You boast your descent from a race of kings and heroes. What then? Our line too is sufficiently ennobled by illustrious names. Not to mention my father-in-law Atreus, the great-grandson of Jupiter, or the honorable pedigree of Tyndareus, and Pelops the son of Tantalus; Leda, deceived by a borrowed shape, who fondly cherished in her bosom the unsuspected bird, gives me Jupiter for my father. Go then, and boast your Phrygian descent, and the honorable race of Priam, which I am far from undervaluing: but Jupiter, who ennobles your line,
is the fifth from you, from me the first. The sceptre of Troy I am apt to believe powerful; but still I fancy that our own is not less so. If you exceed us in riches and number of people, yet yours is only a country of barbarians. Your letter is filled with ample promises, such as might move even Goddesses to yield; but if ever I violate the laws of chastity, yourself shall be the more powerful cause of my crime. For either I will always retain my honor without a stain, or follow you, rather than the high hopes you give: not that I despise or slight them; for those gifts are always most acceptable, which derive a value from the giver. But it is still more that you love me, that you run such hazards for my sake, and follow hope through all the dangers of the main. Nor do I
overlook the signs you make at our table, though I artfully dissemble all notice. I observe your ardent wistful looks, and those meaning eyes that almost dazzle mine. Sometimes you sigh, and, snatching the cup, fix your lips where mine had been before. Ah! how oft have I marked the hidden signs wafted from your fingers, and the lively language expressed in your eye-brow! I often dreaded that my husband might observe it, and blushed at the too open signs you made. Oft I said murmuring to myself, “This man will stick at nothing”; nor was my conjecture erroneous. I have also upon the edge of a table read, marked with wine under my own name, “I love”. I, with a frowning eye, seemed not to believe; but now, alas! I have learned to speak the same language. Were I capable of being won, it must have been by those soft allurements: these only could have made an impression upon my heart. You have (it must be owned) an enchanting face, and charms that may make any one gladly fly to your embraces. A more fortunate maid may possess you with innocence; but my engagements
forbid a foreign love. Learn by my example to live without the desired beauty; it is the highest degree of virtue, to abstain from unlawful pleasures. How many youths wish for the same happiness as you, who make no advances? Or do you fancy that Paris only has eyes? It is not that you see better, but that you rashly venture more; your passion is not greater, but your confidence.