Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Story of Bellario
By Francis Beaumont (1584–1616) and John Fletcher (1579–1625)
From ‘Philaster, or Love Lies A-bleeding’

PHILASTER—But, Bellario
(For I must call thee still so), tell me why
Thou didst conceal thy sex. It was a fault,
A fault, Bellario, though thy other deeds
Of truth outweighed it: all these jealousies        5
Had flown to nothing, if thou hadst discovered
What now we know.
  Bellario—        My father oft would speak
Your worth and virtue; and as I did grow
More and more apprehensive, I did thirst
To see the man so praised. But yet all this        10
Was but a maiden-longing, to be lost
As soon as found; till, sitting in my window,
Printing my thoughts in lawn, I saw a god,
I thought (but it was you), enter our gates:
My blood flew out and back again, as fast        15
As I had puffed it forth and sucked it in
Like breath; then was I called away in haste
To entertain you. Never was a man
Heaved from a sheep-cote to a sceptre, raised
So high in thoughts as I. You left a kiss        20
Upon these lips then, which I mean to keep
From you for ever; I did hear you talk,
Far above singing. After you were gone,
I grew acquainted with my heart, and searched
What stirred it so: alas, I found it love!        25
Yet far from lust; for, could I but have lived
In presence of you, I had had my end.
For this I did delude my noble father
With a feigned pilgrimage, and dressed myself
In habit of a boy; and, for I knew        30
My birth no match for you, I was past hope
Of having you; and, understanding well
That when I made discovery of my sex
I could not stay with you, I made a vow,
By all the most religious things a maid        35
Could call together, never to be known,
Whilst there was hope to hide me from men’s eyes,
For other than I seemed, that I might ever
Abide with you. Then sat I by the fount,
Where first you took me up.
  King—                Search out a match
Within our kingdom, where and when thou wilt,
And I will pay thy dowry; and thyself
Wilt well deserve him.
  Bellario—                    Never, sir, will I
Marry; it is a thing within my vow:
But if I may have leave to serve the princess,        45
To see the virtues of her lord and her,
I shall have hope to live.
  Arethusa—            I, Philaster,
Cannot be jealous, though you had a lady
Drest like a page to serve you; nor will I
Suspect her living here.—Come, live with me;        50
Live free as I do. She that loves my lord,
Cursed be the wife that hates her!

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.