Next morning this happy Company rose early, and walk'd out into the Grove, to adore the Goddess Aurora, the Patroness of that Place and Family; who, as aforesaid, had a Chapel in that Grove, adjacent to the House. When they had perform'd their Sacrifice by way of Thanksgiving, for the safe and unexpected Return of Asiaticus, they went to divert themselves in a cool Walk, during the fresh of the Morning; and being in the great middle Ally, they met Marcellus and his Company, who were coming to present themselves to Publius Scipio.
Now, Reader, if thou hast ever been sensible of Love, that most generous and pleasing of all Passions, that dear Delight of Human Souls, the Ease of Cares, and Accomplishment of Felicity, thou mayst perhaps have some Conjecture or Idea of this happy Meeting, and some Guess at what Transports seiz'd the Hearts of this illustrious Company. The Gods themselves, no Doubt, were ravish'd to behold these Joys, which rival'd even the Happiness of their Heaven, Asiaticus embracing his dear Clarinthia, Exilius at the Feet of his charming Scipiana, Marcellusmaking his tender Complaints to his amiable Clelia, every one in a pleasing Surprize, every one amaz'd at his own Happiness; which Happiness was doubled by the Participation of their Friend's Felicity, and each one happy in Excess.
The first Efforts of these Transports being over, they began to understand and reflect on their several Mistakes, which had in some Degree caus'd, or, at least, augmented their Misfortunes. Clarinthia, in not having known the Stranger Lysander, (till now) to be the noble Asiaticus, or rather the lovely Scipio, for under that Name, in their tender Years, were their Hearts united, which no Change of Place or Fortune had Power to separate. Exilius was surpriz'd to see Scipiana not marry'd to the King of Egypt, (as he concluded) but totally divorc'd from him, not only in Person but Affections: But above all, Marcellus had the greatest Difficulty to obtain Belief from Clelia of his Innocence. However, out of Respect to the Company, they deferr'd their Dispute 'till a fitter Opportunity.
Then seating themselves, Clarinthia and Scipiana were both impatient to know the Adventures of Asiaticus, and how he had escap'd those Deaths which hast cost them so many Tears; what Countries or Regions had been happy in his Presence, whilst they lamented his Absence; what Conquests his Arms had made, and how often captivated by the Eyes of the Fair; what Diversions and what Sufferings. In all which he gratify'd their Desires, as follows.
I must beg Leave of the Company, (said Asiaticus) to retrograde my Discourse to the Time of my Childhood, which I cannot pass over in Silence, it being the happiest of my Days; for then it was that the fair Clarinthia and I became united in our Inclinations, not to say Affections, on which is founded my whole Life's Felicity. Then it was, that I esteem'd every Thing that she lik'd, and she approv'd whatsoever I commended; and this according to the Dictates of our natural Innocence; for we had never study'd the Documents of Complaisance, nor knew we how to flatter any Body's Fancy, and disoblige our own. Our Words were as unstudy'd as our Looks, both were without Artifice; we neither knew how to feign a Sigh, in a fit Season, nor constrain it when ready to take Birth; but free as Air, and soft as the Breezes of Zephirus, when he ushers in the Spring. Our Smiles were the Off−spring of our Thoughts, and our Vows were unsophisticated Truths. Thus we sung the wild Notes of our Love, unconstrain'd by present Cares, or future Fears, and with as pleasing Harmony, (at least to ourselves) as if we had been long Students, or even Graduates in Cupid's Schools. But, alas! how short and transitory is human Happiness! I was had away to Athens, there to make my Studies amongst the rigid and austere Philosophers, whose Doctrine and Practice is directly opposite to this soft Passion: But notwithstanding all their sage Instructions, I forgot not the Lectures I had read in Clarinthia's fair Eyes, nor the Documents I had receiv'd from her innocent Smiles, but had no Means or Opportunity to testify this my Constancy; for all Intercourse of that Kind was prohibited, and our Masters so vigilant over us, that it was impossible to steal any Occasion of Correspondence during my Residence there; and afterwards my being engag'd in the publick Affairs, and Clarinthia's being in the Country under the too vigilant Eyes of her Father and Valerius, was the Cause that I never saw or heard from her, 'till her distress'd Cries call'd me to her Rescue. You may remember, dear Sister, (said he to Scipiana) that I left you at the Side of a Forest, to go succour a distress'd Person, which prov'd to be this fair Lady, (bowing to Clarinthia) and having slain the Wretch that offer'd her the Outrage, I cover'd his dead Body with my Cloak, which was the Reason that Fidelius believ'd it to be me which there lay slain, and accordingly misinform'd you; whilst I, in the mean Time, was gone with Clarinthia to a certain Retreat of an Hermit in those Woods, where the Wound I had, detain'd me some Days, notwithstanding Clarinthia's being carry'd away, which at first this holy Hermit did not let me know; and afterwards his Kindness constrain'd me, 'till I was in a Condition to leave him without Danger, concealing me faithfully and effectually, notwithstanding all the Search and Enquiry that was made after me, as the Murderer of Turpius and the Ravisher of Clarinthia. As soon as I could get Leave of this holy Man, and the Chyrurgeon whom he employ'd, I dispatch'd to go after Clarinthia, whose Beauty had now made such an Impression, as I knew could never be effac'd; and indeed nothing but her Charms could have remov'd me from my good Hermit, whose excellent Conversation and holy Way of living begot in me a very great Contempt for the Things of this Life. I chang'd my Name and disguis'd my Person, thereby to avoid the Malice of Turpius's Friends, and the Kindness of my own; both which I knew would obstruct my Enterprize, though by different Methods.
