Since Language never can describe my Pain

First Line Since Language never can describe my Pain
Author John Hervey
Date 1728

Epistle [Love; Passions, sentiments]. 

Transcribed from Hervey, John. Monimia to Philocles: being a letter from an unfortunate lady, after her retirement from court to one of the most remote and solitary parts of England, to a young nobleman... Printed by S. Powell, for J. Thompson, 1728, pp. 3–8. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CB0132874156.



Since Language never can describe my Pain,

How can I hope to move when I complain?

Yet such is Woman's Phrenzy in Distress,

We love to plead, tho' hopeless of Redress.

Perhaps, affecting Ignorance, thou'lt say,

From whence these lines? whose Message to convey?

Mock not my Grief with that feign'd cold Demand,

Too well you know the wretched Writer's Hand;

But if you force me to avow my Shame,

Behold them prefac'd with Monimia's Name.


Lost to the World, abandon'd and forlorn,

Expos'd to Infamy, Reproach and Scorn,

To Mirth and Comfort lost, and all for you,

Yet lost perhaps to your Remembrance too.

How hard my Lot? What Refuge can I try?

Weary of Life, and yet afraid to dye:

Of Hope the Wretches last resort bereft,

By Friends, by Kindred, by my Lover left.


Oh frail Dependance of confiding Fools

On Lovers Oaths, or Friendship's sacred Rules:

How weak are modern Hearts! too late I find

Monimia's lost, and Philocles unkind.

To these Reflections each slow-wearing Day,

And each revolving Night, a constant Prey,

Think what I suffer—nor ungentle hear

What Madness dictates in my fond Despair;

Grudge not this short Relief (too fast it flyes)

Nor chide that Weakness I myself despise;

One Moment sure may be at least her due,

Who sacrific'd Her all of Life for you;

Without a Frown this Farewel then receive,

For 'tis the last my hopeless Love shall give:

Nor this I wou'd, if Reason cou'd command,

But what Restriction reins a Lover's Hand;

Nor Prudence, Shame, nor Pride, nor Interest sways,

The Hand implicitly the Heart obeys:

Too well this Maxim has my Conduct shewn,

Too well that Conduct to the World is known.


Oft have I writ, and often to the Flame

Condemn'd this after-witness of my shame,

Oft in my cooler recollected Thought,

Thy Beauty and my Fondness half forgot:

(How short these Intervals for Reason's Aid)

Thus to myself in Anguish have I said,

Thy vain Remonstrance foolish Maid give o'er,

Who act the Wrong, can ne'er that Wrong deplore.


Then sanguine Hopes again delusive reign,

I form thee melting as I tell my Pain:

If not of Rock thy flinted Heart was made,

Nor Tygers nurs'd thee in a Desart Shade,

Let me at least thy cold Compassion prove:

(That slender Sustenance of greedy Love)

Tho' in Return my warmer Wishes find

Be to the Wretch, tho' not the Mistress kind;

Nor whilst I court my melancholy State,

Forget 'twas Love and Thou that wrought my Fate. 


Without restraint habituated to range

The Paths of Pleasure, can I bear the Change?

Doom'd from the World, unwilling to retreat,

Forsake at once my Pleasure, Friends and State.

In lieu of Roofs, with Regal Splendor gay,

Condemn'd in distant Wilds to drag the Day,

Where beasts of Prey maintain their savage Court,

Or human Brutes (the worst of Brutes) resort:

Yes, yes, this Change I cou'd unsighing see,

For none I mourn, but what I find in thee;

There center all my woes, thy Heart estrang'd,

I mourn my Lover, not my Fortune chang'd.

Bless'd with thy Presence, I cou'd all forget,

Nor gilded Palaces, in Hutts regret.

But exil'd thence, superfluous is the rest,

Each Place the same, my Hell is in my Breast:

To Pleasure dead, and living but to Pain,

My only Sense, to suffer and complain.


As all my Wrongs distressful I repeat,

Say, can thy Pulse in equal Cadence beat?

Canst thou know Peace? is Conscience mute within,

That upright Delegate for secret Sin?

Is Nature so extinguish'd in thy Heart,

That not one Spark remains to take my part?

Not one repentant Throb? one grateful Sigh?

Thy Breast unruffl'd, and unwet thine Eye?

Thou cool Betrayer! temperate in Ill,

Thou nor Remorse, nor human Thought canst feel:

Nature has form'd thee of the rougher kind,

And Education more debas'd thy Mind:

Born in an Age when Fraud and Guilt prevail,

When Justice sleeps, and Interest holds her Scale:

Thy loose Companions, a licentious Crew, 

Most to each other, all to us untrue.

