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Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister by Aphra Behn

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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 _Conde_ (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_'s
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_'s, 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_'s,
married, the lovely charming thing for whom I languish is
married!--That fatal word's enough, I need not add to whom. Married is
enough to make me 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_'s! 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_'s 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,
boldy 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_'s.

_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_'s! 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_'s
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_'s, name, they sing it on their perching boughs;
no, nor the reviewing of his dear letters, can bring me any ease. Oh
what fate is reserved for me! For thus I cannot live; nor surely thus
I shall not die. Perhaps _Philander_'s 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_'s sister; or he than
_Sylvia_'s 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_'s

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_'s love set no higher value on me than base poor
prostitution? Is that the price of his heart?--Oh how I hate thee now!
or 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_'s 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_'s 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,
'tis too great; my reproaches lose their force; I burst with
resentment, with injur'd love; and you are either the most faithless
of your sex, or the most malicious and tormenting: oh I am past
tricks, my _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:
'tis 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_'s 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_'s
cottage, that he may not be seen at_ Bellfont: _resolve to see me
to-night, or I shall come without order, and injure both: my dear,
damn'd wife is dispos'd of at a ball_ 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_'s 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_'s 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_
'till eight or nine at night; but oh 'tis wondrous pleasure to be so
much more near my eternal joy; I wait at _Dorillus_'s cottage the
tedious approaching night that must shelter me in its kind shades, and
conduct me to a pleasure I faint but with imagining; 'tis now, my
lovely 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_'s 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_'s 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_'s lute, my soul will sound
to nothing but to love: talk what you will, begin what discourse you
please, I end it all in love, because my soul is ever 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,
'till 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_'s arms, and I to my
_Philander_'s; the sun and I must snatch our joys in the same happy
hours; favour'd by thee, oh sacred, silent Night! See, see, the
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_'s 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_'s 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.

'Tis plain, 'tis reasonable, 'tis honest, great and glorious to
believe, what thy own sense (if thou wilt but think and consider) will
instruct thee in, that treason, rebellion and murder, are far from the
paths that lead to glory, which are as distant as hell from 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_'s.

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_'s
jealousy; _Myrtilla_, my sister, and _Philander_'s 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
'tis 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.

'Tis 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_'s 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_'s 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_'s 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)
'consider I am a maid, and would not be discovered for the world.'
'Who 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_'s 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_'s flight. But, my adorable maid, my
business here was not to give an account of my adventure only, nor of
my ravings, but to tell my _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.

_'Tis 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

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