Translated out of Italian.

In the SAVOY, Printed for Henry Herringman at the Sign of the Anchor in the Lower-Walk of the New-Exchange. 1669.

The LOVES of CHARLES DUKE of MANTƲA; And of MARGARET Countess of ROƲERA: A Translation out of Italian.

THe Princess Mary remaining a Widdow by the Death of the Prince her Husband, imployed all her Art and Care in Governing the State, which we may yet call Hers; and us'd much Di­ligence in Chusing fit Ministers to as­sist Her in that Affair, during the Mino­rity [Page 2]of her Son Charles, who was too young to meddle with Affaires of that Nature: I need not here undertake the description of that extreme tender affection which all the World observ'd in this Princess towards the young Duke; but will recommend it to those fond Women, who are Mothers of an only Son, and sole Heir to a great and Illustrious Family: The Caresses of this indulgent Mother were more pow­erful upon him, then all the Political, Scholastical, and Military instructions which he received every day from the different Masters of his Exercises. All the Ladies of the Court, to comply with the desires of the Dutchess (whose greatest pleasure was, to see her Son won by those extraordinary Caresses,) and to delight themselves in the great satisfaction they every day took in dis­covering new graces in that little Prince, made it their whole study to please him, by carressing and imbracing him even in their Armes; although he was already in an Age wherein Nature usually excites those motions which Love often produces. One day one of the Principal Senatours of Mantua ob­serving [Page 3]the Ladies that waited on the Dutchess, & her Maids of Honour, were thus employ'd about this little Prince, could not refraine from saying aloud, That the State would have but an Ef­feminate Prince; in which, he proved no false Prophet.

Amongst all the young Ladies that attended the Dutchess, there was one born in the City of Casale, and was, by reason of her beauty, and good Meene, justly called, The Ornament of the Court, and delight of the Courtiers: The little Duke himself expressed a great inclination for her, and one may say much above what his tender years seem'd to permit: but perhaps her name being Margaret, this young Prince believed he did nothing below himself, in admiring the Jewel, which is gene­rally called the purest.

The Princess, who was infinitely pleased with what ever her Son de­lighted in, recommended him particu­larly to this young Lady (not as to a Governess, her Age being almost equal, but onely) to divert him in his houres of Recreation, which was truely to re­commend the Cabbidge to the care of [Page 4]the Kid, and to give the Sheep into the keeping of the Wolfe: For, this young Lady looking upon this Imployment as a good Fortune for her, and seeing very well that nothing was wanting in this young Prince but the Age to Govern, she so well applyed her self to get his Favour, in making use of all those lit­tle Arts that usually takes young Peo­ple, that in a little time it was easie to be observ'd, her Intentions were not so much to serve him as a Master, but to gain him for a Friend; and, to change the quality of Servant into that of his Mistress.

The little Duke, who already began to take some other kind of delight in the Company of Ladies, then what little Children usually do, very easily sacrific'd these First Fires of his Love, which were newly born in him, to this young and subtil Play-fellow of his; who, on her side, was more and more in­flam'd with Love to this young Prince, by the great and particular kindness he exprest to her.

In the mean time, whilest these two young hearts burn in a reciprocal Fire for one another, yet their years were so [Page 5]tender, that all their Pleasures consist­ed in Talking, and taking each other by the hand, and perhaps in some little stolne Kisses now and then: All the Diversions which the Duke found in the Court amongst the Ladies, being, either to pull down the Stool, when they were set to work, or else to fling their work into the fire, or sometime to steal a Kiss, or to jumpe into their Armes, and talk of Love, which he as yet but little understood. But Jea­lousie, which is so great a Courtier in the Palaces of all Princes, fail'd not to make an early visit to the Court of that young Duke, and was already got amongst all his little Play-fellows, and began already to play the Tyrant in the Hearts of the young Ladies; and, chiefly amongst those who believed they merited the Dukes Favour most; if not in beauty, yet by reason of their great Birth, or in the Favour of the Dutchess his Mother: yet, neve [...]the­less, the Duke made still his greatest Court to Madamoiselle Margaret; and, she fail'd not to give him a return; and the more they perceiv'd the envy of the other Ladies, who indeavoured to [Page 6]Cross them, the more powerful their Love grew to each other.

It was one day told the Dutchess, That her Son was so taken up with his love to Madamoiselle Margaret, that he would never make the Sign of the Cross with any Hand but Hers: but the Dutchess rallying presently that Man which told her so, Answered him; Where there is no Malice, Love is sincere; Trusting to the innocent Childishness of such tender years, and not being able to imagine, that a young Child of nine years old (as he was) could have a Passion for a Girle of the same Age. The Mother of Madamoiselle Marga­ret liv'd also in this Court, and waited upon the Dutchess, which was the rea­son of her daughters being there so young: This old Lady was so crafty, that she wanted nothing but Poetry to be that Corisco in the Pastor Fiao; the more she discover'd signs of Love in the Duke to her Daughter, the more she instructed her in the Art to increase and mannage that growing Passion; and Taught her the Art of making Love, which she understood in Per­fection.

In the mean time the Dutchess be­ginning to think it now high time to withdraw her Son from the company of Women, amongst whom, he ordi­narily, like other young Princes, pas­sed away the best part of the day; she chose a Governour for him, prudent, and of approved integrity, and indowed with all necessary qualifications fit for a man that was to undertake so great an Imployment as the Education of a young Prince. The Person she made choice of, as most fit, was the Marquess of Arrigony; who receiv'd this charge with all the demonstrations of Affecti­on and joy imaginable; hoping, that his Services would in time render him very considerable in the Government, by the impressions he should make upon the spirit of this young Prince; but, it ar­riv'd quite contrary to his expectati­ons.

When the Dutchess committed this young Duke unto the Care of the Marquess, she above all recommen­ded to him three things: First, To Teach him all the Exercises of a Gallant Man with Mildness, that he might learn them with delight. Se­condly, [Page 8]To be sure not to neglect the Finding out what he was chiefly in­clin'd to, and most capable of; least he should give him too hard a Lesson. Thirdly, And above all, not to force him to do any thing against his will, and was absolutely against his inclination; and to be sure to allow him his houres of Divertisements with the Ladies of the Court, and principally with Mada­moiselle Margaret, who was chiefly ac­quainted with his Humour.

To speak the Truth, these orders were not at all sutable to the Prudence nor Humour of the Marquess; who could not imagine to what end they were given him, seeing nothing in them extraordinary; besides, he was vext within himself, to see, by that, the Princess lookt upon him as a Man very unread in what belong'd to the Govern­ment of a Prince: He Promis'd never­theless to obey her Highness exact­ly, and not to be wanting in that fi­delity which was so natural to his Fami­ly, and so particular to himself; yet he could not hold from saying, That he was very ready to serve his Master to his capacity; but, in his opinion, it [Page 9]would be better to disaccustome a little this young Prince from the company of Ladies, then to use him so much to their Conversation; since he could re­ceive no Lessons from them but what were Effeminate, which was a thing very injurious to Princes: To which the Dutchess reply'd; That the ho­nest and lawful converse with Women taught great Men to Rule with gentle­ness; and that she desir'd nothing more in her Son, nor from himself. The Marquess having no more to say after that Declaration, made no An­swers but of Protestations of obedience to her Highness in all things. After that the Dutchess sent for the young Duke, and commanded him to look upon the Marquess as the guide of his Person and actions; and perswaded him to think it no trouble to follow the Advises of a Man, who would inspire no Sentiments into him but those of his Glory and advantage.

The Marquess having paid his Re­spects and Acknowledgments to the Dutchess, retir'd himself till the Apart­ment order'd for him was made ready: In going out of the Hall he met with [Page 10]Mounsieur Pianezza a Friend of his, and his particular Confident, to whom he related his new happiness in the Dutchesses Favour; withal, telling him the particular Orders he received from her concerning the Education of the young Duke, not forgetting a word of all had past, especially that passage which concern'd of the young Dukes Recreati­ons amongst the Ladies of the Court: Pianezza judging this Order not very agreeable to the Marquess, whisper'd to him very softly; Monsieur, Be you sure to tye the Asse where the Master bids you, and let the Wolves eat it if they please.

The Marquess answer'd, smiling; I am too Old to make use of opportu­nity; and too Young to serve the Amours of another.

Madamoiselle Margaret, who knew the humour of the Marquess was more inclin'd to Rigour, and Duty, then of Compliance, would not have been trou­bled to have seen the Education of her young Duke committed to any other then he; though it is certain she was too young to make this distinction of her self, but that she was instructed by [Page 11]her Mother. Now it happen'd one day, that this young Lady meeting with the Duke and the Marquess together, she said (without doubt, by the In­structions of her Mother) Sir, I am extreame glad to see the Choice the Dutchess has made of you for the Conduct of our Prince; for certainly, it could have been committed to no person in the World so fit as your self; whose merit is so universally esteem'd, and 'tis likely to be most profitable for his Highness advantage. The Mar­quess guessing from whence this Com­plement came, and that her Mother had taught her what to say, could not re­frain from Laughing a little; and ta­king her by the hand, acknowledg'd her Favour by all the expressions he could think of: taking very much de­light in the discourse of that young La­dy, who, to say truth, besides her other extraordinary beauties, was very agreea­ble in her discourse.

Another time, meeting her in the Court of the Pallace, she told the Marquess, almost Laughing; Now the Prince is so much yours, we can be al­low'd no part in him: The Marquess [Page 12]also Laughing, and putting his hand upon her Face, answered her; My pret­ty little Lady, the Duke is too young to be yours, therefore you ought not to be angry that he is so much mine: Thereupon the young Duke taking Madamoiselle Margaret's side, answered presently, I will be theirs that will be mine; Would you have me be yours? The young Lady only answer'd with a low Curt'sy, and a Look, which shew'd the desires and sentiments of Her heart.

Some few Moneths after that, the Marquess being Declar'd Governour, and the Duke of Parma being to pass through that Countrey to go to Venice, the Dutchess, although he intended to make that Voyage Incognito, fail'd not to send the Marquess, at all adventures to meet him, with her young Son the Duke; and the Dutchess desiring, that he should be received in passing by, with all the Honours imaginable, though he intended not to be known: The Complemental dispute between these two Princes at this Ceremonious Enterview, kept them so long in the hot Sun in the Fields, that the young [Page 13]Duke received no little trouble by the heat which is so ordinary there in the Moneth of June: In the mean time all things having pleas'd the Duke of Parma very much in this meeting, and the young Duke returning home, he fell into a little Feaver, accompanied with so great a pain in his head, that it was the trouble of the whole Court, especially the Dutchess, who was most sensibly afflicted; no Remedies imagi­nable for his distemper were omitted, yet nevertheless they did no good, for the Feaver and extreame pain in his head rather increased; although Mada­moiselle Margaret, whose grief was e­qual to her tenderness, stirr'd not from his Bed-side; laying her hand some­times upon his head, which was no small pleasure and ease to the young sick Prince. The Dutchess his Mother, who was almost every day coming and going to his Chamber, to inquire of his con­dition, asking him one day, How he did? he answer'd her boldly; Madam, ever since Madamoiselle Margaret has toucht my head, I have scarce felt any Paine. It was not very difficult for the Mother to believe her Son, from the [Page 14]observation she had already made of his Love to that young Lady, and therefore she said to him, Well, my son, she shall be put to bed to you, if the Marquis your Governour will approve of it; He will not approve of it, (replied the yong Prince) because he does not know my disease: I do know it said the Marquis, (who was not very far off) and I know that your sickness has need of a re­medy.

During this sickness of three or four days the hearts of this Piramus, and of this This be inflam'd extreamly, but in a way very natural and conformable to their age, which did not yet allow them any other thoughts but what were in­nocent; This young Lady, who was not less interessed in the repose of the Prince than of his health, stirr'd not from his bed-side from morning until night, with a Fan in her hand to drive away the Flyes, which in that Countrey ordinarily torments the sick.

He being at last recovered from this fit of sickness, applyed himself anew to his exercises, though with little inclina­tion or profit; The Marquis saw very well that the love which this young [Page 15]Prince had for this Madamoiselle Mar­garet grew up with him, and that his desires of profiting in Learning those things more fit for his Study (without which a Prince looses his best orna­ment) diminisht every day as he grew older, which was a most sensible afflicti­on to the Marquis, who took all the pains imaginable about him.

One evening after Supper the Dutchess walking in her Garden with the Marquis, she askt him the reason why her son made so slow a Progress in those exercises he had learnt, as well Military as others, and wond [...]ed that at 14 years of age as he was then, there was nothing at all extraordinary to be observ'd in him. The Marquess fancy­ing the astonishment the Dutchess had put on was a reproach to his diligence and affection both, was very much piqu'd, and a little mortified, never­theless without discovering his resent­ments; Me thinks, Madam, said he, if I may have leave to say so to your Highness, that your Speeches are very much alter'd from your declar'd opinion to me that minute your Highness was pleas'd to give me that honourable im­ployment [Page 16]of Governour to the young Duke your son; For, I remember you commanded me then, to instruct him in all things with mildness and moderati­on, and now your Highness wonders why I have not forc'd his nature, and his strength. I confess, Madam, I scru­pled nothing more than disobeying your Orders, but to deal ingeniously with your Highness, I must tell you this truth, that if my affection to him and my cares had not rous'd him a little, and almost constrain'd him to apply himself to those exercises the most ne­cessary for him, that he would this day be more ignorant than he is; although whatever he possesses appears very inconsiderable to your Highness, the Duke can sit very well, and has a very becoming grace on horsback, he has often ran at the ring and won the Prize, to the shame and confusion of the most experienc'd Cavaliers in that exercise, he is not very unskilful in his Arms, and for his Dancing, certainly your Highness can better judge of that than I: it is true he has but little inclination to the French and Latine Tongues, ne­vertheless he understands the one, and [Page 17]begins to speak the other; but if your Highness will permit me to speak my opinion, I must tell you if that Mada­moiselle Margaret were made tutour to the Prince, or were the onely thing he were to study, he would without all question profit much better then he does. For he spends more time in ma­king love to this Lady, then he allows to his Lessons: whil'st the Duchess and the Marquis were in this discourse, the young Duke came into the walk, and the Duchess immediately askt him, if it were true that the Marquis said; to which he suddenly made answer with­out examining what it was, that it was a thing impossible for him to answer a demand upon the sudden of a thing he was ignorant of; the Duchess would have pressed him further, but that minute she receiv'd Letters of great concern from Venice which she read, and communicated them to the Mar­quis as she was wont to do all Papers of publick business. In the mean time the young Dukes affection for Mada­moiselle Margaret increased every day, and grew faster then he; he ador'd and respected her, and he did not seem to [Page 18]live when he was absent from her, though but a moment, every one knows there is no Lady in the Court so Fair, nor so cruel, whom interest and ambition does not soften, to gain the love of their Prince, nay, the very men of Quality, the most considerable a­mongst the Courtiers often shut their eyes and serve their Prince, neer those of their own Relations; certainly there never was a Prince so passionately de­sir'd by the Ladies as this Duke Charles; he was often treated by many great men, to no other end but to shew him their wives, or their Daughters, but to their great disappointment, be­cause this Prince lookt onely modest­ly upon them, his love to Madamoiselle Margaret made him neglect all others, looking upon none but her with tender­ness and love, and often protested he would not change her for all the Fairest Ladies in the Universe.

And now this young Duke is ar­riv'd to his eighteenth year of age, I will call him no longer the little Duke. This Duke then went often into the Chamber of Madamoiselle Margarets mother, where he was always flatter'd [Page 19]and carress'd, nay, the mother her self shut him up sometimes with her daugh­ter, and left them alone upon the bed playing together, carrying the Key away in her Pocket. One day the Duke going to walk, perhaps with de­sign, in the Palace Garden, he met the mother and her daughter walking alone in the wood, the Duke no sooner approached them then he cryed, Mada­moiselle have a care in coming so often into this wood you are not ravisht. The mother (who was the craftiest woman in the world) answer'd him presently, So she is ravisht by a Prince, there will be no great hurt; but the Prince re­plyed as quickly, You had better let her give the Favour to a Prince, then stay till he force it: It is true, said the mother, but Favours gain'd that way are more sweet and secret. The Prince in the mean time took the young Lady by the hand to walk with him in the wood, whil'st the mother return'd to the Palace very well pleas'd to leave her daughter in such good company, who stay'd three hours together in that place, none knows what they did: But after they had taken their walk the [Page 20]Prince waited upon Madamoiselle Mar­garet to her mothers chamber, to whom he said, Here, Madam, take your daugh­ter which I restore you in the same con­dition you left her with me. I believe what you say, Sir, answered she, because you are a Prince.

From that day Madamoiselle Mar­garet began to take upon her, and shew some kind of Empire over the Duke, and the Prince found no inclinations in himself to resist her. The Duchess ap­pear'd indifferent, and did not seem dis­pleas'd at their Friendship, imagining that the Duke was oblig'd one way or other to divert his youth, and she was the more willing to allow him this Friendship with Madamoiselle Marga­ret, because she was well acquainted with her disposition, and believ'd she would not ingage the Duke into any disorder'd way of life perjudiciable to his Person or Fortune, and so while all this past, she shut her eyes, and took no notice at all, and though one day she hid her self to watch their actions, yet she could discover nothing between them but testimonies of a Friendship which reason allows of.

But since the Love of these two persons was become the general dis­course, the Duchess consulted many times very seriously with the Marquis Arigone, who very farre from approving this too violent inclination, as many others did, who were well enough oleas'd to let the Duke freely pursue his inclinations: He on the contrary, forgot nothing, to let them see they ought to have prevented him: the Marquess was press'd on by these rea­sons;

In Mantua there dwelt a widow that was one of the most considerable wo­men of that place, who was mother to one of the most fair and agreeable young Ladys of all that State. This woman who was not very rich in world­ly goods, suiting her self to her fortune, liv'd onely in the quality of a Gentle­woman, and not like a great Lady; The Marquis, who had a passionate kindness for her, let no occasion pass of diverting his melancholly hours at her house, and as she was not very cruel to him, she granted him willingly those Favours that Love demands, without expecting interest, imagining that the [Page 22]Marquess, who was naturally very grateful, would not fail, for the Mo­thers sake, who granted him all things, to serve the Daughter to his Highness the Duke; and this opportunity pleas'd the Marquess very well, of shewing himself grateful to the kind Widow, in procuring the Love of the Duke for her Daughter, and also of testifying his Affection to his Prince, in bringing to him one of the most Accomplish'd young Women amongst his Subjects; but, since he fear'd it a thing impossi­ble to do, so long as this passion of the Dukes to the Lady Margaret continued; he tryed all wayes to stifle it, but unpro­fitably; because the Duke was so in­sensible for all other Women, as well Maids as Wives, that neither the hand­some nor ugly work'd any effect upon him; for he us'd them both so indif­ferently, they had no reason to be jea­lous of one another: The Lady Mar­garet was the only Favourite, and the most lov'd; and what beauty soever hapned to be in the Dukes presence, he had eyes for none but she.

One day the Marquess imagining that it was impossible for the Duke to [Page 23]see that fine young Lady of his Ac­quaintance, and not fall in love with her, carryed him to her Mothers house, who had invited him to that purpose; and had spar'd for no Cost, nor Orna­ment, to set off the Beauty of her Daughter, but all was to no purpose: and though the Marquess and the Mo­ther left this young Lady and the Duke alone two houres together in a Cham­ber, the Duke sate by her, as if she had not been there, without speaking one obliging word to her: The insensibili­ty of this Duke was as a Dagger to the heart of this young Lady; and, in truth, What is more vexatious to a Woman, then to see, that all the arts she has us'd to gain a heart signifie so little in the end. The Marquiss quickly perceiv'd, that the Duke was not very well pleas'd in the place where he had brought him; therefore in returning home to the Palace, he be­gun to praise her extreamly; the Duke, although he seemed to take no notice, and yet nevertheless forc't by the Marquess to speak of that Ladies Beauty he came from, said to the Marquess, My Lord, This Lady is faire [Page 24]enough for you, who sees her every day, but not for me, who never saw her before, and looks not upon her so often as you do: The Marquess re­ply'd, Your Highness must then see her often, that you may think her fair­er than now you do: The Duke an­swer'd smiling, If I should see her once more, certainly I should think her more ugly then I do now. The poor Marquess was mad at this, and especi­ally when the Duke, whil'st they were talking, turn'd about and shew'd him the Lady Margaret, who they met in the Street; See there, my Lord Mar­quess, said he, there is the fairest a­mongst all that are faire.

Whil'st these things past, the Dutch­ess growing angry, to see her Son so far gone in Love with the Lady Mar­garet, carryed by some unknown Poli­tick reasons, and perhaps at the earnest Solicitations of the Marquess, sent the Mother and the Daughter away to Casal, yet with all the Civility imagi­nable, and with a particular Promise to Marry her very suddenly, as indeed it happen'd soon after: The Duke ex­press'd no great signs publickly of re­sentment [Page 25]for her going away, hiding his trouble, without all doubt, very prudently, to take all suspition from the Court: Till then, it was believ'd by most, that nothing but vertue had pass'd between this Lady and the Duke; but others, that lookt nearer into the business, and could see farther into matters of Love, believ'd the contra­ry; not being able to imagine, how Vertue could subsist with so great a Liberty: and that a young Girle, who desir'd nothing more then the heart of a Prince, could refuse him any thing. The Duke certainly was not without desires, nor the young Lady without a good will; the youth of them both, and the great liberty allowed them, gave strange causes of suspition: In fine, believe who will, that all their time was spent in saying their Chape­lets, and their Pater-nosters, for my part I never will.

