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

Produced by Curtis A. Weyant and The Online Distributed Proofreading Team Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister by Aphra Behn The Argument In the time of the rebellion of the true Protestant _Huguenot_ in _Paris_, under the conduct of the Prince of _Conde_ (whom we will call _Cesario_) many illustrious persons were drawn into
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Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister

by

Aphra Behn

The Argument

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

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

Love-Letters

Part I.

_To_ SYLVIA.

Though I parted from you resolved to obey your impossible commands, yet know, oh charming _Sylvia_! that after a thousand conflicts between love and honour, I found the god (too mighty for the idol) reign absolute monarch in my soul, and soon banished that tyrant thence. That cruel counsellor that would suggest to you a thousand fond arguments to hinder my noble pursuit; _Sylvia_ came in view! her irresistible _Idea_! With all the charms of blooming youth, with all the attractions of heavenly beauty! Loose, wanton, gay, all flowing her bright hair, and languishing her lovely eyes, her dress all negligent as when I saw her last, discovering a thousand ravishing graces, round, white, small breasts, delicate neck, and rising bosom, heaved with sighs she would in vain conceal; and all besides, that nicest fancy can imagine surprising–Oh I dare not think on, lest my desires grow mad and raving; let it suffice, oh adorable _Sylvia_! I think and know enough to justify that flame in me, which our weak alliance of brother and sister has rendered so criminal; but he that adores _Sylvia_, should do it at an uncommon rate; ’tis not enough to sacrifice a single heart, to give you a simple passion, your beauty should, like itself, produce wondrous effects; it should force all obligations, all laws, all ties even of nature’s self: you, my lovely maid, were not born to be obtained by the dull methods of ordinary loving; and ’tis in vain to prescribe me measures; and oh much more in vain to urge the nearness of our relation. What kin, my charming _Sylvia_, are you to me? No ties of blood forbid my passion; and what’s a ceremony imposed on man by custom? What is it to my divine _Sylvia_, that the priest took my hand and gave it to your sister? What alliance can that create? Why should a trick devised by the wary old, only to make provision for posterity, tie me to an eternal slavery? No, no, my charming maid, ’tis nonsense all; let us, (born for mightier joys) scorn the dull _beaten road_, but let us love like the first race of men, nearest allied to God, promiscuously they loved, and possessed, father and daughter, brother and sister met, and reaped the joys of love without control, and counted it religious coupling, and ’twas encouraged too by heaven itself: therefore start not (too nice and lovely maid) at shadows of things that can but frighten fools. Put me not off with these delays; rather say you but dissembled love all this while, than now ’tis born, to die again with a poor fright of nonsense. A fit of honour! a phantom imaginary, and no more; no, no, represent me to your soul more favourably, think you see me languishing at your feet, breathing out my last in sighs and kind reproaches, on the pitiless _Sylvia_; reflect when I am dead, which will be the more afflicting object, the ghost (as you are pleased to call it) of your murdered honour, or the pale and bleeding one of

_The lost_ PHILANDER.

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

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

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

I confess with blushes, which you might then see kindling in my face, that I was not at all pleased with the vows you made me, to endeavour to obey me, and I then even wished you would obstinately have denied obedience to my just commands; have pursued your criminal flame, and have left me raving on my undoing: for when you were gone, and I had leisure to look into my heart, alas! I found, whether you obliged or not, whether love or honour were preferred, I, unhappy I, was either way inevitably lost. Oh! what pitiless god, fond of his wondrous power, made us the objects of his almighty vanity? Oh why were we two made the first precedents of his new found revenge? For sure no brother ever loved a sister with so criminal a flame before: at least my inexperienced innocence never met with so fatal a story: and it is in vain (my too charming brother) to make me insensible of our alliance; to persuade me I am a stranger to all but your eyes and soul.

Alas, your fatally kind industry is all in vain. You grew up a brother with me; the title was fixed in my heart, when I was too young to understand your subtle distinctions, and there it thrived and spread; and it is now too late to transplant it, or alter its native property: who can graft a flower on a contrary stalk? The rose will bear no tulips, nor the hyacinth the poppy, no more will the brother the name of lover. Oh! spoil not the natural sweetness and innocence we now retain, by an endeavour fruitless and destructive; no, no, _Philander_, dress yourself in what charms you will, be powerful as love can make you in your soft argument–yet, oh yet, you are my brother still.–But why, oh cruel and eternal powers, was not _Philander_ my lover before you destined him a brother? Or why, being a brother, did you, malicious and spiteful powers, destine him a lover? Oh, take either title from him, or from me a life, which can render me no satisfaction, since your cruel laws permit it not for _Philander_, nor his to bless the now

_Unfortunate_ SYLVIA.

_Wednesday morning_.

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

After I had dismissed my page this morning with my letter, I walked (filled with sad soft thoughts of my brother _Philander_) into the grove, and commanding _Melinda_ to retire, who only attended me, I threw myself down on that bank of grass where we last disputed the dear, but fatal business of our souls: where our prints (that invited me) still remain on the pressed greens: there with ten thousand sighs, with remembrance of the tender minutes we passed then, I drew your last letter from my bosom, and often kissed, and often read it over; but oh! who can conceive my torment, when I came to that fatal part of it, where you say you gave your hand to my sister? I found my soul agitated with a thousand different passions, but all insupportable, all mad and raving; sometimes I threw myself with fury on the ground, and pressed my panting heart to the earth; then rise in rage, and tear my heart, and hardly spare that face that taught you first to love; then fold my wretched arms to keep down rising sighs that almost rend my breast, I traverse swiftly the conscious grove; with my distracted show’ring eyes directed in vain to pitiless heaven, the lovely silent shade favouring my complaints, I cry aloud, Oh God! _Philander_’s, married, the lovely charming thing for whom I languish is married!–That fatal word’s enough, I need not add to whom. Married is enough to make me curse my birth, my youth, my beauty, and my eyes that first betrayed me to the undoing object: curse on the charms you have flattered, for every fancied grace has helped my ruin on; now, like flowers that wither unseen and unpossessed in shades, they must die and be no more, they were to no end created, since _Philander_ is married: married! Oh fate, oh hell, oh torture and confusion! Tell me not it is to my sister, that addition is needless and vain: to make me eternally wretched, there needs no more than that _Philander_ is married! Than that the priest gave your hand away from me; to another, and not to me; tired out with life, I need no other pass-port than this repetition, _Philander_ is married! ‘Tis that alone is sufficient to lay in her cold tomb

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

* * * * *

_To_ SYLVIA.

Twice last night, oh unfaithful and unloving _Sylvia_! I sent the page to the old place for letters, but he returned the object of my rage, because without the least remembrance from my fickle maid: in this torment, unable to hide my disorder, I suffered myself to be laid in bed; where the restless torments of the night exceeded those of the day, and are not even by the languisher himself to be expressed; but the returning light brought a short slumber on its wings; which was interrupted by my atoning boy, who brought two letters from my adorable _Sylvia_: he waked me from dreams more agreeable than all my watchful hours could bring; for they are all tortured.—-And even the softest mixed with a thousand despairs, difficulties and disappointments, but these were all love, which gave a loose to joys undenied by honour! And this way, my charming _Sylvia_, you shall be mine, in spite of all the tyrannies of that cruel hinderer; honour appears not, my _Sylvia_, within the close-drawn curtains; in shades and gloomy light the phantom frights not, but when one beholds its blushes, when it is attended and adorned, and the sun sees its false beauties; in silent groves and grottoes, dark alcoves, and lonely recesses, all its formalities are laid aside; it was then and there methought my _Sylvia_ yielded, with a faint struggle and a soft resistance; I heard her broken sighs, her tender whispering voice, that trembling cried,–‘Oh! Can you be so cruel?–Have you the heart–Will you undo a maid, because she loves you? Oh! Will you ruin me, because you may?—-My faithless—-My unkind—-‘ then sighed and yielded, and made me happier than a triumphing god! But this was still a dream, I waked and sighed, and found it vanished all! But oh, my _Sylvia_, your letters were substantial pleasure, and pardon your adorer, if he tell you, even the disorder you express is infinitely dear to him, since he knows it all the effects of love; love, my soul! Which you in vain oppose; pursue it, dear, and call it not undoing, or else explain your fear, and tell me what your soft, your trembling heart gives that cruel title to? Is it undoing to love? And love the man you say has youth and beauty to justify that love? A man, that adores you with so submissive and perfect a resignation; a man, that did not only love first, but is resolved to die in that agreeable flame; in my creation I was formed for love, and destined for my _Sylvia_, and she for her _Philander_: and shall we, can we disappoint our fate? No, my soft charmer, our souls were touched with the same shafts of love before they had a being in our bodies, and can we contradict divine decree?

Or is it undoing, dear, to bless _Philander_ with what you must some time or other sacrifice to some hated, loathed object, (for _Sylvia_ can never love again;) and are those treasures for the dull conjugal lover to rifle? Was the beauty of divine shape created for the cold matrimonial embrace? And shall the eternal joys that _Sylvia_ can dispense, be returned by the clumsy husband’s careless, forced, insipid duties? Oh, my _Sylvia_, shall a husband (whose insensibility will call those raptures of joy! Those heavenly blisses! The drudgery of life) shall he I say receive them? While your _Philander_, with the very thought of the excess of pleasure the least possession would afford, faints over the paper that brings here his eternal vows.

Oh! Where, my _Sylvia_, lies the undoing then? My quality and fortune are of the highest rank amongst men, my youth gay and fond, my soul all soft, all love; and all _Sylvia_’s! I adore her, I am sick of love, and sick of life, till she yields, till she is all mine!

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

Let the dull, hot-brained, jealous fool upbraid me with cold patience: let the fond coxcomb, whose honour depends on the frail marriage-vow, reproach me, or tell me that my reputation depends on the feeble constancy of a wife, persuade me it is honour to fight for an irretrievable and unvalued prize, and that because my rival has taken leave to cuckold me, I shall give him leave to kill me too; unreasonable nonsense grown to custom. No, by heaven! I had gather _Myrtilla_ should be false, (as she is) than wish and languish for the happy occasion; the sin is the same, only the act is more generous: believe me, my _Sylvia_, we have all false notions of virtue and honour, and surely this was taken up by some despairing husband in love with a fair jilting wife, and then I pardon him; I should have done as much: for only she that has my soul can engage my sword; she that I love, and myself, only commands and keeps my stock of honour: for _Sylvia_! the charming, the distracting _Sylvia_! I could fight for a glance or smile, expose my heart for her dearer fame, and wish no recompense, but breathing out my last gasp into her soft, white, delicate bosom. But for a wife! that stranger to my soul, and whom we wed for interest and necessity,–a wife, light, loose, unregarding property, who for a momentary appetite will expose her fame, without the noble end of loving on; she that will abuse my bed, and yet return again to the loathed conjugal embrace, back to the arms so hated, and even strong fancy of the absent youth beloved, cannot so much as render supportable. Curse on her, and yet she kisses, fawns and dissembles on, hangs on his neck, and makes the sot believe:–damn her, brute; I’ll whistle her off, and let her down the wind, as _Othello_ says. No, I adore the wife, that, when the heart is gone, boldy and nobly pursues the conqueror, and generously owns the whore;–not poorly adds the nauseous sin of jilting to it: that I could have borne, at least commended; but this can never pardon; at worst then the world had said her passion had undone her, she loved, and love at worst is worthy of pity. No, no, _Myrtilla_, I forgive your love, but never can your poor dissimulation. One drives you but from the heart you value not, but the other to my eternal contempt. One deprives me but of thee, _Myrtilla_, but the other entitles me to a beauty more surprising, renders thee no part of me; and so leaves the lover free to _Sylvia_, without the brother.