After I had made all proper and diligent Enquiry in those Parts, without Effect, I remember'd that Turpius had some Relations at Carthage, which made me resolve to go thither, thinking Clarinthia might be retir'd there, to avoid the present Shock of the Senate's Displeasure. Thus passing by the Coast of Sicily, we saw a Man on Shore, who call'd and becken'd to us to take him in; which we endeavour'd to do, but the Water was so shallow, and our little Boat toss'd, that we could not possibly get near him; wherefore he stripp'd himself, and came swiming to us. 'Tis certain, said Scipiana, (interrupting him) it was this Man's Cloaths in which Cordiala array'd herself: But pardon, Brother, my interrupting you, and be pleas'd to proceed. This Man, said Asiaticus, prov'd to be my good Servant Fidelius, whose Presence much rejoyc'd me; but the Information of your being lost, beame an inexpressible Affliction. His Arrival being in the Evening, we sail'd not that Night, but lay there at Anchor, near the Coast of Sicily. Next Morning it was, that, by the wonderful Providence of the Gods, we found Clarinthia, in whose charming Conversation I pass'd that Day, in the most vertuous Transports that ever the God of Love bestow'd on faithful Votaries: For there it was that she was pleas'd to assure me of her everlasting Love, and promis'd to use her Interest with the Senate to confirm the Donation. But, ah! the Mutability of human Happiness, a cruel Storm arose, which wreck'd our Vessel, and separated the most faithful of all Lovers. I was driven by the Violence of the Waves against a Rock, on which there was a Tree, whose Branches bow'd down to the Sea, by which I was caught by the Hair, and by that Means secur'd from Drowning. Here I hung many Hours, 'till, the Storm ceasing, some poor Fishermen came and deliver'd me from that miserable Dependance. At first I was destitute of all Sense; but when I came to myself, how did I accuse my cruel Stars, that had preserv'd my Life without leaving me Hopes of Clarinthia's Safety. Passing on, we saw one riding on a Piece of the Mast, who had escap'd the Wreck, whom taking up, we found to be Fidelius. He inform'd me how this Piece of the Mast had stuck amongst those Boughs which bow'd down from the Rock, 'till the Storm ceas'd, and the Wind veer'd about to another Point, and help'd his wooden Horse out of that Entanglement. He also inform'd me how he had dispos'd Clarinthia on a Plank, and committed her to the Sea; which Means of Escape had so little Appearance of Safety, that I abandon'd my self to Despair, and would have leap'd into the Sea, there to have sought an Eternity with my Clarinthia, but that Fidelius and the Fisher−men with−held me, and by Constraint brought me safe a−shore in Numidia. Here we search'd all Towns, Ports, and Passages, in Hopes to find or hear of her alive or dead; but all in vain, insomuch, that I became absorp'd in the Gulph of Grief and Despair.
Being in the great Numidian Forest, I desir'd Fidelius to leave me, and return to his Friends and native Country, and not waste his Youth with a Wretch like me, whom am resolv'd (said I) to spend the Remainder of my woful Days amongst the wild Inhabitants of this vast Forest. Leave then, Fidelius, this thy unhappy Master; and may the Gods reward thy Vertue and Fidelity. Fut Fidelius was deaf to these my Perswasions, and vow'd he would never leave me, whatever he suffer'd with me; and that he should deem himself happier in those Woods to enjoy my Presence, than in a Palace without me; to which Resolution he was ty'd by Inclination as well as Duty. To which I return'd many Arguments fit to perswade on such an Occasion, but he remain'd inflexible; that in the End I became angry, and told him that his Kindness was troublesome; and therefore charg'd him, on Obedience, to leave me, or expect to be the Object of my high Displeasure: At which, the poor Youth open'd his Breast, and told me, that since he was become troublesome, he neither desir'd nor deserv'd to live: Therefore, said he, in Recompence of past Services, which sometimes were agreeable to you, honour me so far as to let me die by your Hands: At which I embrac'd him, telling him, his Love and Generosity oblig'd me to love him as a Friend or Brother, and as such he should remain with me, and no longer in Quality of a Servant; so charg'd him from thenceforth to lay aside all such Distinction, and behave himself to me as his Friend and Equal. Thus we took up our Being in those Woods, wandering all Day by the Sea−side, and at Night repos'd our selves on our Mother−Earth, one of us being oblig'd to watch whilst the other slept, for fear of the wild Beasts, with which those Woods abound.
