Imogen: A Pastoral Romance From the Ancient : Book 4

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(1756 - 1836) ~ Respected Anarchist Philosopher and Sociologist of the Enlightenment Era : His most famous work, An Inquiry concerning Political Justice, appeared in 1793, inspired to some extent by the political turbulence and fundamental restructuring of governmental institutions underway in France. Godwin's belief is that governments are fundamentally inimical to the integrity of the human beings living under their strictures... (From : University of Pennsylvania Bio.)
• "Fickleness and instability, your lordship will please to observe, are of the very essence of a real statesman." (From : "Instructions to a Statesman," by William Godwin.)
• "Courts are so encumbered and hedged in with ceremony, that the members of them are always prone to imagine that the form is more essential and indispensable, than the substance." (From : "Instructions to a Statesman," by William Godwin.)
• "Anarchy and darkness will be the original appearance. But light shall spring out of the noon of night; harmony and order shall succeed the chaos." (From : "Instructions to a Statesman," by William Godwin.)


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Book 4

From: William Godwin (1784). Imogen: A Pastoral Romance From the Ancient British.



So much was Roderic discouraged by the apparent spirit and firmness of these declarations, that at the conclusion of them he abruptly quitted his captive, and released her for a moment from his unjust persecutions. His pride however was too strongly piqued, and his passions too much alarmed to permit her a real respite Where ever, cried he, as he trod with hasty and irregular steps the level green, "where ever were found such simplicity, and so much strength of judgment, and gaiety of wit in union? Is it possible for the extreme of simplicity and the perfection of intellect to meet together? These surely are paradoxes, that not all the goblins of the abyss can solve, and which, had they been related instead of seen, must have appeared to constitute an absurd and impossible fiction.

 "Well then it is in vain to attack the inexorable fair one with allurements that address themselves only to the understanding. She is-too well fortified with the prejudices of education, and the principles of an imaginary virtue, to be reduced by an assault like this. The pride of her virtue is alarmed, the little train of her sophistries are awakened, and with that artless rhetoric, of the value of which she is doubtless sensible, she set[s] all her enemies at defiance. My future enticements shall therefore address themselves to her senses. Thus approaching her, it is impossible that success should not follow my undertaking. Even the most wary, circumspect, and suspicious, might thus be overcome. But she is innocence itself. She apprehends no danger, she suspects no ambuscade. Young and inexperienced, and the little experience she has attained, derived only from scenes of pastoral simplicity, she knows not the meaning of insincerity and treachery; she dreads not the serpent that lurks beneath the flower."

 Having determined the plan of his machinations, and given the necessary orders, he privately signified to the attendants, that they should propose to their lovely charge to direct her course once again to the mansion; and as she perceived that Roderic still continued upon a distant part of the lawn; and as she saw no means of present escape from her confinement, she consented to do as they desired.

 They now entered the mansion, and passing through several splendid apartments, at length reached a large and magnificent saloon. It was hung with tapestry, upon which were represented the figures of Sappho sweeping the lyre; of the Spartan mother bending over the body, and counting the wounds of her son; of Penelope in the midst of her maidens, carefully unraveling the funeral web of her husband; of Lucretia inflicting upon herself a glorious and voluntary death; and Of Arria teaching her husband in what manner a Roman should expire. These stories had been miraculously communicated to Roderic, and were now explained by the attendants to the wondering Imogen. At the same time a band of music, that was placed at the lower end of the hall, struck at once their various instruments, and, without any previous preparation, began the lofty chorus. At the upper end of the saloon stood a throne of ivory, hung round with trappings of gold, and placed upon a floor of marble, of which a numerous flight of steps, also of marble, composed the ascent. The hangings were of crimson velvet, and the canopy of the richest purple. With the musicians were intermingled a number of supernatural beings under the command of Roderic. Their voices were melodious beyond all example of human power; they were by turns lofty and majestic' and by turns tender and melting; and the strain was divine.

