The Contract by Margaret Cavendish
Thus in this Semy-Circle, wher they Sitt,
Telling of Tales of pleasure & of witt,
Heer you may read without a Sinn or Crime,
And how more innocently pass your tyme.
To Pastime I do dedicate this Book,
When idle, then my Readers in't may look,
And yet be idle still; yet wish they may
Never mispend their time, or wast the day
Worse or more idly; since it may concern
My Readers all, in every piece to learn
Something to lay up still in mem'ries Treasure;
Thus for your sakes mix Profit with your Pleasure.
I hope you'll like it, if not, I'm still the same,
Careless, since Truth will vindicate my Fame.
To the Lady Marchioness of
Newcastle, on her Book of Tales.
Gallants and Ladies, what do ye lack? pray buy
Tales a la mode, new Fashion'd here do lye:
So do Romancies, your grave studies too,
Academies of Love, teaching to woo
And to be woo'd, corrupts more Virgins then
Hot Satyrs turn'd to Amorous Courtly Men:
But these are innocent; then be not nice,
Will you not buy, because they teach not Vice?
Nature will teach you that; then do not look
To do't by Art and Learning by the Book;
A Vestal Nun may reade this, and avow it,
And a Carthusian Confessor allow it.
Yet they are pleasant, but on this side harm,
Witty expressions, yet no wanton charm,
But virtuous Love, bright shining as the Sun,
As innocent as Turtles, Vice to shun.
What do you lack? for here's the Shop of Wit
With new spun finer Phancies, for to fit
Your curious Brains: do you lack Prose or Verse?
Which, when you want discourse, you may rehearse,
And gossip too with Pleasure and Delight,
So for to wast a tedious Winters night.
'Twixt every Tale's Act, for your Musick, think
Of melting Sweet-meats, dissolv'd Wine your drink;
Unbrasing your Drums ears a while to stay,
Whil'st on your Tongues-strings tast doth sweetly play:
Then to the pleasure of your Tales again,
Thus feast your Senses; when they're wearied, then
To your soft Beds, Sleep seize you with delight,
So Noble Friends, I bid you all good night.
A Copy of Verses to the Lady
Marchioness of Newcastle, of all her Works, which are now all printed,
except her Tragedies and Comedies, which will shortly come out.
You various Readers various judgements give,
And think Books are condemn'd, or ought to live
According to your censures, bad or good,
Before you read them, or they're understood,
Laying aspersions with a jeering brand;
But read them first, that is, to understand
On forfeit of your selves, like this that's writ,
Or prejudice your judgements and your wit.
Now for your own sakes, these Books like them then,
Have mercy on your selves you censuring Men;
For when you're dead, and all your envious looks,
These Writings they will live as long as Books.
O but a Woman writes them, she doth strive
T'intrench too much on Man's Prerogative;
Then that's the crime her learned Fame pulls down;
If you be Scholars, she's too of the Gown:
Therefore be civil to her, think it fit
She should not be condemn'd, 'cause she's a Wit.
If you be Souldiers, Ladies you'll defend,
And your sheath'd Arguments, when drawn, will end
The small male Gossipings: but Gallants, pray
Be not you factious, though each Mistris say
The Books are naught, but dance, & with them play,
Sweet pretty Ladies, and discourse with those
Of Ribbins, point de Jane, and finer Cloaths,
Their better reading, and let Books alone;
But these I will compare to every one
That here doth follow. Nay, old Homer writ
Not clearer Phancies, nor with clearer Wit;
And that Philosophy she doth dispense,
Beyond old Aristotle's hard non-sense;
Her observations of Diseases new,
More than Hippocrates the Grecian knew;
As eloquent as Roman Cicero,
And sweeter flowers of Rhet'rick there do grow;
More lofty high descriptions she hath still
Than swell'd lines of th'Imitator Virgil;
As good Odes too as Horace, nay, I can
Compare her Dialogues to rare Lucian.
Lucan, the Battail of thy Civil War
Is lost, this Lady doth exceed thee far;
More Fame by Morals than grave Plutarch gain'd,
Profitable Fables, as Esop feign'd;
And as good Language as ev'r Terence writ,
Thy Comedies, poor Plautus, far less wit.
Thy rare Epistles all Epistles sully,
Beyond the two Familiars of vain Tully;
And as wise Sentences thou still dost say
As the Apocrypha, or Seneca;
As smooth and gentle Verse as Ovid writ,
And may compare with sweet Tibullus wit.
What takes the Soul more than a gentle vain?
Thou charm'st the charming Orpheus with thy strain.
If all these Wits were prais'd for several wayes,
What deserv'st thou that hast them all? what praise?
TO THE READER.
The design of these my feigned Stories is to present Virtue,
the Muses leading her, and the Graces attending her.
Likewise, to defend Innocency, to help the distressed, and lament
Also, to shew that Vice is seldome crown'd with good Fortune; and in
these Designs or Pieces I have described many sorts of Passions,
Humours, Behaviours, Actions, Accidents, Misfortunes, Governments,
Laws, Customes, Peace, Wars, Climates, Situations, Arts and Sciences:
but these Pieces are not limb'd alike, for some are done with Oil
colours of Poetry, others in Watry colours of Prose, some upon dark
grounds of Tragedy, and some upon light grounds of Comedy. But the work
of either is rough, being not done by a skilfull hand, so not so smooth
as I could wish; yet I hope the proportions exceed not their Symmetry,
but that every part is made proportionable to the whole, and the whole
to the distance of your view, and that the Colours are neither
mis-matcht, nor the Shadows misplaced.
AN EPISTLE To my Readers.
Perchance my feigned Stories are not so lively described as they
might have been, for that my descriptions are not so lively exprest by
the pen, as Sir Anthony Vandick his Pictures by the pencill, by
reason I have not copied them from true [ I meane true
Originall from immediat action. ] Originalls, but just as
phancy formes; for I have not read much History to inform me of the
past Ages, indeed I dare not examin the former times, for fear I should
meet with such of my Sex, that have out-done all the glory I can aime
at, or hope to attaine; for I confess my Ambition is restless, and not
ordinary; because it would have an extraordinary fame: And since all
heroick Actions, publick Imployments, powerfull Governments, and
eloquent Pleadings are denyed our Sex in this age, or at least would be
condemned for want of custome, is the cause I write so much, for my
ambition being restless, though rather busie than industrious, yet it
hath made that little wit I have to run upon every subject I can think
of, or is fit for me to write on; for after I have put out one Book
more that I am writing, I cannot tell what more to write, unless I
should write of the like subjects again, which would be as tedious as
TO THE READER.
As for those Tales I name Romancicall, I would not have my Readers
think I write them, either to please, or to make foolish whining
Lovers, for it is a humor of all humors, I have an aversion to; but my
endeavour is to express the sweetness of Vertue, and the Graces, and to
dress and adorn them in the best expressions I can, as being one of
their servants, that do unfeignedly, unweariedly, industriously, and
faithfully wait upon them: Neither do I know the rule or method of
Romancy Writing; for I never read a Romancy Book throughout in all my
life, I mean such as I take to be Romances, wherein little is writ
which ought to be practised, but rather shunned as foolish Amorosities,
and desperate Follies, not noble Loves discreet Vertues, and true
Valour. The most I ever read of Romances was but part of three Books,
as the three parts of one, and the half of the two others, otherwise I
never read any; unless as I might by chance, as when I see a Book, not
knowing of what it treats, I may take and read some half a dozen lines,
where perceiving it a Romance, straight throw it from me, as an
unprofitable study, which neither instructs, directs, nor delights me:
And if I thought those Tales I call my Romancicall Tales, should or
could neither benefit the life, nor delight the minde of my Readers, no
more than those pieces of Romances I read, did me, I would never suffer
them to be printed; but self-partiality perswades me otherwise, but if
they should not, I desire those that have my book to pull out those
tales and burn them: Likewise if I could think that any of my writings
should create Amorous thoughts in idle brains, I would make blotts
insteed of letters; but I hope this work of mine will rather quench
Amorous passions, than inflame them, and beget chast Thoughts, nourish
love of Vertue, kindle humane Pitty, warme Charity, increase Civillity,
strengthen fainting patience, encourage noble Industry, crown, Merit,
instruct Life; and recreate Time, Also I hope, it will damn vices,
kill follies, prevent Errors, forwarne youth, and arme the life against
misfortunes: Likewise to admonish, instruct, direct, and perswade to
that which is good and best, and in so doing, I the Authoress have my
wishes and reward.
TO THE READER.
I must intreat my Readers to understand, that though my Naturall
Genius is to write fancy, yet in this Work, I have strove, as much as I
can, to lay fancy by in some out-corner of my brain, for lively
descriptions to take place; for descriptions are to imitate, and fancy
to create; for fancy is not an imitation of nature, but a naturall
Creation, which I take to be the true Poetry: so that there is as much
difference between fancy, and imition, as between a Creature, and a
Creator: but some Poeticall tales or discourses, both in verse and
prose; but most in prose, hath crowded in amongst the rest, I cannot
say against my will, although my will was forced by my Naturall
Inclinations and affections to fancy, but otherwise I have endeavoured
to describe, and imitate the severall Actions of life, and changes of
fortune, as well as my little Wit, weak observations, and lesse
learning can compose into severall discourses; Also I am to let my
Readers to understand, that though my work is of Comicall, Tragicall,
Poeticall, Philosophicall, Romancicall, Historicall and Morall
discourses, yet I could not place them so exactly into severall Books,
or parts as I would, but am forced to mix them one amongst another, but
my Readers will find them in the volume, if they please to take notice
of them, if not there is no harme done to my Book, nor me the Authoress.
TO MY READERS.
Although I hope every piece or discourse in my Book will delight my
Readers, or at least some one, and some another, according as they
shall agree and simpathize with their humors, dispositions and fancies,
yet I do recommend two as the most solid and edifying, which are named,
The Anchoret, and the Experienced Traveller, but especially the she
Anchoret, they are the last of my feigned stories in my Book.
TO MY READERS.
I must intreat my Readers to take notice, that in this first Book or
part of this volume, I was forced to order my severall Chapters, as
Musicians doe their tunes, when they play upon Musicall Instruments,
who for the most part do mix light Aires, with solemn Sounds: and by
reason I thought this first part of my Book would be too short, if I
did divide them, I have mixed them altogether, and although in my
opinion I have disadvantaged it very much with imitating Musicians, yet
I could not conveniently avoid it, for the reason aforesaid, although
the light Aires and solemn Tunes, which are the Comicall & Tragicall
discourse mixt together, will so disunite the thoughts and disturbe the
passions, as my Readers will hardly fix their minds seriously on
either, for my Readers will be like one that is intreated or rather
pull'd by two Companions, one to accompanie him to a house of Mourning,
the other to a house of Mirth, or rather to a shop of toyes, in which
posture, he can neither condole with the unfortunate, nor mourn with
the afflicted, nor rejoyce with the happy, nor chat with the idle, and
so may grow angry with them both, and fling them by as troublesome: the
like may my Readers with my discourse; also I must tell my Readers, I
do not strive as many do, to put the choice pieces in the first place,
to invite or rather to intice the Readers to read their following
works, but endeavor to place my works properly and not subtilly.
