Letters By the late Celebrated Mrs Katherine Phillips.
The Fam’d Orinda, to the Honourable Berenice.
Your Ladiſhip’s laſt Favour from Coll. P——’s was truly obliging, and carried ſo much of the ſame great Soul of yours, which loves to diffuſe it ſelf in Expreſſions of Friendſhip to me, that it merits a great deal more Acknowledgment than I am able to pay at my beſt Condition, and am leſs now when my Head akes, and will give me no leave to enlarge, 139 K8r 139 enlarge, though I have ſo much Subject and Reaſon; but really if my Heart ak’d too, I could be ſenſible of a very great Kindneſs and Condeſcention in thinking me worthy of your Concern, though I viſibly perceive moſt of my Letters have loſt their way to your Ladiſhip. I beſeech you be pleaſed firſt to believe I have written every Poſt; but, ſecondly, ſince I came, and then to enquire for them, that they may be commended into your hands, where alone they can hope for a favourable reſidence; I am very much a Sharer by Sympathy, in your Ladiſhip’s ſatisfaction in the Converſe you had in the Country, and find that to that ingenious Company Fortune hath been juſt, there being no Perſon fitter to receive all the Admiration of Perſons beſt capable to pay them, than the great Berenice: I hope your Ladiſhip will speak me a real Servant of Dr. Wilkins; and all that Converſe with you, have enrich’d all this Summer with yours. I humbly thank your Ladiſhip for your Promiſe of Mr. Boyle’s Book, which indeed merits a publick, not View only, but Univerſal Applauſe, if my Vote be conſiderable in things ſo much above me. If it be poſſible, oblige me with the ſight of 140 K8v 140 of one of them, which (if your Ladiſhip command it) ſhall be very faithfully return’d you. And now (Madam) why was that a cruel Queſtion, When will you come to Wales? ’Tis cruel to me, I confeſs, that it is yet in queſtion, but I humbly beg your Ladiſhip to unriddle that part of your Letter, for I cannot underſtand why you, Madam, who have no Perſons alive to whom your Birth hath ſubmitted you, and have already by your Life ſecur’d to your ſelf the beſt Opinion the World can give you, ſhould create an Awe upon your own Actions, from imaginary Inconveniencies: Happineſs, I confeſs, is twofac’d, and one is Opinion; but that Opinion is certainly our own; for it were equally ridiculous and impoſſible to ſhape our Actions by others Opinions. I have had ſo much (and ſome ſad) reaſon to diſcuſs this Principle, that I can ſpeak with ſome confidence, That none will ever be happy, who make their Happineſs to conſiſt in, or be govern’d by the Votes of other Perſons. I deny not but the Approbation of Wife and Good Perſons is a very neceſſary Satisfaction; but to forbear innocent Contentments, only becauſe it’s poſſible ſome Fancies may be ſo 141 L1r 141 ſo capricious as to diſpute, whether I ſhould have taken them, is, in my Belief, neither better nor worſe than to faſt always, becauſe there are ſome ſo ſuperſtitious in the World, that will abſtain from Meat, upon ſome Score or other, upon every day in the Year, that is, ſome upon ſome days, and others upon others, and ſome upon all. You know, Madam, there is nothing ſo various as Vulgar Opinion, nothing ſo untrue to it ſelf, who ſhall then pleaſe ſince none can fix it, ’tis a Hereſie (this of ſubmitting to every blaſt of popular extravagancy) which I have combated in Perſons very dear to me; Dear Madam, let them not have your Authority for a relapſe, when I had almoſt committed them; but conſider it without a byaſs, and give Sentence as you ſee cauſe; and in that interim put me not off (Dear Madam) with thoſe Chymera’s, but tell me plainly what inconvenience is it to come? If it be one in earneſt, I will ſubmit, but otherwiſe I am ſo much my own Friend, and my Friend’s Friend, as not to be ſatisfied with your Ladiſhip’s taking meaſure of your Actions by others Opinion, when I know too that the ſevereſt could find nothing in this Journey that they L could 142 L1v 142 could condemn, but your exceſs of Charity to me, and that Cenſure you have already ſupported with Patience, and (notwithſtanding my own conſciouſneſs of no ways deſerving your ſufferance upon that ſcore) I cannot beg you to recover the Reputation of your Judgment in that particular, ſince it muſt be my Ruine. I ſhould now ſay very much for your moſt obliging Commands to me, to write, and ſhould beg frequent Letters from your Ladiſhip with all poſſible importunity, and ſhould by command from my Lucaſia excuſe her laſt Rudeneſs (as ſhe calls it) in giving you account of her Honour for you under her own Hand, but I muſt beg your pardon now, and out-believing all, I can ſay upon every one of theſe accounts, for really, Madam, you cannot tell how to imagine any Perſon more to any one, than I am,
Madam, Your Ladiſhip’s most faithful Servant, and paſſionate Friend,
To the Honourable Berenice.