 "Such are the honors of the tender sex; and who can speak their praise? The lily is not so fair, the rose is not so attractive, the violet and the jasmine have not so elegant a simplicity. By their charms, by their eloquence, and by their merit they have assumed an empire over the bolder sex. How auspicious is the empire) They hold them in silken chains. They govern, not by harsh decrees, and rigorous penalties; but by smiles and soft compliances, and winning, irresistible persuasion. The rewards they bestow are sweet, and ravishing, and indescribable.

 "What were man without the fair? A wild beast of the forest; a rough and untamed savage; a hungry lion bursting from his den. Without them, they are gloomy, morose, unfeeling, and unsociable. To them they owe every civilization, and every improvement. Did Amphion, from the rude and shapeless stones, raise by his power a regular edifice, houses, palaces, and cities? Did Orpheus by his lay humanize the rugged beasts and teach the forests to listen? No, these are wild, unmeaning fables. It was woman, charming woman, that led unpolished man forth from the forests and the dens, and taught him to bend before thy shrine, humanity! See how the face of nature changes! Where late the slough mantled, or the serpent hissed among the briers and the reeds, all is pasture and fertility. The cottages arise. The shepherds assume the guise of gentleness and simplicity. They attire themselves with care, they braid the-garland, and they tune the pipe. Wherefore do they braid the garland? Why are their manners soft and blandishing? And why do the hills reecho the notes of the slender reed? It is to win thy graces, woman, charming woman!

 "When nature formed a man, she formed a creature rational, and erect; ten times more noble than the binds of the air, and the beasts of the field. But when she formed a woman it was then first, that she outdid herself, and improved her own design. What are the broad and nervous shoulders, what the compacted figure, and the vigorous step, when contrasted with the well-turned limbs, the slender waist, the graceful shoulders, and the soft and panting bosom? What are the manly front, the stern, commanding eye, and the down-clad cheek, if we compare them with the smooth, transparent complexion, the soft, faint blushes, and the pretty, dimpled mouth? What are the strong, slow reason, the deep, unfathomed science, and the grave and solemn wisdom, if they are brought into competition with the sprightly sense, the penetrating wit, and the inexhaustible invention? Does the stronger sex boast of its reaming, its deep researches, its sagacious discoveries? and have they a coolness, a self-command, a never baffled prudence 1ike that which woman has exhibited? Do they pique themselves upon their courage,their gallantry, and their adventure? Where shall we find among them a patience, a mildness, a fortitude, a heroism, equal to that of the fair? ''virtue has dwelt beneath the sun. Themis has left her throne on the right hand Of Jove, and descended to the globe of earth. We have seen examples of disinterested rectitude, of inviolable truth, of sublime and heaven-born benevolence. They are written in the roll of fame; they are handed down from age to age. They are the song of the poet, and the favorite theme of the servants of the Gods. By whom were they exhibited, or with whom did they originate? With woman, charming woman? Well have justice and rectitude been represented under a female form, for without the softer sex, all had been anarchy and confusion; every man had preyed upon his neighbor; men, like beasts, had devoured each other, and virtue fled affrighted to her native skies. This is the source of all that is good and all that is excellent; of all that is beautiful and all that is sublime: woman, charming woman!"

At this place the chorus ceased for a moment, and the attendants observing, that Imogen was standing, intreated her to seat herself. She was rendered weak and languid by the un-experienced anxieties and terrors she had undergone, and she did not refuse their request. There was no seat in the center of the hall, or nearer than the sumptuous throne that was placed at the upper end. Thither therefore they led her. Imogen had been unused to the distinctions of rank and precedence. Among the shepherds of the valley, every one, except the bards and the priests, seated himself promiscuously; none sought to take the upper hand of his neighbor; age was not distinguished by priority of place; and youth thought not of ceding the pas. The shepherdess, as she advanced towards the chair, paused for an instant, impressed with that blaze of magnificence which is equally formed to strike every human eye. She looked round her with an air of timidity and suspense, and then going forward, ascended the steps and placed herself in the throne. At this action, as at a signal, the song recommenced.

