Love-Letters| Between a| NOBLE-MAN| And his| SISTER.| [rule]| [ornament]| [rule]| LONDON,| Printed, and are to be sold by| Randal Taylor near Stationer’s| Hall. MDCLXXXIV.*
Having when I was at Paris last Spring, met with a little Book of Letters, call’d L’Intregue de Philander & Silvia* I had a particular fancy, besides my incinations to translate ’em into English, which I have done as faithfully as I cou’d, only where he speaks of the ingratitude of Cæsario to the King, I have added a word or two to his Character that might render it a litte more parallel to that of a
The Letters art soft and amorous, and besides my esteem and obligation to you, I think it no where so proper to address so much tender passion, as to a man whom Heaven and Nature has so well form’d both for dispencing and receiving of Love as your self, you having all in your person that is acceptable to women and desir’d by men, and when you please can make your self as absolutely the joy of the one as the envy
Sir, I wou’d fain think that in the Character of Philander there is a great resemblance of your self as to his Person, and that part of his Soul that was possest with Love: he wa a French Whigg,* ’tis true, and a most apparent Traytor, and there, I confess, the comparison fails extremely; for sure no man was ever so incorrigible so hardned in Torism* as your self, so fearless, so bold, so resolute, and confirm’d in Loyalty; in the height of all dangers and threatnings, in blessed Age of swearing, and the hopeful
In this you are far distant to my amorous Hero; but at least for my own satisfaction; and that I may believe Silvia truly happy, give me leave to fansie him such a person as your self, and then I cannot fail of fansying him too, speaking at the fee: of Silvia, pleading his right of love with the same softness in his eyes and voice, as you can do when you design to conquer; whene’er
Perhaps you’ll be out of humour, and cry, why the Devil did’st thou dedicate the Letters of a Whigg to me? but to make you amends, Sir, pray take notice Sivia is true Tory in every part, if but to love a Whigg be not crime enough in your opinion to pall your appetite, and for which even her youth and beauty cannot make an attonement; commodity, which rarely fails in
Your obliged and most
humble Servant, &c.
|<[xx]> [The Argument]
In the time of the Rebellion of the true Protestant Hugonots* in Paris, under the conduct of the Prince of Condy* (whom we will call Cæsario) many illustrious persons were drawn into the Association, amongst which there was one, whose Quality and Fortune (join’d with his Youth and Beauty) rendered him more elevated in the esteem of the gay part of the World than most of that Age. In his tender years (unhappily enough) he chanced to fall in Love with a Lady, whom we will call Mertilla, who had charms enough to engage any heart; she had all the advantages of Youth and Nature; a Shape excellent; a most agreeable stature, not too tall, and far from low, delicately proportioned; her Face a little inclined round, soft,
After this flight, these Letters were found in their Cabinets,* at their house at St. Denice, where they both lived together, for the space of a year, and they are as exactly as possible plac’d in the order they were sent, and were those supposed to be written towards the latter end of their Amours.
Though I parted from you resolved to obey your impossible commands, yet know, oh charming Silvia! that after a Thousand conflicts between Love and Honour, I found the God (too mighty for the Idol) reign absolute Monarch in my Soul, and soon banish’t that Tyrant thence. That cruel Councellor that would suggest to you a Thousand fond Ar-|<2>guments to hinder my noble pursute; Silvia came in view! her irresistible Idea! With all the charmes of blooming youth, with all the Attractions of Heavenly Beauty! loose, wanton, gay, all flowing her bright hair, and languishing her lovely eyes, her dress all negligent as when I saw her last, discovering a Thousand ravishing Graces, round, white small Breast’s, delicate Neck, and rising Bosome, heav’d with sighs she wou’d in vain conceal; and all besides, that nicest fancy can imagine surprising —— Oh I dare not think on, lest my desires grow mad and raving; let it|<3> suffice, oh adorable Silvia! I think and know enough to justifie that flame in me, which our weak alliance of Brother and Sister has render’d so criminal; but he that adores Silvia, shou’d do it at an uncommon rate; ’tis not enough to sacrifice a single heart, to give you a simple Passion, your Beauty shou’d, like it self, produce wondrous effects; it shou’d force all obligations, all laws, all tyes even of Natures self: You, my lovely Maid, were not born to be obtain’d by the dull methods of ordinary loving; and ’tis in vain to prescribe me measures; and|<4> oh much more in vain to urge the nearness of our Relation. What Kin my charming Silvia are you to me? No tyes of blood forbid my Passion; and what’s a Ceremony impos’d on man by custome? what is it to my Divine Silvia, that the Priest took my hand and gave it to your Sister? what Alliance can that create? why shou’d a trick devis’d by the wary old, only to make provision for posterity, tye me to an eternal slavery? No, no, my charming Maid, ’tis nonsense all; let us, (born for mightier joys) scorn the dull beaten road, but let us love like|<5> the first race of men,* nearest allied to God, promiscuously they lov’d, and possess’st, Father and Daughter, Brother and Sister met, and reap’d the joys of Love without controul, and counted it Religious coupling, and ’twas encourag’d too by Heav’n it self: Therefore start not (too nice and lovely Maid) at shadows of things that can but frighten fools. Put me not off with these delays! rather say you but dissembl’d Love all this while, than now ’tis born, to dy again with a poor fright of nonsense. A fit of Honour! a fantome imaginary, and no|<6> more; no, no, represent me to your soul more favourably, think you see me languishing at your feet, breathing out my last in sighs and kind reproaches, on the pityless Silvia; reflect when I am dead, which will be the more afflicting object, the Ghost (as you are pleas’d to call it) of your Murder’d Honour, or the pale and bleeding one of
The lost Philander.
I have liv’d a whole day,
and yet no Letter from Silvia.|<7>
Oh why will you make me own (oh too importunate Philander!) with what regret I made you promise to preferr my Honour before your Love?
I confess with blushes, which you might then see kindling in my Face, that I was not at all pleas’d with the Vows you made me, to endeavour to obey me, and I then even wisht you wou’d obstinately have denied obedience to my just commands; have pursu’d your criminal flame, and have left me raving|<8> on my undoing: For when you were gone, and I had leisure to look into my heart, alas! I found, whether you oblig’d or not, whether Love or Honour were prefer’d, I, unhappy I, was either way inevitably lost. Oh! what pityless God, fond of his wondrous power, made us the objects of his Almighty vanity? oh why were we two made the first presidents of his new found revenge? for sure no Brother ever lov’d a Sister with so criminal a flame before: At least my unexperienc’d innocence ne’re met with so fatal a story: And ’tis in vain (my too charming|<9> Brother) to make me insensible of our Alliance; to perswade me I am a stranger to all but your eyes and Soul.
Alas, your fatally kind Industry is all in vain. You grew up a Brother with me; the title was fixed in my heart, when I was too young to understand your subtle distinctions, and there it thriv’d and spread; and ’tis now too late to transplant it, or alter its Native Property: Who can graft a flower on a contrary stalk? The Rose will bear no Tulips, nor the Hyacinth the Poppy; no more will the Brother the name of|<10> Lover. O! spoil not the natural sweetness and innocence we now retain, by an endeavour fruitless and destructive; no, no, Philander, dress your self in what Charms you will, be powerful as Love can make you in your soft argument —— yet, oh yet you are my Brother still. —— But why, oh cruel and eternal Powers, was not Philander my Lover before you destin’d him a Brother? or why being a Brother did you, malicious and spightful powers destine him a Lover! oh take, either title from him, or from me a life, which can render me no satisfaction,|<11> since your cruel laws permit it not for Philander, nor his to bless the now
After I had dismist my Page this morning with my Letter, I walk’d (fill’d with sad soft thoughts of my Brother Philander) into the Grove, and commanding Melinda to retire, who only attended me, I threw my self down on that bank of grass where we last disputed|<12> the dear, but fatal business of our souls: where our prints (that invited me) still remain on the prest greens: There with Ten Thousand sighs, with remembrance of the tender minutes we passed then, I drew your last Letter from my Bosome, and often kist, and often read it over, but oh, who can conceive my Torment, when I came to that fatal part of it, where you say you gave your hand to my sister? I found my soul agitated with a Thousand different passions, but all insupportable, all mad and raving; sometimes I threw my self with fury on the|<13> ground, and prest my panting heart to the cold earth; then rise in rage, and tear my hair, and hardly spare that face that taught you first to love: then fold my wretched Arms to keep down rising Sighs that almost rend my breast, I traverse swiftly the conscious Grove; with my distracted show’ring eyes directed in vain to pityless Heaven, the lovely silent shade favouring my complaints, I cry alowd, oh God! Philander’s, Married, the lovely charming thing for whom I languish is Married! —— That fatal word’s enough, I need not add to whom. Married is enough to make me|<14> curse my Birth, my Youth, my Beauty, and my eyes that first betray’d me to the undoing object: Curse on the Charms you’ve flatter’d, for every fancy’d Grace has help’d my ruine on; now, like flowers that wither unseen and unpossest in shades, they must dy and be no more, they were to no end created, since Philander’s Married: Married! oh fate, oh Hell, oh torture and confusion! tell me not ’tis to my Sister, that addition’s needless and vain: To make me eternally wretched, there needs no more than that Philander’s Married! Than that the Priest|<15> gave your hand away from me; to another, and not to me; tir’d out with life, I need no other passport than this Repetition, Philander’s Married! ’tis that alone is sufficient to lay in her cold Tomb
The wretched and despairing
Twice last night, oh unfaithful and unloving Silvia! I sent my Page to the old place for Letters, but he returned the object of my rage, because without the least remembrance from my fickle Maid: In this Torment, unable to hide my disorder, I suffer’d my self to be laid in bed; where the restless torments of the night exceeded those of the day, and are not even by the languisher himself to be exprest; but the returning light brought a short slumber on its Wings; which|<17> was interrupted by my attoneing Boy, who brought Two Letters from my adorable Silvia: he wak’d me from Dreams more agreeable than all my watchful hours cou’d bring; for they are all tortur’d. —— And even the softest mixt with a Thousand despairs, difficulties, and disappointments, but these were all love, which gave a loose to joys undeny’d by Honour! and this way, my charming Silvia, you shall be mine, in spight of all the Tyrannies of that cruel hinderer; Honour appears not, my Silvia, within the close drawn Curtains, in shades and gloomy light the|<18> fantôm frights not, but when one beholds its blushes, when it is attended and adorn’d, and the Sun sees its false Beauties; in silent Groves and grotto’s, dark Alcoves, and lonely recesses, all its formalities are laid aside; ’twas then and there, methought my Silvia yielded! with a faint struggle and a soft resistance; I heard her broken sighs, her tender whispering Voice that trembling cry’d, —— Oh can you be so cruel. —— Have you the heart —— Will you undo a Maid, because she loves you? Oh Will you ruine me, because you may? —— My faithless —— My unkind, then sigh’t and yiel-|<19>ded, and made me happier than a Triumphing God! but this was still a Dream, I wak’d and sigh’t, and found it vanish all! But oh my Silvia, your Letters were substantial pleasure, and pardon your Adorer, if he tell you, even the disorder you express is infinitly dear to him, since he knows it all the effects of Love; Love, my soul! which you in vain oppose; pursue it, Dear, and call it not undoing, or else explain your fear, and tell me what your soft, your trembling heart gives that cruel title to? is it undoing to Love? And love the Man you say has Youth|<20> and Beauty to justifie that Love? A man, that adores you with so submissive and perfect a resignation; a man, that did not only Love first, but is resolved to dy in that agreeable flame; in my Creation I was form’d for Love, and destin’d for my Silvia, and she for her Philander: And shall we; can we disappoint our Fate, no, my soft Charmer, our souls were toucht with the same shafts of Love before they had a being in our Bodies, and can we contradict Divine Decree?
Or is’t undoing, Dear, to bless Philander with what you must some time or other|<21> sacrifice to some hated loath’d object, (for Silvia can never love again) and are those Treasures for the dull conjugal Lover to rifle? was the beauty of Divine shape created for the cold Matrimonial imbrace? and shall the eternal joys that Silvia can dispense, be return’d by the clumsey Husband’s careless, forc’d, insipid duty’s? oh, my Silvia, shall a Husband (whose insensibility will call those Raptures of joy! those Heavenly Blisses! the drudgery of life) shall he I say receive ’em? While your Philander, with the very thought of the excess of pleasure, the least|<22> possession wou’d afford, faints o’re the Paper that brings you here his eternal Vows.
Oh Where, my Silvia, ly’s the undoing then? my Quality and Fortune are of the highest rank amongst men. My Youth gay and fond, my Soul all soft, all Love; and all Silvia’s! I adore her, I languish for hera, I am sick of Love, and sick of Life, till she yields she is all mine!
You say my Silvia I am Married, and there my happyness is Shipwreck’d; but Silvia, I deny it, and will not have you think it; no, my Soul was Married to yours in its first Creation; and only|<23> Silvia is the Wife of my sacred, my everlasting Vows; of my solemn considerate thoughts, of my ripen’d Judgment, my mature considerations. The rest are all repented and forgot, like the hasty folly’s of unsteady Youth, like Vows breath’d in Anger, and dy Perjur’d as soon as vented, and unregarded either of Heav’n or Man. Oh! why shou’d my Soul suffer for ever, why eternal pain for the unheedy, short-liv’d sin of my unwilling Lips? besides, this fatal thing called Wife, this unlucky Sister, this Mertilla, this stop to all my Heaven, that breeds such|<24> fatal differences in our Affairs, this Mertilla, I say, first broke her Marriage Vows to me; I blame her not, nor is it reasonable I shou’d; she saw the young Cæsario, and Lov’d him. Cæsario, whom the envying World in spight of prejudice must own, has irresistible Charms, that Godlike form, that sweetness in his face, that softness in his Eyes and delicate Mouth; and every Beauty besides that Women dote on, and Men envy: That lovely composition of Man and Angel! with the addition of his eternal Youth and Illustrious Birth, was form’d|<25> By Heaven and Nature for universal Conquest! and who can love the charming Hero at a cheaper rate than being undone: And she that wou’d not venture Fame, Honour, and a Marriage Vow for the Glory of the young Cesario’s heart, merits not the noble Victim; oh! wou’d I cou’d say so much for the young Philander, who wou’d run a Thousand times more hazards of life and Fortune for the Adorable Silvia, than that amorous Hero ever did for Mertilla, though from that Prince I learn’t some of my disguises for my thefts of Love; for he, like|<26> Jove,* courted in several shapes, I saw ’em all, and suffer’d the delusion to pass upon me; for I had seen the lovely Silvia? yes, I had seen her, and lov’d her too. But Honour kept me yet Master of my Vows; but when I knew her false, when I was once confirm’d, —— When by my own Soul I found the dissembl’d Passion of hers, when she cou’d no longer hide the blushes or the paleness that seiz’d at the approaches of my disorder’d Rival, when I saw Love dancing in her eyes, and her false heart beat with nimble motions, and soft trembling seize every Limb,|<27> at the approach or touch of the Royal Lover, then I thought my self no longer oblig’d to conceal my flame for Silvia; nay, e’re I broke silence, e’re I discover’d the hidden Treasure of my heart, I made her falsehood plainer yet: Even the time and place of the dear assignations I discover’d; certainty! happy certainty! broke the dull heavy chain, and I with joy submitted to my shameful freedome, and caress’d my generous Rival; nay, and by Heaven I lov’d him for’t, pleas’d at the resemblance of our Souls, for we were secret Lovers both, but more pleas’d|<28> that he Loved Mertilla; for that made way to my passion for the adorable Silvia!
Let the dull hot-brain’d, jealous fool upbraid me with cold Patience: Let the fond Coxcomb,* whose Honour depends on the frail Marriage Vow, reproach me, or tell me that my Reputation depends on the feeble constancy of a Wife, perswade me it is Honour to fight for an irretrievable and unvalu’d Prize, and that because my Rival has taken leave to Cuckold me, I shall give him leave to kill me too: Unreasonable nonsense grown to custome.|<29> No by Heav’n! I had rather Mertilla shou’d be false, (as she is) than wish and languish for the happy occasion, the Sin’s the same, only the Act’s more generous: Believe me, my Silvia, we have all false notions of Vertue and Honour, and surely this was taken up by some despairing Husband in Love with a fair Jilting Wife, and then I Pardon him; I shou’d have done as much: for only she that has my Soul, can only ingage my Sword, she that I love, and my self, only commands and keeps my stock of Honour: For Silvia! the Charming, the distracting Silvia! I could fight for a|<30> glance or smile, expose my heart for her dearer fame, and wish no recompense, but breathing out my last gasp into her soft, white, delicate bosome. But for a Wife! that stranger to my Soul, and whom we Wed for Interest and necessity, —— A Wife, light loose, unregarding Property, who for a momentary Apetite will expose her fame, without the noble end of loving on, she that will abuse my Bed, and yet return again to the loath’d conjugal imbrace, back to the Armes so hated, that even strong fancy of the absent Youth belov’d, cannot so|<31> much as render supportable. Curse on her, and yet she kisses, fawnes and dissembles on, hangs on his Neck, and makes the Sot believe: —— Damn her, Brute; i’ll whistler* off, and let her down the Wind, as Othella* says. No, I adore the Wife, that when the heart is gone, boldy and nobles* persues the Conqueror, and generously owns the Whore; —— Not poorly adds the
Thus my excellent Maid I have sent you the sense and truth of my Soul, in an affair you have often hinted to me, and I take no pleasure to remember; I hope you will at least think my aversion|<33> reasonable, and that being thus undisputably freed from all obligations to Mertilla as a Husband, I may be permitted to lay claim to Silvia as a Lover, and marry my self more effectually by my everlasting Vows, than the Priest by his common method cou’d do to any other Woman less belov’d, there being no other way at present left by Heav’n, to render me Silvia’s.
Eternal happy Lover and
I dy to see you.
When I had seal’d the inclos’d, Brilljard* told me you were this Morning come from Belfont, and with infinite impatience have expected seeing you here; which defer’d my sending this to the old place; and I am so vain (oh Adorable Silvia!) as to believe my fancy’d silence has given you disquiets; but sure, my Silvia cou’d not charge me with neglect, no she knows my Soul, and lays it all on chance, or some strange accident, she knows no business cou’d divert me. No|<35> were the Nation sinking, the great Senate of the world confounded, our Glorious Designs betray’d and ruin’d, and the vast City all in flame; like Nero,* unconcern’d, I’d sing my everlasting Song of Love to Silvia; which no time or Fortune shall untune. I know my Soul, and all its strength, and how it is fortify’d, the charming Idea of my young Silvia will for ever remain there, the original may fade, time may render it less fair, less blooming in my Arms, but never in my Soul; I shall find thee there the same gay glorious creature that first surpris’d and inslav’d me, believe|<36> me ravishing Maid, I shall. Why then, oh why, my cruel Silvia! are my joys delay’d? Why am I by your rigorous commands kept from the sight of my Heav’n, my eternal bliss? an Age, my fair Tormentor’s past, Four tedious live long days are number’d o’re, since I beheld the object of my lasting Vows, my eternal wishes, how can you think, oh unreasonable Silvia! that I cou’d live so long without you? And yet I am alive; I find it by my pain, by torments of fears and jealousies insupportable; I languish and go downward to the earth, where you will shortly|<37> see me lay’d without your recalling mercy; ’tis true, I move about this unregarded world, appear every day in the great Senate-House, at Clubs, Caballs, and private consultations; (for Silvia knows all the business of my Soul, even in politicks of State as well as Love) I say I appear indeed, and give my Voice in publick business; but oh my Heart more kindly is imploy’d, that and my thoughts are Silvia’s! Ten Thousand times a day I breathe that name, my busie fingers are eternally tracing out those Six mystick letters; a Thousand ways on every thing I touch,|<38> form words, and make ’em speak a Thousand things, and all are Silvia still; my melancholy change is evident to all that see me, which they interpret many mistaken ways; our Party fancy I repent my League with ’em, and doubting I’le betray the Cause, grow jealous of me, till by new Oaths, new Arguments, I confirm ’em; then they smile all, and cry I am in Love; and this they would believe, but that they see all Women that I meet or converse with are indifferent to me, and so can fix it no where; for none can guess it Silvia;|<39> thus while I dare not tell my Soul, no not even to Cesario, the stifled flame burns inward, and torments me so, that (unlike the thing I was) I fear Silvia will lose her Love, and Lover too; for those few Charmes she said I had, will fade, and this fatal distance will destroy both Soul and Body too; my very reason will abandon me, and I shall rave to see thee; restore me, oh restore me then to Bellfont, happy Bellfont, still blest with Silvia’s presence! permit me, oh permit me into those sacred Shades, where I have been so often (too innocently)|<40> blest! let me survey again the dear characters of Silvia on the smooth Birch; oh when shall I sit beneath those Boughs, gazing on the young Goddess of the Grove, hearing her sigh for Love; touching her glowing small white hands, beholding her killing eyes languish, and her Charming bosome rise and fall with short-breath’d uncertain breath; breath as soft and sweet as the restoring breeze that glides or’e the newblown flowers: But oh what is it! What Heav’n of Perfumes, when it inclines to the ravisht Philander, and whispers|<41> Love it dares not name aloud!
What power witholds me then from rushing on thee, from pressing thee with Kisses; folding thee in my transported Armes, and following all the dictates of Love without respect or Awe. What is it, oh my Silvia can detain a Love so violent and raving, and so wild, admit me, sacred Maid, admit me again to those soft delights; that I may find if possible, what Devinity (envious of my bliss) checks my eager joys, my raging flame; while you too make an experiment|<42> (worth the trial) what ’tis makes Silvia deny her
My Page is Ill, and I am oblig’d to trust Brilljard with these to the dear Cottage of their Rendezvous; send me your opinion of his fidelity: and ah! remember I dy to see you.|<43>
Not yet? —— Not yet? oh ye dull tedious Hours, when will you glide away? and bring that happy moment on, in which I shall at least hear from my Philander; Eight and Forty tedious ones are past, and I am here forgotten still; forlorn, impatient, restless every where; not one of all your little moments (ye undiverting hours) can afford me repose; I drag ye on, a heavy Load; I count ye all, and bless ye when you’r gone; but tremble at the approach-|<44>ing ones, and with a dread expect you; and nothing will divert me now, my Couch is tiresome, my Glass is vain; my Books are dull, and conversation insupportable; the Grove affords me no relief; nor even those Birds to whom I have so often breath’d Philander’s, name, they sing it on their perching Boughs; no, nor the reviewing of his dear Letters, can bring me any ease. Oh what fate is reserv’d for me; for thus I cannot live; nor surely thus I shall not dy. Perhaps Philander’s making a tryal of Vertue by this silence. Pursue it, call up|<45> all your reason, my lovely Brother to your aid, let us be wise and silent, let us try what that will do towards the cure of this too infectious flame; let us, oh let us, my Brother, sit down here, and pursee* the crime of Loving on no further. Call me Sister —— Swear I am so, and nothing but your Sister: and forbear, oh forbear, my charming Brother, to pursue me farther with your soft bewitching Passion; let me alone, let me be ruin’d with Honour, if I must be ruin’d. —— For oh! ’twere much happyer I were no more, than that I shou’d be more then Philander’s|<46> Sister; or he than Silvia’s Brother: Oh let me ever call you by that cold name, till that of Lover be forgotten: —— Ha! —— Methinks on the suddain, a fit of Vertue informs my Soul, and bids me ask you for what sin of mine my Charming Brother, you still persue a Maid that cannot fly: Ungenerous and unkind! why did you take advantage of those Freedoms I gave you as a Brother, I smil’d on you, and sometimes kis’t you too; —— But for my Sisters sake. I play’d with you, suffer’d your Hands and Lips to wander were* I dare not now; all which I thought a|<47> Sister might allow a Brother, and knew not all the while the Treachery of Love: Oh none, but under that intimate title of a Brother, cou’d have had the opportunity to have ruin’d me; that, that betray’d me: I play’d away my Heart at a Game I did not understand, nor knew I when ’twas lost, by degrees so subtil, and an authority so lawful, you won me out of all. Nay then too, even when all was lost, I wou’d not think it Love. I wonder’d what my sleepless Nights, my waking eternal thoughts, and slumbring Visions of my lovely Brother meant, I wonder’d|<48> why my Soul was continually fill’d with wishes and new desires; and still concluded ’twas for my Sister all, till I discover’d the cheat by Jealousy, for when my Sister hung upon your neck, kist, and carest that face that I ador’d, oh how I found my colour change, my Limbs all trembled, and my blood inrag’d, and I cou’d scarce forbear reproaching you: Or crying out, Oh why this fondness, Brother. Sometimes you perceiv’d my concern, at which you’d smile; for you who had been before in Love, (a curse upon the fatal time) cou’d guess at my disorder;|<49> then wou’d you turn the wanton play on me: When sullen with my jealousy and the cause, I fly your soft imbrace, yet wish you wou’d pursue and overtake me, which you ne’re fail’d to do, where after a kind quarrel all was pardon’d, and all was well again: While the poor injur’d innocent my Sister, made her self sport at our delusive Wars; Still I was ignorant, till you in a most fatal hour inform’d me I was a Lover. Thus was it with my heart in those blest days of innocence; thus it was won and lost; nor can all my Stars in Heaven prevent, I doubt, pre-|<50>vent my ruin. Now you are sure of the fatal conquest, you scorn the trifling Glory, you are silent now; oh I am inevitably lost, or with you or without you; And I find by this little silence and absence of yours, that ’tis most certain I must either dy, or be Philander’s
If Dorillus come not with a Letter, or that my Page, whom I have sent to this Cottage for one, bring it not, I cannot support my Life, for oh, Philander, I have a Thousand wild distracting fears, knowing how you are involv’d in the Interest you have espous’d with the young Cæsario: how danger surrounds you, how your life and|<51> Glory depends on the frail secresie of Villains and Rebels: Oh give me leave to fear eternally your fame and life, if not your Love; If Silvia cou’d command, Philander shou’d be Loyal as he’s Noble; and what generous Maid wou’d not suspect his Vows to a Mistress, who breaks ’em with his Prince and Master! Heav’n preserve you and your Glory.
