It is the charming power of your virtues

This delightful fragment comes from a 17th century book for ladies. Crammed with useful hints and tips on everything from making jelly to how best a prudent widow might conduct herself, the author provides the following as a guide to the ideal exchange between a newly-courting couple.

A method of Courtship on fair and honourable terms

I shall ever account this, Madam, the happiest day I ever had in all the course of my life, which hath given me the honour and satisfaction of your acquaintance.

Sir, if I knew ought in me worthy of your merit, I should readily employ it in your service; but being fully sensible of my imperfections and weakness, I believe the knowledge of me will yield you less happiness than you imagine.

Madam, I wonder you should wrong so much perfection.

I wrong not any thing in my possession; but it is your courtesie and rhetorick that would willingly excuse my defects, to make your own sufficiency to appear so much the more.

Pardon me, Madam, it is the charming power of your virtues and merits, which oblige me not only to honour and serve you, but also to desire some part and interest in your affections.

Sir, whatsoever a Maid with honour may do, you may request of me; I should be as void of judgment as defective in beauty, did I not respect your quality, admire your virtues, and wish you a happiness equal to your merit.

Madam, I assure you, my affections are real, and I hope sincerity doth wait on your good wishes; but if you will extend your favour, I cannot but be the happiest of all men.

Sir, as I cannot perswade my self you will fix your affection on a person so little deserving; so I wish with all my heart your happy Stars may guide you to a Match that may become your worth.

Do not entertain so palpable a mistake: I have proposed to my self an unfeigned resolution to honour and serve you to my uttermost endeavour; and your refusal cannot lessen my affection; suffer me then to bear the honourable title of your servant.

Sir, I have absolutely render’d my self up to the disposal of my dear Parents, consult them; if you prevail on their consent, you shall not doubt the conquest of my affection.

You oblige me infinitely, and I must thank you as heartily; I will not rest a minute till I know my sentence of life or death, which consists in the refusal of my love, or its acceptance.

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved


  • November 18, 2010 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Why couldn’t I have read this when I was younger?

  • Anonymous
    November 14, 2010 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Translation for those who don’t speak shakespeare. Written by Wrathernaut on the JREF forum.

    Gent: You are beautiful and you make me smile.

    Lady: I am ugly and will bring you nothing but pain and sadness.

    Gent: You’re wrong.

    Lady: You just think you’ll look better by comparison when standing next to an ugly person like me.

    Gent: No, I really want you.

    Lady: Well, I’m as stupid as I am ugly, but if I please you, you can have me, even though you’re so much better than me.

    Gent: I want to be with you, you’ll make me the happiest man around.

    Lady: You could do better, you should look harder. You could find a better looking girl in the dark.

    Gent: What are you, stupid? I offer to treat you nice and you try to turn me away? I still want you and will do whatever you want.

    Lady: I don’t know what my dad will think. You should ask him.

    Gent: I will not sleep until I ask him, and will kill myself if he says I can’t have you.

  • November 13, 2010 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Lovely isn’t it. Modern equivalent:

    Nice arse

    Thanks. Mine’s a Babycham.

  • November 13, 2010 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    That little conversation is as hilarious as it is fascinating!

    What would the modern equivalent be; “How about it?” 😉

  • Comments are closed.

    All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

    Join other followers:

    © Shakespeare's England 2009-2014