A part of Mortal Immortal, by Mary Shelley:

Soon after this eventful day, I became the husband of Bertha. I ceased to be the scholar of Cornelius, but I continued his friend. I always felt grateful to him for having, unaware, procured me that delicious draught of a divine elixir, which, instead of curing me of love **(**sad cure! solitary and joyless remedy for evils which seem blessings to the memory****), had inspired me with courage and resolution, thus winning for me an inestimable treasure in my Bertha.

How come evils seem blessings to the memory?

It doesn't seem to be very logical.

  • user58207, what are those pairs of asterisks before and after the bolded text? Are they in the original source material? Was the bold also supposed to be italicized? If so, use three asterisks rather than four – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 30 '14 at 4:27

The narrator has an ambivalent feeling about love (the 'evils' he refers to in his parenthetical remark).

A contemporary writer would most likely include the word 'like' in that description (it is only implied in Shelley's text), and might also change the order of its elements to make the intended meaning better apparent:

solitary and joyless remedy for evils which, to the memory, seem like blessings.

  • But that doesn't sound as poetic :) – Barmar Jul 29 '14 at 6:46
  • @Barmar - Sorry! ;) – Erik Kowal Jul 29 '14 at 6:51
  • exactly as Erik explains "seem blessings"is Ye Olde way to say "seem like blessings" – Fattie Jul 29 '14 at 10:20

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