Likewise, I have not endeavoured so much for the eloquence, and
elegancy of speech, as the naturall and most usuall way of speaking, in
severall Discourses, and ordinary Phrases; but perchance my Readers
will say, or at least think I have dressed the severall subjects of my
Discourses too vulgar, or that the Garments, which is the language, is
thread-bare: 'tis true, they are not drest up in constraint fashions,
which are set phrases, nor tied up with hard words, nor bumbast
sentences, but though they are carelesly, yet they are not loosely
drest: but for fear my Readers should not take notice, I must repeat
once again to put them in remembrance that most of my discourses or
Tales, are naturall Descriptions & not Fancies; also I must tell my
Readers, if they meet any words in my discourse, that belongs to any
other Language, pray let them not perswade you I understand their
native Originall, but pray remember, or if you do not know, inquire of
Linguists, and they will inform you, that English is a compounded
Language, as mithredated of many ingredients, or it is like a Cordiall
water, whose spirits are extracted from many severall simples; so, if I
speak the English that is spoken in this age, I must use such words as
belongs to other Nations, being mixed therein, unless I should speak
the English that was spoken in former Ages, as that they call old
English, of which I am almost as ignorant as of other Languages: I
would not have written this, but that I am condemned as a dissembler,
for saying I do not understand any Language but English, which is my
native Language, and the only reason is I use such words, as are mixed
therein; but in this as in all things else, I am a Speaker of Truth,
that is, I never say any thing for a Truth, that is false, and I am so
great a lover of Truth, as I am one of her order, and have taken the
habit of sincerity, in which I will live and dye.
An Epistle to my Readers.
I desire my Readers to judge this Book of mine according to
the harmless Recreations of my idle time, and not as a laborious,
learned, studious, or a methodical Work. I did not pencil them so much
for sale, as pleasure; not but that I should be well pleased to receive
Fame for my several Pieces and Copies of nature, or natural Copies. But
I shall not exact high Praises, nor expect great Renown for this Work:
but if I can get an indifferent Commendation, I shall think I have
enough for these Pieces, if not, yet the pleasure of writing them is a
sufficient reward to me the Authoress,
A noble Gentleman that had been married many years, but his Wife
being barren, did bear him no Children; at last she dyed, and his
Friends did advise him to marry again, because his Brothers Children
were dead, and his Wife was likely to have no more: so he took to Wife
a virtuous young Lady, and after one year she conceived with Childe,
and great Joy there was of all sides: but in her Childe bed she dyed,
leaving onely one Daughter to her sorrowfull Husband, who in a short
time, oppressed with Melancholy, dyed, and left his young Daughter, who
was not a year old, to the care and breeding of his Brother, and
withall left her a great Estate, for he was very Rich. After the
Ceremonies of the Funeral, his Brother carried the Childe home, which
was nursed up very carefully by his Wife; and being all that was likely
to succeed in their Family, the Uncle grew extream fond and tender of
his Neece, insomuch that she grew all the comfort and delight of his
A great Duke which commanded that Province, would often come and eat
a Breakfast with this Gentleman as he rid a Hunting; and so often they
met after this manner, that there grew a great Friendship; for this
Gentleman was well bred, knowing the World by his Travels in his
younger dayes; and though he had served in the Wars, and had fought in
many Battles, yet was not ignorant of Courtly Entertainment. Besides,
he was very conversible, for he had a voluble Tongue, and a ready
Understanding, and in his retired life was a great Studient, whereby he
became an excellent Scholar; so that the Duke took great delight in his
Company. Besides, the Duke had a desire to match the Neece of this
Gentleman, his Friend, to his younger Son, having onely two Sons, and
knowing this Childe had a great Estate left by her Father, and was
likely to have her Uncles Estate joyned thereto, was earnest upon it:
but her Uncle was unwilling to marry her to a younger Brother, although
he was of a great Family; but with much perswasion, he agreed, and gave
his consent, when she was old enough to marry, for she was then not
seven years old. But the Duke fell very sick; and when the Physicians
told him, he could not live, he sent for the Gentleman and his Neece,
to take his last farewell; and when they came, the Duke desired his
Friend that he would agree to joyn his Neece and his Son in Marriage;
he answered, that he was very willing, if she were of years to consent.
Said the Duke, I desire we may do our parts, which is, to joyn them
as fast as we can; for Youth is wilde, various, and unconstant; and
when I am dead, I know not how my Son may dispose of himself when he is
left to his own choyce; for he privately found his Son very unwilling
thereto, he being a Man grown, and she a Childe. The Gentleman seeing
him so desirous, agreed thereto.
Then the Duke called his Son privately to him, and told him his
intentions were to see him bestowed in Marriage before he dyed.
His Son desired him, not to marry him against his Affections, in
marrying him to a Childe.
His Father told him, she had a great Estate, and it was like to be
greater, by reason all the Revenue was laid up to increase it; and
besides, she was likely to be Heir to her Uncle, who loved her as his
own Childe; and her Riches may draw so many Suiters when she is a
Woman, said he, that you may be refused.
He told his Father, her Riches could not make him happy, if he could
not affect her. Whereupon the Duke grew so angry, that he said, that
his Disobedience would disturb his Death, leaving the VVorld with an
VVhereupon he seemed to consent, to please his Father. Then were
they as firmly contracted as the Priest could make them, and two or
three VVitnesses to avow it.
But after his Father was dead, he being discontented, went to the
VVars; but in short time he was called from thence, by reason his elder
Brother dyed, and so the Dukedome and all the Estate came to him, being
then the onely Heir: But he never came near the young Lady, nor so much
as sent to her, for he was at that time extreamly in love with a great
Lady, who was young and handsome, being VVife to a Grandy which was
very rich, but was very old, whose Age made her more facile to young
Lovers, especially to this young Duke, who returned him equal
Affections; he being a Man that was favoured by Nature, Fortune, and
Breeding, for he was very handsome, and of a ready Wit, Active,
Valiant, full of Generosity, Affable, well-fashion'd; and had he not
been sullied with some Debaucheries, he had been the compleatest Man in
But the old Gentleman, perceiving his neglect towards his Neece, and
hearing of his Affections to that Lady, strove by all the Care and
Industry he could to give her such Breeding as might win his Love; not
that he was negligent before she was contracted to him; for from the
time of four years old, she was taught all that her Age was capable of,
as to sing, and to dance; for he would have this Artificial Motion
become as natural, and to grow in perfection, as she grew in years.
When she was seven years of Age, he chose her such Books to reade in as
might make her wife, not amorous, for he never suffered her to reade in
Romancies, nor such light Books; but Moral Philosophy was the first of
her Studies, to lay a Ground and Foundation of Virtue, and to teach her
to moderate her Passions, and to rule her Affections. The next, her
study was in Historie, to learn her Experience by the second hand,
reading the good Fortunes and Misfortunes of former Times, the Errours
that were committed, the Advantages that were lost, the Humour and
Dispositions of Men, the Laws and Customes of Nations, their rise, and
their fallings, of their Wars and Agreements, and the like.
The next study was in the best of Poets, to delight in their
Phancies, and to recreate in their Wit; and this she did not onely
reade, but repeat what she had read every Evening before she went to
Bed. Besides, he taught her to understand what she read, by explaining
that which was hard and obscure. Thus she was alwayes busily imployed,
for she had little time allowed her for Childish Recreations.
Thus did he make her Breeding his onely business and imployment; for
he lived obscurely and privately, keeping but a little Family, and
having little or no Acquaintance, but lived a kinde of a Monastical
But when the Neece was about thirteen years of age, he heard the
Duke was married to the Lady with which he was enamoured; for her
Husband dying, leaving her a Widow, and rich, claimed a Promise from
him that he made her whil'st her Husband was living, that when he dyed,
being an old Man, and not likely to live long, to marry her, although
he was loth; for Men that love the Pleasures of the World, care not to
be incumbred and obstructed with a Wife, but did not at all reflect
upon his Contract; for after his Father dyed, he resolved not to take
her to Wife; for she being so young, he thought the Contract of no
Validity: but she seeming more coy when she was a Widow, than in her
Husbands time, seeking thereby to draw him to marry her, and being
overcome by several wayes of Subtilty, married her. Whereupon the Uncle
was mightily troubled, and was very melancholy; which his Neece
perceived, and desired him to know the cause.
Whereupon he told her. Is this the onely reason, said she? Yes, said
he; and doth it not trouble you, said he? No, said she, unless I had
been forsaken for some sinfull Crime I had committed against Heaven, or
had infringed the Laws of Honour, or had broken the Rules of Modesty,
or some Misdemeanour against him, or some defect in Nature, then I
should have lamented, but not for the loss of the Man, but for the
cause of the loss, for then all the World might have justly defamed me
with a dishonourable Reproach: but now I can look the World in the Face
with a confident Brow, as Innocence can arm it. Besides, it was likely
I might have been unhappy in a Man that could not affect me; wherefore,
good Uncle, be not melancholy, but think that Fortune hath befriended
me, or that Destiny had decreed it so to be; if so, we are to thank the
one, and it was impossible to avoyd the other; and if the Fates spin a
long Thread of your Life, I shall never murmure for that loss, but give
thanks to the Gods for that Blessing.
O, but Childe, said he, the Duke was the greatest and richest Match,
since his Brother dyed, in the Kingdome; and I would not have thy
Virtue, Beauty, Youth, Wealth, and Breeding, stoop to a low Fortune,
when thou mayst be a Match fit for the Emperour of the whole World in a
few years, if you grow up, and go on as you have begun.
O, Uncle, said she, let not your Natural Affection make you an
impartial Judge, to give the Sentence of more Desert than I can own; if
I have Virtue, it is a reward sufficient in it self; if I have Beauty,
it is but one of Natures fading Favourers; and those that loved me for
it, may hate me when it is gone; and if I be rich, as you say I am like
to be, who are happier than those that are Mistrisses of their own
Fortunes? And if you have bred me well, I shall be happy in what
Condition soever I am in, being Content, for that is the end and
felicity of the Minde.
But if thou hadst been in Love with him, said her Uncle, where had
been your Content then? for no Education can keep out that Passion.
I hope, said she, the Gods will be more mercifull than to suffer
such Passions I cannot rule. What manner of Man is he, said she? for I
was too young to remember him.
His Person, said he, is handsome enough.
That is his outside, said she; but what is his inside? what is his
Nature and Disposition?
Debauch'd, said he, and loves his Luxuries.
Said she, Heavens have bless'd me from him.
Well, said her Uncle, since I am cross'd in thy Marriage, I will
strive to make thee a Meteor of the Time, wherefore I will carry thee
to the Metropolitan City for thy better Education; for here thou art
bred obscurely, and canst learn little, because thou hearest nor seest
little; but you shall not appear to the World this two or three years:
but go alwayes veiled, for the sight of thy Face will divulge thee;
neither will we have acquaintance or commerce with any, but observe,
hear, and see so much as we can, not to be known.
