Marcellus being pretty well recover'd of his Illness, walk'd out to take the Air; but not daring to approach those Walks which Clelia frequented, (by Means of her late Prohibition) he took the Way of the great Forest, which extends its Confines to the Sea−Coast, and being debilitated by his Sickness, betook himself to a Seat, where he heard the Voices of some distress'd Persons, complaining one to another of their past and present Misfortunes. Marcellus, according to his natural Goodness, address'd his Steps towards the Place, and there found two Men and a Woman, set upon a mossy Bank, under a Cluster of Bushes, which they design'd that Night for their Lodging. Marcellus, with great Courtesy, invited them to his House, which Favour they gladly accepted, and being come thither, he desir'd them, if it might consist with their Conveniency, to inform him what hard Fortune had reduc'd them to these Necessities, from which, by their Mein, they ought to have a perfect Immunity. To this the Strangers readily accorded, and whilst Supper and Beds were preparing, the Lady, at the Desire of the others, began as follows:
My Name, said she, is Clarinthia, Daughter to Turpius, and the sole lawful Heiress of all his great Riches: But the Irregularity of his Life makes me almost asham'd to own him for my Father; his large Possessions not being able to cover, nor the Weight of his Riches to poize, the Infamy of his Actions; which filial Respect and Prudence wou'd oblige me to conceal, were they not too much known to all the World already. Besides, when such Benefactors as you all are, call for a Recital, it is Heaven that speaks, and commands a true and undisguis'd Relation.
In my Childhood I was very intimate with Scipiana, Daughter to Publius Scipio, as also her elder Brother Scipio,who since, by his great Actions in the Conquest of Asia, has obtain'd the Name of Asiaticus, as I have heard, for I have not seen him since he was dignify'd with that Title, and therefore in my Discourse know him by no other Name than that of Scipio; who, tho' young as he was, appear'd sensible of that Passion which at one Time or other charms all Hearts; these his tender Sentiments he express'd to me in little innocent Efforts, suitable to his Years and my Simplicity. Being ready to go for Athens, to compleat his Studies, he endeavour'd to make me promise him not to accept of the Addresses of any Lover during his Absence, to which I answer'd according to the Dictates of my childish Innocence, which merits not your Attention.
A little after his Departure, his noble Mother dy'd, his little Brother Scipio was lost, and Catullus, the particular and intimate Friend of his Father, was banish'd; all which happening in a little Space of Time, made Publius Scipio leave Rome, and in extreme Grief retire to his Country−House, taking with him Scipiana, his Daughter, resolving for ever to absent himself from that fatal Place, that Theatre of Horror, on which had been acted these his great Misfortunes.
After the Departure of Scipiana, my dear Play−fellow, I took very little Pleasure or Satisfaction in any Company, or Diversion that Rome could present, only apply'd my self to my Devoirs, according to the Will of my virtuous Mother: But the Gods left me not long in this happy State; for it was but little after, that the Death of this virtuous and honourable Parent put a Period to my Felicity; for then my Father resolv'd to marry me to his Bastard Son Valerius, which was such a Piece of Incest, that I could not shew the least Complacency, much less Obedience to the Proposal. My Father not believing this Refusal to arise from any Principle of Virtue, but rather from some Pre−engagement of my Thoughts to some other of our young Romans, remov'd himself and me into the Country, where he thought he should not fail to discover, and consequently to disappoint any such conceal'd Intrigue. But I too well knew my Duty to him and Heaven, as also what I ow'd to mine own Honour, to entertain any Correspondence of that Kind, though never so innocent and honourably meant; for the very Being and essential Part of an honourable Amour is perverted, and becomes unworthy, if not criminal, when entertain'd by a young Lady without the Consent of her Parents. These were my Maxims, to which I resolv'd to adhear, and of which I gave my Father all the Assurance possible; withal begging him, that as I had taken the Rule of Virtue to guide both my Actions and Inclinations, he would not interrupt my Progress therein by any opposite Command. But all was to no Purpose, I was perpetually persecuted with the Courtship of Valerius, and the Persuasions of my Father.
Now it was that Asbella, Mother to Valerius, (a Lady really of Quality and Fortune) retir'd herself to her Estate in Sicily, pretending to spend the rest of her Days in the Practice of Virtue; but the World believ'd rather it was the Effect of her Discontent, because my Father did not marry her when at Liberty by the Death of my Mother; thereby to repair, in some Degree, her ruin'd Honour. What was the Subject of her Retreat, I had not the Curiosity to examine, but willingly accorded my Belief to that Key to which she tuned her own Discourse, and so concluded Virtue to be the principal End of her Retirement.
In the mean Time, my Father finding his Perswasions, and Valerius's Courtship, fruitless, began to treat me with Importunities and Menaces, and at last grew angry to that Degree, that he vow'd I should never see the Sun more, 'till I made my Will comply with his, in marrying Valerius; treating me with much Rigour, or rather Tyranny, still believing, I suppose, that I must have some secret Passion elsewhere. Valerius being gone to Rome about some Business for my Father, I was in Hopes his Absence would have afforded me some little Respite, at least from the Fatigue of amorous Pursuits; but behold a new, and I think unheard of, Calamity befel me! for contrary to all Morality, and the Laws of Heaven, my wretched Father became enamour'd of me, and express'd his Flame with as much Assurance as if it had been no Way criminal; and when I urg'd the Illegallity of this heinous Passion, and that it would cause the Vengeance of the Gods to descend on him, and render him at once miserable and infamous. He made Answer, That the Notion of Deities was a Chimera infused into my Fancy by my Mother, and a customary Education; and that all the World were misled into such Opinions by Priests and Potentates, whose Interest it was to ingage their Inferiors into a Belief of some invisible Powers, thereby to keep them in Subjection. If there be no Gods, reply'd I, how came we and all the World made at first? Sure we did not make our selves! for if we had, methinks we might have preserv'd the Knowledge of this Creative Power in all Ages, and then we might have made our selves a Kingdom or a World when we pleased, and this would save our Romans much Pains and toil, which they continually are at in their Conquests. But besides this Creative Power, methinks the Preservative no less evinces the Belief of some Omnipotent Beings; for how comes it to pass, that the Sun, Moon, and Stars, do not fall upon us? Besides, this perfect Order and Harmony of all Things both Celestial and Terrestrial, as also our own little Microcosme, and interiour Cogitations, assert this great Truth, in which our rational Faculty must needs acquiesce. But, said my Father, admit all this your little Prattle true, is not Mercy one of the chief Attributes of these your Divinities? Then why do you not imitate them, and have Pity on your unhappy Father, or rather wretched Lover, who dies for you? With these and the like Discourses, together with all the fond Actions and Grimaces of a passionate Lover, he continually entertain'd me, that I heartily wish'd for Valerius again, whose Love (incestuous as it was) was yet much more supportable than this other. Moreover, I concluded his Love and Courage would secure my Honour from any Attempts of my Father's Brutality, of which I was dreadfully afraid, knowing him to be a Man that would stick at nothing to satisfy his Sensuality.