One Morning early our Ears were saluted with the Noise of Hunting; to which we listen'd not long, ere we saw a Panther pursu'd by a Lady a Horseback; but the Horse making a false Step, threw the Lady; the Panther, perceiving his Advantage, turn'd upon her; but she with admirable Agility getting against a Tree, with her Spear defended her beauteous Person to Admiration. But I saw she could not long maintain the Combat; wherefore I ran to her Assistance, and soon dispatch'd the Beast; for which Service she return'd me innumerable Thanks and Acknowledgments. In the mean Time, there hasted to us all the Company of Hunters, who by their Carriage towards her, soon made me understand she was the Princess Galecia, the Queen's Daughter. She was pleas'd (with much Goodness) to invite me along with her, nor would accept of any Excuse or Denial. When we came to Court, she presented me to her Mother, the Queen−Regent, (for the King was in Minority) and told her Majesty the great Danger she had been in, and how deliver'd by me. The Queen reciev'd me with much Courtesy, and oblig'd me to stay at Court, to rest and recreate my self, which I did out of Obedince to her Majesty; for, alas! my poor Heart was not susceptible of any Delight or Satisfaction, tho' the Court abounded with all Manner of Divertisements that might gratify the young King or the Princess. But chiefly Hunting was there very much used, for the Pleasure of the Princess, who delighted in that robust Recreation. Nor had this dangerous Accident at all discourag'd her, but she would persue a Panther, Leopard, Wolf, or wild Boar, with as much Courage and Vigour, as any about her. She was a Lady of a masculine Spirit, and undervalu'd the little Delicacies of her Sex, making the Study of Philosophy and the Laws of her Country her chief Business, in which she was pleas'd sometimes to entertain me very learnedly. Her Person was extreamly agreeable; for though she was very tall of Stature, and somewhat of an African Complexion, nevertheless the exact Symmetry of Parts, and fine Features, render'd her equal to the most compleat European Beauty; and as an Addition to these Perfections, she was of a Disposition sweet and compassionate, which eecited her to examine the Cause of that Melancholy with which she saw me oppress'd; and when I had discover'd to her my Affliction, and related my Grief in the Loss of my Clarinthia, she endeavour'd to consolate me with all the discreet and salutary Arguments proper on such an Occasion. She being thus become not only my Friend, but my particular Confident, she gave me several Opportunities to entertain her on this Subject, which occasion'd Envy in all the Court, and not only so, but Jealousy in her Lover, Boccus, Prince of Mauritania,who was then in the Numidian Court, in Persuance of that Marriage with her, already agreed on between those two Crowns. But this heroick Temper of hers, which rais'd her Thoughts above the usual Pitch of her Sex, made her scorn to be a Subject of Cupid's Empire, or to comply with feminine Formalities; but had rather lead an Army in the Field, and endure the Fatigues and Danger of War, than enjoy the Happiness of lazy Peace and Court−Pastimes. Moreover, she had a great Unwillingness to leave Numidia, a Country nearer Europe, and consequently more polish'd and adorn'd with European Customs than Mauritania, which lies farther distant from that Fountain of Riches, Learning, and good Manners. These Considerations made her protract the Marriage as long as she could possibly; which, join'd with the Kindness and Esteem with which she treated me, gave Occasion to that Suspicion in the Prince her Lover, as aforemention'd. Nor was he the only Person so concern'd; but the Queen also found great Cause of Discontent, her Majesty having contracted some Thoughts towards me, more tender than consisted with her Quiet; which she testify'd on all Occasions that Modesty and her Royal Dignity would permit, couch'd in double or ambiguous Terms, such as might pass for Love, Friendship, or Esteem. Against which I clos'd the Eyes of my Understanding, and would never comprehend the real Meaning, as long as I could find any Shadow or Pretext for Ignorance, or a different Interpretation.
Now it was that the War between Lybia and Numidia broke out; and I, who thought no Place so suitable to my Inclinations and Misfortunes as the Army, dispos'd my self to go as a private Person. But the Queen, beyond my Expectation, confer'd on me the Honour of General, in Consideration that Romans are expert, brave, and fortunate; but I understood since, that the Princess had given her some secret Information of my Character and Quality, and her Majesty no Doubt acquainted some of the Grandees of her Council, otherwise one could hardly suppose, that so great a Trust could have been given into the Hands of a Stranger, without Name, Title, or Quality, and that not only by the Queen's Donation, but by the Consent and Approbation of the whole Council.
I will not repeat to you the Number of our Forces, or Manner of our Marches, Exercises, or particular Actions, that being a Discourse little agreeable to the Ladies. But in short, it was our good Fortune to overcome our Enemies, and to bring Home to the Queen a compleat Victory; for which she not only loaded me with Honours and Acknowledgments, but took her Opportunity to discover to me in plain Terms her particular Inclinations, telling me that I was a compleat Victor, not only over her Enemies, but over her Heart; and though she had made all the Resistance that Reason and Grandeur could help her to, yet she found herself conquer'd by the irresistible Forces of my Vertue and heroick Actions; and since (said she) I find all my Oppositions invalid, and my Power nothing but Weakness, when in Competition with my European Conqueror, it is but just I render you the Honours of a glorious Triumph, which you shall receive in being the Copartner of my Crown and Dignity. In this, no Doubt, she thought she offer'd what I would accept with Transport, for in Reality the Offer was truly glorious; for setting aside her Riches and Royalty, her beauteous Person and interior Endowments were a Present for a most celebrated Hero; and might justly command the Adorations of the greatest Monarchs of the Universe: But I, who was devoted and given to the Memory of my Clarinthia, was in Mind and Person nothing but Insensibility and Despair. I remain'd confounded, and ignorant what to say; grant I could not; to refuse was ridiculous and ungrateful, or rather cruel to my self, rendering me a Monster of Nature; for what human Being but my self could refuse Beauty and Grandeur, which so advantageously courted my Acceptance: I wish'd my self dead or annihilated, any Thing or nothing, to be out of that Dilemma: But as I was about to reply I know not what, propitious Fortune brought to my Deliverance the King and Princess, which put a Period to my Confusion.
