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Lycidus by Aphra Behn


The Lover in Fashion


subjects: Plays: Classic & Pre-20th Century

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Being an account from Lycidus to Lysander, of his voyage from the Island of Love: from the French / by the same author of The voyage to the Isle of Love.

59 pages with a reading time of ~60 minutes (14968 words), and first published in 1688. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

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I Have receiv’d your melancholy Epistle, with the Account of your Voyage to the Island of Love; of your Adventures there, and the Relation of the death of your Aminta: At which you shall forgive me if I tell you I am neither surpris’d nor griev’d, but hope to see you the next Campagne, as absolutely reduc’d to reason as myself. When Love, that has so long deprived you of Glory, shall give you no more Sighs but at the short remembrances of past Pleasures; and that after you have heard my Account of the Voyage I made to the same place, with my more lucky one back again, (for I, since I saw you, have been an Adventurer) you will by my Example become of my Opinion, (notwithstanding your dismal Tales of Death and the eternal Shades,) which is, that if there be nothing that will lay me in my Tomb till Love brings me thither, I shall live to Eternity.

I must confess ‘tis a great Inducement to Love, and a happy Advance to an Amour, to be handsom, finely shap’d, and to have a great deal of Wit; these are Charms that subdue the Hearts of all the Fair: And one sees but very few Ladies, that can resist these good Qualities, especially in an Age so gallant as ours, yet all this is nothing if Fortune do not smile: And I have seen a Man handsom, well shap’d, and of a great deal of Wit, with the advantage of a thousand happy Adventures, yet finds himself in the end, fitter for an Hospital than the Elevation of Fortune: And the Women are not contented we should give them as much Love as they give us, (which is but reasonable,) but they would compel us all to Present and Treat ‘em lavishly, till a Man hath consumed both Estate and Body in their Service. How many do we see, that are wretched Examples of this Truth, and who have nothing of all they enjoyed remaining with ‘em, but a poor Id├Ža of past Pleasures, when rather the Injury the Jilt has done ‘em, ought to be eternally present with ‘em. Heaven keep me from being a Woman’s Property. There are Cullies enough besides you or I, Lysander.

One would think now, That I, who can talk thus Learnedly and Gravely, had never been any of the number of those wretched, whining, sighing, dying Fops, I speak of, never been jilted and cozen’d of both my Heart and Reason; but let me tell those that think so, they are mistaken, and that all this Wisdom and Discretion, I now seem replenish’d with, I have as dearly bought as any keeping Fool of ‘em all. I was Li’d and flattered into Wit, jilted and cozen’d into Prudence, and, by ten thousand broken Vows and perjured Oaths, reduced to Sense again; and can laugh at all my past Follies now.

After I have told you this, you may guess at a great part of my Story; which, in short, is this: I would needs make a Voyage, as you did, to this fortunate Isle, and accompanyed with abundance of young Heirs, Cadets, Coxcombs, Wits, Blockheads, and Politicians, with a whole Cargo of Cullies all, nameless and numberless we Landed on the Inchanted Ground; the first I saw, and lik’d, was charming Silvia; you believe I thought her fair as Angels; young, as the Spring, and sweet as all the Flowers the blooming Fields produce; that when she blush’d, the Ruddy Morning open’d, the Rose-buds blew, and all the Pinks and Dazies spread; that when she sigh’d or breath’d, Arabia’s Spices, driven by gentle Winds, perfum’d all around; that when she look’d on me, all Heaven was open’d in her Azure Eyes, from whence Love shot a thousand pointed Darts, and wounded me all over; that when she spoke, the Musick of the Spheres, all that was ravishing in Harmony, blest the Adoring Listener; that when she walk’d, Venus in the Mirtle Grove when she advanced to meet her lov’d Adonis, assuming all the Grace young Loves cou’d give, had not so much of Majesty as Silvia: In fine, she did deserve, and I compared her to all the Fopperies, the Suns, the Stars, the Coral, and the Pearl, the Roses and Lillies, Angels Spheres, and Goddesses, fond Lovers dress their Idols in. For she was all, fancy and fine imagination could adorn her with, at least, the gazing Puppy thought so. ‘Twas such I saw and lov’d; but knowing I did Adore, I made my humble Court, and she, by all my trembling, sighings, pantings, the going and returning of my Blood, found all my Weakness and her own Power; and using all the Arts of her Sex, both to ingage and secure me, play’d all the Woman over: She wou’d be scornful and kind by turns, as she saw convenient, This to check my Presumption and too easy hope; That to preserve me from the brink of despair. Thus was I tost in the Blanket of Love, sometimes up, and sometimes down, as her Wit and Humour was in or out of tune, all which I watch’d, and waited like a Dog, that still the oftner kick’d wou’d fawn the more.