Another Night, oh Heaven’s, and yet no Letter come! Where are you, my Philander? What happy place contains you? if in Heav’n, why do’s not some posting Angel bid me hast after you? If on|<52> Earth, why does not some little God of Love bring the grateful tidings on his painted Wings? if sick, why does not my own fond heart by sympathy inform me, but that’s all active, vigorous, wishing, impatient of delaying silence, and busie in imagination; if you are false, if you have forgotten your poor believing and distracted Silvia, why do’s not that kind Tyrant Death, that meagre welcome Vision of the despairing, old, and wretched, approach in dead of Night, approach my restless Bed, and toll the dismal tidings in my frighted listening ears, and strike me for ever|<53> silent, lay me for ever quiet, lost to the world, lost to my faithless Charmer: But if a sense of Honour in you, has made you resolve to prefer mine before your Love, made you take up a noble fatal resolution, never to tell me more of your Passion, this were a Trial I fear my fond heart wants courage to bear; or is’t a trick, a cold fit, only assum’d to try how much I Love you? I have no Arts, Heav’n knows, no guile or double meaning in my soul, ’tis all plain native simplicity, fearful and timerous as Children in the Night, trembling as Doves pursu’d; born soft by Nature,|<54> and made tender by Love; what, oh! what will become of me then! Yet wou’d I were confirm’d in all my fears: For as I am my condition is more deplorable; for I’m in doubt, and doubt is the worst torment of the mind: Oh Philander, be mercyful, and let me know the worst, do not be cruel while you kill, do it with pity to the wretched Silvia, oh let me quickly know whether you are at all, or are the most impatient and unfortunate
I rave, I dy for
As I was going to send away this enclos’d, Dorillus came with Two Letters; oh, you cannot think, Philander with how much reason you call me fickle Maid, for cou’d you but imagine how I am tormentingly divided, how unresolv’d between violent Love, and cruel Honour. You would say ’twere impossible to fix me any where; or be the same thing for a moment together. There is not a short hour past through the swift hand of|<56> time, since I was all despairing, raging Love, jealous, fearful, and impatient; and now, now that your fond Letters have dispers’d those Damons, those tormenting Councellors, and given a little respit, a little tranquility to my Soul; like States luxurious grown with ease, it ungratefully rebells against the Soveraign power that made it great and happy; and now that Traytor Honour heads the mutiners within; Honour, whom my late mighty fears had almost famisht and brought to nothing, warm’d and reviv’d by thy new protested flame, makes War|<57> against Almighty Love! and I, who but now nobly resolved for Love! by an inconstancy natural to my Sex, or rather my fears, am turn’d over to Honour’s side: So the despairing man stands on the Rivers Bank, design’d to plunge into the rapid stream, till coward fear seizing his timorous soul, he views around once more the flow’ry Plains, and looks with wishing eyes back to the Groves, then sighing stops, and cry’s I was too rash, forsakes the dangerous shore, and hasts away. Thus indiscreet was I; was all for Love, fond and undoing Love! but when I saw|<58> it with full Tide flow in upon me, one glance of Glorious Honour, makes me again retreat. I will —— I am resolv’d —— And must be brave! I can’t forget I’m Daughter to the great Beralti,* and Sister to Mertilla, a yet unspotted Maid, fit to produce a race of Glorious Hero’s! and can Philander’s Love set no higher value on me than base poor prostitution! is that the price of his heart? —— Oh how I hate thee now! or wou’d to Heav’n I cou’d. —— Tell me not thou charming Beguiler, that Mertilla was to blame, was it a fault in her, and will it be vertue in me; and can I|<59> believe the crime that made her lose your heart, will make me Mistress of it: No, if by any action of her’s the noble House of the Beralti be dishonour’d, by all the Actions of my Life it shall receive Additions and Luster and Glory! nor will I think Mertilla’s vertue lessen’d for your mistaken opinion of it, and she may be as much in vain pursu’d perhaps, by the Prince Cæsario, as Silvia shall be by the young Philander; the envying world talks loud ’tis true, but oh if all were true that busie babler says, what Lady has her fame? What Husband is not a Cuckold? Nay, and a|<60> friend to him that made him so; and ’tis in vain my too subtil Brother, you think to build the trophies of your Conquests on the ruine of both Mertilla’s fame and mine; oh how dear wou’d your inglorious passion cost the great unfortunate house of the Beralti, while you poorly ruine the fame of Mertilla to make way to the heart of Silvia; Remember, oh remember once your Passion was as violent for Mertilla, and all the Vows, Oaths, protestations, tears and Prayers you make and pay at my feet, are but the faint repetitions, the feeble eccho’s of what you|<61> sigh’d out at hers. Nay, like young Paris,* fled with the fair Prize; your fond, your eager Passion made it a Rape: Oh perfidious! —— Let me not call it back to my remembrance. —— Oh let me dy, rather than call to mind a time so fatal; when the lovely false Philander vow’d his heart, his faithless heart away to any Maid but Silvia: —— Oh let it not be possible for me to imagine his dear Arms ever grasp’d any body with joy but —— Silvia! —— And yet they did, with transports of Love! yes, yes you lov’d! by Heav’n you lov’d this false, this perfidious Mertilla; for|<62> false she is; you lov’d her, and I’ll have it so; nor shall the Sister in me plead her Cause. She’s false beyond all Pardon; for you are beautiful as Heav’n it self can render you, a shape exactly form’d, not too low, nor too tall, but made to beget soft desire and everlasting wishes in all that look on you; but your face! your lovely face, inclining to round, large piercing languishing black eyes, delicate proportion’d Nose, charming dimpl’d Mouth, plump red Lips, inviting and swelling, white Teeth, small and even, fine complexion, and a beauti-|<63>ful turn! all which you had an Art to order in so ingaging a manner, that it charm’d all the beholders, both Sexes were undone with looking on you; and I have heard a witty man of your Party swear your face gain’d more to the League and Association than the Cause, and has curst a Thousand times the false Mertilla, for preferring Cæsario! (less beautiful) to the adorable Philander; to add to this, Heav’n! how you spoke, when e’re you spoke of Love! in that you far surpast the young Cæsario! as young as he, almost as great and Glorious; Oh|<64> perfidious Mertilla. Oh false, oh foolish and ingrate! —— that you abandon’d her was just, she was not worth retaining in your heart, nor cou’d be worth defending with your Sword: —— But grant her false; Oh Philander! how does her perfidy intitle you to me? false as she is, you still are Married to her; inconstant as she is, she’s still your Wife; and no breach of the Nuptial Vow can unty the fatal knot; and that’s a Mystery to common sense: sure she was Born for mischief, and Fortune when she gave her|<65> you, design’d the ruine of us all; but most particularly
My Souls eternal joy, my Silvia! what have you done, and oh how durst you knowing my fond Heart, try it with so fatal a stroke; what means this severe Letter? and why so eagerly at this time? o’th’ day! is Mertilla’s Vertue so defended; is it a question now whether she is false or not? oh poor, oh frivolous excuse! you love me not; by all that’s good you love me not! to try your power you have flatter’d and feign’d, oh Woman! false Charming Woman! you have|<67> undone me, I rave and shall commit such extravagance that will ruine both: I must upbraid you, fickle and inconstant, I must, and this distance will not serve, ’tis too great; my reproaches lose their force, I burst with resentment with injur’d Love, and you are either the most faithless of your Sex, or the most malicious and tormenting: Oh I am past tricks my Silvia, your little arts might do well in a beginning flame; but to a settled Fire that is arriv’d to the highest degree, it does but damp its fierceness, and instead of drawing me on, wou’d|<68> lessen my esteem, if any such deceit were capable to harbour in the Heart of Silvia, but she is all Divine, and I am mistaken in the meaning of what she say’s. Oh my adorable, think no more on that dull false thing a Wife, let her be banisht thy thoughts, as she is my Soul; let her never appear though but in a Dream to fright our solid joys, our true happiness; no, let us look forward to Pleasures vast and unconfin’d, to coming transports: and leave all behind us that contributes not to that Heav’n of Bliss: Remember, oh Silvia, that five tedious days are|<69> past since I sigh’t at your dear feet; and five days, to a Man so madly in Love as your Philander, is a tedious Age; ’tis now six a Clock in the Morning, Brilljard will be with you by Eight, and by Ten I may have your permission to see you, and then I need not say how soon I will present my self before you, at Bellfont; for Heaven’s sake, my eternal Blessing, if you design me this happiness, contrive it so, that I may see no body that belongs to Bellfont, but the fair, the lovely Silvia; for I must be more moments with you, than will be convenient to be taken notice of, lest|<70> they suspect our business to be Love, and that discovery, yet, may ruine us. Oh I will delay no longer, my Soul’s impatient to see you, I cannot live another Night without it; I dy, by Heav’n! I languish for the appointed hour; you will believe when you see my languid Face, and dying Eyes, how much and great a sufferer in Love I am.
My Soul’s Delight, You may perhaps deny me from your fear, but oh! do not, though I ask a mighty blessing; Silvia’s Company alone, silent, and perhaps by Dark, —— Oh, though I faint|<71> with the thought only of so blest an opportunity, yet you shall secure me, by what Vows, what imprecations or ty’s you please; bind my busie hands, blind my ravish’t eyes; command my Tongue, do what you will; but let me hear your Angels Voice, and have the transported joy of throwing my self at your feet; and if you please, give me leave (a man condemn’d eternally to Love) to plead a little for my Life and passion; let me remove your fears; and though that mighty Task never make me intirely happy,|<72> at least ’twill be a great satisfaction to me to know, that ’tis not through my own fault that I am the
I have order’d Brilljard to wait your Commands at Dorillus’s Cottage, that he may not be seen at Bellfont: resolve to see me to Night, or I shall come without order and injure both: My dear, Damn’d Wife is dispos’d of at a Ball Cæsario makes to Night; the opportunity will be lucky, not that I fear her jealousie, but the effects of it.
I tremble with the apprehension of what you ask, how shall I comply with your fond desires? My Soul bodes some dire effect of this bold enterprise, for I must own (and blush while I do own it) that my Soul yields obedience to your soft request, and even whilst I read your Letter, was diverted with the contrivance of seeing you: For though, as my Brother, you have all the freedoms imaginable at Bellfont to entertain and walk with me, yet ’twould be dif-|<74>ficult and prejudicial to my Honour, to receive you alone any where without my Sister: and cause a suspicion, which all about me now are very far from conceiving, except Melinda, my faithful confident, and too fatal Councellor: and but for this fear, I know, my charming Brother, three little Leagues shou’d not five long days separate Philander from his Silvia. But my lovely Brother, since you beg it so earnestly, and my heart consents so easily, I must pronounce my own Doom, and say, Come, my Philander, whither Love or soft desire in-|<75>vites you; and take this direction in the management of this mighty affair. I wou’d have you, as soon as this comes to your hands, to hast to Dorillus’s Cottage, without your Equipage, only Brilljard, whom I believe you may trust, both from his own discretion, and your vast bounty’s to him; wait there till you receive my commands: and I will retire betimes to my Apartment pretending not to be well, and as soon as the Evenings obscurity will permit, Melinda shall let you in at the Garden Gate that is next the Grove, unseen and unsuspect-|<76>ed; but oh, thou powerful Charmer have a care, I trust you with my all: my dear, dear, my precious Honour, guard it well; for oh I fear my forces are too weak to stand your shock of Beauties; you have Charms enough to justify my yielding, but yet by Heav’n I wou’d not for an Empire: but what is dull Empire to Almighty Love? The God subdues the Monarch! ’tis to your strength I trust, for I am a feeble Woman, a Virgin quite disarm’d by two fair eyes, an Angels Voice and form; but yet I’ll dy before I’ll yield my Honour; no|<77> though our unhappy Family have met reproach from the imagin’d levity of my Sister; ’tis I’ll redeem the bleeding Honour of our Family, and my great Parents Vertues shall shine in me; I know it, for if it passes this Test, if I can stand this Temptation, I’m proof against all the World; but I conjure you aid me if I need it: If I incline but in a Languishing look, if but a wish appear in my eyes, or I betray consent but in a Sigh; take not, oh take not the opportunity, lest when you’ve done I grow raging mad, and discover all in the wild fit; oh|<78> who wou’d venture on an enemy with such unequal force; what hardy fool wou’d hazard all at Sea, that sees the rising Storm come rouling on; who but fond Woman, giddy heedless Woman! wou’d thus expose her Vertue to Temptation? I see, I know my danger, yet I must permit it; Love soft bewitching Love will have it so, that cannot deny what my feebler Honour forbids; and though I tremble with fear, yet Love suggests, ’twill be an Age to Night; I long for my undoing; for oh I cannot stand the batteries of your eyes and tongue,|<79> these fears, these conflicts I have a Thousand times a day; ’tis pitiful sometimes to see me; on one hand a Thousand Cupids all gay and smiling present Philander with all the Beauties of his sex, with all the softness in his looks and Language those Gods of Love can inspire, with all the Charms of youth adorn’d, bewitching all, and all transporting; on the other hand, a poor lost Virgin languishing and undone; sighing her willing rape to the deaf shades and Fountains; filling the Woods with cry’s, swelling the Murmering Rivolets|<80> with tears, her noble Parents with a generous Rage reviling her, and her betray’d Sister loading her bow’d head with curses and reproaches; and all about her looking forlorn and sad: Judg, oh Judg my adorable Brother, of the vastness of my courage and passion, when even this deplorable prospect cannot defend me from the resolution of giving you admittance into my Apartment this Night, nor shall ever drive you from the Soul of your
I have obey’d my Silvia’s dear commands, and the dictates of my own impatient Soul, as soon as I receiv’d ’em, I immediately took Horse for Bellfont, though I knew I shou’d not see my Adorable Silvia till Eight or Nine at Night; but oh ’tis wondrous pleasure to be so much more near my eternal joy; I wait at Dorillus’s Cottage the tedious approaching Night that must shelter me in its kind shades, and conduct me to a pleasure I faint but with imagining; ’tis now, my Lovely|<82> Charmer, Three a Clock, and oh how many tedious hours I am to languish here before the blessed one arrive; I know you Love, my Silvia, and therefore must guess at some part of my torment, which yet is mixt with a certain trembling joy, not to be imagin’d by any but Silvia, who surely loves Philander, if there be truth in Beauty, faith in youth, she surely loves him much; and much more above her Sex she’s capable of Love; by how much more her Soul’s form’d of a softer and more delicate composition, by how much more her Wits refin’d and elevated above her|<83> duller Sex; and by how much more she is oblig’d if Passion can claim Passion in return, sure no Beauty was ever so much indebted to a slave, as Silvia to Philander, none ever Lov’d like me! Judg then my pains of Love, my Joys, my fears, my impatience, and desires, and call me to your sacred presence with all the speed of Love; and as soon as ’tis duskish, imagine me in the Meadow behind the Grove, ’till when think me imploy’d in eternal thoughts of Silvia; restless, and talking to the Trees of Silvia, sighing her charming Name, circling with folded Arms my pan-|<84>ting heart, (that beats and trembles the more, the nearer it approaches the happy Bellfont) and fortifying the feeble trembler against a sight so Ravishing and surprising, I fear to be sustain’d with Life; but if I faint in Silvia’s Arms, it will be happyer far than all the Glories of Life without her.
Send, my Angel, something from you to make the Hours less tedious, consider me, Love me, and be as impatient as I, that you may the sooner find at your feet your everlasting Lover
From Dorillus’s Cottage.|<85>
I have at last recover’d sense enough to tell you, I have receiv’d your Letter by Dorillus, and which had like to have been discover’d, for he prudently enough put it under the Strawberry’s he brought me in a Basket, fearing he shou’d get no other opportunity to have given it me; and my Mother seeing ’em look so fair and fresh, snatcht the Basket with a greediness I have not seen in her before; while she was calling to her Page for a Porcellane Dish to put ’em out, Dorillus had op-|<86>portunity to hint to me what lay at the bottom: Heaven’s! had you seen my disorder and confusion! what shou’d I do; Love had not one invention in store, and here it was that all the subtilty of Women abandon’d me. Oh Heaven’s how cold and pale I grew, lest the most important business of my Life shou’d be betray’d and ruin’d; but not to terrify you longer with fears of my danger, the Dish came, and out the Strawberries were powr’d,* and the Basket thrown aside on the Bank where my Mother sat, (for we were in the Garden when we met accidentally|<87> Dorillus first with the Basket) there were some Leaves of Fern put at the bottom between the Basket and Letter, which by good Fortune came not out with the Strawberries, and after a Minute or two I took up the Basket and walking carelessly up and down the Garden, Gather’d here and there a flower, Pinks and Jessamine, and filling my Basket, sat down again till my Mother had eat her fill of the Fruit, and gave me an opportunity to retire to my apartment, where opening the Letter, and finding you so near, and waiting to see me, I had|<88> certainly sunk down on the floor had not Melinda supported me, who only was by, something so new, and till now so strange, seiz’d me at the thought of so secret an interview, that I lost all my senses, and Life wholly departing, I rested on Melinda without breath or motion, the violent effects of Love and Honour, the impetuous meeting tides of the extreams of joy and fear, rushing on too suddainly, over-whelm’d my senses; and ’twas a pretty while before I recover’d strength to get to my Cabinet, where a second time I open’d your Letter, and read|<89> it again with a Thousand changes of Countenance, my whole mass of Blood was in that moment so discompos’d, that I chang’d from an Ague to a Fever, several times in a Minute; oh what will all this bring me to? and where will the raging fit end? I dy with that thought, my guilty pen slackens in my trembling hand, and I Languish and fall over the unimploy’d Paper; —— Oh help me, some Divinity, —— Or if you did, —— I fear I shou’d be angry! Oh Philander! a Thousand Passions and distracted thoughts crowd to get out, and make their soft com-|<90>plaints to thee; but oh they lose themselves with Mixing; they are blended in a confusion together, and Love nor Art can divide ’em, to deal ’em out in order; sometimes I wou’d tell you of my Joy at your Arrival, and my unspeakable transports at the thought of seeing you so soon, that I shall hear your charming Voice, and find you at my feet making soft Vows a new, with all the Passion of an impatient Lover, with all the eloquence that sighs and Cryes and tears from those lovely eyes can express; and sure that’s enough to conquer any where; and to which|<91> course* vulgar words are dull: The Rhetorick of Love is half-breath’d, interrupted words, languishing Eyes, flattering Speeches, broken Sighs, pressing the hand, and falling Tears: Ah how do they not perswade; how do they not charm and conquer; ’twas thus, with these soft easie Arts, that Silvia first was won! for sure no Arts of speaking cou’d have talk’d my heart away, though you can speak like any God! oh whether* am I driven, what do I say; ’twas not my purpose, not my business here, to give a character of Philander, no nor to speak of Love! but oh like|<92> Cowley’s Lute,* my Soul will sound to nothing but to Love! talk what you will, begin what discourse you please, I end it all in Love! because my Soul is ever fixt on Philander; and insensibly its byas leads to that Subject; no, I did not when I began to Write, think of speaking one word of my own weakness; but to have told you with what resolv’d Courage, Honour and Vertue, I expect your coming; and sure so sacred a thing as Love was not made to ruine these, and therefore in vain, my lovely Brother you will attempt it; and yet (oh Hea-|<93>ven’s! I gave a private Assignation, in my Apartment, alone and at Night; where silence, Love and shades, are all your friends, where opportunity obliges your Passion, while, Heav’n knows, not one of all these, nor any kind of power is friend to me, I shall be left to you and all these Tyrants expos’d, without other Guards than this boasted Vertue, which had need be wonderous to resist all these powerful enemies of its purity and repose: Alas I know not its strength, I never try’d it yet; and this will be the first time it has ever been expos’d to your|<94> Power; the first time I ever had courage to meet you as a Lover, and let you in by stealth, and put my self unguarded into your hands; Oh I dy with the apprehension of approaching danger; and yet I have not power to retreat, I must on, Love compells me, Love holds me fast; the smiling flatterer promises a Thousand joys, a Thousand Ravishing Minutes of delight; all innocent and harmless as his Mother’s Doves:* But oh they Bill and kiss, and do a Thousand things I must forbid Philander: for I have often heard him say with sighs, that his complection|<95> render’d him less capable of the soft play of Love, than any other Lover: I’ve seen him fly my very touches, yet swear they were the greatest joy on Earth; I tempt him even with my looks from Vertue; and when I ask the cause, or cry he’s cold, he vows ’tis because he dares not indure my Temptations; says his Blood runs hotter and fiercer in his Veins than any others do’s; nor have the oft repeated joys reap’d in the Marriage Bed, any thing abated that which he wisht, but he fear’d wou’d ruine me: Thus, thus whole days we have sat and gaz’d, and|<96> sigh’d; but durst not trust our Vertues with fond Dalliance.
My Page is come to tell me that Madam the Duchess of —— is come to Bellfont, and I am oblig’d to quit my Cabinet, but with infinite regret, being at present much more to my Soul’s content imploy’d; but Love must sometimes give place to Devoir* and respect. Dorillus too waits, and tells Melinda he will not depart without something for his Lord, to entertain him till the happy hour. The Rustick pleas’d me with the concern he had for my Philander;|<97> oh my Charming Brother, you have an Art to tame even savages, a Tongue that wou’d charm and ingage wildness it self, to softness and gentleness, and give the rough unthinking Love; ’tis a tedious time to night, how shall I pass the hours?|<98>
Say, fond Love, whither wilt thou lead me? thou hast brought me from the noysey hurry’s of the Town, to Charming solitude; from Crowded Cabals, where mighty things are resolving, to loanly Groves, to thy own abodes, where thou dwell’st, gay and pleas’d, amongst the Rural Swains in shady homely Cottages; thou hast brought me to a Grove of flowers, to the brink of Purling Streams, where thou|<99> hast laid me down to contemplate on Silvia! to think my tedious hours away in the softest imagination a Soul inspir’d by Love can conceive; to increase my Passion by every thing I behold; for every Sound that meets the sense, is thy proper Musick, oh Love! and every thing inspires thy dictates; the Winds a round me blow soft, and mixing with wanton Boughs, continually play and Kiss; while those, like a coy Maid in Love, resist, and comply by turns; they like a ravisht vigorous Lover, rush on with a transported violence; rudely imbra-|<100>cing its Spring-drest Mistress, ruffling her Native order; while the pretty Birds on the dancing Branches incessantly make Love: upbraiding duller man with his defective want of fire: man, the Lord of all! he to be stinted in the most valuable joy of Life! is it not Pity? here’s no troublesome Honour, amongst the
My divine Maid, thus were my thoughts imploy’d, when from the farthest end of the Grove, where I now remain, I saw Dorillus approach with thy welcome Letter; he tells, you had like to have been surpris’d in making it up; and he receiv’d it with much difficulty; ah Silvia, shou’d any accident happen to prevent my seeing you to Night, I were undone|<104> for ever, and you must expect to find me stretch’d out, dead and cold under this Oak, where now I ly Writing on its knotty root; thy Letter, I confess, is dear; it contains thy Soul, and my happiness, but this after story of the surprize I long to be inform’d of, for from thence I may gather part of my Fortune. I rave and dy with fear of a disappointment; not but I wou’d undergo a Thousand Torments and deaths for Silvia; but oh consider me, and let me not suffer if possible; for know, my charming Angel, my impatient heart is almost broke, and will not contain|<105> it self without being nearer my adorable Maid; without taking in at my Eyes a little comfort, no, I am resolv’d! put me not off with tricks, which foolish Honour invents to jilt mankind with; for if you do, by Heav’n I will forget all considerations and respect, and force my self with all the violence of raging Love, into the presence of my cruel Silvia, own her mine, and Ravish my delight, nor shall the happy Walls of Bellfont be of strength sufficient to secure her; nay, perswade me mad and raving, this will be the effects on’t;|<106> —— Oh pardon me my sacred Maid, pardon the wildness of my frantick Love. —— I paws’d; took a turn or two in the lone path, consider’d what I had said, and found ’twas too much, too bold, too rude to approach, my soft, my tender Maid: I am calm, my Soul, as thy bewitching smiles; hush, as thy secret Sighs, and will resolve to dy rather than offend my adorable Virgin; only send me word what you think of my Fate, while I expect it here on this kind Mossy bed where now I ly; which I wou’d not quit for a Throne, since|<107> here I may hope the News may soonest arrive to make me happyer than a God! which that nothing on my part may prevent, I here Vow in the face of Heav’n, I will not abuse the freedome my Silvia blesses me with; nor shall my Love go beyond the limits of Honour. Silvia shall command with a frown, and fetter me with a Smile; prescribe rules to my longing, Ravish’t Eyes, and pinion my busie, fond Roving hands: and lay at her feet like a tame slave, her adoring
Approach, approach, you sacred Queen of Night, and bring Philander Veil’d from all eyes but mine; approach at a fond Lover’s call, behold how I ly panting with expectation, tir’d out with your tedious Cerimony to the God of day; be kind, oh lovely Night, and let the Deity descend to his belov’d Thetis’s Arms, and I to my Philander’s; the Sun and I must snatch our joys in the same happy hours! favour’d by thee, oh sacred, silent Night! see, see, the inamour’d Sun is|<109> hasting on apace to his expecting Mistress, while thou dull Night Art slowly lingring yet. Advance, my Friend! my Goddess! and my confident! hide all my blushes, all my soft confusions, my tremblings, transports, and Eyes all Languishing.