This Adventure gave me great Inquietude, that I should be the unhappy Person that Fortune forc'd to be ungrateful to so generous a Benefactrix, unpolish'd to so great a Queen, and worst of all disobliging to Galecia's Mother, and in all opposite to the greatest Honour I could hope for on this side Heaven. A thousand Things I resolv'd, and with the next Gust of Thought dissolv'd 'em all; a thousand Things I vow'd, and with the next Breath renounc'd 'em all; Thought supplanting Thought, 'till my Understanding was grown barren, and incapable of any rational Production. Thus revolving many Things in my Mind, I could fix on nothing so suitable to my Inclination, as stealing away from Court; but then again I look'd on that as not only an ungrateful Breach of Hospitality with the Queen, but of Friendship with the Princess. As I was in these Thoughts, walking in a private Alley in the Garden, the Princess enter'd; so I essay'd to withdraw, out of Respect to her Highness; but she was pleas'd to command my Stay, and falling into Discourse with me on Things indifferent, at last I took my Opportunity to let her know my Design of leaving the Court, and to search out some unknown Solitude, there for ever to lament the Loss of my Clarinthia. She told me she could not disapprove my Resolution, it being so much her own Inclination: For (said she) tho' I have no such Loss as yours to lament, yet I could wish for ever to be exempt from all human Society, to spend my Days in Study and Contemplation, and praising of the Powers divine. To which, I reply'd, that such a Life in her would not be laudable, hardly excusable; forasmuch as she was sent into the World for a general Good, and therefore could not deprive Mankind of such a Happiness given them by the Gods, without a manifest Injustice; therefore begg'd her speedily to oblige the Queen in the Marriage of Prince Boccus, and so make two Kingdoms happy. You ought (said she) to return these Arguments upon your self, who are much more capable of rendering Service to the Publick; therefore cannot, without a Crime, withdraw your self into your propos'd Solitude. I am sensible, (reply'd I) that my Capacity is very weak; but if I could any Way serve the Princess Galecia, I should think my self most happy; and I beg your Highness to believe, that my Life, and all that I am, is perfectly at your Devotion; nor is any Thing capable to give me the least Satisfaction, if not consonant to your Commands. At these Words, the Prince Boccus came up to us, and being prepossess'd with Jealousy, and beside the Language of his Country being gross and unpolish'd, not us'd to such little extended Civilities of Speech, he concluded what I said to proceed from an amorous Inclination. So drawing his Sword, said, that now he knew the Cause of her Indifferency, he would free himself from the Obstacle of his Happiness, by my speedy Death, and so ran upon me with great Fury: But I defended my self with as much Nimbleness, as he assaulted with Violence, both of us forgetting our Respects due to the Princess, whose Royal Presence ought to have restrain'd us: But this generous and courageous Lady, without Noise or Terror, stepp'd between us, and with her own Person put a Stop to our Fury, reproaching Boccus for having made such an Assault on an innocent Stranger, and at the same Time on her Honour, in not only breaking all Respect due to her Sex and Quality, but believing her to entertain a secret Amour; a Thing she detested, as being below the Dignity of a private Gentlewoman, much more a Person of her Rank, and quite contradictory to her frank generous Humour. But the transported Boccus, instead of owning his Fault, and asking Pardon, persisted in his Jealousy, and utter'd some insolent Expressions; whereat the Princess quite enrag'd, stepp'd suddenly to me, and ere I was aware, pulled out my Sword, and therewithal ran Boccus quite thorough the Body. After this rash Action, Tenderness oblig'd her to do what Fear could not; for seeing him fall by her Hand, she cry'd out most distractedly; at which the Guards and Prince Boccus's Servants came, and finding my Sword to have perform'd the Fact, though in Galecia's Hand, they seiz'd and hurry'd me away to Prison; where, after two or three Days, News was brought me, that Boccus was dead of his Wound, and had constantly affirm'd me to be his Murderer. On the other Side, the generous Princess attested, that it was she herself that had done it, for which she was exceeding sorry, though he deserv'd no less for his Temerity. The dead Body was carry'd into his own Country, to be interr'd and lamented by the King his Father, who resented it most bitterly, and sent to the Queen, to deliver his Son's Murderer into his Hands, or to expect his utmost Force to revenge his Death. This Embassy much disturb'd the Queen, being very unwilling to have the King of Mauritania make War upon her on this Occasion; and as unwilling to deliver me up to his Revenge, tho' no Doubt but she believ'd me to be the Actor of this Tragedy, and that it was Love that made the Princess take it upon herself, for my Security; yet she seem'd to think me innocent, thereby to make herself appear just in protecting me. Now, the Queen not only fear'd the Power of the King of Mauritania, but her own Subjects, who malign'd and envy'd the Honours she heap'd upon me, not only as being a Stranger without Rank or Quality, but a Roman, which entitles a Man to the Hatred of the Universe; for though the World esteems and imitates our Learning, Laws, and Manners, yet our growing−Glories make us the Object of Envy and Emulation; and every one would hate a Roman, though they knew not why. In short, the Queen was extreamly embarrass'd, and push'd on by Clamours, nevertheless, she could not resolve to give me up into the Hands of such an enrag'd Enemy as the King of Mauritania. Thus we see how diversly Things are represented to the World; the Queen, who believ'd me guilty, represented me innocent; Boccus, who knew me innocent, had represented me guilty; the Princess, who was the only Person capable to give a true Information, was believ'd on no Side; which shews, that Men credit what they fancy, and by Degrees think they know what they have only by Hear−say, and then act according to this mistaken Knowledge, mistaken Information, and mistaken Fancy. By this Means the Numidians began to be in divers Divisions, and many Heart−burnings arose amongst them, that the Queen was nonplus'd what to do. In the midst of these Difficulties, after divers Debates with herself, she sent the King of Mauritania Word, that she much lamented the Death of his Son, which she counted a Loss to herself little inferiour to his; and that she most earnestly desir'd to revenge his Death on his Murderer, but Justice oblig'd her to protect the Stanger Lysander, as not being culpable; and for an Assurance of the Sincerity of this her Assertion, she would, if he pleas'd, send her two Children, the young Prince Gala and the Princess Galecia, as Hostages to his Majesty, 'till she could better inform herself of the Business. Thus was this poor Lady, tho' a Queen, become subject to her Passion, or rather such a Slave to her Folly, as to overlook her Honour, Interest, and her People's Happiness, in exposing her Children, whose Safety ought to have been her principal Care and most tender Concern; and this for me a Stranger, not worth her Consideration: All which she frequently represented to me in those Visits she made me in Prison. Moreover alledging, that her Childrens Absence would make the Throne and Palace more spacious and secure for her and me. These Offers were not at all pleasing to me; but such was the Juncture of Affairs, that I knew not how to receive or reject them, as hating to dissemble the Truth, and fearing to exasperate her against Galecia; therefore compos'd my Answers as cunningly and dubiously as possible; which gave her very little Hopes or Satisfaction, and only confirm'd her Suspicion of her Daughter's being her Rival.