Sir, said she, I shall be ruled by your Direction, for I know my
small Bark will swim the better and safer for your sterage; wherefore I
shall not fear to launch it into the deepest or dangerous places of the
World, which I suppose are the great and populous Cities. So making
but small Preparations, onely what was for meer necessity, they took
their Journey speedily, carrying no other Servants but those that knew
and used to obey their Masters will; and when they came to the City,
they tooke private Lodging; where after they had rested some few dayes,
he carried her every day, once or twice a day, after her exercise of
Dancing and Musick was done; for he was carefull she should not onely
keep what she had learn'd, but to learn what she knew not: but after
those hours, he carried her to Lectures, according as he heard where
any were read, as Lectures of Natural Philosophy, for this she had
studyed least: but taking much Delight therein, she had various
Speculations thereof; also Lectures of Physick, and Lectures of
Chymistry, and Lectures of Musick, and so divers others, on such dayes
as they were read. Also, he carried her to places of Judicature to hear
great Causes decided; and to the several Courts, to hear the several
Pleadings, or rather Wranglings of several Lawyers: but never to
Courts, Masques, Plays, nor Balls; and she alwayes went to these places
masqu'd, muffl'd, and scarf'd; and her Uncle would make such means to
get a private Corner to sit in, where they might hear well; and when he
came home, he would instruct her of all that was read, and tell her
where they differed from the old Authors; and then would give his
opinion, and take her opinion of their several Doctrines; and thus they
continued for two years.
In the mean time, her Beauty increased according to her Breeding,
but was not made known to any as yet: but now being come to the age of
sixteen years, her Uncle did resolve to present her to the World, for
he knew, Youth was admired in it self: but when Beauty and Virtue were
joyned to it, it was the greater Miracle. So he began to examine her;
for he was jealous she might be catch'd with vain Gallants, although he
had observed her humour to be serious, and not apt to be catch'd with
every toy; yet he knew Youth to be so various, that there was no
trusting it to it self.
So he ask'd her, how she was taken with the Riches and Gallantry of
the City, for she could not choose but see Lords and Ladies riding in
their brave gilt Coaches, and themselves dress'd in rich Apparel, and
the young Gallants riding on praunsing Horses upon imbroydered
foot-cloaths as she pass'd along the Streets.
She answered, they pleased her Eyes for a time, and that their
Dressings were like Bridal Houses, garnished and hung by some Ingenious
Wit, and their Beauties were like fine Flowers drawn by the Pencil of
Nature; but being not gathered by Acquaintance, said she, I know not
whether they are vertuously sweet, or no; but as I pass by, I please my
Eye, yet no other wayes than as senseless Objects; they entice me not
to stay, and a short view satisfies the Appetite of the Senses, unless
the rational and understanding part should be absent; but to me they
seem but moving Statues.
Well, said he, I hear there is a Masque to be at Court, and I am
resolved you shall go, if we can get in, to see it; for though I am
old, and not fit to go, since my dancing dayes are done, yet I must get
into some Corner to see how you behave your self.
Pray, said she, what is a Masque?
Said he, it is painted Scenes to represent the Poets Heavens and
Hells, their Gods and Devils, and Clouds, Sun, Moon, and Stars;
besides, they represent Cities, Castles, Seas, Fishes, Rocks,
Mountains, Beasts, Birds, and what pleaseth the Poet, Painter, and
Surveyour. Then there are Actors, and Speeches spoke, and Musick; and
then Lords or Ladies come down in a Scene, as from the Clouds; and
after that, they begin to dance, and every one takes out according as
they phancy. If a Man takes out a Woman, if she cannot dance, or will
not dance, then she makes a Curchy to the King, or Queen, or chief
Grandee, if there be any one, if not, to the upper end of the Room,
then turn to the Man, and make another to him; then he leaves, or leads
her to them she will take out; and she doth the like to him, and then
goeth to her place again. And so the Men do the same, if they will not
dance; and if they do dance, they do just so, when the Dance is ended,
and all the chief of the Youth of the City come to see it, or to shew
themselves, or all those that have youthfull Minds, and love Sights,
and fine Cloaths; then the Room is made as Light with Candles, as if
the Sun shined; and their glittering Bravery makes as glorious a Shew
as his gilded Beams.
Sir, said she, if there be such an Assembly of Nobles, Beauty, and
Bravery, I shall appear so dull, that I shall be onely fit to sit in
the Corner with you; besides, I shall be so out of Countenance, that I
shall not know how to behave my self; for private Breeding looks mean
and ridiculous, I suppose, in publick Assemblyes of that nature, where
none but the Glories of the Kingdome meet.
Ashamed, said he, for what? you have stollen no Bodies Goods, nor
Good Names, nor have you committed Adultery, for on my Conscience you
guess not what Adultery is; nor have you murthered any, nor have you
betrayed any Trust, or concealed a Treason; and then why should you be
Sir, said she, although I have committed none of those horrid Sins,
yet I may commit Errours through my Ignorance, and so I may be taken
notice of onely for my Follyes.
Come, come, said he, all the Errours you may commit, allthough I
hope you will commit none, will be laid upon your Youth; but arm your
self with Confidence, for go you shall, and I will have you have some
fine Cloaths, and send for Dressers to put you in the best fashion.
Sir, said she, I have observed how Ladies are dress'd when I pass
the Streets; and if you please to give me leave, I will dress my self
according to my judgement; and if you intend I shall go more than once,
let me not be extraordinary brave, lest liking me at first, and seeing
me again, they should condemn their former judgement, and I shall lose
what was gained, so I shall be like those that made a good Assault, and
a bad Retreat.
But Sir, said she, if you are pleased I shall shew my self to the
most view, let me be ordered so, that I may gain more and more upon
their good opinions.
Well, said her Uncle, order your self as you please, for I am
unskilled in that matter; besides, thou needst no Adornments, for
Nature hath adorned thee with a splendrous Beauty. Another thing is,
said he, we must remove our Lodgings, for these are too mean to be
known in; wherefore my Steward shall go take a large House, and furnish
it Nobly, and I will make you a fine Coach, and take more Servants, and
Women to wait upon you; for since you have a good Estate, you shall
live and take pleasure; but I will have no Men-visitors but what are
brought by my self: wherefore entertain no Masculine Acquaintance, nor
give them the least encouragement.
Sir, said she, my Duty shall observe all your Commands.
When her Uncle was gone, Lord, said she, what doth my Uncle mean to
set me out to shew? sure he means to traffick for a Husband; but Heaven
forbid those intentions, for I have no minde to marry: but my Uncle is
wife, and kinde, and studies for my good, wherefore I submit, and could
now chide my self for these questioning Thoughts. Now, said she, I am
to consider how I shall be dress'd; my Uncle saith, I am handsome, I
will now try whether others think so as well as he, for I fear my Uncle
is partial on my side; wherefore I will dress me all in Black, and have
no Colours about me; for if I be gay, I may be taken notice of for my
Cloaths, and so be deceived, thinking it was for my Person; and I would
gladly know the truth, whether I am handsome or no, for I have no skill
in Physiognomy; so that I must judge of my self by the approbation of
others Eyes, and not by my own. But if I be, said she, thought
handsome, what then? why then, answered she her self, I shall be cryed
up to be a Beauty; and what then? then I shall have all Eyes stare upon
me; and what am I the better, unless their Eyes could infuse in my
Brain Wit and Understanding? their Eyes cannot enrich me with
Knowledge, nor give me the light of Truth; for I cannot see with their
Eyes, nor hear with their Ears, no more than their Meat can nourish me
which they do eat, or rest when they do sleep. Besides, I neither
desire to make nor catch Lovers, for I have an Enmity against Mankinde,
and hold them as my Enemies; which if it be a sin, Heaven forgive, that
I should for one Man's neglect and perjury, condemn all that Sex.
But I finde I have a little Emulation, which breeds a desire to
appear more Beautifull than the Duke's Wife, who is reported to be very
handsome; for I would not have the World say, he had an advantage by
the Change: thus I do not envy her, nor covet what she enjoys, for I
wish her all Happiness, yet I would not have her Happiness raised by my
Misfortunes, for Charity should begin at home; for those that are
unjust, or cruel to themselves, will never be mercifull and just to
others. But, O my Contemplations, whither do you run? I fear, not in an
even path; for though Emulation is not Envy, yet the Byas leans to that
But, said she, to this Masque I must go, my Uncle hath press'd me to
the Wars of Vanity, where Cupid is General, and leads up the
Train: but I doubt I shall hang down my Head, through shamefastness,
like a young Souldier, when he hears the Bullets fly about his Ears:
but, O Confidence, thou God of good Behaviour, assist me. Well, said
she, I will practice against the day, and be in a ready posture. So
after two or three dayes, was the Masque; and when she was ready to go,
her Uncle comes to her, and sees her dress'd all in Black.
Said he, why have you put your self all in Black?
Sir, said she, I mourn like a young Widow, for I have lost my
Now by my troth, said he, and it becomes thee, for you appear like
the Sun when he breaks through a dark Cloud. Sayes he, I would have you
go veiled, for I would have you appear to sight onely when you come
into the Masquing Room; and after the Masque is done, all the Company
will rise as it were together, and joyn into a Croud: then throw your
Hood over your Face, and pass through them as soon as you can, and as
obscure, for I will not have you known untill we are in a more Courtly
Equipage. So away they went, onely he and she, without any attendance;
and when they came to enter through the Door to the Masquing Room,
there was such a Croud, and such a Noyse, the Officers beating the
People back, the Women squeaking, and the Men cursing, the Officers
threatning, and the Enterers praying; which Confusion made her afraid.
Lord, Uncle, said she, what a horrid Noyse is here? pray let us go
back, and let us not put our selves unto this unnecessary trouble.
O Childe, said he, Camps and Courts are never silent; besides, where
great Persons are, there should be a thundring Noyse to strike their
Inferiours with a kinde of Terrour and Amazement; for Poets say, Fear
and Wonder makes Gods.
Certainly, said she, there must be great Felicity in the sight of
this Masque, or else they would never take so much pains, and endure so
great affronts to obtain it: but, pray Uncle, said she, stay while they
are all pass'd in.
Why then, said he, we must stay untill the Masque is done, for there
will be striving to get in untill such time as those within are coming
But when they came near the Door, her Uncle spoke to the Officer
thereof; Pray Sir, said he, let this young Lady in to see the Masque:
There is no room, said he, there are more young Ladies allready than
the Viceroy and all his Courtiers can tell what to do with.
This is a dogged Fellow, said her Uncle; whereupon he told her, she
must put up her Scarf, and speak your self; for every one domineers in
their Office, though it doth not last two hours; and are proud of their
Authority, though it be but to crack a Louse; wherefore you must speak.
Pray Sir, said she to the Door-keeper, if it be no injury to your
Authority, you will be so civil as to let us pass by.
Now by my troth, said he, thou hast such a pleasing Face, none can
deny thee: but now I look upon you better, you shall not go in.
Why Sir? said she.
Why, said he, you will make the Painter and the Poet lose their
design, for one expects to enter in at the Ears of the Assembly, the
other at their Eyes, and your Beauty will blinde the one, and stop the
other; besides, said he, all the Ladies will curse me.
