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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

Radagon in Dianam

Robert Greene (1558–1592)

IT was a valley gaudy-green,

Where Dian at the fount was seen;

Green it was,

And did pass

All other of Diana’s bowers

In the pride of Flora’s flowers.

A fount it was that no sun sees,

Circled in with cypress-trees,

Set so nigh

As Phœbus’ eye

Could not do the virgins scathe,

To see them naked when they bathe.

She sat there all in white,

Colour fitting her delight:

Virgins so

Ought to go,

For white in armoury is plac’d

To be the colour that is chaste.

Her taff’ta cassock might you see

Tucked up above her knee,

Which did show

There below

Legs as white as whalès-bone;

So white and chaste were never none.

Hard by her, upon the ground,

Sat her virgins in a round,

Bathing their

Golden hair,

And singing all in notes high,

“Fie on Venus’ flattering eye!

“Fie on love! it is a toy;

Cupid witless and a boy;

All his fires,

And desires,

Are plagues that God sent down from high

To pester men with misery.”

As thus the virgins did disdain

Lovers’ joy and lovers’ pain,

Cupid nigh

Did espy,

Grieving at Diana’s song,

Slyly stole these maids among.

His bow of steel, darts of fire,

He shot amongst them sweet desire,

Which straight flies

In their eyes,

And at the entrance made them start,

For it ran from eye to heart.

Calisto straight supposed Jove

Was fair and frolic for to love;

Dian she

Scaped not free,

For, well I wot, hereupon

She loved the swain Endymion;

Clytie Phœbus, and Chloris’ eye

Thought none so fair as Mercury:

Venus thus

Did discuss

By her son in darts of fire,

None so chaste to check desire.

Dian rose with all her maids,

Blushing thus at love’s braids:

With sighs, all

Show their thrall;

And flinging hence pronounce this saw,

“What so strong as love’s sweet law?”