The pleasant History of S.
Hugh; and first
of all, his most constant loue to
Conquering and most imperious Loue, hauing seized on the heart of young Sir Hugh, all his wits were set on worke, how for to compasse the loue of the faire Virgin Winifred, whose disdain was the chiefe cause of his care, hauing receiued many infinite sorrows for her sake: but as a streame of water being stopt, ouerfloweth the bank, so smothered desire doth burst out into a great flame of fire, which made this male-contented Louer to seeke some meanes to appease the strife of his contentious thoughts, whereupon he began to encourage himselfe:
Tush Hugh, let not a few froward words of a woman dismay thee; for they loue to be intreated, and delight to be wooed, though they would make the world beleeue otherwise: for their denyals proceed more of nicenesse then niggardlinesse, refusing that they would fainest haue. What if sometimes Winjfred frown on thee? yet her fauours may exceed her frowardnesse. The Sunne is sometimes ouercast with clouds so that his brightnesse is not seen. In wars the sorer the fight is, the greater is the glory of the victory; and the harder a woman is to be won, the sweeter is her loue when it is obtained: wherefore lie once againe try my fortune, and see what successe my sute shall find.
On this resolution sir Hugh returned to Winifred, greeting her thus. Now faire Lady, hauing slept away the remembrance of your sharp answers; I come againe in a new conceit, to reuiue an old sute, and to see if the change of the day will yeeld a change of dolours.
Truly Sir Hugh (quoth shee) if with the change of the day you haue changed your opinion: your dolour will be driuen away well enough: but as touching your suite, it shall be needlesse to repeate it, because I am not willing to preferre it.
Stay there (quoth Sir Hugh) I will preferre it, so that you will accept it.
Now (quoth she) I will accept it, if you will preferre it, in sending it back to the place from whence it proceeded, and I would to God I could send you away as soone as your suite.
Why then belike I am not welcome (said Sir Hugh).
Yes (quoth shee) as welcome to me, as a storme to a distressed Mariner. I muse greatly that reason will not rule you, nor words win you from your wilfulnesse: if you were as weary to wooe as I am weary to heare you, I am perswaded that long since you would haue ceased your vain suite. You think by these perswasions to turn my opinion; but as well you may think that you may quench fire with oyle: therefore I pray you, good Sir Hugh, be not so tedious vnto me, nor troublesome to your selfe.
Come, come (quoth he) all this will not serue your turn, ponder with thy selfe Winifred, that thou art faire, 0 that thou wert as fauourabie; thy beauty bath bound me to be thy seruant, and neuer to cease, till I see another obtaine thee, or my selfe be possessed of my hearts content. Thou art a Kings daughter, and I a Princes sonne, staine not the glory of true Nobility with the foule sin of obstinacy, but be thou as kind as thou art courtly, and gentle as thou art noble, and then shall our strife soone end.
Winifred perceiuing that the further off she was to grant loue, the more eager he was to desire it, shifted him off thus: Sir, although your ouerhastinesse driue me into the greater doubtfulnesse, yet let me intreat you, if you loue me, to giue me one months respite to consider on this matter, and it may be that vpon my better deliberation it shall be pleasing vnto you, and not at all discontent me.
Faire loue (quoth he) far be it from my heart to deny so kind a request; I am content to stay a month from thy sight, were it two or three, vpon condition, that thou wouldest then grant me thy good will; three months, although it be very long, yet it will come at last, and I could be content for that time to be dead for thy sake, insomuch that my life might be renewed by thy loue.
Nay (quoth Winifred) stay three months and stay foreuer: by this a Maid may see how ready men are vpon a light occasion to take long daies, whose loues are like a Fernebush, soone set one fire, and soone consumed: and seeing it is so, in faith Sir Hugh, I doe meane to try you better before I trust you.
Pardon me faire Winifred (said Sir Hugh) if my tongue doe outslip my wit: in truth I speak but to please thee, though to displease my selfe; but I pray thee, let it not be three houres, nor three quarters of an houre, if thou wilt.
Nay, nay (quoth she) your first word shall stand: after three months come to me a game, and then you shall know my mind to the full, and so good Sir Hugh be gone: but if I doe euer heare from thee, or see thee betwixt this time and the time prefixed, I will for euer hereafter blot thy name out of my booke of Remembrances and neuer yeeld thee that courtisie which thou at this time so earnestly intreatest for.
Sir Hugh vpon these words departed betwixt hope and dread, much like to a man committing a trespasse, that stayed for the sentence of life or death.
O vnhappy man (quoth he) how hath my ouer slippery tongue lengthened the time of my sorrow? She of her selfe most courteously requested of me but one months stay, and I most willingly and vndiscreetly added thereto eight weeks more of misery, much like the Hind that hauing a knife giuen him to paire his nailes, did therewith murder himselfe. Now I could wish that the Sun had Eagles wings, swiftly to fly through the faire firmament, and finish six dayes in one dayes time.
With that he began to count the dayes and houres that were iii three months, falling (in a manner) to dispaire with himselfe when he found them so many in number: and therewithall melancholily and sadly he went to his Fathers house, where his brother Griffith found by his countenance the perfect map of a pensiue louer: whereupon he said vnto him.
Why, how now brother? Hath Winifreds faire beauty so greatly wounded you, as you cannot speak a merry word to your freind, but sit in a corner, as if you were tonguelesse like a Stork? Tush brother, women are like shaddowes, for the more a man follows them, the faster they run away: but let a man turn his course, and then they will presently follow him. What, man? pluck vp a good heart, for there are more women now, then hued in the time of our old father Adam.
0 (said Hugh) were there ten thousand times more then there are now, what were that to me, if Winifred be vnkinde? Yet is she the oyle that still maintaines the lamp of my light, and without her there is nothing comfortable to my sight.
Then (replyed Griffith) you are as much troubled in loue, as a Goat in an ague, and as blind as a Flie in October, that will stand still while a man cuts of his head, Come, goe ahunting with me, that will driue away your ouerfond conceits, and you shall see that these three months will come vpon you as a quarterday vpon a poore man that hath neuer a penney ready towards the payment of his rent.