Some time before the parture of the Lady Margaret, the Duke had many long and private Conferences with her, where there wanted no Tears on both sides at that cruel separation, as a Wait­ing-Woman observ'd; he could not [Page 26]forbear promising to Write to her, till he had the opportunity of go­ing to visit her at Casal, which he gave her his Word should be very suddenly: These Protestations of the Dukes rais'd her Heart a little, which was so sunk with the Fears and Troubles of a cruel Absence she was to suffer, and gave he courage to ask his Highness a word or two under his Hand, every moneth at least; which Favour she demanded of him in these Words; If your High­ness will please to Write to me once every moneth, it will give me every day a Paradice: The Duke embracing her, said, with all the tenderness of a passionate heart, go, and believe, that nothing in the World shall ever be ca­pable to carry me from loving you.

She was scarce arriv'd at Casal, but the Duke writ a Letter to her, as well for his own satisfaction, as for the con­tentment of her he Lov'd, it was thus;


My Heart;

THis is the first Letter which I write to you, with one of those Pens that are guided by Love; I address to you, whom I alone adore, as the onely and first object of my Love: To tell you how sen­sible I am of your absence, you must a [...]ke this Heart, which thinks more of you, then of it self; I do not sware it to you; the Words of Princes needs no Oaths to Au­thorize them: however, I shall give you such proofes, that you your self will not de­sire greater. Let me know the success of your Voyage, and the state of your Health since you went from hence, and whether you Love him that is wholly your


This Letter was given in charge to a Post that was sent from Court to the Governour of Casal, with express Order to give it to no other hands but she to whom it was directed: The Joy [Page 28]of this young Lady was so extraordina­ry in receiving it, that she read it three or four times over in the presence of the Man that brought it; and every time with a Face over-joy'd, to that extre­mity she seem'd to him, she would have eaten it, that so her heart might have been the Cabinet to preserve it. The Mother was not at home when her Daughter was thus entertaining the Post, and examining him with great concern of the Dukes health, and chiefly of his Employments; and whe­ther he did not particularly Visit some Lady or other with great Familiarity: but, in these Questions to him, she seem'd not to understand what she did, for a Man of that condition, that sees the Court but at a distance, is not to be askt such Questions: But, it is true, she was at that time to be pardon'd, since the occasion of that Letter was enough to put her into extraordinary transports for him she Lov'd. The Mother being return'd, gave order for something for the Post to eate, whil'st in the mean time she read over and over again with her Daughter the Dukes Letter, and consulted together for the [Page 29]Answer, which they return'd by the same Messenger, in these words;


To tell your Highness how much comfort your Letter gave me, is impossible for me to express; I could not defend my self from vanity, in reading so many proofes of Affection from your Highnesses Goodness: if I were not well acquainted with the nature of it, which is indulgent to all those who like me, Courts with a most humble Respect all opportu­nities of obeying your Highnesses Com­mands. It will not be hard for you to [...]nd amongst your Subjects a Merit a­bove mine; but, I Question very much if your Highness can find any more af­fectionate to your Service then I am: I [...]ave already Sworn to you all the Fide­lity and Service can be expected from a Person of my Sex. It belongs to your Highness to command, and me to obey; [...]et my Feares tell me, that you do not so often think of Commanding me, as I do [...]f Blindly Obeying you. As for the Account you are Graciously pleased to [Page 30]desire of my Journey hither, I assure your Highness, it had been very pleasant and happy for me, if every step I made to Casal had not carryed me from what I left behind at Mantua, so dear to me: Your Highness asks me if I love you; How can you believe it possible to be so ungrateful, not to love a Prince that love me. I will say nothing more, but that [...] am and will be, to your Highness, Great Prince,

A most Humble, and Obedient Servant, Margaret.

The Dukes of Mantua had a Cu­stome, of going three or four [...]mes eve­ry year to Casal, to Visit that place, so considerable, for its Scituation, and be­cause it is the Capital City of Montfer­rat: The Duke resolved for the fu­ture to make that place his ordinary re­sidence; carryed more by his Love to the Lady Margaret, then for Interest of State: And none can express with what repugnance he quitted that Town to go to Mantua, when at any time the [Page 31]necessity of his Affaires called him thi­ther; yet he indevour'd to conceal the true reason of his stay so much in that place, by pretending the Ayre was so much better; saying often, That the Ayre of Mantua was an Ayre for Monks to dwell in, but that of Casal was an Ayre for the Seat of a Prince: And, in truth, he was very much in the right, when he spoke so of those two places, so contrary to each other; for the Ayre of Casal was extraordinary good, and that of Mantua had nothing at all commendable in it: though, 'tis true, the Ayre where Princes reside purifies admirably. All Affaires the Duke took in hand at Mantua prosper'd very ill; but, on the contrary, it seem'd that Casal was Fortunate to all his Enter­prises: There was scarce a day but the Duke complained of some Indispositi­on or other whil'st he was at Mantua; his Head, his Stomach, and I know not how many more Infirmities tormented him, or at least he pretended it: but, when he was at Casal, he never made the least complaint of any thing, whether he had cause or not; but, if it hapned, that some Fits of an Ague, [Page 32]Feaver, or any distemper seiz'd upon him at Casal, he would lay the fau [...] upon his having staid too long at Man­tua.

The Dukes of Mantua have a Pa­lace near to Casal, call'd the Margaret whether they have alwayes been accu­stom'd to divert themselves some time of the Summer; and there was a Phy­sitian in Mantua, who, being pretty well acquainted with the temper of the Duke, and the inclination he had for the Lady Margaret, understood very well, that all these Distempers the Duke so often complained of at Man­tua, had no other cause but an Amo­rous Feaver; and therefore he fail'd not to advise the Duke to visit often that wholsome Ayre of Casal: And whil'st the other Physitians were search­ing out the cause of the Dukes disease, and busying their heads to find a re­medy, this wise happy brother of theirs advis'd the Ayre of Margaret as the only place of Cure for his Highness, and was well rewarded for his paines by the Duke, whose delight at Casal you may easily imagine was great, and h [...] health perfect. The satisfaction o [...] [Page 33]going to Casal, and leaving Mantua, was plainly discover'd in the different Journeys he made, in going and return­ing between those two places; by the hast he made to the one, and the slow pace he went towards the other: to Mantua he went with a Tortoyses pace, and to Casal he flew as fast as an Eagle: Whensoever his Important Affaires ob­lig'd him to go from Casal to Mantua, he Travell'd like a Prince; but, when he was to leave Mantua, and go to­wards Casal, he went in Post. The Pastimes of the Duke were not very great, nor divertizing to the Court, for his greatest pleasure was in visiting the Lady Margaret, in whose Com­pany his most delightful houres were spent; and it was no great difficulty for a young Prince to entertain himself very pleasantly with a young handsome Woman, instructed by an old cunning Mother; who, in her youth, had at one time oblig'd more then four several French Gentlemen, whil'st they staid at Casal. The house of this Lady was not far from the Castle, in one of the fairest Streets of the Town, in which place the Tennis Court was kept; the [Page 34]Duke, who hated Tennis when he was at Mantua, took great delight in it at Casal; perhaps to shew his Mistriss his address; but, he spoyl'd his own de­sign: For, he not being able to take his Eyes from the Window where she was, he hardly stroke one Ball of three. It was no small diversion to the specta­tors, to see those two Lovers speak with their Eyes and Hands, and use a thousand other pleasant Gestures, in that place, where there was constantly more persons assembled to observe them, then to see the good play of those that were at Tennis: In the mean time jealousie seiz'd furiously up­on all the Ladies in that place; but, amongst them all, it chiefly laid hold of a young Woman whose name was Nata, Grandchild to the President; she al­most dyed with envy at the Dukes Courtship to the Lady Margaret, be­lieving her self much handsomer than her Cousin the Lady Margaret; and had great desires (at least) to share with her in the Dukes Affection: and her Grief increased the more from the vex­ation she had, to see, that all her Beau­ty and Ornaments had not power e­nough [Page 35]to draw one kind look from his Highness, for whom she had drest her self to no purpose. The Duke never went to Play, but by his dearly Belo­ved Margarets command, his [...]innen was alwayes brought to her House; he scarce toucht the Ball three times, but away he must go to shift himself in her Chamber, leaving the rest of the Players at Tennis, sometimes three houres, to wait till he came down to make an end, which he sometimes commanded them to do. A French Gentleman hapning to be in the Tennis Court one day, was by chance on the Dukes side, who was gone up, as his Custom was, to the Lady Margaret; this Frenchman, impatient (as those of his Nation commonly are) at the Dukes giving so long a time to rub himself, fell into a passion, and said publickly to one of his Camerades; If the Duke of Mantua must (as is re­ported) have the Command of the Im­perial Army for the King of Spain, Lombardy will quickly be ours; for he takes up more time in changing his Shirt, then the French do in taking a Town.

There was no body but plainly saw this so often changing of Linnen was rather a pretence of the Dukes, than necessity; nothing moving him to run up to her Chamber, but some Amo­rous fancy, which the sight of her at the Window awaken'd in him; and there was great reason to believe it, for she never stirr'd out of the Balcony as long as the Prince was in the Tennis Court; but, immediately vanish'd when he went out to go to her Cham­ber; and, assoon as he was got into the Street, to return to his Play, she appear'd in the Balcony again: which, discover'd easily, that he sought no pleasure, but that, of being near his Goddess; and she glory'd in nothing more, then to let the People see, she had been giving him his Shirt.

In the mean time the Mother of this young Lady, and also the Duke, begun seriously to think, of finding out a Match for this beloved Margaret, who wanted no pretenders, her power be­ing so great with the Duke; who, in this design, to Marry her, intended not so to rid himself of her, whom he lov'd passionately: Nor did the old [Page 37]Mother resolve so to lose her; but, they took this way, to disguise those shame­ful effects, which usually follow these kind of dishonest Passions, as it ordi­narily happens in Italy, where the Hus­band often serves for a Cover: For, an unmarryed Woman, though she is Courted by a Prince, is lookt upon in that Country as infamous, if she enter­tain him; But on the contrary, let a Marryed Woman be never so impu­dent, she is nevertheless very well re­ceiv'd amongst all Ladies of the great­est quallity.

The Family of this Lady Margaret had been so blasted by the abominable carriage of her Mother with the French­men, and the Spaniards; her eldest Sist­er particularly, whose name was the Countess Louize, lately a Widow, had been notorious, and had liv'd the life of a common Curtizan, taking Mony of any body; living that kind of life, which is so much practised amongst those Women, so well known by Tra­vellors; she fell in love with a French­man, who came off better cheap, and almost for a simple Grand Mercy; he being, as one may say, more Courted [Page 38]by that young Widow, then he ca [...] for, which made her fall into strange disorders, when he was forc'd to retu [...] into France with the French Army, i [...] which he was an Officer, and left that poor disconsolate Widow to re-take that habit of Mourning she had so late­ly quitted; and, it is believ'd, she had remain'd unconsolable, if the French­mans place had not been kindly taken up by a young Earle in Casal; but, what was most remarkable, was this Countesses flattering her self with the hopes of Marrying this young Earle, by the Credit her Sister had with the Duke, and his Authority; she gave him all the Liberties imaginable, and they liv'd together like Man and Wife, with so publick a Scandal, that the Bi­shop intended to Excommunicate them, but was soon prevented from that trou­ble; for, the young Earle at last cloy­ed with the Embraces of that Lady, and weary of her Addresses, began to leave her off by little and little; which, the Countess perceiving, address'd her self to her Sister, desiring her to per­swade the Duke, to Command the Earle to Marry her; which, when the [Page 39]Duke went about to do, the young Earle briskly answered; Sir, The Earles of Casal do not use to Marry Whores: Thus this poor abus'd Countess sought her satisfaction in her patience, and try'd no more that vain attempt, of Marrying the Earle by the Dukes Au­thority and Justice, as her Sister incou­raged her to hope; for the Earle Swore, he would rather a thousand times die a Man of Spirit, then live a base Cuckold: So the Countess seeing Force would do her no good, employ'd Mildness and Caresses to gain him; but the Earle being well acquainted with the Crafts of Women, us'd his oppor­tunities, took some times his pleasure, and derided Matrimony: Nevertheless the Lady Margaret had pretenders good store, who were drawn more by their Ambition, because of the Empire she had over the Duke, then by any other Motive; whil'st she minded nothing more then the enjoying her pleasures at full liberty which she could only do by getting a Husband quickly; but a Husband of her own chusing, fit for the purpose; that is to say, a good ho­nest Man, and one as the Italian sayes, [Page 40] Un gran cog, &c. — The Mother and Daughter both jump'd in this opi­nion; the Mother fearing, that if her Daughter should chance to fall into the hands of some Fantastick Husband, she might lose all her authority over her; and they both together fear'd, that his ill humour might be the occa­sion of ruining her Favour with the Duke, and so they should be quite un­done, and lose all their hopes. The Duke also was mindful of his own inte­rest in that Affair, and consented not to the Marriage of his Mistress but up­on those termes; chusing rather to pos­sess her in that condition she was already, then lose her in another. The Dutchess, on her side, considering the Interest of State, the conservation of the House of Gonzague, and for the general satisfaction of her Subjects, looking upon the Duke as the onely prop of her Family, desir'd, and sought nothing more then to see this Lady Margaret Marryed away; fearing, least the Duke might, losing himself in this extreame ridiculous Love for her, think of Marrying her himself: At that time there came to Casal the Earl o [...] [Page 41] Rovera, a man made for their purpose, and made as such a man should be; he he was born at Savona, and descended from that noble Family of Rovera, which has given to the Church those two famous Popes Sixtus the fourth, and Julius the second. The humour of this Lord was very peaceable and re­tired, not caring to see any body but those of his old acquaintance. In fine, he was a true Ball for these Ladies to toss, and such a one as the Duke, the mother and daughter all desired; and to speak him in one word, he was of a humour to let them do what they pleas'd, and go were they had a mind to; and though he was not a man of great Learning, yet he was for all that, a man of very good sense, and his wit was capable of serving him better than his Language.

The design of this Earl had been to pass his Life in a single condition, if the sollicitations of the Duke, and the Lady Margaret (who was resoly'd not to let slip this occasion) had not alter'd his resolutions, and from the first day he made her a visit, put him into a con­dition of not being able to live one [Page 42]day without seeing her: Whil'st they were treating of this marriage, the La­dy Margaret, to try whether the Earl were of a jealous humour; pretended one day (as he sat musing by himself in her Chamber) that the Duke had sent for her to play at Cards with him, so that she should be oblig'd to stay there with her mother till the next day; and to perswade the Earl absolutely to be lieve the Duke loved her passionately, She told him, That the Duke loving her as he did, she could do no less than to satisfie him in all things that depen­ded upon her: but the Earl not under­standing her, or at least, pretending not to know her meaning, onely answer'd, She would do very well to serve his Highness, and so went away.

One of the nearest kindred to the Earl, hearing of this intended marriage, went to him with design to speak free­ly to him concerning it as a Friend, and told him, he ought to think more than once upon what he was going to do, and that he should seriously consider, (before he proceeded any further) upon the love between the Duke and the Lady Margaret; but the Earl answer'd, [Page 43]Matrimony will break that Friendship. That same Friend of his indeavour'd to prove the contrary to him by a hun­dred reasons, but could get no other answer from him (after he had thankt him kindly for his advice) but this, The horns that are grafted by a Prince do not sit heavy upon the head. Two days after another of his Friends told him openly, that for his part he would not marry that young Lady for any thing in the world, because that as long as the Duke lived, he could not re­frain from being jealous, and should assuredly die a Cuckold. This second advice amaz'd the Earl a little, yet he said onely that he believed nothing of all these reports. In the mean time this renewed advice wrought such an effect, that he went not to see his Mistress in two days, but love being stronger, he could not refrain from visiting her again, so great was his desire to marry her and make her his dear half.

The Duke seem'd to take no notice of all these Passages, (though they made a noise great enough,) but waited till the Earl spoke to himself about it, which he at last did, at the solicitation [Page 44]of the mother, who let him know that her house had been always protected by his Highness, and her daughter in particular, to whom the Duke had al­ways expressed much friendship, and she could do nothing without his High­ness consent and approbation. The Earl answer'd her presently, That all Gentlemen were as much oblig'd to this duty, and that they were not wont to marry without they were certain of the Princes assent, and therefore it was his duty to do the same thing; after this reply he parted from her to go to the Duke, that old Lady having promis'd him to do the like in behalf of her daughter. The Earl had scarce began his complement to the Duke concern­ing his marriage with the Lady Marga­ret, when the Duke interrupted him to speak to him advantageously of her Family and her Person, assuring the Earl of his affection and protection in all things; and to let him see how much he approv'd of this marriage, he told him with a great demonstration of love, that he was certain that one or both could not but be happy, since it was im­possible for him to find a more excel­lent [Page 45]woman nor more worthy of such a husband, nor for her to find a husband more worthy of such a wife. The Earl after he had paid his respects and de­serv'd thanks to the Duke, said to him, I marry the Lady Margaret, because she is protected by your Highness. To which the Duke presently replyed, laughing, We will love the Lady Mar­garet, and we will love her until death, having been brought up together from the beginnings of our life. The Duke after he had discours'd a long time with the Earl concerning the particularities of this wedding, took him by the hand, and said to him, Go, my Lord, you will gather a Flower, worthy of such a Ro­vera. My Tree (said the Earl) wants a Flower which comes from the hands of your Highness. This marriage then concluded to the satisfaction of the interested parties, they received all the Complements, and made their Balls and Feasts a la mode de France, which had been masters of Casal more then fif­teen years, and had so well establish'd the French Liberty in that Town to the delight of the inhabitants, that they resolv'd to keep it for ever; and it is [Page 46]certain, that if they were to change their master, they would accept of no other but the most Christion King; so well do they remain satisfied with the French Nation, which is a thing extra­ordinary in Italy, where they are com­monly so much hated, though the Italians can give no reason for their aversion to those People: For it is most certain, that in those Places of Italy where any of the French inhabit, they bring in one moneth more profit to that place, than the Spaniards afford them in ten year. The Duke, al­though invited to this wedding could not resolve upon any consideration, to see his Lady Margaret given away, to whom he writ this Letter.

My Heart,

IF I thought that thy Marriage would deprive me of those Priviledges I have hitherto injoyed with thee, for certain I should rejoyce very little at it, but I do rejoyce, because I assure my self thou marriest with a resolution to give thy Husband but the leavings of our love: [Page 47]heretofore we have been forc'd to do all things secretly to hide them from all the world; but from this day we shall find it more easie to conceal our actions from onely one man; give him the appearances, but do thou be sure to keep thy heart for me, and remember that I am wholly thine,


The Duke let slip no occasion of being present at all the Balls that were presented to the Bride in several places; and one day he was in a dress that dis­guized him so much, that he had never been discovered but by his great Fa­miliarity with the Bride. The Duke having taken notice of a Diamond upon the Bridegrooms finger in the fashion of a Heart, which himself had given his Lady Margaret, when she was a maid, and was esteemed worth a thousand Crowns, was so extreamly angry to see the Earl wear it, that he resolv'd to go away from Casal without speaking to her, but she having smoakt him, us'd all her endeavour to appease him, and bring him back again, pro­testing [Page 48]he was in a mistake, to believe she had given that Ring to her Hus­band, which she esteem'd so much for his Highness sake, as the pledge of his affection, that it was more dear to her than any thing in the world. The Duke softned by her tears, dried them up, not with a handkercher, but with his kisses, and after that staid in her Chamber with her for some hours that day.

The wedding was kept with so great pomp and magnificence, that there wanted nothing but the publick pre­sence of the Duke, who though he re­fus'd to appear there in person, yet to shew how much he honour'd them, he sent the Bride a Medal of gold, in which was a Daizy, (which signifies Margaret) set round with twelve Diamonds, and two Chains of great value, which he ac­companied with this note,

I advise thee to be cautions in the captivating thy self, and consider, if thou art a prisoner to two persons, it will not be easie to cheat both thy keepers.

