Archive for January 30th, 2020

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Lines from Letter VI. in “Olinda’s Adventures: or the Amours of a Young Lady” by Catharine Trotter Cockburn

Not one kind Word, not one relenting Look?
The harsh, the cruel Doom to mitigate?
Your Native Sweetness, ev’n your Eyes forsook;
They shin’d, but in the fiercest form of Hate.

Is’t Honour does these Rigid Laws impose;
That will no sign of gentleness allow;
That tells you ’tis a Crime to pity Foes,
And bids you all the utmost Rigour show?

All Praise the Judge, unwilling to Condemn,
Where Clemency with Justice long Debates:
But he who Rig’rously insults, we blame,
And think the Man more than his Sin, he hates.

Dare I my Judge accuse of Cruelty?
When at her Feet she saw her Slave implore,
With hasty Joy she gave the sad Decree:
I hate you, and will never see you more.

Ay! ’tis too plain, the false Olinda’s pleas’d
To see the Captive’s Death her Eyes had made:
As what she wish’d, she the Occasion seiz’d;
No Sigh a kind Reluctancy betray’d.

If you intend to try your Power or Skill,
A Nobler way pursue the great Design:
The meanest Wretch on Earth knows how to kill;
But to preserve from Death’s an Act Divine.

Like Heav’n, you with a Breath can Recreate
Your Creature, that without you does not Live:
Say that you Love, and you r’voke my Fate;
And I’m Immortal if you can forgive.

My fiercest Wishes you shall then restrain,
And Love that tramples o’er my Heart subdue:
What doubt can of your mighty Pow’r remain,
When ever that submits and yields to you?

From: Cockburn, Catharine Trotter and Day, Robert Adams (ed.), Olinda’s Adventures: or the Amours of a Young Lady (1718), 1969, The Augustan Reprint Society Publication Number 138: University of California, Los Angeles, pp. 178-180.

Date: 1718

By: Catharine Trotter Cockburn (1679-1749)