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2 Cup. My bow and quiver, or what else I can make.
1 Cup. I take only them; and in exchange give mine, to answer, and punish this thy rashness, at thy time assigned, by a just number of knights, who, by their virtue, shall maintain me to be the right Cupid; and true issue of valour and beauty: and that no love can come near either truth or perfection, but what is manly, and derives his proper dignity from thence.
2 Cup. It is agreed.
1 Cup. In the mean time, ladies, suspend your censures which is the right: and to entertain your thoughts till the day, may the court hourly present you with delicate and fresh objects, to beget on you pretty and pleasing fancies! may you feed on pure meats, easy of concoction, and drink that will quickly turn into blood, to make your dreams the clearer, and your imaginations the finer!
So they departed.
On New-year's day, he that before is numbered the second Cupid, came now the first, with his ten Knights, attired in the Bride's colours, and lighting from his chariot, spake :
I Cup. Now, ladies, to glad your aspects once again with the sight of Love, and make a spring smile in your faces, which must have looked like winter without me; behold me, not like a servant now, but a champion, and in my true figure, as I used to reign and revel in your faces, tickling your soft ears with my feathers, and laying little straws about your hearts,
to kindle bonfires shall flame out at your eyes; playing in your bloods like fishes in a stream, or diving like the boys in the bath, and then rising on end like a monarch, and treading humour like water, bending those stiff pickardils of yours under this yoke my bow; or, if they would not bend, whipping your rebellious vardingales with my bow-string, and made them run up into your waists (they have lain so flat) for fear of my indignation. What! is Cupid of no name with you? have I lost all reputation, or what is less, opinion, by once putting off my deity? Because I was a page at this solemnity, and would modestly serve one, for the honour of you all, am I therefore dishonoured by all? and lost in my value so, that every juggler that can purchase him a pair of wings and a quiver, is committed with me in balance, and contends with me for sovereignty? Well, I will chastise you, ladies; believe it, you shall feel my displeasure for this; and I will be mighty in it. Think not to have those accesses to me you were wont; you shall wait four of those galleries off, and six chambers for me; ten doors locked between you and me hereafter, and I will allow none of you a key when I come abroad, you shall petition me, and I will not hear you; kneel, and I will not regard you; I will pass by like a man of business, and not see you, and I will have no Master of Requests for you. There shall not the greatest pretender to a state-face living put on a more supercilious look, than I will do upon Trust me-ha! what's this?
Enter 2 Cupid, with his company of ten Knights.
2 Cup. O, are you here, sir! you have got the start of me now, by being challenger, and so the precedency, you think. I see you are resolved to try your title by arms then; you will stand to be the right Cupid still? how now! what ails you that you answer
not? are you turned a statue upon my appearance? or did you hope I would not appear, and that hope has deceived you?
1 Cup. Art thou still so impudent to belie my figure? that in what shape soever I present myself, thou wilt seem to be the same; not so much as my chariot, but resembled by thee? and both the doves and swans I have borrowed of my mother to draw it? the very number of my champions emulated, and almost their habits! what insolence is this?
2 Cup. Good little one, quarrel not, you have now put yourself upon others valour, not your own, and you must know you can bring no person hither to strengthen your side, but we can produce an equal. Be it Persuasion you have got there, the peculiar enchantress of your sex; behold we have Mercury here to charm against her, who gives all lovers their true and masculine eloquence; or are they the Graces you presume on, your known clients, Spring, Beauty, and Cheerfulness? here are Youth, Audacity, and Favour, to encounter them, three more manly perfections, and much more powerful in working for Love : child, you are all the ways of winning too weak, there is no thinking, either with your honour or discretion kept safe, to continue on a strife, wherein you are already vanquished; yield, be penitent early, and confess it.
I Cup. I will break my bow and quiver into dust first (restore me mine own arms) or be torn in pieces with Harpies, marry one of the Furies, turn into Chaos again, and dissolve the harmony of nature.
2 Cup. O, most stiffly spoken, and fit for the sex you stand for! Well, give the sign then let the trumpets sound, and upon the valour and fortune of your champions put the right of your cause.
1 Cup. 'Tis done.
Here the TILTING took place.
2 Cup. Now, sir, you have got mightily by this contention, and advanced your cause to a most high degree of estimation with these spectators! have you not?
1 Cup. Why, what have you done, or won?
2 Cup. It is enough for me who was called out to this trial, that I have not lost, or that my side is not vanquished.
Hy. Come, you must yield both; this is neither contention for you, nor time fit to contend: there is another kind of tilting would become Love better than this; to meet lips for lances; and crack kisses instead of staves: which there is no beauty here, I presume, so young, but can fancy, nor so tender, but would venture. Here is the palm for which you must strive: which of you wins this bough, is the right and best Cupid; and whilst you are striving, let Hymen, the president of these solemnities, tell you something of your own story, and what yet you know not of yourselves. You are both true Cupids, and both the sons of Venus by Mars, but this the first born, and was called Eros; who upon his birth proved a child of excellent beauty, and right worthy his mother; but after his growth not answering his form, not only Venus, but the Graces, who nursed him, became extremely solicitous for him; and were impelled out of their grief and care, to consult the oracle about him. Themis (for Apollo Apollo was not yet of years) gave answer, there wanted nothing to his perfection, but that they had not enough considered, or looked into the nature of the infant, which indeed
was desirous of a companion only; for though Love, and the true, might be born of Venus single and alone, yet he could not thrive and encrease alone. Therefore if she affected his growth, Venus must bring forth a brother to him, and name him Anteros; that with reciprocal affection, might pay the exchange of Love. This made that thou wert born her second birth. Since when, your natures are, that either of you, looking upon other, thrive, and by your mutual respects and interchange of ardour, flourish and prosper; whereas if the one be deficient or wanting to the other, it fares worse with both. This is the Love that Hymen requires, without which no marriage is happy: when the contention is not, who is the true Love, but, being both true, who loves most; cleaving the bough between you, and dividing the palm. This is a strife wherein you both win, and begets a concord worthy all married minds' emulation, when the lover transforms himself into the person of his beloved, as you two do now; by whose example, let your knights (all honourable friends and servants of Love) affect the like peace, and depart the lists equal in their friendships for ever, as to-day they have been in their fortunes. And may this ro yal court never know more difference in humours; or these well-graced nuptials more discord in affections, than what they presently feel, and may ever avoid! 1 2 Cup. To this Love says, Amen.