The love of the Duke to the [Page 49]Countess seem'd after this wedding to grow by little and little something cool, but it was but a feigned coldness: For he often found his opportunities of entertaining her in private during his stay at Casal. The Earl us'd all the art he was capable of to surprize his wife in her private conferences with the Duke, but in vain; so that at last he began to believe she had been slander'd, and so rested in peace, giving her all kind of Liberty; who had wit enough to make the fight use of it, and con­tented the Husband in publick, and the Gallant in private; but since now the Time and Necessity of the State seem'd to demand a Successour to the Duke, so to conserve that rich Patrimony still in the same House where it had long continued, and there being no other branch left of the house of Gonzague but himself; The whole State begun now to think in good earnest of marry­ing him to some Princess worthy of so great a Prince, many matches were pro­pos'd, but heaven, that ordinarily takes care of making marriages, ordain'd the Archduchess Isabella Clare, a Princess worthy of a Crown, to be this Dukes [Page 50]wife, and should by her Life and Pa­tience adde a new lustre to the house of Gonzague; some other woman perhaps would have brought the same disorder into that house (and it may be a worse) than that which the house of Lorraine experimented in the love which the Duke Charles of Lorraine express'd for the Countess of Cantecroy, to the prejudice of that affection which he owed to his wife Nicola. The Duchess, who notwithstanding all the indiffe­rency which she saw in her husband to­wards her, she express'd not the least jealousie of the Countess, and although she saw in a little time her husband ab­solutely estranged from her, and en­gag'd altogether in the love of that woman, yet she look'd no less kindly upon the Duke her husband, even whil'st the Countess endeavoured to keep him from her by all the wayes possible, having writ this Letter to him, notwithstanding she knew his Marriage with the Duchess was con­cluded.

Great Prince,

I Am not ignorant that the marriage of your Highness with the Archduchess Isabella Clare, will bring an increase to your Family, a glory to your State, and a comfort to your servants, but as fast as the joy of possessing so great a Prince does grow in the heart of the Archduchess, that of my heart will diminish in the loss I am to suffer, of a heart that was alwayes the object of my love, and all my desires: I hope your Highness will pardon me for writing to you in this manner, but in the condition I am in of loosing what I adore, I can be no longer any thing else but an extravagant without conduct or reason; but if your Highness has been pleased to honour me hitherto by loving me as a Friend; I desire you will at least continue your grace and favour to me in loving, for the time to come, as your most humble servant


The Duke, who lov'd the Countess above his own reputation, after he had read her Letter two or three times over, fighing, in the presence of a bro­ther of hers who brought it to him, tore it, after he had answer'd it, with much tenderness in these words,


ALl Princes are accustomed to mar­ry themselves more by reason of State then Love; so they love their wives more by reason of State than by affection. If the interest of my house did not oblige me to marry, nothing should hinder me from being alwayes thine, whose I shall be, in despight of all those that would oppose it; and since th [...] hast deceiv'd thy husband to content me, why cannot I deceive my wife for thy sa­tisfaction? trouble thy self for nothing, and love thy


Although the furious warres in the year 1629. had very much exhausted the treasure of that State, yet the Duchess in this time of the marrying of her son spar'd for no cost, to render it very splendid and magnificent; all the Ladies of Honour that had liv'd in that Court were invited to make the entry of the new Princess into Mantua more glorious. There was none ex­cepted in that invitation but the Countess, who the Duchess would not invite to that Ceremony, for some rea­sons, which, mortification to the Countess she soon after complain'd of to the Duke, and her resentment was heightned by her being, as it were, banish'd from the Court in a time when the Earl her husband had re­ceiv'd one of the chiefest Imployments for the Ceremony of that Entry; of which place he very well acquitted himself to the Contentment of the Duke his master: yet notwithstanding all this, the Countess would go to Mantua, and adorn'd her self with all the gallantries that fine Ladies take at those times to set themselves off at Court, whither she went to see the [Page 54]new Duchess, where at last the Duchess, mother to the Duke, gave her leave to stay to take part in the divertizements of the Balls, which were given these for many dayes together. The first great Ball pass'd without the Dukes seeming to take any notice of his Lady Margaret; and although there was more of Prudence than coldness of af­fection in this carriage of his, yet the Countess could hardly refrain from ex­pressing those signes of anger and jealousie which seiz'd upon her heart, imagining that the Duke satisfied with the beauty and carrsses of his Bride, began to neglect her charmes, which had so long captivated him; she omie­ted no opportunity of speaking to the Duke, who understood her, and yet avoided talking with her, though he did not forget to cause her to be taken out to dance as well as the other Ladies of Quality, to whom Princes alwayes apply themselves to do them chief ho­nour at those times. But this politick dissimulation of the Dukes cold car­riage to the Countess continued but a little while: for before she return'd to Casal with her husband, his Highness [Page 55]would see her, and discours'd with her, above an hour in private. I know not in what place they met, but the Mar­quess of Arrigone passing by the place where the Duke and she were talking, and perceiving them together, Your Highness (said he) goes back to the Sicut erat, before you begin the Psalm.

The Countess went away very well satisfied, after this conference with the Duke, which made it believ'd that his Highness confirm'd the protestations of his constancy to her; but it was impos­sible for her husband to discover the reason of that great joy which was in her face at their return to Casal.

These beginnings of the Dukes Marriage, though they past thus cold­ly, yet it was not to be imagin'd that it would continue so long; although it is true, that the Thoughts and Af­faires of Princes dispenses them in some fort from the ordinary practisers of in­feriour People: and, most People ima­gine, the Prince has perform'd his duty well enough, if he has got his Wife with Child; nevertheless, this Duke Charles, whether it were through the [Page 56]tenderness of his Age, having scarce yet arrived to his one and twentieth year; or through some other reason, he ceased not for three moneths toge­ther to Caress the Dutchess his Wife with all sort of kindness; not only be­fore his familiar Friends, but also in the presence of the Embassadors themselves, which was a great contentment to the Dutchess his Mother: but 3 Moneths after that, some business at Montferrat, or, as it is conjectur'd, the Love to the Countess, who desir'd him impatiently, or as some perswaded themselves, to leave the Dutchess at repose, obliged the Duke to go to Casal; This Voy­age a little alter'd the Dukes Affection to the Dutchess his Wife, if one may give the name of Affection to a Love To newly planted, whose Rootes were yet but small and tender; the sight of the Countess made him forget his Wife: and, it was observ'd, he had ne­ver taken so great a delight in Cares­sing of the Dutchess, as he took onely in speaking with the Countess: but, because the presence of the Husband was an Obstacle to their pleasures, he found out a way by a pretence of busi­ness [Page 57]to send him to Mantua: The Earle, who had from the first night of the Dukes arriving at Casal, taken bet­ter notice of some passages he was trou­bled to discover, began then to believe, what till then he had but suspected; nevertheless he must go by his Prince's Command, without shewing any repug­nance for that journey: but, at his re­turn, he receiv'd an account of all had passed from a waiting Maid, to whom he had made great promises of Re­ward, with Oaths to perform them, to be a faithful Spy for him, of what pass'd between the Duke, and his Wife, in his absence; she promis'd the Earle, to give him an exact Account; but, it was not very difficult for her (the Coun­tess not mistrusting her) to find out the most private passages for this intelli­gence. The Earle had foolishly be­lieved, that all the Dukes Love had no other Conclusion but Playing at Cards, and perhaps some little French Freedomes with his Wife; imagining, that her Brothers and Kindred, that were interested in the same reputation, would have prevented any further ill, but he deceiv'd himself; For, they [Page 58]were of the opinion he himself had a first declar'd, (that the Hornes Graft­ed by a Prince did not sit uneasily upon the Head) and were so far from watch­ing the Actions of the Duke, and their Kinswoman, to prevent the shame of their House, that they were very of­ficious to bring them together, and serving the Dukes Loves with all ima­ginable care and diligence; and the chiefe amongst them in this imploy­ment, was he, whom the Duke had lately made Master of the Artillery at Casal; it was he that convey'd by night his Sister into the Dukes Chamber, and most commonly kept the Door, watch­ing with the Male that was to carry back his Sister to her own Lodging, when she had pleasur'd the Duke: In truth this Amour grew very strong in this last Journey; the one began to hate her Husband, to satisfie her Gallant; the other, to despise his Wife, to give himself intirely to his Friend; and this was plainly perceiv'd by what happen­ed after the Dukes return to Mantua; where he discover'd (to the great asto­nishment of all the World) that he was Cloyed of his Wife: No body be­ing [Page 59]able to imagine, how a young Prince could possibly be weary so soon of a young Princess, who also was new­ly prov'd with Child, to the great Joy of the whole Court; whil'st in the mean time that chast Dove knew not what to think of a Husband so young who exprest so little Love to her; and nevertheless, although her Grief at it was great, yet her Prudence was greater; so that she pretended not to see that which she but too much discover'd: The Earle, which the Duke had taken order to send away to Mantua, was com­manded not to stir from thence till his Highness return'd, which he obey'd; and the Duke was no sooner arrived in the Town, but he sent him back to his own House, where his Curiosity cost him dear, and gave him no small Mortification; the Servant he had im­ploy'd to watch, having given him the whole Relation of all had past be­tween the Duke and his Wife: the shame and confusion of this poor Man is not to be express'd, when he learnt the circumstances of this Impudent Love countenanc'd by the baseness of his Wives own Brothers; and although [Page 60]he seem'd to take no notice of what he too well knew, nor hearkned to the Discourses of his Friends upon that Chapter; yet, he could not imagine, that the Crimes of his Wife, and his own misfortune was so publick: his me­lancholly grew to that height, that he saw not any body that Saluted him in the Streets; and he fancyed every mi­nute, that People were making Hornes at him behind his back: The Coun­tess, who had a good Nose, smelt out the reason of the Change in her Hus­bands Humour, and redoubled her Caresses to him; fearing, least this jea­lousie which he appear'd so insensible of before his Marriage, might product some unhappy effect; for, it is certain, that had she known him to be of a jealous humour, she would never have Marryed him.

In the mean time, as the Earle and his Countess walked one evening after Supper upon the Town Walls, the Earl ask'd his Wife, Did his Highness waite upon you often? As he was wont, re­ply'd she; (seeing to what end he spoke it:) And, What did you do together, said the Earle? to which, she answer'd, [Page 61]The same that you did with the Dutchess at Mantua. Thus they both rallyed one another. The Husband perceiving what it was to have such a Wife, and the wife lamented the trouble of having such a Husband: yet nevertheless the Earles jealousies had some intermissions, his Melancholly often giving place to his Joy; so that his Wife, and Brothers in-Law felt some time the effects of the one, and then of the other. Whil'st these things pass'd in the Year 1652, the Dutchess was brought to bed of a Son, which is now the onely Prop of the House of Gonzague; the Consola­tion of his Mother; the Glory and Hope of the State, to which he gives great hopes, promising very much, shewing himself a great and brave Prince, and expressing aversion for an idle lazy life; and, on the contrary, a great incli­nation for all the exercises of Warr: It is believed, that since the Birth of that young Prince, the Duke con­vers'd not with the Dutchess as his Wife; the reason of this opinion is his assiduous love to the Countess, as also because the Dutchess has not been with Child from that time.

This indifference of the Duke to­wards the Dutchess was also impute [...] to two other causes; the first, to h [...] Natural coldness; the other, to I know not what strange devise of the Countess the last fearce is doubted of; for, as re­port has said, this Woman fearing to lose the Dukes Friendship after h [...] Marriage, and seeking to injoy alone [...] good, without which she despis'd all o­thers; resolv'd to tempt all wayes to pre­vent that, which she thought an obstacle to her design; to that end, having told her thoughts to one of her Sisters, she by her meanes, became acquainted with a certain Magician, who dwelt at Sir Sauveur, near to Casal; the Countess went to him, and obtain'd some words from him; That he bid her be con­fident she should enjoy the Dukes Friendship alone: but, because this Sorcerer was of an intelligence with a certain Religious Dominican, that Lady gain'd him by his meanes; she rewarding him, by not refusing him the satisfaction he requir'd of her: so, af­ter that this Charme succeeded so well by the help of this Reverend Father; that by their Diabolical Inventions, the [Page 63]Duke had that knot tyed, usually so fa­tal to Marriage: Others have believ'd that this was a false report, and that this Witchcraft took no effect, but that the Duke made it a pretext to avoid the Dutchess, whom he lov'd not; and devote himself to the Countess, whom he ador'd, in which there is no likelihood: For, let any body imagine how it can be possible for a young Prince to live in the company of his Wife without touching her, if there had not been some reason diabolical, or supernatural to hinder him: so, that it must certainly be believ'd, that the Countess did bewitch the Duke.

The old Dutchess, troubled at the Dukes infirmity, told him he should make use of some spiritual or natural remedies to cure him, but (what was very strange) he laught at her advice, which made people believe that it was done by his own consent.

It has been said that that natural coldness of the young Duchess, com­par'd to the Constitution (so contrary) of the Countess, contributed very much for the small affection he had for her: but how could the Duchess leave [Page 64]off that purity so rare and commenda­ble, which she had alwayes made th [...] ornament of her life, to comply wit [...] the Dukes desires, and which he fo [...] in another? There is no doubt be that she lov'd as much as any other woman could do, but with a sincere true and real love, for to say truth; she was not in the number of those that onely made a shew of love; but she lov'd her husband from the bottom of her heart; so that all her affection was within, having not those little foolish fondnesses which some other wives study with so much affectation to shew their loves: In a word, her af­fection was truly great, though she did not make shew of it; but to clear all this, I think it to some purpose to say something by the way, to discover what the Dukes inclinations were na­turally, and also of that of the Countess Margaret.

All men naturally take great de­light in the Caresses they receive; it is certain that the Duke was more in­clin'd to that satisfaction than any man; so that it may almost be said, that weakness was a fault of nature in him [Page 65]who so desired to be courted by the women, without which, it is thought, the Duke would have been insensible for them; they say that this inclina­tion of the Dukes was caus'd by the Conversation of the Ladies of the Court, amongst whom he was brought up, and spent most of his youth, having alwayes been caress'd by one or other of those Ladies that waited on his Mother, who lov'd nothing more than to see the women make much of him, and to be under the conduct of that sex, and particularly the Lady Marga­ret, who had so us'd him to her car­resses, that he could not think of car­ressing his wife, if he were not prepar'd by hers, which is a thing that seldom happens, but what the one could not do, the other was perfect in, and ex­ercis'd her art so to the humour of the Duke, that he could not defend him­self from her Charms, though he had a mind to it, also the Courtships to him, mov'd rather by ambition to domi­neer and govern the Duke, than by any sentiment of nature, which is be­liev'd by the little care she took to [Page 66]court her husband at that rate; and certainly the very Sirenes and Cir [...] were never capable of more inti [...] ­ments and flattering carresses than she us'd to please the Duke.

See here the poison of this Marri­age, see here the Fall of the Dukes to putation; a Princess too modest and little sensible of Carresses, and a Prince too desirous of those kind of Charm [...] and on the other side, a woman expe­rienc'd in all the crafts of Love, to gain the heart of this Prince, and take it from the Princess, and it is stedfasth believ'd, that if the Princess had been of her rivals humour, the Duke would have lov'd her as well as he lov'd the Countess, and had been [...] good a Husband as he was a Lover [...] and that if the Countess had not un­derstood the way of treating him in another manner than the Duchess did without doubt he would have had [...] greater a Complasance for her; but yet it was better for the Princess to be as she was, than to be of the humour of her rival: In the mean time, it is easie to be believ'd, that the excessive carresses which the Countess made to [Page 67]that Duke made him not only hate the Duchess in the way of Matrimony, but also to abhorre Marriage it self for her sake: for to just fie this opini­on, he was quite contrary to the cu­stome of other Princes, who delight in change; for he could indure to see no other woman but the Countess, and it is certainly reported, that except his wife, he never touch'd any other woman but the Countess, who was his ordinary Meal every day, and his Feast also; however one day he was angry at her for something, he to vex her sent for a young very pretty woman of the town of Casal, and because in that rencounter there happened a very plea­sant passage, I think it necessary enough to mention it in this place in few words: This young Maid liv'd in a house on the back-side of the Church of the Augustin Fathers in a street great enough, the Duke having often pass'd that way with the Countess, fail'd not to look upon her still being at the door on purpose to be seen by the Duke; This happened a little after the depart of the Earl in his voyage to Poland, the Duke rather [Page 68]to laugh than for any other design, see­ing this young woman, us'd to say to the Countess, That wench is hand­somer than thou art; It is true, said the Countess, (peek'd with jealousie) but she has fewer charmes, therefore I don't fear that she will deprive me of you love, which is apter to be taken wit [...] agreeableness than beauty; but wh [...] pleasure does your Highness take to break my head with jealousie?

One night when the Duke was angry at her, or counterfeited himself so, to vex the Countess, to trouble her brains yet more, he sent word to that young woman by one of the Grooms of his Chamber, (who was the same that us'd to wait upon the Countess to his Chamber at night in the Castle) that he would speak with her, and that he should expect her after Supper. Her mother, who understood this mystery, said to the Messenger, The words of his Highness cannot but produce great grace to my Daughter, who is wholly at his service.

The hour come, the Groom of the Chamber went to execute the Orders of his Master, and to conduct this [Page 69]young Maid into his Chamber, (I will not say into the bed) but the Countess, being inform'd by the same man, who was her kinsman and a very good friend of hers, ran presently to the Palace, where having found that Prey, without taking notice of any thing, ran to the Dukes apartement, and presented her self to the Duke, to make him change his resolutions, who being made ten­der by her carresses, he cast himself in­to her arms, whil'st the Groom of the Chamber, too crafty to loose so good an occasion, conducted the young wo­man, which he had brought, into his own Chamber, where he made her stay and lye with him; so that she saw her self constrain'd to receive from the man what she expected from the ma­ster. In the mean time her mother, ta­king hold on this occasion, bragg'd every where that her daughter had great Familiarities with the Duke, to whom nevertheless she had not so much as spoke a word. The Duke being with his well-beloved, was in some apprehensions that the Groom of his Chamber might surprize them with that young wench he had sent for, but [Page 70]he found afterwards that all things were carried very well. The Counter of her side, reproached the Duke very much for his lightness and the injustice he did her in going about to change [...] love which he had experienc'd so long for one that was so new, and besides which was not worth the trouble. The Duke excus'd himself, saying, All that was but in jest, and to make her jealous from whom he receiv'd those delights anew, which ordinarily is found in the reconcilements of Lovers. But, said the Countess, what did that young Wench do in your Palace. The Duke quickly replyed, That if she were come thither it was for his valet de Chambre, and not for him. Your Highness then (said the Countess) serves the Loves of your valet de Chambre. Thus the pleasure banish'd the suspicions, and the peace was concluded without much pain.

In the mean time, the young Duchess, too well inform'd of this un­ruly life, the Duke led with the Countess Margaret, could not defend her heart from suffering all those tor­ments which an honest and vertuous wife usually feels upon such an occa­sion. [Page 71]She made some tell the Duke her Husband of it, desiring him to stop the Course of that disorder, which was his shame, and the scandal of his people: Her Prudence made her con­ceal her grief, and her Vertue oblig'd her to stifle those reproaches she might have made to the Dukes infidelity, which would draw upon him the ha­tred and scorn of other Princes, amongst whom at that time there was not heard of the like. The Duke could not hear the lawful reproaches of his wife the Duchess without being touch'd with the remorse of his crime; but if he set before his eyes the wrong and injury which he did to the goodness and fidelity of his wife, he faild not al­so to represent to himself how little it was in his power to leave off loving the Countess. Thus the mortification which he receiv'd from the reproaches was made to him served to no other end but to put him into a condition of not knowing which side to take; he knew his crime, but he could not hate the cause; and it was impossible for him to banish out of his soul his love to the Countess, to place the Duchess [Page 72]in her room; and although he wanted love for his wife, yet he wanted not rea­son to know his disorder; so that h [...] sought to sweeten the just resentments of the Duchess by all kind of submissi­ons, in which he let the world see that he was very well skill'd in saving (as 'tis said) both the Cabbidge and the kid, people wonder'd how he could so well both please his wife and his Mistress and how it came to pass that the de­ceived Duchess remain'd better satis­fied than did the Countess, who effectu­ally receiv'd from his Highness all kind of satisfaction, who wanted no­thing that she could desire from him; but it was to be wish'd that the Duchess could have also the same pre­tensions that the Countess had.

All that the Duke and the Countess did had no other end but to seek out wayes to injoy one another more often, which happen'd as they wish'd. The one studied to deceive her Husband, and the other his Wife: But to speak truth, the Countess found it a harder task to cheat her Husband, than the Duke found in deceiving the Duchess his Wife: for this poor unfortunate [Page 73]Lady perceiving that this was an in­curable evil and desperate, by a great Prudence shut her eyes almost, that she might not see the disorders of her Husband; whil'st on the other side the Earl watch'd his wife, the more that he saw her give her self up to the love of the Duke, to her great dishonour and loss of her own reputation, and he had just reason for doing so: for since they were not asham'd to act their worthy affairs almost before all the world, notwithstanding all the diligence of the Earl to watch them; what would they not have done, if he had winkt at their excellent Carriage?