I Have been ſo long ſilent, that I profeſs I am now aſham’d almoſt to beg your Pardon, and were not confidence in your Ladiſhip’s Goodneſs a greater reſpect then the beſt Addreſs in the World, I ſhould ſcarce believe my ſelf capable of remiſſion, but when your Ladiſhip ſhall know more fully thenthan Papers can expreſs, how much and how many ways I have ſuffered, you will rather wonder that I write at all, then that I have not written in a Week, when you ſhall hear that my Dear Lucaſia by a ſtrange unfortunate Sickneſs of her Mother’s hath been kept from me, for three Weeks longer than I expected, and is not yet come: I have had ſome difficulty to live, and truly, Madam, ſo I have, and more difficulty to be 145 L3r 145 be ſilent to you, but that in earneſt my diſorder was too great to write: Dear Madam, pardon and pity me, and to expreſs that you do both be pleaſed to haſten hither, where I ſhall pour all my Trouble into your Boſom, and receive thence all that Conſolation which I never in my Life more needed than I now do. You ſee, Madam, my Preſumption, or rather Diſtraction to leap from Confeſſions into Petitions, and thoſe for advantages ſo much above my merit; but what is that that the dear Great Berenice can deny her faithful Orinda? And what is it that Orinda would not do or ſuffer to obtain that ſweet and deſired Converſe, ſhe now begs of you, I am confident my Lucaſia will ſuddenly be here to thank you for your Charity, which you will by coming expreſs to me, and the Obligation you will put upon her by it, both which ſhall be equally and conſtantly acknowledged (if you will pleaſe to haſten it) by
Your Faithfully affectionate Friend, and humble Servant,
To the Honourable Berenice.
I Muſt confeſs my ſelf extreamly troubled, to miſs a Letter from your Ladiſhip in a whole Fortnight, but I muſt beg you to beleive your ſilence did not occaſion mine; for my Ambition to converſe with you, and advantage in being allow’d it, is too great for me to decline any opportunity which I can improve to obtain ſo much happineſs; But really the box of Gloves and Ribbons miſs’d a conveniency of going, and a Letter that attended them partak’d in the ſame misfortune; by this time and ſome days before it I hope they have reach’d you, for they were ſent away above a week ago, and if ſo, all that I can tell you of my Deſires to ſee your Ladiſhip will be repetition, for I had with as much earneſt- 147 L4r 147 earneſtneſs as I was capable of, Begg’d it then, and yet have ſo much of the Beggar in me, that I muſt redouble that importunity now, and tell you, That I Gaſp for you with an impatience that is not to be imagin’d by any Soul wound up to a leſs concern in Friendſhip then yours is, and therefore I cannot hope to make others ſenſible of my vaſt deſires to enjoy you, but I can ſafely appeal to your own illuſtrious Heart, where I am ſure of a Court of Equity to relieve me in all the Complaints and Suplications my Friendſhip can put up: Madam, I am aſſured you love me, and that being once granted, ’tis out of diſpute, that your Love muſt have nobler circumſtances then mine, but becauſe the greatneſs and reallity of it muſt be always diſputed with you, by me there muſt of neceſſity remain the obligingneſs of your Love to weigh down the ballance, and give you that advantage over me in friendſhip, which you unqueſtionably have in all things elſe, and if this reaſoning be true (as ſure there are all Sciences in Friendſhip, and then Logick cannot be excluded) I L4 have 148 L4v 148 have argued my ſelf into a handſome neceſſity of being eternally on the receiving hand, but let me qualifie that ſeeming meanneſs, by aſſuring you, that even that is the greateſt teſtimony of my eſteem for your Ladaiſhip, that ever I can give; for I have a natural pride (that I cannot much repent of) which makes me very unwilling to be obliged, and more curious from whom I receive kindneſſes then where I confer them, ſo that being Contented to be perpetually in your debt, is the greateſt Confeſſion I can make of the Empire you have over me, and really that priviledge is the laſt which I can ſubmit to part with all, to be juſt done in acts of Friendſhip, and that I do not only yeild you in all my life paſt, but can beg to have it continued by your doing me the greateſt favour that ever I receiv’d from you by reſtoring me my dear and honoured Berenice; this, Madam, is but one action, but like the Summ of an Account, it contains the value of all the reſt, and will ſo oblige and refreſh me, that I cannot expreſs the ſatisfaction I 149 L5r 149 I ſhall receive in it; I humbly thank your Ladiſhip for the aſſurance you have given me, that you ſuddenly intend it, and that you were pleaſed to be accountable to me for your ſtay till Chriſtmaſſ, which being now at hand, I hope you will have neither reaſon, importunity, nor inclinations to retard the happineſs you intend me; Really, Madam, I ſhall and muſt expect it in theſe Holydays, and a diſappointment to me is the greateſt of Miſeries: and then, Madam, I truſt you will be convinc’d of this neceſſity there is of your life and health, ſince Heaven it ſelf appears ſo much concern’d in it, as to reſtore it by a Miracle: and truly had you been ſtill in danger, I ſhould have look’d upon that as more ominous then the Blazing-Star, ſo much diſcours’d of, but you are one of thoſe extraordinary Bleſſings which are the publick concernments, and are, I truſt, reſerv’d to be yet many Years an Example of Honour and Ornament to Religion.