Heaven forbid, said he, I should be the cause of Curses; and to
prevent that, I will return back again.
Nay Lady, said he, I have not the power to let you go back,
wherefore pray pass.
Sir, said she, I must have this Gentleman along with me.
Even who you please, said she, I can deny you nothing, Angels must
When they came into the Masquing Room, the House was full; now, said
her Uncle, I leave you to shift for your self: then he went and crouded
himself into a Corner at the lower end.
When the Company was called to sit down, that the Masque might be
represented, every one was placed by their Friends, or else they placed
themselves. But she, being unaccustomed to those Meetings, knew not how
to dispose of her self, observing there was much justling and thrusting
one another to get places, when she consider'd she had not strength to
scamble amongst them, she stood still. When they were all set, it was
as if a Curtain was drawn from before her, and she appeared like a
glorious Light; whereat all were struck with such amaze, that they
forgot a great while the civility in offering her a place. At last, all
the Men, which at such times sit opposite to the Women to view them the
better, rose up, striving every one to serve her: But the Viceroy bid
them all sit down again, and called for a Chair for her. But few looked
on the Masque for looking on her, especially the Viceroy and the Duke,
whose Eyes were rivetted to her Face.
When the Masquers were come down to dance, who were all Women, the
chief of them being the Daughter of the Viceroy, who was a Widower, and
she was his onely Childe, they took out the Men such as their Phancy
pleased, and then they sate down; and then one of the chief of the Men
chose out a Lady, and so began to dance in single Couples, the Duke
being the chief that did dance, chose out this Beauty, not knowing who
she was, nor she him: But when she danced, it was so becoming; for she
having naturally a Majestical Presence, although her Behaviour was
easy and free, and a severe Countenance, yet modest and pleasing, and
great skill in the Art, keeping her Measures just to the Notes of
Musick, moving smoothly, evenly, easily, made her astonish all the
The Viceroy sent to enquire who she was, and what she was, and from
whence she came, and where she lived, but the Enquirer could learn
nothing. But as soon as the Masque was done, she was sought about for,
and enquired after, but she was gone not to be heard of: whereupon many
did think she was a Vision, or some Angel which appear'd, and then
vanished away; for she had done as her Uncle had commanded her, which
was, to convey her self as soon away as she could, covering her self
close. So home they went, and her Uncle was very much pleased to see
the Sparks of her Beauty had set their Tinder Hearts on Fire. But as
they went home, she enquired of her Uncle of the Company; Pray Sir,
said she, was the Duke or Dutchess there?
I cannot tell, said he, for my Eyes were wholly taken up in
observing your Behaviour, that I never considered nor took notice who
Who was he that first took me out to dance? said she.
I cannot tell that neither, said he, for I onely took the length of
your measure; and what through a fear you should be out, and dance
wrong, and with joy to see you dance well, I never considered whether
the Man you danced with moved or no, nor what he was: but now I am so
confident of you, that the next Assembly I will look about, and inform
you as much as I can: so home they went. But her Beauty had left such
Stings behinde it, especially in the Breast of the Viceroy and the
Duke, that they could not rest. Neither was she free, for she had
received a Wound, but knew not of it; her Sleeps were unsound, for they
indeed were Slumbers rather than Sleeps; her Dreams were many, and
various: but her Lovers, that could neither slumber nor sleep, began to
search, and to make an enquiry; but none could bring Tidings where she
dwelt, nor who she was. But the Viceroy cast about to attain the sight
of her once again; so he made a great Ball, and provided a great
Banquet, to draw an Assembly of all young Ladies to his Court.
Whereupon her Uncle understanding, told his Neece she must prepare to
shew her self once again; for I will, said he, the next day after this
Ball, remove to our new House.
Sir, said she, I must have another new Gown.
As many as thou wilt, said he, and as rich; besides, I will buy you
No Sir, said she, pray spare that cost, for they are onely to be
worn at such times of Assemblyes which I shall not visit often for fear
I tire the Courtly Spectators, which delight in new Faces, as they do
new Scenes. So her Uncle left her to order her self; who dress'd her
self this time all in white Sattin, all imbroydered with Silver.
When her Uncle saw her so dress'd, now by my troth thou lookest like
a Heaven stuck with Stars, but thy Beauty takes off the gloss of thy
Bravery; now, said he, you shall not go veiled, for thy Beauty shall
make thy way; besides, we will not go too soon, nor while they are in
disorder, but when they are all placed, you will be the more
But the Cavaliers, especially the Duke and the Viceroy, began to be
melancholy for fear she should not come; their Eyes were alwayes placed
at the Doors like Centinels, to watch her entrance; and when they came
to the Court, all the Crouds of People, as in a fright, started back,
as if they were surprized with some Divine Object, making a Lane, in
which she pass'd through; and the Keepers of the Doors were struck
mute, there was no resistance, all was open and free to enter. But when
she came in into the presence of the Lords and Ladies, all the Men rose
up, and bowed themselves to her, as if they had given her Divine
Worship; onely the Duke, who trembled so much, occasioned by the
passion of Love, that he could not stir: but the Viceroy went to her.
Lady, said he, will you give me leave to place you?
Your Highness, said she, will do me too much Honour.
So he called for a Chair, and placed her next himself; and when she
was set, she produced the same effects as a Burning-glass; for the
Beams of all Eyes were drawn together, as one Point placed in her Face,
and by reflection she sent a burning heat, and fired every Heart. But
he could not keep her; for as soon as they began to dance, she was
taken out, but not by the Duke, for he had not recovered as yet Loves
shaking Fit. But the young Gallants chose her soo often to dance, for
every one took it for a Disgrace, as not to have the Honour to dance
with her, insomuch that few of the other Ladies danced at all, as being
Creatures not worthy to be regarded whil'st she was there.
But the Viceroy, for fear they should tire her, and she not daring
to deny them, by reason it would be thought an affront, and rude, or
want of Breeding, made the Viceroy call sooner for the Banquet than
otherwise he would have done. Besides, he perceived the rest of the
Ladies begin to be angry, expressing it by their Frowns; and knowing
nothing will so soon pacifie that Bitter humour in Ladies as
Sweet-Meats, he had them brought in. But when the Banquet came in, he
presented her the first with some of those Sweet-Meats, and still
filling her Ears with Complements, or rather chosen Words, for no
Complement could pass on her Beauty, it was beyond all expressions.
At last, he asked her where her Lodging was, and whether she would
give him leave to wait upon her.
She answered him, it would be a great grace and favour to receive a
Visit from him; but, said she, I am not at my own disposing, wherefore
I can neither give nor receive without leave.
Pray, said he, may I know who is this happy Person you so humbly
Said she, it is my Uncle, with whom I live.
Where doth he live? said he.
Truly, said she, I cannot tell the name of the Street.
He is not here, Lady? said he.
Yes, said she, and pointed to him. And though he was loth, yet he
was forced to leave her so long, as to speak with her Uncle: but the
whil'st he was from her, all the young Gallants, which were gathered
round about her, presented her with Sweet Meats, as Offerings to a
Goddess; and she making them Curtesies, as returning them thanks for
that she was not able to receive, as being too great a Burthen; for she
was offered more Sweet-Meats than one of the Viceroy's Guard could
But all the while the Duke stood as a Statue, onely his Eyes were
fix'd upon her, nor had he power to speak; and she perceiving where he
was, for her Eye had secretly hunted him out, would as often look upon
him as her Modesty would give her leave, and desired much to know who
he was, but was ashamed to ask.
At last, the Duke being a little incouraged by her Eye, came to her.
Lady, said he, I am afraid to speak, lest I should seem rude by my
harsh Discourse; for there is not in the Alphabet, words gentle nor
smooth enough for your soft Ears, but what your Tongue doth polish: yet
I hope you will do as the rest of the Gods and Goddesses, descend to
Mortals, since they cannot reach to you.
Sir, said she, but that I know it is the Courtly Custome for Men to
express their Civilities to our Sex in the highest Words, otherwise I
should take it as an affront and scorn; to be called by those names I
understand not, and to be likened to that which cannot be comprehended.
Said the Duke, you cannot be comprehended; nor do your Lovers know
what Destiny you have decreed them.
But the Viceroy came back with her Uncle, who desired to have his
Neece home, the Banquet being ended.
But when the Duke saw her Uncle, he then apprehending who she was,
was so struck, that what with guilt of Conscience, and with repenting
Sorrow, he was ready to fall down dead.
Her Uncle, seeing him talking to her, thus spoke to the Duke.
Sir, said he, you may spare your Words, for you cannot justifie your
Whereat she turned as pale as Death, her Spirits being gathered to
guard the Heart, being in distress, as overwhelmed with Passion. But
the busle of the Croud helped to obscure her Change, as well as it did
smother her Uncles words, which peirced none but the Dukes ears, and
The Viceroy taking her by the Hand, led her to the Coach, and all
the Gallants attended; whereat the Ladies, that were left behinde in
the Room, were so angry, shooting forth Words like Bullets with the
Fire of Anger, wounding every Man with Reproach: but at the Viceroy
they sent out whole Vollyes, which battered his Reputation: but as for
the young Lady, they did appoint a place of purpose to dissect her,
reading Satyrical Lectures upon every part with the hard terms of
Dispraises. So all being dispersed, the Viceroy long'd for that
seasonable hour to visit her.
But the Duke wish'd there were neither Time nor Life; I cannot hope,
said he, for Mercy, my Fault is too great, nor can I live or dye in
quiet without it; but the Miseries and Torments of despairing Lovers
will be my punishment.
But the old Gentleman was so pleased to see his Neece admired, that
as he went home, he did nothing but sing after a humming way; and was
so frollick, as if he were returned to twenty years of age; and after
he came home, he began to examine his Neece.
Said he, how do you like the Duke? for that was he that was speaking
to you when I came.
She answered, that she saw nothing to be disliked in his Person.
And how, said he, do you like the Viceroy?
As well, said she, as I can like a Thing that Time hath worn out of
So, said he, I perceive you despise Age: but let me tell you, that
what Beauty and Favour Time takes from the Body, he gives double
proportions of Knowledge and Understanding to the Minde; and you use to
preach to me, the outside is not to be regarded; and I hope you will
not preach that Doctrine to others you will not follow your self.
Sir, said she, I shall be ruled by your Doctrine, and not by my own.
Then, said he, I take my Text out of Virtue, which is divided into
four parts, Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice. Prudence is
to foresee the worst, and provide the best we can for our selves, by
shunning the dangerous wayes, and choosing the best; and my Application
is, that you must shun the dangerous wayes of Beauty, and choose Riches
and Honour, as the best for your self.
Fortitude is to arm our selves against Misfortunes, and to
strengthen our Forts with Patience, and to fight with Industry. My
Application of this part is, you must barricade your Ears, and not
suffer, by listning after the enticing perswasions of Rhetorick to
enter; for if it once get into the Brain, it will easily make a passage
to the Heart, or blow up the Tower of Reason with the Fire of foolish
Temperance is to moderate the Appetites, and qualifie the unruly
Passions. My third Application is, you must marry a discreet and sober
Man, a wise and understanding Man, a rich and honourable Man, a grave
and aged Man, and not, led by your Appetites, to marry a vain
phantastical Man, a proud conceited Man, a wilde debauched Man, a
foolish Prodigal, a poor Shark, or a young unconstant Man.
