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Title: Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister
Author: Behn, Aphra
Language: English
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Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister

by

Aphra Behn



The Argument



In the time of the rebellion of the true Protestant _Huguenot_ in
_Paris_, under the conduct of the Prince of _Condé_ (whom we will call
_Cesario_) many illustrious persons were drawn into the association,
amongst which there was one, whose quality and fortune (joined 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 _Myrtilla_, 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, smooth and
white; her eyes were blue, a little languishing, and full of love and
wit; a mouth curiously made, dimpled, and full of sweetness; lips
round, soft, plump and red; white teeth, firm and even; her nose a
little _Roman_, and which gave a noble grace to her lovely face, her
hair light brown; a neck and bosom delicately turned, white and
rising; her arms and hands exactly shaped; to this a vivacity of youth
engaging; a wit quick and flowing; a humour gay, and an air
irresistibly charming; and nothing was wanting to complete the joys of
the young _Philander_, (so we call our amorous hero) but _Myrtilla_’.
heart, which the illustrious _Cesario_ had before possessed; however,
consulting her honour and her interest, and knowing all the arts as
women do to feign a tenderness; she yields to marry him: while
_Philander_, who scorned to owe his happiness to the commands of
parents, or to chaffer for a beauty, with her consent steals her away,
and marries her. But see how transitory is a violent passion; after
being satiated, he slights the prize he had so dearly conquered; some
say, the change was occasioned by her too visibly continued love to
_Cesario_; but whatever it was, this was most certain, _Philander_
cast his eyes upon a young maid, sister to _Myrtilla_, a beauty, whose
early bloom promised wonders when come to perfection; but I will spare
her picture here, _Philander_ in the following epistles will often
enough present it to your view: He loved and languished, long before
he durst discover his pain; her being sister to his wife, nobly born,
and of undoubted fame, rendered his passion too criminal to hope for a
return, while the young lovely _Sylvia_ (so we shall call the noble
maid) sighed out her hours in the same pain and languishment for
_Philander_, and knew not that it was love, till she betraying it
innocently to the overjoyed lover and brother, he soon taught her to
understand it was love--he pursues it, she permits it, and at last
yields, when being discovered in the criminal intrigue, she flies with
him; he absolutely quits _Myrtilla_, lives some time in a village near
_Paris_, called St _Denis_, with this betrayed unfortunate, till being
found out, and like to be apprehended, (one for the rape, the other
for the flight) she is forced to marry a cadet, a creature of
_Philander_’., to bear the name of husband only to her, while
_Philander_ had the entire possession of her soul and body: still the
_League_ went forward, and all things were ready for a war in _Paris_;
but it is not my business here to mix the rough relation of a war,
with the soft affairs of love; let it suffice, the _Huguenots_ were
defeated, and the King got the day, and every rebel lay at the mercy
of his sovereign. _Philander_ was taken prisoner, made his escape to a
little cottage near his own palace, not far from _Paris_, writes to
_Sylvia_ to come to him, which she does, and in spite of all the
industry to re-seize him, he got away with _Sylvia_.

After their flight these letters were found in their cabinets, at
their house at St _Denis_, where they both lived together, for the
space of a year; and they are as exactly as possible placed in the
order they were sent, and were those supposed to be written towards
the latter end of their amours.

Love-Letters



Part I.



_To_ SYLVIA.

Though I parted from you resolved to obey your impossible commands,
yet know, oh charming _Sylvia_! 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 banished that tyrant
thence. That cruel counsellor that would suggest to you a thousand
fond arguments to hinder my noble pursuit; _Sylvia_ came in view! her
irresistible _Idea_! With all the charms 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 breasts, delicate neck, and rising bosom,
heaved with sighs she would 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 suffice, oh adorable _Sylvia_! I
think and know enough to justify that flame in me, which our weak
alliance of brother and sister has rendered so criminal; but he that
adores _Sylvia_, should do it at an uncommon rate; ‘tis not enough to
sacrifice a single heart, to give you a simple passion, your beauty
should, like itself, produce wondrous effects; it should force all
obligations, all laws, all ties even of nature’s self: you, my lovely
maid, were not born to be obtained by the dull methods of ordinary
loving; and ‘tis in vain to prescribe me measures; and oh much more in
vain to urge the nearness of our relation. What kin, my charming
_Sylvia_, are you to me? No ties of blood forbid my passion; and
what’s a ceremony imposed on man by custom? What is it to my divine
_Sylvia_, that the priest took my hand and gave it to your sister?
What alliance can that create? Why should a trick devised by the wary
old, only to make provision for posterity, tie 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
the first race of men, nearest allied to God, promiscuously they
loved, and possessed, father and daughter, brother and sister met, and
reaped the joys of love without control, and counted it religious
coupling, and ‘twas encouraged too by heaven itself: 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
dissembled love all this while, than now ‘tis born, to die again with
a poor fright of nonsense. A fit of honour! a phantom imaginary, and
no 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 pitiless _Sylvia_; reflect when I am dead,
which will be the more afflicting object, the ghost (as you are
pleased to call it) of your murdered honour, or the pale and bleeding
one of

_The lost_ PHILANDER.

_I have lived a whole day,
and yet no letter from_ Sylvia.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

OH why will you make me own (oh too importunate _Philander_!) with
what regret I made you promise to prefer my honour before your love?

I confess with blushes, which you might then see kindling in my face,
that I was not at all pleased with the vows you made me, to endeavour
to obey me, and I then even wished you would obstinately have denied
obedience to my just commands; have pursued your criminal flame, and
have left me raving on my undoing: for when you were gone, and I had
leisure to look into my heart, alas! I found, whether you obliged or
not, whether love or honour were preferred, I, unhappy I, was either
way inevitably lost. Oh! what pitiless god, fond of his wondrous
power, made us the objects of his almighty vanity? Oh why were we two
made the first precedents of his new found revenge? For sure no
brother ever loved a sister with so criminal a flame before: at least
my inexperienced innocence never met with so fatal a story: and it is
in vain (my too charming brother) to make me insensible of our
alliance; to persuade 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 thrived and spread;
and it is 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 lover. Oh! spoil not the natural sweetness and innocence we now
retain, by an endeavour fruitless and destructive; no, no,
_Philander_, dress yourself 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 destined him a brother? Or why, being
a brother, did you, malicious and spiteful powers, destine him a
lover? Oh, take either title from him, or from me a life, which can
render me no satisfaction, since your cruel laws permit it not for
_Philander_, nor his to bless the now

_Unfortunate_ SYLVIA.

_Wednesday morning_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

After I had dismissed my page this morning with my letter, I walked
(filled with sad soft thoughts of my brother _Philander_) into the
grove, and commanding _Melinda_ to retire, who only attended me, I
threw myself down on that bank of grass where we last disputed the
dear, but fatal business of our souls: where our prints (that invited
me) still remain on the pressed greens: there with ten thousand sighs,
with remembrance of the tender minutes we passed then, I drew your
last letter from my bosom, and often kissed, 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 myself with fury on the ground,
and pressed my panting heart to the earth; then rise in rage, and tear
my heart, 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 pitiless heaven, the lovely silent
shade favouring my complaints, I cry aloud, Oh God! _Philander_’.,
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 curse my birth, my youth, my beauty, and my eyes
that first betrayed me to the undoing object: curse on the charms you
have flattered, for every fancied grace has helped my ruin on; now,
like flowers that wither unseen and unpossessed in shades, they must
die and be no more, they were to no end created, since _Philander_ is
married: married! Oh fate, oh hell, oh torture and confusion! Tell me
not it is to my sister, that addition is needless and vain: to make me
eternally wretched, there needs no more than that _Philander_ is
married! Than that the priest gave your hand away from me; to another,
and not to me; tired out with life, I need no other pass-port than
this repetition, _Philander_ is married! ‘Tis that alone is sufficient
to lay in her cold tomb

_The wretched and despairing Wednesday night, Bellfont._ SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

Twice last night, oh unfaithful and unloving _Sylvia_! I sent the 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 suffered myself 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 expressed; but
the returning light brought a short slumber on its wings; which was
interrupted by my atoning boy, who brought two letters from my
adorable _Sylvia_: he waked me from dreams more agreeable than all my
watchful hours could bring; for they are all tortured.----And even the
softest mixed with a thousand despairs, difficulties and
disappointments, but these were all love, which gave a loose to joys
undenied by honour! And this way, my charming _Sylvia_, you shall be
mine, in spite of all the tyrannies of that cruel hinderer; honour
appears not, my _Sylvia_, within the close-drawn curtains; in shades
and gloomy light the phantom frights not, but when one beholds its
blushes, when it is attended and adorned, and the sun sees its false
beauties; in silent groves and grottoes, dark alcoves, and lonely
recesses, all its formalities are laid aside; it was then and there
methought my _Sylvia_ yielded, with a faint struggle and a soft
resistance; I heard her broken sighs, her tender whispering voice,
that trembling cried,--’Oh! Can you be so cruel?--Have you the
heart--Will you undo a maid, because she loves you? Oh! Will you ruin
me, because you may?----My faithless----My unkind----’ then sighed and
yielded, and made me happier than a triumphing god! But this was still
a dream, I waked and sighed, and found it vanished all! But oh, my
_Sylvia_, your letters were substantial pleasure, and pardon your
adorer, if he tell you, even the disorder you express is infinitely
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 and beauty to justify 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 die in that agreeable
flame; in my creation I was formed for love, and destined for my
_Sylvia_, and she for her _Philander_: and shall we, can we disappoint
our fate? No, my soft charmer, our souls were touched with the same
shafts of love before they had a being in our bodies, and can we
contradict divine decree?

Or is it undoing, dear, to bless _Philander_ with what you must some
time or other sacrifice to some hated, loathed object, (for _Sylvia_
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 embrace? And shall the eternal joys that _Sylvia_ can
dispense, be returned by the clumsy husband’s careless, forced,
insipid duties? Oh, my _Sylvia_, shall a husband (whose insensibility
will call those raptures of joy! Those heavenly blisses! The drudgery
of life) shall he I say receive them? While your _Philander_, with the
very thought of the excess of pleasure the least possession would
afford, faints over the paper that brings here his eternal vows.

Oh! Where, my _Sylvia_, lies 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 _Sylvia_’.! I adore her, I am sick of
love, and sick of life, till she yields, till she is all mine!

You say, my _Sylvia_, I am married, and there my happiness is
shipwrecked; but _Sylvia_, I deny it, and will not have you think it:
no, my soul was married to yours in its first creation; and only
_Sylvia_ is the wife of my sacred, my everlasting vows; of my solemn
considerate thoughts, of my ripened judgement, my mature
considerations. The rest are all repented and forgot, like the hasty
follies of unsteady youth, like vows breathed in anger, and die
perjured as soon as vented, and unregarded either of heaven or man.
Oh! why should my soul suffer for ever, why eternal pain for the
unheedy, short-lived sin of my unwilling lips? Besides, this fatal
thing called wife, this unlucky sister, this _Myrtilla_, this stop to
all my heaven, that breeds such fatal differences in our affairs, this
_Myrtilla_, I say, first broke her marriage-vows to me; I blame her
not, nor is it reasonable I should; she saw the young _Cesario_, and
loved him. _Cesario_, whom the envying world in spite 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 formed by heaven and nature for universal
conquest! And who can love the charming hero at a cheaper rate than
being undone? And she that would not venture fame, honour, and a
marriage-vow for the glory of the young _Cesario_’. heart, merits not
the noble victim; oh! would I could say so much for the young
_Philander_, who would run a thousand times more hazards of life and
fortune for the adorable _Sylvia_, than that amorous hero ever did for
_Myrtilla_, though from that prince I learned some of my disguises for
my thefts of love; for he, like _Jove_, courted in several shapes; I
saw them all, and suffered the delusion to pass upon me; for I had
seen the lovely _Sylvia_; yes, I had seen her, and loved her too: but
honour kept me yet master of my vows; but when I knew her false, when
I was once confirmed,--when by my own soul I found the dissembled
passion of hers, when she could no longer hide the blushes, or the
paleness that seized at the approaches of my disordered rival, when I
saw love dancing in her eyes, and her false heart beat with nimble
motions, and soft trembling seized every limb, at the approach or
touch of the royal lover, then I thought myself no longer obliged to
conceal my flame for _Sylvia_; nay, ere I broke silence, ere I
discovered the hidden treasure of my heart, I made her falsehood
plainer yet: even the time and place of the dear assignations I
discovered; certainty, happy certainty! broke the dull heavy chain,
and I with joy submitted to my shameful freedom, and caressed my
generous rival; nay, and by heaven I loved him for it, pleased at the
resemblance of our souls; for we were secret lovers both, but more
pleased that he loved _Myrtilla_; for that made way to my passion for
the adorable _Sylvia_!

Let the dull, hot-brained, 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, persuade me it is honour to fight for an
irretrievable and unvalued 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 custom. No, by heaven! I had gather
_Myrtilla_ should be false, (as she is) than wish and languish for the
happy occasion; the sin is the same, only the act is more generous:
believe me, my _Sylvia_, we have all false notions of virtue 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 should have
done as much: for only she that has my soul can engage my sword; she
that I love, and myself, only commands and keeps my stock of honour:
for _Sylvia_! the charming, the distracting _Sylvia_! I could fight
for a 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 bosom. 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 appetite will expose her fame, without
the noble end of loving on; she that will abuse my bed, and yet return
again to the loathed conjugal embrace, back to the arms so hated, and
even strong fancy of the absent youth beloved, cannot so much as
render supportable. Curse on her, and yet she kisses, fawns and
dissembles on, hangs on his neck, and makes the sot believe:--damn
her, brute; I’ll whistle her off, and let her down the wind, as
_Othello_ says. No, I adore the wife, that, when the heart is gone,
boldly and nobly pursues the conqueror, and generously owns the
whore;--not poorly adds the nauseous sin of jilting to it: that I
could have borne, at least commended; but this can never pardon; at
worst then the world had said her passion had undone her, she loved,
and love at worst is worthy of pity. No, no, _Myrtilla_, I forgive
your love, but never can your poor dissimulation. One drives you but
from the heart you value not, but the other to my eternal contempt.
One deprives me but of thee, _Myrtilla_, but the other entitles me to
a beauty more surprising, renders thee no part of me; and so leaves
the lover free to _Sylvia_, without the brother.

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 reasonable;
and that being thus indisputably free from all obligations to
_Myrtilla_ as a husband, I may be permitted to lay claim to _Sylvia_,
as a lover, and marry myself more effectually by my everlasting vows,
than the priest by his common method could do to any other woman less
beloved; there being no other way at present left by heaven, to render
me _Sylvia_’..

_Eternal happy lover and I die to see you_.

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

When I had sealed the enclosed, _Brilliard_ told me you were this
morning come from _Bellfont_, and with infinite impatience have
expected seeing you here; which deferred my sending this to the old
place; and I am so vain (oh adorable _Sylvia_) as to believe my
fancied silence has given you disquiets; but sure, my _Sylvia_ could
not charge me with neglect; no, she knows my soul, and lays it all on
chance, or some strange accident, she knows no business could divert
me. No, were the nation sinking, the great senate of the world
confounded, our glorious designs betrayed and ruined, and the vast
city all in flames; like _Nero_, unconcerned, I would sing my
everlasting song of love to _Sylvia_; which no time or fortune shall
untune. I know my soul, and all its strength, and how it is fortified,
the charming _Idea_ of my young _Sylvia_ 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 surprised and enslaved me, believe me
ravishing maid, I shall. Why then, oh why, my cruel _Sylvia_ are my
joys delayed? Why am I by your rigorous commands kept from the sight
of my heaven, my eternal bliss? An age, my fair tormentor, is past;
four tedious live-long days are numbered over, since I beheld the
object of my lasting vows, my eternal wishes; how can you think, oh
unreasonable _Sylvia_! that I could 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 see me laid without your recalling mercy. It is true, I move
about this unregarded world, appear every day in the great
senate-house, at clubs, cabals, and private consultations; (for
_Sylvia_ knows all the business of my soul, even in politics of State
as well as love) I say I appear indeed, and give my voice in public
business; but oh my heart more kindly is employed; that and my
thoughts are _Sylvia_’.! Ten thousand times a day I breathe that name,
my busy fingers are eternally tracing out those six mystic letters; a
thousand ways on every thing I touch, form words, and make them speak
a thousand things, and all are _Sylvia_ 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 them, and doubting I’ll betray
the cause, grow jealous of me, till by new oaths, new arguments, I
confirm them; 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 _Sylvia_; 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 _Sylvia_ will lose her love, and lover
too; for those few charms 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 _Sylvia_’.
presence! permit me, oh permit me into those sacred shades, where I
have been so often (too innocently) blest! Let me survey again the
dear character of _Sylvia_ 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 bosom rise and
fall with short-breath’d uncertain breath; breath as soft and sweet as
the restoring breeze that glides o’er the new-blown flowers: But oh
what is it? What heaven of perfumes, when it inclines to the ravish’d
_Philander_, and whispers love it dares not name aloud?

What power with-holds me then from rushing on thee, from pressing thee
with kisses; folding thee in my transported arms, and following all
the dictates of love without respect or awe! What is it, oh my
_Sylvia_, 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 divinity (envious of my bliss) checks my eager
joys, my raging flame; while you too make an experiment (worth the
trial) what ‘tis makes _Sylvia_ deny her

_Impatient adorer_,

PHILANDER.

_My page is ill, and I am oblig’d to trust_ Brilliard _with these to
the dear cottage of their rendezvous; send me your opinion of his
fidelity: and ah! remember I die to see you_.

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 are
gone; but tremble at the approaching 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_’., 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 reserved for me! For thus I cannot live; nor surely thus
I shall not die. Perhaps _Philander_’. making a trial of virtue by
this silence. Pursue it, call up 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 pursue the crime of loving on no farther.
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 happier I were no
more, than that I should be more than _Philander_’. sister; or he than
_Sylvia_’. brother: oh let me ever call you by that cold name, ‘till
that of lover be forgotten:--ha!--Methinks on the sudden, a fit of
virtue informs my soul, and bids me ask you for what sin of mine, my
charming brother, you still pursue 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 kiss’d you too;--but for my
sister’s sake, I play’d with you, suffer’d your hands and lips to
wander where I dare not now; all which I thought a 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, could 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 subtle, and an authority so lawful, you won me out of
all. Nay then too, even when all was lost, I would not think it love.
I wonder’d what my sleepless nights, my waking eternal thoughts, and
slumbering visions of my lovely brother meant: I wonder’d 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, kiss’d, and caress’d
that face that I ador’d, oh how I found my colour change, my limbs all
trembled, and my blood enrag’d, and I could 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) could guess at my
disorder; then would you turn the wanton play on me: when sullen with
my jealousy and the cause, I fly your soft embrace, yet wish you would
pursue and overtake me, which you ne’er 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 herself 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 heav’n prevent, I
doubt, prevent 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 die, or be
_Philander_’.

SYLVIA.

_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 espoused with the young_
Cesario: _how danger surrounds you, how your life and glory depend on
the frail sacrifice of villains and rebels: oh give me leave to fear
eternally your fame and life, if not your love; If_ Sylvia _could
command_, Philander _should be loyal as he’s noble; and what generous
maid would not suspect his vows to a mistress, who breaks ‘em with his
prince and master! Heaven preserve you and your glory_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ Philander.

Another night, oh heavens, and yet no letter come! Where are you, my
_Philander_? What happy place contains you? If in heaven, why does not
some posting angel bid me haste after you? If on 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 is all active, vigorous, wishing, impatient of delaying,
silent, and busy in imagination. If you are false, if you have
forgotten your poor believing and distracted _Sylvia_, why does 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 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 it a trick, a
cold fit, only assum’d to try how much I love you? I have no arts,
heaven knows, no guile or double meaning in my soul, ‘tis all plain
native simplicity, fearful and timorous as children in the night,
trembling as doves pursu’d; born soft by nature, and made tender by
love; what, oh! what will become of me then? Yet would 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 merciful, and let me know the worst; do not
be cruel while you kill, do it with pity to the wretched _Sylvia_; oh
let me quickly know whether you are at all, or are the most impatient
and unfortunate

SYLVIA’s.

_I rave, I die for some relief._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 could you but imagine how I am tormentingly
divided, how unresolved 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 pass’d through the
swift hand of time, since I was all despairing, raging love, jealous,
fearful, and impatient; and now, now that your fond letters have
dispers’d those demons, those tormenting counsellors, and given a
little respite, a little tranquillity to my soul; like states
luxurious grown with ease, it ungratefully rebels against the
sovereign power that made it great and happy; and now that traitor
honour heads the mutineers within; honour, whom my late mighty fears
had almost famish’d and brought to nothing, warm’d and reviv’d by thy
new-protested flames, makes war against almighty love! and I, who but
now nobly resolv’d 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 river’s bank, design’d to plunge into the rapid
stream, ‘till coward-fear seizing his timorous soul, he views around
once more the flowery plains, and looks with wishing eyes back to the
groves, then sighing stops, and cries, I was too rash, forsakes the
dangerous shore, and hastes away. Thus indiscreet was I, was all for
love, fond and undoing love! But when I saw 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 cannot forget I am
daughter to the great _Beralti_, and sister to _Myrtilla_, a yet
unspotted maid, fit to produce a race of glorious heroes! And can
_Philander_’. 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 would to heaven I could.--Tell me not, thou charming beguiler, that
_Myrtilla_ was to blame; was it a fault in her, and will it be virtue
in me? And can I believe the crime that made her lose your heart, will
make me mistress of it? No, if by any action of hers the noble house
of the _Beralti_ be dishonour’d, by all the actions of my life it
shall receive additions and lustre and glory! Nor will I think
_Myrtilla_’. virtue lessen’d for your mistaken opinion of it, and she
may be as much in vain pursu’d, perhaps, by the Prince _Cesario_, as
_Sylvia_ shall be by the young _Philander_: the envying world talks
loud, ‘tis true; but oh, if all were true that busy babbler says, what
lady has her fame? What husband is not a cuckold? Nay, and a friend to
him that made him so? And it is in vain, my too subtle brother, you
think to build the trophies of your conquests on the ruin of both
_Myrtilla_’. fame and mine: oh how dear would your inglorious passion
cost the great unfortunate house of the _Beralti_, while you poorly
ruin the fame of _Myrtilla_, to make way to the heart of _Sylvia_!
Remember, oh remember once your passion was as violent for _Myrtilla_,
and all the vows, oaths, protestations, tears and prayers you make and
pay at my feet, are but the faint repetitions, the feeble echoes of
what you 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
die, 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
_Sylvia_:--oh let it not be possible for me to imagine his dear arms
ever grasping any body with joy but _Sylvia_! And yet they did, with
transports of love! Yes, yes, you lov’d! by heaven you lov’d this
false, this perfidious _Myrtilla_; for false she is; you lov’d her,
and I’ll have it so; nor shall the sister in me plead her cause. She
is false beyond all pardon; for you are beautiful as heaven itself 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
dimpled mouth, plump red lips, inviting and swelling, white teeth,
small and even, fine complexion, and a beautiful turn! All which you
had an art to order in so engaging 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 curs’d a thousand times
the false _Myrtilla_, for preferring _Cesario_! (less beautiful) to
the adorable _Philander_; to add to this, heaven! how you spoke, when
ere you spoke of love! in that you far surpass’d the young _Cesario_!
as young as he, almost as great and glorious; oh perfidious
_Myrtilla_, oh false, oh foolish and ingrate!--That you abandon’d her
was just, she was not worth retaining in your heart, nor could be
worth defending with your sword:--but grant her false; oh
_Philander_!--How does her perfidy entitle you to me? False as she
is, you still are married to her; inconstant as she is, she is still
your wife; and no breach of the nuptial vow can untie the fatal knot;
and that is a mystery to common sense: sure she was born for mischief;
and fortune, when she gave her you, designed the ruin of us all; but
most particularly _The unfortunate_ Sylvia.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ Sylvia.

My soul’s eternal joy, my _Sylvia_! 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? Oh the day!
Is _Myrtilla’s_ virtue 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 undone me, I rave
and shall commit such extravagance that will ruin both: I must upbraid
you, fickle and inconstant, I must, and this distance will not serve,
’.is 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 _Sylvia_, 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, would
lessen my esteem, if any such deceit were capable to harbour in the
heart of _Sylvia_; but she is all divine, and I am mistaken in the
meaning of what she says. Oh my adorable, think no more on that dull
false thing a wife; let her be banish’d thy thoughts, as she is my
soul; let her never appear, though but in a dream, to fright our solid
joys, or 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 heaven of bliss: remember, oh _Sylvia_, that
five tedious days are past since I sigh’d at your dear feet; and five
days, to a man so madly in love as your _Philander_, is a tedious age:
’.is now six o’clock in the morning, _Brilliard_ 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 myself 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 _Sylvia_; for I must be more
moments with you, than will be convenient to be taken notice of, lest
they suspect our business to be love, and that discovery yet may ruin
us. Oh! I will delay no longer, my soul is impatient to see you, I
cannot live another night without it; I die, by heaven, I languish for
the appointed hour; you will believe, when you see my languid face,
and dying eyes, how much and greater 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; _Sylvia_’. company alone, silent,
and perhaps by dark:--oh, though I faint with the thought only of so
bless’d an opportunity, yet you shall secure me, by what vows, what
imprecations or ties you please; bind my busy hands, blind my ravish’d
eyes, command my tongue, do what you will; but let me hear your
angel’s voice, and have the transported joy of throwing my self at
your feet; and if you please, give me leave (a man condemned 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 entirely happy, at
least it will be a great satisfaction to me to know, that ‘tis not
through my own fault that I am the

_Most wretched_

PHILANDER.

_I have order’d_ Brilliard _to wait your commands at_ Dorillus_’.
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_ Cesario _makes to-night; the
opportunity will be lucky, not that I fear her jealousy, but the
effects of it._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 it would be difficult 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 confidante, and too fatal
counsellor; and but for this fear, I know, my charming brother, three
little leagues should not five long days separate _Philander_ from his
_Sylvia_: 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_, whether love or soft desire invites you; and
take this direction in the management of this mighty affair. I would
have you, as soon as this comes to your hands, to haste to
_Dorillus_’. cottage, without your equipage, only _Brilliard_, whom I
believe you may trust, both from his own discretion, and your vast
bounties 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 evening’s obscurity will permit, _Melinda_ shall let you in at
the _garden-gate_, that is next the _grove_, unseen and unsuspected;
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 heaven I would 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 angel’s voice and form; but
yet I’ll die before I’ll yield my honour; no, though our unhappy
family have met reproach from the imagined levity of my sister, ‘tis
I’ll redeem the bleeding honour of our family, and my great parents’
virtues shall shine in me; I know it, for if it passes this test, if I
can stand this temptation, I am 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 have done I
grow raging mad, and discover all in the wild fit. Oh who would
venture on an enemy with such unequal force? What hardy fool would
hazard all at sea, that sees the rising storm come rolling on? Who but
fond woman, giddy heedless woman, would thus expose her virtue 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, it
will be an age to night: I long for my undoing; for oh I cannot stand
the batteries of your eyes and tongue; these fears, these conflicts I
have a thousand times a-day; it is 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 cries, swelling
the murmuring rivulets 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.
Judge, oh judge, 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

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

I have obey’d my _Sylvia_’. dear commands, and the dictates of my own
impatient soul; as soon as I receiv’d them, I immediately took horse
for _Bellfont_, though I knew I should not see my adorable _Sylvia_
’.ill eight or nine at night; but oh ‘tis wondrous pleasure to be so
much more near my eternal joy; I wait at _Dorillus_’. 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 charmer, three o’clock, and oh how many tedious hours I am to
languish here before the blessed one arrive! I know you love, my
_Sylvia_, and therefore must guess at some part of my torment, which
yet is mix’d with a certain trembling joy, not to be imagin’d by any
but _Sylvia_, 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 is capable of love, by how much more her soul is form’d of
a softer and more delicate composition; by how much more her wit’s
refin’d and elevated above her 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 _Sylvia_ to _Philander_; none
ever lov’d like me: judge 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 it is duskish, imagine me in the
meadow behind the grove, ‘till when think me employed in eternal
thoughts of _Sylvia_, restless, and talking to the trees of _Sylvia_,
sighing her charming name, circling with folded arms my panting 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 _Sylvia_’. arms, it will be happier 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, PHILANDER.

_From _Dorillus_’. cottage._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 strawberries he brought me in
a basket, fearing he should get no other opportunity to have given it
me; and my mother seeing them look so fair and fresh, snatch’d the
basket with a greediness I have not seen in her before; whilst she was
calling to her page for a porcelain dish to put them out, _Dorillus_
had an opportunity to hint to me what lay at the bottom: heavens! had
you seen my disorder and confusion; what should I do? Love had not one
invention in store, and here it was that all the subtlety of women
abandon’d me. Oh heavens, how cold and pale I grew, lest the most
important business of my life should 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 pour’d, and the basket thrown aside on the bank
where my mother sat, (for we were in the garden when we met
accidentally _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
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 extremes of joy and fear, rushing on too suddenly, overwhelm’d my
senses; and it was a pretty while before I recover’d strength to get
to my cabinet, where a second time I open’d your letter, and read 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 die with that thought, my guilty
pen slackens in my trembling hand, and I languish and fall over the
un-employ’d paper;----oh help me, some divinity,----or if you did,--I
fear I should be angry: oh _Philander_! a thousand passions and
distracted thoughts crowd to get out, and make their soft complaints
to thee; but oh they lose themselves with mixing; they are blended in
a confusion together, and love nor art can divide them, to deal them
out in order; sometimes I would tell you of my joy at your arrival,
and my unspeaking 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 anew, with all the passion of an impatient lover, with all
the eloquence that sighs and cries, and tears from those lovely eyes
can express; and sure that is enough to conquer any where, and to
which coarse vulgar words are dull. The rhetoric 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 persuade, how do they not charm and conquer; ‘twas thus,
with these soft easy arts, that _Sylvia_ first was won; for sure no
arts of speaking could have talked my heart away, though you can speak
like any god: oh whither 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 _Cowley_’. 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 fix’d on
_Philander_, and insensibly its biass 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
virtue, I expect your coming; and sure so sacred a thing as love was
not made to ruin these, and therefore in vain, my lovely brother, you
will attempt it; and yet, oh heavens! 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,
heaven 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 virtue; which had need be wondrous to
resist all these powerful enemies of its purity and repose. Alas I
know not its strength, I never tried it yet; and this will be the
first time it has ever been expos’d to your power; the first time I
ever had courage to meet you as a lover, and let you in by stealth,
and put myself unguarded into your hands: oh I die with the
apprehension of approaching danger! and yet I have not power to
retreat; I must on, love compels 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 complexion render’d
him less capable of the soft play of love, than any other lover: I
have seen him fly my very touches, yet swear they were the greatest
joy on earth; I tempt him even with my looks from virtue: and when I
ask the cause, or cry he is cold, he vows ‘tis because he dares not
endure my temptations; says his blood runs hotter and fiercer in his
veins than any other’s does; nor have the oft repeated joys reaped in
the marriage bed, any thing abated that which he wish’d, but he fear’d
would ruin me: thus, thus whole days we have sat and gaz’d, and
sigh’d; but durst not trust our virtues 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 employ’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 rustic pleas’d me
with the concern he had for my _Philander_; oh my charming brother,
you have an art to tame even savages, a tongue that would charm and
engage wildness itself, to softness and gentleness, and give the rough
unthinking, love; ‘tis a tedious time to-night, how shall I pass the
hours?

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

Say, fond love, whither wilt thou lead me? Thou hast brought me from
the noisy hurries of the town, to charming solitude; from crowded
cabals, where mighty things are resolving, to lonely groves; to thy
own abodes where thou dwell’st; gay and pleas’d among the rural swains
in shady homely cottages; thou hast brought me to a grove of flowers,
to the brink of purling streams, where thou hast laid me down to
contemplate on _Sylvia_, 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 music, oh love, and every thing inspires thy dictates;
the winds around 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 ravish’d vigorous lover,
rush on with a transported violence, rudely embracing their
spring-dress’d 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 is no
troublesome honour, amongst the pretty inhabitants of the woods and
streams, fondly to give laws to nature, but uncontrolled they play,
and sing, and love; no parents checking their dear delights, no
slavish matrimonial ties to restrain their nobler flame. No spies to
interrupt their blest appointments; but every little nest is free and
open to receive the young fledg’d lover; every bough is conscious of
their passion, nor do the generous pair languish in tedious ceremony;
but meeting look, and like, and love, embrace with their wingy arms,
and salute with their little opening bills; this is their courtship,
this the amorous compliment, and this only the introduction to all
their following happiness; and thus it is with the flocks and herds;
while scanted man, born alone for the fatigues of love, with
industrious toil, and all his boasting arts of eloquence, his god-like
image, and his noble form, may labour on a tedious term of years, with
pain, expense, and hazard, before he can arrive at happiness, and then
too perhaps his vows are unregarded, and all his sighs and tears are
vain. Tell me, oh you fellow-lovers, ye amorous dear brutes, tell me,
when ever you lay languishing beneath your coverts, thus for your fair
she, and durst not approach for fear of honour? Tell me, by a gentle
bleat, ye little butting rams, do you sigh thus for your soft, white
ewes? Do you lie thus conceal’d, to wait the coming shades of night,
’.ill all the cursed spies are folded? No, no, even you are much more
blest than man, who is bound up to rules, fetter’d by the nice
decencies of honour.

My divine maid, thus were my thoughts employ’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 _Sylvia_,
should any accident happen to prevent my seeing you to-night, I were
undone for ever, and you must expect to find me stretch’d out, dead
and cold under this oak, where now I lie writing on its knotty root.
Thy letter, I confess, is dear; it contains thy soul, and my
happiness; by this after-story of the surprise I long to be inform’d
of, for from thence I may gather part of my fortune. I rave and die
with fear of a disappointment; not but I would undergo a thousand
torments and deaths for _Sylvia_; 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 itself 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 heaven I will forget all
considerations and respect, and force myself with all the violence of
raging love into the presence of my cruel _Sylvia_; own her mine, and
ravish my delight; nor shall the happy walls of _Bellfont_ be of
strength sufficient to secure her; nay, persuade me not, for if you
make me mad and raving, this will be the effects on’t.----Oh pardon
me, my sacred maid, pardon the wildness of my frantic love--I paused,
took a turn or two in the lone path, consider’d what I had said, and
found it was 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 die 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 lie; which I would
not quit for a throne, since here I may hope the news may soonest
arrive to make me happier than a god! which that nothing on my part
may prevent, I here vow in the face of heaven, I will not abuse the
freedom my _Sylvia_ blesses me with; nor shall my love go beyond the
limits of honour. _Sylvia_ shall command with a frown, and fetter me
with a smile; prescribe rules to my longing, ravish’d eyes, and pinion
my busy, fond, roving hands, and lay at her feet, like a tame slave,
her adoring

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 lie panting with expectation, tir’d out with your tedious
ceremony to the God of Day; be kind, oh lovely night, and let the
deity descend to his beloved _Thetis_’. arms, and I to my
_Philander_’.; the sun and I must snatch our joys in the same happy
hours; favour’d by thee, oh sacred, silent Night! See, see, the
enamour’d sun is hasting on apace to his expecting mistress, while
thou dull Night art slowly lingering yet. Advance, my friend! my
goddess! and my confidante! 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 am tir’d
with every thing, impatient to end, as soon as I begin them; even the
shades and solitary walks afford me now no ease, no satisfaction, and
thought but afflicts me more, that us’d to relieve. And I at last have
recourse to my kind pen: for while I write, methinks I am 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 would
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 rhetoric in looks; in sighs and silent touches that surpasses
all; there is an accent in the sound of words 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
would appear 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 haste with transport to embrace
thee, ‘tis shadow all, and my poor arms return empty to my bosom: why,
oh why com’st thou not? Why art thou cautious, and prudently waitest
the 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
follies, a thousand rashnesses: I die with shame; but I must be
undone, and it is no matter how, whether by my own weakness,
_Philander_’. charms, or both, I know not; but so it is destin’d,--oh
_Philander_, it is 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 _Sylvia_
lie neglected 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 _Sylvia_? 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, whenever I lay by the thoughts
of honour, and give a loose to love; I run not far in the pleasing
career, before that dreadful thought stopp’d me on my way: I have a
fatal prophetic fear, that gives a check to my soft pursuit, and tells
me that thy unhappy engagement in this League, this accursed
association, will one day undo us both, and part for ever thee and thy
unlucky _Sylvia_; yes, yes, my dear lord, my soul does presage an
unfortunate event from this dire engagement; nor can your false
reasoning, your fancied 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 ambition,
or revenge, can never sure abide in one soul together, at least love
can but share _Philander_’. heart; when blood and revenge (which he
miscalls glory) rivals it, and has possibly the greater part in it:
methinks, this notion enlarges in me, and every word I speak, and
every minute’s thought of it, strengthens its reason to me; and give
me leave (while I am full of the jealousy of it) to express my
sentiments, and lay before you those reasons, that love and I think
most substantial ones; what you have hitherto desired of me, oh
unreasonable _Philander_, and what I (out of modesty and honour)
denied, 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 virtue love begins to laugh at. My dear
unfortunate condition being thus, it is not impossible, oh
_Philander_, but I may one day, in some unlucky hour, in some soft
bewitching moment, in some spiteful, 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 the lovely victor? For it
is not your vows which you call sacred (and I alas believe so) that
can secure me, though I, heaven knows, believe them all, and am
undone; you may keep them all too, and I believe you will; but oh
_Philander_, in these fatal circumstances you have engag’d yourself,
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 entirely mine; is not this enough, oh cruel _Philander_?
But you must 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 it is fit
that I, so fondly, and fatally lov’d by you, should warn you of the
danger. Consider, my lord, you 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 would 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; it is a false bravery, that will bring an
eternal blemish upon your honest fame and house; render your
honourable name hated, detested and abominable in story to after ages;
a traitor! 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
oppress’d? 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? But all his life has
been one continued miracle; all good, all gracious, calm and merciful:
and this good, this god-like 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 public good, and doomed to be basely
murdered. 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! oh barbarous! oh poor
and most unbrave! What villain is there lost to all humanity, to be
found upon the face of the earth, that, when done, dare own so hellish
a deed as the murder of the meanest of his fellow subjects, much less
the sacred person of the king; the Lord’s anointed; on whose awful
face ‘tis impossible to look without that reverence wherewith one
would 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 approach his sacred person, but my
heart beats, my blood runs cold about me, and my eyes overflow with
tears of joy, while an awful confusion seizes me all over; and I am
certain should the most harden’d of your bloody rebels look him in the
face, the devilish instrument of death would drop from his
sacrilegious hand, and leave him confounded at the feet of the royal
forgiving sufferer; his eyes have in them something so fierce, so
majestic, commanding, and yet so good and merciful, as would soften
rebellion itself into repenting loyalty; and like _Caius Marius_, seem
to say,--’Who is it dares hurt the King?’--They alone, like his
guardian angels, defend his sacred person: oh! what pity it is,
unhappy young man, thy education was not near the King.

’.is 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 heaven.
What is it then to advance? (Since I say ‘tis plain, glory is never
this way to be achiev’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: would your
honour, your conscience, your Christianity, or common humanity, suffer
you to enlarge your fortunes at the price of another’s ruin; and make
the spoils of some honest, noble, unfortunate family, the rewards of
your treachery? Would you build your fame on such a foundation?
Perhaps on the destruction of some friend or kinsman. Oh barbarous and
mistaken greatness; thieves and robbers would 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 fix’d? If you do not grow giddy with your
fancied false hopes, and fall from that glorious height you are
already arrived to, and which, with the honest addition of loyalty, is
of far more value and lustre, than to arrive at crowns by blood and
treason. This will last; to ages last: while t’other will be ridicul’d
to all posterity, short liv’d and reproachful here, infamous and
accursed to all eternity.

Is it to make _Cesario_ king? Oh what is _Cesario_ 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 heaven itself; heaven who has preserved him, and confirmed
him ours, by a thousand miraculous escapes and sufferings, and
indulged him ours by ten thousand acts of mercy, and endeared him to
us by his wondrous care and conduct, by securing of peace, plenty,
ease and luxurious happiness, over all the fortunate limits of his
blessed kingdoms: and will you? Would you destroy this wondrous gift
of heaven? This god-like 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 single act
of goodness or valour, in all the course of his life; and who never
signaliz’d himself 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 bounties,
honours, and glories heap’d upon him, is of itself 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 _Cesario_; and
not one other merit has he, since in piety, chastity, sobriety,
charity and honour, 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
ungraciously with him who gave him life, and who set him up an happier
object than a monarch: no, no, _Philander_; he that can cabal, and
contrive to dethrone a father, will find it easy 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 _Myrtilla_, and then renounce him; do
not you contribute to the adorning of his unfit head with a diadem,
the most glorious of ornaments, who unadorned 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 could bring, but these few unstudied (falling in
amongst my softer thoughts) I beg you will accept of, till I can more
at large deliver the glorious argument to your soul; let this suffice
to tell thee, that, like _Cassandra_, I rave and prophesy in vain;
this association will be the eternal ruin of _Philander_; for let it
succeed or not, either way thou art undone; if thou pursuest it, I
must infallibly fall with thee, if I resolve to follow thy good or ill
fortune; for you cannot intend love and ambition, _Sylvia_ and
_Cesario_ at once: no, persuade me not; the title to one or t’other
must be laid down, _Sylvia_ or _Cesario_ must be abandon’d: this is my
fix’d resolve, if thy too powerful arguments convince not in spite of
reason, for they can do it; thou hast the tongue of an angel, 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

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

How comes my charming _Sylvia_ so skilled in the mysteries of State?
Where learnt her tender heart the notions of rigid business? Where her
soft tongue, formed 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 counsellor, I reserved nothing to myself, not even that
secret that so concerned my life, but laid all at her mercy; my
generous heart could not love at a less rate, than to lavish all and
be undone for _Sylvia_; ‘tis glorious ruin, and it pleases me, if it
advance one single joy, or add one demonstration of my love to
_Sylvia_; ‘tis not enough that we tell those we love all they love to
hear, but one ought to tell them 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 pardoned: I am sensible,
that when my story is told (and this happy one of my love shall make
up the greatest part of my history) those that love 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 _Sylvia_, when lovers
shall read it, the men will excuse me, and the maids bless me! I shall
be a fond admired precedent for them to point out to their remiss
reserving lovers, who will be reproached for not pursuing 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 adorable _Sylvia_,
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 them on those thrones they are formed (by
beauty, softness, and a thousand charms which men want) to possess.
Glorious woman was born for command and dominion; and though custom
has usurped us the name of rule over all; we from the beginning found
ourselves (in spite of all our boasted prerogative) slaves and vassals
to the almighty sex. Take then my share of empire, ye gods; and give
me love! Let me toil to gain, but let _Sylvia_ triumph and reign; I
ask 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
should 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 crowd, distributing her glories to young
waiting princes; there dealing provinces, 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
dress’d 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 looked, then when she drove her chariot down descending
clouds, to meet the love-sick gods in cooling shades; and so would
look my _Sylvia_! Ah, my soft, lovely maid; such thoughts as these
fir’d me with ambition: for me, I swear by every power that made me
love, and made thee wondrous fair, I design no more by this great
enterprise 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 liable to their little natural malice and scorn, to the
impertinence of their reproaches. No, my _Sylvia_, I must on, the
great design must move forward; though I abandon it, ‘twill advance;
it is already too far to put a stop to it; and now I am entered, it is
in vain to retreat; if we are prosperous, it will to all ages be
called a glorious enterprise; but if we fail, it will be base, horrid
and infamous; for the world judges of nothing but by the success; that
cause is always good that is prosperous, that is ill which is
unsuccessful. Should 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
jealousy of my discovering, and those are persons of too great sense
and courage, not to take some private way of revenge, to secure their
own stakes; and to make myself uncertainly safe by a discovery,
indeed, were to gain a refuge so ignoble, as a man of honour would
scorn to purchase life at; nor would that baseness secure me. But in
going on, oh _Sylvia_! when three kingdoms shall lie unpossess’d, and
be exposed, as it were, amongst the raffling crowd, who knows but the
chance may be mine, as well as any other’s, who has but the same
hazard, and throw for it? If the strongest sword must do it, (as that
must do it) why not mine still? Why may not mine be that fortunate
one? _Cesario_ 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 cries 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 dare impose upon. Can any body of
reason believe, if they had design’d him good, they would 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 carried on better, if he had still
dissembled and stay’d in Court: no, believe me, _Sylvia_, the
politicians shew him, to render him odious to all men of tolerable
sense 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 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 should 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 politics are shallow as his
parts, and that his own interest has undone him; for of what advantage
soever the design may be to us, it really shocks one’s nature to find
a son engag’d against a father, and to him such a father. Nor, when
time comes, shall I forget the ruin of _Myrtilla_. 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, _Sylvia_, it is not
easily fix’d: however let it suffice, I am 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 is worse than death. When every
fool is aiming at a kingdom, what man of tolerable pride and ambition
can be unconcerned, and not put himself into a posture of catching,
when a diadem shall be thrown among the crowd? It were insensibility,
stupid dullness, not to lift a hand, or make an effort to snatch it as
it flies: though the glorious falling weight should crush me, it is
great to attempt; and if fortune do not favour fools, I have as fair a
grasp for it as any other adventurer.

This, my _Sylvia_, is my sense of a business you so much dread; I may
rise, but I cannot fall; therefore, my _Sylvia_, urge it no more; love
gave me ambition, and do not divert the glorious effects of your
wondrous charms, but let them grow, and spread, and see what they will
produce for my lovely _Sylvia_, 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 soft hour with
_Sylvia_ will convince to what she would 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) Your_ PHILANDER.

_I have no longer patience, I must be coming towards the grove, though
it will do me no good, more than knowing I am so much nearer to my
adorable creature._

_I conjure you burn this, for writing in haste I have not
counterfeited my hand._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA. _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, entering with a basket of
cowslips for _Sylvia_, 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 _Sylvia_ what I have so often repeated, and shall be
ever repeating with the same joy while I live, that I love my _Sylvia_
to death and madness; that my soul is on the rack, till she send me
the happy advancing word. And yet believe me, lovely maid, I could
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 am so near approach’d it, love from all parts
rallies and hastens to my heart for the mighty encounter, ‘till the
poor panting over-loaded victim dies with the pressing weight. No
more,--You know it, for it is, and will be eternally _Sylvia_’..

POSTSCRIPT.

_Remember, my adorable, it is now seven o’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 it is dark enough to hide me; think
where I am, and who I am, waiting near_ Sylvia, and her Philander.

_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,_
Sylvia _and I shall wait unemployed by any thing but thought. Send me
word how you were like to have been surpris’d; it may possibly be of
advantage to me in this night’s 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 surpris’d, and he receiv’d it
with difficulty; give me the story now, do it in charity my angel.
Besides, I would employ all thy moments, for I am jealous of every one
that is not dedicated to_ Sylvia’s Philander.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I have received your tablets, of which I have the key, and heaven only
knows (for lovers cannot, unless they loved like _Sylvia_, 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
express’d that seizes me. To add to this, I have busied myself with
dressing my apartment up with flowers, so that I fancy the ceremonious
business of the light 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 a
confusion, that it is even approaching to the most profound sadness
itself. Oh _Philander_, I find I am 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 it is 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 extremely jealous,
and the more so of me, by how much more he is fond of me, and nothing
would enrage him like the discovery of an interview like this; though
you have liberty to range the house of _Bellfont_ as a son, and are
indeed at home there; but when you come by stealth, when he shall find
his son and virgin daughter, the brother and the sister so retired, so
entertained,--What but death can ensue? Or what is worse, eternal
shame? Eternal confusion on my honour? What excuse, what evasions,
vows and protestations will convince him, or appease _Myrtilla_’.
jealousy; _Myrtilla_, my sister, and _Philander_’. wife? Oh God! that
cruel thought will put me into ravings; I have a thousand streams of
killing reflections which 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 it is but a day in love: Ah, could not
your eager youth have led you to a thousand diversions, a thousand
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 _Myrtilla_ was more fit for his caresses, and I but capable to
please with childish prattle; oh could 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 prophetic charm that could bespeak your
heart, engage it, and prevent that fatal marriage? You say, my
adorable brother, we were destined 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 heaven, 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! _Sylvia_ was only born to set a rate upon it,
was only capable of love, such love as might deserve it: oh why was
that charming face ever laid on any bosom 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 soft pressings ravish where they
circle, destin’d for a body cold and dull, that could sleep insensibly
there, and not so much as dream the while what the transporting
pleasure signified; but unconcerned receive the wondrous blessing, 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 received a
dart from thence, believes there’s no artillery there. She plays not
with thy hair, nor weaves her snowy fingers in the curls of jet, sets
it in order, and adores its beauty: the fool with flaxen-wig had done
as well for her; a dull, white coxcomb had made as good a property; a
husband 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 obliged thee to these nuptials: had
_Myrtilla_ 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 prize!--Yes, you lov’d
her, false as you are, you did; perjur’d and faithless. Lov’d
her?--Hell and confusion on the word; it was so--Oh _Philander_, I am
lost--

_This letter was found torn in pieces._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ Monsieur, the Count of--

_My Lord_, 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 employment 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 which ever rises in that fatal quarter; but in
putting them in order, I had like to have been surprised 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, employ’d in serving your lordship; I had only time to hide
the papers, and to get rid of him, having 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
lordship’s 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 Duchess of ---- coming to make her a visit,
came on a sudden with her into my lady’s apartment, and surpris’d her
writing in her dressing room, giving her only time to slip the paper
into her combbox. The first ceremonies being pass’d, as Madam, the
Duchess, 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,
cried, ‘Oh, have I found you making love;’ at which my lady, with an
infinite confusion, would have retrieved it,--but the Duchess not
quitting her hold, cried--’Nay, I am resolved 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 die with fear; Madam the
Countess, in infinite amazement, my lady interrupting every word the
Duchess read, by prayers and entreaties, which heightened her
curiosity, and being young and airy, regarded not the indecency to
which she preferr’d her curiosity, who still laughing, cried she was
resolv’d to read it out, and know the constitution of her heart; when
my lady, whose wit never fail’d her, cried, ‘I beseech you, madam, let
us have so much complaisance 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, cried--’I
implore you, madam, not to discover my weakness to Madam, the Duchess;
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 _Sylvia_ to _Philander_’. This encouraged my lady, who began to say
a thousand pleasant things of _Alexis_, _Dorillus_ his son, and my
lover, as your lordship knows, and who is no inconsiderable fortune
for a maid, enrich’d only by your lordship’s bounty. My lady, after
this, took the letter, and all being resolv’d it should be read, she
herself did it, and turned it so prettily into burlesque love by her
manner of reading it, that made Madam, the Duchess, laugh extremely;
who at the end of it, cried to my lady--’Well, madam, I am satisfied
you have not a heart wholly insensible of love, that could so express
it for another.’ Thus they rallied on, till careful of my lover’s
repose, the Duchess 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 outside: I took it, and begg’d I might have
leave to retire to write it over in my own hand; they permitted me,
and I carried it, after sealing it, to _Dorillus_, who waited for it,
and wondering to find his son’s name on it, cried ‘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 yourself 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
replied, he was mistaken, that _Alexis_, at this time, meant no other
than my lord, which pleas’d the good man extremely, who thought it a
good omen for his son, and so went his way satisfied; as every body
was, except the Countess, who fancied something more in it than my
lady’s inditing for me; and after Madam the Duchess was gone, she went
ruminating and pensive to her chamber, from whence I am confident she
will not depart to-night, and will possibly set spies in every corner;
at least ‘tis good to fear the worst, that we may prevent all things
that would 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 shew myself,

_My Lord,_

_Your lordship’s most humble
and most obedient servant,_

MELINDA.

Sylvia _has given orders to wait on your lordship as soon as all is
clear._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ MELINDA.

Oh _Melinda_, what have you told me? Stay me with an immediate account
of the recovery and calmness of my adorable weeping _Sylvia_, or I
shall enter _Bellfont_ with my sword drawn, bearing down all before
me, ‘till I make my way to my charming mourner: O God! _Sylvia_ in a
rage! _Sylvia_ in any passion but that of love? I cannot bear it, no,
by heaven I cannot; I shall do some outrage either on myself or at
_Bellfont_. Oh thou dear advocate of my tenderest wishes, thou
confidante of my never dying flame, thou kind administering maid, send
some relief to my breaking heart--haste and tell me, _Sylvia_ is calm,
that her bright eyes sparkle with smiles, or if they languish, say
’.is with love, with expecting joys; that her dear hands are no more
employed in exercises too rough and unbecoming their native softness.
O eternal God! tearing perhaps her divine hair, brighter than the
sun’s 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 die adoring her; tell her I rave, I
tear, I curse myself,--for so I do; tell her I would break out into a
violence that should set all _Bellfont_ in a flame, but for my care of
her. Heaven and earth should not restrain me,--no, they should
not,----But her least frown should 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 business I die to
think her guilty of: tell her how it would grieve her to see me torn
and mangled; to see that hair she loves ruffled and diminish’d by
rage, violated by my insupportable grief, myself quite bereft of all
sense but that of love, but that of adoration for my charming, cruel
insensible, who is possessed with every thought, with every
imagination that can render me unhappy, borne 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 into such a passion that I forc’d myself
back to _Dorillus_ his house, left my transports and hurried me to
_Bellfont_, where I should 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 die.

_From_ Dorillus _his cottage, almost nine o’clock._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I must own, my charming _Philander_, that my love is now arrived 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 destructive storm: but like the anger’d
sea, which pants and heaves, and retains still an uneasy 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
_Philander_, and set me above the thoughts of cares, frights, or any
other thoughts but those of tender love; haste then, thou charming
object of my eternal wishes, and of my new desires; haste to my arms,
my eyes, my soul,--but oh, be wondrous careful there, do not betray
the easy maid that trusts thee amidst all her sacred store.

’.is almost dark, and my mother is retired to her chamber, my father
to his cabinet, and has left all that apartment next the garden wholly
without spies. I have, by trusty _Dorillus_, sent you a key _Melinda_
got made to the door, which leads from the garden to the black-stairs
to my apartment, so carefully locked, 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 _Philander_, and by which he has made many an escape
to and from _Myrtilla_. Oh damn that thought, what makes it torturing
me,----let me change it for those of _Philander_, the advantage will
be as great as bartering hell for heaven; haste then, _Philander_: but
what need I bid thee, love will lend thee his wings; thou who
commandest all his artillery, put them on, and fly to thy languishing

SYLVIA.

_Oh I faint with the dear thought of thy approach._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To the Charming_ SYLVIA.

With much ado, with many a sigh, a panting heart, and many a
languishing look back towards happy _Bellfont_, I have recovered
_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 complaints both soft and mad
by turns, that ever possessed a soul extravagantly seized with frantic
love; ah, _Sylvia_, what did not I say? How did I not curse, and who
except my charming maid? For yet my _Sylvia_ is a maid: yes, yes, ye
envying powers, she is, and yet the sacred and inestimable treasure
was offered a trembling victim to the overjoyed and fancied deity, for
then and there I thought myself happier than a triumphing god; but
having overcome all difficulties, all the fatigues and toils of love’s
long sieges, vanquish’d the mighty phantom of the fair, the giant
honour, and routed all the numerous host of women’s little reasonings,
passed all the bounds of peevish modesty; nay, even all the loose and
silken counterscarps that fenced the sacred fort, and nothing stopped
my glorious pursuit: then, then, ye gods, just then, by an
over-transport, to fall just fainting before the surrendering gates,
unable to receive the yielding treasure! Oh _Sylvia_! What _demon_,
malicious at my glory, seized my vigour? What god, envious of my
mighty joy, rendered me a shameful object of his raillery? Snatched 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
remained, but all inactive, as age or death itself, as cold and
feeble, as unfit for joy, as if my youthful fire had long been past,
or _Sylvia_ had never been blest with charms. Tell me, thou wondrous
perfect creature, tell me, where lay the hidden witchcraft? Was
_Sylvia_’. beauty too divine to mix with mortal joys? Ah no, ‘twas
ravishing, but human all. Yet sure ‘twas so approaching to divinity,
as changed my fire to awful adoration, and all my wanton heat to
reverent contemplation.--But this is nonsense all, it was something
more that gave me rage, despair and torments insupportable: no, it was
no dull devotion, tame divinity, but mortal killing agony, unlucky
disappointment, unnatural impotence. Oh! I am lost, enchanted by some
magic spell: oh, what can _Sylvia_ say? What can she think of my fond
passion; she’ll swear it is all a cheat, I had it not. No, it could
not be; such tales I’ve often heard, as often laughed at too, of
disappointed lovers; would _Sylvia_ believe (as sure she may) mine was
excess of passion: what! My _Sylvia_! being arrived to all the joy of
love, just come to reap the glorious recompense, the full reward, the
heaven for all my sufferings, do I lie gazing only, and no more? A
dull, a feeble unconcerned 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 confirmed,
_Philander_ the young, the brisk and gay _Philander_, who never failed
the woman he scarce wished for, never baulked the amorous conceited
old, nor the ill-favoured young, yet when he had extended in his arms
the young, the charming fair and longing _Sylvia_, the untouched,
unspotted, and till then, unwishing lovely maid, yielded, defenceless,
and unguarded all, he wanted power to seize the trembling prey: defend
me, heaven, from madness. Oh _Sylvia_, 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, it is true, for
_Sylvia_’. sake, some apprehensions of fear of being surprised; for
coming through the garden, I saw at the farther end a man, at least I
fancied by that light it was a man; who perceiving the glimpse of
something approach from the grove, made softly towards me, but with
such caution, as if he feared 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 ere he got half way the garden
recovered the door, and softly unlocking it, got in unperceived, and
fastened it after me, well enough assured that he saw not which way I
vanished: however, it failed not to alarm me with some fears on your
dear account, that disturbed my repose, and which I thought then not
necessary to impart to you, and which indeed all vanished 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 gazed a while, unable
to speak for transports of joy and love: you too were silent, and
remained so, so long that I ventured to press your lips with mine,
which all their eager kisses could not put in motion, so that I feared
you fainted; a sudden fright, that in a moment changed my fever of
love into a cold ague fit; but you revived me with a sigh again, and
fired me anew, by pressing my hand, and from that silent soft
encouragement, I, by degrees, ravished a thousand blisses; yet still
between your tempting charming kisses, you would 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 whither would they wander?----My soul, my joy, my
everlasting charmer, oh whither would you go?’--Thus with a thousand
cautions more, which did but raise what you designed to calm, you
made me but the madder to possess: not all the vows you bid me call
to mind, could now restrain my wild and headstrong passion; my raving,
raging (but my soft) desire: no, _Sylvia_, 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, _Sylvia_, not all your art and
modesty could hide it) I saw the ravishing maid as much inflamed as I;
she burnt with equal fire, with equal languishment: not all her care
could keep the sparks concealed, but it broke out in every word and
look; her trembling tongue, her feeble fainting voice betrayed 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 heaved her breast, her swelling
snowy breast, her hands that grasped me trembling as they closed,
while she permitted mine unknown, unheeded to traverse all her
beauties, till quite forgetting all I had faintly promised, and wholly
abandoning my soul to joy, I rushed upon her, who, all fainting, lay
beneath my useless weight, for on a sudden all my power was fled,
swifter than lightning hurried through my enfeebled veins, and
vanished all: not the dear lovely beauty which I pressed, the dying
charms of that fair face and eyes, the clasps of those soft arms, nor
the bewitching accent of her voice, that murmured love half smothered
in her sighs, nor all my love, my vast, my mighty passion, could call
my fugitive vigour back again: oh no, the more I looked--the more I
touched and saw, the more I was undone. Oh pity me, my too I too
lovely maid, do not revile the faults which you alone create. Consider
all your charms at once exposed, consider every sense about me
ravished, overcome 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 consumed itself
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
_Sylvia_, I am sure, that had I loved you less, I’d been less
wretched: nor had we parted, _Sylvia_, on so ill terms, nor had I left
you with an opinion so disadvantageous for _Philander_, but for that
unhappy noise at your chamber-door, which alarming your fear,
occasioned your recovery from that dear trance, to which love and soft
desire had reduced you, and me from the most tormenting silent agony
that disappointed joy ever possessed a fond expecting heart with. Oh
heavens! to have my _Sylvia_ in my power, favoured by silence, night
and safe retreat! then, then, to lie a tame cold sigher only, as if my
_Sylvia_ gave that assignation alone by stealth, undressed, 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 hardened
dullness!--But no more,--I am all fire and madness at the thought,--but
I was saying, _Sylvia_, we both recovered then when the noise
alarmed us. I long to know whether you think we were betrayed, for on
that knowledge rests a mighty part of 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 _Sylvia_, which gave me pains
insupportable) would have given me great diversion. You know our fear
of being discovered occasioned my disguise, for you found it
necessary I should depart, your fear had so prevailed, and that in
_Melinda_’. night-gown and head-dress: thus attired, 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, which made me
advance with the more haste to recover the grove, believing to have
escaped 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 perceived it _Monsieur_
the Count, who taking me for _Melinda_, whom it seems he expected,
caught hold of my gown as I would have passed him, and cried, ‘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 discovered
not who I was: which silence gave him occasion to go on, 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 would have advanced,
leading me by the hand, which he pressed and kissed very amorously:
judge, my adorable _Sylvia_, in what a fine condition your _Philander_
then was in. What should I do? To go had disappointed him worse than I
was with thee before; not to go, betrayed me: I had much ado to hold
my countenance, and unwilling to speak. While I was thus employed in
thought, _Monsieur_----pulling me (eager of joys to come,) and I
holding back, he stopped and cried, ‘Sure, _Melinda_, you came not
hither to bring me a denial.’ I then replied, whispering,--’Softly,
sir, for heaven’s sake’ (sweetening my voice as much as possible)
’.onsider I am a maid, and would not be discovered for the world.’
’.ho can discover us?’ replied my lover, ‘what I take from thee shall
never be missed, not by _Alexis_ himself upon thy wedding
night;--Come--sweet child, come:--’--’With that I pulled back and
whispered--’Heavens! Would you make a mistress of me?’--Says he--’A
mistress, what would’st thou be a cherubin?’ Then I replied as
before--’I am no whore, sir,’--’No,’ cries he, ‘but I can quickly make
thee one, I have my tools about me, sweet-heart; therefore let us lose
no time, but fall to work:’ this last raillery from the brisk old
gentleman, had in spite of resolution almost made me burst out into a
loud laughter, when he took more gravity upon him, and cried--’Come,
come, _Melinda_, why all this foolish argument at this hour in this
place, and after so much serious courtship; believe me, I’ll be kind
to thee for ever;’ with that he clapped fifty guineas in a purse into
one hand, and something else that shall be nameless into the other,
presents that had been both worth _Melinda_’. acceptance: all this
while was I studying an evasion; at last, to shorten my pleasant
adventure, looking round, I cried softly, ‘Are you sure, sir, we are
safe--for heaven’s sake step towards the garden door and see, for I
would not be discovered for the world.’--’Nor I,’ cried he--’but do
not fear, all is safe:’--’However see’ (whispered 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 _Brilliard_; so I, left the expecting
lover, I suppose, ranging the grove for his fled nymph, and I doubt
will fall heavy on poor _Melinda_, who shall have the guineas, 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 _Sylvia_ and she can find a thousand excuses
for the supposed _Melinda_’. 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 _Sylvia_, on what my life depends; which
is, in a permission to wait on her again this ensuing night; make no
excuse, for if you do, by all I adore in heaven and earth I’ll end my
life here where I received it. I will say no more, nor give your love
instructions, but wait impatiently here the life or death of your
PHILANDER.

_’.is six o’clock, and yet my eyes have not closed themselves to
sleep:_ Alexis _and_ Brilliard _give me hopes of a kind return to
this, and have brought their flute and violin to charm me into a
slumber: if_ Sylvia _love, as I am sure she does, she will wake me
with a dear consent to see me; if not, I only wake to sleep for ever_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To My Fair_ CHARMER.

When I had sealed the enclosed, my page, whom I had ordered to come to
me with an account of any business extraordinary, is this morning
arrived with a letter from _Cesario_, which I have sent here enclosed,
that my _Sylvia_ 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 ravished soul;
one moment’s 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 _Sylvia_; I ask no more of heaven; to
which vast joy could you but imagine (O 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! _Sylvia_, what hast thou this night to add to the
soul of thy

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ the Count of----

I’ll allow you, my dear, to be very fond of so much beauty as the
world must own adorns the lovely _Sylvia_: I’ll permit love too to
rival me in your heart, but not out-rival glory; haste then, my dear,
to the advance of that, make no delay, but with the morning’s dawn let
me find you in my arms, where I have something that will surprise you
to relate to you: you were last night expected at----It behoves you to
give no umbrage to persons whose interest renders them enough jealous.
We have two new advancers come in of youth and money, teach them not
negligence; be careful, and let nothing hinder you from taking horse
immediately, as you value the repose and fortune of,

_My dear_,
_Your_ CESARIO.

_I called last night on you, and your page following me to my coach,
whispered me--if I had any earnest business with you, he knew where to
find you; I soon imagined where, and bid him call within an hour for
this, and post with it immediately, though dark._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 debauched my virtue, 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
itself would spare them, and shouldst thou now behold me as I sit, my
hair dishevelled, ruffled and disordered, my eyes bedewing every word
I write, when for each letter I let fall a tear; then (pressed with
thought) starting, I dropped my pen, and fell to rave anew, and tear
those garments whose loose negligence helped to betray me to my
shameful ruin, 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 it is, the conqueror checks it, with whispering only
_Philander_ to my soul; the dear name calms 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 changes of passion, thou wouldst say, _Philander_, I were
mad indeed, madness itself can find no stranger motions: and I would
calmly ask thee, for I am calm again, how comes it, my adorable
_Philander_, that thou canst possess a maid with so much madness? Who
art thyself 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 uttered with a voice so
ravishingly soft, a tone so tender and so full of love, it would charm
even frenzy, calm rude distraction, and wildness would become a silent
listener; there’s such a sweet serenity in thy face, such innocence
and softness in thy eyes, should desert savages but gaze on thee, sure
they would forget their native forest wildness, and be inspired 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 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 never 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 perjured
oaths, after a violation like to this. Oh heaven, 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 human sight,
after an easiness like 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
learned I the hardened and unblushing folly? To wish was such a fault,
as is a crime unpardonable to own; to shew desire is such a sin in
virtue as must deserve reproach from all the world; but I, unlucky I,
have not only betrayed all these, but with a transport void of sense
and shame, I yield to thy arms----I’ll not endure the thought----by
heaven! I cannot; there is something more than rage that animates that
thought: some magic 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 but a phantom: now I could curse again my youth and love; but
oh! When I have done, alas, _Philander_, I find myself as guilty as
before; I cannot make one firm resolve against thee, or if I do, when
I consider thee, they weigh not all one lovely hair of thine. It is
all in vain, the charming cause remains, _Philander’s_ still as lovely
as before; it is 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 breathes forth, taste
thy soft kisses, hear thy charming voice, but I am all on a flame: no,
it is these I must exclaim on, not my youth, it is they debauch my
soul, no natural propensity in me to yield, or to admit of such
destructive fires. Fain I would put it off, but it will not do, I am
the aggressor still; else why is not every living maid undone that
does but touch or see thee? Tell me why? No, the fault is 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 charmed, so apprehensive of thy
beauties, as has betrayed 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 curiosity; no,
I will in spite of all the perfumes that dwell about thee, in spite 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
unconcerned, 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 kindled 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 beloved made up the greatest part of the
satisfaction; it was joy to 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 fancied best I favoured most, and he past for the
happy fortune; him I have suffered 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 smiled him kind returns; nay, by my
life, then thought I loved him too, thought I could have been content
to have passed my life at this gay rate, with this fond hoping lover,
and thought no farther than of being great, having rich coaches,
shewing equipage, to pass my hours in dressing, in going to the operas
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 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 loathe 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 am never so well pleased when from
_Philander_, as when I am retired, 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 world’s enjoyment, 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 lone shaded cottage, than be a queen, and hindered by that
grandeur one moment’s conversation with _Philander_: may’st 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 what those sighs
and pressings meant which others gave me; yet every speaking glance
thy eyes put on, inform my soul what it is 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 it is _Philander_ ails, 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 intelligible language, and
understood, I fear, too well by thee: till now I never feared 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 preached myself that
doctrine: I now renounce it all, it is false, by heaven! it is 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 composed (as I have
often said) of softer materials. Nor is it fancy sets my rates on
beauty, there is an intrinsic 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 fancied would appear the same, and please as
well. If all could love or judge like me, why does _Philander_ pass so
unregarded by a thousand women, who never sighed for him? What makes
_Myrtilla_, who possesses all, looks on thee, feels thy kisses, hears
thee speak, and yet wants sense to know how blessed she is, it is 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
composed 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 a
strange disorder in my blood, that pants and burns in every vein, and
makes me blush, and sigh, and grow impatient, ashamed and angry; but
when I know it the effects of love, I am reconciled, 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
cheeks to thine----Oh God! What language can express my transport! All
that is tender, all that is soft desire, seizes every trembling limb,
and it is with pain concealed.--Yes, yes, _Philander_, it is the fatal
truth, since thou hast found it, I confess it too, and yet I love thee
dearly; long, long it was that I essayed to hide the guilty flame, if
love be guilt; for I confess I did dissemble a coldness which I was
not mistress of: there lies a woman’s art, there all her boasted
virtue, it is but well dissembling, and no more--but mine, alas, is
gone, for ever fled; this, this feeble guard that should secure my
honour, thou hast betrayed, and left it quite defenceless. Ah, what’s
a woman’s honour when it is 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 nonsense fond custom can persuade: 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 virtue and my honour, and be a dull
insensible--But, oh! Where is it? I have lost it all; it is
irrecoverably lost: yes, yes, ye charming perjured man, it is gone,
and thou hast quite undone me.--

What though I lay extended on my bed, undressed, unapprehensive of my
fate, my bosom loose and easy of access, 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 perjured because I was tempting? It is true, I let you in
by stealth by night, whose silent darkness favoured your treachery;
but oh, _Philander_, were not your vows as binding by a glimmering
taper, as if the sun with all his awful light had been a looker on? I
urged your vows as you pressed 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 increas’d, but mine alas declin’d;’.ill
I quite fainted in your arms, left you triumphant lord of all: no more
my faint denials do persuade, no more my trembling hands resist your
force, unregarded lay the treasure which you toil’d for, betrayed and
yielded to the lovely conqueror--but oh tormenting,----when you saw
the store, and found the prize no richer, with what contempt, (yes
false, dear man) with what contempt you view’d the unvalu’d trophy:
what, despised! Was all you call a heaven of joy and beauty exposed to
view, and then neglected? Were all your prayers heard, your wishes
granted, and your toils 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 thee
more, and it will be charity to thee, for thou hast no excuse in store
that can convince my opinion that I am hated, loathed,--I cannot bear
that thought--or if I do, it shall only serve to fortify my fixed
resolve never to see thee more.--And yet I long to hear thy false
excuse, let it be quickly then; it is my disdain invites thee--to
strengthen which, there needs no more than that you let me hear your
poor defence.----But it is a tedious time to that slow hour wherein I
dare permit thee, but hope not to incline my soul to love: no, I am
yet safe if I can stop but here, but here be wise, resolve and be
myself.

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

As my page was coming with the enclosed, 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 plunged in, past hope of a retreat; and since my fate has
pointed me out for ruin, I cannot fall more gloriously. Take then,
_Philander_, to your dear arms, a maid that can no longer resist, who
is disarmed of all defensive power: she yields, she yields, and does
confess it too; and sure she must be more than mortal, that can hold
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_, it is an age to night, and till the approach of those
dear silent hours, thou knowest 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 am of thy dear safety,
that every thing alarms my fears: oh! satisfy them then and go, it is
early yet, and if you take horse immediately, you will be there by
eight this morning; go, I conjure you; for though it is 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 affair,
and render yourself time enough on the place appointed, which is where
you last night waited, and it will be at least eight at night before
it is possible to bring you to my arms. Come in your chariot, and do
not heat yourself 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

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

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 grief’s excess had almost finished 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 ecstasy. Oh _Sylvia_, _Sylvia_,
_Sylvia_! My soul, my vital blood, and without which I could as well
subsist--oh, my adorable, my _Sylvia_! 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 itself through every vein, sensibly
through every artery of my heart, and I can think of nothing but of
_Sylvia_, the lovely _Sylvia_, the blooming flowing _Sylvia_! 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 _Sylvia_, say; but thou hast said
enough to make me mad, and I, forgetful 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 condescension, this
vast bounty.

Ah, _Sylvia_! How shall I live till night? And you impose too cruelly
upon me, in conjuring me to go to _Cesario_; alas! Does _Sylvia_ 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 _Sylvia_, 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 undo me:
no, give me leave to rave in silence, and unseen among the trees,
they’ll humour my disease, answer my murmuring joy, and echoes flatter
it, repeat thy name, repeat that _Sylvia_’. mine! and never hurt her
fame; while the cabals, business and noisy 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 _Sylvia_ has this happy
minute destined 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 called
_Philander_, was once so blest by heaven as to possess the charming,
the adored and loved by all, the glorious _Sylvia_! a maid, the most
divine that ever graced a story; and when the nymphs would look for an
example of love and constancy, let them point out _Philander_ to their
doubted 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
_Sylvia_ did to save the young _Philander_;’ but oh! There never will
be such another nymph as _Sylvia_; heaven formed but one to shew the
world what angels are, and she was formed for me, yes she was--in whom
I would not quit my glorious interest to reign a monarch here, or any
boasted gilded thing above! Take all, take all, ye gods, and give me
but this happy coming night! Oh, _Sylvia, Sylvia_! By all thy promised
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 am all flame, all joyful fire and softness; methinks
it is heaven where-ever I look round me, air where I tread, and
ravishing music when I speak, because it is all of _Sylvia_----let me
alone, oh let me cool a little, or I shall by an excess of joyful
thought lose all my hoped for bliss. Remove a little from me; go, my
_Sylvia_, you are so excessive sweet, so wondrous dazzling, 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 will read thy cruel letters, or I will think of some sad
melancholy hour wherein thou hast dismissed me despairing from thy
presence: or while you press me now to be gone with so much
earnestness, you have some lover to receive and entertain; perhaps it
is 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
embrace; but oh, by heaven, I cannot think that thought! And thou hast
sworn thou canst not suffer it--if I should find thee false--but it is
impossible.--Oh! Should I find _Foscario_ visit thee, him whom thy
parents favour, I should undo you all, by heaven I should--but thou
hast sworn, what need _Philander_ more? Yes, _Sylvia_, thou hast sworn
and called heaven’s vengeance down whenever 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 makes that thought torment me now?--Be
gone, for _Sylvia_ 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 roll on----or for ever stand still, for I will not aid its
motion to leave the mightier business of my love unfinished; 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 parcel of it;
and sure there is more solid pleasure even 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 _Sylvia_, in those melancholy shades that
part _Bellfont_ from _Dorillus_’. farm; perhaps my _Sylvia_ may walk
that way so unattended, that we might meet and lose ourselves for a
few moments in those intricate retreats: ah _Sylvia_! I am 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
_Sylvia_, to take her without control 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 over all the pleasures and the joys of life
with her--but it is in vain I rave, in vain employ myself in the
fool’s barren business, wishing--this thought has made me sad as
death: oh, _Sylvia_! I can never be truly happy--adieu, employ thyself
in writing to me, and remember my life bears date but only with thy
faith and love.

PHILANDER.

_Try, my adorable, what you can do to meet me in the wood this
afternoon, for there I will live to-day._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

Obstinate _Philander_, I conjure you by all your vows, by all your
sacred love, by those dear hours this happy night designed 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 toils you
take will be rewarded at night in the arms of

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

Whatever toils you take shall be rewarded in the arms of
_Sylvia_----by heaven, I am inspired to act wonders: yes, _Sylvia_,
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----

_Dear Child_,

Long foreseeing the misery whereto you must arrive, by this fatal
correspondence with my unhappy lord, I have often, with tears and
prayers, implored you to decline so dangerous a passion: 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 ruin. It
is 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 itself in this fatal amour is not the greatest sin, but
the manner, which carries an unusual horror with it; for it is 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 fixed 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 eternal
repose, and fix a brand upon our noble house, and so undo us
all.----Alas, consider, after an action so shameful, thou must obscure
thyself in some remote corner of the world, where honesty and honour
never are heard of: no, thou canst not shew thy face, but it will be
pointed at for something monstrous; for a hundred ages may not produce
a story so lewdly infamous and loose as thine. Perhaps (fond as you
are) you imagine the sole joy of being beloved by him, will atone 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
perjured to heaven and thee, and all the world!----He once thought me
as lovely, lay at my feet, and sighed away his soul, and told such
piteous stories of his sufferings, such sad, such mournful 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 sighed, so artfully he
moved, so tenderly he looked. Alas, dear child, then all he said was
new, unusual with him, never told before, now it is a beaten road, it
is learned by heart, and easily addressed to any fond believing woman,
the tattered, worn out fragments of my trophies, the dregs of what I
long since drained from off his fickle heart; then it was fine, then
it was brisk and new, now palled and dull by being repeated often.
Think, my child, what your victorious beauty merits, the victim of a
heart unconquered 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, it is love at second
hand, worn out, and all its gaudy lustre tarnished; 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 virtue and piety, oh suffer them
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 unadvised off-spring; no want
of virtue in their education, but this last blow of fate must strike
them dead; think, think of this, my child, and yet retire from ruin;
haste, fly from destruction which pursues thee fast; haste, haste and
save thy parents and a sister, or what is more dear, thy fame; mine
has already received but too many desperate wounds, and all through my
unkind lord’s growing passion for thee, which was most fatally founded
on my ruin, and nothing but my ruin could advance it; and when, my
sister, thou hast run thy race, made thyself loathed, undone and
infamous as hell, despis’d, scorn’d and abandon’d 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 inconveniencies and shames
thou’st brought him to, and will not be the last shall loathe and hate
thee: for though youth fancy it have a mighty race to run of pleasing
vice and vanity, the course will end, the goal will be arrived to at
the last, where they will sighing stand, look back, and view the
length of precious time they’ve fool’d away; when traversed over 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 pursue it; it is 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, 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 sorrows which is the eternal prayer of,

_Dearest child,_

_Your affectionate Sister._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 error, and looking round about me, find
nothing but approaching horror and confusion in my pursuit of love: oh
whither was I going, to what dark paths, to what everlasting shades
had smiling love betray’d me, had I pursued him farther? But I at last
have subdued his force, and the fond charmer shall no more renew his
arts and flatteries; for I’m resolv’d as heaven, as fix’d as fate and
death, and I conjure you trouble my repose no more; for if you do
(regardless of my honour, which if you loved you would preserve) I
will 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 _Sylvia_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

Yes, my adorable _Sylvia_, I will pursue you no farther; only for all
my pains, for all my sufferings, for my tormenting sleepless nights,
and thoughtful anxious days; for all my faithless hopes, my fears, my
sighs, my prayers and my tears, for my unequalled and unbounded
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 pierced the truest heart that ever fell a sacrifice to love; you
will find my body lying beneath that spreading oak, so sacred to
_Philander_, since it was there he first took into his greedy ravished
soul, the dear, the soft confession of thy passion, though now
forgotten and neglected all--make what haste you can, you will find
there stretched out the mangled carcase of the lost

PHILANDER.

_Ah_ Sylvia! _Was it for this that I was sent in such haste away this
morning to_ Cesario_? 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? Where 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 it would be, some ease, even in
death, to know what happy rival it is has armed thy cruel hand
against_ Philander’s _heart_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 a full recompense of all thy pains
from yielding _Sylvia_; I do conjure thee stay----for when the news
arrives thou art no more, this poor, this lost, abandoned 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

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

Oh, my charming _Philander_! How very ill have you recompensed 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 exposed 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 killed, had been almost equally unhappy: it was well my page told
me you disarmed him in this rencounter; yet you, he says, are wounded,
some sacred drops of blood are fallen to the earth and lost, the least
of which is precious enough to ransom captive queens: oh! Haste
_Philander_, to my arms for cure, I die with fear there may be
danger----haste, and let me bathe, 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 unadvised 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 my
page was the only witness, and he is 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 obey
me?----Will you abandon me? Can that dear tongue be perjured? And can
you this night disappoint your _Sylvia_? 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, could that displease so much? Besides I had a cause, which you
shall see; a letter that would cool love’s hottest fires, and turn it
to devotion; by heaven it was such a check----such a surprise----but
you yourself shall judge, if after that I could 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, gained love the day
again, and I despised the censures of the duller world: yes, yes, and
I confessed you had overcome, and did this 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 convinced me, and said he found you hastening to the grove,--and
when he gave you my commands----you looked upon him with such a wild
and fixed regard, surveying him all over while you were opening
it----as argued some unusual motion in you; then cried, ‘Be gone--I
cannot answer flattery’----Good heaven, what can you mean? But ‘ere he
got to the farther end of the grove, where still you walked a solemn
death-like pace, he saw _Foscario_ pass him unattended, and looking
back saw your rencounter, saw all that happened between you, then ran
to your assistance just as you parted; still you were roughly sullen,
and neither took notice of his proffered service, nor that you needed
it, although you bled apace; he offered you his aid to tie your wounds
up----but you replied--’Be gone, and do not trouble me’----Oh, could
you imagine I could live with this neglect? Could you, my _Philander_?
Oh what would you have me do! If nothing but my death or ruin can
suffice for my atonement, I will 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 die with
pain; say that you live, oh, say but that you live, say you are coming
to the meadow behind the garden-grove, in order to your approach to my
arms: oh, swear that all your vows are true; oh, swear that you are
_Sylvia’s_; and in return, I will swear that I am yours without
reserve, whatever fate is destined for your

SYLVIA.

_I die with impatience, either to see or hear from you; I fear it is
yet too soon for the first----oh therefore save me with the last, or I
shall rave, and wildly betray all by coming to_ Dorillus _his farm, or
seeking you where-ever you cruelly have hid yourself from_

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

Ah, _Sylvia_, how have you in one day destroyed 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 _Sylvia_) in one divine frame, but to undo mankind: yes,
_Sylvia_, thou wert born to murder 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 shouldst be my murderer? And why dost thou call me from the grave
with such dear soft commands as would 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
it had been to have sent me down to earth, with plain heart-breaking
truth, than a mean subtle falsehood, that has undone thy credit in my
soul? Truth, though it were cruel, had been generous in thee; though
thou wert perjured, false, forsworn----thou shouldst not have added to
it that yet baser sin of treachery: you might have been provoked to
have killed your friend, but it were base to stab him unawares,
defenceless and unwarned; smile in my face, and strike me to the
heart; soothe me with all the tenderest marks of my passion----nay,
with an invitation too, that would have gained a credit in one that
had been jilted over the world, flattered and ruined by all thy
cozening sex, and all to send me vain and pleased away, only to gain a
day to entertain another lover in. Oh, fantastic woman! destructive
glorious thing, what needed this deceit? Hadst thou not with unwonted
industry persuaded me to have hasted to _Cesario_, by heaven, I had
dully lived 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 _Sylvia_, till the blessed minute of my
ravishing approach to her; had been a fond, believing and imposed on
coxcomb, and never had dreamt the treachery, never seen the snake that
basked beneath the gay, the smiling flowers; securely thou hadst
cozened me, reaped the new joys, and made my rival sport at the
expense of all my happiness: yes, yes, your hasty importunity first
gave me jealousy, made me impatient with _Cesario_, and excuse myself
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
I came----how was I welcomed? With your confirming billet; yes,
_Sylvia_, how! Let _Dorillus_ inform you, between whose arms I fell
dead, shame on me, dead--and the first thought my soul conceived when
it returned, was, not to die in jest. I answered your commands, and
hastened to the grove, where----by all that is sacred, by thyself 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 turned to
loud rage, rage easier to be borne, to dire despair, to fury and
revenge; for there I saw, _Foscario_, my young, my fair, my rich and
powerful rival, he hasted through the grove, all warm and glowing from
the fair false one’s 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, peaceful smile dressed
all his face, tricked like a bridegroom, while he perfum’d the air as
he passed through it----none but the man that loves and dotes like me
is able to express my sense of rage: I quickly turned 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, he only
cried--’If _Sylvia_ be the quarrel--I am prepared----’ And he
maintained your cause with admirable courage I confess, though chance
or fortune luckily gave me his sword, which I would fain have rendered
back, and that way would 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 it was that malice supported me with life, and told me I
should scorn to die for so perfidious and so ruinous a creature; but
charming and bewitching still, it was then I borrowed so much calmness
of my lessening anger to read the billet over, your page had brought
me, which melted all the rough remaining part of rage away into tame
languishment: ah, _Sylvia_! This heart of mine was never formed by
nature to hold out long in stubborn sullenness; I am already on the
excusing part, and fain would think thee innocent and just; deceive me
prettily, I know thou canst soothe my fond heart, and ask how it could
harbour a faithless thought of _Sylvia_--do--flatter me, protest a
little, swear my rival saw thee not, say he was there by chance----say
any thing; or if thou sawest him, say with how cold a look he was
received----Oh, _Sylvia_, calm my soul, deceive it flatter it, and I
shall still believe and love thee on----yet shouldest thou tell me
truth, that thou art false, by heaven I do adore thee so, I still
should love thee on; should I have seen thee clasp him in thy arms,
print kisses on his cheeks and lips, and more----so fondly and so
dotingly I love, I think I should forgive thee; for I swear by all the
powers that pity frail mortality, there is no joy, no life, no heaven
without thee! Be false! Be cruel, perjured, infamous, yet still I must
adore thee; my soul was formed of nothing but of love, and all that
love, and all that soul is _Sylvia_’.; but yet, since thou hast framed
me an excuse, be kind and carry it on;----to be deluded well, as thou
canst do it, will be the same to innocence, as loving: I shall not
find the cheat: I will come then----and lay myself 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 fixed a sadness in my soul that will not easily
vanish----oh _Sylvia_, 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 of thy life should shew a fading love, that
very moment I perceive the change, you shall find dead at your feet
the abandoned

PHILANDER.

_Sad as death, I am going towards the meadow, in order to my approach
towards_ Sylvia, _the world affording no repose to me, but when I am
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 falsehood, of vow-breach, and what is worse,
of loving any thing but the adorable _Philander_? I could not once
believe so cruel a thought could have entered into the imaginations of
a soul so entirely possessed with _Sylvia_, and so great a judge of
love. Abandon me, reproach me, hate me, scorn me, whenever I harbour
any thing in mind 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 ever-lasting destruction, even of soul and body? I
tremble with fear of future punishment; but oh, love will have no
devotion (mixed with his ceremonies) to any other deity; and yet,
alas, I might have loved another, and have been saved, or any maid but
_Sylvia_ might have possessed without damnation. But it is a brother I
pursue, it is a sister gives her honour up, and none but _Canace_,
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 _Aeolus_, as angry and revengeful where
his honour is concerned; 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 _Monsieur_ 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 me by light, as you did last night in the dark--’She turned
and begged his pardon, for neither coming nor designing to come, since
she had resolved 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 concerned, 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
fancied (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 fearful 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 night, or that it was 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 _Sylvia_. Undaunted,
I resolve to stand the shock of all, since it is impossible for me to
leave _Philander_ any doubt or jealousy that I can dissipate, and
heaven knows how far I was from any thought of seeing _Foscario_, when
I urged _Philander_ to depart. I have to clear my innocence, sent thee
the letter I received two hours after thy absence, which falling into
my mother’s 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, whenever it is thy fate to be obliged to entertain
some woman to whom thy soul has an entire aversion. I forced a
complaisance against my nature, endured his racking courtship with a
fortitude that became the great heart that bears thy sacred image; as
martyrs do, I suffered without murmuring, or the least sign of the
pain I endured--it is below the dignity of my mighty passion to
justify it farther, let it plead its own cause, it has a thousand ways
to do it, 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

SYLVIA.

_About an hour hence I shall expect you to advance._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ the Lady----

_Madam,_

’.is not always the divine graces wherewith heaven has adorned 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, it is I alone that have a destiny more cruel and
severe, and find myself wounded from your very frowns, and secured a
slave as well as made one; the very scorn from those triumphant stars,
your eyes, have the same effects, as if they shined with the continual
splendour of ravishing smiles; and I can no more shun their killing
influence, than their all-saving aspects: and I shall expire
contentedly, 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 over 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 would
the sentence of the gods, and which I will no more resist than I would
the thunderbolts of _Jove_, or the revenge of angry _Juno_: for,
madam, 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 deprived 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 wrecked me to confess my
promethean 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,

_Madam,_

_Your admiring slave_,

FOSCARIO.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

_My Everlasting Charmer_,

I am convinc’d and pleas’d, my fears are vanish’d, and a heaven of
solid joy is opened to my view, and I have nothing now in prospect but
angel-brightness, glittering youth, dazzling beauty, charming sounds,
and ravishing touches, and all around me ecstasies of pleasure,
inconceivable transports without conclusion; _Mahomet_ never fancied
such a heaven, not all his paradise promised such lasting felicity, or
ever provided there the recompense of such a maid as _Sylvia_, such a
bewitching form, such soft, such glorious eyes, where the soul speaks
and dances, and betrays love’s secrets in every killing glance, a
face, 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 promised years of fainting
in one continued ecstasy, can make one moment’s joy with charming
_Sylvia_. Oh, I am wrapt (with bare imagination) with a much vaster
pleasure than any other dull appointment can dispense--oh, thou
blessing sent from heaven to ease my toils of life! Thou sacred dear
delight of my fond doting 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 rendered me so cold in your opinion. Oh,
_Sylvia, Sylvia_, have a care of me, manage my overjoyed 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
out-right, 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 untouched, unsighed upon, unpressed with kisses: oh, change those
tender, trembling words of love into rough sounds and noises
unconcerned, and when you see me dying, do not call my soul to mingle
with thy sighs; yet shouldst thou abate one word, one look or tear, by
heaven I should be mad; oh, never let me live to see declension in thy
love! No, no, my charmer, I cannot bear the least supposed decay in
those dear fondnesses of thine; and sure none ever became a maid so
well, nor ever were received with adorations, like to mine!

Pardon, my adorable _Sylvia_, the rashness of my passion in this
rencounter with _Foscario_; I am satisfied he is too unhappy in your
disfavour to merit the being so in mine; but it was sufficient I then
saw a joy in his face, a pleased gaiety 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 should
assist me to finish this, since it will more gloriously repay me in a
happier place--come on then, thou blest retreat of lovers, I forgive
by interruptions here, since thou wilt conduct to the arms of
_Sylvia_,--the adoring

PHILANDER.

