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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Arrival in Arcadia
By Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)
 
From the Countess of Pembroke’s ‘Arcadia’

MUSIDORUS (who, besides he was merely unacquainted in the country, had his wits astonished with sorrow) gave easy consent to that, from which he saw no reason to disagree, and therefore (defraying the mariners with a ring bestowed upon them) they took their journey together through Laconia: Claius and Strephon by course carrying his chest for him, Musidorus only bearing in his countenance evident marks of a sorrowful mind supported with a weak body; which they perceiving, and knowing that the violence of sorrow is not at the first to be striven withal (being like a mighty beast, sooner tamed with following than overthrown by withstanding), they gave way unto it for that day and the next,—never troubling him either with asking questions or finding fault with his melancholy, but rather fitting to his dolor, dolorous discourses of their own and other folks’ misfortunes. Which speeches, though they had not a lively entrance to his senses shut up in sorrow, yet like one half asleep he took hold of much of the matters spoken unto him, so as a man may say, e’er sorrow was aware, they made his thoughts bear away something else beside his own sorrow: which wrought so in him that at length he grew content to mark their speeches; then to marvel at such wit in shepherds; after to like their company; and lastly to vouchsafe conference: so that the third day after, in the time that the morning did strew roses and violets in the heavenly floor against the coming of the sun, the nightingales (striving one with the other which could in most dainty variety recount their wrong-caused sorrow) made them put off their sleep; and rising from under a tree (which that night had been their pavilion) they went on their journey, which by-and-by welcomed Musidorus’s eyes (wearied with the wasted soil of Laconia) with delightful prospects. There were hills which garnished their proud heights with stately trees; humble valleys, whose base estate seemed comforted with the refreshing of silver rivers; meadows enameled with all sorts of eye-pleasing flowers; thickets, which being lined with most pleasant shade, were witnessed so too by the cheerful disposition of so many well-tuned birds; each pasture stored with sheep, feeding with sober security, while the pretty lambs with bleating oratory craved the dam’s comfort: here a shepherd’s boy piping as though he should never be old; there a young shepherdess knitting, and withal singing, and it seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work, and her hands kept time to her voice-music. As for the houses of the country (for many houses came under their eye), they were all scattered, no two being one by the other, as yet not so far off as that it barred mutual succor: a show as it were of an accompanable solitariness and of a civil wildness. I pray you (said Musidorus, then first unsealing his long-silent lips), what countries be these we pass through which are so diverse in show,—the one wanting no store, the other having no store but of want?  1
  The country (answered Claius) where you were cast ashore, and now are past through, is Laconia, not so poor by the barrenness of the soil (though in itself not passing fertile) as by a civil war, which being these two years within the bowels of that estate, between the gentlemen and the peasants (by them named Helots), hath in this sort as it were disfigured the face of nature, and made it so unhospitable as now you have found it: the towns neither of the one side nor the other willingly opening their gates to strangers, nor strangers willingly entering for fear of being mistaken.  2
  But the country where now you set your foot is Arcadia; and even hard by is the house of Kalander, whither we lead you. This country being thus decked with peace, and (the child of peace) good husbandry, these houses you see so scattered are of men, as we two are, that live upon the commodity of their sheep; and therefore in the division of the Arcadian estate are termed shepherds: a happy people, wanting little because they desire not much. What cause then, said Musidorus, made you venture to leave this sweet life, and put yourself in yonder unpleasant and dangerous realm? Guarded with poverty (answered Strephon) and guided with love. But now (said Claius), since it hath pleased you to ask anything of us, whose baseness is such as the very knowledge is darkness, give us leave to know something of you, and of the young man you so much lament; that at least we may be the better instructed to inform Kalander, and he the better know how to proportion his entertainment. Musidorus (according to the agreement between Pyrocles and him to alter their names) answered, that he called himself Palladius, and his friend Daiphantus: but till I have him again (said he) I am indeed nothing, and therefore my story is of nothing; his entertainment (since so good a man he is) cannot be so low as I account my estate: and in sum, the sum of all his courtesy may be to help me by some means to seek my friend.  3
  They perceived he was not willing to open himself farther, and therefore, without farther questioning, brought him to the house; about which they might see (with fit consideration both of the air, the prospect, and the nature of the ground) all such necessary additions to a great house as might well show Kalander knew that provision is the foundation of hospitality, and thrift the fuel of magnificence. The house itself was built of fair and strong stone, not affecting so much any extraordinary kind of fineness, as an honorable representing of a firm stateliness. The lights, doors, and stairs rather directed to the use of the guest than to the eye of the artificer; and yet as the one chiefly heeded, so the other not neglected: each place handsome without curiosity, and homely without loathsomeness; not so dainty as not to be trod on, nor yet slubbered up with good-fellowship: all more lasting than beautiful, but that the consideration of the exceeding lastingness made the eye believe it was exceeding beautiful. The servants not so many in number, as cleanly in apparel and serviceable in behavior; testifying even in their countenances, that their master took as well care to be served as of them that did serve. One of them was forthwith ready to welcome the shepherds as men who, though they were poor, their master greatly favored; and understanding by them that the young man with them was to be much accounted of,—for that they had seen tokens of more than common greatness, howsoever now eclipsed with fortune,—he ran to his master, who came presently forth, and pleasantly welcoming the shepherds, but especially applying him to Musidorus, Strephon privately told him all what he knew of him, and particularly that he found this stranger was loth to be known.  4