 "Simplicity, child of nature, daughter of the plains, with thee alone the queen of beauty dwells! What is it that adorns and enhances all the wild and uncultivated scenes of nature? It is plainness and artless simplicity. What is it that renders lovely and amiable her most favorite productions in the animal creation: the tender lamb, the cooing dove, and the vocal nightingale? It is simplicity; it is, that all their gestures wear the guise, and their voice speaks the artless, and unaffected language of nature. What is is that renders venerable the characters of mankind; that ennobles the song of the bards; that gives luster and attraction to immortal, never-fading virtue? It is simplicity, unaffected simplicity. Of the last and crowning work of nature, woman, the form is grace; the visage is beauty; the eye sparkles with intelligence, and smiles with soft and winning graces; the tongue is clothed with persuasion and eloquence. But what are these? A body without a soul; a combination of soft and harmonious names without a meaning; a multitude of rich inestimable gifts, heaped together in rude and in-artificial confusion without the powers of enchantment and attraction. What is it that can animate the mass, that can give force and value to the whole, and reduce the Shapeless chaos into form? It is simplicity, unaffected simplicity. Without thee, child of nature, daughter of the plains, beauty were no more. With thee she dwells, and in thy mansion can she only dwell. Then be the palm reserved for thee, and given to thee alone, simplicity, unaffected simplicity!"

 At these words, two supernatural figures appeared below the canopy of the throne. They had the form of children; their figures appeared so soft and waxen, that you would imagine they might be indented by the smallest touch; upon their countenances sat the lively and unexpressive smile, the sports, and the graces; and their shoulders were furnished with wings of the softest plumage, variegated with all the colors of the bow of heaven. In their hands they bore a coronet, at once rich with jewels, and light and inconsiderable in its weight. The circle was of gold, and studded with diamonds. With the diamonds were intermingled every precious gem, the topaz, the jasper, the emerald, the chrysolite, and the sapphire. The head was of Persian silk, and dyed with Tyrian purple. This coronet they placed upon the head of Imogen, and then descending to the footstool of the throne, bowed upon her feet. The song immediately recommenced.

"Imogen is under the guardianship of simplicity, her favorite pupil. Pollute not the ear of Imogen with the praises of beauty. What though her eye be full of amiableness and eloquence; what though her cheeks rival the peach, and her lips the coral; what though her bosom be soft as wax and fairer than the face of honor; what though her tresses are brighter than the shooting star? These are the bounties of nature; these are the gifts of heaven, in which she claims no merit; these are not the praises of Imogen. But this is her praise, that the graces dwell upon her lips; that her words are attired with the garb of sense and fancy; and that all her conduct is governed by the largest prudence and the nicest discretion. Heard you the sound of merriment and applause? They were the gay and unlabored sallies of the wit of Imogen that called them forth. Saw you the look of wonder and astonishment, and the gaze of involuntary approbation and reverence? They were excited by the modesty, the circumspection, and the virtue of Imogen. And yet Imogen is artless, unaffected and innocent; her wit is unconscious of itself, and her virtue the unstudied dictate of nature. Imogen is under the guardianship of simplicity, her favorite pupil. Be hers then the crown that simplicity alone can deserve. Simplicity descends not in person to the surface of the earth; her abode is among the Gods. But Imogen is her representative, her perfect resemblance. Should simplicity descend upon the earth, she would not know herself; she would be astonished to behold another divinity, equally beautiful, equally excellent. The divinity is Imogen. Be hers then the crown, that simplicity alone can deserve."

 This was a trying moment to the lovely and generous Imogen. Praise is congenial to every human sense; the voice of praise is ever grateful to the ear of virtue. The glory of the shepherd indeed lies within a narrow compass. But let immortality be named, and the heart of man is naturally attracted: it is impossible that the good and generous bosom should not long for such a prize. Nor was this all. Imogen, though loved and honored by the borders of Towey, had been little used to studied commendation and labored applause. Pastoral simplicity does not deal in these; and though it seek to oblige, its endeavors are unostentatious and silent. Beside, her reverence for song was radical and deep. It had been instilled into her from her earliest infancy; from earliest infancy she had considered poetry as the vehicle of divine and eternal truth. How strange and tremendous an advantage must he gain over the ear of simplicity, who can present his fascinations under the garb of all that is sacred and all that is honorable?

