No. 142. Monday, August 13, 1711. Steele.

... Irrupta tenet Copula ...'

The following Letters being Genuine, [1] and the Images of a Worthy Passion, I am willing to give the old Lady's Admonition to my self, and the Representation of her own Happiness, a Place in my Writings.

August 9, 1711.


'I am now in the sixty seventh Year of my Age, and read you with Approbation; but methinks you do not strike at the Root of the greatest Evil in Life, which is the false Notion of Gallantry in Love. It is, and has long been, upon a very ill Foot; but I, who have been a Wife Forty Years, and was bred in a way that has made me ever since very happy, see through the Folly of it. In a Word, Sir, when I was a young Woman, all who avoided the Vices of the Age were very carefully educated, and all fantastical Objects were turned out of our Sight. The Tapestry Hangings, with the great and venerable Simplicity of the Scripture Stories, had better Effects than now the Loves of Venus and Adonis or Bacchus and Ariadne in your fine present Prints. The Gentleman I am married to made Love to me in Rapture, but it was the Rapture of a Christian and a Man of Honour, not a Romantick Hero or a Whining Coxcomb: This put our Life upon a right Basis. To give you an Idea of our Regard one to another, I inclose to you several of his Letters, writ Forty Years ago, when my Lover; and one writ t'other Day, after so many Years Cohabitation.'

Your Servant,


_August_ 7, 1671.
'If my Vigilance and ten thousand Wishes for your Welfare and Repose
could have any force, you last Night slept in Security, and had
every good Angel in your Attendance. To have my Thoughts ever fixed
on you, to live in constant Fear of every Accident to which Human
Life is liable, and to send up my hourly Prayers to avert 'em from
you; I say, Madam, thus to think, and thus to suffer, is what I do
for Her who is in Pain at my Approach, and calls all my tender
Sorrow Impertinence. You are now before my Eyes, my Eyes that are
ready to flow with Tenderness, but cannot give relief to my gushing
Heart, that dictates what I am now Saying, and yearns to tell you
all its Achings. How art thou, oh my Soul, stoln from thy self! How
is all thy Attention broken! My Books are blank Paper, and my
Friends Intruders. I have no hope of Quiet but from your Pity; To
grant it, would make more for your Triumph. To give Pain is the
Tyranny, to make Happy the true Empire of Beauty. If you would
consider aright, you'd find an agreeable Change in dismissing the
Attendance of a Slave, to receive the Complaisance of a Companion. I
bear the former in hopes of the latter Condition: As I live in
Chains without murmuring at the Power which inflicts 'em, so I could
enjoy Freedom without forgetting the Mercy that gave it.'
_MADAM, I am
Your most devoted, most obedient Servant_.

Tho' I made him no Declarations in his Favour, you see he had Hopes of Me when he writ this in the Month following.

_Madam, September 3, 1671_.
'Before the Light this Morning dawned upon the Earth I awaked, and
lay in Expectation of its return, not that it cou'd give any new
Sense of Joy to me, but as I hoped it would bless you with its
chearful Face, after a Quiet which I wish'd you last Night. If my
Prayers are heard, the Day appeared with all the Influence of a
Merciful Creator upon your Person and Actions. Let others, my lovely
Charmer, talk of a blind Being that disposes their Hearts, I contemn
their low Images of Love. I have not a Thought which relates to you,
that I cannot with Confidence beseech the All-seeing Power to bless
me in. May he direct you in all your Steps, and reward your
Innocence, your Sanctity of Manners, your Prudent Youth, and
becoming Piety, with the Continuance of his Grace and Protection.
This is an unusual Language to Ladies; but you have a Mind elevated
above the giddy Motions of a Sex insnared by Flattery, and misled by
a false and short Adoration into a solid and long Contempt. Beauty,
my fairest Creature, palls in the Possession, but I love also your
Mind; your Soul is as dear to me as my own; and if the Advantages of
a liberal Education, some Knowledge, and as much Contempt of the
World, join'd with the Endeavours towards a Life of strict Virtue
and Religion, can qualify me to raise new Ideas in a Breast so well
disposed as yours is, our Days will pass away with Joy; and old Age,
instead of introducing melancholy Prospects of Decay, give us hope
of Eternal Youth in a better Life. I have but few Minutes from the
Duty of my Employment to write in, and without time to read over
what I have writ, therefore beseech you to pardon the first Hints of
my Mind, which I have expressed in so little Order.
_I am, dearest Creature,
Your most Obedient,
most Devoted Servant_.'