  No, said Kalander (speaking aloud), I am no herald to inquire of men’s pedigrees: it sufficeth me if I know their virtues; which (if this young man’s face be not a false witness) do better apparel his mind than you have done his body. While he was thus speaking, there came a boy, in show like a merchant’s ’prentice, who, taking Strephon by the sleeve, delivered him a letter, written jointly both to him and to Claius from Urania; which they no sooner had read, but that with short leave-taking of Kalander (who quickly guessed and smiled at the matter), and once again (though hastily) recommending the young man unto him, they went away, leaving Musidorus even loth to part with them, for the good conversation he had had of them, and obligation he accounted himself tied in unto them: and therefore, they delivering his chest unto him, he opened it, and would have presented them with two very rich jewels, but they absolutely refused them, telling him that they were more than enough rewarded in the knowing of him; and without hearkening unto a reply (like men whose hearts disdained all desires but one) got speedily away, as if the letter had brought wings to make them fly. But by that sight Kalander soon judged that his guest was of no mean calling; and therefore the more respectfully entertaining him, Musidorus found his sickness (which the fight, the sea, and late travel had laid upon him) grow greatly: so that fearing some sudden accident, he delivered the chest to Kalander, which was full of most precious stones, gorgeously and cunningly set in divers manners; desiring him he would keep those trifles, and if he died, he would bestow so much of it as was needful, to find out and redeem a young man, naming him Daiphantus, as then in the hands of Laconian pirates.  5
  But Kalander, seeing him faint more and more, with careful speed conveyed him to the most commodious lodging in his house; where, being possessed with an extreme burning fever, he continued some while with no great hope of life: but youth at length got the victory of sickness, so that in six weeks the excellency of his returned beauty was a creditable ambassador of his health; to the great joy of Kalander, who, as in this time he had by certain friends of his, that dwelt near the sea in Messenia, set forth a ship and a galley to seek and succor Daiphantus, so at home did he omit nothing which he thought might either profit or gratify Palladius.  6
  For having found in him (besides his bodily gifts beyond the degree of admiration) by daily discourses, which he delighted himself to have with him, a mind of most excellent composition, a piercing wit quite void of ostentation, high erected thought seated in a heart of courtesy, an eloquence as sweet in the uttering as slow to come to the uttering, a behavior so noble as gave a majesty to adversity,—and all in a man whose age could not be above one-and-twenty years,—the good old man was even enamored of a fatherly love towards him; or rather became his servant by the bonds such virtue laid upon him, once he acknowledged himself so to be, by the badge of diligent attendance.  7
  But Palladius having gotten his health, and only staying there to be in place where he might hear answer of the ships set forth, Kalander one afternoon led him abroad to a well-arrayed ground he had behind his house, which he thought to show him before his going, as the place himself more than in any other delighted in. The backside of the house was neither field, garden, nor orchard: or rather it was both field, garden, and orchard; for as soon as the descending of the stairs had delivered them down, they came into a place cunningly set with trees, of the most taste-pleasing fruits: but scarcely they had taken that into their consideration, but that they were suddenly stept into a delicate green; of each side of the green a thicket, and behind the thickets again new beds of flowers, which being under the trees, the trees were to them a pavilion, and they to the trees a mosaical floor, so that it seemed that Art therein would needs be delightful, by counterfeiting his enemy Error and making order in confusion.  8
  In the midst of all the place was a fair pond, whose shaking crystal was a perfect mirror to all the other beauties, so that it bare show of two gardens; one in deed, the other in shadows,—and in one of the thickets was a fine fountain made thus: a naked Venus of white marble, wherein the graver had used such cunning that the natural blue veins of the marble were framed in fit places, to set forth the beautiful veins of her body. At her breast she had her babe Æneas, who seemed, having begun to suck, to leave that to look upon her fair eyes, which smiled at the babe’s folly,—meanwhile the breast running.  9
