing jollity,
The Moon for shame did blush as red as blood
And shrunk aside and kept her horns in hood:
So that now when Dame Cynthia was gone,
I might enjoy my Ladies looks alone,
Yet honored still the Moon with true intent:
Who taught us skill
To work our will
And gave us place till all the night was spent.

F. J.

This Ballad, or howsoever I shall term it, percase you will not like, and yet in my judgment it hath great good store of deep invention, and for the order of the verse, it is not common, I have not heard many of like proportion. Some will account it but a dyddeldeme: but who so had heard F. J. sing it to the lute by a note of his own devise, I suppose he would esteem it to be a pleasant diddeldome, and for my part, if I were not partial, I would say more in commendation of it than now I mean to do, leaving it to your and like judgments.

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The Adventures of Master F. J. by George Gascoigne, 1573