Oh Philander! a Thousand things I have done to divert the tedious hours, but nothing can: all things are dull without thee. I’m tir’d with every thing, impatient to end, as soon as I begin ’em; even the Shades and solitary Walks afford me now no ease, no satisfaction and thought, but afflicts me more, that|<110> us’d to relieve. And I at last have recourse to my kind Pen: For while I Write, methinks I’m talking to thee; I tell thee thus my Soul, while thou, methinks, art all the while smiling and listening by; this is much easier than silent thought, and my Soul is never weary of this converse, and thus I wou’d speak a Thousand things, but that still, methinks, words do not enough express my Soul, to understand that right there requires looks; there is a Rhetorick in looks; in sighs and silent touches that surpasses all! there is an Accent in the sound of words|<111> too, that gives a sense and soft meaning to little things, which of themselves are of trivial value, and insignificant; and by the cadence of the utterance may express a tenderness which their own meaning does not bear; by this I wou’d insinuate, that the story of the heart cannot be so well told by this way as by presence and conversation; sure Philander understands what I mean by this? which possibly is nonsense to all but a Lover, who apprehends all the little fond prattle of the thing belov’d, and finds an Eloquence in it, that to a sense unconcern’d wou’d ap-|<112>pear even approaching to Folly: But Philander, who has the true notions of Love in him, apprehends all that can be said on that dear Subject; to him I venture to say any thing, whose kind and soft imaginations can supply all my wants in the description of the Soul: Will it not, Philander, answer me? —— But oh, where art thou? I see thee not, I touch thee not; but when I hast with transport to imbrace thee, ’tis shadow all, and my poor Arms return empty to my Bosome; why, oh why com’st thou not? why art thou cautious, and prudently waitest the|<113> slow-pac’d Night: Oh cold, oh unreasonable Lover, why? —— But I grow wild, and know not what I say: Impatient Love betrays me to a Thousand folly’s, a Thousand rashnesses; I dy with shame; but I must be undone, and ’tis no matter how, whether by my own weakness, Philander’s Charms, or both, I know not; but so ’tis destin’d, —— oh Philander, ’tis two tedious hours Love has counted since you Writ to me, yet are but a quarter of a Mile distant; what have you been doing all that live-long while? Are you not unkind, does not Silvia ly neg-|<114>lected and unregarded in your thoughts? huddled up confusedly with your graver business of State, and almost lost in the ambitious crowd? Say, say my lovely Charmer, is she not? Does not this fatal Interest you espouse, Rival your Silvia, is she not too often remov’d thence to let in that haughty Tyrant Mistress? Alas, Philander I more than fear she is; and oh, my Adorable Lover, when I look forward on our coming happiness, whene ever I lay by the thoughts of Honour, and give a loose to Love, I run not far in the pleasing career, before that dreadful|<115> thought stop me on my way: I have a fatal prophetick fear, that gives a check to my soft pursuit, and tells me that thy unhappy ingagement in this League, this accursed Association, will one day undo us both, and part for ever thee and thy unlucky Silvia; yes, yes my dear Lord; my Soul does presage an unfortunate event from this dire ingagement; nor can your false Reasoning, your fancy’d advantages, reconcile it to my honest, good-natur’d heart; and surely the design is inconsistent with Love, for two such mighty contradictions and enemies, as Love and|<116> ambition, or revenge, can never sure abide in one Soul together, at least Love can but share Philander’s Heart; when blood and revenge (which he miscalls Glory) Rivals it, and has possibly the greatest part in it: methinks, this notion inlarges in me, and every word I speak, and every Minutes thought of it, strengthens its reason to me; and give me leave (while I’m full of the jealousie of it) to express my sentiments, and lay before you those reasons, that Love and I think most substantial ones; what you have hitherto desir’d of me, oh unreasonable Philan-|<117>der, and what (I out of Modesty and Honour) deny’d, I have reason to fear (from the absolute conquest you have made of my Heart) that some time or other the charming thief may break in and rob me of, for fame and Vertue love begins to laugh at. My dear unfortunate condition being thus, ’tis not impossible, oh Philander, but I may one day, in some unlucky hour, in some soft bewitching moment, in some spightful, critical ravishing minute, yield all to the Charming Philander; and if so, where, oh where is my security, that I shall not be abandon’d by|<118> the Lovely Victor, for ’tis not your Vows which you call sacred (and I alas believe so) that can secure me, though I Heav’n knows believe ’em all, and am undone; you may keep ’em all too, and I believe you will; but oh Philander in these fatal circumstances you have ingag’d your self in, can you secure me my Lover? your protestations you may, but not the dear Protestor. Is it not enough, oh Philander, for my eternal unquiet, and undoing, to know that you are Married and cannot therefore be intirely mine? is not this enough, oh cruel Philander? but you must|<119> espouse a fatal cause too, more pernicious than that of Matrimony, and more destructive to my repose: oh give me leave to reason with you, and since you have been pleas’d to trust and afflict me with the secret; which, honest as I am, I will never betray yet, yet give me leave to urge the danger of it to you, and consequently to me, if you pursue it, when you are with me, we can think and talk, and argue nothing but the mightier business of Love; and ’tis fit I that so fondly and fatally love you, shou’d warn you of the danger.* Consider my Lord, you|<120> are born Noble, from Parents of untainted Loyalty, blest with a Fortune few Princes beneath Sovereignty are Masters of; blest with all gaining Youth, commanding Beauty, Wit, Courage, Bravery of mind, and all that renders men esteem’d and ador’d, what wou’d you more? what is it, oh my Charming Brother then, that you set up for, is it Glory? oh mistaken, lovely Youth, that Glory is but a glittering light that flashes for a moment, and then disappears; ’tis a false Bravery, that will bring an eternal blemish upon your honest fame and house; ren-|<121>der your honourable name, hated, detested and abominable in story to after Ages, a Traytor? the worst of Titles, the most inglorious and shameful; what has the King,* our good, our gracious Monarch, done to Philander? How disoblig’d him? or indeed, what injury to Mankind? Who has he opprest? where play’d the Tyrant or the Ravisher? what one cruel or angry thing has he committed in all the time of his fortunate and peaceable Reign over us? Whose Ox or whose Ass has he unjustly taken? What Orphan wrong’d, or Widow’s Tears neglected?|<122> but all his Life has been one continu’d Miracle, all Good, all Gracious, Calm and Merciful: and this good, this Godlike King is mark’d out for slaughter, design’d a Sacrifice to the private revenge of a few ambitious Knaves and Rebels, whose pretence is the publick good, and doom’d to be basely Murder’d; A Murder! even on the worst of Criminals, carries with it a Cowardice so black and infamous, as the most abject Wretches, the meanest spirited Creature has an abhorrence for; what! to Murder a Man unthinking, unwarn’d, unprepar’d and undefended!|<123> oh barbarous! oh poor and most unbrave! what Villain is there so lost to all humanity, to be found upon the face of the Earth, that when done, dares own so hellish a deed, as the Murder of the meanest of his Fellow-Subjects, much less the sacred Person of the King; the Lords Anointed;* one whose awful face ’tis impossible to look without that reverence wherewith one wou’d behold a God! for ’tis most certain, that every Glance from his piercing wondrous eyes, begets a trembling Adoration; for my part, I Swear to you, Philander, I never|<124> approach His Sacred Person, but my Heart beats, my Blood runs cold about me, and my Eyes o’reflow with Tears of joy, while an awful confusion seizes me all over; and I am certain shou’d the most harden’d of your Bloody Rebels look him in the Face, the devilish instrument of Death wou’d drop from his sacrilegious hand, and leave him confounded at the feet of the Royal forgiving Sufferer; his eyes have in ’em something so fierce, so Majestick commanding, and yet so good and merciful, as wou’d soften Rebellion it self into repenting Loyalty;|<125> and like Caius Marius* seem to say, —— Who is’t dares hurt the King! —— They alone, like his Guardian Angels defend his Sacred Person, oh! what pity ’tis, unhappy young man, thy Education was not near the King.
’Tis plain, ’tis reasonable, ’tis honest, Great and Glorious to believe, what thy own sense (if thou wilt but think and consider) will instruct thee in, that Treason, Rebellion and Murder are far from the Paths that lead to Glory, which are as distant as Hell from Heav’n. What is it then to advance? (since I say ’tis plain, Glory is never this way|<126> to be atchiev’d) is it to add more Thousands to those Fortune has already so lavishly bestow’d on you? oh my Philander, that’s to double the vast crime, which reaches already to Damnation: wou’d your Honour, your Conscience, your Christianity, or common humanity suffer you to inlarge your Fortunes at the price of another’s ruine? and make the spoyls of some honest Noble Unfortunate Family, the rewards of your Treachery? wou’d you build your fame on such a Foundation? Perhaps on the destruction of some friend or Kinsman. Oh Barbarous|<127> and mistaken Greatness, Thieves and Robbers wou’d scorn such outrages, that had but souls and sense.
Is it for addition of Titles? What elevation can you have much greater than where you now stand fixt? If you do not grow giddy with your fancy’d false hopes, and fall from that glorious height you are already arriv’d to, and which with the honest addition of Loyalty, is of far more value and luster, than to arrive at Crowns by Blood and Treason. This will last; to Ages last; in story last. While t’other will be ridicul’d to all posterity, short liv’d and|<128> reproachful here, infamous and accurs’d to all eternity.
Is it to make Cæsario King? oh what is Cæsario to my Philander? If a Monarchy you design; then why not this King, this great, this good, this Royal Forgiver? —— This, who was born a King; and born your King; and holds his Crown by right of Nature, by right of Law, by right of Heav’n it self; Heav’n who has preserved him, and confirm’d him ours, by a Thousand miraculous escapes and sufferings,* and indulg’d him ours by Ten Thousand acts of mercy and|<129> indear’d him to us by his wondrous care and conduct, by securing of Peace, plenty, ease and luxurious happiness, o’re all the fortunate limits of His Blessed Kingdoms; and will you? wou’d you destroy this wonderous gift of Heaven: this Godlike King, this real good we now possess, for a most uncertain one: and with it the repose of all the happy Nation, to establish a King without Law, without right, without consent, without Title, and indeed without even competent parts for so vast a trust or so Glorious a rule? One who never oblig’d the Nation by one|<130> single Act of Goodness, or Valour, in all the course of his Life; and who never signaliz’d either to the advantage of one man of all the Kingdom: a Prince unfortunate in his Principles and Morals: and whose sole single Ingratitude to His Majesty, for so many Royal Bounty’s, Honours, and Glories heap’d upon him, is of it self enough to set any honest generous heart against him; what is it bewitches you so? is it his Beauty? then Philander has a greater Title than Cæsario; and not one other merit has he, since in Piety, Chastity, Sobriety, Charity and Ho-|<131>nour, he as little excels, as in Gratitude, Obedience and Loyalty. What then, my dear Philander! is it his weakness? Ah, there’s the Argument: You all propose, and think to govern so soft a King: But believe me, oh unhappy Philander! nothing is more ungovernable than a Fool; nothing more obstinate, wilful, conceited, and cunning; and for his gratitude, let the world judge what he must prove to his Servants, who has dealt so ill with his Lord and Master; how he must reward those that present him with a Crown, who deals so ungra-|<132>ciously with him who gave him Life, and who set him up an happyer object than a Monarch: No, no, Philander, he that can cabal, and contrive to dethrone a father, will find it easie to discard the wicked and hated Instruments that assisted him to mount it; decline him then, oh fond and deluded Philander, decline him early, for you of all the rest ought to do so; and not to set a helping hand to load him with Honours, that chose you out from all the World to load with infamy: remember that; remember Mertilla, and then renounce him; do not you contribute|<133> to the adoring* of his unfit head with a Diadem, the most glorious of Ornaments, who unadorn’d yours, with the most inglorious of all reproaches. Think of this, oh thou unconsidering Noble Youth, lay thy hand upon thy generous heart, and tell it all the fears, all the reasonings of her that loves thee more than life. a Thousand Arguments I cou’d bring, but these few unstudyed (falling in amongst my softer thoughts) I beg you wilt accept of, till I can more at large deliver the Glorious Argument to your Soul; let this suffice to tell thee, that, like Cassandria*|<134> I rave and prophesie in vain, this Association will be the eternal ruine of Philander, for let it succeed or not, either way thou art undone; if thou pursu’st it, and I must infallibly fall with thee, if I resolve to follow thy good or ill Fortune, for you cannot intend Love and Ambition, Silvia and Cæsario at once: No, perswade me not, the Title to one or t’other must be laid down Silvia or Cæsario must be abandon’d; this is my fixt resolve, if thy too powerful Arguments convince not in spight of reason; for they can do’t; thou hast the tongue of an Angel,|<135> and the Eloquence of a God, and while I listen to thy Voice, I take all thou say’st for wondrous sense. —— Farewell; about Two hours hence I shall expect you at the Gate that leads into the Garden Grove —— Adieu! remember
How comes my charming Silvia so skill’d in the Mysteries of State? Where learnt her tender heart the Notions of rigid business? Where her soft Tongue, form’d only for the dear Language of Love, to talk of the concerns of Nations and Kingdoms? ’tis true, when I gave my Soul away to my dear Councellor, I reserv’d nothing to my self, not even that secret that so concern’d my Life, but laid all at her Mercy; my generous Heart cou’d not Love at a|<137> less rate, than to lavish all, and be undone for Silvia; ’tis Glorious ruine, and it pleases me, if it advance one single joy, or add one demonstration of my Love to Silvia; ’tis not enough that we tell those we Love all they Love to hear, but one ought to tell ’em too, every secret that we know; and conceal no part of that Heart one has made a present of to the person one Loves, ’tis a Treason in Love not to be Pardon’d: I’m sensible, that when my story’s told (and this happy one of my Love shall make up the greatest part of my History) that those that Love|<138> not like me will be apt to blame me, and charge me with weakness for revealing so great a trust to a Woman; and amongst all that I shall do to arrive at Glory, that will brand me with feebleness; but Silvia, when Lovers shall read it, the men will excuse me, and the Maids bless me! I shall be a fond admir’d president, for them to point out to their remiss reserving Lovers, who will be reproached for not persuing my example. I know not what opinion Men generally have of the weakness of Women; but ’tis sure a vulgar error, for were they like my adora-|<139>ble Silvia, had they had her wit, her vivacity of spirit, her Courage, her generous fortitude, her command in every graceful look and Action, they were most certainly fit to rule and Reign; and Man was only born robust and strong to secure ’em on those Thrones they are form’d (by Beauty, Softness, and a Thousand Charms which men want) to possess. Glorious Woman! was born for command and Dominion; and though custom has usurpt us the name of Rule over all; we from the beginning found our selves, (in spight of all our boasted prerogative)|<140> slaves and Vassals to the Almighty Sex. Take then my share of Empire, ye Gods! and give me Love! let me toyl to gain, but let Silvia Triumph and Reign, I ask no more! no more than the led slave at her Chariot Wheels, to gaze on my Charming Conqueress, and wear with joy her Fetters! oh how proud I shou’d be to see the dear Victor of my Soul so elevated, so adorn’d with Crowns and Sceptres at her feet, which I had won; to see her smiling on the adoring Crown,* distributing her Glories to young waiting Princes; there dealing Pro-|<141>vinces, and there a Coronet. Heavens! methinks I see the lovely Virgin in this state, her Chariot slowly driving through the multitude that press to gaze upon her, she drest like Venus,* richly gay and loose, her Hair and Robe blown by the flying Winds, discovering a Thousand Charms to view, thus the young Goddess look’t, then when she drove her Chariot down, descending Clouds to meet the Love-sick God in cooling Shades; and so wou’d look my Silvia! ah, my soft, lovely Maid, such thoughts as these fir’d me with Ambition: For me, I swear by|<142> every power that made me Love, and made thee wondrous fair, I design no more by this great enterprize than to make thee some glorious thing, elevated above what we have seen yet on Earth: to raise thee above Fate or Fortune, beyond that pity of thy duller Sex, who understand not thy Soul, nor can ever reach the flights of thy generous Love! no, my Soul’s joy, I must not leave thee lyable to their little natural Malice and scorn, to the impertinence of their reproaches. No my Silvia I must on, the great design must move forward; though I abandon|<143> it, ’twill advance; ’tis already too far to put a stop to it; and now I’m enter’d, ’tis in vain to retreat; if we are prosperous, ’twill to all Ages be call’d a Glorious enterprize, but if we fail, ’twill be base, horrid, and infamous, for the world judges of nothing but by the success; that cause is always good that’s prosperous, that is ill, that’s unsuccessful. Shou’d I now retreat I run many hazards, but to go on I run but one, by the first I shall alarm the whole Cabal with a jealousie of my discovering, and those are persons of too great sense and courage, not to take some|<144> private way of revenge, to secure their own stakes; and to make my self uncertainly safe by a discovery indeed, were to gain a refuge so ignoble, as a Man of Honour wou’d scorn to purchase Life at; nor wou’d that baseness secure me. But in going on, oh Silvia! when Three Kingdoms* shall ly unpossest, and be exposed, as it were, amongst the raffling Crowd, who knows but the chance may be mine, as well as any others, who has but the same hazard, and throw for’t; if the strongest Sword must do’t, (as that must do’t) why not mine still? why may not|<145> mine be that fortunate one? Cæsario has no more right to it than Philander; ’tis true, a few of the Rabble will pretend he has a better title to it, but they are a sort of easy Fools, lavish in nothing but noise and nonsense, true to change and inconstancy, and will abandon him to their own fury for the next that crys Haloo: Neither is there one part of fifty (of the Fools that cry him up) for his Interest, though they use him for a Tool to work with, he being the only great Man that wants sense enough to find out the cheat, which they|<146> dare impose upon. Can any body of reason believe, if they had design’d him good, they wou’d let him bare fac’d have own’d a party so opposite to all Laws of Nature, Religion, Humanity, and Common gratitude? when his Interest if design’d might have been carry’d on better, if he had still dissembled and stay’d in Court: no, believe me, Silvia, the Politicians show him to render him odious to all men of tolerable sence of the Party, for what reason soever they have who are disoblig’d (or at least think themselves so) to set up for Liberty, the world|<147> knows Cesario renders himself the worst of Criminals by it, and has abandon’d an interest more Glorious and Easy than Empire to side with and aid People that never did, or ever can oblige him: and he is so dull as to imagine that for his sake (who never did us service or good, unless Cuckolding us be good) we shou’d venture life and fame to pull down a true Monarch, to set up his Bastard over us. Cesario must pardon me, if I think his Politicks are shallow as his Parts, and that his own Interest has undone him; for of what advantage soever the|<148> design may be to us, it really shocks ones nature to find a Son engag’d against a Father, and to him such a Father: Nor, when time comes, shall I forget the ruine of Mertilla. But let him hope on —— and so will I, as do a thousand more for ought I know; I set out as fair as they, and will start as eagerly; if I miss it now, I have Youth and Vigour sufficient for another Race, and while I stand on Fortune’s Wheel* as she rolls it round, it may be my turn to be o’th top; for when ’tis set in motion, believe me Silvia, ’tis not easily fixt; however let it suf-|<149>fice, I’m now in past a retreat, and to urge it now to me, is but to put me into inevitable danger; at best it can but set me where I was; that’s worse than death when every fool is aiming at a Kingdom; what man of tolerable Pride and Ambition can be unconcern’d, and not put himself into a posture of catching, when a Diadem shall be thrown among the Croud? ’twere Insensibility, stupid Dulness, not to lift a hand, or make an effort to snatch it as it flys: though the glorious falling weight should crush me, ’tis great to attempt, and if Fortune do|<150> not favour Fools, I have as fair a Grasp for it as any other adventurer.
This, my Silvia, is my sense of a business you so much dread, I may rise, but I cannot fall; therefore my Silvia urge it no more, Love gave me Ambition, and do not divert the Glorious effects of your wonderous Charms, but let ’em grow, and spread and see what they will produce for my Lovely Silvia the advantages will most certainly be hers: —— But no more: how came my Love so Dull to entertain thee so many minutes thus with reasons for an affair, which one|<151> soft hour with Silvia will convince to what she wou’d have it; believe me, it will, I will sacrifice all to her repose, nay to her least Command, even the Life of
(My Eternal Pleasure)
I have no longer patience, I must be coming towards the Grove, though ’twill do me no good, more than knowing I’m so much nearer to my Adorable Creature.
I conjure you burn this, for writing in haste I have not counterfeited my hand.|<152>
Writ in a pair of Tablets.
My Charmer, I wait your commands in the Meadow behind the Grove, where I saw Dorinda, Dorillus his Daughter, entring with a Basket of Cowslips for Silvia, unnecessarily offering sweets to the Goddess of the Groves* from whence they (with all the rest of their gaudy Fellows of the Spring) assume their Ravishing Odours. I take every opportunity of telling my Silvia what I have so often repeated, and shall be ever repeating with the same joy while I live, that I Love my Silvia to Death and Madness, that my soul is on the Wrack, till she send me the happy advancing word. And yet|<153> believe me, Lovely Maid, I cou’d grow old with waiting here the blessed moment, though set at any distance (within the compass of Life, and impossible to be till then arriv’d to) but when I’m so near approach’t it, Love from all parts rallies and hastens to my heart for the mighty incounter, till the poor panting overloaded Victim dies with the pressing weight. No more, —— You know it, for ’tis, and will be eternally Silvia’s.
P O S T S C R I P T.