  Hard by was a house of pleasure, built for a summer-retiring place; whither, Kalander leading him, he found a square room full of delightful pictures, made by most excellent workmen of Greece. There was Diana, when Actæon saw her bathing, in whose cheeks the painter had set such a color as was mixed between shame and disdain; and one of her foolish nymphs, who weeping, and withal lowering, one might see the workman meant to set forth tears of anger. In another table was Atalanta; the posture of whose limbs was so lively expressed, that if the eyes were only judges, as they be the only seers, one would have sworn the very picture had run. Besides many more, as of Helena, Omphale, Iole: but in none of them all beauty seemed to speak so much as in a large table which contained a comely old man, with a lady of middle age, but of excellent beauty; and more excellent would have been deemed, but that there stood between them a young maid, whose wonderfulness took away all beauty from her, but that which it might seem she gave her back again by her very shadow. And such difference (being known that it did indeed counterfeit a person living) was there between her and all the other, though goddesses, that it seemed the skill of the painter bestowed nothing on the other of new beauty, but that the beauty of her bestowed new skill on the painter. Though he thought inquisitiveness an uncomely guest, he could not choose but ask who she was, that bearing show of one being indeed, could with natural gifts go beyond the reach of invention. Kalander answered that it was made for Philoclea, the younger daughter of his prince, who also with his wife were contained in that table; the painter meaning to represent the present condition of the young lady, who stood watched by an over-curious eye of her parents: and that he would also have drawn her eldest sister, esteemed her match for beauty, in her shepherdish attire, but that rude clown her guardian would not suffer it; neither durst he ask leave of the prince, for fear of suspicion. Palladius perceived that the matter was wrapped up in some secrecy, and therefore would for modesty demand no farther: but yet his countenance could not but with dumb eloquence desire it; which Kalander perceiving,—Well (said he), my dear guest, I know your mind, and I will satisfy it: neither will I do it like a niggardly answerer, going no farther than the bounds of the question; but I will discover unto you, as well that wherein my knowledge is common with others, as that which by extraordinary means is delivered unto me; knowing so much in you (though not long acquainted) that I shall find your ears faithful treasurers. So then sitting down, and sometimes casting his eye to the picture, he thus spake:—  10
  This country, Arcadia, among all the provinces of Greece, hath ever been had in singular reputation: partly for the sweetness of the air, and other natural benefits, but principally for the well-tempered minds of the people, who (finding that the shining title of glory, so much affected by other nations, doth indeed help little to the happiness of life) are the only people which, as by their justice and providence, give neither cause nor hope to their neighbors to annoy; so are they not stirred with false praise to trouble others’ quiet, thinking it a small reward for the wasting of their own lives in ravening, that their posterity should long after say they had done so. Even the Muses seem to approve their good determination, by choosing this country for their chief repairing-place; and by bestowing their perfections so largely here, that the very shepherds have their fancies lifted to so high conceits, as the learned of other nations are content both to borrow their names and imitate their cunning.  11
  Here dwelleth and reigneth this prince, whose picture you see, by name Basilius: a prince of sufficient skill to govern so quiet a country; where the good minds of the former princes had set down good laws, and the well bringing up of the people doth serve as a most sure bond to hold them. But to be plain with you, he excels in nothing so much as the zealous love of his people, wherein he doth not only pass all his own foregoers, but as I think, all the princes living. Whereof the cause is, that though he exceed not in the virtues which get admiration, as depth of wisdom, height of courage, and largeness of magnificence; yet he is notable in those which stir affection, as truth of word, meekness, courtesy, mercifulness, and liberality.  12
  He being already well stricken in years, married a young princess, Gynecia, daughter of the king of Cyprus, of notable beauty, as by her picture you see: a woman of great wit, and in truth of more princely virtues than her husband; of most unspotted chastity: but of so working a mind, and so vehement spirits, as a man may say, it was happy she took a good course, for otherwise it would have been terrible.  13
  Of these two are brought into the world two daughters, so beyond measure excellent in all the gifts allotted to reasonable creatures, that we may think they were born to show that nature is no stepmother to that sex, how much soever some men (sharp-witted only in evil speaking) have sought to disgrace them. The elder is named Pamela; by many men not deemed inferior to her sister: for my part, when I marked them both, methought there was (if at least such perfection may receive the word of more) more sweetness in Philoclea, but more majesty in Pamela; methought love played in Philoclea’s eyes, and threatened in Pamela’s; methought Philoclea’s beauty only persuaded, but so persuaded as all hearts must yield; Pamela’s beauty used violence, and such violence as no heart could resist. And it seems that such proportion is between their minds: Philoclea so bashful, as though her excellences had stolen into her before she was aware; so humble, that she will put all pride out of countenance; in sum, such proceedings as will stir hope, but teach hope good manners; Pamela of high thoughts, who avoids not pride with not knowing her excellences, but by making that one of her excellences, to be void of pride; her mother’s wisdom, greatness, nobility, but (if I can guess aright) knit with a more constant temper. Now then, our Basilius being so publicly happy as to be a prince, and so happy in that happiness as to be a beloved prince, and so in his private estate blessed as to have so excellent a wife and so over-excellent children, hath of late taken a course which yet makes him more spoken of than all these blessings. For, having made a journey to Delphos and safely returned, within short space he brake up his court and retired—himself, his wife and children—into a certain forest hereby, which he called his desert: wherein (besides an house appointed for stables, and lodgings for certain persons of mean calling, who do all household services) he hath builded two fine lodges; in the one of them himself remains with his young daughter Philoclea (which was the cause they three were matched together in this picture), without having any other creature living in that lodge with him.  14
 
 
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