The Return of Valerius prov'd sooner than was expected, which, tho' it gave me some little Consolation, yet Sighs and Tears were my continual Entertainment. Being one Day set in my Chamber in a very melancholy Posture, there rush'd into the Room three disguis'd Men, by a secret Door behind the Hangings, who, without speaking a Word, took me away, in spite of all the Cries and Resistance of me and my Women. They carry'd me down many Steps, and thro' divers Turnings under Ground; at last ascending, I found myself without the Castle, where Horses waited, on one of which I was set, and convey'd with Speed for the Space of an Hour or more, 'till we came to a certain great Forest. Here it was that the Chief of these rapacious Wretches essay'd to violate my Honour; but the just Gods, propitious to mine Innocence, by Means of my Cries, brought a Person of Virtue and Courage to my Rescue, which he accomplish'd by the Death of the Ravisher; the other two, who were at a Distance, perceiving what happen'd, came running to assist their Master, where one of them immediately met his Fate, and was sent by the Stranger's Sword to serve his Master in the other World, which his Companion seeing, he made his Escape with all Expedition. The Stranger taking off the Vizards that disguis'd these Miscreants, in order to give Air, if any Life yet remain'd; whose Faces I no sooner saw, but I knew 'em to be my wretched Father, and one of his Servants. O ye Gods! what Surprize and Confusion then seiz'd me! which I express'd in bitter Cries and Lamentations; in the mean Time, the unknown Person did all he could to restore him to Life, but he expir'd with these Words, Forgive me, Clarinthia. The Stranger courteously ask'd me wherein he could be farther serviceable? to whom I answer'd, that I was a Wretch incapable to receive Service or Succour; a Monster unfit for human Conversation; therefore desir'd him to leave me to wander in these Woods, among the Wolves, and other Salvage Beasts, as the most fit Cohabitants for such a wretched Creature as I was made by my Misfortunes: But he endeavour'd, by discreet Arguments, to soften this my Fury, and perswaded me to mount behind him, to seek some Place of Retreat. I had much Difficulty to consent to this Proposal, not only in Consideration of his being an absolute Stranger, but his Hands still wreeking with my Father's Blood; for, wicked as he was, he was still my Father; but Night coming on, together with the Wildness of the Place, oblig'd me to accept of his Offer; so he covering the Body of my Father with his upper Garment, we mounted on Horseback, and follow'd a little Foot−Path, which we hop'd would have brought us out of the Forest; but it only led us to the Abode of a certain holy Hermit, situated in a thick and obscure Part of the Wood, which the Approach of Night, and the Horrors I carry'd with me, made appear dreadful; but the kind Reception we found a little mitigated my first Apprehensions. And if I had been capable of reflecting on any Thing that had the Face of Content, I might here have found a happy Employment for my Thoughts, in beholding the tranquil State of this good Man, and all such who thus betake themselves to a holy Retreat, where they are free from those false Alarms of the World, which beguile us with foolish Hopes, or as foolish Fears; for to these Votaries the Smiles and Frowns of Fortune are equal; for they court not the one, nor apprehend the other. They dance not the Measures play'd by Ambition's Pipe, nor wander after the Ignis−fatuus of Vain−glory. Their Poverty secures them from Envy, and its being voluntary, places them above the Reach of Contempt; in renouncing the World they are Masters of it, and by subduing their Passions, they become distinguish'd and admir'd by the rest of Mankind, to whom their Words are Lectures, and their Actions Sermons. They find Plenty in the Contempt of Riches, and great Honour in virtuous Actions. Their Contemplations are to them all Company, and their devout Exercises great Diversion. Their Food is savoury, and their Sleep sound; the one is not disturbed with Cares, nor the other made unpalatable by Intemperance. Their abstemious Way of living preserves their Health, to which is ordinarily annex'd long Life, and they fear not Death whose Lives have been so perfect. In fine; they are in fact what Socrates and his Adherents pretend to teach by long Study, and elaborate Speculation. The Consideration of all which, made us without Difficulty commit to this holy Anchorite the whole of what had befallen us, and prevail'd with him to go see if he could find the Body of my Father; but his Pains prov'd ineffectual: for at his Return he told us that he had found the tragick Place of that Rencounter, but the Body was gone, which was an Augmentation to our Disquiet. The Stranger having receiv'd a Wound in the Combat, was over−perswaded by us to accept of the Hermit's Bed, where having taken some Refreshment by the good Man's Charity, I entreated him to compose himself to Rest, in Consideration of the Wound: To which he replied, That he must never more pretend to Rest nor Repose, since he had been so unfortunate to render me fatherless, and consequently the Object of my Anger, if not Aversion, which depriv'd him of all Hopes of Happiness; therefore Death was what he courted; dispair having render'd it both his Interest and Inclination. He was about to have proceeded in this kind of Discourse, but that I interrupted him under Pretence of leaving him to his Repose; for I perceiv'd to what his Words tended, and was loth to hear him profess himself my Lover, who had just depriv'd me of my Father. The Obligation I had to him in preserving my Honour, at the Hazard of his Life, was too great to use him ill, and the unhappy Circumstances which accompanied this Obligation were such that I could not use him well. These Considerations made me take Leave of him; and as I turned to go out, I found a Picture fallen out of his Pocket, which I intended to restore to him next Morning; but instead of the Beauties of some fair Lady, which I expected, it prov'd to be his own Portraiture, which I have ever since preserv'd with great Veneration.
Imagine, Gentlemen, in what Anxiety of Mind I pass'd this Night, in Consideration how the Senate, and all the World, would construe my being as it were in the Hands of a Stranger, and one who had so lately kill'd my Father. O Clarinthia! Clarinthia! said I to my self, what difficult Paths has Fortune mark'd out for thy Virtue to trace? How can I ever declare to the Senate what detestable Crime caused my Father's Death? Or if I do, perhaps I shall not be believ'd: If I do not, I expose my self, and this noble Stranger, to the Fury of the Laws, and his Honour to everlasting Infamy. I am in a Labyrinth so intricate, that even the Line of Reason is not able to conduct me through its wild Mazes. On every Hand I see nothing but Danger and Distress, such as confound my Resolution, and non−plus my Courage. On this Side a rapid Stream of persecuting Laws, on that, a Precipice of perpetual Shame; one to ingulph, the other to dash my Honour in a thousand Pieces. Ah, Clarinthia! Unfortunate Maid! To what serves thy Riches and Noble Brith, (the two most excellent Ingredients towards a happy Life) but to augment thy Misfortunes, by rendering thee the more conspicuous Object of Contempt? Nay, even Virtue it self, that constant Companion of my Life, conspires against me, and betrays my Youth to these Dilemma's: I say, even Virtue and Innocence (which inrich the Poor, comfort the Disconsolate, and lessen the Terrors of Death) are my Persecutors; for it is thro' their Means that I am reduc'd to these Exigencies; that whether the Senate condemn or acquit me, give me Life or Death, Imprisonment or Liberty, all is Shame, Horror, and Infamy. Nor was my Concern less in Behalf of the Stranger, which I then thought was out of a Principle of Gratitude or Generosity; but I have found since, that it was Love which subtily enter'd my Soul in that Disguise. In these Disquiets and a thousand others, I wore away the Night, my Eyes without Sleep, and my Heart without Repose. Early in the Morning I went into the Wood a few Steps, thinking to find certain Herbs to apply to the Stranger's Wound. Here I met three or four armed Men, who immediately took me away, and carry'd me with great Speed through the Forest. Long it was not, e'er I knew them to be Valerius and his Servants, who reproached me with much Bitterness, as being a Shame to my Sex, and a Dishonour to my noble Race for running away, and abiding in secret with a Stranger; and not only so, but impious beyond parallel, in causing my Father's Death rather than return to him and my Obedience, when he endeavour'd to take me out of the Hands of this my wicked Co−partner. By all this Discourse, I found Valerius was misinform'd, and had a wrong Notion of what had pass'd. This gave me Occasion to reflect how subject we are to be deceiv'd by Appearances, and what great Precaution we ought to use before we believe, censure, or condemn Things, by the exterior or first Sight; whereas the other Side of the Curtain often shews a quite different Scene. I am sure this Transaction shall ever be a Warning to me, how I condemn any Body's Actions with Precipitation; for, to speak impartially, this Passage had so much the Face of what they represented it to be, that I wonder not that Valerius was wholly possess'd with a Belief that this Stranger was the Person my Father had long suspected to have Possession of my tenderest Thoughts, and oblig'd me to oppose his Commands touching the Marriage of Valerius; and that now being fled away with him, chose rather to see my Father die by his Hands, than to return to his Jurisdiction, and my filial Obedience. In vain I strove to disabuse him, he being so wholly pre−possess'd, that all I could say seem'd to come from a Mouth false and biass'd by Crimes, or at least unworthy Intrigues. He told me, if he had not had a Passion for me, that carry'd him beyond the usual Pitch of Lovers, so as to make him sacrifice all Interest to his Affection, he would not have hazarded his Honour, by thus engaging himself in my Protection, but have left me to the Rigour of the Laws, and in the mean Time have secur'd himself of my Estate, by the Interest he could have made in the Senate. But the perfect Love I have for your Person, (continued he) which belongs to me by Right of your Father's Donation, makes me overlook all Advantage on my own Part, and regard only your Security, which I shall provide for with my Mother in her Castle in Sicily. This was a hard Stroke of Fortune; to be oblig'd to, and under the Dominion of, that Woman, whose leud Life with my Father had made me to detest, and withal to be in the Power of Valerius,whose Love I dreaded more than the Danger of the Laws, or the Anger of the Senate.
Thus I was conveigh'd to the Sea−Coast, where we immediately embark'd, and in few Hours arriv'd in Sicily, at the aforesaid Castle, where I was confin'd to an Apartment very richly furnish'd, and pleasantly situated, yet still it was a Prison, and that Thought render'd all Things disagreeable. They pretended to me, this Restraint proceeded from Kindness, that none of the Family might discover me, but that I might remain conceal'd 'till Time and Industry could accommodate my Affairs with the Senate; all which had the Appearance of Friendship; but whether it was a real Face, or only a Mask, I could not tell. Here I remain'd without the Sight of any Body, but Valerius, Asbella his Mother, and Cordiala, who was a young Maid that waited on Asbella. Pardon me, Gentlemen, if I enlarge a little on this young Creature's Character; for she is one of the most accomplish'd Pieces of Nature's Handy−work, not only in her outward Form, but her Mind is so replenish'd with Virtue and Wisdom, as shews the exterior to be only the well−made Case of a precious Jewel. Her Looks and Words were equally engaging, close−knit Sense in fine−turn'd Language, which pleas'd not only the outward Senses, but the most inward Part of the Mind, and made the Understanding dance to the Musick of such a charming Consert; that her Conversation often supplanted my Griefs, and made them give Way to some Sort of Satisfaction; especially when she represented the great Honour that attended patient suffering for the Sake of Virtue. She was so eloquent on that Subject, as made me sometimes almost in Love with Misfortunes, and find a secret Satisfaction in being cast into such a Field of Disasters, where so plentiful an Harvest of Glory was to be reap'd, by humble and Patient Submission to the Will of Heaven. These Morals coming from a Mouth so very young, and so properly adapted to my Circumstances, made me ready to perswade my self, that the Gods had sent my Good Genius in that Figure, to beguile my Sufferings, and support my Virtue. Nor was the low State in which the Gods had placed this excellent Creature, less instructive; for it excited me in this my Solitude, to admire the inscrutable Providence of the Powers Divine, who distribute their Benefits diversly; to some the Gifts of Nature, to others those of Fortune; to this Body Riches, to that Honours; here Wisdom, and there Virtue; by which Means Hunan−kind becomes united, that every one having some Quality esteemable, recommends him to the Assistance of others; for none being perfect, none can remain independant; but the mutual necessities we have of each other's Assistance, causes reciprocal Obligations, which tyes fast the Knot of human Society. But alas! how came I to launch into this Ocean of Reflections, distant from the Coast of my Relation, for which I beg your Pardon.
I cannot but own (continued Clarinthia) they treated me with as much Civility and Respect as I cou'd hope for, in these my hard Circumstances; only Valerius continually persecuted me with his Courtship and Presents; all which I refus'd with equal Aversion, as being inconsistent with Virtue, by Reason of our Consanguinity; otherwise his Addresses were honourable, and his Person agreeable. Nor wanted he Reasons to alledge, nor Examples to produce, that might justify the Legality of his Pretensions; as indeed, there are but too many Examples of that Kind amongst the Gods and Heroes. Even the present King and Queen of Egypt live in that State which our Laws call Incest. How the Men of the Robe disguise, alter, and transform, what they say is the Law of the Gods, I know not; but we often find they make Vice and Virtue to differ according to Time, Place, and Person; and make that a Crime in one Person, which is none in another; and that a Virtue in one Place, which is a Vice in another. These serve to distract the Ignorant, amuse the Curious and Speculative, and is an inexhaustible Source of everlasting Disputes. Wherefore I avoided these Casuistical By−ways, and kept to the open common Road of Virtue, taught me by my Mother, which oblig'd me to oppose the Love of Valerius as incestuous, and contrary to the present known Laws of our Country. But Valerius gave another Interpretation to this my Reluctance, and believed my Aversion proceeded from a pre−existing Passion for that Stranger I had left at the Hermitage; and once, upon occasion of some earnest Words which pass'd between us, he indiscreetly let fall some dubious Sayings, as if he thought the Stranger had possess'd my Person as well as my Affections. This gave me so great a Shock, and so irritated my Anger and Indignation against him, that after severe Words on that Subject, I begg'd him, for the Love he pretended to me as his Mistress, for the Friendship he ought to have for me as his Sister, for the Respect he ow'd me as the Daughter of Turpius, that he would leave me, and never see me more. This I utter'd with much Passion and Vehemency, together with so many Tears, that Valerius cou'd not refrain from weeping also, and without saying much, left me to my Chagrine. After this, Valerius fell into a Melancholy, which impair'd his Health, for which I was truly sorry, but knew no Remedy. The fraternal Love I bore him, made the Diminution of his Health an Augmentation to my Misfortunes; and the Weight of my Sufferings were made heavier by the Part I took in his. In fine, I was absorp'd in Sorrow, and loaden with Afflictions, without Prospect of Alleviation, except what I receiv'd from the poor Cordiala, whose discreet Words often calm'd my Passion; they were as Balm to a Mind enflam'd with Sorrow, and when those salutary Remedies fail'd, she try'd to charm me with the Musick of her Voice or Instrument, for in both these she was perfect, even to Admiration. Divers Times Valerius let me know by her the Greatness of his Griefs, in being depriv'd of my Presence, alledging, that as this Deprivation lost him the Heaven of his Happiness, so the Regret he had for having been himself the Cause, was to him a Hell of Misery. He testify'd a real Sorrow for those his rash Words, and sued for Pardon with unfeigned Submission; all which serv'd but to encrease my Burthen, already too weighty for my weak Constitution; it being inconsistent with Virtue to make him happy, yet fraternal Love made me a Sharer in his Misfortunes. But beside these Considerations, I must own (with Blushes) that my tender Thoughts were too far engag'd with the noble Stranger, the generous Defender of my Honour, to think of any other Object of Affection; not