If these two Lovers had been con­tented to do all in secret, the Earl had not been much disquieted, nor had he taken what they did into his conside­ration, but had rather, would have seem'd to have receiv'd some satis­faction in the hopes of being well us'd by the Duke, and to have receiv'd ho­nours from him in the sight of the world: For all his great trouble arose from the publick scandal, and the opi­nion he had conceiv'd, that every bo­dy fancied he complyed with these [Page 74]amours, and thus it made him sick at heart, to be counted not onely a base man, but an infamous voluntary Cuckold, and publickly to be despis'd as such a person: He never reflected upon the Nobility of his House, de­scended originally from great Princes, who had alwayes liv'd honourably, and had mantain'd themselves for many years by a very advantageous reputa­tion, without ever receiving any stain, but those reflections made him repent he had married a wife, whose carriage so much dishonour'd that illustrious. Fa­mily of his; and the good fame this Predecessours had acquired by them honest Lives; his anger kindled a thousand times in his heart the desire of revenge, but the fear of some thing worse happening to him, and to loose not onely his fortune but also his life, stifled all those thoughts in him. Shall I say furthermore, the apprehension of a sad end and an untimely death hin­der'd him often from complaining to his wife of her wicked Carriage of her self; He durst not, I say, correct her in secret, or to threaten her, fearing that, she being warn'd by that, might pro­cure [Page 75]to him a violent death in revenge to his upbraids of her: so that he was often forc'd to pretend as if he had not seen those passages he saw too plainly, and to be ignorant of what he knew too well. But in fine, not being able to induce any longer a vexation that grew every moment, press'd with grief and shame, he resolv'd to go to Savona, to ask Counsel of his Parents, what course to take to deliver himself from a misfortune which was so: cruel to him and so great? [...]and he had scarce acosted them, when one amongst them reproach'd him of marrying a wife whether they would or no, who was the daughter of an unchast mother the sister of a whore, and whose own honour was suspected them when he would so obstinately resolve to marry her, and her life since has prov'd what she was then. The poor Earl, extream­ly mortified with these reproaches, could make no other answer, but that he never thought things would come to this pass; his Parents nevertheless not to leave him in this Sea of Con­fusion counsell'd him after they had comforted him a little, that he should [Page 76]try to remove his wife from Casal calmly and with Gentleness, to bring her to Savona, and there resolve to settle and live out the remainder of his days in his own Country.

This Earl tryed the way of follow­ing this good Counsel, believing for certain that absence would cool this love, and that time would make him forget what at the present was such a heart-breaking to him, and caus'd him so much shame; being then return'd to Casal, he begun to try if he could work this miracle upon his wife, but all his indeavours were in vain; he told her his Parents desir'd her company very passionately amongst them, that the Ladies of that Town desir'd impa­tiently to injoy her company, to render her all the service and respect they thought due to her; he also prayed her to consider how advantageous the Promises of that Republick were to him of making him a great man, by the considerable imployments they would give him, and that she should assure her self he would spare no cost to give her all sort of contentments, and to that end he was resolv'd to purchase a little [Page 77]but fair Lordship hard by the Sea-side, where in the Summer-time they would divert themselves together, by all the agreeable divertsements sutable to persons of their condition. In fine, to conclude in a word, he gave her many other politick and moral reasons, so strong and plausible, that they would have been powerful enough to have convinc'd any body but her self: but the good Countess did nothing but laugh at this discourse, and without flattering him any further, told him plainly, That she was not of an humour to quit her own for a strange purchase, the certain for the uncertain, and that which she was really possest of for a picture and shadow, that she had not married her self at Casal with inten­tion to dwell at Savona, that the con­tract of her marriage had made no mention of this change, and that he could by nothing in the world find a lawful excuse to make her change her own Country; and if he pleas'd he might desire to see his own Relations at Savona, but as for her she would ra­ther stay in the Company of her bro­thers at Casal, and after all she assur'd [Page 78]him it was loss of time to dream of that, because she was confident his Highness would never consent to their parture, and yet to depart without his consent it was blindly to precipitate her ruine, and thus the Earl was con­strain'd to desist from his enterprize and saw himself oblig'd to arm himself with a new patience. The Countess the whilest judging by these words, that he had a design to retire he from her Lover; imagining besides, that her Husband had prepar'd for her at Savona some of those Morsels which the Italians ordinarily give to their wives in the like Cases, as it often happens in Italy; which made her seek an opportunity to speak to the Duke, and having easily found him, as she wish'd, she having the Liberty to go and come to him at all hours, after she had acosted him and made her curtsie, she told him at length the whole story of her Husbands designes, not forgetting his very words in a manner, that shew'd how angry she was at her Husband. This resolution of his ex­treamly displeas'd the Duke, who lookt upon the Earl as very little [Page 79]politick, and not at all prudent, and thought it very strange that for a foolish trifle (for he lookt upon the making a man a Cuckold nothing else) he would hazard the loss of his favour in retiring from his service, he was of opinion that the honours he conferr'd on the Earl was satisfaction enough for the honour he took from him, and that he had done him Favour great enough in making him one of the most considerable of his Court, which he had not done upon any considerati­on in the world, but for the Love he had for the Countess.

But if the Earl consulted his Parents at Savona, to carry the Countess thi­ther out of Casal, the Duke and she consulted at Casal against him, and sought out Pretences to absent in good earnest that obstacle of their de­lights from them: for it was every day a new work, and every time that this Lover came to Casal he was in trouble to invent some new pretext to be rid of him, to the end that he might supply his place with the Countess, and divert themselves with more Li­berty; But the Duke came so often [Page 80]to Casal, and was so often put to his shifts to find out new pretexts of dis­missing the Earl out of the way, that he was now at the bottom of his scrowl, and his invention being tyred, he knew not what to do next: these Lovers pro­pounded many wayes to one another, whereof one was to shoot him private­ly with a Musquet, and pretend after­wards that the blow came from sone of his enemies; but the Prince could not hearken to this resolution, not being willing, after the example of David, to add murther to his adul­tery, not being assured that he should repent as he did; besides, the Countess her self was not of a nature ever to give her consent to any actions of cruelty, the least in the world; or any that thus was an offence to the Holl­ness of Matrimony, notwithstanding the heat that appear'd in her first mo­tions and passion against her husband. They had already sent him to Romes twice to Florence, as many times to Ve­nice, and I know not how many times to Turin and Genes. The Duke at last would send him into France, in the quality of an Ordinary Embassadour, [Page 81]but there were two obstacles that hin­dred that, The hate and aversion the Earl ever bore to the French Na­tion, was one, and indeed his declared aversion to them was so unreasonable, that he was us'd to say in all Compa­nies where he came, that if he had the Keyes of Hell but one day, he would with his whole heart send all the Frenchmen thither even to the Devils Palace, because they had cor­rupted the City of Casal, and by the introduction of their Liberty had so chang'd that Town en bordeau. Thus it appear'd not reasonable to the Duke to send such a man to treat with them. In the second place, that which hindred the Earl from being sent Embassadour into the Court of France, was, The Fear the Duke had he would cary his wife along with him, (as assuredly he had done;) and the Duke refusing to let her go, would have disoblig'd him too much, and given cause to an apparent scandal, and therefore this Proposition took no effect, and ended just where it begun, as unprofitable to their design; but the resolution was certainly taken to dismiss the Earl one way or other, [Page 82]if not for ever, yet for a great while; but they endeavour'd to find out ways for their satisfaction that would suit with the glory of the Husband and ho­nour of the Wife, which they lookt upon chiefly in this design. As for the absenting of her brothers, there was no thought of that; for they were very merry and well contented to see their Sister in the Dukes good graces, and envied one another, who should most contribute to the pleasures of the Duke and their Sister. The profit they receiv'd was so great by it, besides the considerable charges conferr'd upon them for their service in that trade; in truth those Gentlemen might well enough dissemble their trouble, to see their Sister live so disorder'd a life, and content themselves more easily to be the procurers of horns; since that of­fice was not so great a dis-reputation to them as it was to the Earl that was the Husband, who was to endure not onely the publike knowledge of his dishonour, the injuries and reproaches of all the world, but also the pride and ill humour of his wife in his house, without daring to take notice of his [Page 83]being sent away from her, so often, whole weeks and moneths, which was insupportable to him: therefore it must not be wonder'd, if the Earl was weary of that life, as well as the Duke was of seeking out excuses to send him abroad, to injoy his wife with more Liberty, who at last thought of a way very fit for his design.

There is in the Kingdom of Poland a Marquess of Gonzague, very much esteem'd by all the people in that Countrey, who although they are not of the same line of the Dukes of Man­tua, yet carry the same name, and arms, and are own'd by the Duke of Mantua as kinsmen in all their Letters, which they send. It is true that this kindred gives them no manner of pretence to the hereditary Succession of the Duchy of Mantua, and Marquisate of Mont­ferat: for the Duke of Mantua, who by the Emperours consent, at first ac­knowledged them of kin to him, only upon this condition, That they should be excluded from all pretences of Suc­cession to that State.

The Duke then was of opinion that he might send the Earl into Poland, not [Page 84]so much to make a visit to that Marquisesas to be inform'd of the imployments, estate, and riches, and the interest they had in that Courts and to make his design hit the better, by the Earls making a longer stay in that journey than he expected, he order'd him to go not in the quality of an Or­dinary Embassadour, but as a Gentle­man traveller, who had no other end but to see the Countrey.

This resolution taken between the Duke and the Countess, the Earl was sent for to receive his Commission, and what else was necessary for that voyage, and to prepare himself. The Duke gave him many wicked and false reasons, the interest he had in being in­form'd fully of the estate, and ranck which those Lords held in the Court of Poland, and told him that he had already writ Letters of Recom­mendation of the Earl to them; in which, he had pretended that he was onely to pass thorow that Kingdom; and had his Highness Commands to wait upon them from him, adding fur­ther, that he had willingly sent him in the quality of Embassadour to their [Page 85]King, who was his Highness's kinsman, but for his own convenience, and to save the great Charge which such an Embassie would have cost him, and al­so for better profiting in his design, which carried him thither, he thought it more necessary for him to go as a pri­vate Gentleman, who had a Curiosity of seeing the world, than in any other quality, because that in that Condition he could better inform himself of the estate those Lords, without suspi­tion.

The Earl perceiv'd very easily the Dukes design, and although he hum­bly acknowledg'd the Favour his Highness did him in calling him to that employment of trust; yet he could not refrain from excusing himself by telling the Duke, that such a Commission was more fit to be given to a Page, than to [...] man of his Quality.

The Duke who wanted neither wit [...]or cunning, would not receive his enumerable excuses, although I know [...]ut one which the Duke replyed to, which the Duke said might have [...]rv'd had his design been something more than a private exact information [Page 86]of the Condition in which his kinsmen were at the Court of Poland; upon which informations depended all his affairs with that Kingdom, which when he was satisfied of from his private voyage thither, he should then pro­ceed to the publick Embassie to the Polish King, in which he made choice of him; and to that end had given him first this private Commission, as most fit for his designes, and therefore he order'd him to go as soon as he could possibly get himself in readiness for such a Voyage; to which the Eal gave no further reply but that be should do all in his power to be ready to serve his Highness that hour he should appoint him for this journey in which, he plainly discover'd he had no good will for him.

In the beginning this order to go for Poland troubled him very much and put a thousand Fancies in his head and represented many things to the trouble of his soul; but at last, after having well consider'd it, he conclude it better for him to absent himself tha [...] to stay and break his heart, by bein [...] an eye witness of all the impudenc [...] [Page 87]of his wife with the Duke, which were come to that pass, that they made no scruple, scarce, before his face: but that kinsman of his, which I spoke of be­fore, who was aged, and an experienc'd man in all the intrigues of Court, and therefore had so disswaded the Earl from this Marriage, he having smelt the Dukes intention, and heard the re­port that the Earl was to be sent into Poland; as he was Elder than the Earl, so he spoke with more assurance, and without flattery told him, I see very well that horns will be very cheap. To which the Earl replyed, Cuckold for Cuckold, it is better to have horns made behind the back then before the Face.

The Earl had fifteen days given him to prepare for his Voyage, during which he took care of all things necessary for such a journey; he took leave of all his Friends, but in a manner told them that he gave them the last adieu: his brothers in law counselled him to serve his Highness with much zeal and affection; but he felt very well where his shoe wrung him, and thought with­in himself that all their Counsels had [Page 88]no other end but, The dishonour of he wife their own Sister. In the mean­time, he could so well act his part, and dissembled so well, that no body ima­gin'd that he went to Poland against his will, he appear'd so gay and pleasant; none would have believ'd, but that he made this Voyage with all the satif­faction in the world. The Countess appear'd very indifferent to all this and seem'd to be neither well not ill pleased at it, knowing well that all she could have said would have been di­strusted, and therefore she spoke no­thing to her Husband but equivocally upon that subject, being certain that he was not ignorant that in all things she had no intentions but those of pleasing the Duke; she was more than convinc'd that her Husband be­liev'd not one word she said to him, although she had forc'd herself to ap­pear very much afflicted at his depart; and to express her joy she durst not, believing with reason that excess of Folly would have given too publick a scandal to the World; however she assur'd him, that the Duke intended to raise him to the highest Dignities the [Page 89]State and Court were capable of, and that the Service which his Highness now desn'd from him was, To open a way to greater Honours, to which he had design'd him.

The Earl then parted from Casal in the Moneth of April, accompanied by his wifes elder brother as far as Mantua, where after he had receiv'd his High­ness orders he passed the Mountains, and went on his journey.

The same day the Duke dispatcht a Messenger to the Countess with this note,

My Heart and my All!

THe Earl is gon this Morning for Poland, where he will do nothing, and I intend to go from hence within two dayes, to a place where I hope to do something. I shall rest contented when no body works in thy Garden, which is onely worthy the labour of Princes; ex­cuse me if I speak so freely, do thou be mine, and for me, I shall be always thine, in spight of all those that would trouble either of us; expect me with the same [Page 90]desire I have to see thee, and be mine, as I am thine,


It will not be unnecessary in this place to conclude the story of the Earl, because we shall not hence­forward have more occasions of men­tioning him; I will tell you then, that he continued in Poland two Moneths without doing any thing; having not receiv'd all the remembrances, and in­structions necessary touching his Ne­gotiations, although the Duke had given him his word to send them to him, but it was but a Pretext, to gain time; because the Posts that went from Mantua to Poland, went lazily, and arrived there but as late as possibly they could; whil'st in the mean time the Earl knew but too well for what reason the Duke had sent him so far off, and into a place where he was ob­lig'd to be his own Comforter for all his Misfortunes; but what afflicted him most was, That the Duke sent him not so much as the particular Instructions, whereby he might acquit himself [Page 91]aright of his Commission in the Court of Poland, and also sent him no money, without which it is impossible for strangers to do any thing, and ha­ving it, they compass any thing: and therefore at last, he writ to the Duke and also his Wife these Letters fol­lowing, which he sent by Paris:

Great Prince!

I Yet stay for those Letters of dispatch, which your Highness made me hope I should receive in this Kingdom, and yet I have not seen them, although two Moneths are pass'd since I arrived in this Kingdom, besides the days were spent in my journey hither; I have much shame and confusion at being here and having no imployment, not being able to serve your Highness like a true and faithful Vassal: Therefore in all hu­mility I desire your Highness to send me with speed something to do, that I may testifie to you, with what fidelity persons of my Quality usually scrve their Sovereign, who wish all prosperity [Page 92]to your Highness, which you deserv [...], I am

Your most humble Vassal, The Earl of Rovera.

The other Letter which at the same time he sent to his wife was in these words,

My dear Spouse!

I Am so angry and so unsatisfied in being in a strange Countrey, from my own House, absent from my wife, and without money, that if I had two souls, I would willingly give one to the Devil. His Highness sent me hither with assu­rance that the Instructions necessary for me, and the Bills of Exchange, should cer­tainly follow me; but seeing the contrary, I know not who to complain to, and can­not but think that I was sent hither on no design, but of being rid of me. I would [Page 93]nevertheless flatter my self, if it were possible, with the belief that the length of the way might perhaps be the cause of the slowness of my Letters, and hinder'd them from coming so soon as I expected; but for all that I cannot but afflict my self, not being ignorant that those people, who make use of my house in my absence, divert themselves, whil'st in the mean time I am suffering in the houses of others; it troubles me not to be here, but I am vext that I have not that which was promised; I pray thee solicite his Highness, and speak to him by word of mouth, if he is at Casal, or by Letter, if he be at Mantua, that I may receive satis­faction, and the Duke may be served; till now I have not had opportunity of seeing any Lady, therefore I can say nothing to thee of their humours nor in­clinations at present. This is all I can write to thee this day, deferring the rest to another opportunity. Adieu, I embrace thee.

But let the Earl write as many Letters as he pleas'd, he staid fifteen Moneths in Poland, always waiting to receive his Orders, scarce once seeing [Page 94]in all that time the Marquess of [...] ­zague, or at least once saluting frim from the Duke: he bit his fingers eve­ry day in despight of his being so cheated, he writ and writ again but to no purpose in the world, and receiv'd no answer to all his Epistles but fair words, and to no end; which the Duke caus'd his Secretary to write which circumstance aggravated the Earls vexation, and put him out of himself. In fine, seeing he could do­nothing in that Court for the service of his Highness, and that the Duke his Master had very little business to tre [...] of in that place, he made new requests to him, which he often repeated, for his consent to his return to Casal, with protestations of his being more ser­viceable to his Highness at Casal than at Poland, where he did nothing either for the Duke or himself, as he thought, whil'st in the mean time that poor man render'd all the service required from him, since there was nothing desired from him but his absence.

The great Liberty with which these two Lovers diverted themselves toge­ther in the absence of the Earl, made [Page 95]them invent all the means possible to prolong it; and since he renewed his desires and prest so much his return, through weariness of his staying idle in the Court of Poland. The Duke being resolute for his absence a longer time, devised another plot worse than the former.

He ordain'd then the Earl by ex­press Letters, That he should go to the Capitol City of Persia, where he pretended he should stay there some Moneths in the quality of an Embas­sadour, because the interest of his State required some Correspondence with that King, and to engage the Earl to this, he promised him mountains and wonders, assuring him that if his de­signes succeeded by his Negotiation, he should want no Honours and Re­compences, there being none after that such service which he might not pre­tend to for himself or his heirs.

The Duke sent him these Orders, with a Letter of Exhortation, and com­manded also his Secretary, and his wives brothers to write to him. They obeyed the Duke, and sent to this poor banish'd man Letters full of Flatte­ries [Page 96]to animate him to the Dukes [...] vice, with all the affection imaginable and fail'd not to aggravate to the [...] the honours which they presume would accrew to him by this voyage.

When the Earl receiv'd this Order one would have thought the Dev [...] had taken him by the Coller; [...] ­eat his fingers with rage, and who ever had seen him would have thought he would also have devour'd his Let­ters, he begun to beat his valet [...] Chamber; to discharge some of h [...] Choller upon him, and that which was most vexations in this business, [...] was the more inflam'd by the believing his resentments so just and his extre [...] passion lawful, he saw plainly that the Dukes onely end was to make h [...] die of want in that long and pain [...] voyage, that afterwards he might [...] ­joy his wife with greater Liberty; [...] could not imagine any way what at fairs the Dukes of Mantua could have with the Kings of Persia, so that press, with grief he took a resolution of sen­ding his footman into Italy with the same Letters which he had received from the Duke, reserving to himself [Page 97]onely the Bills of Exchange, without giving himself the trouble to write to the Duke so much as one word of excuse, nevertheless he gave this ser­vant of his two Letters of transport, one for his Wife, the other for his Brother in Law; The first was this,

Wicked Wife, the dishonour of my House, and the ruine of my Person,

I Refrained hitherto those lawful re­proaches I could have made to thy dissolute life, for fear of publishing those crimes, which at least ought to be con­ceal'd; but since thy impudencies go so far, as to destroy, I do not say, the quiet of my mind, (for it never tasted any since my cruel destiny joyn'd me to thee,) but that of my soul, which thou persecu­test even unto the farthest places of the world. I think my self oblig'd now to let thee know, that I was never blind as thou believedst me, but if I pretended to be so, twas an effect of my Prudence; I complain not of the Duke who persecutes [Page 98]me for thy sake; I complain of thy dis­loyalty to thy Husband. Why didst th [...] marry, wicked woman as thou art, if thy intentions were to be always dishonest? Thou deceivedst thy self if thou didst believe that at the beginnings of our Marriage I did not perceive thy abomi­nable amour; I knew, I saw with great regret, although I counterfeited igno­rance, and pretended neither to see, nor hear, nor understand. It might have sufficed thee to have dishonour'd me at Casal, without being so cruel as to drive me out of Italy. Dost thou think I be­lieve that all these pretended honours art conferr'd upon me for any other end, but in consideration of thy impudent dishonest life, to mock and abuse my simplicity? I understand it well enough, and would to God I did not at all. I forsake the name and quality of Husband, being forc'd to abandon my wife. I should be the basest of men to go about to serve a Prince, who flatters me with imagi­nary honours, whilst in effect he dis­honours me: Yes, I hope to find a hap­pier Fortune in Barbary than in my na­tive Countrey; and I believe that the Inhabitants of that Countrey will not [Page 99]have so much cruelty for me, as my Wife and my own Prince have shewed me in Italy; Yes, yes, I renounce thee for my wife, since thou wilt be a whore, and I am resolv'd to fly thy presence eternally, that the world may not believe I consent to thy disorders. I confess I need not com­plain of thee, because it is my self I ought to blame for all my misfortunes, having been sufficiently warned by my friends and kindred of all that I have suffer'd by thee, and the dishonour thou wouldst bring me. But in fine, since my destiny has sent this for my ruine; I run very wil­lingly to it; and do not thou think to escape punishment, which will come upon thee one day, when thou dream'st not of it, and although the chastisements of Adulte­rers is, like thine, deferr'd, yet it is sure to come; go, God will revenge me, and pu­nish thee.

