French. Faith yes, to be put to the arbiterment of Swords, and by such two, that would by all likelyhood haue confounded one the other, or haue falne both

Iach. Can we with manners, aske what was the difference? French. Safely, I thinke, 'twas a contention in publicke, which may (without contradiction) suffer the report. It was much like an argument that fell out last night, where each of vs fell in praise of our Country-Mistresses. This Gentleman, at that time vouching (and vpon warrant of bloody affirmation) his to be more Faire, Vertuous, Wise, Chaste, Constant, Qualified, and lesse attemptible then any, the rarest of our Ladies in Fraunce

Iach. That Lady is not now liuing; or this Gentlemans opinion by this, worne out

Post. She holds her Vertue still, and I my mind

Iach. You must not so farre preferre her, 'fore ours of Italy

Posth. Being so farre prouok'd as I was in France: I would abate her nothing, though I professe my selfe her Adorer, not her Friend

Iach. As faire, and as good: a kind of hand in hand comparison, had beene something too faire, and too good for any Lady in Britanie; if she went before others. I haue seene as that Diamond of yours out-lusters many I haue beheld, I could not beleeue she excelled many: but I haue not seene the most pretious Diamond that is, nor you the Lady

Post. I prais'd her, as I rated her: so do I my Stone

Iach. What do you esteeme it at? Post. More then the world enioyes

Iach. Either your vnparagon'd Mistris is dead, or she's out-priz'd by a trifle

Post. You are mistaken: the one may be solde or giuen, or if there were wealth enough for the purchases, or merite for the guift. The other is not a thing for sale, and onely the guift of the Gods

Iach. Which the Gods haue giuen you? Post. Which by their Graces I will keepe

Iach. You may weare her in title yours: but you know strange Fowle light vpon neighbouring Ponds. Your Ring may be stolne too, so your brace of vnprizeable Estimations, the one is but fraile, and the other Casuall; A cunning Thiefe, or a (that way) accomplish'd Courtier, would hazzard the winning both of first and last

Post. Your Italy, containes none so accomplish'd a Courtier to conuince the Honour of my Mistris: if in the holding or losse of that, you terme her fraile, I do nothing doubt you haue store of Theeues, notwithstanding I feare not my Ring

Phil. Let vs leaue heere, Gentlemen? Post. Sir, with all my heart. This worthy Signior I thanke him, makes no stranger of me, we are familiar at first

Iach. With fiue times so much conuersation, I should get ground of your faire Mistris; make her go backe, euen to the yeilding, had I admittance, and opportunitie to friend

Post. No, no

Iach. I dare thereupon pawne the moytie of my Estate, to your Ring, which in my opinion o're-values it something: but I make my wager rather against your Confidence, then her Reputation. And to barre your offence heerein to, I durst attempt it against any Lady in the world

Post. You are a great deale abus'd in too bold a perswasion, and I doubt not you sustaine what y'are worthy of, by your Attempt

Iach. What's that? Posth. A Repulse though your Attempt (as you call it) deserue more; a punishment too

Phi. Gentlemen enough of this, it came in too sodainely, let it dye as it was borne, and I pray you be better acquainted

Iach. Would I had put my Estate, and my Neighbors on th' approbation of what I haue spoke

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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