Thus, my excellent maid, I have sent you the sense and truth of my soul, in an affair you have often hinted to me, and I take no pleasure to remember: I hope you will at least think my aversion reasonable; and that being thus indisputably free from all obligations to _Myrtilla_ as a husband, I may be permitted to lay claim to _Sylvia_, as a lover, and marry myself more effectually by my everlasting vows, than the priest by his common method could do to any other woman less beloved; there being no other way at present left by heaven, to render me _Sylvia_’s.

_Eternal happy lover and I die to see you_.

PHILANDER.

* * * * *

_To_ SYLVIA.

When I had sealed the enclosed, _Brilliard_ told me you were this morning come from _Bellfont_, and with infinite impatience have expected seeing you here; which deferred my sending this to the old place; and I am so vain (oh adorable _Sylvia_) as to believe my fancied silence has given you disquiets; but sure, my _Sylvia_ could not charge me with neglect; no, she knows my soul, and lays it all on chance, or some strange accident, she knows no business could divert me. No, were the nation sinking, the great senate of the world confounded, our glorious designs betrayed and ruined, and the vast city all in flames; like _Nero_, unconcerned, I would sing my everlasting song of love to _Sylvia_; which no time or fortune shall untune. I know my soul, and all its strength, and how it is fortified, the charming _Idea_ of my young _Sylvia_ will for ever remain there; the original may fade; time may render it less fair, less blooming in my arms, but never in my soul; I shall find thee there the same gay glorious creature that first surprised and enslaved me, believe me ravishing maid, I shall. Why then, oh why, my cruel _Sylvia_ are my joys delayed? Why am I by your rigorous commands kept from the sight of my heaven, my eternal bliss? An age, my fair tormentor, is past; four tedious live-long days are numbered over, since I beheld the object of my lasting vows, my eternal wishes; how can you think, oh unreasonable _Sylvia_! that I could live so long without you? And yet I am alive; I find it by my pain, by torments of fears and jealousies insupportable; I languish and go downward to the earth; where you will shortly see me laid without your recalling mercy. It is true, I move about this unregarded world, appear every day in the great senate-house, at clubs, cabals, and private consultations; (for _Sylvia_ knows all the business of my soul, even in politics of State as well as love) I say I appear indeed, and give my voice in public business; but oh my heart more kindly is employed; that and my thoughts are _Sylvia_’s! Ten thousand times a day I breathe that name, my busy fingers are eternally tracing out those six mystic letters; a thousand ways on every thing I touch, form words, and make them speak a thousand things, and all are _Sylvia_ still; my melancholy change is evident to all that see me, which they interpret many mistaken ways; our party fancy I repent my league with them, and doubting I’ll betray the cause, grow jealous of me, till by new oaths, new arguments, I confirm them; then they smile all, and cry I am in love; and this they would believe, but that they see all women that I meet or converse with are indifferent to me, and so can fix it no where; for none can guess it _Sylvia_; thus while I dare not tell my soul, no not even to _Cesario_, the stifled flame burns inward, and torments me so, that (unlike the thing I was) I fear _Sylvia_ will lose her love, and lover too; for those few charms she said I had, will fade, and this fatal distance will destroy both soul and body too; my very reason will abandon me, and I shall rave to see thee; restore me, oh restore me then to _Bellfont_, happy _Bellfont_, still blest with _Sylvia_’s presence! permit me, oh permit me into those sacred shades, where I have been so often (too innocently) blest! Let me survey again the dear character of _Sylvia_ on the smooth birch; oh when shall I sit beneath those boughs, gazing on the young goddess of the grove, hearing her sigh for love, touching her glowing small white hands, beholding her killing eyes languish, and her charming bosom rise and fall with short-breath’d uncertain breath; breath as soft and sweet as the restoring breeze that glides o’er the new-blown flowers: But oh what is it? What heaven of perfumes, when it inclines to the ravish’d _Philander_, and whispers love it dares not name aloud?

What power with-holds me then from rushing on thee, from pressing thee with kisses; folding thee in my transported arms, and following all the dictates of love without respect or awe! What is it, oh my _Sylvia_, can detain a love so violent and raving, and so wild; admit me, sacred maid, admit me again to those soft delights, that I may find, if possible, what divinity (envious of my bliss) checks my eager joys, my raging flame; while you too make an experiment (worth the trial) what ’tis makes _Sylvia_ deny her

_Impatient adorer_,

PHILANDER.

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

_To_ PHILANDER.

Not yet?–not yet? oh ye dull tedious hours, when will you glide away? and bring that happy moment on, in which I shall at least hear from my _Philander_; eight and forty tedious ones are past, and I am here forgotten still; forlorn, impatient, restless every where; not one of all your little moments (ye undiverting hours) can afford me repose; I drag ye on, a heavy load; I count ye all, and bless ye when you are gone; but tremble at the approaching ones, and with a dread expect you; and nothing will divert me now; my couch is tiresome, my glass is vain; my books are dull, and conversation insupportable; the grove affords me no relief; nor even those birds to whom I have so often breath’d _Philander_’s, name, they sing it on their perching boughs; no, nor the reviewing of his dear letters, can bring me any ease. Oh what fate is reserved for me! For thus I cannot live; nor surely thus I shall not die. Perhaps _Philander_’s making a trial of virtue by this silence. Pursue it, call up all your reason, my lovely brother, to your aid, let us be wise and silent, let us try what that will do towards the cure of this too infectious flame; let us, oh let us, my brother, sit down here, and pursue the crime of loving on no farther. Call me sister–swear I am so, and nothing but your sister: and forbear, oh forbear, my charming brother, to pursue me farther with your soft bewitching passion; let me alone, let me be ruin’d with honour, if I must be ruin’d.–For oh! ’twere much happier I were no more, than that I should be more than _Philander_’s sister; or he than _Sylvia_’s brother: oh let me ever call you by that cold name, ’till that of lover be forgotten:–ha!–Methinks on the sudden, a fit of virtue informs my soul, and bids me ask you for what sin of mine, my charming brother, you still pursue a maid that cannot fly: ungenerous and unkind! Why did you take advantage of those freedoms I gave you as a brother? I smil’d on you; and sometimes kiss’d you too;–but for my sister’s sake, I play’d with you, suffer’d your hands and lips to wander where I dare not now; all which I thought a sister might allow a brother, and knew not all the while the treachery of love: oh none, but under that intimate title of a brother, could have had the opportunity to have ruin’d me; that, that betray’d me; I play’d away my heart at a game I did not understand; nor knew I when ’twas lost, by degrees so subtle, and an authority so lawful, you won me out of all. Nay then too, even when all was lost, I would not think it love. I wonder’d what my sleepless nights, my waking eternal thoughts, and slumbering visions of my lovely brother meant: I wonder’d why my soul was continually fill’d with wishes and new desires; and still concluded ’twas for my sister all, ’till I discover’d the cheat by jealousy; for when my sister hung upon your neck, kiss’d, and caress’d that face that I ador’d, oh how I found my colour change, my limbs all trembled, and my blood enrag’d, and I could scarce forbear reproaching you; or crying out, ‘Oh why this fondness, brother? Sometimes you perceiv’d my concern, at which you’d smile; for you who had been before in love, (a curse upon the fatal time) could guess at my disorder; then would you turn the wanton play on me: when sullen with my jealousy and the cause, I fly your soft embrace, yet wish you would pursue and overtake me, which you ne’er fail’d to do, where after a kind quarrel all was pardon’d, and all was well again: while the poor injur’d innocent, my sister, made herself sport at our delusive wars; still I was ignorant, ’till you in a most fatal hour inform’d me I was a lover. Thus was it with my heart in those blest days of innocence; thus it was won and lost; nor can all my stars in heav’n prevent, I doubt, prevent my ruin. Now you are sure of the fatal conquest, you scorn the trifling glory, you are silent now; oh I am inevitably lost, or with you, or without you: and I find by this little silence and absence of yours, that ’tis most certain I must either die, or be _Philander_’s

SYLVIA.

_If_ Dorillus _come not with a letter, or that my page, whom I have sent to this cottage for one, bring it not, I cannot support my life: for oh_, Philander, _I have a thousand wild distracting fears, knowing how you are involv’d in the interest you have espoused with the young_ Cesario: _how danger surrounds you, how your life and glory depend on the frail sacrifice of villains and rebels: oh give me leave to fear eternally your fame and life, if not your love; If_ Sylvia _could command_, Philander _should be loyal as he’s noble; and what generous maid would not suspect his vows to a mistress, who breaks ’em with his prince and master! Heaven preserve you and your glory_.

* * * * *

_To_ Philander.

Another night, oh heavens, and yet no letter come! Where are you, my _Philander_? What happy place contains you? If in heaven, why does not some posting angel bid me haste after you? If on earth, why does not some little god of love bring the grateful tidings on his painted wings? If sick, why does not my own fond heart by sympathy inform me? But that is all active, vigorous, wishing, impatient of delaying, silent, and busy in imagination. If you are false, if you have forgotten your poor believing and distracted _Sylvia_, why does not that kind tyrant death, that meagre welcome vision of the despairing, old and wretched, approach in dead of night, approach my restless bed, and toll the dismal tidings in my frighted listening ears, and strike me for ever silent, lay me for ever quiet, lost to the world, lost to my faithless charmer! But if a sense of honour in you has made you resolve to prefer mine before your love, made you take up a noble fatal resolution, never to tell me more of your passion; this were a trial, I fear my fond heart wants courage to bear; or is it a trick, a cold fit, only assum’d to try how much I love you? I have no arts, heaven knows, no guile or double meaning in my soul, ’tis all plain native simplicity, fearful and timorous as children in the night, trembling as doves pursu’d; born soft by nature, and made tender by love; what, oh! what will become of me then? Yet would I were confirm’d in all my fears: for as I am, my condition is more deplorable; for I’m in doubt, and doubt is the worst torment of the mind: oh _Philander_, be merciful, and let me know the worst; do not be cruel while you kill, do it with pity to the wretched _Sylvia_; oh let me quickly know whether you are at all, or are the most impatient and unfortunate

SYLVIA’s.