Whom Chance or Habit mix, but rarely Choice,

Nor leagu'd in Friendship but in social Vice,

Who indigent of Merit or of Shame,

Avow those Crimes which others blush to name;

By Right or Wrong disdaining to be mov'd,

Unprincipl'd, unloving, and unlov'd:

The Fair who trusts their prostituted Vows,

If not their Falshood still their Boasts expose;

Nor knows the wisest to evade the Harm,

Ev'n She whose Prudence, spurns the Tinsel Charm,

They know to slander, tho' they fail to warm:

They make her languish in fictitious Flame, 

Affix some specious Scandal to her Name,

And baffl'd by her Virtue, triumph o'er her Fame. 

These are the Leaders of thy blinded Youth,

'Twas these Seducers laugh'd thee out of Truth,

Whose scurril Mirth all solemn Ties profane,

Or Friendship's Bond, or Hymen's sacred Chain.

Morality as Weakness they upbraid,

Nor ev'n revere Religion's hallow'd Head:

Alike they spurn divine and human Laws, 

And treat the honest like the Christian Cause.


Curse on the Tongue whose vile pernicious Art,

Delights the Ear, but to corrupt the Heart:

That takes advantage of the chearful Hour,

When weaken'd Virtue bends to Nature's Power,

And would the Goddess in thy Soul deface,

To substitute Dishonour in her Place.


With such you lose the Day in false Delight,

In lew'd Debauch you revel out the Night.

(Oh fatal Commerce to Monimia's Peace)

Unarm'd you listen, weakly trust to these,

Sophistic Arguments for Proof admit,

And wander dazzl'd by the Glare of Wit;

Wit that on ill a spacious Lustre throws,

And in false Colours ev'ry Object shews;

That gilds the Wrong, depreciating the Right,

And hurts the Judgment, while it feasts the Sight.


So in a Prison to the cheated Eye,

Each pictur'd Trifle takes a Rainbow Dye,

With borrow'd Charms the gaudy Prospect glows:

But Truth revers'd the faithless Mirror shews.

Inverted Scenes in bright Confusion lie;

The Lawns impending o'er the nether Sky:

No just, no real Images we meet,

For all the shining Vision of Deceit.


Oft I revolve in this distracted Mind,

Each Word, each Look that spake my Charmer kind.

But Oh! how dear their Memory I pay;

What Pleasures past, can present Pain allay?

Of all I love, for ever disposess'd[sic]!

Ah, what avails to think I once was bless'd?

Hard Dispensation of unequal Fate!

Mix'd are our Joys and transient is their Date;

Nor can Reflection bring their Taste again,

Yet gives an after-sting to ev'ry Pain:

Thy fatal Letters (Oh immortal Youth)

Those perjur'd Pledges of fictitious Truth;

Dear as they were no second Joy afford,

My cred'lous Heart once leap'd at ev'ry Word;

My beating Bosom swell'd with thick heav'd Sighs,

And Floods of Rapture rush'd into my Eyes,

When now repeated (for thy Theft was vain,

Each treasur'd Syllable my Thoughts retain.)

Far other Passions rule and diff'rent Cares,

My Fears, my Grief, my Transports are Despair.


Why dost thou mock all Tyes of constant Love?

But half his Joys the faithless ever prove;

They only taste the Pleasures they receive,

When sure the noblest is in those we give:

Acceptance is the Heav'n which Mortals know,

But 'tis the Joy of Angels to bestow;

Oh emulate (my Love) that Task divine,

Be thou that Angel, and that Heaven be mine;

Yet, yet, relent, yet intercept my Fate,

Alas I rave, I sue for new Deceit:

As soon the Dead shall from the Grave return,

As love extinguish'd with new Ardour burn.


Oh that I dar'd but act a Roman Part,

And stab thy Image in this faithful Heart,

Where rivetted to Life secure you reign,

(Ah cruel Inmate) Usher to my Pain:

But Coward like, irresolute I wait

Time's tardy Aid, nor dare to rush on Fate,

Perhaps may linger on Life's latest Stage,

Survive thy Cruelty and fall by Age.

No, Grief shall swell my Sails and waft me o'er

(Despair my Pilot) to that long'd for Shore,

Where I can trust and thou betray no more.

Might I but once again behold those Charms,

Might I but breathe my last in those dear Arms:

On that lov'd face but fix my closing Eye,

Permitted where I might not live to die;

My soften'd Fate I would accuse no more—

But Fate has no such Happiness in store.

'Tis past—'tis done—what gleam of Hope behind

Where I can ne'er be false, nor thou be kind;

Why then this Care?—'tis weak, 'tis vain—farewel,

At that last Word what Agonies I feel!

I can no more—the Soul and Body part

With lighter Pains—when will they break my Heart.

I faint—I dye—remember I was true.

'Tis all I ask—Eternally Adieu.