_If you have any commands for me, this weeder of the gardens, whom I
met in 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_ Sylvia.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

_After the happy night._

’.is done, yes, _Philander_, it is 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 have known the time, the blest innocent time, when but to
think I loved _Philander_ would have covered my face with shame, and
to have spoke it would have filled 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 bashful confession--though
now I am grown bold in love, yet I have known the time, when being at
Court, and coming from the Presence, being offered some officious hand
to lead me to my coach, I have shrunk back with my aversion to your
sex, and have concealed my hands in my pockets to prevent their being
touched;-a kiss would turn my stomach, and amorous looks (though they
would make me vain) gave me a hate to him that sent them, and never
any maid resolved 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 exposed to all his
attacks of love, and never thought it criminal till it kindled a new
desire about me, oh, that I should not die with shame to own it----yet
see (I say) how from one soft degree to another, I do not only confess
the shameful 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 experienced----I never will----no, no, I
never can----repent it: oh incorrigible passion! oh harden’d love! At
least I might have some remorse, some sighing after my poor departed
honour; but why should I dissemble with the powers divine; that know
the secrets of a soul doomed to eternal love? Yet I am mad, I rave and
tear myself, traverse my guilty chamber in a disordered, 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 over
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 pressed,
still warm and fragrant with the sweet remains that thou hast left
behind thee on the pillow. Oh, my soul’s joy! My 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, should 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 rendered
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 transcendest all fancy, all dull
imagination, all wondering ideas of what man was to me, that I believe
thee more than human! 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 in nature that renders thee
more dear, and fits thee to my soul; do not ask it me, let it suffice,
it is 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 favoured this
above the other, preferred that face, that wit, or shape, or
air----but to concern my soul, to make that capable of something more
than love, it was only necessary that _Philander_ should be formed,
and formed just as he is; that shape, that face, that height, that
dear proportion; I would not have a feature, not a look, not a hair
altered, 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 being married (a thought that shocks my
soul whenever it enters) or whatever other thought that does concern
my happiness or quiet, have fixed my soul to love and my _Philander_,
to love thee with all thy disadvantages, and glory in my ruin; 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 is now revealed, the mighty secret
is known, and now will be no wonder or surprise: 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 ever thou breakest an oath, a vow, a word,
if ever I see repentance in thy face, a coldness in thy eyes (which
heaven divert) by that bright heaven I will die; you may believe me,
since I had the courage and durst love thee, and after that durst
sacrifice my fame, lose all to justify that love, will, when a change
so fatal shall arrive, find courage too to die; yes, die _Philander_,
assure thyself I will, and therefore have a care of

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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 betrayed, our race of joys, our course of stolen
delight is ended ‘ere begun. I chid, alas, at morning’s dawn, I chid
you to be gone, and yet, heaven knows, I grasped you fast, and rather
would have died than parted with you; I saw the day come on, and
cursed its busy 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, it was all abroad, and had called
up all the household spies to pry into the secrets of our loves, and
thou, by some tale-bearing flatterer, were 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, possessed with love, and full of wonder at my new change, lulled
with dear contemplation, (for I am altered much since yesterday,
however thou hast charmed me) imagining none knew our theft of love,
but only heaven and _Melinda_. But oh, alas, I had no sooner finished
this enclosed, but my father entered my cabinet, but it was with such
a look----as soon informed me all was betrayed to him; a while he
gazed on me with fierceness in his eyes, which so surprised and
frighted me, that I, all pale and trembling, threw myself at his feet;
he, seeing my disorder, took me up, and fixed so steadfast and so sad
a look upon me, as would have broken any heart but mine, supported
with _Philander_’., image; I sighed and wept--and silently attended
when the storm should fall, which turned into a shower so soft and
piercing, I almost died to see it; at last delivering me a
paper--’Here,’ (cried he, with a sigh and trembling-interrupted voice)
’.ead what I cannot tell thee. Oh, _Sylvia_,’ cried he, ‘--thou joy
and hope of all my aged years, thou object of my dotage, how hast thou
brought me to my grave with sorrow!’ So left me with the paper in my
hand: speechless, unmov’d a while I stood, till he awaked 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 _Sylvia_, 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 betrayed us all, but how it came into their hands I
since have understood: for, as I said, you were seen passing through
the garden, from thence (to be confirmed) they dogged you to the farm,
and waiting there your motions, saw _Dorillus_ come forth with a
letter in his hand, which though he soon concealed, yet not so soon
but it was taken notice of, when hastening 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_
returned 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_, and the face of all things is changed, yet none knows the
unhappy cause but _Monsieur_ my father, and _Madam_ my mother,
_Melinda_ and myself. _Melinda_ and my page are both dismissed from
waiting on me, as supposed confidants 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, should offer us his
aid? I will try to corrupt my new boy, I see good nature, pity and
generosity in his looks, he is well born too, and may be honest.

Thus far, _Philander_, I had writ when supper was brought me, for yet
my parents have not deigned to let me come into their presence; those
that serve me tell me _Myrtilla_ is this afternoon arrived at
_Bellfont_; all is mighty close carried in the Countess’s 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 charged him not to obey me; he says, against his will he
shall betray me, for they will have him searched; but he has promised
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

_The unfortunate_ SYLVIA.

_My heart is ready to break, and my eyes are drowned in tears: oh_
Philander, _how much unlike the last will this fatal night prove!
Farewell, and think of_ Sylvia.

       *       *       *       *       *

_This was writ in the cover to both the foregoing letters to_
Philander.

Philander, all that I dreaded, all that I feared is fallen upon me: I
have been arraigned, and convicted, three judges, severe as the three
infernal ones, sat in condemnation on me, a father, a mother, and a
sister; the fact, alas, was too clearly proved, and too many
circumstantial truths appeared 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 injured sister,
those my heartbroken parents; a tender mother here, a railing and
reviling sister there--an angry father, and a guilty conscience--thou
wouldst have wondered at my fortitude, my courage, and my resolution,
and all from love! For surely I had died, had not thy love, thy
powerful 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 whispered me, _Philander_ loves me still; discarded and
renounced by my fond parents; love still replies, _Philander_ still
will own thee; thrown from thy mother’s and thy sister’s arms,
_Philander_’. still are open to receive thee: and though I rave and
almost die to see them grieve, to think that I am the fatal cause who
makes so sad confusion in our family; (for, oh, ‘tis piteous to behold
my sister’s sighs and tears, my mother’s sad despair, my father’s
raging and his weeping, by melancholy turns;) yet even these
deplorable objects, that would move the most obdurate, stubborn heart
to pity and repentance, render not mine relenting; and yet I am
wondrous pitiful 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, should’st thou behold my mother’s
languishment, no bitter words proceeding from her lips, no tears fall
from her downcast eyes, but silent and sad as death she sits, and will
not view the light; should’st thou, I say, behold it, thou would’st,
if not repent, yet grieve that thou hadst loved me: sure love has
quite confounded nature in me, I could not else behold this fatal ruin
without revenging it upon my stubborn heart; a thousand times a day I
make new vows against the god of love, but it is too late, and I am as
often perjured----oh, should the gods revenge the broken vows of
lovers, what love-sick man, what maid betrayed like me, but would be
damned 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, makes us perjured: let all
the force of virtue, honour, interest join with my suffering parents
to persuade 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,
_Sylvia_, can you quit me?--nay, you must not, you shall not, nay, I
know you cannot, remember you are mine--There is such eloquence in
those dear words, when uttered with a voice so tender and so
passionate, that I believe them irresistible--alas, I find them
so--and easily break all the feebler vows I make against thee; yes, I
must be undone, perjured, forsworn, incorrigible, unnatural,
disobedient, and any thing, rather than not _Philander_’.--Turn
then, my soul, from these domestic, 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-fledged angels, and when he looks, and
sighs, and speaks, and touches, he is a very god: where art thou, oh
miracle of youth, thou charming dear undoer! Now thou hast gained 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 mayest have
sent--but I shall never see it, till they raise up fresh witnesses
against me--I cannot think thee wavering or forgetful; for if I did,
surely thou knowest my heart so well, thou canst not think it would
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_, it is 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 ordered her; by the same messenger thou mayest
return thine, and early as she comes I’ll let her down a string, by
which way unperceived I shall receive them from her: I will say no
more, nor instruct you how you shall preserve your

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

_That which was left in her hands by_ Monsieur, _her father, in her
cabinet._

_My adorable_ Sylvia,

I can no more describe to thee the torment with which I part from
_Bellfont_, than I can that heaven of joy I was raised to last night
by the transporting effects of thy wondrous love; both are to excess,
and both killing, but in different kinds. Oh, _Sylvia_, by all my
unspeakable raptures in thy arms, by all thy charms of beauty, too
numerous and too ravishing for fancy to imagine--I swear----by this
last night, by this dear new discovery, thou hast increased my love to
that vast height, it has undone my peace--all my repose is gone--this
dear, dear night has ruined me, it has confirmed me now I must have
_Sylvia_, 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, _Sylvia_, I am not that indifferent dull lover that can be raised
by one beauty to an appetite, and satisfy it with another; I cannot
carry the dear flame you kindle to quench it in the embraces of
_Myrtilla_; no, by the eternal powers, he that pretends to love, and
loves at that coarse rate, needs fear no danger from that passion, he
never was born to love, or die for love; _Sylvia_, _Myrtilla_ and a
thousand more were all the same to such a dull insensible; no,
_Sylvia_, 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 _Sylvia_: let the hot brute drudge on (he who is fired by nature,
not by love, whom any body’s kisses can inspire) and ease the
necessary heats of youth; love is a nobler fire, which nothing can
allay but the dear she that raised it; no, no, my purer stream shall
never run back to the fountain, whence it is parted, nay it cannot, it
were as possible to love again, where one has ceased to love, as carry
the desire and wishes back; by heaven, to me there is nothing so
unnatural; no, _Sylvia_, it is you I must possess, you have completed
my undoing now, and I must die unless you give me all----but oh, I am
going from thee----when are we like to meet----oh, how shall I support
my absent hours! Thought will destroy me, for it will 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 could
return and lay me down by thee, _Herculean_ labours would be soft and
easy----the harsh fatigues of war, the dangerous hurries of affairs of
State, the business and the noise of life, I could support with
pleasure, with wondrous satisfaction, could treat _Myrtilla_ too with
that respect, that generous care, as would become a husband. I could
be easy every where, and every one should be at ease with me; now I
shall go and find no _Sylvia_ there, but sigh and wander 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 asked and
answered, 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 cried aloud--’My
_Sylvia_!’--thus, thus, my charming dear, the poor _Philander_ is
employed when banished from his heaven! If thus it used to be when
only that bright outside was adored, judge now my pain, now thou hast
made known a thousand graces more--oh, pity me----for it is not in thy
power to guess what I shall now endure in absence of thee; for thou
hast charmed my soul to an excess too mighty for a patient suffering:
alas, I die already----

I am yet at _Dorillus_ his farm, lingering 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 drowned in tears towards _Bellfont_, have
sighed 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 _Sylvia_?--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 ordered _Alexis_ to do nothing but wait for all that
comes, and post away with what thou sendest to me----again adieu,
think on me----and till thou callest me to thee, imagine nothing upon
earth so wretched as _Sylvia_’. own

PHILANDER.

_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_ Sylvia.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

_Written in a leaf of a table-book_.

I have only time to say, on Thursday I am destined a sacrifice to
_Foscario_, which day finishes the life of

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To SYLVIA_.

_From_ Dorillus _his farm_.

Raving and mad at the news your billet brought me, I (without
considering the effects that would follow) am arrived at _Bellfont_; I
have yet so much patience about me, to suffer myself to be concealed
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 _Sylvia_; be sure I’ll do it--What? To be married--Sylvia to
be married--and given from _Philander_--Oh, never think it, forsworn
fair creature--What? Give _Foscario_ that dear charming body? Shall he
be grasped in those dear naked arms? Taste all thy kisses, press thy
snowy breasts, command thy joys, and rifle all thy heaven? Furies and
hell environ me if he do----Oh, Sylvia, faithless, perjured, charming
_Sylvia_--and canst thou suffer it--Hear my vows, oh fickle
angel--hear me, thou faithless ravisher! That fatal moment that the
daring priest offers to join your hands, and give thee from me, I will
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 it, 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 perjured----for, but to suffer
it is such a sin--such an undoing sin--that thou art surely damned!
And yet, by heaven, that is not all the ruin shall attend thee; no,
lovely mischief, no----you shall not escape till the damnation day;
for I will rack thee, torture thee and plague thee, those few hours I
have to live, (if spiteful fate prevent my just revenge upon
_Foscario_) and when I am dead--as I shall quickly be killed by thy
cruelty--know, thou fair murderer, 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 will 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 didst thou
swear that happy blessed night, in which I saw thee last, clasped in
my arms, weeping with eager love, with melting softness on my
bosom----remember how thou swor’st----oh, that dear night,--let me
recover strength--and then I will 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 looked down and smiled upon our thefts of love, that
gloomy night, the first of all my joys, the blessedest of my
life--trembling and fainting I approach your chamber, and while you
met and grasped me at the door, taking my trembling body in your
arms-remember how I fainted at your feet, and what dear arts you used
to call me back to life--remember how you kissed and pressed my
face--Remember what dear charming words you spoke--and when I did
recover, how I asked you with a feeble doubtful voice--’Ah, _Sylvia_,
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 _Sylvia_, did you vow? How invoke heaven?
How call its vengeance down if ever you loved another man again, if
ever you touched or smiled on any other, if ever you suffered words or
acts of love but from _Philander_? Both heaven and hell thou didst
awaken with thy oaths, one was an angry listener to what it knew
thou’dst break, the other laughed to know thou would’st be perjured,
while only I, poor I, was all the while a silent fond believer; your
vows stopped all my language, as your kisses did my lips, you swore
and kissed, and vowed and clasped my neck--Oh charming flatterer! Oh
artful, dear beguiler! Thus into life, and peace, and fond security,
you charmed my willing soul! It was then, my _Sylvia_, (certain of
your heart, and that it never could be given away to any other) I
pressed my eager joys, but with such tender caution--such fear and
fondness, such an awful passion, as overcame your faint resistance; my
reasons and my arguments were strong, for you were mine by love, by
sacred vows, and who could lay a better claim to _Sylvia_? How oft I
cried--’Why this resistance, _Sylvia_? My charming dear, whose are
you? Not _Philander_’.? And shall _Philander_ not command his
own----you must----ah cruel----’ then a soft struggle followed, with
half-breathed words, with sighs and trembling hearts, and now and
then--’Ah cruel and unreasonable’--was softly said on both sides; thus
strove, thus argued--till both lay panting in each other’s arms, not
with the toil, but rapture; I need not say what followed after
this--what tender showers of strange endearing 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
_Sylvia_! Oh my charming angel!’ While sighs of joy, and close
grasping thee--spoke all the rest--while every tender word, and every
sigh was echoed back by thee; you pressed me--and you vowed you loved
me more than ever yet you did; then swore anew, and in my bosom, hid
your charming blushing face, then with excess of love would call on
heaven, ‘Be witness, oh ye powers’ (a thousand times ye cried) ‘if
ever maid e’er loved like _Sylvia_--punish me strangely, oh eternal
powers, if ever I leave _Philander_, if ever I cease to love him; no
force, no art, not interest, honour, wealth, convenience, duty, or
what other necessary cause--shall ever be of force to make me leave
thee----’ Thus hast thou sworn, oh charming, faithless flatterer, thus
betwixt each ravishing minute thou would’st swear--and I as fast
believed--and loved thee more----Hast thou forgot it all, oh fickle
charmer, hast thou? Hast thou forgot between each awful 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 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 is perjur’d; revenge it all, ye
injured 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 murdered victim--your

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

_In the leaves of a table-book_.

On, my _Philander_, how dearly welcome, and how needless were thy kind
reproaches! 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 am not able to fix the
hour of my flight, let it wait there my coming; it is but a little
mile from _Bellfont_, _Dorillus_ is suspected there, remove thyself to
the high-way-gate cottage--there I’ll call on thee----’twas lucky,
that thy fears, or love, or jealousy 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 am impatient to be
gone, and shall take the first opportunity to fly to my
_Philander_----Oh, love me, love me, love me!

_Under pretence of reaching the jessamine which shades my window, I
unperceived 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 it is resolved already._

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

_My lovely Angel_,

So careful I will be of this dear mighty secret, that I will only say,
_Sylvia_ shall be obeyed; no more----nay, I’ll not dare to think of
it, lest in my rapture I should name my joy aloud, and busy winds
should bear it to some officious listener, and undo me; no more, no
more, my _Sylvia_, extremes of joy (as grief) are ever dumb: let it
suffice, this blessing which you proffer I had designed to ask, as
soon as you’d convinced me of your faith; yes, _Sylvia_, I had asked
it though it was a bounty too great for any mortal to conceive heaven
should bestow upon him; but if it do, that very moment I’ll resign the
world, and barter all for love and charming _Sylvia_. Haste, haste, my
life; my arms, my bosom and my soul are open to receive the lovely
fugitive; haste, for this moment I am going to plant myself where you
directed. _Adieu_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

_After her flight_.

Ah, _Philander_, how have you undone a harmless poor unfortunate?
Alas, where are you? Why would you thus abandon me? Is this the soul,
the bosom, these the arms that should receive me? I’ll not upbraid
thee with my love, or charge thee with my undoing; it was all my own,
and were it yet to do, I should again be ruined for _Philander_, and
never find repentance, no not for a thought, a word or deed of love,
to the dear false forsworn; but I can die, yes, hopeless,
friendless--left by all, even by _Philander_--all but resolution has
abandoned me, and that can lay me down, whenever I please, in safe
repose and peace: but oh, thou art not false, or if thou be’st, oh,
let me hear it from thy mouth, see thy repented love, that I may know
there is 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 happened to prevent thee from pursuing my
directions, and staying for me at the gate? Where have I missed 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 abandoned mistress in the _Canticles_ I sought
thee, but I found thee not, no bed of roses would discover thee: I saw
no print of thy dear shape, nor heard no amorous sigh that could
direct me--I asked the wood and springs, complained and called on thee
through all the groves, but they confessed thee not; nothing but
echoes answered me, and when I cried _’.hilander’.--cried--_’.hilander’.;
thus searched I till the coming night, and my
increasing fears made me resolve for flight, which soon we did, and
soon arrived at _Paris_, but whither then to go, heaven knows, I
could not tell, for I was almost naked, friendless and forlorn; at
last, consulting _Brilliard_ 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 Corps_; he changed my name, and made me
pass for a fortune he had stolen; but oh, no welcomes, nor my
safe retreat were sufficient to repose me all the ensuing night, for I
had no news of _Philander_, no, not a dream informed me; a thousand
fears and jealousies have kept me waking, and _Brilliard_, who has
been all night in pursuit of thee, is now returned successless and
distracted as thy _Sylvia_, for duty and generosity have almost the
same effects in him, with love and tenderness and jealousy in me; and
since _Paris_ affords no news of thee, (which sure it would if thou
wert in it, for oh, the sun might hide himself with as much ease as
great _Philander_) he is resolved to search St _Vincent_’. 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 advanced into the
wood, as not to find the way back to the thicket where the chariot
waited: it is thus he feeds my hope, and flatters my poor heart, that
fain would think thee true--or if thou be’st not--but cursed be all
such thoughts, and far from _Sylvia_’. 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 you thinkest me false, and thinkest I have not courage to
pursue my love, and fly; and, thou perhaps art waiting for the hour
wherein thou thinkest I will give myself away to _Foscario_: oh cruel
and unkind! To think I loved so lightly, to think I would attend that
fatal hour; no, _Philander_, no faithless, dear enchanter: last night,
the eve to my intended wedding-day, having reposed 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; with that pretence I got me early to my
chamber, tried on a thousand dresses, and asked a thousand questions,
all impertinent, which would do best, which looked most gay and rich,
then dressed my gown with jewels, decked my apartment up, and left
nothing undone that might secure ‘em both of my being pleased, and of
my stay; nay, and to give the less suspicion, I undressed myself even
to my under-petticoat and night-gown; I would not take a jewel, not a
pistole, but left my women finishing my work, and carelessly and thus
undressed, walked towards the garden, and while every one was busy in
their office, getting myself out of sight, posted over the meadow to
the wood as swift as _Daphne_ from the god of day, till I arrived most
luckily where I found the chariot waiting; attended by _Brilliard_; 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 appeared--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 should have
been my wedding-day, will see itself that of the death of

SYLVIA.

Paris, _Thursday, from my bed, for want of clothes, or rather news
from_ Philander.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

My life, my _Sylvia_, my eternal joy, art thou then safe! And art thou
reserved for _Philander_? Am I so blest by heaven, by love, and my
dear charming maid? Then let me die in peace, since I have lived to
see all that my soul desires in _Sylvia_’. 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 would
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
arrived to; look forward on the joys of love and youth, for I will
dedicate all my remaining life to render thine serene and glad; and
yet, my _Sylvia_, thou art so dear to me, so wondrous precious to my
soul, that in my extravagance of love, I fear I 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 murder on the happy slave, or my own jealous heart, but all
the world besides is _Sylvia_’., 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 can’st be weary of _Philander_--I will be
so fond, so doting, 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 by dint and force of love--oh, I
am wild to see thee--but, _Sylvia_, I am wounded--do not be frighted
though, for it is not much or dangerous, but very troublesome, since
it permits me not to fly to _Sylvia_, but she must come to me in order
to it. _Brilliard_ has a bill on my goldsmith in _Paris_ for a
thousand pistoles to buy thee something to put on; any thing that is
ready, and he will conduct thee to me, for I shall rave myself into a
fever if I see thee not to-day--I cannot live without thee now, for
thou art my life, my everlasting charmer: I have ordered _Brilliard_
to get a chariot and some unknown livery for thee, and I think the
continuance of passing for what he has already rendered thee will do
very well, till I have taken farther care of thy dear safety, which
will be as soon as I am able to rise; for most unfortunately, my dear
_Sylvia_, 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
ere I could return to the place where I left the chariot it was
gone--it seems with thee; I know not how you missed me--but
possessed myself with a thousand false fears, sometimes that in thy
flight thou mightest be pursued and overtaken, seized in the chariot
and returned back to _Bellfont_; or that the chariot was found seized
on upon suspicion, though the coachman and _Brilliard_ were disguised
past knowledge----or if thou wert gone, alas I knew not whither; but
that was a thought my doubts and fears would not suffer me to ease my
soul with; no, I (as jealous lovers do) imagined the most tormenting
things for my own repose. I imagined the chariot taken, or at least so
discovered as to be forced away without thee: I imagined that thou
wert false----heaven forgive me, false, my _Sylvia_, and hadst changed
thy mind; mad with this thought (which I fancied most reasonable, and
fixt it in my soul) I raved about the wood, making a thousand vows to
be revenged on all; in order to it I left the thicket, and betook
myself to the high road of the wood, where I laid me down among the
fern, close hid, with sword ready, waiting for the happy bridegroom,
who I knew (it being the wedding eve) would that way pass that
evening; pleased 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 up with mighty joy, I found it _Foscario_’.;
alone he was, and unattended, for he’d outstripped his equipage, and
with a lover’s haste, and full of joy, was making towards _Bellfont_;
but I (now fired with rage) leaped from my cover, cried, ‘Stay,
_Foscario_, ere you arrive to _Sylvia_, 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 conveyed where-ever I
commanded, and so in haste they drove him towards _Bellfont_, and me,
who was resolved not to stir far from it, to a village within a mile
of it; from whence I sent to _Paris_ for a surgeon, and dismissed 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 removed, and I am now
willing to live, since _Sylvia_ is mine; haste to me then, my lovely
maid, and fear not being discovered, for I have given order here in
the _cabaret_ where I am, if any inquiry 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 welcome: I will say no
more, nor prescribe rules to thy love, that can inform thee best what
thou must do to save the life of thy most passionate adorer,

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I have sent _Brilliard_ to see if the coast be clear, that we may come
with safety; he brings you, instead of _Sylvia_, a young cavalier that
will be altogether as welcome to _Philander_, and who impatiently
waits his return at a little cottage at the end of the village.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

_From the_ Bastille.

I know my _Sylvia_ expected me at home with her at dinner to-day, and
wonders how I could live so long as since morning without the eternal
joy of my soul; but know, my _Sylvia_, 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 changed 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 these three months we have
been alarmed with new fears that have made thee uneasy even in
_Philander_’. arms; we knew some time or other the storm would fall on
us, though we had for three happy months sheltered ourselves from its
threatening rage; but love, I hope, has armed us both; for me--let me
be deprived of all joys, (but those my charmer can dispense) all the
false world’s 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 _Sylvia_ remain but mine.

I am, my _Sylvia_, 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, _Sylvia_, thefts of mutual
love were never counted felony; I may die for love, my _Sylvia_, but
not for loving--go, haste, my _Sylvia_, that I may be no longer
detained from the solid pleasure and business of my soul--haste, my
loved dear--haste and relieve

PHILANDER.

_Come not to me, lest there should be an order to detain my dear_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I am not at all surprised, my _Philander_, at the accident that has
befallen thee, because so long expected, and love has so well
fortified my heart, that I support our misfortunes with a courage
worthy of her that loves and is beloved by the glorious _Philander_; I
am armed for the worst that can befall me, and that is my being
rendered a public 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 retired from the world with the
charming _Philander_; my father too knew it long since, at least he
could not hinder himself from guessing it, though his fond indulgence
suffered his justice and his anger to sleep, and possibly had still
slept, had not _Myrtilla_’. spite and rage (I should say just
resentment, but I cannot) roused up his drowsy vengeance: I know she
has plied him with her softening eloquence, her prayers and tears, to
win him to consent to make a public business of it; but I am entered,
love has armed my soul, and I’ll pursue my fortune with that height of
fortitude as shall surprise the world; yes, _Philander_, since I 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 will thank the spiteful Fates that bring them on, and
will even tire them out with my unwearied passion. Love on,
_Philander_, if thou darest, 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 resolved heart, nor make
me shed a tear of penitence for loving thee; no, _Philander_, since I
know what a ravishing pleasure it is to live thine, I will never quit
the glory of dying also thy

SYLVIA.

Cesario, _my dear, is coming to be your bail; with_ Monsieur _the
Count of----I die to see you after your suffering for_ Sylvia.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

BELIEVE me, charming _Sylvia_, 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 _Sylvia_, 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 should afflict his lovely baby, takes care from hour to hour to
satisfy her tender doubting heart. My dearest, I am gone into the city
to my advocate’s, my trial with _Monsieur_ the Count, your father,
coming on to-morrow, and it will be at least two tedious hours ere I
can bring my adorable her

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

I was called on, my dearest child, at my advocate’s 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
_Sylvia_; I die if you are taken, lest the fright should hurt thee; if
possible, I would have thee remove this evening from those lodgings,
lest the people, who are of the royal party, should be induced through
malice or gain to discover thee; I dare not come myself to wait on
thee, lest my being seen should betray thee, but I have sent
_Brilliard_ (whose zeal for thee shall be rewarded) to conduct thee to
a little house in the _Faubourg St Germain_, where lives a pretty
woman, and mistress to _Chevalier Tomaso_, called _Belinda_, a woman
of wit, and discreet enough to understand what ought to be paid to a
maid of the quality and character of _Sylvia_; 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 _Sylvia_, I shall
one day recompense all thy goodness, all thy bravery, thy love and thy
suffering for thy eternal lover and slave,

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

So hasty I was to obey _Philander_’. commands, that by the unwearied
care and industry of the faithful _Brilliard_, I went before three
o’clock disguised away to the place whither you ordered us, and was
well received 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 should boast, as the most divine passion of the soul; no,
no, _Philander_, it is not my love’s the criminal, no, not the placing
it on _Philander_ the crime, but it is 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 joined ye, and curst be
all that did contribute to the undoing ceremony----except
_Philander_’. tongue, that answered yes--oh, heavens! Was there but
one dear man of all your whole creation that could charm the soul of
_Sylvia_! And could ye--oh, ye wise all-seeing powers that knew my
soul, could ye give him away? How had my innocence offended ye? Our
hearts you did create for mutual love, how came the dire mistake?

Another would have pleased the indifferent _Myrtilla_’. soul as well,
but mine was fitted for no other man; only _Philander_, the adored
_Philander_, with that dear form, that shape, that charming face, that
hair, those lovely speaking eyes, that wounding softness in his tender
voice, had power to conquer _Sylvia_; and can this be a sin? Oh,
heavens, can it? Must laws, which man contrived for mere conveniency,
have power to alter the divine decrees at our creation?--Perhaps they
argue to-morrow at the bar, that _Myrtilla_ was ordained by heaven for
_Philander_; no, no, he mistook the sister, it was pretty near he
came, but by a fatal error was mistaken; his hasty youth made him too
negligently stop before his time at the wrong woman, he should have
gazed a little farther on--and then it had been _Sylvia_’. lot----It
is fine divinity they teach, that cry marriages are made in
heaven--folly and madness grown into grave custom; should an unheedy
youth in heat of blood take up with the first convenient she that
offers, though he 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 allayed, and that the sober morning wakes
him to see his error, he quits with shame the jilt, and owns no more
the folly; shall this be called a heavenly conjunction? Were I in
height of youth, as now I am, forced by my parents, obliged by
interest and honour, to marry the old, deformed, diseased, decrepit
Count _Anthonio_, whose person, qualities and principles I loathe, and
rather than suffer him to consummate his nuptials, suppose I should
(as sure I should) kill myself, it were blasphemy to lay this fatal
marriage to heaven’s charge----curse on your nonsense, ye imposing
gownmen, curse on your holy cant; you may as well call rapes and
murders, treason and robbery, the acts of heaven; because heaven
suffers them to be committed. Is it heaven’s pleasure therefore,
heaven’s decree? A trick, a wise device of priests, no more----to make
the nauseated, tired-out pair drag on the careful business of life,
drudge for the dull-got family with greater satisfaction, because they
are 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 it loves
less than those that marry? And where love is not, there is hate and
loathing at best, disgust, disquiet, noise and repentance: no,
_Philander_, that’s a heavenly match when two souls touched with equal
passion meet, (which is but rarely seen)--when willing vows, with
serious considerations, are weighed and made, when a true view is
taken of the soul, when no base interest makes the hasty bargain, when
no conveniency or design, or drudge, or slave, shall find it
necessary, when equal judgements meet that can esteem the blessings
they possess, and distinguish the good of either’s love, and set a
value on each other’s merits, and where both understand to take and
pay; who find the beauty of each other’s minds and rate them 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, uttered with love, with joy, with
dear delight, when heaven is called 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

SYLVIA.

_Since I writ this, which I designed not an invective against
marriage, when I began, but to inform thee of my being where you
directed; but since I write this, I say, the house where I am is
broken open with warrants and officers for me, but being all undressed
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_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

My eternal joy, my affliction is inexpressible at the news you send me
of your being surprised; I am not able to wait on thee yet--not being
suffered to leave the cabal, I only borrow this minute to tell thee
the sense of my advocate in this case; which was, if thou should be
taken, there was no way, no law to save thee from being ravished from
my arms, but that of marrying thee to some body whom I can trust; this
we have often discoursed, and thou hast often vowed 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 would fright
thee, only can preserve both thee and me; it is--and though it have no
other terror in it than the name, I faint to speak it--to marry,
_Sylvia_; yes, thou must marry; though thou art mine as fast as heaven
can make us, yet thou must marry; I have pitched upon the property, it
is _Brilliard_, him I can only trust in this affair; it is but joining
hands--no more, my _Sylvia_,--_Brilliard_ is a gentleman, though a
_cadet_, and may be supposed to pretend to so great a happiness, and
whose only crime is want of fortune; he is handsome too, well made,
well bred, and so much real esteem he has for me, and I have so
obliged him, that I am confident he will pretend no farther than to
the honour of owning thee in Court; I’ll time him from it, nay, he
dares not do it, I will trust him with my life--but oh, _Sylvia_ is
more--think of it, and this night we will perform it, there being no
other way to keep _Sylvia_ eternally

PHILANDER’s.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

Now, my adorable _Sylvia_, you have truly need of all that heroic
bravery of mind I ever thought thee mistress of; for _Sylvia_, coming
from thee this morning, and riding full speed for _Paris_, I was met,
stopped, and seized for high-treason by the King’s messengers, and
possibly may fall a sacrifice to the anger of an incensed monarch. My
_Sylvia_, bear this last shock of fate with a courage worthy thy great
and glorious soul; ‘tis but a little separation, _Sylvia_, and we
shall one day meet again; by heaven, I find no other sting in death
but parting with my _Sylvia_, and every parting would have been the
same; I might have died by thy disdain, thou might’st have grown weary
of thy _Philander_, have loved another, and have broke thy vows, and
tortured me to death these crueller ways: but fate is kinder to me,
and I go blest with my _Sylvia_’., love, for which heaven may do
much, for her dear sake, to recompense her faith, a maid so innocent
and true to sacred love; expect the best, my lovely dear, the worst
has this comfort in it, that I shall die my charming _Sylvia_’.

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I’LL, only say, thou dear supporter of my soul, that if _Philander_
dies, he shall not go to heaven without his _Sylvia_--by heaven and
earth I swear it, I cannot live without thee, nor shall thou die
without thy

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

SEE, see my adorable angel, what care the powers above take of divine
innocence, true love and beauty; oh, see what they have done for their
darling _Sylvia_; could they do less?

Know, my dear maid, that after being examined before the King, I was
found guilty enough to be committed to the _Bastille_, (from whence,
if I had gone, I had never returned, 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 resolved to kill, if I could no
other way oblige him to favour my escape; I tried with gold before I
shewed my dagger, and that prevailed, a way less criminal, and I have
taken sanctuary in a small cottage near the sea-shore, where I wait
for _Sylvia_; and though my life depend upon my flight, nay, more, the
life of _Sylvia_, I cannot go without her; dress yourself then, my
dearest, in your boy’s clothes, and haste with _Brilliant_, whither
this seaman will conduct thee, whom I have hired to set us on some
shore of safety; bring what news you can learn of _Cesario_; I would
not have him die poorly after all his mighty hopes, nor be conducted
to a scaffold with shouts of joys, by that uncertain beast the rabble,
who used to stop his chariot-wheels with fickle adorations whenever he
looked abroad--by heaven, I pity him; but _Sylvia_’. presence will
chase away all thoughts, but those of love, from

PHILANDER.

_I need not bid thee haste._


_The End of the first Part._



Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister



Part II.



At the end of the first part of these letters, we left _Philander_
impatiently waiting on the sea-shore for the approach of the lovely
_Sylvia_; who accordingly came to him dressed like a youth, to secure
herself from a discovery. They stayed not long to caress each other,
but he taking the welcome maid in his arms, with a transported joy
bore her to a small vessel, that lay ready near the beach; where, with
only _Brilliard_ and two men servants, they put to sea, and passed
into _Holland_, landing at the nearest port; where, after having
refreshed themselves for two or three days, they passed forwards
towards the _Brill_, _Sylvia_ still remaining under that amiable
disguise: but in their passage from town to town, which is sometimes
by coach, and other times by boat, they chanced one day to encounter a
young _Hollander_ of a more than ordinary gallantry for that country,
so degenerate from good manners, and almost common civility, and so
far short of all the good qualities that made themselves appear in
this young nobleman. He was very handsome, well made, well dressed,
and very well attended; and whom we will call _Octavio_, and who,
young as he was, was one of the _States_ of _Holland_; he spoke
admirable good _French_, and had a vivacity and quickness of wit
unusual with the natives of that part of the world, and almost above
all the rest of his sex: _Philander_ and _Sylvia_ having already
agreed for the cabin of the vessel that was to carry them to the next
stage, _Octavio_ came too late to have any place there but amongst the
common crowd; which the master of the vessel, who knew him, was much
troubled at, and addressed himself as civilly as he could to
_Philander_, to beg permission for one stranger of quality to dispose
of himself in the cabin for that day: _Philander_ being well enough
pleased, so to make an acquaintance with some of power of that
country, readily consented; and _Octavio_ entered with an address so
graceful and obliging, that at first sight he inclined _Philander_’.,
heart to a friendship with him; and on the other side the lovely
person of _Philander_, the quality that appeared in his face and mien,
obliged _Octavio_ to become no less his admirer. But when he saluted
_Sylvia_, who appeared to him a youth of quality, he was extremely
charmed with her pretty gaiety, and an unusual air and life in her
address and motion; he felt a secret joy and pleasure play about his
soul, he knew not why, and was almost angry, that he felt such an
emotion for a youth, though the most lovely that he ever saw. After
the first compliments, they fell into discourse of a thousand
indifferent things, and if he were pleased at first sight with the two
lovers, he was wholly charmed by their conversation, especially that
of the amiable youth; who well enough pleased with the young stranger,
or else hitherto having met nothing so accomplished in her short
travels; and indeed despairing to meet any such; she put on all her
gaiety and charms of wit, and made as absolute a conquest as it was
possible for her supposed sex to do over a man, who was a great
admirer of the other; and surely the lovely maid never appeared so
charming and desirable as that day; they dined together in the cabin;
and after dinner reposed on little mattresses by each other’s side,
where every motion, every limb, as carelessly she lay, discovered a
thousand graces, and more and more enflamed the now beginning lover;
she could not move, nor smile, nor speak, nor order any charm about
her, but had some peculiar grace that began to make him uneasy; and
from a thousand little modesties, both in her blushes and motions, he
had a secret hope she was not what she seemed, but of that sex whereof
she discovered so many softnesses and beauties; though to what
advantage that hope would amount to his repose, was yet a disquiet he
had not considered nor felt: nor could he by any fondness between
them, or indiscretion of love, conceive how the lovely strangers were
allied; he only hoped, and had no thoughts of fear, or any thing that
could check his new beginning flame. While thus they passed the
afternoon, they asked a thousand questions, of lovers, of the country
and manners, and their security and civility to strangers; to all
which _Octavio_ answered as a man, who would recommend the place and
persons purely to oblige their stay; for now self-interest makes him
say all things in favour of it; and of his own friendship, offers them
all the service of a man in power, and who could make an interest in
those that had more than himself; much he protested, much he offered,
and yet no more than he designed to make good on all occasions, which
they received with an acknowledgement that plainly discovered a
generosity and quality above the common rate of men; so that finding
in each other occasions for love and friendship, they mutually
professed it, and nobly entertained it. _Octavio_ told his name and
quality, left nothing unsaid that might confirm the lovers of his
sincerity. This begot a confidence in _Philander_, who in return told
him so much of his circumstances, as sufficed to let him know he was a
person so unfortunate to have occasioned the displeasure of his king
against him, and that he could not continue with any repose in that
kingdom, whose monarch thought him no longer fit for those honours he
had before received: _Octavio_ renewed his protestations of serving
him with his interest and fortune, which the other receiving with all
the gallant modesty of an unfortunate man, they came ashore, where
_Octavio_’. coaches and equipage waiting his coming to conduct him to
his house, he offered his new friends the best of them to carry them
to their lodging, which he had often pressed might be his own palace;
but that being refused as too great an honour, he would himself see
them placed in some one, which he thought might be most suitable to
their quality; they excused the trouble, but he pressed too eagerly to
be denied, and he conducted them to a merchant’s house not far from
his own, so love had contrived for the better management of this new
affair of his heart, which he resolved to pursue, be the fair object
of what sex soever: but after having well enough recommended them to
the care of the merchant, he thought it justice to leave them to their
rest, though with abundance of reluctancy; so took his leave of both
the lovely strangers, and went to his own home. And after a hasty
supper got himself up to bed: not to sleep; for now he had other
business: love took him now to task, and asked his heart a thousand
questions. Then it was he found the idea of that fair unknown had
absolute possession there: nor was he at all displeased to find he was
a captive; his youth and quality promise his hopes a thousand
advantages above all other men: but when he reflected on the beauty of
Philander, on his charming youth and conversation, and every grace
that adorns a conqueror, he grew inflamed, disordered, restless,
angry, and out of love with his own attractions; considered every
beauty of his own person, and found them, or at least thought them
infinitely short of those of his now fancied rival; yet it was a rival
that he could not hate, nor did his passion abate one thought of his
friendship for Philander, but rather more increased it, insomuch that
he once resolved it should surmount his love if possible, at least he
left it on the upper-hand, till time should make a better discovery.
When tired with thought we’ll suppose him asleep, and see how our
lovers fared; who being lodged all on one stair-case (that is,
Philander, Sylvia, and Brilliard) it was not hard for the lover to
steal into the longing arms of the expecting _Sylvia_; no fatigues of
tedious journeys, and little voyages, had abated her fondness, or his
vigour; the night was like the first, all joy! All transport!
_Brilliard_ lay so near as to be a witness to all their sighs of love,
and little soft murmurs, who now began from a servant to be permitted
as an humble companion; since he had had the honour of being married
to _Sylvia_, though yet he durst not lift his eyes or thoughts that
way; yet it might be perceived he was melancholy and sullen whenever
he saw their dalliances; nor could he know the joys his lord nightly
stole, without an impatience, which, if but minded or known, perhaps
had cost him his life. He began, from the thoughts she was his wife,
to fancy fine enjoyment, to fancy authority which he durst not assume,
and often wished his lord would grow cold, as possessing lovers do,
that then he might advance his hope, when he should even abandon or
slight her: he could not see her kissed without blushing with
resentment; but if he has assisted to undress him for her bed, he was
ready to die with anger, and would grow sick, and leave the office to
himself: he could not see her naked charms, her arms stretched out to
receive a lover, with impatient joy, without madness; to see her clasp
him fast, when he threw himself into her soft, white bosom, and
smother him with kisses: no, he could not bear it now, and almost lost
his respect when he beheld it, and grew saucy unperceived. And it was
in vain that he looked back upon the reward he had to stand for that
necessary cypher a husband. In vain he considered the reasons why, and
the occasion wherefore; he now seeks precedents of usurped dominion,
and thinks she is his wife, and has forgot that he is her creature,
and _Philander_’. vassal. These thoughts disturbed him all the night,
and a certain jealousy, or rather curiosity to listen to every motion
of the lovers, while they were employed after a different manner.

Next day it was debated what was best to be done, as to their conduct
in that place; or whether _Sylvia_ should yet own her sex or not; but
she, pleased with the cavalier in herself, begged she might live under
that disguise, which indeed gave her a thousand charms to those which
nature had already bestowed on her sex; and Philander was well enough
pleased she should continue in that agreeable dress, which did not
only add to her beauty, but gave her a thousand little privileges,
which otherwise would have been denied to women, though in a country
of much freedom. Every day she appeared in the Tour, she failed not to
make a conquest on some unguarded heart of the fair sex: not was it
long ere she received _billets-doux_ from many of the most
accomplished who could speak and write _French_. This gave them a
pleasure in the midst of her unlucky exile, and she failed not to
boast her conquests to Octavio, who every day gave all his hours to
love, under the disguise of friendship, and every day received new
wounds, both from her conversation and beauty, and every day confirmed
him more in his first belief, that she was a woman; and that confirmed
his love. But still he took care to hide his passion with a gallantry,
that was natural to him, and to very few besides; and he managed his
eyes, which were always full of love, so equally to both, that when he
was soft and fond it appeared more his natural humour, than from any
particular cause. And that you may believe that all the arts of
gallantry, and graces of good management were more peculiarly his than
another’s, his race was illustrious, being descended from that of the
Princes of _Orange_, and great birth will shine through, and shew
itself in spite of education and obscurity: but _Octavio_ had all
those additions that render a man truly great and brave; and this is
the character of him that was next undone by our unfortunate and fatal
beauty. At this rate for some time they lived thus disguised under
feigned names, _Octavio_ omitting nothing that might oblige them in
the highest degree, and hardly any thing was talked of but the new and
beautiful strangers, whose conquests in all places over the ladies are
well worthy, both for their rarity and comedy, to be related entirely
by themselves in a novel. _Octavio_ saw every day with abundance of
pleasure the little revenges of love, on those women’s hearts who had
made before little conquests over him, and strove by all the gay
presents he made a young _Fillmond_ (for so they called _Sylvia_,) to
make him appear unresistible to the ladies; and while _Sylvia_ gave
them new wounds, _Octavio_ failed not to receive them too among the
crowd, till at last he became a confirmed slave, to the lovely
unknown; and that which was yet more strange, she captivated the men
no less than the women, who often gave her _serenades_ under her
window, with songs fitted to the courtship of a boy, all which added
to their diversion: but fortune had smiled long enough, and now grew
weary of obliging, she was resolved to undeceive both sexes, and let
them see the errors of their love; for _Sylvia_ fell into a fever so
violent, that _Philander_ no longer hoped for her recovery, insomuch
that she was obliged to own her sex, and take women servants out of
decency. This made the first discovery of who and what they were, and
for which every body languished under a secret grief. But _Octavio_,
who now was not only confirmed she was a woman, but that she was
neither wife to _Philander_, nor could in almost all possibility ever
be so; that she was his mistress, gave him hope that she might one day
as well be conquered by him; and he found her youth, her beauty, and
her quality, merited all his pains of lavish courtship. And now there
remains no more than the fear of her dying to oblige him immediately
to a discovery of his passion, too violent now by his new hope to be
longer concealed, but decency forbids he should now pursue the dear
design; he waited and made vows for her recovery; visited her, and
found _Philander_ the most deplorable object that despair and love
could render him, who lay eternally weeping on her bed, and no counsel
or persuasion could remove him thence; but if by chance they made him
sensible it was for her repose, he would depart to ease his mind by
new torments, he would rave and tear his delicate hair, sigh and weep
upon _Octavio_’. bosom, and a thousand times begin to unfold the
story, already known to the generous rival; despair, and hopes of pity
from him, made him utter all: and one day, when by the advice of the
physician he was forced to quit the chamber to give her rest, he
carried _Octavio_ to his own, and told him from the beginning, all the
story of his love with the charming _Sylvia_, and with it all the
story of his fate: _Octavio_ sighing (though glad of the opportunity)
told him his affairs were already but too well known, and that he
feared his safety from that discovery, since the States had obliged
themselves to harbour no declared enemy to the _French_ King. At this
news our young unfortunate shewed a resentment that was so moving,
that even _Octavio_, who felt a secret joy at the thoughts of his
departure, could no longer refrain from pity and tenderness, even to a
wish that he were less unhappy, and never to part from _Sylvia_: but
love soon grew again triumphant in his heart, and all he could say
was, that he would afford him the aids of all his power in this
encounter; which, with the acknowledgements of a lover, whose life
depended on it, he received, and parted with him, who went to learn
what was decreed in Council concerning him. While _Philander_ returned
to _Sylvia_, the most dejected lover that ever fate produced, when he
had not sighed away above an hour, but received a billet by
_Octavio_’. page from his lord; he went to his own apartment to read
it, fearing it might contain something too sad for him to be able to
hold his temper at the reading of, and which would infallibly have
disturbed the repose of _Sylvia_, who shared in every cruel thought of
_Philander_’.: when he was alone he opened it, and read this.

OCTAVIO _to_ PHILANDER.

_My Lord_,

I had rather die than be the ungrateful messenger of news, which I am
sensible will prove too fatal to you, and which will be best expressed
in fewest words: it is decreed that you must retire from the United
Provinces in four and twenty hours, if you will save a life that is
dear to me and _Sylvia_, there being no other security against your
being rendered up to the King of _France_. Support it well, and hope
all things from the assistance of your

OCTAVIO.

_From the Council, Wednesday_.

_Philander_ having finished the reading of this, remained a while
wholly without life or motion, when coming to himself, he sighed and
cried,--’Why--farewell trifling life--if of the two extremes one must
be chosen, rather than I’ll abandon _Sylvia_, I’ll stay and be
delivered up a victim to incensed _France_--It is but a life--at best
I never valued thee--and now I scorn to preserve thee at the price of
_Sylvia_’. tears!’ Then taking a hasty turn or two about his chamber,
he pausing cried,--’But by my stay I ruin both _Sylvia_ and myself,
her life depends on mine; and it is impossible hers can be preserved
when mine is in danger: by retiring I shall shortly again be blessed
with her sight in a more safe security, by staying I resign myself
poorly to be made a public scorn to _France_, and the cruel murderer
of _Sylvia_.’ Now, it was after an hundred turns and pauses,
intermixed with sighs and ravings, that he resolved for both their
safeties to retire; and having a while longer debated within himself
how, and where, and a little time ruminated on his hard pursuing fate,
grown to a calm of grief, (less easy to be borne than rage) he hastes
to _Sylvia_, whom he found something more cheerful than before, but
dares not acquaint her with the commands he had to depart----But
silently he views her, while tears of love and grief glide
unperceivably from his fine eyes, his soul grows tenderer at every
look, and pity and compassion joining to his love and his despair, set
him on the wreck of life; and now believing it less pain to die than
to leave _Sylvia_, resolves to disobey, and dare the worst that shall
befall him; he had some glimmering hope, as lovers have, that some
kind chance will prevent his going, or being delivered up; he trusts
much to the friendship of _Octavio_, whose power joined with that of
his uncle, (who was one of the _States_ also, and whom he had an
ascendant over, as his nephew and his heir) might serve him; he
therefore ventures to move him to compassion by this following letter.

PHILANDER _to_ OCTAVIO.

I know, my lord, that the exercise of virtue and justice is so innate
to your soul, and fixed to the very principle of a generous
commonwealth’s man, that where those are in competition, it is neither
birth, wealth, or glorious merit, that can render the unfortunate
condemned by you, worthy of your pity or pardon: your very sons and
fathers fall before your justice, and it is crime enough to offend
(though innocently) the least of your wholesome laws, to fall under
the extremity of their rigour. I am not ignorant neither how
flourishing this necessary tyranny, this lawful oppression renders
your State; how safe and glorious, how secure from enemies at home,
(those worst of foes) and how feared by those abroad: pursue then,
sir, your justifiable method, and still be high and mighty, retain
your ancient Roman virtue, and still be great as _Rome_ herself in her
height of glorious commonwealths; rule your stubborn natives by her
excellent examples, and let the height of your ambition be only to be
as severely just, as rigidly good as you please; but like her too, be
pitiful to strangers, and dispense a noble charity to the distressed,
compassionate a poor wandering young man, who flies to you for refuge,
lost to his native home, lost to his fame, his fortune, and his
friends; and has only left him the knowledge of his innocence to
support him from falling on his own sword, to end an unfortunate life,
pursued every where, and safe no where; a life whose only refuge is
_Octavio_’. goodness; nor is it barely to preserve this life that I
have recourse to that only as my sanctuary, and like an humble slave
implore your pity: oh, _Octavio_, pity my youth, and intercede for my
stay yet a little longer: yourself makes one of the illustrious number
of the grave, the wise and mighty Council, your uncle and relations
make up another considerable part of it, and you are too dear to all,
to find a refusal of your just and compassionate application. Oh! What
fault have I committed against you, that I should not find a safety
here; as well as those charged with the same crime with me, though of
less quality? Many I have encountered here of our unlucky party, who
find a safety among you: is my birth a crime? Or does the greatness of
that augment my guilt? Have I broken any of your laws, committed any
outrage? Do they suspect me for a spy to _France_! Or do I hold any
correspondence with that ungrateful nation? Does my religion,
principle, or opinion differ from yours? Can I design the subversion
of your glorious State? Can I plot, cabal, or mutiny alone? Oh charge
me with some offence, or yourselves of injustice. Say, why am I denied
my length of earth amongst you, if I die? Or why to breathe the open
air, if I live, since I shall neither oppress the one, nor infect the
other? But on the contrary am ready with my sword, my youth and blood
to serve you, and bring my little aids on all occasions to yours: and
should be proud of the glory to die for you in battle, who would
deliver me up a sacrifice to _France_. Oh! where, _Octavio_, is the
glory or virtue of this _punctilio_? For it is no other: there are no
laws that bind you to it, no obligatory article of Nations, but an
unnecessary compliment made a _nemine contradicente_ of your senate,
that argues nothing but ill nature, and cannot redound to any one’s
advantage; an ill nature that’s levelled at me alone; for many I found
here, and many shall leave under the same circumstances with me; it is
only me whom you have marked out the victim to atone for all: well
then, my lord, if nothing can move you to a safety for this
unfortunate, at least be so merciful to suspend your cruelty a little,
yet a little, and possibly I shall render you the body of _Philander_,
though dead, to send into _France_, as the trophy of your fidelity to
that Crown: oh yet a little stay your cruel sentence, till my lovely
sister, who pursued my hard fortunes, declare my fate by her life or
death: oh, my lord, if ever the soft passion of love have touched your
soul, if you have felt the unresistible force of young charms about
your heart, if ever you have known a pain and pleasure from fair eyes,
or the transporting joys of beauty, pity a youth undone by love and
ambition, those powerful conquerors of the young----pity, oh pity a
youth that dies, and will ere long no more complain upon your rigours.
Yes, my lord, he dies without the force of a terrifying sentence,
without the grim reproaches of an angry judge, without the soon
consulted arbitrary----guilty of a severe and hasty jury, without the
ceremony of the scaffold, axe, and hangman, and the clamours of
inconsidering crowds; all which melancholy ceremonies render death so
terrible, which else would fall like gentle slumbers upon the
eye-lids, and which in field I would encounter with that joy I would
the sacred thing I love! But oh, I fear my fate is in the lovely
_Sylvia_, and in her dying eyes you may read it, in her languishing
face you will see how near it is approached. Ah, will you not suffer
me to attend it there? By her dear side I shall fall as calmly as
flowers from their stalks, without regret or pain: will you, by
forcing me to die from her, run me to a madness? To wild distraction?
Oh think it sufficient that I die here before half my race of youth be
run, before the light be half burnt out, that might have conducted me
to a world of glory! Alas, she dies=-the lovely _Sylvia_ dies; she is
sighing out a soul to which mine is so entirely fixed, that they must
go upward together; yes, yes, she breathes it sick into my bosom, and
kindly gives mine its disease of death: let us at least then die in
silence quietly; and if it please heaven to restore the languished
charmer, I will resign myself up to all your rigorous honour; only let
me bear my treasure with me, while we wander over the world to seek us
out a safety in some part of it, where pity and compassion is no
crime, where men have tender hearts, and have heard of the god of
love; where politics are not all the business of the powerful, but
where civility and good nature reign.

Perhaps, my lord, you will wonder I plead no weightier argument for my
stay than love, or the griefs and tears of a languishing maid: but,
oh! they are such tears as every drop would ransom lives, and nothing
that proceeds from her charming eyes can be valued at a less rate! In
pity to her, to me, and your amorous youths, let me bear her hence:
for should she look abroad as her own sex, should she appear in her
natural and proper beauty, alas they were undone. Reproach not (my
lord) the weakness of this confession, and which I make with more
glory than could I boast myself lord of all the universe: if it appear
a fault to the more grave and wise, I hope my youth will plead
something for my excuse. Oh say, at least, it was pity that love had
the ascendant over _Philander_’. soul, say it was his destiny, but say
withal, that it put no stop to his advance to glory; rather it set an
edge upon his sword, and gave wings to his ambition!--Yes, try me in
your Councils, prove me in your camps, place me in any hazard--but
give me love! And leave me to wait the life or death of _Sylvia_, and
then dispose as you please, my lord, of your unfortunate

PHILANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

OCTAVIO _to_ PHILANDER.

_My Lord_,

I am much concerned, that a request so reasonable as you have made,
will be of so little force with these arbitrary tyrants of State; and
though you have addressed and appealed to me as one of that grave and
rigid number, (though without one grain of their formalities, and I
hope age, which renders us less gallant, and more envious of the joys
and liberties of youth, will never reduce me to so dull and
thoughtless a Member of State) yet I have so small and single a
portion of their power, that I am ashamed of my incapacity of serving
you in this great affair. I bear the honour and the name, it is true,
of glorious sway; but I can boast but of the worst and most impotent
part of it, the title only; but the busy, absolute, mischievous
politician finds no room in my soul, my humour, or constitution; and
plodding restless power I have made so little the business of my gayer
and more careless youth, that I have even lost my right of rule, my
share of empire amongst them. That little power (whose unregarded loss
I never bemoaned till it rendered me incapable of serving _Philander_)
I have stretched to the utmost bound for your stay; insomuch that I
have received many reproaches from the wiser coxcombs, have made my
youth’s little debauches hinted on, and judgements made of you
(disadvantageous) from my friendship to you; a friendship, which, my
lord, at first sight of you found a being in my soul, and which your
wit, your goodness, your greatness, and your misfortunes have improved
to all the degrees of it: though I am infinitely unhappy that it
proves of no use to you here, and that the greatest testimony I can
now render of it, is to warn you of your approaching danger, and
hasten your departure, for there is no safety in your stay. I just now
heard what was decreed against you in Council, which no pleading, nor
eloquence of friendship had force enough to evade. Alas, I had but one
single voice in the number, which I sullenly and singly gave, and
which unregarded passed. Go then, my lord, haste to some place where
good breeding and humanity reigns: go and preserve _Sylvia_, in
providing for your own safety; and believe me, till she be in a
condition to pursue your fortunes, I will take such care that nothing
shall be wanting to her recovery here, in order to her following after
you. I am, alas, but too sensible of all the pains you must endure by
such a separation; for I am neither insensible, nor incapable of love,
or any of its violent effects: go then, my lord, and preserve the
lovely maid in your flight, since your stay and danger will serve but
to hasten on her death: go and be satisfied she shall find a
protection suitable to her sex, her innocence, her beauty, and her
quality; and that wherever you fix your stay, she shall be resigned to
your arms by, my lord, your eternal friend and humble servant,

OCTAVIO.

_Lest in this sudden remove you should want money, I have sent you
several Bills of Exchange to what place soever you arrive, and what
you want more (make no scruple to use me as a friend and) command._

After this letter finding no hopes, but on the contrary a dire
necessity of departing, he told _Brilliard_ his misfortune, and asked
his counsel in this extremity of affairs. _Brilliard_, (who of a
servant was become a rival) you may believe, gave him such advice as
might remove him from the object he adored. But after a great deal of
dissembled trouble, the better to hide his joy, he gave his advice for
his going, with all the arguments that appeared reasonable enough to
_Philander_; and at every period urged, that his life being dear to
_Sylvia_, and on which hers so immediately depended, he ought no
longer to debate, but hasten his flight: to all which counsel our
amorous hero, with a soul ready to make its way through his trembling
body, gave a sighing unwilling assent. It was now no longer a dispute,
but was concluded he must go; but how was the only question. How
should he take his farewell? How he should bid adieu, and leave the
dear object of his soul in an estate so hazardous? He formed a
thousand sad ideas to torment himself with fancying he should never
see her more, that he should hear that she was dead, though now she
appeared on this side the grave, and had all the signs of a declining
disease. He fancied absence might make her cold, and abate her passion
to him; that her powerful beauty might attract adorers, and she being
but a woman, and no part angel but her form,’.was not expected she
should want her sex’s frailties. Now he could consider how he had won
her, how by importunity and opportunity she had at last yielded to
him, and therefore might to some new gamester, when he was not by to
keep her heart in continual play: then it was that all the despair of
jealous love, the throbs and piercing of a violent passion seized his
timorous and tender heart, he fancied her already in some new lover’s
arms, and ran over all these soft enjoyments he had with her; and
fancied with tormenting thought, that so another would possess her;
till racked with tortures, he almost fainted on the repose on which he
was set: but _Brilliard_ roused and endeavoured to convince him, told
him he hoped his fear was needless, and that he would take all the
watchful care imaginable of her conduct, be a spy upon her virtue, and
from time to time give him notice of all that should pass! Bid him
consider her quality, and that she was no common mistress whom hire
could lead astray; and that if from the violence of her passion, or
her most severe fate, she had yielded to the most charming of men, he
ought as little to imagine she could be again a lover, as that she
could find an object of equal beauty with that of _Philander_. In
fine, he soothed and flattered him into so much ease, that he resolves
to take his leave for a day or two, under pretence of meeting and
consulting with some of the rebel party; and that he would return
again to her by that time it might be imagined her fever might be
abated, and _Sylvia_ in a condition to receive the news of his being
gone for a longer time, and to know all his affairs. While _Brilliard_
prepared all things necessary for his departure, _Philander_ went to
_Sylvia_; from whom, having been absent two tedious hours, she caught
him in her arms with a transport of joy, reproached him with want of
love, for being absent so long: but still the more she spoke soft
sighing words of love, the more his soul was seized with melancholy,
his sighs redoubled, and he could not refrain from letting fall some
tears upon her bosom----which _Sylvia_ perceiving, with a look and a
trembling in her voice, that spoke her fears, she cried, ‘Oh
_Philander_! These are unusual marks of your tenderness; oh tell me,
tell me quickly what they mean.’ He answered with a sigh, and she went
on--’It is so, I am undone, it is your lost vows, your broken faith
you weep; yes, _Philander_, you find the flower of my beauty faded,
and what you loved before, you pity now, and these be the effects of
it.’ Then sighing, as if his soul had been departing on her neck, he
cried, ‘By heaven, by all the powers of love, thou art the same dear
charmer that thou wert;’ then pressing her body to his bosom, he
sighed anew as if his heart were breaking--’I know’ (says she)
’.Philander_, there is some hidden cause that gives these sighs their
way, and that dear face a paleness. Oh tell me all; for she that could
abandon all for thee, can dare the worst of fate: if thou must quit
me----oh _Philander_, if it must be so, I need not stay the lingering
death of a feeble fever; I know a way more noble and more sudden.’
Pleased at her resolution, which almost destroyed his jealousy and
fears, a thousand times he kissed her, mixing his grateful words and
thanks with sighs; and finding her fair hands (which he put often to
his mouth) to increase their fires, and her pulse to be more high and
quick, fearing to relapse her into her (abating) fever, he forced a
smile, and told her, he had no griefs, but what she made him feel, no
torments but her sickness, nor sighs but for her pain, and left
nothing unsaid that might confirm her he was still more and more her
slave; and concealing his design in favour of her health, he ceased
not vowing and protesting, till he had settled her in all the
tranquillity of a recovering beauty. And as since her first illness he
had never departed from her bed, so now this night he strove to appear
in her arms with all that usual gaiety of love that her condition
would permit, or his circumstances could feign, and leaving her asleep
at day-break (with a force upon his soul that cannot be conceived but
by parting lovers) he stole from her arms, and retiring to his
chamber, he soon got himself ready for his flight, and departed. We
will leave _Sylvia_’. ravings to be expressed by none but herself, and
tell you that after about fourteen days’ absence, _Octavio_ received
this letter from _Philander_.

PHILANDER _to_ OCTAVIO.

Being safely arrived at _Cologne_, and by a very pretty and lucky
adventure lodged in the house of the best quality in the town, I find
myself much more at ease than I thought it possible to be without
_Sylvia_, from whom I am nevertheless impatient to hear; I hope
absence appears not so great a bugbear to her as it was imagined: for
I know not what effects it would have on me to hear her griefs
exceeded a few sighs and tears: those my kind absence has taught me to
allow and bear without much pain, but should her love transport her to
extremes of rage and despair, I fear I should quit my safety here, and
give her the last proof of my love and my compassion, throw myself at
her feet, and expose my life to preserve hers. Honour would oblige me
to it. I conjure you, my dear _Octavio_, by all the friendship you
have vowed me, (and which I no longer doubt) let me speedily know how
she bears my absence, for on that knowledge depends a great deal of
the satisfaction of my life; carry her this enclosed which I have writ
her, and soften my silent departure, which possibly may appear rude
and unkind, plead my pardon, and give her the story of my necessity of
offending, which none can so well relate as yourself; and from a mouth
so eloquent to a maid so full of love, will soon reconcile me to her
heart. With her letter I send you a bill to pay her 2000 patacons,
which I have paid _Vander Hanskin_ here, as his letter will inform
you, as also those bills I received of you at my departure, having
been supplied by an _English_ merchant here, who gave me credit. It
will be an age, till I hear from you, and receive the news of the
health of _Sylvia_, than which two blessings nothing will be more
welcome to, generous _Octavio_, your

PHILANDER.

_Direct your letters for me to your merchant_ Vander Hanskin.

       *       *       *       *       *

PHILANDER _to_ SYLVIA.

There is no way left to gain my _Sylvia_’. pardon for leaving her, and
leaving her in such circumstances, but to tell her it was to preserve
a life which I believed entirely dear to her; but that unhappy crime
is too severely punished by the cruelties of my absence: believe me,
lovely _Sylvia_, I have felt all your pains, I have burnt with your
fever, and sighed with your oppressions; say, has my pain abated
yours? Tell me, and hasten my health by the assurance of your
recovery, or I have fled in vain from those dear arms to save my life,
of which I know not what account to give you, till I receive from you
the knowledge of your perfect health, the true state of mine. I can
only say I sigh, and have a sort of a being in _Cologne_, where I have
some more assurance of protection than I could hope I from those
interested brutes, who sent me from you; yet brutish as they are, I
know thou art safe from their clownish outrages. For were they
senseless as their fellow-monsters of the sea, they durst not profane
so pure an excellence as thine; the sullen boars would jouder out a
welcome to thee, and gape, I and wonder at thy awful beauty, though
they want the tender sense to know to what use it was made. Or if I
doubted their humanity, I cannot the friendship of _Octavio_, since he
has given me too good a proof of it, to leave me any fear that he
has not in my absence pursued those generous sentiments for _Sylvia_,
which he vowed to _Philander_, and of which this first proof must be
his relating the necessity of my absence, to set me well with my
adorable maid, who, better than I, can inform her; and that I rather
chose to quit you only for a short space, than reduce myself to the
necessity of losing you eternally. Let the satisfaction this ought to
give you retrieve your health and beauty, and put you into a condition
of restoring to me all my joys; that by pursuing the dictates of your
love, you may again bring the greatest happiness on earth to the arms
of your

PHILANDER.

POSTSCRIPT.

_My affairs here are yet so unsettled, that I can take no order for
your coming to me; but as soon as I know where I can fix with safety,
I shall make it my business and my happiness: adieu. Trust_ Octavio_,
with your letters only._

This letter _Octavio_ would not carry himself to her, who had omitted
no day, scarce an hour, wherein he saw not or sent not to the charming
_Sylvia_; but he found in that which _Philander_ had writ to him an
air of coldness altogether unusual with that passionate lover, and
infinitely short in point of tenderness to those he had formerly seen
of his, and from what he had heard him speak; so that he no longer
doubted (and the rather because he hoped it) but that _Philander_
found an abatement of that heat, which was wont to inspire at a more
amorous rate: this appearing declension he could not conceal from
_Sylvia_, at least to let her know he took notice of it; for he knew
her love was too quick-sighted and sensible to pass it unregarded; but
he with reason thought, that when she should find others observe the
little slight she had put on her, her pride (which is natural to women
in such cases) would decline and lessen her love for his rival. He
therefore sent his page with the letters enclosed in this from
himself.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

_Madam_,

From a little necessary debauch I made last night with the Prince, I
am forced to employ my page in those duties I ought to have performed
myself: he brings you, madam, a letter from _Philander_, as mine,
which I have also sent you, informs me; I should else have doubted it;
it is, I think, his character, and all he says of _Octavio_ confesses
the friend, but where he speaks of _Sylvia_ sure he disguises the
lover: I wonder the mask should be put on now to me, to whom before he
so frankly discovered the secrets of his amorous heart. It is a
mystery I would fain persuade myself he finds absolutely necessary to
his interest, and I hope you will make the same favourable
constructions of it, and not impute the lessened zeal wherewith he
treats the charming _Sylvia_ to any possible change or coldness, since
I am but too fatally sensible, that no man can arrive at the glory of
being beloved by you, that had ever power to shorten one link of that
dear chain that holds him, and you need but survey that adorable face,
to confirm your tranquillity; set a just value on your charms, and you
need no arguments to secure your everlasting empire, or to establish
it in what heart you please. This fatal truth I learned from your fair
eyes, ere they discovered to me your sex, and you may as soon change
to what I then believed you, as I from adoring what I now find you: if
all then, madam, that do but look on you become your slaves, and
languish for you, love on, even without hope, and die, what must
_Philander_ pay you, who has the mighty blessing of your love, your
vows, and all that renders the hours of amorous youth, sacred, glad,
and triumphant? But you know the conquering power of your charms too
well to need either this daring confession, or a defence of
_Philander_’. virtue from, madam, your obedient slave,

OCTAVIO.

_Sylvia_ had no sooner read this with blushes, and a thousand fears,
and trembling of what was to follow in _Philander_’. letters both to
_Octavio_ and to herself, but with an indignation agreeable to her
haughty soul, she cried--’How--slighted! And must _Octavio_ see it
too! By heaven, if I should find it true, he shall not dare to think
it.’ Then with a generous rage she broke open _Philander_’., letter;
and which she soon perceived did but too well prove the truth of
_Octavio_’. suspicion, and her own fears. She repeated it again and
again, and still she found more cause of grief and anger; love
occasioned the first, and pride the last; and, to a soul perfectly
haughty, as was that of _Sylvia_, it was hard to guess which had the
ascendant: she considered _Octavio_ to all the advantages that thought
could conceive in one, who was not a lover of him; she knew he
merited a heart, though she had none to give him; she found him
charming without having a tenderness for him; she found him young
and amorous without desire towards him; she found him great,
rich, powerful and generous without designing on him; and though she
knew her soul free from all passion, but that for _Philander_,
nevertheless she blushed and was angry, that he had thoughts no more
advantageous to the power of those charms, which she wish’d might
appear to him above her sex, it being natural to women to desire
conquests, though they hate the conquered; to glory in the triumph,
though they despise the slave: and she believed, while _Octavio_ had
so poor a sense of her beauty as to believe it could be forsaken, he
would adore it less: and first, to satisfy her pride, she left the
softer business of her heart to the next tormenting hour, and sent him
this careless answer by his page, believing, if she valued his
opinion; and therefore dissembled her thoughts, as women in those
cases ever do, who when most angry seem the most galliard, especially
when they have need of the friendship of those they flatter.

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

Is it indeed, _Octavio_, that you believe _Philander_ cold, or would
you make that a pretext to the declaration of your own passion? We
_French_ ladies are not so nicely tied up to the formalities of
virtue, but we can hear love at both ears: and if we receive not the
addresses of both, at least we are perhaps vain enough not to be
displeased to find we make new conquests. But you have made your
attack with so ill conduct, that I shall find force enough without
more aids to repulse you. Alas, my lord, did you believe my heart was
left unguarded when _Philander_ departed? No, the careful charming
lover left a thousand little gods to defend it, of no less power than
himself; young deities, who laugh at all your little arts and
treacheries, and scorn to resign their empire to any feeble _Cupids_
you can draw up against them: your thick foggy air breeds love too
dull and heavy for noble flights, nor can I stoop to them. The
_Flemish_ boy wants arrows keen enough for hearts like mine, and is a
bungler in his art, too lazy and remiss, rather a heavy _Bacchus_ than
a _Cupid_, a bottle sends him to his bed of moss, where he sleeps
hard, and never dreams of _Venus_.

How poorly have you paid yourself, my lord, (by this pursuit of your
discovered love) for all the little friendship you have rendered me!
How well you have explained, you can be no more a lover than a friend,
if one may judge the first by the last! Had you been thus obstinate in
your passion before _Philander_ went, or you had believed me
abandoned, I should perhaps have thought that you had loved indeed,
because I should have seen you durst, and should have believed it
true, because it ran some hazards for me, the resolution of it would
have reconciled me then to the temerity of it, and the greatest
demonstration you could have given of it, would have been the danger
you would have ran and contemned, and the preference of your passion
above any other consideration. This, my lord, had been generous and
like a lover; but poorly thus to set upon a single woman in the
disguise of a friend, in the dark silent melancholy hour of absence
from _Philander_, then to surprise me, then to bid me deliver! to pad
for hearts! It is not like _Octavio_, _Octavio_ that _Philander_ made
his friend, and for whose dear sake, my lord, I will no farther
reproach you, but from a goodness, which, I hope, you will merit, I
will forgive an offence, which your ill-timing has rendered almost
inexcusable, and expect you will for the future consider better how
you ought to treat

SYLVIA.

As soon as she had dismissed the page, she hasted to her business of
love, and again read over _Philander_’., letter, and finding still new
occasion for fear, she had recourse to pen and paper for a relief of
that heart which no other way could find; and after having wiped the
tears from her eyes, she writ this following letter.

SYLVIA _to_ PHILANDER.

Yes, _Philander_, I have received your letter, and but I found my name
there, should have hoped it was not meant for _Sylvia_! Oh! It is all
cold--short--short and cold as a dead winter’s day. It chilled my
blood, it shivered every vein. Where, oh where hast thou lavished out
all those soft words so natural to thy soul, with which thou usedst to
charm; so tuned to the dear music of thy voice? What is become of all
the tender things, which, as I used to read, made little nimble
pantings in my heart, my blushes rise, and tremblings in my blood,
adding new fire to the poor burning victim! Oh where are all thy
pretty flatteries of love, that made me fond and vain, and set a value
on this trifling beauty? Hast thou forgot thy wondrous art of loving?
Thy pretty cunnings, and thy soft deceivings? Hast thou forgot them
all? Or hast thou forgot indeed to love at all? Has thy industrious
passion gathered all the sweets, and left the rifled flower to hang
its withered head, and die in I shades neglected? For who will prize
it now, now when all its I perfumes are fled? Oh my _Philander_, oh my
charming fugitive! Was it not enough you left me, like false
_Theseus_, on the shore, on the forsaken shore, departed from my fond,
my clasping arms; where I believed you safe, secure and pleased, when
sleep and night, that favoured you and ruined me, had rendered them
incapable of their dear loss! Oh was it not enough, that when I found
them empty and abandoned, and the place cold where you had lain, and
my poor trembling bosom unpossessed of that dear load it bore, that I
almost expired with my first fears? Oh, if _Philander_ loved, he would
have thought that cruelty enough, without the sad addition of a
growing coldness: I awaked, I missed thee, and I called aloud,
’.Philander_! my _Philander_!’ But no Philander heard; then drew the
close-drawn curtains, and with a hasty and busy view surveyed the
chamber over; but oh! In vain I viewed, and called yet louder, but
none appeared to my assistance but _Antonet_ and _Brilliard_, to
torture me with dull excuses, urging a thousand feigned and frivolous
reasons to satisfy my fears: but I, who loved, who doted even to
madness, by nature soft, and timorous as a dove, and fearful as a
criminal escaped, that dreads each little noise, fancied their eyes
and guilty looks confessed the treasons of their hearts and tongues,
while they, more kind than true, strove to convince my killing doubts,
protested that you would return by night, and feigned a likely story
to deceive. Thus between hope and fear I languished out a day; oh
heavens! A tedious day without _Philander_: who would have thought
that such a dismal day should not, with the end of its reign, have
finished that of my life! But then _Octavio_ came to visit me, and who
till then I never wished to see, but now I was impatient for his
coming, who by degrees told me that you were gone--I never asked him
where, or how, or why; that you were gone was enough to possess me of
all I feared, your being apprehended and sent into _France_, your
delivering yourself up, your abandoning me; all, all I had an easy
faith for, without consulting more than that thou wert gone--that very
word yet strikes a terror to my soul, disables my trembling hand, and
I must wait for reinforcements from some kinder thoughts. But, oh!
From whence should they arrive? From what dear present felicity, or
prospect of a future, though never so distant, and all those past ones
serve but to increase my pain; they favour me no more, they charm and
please no more, and only present themselves to my memory to complete
the number of my sighs and tears, and make me wish that they had never
been, though even with _Philander_? Oh! say, thou monarch of my
panting soul, how hast thou treated _Sylvia_, to make her wish that
she had never known a tender joy with thee? Is it possible she should
repent her loving thee, and thou shouldst give her cause! Say, dear
false charmer, is it? But oh, there is no lasting faith in
sin!----Ah--What have I done? How dreadful is the scene of my first
debauch, and how glorious that never to be regained prospect of my
virgin innocence, where I sat enthroned in awful virtue, crowned with
shining honour, and adorned with unsullied reputation, till thou, O
tyrant _Love_, with a charming usurpation invaded all my glories; and
which I resigned with greater pride and joy than a young monarch puts
them on. Oh! Why then do I repent? As if the vast, the dear expense of
pleasures past were not enough to recompense for all the pains of love
to come? But why, oh why do I treat thee as a lover lost already? Thou
art not, canst not; no, I will not believe it, till thou thyself
confess it: nor shall the omission of a tender word or two make me
believe thou hast forgot thy vows. Alas, it may be I mistake thy
cares, thy hard fatigues of life, thy present ill circumstances (and
all the melancholy effects of thine and my misfortunes) for coldness
and declining love. Alas, I had forgot my poor my dear _Philander_ is
now obliged to contrive for life as well as love, thou perhaps
(fearing the worst) are preparing eloquence for a council table; and
in thy busy and guilty imaginations haranguing it to the grave judges,
defending thy innocence, or evading thy guilt: feeing advocates,
excepting juries, and confronting witnesses, when thou shouldst be
giving satisfaction to my fainting love-sick heart: sometimes in thy
labouring fancy the horror of a dreadful sentence for an ignominious
death, strikes upon thy tender soul with a force that frights the
little god from thence, and I am persuaded there are some moments of
this melancholy nature, wherein your _Sylvia_ is even quite forgotten,
and this too she can think just and reasonable, without reproaching
thy heart with a declining passion, especially when I am not by to
call thy fondness up, and divert thy more tormenting hours: but oh,
for those soft minutes thou hast designed for love, and hast dedicated
to _Sylvia, Philander_ should dismiss the dull formalities of rigid
business, the pressing cares of dangers, and have given a loose to
softness. Could my _Philander_ imagine this short and unloving letter
sufficient to atone for such an absence? And has _Philander_ then
forgotten the pain with which I languished, when but absent from him
an hour? How then can he imagine I can live, when distant from him so
many leagues, and so many days? While all the scanty comfort I have
for life is, that one day we might meet again; but where, or when, or
how-thou hast not love enough so much as to divine; but poorly leavest
me to be satisfied by _Octavio_, committing the business of thy heart,
the once great importance of thy soul, the most necessary devoirs of
thy life, to be supplied by another. Oh _Philander_, I have known a
blessed time in our reign of love, when thou wouldst have thought even
all thy own power of too little force to satisfy the doubting soul of
_Sylvia_: tell me, _Philander_, hast thou forgot that time? I dare not
think thou hast, and yet (O God) I find an alteration, but heaven
divert the omen: yet something whispers to my soul, I am undone! Oh,
where art thou, my _Philander_? Where is thy heart? And what has it
been doing since it begun my fate? How can it justify thy coldness,
and thou this cruel absence, without accounting with me for every
parting hour? My charming dear was wont to find me business for all my
lonely absent ones; and writ the softest letters--loading the paper
with fond vows and wishes, which ere I had read over another would
arrive, to keep eternal warmth about my soul; nor wert thou ever
wearied more with writing, than I with reading, or with sighing after
thee; but now--oh! There is some mystery in it I dare not understand.
Be kind at least and satisfy my fears, for it is a wondrous pain to
live in doubt; if thou still lovest me, swear it over anew! And curse
me if I do not credit thee. But if thou art declining--or shouldst be
sent a shameful victim into _France_--oh thou deceiving charmer, yet
be just, and let me know my doom: by heaven this last will find a
welcome to me, for it will end the torment of my doubts and fears of
losing thee another way, and I shall have the joy to die with thee,
die beloved, and die

Thy SYLVIA.

Having read over this letter, she feared she had said too much of her
doubts and apprehensions of a change in him; for now she flies to all
the little stratagems and artifices of lovers, she begins to consider
the worst, and to make the best of that; but quite abandoned she could
not believe herself, without flying into all the rage that
disappointed woman could be possessed with. She calls _Brilliard_,
shews him his lord’s letters, and told him, (while he read) her doubts
and fears; he being thus instructed by herself in the way how to
deceive her on, like fortune-tellers, who gather people’s fortune from
themselves, and then return it back for their own divinity; tells her
he saw indeed a change! Glad to improve her fear, and feigns a sorrow
almost equal to hers: ‘It is evident,’ says he, ‘it is evident, that
he is the most ungrateful of his sex! Pardon, madam,’ (continued he,
bowing) ‘if my zeal for the most charming creature on earth, make me
forget my duty to the best of masters and friends.’ ‘Ah, _Brilliard_,’
cried she, with an air of languishment that more enflamed him, ‘have a
care, lest that mistaken zeal for me should make you profane virtue,
which has not, but on this occasion, shewed that it wanted angels for
its guard. Oh, _Brilliard_, if he be false--if the dear man be
perjured, take, take, kind heaven, the life you have preserved but for
a greater proof of your revenge’----and at that word she sunk into his
arms, which he hastily extended as she was falling, both to save her
from harm, and to give himself the pleasure of grasping the loveliest
body in the world to his bosom, on which her fair face declined, cold,
dead, and pale; but so transporting was the pleasure of that dear
burden, that he forgot to call for, or to use any aid to bring her
back to life, but trembling with his love and eager passion, he took a
thousand joys, he kissed a thousand times her lukewarm lips, sucked
her short sighs, and ravished all the sweets, her bosom (which was but
guarded with a loose night-gown) yielded his impatient touches. Oh
heaven, who can express the pleasures he received, because no other
way he ever could arrive to so much daring? It was all beyond his
hope; loose were her robes, insensible the maid, and love had made him
insolent, he roved, he kissed, he gazed, without control, forgetting
all respect of persons, or of place, and quite despairing by fair
means to win her, resolves to take this lucky opportunity; the door he
knew was fast, for the counsel she had to ask him admitted of no
lookers-on, so that at his entrance she had secured the pass for him
herself, and being near her bed, when she fell into his arms, at this
last daring thought he lifts her thither, and lays her gently down,
and while he did so, in one minute ran over all the killing joys he
had been witness to, which she had given _Philander_; on which he
never paus’d, but urged by a _Cupid_ altogether malicious and wicked,
he resolves his cowardly conquest, when some kinder god awakened
_Sylvia_, and brought _Octavio_ to the chamber door; who having been
used to a freedom, which was permitted to none but himself, with
_Antonet_ her woman, waiting for admittance, after having knocked
twice softly, _Brittiard_ heard it, and redoubled his disorder, which
from that of love, grew to that of surprise; he knew not what to do,
whether to refuse answering, or to re-establish the reviving sense of
_Sylvia_; in this moment of perplexing thought he failed not however
to set his hair in order, and adjust him, though there were no need of
it, and stepping to the door (after having raised _Sylvia_, leaning
her head on her hand on the bed-side,) he gave admittance to
_Octavio_; but, oh heaven, how was he surprised when he saw it was
_Octavio_? His heart with more force than before redoubled its beats,
that one might easily perceive every stroke by the motion of his
cravat; he blushed, which, to a complexion perfectly fair, as that of
_Brilliard_ (who wants no beauty, either in face or person) was the
more discoverable, add to this his trembling, and you may easily
imagine what a figure he represented himself to _Octavio_; who almost
as much surprised as himself to find the goddess of his vows and
devotions with a young _Endymion_ alone, a door shut to, her gown
loose, which (from the late fit she was in, and _Brilliard_’. rape
upon her bosom) was still open, and discovered a world of unguarded
beauty, which she knew not was in view, with some other disorders of
her headcloths, gave him in a moment a thousand false apprehensions:
_Antonet_ was no less surprised; so that all had their part of
amazement but the innocent _Sylvia_, whose eyes were beautified with a
melancholy calm, which almost set the generous lover at ease, and took
away his new fears; however, he could not choose but ask _Brilliard_
what the matter was with him, he looked so out of countenance, and
trembled so? He told him how _Sylvia_ had been, and what extreme
frights she had possessed him with, and told him the occasion, which
the lovely _Sylvia_ with her eyes and sighs assented to, and
_Brilliard_ departed; how well pleased you may imagine, or with what
gusto he left her to be with the lovely _Octavio_, whom he perceived
too well was a lover in the disguise of a friend. But there are in
love those wonderful lovers who can quench the fire one beauty kindles
with some other object, and as much in love as _Brilliard_ was, he
found _Antonet_ an antidote that dispelled the grosser part of it; for
she was in love with our amorous friend, and courted him with that
passion those of that country do almost all handsome strangers; and
one convenient principle of the religion of that country is, to think
it no sin to be kind while they are single women, though otherwise
(when wives) they are just enough, nor does a woman that manages her
affairs thus discreetly meet with any reproach; of this humour was our
_Antonet_, who pursued her lover out, half jealous there might be some
amorous intrigue between her lady and him, which she sought in vain by
all the feeble arts of her country’s sex to get from him; while on the
other side he believing she might be of use in the farther discovery
he desired to make between _Octavio_ and _Sylvia_, not only told her
she herself was the object of his wishes, but gave her substantial
proofs on it, and told her his design, after having her honour for
security that she would be secret, the best pledge a man can take of a
woman: after she had promised to betray all things to him, she
departed to her affairs, and he to giving his lord an account of
_Sylvia_, as he desired, in a letter which came to him with that of
_Sylvia_; and which was thus:

PHILANDER _to_ BRILLIARD.

I doubt not but you will wonder that all this time you have not heard
of me, nor indeed can well excuse it, since I have been in a place
whence with ease I could have sent every post; but a new affair of
gallantry has engaged my thoughtful hours, not that I find any passion
here that has abated one sigh for _Sylvia_; but a man’s hours are very
dull, when undiverted by an intrigue of some kind or other, especially
to a heart young and gay as mine is, and which would not, if possible,
bend under the fatigues of more serious thought and business; I should
not tell you this, but that I would have you say all the dilatory
excuses that possibly you can to hinder _Sylvia_’. coming to me, while
I remain in this town, where I design to make my abode but a short
time, and had not stayed at all, but for this stop to my journey, and
I scorn to be vanquished without taking my revenge; it is a sally of
youth, no more--a flash, that blazes for a while, and will go out
without enjoyment. I need not bid you keep this knowledge to yourself,
for I have had too good a confirmation of your faith and friendship to
doubt you now, and believe you have too much respect for _Sylvia_ to
occasion her any disquiet. I long to know how she takes my absence,
send me at large of all that passes, and give your letters to
_Octavio_, for none else shall know where I am, or how to send to me:
be careful of _Sylvia_, and observe her with diligence, for possibly I
should not be extravagantly afflicted to find she was inclined to love
me less for her own ease and mine, since love is troublesome when the
height of it carries it to jealousies, little quarrels, and eternal
discontents; all which beginning lovers prize, and pride themselves on
every distrust of the fond mistress, since it is not only a
demonstration of love in them, but of power and charms in us that
occasion it. But when we no longer find the mistress so desirable, as
our first wishes form her, we value less their opinion of our persons,
and only endeavour to render it agreeable to new beauties, and adorn
it for new conquests; but you, _Brilliard_, have been a lover, and
understand already this philosophy. I need say no more then to a man
who knows so well my soul, but to tell him I am his constant friend.

PHILANDER.

This came as _Brilliard_’. soul could wish, and had he sent him word
he had been chosen King of _Poland_, he could not have received the
news with so great joy, and so perfect a welcome. How to manage this
to his best advantage was the business he was next to consult, after
returning an answer; now he fancied himself sure of the lovely prize,
in spite of all other oppositions: ‘For’ (says he, in reasoning the
case) ‘if she can by degrees arrive to a coldness to _Philander_, and
consider him no longer as a lover, she may perhaps consider me as a
husband; or should she receive _Octavio_’. addresses, when once I have
found her feeble, I will make her pay me for keeping of every secret.’
So either way he entertained a hope, though never so distant from
reason and probability; but all things seem possible to longing
lovers, who can on the least hope resolve to out-wait even eternity
(if possible) in expectation of a promised blessing; and now with more
than usual care he resolved to dress, and set out all his youth and
beauty to the best advantage; and being a gentleman well born, he
wanted no arts of dressing, nor any advantage of shape or mien, to
make it appear well: pleased with this hope, his art was now how to
make his advances without appearing to have designed doing so. And
first to act the hypocrite with his lord was his business; for he
considered rightly, if he should not represent _Sylvia_’. sorrows to
the life, and appear to make him sensible of them, he should not be
after credited if he related any thing to her disadvantage; for to be
the greater enemy, you ought to seem to be the greatest friend. This
was the policy of his heart, who in all things was inspired with
fanatical notions. In order to this, being alone in his chamber, after
the defeat he had in that of _Sylvia_’., he writ this letter.

BRILLIARD _to_ PHILANDER.

_My Lord,_

You have done me the honour to make me your confidant in an affair
that does not a little surprise me; since I believed, after _Sylvia_,
no mortal beauty could have touched your heart, and nothing but your
own excuses could have sufficed to have made it reasonable; and I only
wish, that when the fatal news shall arrive to _Sylvia_’. ear (as for
me it never shall) that she may think it as pardonable as I do; but I
doubt it will add abundance of grief to what she is already possessed
of, if but such a fear should enter in her tender thoughts. But since
it is not my business, my lord, to advise or counsel, but to obey, I
leave you to all the success of happy love, and will only give you an
account how affairs stand here, since your departure.

That morning you left the _Brill_, and _Sylvia_ in bed, I must disturb
your more serene thoughts with telling you, that her first surprise
and griefs at the news of your departure were most deplorable, where
raging madness and the softer passion of love, complaints of grief,
and anger, sighs, tears and cries were so mixed together, and by turns
so violently seized her, that all about her wept and pitied her: it
was sad, it was wondrous sad, my lord, to see it: nor could we hope
her life, or that she would preserve it if she could; for by many ways
she attempted to have released herself from pain by a violent death,
and those that strove to preserve that, could not hope she would ever
have returned to sense again: sometimes a wild extravagant raving
would require all our aid, and then again she would talk and rail so
tenderly----and express her resentment in the kindest softest words
that ever madness uttered, and all of her _Philander_, till she has
set us all a weeping round her; sometimes she’d sit as calm and still
as death, and we have perceived she lived only by sighs and silent
tears that fell into her bosom; then on a sudden wildly gaze upon us
with eyes that even then had wondrous charms, and frantically survey
us all, then cry aloud, ‘Where is my Lord _Philander_!----Oh, bring me
my _Philander_, _Brilliard_: Oh, _Antonet_, where have you hid the
treasure of my soul?’ Then, weeping floods of tears, would sink all
fainting in our arms. Anon with trembling words and sighs she’d
cry----’But oh, my dear _Philander_ is no more, you have surrendered
him to _France_----Yes, yes, you have given him up, and he must die,
publicly die, be led a sad victim through the joyful crowd--reproached,
and fall ingloriously----’ Then rave again, and tear her lovely hair,
and act such wildness,--so moving and so sad, as even infected the
pitying beholders, and all we could do, was gently to persuade her
grief, and soothe her raving fits; but so we swore, so heartily we
vowed that you were safe, that with the aid of _Octavio_, who came
that day to visit her, we made her capable of hearing a little reason
from us. _Octavio_ kneeled, and begged she would but calmly hear him
speak, he pawned his soul, his honour, and his life, _Philander_ was
as safe from any injury, either from _France_, or any other enemy, as
he, as she, or heaven itself. In fine, my lord, he vowed, he swore,
and pleaded, till she with patience heard him tell his story, and the
necessity of your absence; this brought her temper back, and dried
her eyes, then sighing, answered him----that if for your safety you
were fled, she would forgive your cruelty and your absence, and
endeavour to be herself again: but then she would a thousand times
conjure him not to deceive her faith, by all the friendship that he
bore _Philander_, not to possess her with false hopes; then would he
swear anew; and as he swore, she would behold him with such charming
sadness in her eyes that he almost forgot what he would say, to gaze
upon her, and to pass his pity. But, if with all his power of beauty
and of rhetoric he left her calm, he was no sooner gone, but she
returned to all the tempests of despairing love, to all the unbelief
of faithless passion, would neither sleep, nor eat, nor suffer day
to enter; but all was sad and gloomy as the vault that held the
_Ephesian_ matron, nor suffered she any to approach her but her
page, and Count _Octavio_, and he in the midst of all was well
received: not that I think, my lord, she feigned any part of that
close retirement to entertain him with any freedom, that did not
become a woman of perfect love and honour; though I must own, my lord,
I believe it impossible for him to behold the lovely _Sylvia_, without
having a passion for her. What restraint his friendship to you may put
upon his heart or tongue I know not, but I conclude him a lover,
though without success; what effects that may have upon the heart of
_Sylvia_, only time can render an account of: and whose conduct I
shall the more particularly observe from a curiosity natural to me, to
see if it may be possible for _Sylvia_ to love again, after the
adorable _Philander_, which levity in one so perfect would cure me of
the disease of love, while I lived amongst the fickle sex: but since
no such thought can yet get possession of my belief, I humbly beg your
lordship will entertain no jealousy, that may be so fatal to your
repose, and to that of _Sylvia_; doubt not but my fears proceed
perfectly from the zeal I have for your lordship, for whose honour and
tranquillity none shall venture so far as, my lord, your lordship’s
most humble and obedient servant,

BRILLIARD.

POSTSCRIPT.

_My lord, the groom shall set forward with your coach horses tomorrow
morning, according to your order_.

