The worst respecting myself, in the case before me, is that my triumph, when completed, will be so glorious a one, that I shall never be able to keep up to it. All my future attempts must be poor to this. I shall be as unhappy, after a while, from my reflections upon this conquest, as Don Juan of Austria was in his, on the renowned victory of Lepanto, when he found that none of future achievements could keep pace with his early glory.
I am sensible that my pleas and my reasoning may be easily answered, and perhaps justly censured; But by whom censured? Not by any of the confraternity, whose constant course of life, even long before I became your general, to this hour, has justified what ye now in a fit of squeamishness, and through envy, condemn. Having, therefore, vindicated myself and my intentions to you, that is all I am at present concerned for.
Be convinced, then, that I (according to our principles) am right, thou wrong; or, at least, be silent. But I command thee to be convinced. And in thy next be sure to tell me that thou art.
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Edgeware, Thursday, may 4.
I know that thou art so abandoned a man, that to give thee the best reasons in the world against what thou hast once resolved upon will be but acting the madman whom once we saw trying to buffet down a hurricane with his hat. I hope, however, that the lady’s merit will still avail her with thee. But, if thou persistest; if thou wilt avenge thyself on this sweet lamb which thou hast singled out from a flock thou hatest, for the faults of the dogs who kept it: if thou art not to be moved by beauty, by learning, by prudence, by innocence, all shining out in one charming object; but she must fall, fall by the man whom she has chosen for her protector; I would not for a thousand worlds have thy crime to answer for.
Upon my faith, Lovelace, the subject sticks with me, notwithstanding I find I have no the honour of the lady’s good opinion. And the more, when I reflect upon her father’s brutal curse, and the villainous hard-heartedness of all her family. But, nevertheless, I should be desirous to know (if thou wilt proceed) by what gradations, arts, and contrivances thou effectest thy ingrateful purpose. And, O Lovelace, I conjure thee, if thou art a man, let not the specious devils thou has brought her among be suffered to triumph over her; yield to fair seductions, if I may so express myself! if thou canst raise a weakness in her by love, or by arts not inhuman; I shall the less pity her: and shall then conclude, that there is not a woman in the world who can resist a bold and resolute lover.