_I rave, I die for some relief._

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

As I was going to send away this enclos’d, _Dorillus_ came with two letters; oh, you cannot think, _Philander_, with how much reason you call me fickle maid; for could you but imagine how I am tormentingly divided, how unresolved between violent love and cruel honour, you would say ’twere impossible to fix me any where; or be the same thing for a moment together: there is not a short hour pass’d through the swift hand of time, since I was all despairing, raging love, jealous, fearful, and impatient; and now, now that your fond letters have dispers’d those demons, those tormenting counsellors, and given a little respite, a little tranquillity to my soul; like states luxurious grown with ease, it ungratefully rebels against the sovereign power that made it great and happy; and now that traitor honour heads the mutineers within; honour, whom my late mighty fears had almost famish’d and brought to nothing, warm’d and reviv’d by thy new-protested flames, makes war against almighty love! and I, who but now nobly resolv’d for love, by an inconstancy natural to my sex, or rather my fears, am turn’d over to honour’s side: so the despairing man stands on the river’s bank, design’d to plunge into the rapid stream, ’till coward-fear seizing his timorous soul, he views around once more the flowery plains, and looks with wishing eyes back to the groves, then sighing stops, and cries, I was too rash, forsakes the dangerous shore, and hastes away. Thus indiscreet was I, was all for love, fond and undoing love! But when I saw it with full tide flow in upon me, one glance of glorious honour makes me again retreat. I will—-I am resolv’d—-and must be brave! I cannot forget I am daughter to the great _Beralti_, and sister to _Myrtilla_, a yet unspotted maid, fit to produce a race of glorious heroes! And can _Philander_’s love set no higher value on me than base poor prostitution? Is that the price of his heart?–Oh how I hate thee now! or would to heaven I could.–Tell me not, thou charming beguiler, that _Myrtilla_ was to blame; was it a fault in her, and will it be virtue in me? And can I believe the crime that made her lose your heart, will make me mistress of it? No, if by any action of hers the noble house of the _Beralti_ be dishonour’d, by all the actions of my life it shall receive additions and lustre and glory! Nor will I think _Myrtilla_’s virtue lessen’d for your mistaken opinion of it, and she may be as much in vain pursu’d, perhaps, by the Prince _Cesario_, as _Sylvia_ shall be by the young _Philander_: the envying world talks loud, ’tis true; but oh, if all were true that busy babbler says, what lady has her fame? What husband is not a cuckold? Nay, and a friend to him that made him so? And it is in vain, my too subtle brother, you think to build the trophies of your conquests on the ruin of both _Myrtilla_’s fame and mine: oh how dear would your inglorious passion cost the great unfortunate house of the _Beralti_, while you poorly ruin the fame of _Myrtilla_, to make way to the heart of _Sylvia_! Remember, oh remember once your passion was as violent for _Myrtilla_, and all the vows, oaths, protestations, tears and prayers you make and pay at my feet, are but the faint repetitions, the feeble echoes of what you sigh’d out at hers. Nay, like young _Paris_ fled with the fair prize, your fond, your eager passion made it a rape. Oh perfidious!–Let me not call it back to my remembrance.–Oh let me die, rather than call to mind a time so fatal; when the lovely false _Philander_ vow’d his heart, his faithless heart away to any maid but _Sylvia_:–oh let it not be possible for me to imagine his dear arms ever grasping any body with joy but _Sylvia_! And yet they did, with transports of love! Yes, yes, you lov’d! by heaven you lov’d this false, this perfidious _Myrtilla_; for false she is; you lov’d her, and I’ll have it so; nor shall the sister in me plead her cause. She is false beyond all pardon; for you are beautiful as heaven itself can render you, a shape exactly form’d, not too low, nor too tall, but made to beget soft desire and everlasting wishes in all that look on you; but your face! your lovely face, inclining to round, large piercing languishing black eyes, delicate proportion’d nose, charming dimpled mouth, plump red lips, inviting and swelling, white teeth, small and even, fine complexion, and a beautiful turn! All which you had an art to order in so engaging a manner, that it charm’d all the beholders, both sexes were undone with looking on you; and I have heard a witty man of your party swear, your face gain’d more to the League and association than the cause, and has curs’d a thousand times the false _Myrtilla_, for preferring _Cesario_! (less beautiful) to the adorable _Philander_; to add to this, heaven! how you spoke, when ere you spoke of love! in that you far surpass’d the young _Cesario_! as young as he, almost as great and glorious; oh perfidious _Myrtilla_, oh false, oh foolish and ingrate!–That you abandon’d her was just, she was not worth retaining in your heart, nor could be worth defending with your sword:–but grant her false; oh _Philander_!–How does her perfidy entitle you to me? False as she is, you still are married to her; inconstant as she is, she is still your wife; and no breach of the nuptial vow can untie the fatal knot; and that is a mystery to common sense: sure she was born for mischief; and fortune, when she gave her you, designed the ruin of us all; but most particularly _The unfortunate_ Sylvia.

* * * * *

_To_ Sylvia.

My soul’s eternal joy, my _Sylvia_! what have you done, and oh how durst you, knowing my fond heart, try it with so fatal a stroke? What means this severe letter? and why so eagerly at this time? Oh the day! Is _Myrtilla’s_ virtue so defended? Is it a question now whether she is false or not? Oh poor, oh frivolous excuse! You love me not; by all that’s good, you love me not; to try your power you have flatter’d and feign’d, oh woman! false charming woman! you have undone me, I rave and shall commit such extravagance that will ruin both: I must upbraid you, fickle and inconstant, I must, and this distance will not serve, ’tis too great; my reproaches lose their force; I burst with resentment, with injur’d love; and you are either the most faithless of your sex, or the most malicious and tormenting: oh I am past tricks, my _Sylvia_, your little arts might do well in a beginning flame, but to a settled fire that is arriv’d to the highest degree, it does but damp its fierceness, and instead of drawing me on, would lessen my esteem, if any such deceit were capable to harbour in the heart of _Sylvia_; but she is all divine, and I am mistaken in the meaning of what she says. Oh my adorable, think no more on that dull false thing a wife; let her be banish’d thy thoughts, as she is my soul; let her never appear, though but in a dream, to fright our solid joys, or true happiness; no, let us look forward to pleasures vast and unconfin’d, to coming transports, and leave all behind us that contributes not to that heaven of bliss: remember, oh _Sylvia_, that five tedious days are past since I sigh’d at your dear feet; and five days, to a man so madly in love as your _Philander_, is a tedious age: ’tis now six o’clock in the morning, _Brilliard_ will be with you by eight, and by ten I may have your permission to see you, and then I need not say how soon I will present myself before you at _Bellfont_; for heaven’s sake, my eternal blessing, if you design me this happiness, contrive it so, that I may see no body that belongs to _Bellfont_, but the fair, the lovely _Sylvia_; for I must be more moments with you, than will be convenient to be taken notice of, lest they suspect our business to be love, and that discovery yet may ruin us. Oh! I will delay no longer, my soul is impatient to see you, I cannot live another night without it; I die, by heaven, I languish for the appointed hour; you will believe, when you see my languid face, and dying eyes, how much and greater a sufferer in love I am.

My soul’s delight, you may perhaps deny me from your fear; but oh, do not, though I ask a mighty blessing; _Sylvia_’s company alone, silent, and perhaps by dark:–oh, though I faint with the thought only of so bless’d an opportunity, yet you shall secure me, by what vows, what imprecations or ties you please; bind my busy hands, blind my ravish’d eyes, command my tongue, do what you will; but let me hear your angel’s voice, and have the transported joy of throwing my self at your feet; and if you please, give me leave (a man condemned eternally to love) to plead a little for my life and passion; let me remove your fears; and though that mighty task never make me entirely happy, at least it will be a great satisfaction to me to know, that ’tis not through my own fault that I am the

_Most wretched_

PHILANDER.

_I have order’d_ Brilliard _to wait your commands at_ Dorillus_’s cottage, that he may not be seen at_ Bellfont: _resolve to see me to-night, or I shall come without order, and injure both: my dear, damn’d wife is dispos’d of at a ball_ Cesario _makes to-night; the opportunity will be lucky, not that I fear her jealousy, but the effects of it._

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I tremble with the apprehension of what you ask: how shall I comply with your fond desires? My soul bodes some dire effect of this bold enterprise, for I must own (and blush while I do own it) that my soul yields obedience to your soft request, and even whilst I read your letter, was diverted with the contrivance of seeing you: for though, as my brother, you have all the freedoms imaginable at _Bellfont_, to entertain and walk with me, yet it would be difficult and prejudicial to my honour, to receive you alone any where without my sister, and cause a suspicion, which all about me now are very far from conceiving, except _Melinda_, my faithful confidante, and too fatal counsellor; and but for this fear, I know, my charming brother, three little leagues should not five long days separate _Philander_ from his _Sylvia_: but, my lovely brother, since you beg it so earnestly, and my heart consents so easily, I must pronounce my own doom, and say, come, my _Philander_, whether love or soft desire invites you; and take this direction in the management of this mighty affair. I would have you, as soon as this comes to your hands, to haste to _Dorillus_’s cottage, without your equipage, only _Brilliard_, whom I believe you may trust, both from his own discretion, and your vast bounties to him; wait there ’till you receive my commands, and I will retire betimes to my apartment, pretending not to be well; and as soon as the evening’s obscurity will permit, _Melinda_ shall let you in at the _garden-gate_, that is next the _grove_, unseen and unsuspected; but oh, thou powerful charmer, have a care, I trust you with my all: my dear, dear, my precious honour, guard it well; for oh I fear my forces are too weak to stand your shock of beauties; you have charms enough to justify my yielding; but yet, by heaven I would not for an empire: but what is dull empire to almighty love? The god subdues the monarch; ’tis to your strength I trust, for I am a feeble woman, a virgin quite disarm’d by two fair eyes, an angel’s voice and form; but yet I’ll die before I’ll yield my honour; no, though our unhappy family have met reproach from the imagined levity of my sister, ’tis I’ll redeem the bleeding honour of our family, and my great parents’ virtues shall shine in me; I know it, for if it passes this test, if I can stand this temptation, I am proof against all the world; but I conjure you aid me if I need it: if I incline but in a languishing look, if but a wish appear in my eyes, or I betray consent but in a sigh; take not, oh take not the opportunity, lest when you have done I grow raging mad, and discover all in the wild fit. Oh who would venture on an enemy with such unequal force? What hardy fool would hazard all at sea, that sees the rising storm come rolling on? Who but fond woman, giddy heedless woman, would thus expose her virtue to temptation? I see, I know my danger, yet I must permit it: love, soft bewitching love will have it so, that cannot deny what my feebler honour forbids; and though I tremble with fear, yet love suggests, it will be an age to night: I long for my undoing; for oh I cannot stand the batteries of your eyes and tongue; these fears, these conflicts I have a thousand times a-day; it is pitiful sometimes to see me; on one hand a thousand _Cupids_ all gay and smiling present _Philander_ with all the beauties of his sex, with all the softness in his looks and language those gods of love can inspire, with all the charms of youth adorn’d, bewitching all, and all transporting; on the other hand, a poor lost virgin languishing and undone, sighing her willing rape to the deaf shades and fountains, filling the woods with cries, swelling the murmuring rivulets with tears, her noble parents with a generous rage reviling her, and her betray’d sister loading her bow’d head with curses and reproaches, and all about her looking forlorn and sad. Judge, oh judge, my adorable brother, of the vastness of my courage and passion, when even this deplorable prospect cannot defend me from the resolution of giving you admittance into my apartment this night, nor shall ever drive you from the soul of your

SYLVIA.

* * * * *

_To_ SYLVIA.

