{Print edition page number: 367}


[fol. 165 r ]
I had some reason to beleive I had pass’d over all my unhappy dayes when I had once seen my Father quietly possess’d again of that which had for many yeares been wrongfully detain’d from him, which he was immediatly after Claromenes’s returne, for no sooner was he seated on his Throne but all Usurpers of other mens estates either vanish’d of themselves, or else were by a lawfull power thrown out of their unjust possessions: but alass a little time too well convinced my mistake in vainly presuming my selfe above the reach of Fortunes power; for miseries now befell me a thousand times more insupportable then ever yet I had known any; wherein I must do Fortune the right to affirme, Love was the cheifest Instrument of my undoing.

About halfe a [fol. 165 v ] yeare after our returne to Himera (for so was the place call’d where we then liv’d) I chang’d the Cuntry solitudes for the various delights, and severall diverssions Palermo abounded with; which since the restoration of our King was become an absolute seane [scene] of pleasure. I confess I had formerly rather an aversion, then any love for that Citty; but now it was honour’d with the presence of the most Illustrious Claromenes; I delighted in no other place save that, nor desir’d nothing so much as to be allwayes there: and so kind was Brecena to my wishes, as ^I^ soon obtain’d leave not only to visit Palermo but likewise to stay there as long as I pleas’d. But far better had it been for me had I prefer’d the Flowry Meddows, the sweet Aire which perfumes the Fields, the melodie of the purling streames, and the chirping of the prity Birds those innocent rurall delights, before the noisefull pleasures of the Citty; or ruffling braveries of the Court with all its perfum’d Gallants who spend their time in nought but in debauching each other, or else in studying which way they may easiest beguile poor woemen by their triffling courtships; pretending much of love but intending nothing save their delusion or abuse.

When I came first to Palermo I went to Therasmenas’s house but both he and Hestrina being gone to Eugenias (another of my mothers sisters who liv’d{368} about a mile out of the Towne) I stay’d there onely that night, and early the next morning I design’d to go to Eugenias’s too, but first I went to see a Brother I had who liv’d constantly in Towne (call’d Melliantes) but being told by the mistress of the house where he lodg’d that he was gone abroad a little before; I went on to Eugenias’s where I found him who was no less surpriz’d to see me then any of the rest, inregard he had not heard of my coming to Palermo nor could I indeed have given him notis of it my Journey not being resolv’d on above a day or two before I began it; but however I found I was not the less wellcome for coming so unexpectedly, for they all express’d much joy to see me. My stay there was not long, for so soon as Therasmenas and my Aunt went home, they carried me with them though Eugenias was very unwilling to part with me so quickly, but promising it should not be long ere I would wait on her again she was at last content to let me go, yet much longer was it then I intended ere I could be as good as my word for so infinitly kind was both Therasmenas and Hestrina to me as twas impossible to leave them without hazarding their displeasure which I confess I was unwilling to do in regard it was very agreeable to my inclinations to stay still in Palermo especially so neer the Palace as they liv’d, where there was no kind of diversion but either I was or might have been a pertaker of it.

I had not been long at Therasmenas’s [fol. 166 r ] ere I took notice of a lady that liv’d on the other side of ^the^ way just opposite to us who when ere I chanced to be at any of the windowes looking into the street as I often did for my diversion on those severall people that pass’d a long, I still saw that Lady either stand in her Balcony or set at one of the windowes of her Dining Roome and with intentive Eyes so heedfully to view me as if she had taken some great content in the sight of me, though I could not conceive from whence she could derive it; and many times I observ’d after she had look’d on me a good while she would retire and set her downe and weep; this I could easily perceive the windowes being very larg, and the distance being not so great but that one might plainly see whatever pass’d in that Roome, I confess I very much admir’d what should be the reason of her concern but was not able to imagine the cause of it; but t’was not long I continu’d ignorant of it for hapning one day to have some discourse with a young Gentlewoman (call’d Mettella) who liv’d at the next house to us I ask’d her whether she knew what Lady that was that liv’d over against us. Where upon she told me her name was Perinissa Perizana and that she was wiffe to a noble Lord nam’d Persides who was linially descended from King Acestes who was fam’d for the Princely entertainment he gave Aeneus and his wandring Trojans. This Persides (pursu’d she) is the one who has suffer’d as highly for his King in the late troubles as any person in Sicilia having all his whole estates ceaz’d on by the Rebells, and himselfe inforced to fly for his Life to Claromenes with whom he continu’d tell his returne and ever since has liv’d in Palermo, to try I suppose (pursu’d she) if he can get any reparation for all his great losses.

I then told her (went on Arthenia) what I had observ’d in Perizana: to which she reply’d, that she had heard she very much desired my acquaintance, fancying{369} me extreamly like a Daughter she had that di’d not long since, whom she passionatly doated on, as the Love she had for any of her other Children (which are two sons and one Daughter more continu’d she) was not comparable to what she had for Mizalinda: and without doubt (added she) tis the resemblance you have of her which moves Perisana to look on you so concernedly: therefore since she so much desires to know you, methinks you would do well if you went to waite on her and give her that satisfaction.

Not (answer’d I) but that I would willingly gratifie the desire of any person in so triviall a thing, but alass with what confidence can I press uninvited into the presence of a person of her quallity without some or other to intraduce me, for I should be so very much out of countenance to appeare of my selfe before her as I shall never presume to attempt it; not but that I believe she may give be so obliging to give me a much civiller reception then I can expect. But if I could perswade my selfe to assume the confidence to wait on her it must be at such a time as I might be sure to find her alone: but when (pursu’d I) can that time be found, for they are never free from company, nor is there any house in Towne I believe, so much frequented as that.

Nay (said she) if you stay for an oppertunity to find Perisana unacompani’d twill be impossible for you ever to give her the satisfaction of knowing you since there is scarce an houre in a day wherein some person of quality or other comes not to pay their respects either to her or the Noble Persides.

But not long after this I tooke notice a perticuler notice of a young Lady that came lately thither who by the stay she made, I concluded to be some way related either to Persides or his lady. This Excelent person (for such indeed she was) seem’d to me so well worthy of a perticuler regard, that I never saw her (as I oft did at Perisana’s chamber [fol. 166 v ] window; or in the Belcony) but then despising all other objects I intirely ti’d my eyes to her alone; and soon did I become as ambitious of her acquaintance as Perisana was desirous of mine; for at that distance I not onely admir’d her, but found in my heart a strong inclination to affect her above all the wemen that ever I had seen, even before I knew so much of her as her name; but I could not be satisfied tell I had inform’d my selfe of it which by Mettella I did, for I intreated her to inquire it; which she accordingly did, and told me her name was Bellamira, and that she was Daughter to a Kinsman of Persides’s call’d Blesarius, and how that she had some yeares liv’d allmost constantly with Perisana who was so extreamly fond of her company and lov’d her so dearly well as she could never willingly endure she should be from her. She had come with her to Palermo (added Mettella) but that some accident fell out which hinder’d her, but she engag’d Blesarius to bring her to Towne as soon as possible he could, and now she is come I do not heare but she intends to keep her here as long as she herselfe stays.

This was to me very pleasing newes (continu’d Arthenia) in regard I hop’d Fate might at some time or other be so kind to give me a more perticuler knowledge of so admirable a person as she appear’d to be. But twas not without some{370} hidden cause that I so passionatly wis[h]’d to be acquainted with her, since ’twas from her alone that I deriv’d the sole felicity of my life and (that which seemes a paradox) my greatest misiry I may say too for had I not known Bellamira I had questionless never come to the knowledge of him who has rendred me the most miserable of wemen, but ’twas not not in the least her fault but my owne ill Fate which made me so; for never did any one do more to make another happy then she did for me: but since my future fortunes are so intermixt with the faire Bellamiras as to tell my owne, I must relate hers too; I’ll give your Majesty some little Character of her ere I pass further though I confess it will be so imperfect a one as when I have said all I can it must needs fall infinitly short of what she deserved, or I ought to say of her.

Not without reason then did I stile her the Faire Bellamira for so deservedly was that Epithite her due, as the Queen of beauty herselfe could not shew a fairer title to it; and questionless had she been by when Paris gave the golden Ball to Venus[2] he had declin’d her to make his Present to the more beautious Bellamira since no Carnation was ever comparable to that wherewith Nature had died her Lips [and] cheeks with which was mix’t so pure a white to embellish her lov’ly face as nought but new fallen snow could equall: nor was her beauty alone that challeng’d my admiration for the innocent sweetnes of her eyes clamed no less a share, in which was seated so commanding a power, joyn’d with a modesty no less sublime, which made her though she dayly vanquis[h]’d Hearts, yet never owne her conquests, but alwayes blush’d when she was told how larg her Empire was and whereas other[s] by the help of time, and by degrees orecame, she did so the first minute she was seen: but still when e’re a Ray shot from her eye threw fire into the brest of her adorers, that very instant she enkindled it, she did refine it too and purify it by the charming vertue of her lookes, no dull or smoaky fire durst any one presume to offer at her shrine. Her Haire which requir’d not the help of Art to put it into curious Rings was (though not a perfect Flaxen) yet of a very bright colour, her stature tall, her shape exactly well proportioned and so exceeding gracefull was her deportment, as her carriage and behaviour was no less taking then her person.

But what I have hitherto{403} said of her (pursu’d Arthenia) was so visible that ^none^ had eyes to see her but must acknowledge that truth of it, and therefore it need not be thought strang that I (though at a distance) admir’d her as I did but when I once [fol. 167 r ] became so happy as to know her, I dayly made such rich discoveries of [her] generous mind as I no longer regarded her externall perfection (how great soever) but as the Cabinet wherein was contain’d a Jewell of that Luster as even dazled me with the brightness of it, the purity and innocence of her soule was such as only Angels could paralele, the Charmes of her conversation{371} such as cannot be express’d, her humour the most gay and pleasant in the world: yet such her Modesty as scorn’d so meane a Guard as Pride to protect her Honour which her eyes alone were sufficent of themselves to do. The gentle sweetness and eveness of her temper such, as adverse Fate could nere depress, nor a more prosperous one exallt, but still in all conditions she enjoy’d so serene a calme, as if she neither fear’d the frowns of Fortune, nor valu’d her smilles: and alwayes were her thoughts employ’d upon some great and noble Theame ne’re on the Follies, and trifles of the world, unless to pity, or despise them: nor did she in anything resemble the Ladies of her age who were much more solicitus to beautify their bodies then to deck their soules, but her chiefe care was to adorn that part of her which she well knew must still survive when the other was crumbled into dust; nor did she ever make it her designe to surprize a heart meerly to try how far her power did extend, nor was she ever heard to glory in her victories (though they were great and many) but often wish her Empire were confin’d to narrower limits. In fine such a One was the admirable Bellamira as Envie herselfe could never find an errour in her except her indulging for me too great a kindness which was her onely fault: but tis rather the recitall of her actions then my dull discription must let your Majesty see the generosity and galantry of this unparalel’d person whom to know, and not to love was as impossible as ‘twas for any but the Princely Eagle with undazled eyes to gaze upon the sunne.

But if before I courted all occations that might bring me to the honour of kissing Perisanas hands, I ^now^ much more diligently sought for an oppertunity to waite on her, since with hers I hoped to obtain the acquaintance of that beautious Lady from whose very sight I deriv’d so high a delight; but when I even dispair’d of finding what I so long in vain had sought, Fortune presented me it to me when I least expected it: for having been abroad, at my returne home I found there Marione (who was newly come to towne) and abundance of other Company amongst whom was Blesarius and his Faire Daughter who had not appear’d so lovly to me at a distance but that she seem’d a thousand times more so now that I had a perfect view of her. Having saluted her, I paid my respects to Marione (whom I had not seen since my coming to Palermo) then turning to Bellamira I took her by the hand and led her to a seat, and though I confess I ought in civility to have given the first rise for discourse since I was to entertain her, yet in such a manner was my mind taken up with admiring those many perfections she seem’d repleat with as my tongue gave up its office wholly to my eyes: but she had the goodness to excuse that which any less obliging would have been apt to have term’d rudeness, or country simplicity, counting it rather a modest bashfullness that hindred me from speaking; and breaking silence first herselfe.

Though I was wholly a stranger to you Madam (said she) I could not but enquire for you, and hearing you were gone abroad I extreamly regreated my ill Fortune which I fear’d had disapointed the hopes I had conceiv’d of being acquainted with you, which I assure you was the chiefest inducement that brought me hither.{372}

The misfortune Madam (reply’d I) would have been mine should I have mist so great a happiness as tis to see you here, which is an honour I have [fol. 167 v ] been long ambitious of; many the like expressions having pass’d between us, I quickly found her temper was not in the least reserv’d neither indeed is mine to any that I find desirous to be acquainted with me; so that ere we parted we became so well known to each other as we scarce needed the help of time to perfect our acquaintance; and when she went away she told me it was her hopes we should be no long straingers to each other, assuring me it should be no fault of hers if we were, and beg’d me to oblige her with a visit, which she promised doubly to repay, telling me withall that Perisana was the most obliging person in the world, and her Daughter Elesena so very good as I could not but think it no meane felicity to know them.

This invitation so well suted with my wishes as I could nere have met a fairer occation of gratifying Perisana’s desire, so that about two dayes after I took the confidence to go thither where I was most civilly receiv’d by all, but more especially by Perisana whom I found to be the very abstract of courtisie. She was as then somewhat advanced in yeares which yet had left her so many visible markes of an eminent beauty, which the rude hand of Time (the enemy of all good Faces) could not destroy, as I could plainly perceive she had once equall’d the Fairest of our Sicilian Dames: but though Time had been something injurious to her Beauty, it had not in the least detracted from her good humour, for that she had still preserv’d amidst her highest misfortunes, of which she had sustain’d some sad and insupportable enough to produce a change in her inclination which was wholly dispos’d to an innocent mirth, and a gay free temper, which rendered her infinitly belov’d by all persons that were permitted the honour of her converse: this temper of hers would not suffer her to treat me with that ceremonious reservedness as is usuall with persons at the first enterview, but with so free, and unconstrain’d a kindness did she deport herselfe towards me as made me repent I had not sooner given her occation to express it, and inspire[d] me with an extraordinary affection for her mix’d with a very high respect and veneration. But so intirely did she ingross me to herselfe for all that day as I could converse but little with Bellamira which I should have been very much concern’d for had I not hop’d I might now often find oppertunities to renew our mutuall endearments. Elesena too I found no less good and obliging then Bellamira had spoken her to be, so as I could not without injustice denie her a larg share in my esteeme.

One morning (not long after this) just as I was out of my Bed came one from Bellamira to intreat me to go with her to the Palace, I stay’d not to examine whether she intended a visit to any one there, or what other designe carried her thither, return’d her answere I would not faile to waite on her immediatly; and instantly dressing me with all convenient speed I could I went to her; but as much hast as I made she was ready ere I came, and Perisanas Chariot waiting at the Gate to carry us to court. Having given the good morrow to each other, she ask’d me if I had ever seen Claromenes.{372}

Yes (answer’d I) I saw him that day he enter’d Palermo after his returne but never since, nor had I then any other then an imperfect view of him as he pass’d by me.

Well (reply’d she) you shall now if you please have a full sight of him as he sits at Dinner, for to that entent tainment it was I desir’d your company.

You have extreamly oblig’d me in it (said I) for that is a sight I have been very ambitious of ever since I came to Towne, and Therasmus has promis’d me that favour but has not yet been so good as his word.

Whilst we thus stood talking on the top of the staires (where she met me as I was coming up) two young Gentlemen came out of the Dining Roome and both of them saluting me, the one of them tooke me by the hand and turning to the other, Herminio (said he to him) take you care of Bellamira this lady shall be my charge; will you not Madam (pursu’d he to me)

[T]hat’s as you please Sir (answer’d I)

I am very well pleas’d you should be so (reply’d he) so briskly as made me conclude him to be of an excellent pleasant humour, and that mirth and gayetie was his [fol. 168 r ] chiefe composure, in which opinion he sufficently confirm’d me by the pleasant discourses he entertain’d us with all the way we went; but when we came to court we were enform’d that the King was gone that morning abroad and would not returne till night, so that by this meanes our designe was frustrate, yet could I not think my time ill spent in such good company, nor my labour altogether lost, since this Gentleman (whose name as yet I knew not) to oblige me shew’d me all things remarkable or worthy to be seen in the Palace; but since Claromenes was not there to be seen by us we made but a short stay.

That afternoon I went to waite on the Princess Alsinda (who being now a Widdow liv’d altogether in Towne) with whom I spent the remainder of that day; but when I came home Hestrina told me I was but newly gone out when Bellamira and a Gentleman came to call me to go with them abroad again, who by the discription she gave of him I knew to be the same brisk Gallant that was with us in the morning. Divers times after this had I the satisfaction of seeing Bellamira either at our house whether she often came or else at Persides’s which I no less frequented, but I never saw her but I still discover’d some new charmes either in her person or conversation which were as so many chaines to tye me more firmly to her in an inviolable Friendship which in a short while grew so strong between us as nothing had ere the power to slacken much less disolve it, nor could Death it selfe put a period to it. The Friendship too of the generous Perisana honour’d me with, was so great, as I have reason for ever to cellibrate that happy minute wherein I attain’d the knowledge of a person so excellently qualifi’d with all things that were great vertuous and noble. The prity Elesena too acted by her mothers example in the expressions of her kindness to me, nor was Persides himselfe less civill, then the rest were kind, insomuch as really I thought it was impossible to find in the wholle world more good obliging persons then{374} that Family was repleat with, nor was I ever contented in my mind but when I was amongst them.

One day as Perisana and I were sett talking together of severall things; after some little intervall of silence. Ah Arthenia (said she with a deep sigh and teares redy to break from her eyes) the more I look on you the more do I find in you of my Mizalinda who was so deservedly dear to me as I must needs confess I was so partiall as to treasure up in her my chiefest love, and sole delight; but too too cruell Death not many moneths since ravish’d her forever from my eyes leaving me with fruitless teares to deplore her loss. [B]ut I think Heaven commiserating the bitterness of my griefe has sent me her Picture to looke on, to please my fancy, or at least a little to divert my sorrows. I say her Picture sweet Arthenia pursu’d she for so sure you are, since such is the resemblance of her you beare as no one can be more like another then you are to my poor dead Mizalinda nor do I see more of her in your Face, then in your humour, disposition, and all your actions represent to me; but seeing I cannot hope for the satisfaction of having you ever in my view, I must beg the favour of you to permit me to have your Picture drawn by some skillfull hand, that when Fate shall be so unkind to deny me a longer enjoyment of your sight, I may then please my selfe with beholding the Pourtrait not onely of my Dead Daughter, but also of my absent Friend which will give me a very great content and satisfaction.

I shall esteeme my selfe extreamly happy (repli’d I) if I may any way contribute to your satisfaction: and Ill assure you madam I take it as a signall token of your Favour that you will [fol. 168 v ] vouchsafe to command me to serve you in any thing and am sorry you demand not a proofe of my obedience in something less advantagious for myselfe, since this cannot adde so much to your content, as it will to my glory to be thought any thing like so excellent a person as I have been enform’d Mizalinda was.

