Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 3 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.0 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

as an humble companion; since he had had the honour of being married
to _Sylvia_, though yet he durst not lift his eyes or thoughts that
way; yet it might be perceived he was melancholy and sullen whenever
he saw their dalliances; nor could he know the joys his lord nightly
stole, without an impatience, which, if but minded or known, perhaps
had cost him his life. He began, from the thoughts she was his wife,
to fancy fine enjoyment, to fancy authority which he durst not assume,
and often wished his lord would grow cold, as possessing lovers do,
that then he might advance his hope, when he should even abandon or
slight her: he could not see her kissed without blushing with
resentment; but if he has assisted to undress him for her bed, he was
ready to die with anger, and would grow sick, and leave the office to
himself: he could not see her naked charms, her arms stretched out to
receive a lover, with impatient joy, without madness; to see her clasp
him fast, when he threw himself into her soft, white bosom, and
smother him with kisses: no, he could not bear it now, and almost lost
his respect when he beheld it, and grew saucy unperceived. And it was
in vain that he looked back upon the reward he had to stand for that
necessary cypher a husband. In vain he considered the reasons why, and
the occasion wherefore; he now seeks precedents of usurped dominion,
and thinks she is his wife, and has forgot that he is her creature,
and _Philander_'s vassal. These thoughts disturbed him all the night,
and a certain jealousy, or rather curiosity to listen to every motion
of the lovers, while they were employed after a different manner.

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

OCTAVIO _to_ PHILANDER.

_My Lord_,

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

OCTAVIO.

_From the Council, Wednesday_.

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

PHILANDER _to_ OCTAVIO.

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

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

PHILANDER.

* * * * *

OCTAVIO _to_ PHILANDER.

_My Lord_,

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

OCTAVIO.

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

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

PHILANDER _to_ OCTAVIO.

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

PHILANDER.

_Direct your letters for me to your merchant_ Vander Hanskin.

* * * * *

PHILANDER _to_ SYLVIA.

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

PHILANDER.

POSTSCRIPT.

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

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

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

_Madam_,

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

OCTAVIO.

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

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

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

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

SYLVIA.

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

SYLVIA _to_ PHILANDER.

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

Thy SYLVIA.

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

PHILANDER _to_ BRILLIARD.

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

PHILANDER.

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

BRILLIARD _to_ PHILANDER.

_My Lord,_

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

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

BRILLIARD.

POSTSCRIPT.

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

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

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

_Madam_,

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

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

OCTAVIO.

POSTSCRIPT.

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

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

SYLVIA _to_ OCTAVIO.

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

SYLVIA.

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

OCTAVIO _to_ SYLVIA.

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

OCTAVIO.

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

OCTAVIO _to_ PHILANDER.

_My Lord_,

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

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

OCTAVIO.

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

PHILANDER _to_ OCTAVIO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHILANDER.

POSTSCRIPT.

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

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

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

PHILANDER _to_ SYLVIA.

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

You charge my letter with a thousand faults, it is short, it is cold,
and wants those usual softnesses that gave them all their welcome, and
their graces. I fear my _Sylvia_ loves the flatterer, and not the man,
the lover only, not _Philander_: and she considers him not for
himself, but the gay, glorious thing he makes of her! Ah! too
self-interested! Is that your justice? You never allow for my unhappy
circumstances; you never think how care oppresses me, nor what my love
contributes to that care. How business, danger, and a thousand ills,
take up my harrassed mind: by every power! I love thee still, my
_Sylvia_, but time has made us more familiar now, and we begin to
leave off ceremony, and come to closer joys to join our interests now,
as people fixed, resolved to live and die together; to weave our
thoughts and be united stronger. At first we shew the gayest side of
love, dress and be nice in every word and look, set out for conquest
all; spread every art, use every stratagem--But when the toil is past,
and the dear victory gained, we then propose a little idle rest, a
little easy slumber: we then embrace, lay by the gaudy shew, the
plumes and gilded equipage of love, the trappings of the conqueror,
and bring the naked lover to your arms; we shew him then uncased with
all his little disadvantages; perhaps the flowing hair, (those ebony
curls you have so often combed and dressed, and kissed) are then put
up, and shew a fiercer air, more like an antique _Roman_ than
_Philander_: and shall I then, because I want a grace, be thought to
love you less? Because the embroidered coat, the point and garniture's
laid by, must I put off my passion with my dress? No, _Sylvia_, love
allows a thousand little freedoms, allows me to unbosom all my
secrets; tell thee my wants, my fears, complaints and dangers, and
think it great relief if thou but sigh and pity me: and oft thy
charming wit has aided me, but now I find thee adding to my pain. O
where shall I unload my weight of cares, when _Sylvia_, who was wont
to sigh and weep, and suffer me to ease the heavy burden, now grows
displeased and peevish with my moans, and calls them the effects of
dying love! Instead of those dear smiles, that fond bewitching
prattle, that used to calm my roughest storm of grief, she now
reproaches me with coldness, want of concern, and lover's rhetoric:

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest