Exilius, by Jane Barker

Book VII.

The agreeable Fatigue of the preceding Night detain'd this noble Company in their Beds beyond the wonted Hour; only Valerius proclaim'd his Contempt of Lassitude, by rising before the others, having had his Thoughts employ'd on the Beauty of Artemisa, the fair Daughter of Mecos, whose agreeable Mein in her dancing that Night, added a Grace to her Person, which in itself was charming. His Mind being agitated therewith, he walk'd out into the Grove, to gratify his Thoughts in Solitude in Contemplation of this pleasing Object: He had not made many Turns, when his Ears were saluted with the best of all Musick, a fine Voice singing these Words:

The SONG.

In vain does Nature her free Gifts bestow

To make us wise or fair;

If Fortune don't her Favours show,

Scorn'd and neglected we may go,

Not worth a Look, much less a Lover's Care.

Or if we shou'd some pitying Eyes command,

Or those of Admiration;

So unendow'd fair Structures stand

Admir'd, but not one helping Hand

Will rescue them from Time's Dilapidation.

Then surely vain it is for me to strive

With native Charms or Art;

For Beauty may as well survive

Her Climacterick Twenty five,

As without Wealth to get or keep a Heart.

Having heard the Song, he was curious to see the Person; and approaching the Place, he found Artemisa, to whom he address'd, saying, If your Angelick Form Yesterday inspir'd my Thoughts with Admiration, your Seraphick Voice now charms me even to adore you; therefore, Madam, refuse not those Sighs and Vows I shall perpetually offer you as my Life's Guardian; not like those Votaries your Song complains of, who slightly admire, and so pass: No, my Love shall be constant as your Beauties are perfect. Sir, reply'd Artemisa, I know not how constant you may think yourself; but to me your Love seems of too hasty a Growth to have taken any great Root in your Heart; moreover, a Declaration without the Consent of my Father, shews a Want of Respect, which ought to be the Foundation of Affection. But, perhaps, you take your Measures from the unhappy Miscarriages of my Mother, and so take a Freedom of Speech with me her Daughter, without being first authoriz'd by my Father. But be assur'd, Sir, that altho' Ignominy on my Mother's Side, and Poverty on my Father's, be all the Portion I have to thank them for, yet I resolve to preserve my filial Devoirs entire; and since my Circumstances are such as exclude me from those Respects due to my Quality, the Object of my Choice ought to be a Virgin−Life amongst Diana'sTrain. Diana, and all the Gods, be my Witnesses, reply'd Valerius, my Intentions towards you are vertuous and honourable; nor do I measure your Merits or Inclinations by the Standard of your Parents Actions, no more than I would be condemn'd for the Faults of my Progenitors. The Truth is, in this Point, our Fortunes hold so just a Proportion, that we cannot upbraid each other with our Relations; therefore, certainly we are the most proper for each other's Circumstances: Yes, methinks I see that Heaven has design'd it so. I must confess, (reply'd Artemisa) our Fortunes have a great Resemblance; and what is very remarkable, that our Mothers should be not only both vicious, but both Mistresses to the same Man Sure Turpius in his Youth was a most accomplish'd Person, that, amongst the Multitude of his amorous Conquests, he led Captive these two Ladies of Quality. They were about to pursue their Discourse, when they perceiv'd Scipio and Cordiala coming at the other End of the Walk; wherefore they retir'd, Valerius telling her, that he would endeavour to enfranchize his Discourse, by gaining the Suffrage of her Father.

Cordiala and Scipio seating themselves, she told him, that his Sister and Cousin, Scipiana and Clelia, had promis'd to give her Letters of Recommendation to their Cousin Fabiell in Ægypt, by the Help of which she hop'd to make her Fortune, or, at least, gain a Livelihood; so thither I intend to direct my Steps as soon as possible; and I beg you to content yourself with that Felicity the Gods have provided for you, in proving you the Son of such an honourable Father. Testify your Thanks to them in a perfect Obedience to him, and think no more on the unfortunate Cordiala.

When you command Impossibilities, said Scipio, you cannot hope to be obey'd; for you may as well command the Heavens to cease their Motions, and not influence this terrestrial Globe, or all Nature to cease her Work, as to command Scipio not to think on Cordiala. Ah, Cordiala! I must for ever think on you, love you, and follow you where ever you go; therefore extend not your Commands against these my Resolutions of loving you, and languishing at your Feet for ever; then, kissing her Hand a thousand Times, begg'd her to pronounce him happy. O Scipio! reply'd Cordiala, cease to importune me on this Subject; leave this unfortunate Creature; stay not within the Reach of Infection; Misfortunes may be catching as well as Sickness; leave me alone to my Sighs and Tears; stay not at all, lest my unweary Tongue pronounce your Ruin; leave me, I say, that I may gently expire without the Agony of seeing you undone. My charming Fair, reply'd Scipio, there is no Ruin but in your Rigor, nor can I be undone but by your Absence; therefore dry those Eyes, whose bright Rays are only capable to enliven the Heart of your languishing Lover, who dies to see you weep. 'Tis fit, reply'd Cordiala, that Criminals should weep, and such are my Eyes, since they cause the vertuous Scipio to transgress his Duty to his Father; therefore if you would have me cease to weep, you must cease to love; and if any Thing I can say may have Influence over you, let me conjure you to withdraw your tender Thoughts from me a Wretch unworthy: At least endeavour it; perhaps the divine Asistance may co−operate in so just an Enterprize, and help you to overcome your self, which will render you a greater Conqueror, than your noble Brother in his subduing Asia. My self, reply'd Scipio, is an useless Part of Mankind without my Cordiala, a Thing unworthy the Industry of a Scipio; therefore never perswade me to any Thing that regards my self, otherwise than for your Service; I desire not to live, but for you; I desire no Honour, Riches, or Happiness, but for you; it is for your Sake only, that I rejoice to be the Son of a Scipio; it is for your Sake, that I glory to have the noble Asiaticus for my Brother; in fine, it is for your Sake, and in Hopes of your Favours, that I bear with human Life, and aim to be a Grandee of the World. Then never more bid me to withdraw my Affections, or endeavour at such a wild Impossibility; but rather endeavour to unite yours with mine, and hope the Gods will assist us in the Enterprize.

As they were in this Discourse, Asiaticus and Scipiana came towards them; wherefore they broke off, and arose to go meet them. Asiaticus, taking Scipio aside, left Scipiana and Cordiala together: Asiaticus told him, that he had again discours'd his Father this Morning on the Subject of his Amour, but could obtain nothing of him but a firm Resolution against it, with a Command never to mention it to him more on Pain of his Displeasure. Wherefore (continu'd he) let me beg of you to eradicate this misplanted Affection, and force your Heart to a thorough Obedience to your Father. Ah Brother! (reply'd Scipio, the Respect I owe to you, as well as my Duty to my Father, would make me do it if 'twas possible; but it is not in my Power: I might tear my Heart from my Breast, but cannot tear my Passion from my Heart: Dear Brother, let me beg of you to reflect on your Passion for Clarinthia,and if you find a Possibility of removing it, then blame me for not obeying your Advice and my Father's Commands; if not, I hope you'll forgive me: I am sure you cannot say but that Cordiala is truly fair and vertuous; 'tis true, she is not the Daughter of a noble Lord; no more am I the great Conqueror of Asia, though I am now the Son of the noble Scipio, and your Brother; yet when my Affection took Root, I was only the poor Ismenus,without Family or Character; in that low State I gave Cordiala the Assurance of my everlasting Love; and now the Gods has exalted me to be the Son of a Scipio, can I recede from my Word, without fixing a Mark of Unworthiness on my Name and Family, was it possible? But, alas! I may as well tear the Sun from its Coelestial Orb, and wear it for a Shield, as tear this Passion from my Heart. Consider then, dear Brother; and if you cannot help, at least pity me, and let me have a Place in your Consideration.

Whilst the two Brothers were in this Discourse, Scipiana and Cordiala entertain'd each other on the same Subject Cordiala told Scipiana, that since she had in much Goodness offer'd to recommend her to her Kinswoman the Princess Fabiell, she begg'd the speedy Performance of this Favour, that she might retire from the Importunities of her Brother, the young Scipio. 'Tis true, reply'd Scipiana, that is the best Way I can foresee for you, especially since my Father is so very opposite to Scipio's Inclinations, and you yourself receive his Address with so much Indifferency, for which prudent Conduct you are extreamly to be commended. Very few, so young as you, could so perfectly govern themselves, as not to have a strong Inclination, when courted by so fine a Person as my Brother. Ah! Madam, reply'd Cordiala, you are too generous a Benefactrix to me, for me to disguise the Truth; I am far from being able to govern my Affections towards your Brother; it is with great Difficulty that I make a Shift to govern my Words; for, alas! Madam, I love him to the last Degree: Pardon, dear Madam, this free Confession; for I count I ought to conceal nothing from you, no more than from a Goddess, you having been to me as my good Genius: Therefore, Madam, do not interpret this as an indecent Boldness, which is truly Duty; but be pleas'd to assist me in my Departure into Ægypt, thereby to remove from your House the Odium of your Family. I am truly sorry for you both, reply'd Scipiana, and wish it was in my Power to serve you in a more agreeable Way than assisting towards your Separation; for, believe it Cordiala, I truly love and esteem you: Your Vertue and Wisdom carry with them irresistable Charms; but it is not in my Power to serve my own Inclinations in assisting your Affections. Scipiana was about to proceed in her Assurances, when a Servant came to let them know, that their Friends they so long expected from Rome were arriv'd, to wit, my Lord Fabius, Lucullus, Marcellus, and Flavia. Wherefore they hasten'd in to pay their Respects to them, which they did according to the Dignity of their respective Qualities. They were surpriz'd to find Fabius and Jemella there; for they knew not of their being come from Sardinia; but most of all they were surpriz'd to find Clodius in good Intelligence with them; but a few Turns of Discourse inform'd them all the manner of that Proceeding, when, together with the Intercession of Publius and the others, they pardon'd Clodius, and promis'd to obtain the same of the Senate, as also to intercede on his Behalf with his fair Widow the bright Libidinia. Flavia, with the rest, having pardon'd her Nephew, Scipiana presented to her Cordiala, begging her to extend her Favour also to this young Creature, once the Object of her Kindness, and receive her into the same Station of her Benevolence as formerly; but Flaviareply'd, that it was impossible; however, she would, for the Sake of that honourable Assembly, do what she could to make her happy in that low Station in which the Gods had plac'd her. Whereupon Cordiala gave her Thanks for so kind a Promise, and withal begg'd her Ladyship, to let her know who and where her poor Parents were to be found, that she might pay her Duty to them, as a Means to obtain a Blessing on what her Ladyship's Goodness would bestow. To which Flavia reply'd, That her Mother was a poor Woman living at Cajeta; and so forthwith sent a Servant to find the poor Woman, and bring her thither. In the mean time Publius propos'd the Marriages to the noble Romans, according to the Inclinations of their Children the young Lovers; to which they all unanimously agreed. Amongst the rest Turpius and Mecos were very well pleas'd at the Choice their Children, Valerius and Artemisa, had made of each other; and accordingly gave them their full Consent: So that amongst all this noble Company, Scipio and Cordiala were the only Pair likely to be unhappy, and without Prospect of being otherwise.

The Servant which Flavia sent to Cajeta soon return'd, bringing with him the good Woman, Mother to Cordiala. To whom Flavia presented Cordiala, telling her, that she restor'd to her her Child, being sorry that her Disobedience had been such as had obstructed her Fortune, which otherwise had been honourably made in a happy Marriage. Nevertheless, continu'd Flavia, I am willing to assist her and you, to make her happy in that Rank she has chose for herself; and when any Person of her Condition shall espouse her, I will take Care of an Establishment for them. Which Discourse so swell'd the Heart of Scipio, that he burst forth into these Words, which he utter'd with more Passion than Prudence: Madam, be pleas'd to know, that your offer'd Favour is never to be accepted by Cordiala; she is of a Composure, both of Mind and Person, above any Thing below a Scipio; and, whilst I live, she neither must nor shall marry any but myself. Then casting himself at the Feet of his Father, with great Submission begg'd his Lordship to forgive that Freedom of Speech, which his Passion and her Merits had unawares forc'd from him, adding, That although he there avow'd that none should espouse her but himself, nevertheless that he did not design any Espousals without his Lordship's Leave; and moreover asserted, That such was her Vertue and Prudence, as would not permit her to accept of his Courtship, much less to resign her Affections, in Opposition to his Lordship; for which, and divers other excellent Qualities, I hope (said he) she deserves the Esteem of all this noble Company, and I beg they will intercede in my Behalf: for I dare not presume to ask my Lord myself, having already receiv'd his Prohibition. The Company were all extreamly pleas'd at his modest Freedom, and every one was sensible of her Personal Deserts; nevertheless, no body ventur'd to perswade Publius on their Behalf, but look'd upon one another with confus'd Aspects: 'Till Publius begg'd them all to remain silent on that Subject, it being a Thing he neither could nor would grant; therefore commanded his Son never more to mention it to him, nor to employ any body about it; not but that he esteem'd Cordiala for her Discretion, and would reward her for it; and if Scipio would apply himself to his Duty, he would forget this Folly, as the Effect of Youth; otherwise he must expect to be discarded and forgotten by him; with many other Words to this Effect, which were as Claps of Thunder to the Hearts of our young Couple.