Within a short space after this I went to Arnardos where I spent the remainder of the summer with Marionie who told me so oft as she saw Loreto, he was alway[s] cursing his inconstancy which him made him (in his owne opinion) the most unhappy of men, but perceiving all discourses of him to be very unpleasing to me, she ever after wav’d them, and forbeare to mention him to me any more while I aboad there. But hoary headed Winter (which renders the country unpleasant) approaching I went back to Palermo again whether I was joyfully wellcom’d by all my new acquaintance, but more especially by Bellamira who enjoyn’d me to afford her as much of my company as possibly I could; this I having promis’d, thought my selfe oblig’d to make good; and believing the evenings would be the fittest time to find Persides’s house freest from company I chose still to go thither then to the end we might the more undisturbedly enjoy the conversation of each other, and whereas the long winter evenings had been formerly tedious to me, on the contrary now me thought time flew so fast away, as the houres seem’d but minutes when spent with my beloved Bellamira but seldome, or never after I came to Town again did I go to Persides’s but I still met that same{375} brisk Gallant there that went to court with Bellamira and I who always appear’d so jocose and pleasant yet so exceeding civill and courtly withall as I could not but think him not onely the best humour’d but the most perfectly accomplish’d man in Sicilie, yet knew I not a long time who he was, nor did I so much as once enquire, onely I heard him call’d Issodorus which assur’d me that was his name; but chanceing one time to speak something in commendation of him to Elesena, I confess (reply’d she) my Brother is one who is very acceptable to all persons.

How Madam (interrupted I) is Issodorus your Brother, I thought had thought you had had none save Theander (for I had forgot (pursu’d Arthenia) that Mettella had told me Perisana had two sons).

Yes (answer’d she) this is my youngest Brother.

I did indeed believe (said I) that Issodorus was some way related to you by the priviledge I have observ’d he takes here, and the familiarity wherewith ye all treat him, but I should ne’re have guess’d him to be Brother to Theander they are so much unlike either in person or favour, though I confess their carriage and deportment are very resembling:

[F]or Theander madam (said Arthenia to the Queen) was of a midle stature, neither so high as to be counted a[s] tall, nor so low as to be term’d a litle man; his complextion very faire, his haire of the same colour, his eyes purely black, and all the Features of his Face form’d to a perfect semetry, his humour pleasant enough, though not altegether so light and airy as his Brothers, but of temper much more constant and sollid; his disposition sweet, mild, and obliging, and indeed so admirably quallified, and excellent a person was he, as it would puzzle a more discerning judgment then mine whether of the two Brothers was the most to be admir’d. As for Issodorus he was very tall, exceeded in height by few men in Sicily and exactly well proportion’d to his height; his complextion sanguine; his eyes of a dark grey cleere and sparkling, his haire of an Abourn colour which fell in long curles upon his shoulders, and though his birth was noble enough being the son of Persides and Perisana, yet in all the linaments of his Face there appear’d something so sublime and high as he has oft been taken by such as knew him not to be of a desent much above [fol.169 r ] [t]hat, and in his lookes too might be seen an Aire so firce and haughty as plainly shew’d his mind to be elevated above the degree and quality of a younger brother, and seem’d to tell the world he design’d to force that from Fortune which nature had deni’d him, his gesture, and carriage was noble, each action of his becoming, having in them a charming grace proper onely to himselfe; and for his humour (as I have already said) it was the most agreeable, and the fullest of diversion in the world, and in short such a one he was is tis absolutely impossible for any hearts (though ne’re so well fortifi’d) long to resist his assaults where once he besiges it.

I have presum’d to give your Majesty this little Charactor of these two Brothers (continu’d Arthenia) to the end Madam you may the better know them whenever I bring them on the stage of my discourse.{375}

I must confess ingeniously (said Ermillia) I cannot tell which to prefer in my opinion, for if Theander appeares so sweet and gentle as to invite ones esteeme, Issodorus seemes by his brave, and heroick mind no less to command an equall place in it.

For my part (said Gentillus) I am clearly of your Majesties mind, for I cannot determine whether of the two is the more deserving person.

It will not be so hard to guess (went on Arthenia) who to give the Palme too, when in the progress of my story I have delineated their internall quallifications, and shewn you that the one is no less true observer of his promises, and faithfull to his Friend, then the other was falce to both, and of a nature so strangly given to chaing change, as I have oft admir’d his soule has not found some way to quit his body, or transmigate it selfe into some other as being weary of being so long confin’d to one.

At the same time Elesena likewise told me Issodorus was suddenly to go over into Sardinia a long with the Prince of Orestaign (whom the king had made viceroy thereof)[3] who being related to her Father had in kindness to him confer’d on her Brother some considerable Places (that were in his dispose) both of honour and advantage, which (as she said) Persides hop’d would be a good addition to his sons present fortunes and a way to raise them to a future grandure which (she afirm’d) was her Fathers chiefest aime, as well knowing Issodorus had a soule too great to be confin’d within the narrow limits of a younger Brothers Patrimony. I was a litle concern’d (I confess) to heare this, in regard I was very unwilling to loose so much mirth as I perpetually deriv’d from Issodorus good company before such time as I left Palermo my selfe: but his departure which was suppos’d would so soon happen was not till many moneths after.

In the meane time ‘twas my chance to be envited to a Ball by one Diophantus a Friend of Melliantes’s (who made it to treat a certain lady whom secretly he ador’d) and Tickets sent me for any other two persons whom if I pleas’d I might bring with me; whereupon I instantly pitch’d upon Elesena and Bellamira and was more glad that permission was granted me (since I thereby hop’d to oblige them) then for the perticuler Favour in relation to my selfe. In order hereunto I instantly went to give them the like invitation as I had receiv’d but being both of them otherwayes engag’d before, they refus’d my civility (as they term’d it) with many thankes, beging me not to take it ill, which I assur’d them I did not.

But to let me see you do not (said Bellamira) you must promise to dine with us the day after your Ball at Lavernus’s, (which was a house of publick entertainment (continu’d Arthenia) as there is in Palermo divers of them where any persons may treat their Friends who have not houses [fol. 169 v ] of theire owne convenient for it) for there is severall of Elesenas Friends and mine to meet there (pursu’d Bellamira) without a designe to be very merry, and therefore you must{377} be sure not to faile us; which being not having engag’d not to do I took my leave after I had told Bellamira that if the Ball were ended late I should not come home, but did intend to stay and ly with Sillindra (who was a lady Melliantes was to marry) however I would assuredly meet them at the place appointed. As I had suppos’d, so it fell out, for so very late was it ere the Ball was done, that if I would have come home I durst not being unsafe venturing thorow the streets at that time of night since I was at the furthest part of the Towne distant from that I then liv’d. But the next morning reminding the promise I had made to meet Bellamira I sent to my Brother to go with me, deeming it unfit to go alone to any such publick house lest I might chance to come there before such time as any of the rest were come that were appointed to meet there as indeed I did; but it was not long ere Elesena[,] Bellamira and Issodorus came in, and were imediatly Follow’d by Reallus[,] Bellamiras Brothe[r,] and a Brother of her fathers nam’d Theano, and his lady, with Merinda and Melissa their two faire Daughters, with severall others. After my Brother had saluted Elesena and Bellamira (having been by me enform’d who they were) you see ladies (said I to the[m]) how punctuall an observer of my word I am, since rather then not be so, I have presum’d to increase your company by bringing my Brother with me.

You have doubly oblig’d us Deare Arthenia (reply’d Bellamira) in giveing us thereby the oppertunity of being acquainted with Melliantes who I assure you is no less wellcome upon his owne account then yours.

This she might affirme since ’twas Reallus that gave the entertainment, though as then I knew not to whom I was to pay my thankes for that share I had in it. But whilst we were talking in this manner, the Gentlemen were caressing Melliantes each striving who should be the most civill to him, especially Issodorus, and after some little time coming to me.

This was the kindest thing Madam (said he) that you could have done, in obliging us with your Brothers company to day, in which high favour every one here has an interest but perticulerly my selfe who have been long ambitious of his acquaintance[.]

I can assure you Sir (repli’d I) he is no less ambitious of yours the honour of yours, and I am extreamly glad I thought of bringing him with me, though ’twas meerly my owne convenience that enduced me to it; but I could hardly I confess prevaile with him to come by reason you are all strangers to him;

It shall not be any fault of mine (said he) if we are so any longer; for I declare for my owne part I shall never willingly be a stranger to any person so neerly related to Arthenia as to claime a Brothers Interest in her: but in this litle time I find him to be a person of such worth as needs not your merit to introduce him into the esteeme of all that have but once the honour to converse with him; and in mine I must needs say he has already got so larg a share as I know none save his Faire Sister that can dispute the place with him.

If none but I can do it, the dispute shall soon be ended (repli’d I) for I love my Brother too well to pretend to any advantage above him, and honour tis{378} enough for me if the Generous Issodorus alowes me but onely a civill respect, which is all I shall ever pretend too from any man.

They are not rationall Creatures sure (repli’d he) that can denie you that.

He could nadd adde no more, had he design’d it, Dinner being brought up, and [fol. 170 r ] usher’d in with Musick, and after we had din’d, every one dispos’d themselves to a severall diversion as best suted their genious, some danced, others play’d at dice, and some there were that pass’d away the day onely in discourse. The danceing being about to begin, Issodorus came and proffer’d to take me out, but being unwilling to dance so soon after I had eaten, (having been very ill not long before) I beg’d him to excuse me and make choice of some other; telling him withall the reason I had to decline his civility lest he might thinke me rude in refusing it.

I like my choice so well madam (said he) as I shall never be induced to make an another; but since you suppose it may [be] prejudicially to you to dance as yet, I’ll waite your leasure till you may securely grant me the honour I desire; which with that bowing very low, he went and engag’d himselfe amongst those that were at play.

I confess I could not but admire that Issodorus who was so good humou[r]’d should shew so little of it as he did that day especially among such pleasant company as there was; nor did I remember I had ever heard him speak in a serious manner before; for still so full of mirth, and ralliry was all he said as I verily thought he could not at any time be serious, yet I did not much concern my selfe to enquire into the cause: nor never till then had I had the least mistrust that there was anything of a pertculer kindness between Herminio and Elesena but seting by them as they were discoursing together, I chanc’d to heare him say to her.

Be not so much concern’d for that Deare Elesena things may fall out much better for us then we expect.

What had proceeded this I know not but hapning to speak this a little loud I over heard him against my will, for I ever counted it the greatest piece of rudness imaginable to listne to any thing another sayes wherein one has no interest, wherefore lest I should be guilty of it I rose from my seat, and went and sat me downe at a good distance from them. But what I onely conjectur’d, Bellamira not long after confirm’d, assuring me he had been some yeares a passionate servant to Elesena though privatly and unknown to any of her Friends, unless to Issodorus who she believ’d favou[r]’d him in his addresses to his sister.

Those that had danced giving off, and a new company going to begin, Issodorus was call’d for, who thinking he had given me a sufficent time for digestion came to me again with the like request as before, which I could now no longer refuse. Herminio took out Elesena, Melliantes Bellamira, and another Gentleman (whose name I know not) took out Merinda the elder of the two sisters. But in that manner did the most excellent Bellamira dance as I could scarce mind what I did my selfe for looking on her, for such a charming Grace had she in every{379} step as I had ne’re seen any that could equall her, unless ’twere Issodorus but to do him right I must needs say he danced with such agility and nimbleness of Body yet with so gracefull an address as my admiration was equally divided between them; and pitty me thought it was that two such admirable Dancers should have been parted. But so had my late illness weakned me as I was weary before any of the rest, and often wish’d they would give off, or that Issodorus would relinquish me and take some other, but when I motion’d it to him he seem’d to take it ^so^ ill of me, that rather then I would dissoblige him I resolv’d (if possible) not to give off till the rest did so which was not till lights were brought in, to supply the absence of the day which had now given place to the approach of night. My Brother supposing it might be late ere we parted company, was unwilling to stay [fol. 170 v ] longer being to go out of Towne early the next morning and therefore took his leave, Issodorus would needs waite on him downe to the Dore, where as they parted (as Melliantes afterwards told me) he pass’d so many Complements on him and made him such high expressions of Friendship as he was even amaz’d thereat, and could not but admire what should move him at first sight to treat him in so perticular a way of kindness, nor did he leave him without an ardent desire of a more perfect knowledge of a person the most civill and obliging of all that ever he had been.

Whilst Issodorus was complementing Melliantes they had again begun to dance so that when he came in I was setting by my selfe at one corner of the Roome looking on them, all the other Ladies being taken out, and so might I too (had I not refused it) by Herminio but being before extreamly tir’d I beg’d his excuse, presenting Mellissa to him (who had not danced at all). No sooner had Issodorus spi’d me but he came and siting downe by me he told me he was sorry my Brothers occations should be so injurious to him as so soon to deprive him of his good company, but he would not quarell with them so much as otherways he should have done, since his absence allow’d him the liberty to entertain me the more freely.

Why Issodorus (said I) do you imagine my Brothers presence layes any restraint on me.

No Madam (answer’d he) I speak in refference only to my selfe, since he being the greater stranger to me I should have been oblig’d to act contrary to my inclinations in sacrificing a good part of that time to civilty which I had wholly devoted to your service; for though Melliantes is a person I infinitely honour, and his company very deare to me upon the account of that worth (which in this short enterview) I really find in him; and much more so for your sake, yet can I willingly at this time dispence with the deprivation of it, since your converse is to me far more acceptable.

I should very much question that respect you pretend for my Brother (said I) if I did fancy you could preferre my conversation before his which certainly of all that know him was ever judg’d more desirable then mine.{380}

I dare assure you then (repli’d he) none ever had those sentiments of you that I have or they could never have conceiv’d so injurious an opinion of you.

I know not what your thoughts of me are (interupted I) nor I am I very curious to [blot] enquire; but I am perswaded there are many in the world that think of as well of me as I deserve.

If they did (answer’d he) they would as well as I not onely preferre you before Melliantes but before all persons living.

Good Issodorus (cry’d I) do not complement me so much to the prejudice of your judgment, you cannot sure be so blind as I should count you did I believe your words held any correspondence with your thoughts.

If I am blind (said he) tis love has me me so, but since all obiects appeare to me the same as formerly I cannot mistrust there is any defect in my sight, much less can I think my eyes have forsaken me though I have lost my heart.

Alass poor Issodorus (repli’d I) laughing I pitty your misfortune; why do you not send hue and cry after the Theefe.

That’s needless madam (answer’d he looking more seriously,) since [fol. 171 r ] I have her in my view.

Why do you not lay hold of her (said I) and compell her to restore what she has taken.

It is not in my power to retrive it (he repli’d) but if I should, it would be in vain, since in her eyes lies couch’d a secret force which would not let me long enjoy it, yet however seeing you advize me to ceaze the Theefe I’ll take your councell (pursu’d he taking one of my hands and pressing it in his) now Madam you must either render me my heart again (went he on) or give me in exchange your owne, which I much more desire, for I declare tis you, and onely you who have depriv’d me of it. Yet I confess I have done you wronge in charging you with taking it from me, since I rather freely gave it you the first time that I beheld you and have hitherto made a shift to live without a heart, but can do so no longer.

Had I mistrusted (continu’d Arthenia) I had been concern’d in this discourse I had questionless put a stop to it ere it had arrived to that it did; but I endeavou[r]’d to turne it into rallery. I am resolv’d (said I) I’ll ask Bellamira when she has done danceing whether she thinks ’tis possible for a man to live without a heart the space of halfe a yeare for so long ‘twas (pursu’d Arthenia) since he first saw me.

Do you suppose Bellamira then so great a Judge of love (ask’d he)[?]

I know not (answer’d I) how well she may determine of that, but I believe none is better able to Judge of Reason then herselfe; and this which you aver is so irrationall a thing in my opinion that you must pardon me if I can give no credit to it.

Why are you incredulous Arthenia (said he) have you no Faith,

[Y]es (answer’d I) for Divine Misteries but not for such impossible Fooleries: for I well know I have no heart save that which I was born with, and that I’ll keep, no Flatteries of your False sex shall ever tempt it from me, but if you can{381} find any other pray take it home to you again, for I desire not to be troubled to lodge a stranger in my Brest which may perhaps create me more disquiet than I would willingly sustain, for I have heard the heartes of men are such unhospitable Guests as they oft set their lodging on a Flame and then with scorn returne [returne repeated] to some secure retreat pittilessly tryumphing ore those ruines they have made.

I should be more vain and Foolish then you believe me (he reply’d) should I go about to perswade you that I had vertually given you this little piece of Flesh that beates within my brest, no madam that was not my intention; nor do I believe you understood me so, what ever you pretend; but in affirming you have my heart I meane the entire affections, thoughts, and desires of it. But though you scorne me your selfe yet make me not the subject of Bellamiras mirth I beseech you by acquainting her with what I have said to you, for so insensible of all that love inspires is her soule as she will wish no better sport then to deride and laugh at me.

Well well said I you need not feare that I’ll trouble my self with speaking of that which I shall never think on more. But I admire how we fell into this unpleasing discourse which is to me so troublesome as I must intreat you to be silent or to talk of something else.

I’ll talke of whatsoere you please (reply’d he) provided you will believe I love you more then ever any did, and must and will to my death continue so to do; nor can I madam ceace to tell you of my passion tell I may be so happy to gain an assurance that tis not unpleasing to you.

You have propos’d to your selfe (said I) a harder [fol. 171 v ] task perhaps then you imagine, for though I want many of those good qu[a]lities wherewith many divers of my sex are beautified, yet believe it you may chance to find me as severe as the most perfect of them, but tis probable I may have no occation to trouble you with anything of that nature since tis like you may be possest with the fancy of some men in these dayes who imagine wemen count them deficent in point of breeding if they should pass halfe an houre in a perticuler converse without entertaining them with some piece of Amorous Folly; but if there be any such vain creatures in the world (as I can hardly think ther are) that can take pleasure in such feign’d addresses which are made meerly out of custome, or either to shew their wits, or to prove that of others, I do assure you Arthenia is none of them.

No Madam (repli’d he) my respects for you is too honourably attended to suffer so injurious a thought of you to enter my brest; and so far am I from offering you a pretended passion that though my heart vow’d it selfe your votary from the first moment that my eyes beheld you, and that it has e’re since burnt with a Flame so ardent as the highest disdain you are capable of exhibiting can never quench it, yet had I not the confidence to owne it, nor should not yet have presum’d to disclose the resentments [feelings] of my soule had not my unkind Fate threatned to drag me sooner from you then I expected, but though it has that power over my person it shall never force my heart one minute to abandon{382} you: be kind then madam I beseech you in my absence to my poor heart and treat it not with rigour when I am not by, to plead in its behalfe; for by Heaven I swear nothing in nature ere lov’d anyone more then that does you.

The hearts of men (interrupted I) are generally so falce, disloyall, and ungratfull that I am resolv’d nere to have ought to do with any of them, lest it should be my hape to meet with such a one, not that I can say yours will prove so, yet being fram’d of the same mettle that others are, it may be subject to the like ill inclinations. But whether (pursu’d I) is it you are going in such hast.

