A monologue from Act I, Scene I

by: John Lyly

NOTE: Endymion was entered in the Stationers' Register on October 4, 1591, and published anonymously later that year. The play was printed as Lyly's by Blount in Six Court Comedies of 1632. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

ENDYMION: O fair Cynthia, why do others term thee unconstant whom I have ever found unmovable? Injurious time, corrupt manners, unkind men, who, finding a constancy not to be matched in my sweet mistress, have christened her with the name of wavering, waxing, and waning! Is she inconstant that keepeth a settled course, which, since her first creation, altereth not one minute in her moving? There is nothing thought more admirable or commendable in the sea than the ebbing and flowing; and shall the moon, from whom the sea taketh this virtue, be accounted fickle for increasing and decreasing? Flowers in their buds are nothing worth till they be blown, nor blossoms accounted till they be ripe fruit; and shall we then say they be changeable for that they grow from seeds to leaves, from leaves to buds, from buds to their perfection? They why be not twigs that become trees, children that become men, and mornings that grow to evenings, termed wavering, for that they continue not at one stay? Ay, but Cynthia being in her fulness, decayeth, as not delighting in her greatest beauty, or withering when she should be most honored. When malice cannot object anything, folly will, making that a vice which is the greatest virtue. What thing (my mistress excepted) being in the pride of her beauty and latter minute of her age, that waxeth young again? Tell me, Eumenides, what is he that, having a mistress of ripe years and infinite virtues, great honors, and unspeakable beauty, but would wish that she might grow tender again, getting youth by years, and never-decaying beauty by time; whose fair face neither the summer's blaze can scorch, nor winter's blast chap, nor the numbering of years breed altering of colors? Such is my sweet Cynthia, whom time cannot touch because she is divine!