I have obey’d my _Sylvia_’s dear commands, and the dictates of my own impatient soul; as soon as I receiv’d them, I immediately took horse for _Bellfont_, though I knew I should not see my adorable _Sylvia_ ’till eight or nine at night; but oh ’tis wondrous pleasure to be so much more near my eternal joy; I wait at _Dorillus_’s cottage the tedious approaching night that must shelter me in its kind shades, and conduct me to a pleasure I faint but with imagining; ’tis now, my lovely charmer, three o’clock, and oh how many tedious hours I am to languish here before the blessed one arrive! I know you love, my _Sylvia_, and therefore must guess at some part of my torment, which yet is mix’d with a certain trembling joy, not to be imagin’d by any but _Sylvia_, who surely loves _Philander_; if there be truth in beauty, faith in youth, she surely loves him much; and much more above her sex she is capable of love, by how much more her soul is form’d of a softer and more delicate composition; by how much more her wit’s refin’d and elevated above her duller sex, and by how much more she is oblig’d; if passion can claim passion in return, sure no beauty was ever so much indebted to a slave, as _Sylvia_ to _Philander_; none ever lov’d like me: judge then my pains of love, my joys, my fears, my impatience and desires; and call me to your sacred presence with all the speed of love, and as soon as it is duskish, imagine me in the meadow behind the grove, ’till when think me employed in eternal thoughts of _Sylvia_, restless, and talking to the trees of _Sylvia_, sighing her charming name, circling with folded arms my panting heart, (that beats and trembles the more, the nearer it approaches the happy _Bellfont_) and fortifying the feeble trembler against a sight so ravishing and surprising; I fear to be sustain’d with life; but if I faint in _Sylvia_’s arms, it will be happier far than all the glories of life without her.

Send, my angel, something from you to make the hours less tedious: consider me, love me, and be as impatient as I, that you may the sooner find at your feet your everlasting lover, PHILANDER.

_From _Dorillus_’s cottage._

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I have at last recover’d sense enough to tell you, I have receiv’d your letter by _Dorillus_, and which had like to have been discover’d; for he prudently enough put it under the strawberries he brought me in a basket, fearing he should get no other opportunity to have given it me; and my mother seeing them look so fair and fresh, snatch’d the basket with a greediness I have not seen in her before; whilst she was calling to her page for a porcelain dish to put them out, _Dorillus_ had an opportunity to hint to me what lay at the bottom: heavens! had you seen my disorder and confusion; what should I do? Love had not one invention in store, and here it was that all the subtlety of women abandon’d me. Oh heavens, how cold and pale I grew, lest the most important business of my life should be betray’d and ruin’d! but not to terrify you longer with fears of my danger, the dish came, and out the strawberries were pour’d, and the basket thrown aside on the bank where my mother sat, (for we were in the garden when we met accidentally _Dorillus_ first with the basket) there were some leaves of fern put at the bottom between the basket and letter, which by good fortune came not out with the strawberries, and after a minute or two I took up the basket, and walking carelessly up and down the garden, gather’d here and there a flower, pinks and jessamine, and filling my basket, sat down again ’till my mother had eat her fill of the fruit, and gave me an opportunity to retire to my apartment, where opening the letter, and finding you so near, and waiting to see me, I had certainly sunk down on the floor, had not _Melinda_ supported me, who only was by; something so new, and ’till now so strange, seiz’d me at the thought of so secret an interview, that I lost all my senses, and life wholly departing, I rested on _Melinda_ without breath or motion; the violent effects of love and honour, the impetuous meeting tides of the extremes of joy and fear, rushing on too suddenly, overwhelm’d my senses; and it was a pretty while before I recover’d strength to get to my cabinet, where a second time I open’d your letter, and read it again with a thousand changes of countenance, my whole mass of blood was in that moment so discompos’d, that I chang’d from an ague to a fever several times in a minute: oh what will all this bring me to? And where will the raging fit end? I die with that thought, my guilty pen slackens in my trembling hand, and I languish and fall over the un-employ’d paper;—-oh help me, some divinity,—-or if you did,–I fear I should be angry: oh _Philander_! a thousand passions and distracted thoughts crowd to get out, and make their soft complaints to thee; but oh they lose themselves with mixing; they are blended in a confusion together, and love nor art can divide them, to deal them out in order; sometimes I would tell you of my joy at your arrival, and my unspeaking transports at the thought of seeing you so soon, that I shall hear your charming voice, and find you at my feet making soft vows anew, with all the passion of an impatient lover, with all the eloquence that sighs and cries, and tears from those lovely eyes can express; and sure that is enough to conquer any where, and to which coarse vulgar words are dull. The rhetoric of love is half-breath’d, interrupted words, languishing eyes, flattering speeches, broken sighs, pressing the hand, and falling tears: ah how do they not persuade, how do they not charm and conquer; ’twas thus, with these soft easy arts, that _Sylvia_ first was won; for sure no arts of speaking could have talked my heart away, though you can speak like any god: oh whither am I driven? What do I say? ‘Twas not my purpose, not my business here, to give a character of _Philander_, no nor to speak of love; but oh! like _Cowley_’s lute, my soul will sound to nothing but to love: talk what you will, begin what discourse you please, I end it all in love, because my soul is ever fix’d on _Philander_, and insensibly its biass leads to that subject; no, I did not when I began to write, think of speaking one word of my own weakness; but to have told you with what resolv’d courage, honour and virtue, I expect your coming; and sure so sacred a thing as love was not made to ruin these, and therefore in vain, my lovely brother, you will attempt it; and yet, oh heavens! I gave a private assignation, in my apartment, alone and at night; where silence, love and shades, are all your friends, where opportunity obliges your passion, while, heaven knows, not one of all these, nor any kind of power, is friend to me; I shall be left to you and all these tyrants expos’d, without other guards than this boasted virtue; which had need be wondrous to resist all these powerful enemies of its purity and repose. Alas I know not its strength, I never tried it yet; and this will be the first time it has ever been expos’d to your power; the first time I ever had courage to meet you as a lover, and let you in by stealth, and put myself unguarded into your hands: oh I die with the apprehension of approaching danger! and yet I have not power to retreat; I must on, love compels me, love holds me fast; the smiling flatterer promises a thousand joys, a thousand ravishing minutes of delight; all innocent and harmless as his mother’s doves; but oh they bill and kiss, and do a thousand things I must forbid _Philander_; for I have often heard him say with sighs, that his complexion render’d him less capable of the soft play of love, than any other lover: I have seen him fly my very touches, yet swear they were the greatest joy on earth; I tempt him even with my looks from virtue: and when I ask the cause, or cry he is cold, he vows ’tis because he dares not endure my temptations; says his blood runs hotter and fiercer in his veins than any other’s does; nor have the oft repeated joys reaped in the marriage bed, any thing abated that which he wish’d, but he fear’d would ruin me: thus, thus whole days we have sat and gaz’d, and sigh’d; but durst not trust our virtues with fond dalliance.

My page is come to tell me that Madam the Duchess of —- is come to _Bellfont_, and I am oblig’d to quit my cabinet, but with infinite regret, being at present much more to my soul’s content employ’d; but love must sometimes give place to _devoir_ and respect. _Dorillus_ too waits, and tells _Melinda_ he will not depart without something for his lord, to entertain him till the happy hour. The rustic pleas’d me with the concern he had for my _Philander_; oh my charming brother, you have an art to tame even savages, a tongue that would charm and engage wildness itself, to softness and gentleness, and give the rough unthinking, love; ’tis a tedious time to-night, how shall I pass the hours?

* * * * *

_To_ SYLVIA.

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

My divine maid, thus were my thoughts employ’d, when from the farthest end of the grove, where I now remain, I saw _Dorillus_ approach with thy welcome letter; he tells, you had like to have been surpris’d in making it up; and he receiv’d it with much difficulty: ah _Sylvia_, should any accident happen to prevent my seeing you to-night, I were undone for ever, and you must expect to find me stretch’d out, dead and cold under this oak, where now I lie writing on its knotty root. Thy letter, I confess, is dear; it contains thy soul, and my happiness; by this after-story of the surprise I long to be inform’d of, for from thence I may gather part of my fortune. I rave and die with fear of a disappointment; not but I would undergo a thousand torments and deaths for _Sylvia_; but oh consider me, and let me not suffer if possible; for know, my charming angel, my impatient heart is almost broke, and will not contain itself without being nearer my adorable maid, without taking in at my eyes a little comfort; no, I am resolv’d; put me not off with tricks, which foolish honour invents to jilt mankind with; for if you do, by heaven I will forget all considerations and respect, and force myself with all the violence of raging love into the presence of my cruel _Sylvia_; own her mine, and ravish my delight; nor shall the happy walls of _Bellfont_ be of strength sufficient to secure her; nay, persuade me not, for if you make me mad and raving, this will be the effects on’t.—-Oh pardon me, my sacred maid, pardon the wildness of my frantic love–I paused, took a turn or two in the lone path, consider’d what I had said, and found it was too much, too bold, too rude to approach my soft, my tender maid: I am calm, my soul, as thy bewitching smiles; hush, as thy secret sighs, and will resolve to die rather than offend my adorable virgin; only send me word what you think of my fate, while I expect it here on this kind mossy bed where now I lie; which I would not quit for a throne, since here I may hope the news may soonest arrive to make me happier than a god! which that nothing on my part may prevent, I here vow in the face of heaven, I will not abuse the freedom my _Sylvia_ blesses me with; nor shall my love go beyond the limits of honour. _Sylvia_ shall command with a frown, and fetter me with a smile; prescribe rules to my longing, ravish’d eyes, and pinion my busy, fond, roving hands, and lay at her feet, like a tame slave, her adoring

PHILANDER.

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

Approach, approach, you sacred Queen of Night, and bring _Philander_ veil’d from all eyes but mine; approach at a fond lover’s call, behold how I lie panting with expectation, tir’d out with your tedious ceremony to the God of Day; be kind, oh lovely night, and let the deity descend to his beloved _Thetis_’s arms, and I to my _Philander_’s; the sun and I must snatch our joys in the same happy hours; favour’d by thee, oh sacred, silent Night! See, see, the enamour’d sun is hasting on apace to his expecting mistress, while thou dull Night art slowly lingering yet. Advance, my friend! my goddess! and my confidante! hide all my blushes, all my soft confusions, my tremblings, transports, and eyes all languishing.