Having writ this, he read it over; not to see whether it were witty or
eloquent, or writ up to the sense of so good a judge as _Philander_,
but to see whether he had cast it for his purpose; for there his
masterpiece was to be shewn; and having read it, he doubted whether
the relation of _Sylvia_’. griefs were not too moving, and whether
they might not serve to revive his fading love, which were intended
only as a demonstration of his own pity and compassion, that from
thence the deceived lover might with the more ease entertain a belief
in what he hinted of her levity, when he was to make that out, as he
now had but touched upon it, for he would not have it thought the
business of malice to _Sylvia_, but duty and respect to _Philander_:
that thought reconciled him to the first part without alteration; and
he fancied he had said enough in the latter, to give any man of love
and sense a jealousy which might inspire a young lover in pursuit of a
new mistress, with a revenge that might wholly turn to his advantage;
for now every ray gave him light enough to conduct him to hope, and he
believed nothing too difficult for his love, nor what his invention
could not conquer: he fancied himself a very _Machiavel_ already, and
almost promised himself the charming _Sylvia_. With these thoughts he
seals up his letters, and hastes to _Sylvia_’. chamber for her farther
commands, having in his politic transports forgotten he had left
_Octavio_ with her. _Octavio_, who no sooner had seen _Brilliard_ quit
the chamber all trembling and disordered, after having given him
entrance, but the next step was to the feet of the new recovered
languishing beauty, who not knowing any thing of the freedom the
daring husband lover had taken, was not at all surprised to hear
_Octavio_ cry (kneeling before her) ‘Ah madam, I no longer wonder you
use _Octavio_ with such rigour;’ then sighing declined his melancholy
eyes, where love and jealousy made themselves too apparent; while she
believing he had only reproached her want of ceremony at his entrance,
checking herself, she started from the bed, and taking him by the hand
to raise him, she cried, ‘Rise, my lord, and pardon the omission of
that respect which was not wanting but with even life itself.’
_Octavio_ answered, ‘Yes, madam, but you took care, not to make the
world absolutely unhappy in your eternal loss, and therefore made
choice of such a time to die in, when you were sure of a skilful
person at hand to bring you back to life’--’My lord----’ said she
(with an innocent wonder in her eyes, and an ignorance that did not
apprehend him) ‘I mean, _Brilliard_,’ said he, ‘whom I found
sufficiently disordered to make me believe he took no little pains to
restore you to the world again.’ This he spoke with such an air, as
easily made her imagine he was a lover to the degree of jealousy, and
therefore (beholding him with a look that told him her disdain before
she spoke) she replied hastily, ‘My lord, if _Brilliard_ have
expressed, by any disorder or concern, his kind sense of my
sufferings, I am more obliged to him for it, than I am to you for your
opinion of my virtue; and I shall hereafter know how to set a value
both on the one and the other, since what he wants in quality and
ability to serve me, he sufficiently makes good with his respect and
duty.’ At that she would have quitted him, but he (still kneeling)
held her train of her gown, and besought her, with all the eloquence
of moving and petitioning love, that she would pardon the effect of a
passion that could not run into less extravagancy at a sight so new
and strange, as that she should in a morning, with only her night-gown
thrown loosely about her lovely body, and which left a thousand charms
to view, alone receive a man into her chamber, and make fast the door
upon them, which when (from his importunity) it was opened he found
her all ruffled, and almost fainting on her bed, and a young blushing
youth start from her arms, with trembling limbs, and a heart that beat
time to the tune of active love, faltering in his speech, as if scarce
yet he had recruited the sense he had so happily lost in the amorous
encounter: with that, surveying of herself, as she stood, in a great
glass, which she could not hinder herself from doing, she found indeed
her night-linen, her gown, and the bosom of her shift in such
disorder, as, if at least she had yet any doubt remaining that
_Brilliard_ had not treated her well, she however found cause enough
to excuse _Octavio_’. opinion: weighing all the circumstances
together, and adjusting her linen and gown with blushes that almost
appeared criminal, she turned to _Octavio_, who still held her, and
still begged her pardon, assuring him, upon her honour, her love to
_Philander_, and her friendship for him, that she was perfectly
innocent, and that _Brilliard_, though he should have quality and all
other advantages which he wanted to render him acceptable, yet there
was in nature something which compelled her to a sort of coldness and
disgust to his person; for she had so much the more abhorrence to him
as he was a husband, but that was a secret to _Octavio_; but she
continued speaking--and cried, ‘No, could I be brought to yield to any
but _Philander_, I own I find charms enough in _Octavio_ to make a
conquest; but since the possession of that dear man is all I ask of
heaven, I charge my soul with a crime, when I but hear love from any
other, therefore I conjure you, if you have any satisfaction in my
conversation, never to speak of love more to me, for if you do, honour
will oblige me to make vows against seeing you: all the freedoms of
friendship I will allow, give you the liberties of a brother, admit
you alone by night, or any way but that of love; but that is a reserve
of my soul which is only for _Philander_, and the only one that ever
shall be kept from _Octavio_.’ She ended speaking, and raised him with
a smile; and he with a sigh told her, she must command: then she fell
to telling him how she had sent for _Brilliard_, and all the discourse
that passed; with the reason of her falling into a swoon, in which she
continued a moment or two; and while she told it she blushed with a
secret fear, that in that trance some freedoms might be taken which
she durst not confess: but while she spoke, our still more passionate
lover devoured her with his eyes, fixed his very soul upon her charms
of speaking and looking, and was a thousand times (urged by
transporting passion) ready to break all her dictates, and vow himself
her eternal slave; but he feared the result, and therefore kept
himself within the bounds of seeming friendship; so that after a
thousand things she said of _Philander_, he took his leave to go to
dinner; but as he was going out he saw _Brilliard_ enter, who, as I
said, had forgot he left _Octavio_ with her; but in a moment
recollecting himself, he blushed at the apprehension, that they might
make his disorder the subject of their discourse; so what with that,
and the sight of the dear object of his late disappointed pleasures,
he had much ado to assume an assurance to approach; but _Octavio_
passed out, and gave him a little release. _Sylvia_’. confusion was
almost equal to his, for she looked on him as a ravisher; but how to
find that truth which she was very curious to know, she called up all
the arts of women to instruct her in; by threats she knew it was in
vain, therefore she assumed an artifice, which indeed was almost a
stranger to her heart, that of jilting him out of a secret which she
knew he wanted generosity to give handsomely; and meeting him with a
smile, which she forced, she cried, ‘How now, _Brilliard_, are you so
faint-hearted a soldier, you cannot see a lady die without being
terrified?’ ‘Rather, madam,’ (replied he blushing anew) ‘so
soft-hearted, I cannot see the loveliest person in the world fainting
in my arms, without being disordered with grief and fear, beyond the
power of many days to resettle again.’ At which she approached him,
who stood near the door, and shutting it, she took him by the hand,
and smiling, cried, ‘And had you no other business for your heart but
grief and fear, when a fair lady throws herself into your arms? It
ought to have had some kinder effect on a person of _Brilliard_’.
youth and complexion.’ And while she spoke this she held him by the
wrist, and found on the sudden his pulse to beat more high, and his
heart to heave his bosom with sighs, which now he no longer took care
to hide, but with a transported joy, he cried, ‘Oh madam, do not urge
me to a confession that must undo me, without making it criminal by my
discovery of it; you know I am your slave----’ when she with a pretty
wondering smile, cried--’What, a lover too, and yet so dull!’ ‘Oh
charming _Sylvia_,’ (says he, and falling on his knees) ‘give my
profound respect a kinder name:’ to which she answered,--’You that
know your sentiments may best instruct me by what name to call them,
and you _Brilliard_ may do it without fear----You saw I did not
struggle in your arms, nor strove I to defend the kisses which you
gave----’ ‘Oh heavens,’ cried he, transported with what she said, ‘is
it possible that you could know of my presumption, and favour it too?
I will no longer then curse those unlucky stars that sent _Octavio_
just in the blessed minute to snatch me from my heaven, the lovely
victim lay ready for the sacrifice, all prepared to offer; my hands,
my eyes, my lips were tired with pleasure, but yet they were not
satisfied; oh there was joy beyond those ravishments, of which one
kind minute more had made me absolute lord:’ ‘Yes, and the next,’ said
she, ‘had sent this to your heart’----snatching a penknife that lay on
her toilet, where she had been writing, which she offered so near to
his bosom, that he believed himself already pierced, so sensibly
killing her words, her motion, and her look; he started from her, and
she threw away the knife, and walked a turn or two about the chamber,
while he stood immovable, with his eyes fixed on the earth, and his
thoughts on nothing but a wild confusion, which he vowed afterwards he
could give no account of. But as she turned she beheld him with some
compassion, and remembering how he had it in his power to expose her
in a strange country, and own her for a wife, she believed it
necessary to hide her resentments; and cried, ‘_Brilliard_, for the
friendship your lord has for you I forgive you; but have a care you
never raise your thoughts to a presumption of that nature more: do not
hope I will ever fall below _Philander_’. love; go and repent your
crime----and expect all things else from my favour----’ At this he
left her with a bow that had some malice in it, and she returned into
her dressing-room.--After dinner _Octavio_ writes her this letter,
which his page brought.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

_Madam_,

’.is true, that in obedience to your commands, I begged your pardon
for the confession I made you of my passion: but since you could not
but see the contradiction of my tongue in my eyes, and hear it but too
well confirmed by my sighs, why will you confine me to the formalities
of a silent languishment, unless to increase my flame with my pain?

You conjure me to see you often, and at the same time forbid me
speaking my passion, and this bold intruder comes to tell you now, it
is impossible to obey the first, without disobliging the last; and
since the crime of adoring you exceeds my disobedience in not waiting
on you, be pleased at least to pardon that fault, which my profound
respect to the lovely _Sylvia_ makes me commit; for it is impossible
to see you, and not give you an occasion of reproaching me: if I could
make a truce with my eyes, and, like a mortified capuchin, look always
downwards, not daring to behold the glorious temptations of your
beauty, yet you wound a thousand ways besides; your touches inflame
me, and your voice has music in it, that strikes upon my soul with
ravishing tenderness; your wit is unresistible and piercing; your very
sorrows and complaints have charms that make me soft without the aid
of love: but pity joined with passion raises a flame too mighty for my
conduct! And I in transports every way confess it: yes, yes, upbraid
me, call me traitor and ungrateful, tell me my friendship is false;
but, _Sylvia_, yet be just, and say my love was true, say only he had
seen the charming _Sylvia_; and who is he that after that would not
excuse the rest in one so absolutely born to be undone by love, as is
her destined slave,

OCTAVIO.

POSTSCRIPT.

_Madam, among some rarities I this morning saw, I found these trifles_
Florio _brings you, which because uncommon I presume to send you._

_Sylvia_, notwithstanding the seeming severity of her commands, was
well enough pleased to be disobeyed; and women never pardon any fault
more willingly than one of this nature, where the crime gives so
infallible a demonstration of their power and beauty; nor can any of
their sex be angry in their hearts for being thought desirable; and it
was not with pain that she saw him obstinate in his passion, as you
may believe by her answering his letters, nor ought any lover to
despair when he receives denial under his mistress’s own hand, which
she sent in this to _Octavio_.

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

You but ill judge of my wit, or humour, _Octavio_, when you send me
such a present, and such a billet, if you believe I either receive the
one, or the other, as you designed: in obedience to me you will no
more tell me of your love, and yet at the same time you are breaking
your word from one end of the paper to the other. Out of respect to me
you will see me no more, and yet are bribing me with presents,
believing you have found out the surest way to a woman’s heart. I must
needs confess, _Octavio_, there is great eloquence in a pair of
bracelets of five thousand crowns: it is an argument to prove your
passion, that has more prevailing reason in it, than either _Seneca_
or _Tully_ could have urged; nor can a lover write or speak in any
language so significant, and very well to be understood, as in that
silent one of presenting. The malicious world has a long time agreed
to reproach poor women with cruel, unkind, insensible, and dull; when
indeed it is those men that are in fault who want the right way of
addressing, the true and secret arts of moving, that sovereign remedy
against disdain. It is you alone, my lord, like a young _Columbus_,
that have found the direct, unpractised way to that little and so much
desired world, the favour of the fair; nor could love himself have
pointed his arrows with any thing more successful for his conquest of
hearts: but mine, my lord, like _Scæva_’. shield, is already so full
of arrows, shot from _Philander_’. eyes, it has no room for any other
darts: take back your presents then, my lord, and when you make them
next be sure you first consider the receiver: for know, _Octavio_,
maids of my quality ought to find themselves secure from addresses of
this nature, unless they first invite. You ought to have seen advances
in my freedoms, consenting in my eyes, or (that usual vanity of my
sex) a thousand little trifling arts of affectation to furnish out a
conquest, a forward complaisance to every gaudy coxcomb, to fill my
train with amorous cringing captives, this might have justified your
pretensions; but on the contrary, my eyes and thoughts, which never
strayed from the dear man I love, were always bent to earth when gazed
upon by you; and when I did but fear you looked with love, I
entertained you with _Philander_’., praise, his wondrous beauty, and
his wondrous love, and left nothing untold that might confirm you how
much impossible it was, I ever should love again, that I might leave
you no room for hope; and since my story has been so unfortunate to
alarm the whole world with a conduct so fatal, I made no scruple of
telling you with what joy and pride I was undone; if this encourage
you, if _Octavio_ have sentiments so meanly poor of me, to think,
because I yielded to _Philander_, his hopes should be advanced, I
banish him for ever from my sight, and after that disdain the little
service he can render the never to be altered

SYLVIA.

This letter she sent him back by his page, but not the bracelets,
which were indeed very fine, and very considerable: at the same time
she threatened him with banishment, she so absolutely expected to be
disobeyed in all things of that kind, that she dressed herself that
day to advantage, which since her arrival she had never done in her
own habits: what with her illness, and _Philander_’. absence, a
careless negligence had seized her, till roused and weakened to the
thoughts of beauty by _Octavio_’. love, she began to try its force,
and that day dressed. While she was so employed, the page hastes with
the letter to his lord, who changed colour at the sight of it ere he
received it; not that he hoped it brought love, it was enough she
would but answer, though she railed: ‘Let her’ (said he opening it)
’.ow she hates me: let her call me traitor, and unjust, so she take
the pains to tell it this way;’ for he knew well those that argue will
yield, and only she that sends him back his own letters without
reading them can give despair. He read therefore without a sigh, nor
complained he on her rigours; and because it was too early yet to make
his visit, to shew the impatience of his love, as much as the reality
and resolution of it, he bid his page wait, and sent her back this
answer.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

Fair angry _Sylvia_, how has my love offended? Has its excess betrayed
the least part of that respect due to your birth and beauty? Though I
am young as the gay ruddy morning, and vigorous as the gilded sun at
noon, and amorous as that god, when with such haste he chased young
_Daphne_ over the flowery plain, it never made me guilty of a thought
that _Sylvia_ might not pity and allow. Nor came that trifling present
to plead for any wish, or mend my eloquence, which you with such
disdain upbraid me with; the bracelets came not to be raffled for your
love, nor pimp to my desires: youth scorns those common aids; no, let
dull age pursue those ways of merchandise, who only buy up hearts at
that vain price, and never make a barter, but a purchase. Youth has a
better way of trading in love’s markets, and you have taught me too
well to judge of, and to value beauty, to dare to bid so cheaply for
it: I found the toy was gay, the work was neat, and fancy new; and
know not any thing they would so well adorn as _Sylvia_’. lovely
hands: I say, if after this I should have been the mercenary fool to
have dunned you for return, you might have used me thus----Condemn me
ere you find me sin in thought! That part of it was yet so far behind
it was scarce arrived in wish. You should have stayed till it
approached more near, before you damned it to eternal silence. To
love, to sigh, to weep, to pray, and to complain; why one may be
allowed it in devotion; but you, nicer than heaven itself, make that a
crime, which all the powers divine have never decreed one. I will not
plead, nor ask you leave to love; love is my right, my business, and
my province; the empire of the young, the vigorous, and the bold; and
I will claim my share; the air, the groves, the shades are mine to
sigh in, as well as your _Philander_’.; the echoes answer me as
willingly, when I complain, or name the cruel _Sylvia_; fountains
receive my tears, and the kind spring’s reflection agreeably flatters
me to hope, and makes me vain enough to think it just and reasonable I
should pursue the dictates of my soul----love on in spite of
opposition, because I will not lose my privileges; you may forbid me
naming it to you, in that I can obey, because I can; but not to love!
Not to adore the fair! And not to languish for you, were as impossible
as for you not to be lovely, not to be the most charming of your sex.
But I am so far from a pretending fool, because you have been
possessed, that often that thought comes cross my soul, and checks my
advancing love; and I would buy that thought off with almost all my
share of future bliss! Were I a god, the first great miracle should be
to form you a maid again: for oh, whatever reasons flattering love can
bring to make it look like just, the world! The world, fair _Sylvia_,
still will censure, and say----you were to blame; but it was that
fault alone that made you mortal, we else should have adored you as a
deity, and so have lost a generous race of young succeeding heroes
that may be born of you! Yet had _Philander_ loved but half so well as
I, he would have kept your glorious fame entire; but since alone for
_Sylvia_ I love _Sylvia_, let her be false to honour, false to love,
wanton and proud, ill-natured, vain, fantastic, or what is worse--let
her pursue her love, be constant, and still dote upon _Philander_--yet
still she will be the _Sylvia_ I adore, that _Sylvia_ born eternally
to enslave

OCTAVIO.

This he sent by _Florio_ his page, at the same time that she expected
the visit of his lord, and blushed with a little anger and concern at
the disappointment; however she hasted to read the letter, and was
pleased with the haughty resolution he made in spite of her, to love
on as his right by birth; and she was glad to find from these positive
resolves that she might the more safely disdain, or at least assume a
tyranny which might render her virtue glorious, and yet at the same
time keep him her slave on all occasions when she might have need of
his service, which, in the circumstances she was in, she did not know
of what great use it might be to her, she having no other design on
him, bating the little vanity of her sex, which is an ingredient so
intermixed with the greatest virtues of women-kind, that those who
endeavour to cure them of that disease rob them of a very considerable
pleasure, and in most it is incurable: give _Sylvia_ then leave to
share it with her sex, since she was so much the more excusable, by
how much a greater portion of beauty she had than any other, and had
sense enough to know it too; as indeed whatever other knowledge they
want, they have still enough to set a price on beauty, though they do
not always rate it; for had _Sylvia_ done that, she had been the
happiest of her sex: but as she was she waited the coming of
_Octavio_, but not so as to make her quit one sad thought for
_Philanders_ love and vanity, though they both reigned in her soul;
yet the first surmounted the last, and she grew to impatient ravings
whenever she cast a thought upon her fear that _Philander_ grew cold;
and possibly pride and vanity had as great a share in that concern of
hers as love itself, for she would oft survey herself in her glass,
and cry, ‘Gods! Can this beauty be despised? This shape! This face!
This youth! This air! And what’s more obliging yet, a heart that
adores the fugitive, that languishes and sighs after the dear runaway.
Is it possible he can find a beauty,’ added she, ‘of greater
perfection----But oh, it is fancy sets the rate on beauty, and he may
as well love a third time as he has a second. For in love, those that
once break the rules and laws of that deity, set no bounds to their
treasons and disobedience. Yes, yes,----’ would she cry, ‘He that
could leave _Myrtilla_, the fair, the young, the noble, chaste and
fond _Myrtilla_, what after that may he not do to _Sylvia_, on whom he
has less ties, less obligations? Oh wretched maid----what has thy
fondness done, he is satiated now with thee, as before with
_Myrtilla_, and carries all those dear, those charming joys, to some
new beauty, whom his looks have conquered, and whom his soft
bewitching vows will ruin.’ With that she raved and stamped, and cried
aloud, ‘Hell----fires----tortures----daggers----racks and
poison----come all to my relief! Revenge me on the perjured lovely
devil----But I will be brave----I will be brave and hate him----’ This
she spoke in a tone less fierce, and with great pride, and had not
paused and walked above a hasty turn or two, but _Octavio_, as
impatient as love could make him, entered the chamber, so dressed, so
set out for conquest, that I wonder at nothing more than that _Sylvia_
did not find him altogether charming, and fit for her revenge, who was
formed by nature for love, and had all that could render him the
dotage of women: but where a heart is prepossessed, all that is
beautiful in any other man serves but as an ill comparison to what it
loves, and even _Philander_’. likeness, that was not indeed
_Philander_, wanted the secret to charm. At _Octavio_’. entrance she
was so fixed on her revenge of love, that she did not see him, who
presented himself as so proper an instrument, till he first sighing
spoke, ‘Ah, _Sylvia_, shall I never see that beauty easy more? Shall I
never see it reconciled to content, and a soft calmness fixed upon
those eyes, which were formed for looks all tender and serene; or are
they resolved’ (continued he, sighing) ‘never to appear but in storms
when I approach?’ ‘Yes,’ replied she, ‘when there is a calm of love in
yours that raises it.’ ‘Will you confine my eyes,’ said he, ‘that are
by nature soft? May not their silent language tell you my heart’s sad
story?’ But she replied with a sigh, ‘It is not generously done,
_Octavio_, thus to pursue a poor unguarded maid, left to your care,
your promises of friendship. Ah, will you use _Philander_ with such
treachery?’ ‘Sylvia,’ said he,’.y flame is so just and reasonable,
that I dare even to him pronounce I love you; and after that dare love
you on----’ ‘And would you’ (said she) ‘to satisfy a little short
lived passion, forfeit those vows you have made of friendship to
_Philander_? ‘That heart that loves you, Sylvia,’ (he replied) ‘cannot
be guilty of so base a thought; _Philander_ is my friend, and as he is
so, shall know the dearest secrets of my soul. I should believe myself
indeed ungrateful’ (continued he) ‘wherever I loved, should I not tell
_Philander_; he told me frankly all his soul, his loves, his griefs,
his treasons, and escapes, and in return I will pay him back with
mine.’ ‘And do you imagine’ (said she) ‘that he would permit your
love?’ ‘How should he hinder me?’ (replied he.) ‘I do believe’ (said
she) ‘he’d forget all his safety and his friendship, and fight you.’
’.hen I’d defend myself,’ (said he) ‘if he were so ungrateful.’ While
they thus argued, _Sylvia_ had her thoughts apart, on the little
stratagems that women in love sometimes make use of; and _Octavio_ no
sooner told her he would send _Philander_ word of his love, but she
imagined that such a knowledge might retrieve the heart of her lover,
if indeed it were on the wing, and revive the dying embers in his
soul, as usually it does from such occasions; and on the other side,
she thought that she might more allowably receive _Octavio_’.
addresses, when they were with the permission of _Philander_, if he
could love so well to permit it; and if he could not, she should have
the joy to undeceive her fears of his inconstancy, though she banished
for ever the agreeable _Octavio_; so that on _Octavio_’. farther
urging the necessity of his giving _Philander_ that sure mark of his
friendship she permitted him to write, which he immediately did on her
table, where there stood a little silver escritoire which contained
all things for this purpose.

OCTAVIO _to_ PHILANDER.

_My Lord_,

Since I have vowed you my eternal friendship, and that I absolutely
believe myself honoured with that of yours, I think myself obliged by
those powerful ties to let you know my heart, not only now as that
friend from whom I ought to conceal nothing, but as a rival too, whom
in honour I ought to treat as a generous one: perhaps you will be so
unkind as to say I cannot be a friend and a rival at the same time,
and that almighty love, that sets the world at odds, chases all things
from the heart where that reigns, to establish itself the more
absolutely there; but, my lord, I avow mine a love of that good
nature, that can endure the equal sway of friendship, where like two
perfect friends they support each other’s empire there; nor can the
glory of one eclipse that of the other, but both, like the notion we
have of the deity, though two distinct passions, make but one in my
soul; and though friendship first entered, ‘twas in vain, I called it
to my aid, at the first soft invasion of _Sylvia_’. power; and you my
charming friend, are the most oblig’d to pity me, who already know so
well the force of her beauty. I would fain have you think, I strove at
first with all my reason against the irresistible lustre of her eyes:
and at the first assaults of love, I gave him not a welcome to my
bosom, but like slaves unused to fetters, I grew sullen with my
chains, and wore them for your sake uneasily. I thought it base to
look upon the mistress of my friend with wishing eyes; but softer love
soon furnished me with arguments to justify my claim, since love is
not the choice but the face of the soul, who seldom regards the object
lov’d as it is, but as it wishes to have it be, and then kind fancy
makes it soon the same. Love, that almighty creator of something from
nothing, forms a wit, a hero, or a beauty, virtue, good humour,
honour, any excellence, when oftentimes there is neither in the
object, but where the agreeing world has fixed all these; and since it
is by all resolved, (whether they love or not) that this is she, you
ought no more, _Philander_, to upbraid my flame, than to wonder at it:
it is enough I tell you that it is _Sylvia_ to justify my passion; nor
is it a crime that I confess I love, since it can never rob
_Philander_ of the least part of what I have vowed him: or if his mere
honour will believe me guilty of a fault, let this atone for all, that
if I wrong my friend in loving _Sylvia_, I right him in despairing;
for oh, I am repulsed with all the rigour of the coy and fair, with
all the little malice of the witty sex, and all the love of _Sylvia_
to _Philander_----There, there is the stop to all my hopes and
happiness, and yet by heaven I love thee, oh thou favoured rival!

After this frank confession, my _Philander_, I should be glad to hear
your sentiment, since yet, in spite of love, in spite of beauty, I am
resolved to die _Philander_’. constant friend,

OCTAVIO.

After he had writ this, he gave it to _Sylvia_: ‘See charming
creature’ (said he in delivering it) ‘if after this you either doubt
my love, or what I dare for _Sylvia_.’ ‘I neither receive it’ (said
she) ‘as a proof of the one or the other; but rather that you believe,
by this frank confession, to render it as a piece of gallantry and
diversion to _Philander_; for no man of sense will imagine that love
true, or arrived to any height, that makes a public confession of it
to his rival.’ ‘Ah, _Sylvia_,’ answered he, ‘how malicious is your
wit, and how active to turn its pointed mischief on me! Had I not
writ, you would have said I durst not; and when I make a declaration
of it, you call it only a slight piece of gallantry: but, _Sylvia_,
you have wit enough to try it a thousand ways, and power enough to
make me obey; use the extremity of both, so you recompense me at last
with a confession that I was at least found worthy to be numbered in
the crowd of your adorers.’ _Sylvia_ replied, ‘He were a dull lover
indeed, that would need instructions from the wit of his mistress to
give her proofs of his passion; whatever opinion you have of my sense,
I have too good a one of _Octavio_’. to believe, that when he is a
lover he will want aids to make it appear; till then we will let that
argument alone, and consider his address to _Philander_.’ She then
read over the letter he had writ, which she liked very well for her
purpose; for at this time our young _Dutch hero_ was made a property
of in order to her revenge on _Philander_: she told him, he had said
too much both for himself and her. He told her, he had declared
nothing with his pen, that he would not make good with his sword.
’.old, sir,’ said she, ‘and do not imagine from the freedom you have
taken in owning your passion to _Philander_, that I shall allow it
here: what you declare to the world is your own crime; but when I hear
it, it is no longer yours but mine; I therefore conjure you, my lord,
not to charge my soul with so great a sin against _Philander_, and I
confess to you, I shall be infinitely troubled to be obliged to banish
you my sight for ever.’ He heard her, and answered with a sigh; for
she went from him to the table, and sealed her letter, and gave it him
to be enclosed to _Philander_, and left him to consider on her last
words, which he did not lay to heart, because he fancied she spoke
this as women do that will be won with industry: he, in standing up as
she went from him, saw himself in the great glass, and bid his person
answer his heart, which from every view he took was reinforced with
new hope, for he was too good a judge of beauty not to find it in
every part of his own amiable person, nor could he imagine from
_Sylvia_’. eyes, which were naturally soft and languishing, (and now
the more so from her fears and jealousies) that she meant from her
heart the rigours she expressed: much he allowed for his short time of
courtship, much to her sex’s modesty, much from her quality, and very
much from her love, and imagined it must be only time and assiduity,
opportunity and obstinate passion, that were capable of reducing her
to break her faith with _Philander_; he therefore endeavour’d by all
the good dressing, the advantage of lavish gaiety, to render his
person agreeable, and by all the arts of gallantry to charm her with
his conversation, and when he could handsomely bring in love, he
failed not to touch upon it as far as it would be permitted, and every
day had the vanity to fancy he made some advances; for indeed every
day more and more she found she might have use for so considerable a
person, so that one may very well say, never any passed their time
better than _Sylvia_ and _Octavio_, though with different ends. All he
had now to fear was from the answer _Philander_’. letter should bring,
for whom he had, in spite of love, so entire a friendship, that he
even doubted whether (if _Philander_ could urge reasons potent enough)
he should not choose to die and quit Sylvia, rather than be false to
friendship; one post passed, and another, and so eight successive
ones, before they received one word of answer to what they sent; so
that _Sylvia_, who was the most impatient of her sex, and the most in
love, was raving and acting all the extravagance of despair, and even
_Octavio_ now became less pleasing, yet he failed not to visit her
every day, to send her rich presents, and to say all that a fond
lover, or a faithful friend might urge for her relief: at last
_Octavio_ received this following letter.

PHILANDER _to_ OCTAVIO.

You have shewed, _Octavio_, a freedom so generous, and so beyond the
usual measures of a rival, that it were almost injustice in me not to
permit you to love on; if _Sylvia_ can be false to me, and all her
vows, she is not worth preserving; if she prefer _Octavio_ to
_Philander_, then he has greater merit, and deserves her best: but if
on the contrary she be just, if she be true, and constant, I cannot
fear his love will injure me, so either way _Octavio_ has my leave to
love the charming _Sylvia_; alas, I know her power, and do not wonder
at thy fate! For it is as natural for her to conquer, as ‘tis for
youth to yield; oh, she has fascination in her eyes! A spell upon her
tongue, her wit’s a philtre, and her air and motion all snares for
heedless hearts; her very faults have charms, her pride, her
peevishness, and her disdain, have unresisted power. Alas, you find it
every day--and every night she sweeps the tour along and shews the
beauty, she enslaves the men, and rivals all the women! How oft with
pride and anger I have seen it; and was the unconsidering coxcomb then
to rave and rail at her, to curse her charms, her fair inviting and
perplexing charms, and bullied every gazer: by heaven I could not
spare a smile, a look, and she has such a lavish freedom in her
humour, that if you chance to love as I have done--it will surely make
thee mad; if she but talked aloud, or put her little affectation on,
to show the force of beauty, oh God! How lost in rage! How mad with
jealousy, was my fond breaking heart! My eyes grew fierce, and
clamorous my tongue! And I have scarce contained myself from hurting
what I so much adored; but then the subtle charmer had such arts to
flatter me to peace again--to clasp her lovely arms about my neck--to
sigh a thousand dear confirming vows into my bosom, and kiss, and
smile, and swear--and take away my rage,--and then--oh my _Octavio_,
no human fancy can present the joy of the dear reconciling moment,
where little quarrels raised the rapture higher, and she was always
new. These are the wondrous pains, and wondrous pleasures that love by
turns inspires, till it grows wise by time and repetition, and then
the god assumes a serious gravity, enjoyment takes off the uneasy
keenness of the passion, the little jealous quarrels rise no more;
quarrels, the very feathers of love’s darts, that send them with more
swiftness to the heart; and when they cease, your transports lessen
too, then we grow reasonable, and consider; we love with prudence
then, as fencers fight with foils; a sullen brush perhaps sometimes or
so; but nothing that can touch the heart, and when we are arrived to
love at that dull, easy rate, we never die of that disease; then we
have recourse to all the little arts, the aids of flatterers, and dear
dissimulation, (that help-meet to the lukewarm lover) to keep up a
good character of constancy, and a right understanding.

Thus, _Octavio_, I have ran through both the degrees of love; which I
have taken so often, that I am grown most learned and able in the art;
my easy heart is of the constitution of those, whom frequent sickness
renders apt to take relapses from every little cause, or wind that
blows too fiercely on them; it renders itself to the first effects of
new surprising beauty, and finds such pleasure in beginning passion,
such dear delight of fancying new enjoyment, that all past loves, past
vows and obligations, have power to bind no more; no pity, no remorse,
no threatening danger invades my amorous course; I scour along the
flow’ry plains of love, view all the charming prospect at a distance,
which represents itself all gay and glorious! And long to lay me down,
to stretch and bask in those dear joys that fancy makes so ravishing:
nor am I one of those dull whining slaves, whom quality or my respect
can awe into a silent cringer, and no more; no, love, youth, and oft
success has taught me boldness and art, desire and cunning to attack,
to search the feeble side of female weakness, and there to play love’s
engines; for women will be won, they will, _Octavio_, if love and wit
find any opportunity.

Perhaps, my friend, you are wondering now, what this discourse, this
odd discovery of my own inconstancy tends to? Then since I cannot
better pay you back the secret you had told me of your love, than by
another of my own; take this confession from thy friend----I
love!----languish! And am dying,----for a new beauty. To you,
_Octavio_, you that have lived twenty dull tedious years, and never
understood the mystery of love, till _Sylvia_ taught you to adore,
this change may seem a wonder; you that have lazily run more than half
your youth’s gay course of life away, without the pleasure of one
nobler hour of mine; who, like a miser, hoard your sacred store, or
scantily have dealt it but to one, think me a lavish prodigal in love,
and gravely will reproach me with inconstancy----but use me like a
friend, and hear my story.

It happened in my last day’s journey on the road I overtook a man of
quality, for so his equipage confessed; we joined and fell into
discourse of many things indifferent, till, from a chain of one thing
to another, we chanced to talk of _France_, and of the factions there,
and I soon found him a _Cesarian_; for he grew hot with his concern
for that prince, and fiercely owned his interest: this pleased me, and
I grew familiar with him; and I pleased him so well in my devotion for
_Cesario_, that being arrived at _Cologne_ he invites me home to his
palace, which he begged I would make use of as my own during my stay
at _Cologne_. Glad of the opportunity I obeyed, and soon informed
myself by a _Spanish_ page (that waited on him) to whom I was obliged;
he told me it was the Count of _Clarinau_, a _Spaniard_ born, and of
quality, who for some disgust at Court retired hither; that he was a
person of much gravity, a great politician, and very rich; and though
well in years was lately married to a very beautiful young lady, and
that very much against her consent; a lady whom he had taken out of a
monastery, where she had been pensioned from a child, and of whom he
was so fond and jealous, he never would permit her to see or be seen
by any man: and if she took the air in her coach, or went to church,
he obliged her to wear a veil. Having learned thus much of the boy, I
dismissed him with a present; for he had already inspired me with
curiosity, that prologue to love, and I knew not of what use he might
be hereafter; a curiosity that I was resolved to satisfy, though I
broke all the laws of hospitality, and even that first night I felt an
impatience that gave me some wonder. In fine, three days I languished
out in a disorder that was very nearly allied to that of love. I found
myself magnificently lodged; attended with a formal ceremony; and
indeed all things were as well as I could imagine, bating a kind
opportunity to get a sight of this young beauty: now half a lover
grown, I sighed and grew oppressed with thought, and had recourse to
groves, to shady walks and fountains, of which the delicate gardens
afforded variety, the most resembling nature that ever art produced,
and of the most melancholy recesses, fancying there, in some lucky
hour, I might encounter what I already so much adored in _Idea_, which
still I formed just as my fancy wished; there, for the first two days
I walked and sighed, and told my new-born passion to every gentle wind
that played among the boughs; for yet no lady bright appeared beneath
them, no visionary nymph the groves afforded; but on the third day,
all full of love and stratagem, in the cool of the evening, I passed
into a thicket near a little rivulet, that purled and murmured through
the glade, and passed into the meads; this pleased and fed my present
amorous humour, and down I laid myself on the shady brink, and
listened to its melancholy glidings, when from behind me I heard a
sound more ravishing, a voice that sung these words:

  Alas, in vain, you pow’rs above,
       You gave me youth, you gave me charms,
  And ev’ry tender sense of love;
       To destine me to old _Phileno_’. arms.
  Ah how can youth’s gay spring allow
  The chilling kisses of the winter’s snow!

  All night I languish by his side,
       And fancy joys I never taste;
  As men in dreams a feast provide,

       And waking find, with grief they fast.
  Either, ye gods, my youthful fires allay,
  Or make the old _Phileno_ young and gay.

  Like a fair flower in shades obscurity,
       Though every sweet adorns my head,
  Ungather’d, unadmired I lie,
       And wither on my silent gloomy bed,
  While no kind aids to my relief appear,
  And no kind bosom makes me triumph there.

By this you may easily guess, as I soon did, that the song was sung by
Madam the Countess of _Clarinau_, as indeed it was; at the very
beginning of her song my joyful soul divined it so! I rose, and
advanced by such slow degrees, as neither alarmed the fair singer, nor
hindered me the pleasure of hearing any part of the song, till I
approached so near as (behind the shelter of some jessamine that
divided us) I, unseen, completed those wounds at my eyes, which I had
received before at my ears. Yes, _Octavio_, I saw the lovely
_Clarinau_ leaning on a pillow made of some of those jessamines which
favoured me, and served her for a canopy. But, oh my friend! How shall
I present her to thee in that angel form she then appeared to me? All
young! All ravishing as new-born light to lost benighted travellers;
her face, the fairest in the world, was adorned with curls of shining
jet, tied up--I know not how, all carelessly with scarlet ribbon mixed
with pearls; her robe was gay and rich, such as young royal brides put
on when they undress for joys; her eyes were black, the softest heaven
ever made; her mouth was sweet, and formed for all delight; so red her
lips, so round, so graced with dimples, that without one other charm,
that was enough to kindle warm desires about a frozen heart; a
sprightly air of wit completed all, increased my flame, and made me
mad with love: endless it were to tell thee all her beauties: nature
all over was lavish and profuse, let it suffice, her face, her shape,
her mien, had more of angel in them than humanity! I saw her thus all
charming! Thus she lay! A smiling melancholy dressed her eyes, which
she had fixed upon the rivulet, near which I found her lying; just
such I fancied famed _Lucretia_ was, when _Tarquin_ first beheld her;
nor was that royal ravisher more inflamed than I, or readier for the
encounter. Alone she was, which heightened my desires; oh gods! Alone
lay the young lovely charmer, with wishing eyes, and all prepared for
love! The shade was gloomy, and the tell-tale leaves combined so
close, they must have given us warning if any had approached from
either side! All favoured my design, and I advanced; but with such
caution as not to inspire her with a fear, instead of that of love! A
slow, uneasy pace, with folded arms, love in my eyes, and burning in
my heart----at my approach she scarce contained her cries, and rose
surprised and blushing, discovering to me such a proportioned
height--so lovely and majestic--that I stood gazing on her, all lost
in wonder, and gave her time to dart her eyes at me, and every look
pierced deeper to my soul, and I had no sense but love, silent
admiring love! Immovable I stood, and had no other motion but that of
a heart all panting, which lent a feeble trembling to my tongue, and
even when I would have spoke to her, it sent a sigh up to prevent my
boldness; and oh, _Octavio_, though I have been bred in all the saucy
daring of a forward lover, yet now I wanted a convenient impudence;
awed with a haughty sweetness in her look, like a Fauxbrave after a
vigorous onset, finding the danger fly so thick around him, sheers
off, and dares not face the pressing foe, struck with too fierce a
lightning from her eyes, whence the gods sent a thousand winged darts,
I veiled my own, and durst not play with fire: while thus she hotly
did pursue her conquest, and I stood fixed on the defensive part, I
heard a rustling among the thick-grown leaves, and through their
mystic windings soon perceived the good old Count of _Clarinau_
approaching, muttering and mumbling to old _Dormina_, the dragon
appointed to guard this lovely treasure, and which she having left
alone in the thicket, and had retired but at an awful distance, had
most extremely disobliged her lord. I only had time enough in this
little moment to look with eyes that asked a thousand pities, and told
her in their silent language how loath they were to leave the charming
object, and with a sigh----I vanished from the wondering fair one,
nimble as lightning, silent as a shade, to my first post behind the
jessamines; that was the utmost that I could persuade my heart to do.
You may believe, my dear _Octavio_, I did not bless the minute that
brought old _Clarinau_ to that dear recess, nor him, nor my own fate;
and to complete my torment, I saw him (after having gravely reproached
her for being alone without her woman) yes, I saw him fall on her
neck, her lovely snowy neck, and loll and kiss, and hang his tawny
withered arms on her fair shoulders, and press his nauseous load upon
_Calista_’. body, (for so I heard him name her) while she was gazing
still upon the empty place, whence she had seen me vanish; which he
perceiving, cried--’My little fool, what is it thou gazest on, turn to
thy known old man, and buss him soundly----’ When putting him by with
a disdain, that half made amends for the injury he had done me by
coming, ‘Ah, my lord,’ cried she, ‘even now, just there I saw a lovely
vision, I never beheld so excellent a thing:’ ‘How,’ cried he, ‘a
vision, a thing,--What vision? What thing? Where? How? And when----’
’.hy there,’ said she, ‘with my eyes, and just now is vanished behind
yon jessamines.’ With that I drew my sword--for I despaired to get off
unknown; and being well enough acquainted with the jealous nature of
the Spaniards, which is no more than see and stab, I prepared to stand
on my defence till I could reconcile him, if possible, to reason; yet
even in that moment I was more afraid of the injury he might do the
innocent fair one, than of what he could do to me: but he not so much
as dreaming she meant a man by her lovely vision, fell a kissing her
anew, and beckoning _Dormina_ off to pimp at distance, told her, ‘The
grove was so sweet, the river’s murmurs so delicate, and she was so
curiously dressed, that all together had inspired him with a
love-fit;’ and then assaulting her anew with a sneer, which you have
seen a satyr make in pictures, he fell to act the little tricks of
youth, that looked so goatish in him--instead of kindling it would
have damped a flame; which she resisted with a scorn so charming gave
me new hope and fire, when to oblige me more, with pride, disdain, and
loathing in her eyes, she fled like _Daphne_ from the ravisher; he
being bent on love pursued her with a feeble pace, like an old
wood-god chasing some coy nymph, who winged with fear out-strips the
flying wind, and though a god he cannot overtake her; and left me
fainting with new love, new hope, new jealousy, impatience, sighs and
wishes, in the abandoned grove. Nor could I go without another view of
that dear place in which I saw her lie. I went--and laid me down just
on the print which her fair body made, and pressed, and kissed it over
a thousand times with eager transports, and even fancied fair
_Calista_ there; there ‘twas I found the paper with the song which I
have sent you; there I ran over a thousand stratagems to gain another
view; no little statesman had more plots and arts than I to gain this
object I adored, the soft idea of my burning heart, now raging wild,
abandoned all to love and loose desire; but hitherto my industry is
vain; each day I haunt the thickest groves and springs, the flowery
walks, close arbours; all the day my busy eyes and heart are searching
her, but no intelligence they bring me in: in fine, _Octavio_, all
that I can since learn is, that the bright _Calista_ had seen a vision
in the garden, and ever since was so possessed with melancholy, that
she had not since quitted her chamber; she is daily pressing the Count
to permit her to go into the garden, to see if she can again encounter
the lovely _phantom_, but whether, from any description she hath made
of it, (or from any other cause) he imagines how it was, I know not;
but he endeavours all he can to hinder her, and tells her it is not
lawful to tempt heaven by invoking an apparition; so that till a
second view eases the torments of my mind, there is nothing in nature
to be conceived so raving mad as I; as if my despair of finding her
again increased my impatient flame, instead of lessening it.

After this declaration, judge, _Octavio_, who has given the greatest
proofs of his friendship, you or I; you being my rival, trust me with
the secret of loving my mistress, which can no way redound to your
disadvantage; but I, by telling you the secrets of my soul, put it
into your power to ruin me with _Sylvia_, and to establish yourself in
her heart; a thought I yet am not willing to bear, for I have an
ambition in my love, that would not, while I am toiling for empire
here, lose my dominion in another place: but since I can no more rule
a woman’s heart, than a lover’s fate, both you and _Sylvia_ may
deceive my opinion in that, but shall never have power to make me
believe you less my friend, than I am your

PHILANDER.

POSTSCRIPT.

_The enclosed I need not oblige you to deliver; you see I give you
opportunity._

_Octavio_ no sooner arrived to that part of the letter which named the
Count of _Clarinau_, but he stopped, and was scarce able to proceed,
for the charming _Calista_ was his sister, the only one he had, who
having been bred in a nunnery, was taken then to be married to this
old rich count, who had a great fortune: before he proceeded, his soul
divined this was the new amour that had engaged the heart of his
friend; he was afraid to be farther convinced, and yet a curiosity to
know how far he had proceeded, made him read it out with all the
disorder of a man jealous of his honour, and nicely careful of his
fame; he considered her young, about eighteen, married to an old,
ill-favoured, jealous husband, no parents but himself to right her
wrongs, or revenge her levity; he knew, though she wanted no wit, she
did art, for being bred without the conversation of men, she had not
learnt the little cunnings of her sex; he guessed by his own soul that
hers was soft and apt for impression; he judged from her confession to
her husband of the vision, that she had a simple innocence, that might
betray a young beauty under such circumstances; to all this he
considered the charms of _Philander_ unresistible, his unwearied
industry in love, and concludes his sister lost. At first he upbraids
_Philander_, and calls him ungrateful, but soon thought it
unreasonable to accuse himself of an injustice, and excused the
frailty of _Philander_, since he knew not that she whom he adored was
sister to his friend; however, it failed not to possess him with
inquietude that exercised all his wit, to consider how he might
prevent an irreparable injury to his honour, and an intrigue that
possibly might cost his sister her life, as well as fame. In the midst
of all these torments he forgot not the more important business of his
love: for to a lover, who has his soul perfectly fixed on the fair
object of its adoration, whatever other thoughts fatigue and cloud his
mind, that, like a soft gleam of new sprung light, darts in and
spreads a glory all around, and like the god of day, cheers every
drooping vital; yet even these dearer thoughts wanted not their
torments. At first he strove to atone for the fears of _Calista_, with
those of imagining _Philander_ false to _Sylvia_: ‘Well,’ cried
he----’If thou be’st lost, _Calista_, at least thy ruin has laid a
foundation for my happiness, and every triumph _Philander_ makes of
thy virtue, it the more secures my empire over _Sylvia_; and since the
brother cannot be happy, but by the sister’s being undone, yield thou,
O faithless fair one, yield to _Philander_, and make me blest in
_Sylvia_! And thou’ (continued he) ‘oh perjured lover and inconstant
friend, glut thy insatiate flame----rifle _Calista_ of every virtue
heaven and nature gave her, so I may but revenge it on thy _Sylvia_!’
Pleased with this joyful hope he traverses his chamber; glowing and
blushing with new kindling fire, his heart that was all gay, diffused
a gladness, that expressed itself in every feature of his lovely face;
his eyes, that were by nature languishing, shone now with an unusual
air of briskness, smiles graced his mouth, and dimples dressed his
face, insensibly his busy fingers trick and dress, and set his hair,
and without designing it, his feet are bearing him to _Sylvia_, till
he stopped short and wondered whither he was going, for yet it was not
time to make his visit--’Whither, fond heart,’ (said he) ‘O whither
wouldst thou hurry this slave to thy soft fires!’ And now returning
back he paused and fell to thought--He remembered how impatiently
_Sylvia_ waited the return of the answer he writ to him, wherein he
owned his passion for that beauty. He knew she permitted him to write
it, more to raise the little brisk fires of jealousy in _Philander_,
and to set an edge on his blunted love, than from any favours she
designed _Octavio_; and that on this answer depended all her
happiness, or the confirmation of her doubts, and that she would
measure _Philander_’. love by the effects she found there of it: so
that never lover had so hard a game to play, as our new one. He knew
he had it now in his power to ruin his rival, and to make almost his
own terms with his fair conqueress, but he considered the secret was
not rendered him for so base an end, nor could his love advance itself
by ways so false, dull and criminal--Between each thought he paused,
and now resolves she must know he sent an answer to his letter; for
should she know he had, and that he should refuse her the sight of it,
he believed with reason she ought to banish him for ever her presence,
as the most disobedient of her slaves. He walks and pauses on--but no
kind thought presents itself to save him; either way he finds himself
undone, and from the most gay, and most triumphing lover on the earth,
he now, with one desirous thought of right reasoning, finds he is the
most miserable of all the creation! He reads the superscription of
that _Philander_ writ to _Sylvia_, which was enclosed in his, and
finds it was directed only--’For _Sylvia_’, which would plainly
demonstrate it came not so into _Holland_, but that some other cover
secured it; so that never any but _Octavio_, the most nice in honour,
had ever so great a contest with love and friendship: for his noble
temper was not one of those that could sacrifice his friend to his
little lusts, or his more solid passion, but truly brave, resolves now
rather to die than to confess _Philander_’. secret; to evade which he
sent her letter by his page, with one from himself, and commanded him
to tell her, that he was going to receive some commands from the
Prince of _Orange_, and that he would wait on her himself in the
evening. The page obeys, and _Octavio_ sent him with a sigh, and eyes
that languishingly told him he did it with regret.

The page hastening to _Sylvia_, finds her in all the disquiet of an
expecting lover; and snatching the papers from his hand, the first she
saw was that from _Philander_, at which she trembled with fear and
joy, for hope, love and despair, at once seized her, and hardly able
to make a sign with her hand, for the boy to withdraw, she sank down
into her chair, all pale, and almost fainting; but re-assuming her
courage, she opened it, and read this.

PHILANDER _to_ SYLVIA.

Ah, _Sylvia_! Why all these doubts and fears? why at this distance do
you accuse your lover, when he is incapable to fall before you, and
undeceive your little jealousies. Oh, _Sylvia_, I fear this first
reproaching me, is rather the effects of your own guilt, than any that
love can make you think of mine. Yes, yes, my _Sylvia_, it is the
waves that roll and glide away, and not the steady shore. ‘Tis you
begin to unfasten from the vows that hold you, and float along the
flattering tide of vanity. It is you, whose pride and beauty scorning
to be confined, give way to the admiring crowd, that sigh for you.
Yes, yes, you, like the rest of your fair glorious sex, love the
admirer though you hate the coxcomb. It is vain! it is great! And
shews your beauty’s power----Is it possible, that for the safety of my
life I cannot retire, but you must think I am fled from love and
_Sylvia_? Or is it possible that pitying tenderness that made me
incapable of taking leave of her should be interpreted as false--and
base--and that an absence of thirty days, so forc’d, and so compelled,
must render me inconstant--lost--ungrateful----as if that after
_Sylvia_ heaven ever made a beauty that could charm me?

You charge my letter with a thousand faults, it is short, it is cold,
and wants those usual softnesses that gave them all their welcome, and
their graces. I fear my _Sylvia_ loves the flatterer, and not the man,
the lover only, not _Philander_: and she considers him not for
himself, but the gay, glorious thing he makes of her! Ah! too
self-interested! Is that your justice? You never allow for my unhappy
circumstances; you never think how care oppresses me, nor what my love
contributes to that care. How business, danger, and a thousand ills,
take up my harrassed mind: by every power! I love thee still, my
_Sylvia_, but time has made us more familiar now, and we begin to
leave off ceremony, and come to closer joys to join our interests now,
as people fixed, resolved to live and die together; to weave our
thoughts and be united stronger. At first we shew the gayest side of
love, dress and be nice in every word and look, set out for conquest
all; spread every art, use every stratagem--But when the toil is past,
and the dear victory gained, we then propose a little idle rest, a
little easy slumber: we then embrace, lay by the gaudy shew, the
plumes and gilded equipage of love, the trappings of the conqueror,
and bring the naked lover to your arms; we shew him then uncased with
all his little disadvantages; perhaps the flowing hair, (those ebony
curls you have so often combed and dressed, and kissed) are then put
up, and shew a fiercer air, more like an antique _Roman_ than
_Philander_: and shall I then, because I want a grace, be thought to
love you less? Because the embroidered coat, the point and garniture’s
laid by, must I put off my passion with my dress? No, _Sylvia_, love
allows a thousand little freedoms, allows me to unbosom all my
secrets; tell thee my wants, my fears, complaints and dangers, and
think it great relief if thou but sigh and pity me: and oft thy
charming wit has aided me, but now I find thee adding to my pain. O
where shall I unload my weight of cares, when _Sylvia_, who was wont
to sigh and weep, and suffer me to ease the heavy burden, now grows
displeased and peevish with my moans, and calls them the effects of
dying love! Instead of those dear smiles, that fond bewitching
prattle, that used to calm my roughest storm of grief, she now
reproaches me with coldness, want of concern, and lover’s rhetoric:
and when I seem to beg relief and shew my soul’s resentment, it is
then I’m false; it is my aversion, or the effects of some new kindling
flame: is this fair dealing, _Sylvia_? Can I not spare a little sigh
from love, but you must think I rob you of your due? If I omit a
tender name, by which I used to call you, must I be thought to lose
that passion that taught me such endearments? And must I never reflect
upon the ruin both of my fame and fortune, but I must run the risk of
losing _Sylvia_ too? Oh cruelty of love! Oh too, too fond and jealous
maid, what crimes thy innocent passion can create, when it extends
beyond the bounds of reason! Ah too, too nicely tender _Sylvia_, that
will not give me leave to cast a thought back on my former glory; yet
even that loss I could support with tameness and content, if I
believed my suffering reached only to my heart; but _Sylvia_, if she
love, must feel my torments too, must share my loss, and want a
thousand ornaments, my sinking fortune cannot purchase her: believe
me, charming creature, if I should love you less, I have a sense so
just of what you have suffered for _Philander_, I’d be content to be a
galley-slave, to give thy beauty, birth and love their due; but as I
am thy faithful lover still, depend upon that fortune heaven has left
me; which if thou canst (as thou hast often sworn) then thou would’st
submit to be cheerful still, be gay and confident, and do not judge my
heart by little words; my heart--too great and fond for such poor
demonstrations.

You ask me, _Sylvia_, where I am, and what I do; and all I can say is,
that at present I am safe from any fears of being delivered up to
_France_, and what I do is sighing, dying, grieving; I want my
_Sylvia_; but my circumstances yet have nothing to encourage that
hope; when I resolve where to settle, you shall see what haste I will
make to have you brought to me: I am impatient to hear from you, and
to know how that dear pledge of our soft hours advances. I mean, what
I believe I left thee possessed of, a young _Philander_: cherish it,
_Sylvia_, for that is a certain obligation to keep a dying fire alive;
be sure you do it no hurt by your unnecessary grief, though there
needs no other tie but that of love to make me more entirely

_Your_ PHILANDER.

If _Sylvia_’. fears were great before she opened the letter, what were
her pains when all those fears were confirmed from that never-failing
mark of a declining love, the coldness and alteration of the style of
letters, that first symptom of a dying flame! ‘O where,’ said she,
’.here, oh perjured charmer, is all that ardency that used to warm the
reader? Where is all that natural innocence of love that could not,
even to discover and express a grace in eloquence, force one soft
word, or one passion? Oh,’ continued she, ‘he is lost and gone from
_Sylvia_ and his vows; some other has him all, clasps that dear body,
hangs upon that face, gazes upon his eyes, and listens to his voice,
when he is looking, sighing, swearing, dying, lying and damning of
himself for some new beauty--He is, I will not endure it; aid me,
_Antonet_! Oh, where is the perjured traitor!’ _Antonet_, who was
waiting on her, seeing her rise on the sudden in so great a fury,
would have stayed her hasty turns and ravings, beseeching her to tell
her what was the occasion, and by a discovery to ease her heart; but
she with all the fury imaginable flung from her arms, and ran to the
table, and snatching up a penknife, had certainly sent it to her
heart, had not _Antonet_ stepped to her and caught her hand, which she
resisted not, and blushing resigned, with telling her, she was ashamed
of her own cowardice; ‘For,’ said she, ‘if it had designed to have
been brave, I had sent you off, and by a noble resolution have freed
this slave within’ (striking her breast) ‘from a tyranny which it
should disdain to suffer under:’ with that she raged about the chamber
with broken words and imperfect threatenings, unconsidered
imprecations, and unheeded vows and oaths; at which _Antonet_
redoubled her petition to know the cause; and she replied--’_Philander_!
The dear, the soft, the fond and charming _Philander_ is now no more
the same. O, _Antonet_,’ said she, ‘didst thou but see this letter
compared to those of heretofore, when love was gay and young, when
new desire dressed his soft eyes in tears, and taught his tongue the
harmony of angels; when every tender word had more of passion, than
volumes of this forced, this trifling business; Oh thou wouldst say
I were the wretchedest thing that ever nature made--Oh, thou wouldst
curse as I do--not the dear murderer, but thy frantic self, thy mad,
deceived, believing, easy self; if thou wert so undone--’ Then
while she wept she gave _Antonet_ liberty to speak, which was to
persuade her, her fears were vain; she urged every argument of love
she had been witness to, and could not think it possible he could
be false. To all which the still weeping _Sylvia_ lent a willing
ear; for lovers are much inclined to believe every thing they wish.
_Antonet_, having a little calmed her, continued telling her, that
to be better convinced of his love, or his perfidy, she ought to
have patience till _Octavio_ should come to visit her; ‘For you
have forgotten, madam,’ said she, ‘that the generous rival has
sent him word he is your lover:’ for _Antonet_ was waiting at the
reading of that letter, nor was there any thing the open-hearted
_Sylvia_ concealed from that servant; and women who have made a breach
in their honour, are seldom so careful of their rest of fame, as those
who have a stock entire; and _Sylvia_ believed after she had entrusted
the secret of one amour to her discretion, she might conceal none.
’.ee, madam,’ says _Antonet_, ‘here is a letter yet unread:’ _Sylvia_,
who had been a great while impatient for the return of _Octavio_’.
answer from _Philander_, expecting from thence the confirmation of all
her doubts, hastily snatched the letter out of _Antonet_’. hand, and
read it, hoping to have found something there to have eased her soul
one way or other; a soul the most raging and haughty by nature that
ever possessed a body: the words were these.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

At least you will pity me, oh charming _Sylvia_, when you shall call
to mind the cruel services I am obliged to render you, to be the
messenger of love from him, whom beauty and that god plead so strongly
for already in your heart.

If, after this, you can propose a torture that yet may speak my
passion and obedience in any higher measure, command and try my
fortitude; for I too well divine, O rigorous beauty, the business of
your love-sick slave will be only to give you proofs how much he does
adore you, and never to taste a joy, even in a distant hope; like
lamps in urns my lasting fire must burn, without one kind material to
supply it. Ah _Sylvia_, if ever it be thy wretched fate to see the
lord of all your vows given to another’s arms----when you shall see in
those soft eyes that you adore, a languishment and joy if you but name
another beauty to him;----when you behold his blushes fade and rise at
the approaches of another mistress,----hear broken sighs and unassured
replies, whenever he answers some new conqueress; tremblings, and
pantings seizing every part at the warm touch as of a second charmer:
ah, _Sylvia_, do but do me justice then, and sighing say--I pity poor
_Octavio_.

Take here a letter from the blest _Philander_, which I had brought
myself, but cannot bear the torment of that joy that I shall see
advancing in your eyes when you shall read it over--no--it is too much
that I imagine all! Yet bless that patient fondness of my passion that
makes me still your slave, and your adorer,

OCTAVIO.

       *       *       *       *       *

At finishing this, the jealous fair one redoubled her tears with such
violence, that it was in vain her woman strove to abate the flowing
tide by all the reasonable arguments she could bring to her aid; and
_Sylvia_, to increase it, read again the latter part of the ominous
letter; which she wet with the tears that streamed from her bright
eyes. ‘Yes, yes,’ (cried she, laying the letter down) ‘I know,
_Octavio_, this is no prophecy of yours, but a known truth: alas, you
know too well the fatal time is already come, when I shall find these
changes in _Philander_!’ ‘Ah madam,’ replied _Antonet_, ‘how curious
are you to search out torment for your own heart, and as much a lover
as you are, how little do you understand the arts and politics of
love! Alas, madam,’ continued she, ‘you yourself have armed my Lord
_Octavio_ with these weapons that wound you: the last time he writ to
my lord _Philander_, he found you possessed with a thousand fears and
jealousies; of these he took advantage to attack his rival: for what
man is there so dull, that would not assault his enemy in that part
where the most considerable mischief may be done him? It is now
_Octavio_’. interest, and his business, to render _Philander_ false,
to give you all the umbrage that is possible of so powerful a rival,
and to say any thing that may render him hateful to you, or at least
to make him love you less.’ ‘Away,’ (replied _Sylvia_ with an uneasy
smile) ‘how foolish are thy reasonings; for were it possible I could
love _Philander_ less, is it to be imagined that should make way for
_Octavio_ in my heart, or any after that dear deceiver?’ ‘No doubt of
it,’ replied _Antonet_, ‘but that very effect it would have on your
heart; for love in the soul of a witty person is like a skein of silk;
to unwind it from the bottom, you must wind it on another, or it runs
into confusion, and becomes of no use, and then of course, as one
lessens the other increases, and what _Philander_ loses in love,
_Octavio_, or some one industrious lover, will most certainly gain.’
’.h,’ replied _Sylvia_, ‘you are a great philosopher in love.’ ‘I
should, madam,’ cried _Antonet_, ‘had I but had a good memory, for I
had a young churchman once in love with me, who has read many a
philosophical lecture to me upon love; among the rest, he used to say
the soul was all composed of love. I used to ask him then, if it were
formed of so soft materials, how it came to pass that we were no
oftener in love, or why so many were so long before they loved, and
others who never loved at all?’ ‘No question but he answered you
wisely,’ said _Sylvia_ carelessly, and sighing, with her thoughts but
half attentive. ‘Marry, and so he did,’ cried _Antonet_, ‘at least I
thought so then, because I loved a little. He said, love of itself was
inactive, but it was informed by object; and then too that object must
depend on fancy; (for souls, though all love, are not to love all.)
Now fancy, he said, was sometimes nice, humorous, and fantastic, which
is the reason we so often love those of no merit, and despise those
that are most excellent; and sometimes fancy guides us to like
neither; he used to say, women were like misers, though they had
always love in store, they seldom cared to part with it, but on very
good interest and security, _cent per cent_ most commonly, heart for
heart at least; and for security, he said, we were most times too
unconscionable, we asked vows at least, at worst matrimony--’ Half
angry, _Sylvia_ cried--’And what is all this to my loving again?’ ‘Oh
madam,’ replied _Antonet_, ‘he said a woman was like a gamester, if on
the winning hand, hope, interest, and vanity made him play on, besides
the pleasure of the play itself; if on the losing, then he continued
throwing at all to save a stake at last, if not to recover all; so
either way they find occasion to continue the game.’ ‘But oh,’ said
_Sylvia_ sighing, ‘what shall that gamester set, who has already
played for all he had, and lost it at a cast?’ ‘O, madam,’ replied
_Antonet_,’.he young and fair find credit every where, there is still
a prospect of a return, and that gamester that plays thus upon the
tick is sure to lose but little; and if they win it is all clear
gains.’ ‘I find,’ said _Sylvia_, ‘you are a good manager in love; you
are for the frugal part of it.’ ‘Faith, madam,’ said _Antonet_, ‘I am
indeed of that opinion, that love and interest always do best
together, as two most excellent ingredients in that rare art of
preserving of beauty. Love makes us put on all our charms, and
interest gives us all the advantage of dress, without which beauty is
lost, and of little use. Love would have us appear always new, always
gay, and magnificent, and money alone can render us so; and we find no
women want lovers so much as those who want petticoats, jewels, and
all the necessary trifles of gallantry. Of this last opinion I find
you yourself to be; for even when _Octavio_ comes, on whose heart you
have no design, I see you dress to the best advantage, and put on
many, to like one: why is this, but that even unknown to yourself, you
have a secret joy and pleasure in gaining conquests, and of being
adored, and thought the most charming of your sex?’ ‘That is not from
the inconstancy of my heart,’ cried _Sylvia_, ‘but from the little
vanity of our natures.’ ‘Oh, madam,’ replied _Antonet_, ‘there is no
friend to love like vanity; it is the falsest betrayer of a woman’s
heart of any passion, not love itself betrays her sooner to love than
vanity or pride; and madam, I would I might have the pleasure of my
next wish, when I find you not only listening to the love of
_Octavio_, but even approving it too.’ ‘Away,’ replied _Sylvia_, in
frowning, ‘your mirth grows rude and troublesome--Go bid the page wait
while I return an answer to what his lord has sent me.’ So sitting at
the table she dismissed _Antonet_, and writ this following letter.

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

I find, _Octavio_, this little gallantry of yours, of shewing me the
lover, stands you in very great stead, and serves you upon all
occasions for abundance of uses; amongst the rest, it is no small
obligation you have to it, for furnishing you with handsome pretences
to keep from those who importune you, and from giving them that
satisfaction by your counsel and conversation, which possibly the
unfortunate may have need of sometimes; and when you are pressed and
obliged to render me the friendship of your visits, this necessary
ready love of yours is the only evasion you have for the answering a
thousand little questions I ask you of _Philander_; whose heart I am
afraid you know much better than _Sylvia_ does. I could almost wish,
_Octavio_, that all you tell me of your passion were true, that my
commands might be of force sufficient to compel you to resolve my
heart in some doubts that oppress it. And indeed if you would have me
believe the one, you must obey me in the other; to which end I conjure
you to hasten to me, for something of an unusual coldness in
_Philander_’. letter, and some ominous divinations in yours, have put
me on a rack of thought; from which nothing but confirmation can
relieve me; this you dare not deny, if you value the repose of SYLVIA.

She read it over; and was often about to tear it, fancying it was too
kind: but when she considered it was from no other inclination of her
heart than that of getting the secrets out of his, she pardoned
herself the little levity she found it guilty of; all which,
considering as the effects of the violent passion she had for
_Philander_, she found it easy to do; and sealing it she gave it to
_Antonet_ to deliver to the page, and set herself down to ease her
soul of its heavy weight of grief by her complaints to the dear author
of her pain; for when a lover is insupportably afflicted, there is no
ease like that of writing to the person loved; and that, all that
comes uppermost in the soul: for true love is all unthinking artless
speaking, incorrect disorder, and without method, as ‘tis without
bounds or rules; such were _Sylvia_’. unstudied thoughts, and such her
following letter.

SYLVIA _to_ PHILANDER.

Oh my _Philander_, how hard it is to bring my soul to doubt, when I
consider all thy past tender vows, when I reflect how thou hast loved
and sworn. Methinks I hear the music of thy voice still whispering in
my bosom; methinks the charming softness of thy words remains like
lessening echoes of my soul, whose distant voices by degrees decay,
till they be heard no more! Alas, I’ve read thy letter over and over,
and turned the sense a thousand several ways, and all to make it speak
and look like love--Oh I have flattered it with all my heart.
Sometimes I fancied my ill reading spoiled it, and then I tuned my
voice to softer notes, and read it over again; but still the words
appeared too rough and harsh for any moving air; I which way soever I
changed, which way soever I questioned it of love, it answered in such
language--as others would perhaps interpret love, or something like
it; but I, who’ve heard the very god himself speak from thy wondrous
lips, and known him guide thy pen, when all the eloquence of moving
angels flowed from thy charming tongue! When I have seen thee fainting
at my feet, (whilst all heaven opened in thy glorious face) and now
and then sigh out a trembling word, in which there was contained more
love, more soul, than all the arts of speaking ever found; what sense?
Oh what reflections must I make on this decay, this strange--this
sudden alteration in thee? But that the cause is fled, and the effect
is ceased, the god retired, and all the oracles silenced! Confess--oh
thou eternal conqueror of my soul, whom every hour, and every tender
joy, renders more dear and lovely--tell me why (if thou still lovest
me, and lovest as well) does love not dictate to thee as before? Dost
thou want words? Oh then begin again, I repeat the old ones over ten
thousand times; such repetitions are love’s rhetoric! How often have I
asked thee in an hour, when my fond soul was doting on thy eyes, when
with my arms clasping thy yielding neck, my lips imprinting kisses on
thy cheeks, and taking in the breath that sighed from thine? How often
have I asked this little but important question of thee? ‘Does my
_Philander_ love me?’ Then kiss thee for thy ‘Yes’ and sighs, and ask
again; and still my soul was ravished with new joy, when thou wouldst
answer, ‘Yes, I love thee dearly!’ And if I thought you spoke it with
a tone that seemed less soft and fervent than I wished, I asked so
often, till I made thee answer in such a voice as I would wish to hear
it; all this had been impertinent and foolish in any thing but love,
to any but a lover: but oh--give me the impertinence of love! Talk
little nonsense to me all the day, and be as wanton as a playing
_Cupid_, and that will please and charm my love-sick heart better than
all fine sense and reasoning.

Tell me, _Philander_, what new accident, what powerful misfortune has
befallen thee, greater than what we have experienced yet, to drive the
little god out of thy heart, and make thee so unlike my soft
_Philander_? What place contains thee, or what pleasures ease thee,
that thou art now contented to live a tedious day without thy
_Sylvia_? How then the long long age of forty more, and yet thou
livest, art patient, tame and well; thou talkest not now of ravings,
or of dying, but look’st about thee like a well pleased conqueror
after the toils of battle--oh, I have known a time--but let me never
think upon it more! It cannot be remembered without madness! What,
think thee fallen from love! To think, that I must never hear thee
more pouring thy soul out in soft sighs of love? A thousand dear
expressions by which I knew the story of thy heart, and while you tell
it, bid me feel it panting--never to see thy eyes fixed on my
face--till the soft showers of joy would gently fall and hang their
shining dew upon thy looks, then in a transport snatch me to thy
bosom, and sigh a thousand times ere thou couldst utter--’Ah _Sylvia_,
how I love thee’--oh the dear eloquence those few short words contain,
when they are sent with lovers’ accents to a soul all languishing! But
now--alas, thy love is more familiar grown--oh take the other part of
the proverb too, and say it has bred contempt, for nothing less than
that your letter shews, but more it does, and that is indifference,
less to be borne than hate, or any thing--

At least be just, and let me know my doom: do not deceive the heart
that trusted all thy vows, if thou be’st generous--if thou lettest me
know--thy date of love--is out (for love perhaps as life has dates)
and equally uncertain, and thou no more canst stay the one than the
other; yet if thou art so kind for all my honour lost, my youth
undone, my beauty tarnished, and my lasting vows, to let me fairly
know thou art departing, my worthless life will be the only loss: but
if thou still continuest to impose upon my easy faith, and I should
any other way learn my approaching fate--look to it _Philander_,--she
that had the courage to abandon all for love and faithless thee, can,
when she finds herself betrayed and lost, nobly revenge the ruin of
her fame, and send thee to the other world with SYLVIA.

She having writ this, read it over, and fancied she had not spoke half
the sense of her soul--fancied if she were again to begin, she could
express herself much more to the purpose she designed, than she had
done. She began again, and writ two or three new ones, but they were
either too kind or too rough; the first she feared would shew a
weakness of spirit, since he had given her occasion of jealousy; the
last she feared would disoblige if all those jealousies were false;
she therefore tore those last she had writ, and before she sealed up
the first she read _Philander_’., letter again, but still ended it
with fears that did not lessen those she had first conceived; still
she thought she had more to say, as lovers do, who are never weary of
speaking or writing to the dear object of their vows; and having
already forgotten what she had just said before--and her heart being
by this time as full as ere she began, she took up her complaining
pen, and made it say this in the covert of the letter.

Oh _Philander_! Oh thou eternal charmer of my soul, how fain I would
repent me of the cruel thoughts I have of thee! When I had finished
this enclosed I read again thy chilling letter, and strove with all
the force of love and soft imagination, to find a dear occasion of
asking pardon for those fears which press my breaking heart: but oh,
the more I read, the more they strike upon my tenderest
part,--something so very cold, so careless and indifferent you end
your letter with--I will not think of it--by heaven it makes me
rave--and hate my little power, that could no longer keep thee soft
and kind. Oh if those killing fears (bred by excess of love) are
vainly taken up, in pity, my adorable--in pity to my tortured soul
convince them, redress the torment of my jealous doubts, and either
way confirm me; be kind to her that dies and languishes for thee,
return me all the softness that first charmed me, or frankly tell me
my approaching fate. Be generous or be kind to the unfortunate and
undone

SYLVIA.

She thought she had ended here, but here again she read _Philander_’.
letter, as if on purpose to find new torments out for a heart too much
pressed already; a sour that is always mixed with the sweets of love,
a pain that ever accompanies the pleasure. Love else were not to be
numbered among the passions of men, and was at first ordained in
heaven for some divine motion of the soul, till _Adam_, with his loss
of _Paradise_, debauched it with jealousies, fears and curiosities,
and mixed it with all that was afflicting; but you’ll say he had
reason to be jealous, whose woman, for want of other seducers,
listened to the serpent, and for the love of change, would give way
even to a devil; this little love of novelty and knowledge has been
entailed upon her daughters ever since, and I have known more women
rendered unhappy and miserable from this torment of curiosity, which
they bring upon themselves, than have ever been undone by less
villainous men. One of this humour was our haughty and charming
_Sylvia_, whose pride and beauty possessing her with a belief that all
men were born to die her slaves, made her uneasy at every action of
the lover (whether beloved or not) that did but seem to slight her
empire: but where indeed she loved and doted, as now in _Philander_,
this humour put her on the rack at every thought or fancy that he
might break his chains, and having laid the last obligation upon him,
she expected him to be her slave for ever, and treated him with all
the haughty tyranny of her sex, in all those moments when softness was
not predominant in her soul. She was chagrin at every thing, if but
displeased with one thing; and while she gave torments to others, she
failed not to feel them the most sensibly herself; so that still
searching for new occasion of quarrel with _Philander_, she drew on
herself most intolerable pains, such as doubting lovers feel after
long hopes and confirmed joy; she reads and weeps, and when she came
to that part of it that inquired of the health and being of the pledge
of love--she grew so tender that she was almost fainting in her chair,
but recovering from the soft reflection, and finding she had said
nothing of it already, she took her pen again and writ.

You ask me, oh charming _Philander_, how the pledge of our soft hours
thrives: alas, as if it meant to brave the worst of fate! It does
advance my sorrows, and all your cruelties have not destroyed that:
but I still bear about me the destiny of many a sighing maid, that
this (who will, I am sure, be like _Philander_) will ruin with his
looks.

Thou sacred treasure of my soul, forgive me, if I have wronged thy
love, _adieu_.

She made an end of writing this, just when _Antonet_ arrived, and told
her _Octavio_ was alighted at the gate, and coming to visit her, which
gave her occasion to say this of him to _Philander_.

I think I had not ended here, but that _Octavio_, the bravest and the
best of friends, is come to visit me. The only satisfaction I have to
support my life in _Philander_’. absence. Pay him those thanks that
are due to him from me; pay him for all the generous cares he has
taken of me; beyond a friend! Almost _Philander_ in his blooming
passion, when it was all new and young, and full of duty, could not
have rendered me his service with a more awful industry: sure he was
made for love and glorious friendship. Cherish him then, preserve him
next your soul, for he is a jewel fit for such a cabinet: his form,
his parts, and every noble action, shews us the royal race from whence
he sprung, and the victorious _Orange_ confesses him his own in every
virtue, and in every grace; nor can the illegitimacy eclipse him: sure
he was got in the first heat of love, which formed him so a
_hero_--but no more. _Philander_ is as kind a judge as

SYLVIA.

She had no sooner finished this and sealed it, but _Octavio_ came into
the chamber, and with such an air, with such a grace and mien he
approached her--with all the languishment of soft trembling love in
his face, which with the addition of the dress he was that day in,
(which was extremely rich and advantageous, and altogether such as
pleases the vanity of women,) I have since heard the charming _Sylvia_
say, in spite of her tenderness for _Philander_, she found a soft
emotion in her soul, a kind of pleasure at his approach, which made
her blush with some kind of anger at her own easiness. Nor could she
have blushed in a more happy season; for _Octavio_ saw it, and it
served at once to add a lustre to her paler beauty, and to betray some
little kind sentiment, which possessed him with a joy that had the
same effects on him: _Sylvia_ saw it; and the care she took to hide
her own, served but to increase her blushes, which put her into a
confusion she had much ado to reclaim: she cast her eyes to earth, and
leaning her cheek on her hand, she continued on her seat without
paying him that usual ceremony she was wont to do; while he stood
speechless for a moment, gazing on her with infinite satisfaction:
when she, to assume a formality as well as she could, rose up and
cried, (fearing he had seen too much) ‘_Octavio_, I have been
considering after what manner I ought to receive you? And while I was
so, I left those civilities unpaid, which your quality and my good
manners ought to have rendered you.’ ‘Ah, madam,’ replied he sighing,
’.f you would receive me as I merited, and you ought, at least you
would receive me as the most passionate lover that ever adored you.’
’. was rather believing,’ said _Sylvia_, ‘that I ought to have
received you as my foe; since you conceal from me so long what you
cannot but believe I am extremely impatient of hearing, and what so
nearly concerns my repose.’ At this, he only answering with a sigh,
she pursued, ‘Sure, _Octavio_, you understand me: _Philander_’. answer
to the letter of your confessing passion, has not so long been the
subject of our discourse and expectation, but you guess at what I
mean?’ _Octavio_, who on all occasions wanted not wit, or reply, was
here at a loss what to answer; notwithstanding he had considered
before what he would say: but let those in love fancy, and make what
fine speeches they please, and believe themselves furnished with
abundance of eloquent harangues, at the sight of the dear object they
lose them all, and love teaches them a dialect much more prevailing,
without the expense of duller thought: and they leave unsaid all they
had so floridly formed before, a sigh a thousand things with more
success: love, like poetry, cannot be taught, but uninstructed flows
without painful study, if it be true; it is born in the soul, a noble
inspiration, not a science! Such was _Octavio_’., he thought it
dishonourable to be guilty of the meanness of a lie; and say he had no
answer: he thought it rude to say he had one and would not shew it
_Sylvia_; and he believed it the height of ungenerous baseness to shew
it. While he remained this moment silent, _Sylvia_, whose love,
jealousy, and impatience endured no delay, with a malicious half
smile, and a tone all angry, scorn in her eyes, and passion on her
tongue, she cried--’It is well, _Octavio_, that you so early let me
know, you can be false, unjust, and faithless; you knew your power,
and in pity to that youth and easiness you found in me, have given a
civil warning to my heart. In this I must confess,’ continued she,
’.ou have given a much greater testimony of your friendship for
_Philander_, than your passion for _Sylvia_, and I suppose you came
not here to resolve yourself which you should prefer; that was decided
ere you arrived, and this visit I imagine was only to put me out of
doubt: a piece of charity you might have spared.’ She ended this with
a scorn, that had a thousand charms, because it gave him a little
hope; and he answered with a sigh, ‘Ah, madam, how very easy you find
it to entertain thoughts disadvantageous of me: and how small a fault
your wit and cruelty can improve to a crime! You are not offended at
my friendship for _Philander_. I know you do not value my life, and my
repose so much, as to be concerned who, or what shares this heart that
adores you! No, it has not merited that glory; nor dare I presume to
hope, you should so much as wish my passion for _Sylvia_, should
surmount my friendship to _Philander_.’ ‘If I did,’ replied she with a
scorn, ‘I perceive I might wish in vain.’ ‘Madam,’ answered he, ‘I
have too divine an opinion of the justice of the charming _Sylvia_ to
believe I ought, or could make my approaches to her heart, by ways so
base and ungenerous, the result of even tolerated treason is to hate
the traitor.’ ‘Oh, you are very nice, _Octavio_,’ replied _Sylvia_,
’.n your punctilio to _Philander_; but I perceive you are not so
tender in those you ought to have for _Sylvia_: I find honour in you
men, is only what you please to make it; for at the same time you
think it ungenerous to betray _Philander_, you believe it no breach of
honour to betray the eternal repose of _Sylvia_. You have promised
_Philander_ your friendship; you have avowed yourself my lover, my
slave, my friend, my every thing; and yet not one of these has any tie
to oblige you to my interest: pray tell me,’ continued she, ‘when you
last writ to him; was it not in order to receive an answer from him?
And was not I to see that answer? And here you think it no dishonour
to break your word or promise; by which I find your false notions of
virtue and honour, with which you serve yourselves, when interest,
design, or self-love makes you think it necessary.’ ‘Madam,’ replied
_Octavio_, ‘you are pleased to pursue your anger, as if indeed I had
disobeyed your command, or refused to shew you what you imagine I have
from _Philander_:’ ‘Yes, I do,’ replied she hastily; ‘and wonder why
you should have a greater friendship for _Philander_, than for
_Sylvia_; especially if it be true that you say, you have joined love
to friendship: or are you of the opinion of those that cry, they
cannot be a lover and a friend of the same object.’ ‘Ah, madam,’ cried
our perplexed lover, ‘I beg you to believe, I think it so much more my
duty and inclination to serve and obey _Sylvia_, than I do
_Philander_, that I swear to you, oh charming conqueress of my soul,
if _Philander_ have betrayed _Sylvia_, he has at the same time
betrayed _Octavio_, and that I would revenge it with the loss of my
life: in injuring the adorable _Sylvia_, believe me, lovely maid, he
injures so much more than a friend, as honour is above the
inclinations; if he wrong you, by heaven he cancels all! He wrongs my
soul, my honour, mistress, and my sister:’ fearing he had said too
much, he stopped and sighed at the word sister, and casting down his
eyes, blushing with shame and anger, he continued. ‘Oh give me leave
to say a sister, madam, lest mistress had been too daring and
presumptuous, and a title that would not justify my quarrel half so
well, since it would take the honour from my just resentment, and
blast it with the scandal of self-interest or jealous revenge.’ ‘What
you say,’ replied she, ‘deserves abundance of acknowledgement; but if
you would have me believe you, you ought to hide nothing from me; and
he, methinks, that was so daring to confess his passion to
_Philander_, may after that, venture on any discovery: in short,
_Octavio_, I demand to see the return you have from _Philander_, for
possibly--’ said she, sweetening her charming face into a smile
designed, ‘I should not be displeased to find I might with more
freedom receive your addresses, and on the coldness of _Philander_’.
reasoning may depend a great part of your fate, or fortune: come,
come, produce your credentials, they may recommend your heart more
effectually than all the fine things you can say; you know how the
least appearance of a slight from a lover may advance the pride of a
mistress; and pride in this affair will be your best advocate.’ Thus
she insinuated with all her female arts, and put on all her charms of
looks and smiles, sweetened her mouth, softened her voice and eyes,
assuming all the tenderness and little affectations her subtle sex was
capable of, while he lay all ravished and almost expiring at her feet;
sometimes transported with imagined joys in the possession of the dear
flattering charmer, he was ready to unravel all the secrets of
_Philander_’. letter; but honour yet was even above his passion, and
made him blush at his first hasty thought; and now he strove to put
her off with all the art he could, who had so very little in his
nature, and whose real love and perfect honour had set him above the
little evasions of truth, who scorned in all other cases the baseness
and cowardice of a lie; and so unsuccessful now was the little honest
cheat, which he knew not how to manage well, that it was soon
discovered to the witty, jealous, and angry _Sylvia_: so that after
all the rage a passionate woman could express, who believed herself
injured by the only two persons in the world from whom she expected
most adoration; she had recourse to that natural and softening aid of
her sex, her tears; and having already reproached _Octavio_ with all
the malice of a defeated woman, she now continued it in so moving a
manner, that our _hero_ could no longer remain unconquered by that
powerful way of charming, but unfixed to all he had resolved, gave up,
at least, a part of the secret, and owned he had a letter from
_Philander_; and after this confession knowing very well he could not
keep her from the sight of it; no, though an empire were rendered her
to buy it off; his wit was next employed how he should defend the
sense of it, that she might not think _Philander_ false. In order to
this, he, forcing a smile, told her, that _Philander_ was the most
malicious of his sex, and had contrived the best stratagem in the
world to find whether _Sylvia_ still loved, or _Octavio_ retained his
friendship for him: ‘And but that,’ continued he, ‘I know the nature
of your curious sex to be such, that if I should persuade you not to
see it, it would but the more inflame your desire of seeing it; I
would ask no more of the charming _Sylvia_, than that she would not
oblige me to shew what would turn so greatly to my own advantage: if I
were not too sensible, it is but to entrap me, that _Philander_ has
taken this method in his answer. Believe me, adorable _Sylvia_, I
plead against my own life, while I beg you not to put my honour to the
test, by commanding me to shew this letter, and that I join against
the interest of my own eternal repose while I plead thus.’ She hears
him with a hundred changes of countenance. Love, rage, and jealousy
swell in her fierce eyes, her breath beats short, and she was ready to
burst into speaking before he had finished what he had to say; she
called up all the little discretion and reason love had left her to
manage herself as she ought in this great occasion; she bit her lips,
and swallowed her rising sighs; but he soon saw the storm he had
raised, and knew not how to stand the shock of its fury; he sighs, he
pleads in vain, and the more he endeavours to excuse the levity of
_Philander_, the more he rends her heart, and sets her on the rack;
and concluding him false, she could no longer contain her rage, but
broke out into all the fury that madness can inspire, and from one
degree to another wrought her passion to the height of lunacy: she
tore her hair, and bit his hands that endeavoured to restrain hers
from violence; she rent the ornaments from her fair body, and
discovered a thousand charms and beauties; and finding now that both
his strength and reason were too weak to prevent the mischiefs he
found he had brought on her, he calls for help: when _Brilliard_ was
but too ready at hand, with _Antonet_, and some others who came to his
assistance. _Brilliard_, who knew nothing of the occasion of all this,
believed it the second part of his own late adventure, and fancied
that _Octavio_ had used some violence to her; upon this he assumes the
authority of his lord, and secretly that of a husband or lover, and
upbraiding the innocent _Octavio_ with his brutality, they fell to
such words as ended in a challenge the next morning, for _Brilliard_
appeared a gentleman, companion to his lord; and one whom _Octavio_
could not well refuse: this was not carried so silently but _Antonet_,
busy as she was about her raving lady, heard the appointment, and
_Octavio_ quitted the chamber almost as much disturbed as _Sylvia_,
whom, with much ado they persuaded him to leave; but before he did so,
he on his knees offered her the letter, and implored her to receive
it; so absolutely his love had vanquished his nobler part, that of
honour. But she attending no motions but those of her own rage, had no
regard either to _Octavio_’. proffer, or his arguments of excuse; so
that he went away with the letter in all the extremity of disorder.
This last part of his submission was not seen by _Brilliard_; who
immediately left the chamber, upon receiving _Octavio_’. answer to his
challenge; so that _Sylvia_ was now left with her woman only; who by
degrees brought her to more calmness; and _Brilliard_, impatient to
hear the reproaches he hoped she would give _Octavio_ when she was
returned to reason, being curious of any thing that might redound to
his disadvantage, whom he took to be a powerful rival, returned again
into her chamber: but in lieu of hearing what he wished, _Sylvia_
being recovered from her passion of madness, and her soul in a state
of thinking a little with reason, she misses _Octavio_ in the crowd,
and with a voice her rage had enfeebled to a languishment, she
cried--surveying carefully those about her, ‘Oh where is _Octavio_?
Where is that angel man: he who of all his kind can give me comfort?’
’.adam,’ replied _Antonet_, ‘he is gone; while he was here, he kneeled
and prayed in vain, but for a word, or look; his tears are yet
remaining wet upon your feet, and all for one sensible reply, but rage
had deafened you; what has he done to merit this?’ ‘Oh _Antonet_,’
cried _Sylvia_----’It was what he would not do, that makes me rave;
run, haste and fetch him back----but let him leave his honour all
behind: tell him he has too much consideration for _Philander_, and
none for my repose. Oh, _Brilliard_,----Have I no friend in view dares
carry a message from me to _Octavio_? Bid him return, oh instantly
return----I die, I languish for a sight of him----descending angels
would not be so welcome----Why stand ye still----have I no power with
you----Will none obey----’ Then running hastily to the chamber door,
she called her page to whom she cried----’Haste, haste, dear youth,
and find _Octavio_ out, and bring him to me instantly: tell him I die
to see him.’ The boy, glad of so kind a message to so liberal a lover,
runs on his errand, while she returns to her chamber, and endeavours
to recollect her senses against _Octavio_’. coming as much as possibly
she could: she dismisses her attendant with different apprehensions;
sometimes _Brilliard_ believed this was the second part of her first
raving, and having never seen her thus, but for _Philander_, concludes
it the height of tenderness and passion for _Octavio_; but because she
made so public a declaration of it, he believed he had given her a
philtre, which had raised her flame so much above the bounds of
modesty and discretion; concluding it so, he knew the usual effects of
things of that nature, and that nothing could allay the heat of such a
love but possession; and easily deluded with every fancy that
flattered his love, mad, stark-mad, by any way to obtain the last
blessing with _Sylvia_, he consults with _Antonet_ how to get one of
_Octavio_’. letters out of her lady’s cabinet, and feigning many
frivolous reasons, which deluded the amorous maid, he persuaded her to
get him one, which she did in half an hour after; for by this time
_Sylvia_ being in as much tranquillity as it was possible a lover
could be in, who had the hopes of knowing all the secrets of the false
betrayer, she had called _Antonet_ to dress her; which she resolved
should be in all the careless magnificence that art or nature could
put on; to charm _Octavio_ wholly to obedience, whom she had sent for,
and whom she expected! But she was no sooner set to her toilet, but
_Octavio_’. page arrived with a letter from his master, which she
greedily snatched, and read this:

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

By this time, oh charming _Sylvia_, give me leave to hope your rage is
abated, and your reason returned, and that you will hear a little from
the most unfortunate of men, whom you have reduced to this miserable
extremity of losing either the adorable object of his soul, or his
honour: if you can prefer a little curiosity that will serve but to
afflict you, before either that or my repose, what esteem ought I to
believe you have for the unfortunate _Octavio_: and if you hate me, as
it is evident, if you compel me to the extremity of losing my repose
or honour, what reason or argument have I to prefer so careless a fair
one above the last? It is certain you neither do nor can love me now;
and how much below that hope shall the exposed and abandoned _Octavio_
be, when he shall pretend to that glory without his honour? Believe
me, charming maid, I would sacrifice my life, and my entire fortune at
your least command to serve you; but to render you a devoir that must
point me out the basest of my sex, is what my temper must resist in
spite of all the violence of my love; and I thank my happier stars,
that they have given me resolution enough, rather to fall a sacrifice
to the last, than be guilty of the breach of the first: this is the
last and present thought and pleasure of my soul; and lest it should,
by the force of those divine ideas which eternally surround it, be
soothed and flattered from its noble principles, I will to-morrow put
myself out of the hazard of temptation, and divert if possible, by
absence, to the campaign, those soft importunate betrayers of my
liberty, that perpetually solicit in favour of you: I dare not so much
as bid you adieu, one sight of that bright angel’s face would undo me,
unfix my nobler resolution, and leave me a despicable slave, sighing
my unrewarded treason at your insensible feet: my fortune I leave to
be disposed by you; but the more useless necessary I will for ever
take from those lovely eyes, you can look on nothing with joy, but the
happy _Philander_: if I have denied you one satisfaction, at least I
have given you this other, of securing you eternally from the trouble
and importunity of, madam, your faithful

OCTAVIO.

This letter to any other less secure of her power than was our fair
subject, would have made them impatient and angry; but she found that
there was something yet in her power, the dispensation of which could
soon recall him from any resolution he was able to make of absenting
himself. Her glass stood before her, and every glance that way was an
assurance and security to her heart; she could not see that beauty,
and doubt its power of persuasion. She therefore took her pen, and
writ him this answer, being in a moment furnished with all the art and
subtlety that was necessary on this occasion.

SYLVIA _to_ Octavio.

_My Lord_,

Though I have not beauty enough to command your heart; at least allow
me sense enough to oblige your belief, that I fancy and resent all
that the letter contains which you have denied me, and that I am not
of that sort of women, whose want of youth or beauty renders so
constant to pursue the ghost of a departed love: it is enough to
justify my honour, that I was not the first aggressor. I find myself
pursued by too many charms of wit, youth, and gallantry, to bury
myself beneath the willows, or to whine away my youth by murmuring
rivers, or betake me to the last refuge of a declining beauty, a
monastery: no, my lord, when I have revenged and recompensed myself
for the injuries of one inconstant, with the joys a thousand imploring
lovers offer, it will be time to be weary of a world, which yet every
day presents me new joys; and I swear to you, _Octavio_, that it was
more to recompense what I owed your passion, that I desired a
convincing proof of _Philander_’. falsehood, than for any other
reason, and you have too much wit not to know it; for what other use
could I make of the secret? If he be false he is gone, unworthy of me,
and impossible to be retrieved; and I would as soon dye my sullied
garments, and wear them over again, as take to my embraces a reformed
lover, the native first lustre of whose passion is quite extinct, and
is no more the same; no, my lord, she must be poor in beauty, that has
recourse to shifts so mean; if I would know the secret, by all that is
good it were to hate him heartily, and to dispose of my person to the
best advantage; which in honour I cannot do, while I am unconvinced of
the falseness of him with whom I exchanged a thousand vows of
fidelity; but if he unlink the chain, I am at perfect liberty; and why
by this delay you should make me lose my time, I am not able to
conceive, unless you fear I should then take you at your word, and
expect the performance of all the vows of love you have made me----If
that be it--my pride shall be your security, or if other recompense
you expect, set the price upon your secret, and see at what rate I
shall purchase the liberty it will procure me; possibly it may be such
as may at once enfranchise me, and revenge me on the perjured ingrate,
than which nothing can be a greater satisfaction to

SYLVIA.