Into Sardinia (answer’d he) along with the ViceRoy who has honour’d me with an employ there so considerable as may in some short time I trust raise me to a condition not altogether so unworthy as I am at present to declare my selfe Arthenias Servant: for I know madam you are not ignorant Fate has made me a younger Brother and therby exposed me to seek for that from the hands of Fortune which Theanders birthright has given him; but however though he be born to a Fortune considerable enough, yet if my hopes prove not Flatterers I do not question but to attaine if not equal yet not much inferior to that which he will be one day master of; but infinitly would it quicken my endeavours, and render my industry much more solicitous might I be happy in obtaining a perticular interest in your esteem which though I dare not pretend the least merit too, yet can I not but most ambitiously sue for: but yet pardon me Madam if I say that methinks tis but just since I have freely resign’d to you the intire and absolute possession of my heart, that you if it were but in gratitude give you me some litle share in yours; and that seeing I love you with the truest and most unalterable affection that any mortall can be inspir’d with, you should not be so cruell to let me languish without the hopes of a returne.

I know not (said I) what opinion you may have of me in generall, but sure I am you have but a very ill one of my discretion if you can think me so unwise to engage in a perticuler Friendship for a person whom tis probable after some litle time I may never see [fol. 172 r ] more, but were it as likely as tis the contrary, and that the Passions you pretend were as reall as I believe it feigned, yet I must tell you I shall neer be perswaded to accept from you what I must be so ungratfull as never to reward.

Never Arthenia what never (cry’d he) O recall that fatall word and date some period to my sufferings which else must be as endless as my Flame which tis impossible for anything to extinguish,

[N]e’re Feare it Issodorus (said I) the Sardininian aire (whenre once you come thither) no question will quickly put it out or else inspire you with new inclinations more advantagious for you, and less troublesome to me.

I am sorry Madam (repli’d he) my kindness should prove your [annoyance], yet would it be in vain to beg your pardon, since at the same time instant I did so I should resolve to percevere in my offence; but perhaps you would not count me so great a Crimenall in presuming to harbour a passion in my soule{383} the most honourable and respective passion imaginable were not your affections preingag’d to some more happie person.

Did any one tell you that they were (interrupted I) upon my word if they did they were mistaken and so are you in believing any such thing; and though tis more than I am oblig’d too yet for my owne satisfaction, I’ll assure you I am not engag’d to any man breathing neither by promise nor affection.

Then will I not conclude my selfe totally miserable (said he) nor yet dispaire (since you are not already gain’d) but by the vastness of my love and that Fidelity which shall ever be its constant attendant to plead a better title to you than any he that dare adore you.

Much more did he say (continu’d she) to which I either lent no eare, or else made him such displeasing answers as I am perswaded he deriv’d but little satisfaction from them and as small hopes of any better success in the future: but notwithstanding I endeavour’d all I could to decline a further converse with him yet could I not avoid it tell such time as they had given over dancing, which they had no sooner done but I call’d Bellamira to me and would not suffer her to stir an inch from me all the rest of the time we stay’d which was not long, for I did all I could to hasten our departures home whether soon after we went though much against Issodorus’s mind who highly importun’d our longer stay. I could not so much as fancy that there was the least of truth in what he had protested; but thought rather he had made me that address either for his diversion, or else to try whether I was of a humour to be taken with a few insignificant expressions of kindness which oft vanishes even in that very Aire that formes them; which if so I hop’d I should then receive no further disturbance from him on that score since I had said enough to discourage him from attempting the like: but what ever his intent might be, I thought it best to absent my selfe for some dayes from Persides’s supposing I might thereby avoid his sight, but I was mistaken for the second day after he made me a visit and as it hapned found me all alone, for Therasmus was gone that afternoon to Court and my Aunt kept her chamber being something indispos’d. I was somewhat concern’d I confess that he had found me wholly unaccompani’d in regard I had no way left to shun his pursutes however I resolv’d to treat him with that respect which I believ’d due from me to a son of the most obliging Perisanas but withall to decline all [those] things as nigh as possible I could that might give him a rise to prosecute what he late began; but I was not more solicitus to avoid then he was on the contrary to seek for [fol. 172 v ] an oppertunity to compleat the declaration of his passion; but when he perceiv’d how I evaded him, he told me after some litle silence this was a happiness he did not expect to find me so alone, and could I find Fate but so kind to my wishes (pursu’d he) as to have produced no less favourable change in your inclinations for me I should have reason to esteeme myselfe the most fortunate of men; but if you still determine to be as incredulous, and as inexorable as to my unspeakable torment I lately found you I must inevitably be miserable without all hopes of redress. You told me then madam that you pittied me, O had that which you{384} then spake ironically been meant really I should not be altogether so disatisfied as I am; but if you will afford me neither love nor pitty I cannot beare my Fate without complaining or sinking under the pressures of it.

Sure Issodorus (interrupted I) you are not in earnest.

By Heavens but I am (answer’d he) and I swear by all that’s good at that rate I love you as I must be yours, and as such own’d by you, or not be at all.

Why (said I) you will not kill your selfe I hope.

I need not madam (replied he) your cruelty will assuredly do it for me, and force me to dy the Martyre of my love, and then perhaps you will be convinc’d I was in earnest.

Not a jote the more (said I) for I should questionless impute your death to any cause rather then love; for I must tell you I have a better opinion of you then to believe you have so little wit to dy for love of any one, much less for me: but seeing you have made such a serious protestation of kindness for me, I’ll onely beg one proofe of it.

Ordaine me anything but ceasing to adore you (cri’d he) and I’ll pay you an implicit obedience to whatever you command, but never expect that I can consent to that since both your power and mine are not strong enough to effect it for tis as impossible for my body to survive the departure of my soule as for my heart to quit its passion for you.

Do but silence your passion then (said I) and I will aske no more.

Should I use so great a violence on my selfe (repli’d he) as to impose an etternall silence on my tongue I might perchance offend you more, since the Fire that is kindled in my Brest (would by my seeking to smoother it) ere long burst forth into a Flame so visible as must inevitabl[y] be obvious to all eyes.

Nay (said I) if I thought there were any danger of that I should rather chuse still to be importun’d with your love how displeasing soever tis to me, then that you should give the world so clear a demonstration of your weakness as your having misplac’d it on one so unworthy of it as Arthenia from whom you cannot expect to derive the least advantage.

I call the Gods to witness (answer’d he) I pretend to noon nor wish no greater then a reciprocall returne; that madam is the onely thing my soule is most ambitious of, and for which I must never cease to sue till [I] have obtain’d it.

Alass Issodorus (said I) such expressions as these I have been ere now acquainted with but found so litle verity in them as you must pardon me if I cannot credit or believe you, for more then I have already had said to me you nor none can say, and seeing I have once been mistaken I’ll not be so a second time.

Nor shall not upon in me upon my honour (he repli’d) would you but repose that confidence in me that you did in that perfidious One who ere he was.

Indeed I dare not (answer’d I), for I but too well know the hearts of all men, you may perhaps dessemble more dextrously then other men: or else tis like that at that very instant you declare your passion your heart may be a little affected with somewhat of that nature, but for all that I am perswaded you are liable to{385} the same imperfections that other men are, [fol. 173 r ] who begin to love and nere consider why, continue their kindness onely for a while through custome and then relinquish it meerly out of a humour; nor can it possibly be otherwise since the love thats generally pretended by the most of your sex proceeds but from their lips not from their heartes, and tis onely an idle divertsment, no reall resentment [sentiment]; and though tis frequent with these Amoriests to talke of nothing more then of dispaire, to utter such direfull imprecations as oft makes the hear hearers tremble and to invoke Death (the Deity of lovers) each minute to put a period to their sufferings, bitterly inveighing against our honours which they terme cruellty and yet for all these specious pretences who is there that performes the least of what they promise for all their Oathes are onely writ in sand apt to be blotted out by every litle puff of Aire; and by their vowes (which ne’re so firmly made) they do as by their clothes value them whilst new, but once grown old they neglectedly lay them aside and soon forget them leaving those credulous Fooles as had so much Faith, ^as^ to believe them, with teares to lament the credit that they gave to the delusive protestations of their Faithless lovers, who on those at whose Feet they have lately lain beging for pitty and reliefe look now with scorne and disregard, and onely make their boast how many feminine conquests [to] embellish their stories with.

Be not so uncharitable Arthenia (cry’d he) to tax our whole sex with crimes whereof onely some are tainted; do you not think there are wemen every way as guilty of inconstancy and Infidelity as men.

Yes no doubt (answer’d I) and therefore to secure you[r] selfe from any prejudice you may sustain by incountering a person of that temper take my advice, and do as I resolve, never love any, and then you need not feare to be disceiv’d.

I had rather run that hazard (he reply’d) then Follow your advice, for could I but obtaine your love though I were certain afterwards to loose it; it would be to me a greater satisfaction that I had once enjoy’d your heart then never to possess it.

Believe it (said I) I am not of your mind for I should rather chuse never to have my love accepted, then afterwards to be betray’d, or unworthyly deserted: but such a usage you nere shall find from Arthenias hands; for what ever interest you had once gain’d in me, nothing could ere be able to deprive you of unless I found you guilty of Inconstancy which is a thing I so highly abominate, and am such an implacable enemy too, as I shall allwayes take a perticuler care to preserve my selfe from receiving any prejudice by it; which whilst I can but keep my selfe from loves ensnareing Nets I need not apprehand.

More I could not adde, for at that instant came in Therasmus who seeing a stranger with me demanded of me who he was; which I having told him, he saluted him with much civility and when he went away told him he should think himselfe very much oblig’d to him, if he pleas’d to afford him the favour of his company sometimes. This invitation it was needless for Therasmus to repeat for Issodorus soon accepted it missing few evenings of coming to our house if I had{386} not in the day been at his Fathers; making his visits pretendedly to Therasmus but really to me; at all which times he never left me without some demonstration of his passion; which ’twas as long ere he could perswade me to think it reall: yet I must needs say I could not keep my heart from secretly wishing it might prove as sincere as I fear’d it counterfeit: for never in my life did I see that person whom I had so great an inclination to affect as Issodorus, nor any man so well worthy of my Friendship as I thought him, yet seeing I had been so much mistaken in Loreto, I was extreamly fearfull of being a second time disceiv’d; and to that [fol. 173 v ] end I might not I summon’d together all the arguments I could devize that might best fortifie my Brest again[st] loves assaults; but alass they avail’d me nothing since my inclination too soon betray’d me to its tyranick power; yet so much command I still retain’d ore that unruly passion as firmly to resolve never to give Issodorus the least hopes till such time as he had given me such unquestionable evidences of his fidelity as it should be a sin to be longer doubtfull of it; nor was the esteeme I had for him a little heightned by that extraordinary respect Melliantes had for him, and that which in like manner he had for my Brother, for he seldome came nigh me but he proffess’d almost as much of Friendship for him as affection for me; and that which confirm’d me the more, was to find (as I did) those kind thoughts I had for him were so far from being dissalow’d by Melliantes that he rather encourag’d me to percevere in them, which I confess I needed not much incitement too; but if already he had gain’d no slight interest in my favour, the generous refusal I heard him make of a Fortune the most advantagious for him as could be imagin’d abundantly justified the preferrence I gave him before all others in my esteeme, and sufficently in my opinion made good his title to it.

For going one day over to his Fathers I found none of them within save Bellamira and Issodorus who were set by the Fire side talking very seriously together; but she seeing me come in rise up and taking me by the hand with an obliging freeness placed me by her. What do you think Arthenia (said she) I have been perswading Issodorus too.

I cannot guess (answer’d I).

Rather to make to make his Fortunes here at home (pursu’d she) then to go seek them in Sardina, since I dare almost assure him he may acquire a nobler here then any he can hope to find else where if he will but follow my advice in making his addresses either to Valeria or Euridice, which if he has but courage to attempt I am perswaded he needes not question his success; and fairer oppertunities he cannot wish then he may find by the meanes of his Uncle Boetius who has married the Princess Victorina their mother.

These two young Ladies madam (pursu’d Arthenia to the Queen) were Daughters and sole Heires to the disceased Prince of Drepanum, and reputed two of the greatest matches in the Province of Mazara where they for the most part liv’d though at present they were resident in Palermo.{386}

But of the two (continu’d Bellamira) I had rather he should chuse Euridice because I know her to be of a humour the most agreeable to his owne of any person in the world.

What think you Madam (said he to me) ought I to follow my cousins councell (for so he oft still’d [styl’d] her):

Tis not for me to determine what you ought to do (answer’d I) but I must tell you think that I think the advice she has given you is so much for your good as none that are your Friends will wish you [not] to take it.

Pardon me madam (said he) if I cannot comply with your opinion in that perticuler, since those who are my Friends certainly will not wish I may do any thing but what may conduce to the making me happie; which I confess if my Felicity depended upon wealth I might tis like find enough in either of those two sisters to render me so, but I declare I am not so covetous to purchace riches with the price of my content which will be far greater in the enjoyment of another person who though I cannot hope from her those rich revenues Valeria and Euridice may entitle me too, yet my passion for her (may it be but once requited) will create me a more substantial happiness then wealth can give, since I believe you will grant one may be happy without riches but ne’re without content.

I’ll not deny (interupted Bellamira) but there are some that may enjoy content [fol. 174 r ] even in a mean condition, but you are none of them I am perswaded, for were your passion (if you are inspir’d with any such thing) gratifi’d even to the fullest satisfaction of your wishes, it would in some short time I verily believe expire and dy, if a full confluence of plenty be not the fuell to maintain it.

That is your opinion Cousin (repli’d he) but I’ll assure you none of mine.

Well be it how it will (said she) I am resolv’d to set your Mother on to perswade you to what I know will be both all honourable and advantagious for you.

I cannot tell what answer he would have made her (went on Arthenia) for just then came Persides in and chang’d the scean of the discourse.

For 6 or 7 dayes after this I saw not Issodorus again which made me conclude he was caught with the Golden Bait which Bellamira had laid for him though not with any intention of with drawing him from me (for I verily believed her utterly ignorant of those pretences he had made to me) but rather with a Friendly design of doing him good. However this conclusion did not a litle disturbe my rest, yet I resolv’d to dissemble it and to hold on my usuall course of going to Persides’s lest he might think I refrain’d the house upon the account of some prejudice I might conceive against him: but just as I was going thithere one afternoon I was stay’d by his coming to see me and having given him to understand my intention of waiting on Perisana.

Though your company I dare assure you Madam (reply’d he) be at all times very acceptable to my mother, yet I must be so ingenious with you as to tell you I believe you will more oblige her if you will reserve the favour of that visit you designe her till some other day since there is a little kind of disorder hapned in our Family by a discovery which is newly made of my sisters being married.{388}

Married Issodorus (interupted I much surpriz’d to heare it) to whom.

To Herminio (answer’d he) to whom she has been married this halfe yeare though till now she has conceal’d it, but not deeming it convenient to do so any longer, she desir’d a Friend of hers to acquaint my Father with it; but to that height is he insens’d against her for what she has done, as I feare it will cost some time to reconcile him to her, but from Perisanas indulgent affection I hope better things; for I well know she cannot long retaine anger to any of us, but Persides will not be perswaded so much as to see her but has commanded she should this night avoid the house, so as poor Elesena must be constrain’d to seek a new lodging, nor is Theander less unkind then my Father is severe; but for my owne part I’ll not forsake her in her trouble.

You will in that shew your selfe a kind Brother (said I) yet I must needs blame Elesena for doing that which she could not but think she should incurre the displeasure of her Parents [by] in a very high degree, which I am really sorry she should be so unfortunate to do.

Passion madam (repli’d he) is seldome guided by reason or by duty, and if you once come to be acquainted with its power, and bow to loves controuling scepter you will then know no other law save that which it imposes.

If it should ever go about to oblige me to any thing contrary to that Duty I owe my Parents (said I) it would be enough to make me disowne its athoritie, and never more submit to so blind and irrationall a Deity.

You may boast your strength (repli’d he) as long as you are free, but were your heart once fetter’d in those bonds that Elesanas was, you would not then perhaps find so much cause to condemne her as now you do.

You have reason (interupted I) to vindicate her having your selfe been guilty of the like failing.

This I spake (continu’d Arthenia) [in] refference to his having married a Lady nam’d Artelinda unknown to [fol. 174 v ] his Parents, and no less disapprov’d on by them both when known, then his sisters match now was; for at this time he was a widdower and had been so for the space of neer seven yeares, yet had he not as yet attain’d to more then the age of 27.

But (pursu’d I to him) you will questionless make amends for the indiscretion of your first Amour by following that Friendly advice Bellamira gave you the other day, which I believe upon second thoughts you have found so much conducing to your advantage as I hope it has enduced you to lay aside all thoughts of me from whom you can neither pretend too nor expect any. But whether of the two (went I on) have you made your choice.

Neither of the two I’ll assure you madam (answer’d he) for to your selfe alone is my choice confin’d, nor can those Golden Baites (which some vulger spirits perhaps might greedily catch at) ever have the power to take me, or once withdraw me from that unalterable resolve ne’re to be any ones but yours. So far am I then from taking Bellamiras councell (as you unkind Arthenia injuriously suppose) as I never troubled my mind so much as with one thought of it since,{389} for such full employment does my passion for you find my thoughts as I have no leasure to remind ought save what may render it acceptable, at least not offencive to you as I have but too much reason to conclude it: and though I have not been so happie as to receive from you the least encouragment for my perceverance, yet till death I am determin’d never to decline that unequall’d love my soule has for you. I am not ignorant I confess (pursu’d he) there was much of truth in my cousins ascertion (for so Madam he oft call’d Bellamira continu’d Arthenia to the Queen) in affirming it would be both honourable and advantagious for me if I could obtaine either Valeria or Electra,[4] as tis possible I might would I make it my endeavour: but were both their Fortunes united into one, and as much more added to it, I do declare it should not startle my fidelity, or tempt me to forgoe Arthenias vertue for their mines of treasure. But what mov’d you I beseech you madam (added he) to charge me with a fault resembling my sisters.

Methinkes you need not aske that question (answer’d I) since you are not ignorant how displeasing your match with Artelinda was both to Persides and Perisana.

I do confess it madam (repli’d he blushing) but did believe my having been married might to you have been unknown, as I could wish it had, lest you esteeme that offering I have made you of my heart the more unworthy your acceptance for having been formerly devoted to another. But perhaps we may be yet on equall termes, for if I have lov’d once, I am mistaken if you have hitherto been absolutely exempted from that passion.

I know not from whence you should draw that conclusion (said I) yet will I not deny but that I have lov’d; yet was it onely on the score of gratitude, and when the cause was taken away, the effect soon ceas’d: but never did I know as yet affections power upon the account of inclination.

So have I (repli’d he) I must acknowledge: and seeing my marriage is to you no secret, I will not scruple to avow that I so well lov’d my deare Artelinda that had I been sure to run greater hazards of my ruine then I apparently knew I did, I should not to shun them have deviated from the least title of that engagement whereby I had bound my selfe to be hers alone till death should make a seperation between us, which alass (pursu’d he with the teares ready to start from his eyes) too soon he did, suffering me to enjoy but one poor yeare what I for the space of seven before most passionately lov’d [fol. 175 r ] and though by her death I was free to make a second choice yet so deservedly dear was her memory to me, as I ne’re entertain’d a thought of any one till that minute I first look’d on you; ’twas then my heart lost those impressions my love for poor dead Artelinda had still preserv’d undefaced, and in an instant, in their stead ingrav’d those never fading Charactors of a no less intire and perfect affection for the admir’d Arthenia which nothing but the hand of Death shall ere race out.{390}

I am sorry (said I) it should be my Fate to be so injurious to Artelinda as to blot her out of your heart, but tis however my satisfaction that she has no reason to complain of me since I never contributed to the depriving her of that Monument which questionless she deserv’d eternally to possess.