He finish'd his Letter to the Countess in these words without Subscription, and sent it with an­other to his Brother-in-law writ in these terms,

THere is nothing I should less have credited, than that Brothers born of an illustrious Bloud would have ser­ved as Rascals in the prostitution of their own Sister; There is no body either in Mantua or Casal, that is ignorant of this; It is now become the Fame of your Family, and the onely thing by which it is taken notice of; but I am very much displeased to have my reputation ingaged in it; For as for yours I deride it, since you have been so base to offer up to the Duke what no longer belong'd to you. That opinion of yours, That Princes can make no Cuckolds, resembles that Gold which covers Pills, to cheat sick people. I have alwayes lookt upon it as such, and I have indur'd as much as I can; but this minute that I have not gold enough left me to cover such great Pills as are preserib'd to me, I have no more Pati­ence, and must complain, since the Duke is pleased I shall this day begin to run over the World, like a poor Pilgrim and miserable banish'd man: to the end that he may enjoy your Sister in quiet. I resign my wife willingly to his Highness, and the shame to you; till now you have acted the part of Rascals, and serv'd the shame­ful [Page 101]desires of my wife: Now take to your selves the employment of serving your Sister. This is all shall be said to you from him that gives you absolutely his share in the shame, that you may possess it all; he flyes from the company of a pro­stituted adulterous woman, and from the Pimps her Brothers; understand me as well as I understand both of you.

These were the last Letters which the Earl writ to Casal, with which the Duke lookt upon himself so sensibly offended, having got them both into his hands, that he swore in the Coun­tesses presence to be revenged: Many were of opinion that he was quickly after that satisfied in his vengeance he intended on the Earl, because that minute he made his Oath, he dispatch'd many Letters, giving order to follow him, and to learn what was become of him, of whom since that time there was no news heard, which was the cause so many believ'd he was kill'd by the Dukes Orders, but I cannot be­lieve this last common opinion, because that Prince had not so black a soul; and I rather think he was satisfied [Page 102]enough with ordering him to be pu­nish'd only by sending him far enough off his State; some were of opinion that he went into Swede, and under a disguize chang'd his Religion and be­came a Lutheran; and some believe he lives at this day in some little place he purchas'd with those thousand Pistols which the Duke sent him by Bills of Exchange for his Voyage into Persia: Others pretend he has been seen in Por­tugall not five years since, which is not certified credibly. But whatever is be­come of him, there has not any thing been heard of him since that time, and at Casal there is nothing spoken of him good or bad, and therefore we will talk no more of him, but here conclude the life of that unfortunate Hus­band.

Let us now return to that poor Princess, almost forsaken by her hus­band, in all things but outward shew [...] who seeing her self thus treated by the Duke her Husband, for the low of an infamous woman, and one so much below her in Birth, that there is no other comparison between them to [Page 103]be made but what is given between that of a Prince and a slave; so that it was very difficult for her to hinder her self from loudly complaining of the Coun­tess, and the more by seeing every day her husbands affection grow colder for her, and increase to that wicked woman, who alone possess'd his heart. This afflicted Duchess was desperate at all the abominable tricks which from day to day were plaid the Earl beyond the Seas, onely to leave his wife at more Liberty with the Duke; and her affliction was very much in­creased when she was inform'd of his despair, which had caused him to re­nounce absolutely the serving that Court any more, and never to return to Cas [...]l, nor yet into any part of Italy; and since she heard by the whispering murmurs of the Courtiers, that the Duke angry at this procedure of the Earl had resolv'd to pursue him in re­venge where-ever he went; in pity to this poor Lord, she went to ask his par­don of the Duke, and to that effect she set before his eyes the example of Da­ [...]id, driven from his Kingdom, not so much by the persecution of Absalom [Page 104]his son, as the decree of Heaven, to punish him for Adultery, which he had committed with Bathsheba, and that horrid execrable and barbarous mur­ther of Uriah her husband, adding, That that Prophet had not so violently per­secuted Uriah, as his Highness had pur­sued the Earl; nor had liv'd so long a time in Adultery with Bathsheba as he had liv'd with the Countess. The Duke, angry at these solicitations, rose up from the bed where he was sitting, whil'st the Duchess was talking to him, and walking to the Chamber-door, gave her no other answer than this,

Madam, that which men believ'd in the Old Testament to be a sin, all Princes account this day a gallantry: and say­ing this, he went away.

The Duchess seeing all her words unprofitable, and work'd nothing upon the heart of the Duke, which was har­der than any rock, to all Counsels that were given him to take him off his scandalous living; she resolv'd at last to try another way, and employ greater [Page 105]strengths than her own, though she wen [...] far to fetch them. She knew ve­ry well the veneration of the Duke for the Senate of Venice, and she had of­ten heard him profess his considerable Obligations to that illustrious Re­publick, with which he held great Correspondence for the interest and considerations of his own State. There­fore she took the occasion of petition­ing that Senate in private to interpose their authority, to deliver her from her troubles, and to take the Duke from his scandalous way of life with the Countess.

That Senate, who does nothing without great Caution and Prudence, did not think this a necessary business for the whole body of the Counsel to take notice of, therefore they order'd Monsieur Justiniani to undertake it as a particular man, and to use all possible diligence in the affair: That Lord did not fail to receive that Commission with much respect and submission, but he was not without fear that he should be able to effect nothing to the satisfaction of the Senate, nor of the Archduchess; he nevertheless omit­ted [Page 106]no opportunity of surprizing the Duke, to talk to him about it, and ha­ving found an hour fit for his purpose, he begun to talk of this Commission with an admirable Eloquence back'd with Reasons so solid an never yet was seen come from the tongue of that Excellent Oratour; but all his Elo­quence and strong Reasons were un­profitable; all the Discourses of this Illustrious Lord producing no effect, and made no impression in the heart of the Duke, who answer'd resolutely to that Oracle of the Senate, that there was but one remedy to cure so great a sickness, and that was, To send for an Executioner from Venice, to cut his heart out of his breast, because as long as it staid there, it must of neces­sity be the Countesses, and without depriving him of his heart; it was im­possible to take from him the love he bore to the Countess. After that re­ply Justiniani found it to no purpose to press him further, and to undertake any more against so great a wilfulness, as he discover'd in the Duke.

That Prince then shutting his eyes to all kind of Considerations, lived [Page 107]with the Countess like a Husband with his Wife, he carried her along with him when he went a Hunting, and also to the Palace royal of Mantua, where his wife the Archduchess also lay, he eat with the Countess, slept with her, and caressed her in the presence of all his Courtiers, almost before the face of that poor Princess his wife, who al­though she saw not what they ordina­rily did, did not fail to hear of it, ha­ving the story of what passed be­tween those two Lovers brought to her every day, all the Embassadours, the Gentlemen, Noblemen, as also all the Ladies of Mantua, admired the great Goodness of this Princess, to suf­fer with so much Patience so great an injury, or to say better, such an afflicti­on of heart; for to say the truth, that dishonest love of the Dukes brought, more glory to the Duchess than any disgrace, because she in that Patience expressed so great a vertue, in de­spising jealousie, and mocking at all those carnal pleasures of Matrimony, and letting the world see that all her trouble and mortification proceeded onely from no other cause than the [Page 108]sin her Husband committed, and there­fore we are not to call that Patience of hers a corporeal injury, but an affliction of Spirit.

There wanted no Ladies nor Gentle­men about the Court, who counsell'd the Duchess from time to time to re­venge her self of that Prostitute, by one of those Draughts so common in Italy, as the onely remedy to put an end not onely to her own affliction, but also the Duke her husbands adultery, and to take away the dishonour of the Countesses Family, besides the depri­ving the Court of its great trouble.

Amongst the rest there were two persons of very large Consciences, as one may say, wide as a Friars sleeve, offered themselves voluntarily to do this deed, the one was a Tailor, who proffered to end the Countesses life with the Shot of a Harquebuz, which he would in private Shoot at her, and no body should know of it, and that he would take great care in chusing his time, asking for recompence of that action but two hundred Pistols, to keep him in any place he should be forc'd to fly to, it not being possible after doing [Page 109]that to think of returning back to his own house; or if they thought that summe too much for him, he askt no more than a good Recommendation to the Archduke, to be favourably treated with him.

The other person that offered to dispatch the Countess was a Lady and her kinswoman, honourable by reason of her age, who believing her self in­terested in the dis-reputation the Countess had brought upon her Fami­ly, and touched with shame and com­passion for the Archduchess, offered her self also to poison this adulterous Countess, so privately that none should ever know it.

But that poor Princess who lookt upon all those Miseries, as being by the permission of Heaven, and receiving them as coming from the hands of God, did not onely blame those bloudy reso­lutions, and tragical designes of those murtherers but she also forbid them for ever the presenting themselves be­fore her with those Propositions, and it is said that one day, as she was dis­coursing with her Confessour (in the presence of the Governess of her [Page 110]house) of the scandalous life the Duke liv'd with that Countess, and the Proposals had been offered her of revenging that adultery. That Con­fessour told her, That great persons might commit a small evil, to deliver them­selves from a greater. Which the Duchess scarce heard him say, but guessing well his design, which was onely to carry her to revenge, she quickly replyed, We had rather suffer the Countess to live with her sin, than [...] let her die with ours.

These words sufficiently testifie [...] the great goodness and admirable ve [...] ­tue of that excellent Princess, with which she indured all her disgrace so well, that she took more delight in suffering, whil'st others were pleas'd than she could have taken satisfaction amongst all kind of prosperities, whil'st other people had been unhappy; also she never went about to buy her own repose by a Crime, and satisfie the de­sires of her body by an offence so pre­judiciall to her soul, which makes me believe that God will take her in to his particular care during her Re­gency, and so much the more, because [Page 111]she prefers the interest of her Maker before all those of the world.

The Emperour and the Archduke sent by their Ambassadours a desire to the Duke of Mantua, that he would a little open his eyes, and consider the great scandal he liv'd in, even in the fight of all the Princes of Italy, pro­testing that they propounded this to him not out of resentment, but were press'd to it out of the tender affecti­on they bore to his person. They also assur'd him that they had not been solicited to this motion by the Princess their kinswoman, who complain'd not in the least to them of ill treatment, but on the contrary, protested to them that the Duke her Husband honour'd her very much, and except in the bed neer him, to which the Countess alone was priviledged, the Duke us'd her with all the civility imaginable, as well in private as publick. Therefore the Emperour and the Archduke had no cause to complain of any thing, and less yet, in that it happen'd contrary in this scandalous life of the Dukes, to that which ordinarily passes in such a case by many that use their wives ill, [Page 112]for the sake of their Mistresses. For the Duke, contrary to other men, was grown so crafty, that he knew how to act cunningly by apparently satisfying his wife before the world, and taking his private pleasures with the Countess; so that it was not easie for any to ob­serve any change in the looks of that chaste Princess, but rather much con­tentment and pleasure. It is true, that outside Friendship in appearance ought not to be imputed to the care and prudence of the Duke so much as to the goodness of his wife; who being endowed with a singular vertue, and a [...] extraordinary prudence, could hide her grief, and express no signes of trouble in her Face, although her heart was press'd down with affliction.

The Court of Rome received with much displeasure the news of this scan­dalous adultery, and the trouble it re­ceived was aggravated by the quality of that great Person, who was guilty of that publick disorder; and therefore it gave Orders to the Superiours of the Convents at Casal and Mantua to in­joyn the Preachers to exaggerate the nature of this Crime in their Pulpits [Page 113]whil'st in the mean time the Duke suf­fer'd the World to Talk, and the Monks to Cross themselves, and went to Sermons when the Fancy took him, and hearkned to what he liked; upon which, it hapned, that a Father of the Order of St. Francis, by an indiscrete Zeale, having too much reflected upon the Person of the Duke, and too open­ly spoke of the Countess, found him­self so intangled, he was constrain'd to quit Mantua, till he was forc'd to Swear, That for time to come he would change his Note, and in Cor­recting the Vices of Princes, he would henceforward use more discretion.

The Dukes Confessor was also ex­horted to remember his Highness sometimes of the Obligation he had to leave off his scandalous life; (as if the greatest evil of that Crime lay in the Scandal of it:) but that good Father lov'd better to be in the good graces of a Prince, Adulterous and Criminal, then Enemy of a Just and Innocent one: And furthermore, he was so in­dulgent, that when he Confest him, he easily gave him Absolution; Lay­ing all the fault upon the weakness of [Page 114]our Nature: In truth, there are Con­fessors in these dayes, that are cause of the loss of many Princes; For, they being Ambitious to Domineer over the other Brothers of the Convent by their Princes Favour; they would be content (rather then lose that Digni­ty) not onely to send their Princes to Hell, but also go themselves to the Devil; neglecting the Duties of their Place, and their Pastoral Obli­gations, in excusing the Faults which these Illustrious Sinners commit.

The Countess also receiv'd from time to time her secret Mortifications; for the Bishop, sollicited perhaps from Rome, and the Arch-Dutchess, repre­sented to her sometimes the condition of her life, threatning to refuse to give her the Holy Sacrament at Easter, but it was but Threats, to which she heark­ned very little, and which gave her but little trouble, because she was confident they would never be perform'd, for fear of disobliging his Highness; and the more, because she excused her self, by laying the fault upon the Duke, saying to him that came to speak to her from the Bishop, That being [Page 115]born a Subject, she could not com­mand the Duke not to see her any more, because he would do her that Honour.

I cannot forbear in this place to re­late an Accident, no less curious then Politick, which hapned during these passages.

My Lord Bishop of Cassal had un­dertaken a thing believed impossible by all the World, which was, to find out a remedy to divert the Duke from this Love of the Countess; which was so publick, that there could not be a greater between two persons Marryed: but the whil'st he labour'd by I know not what Political and Pastoral Zeal, he found the end of his dayes in seek­ing that of a Scandal; this Death of his regreted by all: he having been a Prelate of an exemplar life, and held worthy of so eminent a charge in the Church, in which he had alwayes shew­ed himself with great Zeale.

The Countess was not very sorry, seeing her self by that delivered from the apprehension, of losing the Dukes good Graces, of which she was in dan­ger, by the strong exhortations of that [Page 116]Bishop. On the contrary, she had no sooner heard the news of the Death of the Bishop, but speaking to her Sister the Countess Louize, she said to her, the poor Bishop is dead, for ayming too much at Fisty-Cuffs against Hea­ven; she meant by that, to shew it was all one, to Fight against Heaven, and to endeavour to ruine her Favour with the Duke.

The Earl her Brother going also to talke to her upon the Subject of the Bishops Death, said to her, Sister, you have lost a great Enemy at least, if he that is his Successor prove not of his humour: To which she answer'd; He shall be my Friend, or nothing.

The Bishops Funerals were scarce ended, but, as well from the State of Mantua, as Rome, there started up ma­ny pretenders to his place; The Pope pretended a right in the chusing of a Bishop for Casal, in the State of Man­tua, because all knew very well, that although the right of making a Bishop of Casal belonged to his Holyness, yet there was no great satisfaction to be found, for any that should be made without the Dukes consent: It be­ing [Page 117]certain, that to be a Bishop of any Town, against the Good-will of their Sovereign, it is no other, then to ruine any Mans Fortune, and keep him al­wayes in trouble: There is no per­son that will accept it without having at the least the nomination of the Prince, or else a recommendation from him; And for this reason, there were as well at Mantua as at Casal, the pre­tenders to that Bishoprick, seeking to the Duke for a Nomination, or re­commendation from his Highness.

Amongst many others, the Pro­vost of Miroglio had a mind to this Bishoprick, and it was very easie for him to attain it, because no body dream't of him, for the way he took was better, and very different from those that the rest of the Pretenders had taken; he addresses himself to the [...]ady Margaret, with whom he had al­wayes held a very good correspon­dence, and now sought her Recom­mendation by submissions and promi­ses, with extraordinary Proffers; he promis'd her a Purse with a thousand Crowns in it to buy her a Diamond pro­testing to her, that he would willing­ly [Page 118]tesign the Cross into her hands; shewing her by that, that he would ne­ner do any thing which should not be as she would have it, and to her satis­faction: he forgot not to intreate her, that for all these considerations she would imploy all her interest with his Highness, to obtain his Recommen­dation to his Holyness.

This occasion lookt so faire, that the Countess would not neglect i [...] Therefore she promis'd him to imploy all her credit to bring his design about, so well, that he should be satisfyed with her indeavours; she went then to her Well-Beloved, and represented to him, how necessary it was to his High­ness to have a Prelate at Casal, of ano­ther Humour then the former; who, under a colour of Zeal, should not in­terrrupt the repose which their Loves injoy'd, since the death of the last Bishop; telling him further, that Mi­roglio was a Man of a perfect prudence, and worthy of that Bishoprick; sound­ing these words often in the Dukes cares, My Heart, I desire thee to act so, that this affair succeed in beliall of this Gallant-Man; and certainly, [Page 119]he was alwayes lookt upon as such; for, being a Prelate, he acquitted him­self of his charge very well, and conti­nues still to do so; and although he salutes every Body with a Smiling Countenance, and all kind of affabi­lity; and that in his ordinary Discour­ses he still mingles some jeasting word or other: he nevertheless with all that forgets not to Govern the Church and his Diocess extreamly well.

The Duke, who of himself was in­olin'd to favour that Lord, not onely consented to the request of his Well-beloved in his behalfe, but engag'd himself further to act with all his power.

After this restimony of the Dukes good will, the Countess willing to try the constancy of this Lord Miraglio, and to discover what his Thoughts would be (if he arriv'd to that Bisho­prick) of her Amour with the Duke, sent for him, and after having assur'd him of the Dukes Favour and Protecti­on, to the end he desir'd it, she repre­sented to him the great imprudence of the deceased Prelate, who, not content to injoy his Bishoprick in peace, which [Page 120]he held by the Dukes Favour, would trouble the repose of His Highness, in seeking to make him pass for an Adulterer.

Monsieur Miroglio, who, penetra­ted to the quick into the Soul of this Crafty woman, answer'd her like a Gallant Man; for, after he had very much condemn'd the procedure of the dead Prelate, he Swore to her, that if ever he receiv'd the Mi­tre, he would never do any thing, but what should please the Duke and her self; furthermore, he added, That the Sins of Princes were but small in the eyes of God; and in fine, he brought many other such kind of reasons, and perhaps better to reach his end, and compass his de­sign, onely to appear blind to the Dukes Scandalous Life, and Publick Adultery.

The Countess was not unsatisfied with this Discourse, and tolerating that Lord, she made him so many advantagious Promises, that he part­ed from her very well contented, and pleased the more with the last words of the Countess, which were, That he [Page 121]was as sure of being Bishop, as he was certain that the Duke was Lord of Casal, and Soveraign of his State.

The time of parting for Rome be­ing come, my Lord Miroglio was at the Palace, to obtain the Letters of Recommendation from His Highness, and receive the necessary Orders; but the Duke, to let him see that he consider'd in that Choice, more the Interest of his Beloved, sent for him, and told him, My Lord, you shall receive from the Countess all you wish: To whom he answer'd, with a low Congee, The Hands of such a Lady could bring him nothing but good Fortune.

The Duke Writ divers Letters to the Court of Rome, to recommend the Interest of this Pretender to the Bishoprick; but, amongst the rest, that which he writ to his Holyness, was so much to his advantage, he could not reasonably desire one great­er; and because the Countess gave him this Letter open, I will here give you the Contents to satisfie the Curiosity of the Reader.

Most Holy FATHER.

AFter having most Humbly Kissed your Feet, with all the Affecti­on of my Heart; I Salute your Holi­ness with all the Humility of my Soul; recommending in the mean time to the Politick and Ecclesiatick Zeal of Your Holiness, the Interests of my Lord Miroglio, Provost of this Town, and a Man very much beloved in my house; be aspires to this Vacant Bishoprick, and if I am not deceiv'd, I believe his Me­rit renders him worthy enough of it; the time of the Warr, which makes this Town liable to great suffering, both within and without; obliges me to be more earnest with Your Holiness, to consider the Person I recommend to you, and Create Bishop of Casal this Subject, whom I look upon as my In­timate Friend, and a Man qualified to remove all Causes of Jealousie, which usually grow from the Introduction of Prelates who are strangers, into such [Page 123]eminent Places; and therefore I desire Your Holiness, with the Humility of a Son, to Grant me with this Grace Your Fatherly Benediction.

The Countess had no sooner given this Letter to Monsieur Miroglio, and the others addressed to some of the Cardinals, then he went for Rome; where, being arriv'd, he deliver'd the Letters, and Sollicited his Affaires and Interests with a care suitable to his Pretensions; and such as you may guess by the usual diligence of those who aspire to the like Digni­ties.

The other Pretenders, who were very numerous, seeing how considera­ble his Recommendations were, and that his Party was the strongest, be­gun A la mode of the Court of Rome, to Cross him, and with all their power endeavoured to exclude him, by ma­ny proofes of his insufficiency, mur­muring against his Person; and which was worse, publishing many things against his Reputation.