Remember, my Adorable, ’tis now seven a Clock, I have my Watch in my hand, waiting and looking on the slow pac’d Minutes, Eight will quickly arrive, I hope, and then ’tis dark enough to hide me: think where I am, and who I am, waiting near Silvia, and her Philander.|<154>
I think, my dear Angel, you have the other Key of these Tablets, if not, they are easily broke open: you have an hour good to write in Silvia and I shall wait unimployed by any thing but thought. Send me word how you were like to have been surpriz’d; it may possibly be of advantage to me in this nights dear adventure. I wonder’d at the Superscription of my Letter indeed, of which Dorillus could give me no other account, than that you were surpriz’d, and he receiv’d it with difficulty; give me the story now, do it in charity my Angel. Besides, I wou’d imploy all thy moments, for I am jealous of every one that is not dedicated to Silvia’s Philander.|<155>
I have receiv’d your Tablets, of which I have the Key, and Heav’n only knows (for Lovers cannot, unless they loved like Silvia, and her Philander) what pains and Pantings my heart sustain’d at every thought they brought me of thy near approach; every moment I start, and am ready to faint with joy, Fear, and something not to be exprest that seizes me. To add to this, I have busied my self with dressing my Apartment up with Flowers, so that I fancy the Ceremonious business of the night looks like the preparations for the dear joy of the Nuptial Bed, that too is so adorn’d and deck’d with all that’s sweet and gay, all which possesses me with so ravishing and solemn|<156> a Confusion, that ’tis even approaching to the most profound sadness it self. Oh Philander, I find I’m fond of being undone, and unless you take a more than mortal care of me, I know this night some fatal mischief will befall me; what ’tis I know not, either the loss of Philander, my Life, or my Honour, or all together, which a discovery only of your being alone in my Apartment, and at such an Hour, will most certainly draw upon us: Death is the least we must expect, by some surprise or other, my Father being rash, and extreamly jealous, and the more so of me, by how much more he is fond of me, and nothing wou’d inrage him like the discovery of an enterview like this; though you have Liberty to range the house of Bellfont as a Son, and are indeed at home there; but when|<157> you come by stealth, when he shall find his Son and Virgin Daughter, the Brother and the Sister so retir’d, so entertain’d, —— What but death can insue, or what’s worse, eternal shame? eternal confusion on my honour? What Excuse, what Evasions, Vows and Protestations will convince him, or appease Mertila’s Jealousy; Mertilla my Sister, and Philander’s Wife? —— Oh God! that cruel thought will put me into ravings; I have a thousand Streams of killing reflection that flow from that original Fountain! Curse on the Alliance, that gave you a welcome to Bellfont. Ah Philander, could you not have stay’d ten short years longer? Alas, you thought that was an Age in Youth, but ’tis but a day in Love: Ah, could not your eager youth have led you to a thousand diversions, a thousand|<158> times have baited in the long journey of Life, without hurrying on to the last Stage, to the last retreat, but the Grave; and to me seem as Irrecoverable as impossible to retrieve thee? —— Could no kind Beauty stop thee on thy way, in charity or pity? Philander saw me then! And though Mertila was more fit for his Caresses, and I but capable to please with Childish prattle. Oh cou’d he not have seen a promising Bloom in my Face, that might have foretold the future Conquests I was born to make? Oh was there no Prophetick Charm that cou’d bespeak your heart, ingage it, and prevent that fatal Marriage? You say, my Adorable Brother, we were destin’d from our Creation for one another; that the Decrees of Heaven, or Fate, or both, design’d us for this mutual passion: Why then, oh why did not Heav-|<159>en, Fate or Destiny, do the mighty work, when first you saw my infant Charms? But oh, Philander, why do I vainly rave, why call in vain on time that’s fled and gone; why idly wish for Ten years retribution? That will not yield a Day, an Hour, a Minute: No no, ’tis past, ’tis past and flown for ever, as distant as a thousand years to me, as irrecoverable. Oh Philander, what hast thou thrown away? Ten glorious years of Ravishing Youth, of unmatch’d Heavenly Beauty, on one that knew not half the value of it! Silvia was only born to set a Rate upon’t, was only capable of Love, Love, such love as might deserve it: Oh why was that charming face ever laid on any bosome that knew not how to sigh and pant, and heave at every touch of so much distracting Beauty? Oh why were those dear Arms whose|<160> soft pressings ravish where they circle, destin’d for a Body Cold and Dull, that cou’d sleep insensibly there, and not so much as dream the while what the transporting pleasure signified, but unconcern’d receiv’d the wondrous blessings, and never knew its Price, or thank’d her stars? She has thee all the day, to gaze upon, and yet she lets thee pass her careless sight, as if there were no Miracles in view: she does not see the little Gods of Love that play eternally in thy Eyes; and since she never receiv’d a Dart from thence, believes there’s no Artillery there. She plays not with thy Hair, nor Weaves her snowy fingers in the Curles of Jett, sets it in order, and adores its Beauty: The Fool with flaxen Wigg had done as well for her; a dull, white Coxcomb had made as good a Property; a Husband|<161> is no more, at best no more. Oh thou Charming object of my eternal wishes, why wert thou thus dispos’d? Oh save my life, and tell me what indifferent impulse oblig’d thee to these Nuptials: had Mertila been recommended or forc’d by the Tyranny of a Father into thy Arms, or for base Lucre thou hadst chosen her, this had excus’d thy Youth and Crime; obedience or vanity I could have Pardon’d, —— But oh —— ’Twas Love! Love my Philander! thy raving Love, and that which has undone thee was a Rape rather than Marriage; you fled with her. Oh Heavens, mad to possess, you stole the unloving Prise! —— Yes, you lov’d her, false as you are you did, perjur’d and faithless. Lov’d her; —— Hell and confusion on the VVorld; ’twas so. —— Oh Philander, I am lost ——
This Letter was found in pieces torn.|<162>
To Monsieur the Count of ——
These Pieces of Paper, which I have put together as well as I could, were writ by my Lady to have been sent by Dorinda, when on a sudden she rose in rage from her seat, tore first the Paper, and then her Robes and Hair, and indeed nothing has escaped the violence of her Passion; nor could my Prayers or Tears retrieve them or calm her: ’tis however chang’d at last to mighty passions of weeping, in which imployment I have left her on her repose, being commanded away. I thought it my duty to give your Lordship this account, and to send the pieces of Paper, that your Lordship may guess at the occasion of the sudden storm|<163> which ever rises in that fatal quarter; but in putting ’em in order, I had like to have been surpriz’d by my Lady’s Father, for my Lord the Count having long solicited me for favours, and taking all opportunities of entertaining me, found me alone in my Chamber, imploy’d in serving your Lordship; I had only time to hide the Papers, and to get rid of him) have given him an Assignation to night in the Garden Grove to give him the hearing to what he says he has to propose to me: Pray Heaven all things go right to your Lordships wish this Evening, for many ominous things happen’d to day. Madam, the Countess had like to have taken a Letter writ for your Lordship to day; for the Dutchess of —— coming to make her a visit, came on a sudden with her into my Lady’s Apartment, and surpriz’d|<164> her writing in her Dressing Room, giving her only time to slip the Paper into her Comb-box. The first Ceremonies being past, as Madam, the Dutchess uses not much, she fell to Commend my Lady’s dressing Plate,* and taking up the Box, and opening it, found the Letter, and Laughing cry’d, Oh, have I found you making Love? At which my Lady, with an infinite confusion, wou’d have retriev’d it, —— But the Dutchess not quitting her hold, Cry’d —— Nay, I am resolv’d to see in what manner you write to a Lover, and whether you have a Heart tender or cruel; at which she began to read aloud, My Lady to blush and change Colour a Hundred times in a minute; I ready to dye with fear; Madam the Countess in infinite amazement, my Lady interrupting every word the Dutchess read, by Prayers and|<165> Intreaties, which heighten’d her Curiosity, and being young and airy, regarded not the Indecency to which she prefer’d her Curiosity, who still Laughing, cry’d she was resolv’d to read it out, and know the constitution of her heart; when my Lady, whose wit never fail’d her, Cry’d, I beseech you, Madam, let us have so much complisance for Melinda as to ask her consent in this affair, and then I am pleas’d you should see what Love I can make upon occasion: I took the hint, and with a real confusion, Cry’d —— I implore you, Madam, not to discover my weakness to Madam the Dutchess; I would not for the World —— Be thought to Love so passionately as your Ladyship in favour of Alexis, has made me profess under the name of Silvia to Philander. This incourag’d my Lady, who began to say a thousand pleasant things|<166> of Alexis Dorillus his Son, and my Lover as your Lordship knows, and who is no inconsiderable fortune for a Maid, inrich’d only by your Lordship’s Bounty. My Lady, after this, took the Letter, and all being resolv’d it shou’d be read, she her self did it, and turned it so prettily into Burlesque Love by her manner of reading it, that made Madam, the Dutchess, laugh extreamly; who at the end of it, cry’d to my Lady —— VVell, Madam, I am satisfied you have not a heart wholly insensible of Love, that cou’d so well express it for another. Thus they rallied on, ’till careful of my Lovers repose, the Dutchess urg’d the Letter might be immediately sent away; at which my Lady readily folding up the Letter, writ For the constant Alexis, on the out-side: I took it, and beg’d I might have leave to retire to write it over in my own|<167> hand; they permitted me, and I carried it after sealing it, to Dorillus, who waited for it, and wondering to find his Sons name on it, Cry’d —— Mistress, Melinda, I doubt you have mistook my present business, I wait for a Letter from my Lady to my Lord, and you give me one from your self to my Son Alexis; ’twill be very welcome to Alexis I confess, but at this time I had rather oblige my Lord than my Son; I Laughing, reply’d he was mistaken, that Alexis at this time meant no other than my Lord, which pleas’d the good man extreamly, who thought it a good omen for his Son, and so went his way satisfy’d; as every body was, except the Countess, who fancy’d something more in it than my Lady’s inditing for me; and after Madam the Dutchess was gone, she went ruminating and pensive to her Chamber, from whence I am|<168> confident she will not depart to night, and will possible set Spies in every corner; at least ’tis good to fear the worst, that we may prevent all things that wou’d hinder this night’s assignation: As soon as the Coast is clear, I’ll wait on your Lordship, and be your Conductor, and in all things else am ready to show my self,
Your Lordship’s most humble
and most obedient servant,
Silvia has order to wait on your Lordship as soon as all is clear.|<169>
Oh Melinda, what have you told me? Stay me with an immediate account of the recovery and calmness of my Adorable weeping Silvia, or I shall enter Bellfont with my Sword drawn, bearing down all before me, ’till I make my way to my Charming Mourner: Oh God! Silvia in a rage! Silvia in any Passion but that of Love? I cannot bear it, no by Heaven I cannot; I shall do some outrage either on my self or at Bellfont. Oh thou dear Advocate of my tenderest Wishes, thou Confident of my never dying flame, thou kind administring Maid, send some relief to my breaking heart —— Hast and tell me, Silvia is calm, that her bright Eyes sparkle with smiles, or if they languish, say ’tis with Love, with expecting|<170> joys; that her dear hands are no more imployed in exercises too rough and unbecoming their native softness. Oh eternal God! tearing perhaps her Divine Hair, brighter than the Suns reflecting Beams, injuring the heavenly Beauty of her charming Face and Bosom, the joy and wish of all Mankind that look upon her: Oh charm her with Prayers and Tears, stop her dear Fingers from the rude assaults; bind her fair hands: Repeat Philander to her, tell her he’s fainting with the News of her unkindness and outrage on her lovely self, but tell her too, I dye adoring her; tell her I rave, I tear, I curse my self, —— For so I do; tell her I wou’d break out into a violence that shou’d set all Bellfont in a flame, but for my care of her. Heaven and Earth should not restrain me, —— No, they shou’d not, —— |<171>But her least frown shou’d still me, tame me, and make me a calm Coward: say this, say all, say any thing to charm her rage and tears. Oh I am mad, stark mad, and ready to run on that frantick business I dye to think her guilty of: tell her how ’twould grieve her to see mee torn and mangled; to see that hair she loves ruffl’d and diminisht by rage, violated by my insupportable grief, my self quite bereft of all sense but that of Love, but that of Adoration for my charming, cruel Insensible, who is possest with every thought, with every imagination that can render me unhappy, born away with every fancy that is in disfavour of the wretched Philander. Oh Melinda, write immediately, or you will behold me enter a most deplorable object of Pity.
When I receiv’d yours, I fell|<172> into such a passion that I forc’d my self back to Dorillus his House, left my transports and hurry’d me to Bellfont, where I shou’d have undone all: but as I can now rest no where, I am now returning to the Meadow again, where I will expect your aid, or dye.
From Dorillus his Cottage,
almost nine a Clock.
I must own, my Charming Philander, that my Love is now arriv’d to that excess, that every thought which before but discompos’d me, now puts me into a violence of rage unbecoming my Sex; or any thing but the mighty occasion of it, Love, and which only had power to calm what it had before ruffled into a destru-|<173>ctive storm; but like the anger’d Sea, which pants and heaves, and retains still an uneasie motion long after the rude winds are appeas’d and hush’d to silence. My heart beats still, and heaves with the sensible remains of the late dangerous tempest of my mind, and nothing can absolutely calm me but the approach of the all-powerful Philander; though that thought possesses me with ten thousand fears, which I know will vanish all at thy appearance, and assume no more their dreadful shapes till thou art gone again: bring me then that kind cessation, bring me my Lysander,* and set me above the thoughts of Cares, Frights or any other thoughts but those of tender Love: hast then, thou charming object of my eternal wishes, of my new desires; hast to my Arms, my Eyes, my Soul, —— but oh be wondrous|<174> careful there, do not betray the easie Maid that trusts thee amidst all her sacred store.
’Tis almost dark, and my Mother is retir’d to her Chamber, my Father to his Cabinet, and has left all that Apartment next the Garden wholly without Spies. I have, by trusty Silvia* sent you a Key Melinda got made to the Door, which leads from the Garden to the back-Stairs to my Apartment, so carefully lock’d, and the original Key so closely guarded by my jealous Father: that way I beg you to come; a way but too well known to Lysander, and by which he has made many an escape to and from Mertilla. Oh Damn that thought, what makes it torturing me, —— Let me change it for those of Lysander, the advantage will be as great as bartering Hell for Heaven; haste then, Lysander: But what need I|<175> bid thee, Love will lend thee his Wings; thou who commandest all his Artillery, put ’em on, and fly to thy Languishing
Oh I faint with the dear thought of thy Approach.
To the charming Silvia.
With much ado, with many a Sigh, a panting heart, and many a Languishing look back towards happy Bellfont, I have recover’d Dorillus his Farm, where I threw me on a Bed, and lay without motion, and almost without life for two hours; ’till at Last, through all my Sighs, my great Concern, my Torment, my Love and Rage broke silence, and burst into all the different com-|<176>plaints both soft and mad by turns, that ever possest a Soul extravagantly seiz’d with frantick Love; Ah, Silvia, what did not I say? How did I not Curse, and who, except my Charming Maid? For yet my Silvia is a Maid; Yes, yes, ye Envying Power, she is, and yet the sacred and inestimable treasure was offer’d a trembling victim to the o’rejoyed and fancy’d Deity, for then and there, I thought my self happier than a triumphing God, but having overcome all difficulties, all the fatigues and toyles of Loves long Sieges, Vanquisht the mighty Fantôm of the fair, the Giant Honour, and routed all the numerous Host of Womens little Reasonings, past all the bounds of peevish Modesty: Nay, even all the loose and silken Counterscarps* that fenc’d the sacred Fort, and nothing stop’d my glorious pursuit: Then, then, ye Gods,|<177> just then, by an over transport, to fall just fainting before the surrendering Gates, unable to receive the yielding treasure! Oh Silvia! What Demon, malicious at my Glory, seiz’d my vigour? What God, envious of my mighty joy, render’d me ashameful object of his Raillery? Snatcht my (till then) never failing power, and left me dying on thy Charming Bosom. Heavens, how I lay! Silent with wonder, rage and ecstasy of Love, unable to complain, or rail or storm, or seek for ease but with my sighs alone, which made up all my breath; my mad desires remain’d, but all unactive, as Age or Death it self, as cold and feeble, as unfit for joy, as if my Youthful fire had long been past, or Silvia had never been blest with Charms. Tell me, thou wondrous perfect Creature, tell me, where lay the hidden Witchcraft? Was Silvia’s Beauty too Divine to mix|<178> with Mortal joys? Ah no, ’twas Ravishing, but Human all. Yet sure ’twas so approaching to Divinity, as changed my Fire to Awfull Adoration, and all my wanton heat to reverend Contemplation. —— But this is nonsense all, ’twas something more that gave me rage, despair and torments insupportable: No, ’twas no dull Devotion, tame Divinity, but mortal killing Agony, unlucky disappointment, unnatural impotence. Oh! I am lost, enchanted by some Magick Spell: Oh, what can Silvia say? What can she think of my fond passion; She’ll swear ’tis all a cheat, I had it not. No, it could not be, such Tales I’ve often heard, as often laught at too; of disappointed Lovers; wou’d Silvia believe (as sure she may) mine was excess of Passion: What! My Silvia! being arriv’d to all the joy of Love, just come to reap the glo-|<179>rious recompense, the full reward, the Heaven for all my sufferings, do I lye gazing only, and no more? A dull, a feeble unconcern’d Admirer! Oh my eternal shame! —— Curse on my Youth, give me, ye Powers Old Age, for that has some excuse, but Youth has none: ’tis Dullness, Stupid Insensibility: Where shall I hide my head, when this lewd Story’s told? When it shall be confirm’d, Philander, the young, the Brisk and Gay Philander, who never fail’d the Woman he scarce wisht for, never bauk’d the Amorous conceated Old, nor the ill-favour’d Young, yet when he had extended in his Arms the Young, the Charming Fair and Longing Silvia, the untouch’d, unspotted, and till then, unwishing Lovely Maid, yielded, defenceless, and unguarded all, he wanted power to seize the trembling Prey: Defend me, Heav’n, from Madness.|<180> Oh Silvia, I have reflected on all the little circumstances that might occasion this disaster, and damn me to this degree of coldness, but I can fix on none: I had, ’tis true, for Silvia’s sake, some apprehensions of fear of being surpriz’d; for coming through the Garden, I saw at the farther end a man, at least I fancy’d by that light ’twas a man, who perceiving the glimps of something approach from the Grove made softly towards me, but with such caution as if he fear’d to be mistaken in the person, as much as I was to approach him: and reminding what Melinda told me, of an assignation she had made to Monsieur the Count —— Imagined it him; nor was I mistaken when I heard his Voice calling in low tone —— Melinda. —— At which I mended my pace, and e’re he got half way the Garden recover’d the Door, and softly unlocking it, got|<181> in unperceiv’d, and fasten’d it after me, well enough assur’d that he saw not which way I vanisht: however, it fail’d not to alarm me with some fears on your dear account, that disturb’d my repose, and which I thought, then not necessary to impart to you, and which indeed all vanisht at the sight of my Adorable Maid: When entering thy Apartment, I beheld thee extended on a Bed of Roses, in Garments, which, if possible, by their wanton loose negligence and gaiety, augmented thy natural Charms: I trembling fell on my Knees by your Bed-side and gaz’d a while, unable to speak for transports of joy and love: You too were silent, and remain’d so, so long that I ventur’d to press your Lips with mine, which all their eager kisses could not put in motion, so that I fear’d you fainted; a sudden fright, that in a moment|<182> chang’d my Fever of Love into a cold Ague fit; but you reviv’d me with a Sigh again, and fired me anew, by pressing my hand, and from that silent soft incouragement, I by degrees, ravisht a thousand Blisses; yet still between your tempting charming kisses, you wou’d cry —— Oh, my Philander do not injure me, —— Be sure you press me not to the last joys of Love; —— Oh have a care or I am undone for ever: restrain your roving hands, —— Oh whether wou’d they wander, —— My Soul, my joy, my everlasting Charmer, Oh whether wou’d you go. —— Thus with a Thousand Cautions more, which did but raise what you design’d to calm, you made me but the madder to possess: not all the Vows you bad me call to mind, could now restrain my wild and head-strong passion; my raving, raging (but my soft)|<183> desire: No Silvia, No, it was not in the power of feeble flesh and blood to find resistance against so many Charms; yet still you made me swear, still I protested, but still burnt on with the same torturing flame, till the vast pleasure even became a pain: To add to this, I saw (Yes Silvia, not all your Art and Modesty could hide it) I saw the Ravishing Maid as much inflam’d as I; she burnt with equal fire, with equal Languishment: Not all her care cou’d keep the Sparks concealed, but it broke out in every word and look; her trembling tongue, her feeble fainting voice betray’d it all; sighs interrupting every syllable; a Languishment I never saw till then dwelt in her Charming Eyes, that contradicted all her little Vows; her short and double breathings heav’d her Breast, her swelling snowy breast, her hands|<184> that grasped me trembling as they clos’d, while she permitted mine unknown, unheeded to traverse all her Beauties, till quite forgetting all I’d faintly promised, and wholly abandoning my soul to joy, I rusht upon her, who all fainting lay beneath my useless weight, for on a sudden all my power was fled, swifter than Lightning hurryed through my infeebled veins, and vanisht all: Not the dear lovely Beauty which I prest, the Dying Charms of that fair face and eyes, the Clasps of those soft Arms, nor the bewitching accent of her Voice, that murmur’d Love half smother’d in her Sighs, nor all my Love, my vast, my mighty passion, cou’d call my fugitive vigour back again: Oh no, the more I look* —— The more I touch’d and saw, the more I was undone. Oh pity me my too too lovely Maid, do not|<185> revile the faults which you alone create. Consider all your Charms at once expos’d, consider every sense about me ravisht, o’recome with joys too mighty to be supported: No wonder if I fell a shameful sacrifice to the fond Deity, consider how I waited, how I strove, and still I burnt on, and every tender touch still added fuel to the vigorous Fire; which by your delay consum’d it self in burning. I want Philosophy to make this out, or faith to fix my unhappiness on any chance or natural accident, but this, my Charming Silvia I am sure, that had I lov’d you less, I’d been less wretched: Nor had we parted, Silvia on so ill terms, nor had I left you with an opinion so disadvantagious for Lysander, but for that unhappy noise at your Chamber door, which alarming your fear, occasion’d your recovery from that dear|<186> trance, to which Love and soft desire had reduc’d you and me from the most tormenting silent Agony that disappointed joy ever possest a fond expecting heart with. Oh Heavens to have my Silvia in my power, Favour’d by silence, night and safe retreat! then, then, to lye a tame cold sigher only, as if my Silvia gave that Assignation alone by stealth, undrest, all loose and languishing, fit for the mighty business of the Night, only to hear me prattle, see me gaze, or tell her what a pretty sight it was to see the Moon shine through the dancing Boughs. Oh Damn my harden’d dullness, —— But no more, —— I am all fire and madness at the thought, —— But I was saying, Silvia, we both recover’d then when the noise alarm’d us. I long to know whether you think we were betray’d, for on that knowledge rests a mighty part of|<187> my destiny: I hope we are not, by an accident that befell me at my going away, which (but for my untimely force of leaving my lovely Silvia, which gave me pains insupportable) would have given me great diversion. You know our fear of being discover’d occasioned my disguise, for you found it necessary I should depart, your fear had so prevail’d, and that in Melinda’s Night Gown and Head dress; thus attir’d, with much ado, I went and left my soul behind me, and finding no body all along the Gallery, nor in my passage from your apartment into the Garden, I was a thousand times about to return to all my joys; when in the midst of this almost ended dispute, I saw by the light of the Moon (which was by good fortune under a Cloud, and could not distinctly direct the sight) a man making towards me with cautious speed,|<188> which made me advance with the more haste to recover the Grove, believing to have escap’d him under the Covert of the Trees; for retreat I could not without betraying which way I went; but just at the entrance of the Thicket, he turning short made up to me, and I perceiv’d it Monsieur the Count, who taking me for Melinda who it seems he expected, caught hold of my Gown as I would have pass’d him, and Cry’d, Now Melinda I see you are a Maid of Honour, —— Come retire with me into the Grove where I have a present of a heart and something else to make you, that will be of more advantage to you than that of Alexis though something younger. —— I all confounded knew not what to reply, nor how, lest he should find his mistake, at least if he discover’d not who I was: Which silence gave him occasion to go on,|<189> which he did in this manner: What not a word Melinda, or do you design I shall take your silence for consent? If so, come my pretty Creature, let us not lose the hour Love has given us; at this he wou’d have advanc’d, leading me by the hand, which he prest and kist very amorously: Judg my Adorable Silvia in what a fine condition your Lysander was then in. What shou’d I do? to go had disappointed him worse than I was with thee before; not to go, betray’d me: I had much adoe to hold my Countenance, and unwilling to speak. While I was thus imployed in thought, Monsieur ——— Pulling me (eager of joys to come,) and I holding back, he stop’d and cry’d, sure Melinda you came not hither to bring me a Denial. I then reply’d, whispering, —— Softly, Sir, for Heavens sake (sweetning my voice as much as possible) consider|<190> I’m a Maid, and would not be discover’d for the world. Who can discover us? reply’d my Lover, what I take from thee shall never be mist, not by Alexis himself upon thy Wedding Night; —— Come —— Sweet Child, come: —— With that I pull’d back and whisper’d —— Heavens, would you make a Mistress of me? —— Says he —— A Mistress, what would’st thou be a Cherubin? Then I reply’d as before —— I am no Whore, Sir, —— No, crys he, but I can quickly make thee one, I have my Tools about me, Sweet-heart, therefore let’s lose no time, but fall to work: this last raillery from the brisk old Gentleman had in spight of resolution almost made me burst out into a loud Laughter, when he took more gravity upon him, and cry’d —— Come, come Melinda, why all this foolish argument at this hour in this place, and after so much se-|<191>rious Courtship, believe me, I’ll be kind to thee for ever; with that he clapt fifty Guinnies in a Purse into one hand, and something else that shall be nameless into the other, presents that had been both worth Melinda’s acceptance: all this while was I studying an evasion; at last, to shorten my pleasant adventure, looking round, I cry’d softly, are you sure, Sir, we are safe —— For Heavens sake step towards the Garden door and see, for I wou’d not be discover’d for the world. —— Nor I cry’d he —— But do not fear, all’s safe: —— However see (whisper’d I) that my fear may not disturb your joys. With that he went toward the House, and I slipping into the Grove got immediately into the Meadow, where Alexis waited my coming with Brilljard, so I left the expecting Lover I suppose ranging the Grove for his fled Nimph, and I doubt|<192> will fall heavy on poor Melinda, who shall have the Guinneys either to restore or keep as she and the angry Count can agree: I leave the management of it to her wit and conduct.