She has indeed no reason (repli’d he) to complain of you, nor yet of me, since none but will acknowledge I have sufficently evinced both the greatness and constancy of my affection by my continuing to love her, as long after her Death, as before it I did adore her: but I am perswaded if it were possible for her to know what is transacted here below, she would be so far from taxing me with unkindness, that she would rather rejoyce to see I have design’d her a successour so deserving as your selfe: He could adde no more, nor I returne him any answer by reason Melliantes came just then in, and testifi’d a very great satisfaction to meet Issodorus there, who did the like to see him, and when he went away took my Brother with him but whether they went together I know not, nor was I much curious to enquire.

This generous refusall made by Issodorus of two such advantagious proffers, either of which I was perswaded would have been a thing feasable enough for him to obtain had he but made it his business, joyn’d with that sincere kindness, and contancy of affection he had testifi’d to his Artelinda both in her life and since her death, made on my heart so strong an asault as I had as little the will as the power any longer to deny him the intire possession of a heart I could not but think him of all men living the worthiest of; nor did I now look on Loretos deserting me as any other then the effect of my good Fortune which had deni’d me the less Felicity but to confer on me the greater, nor could I any more complain of that inconstancy which I had hitherto consider’d as an invitation to detest the whole race of mankind, since it had much more oblig’d then prejudiced me; for I could not but account it a far nobler happiness to possess Issadorus’s love then Loretos; which I thought ’twas possible I might still have been mistress off had I not my selfe contributed to its loss by that coldness and indifferency wherewith I receiv`d it. Which that I might not on Issodorus’s score procure to my selfe a resembling Fate I determined to give him some hopes of a mutuall esteeme; and the rather in regard of a declaration I had heard him openly atteast occation’d by a discourse which at Persides’s was begun by severall Ladies and ^young^ Gentlemen which one night were met there together concerning the severity wherewith some wemen treated their servants, some declaming against it, and others no less earnestly pleading for it, saying there was nothing so distructive to love as to have it gratifi’d by a reciprocall one, for love having its origine from Desire, and that once obtain’d it must needs Follow that the cause must cease having attain’d its end; whereas Feares Jealousies, and dispaires do rather heighten and increase the vehemence of the passion by the oppossition it finds to thwart its attainment.

Tis very true said one of the Ladies (nam’d Philotheta) love can be never [fol. 175 v ] be violent or lasting but when the desires are so; and tis certainly impossible for them to be so when whatever they desire require is granted; it must necessarily{391} follow that then to render a passion durable a woman must never grant those Favours she designes to bestow but with much importunity to the end the higher value may be placed on them, for else they will be receiv’d without delight, or at least with a meane acknowledgment; for tis too often seen men slight and scorn those favours which they lightly and easily obtain’d, and I must tell you tis much more easie to revive that Flame which is extinguish’d by an excess of severity then one that is stifled by too many and continu’d kindnesses.

I cannot but acknowledge madam repli’d one of the company (called Doristus) that there is much of reason in what you affirme since experience often shewes that enjoyment takes of[f] from the value of what before we highly priz’d, so when any man has obtain’d the affection of his mistress it soon becomes much less considerable; for when was it ever known that any Husband contin’d to love his wife with that ardency and passion as when he was her servant.

I will not go about to confute these opinions of yours (answer’d Issodorus) how erronious soever I think them, since I question not but time will sufficently convince you, and experience teach you how much more satisfactory tis to have ones affections crown’d with a mutuall one then alwayes to ly under the tyranie of a cruell and rigorous mistress; for my owne part I declare I do so far discent from what you maintain, that should I ever love, and find no other requitall but severity or disdain, how great and fervent so ere my Flame might be, it would not faile in a short time to expire and dy where there was no Fewell to feed it with: bare imaginations, faint hope, tormenting and heart wracking Jealousies would nere afford me any: I must have love for love I do declare, for nought save that can make my Flame endure, and as for all you (pursu’d he) that are of a contrary mind, I wish it may be your destinies to encounter wemen of such Flinty and obdurate tempers as may make you repent you believ’d such ill treatments necessary to the augmenting or (at least) continuance of your passions.

This which Issodorus affirm’d of himselfe, whether it were with a designe to prepare me for the reception of his love when once he should declare it, and withall to let me understand with what resentments [feelings] I must intertainit entertaine it if I desir’d to render it permanent and lasting, or whether he spake his reall thoughts I cannot say (went on Arthenia) but this it was I confess which mov’d me to resolve not so long to defer (as otherwise I should) the owneing of that conquest which never was intire till Issodorus made it so.

The next evening came Bellamira with him to our house who told me they were going to see Elesena and ask’d me if I would not oblige them with my company, to which I readily assented, assuring Bellamira I had an intention to wait on Elesena very speedely, but since she was dispos’d to go now I would imbrace this oppertunity of paying her my respects. Divers times after this did I accidentally mee[t] Issodorus there, but one time above the rest abundance of other company hapning to be there too when he had long sought for an oppertunity to entertain me with a private converse but could find no plausible occation conducing to his desire, he demanded of me a loud (to the end all there present might heare) when I saw my Brother.

[T]wo or three dayes agoe (answer’d I)[.]

[A]nd did he say nothing to you (added he) of that concern I spake to him about when I last saw him.

No (said I) he did not tell me any thing wherein [fol. 176 r ] you had an interest.

Tis possible you have forgot it (repli’d he) but if you please madam to afford me your care one minute I’ll tell you what it was (pursu’d he taking me by the hand and drawing me to a window at a good distance from the rest of the company whilst I willingly follow’d him, never mistrusting his designe, but verily thinking he had some weighty matter to acquaint me with) but he soon undisceav’d me by saying I have not any thing to tell you madam ^in^ refferance to Melliantes, but in relation to my selfe I must again repeat what I so oft have vow’d, though you are still so incredulous as not to believe me when I protest and swear I love you with the highest passion imaginable, and till I dye shall never cease to do so; for since your severity has not been able to allay the ardour of my Flame there is nought else you need to apprehend. For the gods sake Deare Arthenia, I conjure you moderate somewhat of your cruelty and be no longer so obduratly determin’d to render me totally miserable when you may so easily by one kind word create me the happiest of men.

Alass Issodorus (said I) what would you have me do, I would do anything that I am capable of to render you as happy as I really wish you.

Then you must love me madam (answer’d he hastily) for any thing less then an absolute enjoyment of your affection will be utterly unable to make me so.

Admit I should (repli’d I) and that (not withstanding those weighty reasons I have nere to believe there’s truth to be found in any of your sex) I shoull should credit you so far as the Faith I gave to your protestations (which carry with them a Face of reallity I must confess) might convert that aversion I have justly conceiv’d against all men in generall into a perticuler kindness for you, yet tis possible you will derive but small satisfaction from it, as not being such a one as perhaps you may require, having rather Friendship then affection for its root, for though I may give you an interest in the former, it is not in my power to intitle you to the latter till authoriz’d by the consent of Mironides and Brecena to whose will I ought to confine my choice.

O Madam (repli’d he) why will you be so cruell to lay such an obstruction in my way to felicitie as tis impossible for me to remove; not that I do in the least dispaire of gaining your Parents consents to make you mine had I but time to importune that favour from them, but alass that time for my departure is too nigh for me any way to attempt what in so short a space I cannot hope to accomplish: but with how deep a sadness I shall leave Sicilie I am not able to represent nor you conceive, when I consider that ere I come back you may be dispos’d on to another.{393}

That may be Issodorus (said I) but I’ll assure you this, I’ll do whatever lies in me to avoid, what cannot be more your trouble then my misfortune; and that if those to whom Heaven and Nature has given a right to bestow me on whosoere they please should command me to marry another I should obey them with no less a reluctancie then with satisfaction I should embrace their permission to make me yours. Nor will I scruple to avow (though perhaps I may go somewhat beyound those strict limits which decency prescribes in leting you know so much) that were I free to make my owne choice I would not onely prefer you before all men in Sicily, but even all that the world contains of either rich or great within the compass of its vast extent.

At this assurance I perceiv’d so lively a joy to sparkle in his eyes as no one but would [fol. 176 v ] have conceiv’d his heart to be deeply affected with that passion, and taking me by by the hand (which he press’d with a most transported ardency) oh Dearest Arthenia (cry’d he) that the place were void of witnesses that I might have the liberty to throw my selfe at your Feet in the humblest posture imaginall [imaginable] to pay my thankes for this obliging assurance and acknowledgment you have made so highly conducing to my unspeakable happiness; be as kind then, as you are generous I beseech you (said pursu’d he) and compleat my felicity by giving me leave to derive that intirely from your owne goodness and free condescention which I may one day hope from the confession of Mironides.

For heavens sake Issodorus (said I) tempt not my Friendship to injure my Duty which if you move me to transgresse against, I shall doubtless repent the interest you have in me.

Your pardon madam I humbly beg (repli’d he) if the ambition of my passionate desires cannot be content to be confin’d within those limmits wherewith you have bounded them, but aspires to more then you are willing to grant, yet since you are pleas’d to mittigate my sufferings by the hopes you give me that I am not indifferent to you, I will endeavour to rest satisfi’d with that esteeme which you vouchsafe me.

I then reminding him that it was possible our privacie might be remark’d which to prevent; feigning to have inform’d me of some concern relating to Melliantes he said to me (as I turn’d about to go from him) loud enough to be heard by all there present. You will very much oblige me madam to put your Brother in mind to get this affaire dispatch’d with what expedition he can.

You may be confident (repli’d I) my Brother is too much your servant to neglect any concern of yours.

You are very subtill Issodorus (said Hermino to him smiling and speaking so low as I am certain he was not heard by any save my selfe) but all your cuning is not enough to secure you from some concerned eyes which pierce far deeper then you imagine.

But Issodorus seem’d to take no notice of what he said, nor could I conceive on what account ‘twas spoken unless any of the company should mistrust that passion he had own’d for me; which if they did, I could not think what concern{394} they could have in it, since the Gentlemen were all strangers to me, and the Ladies every one of them married except Bellamira. Though I had acquainted my Brother with Issodorus’s pretences, yet had I never taken the least notice either to Therasmus or Hestrina not withstanding that I found by severall words they let fall that they had conceiv’d some Jealousie of it: but at last Hestrina gave me more intimation of her suspition by her cautioning me to take heed I did not in Issodorus encounter a second Loreto:

I know not madam what you meane (said I) but this I will presume to tell you that I am perswaded had Loreto been of so well generous and well compos’d a temper as Issodorus is, I had certainly been but too happie in him.

I perceive (repli’d she) he has had the good fortune to produce in you a very advantagious opinion, but how let me advice you Niece (continu’d she) not to suffer it to prevaile too far in favour of him to your prejudice. I am not so blind nor Therasmus neither as not to perceive these visits which he makes you has something more in them then common civility.

That may be (answer’d I) since tis probable he may come to see me so oft as he does rather out of complacence to Perisana who he very well knows does me the honour to allow me no meane place in her Friendship, then out of any perticuler respect he has for me.

Come, come Arthenia (cry’d she) don’t dissemble with me I know you do not think so, though perhaps it were better, and more for your quiet that you did; for when once the Sea has devided you, [fol. 177 r ] and that he is gone into Sardina I dare pass my word he ne’re thinks on you more whatever he may now pretend, or yet admit he did, and that you find him no less constant then at present you (it may be) believe him kind, yet I say, what advantage can you hope for by placing your affection (as I feare you have already but too far) on a person who has not one foot of land (as far as I heare) to endow you with, but must be constrain’d to build his Fortunes on the Vice-roys favour, and how totering a foundation great mens favours are to lay the stress of ones whole Fortunes on experience dayly shewes; and besides, do you believe your Mother who so dearly loves you will ere consent you should wholly abandon her to spend your dayes in a forreign land.

I am not about it madam (I repli’d) nor need you fear, had I that esteem for Issodorus which you onely fancy, yet should it never move me to any thing in favour of him inconsistent with my duty which I shall always prefer before my owne or any other bodies satisfaction.

You will do well (answer’d she) to percevere in that resolve, but since you are with me I cannot but think my selfe concern’d to take a perticuler care of you; for should you do any otherwise then well, you know my sister would be apt to charge it on me as a neglect of your wellfaire; which none I’ll assure you more sincerely wishes then my self: then seeing I am certainly assur’d Issodorus (notwithstanding all his good qualities) is no fit match for you, nor you for him, I must intreat you to refrain his company, or not to take it ill if I acquaint Brecena with my apprehensions.{395}

If it will give you any satisfaction Madam (repli’d I) I will so farre comply with your commands as to request him to forbeare seeing me here any more, but you must pardon me if I cannot promise you not to let him see me elsewhere; for then I must absolutely decline waiting on Perisana and his sister, and deprive myselfe of the conversation of the excellent Bellamira who would questionless think it very strange that without any the least shew of reason I should with so high an incivility abandon their society which I confess I should be most unwilling to do. But methinkes you need not be anyway concern’d since I declare I never will yeeld to any thing my Parents shall have just cause to charge on me as a breach of that obedience I am obliged to pay them.

I knew there was but too much of truth and reason in what Hestrina said to me (continu’d Arthenia) not to be convinc’d how disadvantagious my passion for Issodorus might prove to me, and no less injurious to him, since I could bring but a slight addition to his Fortunes, which I could not but believe would be as ill resented [felt] by his Parents as mine; but alass I found my selfe engag’d too far to retreat, and though I knew I had embark’d for a voyage wherein I foresaw I must inevitably encounter many stormes, yet was not the danger that they threatned able to perswade me to retire ere I proceeded further. I did not designe to make a secret of Issodorus love, but did intend assoon as I could find out a convenient way to make it known to Mironides and Brecena yet was I not willing (I confess) Hestrina should be the first Intelligencer of it to them, because I very well knew her to be of so capricious and suspitious a humour as I had reason to doubt she would make the worst of all things in her information which might tend very much to both our prejudices; which to prevent I thought it best (as I had told her I would) to desire Issodorus to forbear coming any more to see me, and withall to acquaint him with the reason that induced me to make him that request the next time I saw him, [fol. 177 v ] which hapned to be in the Princess of Erix’s walk Gardan where having the priviledge of walking as often as I pleas’d most commonly every morning I us’d to walke for my health which I en[j]o’d not long together having almost ever since I was seven yeares of age for the most part been very sickly. I usually walk’d alone but one morning chanceing to have Bellamira with me, we had not been long there ere we sp espi’d Issodorus and Melliantes at the further end of the Alie that we were in who no sooner saw us but they hasted to meet us, and having given ^us^ the good morrow.

Do you not want company ladies (said Issodorus) I’ll assure you we came on purpose to waite on you and proffer you ours:

No indeed (answer’d Bellamira somewhat tartly) we wanted none of yours.

Well (repli’d he) since you did not I will try not give you the trouble of it, but try whether Arthenia will be so kind as to accept it (pursu’d he presenting me his [arm] to lead me whilst Melliantes did the like to Bellamira).

Tis possible she may be so complacent (said she) but I wish her civilitie prove not her prejudice,{396}

I was a litle startled (I confess) to heare them talke to each other at this rate, in regard I always thought they had held a very friendly correspondence, but supposing there might of late have been some picque between them which might be unknown to me, I thought it improper for me to enterest my selfe in anothers concernes so far as to make any enquirie, and therefore pass’d on without taking the least notice of what had past. But Issodorus walking something faster then they, ere I was aware, he insensibly drew me a good distance from them; which I perceiving, and thinking I might venture to speak without the danger of being overheard. Pray Issodorus (said I) take it not ill if I intreat you to see me no more.

No more (interupted he) for heavens sake what have I done to deserve so severe a punishment; and what accursed starre is it that has so malicious an influence on you in so short a time to worke on your inclinations such a strang and unexpected alteration.

I am not chang’d at all since last you saw me I’ll assure you (answer’d I) nor is it unkindness that moves me to make you this request; neither do I intend (as you conceive) to banish you my sight, but onely to desire you to see me no more at Therasmus’s (as I would have told you wou would your impatience have allow’d me time to speak) since my Aunt is become suspitious not onely of your respect for me but believes I favour you more than I ought.

She would have but little reason to judge me so happie as she takes me to be (repli’d he) did she but know what hard conditions you have impos’d on me for the attainment of my chiefest felicity. But I hope madam (pursu’d he) though you deprive me of the priviledge of seeing you at Therasmus’s you will be so kind as to allow me else where.

You may assure your selfe I will (answer’d I) nor I compli’d with Hestrina’s humour so far as I have, had I not the convenience of giving the satisfaction (if such you esteeme it) of seeing me either at your father’s or Elesena[’s] as oft as you desire.

Do you believe, Arthenia (he hastely repli’d) it would be a satisfaction to me to be happie.

Yes without ^question^ (answer’d I)

[T]hen believe it for a certain Truth (said he) there is not any thing that can make me so (next to the enjoyment of your heart) save onely your sight and conversation. But are you still determin’d madam to oppose my supream felicity (went he on) with that severe duty you arme against me: and may I not importune from your owne free grant what the transcendency of my passionate desires will not suffer me with any patience or content to expect from the favour of your [fol. 178 r ] Parents to which whom (I beseech you) be not so scrupelously severe as absolutely to referre my Fate since tis on you alone it does depend, and in your power (were your will but correspondent to it) to render me the happiest of men by making your selfe the reward for what I have given you. And let me tell you Madam (continu’d he) any thing less can never gratifie the Present I have made you of my Heart which is so intirely yours, as it would enevitably pine away and{397} dy but for the hope it has of so close and neer a union with that you carry in your Brest as nought save Death may ere be able to seperate, or divide them.

I am sufficently blamable (repli’d I) in [blot] not taking the first sentiments of my kindness from the command, or at least the permission of those to whom my birth has subjected me; desire not then to render me more faulty by importuning to what I neither ought, nor ever will consent too, since the lawes both of heaven and Nature oblige me to the contrary.

If this be your finall resolve (said he with a countenance where in all the tokens of a visible discontent might be seen) as neer as the prefixed day design’d for my departure is, I shall not live to see it. Ah (pursu’d he sighing) how little reason had I to conclude my selfe that happie person as I late believ’d since I now too plainly find, that affection you were pleas’d to owne for me is so clo cold and indifferent as I have far more cause to dispaire then hope; but Death is the universall cure of all misfortunes and to that I’ll have recourse for mine.