but that I endeavour'd to stifle and suppress these foolish Fancies, as Rebels to my Reason, and Enemies to my Repose. I placed him in the Tribunal of my Judgment, as the Author of my Father's Death, which render'd him unfit ever to be my Husband, almost to an impossibility, if his Quality, Inclinations, and all other Circumstances were correspondent, of which I was wholly ignorant, except those few dubious Words of Gallantry at the Hermit's Cell, which ought to pass in Oblivion, as common Words of course; and wou'd have done so with me, if fantastick Folly had not kept them alive in my Memory. I was in perpetual Fear of his being taken and prosecuted by the Agents of Valerius, as my Father's Murtherer, and my Ravisher. Thus was my Person confin'd, but my Griefs enlarg'd; I had lost my Father, and was believ'd to be his Murtherer; I had follow'd Virtue on all Occasions, and was suppos'd to be a great Criminal; I was born an Heiress of a noble Family, and inherited nothing but a Prison. In these, and the like sorrowful Reflections, I pass'd my Days without Repose, and my Nights without Slumbers. Being one Night in these doleful Thoughts, I saw, by the Light of the Moon, a Person enter my Chamber, at whose Approach I knew to be Cordiala, who, after having apologized for coming at an Hour so unexpected, she told me the Occasion; which was to inform me of what had been projected against mine Innocence and Quiet, and was to be executed that coming Day. She had overheard her Lady and Valerius discoursing that Evening about me; Asbella blam'd her Son for suffering any Disquiet in his Mind for a Person he had in his Power. Your Softness (said she) makes me almost asham'd to own you for my Son; rouze up your Resolution, and act as becomes your Sex and Quality, and not languish under the Effects of I know not what Fears and Fancies of a rigorous Beauty. Shake off, I say, this unpardonable Cowardice, and be a happy Conqueror over this your fair Enemy. But Valerius seem'd to abominate any Thing of Force, and told his Mother, he was no less a Votary to my Virtue than my Beauty, both to him were sacred. I perceive, said Asbella, that Love is not only blind, but void of all Manner of Sense, otherwise, you cou'd not speak of her as a Person of Virtue, who is a Criminal of so deep a Dye. One, not only disobedient to her Father, but his Murtherer; an ungrateful Sorceress, who bewitches you with her Beauty, and then abandons you to Despair by her Scorn and Ingratitude. She neither considers you as her Brother, Lover, nor Benefactor; the latter of which you have sufficiently prov'd your self to be, in undertaking her Protection, when her Crimes had reduced her to a perfect Exigence; but she, transported with an irregular Affection, is not capable to consider her own Interest, which is bound up in your Kindness, and Constancy. Now, since Passion has so far the Regency of her Intellect, that she is uncapable of judging what is good for her, you must be so much her Friend, as to make her happy against her Will, for there is no medium for her, between becoming your Wife, and falling into Shame, Punishment, and Misery of all Kinds; therefore, out of Compassion to her, (the Thing you so much dote upon) you must espouse her, without considering whether she be willing or unwilling, pleas'd or displeas'd; for your Life and her Honour both depend upon this Enterprize. Fear not, for I will find a Priest shall be subservient to my Request; therefore resolve to make to Morrow a happy Day to your self and this your cruel Fair, by espousing her lawfully, according as her Father design'd. Valerius, though a little Opposite at first, yet, upon his Mother's pressing, and repeating how far my Happiness was the Object, if not the whole End of the Undertaking, he at last consented, and this my forced Marriage was resolv'd on that coming Day. Thus was Valerius perswaded to this real Wickedness, under the Pretext of an imaginary Good; and thus, indeed, it fares too often with the most Part of Mankind; for when Interest and Inclination stand Candidates for Preference, we then trick with Virtue, and put the Cheat upon Honour; we impose upon our Understandings, and force our Judgments; nay more, we depose even Reason itself, and give Passions the Regency; and when our Minds are thus untun'd, our Actions soon joyn in the same Discord; we post−pone the Laws of the Gods, and make those of our Country ineffectual, of all which Valerius now became an Example; for he was not wicked in his Nature, but misled by the Ignis−fatuus of his Passion and Interest. But to return, Cordiala having inform'd me of this their Design, I thank'd, and hasten'd her away to prevent Suspicion. She being gone, I arose, and walk'd about my Chamber quite distracted with the Apprehension of what was to succeed; sometimes I threw myself on the Bed, sometimes on the Floor; being tir'd of all Postures; at last I went out on the Balcony which appertain'd to my Lodging, and jetted, as it were, over the Sea. Here I walk'd many Turns in the greatest Perplexity a Soul cou'd suffer. I fancy I resembled Queen Dido (as History describes her) at the Departure of her Æneas, and was as much embarras'd and distracted how to avoid my amorous Persecutor, as she cou'd be how to follow or overtake her beloved Fugitive. Thus, different Causes often produce the same Effect, as Glass, which is equally made by the Extremities of Heat and Cold. How happy did I esteem those Nymphs of Old, who, by the Pity of the Gods, were transform'd into Plants or Animals, by which they avoided the Embraces of their hated Lovers. And, indeed, Valerius was now become such to me, this Contrivance having raz'd out all those Characters of Friendship and fraternal Love, which his virtuous and generous Behaviour had engraven in my Heart before; and I now detested and abhorr'd him as the worst of Criminals. Sometimes I resolv'd to cast my self into the Deep, and so become a Sacrifice to Neptune, rather than a Victim to his incestuous Love; sometimes to force my self upon those iron Spikes on the Banisters, with a Thousand other extravagant Thoughts, which Reason, or want of Courage, render'd abortive; till, befriended by Cynthia's bright Beams, I saw in a Cleft of the Wall an old rusty Key, with which (as Fortune, or my good Genius would have it) I open'd the Iron−Gate, thro' which one descends by Steps to the Sea. At the Bottom of these Stairs there was an old Boat slightly fasten'd, into which I enter'd, and committed my self to the Mercy of that rude Element.