There were two chiefe Reasons which they set up, to discountenance [Page 124]his Pretensions; the First was, That there was no regard to be taken to those Letters of Recommendation procured by an Adulterous Woman, and bought of her with a great Sum of ready Mony: And the Second was, That it would be Scandalous to make the Cosin of a Heretick a Bishop, who also carry'd the same name of her Family: But not to leave the Reader in doubt upon this Particular; I will explain it all in two words.

Twelve yeares before this, Don Mario Miroglio, Canon of the Cathe­dral Church of Casal, neer Kinsman to Lord Provost Miroglio, was retir'd from that Town to Geneva, to the great displeasure of the Chapter, and the House of Miroglio, who spar'd for nothing to bring him back from whence he was fled; but he, deriding all their Remonstrances, chang'd his Religion, to embrace that which is Professed at Geneva; and was after­wards Marryed; he dyed some time after, leaving two Male Children be­hind him, to Eternize his Name in that Church so contrary to the Church of Rome.

The whole sacred Colledge was in­formed of that by his enemies, who had the same pretension with him, and above all they chiefly inform'd the Cardinal Sforza, as he that spoke the freeliest and spared not the Pope him­self, when he was to give his advice, and they were not deceiv'd, for the Cardinal Sforza, going to the Pope, sought at first to make a way into his thoughts, to alter his resolution of ma­king Miroglio Bishop, and seeing for all his endeavours, that all things went on that Lords side, he was resolute, and could not forbear, saying one day to the Pope in a full Consistory,

Most holy Father!

IF your Holiness resolves to make the brother of a heretick a Bishop at least, let it not be the pimp of an adulterous woman.

The Pope notwithstanding knowing that Cardinals humour, said onely to him, that he was very well acquainted with the merits of the Lord Miroglio.

Miroglio then made Bishop, contrary to the expectation of all the world, and to the great discentent of his enemies, he gave many thanks to the Coun­tess, besides giving her the thousand Crowns, which he had promis'd her before, and I will not speak of the many Presents he made to divers per­sons of the Dukes Court.

This Prelate wanted for no civility nor respect for the Countess, and ho­nour'd her very often with his visites, staying many afternoons with her, whil'st the Prince was at Mantua; for when the Duke was at Casal, her house was forbid to all the world, except the Duke, to whom it on­ly belong'd to Court that Fair one; one day however, as the Bishop was going out of the Countesses house, to whom he had been making a visit, he met the Duke, who said to him, My Lord Bishop, it were better that your Greatness should enter, and I should go out from this house, then for me to go in, and you to go out. He said this onely to give the Bishop to understand, that he who was a Prelate ought to give the Countess the abso­lution [Page 127]of her sins, which he was going to commit with her.

But to return to the Duchess, who was, as one may say, forsaken; you must know that seeing all things de­sperate as to the conversation of the Prince her Husband, she resolv'd to give her soul some rest, to let him do whatsoever pleas'd him, without seem­ing to take any notice, and to give these Lovers leave to take all their swing, with a full resolve to mind no­thing for the future, and to take no further care, importuning them no lon­ger, all she had done having been to little purpose.

The greatest favour she had desir'd from her Husband had been, That he would content himself with the scan­dal he gave to his own State, without doing such gross things, to make him­self the discourse of other Nations, and the scorn of the Courts of other Princes; and indeed the Duke and the Countess liv'd in such liberty, that it was verily believ'd that there was a pri­vate divorce between the Duke and his Duchess, so that by the consent­ment of them both, their marriage was [Page 128]broke; and that he had after that pri­vately married the Countess, which nevertheless was very far from truth; but it was impossible to shut the com­mon peoples mouths, as long as this scandal was so publike. The Duke cared not to go one step without the Countess, they eat and drunk together, and they never went to take the Arr without one another; if the Duke went from Mantua to Casal, or to Man­tua from Casal, he always carried the Countess with him in the Coach, Alone; and for her part, she could not in the journey suffer her self one minute to forsake him who was more to her than she was to her self. I leave these considerations to the Impartial Reader, and not to the Lover, or whosoever he is that reads this Book, and is troubled with amorous fancies; what followed these privacies.

The impudence of this [...]old woman grew to that excess, that not content to have spoild the good Judgment, Nature, and the Prudence of the Duke, in seeking to govern him her own way, and injoy him according to the motions of her brutish appetites [Page 129]and believing her self not oblig'd to keep any measures, triumphing inso­lently over her shame, it seem'd very little to her to be talk'd on onely in her own Countrey, although she glo­ried much in that; but she chiefly aspi­red at the publishing her favour with the Duke in other Nations, desiring they should know how much she in­joyed with him above all that the greatest Favorites could ever pretend to from any Prince; though she a little fear'd that the stories of her sin and adultery might come to their ears; She was ambitious that fame should publish her in all places, and that not onely the people of Montferrat, and the Mantuans, but all Italy (not to speak of Asia and Europe) should know that she accompanied the Duke every where, that they should see her play, and walk with him, and be eye­witnesses, that she slept with this Prince when she pleas'd.

To satisfie this ambition she desir'd his Highness, that he would carry her to Venice, to see the Solemnity which is there upon Ascension-day, but the Duke, who weighed all things with [Page 130]more prudence, promis'd he would sa­tisfie her, in sending with her what per­sons soever she pleas'd to have in her company, except himself; not thinking it fit for him to appear with her before the Senate, since upon her account he had receiv'd a private rebuke from them, as I told you before, but she who onely sought to appear there be­fore all the strangers that were at that time at Venice, and to please her ambi­tion more than her curiosity, could not receive his offer; and told him plainly that she would go with no other com­pany than his Highness. In fine she knew so well how to charm him with her caresses, and gave him so many rea­sons, that she made him resolve to go himself, and carry her with him, as she desired.

The Duke would make this Voy­age incognito, but his Mistress would carry her Sister the Countess Lovize; and three other Ladies with her, all ve­ry well drest, and with them some Maids of Honour and waiting Gentle­women, which was the reason that those who were not acquainted with the Amours of these two passionate [Page 131]Lovers took this fair Pilgrim for the Archduchess, who went incognito, and to say the truth, this Voyage could not be made with more magnificence nor joy for her, she might have been called a little triumphant Princess, who had alwayes the Prince at her side, who led her by the hand, as well in publike as private, and she was so over-joyed to see her self honour'd and served by all the Courtiers, who treated her as if he had been their true and lawful Soveraign Princess, that it is impossible [...]o find words to express her satis­faction.

The noise of their arrival in Venice was quickly spread through all the own, and curiosity carried immediate­ly all the [...]own in crouds to the streets, [...]o see these two Lovers who were so [...]uch talkt of, not onely through all [...]dy, but every where else, the streets [...]ere fill'd with a number almost infi­ [...]te of persons of both sexes, who [...]ouded one another to behold with [...] great a grace the Duke led the [...]ountess by the hand in the sight of all [...] people.

It is confidently spoken that this [Page 132]Prince spent in this Voyage more than three thousand Pistols in many Pre­sents which he made, he gave amongst the Ladies of his troop five hundred Crowns, and the rest to the Countess, who coveted all that she saw in every shop amongst the Merchants; and when she took notice of any rarity, which was commended in that Coun­trey, she spared no caresses nor flatteries to the Duke to perswade him to but that knack upon which she had set her heart. It is certainly believ'd, that the Duke till that hour had not found any sign of covetousness in the Countess, and till then she had never express'd a desire of any thing besides the love o [...] her Gallant; but the Air of Venice al­ter'd her nature, and what ever she had a mind to, the Duke never contra­dicted her desires, he was so far from denying her any thing, that one da [...] as they past by a Jewellers shop, the shew'd this fair Lady a great number [...] precious stones, amongst which the [...] was a little Rose of Diamonds, rou [...] beset with little Golden Eaglets, which held out their Bills to kiss one another which seem'd almost the arms of th [...] [Page 133]house of Gonzague, the Countess then looking stedfastly upon that Jewel, and with great desires, without daring to ask it, for fear of being too impor­tunate, the price being more than four thousand Crowns, with some caresses and flatteries, without once opening her mouth to beg it, she oblig'd her loving captive to give it her with these words, I shall not be much troubled to part with all my money to her, to whom I have given all my heart.

In returning home they went to Padua, where by chance that day the Comedy of Joseph was acted in mu­fick, which the Duke would see; he went thither with the Countess, fol­lowed by all his people, and placed himself with the other Ladies of his company in a Box over against the Stage, where he always held his Mi­stress in his arms, imbracing her in the face of the whole Assembly, who took not their eyes off them one moment. In the mean time, when the Scene where the wife of Potiphar is represen­ted, forcing of Joseph to sleep with her, and particularly at that place where that example of Chastity re­fuses [Page 134]her, and flying away leaves her his Cloak. The Countess turning to the Duke said, I cannot praise this young man, for having thus left an affamish'd Lady; to which the Duke answer'd, All the world is not so charitable, nor so complaisant, as I am for thee.

The scandal which all Lombardy suffer'd by this Voyage, displeased the Duchess very much, and she could not refrain the expressing her resentments to the Duke; but since her words accompanied with her ordinary Mild­ness had nothing of indignation in them, they made no impressions upon the heart of her husband, who had in­tirely sacrific'd her to the Countess, with whom he liv'd in such a manner that the world were almost perswaded that there had pass'd some Clandestine Marriage between them, which was the Cause of no small displeasure amongst the people who were very much afflicted to see their Prince so effeminated.

In the mean time the Court of Rome murmur'd, and bore with much impatience, not onely the life which the Duke led with the Countess, but [Page 135]also were more troubled at the Popes silence, who sought not to remedy these scandals: this noise and these impatiencies increas'd by the return of Cardinal Leomelini, who came from this Legation at Bologne, who having had some contests with the Duke, sought a revenge: and since we are come to speak of that particular, I think it will not be from the purpose to touch, in passing by, upon it as briefly as I can possible.

The Nobility of Bologne had in­vited the Duke to see some Comical representations that were to be in the Town, with a magnificence and prepa­ration extraordinary; and because the Duke could not longer live without his Countess, nor scarce go four steps without having her in his Company, he carried her again with him, as if she had been his wife, to see those shews aforesaid.

The Gentlemen, that belong'd to the Legate Cardinal Leomelini, could not refrain from murmuring with some [...]ind of scorn and mocks to the Dukes actions, who with an universal scandal carried along with him an Adulteress, [Page 136]even into the Towns of the resort or the Ecclesiastical State; on the other side those who belong'd to the Duke seeing themselves oblig'd to defend the reputation of their Sovereign, after many injurious words on both sides, came to blows, to the great displeasure of the Nobility in that Town, who saw themselves oblig'd in that con­juncture to take the Dukes part, against those of the Cardinal, so that the Duke seeing himself affronted, sent to complain to his Eminence, who in stead of satisfaction in punishing the beginners, protected his men, and threatned the Duke himself.

The Duke went out then from Bologne, all in rage, with design to cause the Cardinal to be murder'd in his Coach, and to that end he sent upon Good Friday twenty four men well armed, who, being enter'd the Town, discharg'd at the same time many Pi­stols into the Legates Windows, not that they had designs to kill, but af­front him; all the inhabitants were in a maze at the boldness of those Cava­liers, who hazarded their lives with so much confidence, they faved them­selves [Page 137]nevertheless without receiving any hurt, although they were pursued by the Guards.

The Gentlemen of Bologne, and par­ticularly those who had invited his Highness to Bologne, perceiving that the Duke was very angry, and to pre­vent any further mischief that might happen through this disorder, sent word to Pope Alexander, to the end that he might hinder it, who, making use of his ordinary prudence by a Maxime of Policy, took that em­ployment from the Cardinal, pretend­ing he would give him one more su­table to his Estate, and put in his place the Cardinal Farnese, who was of the last creation, and friend to the Duke.

Leomelini knew presently from whence this change came, and there­fore without loosing time returned to Rome to be revenged of this injury, which, to speak truth, was an affront; to arrive at this design, he began pre­sently to inform all the Conclave of the Cardinals, and his Holiness also, of that shameful life which the Duke lived with the Countess, and the [Page 138]great scandal which it gave to all Lom­bardy. That song which the Courtiers sung quickly spread over the whole Town of Rome, so that in the streets no other thing was talked on.

That Cardinal was very importu­nate to have this Duke proceeded against by way of Excommunication, giving them to understand with his usual authority, that if they suffered such an adultery to be unpunished, the Hereticks without doubt would pre­vail, and the holy Chair would suffer a great blow to its reputation, and in fine would condemn the Church for tolerating and permitting adultery.

But the Duke inform'd of all these things, caused it to be told the Cardi­nal Leomelini, That he would teach him to speak, if he would not learn to hold his tongue. For all this his Eminence chang'd not his note, who being not accustomed to tongue injuries, repeated always the same song, and very far from hearkning to peace, or to seek it, the more that he saw himself threat­ned, he repeated his complaints the more to the Pope and his Cardi­nals.

But the Pope Alexander under­standing the affairs of the World, nor being ignorant how he ought to treat with a Sovereign Prince, went not so hastily to work, and press'd not so much to undertake a Prince who had merited so well from the holy Chair, nor however, at least, for no other sub­ject but a woman, he well knowing that the Duke was not the onely Adulterer, and that that business would reflect upon many Princes who lived in the same disorder, and therefore he gave not much ear to the Cardinal Leomelini, no more than to the other Cardinals, who undertook this busi­ness to the Pope, not for any hate they had to the Duke, but because they were set on by this Cardinal.

The Pope at last seeing himself pressed, and not to be wanting in his duty of Pastour, ordered the Cardinal grand Penetencier, to write to Mi­roglio, Bishop of Casal, that he should proceed against the Countess by the ordinary wayes in the like cases, that is to say, to refuse her the Communion at Easter, and in case that she sought not to mend and change her life, to put [Page 140]an end to that great scandal, after he had given her all those fatherly cor­rections to which his charge oblig'd him, he should proceed to Excommu­nication, or the other Ecclesiastical Censures, which the Councils com­mand to be used in such kind of Cases.

The Penetencier fail'd not to obey the order that was given him to write, but not in the manner which the Car­dinal Leomelini desired, because he writ to that Prelate in gentle terms, commanding to behave himself in this affair with great Prudence, with a su­table zeal which did not sute with the designs and desires of that Eminence. The Bishop had no sooner received that Letter, but he communicated it to the Duke and the Countess, who de­rided it, and the more, because the Bi­shop himself laught at it too, who would not do any thing against the pleasure of two persons, who had gi­ven him his Bishoprick.

This Prelate taking his leave at the end of that discourse, the Duke taking him by the hand said in his ear, My Lord, write to the Cardinal Peni­tentier, [Page 141]That when the Pope Chaser all the Bawdy Houses out of Rome, we will drive the Countess from hence. It is true, he said that more to rally with the Bishop, then for any other reason, because he knew very well, that those words would not go so far as Rome; though, as I believe, he had not much car'd, or not at all if they had; nay, if they had been told to his Holiness.

The Bishop return'd a Letter to Rome full of good and solid choice Reasons, which shew'd the necessity there was for the good of the Church, that they should shut their eyes to those disorders, not to enrage the Duke, for if they did so, he fear'd he might do worse, and might proceed to trouble and punish the repose of the Clergy; in effect, he was not deceiv'd, for if ever it had happen'd that the Coun­tess had receiv'd that discontent, of being struck by any censure of the Church; the Duke, who would also have lookt upon himself as injur'd, had without doubt molested the Clergy and the Bishop; for Princes never want Reason to make Criminals: and since Ecclesiastical Men will not acknowledg [Page 142]themselves Subjects to them, and par­ticularly the Bishops, who look upon themselves as exempt from owning that Title; but, it is a great abuse, and they deceive themselves grosly.

The Answer of this Prelate hapned, I know not by which way, to be com­municated to the Cardinal Leomelini, who presently began to murmur a­gainst that Bishop, as he did against the Duke, not sparing him, even in the Consistory of the Cardinals; and say­ing all the ill things he could of him, though falsly: For to speak truth, this Prelate had alwayes behaved him­self like an honest man, and has no vices that are worthy of reproches.

What dissimulation soever the Ho­ly Father shew'd, yet he was neverthe­less sensibly touched with the Adver­tisements he every day received of the Scandalous Life of the Duke and the Countess; and therefore mov'd with Zeale and Compassion, he made many Prayers be offered in every Church, to the end, that it would please God to touch the Heart of that Prince, and draw him from his obstinate hardness of heart, in going on in so infamous a [Page 143]Sin as that was, in which he had so long [...]iv'd.

But at last, making reflection up­on the duty he was oblig'd to, as So­veraign Pastor of the Church, he saw well, that to hold his Peace, would not be to acquit himself well: on the o­ther side also, as he would not pro­ceed in that business with rigor against that Prince; he resolved, being com­bated with his Duty and his Fear, to employ the most gentle remedies, and to imploy in them Persons also vertu­ [...]s, indowed with Piety.

He sent, to that purpose, the Father C [...]eri Alapuchin to Mantua and Casal; he was a Person celebrated as well for the fairness of his carriage, as the excel­lence of his vertue; with Fatherly in­structions setting before him the Ser­vice he should do both to God and the Church, and that he should Merit ve­ry much from the Holy Chair, if he could overcome the Spirit of this Duke, and obtain any Victory over that of the Countess, to make them leave off this Scandalous Life, so much to the Scandal of the whole Church.

This good Father Capuchin, gues­sing [Page 144]the hardness of the hearts of A­dulterers, felt in himself some repug­nance for this Imployment, despairing of ever conquering the Obstination [...] the Duke or to move his heart, which Sin had made harder then a Diamond; nevertheless, without reply to the Pope; he received that Commission which his Holiness impos'd upon him, with a ready and as humble obedience which belongs to that Order of Capu­chins, and is so sutable to their Habit, in a word, with a Capuchins Obedience, and with Promises, To do all in [...] Power to serve his Holiness and the Church faithfully, he would spare no Cares to procure the Salvation of the Soules of the Duke and the Coun­tess.

The Pope, in giving this good Fa­ther his Blessing, commanded him, that if peradventure he perceived that his Charitable Remonstrances, and Father­ly Corrections had no effect, and that by mild wayes he should work nothing upon the Heart of that Prince, that he should proceed to some kind of Ri­gor and Threatning; in the behalfe of the Holy Chair; and yet withal that [Page 145]he should not fail to let the goodness of the Pope be known, and to excuse him to the Duke, if they came so far as to Ecclesiastical Censures against his Person.

This Father went from Rome with this Order, drawing towards Mantua; but, in passing by Bologne, he commu­nicated all these Orders he had receiv'd from His Holiness to the Superior of a Convent of his Order in that Town, and asking his Counsel, How he should Act, in an Affair of so great Impor­tance? they consult together, and both concluded, That it would be better to stay for the opportunity of the Dukes being at Casal, to the end, that he might have the convenience of assaulting both their Hearts together; our Capuchin followed this advice, and in stead of continuing on his way for Mantua, drew towards Casal, where he arrived two dayes sooner then the Duke, who came thither [...]th the greatest part of the Court.

This Capuchin being then arrived at Casal, discover'd to almost the whole Convent the occasion of his Voyage, and pray'd them to joyn their Prayers [Page 146]to his, to obtain from God a favoura­ble success in so difficult and dange­rous an enterprise; but that policy of his succeeded very ill, contrary to his wishes, because the plot being discover'd, the Noise of the Subject of his Voyage to Casal was spread through the whole Town, so that he was discover'd before the Duke gave him the Hearing; but at last his High­ness coming also to be inform'd, for­bid every body to suffer this Capuchin to come near his Person, and not permit him to enter in any place where he was; which this poor Father per­ceiving, despairing of acquitting him­self of his Commission, and the more because he was told, That the Duke was going suddenly to Mantua; he thought it necessary to take his Jour­ney to Rome, following the Advice given him by the Lord Miroglio him­self.

All the World had great respect for this proceeding of the Court of Rome, and so much the more, because it had imploy'd those of the Order of Capu­chins, which is in great veneration in Italy; nevertheless that hindred not [Page 147]the Duke, and the Countess, to mock at all they did to stifle their Love, which became greater and greater; ma­king the Proverb good, That priva­tion begets Apetite; because the more they saw themselves molested, upon the Subject of their Amours, the more it inflam'd in them the desire to do all things, that could contribute, in any sort, to their Delights, and what pleas'd them.

The Duke was inform'd of all they said at Rome, touching his Love to the Countess; and, in truth, they spoke of it with too much scorn; making Libels and Satyrs, extreamly piquant, against his Person; also, in return, they spared neither the Cardinals nor the Pope himself in the Court of Mantua, though the Duke did what he could to filence them, like a good Prince as he was (for his greatest Vice was that Adultery) so great was his respect to the Holy Chair, he would not suffer them in his presence to speak any thing against the Heads of the Church, however his Courtiers being not of his humour, it was not in his power to make them hold their peace; there­fore [Page 148]their insolence grew to that height, that there was seen at Rome some Li­bels, in which they Challeng'd the In­habitants of that Noble City to come to Mantua, to let them see they would revenge the Affront they pretended to have received from them.

But it is now time for us to visit his Highness in his Tent, to see in what condition his Love is, now he is turn'd a Soldier.