And fourthly and lastly, is Justice, which is to be divided
according to Right and Truth, to reward and punish according to desert,
to deal with others as we would be dealt unto.
My last Application is, that you should take such counsel, and
follow such advice from your Friends, as you would honestly give to a
faithfull Friend as the best for him, without any ends to your self;
and so good night, for you cannot choose but be very sleepy.
When he was gone, Lord, said she, this Doctrine, although it was
full of Morality, yet in this melancholy Humour I am in, it sounds like
a Funeral Sermon to me; I am sure it is a Preamble to some Design he
hath, pray God it is not to marry me to the Viceroy; of all the Men I
ever saw, I could not affect him, I should more willingly wed Death
than him, he is an Antipathy to my Nature; good Jupiter, said
she, deliver me from him. So she went to Bed, not to sleep, for she
could take little rest, for her Thoughts worked as fast as a Feaverish
But the Viceroy came the next day, and treated with her Uncle,
desiring her for his Wife.
Her Uncle told him, it would be a great Fortune for his Neece, but
he could not force her Affection; but, said he, you shall have all the
assistance, as the power and authority of an Uncle, and the perswasions
as a Friend can give, to get her consent to marry you.
Pray, said the Viceroy, let me see her, and discourse with her.
He desired to excuse him, if he suffered him not to visit her; for,
said he, young Women that are disposed by their Friends, must wed
without wooing. But he was very loth to go without a sight of her: yet
pacifying himself with the hopes of having her to his Wife, presented
his Service to her, and took his leave.
Then her Uncle sate in Councel with his Thoughts how he should work
her Affection, and draw her consent to marry this Viceroy, for he found
she had no Stomack towards him; at last, he thought it best to let her
alone for a week, or such a time, that the smooth Faces of the young
Gallants, that she saw at the Masque and Ball, might be worn out of her
Minde. In the mean time, she grew melancholy, her Countenance was sad,
her Spirits seemed dejected, her Colour faded, for she could eat no
Meat, nor take no rest; neither could she study nor practice her
Exercises, as Dancing, &c. her Musick was laid by: Neither could
she raise her Voyce to any Note, but walk'd from one end of the Room to
the other, with her Eyes fix'd upon the Ground, would sigh and weep,
and knew not for what; at last, spoke thus to her self; Surely an evil
Fate hangs over me, for I am so dull, as if I were a peice of Earth,
without sense; yet I am not sick, I do not finde my Body distempered,
then surely it is in my Minde; and what should disturb that? my Uncle
loves me, and is as fond of me as ever he was; I live in Plenty, I have
as much Pleasure and Delight as my Minde can desire. O but the Viceroy
affrights it, there is the Cause; and yet methinks that cannot be,
because I do verily believe my Uncle will not force me to marry against
my Affections; besides, the remembrance of him seldome comes into my
Minde; for my Minde is so full of thoughts of the Duke, that there is
no other room left for any other; my Phancy orders places, and dresses
him a thousand several wayes: thus have I a thousand several Figures of
him in my Head; Heaven grant I be not in Love; I dare not ask any one
that hath been in Love, what Humours that Passion hath: But why should
I be in Love with him? I have seen as handsome Men as he, that I would
not take the pains to look on twice: But now I call him better to
minde, he is the handsomest I ever saw: But what is a handsome Body,
unless he hath a noble Soul? he is perjured and inconstant; alas, it
was the fault of his Father to force him to swear against his
Affections. But whil'st she was thus reasoning to her self, in came her
Uncle; he told her, he had provided her a good Husband.
Sir, said she, are you weary of me? or am I become a Burthen, you so
desire to part with me, in giving me to a Husband?
Nay, said he, I will never part, for I will end the few remainder of
my dayes with thee.
Said she, you give your Power, Authority, and Commands, with my
Obedience, away; for if my Husband and your Commands are contrary, I
can obey but one, which must be my Husband.
Good reason, said he, and for thy sake I will be commanded to; but
in the mean time, I hope you will be ruled by me; and here is a great
Match propounded to me for you, the like I could not have hoped for,
which is the Viceroy, he is rich.
Yet, said she, he may be a Fool.
O, he is wise and discreet, said he.
Said she, I have heard he is ill natured, and froward.
Answered her Uncle, he is in great Power and Authority.
He may be, said she, never the honester for that.
He is, said he, in great Favour with the King.
Sir, said she, Princes and Monarchs do not alwayes favour the most
deserving, nor do they alwayes advance Men for Merit, but most commonly
otherwise, the Unworthiest are advanced highest; besides, Bribery,
Partiality, and Flattery, rule Princes and States.
Said her Uncle, let me advise you not to use Rhetorick against your
self, and overthrow a good Fortune, in refusing such a Husband as shall
advance your place above that false Dukes Dutchess; and his Estate,
with yours joyned to it, it will be a greater than his, with which you
shall be served nobly, attended numerously, live plentifully, adorned
richly, have all the Delights and Pleasures your Soul can desire; and
he being in years, will dote on you; besides, he having had experience
of vain debaucheries, is become staid and sage.
Sir, said she, his Age will be the means to bar me of all these
Braveries, Pleasures and Delights you propound; for he being old, and I
young, he will become so Jealous, that I shall be in restraint like a
Prisoner; nay, he will be Jealous of the Light, and my own Thoughts,
and will enclose me in Darkness, and disturb the peace of my Minde with
his Discontents; for Jealousie, I have heard, is never at quiet with it
self, nor to those that live near it.
Come, come, said he, you talk I know not what; I perceive you would
marry some young, phantastical, prodigal Fellow, who will give you
onely Diseases, and spend your Estate, and his own to, amongst his
Whores, Bauds, and Sycophants; whil'st you sit mourning at home, he
will be revelling abroad, and then disturb your rest, coming home at
unseasonable times; and if you must suffer, you had better suffer by
those that love, than those that care not for you, for Jealousie is
onely an overflow of Love; wherefore be ruled, and let not all my
pains, care, and cost, and the comfort of my labour, be lost through
Sir, said she, I am bound in Gratitude and Duty to obey your Will,
were it to sacrifice my Life, or the Tranquillity of my Minde, on the
Altar of your Commands.
In the mean time, the Duke was so discontented and melancholy, that
he excluded himself from all Company, suffering neither his Dutchess,
nor any Friend to visit him, nor come near him, onely one old Servant
to wait upon him; all former Delights, Pleasures and Recreations were
hatefull to him, even in the remembrance, as if his Soul and Body had
taken a Surfet thereof. At last, he resolved she should know what
Torment he suffered for her sake; and since he could not see nor speak
to her, he would send her a Letter: then he called for Pen, Ink, and
Paper, and wrote after this manner.
The Wrath of the Gods is not onely pacified, and pardons the
greatest sins that can be committed against them, taking to mercy the
Contrite Heart, but gives Blessings for Repentant Tears; and I hope you
will not be more severe than they: let not your Justice be too rigid,
lest you become cruel. I confess, the sins committed against you were
great, and deserve great punishment: but if all your mercies did fly
from me, yet if you did but know the torments I suffer, you could not
choose but pity me; and my sorrows are of that weight, that they will
press out my life, unless your favours take off the heavy Burthen: but
howsoever, pray let your Charity give me a line or two of your own
writing, though they strangle me with Death: then will my Soul lye
quiet in the Grave, because I dyed by your hand; and when I am dead,
let not the worst of my Actions live in your Memory, but cast them into
Oblivion, where I wish they may for ever remain. The Gods protect you.
Sealing the Letter, he gave it to his Man to carry with all the
secrecy he could, bidding him to enquire which of her Women was most in
her favour, praying her to deliver it to her Mistris when she was all
alone, and to tell the Maid he would be in the Street to wait her
Command. The Man found such access as he could wish, the Letter being
delivered to the Lady; which, when she had read, and found from whom it
came, her Passions were so mix'd, that she knew not whether to joy or
grieve; she joy'd to live in his Thoughts, yet griev'd to live without
him, having no hopes to make him lawfully hers, nor so much as to see
or speak to him, her Uncle was so averse against him; and the greatest
grief was, to think she must be forced to become anothers, when she had
rather be his, though forsaken, than by another to be beloved with
Constancy. Then musing with her self for some time, considering whether
it was fit to answer his Letter, or no; If my Uncle should come to
know, said she, I write to him without his leave (which leave I am sure
he will never give) I shall utterly lose his Affection, and I had
rather lose Life than lose his Love; and if I do not write, I shall
seem as if I were of a malicious nature, which will beget an evil
construction of my disposition, in that Minde I desire to live with a
good opinion. And if I believe, as Charity and Love perswades me, that
he speaks truth, I shall endanger his Life; and I would be loth to
murther him with nice scruples, when I am neither forbid by Honour nor
Modesty, Religion nor Laws: Well, I will adventure, and ask my Uncle
pardon when I have done; my Uncle is not of a Tyger's nature, he is
gentle, and will forgive, and a Pardon may be gotten: but Life, when
once it is gone, will return no more. Then taking Pen, Ink, and Paper,
writ to him after this manner.
I am obedient, as being once tyed to you, untill you did cut
me off, and throw me away as a worthless piece, onely fit to be trodden
under the feet of disgrace, and certainly had perished with shame; had
not my Uncle owned me, I had been left destitute. And though you are
pleased to cast some thoughts back upon me, yet it is difficult for me
to believe, you, that did once scorn me, should humbly come to sue to
me: but I rather fear you do this for sport, angling with the Bait of
Deceit to catch my Innocent Youth. But I am not the first of my Sex,
nor I fear shall not be the last, that has been, and will be deceived
by Men, who glory in their treacherous spoyls; and if you beset me with
Stratagems kill me outright, and not leade me Prisoner, to set out your
Triumph: but if you have Wars with your Conscience, or Phancy, or both,
interrupting the peace of your Minde, as your Letter expresses, I
should willingly return to your side, and be an Arbitrator; yet the
Fates have destin'd it otherwise. But what unhappy fortune soever
befals me, I wish yours may be good. Heavens keep you.
Here, said she, give the Man, that brought me the Letter, this. The
Man returning to his Lord so soon, made him believe he had not
delivered her that Letter.
Well, said the Duke, you have not delivered my Letter.
Yes, but I have, said he, and brought you an Answer.
Why, said the Duke, it is impossible, you staid so short a time.
Then, said he, I have wrought a Miracle; but, said he, you did
lengthen my Journey in your Conceits, with the foul wayes of
I hope, said the Duke, thou art so blessed as to make as prosperous
a Journey, as a quick Dispatch; leave me awhile, said he, while I call
you. But when he went to open the Letter, Time brings not more
weakness, said he, than Fear doth to me, for my Hands shake as if I had
the Palsey; and my Eyes are so dim, that Spectacles will hardly inlarge
my sight. But when he had read the Letter, Joy gave him a new Life:
Here, said he, she plainly tels me, she would be mine; she saith, she
would return to my side, if the Fates had not destin'd against it, by
which she means, her Uncle is against me: well, if I can but once get
access, I shall be happy for ever. So after he had blessed himself in
reading the Letter many times over, I will, said he, strengthen my self
to enable my self to go abroad, for as yet I am but weak; and calling
to his Man, he bid him get him something to eat.