This account I thought necessary to give my Charmer, that she might prepare Melinda for the assault, who understanding all that passed between us, may so dispose of matters, that no discovery may happen by mistake, and I know my Silvia and she can find a thousand excuses for the suppos’d Melinda’s flight. But, my Adorable Maid, my business here was not to give an account of my Adventure only, nor of my ravings, but to tell my Silvia on what my Life depends; which is, in a permission to wait on her again this insuing night; make no excuse, for if you do, by all I adore in Heaven and Earth, I’ll end my Life here where I receiv’d it. I’ll|<193> say no more, nor give your Love instructions, but wait impatiently here the Life or Death of your
’Tis Six a Clock, and yet my eys have not clos’d themselves to sleep: Alexis and Brilljard give me hopes of a kind return to this, and have brought their Flute and Violin to charm me into a slumber: If Silvia love, as I’m sure she does, she will wake me with a dear consent to see me, if not, I only wake to sleep for ever.|<194>
To My Fair Charmer.
When I had seal’d the inclos’d, my Page whom I had order’d to come to me with an account of any business extraordinary, is this Morning arriv’d with a Letter from Cesario, which I have sent here inclos’d, that my Silvia may see how little I regard the world, or the mighty revolution in hand; when set in competition with the least hope of beholding her adorable face, or hearing her Charming Tongue when it whispers the soft dictates of her tender heart into my ravish’d soul; one moments joy like that surmounts an age of dull Empire. No, let the busy unregarded Rout perish, the Cause fall or stand alone for me: Give me but Love, Love and my Silvia; I ask no|<195> more of Heaven; to which vast joy could you but imagine (Oh wondrous Miracle of Beauty!) how poor and little I esteem the valued trifles of the World, you would in return contemn your part of it, and live with me in silent Shades for ever. Oh! Silvia, what hast thou this night to add to the Soul of thy
To the Count of ——
I’le allow you, my Dear, to be very fond of so much Beauty as the world must own adorns the Lovely Silvia I’ll permit Love too to Rival me in your heart, but not out-rival Glory; hast then, my Dear, to the advance of that, make no delay, but with the Mornings dawne let me find you in my Arms, where I have something that will surprize you to relate to you: You were last night expected at —— It behoves you to give no Umbrage to Persons who’s Interest renders ’em enough jealous. We have two new Advancers come in of Youth and Money, teach ’em not negligence; be careful, and let nothing hinder you from taking Horse imme-|<197>diately, as you value the repose and fortune of
I call’d last night on you, and your Page following me to my Coach, whisper’d me —— if I had any earnest business with you, he knew where to find you; I soon imagin’d where, and bid him call within an hour for this, and post with it immediately, though dark.|<198>
Ah! What have I done Philander, and where shall I hide my guilty blushing face? Thou hast undone my eternal quiet, Oh, thou hast ruin’d my everlasting repose, and I must never, never look abroad again: Curse on my face that first debauch’d my Vertue, and taught thee how to Love! Curse on my tempting youth, my shape, my Air, my Eyes, my Voice, my Hands, and every charm that did contribute to my fatal love, a lasting Curse on all —— But those of the adorable Philander, and those —— even in this raging Minute, my furious passion dares not approach with an indecent thought: No, they are sacred all, Madness it self would spare ’em, and shouldst thou now behold me as I sit, my Hair dishevel’d, Ruffl’d|<199> and disorder’d, my Eyes bedewing every word I write, when for each Letter I let fall a tear; then (prest with thought) starting, I dropt my Pen, and fall to rave anew, and tear those Garments whose loose negligence help’d to betray me to my shameful ruine, wounding my breast, but want the resolution to wound it as I ought; which when I but propose, Love stays the thought, raging and wild as ’tis, the Conqueror checks it, with whispering only Philander to my soul; the dear Name calmes me to an easiness, gives me the Pen into my trembling hand, and I pursue my silent soft complaint: Oh! shouldst thou see me thus, in all these sudden different change* of Passions, thou wouldst say Philander I were mad indeed; Madness it self can find no stranger motions: And I would calmly ask thee, for I’m calm again,|<200> how comes it, my adorable Philander, that thou canst possess a Maid with so much Madness? who art thy self a miracle of softness, all sweet and all serene, the most of Angel in thy composition that ever mingled with humanity; the very words fall so gently from thy tongue, —— are utter’d with a Voice so ravishingly soft, a tone so tender and so full of Love, ’twould charm even frenzy, calm rude distraction, and wildness wou’d become a silent Listener; there’s such a sweet serenity in thy face, such innocence and softness in thy eyes, should desart Savages but gaze on thee, sure they would forget their native forest wildness, and be inspir’d with easy Gentleness: Most certainly this God-like power thou hast. Why then? Oh tell me in the Agony of my Soul, why must those charms that bring Tranquillity|<201> and peace to all, make me alone a wild, unseemly raver? Why has it contrary effects on me? Oh! all I act and say is perfect madness: Yet this is the least unaccountable part of my most wretched Story; —— Oh! I must ner’e behold thy Lovely face again, for if I should, sure I should blush my soul away, no, no, I must not, nor ever more believe thy dear deluding Vows: Never thy charming perjur’d Oaths, after a violation like to this. Oh Heauen, what have I done? Yet by Heaven I swear I dare not ask my soul, lest it inform me how I was to blame, unless that fatal Minute would instruct me how to revenge my wrongs upon my heart, my fond betraying heart, —— Despair and Madness seize me; darkness and horror hide me from humane sight, after an easiness like|<202> this; —— What to yield, —— To yield my Honour! Betray the secrets of my Virgin wishes? —— My new desires; my unknown shameful flame, —— Hell and Death! Where got I so much confidence? Where learnt I the harden’d and unblushing folly? To wish was such a fault, as is a crime unpardonable to own; to shew desire is such a sin in vertue as must deserve reproach from all the world; but I, unlucky I, have not only betray’d all these, but with a transport void of sense and shame, I yield to thy Armes —— I’ll not indure the thought —— By Heaven! I cannot; there is something more than rage that animates that thought: some Magick Spell that in the midst of all my sense of Shame keeps me from true repentance; this angers me, and makes me know my Honour|<203> but a fantom: Now I cou’d curse again my Youth and Love; but Oh! when I have done, alas, Philander, I find my self as guilty as before; I cannot make one firm resolve against the,* or if I do, when I consider thee, they weigh not all one lovely Hair of thine. ’Tis all in vain, the Charming Cause remains, Philander’s still as lovely as before, ’tis him I must remove from my fond Eyes and heart, him I must banish from my touch, my smell, and every other sense; by Heaven! I cannot bear the mighty pressure, I cannot see his Eyes, and touch his Hands, smell the perfume every Pore of his breaths forth, tast thy soft kisses, hear thy Charming Voice, but I am all on flame: No, ’tis these I must exclaim on, not my Youth, ’tis they debauch my soul, no natural propensity in me to yield, or|<204> to admit of such destructive fires. Fain I would put it off, but ’twill not do, I’m the Aggressor still; else why is not every living Maid undone that does but touch or see thee? Tell me why? No, the fault’s in me, and thou art innocent. —— Were but my Soul less delicate, were it less sensible of what it loves and likes in thee, I yet were dully happy; but Oh, there is a nicety there so charm’d, so apprehensive of thy Beauties, as has betray’d me to unrest for ever: —— Yet something I will do to tame this lewd Betrayer of my right, and it shall plead no more in thy behalf; no more, no more disperse the joys which it conceives through every Vein (cold and insensible by nature) to kindle new desires there. —— No more shall fill me with unknown curosity; no, I|<205> will in spight of all the Perfumes that dwell about thee, in spight of all the Arts thou hast of Looking, of Speaking and of Touching, I will, I say assume my native temper, I will be calm, be cold and unconcern’d, as I have been to all the world, —— But to Philander, —— The Almighty Power he has is unaccountable; —— By yonder breaking day that opens in the East, opens to see my shame, —— I swear —— By that great ruler of the day, the Sun, by that Almighty power that rules them both, I swear —— I swear Philander, Charming Lovely Youth! Thou art the first e’er kindl’d soft desires about my soul, thou art the first that ever did inform me that there was such a sort of wish about me. I thought the vanity of being belov’d made up the greatest part of the satisfaction; ’twas joy to|<206> see my Lovers sigh about me, adore and praise me, and increase my Pride by every look, by every word and action; and him I fancy’d best I favour’d most, and he past for the happy fortune; him I have suffer’d too to kiss and press me, to tell me all his Tale of Love, and sigh, which I would listen to with Pride and Pleasure, permitted it, and smil’d him kind returns; nay, by my life, then thought I lov’d him too, thought I cou’d have been content to have past my life at this gay rate, with this fond hoping Lover, and thought no farther than of being great, having rich Coaches, showing Equipage, to pass my hours in dressing, in going to the Opera’s and the Tower, make Visits where I list, be seen at Balls; and having still the vanity to think the men would Gaze and Languish where|<207> I came, and all the Women envy me; I thought no farther on —— But thou Philander hast made me take new measures, I now can think of nothing but of thee, I loath the sound of Love from any other voice, and Conversation makes my soul impatient, and does not only dull me into Melancholy, but perplexes me out of all humour, out of all patient sufferance, and I’m never so well pleas’d when from Philander, as when I’m retir’d, and curse my Character and Figure in the world, because it permits me not to prevent being visited, one thought of thee, is worth the worlds injoyment, I hate to dress, I hate to be agreeable to any Eyes but thine; I hate the noise of Equipage and Crowds, and would be more content to live with thee in some|<208> lone shaded Cottage, than be a Queen, and hinder’d by that Grandeur one moments conversation with Philander: Maist thou despise and loathe me, a Curse the greatest that I can invent, if this be any thing but real honest truth. No, no Philander, I find I never lov’d till now, I understood it not, nor knew not what those Sighs and Pressings meant which others gave me; yet every speaking glance thy Eyes put on inform my Soul what ’tis they plead and languish for: If you but touch my hand, my breath grows faint and short, my blood glows in my face, and runs with an unusual warmth through every vein, and tells my heart what ’tis Philander ailes, when he falls sighing on my Bosom; oh then, I fear, I answer every look, and every sigh and touch, in the same silent but in-|<209>telligible Language, and understood, I fear, too well by thee: ’Till now I never fear’d Love as a Criminal. Oh tell me not, mistaken Foolish Maids, true Love is innocent, ye cold, ye dull, ye unconsidering Lovers; though I have often heard it from the Grave and Wise, and preach’d my self that Doctrine: I now renounce it all, ’tis false, by Heaven! ’tis false, for now I Love, and know it all a fiction; yes, and love so, as never any Woman can equal me in Love, my soul being all compos’d (as I have often said) of softer Materials. Nor is it fancy sets my Rates on Beauty, there’s an intrinsick value in thy Charms, who surely none but I am able to understand, and to those that view thee not with my judging Eyes, ugliness fancy’d wou’d appear the same, and please|<210> as well. If all cou’d Love or judge like me, why does Philander pass so unregarded by a thousand Women, who never sigh’d for him? What makes Mertilla who possesses all, looks on thee, feels thy Kisses, hears thee speak, and yet wants sense to know how blest she is; ’tis want of judgement all, and how, and how can she that judges ill, Love well?
Granting my passion equal to its object, you must allow it infinite, and more in me than any other Woman, by how much more my Soul is compos’d of tenderness; and yet I say I own, for I may own it, now Heaven and you are Witness of my shame, I own with all this love, with all this passion, so vast, so true, and so unchangeable, that I have Wishes, new, unwonted Wishes; at every thought of thee I find|<211> a strange disorder in my blood, that pants and burns in every Vein, and makes me blush, and sigh, and grow impatient, asham’d and angry; but when I know it the effects of Love, I’m reconcil’d, and wish and sigh anew, for when I sit and Gaze upon thy Eyes, thy Languishing, thy Lovely dying Eyes; play with thy soft white hand, and lay my glowing Cheek to thine. —— Oh God! What Language can express my transport, all that is tender, all that is soft desire, seizes every trembling Limb, and ’tis with pain conceal’d. —— Yes, yes Philander, ’tis the fatal truth, since thou hast found it; I confess it too, and yet I love thee dearly; long, long it was that I essay’d to hide the guilty flame, if Love be guilt; for I confess I did dissemble a coldness|<212> which I was not Mistress of: there lyes a Womans Art, there all her boasted Vertue, it is but well dissembling, and no more. —— But mine alas is gone, for ever fled; this, this feable guard that should secure my Honour, thou hast betray’d and left it quite defenceless. Ah, what’s a Womans Honour when ’tis so poorly guarded: No wonder that you conquer with such ease, when we are only safe by the mean arts of base dissimulation, an ill as shameful as that to which we fall. Oh silly refuge! What foolish nonsence, fond custom can perswade; yet so it is, and she that breaks her Laws, loses her fame, her honour and esteem. Oh Heavens! How quickly lost it is! Give me ye Powers, my fame, and let me be a fool; let me retain my|<213> vertue and my Honour, and be a dull insensible —— But, Oh where is it? I have lost it all; ’tis irrecoverably lost: yes, yes, ye charming perjur’d man, ’tis gone, and thou hast quite undone me. ——
What though I lay extended on my Bed, undrest, unapprehensive of my fate, my Bosom loose and easie of excess,* my Garments ready, thin and wantonly put on, as if they would with little force submit to the fond straying hand: What then Philander, must you take the advantage? Must you be perjur’d because I was tempting? ’Tis true, I let you in by stealth by night, whose silent darkness favour’d your Treachery; but Oh Philander, were not your Vows as binding by a glimmering Taper, as if the Sun with all his|<214> Awful light had been a looker on? I urg’d your Vows as you prest on, —— But Oh, I fear it was in such a way so faintly and so feebly I upbraided you, as did but more advance your perjuries. Your strength encreas’d, but mine alas declin’d; till I quite fainted in your Arms, left you triumphant Lord of all: No more my faint denials do perswade, no more my trembling hands resist your force, unguarded lay the treasure which you toil’d for, betray’d and yielded to the lovely Conqueror. —— But Oh tormenting, —— When you saw the store, and found the Prise no richer, with what contempt, (yes false, dear man.) with what contempt you view’d the unvalu’d Trophy: What! despis’d, was all you call a Heaven of Joy and Beauty expos’d to|<215> view, and then neglected? Were all your Prayers heard, your wishes granted, and your toiles rewarded, the trembling Victim ready for the sacrifice, and did you want Devotion to perform it? And did you thus receive the expected blessing? —— Oh —— By Heaven I’ll never see the* more, and ’twill be charity to thee, for thou hast no excuse in store that can convince my opinion that I am hated, loath’d, —— I cannot bear that thought, —— Or if I do, it shall only serve to fortify my fixt resolve never to see thee more, —— And yet I long to hear thy false excuse, let it be quickly then; ’tis my disdain invites thee —— To strengthen which, there needs no more than that you let me hear thy poor defence. —— But ’tis a tedious time to that slow hour|<216> wherein I dare permit thee, but hope not to incline my soul to love: No, I’m yet safe if I can stop but here, but here be wise resolve and be my self.
As my Page was coming with the inclos’d he met Alexis at the gate with yours, and who would not depart without an answer to it; —— to go or stay is the Question. Ah, Philander! Why do you press a heart too ready to yield to Love and you! alas, I fear you guess too well my answer, and your own Soul might save me the blushing trouble of a reply. I am plung’d in, past hope of a retreat, and since my fate has pointed me out for ruine, I cannot fall more gloriously. Take then Philander, to your dear Arms, a Maid that can no longer resist, who is disarm’d of all defensive power: She yields, she yields, and does confess it too; and sure she must be more than mortal that can hold|<218> out against thy charms and vows. Since I must be undone and give all away, I’ll do it generously, and scorn all mean reserves: I will be brave in Love, and lavish all; nor shall Philander think I Love him well unless I do. Take, charming Victor, then, what your own merits, and what Love has given you; take, take, at last, the dear reward of all your sighs and tears, your vows and sufferings. But since, Philander, ’tis an Age to night, and till the approach of those dear silent hours, thou knowst I dare not give thee admittance; I do conjure thee, go to Cesario, whom I find too pressing, not to believe the concerns great; and so jealous I’m of thy dear safety, that every thing alarms my fears; oh! satisfie ’em then and go, ’tis early yet, and if you take horse immediately, you will be there by|<219> eight this morning; go, I conjure you; for though ’tis an unspeakable satisfaction to know you are so near me, yet I prefer your safety and honour to all considerations else. You may soon dispatch your affairs, and render your self time enough on the place appointed, which is where you last night waited, and ’twill be at least eight at night before ’tis possible to bring you to my arms. Come in your Chariot, and do not heat your self with riding; have a care of me and my life, in the preservation of all I love. Be sure you go, and do not, my Philander, out of a punctilio* of Love, neglect your dear safety —— Go then, Philander, and all the Gods of Love preserve and attend thee on thy way, and bring thee safely back to
Oh thou most charming of thy Sex! thou lovely dear delight of my transported Soul! thou everlasting treasure of my heart! what hast thou done? given me an over joy, that fails but very little of performing what griefs excess had almost finish’d before: Eternal blessings on thee, for a goodness so divine, Oh, thou most excellent, and dearest of thy sex! I know not what to do, or what to say. I am not what I was, I do not speak, nor walk, nor think as I was wont to do; sure the excess of joy is far above dull sense, or formal thinking, it cannot stay for ceremonious method. I rave with pleasure, rage with the dear thought of coming ecstasie. Oh Silvia, Silvia, Si-|<221>lvia! my soul, my vital bloud,* and without which I could as well subsist —— Oh, my adorable, my Silvia! methinks I press thee, kiss thee, hear thee sigh, behold thy eyes, and all the wondrous beauty of thy face; a solemn joy has spread it self through every vein, through every sensible artery of my heart, and I can think of nothing but of Silvia, the lovely Silvia, the blooming flowing Sylvta; and shall I see thee? shall I touch thy hands, and press thy dear, thy charming body in my arms, and taste a Thousand joys, a thousand ravishments? oh God! shall I? Oh Silvia, say; but thou hast said enough to make me mad, and I forgetting of thy safety and my own, shall bring thy wild adoring slave to Bellfont, and throw him at thy feet, to pay his humble gratitude for this great con-|<222>descention, this vast bounty.
Ah, Silvia! how shall I live till night? and you impose too cruelly upon me, in conjuring me to go to Cesario; alas! Does Silvia know to what she exposes her Philander? Whose joy is so transporting great, that when he comes into the grave Cabal he must betray the story of his heart, and, in lieu of the mighty business there in hand be raving still on Silvia, telling his joy to all the amazed listeners, and answering questions that concern our great affair, with something of my love; all which will pass for madness and undoe me: no, give me leave to rave in silence, and unseen among the trees, they’ll humour my disease, answer my murmuring joy, and Echo’s flatter it, repeat thy name, repeat that Silvia’s mine! and never hurt her fame; while the Cabals, busi-|<223>ness and noisie Town will add confusion to my present transport, and make me mad indeed: no, let me alone, thou sacred lovely creature, let me be calm and quiet here, and tell all the insensibles I meet in the woods what Silvia has this happy minute destin’d me: Oh, let me record it on every bark, on every Oak and Beech, that all the world may wonder at my fortune, and bless the generous maid; let it grow up to Ages that shall come, that they may know the story of our loves, and how a happy youth, they call’d Philander, was once so blest by Heaven as to possess the charming, the ador’d and lov’d by all, the glorious Silvia! a Maid, the most divine that ever grac’d a story; and when the Nymphs would look for an example of love and constancy, let them point out Philander to their doub-|<224>ted Swains, and cry, ah! love but as the young Philander did, and then be fortunate, and then reap all your wishes: and when the Shepherd would upbraid his Nymph, let him but cry, —— see here what Silvia did to save the young Philander; but oh! there never will be such another Nymph as Silvia; Heaven form’d but one to shew the world what Angels are, and she was form’d for me, yes she was —— in whom I wou’d not quit my glorious interest to reign a monarch here, or any bosted gilded thing above! take all, take all, ye Gods, and give me but this happy coming night! Oh Silvia, Silvia! By all thy promis’d joys I am undone if any accident should ravish this night from me: this night! no not for a lease of years to all eternity would I throw thee away: Oh! I’m all flame,|<225> all joyful fire and softness; methinks ’tis Heaven wheree’er I look around me, air where I tread, and ravishing Musick when I speak, because ’tis all of Silvia —— let me alone, oh let me cool a little, or I shall by a tt excess of joyful thought lose all my hop’d for bliss. Remove a little from me, go, my Silvia, you’re so excessive sweet, so wondrous dazling, you press my senses even to pain —— away —— let me take air —— let me recover breath: oh let me lay me down beneath some cooling shade, near some refreshing crystal murmuring spring, and fan the gentle air about me. I suffocate, I faint, with this close loving, I must allay my joy or be undone —— I’ll read thy cruel Letters, or I’ll think of some sad melancholy hour wherein thou hast dismiss’d me despairing from|<226> thy presence: or while you press me now to be gone with so much earnestness, you have some Lover to receive and entertain; perhaps ’tis only for the vanity to hear him tell his nauseous passion to you, breathe on your lovely face, and daub your Garments with his fulsome imbrace: but oh, by Heaven, I cannot think that though! And thou hast sworn thou canst not suffer it —— if I shou’d find thee false —— but ’tis impossible. —— oh! shou’d I find Foscario visit thee, him whom thy Parents favour, I shou’d undo you all, by Heaven I shou’d —— but thou hast sworn, what need Philander more; yes, Silvia thou hast sworn and call’d Heaven’s vengeance down whene’er thou gavest a look, or a dear smile in Love to that pretending Fop: yet from his mighty fortune there is danger in him —— what|<227> makes that thought torment me now? —— begone, for Silvia loves me and will preserve my life ——
I am not able, my adorable Charmer, to obey your commands in going from the sight of happy Bellfont; no, let the great wheel of the vast design roul on —— or for ever stand still, for I’ll not aid its motion to leave the mightier business of my love unfinish’d: no, let fortune and the duller Fools toil on —— for I’ll not bate a minute of my joys with thee to save the world, much less so poor a parcell of it; and sure there is more solid pleasure ev’n in these expecting hours I wait to snatch my bliss, than to be Lord of all the universe without it: then let me wait my Silvia, in those melancholy shades that part Bellfont from Dorillus his Farm; perhaps my Silvia may walk that way so unattended that we might meet and|<228> lose our selves for a few moments in those intricate retreats: Ah, Silvia! I’m dying with that thought —— Oh Heavens! what cruel destiny is mine? whose fatal circumstances do not permit me to own my passion, and lay claim to Silvia, to take her without controul to shades and Palaces, to live for ever with her, to gaze for ever on her, to eat, to loll, to rise, to play, to sleep, to act o’er all the pleasures and the joys of life with her —— But ’tis in vain I rave, in vain employ my self in the fools barren business, Wishing, —— this thought has made me sad as death: Oh, Silvia! I can ne’r be truly happy —— adieu, employ thyself in writing to me, and remember my Life bears date but only with thy faith and Love.