The two next were written after the Day of our Marriage was fixed.

_September 25, 1671
'It is the hardest thing in the World to be in Love, and yet attend
Business. As for me, all that speak to me find me out, and I must
lock myself up, or other People will do it for me. A Gentleman asked
me this Morning what News from _Holland_, and I answered, She's
Exquisitely handsome. Another desir'd to know when I had been last
at _Windsor_, I reply'd, 'She designs to go with me. Prethee, allow
me at least to kiss your Hand before the appointed Day, that my Mind
may be in some Composure. Methinks I could write a Volume to you,
but all the Language on Earth would fail in saying how much, and
with what dis-interested Passion, _I am ever Yours_.
_September 30, 1671_.
_Seven in the Morning_.
_Dear Creature_,
Next to the Influence of Heav'n, I am to thank you that I see the
returning Day with Pleasure. To pass my Evenings in so sweet a
Conversation, and have the Esteem of a Woman of your Merit, has in
it a Particularity of Happiness no more to be express'd than
return'd. But I am, my Lovely Creature, contented to be on the
obliged Side, and to employ all my Days in new Endeavours to
convince you and all the World of the Sense I have of your
Condescension in Chusing,
_MADAM, Your Most Faithful,
Most Obedient Humble Servant._

He was, when he writ the following Letter, as agreeable and pleasant a Man as any in England.

_October 20, 1671_.
I Beg Pardon that my Paper is not Finer, but I am forced to write
from a Coffee-house where I am attending about Business. There is a
dirty Crowd of Busie Faces all around me talking of Mony, while all
my Ambition, all my Wealth is Love: Love which animates my Heart,
sweetens my Humour, enlarges my Soul, and affects every Action of my
Life. 'Tis to my lovely Charmer I owe that many noble Ideas are
continually affix'd to my Words and Actions: 'Tis the natural Effect
of that generous Passion to create in the Admirer some Similitude of
the Object admired; thus, my Dear, am I every Day to improve from so
sweet a Companion. Look up, my Fair One, to that Heaven which made
thee such, and join with me to implore its Influence on our tender
innocent Hours, and beseech the Author of Love to bless the Rites he
has ordained, and mingle with our Happiness a just Sense of our
transient Condition, and a Resignation to his Will, which only can
regulate our Minds to a steady Endeavour to please him and each
_I am, for Ever,
your Faithful Servant_.
_I will not trouble you with more Letters at this time, but if you
saw the poor withered Hand which sends you these Minutes, I am sure
you will smile to think that there is one who is so gallant as to
speak of it still as so welcome a Present, after forty Years
Possession of the Woman whom he writes to_.
June 23, 1711.
I Heartily beg your Pardon for my Omission to write Yesterday. It
was of no Failure of my tender Regard for you; but having been very
much perplexed in my Thoughts on the Subject of my last, made me
determine to suspend speaking of it 'till I came to myself. But, my
Lovely Creature, know it is not in the Power of Age, or Misfortune,
or any other Accident which hangs over Human Life, to take from me
the pleasing Esteem I have for you, or the Memory of the bright
Figure you appeared in when you gave your Hand and Heart to,
_Your most Grateful Husband_,
_and Obedient Servant_.

[Footnote 1: They are, after the first, with a few changes of phrase and the alteration of date proper to the design of this paper, copies of Steele's own love-letters addressed to Mrs. Scurlock, in August and September, 1707; except the last, a recent one, written since marriage.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Od. xiii. 12.
'Whom love's unbroken bond unites.'