Did your Grace, said the Man, talk of eating?
Yes, answered the Duke, for I am hungry.
By my troth, said the Man, I had thought your Hands, Mouth, Appetite
and Stomack had made a Bargain; the one, that it never would desire
Meat nor Drink; the other, that it would digest none; the third, that
it would receive none; and the fourth, that it would offer none; for on
my conscience you have not eat the quantity of a pestle of a Lark this
week; and you are become so weak, that if a Boy should wrestle with
you, he would have the better.
You are deceived, said the Duke, I am so strong, and my Spirits so
active, that I would beat two or three such old Fellows as thou art;
and to prove it, I will beat thee with one hand.
No pray, said he, I will believe your Graces report, and leave your
active Grace for a time, to fetch you some Food.
When his Man came in with the Meat, he found the Duke a dancing.
I believe, said he, you carry your Body very light, having no heavy
Burthens of Meat in your Stomack.
I am so Aëry, said the Duke, as I will caper over thy Head.
By my troth, said he, then I shall let fall your Meat out of my
hands, for fear of your heels.
Whilst the Duke was at his meat, he talkt to his man; Why hast thou
lived an old Batchelour, and never marryed?
O Sir, said he, wives are too chargeable.
Why, said the Duke, are you so poor?
No Sir, answered he, Women are so vain, besides they do not only
spend their husbands estates, but makes his estate a bawd to procure
Love servants, so as his wealth serves onely to buy him a pair of horns.
Pray thee, let me perswade thee to marry, and I will direct thee to
whom thou shalt go a wooing.
Troth Sir, I would venture, if there had been any example to
Why, what do you think of my Marriage, do not I live happily?
Yes, said he, when your Dutches and you are asunder, but when you
meet, it is like Jupiter and Juno, you make such a
thundring noise, as it frights your mortall servants, thinking you will
dissolve our world, your Family, consuming our hospitallity by the fire
of your Worth; Rowling up the clouds of smoaky vapour from boyld Beef,
as a sheet of Parchment; VVhen you were a Batcheler we lived in the
Golden Age, but now it is the Iron Age, and Doomesday draws neer.
I hope, saith the Duke, thou art a Prophet, but when Doomesday is
past, you shall live in Paradice.
In my conscience, Sir, said he, fortune hath mismatcht you; for
surely nature did never intend to joyne you as Man and Wife; you are of
such different humors.
Well, said the Duke, for all your rayling against women, you shall
go a wooing, if not for your self, yet for me.
Sir, said he, I shall refuse no office, that your Grace imploys me
Go your ways, said the Duke, to that Ladyes maid you gave the letter
to, and present her with a hundred pounds, and tell her, if she can
help me to the speech of her Lady; you will bring her a hundred pounds
more, and if you finde her nice, and that she sayes she dare not, offer
her five hundred pounds or more, or so much, untill you have out-bribed
her cautious fears.
Sir, said the man, if you send her many of these presents, I will
wooe for my self, as well as for your Grace, wherefore by your Graces
leave, I will spruce up my self before I go, and trim my beard, and
wash my face, and who knows but I may speed, for I perceive it is a
fortunate year for old men to winne young mayds affections, for they
say, the Vice-Roy is to be married to the sweetest young beautifullest
Lady in the world, and he is very old, and in my opinion, not so
handsome as I am: with that the Duke turned pale.
Nay, said the man, your Grace hath no cause to be troubled, for tis
a Lady you have refused, wherefore he hath but your leavings.
With that the Duke up with his hand, and gave him a box on the eare:
Thou lyest said he, he must not marry her.
Nay, said the man, that is as your Grace can order the business;
but your Grace is a just performer of your Word, for you have tryed
your strength, and hath beaten me with one hand.
The Duke walked about the roome, and after he had pacified himself,
at last spoke to his man; Well, said he, if you be prosperous, and can
winn the maid to direct me the way to speak to her Lady, I will cure
the blow with Crowns.
Sir, said he, I will turn you my other cheek to box that, if you
Go away, said the Duke, and return as soon as you can.
Sir, said he, I will return as soon as my business is done, or els I
shall loose both paines and gaines, good fortune be my guide, said he,
and then I am sure of the Worlds favour, for they that are prosperous
shall never want friends, although he were a Coward, a Knave, or a
Fool, the World shall say, nay, think him valliant, honest and wise.
Sir, said he to the Duke, pray flatter fortune, and offer some
prayers and praises to her Deity in my behalf, though it be but for
your own sake; for he, that hath not a feeling interest in the
business, can never pray with a strong devotion for a good success, but
their prayers will be so sickly and weak, as they can never travell up
far, but fall back as it were in a swoun, without sense; in the
meantime the Vice-Roy and the Uncle had drawn up articles, and had
concluded of the match without the young Ladyes consent; but the Uncle
told her afterwards, she must prepare herself to be the Vice-Roys
bride: And said he, if you consent not, never come neer me more, for I
will disclaime all the interest of an Uncle, and become your enemy: his
words were like so many daggers, that were struck to her heart: for her
grief was too great for tears: but her maid, who had ventured her
Ladies Anger, for gold had conveyed the Duke into such a place, as to
go into her Chamber, when he pleased, and seeing her stand as it were,
without life or sence, but as a statue carved in stone, went to her,
which object brought her out of a muse, but struck her with such Amaze,
as she fixt her eyes upon him, as on some wonder, and standing both
silent for a time, at last she spake.
Sir, said she, this is not civilly done, to come without my leave,
or my Uncles knowledge: nor honorably done, to come like a theef in the
night to surprise me.
Madame, said he, Love, that is in danger to loose what he most
adores, will never consider persons, time, place, nor difficulty, but
runns to strengthen and secure his side, fights and assaults all that
doth oppose him, and I hear you are to be married to the Vice-Roy: but
if you do marry him, I will strive to make you a Widow the first houre,
cutting your Vowes asunder: and your husband, insteed of his bride,
shall imbrace death, and his Grave shall become his Wedding bed, or I
will lye there my self shrowded in my winding sheet from the hated
sight of seeing, or knowing you to be anothers: but if knowledge lives
in the grave, think not your self secure when I am dead; for if Ghosts
as some imagines, they can rise from the Earth, mine shall visit you
and fright you from delights, and never leave you untill you become a
subject in deaths Kingdom; but if you are cruell and take delight to
have your bridall health drunk in blood, marry him, where perchance we
may be both dead drunk with that warme red liquor.
Sir, answered she, it is an unheard of malice to me, or an Impudent
and vaine-glorious pride in you, neither to own me your self, nor let
another, but would have me wander out of my single life, that the World
may take notice and say, this is your forsaken maid; and I live to be
scorned and become friendless, for my Uncle will never own me, which
will prove as a proclamation to proclaime me a traitor to gratitude,
and naturall affection, by committing the treason of disobedience.
Said the Duke, you cannot want an owner whilst I live, for I had,
nor have no more power to resigne the interest I have in you, than
Kings to resign their Crowns that comes by succession, for the right
lyes in the Crown, not in the man, and though I have played the tyrant,
and deserved to be uncrowned, yet none ought to take it off my head,
but death, nor have I power to throw it from my self, death onely must
make way for a successor.
Then said she, I must dye, that your Dutches may have right, and a
Nay, said he, you must claime your own just interest and place your
What is that, said she, go to Law for you.
Yes, said he.
VVhere if I be cast, said she, it will be a double shame.
You cannot plead, and be condemned, said he, if Justice hears your
Cause: and though most of the Actions of my life have been irregular,
yet they were not so much corrupted or misruled by nature, as for want
of good education, and through the ignorance of my youth, which time
since hath made me see my errors; and though your beautie is very
excellent, and is able to enamour the most dullest sense, yet it is not
that alone that disturbs the peace of my mind, but the
conscientiousness of my fault, which unless you pardon and restore me
to your favour, I shall never be at rest.
I wish there were no greater obstacle, said she, than my pardon to
your rest: For I should absolve you soon, and sleep should not be more
gentle, and soft on your eyes, than the peace to your minde, if I could
give it, but my Uncles dislike may prove as fearfull dreams to disturbe
it: but indeed if his anger were like dreams, it would vanish away, but
I doubt it is of too thick a body for a Vision.
Sayes the Duke, we will both kneel to your Uncle, and plead at the
bar of either eare, I will confess my fault at one eare, whilst you
aske pardon for me at the other; And though his heart were steele,
your words will disolve it into compassion, whilst my tears mixe the
My Uncle said she, hath agreed with the Vice-Roy: and his word hath
sealed the bond, which he will never break.
Sayes the Duke, I will make the Vice-Roy to break the bargain
himself, and then your Uncle is set free: Besides, you are mine and not
your Uncles; Unless you prove my enemy to deny me, and I will plead for
my right: Heaven direct you for the best, said she, it is late, good
You will give me leave, said he, to kiss your hands.
I cannot deny my hand, said she, to him that hath my heart.
The next day the Duke went to the Vice-Roys, and desired to have a
private hearing, about a business that concerned him; And when he had
him alone, he shut the door, and drew his sword; which when the
Vice-Roy saw, he began to call for help.
Call not, nor make a noise, if you doe, hell take me, said the Duke,
I'le run you thorough.
What mean you, said the Vice-Roy, to give me such a dreadfull visit?
I come, said the Duke, to aske you a question, to forbid you an Act,
and to have you grant me my demand.
Said the Vice-Roy, the question must be resolvable, the Act just,
the demands possible.
They are so, said the Duke, My question is, whether you resolve to
be married to the Lady Delitia.
Yes, answered he.
The Act forbidden, is, you must not marry her.
Why, said the Vice-Roy?
Because, said he, she is my VVife, and I have been married to her
almost nine years.
VVhy, said he, you cannot have two wives?
No, said he, I will have but one, and that shall be she.
And what is your demand? My demand is, that you will never marry her.
How, sayes the Vice-Roy? put the case you should die, you will then
give me leave to marrie her?
No, said the Duke, I love her too well, to leave a possibility of
her marrying you: I will sooner die, than set my hand to this, said the
If you do not, you shall die a violent death, by heaven, answered
he, and more than that, you shall set your hand never to complain
against me to the King; will you do it, or will you not? for I am
desperate, said the Duke.
Said the Vice Roy, you strike the King in striking me.
No disputing, says he, set your hand presently, or I will kill you.
Do you say, you are desperate?
Yes, answered he.
Then I must do a desperate Act to set my hand to a bond I mean to
Use your own discretion, to that;
Come, said he, I will set my hand before I read it; for whatsoever
it is, it must be done; after he set his hand he read.
Here I do vow to Heaven, never to Wooe the Lady Delitia, nor
to take her to wife, whereunto I set my hand. To this paper too, said
Here I do vow to Heaven, never to take revenge, nor to complain of
the Duke to my King and master, whereunto I set my hand.
Saith the Duke, I take my leave, rest you in peace, Sir.