The good Fortune of the French had been so prosperous till then, that they had carryed their Victorious Armes beyond Flanders, Catalonia, and Roussillon; and though they had not as yet begun to shew themselves of that side of Caracene, towards Milan, yet they took the way to be Masters of Italy, to which that Nation ardent­ly aspires: The Enemies beat the Field, and rang'd sometimes on one side, and then of another, upon the Banks of the River Tesino, with so much Liberty, they seem'd to be absolute Masters; they were commanded by the Duke of Modene, one of the great Captains of our time; and he was ac­companyed with as many Captains as [Page 149]he had Soldiers; that is to say, they were the Valientest Warriours in the World; for, in truth, at that time the French were so esteem'd.

But the Spaniards perceiving them­selves not in a condition to oppose those Invincible Conquerors; and, that the Affaires went but too ill in Lombardy, addressed themselves to the Emperour, desiring him to assist them in the Defence of a place which was so considerable in the Empire; this Monarch granted their requests the more willingly, in regard of his own interest there, as well as that of the House of Austria; and indeed he made it appear, that the Empire was interessed in it, doing upon that ac­count all in his power, and joyning with those of that House, with whom he enter'd into a very strict League, to prevent the Duchy of Mantua from falling into other hands.

The Duke Charles was to that end nominated Vicar of the Empire, and they gave him to that purpose the Command of an Army, that he joyn­ing with the Spaniards might stop the Progress of the French Arms in Lom­bardy: [Page 150]In the mean time the French thought fit (in their Councel of War) to lay Siege to Alexandria, one of the strongest Towns in the Duchy; and although this place was very well Mann'd and defended, this resolution nevertheless gave much apprehension to the Spaniards, since it was a place of such consequence to any that could possess themselves of it; and for that reason the Duke Charles thought him­self oblig'd in Duty to go himself in Person to assist a place so important to the repose of all Italy; after they had then order'd all things necessary for the succour of Alexandria, he gave Order for the March of his Army; he part­ed, to that end, from Millan, where he had been Incognito, to speak with the Ministers of Spain, not on purpose, but to take an occasion of passing from Mantua to Montferrat, and by that means to go to Casal, to visit his Countess, who impatiently expected him.

As soon as he saw her, he ex­press'd his kindness in an extraordina­ry manner to her, having been absent from her 15 dayes, so that it was im­possible [Page 151]for any to snatch this Prince out of the Arms of that beauty in 2 dayes; notwithstanding all the Re­monstrances of those which were sent to him from the Army, who exhorted him to come in all haste to the relief of Alexandria, which was going infallibly to be lost, if there were not some kind of Succour sent immediately to it.

The Countess had taken a resoluti­on of putting her self in the Habit of a Man, and to follow the Duke whereso­ever he went; and although the Duke seem'd to consent to it at first, yet he thought it not very convenient in the end, and therefore she saw her self ne­cessitated to remain at Casal, having obtain'd a promise from her Lover, That every day she should receive from him an Account of his health, and the progress of his Highness with that of his Army.

This Prince parted from Casal then the fourth of August, accompanied with his Countess, who went with him in his Coach above three Miles; and also, by an excess of Gallantry, her Brother drove the Coach till they came to a certain Village, where [Page 152]they stopt to take leave of his High­ness; who, drawing apart his Well-beloved, was sometime in conversation with her, but not satisfied with that, and what he had injoy'd of her com­pany all the way, they enter'd into a Peasants house hard by that place, were they were together a full hour, to the great heart-breaking of all the World, who waited for them in the Street, although in the mean while the Countesses Brother invented all he could imagine to divert the Com­pany.

After these two Lovers had given their adiews to each other, having fi­nished all their Ceremonies in the Chamber of that good poor Country­mans house, they went out, and be­ing yet not able to separate for good and all, they staid at the door, talking together, toying and fooling with one another, and also to make Love half an hour longer, whil'st in the mean time there arrived a Post from the Marquiss of Faensaldagnia, Gover­nour of Milan, who earnestly desir'd his Highness, That he would hasten his depart to the Army, where they [Page 153]impatiently waited for him, having absolute need of his presence: who ever had seen the Duke and his Coun­tess so strictly imbrac'd, would have thought they were never to meet again, and if a Gentleman a great friend of the Dukes had not confident­ly told his Highness that the night came on apace, and that it was not safe for him to enter in the dark into a Countrey that was the rendezvous of the enemy, I believe the Duke and his Countess would have staid a good while longer in that place, which yet was not a very convenient one, to make love in. In fine, after that these two Lovers had given some tears to their future absence, they took leave of one another; She returning to Ca­sal, and the Duke marching towards Alexandria, where the Army staid for him, and where the Spaniards Council of War was held, to consult upon the way to secure that place so conside­rable to their State, and which they already believed out of their power.

The Marquess of Faensaldagnia had commanded an apartement for the Duke to be made ready in a Palace, [Page 154]a mile from Alexandria, about which was encamped the Imperial and Spa­nish Army, as being a very advantagi­ous Post to trouble the enemy, who had no defence from their shot, and were blockt up between the Town and the River.

The Duke was scarce arrived, but finding that Air unwholsome for him, and being very much heated by the journey, he was presently seiz'd by a Feaver, which obliged him to go to bed, but that which added to his trou­ble, was to see himself in a Countrey so prejudicial to his health, and where he could not have those things fit for his cure, with that diligence which his disease required, Tortona being distant from him two miles, and that was the neerest Town wherein there were Apo­thecaries.

Two things begun to trouble his mind and raise his spleen and melan­cholly, The one was that such a mis­fortune happened to him in the First time of his life that he had appear'd in the field, fearing it would oblige him to return to Casal, without the glory of having done any thing to shew [Page 155]his courage; but that which was his greatest heart-breaking was, That he fancied the Spaniards would believe him a Coward, under which notion he should pass for such through all those Countries, not being able to imagine they would be so civil to lay all the fault upon his Feaver, (which really was the cause) but would rather be­lieve it a fair pretence of the Dukes to hide his cowardly heart. The second thing which so tormented him, was, To see himself alone, and deprived of the service of his Countess, as he had been formerly: he resolved to keep his bed notwithstanding, and stay in that Pa­lace which they had provided for him, because he would not loose the sight of the Spaniards, who came to visit him (whilst his Feaver thus perplext him,) and advised with him of the means the most fit to enterprize some­thing upon the enemy.

This sickness of the Dukes was not carried so close but that it came to the cars of the Countess, who was not a little troubled at it, and, as I believe, it was his Highness that advertised her of it, being confident that she would not [Page 156]fail to come to him as soon as she re­ceiv'd that news. It was that which the Duke desired with greatest passi­on; for being without his Mistress he was without his heart, as he himself assur'd her brother, who writ word of it to the Countess, by the express command of the Duke.

As soon as the news of the Dukes sickness arrived at Casal, the Countess was so afflicted, that one would have thought she had no life left, and al­though they did what they could to perswade her his disease was not great nor dangerous; she nevertheless grieved very much, but she grew desperate when she was inform'd that the French Army were so much up and down the Countrey, that it was dangerous tra­velling between Casal and Alexandria, whither she would go notwithstanding accompanied with onely very few on Foot, through by-wa [...]es, with inten­tion to serve as Physitian to this Amo­rous sick man, she sent out a Scout be­fore her journey, to be perfectly in­form'd of the march of the enemies; that so she might the better chuse what way to take.

She was uncertain in her resolutions in what habit to travel in, whether that of her own sex or of a man; fearful of being known if she should make that journey in her ordinary dress; but having ask'd Counsel of her Gover­nour in that affair, he advised her to go with very few in her company, and to disguise her self like a man.

The resolution for parting then be­ing taken, after the Scout she sent was return'd, which was the same day that the Duke himself had inform'd her of his being ill; she discover'd her design to the Countess Lovize her sister a little before she went, this Countess Lovize having formerly tra­vell'd as a man with a Frenchman, whom I spoke of before, who was her Gallant, offer'd her self now to accompany her sister in the same posture.

The Countess Magaret received this offer of her sisters very willingly, and was the more inclined to it, by per­ceiving they two were so much of a humour as to matter of journeys as well as other things; so away they went very late in the evening accom­panied onely with their younger bro­ther, [Page 158]and one man, to avoid the en­counter of the Freuch, who costed up and down the Countrey every mo­ment. They went out of the great rode, crossing the Fields by little by­paths, that were very much about, and made their journey much longer than the way they quitted had done, but as ill luck would have it, they met with what they avoided, and fell into the snare they took such pains to avoid.

They rested at night in a Village a lit­tle way off St Saviour, without making themselves known to their host, ho­ping to continue their way towards Alexandria very early in the Morning, but they were deceived, as the Proverb sayes, He that reckons without his Host must reckon twice. For it was scarce two hours within night, when there arrived twelve Spanish Cavaliers, (perhaps the Host himself had been their Spie) who, pretending to be French-men, assaulted the Inne where our amorous Pilgrims were lodg'd. These enemies came with so great a noise one would have thought they had been the whole French army; the poor Earl, who had [Page 159]accompanied his sisters, not having been accustomed to the noises of War, and such kind of assaults as that, being afraid of his life, got up all trembling to the highest Garret of the house to hide himself, thinking the very Flyes were Horses, and believing every Horse was a compleat Anny of the enemies.

In the mean time these two Coun­tesses, disguiz'd like men, were not yet got into bed, and staid still in the Chamber, almost in despair, yet the Countess Lovize rais'd her self a little out of her Fear, when she heard them speak French, having been us'd to men of that Nation, though in quali­ty of Friends and not enemies, were those she had formerly convers'd with, which these Souldiers pretended not to be.

These brave Cavaliers were not much troubled to find out that these assieged persons were Females and not Males, as their habits spoke them; and it was the better for the Ladies that it was so, because that after they had given them the divertizement of a two hours siege, they went away betimes in the Morning to seek some other for­tune, [Page 160]and left our Fair guests at Liber­ty without suffering any damage from them at all, unless it were some few kisses which they were oblig'd to give them, and some other little rudenesses they offer'd them, which need not be explain'd to the Reader.

The Countess Margaret was not a little mortified to be surprized by such an assault as this, but on the contrary, the Countess Lovize was over-joyed in having gain'd the affection of these besiegers, and had diverted her self with those Counterfeit enemies, as may very well be imagin'd.

They went on their journey early in the Morning, towards Alexandria, although the Earl their brother ad­vis'd them to return to Casal.

Certainly these illustrious travellers wanted Conduct, to trust themselves in a journey without any train in the time of war, and in a Countrey that swarm'd with Souldiers, not being ig­norant that the enemies rang'd every where, even to the very Gates of Casal two causes nevertheless excus'd then Love and Curiosity; for in effect, there was nothing but the Love of the [Page 161]Countess Margaret to her Gallant, and the dishonest curiosity of the Coun­tess Louize her Sister, which made them hazard that little honour they had left; For certainly, if they would have de­manded a Convoy for their safety, they should not have been deny'd it; but, who is ignorant that Love is blind, and alwayes in hast.

The Countess Margaret intended to relate this rencounter to the Duke, but her Brother and Sister thought it not very convenient, least it might give some jealous trouble to that sick Lo­ver, and therefore this past under Si­lence.

At last, being come to their Jour­neys end, into the Dukes presence, who was in Bed, they did not trouble themselves with great Preambles and Ceremonies, nor to keep him in long discourses; but their first conversation was Embraces with all imaginable ten­derness, which she gave to this poor fick man, who return'd the same to his Mistress (whose heart was pierc'd with griese) although the Room was fill'd with many Captains, and some of the principal of the Army.

The Countess scarce had begun her Caresses to the Duke, but he seem'd much amended, and so much, that he lookt like one that never had been Sick, and also all that day he had no Feaver; which made it believed, that the Countess had brought some Anti­dote with her to drive away the Sick­ness of her Lover.

The General of the Neapolitan Ca­valry, who was by the Duke when his Beauty enter'd the Chamber, taking leave presently of his Highness, i [...] going to the Dore, said to one of his Friends who was in the Company, We may very well take leave now, and go our wayes, for the Duke will be no more for us.

Almost all the Commanders of the Army did nothing but grumble in the Camp at the Countesses coming thi­ther; believing, that as long as the Duke had this Woman with him, he would forget his duty.

But, for all that, they found them­selves happily deceiv'd, because the Duke recover'd as he was, though perhaps not altogether cur'd, by the sight of the Countess, gave himself [Page 163]up in good earnest to the exercise of his Charge.

It was a strange amazing sight, to see this Prince ride round about his Camp on Horseback with his Mistress, giving the necessary Orders to his Ar­my, where he did wonders, that be­ing his first time of Appearance in the Field; so that there was very few persons that did refuse him the Honour he had Merited, of delivering Alexandria; he knew so well how to make his Ad­vantages of time and place, that the Besieged became in a little time besiegers themselves; and fill'd with ex­treame feares, those, who had been the most likely as Enemies and Besiegers, to have given a mortal apprehension to his whole Army. The Duke forbore not for all this, to give the best part of his time to his Amours with the Countess, his Ague being turn'd to a Tertian, which gave him some respit, but this alteration made it the more dangerous.

And since these Ladies had not brought with them Cloaths sutable to their Sex, they presently sent away an [...]press to furnish them; it being ve­ry [Page 164]unpleasant to the Duke to see her who possest his heart, under any ha­bit but her own; not at all caring to see her drest like a Man as well in the Chamber, as in the Camp, whither he often carry'd her.

As for what belong'd to the vert [...] of the Countess Louize, she lost not one hour of the day by idleness, her great pleasure being to receive the Vi­sits of the Chief Commanders in that Army, amongst whom she pass'd he time with such satisfaction, that she often lost her self, so that it was im­possible for her Sister to find her; it being certain that she had above half a do­zen Favourites, who fail'd not to con­tent her to their power; and for that reason a certain Florentine Gentleman, who, as well as the greatest Comman­ders, had received from the Countess Louize some Favours, told a Comrade of his, That he found the Whores of Casal very obliging.

The Newes of the Arrival of this Lady into the Camp, and of the Li­berty which she afforded every one, to offer her their Service, as well as the goodness she had shew'd to that Com­mander [Page 165]we mention'd before, quickly spread it self into the French Camp, so that it afforded the best sport in the World: and there was a person, who, discoursing with the Duke of Modena of this Fair Curtisan, said, in derision of her, Li Frances, Fanno Le Puttane, egli spagnoli le godono; The French create the Whores, and the Spaniards injoy them.

This he said in reflection upon her first Gallantry with the French Mon­sieur, which I have already told you of.

In fine, The French Army rais'd the Siege from before Alexandria in the night, the 16th. of August, after they had besieged it three Moneths; and they dislodg'd themselves with so little noise, and so secretly, that their Enemies themselves that were round about them perceived it not until morning after the Sun was up, and that from the Town Walls there was no Tents, nor any thing else to be seen.

The News was presently carryed to the Duke, who was yet in Bed with his Goddess; he expressed no small [Page 166]displeasure of this unexpected depart of his Enemies, chiefly having resolved to give them Battel the day following, believing, the Victory would certainly have been his, if he could have once dsiputed it with them.

So, as soon as he was up, he went to visit the Batteries that the French had made against the Town, having no body in his company but his Coun­tess; her Sister, the Countess Louise being gone in other Company; they staid nine dayes at Alexandria, and in the evening of the last day the Duke went away, accompanied by some of the chief Commanders amongst the Spaniards; and after he had given the necessary Orders for the conservation of that place, and recommended the care of the Army to his Lieutenant, he return'd to Casal with his Lady.

The joy of his arrival at Casal was Celebrated, that Town indeavouring to shew him all the Honour imagina­ble, in acknowledgment, that they lookt upon him as the Deliverer of a place of that importance; but, after all, those Feasts were kept with much modesty.

The greatest pleasure of the Duke, was, to pass the best and greatest part of the day in going here and there with the Countess thinking no more of the Army than of any thing else, to the great astonishment of all the World; who could not enough ad­mire, how a Man could be so much devoted to the love of that Woman, for he was quite contrary to other men, who love change, and often turn their backs, not only to Whores, but even to their Wives, after they have Marry'd them: My dear Reader, I be­lieve thou very well understandest me, and that it is not necessary I should explain my self further, and therefore I will only tell thee, That this Prince, the more he injoy'd his well-Beloved, the more his desive was kindled to­wards her; and in the Mornings, when he rose out of bed he was more passionately in Love with her, then at night when he went to bed to this Countess; the Fire of his Amorous passion was re-kindled at those times that others make use of for their repose.

From that time the Duke fail'd not one day of that Summer to Visit [Page 168]his Countess at her own house, and when they were alone they made no scruple to pull off their Cloaths, and go to Bed together, without any more Complements; The one, as if he were a Prince without a Principality; the other, as if she were one of those Cur­tizans of Rome, that are alwayes in their Smockes waiting for their Bra­vos. And although the Duke did of­ten force himself to give Audience to all the World that came to his Court, yet it was in such a way, it was easily seen that he did it with Chagrin, and against his mind, and carry'd himself like an extravagant; and it is not hard for me to believe it, since that all his thoughts, his soul and heart breath'd nothing else but his love of the Coun­tess.

But, for to give more convincing Proofes of this, and to assure the whole World, and chiefly his own Subjects, that the Countess was absolutely his, and possest all his Affections, he ap­pointed her two Men for Guards, who wore the same Livery of his own Foot­men, with order to follow this Lady whereever she went, and to Guard [Page 169]her House night and day; this so publick testimony of the Dukes love, made her be respected, and more esteem'd than ever, and also fear'd by every one, so much it would have been lookt upon as Sacriledge, to have given her the least displeasure, or dis­content; and there were at that time four persons condemn'd to Banishment for having their Tongues a little too long, and had talk'd too lewdly against this beloved Lady.

There was also another had the like ill Fortune, but he rather out of Rail­lery, then for any thing else; hearing the Barrenness of the Countess talk'd on, who had no Children, neither by her Husband, nor the Duke, began to laugh, and said, Che non Faceva Fan­cialli, Perche voleva esser troppo semi­nata.

This poor Babler carry'd not his words to Purgatory, for they put him in Prison for some dayes, and he had staid there longer, but for the Interces­sion of that person whom he chiefly had offended by his words, and was not inclin'd to Revenge, although what had been said had not much pleas'd her.

Certainly that Lady deserv'd the af­fections of so great a Prince very much, being adorn'd with all the ad­vantagious qualities which she pos­sess'd; she had a way of speaking so gentle and so attractive, that she cap­tivated all hearts, and oblig'd them to love her; I do not mean here of her extraordinary and charming way with which she caressed the Duke, having no expressions capable to describe them, but she was inclin'd to oblige every body, so it were not to injure her self, nor as one may say, pick her own pocket, for in that case she had no memory, being like other women, who are sparing, not to say co­vetous; Pride never set his foot in her Carriage: but, on the contrary, the more she saw her self in the Princes Favour, the more did the desire in her increase to Speak Familiarly with all People, and to converse modestly with every one: The Balls, Feasts, and Recreations of taking the Air, alwayes took up her thoughts, and her minde went no further then those noble Di­vertisements; and nevertheless, when she chanc'd to meet the Duke in any [Page 171]place, she express'd a carelesness of all things else besides the pleasing sight of his person, which she esteem'd a­bove all; Anger nor Vanity never transported her; and if sometimes she had occasion to Chide the Servants of her House, she did it without those transports so ordinary to other Ladies; and also those Cloaths she had, so rich above the other Ladies of her quality in the Court, she wore them without vanity, pride, or scorn, and contempt to those that had not the like; It is true, she frequented the Churches more through Custome then any other reason; and if she went to the Masse, it was only to be seen, and to see; Yet, I must tell you, that she went thither sometimes, being Invited to it on purpose by the Ecclesiastical Men, to the end of giving more Lustre to the Solemnities, which were at that time Celebrated in the Church; and also to shew her the great esteem they had of her Person, with which never­theless she was not satisfied. And although she had a Face Faire and a­greeable enough, yet there is nothing very lascivious; but, whil'st the Duke [Page 172]was living, when she was near him, she lookt upon him as if she would have devour'd him with her Eyes, her looks at that time being the Effects of which, her Impudent Love was the Cause.

But, above all this, there was some light of Prudence shin'd in her carri­age, which appear'd in effect a Miracle, because this Faire one was not like those Women that affect the Trade of St. Placidia to please their Friends; that is to say, For all her great pow­er over the Duke, and that was so absolute, she could dispose of his Au­thority as she pleas'd, without the feat of displeasing him; she yet kept her self for all that within the bounds of an humble modesty, giving his High­ness thanks for all the Favours he did her; assuring him, That she was more then satisfied to injoy alone the Loves of so great a Prince: And the more the Duke offer'd his Service to her, and desir'd her to make use of his Au­thority as she pleas'd, the less did she importune him with Requests; so that when the Duke press'd her to ask some Favour at his hands, she usually made [Page 173]answer, His Highness granted her Fa­vour great enough, to let her injoy his Person.

After all this she Favour'd whom she pleas'd, and who were recommend­ed to her, which were without number, there being none ignorant, how great her power was with the Prince, whose heart she possess'd, and govern'd his whole will; and, for that reason every one made Addresses to her, to help them in their Affaires, according as they needed her Favour; but, on her side, she knew very well what kind of Fa­vours she was to demand of his Highness, not to displease him; and she very rarely press'd him to grant any extraordinary matter, if she had been of an humour to inrich her self, she wanted no opportunities of doing it, and the Duke would never have hinder'd her; on the contrary, he advis'd her to do it, and gave her all the meanes possible for it; so far, that when any one addrest to himself to obtain a Request, he us'd to say, For that you must Petition none but the Countess and that was the onely way to obtain their end.