Do not terrifie me with so fatall a threat (repli’d I) nor wrong not the sincerity of my love by thinking it so indifferent; for so far from that it is as I protest there is not any thing under Heaven dearer to me then Issodorus nor any thing (my Duty and my honour preserv’d unblemish’d) which I would not do for his satisfaction. And cause you shall have no justifiable reason to complain of my me I will assure you this, that if I may not be yours (as I confess I feare I shall not) I will never be any others mans, if by any imaginable meanes I can avoid it; but if all should faile me, and that another should be impos’d on me by those whom heaven has invested with a power to dispose of me as they think fit, I should accept him with such resentments [feelings] as some happie amidst the confluence of all Earthly delights and pleasures would welcome the tortourous and most painfull of Deaths that the witiest of Tyrrants ere invented for the punishment of them they mortally hated.

O Madam (cry’d he) how kind and cruell are you both at once; the first by shewing me so sweet a Prospect of felicity as this most obliging assurance is to me; the later, by cuting off in a manner my hopes of reaping any benifit by it, in declaring you feare you never must be mine: but why do you think so, and what reason have you for your apprehension.

I’ll tell you Issodorus (answer’d I) tis this, I am most certain Brecena will rather chuse to see me dye and with more content Follow me to my grave, then ever yeeld I shall marry any man that shall be oblig’d to carry me so far from her as Sardina is.

Methinks tis strange (repli’d he) she should prefer your death before your absence, since to whatever distance you were remov’d she had still a possibility of seeing you again sometimes though not so oft (perhaps as she might wish) but if dead, she would then utterly loose all hopes of ever seeing you again. But would I could as easily and as soon remove all other difficulties as this I should not doubt of obtaining what my soule is most ambitious of: for tis not my designe absolutely to quit Sicily: no Madam, upon my word I have too great a kindness for my owne{398} Country to abandon it for ever though I must necessarily for some time; but I question not in some few yeares so well to settle my concernes there as I may live if not altogether yet for the most part here at home.

If you can do so (said I) the greatest nay indeed the onely obstacle to your desires on my account will be remov’d; make good your tittle to me then by a constant [fol. 178 v ] fedelity and rest confident that if a truly sincere, vertuous, and innocent affection may requite your passion you shall ne’re have cause to terme me ungratfull. But I beg and conjure you Issodorus (pursu’d I) by that kindness you have for me require nothing more at my hands till such time as I may without offending my duty gratifie your request.

I will obey you Madam if I am able (repli’d he) but if I cannot you must charge my passion not me with disobedience.

I deeming it not convenient any longer to decline Bellamira’s conversation lest she might take it amiss that I quited her company for Issodorus’s, told him what I apprehended and thereby obliged him to walk so as we might [o’re take] them; which we no sooner did, but assuming his usuall briskness,

I hope Cousin (said he to Bellamira) you will not say but that I have been very obliging.

To your selfe perhaps (repli’d she) but not to me I’ll assure you.

I have fail’d in my designe then (return’d he)

I believe not (answer’d she) you would not be so pleasent if you had.

But not seeming to take any notice of what she said last. Come Melliantes (cry’d he to my Brother) since they are no better humour’d let us leave them: with that biding us adue they went away leaving us to pursue our walk which we continu’d not much longer; for soon after they were gone we repair’d home, but as we went I could not forbear asking Bellamira the reason of that difference that appear’d to be between her and Issodorus.

Nay no great matter (answer’d she) but onely I design’d to carry my selfe a little crossly to him, on purpose to be reveng’d on him for vexing me the last night with something he said to me concerning Melliantes. but what it was I perceived she was unwilling to tell me and therefore forbeare to press her further. But whether it were that I had caught any colld with walking, or what other cause to impute it too, I know not, but so it hapned that I was in a short while after ceas’d by an indisposition which not onely confin’d me to my Chamber, but my bed also for some time. I had not been ill above two dayes when Melliantes knowing nothing of it came to see me, and told me he came just then from Issodorus whom he had found in a condition resembling mine.

I think (pursu’d he) you sympathize with each other.

But too much concern’d was I to heare this unwellcome newes to make any reply to what he spake in rallery, onely demanded how long he had been ill, and what it was he ail’d.

He has not been well above this three or four dayes (answer’d Melliantes) though not so very ill as now he is till yesterday, but what his Distemper may be I{399} cannot informe you since it puzells his Phisician to determine of it, but conclude Mellancholly to be the chiefe cause from whence it proceeds.

Of all men living (said I) I should ne’re have judg’d Issodorus to be of that humour.

So one would have thought (repli’d he) but if he be tis certainly accidently, not natural to him[.]

I should have told your Majesty (pursu’d Arthenia) that Issodorus was now altogether at the Prince of Orestagns that he might be in a readiness to attend his departure for Sardina which was dayly expected, and therfore I thought it was not strang that I heard no sooner of his being ill since I believ’d they scarce knew it as yet at his Fathers. No sooner was my Brother gone, ere Bellamira came to see me, and finding me in that condition seem’d to take it unkindly that I did not let her know of it assuring me she would have been with me every day had she in the least mistrusted I had not been well. She then confirm’d what my Brother had told me concerning Issodorus saying Perisana was gone that afternoon to see him, and that if she found any appearance of danger in him she intended to have him remov’d home again to the end she might take a more perticuler care of him then she thought strangers would.

This I wish’d she might (pursu’d Arthenia) in regard I hop’d to heare oftener of him then I could expect to do in the place where he now was, for I confess I was much ^more^ concern’d for him then for my selfe; but [fol. 179 r ] ’twas not whilst I continu’d in Towne that he came back to his Fathers; for the Doctor having once declar’d that nothing but good Aire would recovery me, Melliantes would not suffer me to rest til he had got me out of Towne, and carried me to Eugenions; where long I had not been, ere I felt the good effects of the Country Aire very prevalent towards the recovery of my health; which assoon as I could perfectly regain I meant to go back to Therasmus’s again, for not one minutes quiet could I enjoy in such a manner did my feares torment me for Issodorus, seeing I had no way left to enforme my self of his condition without making too clear a discovery of that kindness I had for him: but ere I could execute this resolve, he sent Filoret (his Lacque) to me with a letter (both to inform me of his owne condition, and to enquire of mine) which as I remember contain’d these words.

I have rather chose Madam to hazard your displeasure by this presumption, then merit it by a longer silence since my present condition denies me both the honour, and happiness of waiting on you in person, which nothing save this strang Indisposition that makes me its absolute Prisoner could have laid such a restraint on me; but much more willingly could I submit to it, had not Fate been doubly cruell in not onely depriving me of my health but of your sight and conversation at a time when both are so exceeding necessary for the preservation of a life which I cannot value but for the interest you have in it, and by a way too, no less afflicting then the deprivation of what my soule most passionatly wishes: it is not possible for me to express the satisfaction it would be ^to^ me to receive from your Faire hand the assurance of your regaining that which I so much want, and then should I presume to beg you would by a speedy returne mittigate those pains which nothing renders so intollerable as your absence; but if otherwise, be assur’d madam assoon as ever I am in any capacity of stiring I’ll waite on you to tell you once more ere I dy that none can be more yours then


These lines inspir’d me at once both with joy and griefe, the first to see him not unmindfull of me at a time when the violence of those paines (as by Filoret I understood) he minutely endur’d might have excus’d him from any thing of this nature: and the later to find rather an increase then a Diminution of his Distemper. I nere consulted with ought save my passion whether or no I should answere his kindness in the like manner, and without delay taught my Pen to reply, but in what words I have now forgot, not counting them worthy to be retain’d still in mind; onely I remember I told him in my letter that if my returne might afford him any reliefe it should not long be deni’d him, for the morrows sun should not run halfe his course ere he might to expect to see me.

This Promise I was not more free to make, then puntuall in performing, for the next morning by 9 of the clock I was got to Therasmus’s but both he and Hestrina were gone from home, and were not to returne that weeke, whereupon I stay’d not there, but went instantly to Persides’s but being so early Perisana was not drest wherefore thinking it unfit to press into her chamber till she had notice of my being come to Towne, I took that oppertunity of paying my first visit to Bellamira who testifi’d much joy for my recovery and returne. I had scarce answer’d the expression of her kindness when Issodorus came in, but so alter’d as (que[s]tionless) had else I seen ^him^ else were [elsewhere] I should ^ne’re^ have believ’d ‘twas he, so pale and thin was [fol. 179 v ] his Face grown; his eyes dull hollow and languishing, yet (whether it were onely my opinion that flatteringly made me conceive so) me thought he no sooner saw me, but a more gay and spritly Aire diffus’d, and spread it selfe ore all his Face; however he gave me onely such a salutation as any other person of his acquaintance might have expected; but ’twas not long ere we enjoy[ed] an unrestrain’d converse; for Bellamira being call’d to come to Perisana left me alone with him who assoon as she was gone out came, and taking me by the hand, kissing and embracing it with all the ardency of a passionate love.

Though the early performance of your promise Dearest Arthenia (said he) has prevented my expectations, yet my impatient desires has made this morning seem to me as tedious as the longest day, and forced me often to travell to the window to see if my longing eyes could be rewarded with the sight of your approach as indeed they were, for I saw you enter Therasmus’s and when you pass’d over hither, which I was a joyfull spectatour of, though I should feare you would scarce believe me to be so, by reason of that cold reception I was confin’d to give before Bellamira but I know Madam (pursu’d he) you are to ingenious not to acknowledge that oft times our actions are necessitated to run counter to{400} our inclinations; but time is precious with me, and therefore I shall not wast it in imploring a pardon for that which I am perswaded your goodness does not charge on me as a fault; and imploy it more necessarily in beging you to consider whither you think I am not yet reduced to an estate that deserves your pitty.

I need not study to resolve you that (answer’d I) but must needs confess that the condition wherein, to the greife of my soule I do behold you, not onely merits, but has my pitty in the highest degree: for I should be no less unjust then you are unkind to question it, should I deny him my compassion who has so larg an interest in my love.

Tis rather reason (repli’d he) then unkindness that moves me to doubt it, for how can I believe you pitty me, since you will chuse to see me dy rather then afford me a reliefe; for what I have allready said I must again repeat that I neither can nor will live to leave Sicily if you will not condecend to be absolutely mine ere I go.

Wrong not the sinceritie of my affection Issodorus (said I) by these groundless fancies; Heaven knowes I would do anything to convince you of its reallytie that did not intrench upon my duty which I am resolutely determin’d to preserve inviolate to my death; but if my prayers may have any influence on you, I do not onely intreat, but conjure you by all the love you have protested for me, not to cast a way a life far dearer to me then my owne meerly out of a willfull humour, since what you now require may better be much better obtain’d at your return.

I do confess it Madam (cry’d he) but how can I be certain you will be then in a capacity of being mine.

Endeavour a recovery I beseech you (said I) and if it be possible I’ll find out some way to give you that assurance without prejudicing my duty.

Bellamira having in this time made known my being there to Perisana she contented not her selfe to send for me in, but came and fetch’d me into her Chamber causing me to set by her all the while. She was a dressing and knowing Hestrina to be absent, she not onely invited [me] to dine with her that day, but also injoyn’d me to eate with her every day till she came home. This extraordinary civility merited a proportinate returne of thanks, which I gave in the most gratfull and respective language I could invent; for though with a seeming unwillingness I at first declin’d it lest I might be troublesome, which she having assur’d me to the contrary, with an inward joy I accepted it as most agreeable to the desire I had of being neer Issodorus, and enjoying his company as much as [fol. 180 r ] possible which I had the satisfaction to do whole dayes together; yet was this content mix’d with an equall trouble to see him (as I dayly did) to strugle with so strang a Distemper as neither before, nor since did I ever see, or heare of any one to be in the like manner: he was indeed for the most part all the mornings indifferent well, but in the Afternoons especially towards the evenings so ill as he was constrain’d to go either into his Bed, or Lye downe on it. Upon the first approach of his Fits he would in an instant grow so excessive cold as if the Icie hand of Death had spread it selfe o’re all his body, his very hands, and Nailes{402} seem’d absolutely dead, his Face cover’d over with a mortall paleness, and all the Joynts and Limbs of his Body torne as on a Rack by most violent, and tormenting paines; and many times would he lye for the space of an houre, or more streach’d out seeming quite depriv’d of life, or motion; and when he came began to come to himselfe again, the first symtomes of life he gave, were such deep fetch’d sighs as one might have apprehended that each of them would have rent his heart in sunder.

I confess (pursu’d Arthenia) I never saw him in the height, and extreamity of his Fits, for soon after midnight was the time th[e]y excercis’d their greatest severity on him, and so continu’d till neer break of day, at which time they would of a sudden abate, and become more moderate. But though I saw him not in this deplorable condition ’twas terrible enough to me (me thought) to heare the relation of it; and often (though in vain) did I wish it had been possible for me to be a constant attendant on him invisible to all eyes but his; that by my solicitude and care about him I might have given him an unquestionabl[e] testimony of my sincere affection; but that being impossible I was fain to rest contented onely to afford him my company at such times as decency would allow. Assoon as his Distemper summon’d him to his chamber Perisana would still injoyne Bellamira and I to go with him to try if we could by any meanes divert him; for he was allwayes at those times most desperatly mellancholly.

Your Majesty may believe I was not backward to performe what agreed so well with my wishes; but Bellamira (as I oft observ’d) after we had set awhile together by him would still pretend some occation or other to call her away, so as she would leave us alone for some considerable time; but these pretences which call’d her thence I many times perceiv’d to be so triviall as I knew not well what to impute them too; yet at last I concluded she had an absolute knowledge, or strong opinion suspition of our loves, which mov’d her to withdraw to the end she might oblige us in leaving us at liberty to entertain each other with the greater freedome in her absence: nor was it onely now, but oftentimes before that she had given me cause to fancy her a furtherer of Issodorus’s addresses to me. But not long after I had some reason to change my opinion and to conclude it to be rather some litle sentiments of Jealousie mix’d with a kind of high Generosity that prompted her to what she did.

One night Issodorus having had a more terrible Fit then usuall, so bad indeed as had put the wholle Family into teares with a beliefe that ’twas impossible his death could be far distant, I came in just as his Mother and Bellamira (both of them having set up with him all night) were newly laid downe to sleep, and being told (upon my inquirie) how more then ordinary ill he had been, I step’d into his chamber to aske how he did where I found onely Filoret waiting on him; but no sooner did Issodorus see me but commanding Filoret away he beg’d me to come and sit downe by him (which at his request I did) and fixing [fol. 180 v ] a languishing eye on me, Ah dearest Arthenia (cry ‘d he) tis now that I am more unhappie then ever, for I am now uncapable not onely of requiring what I have hitherto so passionately desir’d of you (I meane your consent to marry me ere I leave Sicily) but likewise of accepting that favour should you so far gratifie my passion as to condescend to it; for Persides (for what reason I know not, unless he has heard of, or is become suspitious of my designe to make my selfe yours) has not been content alone to enjoyne, and strictly charge me on my duty and Obedience to him but also on pain of his mortall displeasure, and irreconsilable hatered never to marry any more whilst he lives without his consent which tis as impossible for me to obtain should I indeavour it, as tis for me to live without the hopes of being yours at last. To importune you (continu’d he) to stay for me till Death has put a period to my cruell Fathers dayes (and thereby freed me from this engagement) would be so highly injurious to your better Fortunes that it would be both unjust and unreasonable in me to make you any such request; yet if you do not promise make me such a promise I must dye, as it is fit I should rather then live to prejudice what I so dearly love.

These words did he pronounce with such a sad, and mournfull accent as the pitty they infus’d into my Soule forced the teares to fall from my eyes: but concealing them as well as I could I said to him. If it be so Issodorus (as you suppose) that your Father has any knowledge of your passion, his so apparently disapproving it as his absolute prohibiting [blot] your marriage does import; should induce you to relinquish it; which if you ^do^ upon the score of Obedience to his will, believe me I will never quarell with you, nor complain of you nor yet of any other but of my owne hard Fate which rendred me unworthy to be yours in the opinion of those who cannot but wish you well.

I would be no less oblig’d to your Justice, then your good nature Madam (cry’d he) in not complaining of me, which I can never be, should I be guilty of such baseness as to abandon you for wealth as I but too well know it is my Fathers aime I should; but when I do let all felicitie forsake me, and eternall horrour ceaze my soule: yes Faire Arthenia (pursu’d he) I will obey Persides but it shall be in such a way as it shall make no breach in my fidelity; for though this injunction utterly debarres me from marrying you for some time, yet will I love you and you alone till the last minute of my life; nor shall all the power he has over me, compell me to violate the least title of this resolve.

I believe he had gone longer at this rate had he not been interrupted by one of the servants coming in, to bring me a letter, which opening I found to come from Brecena; and having purus’d it I saw my selfe reduced to a necessity of leaving Palermo (and consequently Issodorus) the very next week, for so had my Mother in it injoyn’d me: this command troubled me not a litle, in regard I was not able to think of quiting Issodorus (as long as he continu’d so extreamly ill as at present he was) without resenting [feeling] a most unspeakable griefe. The disturbance that this letter gave me, was too legible not to be read in my countenance, which mov’d Issodorus to say as I was about to fould it up. If you would not count me too inquisitive Madam, I would beg to know what that Paper containes that can be capable of making producing such disorder in your lookes as I perceive it has.{404}

You may see it if you will please (answer’d I giving it to him) and thereby satisfie your selfe, for ther’s no secrets in it I’ll assure you; or if there were, I should not make them so to you.

He having read [fol. 181 r ] it, return’d it to me again with a sigh, sure Fate (said he) does conspire by all imaginable wayes to render me miserable: is it not enough for Persides to conspire against my happiness, but that Brecena must joyne her commands to make me more unfortunate, and can it not suffice cruell Fate to hinder me from injoying your person, but must I be depriv’d both of your sight and presence too. But are you determin’d (pursu’d he after a little pause) to obey this severe command, and leave me in this sad condition.

No Issodorus (answer’d I) I am absolutely resolv’d the contrary, for rather then go and leave you thus, I’ll frame a thousand excuses to detaine me; but you must promise me then to endeavour your recovery, assoon as possible that I may not by too long a stay discover the fallacie of my pretences; yet I confess I would not stay to see the day of your arrive departure arrive since it would be a much greater satisfaction to go first and leave you here then stay to see you go before me; for if I leave you in Palermo I may (perhaps) a little delude that greife your absence will cost me by fancying you still are here, when I do not see the contrary; but try if you can sleep, and I’ll go answer Brecenas letter.

With that I ris up, and as I went out of the Chamber I met one of Perisanas Maids who at my request furnish’d me with Pen and paper; and going in to the Dining Roome I there wrote my letter, by which I obtain’d permission to stay the space of 6 weeks longer, for then Melliantes was to go downe into the Country as I writ my mother word, beging her with the greatest importunity imaginable she would be pleas’d to permit me to stay till then (and come home along with him) by reason (I said) I had a very great curiosity to have a sight of the new Queen whose arrivall was dayly expected; for Claromenes had by proxie been not long before affianced to the Princess Celestina Daughter to the King Numidia. For about Fourteen dayes after this, did Issodorus continue very ill, though not so extreame bad as he was that precedent night; but then, upon the advice of divers of his Friends having chang’d his Phisition, he found a speedy, and present remedy though not a perfect cure; for often afterwards upon any high discontent he relaps’d into the like distemper.

