Verse > Anthologies > Elizabethan Sonnets > Licia
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
A Dialogue betwixt two Sea Nymphs, Doris and Galatea, concerning Polyphemus
Giles Fletcher (1586?–1623)
Briefly translated out of Lucian

THE SEA NYMPHS late did play them on the shore,
And smiled to see such sport was new begun:
A strife in love, the like not heard before;
Two Nymphs contend, Which had the conquest won?
DORIS the fair, with GALATE did chide.        5
She liked her choice, and to her taunts replied.
  Thy Love, fair Nymph! that courts thee on this plain,
As shepherds say, and all the World can tell,
  Is that foul rude Sicilian CYCLOP-swain.
  A shame, sweet Nymph, that he with thee should mell [mix]!        10
  Smile not, fair DORIS! though he foul do seem.
Let pass thy words that savour of disgrace!
He’s worth my love, and so I him esteem.
Renowned by birth, and comes of NEPTUNE’s race.
  NEPTUNE, that doth the glassy ocean tame;        15
  NEPTUNE, by birth from mighty JOVE which came.
I grant an honour to be NEPTUNE’s child;
A grace to be so near with JOVE allied:
But yet, sweet Nymph! with this be not beguiled;
Where Nature’s graces are by looks descried.        20
So foul, so rough, so ugly-like a Clown;
And worse than this, a Monster with one eye.
  Foul is not gracèd, though it wear a Crown!
  But fair is Beauty. None can that deny.
  Nor is he foul, or shapeless, as you say
Or worse: for that he clownish seems to be.
Rough, Saytr-like, the better he will play:
And manly looks the fitter are for me.
His frowning smiles are gracèd by his beard:
His eye-light, sun-like, shrouded is in one.        30
  This me contents; and others makes afeard.
  He sees enough, and therefore wanteth none.  With one eye.
  Nay, then I see, sweet Nymph: thou art in love;
And loving, doat’st; and doating, dost commend
  Foul to be Fair. This oft do Lovers prove.        35
  I wish him fairer, or thy love an end!
  DORIS, I love not: yet I hardly bear
Disgraceful terms, which you have spoke in scorn.
You are not loved: and that ’s the cause I fear.
For why, my Love of JOVE himself was born.        40
Feeding his sheep of late, amidst this plain.
When as we Nymphs did sport us on the shore:
He scorned you all, my love for to obtain.
That grieved your hearts. I knew as much before.
  Nay, smile not Nymphs! The truth I only tell.        45
  For few can brook that others should excel.
  Should I envy that Blind did you that spite;
Or that your shape doth please so foul a Groom?
The Shepherd thought of milk. You looked so white.
The Clown did err, and foolish was his doom.        50
  Your look was pale, and so his stomach fed:
  But far from fair, where white doth want his red.
  Though pale my look; yet he my love did crave;
And lovely You, unliked, unloved, I view.
It ’s better far, one base, than none, to have.        55
Your fair is foul, to whom there’s none will sue.
  My Love doth tune his love unto his harp:
  His shape is rude; but yet his wit is sharp.
  Leave off, sweet Nymph! to grace a worthless Clown
He itched with love; and then did sing, or say.        60
The noise was such as all the Nymphs did frown,
And well suspected that some ass did bray.
The woods did chide, to hear this ugly sound:
The prating ECHO scorned for to repeat.
This grisly voice did fear the hollow ground,        65
Whilst Art-less fingers did his harp-strings beat.
Two bear whelps in his arms this Monster bore:
With these new puppies did this Wanton play!
Their skins were rough; but yet your loves were more.
He fouler was and far more fierce than they.        70
  I cannot choose, sweet Nymph! to think, but smile,
  That some of us thou fearest, will thee beguile.
  Scorn not my Love! until it can be known
That you have one that ’s better, of your own.
  I have no Love: nor, if I had, would boast:
Yet wooed have been by such as well might speed.
But him to love, the Shame of all the coast!
So ugly foul, as yet, I have no need.
  Now thus we learn what foolish love can do?
  To think him fair, that ’s foul and ugly too.        80
  To hear this talk I sat behind an oak;
And marked their words and penned them as they spoke
Ad Lectorem, distichon
cujusdam de Autore.
Lascivi quæres fuerit cur carminis Autor;
Carmine lascivus, mente pudicus erat.

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