Marianna Alcoforado.

The Letters of a Portuguese Nun online

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Oh! what a Pleasure it will be to me,
Without concern t’ accuse you of your Treachery!
When I ’ve forgot the wracking Pains I ’ve born,
And able am to talk of you with Scorn!

You ’ve had the better, it is plainly prov’d,
Because I you have out of Reason lov’d;
But by the Conquest you small Honour won,
For I was young, and easily undone.
I, whilst a Child, was cloister’d, knew no hurt,
Discours’d with none but of the vulgar Sort,
And what belonged to Flatt’ry never knew,
Till I unhappily was taught by you:
You ’d a good Character of every one,
Which you made use of to entice me on.

My Indignation, and your Falsehood too,
Makes me at present much disorder’d grow;
But, I assure you, I will shortly find
Some Means or other for to ease my Mind.
Perhaps may take a way to quit my Care
Which, when ’tis acted, you ’ll be pleas’d to hear.

Fool as I am, to say thus o’er and o’er
The same that I ’ve so often said before!
Of you a Thought I must not entertain,
And fancy too I ne’er shall write again?
For what occasion ’s there that I to you
Shou’d be accountable for all I do?



Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE
Printers to Her Majesty


[1] An American translation was published in 1890. _Vide_ Bibliography.

[2] Cordeiro, _op. cit._, p. 131, 1st ed.

[3] Cf. Cordeiro, _op. cit._, pp. 147-8 and 300, 1st ed.

[4] This was partly owing to the ideas of the time, and partly for
reasons already mentioned, and also because her father wished to build
up an estate, to be entailed on heirs-male.

[5] Letter v.

[6] Asse, _op. cit._, Preface, p. vi. For an account of the somewhat
relaxed character of convent discipline at the time _vide_ Cordeiro,
pp. 156-164, 1st ed.

[7] ‘Muita era a liberdade das grades naquelle miseravel tempo.’

[8] Cordeiro, _op. cit._, pp. 326-7, 1st ed.

[9] Cordeiro, _op. cit._, pp. 139-40, 1st. ed.

[10] Cordeiro, _op. cit._, p. 182, 1st ed.

[11] For a good comparison of the Letters of Marianna and Heloïse see
an article entitled ‘La Eloísa Portuguesa’ in the June number of the
review _España Moderna_, 1889, written by Emilio Pardo Bazán.

[12] Cordeiro, _op. cit._, p. 299, 1st ed.

[13] This syntactical extension of the sex to the patronymic was
general in the seventeenth century. _Vide_ Cordeiro, _op. cit._, p. 91,
1st ed.

[14] This should be 83. Cf. the extract from the Baptismal Register in
Cordeiro, p. 285, 1st ed.

[15] This document was found and transcribed by Cordeiro on pp. 328-9
of his oft-referred-to work, 1st ed.

[16] _Op. cit._, Preface, p. xi.

[17] _Memoires_, vol. iii. pp. 372-3; Paris, 1873.

[18] Observation of Senhor Cordeiro, _op. cit._, p. 6, 1st ed.

[19] Observation of M. Asse.

[20] Asse, _op. cit._, Preface, pp. xiii, xiv.

[21] Letter to Mme. de Grignan in vol. ii., page 284, of the edition of
_Paris_ 1862.

[22] Asse, _op. cit._, Preface, p. xv.

[23] Director for a time of the _Gazette de France_, and a friend of
Mme. de Sévigné and Racine. Boileau described him as

‘Esprit né pour la cour et maitre en l’art de plaire
Guilleragues qui sais et parler et se taire.’

[24] Quoted by Cordeiro, _op. cit._, p. 21, 1st ed.

[25] One of those ecstasies so common in conventual annals is here

[26] No. 4 in all editions and translations except that of Cordeiro.

[27] A province in the extreme south of Portugal.

[28] The Mother Superior of the convent.

[29] Gates in the city of Beja: so called because they are on the
side which looks toward Mertola, 54 kilometres distant. Both Beja and
Mertola are in the province of the Alemtejo.

[30] Hérard Bouton and Catherine Lecomte de Nonant.

[31] Both Cordeiro and the French texts read ‘first,’ which does not
make sense.

[32] No. 2 in all editions and translations except that of Cordeiro.

[33] Two of Chamilly’s servants.

[34] The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which was signed May 2nd, 1668,
ratified this peace and put an end to the war called ‘of Devolution.’

[35] D. Brites de Noronha was a professed nun and a companion of
Marianna in the convent of the Conception at Beja.

[36] Marianna refers to her condition as a Franciscan nun in a small
provincial town, not to the rank of her family, which was as good as
that of her lover.

[37] Marianna was about twenty-six years of age when she first met
Chamilly. She had naturally made her profession at sixteen and had been
confided to the care of the convent at twelve, or even much earlier,
like her sister.

Transcriber's Note

Duplicate headings have been removed.

The following errata were printed before the preface and have been
incorporated into the text:

Page 33, line 12, _read_ Guilleragues _for_ Guilleraque.
„ 37, „ 1 (heading), _read_ Meu _for_ Men.
„ 47, „ 16, _read_ appearances _for_ proofs.
„ 49, „ 6, _read_ this beginning _for_ this, beginning.
„ 54, „ 20, _omit_ ought to.
„ 57, „ 18, _read_ paused _for_ passed.
„ 62, „ 8, _insert_ one _after_ some.
„ 63, „ 9, _read_ at times I do not dare to think I could be
jealous and yet not displease you.
„ 69, „ 20, _read_ your departure based on such cruel pretexts.
„ 70, „ 6, _read_ I could never have been on my guard against
all my weaknesses.
„ 71, „ 16, _read_ Can it be that you did not care to enjoy
„ 74, „ 11, _read_ Methinks, even, I am not at all content.
„ 77, „ 3, _read_ Would it not be very cruel indeed of you
to make.
„ 82, „ 3, _read_ What! is all my desire then to be in vain?
„ 93, „ 12, _read_ the attachment you might have had
for another woman could have caused me.
„ 96, „ 19, _read_ never forgets what first awakened it
to feelings.
„ 100, „ 4, _read_ who does not make them render an exact.
„ 102, „ 5, _read_ what confusion, what a false step,
what depths.

In addition, the following apparent errors have been corrected:

p. 119 "qu’ il" changed to "qu’il"

p. 120 "autresois" changed to "autrefois"

p. 122 "quen" changed to "qu’en"

p. 122 "venez," changed to "venez"

p. 124 "qu’ à" changed to "qu’à"

p. 128 "France," changed to "France"

p. 130 "tout a" changed to "tout à"

p. 153 "soussert" changed to "souffert"

p. 153 "euffiez" changed to "eussiez"

P. 154 "quelles" changed to "qu’elles"

p. 155 "mal’heureuse" changed to "mal’heureuse)"

p. 158 "Ah" changed to "Ah!"

p. 161 "persidie" changed to "perfidie"

P. 165 "anneés" changed to "années"

p. 201 "ar" changed to "are"

p. 205 "I’ m" changed to "I ’m"

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Online LibraryMarianna AlcoforadoThe Letters of a Portuguese Nun → online text (page 8 of 8)