She seals this letter with a wafer, and giving it to _Antonet_ to give
the page, believing she had writ what would not be in vain to the
quick-sighted _Octavio_; _Antonet_ takes both that and the other which
_Octavio_ had sent, and left her lady busy in dressing her head, and
went to _Brilliard_’. chamber, who thought every moment an age till
she came, so vigorous he was on his new design. That which was sent to
_Octavio_, being sealed with a wet wafer, he neatly opens, as it was
easy to do, and read, and sealed again, and _Antonet_ delivered it to
the page. After receiving what pay _Brilliard_ could force himself to
bestow upon her, some flatteries of dissembled love, and some cold
kisses, which even imagination could not render better, she returned
to her lady, and he to his stratagem, which was to counterfeit a
letter from _Octavio_; she having in hers given him a hint, by bidding
him set a price upon the secret, which he had heard was that of a
letter from _Philander_, with all the circumstances of it, from the
faithless _Antonet_, whom love had betrayed; and after blotting much
paper to try every letter through the alphabet, and to produce them
like those of _Octavio_, which was not hard for a lover of ingenuity,
he fell to the business of what he would write; and having finished it
to his liking, his next trouble was how to convey it to her; for
_Octavio_ always sent his by his page, whom he could trust. He now was
certain of love between them; for though he often had persuaded
_Antonet_ to bring him letters, yet she could not be wrought on till
now to betray her trust; and what he long apprehended, he found too
true on both sides, and now he waited but for an opportunity to send
it seasonably, and in a lucky minute. In the mean time _Sylvia_ adorns
herself for an absolute conquest, and disposing herself in the most
charming, careless, and tempting manner she could devise, she lay
expecting her coming lover, on a repose of rich embroidery of gold on
blue satin, hung within-side with little amorous pictures of _Venus_
descending in her chariot naked to _Adonis_, she embracing, while the
youth, more eager of his rural sports, turns half from her in a
posture of pursuing his dogs, who are on their chase: another of
_Armida_, who is dressing the sleeping warrior up in wreaths of
flowers, while a hundred little Loves are playing with his gilded
armour; this puts on his helmet too big for his little head, that
hides his whole face; another makes a hobby-horse of his sword and
lance; another fits on his breast-piece, while three or four little
_Cupids_ are seeming to heave and help him to hold it an end, and all
turned the emblems of the hero into ridicule. These, and some either
of the like nature, adorned the pavilion of the languishing fair one,
who lay carelessly on her side, her arm leaning on little pillows of
point of _Venice_, and a book of amours in her other hand. Every noise
alarmed her with trembling hope that her lover was come, and I have
heard she said, she verily believed, that acting and feigning the
lover possessed her with a tenderness against her knowledge and will;
and she found something more in her soul than a bare curiosity of
seeing _Octavio_ for the letter’s sake: but in lieu of her lover, she
found herself once more approached with a billet from him, which
brought this.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

Ah, _Sylvia_, he must be more than human that can withstand your
charms; I confess my frailty, and fall before you the weakest of my
sex, and own I am ready to believe all your dear letter contains, and
have vanity enough to wrest every hopeful word to my own interest, and
in favour of my own heart: what will become of me, if my easy faith
should only flatter me, and I with shame should find it was not meant
to me, or if it were, it was only to draw me from a virtue which has
been hitherto the pride and beauty of my youth, the glory of my name,
and my comfort and refuge in all extremes of fortune; the eternal
companion, guide and counsellor of all my actions: yet this good you
only have power to rob me of, and leave me exposed to the scorn of all
the laughing world; yet give me love! Give me but hope in lieu of it,
and I am content to divest myself of all besides.

Perhaps you will say I ask too mighty a rate for so poor a secret. But
even in that there lies one of my own, that will more expose the
feebleness of my blood and name, than the discovery will me in
particular, so that I know not what I do, when I give you up the
knowledge you desire. Still you will say all this is to enhance its
value, and raise the price: and oh, I fear you have taught my soul
every quality it fears and dreads in yours, and learnt it to chaffer
for every thought, if I could fix upon the rate to sell it at: and I
with shame confess I would be mercenary, could we but agree upon the
price; but my respect forbids me all things but silent hope, and that,
in spite of me and all my reason, will predominate; for the rest I
will wholly resign myself, and all the faculties of my soul, to the
charming arbitrator of my peace, the powerful judge of love, the
adorable _Sylvia_; and at her feet render all she demands; yes, she
shall find me there to justify all the weakness this proclaims; for I
confess, oh too too powerful maid, that you have absolutely subdued

_Your_ OCTAVIO.

She had no sooner read this letter, but _Antonet_, instead of laying
it by, carried it to _Brilliard_, and departed the chamber to make way
for _Octavio_, who she imagined was coming to make his visit, and left
_Sylvia_ considering how she should manage him to the best advantage,
and with most honour acquit herself of what she had made him hope; but
instead of his coming to wait on her, an unexpected accident arrived
to prevent him; for a messenger from the Prince came with commands
that he should forthwith come to His Highness, the messenger having
command to bring him along with him: so that not able to disobey, he
only begged time to write a note of business, which was a billet to
_Sylvia_ to excuse himself till the next day; for it being five
leagues to the village where the Prince waited his coming, he could
not return that night; which was the business of the note, with which
his page hasted to _Sylvia_. _Brilliard_, who was now a vigilant
lover, and waiting for every opportunity that might favour his design,
saw the page arrive with the note; and, as it was usual, he took it to
carry to his conqueress; but meeting _Antonet_ on the stairs, he gave
her what he had before counterfeited with such art, after he had
opened what _Octavio_ had sent, and found fortune was wholly on his
side, he having learned from the page besides, that his lord had taken
coach with Monsieur----to go to His Highness, and would not return
that night: _Antonet_, not knowing the deceit, carried her lady the
forged letter, who opened it with eager haste, and read this.

_To the Charming_ SYLVIA.

_Madam_,

Since I have a secret, which none but I can unfold, and that you have
offered at any rate to buy it of me, give me leave to say, that you,
fair creature, have another secret, a joy to dispense, which none but
you can give the languishing _Octavio_: if you dare purchase this of
mine, with that infinitely more valuable one of yours, I will be as
secret as death, and think myself happier than a fancied god! Take
what methods you please for the payment, and what time, order me,
command me, conjure me, I will wait, watch, and pay my duty at all
hours, to snatch the most convenient one to reap so ravishing a
blessing. I know you will accuse me with all the confidence and
rudeness in the world: but oh! consider, lovely _Sylvia_, that that
passion which could change my soul from all the course of honour, has
power to make me forget that nice respect your beauty awes me with,
and my passion is now arrived at such a height, it obeys no laws but
its own; and I am obstinately bent on the pursuit of that vast
pleasure I fancy to find in the dear, the ravishing arms of the
adorable _Sylvia_: impatient of your answer, I am, as love compels me,
madam, your slave,

OCTAVIO.

The page, who waited no answer, was departed: but _Sylvia_, who
believed he attended, was in a thousand minds what to say or do: she
blushed, as she read, and then looked pale with anger and disdain,
and, but that she had already given her honour up, it would have been
something more surprising: but she was used to questions of that
nature, and therefore received this with so much the less concern;
nevertheless, it was sufficient to fill her soul with a thousand
agitations; but when she would be angry, the consideration of what she
had writ to him, to encourage him to this boldness, stopped her rage:
when she would take it ill, she considered his knowledge of her lost
fame, and that took off a great part of her resentment on that side;
and in midst of all she was raving for the knowledge of _Philander_’.
secret. She rose from the bed, and walked about the room in much
disorder, full of thought and no conclusion; she is ashamed to consult
of this affair with _Antonet_, and knows not what to fix on: the only
thing she was certain of, and which was fully and undisputably
resolved in her soul, was never to consent to so false an action,
never to buy the secret at so dear a rate; she abhors _Octavio_, whom
she regards no more as that fine thing which before she thought him;
and a thousand times she was about to write her despite and contempt,
but still the dear secret stayed her hand, and she was fond of the
torment: at last _Antonet_, who was afflicted to know the cause of
this disorder, asked her lady if _Octavio_ would not come; ‘No,’
replied _Sylvia_, blushing at the name, ‘nor never shall the
ungrateful man dare to behold my face any more.’ ‘Jesu,’ replied
_Antonet_, ‘what has he done, madam, to deserve this severity?’ For he
was a great benefactor to _Antonet_, and had already by his gifts and
presents made her a fortune for a burgomaster. ‘He has,’ said
_Sylvia_, ‘committed such an impudence as deserves death from my
hand:’ this she spoke in rage, and walked away cross the chamber.
’.hy, madam,’ cried _Antonet_,’.oes he deny to give you the letter?’
’.o,’ replied _Sylvia_, ‘but asks me such a price for it, as makes me
hate myself, that am reduced by my ill conduct to addresses of that
nature:’ ‘Heavens, madam, what can he ask you to afflict you so!’ ‘The
presumptuous man,’ said she, (in rage) ‘has the impudence to ask what
never man, but _Philander_, was ever possessed of----’ At this,
_Antonet_ laughed--’Good lord, madam,’ said she, ‘and are you angry at
such desires in men towards you? I believe you are the first lady in
the world that was ever offended for being desirable: can any thing
proclaim your beauty more, or your youth, or wit? Marry, madam, I wish
I were worthy to be asked the question by all the fine dancing,
dressing, song-making fops in town.’ ‘And you would yield,’ replied
_Sylvia_. ‘Not so neither,’ replied _Antonet_, ‘but I would spark
myself, and value myself the more upon it.’ ‘Oh,’ said _Sylvia_, ‘she
that is so fond of hearing of love, no doubt but will find some one to
practise it with.’ ‘That is as I should find myself inclined,’ replied
_Antonet_. _Sylvia_ was not so intent on _Antonet_’. raillery, but she
employed all her thought the while on what she had to do: and those
last words of _Antonet_’. jogged a thought that ran on to one very
advantageous, at least her present and first apprehension of it was
such: and she turned to _Antonet_, with a face more gay than it was
the last minute, and cried, ‘Prithee, good wench, tell me what sort of
man would soonest incline you to a yielding:’ ‘If you command me,
madam, to be free with your ladyship,’ replied _Antonet_, ‘I must
confess there are two sorts of men that would most villainously
incline me: the first is he that would make my fortune best; the next,
he that would make my pleasure; the young, the handsome, or rather the
well-bred and good-humoured; but above all, the man of wit.’ ‘But what
would you say, _Antonet_,’ replied _Sylvia_, ‘if all these made up in
one man should make his addresses to you?’ ‘Why then most certainly,
madam,’ replied _Antonet_, ‘I should yield him my honour, after a
reasonable siege.’ This though the wanton young maid spoke possibly at
first more to put her lady in good humour, than from any inclination
she had to what she said; yet after many arguments upon that subject,
_Sylvia_, cunning enough to pursue her design, brought the business
more home, and told her in plain terms, that _Octavio_ was the man who
had been so presumptuous as to ask so great a reward as the possession
of herself for the secret she desired; and, after a thousand little
subtleties, having made the forward girl confess with blushes she was
not a maid, she insinuated into her an opinion, that what she had done
already (without any other motive than that of love, as she confessed,
in which interest had no part) would make the trick the easier to do
again, especially if she brought to her arms a person of youth, wit,
gallantry, beauty, and all the charming qualities that adorn a man,
and that besides she should find it turn to good account; and for her
secrecy she might depend upon it, since the person to whose embraces
she should submit herself, should not know but that she herself was
the woman: ‘So that,’ says _Sylvia_, ‘I will have all the infamy, and
you the reward every way with unblemished honour.’ While she spoke,
the willing maid gave an inward pleasing attention, though at first
she made a few faint modest scruples: nor was she less joyed to hear
it should be _Octavio_, whom she knew to be rich, and very handsome;
and she immediately found the humour of inconstancy seize her; and
_Brilliard_ appeared a very husband lover in comparison of this new
brisker man of quality; so that after some pros and cons the whole
matter was thus concluded on between these two young persons, who
neither wanted wit nor beauty; and both crowed over the little
contrivance, as a most diverting piece of little malice, that should
serve their present turn, and make them sport for the future. The next
thing that was considered was a letter which was to be sent in answer,
and that _Sylvia_ being to write with her own hand begot a new doubt,
insomuch as the whole business was at a stand: for when it came to
that point that she herself was to consent, she found the project look
with a face so foul, that she a hundred times resolved and unresolved.
But _Philander_ filled her soul, revenge was in her view, and that one
thought put her on new resolves to pursue the design, let it be never
so base and dishonourable: ‘Yes,’ cried she at last, ‘I can commit no
action that is not more just, excusable and honourable, than that
which _Octavio_ has done to me, who uses me like a common mistress of
the town, and dares ask me that which he knows he durst not do, if he
had not mean and abject thoughts of me; his baseness deserves death at
my hand, if I had courage to give it him, and the least I can do is to
deceive the deceiver. Well then, give me my escritoire,’ says she; so,
sitting down, she writ this, not without abundance of guilt and
confusion; for yet a certain honour, which she had by birth, checked
the cheat of her pen.

       *       *       *       *       *

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

The price, _Octavio_, which you have set upon your secret, I (more
generous than you) will give your merit, to which alone it is due: if
I should pay so high a price for the first, you would believe I had
the less esteem for the last, and I would not have you think me so
poor in spirit to yield on any other terms. If I valued _Philander_
yet--after his confirmed inconstancy, I would have you think I scorn
to yield a body where I do not give a soul, and am yet to be persuaded
there are any such brutes amongst my sex; but as I never had a wish
but where I loved, so I never extended one till now to any but
_Philander_; yet so much my sense of shame is above my growing
tenderness, that I could wish you would be so generous to think no
more of what you seem to pursue with such earnestness and haste. But
lest I should retain any sort of former love for _Philander_, whom I
am impatient to rase wholly from my soul, I grant you all you ask,
provided you will be discreet in the management: _Antonet_ therefore
shall only be trusted with the secret; the outward gate you shall find
at twelve only shut to, and _Antonet_ wait you at the stairs-foot to
conduct you to me; come alone. I blush and gild the paper with their
reflections, at the thought of an encounter like this, before I am
half enough secured of your heart. And that you may be made more
absolutely the master of mine, send me immediately _Philander_’.
letter enclosed, that if any remains of chagrin possess me, they may
be totally vanquished by twelve o’clock.

SYLVIA.

She having, with much difficulty, writ this, read it to her trusty
confidante; for this was the only secret of her lady’s she was
resolved never to discover to _Brilliard_, and to the end he might
know nothing of it she sealed the letter with wax: but before she
sealed it, she told her lady, she thought she might have spared
abundance of her blushes, and have writ a less kind letter; for a word
of invitation or consent would have served as well. To which _Sylvia_
replied, her anger against him was too high not to give him all the
defeat imaginable, and the greater the love appeared, the greater
would be the revenge when he should come to know (as in time he
should) how like a false friend she had treated him. This reason, or
any at that time would have served _Antonet_, whose heart was set upon
a new adventure, and in such haste she was (the night coming on
a-pace) to know how she should dress, and what more was to be done,
that she only went out to call the page, and meeting _Brilliard_ (who
watched every body’s motion) on the stair-case, he asked her what that
was; and she said, to send by _Octavio_’. page: ‘You need not look in
it,’ said she (when he snatched it hastily out of her hand:) ‘For I
can tell you the contents, and it is sealed so, it must be known if
you unrip it.’ ‘Well, well,’ said he, ‘if you tell it me, it will
satisfy my curiosity as well; therefore I’ll give it the page.’ She
returns in again to her lady, and he to his own chamber to read what
answer the dear object of his desire had sent to his forged one: so
opening it, he found it such as his soul wished, and was all joy and
ecstasy; he views himself a hundred times in the glass, and set
himself in order with all the opinion and pride, as if his own good
parts had gained him the blessing; he enlarged himself as he walked,
and knew not what to do, so extremely was he ravished with his coming
joy; he blessed himself, his wit, his stars, his fortune; then read
the dear obliging letter, and kissed it all over, as if it had been
meant to him; and after he had forced himself to a little more serious
consideration, he bethought himself of what he had to do in order to
this dear appointment: he finds in her letter, that in the first place
he was to send her the letter from _Philander_: I told you before he
took _Octavio_’. letter from the page, when he understood his lord was
going five leagues out of town to the prince. _Octavio_ could not
avoid his going, and wrote to _Sylvia_; in which he sent her the
letter _Philander_ writ, wherein was the first part of the confession
of his love to Madam the Countess of _Clarinau_: generously _Octavio_
sent it without terms; but _Brilliard_ slid his own forged one into
_Antonet_’. hand in lieu of it, and now he read that from _Philander_,
and wondered at his lord’s inconstancy; yet glad of the opportunity to
take _Sylvia_’. heart a little more off from him, he soon resolved she
should have the letter, but being wholly mercenary, and fearing that
either when once she had it, it might make her go back from her
promised assignation, or at least put her out of humour, so as to
spoil a great part of the entertainment he designed: he took the pains
to counterfeit another billet to her, which was this.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ SYLVIA.

_Madam_,

Since we have begun to chaffer, you must give me leave to make the
best of the advantage I find I have upon you; and having violated my
honour to _Philander_, allow the breach of it in some degree on other
occasions; not but I have all the obedience and adoration for you that
ever possessed the soul of a most passionate and languishing lover:
but, fair _Sylvia_, I know not whether, when you have seen the secret
of the false _Philander_, you may not think it less valuable than you
before did, and so defraud me of my due. Give me leave, oh wondrous
creature! to suspect even the most perfect of your sex; and to tell
you, that I will no sooner approach your presence, but I will resign
the paper you so much wish. If you send me no answer, I will come
according to your directions: if you do, I must obey and wait, though
with that impatience that never attended a suffering lover, or any
but, divine creature, your OCTAVIO.

This he sealed, and after a convenient distance of time carried as
from the page to _Antonet_, who was yet contriving with her lady, to
whom she gives it, who read it with abundance of impatience, being
extremely angry at the rudeness of the style, which she fancied much
altered from what it was; and had not her rage blinded her, she might
easily have perceived the difference too of the character, though it
came as near to the like as possible so short a practice could
produce; she took it with the other, and tore it in pieces with rage,
and swore she would be revenged; but, after calmer thoughts, she took
up the pieces to keep to upbraid him with, and fell to weeping for
anger, defeat and shame; but the _April_ shower being past, she
returned to her former resentment, and had some pleasure amidst all
her torment of fears, jealousies, and sense of _Octavio_’. disrespect
in the thoughts of revenge; in order to which she contrives how
_Antonet_ shall manage herself, and commanding her to bring out some
fine point linen, she dressed up _Antonet_’. head with them, and put
her on a shift, laced with the same; for though she intended no light
should be in the chamber when _Octavio_ should enter, she knew he
understood by his touch the difference of fine things from other. In
fine, having dressed her exactly as she herself used to be when she
received _Octavio_’. visits in bed, she embraced her, and fancied she
was much of her own shape and bigness, and that it was impossible to
find the deceit: and now she made _Antonet_ dress her up in her
clothes, and mobbing her sarsenet hood about her head, she appeared so
like _Antonet_ (all but the face) that it was not easy to distinguish
them: and night coming on they both long for the hour of twelve,
though with different designs; and having before given notice that
_Sylvia_ was gone to bed, and would receive no visit that night, they
were alone to finish all their business: this while _Brilliard_ was
not idle, but having a fine bath made, he washed and perfumed his
body, and after dressed himself in the finest linen perfumed that he
had, and made himself as fit as possible for his design; nor was his
shape, which was very good, or his stature, unlike to that of
_Octavio_: and ready for the approach, he conveys himself out of the
house, telling his footman he would put himself to bed after his
bathing, and, locking his chamber door, stole out; and it being dark,
many a longing turn he walked, impatient till all the candles were out
in every room of the house: in the mean time, he employed his thoughts
on a thousand things, but all relating to _Sylvia_; sometimes the
treachery he shewed in this action to his lord, caused short-lived
blushes in his face, which vanished as soon, when he considered his
lord false to the most beautiful of her sex: sometimes he accused and
cursed the levity of _Sylvia_ that could yield to _Octavio_, and was
as jealous as if she had indeed been to have received that charming
lover; but when his thought directed him to his own happiness, his
pulse beat high, his blood flushed apace in his cheeks, his eyes
languished with love, and his body with a feverish fit! In these
extremes, by turns, he passed at least three tedious hours, with a
striking watch in his hand; and when it told it was twelve, he
advanced near the door, but finding it shut walked yet with greater
impatience, every half minute going to the door; at last he found it
yield to his hand that pushed it: but oh, what mortal can express his
joy! His heart beats double, his knees tremble, and a feebleness
seizes every limb; he breathes nothing but short sighs, and is ready
in the dark hall to fall on the floor, and was forced to lean on the
rail that begins the stairs to take a little courage: while he was
there recruiting himself, intent on nothing but his vast joy;
_Octavio_, who going to meet the Prince, being met halfway by that
young _hero_, was dispatched back again without advancing to the end
of his five leagues, and impatient to see _Sylvia_, after
_Philander_’. letter that he had sent her, or at least impatient to
hear how she took it, and in what condition she was, he, as soon as he
alighted, went towards her house in order to have met _Antonet_, or
her page, or some that could inform him of her welfare; though it was
usual for _Sylvia_ to sit up very late, and he had often made her
visits at that hour: and _Brilliard_, wholly intent on his adventure,
had left the door open; so that _Octavio_ perceiving it, believed they
were all up in the back rooms where _Sylvia_’. apartment was towards a
garden, for he saw no light forward. But he was no sooner entered
(which he did without noise) but he heard a soft breathing, which made
him stand in the hall: and by and by he heard the soft tread of some
body descending the stairs: at this he approaches near, and the hall
being a marble floor, his tread was not heard; when he heard one cry
with a sigh--’Who is there?’ And another replied, ‘It is I! Who are
you?’ The first replied, ‘A faithful and an impatient lover.’ ‘Give me
your hand then,’ replied the female voice, ‘I will conduct you to your
happiness.’ You may imagine in what surprise _Octavio_ was at so
unexpected an adventure, and, like a jealous lover, did not at all
doubt but the happiness expected was _Sylvia_, and the impatient lover
some one, whom he could not imagine, but raved within to know, and in
a moment ran over in his thoughts all the men of quality, or
celebrated beauty, or fortune in the town, but was at as great a loss
as at first thinking: ‘But be thou who thou wilt,’ cried he to
himself; ‘traitor as thou art, I will by thy death revenge myself on
the faithless fair one.’ And taking out his sword, he had advanced
towards the stairs-foot, when he heard them both softly ascend; but
being a man of perfect good nature, as all the brave and witty are, he
reflected on the severe usage he had from _Sylvia_, notwithstanding
all his industry, his vast expense, and all the advantages of nature.
This thought made him, in the midst of all his jealousy and haste,
pause a little moment; and fain he would have persuaded himself, that
what he heard was the errors of his sense; or that he dreamed, or that
it was at least not to _Sylvia_, to whom this ascending lover was
advancing: but to undeceive him of that favourable imagination, they
were no sooner on the top of the stairs, but he not being many steps
behind could both hear and see, by the ill light of a great
sash-window on the stair-case, the happy lover enter the chamber-door
of _Sylvia_, which he knew too well to be mistaken, not that he could
perceive who, or what they were, but two persons not to be
distinguished. Oh what human fancy, (but that of a lover to that
degree that was our young hero,) can imagine the amazement and torture
of his soul, wherein a thousand other passions reigned at once, and,
maugre all his courage and resolution, forced him to sink beneath
their weight? He stood holding himself up by the rails of the
stair-case, without having the power to ascend farther, or to shew any
other signs of life, but that of sighing; had he been a favoured
lover, had he been a known declared lover to all the world, had he but
hoped he had had so much interest with the false beauty, as but to
have been designed upon for a future love or use, he would have rushed
in, and have made the guilty night a covert to a scene of blood; but
even yet he had an awe upon his soul for the perjured fair one, though
at the same time he resolved she should be the object of his hate; for
the nature of his honest soul abhorred an action so treacherous and
base: he begins in a moment from all his good thoughts of her to think
her the most jilting of her sex; he knew, if interest could oblige
her, no man in _Holland_ had a better pretence to her than himself;
who had already, without any return, even so much as hope, presented
her the value of eight or ten thousand pounds in fine plate and
jewels: if it were looser desire, he fancied himself to have appeared
as capable to have served her as any man; but oh! he considers there
is a fate in things, a destiny in love that elevates and advances the
most mean, deformed or abject, and debases and condemns the most
worthy and magnificent: then he wonders at her excellent art of
dissembling for _Philander_; he runs in a minute over all her passions
of rage, jealousy, tears and softness; and now he hates the whole sex,
and thinks them all like _Sylvia_, than whom nothing could appear more
despicable to his present thought, and with a smile, while yet his
heart was insensibly breaking, he fancies himself a very coxcomb, a
cully, an imposed on fool, and a conceited fop; values _Sylvia_ as a
common fair jilt, whose whole design was to deceive the world, and
make herself a fortune at the price of her honour; one that receives
all kind bidders, and that he being too lavish, and too modest, was
reserved the cully on purpose to be undone and jilted out of all his
fortune! This thought was so perfectly fixed in him, that he recovered
out of his excess of pain, and fancied himself perfectly cured of his
blind passion, resolves to leave her to her beastly entertainment, and
to depart; but before he did so, _Sylvia_, (who had conducted the
amorous spark to the bed, where the expecting lady lay dressed rich
and sweet to receive him) returned out of the chamber, and the light
being a little more favourable to his eyes, by his being so long in
the dark, he perceived it _Antonet_, at least such a sort of figure as
he fancied her, and to confirm him saw her go into that chamber where
he knew she lay; he saw her perfect dress, and all confirmed him; this
brought him back almost to his former confusion; but yet he commands
his passion, and descended the stairs, and got himself out of the hall
into the street; and _Sylvia_, remembering the street-door was open,
went and shut it, and returned to _Antonet_’. chamber with the letter
which _Brilliard_ had given to _Antonet_, as she lay in the bed,
believing it _Sylvia_: for that trembling lover was no sooner entered
the chamber, and approached the bed-side, but he kneeled before it,
and offered the price of his happiness, this letter, which she
immediately gave to _Sylvia_, unperceived, who quitted the room: and
now with all the eager haste of impatient love she strikes a light,
and falls to reading the sad contents; but as she read, she many times
fainted over the paper, and as she has since said, it was a wonder she
ever recovered, having no body with her. By that time she had finished
it, she was so ill she was not able to get herself into bed, but threw
herself down on the place where she sat, which was the side of it, in
such agony of grief and despair, as never any soul was possessed of,
but _Sylvia_’., wholly abandoned to the violence of love and despair:
it is impossible to paint a torment to express hers by; and though she
had vowed to _Antonet_ it should not at all affect her, being so
prepossessed before; yet when she had the confirmation of her fears,
and heard his own dear soft words addressed to another object, saw his
transports, his impatience, his languishing industry and endeavour to
obtain the new desire of his soul, she found her resentment above
rage, and given over to a more silent and less supportable torment,
brought herself into a high fever, where she lay without so much as
calling for aid in her extremity; not that she was afraid the cheat
she had put on _Octavio_ would be discovered; for she had lost the
remembrance that any such prank was played; and in this multitude of
thoughts of more concern, had forgot all the rest of that night’s
action.

_Octavio_ this while was traversing the street, wrapped in his cloak,
just as if he had come from horse; for he was no sooner gone from the
door, but his resenting passion returned, and he resolved to go up
again, and disturb the lovers, though it cost him his life and fame:
but returning hastily to the door, he found it shut; at which being
enraged, he was often about to break it open, but still some
unperceivable respect for _Sylvia_ prevented him; but he resolved not
to stir from the door, till he saw the fortunate rogue come out, who
had given him all this torment. At first he cursed himself for being
so much concerned for _Sylvia_ or her actions to waste a minute, but
flattering himself that it was not love to her, but pure curiosity to
know the man who was made the next fool to himself, though the more
happy one, he waited all night; and when he began to see the day
break, which he thought a thousand years; his eye was never off from
the door, and wondered at their confidence, who would let the day
break upon them; ‘but the close-drawn curtains there,’ cried he,
’.avour the happy villainy.’ Still he walked on, and still he might
for any rival that was to appear, for a most unlucky accident
prevented _Brilliard_’. coming out, as he doubly intended to do;
first, for the better carrying on of his cheat of being _Octavio_; and
next that he had challenged _Octavio_ to fight; and when he knew his
error, designed to have gone this morning, and asked him pardon, if he
had been returned; but the amorous lover over night, ordering himself
for the encounter to the best advantage, had sent a note to a doctor,
for something that would encourage his spirits; the doctor came, and
opening a little box, wherein was a powerful medicine, he told him
that a dose of those little flies would make him come off with
wondrous honour in the battle of love; and the doctor being gone to
call for a glass of sack, the doctor having laid out of the box what
he thought requisite on a piece of paper, and leaving the box open,
our spark thought if such a dose would encourage him so, a greater
would yet make him do greater wonders; and taking twice the quantity
out of the box, puts them into his pocket, and having drank the first
with full directions, the doctor leaves him; who was no sooner gone,
but he takes those out of his pocket, and in a glass of sack drinks
them down; after this he bathes and dresses, and believes himself a
very _Hercules_, that could have got at least twelve sons that happy
night; but he was no sooner laid in bed with the charming _Sylvia_, as
he thought, but he was taken with intolerable gripes and pains, such
as he had never felt before, insomuch that he was not able to lie in
the bed: this enrages him; he grows mad and ashamed; sometimes he had
little intermissions for a moment of ease, and then he would plead
softly by her bed-side, and ask ten thousand pardons; which being
easily granted he would go into bed again, but then the pain would
seize him anew, so that after two or three hours of distraction he was
forced to dress and retire: but, instead of going down he went softly
up to his own chamber, where he sat him down, and cursed the world,
himself and his hard fate; and in this extremity of pain, shame and
grief, he remained till break of day: by which time _Antonet_, who was
almost as violently afflicted, got her coats on, and went to her own
chamber, where she found her lady more dead than alive. She
immediately shifted her bed-linen, and made her bed, and conducted her
to it, without endeavouring to divert her with the history of her own
misfortune; and only asked her many questions concerning her being
thus ill: to which the wretched _Sylvia_ only answered with sighs; so
that _Antonet_ perceived it was the letter that had disordered her,
and begged she might be permitted to see it; she gave her leave, and
_Antonet_ read it; but no sooner was she come to that part of it which
named the Countess of _Clarinau_, but she asked her lady if she
understood who that person was, with great amazement: at this _Sylvia_
was content to speak, pleased a little that she should have an account
of her rival. ‘No,’ said she, ‘dost thou know her?’ ‘Yes, madam,’
replied _Antonet_, ‘particularly well; for I have served her ever
since I was a girl of five years old, she being of the same age with
me, and sent at six years old both to a monastery; for she being fond
of my play her father sent me at that age with her, both to serve and
to divert her with babies and baubles; there we lived seven years
together, when an old rich _Spaniard_, the Count of _Clarinau_, fell
in love with my lady, and married her from the monastery, before she
had seen any part of the world beyond those sanctified walls. She
cried bitterly to have had me to _Cologne_ with her, but he said I was
too young now for her service, and so sent me away back to my own
town, which is this; and here my lady was born too, and is sister
to----’ Here she stopped, fearing to tell; which _Sylvia_ perceiving,
with a briskness (which her indisposition one would have thought could
not have allowed) sat up in bed, and cried, ‘Ha! sister to whom? Oh,
how thou wouldst please me to say to _Octavio_.’ ‘Why, madam, would it
please you?’ said the blushing maid. ‘Because,’ said _Sylvia_, ‘it
would in part revenge me on his bold addresses to me, and he would
also be obliged, in honour to his family, to revenge himself on
_Philander_.’ ‘Ah, madam,’ said she, ‘as to his presumption towards
you, fortune has sufficiently revenged it;’ at this she hung down her
head, and looked very foolishly. ‘How,’ said _Sylvia_, smiling and
rearing herself yet more in her bed, ‘is any misfortune arrived to
_Octavio_? Oh, how I will triumph and upbraid the daring man!----tell
me quickly what it is; for nothing would rejoice me more than to hear
he were punished a little.’ Upon this _Antonet_ told her what an
unlucky night she had, how _Octavio_ was seized, and how he departed;
by which _Sylvia_ believed he had made some discovery of the cheat
that was put upon him; and that he only feigned illness to get himself
loose from her embraces; and now she falls to considering how she
shall be revenged on both her lovers: and the best she can pitch upon
is that of setting them both at odds, and making them fight and
revenge themselves on one another; but she, like a right woman, could
not dissemble her resentment of jealousy, whatever art she had to do
so in any other point; but mad to ease her soul that was full, and to
upbraid _Philander_, she writes him a letter; but not till she had
once more, to make her stark-mad, read his over again, which he sent
_Octavio_.

SYLVIA _to_ PHILANDER.

Yes, perjured villain, at last all thy perfidy is arrived to my
knowledge; and thou hadst better have been damned, or have fallen,
like an ungrateful traitor, as thou art, under the public shame of
dying by the common executioner, than have fallen under the grasp of
my revenge; insatiate as thy lust, false as thy treasons to thy
prince, fatal as thy destiny, loud as thy infamy, and bloody as thy
party. Villain, villain, where got you the courage to use me thus,
knowing my injuries and my spirit? Thou seest, base traitor, I do not
fall on thee with treachery, as thou hast with thy king and mistress;
to which thou hast broken thy holy vows of allegiance and eternal
love! But thou that hast broken the laws of God and nature! What could
I expect, when neither religion, honour, common justice nor law could
bind thee to humanity? Thou that betrayest thy prince, abandonest thy
wife, renouncest thy child, killest thy mother, ravishest thy sister,
and art in open rebellion against thy native country, and very kindred
and brothers. Oh after this, what must the wretch expect who has
believed thee, and followed thy abject fortunes, the miserable
out-cast slave, and contempt of the world? What could she expect but
that the villain is still potent in the unrepented, and all the lover
dead and gone, the vice remains, and all the virtue vanished! Oh, what
could I expect from such a devil, so lost in sin and wickedness, that
even those for whom he ventured all his fame, and lost his fortune,
lent like a state-cully upon the public faith, on the security of
rogues, knaves and traitors; even those, I say, turned him out of
their councils for a reprobate too lewd for the villainous society? Oh
cursed that I was, by heaven and fate, to be blind and deaf to all thy
infamy, and suffer thy adorable bewitching face and tongue to charm me
to madness and undoing, when that was all thou hadst left thee, thy
false person, to cheat the silly, easy, fond, believing world into any
sort of opinion of thee; for not one good principle was left, not one
poor virtue to guard thee from damnation, thou hadst but one friend
left thee, one true, on real friend, and that was wretched _Sylvia_;
she, when all abandoned thee but the executioner, fled with thee,
suffered with thee, starved with thee, lost her fame and honour with
thee, lost her friends, her parents, and all her beauty’s hopes for
thee; and, in lieu of all, found only the accusation of all the good,
the hate of all the virtuous, the reproaches of her kindred, the scorn
of all chaste maids, and curses of all honest wives; and in requital
had only thy false vows, thy empty love, thy faithless embraces, and
cold dissembling kisses. My only comfort was, (ah miserable comfort,)
to fancy they were true; now that it is departed too, and I have
nothing but a brave revenge left in the room of all! In which I will
be as merciless and irreligious as even thou hast been in all thy
actions; and there remains about me only this sense of honour yet,
that I dare tell thee of my bold design, a bravery thou hast never
shewed to me, who takest me unawares, stabb’st me without a warning of
the blow; so would’st thou serve thy king hadst thou but power; and so
thou servest thy mistress. When I look back even to thy infancy, thy
life has been but one continued race of treachery, and I, (destined
thy evil genius) was born for thy tormentor; for thou hast made a very
fiend of me, and I have hell within; all rage, all torment, fire,
distraction, madness; I rave, I burn, I tear myself and faint, am
still a dying, but can never fall till I have grasped thee with me:
oh, I should laugh in flames to see thee howling by: I scorn thee,
hate thee, loathe thee more than ever I have loved thee; and hate
myself so much for ever loving thee, (to be revenged upon the filthy
criminal) I will expose myself to all the world, cheat, jilt and
flatter all as thou hast done, and having not one sense or grain of
honour left, will yield the abandoned body thou hast rifled to every
asking fop: nor is that all, for they that purchase this shall buy it
at the price of being my _bravoes_. And all shall aid in my revenge on
thee; all merciless and as resolved as I; as I! The injured

SYLVIA.

Having shot this flash of the lightning of her soul, and finished her
rant, she found herself much easier in the resolves on revenge she had
fixed there: she scorned by any vain endeavour to recall him from his
passion; she had wit enough to have made those eternal observations,
that love once gone is never to be retrieved, and that it was
impossible to cease loving, and then again to love the same person;
one may believe for some time one’s love is abated, but when it comes
to a trial, it shews itself as vigorous as in its first shine, and
finds its own error; but when once one comes to love a new object, it
can never return with more than pity, compassion, or civility for the
first: this is a most certain truth which all lovers will find, as
most wives may experience, and which our _Sylvia_ now took for
granted, and gave him over for dead to all but her revenge. Though
fits of softness, weeping, raving, and tearing, would by turns seize
the distracted abandoned beauty, in which extremities she has recourse
to scorn and pride, too feeble to aid her too often: the first thing
she resolved on, by the advice of her reasonable counsellor, was to
hear love at both ears, no matter whether she regard it or not, but to
hear all, as a remedy against loving one in particular; for it is most
certain, that the use of hearing love, or of making love (though at
first without design) either in women or men, shall at last unfix the
most confirmed and constant resolution. ‘And since you are assured,’
continued _Antonet_, ‘that sighs nor tears bring back the wandering
lover, and that dying for him will be no revenge on him, but rather a
kind assurance that you will no more trouble the man who is already
weary of you, you ought, with all your power, industry and reason,
rather to seek the preservation of that beauty, of that fine humour,
to serve you on all occasions, either of revenge or love, than by a
foolish and insignificant concern and sorrow reduce yourself to the
condition of being scorned by all, or at best but pitied.’ ‘How
pitied!’ cried the haughty _Sylvia_. ‘Is there any thing so
insupportable to our sex as pity!’ ‘No surely,’ replied the servant,
’.hen ‘tis accompanied by love: oh what blessed comfort ‘tis to hear
people cry--“she was once charming, once a beauty.” Is any thing more
grating, madam?’ At this rate she ran on, and left nothing unsaid that
might animate the angry _Sylvia_ to love anew, or at least to receive
and admit of love; for in that climate the air naturally breeds
spirits avaricious, and much inclines them to the love of money, which
they will gain at any price or hazard; and all this discourse to
_Sylvia_, was but to incline the revengeful listening beauty to admit
of the addresses of _Octavio_, because she knew he would make her
fortune. Thus was the unhappy maid left by her own unfortunate
conduct, encompassed in on every side with distraction; and she was
pointed out by fate to be made the most wretched of all her sex; nor
had she left one faithful friend to advise or stay her youth in its
hasty advance to ruin; she hears the persuading eloquence of the
flattering maid, and finds now nothing so prevalent on her soul as
revenge, and nothing soothes it more; and among all her lovers, or
those at least that she knew adored her, none was found so proper an
instrument as the noble _Octavio_, his youth, his wit, his gallantry,
but above all his fortune pleads most powerfully with her; so that she
resolves upon the revenge, and fixes him the man; whom she now knew by
so many obligations was obliged to serve her turn on _Philander_: thus
_Sylvia_ found a little tranquillity, such as it was, in hope of
revenge, while the passionate _Octavio_ was wrecked with a thousand
pains and torments, such as none but jilted lovers can imagine; and
having a thousand times resolved to hate her, and as often to love on,
in spite of all----after a thousand arguments against her, and as many
in favour of her, he arrived only to this knowledge, that his love was
extreme, and that he had no power over his heart; that honour, fame,
interest, and whatever else might oppose his violent flame, were all
too weak to extinguish the least spark of it, and all the conquest he
could get of himself was, that he suffered all his torment, all the
hell of raging jealousy grown to confirmation, and all the pangs of
absence for that whole day, and had the courage to live on the rack
without easing one moment of his agony by a letter or billet, which in
such cases discharges the burden and pressures of the love-sick heart;
and _Sylvia_, who dressed, and suffered herself wholly to be carried
away by her vengeance, expected him with as much impatience as ever
she did the coming of the once adorable _Philander_, though with a
different passion; but all the live-long day passed in expectation of
him, and no lover appeared; no not so much as a billet, nor page at
her up-rising to ask her health; so that believing he had been very
ill indeed, from what _Antonet_ told her of his being so all night,
and fearing now that it was no discovery of the cheat put upon him by
the exchange of the maid for the mistress, but real sickness, she
resolved to send to him, and the rather because _Antonet_ assured her
he was really sick, and in a cold damp sweat all over his face and
hands which she touched, and that from his infinite concern at the
defeat, the extreme respect he shewed her in midst of all the rage at
his own disappointment, and every circumstance, she knew it was no
feigned thing for any discovery he had made: on this confirmation,
from a maid cunning enough to distinguish truth from flattery, she
writ _Octavio_ this letter at night.

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

After such a parting from a maid so entirely kind to you, she might at
least have hoped the favour of a billet from you, to have informed her
of your health; unless you think that after we have surrendered all,
we are of the humour of most of your sex, who despise the obliger; but
I believed you a man above the little crimes and levities of your
race; and I am yet so hard to be drawn from that opinion, I am willing
to flatter myself, that ‘tis yet some other reason that has hindered
you from visiting me since, or sending me an account of your recovery,
which I am too sensible of to believe was feigned, and which indeed
has made me so tender, that I easily forgive all the disappointment I
received from it, and beg you will not afflict yourself at any loss
you sustained by it, since I am still so much the same I was, to be as
sensible as before of all the obligations I have to you; send me word
immediately how you do, for on that depends a great part of the
happiness of

SYLVIA.

You may easily see by this letter she was not in a humour of either
writing love or much flattery; for yet she knew not how she ought to
resent this absence in all kinds from _Octavio_, and therefore with
what force she could put upon a soul, too wholly taken up with the
thoughts of another, more dear and more afflicting, she only writ this
to fetch one from him, that by it she might learn part of his
sentiment of her last action, and sent her page with it to him; who,
as was usual, was carried directly up to _Octavio_, whom he found in a
gallery, walking in a most dejected posture, without a band, unbraced,
his arms a-cross his open breast, and his eyes bent to the floor; and
not taking any notice when the pages entered, his own was forced to
pull him by the sleeve before he would look up, and starting from a
thousand thoughts that oppressed him almost to death, he gazed wildly
about him, and asked their business: when the page delivered him the
letter, he took it, but with such confusion as he had much ado to
support himself; but resolving not to shew his feebleness to her page,
he made a shift to get a wax-light that was on the table, and read it;
and was not much amazed at the contents, believing she was pursuing
the business of her sex and life, and jilting him on; (for such was
his opinion of all women now); he forced a smile of scorn, though his
soul were bursting, and turning to the page gave him a liberal reward,
as was his daily use when he came, and mustered up so much courage as
to force himself to say--’Child, tell your lady it requires no answer;
you may tell her too, that I am in perfect good health--’ He was
oppressed to speak more, but sighs stopped him, and his former
resolution, wholly to abandon all correspondence with her, checked his
forward tongue, and he walked away to prevent himself from saying
more: while the page, who wondered at this turn of love, after a
little waiting, departed; and when _Octavio_ had ended his walk, and
turned, and saw him gone, his heart felt a thousand pangs not to be
borne or supported; he was often ready to recall him, and was angry
the boy did not urge him for an answer. He read the letter again, and
wonders at nothing now after her last night’s action, though all was
riddle to him: he found it was writ to some happier man than himself,
however he chanced to have it by mistake; and turning to the outside,
viewed the superscription, where there happened to be none at all, for
_Sylvia_ writ in haste, and when she did it, it was the least of her
thoughts: and now he believed he had found out the real mystery, that
it was not meant to him; he therefore calls his page, whom he sent
immediately after that of _Sylvia_, who being yet below (for the lads
were laughing together for a moment) he brought him to his distracted
lord; who nevertheless assumed a mildness to the innocent boy, and
cried, ‘My child, thou hast mistaken the person to whom thou shouldst
have carried the letter, and I am sorry I opened it; pray return it to
the happy man it was meant to,’ giving him the letter. ‘My lord,’
replied the boy, ‘I do not use to carry letters to any but your
lordship: it is the footmen’s business to do that to other persons.’
’.t is a mistake, where ever it lies,’ cried _Octavio_, sighing,
’.hether in thee, or thy lady----’ So turning from the wondering boy
he left him to return with his letter to his lady, who grew mad at the
relation of what she heard from the page, and notwithstanding the
torment she had upon her soul, occasioned by _Philander_, she now
found she had more to endure, and that in spite of all her love-vows
and resentments, she had something for _Octavio_ to which she could
not give a name; she fancies it all pride, and concern for the
indignity put on her beauty: but whatever it was, this slight of his
so wholly took up her soul, that she had for some time quite forgot
_Philander_, or when she did think on him it was with less resentment
than of this affront; she considers _Philander_ with some excuse now;
as having long been possessed of a happiness he might grow weary of;
but a new lover, who had for six months incessantly lain at her feet,
imploring, dying, vowing, weeping, sighing, giving and acting all
things the most passionate of men was capable of, or that love could
inspire, for him to be at last admitted to the possession of the
ravishing object of his vows and soul, to be laid in her bed, nay in
her very arms (as she imagined he thought) and then, even before
gathering the roses he came to pluck, before he had begun to compose
or finished his nosegay, to depart the happy paradise with a disgust,
and such a disgust, as first to oblige him to dissemble sickness, and
next fall even from all his civilities, was a contempt she was not
able to bear; especially from him, of whom all men living, she
designed to make the greatest property of, as most fit for her revenge
of all degrees and sorts: but when she reflected with reason, (which
she seldom did, for either love or rage blinded that) she could not
conceive it possible that _Octavio_ could be fallen so suddenly from
all his vows and professions, but on some very great provocation:
sometimes she thinks he tempted her to try her virtue to _Philander_,
and being a perfect honourable friend, hates her for her levity; but
she considers his presents, and his unwearied industry, and believes
he would not at that expense have bought a knowledge which could
profit neither himself nor _Philander_; then she believes some
disgusted scent, or something about _Antonet_, might disoblige him;
but having called the maid, conjuring her to tell her whether any
thing passed between her and _Octavio_; she again told her lady the
whole truth, in which there could be no discovery of infirmity there;
she embraced her, she kissed her bosom, and found her touches soft,
her breath and bosom sweet as any thing in nature could be; and now
lost almost in a confusion of thought, she could not tell what to
imagine; at last she being wholly possessed that all the fault was not
in _Octavio_, (for too often we believe as we hope) she concludes that
_Antonet_ has told him all the cheat she put upon him: this last
thought pleased her, because it seemed the most probable, and was the
most favourable to herself; and a thought that, if true, could not do
her any injury with him. This set her heart a little to rights, and
she grew calm with a belief, that if so it was, as now she doubted
not, a sight of her, or a future hope from her, would calm all his
discontent, and beget a right understanding; she therefore resolves to
write to him, and own her little fallacy: but before she did so,
_Octavio_, whose passion was violent as ever in his soul, though it
was oppressed with a thousand torments, and languished under as many
feeble resolutions, burst at last into all its former softness, and he
resolves to write to the false fair one, and upbraid her with her last
night’s infidelity; nor could he sleep till he had that way charmed
his senses, and eased his sick afflicted soul. It being now ten at
night, and he retired to his chamber, he set himself down and writ
this.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

_Madam_,

You have at last taught me a perfect knowledge of myself; and in one
unhappy night made me see all the follies and vanities of my soul,
which self-love and fond imagination had too long rendered that way
guilty; long long! I have played the fop as others do, and shewed the
gaudy monsieur, and set a value on my worthless person for being well
dressed, as I believed, and furnished out for conquest, by being the
gayest coxcomb in the town, where, even as I passed, perhaps, I
fancied I made advances on some wishing hearts, and vain, with but
imaginary victory, I still fooled on----and was at last undone; for I
saw _Sylvia_, the charming faithless _Sylvia_, a beauty that one would
have thought had had the power to have cured the fond disease of
self-conceit and foppery, since love, they say, is a remedy against
those faults of youth; but still my vanity was powerful in me, and
even this beauty too I thought it not impossible to vanquish, and
still dressed on, and took a mighty care to shew myself--a blockhead,
curse upon me, while you were laughing at my industry, and turned the
fancying fool to ridicule, oh, he deserved it well, most wondrous
well, for but believing any thing about him could merit but a serious
thought from _Sylvia_. _Sylvia_! whose business is to laugh at all;
yet love, that is my sin and punishment, reigns still as absolutely in
my soul, as when I wished and hoped and longed for mighty blessings
you could give; yes, I still love! Only this wretchedness is fixed to
it, to see those errors which I cannot shun; my love is as high, but
all my wishes gone; my passion still remains entire and raving, but no
desire; I burn, I die, but do not wish to hope; I would be all
despair, and, like a martyr, am vain and proud even in suffering. Yes,
_Sylvia_--when you made me wise, you made me wretched too: before,
like a false worshipper, I only saw the gay, the gilded side of the
deceiving idol; but now it is fallen----discovers all the cheat, and
shews a god no more; and it is in love as in religion too, there is
nothing makes their votaries truly happy but being well deceived: for
even in love itself, harmless and innocent, as it is by nature, there
needs a little art to hide the daily discontents and torments, that
fears, distrusts and jealousies create; a little soft dissimulation is
needful; for where the lover is easy, he is most constant. But oh,
when love itself is defective too, and managed by design and little
interest, what cunning, oh what cautions ought the fair designer then
to call to her defence; yet I confess your plot----still charming
_Sylvia_, was subtly enough contrived, discreetly carried on----the
shades of night, the happy lover’s refuge, favoured you too; it was
only fate was cruel, fate that conducted me in an unlucky hour; dark
as it was, and silent too the night, I saw----Yes, faithless fair, I
saw I was betrayed; by too much faith, by too much love undone, I saw
my fatal ruin and your perfidy; and, like a tame ignoble sufferer,
left you without revenge!

I must confess, oh thou deceiving fair one, I never could pretend to
what I wished, and yet methinks, because I know my heart, and the
entire devotion, that is paid you, I merited at least not to have been
imposed upon; but after so dishonourable an action, as the betraying
the secret of my friend, it was but just that I should be betrayed,
and you have paid me well, deservedly well, and that shall make me
silent, and whatsoever I suffer, however I die, however I languish out
my wretched life, I’ll bear my sighs where you shall never hear them,
nor the reproaches my complaints express: live thou a punishment to
vain, fantastic, hoping youth, live, and advance in cunning and
deceit, to make the fond believing men more wise, and teach the women
new arts of falsehood, till they deceive so long, that man may hate,
and set as vast a distance between sex and sex, as I have resolved (oh
_Sylvia_) thou shalt be for ever from OCTAVIO.

This letter came just as _Sylvia_ was going to write to him, of which
she was extremely glad; for all along there was nothing expressed that
could make her think he meant any other than the cheat she put upon
him in _Antonet_ instead of herself: and it was some ease to her mind
to be assured of the cause of his anger and absence, and to find her
own thought confirmed, that he had indeed discovered the truth of the
matter: she knew, since that was all, she could easily reconcile him
by a plain confession, and giving him new hopes; she therefore writes
this answer to him, which she sent by his page, who waited for it.

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

I own, too angry, and too nice _Octavio_, the crime you charge me
with; and did believe a person of your gallantry, wit and gaiety,
would have passed over so little a fault, with only reproaching me
pleasantly; I did not expect so grave a reproof, or rather so serious
an accusation. Youth has a thousand follies to answer for, and cannot
_Octavio_ pardon one sally of it in _Sylvia_? I rather expected to
have seen you early here this morning, pleasantly rallying my little
perfidy, than to find you railing at a distance at it; calling it by a
thousand names that does not merit half this malice: and sure you do
not think me so poor in good nature, but I could, some other coming
hour, have made you amends for those you lost last night, possibly I
could have wished myself with you at the same time; and had I,
perhaps, followed my inclination, I had made you happy as you wished;
but there were powerful reasons that prevented me. I conjure you to
let me see you, where I will make a confession of my last night’s sin,
and give such arguments to convince you of the necessity of it, as
shall absolutely reconcile you to love, hope, and SYLVIA.

It being late, she only sent this short billet: and not hoping that
night to see him, she went to bed, after having inquired the health of
_Brilliard_, who she heard was very ill; and that young defeated
lover, finding it impossible to meet _Octavio_ as he had promised, not
to fight him, but to ask his pardon for his mistake, made a shift,
with much ado, to write him a note, which was this:

_My Lord_,

I confess my yesterday’s rudeness, and beg you will give me a pardon
before I leave the world; for I was last night taken violently ill,
and am unable to wait on your lordship, to beg what this most
earnestly does for your lordship’s most devoted servant,

BRILLIARD.

This billet, though it signified nothing to _Octavio_, it served
_Sylvia_ afterwards to very good use and purpose, as a little time
shall make appear. And _Octavio_ received these two notes from
_Brilliard_ and _Sylvia_ at the same time; the one he flung by
regardless, the other he read with infinite pain, scorn, hate,
indignation, all at once stormed in his heart, he felt every passion
there but that of love, which caused them all; if he thought her false
and ungrateful before, he now thinks her fallen to the lowest degree
of lewdness, to own her crime with such impudence; he fancies now he
is cured of love, and hates her absolutely, thinks her below even his
scorn, and puts himself to bed, believing he shall sleep as well as
before he saw the light, the foolish _Sylvia_: but oh he boasts in
vain, the light, the foolish _Sylvia_ was charming still; still all
the beauty appeared; even in his slumbers the angel dawned about him,
and all the fiend was laid: he sees her lovely face, but the false
heart is hid; he hears her charming wit, but all the cunning is
hushed: he views the motions of her delicate body, without regard to
those of her mind; he thinks of all the tender words she has given
him, in which the jilting part is lost, and all forgotten; or, if by
chance it crossed his happier thought, he rolls and tumbles in his
bed, he raves and calls upon her charming name, till he have quite
forgot it, and takes all the pains he can to deceive his own heart: oh
it is a tender part, and can endure no hurt; he soothes it therefore,
and at the worst resolves, since the vast blessing may be purchased,
to revel in delight, and cure himself that way: these flattering
thoughts kept him all night waking, and in the morning he resolves his
visit; but taking up her letter, which lay on the table, he read it
over again, and, by degrees, wrought himself up to madness at the
thought that _Sylvia_ was possessed: _Philander_ he could bear with
little patience, but that, because before he loved or knew her, he
could allow; but this----this wrecks his very soul; and in his height
of fury, he writes this letter without consideration.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

Since you profess yourself a common mistress, and set up for the
glorious trade of sin, send me your price, and I perhaps may purchase
damnation at your rate. May be you have a method in your dealing, and
I have mistook you all this while, and dealt not your way; instruct my
youth, great mistress of the art, and I shall be obedient; tell me
which way I may be happy too, and put in for an adventurer; I have a
stock of ready youth and money; pray, name your time and sum for
hours, or nights, or months; I will be in at all, or any, as you shall
find leisure to receive the impatient _Octavio_.

This in a mad moment he writ, and sent it ere he had considered
farther; and _Sylvia_, who expected not so coarse and rough a return,
grew as mad as he in reading it; and she had much ado to hold her
hands off from beating the innocent page that brought it: to whom she
turned with fire in her eyes, flames in her cheeks, and thunder on her
tongue, and cried, ‘Go tell your master that he is a villain; and if
you dare approach me any more from him, I’ll have my footmen whip
you:’ and with a scorn, that discovered all the indignation in the
world, she turned from him, and, tearing his note, threw it from her,
and walked her way: and the page, thunder-struck, returned to his
lord, who by this time was repenting he had managed his passion no
better, and at what the boy told him was wholly convinced of his
error; he now considered her character and quality, and accused
himself of great indiscretion; and as he was sitting the most dejected
melancholy man on earth, reflecting on his misfortune, the post
arrived with letters from _Philander_, which he opened, and laying by
that which was enclosed for _Sylvia_, he read that from _Philander_ to
himself.

PHILANDER _to_ OCTAVIO.

There is no pain, my dear _Octavio_, either in love or friendship,
like that of doubt; and I confess myself guilty of giving it you, in a
great measure, by my silence the last post; but having business of so
much greater concern to my heart than even writing to _Octavio_, I
found myself unable to pursue any other; and I believe you could too
with the less impatience bear with my neglect, having affairs of the
same nature there; our circumstances and the business of our hearts
then being so resembling, methinks I have as great an impatience to be
recounting to you the story of my love and fortune, as I am to receive
that of yours, and to know what advances you have made in the heart of
the still charming _Sylvia_! Though there will be this difference in
the relations; mine, whenever I recount it, will give you a double
satisfaction; first from the share your friendship makes you have in
all the pleasures of _Philander_; and next that it excuses _Sylvia_,
if she can be false to me for _Octavio_; and still advances his design
on her heart: but yours, whenever I receive it, will give me a
thousand pains, which it is however but just I should feel, since I
was the first breaker of the solemn league and covenant made between
us; which yet I do, by all that is sacred, with a regret that makes me
reflect with some repentance in all those moments, wherein I do not
wholly give my soul up to love, and the more beautiful _Calista_; yes
more, because new.

In my last, my dear _Octavio_, you left me pursuing, like a
knight-errant, a beauty enchanted within some invisible tree, or
castle, or lake, or any thing inaccessible, or rather wandering in a
dream after some glorious disappearing phantom: and for some time
indeed I knew not whether I slept or waked. I saw daily the good old
Count of _Clarinau_, of whom I durst not so much as ask a civil
question towards the satisfaction of my soul; the page was sent into
_Holland_ (with some express to a brother-in-law of the Count’s) of
whom before I had the intelligence of a fair young wife to the old
lord his master; and for the rest of the servants they spoke all
_Spanish_, and the devil a word we understood each other; so that it
was impossible to learn any thing farther from them; and I found I was
to owe all my good fortune to my own industry, but how to set it
a-working I could not devise; at last it happened, that being walking
in the garden which had very high walls on three sides, and a fine
large apartment on the other, I concluded that it was in that part of
the house my fair new conqueress resided, but how to be resolved I
could not tell, nor which way the windows looked that were to give the
light, towards that part of the garden there was none; at last I saw
the good old gentleman come trudging through the garden, fumbling out
of his pocket a key; I stepped into an arbour to observe him, and saw
him open a little door, that led him into another garden, and locking
the door after him vanished; and observing how that side of the
apartment lay, I went into the street, and after a large compass found
that which faced the garden, which made the fore-part of the
apartment. I made a story of some occasion I had for some upper rooms,
and went into many houses to find which fronted best the apartment,
and still disliked something, till I met with one so directly to it,
that I could, when I got a story higher, look into the very rooms,
which only a delicate garden parted from this by-street; there it was
I fixed, and learned from a young _Dutch_ woman that spoke good
_French_, that this was the very place I looked for: the apartment of
Madam, the Countess of _Clarinau_; she told me too, that every day
after dinner the old gentleman came thither, and sometimes a-nights;
and bewailed the young beauty, who had no better entertainment than
what an old withered _Spaniard_ of threescore and ten could give her.
I found this young woman apt for my purpose, and having very well
pleased her with my conversation, and some little presents I made her,
I left her in good humour, and resolved to serve me on any design; and
returning to my lodging, I found old _Clarinau_ returned, as brisk and
gay, as if he had been caressed by so fair and young a lady; which
very thought made me rave, and I had abundance of pain to with-hold my
rage from breaking out upon him, so jealous and envious was I of what
now I loved and desired a thousand times more than ever; since the
relation my new, young, female friend had given me, who had wit and
beauty sufficient to make her judgement impartial: however, I
contained my jealousy with the hopes of a sudden revenge; for I
fancied the business half accomplished in my knowledge of her
residence. I feigned some business to the old gentleman, that would
call me out of town for a week to consult with some of our party; and
taking my leave of him, he offered me the compliment of money, or what
else I should need in my affair, which at that time was not unwelcome
to I me; and being well furnished for my enterprise, I took horse
without a page or footman to attend me; because I pretended my
business was a secret, and taking a turn about the town in the
evening, I left my horse without the gates, and went to my secret new
quarters, where my young friend received me with the joy of a
mistress, and with whom indeed I could not forbear entertaining myself
very well, which engaged her more to my service, with the aid of my
liberality; but all this did not allay one spark of the fire kindled
in my soul for the lovely _Calista_; and I was impatient for night,
against which time I was preparing an engine to mount the battlement,
for so it was that divided the garden from the street, rather than a
wall: all things fitted to my purpose, I fixed myself at the window
that looked directly towards her sashes, and had the satisfaction to
see her leaning there, and looking on a fountain, that stood in the
midst of the garden, and cast a thousand little streams into the air,
that made a melancholy noise in falling into a large alabaster cistern
beneath: oh how my heart danced at the dear sight to all the tunes of
love! I had not power to stir or speak, or to remove my eyes, but
languished on the window where I leant half dead with joy and
transport; for she appeared more charming to my view; undressed and
fit for love; oh, my _Octavio_, such are the pangs which I believe
thou feelest at the approach of _Sylvia_, so beats thy heart, so rise
thy sighs and wishes, so trembling and so pale at every view, as I was
in this lucky amorous moment! And thus I fed my soul till night came
on, and left my eyes no object but my heart----a thousand dear ideas.
And now I sallied out, and with good success; for with a long engine
which reached the top of the wall, I fixed the end of my ladder there,
and mounted it, and sitting on the top brought my ladder easily up to
me, and turned over to the other side, and with abundance of ease
descended into the garden, which was the finest I had ever seen; for
now, as good luck would have it, who was designed to favour me, the
moon began to shine so bright, as even to make me distinguish the
colours of the flowers that dressed all the banks in ravishing order;
but these were not the beauty I came to possess, and my new thoughts
of disposing myself, and managing my matters, now took off all that
admiration that was justly due to so delightful a place, which art and
nature had agreed to render charming to every sense; thus much I
considered it, that there was nothing that did not invite to love; a
thousand pretty recesses of arbours, grotts and little artificial
groves; fountains, environed with beds of flowers, and little
rivulets, to whose dear fragrant banks a wishing amorous god would
make his soft retreat. After having ranged about, rather to seek a
covert on occasion, and to know the passes of the garden, which might
serve me in any extremity of surprise that might happen, I returned to
the fountain that faced _Calista_’. window, and leaning upon its
brink, viewed the whole apartment, which appeared very magnificent:
just against me I perceived a door that went into it, which while I
was considering how to get open I heard it unlock, and skulking behind
the large basin of the fountain (yet so as to mark who came out) I saw
to my unspeakable transport, the fair, the charming _Calista_ dressed
just as she was at the window, a loose gown of silver stuff lapped
about her delicate body, her head in fine night-clothes, and all
careless as my soul could wish; she came, and with her the old dragon;
and I heard her say in coming out--’This is too fine a night to sleep
in: prithee, _Dormina_, do not grudge me the pleasure of it, since
there are so very few that entertain _Calista_.’ This last she spoke
with a sigh, and a languishment in her voice, that shot new flames of
love into my panting heart, and trilled through all my veins, while
she pursued her walk with the old gentlewoman; and still I kept myself
at such a distance to have them in my sight, but slid along the shady
side of the walk, where I could not be easily seen, while they kept
still on the shiny part: she led me thus through all the walks,
through all the maze of love; and all the way I fed my greedy eyes
upon the melancholy object of my raving desire; her shape, her gait,
her motion, every step, and every movement of her hand and head, had a
peculiar grace; a thousand times I was tempted to approach her, and
discover myself, but I dreaded the fatal consequence, the old woman
being by; nor knew I whether they did not expect the husband there; I
therefore waited with impatience when she would speak, that by that I
might make some discovery of my destiny that night; and after having
tired herself a little with walking, she sat down on a fine seat of
white marble, that was placed at the end of a grassy walk, and only
shadowed with some tall trees that ranked themselves behind it,
against one of which I leaned: there, for a quarter of an hour, they
sat as silent as the night, where only soft-breathed winds were heard
amongst the boughs, and softer sighs from fair _Calista_; at last the
old thing broke silence, who was almost asleep while she spoke.
’.adam, if you are weary, let us retire to bed, and not sit gazing
here at the moon.’ ‘To bed,’ replied _Calista_, ‘What should I do
there?’ ‘Marry sleep,’ quoth the old gentlewoman; ‘What should you
do?’ ‘Ah, _Dormina_,’ (sighed _Calista_,) ‘would age would seize me
too; for then perhaps I should find at least the pleasure of the old;
be dull and lazy, love to eat and sleep, not have my slumbers
disturbed with dreams more insupportable than my waking wishes; for
reason then suppresses rising thoughts, and the impossibility of
obtaining keeps the fond soul in order; but sleep----gives an
unguarded loose to soft desire, it brings the lovely phantom to my
view, and tempts me with a thousand charms to love; I see a face, a
mien, a shape, a look! Such as heaven never made, or any thing but
fond imagination! Oh, it was a wondrous vision!’ ‘For my part,’
replied the old one, ‘I am such a heathen Christian, madam, as I do
not believe there are any such things as visions, or ghosts, or
phantoms: but your head runs of a young man, because you are married
to an old one; such an idea as you framed in your wishes possessed
your fancy, which was so strong (as indeed fancy will be sometimes)
that it persuaded you it was a very phantom or vision.’ ‘Let it be
fancy or vision, or whatever else you can give a name to,’ replied
_Calista_, ‘still it is that, that never ceased since to torture me
with a thousand pains; and prithee why, _Dormina_, is not fancy since
as powerful in me as it was before? Fancy has not been since so kind;
yet I have given it room for thought, which before I never did; I sat
whole hours and days, and fixed my soul upon the lovely figure; I know
its stature to an inch, tall and divinely made; I saw his hair, long,
black, and curling to his waist, all loose and flowing; I saw his
eyes, where all the _Cupids_ played, black, large, and sparkling,
piercing, loving, languishing; I saw his lips sweet, dimpled, red, and
soft; a youth complete in all, like early _May_, that looks, and
smells, and cheers above the rest: in fine, I saw him such as nothing
but the nicest fancy can imagine, and nothing can describe; I saw him
such as robs me of my rest, as gives me all the raging pains of love
(love I believe it is) without the joy of any single hope.’ ‘Oh,
madam,’ said _Dormina_, ‘that love will quickly die, which is not
nursed with hope, why that is its only food.’ ‘Pray heaven I find it
so,’ replied _Calista_. At that she sighed as if her heart had broken,
and leaned her arm upon a rail of the end of the seat, and laid her
lovely cheek upon her hand, and so continued without speaking; while
I, who was not a little transported with what I heard, with infinite
pain with-held myself from kneeling at her feet, and prostrating
before her that happy phantom of which she had spoke so favourably;
but still I feared my fate, and to give any offence. While I was
amidst a thousand thoughts considering which to pursue, I could hear
_Dormina_ snoring as fast as could be, leaning at her ease on the
other end of the seat, supported by a wide marble rail; which
_Calista_ hearing also, turned and looked on her, then softly rose and
walked away to see how long she would sleep there, if not waked. Judge
now, my dear _Octavio_, whether love and fortune were not absolutely
subdued to my interest, and if all things did not favour my design:
the very thought of being alone with _Calista_, of making myself known
to her, of the opportunity she gave me by going from _Dormina_ into a
by-walk, the very joy of ten thousand hopes, that filled my soul in
that happy moment, which I fancied the most blessed of my life, made
me tremble all over; and with unassured steps I softly pursued the
object of my new desire: sometimes I even overtook her, and fearing to
fright her, and cause her to make some noise that might alarm the
sleeping _Dormina_, I slackened my pace, till in a walk, at the end of
which she was obliged to turn back, I remained, and suffered her to go
on; it was a walk of grass, broad, and at the end of it a little
arbour of greens, into which she went and sat down, looking towards
me; and methought she looked full at me; so that finding she made no
noise, I softly approached the door of the arbour at a convenient
distance; she then stood up in great amaze, as she after said; and I
kneeling down in an humble posture, cried--’Wonder not, oh sacred
charmer of my soul, to see me at your feet at this late hour, and in a
place so inaccessible; for what attempt is there so hazardous
despairing lovers dare not undertake, and what impossibility almost
can they not overcome? Remove your fears, oh conqueress of my soul;
for I am an humble mortal that adores you; I have a thousand wounds, a
thousand pains that prove me flesh and blood, if you would hear my
story: oh give me leave to approach you with that awe you do the
sacred altars; for my devotion is as pure as that which from your
charming lips ascends the heavens----’ With such cant and stuff as
this, which lovers serve themselves with on occasion, I lessened the
terrors of the frighted beauty, and she soon saw, with joy in her
eyes, that I both was a mortal, and the same she had before seen in
the outward garden: I rose from my knees then, and with a joy that
wandered all over my body, trembling and panting I approached her, and
took her hand and kissed it with a transport that was almost ready to
lay me fainting at her feet, nor did she answer any thing to what I
had said, but with sighs suffered her hand to remain in mine; her eyes
she cast to earth, her breast heaved with nimble motions, and we both,
unable to support ourselves, sat down together on a green bank in the
arbour, where by the light we had, we gazed at each other, unable to
utter a syllable on either side. I confess, my dear _Octavio_, I have
felt love before, but do not know that ever I was possessed with such
pleasing pain, such agreeable languishment in all my life, as in those
happy moments with the fair _Calista_: and on the other, I dare answer
for the soft fair one; she felt a passion as tender as mine; which,
when she could recover her first transport, she expressed in such a
manner as has wholly charmed me: for with all the eloquence of young
angels, and all their innocence too, she said, she whispered, she
sighed the softest things that ever lover heard. I told you before she
had from her infancy been bred in a monastery, kept from the sight of
men, and knew no one art or subtlety of her sex; but in the very
purity of her innocence she appeared like the first-born maid in
Paradise, generously giving her soul away to the great lord of all,
the new-formed man, and nothing of her heart’s dear thoughts she did
reserve, (but such as modest nature should conceal;) yet, if I touched
but on that tender part where honour dwelt, she had a sense too nice,
as it was a wonder to find so vast a store of that mixed with so soft
a passion. Oh what an excellent thing a perfect woman is, ere man has
taught her arts to keep her empire, by being himself inconstant! All I
could ask of love she freely gave, and told me every sentiment of her
heart, but it was in such a way, so innocently she confessed her
passion, that every word added new flames to mine, and made me raging
mad: at last, she suffered me to kiss with caution; but one begat
another,----that a number----and every one was an advance to
happiness; and I who knew my advantage, lost no time, but put each
minute to the properest use; now I embrace, clasp her fair lovely body
close to mine, which nothing parted but her shift and gown; my busy
hands find passage to her breasts, and give and take a thousand
nameless joys; all but the last I reaped; that heaven was still
denied; though she were fainting in my trembling arms, still she had
watching sense to guard that treasure: yet, in spite of all, a
thousand times I brought her to the very point of yielding; but oh she
begs and pleads with all the eloquence of love! tells me, that what
she had to give me she gave, but would not violate her marriage-vow;
no, not to save that life she found in danger with too much love, and
too extreme desire: she told me, that I had undone her quite; she
sighed, and wished that she had seen me sooner, ere fate had rendered
her a sacrifice to the embraces of old _Clarinau_; she wept with love,
and answered with a sob to every vow I made: thus by degrees she
wrought me to undoing, and made me mad in love. It was thus we passed
the night; we told the hasty hours, and cursed their coming: we told
from ten to three, and all that time seemed but a little minute: nor
would I let her go, who was as loath to part, till she had given me
leave to see her often there; I told her all my story of her conquest,
and how I came into the garden: she asked me pleasantly, if I were not
afraid of old _Clarinau_; I told her no, of nothing but of his being
happy with her, which thought I could not bear: she assured me I had
so little reason to envy him, that he rather deserved my compassion;
for that, her aversion was so extreme to him; his person, years, his
temper, and his diseases were so disagreeable to her, that she could
not dissemble her disgust, but gave him most evident proofs of it too
frequently ever since she had the misfortune of being his wife; but
that since she had seen the charming _Philander_, (for so we must let
her call him too) his company and conversation was wholly
insupportable to her; and but that he had ever used to let her have
four nights in the week her own, wherein he never disturbed her
repose, she should have been dead with his nasty entertainment: she
vowed she never knew a soft desire but for _Philander_, she never had
the least concern for any of his sex besides, and till she felt his
touches----took in his kisses, and suffered his dear embraces, she
never knew that woman was ordained for any joy with man, but fancied
it designed in its creation for a poor slave to be oppressed at
pleasure by the husband, dully to yield obedience and no more: but I
had taught her now, she said, to her eternal ruin, that there was more
in nature than she knew, or ever should, had she not seen _Philander_;
she knew not what dear name to call it by, but something in her blood,
something that panted in her heart, glowed in her cheeks, and
languished in her looks, told her she was not born for _Clarinau_, or
love would do her wrong: I soothed the thought, and urged the laws of
nature, the power of love, necessity of youth----and the wonder that
was yet behind, that ravishing something, which not love or kisses
could make her guess at; so beyond all soft imagination, that nothing
but a trial could convince her; but she resisted still, and still I
pleaded with all the subtlest arguments of love, words mixed with
kisses, sighing mixed with vows, but all in vain; religion was my foe,
and tyrant honour guarded all her charms: thus did we pass the night,
till the young morn advancing in the East forced us to bid adieu:
which oft we did, and oft we sighed and kissed, oft parted and
returned, and sighed again, and as she went away, she weeping,
cried,--wringing my hand in hers, ‘Pray heaven, _Philander_, this dear
interview do not prove fatal to me; for oh, I find frail nature weak
about me, and one dear minute more would forfeit all my honour.’ At
this she started from my trembling hand, and swept the walk like wind
so swift and sudden, and left me panting, sighing, wishing, dying,
with mighty love and hope: and after a little time I scaled my wall,
and returned unseen to my new lodging. It was four days after before I
could get any other happiness, but that of seeing her at her window,
which was just against mine, from which I never stirred, hardly to eat
or sleep, and that she saw with joy; for every morning I had a billet
from her, which we contrived that happy night should be conveyed me
thus--It was a by-street where I lodged, and the other side was only
the dead wall of her garden, where early in the morning she used to
walk; and having the billet ready, she put it with a stone into a
little leathern-purse, and tossed it over the wall, where either
myself from the window, or my young friend below waited for it, and
that way every morning and every evening she received one from me; but
’.is impossible to tell you the innocent passion she expressed in
them, innocent in that there was no art, no feigned nice folly to
express a virtue that was not in the soul; but all she spoke confessed
her heart’s soft wishes. At last, (for I am tedious in a relation of
what gave me so much pleasure in the entertainment) at last, I say, I
received the happy invitation to come into the garden as before; and
night advancing for my purpose, I need not say that I delivered myself
upon the place appointed, which was by the fountain-side beneath her
chamber-window; towards which I cast, you may believe, many a longing
look: the clock struck ten, eleven, and then twelve, but no dear star
appeared to conduct me to my happiness; at last I heard the little
garden-door (against the fountain) open, and saw _Calista_ there
wrapped in her night-gown only: I ran like lightning to her arms, with
all the transports of an eager lover, and almost smothered myself in
her warm rising breast; for she taking me in her arms let go her gown,
which falling open, left nothing but her shift between me and all her
charming body. But she bid me hear what she had to say before I
proceeded farther; she told me she was forced to wait till _Dormina_
was asleep, who lay in her chamber, and then stealing the key, she
came softly down to let me in. ‘But,’ said she, ‘since I am all
undressed, and cannot walk in the garden with you, will you promise
me, on love and honour, to be obedient to all my commands, if I carry
you to my chamber? for _Dormina_’. sleep is like death itself;
however, lest she chance to awake, and should take an occasion to
speak to me, it were absolutely necessary that I were there; for since
I served her such a trick the other night, and let her sleep so long,
she will not let me walk late.’ A very little argument persuaded me to
yield to any thing to be with _Calista_ any where; so that both
returning softly to her chamber, she put herself into bed, and left me
kneeling on the carpet: but it was not long that I remained so; from
the dear touches of her hands and breast we came to kisses, and so
equally to a forgetfulness of all we had promised and agreed on
before, and broke all rules and articles that were not in the favour
of love; so that stripping myself by degrees, while she with an
unwilling force made some feeble resistance, I got into the arms of
the most charming woman that ever nature made; she was all over
perfection; I dare not tell you more; let it suffice she was all that
luxurious man could wish, and all that renders woman fine and
ravishing. About two hours thus was my soul in rapture, while
sometimes she reproached me, but so gently, that it was to bid me
still be false and perjured, if these were the effects of it; ‘If
disobedience have such wondrous charms, may I,’ said she, ‘be still
commanding thee, and thou still disobeying.’ While thus we lay with
equal ravishment, we heard a murmuring noise at a distance, which we
knew not what to make of, but it grew still louder and louder, but
still at a distance too; this first alarmed us, and I was no sooner
persuaded to rise, but I heard a door unlock at the side of the bed,
which was not that by which I entered; for that was at the other end
of the chamber towards the window. ‘Oh heavens,’ said the fair
frighted trembler, ‘here is the Count of _Clarinau_.’ For he always
came up that way, and those stairs by which I ascended were the
back-stairs; so that I had just time to grope my way towards the door,
without so much as taking my clothes with me; never was any amorous
adventurer in so lamentable a condition, I would fain have turned upon
him, and at once have hindered him from entering with my sword in my
hand, and secured him from ever disturbing my pleasure any more; but
she implored I would not, and in this minute’s dispute he came so near
me, that he touched me as I glided from him; but not being acquainted
very well with the chamber, having never seen my way, I lighted in my
passage on _Dormina_’. pallet-bed, and threw myself quite over her to
the chamber-door, which made a damnable clattering, and awaking
_Dormina_ with my catastrophe, she set up such a bawl, as frighted and
alarmed the old Count, who was just taking in a candle from his
footman, who had lighted it at his flambeau: So that hearing the
noise, and knowing it must be some body in the chamber, he let fall
his candle in the fright, and called his footman in with the flambeau,
draws his Toledo, which he had in his hand, and wrapped in his
night-gown, with three or four woollen caps one upon the top of
another, tied under his tawny, leathern chops, he made a very pleasant
figure, and such a one as had like to have betrayed me by laughing at
it; he closely pursued me, though not so close as to see me before
him; yet so as not to give me time to ascend the wall, or to make my
escape up or down any walk, which were straight and long, and not able
to conceal any body from pursuers, approached so near as the Count was
to me: what should I do? I was naked, unarmed, and no defence against
his jealous rage; and now in danger of my life, I knew not what to
resolve on; yet I swear to you, _Octavio_, even in that minute (which
I thought my last) I had no repentance of the dear sin, or any other
fear, but that which possessed me for the fair _Calista_; and calling
upon _Venus_ and her son for my safety (for I had scarce a thought yet
of any other deity) the sea-born queen lent me immediate aid, and ere
I was aware of it, I touched the fountain, and in the same minute
threw myself into the water, which a mighty large basin or cistern of
white marble contained, of a compass that forty men might have hid
themselves in it; they had pursued me so hard, they fancied they heard
me press the gravel near the fountain, and with the torch they
searched round about it, and beat the fringing flowers that grew
pretty high about the bottom of it, while I sometimes dived, and
sometimes peeped up to take a view of my busy coxcomb, who had like to
have made me burst into laughter many times to see his figure; the
dashing of the stream, which continually fell from the little pipes
above in the basin, hindered him from hearing the noise I might
possibly have made by my swimming in it: after he had surveyed it
round without-side, he took the torch in his own hand, and surveyed
the water itself, while I dived, and so long forced to remain so, that
I believed I had escaped his sword to die that foolisher way; but just
as I was like to expire, he departed muttering, that he was sure some
body did go out before him; and now he searched every walk and arbour
of the garden, while like a fish I lay basking in element still, not
daring to adventure out, lest his hasty return should find me on the
wall, or in my passage over: I thanked my stars he had not found the
ladder, so that at last returning to _Calista_’. chamber, after
finding no body, he desired (as I heard the next morning) to know what
the matter was in her chamber: but _Calista_, who till now never knew
an art, had before he came laid her bed in order, and taken up my
clothes, and put them between her bed and quilt; not forgetting any
one thing that belonged to me, she was laid as fast asleep as
innocence itself; so that _Clarinau_ awaking her, she seemed as
surprised and ignorant of all, as if she had indeed been innocent; so
that _Dormina_ now remained the only suspected person; who being asked
what she could say concerning that uproar she made, she only said, as
she thought, that she dreamed His Honour fell out of the bed upon her,
and awaking in a fright she found it was but a dream, and so she fell
asleep again till he awaked her whom she wondered to see there at that
hour; he told them that while they were securely sleeping he was like
to have been burned in his bed, a piece of his apartment being burned
down, which caused him to come thither; but he made them both swear
that there was no body in the chamber of _Calista_, before he would be
undeceived; for he vowed he saw something in the garden, which, to his
thinking, was all white, and it vanished on the sudden behind the
fountain, and we could see no more of it. _Calista_ dissembled
abundance of fear, and said she would never walk after candlelight for
fear of that ghost; and so they passed the rest of the night, while I,
all wet and cold, got me to my lodging unperceived, for my young
friend had left the door open for me.

Thus, dear _Octavio_, I have sent you a novel, instead of a letter, of
my first most happy adventure, of which I must repeat thus much again,
that of all the enjoyments I ever had, I was never so perfectly well
entertained for two hours, and I am waiting with infinite patience for
a second encounter. I shall be extremely glad to hear what progress
you have made in your amour; for I have lost all for _Sylvia_, but the
affection of a brother, with that natural pity we have for those we
have undone; for my heart, my soul and body are all _Calista_’., the
bright, the young, the witty, the gay, the fondly-loving _Calista_:
only some reserve I have in all for _Octavio_. Pardon this long
history, for it is a sort of acting all one’s joys again, to be
telling them to a friend so dear, as is the gallant _Octavio_ to

PHILANDER.

POSTSCRIPT.

_I should, for some reasons that concern my safety, have quitted his
town before, but I am chained to it, and no sense of danger while_
Calista _compels my stay._

If _Octavio_’. trouble was great before, from but his fear of
_Calista_’. yielding, what must it be now, when he found all his fears
confirmed? The pressures of his soul were too extreme before, and the
concern he had for _Sylvia_ had brought it to the highest tide of
grief; so that this addition overwhelmed it quite, and left him no
room for rage; no, it could not discharge itself so happily, but bowed
and yielded to all the extremes of love, grief, and sense of honour;
he threw himself upon his bed, and lay without sense or motion for a
whole hour, confused with thought, and divided in his concern, half
for a mistress false, and half for a sister loose and undone; by turns
the sister and the mistress torture; by turns they break his heart: he
had this comfort left before, that if _Calista_ were undone, her ruin
made way for his love and happiness with _Sylvia_, but now----he had
no prospect left that could afford any ease; he changes from one sad
object to another, from _Sylvia_ to _Calista_, then back to _Sylvia_;
but like to feverish men that toss about here and there, remove for
some relief, he shifts but to new pain, wherever he turns he finds the
madman still: in this distraction of thought he remained till a page
from _Sylvia_ brought him this letter, which in midst of all, he
started from his bed with excess of joy, and read.

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

_My Lord_,

After your last affront by your page, I believe it will surprise you
to receive any thing from _Sylvia_ but scorn and disdain: but, my
lord, the interest you have by a thousand ways been so long making in
my heart, cannot so soon be cancelled by a minute’s offence; and every
action of your life has been too generous to make me think you writ
what I have received, at least you are not well in your senses: I have
committed a fault against your love, I must confess, and am not
ashamed of the little cheat I put upon you in bringing you to bed to
_Antonet_ instead of _Sylvia_: I was ashamed to be so easily won, and
took it ill your passion was so mercenary to ask so coarsely for the
possession of me; too great a pay I thought for so poor service, as
rendering up a letter which in honour you ought before to have shewed
me: I own I gave you hope, in that too I was criminal; but these are
faults that sure deserved a kinder punishment than what I last
received--a whore--, a common mistress! Death, you are a coward----and
even to a woman dare not say it, when she confronts the
scandaler,----Yet pardon me, I mean not to revile, but gently to
reproach; it was unkind----at least allow me that, and much unlike
_Octavio_.

I think I had not troubled you, my lord, with the least confession of
my resentment, but I could not leave the town, where for the honour of
your conversation and friendship alone I have remained so long,
without acquitting myself of those obligations I had to you; I send
you therefore the key of my closet and cabinet, where you shall find
not only your letters, but all those presents you have been pleased
once to think me worthy of: but having taken back your friendship, I
render you the less valuable trifles, and will retain no more of
_Octavio_, than the dear memory of that part of his life that was so
agreeable to the unfortunate

SYLVIA.

He reading this letter, finished with tears of tender love; but
considering it all over, he fancied she had put great constraint upon
her natural high spirit to write in this calm manner to him, and
through all he found dissembled rage, which yet was visible in that
one breaking out in the middle of the letter: he found she was not
able to contain at the word, common mistress. In fine, however calm it
was, and however designed, he found, and at least he thought he found
the charming jilt all over; he fancies from the hint she gave him of
the change of _Antonet_ for herself in bed, that it was some new cheat
that was to be put upon him, and to bring herself off with credit:
yet, in spite of all this appearing reason, he wishes, and has a
secret hope, that either she is not in fault, or that she will so
cozen him into a belief she is not, that it may serve as well to
soothe his willing heart; and now all he fears is, that she will not
put so neat a cheat upon him, but that he shall be able to see through
it, and still be obliged to retain his ill opinion of her: but love
returned, she had roused the flame anew, and softened all his rougher
thoughts with this dear letter; and now in haste he calls for his
clothes, and suffering himself to be dressed with all the advantage of
his sex, he throws himself into his coach, and goes to _Sylvia_, whom
he finds just dressed _en chevalier_, (and setting her head and
feather in good order before the glass) with a design to depart the
town, at least so far as should have raised a concern in _Octavio_, if
yet he had any for her, to have followed her; he ran up without asking
leave into her chamber; and ere she was aware of him he threw himself
at her feet, and clasping her knees, to which he fixed his mouth, he
remained there for a little space without life or motion, and pressed
her in his arms as fast as a dying man. She was not offended to see
him there, and he appeared more lovely than ever he yet had been. His
grief had added a languishment and paleness to his face, which
sufficiently told her he had not been at ease while absent from her;
and on the other side, _Sylvia_ appeared ten thousand times more
charming than ever, the dress of a boy adding extremely to her beauty:
’.h you are a pretty lover,’ said she, raising him from her knees to
her arms, ‘to treat a mistress so for a little innocent
raillery.----Come, sit and tell me how you came to discover the
harmless cheat;’ setting him down on the side of her bed. ‘Oh name it
no more,’ cried he, ‘let that damned night be blotted from the year,
deceive me, flatter me, say you are innocent; tell me my senses rave,
my eyes were false, deceitful, and my ears were deaf: say any thing
that may convince my madness, and bring me back to tame adoring love.’
’.hat means _Octavio_,’ replied _Sylvia_, ‘sure he is not so nice and
squeamish a lover, but a fair young maid might have been welcome to
him coming so prepared for love; though it was not she whom he
expected, it might have served as well in the dark at least?’ ‘Well
said,’ replied _Octavio_, forcing a smile ‘----advance, pursue the
dear design, and cheat me still, and to convince my soul, oh swear it
too, for women want no weapons of defence, oaths, vows, and tears,
sighs, imprecations, ravings, are all the tools to fashion mankind
coxcombs: I am an easy fellow, fit for use, and long to be initiated
fool; come, swear I was not here the other night.’ ‘It is granted,
sir, you were: why all this passion?’ This _Sylvia_ spoke, and took
him by the hand, which burnt with raging fire; and though he spoke
with all the heat of love, his looks were soft the while as infant
_Cupids_: still he proceeded; ‘Oh charming _Sylvia_, since you are so
unkind to tell me truth, cease, cease to speak at all, and let me only
gaze upon those eyes that can so well deceive: their looks are
innocent, at least they will flatter me, and tell mine they lost their
faculties that other night.’ ‘No,’ replied _Sylvia_, ‘I am convinced
they did not, you saw _Antonet_----’ ‘Conduct a happy man’
(interrupted he) ‘to _Sylvia_’. bed. Oh, why by your confession must
my soul be tortured over anew!’ At this he hung his head upon his
bosom, and sighed as if each breath would be his last. ‘Heavens!’
cried _Sylvia_, ‘what is it _Octavio_ says! Conduct a happy lover to
my bed! by all that is sacred I am abused, designed upon to be
betrayed and lost; what said you, sir, a lover to my bed!’ When he
replied in a fainting tone, clasping her to his arms, ‘Now, _Sylvia_,
you are kind, be perfect woman, and keep to cozening still----Now back
it with a very little oath, and I am as well as before I saw your
falsehood, and never will lose one thought upon it more.’ ‘Forbear,’
said she, ‘you will make me angry. In short, what is it you would say?
Or swear, you rave, and then I will pity what I now despise, if you
can think me false.’ He only answered with a sigh, and she pursued,
’.m I not worth an answer? Tell me your soul and thoughts, as ever you
hope for favour from my love, or to preserve my quiet.’ ‘If you will
promise me to say it is false,’ replied he softly, ‘I will confess the
errors of my senses. I came the other night at twelve, the door was
open.-----’ ‘It is true,’ said _Sylvia_----’At the stairs-foot I found
a man, and saw him led to you into your chamber, sighing as he went,
and panting with impatience: now, _Sylvia_, if you value my repose, my
life, my reputation, or my services, turn it off handsomely, and I am
happy.’ At that, being wholly amazed, she told him the whole story, as
you heard of her dressing _Antonet_, and bringing him to her; at which
he smiled, and begged her to go on----She fetched the pieces of
_Brilliard_’. counterfeit letters, and shewed him; this brought him a
little to his wits, and at first sight he was ready to fancy the
letters came indeed from him; he found the character his, but not his
business; and in great amaze replied, ‘Ah, madam, did you know
_Octavio_’. soul so well, and could you imagine it capable of a
thought like this? A presumption so daring to the most awful of her
sex; this was unkind indeed: and did you answer them?’ ‘Yes,’ replied
she, ‘with all the kindness I could force my pen to express.’ So that
after canvassing the matter, and relating the whole story again with
his being taken ill, they concluded from every circumstance
_Brilliard_ was the man; for _Antonet_ was called to council; who now
recollecting all things in her mind, and knowing _Brilliard_ but too
well, she confessed she verily believed it was he, especially when she
told how she stole a letter of _Octavio_’. for him that day, and how
he was ill of the same disease still. _Octavio_ then called his page,
and sent him home for the note _Brilliard_ had sent him, and all
appeared as clear as day: but _Antonet_ met with a great many
reproaches for shewing her lady’s letters, which she excused as well
as she could: but never was man so ravished with joy as _Octavio_ was
at the knowledge of _Sylvia_’. innocence; a thousand times he kneeled
and begged her pardon; and her figure encouraging his caresses, a
thousand times he embraced her, he smiled, and blushed, and sighed
with love and joy, and knew not how to express it most effectually:
and _Sylvia_, who had other business than love in her heart and head,
suffered all the marks of his eager passion and transport out of
design, for she had a farther use to make of _Octavio_; though when
she surveyed his person handsome, young, and adorned with all the
graces and beauties of the sex, not at all inferior to _Philander_, if
not exceeding in every judgement but that of _Sylvia_; when she
considered his soul, where wit, love, and honour equally reigned, when
she consults the excellence of his nature, his generosity, courage,
friendship, and softness, she sighed and cried, it was pity to impose
upon him; and make his love for which she should esteem him, a
property to draw him to his ruin; for so she fancied it must be if
ever he encountered _Philander_; and though good nature was the least
ingredient that formed the soul of this fair charmer, yet now she
found she had a mixture of it, from her concern for _Octavio_; and
that generous lover made her so many soft vows, and tender
protestations of the respect and awfulness of his passion, that she
was wholly convinced he was her slave; nor could she see the constant
languisher pouring out his soul and fortune at her feet, without
suffering some warmth about her heart, which she had never felt but
for _Philander_; and this day she expressed herself more obligingly
than ever she had done, and allows him little freedoms of approaching
her with more softness than hitherto she had; and, absolutely charmed,
he promises, lavishly and without reserve, all she would ask of him;
and in requital she assured him all he could wish or hope, if he would
serve her in her revenge against _Philander_: she recounts to him at
large the story of her undoing, her quality, her fortune, her nice
education, the care and tenderness of her noble parents, and charges
all her fate to the evil conduct of her heedless youth: sometimes the
reflection on her ruin, she looking back upon her former innocence and
tranquillity, forces the tears to flow from her fair eyes, and makes
_Octavio_ sigh, and weep by sympathy: sometimes (arrived at the
amorous part of her relation) she would sigh and languish with the
remembrance of past joys in their beginning love; and sometimes smile
at the little unlucky adventures they met with, and their escapes; so
that different passions seized her soul while she spoke, while that of
all love filled _Octavio_’.: he dotes, he burns, and every word she
utters enflames him still the more; he fixes his very soul upon her
tongue, and darts his very eyes into her face, and every thing she
says raises his vast esteem and passion higher. In fine, having with
the eloquence of sacred wit, and all the charms of every differing
passion, finished her moving tale, they both declined their eyes,
whose falling showers kept equal time and pace, and for a little time
were still as thought: when _Octavio_, oppressed with mighty love,
broke the soft silence, and burst into extravagance of passion, says
all that men (grown mad with love and wishing) could utter to the idol
of his heart; and to oblige her more, recounts his life in short;
wherein, in spite of all his modesty, she found all that was great and
brave; all that was noble, fortunate and honest: and having now
confirmed her, he deserved her, kneeling implored she would accept of
him, not as a lover for a term of passion, for dates of months or
years, but for a long eternity; not as a rifler of her sacred honour,
but to defend it from the censuring world; he vowed he would forget
that ever any part of it was lost, nor by a look or action ever
upbraid her with a misfortune past, but still look forward on nobler
joys to come: and now implores that he may bring a priest to tie the
solemn knot. In spite of all her love for _Philander_, she could not
choose but take this offer kindly; and indeed, it made a very great
impression on her heart; she knew nothing but the height of love could
oblige a man of his quality and vast fortune, with all the advantages
of youth and beauty, to marry her in so ill circumstances; and paying
him first those acknowledgements that were due on so great an
occasion, with all the tenderness in her voice and eyes that she could
put on, she excused herself from receiving the favour, by telling him
she was so unfortunate as to be with child by the ungrateful man; and
falling at that thought into new tears, she moved him to infinite
love, and infinite compassion; insomuch that, wholly abandoning
himself to softness, he assured her, if she would secure him all his
happiness by marrying him now, that he would wait till she were
brought to bed, before he would demand the glorious recompense he
aspired to; so that _Sylvia_, being oppressed with obligation, finding
yet in her soul a violent passion for _Philander_, she knew not how to
take, or how to refuse the blessing offered, since _Octavio_ was a man
whom, in her height of innocence and youth, she might have been vain
and proud of engaging to this degree. He saw her pain and
irresolution, and being absolutely undone with love, delivers her
_Philander_’. last letter to him, with what he had sent her enclosed;
the sight of the very outside of it made her grow pale as death, and a
feebleness seized her all over, that made her unable for a moment to
open it; all which confusion _Octavio_ saw with pain, which she
perceiving recollected her thoughts as well as she could, and opened
it, and read it; that to _Octavio_ first, as being fondest of the
continuation of the history of his falsehood, she read, and often
paused to recover her spirits that were fainting at every period; and
having finished it, she fell down on the bed where they sat. _Octavio_
caught her in her fall in his arms, where she remained dead some
moments; whilst he, just on the point of being so himself, ravingly
called for help; and _Antonet_ being in the dressing-room ran to them,
and by degrees _Sylvia_ recovered, and asked _Octavio_ a thousand
pardons for exposing a weakness to him, which was but the effects of
the last blaze of love: and taking a cordial which _Antonet_ brought
her, she roused, resolved, and took _Octavio_ by the hand: ‘Now,’ said
she, ‘shew yourself that generous lover you have professed, and give
me your vows of revenge on _Philander_; and after that, by all that is
holy,’ kneeling as she spoke, and holding him fast, ‘by all my injured
innocence, by all my noble father’s wrongs, and my dear mother’s
grief; by all my sister’s sufferings, I swear, I will marry you, love
you, and give you all!’ This she spoke without considering _Antonet_
was by, and spoke it with all the rage, and blushes in her face, that
injured love and revenge could inspire: and on the other side, the
sense of his sister’s honour lost, and that of the tender passion he
had for _Sylvia_, made him swear by all that was sacred, and by all
the vows of eternal love and honour he had made to _Sylvia_, to go and
revenge himself and her on the false friend and lover, and confessed
the second motive, which was his sister’s fame, ‘For,’ cried he,’.hat
foul adulteress, that false _Calista_, is so allied to me.’ But still
he urged that would add to the justness of his cause, if he might
depart her husband as well as lover, and revenge an injured wife as
well as sister; and now he could ask nothing she did not easily grant;
and because it was late in the day, they concluded that the morning
shall consummate all his desires: and now she gives him her letter to
read; ‘For,’ said she, ‘I shall esteem myself henceforth so absolutely
_Octavio_’., that I will not so much as read a line from that perjured
ruiner of my honour;’ he took the letter with smiles and bows of
gratitude, and read it.