The Wind being favourable, I was soon driven far enough from the Coast of Sicily, with how little Appearance of Safety I leave you to imagine; but I trusted in that Divine Prouidence which had deliver'd me so far, and this bore up my Hopes against those swelling Surges, and the gaping Deep, which every Moment threaten'd to devour me; being well assur'd of the Mercy of those Gods I had serv'd to receive my immortal Part, if my Body perish'd. And here it was that I experienc'd the Doctrine of those Philosophers who affirm, that a Person truly Virtuous can never be throughly unfortunate, because he places not his Happiness on external Things, as not being always in his Power. In these Thoughts I was toss'd all that Night; when the Morning appear'd, I saw a Ship sailing that Way, to which I call d and becken'd, intreating them to take me in, which they did with much readiness, and put me into a Cabin to repose my self. Whilst I was there, I heard a complaining Voice, which said, O Divine Beauty! Where have the Gods dispos'd thee! Must I for ever wander in a gloomy Despair, without being enlightend by the Rays of thy bright Perfections? Ah me! what signifies all those Honours with which I have been adorn'd, since hard Fortune forces me from all I love; with many other Words of this Kind; by which I knew there were Persons of Quality in the World unfortunate as well as the unhappy Clarinthia. After a convenient Time of Rest, I was call'd for, to go before the Commander of the Vessel; for his Servants had inform'd him of their Adventure in finding me that Morning; wherefore he desir'd to speak with me, to know wherein he cou'd be farther serviceable to me. I being willing to inform my self into whose Hands I was fallen, ask'd the Name and Country of their Master; to which they answer'd, that he was a Roman, and his Name Lysander; of the former I was glad, but ignorant of the latter. When I enter'd into his Cabin, good Gods! with what Astonishment did I behold in him the Person of the noble Stranger I left wounded at the Hermit's Cell, at which my Transports were so great, that I sunk down with the pressure of so great a surprize. They presently apply'd their Assistance, which soon prov'd effectual to the Recovery of my Senses. The first Object that presented it self to my opening Eyes, was Lysander's Face all bath'd in Tears, making me such extravagant Protestations of his Joy and Love, as is impossible to repeat. Then kissing my Hands a thousand Times, on his Knees begg'd me to pronounce his Doom, forasmuch as it was evidence by my swooning at the Sight of him, that he was not indifferent to me; but whether he was the Object of my Inclination or Aversion was doubtful; but he fear'd the latter, having been so unfortunate as to render me fatherless. This plain Declaration put me to so great a Confusion, that I scarce knew what to reply, for I knew I ought not to receive favourably such a Declaration from a Man that had bereav'd me of my Father; and, on the other Side, Gratitude as well as Inclination forbad me to treat him harshly, who had defended my Honour, and now sav'd my Life. Alas, (said I to him) Fortune has been so unkind to me, that I can neither refuse, nor grant what you require, one being inconsistent with Gratitude, the other with Honour. Hard Fate in the Death of my Father, having put such a Bar as can never be remov'd, so as for me to become your Wife; otherwise, I would pronounce, that I neither do, or ever will love any but the brave and vertuous Lysander. Nevertheless, he was quite transported at this Assurance, and made me a thousand Protestations of his everlasting Love, in which was contain'd more Extasy and Rapture than I am able to repeat. His Looks declar'd his Thoughts, and his Words explain'd his Looks, and all together agreed in the Testimony of a sincere and virtuous Passion. Virtuous was his Mein, Words, and Actions, which was to me a greater Assurance of his Love than many Years Service, replenish'd with numerous and large Declarations, rich Presents, publick Acts of Galantry, in Honour of my Beauty, and a thousand other Arts used by the Sex to engage ours. This little Cabin in which we were, was to us the whole World. Dancing, Feasting, Theatres, Triumphs, were all here compriz'd. Our Persons were to each other all Objects agreeable to the Sight, and our Words all that cou'd charm the Hearing; our Hearts danc'd to the Musick of repeated Vows, whilst faithful Sighs sung the Chorus to every Period. What shall I say? 'Twas here we built in a few Moments the Fabrick of an everlasting Love, on the Foundation of perfect Virtue. But alas! how short is all human Happiness, especially all that appertains to me; for whilst we were in this Entertainment, his Servants came in, telling him, they apprehended a Storm was coming upon us, and desir'd his Orders. By this Time we were a good Way over the Mediterranean Sea, towards the Coast of Africa, whether he was going in search of me, concluding me escap'd thither, there to remain amongst some Friends I had at Carthage, 'till the Business of my Father's Death cou'd be accommodated with the Senate; nor had he thought to consult or command the turning of the Vessel when he found me, by reason of the 'foresaid surprizing Entertainment, which had taken up the greatest Part of the Day; and now Night coming on, and the Storm increasing, we were in great Danger, notwithstanding all the Pains and Care of the Mariners. The Storm continued all Night, and in the Morning we felt what before we fear'd, for we were forceably driven upon a Rock on the Coast of Africa; at the second Blow our Vessel began to shatter, at the third, I saw (to my everlasting Grief) the brave and virtuous Lysander (who was assisting the Mariners) toss'd off into the Sea, where he was immediately overwhelmed with the Waves. The Wind never ceas'd, beating our Vessel against the Rock, 'till it was split in a thousand Pieces. I was by the Care of Lysander's Gentleman fasten'd to a Plank, on which I was driven by the force of the Winds on the Coast of Africa, where I was taken up by Amilcar, and Hannibal his Son. All which this young Gentleman (addressing her Speech to one of the Strangers) knows better than my self, therefore to him I recommend the Continuation of my History.
My Name, said he, is call'd Ismenus, but of what Country or Family I know not; I suppose a Roman, though I never knew any other Being, or State of Life, but that of Slave to Hannibal. Here I enjoy'd as much Happiness by the Favour of Hannibal, and his Father, as cou'd be hop'd for in Servitude, for I was on the same footing with his Pages, which were Free men, and with them learn'd all Sorts of Exercises and Accomplishments, in which I made so good a Proficiency, that Amilcar and Hannibal wou'd sometimes say, there appear'd in me a true RomanGenius, which was saying, in one Word, all that cou'd be said on that Subject, the Romans bearing the Prize of Renown from the whole Universe; not but that the Africans are endeavouring, and do daily improve in Arts and Arms, especially their Chiefs, amongst whom Hannibal (young as he is) wears the Character of a complete Person; he is in his Nature Courteous and Civil, and in all his Actions Just and Generous; which, indeed, are the Bases on which a great Man ought to build his Glory. Whensoever Hannibal has occasion to Reward or Punish, he does it in such a Manner, as shews the one to proceed from Inclination, the other from Necessity. The latter he does with such apparent Regret, that even the Criminal himself may see that his Design is to punish the Crime, and not the Person, if they were separable. And, on the other Side, he rewards with such Alacrity, or rather Eagerness, as if he desir'd to recompence both the Virtue and the Person, if they were distinct; by one he avoids making any Body his Enemy, and by the other he makes every Body his Friend; that he is one of the most popular and best belov'd of all the Carthagenian Nobility. As his Birth has plac'd him in an exalted Sphere, so his personal Worth shines there with such Lustre, as from thence they calculate coming Glories to their Country: But it is not my Business to dwell upon his Character, therefore return.