 The song had begun with celebrating a theme, that must for ever be congenial to every female breast. The heart of the shepherdess had instinctively vibrated to the praises of simplicity. Even the commendations bestowed upon herself were not improper, or indiscriminate; they had distinguished between the inanity of personal charms, and the value of prudence, the beauty of innocence and the merit of virtue. Even the honors she had received were attributed to these, and not to the other. Were they not therefore such as virtue would aspire to, and discretion accept?

 Alas, Imogen, be not deceived with airy shadows! The reasoning may be plausible, but it is no better than sophistry. Thou must be taught, fair and unsuspecting virgin, under a beautiful outside to apprehend deceit; and to guard against the thorn which closely environs the flower. Thou must learn, loveliest of thy sex, to dread the poison of flattery. It is more venomous than the adder, it is more destructive than hebenon or madragora. It annihilates every respectable quality in the very act of extolling it; it undermines all that adorns and elevates the human character. Even now that thou listenest to it, and drunkest in, without apprehension, its opiate sounds, thou art too near to the sacrifice of those very excellencies it pretends to admire. For the head of Imogen was made giddy by the applauses she heard; drunk with admiration, she was no longer conscious of the things around her, or of herself; she sunk vanquished and supine, and was supported by one of the attendants.

At this moment Roderic came forth from an adjoining apartment, and caught in his arms the vanquished beauty. In the mean time the attendants, the musicians, and the supernatural beings disappeared, and she was left alone with her betrayer. Roderic surveyed his victim with an eye of avidity and triumph. His eager curiosity wandered over her hoard of charms; and his brutal passion was soothed with the contemplation of her disorder. Already in imagination, he had possessed himself of a. decisive advantage over so apparent a weakness; and his breast was steeled against the emotions of pity.

 Imogen cast around her a languid and passive regard, and was in a moment roused from her supineness by the sight of Roderic. Her subtle adversary did not however allow her time for complete recollection, before he discovered an apparent revolution in his sentiments and language. He had heard, he said, the supernatural and celestial chorus, and been caught in the extremes" degree by the praises of innocence and the triumph of virtue. He now felt the vanity and folly of those pursuits in which he had been so deeply immersed, and was determined to abjure the littleness of pride, and the emptiness of sensual gratification. He did not now address his destined prize with the commendations of beauty. He bestowed upon her with profusion the epithets of discretion, integrity, and heroism; and poured into her ear the insidious flattery, that was most soothing to her temper. Full, as he pretended, of the infant purposes of virtue, he besought his captive in the most importunate manner, to remain with him for a time, to con firm his wavering rectitude, to instruct him in duty, and thus to gain one human being to the standard of integrity, and to render so extensive possessions subservient to the happiness of mankind. All this he expressed with that ardor, which is congenial to the simplicity of truth; and with that enthusiasm, which in al1 instances accompanies recent conviction.

 Imogen was totally uninjured to the contemplation of hypocrisy, and immediately yielded the most unreserved credit to these professions. Her joy was extreme at the change in the dispositions of Roderic, and her admiration of the irresistible charms of rectitude pious and profound. The praises bestowed upon her seemed distinguishing and sincere, and she drank them in with the most visible complacency . She expressed however an ingenuous diffidence of her capacity for the task of an instructor, and she intreated at any rate to be permitted to withdraw for a short time to dry up the tears of her disconsolate parents.