But as I was telling your Majesty (continu’d Arthenia) I had some apprehension that Bellamira was my Rivall, so I must now tell you now Madam what gave me the occation to suspect it, which was this. As I was seting by her one morning as she was dressing her selfe (after Issodorus began to recover) I have had a quarell to you Arthenia said she ever since you went out of Towne, but did not think to tell you of it till now, and I am resolv’d not to forgive you unless you sue out your pardon in a letter to me; which if you do, I shall easily be induced to grant it.

First let me understand my fault (repli’d I) for as yet I’ll assure you I am wholly ignorant of any thing that I have done that could be capable of displeasing you.{405}

Think you not I had reason (answer’d she) to take it ill that you could be so unkind as not to bid me adue when you went out of Towne, nor send me word of your departure that I might have come and taken my leave of you.

You would have reason deare Bellamira (repli’d I) to chide my incivility had I been willfully guilty of it: but Melliantes was more to blame then I, for hurrying me away on such a sudden as I had not time [to] render those respects to any I ow’d them too: but however since you charge this omission on me as a fault, give me but Pen and Paper and I’ll instantly beg your pardon for it; with that she reach’d me them, and I assoon dispos’d my self to execute what she had injoyn’d [fol. 181 v ] me in these words.

The least Crime committed against so transcendent a Goodness as yours Divinest Bellamira merits the severest punishment, but since I know your clemency equalls your other vertues, I cannot doubt but that your mercy will extend it selfe so far as to forgive an accidentall, not design’d offence; in confidence whereof I presume not onely to implore your pardon but an absolute abandoning all misapprehensions of the innocent.


Just as I had concluded she snatch’d away the Paper saying tis enough Arthenia I would not have you turn that into really which I onely design’d for rallery.

I was afraid you were angry had been angry with me in earnest (said I).

Indeed I could find in my heart to be so (repli’d she) for conceiving such a thought of me who love you at that rate as never to admit the least displeasure against you, though you should be guilty of that towards me which any other would account the highest injurie.

That I ne’re will be (cry’d I) you may be assur’d.

Not willingly I do believe (said she).

Then runing over with her eye what I had writ, sighing she foulded it up and put it in her Pocket; and kissing me, let that assure you (said she) that your pardons granted.

Assoon as she was dress’d we went downe together into the Dining Roome and finding no body there, we took each of us a chaire placeing our selves at a Window that look’d into the street. For my part my thoughts at that instant were taken up with none but triviall things such as the several obiects I saw, presented to me; but as for Bellamira I believe hers were more seriously employ’d: for a good while she sate silent, but of a sudden rousing her selfe from that Mellancholy dump which had ceaz’d her, she fell asinging a piece of a song which I had oft heard sung before though not by her: the words as I remember these.

T’was not his Person nor his Parts
Though ne’re so faire that wone me
He swore he lov’d and I believ’d
And that Faith hath undone me.{406}

But never let it undoe you Arthenia (cry’d she claping me on the hand where by she made me start)

[W]hat would [you] have me not undone by (said I).

Not by believing what that impious creature call’d man protest[s] and sweares (answer’d she) since there is not any thing that they speak though confirm’d with the most fearefull imprecations that can be uttered that they will stick to violate for the satisfaction of their weathercock Inconstancy. For my part (went she on) I am grown so great an Infidell within these few dayes in matters of love, that should I heare my owne Brother courting a woman I should be so far from crediting what he said, as I would rather swear he went about to abuse and disceive her.

There are but too many in the world (replied I) I confess that make it their business or at least their recreation to delude our too crudulous sex.

Too many (interrupted she) say rather that the world earth beares none but such, for such a thing as truth their tongues tongues are wholly unacquainted with. But were I doubtfull whether the Gods had prepar’d rewards for vertue, or punishments for vice in the other world: it were sufficent to convince me of it, to see such perjur’d soules go on prosperously in their wickedness as oft they do: but [fol. 182 r ] there is a secret Judgment certainly reserv’d for them hereafter, or else questionless Heaven would immediatly dart downe its loudest Thunderbolts upon their guilty heads.

What moves you to this passion Deare Bellamira (said I) so contrary to your naturall temper.

That which would raise your anger possibly to as great a height (answer’d she) did you but know what I could tell you; but tis not for me to undeceive you, since the errour you are in is (I am perswaded) so sweetly pleasing to you, that I am shure you had much rather continue in it your whole life time, then be convinc’d of your mistake.

If you know me to be in an errour (said I) you ought not (if you are my Friend) to suffer me to percevere in it.

I must confess I ought not (repli’d she) neither would I, did I not believe a litle time will help to unceale your eyes which are at present blinded with counterfeit shewes of verity and besides I cannot do it but by such a way as will give you occation to believe selfe enterest rather then Friendship mov’d me to it. But mind not what I say (pursu’d she) think onely that I rave, and talk I know not what; for as People in distraction fancy all others like themselves so perhaps may I and because I have been deceiv’d, imagine you are so. Your charmes may prove so powerfull perchance as to teach Constancy to the most unconstant person in the world, and confine that heart (which knows no other limmits then these of fancy) within the bounds of Fidelity.

More I believe she would have said, and thereby possibly have made a clearer discovery of her meaning had not Issodorus’s coming prevented her, for she no sooner saw him but she fell a talking of something far distant from her late discourse:{407} But if what she had said gave me a rise to suspect her my Rivall, or rather my selfe to be hers, her deportment to Issodorus all the rest of that day would no longer let me doubt it; for not one word would she speak to him, or once so much as look on him unless with anger in her eyes.

To represent the trouble this apprehension gave me is more then I am able. I was impatient to be gone home where I might have the liberty without any disturbance to reflect on what had pass’d; but not withstanding all my excuses ’twas evening ere I could get away: so soon as I came home I went to bed, but it was rather to have my thoughts free and uninterrupted then for any rest I expected there to find, for not one wink of sleep that night ere clos’d my eyes; but with many a bitter Teare, and Heart rending sigh did I deplore my strange unhappy Fate, to see that Fortune should be so maliciously injurious as to make me Rivall to my best beloved Friend; and One who could tryumph over me by all manner of advantages, as well by the merit of her person as by the enterest she had with Issodorus’s Relations to whom I knew she was deservedly deare. Fain would I have concluded my selfe mistaken, and believ’d I had not rightly understood her meaning, and that what she had spoken had refference to some other not Issodorus, for (thought I) how can it be that she can have a perticuler kindness for him herselfe, and yet, not onely propose Victorina or Electra[5] for a wiffe for him, but also perswade him seriously to make his Addresses either to the one or other of them upon that score: but knowing her to be generous beyound examplle I then fancied the high effects of that might transport her to that noble pitch of gallantry as to prefer his advantage before her owne satisfaction; which if so, she appear’d (in my opinion) the more worthy to possess what her merits gave her so just a title too.

But all the reasons, and Argument I could rally to relieve me from this misadventure, were insufficent, since I had more to convince me ’twas fallen to my lott: for divers things came then into my mind, which before I had not regarded, as namely Issodorus’s perticuler injunction to me not to discover to Bellamira his [fol. 182 v ] Passion for me, lest (as he pretended) she might enforme Perisana of it. As also Herminios saying (as he did when he was talking to me at his lodging) that he was observ’d by interested eyes. As likewise that of Bellamiras wishing (when Issodorus and Mellian Melliantes met us walking together in the Garden) that my kindness might not prove my prejudice. These, and sundry other passages on which till then I had not bestow’d the least reflection, but too fully now confirm’d my feares; which if true (as I saw small reason to doubt) I found my selfe reduced to the miserable necessity of injuring a person I lov’d equall with my selfe, or of hating another no less deare to me: as well worthy of my hatered will he be (thought I) if he once stands convicted of that Cryme whereof Bellamira seemes to intimate him guilty.{407}

For admit (said I to my selfe) he can commit so great a perfidie as to abandon her, though with an intention to be more just to me (as that is the best I can hope) yet sure I cannot be so ignoble as to accept him on such dishonourable termes; or yet, suppose I could, what assurance can I have from One who has broke his Faith with so Excellent and Incomparable a person as the divine Bellamira. No Dearest Friend (pursu’d I) my chaines will certainly prove too weak to retaine that captive whom thine far stronger could not hold. I now rememberd too, what Balario (an intimate Friend of Issodorus’s) not long before had said to me: for as he was talking to me one day this Gentleman being by, but he upon some occation or other (what I cannot absolutely say possitively say) going out of the Roome, Balario came and assuming his place with a smille he said to me.

Give me leave Madam too advize you not to repose too much confidence in this Issodorus lest he deceive your expectations, for I must tell you madam I feare he is become so great a Bankrupt in the trade of love, as he has already taken up so much on trust as he will ne’re be able to pay the use, much less the Principall, but must be forced ere long to break with all his Creditors. O would to Heaven (pursu’d he with a sigh) I were but as much your Debtor as he is, and I would assuredly never faile to repay what ere you lent me with a trebled interest.

Issodorus may soon pay me all he owes (repli’d I) but if he could not, I should questionless forgive him.

You are very charitable madam (answer’d he) but I am perswaded he will scarce meet with another so kind amongst those he deales with.

I had not time to reply by reason Issodorus came in again, which Balario seeing rose to resigne his Place, ^that^ he had taken up in his absence and in rising up said softly to me,

[T]is fit, the unhappie give place to the more fortunate.

I had hitherto believ’d Balario so highly Issodorus’s Friend as I could not but admire he should speak so ill of him; yet I must needs say this was not the first time he had given me some litle suspition that he was become his Rivall, which what he last said so absolutely confirm’d as I no longer doubted it; and therefore concluded it to be meerly selfe interest that had induced him to say what he did on purpose to ruine him in my opinion; which mov’d me not onely to regard him as an envious Detractor but to slight the caution [he] gave me he had given me; which doubtless from any person I had thought unconcern’d I should with thankfullness have receiv’d and made a much better use of it then I did.

I had certainly acquainted Issodorus with it, had I not fear’d it might beget a mortall quarell, which twas probable might prove fatall to one, or both of them, for which reason I chose rather to silence the injurie I believ’d Balario had done him, and to expect his justification from the hand of Time then give him the oppertunity of vindicating himselfe by so dangerious a way as I but too well knew his courage would prompt him to take: [fol. 183 r ] being (as he was) the most impatient person in the world of any affront. This though questionless spoken by Balario with a designe to work Issodorus out of favour with me, to the end he{409} might the easier introduce himselfe into my esteeme; yet since Bellamira joyn’d with him in declaming against his Inconstancy, I could not upon second, and more serious thoughts but believe Balaroi Balario would ne’er have ventur’d so openly to accuse a person of a crime unless he certainly knew him to be guilty of it in some measure, especially to me, from whom he might rationally apprehend a discovery of what he had aver’d.

Yet not withstanding all this, I would fain have justifi’d Issodorus in my thoughts, but could not, yet would I not absolutely condemne him, but resolv’d first ere I pass’d sentence on him, to heare him speak in his owne deffence; which I esteem’d but just to allow him that favour since the greatest Crimenall that were; had still that priviledge granted them. In fine, ^I pass’d^ that whole night in such afflicting disquiets, as till then I had never resented [felt]; and no sooner did the day appeare then I arose with impatient longings for a convenient oppertunity to disburthen my Heart of that which lay so heavy on it, to the Auther of my disquiet; for not one minutes rest could I enjoy till I knew what I ought to determine of him: but when I went over to Persides’s in hopes to speak with him, I understood he lay that night at the Prince of Oristagnes, and that his returne home would was uncertain which when I had heard [which when I had heard: repeated in the manuscript], I stay’d not long, onely step’d up to Bellamira and told her I had some thoughts of going back to Eugenia that day (as indeed I had) and an intent no more to returne, (in case he should not give me good satisfaction upon the charge I should bring against him) and lest you should challenge me of unkindness a second time (said I) I am come to take my leave of you ere I go.

This is a sudden a motion (repli’d she) sure you did not think of going yesterday.

Indeed I did not (answer’d I) but there is something hapned since that I suppose will oblige me to it, for I am not as yet certain whether I shall go or no, but if you see me not tomorrow conclude me gone.

But when may I hope to be so happie to see you here again (said she)

In earnest (answer’d I) I cannot tell whether I shall come back ^again^ to make any stay; but however I will be sure to waite on you to take my finall adue ere I leave Palermo for altogether.

So leaving my service with her to present to Perisana I went home again wholly unresolv’d what course to take, nor had I any to advize me, but was fain to be guided onely ^by^ the dictates of divers disorder’d passions, which being contrary to each other, made me incline to the pursute of as many severall Pathes no less different the one from the other. Assoon as we had Din’d I writ a Note to Issodorus, wherein I desir’d him to meet me in the Garden of Adonis which was but a litle distance from the Prince of Orestagnes meaning to leave it with the Porter as I went by, but when I cam to enquire of him for Issodorus, he told me he was gon forth about an houre before, and had left word he should not be within till Night: so as I had no hopes of seeing him that day, which did not a litle heighten my impatience.{409}

I stay’d not to make any new resolve, but returning to Hestrinas I demanded of her if she had any service to command me to Eugenia for thither I told her I intended presently to go; (she no less admiring at my so sudden a resolve then Bellamira did not long before) would fain have perswaded me to stay till the next day adding that it was so far [fol. 183 v ] spent as it must infallibly ^be^ night ere I could get thither: but I was too much bent on what I had determin’d to be perswaded to stay a minute longer, instantly took my leave of her, adding that if I found the night approach I would stay at my Brothers till the next morning (which I intended to do not withstanding). He was gone abroad when I came thither, but soon after me he came in, and remarking an extraordinary sadness in my lookes, he with no less concerne enquir’d the cause; which I confess I was unwilling to tell him the truth lest I might ruine Issodorus, in his good opinion, which I was loath to do, till I was sure he deserv’d to be deserted mine, and therefore fram’d the occation of my discontent to be this: that Issodorus had so pressingly importun’d me to marry him, as I must either condesend to his desire, or resolve to break off with him.

This hard choice (pursu’d I) to which I am inclin’d confin’d is that which reduces me to so great a trouble as I am not able to express: for to think of parting with him forever is that I cannot with Patience undergoe, and to keep him on such termes as my Duty disallows I can with no less unwillingness yeeld too.

I know not Sister (said Melliantes) what construction you may give this Proposall of his, but for my part I can think no otherwise of it, then that he has a desire to quit you, and therefore propounds what he believes you will not grant, on purpose that he may find a pretext to do it fairly.

I am but too much of your opinion for my owne quiet (repli’d I) but however I’ll make him one Overture more, which I am sure cannot but satisfie him unless it be so that he intends to abandon me; which I shall guess by his accepting or rejecting it; which if he does the latter I am fully resolv’d then never to see his Face again.

Just as I had past the precedent night, even so did I that, in restless, and disquiet thoughts, for sleeps powerfull Charmes could not make me so much as one moment to lay aside my inquietudes, but with unclos’d eyes did I behold the dayes approach. The first thing I fix’d on, was to send for Issodorus thither to me that afternoon; which I did, writing two or three lines to him to that intent, wherein I so earnestly conjur’d him to let me see him, as I thought if he had onely common civility for me he would not refuse to gratifie so easie, and reasonable a request. This Note being dispatch’d away to him fail’d not to produce the desired effect; but coming to his hand ere he was out of his Bed, he onely sent word he would bring me an answere himselfe at the time appointed; as indeed he did,for instantly after Dinner he came; but so indispos’d was I with watching, and the trouble of my mind as I was forced to keep my Chamber all that day, and was laid upon the Bed when Melliantes brought him in. Very much concern’d did he seeme to find me so ill, and demanding the occation of my Distemper, I onely{411} answer’d that I knew not well what to impute it too. But as I speak spake that, a deep sigh forced its passage from my Brest to his Eares, which he taking notis of (after my Brother was gone out)

That sigh madam which you endeavou[r]’d even now to smother (said he) induces me to believe your illness to be rather an indisposition of your Mind then Body.

You judge not much amiss Issodorus (repli’d I) but would you could as readily devine the occation, you might then exempt me from the trouble it will be to me to tell you it you; and yet I must, since tis onely your selfe that can cleare my doubts; which to do, I’ll onely aske you one qu[e]stion, and I beseech you be so ingenuous as to deal sincerely with me; and if my intreaties be not sufficent, I do conjure you by all you that you esteeme, or hold most deare to tell me true.

Good gods (cry’d he) what can it be that you can demand of me that I will denie to tell you.

You may perhaps (said I) returne me such an answere as you I suppose will afford me the best [fol. 184 r ] satisfaction, though perchance far distant from the truth, but though you leave me never so much dissatisfi’d by it yet I beg you would deall Faithfully with me and confess to me the reall truth without any the least disguise or falacy.

By Heaven I will (repli’d he).

Then I must tell you (said I) I am either the most mistaken person that ever was, or you are falce; falce Issodorus to me or Bellamira but to which of us is that which I would be resolv’d of; for I am but too well assur’d you have either made your feighned Addresses to me whilst you paid her your reall ones, or else declin’d her to fix your love on me, which at that rate I will never accept: for to injure my Friend innocently thorough ignorance is what may easily be forgiven; but knowingly, nay but suspectedly to intrench upon her right, and make my selfe an Accomplice in the wrong you offer her, is that which I can nere expect, or hope a Pardon for, nor so much as pardon to my selfe should I be guilty of it. Tell me then what I ought to conclude you whether an unconstant or a Treacherous person, for I feare tis but too sure you are either the one, or the other.

I hope Time will convince you if I cannot (repli’d he) that I am neither, though you are so unkind to judge so hardly of me. I know not what Bellamira may have told you concerning me, but this I dare aver, ’twas her owne interest rather then her Friendship for you that mov’d her to it: for this I must confess, I do believe she honours me with more kindness then I desire or deserve from her as of late I have had some reason to conceive.

Peace Issodorus (interrupted I) unless you will force me to harbour a worse opinion of you then ever yet I gave admittance too, by your so unworthily dect detracting from Bellamiras discretion, which I am very confident she can never so far forfeit as to be guilty of that folly which you charge her with: no, no she is none of those Amorous Ones that fall in love they know not why with those that ne’re su’d for the favour of their affections. But sure you have forgot{412} (yet though you have, believe it I have not) what you said to me concerning her insensibility which (as I might sooner have consider’d) you could not so peremtorily have affirm’d, had you not experienced it.

Since (said he after a short silence as it were to think him what to say) it is so necessary for my vindication, I will with all imaginable candour and sincerity make you an ingenuous confession, that some yeares since Bellamiras charmes inspir’d me with some impression of a reall passion for her; but with such a percevering disdain, and rigorous coldness did she reject the proffers of my love as quite extinguish’d, and put out my Flame, long before I saw, or knew there was such a person in the being as Arthenia. [N]ay further I will yet declare, that had she given me any incouragment to serve her, I had continu’d as faithfully hers, as I now am your[s]: but so cruelly, so severely did she treat me as I endeavourd not unsuccessfully to quit my Chains; and if I have again assum’d them, for One whom I have found more favourable, she has certainly small reason to challenge me of Infidelity, or inconstancy: for if I vow’d for ever to be hers, ’twas in hopes to make her mine, but when those hopes were utterly frustrate, and turn’d into Dispaire, it would have been an Argument of my folly rather then my stability to have percever’d in proffering that which she as often deu declar’d she ^never^ would not accept.[6] I know not then, nor can I guess what now should move her to clame a right in me, (as I am apt to think she does has) or to confer on me a kindness which I no longer wish, unless the Jealousie she has conceiv’d of you (of which I confess she has given me severall intimations) incite her to it, [fol. 184 v ] envying to see that Heart anothers which (perhaps) she could have been content should still have worn her Fetters, and laine prostrate at her Feet the Trophy of her scorn; but Issodorus Heart (I must needs say) was too proud long to brook such an uncivell usuage; which Arthenias more gentle treatment has absolutely redeem’d it from.