In the Summer he was with his Father Amilcar, retir'd from the Noise and Hurry of Business. which fills the great and populous City of Carthage, into the Country, to divert themselves with Rural Recreations; where, walking out one Morning by the Sea−Coast, they found there this beautious Person Clarinthia, fasten'd on a Plank, (as she told you) and driven to the Shoar, almost dead, but by their Industry was recover'd to Life, and in due Time to perfect Health. Amilcar finding her beautiful, and a Person of Address, gave her to his Daughter Emelia. Here she behav'd herself with such a graceful Affability, that she soon gain'd the Love and Esteem of every Body. I dare not enlarge on her Character, lest I offend her Modesty, and encroach on your Judgments, who now behold her before you. But as she was agreeable to all, so in particular to Emelia, her Mistress, who had so much Consideration for her, that she treated her more like a Friend than a Servant; in which she gratify'd not only her compassionate Inclination, but gave herself a sensible Pleasure in the Sweetness of Clarinthia's Conversation. This Treatment from Emelia, and the Death of her much lamented Lysander, join'd with her fatal Circumstances in Italy, made her resolve to pass her Days in that unknown Condition, without ever thinking on a Return into her native Country, and for that Reason conceal'd her Name and Quality; of all which she was pleas'd to make me the only Confident, and so I became acquainted with her past and present Afflictions; amongst which nothing was so touching as the Lamentations she made for her Lysander; and for his sake made firm Resolutions of perpetual Virginity. Now altho' she was thus incircled with Griefs and Misfortunes, her Beauties were not thereby obscur'd but, like the Sun behind a transparent Cloud, was more conspicuous to the Beholders, especially to the View of Hannibal, whose young Heart having never yet been touch'd with any amorous Inclination, soon became sensible of Clarinthia's Charms; and accordingly made his Addresses to her with that Sincerity and Respect, which her Beauty and graceful Mein always commanded, notwithstanding her Misfortunes, which generally humble and abase a noble Behaviour. But she retain'd still such an Air of Greatness, tho mix'd with her 'foresaid Courtesy, as render'd all Access of that Kind very difficult, and denoted in her something extraordinary. Nevertheless, this Coldness serv'd only to fan Hannibal's Flame, and by Way of Antepiristasis (as the Philosophers term it) increas'd the Ardour of that Fire already inextinguishable. Now tho' Clarinthia carefully avoided all Occasions of his Courtship, yet her Devoirs engaging her continually to Emilia's Apartment, (where, as a Brother, he had free Access) subjected Clarinthia to divers little amorous Rencounters, which no Care or Foresight could prevent.
This Proceeding began to break her Measures, and check her Resolution of remaining there, and made her divers Times cast in her Thoughts how to compass an Escape. Sometimes she resolv'd to send to the Senate to purchase her Freedom; but then again, considering the great Possessions they enjoy'd by her Captivity, she too well knew their avaricious Inclinations to hope for their Assistance. Another while, she resolv'd to discover herself to Emelia; and so obtain Amilcar's Counsel and Protection; but then again she concluded, the making her Quality known, would open an Inlet to Hanibal's Love, and by his Father's Consent bring upon herself a Marriage contrary to her firm Resolution taken to consecrate her Affections, and, indeed, her whole Life, to the Memory of Lysander. These Considerations gave her much Inquietude, which she communicated to me, when any favourable Moment furnish'd us with Opportunity.
Whilst Clarinthia was thus embarass'd with the Love of Hannibal, I was happy in that of Emelia, the several Circumstances of which would be too arrogant for me to repeat; nor, indeed, would it be necessary, all the World knowing the Africans Inclinations towards the Europeans; for they not only prefer our Complections, but also our Features, Shape, Mein, and Humour, as being naturally more soft, easy and genteel than those of that Country. Whatever it was I know not, but had the good Fortune to be lik'd by Emelia, and we lov'd, tho' at the Hazard of our Lives; so I need not tell you with what Care we kept this Affection secret, no Mortal having the least Thought or Knowledge of it, except Clarinthia, whom Emelia made her Confident.
Long we did not remain in this State; for the cold Reception Clarinthia gave to Hannibal's Address, made him begin to think her frequent Correspondence with me had some other Original than that of Friendship, not knowing how far his Sister's Affections gave Occasion to such Intercourse. Nor do I believe Emelia was quite free from Suspicion, though we gave no real Cause to either. But such are the Effects of this unhappy Passion, Jealousy; it supplants Reason, and sows in our Minds a thousand Follies; by it we demean the Person we love through unworthy Suspicions, and honour our hated Rival in supposing him preferable to our selves; and, in so doing, often do Injustice to our own Merit, which, perhaps, deserves the Preheminence. The jealous Man may be compar'd to those we read of condemn'd to certain Punishments in Hell; he labours at Ixion's Wheel, by turning from Fancy to Fancy, from Suspicion to Suspicion, and his own Thoughts are mere Vultures to devour the Heart of his Happiness; in fine, this Passion is the Green Sickness of the Mind, making us swallow Notions pernicious to our Quiet: Some say, it is the Child of Love, if so, it is a cruel Offspring, which commonly devours its Parent in the End, and then becomes it self transform'd into Rage or Regret. Yet ridiculous and extravagant as it is, the Noble Hannibal could not defend himself from its Incroachments; but, as aforesaid, was jealous of me his poor Vassal, whom he might have crush'd with a Look, and with a Word reduc'd to nothing.
Whilst Things were on this footing, a certain Nobleman of Carthage, Gundibund by Name, made his Addresses to Amilcar, in order to marry his Daughter Emelia. His Riches and Honours were too considerable to be refus'd by Amilcar, tho' his Years render'd him disagreeable to Emelia's Youth. However, being order'd by her Father to receive his Love, and dispose her self for a speedy Marriage, she durst not disobey. The Truth is, I flatter'd my self that the Command was the more displeasing to her, in Consideration of those kind Thoughts she had conceiv'd towards me. I am sure, it was to me the greatest of Afflictions; tho' in Reality, the whole Affair of our Love was a meer Chimera, a Machine of Folly, wherein to weave our own Ruin. For what could we ever hope for but Death and Destruction, if it ever came to be known? And Love is too violent a Flame to remain long conceal'd. In vain it was for me to count upon a Right to her Person, because she had given me her Affections; for in my low Station I could not assert this Right without exposing her Life to her Father's Anger, and her Honour to everlasting Infamy. But Heaven deliver'd me out of these Difficulties, by a Means least expected. Emilia having her Thoughts much incumber'd, as well as my self, order'd me to come to her Apartment one Evening late, where I had ready Access, as being her Brother's Page. Here I found her alone with Tapers burning by her, which gave a Lustre to all the bright Ornaments of the Room; but her own Beauties were such as quite dazl'd the Eyes and Senses of me the fond Spectator. Then kneeling, and kissing her Hands with excessive Transport, I told her, if her Courage would support her to accomplish what her Goodness had begun, and by a secret Flight with me into Europe, make me for ever happy, eternal Blessings would attend the Enterprize.
What you propose, said Emelia, is impossible to accomplish; you know how Great a Prince my Father is, and what absolute Authority our Laws give such over Children and Servants, that the least Attempt of that Kind would cost us both our Lives; yet what is it I would not do for my lovely Boy? Even now I risque what ought to be more dear to me than Life, mine Honour; yet a Goddess would do the same for such an European Youth as is my dear Ismenus. Then be not surpriz'd that I tell you, tho' I am to be marry'd to Gundibund, Ismenus shall be my Husband in effect; then you shall be as happy as Love can make you. These Words were so amazing, and so contradictory to that Virtue I so much value in the Sex, that they quite chang'd the Bias of my Thoughts; and all the Affliction I had before, in Consideration of loosing her I lov'd, now vanish'd; and she whom before I ador'd I now disesteem'd; nay, my Soul was seiz'd with such a secret Disgust, that all her Charms had not the Power to fix one tender Thought in me towards her, so as to make her grateful to my Senses. In short, I told her, that since I could not hope to enjoy her wholly and for ever, I must despair of being made happy by Love, and so I left her Apartment. How she resented this my Indifference, or rather Scorn, I know not, but I suppose with great indignation.