PHILANDER _to_ SYLVIA.

There are a thousand reasons, dearest _Sylvia_, at this time that
prevent my writing to you, reasons that will be convincing enough to
oblige my pardon, and plead my cause with her that loves me: all which
I will lay before you when I have the happiness to see you; I have met
with some affairs since my arrival to this place, that wholly take up
my time; affairs of State, whose fatigues have put my heart extremely
out of tune, and if not carefully managed may turn to my perpetual
ruin, so that I have not an hour in a day to spare for _Sylvia_;
which, believe me, is the greatest affliction of my life; and I have
no prospect of ease in the endless toils of life, but that of reposing
in the arms of _Sylvia_: some short intervals: pardon my haste, for
you cannot guess the weighty business that at present robs you of

_Your_ PHILANDER.

’.ou lie, false villain-----’ replied _Sylvia_ in mighty rage, ‘I can
guess your business, and can revenge it too; curse on thee, slave, to
think me grown as poor in sense as honour: to be cajoled with
this--stuff that would never sham a chambermaid: death! am I so
forlorn, so despicable, I am not worth the pains of being well
dissembled with? Confusion overtake him, misery seize him; may I
become his plague while life remains, or public tortures end him!’
This, with all the madness that ever inspired a lunatic, she uttered
with tears and violent actions: when _Octavio_ besought her not to
afflict herself, and almost wished he did not love a temper so
contrary to his own: he told her he was sorry, extremely sorry, to
find she still retained so violent a passion for a man unworthy of her
least concern; when she replied--’Do not mistake my soul, by heaven it
is pride, disdain, despite and hate--to think he should believe this
dull excuse could pass upon my judgement; had the false traitor told
me that he hated me, or that his faithless date of love was out, I had
been tame with all my injuries; but poorly thus to impose upon my
wit--By heaven he shall not bear the affront to hell in triumph! No
more--I have vowed he shall not--my soul has fixed, and now will be at
ease--Forgive me, oh _Octavio_;’ and letting herself fall into his
arms, she soon obtained what she asked for; one touch of the fair
charmer could calm him into love and softness.

Thus, after a thousand transports of passion on his side, and all the
seeming tenderness on hers, the night being far advanced, and new
confirmations given and taken on either side of pursuing the happy
agreement in the morning, which they had again resolved, they
appointed that _Sylvia_ and _Antonet_ should go three miles out of
town to a little village, where there was a church, and that _Octavio_
should meet them there to be confirmed and secured of all the
happiness he proposed to himself in this world--_Sylvia_ being so
wholly bent upon revenge (for the accomplishment of which alone she
accepted of _Octavio_) that she had lost all remembrance of her former
marriage with _Brilliard_: or if it ever entered into her thought, it
was only considered as a sham, nothing designed but to secure her from
being taken from _Philander_ by her parents; and, without any respect
to the sacred tie, to be regarded no more; nor did she design this
with _Octavio_ from any respect she had to the holy state of
matrimony, but from a lust of vengeance which she would buy at any
price, and which she found no man so well able to satisfy as
_Octavio_.

But what wretched changes of fortune she met with after this, and what
miserable portion of fate was destined to this unhappy wanderer, the
last part of _Philander_’. life, and the third and last part of this
history, shall most faithfully relate.


_The End of the Second Part._



The Amours of Philander and Sylvia



Part III.



_Octavio_, the brave, the generous, and the amorous, having left
_Sylvia_ absolutely resolved to give herself to that doting fond
lover, or rather to sacrifice herself to her revenge, that
unconsidering unfortunate, whose passion had exposed him to all the
unreasonable effects of it, returned to his own house, wholly
transported with his happy success. He thinks on nothing but vast
coming joys: nor did one kind thought direct him back to the evil
consequences of what he so hastily pursued; he reflects not on her
circumstances but her charms, not on the infamy he should espouse with
_Sylvia_, but on those ravishing pleasures she was capable of giving
him: he regards not the reproaches of his friends; but wholly
abandoned to love and youthful imaginations, gives a loose to young
desire and fancy that deludes him with a thousand soft ideas: he
reflects not, that his gentle and easy temper was most unfit to join
with that of _Sylvia_, which was the most haughty and humorous in
nature; for though she had all the charms of youth and beauty that are
conquering in her sex, all the wit and insinuation that even surpasses
youth and beauty; yet to render her character impartially, she had
also abundance of disagreeing qualities mixed with her perfections.
She was imperious and proud even to insolence; vain and conceited even
to folly; she knew her virtues and her graces too well, and her vices
too little; she was very opinionated and obstinate, hard to be
convinced of the falsest argument, but very positive in her fancied
judgement: abounding in her own sense, and very critical on that of
others: censorious, and too apt to charge others with those crimes to
which she was herself addicted, or had been guilty of: amorously
inclined, and indiscreet in the management of her amours, and constant
rather from pride and shame than inclination; fond of catching at
every trifling conquest, and loving the triumph, though she hated the
slave. Yet she had virtues too that balanced her vices, among which we
must allow her to have loved _Philander_ with a passion, that nothing
but his ingratitude could have decayed in her heart, nor was it
lessened but by a force that gave her a thousand tortures, racks and
pangs, which had almost cost her her less valued life; for being of a
temper nice in love, and very fiery, apt to fly into rages at every
accident that did but touch that tenderest part, her heart, she
suffered a world of violence, and extremity of rage and grief by
turns, at this affront and inconstancy of _Philander_. Nevertheless
she was now so discreet, or rather cunning, to dissemble her
resentment the best she could to her generous lover, for whom she had
more inclination than she yet had leisure to perceive, and which she
now attributes wholly to her revenge; and considering _Octavio_ as the
most proper instrument for that, she fancies what was indeed a growing
tenderness from the sense of his merit, to be the effects of that
revenge she so much thirsted after; and though without she dissembled
a calm, within she was all fury and disorder, all storm and
distraction: she went to bed racked with a thousand thoughts of
despairing love: sometimes all the softness of _Philander_ in their
happy enjoyments came in view, and made her sometimes weep, and
sometimes faint with the dear loved remembrance; sometimes his late
enjoyments with _Calista_, and then she raved and burnt with frantic
rage: but oh! at last she found her hope was gone, and wisely fell to
argue with her soul. She knew love would not long subsist on the thin
diet of despair, and resolving he was never to be retrieved who once
had ceased to love, she strove to bend her soul to useful reason, and
thinks on all _Octavio_’. obligations, his vows, his assiduity, his
beauty, his youth, his fortune, and his generous offer, and with the
aid of pride resolves to unfix her heart, and give it better treatment
in his bosom: to cease at least to love the false _Philander_, if she
could never force her soul to hate him: and though this was not so
soon done as thought on, in a heart so prepossesed as that of
_Sylvia_’., yet there is some hope of a recovery, when a woman in that
extremity will but think of listening to love from any new adorer, and
having once resolved to pursue the fugitive no more with the natural
artillery of their sighs and tears, reproaches and complaints, they
have recourse to every thing that may soonest chase from the heart
those thoughts that oppress it: for nature is not inclined to hurt
itself; and there are but very few who find it necessary to die of the
disease of love. Of this sort was our _Sylvia_, though to give her her
due, never any person who did not indeed die, ever languished under
the torments of love, as did that charming and afflicted maid.

While _Sylvia_ remained in these eternal inquietudes, _Antonet_,
having quitted her chamber, takes this opportunity to go to that of
_Brilliard_, whom she had not visited in two days before, being
extremely troubled at his design, which she now found he had on her
lady; she had a mind to vent her spleen, and as the proverb says,
’.all Whore first’. _Brilliard_ longed as much to see her to rail at
her for being privy to _Octavio_’. approach to _Sylvia_’. bed (as he
thought she imagined) and not giving him an account of it, as she used
to do of all the secrets of her lady. She finds him alone in her
chamber, recovered from all but the torments of his unhappy
disappointment. She approached him with all the anger her sort of
passion could inspire (for love in a mean unthinking soul, is not that
glorious thing it is in the brave;) however she had enough to serve
her pleasure; for _Brilliard_ was young and handsome, and both being
bent on railing without knowing each other’s intentions, they both
equally flew into high words, he upbraiding her with her infidelity,
and she him with his. ‘Are not you,’ said he (growing more calm) ‘the
falsest of your tribe, to keep a secret from me that so much concerned
me? Is it for this I have refused the addresses of burgomasters’ wives
and daughters, where I could have made my fortune and my satisfaction,
to keep myself entirely for a thing that betrays me, and keeps every
secret of her heart from me? False and forsworn, I will be fool no
more.’ ‘It is well, sir,’ (replied _Antonet_) ‘that you having been
the most perfidious man alive, should accuse me who am innocent: come,
come sir, you have not carried matters so swimmingly, but I could
easily dive into the other night’s intrigue and secret.’ ‘What secret
thou false one? Thou art all over secret; a very hopeful bawd at
eighteen----go, I hate ye----’ At this she wept, and he pursued his
railing to out-noise her, ‘You thought, because your deed were done in
darkness, they were concealed from a lover’s eye; no, thou young
viper, I saw, I heard, and felt, and satisfied every sense of this thy
falsehood, when _Octavio_ was conducted to _Sylvia_’. bed by thee.’
’.ut what,’ said she, ‘if instead of _Octavio_ I conducted the
perfidious traitor to love, _Brilliard_? Who then was false and
perjured?’ At this he blushed extremely, which was too visible on his
fair face. She being now confirmed she had the better of him,
continued--’Let thy confusion,’ said she with scorn, ‘witness the
truth of what I say, and I have been but too well acquainted with that
body of yours,’ weeping as she spoke, ‘to mistake it for that of
_Octavio_.’ ‘Softly, dear _Antonet_,’ replied he----’nay, now your
tears have calmed me’. and taking her in his arms, sought to appease
her by all the arguments of seeming love and tenderness; while she,
yet wholly unsatisfied in that cheat of his of going to Sylvia’s bed,
remained still pouting and very frumpish. But he that had but one
argument left, that on all occasions served to convince her, had at
last recourse to that, which put her in good humour, and hanging on
his neck, she kindly chid him for putting such a trick upon her lady.
He told her, and confirmed it with an oath, that he did it but to try
how far she was just to his friend and lord, and not any desire he had
for a beauty that was too much of his own complexion to charm him; it
was only the brunette and the black, such as herself, that could move
him to desire; thus he shams her into perfect peace. ‘And why,’ said
she, ‘were you not satisfied that she was false, as well from the
assignation, as the trial?’ ‘Oh no,’ said he, ‘you women have a
thousand arts of gibing, and no man ought to believe you, but put you
to the trial.’ ‘Well,’ said she, ‘when I had brought you to the bed,
when you found her arms stretched out to receive you, why did you not
retire like an honest man, and leave her to herself?’ ‘Oh fie,’ said
he, ‘that had not been to have acted _Octavio_ to the life, but would
have made a discovery.’ ‘Ah,’ said she, ‘that was your aim to have
acted _Octavio_ to the life, I believe, and not to discover my lady’s
constancy to your lord; but I suppose you have been sworn at the Butt
of _Heidleburgh_, never to kiss the maid, when you can kiss the
mistress.’ But he renewing his caresses and asseverations of love to
her, she suffered herself to be convinced of all he had a mind to have
her believe. After this she could not contain any secret from him, but
told him she had something to say to him, which if he knew, would
convince him she had all the passion in the world for him: he presses
eagerly to know, and she pursues to tell him, it is as much as her
life is worth to discover it, and that she lies under the obligation
of an oath not to tell it; but kisses and rhetoric prevail, and she
cries--’What will you say now, if my lady may marry one of the
greatest and most considerable persons in all this country?’ ‘I should
not wonder at her conquest,’ (replied _Brilliard_) ‘but I should
wonder if she should marry.’ ‘Then cease your wonder,’ replied she,
’.or she is to-morrow to be married to Count _Octavio_, whom she is to
meet at nine in the morning to that end, at a little village a league
from this place.’ She spoke, and he believes; and finds it true by the
raging of his blood, which he could not conceal from _Antonet_, and
for which he feigns a thousand excuses to the amorous maid, and
charges his concern on that for his lord: at last (after some more
discourse on that subject) he pretends to grow sleepy, and hastens her
to her chamber; and locking the door after her, he began to reflect on
what she had said, and grew to all the torment of rage and jealousy,
and all the despairs of a passionate lover: and though this hope was
not extreme before, yet as lovers do, he found, or fancied a
probability (from his lord’s inconstancy, and his own right of
marriage) that the necessity she might chance to be in of his
friendship and assistance in a strange country, might some happy
moment or other render him the blessing he so long had waited for from
_Sylvia_; for he ever designed, when either his lord left her, grew
cold, or should happen to die, to put in his claim of husband. And the
soft familiar way, with which she eternally lived with him, encouraged
this hope and design; nay, she had often made him advances to that
happy expectation. But this fatal blow had driven him from all his
fancied joys, to the most wretched estate of a desperate lover. He
traverses his chamber, wounded with a thousand different thoughts,
mixed with those of preventing this union the next morning. Sometimes
he resolves to fight _Octavio_, for his birth might pretend to it, and
he wanted no courage; but he is afraid of being overcome by that
gallant man, and either losing his hopes with his life, or if he
killed _Octavio_, to be forced from his happiness, or die an
ignominious death: sometimes he resolves to own _Sylvia_ for his wife,
but then he fears the rage of that dear object of his soul, which he
dreads more than death itself: so that tossed from one extreme to
another, from one resolution to a hundred, he was not able to fix upon
any thing. In this perplexity he remained till day appeared, that day
must advance with his undoing, while _Sylvia_ and _Antonet_ were
preparing for the design concluded on the last night. This he heard,
and every minute that approached gave him new torments, so that now he
would have given himself to the Prince of Darkness for a kind
disappointment: he was often ready to go and throw himself at her
feet, and plead against her enterprise in hand, and to urge the
unlawfulness of a double marriage, ready to make vows for the fidelity
of _Philander_, though before so much against his own interest, and to
tell her all those letters from him were forged: he thought on all
things, but nothing remained with him, but despair of every thing. At
last the devil and his own subtlety put him upon a prevention, though
base, yet the most likely to succeed, in his opinion.

He knew there were many factions in _Holland_, and that the _States_
themselves were divided in their interests, and a thousand jealousies
and fears were eternally spread amongst the rabble; there were cabals
for every interest, that of the _French_ so prevailing, that of the
_English_, and that of the illustrious _Orange_, and others for the
_States_; so that it was not a difficulty to move any mischief, and
pass it off among the crowd for dangerous consequences. _Brilliard_
knew each division, and which way they were inclined; he knew
_Octavio_ was not so well with the _States_ as not to be easily
rendered worse; for he was so entirely a creature and favourite of the
Prince, that they conceived abundance of jealousies of him which they
durst not own. _Brilliard_ besides knew a great man, who having a
pique to _Octavio_, might the sooner be brought to receive any ill
character of him: to this sullen magistrate he applies himself, and
deluding the credulous busy old man with a thousand circumstantial
lies, he discovers to him, that _Octavio_ held a correspondence with
the _French_ King to betray the State; and that he caballed to that
end with some who were looked upon as _French_ rebels, but indeed were
no other than spies to _France_. This coming from a man of that party,
and whose lord was a _French_ rebel, gained a perfect credit with the
old Sir _Politic_; so that immediately hasting to the state-house, he
lays this weighty affair before them, who soon found it reasonable, if
not true, at least they feared, and sent out a warrant for the speedy
apprehending him; but coming to his house, though early, they found
him gone, and being informed which way he took, the messenger pursued
him, and found his coach at the door of a _cabaret_, too obscure for
his quality, which made them apprehend this was some place of
rendezvous where he possibly met with his traitorous associators: they
send in, and cunningly inquire who he waited for, or who was with him,
and they understood he stayed for some gentleman of the _French_
nation; for he had ordered _Sylvia_ to come in man’s clothes that she
might not be known; and had given order below, that if two _French_
gentlemen came they should be brought to him. This information made
the scandal as clear as day, and the messenger no longer doubted of
the reasonableness of his warrant, though he was loath to serve it on
a person whose father he had served so many years. He waits at some
distance from the house unseen, though he could take a view of all; he
saw _Octavio_ come often out into the balcony, and look with longing
eyes towards the road that leads to the town; he saw him all rich and
gay as a young bridegroom, lovely and young as the morning that
flattered him with so fair and happy a day; at last he saw two
gentlemen alight at the door, and giving their horses to a page to
walk the while, they ran up into the chamber where _Octavio_ was
waiting, who had already sent his page to prepare the priest in the
village-church to marry them. You may imagine, with what love and joy
the ravished youth approached the idol of his soul, and she, who
beholds him in more beauty than ever yet she thought he had appeared,
pleased with all things he had on, with the gay morning, the flowery
field, the air, the little journey, and a thousand diverting things,
made no resistance to those fond embraces that pressed her a thousand
times with silent transport, and falling tears of eager love and
pleasure; but even in that moment of content, she forgot _Philander_,
and received all the satisfaction so soft a lover could dispense:
while they were mutually thus exchanging looks, and almost hearts, the
messenger came into the room, and as civilly as possible told
_Octavio_ he had a warrant for him, to secure him as a traitor to the
State, and a spy for _France_. You need not be told the surprise and
astonishment he was in; however he obeyed. The messenger turning to
_Sylvia_, cried, ‘Sir, though I can hardly credit this crime that is
charged to my lord, yet the finding him here with two _French_
gentlemen, gives me some more fears that there may be something in it;
and it would do well if you would deliver yourselves into my hands for
the farther clearing this gentleman.’ This foolish grave speech of the
messenger had like to have put _Octavio_ into a loud laughter, he
addressing himself to two women for two men: but _Sylvia_ replied,
’.ir, I hope you do not take us for so little friends to the gallant
_Octavio_, to abandon him in this misfortune; no, we will share it
with him, be it what it will.’ To this the generous lover blushing
with kind surprise, bowed, and kissing her hand with transport, called
her his charming friend; and so all three being guarded back in
_Octavio_’. coach they return to the town, and to the house of the
messenger, which made a great noise all over, that _Octavio_ was taken
with two _French_ Jesuits plotting to fire _Amsterdam_, and a thousand
things equally ridiculous. They were all three lodged together in one
house, that of the messenger, which was very fine, and fit to
entertain any persons of quality; while _Brilliard_, who did not like
that part of the project, bethought him of a thousand ways how to free
her from thence; for he designed, as soon as _Octavio_ should be
taken, to have got her to have quitted the town under pretence of
being taken upon suspicion of holding correspondence with him, because
they were _French_; but her delivering herself up had not only undone
all his design, but had made it unsafe for him to stay. While he was
thus bethinking himself what he should do, _Octavio_’. uncle, who was
one of the _States_, extremely affronted at the indignity put upon his
nephew and his sole heir, the darling of his heart and eyes, commands
that this informer may be secured; and accordingly _Brilliard_ was
taken into custody, who giving himself over for a lost man, resolves
to put himself upon _Octavio_’. mercy, by telling him the motives that
induced him to this violent and ungenerous course. It was some days
before the Council thought fit to call for _Octavio_, to hear what he
had to say for himself; in the mean time, he having not had permission
yet to see _Sylvia_; and being extremely desirous of that happiness,
he bethought himself that the messenger, having been in his father’s
service, might have so much respect for the son, as to allow him to
speak to that fair charmer, provided he might be a witness to what he
should say: he sends for him, and demanded of him where those two fair
prisoners were lodged who came with him in the morning; he told him,
in a very good apartment on the same floor, and that they were very
well accommodated, and seemed to have no other trouble but what they
suffered for him. ‘I hope, my Lord,’ added he--’your confinement will
not be long; for I hear there is a person taken up, who has confessed
he did it for a revenge on you.’ At this _Octavio_ was very well
pleased, and asked him who it was? And he told him a _French_
gentleman belonging to the Count _Philander_, who about six months ago
was obliged to quit the town as an enemy to _France_. He soon knew it
to be _Brilliard_, and comparing this action with some others of his
lately committed, he no longer doubts it the effects of his jealousy.
He asked the messenger, if it were impossible to gain so much favour
of him, as to let him visit those two _French_ gentlemen, he being by
while he was with them: the keeper soon granted his request, and
replied--There was no hazard he would not run to serve him; and
immediately putting back the hangings, with one of those keys he had
in his hand, he opened a door in his chamber that led into a gallery
of fine pictures, and from thence they passed into the apartment of
_Sylvia_: as soon as he came in he threw himself at her feet, and she
received him, and took him up into her arms with all the transports of
joy a soul (more than ever possessed with love for him) could
conceive; and though they all appeared of the masculine sex, the
messenger soon perceived his error, and begged a thousand pardons.
_Octavio_ makes haste to tell her his opinion of the cause of all this
trouble to both; and she easily believed, when she heard _Brilliard_
was taken, that it was as he imagined; for he had been found too often
faulty not to be suspected now. This thought brought a great calm to
both their spirits, and almost reduced them to the first soft
tranquillity, with which they began the day: for he protested his
innocence a thousand times, which was wholly needless, for the
generous maid believed, before he spoke, he could not be guilty of the
sin of treachery. He renews his vows to her of eternal love, and that
he would perform what they were so unluckily prevented from doing this
morning; and that though possibly by this unhappy adventure, his
design might have taken air, and have arrived to the knowledge of his
uncle, yet in spite of all opposition of friends, or the malice of
_Brilliard_, he would pursue his glorious design of marrying her,
though he were forced for it to wander in the farthest parts of the
earth with his lovely prize. He begs she will not disesteem him for
this scandal on his fame; for he was all love, all soft desire, and
had no other design, than that of making himself master of that
greatest treasure in the world; that of the possessing, the most
charming, the all-ravishing _Sylvia_: in return, she paid him all the
vows that could secure an infidel in love, she made him all the
endearing advances a heart could wish, wholly given up to tender
passion, insomuch that he believes, and is the gayest man that ever
was blest by love. And the messenger, who was present all this while,
found that this caballing with the _French_ spies, was only an
innocent design to give himself away to a fine young lady: and
therefore gave them all the freedom they desired, and which they made
use of to the most advantage love could direct or youth inspire.

This suffering with _Octavio_ begot a pity and compassion in the heart
of _Sylvia_, and that grew up to love; for he had all the charms that
could inspire, and every hour was adding new fire to her heart, which
at last burnt into a flame; such power has mighty obligation on a
heart that has any grateful sentiments! and yet, when she was absent
a-nights from _Octavio_, and thought on _Philander_’., passion for
_Calista_, she would rage and rave, and find the effects of wondrous
love, and wondrous pride, and be even ready to make vows against
_Octavio_: but those were fits that seldomer seized her now, and every
fit was like a departing ague, still weaker than the former, and at
the sight of _Octavio_ all would vanish, her blushes would rise and
discover the soft thoughts her heart conceived for the approaching
lover; and she soon found that vulgar error, of the impossibility of
loving more than once. It was four days they thus remained without
being called to the Council, and every day brought its new joys along
with it. They were never asunder, never interrupted with any visit,
but one for a few moments in a day by _Octavio_’. uncle, and then he
would go into his own apartment to receive him: he offered to bail him
out; but _Octavio_, who had found more real joy there, than in any
part of the earth besides, evaded the obligation, by telling his
uncle, he would be obliged to nothing but his innocence for his
liberty: so would get rid of the fond old gentleman, who never knew a
passion but for his darling nephew, and returned with as much joy to
the lodgings of _Sylvia_, as if he had been absent a week, which is an
age to a lover; there they sometimes would play at cards, where he
would lose considerable sums to her, or at hazard, or be studying what
they should do next to pass the hours most to her content; not but he
had rather have lain eternally at her feet, gazing, doting, and saying
a thousand fond things, which at every view he took were conceived in
his soul: and though but this last minute he had finished, saying all
that love could dictate, he found his heart oppressed with a vast
store of new softness, which he languished to unload in her ravishing
bosom. But she, who was not arrived to his pitch of loving, diverts
his softer hours with play sometimes, and otherwhile with making him
follow her into the gallery, which was adorned with pleasant pictures,
all of _Hempskerk_’. hand, which afforded great variety of objects
very droll and antique, _Octavio_ finding something to say of every
one that might be of advantage to his own heart; for whatever argument
was in dispute, he would be sure to bring it home to the passion he
had for _Sylvia_; it should end in love, however remotely begun: so
strange an art has love to turn all things to the advantage of a
lover!

It was thus they passed their time, and nothing was wanting that
lavish experience could procure, and every minute he advances to new
freedoms, and unspeakable delights, but still such as might hitherto
be allowed with honour; he sighs and wishes, he languishes and dies
for more, but dares not utter the meaning of one motion of breath; for
he loved so very much, that every look from those fair eyes charmed
him, awed him to a respect that robbed him of many happy moments, a
bolder lover would have turned to his advantage, and he treated her as
if she had been an unspotted maid; with caution of offending, he had
forgot that general rule, that where the sacred laws of honour are
once invaded, love makes the easier conquest.

All this while you may imagine _Brilliard_ endured no little torment;
he could not on the one side, determine what the _States_ would do
with him, when once they should find him a false accuser of so great a
man; and on the other side, he suffered a thousand pains and
jealousies from love; he knew too well the charms and power of
_Octavio_, and what effects importunity and opportunity have on the
temper of feeble woman: he found the _States_ did not make so
considerable a matter of his being impeached, as to confine him
strictly, and he dies with the fears of those happy moments he might
possibly enjoy with _Sylvia_, where there might be no spies about her
to give him any kind intelligence; and all that could afford him any
glimpse of consolation, was, that while they were thus confined, he
was out of fear of their being married. _Octavio_’. uncle this while
was not idle, but taking it for a high indignity his nephew should
remain so long without being heard, he moved it to the Council, and
accordingly they sent for him to the state-house the next morning,
where _Brilliard_ was brought to confront him; whom, as soon as
_Octavio_ saw, with a scornful smile, he cried,--’It is well,
_Brilliard_, that you, who durst not fight me fairly, should find out
this nobler way of ridding yourself of a rival: I am glad at least
that I have no more honourable a witness against me.’ _Brilliard_, who
never before wanted assurance, at this reproach was wholly confounded;
for it was not from any villainy in his nature, but the absolute
effects of mad and desperate passion, which put him on the only remedy
that could relieve him; and looking on _Octavio_ with modest blushes,
that half pleaded for him, he cried--’Yes, my lord, I am your accuser,
and come to charge your innocence with the greatest of crimes, and you
ought to thank me for my accusation; when you shall know it is regard
to my own honour, violent love for _Sylvia_, and extreme respect to
your lordship, has made me thus saucy with your unspotted fame.’
’.ow,’ replied _Octavio_, ‘shall I thank you for accusing me with a
plot upon the State?’ ‘Yes, my lord,’ replied _Brilliard_; ‘and yet
you had a plot to betray the State, and by so new a way, as could be
found out by none but so great and brave a man’--’Heavens,’ replied
_Octavio_, enraged, ‘this is an impudence, that nothing but a traitor
to his own king, and one bred up in plots and mischiefs, could have
invented: I betray my own country?’--’Yes, my lord,’ cried he (more
briskly than before, seeing _Octavio_ colour so at him) ‘to all the
looseness of unthinking youth, to all the breach of laws both human
and divine; if all the youth should follow your example, you would
betray posterity itself, and only mad confusion would abound. In
short, my lord, that lady who was taken with you by the messenger, was
my wife.’ And going towards _Sylvia_, who was struck as with a
thunder-bolt, he seized her hand, and cried,--while all stood gazing
on--This lady, sir, I mean----she is my wife, my lawful married wife.’
At this _Sylvia_ could no longer hold her patience within its bounds,
but with that other hand he had left her, she struck him a box on the
ear, that almost staggered him, coming unawares; and as she struck,
she cried aloud, ‘Thou liest, base villain----and I will be revenged;’
and flinging herself out of his hand, she got on the other side of
_Octavio_, while the whole company remained confounded at what they
saw and heard. ‘How,’ cried out old _Sebastian_, uncle to _Octavio_,
’. woman, this? By my troth, sweet lady, (if you be one) methought you
were a very pretty fellow.’ And turning to _Brilliard_, he
cried,--’Why, what sir, then it seems all this noise of betraying the
State was but a cuckold’s dream. Hah! and this wonderful and dangerous
plot, was but one upon your wife, sir; hah,----was it so? Marry, sir,
at this rate, I rather think it is you have a design of betraying the
State----you cuckoldy knaves, that bring your handsome wives to seduce
our young senators from their sobriety and wits.’ ‘Are these the
recompenses,’ replied _Brilliard_, ‘you give the injured, and in lieu
of restoring me my right, am I reproached with the most scandalous
infamy that can befall a man?’ ‘Well, sir,’ replied _Sebastian_, ‘is
this all you have to charge this gentleman with?’ At which he bowed,
and was silent----and _Sebastian_ continued--’If your wife, sir, have
a mind to my nephew, or he to her, it should have been your care to
have forbid it, or prevented it, by keeping her under lock and key, if
no other way to be secured; and, sir, we do not sit here to relieve
fools and cuckolds; if your lady will be civil to my nephew, what is
that to us: let her speak for herself: what say you, madam?’--’I say,’
replied _Sylvia_, ‘that this fellow is mad and raves, that he is my
vassal, my servant, my slave; but, after this, unworthy of the meanest
of these titles.’ This she spoke with a disdain that sufficiently
shewed the pride and anger of her soul----’La you, sir,’ replied
_Sebastian_, ‘you are discharged your lady’s service; it is a plain
case she has more mind to the young Count than the husband, and we
cannot compel people to be honest against their inclinations.’ And
coming down from the seat where he sat, he embraced _Octavio_ a
hundred times, and told the board, he was extremely glad they found
the mighty plot, but a vagary of youth, and the spleen of a jealous
husband or lover, or whatsoever other malicious thing; and desired the
angry man might be discharged, since he had so just a provocation as
the loss of a mistress. So all laughing at the jest, that had made so
great a noise among the grave and wise, they freed them all: and
_Sebastian_ advised his nephew, that the next cuckold he made, he
would make a friend of him first, that he might hear of no more
complaints against him. But _Octavio_ very gravely replied; ‘Sir, you
have infinitely mistaken the character of this lady, she is a person
of too great quality for this raillery; at more leisure you shall have
her story.’ While he was speaking this, and their discharges were
making, _Sylvia_ confounded with shame, indignation, and anger, goes
out, and taking _Octavio_’. coach that stood at the gate, went
directly to his house; for she resolved to go no more where
_Brilliard_ was. After this, _Sebastian_ fell seriously to good
advice, and earnestly besought his darling to leave off those wild
extravagancies that had so long made so great a discourse all the
province over, where nothing but his splendid amours, treats, balls,
and magnificences of love, was the business of the town, and that he
had forborne to tell him of it, and had hitherto justified his
actions, though they had not deserved it; and he doubted this was the
lady to whom for these six or eight months he heard he had so entirely
dedicated himself. He desires him to quit this lady, or if he will
pursue his love, to do it discreetly, to love some unmarried woman,
and not injure his neighbours; to all which he blushed and bowed, and
silently seemed to thank him for his grave counsel. And _Brilliard_
having received his discharge, and advice how he provoked the
displeasure of the _States_ any more, by accusing of great persons, he
was ordered to ask _Octavio_’. pardon; but, in lieu of that, he came
up to him, and challenged him to fight him for the injustice he had
done him, in taking from him his wife; for he was sure he was undone
in her favour, and that thought made him mad enough to put himself on
this second extravagancy: however, this was not so silently managed
but _Sebastian_ perceived it, and was so enraged at the young fellow
for his second insolence, that he was again confined, and sent back to
prison, where he swore he should suffer the utmost of the law; and the
Council breaking up, every one departed to his own home. But never was
man ravished with excess of joy as _Octavio_ was, to find _Sylvia_
meet him with extended arms on the stair-case, whom he did not imagine
to have found there, nor knew he how he stood in the heart of the
charmer of his own, since the affront she had received in the court
from those that however did not know her; for they did not imagine
this was that lady, sister to _Philander_, of whose beauty they had
heard so much, and her face being turned from the light, the old
gentleman did not so much consider or see it. _Sylvia_ came into his
house the back way, through the stables and garden, and had the good
fortune to be seen by none of his family but the coachman, who brought
her home, whom she conjured not to speak of it to the rest of his
servants: and unseen of any body she got into his apartment, for often
she had been there at treats and balls with _Philander_. She was
alone; for _Antonet_ stayed to see what became of her false lover,
and, after he was seized again, retired to her lodging the most
disconsolate woman in the world, for having lost her hopes of
_Brilliard_, to whom she had engaged all that honour she had. But when
she missed her lady there, she accused herself with all the falsehood
in the world, and fell to repent her treachery. She sends the page to
inquire at _Octavio_’. house, but no body there could give him any
intelligence; so that the poor amorous youth returning without hope,
endured all the pain of a hopeless lover; for _Octavio_ had anew
charmed his coachman: and calling up an ancient woman who was his
house-keeper, who had been his nurse, he acquainted her with the short
history of his passion for _Sylvia_, and ordered her to give her
attendance on the treasure of his life; he bid her prepare all things
as magnificent as she could in that apartment he designed her, which
was very rich and gay, and towards a fine garden. The hangings and
beds all glorious, and fitter for a monarch than a subject; the finest
pictures the world afforded, flowers in-laid with silver and ivory,
gilded roofs, carved wainscot, tables of plate, with all the rest of
the movables in the chambers of the same, all of great value, and all
was perfumed like an altar, or the marriage bed of some young king.
Here _Sylvia_ was designed to lodge, and hither _Octavio_ conducted
her; and setting her on a couch while the supper was getting ready, he
sits himself down by her, and his heart being ready to burst with
grief, at the thought of the claim which was laid to her by
_Brilliard_, he silently views her, while tears were ready to break
from his fixed eyes, and sighs stopped what he would fain have spoke;
while she (wholly confounded with shame, guilt, and disappointment,
for she could not imagine that _Brilliard_ could have had the
impudence to have claimed her for a wife) fixed her fair eyes to the
earth, and durst not behold the languishing _Octavio_. They remained
thus a long time silent, she not daring to defend herself from a
crime, of which she knew too well she was guilty, nor he daring to ask
her a question to which the answer might prove so fatal; he fears to
know what he dies to be satisfied in, and she fears to discover too
late a secret, which was the only one she had concealed from him.
_Octavio_ runs over in his mind a thousand thoughts that perplex him,
of the probability of her being married; he considers how often he had
found her with that happy young man, who more freely entertained her
than servants use to do. He now considers how he had seen them once on
a bed together, when _Sylvia_ was in the disorder of a yielding
mistress, and _Brilliard_ of a ravished lover; he considers how he has
found them alone at cards and dice, and often entertaining her with
freedoms of a husband, and how he wholly managed her affairs,
commanded her servants like their proper master, and was in full
authority of all. These, and a thousand more circumstances, confirm
_Octavio_ in all his fears: a thousand times she is about to speak,
but either fear to lose _Octavio_ by clear confession, or to run
herself into farther error by denying the matter of fact, stops her
words, and she only blushes and sighs at what she dares not tell; and
if by chance their speaking eyes meet, they would both decline them
hastily again, as afraid to find there what their language could not
confess. Sometimes he would press her hand and sigh.--’Ah, _Sylvia_,
you have undone my quiet’. to which she would return no answer, but
sigh, and now rising from the couch, she walked about the chamber as
sad and silent as death, attending when he should have advanced in
speaking to her, though she dreads the voice she wishes to hear, and
he waits for her reply, though the mouth that he adores should deliver
poison and daggers to his heart. While thus they remained in the most
silent and sad entertainment (that ever was between lovers that had so
much to say) the page, which _Octavio_ only trusts to wait, brought
him this letter.

BRILLIARD _to_ OCTAVIO.

_My Lord_,

I am too sensible of my many high offences to your lordship, and have
as much penitence for my sin committed towards you as it is possible
to conceive; but when I implore a pardon from a lover, who by his own
passion may guess at the violent effects of my despairing flame, I am
yet so vain to hope it. _Antonet_ gave me the intelligence of your
design, and raised me up to a madness that hurried me to that
barbarity against your unspotted honour. I own the baseness of the
fact, but lovers are not, my lord, always guided by rules of justice
and reason; or, if I had, I should have killed the fair adulteress
that drew you to your undoing, and who merits more your hate than your
regard; and who having first violated her marriage-vow to me with
_Philander_, would sacrifice us both to you, and at the same time
betray you to a marriage that cannot but prove fatal to you, as it is
most unlawful in her; so that, my lord, if I have injured you, I have
at the same time saved you from a sin and ruin, and humbly implore
that you will suffer the good I have rendered you in the last, to
atone for the ill I did you in the first. If I have accused you of a
design against the State, it was to save you from that of the too
subtle and too charming _Sylvia_, which none but myself could have
snatched you from. It is true, I might have acted something more
worthy of my birth and education; but, my lord, I knew the power of
_Sylvia_; and if I should have sent you the knowledge of this, when I
sent the warrant for the security of your person, the haughty creature
would have prevailed above all my truths with the eloquence of love,
and you had yielded and been betrayed worse by her, than by the most
ungenerous measures I took to prevent it. Suffer this reason, my lord,
to plead for me in that heart where _Sylvia_ reigns, and shews how
powerful she is every where. Pardon all the faults of a most
unfortunate man undone by love, and by your own, guess what his
passion would put him on, who aims or wishes at least for the entire
possession of _Sylvia_, though it was never absolutely hoped by the
most unfortunate

BRILLIARD.

At the beginning of this letter _Octavio_ hoped it contained the
confession of his fault in claiming _Sylvia_; he hoped he would have
owned it done in order to his service to his lord, or his love to
_Sylvia_, or any thing but what it really was; but when he read
on--and found that he yet confirmed his claim, he yielded to all the
grief that could sink a heart over-burdened with violent love; he
fell down on the couch where he was sat, and only calling _Sylvia_
with a dying groan, he held out his hand, in which the letter
remained, and looked on her with eyes that languished with death,
love, and despair; while she, who already feared from whom it came,
received it with disdain, shame, and confusion: and _Octavio_
recovering a little--cried in a faint voice--’See charming, cruel
fair--see how much my soul adores you, when even this--cannot
extinguish one spark of the flame you have kindled in my soul.’ At
this she blushed, and bowed with a graceful modesty that was like to
have given the lie to all the accusations against her: she reads the
letter, while he greedily fixes his eyes upon her face as she reads,
observing with curious search every motion there, all killing and
adorable. He saw her blushes sometimes rise, then sink again to their
proper fountain, her heart; there swell and rise, and beat against her
breast that had no other covering than a thin shirt, for all her bosom
was open, and betrayed the nimble motion of her heart. Her eyes
sometimes would sparkle with disdain, and glow upon the fatal
tell-tale lines, and sometimes languish with excess of grief: but
having concluded the letter, she laid it on the table, and began again
to traverse the room, her head declined, and her arms a-cross her
bosom, _Octavio_ made too true an interpretation of this silence and
calm in _Sylvia_, and no longer doubted his fate. He fixes his eyes
eternally upon her, while she considers what she shall say to that
afflicted lover; she considers _Philander_ lost, or if he ever
returns, it is not to love; to that he was for ever gone; for too well
she knew no arts, obligations, or industry, could retrieve a flying
_Cupid_: she found, if even that could return, his whole fortune was
so exhausted he could not support her; and that she was of a nature so
haughty and impatient of injuries, that she could never forgive him
those affronts he had done her honour first, and now her love; she
resolves no law or force shall submit her to _Brilliard_; she finds
this fallacy she had put on _Octavio_, has ruined her credit in his
esteem, at least she justly fears it; so that believing herself
abandoned by all in a strange country, she fell to weeping her fate,
and the tears wet the floor as she walked: at which sight so melting
_Octavio_ starts from the couch, and catching her in his trembling
arms, he cried, ‘Be false, be cruel, and deceitful; yet still I must,
I am compelled to adore you----’ This being spoken in so hearty and
resolved a tone, from a man of whose heart she was so sure, and knew
to be generous, gave her a little courage--and like sinking men she
catches at all that presents her any hope of escaping. She resolves by
discovering the whole truth to save that last stake, his heart, though
she could pretend to no more; and taking the fainting lover by the
hand, she leads him to the couch: ‘Well,’ said she, ‘_Octavio_, you
are too generous to be imposed on in any thing, and therefore I will
tell you my heart without reserve as absolutely as to heaven itself,
if I were interceding my last peace there.’ She begged a thousand
pardons of him for having concealed any part of her story from him,
but she could no longer be guilty of that crime, to a man for whom she
had so perfect a passion; and as she spoke she embraced him with an
irresistible softness that wholly charmed him: she reconciles him with
every touch, and sighs on his bosom a thousand grateful vows and
excuses for her fault, while he weeps his love, and almost expires in
her arms; she is not able to see his passion and his grief, and tells
him she will do all things for his repose. ‘Ah, _Sylvia_’ sighed
he,’.alk not of my repose, when you confess yourself wife to one and
mistress to another, in either of which I have alas no part: ah, what
is reserved for the unfortunate _Octavio_, when two happy lovers
divide the treasure of his soul? Yet tell me truth, because it will
look like love; shew me that excellent virtue so rarely found in all
your fickle sex. O! tell me truth, and let me know how much my heart
can bear before it break with love; and yet, perhaps, to hear thee
speak to me, with that insinuating dear voice of thine, may save me
from the terror of thy words; and though each make a wound, their very
accents have a balm to heal! O quickly pour it then into my listening
soul, and I will be silent as over-ravished lovers, whom joys have
charmed to tender sighs and pantings.’ At this, embracing her anew, he
let fall a shower of tears upon her bosom, and sighing, cried--’Now I
attend thy story’. she then began anew the repetition of the loves
between herself and _Philander_, which she slightly ran over, because
he had already heard every circumstance of it, both from herself and
_Philander_; till she arrived to that part of it where she left
_Bellfont_, her father’s house: ‘Thus far,’ said she, ‘you have had a
faithful relation; and I was no sooner missed by my parents, but you
may imagine the diligent search that would be made, both by
_Foscario_, whom I was to have married the next day, and my tender
parents; but all search, all _hue-and-cries_ were vain; at last, they
put me into the weekly _Gazette_, describing me to the very features
of my face, my hair, my breast, my stature, youth, and beauty,
omitting nothing that might render me apparent to all that should see
me, offering vast sums to any that should give intelligence of such a
lost maid of quality. _Philander_, who understood too well the nature
of the common people, and that they would betray their very fathers
for such a proffered sum, durst trust me no longer to their mercy: his
affairs were so involved with those of _Cesario_, he could not leave
_Paris_; for they every moment expected the people should rise against
their king, and those glorious chiefs of the faction were obliged to
wait and watch the motions of the dirty crowd. Nor durst he trust me
in any place from him; for he could not live a day without me’. (at
that thought she sighed, and then went on); ‘so that I was obliged to
remain obscurely lodged in _Paris_, where now I durst no longer trust
myself, though disguised in as many shapes as I was obliged to have
lodgings. At last we were betrayed, and had only the short notice
given us to yield, or secure ourselves from the hand of justice by the
next morning, when they designed to surprise us. To escape we found
almost impossible, and very hazardous to attempt it; so that
_Philander_, who was raving with fears, called myself and this young
gentleman, _Brilliard_ (then Master of his Horse) and one that had
served us faithfully through the whole course of our lives, to
council: many things were in vain debated, but at last this hard shift
was found out of marrying me to _Brilliard_, for to _Philander_ it was
impossible; so that no authority of a father could take me from the
husband. I was at first extremely unwilling, but when _Philander_ told
me it was to be only a mock-marriage, to secure me to himself, I was
reconciled to it, and more when I found the infinite submission of the
young man, who vowed he would never look up to me with the eyes of a
lover or husband, but in obedience to his lord did it to preserve me
entirely for him; nay farther, to secure my future fear, he confessed
to me he was already married to a gentlewoman by whom he had two
children.’ ‘Oh!----tell me true, my _Sylvia_, was he married to
another!’ cried out the overjoyed lover. ‘Yes, on my life,’ replied
_Sylvia_; ‘for when it was proved in court that I was married to
_Brilliard_ (as at last I was, and innocently bedded) this lady came
and brought her children to me, and falling at my feet, wept and
implored I would not own her husband, for only she had right to him;
we all were forced to discover to her the truth of the matter, and
that he had only married me to secure me from the rage of my parents,
that if he were her husband she was still as entirely possessed of him
as ever, and that he had advanced her fortune in what he had done, for
she should have him restored with those advantages that should make
her life, and that of her children more comfortable; and _Philander_
making both her and the children considerable presents, sent her away
very well satisfied. After this, before people, we used him to a
thousand freedoms, but when alone, he retained his respect entire;
however, this used him to something more familiarity than formerly,
and he grew to be more a companion than a servant, as indeed we
desired he should, and of late have found him more presumptuous than
usual. And thus much more, I must confess, I have reason to believe
him a most passionate lover, and have lately found he had designs upon
me, as you well know.

’.udge now, oh dear _Octavio_, how unfortunate I am; yet judge too,
whether I ought to esteem this a marriage, or him a husband?’ ‘No,’
replied _Octavio_, more briskly than before, ‘nor can he by the laws
of God or man pretend to such a blessing, and you may be divorced.’
Pleased with this thought, he soon assumed his native temper of joy
and softness, and making a thousand new vows that he would perform all
he had sworn on his part, and imploring and pressing her to renew
those she had made to him, she obeys him; she makes a thousand
grateful returns, and they pass the evening the most happily that ever
lovers did. By this time supper was served up, noble and handsome, and
after supper, he led her to his closet, where he presented her with
jewels and other rarities of great value, and omitted nothing that
might oblige an avaricious designing woman, if _Sylvia_ had been such;
nor any thing that might beget love and gratitude in the most
insensible heart: and all he did, and all he gave, was with a peculiar
grace, in which there lies as great an obligation as in the gift
itself: the handsome way of giving being an art so rarely known, even
to the most generous. In these happy and glorious moments of love,
wherein the lover omitted nothing that could please, _Philander_ was
almost forgotten; for it is natural for love to beget love, and
inconstancy its likeness or disdain: and we must conclude _Sylvia_ a
maid wholly insensible, if she had not been touched with tenderness,
and even love itself, at all these extravagant marks of passion in
_Octavio_; and it must be confessed she was of a nature soft and apt
for impression; she was, in a word, a woman. She had her vanities and
her little foiblesses, and loved to see adorers at her feet,
especially those in whom all things, all graces, charms of youth, wit
and fortune agreed to form for love and conquest: she naturally loved
power and dominion, and it was her maxim, that never any woman was
displeased to find she could beget desire.

It was thus they lived with uninterrupted joys, no spies to pry upon
their actions, no false friends to censure their real pleasures, no
rivals to poison their true content, no parents to give bounds or
grave rules to the destruction of nobler lavish love; but all the day
was passed in new delights, and every day produced a thousand
pleasures; and even the thoughts of revenge were no more remembered on
either side; it lessened in _Sylvia_’. heart as love advanced there,
and her resentment against _Philander_ was lost in her growing passion
for _Octavio_: and sure if any woman had excuses for loving and
inconstancy, the most wise and prudent must allow them now to
_Sylvia_; and if she had reason for loving it was now, for what she
paid the most deserving of his sex, and whom she managed with that art
of loving (if there be art in love) that she gained every minute upon
his heart, and he became more and more her slave, the more he found he
was beloved: in spite of all _Brilliard_’. pretension he would have
married her, but durst not do it while he remained in _Holland_,
because of the noise _Brilliard_’. claim had made, and he feared the
displeasure of his uncle; but waited for a more happy time, when he
could settle his affairs so as to remove her into _Flanders_, though
he could not tell how to accomplish that without ruining his interest:
these thoughts alone took up his time whenever he was absent from
_Sylvia_, and would often give him abundance of trouble; for he was
given over to his wish of possessing of _Sylvia_, and could not live
without her; he loved too much, and thought and considered too little.
These were his eternal entertainments when from the lovely object of
his desire, which was as seldom as possible; for they were both
unwilling to part, though decency and rest required it, a thousand
soft things would hinder him, and make her willing to retain him, and
though they were to meet again next morning, they grudge themselves
the parting hours, and the repose of nature. He longs and languishes
for the blessed moment that shall give him to the arms of the
ravishing _Sylvia_, and she finds but too much yielding on her part in
some of those silent lone hours, when love was most prevailing, and
feeble mortals most apt to be overcome by that insinuating god; so
that though _Octavio_ could not ask what he sighed and died for,
though for the safety of his life, for any favours; and though, on the
other side, _Sylvia_ resolved she would not grant, no, though mutual
vows had passed, though love within pleaded, and almost irresistible
beauties and inducements without, though all the powers of love, of
silence, night and opportunity, though on the very point a thousand
times of yielding, she had resisted all: but oh! one night; let it not
rise up in judgement against her, ye bashful modest maids, who never
yet tried any powerful minute; nor ye chaste wives, who give no
opportunities; one night----they lost themselves in dalliance, forgot
how very near they were to yielding, and with imperfect transports
found themselves half dead with love, clasped in each other’s arms,
betrayed by soft degrees of joy to all they wished. It would be too
amorous to tell you more; to tell you all that night, that happy night
produced; let it suffice that _Sylvia_ yielded all, and made _Octavio_
happier than a god. At first, he found her weeping in his arms, raving
on what she had inconsiderately done, and with her soft reproaches
chiding her ravished lover, who lay sighing by; unable to reply any
other way, he held her fast in those arms that trembled yet, with love
and new-past joy; he found a pleasure even in her railing, with a
tenderness that spoke more love than any other language love could
speak. Betwixt his sighs he pleads his right of love, and the
authority of his solemn vows; he tells her that the marriage-ceremony
was but contrived to satisfy the ignorant, and to proclaim his title
to the crowd, but vows and contracts were the same to heaven: he
speaks----and she believes; and well she might; for all he spoke was
honourable truth. He knew no guile, but uttered all his soul, and all
that soul was honest, just and brave; thus by degrees he brought her
to a calm.

In this soft rencounter, he had discovered a thousand new charms in
_Sylvia_, and contrary to those men whose end of love is lust (which
extinguish together) _Octavio_ found increase of tenderness from every
bliss she gave; and grew at last so fond--so doting on the still more
charming maid, that he neglected all his interest, his business in the
State, and what he owed his uncle, and his friends, and became the
common theme over all the United Provinces, for his wantonness and
luxury, as they were pleased to call it, and living so contrary to the
humour of those more sordid and slovenly men of quality, which make up
the nobility of that parcel of the world. For while thus he lived
retired, scarce visiting any one, or permitting any one to visit him,
they charge him with a thousand crimes of having given himself over to
effeminacy; as indeed he grew too lazy in her arms; neglecting glory,
arms, and power, for the more real joys of life; while she even rifles
him with extravagancy; and grows so bold and hardy, that regarding not
the humours of the stingy censorious nation, his interest, or her own
fame, she is seen every day in his coaches, going to take the air out
of town; puts him upon balls, and vast expensive treats; devises new
projects and ways of diversion, till some of the more busy
impertinents of the town made a public complaint to his uncle, and the
rest of the _States_, urging he was a scandal to the reverend and
honourable society. On which it was decreed, that he should either
lose that honour, or take up, and live more according to the gravity
and authority of a senator: this incensed _Sebastian_, both against
the _States_ and his nephew; for though he had often reproved and
counselled him; yet he scorned his darling should be schooled by his
equals in power. So that resolving either to discard him, or draw him
from the love of this woman; he one morning goes to his nephew’s
house, and sending him up word by his page he would speak to him, he
was conducted to his chamber, where he found him in his night-gown: he
began to upbraid him, first, with his want of respect and duty to him,
and next, of his affairs, neglecting to give his attendance on the
public: he tells him he is become a scandal to the commonwealth, and
that he lived a lewd life with another man’s wife: he tells him he has
all her story, and she was not only a wife, but a scandalous mistress
too to _Philander_. ‘She boasts,’ says he, ‘of honourable birth; but
what is that, when her conduct is infamous? In short, sir,’ continued
he, ‘your life is obnoxious to the whole province: why what,
sir----cannot honest men’s daughters’ (cried he more angrily) ‘serve
your turn, but you must crack a Commandment? Why, this is flat
adultery: a little fornication in a civil way might have been allowed,
but this is stark naught. In fine, sir, quit me this woman, and quit
her presently; or, in the first place, I renounce thee, cast thee from
me as a stranger, and will leave thee to ruin, and the incensed
_States_. A little pleasure--a little recreation, I can allow: a layer
of love, and a layer of business--But to neglect the nation for a
wench, is flat treason against the State; and I wish there were a law
against all such unreasonable whore-masters--that are statesmen--for
the rest it is no great matter. Therefore, in a word, sir, leave me
off this mistress of yours, or we will secure her yet for a _French_
spy, that comes to debauch our commonwealth’s men----The _States_ can
do it, sir, they can----’ Hitherto _Octavio_ received all with a blush
and bow, in sign of obedience; but when his uncle told him the
_States_ would send away his mistress; no longer able to contain his
rage, he broke out into all the violence imaginable against them, and
swore he would not now forgo _Sylvia_ to be monarch over all the nasty
provinces, and it was a greater glory to be a slave at her feet. ‘Go,
tell your _States_,’ cried he,--’they are a company of cynical fops,
born to moil on in sordid business, who never were worthy to
understand so great a happiness of life as that of nobler love. Tell
them, I scorn the dull gravity of those asses of the commonwealth, fit
only to bear the dirty load of State-affairs, and die old busy fools.’
The uncle, who little expected such a return from him who used to be
all obedience, began more gently to persuade him with more solid
reason, but could get no other answer from him, than that what he
commanded he should find it difficult to disobey; and so for that time
they parted. Some days after (he never coming so much as near their
Councils) they sent for him to answer the contempt: he came, and
received abundance of hard reproaches, and finding they were resolved
to degrade him, he presently rallied them in answer to all they said;
nor could all the cautions of his friends persuade him to any
submission, after receiving so rough and ill-bred a treatment as they
gave him: and impatient to return to _Sylvia_, where all his joys were
centred, he was with much ado persuaded to stay and hear the
resolution of the Council, which was to take from him those honours he
held amongst them; at which he cocked and smiled, and told them he
received what he was much more proud of, than of those useless trifles
they called honours, and wishes they might treat all that served them
at that ungrateful rate: for he that had received a hundred wounds,
and lost a stream of blood for their security, shall, if he kiss their
wives against their wills, be banished like a coward: so hasting from
the Council, he got into his coach and went to _Sylvia_.

This incensed the old gentlemen to a high degree, and they carried it
against the younger party (because more in number) that this _French_
lady, who was for high-treason, as they called it, forced to fly
_France_, should be no longer protected in _Holland_. And in order to
her removal, or rather their revenge on _Octavio_, they sent out their
warrant to apprehend her; and either to send her as an enemy to
_France_, or force her to some other part of the world. For a day or
two _Sebastian_’. interest prevailed for the stopping the warrant,
believing he should be able to bring his nephew to some submission;
which when he found in vain, he betook himself to his chamber, and
refused any visits or diversions: by this time, _Octavio_’. rallying
the _States_ was become the jest of the town, and all the sparks
laughed at them as they passed, and lampooned them to damnable _Dutch_
tunes, which so highly incensed them, that they sent immediately, and
served the warrant on _Sylvia_, whom they surprised in _Octavio_’.
coach as she was coming from taking the air. You may imagine what an
agony of trouble and grief our generous and surprised lover was in: it
was in vain to make resistance, and he who before would not have
submitted to have saved his life, to the _States_, now for the
preservation of one moment’s content to _Sylvia_, was ready to go and
fall at their feet, kiss their shoes, and implore their pity. He first
accompanies her to the house of the messenger, where he only is
permitted to behold her with eyes of dying love, and unable to say any
thing to her, left her with such gifts, and charge to the messenger’s
care, as might oblige him to treat her well; while _Sylvia_ less
surprised, bid him, at going from her, not to afflict himself for any
thing she suffered; she found it was the malice of the peevish old
magistrates, and that the most they could do to her, was to send her
from him. This last she spoke with a sigh, that pierced his heart more
sensibly than ever any thing yet had done; and he only replied (with a
sigh) ‘No, _Sylvia_, no rigid power on earth shall ever be able to
deprive you of my eternal adoration, or to separate me one moment from
_Sylvia_, after she is compelled to leave this ungrateful place; and
whose departure I will hasten all that I can, since the land is not
worthy of so great a blessing.’ So leaving her for a little space, he
hasted to his uncle, whom he found very much discontented: he throws
himself at his feet, and assails him with all the moving eloquence of
sighs and tears; in vain was all, in vain alas he pleads. From this he
flies to rage--and says all a distracted lover could pour forth to
ease a tortured heart; what divinity did he not provoke? Wholly
regardless even of heaven and man, he made a public confession of his
passion, denied her being married to _Brilliard_, and weeps as he
protests her innocence: he kneels again, implores and begs anew, and
made the movingest moan that ever touched a heart, but could receive
no other return but threats and frowns: the old gentleman had never
been in love since he was born, no not enough to marry, but bore an
unaccountable hate to the whole sex, and therefore was pitiless to all
he could say on the score of love; though he endeavours to soften him
by a thousand things more dear to him. ‘For my sake, sir,’ said he,
’.f ever my lost plea were grateful to you, when all your joy was in
the young _Octavio_; release, release the charming _Sylvia_; regard
her tender youth, her blooming beauty, her timorous helpless sex, her
noble quality, and save her from rude assaults of power----Oh save the
lovely maid!’ Thus he uttered with interrupting sighs and tears, which
fell upon the floor as he pursued the obdurate on his knees: at last
pity touched his heart, and he said--’Spare, sir, the character of
your enchanting _Circe_; for I have heard too much of her, and what
mischief she has bred in _France_, abandoning her honour, betraying a
virtuous sister, defaming her noble parents, and ruining an
illustrious young nobleman, who was both her brother and her lover.
This, sir, in short, is the character of your beauteous innocent.’
’.las, sir,’ replied _Octavio_, ‘you never saw this maid; or if you
had, you would not be so cruel.’ ‘Go to, sir,’ replied the old
gentleman, ‘I am not so soon softened at the sight of beauty.’ ‘But do
but see her, sir,’ replied _Octavio_, ‘and then perhaps you will be
charmed like me----’ ‘You are a fop, sir,’ replied _Sebastian_, ‘and
if you would have me allow any favour to your enchanting lady, you
must promise me first to abandon her, and marry the widow of Monsieur
---- who is vastly rich, and whom I have so often recommended to you;
she loves you too, and though she be not fair, she has the best
fortune of any lady in the _Netherlands_. On these terms, sir, I am
for a reconciliation with you, and will immediately go and deliver the
fair prisoner; and she shall have her liberty to go or stay, or do
what she please--and now, sir, you know my will and
pleasure’--_Octavio_ found it in vain to pursue him any farther with his
petitions; only replied, it was wondrous hard and cruel. To which
the old one replied; ‘It is what must be done; I have resolved it, or
my estate, in value above two hundred thousand pounds, shall be
disposed of to your sister, the Countess of _Clarinau_:’ and this he
ended with an execration on himself if he did not do; and he was a man
that always was just to his word.

Much more to this ungrateful effect he spoke, and _Octavio_ had
recourse to all the dissimulation his generous soul was capable of;
and it was the first base thing, and sure the last that ever he was
guilty of. He promises his uncle to obey all his commands and
injunctions, since he would have it so; and only begged he might be
permitted but one visit, to take his last leave of her. This was at
first refused, but at last, provided he might hear what he said to
her, he would suffer him to go: ‘For,’ said the crafty old man, (who
knew too well the cunning of youth,) ‘I will have no tricks put upon
me; I will not be outwitted by a young knave:’ this was the worst part
of all; he knew, if he alone could speak with her, they might have
contrived, by handsome agreeing flattery, to have accomplished their
design; which was, first, by the authority of the old gentleman to
have freed her from confinement; and next, to have settled his affairs
in the best posture he could, and without valuing his uncle’s fortune,
his own being greater, he resolved to go with her into _Flanders_ or
_Italy_; but his going with him to visit her would prevent whatever
they might resolve: but since the liberty of _Sylvia_ was first to be
considered, he resolves, since it must be so and leaves the rest to
time and his good fortune. ‘Well then, sir,’ said _Octavio_, ‘since
you have resolved yourself, to be a witness of those melancholy
things, I shall possibly say to her, let us haste to end the great
affair’--’Hang it,’ cried _Sebastian_, ‘if I go I shall abuse the
young hussy, or commit some indecency that will not be suitable to
good manners----’ ‘I hope you will, sir’----replied _Octavio_----’Whip
them, whip them,’ replied the uncle, ‘I hate the young cozening
baggages, that wander about the world undoing young and extravagant
coxcombs; gots so they are naught, stark naught----Be sure dispatch as
soon as you can; and--do you hear--let’s have no whining.’ _Octavio_,
overjoyed he should have her released to-night, promised lavishly all
he was urged to: and his coach being at the gate, they both went
immediately to the house of the messenger; all the way the old
gentleman did nothing but rail against the vices of the age, and the
sins of villainous youth; the snares of beauty, and the danger of
witty women; and of how ill consequences these were to a commonwealth.
He said, if he were to make laws he would confine all young women to
monasteries, where they should never see man till forty, and then come
out and marry for generation-sake, no more: for his part, he had never
seen the beauty that yet could inspire him with that silly thing
called love; and wondered what the devil ailed all the young fellows
of this age, that they talked of nothing else. At this rate they
discoursed till they arrived at the prison, and calling for the
messenger, he conducted them both to the chamber of the fair prisoner,
who was laid on a couch, near which stood a table with two candles,
which gave a great light to that part of the room, and made _Sylvia_
appear more fair than ever, if possible. She had not that day been
dressed but in a rich night-gown, and cornets of the most advantageous
fashion. At his approach she blushed (with a secret joy, which never
had possessed her soul for him before) and spread a thousand beauties
round her fair face. She was leaping with a transported pleasure to
his arms, when she perceived an old grave person follow him into the
room; at which she reassumed a strangeness, a melancholy languishment,
which charmed no less than her gaiety. She approaches them with a
modest grace in her beautiful eyes; and by the reception _Octavio_
gave her, she found that reverend person was his uncle, or at least
somebody of authority; and therefore assuming a gravity unusual, she
received them with all the ceremony due to their quality: and first,
she addressed herself to the old gentleman, who stood gazing at her,
without motion; at which she was a little out of countenance. When
_Octavio_ perceiving it, approached his uncle and cried, ‘Sir, this is
the lady----’ _Sebastian_, starting as from a dream, cried--’Pardon
me, madam, I am a fellow whom age hath rendered less ceremonious than
youth: I have never yet been so happy as to have been used to a fair
lady. Women never took up one minute of my more precious time, but I
have been a satyr upon the whole sex; and, if my treatment of you be
rougher than your birth and beauty merits, I beseech you----fair
creature, pardon it, since I come in order to do you service.’ ‘Sir,’
replied _Sylvia_, (blushing with anger at the presence of a man who
had contributed to the having brought her to that place) ‘I cannot but
wonder at this sudden change of goodness, in a person to whom I am
indebted for part of my misfortune, and which I shall no longer esteem
as such, since it has occasioned me a happiness, and an honour, to
which I could no other way have arrived.’ This last she spoke with her
usual insinuating charms; the little affectation of the voice
sweetened to all the tenderness it was possible to put on, and so easy
and natural to _Sylvia_: and if before the old gentleman were seized
with some unusual pleasure, which before he never felt about his icy
and insensible heart, and which now began to thaw at the fire of her
eyes----I say, if before he were surprised with looking, what was he
when she spoke--with a voice so soft, and an air so bewitching? He was
all eyes and ears, and had use of no other sense but what informed
those. He gazes upon her, as if he waited and listened what she would
farther say, and she stood waiting for his reply, till ashamed, she
turned her eyes into her bosom, and knew not how to proceed. _Octavio_
views both by turns, and knows not how to begin the discourse again,
it being his uncle’s cue to speak: but finding him altogether mute--he
steps to him, and gently pulled him by the sleeve--but finds no motion
in him; he speaks to him, but in vain; for he could hear nothing but
_Sylvia_’. charming voice, nor saw nothing but her lovely face, nor
attended any thing but when she would speak again, and look that way.
At this _Octavio_ smiled, and taking his adorable by the hand, he led
her nearer her admiring adversary; whom she approached with modesty
and sweetness in her eyes, that the old fellow, having never before
beheld the like vision, was wholly vanquished, and his old heart burnt
in the socket, which being his last blaze made the greater fire. ‘Fine
lady,’ cried he--’or rather fine angel, how is it I shall expiate for
a barbarity that nothing could be guilty of but the brute, who had not
learned humanity from your eyes: what atonement can I make for my sin;
and how shall I be punished?’ ‘Sir,’ replied _Sylvia_, ‘if I can merit
your esteem and assistance, to deliver me from this cruel confinement,
I shall think of what is past as a joy, since it renders me worthy of
your pity and compassion.’ ‘To answer you, madam, were to hold you
under this unworthy roof too long; therefore let me convince you of my
service, by leading you to a place more fit for so fair a person.’ And
calling for the messenger, he asked him if he would take his bail for
his fair prisoner? Who replied, ‘Your lordship may command all
things:’ so throwing him a little purse, about thirty pounds in gold,
he bid him drink the lady’s health; and without more ceremony or talk,
led her to the coach; and never so much as asking her whether she
would go, insensibly carries her, where he had a mind to have her, to
his own house. This was a little affliction to _Octavio_, who
nevertheless durst not say any thing to his uncle, nor so much as ask
him the reason why: but being arrived all thither, he conducts her to
a very fair apartment, and bid her there command that world he could
command for her: he gave her there a very magnificent supper, and all
three supped together. _Octavio_ could not imagine that his uncle, who
was a single man, and a grave senator, one famed for a womanhater, a
great railer at the vices of young men, should keep a fair, young,
single woman in his house: but it growing late, and no preparation for
her departing, she took the courage to say--’Sir, I am so extremely
obliged to you, and have received so great a favour from you, that I
cannot flatter myself it is for any virtue in me, or merely out of
compassion to my sex, that you have done this; but for some body’s
sake, to whom I am more engaged than I am aware of; and when you
passed your parole for my liberty, I am not so vain to think it was
for my sake; therefore pray inform me, sir, how I can pay this debt,
and to whom; and who it is you require should be bound for me, to save
you harmless.’ ‘Madam,’ cried _Sebastian_, ‘though there need no
greater security than your own innocence, yet lest that innocence
should not be sufficient to guard you from the outrage of a people
approaching to savages, I beg, for your own security, not mine, that
you will make this house your sanctuary; my power can save you from
impending harms; and all that I call mine, you shall command.’ At this
she blushing bowed, but durst not make reply to contradict him: she
knew, at least, that there she was safe and well, from fear of the
tyranny of the rest, or any other apprehension. It is true, she found,
by the shyness of _Octavio_ towards her before his uncle, that she was
to manage her amour with him by stealth, till they could contrive
matters more to their advantage: she therefore finding she should want
nothing, but as much of _Octavio_’. conversation as she desired, she
begged he would give her leave to write a note to her page, who was a
faithful, sober youth, to bring her jewels and what things she had of
value to her, which he did, and received those and her servants
together; but _Antonet_ had like to have lost her place, but that
_Octavio_ pleaded for her, and she herself confessing it was love to
the false _Brilliard_ that made her do that foolish thing (in which
she vowed she thought no harm, though it was like to have cost her so
dear) she was again received into favour: so that for some days
_Sylvia_ found herself very much at her ease with the old gentleman,
and had no want of any thing but _Octavio_’. company: but she had the
pleasure to find, by his eyes and sighs, he wanted hers more: he died
every day, and his fair face faded like falling roses: still she was
gay; for if she had it not about her, she assumed it to keep him in
heart: she was not displeased to see the old man on fire too, and
fancied some diversion from the intrigue. But he concealed his passion
all he could, both to hide it from his nephew, and because he knew not
what he ailed. A strange change he found, a wondrous disorder in
nature, but could not give a name to it, nor sigh aloud for fear he
should be heard, and lose his reputation; especially for this woman,
on whom he had railed so lavishly. One day therefore, after a night of
torment, very incommode to his age, he takes _Octavio_ into the garden
alone, telling him he had a great secret to impart to him. _Octavio_
guessing what it might be, put his heart in as good order as he could
to receive it. He at least knew the worst was but for him at last to
steal _Sylvia_ from him, if he should be weak enough to dote on the
young charmer, and therefore resolved to hear with patience. But if he
were prepared to attend, the other was not prepared to begin, and so
both walked many silent turns about the garden. _Sebastian_ had a mind
to ask a thousand questions of his nephew, who he found, maugre all
his vows of deserting _Sylvia_, had no power of doing it: he had a
mind to urge him to marry the widow, but durst not now press it,
though he used to do so, lest he should take it for jealousy in him;
nor durst he now forbid him seeing her, lest he should betray the
secrets of his soul: he began every moment to love him less, as he
loved _Sylvia_ more, and beholds him as an enemy to his repose, nay
his very life. At last the old man (who thought if he brought his
nephew forth under pretence of a secret, and said nothing to him, it
would have looked ill) began to speak. ‘_Octavio_,’ said he, ‘I have
hitherto found you so just in all you have said, that it were a sin to
doubt you in what relates to _Sylvia_. You have told me she is nobly
born; and you have with infinite imprecations convinced me she is
virtuous; and lastly, you have sworn she was not married’----At this
he sighed and paused, and left _Octavio_ trembling with fear of the
result: a thousand times he was like to have denied all, but durst not
defame the most sacred idol of his soul: sometimes he thought his
uncle would be generous, and think it fit to give him _Sylvia_; but
that thought was too seraphic to remain a moment in his heart. ‘Sir,’
replied _Octavio_, ‘I own I said so of _Sylvia_, and hope no action
she has committed since she had a protection under your roof has
contradicted any thing I said. ‘No,’ said _Sebastian_, sighing--and
pausing, as loath to speak more: ‘Sir,’ said _Octavio_, ‘I suppose
this is not the secret you had to impart to me, for which you separate
me to this lonely walk; fear not to trust me with it, whatever it be;
for I am so entirely your own, that I will grant, submit, prostrate
myself, and give up all my will, power, and faculties to your interest
or designs.’ This encouraged the old lover, who replied--’Tell me one
truth, _Octavio_, which I require of you, and I will desire no
more----have not you had the possession of this fair maid? You
apprehend me.’ Now it was that he feared what design the amorous old
gentleman had in his head and heart; and was at a loss what to say,
whether to give him some jealousy that he had known and possessed her,
and so prevent his designs on her; or by saying he had not, to leave
her defenceless to his love. But on second thoughts, he could not
resolve to say any thing to the disadvantage of _Sylvia_, though to
save his own life; and therefore assured his uncle, he never durst
assume the boldness to ask so rude a question of a woman of quality:
and much more he spoke to that purpose to convince him: that it is
true, he would have married her, if he could have gained his consent;
maugre all the scandal that the malicious world had thrown upon her.
But since he was positive in his command for the widow, he would bend
his mind to obedience. ‘In that,’ replied _Sebastian_, ‘you are wise,
and I am glad all your youthful fires are blown over; and having once
fixed you in the world as I design, I have resolved on an affair----’
At this again he paused----’I am,’ says he, ‘in love--I think it is
love, or that which you call so: I cannot eat, nor sleep, nor even
pray, but this fair stranger interposes; or, if by chance I slumber,
all my dreams are of her, I see her, I touch her, I embrace her, and
find a pleasure, even then, that all my waking thoughts could never
procure me. If I go to the state-house, I mind nothing there, my
heart’s at home with the young gentlewoman; or the change, or
wheresoever I go, my restless thoughts present her still before me:
and prithee tell me, is not this love, _Octavio_? ‘It may arrive to
love,’ replied the blushing youth, ‘if you would fondly give way to
it: but you are wise and grave, should hate all women, sir, till about
forty, and then for generation only: you are above the follies of vain
youth. And let me tell you, sir, without offending, already you are
charged with a thousand little vanities, unsuitable to your years, and
the character you have had, and the figure you have made in the world.
I heard a lampoon on you the other day,--(Pardon my freedom, sir,) for
keeping a beauty in your house, who they are pleased to say was my
mistress before.’ And pulling out a lampoon, which his page had before
given him, he gave it his uncle. But instead of making him resolve to
quit _Sylvia_, it only served to incense him against _Octavio_; he
railed at all wits, and swore there was not a more dangerous enemy to
a civil, sober commonwealth: that a poet was to be banished as a spy,
or hanged as a traitor: that it ought to be as much against the law to
let them live, as to shoot with white powder; and that to write
lampoons should be put into the statute against stabbing. And could he
find the rogue that had the wit to write that, he would make him a
warning to all the race of that damnable vermin; what! to abuse a
magistrate, one of the _States_, a very monarch of the commonwealth!--
It was abominable, and not to be borne,--and looking on his nephew--and
considering his face a while, he cried--’I fancy, sir, by your
physiognomy, that you yourself have a hand in this libel:’ at which
Octavio blushed, which he taking for guilt, flew out into terrible
anger against him, not suffering him to speak for himself, or clear
his innocence. And as he was going in this rage from him, having
forbidden him ever to set his foot within his doors, he told
him,--’If,’ said he, ‘the scandalous town, from your instructions, have
such thoughts of me, I will convince it by marrying this fair
stranger the first thing I do: I cannot doubt but to find a welcome,
since she is a banished woman, without friends or protection; and
especially, when she shall see how civilly you have handled her
here, in your doggerel ballad: I will teach you to be a wit, sir; and
so your humble servant.’--And leaving him almost wild with his
fears, he went directly to _Sylvia_, where he told her his nephew was
going to make up the match between himself and madam the widow of ----
and that he had made a scandalous lampoon on her fair self. He forgot
nothing that might make her hate the amiable young nobleman, whom she
knew too well to believe that any thing of this was other than the
effects of his own growing passion for her. For though she saw
_Octavio_ every day, in this time she had remained at his uncle’s, yet
the old lover so watched their very looks, that it was impossible
almost to tell one another’s heart by the glance there. But _Octavio_
had once in this time conveyed a letter to her, which having
opportunity to do, he put it into her comb-box, when he was with his
uncle one day in her dressing-room; for she durst not trust her page,
and less _Antonet_, who had before betrayed them: and having for
_Sylvia_’. release so solemnly sworn to his uncle, (to which vows he
took religious care to keep him,) he had so perfect an awe upon his
spirits from every look and command of his uncle’s, he took infinite
heed how he gave him any umbrage by any action of his; and the rather,
because he hoped when time should serve, to bring about his business
of stealing _Sylvia_ from him; for she was kept and guarded like a
mighty heiress; so that by this prudent management on both sides, they
heightened the growing love in every heart. In that billet, which he
dropped in her comb-box, he did not only make ten thousand vows of
eternal passion and faith, and beg the same assurance of her again;
but told her he was secured (so well he thought of her) from fears of
his uncle’s addresses to her, and begged she would not let them
perplex her, but rather serve her for her diversion; that she should
from time to time write him all he said to her, and how he treated her
when alone; and that since the old lover was so watchful, she should
not trust her letters with any body; but as she walked into the
garden, she should in passing through the hall, put her letter in at
the broken glass of an old sedan that stood there, and had stood for
several years; and that his own page, whom he could trust, should,
when he came with him to his uncle’s, take it from thence. Thus every
day they writ, and received the dearest returns in the world; where
all the satisfaction that vows oft repeated could give, was rendered
each other; with an account from _Sylvia_ that was very pleasant, of
all the passion of the doting old _Sebastian_, the presents he made
her, the fantastic youth he would assume, and unusual manner of his
love, which was a great diversion to both; and this difficulty of
speaking to _Sylvia_, and entertaining her with love, though it had
its pains, had its infinite pleasure too; it increased their love on
both sides, and all their wishes. But now by this last banishment from
the house where she was, to lose that only pleasure of beholding the
adorable maid, gave him all the pains, without the hope of one
pleasure; and he began to fear he should have a world of difficulty to
secure the dear object of his continual thoughts: he found no way to
send to her, and dreads all his malicious uncle and rival may say to
his disadvantage: he dreads even that infinite tenderness and esteem
he had for the good old man, who had been so fond a parent to him;
lest even that should make him unwilling to use that extremity against
him in regaining _Sylvia_, which he could use to any other man. Oh,
how he curses the fatal hour that ever he implored his aid for her
release; and having overcome all difficulties, even that of his fears
of _Philander_, (from whom they had received no letter in two months)
and that of _Sylvia’s_ disdain, and had established himself in her
soul and her arms; he should, by employing his uncle’s authority for
_Sylvia’s_ service, be so unfortunate to involve them into new dangers
and difficulties, of which he could foresee no other end, than that
which must be fatal to some of them. But he believed half his torture
would be eased, could he but write to _Sylvia_, for see her he could
not hope: he bethought himself of a way at last.

His uncle had belonging to his house the most fine garden of any in
that province, where those things are not much esteemed; in which the
old gentleman took wonderful delight, and kept a gardener and his
family in a little house at the farther end of the garden, on purpose
to look to it and dress it. This man had a very great veneration for
_Octavio_, whom he called his young lord. Sure of the fidelity of this
gardener, when it was dark enough to conceal him, he wrapped himself
in his cloak, and got him thither by a back way, where with presents,
he soon won those to his interest, who would before have been
commanded by him in any service. He had a little clean room, and some
little _French_ novels which he brought; and there he was as well
concealed as if he had been in the _Indies_; he left word at home,
that he was gone out of the town. He knew well enough that _Sylvia_’.,
lodgings looked that way; and when it was dark enough, he walked under
her window, till he saw a candle lighted in _Sylvia_’. bed-chamber,
which was as great a joy to him as the star that guides the traveller,
or wandering seaman, or the lamp at _Sestos_, that guided the ravished
lover over the _Hellespont_. And by that time he could imagine all in
bed, he made a little noise with a key on the pummel of his sword; but
whether _Sylvia_ heard it or not, I cannot tell, but she anon came to
the window, and putting up the sash, leaned on her arms and looked
into the garden. Oh! Who but he himself that loved so well as
_Octavio_, can express the transports he was in, at the sight? Which,
more from the sight within than that without, he saw was the lovely
_Sylvia_; whom calling softly by her name, answered him, as if she
knew the welcome voice, and cried--’Who is there, _Octavio_? She was
soon answered you may imagine. And they began the most endearing
conversation that ever love could dictate. He complains on his fate
that sets them at that distance, and she pities him. He makes a
thousand doubts, and she undeceives them all. He fears, and she
convinces his error, and is impatient at his suspicions. She will not
endure him to question a heart that has given him so many proofs of
its tenderness and gratitude; she tells him her own wishes, how soft
and fervent they are; and assures him, he is extremely obliged to
her----’Since for you--my charming friend,’ said she to _Octavio_, ‘I
have refused this night to marry your uncle; have a care,’ said she,
smiling, ‘how you treat me, lest I revenge myself on you; become your
aunt, and bring heirs to the estate you have a right to: the writings
of all which I have now in my chamber, and which were but just now
laid at my feet, and which I cannot yet get him to receive back. And
to oblige me to a compliance, has told me how you have deceived me, by
giving yourself to another, and exposing me in lampoons.’--To this
_Octavio_ would have replied, but she assured him she needed no
argument to convince her of the falsehood of all. He sighs, and told
her, all she said, though dear and charming, was not sufficient to
ease his heart; for he foresaw a world of hazard to get her from
thence, and mischiefs if she remained; insomuch that he caused the
tears to flow from the fair eyes of _Sylvia_, with her reflections on
her rigid fortune. And she cried, ‘Oh, my _Octavio_! What strange fate
or stars ruled my birth, that I should be born to the ruin of what I
love, or those that love me!’ At this rate they passed the night,
sometimes more soft, sometimes encouraging one another; but the last
result was to contrive the means of escaping. He fancied she might
easily do it by the garden from the window: but that he was not sure
he could trust the gardener so far, who in all things would serve him,
in which his lord and master was not injured; and he, amongst the rest
of the servants, had orders not to suffer _Sylvia_ out of the garden,
for which reason he kept a guard on that back-door. Some way must be
found out which yet was not, and was left to time. He told her whence
he was, and that he would not stir from thence, till he was secured of
her flight: and day coming on, though loath, yet for fear of eyes and
ears that might spy upon them, he retired to his little lodging, and
_Sylvia_ to bed; after giving and receiving a thousand vows and
farewells. The next night he came to the same place, but instead of
entertaining her--he only saw her softly put up the sash a little, and
throw something white out of the window and retire. He was wondering
at the meaning, but taking up what was thrown down, he found and smelt
it was _Sylvia_’. handkerchief, in which was tied up a billet: he went
to his little lodging, and read it.

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

Go from my window, my adorable friend, and be not afflicted that I do
not entertain you as I had the joy to do last night; for both our
voices were heard by some one that lodges below; and though your uncle
could not tell me any part of our conversation, yet he heard I talked
to some body: I have persuaded him the fellow dreamed who gave him
this intelligence, and he is almost satisfied he did so; however,
hazard not thy dear-self any more so, but let me lose for a while the
greatest happiness this earth can afford me, (in the circumstances of
our fortunes) rather than expose what is dearer to me than life or
honour: pity the fate I was born to, and expect all things from

_Your_ SYLVIA.

_I will wait at the window for your answer, and let you down a
ribband, by which I will draw it up: but as you love me do not speak._

He had no sooner read this, but he went to write an answer, which was
this.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

Complain not, thou goddess of my vows, on the fate thou wert born to
procure to all mankind; but thank heaven for having received ten
thousand charms that can recompense all the injuries you so
unwillingly do us: and who would not implore his ruin from all the
angry powers, if in return they would give him so glorious a reward?
Who would not be undone to all the trifling honours of the mistaken
world, to find himself, in lieu of all, possessed of the ravishing
_Sylvia_? But oh! Where is that presumptuous man, that can at the
price of all lay claim to so vast a blessing? Alas, my _Sylvia_, even
while I dare call you mine, I am not that hoping slave; no, not after
all the valued dear things you have said and vowed to me last night in
the garden, welcome to my soul as life after a sentence of death, or
heaven after life is ended. But, oh _Sylvia_! all this, even all you
uttered from your dear mouth is not sufficient to support me: alas, I
die for _Sylvia_! I am not able to bear the cruel absence longer,
therefore without delay assist me to contrive your escape, or I shall
die, and leave you to the ravage of his love who holds thee from me;
the very thoughts of that is worse than death. I die, alas, I die, for
an entire possession of thee: oh let me grasp my treasure, let me
engross it all, here in my longing arms. I can no longer languish at
this distance from my cruel joy, my life, my soul! But oh I rave, and
while I should be speaking a thousand useful things, I am telling you
my pain, a pain that you may guess; and confounding myself between
those and their remedies, am able to fix on nothing. Help me to think,
oh my dear charming creature, help me to think how I shall bear thee
off! Take your own measures, flatter him with love, soothe him to
faith and confidence, and then--oh pardon me, if there be baseness in
the action--then--cozen him--deceive him--any thing--for he deserves
it all, that thinks that lovely body was formed for his embraces, whom
age has rendered fitter for a grave. Form any plots, use every
stratagem to save the life of

_Your_ OCTAVIO.

       *       *       *       *       *

He wrote this in haste and disorder, as you may plainly see by the
style, and went to the window with it, where he found _Sylvia_ leaning
expecting him: the sashes were up, and he tossed it in the
handkerchief into her window: she read it, and wrote an answer back as
soft as love could form, to send him pleased to bed; wherein she
commanded him to hope all things from her wit and industrious love.

This had partly the effects she wished, and after kissing his hand,
and throwing it up towards _Sylvia_, they parted as silent as the
night from day, which was now just dividing--so long they stayed,
though but to look at each other; so that all the morning was passed
in bed to make the day seem shorter, which was too tedious to both:
this pleasure he had after noon, towards the evening, that when
_Sylvia_ walked, as she always did in the garden, he could see her
through the glass of his window, but durst not open it; for the old
gentleman was ever with her. In this time _Octavio_ failed not however
to essay the good nature of the gardener in order to _Sylvia_’.
flight, but found there was no dealing with him in this affair; and
therefore durst not come right down to the point: the next night he
came under the beloved window again, and found the sacred object of
his wishes leaning in the window expecting him: to whom, as soon as
she heard his tread on the gravel, she threw down a handkerchief
again, which he took up, and tossed his own with a soft complaining
letter to entertain her till his return; for he hasted to read hers,
and swept the garden as he passed as swift as wind; so impatient he
was to see the inside--which he found thus:

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

I beg, my charming friend, you will be assured of all I have promised
you; and to believe that but for the pleasure of those dear billets I
receive from you, I could as little support this cruel confinement as
you my absence. I have but one game to play, and I beseech you not to
be surprised at it, it is to promise to marry _Sebastian_: he is
eternally at my feet, and either I must give him my vow to become his
wife, or give him hope of other favours. I am so entirely yours, that
I will be guided by you, which I shall flatter him in to gain my
liberty; for if I grant either, he has proposed to carry me to his
country-house, two leagues from the town, and there consummate
whatever I design to bless him with; and this is it that has wrought
my consent, that we being to go alone, only my own servants, you may
easily take me thence by force upon the road, or after our arrival,
where he will not guard me perhaps so strictly as he does here: for
that, I leave it to your conduct, and expect your answer to your
impatient

SYLVIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

He immediately sat down, and wrote this:

       *       *       *       *       *

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

Have a care, my charming fair, how you play with vows; and however you
are forced, for that religious end of saving your honour, to deceive
the poor old lover, whom, by heaven I pity; yet rather let me die than
know you can be guilty of vow-breach, though made in jest. I am well
pleased at the glimpse of hope you give me, that I shall see you at
his _villa_; and doubt not but to find a way to secure you to myself:
say any thing, promise to sacrifice all to his desire; but oh, do not
give away thy dear, thy precious self by vow, to any but the
languishing

OCTAVIO.