I cannot but repent that kindness I have shewn you (said I) since it occations Bellamiras trouble who it may be now repents her severity and is (perhaps resolv’d to be more kind); reassume then your former passion, and divest your selfe of that which you have own’d for me; and if one of us must be a sufferer, tis just it should be the worthless Arthenia not the most deserving Bellamira to whom I ought to yeeld precedency in all things, and whose Friend I am so much am as to refuse all interest in what she has any the least title too, and let me tell you Issodorus (pursu’d I) twill be more generous as well as just in you to leave me now, then further to engage my affections and then abandon me.

For whom I beseech you Madam (cry’d he) do you imagine I should desert you.{413}

For Bellamira (answer’d I) whose invinceable charmes having already captiv’d you may prove again so powerfull as all the strength which you can make will not be able to resist them.

I am not ignorant of their power (repli’d he) but yet as potent as they are, arm’d with that firme and unalterable resolve I have made of being yours, I dare withstand their united force, and never feare to be orecome. from my fidelity to you. Do not give way then I beseech you madam to any such thought that I can be withdrawn by Bellamira or any other what whosoever from my fidelity to you. No Dearest Arthenia when once you find me falce spit in my Face, and brand me with the most hatefull and ignominious terme of villiane; nor need you fancy your esteeme for me, to be in the least to Bellamira injurious to Bellamira, since I’ll assure you, had you nere dain’d to accept, or gratifie my Passion, nay should you from this minute renounce me, and deprive me of all hopes of being yours, she would reap no satisfaction by it; for so far is my Heart disingag’d from the resentments [sentiments] it had once for her, as I can ne’re be hers whose ere I am.

If that (said I) which you have now attested may justifie you in point of Fidelity, yet does it not cleare you from the guilt of inconstancy; for you have lov’d Artelinda, you have lov’d Bellamira and now love me, at least pretend so.

I do confess it Madam (repli’d he) but had the one liv’d, the other lov’d, I had doubtless not been liable to that change which you charge on me as a fault, but may more fittly be counted my misfortune; though I cannot call it by that name seeing I have by it acquir’d an enterest in your affection more deare to me then any thing under Heaven. But if you yet question my constancy, methinks a seven yeares tryall which my Artelinda had of it ere I married her, should be a sufficent demonstration of it; for if I continu’d my Passion so long for her; why should you not believe my constancy as immovable now as then.

Because perhaps (answer’d I) you lov’d Artelinda better then Arthenia.

No I’ll assure you Madam did I not (repli’d he) though Artelinda was the first that ever taught me the power of love; yet if there be a difference in my kindness tis on your side who have the advantage of her in my being ^more^ sensible of my passion for you then ere I was for her when it had attain’d its greatest ardency: but if you will have a firmer security for my perceverance it must be founded on the duration of your [fol. 185 r ] owne affection for as long as that endures, must mine must remain unalterable: for ’twas no less on the assurance of Artelind[a]s love, then on my engagement to her that I founded my fidelity, for as I will acknowledge to you (being sensible as I was that in marrying her I weded my owne ruine) I have oft left the country, coming hither to Palermo with no other intention or designe, then by the various diversions that this Place affords to try if I could withdraw and wean my heart from affecting her; yet when I had done all I could, there was a certain litle thing within me call’d conscience which so strongly took her part as it would not suffer me to act so base, and treacherous part, as to abandon one whose innocent affections I knew I had the intire possession of; nor will it be less your Friend (I dare answere) then it was hers, should I{414} with an unpardonable just injustice go about to rob you of that which by so many reitterated vowes I have made absolutely yours. But I heare your Brother comeing and therefore cannot adde much more for the confirmation of that which I have to you so oft repeated, which if I ever violate, or prove faithless or unjust to you, may this hand (continu’d he streaching forth his right Hand) rot from my Body, and may I never enter that Place of blliss bliss and happiness where vertuous soules shall dwell in endless Joyes.

Say no more Issodorus (said I claping my hand on his Mouth) I had rather rely on your integrity then heare you bind your selfe by such direfull imprecations to Fidelity.

With that came in Melliantes again, and by his presence silenced our present discourse; but if what Issodorus had said left me not perfectly satisfi’d, yet did it remove much of that trouble which sate so heavie on my heart. But O the weakness of a soule once vanquish’d by the power of love (pursu’d Arthenia) and how easily alass are we perswaded to credit any thing from those we love that carries with it but a specious shew though never so far distant from verity; and how willingly do we close our passion blinded eyes; and stop our Eares to althings save those which help to conserve our errour: for me thought all that Issodorus had spoken in his justification appear’d to me in such an innocent, and undisguised dress as I could no longer apprehend him guilty; nor could I see any reason why Bellamira should charge him with infidelity (if it were so as he affirm’d) that she had utterly refus’d his affection, nor could I conceive why she should be disturb’d to see another accept what she herselfe with scorn rejected.

All that I could conclude then was that she had a secret passion for him, and had yeelded up her heart to his invinsible armes, though she was loath to owne herselfe vanquish’d by him, and no less unwilling to be abandon’d which mov’d her to endeavour to create in me so ill an opinion of him as might incite me to cast him off; which if I did, she thought (perhaps) she might retrieve him by her charmes. But O how injurious were these erronious conjectures of mine to the Divinest Bellamira whose Unmeritable Friendship sought rather to preserve me from a precipice, whereinto her prudent, and more discerning Judgment perceiu’d me falling: yet however so well satisfied was I (though I seem’d the contrary to Issodorus for when he parted from me I left him doubtfull what Place he held in my opinion) as by the rest I took the insuing night I so well [fol. 185 v ] repair’d my health which the disquiets of the two precedent ones had prejudiced as I was able to go the next day to Eugenias where I had not been but a few dayes, when as she and I were talking together at her chamber window we saw a chariot stop at the gate, and out of it allight two Gentlemen and a Lady whom I had no sooner cast my eye on ere I knew them to be Issodorus, Bellamira and her Brother the generous Riallo; and having told Eugenia who they were, I went immediatly downe to meet them with abundance of joy; nor knew I whether was the more wellcome Issodorus or Bellamira for Friendship had render’d the one no less deare to me then affection had the other. But if in the private recesses of my heart he{415} had the precedency, yet Decency oblig’d me to give Bellamira the greater publick demonstrations of my gladness to see her; and renewing my thankes in a more perticuler manner to every one severally for the favour of this visit, but I am doubly oblig’d to you Issodorus (said I to him) in not onely coming your selfe to see me, but for bringing Bellamira with you.

Nay I’ll assure you (cry’d she) ’twas I brought him, not he me; and therefore you need owne no obligation to him, for I was fain to use all that little Rethorick I am mistress of to court him to come with me: not that I could not have come alone with my Brother without him, but that I thought his company might render might mine the more acceptable.

You infinitly detract from that high Friendship I have for you dear Bellamira (repli’d I) if you conceive the presence of any other necessary to enduce me to set a higher value on yours.

Is this the requitall Cousin, you give me (interupted Issodorus) for dispencing with my more then ordinary occations to waite on you to complain of me to Arthenia: but I am ^in hopes^ she is ^perswaded^ so charitabl[y] as to believe I had some perticuler reason that would have made me decline paying her that at this time that respect which she merits from all that have the honour to know her.

Dont think to excuse your selfe with a complement (said I smilling) but since you came with so ill a will to see me, to be reveng’d I’ll not so much as tell you that you are wellcome.

Tis no matter Madam (he repli’d) whether you tell me so, if you will but permit me to think so.

With that came downe Eugenia to us, and chang’d our perticuler conversation to a more generall one. But whether it were that I were really more reserv’d in my behaviour that day then usually I was at other times, or that he onely fancied so I cannot say; but when he took his leave to go away, as Eugenia was complementing Riallo and his faire sister he took the oppertunity to say to me: I hope madam you are more just then to reflect on any thing that Bellamira said to my prejudice, so far as to believe I would not joyfully ^embrace^ all opportunities of waiting on you, which if I would have denied my selfe that satisfaction, ’twas meerly upon the account of that which lately hapned lest you should apprehend what I did, to be rather out of complacence to Bellamira then in kindness to Arthenia.

No Issodorus said I, I am none of those who are apt to consture things in the worst sence: but to let this pass, I will onley tell you, there is somewhat come into my mind since last I saw you which you formerly said to me (which I thought not on then) so apparently false, as I have reason to believe whatever else you have aver’d to be no less untrue.

What may that be Good Madam I beseech you (demanded he).{416}

Meet me to morrow at Melliantes’s (answer’d I) and then you shall know, but now I have not leasure to informe you; which having faithfully promis’d to do, he took his leave of me till then.

Much did Bellamira perswade me to go back with them that she might (as she said) have the satisfaction to enjoy my company that litle time I had more to stay in those parts: but I beg’d her to excuse me that I [fol. 186 r ] could not gratifie her request having already engag’d my promise to Eugenia to continue with her till my returne to my Fathers.

But I hope I shall have the happiness to see you ere you go said she: which assuring her she should, they went away.

The next day when I came to my Brothers I found Issodorus there, but Melliantes gone abroad, not knowing any thing of our intention to meet there.

You see Madam (said he after his first salutations) how punctuall an observer of your commands I am, but the truth is I could not rest in ^any^ quiet till I knew what new charge this is which you have drawn up against me.

You may remember Issodorus (answer’d I) you once told me, that after Artelinda died, you never entertain’d a thought of love for any one till you saw me, and yet acknowledged to me the other day that Bellamira preceded me in your affection; and finding by that confession, your first affirmation to be falce, I have reason to question the verity of althings else you have at any time protested; for if you would publish a falshood without any reason to incite you to it, I may rationally conclude, you will not stick to do so when it may tend to the furtherance of that designe which perhaps you may have to betray my innocent affection.

Far from my thought (repli’d he) is any such unworthy intent, for when I go about by treachery to injure what I prize so deare, let Heaven inflict on me some strange unheard of punishment. But why Madam should you count that so crimenall in matters of love (continu’d he) which in War is daily practiced uncondemn’d; for you well know tis allow’d to those who besiege a Towne to have recourse to strategems to get, what by force, or treaty they cannot hope to gain, and using that litle artifice to inhance the value of my love, by endeavouring to perswade you ’twas sacred to your selfe alone without any others having had an interest in it since Artelinda left me the disposall of it, I can see no reason; nor need you methinks on so slight a ground [to] build a suspition of the candour, and sincerity of what I have oft by such binding protestations confirm’d to you the truth of.

Ah Issodorus (said I sighing) you know too well the power you have to perswade me to any thing you would have me credit (though never so unlikely) yet I must tell you I still very much feare you have either unhandsomely deserted Bellamira for me, or else hold a mutuall correspondence with us to the prejudice of us both.

As for my deserting Bellamira (answer’d he) you need not be any waye concern’d for it, not being in the least the occation of it; since (as I before told you) I had long ere I saw you quitted all pretences of, or thoughts of passion for her;{417} but tis not possible for me to express the trouble tis to me to see you so doubtfull of my reallity, which seeing you are so cre incredulous of, and that I cannot (by the reason of that engagement which Persides has laid upon me to the contrary) give you any other then a verball Testimony of it, I’ll make you one Overture more which I trust will absolutely convince you of my sincerity. I protest then by all the Gods in whose presence we alone are and make a solmne vow to you, such as no consideration whatever shall compell me to violate, and on it give you both my hand and Faith to performe what now I promise (pursu’d he giving me his hand) to be yours for ever, and to make you mine by Hymens sacred tye, and never to marry any other, nor so much as think of any woman breathing (save your selfe) upon the score of love. Will [fol. 186 v ] you not Deare Arthenia (went he on) make me the like engagement; that by so firme and mutuall tye we may for the future prevent all unkind disputes, or needless distrusts, and secure me by such an assurance from all feares of loosing you when I am gone.

Yes Issodorus (repli’d I) I do not onely accept this Promise you now have made, but engage my selfe in the like manner (giving him my hand) to be yours, and onely yours so long as you are mine.

Give me leave then my deare Arthenia, (said he) to seale this mutuall engagement we have made to each other with a kiss, which till now I ne’re had confidence enough to beg the favour of from your Faire lips.

But not staying for my permission he took that liberty which tis probable I had else refus’d him. By this time Melliantes was return’d and seeing Issodorus there he assur’d him if he had dream’d of finding such good company as himselfe he would have made more hast home. I stay’d that night in Towne at Issodorus’s request who promis’d he would on the morrow come again and waite on me back to Eugenia, I confess I was willing to embrace all opportunities that might afford me so pleasing a satisfaction as the enjoyment of his company and therefore readily consented to his request, lying that night with Sillindra at her lodging which was not far distant from my Brothers.

According to his promise Issodorus came the next day, and went with me home; whether having brought me he stay’d not long being recall’d by some urgent occations; but to make me amends he assur’d me he would not faile to see me every day as long as I stay’d there: and truly I think he did not miss above once all the time, which (as I remember) was about 14 dayes. At which times he was treated by Eugenia with so much freedome and civilitie as it produced in him no less a respect, then he had conceiv’d a prejudice against Hestrina for interesting her selfe so highly in that wherein he thought her not concern’d. Eugenia had at this time sojourning with her an antient Lady (nam’d Serena,) and her son who was call’d Silisdes; and one day as this lady and I were sitting together she took an occation to begin a discourse of Issodorus and amongst many other questions which she ask’d me concerning him, beg’d me at last to resolve her whether he did not make his Addresses to me on the score of love and profess himselfe my servant.{417}

Come do not blush (pursu’d she) perceiving me to do so, I’ll take it for granted that he does, and not put you to the trouble to confirme it. But if I were worthy to councell you, I should advize you (as one too who perhaps wishes you much better then you imagine) not to engage your selfe past a retreat in a perticuler kindness for him, since he is going so far, that tis probable ere he returnes he may have laid aside his passion, or make some other the obiect of it.

If he should prove of so unfix’d a temper (I reply’d) I shall without doubt count him better lost then found.

But believe it (said she) if once you love him you will not so easily dispence with his loss: and beside, tis possible, in his absence you may have those offers made you, so much more to your advantage, as you would be to blame if you refus’d them in expectation of what might never happen.

I should esteeme my selfe far more blameable (repli’d I) should I for the highest advantage imaginable abandon a person I am oblig’d to esteeme, by the greatness of that passion he declares for me, on no other score then a bare apprehension that he may violate his Faith, which I confess I have a better opinion of Issodorus then to believe he will.

How good thoughts soever you may have of him (said she) yet I must beg, and earnestly conjure you, not to bestow all your affection [fol. 187 r ] on him, but reserve some litle kindness to gratifie anothers passion, who adores you with one so transcendant, as nothing save his respect, and feare to displease you can equall; and of that I think you will acknowledge he gives no slight testimony, since he has firmly resolv’d rather to dy in silence, then by speaking, declare what may offend you. But if you denie my first request, yet however grant me this which I now beg; that you will not bind your selfe by any perticuler promise to be Issodorus’s.

Perhaps Madam I have already done it (answer’d I) how can I then condesend to that which you desire.

Then poor Silisdes (said she) must be inevitably unhappie. Yes Arthenia (pursu’d she) tis onely the tender affection of a Mother to an onely child which has mov’d me to such an unseasonable importunity which if I cannot succeed in, I must lament his hard Fate in placing so true a love on one from whom he must never expect any returne; but tis my hopes, Dispaire will worke his cure; not that I am less desirous you should call me Mother, then he is ambitious to be stil’d your Husband: and should esteeme my selfe happie in a Daughter of your incomparable worth and goodness, which I have been oft an admiring observer of.

I wish Madam (reply’d I) there were that reall worth in me to merit that too advantagious opinion you have of me; and that I were capable of accepting that honour Silisdes and your selfe design’d me: but I must ingenuously confess I am too much Issodorus’s both by promise, and affection ere to be anothers. I am not ignorant Madam (continu’d I) of those advantages your son has of Issodorus in point of Fortune yet were they far greater then they are, I should refuse them,{419} and chuse rather to spend my dayes with Issodorus though in a Cottage, then with any other on a Throne.

Tis pitty (said she) such a disintressed love should meet with any unkind returne, as I am afraid it will.

Good Madam what moves you to think so (cry’d I)[.]

I can not tell (answer’d she) but I have a strong conceit this Gentleman will not answer your expectations; for methinks, he lookes as if he knew better what belongs to Ambition then love.

It may be so for ought I know (said I) but till I am convinc’d he does, I’ll be sure to teach him no ill by my example.

Loath was I to continue so unpleasing a discourse any longer, but whilst I was studying to evade it, came in Eugenia and by her presence releas’d me from it: however (I must needs say) I was not a litle satisfi’d that I had so faire an opportunity offor’d me of retalliating Issodorus’s generosity in refusing (as had done) for me the Duke of Drepanum’s Daughters, since Silisdes was reported to be so vastly rich, as I could scarce think it credible what Fame spake of his wealth; nor was I less surpriz’d with wonder to think what should move Serena to court me for her son, especially having heard it said, that she had refus’d severall considerable Matches which he might have had: insomuch that it was generally believ’d she would never willingly suffer him to marry whilst she liv’d: and for Silisdes’s part, it was beleiv’d he had rather a naturall aversion to our sex, then otherwise, for of such a reserv’d temper was he, it was suppos’d love would never find much employment in his mind; yet I cannot deny, but that he alwayes shew’d me so great a respect, as I had no reason to charge him with a want of complacency, or civility, as many others did.

You see Madam (interrupted Gentillus) how powerfull your Graces are, that they change even Nature it selfe, and turne aversion into inclination.

Had I been capable of performing anything so strang as that (reply’d Arthenia) I should questionless have extended my power to the retaining what I had already gain’d: which how litle I was able to do, the sequell of my story will enforme you, and let your Lordship see how litle I deserve [fol. 187 v ] that high Complement you have pass’d upon me. But beging Ermillias pardon for this digression she went on.

In a short time after this, going to the Gate one afternoon to look if I could see Issodorus coming, it being something later then he usually came, just as I open’d it he alighted, but methought he did not throw himselfe from his Horse with that nimbleness and agillity as he was wont; and coming towards me I perceiv’d him to hault a litle in his steps, which I demanding the cause of, he told me he had hurt his Thigh with a fall from his Horse but ’twas a mercy (pursu’d he) I had no more hurt, for I might as well have broke my Neck.