Try, my Adorable, what you can do to meet me in the Wood this afternoon, for there I’ll live to day.|<229>
Obstinate Philander, I conjure you by all your vows, by all your sacred love, by those dear hours this happy night design’d in favour of you, to go without delay to Cesario; ’twill be unsafe to disobey a Prince in his jealous circumstances. The fatigue of the journey cannot be great, and you well know the torment of my fears; oh! I shall never be happy, or think you safe till you have quitted this fatal interest: Go, my Philander —— and remember whatever toiles you take will be rewarded at night in the Arms of
Whatever toiles you take shall be rewarded in the arms of Silvia! —— By Heaven, I am inspired to act wonders: Yes, Silvia, yes, my adorable Maid, I am gone, I fly as swift as lightning, or the soft darts of love shot from thy charming eyes, and I can hardly stay to say —— adieu. ——
To the Lady ——
Long foreseeing the misery whereto you must arrive, by this fatal correspondence with my unhappy Lord, I have often, with tears and prayers, implor’d you to decline so dangerous a passion;|<231> I have never yet acquainted our parents with your misfortunes, but I fear I must at last make use of their Authority for the prevention of your ruine. ’Tis not my dearest Child, that part of this unhappy story that relates to me, that grieves me, but purely that of thine.
Consider, oh young noble Maid, the infamy of being a Prostitute! and yet the act it self in this fatal Amour is not the greatest sin, but the manner which carries an unusual horrour with it; for ’tis a Brother too, my Child, as well as a lover, one that has lain by thy unhappy Sister’s side so many tender years, by whom he has a dear and lovely off-spring, by which he has more fixt himself to thee by relation and blood: Consider this, oh fond heedless girl! and suffer not a momentary joy to rob thee of thy eternal fame, me of my e-|<232>ternal repose, and fix a brand upon our noble house, and so undoe us all. —— Alas, consider, after an action so shameful, thou must obscure thy self in some remote corner of the world, where honesty and honour never are heard of: No, thou canst not shew thy face, but ’twill be pointed at for something monstrous; for a hundred ages may not produce a story so leudly infamous and loose as thine. Perhaps (fond as you are) you imagin the sole joy of being belov’d by him, will attone for those affronts and reproaches you will meet with in the censuring world: But, Child, remember and believe me, there is no lasting faith in sin; he that has broke his Vows with Heaven and me, will be again perjur’d to Heaven and thee, and all the world! —— he once thought me as lovely, lay at my feet, and|<233> sigh’d away his soul, and told such pityous stories of his sufferings, such sad, such mournfull tales of his departed rest, his broken heart and everlasting Love, that sure I thought it had been a sin not to have credited his charming perjuries; in such a way he swore, with such a grace he sigh’d, so artfully he mov’d, so tenderly he look’d. Alas, dear Child, then all he said was new, unusual with him, never told before, now ’tis a beaten road, ’tis learn’d by heart, and easily addrest to any fond believing woman, the tatter’d, worn-out fragments of my Trophies, the dregs of what I long since drain’d from off his fickle heart; then it was fine, then it was brisk and new, now pall’d and dull’d by being repeated often. Think, my Child, what your victorious beauty merits, the victim of a heart uncon-|<234>quer’d by any but your eyes: Alas, he has been my captive, my humble whining slave, disdain to put him on your fetters now; alas, he can say no new thing of his heart to thee, ’tis love at second hand, worn out, and all its gaudy luster tarnish’t; besides, my Child, if thou hadst no religion binding enough, no honour that could stay thy fatal course, yet nature should oblige thee, and give a check to the unreasonable enterprise. The griefs and dishonour of our noble Parents, who have been eminent for vertue and piety, oh suffer ’em not to be regarded in this censuring world as the most unhappy of all the race of old nobility; thou art the darling child, the joy of all, the last hope left, the refuge of their sorrow, for they, alas, have had but unkind stars to influence their unadvis’d off-spring; no want|<235> of vertue in their education, but this last blow of fate must strike ’em dead; Think, think of this, my Child, and yet retire from ruine; haste, fly from destruction which pursues thee fast; haste, haste, and save thy parents and a sister, or what’s more dear, thy fame; mine has already receiv’d but too many desperate wounds, and all through my unkind Lord’s growing passion for thee, which was most fatally founded on my ruine, and nothing but my ruine could advance it; and when, my Sister, thou hast run thy race, made thy self loath’d, undone and infamous as hell, despis’d, scorn’d and abandoned by all, lampoon’d, perhaps diseas’d; this faithless man, this cause of all will leave thee too, grow weary of thee, nauseated by use, he may perhaps consider what sins, what evils, and what inconve-|<236>niencies and shames thou’st brought him to, and will not be the last shall loathe and hate thee: For though youth fansy it have a mighty race to run of pleasing vice and vanity, the course will end, the goal will be arriv’d to at the last, where they will sighing stand, look back, and view the length of pretious time they’ve fool’d away; when travers’d o’er with honour and discretion, how glorious were the journey, and with what joy the wearied traveller lies down and basks beneath the shades that end the happy course.
Forgive, dear Child, this advice, and persue it, ’tis the effect of my pity, not anger; nor could the name of rival ever yet have power to banish that of sister from my soul —— farewell, remember me; pray Heaven thou hast not this night made a forfeit of thy honour|<237> and that this which comes from a tender bleeding heart may have the fortune to inspire thee with grace to avoid all temptations for the future, since they must end in sorrow, which is the eternal prayer of,
Your affectionate Sister.
Ask me not, my dearest Brother, the reason of this sudden change, ask me no more from whence proceeds this strange coldness, or why this alteration; it is enough my destiny has not decreed me for Philander: Alas, I see my errour, and looking round about me, find nothing but approaching horrour and confusion|<238> in my pursuit of Love: Oh whither was I going, to what dark paths, what everlasting shades had smiling love betray’d me, had I pursu’d him farther? But I at last have subdu’d his force, and the fond Charmer shall no more renew his arts and flatteries; for I’m resolv’d as Heaven, as fixt as fate and death, and I conjure you trouble my repose no more; for if you do (regardless of my honour, which if you lov’d you wou’d preserve) I’ll do a deed shall free me from your importunities, that shall amaze and cool your vicious flame: no more —— remember you have a noble wife, companion of your vows, and I have honour, both which are worth preserving, and for which, though you want generous love, you will find neither that nor courage wanting in
Yes, my adorable Silvia, I will pursue you no farther, only for all my pains, for all my sufferings, for my tormenting sleepless nights, and thoughtfull anxious days; for all my faithless hopes; my fears, my sighs, my prayers and my tears, for my unequall’d and unbound passion, and my unwearied pursuits in love, my never dying flame, and lastly, for my death; I only beg, in recompense for all, this last favour from your pity; That you will deign to view the bleeding wound that pierc’d the truest heart that ever fell a sacrifice to love: you’ll find my body lying beneath that spreading Oak, so sacred to Philander, since ’twas there he first took into his greedy ravish’d soul, the dear,|<240> the soft confession of thy Passion, though now forgotten and neglected all —— make what hast you can, you will find there stretch’d out the mangl’d carcase of the lost
Ah! Silvia! Was it for this that I was sent in such haste away this morning to Cæsario? did I for this neglect the world, our great affair, and all that Prince’s interest, and fly back to Bellfont, on the wings of Love? were* in lieu of receiving a dear blessing from thy hand, do I find —— never see me more —— good Heaven —— but, with my life, all my complaints are ended; only ’twould be, some ease, even in death, to know what happy Rival ’tis has arm’d thy cruel hand against Philander’s heart.|<241>
Stay, I conjure thee, stay thy sacrilegious hand; for the least wound it gives the Lord of all my wishes, I’ll double on my breast a thousand fold; stay then, by all thy vows, thy love, and all thy hopes, I swear thou hast this night of a full recompence of all thy pains from yielding Silvia; I do conjure thee stay —— for when the news arrives thou art no more, this poor, this lost, abandon’d heart of mine shall fall a victim to thy cruelty: no, live, my Philander I conjure thee, and receive all thou canst ask, and all that can be given by
Oh, my charming Philander! how very ill have you recompenc’d my last lost commands? which were that you should live; and yet at the same moment, while you are reading of the dear obligation, and while my Page was waiting your kind return, you desperately expos’d your life to the mercy of this innocent Rival, betraying unadvisedly at the same time, my honour, and the secret of your love, and where to kill or to be kill’d, had been almost equally unhappy: ’twas well my Page told me you disarm’d him in this rancounter* —— yet you he says are wounded, some sacred drops of blood are fallen to the earth and lost, the least of which is pretious enough to ransom captive Queens: oh! haste|<243> Philander, to my arms for cure, I dy with fear there may be danger —— haste, and let me bath the dear, the wounded part in floods of tears, lay to my warm lips, and bind it with my torn hair: oh! Philander, I rave with my concern for thee, and am ready to break all laws of decency and duty, and fly, without considering, to thy succour, but that I fear to injure thee much more by the discovery, which such an unadvis’d absence would make; pray Heaven the unlucky adventure reach not Bellfont; Foscario has no reason to proclaim it, and thou art too generous to boast the conquest, and Sylvio* was the only witness, and he’s as silent and as secret as the grave: but why, Philander, was he sent me back without reply? what meant that cruel silence —— say, my Philander, will you not|<244> obey me? —— will you abandon me? Can that dear tongue be perjur’d? and can you this night disappoint your Silvia? What have I done, oh obstinately cruel, irreconcileable —— what, for my first offence? a little poor resentment and no more? a little faint care of my gasping honour, cou’d that displease so much? besides I had a cause, which you shall see; a Letter that wou’d cool loves hottest fires, and turn it to devotion; by Heaven ’twas such a check —— such a surprise —— but you your self shall judge if after that I cou’d say less than bid eternally farewell to love —— at least to thee —— but I recanted soon; one sad dear word, one soft resenting line from thee, gain’d love the day again, and I despis’d the censures of the duller world: yes, yes, and I confess’d you had o’recome, and did this|<245> merit no reply? I asked the Boy a thousand times what you said, how and in what manner you received it, chid him, and laid your silent fault on him, till he with tears convinc’d me, and said he found you hastning to the Grove, —— and when he gave you my commands —— you look’d upon him with such a stedfast, wild and fixt regard, surveying him all o’re while you were opening it —— as argu’d some unusual motion in you; then cry’d, begone. —— I cannot answer flattery —— good Heaven, what can you mean? but e’re he got to the farther end of the Grove, where still you walk’d a solemn death-like pace, he saw Foscario pass him unattended, and looking back saw your rancounter, saw all that happened between you, then ran to your assistance just as you parted; still you were rough-|<246>ly sullen, and neither took notice of his proffer’d service, nor that you needed it, although you bled apace; he offer’d you his aid to tie your wounds up —— but you reply’d —— begon, and do not trouble me —— Oh, cou’d you imagin I cou’d live with this neglect? cou’d you, my Philander? Oh, what would you have me do? If nothing but my death or ruin can suffice for my attonement, I’ll sacrifice either with joy; yes, I’ll proclaim my Passion aloud, proclaim it at Bellfont, own the dear criminal flame, fly to my Philander’s aid and be undone; for thus I cannot, no, I will not live, I rave, I languish, faint and dy with pain, say that you live, oh, say but that you love, say you are coming to the Meadow behind the Garden-grove in order to your approach to my Arms: Oh, swear that all|<247> your Vows are true; oh, swear that you are Silvia’s; and in return, I’ll swear that I’m yours without reserve, whatever fate is destin’d for your
I die with impatience, either to see or hear from you; I fear ’tis yet too soon for the first —— oh therefore save me with the last, or I shall rave, and wildly betray all by coming to Dorilus his Farm, or seeking you where e’re you cruelly have hid your self from
Ah Silvia, how have you in one day destroy’d that repose I have been designing so many years! oh, thou false —— but wondrous fair creature! why did Heaven ordain so much beauty and so much perfidy, so much excellent wit, and so much cunning, (things inconsistent in any but in Silvia) in one divine frame, but to undoe Mankind: yes, Silvia thou wert born to Murther more believing men than the unhappy and undone Philander. Tell me, thou charming Hypocrite, why hast thou thus deluded me? why, oh, why was I made the miserable object of thy fatal Vow breach? What have I done, thou lovely, fickle Maid, that thou shoud’st be my murtherer? and why dost thou|<249> call me from the grave with such dear soft commands, as wou’d awake the very quiet dead, to torture me anew, after my eyes (curse on their fatal sense) were too sure witnesses of thy infidelity? Oh, fickle Maid, how much more kind ’t had been to have sent me down to earth, with plain heart-breaking truth —— than a mean subtile falsehood, that has undone thy credit in my soul: truth, Though ’twere cruel, had been generous in thee, though thou wert perjur’d, false, forsworn —— thou shou’dst not have added to it that yet baser sin of treachery; you might have been provok’d to have kill’d your friend, but it were base to stab him unawares, defenceless and unwarn’d; smile in my face and strike me to the heart; sooth me with all the tenderest marks of passion —— nay, with an invitation too, that|<250> wou’d have gain’d a credit in one that had been jilted o’re the world, flatter’d and ruin’d by all thy cozening sex, and all to send me vain and pleeas’d away, only to gain a day to entertain another Lover in. Oh, fantastick woman! destructive glorious thing, what needed this deceit? hadst thou not with unwonted industry perswaded me to have hasted to Cesario, by Heaven, I’d dully liv’d the tedious day in traversing the flowery Meads and silent Groves, laid by some murmuring spring, had sigh’d away the often counted hours, and thought on Silvia till the blest minute of my ravishing approach to her, had been a fond, believing and impos’d on Coxcomb, and ne’re had dreamt the treachery, ne’re seen the snake that bask’d beneath the gay, the smiling flowers; securely thou hadst cozen’d me, reap’d the new|<251> joys, and made my Rival sport at the expence of all my happiness: Yes, yes, your hasty importunity first gave me jealousie, made me impatient with Cesario, and excuse my self to him by a hundred inventions; neglected all to hasten back, where all my joys, where all my killing fears and torments resided —— but when came —— how was I welcom’d? with your confirming Billet; yes Silvia, how! let Dorillus inform you, between whose Arms I fell dead, shame on me, dead —— and the first thought my Soul conceiv’d when it return’d, was, not to dy in jest. I answer’d your commands, and hastned to the Grove, where —— by all that’s sacred, by thy self I swear (a dearer oath than heaven and earth can furnish me with) I did resolve to die; but oh, how soon my soft my silent passion turn’d to loud|<252> rage, rage easier to be born, to dire despair, to fury and revenge; for there I saw Foscario, my young, my fair, my rich and powerfull Rival, he hasted through the Grove all warm and glowing from the fair false ones arms; the blushes which thy eyes had kindled were fresh upon his cheeks, his looks were sparkling with the new blown fire, his heart so briskly burnt with a glad, peacefull smile drest all his face, trick’d like a Bridegroom; while he perfum’d the air as he past through it —— none but the man that loves and dotes like me is able to express my sense of rage: I quickly turn’d the Sword from my own heart to send it to his elevated one, giving him only time to —— draw —— that was the word, and I confess your Spark was wondrous ready, brisk with success, vain with your new-given favours,|<253> he only cry’d —— If Silvia be the quarrel —— I am prepar’d —— and he maintain’d your cause with admirable courage, I confess, though chance or fortune luckily gave me his Sword, which I wou’d fain have rendred back, and that way wou’d have died; but he refused to arm his hand anew against the man that had not took advantage of him, and thus we parted: Then ’twas that malice supported me with life, and told me I shou’d scorn to dy for so perfidious and so ruinous a creature; but charming and bewitching still, ’twas then I borrow’d so much calmness of my lessening anger to read the Billet o’re your Page had brought me, which melted all the rough remaining part of rage away into tame languishment: Ah, Silvia! this heart of mine was never form’d by Nature to hold out long in stubborn|<254> sullenness; I am already on the excusing part, and fain wou’d think thee innocent and just; deceive me prettily, I know thou canst, sooth my fond heart, and ask how it cou’d harbour a faithless thought of Silvia —— do —— flatter me, protest a little, swear my Rival saw thee not, say he was there by chance —— say any thing; or if thou sawst him, say with how cold a look he was receiv’d —— oh, Silvia, calm my soul, deceive it, flatter it, and I shall still believe and love thee on —— yet shoud’st thou tell me truth, that thou art false, by Heaven, I do adore thee so, I still shou’d love thee on; shou’d I have seen thee clasp him in thy arms, print kisses on his cheeks and lips, and more —— so fondly and so doatingly I love, I think I shou’d forgive thee; for I swear by all the powers, that pity frail|<255> mortality, there is no joy, no life, no Heaven without thee! Be false, be cruel, perjur’d, infamous, yet still I must adore thee; my Soul was form’d of nothing but of love, and all that love, and all that soul is Silvia’s; but yet, since thou hast fram’d me an excuse, be kind and carry it on; —— to be deluded well, as thou canst do’t, will be the same to innocence as loving; I shall not find the cheat: I’ll come then —— and lay my self at thy feet, and seek there that repose, that dear content, which is not to be found in this vast world besides; though much of my heart’s joy thou hast abated, and fixt a sadness in my soul that will not easily vanish —— Oh Silvia, take care of me, for I am in thy power, my life, my fame, my soul are all in thy hands, be tender of the victims, and remember if any action|<256> of thy life shou’d shew a fading love, that very moment I perceive the change, you shall find dead at your feet the abandon’d
Sad as death, I am going towards the Meadow in order to my approach to Silvia, the World affording no repose to me, but when I’m where the dear Charmer is.
To Philander in the Meadow.
And can you be jealous of me, Philander? I mean so poorly jealous as to believe me capable of falshood, of vow-breach, and what’s worse, of loving any thing but the adorable Philander?|<257> Oh, I cou’d not once believe so cruel a thought cou’d have entred into the imaginations of a soul so intirely possest with Silvia, and so great a judge of Love! Abandon me, reproach me, hate me, scorn me, whenever I harbour any thing in mine* so destructive to my repose and thine. Can I Philander, give you a greater proof of my passion, of my faithful never-dying passion, than being undone for you? have I any other prospect in all this soft adventure, but shame, dishonour, reproach, eternal infamy, and everlasting destruction, even of soul and body: I tremble with fear of future punishment; but oh, Love will have no devotion (mixt with his ceremonies) to any other Deity; and yet alas, I might have lov’d another, and have been sav’d, or any Maid but Silvia might have pos-|<258>sess’d without damnation. But ’tis a Brother I pursue, it is a Sister gives her honour up, and none but Cannace,* that ever I read in story, was ever found so wretched as to love a Brother with so criminal a flame, and possibly I may meet her fate. I have a Father too as great as Æolus,* as angry and revengefull where his Honour is concern’d; and you found, my dearest Brother, how near you were last night to a discovery in the Garden: I have some reason too to fear this night’s adventure, for as ill fate would have it (loaded with other thoughts) I told not Melinda of your adventure last night with the Count, who meeting her early this morning had like to have made a discovery, if he have not really so already; she strove to shun him, but he cried out —— Melinda, you cannot fly|<259> me by light, as you did last night in the dark —— she turn’d, and beg’d his pardon for neither coming nor designing to come, since she had resolv’d never to violate her vows to Alexis; not coming, cried he, not returning again, you meant Melinda, secure of my heart and my purse, you fled with both: Melinda, whose honour was now concern’d, and not reminding your escape in her likeness, blushing she sharply denied the fact, and with a disdain that had laid aside all respect, left him; nor can it be doubted, but he fansied (if she spoke truth) there was some other intrigue of love carried on at Bellfont. Judge, my charming Philander, if I have not reason to be fearfull of thy safety, and my fame, and to be jealous that so wise a Man as Monsieur, did not take that parly* to be held with a spirit last|<260> night, or that ’twas an apparition he courted! But if there be no boldness like that of love, nor courage like that of a lover; sure there never was so great a Heroine as Silvia. Undaunted, I resolve to stand the shock of all, since ’tis impossible for me to leave Philander any doubt or jealousie that I can dissipate, and Heaven knows how far I was from any thought of seeing Foscario when I urg’d Philander to depart. I have to clear my innocence, sent thee the Letter I received two hours after thy absence, which falling into my Mothers hands, whose favourite he is, he had permission to make his visit; which within an hour he did, but how received by me, be thou the judge, whene’re it is thy fate to be oblig’d to entertain some Woman to whom thy soul has an intire aversion. I|<261> forc’d a complaisance against my nature, endur’d his wrecking courtship with a fortitude that became the great heart that bears thy sacred image; as Martyrs do, I suffer’d without murmuring, or the least sign of the pain I endur’d —— ’tis below the dignity of my mighty passion to justifie it farther, let it plead its own cause, it has a thousand ways to do’t, and those all such as cannot be resisted, cannot be doubted, especially this last proof of sacrificing to your repose the never more to be doubted;
About an hour hence I shall expect you to advance.|<262>
To the Lady ——
’Tis not always the divine graces wherewith Heaven has adorn’d your resplendent beauties, that can maintain the innumerable conquests they gain, without a noble goodness; which may make you sensibly compassionate the poor and forlorn captives you have undone: But, most fair of your Sex, ’tis I alone that have a destiny more cruel and severe, and find my self wounded from your very frowns, and secur’d a slave as well as made one; the very scorn from those triumphant stars, your eyes, have the same effects, as if they shin’d with the continual splendour of ravishing smiles, and I can no more shun their killing influence, than their all-saving|<263> aspects: and I shall expire contented, since I fall by so glorious a Fate; if you will vouchsafe to pronounce my doom from that store-house of perfection, your mouth, from lips that open like the blushing rose, strow’d o’re with morning dew, and from a breath sweeter than holy incense, in order to which, I approach you, most excellent beauty, with this most humble petition, that you will deign to permit me to throw my unworthy self before the Throne of your mercy, there to receive the sentence of my life or death, a happiness though incomparably too great for so mean a Vassal, yet with that reverence and awe I shall receive it, as I wou’d the sentence of the Gods, and which I will no more resist than I wou’d the Thunderbolts of Jove,* or the revenge of angry Juno:* For, Ma-|<264>dam, my immense passion knows no medium between life and death, and as I never had the presumption to aspire to the glory of the first, I am not so abject as to fear I am wholly depriv’d of the Glory of the last; I have too long lain convicted, extend your mercy, and put me now out of pain: You have often wreck’d me to confess my Promethian sin;* spare the cruel Vulture of despair, take him from my heart in pity, and either by killing words, or blasting Lightning from those refulgent eyes, pronounce the Death of,
Your admiring slave
My everlasting Charmer,
I am convinc’d and pleas’d, my fears are vanish’t and a Heaven of solid joy is open’d to my view, and I have nothing now in prospect but Angel-brightness, glittering Youth, dazling Beauty, charming Sounds, and ravishing Touches, and all around me ecstasies of pleasure, unconceivable transports without conclusion; Mahomet never fansied such a Heaven, not all his Paradise promis’d such lasting felicity, or ever provided there the recompense of such a Maid as Silvia, such a bewitching Form, such soft, such glorious Eyes, where the Soul speaks and dances, and betrays Loves-secrets in every killing glance, a Face,|<266> where every motion, every feature sweetly languishes, a Neck all-tempting —— and her lovely Breast inviting presses from the eager Lips; such Hands, such clasping Arms, so white, so soft and slender! No, nor one of all his Heavenly enjoyments, though promis’d years of fainting in one continu’d ecstasy, can make one moments joy with Charming Silvia. Oh, I am wrapt (with bare imagination) with a much vaster pleasure than any other dull appointment can dispence —— Oh, thou blessing sent from Heaven to ease my toils of life! thou sacred dear delight of my fond doating heart, oh, whither wilt thou lead me, to what vast heights of Love? into extremes as fatal and as dangerous as those excesses were that rendred me so cold in your opinion. Oh, Silvia, Silvia, have a|<267> care of me, manage my o’rejoy’d Soul, and all its eager passions, chide my fond heart, be angry if I faint upon thy Bosom, and do not with thy tender voice recall me, a Voice that kills outright, and calls my fleeting Soul out of its habitation: lay not such charming Lips to my cold Cheeks, but let me lie extended at thy feet untouch’d, unsigh’d upon, unpress’d with kisses: Oh, change those tender, trembling words of Love into rough sounds and noises unconcern’d, and when you see me dying, do not call my Soul to mingle with thy sighs; yet shoud’st thou bate one word, one look or tear, by Heaven, I shou’d be mad; oh, never let me live to see declension in thy love! no, no, my Charmer, I cannot bear the least suppos’d decay in those dear fondnesses of thine; and sure none|<268> e’re became a Maid so well, nor ever were receiv’d with adorations, like to mine!