       *       *       *       *       *

After he had wrote this, he hasted, and throws it into her window, and
returned to bed without seeing her, which was no small affliction to
his soul: he had an ill night of it, and fancied a thousand tormenting
things; that the old gentleman might then be with her; and if alone,
what might he not persuade, by force of rich presents, of which his
uncle was well stored; and so he guessed, and as he guessed it proved,
as by his next night’s letter he was informed, that the old lover no
sooner saw _Sylvia_ retire, but having in mind to try his fortune in
some critical minute--for such a minute he had heard there was that
favoured lovers; but he goes to his closet, and taking out some jewels
of great value, to make himself the more welcome, he goes directly to
_Sylvia_’. chamber, and entered just as she had taken up _Octavio_’.
letter, and clapped it in her bosom as she heard some body at the
door; but was not in a little confusion, when she saw who it was,
which she excused, by telling him she was surprised to find herself
with a man in her chamber. That there he fell to pleading his cause of
love, and offered her again to settle his estate upon her, and
implored she would be his wife. After a thousand faint denials, she
told him she could not possibly receive that honour, but if she could,
she would have looked upon it as a great favour from heaven; at that
he was thunder-struck, and looked as ghastly as if his mother’s ghost
had frightened him; and after much debate, love and grief on his side,
design and dissimulation on hers, she gave him hopes that atoned for
all she had before said; insomuch that, before they parted, an
absolute bargain was struck up, and he was to settle part of his
estate upon her, as also that _villa_, to which he had resolved in two
days to carry her; in earnest of this, he presents her with a necklace
of pearl of good value, and other jewels, which was the best rhetoric
he had yet spoke to her; and now she had appeared the most complaisant
lady in the world, she suffers him to talk wantonly to her, nay, even
to kiss her, and rub his grizzly beard on her divine face, grasp her
hands, and touch her breast; a blessing he had never before arrived
to, above the quality of his own servant-maid. To all which she makes
the best resistance she can, under the circumstances of one who was to
deceive well; and while she loathes, she seems well pleased, while the
gay jewels sparkled in her eyes, and _Octavio_ in her heart; so fond
is youth of vanities, and to purchase an addition of beauty at any
price. Thus with her pretty flatteries she wrought upon his soul, and
smiled and looked him into faith; loath to depart, she sends him
pleased away, and having her heart the more inclined to _Octavio_, by
being persecuted with his uncle’s love, (for by comparison she finds
the mighty difference) she sets herself to write him the account of
what I have related; this night’s adventure, and agreement between his
uncle and herself. She tells him that to-morrow, (for now it was
almost day,) she had promised him to go to his _villa_: she tells him
at what rate she has purchased the blessing expected; and lastly,
leaves the management of the rest to him, who needs not to be
instructed. This letter he received the next night at the old place,
and _Sylvia_ with it lets down a velvet night-bag, which contained all
the jewels and things of value she had received of himself, his uncle,
or any other: after which he retired, and was pretty well at ease,
with the imagination he should ‘ere long be made happy in the
possession of _Sylvia_: in order to it, the next morning he was early
up, and dressing himself in a great coarse campaign-coat of the
gardener’s, putting up his hair as well as he could, under a country
hat, he got on a horse that suited his habit, and rides to the
_villa_, whither they were to come, and which he knew perfectly well
every room of; for there our hero was born. He went to a little
_cabaret_ in the village, from whence he could survey all the great
house, and see every body that passed in and out: he remained fixed at
the window, filled with a thousand agitations; this he had resolved,
not to set upon the old man as a thief, or robber; nor could he find
in his heart or nature, to injure him, though but in a little
affrighting him, who had given him so many anxious hours, and who had
been so unjust to desire that blessing himself he would not allow him;
and to believe that virtue in himself, which he exclaims against as so
great a vice in his nephew; nevertheless he resolved to deceive him,
to save his own life. And he wanted that nice part of generosity, as
to satisfy a little unnecessary lust in an old man, to ruin the
eternal content of a young one, so nearly allied to his soul, as was
his own dear proper person. While he was thus considering, he saw his
uncle’s coach coming, and _Sylvia_ with that doting lover in it, who
was that day dressed in all the fopperies of youth, and every thing
was young and gay about him but his person; that was winter itself,
disguised in artificial spring; and he was altogether a mere
contradiction: but who can guess the disorders and pantings of
_Octavio_’. heart at the sight? And though he had resolved before, he
would not to save his life, lay violent hands upon his old parent; yet
at their approach, at their presenting themselves together before his
eyes as two lovers, going to betray him to all the miseries, pangs and
confusions of love; going to possess--her, the dear object and certain
life of his soul, and he the parent of him, to whom she had disposed
of herself, so entirely already, he was provoked to break from all his
resolutions, and with one of those pistols he had in his pockets, to
have sent unerring death to his old amorous heart; but that thought
was no sooner born than stifled in his soul, where it met with all the
sense of gratitude, that ever could present the tender love and dear
care of a parent there; and the coach passing into the gate put him
upon new designs, and before they were finished he saw _Sylvia_’. page
coming from the house, after seeing his lady to her apartment, and
being shewed his own, where he laid his valise and riding things, and
was now come out to look about a country, where he had never been
before. _Octavio_ goes down and meets him, and ventures to make
himself known to him: and so infinitely glad was the youth to have an
opportunity to serve him, that he vowed he would not only do it with
his life, on occasion, but believed he could do it effectually, since
the old gentleman had no sort of jealousy now; especially, since they
had so prudently managed matters in this time of his lady’s remaining
at _Sebastian_’. house. ‘So that, sir, it will not be difficult,’ says
the generous boy, ‘for me to convey you to my lodging, when it is
dark.’ He told him his lady cast many a longing look out towards the
road, as she passed, ‘for you, I am sure, my lord;--for she had told
both myself and _Antonet_ of her design before, lest our surprise or
resistance should prevent any force you might use on the road, to take
her from my lord _Sebastian_: she sighed, and looked on me as she
alighted, with eyes, my lord, that told me her grief, for your
disappointment.’

You may easily imagine how transported the poor _Octavio_ was; he
kissed and embraced the amiable boy a thousand times; and taking a
ring from his finger of considerable value, gave it the dear reviver
of his hopes. _Octavio_ already knew the strength of the house, which
consisted but of a gardener, whose wife was house-keeper, and their
son who was his father’s servant in the garden, and their daughter,
who was a sort of maid-servant: and they had brought only the
coachman, and one footman, who were likely to be merrily employed in
the kitchen at night when all got to supper together. I say, _Octavio_
already knew this, and there was now nothing that opposed his wishes:
so that dismissing the dear boy, he remained the rest of the tedious
day at the _cabaret_, the most impatient of night of any man on earth;
and when the boy appeared, it was like the approach of an angel. He
told him, his lady was the most melancholy creature that ever eyes
beheld, and that to conceal the cause, she had feigned herself ill,
and had not stirred from her chamber all the day: that the old lover
was perpetually with her, and the most concerned dotard that ever
_Cupid_ enslaved: that he had so wholly taken up his lady with his
disagreeable entertainment, that it was impossible either by a look or
note to inform her of his being so near her, whom she considered as
her present defender, and her future happiness. ‘But this evening,’
continued the youth, ‘as I was waiting on her at supper, she spied the
ring on my finger, which, my lord, your bounty made me master of this
morning. She blushed a thousand times, and fixed her eyes upon it for
she knew it, and was impatient to have asked me some questions, but
contained her words: and after that, I saw a joy dance in her lovely
eyes, that told me she divined you were not far from thence. Therefore
I beseech your lordship let us haste.’ So both went out together, and
the page conducted him into a chamber he better knew than the boy,
while every moment he receives intelligence, how affairs went in that
of _Sylvia_’. by the page, who leaving _Octavio_ there went out as a
spy for him. In fine, with much ado, _Sylvia_ persuaded her old lover
to urge her for no favours that night, for she was indisposed and
unfit for love; yet she persuades with such an air, so smiling, and
insinuating, that she increases the fire, she endeavoured to allay:
but he, who was all obedience, as well as new desire, resolves to
humour her, and shew the perfect gallantry of his love; he promises
her she shall command: and after that never was the old gentleman seen
in so excellent a humour before in the whole course of his life; a
certain lightning against a storm that must be fatal to him.

He was no sooner gone from her, with a promise to go to bed and sleep,
that he might be the earlier up to shew her the fine gardens, which
she loved, but she sends _Antonet_ to call the page, from whom she
longed to know something of _Octavio_, and was sure he could inform
her. But she was undressing while she spoke, and got into her bed
before she left her: but _Antonet_, instead of bringing the sighing
youth, brought the transported and ravished _Octavio_, who had by this
time pulled his coarse campaign, and put down his hair. He fell
breathless with joy on her bed-side; when _Antonet_, who knew that
love desired no lookers-on, retired, and left _Octavio_ almost dead
with joy, in the clasping arms of the trembling maid, the lovely
_Sylvia_. Oh, who can guess their satisfaction? Who can guess their
sighs and love, their tender words, half stifled in kisses? Lovers!
fond lovers! only can imagine; to all besides, this tale will be
insipid. He now forgets where he is, that not far off lay his amorous
uncle, that to be found there was death, and something worse; but
wholly ravished with the languishing beauty, taking his pistols out of
either pocket, he lays them on a dressing-table, near the bed-side,
and in a moment throws off his clothes, and gives himself up to all
the heaven of love, that lay ready to receive him there, without
thinking of any thing, but the vast power of either’s charms. They lay
and forgot the hasty hours, but old _Sebastian_ did not. They were all
counted by him with the impatience of a lover: he burnt, he raged with
fierce desire, and tossed from side to side, and found no ease;
_Sylvia_ was present in imagination, and he like _Tantalus_ reaches at
the food, which, though in view, is not within his reach: he would
have prayed, but he had no devotion for any deity but _Sylvia_; he
rose and walked and went to bed again, and found himself uneasy every
way. A thousand times he was about to go, and try what opportunity
would do, in the dark silent night--but fears her rage--he fears she
will chide at least; then he resolves, and unresolves as fast: unhappy
lover--thus to blow the fire when there was no materials to supply it;
at last, overcome with fierce desire too violent to be withstood, or
rather fate would have it so ordained, he ventures all, and steals to
_Sylvia_’. chamber, believing, when she found him in her arms, she
could not be displeased; or if she were, that was the surest place of
reconciliation: so that only putting his night-gown about him, he went
softly to her chamber for fear of waking her: the unthinking lovers
had left open the door, so that it was hardly put to; and the first
alarm was _Octavio_’. hand being seized, which was clasping his
treasure. He starts from the frighted arms of _Sylvia_, and leaping
from the bed would have escaped; for he knew too well the touch of
that old hand; but _Sebastian_, wholly surprised at so robust a
repulse, took most unfortunately a stronger hold, and laying both his
hands roughly upon him, with a resolution to know who he was, for he
felt his hair; and _Octavio_ struggling at the same minute to get from
him, they both fell against the dressing-table, and threw down the
pistols; in their fall, one of which going off, shot the unfortunate
old lover into the head, so that he never spoke word more: at the
going off of the pistol, _Sylvia_, who had not minded those _Octavio_
laid on the table, cried out--’Oh my _Octavio_!’ ‘My dearest charmer,’
replied he, ‘I am well----’and feeling on the dead body, which he
wondered had no longer motion, he felt blood flowing round it, and
sighing cried--’Ah _Sylvia_! I am undone--my uncle--oh my
parent----speak, dear sir! what unlucky accident has done this fatal
deed?’ _Sylvia_, who was very soft by nature, was extremely surprised,
and frightened at the news of a dead man in her chamber, so that she
was ready to run mad with the apprehension of it: she raved and tore
herself, and expressed her fright in cries and distraction; so that
_Octavio_ was compelled from one charitable grief to another. He goes
to her and comforts her, and tells, since it is by no design of either
of them, their innocence will be their guardian angel. He tells her,
all their fault was love, which made him so heedlessly fond of joys
with her, he stayed to reap those when he should have secured them by
flight. He tells her this is now no place to stay in, and that he
would put on her clothes, and fly with her to some secure part of the
world; ‘For who,’ said he,’.hat finds this poor unfortunate here, will
not charge his death on me, or thee?----Haste then, my dearest maid,
haste, haste, and let us fly----’ So dressing her, he led her into
_Antonet_’. chamber, while he went to see which way they could get
out. So locking the chamber-door where the dead body lay, which by
this time was stiff and cold, he locked that also of his uncle’s
chamber, and calling the page, they all got themselves ready; and
putting two horses in the coach, they unseen and unperceived got
themselves all out: the servants having drank hard at their meeting in
the country last night, were all too sound asleep to understand any
thing of what passed. It being now about the break of day, _Octavio_
was the coachman, and the page riding by the coach-side, while
_Sylvia_ and _Antonet_ were in it, they in an hour’s time reached the
town, where _Octavio_ packed up all that was carriageable; took his
own coach and six horses; left his affairs to the management of a
kinsman, that dwelt with him, took bills to the value of two thousand
pounds, and immediately left the town, after receiving some letters
that came last night by the post, one of which was from _Philander_;
and indeed, this new grief upon _Octavio_’. soul, made him the most
dejected and melancholy man in the world, insomuch that he, who never
wept for any thing but for love, was often found with tears rolling
down his cheeks, at the remembrance of an accident so deplorable, and
of which, he and his unhappy passion was the cause, though innocently:
yet could not the dire reflection of that, nor the loss of so tender a
parent as was _Sebastian_, lessen one spark of that fire for _Sylvia_,
whose unfortunate flame had been so fatal. While they were safe out of
danger, the servants of _Sebastian_ admired when ten, eleven and
twelve o’clock was come, they saw neither the old lord, nor any of the
new guests. But when the coachman missed his coach and horses, he was
in a greater maze, and thought some body had stolen them, and accusing
himself of sluggishness and debauchery, that made him not able to
hear, when the coach went out, he forswore all drinking: but when the
house-keeper and he met, and discoursed about the lady and the rest,
they concluded, that the old gentleman and she were agreed upon the
matter; and being got to bed together had quite forgot themselves; and
made a thousand roguish remarks upon them. They believed the maid and
the page too, were as well employed, since they saw neither. But when
dinner was ready, she went up to the maid’s chamber and found it
empty, as also that of the page; her heart then presaging something,
she ventures to knock at her lord’s chamber-door, but finding it
locked, and none answer, they broke it open; and after doing the same
by that of _Sylvia_, they found the poor _Sebastian_ stretched on the
floor, and shot in the head, the toilet pulled almost down, and the
lock of the pistol hanging in the point of the toilet entangled, and
the muzzle of it just against the wound. At first, when they saw him,
they fancied _Sylvia_ might kill him, for either offering to come to
bed to her in the night, or some other malicious end. But when they
saw how the pistol lay, they fancied it accident in the dark; ‘For,’
said the woman--’I and my daughter have been up ever since day-break,
and I am sure no such thing happened then, nor could they since
escape:’ and it being natural in _Holland_ to cry, ‘Loop Schellum’,
that is, ‘Run rogue’, to him that is alive, and who has killed
another; and for every man to set a helping hand to bear him out of
danger, thinking it too much that one is already dead: I say, this
being the nature of the people, they never pursued the murderers, or
fled persons, but suffered _Sebastian_ to lie till the coroner sat
upon him, who found it, or at least thought it accident; and there was
all for that time. But this, with all the reasonable circumstances,
did not satisfy the _States_. Here is one of their high and mighties
killed, a fair lady fled, and upon inquiry a fine young fellow too,
the nephew: all knew they were rivals in this fair lady; all knew
there were animosities between them; all knew _Octavio_ was absconded
some days before; so that, upon consideration, they concluded he was
murdered by compact; and the rather, because they wished it so in
spite of _Octavio_; and because both he and _Sylvia_ were fled like
guilty persons. Upon this they made a seizure of both his, and his
uncle’s estate, to the use of the _States_. Thus the best and most
glorious man, that ever graced that part of the world, was undone by
love. While _Sylvia_ with sighs and tears would often say that sure
she was born the fate of all that adored her, and no man ever thrived
that had a design upon her, or a pretension to her.

Thus between excess of grief and excess of love, which indeed lay
veiled in the first, they arrived at _Brussels_; where _Octavio_,
having news of the proceedings of the _States_ against him, resolving
rather to lose his life, than tamely to surrender his right, he went
forth in order to take some care about it: and in these extremes of a
troubled mind, he had forgot to read _Philander_’. letters, but gave
them to _Sylvia_ to peruse, till he returned, beseeching and conjuring
her, by all the charms of love, not to suffer herself to be afflicted,
but now to consider she was wholly his; and she could not, and ought
not to rob him of a sigh, or tear for any other man. For they had
concluded to marry, as soon as _Sylvia_ should be delivered from that
part of _Philander_, of which she was possessed. Therefore beholding
her entirely his own, of whom he was so fondly tender, he could not
endure the wind should blow on her, and kiss her lovely face: jealous
of even the air she breathed, he was ever putting her in mind, of
whose and what she was; and she ever giving him new assurances, that
she was only _Octavio_’.. The last part of his ill news he concealed
from her; that of the usage of the _States_. He was so entirely
careful of her fame, that he had two lodgings, one most magnificent
for her, another for himself; and only visited her all the live-long
day. And being now retired from her, she whose love and curiosity grew
less every day, for the false _Philander_, opened his letter with a
sigh of departed love, and read this.

Philander _to_ Octavio.

Sure of your friendship, my dear _Octavio_, I venture to lay before
you the history of my misfortunes, as well as those of my joys,
equally extreme.

In my last, I gave you an account how triumphing a lover I was, in the
possession of the adorable _Calista_; and how very near I was being
surprised in the fountain, where I had hid myself from the rage of old
_Clarinau_; and escaped wet and cold to my lodging: and though indeed
I escaped, it was not without giving the old husband a jealousy, which
put him upon inquiry, after a stricter manner, as I heard the next day
from _Calista_; but with as ill success as the night before;
notwithstanding it appears, by what after happened, that he still
retained his jealousy, and that of me, from a thousand little
inquiries I had from time to time made, from my being now absent, and
most of all from my being, (as now he fancied) that vision, which
_Calista_ saw in the garden. All these circumstances wrought a
thousand _conundrums_, in his _Spanish_ politic noddle: and he
resolves that _Calista_’. actions should be more narrowly watched.
This I can only guess from what ensued. I am not able to say, by what
good fortune, I escaped several happy nights after the first, but it
is certain I did so; for the old man carrying all things fair to the
lovely Countess, she thought herself secure in her joys hitherto, as
to any discovery: however, I never went on this dear adventure but I
was well armed against any mishaps, of poniard, sword, and pistol,
that garb of a right _Spaniard_. _Calista_ had been married above two
years, before I beheld her, and had never been with child: but it so
chanced, that she conceived the very first night of our happiness;
since which time, not all her flatteries and charms, could prevail for
one night with the old Count: for, whether from her seeming fondness
he imagined the cause, or what other reason he had to withstand her
desire and caresses, I know not: but still he found, or feigned some
excuses to put her off: so that _Calista_’. pleas and love increased
with her growing belly. And though almost every night I had the fair,
young charmer in bed with me, (without the least suspicion on
_Dormina_’. side) or, else in the arbours, or on flowery banks in the
garden; till I am confident there was not a walk, a grove, an arbour,
or bed of sweets, that was not conscious of our stolen delights; nay,
we grew so very bold in love, that we often suffered the day to break
upon us; and still escaped his spies, who by either watching at the
wrong door, or part of the vast garden, or by sleepiness, or
carelessness, still let us pass their view. Four happy months, thus
blessed, and thus secured, we lived, when _Calista_ could no longer
conceal her growing shame, from the jealous _Clarinau_, or _Dormina_.
She feared, with too much reason, that it was jealousy, which made him
refrain her bed, though he dissembled well all day; and one night,
weeping in my bosom, with all the tenderness of love, she said, that
if I loved her, as she hoped I did, I should be shortly very
miserable: ‘For oh,’ cries she, ‘I can no longer hide this----dear
effect of my stolen happiness----and _Clarinau_ will no sooner
perceive my condition, but he will use his utmost rigour against me; I
know his jealous nature, and find I am undone----’ With that she told
me how he had killed his first wife; for which he was obliged to fly
from the Court, and country of _Spain_: and that she found from all
his severity, he was not changed from his nature. In fine, she said
and loved so much, that I was wholly charmed, and vowed myself her
slave, or sacrifice, either to follow what she could propose, or fall
a victim with her to my love. After which it was concluded, (neither
having a mind to leave the world, when we both knew so well how to
make ourselves happy in it) that the next night I should bring her a
suit of men’s clothes; and she would in that disguise fly with me to
any part of the world. For she vowed, if this unlucky force of flying
had not happened to her, she had not been longer able to endure his
tyranny and slavery; but had resolved to break her chain, and put
herself upon any fortune. So that after the usual endearments on both
sides, I left her, resolved to follow my fortune, and she me, to
sacrifice all to her repose. That night, and all next day, she was not
idle; but put up all her jewels, of which she had the richest of any
lady in all those parts; for in that the old Count was over-lavish:
and the next night I brought her a suit, which I had made that day on
purpose, as gay as could be made in so short a time; and scaling my
wall, well armed, I found her ready at the door to receive me; and
going into an arbour, by the aid of a dark-lanthorn I carried, she
dressed her in a laced shirt of mine, and this suit I had brought her,
of blue velvet, trimmed with rich loops and buttons of gold; a white
hat, and white feather; a fair peruke, and scarlet breeches, the rest
suitable. And I must confess to you, my dear _Octavio_, that never any
thing appeared so ravishing, and yet I have seen _Sylvia_! But even
she a baby to this more noble figure. _Calista_ is tall, and fashioned
the most divinely--the most proper for that dress of any of her sex:
and I own I never saw any thing so beautiful all over, from head to
foot: and viewing her thus, (carrying my lanthorn all about her) but
more especially her face, her wondrous, charming face--(pardon me, if
I say, what does but look like flattery)--I never saw any thing more
resembling my dear _Octavio_, than the lovely _Calista_, Your very
feature, your very smile and air; so that, if possible, that increased
my adoration and esteem for her: thus completed, I armed her, and
buckled on her sword, and she would needs have one of my pistols too,
that stuck in my belt; and now she appeared all lovely man. It was so
late by that time we had done, that the moon, which began to shine
very bright, gave us a thousand little fears, and disposing her jewels
all about us safe, we began our adventure, with a thousand dreadful
apprehensions on _Calista_’. side. And going up the walk, towards the
place where we were to mount the wall, just at the end of it, turning
a corner, we encountered two men, who were too near us to be
prevented. ‘Oh,’ cried _Calista_ to me, who saw them first,--’My dear
_Philander_, we are undone!’ I looked and saw them, and replied, ‘My
charmer, do not fear, they are but two to two, whoever they be; for
love and I shall be of force enough to encounter them.’ ‘No, my
_Philander_,’ replied she briskly, ‘it is I will be your second in
this rencounter.’ At this approaching them more near, (for they hasted
to us, nor could we fly from them,) we soon found by his hobbling,
that old _Clarinau_ was one, and the other a tall _Spaniard_, his
nephew. I clapped my hair under my hat, and both of us making a stand,
we resolved, if they durst not venture on us, to let them pass----but
_Clarinau_, who was on that side which faced _Calista_, cried, ‘Ah
villain, have I caught thee!’ and at the same instant with a poniard
stabbed her into the arm; for with a sudden turn she evaded it from
her heart, to which it was designed. At which, repaying his
compliment, she shot off her pistol, and down he fell, crying out for
a priest; while I, at the same time, laid my tall boy at his feet. I
caught my dear _virago_ in my arms, and hasted through the garden with
her, and was very hasty in mounting the ladder, putting my fair second
before me, without so much as daring yet to ask her, if she were
wounded, lest it should have hindered our flight, if I had found her
hurt: nor knew I she was so, till I felt her warm precious blood,
streaming on my face, as I lifted her over the wall; but I soon
conveyed her into my new lodgings, yet not soon enough to secure her
from those that pursued us. For with their bawling they alarmed some
of the servants, who looking narrowly for the murderers, tracked us by
_Calista_’., blood, which they saw with their flambeaus, from the
place where _Clarinau_, and his nephew lay, to the very wall; and
thinking from our wounds we could not escape far, they searching the
houses, found me dressing _Calista_’. wound, which I kissed a thousand
times. But the matchless courage of the fair _virago_! the magnanimity
of _Calista_’. soul! Nothing of foolish woman harboured there, nothing
but softest love; for whilst I was raving mad, tearing my hair and
cursing my fate in vain, she had no concern but for me; no pain but
that of her fear of being taken from me, and being delivered to old
_Clarinau_, whom I feared was not dead; nor could the very seizing
her, daunt her spirits, but with an unmatched fortitude she bore it
all; she only wished she could have escaped without bloodshed. We were
both led to prison, but none knew who we were; for those that seized
us, had by chance never seen me, and _Calista_’. habit secured the
discovery. While we both remained there, we had this comfort of being
well lodged together; for they did not go about to part us, being in
for one crime. And all the satisfaction she had, was, that she should,
she hoped, die concealed, if she must die for the crime; and that was
much a greater joy, than to think she should be rendered back to
_Clarinau_, who in a few days we heard was upon his recovery. This
gave her new fears; but I confess to you, I was not afflicted at it;
nor did I think it hard for me to bribe _Calista_ off; for the master
of the prison was very civil and poor, so that with the help of some
few of _Calista_’., jewels, he was wrought upon to let her escape, I
offering to remain, and bear all the brunt of the business, and to pay
whatever he could be fined for it. These reasons, with the ready
jewels, mollified the needy rascal; and though loath she were to leave
me, yet she being assured that all they could do was but to fine me,
and her stay she knew was her inevitable ruin, at last submitted,
leaving me sufficient in jewels to satisfy for all that could happen,
which were the value of a hundred thousand crowns. She is fled to
_Brussels_, to a nunnery of _Augustines_, where the Lady Abbess is her
aunt, and where for a little time she is secure, till I can follow
her.

I beg of you my dear _Octavio_, write to me, and write me a letter of
recommendation to the magistrates here, who all being concerned when
any one of them is a cuckold, are very severe upon criminals in those
cases. I tire you with my melancholy adventure--but it is some ease in
the extremes of grief, to receive the tender pity of a friend, and
that I am sure _Octavio_ will afford his unhappy

PHILANDER.

As cold and as unconcerned as _Sylvia_ imagined she had found her
heart to _Philander_’., memory, at the reading of this letter, in
spite of all the tenderness she had for _Octavio_, she was possessed
with all those pains of love and jealousy, which heretofore tormented
her, when love was young, and _Philander_ appeared with all those
charms, with which he first conquered; she found the fire was but hid
under those embers, which every little blast blows off, and makes it
flame anew. It was now that she, forgetting all the past obligations
of _Octavio_, all his vast presents, his vows, his sufferings, his
passion and his youth, abandoned herself wholly to her tenderness for
_Philander_, and drowns her fair cheeks in a shower of tears: and
having eased her heart a little by this natural relief of her sex, she
opened the letter that was designed for herself, and read this.

_To_ SYLVIA.

I know, my lovely _Sylvia_, I am accused of a thousand barbarities for
unkindly detaining your lover, who long ere this ought to have thrown
himself at your feet, imploring a thousand pardons for his tedious six
months’ absence, though the affliction of it, is all my own, and I am
afraid all the punishment; but when, my dearest _Sylvia_, I reflect
again, it is in order to our future tranquillity, I depend on your
love and reason for my excuse. I know my absence has procured me a
thousand rivals, and you as many adorers, and fear _Philander_ appears
grown old in love, and worn out with sorrow and care, unfit for the
soft play of the young and delicate _Sylvia_; new lovers have new vows
and new presents, and your fickle sex stoop to the lavish prostrate.
Ill luck--unkind fate has rifled me, and of a shining fortune left me
even to the charity of a stingy world; and I have now no compliment to
maintain the esteem in so great a soul as that of _Sylvia_, but that
old repeated one, of telling her my dull, my trifling heart is still
her own: but, oh! I want the presenting eloquence that so persuades
and charms the fair, and am reduced to that fatal torment of a
generous mind, rather to ask and take, than to bestow. Yet out of my
contemptible stock, I have sent my _Sylvia_ something towards that
dangerous, unavoidable hour, which will declare me, however, a happy
father of what my _Sylvia_ bears about her; it is a bill for a
thousand pattacoons. I am at present under an easy restraint about a
little dispute between a man of quality here and myself; I had also
been at _Brussels_ to have provided all things for your coming
illness, but every day expect my liberty, and then without delay I
will take post, and bring _Philander_ to your arms. I have news that
_Cesario_ is arrived at _Brussels_. I am at present a stranger to all
that passes, and having a double obligation to haste, you need not
fear but I shall do so.

This letter raised in her a different sentiment, from that of the
story of his misfortune; and that taught her to know, that this he had
writ to her was all false, and dissembled; which made her, in
concluding the letter, cry out with a vehement scorn and
indignation.--’Oh how I hate thee, traitor! who hast the impudence to
continue thus to impose upon me, as if I wanted common sense to see
thy baseness: for what can be more base and cowardly than lies, that
poor plebeian shift, condemned by men of honour or of wit.’

Thus she spoke, without reminding that this most contemptible quality
she herself was equally guilty of, though infinitely more excusable in
her sex, there being a thousand little actions of their lives, liable
to censure and reproach, which they would willingly excuse and colour
over with little falsities; but in a man, whose most inconstant
actions pass oftentimes for innocent gallantries, and to whom it is no
infamy to own a thousand amours, but rather a glory to his fame and
merit; I say, in him, (whom custom has favoured with an allowance to
commit any vices and boast it) it is not so brave. And this fault of
_Philander_’. cured _Sylvia_ of her disease of love, and chased from
her heart all that softness, which once had so much favoured him.
Nevertheless she was filled with thoughts that failed not to make her
extremely melancholy: and it was in this humour _Octavio_ found her;
who, forgetting all his own griefs to lessen hers, (for his love was
arrived to a degree of madness) he caresses her with all the eloquence
his passion could pour out; he falls at her feet, and pleads with such
a look and voice as could not be resisted; nor ceased he till he had
talked her into ease, till he had looked and loved her into a perfect
calm: it was then he urged her to a new confirmation of her heart to
him, and took hold of every yielding softness in her to improve his
advantage. He pressed her to all he wished, but by such tender
degrees, by arts so fond and endearing, that she could deny nothing.
In this humour, she makes a thousand vows against _Philander_, to hate
him as a man, that had first ruined her honour, and then abandoned her
to all the ills that attend ungovern’d youth, and unguarded beauty:
she makes _Octavio_ swear as often to be revenged on him for the
dishonour of his sister: which being performed, they re-assumed all
the satisfaction which had seemed almost destroyed by adverse fate,
and for a little space lived in great tranquillity; or if _Octavio_
had sentiments that represented past unhappinesses, and a future
prospect of ill consequences, he strove with all the power of love to
hide them from _Sylvia_. In this time, they often sent to the nunnery
of the _Augustines_, to inquire of the Countess of _Clarinau_; and at
last, hearing she was arrived, no force of persuasion or reason could
hinder _Sylvia_ from going to make her a visit. _Octavio_ pleads in
vain the overthrow of all his revenge, by his sister’s knowledge that
her intrigue was found out: but in an undress--for her condition
permitted no other, she is carried to the monastery, and asks for the
Mother Prioress, who came to the grate; where, after the first
compliments over, she tells her she is a relation to that lady, who
such a day came to the house. _Sylvia_, by her habit and equipage,
appearing of quality, was answered, that though the lady were very
much indisposed, and unfit to appear at the grate, she would
nevertheless endeavour to serve her, since she was so earnest; and
commanding one of the nuns to call down Madam the Countess, she
immediately came; but though in a dress all negligent, and a face
where languishment appeared, she at first sight surprised our fair
one, with a certain majesty in her mien and motion, and an air of
greatness in her face, which resembled that of _Octavio_: so that not
being able to sustain herself on her trembling supporters, she was
ready to faint at a sight so charming, and a form so angelic. She saw
her all that _Philander_ had described; nor could the partiality of
his passion render her more lovely than she appeared this instant to
_Sylvia_. She came to reproach her----but she found a majesty in her
looks above all censure, that awed the jealous upbraider, and almost
put her out of countenance; and with a rising blush she seemed ashamed
of her errand. At this silence the lovely _Calista_, a little
surprised, demanded of an attending nun if that lady would speak with
her? This awaked _Sylvia_ into an address, and she replied, ‘Yes,
madam, I am the unfortunate, who am compelled by my hard fate to
complain of the most charming woman that ever nature made: I thought,
in my coming hither, I should have had no other business but to have
told you how false, how perjured a lover I had had; but at a sight so
wondrous, I blame him no more, (whom I find now compelled to love) but
you, who have taken from me, by your charms, the only blessing heaven
had lent me.’ This she ended with a sigh; and Madam the Countess, who
from the beginning of her speaking, guessed, from a certain trembling
at her heart, who it was she spoke of, resolved to shew no signs of a
womanish fear or jealousy, but with an unalterable air and courage,
replied, ‘Madam, if my charms were so powerful, as you are pleased to
tell me they are, they sure have attracted too many lovers for me to
understand which it is I have been so unhappy to rob you of. If he be
a gallant man, I shall neither deny him, nor repent my loving him the
more for his having been a lover before.’ To which _Sylvia_, who
expected not so brisk an answer, replied; ‘She makes such a confession
with so much generosity, I know she cannot be insensible of the
injuries she does, but will have a consideration and pity for those
wretches at least, who are undone to establish her satisfaction.’
’.adam,’ replied the Countess, (a little touched with the tenderness
and sadness with which she spoke) ‘you have so just a character of my
soul, that I assure you I would not for any pleasure in the world do
an action should render it less worthy of your good thoughts. Name me
the man--and if I find him such as I may return you with honour, he
shall find my friendship no more.’ ‘Ah, madam, it is impossible,’
cried _Sylvia_,’.hat he can ever be mine, that has once had the glory
of being conquered by you; and what is yet more, of having conquered
you.’ ‘Nay, madam,’ replied _Calista_, ‘if your loss be irrecoverable,
I have no more to do but to sigh with you, and join our hard fates;
but I am not so vain of my own beauty, nor have so little admiration
for that of yours, to imagine I can retain any thing you have a claim
to; for me, I am not fond of admirers, if heaven be pleased to give me
one, I ask no more. I will leave the world to you, so it allow me my
_Philander_.’ This she spoke with a little malice, which called up all
the blushes in the fair face of _Sylvia_; who a little nettled at the
word _Philander_, replied; ‘Go, take the perjured man, and see how
long you can maintain your empire over his fickle heart, who has
already betrayed you to all the reproach an incensed rival and an
injured brother can load you with: see where he has exposed you to
_Octavio_; and after that tell me what you can hope from such a
perjured villain----’ At these words, she gave her the letter
_Philander_ had writ to _Octavio_, with that he had writ to
herself--and without taking leave, or speaking any more, she left her
thoughtful rival: who after pausing a moment on what should be writ
there, and what the angry lady meant, she silently passed on to her
chamber. But if she were surprised with her visitor, she was much
more, when opening the letters she found one to her brother, filled
with the history of her infamy, and what pressed her soul more
sensibly, the other filled with passion and softness to a mistress.
She had scarcely read them out, but a young nun, her kinswoman, came
into her chamber; whom I have since heard protest, she scarce saw in
that moment any alteration in her, but that she rose and received her,
with her wonted grace and sweetness; and but for some answers that she
made _mal à propos_, and sighs, that against her will broke from her
heart, she should not have found an alteration; but this being
unusual, made her inquisitive; and the faint denial she met with made
her importune, and that so earnestly, and with so many vows of
fidelity and secrecy, that _Calista_’. heart, even breaking within,
poured itself for ease, into the faithful bosom of this young devotee;
and having told her all the story of her misfortune, she began with so
much courage and bravery of mind, to make vows against the charming
betrayer of her fame, and with him all mankind, and this with such
consideration and repentance, as left no room for reproach, or
persuasion; and from this moment resolved never to quit the solitude
of the cloisters. She had all her life, before her marriage, lived in
one, and wished now, she had never seen the world, or departed from a
life so pure and innocent. She looked upon this fatal accident, now a
blessing, to bring her back to a life of devotion and tranquillity:
and indeed is a miracle of piety. Some time after this, she was
brought to bed, but commanded the child should be removed, where she
might never see it, which accordingly was done; after which, in due
time, she took the habit, and remains a rare example of repentance and
holy-living. This new penitent became the news of the whole town; and
it was not without some pleasure, that _Octavio_ heard it, as the only
action she could do, that could reconcile him to her; the knowledge of
which, and some few soft days with _Sylvia_, made him chase away all
those shiverings, that had seized him upon several occasions: but
_Sylvia_ was all sweetness, all love and good humour, and made his
days easy, and his nights entirely happy. While, on the other side,
there was no satisfaction, no pleasure, that the fond lavish lover did
not, at any price, purchase for her repose; for it was the whole
business of his life, to study what would charm and please her: and
being assured by so many vows of her heart, there was nothing rested,
to make him perfectly happy, but her being delivered of what belonged
to his rival, and in which he had no part, he was at perfect ease.
This she wishes with an impatience equal to his; whose love and
fondness for _Octavio_ appeared to be arrived to the highest degree,
and she every minute expected to be free from the only thing, that
hindered her from giving herself entirely to her impatient love.

In the midst of this serenity of affairs, _Sylvia_’. page one day
brings them news his lord was arrived, and that he saw him in the park
walking with some _French_ gentlemen, and undiscovered to him came to
give her notice, that she might take her measures accordingly. In
spite of all her love to _Octavio_, her blushes flew to her cheeks at
the news, and her heart panted with unusual motion; she wonders at
herself, and fears and doubts her own resolution; she till now
believed him wholly indifferent to her, but she knows not what
construction this new disorder will bear; and what confounded and
perplexed her more, was, that _Octavio_ beheld all these emotions,
with unconceivable resentment; he swells with pride and anger, and
even bursts with grief, and not able longer to contain his complaint,
he reproaches her in the softest language that ever love and grief
invented; while she weeps with shame and divided love, and demands of
him a thousand pardons; she deals thus kindly at least with him, to
confess this truth; that it was impossible, but at the approach of a
man, who taught her first to love, and for which knowledge she had
paid so infinitely dear, she could not but feel unusual motions; that
that tenderness and infant flame, he once inspired, could not but have
left some warmth about her heart, and that _Philander_, the once
charming dear _Philander_, could never be absolutely to her as a
common man, and begged that he would give some grains of allowance to
a maid, so soft by nature, and who had once loved so well, to be
undone by the dear object; and though every kind word she gave his
rival was a dagger at his heart, nevertheless, he found, or would
think he found, some reason in what she said; at least he seemed more
appeased, while she, on the other side, dissembled all the ease, and
repose of mind, that could flatter him to calmness.

You must know, that for _Sylvia_’., honour, she had lodgings by
herself, and _Octavio_ had his in another house, at an aunt’s of his,
a widow, and a woman of great quality; and _Sylvia_ being near her
lying-in, had provided all things, with the greatest magnificence
imaginable, and passed for a young widow, whose husband died, at the
Siege of----_Octavio_ only visited her daily, and all the nights she
had to herself. For he treated her as one whom he designed to make his
wife, and one whose honour was his own; but that night the news of
_Philander_’., arrival was told her, she was more than ordinary
impatient to have him gone, pretending illness, and yet seemed loath
to let him go, and lovers (the greatest cullies in nature, and the
aptest to be deceived, though the most quick-sighted)--do the soonest
believe; and finding it the more necessary he should depart, the more
ill she feigned to be, he took his leave, and left her to repose,
after taking all care necessary, for one in her circumstances. But
she, to make his absence more sure, and fearing lest he should suspect
something of her design, being herself guilty, she orders him to be
called back, and caresses him anew, tells him she was never more
unwilling to part with him, and all the while is complaining and
wishing to be in bed; and says he must not stir till he sees her laid.
This obliges and cajoles him anew, and he will not suffer her women to
undress her, but does the grateful business himself, and reaps some
dear recompense by every service, and pleases his eyes and lips, with
the ravishing beauties, of the loose unguarded, suffering fair one.
She permits him any thing to have him gone, which was not till he saw
her laid, as if to her rest: but he was no sooner got into his coach,
but she rose, and slipped on her night-gown, and some other loose
thingss and got into a chair, commanding her page to conduct the
chairmen to all the great _cabarets_, where she believed it most
likely to find _Philander_; which was accordingly done; and the page
entering, inquires for such a _cavalier_, describing his person, his
fine remarkable black hair of his own: but the first he entered into,
he saw _Brilliard_ bespeaking supper: for you must know that, that
husband-lover being left, as I have said, in prison in _Holland_, for
the accusation of _Octavio_; the unhappy young nobleman was no sooner
fled upon the unlucky death of his uncle, but the _States_ set
_Brilliard_ at liberty; who took his journey immediately to
_Philander_, whom he found just released from his troublesome affair,
and designed for _Brussels_, where they arrived that very morning:
where the first thing he did, was to go to the nunnery of St _Austin_,
to inquire for the fair _Calista_; but instead of encountering the
kind, the impatient, the brave _Calista_, he was addressed to, by the
old Lady Abbess, in so rough a manner, that he no longer doubted, upon
what terms he stood there, though he wondered how they should know his
story with _Calista_: when to put him out of doubt, she assured him,
he should never more behold the face of her injured niece; for whose
revenge she left him to heaven. It was in vain he kneeled and
implored; he was confirmed again and again, she should never come from
out the confines of those walls; and that her whole remaining life
spent in penitence, was too little to wash away her sins with him: and
giving him the letter he sent to _Octavio_, (which _Sylvia_ had given
_Calista_, and she the Lady Abbess, with a full confession of her
fault) she cried; ‘See there, sir, the treachery you have committed
against a woman of quality--whom your criminal love has rendered the
most miserable of her sex.’ At the ending of which, she drew the
curtain over the grate, and left him, wholly amazed and confounded,
finding it to be the same he had writ to _Octavio_, and in it, that he
had writ to _Sylvia_: by the sight of which, he no longer doubted, but
that confidante had betrayed him every way. He rails on his false
friendship, curses the Lady Abbess, himself, his fortune, and his
birth; but finds it all in vain: nor was he so infinitely afflicted
with the thought of the eternal loss of _Calista_, (because he had
possessed her) as he was to find himself betrayed to her, and
doubtless to _Sylvia_, by _Octavio_; and nothing but _Calista_’. being
confined from him, (though she were very dear and charming to his
thought) could have made him rave so extremely for a sight of her: he
loves her the more, by how much the more it was impossible for him to
see her; and that difficulty and his despair increased his flame. In
this humour he went to his lodging, the most undone extravagant that
ever raged with love. He considers her in a place, where no art, or
force of love, or human wit, can retrieve her; no nor so much as send
her a letter. This added to his fury, and in his first wild
imaginations, he resolves nothing less than firing the monastery, that
in that confusion he might seize his right of love, and do a deed,
that would render his name famous as the _Athenian_ youth, who to get
a fame, though an inglorious one, fired the temple of their gods. But
his rage abating by consideration, that impiety dwelt not long with
him: and he ran over a number more, till from one to another, he
reduced himself, to a degree of moderation, which presenting him with
some flattering hope, that give him a little ease: it was then that
_Chevalier Tomaso_, and another _French_ gentleman of _Cesario_’.
faction, (who were newly arrived at _Brussels_) came to pay him their
respects: and after a while carried him into the park to walk, where
_Sylvia_’. page had seen him; and from whence they sent _Brilliard_ to
bespeak supper at this _cabaret_, where _Sylvia_’. chair and herself
waited, and where the page found _Brilliard_, of whom he asked for his
lord; but understanding he could not possibly come in some hours,
being designed for Court that evening, whither he was obliged to go
and kiss the Governor’s hands, he went to the lady, who was almost
dead with impatience, and told her, what he had learned: upon which
she ordered her chairmen to carry her back to her lodgings, for she
would not be persuaded to ask any questions of _Brilliard_, for whom
she had a mortal hate: however, she resolved to send her page back
with a billet, to wait _Philander_’. coming, which was not long; for
having sooner dispatched their compliment at Court than they believed
they should, they went all to supper together, where _Brilliard_ had
bespoke it; where being impatient to learn all the adventures of
_Cesario_, since his departure from him, and of which no person could
give so good an account as _Chevalier Tomaso_, _Philander_ gave order
that no body whomsoever should disturb them, and sat himself down to
listen to the fortune of the Prince.

’.ou know, my lord,’ said _Tomaso_,’.he state of things at your
departure; and that all our glorious designs, for the liberty of all
_France_ were discovered, and betrayed by some of those little
rascals, that great men are obliged to make use of in the greatest
designs: upon whose confession you were proscribed, myself, this
gentleman, and several others: it was our good fortunes to escape
untaken, and yours to fall first in the messenger’s hands, and carried
to the _Bastille_, even from whence you had the luck to escape: but it
was not so with _Cesario_.’ ‘Heavens,’ cried _Philander_, ‘the Prince,
I hope is not taken.’ ‘Not so neither,’ replied _Tomaso_, ‘nor should
you wonder you have received no news of him, in a long time, since
forty thousand crowns being offered for his head, or to any thing that
could discover him, it would have exposed him to have written to any
body, he being beset on all sides with spies from the King; so that it
was impossible to venture a letter, without very great hazard of his
life. Besides all these hindrances, _Cesario_, who, you know, was ever
a great admirer of the fair sex, happened in this his retreat to fall
most desperately in love: nor could the fears of death, which alarmed
him on all sides, deter him from his new amour: which, because it has
relation to some part of his adventures, I cannot omit, especially to
your lordship, his friend, to whom every circumstance of that Prince’s
fate and fortune will be of concern.

’.ou must imagine, my lord, that your seizure and escape was enough to
alarm the whole party; and there was not a man of the League who did
not think it high time to look about him, when one, so considerable as
your lordship, was surprised. Nor did the Prince himself any longer
believe himself safe, but retired himself under the darkness of the
following night: he went only accompanied with his page to a lady’s
house, a widow of quality at _Paris_, that populous city being, as he
conceived, the securest place to conceal himself in. This lady was
Madam the Countess of----who had, as you know, my lord, one only
daughter, _Mademoiselle Hermione_, the heiress of her family. The
Prince knew this young lady had a tenderness for him ever since they
were both very young, which first took beginning in a masque at Court,
where she then acted _Mercury_, and danced so exceedingly finely, that
she gave our young hero new desire, if not absolute love, and charmed
him at least into wishes. She was not then old enough to perceive she
conquered, as well as to make a conquest: and she was capable of
receiving impressions as well as to give them: and it was believed by
some who were very near the Prince, and knew all his secrets then,
that this young lady pitied the sighs of the royal lover, and even
then rewarded them: and though this were most credibly whispered, yet
methinks it seems impossible he should then have been happy; and after
so many years, after the possession of so many other beauties, should
return to her again, and find all the passions and pains of a
beginning flame. But there is nothing to be wondered at in the
contradictions and humours of human nature. But however inconstant and
wavering he had been, _Hermione_ retained her first passion for him;
and that I less wonder at, since you know the Prince has the most
charming person in the world, and is the most perfectly beautiful of
all his sex: to this his youth and quality add no little lustre; and I
should not wonder, if all the softer sex should languish for him, nor
that any one should love on--who hath once been touched with love for
him.

’.t was his last assurance the Prince so absolutely depended on, that
(notwithstanding she was far from the opinion of his party) made him
resolve to take sanctuary in those arms he was sure would receive him
in any condition and circumstances. But now he makes her new vows,
which possibly at first his safety obliged him to, while she returned
them with all the passion of love. He made a thousand submissions to
Madam the Countess, who he knew was fond of her daughter to that
degree, that for her repose she was even willing to behold the
sacrifice of her honour to this Prince, whom she knew _Hermione_ loved
even to death; so fond, so blindly fond is nature: and indeed after a
little time that he lay there concealed, he reaped all the
satisfaction that love could give him, or his youth could wish, with
all the freedom imaginable. He only made vows of renouncing all other
women, what ties or obligations soever he had upon him, and to resign
himself entirely up to _Hermione_. I know not what new charms he had
found by frequent conversation with her, and being uninterrupted by
the sight of any other ladies; but it is most certain, my lord, that
he grew to that excess of love, or rather dotage, (if love in one so
young can be called so) that he languished for her, even while he
possessed her all: he died, if obliged by company to retire from her
an hour, at the end of which, being again brought to her, he would
fall at her feet, and sigh, and weep, and make the most piteous moan
that ever love inspired. He would complain upon the cruelty of a
moment’s absence, and vow he would not live where she was not. All
that disturbed his happiness he reproached as enemies to his repose,
and at last made her feign an illness, that no visits might be made
her, and that he might possess all her hours. Nor did _Hermione_
perceive all this without making her advantages of so glorious an
opportunity; but, with the usual cunning of her sex, improved every
minute she gave him: she now found herself sure of the heart of the
finest man in the world; and of one she believed would prove the
greatest, being the head of a most powerful faction, who were
resolved, the first opportunity, to order affairs so as to come to an
open rebellion, and to make him a king. All these things, how unlikely
soever in reason, her love and ambition suggested to her; so that she
believed she had but one game more to play, to establish herself the
greatest and most happy woman in the world. She consults in this
weighty affair, with her mother, who had a share of cunning that could
carry on a design as well as any of her sex. They found but one
obstacle to all _Hermione_’. rising greatness; and that was the
Prince’s being married; and that to a lady of so considerable birth
and fortune, so eminent for her virtue, and all perfections of
womankind, and withal so excellent for wit and beauty, that it was
impossible to find any cause of a separation between them. So that
finding it improbable to remove that let to her glories, she grew very
melancholy, which was soon perceived by the too amorous Prince, who
pleads, and sighs, and weeps on her bosom day and night to find the
cause: but she, who found she had a difficult game to play, and that
she had need of all her little aids, pretends a thousand little
frivolous reasons before she discovers the true one; which served but
to oblige him to ask anew, as she designed he should----At last, one
morning, finding him in the softest fit in the world, and ready to
give her whatever she could ask in return for the secret of her
disquiet, she told him with a sigh, how unhappy she was in loving so
violently a man who could never be any thing to her more than the
robber of her honour: and at last, with abundance of sighs and tears,
bewailed his marriage----He taking her with all the joy imaginable in
his arms, thanked her for speaking of the only thing he had a thousand
times been going to offer to her, but durst not for fear she should
reproach him. He told her he looked upon himself as married to no
woman but herself, to whom by a thousand solemn vows he had contracted
himself, and that he would never own any other while he lived, let
fortune do what she pleased with him. _Hermione_, thriving hitherto so
well, urged his easy heart yet farther, and told him, though she had
left no doubt remaining in her of his love and virtue, no suspicion of
his vows, yet the world would still esteem the Princess his wife, and
herself only as a prostitute to his youthful pleasure; and as she
conceived her birth and fortune not to be much inferior to that of the
Princess, she should die with indignation and shame, to bear all the
reproach of his wantonness, while his now wife would live esteemed and
pitied as an injured innocent. To all which he replied, as mad in
love, that the Princess, he confessed, was a lady to whom he had
obligations, but that he esteemed her no more his wife, since he was
married to her at the age of twelve years; an age, wherein he was not
capacitated to choose good or evil, or to answer for himself, or his
inclinations: and though she were a lady of absolute virtue, of youth,
wit and beauty; yet fate had so ordained it, that he had reserved his
heart to this moment entirely for herself; and that he renounced all
pretenders to him except herself; that he had now possessed the
Princess for the space of twenty years; that youth had a long race to
run, and could not take up at those years with one single beauty: that
hitherto ravage and destruction of hearts had been his province and
glory, and that he thought he never lost time but when he was a little
while constant: but now he was fixed to all he would ever possess
whilst he had breath; and that she was both his mistress and his wife;
his eternal happiness, and the end of all his loving. It is there he
said he would remain as in his first state of innocence: that hitherto
his ambition had been above his passion, but that now his heart was so
entirely subdued to this fair charmer (for so he call’d and thought
her) that he could be content to live and die in the glory of being
hers alone, without wishing for liberty or empire, but to render her
more glorious. A thousand things tender and fond he said to this
purpose, and the result of all ended in most solemn vows, that if ever
fortune favoured him with a crown, he would fix it on her head, and
make her in spite of all former ties and obligations, Queen of
_France_. This was sufficient to appease her sighs and tears, and she
remained entirely satisfied of his vows, which were exchanged before
Madam the Countess, and confirmed by all the binding obligations, love
on his side could invent, and ambition and subtlety on hers. When I
came at any time to visit him, which by stealth a-nights sometimes I
did, to take orders from him how I should act in all things, (though I
lay concealed like himself) he would tell me all that had passed
between him and _Hermione_. I suppose, not so much for the reposing
the secret in my breast, as out of a fond pleasure to be repeating
passages of his dotage, and repeating her name, which was ever in his
mouth: I saw she had reduced him to a great degree of slavery, and
could not look tamely on, while a hero so young, so gay, so great, and
so hopeful, lay idling away his precious time, without doing any
thing, either in order for his own safety or ambition. It was, my
lord, a great pity to see how his noble resolution was changed, and
how he was perfectly effeminated into soft woman. I endeavoured at
first to rouse him from this lethargy of love; and argued with him the
little reason, that in my opinion he had to be so charmed. I told him,
_Hermione_, of all the beauties of _France_, was esteemed one of the
meanest, and that if ever she had gained a conquest (as many she was
infamously famed for) it was purely the force of her youth and
quality; but that now that bloom was past, and she was one of those,
which in less quality we called old. At these reproaches of his
judgement, I often perceived him to blush, but more with anger than
shame. Yet because, according to the vogue of the town, he found there
was reason in what I said, and which he could only contradict by
saying, however she was, she appeared all otherwise to him: he blamed
me a little kindly for my hard words against her, and began to swear
to me, that he thought her all over charm. He vowed there was absolute
fascination in her eyes and tongue. “It is confessed,” said he, “she
has not much of youth, nor of that which we agree to call beauty: but
she has a grace so masculine, an air so ravishing, a wit and humour so
absolutely made to charm, that they all together sufficiently
recompense for her want of delicacy in complexion and feature: and in
a word, my _Tomaso_,” cries he, embracing me, “she is, though I know
not what, or how, a maid that compels me to adore her; she has a
natural power to please above the rest of her dull sex; and I can
abate her a face and shape, and yet vie her for beauty, with any of
the celebrated ones of _France_.”

’. found, by the manner of his saying this, that he was really
charmed, and past all retrieve, bewitched to this lady. I found it
vain therefore to press him to a separation, or to lessen his passion,
but on the contrary told him, there was a time for all things; if fate
had so ordained it that he must love. But I besought him, with all the
eloquence of perfect duty and friendship, not to suffer his passion to
surmount his ambition and his reason, so far as to neglect his
interest and safety; and for a little pleasure with a woman, suffer
all his friends to perish, that had woven their fortunes with his, and
must stand or fall, as he thrived: I implored him not to cast away the
_good cause_, which was so far advanced, and that yet, notwithstanding
this discourse, might all be retrieved by his conduct, and good
management, that I knew however the King appeared in outward shew to
be offended, that it was yet in his power to calm the greatest tempest
this discovery had raised: that it was but casting himself at His
Majesty’s feet, and begging his mercy, by a confession of the truth of
some part of the matter; and that it was impossible he could fail of a
pardon, from so indulgent a monarch, as he had offended: that there
was no action could wholly rase out of the King’s heart, that
tenderness and passion he had ever expressed towards him; and his
peace might be made with all the facility imaginable. To this he urged
a very great reluctancy, and cried, he would sooner die, than by a
confession expose the lives of his friends, and let the world see
their whole design before they had power to effect it: and not only
so, but put it past all their industry, ever to bring so hopeful a
plot about again. At this I smiled, and asked His Highness’s pardon,
told him I was of another opinion, as most of the heads of the
_Huguenots_ were, that what he said to His Majesty in private could
never possibly be made public: that His Majesty would content himself
with the knowledge of the truth, without caring to satisfy the world,
so greatly to the prejudice of a prince of the blood, and a man so
very dear to him as himself. He urged the fears this would give those
of the Reformed Religion, and alarm them with a thousand
apprehensions, that it would discover every man of them, by
unravelling the intrigue. To this I replied, that their fears would be
very short-lived; for as soon as he had, by his submission and
confession, gained his pardon, he had no more to do, but to renounce
all he had said, leave the Court, and put himself into the protection
of his friends, who were ready to receive him. That he need but appear
abroad a little time, and he would see himself addressed to again, by
all the _Huguenot_ party, who would quickly put him into a condition
of fearing nothing.

’.y counsel, with the same persuasion from all of quality of the
party, who came to see him, was at last approved of by him, and he
began to say a thousand things to assure me of his fidelity to his
friends, and the faction, which he vowed never to forsake, for any
other interest, but to stand or fall in its defence, and that he was
resolved to be a king, or nothing; and that he would put in practice
all the arts and stratagems of cunning, as well as force, to attain to
this glorious end, however crooked and indirect they might appear to
fools. However, he conceived the first necessary step to this, was the
getting his pardon, to gain a little time, to manage things anew to
the best advantage: that at present all things were at a stand without
life or motion, wanting the sight of himself, who was the very life
and soul of motion, the axle-tree that could turn the wheel of fortune
round about again.

’.nd now he had talked himself in to sense again; he cried--“Oh my
_Tomaso_! I long to be in action, my soul is on the wing, and ready to
take its flight through any hazard----” but sighing on a sudden, again
he cried: “But oh, my friend, my wings are impt by love, I cannot
mount the regions of the air, and thence survey the world; but still,
as I would rise to mightier glory, they flag to humble love, and fix
me there. Here I am charmed to lazy, soft repose, here it is I smile
and play, and love away my hours: but I will rouse, I will, my dear
_Tomaso_; nor shall the winged boy hold me enslaved: believe me,
friend, he shall not.” He sent me away pleased with this, and I left
him to his repose.’

Supper being ready to come upon the table; though _Philander_ were
impatient to hear the story out, yet he would not press _Tomaso_, till
after supper; in which time, they discoursed of nothing but of the
miracles of _Cesario_’. love to _Hermione_. He could not but wonder a
prince so young, so amorous, and so gay, should return again, after
almost fifteen years, to an old mistress, and who had never been in
her youth a celebrated beauty: one, whom it was imagined the King, and
several after him at Court, had made a gallantry with----On this he
paused for some time, and reflected on his passion for _Sylvia_; and
this fantastic intrigue of the Prince’s inspired him with a kind of
curiosity to try, whether fleeting love, would carry him back again to
this abandoned maid. In these thoughts, and such discourse, they
passed away the time during supper; which ended, and a fresh bottle
brought to the table, with a new command that none should interrupt
them, the impatient _Philander_ obliged _Tomaso_ to give him a farther
account of the Prince’s proceedings; which he did in this manner.

’.y lord, having left the Prince, as I imagined very well resolved, I
spoke of it to as many of our party, as I could conveniently meet
with, to prepare them for the discovery, I believed the Prince would
pretend to make, that they should not by being alarmed at the first
news of it, put themselves into fears, that might indeed discover
them: nor would I suffer _Cesario_ to rest, but daily saw him, or
rather nightly stole to him, to keep up his resolution: and indeed, in
spite of love, to which he had made himself so entire a slave, I
brought him to his own house, to visit Madam his wife, who was very
well at Court, maugre her husband’s ill conduct, as they called it;
the King being, as you know, my lord, extremely kind to that deserving
lady, often made her visits, and would without very great impatiency
hear her plead for her husband, the Prince; and possibly it was not
ungrateful to him: all this we daily learned from a page, who secretly
brought intelligence from Madam the Princess: so that we conceived it
wholly necessary for the interest of the Prince, that he should live
in a good understanding with this prudent lady. To this end, he
feigned more respect than usual to her, and as soon as it was dark,
every evening made her his visits. One evening, amongst the rest, he
happened to be there, just as the proclamation came forth, of four
thousand crowns to any that could discover him; and within half an
hour after came the King, to visit the Princess, as every night he
did; her lodging being in the Court: the King came without giving any
notice, and with a very slender train that night; so that he was
almost in the Princess’s bed-chamber before any body informed her he
was there; so that the Prince had no time to retire but into Madam the
Princess’s cabaret, the door of which she immediately locking, made
such a noise and bustle, that it was heard by His Majesty, who
nevertheless had passed it by, if her confusion and blushes had not
farther betrayed her, with the unusual address she made to the King:
who therefore asked her, who she had concealed in her closet. She
endeavoured to put him off with some feigned replies, but it would not
do; the more her confusion, the more the King was inquisitive, and
urged her to give him the key of her _cabaret_: but she, who knew the
life of the Prince would be in very great danger, should he be taken
so, and knew on the other side, that to deny it, would betray the
truth as much as his discovery would, and cause him either to force
the key, or the door, fell down at his feet, and wetting his shoes
with her tears, and grasping his knees with her trembling arms,
implored that mercy and pity, for the Prince her husband, whom her
virtue had rendered dear to her, however criminal he appeared to His
Majesty: she told him, His Majesty had more peculiarly the attributes
of a god, than any other monarch upon earth, and never heard the
wretched or the innocent plead in vain. She told him, that herself,
and her children, who were dearer to her than life, should all be as
hostages for the good conduct and duty of the Prince’s future life and
actions: and they would all be obliged to suffer any death, though
ever so ignominious, upon the least breaking out of her lord: that he
should utterly abandon those of the Reformed Religion, and yield to
what articles His Majesty would graciously be pleased to impose,
quitting all his false and unreasonable pretensions to the crown,
which was only the effects of the flattery of the _Huguenot_ party,
and the _malcontents_. Thus with the virtue and goodness of an angel,
she pleaded with such moving eloquence, mixed with tears from
beautiful eyes, that she failed not to soften the royal heart, who
knew not how to be deaf when beauty pleaded: yet he would not seem to
yield so suddenly, lest it should be imagined he had too light a sense
of his treasons, which, in any other great man, would have been
punished with no less than death: yet, as she pleaded, he grew calmer,
and suffered it without interruption, till she waited for his reply;
and obliged him by her silence to speak. He numbers up the obligations
he had heaped on her husband; how he had, by putting all places of
great command and interest into his hands, made him the greatest
prince, and favourite of a subject, in the world; and infinitely
happier than a monarch: that he had all the glory and power of one,
and wanted but the care: all the sweets of empire, while all that was
disagreeable and toilsome, remained with the title alone. He therefore
upbraided him with infinite ingratitude, and want of honour; with all
the folly of ambitious youth: and left nothing unsaid that might make
the Princess sensible it was too late to hide any of his treasons from
him, since they were all but too apparent to His Majesty. It was
therefore that she urged nothing but his royal mercy, and forgiveness,
without endeavouring to lessen his guilt, or enlarge on his innocency.
In fine, my lord, so well she spoke, that at last, she had the joy to
perceive the happy effects of her wit and goodness, which had moved
tears of pity and compassion from His Majesty’s eyes; which was
_Cesario_’. cue to come forth, as immediately he did, (having heard
all that had passed) and threw himself at His Majesty’s feet: and this
was the critical minute he was to snatch for the gaining of his point,
and of which he made a most admirable use. He called up all the force
of necessary dissimulation, tenderness to his voice, tears to his
eyes, and trembling to his hands, that stayed the too willing and
melting monarch by his robe, till he had heard him implore, and
granted him his pity: nor did he quit his hold, till the King cried,
with a soft voice--“Rise”--at which he was assured of what he asked.
He refused however to rise, till the pardon was pronounced. He owned
himself the greatest criminal in nature; that he was drawn from his
allegiance by the most subtle artifices of his enemies, who under
false friendships had allured his hopes with gilded promises; and
which he now too plainly saw were designed to propagate their own
private interests, and not his glory. He humbly besought His Majesty
to make some gracious allowances for his vanities of youth, and to
believe now he had so dearly bought discretion, at almost the price of
His Majesty’s eternal displeasure, that he would reform, and lead so
good a life, so absolutely free from any appearance of ambition, that
His Majesty should see he had not a more faithful subject than
himself. In fine, he found himself, by this acknowledgement he had
begun with, to advance yet further: nor would His Majesty be satisfied
without the whole scene of the matter; and how they were to have
surprised and seized him; where, and by what numbers. All which he was
forced to give an account of; since now to have fallen back, when he
was in their hands, had been his infallible ruin. All which he
performed with as much tenderness and respect to his friends
concerned, as if his own life had been depending: and though he were
extremely pressed to discover some of the great ones of the party, he
would never give his consent to an action so mean, as to be an
evidence. All that could be got from him farther, was to promise His
Majesty, to give under his hand, what he had in private confessed to
him; with which the King remained very well satisfied, and ordered him
to come to Court the next day. Thus for that night they parted with
infinite caresses on the King’s part, and no little joy on his. His
Majesty was no sooner gone, but he gave immediate order to the
Secretaries of State, to draw up his pardon, which was done with so
good speed, that he had it in his hands the next day. When he came to
Court, it is not to be imagined the surprise it was to all, to behold
the man, in the greatest state imaginable, who but yesterday was to
have been crucified at any price: and those who most exclaimed against
him, were the first that paid him homage, and caressed him at the
highest rate; only the most wise and judicious prophesied his glories
were not of long continuation. The King made no visits where the
Prince did not publicly appear: he told all the people, with infinite
joy, that the Prince had confessed the whole plot, and that he would
give it, under his hand and seal, in order to have it published
throughout all _France_, for the satisfaction of all those who had
been deluded and deceived by our specious pretences; and for the
terror of those, who had any ways adhered to so pernicious a villainy:
so that he met with nothing but reproaches from those of our own party
at Court: for there were many, who hitherto were unsuspected, and who
now, out of fear of being betrayed by the Prince, were ready to fall
at the King’s feet and confess all: others there were, that left the
Court and town upon it. In fine, the face of things seemed extremely
altered, while the Prince bore himself like a person who had the
misfortune justly to lie beneath the exclamations of a disobliged
multitude, as they at least imagined and bore all, as if their fears
had been true, without so much as offering at his justification, to
confirm His Majesty’s good opinion of him: he added to his pardon, a
present of twenty thousand crowns, half of it being paid the next day
after his coming to Court. And in short, my lord, His Majesty grew so
fond of the Prince, he could not endure to suffer him out of his
presence, and was never satisfied with seeing him: he carried him the
next day to the public _theatre_ with him, to shew the world he was
reconciled. But by this time he had all confirmed, and grew impatient
to declare himself to his friends, whom he would not have remain long
in their ill opinion of him. It happened the third day of his coming
to Court, (in returning some of those visits he had received from all
the great persons) he went to wait upon the Duchess of ---- a lady,
who had ever had a tender respect for the Prince: in the time of this
visit, a young lady of quality happened to come in; one whom your
lordship knows, a great wit, and much esteemed at Court, _Mademoiselle
Mariana_: by this lady he found himself welcomed to Court, with all
the demonstrations of joy; as also by the old Duchess, who had divers
times heretofore persuaded the Prince to leave the _Huguenots_, and
return to the King and Court: she used to tell him he was a handsome
youth, and she loved his mother well; that he danced finely, and she
had rather see him in a ball at Court, than in rebellion in the field;
and often to this purpose her love would rally him; and now shewed no
less concern of joy for his reconciliation; and looking on him as a
true convert, fell a railing, with all the malice and wit she could
invent, at those public-spirited knaves who had seduced him. She
railed on, and cursed those politics which had betrayed him to almost
ruin itself.

’.he Prince heard her with all the patience he could for some time,
but when he found her touch him so tenderly, and name his friends as
if he had owned any such ill counsellors, his colour came in his face,
and he could not forbear defending us with all the force of
friendship. He told her, he knew of no such seducers, no villains of
the party, nor of any traitorous design, that either himself, or any
man in _France_, had ever harboured: at which, she going to upbraid
him in a manner too passionate, he thought it decent to end his visit,
and left her very abruptly. At his going out, he met with the Duke of
---- brother to the Duchess, going to visit her: _en passant_, a very
indifferent ceremony passed on both sides, for this Duke never had
entertained a friendship, or scarce a respect for _Cesario_; but going
into his sister’s the Duchess, her chamber, he found her all in a rage
at the Prince’s so public defence of the _Huguenots_ and their allies;
and the Duke entering, they told him what had passed. This was a very
great pleasure to him, who had a mortal hate at this time to the
Prince. He made his visit very short, hastens to Court, and went
directly to the King, and told him how infinitely he found His Majesty
mistaken in the imagined penitence of the Prince; and then told him
what he had said at the Duchess of ---- lodgings, and had disowned, he
ever confessed any treasonable design against His Majesty, and gave
them the lie, who durst charge him with any such villainy. The King,
who was unwilling to credit what he wished not true, plainly told the
Duke he could not believe it, but that it was the malice of his
enemies, who had forged this: the Duke replied, he would bring those
to His Majesty that heard the words: immediately thereupon dispatched
away his page to beg the Duchess would come to Court, with
_Mademoiselle Mariana_. The Duchess suspecting the truth of the
business, and unwilling to do the Prince an ill office, excused
herself by sending word she was ill of the colic. But _Mariana_, who
loved the King’s interest, and found the ingratitude, as she called
it, of the Prince, hastened in her chair to Court, and justified all
the Duke had said; who being a woman of great wit and honour, found
that credit which the Duke failed of, as an open enemy to the Prince.
About an hour after, the Prince appeared at Court, and found the face
of things changed extremely; and those, who before had kissed his
hand, and were proud of every smile from him, now beheld him with
coldness, and scarce made way as he passed. However, he went to the
Presence, and found the King, whose looks were also very much changed;
who taking him into the bed-chamber, shewed him his whole confession,
drawn up ready for him to sign, as he had promised, though he never
intended any such thing; and now resolved to die rather than do it, he
took it in his hand, while the King cried--“Here keep your word, and
sign your narrative--” “Stay, sir,” replied the Prince, “I have the
counsel of my friends to ask in so weighty an affair.” The King,
confirmed in all he had heard, no longer doubted but he had been too
cunning for him; and going out in a very great discontent, he only
cried--“Sir, if you have any better friends than myself, I leave you
to them;----” and with this left him. The Prince was very glad he had
got the confession-paper, hoping it would never come to light again;
the King was the only person to whom he had made the confession, and
he was but one accuser; and him he thought the party could at any time
be too powerful to oppose, all being easily believed on their side,
and nothing on that of the Court. After this, in the evening, the King
going to visit Madam the Duchess of----for whom he had a very great
esteem, and whither every day the whole Court followed him; the
Prince, with all the assurance imaginable, made his Court there also;
but he was no sooner come into the Presence, but he perceived anger in
the eyes of that monarch, who had indeed a peculiar greatness and
fierceness there, when angry: a minute after, he sent Monsieur----to
the Prince, with a command to leave the Court; and without much
ceremony he accordingly departed, and went directly to _Hermione_, who
with all the impatience of love expected him; nor was much surprised
to find him banished the Court: for he made her acquainted with his
most secret designs; who having made all his interests her own,
espoused whatever related to him, and was capable of retaining all
with great fidelity: nor had he quitted her one night, since his
coming to Court; and he hath often with rapture told me, _Hermione_
was a friend, as well as a mistress, and one with whom, when the first
play was ended, he could discourse with of useful things of State as
well as love; and improve in both the noble mysteries by her charming
conversation. The night of this second disgrace I went to _Hermione_’.
to visit him, where we discoursed what was next to be done. He did not
think his pardon was sufficient to secure him, and he was not willing
to trust a King who might be convinced, that that tenderness he had
for him, was absolutely against the peace and quiet of all _France_. I
was of this opinion, so that upon farther debate, we thought it
absolutely necessary to quit _France_, till the Court’s heat should be
a little abated; and that the King might imagine himself by his
absence, in more tranquillity than he really is. In order to this, he
made me take my flight into _Flanders_, here to provide all things
necessary against his coming, and I received his command to seek you
out, and beg you would attend his coming hither. I expect him every
day. He told me at parting, he longed to consult with you, how next to
play this mighty game, on which so many kingdoms are staked, and which
he is resolved to win, or be nothing.’ ‘An imperfect relation,’
replied _Philander_, ‘we had of this affair, but I never could learn
by what artifice the Prince brought about his good fortune at Court;
but of your own escape I have heard nothing, pray oblige me with the
relation of it.’ ‘Sir,’ said _Tomaso_, ‘there is so little worthy the
trouble you will take in hearing it, that you may spare yourself the
curiosity.’ ‘Sir,’ replied Philander, ‘I always had too great a share
in what concerned you, not to be curious of the story.’ ‘In which,’
replied _Tomaso_, ‘though there be nothing novel, I will satisfy you.’

’.e pleased to know, my lord, that about a week before our design was
fully discovered by some of our own under-rogues, I had taken a great
house in _Faubourg St Germain_, for my mistress, whom you know, my
lord, I had lived with the space of a year. She was gone to drink the
waters of _Bourbon_, for some indisposition, and I had promised her
all things should be fitted against her return, agreeable to her
humour and desire; and indeed, I spared no cost to make her apartment
magnificent: and I believe few women of quality could purchase one so
rich; for I loved the young woman, who had beauty and discretion
enough to charm, though the _Parisians_ of the royal party called her
_Nicky Nacky_, which was given her in derision to me, not to her, for
whom every body, for her own sake, had a considerable esteem. Besides,
my lord, I had taken up money out of the Orphans’ and Widows’ Bank,
from the Chamber of _Paris_, and could very well afford to be lavish,
when I spent upon the public stock. While I was thus ordering all
things, my valet came running out of breath, to tell me, that being at
the _Louvre_, he saw several persons carried to the secretary’s
office, with messengers; and that inquiring who they might be, he
found they were two _Parisians_, who had offered themselves to the
messengers to be carried to be examined about a plot, the Prince
_Cesario_ and those of the Reformed Religion, had to surprise His
Majesty, kill Monsieur his brother, and set all _Paris_ in a flame:
and as to what particularly related to myself, he said, that I was
named as the person designed to seize upon the King’s guards, and
dispatch Monsieur. This my own conscience told me was too true, for me
to make any doubt but I was discovered: I therefore left a servant in
the house, and in a hackney-coach took my flight. I drove a little out
of _Paris_ till night, and then returned again, as the surest part of
the world where I could conceal myself: I was not long in studying who
I should trust with my life and safety, but went directly to the
palace of Madam, the Countess of----who you know, my lord, was a
widow, and a woman who had, for a year past, a most violent passion
for me; but she being a lady, who had made many such gallantries, and
past her youth, I had only a very great respect and acknowledgement
for her, and her quality, and being obliged to her, for the effects of
her tenderness, shewn upon several occasions, I could not but acquit
myself like a _cavalier_ to her, whenever I could possibly; and which,
though I have a thousand times feigned great business to prevent, yet
I could not always be ungrateful; and when I paid her my services, it
was ever extremely well received, and because of her quality, and
setting up for a second marriage, she always took care to make my
approaches to her, in as concealed a manner as possible; and only her
porter, one page, and one woman, knew this secret amour; and for the
better carrying it on, I ever went in a hackney-coach, lest my livery
should be seen at her gate: and as it was my custom at other times,
so I now sent the porter, (who, by my bounty, and his lady’s, was
entirely my own creature) for the page to come to me, who immediately
did, and I desired him to let his lady know, I waited her commands;
that was the word: he immediately brought me answer, that by good
fortune his lady was all alone, and infinitely wishing she knew
where to send him for me: and I immediately, at that good news, ran
up to her chamber; where I was no sooner come, but desiring me to
sit, she ordered her porter to be called, and gave orders, upon pain
of life, not to tell of my being in the house, whatever inquiry
should be made after me; and having given the same command to her
page, she dismissed them, and came to me with all the fear and
trembling imaginable. “Ah Monsieur,” cried she, falling on my
neck, “we are undone--” I, not imagining she had heard the news
already, cried, “Why, is my passion discovered?” “Ah,” replied she in
tears, “I would to heaven it were no worse! would all the earth had
discovered that, which I should esteem my glory--But it is, my
charming monsieur,” continued she, “your treasons and not amour, whose
discovery will be so fatal to me.” At this I seemed amazed, and begged
her, to let me understand her: she told me what I have said before;
and moreover, that the Council had that very evening issued out
warrants for me, and she admired how I escaped. After a little
discourse of this kind, I asked her, what she would advise me to do?
for I was very well assured, the violent hate the King had
particularly for me, would make him never consent I should live on any
terms: and therefore it was determined I should not surrender myself;
and she resolved to run the risk of concealing me; which, in fine, she
did three days, furnishing me with money and necessaries for my
flight. In this time a proclamation came forth, and offered five
hundred crowns for my head, or to seize me alive, or dead. This sum so
wrought with the slavish minds of men, that no art was left unassayed
to take me: they searched all houses, all hackney-coaches that passed
by night; and did all that avarice could inspire to take me, but all
in vain: at last, this glorious sum so dazzled the mind of Madam the
Countess’s porter, that he went to a captain of the Musketeers, and
assured him, if the King would give him the aforesaid sum, he would
betray me, and bring him the following night to surprise me, without
any resistance: the captain, who thought, if the porter should have
all the sum, he should get none; and every one hoping to be the happy
man, that should take me, and win the prize, could not endure another
should have the glory of both, and so never told the King of the offer
the porter had made. But however secret, one may imagine an amour to
be kept, yet in so busy a place as _Paris_ and the apartments of the
Court-coquets, this of ours had been discoursed, and the intrigue more
than suspected: whether this, or the captain, before named, imagined
to find me at the house of the Countess, because the porter had made
such an offer; I say, however it was, the next morning, upon a
_Sunday_, the guards broke into several chambers, and missing me, had
the insolence to come to the door of that of the Countess; and she had
only time to slip on her night-gown, and running to the door besought
them to have respect to her sex and quality, while I started from my
bed, which was the same from whence the Countess rose; and not knowing
where to hide, or what to do, concealing my clothes between the
sheets, I mounted from the table to a great silver sconce that was
fastened to the wall by the bed-side, and from thence made but one
spring up to the tester of the bed; which being one of those raised
with strong wood-work and japan, I could easily do; or, rather it was
by miracle I did it; and laid myself along the top, while my back
touched the ceiling of the chamber; by this time, when no entreaties
could prevail, they had burst open the chamber-door, and running
directly to the bed, they could not believe their eyes: they saw no
person there, but the plain print of two, with the pillows for two
persons. This gave them the curiosity to search farther, which they
did, with their swords, under the bed, in every corner, behind every
curtain, up the chimney, felt all about the wainscot and hangings for
false doors or closets; surveyed the floor for a trap-door: at last
they found my fringed gloves at the window, and the sash a little up,
and then they concluded I had made my escape out at that window: this
thought they seemed confirmed in, and therefore ran to the garden,
where they thought I had descended, and with my gloves, which they
bore away as the trophies of their almost gained victory, they
searched every hedge and bush, arbour, grotto, and tree; but not being
able to find what they sought, they concluded me gone, and told all
the town, how very near they were to seizing me. After this, the very
porter and page believed me escaped out of that window, and there was
no farther search made after me: but the Countess was amazed, as much
as any of the soldiers, to find which way I had conveyed myself, when
I came down and undeceived her; but when she saw from whence I came,
she wondered more than before how I could get up so high; when trying
the trick again, I could not do it, if I might have won never so
considerable a wager upon it, without pulling down the sconce, and the
tester also.

’.fter this, I remained there undiscovered the whole time the Prince
was at _Hermione_’., till his coming to Court, when I verily believed
he would have gained me my pardon, with his own; but the King had
sworn my final destruction, if he ever got me in his power; and
proclaiming me a traitor, seized all they could find of mine. It was
then that I believed it high time to take my flight; which, as soon as
I heard the Prince again in disgrace, I did, and got safely into
_Holland_, where I remained about six weeks. But, oh! what is woman!
The first news I heard, and that was while I remained at the
Countess’s that my mistress, for whom I had taken such cares and who
had professed to love me above all things, no sooner heard I was fled
and proscribed, but retiring to a friend’s house, (for her own was
seized for mine) and the officers imagining me there too, they came to
search; and a young _cavalier_, of a noble aspect, great wit and
courage, and indeed a very fine gentleman, was the officer that
entered her chamber, to search for me; who, being at first sight
surprised with her beauty, and melting with her tears, fell most
desperately in love with her, and after hearing how she had lost all
her money, plate, and jewels, and rich furniture, offered her his
service to retrieve them, and did do it; and from one favour to
another, continued so to oblige the fair fickle creature, that he won,
with that and his handsome mien, a possession of her heart, and she
yielded in a week’s time to my most mortal enemy. And the Countess,
who at my going from her, swooned, and bathed me all in tears, making
a thousand vows of fidelity, and never to favour mankind more: this
very woman, sir, as soon as my back was turned, made new advances to a
young lord, who, believing her to be none of the most faithful, would
not trust her under matrimony: he being a man of no great fortune, and
she a mistress of a very considerable one, his standing off on these
terms inflames her the more; and I have advice, that she is very much
in love with him, and it is believed will do what he desires of her:
so that I was no sooner abandoned by fortune, but fickle woman
followed her example, and fled me too. Thus, my lord, you have the
history of my double unhappiness: and I am waiting here a fate which
no human wit can guess at: the arrival of the Prince will give a
little life to our affair; and I yet have hope to see him in _Paris_,
at the head of forty thousand _Huguenots_, to revenge all the
insolences we have suffered.’

After discoursing of several things, and of the fate of several
persons, it was bed-time; and they taking leave, each man departed to
his chamber.

_Philander_, while he was undressing, being alone with _Brilliard_,
began to discourse of _Sylvia_, and to take some care of letting her
know, he was arrived at _Brussels_; and for her convoy thither.
_Brilliard_, who even yet retained some unaccountable hope, as lovers
do, of one day being happy with that fair one; and believing he could
not be so, with so much felicity, while she was in the hands of
_Octavio_ as those of _Philander_, would never tell his lord his
sentiments of her conduct, nor of her love to _Octavio_, and those
other passages that had occurred in _Holland_: he only cried, he
believed she might be overcome, being left to herself and by the
merits and good fashion of _Octavio_; but would not give his master an
absolute fear, or any account of truth, that he might live with her
again, if possible, as before; and that she might hold herself so
obliged to him for silence in these affairs, as might one day render
him happy. These were the unweighed reasons he gave for deluding his
lord into a kind opinion to the fickle maid: but ever when he named
_Sylvia_, _Philander_ could perceive his blushes rise, and from them
believed there was something behind in his thought, which he had a
mind to know: he therefore pressed him to the last degree,--and
cried--’Come--confess to me, _Brilliard_, the reason of your blushes:
I know you are a lover, and I was content to suffer you my rival,
knowing your respect to me.’ This, though he spoke smiling, raised a
greater confusion in _Brilliard_’. heart. ‘I own, my lord,’ said he,
’.hat I have, in spite of that respect, and all the force of my soul,
had the daring to love her whom you loved; but still the consideration
of my obligations to your lordship surmounted that saucy flame,
notwithstanding all the encouragement of your inconstancy, and the
advantage of the rage it put Sylvia in against you.’ ‘How,’ cried
_Philander_, ‘does _Sylvia_ know then of my falseness, and is it
certain that _Octavio_ has betrayed me to her?’ With that _Brilliard_
was forced to advance, and with a design of some revenge upon
_Octavio_, (who, he hoped, would be challenged by his lord, where one,
or both might fall in the rencounter, and leave him master of his
hopes) he told him all that had passed between them, all but real
possession, which he only imagined, but laid the whole weight on
_Octavio_, making _Sylvia_ act but as an incensed woman, purely out of
high revenge and resentment of so great an injury as was done her
love. He farther told him, how, in the extravagancy of her rage, she
had resolved to marry _Octavio_, and how he prevented it by making a
public declaration she was his wife already; and for which _Octavio_
procured the _States_ to put him in prison; but by an accident that
happened to the uncle of _Octavio_, for which he was forced to fly,
the _States_ released him, when he came to his lord: ‘How,’ cried
_Philander_, ‘and is the traitor _Octavio_ fled from _Holland_, and
from the reach of my chastisement?’ ‘Yes,’ replied _Brilliard_; ‘and
not to hold you longer from the truth, has forced _Sylvia_ away with
him.’ At this _Philander_ grew into a violent rage, sometimes against
_Octavio_ for his treasons against friendship; sometimes he felt the
old flame revive, raised and blown jealousy, and was raving to imagine
any other should possess the lovely _Sylvia_. He now beholds her with
all those charms that first fired him, and thinks, if she be criminal,
it was only the effects of the greatest love, which always hurries
women on to the highest revenges. In vain he seeks to extinguish his
returning flame by the thought of _Calista_; yet, at that thought, he
starts like one awakened from a dream of honour, to fall asleep again,
and dream of love. Before it was rage and pride, but now it was
tenderness and grief, softer passions, and more insupportable. New
wounds smart most, but old ones are most dangerous. While he was thus
raging, walking, pausing, and loving, one knocked at his chamber-door.
It was _Sylvia_’. page, who had waited all the evening to speak to
him, and could not till now be admitted. _Brilliard_ was just going to
tell him he was there before, when he arrived now again: _Philander_
was all unbuttoned, his stockings down, and his hair under his cap,
when the page, being let in by _Brilliard_, ran to his lord, who knew
him and embraced him: and it was a pretty while they thus caressed
each other, without the power of speaking; he of asking a question,
and the boy of delivering his message; at last, he gave him _Sylvia_’.
billet, which was thus--

_To_ PHILANDER.

False and perjured as you are, I languish for a sight of you, and
conjure you to give it me, as soon as this comes to your hands.
Imagine not, that I have prepared those instruments of revenge that
are so justly due to your perfidy; but rather, that I have yet too
tender sentiments for you, in spite of the outrage you have done my
heart; and that for all the ruin you have made, I still adore you: and
though I know you now another’s slave, yet I beg you would vouchsafe
to behold the spoils you have made, and allow me this recompense for
all, to say--Here was the beauty I once esteemed, though now she is no
more _Philander_’.

SYLVIA.

’.ow,’ cried he out, ‘No more _Philander_’. _Sylvia_! By heaven, I had
rather be no more _Philander_!’ And at that word, without considering
whether he were in order for a visit or not, he advancing his joyful
voice, cried out to the page, ‘Lead on, my faithful boy, lead on to
_Sylvia_.’ In vain _Brilliard_ beseeches him to put himself into a
better equipage; in vain he urges to him, the indecency of making a
visit in that posture; he thought of nothing but _Sylvia_; however he
ran after him with his hat, cloak, and comb, and as he was in the
chair dressed his hair, and suffered the page to conduct him where he
pleased: which being to _Sylvia_’., lodgings, he ran up stairs, and
into her chamber, as by instinct of love, and found her laid on her
bed, to which he made but one step from the door; and catching her in
his arms, as he kneeled upon the carpet, they both remained unable to
utter any thing but sighs: and surely _Sylvia_ never appeared more
charming; she had for a month or two lived at her ease, and had
besides all the advantage of fine dressing which she had purposely put
on, in the most tempting fashion, on purpose to engage him, or rather
to make him see how fine a creature his perfidy had lost him: she
first broke silence, and with a thousand violent reproaches, seemed as
if she would fain break from those arms, which she wished might be too
strong for her force; while he endeavours to appease her as lovers do,
protesting a thousand times that there was nothing in that history of
his amour with _Calista_, but revenge on _Octavio_, who he knew was
making an interest in her heart, contrary to all the laws of honour
and friendship, (for he had learned, by the reproaches of the Lady
Abbess, that _Calista_ was sister to _Octavio_). ‘He has had the
daring to confess to me his passion,’ said he, ‘for you, and could I
do less in revenge, than to tell him I had one for his sister? I knew
by the violent reproaches I ever met with in your letters, though they
were not plainly confessed, that he had played me foul, and discovered
my feigned intrigue to you; and even this I suffered, to see how far
you could be prevailed with against me. I knew _Octavio_ had charms of
youth and wit, and that you had too much the ascendant over him, to be
denied any secret you had a mind to draw from him; I knew your nature
too curious, and your love too inquisitive, not to press him to a
sight of my letters, which seen must incense you; and this trial I
designedly made of your faith, and as a return to _Octavio_.’ Thus he
flatters, and she believes, because she has a mind to believe; and
thus by degrees he softens the listening _Sylvia_; swears his faith
with sighs, and confirms it with his tears, which bedewed her fair
bosom, as they fell from his bright dissembling eyes; and yet so well
he dissembled, that he scarce knew himself that he did so: and such
effects it wrought on _Sylvia_, that in spite of all her honour and
vows engaged to _Octavio_, and horrid protestations never to receive
again the fugitive to her arms, she suffers all he asks, gives herself
up again to love, and is a second time undone. She regards him as one
to whom she had a peculiar right as the first lover: she was married
to his love, to his heart; and _Octavio_ appeared the intruding
gallant, that would, and ought to be content with the gleanings of the
harvest, _Philander_ should give him the opportunity to take up: and
though, if she had at this very time been put to her sober choice,
which she would have abandoned, it would have been _Philander_, as not
in so good circumstances at that time to gratify all her extravagances
of expense; but she would not endure to think of losing either: she
was for two reasons covetous of both, and swore fidelity to both,
protesting each the only man; and she was now contriving in her
thoughts, how to play the jilt most artificially; a help-meet, though
natural enough to her sex, she had not yet much essayed, and never to
this purpose: she knew well she should have need of all her cunning in
this affair; for she had to do with men of quality and honour, and too
much wit to be grossly imposed upon. She knew _Octavio_ loved so well,
it would either make her lose him by death, or resenting pride, if she
should ever be discovered to him to be untrue; and she knew she should
lose _Philander_ to some new mistress, if he once perceived her false.
He asked her a thousand questions concerning _Octavio_, and she seemed
to lavish every secret of her soul to her lover; but like a right
woman, so ordered her discourse, as all that made for her advantage
she declared, and all the rest she concealed. She told him, that those
hopes which her revenge had made her give _Octavio_, had obliged him
to present her with such and such fine jewels, such plate, such sums;
and in fine, made him understand that all her trophies from the
believing lover should be laid at his feet, who had conquered her
heart: and that now, having enriched herself, she would abandon him
wholly to despair. This did not so well satisfy Philander, but that he
needed some greater proofs of her fidelity, fearing all these rich
presents were not for a little hope alone; and she failed not giving
what protestations he desired.

Thus the night passed away, and in the morning, she knowing he was not
very well furnished with money, gave him the key of her cabinet, where
she bid him furnish himself with all he wanted; which he did, and left
her, to go take orders about his horses, and other affairs, not so
absolutely satisfied of her virtue, but he feared himself put upon,
which the advantage he was likely to reap by the deceit, made him less
consider, than he would perhaps otherwise have done. He had all the
night a full possession of _Sylvia_, and found in the morning he was
not so violently concerned as he was over night: it was but a
repetition of what he had been feasted with before; it was no new
treat, but, like matrimony, went dully down: and now he found his
heart warm a little more for _Calista_, with which little impatience
he left _Sylvia_.

That morning a lady having sent to _Octavio_, to give her an
assignation in the park; though he were not curious after beauty, yet
believing there might be something more in it than merely a lady, he
dressed himself and went, which was the reason he made not his visit
that morning, as he used to do, to _Sylvia_, and so was yet ignorant
of her ingratitude; while she, on the other side, finding herself more
possessed with vanity than love; for having gained her end, as she
imagined, and a second victory over his heart, in spite of all
_Calista_’. charms, she did not so much consider him as before; nor
was he so dear to her as she fancied he would have been, before she
believed it possible to get him any more to her arms; and she found it
was pride and revenge to _Calista_, that made her so fond of endearing
him, and that she should thereby triumph over that haughty rival, who
pretended to be so sure of the heart of her hero: and having satisfied
her ambition in that point, she was more pleased than she imagined she
should be, and could now turn her thoughts again to _Octavio_, whose
charms, whose endearments, and lavish obligations, came anew to her
memory, and made him appear the most agreeable to her genius and
humour, which now leaned to interest more than love; and now she
fancies she found _Philander_ duller in her arms than _Octavio_; that
he tasted of _Calista_, while _Octavio_ was all her own entirely,
adoring and ever presenting; two excellencies, of which _Philander_
now had but part of one. She found _Philander_ now in a condition to
be ever taking from her, while _Octavio_’. was still to be giving;
which was a great weight in the scale of love, when a fair woman
guides the balance: and now she begins to distrust all that
_Philander_ had said of his innocence, from what she now remembers she
heard from _Calista_ herself, and reproaches her own weakness for
believing: while her penitent thoughts were thus wandering in favour
of _Octavio_, that lover arrived, and approached her with all the joy
in his soul and eyes that either could express. ‘It is now, my fair
charmer,’ said he, ‘that I am come to offer you what alone can make me
more worthy of you----’ And pulling from his pocket the writings and
inventories of all his own and his uncle’s estate--’See here,’ said
he, ‘what those mighty powers that favour love have done for _Sylvia_.
It is not,’ continued he, ‘the trifle of a million of money, (which
these amount to) that has pleased me, but because I am now able to lay
it without control at your feet.’ If she were before inclined to
receive him well, what was she now, when a million of money rendered
him so charming? She embraced his neck with her snowy arms, laid her
cheeks to his ravished face, and kissed him a thousand welcomes; so
well she knew how to make herself mistress of all this vast fortune.
And I suppose he never appeared so fine, as at this moment. While she
thus caressed him, he could not forbear sighing, as if there were yet
something behind to complete his happiness: for though Octavio were
extremely blinded with love, he had abundance of wit, and a great many
doubts, (which were augmented by the arrival of _Philander_) and he
was, too wise and too haughty, to be imposed upon, at least as he
believed: and yet he had so very good an opinion of _Sylvia_’. honour
and vows, which she had engaged to him, that he durst hardly name his
fears, when by his sighs she found them: and willing to leave no
obstacle unremoved, that might hinder her possessing this fortune, she
told him; ‘My dear _Octavio_--I am sensible these sighs proceed from
some fears you have of _Philander_’. being in _Brussels_, and
consequently that I will see him, as heretofore; but be assured, that
that false man shall no more dare to pretend to me; but, on the
contrary, I will behold him as my mortal enemy, the murderer of my
fame and innocence, and as the most ungrateful and perfidious man that
ever lived.’ This she confirmed with oaths and tears, and a thousand
endearing expressions. So that establishing his heart in a perfect
tranquillity, and he leaving his writings and accounts with her, he
told her he was obliged to dine with the advocates, who had acted for
him in _Holland_, and could not stay to dine with her.