 These difficulties were too obvious to create any embarrassment to so consummate a deceiver. He described the danger of that vicious mistrust of our powers, that is the enemy of all generous and heroic action. He reminded his captive how recent were his purposes, and how many unforeseen incidents might be crowded into so eventful a moment. There were goblins, he said, ever ready to seduce the wanderer from his wished return; and he had been too much their prey not to have every thing to dread from the subtlety of their machinations. On the other hand, no character was suspended on the longer or shorter duration of the uneasiness of the parents of Imogen; and the joyful surprise they would ere long experience, might abundantly compensate for any temporary anxiety and solicitude. He told her of the worship and reverence that were due to the immortal Gods. Could she imagine that the scene that had just passed was produced for the mere honor and gratification of a virtuous character, than for the instruction of the ignorant, and the restoration of the wandering? Shall she be thus honored, and shall this be her gratitude?

Though the web of the sophistry woven by her betrayer might seem inextricable, though Imogen had no sentiments more predominant than the love of virtue, and the fear of the Gods, yet her heart involuntarily resisted his persuasions, and she felt the yearnings of affection still active in her bosom towards those, to whom she owed her existence. "And cannot you," cried the lovely maiden, "attend me in the short absence I demand? That would prevent every danger, and supersede every objection." "Ah, shepherdess," replied the magician, "this reluctance, these studied expedients imply diffidence and disobedience. But diffidence is much unworthy of the heart of Imogen. Your life has been marked with one tenor of piety. Do not then begin to disobey. Do not sully the unspotted whiteness of your character." "This," rejoined Imogen, "is too much. This is mere savageness of virtue. Why in the act of persuading me do you bestow upon me those labored commendations, which the very persuasions you employ are intended to prove that I little deserve? Is it necessary, Roderic, that your manners should be so strange and unaccountable, as to supply food for eternal jealousy and suspicion? And what must be that conduct, that inspires jealousy into a heart unguarded as mine? I talk of suspicion, but I scarcely know the meaning of the term. And yet there is in your carriage something precise, plausible and composed, that I have seldom observed in any other man. Oh, shepherd! you know not what you do, when you awake all these ideas in a maiden's breast, when you thus confound things that heaven and earth put asunder."

 "Ungenerous Imogen," replied the magician, "wherefore this? Do I claim any thing more of you than rectitude demands, and your own bosom will another day approve? Am I not your better genius to guard you against the errors that might be prompted by too tender a heart? Beside, does the conduct of beings of a higher order depend upon my nod? Can I control the spheres, and call down celestial essences from their bright abodes? And will they be rendered subservient to the purposes of treachery and guilt?" "Roderic here break we off our conference. Sure I am that your conduct is not dictated by a regard for my ease or my welfare. How unworthy then, as well as how unjust is the presence? With respect to the supernatural scenes I have beheld, the question is more difficult. Of such I have heard from the mouth of the consecrated priests, but never till this day did I see them. At present however my mind is too much distracted, to be able to decide. I have already gone far enough; as far as my heart will permit me. I must now retire.' "One thing however I will add. From the resolutions you at first professed, and the impressions you appeared to feel, I had conceived the most sanguine hopes, and the sincerest pleasure. These are all now vanished. I cannot account for this. But your conduct is now as mysterious to my comprehension, as it was before disgusting to my judgment. I am bewildered in a maze of uncertainty. I am lost in unwelcome obscurity. May your resolutions and designs be better than my hopes! But ah, Roderic, for how much have you to answer, how deep must be your guilt, if all this be mummery, dissimulation, and hypocrisy!"

The magician perceived that it was in vain to urge the stratagem any further, and he retired from the presence of the shepherdess in silence. If he had been able to distract her ingenuous mind between contending duties, he had not however succeeded in his principal object, that of undermining her virtue, and lessening her attachment to her parents and her lover. If Imogen were perplexed and confounded, Roderic was scarcely more happy. He looked back upon the scene with mortification and astonishment. It was difficult for him to determine where it had digressed from the auspicious appearances it had at first exhibited, and yet he found himself in the conclusion of it wide, very wide indeed, of the success of which he had aimed.

