"What say you--would not the beauty of lady Julia bind your unsteady heart?"

— Radcliffe [née Ward], Ann (1764-1823)

Work Title
Place of Publication
Printed for T. Hookham
"What say you--would not the beauty of lady Julia bind your unsteady heart?"
Metaphor in Context
At twelve the gates of the castle were thrown open, and the company quitted it for the woods, which were splendidly illuminated. Arcades of light lined the long vistas, which were terminated by pyramids of lamps that presented to the eye one bright column of flame. At irregular distances buildings were erected, hung with variegated lamps disposed in the gayest and most fantastic forms. Collations were spread under the trees; and music, touched by unseen hands, breathed around. The musicians were placed in the most obscure and embowered spots, so as to elude the eye and strike the imagination. The scene appeared enchanted. Nothing met the eye but beauty, and romantic splendor; the ear received no sounds but those of mirth and melody. The younger part of the company formed themselves into groups, which at intervals glanced through the woods, and were again unseen. Julia seemed the magic queen of the place. Her heart dilated with pleasure, and diffused over her features an expression of pure and complacent delight. A generous, frank, and exalted sentiment sparkled in her eyes, and animated her manner. Her bosom glowed with benevolent affections; and she seemed anxious to impart to all around her, a happiness as unmixed as that she experienced. Wherever she moved, admiration followed her steps. Ferdinand was as gay as the scene around him. Emilia was pleased; and the marquis seemed to have left his melancholy in the castle. The marchioness alone was wretched. She supped with a select party, in a pavillion on the sea shore, which was fitted up with peculiar elegance. It was hung with white silk, drawn up in festoons, and richly fringed with gold. The sofas were of the same materials, and alternate wreaths of lamps and of roses entwined the columns. A row of small lamps placed about the cornice, formed an edge of light round the roof which, with the other numerous lights, was reflected in a blaze of splendor from the large mirrors that adorned the room. The count Muriani was of the party;--he complimented the marchioness on the beauty of her daughters; and after lamenting with gaiety the captives which their charms would enthral, he mentioned the count de Vereza. "He is certainly of all others the man most deserving the lady Julia. As they danced, I thought they exhibited a perfect model of the beauty of either sex; and if I mistake not, they are inspired with a mutual admiration." The marchioness, endeavouring to conceal her uneasiness, said, "Yes, my lord, I allow the count all the merit you adjudge him, but from the little I have seen of his disposition, he is too volatile for a serious attachment."--At that instant the count entered the pavillion: "Ah, said Muriani, laughingly, you was the subject of our conversation, and seem to be come in good time to receive the honours alloted you. I was interceding with the marchioness for her interest in your favour, with the lady Julia; but she absolutely refuses it; and though she allows you merit, alledges, that you are by nature fickle and inconstant. What say you--would not the beauty of lady Julia bind your unsteady heart?"
(I.ii, pp. 40-3; pp. 18-19 in OUP edition)
At least 6 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1790, 1791, 1792, 1795, 1796).

Text from A Sicilian Romance. By The Authoress of The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne 2 vols. (London: Printed for T. Hookham, 1790). <Link to volume I, 2nd edition in Google Books><Volume II>

Reading in A Sicilian Romance, ed. Alison Milbank (Oxford and New York: OUP, 1993).
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.