You must know, that as soon as the noise of old _Sebastian_,
_Octavio_’. uncle’s death was noised about, and that he was thereupon
fled, they seized all the estates, both that of the uncle, and that of
_Octavio_, as belonging to him by right of law; but looking upon him
as his uncle’s murderer, they were forfeited to the _States_. This
part of ill news _Octavio_ kept from _Sylvia_, but took order, that
such a process might be begun in his name with the _States_ that might
retrieve it; and sent word, if it could not be carried on by attornies
(for he was not, he said, in health) that nevertheless he would come
into _Holland_ himself. But they being not able to prove, by the
witness of any of _Octavio_’. or _Sebastian_’. servants, that
_Octavio_ had any hand in his death; but, on the contrary all
circumstances, and the coroner’s verdict, brought it in as a thing
done by accident, and through his own fault, they were obliged to
release to _Octavio_ all his fortune, with that of his uncle, which
was this day brought to him, by those he was obliged to dine, and make
up some accounts withal: he therefore told her, he feared he should be
absent all that afternoon; which she was the more pleased at, because
if _Philander_ should return before she had ordered the method of
their visit, so as not to meet with each other (which was her only
contrivance now) she should be sure he would not see or be seen by
_Octavio_; who had no sooner taken his leave, but _Philander_ returns;
who being now fully bent upon some adventure to see _Calista_, if
possible, and which intrigue would take up his whole time; to excuse
his absence to the jealous _Sylvia_, he feigned that he was sent to by
_Cesario_, to meet him upon the frontiers of _France_, and conduct him
into _Flanders_, and that he should be absent some days. This was as
_Sylvia_ could have wished; and after forcing herself to take as kind
a leave of him as she could, whose head was wholly possessed with a
million of gold, she sent him away, both parties being very well
pleased with the artifices with which they jilted each other. At
_Philander_’., going into his chair, he was seen by the old Count of
_Clarinau_, who, cured perfectly of his wound, was come thither to
seek _Philander_, in order to take the revenge of a man of honour, as
he called it; which in _Spanish_ is the private stab, for private
injuries; and indeed more reasonable than base _French_ duelling,
where the injured is as likely to suffer as the injurer: but
_Clarinau_ durst not attack him by day-light in the open street, nor
durst he indeed appear in his own figure in the King of _Spain_’.
dominions, standing already there convicted of the murder of his first
wife; but in a disguise came to _Brussels_. The chair with _Philander_
was no sooner gone from the lodgings, but he inquired of some of the
house, who lodged there that that gentleman came to visit? And they
told him a great-bellied woman, who was a woman of quality, and a
stranger: this was sufficient, you may believe, for him to think it
Madam the Countess of _Clarinau_. With this assurance he repairs to
his lodging, which was but hard by, and sets a footman that attended
him to watch the return of _Philander_ to those lodgings, which he
believed would not be long: the footman, who had not seen _Philander_,
only asked a description of him; he told him, he was a pretty tall
man, in black clothes (for the Court was then in mourning) with long
black hair, fine black eyes, very handsome, and well made; this was
enough for the lad; he thought he should know him from a thousand by
these marks and tokens. Away goes the footman, and waited till the
shutting in of the evening, and then, running to his lord, told him,
that _Philander_ was come to those lodgings; that he saw him alight
out of the chair, and took perfect notice of him; that he was sure it
was that _Philander_ he looked for: _Clarinau_, overjoyed that his
revenge was at hand, took his dagger, sword and pistol, and hasted to
_Sylvia_’. lodgings, where he found the chair still waiting, and the
doors all open; he made no more ado, but goes in and ascends the
stairs, and passes on, without opposition, to the very chamber where
they sat, _Sylvia_ in the arms of her lover, not _Philander_, but
_Octavio_, who being also in black, tall, long, brown hair, and
handsome, and by a sight that might very well deceive; he made no more
to do, not doubting but it was _Philander_ and _Calista_, but steps to
him, and offering to stab him, was prevented by his starting at the
suddenness of his approach; however, the dagger did not absolutely
miss him, but wounded him in the left arm; but _Octavio_’. youth, too
nimble for _Clarinau_’. age, snatching at the dagger as it wounded
him, at once prevented the hurt being much, and returned a home blow
at _Clarinau_, so that he fell at _Sylvia_’. feet, whose shrieks
alarmed the house to their aid, where they found by the light of the
candle that was brought, that the man was not dead, but lay gazing on
_Octavio_, who said to him, ‘Tell me, thou unfortunate wretch, what
miserable fate brought thee to this place, to disturb the repose of
those who neither know thee, nor had done thee injury?’ ‘Ah, sir,’
replied _Clarinau_, ‘you have reason for what you say, and I ask
heaven, that unknown lady, and yourself, a thousand pardons for my
mistake and crime: too late I see my error, pity and forgive me; and
let me have a priest, for I believe I am a dead man.’ _Octavio_ was
extremely moved with compassion at these words, and immediately sent
his page, who was alarmed up in the crowd, for a Father and a surgeon;
and he declared before the rest, that he forgave that stranger,
meaning _Octavio_, since he had, by a mistake of his footman, pulled
on his own death, and had deserved it: and thereupon, as well as he
could, he told them for whom he had mistaken _Octavio_, who, having
injured his honour, he had vowed revenge upon; and that he took the
fair lady, meaning _Sylvia_, for a faithless wife of his, who had been
the authoress of all this. _Octavio_ soon divined this to be his
brother-in-law, _Clarinau_, whom yet he had never seen; and stooping
down to him, he cried, ‘It is I, sir, that ought to demand a thousand
pardons of you, for letting the revenge of _Calista_’. honour alone so
long.’ _Clarinau_ wondered who he should be that named _Calista_, and
asking him his name, he told him he was the unhappy brother to that
fair wanton, whose story was but too well known to him. Thus while
_Clarinau_ viewing his face, found him the very picture of that false
charmer; while _Octavio_ went on and assured him, if it were his
unhappiness to die, that he would revenge the honour of him and his
sister, on the betrayer of both. By this time the surgeon came who
found not his wound to be mortal, as was feared, and ventured to
remove him to his own lodgings, whither _Octavio_ would accompany him;
and leaving _Sylvia_ inclined, after her fright, to be reposed, he
took his leave of her for that evening, not daring, out of respect to
her, to visit her any more that night: he was no sooner gone, but
_Philander_, who never used to go without two very good pocket-pistols
about him, having left them under his pillow last night at _Sylvia’s_
lodgings; and being upon love-adventures, he knew not what occasion he
might have for them, returned back to her lodgings: when he came, she
was a little surprised at first to see him, but after reflecting on
what revenge was threatened him, she exposed _Octavio’s_ secret to
him, and told him the whole adventure, and how she had got his
writings, which would be all her own, if she might be suffered to
manage the fond believer. But he, whose thought ran on the revenge was
threatened him, cried out--’He has kindly awakened me to my duty by
what he threatens; it is I that ought to be revenged on his perfidy,
of shewing you my letters; and to that end, by heaven, I will defer
all the business in the world to meet him, and pay his courtesy--If I
had enjoyed his sister, he might suppose I knew her not to be so; and
what man of wit or youth, would refuse a lovely woman, that presents a
heart laden with love, and a person all over charms, to his bosom? I
were to be esteemed unworthy the friendship of a man of honour, if I
should: but he has basely betrayed me every way, makes love to my
celebrated mistress, whom he knows I love, and getting secrets,
unravels them to make his court and his access the easier.’

She foresaw the dangerous consequence of a quarrel of this nature, and
had no sooner blown the fire, (which she did, to the end that
_Philander_ should avoid her lodgings, and all places where he might
meet _Octavio_) but she hinders all her designs; and fixing him there,
he was resolved to expect him at the first place he thought most
likely to find him in: she endeavoured, by a thousand entreaties, to
get him gone, urging it all for his safety; but that made him the more
resolved; and all she could do, could not hinder him from staying
supper, and after that, from going to bed: so that she was forced to
hide a thousand terrors and fears by feigned caresses, the sooner to
get him to meet _Cesario_ in the morning, as he said he was to do; and
though she could not help flattering both, while by; yet she ever
loved the absent best; and now repented a thousand times that she had
told him any thing.

Early the next morning, as was his custom, _Octavio_ came to inquire
of _Sylvia_’. health; and though he had oftentimes only inquired and
no more, (taking excuse of ill nights, or commands that none should
come to her till she called) and had departed satisfied, and came
again: yet now, when he went into _Antonet_’. chamber, he found she
was in a great consternation, and her looks and flattering excuses
made him know, there was more than usual in his being to-day denied;
he therefore pressed it the more, and she grew to greater confusion by
his pressing her. At last he demanded the key of her lady’s chamber,
he having, he said, business of great importance to communicate to
her; she told him she had as great reason not to deliver it,--’That
is,’ said she, (fearing she had said too much) ‘my lady’s commands’.
and finding no persuasion would prevail, and rather venturing
_Sylvia_’. eternal displeasure, than not to be satisfied in the
jealousies she had raised; especially reflecting on _Philander_’.
being in town, he took _Antonet_ in his arms, and forced the key from
her; who was willing to be forced; for she admired _Octavio_’. bounty,
and cared not for _Philander_. _Octavio_ being master of the key,
flies to _Sylvia_’. door like lightning, or a jealous lover, mad to
discover what seen would kill him: he opens the chamber-door, and goes
softly to the bed-side, as if he now feared to find what he sought,
and wished to heaven he might be mistaken; he opened the curtains, and
found _Sylvia_ sleeping with _Philander_ in her arms. I need make no
description of his confusion and surprise; the character I have given
of that gallant honest, generous lover, is sufficient to make you
imagine his heart, when indeed he could believe his eyes: before he
thought--he was about to draw his sword, and run them both through,
and revenge at once his injured honour, his love, and that of his
sister; but that little reason he had left checked that barbarity, and
he was readier, from his own natural sweetness of disposition, to run
himself upon his own sword: and there the Christian pleaded----and yet
found his heart breaking, his whole body trembling, his mind all
agony, his cheeks cold and pale, his eyes languishing, his tongue
refusing to give utterance to his pressure, and his legs to support
his body; and much ado he had to reel into _Antonet_’., chamber, where
he found the maid dying with grief for her concern for him. He was no
sooner got to her bed-side, but he fell dead upon it; while she, who
was afraid to alarm her lady and _Philander_, lest _Octavio_, being
found there, had accused her with betraying them; but shutting the
door close, (for yet no body had seen him but herself) she endeavoured
all she could to bring him to life again, and it was a great while
before she could do so: as soon as he was recovered, he lay a good
while without speaking, reflecting on his fate; but after appearing as
if he had assumed all his manly spirits together, he rose up, and
conjured _Antonet_ to say nothing of what had happened, and that she
should not repent the service she would do him by it. _Antonet_, who
was his absolute, devoted slave, promised him all he desired; and he
had the courage to go once again, to confirm himself in the lewdness
of this undone fair one, whose perjuries had rendered her even odious
now to him, and he beheld her with scorn and disdain: and that she
might know how indifferently he did so, (when she should come to know
it) he took _Philander_’. sword that lay on her _toilet_, and left his
own in the place, and went out pleased; at least in this, that he had
commanded his passion in the midst of the most powerful occasion for
madness and revenge that ever was.

They lay thus secured in each other’s arms till nine o’clock in the
morning, when _Philander_ received a note from _Brilliard_, who was
managing his lord’s design of getting a billet delivered to _Calista_
by the way of a nun, whom _Brilliard_ had made some address to, to
that end, and sent to beg his lord would come to the grate, and speak
to the young nun, who had undertaken for any innocent message. This
note made him rise and haste to go out, when he received another from
an unknown hand; which was thus:

       *       *       *       *       *

_To_ Philander.

My Lord, I have important business with you, and beg I may speak with
you at three of the clock; I will wait for you by the fountain in the
park: Yours.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sylvia_, who was impatient to have him gone, never asked to see
either of these notes, lest it should have deterred him; and she knew
_Octavio_ would visit her early though she knew withal she could
refuse him entrance with any slight excuse, so good an opinion he had
of her virtue, and so absolute an ascendant she had over him.--She had
given orders, if he came, to be refused her chamber; and she was glad
to know he had not yet been at her lodgings. A hundred times she was
about to make use of the lessened love _Philander_ had for her, and to
have proposed to him the suffering _Octavio_ to share her embraces,
for so good an interest, since no returns could be had from _France_,
nor any signs of amendment of their fortunes any other way: but still
she feared he had too much honour to permit such a cheat in love, to
be put even upon an enemy. This fear deferred her speaking of it, or
offering to sacrifice _Octavio_ as a cully to their interest, though
she wished it; nor knew she long how to deceive both; the business was
to put _Philander_ off handsomely, if possible, since she failed of
all other hopes. These were her thoughts while _Philander_ was
dressing, and raised by his asking for some more pistoles from her
cabinet, which she found would quickly be at an end, if one lover
diminished daily, and the other was hindered from increasing: but
_Philander_ was no sooner dressed but he left her to her repose; and
_Octavio_ (who had a _Grison_ attending the motions of _Philander_,
all that morning, and had brought him word he was gone from _Sylvia_)
went to visit her, and entering her chamber, all changed from what he
was before, and death sat in his face and eyes, maugre all his
resolves and art of dissembling. She, not perceiving it as she lay,
stretched out her arms to receive him with her wonted caresses; but he
gently put her off, and sighing, cried--’No, _Sylvia_, I leave those
joys to happier lovers.’ She was a little surprised at that--but not
imagining he had known her guilt, replied: ‘Then those caresses were
only meant for him; for if _Sylvia_ could make him happy, he was sure
of being the man;’ and by force compelled him to suffer her kisses and
embraces, while his heart was bursting, without any sense of the
pleasure of her touches. ‘Ah, _Sylvia_,’ says he, ‘I can never think
myself secure, or happy, while _Philander_ is so near you; every
absent moment alarms me with ten thousand fears; in sleep I dream thou
art false, and givest thy honour up all my absent nights, and all day
thy vows:’ and that he was sure, should she again suffer herself to
see _Philander_, he should be abandoned; and she again undone. ‘For
since I parted with you,’ continued he, ‘I heard from _Clarinau_, that
he saw _Philander_ yesterday come out of your lodgings. How can I bear
this, when you have vowed not to see him, with imprecations that must
damn thee, _Sylvia_, without severe repentance?’----At this she
offered to swear again--but he stopped her, and begged her not to
swear till she had well considered; then she confessed he made her a
visit, but that she used him with that pride and scorn, that if he
were a man of honour he could never bear; and she was sure he would
trouble her no more: in fine, she flattered, fawned, and jilted so, as
no woman, common in the trade of sinful love, could be so great a
mistress of the art. He suffered her to go on, in all that could
confirm him she thought him an errant coxcomb; and all that could
render her the most contemptible of her sex. He was pleased, because
it made him despise her; and that was easier than adoring her; yet,
though he heard her with scorn, he heard her with too much love. When
she was even breathless with eager prostitution--he cried, ‘Ah,
indiscreet and unadvised _Sylvia_, how I pity thee!’ ‘Ah,’ said
she--observing him speak this with a scornful smile--’Is it possible,
you should indeed be offended for a simple visit! which neither was by
my invitation or wish: can you be angry, if I treat _Philander_ with
the civility of a brother? Or rather, that I suffer him to see me, to
receive my reproaches?’--’Stop here,’ said he, ‘thou fair deluding
flatterer, or thou art for ever ruined. Do not charge thy soul yet
farther;--do not delude me on--all yet I can forgive as I am dying,
but should I live, I could not promise thee. Add not new crimes by
cozening me anew; for I shall find out truth, though it lie hid even
in the bottom of _Philander_’., heart.’ This he spoke with an air of
fierceness--which seeing her grow pale upon, he sunk again to
compassion, and in a soft voice cried--’Whatever injuries thou hast
done my honour, thy word, and faith to me, and my poor heart, I can
perhaps forgive when you dare utter truth: there is some honesty in
that’--She once more embracing him, fell anew to protesting her ill
treatment of _Philander_, how she gave him back his vows, and assured
him she would never be reconciled to him. ‘And did you part so,
_Sylvia_?’ replied the dying _Octavio_. ‘Upon my honour,’ said she,
’.ust so.’--’Did you not kiss at parting?’ said he faintly.--’Just
kissed, as friends, no more, by all thy love.’ At this he bursts into
tears, and cried--’Oh! why, when I reposed my heart with thee, and
lavished out my very soul in love, could I not merit this poor
recompense of being fairly dealt with? Behold this sword--I took it
from your _toilet_; view it, it is _Philander_’.; myself this morning
took it from your table: no more--since you may guess the fatal rest:
I am undone, and I am satisfied--I had a thousand warnings of my fate,
but still the beauty charmed, and my too good nature yielded: oft you
have cozened me, and oft I saw it, and still love made me willing to
forgive; the foolish passion hung upon my soul, and soothed me into
peace.’ _Sylvia_, quite confounded, (not so much with the knowledge he
had of the unlucky adventure, as at her so earnestly denying and
forswearing any love had passed between them) lay still to consider
how to retrieve this lost game, and gave him leisure to go on--’Now,’
said he, ‘thou art silent----would thou hadst still been so: ah,
hapless maid, who hast this fate attending thee, to ruin all that love
thee! Be dumb, be dumb for ever; let the false charm that dwells upon
thy tongue, be ended with my life: let it no more undo believing man,
lest amongst the number some one may conquer thee, and deaf to all thy
wit, and blind to beauty, in some mad passion think of all thy
cozenings, should fall upon thee, and forget thy sex, and by thy death
revenge the lost _Octavio_.’ At these words he would have rose from
her arms, but she detained him, and with a piteous voice implored his
pardon; but he calmly replied, ‘Yes, _Sylvia_, I will pardon thee, and
wish that heaven may do so; to whom apply thy early rhetoric and
penitence; for it can never, never charm me more: my fortune, if thou
ever wanted support to keep thee chaste and virtuous, shall still be
commanded by thee, with that usual frankness it has hitherto served
thee; but for _Octavio_, he is resolved to go where he will never more
be seen by woman--or hear the name of love to ought but
heaven--Farewell--one parting kiss, and then a long farewell--’ As he
bowed to kiss her, she caught him fast in her arms, while a flood of
tears bathed his face, nor could he prevent his from mixing with hers:
while thus they lay, _Philander_ came into the room, and finding them so
closely entwined, he was as much surprised almost as _Octavio_ was
before; and, drawing his sword, was about to have killed him; but his
honour overcame his passion; and he would not take him at such
disadvantage, but with the flat of his sword striking him on the back
as he lay, he cried, ‘Rise, traitor, and turn to thy mortal enemy.’
_Octavio_, not at all surprised, turned his head and his eyes bedewed
in tears towards his rival. ‘If thou be’est an enemy,’ said he,
’.hough never couldst have taken me in a better humour of dying.
Finish, _Philander_, that life then, which if you spare, it will
possibly never leave thine in repose; the injuries you have done me
being too great to be forgiven.’ ‘And is it thus,’ replied
_Philander_,--’thus with my mistress, that you would revenge them? Is
it in the arms of _Sylvia_, that you would repay me the favours I did
your sister _Calista_?’ ‘You have by that word,’ said _Octavio_,
’.andsomely reproached my sloth.’ And leaping briskly from the bed, he
took out his sword, and cried: ‘Come then----let us go where we may
repair both our losses, since ladies’ chambers are not fit places to
adjust debts of this nature in.’ At these words they both went
down stairs; and it was in vain _Sylvia_ called and cried out to
conjure them to come back; her power of commanding she had in one
unlucky day lost over both those gallant lovers. And both left her
with pity; to say no worse of the effect of her ill conduct.

_Octavio_ went directly to the park, to the place whither he before
had challenged _Philander_, who lost no time but followed him: as soon
as he was come to the fountain he drew, and told _Philander_ that was
the place whither he invited him in his billet that morning; however,
if he liked not the ground, he was ready to remove to any other:
_Philander_ was a little surprised to find that invitation was a
challenge; and that _Octavio_ should be beforehand with him upon the
score of revenge; and replied, ‘Sir, if the billet came from you, it
was a favour I thank you for; since it kindly put me in mind of that
revenge I ought so justly to take of you, for betraying the secrets of
friendship I reposed in you, and making base advantages of them, to
recommend yourself to a woman you knew I loved, and who hates you, in
spite of all the ungenerous ways you have taken to gain her.’ ‘Sir,’
replied _Octavio_, ‘I confess with a blush and infinite shame, the
error with which you accuse me, and have nothing to defend so great a
perfidy. To tell you, I was wrought out of it by the greatest cunning
imaginable, and that I must have seen _Sylvia_ die at my feet if I had
refused them, is not excuse enough for the breach of that friendship.
No, though I were exasperated with the relation there of my sister’s
dishonour: I must therefore adjust that debt with you as well as I
can; and if I die in the juster quarrel of my sister’s honour, I shall
believe it the vengeance of heaven upon me for that one breach of
friendship.’ ‘Sir,’ replied _Philander_, ‘you have given me so great a
satisfaction in this confession, and have made so good and gallant an
atonement by this acknowledgement, that it is with relunctancy I go to
punish you for other injuries, of which I am assured you cannot so
well acquit yourself.’ ‘Though I would not justify a baseness,’
replied _Octavio_, ‘for which there ought to be no excuse; yet I will
not accuse myself, or acknowledge other injuries, but leave you
something to maintain the quarrel on--and render it a little just on
your side; nor go to wipe off the outrage you pretend I have done your
love, by adoring the fair person who at least has been dear to you, by
the wrongs you have done my sister.’ ‘Come, sir, we shall not by
disputing quit scores,’ cried _Philander_, a little impatiently; ‘what
I have lately seen, has made my rage too brisk for long parly.’ At
that they both advanced, and made about twenty passes before either
received any wound; the first that bled was _Octavio_, who received a
wound in his breast, which he returned on _Philander_, and after that
many were given and taken; so that the track their feet made, in
following and advancing as they fought, was marked out by their blood:
in this condition, (still fighting) _Sylvia_, (who had called them
back in vain, and only in her night-gown in a chair pursued them that
minute they quitted her chamber) found them thus employed, and without
any fear she threw herself between them: _Octavio_, out of respect to
her, ceased; but _Philander_, as if he had not regarded her, would
still have been striving for victory, when she stayed his hand, and
begged him to hear her; he then set the point of his sword to the
ground, and breathless and fainting almost, attended what she had to
say: she conjured him to cease the quarrel, and told him if _Octavio_
had injured him in her heart, he ought to remember he had injured
_Octavio_ as much in that of his sister: she conjured him by all the
friendship both she and himself had received at _Octavio_’. hands; and
concluded with saying so many fine things of that cavalier, that in
lieu of appeasing, it but the more exasperated the jealous _Philander_,
who took new courage with new breath, and passed at _Octavio_. She
then addressed to _Octavio_, and cried: ‘Hold, oh hold, or make your
way through me; for here I will defend virtue and honour!’ and put
herself before _Octavio_: she spoke with so piteous a voice, and
pleaded with so much tenderness, that _Octavio_, laying his sword at
her feet, bid her dispose--false as she was, of his honour: ‘For oh,’
said he, ‘my life is already fallen a victim to your perjuries!’ He
could say no more, but falling where he had laid his sword, left
_Philander_ master of the field. By this time some gentlemen that had
been walking came up to them, and found a man lie dead, and a lady
imploring another to fly: they looked on _Octavio_, and found he had
yet life; and immediately sent for surgeons, who carried him to his
lodgings with very little hope: _Philander_, as well as his wounds
would give him leave, got into a chair, telling the gentlemen that
looked on him, he would be responsible for _Octavio_’. life, if he had
had the ill fortune to take it; that his quarrel was too just to
suffer him to fly.--So being carried to the _cabaret_, with an
absolute command to _Sylvia_ not to follow him, or visit him: for fear
of hurting him by disobeying, she suffered herself to be carried to
her lodgings, where she threw herself on her bed, and drowned her fair
eyes in a shower of tears: she advises with _Antonet_ and her page
what to do in this extremity; she fears she has, by her ill
management, lost both her lovers, and she was in a condition of
needing every aid. They, who knew the excellent temper of _Octavio_,
and knew him to be the most considerable lover of the two, besought
her, as the best expedient she could have recourse to, to visit
_Octavio_, who could not but take it kindly; and they did not doubt
but she had so absolute a power over him, that with a very little
complaisance towards him, she would retrieve that heart her ill luck
had this morning forfeited; and which, they protested, they knew
nothing of, nor how he got into her chamber. This advice she took;
but, because _Octavio_ was carried away dead, she feared, (and swooned
with the fear) that he was no longer in the world, or, at least, that
he would not long be so: however, she assumed her courage again at the
thought, that, if he did die, she had an absolute possession of all
his fortune, which was to her the most considerable part of the man,
or at least, what rendered him so very agreeable to her: however, she
thought fit to send her page, which she did in an hour after he was
carried home, to see how he did; who brought her word that he was
revived to life, and had commanded his gentleman to receive no
messages from her. This was all she could learn, and what put her into
the greatest extremity of grief. She after sent to _Philander_, and
found him much the better of the two, but most infinitely incensed
against _Sylvia_: this also added to her despair; yet since she found
she had not a heart that any love, or loss of honour, or fortune could
break; but, on the contrary, a rest of youth and beauty, that might
oblige her, with some reason, to look forward on new lovers, if the
old must depart: the next thing she resolved was, to do her utmost
endeavour to retrieve _Octavio_, which, if unattainable, she would
make the best of her youth. She sent therefore (notwithstanding his
commands to suffer none of her people to come and see him) to inquire
of his health; and in four days (finding he received other visits) she
dressed herself, with all the advantages of her sex, and in a chair
was carried to his aunt’s, where he lay. The good lady, not knowing
but she might be that person of quality whom she knew to be extremely
in love with her nephew, and who lived at the Court of _Brussels_, and
was niece to the Governor, carried her to his chamber, where she left
her, as not willing to be a witness of a visit she knew must be
supposed _incognito_: it was evening, and _Octavio_ was in bed, and,
at the first sight of her his blood grew disordered in his veins,
flushed in his pale face, and burnt all over his body, and he was near
to swooning as he lay: she approached his bed with a face all set for
languishment, love, and shame in her eyes, and sighs, that, without
speaking, seemed to tell her grief at his disaster; she sat, or rather
fell, on his bed, as unable to support the sight of him in that
condition; she in a soft manner, seized his burning hand, grasped it
and sighed, then put it to her mouth, and suffered a tear or two to
fall upon it; and when she would have spoke, she made her sobs resist
her words; and left nothing unacted, that might move the
tender-hearted _Octavio_ to that degree of passion she wished. A
hundred times fain he would have spoke, but still his rising passion
choked his words; and still he feared they would prove either too soft
and kind for the injuries he had received, or too rough and cold for
so delicate and charming a creature, and one, whom, in spite of all
those injuries, he still adored: she appeared before him with those
attractions that never failed to conquer him, with that submission and
pleading in her modest bashful eyes, that even gave his the lie, who
had seen her perfidy. Oh! what should he do to keep that fire from
breaking forth with violence, which she had so thoroughly kindled in
his heart? How should that excellent good nature assume an unwonted
sullenness, only to appear what it could not by nature be? He was all
soft and sweet, and if he had pride, he knew also how to make his
pleasure; and his youth loved love above all the other little vanities
that attend it, and was the most proper to it. Fain he would palliate
her crime, and considers, in the condition she was, she could not but
have some tenderness for _Philander_; that it was no more than what
before passed; it was no new lover that came to kindle new passions,
or approach her with a new flame; but a decliner, who came, and was
received with the dregs of love, with all the cold indifference
imaginable: this he would have persuaded himself, but dares not till
he hears her speak; and yet fears she should not speak his sense; and
this fear makes him sighing break silence, and he cried in a soft
tone: ‘Ah! why, too lovely fair, why do you come to trouble the repose
of my dying hours? Will you, cruel maid, pursue me to my grave? Shall
I not have one lone hour to ask forgiveness of heaven for my sin of
loving thee? The greatest that ever loaded my youth--and yet,
alas!--the least repented yet. Be kind, and trouble not my solitude,
depart with all the trophies of my ruin, and if they can add any glory
to thy future life, boast them all over the universe, and tell what a
deluded youth thou hast undone. Take, take, fair deceiver, all my
industry, my right of my birth, my thriving parents have been so long
a-getting to make me happy with; take the useless trifle, and lavish
it on pleasure to make thee gay, and fit for luckier lovers: take that
best part of me, and let this worst alone; it was that first won the
dear confession from thee that drew my ruin on--for which I hate
it--and wish myself born a poor cottage boor, where I might never have
seen thy tempting beauty, but lived for ever blessed in ignorance.’ At
this the tears ran from his eyes, with which the softened _Sylvia_
mixed her welcome stream, and as soon as she could speak, she replied
(with half cunning and half love, for still there was too much of the
first mingled with the last), ‘Oh, my _Octavio_, to what extremities
are you resolved to drive a poor unfortunate, who, even in the height
of youth, and some small stock of beauty, am reduced to all the
miseries of the wretched? Far from my noble noble parents, lost to
honour, and abandoned by my friends; a helpless wanderer in a strange
land, exposed to want, and perishing, and had no sanctuary but
thyself, thy dear, thy precious self, whom heaven had sent, in mercy,
to my aid; and thou, at last, by a mistaken turn of miserable fate,
hast taken that dear aid away.’ At this she fell weeping on his
panting bosom; nevertheless he got the courage to reply once again,
before he yielded himself a shameful victim to her flattery, and said;
’.h cruel _Sylvia_, is it possible that you can charge the levity on
me? Is it I have taken this poor aid, as you are pleased to call it,
from you? Oh! rather blame your own unhappy easiness, that after
having sworn me faith and love, could violate them both, both where
there was no need. It would have better become thy pride and quality,
to have resented injuries received, than brought again that scorned,
abandoned person (fine as it was and shining still with youth) to his
forgetful arms.’ ‘Alas,’ said she, ‘I will not justify my hateful
crime: a crime I loathe to think of, it was a fault beyond a
prostitution; there might have possibly been new joy in such a sin,
but here it was palled and gone--fled to eternity away:--And but for
the dear cause I did commit it, there were no expiation for my fault;
no penitent tears could wash away my crime.’ ‘Alas,’ said he--’if
there were any cause, if there be any possible excuse for such a
breach of love, give it my heart; make me believe it, and I may yet
live; and though I cannot think thee innocent, to be compelled by any
frivolous reason, it would greatly satisfy my longing soul. But, have
a care, do not delude me on--for if thou durst persuade me into
pardon, and to return to all my native fondness, and then again
shouldst play me fast and loose; by heaven--by all my sacred passion
to thee, by all that men call holy, I will pursue thee with my utmost
hate; forsake thee with my fortune and my heart; and leave thee
wretched to the scorning crowd. Pardon these rude expressions of a
love that can hardly forgive the words it utters: I blush with shame
while I pronounce them true.’ When she replied, ‘May all you have
pronounced, and all your injured love can invent, fall on me when I
ever more deceive you; believe me now, and but forgive what is past,
and trust my love and honour for the future.’ At this she told him,
that in the first visit _Philander_ made her, she, using him so
reproachfully, and upbraiding him with his inconstancy, made him
understand, that he was betrayed by _Octavio_, and that the whole
intrigue with _Calista_, confessed by him, was discovered to _Sylvia_;
which, he said, put him into so violent a rage against _Octavio_, that
he vowed that minute to find him out and kill him. Nor could all the
persuasions of reason serve to hinder him; so that she who (as she
said) loved _Octavio_ to death, finding so powerful an enemy, as her
fears made her fancy _Philander_ was, ready to have snatched from her,
in one furious moment, all she adored; she had recourse to all the
flattery of love to with-hold him from an attempt so dangerous: and it
was with much ado, with all those aids, that he was obliged to stay,
which she had forced him to do, to get time to give him notice in the
morning for his approaching danger: not that she feared _Octavio_’.
life, had _Philander_ attacked it fairly; but he looked on himself as
a person injured by close private ways, and would take a like revenge,
and have hurt him when he as little dreamed of it, as _Philander_ did
of the discovery he made of his letter to her. To this she swore, she
wept, she embraced, and still protested it true; adding withal a
thousand protestations of her future detestation of him; and that
since the worst was past, and that they had fought, and he was come
off, though with so many wounds, yet with life, she was resolved
utterly to defy _Philander_, as the most perfidious of his sex; and
assured him, that nothing in the world was so indifferent as she in
his arms. In fine, after having omitted nothing that might gain a
credit, and assure him of her love and heart, and possess him with a
belief, for the future, of her lasting vows: he, wholly convinced and
overcome, snatches her in his arms, and bursting into a shower of
tears, cried--’Take--take all my soul, thou lovely charmer of it, and
dispose of the destiny of _Octavio_.’ And smothering her with kisses
and embraces made a perfect reconciliation. When the surgeons, who
came to visit him, finding him in the disorder of a fever, though more
joy was triumphing in his face than before, they imagined this lady
the fair person for whom this quarrel was; for it had made a great
noise you may believe; and finding it hurtful for his wounds, either
to be transported with too much rage, grief, or love, besought him he
would not talk too much, or suffer any visits that might prejudice his
health: and indeed, with what had been past, he found himself after
his transport very ill and feverish, so that _Sylvia_ promised the
doctors she would visit him no more in a day or two, though she knew
not well how to be from him so long; but would content herself with
sending her page to inquire of his health. To this _Octavio_ made very
great opposition, but his aunt, and the rest of the learned, were of
opinion it ought for his health to be so, and he was obliged to be
satisfied with her absence: at parting she came to him, and again
besought him to believe her vows to be well, and that she would depart
somewhere with him far from _Philander_, who she knew was obliged to
attend the motions of _Cesario_ at _Brussels_, whom again she
imprecated never to see more. This satisfied our impatient lover, and
he suffered her to go, and leave him to that rest he could get. She
was no sooner got home, and retired to her chamber, but, finding
herself alone, which now she did not care to be, and being assured she
should not see _Octavio_, instead of triumphing for her new-gained
victory, she sent her page to inquire again of _Philander_’. health,
and to entreat that she might visit him: at first before she sent, she
checked this thought as base, as against all honour, and all her vows
and promises to the brave _Octavio_; but finding an inclination to it,
and proposing a pleasure and satisfaction in it, she was of a nature
not to lose a pleasure for a little punctilio of honour; and without
considering what would be the event of such a folly, she sent her
page, though he had been repulsed before, and forbid coming with any
messages from his lady. The page found no better success than hitherto
he had done: but being with much entreaty brought to _Philander_’.
chamber, he found him sitting in his night-gown, to whom addressing
himself--he had no sooner named his lady--but _Philander_ bid him be
gone, for he would hear nothing from that false woman: the boy would
have replied, but he grew more enraged; and reviling her with all the
railings of incensed lovers, he puts himself into his closet without
speaking any more, or suffering any answer. This message being
delivered to the expecting lady, put her into a very great rage--which
ended in as deep a concern: her great pride, fortified by her
looking-glass, made her highly resent the affront; and she believed it
more to the glory of her beauty to have quitted a hundred lovers, than
to be abandoned by one. It was this that made her rave and tear, and
talk high; and after all, to use her cunning to retrieve what it had
been most happy for her should have been for ever lost; and she ought
to have blessed the occasion. But her malicious star had designed
other fortune for her: she wrote to him several letters, that were
sent back sealed: she railed, she upbraided, and then fell to
submission. At last, he was persuaded to open one, but returned such
answers as gave her no satisfaction, but encouraged her with a little
hope that she should draw him on to a reconciliation: between whiles
she failed not to send _Octavio_ the kindest, impatient letters in the
world, and received the softest replies that the tongue of man could
utter, for he could not write yet. At last, _Philander_ having reduced
_Sylvia_ to the very brink of despair, and finding, by her passionate
importunity, that he could make his peace with her on any terms of
advantage to himself, resolved to draw such articles of agreement as
should wholly subdue her to him, or to stand it out to the last: the
conditions were, that he being a person by no means of a humour to be
imposed upon; if he were dear to her, she should give herself entirely
to his possession, and quit the very conversation of all those he had
but an apprehension would disturb his repose: that she should remove
out of the way of his troublesome rivals, and suffer herself to be
conducted whither he thought good to carry her. These conditions she
liked, all but the going away; she could not tell to what sort of
confinement that might amount. He flies off wholly, and denies all
treaty upon her least scruple, and will not be asked the explanation
of what he has proposed: so that she bends like a slave for a little
empire over him; and to purchase the vanity of retaining him, suffers
herself to be absolutely undone. She submits; and that very day she
had leave from the doctors to visit _Octavio_, and that all-ravished
lover lay panting in expectation of the blessed sight, believing every
minute an age, his apartment dressed and perfumed, and all things
ready to receive the darling of his soul, _Philander_ came in a coach
and six horses (and making her pack up all her jewels and fine things,
and what they could not carry in the coach, put up to come after them)
and hurries her to a little town in _Luke-Land_, a place between
Flanders and Germany, without giving her time to write, or letting her
know whither she was going. While she was putting up her things (I
know she has since confessed) her heart trembled, and foreboded the
ill that was to come; that is, that she was hastening to ruin: but she
had chanced to say so much to him of her passion to retrieve him, that
she was ashamed to own the contrary so soon; but suffered that force
upon her inclinations to do the most dishonourable and disinterested
thing in the world. She had not been there a week, and her trunks of
plate and fine things were arrived, but she fell in labour, and was
brought to bed, though she shewed very little of her condition all the
time she went. This great affair being well over, she considers
herself a new woman, and began, or rather continued, to consider the
advantage she had lost in _Octavio_: she regrets extremely her
conduct, and from one degree to another she looks on herself as lost
to him; she every day saw what she had decayed, her jewels sold one by
one, and at last her necessaries. _Philander_, whose head was running
on _Calista_, grudged every moment he was not about that affair, and
grew as peevish as she; she recovers to new beauty, but he grows
colder and colder by possession; love decayed, and ill humour
increased: they grew uneasy on both sides, and not a day passed
wherein they did not break into open and violent quarrels, upbraiding
each other with those faults, which both wished that either would
again commit, that they might be fairly rid of one another: it grew at
last to that height, that they were never well but when they were
absent from one another; he making a hundred little intrigues and
gallantries with all the pretty women, and those of any quality in the
town or neighbouring _villas_. She saw this with grief, shame, and
disdain, and could not tell which way to relieve herself: she was not
permitted the privilege of visits, unless to some grave ladies, or to
monasteries; a man was a rarity she had hardly seen in two months,
which was the time she had been there; so that she had leisure to
think of her folly, bemoan the effects of her injustice, and contrive,
if she could, to remedy her disagreeable life, which now was reduced,
not only to scurrilous quarrels, and hard words; but, often in her
fury, she flying upon him, and with the courage or indiscretion of her
sex, would provoke him to indecencies that render life insupportable
on both sides. While they lived at this rate, both contriving how
handsomely to get quit of each other, _Brilliard_, who was left in
_Brussels_, to take care of his lord’s affairs there, and that as soon
as he had heard of _Cesario_’. arrival he should come with all speed
and give him notice, thought every minute an hour till he could see
again the charmer of his soul, for whom he suffered continual fevers
of love. He studies nothing but how first to get her pardon, and then
to compass his designs of possessing her: he had not seen her, nor
durst pretend to it, since she left _Holland_. He believed she would
have the discretion to conceal some of his faults, lest he should
discover in revenge some of hers; and fancied she would imagine so of
his conduct: he had met with no reproaches yet from his lord, and
believed himself safe. With this imagination, he omitted nothing that
might render him acceptable to her, nor to gain any secrets he
believed might be of use to him: knowing therefore she had not dealt
very generously with _Octavio_, by this flight with _Philander_, and
believing that that exasperated lover, would in revenge declare any
thing to the prejudice of the fair fugitive, he (under pretence of
throwing himself at his feet, and asking his pardon for his ill
treating him in _Holland_) designed before he went into _Luke-Land_ to
pay _Octavio_ a visit, and accordingly went; he met first with his
page, who being very well acquainted with _Brilliard_, discoursed with
him before he carried him to his lord: he told him that his lord that
day that _Sylvia_ departed, being in impatient expectation of her, and
that she came not according to appointment, sent him to her lodgings,
to know if any accident had prevented her coming; but that when he
came, though he had been with her but an hour before, she was gone
away with _Philander_, never more to return. The youth, not being able
to carry this sad news to his lord, when he came home offered at a
hundred things to conceal the right; but the impatient lover would not
be answered, but, all enraged, commanded him to tell that truth, which
he found already but too apparently in his eyes. The lad so commanded,
could no longer defer telling him _Sylvia_ was gone; and being asked,
again and again, what he meant, with a face and voice that every
moment altered to dying; the page assured him she was gone out of
_Brussels_ with _Philander_, never more to return; which was no sooner
told him, but he sunk on the couch where he lay, and fainted: he
farther told him how long it was, and with what difficulty he was
recovered to life; and that after he was so, he refused to speak or
see any visitors; could for a long time be neither persuaded to eat
nor sleep, but that he had spoken to no body ever since, and did now
believe he could not procure him the favour he begged: that
nevertheless he would go, and see what the very name of any that had
but a relation to the family of _Sylvia_ would produce in him, whether
a storm of passion, or a calm of grief: either would be better than a
dullness, all silent and sad, in which there was no understanding what
he meant by it: whoever spoke, he only made a short sign, and turned
away, as much as to say, speak no more to me: but now resolved to try
his temper, he hastened to his lord, and told him that _Brilliard_,
full of penitence for his past fault, and grief for the ill condition
he heard he was in, was come to pay his humble respects to him, and
gain his pardon before he went to his lord and _Sylvia_; without which
he had not, nor could have, any peace of mind, he being too sensible
of the baseness of the injury he had done him. At the name of
_Philander_ and _Sylvia_, _Octavio_ shewed some signs of listening,
but to the rest no regard; and starting from the bed where he was
laid: ‘Ah! what hast thou said?’ cried he. The page then repeated the
message, and was commanded to bring him up; who, accordingly, with all
the signs of submission, cast himself at his feet and mercy; and,
though he were an enemy, the very thought that he belonged to _Sylvia_
made _Octavio_ to caress him as the dearest of friends: he kept him
with him two or three days, and would not suffer him to stir from him;
but all their discourse was of the faithless _Sylvia_; of whom, the
deceived lover spoke the softest, unheard, tender things, that ever
passion uttered: he made the amorous _Brilliard_ weep a hundred times
a day; and ever when he would have soothed his heart with hopes of
seeing her, and one day enjoying her entirely to himself, he would
with so much peace of mind renounce her, as Brilliard no longer
doubted but he would indeed no more trust her fickle sex. At last, the
news arrived that Cesario was in Brussels, and Brilliard was obliged
the next morning to take horse, and go to his lord: and to make
himself the more acceptable to Sylvia, he humbly besought Octavio to
write some part of his resentments to her, that he might oblige her to
a reason for what she had so inhumanly done: this flattered him a
little, and he was not long before he was overcome by Brilliard’s
entreaties; who, having his ends in every thing, believed this letter
might contain at least something to assist in his design, by giving
him authority over her by so great a secret: the next morning, before
he took horse he waited on Octavio for his letter, and promised him an
answer at his return, which would be in a few days. This letter was
open, and Octavio suffered Brilliard to read it, making him an
absolute confidant in his amour; which having done, he besought him to
add one thing more to it; and that was, to beg her to forgive
Brilliard, which for his sake he knew she would do: he told him, he
was obliged as a good Christian, and a dying man, one resolved for
heaven to do that good office; and accordingly did. Brilliard taking
post immediately, arrived to Philander, where he found every thing as
he wished, all out of humour, still on the fret, and ever peevish. He
had not seen Sylvia, as I said, since she went from Holland, and now
knew not which way to approach her; Philander was abroad on some of
his usual gallantries when Brilliard arrived; and having discoursed a
while of the affairs of his lord and Sylvia, he told Antonet he had a
great desire to speak with that dissatisfied fair one, assuring her,
he believed his visit would be welcome, from what he had to say to her
concerning Octavio: she told him (with infinite joy) that she did not
doubt of his pardon from her lady, if he brought any news from that
gallant injured man; and in all haste, though her lady saw no body,
but refused to rise from her couch, she ran to her, and besought her
to see Brilliard; for he came with a message from Octavio, the person,
who was the subject of their discourse night and day, when alone. She
immediately sent for Brilliard, who approached his goddess with a
trembling devotion; he knelt before her, and humbly besought her
pardon for all that was past: but she, who with the very thought that
he had something to say from Octavio, forgot all but that, hastily bid
him rise, and take all he asked, and hoped for what he wished: in this
transport she embraced his head, and kissed his cheek, and took him
up. ‘That, madam,’ said _Brilliard_, ‘which your divine bounty alone
has given me, without any merit in me, I durst not have had the
confidence to have hoped without my credential from a nobler
hand--this, madam,’ said he--and gave her a letter from _Octavio_: the
dear hand she knew, and kissed a hundred times as she opened it; and
having entreated _Brilliard_ to withdraw for a moment, that he might
not see her concern at the reading it, she sat her down, and found it
thus.

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

I confess, oh faithless _Sylvia_! that I shall appear in writing to
you, to shew a weakness even below that of your infidelity; nor durst
I have trusted myself to have spoken so many sad soft things, as I
shall do in this letter, had I not tried the strength of my heart, and
found I could upbraid you without talking myself out of that
resolution I have taken--but, because I would die in perfect charity
with thee, as with all the world, I should be glad to know I could
forgive thee; for yet thy sins appear too black for mercy. Ah! why,
charming ingrate, have you left me no one excuse for all your ills to
me? Why have you injured me to that degree, that I, with all the
mighty stock of love I had hoarded up together in my heart, must die
reproaching thee to my last gasp of life? which hadst thou been so
merciful to have ended, by all the love that’s breaking of my heart,
that yet, even yet, is soft and charming to me, I swear with my last
breath, I had blessed thee, _Sylvia_: but thus to use me; thus to
leave my love, distracted, raving love, and no one hope or prospect of
relief, either from reason, time, or faithless _Sylvia_, was but to
stretch the wretch upon the rack, and screw him up to all degrees of
pain; yet such, as do not end in kinder death. Oh thou unhappy miner
of my repose! Oh fair unfortunate! if yet my agony would give me leave
to argue, I am so miserably lost, to ask thee yet this woeful
satisfaction; to tell me why thou hast undone me thus? Why thou
shouldst choose me out from all the crowd of fond admiring fools, to
make the world’s reproach, and turn to ridicule? How couldst thou use
that soft good nature so, that had not one ungrateful sullen humour in
it, for thy revenge and pride to work upon? No baseness in my love, no
dull severity for malice to be busy with; but all was gay and kind,
all lavish fondness, and all that woman, vain with youth and beauty,
could wish in her adorer: what couldst thou ask, but empire, which I
gave not? My love, my soul, my life, my very honour, all was resigned
to thee; that youth that might have gained me fame abroad was
dedicated to thy service, laid at thy feet, and idly passed in love.
Oh charming maid, whom heaven has formed for the punishment of all,
whose flames are criminal! Why couldst not thou have made some kind
distinction between those common passions and my flame? I gave thee
all my vows, my honest vows, before I asked a recompense for love. I
made thee mine before the sacred powers, that witness every sacred
solemn vow, and fix them in the eternal book of fate; if thou hadst
given thy faith to any other, as, oh! too sure thou hadst, what fault
was this in me, who knew it not? Why should I bear that sin? I took
thee to me as a virgin treasure, sent from the gods to charm the ills
of life, to make the tedious journey short and joyful; I came to make
atonement for thy sin, and to redeem thy fame; not add to the detested
number. I came to gild thy stains of honour over; and set so high a
price upon thy name, that all reproaches for thy past offences should
have been lost in future crowds of glory: I came to lead thee from a
world of shame, approaching ills and future miseries; from noisy
flatterers that would sacrifice thee, first to dull lust, and more
unthinking wit; possess thee, then traduce thee. By heaven, I swear it
was not for myself alone I took such pains to gain thee, and set thee
free from all those circumstances, that might perhaps debauch thy
worthier nature, and I believed it was with pain you yielded to every
buying lover: no, it was for thy sake, in pity to thy youth, heaven
had inspired me with religious flame; and when I aimed at _Sylvia_ it
was alone I might attain to heaven the surest way, by such a pious
conquest; why hast thou ruined a design so glorious, as saving both
our souls? Perhaps thou vainly thinkest that while I am pleading
thus--I am arguing still for love; or think this way to move thee into
pity; no, by my hopes of death to ease my pain, love is a passion not
to be compelled by any force of reason’s arguments: it is an
unthinking motion of the soul, that comes and goes as unaccountably as
changing moons, or ebbs and flows of rivers, only with far less
certainty. It is not that my soul is all over love, that can beget its
likeness in your heart: had heaven and nature added to that love all
the perfections that adorn our sex, it had availed me nothing in your
soul: there is a chance in love as well as life, and often the most
unworthy are preferred; and from a lottery I might win the prize from
all the venturing throng with as much reason, as think my chance
should favour me with _Sylvia_; it might perhaps have been, but it was
a wondrous odds against me. Beauty is more uncertain than the dice;
and though I ventured like a forward gamester, I was not yet so vain
to hope to win, nor had I once complained upon my fate, if I had never
hoped: but when I had fairly won, to have it basely snatched from my
possession, and like a baffled cully see it seized by a false
gamester, and look tamely on, has given me such _ideas_ of the fool, I
scorn to look into my easy heart, and loathe the figure you made me
there. Oh _Sylvia_! what an angel hadst thou been, hadst thou not
soothed me thus to my undoing! Alas, it had been no crime in thee to
hate me; it was not thy fault I was not amiable; if thy soft eyes
could meet no charms to please them, those soft, those charming eyes
were not in fault; nor that thy sense, too delicate and nice, could
meet no proper subject for thy wit, thy heart, thy tender heart was
not in fault, because it took not in my tale of love, and sent soft
wishes back: oh! no, my _Sylvia_, this, though I had died, had caused
you no reproach; but first to fan my fire by all the arts that ever
subtle beauty could invent; to give me hope; nay, to dissemble love;
yes, and so very well dissemble too, that not one tender sigh was
breathed in vain: all that my love-sick soul was panting for, the
subtle charmer gave; so well, so very well, she could dissemble! Oh,
what more proofs could I expect from love, what greater earnest of
eternal victory? Oh! thou hadst raised me to the height of heaven, to
make my fall to hell the more precipitate. Like a fallen angel now I
howl and roar, and curse that pride that taught me first ambition; it
is a poor satisfaction now, to know (if thou couldst yet tell truth)
what motive first seduced thee to my ruin? Had it been interest--by
heaven, I would have bought my wanton pleasures at as high rates as I
would gratify my real passions; at least when _Sylvia_ set a price on
pleasure: nay, higher yet, for love when it is repaid with equal love,
it saves the chafferer a great expense: or were it wantonness of youth
in thee, alas, you might have made me understood it, and I had met you
with an equal ardour, and never thought of loving, but quenched the
short-lived blaze as soon as kindled; and hoping for no more, had
never let my hasty flame arrive any higher than that powerful minute’s
cure. But oh! in vain I seek for reasons from thee; perhaps thy own
fantastic fickle humour cannot inform thee why thou hast betrayed me;
but thou hast done it, _Sylvia_, and may it never rise in judgement on
thee, nor fix a brand upon thy name for ever, greater than all thy
other guilts can load thee with: live, fair deceiver, live, and charm
_Philander_ to all the heights of his beginning flame; mayst thou be
gaining power upon his heart, and bring it repentance for inconstancy;
may all thy beauty still maintain its lustre, and all thy charms of
wit be new and gay; mayst thou be chaste and true; and since it was
thy fate to be undone, let this at least excuse the hapless maid; it
was love alone betrayed her to that ruin, and it was _Philander_ only
had that power. If thou hast sinned with me, as heaven is my witness,
after I had plighted thee my sacred vows, I do not think thou didst:
may all the powers above forgive thee, _Sylvia_; and those thou hast
committed since those vows, will need a world of tears to wash away:
it is I will weep for both; it is I will go and be a sacrifice to
atone for all our sins: it is I will be the pressing penitent, and
watch, and pray, and weep, until heaven have mercy; and may my penance
be accepted for thee;--farewell--I have but one request to make thee,
which is, that thou wilt, for _Octavio_’. sake, forgive the faithful
slave that brings thee this from thy

OCTAVIO.

_Sylvia_, whose absence and ill treatment of _Octavio_, had but served
to raise her flame to a much greater degree, had no sooner read this
letter, but she suffered herself to be distracted with all the
different passions that possess despairing lovers; sometimes raving,
and sometimes sighing and weeping: it was a good while she continued
in these disorders, still thinking on what she had to do next that
might redeem all: being a little come to herself, she thought good to
consult with _Brilliard_ in this affair, between whom and _Octavio_
she found there was a very good understanding: and resolving
absolutely to quit _Philander_, she no longer had any scruples or
doubt what course to take, nor cared she what price she paid for a
reconciliation with _Octavio_, if any price would purchase it: in
order to this resolve, fixed in her heart, she sends for _Brilliard_,
whom she caresses anew, with all the fondness and familiarity of a
woman, who was resolved to make him her confidant, or rather indeed
her next gallant. I have already said he was very handsome, and very
well made, and you may believe he took all the care he could in
dressing, which he understood very well: he had a good deal of wit,
and was very well fashioned and bred:--With all these accomplishments,
and the addition of love and youth, he could not be imagined to appear
wholly indifferent in the eyes of any body, though hitherto he had in
those of _Sylvia_, whose heart was doting on _Philander_; but now,
that that passion was wholly extinguished, and that their eternal
quarrels had made almost a perpetual separation, she being alone,
without the conversation of men, which she loved, and was used to, and
in her inclination naturally addicted to love, she found _Brilliard_
more agreeable than he used to be; which, together with the designs
she had upon him, made her take such a freedom with him, as wholly
transported this almost hopeless lover: she discourses with him
concerning _Octavio_ and his condition, and he failed not to answer,
so as to please her, right or wrong; she tells him how uneasy she was
with _Philander_, who every day grew more and more insupportable to
her; she tells him she had a very great inclination for _Octavio_, and
more for his fortune that was able to support her, than his person;
she knew she had a great power over him, and however it might seem now
to be diminished by her unlucky flight with _Philander_, she doubted
not but to reduce him to all that love he once professed to her, by
telling him she was forced away, and without her knowledge, being
carried only to take the air was compelled to the fatal place where
she now was. _Brilliard_ soothes and flatters her in all her hope, and
offers her his service in her flight, which he might easily assist,
unknown to _Philander_. It was now about six o’clock at night, and she
commanded a supper to be provided, and brought to her chamber, where
_Brilliard_ and she supped together, and talked of nothing but the new
design; the hope of effecting which put her into so good a humour,
that she frankly drank her bottle, and shewed more signs of mirth than
she had done in many months before: in this good humour, _Brilliard_
looked more amiable than ever; she smiles upon him, she caresses him
with all the assurance of friendship imaginable; she tells him she
shall behold him as her dearest friend, and speaks so many kind
things, that he was emboldened, and approached her by degrees more
near; he makes advances; and the greatest encouragement was, the
secret he had of her intended flight: he tells her, he hoped she would
be pleased to consider, that while he was serving her in a new amour,
and assisting to render her into the arms of another, he was wounding
his own heart, which languished for her; that he should not have taken
the presumption to have told her this, at such a time as he offered
his life to serve her, but that it was already no secret to her, and
that a man who loved at his rate, and yet would contrive to make his
mistress happy with another, ought in justice to receive some
recompense of a flame so constant and submissive. While he spake, he
found he was not regarded with the looks of scorn or disdain; he knew
her haughty temper, and finding it calm, he pressed on to new
submissions; he fell at her feet, and pleaded so well, where no
opposers were, that _Sylvia_ no longer resisted, or if she did, it was
very feebly, and with a sort of a wish that he would pursue his
boldness yet farther; which at last he did, from one degree of
softness and gentle force to another, and made himself the happiest
man in the world; though she was very much disordered at the
apprehension of what she had suffered from a man of his character, as
she imagined, so infinitely below her; but he redoubled his submission
in so cunning a manner, that he soon brought her to her good humour;
and after that, he used the kind authority of a husband whenever he
had an opportunity, and found her not displeased at his services. She
considered he had a secret from her, which, if revealed, would not
only prevent her design, but ruin her for ever; she found too late she
had discovered too much to him to keep him at the distance of a
servant, and that she had no other way to attach him eternally to her
interest, but by this means. He now every day appeared more fine, and
well dressed, and omitted nothing that might make him, if possible, an
absolute master of her heart, which he vowed he would defend with his
life, from even _Philander_ himself; and that he would pretend to no
other empire over her, nor presume, or pretend to engross that fair
and charming person, which ought to be universally adored. In fine, he
failed not to please both her desire and her vanity, and every day she
loved _Philander_ less, who sometimes in two or three days together
came not to visit her. At this time it so happened, he being in love
with the young daughter of an advocate, about a league from his own
lodgings, and he is always eager on the first address, till he has
completed the conquest; so that she had not only time to please and
revenge her with _Brilliard_, but fully to resolve their affairs, and
to provide all things against their flight, which they had absolutely
done before _Philander’s_ return; who, coming home, received
_Brilliard_ very kindly, and the news which he brought, and which made
him understand he should not have any long time to finish his new
amour in; but as he was very conquering both in wit and beauty, he
left not the village without some ruins behind of beauty, which ever
after bewailed his charms; and since his departure was so necessary,
and that in four or five days he was obliged to go, they deferred
their flight till he was gone; which time they had wholly to
themselves, and made as good use of it as they could; at least, she
thought so, and you may be sure, he also, whose love increased with
his possession. But _Sylvia_ longs for liberty, and those necessary
gallantries, which every day diminished; she loved rich clothes, gay
coaches, and to be lavish; and now she was stinted to good
housewifery, a penury she hated.

The time of _Philander’s_, departure being come, he took a very
careless leave of _Sylvia_, telling her he would see what commands the
Prince had for him, and return in ten or twelve days. _Brilliard_
pretended some little indisposition, and begged he might be permitted
to follow him, which was granted; and the next day, though Brilliard
pleaded infinitely for a continuation of his happiness two or three
days more, she would not grant it, but obliged him, by a thousand kind
promises of it for the future, to get horses ready for her page, and
woman, and her coach for herself; which accordingly was done, and they
left the village, whose name I cannot now call to mind, taking with
her what of value she had left. They were three days on their journey:
_Brilliard_, under pretence of care of her health, the weather being
hot, and for fear of overtaking _Philander_ by some accident on the
road, delayed the time as much as was possible, to be as happy as he
could all the while; and indeed _Sylvia_ was never seen in a humour
more gay. She found this short time of hope and pleasure had brought
all her banished beauties back, that care, sickness, and grief, had
extremely tarnished; only her shape was a little more inclining to be
fat, which did not at all however yet impair her fineness; and she was
indeed too charming without, for the deformity of her indiscretion
within; but she had broke the bounds of honour, and now stuck at
nothing that might carry on an interest, which she resolved should be
the business of her future life.

She at last arrived at _Brussels_, and caused a lodging to be taken
for her in the remotest part of the town; as soon as she came she
obliged _Brilliard_ to visit _Octavio_; but going to his aunt’s, to
inquire for him, he was told that he was no longer in the world; he
stood amazed a-while, believing he had been dead, when madam the aunt
told him he was retired to the monastery of the Order of St _Bernard_,
and would, in a day or two, without the probationary year, take Holy
Orders. This did not so much surprise him as the other, knowing that
he discoursed to him, when he saw him last, as if some such retirement
he meant to resolve upon; with this news, which he was not altogether
displeased at, _Brilliard_ returned to _Sylvia_, which soon changed
all her good humour to tears and melancholy: she inquired at what
place he was, and believed she should have power to withdraw him from
a resolution so fatal to her, and so contradictive to his youth and
fortune; and having consulted the matter with _Brilliard_, he had
promised her to go to him, and use all means possible to withdraw him.
This resolved, she writ a most insinuating letter to him, wherein she
excused her flight by a surprise of _Philander’s_, and urged her
condition, as it then was, for the excuse of her long silence; and
that as soon as her health would give her leave, she came to put
herself eternally into his arms, never to depart more from thence.
These arguments and reasons, accompanied with all the endearing
tenderness her artful fancy was capable of framing, she sent with a
full assurance it would prevail to persuade him to the world, and her
fair arms again. While she was preparing this to go, _Philander_, who
had heard at his arrival, what made so much noise, that he had been
the occasion of the world’s loss of two of the finest persons in it,
the sister _Calista_ by debauching her, and the brother by ravishing
his mistress from him, both which were entering, without all
possibility of prevention, into Holy Orders; he took so great a
melancholy at it, as made him keep his chamber for two days, maugre
all the urgent affairs that ought to have invited him from thence; he
was consulting by what power to prevent the misfortune; he now ran
back to all the obligations he had to _Octavio_, and pardons him all
the injuries he did him; he loves him more by loving _Sylvia_ less,
and remembered how that generous friend, after he knew he had
dishonoured his sister, had notwithstanding sent him Letters of Credit
to the magistrates of _Cologne_, and Bills of Exchange, to save him
from the murder of his brother-in-law, as he was likely to have been.
He now charges all his little faults to those of love, and hearing
that old _Clarinau_ was dead of the wound _Octavio_ had given him by
mistake, which increased in him new hope of _Calista_, could she be
retrieved from the monastery, he resolved, in order to this, to make
_Octavio_ a visit, to beg his pardon, and beg his friendship, and his
continuation in the world. He came accordingly to the monastery, and
was extremely civilly received by _Octavio_, who yet had not the habit
on. _Philander_ told him, he heard he was leaving the world, and could
not suffer him to do so, without endeavouring to gain his pardon of
him, for all the injuries he had done him; that as to what related to
his sister the Countess, he protested upon his honour, if he had but
imagined she had been so, he would have suffered death sooner than his
passion to have approached her indiscreetly; and that for _Sylvia_, if
he were assured her possession would make him happy, and call him to
the world again, he assured him he would quit her to him, were she ten
times dearer to him than she was. This he confirmed with so many
protestations of friendship, that _Octavio_, obliged to the last
degree, believed and returned him this answer. ‘Sir, I must confess
you have found out the only way to disarm me of my resentment against
you, if I were not obliged, by those vows I am going to take, to
pardon and be at peace with all the world. However, these vows cannot
hinder me from conserving entirely that friendship in my heart, which
your good qualities and beauties at first sight engaged there, and
from esteeming you more than perhaps I ought to do; the man whom I
must yet own my rival, and the undoer of my sister’s honour. But
oh--no more of that; a friend is above a sister, or a mistress.’ At
this he hung down his eyes and sighed--_Philander_ told him he was too
much concerned in him, not to be extremely afflicted at the resolution
he had taken, and besought him to quit a design so injurious to his
youth, and the glorious things that heaven had destined him to; he
urged all that could be said to dissuade him, and, after all, could
not believe he would quit the world at this age, when it would be
sufficient forty years hence so to do. _Octavio_ only answered with a
smile; but, when he saw _Philander_ still persist, he endeavoured to
convince him by speaking; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he vowed,
by all the holy powers there, he never would look down to earth again;
nor more consider fickle, faithless, beauty: ‘All the gay vanities of
youth,’ said he, ‘for ever I renounce, and leave them all to those
that find a pleasure, or a constancy in them; for the fair, faithless,
maid, that has undone me, I leave to you the empire of her heart; but
have a care,’ said he (and sighing laid his arms about his neck) ‘for
even you, with all that stock of charms, she will at last betray: I
wish her well--so well, as to repent of all her wrongs to me--It is
all I have to say.’ What _Philander_ could urge, being impossible to
prevail with him: and begging his pardon and friendship (which was
granted by _Octavio_, and implored on his side from _Philander_) he
took a ring of great value from his finger, and presented it to
_Philander_, and begged him to keep it for his sake; and to remember
him while he did so: they kissed, and sighing parted.

_Philander_ was no sooner gone, but _Brilliard_ came to wait on
_Octavio_, whom he found at his devotion, and begged his pardon for
disturbing him: he received him with a very good grace, and a cheerful
countenance, embracing him; and after some discourse of the condition
he was going to reduce himself to, and his admiration, that one so
young should think of devoting himself so early to heaven, and things
of that nature, as the time and occasion required, he told him the
extreme affliction _Sylvia_ was seized with, at the news of the
resolution he had taken, and delivered him a letter, which he read
without any emotions in his heart or face, as at other times used to
be visible at the very mention of her name, or approach of her
letters. At the finishing of which, he only smiling cried: ‘Alas, I
pity her,’ and gave him back the letter. _Brilliard_ asked, if he
would not please to write her some answer, or condescend to see her;
’.o,’ replied _Octavio_, ‘I have done with all the gilded vanities of
life, now I shall think of _Sylvia_ but as some heavenly thing, fit
for diviner contemplations, but never with the youthful thoughts of
love.’ What he should send her now, he said, would have a different
style to those she used to receive from him; it would be pious
counsel, grave advice, unfit for ladies so young and gay as _Sylvia_,
and would scarce find a welcome: he wished he could convert her from
the world--and save her from the dangers that pursued her. To this
purpose was all he said of her, and all that could be got from him by
the earnest solicitor of love, who perhaps was glad his negotiation
succeeded no better, and took his leave of him, with a promise to
visit him often; which _Octavio_ besought him to do, and told him he
would take some care, that for the good of _Sylvia_’. better part, she
should not be reduced by want of necessaries for her life, and little
equipage, to prostitute herself to vile inconstant man; he yet had so
much respect for her--and besought _Brilliard_ to come and take care
of it with him, and to entreat _Sylvia_ to accept of it from him; and
if it contributed to her future happiness, he should be more pleased
than to have possessed her entirely.

You may imagine how this news pleased _Sylvia_; who trembling with
fear every moment, had expected _Brilliard_’. coming, and found no
other benefit by his negotiation, but she must bear what she cannot
avoid; but it was rather with the fury of a bacchanal, than a woman of
common sense and prudence; all about her pleaded some days in vain,
and she hated _Brilliard_ for not doing impossibilities; and it was
some time before he could bring her to permit him to speak to her, or
visit her.

_Philander_ having left _Octavio_, went immediately to wait on
_Cesario_, who was extremely pleased to meet him there, and they
exchanged their souls to each other, and all the secrets of them.
After they had discoursed of all that they had a mind to hear and know
on both sides, _Cesario_ inquired of him of _Sylvia_’. health; and
_Philander_ gave him an account of the uneasiness of her temper, and
the occasions of their quarrels, in which _Octavio_ had his part, as
being the subject of some of them: from this he falls to give a
character of that rival, and came to this part of it, where he had put
himself into the Orders of the _Bernardines_, resolving to leave the
world, and all its charms and temptations. As they were speaking, some
gentlemen, who came to make their court to the Prince, finding them
speak of _Octavio_, told them that to-morrow he was to be initiated,
without the year’s trial; the Prince would needs go and see the
ceremony, having heard so much of the man; and accordingly next day,
accompanied with the Governor, _Philander, Tomaso_, and abundance of
persons of quality and officers, he went to the great church, where
were present all the ladies of the Court, and all that were in the
town. The noise of it was so great, that _Sylvia_, all languishing,
and ill as she was, would not be persuaded from going, but so muffled
in her hoods, as she was not to be known by any.

Never was any thing so magnificent as this ceremony, the church was on
no occasion so richly adorned; _Sylvia_ chanced to be seated near the
Prince of _Mechlenburgh_, who was then in _Brussels_, and at the
ceremony; sad as she was, while the soft music was playing, she
discoursed to him, though she knew him not, of the business of the
day: he told her, she was to see a sight, that ought to make her sex
less cruel; a man extremely beautiful and young, whose fortune could
command almost all the pleasures of the world; yet for the love of the
most amiable creature in the world, who has treated him with rigour,
he abandons this youth and beauty to all the severity of rigid
devotion: this relation, with a great deal he said of _Octavio_’.
virtues and bravery, had like to have discovered her by putting her
into a swoon; and she had much ado to support herself in her seat. I
myself went among the rest to this ceremony, having, in all the time I
lived in _Flanders_, never been so curious to see any such thing. The
Order of St _Bernard_ is one of the neatest of them, and there is a
monastery of that Order, which are obliged to be all noblemen’s sons;
of which I have seen fifteen hundred at a time in one house, all
handsome, and most of them young; their habit adds a grace to their
person, for of all the Religious, that is the most becoming: long
white vests of fine cloth, tied about with white silk sashes, or a
cord of white silk; over this a long cloak without a cape, of the same
fine white broad cloth; their hair of a pretty length, as that of our
persons in _England_, and a white beaver; they have very fine
apartments, fit for their quality, and above all, every one their
library; they have attendance and equipage according to their rank,
and have nothing of the inconveniencies and slovenliness of some of
the Religious, but served in as good order as can be, and they have
nothing of the monastic,--but the name, the vow of chastity, and the
opportunity of gaining heaven, by the sweetest retreat in the world,
fine house, excellent air, and delicate gardens, grottoes and groves.
It was this Order that _Octavio_ had chosen, as too delicate to
undertake the austerity of any other; and in my opinion, it is here a
man may hope to become a saint sooner than in any other, more
perplexed with want, cold, and all the necessaries of life, which
takes the thought too much from heaven, and afflicts it with the cares
of this world, with pain and too much abstinence: and I rather think
it is necessity than choice, that makes a man a _Cordelier_, that may
be a _Jesuit_, or _Bernardine_, to the best of the _Holy Orders_. But,
to return, it was upon a _Thursday_ this ceremony began; and, as I
said, there was never any thing beheld so fine as the church that day
was, and all the Fathers that officiated at the high-altar; behind
which a most magnificent scene of glory was opened, with clouds most
rarely and artificially set off, behind which appeared new ones more
bright and dazzling, till from one degree to another, their lustre was
hardly able to be looked on; and in which sat an hundred little angels
so rarely dressed, such shining robes, such charming faces, such
flowing bright hair, crowned with roses of white and red, with such
artificial wings, as one would have said they had borne the body up in
the splendid sky; and these to soft music, turned their soft voices
with such sweetness of harmony, that, for my part, I confess, I
thought myself no longer on earth; and sure there is nothing gives an
idea of real heaven, like a church all adorned with rare pictures, and
the other ornaments of it, with whatever can charm the eyes; and
music, and voices, to ravish the ear; both which inspire the soul with
unresistible devotion; and I can swear for my own part, in those
moments a thousand times I have wished to die; so absolutely had I
forgot the world, and all its vanities, and fixed my thoughts on
heaven. While this music continued, and the anthems were singing,
fifty boys all in white, bearing silver censers, cast incense all
round, and perfumed the place with the richest and most agreeable
smells, while two hundred silver lamps were burning upon the altar, to
give a greater glory to the opened scene, whilst other boys strewed
flowers upon the inlaid pavement, where the gay victim was to tread;
for no crowd of gazers filled the empty space, but those that were
spectators, were so placed, as rather served to adorn than disorder
the awful ceremony, where all were silent, and as still as death; as
awful, as mourners that attend the hearse of some loved monarch: while
we were thus listening, the soft music playing, and the angels
singing, the whole fraternity of the Order of St _Bernard_ came in,
two by two, in a very graceful order; and going up to the shining
altar, whose furniture that day was embroidered with diamonds, pearls,
and stones of great value, they bowed and retired to their places,
into little gilded stalls, like our Knights of the Garter at
_Windsor_: after them, fifty boys that sang approached in order to the
altar, bowed, and divided on each side; they were dressed in white
cloth of silver, with golden wings and rosy chaplets: after these the
Bishop, in his pontific robes set with diamonds of great price, and
his mitre richly adorned, ascended the altar, where, after a short
anthem, he turned to receive the young devotee, who was just entered
the church, while all eyes were fixed on him: he was led, or rather,
on each side attended with two young noblemen, his relations; and I
never saw any thing more rich in dress, but that of _Octavio_ exceeded
all imagination, for the gaiety and fineness of the work: it was white
cloth of silver embroidered with gold, and buttons of diamonds; lined
with rich cloth of gold and silver flowers, his breeches of the same,
trimmed with a pale pink garniture; rich linen, and a white plume in
his white hat: his hair, which was long and black, was that day in the
finest order that could be imagined; but, for his face and eyes, I am
not able to describe the charms that adorned them; no fancy, no
imagination, can paint the beauties there: he looked indeed, as if he
were made for heaven; no mortal ever had such grace: he looked
methought, as if the gods of love had met in council to dress him up
that day for everlasting conquest; for to his usual beauties he seemed
to have the addition of a thousand more; he bore new lustre in his
face and eyes, smiles on his cheeks, and dimples on his lips: he
moved, he trod with nobler motions, as if some supernatural influence
had took a peculiar care of him: ten thousand sighs, from all sides,
were sent him, as he passed along, which, mixed with the soft music,
made such a murmuring, as gentle breezes moving yielding boughs: I am
assured, he won that day more hearts, without design, than ever he had
gained with all his toils of love and youth before, when industry
assisted him to conquer. In his approach to the altar, he made three
bows; where, at the foot of it on the lower step, he kneeled, and then
High-Mass began; in which were all sorts of different music, and that
so excellent, that wholly ravished with what I saw and heard, I
fancied myself no longer on earth, but absolutely ascended up to the
regions of the sky. All I could see around me, all I heard, was
ravishing and heavenly; the scene of glory, and the dazzling altar;
the noble paintings, and the numerous lamps; the awfulness, the music,
and the order, made me conceive myself above the stars, and I had no
part of mortal thought about me. After the holy ceremony was
performed, the Bishop turned and blessed him; and while an anthem was
singing, _Octavio_, who was still kneeling, submitted his head to the
hands of a Father, who, with a pair of scissors, cut off his delicate
hair; at which a soft murmur of pity and grief filled the place: those
fine locks, with which _Sylvia_ had a thousand times played, and wound
the curls about her snowy fingers, she now had the dying grief, for
her sake, for her infidelity, to behold sacrificed to her cruelty, and
distributed among the ladies, who, at any price, would purchase a
curl: after this they took off his linen, and his coat, under which he
had a white satin waistcoat, and under his breeches drawers of the
same. Then, the Bishop took his robes, which lay consecrated on the
altar, and put them on, and invested him with the holy robe: the
singing continuing to the end of the ceremony; where, after an anthem
was sung (while he prostrated himself before the altar) he arose, and
instead of the two noblemen that attended him to the altar, two
_Bernardines_ approached, and conducted him from it, to the seats of
every one of the Order, whom he kissed and embraced, as they came
forth to welcome him to the Society. It was with abundance of tears
that every one beheld this transformation; but _Sylvia_ swooned
several times during the ceremony, yet would not suffer herself to be
carried out; but _Antonet_ and another young lady of the house where
she lodged, that accompanied her, did what they could to conceal her
from the public view. For my part, I swear I was never so affected in
my life with any thing, as I was at this ceremony; nor ever found my
heart so oppressed with tenderness; and was myself ready to sink where
I sat, when he came near me, to be welcomed by a Father that sat next
to me: after this, he was led by two of the eldest Fathers to his
apartment, and left a thousand sighing hearts behind him. Had he died,
there had not been half that lamentation; so foolish is the mistaken
world to grieve at our happiest fortune; either when we go to heaven
or retreat from this world, which has nothing in it that can really
charm, without a thousand fatigues to attend it: and in this retreat,
I am sure, he himself was the only person that was not infinitely
concerned; who quitted the world with so modest a bravery, so entire a
joy, as no young conqueror ever performed his triumphs with more.

The ceremony being ended, _Antonet_ got _Sylvia_ to her chair,
concerned even to death; and she vowed afterwards she had much ado to
with-hold herself from running and seizing him at the altar, and
preventing his fortune and design, but that she believed _Philander_
would have resented it to the last degree, and possibly have made it
fatal to both herself and _Octavio_. It was a great while before she
could recover from the indisposition to which this fatal and
unexpected accident had reduced her: but, as I have said, she was not
of a nature to die for love; and charming and brave as _Octavio_ was,
it was perhaps her interest, and the loss of his considerable fortune
that gave her the greatest cause of grief. Sometimes she vainly
fancied that yet her power was such, that with the expense of one
visit, and some of her usual arts, which rarely fail, she had power to
withdraw his thoughts from heaven, and fix them all on herself again,
and to make him fly those enclosures to her more agreeable arms: but
again she wisely considered, though he might be retrieved, his fortune
was disposed of to holy uses, and could never be so. This last thought
more prevailed upon her, and had more convincing reason in it, than
all that could besides oppose her flame; for she had this wretched
prudence, even in the highest flights and passions of her love, to
have a wise regard to interest; insomuch, that it is most certain, she
refused to give herself up entirely even to _Philander_; him, whom one
would have thought nothing but perfect love, soft irresistible love,
could have compelled her to have transgressed withal, when so many
reasons contradicted her passion: how much more then ought we to
believe, that interest was the greatest motive of all her
after-passions? However, this powerful motive failed not to beget in
her all the pains and melancholies that the most violent of passions
could do: but _Brilliard_, who loved her to a greater degree than
ever, strove all he could to divert the thoughts of a grief, for which
there was no remedy; and believed, if he could get her out of
_Brussels_, retired to the little town, or rather village, where he
was first made happy, and where _Philander_ still believed her to be,
he should again re-assume that power over her heart he had before: in
this melancholy fit of hers he proposed it, urging the danger he
should be in for obeying her, should _Philander_ once come to know
that she was in _Brussels_; and that possibly she would not find so
civil a treatment as he ought to pay her, if he should come to the
knowledge of it: besides these reasons, he said, he had some of
greater importance, which he must not discover till she were withdrawn
from _Brussels_: but there needed not much to persuade her to retire,
in the humour she then was; and with no opposition on her side, she
told him, she was ready to go where he thought fit; and accordingly
the next day they departed the town, and in three more arrived to the
village. In all this journey _Brilliard_ never approached her but with
all the respect imaginable, but withal, with abundance of silent
passion: which manner of carriage obliged _Sylvia_ very often to take
notice of it, with great satisfaction and signs of favour; and as he
saw her melancholy abate, he increased in sighing and lover’s
boldnesses: yet with all this, he could not oblige her to those
returns he wished: when, after ten days’ stay, _Philander_ writ to him
to inquire of his health, and of _Sylvia_, to whom he sent a very kind
good-natured letter, but no more of the lover, than if there had never
been such a joy between them: he begged her to take care of herself,
and told her, he would be with her in ten or fifteen days; and desired
her to send him _Brilliard_, if he were not wholly necessary to her
service; for he had urgent affairs to employ him in: so that
_Brilliard_, not being able longer with any colour to defend his stay,
writ him word he would wait on him in two days; which short time he
wholly employed in the utmost endeavour to gain _Sylvia_’. favour; but
she, whose thoughts were roving on new designs, which she thought fit
to conceal from a lover, still put him off with pretended illness, and
thoughtfulness on the late melancholy object and loss of _Octavio_:
but assured him, as soon as she was recovered of that pressure, she
would receive him with the same joy she had before, and which his
person and his services merited from her; it was thus she soothed the
hoping lover, who went away with all the satisfaction imaginable,
bearing a letter from _Sylvia_ to _Philander_, written with all the
art of flattery. _Brilliard_ was no sooner gone, but _Sylvia_, whose
head ran on new adventures, resolved to try her chance; and being,
whenever she pleased, of a humour very gay, she resolved upon a
design, in which she could trust no body but her page, who loved his
lady to the last degree of passion, though he never durst shew it even
in his looks or sighs; and yet the cunning _Sylvia_ had by chance
found his flame, and would often take delight to torture the poor
youth, to laugh at him: she knew he would die to serve her, and she
durst trust him with the most important business of her life: she
therefore the next morning sends for him to her chamber, which she
often did, and told him her design; which was, in man’s clothes to go
back to _Brussels_, and see if they could find any adventures by the
way that might be worth the journey, and divert them: she told him she
would trust him with all her secrets; and he vowed fidelity. She bid
him bring her a suit of those clothes she used to wear at her first
arrival at _Holland_, and he looked out one very fine, and which she
had worn that day she went to have been married to _Octavio_, when the
_States’. messengers took her up for a _French_ spy, a suit
_Philander_ had never seen: she equips herself, and leaving in charge
with _Antonet_ what to say in her absence, and telling her she was
going upon a frolic to divert herself a day or two; she, accompanied
by her page only, took horse and made away towards _Brussels_: you
must know, that the half-way stage is a very small village, in which
there is most lamentable accommodation, and may vie with any part of
_Spain_ for bad inns. _Sylvia_, not used much to riding as a man, was
pretty well tired by that time she got to one of those _hotels_; and,
as soon as she alighted, she went to her chamber to refresh and cool
herself; and while the page was gone to the kitchen to see what there
was to eat, she was leaning out of the window, and looking on the
passengers that rode along, many of which took up in the same house.
Among them that alighted, there was a very handsome young gentleman,
appearing of quality, attended only by his page. She considered this
person a little more than the rest, and finding him so unaccompanied,
had a curiosity, natural to her, to know who he was: she ran to
another window that looked into the yard, a kind of balcony, and saw
him alight, and look at her; and saluted her in passing into the
kitchen, seeing her look like a youth of quality: coming in, he saw
her page, and asked if he belonged to that young cavalier in
the gallery; the page told him he did: and being asked who he was,
he told him he was a young nobleman of _France_; a stranger to all
those parts, and had made an escape from his tutors; and said he was
of a humour never to be out of his way; all places being alike to him
in those little adventures. So leaving him (with yet a greater
curiosity) he ran to _Sylvia_, and told her what had passed between
the young stranger and him: while she, who was possessed with the same
inquisitive humour, bid him inquire who he was; when the master of the
_hotel_ coming in the interim up to usher in her supper, she inquired
of him who that young stranger was; he told her, one of the greatest
persons in _Flanders_; that he was nephew to the Governor, and who had
a very great equipage at other times; but that now he was _incognito_,
being on an intrigue: this intrigue gave _Sylvia_ new curiosity; and
hoping the master would tell him again, she fell into great praises of
his beauty and his mien; which for several reasons pleased the man of
the inn, who departed with the good news, and told every word of it to
the young cavalier: the good man having, besides the pleasing him with
the grateful compliments, a farther design in the relation; for his
house being very full of persons of all sorts, he had no lodgings for
the Governor’s nephew, unless he could recommend him to our young
cavalier. The gay unknown, extremely pleased with the character he had
given him by so beautiful a gentleman, and one who appeared of so much
quality, being alone, and knowing he was so also, sent a _Spanish_
page, that spoke very good _French_, and had a handsome address, and
quick wit, to make his compliment to the young _Monsieur_; which was
to beg to be admitted to sup with him; who readily accepted the
honour, as she called it; and the young Governor, whom we must call
_Alonzo_, for a reason or two, immediately after entered her chamber,
with an admirable address, appearing much handsomer near, than at a
distance, though even then he drew _Sylvia_’. eyes with admiration on
him: there were a thousand young graces in his person, sweetnesses in
his face, love and fire in his eyes, and wit on his tongue: his
stature was neither tall nor low, very well made and fashioned; a
light-brown hair, hazel eyes, and a very soft and amorous air; about
twenty years of age: he spoke very good _French_; and after the first
compliments on either side were over, as on such occasions are
necessary; in which on both sides were nothing but great expressions
of esteem, _Sylvia_ began so very well to be pleased with the fair
stranger, that she had like to have forgot the part she was to act,
and have made discoveries of her sex, by addressing herself with the
modesty and blushes of a woman: but _Alonzo_, who had no such
apprehension, though she appeared with much more beauty than he
fancied ever to have seen in a man, nevertheless admired, without
suspecting, and took all those signs of effeminacy to unassured youth,
and first address; and he was absolutely deceived in her. _Alonzo_’.
supper being brought up, which was the best the bad inn afforded, they
sat down, and all the supper time talked of a thousand pleasant
things, and most of love and women, where both expressed abundance of
gallantry for the fair sex. _Alonzo_ related many short and pleasant
accidents and amours he had had with women.

Though the stranger were by birth a _Spaniard_; yet, while they
discoursed the glass was not idle, but went as briskly about, as if
_Sylvia_ had been an absolute good fellow. _Alonzo_ drinks his and his
mistress’s health, and _Sylvia_ returned the civility, and so on, till
three bottles were sacrificed to love and good humour; while she, at
the expense of a little modesty, declared herself so much of the
opinion of _Don Alonzo_, for gay inconstancy, and the blessing of
variety, that he was wholly charmed with a conversation so agreeable
to his own. I have heard her page say, from whom I have had a great
part of the truths of her life, that he never saw _Sylvia_ in so
pleasant a humour all his life before, nor seemed so well pleased,
which gave him, her lover, a jealousy that perplexed him above any
thing he had ever felt from love; though he durst not own it. But
_Alonzo_ finding his young companion altogether so charming (and in
his own way too) could not forbear very often from falling upon his
neck, and kissing the fair disguised, with as hearty an ardour, as
ever he did one of the other sex: he told her he adored her; she was
directly of his principle, all gay, inconstant, galliard and roving,
and with such a gusto, he commended the joys of fickle youth, that
_Sylvia_ would often say, she was then jealous of him, and envious of
those who possessed him, though she knew not whom. The more she looked
on him, and heard him speak, the more she fancied him: and wine that
warmed her head, made her give him a thousand demonstrations of love,
that warmed her heart; which he mistook for friendship, having
mistaken her sex. In this fit of beginning love (which is always the
best) and jealousy, she bethought her to ask him on what adventure he
had now been; for he being without his equipage, she believed, she
said, he was upon some affair of love: he told her there was a lady,
within an hour’s riding of that place, of quality, and handsome, very
much courted: amongst those that were of the number of her adorers, he
said, was a young man of quality of _France_, who called himself
_Philander_: this _Philander_ had been about eight days very happy in
her favour, and had happened to boast his good fortune the next night
at the Governor’s table, where he dined with the Prince _Cesario_. ‘I
told him,’ continued _Alonzo_, ‘that the person he so boasted of, had
so soon granted him the favour, that I believed she was of a humour to
suffer none to die at her feet: but this,’ said he, ‘_Philander_
thought an indignity to his good parts, and told me, he believed he
was the only man happy in her favour, and that could be so: on this I
ventured a wager, at which he coloured extremely, and the company
laughed, which incensed him more; the Prince urged the wager, which
was a pair of _Spanish_ horses, the best in the Court, on my side,
against a discretion on his: this odds offered by me incensed him yet
more; but urged to lay, we ended the dispute with the wager, the best
conclusion of all controversies. He would have known what measures I
would take; I refused to satisfy him in that; I only swore him upon
honour, that he should not discover the wager, or the dispute to the
lady. The next day I went to pay her a visit, from my aunt, the
Governor’s lady, and she received me with all the civility in the
world. I seemed surprised at her beauty, and could talk of nothing but
the adoration I had for her, and found her extremely pleased, and
vain; of which feeble resistance I made so good advantage, that before
we parted, being all alone, I received from her all the freedoms, that
I could with any good manners be allowed the first time; she firing me
with kisses, and suffering my closest embraces. Having prospered so
well, I left her for that time, and two days after I made my visit
again; she was a married lady, and her husband was a _Dutch_ Count,
and gone to a little government he held under my uncle, so that again
I found a free admittance; I told her, it was my aunt’s compliment I
brought before, but that now it was my own I brought, which was that
of an impatient heart, that burnt with a world of fire and flame, and
nonsense. In fine, so eager I was, and so pressing for something more
than dull kissing, that she began to retire as fast as she advanced
before, and told me, after abundance of pressing her to it, that she
had set a price upon her beauty, and unless I understood how to
purchase her, it was not her fault if I were not happy. At first I so
little expected it had been money, that I reiterated my vows, and
fancied it was the assurance of my heart she meant; but she very
frankly replied, “Sir, you may spare your pains, and five hundred
pistoles will ease you of a great deal of trouble, and be the best
argument of your love.” This generous conscientious humour of hers, of
suffering none to die that had five hundred pistoles to present for a
cure, was very good news to me, and I found I was not at all obliged
to my youth or beauty, but that a man with half a nose, or a single
eye, or that stunk like an old _Spaniard_ that had dined on rotten
cheese and garlic, should have been equally as welcome for the
aforesaid sum, to this charming insensible. I must confess, I do not
love to chaffer for my pleasure, it takes off the best part of it; and
were I left to my own judgement of its worth, I should hardly have
offered so sneaking a sum; but that sort of bargaining, was her
humour, and to enjoy her mind, though she had strangely palled me by
this management of the matter: all I had now to do, was to appoint my
night, and bring my money; now was a very proper time for it, her
husband being absent: I took my leave of her, infinitely well pleased
to have gained my point on any terms, with a promise to deliver myself
there the next night: but she told me, she had a brother to come
to-morrow, whom she would not have see me, and for that reason (being
however not willing to delay the receiving her pistoles) she desired I
would wait at this very house ‘till a footman should give me notice
when to come; accordingly I came, and sent her a billet, that I waited
prepared at all points; and she returned me a billet to this purpose;
that her brother with some relations being arrived, as she expected,
she begged for her honour’s sake, that I would wait till she sent,
which should be as soon as they were gone to their chambers; and they,
having rid a long journey, would early retire; that she was impatient
of the blessing, and should be as well prepared as himself, and that
she would leave her woman _Letitia_ to give me admittance.----This
satisfied me very well; and as I attended her, some of my acquaintance
chanced to arrive; with whom I supped, and took so many glasses to her
health as it passed down, that I was arrived at a very handsome pitch,
and to say truth, was as full of _Bacchus_ as of _Venus_. However, as
soon as her footman arrived, I stole away, and took horse, and by that
time it was quite dark arrived at her house, where I was led in by a
young maid, whose habit was very neat and clean, and she herself
appeared to my eyes, then dazzling with wine, the most beautiful young
creature I had ever seen, as in truth she was; she seemed all modesty,
and blushing innocence; so that conducting me into a low parlour,
while she went to tell her lady I was come, who lay ready dressed in
all the magnificences of night-dress to receive me, I sat
contemplating on this fair young maid, and no more thought of her lady
than of _Bethlehem Gaber_. The maid soon returned, and curtseying,
told me, with blushes on her face, that her lady expected me; the
house was still as sleep, and no noise heard, but the little winds
that rushed among the jessamine that grew at the window; now whether
at that moment, the false light in the room, or the true wine deceived
me, I know not; but I beheld this maid as an angel for beauty, and
indeed I think she had all the temptations of nature. I began to kiss
her, and she to tremble and blush; yet not so much out of fear, as
surprise and shame at my address. I found her pleased with my vows,
and melting at my kisses; I sighed in her bosom, which panted me a
welcome there; that bosom whiter than snow, sweeter than the nosegay
she had planted there. She urged me faintly to go to her lady, who
expected me, and I swore it was for her sake I came (whom I never saw)
and that I scorned all other beauties: she kindled at this, and her
cheeks glowed with love. I pressed her to all I wished; but she
replied, she was a maid, and should be undone. I told her, I would
marry her, and swore it with a thousand oaths; she believed, and grew
prettily fond----In fine, at last she yielded to all I asked of her,
which we had scarce recovered when her lady rung. I could not stir,
but she who feared a surprise ran to her, and told her, I was gone
into the garden, and would come immediately; she hastens down again to
me, fires me anew, and pleased me anew; it was thus I taught a longing
maid the first lesson of sin, at the price of fifty pistoles, which I
presented her; nor could I yet part from this young charmer, but
stayed so long, that her lady rung a silver bell again; but my new
prize was so wholly taken up with the pleasure of this new amour, and
the good fortune arrived to her, she heard not the bell, so that the
fair deceived put on her night-gown and slippers, and came softly down
stairs, and found my new love and I closely embracing, with all the
passion and fondness imaginable. I know not what she saw in me in that
kind moment to her woman, or whether the disappointment gave her a
greater desire, but it is most certain she fell most desperately in
love with me, and scorning to take notice of the indignity I put upon
her, she unseen stole to her chamber; where, after a most afflicting
night, she next morning called her woman to her (whom I left towards
morning, better pleased with my fifty pistoles worth of beauty, than I
should have been with that of five hundred): the maid, whose guilt
made her very much unassured, approached her lady with such
tremblings, as she no longer doubted but she was guilty, but durst not
examine her about it, lest she, who had her honour in keeping, should,
by the discovery she found she had made of her levity, expose that of
her lady. She therefore dissembled as well as she could, and examined
her about my stay; to which the maid answered, I had fallen asleep,
and it was impossible to awake me ‘till day appeared; when for fear of
discovery I posted away. This, though the lady knew was false, she was
forced to take for current excuse; and more raging with love than
ever, she immediately dispatched away her footman with a letter to me,
upbraiding me extremely; but, at the same time, inviting me with all
the passion imaginable; and, because I should not again see my young
mistress, who was dying in love with me, she appointed me to meet her
at a little house she had, a bow-shot from her own, where was a fine
decoy, and a great number of wild-fowl kept, which her husband took
great delight in; there I was to wait her coming; where lived only a
man and his old wife, her servants: I was very glad of this
invitation, and went; she came adorned with all her charms.