That Charitable Countess had never yet the Repute of doing any thing out of Interest; but it has al­wayes been thought, that all she did was to purchase to her self Friends, rather then through hopes of any gain, expressing alwayes her aversi­on to that Lucre; It is true notwith­standing, that when any one offer'd her some Fine thing, or considerable Summ of Money, she would do as those, who, laying their hands up­on the Present offer'd them, usually say, There is no need of this, and yet take it willingly enough.

The greatest care of this Lady, and what she sought after with all the Passion imaginable, was the Ad­vancement of her Brother, which put the Duke to a stand, what more to give him; having already Honour'd him with Imployments and Office very considerable, and much above his deserts; or at least if he did any way Merit them, it was very little: nevertheless the Countess never ceas'd begging for him, and could have wish'd her Brother rais'd above all the Princes of that Court.

The Arch-Duchess heard this news with a great heart-breaking; and not­withstanding all the efforts of which her vertue was capable, she could not hinder her self from being extreamly displeas'd at the Advancing of that young Lord, who never had a pre­tending Merit: but, that which oc­casiond her greatest Affliction, was, to see her chiefest Servants rather cast down, then rais'd in the least; and us'd with scorn, that deserv'd to be treated with Honour; which caus'd these poor unfortunate Persons to say, That the Duke shew'd more favour to the Brother of an Adulterous Coun­tess, then to the Servants of a Princess his lawful and true Wife: and amongst other things, witness many Libels and Satyrs, which I omit.

Although this innocent Princess receiv'd some kind of Mortification from all this, however she never had a resentment against the Duke, be­cause in the first place she plainly saw, that he did nothing out of ma­lice, but only to satisfie that blind passion, which had inslav'd him in the Chaines of that Concubine: And [Page 176]Secondly, she esteem'd it not just nor reasonable to compare these Gentle­men, persons of great Merit, with that Earle, that was a Man of no Ho­nour.

In the mean time this Countess possest all the Favour of this Prince, and kept alone the two Keys of his Treasures; That of his Heart, by Love, injoying him without inter­ruption: and the other, his Favours; since the Duke was so well pleas'd when his Mistriss made any Request to him; that she, knowing him of that humour, made pretensions to him only for his satisfaction, as it is easily to be known by this Let­ter following.

My little Heart!

CAEsar comes to tell me, that thou hast an intention to ask some Fa­vour of me, in behalf of a Person that address'd to thy Courtesie, and because thou wert apprehensive of displeasing me, thou didst not mention it yesterday in the afternoon, that we were together. This way of thine in being bashful, makes me believe that thou dost not love me: for certainly, if thou didst love me, thou wouldest act as freely with me, as I do with thee; also if I had ever yet refused thee any thing, I confess thou mightest with reason ask me nothing: but since I am so glad to grant thee all things, why art thou unwilling to ask me any thing? To what end is Love painted blind and naked, if it is not to teach Lovers Fami­liarity one with the other? The Prin­cipality is mine, and I am thine, but the authority is common to us both, that is to say, thou maist make use of me, and I of the State; if thou lovest me then ask, command, and love thy


But notwithstanding all these Pro­testations and Testimonies of love from the Duke, this Fair One would never importune him by asking any favour that would bring the least dis­quiet to his Highness, having wit enough to discern between those fa­vours she was to ask for his conside­ration, and those she was to demand for her self. That for which she im­portun'd him the most, and rung in his ears from Morning until night, was, That he would carry her every where with him; and not being pleas'd with staying so long at Casal, desiring to go into the Countrey, and which was worst of all, she would not go that journey, unless the Duke went with her. The Duke having at that time a Fancy to see Gennes, she begun to second it, and to solicite his Highness by all kind of Supplications, not sparing all the flatteries and courtships imaginable, to make him condescend to her desire, who was already her slave of Love, which she held in chains, she met with no small repugnance, nay much more than she found when she was disputing [Page 179]with him concerning her journey to Venice, which, nevertheless the Duke had made chiefly upon her conside­ration.

Notwithstanding she got the vi­ctory, and according as she desired they parted from Casal in the beginning of July with a very small train, and with­out discovering his Highnesses designs to any, he made as though he would go to Mantua, not letting it be known which way he would go.

The Genoises did not a little wonder to hear of the arrival of this Prince in their Town but more to see him there, since he was there before they could hear of his intentions of coming to that place, and there were many that would not believe that the Duke was come thither in so unseasonable a time, and without any business there; but when they saw him accompanied with his Countess, they laid aside their wonder, all the world believing that that journey was made for the satis­faction alone of that Favorite, who had certainly a curiosity to see that Town, which is esteem'd one of [Page 180]the most curious that is to be seen.

The Senate, following its ordinary generosity, received the Duke with all the demonstrations of Love that they are accustomed to pay to Princes, who travel incognito, and regal'd him with a great number of sweet-meats and other refreshments, and besides that honour, he received many visites from publike as well as private per­sons; but to say the truth, the Duke not going thither to no other end but to divert the Countess, and satisfie her desires, he was not very glad to be im­portun'd by all these visites, it not be­ing convenient for either of them to receive those Civilities, and therefore to many it was said, the Duke was not in his Lodging, and it was no great Lye for those few dayes he staid in that Town, which scarce amounted to three days, he did nothing else but go up and down with his Beloved, whom he led by the hand, followed by the Countess Lovize her sister, and two other Ladies who came to keep her [Page 181]company, which were also led by the Courtiers.

Two things appear'd strange to the inhabitants of Genes: The first was the Dukes entring into a Church to hear Mass, kneel'd upon one step with the Countess, to whom he did nothing but talk from the beginning to the end, as one may say, From L' introibo until Deo gratias, de L' in principio, which made some say, That the Reli­gion of that Prince consisted in words and not in deeds. The second thing so extraordinary to the people was, That when he went to see the Palace, he still led the Countess by the hand, as if he had been her Squire; but for my part I do not think that such a wonder, be­cause though he led her in publike places, yet there was not so much cause for wonder, to see him lead her in a place where she was not to be seen by so many. There was at that time at Genes, a woman Cavalier, who one day discoursing with some of that Town concerning the Ladies that fol­low'd the Duke, or rather, whom the Duke followed, and amongst the rest [Page 182]speaking of the licentious disorder'd Life and Carriage of the Countess Lovize, happened to say, When the Duke shall have dishonour'd the rest of you Monsieurs of Genes, he will possibly drive away all the Cows to Rome.

But the Genois, who was as witty as pleasant, made him this reparty, I assure you that his Highness shall do no­thing, because I know for certain that the Romans love the Calves better than the Cows.

The same day the Duke went from Genes, there were two Father Capuchins, the most famous in all the Province, who had undertaken to accomplish that which the Father Catori could not, and who demanded Audience of his Highness, pretending they had Orders from Rome to speak to him, press'd on to that, as some thought, by the Cardinal Duraz [...], archbishop of Genes, a Person of a singular goodness, whose Zeal has not onely edified those of his Church, but of all the World.

But the Countess guessing very well [Page 183]for what those good Fathers came for, and what was their design, that she left not the Duke a moment, ne­vertheless because they were so im­portunate to speak with the Duke in private, saying, That they had great things to communicate to him con­cerning his Person and State; The Countess was forc'd to withdraw, lea­ving the Duke in the Chamber with the Capuchins.

The discourse which these good Fathers had with the Duke was full of holy Zeal, and they spake with so much tenderness, that one of them melted into tears; at every word, they conjur'd him in the Name of God, to forsake this scandalous life, which he led before all his Subjects, or, to say rather, in the sight of all the World; they added further, that, The Pope himself had wept many times, and that his clemency once being at an end, he should be oblig'd then to proceed to other Courses. They forgot nothing to inspire into him some Christian Sentiments of Heaven and Hell, and they let him see the [Page 184]impossibility there was to attain to the first, whilst he led this disor­der'd and licentious life, and the in­fallibility of his falling into the other. They alleadg'd to him many Places out of the holy Scripture, which they pointed out to him, to let him see that the sins of the Prince was often a cause of God's punishing the people, by an infinite number of Miseries, Warres, and Plagues. In fine, they set before him all the most solid and strong Reasons, that their Wits could fur­nish them with, not sparing for complaints, and threats from the Court of Rome, protesting to him that if his Highness did not alter his Course of life, that Court was re­solved to proceed against him by the wayes of Ecclesiastical Censures the most severe. Briefly, they were not niggardly of all that a true Chari­ty, with which they were animated, could suggest to them, to make the Duke quit his love to the Countess, and deliver himself from that shame­ful slavery that had kept him so long a time in bondage.

During the Conversation of these holy Fathers with the Duke, the Countess was hearkning at the door, where she could hear every word di­stinctly: she was in despair, with the fear that the Duke should yield at last to all these Councels of these Fathers; he heard them with much Patience, without saying the least word, till at last, weary of hearing them longer, and to hear the insolent reproaches, which they made him, he answer'd them, That they had Chastity in their Convent, and at Rome the Cardinals had Wenches, and the eonvenience of diverting them­selves, and therefore he did not won­der at their speaking to him in that manner. And as one of them re­plyed something that toucht the re­putation of the Countess, who, as I have already said, was behind the door, she came into the room, and in­terrupted their discourse, and preten­ding to speak low, she said to the Duke, so that these good Fathers heard her well enough,

Send these Fathers to the Convent, and for us let us go to Casal.

After that his Highness taking his well-beloved by the hand, began to say,

These Fathers would have Us wiser than the Princes and Patriarchs of the old time, who had at least one wife and one Concubine, not to speak of a great number besides, of both the one and the other.

To which one of the Capuchins replyed,

But your Highness does not see that we are now in the times where the Go­spel is to be observed, and that it is indisputable for us, to act like Jews, now we are Catholicks.

The Prince, touch'd to the quick by these words, answer'd them with a threatning and fierce air,

My Fathers, without any other con­sideration, I will throw you out of the Window, and so we will use like Jews those people that understand not how to treat with Catholike Princes.

Having said that, he presently cal­led one of his Gentlemen, and com­manded [Page 187]them to conduct those Re­ligious men out of the Palace: after that he turn'd his back upon them, and went into a Chamber with the Countess, who being in great wrath at these Fathers, protested in grinding her teeth, that she would never give alms to a Capuchin, and she did not onely say so, but do so, so that some people said, That the tast of the Ca­puchins of Genes had taken away the power of eating from the Capuchins of Casal, and that these last did pe­nance for the faults those others had committed.

Truly if these holy Fathers had had to do with some other Prince, it might have been fear'd that they had not come off at so cheap a rate; but for good luck to them they spoke to a very good Prince, who was of no ill nature, preferr'd quiet above all things.

The Duke entertain'd himself of­ten with the proceeding of the Ca­puchins, in his return to Casal, and particularly one night in the Inn at Saravalla, where he was lodg'd, he said to her,

My Heart, if I have loved thee hi­therto, to satisfie my Love which would have it so; I will love thee hence­forward, to make them mad that would not have it so.

Upon that the Countess taking her time, replyed, If your Highness should cease loving me, you would let people see you are afraid of Monks.

All this was done to turn the Duke from the love of this crafty woman, but in vain; for all the trouble the Monks gave themselves, who came as Embassadors from Rome, served for no end but to enflame the hearts of these two Lovers the more, for since the Countess apprehended the loss of the Dukes favour, fearing that some time or other he might suffer him­self to be touch'd by some remorse of Conscience, she imploy'd all her Caresses that her Love could devise, and such Charms she made use of, that they were assuredly powerful enough to have provok'd our Pope Alexander himself to have commit­ted the sin of adultery with her, al­though he is a man whose life is [Page 189]without reproach; so that the Duke who was tender in his love, and lo­ved to be made much of, seemed to melt as lead in the Fire, and appear'd in that encounter as if he would have sooner consented to lose his State, than his Mistress.

After that Voyage the Duke left her at Caesal, whilst he went to Man­tua about some particular affairs, he staid there above a Moneth without going to see the Countess, who was so afflicted for not seeing him that possest her heart, not satisfied with his Letters, which she received from him every week; she went out very early one Morning towards Mantua, to find his Highness; but her good fortune hastning her joy, she met the Duke upon the way, who went with her to Casal, renewing her caresses, and making amends for the time lost.

Some moneths after it happened, to the great displeasure of the Duke and resentment of the Countess, that ma­ny Copies of a Manuscript, intituled, Whoredom, in form of Letters, under the name of an unknown Author, [Page 190]were sent to divers of the chief No­bility of Casal and Mantua, and also into the Convents, the Duke was much troubled, being describ'd there as the Prince of Whores, and chief of the baudy-houses; and that which in­rag'd him the more was, That it spoke of the other Princes of Italy with Elogies and Expressions of respect. That Satyre said more than it is possible to imagine against the house of the Countess, and it was impossi­ble to speak with more infamy, and it was the more so, because it min­gled truth and lyes together, but in such a manner, that it all lookt like truth; and certainly it was reasonable enough, for they were a Family of Six persons, whose life was the hor­rour of all the World. In the mean time, these Earls and Countesses had no great reason to be angry at what was there said, if they had been Lo­vers of truth: For their house had for certain been a perfect baudy-house, there being Six Ladies in that Family who lived almost publikely like common Whores, I say, almost, [Page 191]because there were three of them who carried it with more discretion, which were the two wives of the brothers to the Countess, and one of the Coun­tess Lovizes daughters, who acted their parts more privately, and yet nevertheless would not suffer a Friend to die: but as for the rest, which were the Countess Margaret, and Lovize, and another of their sisters, kept by a Mantua Lord; they kept no mea­sures neither in their speeches nor manner of Life, so that they did all that they fancied was lawful, and so their house merited the name was given it.

This good and jolly company were present with the Duke in all his di­vertizements, which the more anger'd all Persons of Honour, and gave a great scandal to all the people of the Duchy of Mantua, and also to all Italy.

This Prince led this dissolute and licentious life with the Countess fif­teen year, and so gave example to other Gentlemen of his Court to pass their time with the other Ladies, [Page 192]which I have told you of; so that with reason her house was called a baudy-house, there being no other discourses heard there but what were impudent and dishonest, every one taking a pride in speaking as wicked­ly as they could: This oblig'd all the other Ladies of the Town, that were of Honour and Quality to avoid this abominable Company, and fly from those beastly women, as from the Devil of Hell; Many other ac­cidents happened to this Prince by his love to the Countess every day; but a hundred Pens would scarce be enough to recount them all: I have writ the Story of this amour but super­ficially, for to repeat all things would be too tedious, besides there are many things in it which, if writ, would cause nothing but scandal.

The love of the Duke was at this pass that he delighted in nothing but the love of the Countess, when it pleas'd Heaven to take away that great scandal from the eyes of all the people, and put an end to that crime which caused so many others, by [Page 193]giving a Period to the life of him that committed it.

This Prince then was taken in the beginning of September, in the Year 1665, with so violent a Feaver, that the first minute it was thought Ma­lignant by all the Physitians; and soon after, not onely dangerous, but desperate: The Dutchess appear'd sensibly afflicted with this Sickness of the Dukes, and omitted nothing that she thought could help him with all possible diligence; and which was more commendable, she assisted him with all the affection of her heart; which cau'd many to say, That if she had been in the same condition as the Duke her Husband was in at that time, he would not have been carry'd with so much heate and passionate care to her recovery.

There was Command given to all the Churches, To say their Prayers to God for the health of the Duke; but since there was no hope given on that side for his Recovery, he was advis'd to make his Will, which he did or­derly enough: And it is true, that in [Page 194]thinking of his Countess he sigh'd bitterly; and, desiring to leave her something, he was silent a little while; after that, giving another great sigh, he made known his Intenti­ons.

My Lord the Bishop, who assist­ed him in those last moments of life, made him understand, That for the satisfaction and edification of his Soul, he ought to aske forgiveness of her Highness his Wife, for the Injury he had done her, to which he seem'd very much enclin'd; and then causing that Amiable Dutchess to come near his Bed, he embrac'd her with his left Arme, and taking her hands with his right, he said to her weeping, Prin­cess, my soul, this minute I am come to know how much I have offended God by my Sin; and I also know that which I have committed in relation to you; but my Lord Bishop, who takes a care of my Soul in this extremity, assures me, That I may hope for the Pardon of the good God; therefore I pray you that on your side also, you will give me some testimonies of your forgiving me al­so.

The Tears and Sighs of that poore Princess stopt her speech, and would not let her pronounce one word; but they wrought so sensibly upon all that were present, that the noise of their Groanes and Teares, which they could not in pity refraine to so touch­ing a sight, was very mournful, and so lamentable a hearing, that the Bi­shop fearing it might add to the afflicti­on of that sick Prince, councell'd the Dutchess to retire; and to that end took her by the Arme and led her into another Roome, where she began to weep in good earnest.

Towards the evening of that same day the Duke call'd for the young Prince his Son, to whom he gave his blessing; and after he had given him some Instructions of Living well, he concluded in these words; My very dear and well-beloved Son, obey your Mother, and the more, because she is a woman of great Vertue; and take not example from your Father, who is a great Sinner.

The next day, being the 15 of Sep­tember, he past out of this miserable [Page 196]Valley of Teares into the place of eter­nal Felicity, leaving the whole Court in an extraordinary sadness, and almost inconsolable grief; the noise of his Death was no sooner spread through the Town, but all the People was seen in Teares; and with reason, for set aside his Sin, which after all that can be said, proceeded from the weak­ness of humane nature, he had all the Vertues; or to say better, in a word, he had all qualities necessary to make a great Prince, and a great Monarch.

He us'd his Subjects very gently, and help'd them in all things to his power; having been often heard to say, That he chose rather to be a Poore Prince, and to have rich Subjects, then to have his Subjects poore, and to be himself a very Opulent Prince. Above all, no person ever went away discon­tented from him: He also recom­mended to the Judges, Mercy and Justice; in fine, in two Ages there had not been seen in Italy a Prince like him, if the Love he had for that Countess had not hindred him from exercising that goodness, vertue, and [Page 197]courage, which were so natural to him.

The People wept for him, and should not yet dry up their Teares, if the goodness of that Princess-Re­gent, and the hopes they have in the vettue of this young Prince, the sole Heir of the House of Gonzague, and only Child to the Deceased Duke; which is brought up by that Mourn­ing Turtle with so much care, did not comfort them; his vertue, his watch­fulness, and assiduous attachments to the Government of the State, has Cap­tiv'd the hearts of all the People, and makes him still be ador'd and lov [...]d by all the World.

The little Duke, of the Age of fourteen yeares, gives no little conso­lation to the Dutchess his Mother, and to her Subjects; and I perswade my self easily, that those incompara­ble qualities which beg [...]n to shine in his Person, will make his name and memory eternal amongst those Great Men, whose name is in Veneration.

He already receives Ambassadors with so good a Grace, and with so much [Page 198]sweetness, that they cannot enough ad­mire, how there can be so much ver­tue and capacity in an age so tender.

It is thought, that the Death of the Duke is like to bring no good to the House of the Countess; and al­ready they begin to take away those Imployments with which the late Duke had Honour'd them, to the great satisfaction of all the World; and to say truth, the abasing of that House is the Subject of the Mirth of a great many; and so much the more, because those Earles, in consideration of their Sister Margaret, had held up their heads so high, that (as 'tis said) they could scarce with the end of their Nose touch their equalls without much difficulty.

This Change will certainly be very cruel to them, and they will have much trouble to live with the young Prince, after another manner then they did with His Father; it being ve­ry likely, that they not having been us'd to obey, they will not know how to carry themselves to the Prince as their lawful Soveraign Lord, having accustom'd to treat with the late [Page 199]Duke as Familiar Friends, and not as Subjects, and therefore they have reason to fear, that this alteration will bring a notable change into their Fa­mily; foreseeing very well, that if that young Prince once take upon him the Government of the State, he will make them act with him after quite another manner then they did with his Father: And this is one of the Chief Reasons why I will con­clude this Story by the Death of the Duke, without speaking further of the Countess, no more then of other things, waiting for some other occa­sion, which we shall not want in time.

I will not however finish this Sto­ry, my dear Reader, till I have told you my Thoughts, which is, that you have not taken so much delight in Reading it, as I did in Composing it; if you had been an Eye-witness of all that I have written, I doubt not but you also would have been as well pleas'd; and I know it by my self, who having seen all this History, and all the passages of this Amour, I receive [Page 200]more satisfaction in committing it to Paper: if you have not receiv'd what you expected, or that my Style has not pleas'd you, or if by misfortune you meet with faults, I prethee think, if thou art discreet, that Love is blind and hath a Band upon his Eyes, so hard, that it is impossible for him to see either his own Faults, or that of others; I say of others, because if you should have a mind to undertake my Cor­rection, I shall not be of an humour to follow your Sentiments; it suffi­ces me, that I had design to divert you; but, if my ill Fortune has de­priv'd me of that good luck, I desire you to arme your selves with patience as well as I.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.