'To what purpose," exclaimed he, with a voice of anguish and rage, "have I inherited the most inexhaustible riches? To what purpose is the command which I boast over the goblins of the abyss, if one weak, simple, and uninstructed woman shall thus defy my arts? I call the hills my own. I mount upon the turrets of my castle, and as far as my eye can survey, the bending corn and the grazing herds belong to me. My palace is adorned with all that can sooth the wearied frame, or gratify the luxurious desire. Couches of purple, and services of gold, the most exquisite viands, and the blandishments of enticing beauty, charms of which the ruggedness of pastoral life has not so much as the idea, all these are circled within my walls. Beyond all this, I command myriads of spirits, invisible, and reputedly omnipotent. If I but stamp my foot, if I but wave this wand, they fly swifter than the wings of thought to my presence. One look of favor inspires them with tranquility and exultation; one frown of displeasure terrifies them into despair. I dispatch them far as the corners of the moon. At my bidding they engage in the most toilsome enterprises, and undertake the labor of revolving years. Oh impotence of power! oh mockery of state! what end can ye now serve but to teach me to be miserable? Power, the hands of which are chained and fettered in links of iron; state, which is bestowed only like a paper crown to adorn the brows of a baby, are the most cruel aggravations of disappointment, the most fearful insults upon the weak. But shall I always obey the imperious mandate?"

"Yes, Roderic, thou shalt obey," exclaimed the inimical goblin, who at this moment burst through a condensed cloud, that had arisen unperceived in one corner of the apartment, and appeared before him. "In vain dost thou struggle with the links of destiny. In vain dost thou exert thyself to escape from the fillets that on every side surround thee. The greater and the more obstinate are thy efforts, the more closely art thou bound, and the more inexhricably engaged. This is the situation in which I wished to see thee. Every pang it wrings from t hy heart, every exclamation it forces from thy tongue, is solace to my thoughts, and music to my ears. And wert thou vain and weak enough to imagine, that riches would purchase thee every pleasure, that riches would furnish an inexhaustible source of enjoyment? Of all mortal possessions they are the most useless, mischievous, and baleful. The Gods, when the Gods are willing to perfect a character of depravity, in order to make vise consummately detestable, or to administer an exemplary punishment to distinguished wickedness, bestow upon that man, as the last of curses, and the most refined of tortures, extensive possessions and unbounded riches. Indulge to the mistaken pride which these inspire, and wrap thyself up in the littleness of thy heart.ÑBut no, rise above them. Suffer thy desires to wander into a larger and more dangerous field. Run with open eyes into the mouth of that destruction that gapes to devour thee! Why shouldst thou attend to the voice of destiny, to the immutable laws of the Gods, and the curse that is suspended over thee? Be a man. Bravely defy all that is most venerable, and all that is most unchangeable. Oh how I long for thy ruin! How my heart pants for the illustrious hour in which thy palaces shall be crumbled down to the dust of the balance, thy riches scattered, and thyself become an unpitied, necessitous, miserable vagabond! In the mean time, remember, that riches like shine are not bestowed with u[n]reserving hand, that commerce is not permitted with the shadows of darkness, without some trifling fall to ill amid this immensity of uniform happiness. For this end I am commissioned from time to time to appear before thee in the midst of thy triumph and to mingle with thy exultations the boding voice of prophetic woe.

Roderic did not listen to these bitter sarcasms without exhibiting every mark of fury and impatience. At length he commanded the specter to depart, with a voice so fierce and stern as to terrify him into submission. For though the authority Of the magician was not formidable enough to make him desist from persecuting him, yet the penalties he had frequently been able to inflict, inspired the goblin in spite of himself, with the fear of so potent an adversary. Still choked however with agony and resentment, Roderic waved his wand, and summoned his favorite instrument and the prime minister of his pleasures, the goblin Medoro, to his presence The moment he appeared the magician was relieved from that violent gust of passion, which had held him motionless, a statue of horror, and throwing himself upon his couch, he burst into a flood of tears. Medoro was the goblin that had appeared to Edwin in his return from the feast of the bards, and had brewed the fatal storm that had preceded the rape of Imogen. The figure of the specter was uncouth, and his countenance was full of savage and shapeless deformity. Nor did his appearance belly his character. To all other beings, whether of the terrestrial or the invisible world, his temper was hard, impracticable and remorseless. To Rodogune alone, a similitude of minds, and a congenial ferocity of heart had attached him; and the attachment had descended to her son; though not equally destitute of every agreeable and every plausible quality. He therefore beheld the affliction of Roderic with sympathy and compassion.