Oh _Philander_! a thousand things I have done to divert the tedious hours, but nothing can; all things are dull without thee. I am tir’d with every thing, impatient to end, as soon as I begin them; even the shades and solitary walks afford me now no ease, no satisfaction, and thought but afflicts me more, that us’d to relieve. And I at last have recourse to my kind pen: for while I write, methinks I am talking to thee; I tell thee thus my soul, while thou, methinks, art all the while smiling and listening by; this is much easier than silent thought, and my soul is never weary of this converse; and thus I would speak a thousand things, but that still, methinks, words do not enough express my soul; to understand that right, there requires looks; there is a rhetoric in looks; in sighs and silent touches that surpasses all; there is an accent in the sound of words too, that gives a sense and soft meaning to little things, which of themselves are of trivial value, and insignificant; and by the cadence of the utterance may express a tenderness which their own meaning does not bear; by this I wou’d insinuate, that the story of the heart cannot be so well told by this way, as by presence and conversation; sure _Philander_ understands what I mean by this, which possibly is nonsense to all but a lover, who apprehends all the little fond prattle of the thing belov’d, and finds an eloquence in it, that to a sense unconcern’d would appear even approaching to folly: but _Philander_, who has the true notions of love in him, apprehends all that can be said on that dear subject; to him I venture to say any thing, whose kind and soft imaginations can supply all my wants in the description of the soul: will it not, _Philander_? Answer me:–But oh, where art thou? I see thee not, I touch thee not; but when I haste with transport to embrace thee, ’tis shadow all, and my poor arms return empty to my bosom: why, oh why com’st thou not? Why art thou cautious, and prudently waitest the slow-pac’d night: oh cold, oh unreasonable lover, why?–But I grow wild, and know not what I say: impatient love betrays me to a thousand follies, a thousand rashnesses: I die with shame; but I must be undone, and it is no matter how, whether by my own weakness, _Philander_’s charms, or both, I know not; but so it is destin’d,–oh _Philander_, it is two tedious hours love has counted since you writ to me, yet are but a quarter of a mile distant; what have you been doing all that live-long while? Are you not unkind? Does not _Sylvia_ lie neglected and unregarded in your thoughts? Huddled up confusedly with your graver business of State, and almost lost in the ambitious crowd? Say, say, my lovely charmer, is she not? Does not this fatal interest you espouse, rival your _Sylvia_? Is she not too often remov’d thence to let in that haughty tyrant mistress? Alas, _Philander_, I more than fear she is: and oh, my adorable lover, when I look forward on our coming happiness, whenever I lay by the thoughts of honour, and give a loose to love; I run not far in the pleasing career, before that dreadful thought stopp’d me on my way: I have a fatal prophetic fear, that gives a check to my soft pursuit, and tells me that thy unhappy engagement in this League, this accursed association, will one day undo us both, and part for ever thee and thy unlucky _Sylvia_; yes, yes, my dear lord, my soul does presage an unfortunate event from this dire engagement; nor can your false reasoning, your fancied advantages, reconcile it to my honest, good-natur’d heart; and surely the design is inconsistent with love, for two such mighty contradictions and enemies, as love and ambition, or revenge, can never sure abide in one soul together, at least love can but share _Philander_’s heart; when blood and revenge (which he miscalls glory) rivals it, and has possibly the greater part in it: methinks, this notion enlarges in me, and every word I speak, and every minute’s thought of it, strengthens its reason to me; and give me leave (while I am full of the jealousy of it) to express my sentiments, and lay before you those reasons, that love and I think most substantial ones; what you have hitherto desired of me, oh unreasonable _Philander_, and what I (out of modesty and honour) denied, I have reason to fear (from the absolute conquest you have made of my heart) that some time or other the charming thief may break in and rob me of; for fame and virtue love begins to laugh at. My dear unfortunate condition being thus, it is not impossible, oh _Philander_, but I may one day, in some unlucky hour, in some soft bewitching moment, in some spiteful, critical, ravishing minute, yield all to the charming _Philander_; and if so, where, oh where is my security, that I shall not be abandon’d by the lovely victor? For it is not your vows which you call sacred (and I alas believe so) that can secure me, though I, heaven knows, believe them all, and am undone; you may keep them all too, and I believe you will; but oh _Philander_, in these fatal circumstances you have engag’d yourself, can you secure me my lover? Your protestations you may, but not the dear protestor. Is it not enough, oh _Philander_, for my eternal unquiet, and undoing, to know that you are married and cannot therefore be entirely mine; is not this enough, oh cruel _Philander_? But you must espouse a fatal cause too, more pernicious than that of matrimony, and more destructive to my repose: oh give me leave to reason with you, and since you have been pleas’d to trust and afflict me with the secret, which, honest as I am, I will never betray; yet, yet give me leave to urge the danger of it to you, and consequently to me, if you pursue it; when you are with me, we can think, and talk, and argue nothing but the mightier business of love; and it is fit that I, so fondly, and fatally lov’d by you, should warn you of the danger. Consider, my lord, you are born noble, from parents of untainted loyalty; blest with a fortune few princes beneath sovereignty are masters of; blest with all-gaining youth, commanding beauty, wit, courage, bravery of mind, and all that renders men esteem’d and ador’d: what would you more? What is it, oh my charming brother then, that you set up for? Is it glory? Oh mistaken, lovely youth, that glory is but a glittering light, that flashes for a moment, and then disappears; it is a false bravery, that will bring an eternal blemish upon your honest fame and house; render your honourable name hated, detested and abominable in story to after ages; a traitor! the worst of titles, the most inglorious and shameful; what has the King, our good, our gracious monarch, done to _Philander_? How disoblig’d him? Or indeed, what injury to mankind? Who has he oppress’d? Where play’d the tyrant or the ravisher? What one cruel or angry thing has he committed in all the time of his fortunate and peaceable reign over us? Whose ox or whose ass has he unjustly taken? What orphan wrong’d, or widow’s tears neglected? But all his life has been one continued miracle; all good, all gracious, calm and merciful: and this good, this god-like King, is mark’d out for slaughter, design’d a sacrifice to the private revenge of a few ambitious knaves and rebels, whose pretence is the public good, and doomed to be basely murdered. A murder! even on the worst of criminals, carries with it a cowardice so black and infamous, as the most abject wretches, the meanest spirited creature has an abhorrence for. What! to murder a man unthinking, unwarn’d, unprepar’d and undefended! oh barbarous! oh poor and most unbrave! What villain is there lost to all humanity, to be found upon the face of the earth, that, when done, dare own so hellish a deed as the murder of the meanest of his fellow subjects, much less the sacred person of the king; the Lord’s anointed; on whose awful face ’tis impossible to look without that reverence wherewith one would behold a god! For ’tis most certain, that every glance from his piercing, wondrous eyes, begets a trembling adoration; for my part, I swear to you, _Philander_, I never approach his sacred person, but my heart beats, my blood runs cold about me, and my eyes overflow with tears of joy, while an awful confusion seizes me all over; and I am certain should the most harden’d of your bloody rebels look him in the face, the devilish instrument of death would drop from his sacrilegious hand, and leave him confounded at the feet of the royal forgiving sufferer; his eyes have in them something so fierce, so majestic, commanding, and yet so good and merciful, as would soften rebellion itself into repenting loyalty; and like _Caius Marius_, seem to say,–‘Who is it dares hurt the King?’–They alone, like his guardian angels, defend his sacred person: oh! what pity it is, unhappy young man, thy education was not near the King.

‘Tis plain, ’tis reasonable, ’tis honest, great and glorious to believe, what thy own sense (if thou wilt but think and consider) will instruct thee in, that treason, rebellion and murder, are far from the paths that lead to glory, which are as distant as hell from heaven. What is it then to advance? (Since I say ’tis plain, glory is never this way to be achiev’d.) Is it to add more thousands to those fortune has already so lavishly bestow’d on you? Oh my _Philander_, that’s to double the vast crime, which reaches already to damnation: would your honour, your conscience, your Christianity, or common humanity, suffer you to enlarge your fortunes at the price of another’s ruin; and make the spoils of some honest, noble, unfortunate family, the rewards of your treachery? Would you build your fame on such a foundation? Perhaps on the destruction of some friend or kinsman. Oh barbarous and mistaken greatness; thieves and robbers would scorn such outrages, that had but souls and sense.

Is it for addition of titles? What elevation can you have much greater than where you now stand fix’d? If you do not grow giddy with your fancied false hopes, and fall from that glorious height you are already arrived to, and which, with the honest addition of loyalty, is of far more value and lustre, than to arrive at crowns by blood and treason. This will last; to ages last: while t’other will be ridicul’d to all posterity, short liv’d and reproachful here, infamous and accursed to all eternity.

Is it to make _Cesario_ king? Oh what is _Cesario_ to my _Philander_? If a monarchy you design, then why not this king, this great, this good, this royal forgiver? This, who was born a king, and born your king; and holds his crown by right of nature, by right of law, by right of heaven itself; heaven who has preserved him, and confirmed him ours, by a thousand miraculous escapes and sufferings, and indulged him ours by ten thousand acts of mercy, and endeared him to us by his wondrous care and conduct, by securing of peace, plenty, ease and luxurious happiness, over all the fortunate limits of his blessed kingdoms: and will you? Would you destroy this wondrous gift of heaven? This god-like king, this real good we now possess, for a most uncertain one; and with it the repose of all the happy nation? To establish a king without law, without right, without consent, without title, and indeed without even competent parts for so vast a trust, or so glorious a rule? One who never oblig’d the nation by one single act of goodness or valour, in all the course of his life; and who never signaliz’d himself to the advantage of one man of all the kingdom: a prince unfortunate in his principles and morals; and whose sole, single ingratitude to His Majesty, for so many royal bounties, honours, and glories heap’d upon him, is of itself enough to set any honest generous heart against him. What is it bewitches you so? Is it his beauty? Then _Philander_ has a greater title than _Cesario_; and not one other merit has he, since in piety, chastity, sobriety, charity and honour, he as little excels, as in gratitude, obedience and loyalty. What then, my dear _Philander_? Is it his weakness? Ah, there’s the argument: you all propose, and think to govern so soft a king: but believe me, oh unhappy _Philander_! Nothing is more ungovernable than a fool; nothing more obstinate, wilful, conceited, and cunning; and for his gratitude, let the world judge what he must prove to his servants, who has dealt so ill with his lord and master; how he must reward those that present him with a crown, who deals so ungraciously with him who gave him life, and who set him up an happier object than a monarch: no, no, _Philander_; he that can cabal, and contrive to dethrone a father, will find it easy to discard the wicked and hated instruments, that assisted him to mount it; decline him then, oh fond and deluded _Philander_, decline him early; for you of all the rest ought to do so, and not to set a helping hand to load him with honours, that chose you out from all the world to load with infamy: remember that; remember _Myrtilla_, and then renounce him; do not you contribute to the adorning of his unfit head with a diadem, the most glorious of ornaments, who unadorned yours with the most inglorious of all reproaches. Think of this, oh thou unconsidering noble youth; lay thy hand upon thy generous heart, and tell it all the fears, all the reasonings of her that loves thee more than life. A thousand arguments I could bring, but these few unstudied (falling in amongst my softer thoughts) I beg you will accept of, till I can more at large deliver the glorious argument to your soul; let this suffice to tell thee, that, like _Cassandra_, I rave and prophesy in vain; this association will be the eternal ruin of _Philander_; for let it succeed or not, either way thou art undone; if thou pursuest it, I must infallibly fall with thee, if I resolve to follow thy good or ill fortune; for you cannot intend love and ambition, _Sylvia_ and _Cesario_ at once: no, persuade me not; the title to one or t’other must be laid down, _Sylvia_ or _Cesario_ must be abandon’d: this is my fix’d resolve, if thy too powerful arguments convince not in spite of reason, for they can do it; thou hast the tongue of an angel, and the eloquence of a god, and while I listen to thy voice, I take all thou say’st for wondrous sense.–Farewell; about two hours hence I shall expect you at the gate that leads into the garden grove–adieu! Remember

SYLVIA.

* * * * *

_To_ SYLVIA.