Next Morning early she walk'd into the Garden, and entering an Arbour she found Clarinthia, with the Picture of Lysander in her Hand, which she kiss'd and bedew'd with her Tears so passionately, that she did not see Emeliawhen she came into the Arbour. The Sight of this Picture blew up the Fire of Jealousy in Emelia; for she believ'd it to be my Portraiture, and, indeed, every Body that saw it said it resembled me: This, with my cold Behaviour to her over Night, put her into a perfect Fury, which she demonstrated by all the opprobrious Speeches her Anger could suggest, unbefitting her Sex and Quality.
I being thoughtful of what had pass'd the preceding Night, concluded that Emelia's Displeasure and Hannibal'sJealousy would not permit me to live there long in Security, much less in Repose; wherefore I went into the Garden where Clarinthia frequented, with Intent to advise with her about making our Escape, if possible. It was my Fate to enter the Arbour just as Emelia was in her Fury; and in few Moments Hannibal came also, whether excited by Love, as knowing that to be the Place where Clarinthia frequently retir'd; or by Jealousy, as knowing me to be gone thither, is not certain; but so it was, just as Emelia was in the Heat of her Choler, Hannibal entered, and was soon made to understand the Cause of his Sister's Anger, and seeing the Picture concluded it to be mine; wherefore drawing his Sword, said Insolent Slave, since Clarinthia honours thee with her Love, thou shalt have the Honour to die by my Hand. If, said I, Clarinthia honours me with her Love, I am bound for her sake to defend my Life; so drawing my Sword, we made several Passes at each other, 'till both fell wounded, Hannibal in the Body, and I in the Arm. The Cries of Emelia and Clarinthia brought many of the Family thither, who finding us in this Posture, took us away, Hannibal to his Bed, and me to Prison. Here Care was taken for the Cure of my Wound, to make me suffer the more condign Punishment, and be made a publick Example; as, indeed, I think I partly deserv'd, in forgetting my Duty so far as to lift up my Hand against my Master and Benefactor: However, the Suddenness of the Occasion, join'd with the Law of Nature, which commands Self−Defence, I hope will plead my Excuse, in some Degree, in the Minds of moderate and judicious Persons.
As soon as my Arm was well, Amilcar condemn'd me to be devour'd by wild Beasts, as the proper Punishment of a Crime so brutal; though, as I have heard, Hannibal interceded for me earnestly, but could not obtain my Pardon. The Day of my Execution being come, I had a Sword given me to defend my Life as long as I could, the better to divert the Spectators, which I used so well, that I quickly dispatch'd one of my salvage Combatants. The other that had been more used to those Kind of Attacks came not upon me with open Jaws, as did the other, but with many subtle Turnings, endeavour'd to catch hold of my Sword with his Paws, and so to wrest it out of my Hands; but I proving too nimble for him in his Turnings, leap'd on his Back, caught hold on his Beard, and so forc'd my Sword through his Throat. Thus was I deliver'd from both my fierce Enemies. But this serv'd only to enrage Amilcaragainst me; wherefore he again return'd me to Prison, where I lay some Days, expecting my Doom. In the mean Time Hannibal and Emelia interceded with their Father on my behalf, nor was Gundebund silent on this Occasion; but Amilcar could not be mov'd, it being counted a Crime so enormous, that to Pardon it was to affront Justice, and shock the Fundamental Laws of the Country; wherefore all the Favour they could obtain for me was, that my Death should not be quite so brutal, tho' altogether as cruel, that is, by the Hands of Men, to wit,Gladiators; (for they have that bloody Diversion among them) so I was to make a Part in those Spectacles, which were to divert the World at Emelia's Marriage, which was to succeed very soon. But Emelia being truly concern'd for me, came one Night into the Prison, with a Number of her Servants; whether she had Leave from her Father, or had gain'd the Keeper with Bribes, I know not; but she brought with her a Disguise, in which I dress'd my self, and so went out with her as one of her Maids. She bade me escape for my Life, and never think on her more. The Moon shining bright, I got to the great Forest which runs so many Leagues along the Sea−Coast. As I here wander'd, endeavouring to direct my Steps towards the Sea, I found the Mouth of a Cave, which, without much Difficulty, I open'd, and entering in, I found a pretty large Cavity, enlighten'd by a Lamp, which made me conclude it to be the Habitation of some human Creature, but ignorant whether of some lewd Outlaw, or some holy Anchorite, or Priest of Pan or Diana, who, renouncing the World, and all human Happiness, live in such Retreats, in Contemplation of that Divinity to which they are devoted. But which soever of them it might be, I could propose no great Hopes of Assistance from either; therefore was doubtful to make any farther Progress in that unfrequented Recess. Yet the Danger of the wild Beasts abroad made me willing to remain there 'till Morning, at which Time they are ordinarily retir'd to their Dens. In fine, I pray'd my good Genius to direct me, and humbly supplicated the Goddess Diana (by whose bright Beams my Steps had been directed thither) to inspire me. I begg'd her Protection who was the Patroness of Chastity, which Virtue had been the original Cause of my Sufferings. After having thus recommended my self to the Powers Divine, I resolv'd to proceed: But going on, I found the Cavity grow narrow and dark, that I moved my Steps with Horror as well as Care. At last the Cave turning, I saw at a Distance another Lamp, which gave a small dim Light; yet by it I perceiv'd, at the farthest End of the Cave, a Person lying upon a Bed of Moss, Rushes, and such like Materials, but I could not possibly get near him; for there was a Trench or Ditch cross the Cave, too large to be stepp'd or leap'd over: I saw on the other Side a sort of Bridge, which I presum'd he plac'd to pass and repass at his Pleasure; but I could no Ways attain to have it for my Use. This Person seem'd to lie in a profound Sleep, such as they enjoy who have Innocence for their Bed, and a good Conscience for their Pillow. His Countenance seem'd amiable, and vanquish'd from my Breast all Terror and Apprehension, and brought into their Place Content, and a Desire of corresponding with him, but could not find in my Heart to make any Noise whereby to awake him: But viewing him, and his disconsolate Apartment, I perceiv'd the Walls garnish'd in an odd Manner, with divers Sorts of Cyphers, Emblems, and Devices; some made of different Shells, others of Moss, Bark of Trees, Seeds, and the like; but all of them, of whatsoever they were made, had one certain Name over or under, or round about them; which I concluded was the Name of the Goddess he ador'd, or the Mistress he lov'd. The Name was Scipiana, writ in Roman Characters. In some Places there was a flaming Heart crown'd with that Name, here a broken Heart, there a chain'd Heart; in this Place Knots and Devices, in that the Emblems of Death and Despair; but all of what Kind soever, was still Scipiana, which was, for the most Part, made of Clay, roll'd into a certain Bigness, fit to make large Letters, plain to be read at that Distance. Casting my Eyes directly above his Head, I saw these Words:
When I but dream of her I love,
I envy not the Bless'd above,
Nor wish to be the mighty Jove.
Then, O! ye Gods, her Vision show,
Since that is all you can bestow,
And all that Hope has left me now.
