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'Tis not in me to master fo my Paffions;
I must know farther, or you have made good
But half your Promife. While my Love stood by,
Holding her upright, and my Prefence was
A Watch upon her, her Defires being met too
With equal Ardour from me, what one Proof
Could the give of her Conftancy, being untempted?
But when I am abfent, and my coming back
Uncertain, and those wanton Heats in Women
Not to be quench'd by lawful Means, and the
The abfolute Difpofer of herself,
Without Controul or Curb; nay more, invited
By Opportunity and all ftrong Temptations,
If then the hold out-
Bapt. As no Doubt fhe will.
Math. Thofe Doubts must be made Certainties, By your Affurance, or your boafted Art [Baptifta, Deferves no Admiration. How you trifleAnd play with my Affliction! I'm on The Rack, till you confirm me.
Bapt. Sure, Mathias,
I am no God, nor can I dive into
Her hidden Thoughts, or know what her Intents are;
That is deny'd to Art, and kept conceal'd
E'en from the Devils themfelves: They can but guess,
Out of long Obfervation, what is likely;
But pofitively to foretell that this shall be,
You may conclude impoffible; all I can,
I will do for you. When you are diftant from her
A thousand Leagues, as if you then were with her,
You fhall know truly when fhe is folicited,
And how far wrought on.
Math. I defire no more.
Bapt. Take then this little Model of Sophia, With more than human Skill limn'd to the Life; Each Line and Lineament of it in the Drawing So punctually obferv'd, that, had it Motion, In fo much 'twere herself.
Math. It is, indeed,
An admirable Piece; but if it have not
Some hidden Virtue that I cannot guefs at,
In what can it advantage me?
Bapt. I'll inftruct you.
Carry it ftill about you, and as oft
As you defire to know how the's affected,
With curious Eyes perufe it: While it keeps
The Figure it now has, entire and perfect,
She is not only innocent in Fact,
But unattempted; but if once it vary
From the true Form, and what's now White and Red
Incline to Yellow, reft moft confident
She's with all Violence courted, but unconquer'd.
But if it turn all Black, 'tis an Affurance
The Fort, by Compofition or Surprize,
Is forc'd, or with her free Confent, furrender'd.
Nothing can be more fantastick, or more in the extravagant Strain of the Italian Novels, than this Fiction: And yet the Play raised on it is extremely beautiful, abounds with affecting Situations, true Character, and a faithful Reprefentation of Nature. The Story, thus opened, proceeds as follows: Mathias departs, accompanied by his Friend, and ferves as a Volunteer in the Hungarian Army against the Turks. A complete Victory being obtained, chiefly by Means of his Valour, he is brought by the General to the Hungarian Court, where he not only receives many flonours from the King, but captivates the Heart of the Queen; whofe Paffion is not fo much excited by his known Valour, or perfonal Attractions, as by his avowed Conftancy to his Wife, and his firm Affurance of her reciprocal Affection and Fidelity to him. These Circumftances touch the Pride, and raise the Envy of the Queen. She refolves therefore to deftroy his conjugal Faith by giving up her own, and determines to make him a VOL. II. T desperate
defperate Offer of her Person; and, at the fame Time, under Pretence of Notice of Mathias's being detained for a Month at Court, the difpatches two young Noblemen to tempt the Virtue of Sophia. Thefe Incidents occafion feveral affecting Scenes both on the Part of the Husband and Wife. Mathias (not with an unnatural and untheatrical Stoicifm, but with the livelieft Senfibility) nobly withftands the Temptations of the Queen. Sophia, though moft virtuously attached to her Husband, becomes uneafy at the feigned Stories which the young Lords recount to her of his various Gallantries at Court, and in a Fit of Jealoufy, Rage, and Refentment, makes a momentary Refolution to give up her Honour. While the is fuppofed to be yet under the Dominion of this Refolution, occurs the following Scene between the Husband and his Friend.
MATHIAS and BAPTISTA.