"Wherefore," cried Medoro, modulating a voice, that nature had made up of dissonance and horror, into the most gentle and soothing accent of which it was capable, and hanging over his couch, "wherefore this sorrow? What is it that has seemed to mar a happiness so enviable? Art thou not possessed" "Talk not to me of possessions," exclaimed Roderic, with a tone of frenzy, and starting from his posture, "I give them to the winds. I banish them from my thoughts for ever. Oh that the earth would open and swallow them up! Oh that unburdened from them all, I were free as the children of the vallies, and careless as the shepherd that carols to the rising day. I had not then been thus entangled in misfortune, thus every way closed in to remediless despair. I had not then been a monument of impotence and misery for the world to gaze at. Ye are all combined against me! Under a specious, smiling countenance you all conceal a heart of gall. But your hypocrisy and your mummery shall serve you to little purpose. Point me, this instant point me, to a path for the gratification of my wishes, or dearly shall you rue the shallowness of your invention and the treachery of your professions."

Medoro was astonished at the vehemence of the passion of Roderic, unusual even in a youth who had never been refused demands the most unreasonable, and ho had been inured to see all the powers of nature bend to his will. "Is this," cried he, "a return for services so unwearied and sincere as mine? Foolish and Ungrateful youth! But I will point you to a remedy. Had you not been blinded with fury and impatience, you would have seen that your situation was not yet irremediable by means the most obviously in your power. Did I not at your birth bestow upon you a ring, that communicates to the wearer the power of assuming what form he please? I gave it, in order to elude the curse of the malignant goblin, to subdue the most obdurate female, and to evade the most subtle adversary. The Uses in which thou hast hitherto employed it have been idle and capricious, governed by whim, and dictated by the sallies of a sportive fancy. It is now first that an opportunity is offered to turn it to those purposes for which it was more immediately destined. Dost thou not now address an obdurate maid? Is she not full of constancy and attachment for another? What avails it then to a heart, simple and unvitiated as hers, to offer the bribe of riches, and to lavish the incense of flat tery and adulation. Attack her in her love. Appear to her in the form of him to whole she is most ardently attached. If Imogen is vulnerable, this is the quarter from which she must be approached. Thus far Roderic thou mayest try thy power; but if by this avenue thou canst not surprise her heart and overpower her virtue, be then wise. Recollect thy courage, strengthen thy resolution, and shake off for ever a capricious inclination, which interrupts the tenor of a life that might otherwise wear the uniform color of happiness."

The information of a new measure for the furthering his darling pursuit, was a communication of the most reviving kind to the heart of Roderic. The gloom and petulance that had collected upon his countenance were dissipated in a moment His cheek caught anew the flush of expectation; his eye sparkled anew with the insolence of victory. His gratitude to the propitious Medoro was now as immoderate as his displeasure had lately been unreasonable. He walked along the apartments with the stride of exultation and triumph. He forgot the pathetic exclamations he had lately uttered upon the impotence of power, and he was full of congratulation in the possession of that which he had treated with contempt. The moral lessons which it was his destiny to have from time to time poured into an unwilling ear were erased for ever. He exclaimed upon his own stupidity and want of invention, and he remembered not that vehemence of passion, which had distracted his understanding, and drawn a cloud over all his ideas. It was not instantly that he could assume a sufficient degree of collectedness and composure to put into execution the scheme with which he was so highly delighted. Presently however the ebriety of unexpected hope dissipated, and he prepared for that scene which was to be regarded as the summit of his power, and the irrevocable crisis of his fate.

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November 30, 1783 :
Book 4 -- Publication.

January 27, 2017 19:55:57 :
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