And the Devill torment you, said the Vice-Roy! O fortune, I could
curse thee with thy Companions, the fates, not only in cutting off my
happiness, in the injoying of so rare a beauty, but in stopping the
passage to a sweet revenge: And though I were sure, there were both
Gods, and Devills, yet I would break my Vow, for the one is pacified by
Prayers, and praises, and the other terrified with threats; but, O the
disgrace from our fellow-creatures, mankind, sets closer to the life,
than the skin to the flesh. For if the skin be flead off, a new one
will grow again, making the body appear younger than before; but if a
man be flead once of his reputation, he shall never regain it, and his
life will be alwaies bare and raw, and malice and envy will torment it,
with the stings of ill tongues; which to avoid, I must close with this
Duke in a seeming friendship, and not defy him as an open enemy, least
he should divulge my base acts done by my Cowardly fear; but they are
fools that would not venture their Reputations, to save their life,
rather than to dye an honourable death, as they call it; which is to
dye, to gain a good Opinion, and what shall they gain by it? a few
praises, as to say, he was a valiant man; And what doth the valiant
get, is he ever the better? No, he is tumbled into the grave, and his
bodie rottes, and burnes to dust; All the clear distinguishing senses,
the bright flaming appetites are quenched out; but if they were not,
there is no fuell in the grave to feed their fire; for, death is cold,
and the grave barren; besides, there is no Remembrance in the grave,
all is forgotten, they cannot rejoyce at their past gallant actions, or
remember their glorious Triumphs, but the onely happiness is, that
though there is no pleasure in the grave, so there is no paines; but to
give up life before nature requires it, is to pay a Subsidy before we
are taxt, or to yield up our liberties before we are prisoners. And who
are wise) that shall do so, No, Let fools run head-long to death; I
will live as long as I can, and not only live, but live easily, freely,
and as pleasant as I can; wherefore to avoid this mans mischiefs, which
lies to intrap my life, I will agree with him; and I had rather loose
the pleasures of one Woman, than all other pleasures with my life; but
to do him a secret mischief he shall not escape, if I can prevaile; but
I perceive this Duke, since he can have but one Wife, intends to set up
a Saraglia of young wenches, and by my troth, he begins with a fair
one, and whil'st he courts his mistris, I mean to wooe his wife, for he
hath not sworn me from that. So that my revenge shall be to make him a
Cuckold, so the Viceroy went to the Dutchess; and after he had made
his Complemental Addresses, they began to talk more serious.
Madam, said he, how do you like the rare Beauty which your Husband
doth admire so much, that he is jealous of all that look on her, and
would extinguish the sight of all Mens Eyes but his own, and challenges
all that make Love to her, threatens ruine and murther to those that
pretend to marry her.
Answered she, if he be so enamoured, I shall not wonder now that my
Beauty is thought dead, my Embraces cold, my Discourse dull, my Company
troublesome to him, since his Delight is abroad: but, said she, I am
well served, I was weary of my old Husband, and wished him dead, that I
might marry a young one; I abhorred his old age, that was wise and
experienced; despised his gray hairs, that should be reverenced with
respect; O the happiness I rejected that I might have enjoyed! for he
admired my Beauty, praised my Wit, gave me my Will, observed my Humour,
sought me Pleasures, took care of my Health, desired my Love, proud of
my Favours, my Mirth was his Musick, my Smiles were his Heaven, my
Frowns were his Hell; when this Man thinks me a Chain that inslaves
him, a Shipwrack wherein all his Happiness is drown'd, a Famine to his
Hopes, a Plague to his Desires, a Hell to his Designs, a Devil to damn
Nay certainly, said he, that Woman is the happiest that marries an
antient Man; for he adores her Virtue more than her Beauty, and his
Love continues; though her Beauty is gone; he sets a price of Worth
upon the Honour and Reputation of his Wife, uses her civilly, and gives
her Respect, as Gallant Men ought to do to a tender Sex, which makes
others to do the like; when a Young Man thinks it a Gallantry, and a
Manly Action, to use his Wife rudely, and worse than his Lacquay, to
command imperiously, to neglect despisingly, making her the Drudge in
his Family, flinging words of disgrace upon her, making her with scorn
the mirth and pastime in his idle and foolish discourse amongst his
vain and base Companions; when an Antient Man makes his Wife the Queen
of his Family, his Mistris in his Courtship, his Goddess in his
Discourse, giving her Praise, applauding her Actions, magnifying her
Nature; her Safety is the God of his Courage, her Honour the World to
his Ambition, her Pleasure his onely Industry, her Maintenance the mark
for his Prudence, her Delights are the Compass by which he sails, her
Love is his Voyage, her Advice his Oracle; and doing this, he doth
Honour to himself, by setting a considerable value upon what is his
own; when Youth regards not the temper of her Disposition, slights her
Noble Nature, grows weary of her Person, condemns her Counsels, and is
afraid his Neighbours should think his Wife wiser than himself, which
is the mark of a Fool, and a Disease most Men have (being married
young.) But a Man in years is solid in his Counsels, sober in his
Actions, gracefull in his Behaviour, wise in his Discourse, temperate
in his Life, and seems as Nature hath made him, Masculine. When a young
Man is rash in his Counsels, desperate in his Actions, wilde in his
Behaviour, vain in his Discourses, debauch'd in his Life, and appears
not like his Sex, but Effeminate.
A fair Forehead, and a smooth Skin, a rosie Cheek, and a ruby Lip,
wanton Eyes, a flattering Tongue are unmanly, appearing like Women or
Boyes, let them be never so Valiant; and that appears, as if they would
sooner suffer the Whip, than handle the Sword.
Where an antient Man, every Wrinkle is a Trench made by Time,
wherein lyes Experience to secure the Life from Errours; and their Eyes
are like active Souldiers, who bow and sink down by the over-heavy
Burthens of their Spoyls, which are several Objects that the Sight
carries into the Brain, and delivers to the Understanding, as Trophyes,
to hang up in the Magazine of the Memory. His white Hairs are the Flags
of Peace, that Time hangs out on the Walls of Wisdome, that Advice and
Counsel may come from and to safely. Nay, the very Infirmities of Age
seem manly; his feeble Legs look as if they had been overtired with
long Marches, in seeking out his Foes; and his Palsey-Hands, or Head,
the one seems as if they had been so often used in beating of their
Enemies, and the other in watching them, as they knew not what Rest
Sir, said the Dutchess, you commend aged Husbands, and dispraise
young ones, with such Rhetorick, as I wish the one, and hate the other;
and in pursuit of my Hate, I will cross my Husband's Amours as much as
In the mean time, the Duke was gone to the old Gentleman, the young
Which when the old Man saw him enter, he started, as if he had seen
an Evil he desired to shun.
Sir, said he, what unlucky occasion brought you into my House?
First, Repentance, answered the Duke, and then Love; and lastly, my
Respect which I owe as a Duty. My Repentance begs a Forgiveness, my
Love offers you my Advice and good Counsel, my Respect forewarns you of
Dangers and Troubles that may come by the marriage of your Neece to the
Why? what danger, said he, can come in marrying my Neece to a wise,
honourable, rich, and powerfull Man, and a Man that loves and admires
her, that honours and respects me?
But, said the Duke, put the case he be a covetous, jealous, froward,
ill-natured, and base cowardly Man, shall she be happy with him?
But he is not so, said he.
But, answered the Duke, if I can prove him so, will you marry her to
Pray, said he, spare your proofs of him, since you cannot prove your
self an honest Man.
Sir, said the Duke, Love makes me endure a Reproach patiently, when
it concerns the Beloved: but though it endures a Reproach, it cannot
endure a Rival.
Why, said the old Gentleman, I hope you do not challenge an interest
in my Neece.
Yes, said the Duke, but I do, and will maintain that interest with
the power of my Life, and never will quit it till Death; and if my
Ghost could fight for her, it should.
Heaven bless my Neece, said the old Gentleman: What is your Design
against her? Is it not enough to fling a Disgrace of Neglect on her,
but you must ruine all her good Fortunes? Is your Malice so inveterate
against my Family, that you strive to pull it up by the Roots, to cast
it into the Ditch of Oblivion, or to fling it on the Dunghill of Scorn?
Said the Duke, my Design is to make her happy, if I can, to oppose
all those that hinder her Felicity, disturbing the content and peace of
her Minde, for she cannot love this Man; besides, he disclaims her, and
vows never to marry her.
Sir, said the Gentleman, I desire you to depart from my House, for
you are a Plague to me, and bring an evil Infection.
Sir, said the Duke, I will not go out of your House, nor depart from
you, untill you have granted my Request.
Why, said the Gentleman, you will not threaten me?
No, said the Duke, I do petition you.
Said the Gentleman, if you have any Quarrel to me, I shall answer it
with my Sword in my Hand; for though I have lost some Strength with my
years, yet I have not lost my Courage; and when my Limbs can fight no
longer, the heat of my Spirits shall consume you; besides, an
Honourable Death I far prefer before a baffled Life.
Sir, said he, I come not to move your Anger, but your Pity, for the
Sorrows I am in, for the Injuries I have done you; and if you will be
pleased to take me into your Favour, and assist me, by giving my Wife,
your Neece, leave to claim the Laws of Marriage and Right to me, all my
Life shall be studious to return Gratitude, Duty, and Service.
Yes, answered he, to divulge her Disgrace, declaring your neglect in
an open Court, and to make my self a Knave to break my Promise.
Sir, said the Duke, your Disgrace by me is not so much as you
apprehend; but it will be a great Disgrace when it is known the
Vice-roy refuses her, as I can shew you his Hand to it; and if he
deserts your Neece, you are absolved of your Promise made to him; and
to let you know this is a Truth, I say here is his Hand.
The whil'st the old Gentleman was reading the Papers, the Vice-roy
O Sir, said he, you are timely come; is this your Hand, sayes he?
Yes, answered the Vice-roy.
And do you think it is honourably done, said the Gentleman?
Why, said the Vice-roy, would you have me marry another Man's Wife.
Well, said the old Gentleman, when your Viceroy-ship is out, as it
is almost, I will give you my answer; till then, fare you well.
But the Duke went to the young Lady, and told her the progress he
had had with her Uncle, and his anger to the Viceroy.
But after the old Gentleman's passion was abated towards the Duke,
by his humble submission, and the passion inflamed towards the Viceroy,
he hearkned to the Law-suit, being most perswaded by his Neeces
affection, which he perceived was unalterably placed upon the Duke. And
at last, advising all three together, they thought it fit, since the
Parties must plead their own Cause, to conceal their Agreements, and to
cover it by the Duke's seeming dissent, lest he should be convicted as
a Breaker of the known Laws, and so be liable to punishment, either by
the hazard of his Life, or the price of a great Fine.
But after Friends were made of all sides, the Law-suit was declared,
which was a business of discourse to all the Kingdome, and the place of
Judicature a meeting for all curious, inquisitive, and busiless People.
When the day of hearing was come, there was a Bar set out, where the
Duke and the two Ladies stood; and after all the Judges were set, the
young Lady thus spake.