Ey these Verses, Emblems, and Mottoes, I began to conclude, the Inhabitant I there saw, to be some desparate unfortunate Lover, and therefore a fit Companion of my Misfortunes. As I stood looking on him with no small Astonishment, I perceiv'd his Lips mov'd, with a pleas'd Countenance, as if he were dreaming on the Object of his Tenderness, as in reality he was: For he thought he saw his Scipiana on the other Side of the Trench, endeavouring to come over to him; at which he striving to help her, awak'd; and seeing me on the other Side, in my female Habit, believ'd me, at first Sight, to be this Object of his Adoration; or, if not Scipiana her self, at least her Spirit; whereupon he made me a thousand extravagant Complements, and coming over his Bridge, cast himself at my Feet, crying, Scipiana, Scipiana, divine Beauty, incomparable Goodness, is it you in Person, or is it thy Angelick Spirit, or some other airy Apparition that comes to visit and comfort me in this my disconsolate Solitude? whatever thou art, I am sure I find my self happy in the Vision. Thus he went on, with a thousand other the like Expressions, all the while kissing my Feet and embracing my Knees with the utmost Transport; insomuch, that I had much Difficulty to undeceive him, by telling him who I was, and what Disguise I wore; beseeching him to convert his Transports into Charity, and receive me into this his solitary Retreat, and instruct me in those Rudiments of Humility and Self−Denyal which he there practis'd in Perfection. At last, by divers Turns of Discourse he came out of his amorous Delirium, and receiv'd me into his Cell, with all the Courtesy and Kindness which was possible for one distress'd Person to shew to another in such an Adventure, and treated me with such Cates as that savage Being afforded. Next Day, towards Evening, we heard a prodigious Shout of People, which oblig'd our Curiosity to go towards the Out−side of the Forest, thereby to inform our selves of the Cause of that great Noise, where we were soon made to understand the Affair, by the Sight of a Funeral Pile, on which they said Clarinthia was to be burnt; for since the guilty Ismenus was escap'd, the innocent Clarinthia was to sustain the whole Shock of Amilcar's Anger, supposing her to be an Assistant, or at least conscious of his Escape. At this Information I was so concern'd, that I was running to offer my self to the Tyrant, thereby to save her; but my Companion stopp'd me, saying, We might exercise our Courage another Way, more useful to her, or at least part with our Lives more honourably. I was very ready to take his Instructions, and so resolv'd to act as he should advise, he being a Person of greater Experience than my self. Whilst he was giving me his Documents, the beauteous Prisoner came bound, led by the Hands of Amilcar's Servants, and a great Rabble of Spectators following. Then it was we rush'd in amongst 'em, crying, A Pardon, A Pardon; by which Means the People made Way for us, till we got to those who handed this fair Victim. The first my noble Companion dispatch'd, whose Sword I took, and therewith assisted my Friend with such Success, that we soon kill'd, or put to Flight, those who had the Charge of her Execution, who were only some of Amilcar's Servants, the rest of this head−less Mob dispers'd themselves of Course, some running one Way, some another; few of those Barbarians knowing what we meant or would be at. For the vulgar Part of the Africans are extreamly unthoughtful and unpolish'd, without Reflection or Fore−sight, but, like Mules, follow the common Track mark'd out by their Leaders, who are the Nobility, and command their respective Districts with an absolute Authority; his Will being the Law by which he governs, having scarce any other Rule to guide either his own or others Actions by, tho' now they begin to improve; the Nobles industriously applying themselves to learn the Laws and Customs of the Romans and Egyptians, according to their respective Proximity. But not to entertain you with their Customs, which merit not your Hearing: In short, we deliver'd the beauteous Prisoner, and brought her along with us to the Forest, where we went no more to the Cave, but forc'd our selves into the thickest and most unfrequented Parts of the Wood; Night befriending us, we accomplish'd our Escape. Next Morning our generous and valiant Friend brought us to a certain Place on the Sea−shoar, where he knew the Carcass of an old Vessel lay, in a Creek between two Rocks, which was the same that had brought him thither, for he was not a Native of that Country. Into this miserable Instrument of Escape we descended, not without great Difficulty, the Rocks being stupendous and craggy. By the Help of some Poles we had provided for that Purpose, we got the Boat out of the Creek; and, having a prosperous Gale, were soon driven out into the midst of the Mediterranean. The Gods having been thus far propitious, we could not Despair, tho' otherwise there was scarce any Shadow of Safety, we being in an old Shell of a Vessel, without either Sails, Oars, or any manner of Tackling, or Food to supply our Necessities. But Clarinthia's pious Intention gave us some Encouragement, believing the Gods would not abandon so bright a Votary; for she all along told us, that having lost her Lysander, she now resolv'd to become a Vestal Nun, if, by the Favour of the Gods, she arriv'd safe into her own Country. The Gods hearing the Prayers and Vows of so much Beauty and Innocence, sent to our Assistance an Italian Ship, who charitably took us in, and, at my Request, furnish'd me with a Suit of Man's Apparel, I leaving with them my Female Accoutrements.
Thus we were brought to this Coast. Clarinthia being very much indispos'd with the Sea−Voyage, and the preceding Fatigue, desir'd to be set on Shoar the first Opportunity, which was on this Strand, where we found our selves deliver'd from violent Death, and maritime Dangers, but expos'd to the Misery of wanting every Thing; from which, by your Charity, we are at present deliver'd (addressing himself to Marrcellus) and now you see, Sir, (continued he) what unfortunate People are the Objects of your Bounty, even destitute of all Means to testify our Gratitude, but a sincere Acknowledgment. And having found you thus far our Benefactor, we have Reason to believe you to be one of those Noble Souls, who find a Satisfaction in exhibiting Benefits; therefore we may reasonably apply our selves to your Prudence and Goodness, to counsel and assist this unfortunate Lady in accomplishing her Business with the Senate, that she may speedily be establish'd in that holy Retreat her Soul longs after, amongst the Vestal Virgins. I shall always (reply'd Marcellus) be ready to assist the Distress'd, especially Persons of your Merit; but methinks the Beauty of Clarinthia ought not to be hid in those obscure Cells, but placed in such a Sphere, where it may irradiate, and enliven the Hearts of all admiring Beholders. Ah! Sir, reply'd Clarinthia, had my Lysander liv'd, I should have thought on no such Retreat; but since his Death, I ought to count those Beauties with which I am complemented, but as Comets, whose Aspects are horrible, and their Influence destructive to my Quiet; wherefore it behoves me to endeavour their Fall and Dissolution; for, besides the Death of the incomparable Lysander, my other Misfortunes render me unfit for human Society, so ought to be lopp'd off as an useless and combersom Member of the Body Politick; and since Death's kind Hand refuses me that Favour, my self shall do it, by a voluntary dying Life among those sacred Recluses. Since your Resolution is fix'd (said Marcellus) on a Design so agreeable to the Gods, it were impiety to oppose it; therefore, to fortify your Interest with the Senate, I will wait on you to my Lord Publius Scipio, whose House is near. I know the Love he has for your Ladyship, as also for the Memory of your virtuous Mother, will engage him in your Concerns, both by his Advice, and Interest in the Senate; but at present, Rest being the most necessary Accommodation, after so many great and dangerous Fatigues, we will conduct you to your Apartment.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48