Exilius, by Jane Barker

Book IV.

Amongst this Number of happy Persons, let us not forget the fair Cordiala, who, by Scipiana's Generosity, was accommodated with all Necessaries to embellish her beautiful Person, which shin'd with such Lustre, as soon struck the Eyes and Heart of the Youth Ismenus, who took all Opportunities to make her understand his Inclinations: And such was his Wit, Mein, and Person, that his Endeavours were not fruitless; for, unawares to her, a secret Affection took Root, and grew in her Heart, too deep for any Endeavours to eradicate; nevertheless, her Prudence and Modesty conceal'd it most carefully, and especially from Ismenus, making Passion submit to Reason, which taught her to refuse and avoid an Espousal, where their mutual Poverty could produce nothing but Misery. But this Reservedness serv'd only to fan the Flame of Ismenus; for as her Beauty gave Birth to his Love, so her Discretion created his Esteem, and both united in a vertuous and sincere Affection. He learn'd by her Carriage to distinguish between the African Facility in Emelia, and the European Modesty in Cordiala, one serving to nauseate and overcharge the Stomach of the Lover, the other to excite a constant Appetite. And 'tis certain nothing so charms the Heart of Man as Modesty in Woman; this being the Beauty of the Mind, exceeds that of the Body, and remains when the other perishes One gains a Victory, but the other wholly subdues. Which the young Ismenus experienc'd every Moment in the Person and Behaviour of the fair Cordiala; for whensoever he accosted her, she forc'd both her Tongue and Eyes to give her Heart the Lye, fearing to embark herself on those dangerous Seas of amorous Intrigues, without Friend or Parent for her Guide or Pilot; that whenever Ismenusfound Opportunity to assert his Passion, she always left him in a disponding State, and on the Brink of the worst of Precipices, Despair. Then would he reflect on his hard Fortune, wishing the Gods had made him less amorous, or her less fair. O ye eternal Powers! (would he say to himself) why am I the only object of your Anger, amongst all this happy Company of Lovers? Wherein have I offended your Divinities, that I am thus the Object of your Punishment in her Scorn? Am I disregarded, and not protected by you, because I am not born great? O, no, that were incongruous with your Justice, since I direct all my Actions and Intentions to vertuous and honourable Ends; and my Love to Cordiala is because she bears so true a Resemblance to your Perfections. But, perhaps, Cordialais too bright and perfect to be look'd on by the Eyes of the unworthy Ismenus; she is made for some great Lord, and to be the Mother of a Race of Heroes. Thus did Ismenus pass his Moments in amorous Fancies, between Fears and earnest Longings, Hope having but a small Share of his solitary Thoughts.

Nor were the whole Company without their respective Fears and Apprehensions. The Presence of Fabius and Jemella caus'd great Agitations in the Hearts of Exilius, Scipiana, Clelia, and Marcellus.

In fine, the Hearts of all this illustrious Company were surcharg'd with the Business of their respective Amours. Only Clodius, who had been so lavish of his Love, that he was now become bankrupt, and had neither Mistress nor Intrigue wherewith to divert himself, but by the Blessing of his Stars he does not remain so long: For Clelia,being careful to inquire daily after the Health of Libidinia, was inform'd, that now she was so well recover'd, that she intended very shortly to pay her Respects to that illustrious Company. When Clodius heard of Libidinia, he said the Gods had brought him thither in a lucky Moment; for, said he, she was my first Mistress, and perhaps shall be my last; for I will catch her in a Marriage−Noose, if possible: In which State I shall have Opportunity to be reveng'd of her; she deserves no better than such a loose hung Lover as my self, she having taken large Liberties of that Kind; for it was to me she first gave her Faith, and afterwards, by the Perswasion of her Friends, was marry'd to Aurelius. This her Infidelity instructed me in the Rudiments of Falshood, in which I have made such Proficiency, that I dare challenge a Tryal of Skill with her, or any false She in Europe. Therefore, Widow, when thou comest, thou must have thy own Genius and nine Devils more to help thee if thou escape.

But we will leave these happy Lovers and Friends to divert themselves with the Raillery of Clodius, and conduct our Reader to search after the Body of Turpius, which has been so long Time lost and lamented by his Daughter the beautious Clarinthia.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/barker/jane/exilius/book9.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31