Grave Fathers, and most equal Judges,
I come here to plead for Right, undeck'd with Eloquence,
but Truth needs no Rhetorick, so that my Cause will justifie it self:
but if my Cause were foul, it were not pencill'd words could make it
seem so fair, as to delude your Understanding Eye.
Besides, your Justice is so wise, as to fortifie her Forts with
Fortitude, to fill her Magazine with Temperance, to victual it with
Patience, to set Centinels of Prudence, that Falshood might not
surprize it, nor Bribery corrupt it, nor Fear starve it, nor Pity
undermine it, nor Partiality blow it up; so that all Right Causes here
are safe and secured from the Enemies of Injury and Wrong. Wherefore,
most Reverend Fathers, if you will but hear my Cause, you cannot but
grant my Suit.
Whereupon the Judges bid her declare her Cause. Then thus it is
I was married to this Prince; 'tis true, I was but young in years
when I did knit that Wedlock knot; and though a Child, yet since my
Vows were holy, which I made by Virtue and Religion, I am bound to seal
that sacred Bond with Constancy, now I am come to years of knowing of
Good from Evil.
I am not onely bound, most Pious Judges, to keep my Vow, in being
chastly his, as long as he shall live, but to require him by the Law,
as a Right of Inheritance belonging to me, and onely me, so long as I
shall live, without a Sharer or Co-partner: so that this Lady, which
layes a claim, and challenges him as being hers, can have no right to
him, and therefore no Law can plead for her; for should you cast aside
your Canon Law, most Pious Judges, and judge it by the Common Law, my
Suit must needs be granted, if Justice deals out right, and gives to
Truth her own; for should an Heir, young, before he comes to years, run
on the Lenders score, though the Lender had no Law to plead against
nonage, yet if his nature be so just to seal the Bonds he made in
nonage, when he comes to full years, he makes his former Act good, and
fixes the Law to a just Grant, giving no room for Cosenage to play a
part, nor Falshood to appear. The like is my Cause, most Grave Fathers,
for my Friends chose me a Husband, made a Bond of Matrimony, sealed it
with the Ceremony of the Church, onely they wanted my years of consent,
which I, by an Approvement, now set as my Hand-writing.
Sayes the Judges, what sayes the Duke? Then the Duke thus spake.
I confess, I was contracted to this Lady by all the sacred
and most binding Ceremonies of the Church, but not with a free consent
of Minde; but being forced by the duty to my Father, who did not onely
command, but threatned me with his Curse, he being then upon his
Death-bed, and I being afraid of a dying Fathers Curses, yielded to
those Actions which my Affections and Free-will renounced; and after my
Father was dead, placing my Affections upon another Lady, married her,
thinking my self not liable to the former Contract, by reason the
former Contract was but of six years of age, whose nonage I thought was
a warrantable Cancel from the Engagement.
Most Upright Judges,
My nonage of years is not a sufficient Bail to set him
free, he being then of full Age; nor can his fear of offending his
Parents, or his loving Duty towards them, be a casting Plea against me;
his Duty will not discharge his Perjury, nor his Fear could be no
Warrant to do a Wrong; and if a Fool by promise binds his Life to
Inconveniencies, the Laws that Wise Men made, must force him to keep
it. And if a Knave, by private and self-ends, doth make a Promise, Just
Laws must make him keep it.
And if a Coward make a Promise through distracted Fear, Laws,
that carry more Terrours, than the broken Promise, Profit, will make
him keep it.
But a wise, just, generous Spirit will make no Promise, but what
he can, and durst, and will perform.
But say a Promise should pass through an ignorant Zeal, and
seeming Good, yet a Right Honourable and Noble Minde will stick so fast
to its Engagements, that nothing shall hew them asunder; for a Promise
must neither be broken upon Suspicion, nor false Construction, nor
enticing Perswasions, nor threatning Ruins, but it must be maintained
with Life, and kept by Death, unless the Promise carry more malignity
in the keeping them, than the breaking of them.
I say not this to condemn the Duke, though I cannot applaud his
secondary Action concerning Marriage; I know he is too Noble to cancel
that Bond his Conscience sealed before high Heaven, where Angels stood
as Witnesses; nor can he make another Contract untill he is free from
me; so that his Vows to this Lady were rather Complemental, and Loves
Feignings, than really true, or so Authentical to last; he built
Affections on a wrong Foundation, or rather Castles in the Air, as
Lovers use to do, which vanish soon away; for where Right is not, Truth
cannot be; wherefore she can claim no lawfull Marriage, unless he were
a Free-man, not bound before; and he cannot be free, unless he hath my
consent, which I will never give.
Then the other Lady spake.
This crafty, flattering, dissembling Child layes a claim
to my Husband, who no way deserves him, she being of a low Birth, and
of too mean a Breeding to be his Wife; neither hath she any right to
him in the Law, she being too young to make a free Choyce, and to give
a free consent. Besides, he doth disavow the Act, by confessing the
disagreeing thereto in his Minde; and if she was to give a Lawfull
Consent, and his Consent was seeming, not real, as being forced
thereunto, it could not be a firm Contract; wherefore, I beseech you,
cast her Suit from the Bar, since it is of no validity.
Just Judges, answered she.
What though he secretly disliked of that Act he made? yet
Humane Justice sentences not the Thoughts, but Acts; wherefore those
Words that plead his Thoughts, ought to be waved as useless, and from
the Bar of Justice cast aside.
And now, most Upright Judges, I must intreat your favour and your
leave to answer this Lady, whose Passions have flung Disgraces on me,
which I, without the breach of Incivility, may throw off them off with
scorn, if you allow me so to do.
Said the Judges, we shall not countenance any Disgrace, unless we
knew it were a punishment for Crimes; wherefore speak freely.
Why then, to answer to this Lady, that I am meanly born. 'Tis
true, I came not from Nobility, but I can draw a Line of Pedegree five
hundred years in length from the root of Merit, from whence Gentility
doth spring. This Honour cannot be degraded by the Displeasure of
Princes, it holds not the Fee-simple from the Crown, for Time is the
Patron of Gentility, and the older it groweth, the more beautifull it
appears; and having such a Father and Mother as Merit and Time, Gentry
is a fit and equal Match for any, were they the Rulers of the whole
And whereas she sayes, most Patient Judges, I am a false
I answer, as to my Childhood, it is true, I am young, and
unexperienced, a Child in Understanding, as in Years; but to be Young,
I hope it is no Crime: but if it be, 'twas made by Nature, not by me.
And for dissembling, I have not had time enough to practice much
Deceit; my Youth will witness for me, it is an Art, not an inbred
Nature, and must be studied with Pains, and watch'd with Observation,
before any can be Masters thereof. And I hope this Assembly is so just,
as not to impute my Innocent Simplicity to a subtil, crafty, or a
deceiving Glass, to shew the Minds false Face, making that fair, which
in it self is foul. And whereas she sayes, I have been meanly bred,
'tis true, Honoured Judges, I have been humbly bred, taught to obey
Superiours, and to reverence old Age; to receive Reproofs with thanks,
to listen to wise Instructions, to learn honest Principles, to huswife
Time, making use of every minute; to be thrifty of my Words, to be
carefull of my Actions, to be modest in my Behaviour, to be chast in my
Thoughts, to be pious in my Devotions, to be charitable to the
Distressed, to be courteous to Inferiours, to be civil to Strangers;
for the truth is, I was not bred with Splendrous Vanities, nor learnt
the Pomp and Pride of Courts; I am ignorant of their Factions, Envies,
and Back-bitings, I know not the sound of their flattering Tongues, I
am unacquainted with their smiling Faces, I have not Wit to perceive
their false Hearts, my Judgement is too young and too weak to fathom
their deep and dangerous Designs.
Neither have I lived so long in populous Cities, as to share of
the Luxuriousness therein; I never have frequented their private nor
publick Meetings, nor turned the Day into Night by Disorders; I can
play at none of their Games, nor can I tread their Measures: but I was
bred a private Country Life, where the crowing of the Cocks served as
Waights of the Town; and the bleating of the Sheep, and lowing of the
Cows, are the Minstrels we dance after; And the singing of the Birds
are the Harmonius Notes by which we set our Innocent Thoughts, playing
upon the Heart-strings of Content, where Nature there presents us a
Masque with various Scenes, of several Seasons of the Year.
But neither low Birth, nor mean Breeding, nor bad Qualities, nay,
were I as Wicked as I am Young, yet it will not take away the truth of
my Cause, nor the justness of my Plea; wherefore I desire you to give
my Suit a patient Trial, and not to cast me from the Bar, as she
desires; for I hope you will not cast out my Suit by an unjust
Partiality, nor mistake the right measure, and so cut the truth of my
Cause too short: but I beseech you to give it length by your serious
Considerations, and make it fit by your just Favour; for though Truth
it self goeth naked, yet her Servants must be cloathed with Right, and
dress'd by Propriety, or they will dye with the cold of Usurpation, and
then be flung into the Ditch of Sorrow, there eaten up with the Ravens
of Scorn, having no burial of Respect, nor Tombe of Tranquility, nor
Pyramids of Felicity, which by your Justice may raise them as high as
Heaven, when your Injustice may cast them as low as Hell. Thus you
become to Truth, Gods or Devils.
Madam, said the Judges to the young Lady, the justice of your Cause
judges it self; for the severest Judge, or strictest rules in Law,
would admit of no debate.
And truly, Madam, it is happy for us that sit upon the Bench, that
your Cause is so clear and good, otherwise your Beauty and your Wit
might have proved Bribes to our Vote: but yet there will be a Fine on
the Duke for the breach of the Laws.
With that the Duke spake.
Most Carefull, Learned, and Just Judges, and Fathers of the
I confess my Fault, and yield my self a Prisoner to
Justice, to whom she may either use Punishment or Mercy: but had I
known the Laws of Custome, Religion or Honour then, as well as I do
now, I had not run so fast, nor plunged my self so deep in the foul
erroneous wayes: but wilde Youth, surrounded with Ease, and fed with
Plenty, born up with Freedome, and led by Self-will, sought Pleasure
more than Virtue: but Experience hath learn'd me stricter Rules, and
nobler Principles, insomuch as the reflection of my former Actions,
clouds all my future Happiness, wounds my Conscience, and torments my
Life: but I shall submit to what your wise Judgements shall think fit.
My Lord, answered the Judges, your Grace being a great Peer of the
Realm, we are not to condemn you to any Fine, it must be the King,
onely we judge the Lady to be your lawfull Wife, and forbid you the
Company of the other.
Said the Duke, I shall willingly submit.
With that, the young Lady spake. Heaven, said she, send
you just Rewards for your upright Actions: But I desire this Assembly
to excuse the Faults of the Duke in this, since he was forced by Tyrant
Love to run in uncouth wayes, and do not wound him with sharp Censures
For where is he, or she, though ne'r so cold,
But sometimes Love doth take, and fast in Fetters hold.
The Vice-roy being by, said to the other Lady; Madam, said he, since
the Law hath given away your Husband, I will supply his place, if you
think me so worthy, with whom perchance you may be more happy than you
were with him.
I accept of your Love, said she, and make no question but Fortune
hath favoured me in the change.
With that, the Court rose, and much Rejoycings there were of all