His eyes caught the figure of Delia.------“Ah,” said he, starting from his trance, “what do I see? Art thou, lovely intruder, a mere vision, an aerial being that shuns the touch?” “I beg ten thousand pardons. I meaned not, sir, to interrupt you. I will be gone.” “No, go not.” Answered he. “Thou art welcome to my troubled thoughts. I could gaze for ever.”
Saying this he rose and advancing towards her, seized her hand. “Be not afraid,” said he, “gentle fair one, my breast is a stranger to violence and rudeness. I have felt the dart of love. Unhappy myself, I learn to feel for others. But you are happy.” As he said this, a tear unbidden stole into the eye of Delia, and she wiped it away with the hand which was disengaged from his. “And dost thou pity me,” said he. “And does such softness dwell within thy breast? If you knew the story of my woes, you would have reason to pity me. I am in love to destraction, but I dare not disclose my passion. I am banished from the presence of her I love. Ah, cruel fate, I am entangled, inextricably entangled.” “And how, sir,” said Delia, “can I serve you?” “Alas,” said he, in no way. My case is hopeless and irretrievable. And what am I doing? Why do I talk, when the season calls for action? Oh, I am lost.”
“Dear Sir,” answered Delia, “you terrify me to death.” “Oh, no. I would not for the world give you an uneasy moment. Let me be unhappy—but may misfortune never disturb your tranquility. I return to seek her whose fate is surely destined to mix with mine. Pardon, loveliest of thy sex, the distraction in which I have appeared. I would ask you to forget me—I would ask you to remember me—I know not what I am, or what to think.”
With these words he took the hand which he still held in one of his, and raising it to his lips, kissed it with the utmost fervour. Immediately he caught up his hat, which lay beside him on the ground, and began to advance along the path that led out of the grove on the side furthest from the town. But his eyes were still fixed upon Delia. He heeded not the path by which he went; and scarcely had he gone twenty paces, ere he changed his mind and returned. Delia was seated on the bank and seemed lost in reverie. Damon threw himself upon his knees before her.
“Ah, why,” said he, “am I constrained to depart!—Why must I talk in riddles! Perhaps we may never see each other more. Perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to clear up the obscurity that at present I am obliged to preserve. But no, it cannot be. I never was happy but for two poor hours that I enjoyed your smiles, and, drinking in the poison of your charms, I forgot myself. The time too soon arrived for bitter recollection. My mistress calls, the mistress of my fate. I must be gone—Farewel—for ever.”
Saying this, he heaved a sigh that seemed almost to tear his breast asunder, and with the utmost apparent violence he tore himself away, and rushed along the path with incredible velocity.