The Gods defend you (cry’d I extreamly frighted) how came you by such a dangerous fall; the way from Palermo hither being so levell, one would hardly think a Horse could as much as stumble in it.{419}

No (a^n^swer’d he) ’twas not in coming hither that I fell, but in the morning as I rode a Hunting with some of the Prince of Oristans Gentlemen who would needs have me accompany them to that diversion; but I was like to have paid deere for my sport, for Following the Game a litle too eagerly, and being willing to take the shortest way, I would fain have made my Horse leap from a Bank which was on the side of a very deep Ditch to the opposite side; but leaping short, he not only th[r]ew me, but fell upon me, whereby he bruis’d me so extreamly as I could scarcely rise: but ’twas well there was no water in the Ditch or else I might have run the hazard of being drown’d too; but at last (though with much difficulty) I got out of that steep Precipice, but was not able to get on Horse-back again till some of the Gentlemen came and holp me up.

Finding him no less tyr’d then hurt, I gave order to one of Eugenias Maids to make ready a Bed, into which I very much perswaded him to go, and to resolve to stay all night, in hopes (as I said) that he would be better after he had rested himselfe.

I am of your opinion Madam that rest would do me much good (reply’d he) and willingly would I accept your proffer were it not that I am engag’d ere sunset to be at the Viceroys, because Claromenes is to sup with him, and tis requisite that all those Gentlemen who have any dependance on him be in a readiness to attend the King.

I [Aye] but you have so just an excuse (said I) as when the Prince of Oristan shall heare what disaster has hapned to you, he will no question dispence with your absence.

Tis probable he may (reply’d he) but being I sent word by my companions (when I parted from them) that I would not faile my attendance at the appointed houre, I will not if possible, be worse then my word.

But if you will not go to Bed (said I) yet methinks you might lye downe for an houre or two to refresh your selfe.

That I would (answer’d he) did I not find my selfe sleepy as well as weary (having been up ever since 4 of the clock this morning) which if I ware once laid at my ease, I should soon fall a sleep, and might perhaps o’re sleep my selfe.

If that be all your feare (said I) I’ll be sure to wake you at what time soever you would be call’d.

I dare not trust you (reply’d he smiling) yet I care not much if I take a Nap for one halfe houre in this Chaire as I sit, if you will promise to call me then, not that I intend to run a way from you so soon, but am loath to rob my selfe of the pleasure of your Society any longer.

Nay (said I) if you will I not lye downe, you shall not setle your selfe to sleep here because One or other may chance to come in and disturbe you: but if you will go along with me, I’ll carry you into another Roome less frequented, where you may repose your selfe in quiet, with that taking him [fol. 188 r ] by the hand I made him follow me into another Parlour (a pritie way distant from that wherin we were) which was seldome us’d but for the entertainment of Visitants of more{420} then ordinary quality; thither having brought him, and call’d for a Pillow for him to rest his head on, I fastned the Dore that open’d into the Garden through which we enter’d because I would have no person come in to molest him; and when I had seen him compos’d himselfe to sleep I would have left him, but as I was rising up to go away, he caught hold of my hand [:]

[N]ay my Arthenia (said he) if you will have me sleep, you must be content to undergoe the Pennance of setting by me the while.

Do not think (answer’d I) that I count that a trouble; which I esteeme so much my satisfaction, as I would wish no greater, provided I might never be depriv’d of this; for to enjoy your sight and conversation is the uttmost bounds of my desires: beleive not then I would have left you upon any other score, but out of feare I might disturbe you: so siting downe by him, he would not lay his head on the Pillow as I would have had him, but on my lappe, clasping his hand in mine, and in a very litle space fell fast asleep.

The still silence in which I sate, made me follow his example, so as I was just fallen into a slumber when Silisdes rous’d me out of it again by the noise he made in opening the other Dore which I suppos’d had been fast lock’d, I had scarce open’d my eyes when I saw him enter with another Gentleman and two ladies who were wholly strangers to me, but so much abash’d was I to be seen by such as knew me not (with a man all alone in that posture) as I scarce knew what I did; nor was Silisdes less surpriz’d not dreaming that any one was there: but ere they had advanced many steps into the Roome, I had snatch’d my hand from Issodorus and laid his head from off my lappe upon the Chaire on which I sate, and made such hast away, as scarce any save Silisdes had a sight of me, the Roome being of that largness as one could not readily discern at the one end what was done at the other.

As I ris up, (I cry’d) Issodorus here is company come in I know not, but whether it were my removing his head, or my calling to him that wak’d him I cannot tell, but so it was that he instantly awaked, and looking up, missing me, and seeing strangers in the Roome he guess’d the cause of my sudden flight; whereupon, arising from his place, and giving the Ladies a civell respect as he pass’d by them came forth, and perceiving the blushes still upon my cheeks he could not refrain laughing to see me look so concernedly.

Do you think (said I) that I have not suffer’d vexation enough already, but that you must laugh at me too.

You cannot sure Madam count me so rude (answer’d he assuming a more serious look) as to laugh at you, but rather to think how pritily we were surpriz’d.

Pritily (cry’d I) do you call it, it was not ^methinks^ so pleasing to deserve that stile but I verily thought we had been secure enough from any bodies coming to us; yet had they not been strangers I had not car’d.

Nor need not now (said he) since the innocence of our intentions will be sufficent to protect us from any unjust suspitions.{421}

Tis like they might if they were known (reply’d I) but not being so, we may be liable (as many other innocent have been) to injurious censures.

For my part (said he) I value not what they think of me, since tis probable they may never see my face again, and for yours Madam I dare answer [fol. 188 v ] there is none that knows you that will admit a thought to the prejudice of your vertue: make it not then a matter of vexation but turne it into rallery, as I do. But who are those (continu’d he) that came in as it were on purpose to disturbe my rest.

I cannot tell indeed Issodorus (answer’d I) but I guess them to be some ^of^ Silisdes’s Friends whom he has brought with him from Palermo for thither he went this morning: but if I am not mistaken he blames himselfe more then I do, for bringing them in; for I know him to be civiller then to have attempted any such thing had he in the least thought of our being retir’d thither; therefore the servants are more faulty in not giving him notice of it; but seeing it cannot now be remedied, I’ll frett my selfe in vain no longer.

Assoon as Issodorus was gone, Silisdes came to plead his excuse supposing he had displeas’d me by pressing so rudely as he said on my retirement; protesting ’twas meerly his ignorance that made him guilty of so high an incivility.

I do believe it Silisdes (answer’d I) for I have alwayes found you so civill, and obliging, as I have no reason to judge otherwise of you; nor had I been troubled in the least, had you chanced to come alone, but I must be very much oblig’d to those with you, if they conceive not some sinister opinion of me.

That I’ll assure you Madam (reply’d he) I took a perticuler care to prevent, by telling them the Gentleman with you, was your Brother, and I wish for my owne sake that what I affirm’d had been as true, as I knew it was the contrary. But O how much do I condemne Issodorus in my thoughts (went he on after a litle silence) that could so lavishly mispend those precious minutes in drousie slumbers in your presence, which had they been allow’d to others with that freedome as to him would have been employ’d to a more noble use, and serv’d to inspire them with so ravish[ing] a satisfaction as would have been enough to banish sleep forever from their eyes at least at such times as they were blest with the felicity of gaizing on yours.

But being unwilling to engage in a discourse of this nature with Silisdes I made him no answere, nor seem’d to mind what he said, but fell presently a talking of something else, that I migh[t] wave [have] a clearer intimation of his passion, which I very much desir’d he should think me ignorant of. The next day Issodorus came not; at which I was extreamly troubled lest his fall might occation his fall absence, but the day following he did; and by his presence discipated all my feares.

I am sorry Madam (said he) that I should make the least breach in that promise I made to wait on you every day whilst you continu’d here; but I trust that interest I presume now to challenge in your kindness will plead so effectually in my behalfe as to obtain your pardon when I have assur’d you ’twas not any{423} willfull neglect that detain’d me from you, but rather that obedience I owe to the commands of Perisana which she impos’d on me to go yesterday to a Brothers of hers on some very urgent business from her which could not be dispenced with.

Think not (reply’d I) that I am so rigourous an exacter of every litle punctilio that you promise, no Issodorus provided you faile not in the maine, I’ll never quarell with you for such slight omissions.

But observing a kind of sad Aire to ore shaddow that gaiety which at other times sparkled in his eyes, I could not be satisfi’d till I had enquired the cause, demanding whether his fall still troubled him, or whether he had any new mishap befallen him.

No Deare Arthenia (answer’ d he) tis not any new misfortune that dejects me, since tis but what I long since knew I must undergoe; though I [fol. 189 r ] confess I hop’d it would not so soon have hapned. But cannot you guess, and spare me the trouble of telling you what tis has rais’d this Melancholy cloud that appeares so visible in my face.

There are such various causes of trouble in the world (reply’d I) that should I beat my Braines to find out yours, I might sooner light on the wrong then hit upon the right.

Methinks (said he) it should not be so difficult for you to conceive it, for what can you imagin can be of any afflicting concerne to me now that I am blest with the assurance of your deare affection save onely my seperation from you; which sad time within a day or two will come.

Must you then leave me so soon (reply’d I sighing).

No madam you must leave me it seemes (answer’d he) for calling on Melliantes as I came, and telling him whether I was coming, he enjoyn’d me to let you know that he desires you not to faile to be with him to morrow in order to [begin] your Journey, and assur’d me two dayes more would be the uttmost date of his stay; but I hope you will give me leave to waite on you one dayes Journey.

You need not aske me leave (said I) to do anything so much conducing to my happiness, which I must bid farewell to when I part from you.

I would as willingly waite on you home (reply’d he) would my extraordinary occations permit, or my absence be dispenced with for so long a time; but however I am resolv`d to venture all things rather then not enjoy your company for the space of one poor day. Many expressions passionate expressions did he utter of his griefe to part with me from me, so piercing as they infus’d as great a measure of sadness into my heart as his seem’d repleat with.

In order to [abide by] Melliantess desires the next day I bid adue to Eugenia and in her presence took my leave of Serena and her son, that thereby I might shun, all opportunities of a private discourse with him in case he had design’d any such thing; so that he onely told me, he fear’d his company would prove but troublesome or else he should have importun’d my permission to waite on me to Palermo[.]{423}

[B]ut however Madam (pursu’d he) my cordiall wishes shall not faile to attend you thither, and where ever else you go, that you may find a felicity great as your merits in whatsoever you most desire, or that can render it compleat and perfect; and may Issodorus’s passion continue unchangable as Silisdes’s should have done, had he had but the least glimps of hopes to sustaine it with; but tis Dispaire alone must kill, what a too high Pr[e]sumption gave life too.

For these obliging wishes I gave him my due thankes, and bid him farewell; but Eugenia would not part from me so, but went with me to the very enterance of Palermo and there with many teares kiss’d and embraced me when we parted, as if we had been to take an everlasting far[e]well of each other ne’re to meet again. Assoon as I had seen and spoken with my Brother I went to Therasmenes’s and lay there that night; and the next day after Dinner bid adue both to him and Hestrina, from thence I went to Persides’s where I spent the remainder of that day and towards the Evening took my leave of Perisana and Bellamira with many gratfull retributions for all those unmerited favors I had at any time receiv’d from them.

I’ll assure you my Deare Arthenia (said Perisana pressing me in her Armes with all the Demonstrations of a most tender Amitie) those testimonies of my Friendship which I have given you has so little express’d the reallity and greatness of that value I have for you which is such as I know not any thing that can sufficently illustrate it, nor shall Time, or absence be capable of lessening my Friendship: and fain would I put on you a Spell that you might ne’re be able to forget me though by distance far remov’d. Weare this then for my sake (continu’d she puting a Ring upon one [fol. 189 v ] of my Fingers) and each time you cast an eye on that think on the Giver.

Your goodness Madam (reply’d I) had questionless been a Charm strong enough to fix you too deeply in my thoughts, for Time ever to blot you out; but seeing you have been pleas’d to confer on me this additionall Obligation, I shall think my selfe bound no less by Duty then Inclination to devote the kindest of my Thoughts to the memory of a person I infinitly honour; and rather would I loose my life then ever part from this Deare Pledge of your inesteemable Friendship (pursu’d I kissing the Ring she gave me).

To Bellamira I renew’d my Vowes of a perpetuall Amitie; which she reciprocally return’d; beging me to make her happie in my letters now that she must be so no longer in my Company: which, having accordingly promis’d, we once more embraced and bid farewell to each other with so great a trouble on my part as nothing could transcend save that which insu’d at my seperation from Issodorus.

Thence went I to Sillindras with whom I lay that night, and geting up early the next morning I went to my Brothers, taking her with me, whose Griefe to part from Melliantes fell not so much short of that which I resented [felt] on Issodorus’s score; yet she endeavour’d to conceale it all she could, masking it with her concern for my departure.

Ah (thought I) to my selfe, if Sillindra so much lament a short absence from Melliantes which a litle time will repaire, what may I do, who am to part with{326} from my Issodorus not for some few dayes, or weeks onely, but for yeares, nay perchance forever. The sadness of these reflections were a litle discipated when I came to my Brothers, and found Issodorus there, who (as it smeer seem’d) had been his Bedfellow that night, as I had been Sillindras’s.

When we came thither we found him in Bed, (but Melliantes up, and puting all things in order for our Journey) but he immediatly arose, and dressing himselfe almost in an instant, we went soon after altogether in a chariot to the other end of the Towne where our Horses waited in a readiness for us; we there bid adue to poor Sillindra who with weeping eyes took her leave of us, and seem’d by her Teares to tell me, I was shortly to act a part in that sad sceane. I was to have rode behind Melliantes but Issodorus would needs carry me himselfe so far as he went with us, and my Brother rode on his Horse. Never did I think time flew away so fast as now, and oft (though) in vain did I wish that day might have been le[n]gthen’d to an age; but the vanity of those fruitless wishes I too soon perceiv’d, by the approach of that time of the night which sommond us to our Beds, I cannot say our rests, for if Issodorus took no more then I, he found that night but litle; for Teares instead of sleep found full employment for my eyes all that wholle night long. I ris early the next morning, yet Issodorus was gotten up before me, and a knocking at my Chamber Dore to see if I were sturring, and assoon as I was drest I caus’d the Dore to [be] open’d.

Ah Issodorus are you come (said I sighing, with teares ready to start from my eyes) to take your last farewell of your poor Arthenia.

Heaven forbid it madam (cry’d he) I hope we shall meet again and with more Joy then now with Griefe we part, and in a shorter space too then either you, or I expect: but if Death should be so cruell as to take my life away ere I see you again, as a witness of my passionate affection for your Dearest self, I’ll leave you sole Mistress of that litle fortune I can justly call my owne.

Ah Issodorus (interrupted I) think not if ^you^ should dye that I can live to enjoy ought that is yours; for I am most certain if that dismall day should once arrive, it would prove no less fatall to me then you, or if for some short time I should be so wretched as to survive you, it should be onely so long to melt away my life in Teares.

Do not afflict your selfe my Deare Arthenia before [fol. 190 r ] hand with an unnecessary griefe (reply’d he) for that which Fate may possibly prove kinder then to permit, I onely spake of my Death as a thing that might happen. But to put these sad thoughts out of your mind which I have rais’d, pray tell me where you had this Ring (pursu’d he looking on that his Mother gave me).

Twas Perisanas present to me (answer’d I) when I took my leave of her yesterday, and a happiness beyond expression should I count it were I but sure she would make good what the Motto of it promises.

What may it be (demanded he).

Nothing shall move my constant love (I repli’d) but I doubt when she once comes to the knowledge of yours to me, it will be a meanes to deprive me of hers, which I so highly value as I can never quit the interest I have in it without an infinite concern.

Never feare you shall be put to that trouble (said he), since I dare assure you, the kindness she has for you is so firmly rooted in her heart that there is not any thing that can be capable of depriving you of it.

If that I mention’d does not (reply’d I) I am certaine nothing else ere shall.

By this time my Brother being ready call’d on me to go, which summons I obey’d with a heavy heart, as supposing the time of our seperation to be come; but Issodorus resolv’d to let me be [blot] happy in his company a litle longer, telling me he would go with me to the next Towne which was that we where we design’d to rest at Noon. It was nigh two houres that we stay’d there; and having Din’d, Melliantes to give us the more freedome of converse left us alone, saying he would go and give order for the Horses to be brought forth; but no sooner was his back turn’d ere I burst out into a most violent passion, weeping most bitterly, though I did all I could to fetter up my griefe within the confines of my Brest; but so unruly was it, that the more I thought to restrain it, with the greater violence did it break forth.

This Issodorus being a spectator of; for a while follow’d my example, but assoon as his passion would suffer him to speak (he cry’d) for the Gods sake Deare Arthenia do not break my heart with greife to see you wast so many of those precious teares in vain, in deploring what necessity confines us too; I shall leave you with the pressure of such a heavy weight of sadness on my soule as litle needs not yours to be an addition to my Burthen: Then since tis so decreed that our persons must unad unavoidably be seperated, let not our sorrows be united, suffer the whole load then to remain on me, who am fitter to sustain it then you are.

Ah Issodorus (said I) how great an argument of my Discretion it might be counted I know not cannot tell, but sure it would be but a litle one of my love if I could part from you with dry eyes, when I consider to how long an absence I am doom’d.

I must confess this testimony of your kindness is very obliging (repli’d he) yet would I rather choose to have been deni’d this satisfaction then to read it in your Teares; which I once more beg you to dry up, and no longer suffer those watery cloudes to eclips the luster of your eyes.

It would have much aleviated my trouble (said I) had you been as good as your word in giveing me your Picture ere I went out of Towne (for your Majesty must know (pursu’d Arthenia to the Queen) he had a good while since promis’d it me, but had so long delay’d to set for it as it could not possibly be finish’d though it was begun before I came away) That I might have found a pleasing diversion for my eyes (continu’d I) in viewing your shaddow, when they had lost the satisfaction of beholding the substance any longer. But tis no matter (went I on with a sigh) you cannot hinder me from bearing away your Image so deeply engraven in my heart as no length of time shall ere be able to deface it.{426}

And there forever shall I weare yours (repli’d he) but though I have been very much to blame in so long neglecting to get it dispatch’d (as not thinking your departure would so soon have hapned) yet by my future diligence I hope to make amends for this my first offence which I am.[7]

  1. The “Continuation” is written by a different hand, and it is probably not that of the correcting hand that underlines letters or words for deletion. In the “Continuation,” the spelling of names changes, and names are frequently not distinguished by italics. For the sake of consistency, names will continue to be italicized and regularized; parentheses also are added when necessary to indicate the speaker, e.g., (she replied). 
  2. Paris was selected to judge the beauty of Athena (Minerva), Hera (Juno), and Aphrodite (Venus) and award an apple to the fairest. Venus won the contest by promising him the fairest woman in the world, Helen of Troy. 
  3. The Prince of Orestaign refers to the Marquess (later Duke) of Ormand, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Sardinia), 1660–1669 and 1677–1685. 
  4. Electra seems to be a mistake for Eurydice
  5. Electra seems to be a mistake for Eurydice
  6. It is likely that “not” would have been canceled after the insertion of “never” in order to maintain the sense. 
  7. See Figure 8. I am indebted to William Gentrup for the suggestion that since the manuscript concludes at the very bottom of the folio page, rather than mid-page, that may indicate that the final pages were separated or lost from the rest, rather than simply not finished. 


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Rivall Friendship by Bridget Manningham Copyright © 2021 by Arizona Board of Regents for Arizona State University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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