To his friend Eumenides, Endymion declares his love for Cynthia, goddess of the Moon. Eumenides chides Endymion, reminding him of the Moon’s inconstancy, whereupon Endymion extols inconstancy and change as virtues, attributes of everything beautiful. Convinced that Endymion is bewitched, Eumenides prescribes sleep and rest for the lovesick swain, but Endymion rejects the advice and berates his friend.
In the hope of misleading his friends, Endymion has also professed love for Tellus, a goddess of the Earth. Enraged by his apparent perfidy, Tellus swears to take revenge. Because she still loves Endymion, Tellus is unwilling for him to die; therefore, she resolves to resort to magic and witchcraft in order to awaken his love for her. Her friend Floscula warns that love inspired by witchcraft will be bitter, but Tellus ignores the warning and leaves to consult Dipsas, an enchantress.
In contrast to Endymion and Tellus, Sir Tophas habitually scoffs at love and has dedicated his life to war—against blackbirds, mallards, and wrens. When mocked by Endymion’s and Eumenides’ pages, Dares and Samias, Sir Tophas swears to kill them, but he pardons them when they explain that they have been speaking in Latin. Meanwhile, Tellus has found Dipsas, whom she consults about the possibility of killing Endymion’s love for Cynthia and supplanting it by magic with love for the Earth goddess herself. Dipsas declares that since she is not a deity, she can only weaken love, never kill it. At Tellus’s request, Dipsas agrees to enchant Endymion in such a way that his protestations of love for Cynthia will be doubted. Accompanied by Floscula and Dipsas, Tellus confronts Endymion in a garden and tries to make him confess his love for Cynthia. Although he admits that he honors Cynthia above all other women, he insists that he loves Tellus.
Later, the two pages, Dares and Samias, stroll in the gardens with their own ladyloves, whom they have shown Endymion and Eumenides in the act of mooning over their own loves. As a jest, Dares and Samias ask the two women to feign love for Sir Tophas, who, as usual, is playing at warfare in the gardens. The women comply, but Sir Tophas, ignoring them, reiterates his contempt for love and his passion for war.
Still later, Dipsas comes upon Endymion asleep in a grove. Assisted by Bagoa, her servant, Dipsas casts a...
(The entire section is 972 words.)