Cordiala retir'd to give Vent to her Sighs, Tears, and Blushes, whilst Scipio remain'd still at the Feet of his Father, imploring him and begging him to pity his Youth, and pardon his Passion, which he could not help; protesting, that he would never act contrary to his Duty, which still gave him Hopes, that his Lordship would in Time be a little reconcil'd and indulgent to his Affection. As Publius was about to reply, he saw enter into the Room an aged Person, which he soon knew to be his old Friend Catullus, whose Banishment had been one Cause of his leaving Rome. Wherefore, falling about his Neck, he embrac'd him most tenderly. At the same Time Exilius threw himself at the Feet of his Father, begging Pardon for his long Absence, withal presenting Scipiana as the Cause, assuring him, that nothing less worthy, or less belov'd, should have detain'd him from his Presence. This Discovery extreamly surpriz'd and pleas'd the Company, and most especially Publius, who was transported to find his Daughter's Lover, or rather pretended Husband, to be the Son of his dearly beloved Friend, and a noble Roman; he whose single Merits, whilst unknown, and without Name, Quality, or Estate, had so far oblig'd him both in the Person of Asiaticus and Scipiana, that he could not refuse his Consent to their Espousals. But now his Joy transcended all Bounds, and not only he, but all the Company found a Satisfaction at this Discovery, every one saluting and embracing both the Father and the Son, according to their respective Relations; all begging his Lordship to inform them how he had done to hide his illustrious Person from the Knowledge of all the World, in particular from his Friends, who had been solicitous for him, to have inform'd him, that the Senate had recall'd him and restor'd his Estate.

I was so thorowly unconcern'd (said Catullus) for the Things of this World, that I never enquir'd what was done by the Senate touching me or my Fortune. For I found so much Injustice in my Banishment, that I betook my self wholly to the Thoughts of Heaven, and look'd with Contempt on all earthly Things. I accepted willingly my Sufferings, and with Pleasure begg'd Pardon of the Gods for those that had been my Persecutors. Pray give me Leave, My noble Lords, to avow mine Innocence, for I know nothing by my self that might occasion this my Punishment; but a Party took a Conceit, that I endeavour'd to make my self popular, so as to raise my self above the rest of the Senate: If I spoke any Thing in the Senate to maintain the Laws, then I was suppos'd to cajole the Nobles; if in Favour of the People, then it was to engage the Mobb; if I forgave my Tenants their Debts, or abated their Rents, that was undermining other Landlords; if I pray'd in the Temple, it was deem'd Hypocrisy; if I treated my Friends, it was Lewdness; if I requir'd any just Debt, it was Cruelty; if I gave Alms, it was Vain−glory: Thus all that I did or said was misunderstood or misrepresented by mine Enemies, 'til they gain'd both Senate and People on their Party, and in the End accomplish'd their Design in my Banishment. I conclude my Son has told you the Manner of my Life in my rocky Island, where I intended always to remain; but having one Day been at Sardinia, I heard, to my great Sorrow, that my Friend Publius was in great Affliction for the Loss of all his Children; wherefore I resolv'd to venture once more into my unjust and unnatural Country, to endeavour to consolate my Friend, and give him what Information I could touching his Daughter's Departure from me. The Execution of this Design we retarded by long Sickness and foul Weather; but now, to my unspeakable Joy, I am come to partake of the greatest Happiness my Heart could hope for on this Side Heaven, in the Espousals of my Son with the fair Daughter of my Friend: My next Care must be to find out my Daughter, which I left with a poor Woman of Cajeta, she being too tender for my rough Hands to deal withal; therefore I left her at that Town, in my Passage, as I went to imbark. At which the good Woman, Mother of Cordiala, presented herself to Catullus,telling him, that she was the Person to whom his Lordship had committed the Care of that Treasure: Wherefore calling Cordiala, she said, Behold this fair Lady, the Daughter you left with me; I have carefully kept the Secret, according to your Commands, that even when my Lady Flavia took her, I did not discover whose Daughter she was, but deliver'd her to her Ladyship as my own; and notwithstanding her being my Lady's Niece, and very like her little Daughter that dy'd, her Ladyship suspected nothing. This Discovery was a joyful Surprize to all the Company, but in particular to Catullus her Father, who embrac'd her with much Tenderness; and for a greater Demonstration of the Truth of all this, he shew'd a red Heart on her Arm, a Mark with which she was born. But above all Joy and Transport, that of Scipio transcended all Bounds; wherefore once more kneeling to his Father, told him, he hoped that now he would not only give his Consent, but obtain the same for him of Catullus and Cordiala; in which all unanimously consented, and all with excessive Joy receiv'd and embrac'd Cordiala,according to their respective Relations. Catullus adding, that he hoped to see the Glories of the Scipio's increase in the Person of this young Man; and that Africa should give him a Name, as Asia had done his Brother; for, said he, last Night I dream'd, that the Gods gave me a Daughter from the Clouds, which they told me should command all Africa; and now, methinks I foresee the Prediction true in the Person of this young Scipio. At which Asiaticuscall'd to Mind what the Sybil had foretold him in her Cave, and Scipiana remember'd what Cordiala's good Genius had sung to her in the Chapel of Diana; insomuch that they were almost ready to salute him Scipio Africanus, by Way of Advance. Thus was the Troubles and Inquietudes of these noble Romans and many Lovers all brought to a happy Conclusion. So we will leave them to agree amongst themselves, whether they will celebrate their Nuptials at Publius Scipio's House, according to his Request, or go to Rome, to accomplish the same with greater Splendour and Magnificence.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31