Now, the Princess having Intelligence of what Answer the Queen had sent to the King of Mauritania, and how she and the King her Brother were in Danger of being sent Hostages to that King, she thought Duty to the King her Brother, as well as Respect to the Memory of her dead Father, oblig'd her to endeavour to prevent it, if possible. Wherefore she assembled in her Apartment one Night those Nobles whom she knew to have been most affectionate to her Father, and there discours'd with them touching this Matter, asking them if they thought it reasonable or just, that the young King and herself should be put into the Hands of a Stranger and enrag'd Enemy? Or whether they thought their Laws and Liberties, Lives and Estates, could be safe, when the Keys of the Kingdom should be thus in the Hands of a foreign King? As for myself, (continu'd she) I deserve to be the Object of that King's Revenge, who have been the Cause of his Sorrow, in the Death of his Son, whose only Fault was loving me too well, of which I am now most sensible, and too late repent my Rashness; and for a Reparation of my Crime, I resolve to consecrate myself a perpetual Virgin, for the Sake of Prince Boccus; and shall be willing to undergo what soever Punishment the King his Father shall think I deserve: But for the King, my Brother, I see no Reason that he should be involv'd in my Punishment, who is innocent of my Crime: Therefore, my Lords, I beg you to consider what is to be done in this Case, for the Security of the King, the Laws, and yourselves; with several other Words to the same Effect. At which the Lords were most sensibly touch'd, and unanimously profess'd they were willing to hazard their Lives, and all they had, for the Service of the King, and Safety of their Laws and Country. To this End, several Methods were propos'd, but none seem'd so likely as the securing the Queen's Person, and putting the Government into the Hands of the Council, 'till the King should be of Years to act himself. But this Method did not please the Princess, in Regard of her Duty to her Mother, and the Danger of unhinging the Government, and instead of making Things better, perhaps worse; and in thus preserving the young King from the Hands of the King of Mauritania, he might be cast into the Hands of his own Subjects, whose Ambition perhaps might not be so easily bounded, as their Allegiance broken; well knowing how dangerous it is for a King to part with the Reins of Government. These, and divers other Considerations, made the Princess oppose those Measures propos'd by the Lords; so, without resolving on anything, they separated, each one repairing to their own Lodging. Now, this Meeting was not so secretly carry'd, but that the Queen had speedy Intelligence; wherefore, next Morning, the Princess, and divers of the Lords were apprehended and imprison'd; of all which the Queen fail'd not to advertise me in my Confinement. I constantly apply'd all the perswasive Arguments I could think on, in Behalf of the Princess; all which serv'd but to confirm her Jealousy, and irritate her Anger. Thus the best Intentions, when perverted, produce the worst Effects; as the strongest Wine makes the keenest Vinegar. The Queen looking upon her as a powerful Rival, as well as a rebellious Daughter, resolv'd that nothing should save her Life; however, was unresolv'd what Measures to take, sometimes thinking to send her to the King of Mauritania, to avoid the Clamours that would be made in Numidia; but then again, she thought her Beauty, Youth, and Eloquence, would so far gain upon him, as to make him of her Party: Beside, she was desirous to make her an Example to the rest of her Subjects, to deter them from such treasonable Conspiracies and rebellious Practices. In short, it was determin'd she should suffer in Numidia. To this End, the Queen order'd a Scaffold to be erected adjacent to her own Apartment, upon which she came and seated herself in a Chair of State prepar'd for that Purpose; the Scaffold, as also her Person, were dress'd in black Velvet. Hither was brought the Princess, dress'd in a long Robe of white Sattin, which represented Cynthia in a Cloud, engaging the Spectators to long for her appearing again in Splendour. The Queen first made a short Speech to the People, minding them what Happiness they had enjoy'd under her Reign, and that it was for their Sakes and Securities that she thus acted against the Dictates of Nature, in exposing to the Hand of Justice the Child of her Bowels, and her only Daughter; with other Things to that Purpose. Then turning her Speech to Galecia, told her, that her Quality exempting her from all Compeers, she was forc'd herself (according to the Custom of that Country) to become her Judge; and not only so, but her Accuser likewise, her Crime being against her and the State. Thou knowest, Galecia, what an indulgent Mother I have been to thee on all Occasions; in particular, how willing I was to smother and conceal thy Crime, touching the Death of Prince Boccus, and was desirous it should be thought the Stranger Lysander, and have for that Cause detain'd him in Prison ever since: These and all other Benefits thou hast rewarded with the highest Ingratitude, in conspiring against my Life, and contriving the Subversion of the Government, for which thou knowest thou deservest to die; therefore if thou hast ought to say in thy Defence, thou hast Liberty to speak. 'Tis true, reply'd the Princess, touching the Death of Prince Boccus, I am most culpable, and deserve to suffer for having rashly slain a vertuous Prince, my faithful Lover; but to have conspir'd against your Majesty's Life, I utterly renounce; or to have design'd any Thing against the Government, farther than to secure it for the King my Brother; and if that can make me guilty, I must confess I am a great Criminal, and have nothing to say in my Defence. Whereupon the Queen proceeded to pronounce on her the Sentence of Death, commanding the Captain of the Guard to see it executed. Her Majesty retir'd into her Apartment. Now a little before she went on the Tribunal of Justice, she had writ to me thus:
Lysander, This is to advertise you, that I ascend the Tribunal of Justice: If you have a Desire to testify your Love, or (as you call it) your Friendship to Galecia, you have now an Opportunity, in saving her, and making your self happy in my Crown and Person; which if you persist to refuse, I shall not only remove Galecia, the Rival of my Love, but Gala, the Rival of my Empire; and as I thus punish those who oppose my Power, so will I also take Revenge on those who slight my Love; and thereby demonstrate how dangerous it is, either to affront or scorn a Queen.