How comes my charming _Sylvia_ so skilled in the mysteries of State? Where learnt her tender heart the notions of rigid business? Where her soft tongue, formed only for the dear language of love, to talk of the concerns of nations and kingdoms? ‘Tis true, when I gave my soul away to my dear counsellor, I reserved nothing to myself, not even that secret that so concerned my life, but laid all at her mercy; my generous heart could not love at a less rate, than to lavish all and be undone for _Sylvia_; ’tis glorious ruin, and it pleases me, if it advance one single joy, or add one demonstration of my love to _Sylvia_; ’tis not enough that we tell those we love all they love to hear, but one ought to tell them too, every secret that we know, and conceal no part of that heart one has made a present of to the person one loves; ’tis a treason in love not to be pardoned: I am sensible, that when my story is told (and this happy one of my love shall make up the greatest part of my history) those that love not like me will be apt to blame me, and charge me with weakness, for revealing so great a trust to a woman, and amongst all that I shall do to arrive at glory, that will brand me with feebleness; but _Sylvia_, when lovers shall read it, the men will excuse me, and the maids bless me! I shall be a fond admired precedent for them to point out to their remiss reserving lovers, who will be reproached for not pursuing my example. I know not what opinion men generally have of the weakness of women; but ’tis sure a vulgar error, for were they like my adorable _Sylvia_, had they had her wit, her vivacity of spirit, her courage, her generous fortitude, her command in every graceful look and action, they were most certainly fit to rule and reign; and man was only born robust and strong, to secure them on those thrones they are formed (by beauty, softness, and a thousand charms which men want) to possess. Glorious woman was born for command and dominion; and though custom has usurped us the name of rule over all; we from the beginning found ourselves (in spite of all our boasted prerogative) slaves and vassals to the almighty sex. Take then my share of empire, ye gods; and give me love! Let me toil to gain, but let _Sylvia_ triumph and reign; I ask no more than the led slave at her chariot wheels, to gaze on my charming conqueress, and wear with joy her fetters! Oh how proud I should be to see the dear victor of my soul so elevated, so adorn’d with crowns and sceptres at her feet, which I had won; to see her smiling on the adoring crowd, distributing her glories to young waiting princes; there dealing provinces, and there a coronet. Heavens! methinks I see the lovely virgin in this state, her chariot slowly driving through the multitude that press to gaze upon her, she dress’d like _Venus_, richly gay and loose, her hair and robe blown by the flying winds, discovering a thousand charms to view; thus the young goddess looked, then when she drove her chariot down descending clouds, to meet the love-sick gods in cooling shades; and so would look my _Sylvia_! Ah, my soft, lovely maid; such thoughts as these fir’d me with ambition: for me, I swear by every power that made me love, and made thee wondrous fair, I design no more by this great enterprise than to make thee some glorious thing, elevated above what we have seen yet on earth; to raise thee above fate or fortune, beyond that pity of thy duller sex, who understand not thy soul, nor can ever reach the flights of thy generous love! No, my soul’s joy, I must not leave thee liable to their little natural malice and scorn, to the impertinence of their reproaches. No, my _Sylvia_, I must on, the great design must move forward; though I abandon it, ’twill advance; it is already too far to put a stop to it; and now I am entered, it is in vain to retreat; if we are prosperous, it will to all ages be called a glorious enterprise; but if we fail, it will be base, horrid and infamous; for the world judges of nothing but by the success; that cause is always good that is prosperous, that is ill which is unsuccessful. Should I now retreat, I run many hazards; but to go on I run but one; by the first I shall alarm the whole cabal with a jealousy of my discovering, and those are persons of too great sense and courage, not to take some private way of revenge, to secure their own stakes; and to make myself uncertainly safe by a discovery, indeed, were to gain a refuge so ignoble, as a man of honour would scorn to purchase life at; nor would that baseness secure me. But in going on, oh _Sylvia_! when three kingdoms shall lie unpossess’d, and be exposed, as it were, amongst the raffling crowd, who knows but the chance may be mine, as well as any other’s, who has but the same hazard, and throw for it? If the strongest sword must do it, (as that must do it) why not mine still? Why may not mine be that fortunate one? _Cesario_ has no more right to it than _Philander_; ’tis true, a few of the rabble will pretend he has a better title to it, but they are a sort of easy fools, lavish in nothing but noise and nonsense; true to change and inconstancy, and will abandon him to their own fury for the next that cries Haloo: neither is there one part of fifty (of the fools that cry him up) for his interest, though they use him for a tool to work with, he being the only great man that wants sense enough to find out the cheat which they dare impose upon. Can any body of reason believe, if they had design’d him good, they would let him bare-fac’d have own’d a party so opposite to all laws of nature, religion, humanity, and common gratitude? When his interest, if design’d, might have been carried on better, if he had still dissembled and stay’d in Court: no, believe me, _Sylvia_, the politicians shew him, to render him odious to all men of tolerable sense of the party; for what reason soever they have who are disoblig’d (or at least think themselves so) to set up for liberty, the world knows _Cesario_ renders himself the worst of criminals by it, and has abandon’d an interest more glorious and easy than empire, to side with and aid people that never did, or ever can oblige him; and he is so dull as to imagine that for his sake, who never did us service or good, (unless cuckolding us be good) we should venture life and fame to pull down a true monarch, to set up his bastard over us. _Cesario_ must pardon me, if I think his politics are shallow as his parts, and that his own interest has undone him; for of what advantage soever the design may be to us, it really shocks one’s nature to find a son engag’d against a father, and to him such a father. Nor, when time comes, shall I forget the ruin of _Myrtilla_. But let him hope on–and so will I, as do a thousand more, for ought I know; I set out as fair as they, and will start as eagerly; if I miss it now, I have youth and vigour sufficient for another race; and while I stand on fortune’s wheel as she rolls it round, it may be my turn to be o’th’ top; for when ’tis set in motion, believe me, _Sylvia_, it is not easily fix’d: however let it suffice, I am now in, past a retreat, and to urge it now to me, is but to put me into inevitable danger; at best it can but set me where I was; that is worse than death. When every fool is aiming at a kingdom, what man of tolerable pride and ambition can be unconcerned, and not put himself into a posture of catching, when a diadem shall be thrown among the crowd? It were insensibility, stupid dullness, not to lift a hand, or make an effort to snatch it as it flies: though the glorious falling weight should crush me, it is great to attempt; and if fortune do not favour fools, I have as fair a grasp for it as any other adventurer.

This, my _Sylvia_, is my sense of a business you so much dread; I may rise, but I cannot fall; therefore, my _Sylvia_, urge it no more; love gave me ambition, and do not divert the glorious effects of your wondrous charms, but let them grow, and spread, and see what they will produce for my lovely _Sylvia_, the advantages will most certainly be hers:–But no more: how came my love so dull to entertain thee so many minutes thus with reasons for an affair, which one soft hour with _Sylvia_ will convince to what she would have it; believe me, it will, I will sacrifice all to her repose, nay, to her least command, even the life of

_(My eternal pleasure) Your_ PHILANDER.

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

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

* * * * *

_To_ SYLVIA. _Writ in a pair of tablets._

My charmer, I wait your commands in the meadow behind the grove, where I saw _Dorinda_, _Dorillus_ his daughter, entering with a basket of cowslips for _Sylvia_, unnecessarily offering sweets to the Goddess of the Groves, from whence they (with all the rest of their gaudy fellows of the spring) assume their ravishing odours. I take every opportunity of telling my _Sylvia_ what I have so often repeated, and shall be ever repeating with the same joy while I live, that I love my _Sylvia_ to death and madness; that my soul is on the rack, till she send me the happy advancing word. And yet believe me, lovely maid, I could grow old with waiting here the blessed moment, though set at any distance (within the compass of life, and impossible to be ’till then arriv’d to) but when I am so near approach’d it, love from all parts rallies and hastens to my heart for the mighty encounter ,’till the poor panting over-loaded victim dies with the pressing weight. No more,–You know it, for it is, and will be eternally _Sylvia_’s.

POSTSCRIPT.

_Remember, my adorable, it is now seven o’clock: I have my watch in my hand, waiting and looking on the slow pac’d minutes. Eight will quickly arrive, I hope, and then it is dark enough to hide me; think where I am, and who I am, waiting near_ Sylvia, and her Philander.

_I think, my dear angel, you have the other key of these tablets, if not, they are easily broke open: you have an hour good to write in,_ Sylvia _and I shall wait unemployed by any thing but thought. Send me word how you were like to have been surpris’d; it may possibly be of advantage to me in this night’s dear adventure. I wonder’d at the superscription of my letter indeed, of which_ Dorillus _could give me no other account, than that you were surpris’d, and he receiv’d it with difficulty; give me the story now, do it in charity my angel. Besides, I would employ all thy moments, for I am jealous of every one that is not dedicated to_ Sylvia’s Philander.

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I have received your tablets, of which I have the key, and heaven only knows (for lovers cannot, unless they loved like _Sylvia_, and her _Philander_) what pains and pantings my heart sustain’d at every thought they brought me of thy near approach; every moment I start, and am ready to faint with joy, fear, and something not to be express’d that seizes me. To add to this, I have busied myself with dressing my apartment up with flowers, so that I fancy the ceremonious business of the light looks like the preparations for the dear joy of the nuptial bed; that too is so adorn’d and deck’d with all that’s sweet and gay; all which possesses me with so ravishing and solemn a confusion, that it is even approaching to the most profound sadness itself. Oh _Philander_, I find I am fond of being undone; and unless you take a more than mortal care of me, I know this night some fatal mischief will befall me; what it is I know not, either the loss of _Philander_, my life, or my honour, or all together, which a discovery only of your being alone in my apartment, and at such an hour, will most certainly draw upon us: death is the least we must expect, by some surprise or other, my father being rash, and extremely jealous, and the more so of me, by how much more he is fond of me, and nothing would enrage him like the discovery of an interview like this; though you have liberty to range the house of _Bellfont_ as a son, and are indeed at home there; but when you come by stealth, when he shall find his son and virgin daughter, the brother and the sister so retired, so entertained,–What but death can ensue? Or what is worse, eternal shame? Eternal confusion on my honour? What excuse, what evasions, vows and protestations will convince him, or appease _Myrtilla_’s jealousy; _Myrtilla_, my sister, and _Philander_’s wife? Oh God! that cruel thought will put me into ravings; I have a thousand streams of killing reflections which flow from that original fountain! Curse on the alliance, that gave you a welcome to _Bellfont_. Ah _Philander_, could you not have stay’d ten short years longer? Alas, you thought that was an age in youth, but it is but a day in love: Ah, could not your eager youth have led you to a thousand diversions, a thousand times have baited in the long journey of life, without hurrying on to the last stage, to the last retreat, but the grave; and to me seem as irrecoverable, as impossible to retrieve thee!–Could no kind beauty stop thee on thy way, in charity or pity; _Philander_ saw me then. And though _Myrtilla_ was more fit for his caresses, and I but capable to please with childish prattle; oh could he not have seen a promising bloom in my face, that might have foretold the future conquests I was born to make? Oh! was there no prophetic charm that could bespeak your heart, engage it, and prevent that fatal marriage? You say, my adorable brother, we were destined from our creation for one another; that the decrees of heaven, or fate, or both, design’d us for this mutual passion: why then, oh why did not heaven, fate or destiny, do the mighty work, when first you saw my infant charms? But oh, _Philander_, why do I vainly rave? Why call in vain on time that’s fled and gone? Why idly wish for ten years’ retribution? That will not yield a day, an hour, a minute: no, no, ’tis past, ’tis past and flown for ever, as distant as a thousand years to me, as irrecoverable. Oh _Philander_, what hast thou thrown away? Ten glorious years of ravishing youth, of unmatch’d heavenly beauty, on one that knew not half the value of it! _Sylvia_ was only born to set a rate upon it, was only capable of love, such love as might deserve it: oh why was that charming face ever laid on any bosom that knew not how to sigh, and pant, and heave at every touch of so much distracting beauty? Oh why were those dear arms, whose soft pressings ravish where they circle, destin’d for a body cold and dull, that could sleep insensibly there, and not so much as dream the while what the transporting pleasure signified; but unconcerned receive the wondrous blessing, and never knew its price, or thank’d her stars? She has thee all the day to gaze upon, and yet she lets thee pass her careless sight, as if there were no miracles in view: she does not see the little gods of love that play eternally in thy eyes; and since she never received a dart from thence, believes there’s no artillery there. She plays not with thy hair, nor weaves her snowy fingers in the curls of jet, sets it in order, and adores its beauty: the fool with flaxen-wig had done as well for her; a dull, white coxcomb had made as good a property; a husband is no more, at best no more. Oh thou charming object of my eternal wishes, why wert thou thus dispos’d? Oh save my life, and tell me what indifferent impulse obliged thee to these nuptials: had _Myrtilla_ been recommended or forc’d by the tyranny of a father into thy arms, or for base lucre thou hadst chosen her, this had excus’d thy youth and crime; obedience or vanity I could have pardon’d,–but oh–’twas love; love, my _Philander_! thy raving love, and that which has undone thee was a rape rather than marriage; you fled with her. Oh heavens, mad to possess, you stole the unloving prize!–Yes, you lov’d her, false as you are, you did; perjur’d and faithless. Lov’d her?–Hell and confusion on the word; it was so–Oh _Philander_, I am lost–