Pardon, my adorable Silvia, the rashness of my passion in this rancounter with Foscario; I am satisfied he is too unhappy in your disfavour to merit the being so in mine; but ’twas sufficient I then saw a joy in his face, a pleas’d gayety in his looks to make me think my rage reasonable and my quarrel just; by the style he writes, I dread his Sense less than his Person; but you, my lovely Maid, have said enough to quit me of my fears for both —— the night comes on —— I cannot call it envious, though it rob me of the light that shou’d assist me to finish this, since ’twill more gloriously repay me in a happier place —— come on then, thou blest retreat of Lo-|<269>vers, I forgive by interruptions here, since thou wilt conduct to the Arms of Silvia —— the adoring
If you have any commands for me, this Weeder of the Gardens, whom I met going in thither, will bring it back; I wait in the Meadow, and date this from the dear Primrose bank, where I have sat with Silvia.
After the happy Night.
’Tis done; yes, Philander, ’tis done, and after that, what will not Love and grief oblige me to own to you? Oh, by what insensible degrees a Maid in love may arrive to say any thing to her Lover without blushing? I|<270> have known the time, the blest innocent time, when but to think I lov’d Philander wou’d have cover’d my face with shame, and to have spoke it wou’d have fill’d me with confusion —— have made me Tremble, Blush, and bend my guilty Eyes to Earth, not daring to behold my Charming Conqueror while I made that bashfull confession —— though now I’m grown bold in Love, and I have known the time when being at Court, and coming from the Presence, being offer’d some officious hand to lead me to my Coach, I have shrunk back with my aversion to your Sex, and have conceal’d my hands in my Pockets to prevent their being touch’d; —— a kiss wou’d turn my stomack, and amorous looks (though they wou’d make me vain) gave me a hate to him that|<271> sent ’em, and never any Maid resolv’d so much as I to tread the paths of honour, and I had many precedents before me to make me careful: Thus I was armed with resolution, pride and scorn, against all Mankind; but alas, I made no defence against a Brother, but innocently lay expos’d to all his attacks of Love, and ne’re thought it criminal till it kindled a new desire about me. Oh, that I shou’d not dy with shame to own it —— yet see (I say) how from one soft degree to another, I do not only confess the shamefull truth, but act it too; what with a Brother —— Oh Heavens! a crime so monstrous and so new —— but by all thy Love, by those surprising joys so lately experienc’d —— I never will —— no, no, I never can —— repent it: Oh incorrigible passion! oh hardned love! At least I might|<272> have some remorse, some sighing after my poor departed honour; but why shou’d I dissemble with the Powers divine, that know the secrets of a Soul doom’d to eternal Love? Yet I’m mad, I rave and tear my self, traverse my guilty chamber in a disorder’d, but a soft confusion; and often opening the conscious curtains, survey the print where thou and I were last night laid, surveying it with a thousand tender sighs, and kiss and press thy dear forsaken side, imagine o’re all our solemn joys, every dear transport, all our ravishing repeated blisses, then almost fainting, languishing, cry —— Philander! oh, my charming little God! then lay me down in the dear place you press’d, still warm and fragrant with the sweet remains that thou hast left behind thee on the Pillow, oh, my Soul’s joy! my|<273> dear, eternal pleasure! what softness hast thou added to my heart within a few hours! but oh, Philander —— if (as I’ve oft been told) possession, which makes Women fond and doting, shou’d make thee cold and grow indifferent —— if nauseated with repeated joy, and having made a full discovery of all that was but once imaginary, when fancy rendred every thing much finer than experience, oh, how were I undone! for me, by all the inhabitants of Heaven I swear, by thy dear charming self, and by thy vows —— thou so transcend’st all fancy, all dull imagination, all wondring idea’s of what Man was to me, that I believe thee more than humane! some charm divine dwells in thy touches; besides all these, thy charming look thy love, the beauties that adorn thee, and thy wit, I swear there is a secret|<274> in Nature that renders thee more dear and fits thee to my Soul; do not ask it me, let it suffice ’tis so, and is not to be told; yes, by it I know thou art the man created for my Soul, and he alone that has the power to touch it; my eyes and fancy might have been diverted, I might have favour’d this above the other, prefer’d that face, that wit, or shape, or air —— but to concern my Soul, to make that capable of something more than love, ’twas only necessary that Philander shou’d be form’d, and form’d just as he is, that shape, that face, that height, that dear proportion; I wou’d not have a feature, not a look, not a hair alter’d, just as thou art, thou art an Angel to me, and I, without considering what I am, what I might be, or ought, without considering the fatal circumstances of thy be-|<275>ing married (a thought that shocks my soul when e’re it enters) or whate’re other thought that does concern my happiness or quiet, have fixt my Soul to Love and my Philander, to love thee with all thy disadvantages, and glory in my ruine; these are my firm resolves —— these are my thoughts. But thou art gone, with all the Trophies of my love and honour, gay with the spoils, which now perhaps are unregarded: The mystery’s now reveal’d, the mighty secret’s known, and now will be no wonder or surprize: But hear my vows, by all on which my life depends I swear —— if ever I perceive the least decay of love in thee, if e’re thou break’st an Oath, a vow, a word, if e’re I see repentance in thy face, or coldness in thy eyes (which Heaven divert) by that bright Heav’n I’ll|<276> dy: you may believe me, since I had the courage and durst love thee, and after that durst sacrifice my fame, lose all to justifie that love, will, when a change so fatal shall arrive, find courage too to die; yes, dy Philander, assure thy self I will, and therefore have a care of
Oh, where shall I find repose, where seek a silent quiet, but in my last retreat, the Grave! I say not this, my dearest Philander, that I do or ever can repent my love, though the fatal source of all: For already we are betray’d, our race of joys, our course of|<277> stoln delight is ended e’re begun. I chid, alas, at morning’s dawn, I chid you to begon, and yet, Heaven knows, I grasp’d you fast, and rather wou’d have died than parted with you; I saw the day come on, and curst its busie light, and still you cried, one blessed minute more, before I part with all the joys of life! And hours were minutes then, and day grew old upon us unawares, ’twas all abroad, and had call’d up all the household spies to pry into the secrets of our loves, and thou, by some tale-bearing flatterer, wert seen in passing through the Garden; the news was carried to my Father, and a mighty consult has been held in my Mother’s apartment, who now refuses to see me, while I, possest with Love, and full of wonder at my new change, lull’d with dear contemplation,|<278> (for I am alter’d much since yesterday, however thou hast charm’d me) imagining none knew our theft of love, but only Heaven and Melinda: but oh, alas, I had no sooner finish’d this inclos’d, but my Father enter’d my Cabinet, but ’twas with such a look —— as soon inform’d me, all was betray’d to him; a while he gaz’d on me with fierceness in his eyes, which so surpriz’d and frighted me, that I, all pale and trembling, threw my self at his feet; he, seeing my disorder, took me up, and fixt so stedfast and so sad a look upon me, as wou’d have broken any heart but mine, supported with Philander’s image; I sigh’d and wept —— and silently attended when the storm shou’d fall, which turn’d into a shower so soft and piercing, I almost died to see it; at last delivering me a paper —— here,|<279> (cry’d he, with a sigh and trembling interrupted voice) read what I cannot tell thee. Oh, Silvia, cry’d he, —— thou joy and hope of all my aged years, thou object of my Dotage, how hast thou brought me to the Grave with sorrow? So left me with the Paper in my hand: Speechless, unmov’d a while I stood, till he awak’d me by new sighs and cries; for passing through my Chamber, by chance, or by design, he cast his melancholy eyes towards my Bed, and saw the dear disorder there, unusual —— then cried —— Oh, wretched Silvia, thou art lost! and left me almost fainting; the Letter, I soon found, was one you’d sent from Dorillus his Farm this morning, after you had parted from me, which has betray’d us all, but how it came into their hands I since have un-|<280>derstood: for, as I said, you were seen passing through the Garden, from thence (to be confirm’d) they dog’d you to the Farm, and waiting there your motions, saw Dorillus come forth with a Letter in his hand; which though he soon conceal’d, yet not so soon but it was taken notice of, when hasting to Bellfont the nearest way, they gave an account to Monsieur, my Father, who going out to Dorillus, commanded him to deliver him the Letter; his Vassal durst not disobey, but yielded it, with such dispute and reluctancy, as he durst maintain with a man so great and powerful; before Dorillus return’d you had taken horse, so that you are a stranger to our misfortune —— What shall I do? where shall I seek a refuge from the danger that threatens us, a sad and silent grief appears throughout Bellfont,|<281> and the face of all things are chang’d, yet none knows the unhappy cause but Monsieur my Father, and Madam my Mother, Melinda, and my self; Melinda and my Page are both dismist from waiting on me, as supposed confidents of this dear secret, and strangers, creatures of Madam the Countess, put about me. Oh Philander, what can I do? thy advice, or I am lost; but how, alas, shall I either convey these to thee, or receive any thing from thee, unless some God of Love, in pity of our miseries, shou’d offer us his aid: I’ll try to corrupt my new Boy, I see good Nature, pity and generosity in his looks, he’s well-born too, and may be honest.
Thus far Philander, I had writ when Supper was brought me, for yet my Parents have not deign’d to let me come into their presence,|<282> those that serve me tell me Mertilla is this Afternoon arriv’d at Bellfont; all’s mighty closely carried in the Countesses apartment. I tremble with the thought of what will be the result of the great consultation: I have been tempting of the Boy, but I perceive they have strictly charg’d* not to obey me, he says, against his will, he shall betray me, for they will have him search’d, but he has promis’d me to see one of the weeders, who working in the Garden, into which my Window opens, may from thence receive what I shall let down; if it be true I shall get this fatal knowledge to you, that you may not only prepare for the worst, but contrive to set at liberty
My Heart is ready to break, and my Eyes are drown’d in Tears: Oh Philander how much unlike the last will prove this fatal night: farewell, and think of Silvia.|<283>
This was Writ in the Cover to both the foregoing Letters to Philander.
Philander, all that I dreaded, all that I fear’d is fallen upon me, I have been arraign’d, and convicted, three Judges, severe as the three infernal ones, sate in condemnation on me, a Father, a Mother, and a Sister; the fact, alas, was too clearly prov’d, and too many circumstantial truths appear’d against me, for me to plead, Not guilty. But, Oh Heavens! had you seen the tears, and heard the Prayers, threats, reproaches and upbraidings —— these from an injur’d Sister, those my heart-broken Parents; a tender Mother here, a railing and reviling Sister there —— an angry Father, and a guilty conscience —— thou woud’st have won-|<284>dred at my fortitude, my courage, and my resolution, and all from Love! For surely I had died, had not thy love, thy powerfull love supported me; through all the accidents of life and fate, that can and will support me; in the midst of all their clamours and their railings I had from that a secret and soft repose within, that whisper’d me, Philander loves me still; discarded and renounc’d by my fond Parents; Love still replies, Philander still will own thee; thrown from thy Mother’s and thy Sister’s arms Philander’s still are open to receive thee: And though I rave, and almost dy to see them grieve, to think that I am the fatal cause, who makes so sad confusion in our Family; for, oh ’tis pitious to behold my Sister’s sighs and tears, my Mother’s sad despair, my Father’s raging and his weeping, by me-|<285>lancholy turns; Yet even these deplorable objects, that wou’d move the most obdurate, stubborn heart to pity and repentance, render not mine relenting; and yet I’m wondrous pitifull by nature, and I can weep and faint to see the sad effects of my loose, wanton love, yet cannot find repentance for the dear charming sin; and yet, shoud’st thou behold my Mother’s languishment, no bitter words proceeding from her lips, no tears fall from her down-cast eyes, but silent and sad as death she sits, and will not view the light; shoud’st thou, I say, behold it, thou woud’st, if not repent, yet grieve that thou hadst lov’d me: Sure love has quite confounded nature in me, I cou’d not else behold this fatal ruine without revenging it upon my stubborn heart, a thousand times a-day I make new vows against the God|<286> of Love, but ’tis too late, and I’m as often perjur’d —— Oh, shou’d the Gods revenge the broken vows of Lovers, what Love-sick man, what maid betray’d like me, but wou’d be damn’d a thousand times for every little love-quarrel, every kind resentment makes us swear to love no more, and every smile, and every flattering softness from the dear injurer, make us perjur’d: Let all the force of vertue, honour, interest joyn with my suffering Parents to perswade me to cease to love Philander, yet let him but appear, let him but look on me with those dear charming eyes, let him but sigh, or press me to his fragrant cheek, fold me —— and cry —— ah, Silvia, can you quit me —— no, you must not, you shall not, nay, I know you cannot, remember you are mine —— there is such eloquence in those dear words|<287> when utter’d with a voice so tender and so passionate, that I believe ’em irresistable —— alas, I find ’em so —— and easily break all the feebler vows I make against thee; yes, I must be undone, perjur’d, forsworn, incorrigible, unnatural, disobedient, and any thing, rather than not Philander’s —— turn then, my Soul, from these domestick, melancholy objects, and look abroad, look forward for a while on charming prospects; look on Philander, the dear, the young, the amorous Philander, whose very looks infuse a tender joy throughout the Soul, and chase all cares, all sorrows and anxious thoughts from thence, whose wanton play is softer I than that of young fledg’d Angels, and when he looks and sighs, and speaks, and touches, he is a very God: Where art thou, oh thou miracle of youth, thou|<288> charming dear undoer! now thou hast gain’d the glory of the conquest, thou slightest the rifled captive: What, not a line? two tedious days are past and no kind power relieves me with a word, or any tidings of Philander —— and yet thou mayst have sent —— but I shall never see it, till they raise up fresh witnesses against me —— I cannot think thee wavering or forgetfull; for if I did, surely thou knowst my heart so well, thou canst not think ’twou’d live to think another thought: Confirm my kind belief, and send to me ——
There is a Gate well known to thee through which thou passest to Bellfont, ’tis in the road about half a league from hence, an old Man opens it, his Daughter weeds in the Garden, and will convey this to thee as I have order’d her, by|<289> the same messenger thou may’st return thine, and early as she comes I’ll let her down a string, by which way unperceiv’d, I shall receive ’em from her: I’ll say no more, nor instruct you how you shall preserve your
That which was left in her hands by
Monsieur, her Father, in
My adorable Silvia,
I can no more describe to thee the torment with which I part from Bellfont, than I can that Heaven of joy I was rais’d to last night by the transporting effects of thy wondrous love; both are to excess, and both killing, but in different kinds. Oh, Silvia, by all my|<290> unspeakable raptures in thy arms, by all thy charms of beauty, too numerous and too ravishing for fancy to imagin —— I swear —— by this last night, by this dear new discovery, thou hast increas’d my love to that vast height, it has undone my peace —— all my repose is gone —— this dear, dear night has ruin’d me, it has confirm’d me now I must have Silvia, and cannot live without her, no not a day, an hour —— to save the world, unless I had the entire possession of my lovely Maid: Ah, Silvia, I’m not that indifferent dull Lover that can be rais’d by one beauty to an appetite, and satisfy it with another; I cannot carry the dear flame you kindle to quench it in the imbraces of Mertilla; no, by the eternal powers, he that pretends to love, and Loves at that course* rate, needs fear no danger from that|<291> passion, he ne’re was born to love, or dy for Love; Silvia, Mertilla, and a thousand more were all the same to such a dull insensible; no, Silvia, when you find I can return back to the once left matrimonial Bed, despise me, scorn me, swear (as then thou justly may’st) I Love not Silvia: Let the hot brute drudge on (he who is fir’d by Nature, not by Love, whom any bodies kisses can inspire) and ease the necessary heats of youth; Love’s a nobler fire, which nothing can allay but the dear she that rais’d it; no, no, my purer stream shall ne’re run back to the fountain, whence ’tis parted, nay, it cannot, it were as possible to love again where one has ceas’d to love, as carry the desire and wishes back, by Heaven, to me there’s nothing so unnatural; no, Silvia, it is you I must possess, you have comple-|<292>ted my undoing now, and I must dy unless you give me all —— but oh, I’m going from thee —— when are we like to meet —— oh, how shall I support my absent hours! thought will destroy me, for ’twill be all on thee, and those at such a distance will be insupportable —— what shall I do without thee? if after all the toils of dull insipid life I cou’d return and lay me down by thee, Herculean labours* wou’d be soft and easie —— the harsh fatigues of war, the dangerous hurries of affairs of state, the business and the noise of life, I cou’d support with pleasure, with wondrous satisfaction, cou’d treat Mertilla too with that respect, that generous care, as wou’d become a Husband. I cou’d be easie every where, and every one shou’d be at ease with me; now I shall go and find no Silvia there, but sigh and wan-|<293>der like an unknown thing, on some strange foreign shore; I shall grow peevish as a new-wean’d child, no toys, no bauble of the gaudy world will please my wayward fancy: I shall be out of humour, rail at every thing, in anger shall demand, and sullenly reply to every question ask’d and answer’d, and when I think to ease my Soul by a retreat, a Thousand soft desires, a Thousand wishes wreck me, pain me to raving, till beating the senseless floor with my feet —— I cry aloud —— my Silvia! —— thus, thus, my charming dear, the poor Philander is employ’d when banish’d from his Heaven! if thus it us’d to be when only that bright outside was ador’d, judge now my pain, now thou hast made known a thousand graces more —— oh, pity me —— for ’tis not in thy power to guess what I|<294> shall now endure in absence of thee, for thou hast charm’d my soul to an excess too mighty for a patient suffering: Alas, I dy already ——
I’m yet at Dorillus his Farm, lingring on from one swift minute to the other, and have not power to go; a thousand looks all languishing I’ve cast from eyes all drown’d in tears towards Bellfont, have sight a thousand wishes to my Angel, from a sad breaking heart —— Love will not let me go —— and Honour calls me —— alas, I must away; when shall we meet again? ah when my Silvia? —— oh charming Maid —— thou’lt see me shortly dead, for thus I cannot live; thou must be mine, or I must be no more —— I must away —— farewell —— may all the softest joys of Heaven attend thee —— adieu —— fail not to send a hundred times a day, if possible; I’ve order’d Alexis to do|<295> nothing but wait for all that comes, and post away with what thou send’st to me —— again adieu, think on me —— and till thou call’st me to thee, imagin nothing upon earth so wretched as Silvia’s own
Know, my Angel, that passing through the Garden this morning, I met Erasto —— I fear he saw me near enough to know me, and will give an account of it; let me know what happens —— adieu half dead, just taking Horse to go from Silvia.
Written in a Leaf of a Table-book.
I have only time to say, on Thursday I’m destin’d a sacrifice to Foscario, which day finishes the Life of
From Dorillus his Farm.
Raving and mad at the News your Billet brought me, I (without considering the effects that wou’d follow) am arriv’d at Bellfont; I have yet so much patience about me, to suffer my self to be conceal’d at Dorillus his Cottage, but if I see thee not to night, or find no hopes of it —— by Heaven I’ll set Bellfont all in a flame but I will have my Silvia; be sure I’ll do’t —— What? to be married —— Silvia; to be married —— and given from Philander —— Oh, never think it, forsworn fair Creature —— What? give Foscario that dear charming Body? shall he be grasp’d in those dear naked Arms? taste all thy kisses, press thy snowy Breasts, command thy|<297> joys and rifle all thy Heaven? Furies and Hell environ me if he do —— Oh, Silvia, faithless, perjur’d, charming Silvia —— and can’st thou suffer it —— hear me, thou fickle Angel —— hear my vows, oh faithless Ravisher! That fatal moment that the daring Priest offers to join your hands, and give thee from me, I’ll sacrifice your Lover, by Heaven I will, before the Altar stab him at your feet; the holy place, nor the numbers that attend ye, nor all your prayers nor tears shall save his heart; look to’t, and be not false —— yet I’ll trust not thy Faith; no, she that can think but falsely, and she that can so easily be perjur’d —— for, but to suffer it is such a sin —— such an undoing sin —— that thou art surely damn’d! and yet, by Heaven, that is not all the ruin shall attend thee: no, lovely Mischief, no —— you|<298> shall not scape till the damnation day; for I will rack thee, torture thee and plague thee, those few hours I have to live (if spightfull Fate prevent my just revenge upon Foscario) and when I’m dead —— as I shall quickly be kill’d by thy cruelty —— know, thou fair Murtherer, I will haunt thy sight, be ever with thee, and surround thy bed, and fright thee from the Ravisher; fright all thy loose delights, and check thy joys —— Oh, I am mad! —— I cannot think that thought, no, thou shalt never advance so far in wickedness, I’ll save thee, if I can —— Oh, my adorable, why dost thou torture me? how hast thou sworn so often and so loud that Heaven I am sure has heard thee, and will punish thee? how did’st thou swear that happy blessed night, in which I saw thee last, clasp’d in my Arms, weeping with|<299> eager love, with melting softness on my bosome ——— remember how thou swor’st ——— oh, that dear night, ——— let me recover strength —— and then I’ll tell thee more —— I must repeat the story of that night, which thou perhaps (oh faithless!) hast forgot —— that glorious night, when all the Heavens were gay, and every favouring power look’d down and smil’d upon our thefts of love, that gloomy night the first of all my joys, the blessed’st of my life —— trembling and fainting I approacht your chamber, and while you met and grasp’d me at the door, taking my trembling body in your arms —— remember how I fainted at your feet, and what dear arts you us’d to call me back to life —— remember how you kiss’d and press’d my face —— remember what dear charming words you spoke —— and|<300> when I did recover, how I ask’d you with a feeble doubtfull Voice —— Ah, Silvia, will you still continue thus, thus wondrous soft and fond? will you be ever mine, and ever true? —— what did you then reply, when kneeling on the carpet where I lay, what, Silvia, did you vow? How invoke Heaven? How call its vengeance down if e’re you lov’d another man again, if e’re you touch’d or smil’d on any other, if e’re you suffer’d words or acts of love but from Philander? both Heaven and Hell thou did’st awaken with thy oaths, one was an angry listener to what it knew thou’dst break, the other laugh’d to know thou woud’st be perjur’d, while only I, poor I, was all the while a silent fond believer; your vows stopt all my language, as your kisses did my lips, you swore and kiss’d, and vow’d and clasp’d my|<301> neck ——— oh charming flatterer! oh artfull, dear beguiler! thus into life, and peace, and fond security, you charm’d my willing Soul! ’Twas then, my Silvia, (certain of your heart and that it never cou’d be given away to any other) I press’d my eager joys, but with such tender caution —— such fear and fondness, such an awfull passion, as overcame your faint resistance, my reasons and my arguments were strong, for you were mine by love, by sacred vows, and who cou’d lay a better claim to Silvia? how oft I cried —— Why this resistance, Silvia? My charming dear, whose are you? not Philander’s? and shall Philander not command his own —— you must —— ah cruel —— then a soft struggle follow’d with half breath’d words, with sighs and trembling hearts, and now and then —— ah cruel and|<302> unreasonable was softly said on both sides: thus strove, thus argued —— till both lay panting in each others arms, not with the toil, but rapture; I need not say what after follow’d this ——— what tender showers of strange indearing mixtures ’twixt joy and shame, ’twixt love and new surprise, and ever when I dried your eyes with kisses, unable to repeat any other language than —— oh my Silvia! oh my charming Angel! while sighs of joy, and closely grasping thee —— spoke all the rest —— while every tender word, and every sigh, was Echo’d back by thee; you press’d me —— and you vow’d you lov’d me more than ever yet you did; then swore anew, and in my bosome, hid your charming blushing face, then with excess of love wou’d call on Heaven, be witness, oh ye powers (a thousand|<303> times ye cried) if ever Maid e’re lov’d like Silvia —— punish me strangely, oh eternal powers, if e’re I leave Philander, if e’re I cease to love him; no force, no art, not interest, honour, wealth, convenience, duty, or what other necessary cause —— shall never be of force to make me leave thee —— thus hast thou sworn, oh charming, faithless flatterer, thus ’twixt each ravishing minute thou woud’st swear —— and I as fast believ’d —— and lov’d thee more —— hast thou forgot it all, oh fickle charmer, hast thou? hast thou forgot between each awfull ceremony of love, how you cried out farewell the world and mortal cares, give me Philander, Heaven, I ask no more —— hast thou forgot all this? did all the live-long night hear any other sound but those our mutual vows, of invocations, broken sighs, and soft and|<304> trembling whispers, say had we any other business for the tender hours? oh, all ye host of Heaven, ye Stars that shone, and all ye powers the faithless lovely Maid has sworn by, be witness how she’s perjur’d; revenge it all, ye injur’d powers, revenge it, since by it she has undone the faithfullest Youth, and broke the tenderest heart —— that ever fell a sacrifice to love, and all ye little weeping Gods of love, revenge your murther’d victim —— your
In the Leaves of a Table-Book.