It is strange to see what Extravagancies we are subject to, if we follow the Career of our own Passions. Justly may the Philosophers affirm it to be a greater Victory to conquer our selves, than to overcome the Universe; as is manifest by the Mistakes this Lady committed, when she suffer'd herself to be guided by Passion, to the Ruin of herself, Children, and Empire, for me, an unhappy Wretch, that could gratify her in nothing but my Pity.
At the Receipt of this Billet, I was both surpriz'd and afflicted; nor knew I what Answer to return. Sometimes I resolv'd to sacrifice myself to her Inclinations, thereby to save the Life of the most excellent Princess Galecia. But then again I thought on my Clarinthia, and those Vows I had made to her of everlasting Love, and the Promise I had made to the Gods of a continual single Life in Memory of my dear Clarinthia. How will thy lovely Shade (said I) behold me in the Arms of another? Thy pure Spirit will hate my Falsehood, and blush at my Perjury. The Gods will avenge themselves and thee, of these my broken Vows. O Lysander! O Asiaticus! O Scipio! Dishonour will brand thee, and brand all these three noble Names; brand thee with Falshood to thy Love, broken Vows, Infidelity to the Gods, and unworthy slighting the Memory of the Dead. Whilst I was thus arguing with myself, Fidelius put me in Mind that the Queen's Messenger stay'd; whereupon, in the Midst of many confus'd Thoughts, I writ to the Queen to this Effect:
Madam, If you proceed in these Cruelties you propose towards the King and Princess, I hope you will add some Policy to your Passion, and secure yourself of me the same Way, lest by some Means or other I make my Escape into my own Country; from whence, at the Head of twenty Legions, I shall come and receive the Favours your Majesty is pleas'd to offer, that being the only Way the Romans accept of Crowns; which shall be observ'd by your Servant,
These rough Lines came to the Queen's Hands just as she was about to go on her Tribunal of Justice; which serv'd only to exasperate and prompt her on to pronounce Sentence of Death against the Princess. I cannot but reflect how indiscreet this Way of Writing was in me, especially in such Circumstances as Fortune had reduc'd the Princess and myself, it being more like an unpolish'd African, or some Libian Forester, than an European, and a Roman Gentleman; for as Truth ought never to be disguis'd with Falshood, no more ought she to appear with a Nakedness, even to Immodesty or Rudeness. But to return.
The Queen being retir'd into her Apartment, as I told you, the Princess made an Harangue to the People, wherein she own'd her Guilt touching the Death of Prince Boccus, and asserted her Innocence concerning the Conspiracy against the Queen's Life. Then turning to one of her Pages, she hid him go to her Brother, to whom she recommended him, hoping he would be well receiv'd, forasmuch as she fell a Sacrifice to his Safety, endeavouring to preserve his Life, Liberty, and Kingly Dignity. The Captain of the Guard told her, that in Consideration that she had but few Minutes to live, she might employ them better than in such reflecting Speeches: To which the Princess reply'd, That his Insolence made him deserve to have fewer Minutes to live than she. 'Tis true, Madam, reply'd one behind him, stabbing him, he deserv'd not to live, who durst undertake so bloody a Charge, as seeing his King's Sister executed without Law or Reason. The Princess was amaz'd at these Words, and the unexpected Action of the Captain's Death. Looking about, she saw the Guards dead on the Scaffold, and the Throng below much dispers'd, and those that remain'd, fighting towards the Queen's Apartment, together with a great and confused Noise on every Side; of all which she knew not what Construction to make, whether a general Revolt, or that an Enemy had enter'd the City, putting all to the Sword. In this Astonishment she enter'd the Queen's Lodgings, which she found full of Guards, and the Queen fallen, wounded by the Hands of some of them; all which fill'd her with Astonishment and Horror. As she was in this Confusion, commanding Care to be taken of the Queen, a Person in bloody Armour enter'd, and casting himself at her Feet, told her, she was now at Liberty, and her Life in Safety; which, said he, by the Assistance of the Gods, I have effected, as also the Establishment of your Brother's Crown. Valiant Sir, reply'd the Princess, the Obligation is above my Power to requite; But as far as in my Brother lies, I know he will own it to the Half of his Kingdom.
Madam, reply'd he, it is yourself only that is capable to make the Recompence; I seek not Riches nor Titles; 'tis only your divine Person, the illustrious Princess Galecia, can satisfy my Ambition. I perceive, Sir, reply'd the Princess, you are one whose hard Fortune it is to be in the Number of my Lovers: Alas! the World knows I am vow'd to the Memory of Prince Boccus, whom I unhappily slew; and therefore, for his Sake, am resolv'd to spend the rest of my Days in a woful Solitude; otherwise, whatever your Quality be, your Service merits more than you demand. If you have vow'd yourself to Boccus, reply'd the Stranger, then here perform your Obligation; for behold it is Boccus that now lies at your Feet, begging Pardon for all the Troubles you have undergone for his Sake. Then disarming his Head, the Princess knew him to be Boccus, but could hardly credit her Senses. The first Efforts of her Surprize being past, Grief supply'd its Place; for the Queen's Soul fled out at that Wound she had receiv'd. As they took Order for disposing of her dead Body, they found my Letter, which was fallen out of her Hand, (for she was perusing it just as she receiv'd her Death's Wound;) by which they perceiv'd my Integrity and her Cruelty, which help'd to abate Galecia's Resentment of her Death, and moderate her Sorrow.