I considered her a new woman, and one whom I had a wager to win upon,
the conquest of one I had inclination to, till by the discovery of the
jilt in her, I began to despise the beauty; however, as I said, she
was new, and now perhaps easy to be brought to any terms, as indeed it
happened; she caressed me with all imaginable fondness; was ready to
eat my lips instead of kissing them, and much more forward than I
wished, who do not love an over-easy conquest; however, she pleased me
for three days together, in all which time she detained me there,
coming to me early, and staying the latest hour; and I have no reason
to repent my time; for besides that I have passed it very well, she at
my coming away presented me this jewel in my hat, and this ring on my
finger, and I have saved my five hundred pistoles, my heart, and my
credit in the encounter, and am going to _Brussels_ to triumph over
the haughty conceited _Philander_, who set so great a value on his own
beauty, and yet, for all his fine person, has paid the pistoles,
before he could purchase the blessing, as she swore to me, who have
made a convert of her, and reduced her to the thing she never yet was,
a lover; insomuch, that she has promised me to renounce _Philander_: I
have promised to visit her again; but if I do it will be more for the
vanity to please, than to be pleased; for I never repeat any thing
with pleasure.’ All the while he spoke, _Sylvia_ fixed her eyes, and
all her soft desires upon him; she envies the happy Countess, but much
more the happy maid, with whom his perfect liking made him happy; she
fancies him in her arms, and wishes him there; she is ready a thousand
times to tell him she is a woman, but, when she reflects on his
inconstancy, she fears. When he had ended his story, she cried,
sighing, ‘And you are just come from this fair lady?’ He answered her,
he was sound and heart whole: she replied, ‘It is very well you are
so, but all the young do not thus escape from beauty, and you may,
some time or other, be entrapped.’ ‘Oh,’ cried he, ‘I defy the power
of one, while heaven has distributed variety to all.’ ‘Were you never
in love?’ replied Sylvia. ‘Never,’ said he, ‘that they call love: I
have burnt and raved an hour or two, or so; pursued, and gazed, and
laid sieges, till I had overcome; but, what is this to love? Did I
ever make a second visit, unless upon necessity, or gratitude? And
yet----’ and there he sighed; ‘and yet,’ said he, ‘I saw a beauty once
upon the _Tour_, that has ever since given me torment.’ ‘At
_Brussels_? said _Sylvia_. ‘There,’ replied he; ‘she was the fairest
creature heaven ever made, such white and red by nature, such hair,
such eyes, and such a mouth!----All youth and ravishing sweetness;--I
pursued her to her lodgings, and all I could get, was, that she
belonged to a young nobleman, who since has taken Orders. From the
night I saw her, I never left her window, but had spies of all sorts,
who brought me intelligence, and a little after, I found she had
quitted the place with a new lover, which made me love and rave ten
times more, when I knew assuredly she was a whore--and how fine a one
I had missed.’ This called all the blood to _Sylvia_’. face, and so
confounded her she could not answer; she knew it was herself of whom
he spoke; and that coarse word, though innocently spoken, or rather
gaily expressed, put her quite out of countenance; however, she
recovered again, when she considered they were not meant as rudenesses
to her. She loved him, and was easy to pardon: with such discourse
they passed the evening till towards bed-time, and the young
_Spaniard_, who had taken little rest in three nights before, wanted
some repose; and calling for his chamber, the host besought him, since
they had the happiness (the young _French_ gentleman and himself) to
be so good friends, that they would share a bed together: ‘For in
truth,’ said he, ‘sir, you must sit up all night else;’ he replied,
with all his soul, it was the most grateful proposal had been ever
made him; and addressing himself to _Sylvia_, asked him if he would
allow him that blessing: she blushed extremely at the question, and
hung down her eyes, and he laughed to see it: ‘Sir,’ said _Sylvia_, ‘I
will give you my bed, for it is all one to me to lie on a bed, or on
the chairs.’ ‘Why, sir,’ said _Alonzo_, ‘I am too passionate an adorer
of the female sex, to incommode any of my own with addresses; nor am I
so nice, but I can suffer a man to lie by me, especially so dear a
youth as yourself;’ at which he embraced her in his arms, which did
but the more raise _Sylvia_’. blushes, who wished for what she
dreaded: ‘With you, sir,’ said she, ‘I could methinks be content to do
what I do not use to do;’ and, fearing to betray her sex, forced a
consent; for either one or the other she was compelled to do; and with
the assurance that he thought her what she seemed, she chose to give
her consent, and they both went to bed together: to add to her deceit
(she being forced in her sickness to cut off her hair) when she put
off her periwig she discovered nothing of the woman; nor feared she
any thing but her breasts, which were the roundest and the whitest in
the world; but she was long in undressing, which to colour the matter,
she suffered her page to do; who, poor lad, was never in so trembling
a condition, as in that manner to be obliged to serve her, where she
discovered so many charms he never before had seen, but all such as
might be seen with modesty: by that time she came to bed, _Alonzo_ was
fast asleep, being so long kept waking, and never so much as dreamt he
had a woman with him; but she, whose fears kept her waking, had a
thousand agitations and wishes; so natural it is, when virtue has
broke the bounds of modesty, to plunge in past all retreat; and, I
believe there are very few who retire after the first sin. She
considers her condition in a strange country, her splendour declining,
her love for _Philander_ quite reduced to friendship, or hardly that;
she was young, and ate and drank well; had a world of vanity, that
food of desire, that fuel to vice: she saw this the beautifullest
youth she imagined ever to have seen, of quality and fortune able to
serve her; all these made her rave with a desire to gain him for a
lover, and she imagined as all the vain and young do, that though no
charms had yet been able to hold him, she alone had those that would;
her glass had a thousand times told her so; she compares him to
_Octavio_, and finds him, in her opinion, handsomer; she was possessed
with some love for _Philander_, when he first addressed to her, and
_Octavio_ shared at best but half a heart; but now, that she had lost
all for _Philander_ and _Octavio_, and had a heart to cast away, or
give a new lover; it was like her money, she hated to keep it, and
lavished it on any trifle, rather than hoard it, or let it lie by: it
was a loss of time her youth could not spare; she, after reflection,
resolved, and when she had resolved, she believed it done. By a candle
she had by her, to read a little novel she had brought, she surveyed
him often, as curiously as _Psyche_ did her _Cupid_, and though he
slept like a mere mortal, he appeared as charming to her eyes as the
winged god himself; and it is believed she wished he would awake and
find by her curiosity, her sex: for this I know, she durst no longer
trust herself a-bed with him, but got up, and all the last part of the
night walked about the room: her page lay in the room with her, by her
order, on the table, with a little valise under his head, which he
carried _Sylvia_’. linen in; she awoke him, and told him all her
fears, in a pleasant manner. In the morning _Alonzo_ awakes, and
wonders to find her up so soon, and reproached her for the unkindness;
new protestations on both sides passing of eternal friendship, they
both resolved for _Brussels_; but, lest she should encounter
_Philander_ on the way, who possibly might be on visiting his _Dutch_
countess, she desired him to ride on before, and to suffer her to lose
the happiness of his company, till they met in _Brussels_: with much
ado he consents, and taking the ring the countess gave him, from off
his finger, ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘be pleased to wear this, and if ever you
need my fortune, or my sword, send it, and in what part of the world
soever I am, I will fly to your service.’ _Sylvia_ returned him a
little ring set round with diamonds, that Philander in his wooing time
had given her, amongst a thousand of finer value: his name and hers
were engraven instead of a posie in it; which was only _Philander_ and
_Sylvia_, and which he took no notice of, and parted from each other
in the tenderest manner, that two young gentlemen could possibly be
imagined to do, though it were more than so on her side; for she was
madly in love with him.

As soon as _Sylvia_ came to _Brussels_, she sent in the evening to
search out _Brilliard_, for she had discovered, if he should come to
the knowledge of her being in town, and she should not send to him, he
would take it so very ill, that he might prevent all her designs and
rambles, the now joy of her heart; she knew she could make him her
slave, her pimp, her any thing, for love, and the hope of her favour,
and his interest might defend her; and she should know all
_Philander_’., motions, whom now, though she loved no more, she
feared. She found him, and he took her lodgings, infinitely pleased at
the trust she reposed in him, the only means by which he could arrive
to happiness. She continues her man’s habit, and he supplied the place
of _valet_, dressed her and undressed her, shifted her linen every
day; nor did he take all these freedoms, without advancing a little
farther upon occasion and opportunity, which was the hire she gave
him, to serve her in more lucky amours; the fine she paid to live
free, and at ease. She tells him her adventure, which, though it were
daggers to his heart, was, however, the only way to keep her his own;
for he knew her spirit was too violent to be restrained by any means.
At last, she told him her design upon a certain young man of quality,
who she told him, was the same she encountered. She assured him it was
not love or liking, but perfectly interest that made her design upon
him, and that if he would assist her, she would be very kind to him,
as a man that had gained very greatly upon her heart. This flattery
she urged with infinite fondness and art, and he, overjoyed, believed
every word as gospel; so that he promised her the next day to carry a
billet to the young _don_: in the mean time, she caused him to sup
with her, purposely to give him an account of _Philander_, _Cesario_
and _Hermione_, whom she heard was come to _Brussels_, and lived
publicly with the Prince. He told her, it was very true, and that he
saw them every day, nay, every moment together; for he verily believed
they could not live asunder; that _Philander_ was every evening
caballing there, where all the malcontents of the Reformed Religion
had taken sanctuary, and where the Grand Council was every night held;
for some great things were in agitation, and debating how to trouble
the repose of all _France_ again with new broils; he told her, that
all the world made their court to _Hermione_, that if any body had any
petitions, or addresses to make to the Prince, it was by her sole
interest; she sat in their closest councils, and heard their gravest
debates; and she was the oracle of the board: the Prince paying her
perfect adoration, while she, whose charms of youth were ended, being
turned of thirty, fortified her decays with all the art her wit and
sex were capable of, and kept her illustrious lover as perfectly her
slave, as if she had engaged him by all those ties that fetter the
most circumspect, and totally subdued him to her will, who was,
without exception, the most lovely person upon earth; ‘and though,
madam, you know him so perfectly well, yet I must tell you my opinion
of him: he is all the softer sex can wish, and ours admire; he is
formed for love and war; and as he is the most amorous and wanton in
courts, he is also the most fierce and brave in field; his birth the
most elevated, his age arrived to full blown man, adorned with all the
spreading glories that charm the fair, and engage the world; and I
have often heard some of our party say, his person gained him more
numbers to his side, than his cause or quality; for he understood all
the useful arts of popularity, the gracious smile and bow, and all
those cheap favours that so gain upon hearts; and without the expense
of any thing but ceremony, has made the nation mad for his interest,
who never otherwise obliged them; and sure nothing is more necessary
in the great, than affability; nor shews greater marks of grandeur, or
shall more eternize them, than bowing to the crowd. As the maiden
queen I have read of in _England_, who made herself idolized by that
sole piece of politic cunning, understanding well the stubborn, yet
good nature of the people; and gained more upon them by those little
arts, than if she had parted with all the prerogatives of her Crown.
Ah! madam, you cannot imagine what little slights govern the whole
universe, and how easy it is for monarchs to oblige. This _Cesario_
was made to know, and there is no one so poor an object, who may not
have access to him, and whom he does not send away well pleased,
though he do not grant what they ask. He dispatches quickly, which is
a grateful virtue in great men; and none ever espoused his interest,
that did not find a reward and a protection; it is true, these are all
the tools he is to work with, and he stops at nothing that leads to
his ambition; nor has he done all that lies in the power of man only,
to set all _France_ yet in a flame, but he calls up the very devils
from hell to his aid, and there is no man famed for necromancy, to
whom he does not apply himself; which, indeed, is done by the advice
of _Hermione_, who is very much affected with those sort of people,
and puts a great trust and confidence in them. She sent at great
expense, for a _German_ conjurer, who arrived the other day, and who
is perpetually consulting with another of the same sort, a _Scot_ by
birth, called _Fergusano_. He was once in Holy Orders, and still is
so, but all his practice is the Black Art; and excellent in it he is
reported to be. _Hermione_ undertakes nothing without his advice; and
as he is absolutely her creature, so his art governs her, and she the
Prince: she holds her midnight conferences with him; and as she is
very superstitious, so she is very learned, and studies this art,
taught by this great master _Fergusano_; and so far is this glorious
hero bewitched with these sorcerers, that he puts his whole trust in
these conjurations and charms; and so far they have imposed on him,
that with an enchanted ointment, which they had prepared for him, he
shall be invulnerable, though he should face the mouth of a cannon:
they have, at the earnest request of _Hermione_, calculated his
nativity, and find him born to be a king; and, that before twenty
moons expire, he shall be crowned in _France_: and flattering his easy
youth with all the vanities of ambition, they have made themselves
absolutely useful to him. This _Scot_, being a most inveterate enemy
to _France_, lets the Prince rest neither night nor day, but is still
inspiring him with new hopes of a crown, and laying him down all the
false arguments imaginable, to spur the active spirit: my lord is not
of the opinion, yet seems to comply with them in Council; he laughs at
all the fopperies of charms and incantations; insomuch, that he many
times angers the Prince, and is in eternal little feuds with
_Hermione_. The _German_ would often in these disputes say, he found
by his art, that the stop to the Prince’s glory would be his love.
This so incensed _Hermione_, and consequently the Prince, that they
had like to have broke with him, but durst not for fear; he knowing
too much to be disobliged: on the other side, _Fergusano_ is most
wonderfully charmed with the wit and masculine spirit of _Hermione_,
her courage, and the manliness of her mind; and understanding which
way she would be served, resolved to obey her, finding she had an
absolute ascendancy over the Prince, whom, by this means, he knew he
should get into his sole management. _Hermione_, though she seemed to
be possessed so entirely of _Cesario_’. heart, found she had great and
powerful opposers, who believed the Prince lay idling in her arms, and
that possibly she might eclipse his fame, by living at that rate with
a woman he had no other pretensions to but love; and many other
motives were urged daily to him by the admirers of his great actions:
and she feared, with reason, that some time or other, ambition might
get the ascendancy of love: she, therefore, in her midnight
conferences with _Fergusano_, often urged him to shew her that piece
of his art, to make a philtre to retain fleeting love; and not only
keep a passion alive, but even revive it from the dead. She tells him
of her contract with him; she urges his forced marriage, as she was
pleased to call it, in his youth; and that he being so young, she
believed he might find it lawful to marry himself a second time; that
possibly his Princess was for the interest of the King; and men of his
elevated fortune ought not to be tied to those strictnesses of common
men, but for the good of the public, sometimes act beyond the musty
rules of law and equity, those politic bands to confine the _mobile_.
At this unreasonable rate she pleads her right to _Cesario_, and he
hearkens with all attention, and approves so well all she says, that
he resolves, not only to attach the Prince to her by all the force of
the Black Art, but that of necessary marriage also: this pleased her
to the last degree; and she left him, after he had promised her to
bring her the philtre by the morning: for it was that she most urged,
the other requiring time to argue with him, and work him by degrees to
it. Accordingly, the next morning he brings her a tooth-pick-case of
gold, of rare infernal workmanship, wrought with a thousand charms, of
that force, that every time the Prince should touch it, and while he
but wore it about him, his fondness should not only continue, but
increase, and he should hate all womankind besides, at least in the
way of love, and have no power to possess another woman, though she
had all the attractions of nature. He tells her the Prince could never
suspect so familiar a present, and for the fineness of the work, it
was a present for a Prince; ‘For,’ said he, ‘no human art could frame
so rare a piece of workmanship; that nine nights the most delicate of
the Infernals were mixing the metal with the most powerful of charms,
and watched the critical minutes of the stars, in which to form the
mystic figures, every one being a spell upon the heart, of that
unerring magic, no mortal power could ever dissolve, undo, or
conquer.’ The only art now was in giving it, so as to oblige him never
to part with it; and she, who had all the cunning of her sex,
undertook for that part; she dismissed her infernal confidant, and
went to her _toilet_ to dress her, knowing well, that the Prince would
not be long before that he came to her: she laid the tooth-pick-case
down, so as he could not avoid seeing it: the Prince came immediately
after in, as he ever used to do night and morning, to see her dress
her; he saw this gay thing on the table, and took it in his hand,
admiring the work of it, as he was the most curious person in the
world: she told him, there was not a finer wrought thing in the world,
and that she had a very great esteem for it, it being made by the
_Sybils_; and bid him mind the antiqueness of the work: the more she
commended it, the more he liked it, and told her, she must let him
call it his: she told him, he would give it away to the next
commender: he vowed he would not: she told him then he should not only
call it his, but it should in reality be so; and he vowed it should be
the last thing he would part with in the world. From that time forward
she found, or thought she found, a more impatient fondness in him than
she had seen before: however it was, she ruled and governed him as she
pleased; and indeed never was so great a slave to beauty, as, in my
opinion, he was to none at all; for she is far from having any natural
charms; yet it was not long since it was absolutely believed by all,
that he had been resolved to give himself wholly up to her arms; to
have sought no other glory, than to have retired to a corner of the
world with her, and changed all his crown of laurel for those of
roses: but some stirring spirits have roused him anew, and awakened
ambition in him, and they are on great designs, which possibly ‘ere
long may make all _France_ to tremble; yet still _Hermione_ is
oppressed with love, and the effects of daily increasing passion. He
has perpetual correspondence with the party in _Paris_, and advice of
all things that pass; they let him know they are ready to receive him
whenever he can bring a force into _France_; nor needs he any
considerable number, he having already there, in every place through
which he shall pass, all, or the most part of the hearts and hands at
his devotion; and they want but arms, and they shall gather as they
go: they desire he will land himself in some part of the kingdom, and
it would be encouragement enough to all the joyful people, who will
from all parts flock together. In fine, he is offered all assistance
and money; and lest all the forces of _France_ should be bent against
him, he has friends, of great quality and interest, that are resolved
to rise in several places of the kingdom, in _Languedoc_ and
_Guyenne_, whither the King must be obliged to send his forces, or a
great part of them; so that all this side of _France_ will be left
defenceless. I myself, madam, have some share in this great design,
and possibly you will one day see me a person of a quality sufficient
to merit those favours I am now blessed with.’ ‘Pray,’ replied
_Sylvia_, smiling with a little scorn, ‘what part are you to play to
arrive at this good fortune?’ ‘I am,’ said he, ‘trusted to provide all
the ammunition and arms, and to hire a vessel to transport them to
some sea-port town in _France_, which the Council shall think most
proper to receive us.’ _Sylvia_ laughed, and said, she prophesied
another end of this high design than they imagined; but desperate
fortunes must take their chance. ‘What,’ continued she, ‘does not
_Hermione_ speak of me, and inquire of me?’ ‘Yes,’ replied
_Brilliard_; ‘but in such a way, as if she looked on you as a lost
creature, and one of such a reputation, she would not receive a visit
from for all the world.’ At this _Sylvia_ laughed extremely, and
cried, ‘_Hermione_ would be very well content to be so mean a sinner
as myself, to be so young and so handsome a one. However,’ said she,
’.o be serious, I would be glad to know what real probability there is
in advancing and succeeding in this design, for I would take my
measures accordingly, and keep _Philander_, whose wavering, or rather
lost fortune, is the greatest motive of my resolves to part with him,
and that have made me so uneasy to him.’ _Brilliard_ told her, he was
very confident of the design, and that it was almost impossible to
miscarry in the discontent all _France_ was in at this juncture; and
they feared nothing but the Prince’s relapsing, who, now, most
certainly preferred love to glory. He farther told her, that as they
were in Council, one deputed from the _Parisians_ arrived with new
offers, and to know the last result of the Prince, whether he would
espouse their interest or not, as they were with life and fortune
ready to espouse his glory. ‘They sent him word, it was from him they
expected liberty, and him whom they looked upon as their tutelar
deity. Old _Fergusano_ was then in Council, that _Highland_ wizard
that manages all, and who is ever at hand to awaken mischief, alarmed
the Prince to new glories, reproaching his scandalous life, withal
telling him, there were measures to be taken to reconcile love and
fame; and which he was to discourse to him about in his closet only;
but as things were, he bid him look into the story of _Armida_ and
_Renaldo_, and compare his own with it, and he doubted not, but he
would return blushing at his remissness and sloth: not that he would
exempt his youth from the pleasures of love, but he would not have
love hinder his glory: this bold speech before _Hermione_ had like to
have begot an ill understanding; but she was as much for the Prince’s
glory as _Fergusano_, and therefore could not be angry, when she
considered the elevation of the Prince would be her own also: at this
necessary reproach the Prince blushed; the board seconding the wizard,
had this good effect to draw this assurance from him, that they should
see he was not so attached to love, but he could for some time give a
cessation to his heart, and that the envoy from the _Parisians_ might
return assured, that he would, as soon as he could put his affairs in
good order, come to their relief, and bring arms for those that had
none, with such friends as he could get together; he could not promise
numbers, lest by leading so many here, their design should take air,
but would wholly trust to fortune, and their good resolutions: he
demanded a sum of money of them for the buying these arms, and they
have promised him all aids. This is the last result of Council, which
broke immediately up; and the Prince retired to his closet, where he
was no sooner come, but reflecting on the necessity of leaving
_Hermione_, he fell into the most profound melancholy and musing that
could seize a man; while he sat thus, _Hermione_ (who had schooled
_Fergusano_ for his rough speech in Council, and desired he would now
take the opportunity to repair that want of respect, while the Prince
was to be spoken to alone) sent him into the closet to him; where he
found him walking with his arms a-cross, not minding the bard who
stood gazing on him, and at last called to him; and finding no reply,
he advanced, and pulling him gently by the arm, cried,--“Awake royal
young man, awake! and look up to coming greatness”--“I was
reflecting,” replied _Cesario_, “on all the various fortunes I have
passed, from the time of my birth to this present hapless day, and
would be glad to know if any supernatural means can tell me what
future events will befall me? If I believed I should not gain a crown
by this great enterprise I am undertaking, here I would lay me down in
silent ease, give up my toils and restless soul to love, and never
think on vain ambition more: ease thou my troubled mind, if thou hast
any friend among the Infernals, and they dare utter truth.” “My
gracious Prince,” replied the fawning wizard, “this night, if you dare
loose yourself from love, and come unattended to my apartment, I will
undertake to shew you all the future fortune you are to run, the
hazards, dangers, and escapes that attend your mighty race of life; I
will lay the adamantine Book before you, where all the destinies of
princes are hieroglyphick’d. I will shew you more, if hell can furnish
objects, and you dare stand untrembling at the terror of them.”
 “Enough,” replied _Cesario_, “name me the hour.” “Betwixt twelve and
one,” said he; “for that is the sacred dismal time of night for fiends
to come, tombs to open and let loose their dead.--We shall have use of
both----” “No more,” replied _Cesario_, “I will attend them.” The
Prince was going out, when _Fergusano_ recalled him, and cried, “One
thing, sir, I must caution you, that from this minute to that, wherein
I shall shew you your destiny, you commit nothing unlawful with
women-kind.” “Away,” replied the Prince, smiling, “and leave your
canting.” The wizard, putting on a more grave countenance,
replied--“By all the Infernals, sir, if you commit unlawful things I
cannot serve you.” “If your devils,” replied the Prince, laughing, “be
so nice, I doubt I shall find them too honest for my purpose.” “Sir,”
 said the subtle old fiend, “such conscientious devils Your Highness is
to converse with to-night; and if you discover the secret, it will I
not prove so lucky.” “Since they are so humorous,” cried _Cesario_, “I
will give them way for once.” And going out of the room, he went
directly to _Hermione_’. apartment; where, it being late, she is
preparing for bed, and with a thousand kisses, and hanging on his
neck, she asked him why he is so slow, and why he suffers not himself
to be undressed? He feigns a thousand excuses, at which she seems
extremely amazed; she complains, reproaches, and commands----He tells
her, he was to wait on the Governor about his most urgent affairs, and
was (late as it was) to consult with him: she asked him what affairs
he was to negotiate, of which she was not to bear her part? He refuses
to tell her, and she replied she had sense and courage for any
enterprise, and should resent it very ill, if she were not made
acquainted with it: but he swore I to her she should know all the
truth, as soon as he returned.

’.his pacified her in some measure, and at the hour appointed she
suffered him to go; and in a chair was carried to a little house
_Fergusano_ had taken without the town, to which belonged a large
garden, at the farther end of which was a thicket of unordered trees,
that surrounded the grotto, which I passed a good way under the
ground. It had had some rarities of water-work formerly belonging to
it, but now they were decayed; only here and there a broken rock let
out a little stream, that murmured and dashed upon the earth below,
and ran away in a little rivulet, which served to add a melancholy to
the dismal place: into this the Prince was conducted by the old
_German_, who assisted in the charm; they had only one torch to light
the way, which at the entrance of the cave they put out, and within
was only one glimmering lamp, that rather served to add to the horror
of the vault, discovering its hollowness and ruins. At his entrance,
he was saluted with a noise like the rushing of wind, which whizzed
and whistled in the mighty concave. Anon a more silent whispering
surrounded him, without being able to behold any creature save the old
_German_. Anon came in old _Fergusano_, who rolling a great stone,
that lay at one corner of the cave, he desired the Prince to place
himself on it, and not be surprised at any thing he should behold, nor
to stir from that enchanted ground; he, nodding, assented to obey,
while _Fergusano_ and the _German_, with each a wand in their hands,
struck against the unformed rocks that finished the end of the cave,
muttering a thousand incantations, with voices dreadful, and motions
antic; and, after a mighty stroke of thunder that shook the earth, the
rude rock divided, and opened a space that discovered a most
magnificent apartment; in which was presented a young hero, attended
with military officers; his pages dressing him for the field all in
gilded armour. The Prince began to doubt himself, and to swear in his
thought, that the apparition was himself, so very like he was to
himself, as if he had seen his proper figure in a glass. After this,
several persons seemed to address to this great man, of all sorts and
conditions, from the Prince to the peasant, with whom he seemed to
discourse with great confidence and affability; they offered him the
League, which he took and signed, and gave them back; they attend him
to the door with great joy and respect; but as soon as he was gone,
they laughed and pointed at him; at which the Prince infinitely
incensed, rose, and cried out, “What means all this; s’death, am I
become the scorn and mockery of the crowd?” _Fergusano_ besought him
to sit and have patience, and he obeyed, and checked himself. The
scene of the apartment being changed to an arbour of flowers, and the
prospect of a noble and ravishing garden, the hero is presented armed
as he was, only without his plume head-piece, kneeling at the feet of
a fair woman, in loose robes and hair, and attended with abundance of
little Loves, who disarm him by degrees of those ornaments of war.
While she caresses him with all the signs of love, the _Cupids_ made
garlands of flowers, and wreath round his arms and neck, crowning his
head, and fettering him all over in these sweet soft chains. They curl
his hair, and adorn him with all effeminacy while he lies smiling and
pleased,--the wanton boys disposing of his instruments of war as they
think fit, putting them to ridiculous uses, and laughing at them.
While thus he lay, there enter to him a great many statesmen, and
politicians; grave men in furs and chains, attended by the common
crowd; and opening a scene farther off in prospect, shew him crowns,
sceptres, globes, ensigns, arms, and trophies, promiscuously shuffled
together, with heaps of gold, jewels, parchments, records, charters
and seals; at which sight, he starts from the arms of the fair
_Medea_, and strove to have approached those who waited for him; but
she held him fast, and with abundance of tears and sighs of moving
flattery, brought him back to her arms again, and all dissatisfied the
promiscuous crowd depart, some looking back with scorn, others with
signs of rage: and all the scene of glory, of arms and crowns,
disappeared with the crowd. _Cesario_ wholly forgetting, cried out
again, “Ha! lost all for a trifling woman! Lost all those trophies of
thy conquest for a mistress! By heaven I will shake the charmer from
my soul, if both I cannot have.” When _Fergusano_ advancing to him,
cried--“See, sir, how supinely the young hero’s laid upon her downy
breast,” and smiled as he spoke, which angered the Prince, who replied
with scorn, “Now, by my life, a plot upon my love;” but they protested
it was not so, and begged he would be silent. While thus the hero lay,
regardless of his glory, all decked with flowers and bracelets, the
drums beat, and the trumpets were heard, or seemed to be heard to
sound, and a vast opening space was filled with armed warriors, who
offer him their swords, and seem to point at crowns that were borne
behind them; a while they plead in vain, and point to crowns in vain,
at which he only casts a scornful smile, and lays him down in the soft
arms of love. They urge again, but with one amorous look the _Circe_
more prevails than all their reasonings. At last, by force they
divested him of his rosy garlands, in which there lay a charm, and he
assumes new life, while others bore the enchantress out of his sight;
and then he suffered himself to be conducted where they pleased, who
led him forth, shewing him all the way a prospect of crowns. At this
_Cesario_ sighed, and the ceremony continued.

’.he scene changed, discovering a sea-shore, where the _hero_ is
represented landed, but with a very melancholy air, attended with
several officers and gentlemen; the earth seems to ring with joy and
loud acclamations at his approach; vast multitudes thronging to behold
him, and striving who first should kiss his hand; and bearing him
aloft in the air, carry him out of sight with peals of welcome and
joy.

’.e is represented next in Council and deep debate, and so disappears:
then soft music is heard, and he enters in the royal robe, with a
crown presented him on the knee, which he receives, and bows to all
the rabble and the numbers to give them thanks: he having in his hand
blue garters, with the order of St _Esprit_, which he distributes to
several persons on either hand; throwing ducal crowns and coronets
among the rabble, who scuffle and strive to catch at them: after a
great shout of joy, thunder and lightning again shook the earth; at
which they seemed all amazed, when a thick black cloud descended, and
covered the whole scene, and the rock closed again, and _Fergusano_
let fall his wand.

’.he Prince, seeing the ceremony end here, rises in a rage, and cries
out, “I charge you to go on----remove the veil, and let the sun
appear; advance your mystic wand, and shew what follows next.” “I
cannot, sir,” replied the trembling wizard, “the Fates have closed the
everlasting Book, forbidding farther search.” “Then damn your scanted
art,” replied the Prince, “a petty juggler could have done as much.”
 “Is it not enough,” replied the _German_ rabbi, “that we have shewed
you crowned, and crowned in _France_ itself? I find the Infernals
themselves are bounded here, and can declare no more.” “Oh, they are
petty powers that can be bounded,” replied the Prince with scorn. They
strove with all their art to reconcile him, laying the fault on some
mistake of theirs, in the ingredients of the charm, which at another
time they would strive to prevent: they soothe him with all the hope
in the world, that what was left unrevealed must needs be as glorious
and fortunate to him, as what he had seen already, which was
absolutely to be depended on: thus they brought him to the open garden
again, where they continued their instructions to him, telling him,
that now was the time to arrive at all the glories he had seen; they
presented to him the state of affairs in _France_, and how much a
greater interest he had in the hearts of the people than their proper
monarch, arguing a thousand fallacies to the deluded hero, who blind
and mad with his dreams of glory, his visions and prospects, listened
with reverence and attention to all their false persuasions. I call
them false, madam, for I never had faith in those sort of people, and
am sorry so many great men and ladies of our time are so bewitched to
their prophecies. They there presented him with a list of all the
considerable of the Reformed Religion in _Paris_, who had assured him
aids of men and money in this expedition; merchants, rich tradesmen,
magistrates and gownmen of the Reformed Church and the law. Next to
this, another of the contribution of pious ladies; all which sums
being named, amounted to a considerable supply; so that they assured
him hell itself could not with these aids obstruct his glory, but on
the contrary, should be compelled to render him assistance, by the
help of charms, to make him invincible; so that wholly overcome by
them, he has given order that all preparations be forthwith made for
the most secret and speedy conveyance of himself and friends to some
sea-port in _France_; he has ordered abundance of letters to be writ
to those of the _Huguenot_ party in all parts of _France_; all which
will be ready to assist him at his landing. _Fergusano_ undertakes for
the management of the whole affair, to write, to speak, and to
persuade; and you know, madam, he is the most subtle and insinuating
of all his non-conforming race, and the most malignant of all our
party, and sainted by them for the most pious and industrious labourer
in the _Cause_; all that he says is oracle to the crowd, and all he
says authentic; and it is he alone is that great engine that sets the
great work a turning.’ ‘Yes,’ replied _Sylvia_, ‘and makes the giddy
world mad with his damnable notions.’ ‘Pernicious as he is,’ replied
_Brilliard_, ‘he has the sole management of affairs under _Hermione_;
he has power to treat, to advise, to raise money, to make and name
officers, and lastly, to draw out a scene of fair pretences for
_Cesario_ to the Crown of _France_, and the lawfulness of his claim;
for let the conquest be never so sure, the people require it, and the
conqueror is obliged to give some better reason than that of the
strength of his sword, for his dominion over them. This pretension is
a declaration, or rather a most scandalous, pernicious and treasonable
libel, if I may say so, who have so great an interest in it, penned
with all the malice envy can invent; the most unbred, rude piece of
stuff, as makes it apparent the author had neither wit nor common good
manners; besides the hellish principles he has made evident there. My
lord would have no hand in the approbation of this gross piece of
villainous scandal, which has more unfastened him from their interest,
than any other designs, and from which he daily more and more
declines, or seems disgusted with, though he does not wholly intend to
quit the interest; having no other probable means to make good that
fortune, which has been so evidently and wholly destroyed by it.’ ‘I
am extremely glad,’ said _Sylvia_,’.hat _Philander’s_ sentiments are
so generous, and am at nothing so much amazed, as to hear the Prince
could suffer so gross a thing to pass in his name.’ ‘I must,’ said
_Brilliard_,’.o the Prince right in this point, to assure you when the
thing was first in the rough draught shewed him, he told _Fergusano_,
that those accusations of a crowned head, were too villainous for the
thoughts of a gentleman; and giving it him again--cried--“No--let it
never be said, that the royal blood that runs in my veins, could
dictate to me no more noble ways for its defence and pretensions, than
the mean cowardice of lies; and that to attain to empire, I should
have recourse to the most detestable of all shifts. No, no, my too
zealous friend,” continued he, “I will, with only my sword in my hand,
at the head of my army proclaim my right, and demand a crown, which if
I win is mine; if not, it is his whose sword is better or luckier; and
though the future world may call this unjust, at least they will say
it was brave.” At this the wizard smiled, and replied, “Alas, sir, had
we hitherto acted by rules of generosity only, we had not brought so
great advantages to our interest. You tell me, sir, of a speech you
will make, with your sword in your hand, that will do very well at the
head of an army, and a handsome declaration would be proper for men of
sense; but this is not to the wise, but to the fools, on whom nothing
will pass, but what is penned to their capacity, and who will not be
able to hear the speeches you shall make to an army: this is to rouse
them, and find them wherever they are, how far remote soever from you,
that at once they may be incited to assist you, and espouse your
interest: this is the sort of gospel they believe; all other is too
fine: believe me, sir, it is by these gross devices you are to
persuade those sons of earth, whose spirits never mounted above the
dunghill, whence they grew like over-ripe pumpkins. Lies are the
spirit that inspires them, they are the very brandy that makes them
valiant; and you may as soon beat sense into their brains, as the very
appearance of truth; it is the very language of the scarlet beast to
them. They understand no other than their own, and he that does, knows
to what ends we aim. No matter, sir, what tools you work withal, so
the finished piece be fine at last. Look forward to the goal, a crown
attends it! and never mind the dirty road that leads to it.” ‘With
such false arguments as these, he wrought upon the easy nature of the
Prince, who ordered some thousands of them to be printed for their
being dispersed all over France, as soon as they should be landed:
especially among the _Parisians_, too apt to take any impressions that
bore the stamp and pretence of religion and liberty.

’.hile these and all other things necessary were preparing, _Cesario_,
wholly given over to love, being urged by _Hermione_ to know the
occasion of his last night’s absence, unravels all the secret, and
told my lord and her, one night at supper, the whole scene of the
_grotto_; so that _Hermione_, more than ever being puffed up with
ambitious thoughts, hastened to have the Prince pressed to marry her;
and consulting with the counsellor of her closest secrets, sets him
anew to work; swearing violently, that if he did not bring that design
about, she should be able, by her ascendancy over _Cesario_, to ruin
all those they had undertaken, and yet turn the Prince from the
enterprise; and that it was more to satisfy her ambition (to which
they were obliged for all the Prince had promised) that he had
undertaken to head an army, and put himself again into the hands of
the _Huguenots_, and forsake all the soft repose of love and life,
than for any inclination or ambition of his own; and that she who had
power to animate him one way, he might be assured had the same power
another. This she ended in very high language, with a look too fierce
and fiery to leave him any doubt of; and he promised all things should
be done as she desired, and that he would overcome the Prince, and
bring him absolutely under her power. “Not,” said she, with a scornful
look, “that I need your aid in this affair, or want of power of my own
to command it; but I will not have him look upon it as my act alone,
or a thing of my seeking, but by your advice shall be made to
understand it is for the good of the public; that having to do with a
sort of people of the Reformed Religion, whose pretences were more
nice than wise, more seemingly zealous than reasonable or just, they
might look upon the life she led the Prince as scandalous, that was
not justified by form, though never so unlawful.” A thousand things
she urged to him, who needed no instruction how to make that appear
authentic and just, however contrary to religion and sense: but, so
informed, he parted from her, and told her the event should declare
his zeal for her service, and so it did; for he no sooner spoke of it
to the Prince, but he took the hint as a divine voice; his very soul
flushed in his lovely cheeks, and all the fire of love was dancing in
his eyes: yet, as if he had feared what he wished could not handsomely
and lawfully be brought to pass, he asked a thousand questions
concerning it, all which the subtle wizard so well resolved, at least
in his judgement, who easily was convinced of what he wished, that he
no longer deferred his happiness, but that very night, in the visit he
made _Hermione_, fell at her feet, and implored her consent of what he
told her _Fergusano_ had fully convinced him was necessary for his
interest and glory, neither of which he could enjoy or regard, if she
was not the partner of them; and that when he should go to _France_,
and put himself in the field to demand a crown, he should do it with
absolute vigour and resolution, if she were to be seated as queen on
the same throne with him, without whom a cottage would be more
pleasant; and he could relish no joys that were not as entirely and
immediately hers as his own: he pleaded impatiently for what she
longed, and would have made her petition for, and all the while she
makes a thousand doubts and scruples only to be convinced and
confirmed by him; and after seeming fully satisfied, he led her into a
chamber (where _Fergusano_ waited, and only her woman, and his
faithful confidant _Tomaso_) and married her: since which, she has
wholly managed him with greater power than before; takes abundance of
state, is extremely elevated, I will not say insolent; and though they
do not make a public declaration of this, yet she owns it to all her
intimates; and is ever reproaching my lord with his lewd course of
life, wholly forgetting her own; crying out upon infamous women, as if
she had been all the course of her life an innocent.’

By this time dinner was ended, and _Sylvia_ urged _Brilliard_ to
depart with her letter; but he was extremely surprised to find it to
be to the Governor’s nephew _Don Alonzo_, who was his lord’s friend,
and who would doubtless give him an account of all, if he did not shew
him the billet: all these reasons could not dissuade this fickle
wanderer, whose heart was at that time set on this young inconstant,
at least her inclinations: he tells her that her life would be really
in danger, if _Philander_ comes to the knowledge of such an intrigue,
which could not possibly be carried on in that town without noise; she
tells him she is resolved to quit that false injurer of her fame and
beauty; who had basely abandoned her for other women of less merit,
even since she had pardoned him the crimes of love he committed at
_Cologne_; that while he was in the country with her during the time
of her lying-in, he had given himself to all that would receive him
there; that, since he came away, he had left no beauty unattempted;
and could he possibly imagine her of a spirit to bow beneath such
injuries? No, she would on to all the revenges her youth and beauty
were capable of taking, and stick at nothing that led to that
interest; and that if he did not join with her in her noble design she
would abandon him, and put herself wholly out of his protection: this
she spoke with a fierceness that made the lover tremble with fear of
losing her: he therefore told her she had reason; and that since she
was resolved, he would confess to her that _Philander_ was the most
perfidious creature in the world; and that _Hermione_, the haughty
_Hermione_, who hated naughty women, invited and treated all the
handsome ladies of the Court to balls, and to the Basset-table, and
made very great entertainments, only to draw to her interest all the
brave and the young men; and that she daily gained abundance by these
arts to _Cesario_, and above all strove by these amusements to engage
_Philander_, whom she perceived to grow cold in the great concern;
daily treating him with variety of beauty; so that there was no
gaiety, no gallantry, or play, but at _Hermione_’., whither all the
youth of both qualities repaired; and it was there the Governor’s
nephew was every evening to be found. ‘Possibly, madam, I had not told
you this, if the Prince’s bounty had not taken me totally off from
_Philander_; so that I have no other dependence on him, but that of my
respect and duty, out of perfect gratitude.’ After this, to gain
_Brilliard_ entirely, she assured him if his fortune were suitable to
her quality, and her way of life, she believed she should devote
herself to him; and though what she said were the least of her
thoughts, it failed not to flatter him agreeably, and he sighed with
grief that he could not engage her; all he could get was little enough
to support him fine, which he was always as any person of quality at
Court, and appeared as graceful, and might have had some happy minutes
with very fine ladies, who thought well of him. To salve this defect
of want of fortune, he told her he had received a command from
_Octavio_ to come to him about settling of a very considerable pension
upon her, and that he had at his investing put money into his aunt’s
hands, who was a woman of considerable quality, to be disposed of to
that charitable use; and that if she pleased to maintain her rest of
fame, and live without receiving love-visits from men, she might now
command that, which would be a much better and nobler support than
that from a lover, which would be transitory, and last but as long as
her beauty, or a less time, his love. To this she knew not what to
answer, but ready money being the joy of her heart, and the support of
her vanity, she seems to yield to this, having said so much before;
and she considered she wanted a thousand things to adorn her beauty,
being very expensive; she was impatient till this was performed, and
deferred the sending to _Don Alonzo_, though her thoughts were
perpetually on him. She, by the advice of _Brilliard_, writes a letter
to _Octavio_; which was not like those she had before written, but as
an humble penitent would write to a ghostly Father, treating him with
all the respect that was possible; and if ever she mentioned love, it
was as if her heart had violently, and against her will, burst out
into softness, as still she retained there; and then she would take up
again, and ask pardon for that transgression; she told him it was a
passion, which, though she could never extinguish for him, yet that it
should never warm her for another, but she would leave _Philander_ to
the world, and retire where she was not known, and try to make up her
broken fortunes; with abundance of things to this purpose, which he
carried to _Octavio_: he said he could have wished she would have
retired to a monastery, as all the first part of her letter had given
him hope; and resolved, and retired as he was, he could not read this
without extreme confusion and change of countenance. He asked
_Brilliard_ a thousand times whether he believed he might trust her,
or if she would abandon those ways of shame, that at last lost all: he
answered, he verily believed she would. ‘However,’ said _Octavio_, ‘it
is not my business to capitulate, but to believe and act all things,
for the interest and satisfaction of her whom I yet adore;’ and
without further delay, writ to his aunt, to present _Sylvia_ with
those sums he had left for her; and which had been sufficient to have
made her happy all the rest of her life, if her sins of love had not
obstructed it. However, she no sooner found herself mistress of so
considerable a sum, but in lieu of retiring, and ordering her affairs
so as to render it for ever serviceable to her, the first thing she
does, is to furnish herself with new coach and equipage, and to lavish
out in clothes and jewels a great part of it immediately; and was
impatient to be seen on the _Tour_, and in all public places; nor
could _Brilliard_ persuade the contrary, but against all good manners
and reason, she flew into most violent passions with him, till he had
resolved to give her her way; it happened that the first day she
shewed on the _Tour_, neither _Philander_, _Cesario_ nor _Hermione_
chanced to be there; so that at supper it was all the news, how
glorious a young creature was seen only with one lady, which was
_Antonet_, very well dressed, in the coach with her: every body that
made their court that night to _Hermione_ spoke of this new vision, as
the most extraordinary charmer that had ever been seen; all were that
day undone with love, and none could learn who this fair destroyer
was; for all the time of _Sylvia_’. being at _Brussels_ before, her
being big with child had kept her from appearing in all public places;
so that she was wholly a new face to all that saw her; and it is easy
to be imagined what charms that delicate person appeared with to all,
when dressed to such advantage, who naturally was the most beautiful
creature in the world, with all the bloom of youth that could add to
beauty. Among the rest that day that lost their hearts, was the
Governor’s nephew, who came into the Presence that night wholly
transported, and told _Hermione_ he died for the lovely charmer he had
that day seen; so that she, who was the most curious to gain all the
beauties to her side, that the men might be so too, endeavoured all
she could to find out where this beauty dwelt. _Philander_, now grown
the most amorous and gallant in the world, grew passionately in love
with the very description of her, not imagining it had been _Sylvia_,
because of her equipage: he knew she loved him, at least he thought
she loved him too well to conceal herself from him, or be in
_Brussels_, and not let him know it; so that wholly ravished with the
description of the imagined new fair one, he burnt with desire of
seeing her; and all this night was passed in discourse of this
stranger alone; the next day her livery being described to _Hermione_,
she sent two pages all about the town, to see if they could discover a
livery so remarkable; and that if they did, they should inquire of
them who they belonged to, and where that person’s lodging was. This
was not a very difficult matter to perform: _Brussels_ is not a large
place, and it was soon surveyed from one end to the other: at last
they met with two of her footmen, whom they saluted, and taking notice
of their livery, asked them who they belonged to? These lads were
strangers to the lady they served, and newly taken; and _Sylvia_ at
first coming, resolved to change her name, and was called Madame
de----, a name very considerable in _France_, which they told the
pages, and that she lived in such a place: this news _Hermione_ no
sooner heard, but she sends a gentleman in the name of the Prince and
herself to compliment her, and tell her she had the honour to know
some great persons of that name in _France_, and did not doubt but she
was related to them: she therefore sent to offer her her friendship,
which possibly in a strange place might not be unserviceable to her,
and that she should be extreme glad to see her at Court, that is, at
_Cesario_’. palace. The gentleman who delivered this message, being
surprised at the dazzling beauty of the fair stranger, was almost
unassured in his address, and the manner of it surprised _Sylvia_ no
less, to be invited as a strange lady by one that hated her; she could
not tell whether it were real, or a plot upon her; however she made
answer, and bid him tell Madam the Princess, which title she gave her,
that she received her compliment as the greatest honour that could
arrive to her, and that she would wait upon Her Highness, and let her
know from her own mouth the sense she had of the obligation. The
gentleman returned and delivered his message to _Hermione_; but so
altered in his look, so sad and unusual, that she took notice of it,
and asked him how he liked the new beauty: he blushed and bowed, and
told her she was a wonder----This made _Hermione_’. colour rise, it
being spoke before _Cesario_; for though she was assured of the hero’s
heart, she hated he should believe there was a greater beauty in the
world, and one universally adored. She knew not how so great a miracle
might work upon him, and began to repent she had invited her to Court.

In the mean time _Sylvia_, after debating what to do in this affair,
whether to visit _Hermione_ and discover herself, or to remove from
_Brussels_, resolved rather upon the last; but she had fixed her
design as to _Don Alonzo_, and would not depart the town. To her
former beginning flame for him was added more fuel; she had seen him
the day before on the _Tour_; she had seen him gaze at her with all
the impatience of love, with madness of passion in his eyes, ready to
fling himself out of the coach every time she passed by: and if he
appeared beautiful before, when in his riding dress, and harassed for
four nights together with love and want of sleep; what did he now
appear to her amorous eyes and heart? She had wholly forgot _Octavio_,
_Philander_ and all, and made a sacrifice of both to this new young
lover: she saw him with all the advantages of dress, magnificent as
youth and fortune could invent; and above all, his beauty and his
quality warmed her heart anew; and what advanced her flame yet
farther, was a vanity she had of fixing the dear wanderer, and making
him find there was a beauty yet in the world, that could put an end to
his inconstancy, and make him languish at her feet as long as she
pleased. Resolved on this new design, she defers it no longer; but as
soon as the persons of quality, who used to walk every evening in the
park, were got together, she accompanied with _Antonet_, and three or
four strange pages and footmen, went into the park, and dressed in
perfect glory. She had not walked long there before she saw _Don
Alonzo_, richer than ever in his habit, and more beautiful to her eyes
than any thing she had ever seen; he was gotten among the young and
fair, caressing, laughing, playing, and acting all the little
wantonnesses of youth. _Sylvia_’. blood grew disordered at this, and
she found she loved by her jealousy, and longs more than ever to have
the glory of vanquishing that heart, that so boasted of never having
yet been conquered. She therefore uses all her art to get him to look
at her; she passed by him often, and as often as she did so he viewed
her with pleasure; her shape, her air, her mien, had something so
charming, as, without the assistance of her face, she gained that
evening a thousand conquests; but those were not the trophies she
aimed at, it was _Alonzo_ was the marked-out victim, that she
destined for the sacrifice of love. She found him so engaged with
women of great quality, she almost despaired to get to speak to
him; her equipage which stood at the entrance of the park, not
being by her, he did not imagine this fine lady to be her he saw
on the _Tour_ last night; yet he looked at her so much, as gave
occasion to those he was with to rally him extremely, and tell him he
was in love with what he had not seen, and who might, notwithstanding
all that delicate appearance, be ugly when her mask was off. _Sylvia_,
however, still passed on with abundance of sighing lovers after her,
some daring to speak, others only languishing; to all she would
vouchsafe no word, but made signs, as if she were a stranger, and
understood them not; at last _Alonzo_, wholly impatient, breaks from
these ralliers, and gets into the crowd that pursued this lovely
unknown: her heart leaped when he approached her, and the first thing
she did was to pull off her glove, and not only shew the fairest hand
that ever nature made, but that ring on her finger _Alonzo_ gave her
when they parted at the village. The hand alone was enough to invite
all eyes with pleasure to look that way; but _Alonzo_ had a double
motive, he saw the hand with love, and the ring with jealousy and
surprise; and as it is natural in such cases, the very first thought
that possessed him was, that the young _Bellumere_ (for so _Sylvia_
had called herself at the village) was a lover of this lady, and had
presented her this ring. And after his sighings and little pantings,
that seized him at this thought, would give him leave, he bowing and
blushing cried--’Madam, the whole piece must be excellent, when the
pattern is so very fine.’ And humbly begging the favour of a nearer
view, he took her hand and kissed it with a passionate eagerness,
which possibly did not so well please _Sylvia_, because she did not
think he took her for the same person, to whom he shewed such signs of
love last night. In taking her hand he surveyed the ring, and
cried,--’Madam, would to heaven I could lay so good a claim to this
fair hand, as I think I once could to this ring, which this hand
adorns and honours.’ ‘How, sir,’ replied _Sylvia_, ‘I hope you will
not charge me with felony?’ ‘I am afraid I shall,’ replied he sighing,
’.or you have attacked me on the King’s high-way, and have robbed me
of a heart:’ ‘I could never have robbed a person,’ said _Sylvia_, ‘who
could more easily have parted with that trifle; the next fair object
will redeem it, and it will be very little the worse for my using.’
’.h Madam,’ replied he sighing, ‘that will be according as you will
treat it; for I find already you have done it more damage, than it
ever sustained in all the rencounters it has had with love and
beauty.’ ‘You complain too soon,’ replied _Sylvia_, smiling, ‘and you
ought to make a trial of my good nature, before you reproach me with
harming you.’ ‘I know not,’ replied _Alonzo_ sighing, ‘what I may
venture to hope from that; but I am afraid, from your inclinations, I
ought to hope for nothing, since a thousand reasonable jealousies
already possess me, from the sight of that ring; and I more than doubt
I have a powerful rival, a youth of the most divine form, I ever met
with of his sex; if from him you received it, I guess my fate.’ ‘I
perceive, stranger,’ said _Sylvia_, ‘you begin to be inconstant
already, and find excuses to complain on your fate before you have
tried your fortune. I persuade myself that fine person you speak of,
and to whom you gave this ring, has so great a value for you, that to
leave you no excuse, I assure you, he will not be displeased to find
you a rival, provided you prove a very constant lover.’ ‘I confess,’
said _Alonzo_, ‘constancy is an imposition I never yet had the
confidence and ill nature to impose on the fair; and indeed I never
found that woman yet, of youth and beauty, that ever set so small a
value on her own charms, to be much in love with that dull virtue, and
require it of my heart; but, upon occasion, madam, if such an
unreasonable fair one be found’----’I am extremely sorry’ (interrupted
_Sylvia_) ‘to find you have no better way of recommending yourself;
this will be no great encouragement to a person of my humour to
receive your address.’ ‘Madam, I do not tell you that I am not in my
nature wondrous constant,’ replied he; ‘I tell you only what has
hitherto happened to me, not what will; that I have yet never been so,
is no fault of mine, but power or truth in those beauties, to whom I
have given my heart; rather believe they wanted charms to hold me,
than that I, (where wit and beauty engaged me) should prove so false
to my own pleasure. I am very much afraid, madam, if I find my eyes as
agreeably entertained when I shall have the honour to see your face,
as my ears are with your excellent wit, I shall be reduced to that
very whining, sighing coxcomb, you like so well in a lover, and be
ever dying at your feet. I have but one hope left to preserve myself
from this wretched thing you women love; that is, that I shall not
find you so all over charming, as what I have hitherto found presents
itself to be. You have already created love enough in me for any
reasonable woman, but I find you are not to be approached with the
common devotions we pay your sex; but, like your beauty, the passion
too must be great, and you are not content unless you see your lovers
die; this is that fatal proof alone that can satisfy you of their
passion. And though you laugh to see a Sir _Courtly Nice_, a fop in
fashion acted on the stage; in your hearts that foolish thing, that
fine neat pasquil, is your darling, your fine gentleman, your
well-bred person.’

Thus sometimes in jest, and sometimes in earnest, they recommended
themselves to each other, and to so great a degree, that it was
impossible for them to be more charmed on either side, which lasted
’.ill it was time to depart; but he besought her not to do so, ‘till
she had informed him where he might wait on her, and most passionately
solicit, what she as passionately desired: ‘To tell you truth,’ said
she, ‘I cannot permit you that freedom without you ask it of
_Bellumere_.’ He replied, ‘Next to waiting on her, he should be the
most overjoyed in the world, to pay his respects to that young
gentleman.’ However, to name him, gave him a thousand fears; which
when he would have urged, she bid him trust to the generosity of that
man, who was of quality, and loved him; she then told him his lodgings
(which were her own): _Alonzo_, infinitely overjoyed, resolved to lose
no time, but promised that evening to visit him: and at their parting,
he treated her with so much passionate respect, that she was vexed to
see it paid to one he yet knew not. However, she verily believed her
conquest was certain: he having seen her three times, and all those
times for a several person, and yet was still in love with her; and
she doubted not, when all three were joined in one, he would be much
more in love than yet he had been; with this assurance they parted.

_Sylvia_ was no sooner got home, but she resolved to receive _Alonzo_,
who she was assured would come: she hasted to dress herself in a very
rich suit of man’s clothes, to receive him as the young _French_
gentleman. She believed _Brilliard_ would not come ‘till late, as was
his use, now being at play at _Hermione_’.. She looked extreme pretty
when she was dressed, and had all the charms that heaven could adorn a
face and shape withal: her apartment was very magnificent, and all
looked very great. She was no sooner dressed, but the young lover
came. _Sylvia_ received him on the stair-case with open arms, and all
the signs of joy that could be expressed, and led him to a rich
drawing-room, where she began to entertain him with that happy night’s
adventure; when they both lay together at the village; while _Alonzo_
makes imperfect replies, wholly charmed with the look of the young
cavalier, which so resembled what he had seen the day before in
another garb on the _Tour_. He is wholly ravished with his voice, it
being absolutely the same, that had charmed him that day in the park;
the more he gazed and listened, the more he was confirmed in his
opinion, that he was the same, and he had the music of that dear
accent still in his ears, and could not be deceived. A thousand times
he is about to kneel before her, and ask her pardon, but still is
checked by doubt: he sees, he hears, this is the same lovely youth,
who lay in bed with him at the village _cabaret_; and then no longer
thinks her woman: he hears and sees it is the same face, and voice,
and hands he saw on the _Tour_, and in the park, and then believes her
woman: while he is in these perplexities, _Sylvia_, who with vanity
and pride perceived his disorder, taking him in her arms, cried,
’.ome, my _Alonzo_, that you shall no longer doubt but I am perfectly
your friend, I will shew you a sister of mine, whom you will say is a
beauty, or I am too partial, and I will have your judgement of her.’
With that she called to _Antonet_ to beg her lady would permit her to
bring a young stranger to kiss her hand. The maid, instructed,
retires, and _Alonzo_ stood gazing on _Sylvia_ as one confounded and
amazed, not knowing yet how to determine; he now begins to think
himself mistaken in the fair youth, and is ready to ask his pardon for
a fault but imagined, suffering by his silence the little prattler to
discourse and laugh at him at his pleasure. ‘Come,’ said _Sylvia_
smiling, ‘I find the naming a beauty to you has made you melancholy;
possibly when you see her she will not appear so to you; we do not
always agree in one object.’ ‘Your judgement,’ replied _Alonzo_, ‘is
too good to leave me any hope of liberty at the sight of a fine woman;
if she be like yourself I read my destiny in your charming face.’
_Sylvia_ answered only with a smile--and calling again for _Antonet_,
she asked if her sister were in a condition of being seen; she told
her she was not, but all undressed and in her night-clothes; ‘Nay
then,’ said _Sylvia_, ‘I must use my authority with her:’ and leaving
_Alonzo_ trembling with expectation, she ran to her dressing-room,
where all things were ready, and slipping off her coat put on a rich
night-gown, and instead of her peruke, fine night-clothes, and came
forth to the charmed _Alonzo_, who was not able to approach her, she
looked with such a majesty, and so much dazzling beauty; he knew her
to be the same he had seen on the _Tour_. She, (seeing he only gazed
without life or motion) approaching him, gave him her hand, and
cried--’Sir, possibly this is a more old acquaintance of yours than my
face.’ At which he blushed and bowed, but could not speak: at last
_Sylvia_, laughing out-right, cried--’Here, _Antonet_, bring me again
my peruke, for I find I shall never be acquainted with _Don Alonzo_ in
petticoats.’ At this he blushed a thousand times more than before, and
no longer doubted but this charmer, and the lovely youth were one; he
fell at her feet, and told her he was undone, for she had made him
give her so indisputable proofs of his dullness, he could never hope
she should allow him capable of eternally adoring her. ‘Rise,’ cried
_Sylvia_ smiling, ‘and believe you have not committed so great an
error, as you imagine; the mistake has been often made, and persons of
a great deal of wit have been deceived.’ ‘You may say what you
please,’ replied _Alonzo_, ‘to put me in countenance; but I shall
never forgive myself the stupidity of that happy night, that laid me
by the most glorious beauty of the world, and yet afforded me no kind
instinct to inform my soul how much I was blest: oh pity a
wretchedness, divine maid, that has no other excuse but that of
infatuation; a thousand times my greedy ravished eyes wandered over
the dazzling brightness of yours; a thousand times I wished that
heaven had made you woman! and when I looked, I burnt; but, when I
kissed those soft, those lovely lips, I durst not trust my heart; for
every touch begot wild thoughts about it; which yet the course of all
my fiery youth, through all the wild debauches I had wandered, had
never yet betrayed me to; and going to bed with all this love and fear
about me, I made a solemn oath not to approach you, lest so much
beauty had overcome my virtue. But by this new discovery, you have
given me a flame, I have no power nor virtue to oppose: it is just, it
is natural to adore you; and not to do it, were a greater than my sin
of dullness; and since you have made me lose a charming friend, it is
but just I find a mistress; give me but your permission to love, and I
will give you all my life in service, and wait the rest: I will watch
and pray for coming happiness; which I will buy at any price of life
or fortune.’ ‘Well, sir,’ replied our easy fair one; ‘if you believe
me worth a conquest over you, convince me you can love; for I am no
common beauty to be won with petty sudden services; and could you lay
an empire at my feet, I should despise it where the heart were
wanting.’ You may believe the amorous youth left no argument to
convince her in that point unsaid; and it is most certain they came to
so good an understanding, that he was not seen in _Brussels_ for eight
days and nights after, nor this rare beauty, for so long a time, seen
on the _Tour_ or any public place. _Brilliard_ came every day to visit
her, and receive her commands, as he used to do, but was answered
still that _Sylvia_ was ill, and kept her chamber, not suffering even
her domestics to approach her: this did not so well satisfy the
jealous lover, but he soon imagined the cause, and was very much
displeased at the ill treatment; if such a design had been carried on,
he desired to have the management of it, and was angry that _Sylvia_
had not only deceived him in the promise he had made for her to
_Octavio_, but had done her own business without him: he spoke some
hard words; so that to undeceive him she was forced to oblige _Alonzo_
to appear at Court again; which she had much ado to incline him to, so
absolutely she had charmed him; however he went, and she suffered
_Brilliard_ to visit her, persuading that easy lover (as all lovers
are easy) that it was only indisposition, that hindered her of the
happiness of seeing him; and after having perfectly reconciled herself
to him, she asked him the news at _Hermione_’., to whom, I had forgot
to tell you, she sent every day a page with a compliment, and to let
her know she was ill, or she should have waited on her: she every day
received the compliment from her again, as an unknown lady.
_Brilliard_ told her that all things were now prepared, and in a very
short time they should go for _France_; but that whatever the matter
was, _Philander_ almost publicly disowned the Prince’s interest, and
to some very considerable of the party has given out, he does not like
the proceedings, and that he verily believed they would find
themselves all mistaken; and that instead of a throne the Prince would
meet a scaffold; ‘so bold and open he has been. Something of it has
arrived to the Prince’s ear, who was so far from believing it, that he
could hardly be persuaded to speak of it to him; and when he did, it
was with an assurance before-hand, that he did not credit such
reports. So that he gives him not the pain to deny them: for my part I
am infinitely afraid he will disoblige the Prince one day; for last
night, when the Prince desired him to get his equipage ready, and to
make such provision for you as was necessary, he coldly told him he
had a mind to go to _Vienna_, which at that time was besieged by
_Solyman_ the Magnificent, and that he had no inclination of returning
to _France_. This surprised and angered the Prince; but they parted
good friends at last, and he has promised him all things: so that I am
very well assured he will send me where he supposes you still are; and
how shall we manage that affair?’

_Sylvia_, who had more cunning and subtleness than all the rest of her
sex, thought it best to see _Philander_, and part with him on as good
terms as she could, and that it was better he should think he yet had
the absolute possession of her, than that he should return to _France_
with an ill opinion of her virtue; as yet he had known no guilt of
that kind, nor did he ever more than fear it with _Octavio_; so that
it would be easy for her to cajole him yet a little longer, and when
he was gone, she should have the world to range in, and possess this
new lover, to whom she had promised all things, and received from him
all assurances imaginable of inviolable love: in order to this then
she consulted with _Brilliard_; and they resolved she should for a few
days leave _Antonet_ with her equipage, at that house where she was,
and retire herself to the village where _Philander_ had left her, and
where he still imagined she was: she desired _Brilliard_ to give her a
day’s time for this preparation, and it should be so. He left her, and
going to _Hermione_’., meets _Philander_, who immediately gave him
orders to go to _Sylvia_ the next morning, and let her know how all
things went, and tell her, he would be with her in two days. In the
mean time _Sylvia_ sent for _Alonzo_, who was but that evening gone
from her. He flies on the wings of love, and she tells him, she is
obliged to go to a place six or seven days’ journey off, whither he
could not conduct her, for reasons she would tell him at her return:
whatever he could plead with all the force of love to the contrary,
she gets his consent, with a promise wholly to devote herself to him
at her return, and pleased she sent him from her, when _Brilliard_
returning told her the commands he had; and it was concluded they
should both depart next morning, accompanied only by her page. I am
well assured she was very kind to _Brilliard_ all that journey, and
which was but too visible to the amorous youth who attended them; so
absolutely had she depraved her reason, from one degree of sin and
shame to another; and he was happy above any imagination, while even
her heart was given to another, and when she could propose no other
interest in this looseness, but security, that _Philander_ should not
know how ill she had treated him. In four days _Philander_ came, and
finding _Sylvia_ more fair than ever, was anew pleased; for she
pretended to receive him with all the joy imaginable, and the deceived
lover believed, and expressed abundance of grief at the being obliged
to part from her; a great many vows and tears were lost on both sides,
and both believed true: but the grief of _Brilliard_ was not to be
conceived; he could not persuade himself he could live, when absent
from her: some bills _Philander_ left her, and was so plain with her,
and open-hearted, he told her that he went indeed with _Cesario_, but
it was in order to serve the King; that he was weary of their actions,
and foresaw nothing but ruin would attend them; that he never repented
him of any thing so much, as his being drawn in to that faction; in
which he found himself so greatly involved, he could not retire with
any credit; but since self-preservation was the first principle of
nature, he had resolved to make that his aim, and rather prove false
to a party, who had no justice and honour on their side, than to a
King, whom all the laws of heaven and earth obliged him to serve;
however, he was so far in the power of these people, that he could not
disengage himself without utter ruin to himself; but that as soon as
he was got into _France_, he would abandon their interest, let the
censuring world say what it would, who never had right notions of
things, or ever made true judgements of men’s actions.

He lived five or six days with _Sylvia_ there; in which time she
failed not to assure him of her constant fidelity a thousand ways,
especially by vows that left no doubt upon his heart; and it was now
that they both indeed found there was a very great friendship still
remaining at the bottom of their hearts for each other, nor did they
part without manifold proofs of it. _Brilliard_ took a sad and
melancholy leave of her, and had not the freedom to tell her aloud,
but obliged to depart with his lord, they left _Sylvia_, and posted to
_Brussels_, where they found the Prince ready to depart, having left
_Hermione_ to her women more than half dead. I have heard there never
was so sad a parting between two lovers; a hundred times they swooned
with the apprehension of the separation in each other’s arms, and at
last the Prince was forced from her while he left her dead, and was
little better himself: he would have returned, but the officers and
people about him, who had espoused his quarrel, would by no means
suffer him: and he has a thousand times told a person very near him,
that he had rather have forfeited all his hoped-for glory, than have
left that charmer of his soul. After he had taken all care imaginable
for _Hermione_, for that name so dear to him was scarce ever out of
his mouth, he suffered himself with a heavy heart and pace to be
conducted to the vessel: and I have heard he was hardly seen to smile
all the little voyage, or his whole life after, or do any thing but
sigh, and sometimes weep, which was a very great discouragement to all
that followed him; they were a great while at sea, tossed to and fro
by stress of weather, and often driven back to the shore where they
first took shipping; and not being able to land where they first
designed, they got ashore in a little harbour, where no ship of any
bigness could anchor; so that with much ado, getting all their arms
and men on shore, they sunk the ship, both to secure any from flying,
and that it might not fall into the hands of the _French_. _Cesario_
was no sooner on the _French_ shore, but numbers came to him of the
_Huguenot_ party, for whom he had arms, and who wanted them he
furnished as far as he could, and immediately proclaimed himself King
of _France_ and _Navarre_, while the dirty crowd rang him peals of
joy. But though the under world came in great crowds to his aid, he
wanted still the main supporters of his cause, the men of substantial
quality: if the ladies could have composed an army, he would not have
wanted one, for his beauty had got them all on his side, and he
charmed the fair wheresoever he rode.

He marched from town to town without any opposition, proclaiming
himself king in all the places he came to; still gathering as he
marched, till he had composed a very formidable army. He made officers
of the kingdom--_Fergusano_ was to have been a cardinal, and several
lords and dukes were nominated; and he found no opposition in all his
prosperous course.--In the mean time the royal army was not idle,
which was composed of men very well disciplined, and conducted by
several princes and men of great quality and conduct. But as it is not
the business of this little history to treat of war, but altogether
love; leaving those rougher relations to the chronicles and
historiographers of those times, I will only hint on such things in
this enterprise, as are most proper for my purpose, and tell you, that
_Cesario_ omitted nothing for the carrying on his great design; he
dispersed his scandals all over _France_, though they met with an
obstruction at _Paris_, and were immediately suppressed, it being
proclaimed death for any person to keep one in their houses; and if
any should by chance come to their hands, they were on this penalty to
carry them to the Secretary of State; and after the punishment had
passed on two or three offenders, it deterred the rest from meddling
with those edge tools: I must tell you also, that the title of king,
which _Cesario_ had taken so early upon him, was much against his
inclinations; and he desired to see himself at the head of a more
satisfiable army, before he would take on him a title he found (in the
condition he was in) he should not defend; but those about him
insinuated to him, that it was the title that would not only make him
more venerable, but would make his cause appear more just and lawful;
and beget him a perfect adoration with those people who lived remote
from Courts, and had never seen that glorious thing called a king. So
that believing it would give nerves to the cause, he unhappily took
upon him that which ruined him; for he had often sworn to the greatest
part of those of any quality, of his interest, that his design was
liberty only, and that his end was the public good, so infinitely
above his own private interest, that he desired only the honour of
being the champion for the oppressed _Parisians_, and people of
_France_; that if they would allow him to lead their armies, to fight
and spend his dearest blood for them, it was all the glory he aimed
at: it was this pretended humility in a person of his high rank that
cajoled the _mobile_, who looked on him as their god, their deliverer,
and all that was sacred and dear to them; but the wiser sort regarded
him only as one that had most power and pretension to turn the whole
affairs of _France_, which they disliking, were willing at any price,
to reduce to their own conditions, and to what they desired; not
imagining he would have laid a claim to the Crown, which many of them
fancied themselves as capable of as himself, rather that he would
perhaps have set up the King of _Navarre_. This _Cesario_ knew; and
understanding their sentiments, was unwilling to hinder their joining
with him, by such a declaration, which he knew would be a means to
turn abundance of hearts against him, as indeed it fell out; and he
found himself master of some few towns, only with an army of fifteen
or sixteen thousand peasants, ill armed, unused to war, watchings, and
very ill lodging in the field, very badly victualled, and worse paid.
For, from _Paris_ no aids of any kind could be brought him; the roads
all along being so well guarded and secured by the royal forces, and
wanting some great persons to espouse his quarrel, made him not only
despair of success, but highly resent it of those, who had given him
so large promises of aid. Many, as I said, and most were disgusted
with his title of king; but some waited the success of his first
battle; which was every day expected, though _Cesario_ kept himself as
clear of the royal army as he could a long time, marching away as soon
as they drew near, hoping by these means, not only to tire them out,
and watch an advantage when to engage, but gather still more numbers.
So that the greatest mischief he did was teasing the royal army, who
could never tell where to have him, so dexterous he was in marching
off. They often came so near, as to have skirmishes with one another
by small parties, where some few men would fall on both sides: and to
say truth, _Cesario_ in this expedition shewed much more of a soldier
than the politician: his skill was great, his conduct good, expert in
advantages, and indefatigable in toils. And I have heard it from the
mouth of a gentleman, who in all that undertaking never was from him,
that in seven or eight weeks that he was in arms, he never absolutely
undressed himself, and hardly slept an hour in the four and twenty;
and that sometimes he was on his horse’s back, in a chariot, or on the
ground, suffering even with the meanest of his soldiers all the
fatigues of the enterprise: this gentleman told me he would, in those
hours he should sleep, and wherein he was not taking measures and
councils, (which were always held in the night) that he would be
eternally speaking to him of _Hermione_; and that with the softest
concern, it was possible for love and tenderest passion to express.
That he being the only friend he could repose so great a weakness in,
and who soothed him to the degree he wished, the Prince was so well
pleased with him, as to establish him a colonel of horse, for no other
merit than that of having once served _Hermione_, and now would
flatter his disease agreeably: and though he did so, he protested he
was ashamed to hear how this poor fond concern rendered this great
man, and he has often pitied what should have been else admired; but
who can tell the force of love, backed by charms supernatural? And who
is it that will not sigh, at the fate of so illustrious a young man,
whom love had rendered the most miserable of all those numbers he led?

But now the royal army, as if they had purposely suffered him to take
his tour about the country, to ensnare him with the more facility, had
at last, by new forces that came to their assistance daily, so
encompassed him, that it was impossible for him to avoid any longer
giving them battle; however, he had the benefit of posting himself the
most advantageously that he could wish; he had the rising grounds to
place his cannon, and all things concurred to give him success; his
numbers exceeding those of the royal army: not but he would have
avoided a set battle, if it had been possible, till he had made
himself master of some places of stronger hold; for yet, as I said, he
had only subdued some inconsiderable places which were not able to
make defence; and which as soon as he was marched out, surrendered
again to their lawful prince; and pulling down his proclamation, put
up those of the King: but he was on all sides so embarrassed, he could
not come even to parly with any town of note; so that, as I said, at
last, being as it were blocked up, though the royal army did not offer
him battle: three nights they lay thus in view of each other; the
first night the Prince sent out his scouts, who brought him
intelligence, that the enemy was not so well prepared for battle, as
they feared they might be, if they imagined the Prince would engage
them, but he had so often given them the slip, that they believed he
had no mind to put the fortune of the day to the push; and they were
glad of these delays, that new forces might advance. When the scouts
returned with this news, the Prince was impatient to fall upon the
enemy, but _Fergusano_, who was continually taking counsel of his
charms, and looking into his black Book of Fate, for every sally and
step they made, persuaded His Highness to have a little patience;
positively assuring him his fortune depended on a critical minute,
which was not yet come; and that if he offered to give battle before
the change of the moon, he was inevitably lost, and that the
attendance of that fortunate moment would be the beginning of those of
his whole life: with such like positive persuasions he gained upon the
Prince, and overcame his impatience of engaging for that night, all
which he passed in counsel, without being persuaded to take any rest,
often blaming the nicety of their art, and his stars; and often
asking, if they lost that opportunity that fortune had now given them,
whether all their arts, or stars, or devils, could retrieve it? And
nothing would that night appease him, or dispossess the sorcerers of
this opinion.

The next day they received certain intelligence, that a considerable
supply would reinforce the royal army under the conduct of a Prince of
the Blood; which were every moment expected: this news made the Prince
rave, and he broke out into all the rage imaginable against the
wizards, who defended themselves with all the reasons of their art,
but it was all in vain, and he vowed he would that night engage the
enemy, if he found but one faithful friend to second him, though he
died in the attempt; that he was worn out with the toils he had
undergone; harassed almost to death, and would wait no longer the
approach of his lazy fate, but boldly advancing, meet it, what face so
ever it bore. They besought him on their knees, he would not overthrow
the glorious design, so long in bringing to perfection, just in the
very minute of happy projection; but to wait those certain Fates, that
would bring him glory and honour on their wings; and who, if slighted,
would abandon him to destruction; it was but some few hours more, and
then they were his own, to be commanded by him: it was thus they
drilled and delayed him on till night; when again he sent out his
scouts to discover the posture of the enemy; and himself in the mean
time went to Council. _Philander_ failed not to be sent for thither,
who sometimes feigned excuses to keep away, and when he did come, he
sat unconcerned, neither giving or receiving any advice. This was
taken notice of by all, but _Cesario_, who looked upon it as being
overwatched, and fatigued with the toils of the day; his sullenness
did not pass so in the opinion of the rest; they saw, or at least
thought they saw, some other marks of discontent in his fine eyes,
which love so much better became. One of the Prince’s officers, and
Captain of his Guard, who was an old hereditary rogue, and whose
father had suffered in rebellion before, a fellow rough and daring,
comes boldly to the Prince when the Council rose, and asked him, if he
were resolved to engage? He told him, he was. ‘Then,’ said he, ‘give
me leave to shoot _Philander_ in the head.’ This blunt proposition
given, without any manner of reason or circumstance, made the Prince
start back a step or two, and ask him his meaning of what he said.
’.ir,’ replied the Captain, ‘if you will be safe, _Philander_ must
die; for however it appear to Your Highness, to all the camp he shows
the traitor, and it is more than doubted, he and the King of _France_,
understand one another but too well: therefore, if you would be
victor, let him be dispatched, and I myself will undertake it.’
’.old,’ said the Prince, ‘if I could believe what you say to be true,
I should not take so base a revenge; I would fight like a soldier, and
he should be treated like a man of honour.’ ‘Sir,’ said _Vaneur_, for
that was the Captain’s name; ‘do not, in the circumstances we are now
in, talk of treating (with those that would betray us) like men of
honour; we cannot stand upon decency in killing, who have so many to
dispatch; we came not into _France_ to fight duels, and stand on nice
punctilios: I say, we must make quick work, and I have a good pistol,
charged with two handsome bullets, that shall, as soon as he appears
amongst us on horseback, do his business as genteelly as can be, and
rid you of one of the most powerful of your enemies.’ To this the
Prince would by no means agree; not believing one syllable of the
accusation. _Vaneur_ swore then that he would not draw a sword for his
service, while _Philander_ was suffered to live; and he was as good as
his word. He said, in going out, that he would obey the Prince, but he
begged his pardon, if he did not lift a hand on his side; and in an
hour after sent him his commission, and waited on him, and was with
him almost till the last, in all the danger, but would not fight,
having made a solemn vow. Several others were of _Vaneur_’. opinion,
but the Prince believed nothing of it; _Philander_ being indeed, as he
said, weary of the design and party, and regarded them as his ruiners,
who with fair pretences drew him into a bad cause; which his youth had
not then considered, and from which he could not untangle himself.

By this time, the scout was come back, who informed the Prince that
now was the best time in the world to attack the enemy, who all lay
supinely in their tents, and did not expect a surprise: that the very
out-guards were slender, and that it would not be hard to put them to
a great deal of confusion. The Prince, who was enough impatient
before, now was all fire and spirit, and it was not in the power of
magic to withhold him; but hasting immediately to horse, with as much
speed as possible, he got at the head of his men; and marching on
directly to the enemy, put them into so great a surprise, that it may
be admired how they got themselves into a condition of defence; and,
to make short of a business that was not long in acting, I may avow,
nothing but the immediate hand of the Almighty, (who favours the
juster side, and is always ready for the support of those, who
approach so near his own divinity; sacred and anointed heads) could
have turned the fortune of the battle to the royal side: it was
prodigious to consider the unequal numbers, and the advantage all on
the Prince’s part; it was miraculous to behold the order on his side,
and surprise on the other, which of itself had been sufficient to have
confounded them; yet notwithstanding all this unpreparedness on this
side, and the watchfulness and care on the other; so well the general
and officers of the royal army managed their scanted time, so bravely
disciplined and experienced the soldiers were, so resolute and brave,
and all so well mounted and armed, that, as I said, to a miracle they
fought, and it was a miracle they won the field: though that fatal
night _Cesario_ did in his own person wonders; and when his horse was
killed under him, he took a partisan, and as a common soldier, at the
head of his foot, acted the _hero_ with as much courage and bravery,
as ever _Caesar_ himself could boast; yet all this availed him
nothing: he saw himself abandoned on all sides, and then under the
covert of the night, he retired from the battle, with his sword in his
hand, with only one page, who fought by his side: a thousand times he
was about to fall on his own sword, and like _Brutus_ have finished a
life he could no longer sustain with glory: but love, that coward of
the mind, and the image of divine _Hermione_, as he esteemed her,
still gave him love to life; and while he could remember she yet lived
to charm him, he could even look with contempt on the loss of all his
glory; at which, if he repined, it was for her sake, who expected to
behold him return covered over with laurels. In these sad thoughts he
wandered as long as his wearied legs would bear him, into a low
forest, far from the camp; where, over-pressed with toil, all over
pain, and a royal heart even breaking with anxiety, he laid him down
under the shelter of a tree, and found but his length of earth left to
support him now, who, not many hours before, beheld himself the
greatest monarch, as he imagined, in the world. Oh who, that had seen
him thus; which of his most mortal enemies, that had viewed the royal
youth, adorned with all the charms of beauty, heaven ever distributed
to man; born great, and but now adored by all the crowding world with
hat and knee; now abandoned by all, but one kind trembling boy weeping
by his side, while the illustrious _hero_ lay gazing with melancholy
weeping eyes, at those stars that had lately been so cruel to him;
sighing out his great soul to the winds, that whistled round his
uncovered head; breathing his griefs as silently as the sad fatal
night passed away; where nothing in nature seemed to pity him, but the
poor wretched youth that kneeled by him, and the sighing air: I say,
who that beheld this, would not have scorned the world, and all its
fickle worshippers? Have cursed the flatteries of vain ambition, and
prized a cottage far above a throne? A garland wreathed by some fair
innocent hand, before the restless glories of a crown?

Some authors, in the relation of this battle, affirm, that _Philander_
quitted his post as soon as the charge was given, and sheered off from
that wing he commanded; but all historians agree in this point, that
if he did, it was not for want of courage; for in a thousand
encounters he has given sufficient proofs of as much bravery as a man
can be capable of: but he disliked the cause, disapproved of all their
pretensions, and looked upon the whole affair and proceeding to be
most unjust and ungenerous; and all the fault his greatest enemies
could charge him with was, that he did not deal so gratefully with a
prince that loved him and trusted him; and that he ought frankly to
have told him, he would not serve him in this design; and that it had
been more gallant to have quitted him that way, than this; but there
are so many reasons to be given for this more politic and safe deceit,
than are needful in this place, and it is most certain, as it is the
most justifiable to heaven and man, to one born a subject of _France_,
and having sworn allegiance to his proper king, to abandon any other
interest; so let the enemies of this great man say what they please,
if a man be obliged to be false to this or that interest, I think no
body of common honesty, sense and honour, will dispute which he ought
to abandon; and this is most certain, that he did not forsake him
because fortune did so, as this one instance may make appear. When
_Cesario_ was first proclaimed king, and had all the reason in the
world to believe that fortune would have been wholly partial to him,
he offered _Philander_ his choice of any principality and government
in _France_, and to have made him of the Order of _Saint Esprit_: all
which he refused, though he knew his great fortune was lost, and
already distributed to favourites at Court, and himself proscribed and
convicted as a traitor to _France_. Yet all these refusals did not
open the eyes of this credulous great young man, who still believed it
the sullenness and generosity of his temper.

No sooner did the day discover to the world the horrid business of the
preceding night, but a diligent search was made among the infinite
number of dead that covered the face of the earth, for the body of the
Prince, or new King, as they called him: but when they could not find
him among the dead, they sent out parties all ways to search the
woods, the forests and the plains; nor was it long they sought in
vain; for he who had laid himself, as I said, under the shelter of a
tree, had not for any consideration removed him; but finding himself
seized by a common hand, suffered himself, without resistance, to be
detained by one single man ‘till more advanced, when he could as
easily have killed the rustic as speak or move; an action so below the
character of this truly brave man, that there is no reason to be given
to excuse his easy submission but this, that he was stupefied with
long watching, grief, and the fatigues of his daily toil for so many
weeks before: for it is not to be imagined it was carelessness, or
little regard for life; for if it had been so, he would doubtless have
lost it nobly with the victory, and never have retreated while there
had been one sword left advanced against him; or if he had disdained
the enemy should have had the advantage and glory of so great a
conquest, at least when his sword had been yet left him, he should
have died like a _Roman_, and have scorned to have added to the
triumph of the enemy. But love had unmanned his great soul, and
_Hermione_ pleaded within for life at any price, even that of all his
glory; the thought of her alone blackened this last scene of his life,
and for which all his past triumphs could never atone nor excuse.

Thus taken, he suffered himself to be led away tamely by common hands
without resistance: a victim now even fallen to the pity of the
_mobile_ as he passed, and so little imagined by the better sort who
saw him not, they would not give a credit to it, every one affirming
and laying wagers he would die like a hero, and never surrender with
life to the conqueror. But this submission was but too true for the
repose of all his abettors; nor was his mean surrender all, but he
shewed a dejection all the way they were bringing him to _Paris_, so
extremely unworthy of his character, that it is hardly to be credited
so great a change could have been possible. And to shew that he had
lost all his spirit and courage with the victory, and that the great
strings of his heart were broke, the Captain who had the charge of
him, and commanded that little squadron that conducted him to _Paris_,
related to me this remarkable passage in the journey; he said, that
they lodged in an inn, where he believed both the master, and a great
many strangers who that night lodged there, were _Huguenots_, and
great lovers of the Prince, which the Captain did not know, till after
the lodgings were taken: however, he ordered a file of Musketeers to
guard the door; and himself only remaining in the chamber with the
Prince, while supper was getting ready: the Captain being extremely
weary with watching and toiling for a long time together, laid himself
down on a bench behind a great long table, that was fastened to the
floor, and had unadvisedly laid his pistols on the table; and though
he durst not sleep, he thought there to stretch himself into a little
ease, who had not quitted his horseback in a great while: the Prince,
who was walking with his arms a-cross about the room, musing in a very
dejected posture, often casting his eyes to the door, at last advances
to the table, and takes up the Captain’s pistols; the while he who saw
him advance, feared in that moment, what the Prince was going to do;
he thought, if he should rise and snatch at the pistols, and miss of
them, it would express so great a distrust of the Prince, it might
provoke him to do, what by his generous submitting of them, might make
him escape; and therefore, since it was too late, he suffered the
Prince to arm himself with two pistols, who before was disarmed of
even his little penknife. He was, he said, a thousand times about to
call out to the guards; but then he thought before they could enter to
his relief, he was sure to be shot dead, and it was possible the
Prince might make his party good with four or five common soldiers,
who perhaps loved the Prince as well as any, and might rather assist
than hinder his flight; all this he thought in an instant, and at the
same time, seeing the Prince stand still, in a kind of consideration
what to do, looking, turning, and viewing of the pistols, he doubted
not but his thoughts would determine with his life, and though he had
been in the heat of all the battle, and had looked death in the face,
when it appeared most horrid, he protested he knew not how to fear
till this moment, and that now he trembled with the apprehension of
unavoidable ruin; he cursed a thousand times his unadvisedness, now it
was too late; he saw the Prince, after he had viewed and reviewed the
pistols, walk in a great thoughtfulness again about the chamber, and
at last, as if he had determined what to do, came back and laid them
again on the table; at which the Captain snatched them up, resolving
never to commit so great an over-sight more. He did not doubt, he
said, but the Prince, in taking them up, had some design of making his
escape; and most certainly, if he had but had courage to have
attempted it, it had not been hard to have been accomplished: at
worst, he could but have died: but there is a fate, that over-rules
the most lucky minutes of the greatest men in the world, and turns
even all advantages offered to misfortunes, when it designs their
ruin.

While they were on their way to _Paris_, he gave some more signs, that
the misfortunes he had suffered, had lessened his heart and courage:
he writ several the most submissive letters in the world to the King,
and to the Queen-Mother of _France_; wherein he strove to mitigate his
treason, with the poorest arguments imaginable, and, as if his good
sense had declined with his fortune, his style was altered, and
debased to that of a common man, or rather a schoolboy, filled with
tautologies and stuff of no coherence; in which he neither shewed the
majesty of a prince, nor sense of a gentleman; as I could make appear
by exposing those copies, which I leave to history; all which must be
imputed to the disorder his head and heart were in, for want of that
natural rest, he never after found. When he came to _Paris_, he fell
at the feet of His Majesty, to whom they brought him, and with a
shower of tears bedewing his shoes, as he lay prostrate, besought his
pardon, and asked his life; perhaps one of his greatest weaknesses, to
imagine he could hope for mercy, after so many pardons for the same
fault; and which, if he had had but one grain of that bravery left
him, he was wont to be master of, he could not have expected, nor have
had the confidence to have implored; and he was a poor spectacle of
pity to all that once adored him, to see how he petitioned in vain for
life; which if it had been granted, had been of no other use to him,
but to have passed in some corner of the earth, with _Hermione_,
despised by all the rest: and, though he fetched tears of pity from
the eyes of the best and most merciful of kings, he could not gain on
his first resolution; which was never to forgive him that scurrilous
Declaration he had dispersed at his first landing in _France_; that he
took upon him the title of king, he could forgive; that he had been
the cause of so much bloodshed, he could forgive; but never that
unworthy scandal on his unspotted fame, of which he was much more
nice, than of his crown or life; and left him (as he told him this)
prostrate on the earth, when the guards took him up, and conveyed him
to the _Bastille_: as he came out of the _Louvre_, it is said, he
looked with his wonted grace, only a languishment sat there in greater
beauty, than possibly all his gayer looks ever put on, at least in his
circumstances all that beheld him imagined so; all the _Parisians_
were crowded in vast numbers to see him: and oh, see what fortune is!
Those that had vowed him allegiance in their hearts, and were upon all
occasions ready to rise in mutiny for his least interest, now saw him,
and suffered him to be carried to the _Bastille_ with a small company
of guards, and never offered to rescue the royal unfortunate from the
hands of justice, while he viewed them all around with scorning, dying
eyes.

While he remained in the _Bastille_, he was visited by several of the
ministers of State, and cardinals, and men of the Church, who urged
him to some discoveries, but could not prevail with him: he spoke, he
thought, he dreamed of nothing but _Hermione_; and when they talked of
heaven, he ran on some discourse of that beauty, something of her
praise; and so continued to his last moment, even on the scaffold,
where, when he was urged to excuse, as a good Christian ought, his
invasion, his bloodshed, and his unnatural war, he set himself to
justify his passion to _Hermione_, endeavouring to render the life he
had led with her, innocent and blameless in the sight of heaven; and
all the churchmen could persuade could make him speak of very little
else. Just before he laid himself down on the block, he called to one
of the gentlemen of his chamber, and taking out the enchanted
tooth-pick-case, he whispered him in the ear, and commanded him to
bear it from him to _Hermione_; and laying himself down, suffered the
justice of the law, and died more pitied than lamented; so that it
became a proverb, ‘If I have an enemy, I wish he may live like----,
and die like _Cesario_’. so ended the race of this glorious youth, who
was in his time the greatest man of a subject in the world, and the
greatest favourite of his prince, happy indeed above a monarch, if
ambition and the inspiration of knaves and fools, had not led him to
destruction, and from a glorious life, brought him to a shameful
death.

This deplorable news was not long in coming to _Hermione_, who must
receive this due, that when she heard her _hero_ was dead, (and with
him all her dearer greatness gone) she betook herself to her bed, and
made a vow she would never rise nor eat more; and she was as good as
her word, she lay in that melancholy estate about ten days, making the
most piteous moan for her dead lover that ever was heard, drowning her
pillow in tears, and sighing out her soul. She called on him in vain
as long as she could speak; at last she fell into a lethargy, and
dreamed of him, till she could dream no more; an everlasting sleep





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