"Love Is Like Linen Often Changed, The Sweeter"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The brothers, Giles and Phineas Fletcher, were two of the most devoted followers of Edmund Spenser in the seventeenth century. Their devotion was a disservice, in a sense, to the author of the Faerie Queene, for the brothers so exaggerated the allegory and over-refined the melodies of their master that they precipitated a mild reaction against Spenser. In Sicelides Phineas, the elder of the two, attempted a romantic comedy on the model of the popular pastoral drama of the period except that, following the Italian Sannazaro, he substituted fishermen for the conventional shepherds. In the play, the conventional roles of the man who continually satirizes women and the woman who constantly makes jeering fun of men and who end up as a romantic pair are played by Pas, a fisherman, and Cosma, a nymph. In Act III they are still bantering each other:


COSMA
I can but smile to thinke how foolish wise
Those women are, that chuse their loves for wisedome.
Wisedome in men's a golden chaine to tie
Poore women in a glorious slavery.
PAS
Hark Heavens! O monstrous! harke: O women, women.
COSMA
Fond men, that blame the love that ever ranges.
To foule and sluttish love, that never changes!
The Muses love by course to change their meeter,
Love is like linnen often chang'd, the sweeter.
PAS
Thus these neate creatures, dead with love and all,
By shunning beastlines, make it beastiall.