On, my Philander, how dearly welcome, and how needless were thy kind reproaches?|<305> which I will not endeavour to convince by argument, but such a deed as shall at once secure thy fears now and for the future; I have not a minute to write in, place, my dear Philander, your Chariot in St. Vincent’s Wood, and since I’m not able to fix the hour of my flight, let it wait there my coming, ’tis but a little mile from Bellfont, Dorillus is suspected there, remove thy self to the high-way-gate Cottage —— there I’ll call on thee —— ’twas lucky, that thy fears, or love, or jealousie brought thee so near me, since I’d resolv’d before upon my flight. Parents and honour, interest and fame, farewell —— I leave you all to follow my Philander —— haste the Chariot to the thickest part of the Wood, for I’m impatient to be gon, and shall take the first opportunity to fly to|<306> my Philander —— Oh, love me, love me, love me!
Under pretence of reaching the Jesamin which shades my Window, I unperceiv’d let down and receive what Letters you send by the honest Weeder; by her send your sense of my flight, or rather your direction, for ’tis resolv’d already.
My lovely Angel,
So carefull I will be of this dear mighty secret, that I will only say Silvia shall be obey’d, no more —— nay, I’ll not dare to think of it, lest in my rapture I shou’d name my joy aloud, and busie|<307> winds shou’d bear it to some officious listener, and undo me; no more, no more, my Silvia, extremes of joy (as grief) are ever dumb: Let it suffice, this blessing which you proffer, I had design’d to ask, as soon as you’d convinc’d me of your faith; yes Silvia, I had ask’d it, though ’twas a bounty too great for any Mortal to conceive Heaven shou’d bestow upon him; but if it do, that very moment I’ll resign the world, and barter all for love and charming Silvia. Haste, haste, my life; my arms, my bosome and my Soul are open to receive the lovely fugitive; haste, for this moment I am going to plant my self where you directed.
After her Flight.
Ah, Philander, how have you undone a harmless, poor unfortunate? alas, where are you? why wou’d you thus abandon me? is this the soul, the bosome, these the arms that shou’d receive me? I’ll not upbraid thee with my love, or charge thee with my undoing; ’twas all my own, and were it yet to do, I shou’d again be ruin’d for Philander, and ne’re find repentance, no not for a thought, a word or deed of love, to the dear false forsworn; but I can dy, yes, hopeless, friendless ——— left by all, even by Philander ——— all but resolution has abandon’d me, and that can lay me down, whene’re I please, in safe repose and peace: But oh, thou art not false, or if thou be’st, oh, let me hear it|<309> from thy mouth, see thy repented love, that I may know there’s no such thing on earth, as faith, as honesty, as love or truth; however, be thou true, or be thou false, be bold and let me know it, for thus to doubt is torture worse than death. What accident, thou dear, dear man, has happen’d to prevent thee from pursuing my directions, and staying for me at the gate? where have I miss’d thee, thou joy of my soul? by what dire mistake have I lost thee? and where, oh, where art thou, my charming Lover? I sought thee every where, but like the languishing abandon’d Mistress in the Canticles,* I sought thee, but I found thee not, no bed of Roses wou’d discover thee; I saw no print of thy dear shape, nor heard no amorous sigh that cou’d direct me —— I ask’d the wood and springs, complain’d and call’d on|<310> thee through all the Groves, but they confess’d thee not; nothing but Echo’s answer’d me, and when I cried Philander —— cried —— Philander, thus search’d I till the coming night, and my increasing fears made me resolve for flight, which soon we did, and soon arriv’d at Paris, but whither then to go, Heaven knows, I cou’d not tell, for I was almost naked, friendless and forlorn; at last, consulting Brilljard what to do, after a thousand revolutions, he concluded to trust me with a sister he had, who was Married to a Guidon* of the Guard de Core,* he chang’d my name, and made me pass for a Fortune he had stoln; but oh, no welcomes, nor my safe retreat were sufficient to repose me all the insuing night, for I had no news of Philander; no, not a dream inform’d me, a thousand fears and jealousies have kept|<311> me waking, and Brilljard, who has been all night in pursuit of thee, is now return’d succesless and distracted as thy Silvia, for duty and generosity have almost the same effects in him, with love and tenderness and jealousie in me; and since Paris affords no news of thee, (which sure it wou’d if thou wert in it, for oh, the Sun might hide himself with as much ease as great Philander) he is resolv’d to search St. Vincent’s Wood, and all the adjacent Cottages and Groves; he thinks that you, not knowing of my escape, may yet be waiting thereabouts; since quitting the Chariot for fear of being seen, you might be so far advanc’d into the Wood, as not to find the way back to the Thicket where the Chariot waited: ’tis thus he feeds my hopes, and flatters my poor heart, that fain wou’d think thee true —— or if|<312> thou be’st not —— but curst be all such thoughts, and far from Silvia’s Soul; no, no, thou art not false, it cannot be, thou art a God, and art unchangeable; I know, by some mistake, thou art attending me, as wild and impatient as I, perhaps thou think’st me false, and think’st I have not courage to pursue my love and fly; and, thou perhaps art waiting for the hour wherein thou think’st I’ll give my self away to Foscario: Oh cruel and unkind! to think I lov’d so lightly, to think I wou’d attend that fatal hour; no Philander, no, faithless, dear inchanter: Last night, the Eve to my intended Wedding-day, having repos’d my Soul by my resolves for flight, and only waiting the lucky minute for escape, I set a willing hand to every thing that was preparing for the ceremony of the ensuing morning;|<313> with that pretence I got me early to my Chamber, tried on a thousand dresses, and ask’d a thousand questions, all impertinent, which wou’d do best, which look’d most gay and rich, then drest my Gown with Jewels, deck’d my apartment up, and left nothing undone that might secure ’em both of my being pleas’d and of my stay; nay, and to give the less suspicion, I undress’d my self, even to my under Peticoat and Night-gown; I wou’d not take a Jewel, not a Pistol,* but left my Women finishing my work, and carelessly, and thus undrest, walk’d towards the Garden, and while every one was busie in their office, getting my self out of sight, posted o’re the Meadow to the Wood as swift as Daphne* from the God of day, till I arriv’d most luckily where I found the Chariot waiting, attended by|<314> Brilljard; of whom, when I (all fainting and breathless with my swift flight) demanded his Lord, he lifted me into the Chariot, and cried, a little farther Madam, you will find him; for he, for fear of making a discovery, took yonder shaded path —— towards which we went, but no dear vision of my Love appear’d —— and thus, my charming Lover, you have my kind adventure; send me some tidings back that you are found, that you are well, and lastly that you are mine, or this, that shou’d have been my wedding-day, will see it self that of the death of
Paris, Thursday, from my Bed, for want of Cloaths, or rather news from Philander.|<315>
My Life, my Silvia, my eternal joy, art thou then safe? and art thou reserv’d for Philander? am I so blest by Heaven, by love, and my dear charming Maid? then let me dy in peace, since I have liv’d to see all that my Soul desires in Silvia’s being mine; perplex not thy soft heart with fears or jealousies, nor think so basely, so poorly of my love, to need more oaths or vows, yet to confirm thee, I wou’d swear my breath away; but oh, it needs not here; —— take then no care, my lovely dear, turn not thy charming eyes or thoughts on afflicting objects, oh think not on what thou hast abandoned, but what thou art arriv’d to; look forward on the joys of love and Youth, for I will|<316> dedicate all my remaining life to render thine serene and glad; and yet, my Silvia, thou art so dear to me, so wondrous pretious to my Soul, that in my extravagance of love, I fear, shall grow a troublesome and wearying Coxcomb, shall dread every look thou givest away from me —— a smile will make me rave, a sigh or touch make me commit a murther on the happy slave, or my own jealous heart, but all the world besides is Silvia’s, all but another Lover; but I rave and run too fast away, ages must pass a tedious term of years before I can be jealous, or conceive thou canst be weary of Philander —— I will be so fond, so doating, and so playing, thou shalt not have an idle minute to throw away a look in, or a thought on any other; no, no, I have thee now, and will maintain my right|<317> by dint and force of love —— oh, I am wild to see thee —— but, Silvia, I’m wounded —— do not be frighted though, for ’tis not much or dangerous, but very troublesome, since it permits me not to fly to Silvia, but she must come to me in order to it, Brilljard has a Bill on my Goldsmith in Paris for a thousand Pistols to buy thee something to put on; any thing that’s ready, and he will conduct thee to me, for I shall rave my self into a feaver if I see thee not to day —— I cannot live without thee now, for thou’rt my life, my everlasting charmer: I have order’d Brilljard to get a Chariot and some unknown Livery for thee, and I think the continuance of passing for what he has already rendred thee will do very well, till I have taken farther care of thy dear safety, which will be as soon as I’m able to rise; for most|<318> unfortunately, my dear Silvia, quitting the Chariot in the thicket for fear of being seen with it, and walking down a shaded path that suited with the melancholy and fears of unsuccess in thy adventure; I went so far, as e’re I cou’d return to the place where I left the Chariot ’twas gone —— it seems with thee; I know not how you mist me —— but possess’d my self with a Thousand false fears, sometimes that in thy flight thou mightest be pursued and overtaken, seiz’d in the Chariot and return’d back to Bellfont, or that the Chariot was found seiz’d on upon suspicion, though the Coach-man and Brilljard were disguis’d past knowledge —— or if thou wert gone, alas, I knew not whither, but that was a thought my doubts and fears wou’d not suffer me to ease my Soul with; no, I (as jealous lovers do) imagin’d|<319> the most tormenting things for my own repose. I imagin’d the Chariot taken, or at least so discover’d as to be forc’d away without thee: I imagin’d that thou wert false —— Heaven forgive me, false, my Silvia, and hadst chang’d thy mind; mad with this thought (which I fansied most reasonable, and fixt it in my soul) I rav’d about the Wood, making a thousand vows to be reveng’d on all; in order to it I left the Thicket, and betook my self to the high road of the Wood, where I laid me down amongst the fern, close hid, with Sword ready, waiting for the happy Bridegroom, who I knew (it being the wedding eve) wou’d that way pass that Evening; pleas’d with revenge, which now had got even the place of love, I waited there not above a little hour, but heard the trampling of a horse, and looking|<320> up with mighty joy, I found it Foscario’s, alone he was, and unattended, for he’d outstrip’d his equipage, and with a lover’s haste, and full of joy, was making towards Bellfont; but I (now fir’d with rage) leap’d from my covert, cried, stay, Foscario, e’re you arrive to Silvia, we must adjust an odd account between us —— at which he stopping, as nimbly alighted; —— in fine, we fought, and many wounds were given and received on both sides, till his people coming up, parted us just as we were fainting with loss of blood in each other’s arms; his Coach and Chariot were amongst his equipage; into the first his Servants lifted him, when he cried out with a feeble voice —— to have me, who now lay bleeding on the ground, put into the Chariot, and to be safely convey’d where ever I com-|<321>manded, and so in haste they drove him towards Bellfont, and me, who was resolv’d not to stir far from it, to a village within a mile of it; from whence I sent to Paris for a Surgeon and dismist the Chariot, ordering, in the hearing of the Coachman a Litter* to be brought me immediately, to convey me that night to Paris; but the Surgeon coming, found it not safe for me to be remov’d, and I am now willing to live, since Silvia is mine; haste to me then, my lovely Maid, and fear not being discover’d, for I have given order here in the Cabaret* where I am, if any enquiry is made after me, to say, I went last night to Paris: Haste, my love, haste to my arms, as feeble as they are, they’ll grasp thee a dear wellcome: I’ll say no more, nor prescribe rules to thy love, that can inform thee best|<322> what thou must do to save the life of thy most passionate adorer,
I have sent Brilljard to see if the Coast be clear, that we may come with safety, he brings you, instead of Silvia, a young Cavalier that will be altogether as wellcome to Philander, and who impatiently waits his return at a little Cottage at the end of the Village.|<323>
From the Bastill.*
I know my Silvia expected me at home with her at dinner to day, and wonders how I cou’d live so long as since morning without the eternal joy of my Soul; but know, my Silvia, that a trivial misfortune is now fallen upon me, which in the midst of all our Heaven of joys, our softest hours of life, has so often chang’d thy smiles into fears and sighings, and ruffled thy calm Soul with cares: Nor let it now seem strange or afflicting, since every day for this three months we have been alarm’d with new fears that have made thee uneasie even in Philander’s arms, we knew some time or other the storm wou’d fall on us, though we had for three happy months shel-|<324>tred our selves from its threatening rage; but Love I hope has arm’d us both; for me —— let me be depriv’d of all joys, (but those my Charmer can dispence) all the false worlds respect, the dull esteem of Fools and formal Coxcombs, the grave advice of the censorious wise, the kind opinion of ill-judging Women, no matter, so my Silvia remain but mine.
I am, my Silvia, arrested at the suit of Monsieur the Count, your Father, for a Rape on my lovely Maid: I desire, my Soul, you will immediately take Coach and go to the Prince Cesario, and he will bail me out; I fear not a fair trial, and Silvia thefts of mutual love were never counted Felony; I may dy for Love, my Silvia, but not for loving —— go, haste, my Silvia that I may be no longer detain’d from the solid pleasure and busi-|<325>ness of my Soul —— haste, my lov’d dear —— haste and relieve
Come not to me, lest there shou’d be an order to detain my dear.
I’m not at all surpriz’d, my Philander, at the accident that has befallen thee, because so long expected, and love and that has so well fortified my heart that I support our misfortune with a courage worthy of her that loves and is belov’d by the glorious Philander; I am arm’d for the worst that can befall me, and that is my being|<326> rendred a publick shame, who have been so in the private whispers of all the Court for near these happy three months, in which I have had the wondrous satisfaction of being retir’d from the World with the charming Philander; my Father too knew it long since, at least he cou’d not hinder himself from guessing it, though his fond indulgence suffer’d his Justice and his anger to sleep, and possibly had still slept, had not Mertilla’s spight and rage (I shou’d say just resentment, but I cannot) rouz’d up his drowsie vengeance: I know she has ply’d him with her softening eloquence, her prayers and tears, to win him to consent to make a publick business of it; but I’m entred, love has arm’d my Soul, and I’ll pursue my fortune with that height of fortitude as shall surprise the world; yes Philander, since I|<327> have lost my honour, fame and friends, my interest and my Parents, and all for mightier love, I’ll stop at nothing now; if there be any hazards more to run, I’le thank the spightfull fates that bring ’em on, and will even tire ’em out with my unwearied passion. Love on, Philander, if thou darst, like me; let ’em pursue me with their hate and vengeance, let Prisons, poverty and tortures seize me, it shall not take one grain of love away from my resolv’d heart, nor make me shed a tear of penitence, for loving thee; no Philander, since I know what a ravishing pleasure ’tis to live thine I will never quit the glory of dying also thy
Cesario my dear, is coming to be your Bail; with Monsieur the Count of ———— I dy to see you after your suffering for Silvia.|<328>
Believe me, charming Silvia, I live not those hours I am absent from thee, thou art my life, my Soul, and my eternal felicity; while you believe this truth, my Silvia, you will not entertain a thousand fears, if I but stay a moment beyond my appointed hour, especially when Philander, who is not able to support the thought that any thing shou’d afflict his lovely Baby, takes care from hour to hour to satisfie her tender doubting heart. My dearest, I am gone into the City to my Advocates, my Tryal with Monsieur the Count, your Father, coming on to morrow, and ’twill be at least two tedious hours e’re I can bring my adorable her
I was call’d on, my dearest Child, at my Advocates by Cesario; there is some great business this evening debated in the Cabal which is at Monsieur ——— in the City; Cesario tells me there is a very diligent search made by Monsieur the Count, your Father, for my Silvia; I dy if you are taken, lest the fright shou’d hurt thee; if possible, I would have thee remove this evening from those Lodgings, lest the people, who are of the Royal party, shou’d be induc’d, through malice or gain, to discover thee; I dare not come my self to wait on thee, lest my being seen shou’d betray thee, but I have sent Brilljard (whose zeal for thee shall be rewarded) to conduct thee to a little house in the Fauxburgh S. Ger-|<330>mans,* where lives a pretty Woman, and Mistress to Chevalier Tomaso, call’d Belinda, a Woman of wit, and discreet enough to understand what ought to be paid to a Maid of the quality and character of Silvia; she already knows the stories of our loves; thither I’ll come to thee, and bring Cesario to supper, as soon as the Cabal breaks up; oh, my Silvia, I shall one day recompense all thy goodness, all thy bravery, thy love and thy suffering for thy eternal Lover and Slave,
So hasty I was to obey Philander’s commands, that by the unwearied care and industry of the faithfull Brilljard, I went before three a clock disguis’d away to the place whither you order’d us, and was well receiv’d by the very pretty young Woman of the house, who has sense and breeding as well as beauty: but oh, Philander, this flight pleases me not; alas, what have I done? my fault is only love, and that sure I shou’d boast, as the most divine passion of the Soul; no, no, Philander, ’tis not my love’s the criminal, no not the placing it on Philander the crime, but ’tis thy most unhappy circumstances —— thy being married, and that was no crime to Heaven till man made laws, and can laws reach to damnation? if so, curse on the fatal hour that thou wert married, curse on the Priest that joyn’d ye, and curst be all that did contribute to the undoing ceremony —— except Philander’s Tongue, that answer’d yes —— oh, Heavens! was there but one dear man of all your whole Creation that could Charm the Soul of Silvia, and cou’d ye —— oh, ye wise all-seeing Powers that knew my Soul, cou’d ye give him away? how had my Innocence offended ye? our hearts you did create for mutual love, how came the dire mistake? another wou’d have pleas’d the indifferent Mertilla’s Soul as well, but mine was fitted for no other man; only Philander, the ador’d Philander, with that dear form, that shape, that charming face, that hair, those lovely speaking eyes,|<333> that wounding softness in his tender voice, had power to conquer Silvia; and can this be a sin? Oh, Heavens, can it? must laws which man contriv’d for mere conveniency, have power to alter the divine decrees at our Creation? —— perhaps they argue to morrow at the bar, that Mertilla was ordain’d by Heaven for Philander; no, no, he mistook the Sister, ’twas pretty near he came, but by a fatal errour was mistaken, his hasty Youth made him too negligently stop before his time at the wrong Woman, he shou’d have gaz’d a little farther on —— and then it had been Silvia’s lot —— ’tis fine divinity they teach, that cry —— Marriages are made in Heaven —— folly and madness grown into grave custome; shou’d an unheedy youth in heat of blood take up with the first convenient she that offers, though he|<334> be an heir to some grave Politician, great and rich, and she the outcast of the common stews, coupled in height of wine, and sudden lust, which once allay’d, and that the sober morning wakes him to see his errour, he quits with shame the Jilt, and owns no more the folly; shall this be call’d a Heavenly conjunction? were I in height of youth, as now I’m, forc’d by my Parents, oblig’d by interest and honour, to marry the old, deform’d, diseas’d, decrepit Count Antonio, whose person, qualities and principles I loathe, and rather than suffer him to consummate his Nuptials, suppose I shou’d (as sure I shou’d) kill my self, ’twere blasphemy to lay this fatal marriage to Heavens charge —— curse on your nonsense, ye imposing Gownmen,* curse on your holy cant; you may as well call Rapes and|<335> Murthers, Treason and Robbery, the acts of Heaven; because Heaven suffers ’em to be committed, is it Heavens pleasure therefore, Heavens decree? a trick, a wise device of Priests, no more —— to make the nauseated, tir’d out pair drag on the carefull business of life, drudg for the dull got family with greater satisfaction, because they’r taught to think marriage was made in Heaven; a mighty comfort that, when all the joys of life are lost by it: were it not nobler far that Honour kept him just, and that good nature made him reasonable provision? daily experience proves to us, no couple live with less content, less ease than those who cry Heaven joins; who is’t loves less than those that marry? and where love is not, there is hate and loathing at best, disgust, disquiet, noise and repentance: No,|<336> Philander, that’s a heavenly match when two Souls touch’d with equal passion meet (which is but rarely seen) —— when willing vows, with serious considerations, are weigh’d and made; when a true view is taken of the Soul, when no base interest makes the hasty bargain, when no conveniency or design of drudge, or slave, shall find it necessary, when equal judgements meet that can esteem the blessings they possess, and distinguish the good of eithers love, and set a value on each other’s merits, and where both understand to take and pay; who find the beauty of each others minds and rate ’em as they ought; whom not a formal ceremony binds (with which I’ve nought to do; but dully give a cold consenting affirmative) but well considered vows from soft inclining hearts, utter’d|<337> with love, with joy, with dear delight, when Heaven is call’d to witness; She is thy Wife, Philander, He is my Husband, this is the match, this Heaven designs and means, how then, oh how came I to miss Philander? or he his
Since I writ this, which I design’d not an invective against Marriage when I began, but to inform thee of my being where you directed; but since I writ this, I say, the House where I am is broken open with Warrants and Officers for me, but being all undrest and ill, the Officer has taken my Word for my appearance to morrow; it seems they saw me when I went from my Lodgings, and pursued me; haste to me, for I shall need your Counsel.|<338>
My eternal joy, my affliction is inexpressible at the news you send me of your being surpriz’d; I’m not able to wait on thee yet —— not being suffer’d to leave the Cabal, I only borrow this minute to tell thee the sense of my Advocate in this case; which was, if thou shoud’st be taken, there was no way, no Law to save thee from being ravisht from my arms but that of marrying thee to some body whom I can trust; this we have often discours’d, and thou hast often vow’d thou’lt do any thing rather than kill me with a separation; resolve then, oh thou charmer of my soul, to do a deed, that though the name|<339> wou’d fright thee, only can preserve both thee and me; it is —— and though it have no other terrour in it than the name, I faint to speak it —— to marry Silvia; yes, thou must marry; though thou art mine as fast as Heaven can make us, yet thou must marry; I’ve pitch’d upon the property, ’tis Brilljard, him I can only trust in this affair; it is but joining hands —— no more, my Silvia, —— Brilljard’s a Gentleman, though a Cadet, and may be suppos’d to pretend to so great a happiness, and whose only Crime is want of fortune; he’s handsome too, well made, well bred, and so much real esteem he has for me, and I’ve so oblig’d him, that I’m confident he will pretend no farther than to the honour of owning thee in Court; I’ll tie him from it, nay, he dares not|<340> do’t, I will trust him with my life —— but oh Silvia is more —— think of it, and this night we will perform it, there being no other way to keep Silvia eternally
Now, my adorable Silvia, you have truly need of all that heroick bravery of mind I ever thought thee Mistress of; for Silvia, coming from thee this morning, and riding full speed for Paris, I was met, stopt, and seiz’d for high Treason by the King’s messengers, and possibly may fall a sacrifice to the anger of an incens’d Monarch; my Silvia, bear this last shock of fate with a cou-|<341>rage worthy thy great and glorious Soul; ’tis but a little separation, Silvia, and we shall one day meet again; by Heaven, I find no other sting in death but parting with my Silvia, and every parting wou’d have been the same; I might have died by thy disdain, thou might’st have grown weary of thy Philander, have lov’d another, and have broke thy vows, and tortur’d me to death these crueller ways; but fate is kinder to me, and I go blest with my Silvia’s love, for which Heaven may do much, for her dear sake, to recompence her faith, a Maid so innocent and true to sacred love; expect the best, my lovely dear, the worst has this comfort in’t, that I shall die my charming Silvia’s
I’ll only say, thou dear supporter of my Soul, that if Philander dies, he shall not go to Heaven without his Silvia —— by Heaven and earth I swear it, I cannot live without thee, nor shallt thou die without thy
See, see my adorable Angel, what cares the powers above take of divine innocence, true love and beauty, oh, see what they have done for their darling Silvia; cou’d they do less?|<343>
Know, my dear Maid, that after being examined before the King, I was found guilty enough to be committed to the Bastile, (from whence, if I had gone, I never had return’d, but to my death) but the Messenger into whose hands I was committed refusing other Guards, being alone with me in my own Coach, I resolv’d to kill, if I cou’d no other way oblige him to favour my escape; I try’d with Gold before I shew’d my dagger, and that prevail’d, a way less criminal, and I have taken sanctuary in a small Cottage near the Sea shore, where I wait for Silvia; and though my life depend upon my flight, nay, more, the life of Silvia, I cannot go without her; dress your self then, my dearest, in your Boys cloaths, and haste with Brilljard, whither this Seaman will conduct|<344> thee, whom I have hir’d to set us on some shore of safety; bring what news you can learn of Cesario; I wou’d not have him die poorly after all his mighty hopes, nor be conducted to a scaffold with shouts of joy, by that uncertain beast the Rabble, who us’d to stop his Chariot wheels with fickle adorations whene’re he look’d abroad —— by Heaven, I pity him, but Silvia’s presence will chase away all thoughts, but those of love, from
I need not bid thee haste.