_This letter was found torn in pieces._

* * * * *

_To_ Monsieur, the Count of–

_My Lord_, These pieces of paper, which I have put together as well as I could, were writ by my lady to have been sent by _Dorinda_, when on a sudden she rose in rage from her seat, tore first the paper, and then her robes and hair, and indeed nothing has escaped the violence of her passion; nor could my prayers or tears retrieve them, or calm her: ’tis however chang’d at last to mighty passions of weeping, in which employment I have left her on her repose, being commanded away. I thought it my duty to give your lordship this account, and to send the pieces of paper, that your lordship may guess at the occasion of the sudden storm which ever rises in that fatal quarter; but in putting them in order, I had like to have been surprised by my lady’s father; for my Lord, the Count, having long solicited me for favours, and taking all opportunities of entertaining me, found me alone in my chamber, employ’d in serving your lordship; I had only time to hide the papers, and to get rid of him, having given him an assignation to-night in the garden grove, to give him the hearing to what he says he has to propose to me: pray heaven all things go right to your lordship’s wish this evening, for many ominous things happen’d to-day. Madam, the Countess, had like to have taken a letter writ for your lordship to-day; for the Duchess of —- coming to make her a visit, came on a sudden with her into my lady’s apartment, and surpris’d her writing in her dressing room, giving her only time to slip the paper into her combbox. The first ceremonies being pass’d, as Madam, the Duchess, uses not much, she fell to commend my lady’s dressing-plate, and taking up the box, and opening it, found the letter, and laughing, cried, ‘Oh, have I found you making love;’ at which my lady, with an infinite confusion, would have retrieved it,–but the Duchess not quitting her hold, cried–‘Nay, I am resolved to see in what manner you write to a lover, and whether you have a heart tender or cruel?’ At which she began to read aloud, my lady to blush and change colour a hundred times in a minute: I ready to die with fear; Madam the Countess, in infinite amazement, my lady interrupting every word the Duchess read, by prayers and entreaties, which heightened her curiosity, and being young and airy, regarded not the indecency to which she preferr’d her curiosity, who still laughing, cried she was resolv’d to read it out, and know the constitution of her heart; when my lady, whose wit never fail’d her, cried, ‘I beseech you, madam, let us have so much complaisance for _Melinda_ as to ask her consent in this affair, and then I am pleas’d you should see what love I can make upon occasion:’ I took the hint, and with a real confusion, cried–‘I implore you, madam, not to discover my weakness to Madam, the Duchess; I would not for the world–be thought to love so passionately, as your ladyship, in favour of _Alexis_, has made me profess, under the name of _Sylvia_ to _Philander_’. This encouraged my lady, who began to say a thousand pleasant things of _Alexis_, _Dorillus_ his son, and my lover, as your lordship knows, and who is no inconsiderable fortune for a maid, enrich’d only by your lordship’s bounty. My lady, after this, took the letter, and all being resolv’d it should be read, she herself did it, and turned it so prettily into burlesque love by her manner of reading it, that made Madam, the Duchess, laugh extremely; who at the end of it, cried to my lady–‘Well, madam, I am satisfied you have not a heart wholly insensible of love, that could so express it for another.’ Thus they rallied on, till careful of my lover’s repose, the Duchess urg’d the letter might be immediately sent away; at which my lady readily folding up the letter, writ ‘_For the Constant_ Alexis’, on the outside: I took it, and begg’d I might have leave to retire to write it over in my own hand; they permitted me, and I carried it, after sealing it, to _Dorillus_, who waited for it, and wondering to find his son’s name on it, cried ‘Mistress, _Melinda_, I doubt you have mistook my present business; I wait for a letter from my lady to my lord, and you give me one from yourself to my son _Alexis_; ’twill be very welcome to _Alexis_ I confess, but at this time I had rather oblige my lord than my son:’ I laughing replied, he was mistaken, that _Alexis_, at this time, meant no other than my lord, which pleas’d the good man extremely, who thought it a good omen for his son, and so went his way satisfied; as every body was, except the Countess, who fancied something more in it than my lady’s inditing for me; and after Madam the Duchess was gone, she went ruminating and pensive to her chamber, from whence I am confident she will not depart to-night, and will possibly set spies in every corner; at least ’tis good to fear the worst, that we may prevent all things that would hinder this night’s assignation: as soon as the coast is clear, I’ll wait on your lordship, and be your conductor, and in all things else am ready to shew myself,

_My Lord,_

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

MELINDA.

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

* * * * *

_To_ MELINDA.

Oh _Melinda_, what have you told me? Stay me with an immediate account of the recovery and calmness of my adorable weeping _Sylvia_, or I shall enter _Bellfont_ with my sword drawn, bearing down all before me, ’till I make my way to my charming mourner: O God! _Sylvia_ in a rage! _Sylvia_ in any passion but that of love? I cannot bear it, no, by heaven I cannot; I shall do some outrage either on myself or at _Bellfont_. Oh thou dear advocate of my tenderest wishes, thou confidante of my never dying flame, thou kind administering maid, send some relief to my breaking heart–haste and tell me, _Sylvia_ is calm, that her bright eyes sparkle with smiles, or if they languish, say ’tis with love, with expecting joys; that her dear hands are no more employed in exercises too rough and unbecoming their native softness. O eternal God! tearing perhaps her divine hair, brighter than the sun’s reflecting beams, injuring the heavenly beauty of her charming face and bosom, the joy and wish of all mankind that look upon her: oh charm her with prayers and tears, stop her dear fingers from the rude assaults; bind her fair hands; repeat _Philander_ to her, tell her he’s fainting with the news of her unkindness and outrage on her lovely self; but tell her too, I die adoring her; tell her I rave, I tear, I curse myself,–for so I do; tell her I would break out into a violence that should set all _Bellfont_ in a flame, but for my care of her. Heaven and earth should not restrain me,–no, they should not,—-But her least frown should still me, tame me, and make me a calm coward: say this, say all, say any thing to charm her rage and tears. Oh I am mad, stark-mad, and ready to run on business I die to think her guilty of: tell her how it would grieve her to see me torn and mangled; to see that hair she loves ruffled and diminish’d by rage, violated by my insupportable grief, myself quite bereft of all sense but that of love, but that of adoration for my charming, cruel insensible, who is possessed with every thought, with every imagination that can render me unhappy, borne away with every fancy that is in disfavour of the wretched _Philander_. Oh _Melinda_, write immediately, or you will behold me enter a most deplorable object of pity.

When I receiv’d yours, I fell into such a passion that I forc’d myself back to _Dorillus_ his house, left my transports and hurried me to _Bellfont_, where I should have undone all: but as I can now rest no where, I am now returning to the meadow again, where I will expect your aid, or die.

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

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

I must own, my charming _Philander_, that my love is now arrived to that excess, that every thought which before but discompos’d me, now puts me into a violence of rage unbecoming my sex; or any thing but the mighty occasion of it, love, and which only had power to calm what it had before ruffled into a destructive storm: but like the anger’d sea, which pants and heaves, and retains still an uneasy motion long after the rude winds are appeas’d and hush’d to silence; my heart beats still, and heaves with the sensible remains of the late dangerous tempest of my mind, and nothing can absolutely calm me but the approach of the all-powerful _Philander_; though that thought possesses me with ten thousand fears, which I know will vanish all at thy appearance, and assume no more their dreadful shapes till thou art gone again: bring me then that kind cessation, bring me my _Philander_, and set me above the thoughts of cares, frights, or any other thoughts but those of tender love; haste then, thou charming object of my eternal wishes, and of my new desires; haste to my arms, my eyes, my soul,–but oh, be wondrous careful there, do not betray the easy maid that trusts thee amidst all her sacred store.

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

SYLVIA.

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

* * * * *

_To the Charming_ SYLVIA.