They dispos'd all Things in the Palace, and amongst the Soldiers, with what Expedition they could, proclaiming in the Street, Long Life and Health to King Gala. After which, they came and took me out of Prison, Boccusgenerously begging Pardon of me for his rash and false Suspicions, and, upon our Request, inform d us how he had accomplish'd all this great Affair with so much Secresy and Success; which he related as follows:
When I found myself like to recover (said Boccus) of the Wound I had receiv'd from the Princess, to gratify my Malice against Lysander, I made it be given out, that I was dead; and accordingly caus'd a Herse to be convey'd into my own Country, concluding, that either the Queen or my Father would revenge my Death on Lysander, and make him fall shamefully by the Hand of Justice. In the mean Time, I conceal'd myself between the Confines of Mauritania and Numidia, whither my Servants and Spies brought me Intelligence of all that pass'd in both Countries and Courts. When I understood the Imprisonment of Galecia, and the Danger she was in, I resolv'd to attempt her Delivery with the Hazard of my Life. I communicated my Design to some of the Captains, and other Officers of the Guard, whom I had made my Friends whilst I resided in the Court of Numidia; who were very ready to comply with me in an Enterprize so just and honourable, as the saving the Life of the Princess, and divers noble Numidians, who were in Danger. We contriv'd, that just before the Execution of the Princess, when Peoples Hearts were agitated with Pity towards her, Anger towards the Queen, and Fear of their own Safeties, &c. so less capable to examine or resist, our Party was to seize on those who had the Charge of her Death, and at the same Time we had a Party of our own who guarded the Palace within, who were to seize and secure all for the King; but they exceeded their Commission in the Death of the Queen, for that we never design'd. Thus we accomplish'd the Delivery of this most excellent Princess, whose gracious Acceptance has render'd me more than happy. The King, Princess, and all the Numidian Nobility present, render'd him their grateful Acknowledgments, and promis'd a speedy Preparation for the celebrating the Nuptials between him and the Princess.
After the Funeral Rites for the Queen, and the Affairs of State and Court were a little settled, and the Messengers return'd from Mauritania, who brought with them the Assurance of the great Satisfaction that King took in the Knowledge of all these Things, in paticular in this his Marriage. I say, Things being all thus dispos'd, the Marriage was celebrated with much Ceremony and Magnificence; which would be too tedious to describe: But were such as shews, the Africans are not at all behind the Europeans in any Kind of Pomp or Expence.
When the Time prescrib'd for the End of these magnificent Entertainments came, and the Princes were dispos'd for their Departure into Mauritania, the young King, and many of the Numidian Nobles, accompany'd them; among the rest, the Prince was pleas'd to oblige me to go along with 'em, as a Sharer of their Happiness, who had been a Partner in their Misfortunes.
Being arriv'd in Mauritania, we found most sumptuous Entertainment; our whole Passage through the Country was one continual Triumph; but when we came to the Palace, we found it prepar'd with unspeakable Riches and Divertisements, which lasted many Days. But as all the Glories of this World are passant, and all its Felicities transitory, so it was in these Delights; as they had their Beginning, so their Period approach'd, that the young King and his Numidians must return; which was a sensible Affliction to the Princess, not only the parting with her Brother, but fearing least, in Time, Prince Boccus, and the King his Father, might reflect on her past rash Action; but besides this, the Mauritanians had taken so firm a Belief of the Death of the Prince, that notwithstanding his appearing there in Person, a great Party would not believe him living, but that it was an Imposture, and a Juggle of the King, and others, in Opposition to some other Princes of the Blood Royal. This Conceit was so push'd on by those Princes whose Interest it was that the King should have no Son, that the greater Part of Mauritania either believ'd or pretended to believe this real Prince to be an Impostor; by which one sees how easy it is to impose upon a Populace, who are generally ready to receive any Notion, though never so ridiculous, if it does but diminish the Power of their Superiors; and this was the State in which we left Mauritania. The Kings of Numidiaand Mauritania were both graciously pleas'd to invite me to remain with either of them; but my Resolutions being fix'd upon Retirement, I deny'd myself that Happiness. When I took my Leave of the Princess, she took a rich Jewel off her Arm, and bound it about mine, commanding me, that if ever I saw Clarinthia, to present her with it as a Token from her. This was an Honour extreamly acceptable and agreeable to me; nevertheless I wish it had been omitted in Consideration of herself, lest it might kindle again some conceal'd Sparks of Jealousy in the Prince her Husband, or the Court of Mauritania. But the Princess follow'd her generous frank Humour, without reflecting on the Consequence, which indeed is the Mistake of the greatest Part of Mankind, and shews how justly Prudence has a Rank amongst the Cardinal Vertues; for without it the best of Actions are misplac'd, mistaken, and misunderstood; so that instead of answering their Ends, become disobliging, dangerous, and prejudicial. However, I hope nothing of this Kind attended the Princess, upon this Testimony of Friendship towards me, who was hidding an everlasting Farewel to her and all human Kind.