Oh, Madam, I have abundance to tell you and ask you, and if you will not haſten to hear it, you will be almoſt as 150 L5v 150 as cruel as Arſaces; but you will come, and if you find any thing in this Letter that ſeems to queſtion it, impute it to the continual diſtruſt of my own merit, which will not permit me eaſily to believe my ſelf favoured: Dear Madam, if you think me too timerous, confute me by the welcome Experiment of your Company, which really I perpetually long for, and again beg as you love me, and claim as you would have me beleive it; I am glad your Ladiſhip has pitch’d on a place ſo near me, you ſhall be ſufficiently perſecuted with Orinda. I know you will pardon me for not acquainting you with the News you heard from other hands, when I tell you there is nothing of it true, and the Town is now full of very different Diſcourſe, but I ſhall tell you more particularly when I have the honour to ſee you, and till then cannot with conveniency do it. I eaſily believe Dous factious, but in thoſe Diſputes I think he diſcovers more Wit than Wiſdom, and your Ladiſhip knows they are inſeperable; I ſhall looſe the Poſt if I do not now haſten to ſubſcribe,ſcribe 151 L6r 151 ſcribe, what I am always ready to make good, that I am more than any one living,
Your Ladiſhip’s most Faithful, and moſt Paſſionate Friend and Servant,
To the Honourable BenericeBERENICE.
With the greateſt Joy and Confuſion in the World, I received, Dear Madam, your Ladiſhip’s moſt obliging Letter from Kew, and thus far I am reconcil’d to my own Omiſſions, that they have produc’d a Shame which ſerves me now to allay a Tranſport, which had otherwiſe been exceſſive at the knowledge that I am to receive, that notwithſtanding all my Failings, you can look upon me with ſo generous a Concern: I could make many Apologies for my ſelf, and with truth tell you, That I have ventured Papers to kiſs your Ladiſhip’s Hand, ſince I 153 L7v 153 I receiv’d one from it, but really, Madam, I had rather owe my reſtitution wholly to your Bounty, than ſeem to have any pretence to it my ſelf, and I will therefore allow my ſelf utterly unworthy of having any room in your Thoughts, in that I have not perpetually begg’d it of you, with that Aſſiduity as is ſutable to ſo great and ſo valu’d a Bleſſing; and I know that though a Sea have divided our Perſons, and many other Accidents made your Ladiſhip’s Reſidence uncertain to me, yet I ought to have been reſtleſs in my Enquiries how to make my approaches to you, and all the Varieties and Wandrings and Troubles that I have undergone ſince I had the honour to ſee your Ladiſhip, ought not to have diſtracted me one moment from the payment of that Devotion to you, which, if you pleaſe, I will ſwear never to have been one jot leſſen’d in my Heart, as ill and as ſeldom as I have expreſs’d it, but now that my good Fortune has brought me once more ſo near your Ladiſhip, I hope to redeem my Time, by ſo conſtant and 154 l7r 154 and fervent Addreſſes to you, as ſhall both witneſs how unalterably I have ever lov’d and honour’d you, and how extreamly glad I am ſtill to be preſerved in ſo noble and ſo priz’d a Heart as yours, and that I may the ſooner be ſecur’d of that and reſtor’d to your Converſe, I muſt beg your Ladiſhip to find ſome occaſion that may bring you to London, where I may caſt my ſelf at your Feet, both in repentance of my own Faults, and acknowledgment of your Goodneſs, and aſſure you that neither Lucaſia, nor any other Perſon, ever had the Will, the Power, or the Confidence to hinder the Juſtice of my moſt affectionate Service to your Ladiſhip, and though you fright me with telling me how much you have conſidered me of late, yet I will venture upon all the Severity that Reflection can produce; and if it be as great as I may reaſonably fear, yet I will ſubmit to it for the Expiation of my Failings, and think my ſelf ſufficiently happy if after any Pennance you will once more receive me into your Friendſhip, and allow me to be that ſame Orinda, whom with ſo 155 w155 ſo much goodneſs you were once pleaſed to own as moſt faithfully yours, and who have ever been, and ever will be ſo; and, Dear, Dear Madam,
Your Ladiſhip’s most affectionate humble Servant and Friend,
K. Phillips.This was wrote but a Month before Orinda died.