With much ado, with many a sigh, a panting heart, and many a languishing look back towards happy _Bellfont_, I have recovered _Dorillus_ his farm, where I threw me on a bed, and lay without motion, and almost without life for two hours; till at last, through all my sighs, my great concern, my torment, my love and rage broke silence, and burst into all the different complaints both soft and mad by turns, that ever possessed a soul extravagantly seized with frantic love; ah, _Sylvia_, what did not I say? How did I not curse, and who except my charming maid? For yet my _Sylvia_ is a maid: yes, yes, ye envying powers, she is, and yet the sacred and inestimable treasure was offered a trembling victim to the overjoyed and fancied deity, for then and there I thought myself happier than a triumphing god; but having overcome all difficulties, all the fatigues and toils of love’s long sieges, vanquish’d the mighty phantom of the fair, the giant honour, and routed all the numerous host of women’s little reasonings, passed all the bounds of peevish modesty; nay, even all the loose and silken counterscarps that fenced the sacred fort, and nothing stopped my glorious pursuit: then, then, ye gods, just then, by an over-transport, to fall just fainting before the surrendering gates, unable to receive the yielding treasure! Oh _Sylvia_! What _demon_, malicious at my glory, seized my vigour? What god, envious of my mighty joy, rendered me a shameful object of his raillery? Snatched my (till then) never failing power, and left me dying on thy charming bosom. Heavens, how I lay! Silent with wonder, rage and ecstasy of love, unable to complain, or rail, or storm, or seek for ease, but with my sighs alone, which made up all my breath; my mad desires remained, but all inactive, as age or death itself, as cold and feeble, as unfit for joy, as if my youthful fire had long been past, or _Sylvia_ had never been blest with charms. Tell me, thou wondrous perfect creature, tell me, where lay the hidden witchcraft? Was _Sylvia_’s beauty too divine to mix with mortal joys? Ah no, ’twas ravishing, but human all. Yet sure ’twas so approaching to divinity, as changed my fire to awful adoration, and all my wanton heat to reverent contemplation.–But this is nonsense all, it was something more that gave me rage, despair and torments insupportable: no, it was no dull devotion, tame divinity, but mortal killing agony, unlucky disappointment, unnatural impotence. Oh! I am lost, enchanted by some magic spell: oh, what can _Sylvia_ say? What can she think of my fond passion; she’ll swear it is all a cheat, I had it not. No, it could not be; such tales I’ve often heard, as often laughed at too, of disappointed lovers; would _Sylvia_ believe (as sure she may) mine was excess of passion: what! My _Sylvia_! being arrived to all the joy of love, just come to reap the glorious recompense, the full reward, the heaven for all my sufferings, do I lie gazing only, and no more? A dull, a feeble unconcerned admirer! Oh my eternal shame!–Curse on my youth; give me, ye powers, old age, for that has some excuse, but youth has none: ’tis dullness, stupid insensibility: where shall I hide my head when this lewd story’s told? When it shall be confirmed, _Philander_ the young, the brisk and gay _Philander_, who never failed the woman he scarce wished for, never baulked the amorous conceited old, nor the ill-favoured young, yet when he had extended in his arms the young, the charming fair and longing _Sylvia_, the untouched, unspotted, and till then, unwishing lovely maid, yielded, defenceless, and unguarded all, he wanted power to seize the trembling prey: defend me, heaven, from madness. Oh _Sylvia_, I have reflected on all the little circumstances that might occasion this disaster, and damn me to this degree of coldness, but I can fix on none: I had, it is true, for _Sylvia_’s sake, some apprehensions of fear of being surprised; for coming through the garden, I saw at the farther end a man, at least I fancied by that light it was a man; who perceiving the glimpse of something approach from the grove, made softly towards me, but with such caution, as if he feared to be mistaken in the person, as much as I was to approach him: and reminding what _Melinda_ told me, of an assignation she had made to _Monsieur_ the Count–imagined it him; nor was I mistaken when I heard his voice calling in low tone–‘_Melinda_’ –at which I mended my pace, and ere he got half way the garden recovered the door, and softly unlocking it, got in unperceived, and fastened it after me, well enough assured that he saw not which way I vanished: however, it failed not to alarm me with some fears on your dear account, that disturbed my repose, and which I thought then not necessary to impart to you, and which indeed all vanished at the sight of my adorable maid: when entering thy apartment, I beheld thee extended on a bed of roses, in garments, which, if possible, by their wanton loose negligence and gaiety, augmented thy natural charms: I trembling fell on my knees by your bed-side and gazed a while, unable to speak for transports of joy and love: you too were silent, and remained so, so long that I ventured to press your lips with mine, which all their eager kisses could not put in motion, so that I feared you fainted; a sudden fright, that in a moment changed my fever of love into a cold ague fit; but you revived me with a sigh again, and fired me anew, by pressing my hand, and from that silent soft encouragement, I, by degrees, ravished a thousand blisses; yet still between your tempting charming kisses, you would cry–‘Oh, my _Philander_, do not injure me,–be sure you press me not to the last joys of love,–Oh have a care, or I am undone for ever: restrain your roving hands,—-Oh whither would they wander?—-My soul, my joy, my everlasting charmer, oh whither would you go?’–Thus with a thousand cautions more, which did but raise what you designed to calm, you made me but the madder to possess: not all the vows you bid me call to mind, could now restrain my wild and headstrong passion; my raving, raging (but my soft) desire: no, _Sylvia_, no, it was not in the power of feeble flesh and blood to find resistance against so many charms; yet still you made me swear, still I protested, but still burnt on with the same torturing flame, till the vast pleasure even became a pain: to add to this, I saw, (yes, _Sylvia_, not all your art and modesty could hide it) I saw the ravishing maid as much inflamed as I; she burnt with equal fire, with equal languishment: not all her care could keep the sparks concealed, but it broke out in every word and look; her trembling tongue, her feeble fainting voice betrayed it all; sighs interrupting every syllable; a languishment I never saw till then dwelt in her charming eyes, that contradicted all her little vows; her short and double breathings heaved her breast, her swelling snowy breast, her hands that grasped me trembling as they closed, while she permitted mine unknown, unheeded to traverse all her beauties, till quite forgetting all I had faintly promised, and wholly abandoning my soul to joy, I rushed upon her, who, all fainting, lay beneath my useless weight, for on a sudden all my power was fled, swifter than lightning hurried through my enfeebled veins, and vanished all: not the dear lovely beauty which I pressed, the dying charms of that fair face and eyes, the clasps of those soft arms, nor the bewitching accent of her voice, that murmured love half smothered in her sighs, nor all my love, my vast, my mighty passion, could call my fugitive vigour back again: oh no, the more I looked–the more I touched and saw, the more I was undone. Oh pity me, my too I too lovely maid, do not revile the faults which you alone create. Consider all your charms at once exposed, consider every sense about me ravished, overcome with joys too mighty to be supported, no wonder if I fell a shameful sacrifice to the fond deity: consider how I waited, how I strove, and still I burnt on, and every tender touch still added fuel to the vigorous fire, which by your delay consumed itself in burning. I want philosophy to make this out, or faith to fix my unhappiness on any chance or natural accident; but this, my charming _Sylvia_, I am sure, that had I loved you less, I’d been less wretched: nor had we parted, _Sylvia_, on so ill terms, nor had I left you with an opinion so disadvantageous for _Philander_, but for that unhappy noise at your chamber-door, which alarming your fear, occasioned your recovery from that dear trance, to which love and soft desire had reduced you, and me from the most tormenting silent agony that disappointed joy ever possessed a fond expecting heart with. Oh heavens! to have my _Sylvia_ in my power, favoured by silence, night and safe retreat! then, then, to lie a tame cold sigher only, as if my _Sylvia_ gave that assignation alone by stealth, undressed, all loose and languishing, fit for the mighty business of the night, only to hear me prattle, see me gaze, or tell her what a pretty sight it was to see the moon shine through the dancing boughs. Oh damn my hardened dullness!–But no more,–I am all fire and madness at the thought,– but I was saying, _Sylvia_, we both recovered then when the noise alarmed us. I long to know whether you think we were betrayed, for on that knowledge rests a mighty part of my destiny: I hope we are not, by an accident that befell me at my going away, which (but for my untimely force of leaving my lovely _Sylvia_, which gave me pains insupportable) would have given me great diversion. You know our fear of being discovered occasioned my disguise, for you found it necessary I should depart, your fear had so prevailed, and that in _Melinda_’s night-gown and head-dress: thus attired, with much ado, I went and left my soul behind me, and finding no body all along the gallery, nor in my passage from your apartment into the garden, I was a thousand times about to return to all my joys; when in the midst of this almost ended dispute, I saw by the light of the moon (which was by good fortune under a cloud, and could not distinctly direct the sight) a man making towards me with cautious speed, which made me advance with the more haste to recover the grove, believing to have escaped him under the covert of the trees; for retreat I could not, without betraying which way I went; but just at the entrance of the thicket, he turning short made up to me, and I perceived it _Monsieur_ the Count, who taking me for _Melinda_, whom it seems he expected, caught hold of my gown as I would have passed him, and cried, ‘Now _Melinda_, I see you are a maid of honour,–come, retire with me into the grove, where I have a present of a heart and something else to make you, that will be of more advantage to you than that of _Alexis_, though something younger.’–I all confounded knew not what to reply, nor how, lest he should find his mistake, at least, if he discovered not who I was: which silence gave him occasion to go on, which he did in this manner: ‘What not a word, _Melinda_, or do you design I shall take your silence for consent? If so, come my pretty creature, let us not lose the hour love has given us;’ at this he would have advanced, leading me by the hand, which he pressed and kissed very amorously: judge, my adorable _Sylvia_, in what a fine condition your _Philander_ then was in. What should I do? To go had disappointed him worse than I was with thee before; not to go, betrayed me: I had much ado to hold my countenance, and unwilling to speak. While I was thus employed in thought, _Monsieur_—-pulling me (eager of joys to come,) and I holding back, he stopped and cried, ‘Sure, _Melinda_, you came not hither to bring me a denial.’ I then replied, whispering,–‘Softly, sir, for heaven’s sake’ (sweetening my voice as much as possible) ‘consider I am a maid, and would not be discovered for the world.’ ‘Who can discover us?’ replied my lover, ‘what I take from thee shall never be missed, not by _Alexis_ himself upon thy wedding night;–Come–sweet child, come:–‘–‘With that I pulled back and whispered–‘Heavens! Would you make a mistress of me?’–Says he–‘A mistress, what would’st thou be a cherubin?’ Then I replied as before–‘I am no whore, sir,’–‘No,’ cries he, ‘but I can quickly make thee one, I have my tools about me, sweet-heart; therefore let us lose no time, but fall to work:’ this last raillery from the brisk old gentleman, had in spite of resolution almost made me burst out into a loud laughter, when he took more gravity upon him, and cried–‘Come, come, _Melinda_, why all this foolish argument at this hour in this place, and after so much serious courtship; believe me, I’ll be kind to thee for ever;’ with that he clapped fifty guineas in a purse into one hand, and something else that shall be nameless into the other, presents that had been both worth _Melinda_’s acceptance: all this while was I studying an evasion; at last, to shorten my pleasant adventure, looking round, I cried softly, ‘Are you sure, sir, we are safe–for heaven’s sake step towards the garden door and see, for I would not be discovered for the world.’–‘Nor I,’ cried he–‘but do not fear, all is safe:’–‘However see’ (whispered I) ‘that my fear may not disturb your joys.’ With that he went toward the house, and I slipping into the grove, got immediately into the meadow, where _Alexis_ waited my coming with _Brilliard_; so I, left the expecting lover, I suppose, ranging the grove for his fled nymph, and I doubt will fall heavy on poor _Melinda_, who shall have the guineas, either to restore or keep, as she and the angry Count can agree: I leave the management of it to her wit and conduct.

This account I thought necessary to give my charmer, that she might prepare _Melinda_ for the assault, who understanding all that passed between us, may so dispose of matters, that no discovery may happen by mistake, and I know my _Sylvia_ and she can find a thousand excuses for the supposed _Melinda_’s flight. But, my adorable maid, my business here was not to give an account of my adventure only, nor of my ravings, but to tell my _Sylvia_, on what my life depends; which is, in a permission to wait on her again this ensuing night; make no excuse, for if you do, by all I adore in heaven and earth I’ll end my life here where I received it. I will say no more, nor give your love instructions, but wait impatiently here the life or death of your PHILANDER.

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

* * * * *

_To My Fair_ CHARMER.

When I had sealed the enclosed, my page, whom I had ordered to come to me with an account of any business extraordinary, is this morning arrived with a letter from _Cesario_, which I have sent here enclosed, that my _Sylvia_ may see how little I regard the world, or the mighty revolution in hand, when set in competition with the least hope of beholding her adorable face, or hearing her charming tongue when it whispers the soft dictates of her tender heart into my ravished soul; one moment’s joy like that surmounts an age of dull empire. No, let the busy unregarded rout perish, the cause fall or stand alone for me: give me but love, love and my _Sylvia_; I ask no more of heaven; to which vast joy could you but imagine (O wondrous miracle of beauty!) how poor and little I esteem the valued trifles of the world, you would in return contemn your part of it, and live with me in silent shades for ever. Oh! _Sylvia_, what hast thou this night to add to the soul of thy

PHILANDER.

* * * * *

_To_ the Count of—-

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

_My dear_,
_Your_ CESARIO.

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

* * * * *

_To_ PHILANDER.

Ah! What have I done, _Philander_, and where shall I hide my guilty blushing face? Thou hast undone my eternal quiet: oh, thou hast ruin’d my everlasting repose, and I must never, never look abroad again: curse on my face that first debauched my virtue, and taught thee how to love; curse on my tempting youth, my shape, my air, my eyes, my voice, my hands, and every charm that did contribute to my fatal love, a lasting curse on all–but those of the adorable _Philander_, and those—-even in this raging minute, my furious passion dares not approach with an indecent thought: no, they are sacred all, madness itself would spare them, and shouldst thou now behold me as I sit, my hair dishevelled, ruffled and disordered, my eyes bedewing every word I write, when for each letter I let fall a tear; then (pressed with thought) starting, I dropped my pen, and fell to rave anew, and tear