Bapt. We are in a desperate Straight; there's no
Nor Hope left to come off, but by your yielding
To the Neceffity; you must feign a Grant
To her violent Paffion, or-
Math. What, my Baptifta?
Bapt. We are but dead elfe.
Math. Were the Sword now heav'd up,
And my Neck upon the Block, I would not buy
An Hour's Reprieve with the Lofs of Faith and Virtue,
To be made immortal here. Art thou a Scholar,
Nay, almoft without a Parallel, and yet fear
To die, which is inevitable? You may urge
The many Years that by the Courfe of Nature
We may travel in this tedious Pilgrimage,
And hold it as a Bleffing, as it is,
When Innocence is our Guide; yet know, Baptifta,
Our Virtues are preferr'd before our Years,
By the Great Judge. To die untainted in
Our Fame and Reputation is the greatest ;
And to lofe that, can we desire to live?
Or fhall I, for a momentary Pleasure,
Which foon comes to a Period, to all Times
Have Breach of Faith and Perjury remembred
In a ftill living Epitaph? No, Baptifta,
Since my Sophia will go to her Grave
Unfpotted in her Faith, I'll follow her
With equal Loyalty: But look on this,
Your own great Work, your Mafter-piece, and then
She being fill the fame, teach me to alter.
Ha! fure I do not fleep! Or, if I dream,
[The Picture altered.
This is a terrible Vision! I will clear
My Eyefight, perhaps Melancholy makes me
See that which is not.
Bapt. It is too apparent.
I grieve to look upon't; befides the Yellow,
That does affure fhe's tempted, there are Lines
Of a dark Colour, that disperse themselves
O'er every Miniature of her Face, and thofe
Math. She is turn'd Whore.
Bapt. I must not say so,
Yet as a Friend to Truth, if you will have me
Interpret it, in her Confent, and Wishes
She's falfe, but not in Fact yet.
Math. Fact! Baptifta?
Make not yourself a Pandar to her Looseness,
In labouring to palliate what a Vizard
Of Impudence cannot cover. Did e'er Woman
In her Will decline from Chastity, but found Means
To give her hot Luft full Scope? It is more
Poffible in Nature for grofs Bodies
Defcending of themfelves, to hang in the Air,
Or with my fingle Arm to underprop
A falling Tower; nay, in its violent Courfe
To ftop the Light'ning, than to ftay a Woman.
Hurried by two Furies, Luft and Faithood,
In her full Career to Wickednefs.
Baht Pray you temper
The Violence of your Paffion.
Math. In Extremes
Of this Condition, can it be in Man
To ufe a Moderation? I am thrown
From a fteep Rock headlong into a Gulphr
Of Mifery, and find myself paft Hope,
In the fame Moment that I apprehend
That I am falling. And this, the Figure of
My Idol, few Hours fince, while fhe continued
In her Perfection, that was late a Mitror,
In which I faw miraculous Shapes of Duty,
Staid Manners, with all Excellency a Husband
Could with in a chafte Wife, is on the fudden
Turn'd to a magical Glafs, and does prefent
Nothing but Horns and Horror.
Bapt. You may yet
(And 'tis the beft Foundation) build up Comfort On your own Goodness.
Math. No, that hath undone me, For now I hold my Temperance a Sin
Worfe than Excefs, and what was Vice a Virtue.
Have I refus'd a Queen, and fuch a Queen [ed
(Whofe ravishing Beautics at the firft Sight had tempt-
A Hermit from his Beads, and chang'd his Prayers
To amorous Sonnets) to preferve my Faith
Inviolate to Thee, with the Hazard of
My Death with Torture, fince fhe could inflict
No lefs for my Contempt, and have I met
Such a Return from Thee? I will not curfe Thee,
Nor for thy Falihood rail against the Sex;
"Tis poor, and common; I'll only with wife Men
Whisper unto myfelf, howe'er they feem,
Nor prefent, nor paft Times, nor the Age to come
Hath heretofore, can now, or ever fall
Produce one conftant Woman.