Liber Amoris, , the New Pygmalion

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Author: William Hazlitt

The Invitation

H. But I am afraid I tire you with this prosing description of the French character and abuse of the English? You know there is but one subject on which I should ever wish to talk, if you would let me.

S. I must say, you don’t seem to have a very high opinion of this country.

H. Yes, it is the place that gave you birth.

S. Do you like the French women better than the English?

H. No: though they have finer eyes, talk better, and are better made. But they none of them look like you. I like the Italian women I have seen, much better than the French: they have darker eyes, darker hair, and the accents of their native tongue are much richer and more melodious. But I will give you a better account of them when I come back from Italy, if you would like to hear it.

S. I should much. It is for that I have sometimes had a wish for travelling abroad, to understand something of the manners and characters of different people.

H. My sweet girl! I will give you the best account I can—unless you would rather go and judge for yourself.

S. I cannot.

H. Yes, you shall go with me, and you shall go WITH HONOUR—you know what I mean

S. You know it is not in your power to take me so.

H. But it soon may: and if you would consent to bear me company, I would swear never to think of an Italian woman while I am abroad, nor of an English one after I return home. Thou art to me more than thy whole sex.

S. I require no such sacrifices.

H. Is that what you thought I meant by SACRIFICES last night? But sacrifices are no sacrifices when they are repaid a thousand fold.

S. I have no way of doing it.

H. You have not the will.—

S. I must go now.

H. Stay, and hear me a little. I shall soon be where I can no more hear thy voice, far distant from her I love, to see what change of climate and bright skies will do for a sad heart. I shall perhaps see thee no more, but I shall still think of thee the same as ever—I shall say to myself, "Where is she now?—what is she doing?" But I shall hardly wish you to think of me, unless you could do so more favourably than I am afraid you will. Ah! dearest creature, I shall be "far distant from you," as you once said of another, but you will not think of me as of him, "with the sincerest affection." The smallest share of thy tenderness would make me blest; but couldst thou ever love me as thou didst him, I should feel like a God! My face would change to a different expression: my whole form would undergo alteration. I was getting well, I was growing young in the sweet proofs of your friendship: you see how I droop and wither under your displeasure! Thou art divine, my love, and canst make me either more or less than mortal. Indeed I am thy creature, thy slave—I only wish to live for your sake—I would gladly die for you—

S. That would give me no pleasure. But indeed you greatly overrate my power.

H. Your power over me is that of sovereign grace and beauty. When I am near thee, nothing can harm me. Thou art an angel of light, shadowing me with thy softness. But when I let go thy hand, I stagger on a precipice: out of thy sight the world is dark to me and comfortless. There is no breathing out of this house: the air of Italy will stifle me. Go with me and lighten it. I can know no pleasure away from thee—

"But I will come again, my love, An’ it were ten thousand mile!"

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Chicago: William Hazlitt, "The Invitation," Liber Amoris, , the New Pygmalion, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Evans, Sebastian in Liber Amoris, , the New Pygmalion Original Sources, accessed August 14, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VU3QIGEDFM4DE8.

MLA: Hazlitt, William. "The Invitation." Liber Amoris, , the New Pygmalion, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Evans, Sebastian, in Liber Amoris, , the New Pygmalion, Original Sources. 14 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VU3QIGEDFM4DE8.

Harvard: Hazlitt, W, 'The Invitation' in Liber Amoris, , the New Pygmalion, ed. and trans. . cited in , Liber Amoris, , the New Pygmalion. Original Sources, retrieved 14 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VU3QIGEDFM4DE8.