Being parted from the Court of Mauritania, I directed my Course towards Mount Atlas, resolving to seek a wretched Retreat under some of his Sons, and there to wear away the Remainder of my Days in Silence and Solitude. Here being arriv'd, I happen'd into the most pleasant Valley the Earth can pretend to be Mistress of. It runs along between two Hills, whose gentle Rise delights the View; and though in some Places they are more stupendious, yet not so as to disoblige the Eye with any rude Assent, or disagreeable Sterility; for they are well garnish'd with Intervals of Woods, Corn, and some Pasturage. But the Valley is so pleasant and fertile, as if Baccbus, Ceres, and Flora, had made that Place their Treasury, from whence they might replenish the World. Long Rows of Vines, Palms, and Orange−Trees, great Plenty of Figs, Dates, and all Sorts of delicious Fruit; under which grew all Sorts of pleasant Flowers and beautiful Plants, in such perfect Orders, as if Nature kept here her Court, to entertain the Epicures of the Universe. Nor was the Smell, Taste, and Sight only gratify'd, but the Ear was also ravish'd with the melodious Musick of the winged Inhabitants, whose shrill Trebles were soften'd by the Murmur of a gentle Brook passing nimbly over the Pebles; also a soft Wind breathing thro' the Trees, made the Musick most harmonious, that all Things consider'd, I thought this Place must needs be the terrestrial Retreat of some Divinity. And what confirm'd me in this Opinion, I was so wrapt up in Contemplation, that my Thoughts were uncapable of any earthly Consideration. With what Scorn and Contempt did I reflect on those Honours, Victories, and Triumphs with which Fortune and my Friends had grac'd me withal! The Glories of my Country, and the Honours of my Family, were all despicable Trifles; Feasting, Company, and Divertisement, I look'd upon as impertinent Incumberances, and a Clog to Freedom, at least to Devotion. Methought I experienc'd the Philosopher's Maxim, and was never less alone, than when here alone, where one might so freely correspond with Heaven, I thought myself interiorly united to the Gods; I look'd down upon all moral Vertues, as Steps by which I had ascended to this Happiness of Mind; I almost bless'd those Misfortunes that had thus brought me to know the Feebleness and Instability of all earthly Persuits and Acquests, and chiefly that I had truly learnt to know and contemn myself, and, for the Love of the Gods, long'd to be freed from this mortal Being.
As I thus walk'd, entertaining my Thoughts, I observ'd a little Foot−Path which extended itself to no Town, Wood, Walk, or Spring, but at both Ends the Grass and Flowers grew in their proper Vigor, as at their first Creation. Whilst I look'd on this with a little Astonishment, I saw some Leaves wafted about with the Wind, whereon was writ Words in Greek and Oriental Characters, which my Curiosity oblig'd me to gather; in doing which, I discover'd behind a Bush the Mouth of a Cave, into which I enter'd; and passing a few Steps, I saw a Woman, kneeling before a Kind of an Altar, which was decently dress'd with the native Ornaments of that Place. Her Person was comely, or rather beautiful; which her Habit seem'd rather to disguise, than imbellish; but to be sure she design'd it for Necessity, not Ornament, being rudely made of Beasts Skins, nevertheless something appear'd in her that denoted a Mind rich in this extraordinary Poverty, a Soul elevated above this World's Grandeur, and her extended Capacity comprehending a vast Eternity of Time and Infinity of Place, whilst her Person was contain'd in the narrow Bounds of this her little Cave. As I approach'd towards her, she rose and saluted me in these Words:
Welcome, brave Hero, to this course Retreat,
Thou who excell'st whatever Rome call'd great;
Great as thou art, yet others of thy Name
Shall thee transcend in martial Acts and Fame.
Two shall their Names from Africa receive,
As Asia did to thee thy Glories give.
And this great House of Scipio's shall last,
'Till Rome herself be into Bondage cast;
For he who shall thy great Attempts compleat,
Deservedly shall gain the Name of Great.
Lo! he the Heiress of your House shall take,
But after Fortune shall this Chief forsake:
For as his Conquest ranges through the East,
Until his Feet Euphrates Banks have prest;
So shall his Rival in the West and North,
Gain equal Glories with as equal Worth.
Now these great Souls, whose Greatness shall surpass
All Glories to succeed, and all that ever was,
Shall neither Equal nor Superior brook;
Such is Man's Pride, when by the Gods forsook;
They both will run the Hazard of one Day,
And stake their Fortunes at Pharsalia:
But as a Game that's play'd with equal Care
And Skill, yet Fortune cannot equal share,
But one must Loser be; so in this Play
The Senate in thy House falls at Pharsalia.
But long the Victor shan't enjoy the Fruits
Of his laborious conquering Persuits;
For he shall fall by cursed Treason's Wounds,
Who to's Ambition could prescribe no Bounds,
And after this great Discord in the State
Twixt Senate, People, and Triumvirate.
But from this Chaos there shall issue forth
An Emperor of matchless Pow'r and Worth,
Under whose Reign all Noise of War shall cease,
That Gods themselves shall envy human Peace.
Now hasten Home, as thou believ'st this true,
And my God's Blessing take, Hero, adieu.
After these Words, she turn'd herself about, and kneel'd down before her Altar again. Now, this Adventure so extraordinary, shock'd all my former Resolutions; for I could not think her less than a Person divinely inspir'd, if not that African Sybil so talk'd on in the World. Her Manner of living, and her written Leaves, left me no Room for Doubt; so that I thought it almost a Duty to give Credit to these her Words, in which she mention'd the Continuation of the Scipio's Race, which I knew must be in me, I having no Brother. All Things consider'd, I began to conclude it to be the Will of Heaven, that I should return into my Country; nor did Fidelius want Arguments to perswade me to this Interpretation of the Prophesy, adding, that if Clarinthia, by the extream Goodness of the Gods, was escap'd, one might be sure, that in all this Time she would be return'd into Italy. All these Considerations put together, I resolv'd to leave this delightful Valley, and return to my Father's House, where I arriv'd last Night without any remarkable Adventure. There, to my great Happiness, I not only found my Father well, but my dear Sister safe return'd, and in Company with my amiable Cousin Clelia, and now, to my unspeakable Joy, my adorable Clarinthia, of whose Escape and Adventures I long to be inform'd. And I no less, reply'd Scipiana; but we must reserve that for another Occasion, and at present return to our Father, who, no doubt, by this Time expects us. Wherefore Asiaticus taking Clarinthia, and desiring the rest to accompany him, they all walk'd to the House, where we will leave them to receive the Welcomes of the noble Publius their Father, and to relate to him their respective Adventures.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48